Sunday, February 4, 2018

Climate Change

Climate change is negatively affecting every aspect of our world … including the Winter Olympics. A recent study found that of 21 former Winter Olympic cities, nine of them — that’s almost half — may be too warm to support the winter games 30 years from now.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Boomers


I am one of the seventy-six million babies born in the United States between 1946 and 1964, a Baby Boomer, the generation once called the pig in the python, the bulge in the snake, not the first generation to be tagged as a generation, as the “Lost Generation” and the “Silent Generation” preceded us, but perhaps the first generation to be aware of ourselves as a generation. 

We are also the “Me Generation”, privileged as other generations had not been, raised in post-war affluence with a sense of our generational superiority to the sleepy repressed stiffs littering the world and workplace, keenly aware of ourselves as the new generation. Thus, the “generation gap” emerging at the end of the 1960’s as we believed ourselves the champions of social awareness and humanitarian progress battling the useless vestiges of antequated, social conventions and convictions.
 
We had a moment, somewhere between Watts and Detroit and Newark and Nixon’s resignation, when we might have made a difference. For all of our pride in our highly evolved sensibilities and sensitivities, we became a lost generation ourselves, a hedonistic, self-serving bulge, taking up space, distracted by pleasure.
We became the generation that did not recognize itself. What happened, we wonder? Weren’t we the generation that would change the world?
Look around. I’m afraid we did.
We believed in progress, that every subsequent age would continue to flourish as ours had done, but we did not hold the opportunities given to us in trust for those who came next. We liked the idea of an increasingly comfortable world so much that we wallowed in it without securing the future. We knew the environment was fragile. We knew natural resources were limited. We knew that cities built in the desert would need water. We knew garbage had to end up somewhere. We knew people lived in poverty and violence. We knew the rich got richer and the poor got poorer. We knew we were 
distracting ourselves with mindless pleasures. We knew that schools had become warehouses. We knew that children went to bed hungry.
We made a lot of noise in the 1960’s, but what remains? John Steinbeck wrote of the dignity shown by hard-working people of good will; the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. broke the silence of the Silent Generation with words that took us to the mountain. Where is our voice now? We once heard Dylan, but now, perhaps hear Stephen King spinning dark tales of fun house world and stalking killer clowns.
We are perched now on a thin branch at the top of a tall tree. The eldest of us are now seniors, seventy years old, retired, hoping that in these “golden” days, seventy-five is the new fifty.
I’m pretty sure it isn’t, but life isn’t over yet for many of us. Maybe there’s time enough to circle back and put a few things right, plant a few trees to provide shade for children we will never know. We’re outnumbered now, finally; Millennial’s are the current bulge, and our python is looking flatter with every passing year.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Our health and nature

Research suggests that time spent outdoors in nature is integral to a life well lived. And yet, humans have impacted (and in some cases destroyed) natural habitats worldwide.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Vanishing Florida

In Florida, however, before the 80’s, besides floods and hurricanes, nature was taken for granted – something insignificant.  Nature has a chaotic quality about it, raw and rugged.  From Florida’s earliest settlers to the present time have viewed nature as something orderly and tranquil, and have gone about creating that environment.  You need not look any further than the housing and commercial developments here in Florida(and elsewhere).  Wild spaces have been displaced by human made structures and flora not native to this soil.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

How dis America go so Wrong

As a nation when did we stop thinking in terms of right and wrong? Democrats or Republicans, Liberals or Conservatives, they have just become labels devoid of meaning. Principles that every American held sacred are no longer universally accepted. We once chose the selfless to be our leaders instead of the selfish. Philosophical truths are subject to change based on the polls instead of intellectual rigor. Is this any way to govern a city, a state or a nation?
Our elected leaders and officials are not our best but our most driven. It is more important for our politicians to remain in an elected body than achieve any other goal. The greater good is sacrificed so that our individual leaders can remain tied to their offices. This is the country that we now live where we share no critical thought or moral principle.
How often do we hear from our representatives that “I have done nothing wrong legally” instead of “I have done nothing morally or ethically wrong” when trying to justify an action? The entire premise of public service is to put the good of the community over one’s self-interest. Which means as Montesquieu wrote that the motivating force or “spring” for democracies is the good of the community over those of an individual.
Sadly, we have lost the true nature of that concept. We now apply the words public servant to anyone who works for the government and hero to anyone that wears a uniform. This cheapens the person who actually does serve the public or sacrifices their life for the country. The meaning of words does matter. The reporting of facts untinged by personal bias is the role of the press.
Our political leaders need to have a moral compass and a governing philosophy. We need to hold them to a higher standard. We once voted for people who actually believed in what they said. Leaders that stood with the people. They believed in the common good and not just their next re-election campaign. Their governing philosophy was not the other guy is worse and I will promise anything for your vote.
Politics is derived from the Greek meaning people. A political party needs to be for something not just against something. It needs to represent with clarity of thought a governing philosophy. A political party should inspire for the better not sprout conspiracy theory or pander to our fears. A city on a hill is a far cry from lock her up.
Is this how our country finally ends dissolved into petty squabbles. The purpose being to address wrongs that really don’t exist and to preserve a way of life that never did. By locking out the world does anyone really believe it will go away. The bad will be kept out by walls and jobs that long ago ceased will return. This is just as much a fairy tale than anything in the Brothers Grimm.
Change is inevitable, incontrovertible and un-yielding on our country. No amount of myopic thought or wishful thinking prevent change. It is how you manage that change that is important and consequential. Our political parties and leaders need to help us accept and adapt. Persevere and move forward are the goals. Lying to us about what is possible is the basest of crimes because it robs us of our future.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Dumbing us Down

"The dumbing down of America is most evident in the slow decay of substantitive content in the enormously influential media, the 30 second sound bites(now down to 10 seconds or less), lowest common denominator programming, credulous presentations on pseudoscience and superstition, but especially a kind of celebration of ignorance."
-Carl Sagan

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Extinction?

When you think “ocean life,” you may picture the iconic blue whale, frolicking dolphins, or even majestic sea turtles gliding through the water. North Atlantic right whales don’t get a lot of notice — probably because there are so few of them. They’re one of the most endangered large whales in the world.

These critically endangered whales live right off our shores in the Atlantic Ocean, with habitats stretching from Florida, along the Southeast U.S. coast, up through the Gulf of Maine — exactly where fossil fuel corporations are intent on drilling for oil.

What's worse, before drilling comes the seismic airgun blasting used to find oil deposits beneath the ocean floor. These ear-splitting blasts are so loud they can be heard from 2,500 miles away, and by government estimates, could deafen or kill up to 138,000 dolphins, whales, and other marine life — including nine critically endangered right whales.

For the North Atlantic right whale, this could mean extinction.