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Saturday, January 16, 2021

Climate Change 2021

Climate Change




The theme I chose for this year is Climate Change. I had hoped to learn and write about it last year, but it was impossible not to get sidetracked. I’m not going to address people who don’t believe it is occurring or even those who don’t believe mankind is causing it. This is for people who believe in the science and read what scientists have to say about it. 


There has been a benefit to the containment caused by the COVID-19 epidemic and that is that we have all had to rely on technology to see our friends and learn about the world. I had the pleasure of watching Greta Thunberg and the Dalai Lama discuss climate change with two climate scientists at my breakfast last week. Susan Natale  (renowned Arctic scientist with Woodshole Oceanographic Institute) and William Moomaw (lead author on reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change/IPCC, and the co-recipient of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize) each gave a glimpse into their research and talked about feedback loops that aren’t even considered in the Climate Change international agreement. There are three videos that help to visualize what is going on ecologically.


Natale discussed her studies in the Arctic and the feedback loop being created there. The permafrost is thawing and temperatures are rising twice as fast as the rest of the planet. When the permafrost thaws, it releases gas that has been frozen. In addition, the ground collapses like a slow mudslide. Twice as much carbon is released in permafrost as in the rest of the planet.


Moomaw discussed his research on forests. When temperatures rise, plants release more CO2. This increases droughts, pests and fires. Fires release more carbon and dead trees don’t absorb any CO2 . Carbon began to increase in the atmosphere in the 1750s with industrialization. Half of the carbon in the atmosphere was created since 1992. Eleven billion tons of carbon have been released, but there are only five billion tons still there. The rest has been absorbed by the oceans and plants. Carbon is stored in dry wood, leaves and soil. Of the carbon stored in the Northern Hemisphere, 50% of it is located in temperate forests. He called for us to rely on wind and solar power, and save and expand the temperate forests, wetlands, marsh and grassland.


Why are these not included in carbon budgets? One reason may be that not many people live at the poles. It is also hard to get data from the poles.


The Dalai Lama noted that the snow is disappearing from the mountains of Tibet. Ecology is looking into the future and favoring preservation over “progress”. 


Since the first Earth Day, I have heard the argument that we can’t sacrifice our economy for Mother Nature, and I have always thought that Mother Nature will have her revenge if we don’t think about what we are doing.


Serendipity: from “The Thread,” My two must-reads in early 2021 on climate change are:  David Pogue’s “How to Prepare for Climate Change” and Bill Gates’ “How to Avoid a Climate Disaster.”


  1. Dalai Lama https://www.facebook.com/339188887615/videos/262379708552887/
  2. David Pogue https://www.publicmediamarket.org/blogs/blog/how-to-prepare-for-climate-change-by-david-pogue?utm_campaign=The+Thread_newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_source=sfmc_&utm_content=
  3. David Pogue https://authory.com/DavidPogue
  4. Bill Gates https://www.gatesnotes.com/How-to-Avoid-a-Climate-Disaster
  5. The Thread, https://www.mprnews.org/arts/books?utm_campaign=The+Thread_newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_source=sfmc_&utm_content=


Sunday, December 6, 2020

Still Waiting

It seems like a decade has passed in the last year. Living alone has been a blessing and a curse. I went to Florida in January and found it lonely, although my good friends and I were able to visit. I walked four miles a day on the beach and never found it boring. My return trip was stressful because I realized I had forgotten my “tech” bag in the hotel. God bless Hilam Patel for returning everything to me intact. 1 


I stocked up on groceries and waited two weeks for my tech, then rested a bit from the trip and the worries. By the beginning of March, our leaders were telling us to stay home because of COVID-19. When I had to go get groceries, I would notice everything I touched. I sanitized and washed my hands at every opportunity, although items for sanitizing disappeared from the shelves. Of all things, toilet paper and yeast were scarce, too. I quilted most days and read a lot, walked a couple of miles a day and called loved ones. Without human contact, I struggled to find a reason for living. Overnight, I realized that I could not control when I lived or died, I could only control how I lived, and that would be in service to others. 


Summer came, and we were able to get together on our decks and at some restaurants. We felt in touch with nature again, when the heat didn’t drive us indoors. In the city, riots broke out. In my opinion, the heat and the stress from “Rona” were the triggers, as well as the high cost in lives in minority neighborhoods. 


By fall, people were openly ignoring the mask requirement and the disease spread throughout the suburbs as well as the city. I experienced the illness as a migraine-like headache, nauseau, diarrhea, lack of smell, taste distortions, muscle pains, fatigue, and a foggy brain. The initial symptoms lasted just a few days, but it was a full 7 weeks before I was free of fatigue and muscle pain. To keep busy, I found a renewed interest in genealogy.


A few weeks later, my son experienced symptoms and tested positive. He was ill for about a week, I believe. (Long-distance runner, stair-climber, marathoner) Luckily, his symptoms cleared up and he doesn’t seem to have any long-term damage.


November was another lonely month, and I tried to busy myself with sewing and reading and writing.  Thanksgiving dinner was canceled and I got a cold. Such joy! Just a cold! In a week, it was gone. Good news in the form of a vaccine has come along and now the fighting begins to see who gets it. It looks like the greedy, wealthy countries are once again shoving to the front of the line. Will human nature never change?


December is upon us and the plague rages on worse than ever. We are social animals. So social, we will die rather than miss our loved ones. Once again, I turn to my sewing machine, genealogy, books, and writing. One of the lucky ones.










 1Americas Best Value Inn Kimball, TN


Saturday, October 17, 2020

Rona

It has been three months since I have blogged and I can't tell you why. It seemed as if everything was the same, day after day, week after week. Yet our knowledge of this virus changed often and it was still the only thing my friends talked about. I wore masks when I had to buy groceries, used sanitizer when I touched things, and stayed home much more than I liked. So how did I get the coronavirus? I don't know. All I know is that I went in for a test to make sure I wasn't positive before I suggested a visit with my daughter. I went on about my business. 

It has begun to get cold here, and restaurants have separated tables by at least six feet. I went out to eat in two indoor restaurants after I had the test because I had what I thought was a migraine and my usual colitis, only to find I had tested positive. 

My test was on Friday, October 9, which is my older brother's birthday. I got the results on Tuesday morning when I called to find out my results. My first reaction was denial. I think it was a good thing that I found out I had the virus after the worst of the symptoms. I called my brother and kids, then proceeded to call everyone that might have gotten it from me. After all, we don't know how long I had it before I tested positive. So far, two neighbors have tested negative, whew! Others could not get tested because the lines are suddenly two hours/days long. 

I am staying home and my friends are overwhelming me with kindness. I keep busy so I don't think about the other effects of COVID 19 that may yet occur. This is the second week, so I am hoping I don't tank, the way some people do. Luckily, last spring I had purchased an oximeter because there were no tests available. So I am keeping track of my temp and my oxygen and hoping all the prayers of friends will carry me through this safely. 

Last spring, I had some symptoms similar to COVID, and imagined what it would mean if I didn't make it. I decided it was time to divest myself of a lot of material assets. I chose to give away books and quilting supplies.  There is still too much "stuff" but now I worry about giving away virus with items. 

So the topic I had chosen for the year was to be "Climate" and this little tiny virus has completely taken over our waking hours. Our country's leaders have allowed over eight million people to get the virus and 217,918 people to die (as of October 17, 2020) through the inept handling of the Republicans. Our economy is in dire straits and Republicans have only given money to large corporations, which has kept some people employed until now. 

Add to that 8 hurricanes, 25 storms, with people being removed to shelters. Don't forget to add those moved to shelters in California because of the record 4.1 million acres being burned up by forest fires.

Some of the symptoms I have had are headache which caused me to lay on the sofa all day, diarrhea, chills, food tasting bad, smell coming and going, fatigue, and brain fog. I've been lucky enough to feel okay, and I hope it continues. 

My favorite method for coping has been to keep busy and not think about what's going on in the world. So much tragedy. There have been many great jokes on social media, but there have been some digital improvements. Lots of classes have been moved online, and we can "see" our friends on Zoom, FaceTime and Facebook. 

As the holidays approach and I don't know what to plan. Planning is overrated.



Monday, July 27, 2020

Progress

It has been 5 months since we became aware of  COVID - 19's ability to spread ubiquitously. A friend and I were comparing our motivation at the beginning and now. At first, we tackled cleaning closets, cleaning our houses, finishing quilting projects that had been hanging around for a while, and generally doing those things we never thought we had time to do. 

I was tense, worried about everything I touched when I went for groceries, including door handles and cardboard boxes. As Kristopher Jansma put it, "What a month ago might have been a careless exercise in routine home maintenance now means confronting my own mortality." (1).

We wore masks from the beginning, because we were in the high-risk group. All of my appointments were canceled as of March 15, because the entire state shut down. I was appalled to learn that our president was withholding supplies from Democratic areas. States were compelled to buy supplies on the international market, competing with the federal government. My daughter had returned to New York with her husband and child in April and it was better, but still a hot spot. My oldest was ensconced in his home, taking care and working from home. My middle child and his family were in a rural area and angry about the stay-at-home, mask orders. They have been home-schooling for years, so that was not adversely affected by the lock-down. 

Fast forward a few months. Most people in our state have adjusted to wearing masks, using sanitizer and washing their hands often. My friend and I have both adjusted our need to clean (nobody's coming to visit) and are enjoying having time alone. Because of our hobbies, we have not been bored. I am grateful for time to clean out clutter, sew whatever and whenever I want, and even order pizza once in a while.

I find myself often in a funk. Foggy. What day is it? Although days seem to be going slower, weeks fly by. Next weekend it will be August. I would be planning a fall trip somewhere. Will I get to go to Macchu Picchu next year? Will I care? No one knows when we will be able to travel again. I like to think, I was going to travel this decade, but God said "No."

It may be that we have to restructure our entire civilization before we can get through the suffering. Certainly, the economy is hurting those who can survive it least. The first big bailout went to giant corporations, including airlines and cruise lines. Unless they can find a way to sanitize their air currents and plumbing, they will go under, the millions given to them wasted. Now the unemployed, who lost their healthcare, are losing their homes.  Will they be able to vote in November? 

So many questions remain unanswered as the first trials of a vaccine begin. Once again, large companies have gotten millions to produce this, before it's even done. How many more will die?

(1)Jansma, Kristopher, "Out of the Ordinary,"

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