Here’s a link to a podcast episode about ecoheroes, ecosaboteurs, ecoterrorists, (depending on who’s doing the describing), which wonders if the time may be ripe to see an upswing in these activities again now that the US government has declared war on our planet, and what the public reaction might be.
The podcast begins with The Fox, a Chicago area biology teacher who started marching to a different drum for science back in 1969. Apparently, his efforts turned into family affairs, which I think would be a great tradition to pass on, and also had some support from local police. Here’s an article by someone who knew him.
There’s passing mention of Greenpeace and Ed Abbey and Earth First!, but the second half of the program focuses on the Earth Liberation Front. Following is the trailer for the documentary film If A Tree Falls (that’s a link to the film’s website) about ELF which is discussed with the filmmaker. I remember watching the movie, but apparently didn’t write about it at the time on either of my blogs.
For some more straightforward podcasts about nature, check out Something Wild, also from New Hampshire public radio.
Sadly, I had to go to a rally today outside the office of my representative, a Democrat who has appealed to the Trump administration to reverse a December USFS and BLM decision which protected the Boundary Waters from sulfide ore mining within its watershed.
I wrote this for my other blog, but because more people read this one, I’m including it here as well. It’s long, it’s political, and it’s very anti-Trump, so if that doesn’t interest you, come back another time.
This year is the 200th anniversary of Thoreau’s birth, and we need civil disobedience more than ever.
I completely understand why many people didn’t want Clinton to be president. But though I’ve never been someone who bothered voting for the lesser of two evils, I did this time because the vileness of Trump was not only obvious but also something that he was clearly proud of. At election time, I didn’t understand how anyone who claimed to see Clinton’s corruption and other failings could not see that Trump’s were many times worse. But after a week of him in office, deplorable is much too good of a word to describe anyone who still supports him. This is a man whose behavior and temperament would get him fired from almost any job in the country. Psychiatrists and historians are going to get rich writing books about him and his supporters.
Looking over headlines this morning, I saw the following adjectives for Trump and his policies: cowardly, dangerous, useless, awkward, un-American, and erratic. We need lots of press coverage like that to tell the truth instead of the alternative facts. So much is happening every day that it’s hard to keep up, but we need to stay aware.
The federal employees and scientists at NPS, EPA, NASA and other agencies who are choosing truth over Trump’s agenda, and the secret service agent not wanting to take a bullet for him, are heroes and we need more of them. Every species and the planet they live on needs them. The Doomsday Clock—does anybody really know what time it is? Al Gore has arranged for a conference to replace a canceled CDC conference. Even if all the rogue and alt social media accounts aren’t run by actual employees, we need them. We need the t-shirts and patches and caps they’re all going to be selling—we need to be visible every day.
Trump wants to eliminate support for the national endowments for the arts and humanities. We need more songs and videos like the previous post, more songs like those described in a book I just started reading, 33 Revolutions Per Minute: A History of Protest Songs, from Billie Holiday to Green Day. We need more plays and movies and novels, more dance, more paintings, more support for education and libraries. The arts help people learn there is more to life than the money and power which drive Trump.
Trump wants to demean and control women’s lives, but is finding out that pussy grabs back. I looked for an inauguration day protest here but found only an evening church gathering which didn’t appeal to me. I was working on the day of the women’s march, though I would have changed that if I’d realized there was one here. 1400 people showed up in Duluth, not bad considering the many who went to DC or St Paul for larger marches.
Honestly, in the aftermath, I thought that although the marches were great as comfort and support for those of us horrified by the election results, they didn’t really mean much because I doubted there were any Trump voters marching, and the largest were in blue states which had already had their larger vote totals declared irrelevant by our election system. But a few days later I was looking through an Amazon forum I used to be a member of, and saw many pre-march comments from middle class women whose screen names I recognized from years of conversations. They wrote about how they were afraid and nervous about going to these marches but felt they had to stand up and be counted to oppose Trump. And so I realized the value of the marches I hadn’t recognized before—we need these newcomers, and we need a lot of them.
Trump wants to directly eliminate support for Amtrak and DC’s Metro, and indirectly for all other transit systems—those city people don’t support him, and they’re not using enough oil. I expect people are going to die at Standing Rock.
Everyone’s going to have health insurance—we’ll start by taking away what they have now. Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare—the hell with those, just invest in the stock market. We need mayors of sanctuary cities and governors of blue states to be strong and creative because we’re all on the enemies list. We need Republicans who opposed Trump during the campaign to now say, “Well, we gave it a try, but this guy really is nuts and we have to stop him.”
Trump likes to pretend he’s a successful businessman despite his string of bankruptcies. We need corporations to oppose his plans. So far, I’ve noticed complaints from FedEx, Google, Microsoft, Apple, Netflix, and Facebook, as well as smaller companies.
We need the world’s governments to oppose Trump, and we need the UN to take our name. We need more religious leaders to condemn Trump as a phony Christian. Several Republican senators and representatives have spoken against his immigration policy and that he has replaced the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Director of National Intelligence with Breitbart’s Bannon in security meetings (because Trump’s sure he already knows more than anyone else and only wants to hear from those who agree—he’s, like, smart)—we especially need more of those Republicans. We need more judges to stay his orders. When I read about that, I imagined him sputtering, “They can’t do that, I’m the king”, and firing off tweets about fake laws. Supposedly concerned about terrorism, Trump is likely going to create much more, both from abroad and from American citizens.
I could go on like this forever, because every day brings new levels of stupidity. I did reserve the site for the Old, White, and Blue blog I had mentioned, thinking that I might start it at the beginning of the year or after his inauguration, but I decided there was just too much to write about and I didn’t want to spend all my time angry or depressed trying to keep up with it. We do need every form of resistance we can come up with—overt and covert, written and spoken, broadcast and podcast, in the streets (and airports) and online, but we do need to refresh ourselves as well.
I’m not a flag-waver—if I had the money to finance the move, I would not be living in this country. That’s not just a reaction to Trump and the type of people who voted for him, although I certainly would have left since the election. I’ve never shared the country’s dominant values of greed and shallowness and religion, and if I’d been a few years older and drafted certainly would have gone to Canada, not Vietnam. I love the land and wildlife here which Trump and his ilk are eager to destroy, but as to the human aspect have long wished I’d been born in Europe. When I researched the continent decades ago, it seemed somewhere in Scandinavia would have been the best fit for me. But rather than moving, I took the easy way out of having as little to do with the mainstream US as possible. Now I’m paying the price for choosing to be a bad capitalist.
My preferred solution to this country’s deep division has long been that the country voluntarily split in two (or more) with each person free to choose where they lived. Whichever side you’re on, what is the point of having constant aggravation in your life? Any marriage with this deep-seated antipathy would have ended in divorce long ago. But it’s too late for that now.
At this point, I don’t care if it’s a lone gunman or a coup, if we make his thin-skinned head explode from constant opposition, or if Daenerys rides in on a dragon—the country and the world needs to be rid of this asshole as soon as possible. I suspect most people who’ve agreed with me so far would distance themselves here and say no, no, no violence. I’d remind them that this country would not even exist if people hadn’t been willing to be violent when needed, that Thoreau gave speeches in support of John Brown, and that following the rules is what got us here.
My only ambivalence about Trump being assassinated would have nothing to do with the morality of it, just as I think killing Hitler early in his career would have made the world a better place and saved many lives. My concern would be the reaction of his supporters, but I think there will be trouble even if he lives long enough to lose in 2020, or lasts two terms until 2024. I can’t envision the lunatic ever peacefully or voluntarily leaving the White House. He’s not even content to be there via the Electoral College; he needs to keep spouting lies about voter fraud to explain why millions more people voted against him than for him.
Not me. No, the snow is flowing down the hills here in our long warm spell of 40ish degree days. In Duluth. In January. That’s ridiculous. No one would ever believe it. It must be a Chinese hoax.
No, I just wanted to mention Snowbound: Animals of Winter from BBC/PBS Nature. Full episode available free until February 11th. There are some beautiful scenes, some from the wild and some closeups from Polar Park, a wildlife place in Norway. So there are wolves licking the narrator’s face and other wolves killing an elk (maybe in Yellowstone?–looks like the right terrain, and there are scenes of bison which were filmed there). There are some fascinating underground scenes, of polar bear newborns, a ground squirrel, and also of a weasel and a vole (doesn’t end well for the vole). Many, many other critters as well.
I’ve been at a loss for words. I’ve long expected, even eagerly anticipated, the end of our civilization and the eventual recuperation of the natural world. But I thought it would happen due to ecological collapse, not because the country elected an infantile insecure ignoramus. At this point, I think anything could happen: riots, civil war, assassination, nuclear war, dictatorship, revolution, dying of embarrassment–they’re all on the table. While we wait, before we sleep, between the woods and frozen Lake, here are many words I found.
I heard another somewhat nature related podcast–this one comes from Wyoming public radio and is called HumaNature. All of the episodes are worth a listen and most are quite good. Whitewater rafting, a long canoe trip, Bigfoot, a shark attack, and snowmobilers are among the topics. The most celebrated episode is about intercontinental travel with a donkey, but I thought the most powerful one was about fly fishing and breast cancer.
After hearing that one, I sent the link to my fly fishing fanatic ex-roommate in Yellowstone, whose sister had had cancer. He enjoyed it and agreed that it brought people closer to nature. He wrote that he was feeling lonely that he was going to be the last of three of us who started working in the same Yellowstone office in 2010 because the third wouldn’t be returning this year. I told him that my life was less without the wildlife and open spaces (although the Lake helps) and that when people ask me why I left Yellowstone after four years, I still shake my head wondering how a situation that was so perfect for me turned so bad, but that even if I decided I wanted to return, I didn’t think my body was up to the long bus trip anymore.
That was because the route and schedule had been ruined when a different company took over in 2013. I still check Montana newspaper sites and read in December that the company might be abandoning its Bozeman stop if it couldn’t find a new location which is actually in Bozeman by the end of 2016 because the location they moved the station to fifteen miles out of town has hurt business. Who could have guessed?
I was looking for an update (not found) on that and discovered that the company has returned to the old schedule with my arrivals and departures in the afternoon instead of the middle of the night and abandoned its detour to the frakken fields. So the trip would actually be much shorter and more pleasant again. I still strongly doubt that I’ll work in Yellowstone again, definitely not this year, but I’d consider the bus doable again (at least til Trump fraks everything up and it detours again). Financial, physical, and residential factors would still have to align in unlikely ways for me to return.
A few weeks ago, I started reading Edward Wilson’s latest book, Half-Earth. From the flap, “Wilson is no doomsayer, resigned to fatalism”. No, because all we have to do is set aside half the planet for the other life forms. I’m sure Trump and John Doe and Mary Smith will be glad to do that. Before I gave up on the book, I nearly wept reading the extinction chapter, and raged along with Wilson at the climate change and wilderness deniers and the Anthropocenists. Rather than the book, I’d recommend this Smithsonian article on the subject. (Ignore the comments, unless you need further proof that humans will never do this.)
I’d rather point you toward a book likely to be much less well known, The Moth Snowstorm: Nature and Joy by Michael McCarthy. I’ve only read thirty pages, and I have issues with it–it’s by a British writer with corresponding examples (and spelling) and I have a strong North American bias in what I care about. Even without that personal issue, he’s given to very lengthy sentences overflowing with commas and semicolons. (I like to play that way myself sometimes, so believe me when I tell you he overdoes it.)
I don’t know what my final opinion of this book will be, but I think it could be inspirational or a bittersweet consolation (to me at least). I like the fact that he’s already pointed out why environmentalists (and humanists) fail–because they won’t acknowledge that people aren’t necessarily good and may not care about doing the right thing, or any thing beyond their short term personal interest. It’s the tragedy of the commons until Delaware falls off Antarctica. Oh, wait . . . And beyond.