Some Like it Hot

President Trump and the Republican Party don’t seem to mind the heat.

Unfortunately, both parties do it. On specific issues facing the country, one party is extreme with their solutions and the other party counters, not with better, less extreme ideas, but with mocking attacks of the opponent’s proposed solutions. In the end, what we are left with are two clueless political parties and zero good solutions.

That is exactly how the climate crisis debate is playing out right now. On one side, there are wacky legislators and presidential candidates who are trying to outdo one another for the most extreme unrealistic idea award, and the other side that laughs about their opponent’s proposed solutions and then goes blank-stare silent when asked for their own ideas to solve climate change.

Meanwhile back in the real world, we have new hot zones spreading around the globe. Recent in-depth reporting by The Washington Post lays out disturbing details of portions of the earth’s oceans (hot zones) that are reaching the point of no return in temperature increases leading to die-offs of ocean life.

One of the areas spans over 130,000 square miles of the southern Atlantic Ocean that have heated up at more than 2 degrees Celsius over the last century. This increase is more than twice the global average and the temperature increases are even worse at the “hot zone’s” core.

As the waters warm, currents shift, die-offs increase, algal blooms increase and spread, and the bounty of the sea that provides critical sustenance dwindles. These changes will create massive shifts in environmental and economic conditions and are no laughing matter.

Similar hot zones are also being identified in other waters including in the North Atlantic, North Pacific, South Pacific, and Indian oceans. Scientists believe that these increases, in some cases, may have already crossed a threshold that will lead to irreversible consequences. Whether scientists are right or wrong, exactly, is not the point. The point is that the changes are being noticed by non-academics who live near and depend on these waters.

We don’t have to be a scientist to see with our own eyes that something is fundamentally changing to our planet, and what we can readily observe is not good. This is not a partisan issue, but, like a lot of other non-partisan issues, our leaders make them partisan to the extreme, and nothing gets done, ever!

The Democrats want to scare people into thinking that we will all die unless we create a socialist “utopia” as dictated by the Federal Government, and the Republicans want to scare us into thinking that the Democrats are all crazy and are the enemy. President Trump wants more of that “good old global warming” anytime there is cold weather and to argue about weather maps with the National Weather Service.

I suppose some really do like it hot. Meanwhile, humanity quietly drifts a little further each day towards possible oblivion while we continue to enable both political parties to “fiddle” while the Earth burns, literally.

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Sand

The wind has removed itself from our presence
But the sand still lingers, as an obstinate thick fog
Permeating everything it touches
Including my long returning thoughts
More galling, my deepest protected memories

Riding, like Bedouins coming out of the desert
Not seen for an endlessly hopeless time
Once so organized and stored
Now moving again, ever relentless
As grains of sand stinging my leathered face

Each of those grains a dirty nightmare
Of the horse drawn sullied history
Coming out of this tin shack dive bar planet
As if Gertrude Bell herself came home
Drawing boundaries to forever haunt this place

Castles enter and slip away once more
In dreams of ghost riders, swords drawn
Erasing history’s EtchoSketched footprints
Left by kings and queens of purple sage
Tumbling moral virtues into Damascus

Silence breaks the quiet of the sunrise
Spreading like winged camels across Wadi Rum
I saw Mr. Lawrence among the dust strewn bodies
But the magnificent seven would not stand
They slipped away, as time momentarily halted

Disappearing through the Ottoman’s looking glass
Toiling away in the universe’s inner sanctum
As the final notes of Jericho’s horns fade to black
Searching endlessly for the meaning of it all
Only to re-emerge on the broken streets of Babylon

And the sand lingers still

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Winds Across Pamlico

A new Poem from On Driftwood and Oblivion

A haunted wind through his ship’s hull ground
Brownstone horses in the sand danced ‘round
Wisdom worn footprints sought, never found
In the shadowed moon, her thoughts were bound
As the tidal clad laughter crept alone
Silence swept across Pamlico Sound

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Burger King of the Jungle

It’s hard to be optimistic about the future of our planet when the rain forest that provides so much of the earth’s oxygen and carbon reduction is now being torn down to become home of the Whopper.

The symbolism of a planet in peril is staggering, not to mention the reality of it all. The Amazon Rain Forest is now home to the Whopper, thanks to the enormous Belo Monte Damn project, that scientists warn is putting the future of the rain forest in peril.

But hey, that’s progress, as Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro stated at a recent visit to the region. In addition to Burger King, there’s a Costco and a large shopping mall with a movie megaplex. It is a classic pave over paradise to put up a parking lot moment. On the other hand, many Brazilians do see the development as progress because it provides jobs and leisure.

Americans provided an ominous blueprint for the world, gutting the country of its vast forests and building a whole mess of parking lots along the way. Politicians and the general public alike all want “progress,” but what is that exactly? It probably means various things to various people but the dictionary states that progress is “forward or onward movement toward a destination.” So, what exactly is our destination? One where we live a better life on a healing planet, or one awaiting our extinction on a dying planet?

It is very hard to push for global change when countries are culturally different, at different stages of development, and hold differing outlooks regarding their natural resources. Then there is science, full of dire warnings that always seem to be changing. Read any article on climate change and you can find at least one quote from scientists along the lines of “worse than previously thought.” But it was the same scientists who had made the previous predictions, so are they right now, then, or not correct at all?

I am not discounting science, but I don’t need complex research to tell me that destroying the Amazon Rain Forest to make way for shopping malls and fast food restaurants is not healthy for the planet, or those eating at the fast food restaurants for that matter. We are at a point in human existence where decisions made in certain countries could radically alter the chances for human survival. Do we form, as Albert Einstein advocated long ago, a world government? The prospects of that seem impossible.

People instinctually rebel against top down solutions, so maybe we need to continue to plant the seeds and cultivate grass roots efforts across the planet and get all the separate organizations, such as the Environmental Defense Fund and Greenpeace, to put forth coordinated efforts. Maybe call it the Earth Health Organization. We need to start conversations with our friends and neighbors in a manner that avoids discounting other’s beliefs.

Mark Twain once said, “Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.” Well it’s high time we do something about it. Climate change that is.

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Under the Shade Trees

A poem from the new collection On Driftwood and Oblivion

I once lived there, under the shade of those trees
Peaceful and happy, never hurting anyone or anything
Why do you say these vile and evil things about me?
You know not what you speak, or whom you speak it for

We do not have the means to wage war that you have
And so, we move like the wind, but neither here nor there
I hope you enjoyed the shade of the trees you took
No, I truly do. At least before you cut them all down

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