September 26, 2019

Is it starting?

No, I'm not talking about the impeachment of a certain elected official, although that would be fine with me. I'm asking whether it might be time to get the US to get serious about climate change.

I recently picked up a book of poems by Mary Oliver and opened it randomly. The first line that struck my eyes had this to say:

Loving the earth, seeing what has been done to it,
I grow sharp, I grow cold."
The rest of the poem is here. I'm right there with her, although cold part doesn't sound too bad at the moment.

I really hope that the US is approaching a sea change when it comes to climate action. There were actions around the country last week. West Virginians are planning an awareness event tonight. A recent poll shows that more Americans are finally starting to view the issue as a crisis.

Earlier this week, there was an event I'd never have expected: Robert Hanshaw, the Republican Speaker of the WV House of Delegates, and Evan Hansen, a Democratic delegate who is a strong environmental advocates spoke to a group of students about climate change. As in it being real and all.

The Hansen part wasn't a surprise, but the Hanshaw part was, given his ties to the gas industry and the power of the extractive energy lobby in WV, especially but not exclusively with Republicans.

(In fairness, I've seen decades of Democrats grovel before the extractive overlords as well.)

I'm not about to give way to a fit of uncharacteristic optimism, but I think the way may be opening. It's probably already too late to undo some serious damage even if we started with a blank slate today. But I think we can still do some harm reduction if we generate and demonstrate the political will.

The alternative is disaster.

September 23, 2019

One year ago today

One year ago today, I got in a car in Huttonsville WV after spending the weekend with West Virginia Quakers, drove to Baltimore and took off to France to start walking the Camino de Santiago Compostela over the Pyrenees and across Spain to Santiago, Finisterre, and Muxia, and then back to Santiago.

It was 38 consecutive days of walking, pain, beauty, pain, reflection, conversation, solitude and all that. And lots of cafe con leche, good food, beer, wine and orujo (Spanish hooch).

(Not to mention fantasizing about about a death match with the sadist who designed my backpack...)

Something like 640 miles by the time it was over, with meanderings and getting lost a time or two, for an average of 17 miles per day.

I miss the open road.