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Obama talked about climate change in his second inaugural address - and quite forcefully, too. This is good.

But it’s not enough. To make him act on his words, people - Americans, primarily - now need to show their support of climate action in any way they can - write letters, call the White House, get out in the streets. True change rarely happens without a groundswell of public support.

If you’re anywhere near Washington DC (or can travel there), you should definitely join the Forward On Climate Rally on February 17 there.

Yeah, I know - travelling to a climate change event, isn’t that a bit counter-productive? Well, there are still situations in which it’s really important for a movement to be visible as more than just a list of names on an online petition. So I’d say, travel to this if you can.

Further actions you can take to show your support:

- Call the White House at 202-456-1111
- Use the “Contact us” form at http://www.whitehouse.gov/ to leave a comment.
- Write a letter: B. Obama, The WH, 1600 PA Ave, WDC 20500
- Ask Obama to give a “State of the Climate” address: https://www.facebook.com/climateaddress

Suggestions compiled from this comments thread.

(If you’re not American, your voice will matter less in this, I think. I’m still gonna leave a message at whitehouse.gov, even though I’m from Europe, but I think it won’t count as much as an actual voter’s. So, this post is mostly addressed at the Americans here on LJ/Dreamwidth.)
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http://thinkprogress.org/romm/2012/03/24/451239/manmade-climate-change-accelerated-in-2001-2010-world-meteorological-organization-reports/

What to do, what to do... where's the damn movement gone? I don't have the energy (nor the skills) to start organising my own! But there doesn't seem to be anything going on at the moment with which I could just tag along. No GP group either, where I live (and anyway, even they kind of aren't focusing on this at the moment, from what I can see - at least not in Germany). No Transition Town initiative here, either.

Need to do a thorough web search, I guess. There have to be pockets of activism, somewhere.
hmpf: (angsty)
http://climateprogress.org/2011/02/17/nsidc-thawing-permafrost-will-turn-from-carbon-sink-to-source-in-mid-2020s-releasing-100-billion-tons-of-carbon-by-2100/

***

The good thing - the best thing - about the new job is this: I will be paid to think about ecological issues (to some degree). And: I'll be teaching.

Good setup to - possibly, maybe - have *some* kind of useful influence sometime, right?

There are several big "IFs" involved, of course.
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I've had a somewhat calmer week due to a lack of job offers. Then, a couple days ago, a whole bunch cropped up, all with the same due date, so I'm all busy now again. To prepare for one of the applications, I'm going to travel to the small town where my dad was born, tomorrow, to visit a museum there. This will be the first time I go there on my own since my grandparents died. Maybe I'll find time to visit the cemetery, too. I'm not sure I could find their graves on my own, though.

Thanks to the period of relative calm, I've managed to clear a little bit of space in my mind for fic writing. I've made some - modest - progress on the nuclear fic. Oddly, the latest part of the fic seems to be all about vegetables. I wish I could say I'll keep writing now, but with all the applications I have to send in the next few days, it's looking doubtful.

Which reminds me again of how much it sucks that to get a chance to survive financially, you have to basically stop doing everything you really want to do. Even after all these years of growing up and getting used to "the way things are", that still feels morally wrong to me. Maybe I'm not quite done growing up yet, after all.

And the other thing I still haven't figured out how to integrate into my life properly is, of course, activism. Getting a paying job in this field is as unlikely as ever, so I have to find a way to do it "on the side". And I've recently read a lot and thought a lot and come once more to the conclusion that there is no really effective course of action short of a complete remodelling of my life, and I still don't know how to even begin that.

Currently reading: Octavia Butler: Parable of the Talents. Just started, so I can't say much yet, except that this - along with Parable of the Sower, the first part of the series - really feels like it's the future we're heading towards.
hmpf: (fanatic)
http://www.youtube.com/user/UMNIonE#p/u/0/QkkKZgKmdP4

And another, on just one aspect:

http://www.youtube.com/user/UMNIonE#p/u/3/F1IWkbU0SG4

Really makes me wanna give up on this whole "looking for a fulltime job" thing, go back to university, and study something that MATTERS.
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Sometimes it really is true that a picture says more than a thousand words. Chris Jordan makes the argument for a radical change of our throwaway culture more convincingly than any essay, no matter how passionate, could:

http://www.chrisjordan.com/current_set2.php?id=11

ARRGHLLL

Oct. 7th, 2009 02:30 am
hmpf: (angsty)
JOB APPLICATIONS!
COMPUTER TROUBLE!
GREENPEACE STUFF!

Hey, how cool. All the things that are stressing me out a bit at the moment have exactly the same number of characters (if you count spaces, too ETA: Err, and if you don't count spaces, as well. *sheepish*)

But, yeah. Why is my life always *too full* of stuff to do? Why? WHY???

I'd like to have some time for writing, jewellery making, and friends, please.
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Hello sleepless night. :-(

The good news is I'm slowly edging closer to LJ-land again, mentally. That is, I'm beginning to overcome the strange, great reluctance I always feel after an extended absence. I'll probably start dropping in randomly at various people's journals in the next few days. No proper catching up yet, though, because there's still other things that need sorting out before that.

Also worth noting:

- I haven't looked very energetically for a job yet. I feel kind of guilty about that, but on the other hand, I do think I needed the time to decompress.

- I was nominated for an award for my MA thesis without noticing. (I didn't win, but it's still pretty amazing. And kind of hilarious/embarrassing that I didn't know. The notification must have been among the thousands of mails I still haven't sorted...)

- Two weeks ago I made my first attempt to 'join' Greenpeace. (You don't really join them, you just volunteer your time with the local group. So far I've only been to an introductory meeting thingy, but I plan to keep it up. I'm not sure Greenpeace is the right organisation for me, but until I find another, they'll have to do. ;-))

- Level building is going great. Here's a preview: Pretty pictures! - This is quite possibly the most relaxing form of creative endeavour I've ever discovered. Unlike most of my other creative outlets, with level building I can just sort of... completely let the right hemisphere take over. It's like a trance. It's euphorising!

- Oh, hey - if you would like to play a tiny little - finished - practice level I made: Right click and save. As with the recs I posted earlier, you're going to need the Knytt Stories software to play this, of course. Oh, and the level is an environmental, i.e. there are no challenges or enemies in there. The worst that can happen to you is falling into the sea.
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but here's a *great* article I really need to share:

http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2009/06/how-to-destroy-almost-half-planet-for.html

That's a great point about economic projections as guidance for - in particular - environmental policy; one that needs to be made more often and more forcefully, I think.
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to the readers of this LJ (though, really, I have no duty to provide content that people like; everyone's free to stop reading me, after all) for having turned into a gloom-and-doom person over the last six months. Actually, of course, this is not an entirely new development; I've been extremely 'concerned' for a while. But in May 2008 Mark Lynas's book Six Degrees galvanised me, not quite into radical action yet, but definitely into reading more widely and more deeply on the topic of climate change (and environmental destruction in general), and some of that reading ended up here, as a link or as a gloomy post. It's hard to avoid that, as nearly all of my reading made me more and more alarmed.

I actually do not mean to sound as demotivating as I probably sound to most of you. I am not demotivated. My mother frequently takes issue with me and my views, arguing that one needs, essentially, an approach that will make people feel good if one wants to bring about social change. She responds well to ideas that we can shop our way out of this, by just adjusting our shopping habits a bit towards more ethical, greener products etc. (although she does not really shop very ethically or green. She just likes the idea.) She thinks we should aim to change society without changing society.

The thing is, I don't believe we can shop our way out of this, and I don't believe there is any 'feel good', incremental way of changing the world. If we had decades to effect the necessary changes, maybe. But we don't have decades, we have years, at best. Which means that we need truly radical approaches - and while I do think that a truly radically different society would actually allow many people a much happier life than the current one, and so ultimately result in a situation that *will* 'make people feel good', I don't think that we will get there with baby steps that don't discomfort or frighten anyone.

I think the situation is desperate. I think we need something very much like a revolution. I don't see how I can talk about these two facts without sounding a bit 'extreme', and depressing to anyone whose usual news diet is based on the conventional media, where the shocking, world-shaking news that come in nearly every week now are buried as tiny, ten-line articles on page three of the weekly science supplement. I've been on a 'conventional media news diet' for two months now, thanks to being cut off from the internet, and I'm feeling its deleterious effect keenly when I go back online, check a random environmental news site, and feel a great shock at basically every other news item there. These sites are full of news that should be on the front pages of newspapers worldwide - news from, I should emphasise, reliable sources - press releases from big national and international science organisations, departments of reknowned universities, even government agencies. Yet these news barely reach a public that doesn't seek them out on specialised sites.

It's like the conventional news media and the environmental news sites report from two entirely different planets. Unfortunately I can find no serious reason to believe that it is the conventional media, and not the environmental sites, that are reporting from the real world. (I'll need to do another post, sometime soon, about the reasons why I believe the 'doomsayers' here. They're actually very rational reasons, although I am aware that believing anyone who proclaims existential threats is frequently seen as irrational per se. But more on that in some other post, later.)

So. Basically, what I'm trying to say, in my rambling way (I'm writing this on the fly, at work, very much in a hurry), is that I've been living in something like a parallel universe for the past six months, a universe where we live under an imminent existential threat, but unfortunately there are lots of signs to indicate that that 'parallel universe' is the real world. And, having come to that kind of conclusion, it's hard - no, impossible - not to talk about this stuff here occasionally. I haven't figured out how to do this in a motivating and constructive way yet; I hope I will, eventually. I don't think things are completely hopeless, but I do think we - all of us, not just the professionally concerned etc. - need to recognise clearly how dire the situation is, because only that will enable us to act adequately to the situation.

Arrgh. Damn. I have to sign off. Sorry, this is a bit crap. Probably I shouldn't post it. But then, this is LJ, which means rambling is par for the course...
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It's fascinating how many articles there are about alternative energy and about the fact that oil resources are finite and so on. It's almost like reading a current newspaper.

It's also disheartening, because it shows that by and large, society did not change course, despite the nasty shock of the oil crisis, and despite the fact that plenty of people back then pointed out that even though *that* oil crisis was not due to depleted resources, the day *would* come, fairly soon, when resources would be depleted, and that we should plan ahead for that.

(Climate change was not a topic for newspapers back then, although it was already being investigated in the sciences to some degree; but even without that, the finiteness of certain resources should be enough of a reason for any *sane* civilisation to not base its entire industry on those resources... Not to mention that it's clearly a really bad idea to just *burn* a finite resource for fuel that is also used to produce a lot of *actually* vital things, from fertilisers to medical plastics... Even if the burning did not produce gases that heated up the atmosphere, it would still be a pretty daft thing to do. Is a pretty daft thing to do.)

*

I should perhaps have mentioned, yesterday, that I went to see my advisor, and she convinced me to keep trying to write my current thesis. She says I should get a two-month extension if necessary, and could still try to get the exams following that postponed, under certain circumstances.

*

Oh, and I should also add (for fairness' sake) that the mouse was not caught by me; the personal pronoun left out in the previous entry was 'we'. 'We' being me and my roommate, with me shouting 'get a bucket or something!', and her grabbing the bowl standing on the table and throwing it. *g*

*

Got "Fiendish" and "The Great Leap" by Phideaux today. Why those two? The choice is somewhat random, I have to admit. Eventually I'm probably going to buy all of Phideaux's albums; I initially wanted to start with "Fiendish" and "313", but the latter was sold out.
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This is what I just posted to a thread on boingboing:

Seems to me as if the only truly reasonable reaction to this is, for each of us, to turn our lives around so as to reduce our personal emissions *as much as possible*, *right now* - and start to get politically active so as to get society to adopt that course, as well.

Of course, that's for a definition of 'reasonable' which is based on two assumptions:

1.) The survival of civilisation/humans/life on earth is a priority that overrides individual desires for unnecessary luxuries. (I'm not equating the three things separated by slashes in the previous sentence, btw - I'm just listing them in the order of likelihood of their being threatened.)

2.) In a complex system which we do not fully understand, we should not be too ready to declare that 'it's over' and 'we're screwed'. As long as there are factors that aren't understood, there is hope. This means that giving up now is unreasonable, because only by giving up (and, by implication, continuing our lives the 'business as usual' way as long as it's still possible) do we condemn ourselves with *absolute* certainty.


**

Links:

I've posted most of these before, but here they are again, collected in one handy post for easier clicking. Discussion is still going on in the comments, so it pays to check back occasionally.

Green blogosphere:

http://climateprogress.org/2008/09/23/has-runaway-climate-change-begun/

http://www.worldchanging.com/archives/008702.html

http://gristmill.grist.org/story/2008/9/24/111531/839

Newspapers:

http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/exclusive-the-methane-time-bomb-938932.html

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/sep/23/climatechange.scienceofclimatechange1?gusrc=rss&feed=environment

Addendum:

Nice animated movie explaining positive feedback loops and tipping points:

http://wakeupfreakout.org/
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Considering the news of the possible beginning of the end of the world as we know it I posted earlier (disclaimer: no, I do *not* think that we are irrevocably and without a doubt doomed. I think there is a very real *possibility* that we are doomed, or about to be doomed, and awareness of that possibility should cause us to act radically, NOW. This is *not* the same thing as believing all is already lost.) - well, considering those news, which apparently broke on September 23, it is eerily fitting that September 23 was also this year's Earth Overshoot Day.

Two big warning shots on the same day.

How do we go about changing society from the ground up, in less than half a decade?

Addendum: 'nother article about the methane thing here.

Addendum 2: Funny thing: although I really do believe we may be facing something damn near apocalyptic within the next few decades, I still care about fandom, and fanfic, and writing. Isn't that ridiculous?

Also:

Sep. 24th, 2008 02:41 pm
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WTF, people? - Yes, 'stop flying' means *you*, too! (No doubt that makes me an EVUL ECO-NAZI who wants to deprive people of the well-deserved, meagre joys of their stressful lives, and probably all just because I'm jealous I can't afford expensive holidays myself. Or, as my mother puts it: "We just can't *live* the kind of limited life that *you* live!" - Though, to be fair, my parents' preferred mode of holiday is the bike tour, so they're pretty near ecological paragons in that respect. Our points of conflict are more along the lines of food, i.e. the need, or, in their view, the unimaginable deprivation, of reducing meat and, even more importantly, fish consumption.)

Oceans etc.

Sep. 7th, 2008 08:49 pm
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Oceans

Change Everything

Addendum:

For the Germans on my flist:

Meet me here next saturday! ;-)

Addendum 2:

I can provide you a place to sleep, too. Contact me here or by e-mail.
hmpf: (Default)
Go here to marvel, and boggle, at the psychology of denial:

And then get angry.

And, no, I still can't tell you where to take that anger so as to use it productively, but I nevertheless think that having that anger is a Good Thing - a first step to something else.

***

Other News:

I'm making some progress on the M.A. front, though I still haven't formulated a precise topic. I'm currently reading or rereading all the comics of my 'core group' (Finder, the works of Donna Barr, Amy Unbounded, Castle Waiting, A Distant Soil, Winging It, Raven's Children), taking detailed notes about the way they treat a number of issues (gender, culture/ethnicity, class, to name just a few). Whatever exact topic I will end up with, this kind of data collection will be necessary, so doing it now will buy me time later - and maybe the close rereading, and the collection of data on certain aspects, will help me to recognise my topic.

***

To Whom It Concerns:

Minor progress on the writing front. That dialogue is a bitch.

***

What I'm Doing When I'm Not Reading Comics or Worrying About the Apocalypse:

Through my research on world building (the main result of which, so far, is that world building is woefully underexplored) I discovered this, and immediately bought it. It's not, so far, all that interesting as a utopia, and it's vaguely racist, I think (though the racism doesn't intrude much on the actual 'plot'; it's just sort of there in the basic setup.) However, it's a nearly perfect example of a book whose main purpose is making a place come alive - a type of book that I'm particularly fond of. I'm reading it very slowly, just to savour the beauty of the countryside. It's like a little bit of a holiday every night before I go to sleep.

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