29 June 2008


i'm gobsmacked that it's been a month since my last entry. a combination of working more hours, and pursuing a relationship with someone who lives 200 miles away. but no excuses, i need to discipline myself to make this a priority, since it is (among other things) a stepping stone toward writing professionally.

here in missoula, the seasons have changed with a vengeance. two weeks ago we had our last snow, which browned most of the exuberant lilac blooms which i so love, for their color and scent. it has been a long, cool, relatively wet spring. suddenly, starting with the solstice as though choreographed, it's summer, with temps in the high 90s. climate shock, almost as severe as the sticker shock at the gas pumps.

why is it that there are no mass demonstrations against the obscene windfall profits the oil companies are raking in? they whine about wanting permission to drill for oil in national wildlife refuges and other treasures we're saving for the future, yet they're sitting on already-approved oil reserves which they are NOT producing from. to paraphrase george c. scott in the movie "the hospital", the greed in this country is positively dazzling.

but then, we're missing public demonstrations against our decaying health care system, against bush's oil war in iraq, against any number of conditions and situations which affect the public. i miss the activism of the 60s and 70s. you hear polite echoes here and there, but nothing attention-grabbing. perhaps we've all become numb. or just plain tired from the effort to survive in this depressed economy.

about the only signs of life i've seen have been in the presidential race, especially in the intense public interest in both clinton and obama. i hope that clinton's supporters, the ones who churlishly say they'll vote for mccain rather than obama, will come to their senses and vote for their party's candidate. he won the nomination fair and square, and he's light years preferable to (with a nod to radio talk show host stephanie miller) old grampy mcsame. what an amazing year this has been, in which a woman and a black man emerged as the most charismatic and progressive contenders for the democratic nomination! old-guard mccain pales by comparison, in every sense of the word "pale". that rictus grin of his gives me the creeps.

but life and death and climate change have gone on, in spite of our apparent apathy. this summer the ice cap over the north pole is projected to melt off completely, leaving the polar region as open water for the first time in tens of thousands of years. "but...but...", say the polar bears as they either look on hungrily from shore, or sink into the watery abyss where they once hunted on ice. i won't say i told you so.

but i did, starting a quarter century ago, when i was a student in the ecology & evolutionary biology program at the university of arizona in tucson. it doesn't take a genius to understand the basics of the planet's cycles, or to grasp the implications of our interfering with the life processes that sustain us. one would think this information would be right up there with english, math, history, music, physics, art, and philosophy in the priorities of our school curricula. alas, no. we're too busy picking fights with other countries to tend to our own schools, our own elderly, our own health, or what the future will hold for our grandchildren.

here's an interesting exercise for you, one in which i indulge from time to time. if i were the surprise recipient of a million dollars, what would i do with the money? or why not, make it a billion. how and where would you spend/invest that money to improve life around you? take a moment with that.

now remind yourself that this is precisely the question we should be answering vigorously and publicly every day, with regard to how our government spends our money. we're all in this lifeboat together, folks.

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