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time in the time of covid

time in the time of covid

and like that, we have started on the downhill side of the longer days of the year. we’re in the week where the days are almost evenly long, even so much weirder in that the sun slightly shifts so that sunrise is a couple minutes later and sunset is also a couple minutes later, so it seems that the days continue to lengthen, when in fact they really are staying the same.

it’s weird how time is moving during the pandemic. it seems to equally move slowly and quickly, as we wait for normalization, as much as that is possible. things on hold cause us to view the time moving slowly, yet our routines are so different now and not so routine that time moves more quickly that we’d expect. or want.

routine lulls us into a sense of having more time than we actually do.

not right now seems to be a common phrase. the thing is, if we keep putting it off – continuing to say not this summer, or not right now, or not yet, then soon there is no more summer, no more right now , or no more yet to be. all the years of me putting off traveling or doing things because of money or time is something i regret; and so i want to travel as much as i can while i can. the pandemic is really a pain in that respect.

when articles started circulating that young people were taking advantage of cheap plane tickets at the beginning of the pandemic, i was jealous. i knew i wouldn’t go; i did want to go. one of my young(er) friends mentioned “we’re here for a good time, not a long time.” i like that.

last night i stepped to the edge of my property where the field behind me begins, just as the sun was setting. the field was blinking with fireflies and the sun’s glow on the horizon gave it a pinkish layer, followed by purple and into indigo blue – the gloaming. the gloaming stretches this time of year, extending sunset from shortly after 9 p.m. into well after 10 p.m. before the sun completely surrenders to the earth’s rotation.

all the emotions of the past few months are starting to subside. i don’t want to get complacent and move into an attitude of not caring about current events and injustices and public health, but i also don’t like being angry and anxious all the time. it’s not healthy, and ultimately, it’s not useful. especially when in the scheme of things, we’re a speck on a speck on a speck of dust in this universe.

the best part of the gloaming is seeing the stars start to peek out in the dark blue on one side of the sky with the indigo purple on the other side, our one star subsiding to the others in the soupy star-filled out yonder. look up long enough and there’s a sense of vertigo, of how small we really are, how our time here is short. stardust to stardust – let’s make it a good time while we’re here.

love in the time of covid (and protests)

love in the time of covid (and protests)

yoga practices start and end in anjali mudra, when you set your intention for your practice and then recall your intention. it’s also a moment of calm to focus on your breath and clear your mind. you sit up tall, legs crossed, hands to heart in a prayer position.

today i was sitting in anjali mudra at the beginning of my practice when lesley (my youtube yoga instructor) told us to create a space in between our hands, a space to represent our hearts. normally eyes are closed at this point, but i opened my eyes and frowned down at my hands, tented out to create a little cupped space with my thumbs touching, and i thought “if i could squeeze my heart into that little space and hold it out of my body, i would feel so much better right now.”

that’s when i started crying on my yoga mat.

but lesley, of course, brought it back to love and to send and receive energy in the world, and so i started my yoga practice with my mind and heart a little clearer.

******

on friday, liz and i went to the george floyd memorial where he was murdered. it was later in the afternoon, and the sun was bright, temperature in the high 70s.

we actually did talk about a game plan – what would we do if we needed to leave quickly? do we wear long sleeves? pants? do we need signs? (went with shirts instead of signs.) in the end, since we only went to the memorial we decided that we could wear the shorts and sandals that we wanted to. first, we stopped at megan’s to pick up a couple KN95 masks because it is still a pandemic, after all.

so a little over a week after george floyd was murdered, we stopped in front of the location where it happened to experience first hand what we’d only seen in photos.

the memorial itself was powerfully emotional. it was very much like when i stood in the lincoln memorial and read words from the president himself that had been etched into stone. the outpouring of emotion and personal stories behind each part of the memorial, each bouquet of flowers, each hand-written sign, each intricately painted mural – it’s overwhelming.

i think liz was pretty spot on when she said she felt voyeuristic during our perimeter tour of the four blocks total. it was uncomfortable, and i don’t know about liz, but i did feel out of place, if only because i know i live in white central minnesota. a diverse urban area is not something i find myself in often.

overwhelmingly the businesses that were boarded up against riot instigators were pro-protest. it was common to see BLM spray-painted next to the text that said “minority owned.” and the support from the surrounding homes was very positive. i thought it was really interesting to note that none of the homes were boarded up.

couches sat on sidewalks, and older people sat on them, resting their feet. young people danced and stood and yelled george floyd’s name and the continual mantra “no justice, no peace. know justice, know peace.”

a block in each direction from the intersection was filled with pop-up tents with supplies, food, basic needs for community members. anyone was welcome to join in the community of eating – food is the great connector. there were speakers in two areas, and liz and i stopped to listen to a muslim woman with words of steel, then a muslim man sing the call to prayer.

what’s beautiful was seeing the community. the response. the support. the art.

after we left the memorial, we headed to uptown, where more businesses were boarded up. where more artists were creating art and a sense of beauty out of blank slates and darkness. yes, all lives matter. but for so long, not all lives have. and calling attention to the marginalized, the oppressed, the ignored is what we need to start doing. by bringing it to the forefront, we’re uncovering some uncomfortable truths.

i think it’s ok to be uncomfortable though – and needed. because we need to push through this and come out the other side as better people and a better country. it was standing at the place where george floyd was murdered where i made a decision that i had to start engaging more. as an introverted, conflict averse person, that is really difficult for me, but it needs to be done because this burden can’t land on the oppressed – they’ve been trying for years and it hasn’t worked.

and this is not their problem to fix.

i hate having tough convos because it’s HARD and it makes me angry and sad and feel bad because they’re with people i know and love, and i stumble over my spoken words and can’t find the right things to say a lot of the time. but this is important. i listen. i learn. i will try to go slowly. change is not wrought overnight.

i wish i could cup my heart in my hands, hold it outside myself during this time; it would make this so much easier. instead, i do my best to send and receive love in the universe. and really, isn’t that what matters the most?

a spark at home

a spark at home

as i watched the protests-turned-to-riots unfold after george floyd’s murder, i grew more and more angry. i scrolled through my twitter feed, watching things happen in my homestate, my own minnesota, that i would expect in other places. as i write this, businesses have closed in precaution of possible rioting here in st. cloud (i live about 17 miles away). curfews came and went in the cities, as protesters continued to speak up for oppressed races. buildings burn. smoke fills the skies. people of all colors rage.

*****

sometimes my preconceptions about my friends surprise myself. as my anger unfolded, i watched my facebook feed come to life in a different way than twitter (less real-time, more personal connections). i expected certain friends to say certain things. when i saw particular people like particular posts, i wasn’t surprised. and then i jolted out of my comfort zone a bit as my friend M’s absolutely livid reaction to george’s murder surfaced to the top of my feed. M continues to surprise me in ways that really shouldn’t anymore.

i drove around the cities yesterday on my way to and from a pre-planned visit to see some friends and my parents in SE minnesota, avoiding any protests that might happen on I-35. when i got close to home in my small-town, rural, very trump-country area of central MN, i called M so we could commiserate in our rage toward the MSP police, the inhumanity of this murder, the resulting protests. it was like we fueled each other; we got so riled up. the topic of the looting and fires came up, and once again my preconceptions checked themselves, because M said exactly what i’d been thinking in the back of my head but was afraid to say out loud since this started:

“let it burn.”

*****

M is about as white and catholic as they come. i am as white but not so catholic anymore. we disagree on some politics, but i’ve watched her social stances veer toward left leaning through the years (though, as an aside, i’ve yet to convince her on the recycling front). and really, when you think about it, catholicism is all about social justice and  stewardship. why more catholics don’t take that stance, i’ll never know. i could go on and on about the maleness of catholicism and how women are the bedrock, but that’s another post. this is about our whiteness.

what’s hard to put into words is the paradox of embracing your whiteness but also realizing your privilege. knowing who you are while knowing that you’ve had a step up, a step ahead, an eye turned. my family was poor growing up, but we never lived in a place where the police regularly drove the streets looking for crimes in progress. i can bet you that every white person has committed some level of crime, and because you look like the cops, they turn an eye. or they weren’t there scrutinizing your actions. what the cops don’t see, they can’t arrest. the same kinds of crimes are committed by white people, and i’d bet at close to the same rate. there is drug use, theft, abuse. there are definitely money crimes. it’s just that the cops choose not to police your neighborhood. they also choose to punish or not punish in different ways – disparate, dehumanizing ways.

we can’t say that we don’t see color, because that’s not true. and we shouldn’t NOT see color. a person’s skin color is part of who they are; it’s a part of their heritage and life experience. to say we don’t see color is to say we are ignoring a part of a person’s identity. would you want to have a piece of you ignored or brushed over?

we can’t say that we don’t stereotype, because that’s not true. people’s brains are wired to stereotype, and unfortunately, we place preconceptions based on past experiences or what society feeds us. we can’t know everyone on the planet, so we need to group people into boxes based on characteristics. the most obvious characteristics are race and gender. after that, we place people into boxes so our brains don’t have to work to the point of fizzling out. i see a young white guy in a camo hat, driving a jacked up truck with an american flag waving in the back? i assume that guy’s a trump supporter. i watch a woman wearing birkenstocks hauling groceries to her subaru in cloth bags? liberal, environmental lesbian. we all do it. our brains can’t avoid it. when you accept this part of your primitive brain, the easier it is to try to work with it and break down the preconceptions.

*****

this afternoon, the president of the place i work at said something that actually relieved me a little bit. i’d been struggling with my feelings of anger. i was so angry at the police. so angry that this keeps happening. so angry that people are so scared of police that they feel like they can’t stop a murder from happening.

i am a run-of-the-mill white woman. i can’t possibly know what it is to be a person of color right now, and if my anger is at this level, i can’t even begin to imagine the anger and frustration a POC is feeling.

should i be this angry? can i be this angry? do i have the right to be this angry?

the president is a woman of color. she spoke briefly at a meeting i was in, and she expressed that we should ALL be angry about this. this gave me not only a sense of relief at the anger i was feeling about george’s murder, but also a sense of humanity. because of course all lives matter.

but this is not what that is about. and you know it.

*****

“let it burn.”

the united states has a history of disruptions and revolutions. the civil war. the depression/new deal/WWII. it’s time for another, according to the book “beautiful country, burn again.” (i would recommend everyone read this book.)

i am not a person who likes confrontation. call me a typical minnesotan. i like keeping the peace. i understand why people want to keep law and order. but when the law and order start to oppress groups, there is a tipping point. i was in an international media class in grad school, and i learned that it takes 80% of the populace to be oppressed in some way shape or form for revolution to happen.

the united states is built on revolution and rebellion. you want to talk about looting? let’s talk about the boston tea party. you want to talk about rebellion? what do you think the declaration of independence is? the first amendment in and of itself is the ultimate form of rebellion and watchdog organizations. american citizens have the right to assemble, have the right to freedom of speech.

i don’t condone violence. and i am the first person to say that your rights completely are yours until they infringe on others. i am no anarchist. but when an oppressed group has tried what they could and the oppressors have failed to notice, something has to give. colin kaepernick peacefully protested, and people got mad.

so when lake street started on fire and looters started to pile out of target with full carts, i wasn’t surprised. i feel awful for the store owners and the people out of jobs and those who will clean it up and the firefighters. and i am worried about residential neighborhoods and the people who live there (good news – there have been no reported injuries from the riots so far). there could be massive socio-economic repercussions for the MSP neighborhood if massive changes aren’t wrought out of this. but i feel much, much worse for george, his family, those who have been victims of power over the years, and oppressed groups.

it’s time to take notice, 80%.

*****

our experiences in this country are different based on what we look like and our background – and if what we look like and life experience matches those of who’s in charge. i’ve had hard times. you have too. like i said, i grew up poor. my 20s weren’t great. but i had access to an education. my family supported me. we didn’t have problems with food. i visited the library often as a child. we had transportation. think about all the things that you take for granted and what your life would have looked like had you not had a consistent education or people who supported you or food or safe neighborhoods or access to places to learn or be yourself.

i’m struggling with an answer to what to do. i’m agitated and feel like i need to do something – go to a protest (not a looting), volunteer at one of the areas that are helping clean or distribute food, donate to organizations that will help. covid, of course, is throwing a wrench into everything. but what i think is needed right now more than anything is to notice and acknowledge our shared humanity. if we see others as lesser than because they’re looting or because they’re protesting or because they’re lighting buildings on fire, and we don’t see that they’re doing these things because those in power have seen them as lesser than this whole time, then it may be time to take a step back and evaluate why you feel the way you do.

because i wish our society cared more about police routinely murdering black people than target getting looted and buildings burning. i wish we cared as much about a white woman lying to 9-1-1 about a black man assaulting her as much as we care about her choking her dog. i wish we cared as much about protecting black people protesting police who murder as much as we cared about protecting armed white people protesting wearing masks and not getting haircuts. i wish we cared more about people than power and greed.

so if this is what it takes for people to take notice and to effect change?

i wish i didn’t have to say it, but let it burn.

*****

When the sun come shining, then I was strolling
And the wheat fields waving, the dust clouds rolling
The voice come in chanting and the fog was lifting
This land was made for you and me

*****

FYI: this was experienced and written before we learned about the number of out of state instigators in the looting. i knew some was happening, but not the extent of it.

shorts – a review

shorts – a review

good news! i had an mri on my foot and i have no major injury – just minor plantar fasciitis. well, that i know how to deal with, even though whatever’s going on with my foot is not acting like PF. so i dragged out my inserts and night splint and here we are back at it.

additional good news! i’ve been on 2 runs this week and my heel is good – the inserts work, that’s for sure. there’s still something wonky happening, but it’ll work out.

but let’s get down to shorts! running shorts, to be exact. i have tried running in short shorts because they are the most prolific shorts out there for women runners. the 3″ inseam is the most common, which is great for those ladies who have a thigh gap. i do not have a thing gap, and any 3″ inseam is going to ride right up my inner thighs and bunch up, creating not just an uncomfortable bunch of nylon but also chafing.

so i finally got smart and looked for shorts that had at least a 5″ inseam and were a looser fit. the first pair of shorts i found was a heavy poly knit pair with a 6-7″ ish inseam that i wore for years because i knew how difficult it was to find a cheap pair of long shorts. i got them at jcpenney for a steal.

but then i needed an upgrade! they were really loose plus they were getting a little frayed after 4 years of running in them. so i did a little research a couple years ago for some new shorts. here’s what i found:

tasc moxy short: this is a 7″ short made by the bamboo clothing company tasc. what i love about these shorts?

  • well, the inseam is the bees knees.
  • it’s a relaxed fit, too.
  • there’s a tie around the waist if you want to tighten that up, but there’s a sewn-in pair of runderwear (which i actually cut out because it annoyed me).
  • the very BEST part of these shorts? they have pockets. and not just the said small one – two deep pockets on each side of your legs.

i have two pairs of these shorts, and they are well worth the money. if you have short shorts and want a light pair of something to run in, try these out.

I have a second pair of tasc running shorts that are a 5″ inseam with a compression short attached. i would not recommend these as highly as the others, but i do like them. (these aren’t offered on the tasc site – i got them off ebay.)

  • the compression short has sticky elastic on the bottom so they don’t ride up
  • the color is pretty! it’s not black!
  • no pockets like the moxy, but there is a large-ish zipper pocket on the side for a phone.
  • also a relaxed fit with a waist tie.

that’s it. that’s my list of running shorts to recommend. i have a pair of almost knee length yoga shorts, but i rarely wear them running because they’re tight and high waisted. they don’t bunch up, which is great, but they aren’t compression so don’t really hold anything in, and i hate high waisted bottoms because i like my belly button area unrestricted!

another option i’d like to try out: the brooks clothing line has a few 7″ inseam options. if i try out brooks, i’ll let you know the results.

 

 

working in the time of covid-19 (part 2)

working in the time of covid-19 (part 2)

there are things i like about working at home.

  1. the commute is top notch. i roll out of bed, make coffee, make myself look halfway presentable, then roll myself in front of my computer. when the day is done, i’m home already.
  2. i can take a break to do something – laundry, go for a walk, do a little yoga, etc.
  3. the cats sit on my lap.

i thought working from home was going to be my jam and love it. it was pretty good for a while, but then.

here’s what happens for me, since my “office” is in my main living area and i don’t have a door to close and step away from it.

  1. i sit down to work in the morning. i don’t go for a walk. i don’t do yoga. i don’t do laundry. because of the amount of work that i have on my list, i barely get up for lunch and bathroom breaks. this is not cool.
  2. i don’t know when to stop. that’s also not cool. so while i have no commute home, i work longer anyway and don’t easily step away. it can be 6 p.m. before i realize that i need to stop working. ugh.

starting next week, we can start getting back on campus to work, and i think i’m going to take advantage of it. it will be really helpful to separate work and life, and i won’t be compelled to work on the weekends or evenings. if my work computer is not at my house, i won’t be able to work, so it’s win win.

that doesn’t mean that people will stop contacting me about work, but at least i’ll be able to say “sorry! i’ll have to do that when i get in on monday!”

shorts

shorts

  1. i had to move away from bread briefly as my sweet tooth was calling. so i tried making a raspberry rhubarb slab pie, which was the best decision i’ve made all week. it’s like a piece of pie in bar form and delicious!
  2. i have an MRI friday morning to find out what the heck is up with my foot. it’s either a stress fracture or a strain on my achilles. either way, it probably ends up with me in a boot. what an awful time of year for that. i’m annoyed.
  3. i’m going to put in some vegetables this weekend! i’m hoping it rains tomorrow. it’s been dry here.
  4. i have a tattoo scheduled for may 22. i wonder if it’ll happen!
  5. i am SOOOOOOOOO looking forward to the long weekend. good grief.
not running in the time of covid19. grrr.

not running in the time of covid19. grrr.

i’ve had some sort of foot pain ever since i started running. when i started, i had plantar fasciitis in both feet. the left disappeared, and the right is actually pretty decent nowadays. i’ve taken time off after injuries – two pretty big sprains in both feet, and i had a cortisone shot twice in the right for the PF.

but i’ve never been sidelined from running for a non-acute injury to my foot. at this point, i’ve been not running for almost four weeks, and it’s really frustrating. even after my sprains, i’ve been out running after three weeks.

i think the most frustrating part of it is there doesn’t seem to be a real viable cause besides possibly a bad shoe. how could a bad shoe have caused such a prolonged injury?

of course i’ve done some google research on it, because it doesn’t seem like PF, and it’s not sore or tender when i’m on my feet. if i’m standing in my sandals, i’m fine. it’s a brisk walk or a run that causes pain to the outsides of my heel and partially up the sides of my achilles.

it sounds a lot like sever’s disease, which can only happen in 10-15 year olds, or there about. so that’s out.

i’m annoyed. i don’t know what it is. my physical therapist doesn’t know what it is. i think i’m going to ask her about going to a foot/ankle specialist and see what she says.

all that to say, the weather this past week was the best running weather since september and i’m stuck not running. grrr.

late spring

late spring

spring always comes late to minnesota. the past couple years, the ice has stayed on the lakes well into may, sending cool breezes across the frozen water that chilled you even on the warmer days.

but this year, the ice wasn’t thick to begin with, and spotty after an on-again, off-again start to winter. the ice quickly dissolved into lake water by mid-april, not that anyone could pinpoint what day or month it was.

when the ice leaves, the frogs arrive. their songs fill the evening air, and on the bawdiest of days, they start croaking in the early hours of the morning. the snow is gone, and we’re in limbo, waiting for the green to arrive after knowing the snow has left. it’s the antsiest time of year.

the end of april this year was on the warmer side, and days so far have veered into the 60s range, which is both a surprise and a much-welcomed change for us northerners. while the warm temps help, what really helps is rain. april for me has been a little on the dry side, but the other day it rained a half an inch or so – just enough to make the tips of the trees start to turn green and the grass look a little shaggy.

i took a turn around the garden with my tiller yesterday, prepping it for seeds that have been in my garage for a month now and future plans of visiting the nursery for my tomatoes and peppers. last year, i tilled in mid- to late-may because the ground was still chilly well into may. if the long-term forecast holds up, i may plant in the next couple weeks.

two of my planters have flowers in them already, and i make sure to watch the nighttime temps. i also make sure to spray anti-rodent stuff on them because someone out there sure likes to eat begonias. i’ve got 8 little moss roses plants, which makes me think of my grandma. i’m going to plant them along my entry sidewalk and hope they propagate.

at night i leave the windows cracked a bit and listen to the frogs as they sing late into the night. the frogs are a short lived season, and i wait for them during the winter months, knowing they are the harbingers of spring. spring may come late in minnesota, but it always arrives.

ten tips to start saving the earth (you won’t believe #9!)

ten tips to start saving the earth (you won’t believe #9!)

it all starts little! if everyone does one little thing, the collective effort makes a difference. isn’t this something that everyone can agree with?

(on the flip side, if everyone thinks “well everyone else is doing it so i don’t have to,” then we’ve accomplished nothing.)

so what are we starting little on these days, besides social distancing and wearing a mask to the store and making a crapton of bread and doing 40 puzzles a day (well, that’s kind of big stuff, actually)?

we’re starting with things we can do to help the planet. we’ve seen this past month what collective effort can DO. the air clears up. the pollution levels lower. the water gets clear.

so what can we do on a personal level to start the collective effort?

  1. recycle. ooh big surprise. i know i’ve talked about varying levels of recycling, so you know that plastic is kind of a crapshoot, but there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be recycling your aluminum, glass, and tin. they recycle endlessly and you get money for aluminum cans, to boot. just do it. that means you.
  2. bring your reusable bag. yep, it’s hard. if you forget it, and you carried your items up to the register without a cart or basket, you can carry them to your car without a bag. if you need a bag, tell them to pack as much as possible into the bags. paper an option? take it. paper’s better on the earth than plastic. and we can plant more trees and recycle the paper. (i find it ironic that we move to plastic because we wanted to “save the trees”.)
  3. buy used. instead of buying something brand new, try to find a used option. now, there are exceptions to this, of course: underwear, beds, old and busted running shoes. but people give away perfectly nice sheet sets, throw pillows, pairs of jeans or work clothes because they’re one season old, jackets, books, etc. just visit your local goodwill or other used item outlet! now, sometimes craigslist or FBmarketplace is a crapshoot, but i’ve had relatively good luck. big ticket items i’ve purchased that have been perfectly wonderful? a canon lens. a lawn mower. freezer. now i’m looking for a riding lawn mower.
  4. reduce your plastic. this one is HUGE. HUGE. plastic use is so ubiquitous right now, and like i said before, recycling plastic is awful. maybe it costs a bit more to get the steel version of something or it takes a little more work or it’s just different to use soap that doesn’t come from a plastic bottle, but 90% of the time, the quality is better and the environmental costs aren’t as steep.
  5. grow some food. not only does growing your own food create less bad environmental byproducts like shipping pollution, farm tillage/topsoil depletion, and pesticide and fertilizer runoff, but it’s therapeutic, better tasting, and immensely satisfying. even if you throw a tomato plant in a pot and help it grow on your patio, you’re helping a little bit. plus, you may end up with enough pickles to last you 5 years. (personal problem.)
  6. compost. or try to. composting can be difficult if you don’t have the space, and if you don’t have space, you need some special equipment and you need to be mindful of your composting. even if you do have space, you still need to be mindful. i’m not that mindful of my compost pile, but it’s still there. i turn it only a couple times during the summer, which is awful, and i take a break during the winter because it’s out behind the house and i’m lazy. but i’m hoping to take some compost this spring and spread it out on my garden to till it in.
  7. plant. i recently read that a lot of our emissions problems could be overcome by just planting more trees. stop clearcutting forests. stop cutting down trees when building new neighborhoods and build around them. start planting everywhere. don’t want to commit to a tree? just plant a flowerbox or some perennials in your yard. more green stuff to take in the CO2 is good. and they look nice, to boot.
  8. drive efficiently. i’m only including this one because we are just now seeing the effects of fewer cars on the road. and while i know those of us in flyover country (or as i like to call it, most of the country) can’t not use cars as transportation, we CAN choose to drive more fuel efficient cars. and i’m hoping that the stay home orders really put into perspective what could happen if we put many more electric cars on the roads. for 90% of my use, an electric car would be perfectly fine. when it’s time to replace my nissan, i may look at an electric car.
  9. try. i am not a 100% follower of every one of these rules (well, except maybe recycling aluminum and glass). all you can do is try your best and hope that others are also trying their best. i see these “zero waste” people who are pretty much living as minimally as possible and off the grid, and while i would love to attain that sort of lifestyle, i know that my mindset is not there right now.
  10. realize. effect. the thing that i keep coming back to is that the root of everything we view as current problems: socioeconomic, health, political, power, etc. they are moot if there is no planet habitable to live on. earth don’t care if we nuke ourselves. earth don’t care if we wipe out coastal cities. earth don’t care if the ozone layer depletes (actually, the hole is now completely shut! see what can happen if we make change?). cuz you know what? earth wins every time, which has become abundantly clear these past couple months. so why not work with the earth and with other people than against? make yourself a tidy home.
happy 50th earth day

happy 50th earth day

happy 50th birthday, earth day! for your big day, we got you a pandemic.

i just read something that reminded me about how radical earth day was when it was first celebrated. there were no air quality and pollution controls, corporations were dumping waste directly into rivers and other bodies of water, and people in general had no idea how awful the water and air quality were. after regulations* were put in place, we became accustomed to the guidelines for clean air and water, and now earth day is an afterthought to most people. something we don’t think about much, because why bother?

(*let’s talk about federal air and water regulations for a moment. you may scream states’ rights and capitalism and free market. i argue that the federal government ABSOLUTELY has authority to place regulations, and strict ones at that, on air and water quality. in fact, i would argue that an organization such as the UN should be the one making worldwide regulations. why? because air and water do not know state or federal lines. we can’t pull over a water molecule for crossing into canada from the US. what we do in MN as far as crop and field work greatly affects crabbing in louisiana. we see air quality plummet when there are wildfires in alberta. water knows no bounds. air knows no bounds. get a global agency in charge of regulating them.)

and here we are 50 years later with a large chunk of the population at home because of a global health disaster, and guess what happened?

the earth shows us just how resilient and wonderful and awesome she is. i think it’s an eye-opening experience that we should be flabbergasted by to know that the earth will win, no matter what we humans end up doing.

china’s air pollution cleared up.

(NO2 is nitrogen dioxide. it’s released when fossil fuels are burned at high temps, mostly for fertilizer production. inhalation can result in heart failure.)

beijing looks pretty clear.

You can see los angeles.

people in india can actually see the himalayan mountain range from more than 100 miles away. for the first time in 30+ years!

wildlife are returning to their natural habitats

in nairobi, they’re seeing mount kenya.

the water in venice is the clearest it’s been in years, and the dolphins have returned to saridinia (not in venice – that was fake news).

stanford has calculated that the reduction in air pollution could help save the lives of 77,000 residents. so while we hunkered down avoid death by covid, we may have also inadvertently avoided death by air pollution.

now, all these environmental silver linings are not without their inconvenience on the human population, but when it comes to the rest of the earth and species we share the planet with, i’d say that this is something we need to pay attention to. we are at a turning point as it is with climate change, and i hope that by getting an extraordinary sneak-peak what our surroundings could look like ALL THE TIME if we put in some effort with reducing air pollution, we may actually make a difference after coming out of our houses and covid-funk. the timeliness of covid with our climate precipice could not have been more perfect.

because if there’s one good that comes out of this pandemic, i hope it’s opening our eyes to what could be, whether in our outdoor surroundings, our work lives, our family. so happy birthday, earth day. like i always say, every day is earth day.