I am a jellyfish. That explains a lot.

I went to the aquarium yesterday because my niece is in town.  I am not huge on aquariums.  I know that is a terrible thing to say because nobody likes an aquarium hater.Northeast-Pacific-sea-nettles-Monterey-Bay-Aquarium-631

After all, the fish are obviously well cared for in their huge, gleaming, impressively realistic tank homes. I guess it’s just a bit hard to believe that they are actually buying that whole set up.

Or maybe it’s the funky lighting.  Regardless, it never takes long before my lower back starts to ache, I am famished, parched, I have to go to the bathroom, my feet hurt and I am wondering why our tickets should have to cost more than the average health insurance co-pay.

But then I get to the jellyfish tank.  And here, at the jellyfish tank, I am mesmerized.  I am literally glued to the glass.  I don’t ever want to leave this place.

All those bobbing, dangling blobs seem almost cultish.  And I’m pretty sure they are beckoning to me. I don’t just watch the jellyfish at the aquarium.  I actually feel that I am a jellyfish at the aquarium.  Jeez, are they brainwashing me?  Am I actually turning into a jellyfish?

I mean, if left for two minutes in their silent but echoing company I become a weightless, worryless, goalless, harmless, timeless coagulation of flotsam and jetsam (or whatever) effortlessly drifting and dipping though the portals of time and space.  I can actually feel my blood pressure dropping.  In fact, I don’t think I have any blood pressure at the jellyfish tank.

This morning I googled “jellyfish” in anticipation of writing a little ditty on what I  used to think of as a weird, aquatic anomaly of mine… only to discover this breaking news:  I am a jelly fish. Which kind of explains everything.

Or at least I was.  In fact, scientists are now placing bets that all life descended from the jelly fish.  Albeit we’ve advanced a bit.  Jellyfish still don’t don’t have brains, lungs, hearts or plenty of other things that tend to cause humans a fair amount of angst.  But boy do those guys know how to relax.

So before you head out for the aquarium take your over-evolved brain along to National Geographic and read the whole facsinating story:  “Was Your Ancestor a Ball of Jelly? Evolution Study Surprises Experts”.

Help…

Everybody needs it.  The planet needs it, that’s for sure.  Children need it, the elderly, the sick, the poor, even the lawyer in his corner office needs it.  Nobody is excluded (except me).  Ironically, few people want it (especially me).  After all, I am the one who does the helping around here!  I am the single working mom!  I am Rosie the Riveter, the one with the bicep and the do-rag in that old World War II propoganda poster! 250px-We_Can_Do_It!

Except when I’m not.  And I can’t do it anymore.  And I’m tired. And I don’t know what the answers are, or how to make those ends meet up all nice and tidy like they should.

And when I get to this dark and crappy place it manages to get even more terrible because that is when I have to do the hardest thing of all.  Accept help.  Or even worse:  Ask For Help. Ugh.

I am trying to get over this.  And myself at the same time. Because needing help sometimes is ok.  And I know that there are people out there who want to be kind.  And who would like to help.  And maybe it even makes them feel a little bit happy to do so.

I’ve recently asked for help from an old classmate. He said he would be happy to help.  At times I’ve accepted help from friends and family members.  They said they were happy to help.  When someone does a favor for you and you say “thank you” they inevitably say “I’m happy to help.” And I think maybe they really are!  Come to think of it, we are all happy when we are able to help.

For the record, that poster (which I am featured on) does not say “I can do it!” but “We can do it!”.

So be brave.  Get yourself into a jam and ask for help.  They’ll be glad you did. And one day you may have the privilege of helping them.  Because along with Law of Gravity comes the Law of What Goes Around Comes Around.

Here is a beautiful quote.  It’s a bit more eloquent than my musings.  I don’t know who said it but they sure said it well:

“Always, the strong carry the weak, the rich carry the poor, the healthy carry the sick, and the happy carry the sad. And whether or not they remember it, this was once their promise, to thank those who carried them.”

Grandparents & Twins

That’s it. No more shopping. No more Amazon. Time’s up!

Go home. Slow down. Shut off the computer (myself included). May your Christmas be simple and bright.Miniskirts_in_snow_storm

Image from Agathos

Earth. The only gift that will ever truly matter in the lives of our children. Avaaz. 32 million strong and growing.

big-tree-looking-upI wish I had a happier post today.  This is not a very happy post. Nevertheless, this is reality and this is the future. Except (surprise!) the future has already arrived.

Now that the Xboxes and American Girls have been ribboned and wrapped and are all safely tucked under the tree, for frig sake can we all please spend those last few dollars on the only gift that will ever really and truly matter in the lives or our children?  Because it’s almost too late.  I’m going to say that again.  It. Is. Almost. Too. Late.  And unfortunately I am not an alarmist.  I’m going to say that again, too.  I. Am. Not. An. Alarmist!

It’s simple. Extremely big changes need to happen and they need to happen extremely quickly.  Period. The scientists, not the tree huggers, have told us this in no uncertain terms.  I’m going to say that again.  The. Scientists. Have. Told. Us.   Avaaz has been listening. They (we) are powerful… 32 million strong (and growing).  But this can’t wait until next Christmas, nor until tomorrow. Once again. This. Can’t. Wait. Until. Tomorrow.  You, me and everybody else: do this one very doable thing.  Right now. It will make all the difference in the world. Literally.  As below:

Dear Avaaz community,

 

This may be the most important email I’ve ever written to you.

Scientist Julienne Stroeve has studied Arctic ice for decades. Every summer she travels to north to measure how much ice has melted. She knows that climate change is melting the ice fast, but on her last trip, she was amazed by what she saw. Vast areas of Arctic ice have disappeared, beyond our worst expectations.

This is what the experts warned us about. As the earth warms, it creates many “tipping points” that accelerate the warming out of control. Warming thaws the Arctic sea ice, destroying the giant white ‘mirror’ that reflects heat back into space, which massively heats up the ocean, and melts more ice, and so on. We spin out of control. In 2013 everything — storms, temperatures — was off the charts.

We CAN stop this, if we act very fast, and all together. And out of this extinction nightmare, we canpull one of the most inspiring futures for our children and grandchildren. A clean, green future in balance with the earth that gave birth to us.

Scientist Julienne Stroeve has studied Arctic ice for decades. Every summer she travels to north to measure how much ice has melted. She knows that climate change is melting the ice fast, but a recent trip surprised even her. Vast areas of Arctic ice have disappeared, beyond our worst expectations.

Meighan — Click to pledge what you can, we’ll process your donation only if we reach our goal of 50,000 sustainers: 

YES, I’LL PLEDGE $6 A WEEK 

YES, I’LL PLEDGE $7 A WEEK 

YES, I’LL PLEDGE $10 A WEEK 

YES, I’LL PLEDGE $12 A WEEK 

YES, I’LL PLEDGE $14 A WEEK 

To pledge an amount other than the ones listed above, click here.

Fatalism on climate change is not just futile, it’s also incompetent. The hour is late, but it is still absolutely within our power to stop this catastrophe, simply by shifting our economies from oil and coal to other sources of power. And doing so will bring the world together like never before, in a deep commitment and cooperation to protect our planetary home. It’s a beautiful possibility, and the kind of future Avaaz was born to create.

Facing this challenge will take heart, and hope, and also all the smarts we have. Here’s the plan: 

1. Go Political: Elect Climate Leaders

       — 3 crucial countries have elections in the next year. Let’s make sure the right people win, and with the right mandate. Avaaz is one of the only major global advocacy organizations that can be political. And since this fight will be won or lost politically, it could be at some points just us vs. the oil companies to decide who our politicians listen to.

2. Make Hollande a Hero

       — French President Francois Hollande will chair the Paris summit – a powerful position. We have to try every tactic and channel — his personal friends and family, his political constituency, his policy advisors — to make him the hero we need him to be to make the summit a success.

3. Take it to the Next Level

       — The scale of this crisis demands action that goes beyond regular campaigning. It’s time for powerful, direct, non-violent action, to capture imagination, convey moral urgency, and inspire people to act. Think Occupy.

    4. Out the Spoilers

         — Billionaires like the Koch brothers and their oil companies are the major spoilers in climate change – funding junk science to confuse us and spending millions on misleading PR, while buying politicians wholesale. With investigative journalism and more, we need to expose and counter their horrifically irresponsible actions.

    5. Define the Deal

         — Even in the face of planetary catastrophe, 195 governments in a room can be just incompetent. We need to invest in top quality policy advice to develop ingenious strategies, mechanisms, and careful compromises so that when the summit arrives, a critical mass of leaders are already bought in to a large part of the deal, and no one can claim that good solutions don’t exist.

    We need tens of thousands of us to pledge small donations to blast out of the starting gate on this plan. The amount doesn’t matter as much as much as the choice – to hope, and to act:

    YES, I’LL PLEDGE $6 A WEEK 

    YES, I’LL PLEDGE $7 A WEEK 

    YES, I’LL PLEDGE $10 A WEEK 

    YES, I’LL PLEDGE $12 A WEEK 

    YES, I’LL PLEDGE $14 A WEEK 

    To pledge an amount other than the ones listed above, click here.

    At the last major climate summit in Copenhagen 2009, we played a pivotal role in German and Japanese ‘climate’ elections, in shifting Brazilian policy, and in helping win a major global deal on financing, with rich countries promising $100 billion per year to poor countries to help them address climate change. Back then, Avaaz was 3 million people. After Copenhagen, we reflected that we needed to be a lot bigger to meet the challenge posed by climate change. Now, we’re 32 million, and growing by 2 million per month.

    Climate change is the ultimate global collective action problem, requiring cooperation from every government in the world. And Avaaz is the ultimate collective action solution, with millions of us united in common vision across every nation. This is our time, to build a world for our children whose beauty matches our dreams. Let’s get started.

    With hope and appreciation for this amazing community,

    Ricken and the entire Avaaz team

    MORE INFORMATION:

    With Arctic sea ice vulnerable, summer melt season begins briskly (The Christian Science Monitor)
    http://www.csmonitor.com/Environment/2013/0501/With-Arctic-sea-ice-vulnerable-summer-melt-season-begins-briskly-video

    Arctic sea ice levels to reach record low within days (Guardian)
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/aug/23/arctic-sea-ice-record-low

    Five Reasons We Need a New Global Agreement on Climate Change by 2015 (Switchboard NRDC)
    http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/jschmidt/five_reasons_we_need_a_new_glo.html

    The Doha climate talks were a start, but 2015 will be the moment of truth (The Guardian)
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/dec/10/doha-climate-talks-global-warming

    Arctic sea ice melt disrupts weather patterns (NBC News)
    http://science.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/05/30/18631374-arctic-sea-ice-melt-disrupts-weather-patterns?lite

    The Arctic Ice “Death Spiral” (Slate)
    http://www.slate.com/blogs/bad_astronomy/2013/05/28/arctic_sea_ice_global_warming_is_melting_more_ice_every_year.html

    Still time to slip under tree… and send heartfelt thanks to those Amazon reviewers!

    LONG LIVE EARTH  title pagebuy book, read reviewsLONG LIVE EARTH p. 4\

    *****Charming, Colorful and Creative Book for Children on Caring for the Earth

    By L.M. Keefer TOP 100 REVIEWERER, VINE VOICE on December 10, 2013
    Format: Paperback

    If you are looking for a charming, colorful and creative book to teach children about taking care of our earth, this book delights. The illustrations embody the philosophy: they are quilt squares, making use of unused fabric. Each illustration is imaginatively conceived and stitched. Children will have fun talking about what they see in the squares. The illustrations are quite winsome…(read entire review here).
     big heart
    By Woolwoman on December 10, 2013
    Format: Paperback Amazon Verified Purchase

    The artistry it took to make the quilt squares would make the book worth buying. However, I am (reluctantly) giving the two I ordered away to young grandchildren for Christmas. The message is important, and it is presented beautifully and gently.
    big heart
    By Kathleen Hagerty on December 9, 2013
    Format: Paperback Amazon Verified Purchase

    I bought this for my almost 4 year old son and for his classroom. This was a complex topic that was made very understandable and fun to read. The patchwork squares as illustrations were adorable, clever and so creative. I will be buying this book as gifts in the future.
    big heart
    Order Long Live Earth and read more reviews here.

    It’s a small planet. From Mumbai, India an interview with the author (me!)

    images-4

    Pratham – Read India. Click image for more…

    The world wide web can be a scary and unruly place where dark forces lurk.  But, like the moon, that is only one side of it.  The other (and I think bigger) side is shiny and bright and happy and here all paths lead to amazing people and places, both old and new.  And here we are reminded over and over again of the commonalities that we share regardless of color, class, or country.  Commonalities like love, children, books, music, hopes, dreams…  all the really good stuff.

    Recently a writer from India asked if I would be willing to do an author interview for his blog, Pebbles in the Still Waters.  How cool is that?  Pop over here for a quick peek.  Namaste, Jaideep!

     

     

    Rolling Stone Magazine – F*ck Fracking

    Unknown-1

    Frack.  Such a dirty word.  We should really be replacing that lone vowel with an asterick.  Forget f*ck (so passe), the new expletive (as inferred by Rolling Stone magazine, Bill McKibben and hopefully one day extremely soon our President) is fr*ck.

     

    To be used as any other expletive, for example:  fr*ck you, fr*ck me, fr*ck that.

    Now read the fr*cking article Obama and Climate Change: The Real Story as featured in Rolling Stone Magazine.