SoCS: methane

Over the last ten or so years, I’ve spent a lot more time thinking about methane than most people.

This is due to the fighting against fracking here in my region with the Marcellus shale, in the shale plays in the US, and the export of the technology around the world.

I will spare you all the detailed things I learned about fracking and methane’s effects on climate from Bob Howarth, Tony Ingraffea, Sandra Steingraber, Walter Hang, and so many others back in the thick of the fight in New York State, which led to first an administrative ban and later a legislative one. One of my roles at the time was to comment on media articles as part of a rapid response team. I learned to argue from economic, health, environmental, social, and other perspectives, depending on the circumstances.

Fun times.

N0t really. It was super stressful. It was also important to get accurate information out into the public and I was very grateful that we were able to get some better policies in place.

Unfortunately, the damage done by fracking and by methane leakage is still with us, widespread and massive.

Atmospheric methane levels are at record highs and are part of the supercharging of global warming that we are seeing now. As a greenhouse gas, methane is more short-lived in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide but it is much more powerful in the near term. In a ten-year timeframe, methane is about a hundred times more powerful than carbon dioxide, so it is imperative to cut emissions of it now to avert various tipping points.

There was a major methane reduction initiative signed last year, which is good. The problem is that emissions have not been carefully measured or monitored by governments and the fossil fuel industry and estimates have been much lower than what some scientific studies have shown. I was just reading about a study earlier in the week and will try to insert the link after I’m done stream-of-conscious-ing.

It’s cold comfort that the problems the scientists and environmentalists have been pointing out for years are finally being more widely acknowledged when so much damage that could have been averted has already been done.

We need to stop adding fossil methane to our climate system in order to have any hope of meeting the 1.5 degree C level in the Paris accord.

I am very distressed about the breaks in the Nordstream pipelines. Every time I see video of the roiling, methane-saturated sea water, I feel sick, knowing how dangerous it is. It’s especially upsetting to see it in juxtaposition with the footage of the devastation caused by hurricane Ian. Most media coverage is finally acknowledging the role of climate change in supercharging storms but I wish they had been doing it years ago when it would have been easier to avert this level of greenhouse gases. We finally have some decent federal legislation in place but the scope of the problem outstrips that level of spending. The damage estimates from Ian will be higher than the climate spending in the law.

Our family over these last years has taken steps to stop using methane. When we installed a geothermal heat pump a few years ago, we were able to disconnect from the methane system. Our electricity comes from either our solar panels or a 100% renewable grid supplier, so we aren’t using electricity generated from burning fossil fuels. I continue to advocate for the transition away from methane and other fossil fuels.

It can’t come soon enough.
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Linda’s prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday this week was to base your post on “me” or a word that begins with “me.” Join us! Find out more here: https://lindaghill.com/2022/09/30/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-oct-1-2022/

One-Liner Wednesday: truth

However much you deny the truth, the truth goes on existing.

George Orwell

Join us for Linda’s One-Liner Wednesdays! Find out more here: https://lindaghill.com/2022/09/28/one-liner-wednesday-is-it-wednesday/

One-Liner Wednesday: metaphor

Metaphors have a way of holding the most truth in the least space.

Orson Scott Card

Please join us for Linda’s One-Liner Wednesdays! Find out more here: https://lindaghill.com/2022/09/21/one-liner-wednesday-dragons-and-fairy-tales/

SoCS: ring

I’ve been out all day at the bicentennial of my hometown so this will be a short SoCS post.

When I saw that Linda’s prompt was ring, what came to mind was the poem I wrote about taking off my father’s wedding ring after he died. The first anniversary of his death was Wednesday. The poem was published this spring by Wilderness House Literary Review here.
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Join us for Linda’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday! Find out more here: https://lindaghill.com/2022/09/16/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-sept-17-2022/

One-Liner Wednesday: Paco memorial

Paco and an Irish rainbow

Remembering my father on the first anniversary of his death.
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Join us for Linda’s One-Liner Wednesdays! Find out more here: https://lindaghill.com/2022/09/14/one-liner-wednesday-he-was-a-fun-guy/

Two poems in RAR!

I’m pleased to announce that I have two new poems published in the Fall-Winter issue of Rat’s Ass Review! (In case you are wondering about the somewhat unusual name, read the longer version of their submission guidelines, which is one of the most informative, honest, and entertaining I’ve ever encountered.) Many thanks to current editor Roderick Bates for choosing my work for inclusion in this issue.

There are 61 contributing poets plus cover art, so there’s lots to enjoy! Contributors are arranged alphabetically, so you will find my poems listed under Joanne Corey. Clicking on any poet’s surname takes you to their bio in the last section.

The inspiration for my first poem “The Banned Bookmobile” is a project under development at WordPlace, the Southern Tier Literary Center at the Bundy Museum, Binghamton, NY. J. Barrett Wolf, director of Wordplace, is planning to assemble a collection of banned/challenged books in a bus that can travel about to present programs on the First Amendment, censorship, and other topics. (Editor Rick Bates helpfully made the title of the poem a link to the web page for the project.)

For those of you who may not be familiar, in rural/underserved communities, it was common to have a bookmobile visit several times a year, giving schoolchildren and adults the chance to borrow a wider range of books than were available in town. I remember the excitement in my rural New England town of 200 when the bookmobile visited. Although I loved our town library, it was very small and the bookmobile offered many more options.

My poem references several books/series that have been banned from various schools or libraries in the United States, including And Tango Makes Three, the Harry Potter series, The Bluest Eye, and To Kill a Mockingbird.

“Video Chat with our 95-year-old Father” was written in early 2021, shortly after Paco had moved into the assisted living unit of his senior community. Due to pandemic restrictions, my sisters and I weren’t allowed to visit his place, even though I lived nearby. The staff would set up a video session with their iPad and then leave to attend to other duties. Unfortunately, Paco had difficulty grasping the situation and the technology involved.

As always, comments are welcome!

9!

Today is my ninth blogaversary! Blogoversary? The spelling of made-up words seems a bit fluid…

This is my 1,682nd post. There have been 6,458 comments, 56,348 views, and 31,286 visitors from 126 countries and territories. There are 1,572 followers via WordPress with another couple hundred by email, twitter, and Facebook, with, I’m sure, a bit of overlap.

It seems like so many added up that way, but Top of JC’s Mind is still a small blog, averaging about 20 views a day. I remain grateful for all my visitors and followers. [Time for my usual disclaimer: I rarely look at my stats and don’t do much to actively gain views. In the crush of real life, I decided to devote my blogging time to writing posts and answering comments, so I don’t do the kinds of outreach needed to build up a large readership.]

I’m thankful to still be actively blogging at all. It seems that many bloggers start out but don’t continue for this many years or only post a few times a year.

Not that I post on a regular schedule but I’ve made it to 1,682 posts, so I do manage to say things!

I’ve been happy with my choice to be an eclectic blog. I know some of you visit for the poetry posts or for the family stories. Others might favor my political posts or pandemic posts or environmental posts. Some visit via Linda G. Hill‘s One-Liner Wednesdays or Stream of Consciousness Saturdays series. Some seem to arrive via searches of various sorts, which I find fascinating.

I know now that there are quite a few other eclectic blogs and I love knowing that there are so many of us rambling on about whatever is “top of mind” at the moment.

So, on to Year 10! Hope to see you checking in from time to time.

With thanks,
Joanne

SoCS: silent letters

Silent letters are one of the difficulties in learning written English.

There are a lot of them! (There are a lot of other weird features to spelling in English, too. I pity anyone having to learn it as a second, third, or fourth language.)

I realize other languages have them, too. I never studied French but occasionally have to sing in it. I’m always having to cross out letters that aren’t pronounced.

The first opportunity I had to study a second language was in high school. I chose Italian for a number of reasons. My mom’s grandparents spoke it, although in dialect which is not what you learn in school. Also, Italian is used extensively in music markings. In the US, Latin is sung using Italianate pronunciation and I often have call to sing in Latin.

Learning to spell and pronounce words in Italian is much more straightforward than in English. There are almost no silent letters. H is the letter that is sometimes silent and sometimes a signifier of a change to another consonant sound. Once you learn the pure vowel sounds and a few little rules, it is very easy to read a text in Italian. You might not know what you are saying, but it will sound beautiful!
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Linda’s prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday this week is “a word with a silent letter.” We could write about it or about silent letters in general. Join us! Find out more here: https://lindaghill.com/2022/09/09/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-sept-10-2022/

One-Liner Wednesday: Pakistan

A third of my country is under water right now – bridges, roads, schools, and other critical infrastructure sinks, and people run to evacuate their homes.

Anam Rathor, writing about Pakistan in this important post

Note: In the comments, there is a link to a post from Sadje with information on organizations that are helping Pakistan. Check it out here: http://lifeafter50forwomen.com/2022/09/07/my-country-needs-your-help/ and help if you are able.

Join us for Linda’s One-Liner Wednesdays! Find out more here: https://lindaghill.com/2022/09/07/one-liner-wednesday-alert-creature/

SoCS: why?

“Why (this, that, or the other thing)?” is a question I try not to ask.

When I was a kid, the answer to “Why?” was often “Because” which could lead to a succession of “Because whys?” which were meant to be taken as a joke, but were really just frustrating.

“Why” questions are often unanswerable. I’m thinking of questions like “Why do people suffer?” and other existential things like that. Maybe “Because” is the appropriate answer. Because that is the way it is. Because this is reality. There isn’t really a reason or logic involved. It just is.

Sometimes, people use why to introduce a questioning of someone else’s motives or behavior. “Why did they do that or say that or think that?” The questioner often seems to not want an answer as much as voicing disapproval.

Where “why” questions seem most helpful to me are in fields like science where they can spur research that leads to actual answers. Most of our understanding of the universe started with asking why.

Now that I’m thinking about it, another useful realm for “why” questions is introspection. Unlike someone else questioning or speculating about my motives, I find it helpful to ask myself why I do or think or say certain things. The better that I can understand myself, the more likely I am to be able to learn and improve and be of help to others.
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Linda’s prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday this week is start a post with the word “why.” Join us! Find out more here: https://lindaghill.com/2022/09/02/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-sept-3-2022/

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