travels

I am not a seasoned international traveller.

My first two visits to Europe were tours with the Smith College Alumnae Chorus, one to Sicily and one to Slovenia. Everything was organized and arranged in advance, so I didn’t need to think about much of anything, other than a few meals here and there. We had our own charter buses, so we didn’t even need to navigate in the places we visited.

At the moment, I am in London, visiting daughter E, granddaughter ABC, and E’s spouse L and L’s parents, with whom they are living. My spouse B and other daughter T are here, too.

Given that this is my first trip abroad that was not an organized tour, I am finding the nuts and bolts of travel a bit daunting. We flew from Newark to Heathrow, two large and totally unfamiliar airports. We took a train to Paddington Station, where E met us to shepherd us to another train and then a walk to their home. Later in the day, when our hotel check-in time arrived, it took both of L’s family’s cars to get us and the luggage the two-ish miles (3km) to our hotel.

Most of our to-ing and fro-ing has been by bus or train. London has a very comprehensive system of public transit, which is great because it is such a huge city.  Unfortunately, I am a) not used to having public transit available and B) intimidated by large cities, so I am grateful to have family with me to keep me on the right track, at least most of the time.

As in our trip to Slovenia, B is acting as the photographer, so I hope to share some posts with photos in the coming days.

Stay tuned!

(I promise not to be in central London near Parliament on election day, December 12. That could become entirely too exciting for someone like me who isn’t used to raucous crowds.)

Climate Strike!

The day after I wrote this post lamenting the lack of a local climate strike action, I got an email from a local climate champion saying that there would be an event in Binghamton on Friday, the day that millions of people took part in thousands of actions around the world.

We met in front of the building that houses Senator Schumer’s office. As Senate minority leader, he is our most influential representative in Washington. In keeping with the youth leadership of climate strikes, this was organized by local university students, with lots of energy coming from the students who gathered. There were also a number of allies, many of whom were veterans of the fight against fracking in New York State.

I was pleased to be able to attend and lend support and happy to be part of three generations in my family there. Daughters E and T were both there; granddaughter ABC, at two years old, was the youngest attendee. Several people commented that we were gathered there for climate action for her and her generation, so that they will have a livable planet.

Our climate strike event on Friday was very grassroots, with the co-organizers speaking and then offering the mike to anyone that wanted to speak. Next Friday, September 27th, will be a larger and more formal event with several local organizations as sponsors, featuring speakers, music, tabling, and food. I hope to be able to attend that, too.

There is a lot of work to do in order to keep global temperature rise in check, so much that it often seems impossible, but I am more hopeful than I have been for a while. With young people around the world rallying and demanding action, maybe national leaders will finally find the political will to make a rapid and just transition to a sustainable, though still damaged, world.

in uncertain times

I’m feeling increasingly unnerved.

I’m trying to be a good national and global citizen and keep up with the news, but things just seem more and more unmoored.

It’s not as though I haven’t felt this way, albeit to a lesser degree, before; it just feels now that there is no certainty left anywhere.

I heard someone say recently that people who are living with the stress of uncertainty just want to know what is going to happen.

Of course, this is impossible.

Because the international climate strike is coming in a few days, on September 20th, perhaps I can muster a little comfort in the energy and resilience of youth committed to positive change in the world. The world’s youth are proving that they are not only the planet’s future but also its present. They are rallying people of all ages to their cause.

I sincerely wish I could be an active participant in the events being held around the world that day, but there are no events in my immediate area. It would be great to travel a few hours to New York City, where the largest gathering is likely to be, in recognition of the UN climate summit which begins soon after the strike. However, an all-day event with hundreds of thousands of people is an impossibility for me. People who have a school or workplace can show solidarity by walking out, but I don’t have either of those.

I will try to do some advocacy work that day and follow the coverage of the NYC event. I can, at least, take a moment to recognize the work I have done both as an advocate and as a consumer over the last several years to bring attention to climate change and try to reduce my own environmental impact.

And re-commit to working in a positive way, moving forward through uncertainty.

the original Mother’s Day

Yesterday, for Stream of Consciousness Saturday, I posted about personal Mother’s Day.

Today, I want to post about the original meaning of celebrating Mother’s Day.

It was actually Mothers’ Day for Peace and was not about personal sentiment, but about global peacemaking.

Julia Ward Howe wrote the original proclamation in 1870:

Arise, then, women of this day! Arise all women who have hearts,
whether our baptism be that of water or of fears!

Say firmly: “We will not have great questions decided by
irrelevant agencies. Our husbands shall not come to us, reeking
with carnage, for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be
taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach
them of charity, mercy and patience.

We women of one country will be too tender of those of another
country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs. From
the bosom of the devastated earth a voice goes up with our own.
It says “Disarm, Disarm! The sword of murder is not the balance
of justice.”

Blood does not wipe our dishonor nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plow and the anvil at the summons
of war, let women now leave all that may be left of home for a
great and earnest day of counsel. Let them meet first, as women,
to bewail and commemorate the dead.

Let them then solemnly take counsel with each other as to the
means whereby the great human family can live in peace, each
bearing after their own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
but of God.

In the name of womanhood and of humanity, I earnestly ask that a
general congress of women without limit of nationality may be
appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient and at
the earliest period consistent with its objects, to promote the
alliance of the different nationalities, the amicable settlement
of international questions, the great and general interests of
peace.

(Source and more info:  http://www.peace.ca/mothersdayproclamation.htm)

At our time in history, we are still desperately in need of world peace. Today, let us re-commit ourselves to building that peace.

What Is Your Country’s Best Literature?

Readers from around the world, Jay Dee needs your help! He is looking for book recommendations from as many countries as possible. Please help him out!

I Read Encyclopedias for Fun

The Iliad, Greece The Iliad, Greece

One of my challenges is to read a book from every country. But I have no idea where to start. What books are good to read? I’ve mostly read books from the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and a handful from other countries like Japan and Greece. I want to know what is out there. It’s difficult to choose. So, I need your help. I need a lot of people’s help.

Here’s what I propose. It’s very simple. All you need to do is leave a comment stating which country you’re from and which book you’d recommend from your country. It could be a book that defines literature in your country, or it could be a book that’s your favourite. Anything is fine, as long as you’d recommend it.

Second, and this is important, I’m asking you to share this post with your friends and family…

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Onward from COP21

I have been reading about and reflecting on the climate accord resulting from the recent COP21 talks in Paris. Over 190 countries, nearly the entire world, has signed on to cut greenhouse gases to try to keep global warming under two degrees Celsius, with hopes that the limit can be lowered to 1.5 degrees, which will likely keep low-lying island nations habitable.

While much has been made of the fact that the combined pledges of the countries will not keep warming under two degrees, I have hope because every country will have to publicly state their progress and will have to update their goals every five years. As President Obama and others have pointed out, five years ago no one was predicting that the price of solar panels would come down so rapidly and that their use would increase so dramatically, so it is likely that innovations, technology access, efficiency gains, and economics will combine to help countries make their goals more ambitious over time, so that the 1.5 degree goal can be achieved.

Further, the accord adds incentive to preserving and restoring plants that can take up more carbon dioxide to help restore a better carbon budget, which is needed to eventually stabilize the climate. Global temperature is already almost one degree Celsius higher than it was in the pre-industrial age, and we are feeling the effects in global temperatures, increased severe weather and droughts, melting glaciers and permafrost, and ocean temperature rise and acidifcation.

While I wish that there had been more emphasis on climate justice and the rights of the economically disadvantaged, as Pope Francis writes about so eloquently in Laudato Si’,  I hope that other United Nations documents will be taken into account along with the climate agreement to help protect and improve the lives of those living in poverty and those whose homes and food supplies are threatened by climate disruption.

While some Republicans have said that they will not honor the commitments that the United States has made to reduce its carbon emissions if a Republican is elected to the presidency next year, I think that they are mistaken. The omnibus budget bill just passed by Congress allocates funds toward our commitments.  The US has already achieved 10 of its 26-28% reduction target from 2005 emission levels, with ten years to add the further 16-18%. Rules that are already in place for further emission cuts would be very difficult to rescind.

Perhaps most importantly to Republicans, many major businesses have made public commitments to emissions cuts, renewable energy utilization, efficiency gains, etc.; they appreciate the predictability that this international agreement brings. Furthermore, because so many US companies operate internationally, they will be dealing with other countries’ goals and methods, including various carbon pricing mechanisms.  Cutting carbon emissions is a good business practice and the Republicans will have to realize that refusing to cooperate with the international community on the COP21 agreement will hurt not only US credibility and leadership but also its businesses and economy.

Climate and social justice advocates throughout the world are energized to keep the momentum going. People everywhere are keeping vigil and make changes in their own lives to help, as Pope Francis terms it, “care for our common home.”

 

Reaching Out to the World Again

Jay Dee is still on the hunt for visitors from more countries around the world. This new post links back to his original post where he is keeping track. ( I have already re-blogged and shared that post a couple of times, so I decided to re-blog this new one today.) Please visit and share!
– JC

I Read Encyclopedias for Fun

I just checked out which countries my blog’s visitors have come from since country stats started to be recorded. Here’s the map.

world_visitorsThere are some interesting places that aren’t included. No Paraguay. A lot of Africa is absent. A bit of central Asia.

So, time to reach out to the world again! Please go to this post and follow the instructions. I want to know where you’re from. Let me know in the comments on that post, and I’ll add your country to the list. And please share that post so we can get word out to more people! Thank you.

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Calling people from around the world!

A few days ago, I re-blogged this post: https://ireadencyclopedias.wordpress.com/2015/08/08/reaching-out-to-the-world/
from Jay Dee of I Read Encyclopedias for Fun. He is trying to get comments from as many countries as possible. So far, people have responded from USA, Canada, UK, Germany and Ireland. Let’s help him expand the list!

Here’s how you can help:
1) If you are from another country – and I know I have regular visitors from India and Australia – please click on the link and leave a comment, telling Jay Dee where you are from.
2) If you have a blog, are on Facebook, tweet, or engage in any other social media, please consider sharing the link with your followers. There are handy sharing buttons at the end of the post or you can copy and post the link yourself.

Let’s see if we can get visitors from dozens of countries for Jay Dee! Thanks!

poet-tree

my poem on the poet-tree

When I was visiting Beth in Honolulu this summer, we would walk up the hill in Kaimuki to go to the big Saturday morning farmers’ market at Kapi’olani Community College. There is always a huge array of fruits, vegetables, baked goods, jams, pickles, etc., as well as lots of prepared foods and beverages to enjoy there.  (Also, lots and lots of people, as it is listed in the tour guides and some of the bus tours bring people there.)

We would walk home through campus and pass by their poet-tree, which is a world community poetry project. Visitors are invited to write a poem and leave it in a jar. Then, the poems are sorted into geographic regions, sealed in plastic, and affixed to the poet-tree, which has pegs for different countries or regions.

On the last weekend of my visit, I brought a poem to contribute to the project. E sent me this photo over the weekend, showing it on display! The poem itself is one I wrote several years ago. and, as often happens, there is a bit of poetic license. I realize it is a hard to read in the photo, so here it is:

Two Trees

A pair of gum trees
Reaching tall in the courtyard
Bark flashing streaks:
       grey, red-brown, green, vibrant orange
A paint-by-number from childhood come to life.
Transplanted into Hawaiian soil
You grow at a prodigious rate
As do my own daughters
Also transplanted there.

(Note:  The trees are rainbow eucalyptus.)

Reaching Out to the World

Geography is one of the many interests of blogger Jay Dee of “I Read Encyclopedias for Fun.” He has started a fun thread to bring in visitors from all over the world. Join the fun! Visit, comment, and share, share, share!
– JC

I Read Encyclopedias for Fun

Welcome. I see you’re from Earth. That’s great, because I want to have visitors from all over the world. So, here’s what I’d like to do. It’s my Reaching Out to the World Project.

CIA_WorldFactBook-Political_world.pdfI’m sure you’re from somewhere on that map. Well, I’d like you to do a few simple things for this project. It’s really easy.

First, leave a comment on this post saying which country you’re originally from.

Second, share this post on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, Reddit, and so on. Reblog if you like.

Third, and this is optional, tell your international blogger friends about this post, and ask them to leave a comment.

Easy, isn’t it?  I’ll update the countries that are represented here in a list below. I’d love to see blogs from all over the world. Everyone has a unique perspective. So, if you’re interested, then leave your comment…

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