In Praise of Water

In Praise of Water

Let us bless the grace of water: The imagination of the primeval ocean Where the first forms of life stirred And emerged to dress the vacant earth With warm quilts of color. The well whose liquid root worked Through the long night of clay, Trusting ahead of itself openings That would yet yield to its yearning Until at last it arises in the desire of light To discover the pure quiver of itself Flowing crystal clear and free Through delighted emptiness. The courage of a river to continue belief In the slow fall of ground, Always falling farther Toward the unseen ocean. The river does what words would love, Keeping its appearance By insisting on disappearance; Its only life surrendered To the event of pilgrimage, Carrying the origin to the end, Seldom pushing or straining, Keeping itself to itself Everywhere all along its flow, All at one with its sinuous mind, An utter rhythm, never awkward, It continues to swirl Through all unlikeness, With elegance: A ceaseless traverse of presence Soothing on each side The stilled fields, Sounding out its journey, Raising up a buried music Where the silence of time Becomes almost audible. Tides stirred by the eros of the moon Draw from that permanent restlessness Perfect waves that languidly rise And pleat in gradual forms of aquamarine To offer every last tear of delight At the altar of stillness inland. And the rain in the night, driven By the loneliness of the wind To perforate the darkness, As though some air pocket might open To release the perfume of the lost day And salvage some memory From...
Food Glorious Food

Food Glorious Food

Food glorious food. It is both nourishing and astonishing. Think about this… At this moment nearly 50 million American’s don’t know where their next meal is coming from. At this moment nearly half of America’s food goes to waste. Approximately 30% of waste in landfills is green waste, which becomes methane gas. Listen to this PBS NewsHour report. What are we doing to turn this astonishing story into one that nourishes our people and planet? Learn more about what the US EPA is doing to Sustainably Manage Food to change the that demands perfect produce. Feed the people not landfills! What can you do to sustainably manage your food? Take on the Food Recovery Challenge (FRC) in your slice of the...
Climate Change: The Psychology of Inaction

Climate Change: The Psychology of Inaction

This article was published in the Star Tribune on May 2, 2016 By Mark Buchanan Bloomberg Climate change: The psychology of inaction Future threats are a mental blind spot for us — and they always have been — but there are ways to get around that. People tend to fear spiders and snakes more than they do electrical sockets or fireworks, even though the latter present a far greater danger. This might help explain why humans have such a hard time seeing the threat of climate change. Evolutionary psychologists argue that much of human behavior can be understood only by studying our ancient ancestors. Through 99 percent of human history, they lived in small groups of hunter-gatherers, with brains evolved to handle specific tasks, such as recognizing quickly a poisonous reptile or the emotions and intentions betrayed by facial expressions. The kind of rational thinking needed to weigh payoffs far in the future developed only recently, in the last 1 percent of our existence. Now, climate change is presenting humans with the ultimate long-term thinking task. February saw a record high average global surface temperature — a whopping 1.35 degrees Celsius higher than the average temperature between 1951 and 1980. A recent study suggests that the melting of the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets could plausibly raise sea levels several meters by the end of the century. Yet despite the growing body of evidence that rising carbon dioxide levels will lead to a catastrophic warming of the planet, we keep producing more than ever — as if we just can’t believe what we’re seeing. In a recent paper, Stanford...
How tackling climate change will pay off

How tackling climate change will pay off

Star Tribune Commentary by Tina Smith – December 23, 2015 Minnesota is already a leader in reducing greenhouse-gas emissions, but we can — and certainly will — do even more. Much of Minnesota has experienced springlike temperatures this December, often in the 40s. Warmer weather has become the norm; since 1998, the Earth has experienced 10 of the warmest years on record. And 2015 is expected to break last year’s record as the warmest yet. This is why we all should be celebrating that nearly 200 countries have reached consensus on a plan to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. The Paris Climate Agreement puts the world on a path to avoid the worst effects of climate change by keeping any increase in global temperature below 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit. Gov. Mark Dayton and I strongly support bold action to tackle climate change. Doing so will be good for our environment, good for our health and good for our economy. We know that our climate is changing because of human activity. Minnesota has experienced three 1,000-year floods since 2004. We have seen our moose herd decline by 50 percent. We have watched our northern forests of spruce, fir, aspen and birch retreat. Minnesota is already experiencing the impacts of climate change. We also know that public health and climate change are inextricably linked. Car exhaust and coal-fired power-plant emissions that damage the climate also hurt our health. Air pollution causes Minnesotans to miss work and school — costing us more than $800 million a year — largely due to cardiovascular and respiratory illnesses. The President’s Clean Power Plan is projected to result in...
Business Community Ready To Do Its Part To Catalyze Low-Carbon Global Economy

Business Community Ready To Do Its Part To Catalyze Low-Carbon Global Economy

by Mindy Lubber — President of Ceres Posted on Dec 04, 2015 PARIS – Every day here at the UN climate talks, we’re hearing new private sector commitments to catalyze the low-carbon global economy. The week began with Bill Gates and other capital titans launching a $2 billion “Breakthrough Energy Initiative,” an effort with 20 countries, including China, India and the United States, to accelerate carbon-free energy sources. Then Google announced it was adding another 842 megawatts of renewable energy capacity to power its ever-expanding global data center portfolio. And, just today, New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, who oversees a $173 billion investment portfolio, announced a $3.5 billion climate commitment, including the launch of a $2 billion low-carbon index fund in partnership with Goldman Sachs. The message is clear: global businesses and investors are committed to the low-carbon future. From iconic companies like Google, Apple, Mars and Ikea, to major financial institutions like Bank of America and Citi, the private sector is opening their wallets to turn ever-ripening clean energy opportunities into reality. And they’re looking to invest in all corners of the world – a key reason why renewable energy investments in developing countries are growing 10 times faster than in developed countries. In just the past few months, Google and Apple have announced major renewable energy projects in China, Kenya and Chile. It’s encouraging, too, that developing countries themselves are working hard to attract more clean energy investments. The 184 countries that declared their climate ambitions in the lead-up to COP21 – the countries that account for 97 percent of global GHG emissions – is a...