02 September 2023

September, hello


what you cannot see is the tons of bees and their friends

It's been a long week, lots of walking and even more cycling as I've temporarily handed over my parking permit on campus to a new colleague with a toddler who needs to be dropped at the campus creche at a certain time so that she's on time herself. As I've only have another five or so weeks of actual work ahead of me before official retirement, I decided to cycle for the remaining days come rain or storm. It sounded great and worked out well during August but yesterday, we had flash floods and extremely heavy rain all day. But of course, I reassured R, I've got all the waterproof gear. Only it wasn't waterproof after the first couple of what?, minutes? Twice I arrived completely soaked which elicited some wonderful reactions from the people I was meeting incl. towels and fresh T-shirts.  


the shape of things to come


I've been asked by a friend of a friend to participate in a project of grandparents writing a letter to their grandchildren about personal mistakes, hard lessons learnt and (optimistic) visions for their future. I said yes without thinking this through. I know that I have been asked because of my involvement in housing co-ops and feminism but that seems to have happened in another lifetime.


one of many, shared with some bugs


At least, while I was cycling through torrential rain yesterday, I started on my list of personal mistakes, muttering angrily to myself against the heavy splattering of fat raindrops into my face.

The garden is slowly moving into autumn mood, although the next two weeks will be hot and there's hope for the grapes and red peaches. I just spent a mellow morning just sitting and reading and watching R doing stuff with hedge clippers and secateurs while the kids from next door were bouncing on the little trampoline singing the Hey Makarena song - only they insisted on Hey Margareta, but so what.  

these peaches will turn dark red when ripe


Back at my list of mistakes and lessons. It remains a great mystery to me how people can believe that our society is unable to adapt to less meat consumption, different energy production, less air travel or cities with bicycle lanes, but easily to a 3 degree Celsius hotter earth.

The one who pollutes the environment must not become richer than the one who protects the environment. At the moment it is the other way round. There are so many opportunities to improve things. I still hold that thought. But sod the housing co-ops, the reclaim the night marches, the pay gap campaigns, the long distractions from what really matters, the last and only issue that we must not pretend we cannot see or understand. I haven't even dared to think of visions yet.

The belief that success in the fight against global warming depends on how much each and every one of us does keeps us from taking the really important and courageous actions required today. Instead, it promotes a consumerism that functions like an indulgence handout in order to relieve our conscience and continue to close our eyes to the reality of the crisis. Capitalism pretends to care about the environment and we even fall for this greenwashing.

Kohei Saito


Barbara Rogers said...

I'm going to share your last two paragraphs. They hit home to many of my friends who are very aware, and sometimes making efforts individually and in families, but unable to push to more community or national legal efforts. We are mired in Republican effluence which makes mere survival for those most effected by the climate crisis our highest goal on a political front.

Colette said...

Excellent quote. Too true, too true.

Steve Reed said...

Interesting thoughts. I read somewhere that all the recycling and other day-to-day environmentalism isn't going to do a thing -- that really we must all learn to consume much, much less. Which of course is antithetical to capitalism and its growth imperatives.

Your sunflowers look so much better than mine. I'm still waiting for blossoms, here! But we're getting warmer, sunnier weather in the coming week so I'm hopeful.

Ms. Moon said...

Your garden must be incredibly peaceful.
Mistakes and lessons? So many mistakes...

ellen abbott said...

your garden is so beautiful. no hint of fall here. well, maybe a bit, we're dropping into the 90s instead of triple digits and it's rather pleasant out until about 8:30 or 9 AM. but oh, we need rain so badly, like 13 inches.

I have recycled what I could when I could since my early 20s, taken my own bags and reused plastic produce bags to derisive snickers from the checkers. currently I just refuse plastic bags, just put it back in the cart and I'll transfer it to the boxes in my trunk and use mesh bags for produce. we hang on to whatever thing as long as it can be repaired. our two slice toaster is at least 20 years old, probably older. we rarely buy new clothes until the old ones are ragged. I'm not trying to brag, just point out how easy it is to reduce consumption. it makes me so angry these head in the sand assholes refusing to take responsibility for the human caused destruction of our land, water, and air, our only planet. the evidence is all around us with increasing temps and shifting more severe weather patterns, we haven't gotten our usual summer rains for probably a decade, birds and other animals are moving into areas they haven't inhabited before, potable water is diminishing with aquifers being sucked dry for golf courses and lakes at perilous levels and still they refuse to admit/accept that human activity is driving all this and do something about it before it's too late and it may already be so. oh no, shift away from fossil fuels? why, people are making tons of money, we can't do that. saw a post on social media complaining that the arrays of wind turbines and solar panels are so ugly. as if a field full of pump jacks is attractive. never mind that here in Texas at least those ugly wind turbines and solar panel arrays saved their butts providing the extra power that kept the electrical grid from failing in this extreme heat. I'm reminded of all the sci fi books I read as a kid and adult where humans made the surface of the planet uninhabitable and so they now live underground like moles in warrens never to see the stars or see a field of flowers. those with the power to do the right thing, make the hard choices are cowards. what do they care, they're old and won't have to deal with the results of their lack of action.

sorry, hit a nerve.

Sabine said...

I hear you.

NewRobin13 said...

I am often reminded of the Tolstoy quote "What then must we do?" I have no idea anymore. We try to have as small a footprint that we can, but I'm sure it is not really going to make much of a difference.
Your garden is so lovely.

Pixie said...

I could write a book of my mistakes. Visions of the future include a lot of smoke sadly. Lessons I've learned, I only pick angry men to be with, angry men who refuse to look at themselves and who refuse to change. I've also learned that I am a strong woman who is not afraid to be alone, again. Things are not good here at home.

I'm so glad you're retiring. I have a renter for my condo and I'm hoping that will make up the shortfall in my income so that I can retire as well. Fingers crossed.

beth coyote said...

"The one who pollutes the environment must not become richer than the one who protects the environment. " Absolutely! I'm using this quote. Thank you. What a beautiful garden. I forget every year that the growing season always ends. the tomatoes left out there may not ripen. Leaves are already falling . There are plants that really suffered in the heat, not sure if they are still alive. My beloved elderberry tree has large dead branches. In the spring she was glorious. Constant change, right?
congratulations on your retirement! I'm working til the end of the year as a clinician, then no more call, no more clinic visits. I may still attend a few births as an assistant. Feels so good, so timely! All the best to you.