Tuesday, January 24, 2017

I'm speechless...

and yet, I have a lot to say.
My brain has been racing all day in attempt to express my heart's various emotions- news from Trump's latest Executive Orders, the nostalgia of traveling home, the mixed joy of being welcomed by 80 degree weather in January, more news, and the shock, anger and devastation that comes with it, curiosity for what our future generations will be left to contend with, hope, lack of hope, and inspiration in strange places.

I couldn't even pour through all the saved articles and responses from my affected friends, colleagues and professors without needed to write a response.

Mid-day I glimpse that Trump banned the EPA from using social media to talk about Climate Change. This is censorship and propaganda. I'm thankful for social media and live reporting and sensible people, and a college degree (in Environmental Studies) and having friends as scientists so that I can stay informed, but I realize not everyone has that, and many will be, or already have been, swept up in Trump's positive affirmations and "alternative facts". (An interesting report on EPA-related 'civil servants' and their resistance, here)

On the way home, driving through the traffic-saturated streets of Austin with my mom, who I hadn't seen in 8 months, I overheard that Trump halted EPA related funding. Before I make it home, I hear friends' worries about graduate school funding-- from current and prospective students. I wonder if I should apply to that school in Britain before it's too late...

We drive through an ever-changing Austin. An area I always called home, but hardly recognize. Where there were once acres of land with vast swaths of wildflowers, there are For-Sale signs promising future developments, or current shopping megaplexes and housing developments touting the names of the space they've destroyed.

Happy (and Hopeful) and Warm
At Home, with the news blaring reports of a segment, "Trump's First Days in Office," I'm thankful I don't have a television. Until I realize I have the privilege to sit down with my mom and watch a PBS special about Rachel Carson, the famed author who both my mom and I read about in our Environmental classes. Carson always knew she would be a writer, and couldn't remember a time she didn't love nature, all inspired from her mother. I wonder if my mother's spiritual connection to the Earth was a key to it's impact on me, if I have a weird connection to the world, or if everyone has an innate understanding of the Earth ingrained within them, however suppressed it may be. Perhaps it's all three, but I hope and believe that everyone can appreciate the aesthetics of our Umvelt.

I walk outside in a t-shirt, as the sun it setting. Several deer hear me and spring out into the juniper. Another snorts, stamps his hooves and runs the other way. I am touched to the soul by the sound of the crickets, a familiar chorus that reminds me of Summer and of Home. I inhale the wholesome, bitter smell of tannin, walking right up to the Live Oak until it's leaves are to my lips. I kiss it, hoping that the Greed and fury of Capitalism won't buy out every old Oak and prickly-pear patch.
I admire the slight squish in the ground, and the abundance of green popping through-- an early sign of Texas Bluebonnets... and I wonder if the children born today will every get to walk among wildflowers.

I am shocked, but not surprised, by the news I heard today. And although I'm speechless, I have a lot to say. Hopefully it will be organized, and argued with facts, and encourage discussion.
But for today, here's all I can do.
1) Take care of self- A lot of sickness/flu things are going around. As a doomsday pessimest, I'm always wondering if this is it-- the last great epidemic that wipes us out. At the very least, we should stay as healthy as possible. Know that every ounce you put into your body is your fuel, and if it's tainted with pesticides or chemicals, those things can add up (thanks Rachel Carson).

2) Stay informed (and/or get educated). I intend to spend more of my free time re-reading history, as it's never been my favorite subject, and staying up to date on Environmental research, and whatever they're calling Climate Change now that Trump has basically banned that phrase.

3) Stay hopeful. The Rachel Carson documentary was very appropriately timed. There were many parallels between the Government Propaganda of the 60's, and what Trump is trying to do now, particularly with the influence of industry on the Government.  At one point today, I lost hope. "Greed will prevail" I thought, trying to hold in tears watching Rachel Carson fight for environmental awareness. But then I saw all my friends fighting back, signing petitions and educating one another. So, I still have hope. I also have faith in many environmental organizations that I have contributed to in the past, that I'm about to fund more. Hopefully they can reach farther than I can.

In my recent travels through the Midwest, I listened to a lot of public radio... much of which didn't share my opinions. One radio host complained that the Right weren't fighting as hard as the Left. That was a bit surprising to me at first, but I think it comes down to this-- when you have nothing left to lose, you fight. When you're so broken, you're angry, you fight. At this point, I feel there's nothing to do but fight. Fight to keep public lands. To prevent oil spills. To have half an Earth left for future generations (I'm being hopeful there). That speaker's Republicans aren't weak. They just aren't (as) angry.


  1. Thanks Cassie. Beautifully written; I feel your pain. May I politely suggest this interesting and thought-provoking article about Trump? The call to action at the end is well worth the read. Carry on, wayward one. http://realitysandwich.com/321285/america-donald-trump-and-the-triumph-of-the-lie/

  2. I prefer the term progressive over left for people seeking to make the world a better place. The Right is way too broad. And Conservative is as meaningless as Liberal because technically each term refers to the degree of change each person is comfortable with. Hillary was actually the conservative candidate in the recent election, and Trump was the liberal, in terms of change. I think the best term for the far right is Regressive. People who aren't looking for static policies but rather want dramatic change to the 1950s, if not the 1850s. Left and Right simply are not directional enough; forward and backward is more descriptive. Progressive and Regressive. Thanks for letting me get all political Cass.

    1. No, Thank You for sharing!
      I'll admit I've never had much interest in politics (as may be evident). I've opted to hide under a rock. But now they're targetting my rocks! It's become personal.