Thirty Reasons to Vote: #14

 

 

The constant denigration by elected officials of our leading researchers, of those who base their arguments on reason and evidence, erodes confidence in the science and research that produce the tested cures we need, that keep us safe from chemicals and pollutants, that track the food we eat. Remember last year when there was a sudden decision to shift USDA researchers from Washington, D.C., to Kansas City? That was an ill-advised move because

“Moving these researchers out of Washington puts them out of earshot from policymakers. A lot of the research that scientists and economists do at [the USDA] has policy implications, and members of Congress need this information and need to have face-to-face meetings with these researchers,” Rebecca Boehm, with the Union of Concerned Scientists, told The Hill.

“It keeps science out of the policymaking process. And we’ve seen many times that this administration doesn’t like facts or research that isn’t convenient or [is] an impediment to their agenda, so I think moving them away helps accomplish that,” she added.³

This separation of policy and science is outlined in a list compiled by the Union of Concerned Scientists. It includes, among many other items, “EPA refuses to Regulate Rocket Fuel Chemical in Drinking Water,” “White House Demands Rewriting of CDC’s COVID-19 Guidelines for Schools,” and “Trump Administration Disavows Own Meteorologists for Issuing Factual Statement on Hurricane Dorian.”4

The dangerous disrespect the current administration and other representatives show for the wisdom and advice of science have led to Scientific American, for the first time in its one-hundred-seventy-five-year history, to endorse a candidate for office, and its nod went to Joseph Biden. In the October 2020 issue, the editors explain that 

Scientific American has never endorsed a presidential candidate in its 175-year history. This year we are compelled to do so. We do not do this lightly.

The evidence and the science show that Donald Trump has badly damaged the U.S. and its people—because he rejects evidence and science. The most devastating example is his dishonest and inept response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which cost more than 190,000 Americans their lives by the middle of September. He has also attacked environmental protections, medical care, and the researchers and public science agencies that help this country prepare for its greatest challenges. That is why we urge you to vote for Joe Biden, who is offering fact-based plans to protect our health, our economy and the environment. These and other proposals he has put forth can set the country back on course for a safer, more prosperous and more equitable future.5

Finding out that SA felt it necessary to speak out and take a side feels monumental to me. I appreciate that way that, in normal times, many organizations stay out of politics. But sometimes there is no virtue in silence and neutrality, and we are living in such times. 

I’m a humanities person, but I understand the vital role science plays, should play, must be allowed to play in our lives and society. So vote for science, for representatives who respect science and research and who will encourage and support with both words and funding the scientific leaders whose voices must be heard loudly and clearly for our society to survive.

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Monteverde Fire Opal

 

  1. Governor Jay Inslee Calls West Coast Fires ‘Climate Fires.’” YouTube. September 15, 2020.
    Andrew Hammond. The News Tribune, “Wildfires one sign of the ‘New Washington’ created by climate change, Inslee says.” September 9, 2020.
  2. Philip Bump. The Washington Post, “The president who says the coronavirus will go away makes the same prediction about global warming.” September 14, 2020.
  3. Rebecca Beitsch. The Hill, “Scientists flee USDA as research agencies move to Kansas City area.” July 15, 2019.
  4. Union of Concerned Scientists. “Attacks on Science.” July 2, 2020.
  5. Editors. Scientific American, “Scientific American Endorses Joe Biden.” October 2020.

Thirty Reasons to Vote: #7

 

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  1. Foreign Affairs. “Present at the Disruption: How Trump Unmade U.S. Foreign Policy.” September/October 2020.
  2. The Conversation. “Trump’s foreign policy is still ‘American first’ — what does that mean, exactly?” August 27, 2020.
  3. VOA. “Trump’s ‘America First’ Agenda Shapes GOP Foreign Policy.” August 25, 2020.
  4. New York Times. “Trump Abruptly Exits NATO Gathering After Embarrassing Video Emerges.” December 4, 2019.

 

 

Thirty Reasons to Vote: #6

Back in April of this year, the National Geographic magazine for Earth Day was a double-sided issue. One cover bore the title, “How We Lost the Planet”; the flip-side offered “How We Saved the World.” The issue pretty much embodies how I exist these days: in a constant state of flipping between despair and hope.

Today, here in Colorado, the smoke from our own fires mixed with that from California. Early in the afternoon, the air reminded me of growing up in L.A. in the ‘sixties and early ‘seventies. We had “smog days” when we couldn’t go outside, when recess was held indoors and we played “Thumbs Up, Seven Up,” sitting at our desks with our heads down and a thumb up while a classmate would go around and tap a set of kids on the thumb. Once these children were chosen, we would be allowed to pick up our heads while the selected seven tried to guess who had tapped them. It was every bit as exciting as it sounds.

But even on the days when we allowed to play outside, our chests would hurt and sometimes we couldn’t get a full breath. We didn’t think too much about it; that was all we knew. But our parents did and for a while there were effective efforts to mitigate air pollution. The air in L.A.got better, as it did in other cities in America.

 Today, my lungs thought they were right back in the L.A. of my youth. Breathing ached; my throat felt scoured; my head ached; my stomach turned sour. And however poor the conditions are here, they are fractionally as awful as California’s.

My husband and I had planned a drive today, just to get out of the house. We made it up high enough to be away from the smoke briefly, but most of the time the cab of the truck was smoke-imbued.

 

 

It was difficult to come back down where the smoke blanketed everything like fog, and nothing like fog.

By early afternoon, I was no longer thinking of Los Angeles; I was thinking of Pompeii.

Ash on the window
Ash on the windshield


Ash on the hood of the truck 

Ash on the red bud leaves

 

 

 

 

I write this late in the day and ash is still falling. A plume from the Cameron Peak fire spiraled up thirty-five thousand feet (that’s a 35 with three zeroes after it. Think airplane-cruising altitude).

And these fires are not caused by a lack of raking. They’re caused by the climate changes brought on by humans. We must acknowledge that we have caused and are causing this damage and then work to undo it. Remember how quickly the air cleared when we were all on lock-down?

Wildfires are far from the only disasters caused by global warming. Plastic is raining down across the country, including in our delicate, protected preserves; hurricane season is far more dangerous now. The disdain for science so proudly promulgated by politicians and voters will cost us our lovely planet and guess what? There’s not room for all of us on the International Space Station.

In addition, a lot of us are going to be denied the opportunity to be grandparents because of climate change. The next generations are reluctant to bring children into a world that might not be around long enough for their children to live to old age or that will mean they have to live in a wasteland. I don’t have an effective counter-argument for them.

The setting sun and the moon have been orange and lurid for weeks now.

 

 

 

 

But this evening was the sun was new kind of eerie.

And tonight — tonight the moon is red, a mourning red, an angry crimson.

So vote for our lives, for our home, for our environment, for the continuation of our species, for leaders who will push us to evolve into stewards of the Earth. Vote. Please vote.

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  1. Union of Concerned Scientists. “The Connection Between Climate Change and Wildfires.” Updated March 11, 2020.
  2. Gavin Newsom on climate change and California’s wildfires. August 20, 2020.
  3. WBUR. “Meet Allie, One of the Growing Number of People Not Having Kids Because of Climate Change.” September 16, 2019.

Thirty Reasons to Vote: #2

 

Noodler’s Luxury Blue Eternal Ink

Please write your senators, your congressional representatives, your secretaries of state, and your state attorneys general to urge them to keep voting safe and accessible and to stand up to everyone who is trying to undermine the postal service. Public pressure matters. Apply some daily.

The Rest of Rivka’s Story

 Well, I’ve had a difficult two months, with my M.E. surging. Hot weather, whether I’m out in it or not, often makes it worse. We seem to be cooling off a bit now, despite the fires here in Colorado. I did finish up Rivka’s story; Meredith is thinking about rounding out Emma’s portion with a story of her own. So for anyone who is wondering how this tale concludes (spoiler: no one dies), read on:

Rivka’s Story #30Inks30Days; 30 June, 2020

For the last day of this round of 30 Inks in 30 Days I’m using Sailor Shikiori Yodaki. September will be the next round, immediately followed, of course, by INKTOBER!

I had hoped to finish this story today, but it seems to have taken on a life of its own. I think it’s close to finished, though. But maybe I ought to apply to write for a soap opera…

Rivka’s Story #30Inks30Days; 29 June, 2020

Lamy Amazonite

  

 

Rivka’s Story #30Inks30Days; 28 June, 2020

Lamy Azurite     

Rivka’s Story #30Inks30Days; 27 June, 2020

Diamine Cult Pens Iridescink Robert

Rivka’s Story #30Inks30Days; 26 June, 2020

 

Krishna Jungle Volcano