It’s one of those weeks where I feel quiet. I’m listening. I’m watching the leaves in the breeze and wondering about their trembling. I’m feeling very grateful for the incredible people I know and don’t know, and very existentially worried about this nation and this planet, about the bodies and hearts, breaking everywhere.
-Courtney Martin, author/activist
For the first time in history, the Supreme Court has taken away a constitutional right. This has never happened before. I write to you now as a lawyer and mother. No matter your view on abortion, this is my love letter to you.
First, a deep breath
We got the news that the Supreme Court had overturned Roe on a family trip to the mountains. Even though it was expected, it still felt shocking. We wept, my mother and me. Then we went into the forest as planned and visited a grove of ancient sequoias that are 2,000 years old. We saw charcoal scars from recent wildfires – and new green shoots. The trees keep going. I thought about how their roots create a hidden network beneath the soil, the mycelium, where they send one another information and nutrients. If one is hurting, the others send it support. These trees know that resilience and longevity are only possible in community. This is how we are going to survive the multiple crises we are living through now. I send you this letter through the roots.
What’s happening now
As we speak, half the states in the U.S. are enacting laws that restrict or make abortion illegal in all or most cases. Forced pregnancy will become law in many states, even, in some cases, those caused by rape and incest. Those who resort to unsafe abortions because they cannot afford to travel to another state for care are at risk of death. Black, Indigenous, and brown women will be harmed most. My dear sister and friend survived two ectopic pregnancies that would have taken her life if it weren’t for abortion care. Now women who are denied the care she received – a standard remedy in her case as in many other similar cases – will die.
Miscarriages are already being investigated as murders in several states. Those who travel to other states for abortion care could face criminal prosecution and go to prison, along with the doctors who care for them. Many states are moving to restrict abortion pills in the mail, which means enforcement would only be possible with unprecedented levels of surveillance. This will impact people of color in communities already heavily policed.
What could happen next
Overturning Roe is the beginning. In their ruling, the majority argued that a constitutional right must be “deeply rooted in this nation’s history and tradition.” By the court’s reasoning, every constitutional right that has been secured since the mid-19th century is now in question. In his concurring opinion, Justice Clarence Thomas directly called for the court to eliminate the rights affirmed in Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell — the right to use birth control, the right to marry a person of our choosing, and the right for consenting adults to do as they wish in the privacy of their bedroom without being arrested or charged with crimes. In other words, this case opens the door for assaults on bodily autonomy, privacy, and liberty in the most intimate arenas of our lives.
Why this ruling is regression
In law school, I studied Roe with my mentor Reva Siegel, one of the nation’s foremost constitutional law scholars. I learned about the generations of women before me who dedicated their lives for basic freedoms. Reva calls the Court’s claim to originalism a thin veil for advancing a political project that treats women as second-class citizens. For to strip away a woman’s freedom to care for her own body when it matters most -— to decide when, whether, and how to bring children into the world — is to deny her intelligence and humanity. It is a failure of recognition, a refusal of dignity, a regression of the highest order.
If you don’t support abortion
I respect your position. If you believe a person begins at conception, then you likely believe abortion is killing we should prevent. But this ruling will not minimize the number of abortions. It will simply increase the number of unsafe abortions and the number of women who will die from them. Imagine all the ways we can protect life without causing more death. We can support women and mothers and parents by funding contraception and sex education, prenatal care, baby formula, paid maternity leave, paid parental leave, universal health care, universal pre-K, and on. If you are pro-life, imagine what it would mean to be on the side of life for all.
Honor your rage
If you are angry, you are not alone. The majority of Americans believe that the choice to make a family belongs to women and pregnant people, not lawmakers. Where is rage in your body? Place your hand there. Stay with the sensation. Feel your rage. Honor your rage. Breathe into it. Where does it want to go? Choose how you want to move it — talk it, scream it, wail it, sing it. Your rage is loaded with information and energy (Audre Lorde). Together, we are going to alchemize this rage into a force the world has not seen.
The story of America is one long labor — not linear progress, but a series of expansions and contractions. I believe this massive contraction, this cruel regression, will ultimately be followed by an expansion of rights and dignity and justice — if we show up.
So what do we do?
There are thousands of ways to push that will shift culture, consciousness, policy, and power in the coming weeks and months and years— block by block, heart to heart. We don’t have to do all the things. Just our thing. Together, we are a body in motion.
We will march. We will organize. We will sing. We will dance. We will make art. We will create underground networks of care. We will raise money for abortion clinics. We will build sanctuary cities. We will fight for new legislation. We will work to expand the court. We will run for office. We will win. We will teach our children. We will listen to opponents with humanity. We will speak with authenticity. We will trust the power of our stories. We will follow the lead of Black and Indigenous women who have long known how to survive unspeakable harm on this soil. In doing so, we will uncover new forms of ancestral courage and resilience — and imagination.
We must do more than resist — we must reimagine a future where every person has the bodily autonomy to choose when, whether, and how to make family and flourish.
I invite you to protect space to imagine. To focus not just on what we are fighting against, but on the world we are fighting for. When we imagine and dream together, we can begin to feel the world we want in our bodies. It becomes like a memory that we carry. It can become our North Star. Imagination needs space. Let’s make space together. Remember the trees. Resilience and longevity are possible in community.
Below is a recipe for resilience and a hymn that has become a balm for my soul, plus ways to take action.
In Chardi Kala — even in darkness, ever-rising spirits,
DONATE to support providers, independent clinics, and folks seeking abortion.
STAY INFORMED. Learn your rights, locate the nearest abortion provider, and seek legal support to protect your abortion. Share these resources with folks who need it.
EDUCATE yourself on how to keep your information private.
A recipe for resilience
Here are revolutionary love practices for this moment.
Choose what you need. Share it.
GRIEVE: What is the shape of grief in your body? If you feel the primal scream in you, this is the time to make space for healing. Let yourself touch the sorrow, rest and breathe. Don’t isolate. Show up to a healing circle in your community. Organize one if needed. Go to vigils. Be with people who make you feel safe. Let in softness and love into the places that ache. Make space to just to stop — and feel this together.
RAGE: What is the force of rage in your body? Notice where you are constricted, tense, or numb. Now move that energy – curse, scream, shake, dance, run. Don’t choke down your rage. Or let it fester. Be with people who can honor this rage and process it in safe containers. Your rage carries information – what is it telling you? You have something to fight for. You have a role to play, and no role is too small.
FIGHT: What courageous step are you ready to take? Do not swallow the lie that nothing can be done. You have a sphere of influence. Every choice we make – every word, every action, every encounter – co-creates culture and shapes what happens next. Will you use your voice, your art, your story, your money, your power, your heart?
REIMAGINE: What is the world you want? What does beloved community look like, feel like? We can only live into what we imagine. Protect time and space to dream and dream big. Then take one step toward that dream.
LISTEN: What do you need to approach opponents with humanity? If you are safe enough, take one step toward a courageous conversation. Lead with your story, above all. Listen for theirs.
BREATHE: How will you breathe today? This is the work of a lifetime. Our lifetime. Take time to rest, step away from the news, nourish your body and your beloveds. Remember the wisdom of the midwife: Breathe, my love, then push. When joy comes, let it come. In joy, we presage the world to come.
Go deeper into any of these practices on
the Revolutionary Love Learning Hub.
A balm for the soul
When the news broke on Friday, my dear sister adrienne maree brown shared a video of her singing this sovereignty hymn by The Bengsons. My mother and I sang this song in the forest as a way to move through the pain of this moment. Listen to it. Teach it. Sing it with us. May it be a healing balm for you, too.
We will not
We will not
We will not be controlled.
I am sovereign in my body.
I am sovereign in my soul.
— The Bengsons
Donate to the Revolutionary Love Project
The Revolutionary Love Project envisions a world where love is a public ethic and shared practice in our lives and politics. We generate stories, tools, and thought leadership to equip people to practice the ethic of love in the fight for social justice.
Other places to donate:
‘All gifts made by June 30 will be matched, $1‑for‑$1, up to a total of $250,000.’
National Network of Abortion Funds
‘We are desperate for someone with a plan, someone with some spirit.’
Bill McKibben, author/educator/environmentalist/activist
Love this piece from Bill. Insightful, truly compassionate, and a needed idea. No one is communicating, or helping. Because, really, there is no plan, or someone with spirit. We need more than a poem from the Speaker of the House, or a yoga pose from Democratic Rep. Andy Levin to release his ‘toxicity.’ Since deleted. More than a month after Alito’s leak, the Dems did nothing for this moment. And believe it when people say IF/WHEN R’s take the House and Senate and Presidency in 2025, McConnell will absolutely remove the filibuster to make abortion illegal across the United States. Dems wouldn’t touch the filibuster, but oh friends, McConnell absolutely will. No doubt. Women, already, who are facing difficult and life threatening pregnancies are being turned away for health care, some traveling great distances, if they can, to find treatment.
From Puck journalist Julia Ioffe:
‘It turns out that telling people to vote and vote and vote some more in a system designed for minority rule, and where gerrymandering requires the Democrats to produce bigger and bigger turnout for smaller and smaller margins in Washington, can start to ring a bit hollow. How can you vote and win—and yet still lose so badly? Through the din of rage on social media and spontaneous protest in the street, even the most dedicated Democrats could hear the unmistakable, echoing sound of defeat.’
We voted in droves in 2018 and 2020. For this? Minority rule. It’s feeling rather dire. Memes, marching, and poems don’t seem to be working. In the United States, you know what does? Power, profit, greed, systemic patriarchy, violence, and dark money.
More from Bill:
#SCOTUS did horrible things this week. ‘Amtrak Joe needs to go all-in.’ ‘Biden should announce in the 134 days between now and the Nov election he will board a train and criss cross America making the case for this republic.’ ♡
‘Suddenly he’s Harry Truman, waging an against-the-odds campaign in 1948. You know the last president to pull the presidential train car out of mothballs? A reasonably good politician named Ronald Reagan, in 1984. Amtrak Joe needs to go all-in.’ #AmtrakJoe
Link to the full article:
Joe Biden Could Save America by Going on a Train Trip
Fight for us, Mr. President. Is that too much to ask?
The New Yorker/Houston
Ezra Klein and Dahlia Lithwick, NYTimes podcast, ‘The Ezra Klein Show.’
The Dobbs Decision Isn’t Just About Abortion. It’s About Power.
The legal journalist Dahlia Lithwick breaks down the Dobbs decision and considers the “raw power” of the Supreme Court’s conservative supermajority.
I’m Ezra Klein. This is “The Ezra Klein Show.”
On Friday, June 24, a Supreme Court majority voted to overturn Roe v Wade. I am recording this on Saturday evening, and abortion is now banned in at least nine states. More likely to follow in the coming days. The way to understand this moment goes beyond any one case. This is a moment of legal regime change. This has made clearest in a concurring opinion written by Chief Justice John Roberts. He charges — it’s really an extraordinary document. He charges the other five Republican appointees with abandoning judicial restraint. He writes quote, “If it is not necessary to decide more to dispose of a case, then it is necessary not to decide more.”
Perhaps we’re not always perfect and following that command, and certainly, there are cases that warrant an exception, but this is not one of them. There are now six Republican appointees on the Supreme Court to three Democratic appointees. That is true despite Republicans losing the popular vote in seven of the last eight presidential elections. The Supreme Court is our least Democratic branch, but it has become unbelievably undemocratic, maybe even anti-democratic.
I’m joined today by Dahlia Lithwick. She covers the Supreme Court for Slate, she hosts the legal podcast “Amicus.” she’s a person I turn to whenever I need to understand the court, and she brings her clarity and passion in spades here today. As always, my email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Well, this is where we get back to that. I remember a couple of years ago, you and I chatted about this minoritarian rule problem that leaches its way not just through the filibuster, which means the WHPA, the Women’s Health Protection Act, didn’t even come to a vote that would have codified Roe or the filibuster rule, the John Lewis Act, which would have reinstated the parts of the Voting Rights Act that Shelby County gutted.
And I think that part of the thing that we need to really wrap our heads around is what do you do when Republicans currently sitting on the court were seated by presidents who, in fact, lost the popular vote but won the electoral college and the electoral college is massively weighted towards rural agrarian states and that in turn is reaffirmed by a Senate that massively, massively malapportioned in the interests of rural agrarian states. And they then, once they get on the court, become a party too exactly what you’re describing, which is shrinking the vote whether it’s Shelby County, or Brnovich last year.
Whatever it is, it feels as though this really does feel like the doom loop of minority rule right now.
Dahlia Lithwick’s three book recommendations:
- Hope in the Dark – – “Profound meditation.”
- Man’s Search for Meaning – – “A lodestar to purpose.”
- You Can’t be Neutral on a Moving Train – – She quotes Zinn:
“To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something.
If we remember those times and places, and there are so many where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction. And if we do act in however smaller way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents. And to live now as we think human beings should live in defiance of all that is bad around us is itself a marvelous victory.” Howard Zinn, “You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train.”
The Supreme Court dissenting opinion on Roe v. Wade
The dissent was authored by Justice Stephen Breyer.
“With sorrow — for this Court, but more, for the many millions of American women who have today lost a fundamental constitutional protection — we dissent.”
-Justices Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan
Full text, 66 pages:
“We live in capitalism. Its power seems inescapable. So did the divine right of kings. Any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings.”
– Ursula Le Guin
“With sorrow — for this Court, but more, for the many millions of American women who have today lost a fundamental constitutional protection — we dissent.”
-Justices Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan
Progress isn’t always a straight line.
Today’s Supreme Court decision is wrong
but Congress passing the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act is a modest but real step forward. And the fight will go on, thanks to the activists, survivors, and families who continue to demand action.
Today, the Supreme Court not only reversed nearly 50 years of precedent, it relegated the most intensely personal decision someone can make to the whims of politicians and ideologues—attacking the essential freedoms of millions of Americans.
-President Barack Obama
♡ ‘Culture of Care’ @AnaMariaforNY
Timeline: America’s Long Civil Rights March
By Nikole Hannah-Jones and Al Shaw, ProPublica
Ever since the War of the States, Congress and the Supreme Court have clashed over the question of civil rights. When considering the recent rulings on affirmative action, the Voting Rights Act and the Defense of Marriage Act, it is useful to take the long view of the push and pull between Congress and the Supreme Court when it comes to civil rights. The long arc of history might bend toward justice, but there’s always been a lot of pendulum swinging along the way.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — With the U.S. Supreme Court expected to overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision before the end of its 2021-2022 term, Americans’ confidence in the court has dropped sharply over the past year and reached a new low in Gallup’s nearly 50-year trend. Twenty-five percent of U.S. adults say they have “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in the U.S. Supreme Court, down from 36% a year ago and five percentage points lower than the previous low recorded in 2014.
Abortion is a fundamental right for all women. It must be protected. I wish to express my solidarity with the women whose liberties are being undermined by the Supreme Court of the United States.
-French President Emmanuel Macron
The Kindness Bonus
“Please be kind” sounds like a moral imperative. And in some ways, it is.
But behind the theory of the firm and a key building block of successful communities is the idea that kind interactions are significantly more productive.
When people feel seen and respected, they’re more likely to focus on what needs to be done, instead of taking umbrage or being defensive.
When we leave opportunities and pathways for others, they can move forward with less friction.
And when we’re enjoying our days, we’ve created a posture that spreads.
Hockey games aren’t supposed to be kind. But just about everything else works better when we don’t throw elbows.
“CARE is the antidote to violence.”
– Saidiya Hartman
From Jon Meacham’s podcast today, June 24th, 2022
On June 24th, 1990, The Catholic Church discusses excommunicating politicians who disagree with the church on abortion rights.
Important listen for history, and in this moment.
Reflections of History
From former Governor Mario Cuomo in 1984, at Notre Dame:
“I speak here as a politician and also as a Catholic, raised as a Catholic, pre-Vatican II church, educated in Catholic schools, attached to the church first by birth and then by choice, now by love. […] The Catholic church is my spiritual home. My heart is there. And my hope. The Catholic who holds political office in a pluralistic democracy, who was elected to serve Jews and Muslims, atheists, and protestants, as well as Catholics, bear special responsibility. He or she undertakes to help to create conditions under which all can live with a maximum of dignity and with a reasonable degree of freedom. Where everyone who chooses can hold beliefs different from specifically Catholic ones, sometimes contradictory to them, with laws that protect people’s rights to divorce, use birth control, and even to choose abortion. I protect my right to be a Catholic by preserving your right to believe as a Jew, a protestant, or non-believer, or anything else you choose. I accept the church’s teaching on abortion, must I insist you do, by law? By denying you Medicaid funding, by a Constitutional amendment? If so, which one? Would that be the best way to avoid abortions, or prevent them? […] We should understand whether abortion is outlawed or not, our work has barely begun. The work of creating a society where the right to life doesn’t end at the moment of birth. Where an infant isn’t helped into a world that doesn’t care if it’s fed properly, housed decently, educated adequately.”
“Search for the means of grace, and the hope of glory.” -Jon Meacham
S A N C T U A R Y
California Governor Gavin Newsom:
Abortion is legal in California.
It will remain that way.
I just signed a bill that makes our state a safe haven for women across the nation.
We will not cooperate with any states that attempt to prosecute women or doctors for receiving or providing reproductive care.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
The news coming out of the United States is horrific. My heart goes out to the millions of American women who are now set to lose their legal right to an abortion. I can’t imagine the fear and anger you are feeling right now.
Signal App post today on twitter:
Here is your friendly reminder that we built Signal for private, secure communication. It’s built so you can communicate individually and in groups, through text and calls, without fear of interference or data collection. Free to use and not for profit.
Anna Gifty Opoku-Agyeman, editor of the essay collection “The Black Agenda,” spoke with Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep about how people should appropriately commemorate the day —
- White people should celebrate this holiday in the way that centers Black Americans. What I mean by that is, if your celebration looks like taking away or speaking over Black Americans and how they’re choosing to celebrate and how they’re choosing to stand in their truth, then I don’t think that’s actually celebrating alongside Black Americans. Just don’t interrupt Black folks who are just trying to have a great time.
- I think it’s great that there’s aspects of the Black American story that are being commemorated in this way. I think that [Ohio State University professor] Dr. Trevon Logan said it best [in a recent op-ed in Bloomberg]: Juneteenth should remind Americans that emancipation was necessary but insufficient. There needs to be an actual grappling with how racial injustice is still shaping the lives of Black Americans and Black folks in America by extension, today.
- Because the reality is, while Juneteenth is being commodified, Black Americans and Black folks in America are still struggling. So you’re making money off of supposed Black liberation and freedom, when that freedom and liberation hasn’t been fully realized.
- Yes, it’s America, so commodification and commercialization is inevitable, right? You know, just go to Times Square, for example. I think my whole point around that is, organizations that really want to deeply engage with Juneteenth also need to deeply grapple with how racial injustice is sort of taking place in their own organizations.
Beautiful re-play of Banjo Player Rhiannon Giddens singing slave narratives with terry gross, an instrument with its own uniquely African American story: the banjo. Originally broadcast May 11, 2017.
W O R L D R E F U G E E D A Y
Al Jazeera English
For the first time in history, over 100 million people have been forced to flee their homes, according to @Refugees.
If the number of forcibly displaced people was a country, it would be the 15th-most populated country in the world.
The plight of Palestinian refugees is the longest unresolved refugee problem in the world. According to @Refugees. By 1952 the number of expelled Palestinian refugees was 867,000. Today, that figure is 5.8 million.
After Ukraine, the biggest population of refugees today are Syrians, followed by Palestinians and Venezuelans. Around 85% of the world’s refugees are hosted by low-and-middle-income countries.
Summer solstice 2022 in Northern Hemisphere will be at 2:13 AM on Tuesday June 21st.
This is a powerful time that marks a transition, a new beginning, the release of the old, and a reset that supports a turning point. Honor something in your life that is ending and something new that marks a beginning. Focus on a completion, even a small one, that can symbolize a larger cycle of change. What is being released from the past? Honor a new beginning by making a change, even a small one, of something in your environment as a reflection of the larger picture. Bring in something new, try something new, and do something you have never done before. It is important to create some kind of ritual for yourself around this solstice by symbolizing an ending as well as a new beginning.
After two long years of Covid restrictions, the great stone circle of Stonehenge reopened for summer solstice celebrations on Monday, prompting pagans, healers, nature lovers and party-goers to head back to Salisbury Plain in their thousands.
“For the last two years we haven’t been able to get to the stones for the summer solstice. It’s so lovely to be back and feel part of this amazing landscape again.”
When Covid lockdowns and restrictions hit in 2020, the free access right to the stone circle at summer solstice was one of the high-profile events that was cancelled. In 2021, people were again asked to stay away, though some defied the request and hopped fences to witness the sunrise from the circle. This year English Heritage’s “managed open access” was back on, and the charity and police planned for 10,000 to attend.
Druid Chris Park: ‘It’s so lovely to be back and feel part of this amazing landscape again.’Photograph: Sam Frost/The Guardian
What if we get this right?
The next generation marine biologist Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, a policy expert and writer, and a Brooklyn native.
Her thoughts on hope…better served as possibility:
‘While I’m not a fan of hope as a guiding principle, because it by definition assumes that the outcome will be good, which I know is not a given, I am completely enamored with the amount of possibility that’s available to us. So that’s the word that I try to embrace when I think about what if we get it right, is how much possibility remains.’
‘And we live in a species moment, is how I think of this. It was probably true, pre-2020, but it is clear, post-2020. And I believe that underlying every grave and wondrous potential that we have as a species, and ratcheting up the panic that leads us away from rising to our highest human capacities, in every sphere of our life together, each of us knows and feels the disarray of the natural world at a cellular level, in our bodies. What is true is that we are not separate from it. It’s not even so much that we are in it — we are of it.’
We are one of 8 million or so species on this planet.
‘(Johnson) is cofounder of the Urban Ocean Lab, a think tank for coastal cities. She co-created Spotify-Gimlet’s podcast How to Save a Planet, on climate solutions. She coedited this beautiful climate anthology, which I had not discovered until now, and I so recommend it: All We Can Save: Truth, Courage, and Solutions for the Climate Crisis. And also, you’re cofounder of the All We Can Save Project, which I recommend that people look up online. I love how you stress, in the description of that work, that you’re nurturing the “we” in that “all we can save.”’
I’ve always been focused on solutions. I have this extremely practical approach to most things — I’m like, OK, who’s doing what? What’s the plan? Like, let’s not talk about feelings so much; let’s figure out what’s next. And so that is the vibe that I’ve tried to take into my work as it’s broadened from oceans to climate more generally, is we have most of the solutions we need at our fingertips, for all of these climate challenges, whether it’s agriculture or green building retrofits or bike lanes or composting or wind energy in the ocean or farming seaweed or whatever. We know how to do this stuff. We just have to do it. And so figuring out how we can welcome more people into this work, get people excited, help them find where they fit, is really where I’ve been focusing my yammering energies, these days.
I mean, the most depressing thing I can think of is to just watch the world burn and crumble before my eyes while I just wallow in self-pity on the couch. Right? So I don’t have any delusions that I can “save the planet,” but you’ve got to try to do your part.
And that’s how I think about all of this. We know what we’re supposed to do, in that same way that you were describing we know that it’s wrong right now. We know that things are out of balance, on a cellular level. We can feel that sort of friction, with the way that we move through the world. I mean, I dare you to stand in a redwood grove and not be humbled, or to dive on a coral reef and see even just the glimmer of its former magnificence and have some respect for these ecosystems and the fact that we are sharing this planet.
So I think that climate communication has focused too much on the problem. I will admit, I don’t read the details of every UN climate report, because I know the summary is, it is worse than you thought, it is happening faster than you thought, and we really need to get our act together. And I focus on the getting our act together part, because I think that’s the pivot that we need right now. We have more than enough information. I’m grateful for the science, and it’s helping us make more nuanced and clear decisions, but the broad strokes that everyone needs to pitch in, have been there for a long time.
Eunice Newton Foote
There’s a whole lineage that you are in — names we don’t remember, people who’ve contributed. And I wonder, also, just —
It was Dr. Katharine Wilkinson, coeditor of All We Can Save, who introduced me to Eunice. I feel like I’m on a first-name basis with her, even though she was doing her research in 1856, when she discovered that carbon dioxide was a greenhouse gas and would warm the planet. A woman discovered this through experimentation in her backyard and was essentially erased from history. An Irish physicist a few years later came to a very similar discovery and was credited as “the father of climate science.”
Someone with a Y chromosome.
And Eunice also signed the Seneca Falls Convention.
So she was, as Katharine and I like to say, the first climate feminist — although she didn’t really see this whole apocalypse coming, per se. [laughs] She was just like, This turns out it will warm the atmosphere, if we emit all of this carbon dioxide.
This conversation, a must listen, was recorded at the 2022 TED Conference. Click the box above.
“To whom much is given, much is expected.”
Listening to this podcast with Johnson, a marine biologist, I remembered the sweet and very real aspirations of 10-year-old Maite Rodriguez. A student brutally murdered at the school in Uvalde, Texas. Maite was a lover of animals and the environment, and she dreamed of becoming a marine biologist. She often wore a pair of green (her favorite color) high-top Converse shoes with a heart drawn in marker over her right toes. The work I do going forward for our planet, for the oceans, will be in Maite’s memory, a life cut short because of access to automatic weapons in the United States.
Held at press conference in D.C. Maite was wearing green Converse shoes when she was massacred with other students and two teachers in Uvalde. The only way her little body could be identified were by her green high tops. She drew the heart on the right toe.
For Maite. For Uvalde. For our planet. 🌏
[All trees should be ‘heritage’ trees.]
After a virtual hiatus to relocate [sanctuary] from a state quickly and widely falling into oppression, marginalization, nationalism, and White Supremacy, a post to remind us that humans are but one species of 8,000,000, and yet it is the species bent on destroying the planet, the human species. Maybe the arc of survival is tied to the moral arc. We are failing.
Coming soon to Soon to Dayle’s Community
Café beginning two weeks from today:
dayle in limoux ❀
It’s a play on Emily in Paris. J’adore. So fun. Please connect and comment in our community space during my travels. My virtual column will focus on the beloved historic Languedoc region [Occitanie] in south-west France. And! The Tour de France will be passing through later in July. Energies are shifting, moving. Movement. ‘Emovere.’ Possibility, again, possible. And re-imagining what once was into what is.
Limoux, Occitannie, France.
The Arc of History…(and hers)
By every geologic measure, modern human life is a tiny blip, a spark of static on a very long-playing record.
For most of the time that life has existed on Earth, there were no humans. And when there were human-like creatures, they spent much of their time doing not much. Nomads eat when they need to, move around and hang out. It’s not an easy life, but there are none of the modern distractions or problems that urban culture presents.
Grain began to change things, because agriculture produces far more calories per acre, allowing populations to grow… and to store the results of our labor. Stored grain, though, is easier to steal and to tax than something that must be eaten fresh off the tree or harvested.
And so you get markets and wars and governments and the rise of a group of people wealthier than any individual farmer or nomad could be.
This is all mostly irrelevant. It’s irrelevant in the way that understanding how Edison made movies or sound recordings is irrelevant. It’s nice to know the history, but it doesn’t help you win an Oscar or a Grammy.
The two most relevant forces are in a powerful dance right now:
• The carbon-fueled growth of industry.
• The information-fueled growth of ideas and connection.
Industry changed the way the Earth looks from space, it enriched billions of people and it has driven our species to the brink of extinction due to our impact on the climate. It has often been based on caste and coercion, and created both opportunities and problems.
Connection has enabled culture to thrive, and in recent years, amplified by the noise of the internet, it’s also made many people miserable in the short-run.
As we slog through another long, challenging year, one in which these two forces conflict, amplify and engage with each other, I’m remembering what Theodore Parker said more than 150 years ago:
I do not pretend to understand the moral universe, the arc is a long one, my eye reaches but little ways. I cannot calculate the curve and complete the figure by the experience of sight; I can divine it by conscience. But from what I see I am sure it bends towards justice.
We really don’t have a lot of choice about yesterday. Here we are, many of us with more leverage and power than any human on Earth had just a hundred years ago.
In the last few decades, so many areas of culture have moved forward that defenders of the status quo are becoming exhausted trying to defend what was. And they sometimes express that exhaustion through anger, division and vitriol.
The good news is that we have exactly what we need to make things better. If enough of us stand up and lead and connect, we’ll continue to get closer to what’s possible.
Here’s to peace of mind and possibility. They go together.
And potential. And purpose. -dayle
Happy Father’s Day, dad.
Robert Dale Ohlau