Tara's Thoughts

Archive for the ‘Current Events’ Category

This post from Literary Hub should be of interest to any author, for that matter any artist of any kind, who wants to fight back against the current attempts to ban books in the US. The Author’s Guild has created a toolkit to simplify the process of speaking out against this attempt to quash self-expression and rewrite history.

We have to be on the alert because, if the attempt is successful, they won’t stop with books.

Read the post here: Want to stop Book Bans?

The ongoing climate crisis has already impacted our lives in serious ways. Extreme weather events. Earthquakes and tornados in places that have never had them before. Wildfires greater and more frequent than ever that have devasted entire towns. Rising seas levels that threaten coastal communities. And so much more.

Many people all over the world are working to reduce the effects of climate change and save our biosphere. But unless we human beings change the way we perceive our world, and find ways to respect rather than exploit the earth and its many non-human inhabitants we will always be in danger of destroying the very environment that keeps us alive.

This  change in our belief system starts with understanding and accepting the concepts behind the Rights of Nature movement.  It starts with realizing that everything on this planet, the oceans, the forests, the animals, the land itself, has a right to its own existence. Which means the right to be unencumbered by human notions of “ownership” and “property”.  The right to thrive.

On Thursday, November 9, 2021 at 7:00 pm PST the San Fernando Valley chapter of the Climate Reality Project will be hosting a panel of creative artists and activist at the forefront of the Rights of Nature Movement.  Our guests will be two of the producers of the documentary film “The Rights of Nature: A Global Movement” and two of the principal activists who appear in the film. 

You can view the film on YouTube for free whenever you like and then join us on November 9th for our discussion to learn more about the history of the Rights of Nature movement and find out what is being done to make sure your children grow up in a world where there is air to breathe and a chance that your grandchildren will know, first hand, what a tree looks like.

Below, Judy Glass, Chair of the Environmental Justice and Rights of Nature Committee and a Climate Reality Project Leadership Team Member, offers an introduction to the subject of Rights of Nature as a lead in to what we anticipate will be an eye-opening conversation.

To introduce our discussion of Rights of Nature, I’d like to begin with the  highlights of the evolution of the rights of humans—which we know is part of the rights  of nature, though too often not thought of that way.

The evolution of human rights has both a political and an economic dimension, both relevant to thinking about Rights of Nature. To provide context for our program tonight, I want to acknowledge the work of Christopher Stone, recently deceased, who more than 50 years ago authored a pioneering work on Rights of Nature called “Do Trees Have Standing?   Toward Legal Rights for Natural Objects”. 

In his introduction, Stone quotes from a 19th C court decision refusing women the right to practice law in Wisconsin.  The court comments that the nature of woman—purity, delicacy, subordination of hard reason to sympathetic feeling—disqualify her for the battle field of forensic strife.  Stone editorializes that the movement to confer new rights  is “bound to sound odd or frightening or laughable…because until the rightless thing receives its rights, we cannot see it as anything but a thing for the use of “us” –those who are holding rights at the time….”

Here are some significant dates in the history of increasing political rights for human beings:

1215:

English Barons forced the king to renounce certain of his rights, particularly habeas corpus

1688-89:

Parliament shares governing rights with the King.  English Bill  of Rights-includes end to cruel punishments

1776:

US born into age of Enlightenment;  Declaration of Independence—all men are equal; have inalienable rights from God;  life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness

1789:

France – Decl. of the Rights of Man

1791:

US Constitution:  Freedom of speech, religion, assembly; right not to incriminate oneself

19th Century in America:

No property qualification for voting;  Women can enter professions, can divorce; inherit property; Get custody of children

1860s:

Blacks freed from slavery; black men get the vote.  But reconstruction denies to blacks the freedoms promised by the 13,14,15 Amendments

1920:

Women get the vote after 75 years of agitation;  Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s finally delivers, at least on paper, on many promises of the Constitution

21st Century:

Significant Constitutional protection of economic and social rights for LGBTQIA+   individuals & communities

I separated the human struggle for economic rights because here the analogy with the rights of nature movement is so compelling.   The building blocks—the resources– of any economy are land, labor and capital.  From the point of view of the economy, labor is a cost, a commodity.  But labor is human life, and the struggle for economic rights for workers  and consumers is ongoing. The struggle to reduce hours of work or to gain legal rights to organize unions took all of the 19th C and half of the 20th. Reducing child labor, requiring minimum years of schooling, minimum wages, paid vacations,  pensions, social security—none of that happened before the mid 20th century; recognizing health care as a right still is not established in the US, nor are economic protections for LGBTQIA+ individuals and communities  guaranteed in their implementation.   

These are rights of nature, rights of human nature.  All hard fought, over many years.

Similarly to labor,  land was seen as a cost, as commodities, as resources to be used to create wealth. In the late 20th century, though, another quantum leap occurred when  new laws like the Endangered Species Act, and the Environmental Protection Act morphed into a discussion with a Rights of Nature emphasis.  Enter Christopher Stone, and nations like Ecuador and New Zealand, and local communities  like Santa Monica, and film makers like our guests tonight whose consciousness mirrors that of indigenous peoples around the world, arguing for giving “standing” to trees, rivers, and other natural entities,  to sue for protection, for life and their right to thrive, their right to be other than resources.

Judy Glass

Chair, Environmental Justice and Rights of Nature Committee

Climate Reality Project Leadership Team Member

San Fernando Valley Chapter

November 2021

Please join us at our November Chapter meeting by registering at bit.ly/SFVCR

And join in wherever you can in establishing and protecting the Rights of Nature so that you don’t have to worry about what you will say when your grandchildren look up at you and ask, “What is a tree?”

Today’s post is a call for each of you to hop over to our fellow blogger Sean P. Carlin’s page and read his latest post about President Joe Biden’s American Jobs Plan.  Even if politics is not your thing you will find yourself built into this plan. Mr. Carlin explains why we, as a country and as fellow human beings sharing this planet, need to support this plan and why it is critical that we each do what we can to convince our Congress members to get it passed.

“U.S. President Joe Biden’s American Jobs Plan is the politically ambitious, morally imaginative piece of legislation we need to tackle the ever-worsening climate crisis by rebuilding our country and rebooting our economy through grand-scale public-works projects.  Whether we actually get it, however, comes down to how hard we—all American citizens—are willing to fight for its full passage and implementation.”

Sean P. Carlin

So writes Author Sean P. Carlin, Climate Activist and Leadership Member of The Climate Reality Project. The central focus of his blog piece is a credible and clear analysis of current geopolitical, environmental, and economic realities that have brought us face to face with a global crisis that, if left unchecked, will spell the end of life as we know it on this planet. Mr. Carlin properly places this set of interconnecting issues at the top of the list of critical concerns for our civilization.

Politics is in everything. But this is about fighting a global crisis that threatens to make portions of the planet uninhabitable. It is also about raising wages for essential home care workers and creating good jobs for people from disadvantaged communities. It is also about clean water for everybody. And child care programs.  And modernizing public transportation and our power grid. And so much more.

This is not about whose bumper sticker makes you feel better. It is truly about do you want the human race to survive the next 50 years? Do you want your children to have clean air to breathe? Replacing old paradigms about job creation and getting past old, short-sighted attitudes that are literally poisoning our planet and our population will be our only path to survival.

President Biden’s American Jobs Plan, currently on the floor of Congress, will be crucial to getting America on the right road to building a healthy, sustainable future for you and your family. The depth of the research done by Mr. Carlin as a basis for his conclusions is impressive and his investment of many years learning about these issues from the likes of former Vice President Al Gore and others lends credibility and clarity to his descriptions of the issues at hand.

There is no guarantee that President Biden’s American Jobs Plan will pass. So, please, lend your support.

FOR THOSE READERS WHO MIGHT NOT HAVE THE TIME TO READ THE ENTIRE PIECE: PLEASE JUMP TO THE BULLET POINTS TOWARD THE END OF THE BLOG POST.

Mr. Carlin has made the process of making your voice heard super easy.  He has done the work for us providing a handful of ways you can jump right in:  Links to send petitions, content to help you write to your local officials and members of Congress, a pre-written Tweet you can copy and post complete with hash tags and handles, and even simple instructions on how to share the word about this effort with friends and family.

Beautifully summarized by the author, Mr. Carlin says:

“I want nothing more than for you all to share the profound hope I feel for what comes next—for the fairer, more just, more sustainable world we’re about to build.  But hope requires action.  We can’t just trust that this will get done; we have to ensure it does—with the fullest degree of moral imagination possible.  We have to, every single one of us, demand it…. I do believe we will get meaningful climate legislation this year, and that, consequently, President Biden will be able to go to the COP26 conference in Glasgow this autumn in a position of profound moral and geopolitical authority on this matter, but it isn’t going to happen unless every citizen in America plays their part. None of us are singlehandedly responsible for solving the climate crisis, but we all have a moral obligation to contribute what we can to the solution. There’s a path forward on the table. Let’s take it.”

Sean P. Carlin,
Author, Climate Activist,
Leadership Member Climate Reality Project

The San Fernando Valley chapter of the Climate Reality Project is very pleased to host, as our June 2021 Featured Speaker, Dr. Peter Kalmus.

Dr. Peter Kalmus is a climate scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab. He uses satellite data and models to study the rapidly changing Earth, focusing on biodiversity forecasting, clouds, and severe weather. He has also spent many years becoming an advocate for a fossil-fuel free society.

Dr. Kalmus’s award-winning book “Being the Change: Live Well and Spark a Climate Revolution” offers real-life solutions to help you move away from a consumerist lifestyle. 
 

“Changing our lives shifts the culture and creates space for collective action.
Together, let’s explore a more meaningful life–without all the fossil fuel!” — Peter Kalmus

In his book Dr. Kalmus outlines a series of doable steps that anyone can adopt to bring us all closer to a sustainable society.  Join us on Tuesday, June 8, 2021, 7PM PDT,  for a free Zoom gathering where you can ask Dr. Kalmus your questions about sustainable living.

“I know I can change the world, indeed, I am changing the world. What I can’t do is save it. That I have limits is a fact, and I accept it.  I don’t expect my changes to have a big impact. … If what I do has impact, I know this impact arises only from an existing resonance, a resonance that grows through interacting with many other people in turn. We are like water molecules in a wave: we simultaneously transmit the wave and are moved by it. No one molecule causes the wave, but together an enormous number of water molecules carry the wave. It’s all of us together, carried by a resonance, that will affect great change.”  -Peter Kalmus

The scientific community tells us we have already passed the Climate Change tipping point.  It is critical for each of us to travel our own path to that place where, together, we can carry our dream of a healthy society into the wave of the future.

SFV Climate Reality Project Chapter Meeting

Tuesday, June 8, 2021; 7:00 pm PDT

CLICK HERE to REGISTER

Author Bradford R. Kane Supplies The Answer

Pitchfork Populism; the book by author Bradford R. Kane available on Amazon and at pitchforkpopulism.com

In this post I am featuring the work of an author with deep roots in political history, government, and social justice. 

(Full disclosure: Bradford R. Kane is my cousin and I am very proud of him!) 

“Pitchfork Populism; Ten Political Forces That Shaped An Election And Changed America” Prometheus Books; 2019)  connects the dots from where we are now as a country to times, circumstances and players deep within the history of the United States that opened the doors to what we are living through now. Mr. Kane’s book offers a journey through this landscape that reveals the roller coaster of our history and the long tendrils of past events, strategies and divisions of intent that continue to affect our country today.  

This book is a valuable tool for anyone seeking insight and clarity into the political forces that have shaped our country and offers an educated vision of what our future might look like. Kane’s well-crafted writing does a masterful job of explaining the context and history of a potentially confusing and multi-level subject without being dry or professorial. His personal stake in the world of politics and its consequences remains present in his writing giving the reader a human experience and a sense of just how relevant this analysis is to our own lives.

For those wondering whose agenda is being supported here, put your concerns aside. Kane views his subject from a non-partisan standpoint and has, in fact, a long-standing history of encouraging bi-partisan communication. Among many other efforts over a lifetime career in politics and public policy, Mr. Kane is the Founder and Executive Director of The Bi-Partisan Bridge, a resource for information with a mission of encouraging those with differing political views to find common ground.

The Bi-Partisan Bridge

Now, to show you that my admiration for cousin’s work is not just familial affection, here are some of his credentials:

Bradford R. Kane began his career in Congress as legislative counsel to Congresswoman Cardiss Collins (D-IL) and has served as counsel to the Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce & Consumer Protection, and as a member of President Clinton’s Task Force on Health Care Reform. Kane has also served the State of California as Deputy Controller, legislator and subsequently, deputy secretary for information technology.  In the global arena, he was CEO of the International Commission on Workforce Development and a strategy council member of the United Nations Global Alliance on ICT & Development (UN GAID). He received his undergraduate degree from the University of California, Davis, and his law degree from Hastings College of Law.

As further proof of the heights Kane has reached with this book, there are the  reviews (on the book cover and online at Amazon and Pitchforkpopulism.com) from the likes of William S. Cohen, former Secretary of Defense, Henry Cisneros,  former Secretary of Housing and former Mayor of San Antonio, Jonathan Alter, MSNBC political analyst and best-selling author, and Leon Panetta, former White House Chief of Staff, former Secretary of Defense and former Director of the CIA.

To make this an even easier read, the author has constructed his book so that you can start with any chapter that interests you and jump around as the topics catch your eye. This engaging read left me with an appreciation of Kane’s offering of hope looking forward and his conclusion that we are at our strongest as a society and a country when we work together in unity and mutual respect.

One of my goals for this blog is to offer a platform for authors whose work I admire.  I know a lot of wonderful writers and poets.  When a new work is available I make it my mission to feature their work or point to it so you can take a look at it.

This charming little story was sent to me by Carole Field, MFT, published author and playwright.  You can find her books, “Dating Down And Those of Us Who Do It” and “New York Guns, Kansas Nuns, Birth Control!” on Amazon.  I have known Carole for many years. We talk about everything. She is an educated listener and a deep thinker. I can always count on her to give me a unique, well-considered perspective on any issue.

Knowing her as I do I can absolutely accept that she wrote this story in one session while sitting in the parking lot of the Food 4 Less!  “The Smell of Make-Up” struck me as engaging, lovely, funny, and touching. Here she captures a moment in time that takes a bit of nostalgia, a bit of fantasy, and our current planetary restrictions and ties them all up together into a little bit of hope.  Seems like a gem of a holiday gift.

THE SMELL OF STAGE MAKE-UP   by Carole H. Field

I am never really vexed by the randomness of thoughts. I’m aware our synapses aren’t linear. Ultimately, we just make them work.  But this particular, glaring, non-sequitur was so unhitched, I had to go home and scribble it on paper.

So- there I sat in the parking lot of  Food  4  Less on Van Owen Blvd. Not the most religious of experiences. And I watched the masked and gloved, largely Mexican, families cajoling and joyously poking each other towards their/our essential pilgrimage.

And so, what else do I think of when I’m in a grocery store parking lot on a scorching, Sunday morning during a pandemic? None other than-  how much I missed the smell of stage make-up. Naturally.

Yes- the smell. Not the pretty colors or what it did to these deep-set eyes, but the smell. That first blast when you unscrewed the lid and it hit you, without permission.

              “How do you do, Sugar? We’re in this together “, it would say.

I  would light up like a twin finding his counterpart, or, even, a virgin birth.

The make-up from Macy’s or Bloomies or the cheap drugstore on W.  53rd  never had that certain smell, nor, the voice, avuncularly calling me  Sugar.

That darling little man on E. 41st s who never looked up from reading Backstage or Show Business but could accurately advise you from some third eye.

              “Watcha up to?” he would ask.

              “Yay- I am going out with ‘No, No, Nanette’ next week, “ I would respectfully reply.

              “Mazel tov,” he would say. “Get the Max Factor #5. You’re part light olive, part pink. Anything else will drown you out. We got new lip brushes from Berlin. They’re on sale. “

And, I’d leave there, smiling, with my new stash, still never seeing the color of his eyes.

And in the subway, I’d steal a bench, peruse the area to begin my new relationship with no interruption, and uncap one of my new potions.

 And, there it’d be again. The waft, the greeting, the historical ambrosia left by every actress before me and every actress henceforth, hoofing, in “No, No Nanette”. And it would say,

              “Hi, Sugar. We’re in this together.”

 Whether it was the Belasco, or a black box on Melrose, or Temple Israel‘s backstage in Detroit, the smell of stage make-up had the same voice.

I pulled myself inside the grocery store. No doubt everyone in there was thinking the same as me. Understandably, I hobbled over to the lonely make-up stand. There, far from commanding,  smiled the Revlon and the Maybelline. They were trying. But I pretended, for just one second, that I was surrounded by the smell of  Max Factor and Ben Nye and….And, that the word pandemic was only something cobbled together on a Scrabble board.  And, that the lights were as radiant as ever on the Great White Way. And, the only masks anyone was wearing were for effect, for something theatrical, under the silly magicians, cheesy sleight of hand. Undoubtedly.

              “Sugar,” said the voice from Max Factor #5.  “Hey- you got it goin’ on. This pandemic thing is temporary. They all are. Go with your inner resources. Go for the love, Carole. Because whether you’re basking in the smell of odorous, legendary, rouge, or of the inhibitions produced by your mask, it’s all about the love. Did you ever believe it was about anything else? “ he laughed.

I cautiously moved away from the make-up stand and filled my basket with food. I now had to look at Food 4 Less with different eyes. Yow- who knew that roast chicken and mascara had so very much in common?              

Oh…..what was it I said about random thoughts?


Tara Sitser - Leadership Member of Al Gore's Climate Reality Project

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