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Why I Joined the Little Patuxent Review

I was just voted onto the board of The Little Patuxent Review (LPR), a literary journal based in Howard County, Maryland. I thought that some of you might want to know why, since I spend so much of my time on Climate Change and environmental issues. So, I am taking this opportunity to write down my reasons and then see where this experience takes me.

The LPR journal is named for a small river that flows from the Piedmont of Maryland, through the planned city of Columbia, and then joins the Middle Patuxent. Eventually, these waters flow into the Patuxent River and the Chesapeake Bay. 

 I have lived on this river since moving to Howard County in the 1970s, and I have waded, fished, and written about it over the years. So, it’s home to me – it is my watershed. It’s also the collector of all that washes off my land.

The LPR is an arts and literary journal, that publishes: poetry, short fiction, creative nonfiction, and artwork from up-and-coming and well-seasoned artists and writers. It currently is open for submissions and will produce two issues this year. I suggest you contact them for current and past editions and to subscribe, if you are interested. https://littlepatuxentreview.org/

So, why am I excited about joining this board? This is a good question. I have served on a variety of boards and find it to be a wonderful way to cross-pollinate ideas and opportunities, between boards, so they can each be more effective.   

And not all my time is devoted to environmental issues. My wife, Kathy, and I have been involved in a number of art shows and have hosted a story-telling series at the HoCo Conservancy. The arts make everything more worthwhile and help us to better understand complex issues like climate change and environmental justice in an intimate way that enhances our understanding of the challenges we face.

I am looking forward to learning and helping this organization blossom for the sake of our community and artists everywhere.

Ned Tillman

ned@sustainable.us

September, 2022

Ned is the author of The Big Melt, The Chesapeake Watershed, and Saving the Places we Love

New York Times Hiding Vital News

Guest Blog by Robert Bell

(Note from Ned – thought you might be interested in this article by Bob Bell who lives in Medford, Oregon. Worth stopping and thinking about the climate news we do get. Is it too little/too much/ how is it filtered…and who gets to see it.)

Have you heard that the planet’s third largest river has turned into a trickle along some of its stretches, causing cities like Sichuan, which get 80% of their electricity from hydropower, to close factories and ration power? I learned of it last Monday, August 22nd, through the reporters and their editors from The Guardian (1). After eleven weeks of drought during the rainy season, the 400 million people who use the Yangtze for drinking water are faced with a crisis. On Thursday, August 25th, Greta Thunberg tweeted pictures from BBC’s Al Jazeera showing the bare riverbed of the Yangtze River in a Chinese city (2). By Friday, as a reader of climate news, I was really curious about what was happening to the largest nation. I thought “Is there a story in the New York Times about this? I want to know more.” 

I have been hesitant about relying on the Times for climate news since 2003. Al Gore had stated then that “the only news is climate news,” yet the Times only printed 11 climate articles that year. The European press seemed furious that the largest newspaper of the world’s greatest emitter was not reporting to its readership critical events about climate change. European papers had dozens of articles that year. Since then, I have checked the Times last in the list of papers that I read. Two years ago, 70 members of the Extinction Rebellion were arrested for blocking the entrance to the New York Times building (620 Eighth Avenue in NY); they were protesting the Times’ lack of climate coverage (3). 

Since then, however, I have been heartened by seeing some climate coverage in the Times, particularly a story on the coming California megastorms (4). I decided on Friday, to check and see if the Times had decided to change policy and report climate news. So at noon, I typed “news.google.com  yangtze” and, sure enough, I found comprehensive coverage of the dry Yangtze in a very well-written article. But when I looked at the digital front page: no mention, no success in searches for “yangtze”, “china”, or “climate”. I checked again at 8pm. No mention. Large picture of a Chinese endangered sea urchin. That was it. Again Saturday morning, a fruitless search. Top headlines were about Trump’s affidavit, college football, and the Ukraine. Later that morning, I went to my climate activist’s meeting with eight other people. “How many of you know that the planet’s third largest river is now a trickle?” Five of the nine of us had heard about it. 

Later on Saturday, I found out the answer. Searching for “climate”, I found the Times’ Climate Forward newsletter box. It was way down the digital front page and very small. It contained a somewhat useless article about the shortage of lithium for electric cars, which I have known about for months. At the very end, “Essential News of the Times” had the vital news about the Yangtze (5). 

Another business article explained that the Times has eight million digital subscribers (6). It also has 15 million people reading one of the many newsletters it publishes. Its goal is to get these non-subscribing readers to subscribe and boost its readership to 10 million by 2025. The vital news about the third largest river is for newsletter readers only. How many? Probably a tenth of a million, not eight million. Why are eight million people deprived of vital world news? Given that dark money from fossil fuels has paralyzed Congress for the last few years, isn’t it likely that the same dark money is paralyzing vital media knowledge? Advertizing policy rules editorial policy. Not “fake” news, just hiding it so deeply that hardly anyone will find it. Anyone except the Extinction Rebellion and climate activist readers who subscribe to Climate Forward and become satisfied that the Times does fair coverage. Is this ecologically ethical?

(1) https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/aug/22/china-drought-causes-yangtze-river-to-dry-up-sparking-shortage-of-hydropower?CMP=share_btn_link

(2) https://twitter.com/_dmoser/status/1561906152048410625

(3) https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jun/22/new-york-times-protest-climate-crisis-coverage

(4) https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2022/08/12/climate/california-rain-storm.html

(5) https://www.nytimes.com/2022/08/26/climate/lithium-electric-car-batteries.html

(6) https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/05/business/media/nyt-new-york-times-earnings-q1-2021.html

A Request for Reviews

I’m learning about Amazon’s algorithms. I now know my books would get wider exposure if they had more Ratings on their Amazon book pages. For example, The Big Melt has been well received by the critics and students, young adults, teachers, and book clubs, but most people have not heard about it. And it has been a finalist in two book awards – I just need to bump up my marketing game a notch or two so more people check it out.

With that in mind, would you do me a big favor and take a few moments and help me inspire more people to care about the environment and the climate? If you have read The Big Melt (or one of my other books), would you please RATE (+/- provide a REVIEW) one of my book(s) on Amazon. It’s easy – just click below on one of the book titles, click sign in and the review page is right there. Once its open, all you need to do is click on one of the STAR ratings.

The Big Melt

The Chesapeake Watershed

Saving the Places we Love

Thank you so much… and if you haven’t read them all, they might be good for Spring Break or Summer reading. Enjoy and thank you again. It takes a village!

Let me know if you have any questions – ned@sustainable.us

A Taste of Historical Fiction

As many of you know, I’m having a wonderful time researching and reading a lot about the history of central Maryland – all for a book that I hope will be published later this year. This has been my Covid escape – trying to bring to life our collective ancestors and what their lives were like during the challenges they faced. It has offered me a healthier perspective on the challenges and moral decisions we face today as a species.

As part of this project, I have been reading a lot of historical fiction. A book I am currently ready is The House on Hatemonger Hill by Eileen Haavik McIntire. Eileen is a talented author and has a number of good books in print. I suggest you check her out on Amazon or on her website. I have found them to be good reads and very informative.

Let me know if you have a Historical Novel that you treasure. I have learned a lot reading what others have written.

Keep Reading,

Ned

Can Americans Agree to Cut Their Fossil Fuel Use?

There are so many reasons to cut our use and abuse of fossil fuels. 
So why not set personal and national goals for 5% to 20% less use of fossil fuels – and start today.

I can do that. Can you? Please send me your thoughts and your goals.

Reasons for reducing fossil fuel use:

  1. National Security
  2. Support for Ukrainians 
  3. Freedom
  4. Democracy
  5. Save money
  6. Buy local – plenty of domestic clean energy options
  7. Get off the grid
  8. Fewer spills into the ocean, waterways, and our soils
  9. Fewer methane leaks and explosions
  10. Reduce thousands of premature deaths due to fossil fuel emissions
  11. Reduce asthma attacks
  12. Clean the air, water, and land
  13. Slow down the warming of the climate
  14. Reduce waste generation from drilling, transportation, and plastics

You could cut your fossil fuel use by 5% to 20% starting today. Don’t procrastinate.

  1. Try driving less and walking or biking more – good for you too
  2. Lower your thermostat – where a sweater
  3. Insulate your attic
  4. Open windows in spring, summer, and fall
  5. Insulate your windows in winter
  6. Buy less and enjoy life more
  7. Use fewer plastics and throw away less

Whatever your reason (or reasons) – pick a goal now. We need everyone’s support.

I pledge to do #s__. ,_. _,_. _,_. or all of the above, and will try to lower my usage of fossil fuels by 

______%

A Leaf Scudding Before the Wind

My 7-year-old companion and I set out to collect pieces of nature for a school project and a gift for her mother. As I walk toward the woods, all I see are the remnants of winter – a collage of browns and grays in the woods and fields – typical of February. She is picturing colors. She scurries off ahead of me into the woods. Halfway across the parking lot, the calls of a red-shouldered hawk cause me to stop and stare up above the trees. His call quickly Peters out – then all is silent. I close my eyes and all I hear is a prickly leaf scratching the asphalt in a race with the wind. I open my eyes and watch a dry tan oak leaf scudding ahead of me.

I scan the woods in front of me and all I see are gray tree trunks and tan oak and beech leaves – the last leaves of the winter to fall to the forest floor. I catch up and we start to examine the ground more intently. We see white and black rocks with grayish-green lichen splotches in the dry creek beds. Upon closer examination, we find dark green ferns, pistachio green moss, and yellowy-green daffodil shoots pushing up through the thatch. We find red berries and red-stemmed wineberry plants. By the time we return home, we have more than enough for several arrangements and a newfound appreciation for our walks in the woods any time of year.

Ned

Keep Reading…

A climate change novel that has been shortlisted for two book awards. Available on Amazon

As a writer, I am always interested in the feedback that I receive on my books. In my latest book, The Big Melt, some people loved it and others got sidetracked wondering if the events I describe could really happen. I did exaggerate what could happen to make it more engaging – it is a work of fiction. It worked for some readers, but not all. Here is a thoughtful review that explains how one reader had to get over this early hump and suspend her disbelief, but once she did….

Review by Mina Hilsenrath

I had a hard time getting into it. I don’t know whether it was the young adult focus, with its teen characters, or my inability to suspend my disbelief about the melting described. I also had some concerns about where the story was going: would the ominous tone end up with a feel-good ending? But the further I got into it, the more real it became. Having spent so much time in public meetings, your depictions of those dynamics were spot on. And you absolutely NAILED the ending. (Spoiler alert) It was so much more convincing- and so much more tragic – to have Marley and his friends fail in their mission. The emotional impact of their loss resulted in having the book linger in memory. It made me think of all the towns and cities across America that have suffered from environmental pollution and degradation. You are right: many of them never recover. It can happen here, so what are we going to do about it? BRAVO, it’s clear why this book won so many awards and recognitions.”

So what’s the message??? Keep Reading!

Reasons For Voting in 2020

There are at least three major existential threats to human life. They are:

  • Pandemics
  • Climate Change 
  • Nuclear War

These very real threats are global in nature and therefore must be handled with the cooperation of many countries. This requires skilled leadership in the USA as well as elsewhere. Each of these risks has gotten greater in the past 4 years, and therefore, they are good reasons not to vote for Trump – his incoherent management style and the constantly rotating team he has around him are not up to dealing with complex global issues. He has demonstrated this with his mishandling of the coronavirus, his withdrawal from many of our alliances (e.g., World Health Organization, Paris Climate Accord), and in a myriad of other ways.

There are a series of other concerns that many of us also consider to be important. These include:

  • Jobs and economic security
  • Improving our democracy
  • Income inequality and access to the American Dream
  • Inherent worth and dignity of everyone
  • Domestic terrorism
  • Disinformation campaigns
  • Cyber Security
  • Breakdown of our institutions
  • Clean air, clean water and the degradation of the Earth’s biosphere of which we are a part
  • Protection of our Public Lands

On each one of these, Trump has also failed the majority of Americans. A few special interests have won. Most of us have lost. Few of us are better off today than we were 4 years ago. 

My Dream – I see a future where we all work together to deal with these issues in a systematic and responsible manner. Where we have a leader who can bring us together to achieve all that we can achieve. A leader who we can trust and who inspires us to be the best that we can be. A leader who reaches not only across the aisle but also across borders and works globally with the world community on these challenging issues.

I see a future where we support one another, where we listen to logic and science and the people all across this great land. Where we act with knowledge and compassion for others and where we all, through hard and honest work, can achieve our dreams for ourselves and our children. Let’s come together and make that wish come true. Vote as if your life, liberty, and your pursuit of happiness depend on it.

I am hopeful because Joe Biden has the potential for making this happen. I am excited because we get to help make this dream come true. We get to vote for leaders and representatives at all levels of government who know that we are better and can do better than this.

Ned Tillman is an earth and energy scientist and is an award-winning author of three books.

PT Barnum hired by Trump

The Scallion

-Not the news-

Related image

PT Barnum hired as auctioneer of public lands.

Trump attempts to balance budget and line his friend’s pockets by selling national parks at discount rates. Brings back his long lost idol to cloud the give-away with disinformation to confuse the people. #SavingThePlaces  Satire.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OGjnIG7puzY&feature=em-lsp

Teddy’s Response to Trump

Is this a sneer or a grimace on the face of the
man who saved 600 million acres for all of us to enjoy?

From The Scallion – not the news – Teddy Roosevelt turned over in his grave this past weekend after hearing about Trump’s plans to give National Parks back to New York syndicates – USGS reported that tremors were felt around the world. No telling what the Teddy bear might do to the doughboy if this plan proceeds. #SavingThePlaces

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OGjnIG7puzY&feature=em-lsp

Satire