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.
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:
- National Security
- Support for Ukrainians
- Save money
- Buy local – plenty of domestic clean energy options
- Get off the grid
- Fewer spills into the ocean, waterways, and our soils
- Fewer methane leaks and explosions
- Reduce thousands of premature deaths due to fossil fuel emissions
- Reduce asthma attacks
- Clean the air, water, and land
- Slow down the warming of the climate
- Reduce waste generation from drilling, transportation, and plastics
You could cut your fossil fuel use by 5% to 20% starting today. Don’t procrastinate.
- Try driving less and walking or biking more – good for you too
- Lower your thermostat – where a sweater
- Insulate your attic
- Open windows in spring, summer, and fall
- Insulate your windows in winter
- Buy less and enjoy life more
- 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.
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:
- 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
-Not the news-
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
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
How bad does it have to get?
There is no texture to the sky today. It’s soft with a dull yellow sun. Not the brilliant blue that often precedes a hurricane.
They say it’s a high-altitude haze from the fires out west. And yet I smell the ash, chasing me indoors – a place I have tried to escape during the pandemic.
No, I’m not in California, or Oregon, or Washington. I am on the East Coast. And yet somehow, a ghost-like layer of smoke has reached all the way across our continent and continues to carry the memories of Pacific rim fires out into the Atlantic.
It’s Day 3 of this relatively minor inconvenience, but it brings home the magnitude of this global event. Just like the fires in California, Australia, Indonesia, and Brazil over the past few years the surface of the Earth is drying out in many places (new record of 130 degrees in Death Valley) and lightning storms are increasing. We are losing control of our goldilocks climate by continuing to poison our atmosphere and not taking the steps that will reduce these threats. Where is the government when we really need them? This is a challenge worth fighting for.
The residue from the West Coast fires will probably be washed out of our skies over the next few days as the residual rains from Hurricane Sally pass overhead. Sally is another climate exasperated event. We won’t get the 30 inches of rain that fell on some of the Gulf Coast or the torrential rains and floods of the Upper mid-West that occurred earlier in the year, but we should get enough to wash some of the remaining particulates from the skies. They will fall into our soils and the waters of the mid-Atlantic states and well beyond.
These events have not directly impacted us here in the East but they have been large enough to get our attention – if only for a few days. They might have impacts on our food supplies and other supply chains, and we will all end up paying for these disruptions somehow. But are these events enough to get us to look at our personal and corporate behaviors and change not just to save ourselves and our lifestyles but to help others as well.
What have we learned from the other great global, man-made crisis – the pandemic. As I attempted to change my behaviors to avoid catching Covid-19, I think I learned a little about myself relative to others. I have had encounters, both friendly and awkward, with people behind masks or not sporting a mask at all. I realized that my actions have not only been about protecting me and my loved ones but I followed the public health recommendations because wide participation is the only way to gain control over the spread of this virus.
I learned that to help fight any of these curses we all need to follow the best scientific advice available. That is the only way to win the fight against a global problem.
I want to invite you to listen to two podcasts with Saul Griffith. They will address most questions you have about electrifying America. At least they addressed most of my questions and provided a very pragmatic vision of the future and how we can get there. I found them both fascinating in the breadth of what they cover.
The first podcast, ‘How to solve climate change and make life more awesome‘ focuses on the technical and practical aspects of rewiring America.
The second podcast, ‘How to decarbonize America — and create 25 million jobs‘ focuses more on the social or political side of this challenge.
The vision of how we do this should be helpful to all of you. The bottom line is that Griffith – who should know what he is talking about – is convinced we can do this with existing technology and financial systems. He paints the picture we all need to have in our heads in order to work together to make this happen.
Who is Griffith? He is a Mac Arthur Genius Fellow and has been working on energy systems for over 40 years. You can also download his latest book, Rewiring America Handbook.
The Pandemic Fog
The Pandemic Fog – Since March I’ve been feeling like I’m living in a fog. There is a certain sameness about being in my house all the time and taking the same walking paths around my neighborhood. I miss the hugs and the sense of comfort I get when hanging out without worrying about how close I am to someone else. I miss the excitement of “looking ahead to the next trip or vacation”. There is a lack of freshness, a lack of oportunty and a lack of excitement in my everyday life. On top of that, more fear has entered my life. I’m greatly concerned about how and when this pandemic will end and the financial and health-related hardships many of us are facing.
I don’t think of this Pandemic Fog that I’m experiencing as boredom, however, because I’ve taken the opportunity to read more, walk more, and appreciate my partner and close friends more. I’ve meditated more this year and have tried to always “be there” for my family and friends. I’ve also engaged much more than in past years in the political campaigns and in my ongoing efforts to inspire more people to take personal actions in the fight against climate change. So I don’t think it’s boredom. In fact, life seems to be going too fast and I’m concerned that I’m wasting time and missing out on something important. It’s as if I’m lost in a fog and missing a year of my life.