Saturday, 27 January 2018

Step 16 in Going Green: Learn how to Write About Climate Change Without Lapsing into ALL CAPS SHOUTING

I have taken my own advice and started using my skills (aka writing) to promote the need for climate action.

In other words I’ve started drafting a number of op eds and letters. (Following my own advice yet again: ‘writing a letter to the editor’ and ‘writing my political representatives).

And I’ve found it to be QUITE THE CHALLENGE!

Pardon my ALL CAPS SHOUTING but it really is quite something to maintain a calm and rational demeanor while writing these pieces.

There are SIX PHASES.

Oh, it starts out all fine.


Dear so-and-so;

The realities of climate change are visible on the news and outside our windows: droughts, wildfires, wonky polar vortexes, extreme heat, extreme cold, powerful storms, and so on.

Wait. Am I coming on too strong here? Oh, let’s just go for it!


We are living in the midst of environmental catastrophe!

Wait. I AM coming across too harsh, aren’t I?


In order to deal with this challenge, we need to shift to a stronger environmental consciousness. 

Go on! Focus on the positive!


We have the opportunity here to reshape our society so that we NO LONGER HAVE TO FACE THE TERRIFYING PROSPECT OF OUR OWN INEVITABLE EXTINCTION.  

Ah, darn it! I was supposed to mention:

  • a vibrant, circular economy, 
  • abundant food and clean water resources, 
  • the potential for improved social justice and equality, 
  • better healthier lifestyles, 
  • livable cities!

Maybe I’m going about this all wrong?


Dear so-and-so,
I am a time traveller from the future! 

You need to [unintelligible] or else [unintelligible]. You can’t [unintelligible] without [unintelligible] 

Oh no! I can’t maintain the vortex portal much longer! Act now on climate change or—[transmission ended]

Maybe I should just write:

&@$$&@ + shouting!

And that’s where I end up after an hour’s worth of writing focus. Time to start the cycle all over again!

I tell you it is QUITE. THE. CHALLENGE.

Perhaps my fellow activists can advise on how best to avoid these six phases?

Let’s see how successful I am with this. I will revisit this in a future blog post!

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Step 15 in Going Green: Use Your Skills and Talents and Get At It


I stopped writing this blog when I started writing my eco novel (also titled Hill of Greens).

This novel, which is a tragic-comic story about how a group of friends are grappling with our current environmental catastrophes, channeled a lot of my ‘Going Green’ revelations, anxieties and concerns.

So it felt like this blog wasn’t needed anymore


Sometimes things need to be said, quickly, and in less than 90 000 words.

So here it goes: back to the blogging life.

Let’s recap and take a look what’s been happening in the realm of environmentalism since I last wrote.

I’m sure this will be a pleasant stroll through memory lane…


I last wrote here on April 17 2016. Since then, these thing have happened...

Keep in mind, this is a wee sampling, a search through my memory (and google), stuff from my own experience flipping through the news over this time...

  • The Paris Climate Accord was signed on Earth Day 2016
  • Al Gore’s sequel to Inconvenient Truth comes out
  • Lots of places ban plastic bags
  • France even bans plastic cutlery!
  • DT as US president starts  rolling back all kinds of environmental protections
  • In Canada there is resistance to pipelines
  • In US there is resistance to pipelines
  • In various places environmentalists have been targeted and murdered
  • There’s been an endless run of wildfires flooding and hurricanes  (I link to one news example for each but do a quick google search and you’ll see how pervasive of a problem these have been)

So that’s some of it.

Of course, this is only a partial list! Way more has happened than has been listed here!

But I think it’s clear that the need to address environmental concerns remains. In fact, I would argue, the need has intensified.

So here’s the culminating message of this blog post:


 We need to get on this, use all our skills and talents, channel them and throw them into the ring.

Choose hope and just do it.

Pull on whatever string you’ve got. Just pull it.

We have more influence than we think. Big or small acts, they all ripple outward.

Speak it, dance it, sing it, laugh it, teach it, play it, design it, donate it, make it, help it, connect it, study it…

Even if you just whisper it...

A hopeful act will impact somewhere, for one or for many.
Whatever it is for you, claim it and aim it towards fixing the mess we’ve made.

And so, my little Green blog is a hat tossing itself into the air. My little Green blog is a song.

My gift is the power of the word...

Figure out what yours is and let it loose.

PS Having lost Bitstrips I'm trying out some different comic apps just for fun

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Things I've Learned So Far About Becoming An Activist

It's been awhile since I've posted here and that is something I'm sorry I let happen.

It's not because I haven't had things to say (if anything, the need to speak has quadrupled!). But my life got busier, and seemingly complicated, and I could only express myself in micro bursts (thank you, Twitter!). I just didn't have the time and energy to write lengthily blog articles, and design a corresponding comic, and all that.

But I always felt sad that I had 'given up on' my Going Green blog.

Luckily, I have realized that I don't have to keep to my original layout. I've discovered flexibility, people! If microblogging and doodling on scrap pieces of paper is what I need to do, then by God, let's do it!

So here's it is. The space where I can go longer than 140 characters...but not too much longer (???), because there's a lot on the go and a lot of ideas, and lots happening and action to be taken, and so let's jump now to a bullet list, the handy dandy format that allows one to hop skip and jump across the rocks and make it from one side of the stream to the other in no time. Here we go....

Things I've Learned So Far About Becoming an Activist

  • Politeness and civility matter
  • Compassion and empathy matter
  • Change can happen locally and it can have a huge ripple outwards effect 
  • So Find out more what's going on locally
  • Check out your local political people: who are they and what do they stand for?
  • Find people like you in your area and meet them in person
  • Find out what activist groups in your area are doing
  • Determine if there is a central purpose or action you could all join together upon?
  • Aim to build unity and focus among groups: build strength and purpose in numbers 
  • Aim to socialize and eat food together and get to know each other as people!
  • Connecting with others is important
  • Opening up to others is important 
  • Having a sense of humor is important 
  • Self care is also important
  • Moments of distraction will happen and that's ok
  • Moments of despair will happen and that's ok
  • Moments of feeling ineffectual will happen and that's ok
  • Other life moments might dominate for a while and that's ok
  • Moments of guilt at not doing or being enough will happen and that's ok
  • You do not need to apologize for having an opinion
  • You do not need anyone else's permission to have an opinion 
  • You can revise and further develop your opinion as new information arises 
  • Keep honing your intuition and your internal bull s$$t meter
  • Use your strengths: whatever you are good at can be brought to the table 
  • Keep alert for allies...there's more out there than you may at first realize! 
  • Transformation is possible, on all sorts of levels 
  • Keep at it, keep doing something, big or small, individual or collective, consistently or in little bursts, imperfectly or efficiently, just do it
Put your hope on again, like a sweater.

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Step 14 in Going Green: Dealing with Activism Brain Freeze

You know how it is when you want to make an important point but it comes out garbled?

But then an hour later you've perfected what you wanted to say (in your mind) only the moment has passed and now no one is around to hear your perfection?

Yeah, I hate that!

When you take up environmental causes, knowing when and how and what to speak suddenly becomes its own art form. 

When: You have to know when to pick your moments. Not everyone is receptive to what you have to say! 

How: Come across too strong? You sound like you're selling used cars!

What: Locating all the necessary facts and examples from your brain  requires the precision skill of a brain surgeon!

Speaking up about a damaged and polluted Earth is a huge responsibility. 

Of course we want to get it right!

But one cannot aim for perfection. The best one can aim for is a connection.

Even if I don't get it all right the first time around, I'm sure my concern and care and worry about the future health of our planet shines through. You can't deny my impassioned plea, even if all I do is sputter.

Sometimes its not about words anyway. 

Feelings can jump between two people. Body language, tone of voice. These alone should tell you:

I'm concerned about this...and you should be too. 

And in the meantime, the more I talk, the more my words will catch up with that what I know in my mind matches what I feel in my heart...and what I finally say with my mouth!

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Step 13 in Going Green: Maintaining #climatehope

So recently, one of the strongest hurricanes ever recorded hit the coast of Mexico.

I saw its image from the space station. It looks like a scene in a disaster movie.

So real life is looking like CGI from a doomsday flick.

And astronauts are peering out the window at the earth and seeing things that make them think 'holy crap, that's not good'.

Doesn't it make you wonder: when is enough ENOUGH?

Are we just supposed to accept this as a 'new normal'?

If you've been paying attention, record breaking extreme weather events have been happening all over the $%#^-ing place.

Crazy 'historic' rainfall in the Carolinas!
'Record breaking', rampaging fires in Washington State!
'Mind boggling' heat waves in the Middle East!

I went to the Climate Reality Leadership conference in July and only a few months later, I've a ton of NEW extreme weather examples to put into the slide show.

This should be worrying people.

It worries the heck out of me.

I don't know why each time I hear of a new extreme weather event, I'm surprised.

Knowing the science of climate change as I do, I should know better.

Of course there are going to be massive super storms, heat waves, forest fires... along with a whole score of other 'symptoms' of an over-warmed planet.

Well, duh! That's the way it works, dummy!

Every incident is at once an impetus to act and a moment of mourning.

Here's a typical inner conversation:
  1. What?! Another extreme weather event? 
  2. That's horrible! 
  3. Think of all the living creatures affected!
  4. How could we let it get this far? 
  5. Why do we do this to ourselves? 
  6. When will we get our act together?
  7. We must take action! 
  8. Switch to renewables! 
  9. End the burning of fossil fuels!
  10. Yay! Lots of people are taking action!
  11. What?! Another extreme weather event?

And so on...

It can be a challenge to keep a steady emotional course.

It can be a challenge emotionally to stay attuned to what is going on, to bear witness, to give voice...and for those who are directly impacted, to endure.

One almost needs a warrior spirit to keep hope when faced with the constant evidence of our mis-direction, our mis-use, our environmental abuse which we are all complicit in.

Bad news: we created this mess. 
Good news: we can fix it. 

Granted, it might take considerable collective effort to fix it.

But that doesn't mean it can't be fixed.

I guess as long as we keep aligning with #climatehope, all is not lost.

Fellow humans, join me in maintaining your #climatehope!

Because, what's the alternative, really?

I really do not want to see the hashtag #climatedespair trending any time soon.

Let's. Just. Not. Go. There. Please.

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Step 12 in Going Green: Make Art to Communicate the Need for Climate Action Now

I met this wonderful artist when I was at the Climate Reality Conference in Toronto this past July.

Her name is Suendrini Goonesekara and she is an up-cycle textile artist. She makes AMAZING landscapes out of recycled textiles.

But this September she is applying her skill towards a similarly AMAZING climate change art installation that will be displayed at the NewWaves Music Festival held at the Sandbanks Provincial Park in Ontario.

This installation is going to inspire those who see it. It is interactive & thought provoking. There's a great description of it on the festival website. I highly encourage you to read up on it, and GO to the festival if you can. If not, the write up helps you to envision her creation.


Reading this, you can see that not only is it going to be an evocative piece of is also an invitation to passerbys to explore the implications of climate change...and to realize the solutions.

Those with a creative bent definitely have a roll to play in the name of Climate Action. 

Suendrini has kindly offered to include mention of my blog/comic on her art instillation. A wee bit of artist-writer collaboration...which is just SO COOL.

Both of us are using our respective skills to draw attention to climate change and the need for action now.

There are so many impacts to consider...extreme weather events, changing ecologies, loss of habitat and animal species...

Health risks. 

Have you looked up the health implications of climate change? Food and waters systems will be impacted.

Just, you know, the things we need to live on.

But there are also unsettling disease implications. 

Al Gore talked about this at the Conference. He noted how with the increased warmth, disease vectors change. Mosquitos, ticks, viruses--these guys find this new warmth sooooo delicious. They'll go farther afield, live long and prosper...bringing negative health impacts along with them...

The ticks made the news this season, didn't they? Because they'd increased their range.

Why was everyone so surprised? That's Climate Change, folks!

And JELLYFISH. Jellyfish are going to be really happy, too. 

I realize that jellyfish don't carry disease, per sea, and I actually think they can be kinda pretty, floating as they do all gelatinous and dreamy...

But I don't think we want the oceans to be filled with more jellyfish swarms. Ick.

I'm not a visual artist, but I'd like to propose someone starts putting jellyfish images all over the place, Banksy-style. With signs that say: The Jellyfish Era.

Because that's where we seem to be headed: The Jellyfish Era. It seems an appropriate warning. Kind of dystopian/sci fi. The Rise of the Jellyfish! The Jellyfish Swarm!

Like the Borg from Star Trek, only...without the mind control...and gooier.

Coming to clog an essential nuclear power plant water pipe near you!

Or perhaps it will be: jellyfish for breakfast, lunch and dinner?

In any case, fellow creatives, it's time to use your talents to get the word out. Write poems! Write stories! Write blogs! Make art! Put it on the web! Take it to the festivals!

The Road to Paris is coming up. World Leaders will meet Nov-Dec to discuss Climate Change.

Artists are also participating in ARTCOP21. In Paris, there will be a city wide climate festival of art!

You don't have to sign up to join in on this idea.

The entire fall season needs to be a Climate festival! This festival of united hearts and minds can take place anywhere!


This is the time for climate change art awareness!


PS. Since publishing this blog post I have since found out that Suendrini's submission to ARTCOP21 has been accepted!

So now her art installation will be a part of the global art movement, centred around the Paris Climate Change talks.

And I get to vicariously experience this through her...and a little bit of me, via my comics, gets to join in! SO EXCITING!

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Step 11 in Going Green: Deal with Your 'Green Guilt'

We've created our societies in such a way that 'going green' is 'alternative'. It is 'other'. It is not the standard.

That means to go green, you must go against the grain.

Of course, we are all starting to realize the inherent MADNESS of our current way of doing things.

I just read recently that, collectively, in the world, we have used up all of our yearly resources for 2015.  We are taking more than we can replenish. We are in 'ecological' debt.

This was the actual headline on the Weather Channel: We've Used up Earth's 2015 Resources in Less Than 8 Months!

This was on the Weather Channel, a mainstream media outlet, not some so-called hippy-dippy-Earth-lovin' (I use those words with respect) blog site (like mine, hee hee).

So you can see just by that, that environmental consciousness is becoming less 'other' and more standard.

But it still is far from mainstream.

Solar panels are still a novelty. My car still runs on gas. So does my furnace.

We may recycle, but the things we buy typically come with WAY more packaging then is necessary. Set in plastic, wrapped in plastic, sometimes even stuck in a plastic bag (though that is changing, most people around here bring their own cloth bags, at least to the grocery store).

I didn't even think to question these things until a few months ago. Lots of people still don't question the inherent 'rightness' of gas furnaces and Shell stations.

But once you've realized the high ecological price that comes with those 'conveniences', every time you use will feel 'green guilt'.

There is an overwhelming sense of responsibility that comes with an awareness of our ecological mess.

A need to do the right thing. 

Doing the 'wrong thing', even though it may be necessary at the moment because there aren't a lot of options (or any option) other wise, still feels 'wrong'.

I say embrace this sense of wrongness! Embrace the guilt! It is what will motivate you to gravitate towards other choices and step outside the circle of convenience, as you are able.

It isn't a comfortable feeling.

But it is useful. 

Soon, as more and more people make similar gestures, that which is inconvenient will become convenient. That which is 'alternative' will become mainstream.

The shift will happen. It is happening.

Those who aren't paying attention will wake up in five years to find solar panels on top of Home Depots and on airports...wait, I think that's happening now!

There is still power in individual actions. I know we live in a cynical age, but I do believe that inherent power still exists.

Individual + individual + individual + individual = a crowd.

Crowd + crowd + crowd = country.

Country + country + country = world.

Societies are created by humans. They can be changed by humans.

We are an ingenious species, awash with creative power. 

We can change things, if we want to. We can also make it easier for others to change, too.

By being the change we wish to see...

(I've been waiting for a blog post to reference that quote!)