While driving home from work one night this past week I noticed a layer of clouds low in the sky that looked like they were miniature funnel clouds. It was a very unique sight, so I went home and picked up my camera. I then went on search for a place where I could get a good view of the clouds, because from the ground they were hidden from view because of all of the trees in town. Luckilly, we are not that far from a range of hills where I was able to get to a higher altitude. By the time I made it to a good spot, the sun was going down. The funnels were not as distinct as they had been when I first noticed them, but the color of the sunset against the clouds overlooking Mt. Diablo still made for a good shot.
This is a photo of my neighbors tree last weekend, which was the first tree to bloom of the season. Several other trees in town have started to bloom this week. Yes, that is right, the seasons are a changin! No houses covered in snow drifts here. Instead, I had the luxury of eating lunch outside on the patio in the sunshine this afternoon. A few new birds are starting to visit the bird feeder that I didn't see a few weeks ago when it was colder. I heard the song of the plain titmouse birds for the first time today, so I will now be recognize them when I hear it again. When I left the office around 5:00 the temperature was a perfect 71 degrees. What a happy day to be in CA.
Today is a United States national holiday for giving thanks.
I am thankful to all forms of life (encompassing the earth, the air, the fire, the water and the cosmos) for every experience that we share. They all have a meaning and purpose. While this experience is personal, it also exists as part of the collective consciousness, a place without borders where we are connected to all aspects of nature. Peace begins here. It is a place where compassion and thankfulness become a part of our everyday existence.
The Sierra Club blog has a good posting about the expected impacts on California's from global warming and on Schwartzenegger's deal with Tony Blair creating a market for carbon credits. In their words, Arnold's move was widely seen as a rebuke to the Bush Administration and its do-nothing approach on climate change. In a statement, Schwarzenegger said, "California will not wait for our federal government to take strong action on global warming." I wonder what Bush thinks about it...
Veenhoven in his analysis of the "greatest happiness principle" explains that there are four types of satisfaction. Passing satisfactions are called pleasures. These are things that happen at a given point in time. They can be sensoric. For example, one may see a rainbow and it changes how they were previously feeling. Part-satisfactions relate to a certain aspect of one's life. So, a person could be happy with their personal life, but not with their career. Top-experiences are passing, but the memory of them is so profound that they stay with you over time. Religious writings often describe this type of happiness in terms of mystic moments or a state of enlightenment. Finally, life satisfaction can be used to describe one's overall state of happiness, or the summary of "pleasures and pains."
I was lucky to have the pleasure of seeing a rainbow this afternoon from my porch.
This is a personal story of human connection to the land. Late last fall toward the end of the rainy season, the ground was over saturated with water from daily downpours. There was one particular evening when I went to bed highly conscious of the effect of the rain on the land. While sleeping, I dreamed of a landslide that occurred on the other side of the river that runs below my casita. The location of the landslide was just after crossing the bridge on the way to the University for Peace. The next day, I was amazed to find that in fact this landslide had occurred in the very spot I had seen it in my dream. The dirt had to be cleared to each side of the road so traffic could pass. I just managed to make it over to take a picture of the landslide a few weeks ago, several months after the slide occurred. This tree is located near the bottom of the slide just above the road. Now that the rains have started again it is very possible that if another slide occures, the tree will fall and block the road.
Happy Earth Day 2006. This years theme is climate change solutions. Before thinking about solutions, it is important to understand that the amount of carbon in the atmosphere is now well above where it has been in the past 450,000 years. The gases that we send into the atmosphere will remain there for many years to come. Even if Kyoto targets are met, we will still be well above the normal fluctuations of carbon in the atmosphere for much of the next century. Thus, there is still a need for more to be done at a global scale. That starts the U.S. who generates the largest percentage of global emissions. The good news is that on a state and metropolitan area level, progress is being made in the U.S. It isn't just governments and industries who need to act. We all can make a difference. To get started, The Earth Day Network has published a top ten list of things that can be done on an individual level
Many years growing up I traveled to San Antonio, Texas for Christmas to visit my grandparents for the Christmas holiday. Even coming from Colorado, I remember the weather as having some warm days but also it could get quite cold, definitely requiring a warm winter wool coat. This year my boyfriend flew from Northern California and I from Costa Rica to visit my mom in San Antonio. In discussing our plans, I was concerned about being quite cold because I didn't have any cold weather clothes with me in Costa Rica to bring for the trip. I warned my boyfriend to be prepared for the cold as well. He brought 4 jackets with him.
It was a big surprise to have two full weeks of weather in the 75-80 degree range, not unlike what I left in the beginning of the Costa Rica dry season. In fact the weather in Texas was even drier because of a drought they are experiencing. My hair was full of static and every time I pet the cats I shocked them. Over the past week the news on CNN has shown the devastating wildfires that have hit the Southern states of Texas and Oklahoma. The southwest is prown to fires in the late summer and fall months but I can't ever remember them extending into the winter months like this.
The record breaking hurricane season awakened many in the US this year to the reality of global warming. This is yet another nudge that we need to begin to take responsibility for the impacts of human activities on the environment. My personal memory from above covers a time frame of about 25 years. What is the outlook for the next 25 years? Bill McKibben of the NY Times reviews two of the latest books on Global Warming. It is time for more Americans to read up on the issue and begin taking action.