Climate Change After Mid-Term Election

Climate Change After Mid-Term Election

The activists, scientists, and policymakers working on slowing (hopefully stopping and reversing, but let’s start with the small steps) climate change, took an enormous hit this mid-term election due to the Senate majority moving into the hands of the GOP. This means the lead climate-change-denier GOP Senator Jim Inhofe is taking over the US Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.

The environment could not have sustained a bigger blow when it comes to the policies we need moving forward. Stephen Colbert’s humorous take on Inhofe’s promotion to the chair takes the edge off — but only slightly.

 

Climate Change: I am not a Scientist and Next Steps

What does the phrase, “I am not a scientist” really mean here? It means politicians don’t even have to pretend to listen to the people who are actually scientists, who are actually conducting research on climate change, and who know without a doubt what needs to happen to slow the onslaught of crises that will come with sitting on our hands claiming innocence of knowledge.

It means they do not have to take action.

There is clear scientific consensus that climate change is real and due to human activities. Congress must act. The EPA must use its authority to limit carbon pollution. The people must educate themselves, each other, and push for better. It is up to us all now.

I have to believe that we fundamentally all have this same common link and recognize its importance…

 

How do you feel about this mid-term election and the role it plays in our environment? Does the outcome leave you searching for actions to take, organizations to support, or other roles? I would love to hear from you!

 

 

 

Do Wolves Belong in the West?

Almost All The Truth - Road into Lamar Valley

Wolves in Yellowstone National Park

I wake to the sound of crickets courtesy of my iPhone at 4 am. It was pitch black when I loaded three sleepy children in the car wearing the clothes I dressed them in to sleep. I had a little foresight to make the early morning a little easier. We were spending our first morning in Yellowstone National Park in search of the wildlife it is so famous for, both elusive and abundant.

We saw bears, pronghorn, bison galore, mountain goats, elk, but most of all we were fortunate enough to catch a glimpse of a controversial ghost.

Almost All The Truth - Gray Wolf
By Gary Kramer [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
There is no middle ground when it comes to wolves. They must be the most controversial animal in existence today. Whether you love them, fear them, or wish they were all put in zoos, if you live in the west you have an opinion. The high emotions and politics of wolf reintroduction, lethal removal, and rancher’s rights rival that of any presidential election.

You might never have guessed any of that when passing a group of people with spotting scopes, binoculars, and palpable excitement when there was word two female wolves were traveling just off the road in Lamar Valley. We decided to turn the historic yellow tour bus around to see if we could catch a glimpse of something, anything, and the black female wolf crossed the road right in front of us.

Almost All The Truth - Yellowstone Wolves

While camping at the Buffalo Bill State Park, we went through the museum in Cody, WY. In one section, there was a place to fill out the answer to a seemingly simple question, “Do wolves belong in the West?” If you know the current state of wolves in this region you can guess what many of those answers might have looked like. I asked my own children who know next to nothing about the recent history what their response would be, as they raced off to see the next part of the exhibit. These children follow my heart and mine dropped as I stopped to fill out a card.

What I would have liked to say wouldn’t fit on the tiny card and wouldn’t have likely made any kind of difference even if it had been posted. In this, most adult minds are already made up.

Facts on Wolves in the West

  • Wolves are keystone predators, meaning they are an essential component of their ecosystem. They have an important role in maintaining balance.
  • Wolves were here long before humans and would have been here all along if not for human intervention designed to drive them to extinction.
  • Wolves do kill livestock, however it is not nearly as many as some would like you to believe. Wolves account for the least number of deaths by predators. Interestingly some livestock losses occur on public land, national forest land, where predators live.
  • Wolves do kill game species. Typically it is the most vulnerable of the species (sick, old) and this natural process keeps herds healthier and stronger.
  • Ranchers and wolves can coexist, but we will need a shift in perspective for the benefit of all.

“Wolves do demand changes from the livestock industry,” said Noah Greenwald of the Center for Biological Diversity. Ranchers have operated for too long on the idea there should be no predators on the landscape.

Wolves, or any predator, must believe there is greater risk of killing livestock than their wild prey. Animals will always choose the path of least resistance. This is why we should not feed the bears and practice leave no trace practices while camping and spending time in the wilderness. This is why we often need to change our behavior for the benefit of the entire ecosystem.

See more photos from the ‘Wake Up To Wildlife’ tour on Facebook.

Do you agree? Do wolves belong in the West?

A Mother’s Day Wish For A Better World

What makes a mother?

A Mother's Day Wish

A mother is unconditional love. (Love is a choice.)

A mother is warmth. (Warmth is human compassion.)

A mother is patient. (Patience is how the passionate can persevere.)

A mother is kind. (Kindness is love.)

We believe mothers should be all these things and more. In fact, based on our use of mother to mean the most significant of all, we believe mothers to be everything to us. Mothers as symbols; mothers as metaphors; mothers as living, breathing beings; mothers as our everything.

My wish for this upcoming Mother’s Day is to go big or go home.

I want to see an end to the economic penalization of motherhood and an end to the wage gap for all women. Motherhood should not be an indicator of poverty.

I wish for there to be a global commitment to the idea that society benefits when we help the most vulnerable: mothers and children. Mothers who are valued, children who are healthy, happy, and well-educated are going to be more productive.

I wish for mothers to sleep at night without worrying about their children’s health, their children’s hunger, their children’s safety. We have borrowed the earth from our children and when we give it back it will be unrecognizable. It is entirely possible that this generation of children will have a lower life expectancy than their parents and grandparents.

I wish for the world to be a better place for us all. I wish for love to be enough.

What is your Mother’s Day wish?

 

Sunshine, Happiness, Connection To Earth

 

Sunshine for Earth Day

Manifestations of happiness abound when the sun shines, the temperatures warm, and the good people spend their leisure out-of-doors. Intentional connection with our environment will help us all make every day an Earth Day.

Beginning on April 30th, I will be chronicling a screen-free week-in-the-life for Green Child Magazine right here on Almost All The Truth. This will be the story of a green family finding ways to pass the day away from our necessary, yet distracting, technological advances.

I am not sure what we will decide to do, but in preparation for the week, here are a few general suggestions.

Bake. This is one of my favorite activities to do with my children. They love it. They can learn about healthy ingredients, math, measuring, and get something delicious to eat when we’re done. Try a kid’s cookbook or a new recipe you find together on Pinterest – just watch out for those desserts!

Gardening. While the details of organic gardening may be lost on young children, the idea of choosing flowers or vegetables, planting, and watering are all great for even the littlest ones. Allow your child to design a garden in one area of the yard or even just a container and watch them both grow.

Storytelling. Telling stories is a time-honored tradition that can get lost in the hustle of modern life. It is a great way to encourage pre-literacy skills in the small child and story development, sequences, and memory in older children.

Art. Art, music, and creativity are enormously important for children’s development. That baby covered in paint (eco-friendly and non-toxic of course) is learning a lot more than making a mess. She is learning to use her imagination, fine-motor skills, and self-esteem. Older children gain significant cognitive and critical thinking skills through art.

Nature Exploration. Children are inherently curious. Nurture that curiosity through scientific exploration of our natural world. Whether it is your yard, neighborhood, or a local destination, exploration of the natural world is just plain fun, but can also incorporate larger lessons of observation, senses, biology, and wherever else your child’s enthusiasm leads. Nature is indeed inspiring.

That is a week’s worth of activities right there! I want to hear from you… What do you think you will do with your children next week, anything special?