Howe Sound, British Columbia, Canada, smothered in forest fire smoke
Good riddance, 2020. You leave us with grave loss, great divisions, a grievous awakening, and a whacking great reckoning. The future is murky. What next? A Happy New Year? Yes, please.
A few last finds from a troubled year:
1. Laugh, else cry
From clever Boston Dynamics, a dance party. Laugh? Cry? You choose.
2. But robots won’t save us:
The pandemic will end, sooner or later. The collapse of livable Earth is the ongoing, and more serious challenge – and one a science consensus views as the root cause of this and more near-future pandemics. Environmental extraction and collapse is making our fragile civilizations increasingly precarious, and it has already wiped out two-thirds of all wildlife on earth. Who are we kidding? “It” is no anonymous, amorphous, faceless villain. “It” is us.
Everyone not part of the solution is part of the problem. And the solution is not nice, easy, personal actions of re-using, reducing, recycling. Robots won’t save us. The solution demands systemic change: new systems of government, industry, community – requiring great cooperation, and great imagination. We’re capable: we proved it, with our cooperation and imagination throughout the pandemic.
This call for cooperation to stop our destruction is not new. Bertrand Russel perhaps said it best, in 1967,:
“There could be a happy world, where co-operation was more in evidence than competition, and monotonous work is done by machines, where what is lovely in nature is not destroyed to make room for hideous machines whose sole business is to kill, and where to promote joy is more respected than to produce mountains of corpses.”
He called for all of us to rise the challenge: “There is an artist imprisoned in each one of us. Let him loose to spread joy everywhere.”
Here are some of the artists and scientists, and other thinkers, rising to the challenge:
An interactive digital production, a marvelous Over-VIew perspective on COVID-19.
This virus could help us realize just how connected we are. How we truly are biologically, one species. Just how dramatically the world that we currently occupy is so vastly differently from past iterations of this pale blue dot.
A video: Annie Lennox and London City Voices perform a COVID-Time choral version of Henry Purcell’s ‘Dido’s Lament.’ They ask that appreciation be in the form of donations to Greenpeace: https://donate.greenpeace.org.uk/dido/
Bloomberg: All We Can Save is a collection of essays, memories, poems, and even advice memos written by 60 women, most enmeshed professionally one way or another with climate change — scientists, researchers, activists, journalists, former government officials, writers, and more.
An essay: Of hawks and hope
I am grieving a changing planet, writes field biologist Ellis Juhlin, in an High Country News essay on continuing amid climate collapse. “I am grieving the species this planet has lost, and the species fighting to hang on.” He asks, “How do I stand, with all of my grief? How do I walk with my grief in my right hand and my love in my left, and not fall off balance?”
“I think the world around me is calling out for help. … I keep climbing into nests, and collecting data to tell the nestlings’ stories. Because what is my grief even worth, if I don’t use it to make change?”
A movie: Start 2021 out with some Soul – far more than a children’s animation (which it can be), Soul offers some of the best jazz music ever made – and concepts to will make us smile, and think.
A photo: This wetland in Western Canada is one of countless examples of the marvelous world at risk.