|NYC neighborhood after Hurricane Sandy|
This post is about Chicano literature. But of necessity, it's about the rest of the humans and all human culture, too.
Word usage fascinates me, something writers manipulate and craft in their literary works. It's not easy. Certain words carry unintended meaning.
Two phrases, "Ecological footprint" and "Save the Earth" have always bothered me for their inaccuracy. The first is a measure of the demands that humans put on Earth's ecosystems. Buying a package of junk food involves cutting trees for the box, processing oil used to produce the plastic, the consequent landfill or recycling needed to get rid of the trash, as well as our waste products from eating the junk. And that's just the tip of the melting iceberg.
What about footprint? To me, it's BS. Butt-print, something wider and bigger than a foot, would more accurately describe what our presence does to the planet. Footprint's an understatement of our negative impact, like we won't admit our bigger, even catastrophic, guilt.
Saving the planet sounds nice and ecological-friendly, but it too lacks precision, in an opposite way. Many of our ecological movements aren't so concerned about the whole planet as much as they are about preserving it so humans can thrive. Face up: we'd sacrifice umpteen islands and species if that paid for our continuation on top of the food chain.
350.org is a group that keeps count for us of the first phrase, footprint. 350 means climate safety, for all gente. To keep Earth fit for humans, CO2 in the atmosphere must be below 350 parts per million (ppm).
|Polar cap melt|
You don't have to be any scientist to appreciate that the current 392ppm of CO2 means we passed the limit, live on borrowed time. Plus, it's rising about 2ppm each year. For some years this has meant we're screwing ourselves like the dinosaurs never did. Forget about "saving the planet"; Chicanos, Anglos, Boricuas, vatos, Chinese, it don't matter--we're extinction toast.
A Lakota saying fits here: The frog does not drink up the pond in which he lives, meaning that at least in one respect, today frogs display higher I.Q.s than us. When there's no more drinkable, livable pond, the frog dies.
As a writer, I'd like there to be great- and great-geat-grandchildren to read my writings one day. When the CO2 gets to 400 in my lifetime (knock wood), I might have to give up that expectation. I can understand and accept that.
That reminds me of a line in an article this week about Breezy Point, Queens, NY, a working-class beach neighborhood leveled by oceanic flash floods of Hurricane Sandy and subsequent fires. You can read people's accounts of the devastion, but what struck me about the residents' reactions was:
"They didn't want to believe what was happening."
Global warming weather, 350ppm, melting Greenland and polar ice caps, loss of polar bear habitat, rising ocean levels--some of what President Obama described this week--seem like abstractions, until we're directly affected by them, like Katrina and Sandy. We just don't believe. Don't believe us frogs can drink up our pond.
Obviously, there are many things each one of us can do to get our pond back to full and livable. Below are details about one of the most powerful opportunities to keep our species going. But the window of that opportunity comes quick and closes soon.
Sunday, Feb. 17th is the Forward on Climate rallies targeted nationally for sending President Obama one message:
Don't approve the Keystone XL Pipeline.
If the message is powerful enough, i.e., well-attended, with one signature he can effectively prevent 700,000 barrels of the dirtiest carbon oil on the planet going daily from Canada to U.S. Gulf Coast refineries. And keep pollutants from raising the atmosphere's CO2ppm. [Read more here.] Congress doesn't approve/disapprove this because legislation isn't involved; only the President and his staff decide. Obama has asked for us to "push" him. If you believe that, here's one for you to put your shoulder behind. Without that, all kids of all nationalities will have to learn how to breathe 400ppm in their much filthier pond in the near future.
You can attend one of the demonstrations (below), send messages of support (or money), spread the word via Facebook and other social media, E-mail, text or call your President, congresspeople and anyone else you want to. And not stop until the message has gotten through. We owe something to our kids, grandkids and ourselves. Plus, there's the pond to consider.
Dozens of groups will demonstrate tomorrow, Sunday, Feb. 17th, 2013 on the National Mall in D.C. to take the message directly to the President. More will occur in L.A., Monterrey, San Francisco, San Diego, elsewhere in Calif., Chicago, Iowa, Michigan, Minn., Montana, Nebraska, Oregon, Austin, Olympia & Seattle, Wash., and Denver, among others. Go here for details.
In Denver on Sunday, Feb. 17, at 11:30am, A student-led "Go Fossil Free" rally will beging at 11:20am, followed by a "human pipeline" march to Civic Center Park. Starts at the Auraria Campus' Tivoli Commons, 900 Auraria Parkway, Denver. (Please wear all black.) It ends at Civic Center Park, 101 W. 14th Ave. Pkwy. which you can join at 12:30pm.
If you think new jobs for us frogs are more important than a dirtier, unlivable pond, or that a lower price for a tankful in your butt-print car matters more than whether there'll be frogs even walking after 400ppm, you might not attend. Otherwise, I'll be joining you in some way.
Es todo, hoy, but tomorrow matters mucho más,
BLESS ME, ULTIMA, the film opens in select markets next week on Friday, February 22nd, 2013. Go here for more info and check local listings.