Saturday, April 23, 2011

Things Up With Which We Will Not Put

Let's get this straight. Wall Street speculators gambled with home mortgages, running up trillions of dollars of collateralized debt obligations. Millions of people lost their houses.

Americans were unmoved. They shouldn't have bought houses that they couldn't afford when the mortgages went up.

Wall Street speculators gambled with wheat and rice commodities, leading to widespread hunger and food riots in 2008. Americans paid no attention, even to reports that Haitians were eating mud. Serves them right for living in poor countries.

But Wall Street speculates on oil and the price of gas goes up? Outrage! Even President Obama is moved to make stern noises!

Never mind global warming. Never mind peak oil. Never mind the 50,000+ dead in car crashes a year, the dead bodies along all our roads, the air pollution, the urban sprawl.

Americans have a right to cheap oil!

It's blood for oil, right? That's the bargain? And we've spilled plenty of blood, so where's the cheap oil?

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Monday, April 18, 2011

My Planet

I know that I called this planet a lovely jewel floating in an immense universe, but, after the storms last Friday, I have to readjust.

A mind-opening author introduced me to a different way of looking at the "5 billion year history of Earth in one day". I'm sure we're all familiar with the basic plot. The Earth is formed and the day starts. Nothing interesting happens until the last minute, when humans arrive.

That's a little egocentric! Let's look at the rest. A boiling ball of hot lava, eventually cooling, and forming land, involving earthquakes so massive they break apart continents and land smashes into other land so violently that massive mountains are formed. And then, occasionally the planet is slammed by meteors from outer space, throwing massive amounts of debris into the atmosphere.

And then there's the weather. Watching satellite pictures of hurricanes is pretty impressive. Massive movement of air and water, slamming into the ground and blowing everything in its path. And the tornadoes! Swirling winds over 100 mph, moving over the land and picking up and tossing anything that gets into its way.

But, lived experience as a human on this planet, in my alloted nanosecond of time and nano piece of space, is that Earth is a beautiful green place, with blue skies and oceans, and bountiful life. I expect the ground to remain solid under my feet, even though I have lived through 2 massive earthquakes. I expect rainstorms to stay outside of my house, although I can see on TV that that doesn't always happen. I expect things in outer space to stay in outer space. And when I look outside and see the immense power of a storm, I am shocked and afraid, but convinced that it is only temporary.

Otherwise, I'd be a quivering mass of protoplasm, hiding in a hole in the ground, awaiting disaster.

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