Vashon Island, Friday, June 8, 2007

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Altar at Tibetan Buddhist monastery. Photo by Eric Francis.
Altar at Tibetan Buddhist monastery. Photo by Eric Francis.

Inconvenient Reasoning
By Judith Gayle

WITH OUR retrogrades in place, and a series of trines and sextiles this month, we can enjoy a little breathing room in both the political picture and our own lives. Jupiter, Saturn and Mars in fire signs are joined by Venus, taking her pass through Leo. The enthusiasm of fire is both warming and scorching, depending on the day, and it amps up activity, opportunity, and social patterns. Projects may come together a bit more easily this month, and the fifth house context of Venus will open our hearts to amplify our possibilities for creativity and affection. 

For instance, with the kids out of school now, or soon, we may find ourselves with the inclination to welcome them with a nuzzle and a purr, not a growl. Gatherings with friends and family in these weeks of easier energy will give us a chance to show appreciation for one another, mix it up with laughter and enjoyment. The summer has the potential to be hot and heated, both, and expressing our pleasure in the company of loved ones now will set the tone for the months ahead.

Summer remains a mystery to me, here in the Pea Patch. I was startled in the last days of May by unexpected little lights in the night sky. It only took a moment to identify them as fireflies, the majikal inhabitants of hot summer nights here in the Midwest. Lightning bugs aren't due in this area until the first weeks in July, along with fireworks, stargazing and picnics. I recognized them with a moan. Here was yet another sign of the climate speeding up, changing into something I no longer recognize. When I mentioned it to my son, he said he'd seen a news report that said they were "going." I said, "South?" "Nope," he replied, "just going." I cried.

Every weekend I enjoy a marathon chat with my daughter in Southern California. The conversation is always interrupted by the children's needs, reminding me that mothering is a full-time job and prompting amazement that I found the energy to make my way through it joyfully. This last weekend, Rebecca was admonishing five- year-old Gracie and her little neighbor, playing in the backyard, not to eat more than a couple of peaches lest they court a tummy ache. "Peaches, already? Isn't it way too early?" I asked. "They're ripe and dropping off the tree," she said with a sigh. "But the plums are hard little green knots. I don't know what's going on there."

That's the West Coast. From the East, a dear friend reports an unseasonable influx of foxes and 'coons in his yard, and baby birds flying way too early. Here in the Patch, the mating season for the cardinals and nuthatches and titmice began five or more weeks ahead of itself, the wild birds pillaging my porch for nesting material while there was still ice on the ground. All across this nation, things aren't as they were, and if it's happening here, it's probably happening everywhere.

Al Gore's book, An Inconvenient Truth, has finally entered our consciousness, and has won the argument. There is agreement, globally, that we are standing on the precipice of a climate change that can no longer be ignored. I certainly can't ignore it...anyone observing nature can't. But President Bush can, it appears. He has gone to the G8 Conference, hat in hand, to give them the good news that he will finally pay attention to global warming by asking participating nations to "study greenhouse gases" and begin to voluntarily limit them. Too little, too late for many of us who have noted the melting ice caps, endangered habitats, disappearing species and dangerous weather patterns.

The Europeans are not happy with Mr. Bush, nor are many of his countrymen. Germany's chancellor, Angela Merkel, had set combating global warming as a primary objective of the meeting, but today we learn that there will be no long-term targets set for cutting emissions. America wants more talk. "We've not sat down with China, India, Brazil, Mexico, South Africa," noted Jim Connaughton, chairman of the White House's US Council on Environmental Quality, "We have not sat down with Australia, South Korea and a number of the other major emitting countries on this issue and so until we've got everyone in the room and until we have consensus among all of them you won't see a collectively stated goal on that yet, but it's coming."

Interesting, isn't it, that on this project Mr. Bush will demand a coalition of the willing? When has the opinion of his neighbors counted before? Yes, obviously, our capping our own greenhouse gases without an agreement with other emitters to do the same puts us at a disadvantage -- but don't we have to start somewhere? Wouldn't this be how America could "lead" on this vital issue?  As it stands, such a position makes it appear that this is about putting off the inevitable and advancing corporate interests at the cost of planetary safety. And it's not just a passive disinterest that Bush offers the world -- in documents leaked to the Associated Press, we discover that the United States is "drastically scaling back efforts to measure global warming from space." Rather than fund a refurbishment of our satellite systems, the Defense Department has decided to downsize them. Climate satellites are apparently "too costly," requiring some 13 billion or so dollars yearly to maintain.

What this nation does spend on should give us a clear picture of the logic informing the White House. To date, we have spent $431,912,070,488 on a failed occupation in Iraq. And regardless of that enormous investment of blood and treasure, the country's infrastructure remains collapsed, basic services such as utilities and sewage go unrepaired and security is still a pipe dream. The logic of continuing there escapes me, just as the logic of ignoring global warming alarms me.

Logic, it turns out, is in short supply. Logic is another of Al Gore's interests. His new book is entitled The Assault on Reason. He represents those of us who value reality, as opposed to the Bush supporters who have joined him to "create" reality. The reality that this administration has created is more anxious to spend $431 billion on armaments than $13 billion on critical scientific data -- more committed to furthering a global empire than confronting a global emergency. In the end, might it be that the Bush years will be judged equally on what it omitted as on what it committed? Both appear tragically illogical.

The logic that interests me supports life, not death -- peace, not war. I'd like to see what $431,912,070,488 could do if applied to green technologies and discovery of clean, cheap alternative fuels, on environmental protections and habitat restoration, on the furtherance of solar and wind projects, the rehabilitation of wetlands. That's the kind of logic I could support with willing sacrifice. And I'd like to see that before the fireflies are gone forever.

CREDITS: Managing Editor: Priya Kale. Webmaster: Anatoly Ryzhenko. Proofreader and Fact checker: Sara Churchville. Horoscope Editor: Jessica Keet.

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