Nel's New Day

April 22, 2020

You Can Save the Earth

Today in the midst of the worst pandemic for more than a century, Earth Day spent its 50th anniversary. For over three years, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT), elected by a minority of the U.S. voters, has assaulted the environment to favor his friends. In the same way that prominent Republicans say that people should die in order to keep them rich, DDT pollutes and poisons the world. In his most recent efforts, the ones after he stopped the enforcement of most environmental regulations “indefinitely,” he now permits life-threatening chemicals on products used for cooking and argues that any control of mercury and other toxic pollution from power plants isn’t “appropriate and necessary.”

On April 22, 1970, twenty million people marched and rallied to clean up the country. Fifty years later, the destruction of habitats has displaced wildlife that brought viral outbreaks. Past ones such as AIDS, Ebola, and SARS have moderate control; with no leadership in the United States, the current one, COVID-19, has swept across the nation, infected millions and killing an unknown number because only a little over one percent of the people in the U.S. have been tested.

On Earth Day 2020, the entire leadership of the United States, including 75 percent of environmental managers working for the fossil fuel industries, promotes fossil fuel production at the loss of all alternative energies and roll back auto emissions standards. For example, Head of the BLM William Perry Pendley believes that the Endangered Species Act is “rural genocide” meant to drive residents off the land. For decades, the United States has seen the escalation of the militia movement that wants county sheriffs to arrest federal employees who enforce environmental rules and the purge of environmental Republican in Congress.

The one bonus of the current pandemic is the lessening of pollution which kills about 4.2 million people throughout the planet from stroke, heart disease, and respiratory illnesses. In just New York, carbon monoxide from cars during the past couple of month has been reduced by nearly 50 percent compared from the same months last year. The massive decline of pollution and greenhouse gases in China for just two months probably saved the lives of 4,000 young children and 73,000 elderly adults in just China.

Seimologists from Belgium to New Zealand can better track tremors with people staying home. They determine the lessening of noise pollution means people can avoid stress-related illnesses, high blood pressure, sleep disruption, etc. The lack of noise pollution from cruise ships makes marine animals healthier and increases their reproduction by decreasing stress-hormone levels.

Other sea creatures may be making a comeback. For almost a decade, the sea stars, vital to preserving the kelp forests by eating sea urchins, have been wasting along the West Coast, possibly from a virus. One theory about the disappearance of sea stars is the large number of people on the beaches. Nature may have gotten to the tipping point of survival with the human invasion.

The frantic search for a solution to COVID-19 may lead to saving the environment. As researchers push to find information about pathogens and their human hosts may discover answers to the disappearing coral reefs, possibly from highly contagious bacterial diseases. The 50 percent of pathogenic bacteria and coral diseases in sea grass found in Indonesian waters could be from human sewage. Researchers are replicating the sea grass in Puget Sound for human defenses in medicines and diet. They already determined that mangrove sea squirts have antimicrobial agents and anticancer drugs. Algae and the blue blood from abalone can stop herpes and flu viruses.

The shrinking of the ozone layer over Antarctica shows that people can make a difference in climate change if they try. By 2000, the 1987 Montreal Protocol to stop ozone-depleting substances (ODS) reversed the jet stream direction to head back to the north. The change in the jet stream had pushed rain away from the coastal areas of Australia, causing drought and ensuing wildfires. The decreasing rainfall may change with the shift in jet streams and ocean currents.

After 50 years of honoring the environment on Earth Day, the majority of people say they take at least seven of 15 actions to help the environment during the past year, beginning with 85 percent who voluntarily recycle. Over half reduced use of energy, tried to use less water, used reusable shopping bags, avoided products harming the environment or bought products better for the environment, and replaced  incandescent light bulbs with fluorescent or luminescent ones.

Last month, people shared a poem that went viral across the internet. They claimed that it was written in 1869 by Kathleen O’Mara and reprinted for the 1918 flu pandemic. The author is actually a retired Wisconsin teacher and palliative care chaplain, Catherine O’Meara, who wrote it in March 2020 because of the current pandemic.  

“And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still. And listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows.

“And the people began to think differently.

“And the people healed. And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal.

“And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed.”

In 2017, Jane Hirschfield wrote this poem for Earth Day. Its prescience is even more important in 2020 when the anti-science leadership of the United States avoids finding solutions for the current health disaster.

“On the fifth day/the scientists who studied the rivers/were forbidden to speak/or to study the rivers.

“The scientists who studied the air/were told not to speak of the air,/and the ones who worked for the farmers/were silenced,/and the ones who worked for the bees.

“Someone, from deep in the Badlands,/began posting facts.

“The facts were told not to speak/and were taken away.

“The facts, surprised to be taken, were silent.

“Now it was only the rivers/that spoke of the rivers,/and only the wind that spoke of its bees,/while the unpausing factual buds of the fruit trees/continued to move toward their fruit.

“The silence spoke loudly of silence,/and the rivers kept speaking,/of rivers, of boulders and air.

“In gravity, earless and tongueless,/the untested rivers kept speaking.

“Bus drivers, shelf stockers,/code writers, machinists, accountants,/lab techs, cellists kept speaking.

“They spoke, the fifth day,/of silence.

Poet Lynn Ungar wrote her response to the current sheltering at home. The first few lines: 

“What if you thought of it/as the Jews consider the Sabbath—/the most sacred of times?

“Cease from travel.

“Cease from buying and selling.

“Give up, just for now,/on trying to make the world/different than it is.”

The United States is now facing an economic disaster over twice as bad as the one caused by George W. Bush in 2009—and it’s combined with a health disaster. During the Great Recession over a decade ago, people modified their buying habits—mending instead of trashing, cooking instead of always eating out, buying second-hand instead of from elite stores—trying to conserve because they had no money. President Obama pulled the United States people out of this disaster, but they went back to their wasteful ways. If only people will keep patterns of saving after COVID-19 is really under control instead returning to destroying the planet through their extravagant lifestyles.

[Thanks to Ann Hubard and Sue Hardesty for photos of an environment we need to preserve.]

On April 22, the U.S. has 849,092 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 47,681 deaths, as well as countless others who weren’t tested. That’s a 12-percent increase in deaths during the past two days.

April 21, 2019

Earth Day 2019

Tomorrow is the 49th anniversary for a global event in 193 countries. Although hundreds of millions work to save the planet every day, April 22 is set aside as a day of action. As the Earth Day website explains:

“People march, sign petitions, meet with their elected officials, plant trees, clean up their towns and roads. Corporations and governments use it to make pledges and announce sustainability measures. Faith leaders, including Pope Francis, connect Earth Day with protecting God’s greatest creations, humans, biodiversity and the planet that we all live on.”

Last year’s theme was to End Plastic Pollution. One goal was to reduce the annual use of 500 million plastic straws in just the United States. In July 2018, Seattle became the biggest city in the U.S. to ban plastic straws, and Starbucks plans to phase out plastic straws by 2020. McDonald will ban plastic straws at UK and Ireland restaurants, and the 1,000 U.S. locations of  the food service company Bon Appétit Management will follow suit. Thanks to a Girls Scout, Alaska Airlines was the first airline to phase out plastic straws and stirrers. Shelby O’Neil created Jr Ocean Guardians for her 2017 Girl Scout USA Gold Award Project to share her passion in saving oceans and marine life for the future. Other airlines–American, Delta, and United–are following Alaska’s lead.

Getting rid of straws may have seemed a minor task because they comprise only 0.025 percent of the eight million tons of plastic going into the ocean each year. But it’s a simple beginning. From there, governments are decreasing the use of single-use plastic bags for shopping by adding fees for them or replacing them with paper bags. The town where I live passed an ordinance to do this a few days ago. Kroger is just one major company doing away with plastic bags for its shoppers. Using reusable shopping bags can drastically cut down on the one trillion plastic bags used world-wide every year.

Another reduction in plastic is to reuse water bottles instead of single-use ones. One person using a refillable water bottle can save an average of 170 bottles each year. And the single-use bottles have poisonous chemicals that aren’t present in glass or stainless steel reusable bottles.

Other ways to avoid plastic use is to pack food in glass containers, avoid snack foods with excess packaging, and skip plastic flatware. Hopefully, restaurants where you eat will use cardboard for takeout food instead of plastic. Buying products in cardboard containers will cut down on single-use plastics.

A particularly vicious form of plastic comes into microbeads used in most cosmetic items. UK has joined other countries in banning the product that is killing marine life who mistake the tiny particles for food. Ethique Beauty became plastic free in 2012, preventing three million bottles, jars, and tubes being sold and aiming for ten million by 2025. The United States has banned microbeads only in rinse-off cosmetics.

Founded in Bandon (OR), the Washed Ashore project creates sculptures from plastic materials washed up on beaches. It has a traveling art exhibit to create an awareness about the world’s growing plastic pollution problems.

Another 30 ways to recycle stuff.

Last year’s Earth Day theme to reduce plastic proliferation set progress into motion, and activists will begin work on this year’s theme, “Protect Our Species” which are rapidly disappearing from climate change, deforestation, poaching, pollution, pesticides/herbicides, and consumption.

One species that people might want to protect is that of humans. Because of the huge corporation Monsanto, people are getting cancer from its pesticides that contain glysophates. Products from popular foods for children–breakfast cereal, snack bars, and from popular companies such as Quaker, Kellogg, and General Mills–to “adult beverages” of wine and beer contain the cancer-causing chemical. To sell its genetically-modified seeds for plants that won’t be damaged by glysophates, Monsanto engineered varieties of corn, soybeans, cotton, canola, sugar beet, alfalfa, and more crops. Over 90% of all soybeans and over 70% of all corn grown in the U.S. are genetically modified, and the majority of these plants are tolerant to glyphosates. Originally people assumed that these crops were safe for human, but studies–not those paid for by Monsanto–show them to be endocrine disruptors causing birth defects, reproductive impairment, and DNA damage.

Another way to save the planet is to saving marine animals which might slow climate change because they store carbon in their bodies; their carbon-rich waste products sink into the ocean to fertilize and protect marine plants. Sea stars are just one of the marine species rapidly dying off. [Photo by Sue Hardesty]

On its 50th anniversary in 2020, the Earth Day network is organizing a “Great Global Clean Up,” which it hopes to be the largest environmental volunteer event in history. The goal is to remove billions of pieces of rubbish from streets, beaches, rivers,and parks, and is being launched across US cities in 2019. With its SOLVE project, Oregon is already ahead of the project. Founded 50 years ago in 1969 by Gov. Tom McCall, the goal of reducing and cleaning up litter and vandalism throughout the state expanded in 1984 to the first statewide citizen Beach Cleanup in the nation, an event that has spread to all 50 states and 100 other countries. The Oregon beach cleanup now takes place twice a year.

To celebrate Earth Day–every day, every year–hold yourself accountable and vow to save the planet for the future. [Photos: The Moon – Sue Hardesty; The Ocean – Ann Hubard]








December 5, 2016

Portland Women March against Hate

Filed under: Elections — trp2011 @ 12:10 PM
Tags: , , ,

Over 1,000 people participated in the mile-long Portland Women March against Hate last Saturday, that included live music and speeches. The signs carried by marchers showed their activism as participants addressed issues such as Portland remaining a sanctuary city and gun safety laws. The group gathered in protest of “misogyny, misogynoir, racism, xenophobia, transmisogyny, and transphobia.” Barbara Chapnick said, “My message is for Tom Price. It’s my body, my choice and get out of my vagina.”

As with any peaceful protest, the media gave the march short shrift; the Oregonian buried the event on p. 13. Fortunately, my photographer friend Ann Hubard sent me the following pictures.






















m-america-great-vertical-right-with-girls m-pussy-vertical-3











m-girls-fun-vertical-left m-sign-wide-vertical-right-newspaper

















m-not-powerless-vertical-short-left-maybe m-refugees-vertical-3-or-4











July 30, 2015

Portland Says ‘Shell No” to Arctic Drilling


Dangling shell noIn a David v. Goliath set-to in Portland (OR), protesters are one-upping the kayaktivists in Seattle, adding small boats and a “human curtain” from GreenPeace rappelling 100 to 200 feet down from the city’s tallest bridge, St. Johns Bridge, to block a ship from going out to sea. Earlier this year, protesters tried to block the departure of the Shell-leased drilling rig “Polar Pioneer” from Terminal 5 in the Port of Seattle. This week’s altercation escalated when the 380-foot icebreaker MSV Fennica tried to leave dry dock where it had a 39-inch gash in its hull repaired after the ship tried to take a shortcut early in its 1,000-mile journey from Dutch Harbor to the Aleutions.

Environmental activists in kayaks protest the Fennica, a vessel that Royal Dutch Shell PLC plans to use in its Arctic offshore drilling project, as it underwent repairs on Swan Island, Saturday, July 25, 2015, in Portland, Ore.  The damaged ship, a 380-foot icebreaker, which arrived at a Swan Island dry dock early Saturday morning, is a key part of Shell's exploration and spill-response plan off Alaska's northwest coast. It protects Shell's fleet from ice and carries equipment that can stop gushing oil. (Sam Caravana/The Oregonian via AP) MAGS OUT; TV OUT; NO LOCAL INTERNET; THE MERCURY OUT; WILLAMETTE WEEK OUT; PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP OUT; MANDATORY CREDIT

Environmental activists in kayaks protest the Fennica, a vessel that Royal Dutch Shell PLC plans to use in its Arctic offshore drilling project, as it underwent repairs on Swan Island, Saturday, July 25, 2015, in Portland, Ore. The damaged ship, a 380-foot icebreaker, which arrived at a Swan Island dry dock early Saturday morning, is a key part of Shell’s exploration and spill-response plan off Alaska’s northwest coast. It protects Shell’s fleet from ice and carries equipment that can stop gushing oil. (Sam Caravana/The Oregonian via AP) MAGS OUT; TV OUT; NO 

fennica mapThe channel was shallower than shown by the 80-year-old charts that were surveyed with sextants and hand-held lines. The NOAA ship Fairweather, in the area to map Arctic shipping routes, found rocky areas less than 30 feet deep, one only 22.5 feet deep. The Fennica draws 27.5 feet.

fennica AnnThe Fennica is vital to Shell’s drilling because it contains a 30-foot-tall capping stack equipment  designed to prevent a blowout like BP experienced in the Gulf’s Deepwater Horizon disaster. A spill would be disastrous in Arctic waters which are covered by ice flows much of the year.  The Chukchi Sea is home to an estimated 2,000 polar bears, as well as gray whales, bowhead whales and a major walrus population. Gray whales swim north also go for feeding grounds in the Chukchi Sea.

Shell received federal permits last week but must wait until the Fennica arrives at the drill site before the company can reapply for more permits to drill into hydrocarbon zones in the Chukchi Sea.

Bridge goodScheduled to leave last night, the Fennica set out about 6:00 (PST) this morning but was forced to turn around by the presence of the protesters who plan to remain there indefinitely in spite of the unusual 100+ degree temperatures for at least today and tomorrow.

Bridge with yellowFollowing is an article from Oregon’s junior senator, Jeff Merkley:

“At this moment, the damaged Fennica icebreaker is entering the water in my home of Portland, OR, in what could be a make-or-break moment for our environment and our future climate.

“Here’s the background: In 2008, President George W. Bush not only lifted the executive ban on Outer Continental Shelf drilling, but also leased parts of the Arctic’s Chukchi Sea to Shell for oil and gas exploration.

“When Shell first attempted exploratory drilling in the Chukchi Sea in 2012, however, it was clear the company was out of its depth. In September, during open sea testing, Shell’s spill containment system was “crushed like a beer can.” Then the Noble Discoverer caught on fire later in November. To cap off the year, Shell’s other rig, the Kulluk, ran aground and was deeply damaged near Kodiak Island after facing severe winter weather. In a review, the U.S. Coast Guard deemed Shell’s wreck to be a result of “inadequate assessment and management of risks.”

“Yet now, with no indication things will be different this time around — and with clear and mounting evidence we can’t afford to burn Arctic oil if we are serious about climate change — Shell is making moves toward Arctic drilling once again. In fact, Shell’s rigs are already on their way to Arctic waters. The only thing that is stopping Shell is the delay of the Fennica, the damaged icebreaker, which they need to begin their drilling operations.

“Shell should seize this last chance to reverse course and drop their reckless plans for Arctic drilling before it is too late.

“Drilling in the Arctic is the height of irresponsibility. If the Chukchi leases are developed and Shell begins operations, a major oil spill is extremely likely. We all remember the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, which resulted in billions of dollars in economic damage to coastal communities and devastating pollution from the 4.9 million barrels of oil that were dumped into the warm Gulf waters. The harsh climate and remote location of the Arctic would make cleanup of a comparable spill nearly impossible, and if a spill happens during the winter, months could pass before a well could be plugged.

“Additionally, we should not be investing in infrastructure that will lock in decades of production — and carbon pollution — from previously unexploited fossil fuel reserves. The science is clear that we have already discovered five times as much fossil fuel as we can afford to burn if we hope to avert catastrophic climate change. Human civilization already faces enormous challenges from climate change.

Save the Arctic“We must take steps to alleviate this danger, not make it worse — and for Shell that means demonstrating global leadership by deciding to not put the world at risk by tapping into untouched and treacherous oil reserves in the Arctic. The U.S. should also use its power and leadership as the new Chair of the Arctic Council to work with other nations to keep Arctic oil off limits.

“Simply put, the Arctic may have oil, but the risks of drilling in the Arctic are too great. Arctic oil should stay in the ground.

“Several weeks ago, five of my Senate colleagues and I introduced the Stop Arctic Drilling Act of 2015, legislation that would protect the Arctic — and our climate — by prohibiting any new or renewed leases for oil drilling in the Arctic.

“It can take years to pass legislation in Congress, however, and right now we only have a window of weeks — maybe just days — before Shell starts drilling.

“It’s time for Shell to do the right thing and announce that they will pull out of the Arctic.”

Two friends—married couple Ann Hubard (photographer) and Taylor West (writer)—went down to the Willamette River this morning to chronicle the events as protesters kept the icebreaker from leaving Portland to help Shell drill for oil. Hubard, who was interviewed for the Oregonian, sent photos, and Taylor sent her impressions of this morning’s gathering:

zigThirteen Dangling in Protest:  Dangling some 408 feet above the Willamette River, yellow and red streamers marked each roped body. A flotilla of colorful kayaks was strategically stationed below, and a lone powered paraglider zigzagged up and down, in and out, voicing support for the mission. News helicopters tracked and recorded the event from on high while hundreds of spectators craning necks to spot the target of the daring dissenters. Moving ever so slowly up the Willamette came the MSV Fennica, 9,000 tons of icebreaker stretching longer than a football field. At last the dare is on!

Bicycles under bridgeThe crowd is eerily quiet,  the flotilla of kayaks centers itself, and, in unison, the danglers hang at attention. Suddenly I’m aware of only the paraglider’s engine and the roar of helicopters circling above. We stand together in anxious anticipation, heads shifting back and forth in tennis-match-style from danglers to ship. Who will say uncle first? Suddenly, the crowd erupts in boisterous cheers and applause. Yes, the Fennica has stopped before it turned and straddled on the river side-saddle as it starts its retreat. The daring dangling dissenters have won this round.

last chanceComment from Hubard: The Shell ship is huge, and being there helps you really understand how impressive these protesters are, to hang there as long as they have. Their dedication and perseverance is amazing.  I feel honored to have been there.

Addendum: This afternoon, police closed the St. Johns Bridge and removed three or four of the protesters dangling from the bridge. Law enforcement also circled protesters in kayaks and canoes that had continued to enter the river and block the big ship’s access. At 5:55 (PST), the Fennica went under the St. Johns Bridge, going north toward the Columbia River. Updates are available here.


April 22, 2015

Earth Day 2015 – ‘It’s Our Turn to Lead’

Filed under: Environment,Uncategorized — trp2011 @ 3:03 PM
Tags: , ,

Twenty million people took to the streets on April 22, 1970, for the first Earth Day. The biggest public demonstration in U.S. history, it turned environmentalism into a mass social movement. The public outcry about smog, trash, and water pollution added to concern about high profile environmental disasters such as the 1969 explosion at an oil rig off  Santa Barbara that spilled millions of gallons of crude into the ocean and washed up on California’s beaches. The Cuyahoga River caught fire from the fouling oil and pollution. Breathing the air in parts of L.A. was the same as smoking a couple of packs of cigarettes each day.

Walter Reuther, United Auto Workers president, was a strong ally who declared, “The auto industry is one of the worst culprits and it has failed to meet its public responsibility.” He proposed a partnership between industry and government to develop the best mass-transit system in the world and wrote a check to the Earth Day organizing committee. Weeks after the first Earth Day, Reuther died in a plane crash.

The momentum of the Ford and Carter administrations stopped with Reagan’s brick wall. The defensive position has lasted through the current Earth Day. After years of climate denial by conservative leaders in the country, another series of disasters—the BP oil spill, Superstorm Sandy, and the California drought, for example—are moving people back to environmental consciousness. Over 400,000 people went onto the streets of New York City last September for the People’s Climate March. Student organizing are leading the fossil fuel divestment campaign on college campuses.

These photographs from Sue Hardesty and Ann Hubard show some of the beauties that we have today that we need to protect.

cannon beach

mt. hood

Reflections most recent

Rody pink dark distant




Eagle verticalBlowing seed left vertical


Rhody Pink Closeup






sunrise 1


April 22, 2014

Earth Day: The Wonders of Our Land

Filed under: Uncategorized — trp2011 @ 12:51 PM
Tags: ,

Red-winged Blackbird

Red-winged Blackbird

Thanks to photographers extraordinaire, Ann Hubard, and my partner (first and last photos below) for these works of art.  Happy Earth Day 2014! May we find ways to keep our planet healthy. It’s worth fighting for.

Our Favorite Beach on the Central Oregon Coast

Our Favorite Beach on the Central Oregon Coast

Cherry Blossoms in Portland

Cherry Blossoms in Portland



Crown Point at the Columbia Gorge

Crown Point at the Columbia Gorge

Hiking at Salmon Creek

Hiking at Salmon Creek

Fog in Forest Park

Fog in Forest Park

Fog over White River Canyon

Fog over White River Canyon


North Oregon Coast in Winter

North Oregon Coast in Winter

The Great Southwest

The Great Southwest

Frozen Falls in the Columbia Gorge

Frozen Falls in the Columbia Gorge

Pacific Coast in the Fall

Pacific Coast in the Fall

Reflections on Burnt Lake

Reflections on Burnt Lake

Mt. Hood in Summer

Mt. Hood in Summer

Waves at the Beach off Quail Street

Waves at the Beach off Quail Street

July 4, 2013

Celebrate Beauty on July 4

In early May, my photographer Ann Hubard traveled from Portland to Utah with her partner, taking more than 2,000 photographs along their trip which also dipped down into Arizona. These photographs show how remarkable that part of our country is, thanks to presidents who go back to Theodore Roosevelt who set up the national park system.

[Disclaimer: some people have said that her photographs that I post cannot be viewed. If not, I’m very sorry because they are truly magnificent!]


These petroglyphs carved into Newspaper Rock in Utah were done hundreds and hundreds of years ago by Anasazi, or Puebloans as they are now called, and later relatives.  They differ from pictographs which are drawn. This photo was taken on a back road into the Needles Section of Canyonlands National Park that also has other amazing scenes such as  chocolate cliffs.

SW16Canyon de Chelly National Monument was established over 80 years go within the Navajo Reservation in northeastern Arizona. It is the only national park service land that is managed by a Native American Tribe. My favorite part of this is the white horse that shows how truly high the cliffs are. Photographer Ansel Adams took many famous pictures in this area.

SW17Ann said that their Navajo guide called these cow pie formations. But everyone could probably recognize that!

One of the many cliff dwellings, in Canyon de Chelly, the one below is called the White House Ruin because of the white on the ceiling. Only one trail is available to access this ancient dwelling without a Navajo Guide. The trail down to the ruin at the bottom descends 700 feet from the rim, but the necessary switchbacks make the trip about miles for the round trip. People can also go there with a guide in an all terrain vehicle.

SW21Spider Rock in Canyon de Chelly is a famous source of photography, particularly beautiful at sunset especially with the thunderstorm brewing in the background.  According to Navajo legend, Spider Woman lives on the top of  the 800-foot-tall Spider Rock after she saved the Navajo people.

Bryce Canyon (below) is unique in the number of these hoodoos, fantastically-shaped pillars of rock created by water erosion. The names comes from the hoodoo definition of casting a spell. Paiutes explained the colorful hoodoos as “Legend People” who were turned to stone by Coyote. The first photo is at sunrise–to quote the photographer, “freezing ass cold but so beautiful.” She added, “Only me and the hoodoos this morning.” Fairyland Canyon, one mile north of the National Park entrance station, allows visitors an “eye-to-eye” view of hoodoos.

The Ruby Mountains, just east of Elko (NV), provide a wonderful shot with the snowcapped mountains and the crazy lenticular clouds.


Please think of these beautiful places on the day that we celebrate our independence and support ways to save them.

June 16, 2013

Catholic Parishes Participate in Pride Parade

The Pride Parade is today in Portland (OR), and an article in yesterday’s Oregonian has made me feel a bit better about the Catholic Church. At least four Catholic parishes are participating in this LGBT event, one of the parishes for the 13th consecutive year. They are doing so despite Archbishop Alexander K. Sample’s order that parish individuals could walk in the parade but members shouldn’t walk as a community with the parish’s banner.

Sample has been an archbishop for less than three months, having been promoted by the former pope from his position as bishop in Michigan. A deacon wrote about Sample: “He is being sent to Portland, Oregon, a place steeped in the secularism of the age and desperately in need of a vibrant witness of faithful Catholic and life.” A petition to elect Sample pope garnered 1,000 votes.

Regarding the Pride Parade participation, Sample’s spokesman, Bud Bunce, said that while the archdiocese respects all people, “this was not an event that St. Andrew’s parish could be in as a parish.”

A bulletin insert last Sunday at St. Andrews described the history of the parish’s welcoming ministry from its first committee meeting in 1996. Its first book at Portland Pride was in 2000, and members started marching with their banner, “Welcoming the Whole Family,” the next year. Susan Kelly, St. Andrews member since 1969, explained that the decision to be a welcoming congregation started when the identical twin daughters of a couple in the church came out in high school. “How can we reach out and get over this Christian–-not just Catholic-–attitude that if you’re gay or lesbian, you’re not part of the community?” Kelly said.

The 2006 pastoral guidelines from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops state the church must welcome homosexuals to full and active participation in the faith. St. Andrew’s bulletin insert quoted the document.

An April poll from Pew Research Center shows that 80 percent of adults say that the Catholic Church, along with Islam and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day  Saints, are “unfriendly” to the LGBT community. St. Andrews carried the banner in the Pride Parade to refute this unwelcoming attitude. Jane Braunger, a parish member since the 1980s, said, “For us not to embrace this [welcoming] statement as a core commitment about openness and acceptance and living the Gospel is cowardly.”

Tom Karwaki, chair of the St. Andrews’ pastoral council, said that parishioners want to talk to the archbishop about their commitment to the Pride Parade. “We’re not acting out of disobedience,” Karwaki said. “We’re acting out of obedience to the Gospel and the mission of this parish.”

The Rev. Steve Newton, a Holy Cross priest who is pastor of St. André Bessette that is also participating in the Pride Parade, said, “The Catholic Church supports gay people, even though there is a broad difference of opinion on their lifestyle.”

Three years ago, Archbishop Timothy Dolan asked Church of St. Francis Xavier not to carry a banner in the New York pride parade after the church’s 15 years of participation. The group reluctantly complied, but the next year members carried a banner with the words “Saint Francis Xavier, come to the table.”

Parishioners and local church leaders may display more acceptance and welcoming than the those higher in the leadership hierarchy. After organizers of the Chicago Gay Pride Parade graciously changed the 2012 parade’s start time so that it wouldn’t interfere with mass at a Lakeview Catholic Church, Cardinal Francis George compared the parade to a Ku Klux Klan rally. The affected church, Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church, is gay-friendly, home to the Archdiocesan Gay and Lesbian Outreach, AGLO Chicago.  Anthony Martinez, executive director of The Civil Rights Agenda, said, “To equate a movement that is about acceptance, diversity and joy to a group of men in white hoods standing on a lawn and burning a cross is very hurtful and it’s just not truthful.”

Another example of Catholic bigotry, the organization complicit in child abuse among its parish leaders, is the firing of a teacher after she became pregnant following artificial insemination. Last week, a federal jury ordered the Catholic Archdiocese of Cincinnati to pay her $170,000 after three years of litigation. The teacher said that she was unaware that artificial insemination violated church doctrine and believed the contract clause about abiding by church teachings meant she should be a Christian and follow the Bible. The archdiocese used the argument that she was a ministerial employee who could be dismissed without government interference, based on a Supreme Court decision, but the jury did not find this as part of her role in the school.

On the highest level of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis has more concern about what he calls the corruption of a “gay lobby” within the Vatican then the child molesters still within the church. He said, “In the Curia [Catholicism’s central bureaucracy] there are holy people. But there is also a stream of corruption. The ‘gay lobby’ is mentioned, and it is true, it is there. We need to see what we can do.”

The Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests said, “structure, not sexuality, is the real issue.” In SNAP’s statement, they wrote, “The church is a monarchy. Monarchs are unaccountable. So many monarchs are corrupt. This is true in both secular and religious institutions.”

The new pope might want to be careful in his investigation; the “gay” part might be higher than he realizes.

Those at the top of the hierarchy of rigid religions such as the Catholic and evangelical Christian churches either don’t understand or don’t care how important religion can be to some people. Many LGBT individuals consider their faith like a family. The loss of that community, usually because male leaders try to force LGBT people into the inflexibility of fundamentalist religions, can be devastating for those who value their religious family.

Even worse is the loss of both religion and biological families when LGBT people declare their gender identity and/or sexual orientation. A recent survey of almost 1200 self-identified LGBT adults conducted by the Pew Research Center shows that nearly 40 percent of them have been rejected by a family member or friend because of their LGBT identity, and 29 percent have been made to feel unwelcome in a place of worship.

Although the average age for a perception of being different was 12 and the positive realization came at 17, those who told a family member or close friend didn’t do so until they were 20. That’s a long time for teenagers to hide an important part of themselves from the world around them. Even worse is the fact that about 50 percent of youth who confide in their parents are rejected by them, resulting in high levels of suicide and health issues.

In the public eye, the lack of accepting LGBT people has caused great numbers of problems from the simplest bureaucratic issues to birth certificates not have the correct names of parents or gender of the person to the violent brutality when LGBT people are beaten and sometimes killed.

But following the pattern of “one heart at a time,” that educates people with personal stories, Lori Duron started a blog, Raising My Rainbow, thirty months ago after she realized that her younger son (left and below) is gender nonconforming.

Subtitled “Adventures in Raising a Fabulous, Gender Creative Son,” the blog has been distilled into a book of the same title in which Duron communicates not only the frustration caused by rearing C.J. but also the joys that he brings her.

The rainbows in nature show the same sense of joy. Photography thanks to Ann Hubard. As she said, “Here is Palouse Falls celebrating Gay Pride with a fabulous rainbow.” Happy Pride Parade Day!


April 22, 2012

Join Earth Day Pledges

Filed under: Uncategorized — trp2011 @ 12:55 PM
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The Palouse

Arizona Saguaro Cactus


For the second year, award-winning photographer Ann Hubard has provided the blog’s images of Oregon that might not have been here in 2012 without the first Earth Day—and might disappear in the near future if people lose the battle to protect the Earth.

Multnomah Falls

Within the past year, Gov. Scott Walker and Rep. Paul Ryan have given Wisconsin a black eye with their firsts, but the state has a history of positive actions. One of the most important is Earth Day, conceived by Sen. Gaylord Nelson after he saw the ravages of the 1969 massive oil spill in Santa Barbara (CA). Outraged by the devastation, he helped pass a bill designating April 22 as a national day to celebrate the earth. An estimated one in 10 Americans—over 20 million people–took part in the first Earth Day, observed across the country 42 years ago, joining Republicans and Democrats, rich and poor, city dwellers and farmers, tycoons and labor leaders. Its success led to the creation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the 1973 passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts, both under the aegis of President Richard Nixon.

Cape Kiwanda

The good news for environmentalism: Between 1970 and 2010, concentrations of six principal air pollutants declined by almost 71 percent; and in just the first 20 years of the Clean Air Act, an estimated 200,000 premature deaths and 700,000 cases of chronic bronchitis were prevented. The percentage of children with elevated blood-lead levels dropped from 88 percent in the 1970s to just 4.4 percent in the mid-90s. Similarly, lead air pollution decreased 98 percent by 2000. Prior to 1972, industrial waste and sewage had made approximately two-thirds of waterways unsafe for recreation and fishing use. Three decades later, in 2004, 53 percent of assessed river miles and 70 percent of bay and estuarine square miles were safe for recreation and fishing.

Half Dome Yosemite

The bad news for environmentalism: The United States lost more than 500,000 additional acres of such vital areas just between 1998 and 2004. In 2007, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) concluded that “water quality improvement reached a plateau about a decade ago” and there had been a recent “upward trend for beach closings, red tides, dead zones, droughts, flooding, coral reef damage, nutrient pollution, and sewage pollution.” Given current trends, the EPA has “projected that sewage pollution will be as high in 2025 as it was in 1968, that is, before the passage of the Clean Water Act.”

Grand Canyon (Arizona)

Fish consumption warning advisories increased from 899 nationwide in 1993 to 4,598 in 2010. Toxic chemicals, species loss, landfill waste, deteriorating freshwater supplies—the list seems endless. Around 154 million Americans, about half of the nation, currently live in areas that suffer from ambient ozone and/or particulate levels that are often too dangerous to breathe, resulting in 50,000 or more premature deaths per year.

Tree and Snow

The economic system is committed to growth in the use of resources (many of them non-renewable); growth in the use of low-cost labor; growth in the number of products produced; growth of shareholder profits; and, inevitably, growth in pollution and carbon emissions. Local communities feel the full effects of pollution and climate change as well as the massive social and environmental costs of corporate outsourcing of jobs.

Ramona Falls

A “new economy” movement is, however, building up momentum, in large part because the failure of national and international strategies produces more and more economic and ecological devastation. Citizens in all parts of the country have been taking the lead in constructing new economic models and institutions that not only promote democratized economic opportunity, but also, ecological sustainability, for example, in Austin (TX), Cleveland (OH), and San Francisco (CA).

Forest Park, Portland

Earth Day went global in 1990 with 200 million people in 141 countries. By 2000, 5,000 environmental groups in 184 countries organized activists, including hundreds of thousands of people who gathered on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. on April 22 that year. Eight years of George W. Bush as president saw climate-change deniers, well-funded oil lobbyists, and frightened politicians reduce the impact of Earth Day by 2010, yet 225,000 people still met at the National Mall that year for a Climate Rally. Two years later, over 800 million actions have been recorded by the program “A Billion Acts of Green,” and this year’s theme, Mobilize the Earth, has moved its activism into faith, literacy, education, arts, athleticism, etc. You can join them with your pledge of action.

Mt. Hood (Oregon)


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