Tag Archives: Mother Nature

WWMND? (What would Mother Nature do?): A fictional conversation begins

5 Jun

What’s real?

As the new normal emerges as packaged austerity and annual 100-year storms,  I’ll let you decide once you’ve ‘listened’ to these somewhat fictional conversations I’ve been writing between somewhat fictional characters: Mother Nature, Humankind, Greenback, and Credit Card.

Here it is:

“Meet me for coffee.”  Mother Nature’s  invitational text sent in frustration was born from

frustration and sadness.  She’d heard too many rumbles of despair, drowned out by the constant drone of cell phone chatter, overwhelmed by music seeping out of ear plugs.

Overheard messages:  “They did it to me; fool me once, shame on them, fool me twice, super-sized shame on them”.

“I didn’t know.  How could I have known? “

“What do you mean my job isn’t there anymore?”

“It’s not MY fault.  They made me do it:  it was the advertising, the celebrities, the catalogues, my friends, my parent”s.

“They knew I’d lose the bet:  you just can’t eat one – or buy just one”.

“Don’t tell us what do – but if you don’t – it will be your fault”.

“It’s their fault.  They came in, gave us jobs, then, spilled their oil.  Lost our jobs.  Ruined our environment.  We want our jobs back.”

And most of all she heard:  “Bamboozled.  We’ve been bamboozled”.

Meanwhile, Mother Nature listens and shakes her head again.  She has watched exploding globalization, make America’s number one export the American Dream.. She’s watched so much melt away.  Literally:   icecaps, savings, and even happiness have seemed to POOF!  evaporate into thin, or rather carbon-dioxide heavy air.

Staring at her text to meet for coffee, she looks for blame.  But where to start?  Is it Greenback’s fault for the greed he ignites in Humankind?  Or is Humankind’s irresponsible and insatiable hunger for Mother Nature’s rich resources to blame?

These bullies are culprits – and potential saviors.  Much as Mother Nature hates the idea, she knows she has to practice friendship with her enemies, or she will be the planet’s sole inhabitant.

Not that this would necessarily be a bad thing.  After all, she doesn’t need Humankind or anyone else to survive.  Yet, she is an optimist and collaborator.

And meeting for coffee doesn’t sound so bad.  In fact, it sounds pretty good.  And she wants to meet these ‘characters’.

So off she goes to the local java joint.

sustainable mug - party talk for environmentalists

Later….

At the cafe:  Greenback joins Mother Nature in ordering lattes.  Credit Card arrives in time to swipe.

Sipping, Mother Nature shakes her head as she looks around:  “Ha!  People say they’re green as they drown in their mounds of organic clothes, fair trade coffee and ‘save the planet’ coffee mugs.”

“I know what you mean.  I may be called Greenback;, but I’m seeing red these days on too many bottom lines.  I feel like I’m having an existential crisis.  Do I exist or have I been passed over for a shiny piece of plastic?”  Holding his head in his hands, Greenback glances at Credit Card who is snickering  while chomping on a scone.

Has she found an ally so quickly?  Mother Nature looks sympathetically and says, “Yup, now you’re as screwed as I’ve been for decades.”

“But he has me to help.  Together we are invincible thanks to Humankind,” Credit Card adds pointing to Greenback.  “Where IS Humankind?”

Hopes of camaraderie fade, as Mother Nature’s mood changes as quickly as the weather:  “Sure you’re invincible – at MY expense.  Sure your value has multiplied since you’ve devoured all I have to offer, from the depths of my oceans to the tops of my mountains.  Wake up:  you grow, but I’m dying.”

“Humph!”  Greenback chortles, patting Mother Nature condescendingly on the back.  “Quit whining Mommy Dearest.  I’m never down for long.  My comeback is inevitable.  What’s YOUR problem?”

“Actually, it’s YOU.”-

Stay tuned for Humankind’s entrance.  In the meantime:

What do you think a successful relationship between Mother Nature, Humankind, Credit Card, and, Greenback would look like ?

Who is to blame for the mess our world is in?

What do you think will happen when Humankind shows up?

Do you think it’s possible for Mother Nature to form a win-win relationship with Humankind, Credit Card, and Greenback?  Why or why not?

Advertisements

Wetlands: a sexy environmental elastic waistband

16 Nov

Do you own elastic waistband pants?

Perhaps your pants du jour for the upcoming Thanksgiving dinner?

Wearing loose, pliable and elastic-waisted pants provides safety when overindulgence threatens to overflow the muffin top after turkey, not to mention those

tumblr_m7l57gro081qdw2uvo1_500.jpg

pre-dinner, mingle and football appetizers.

Personally, ( I) don’t want  my zipper parting like the Red Sea.

It’s more than portion control.  Party wardrobes require planning and preparation with an eye on safety.

I play it safe, careful with my pants selection and other aspects of my life.

Take my checking account.  Remember ‘back in the day’ when banks offered the equivalent of an elastic waistband known as overdraft protection with a savings account?  But that was before the surging debt known as the subprime mortgage crisis crashed the global American Dream, forcing us to toss our elastic waistband financial practices.

Now, checking overflow leads to a painful fine.

I hate that…

But overflow overindulgence:  is short-sighted.

Post-Sandy brings Katrina’ reminders of overindulgent building in  wetlands.  Result: overflowing surges from  Hurricane Sandy causing cars and waterfront property to drown.

In nature, Mother Nature creates safety to prevent overflow.  She originated an elastic waistband equivalent with marshes,  and wetlands to control flooding and preserve shorelines.

Didn’t Frank Sinatra sing:  If wetlands can make it here (NYC) they can make it anywhere?  If he didn’t, I’m sure he would have post-Sandy.

Wetlands, something you may not think about when you think NYC. WE got ’em – we need ’em even more now. Wetlands, though in prime waterfront property will save us from Sandy-like flooding and devastation. Of course it means letting wetlands recover and not building in them. pic: nyc.gov

Maybe you didn’t pay much attention to wetlands till Katrina hit.  Wetland’ loss was given credit for the expansiveness of that storm’s damage.

WEtlands New Orleans style! MRGO Must Go Coalition seeks to bring back these critical wetlands. Launched in 2006 in the wake of the destruction wrought by Hurricane Katrina, the 17-member coalition—coordinated by NWF—brought together scientists, environmentalists and local communities to raise awareness of the role the MRGO played in worsening Katrina’s damage

I’m thinking wetlands protect  NYC/NJ coastlines  like my checking account alerts prevent my spending ‘overflow’ and costly, painful fines.

Turning off my daily alerts would be short-sighted.

Building on wetlands is equally short-sighted.  It’s like wearing tight, tight pants to a holiday buffet and it’s done for the same reason:

It’s about offering a great view.  A sexy view.

But great views come with a great cost.

Farewell 2012.  Welcome 2013:

We have a new normal:  annual ‘100 year’ storms.

We need a new sexy:  healthy wetlands.

So flaunt your sexiness this holiday season by tightening your cash flow, donning your elastic waistbanded pants, and, proudly fa-la-la-ing about wetlands.

Impress your favorite tree-hugger:  Share your sexy conversation starter for making wetlands the center of conversation!

Hurricane Sandy’s Global Warming WARNing

4 Nov

Horrific devastation of a flooded then burned Breezy Point, Queens after Sandy struck – and compared to a bombed WWII city.
Are we at War?
If we are, we are losing – and we’ve been warned.
photo from: cnbc.com

A week ago we were preparing for Sandy.  Now, many parts of the city are dealing with unbelievable devastation.  Sitting in a Starbucks  close to Central Park, there’s an eerie sense of normalcy.

Runners from around the world limp by in their brightly colored shirts.  They’ve  run their 26 miles without the help of the cancelled NYC marathon.

At the southern tip of Brooklyn, the Atlantic Ocean nips the beaches of Coney Island and the Russian neighborhood of Brighton Beach.

Subtle.  We’ve all been transfixed by dramatic images of floods and fires.

Here are subtle but real images of the storm.

Starbucks on Brighton, a block from Brighton Beach’s boardwalk, still shuttered on Thursday, 10/31 after Sandy.

Normalcy is Starbucks where on the most ordinary of days is filled with chatterers and writers.  This particular Starbucks a block from Brighton Beach was shuttered as of last Thursday.  A small reminder.

Life will never be the same.  Or will it?  Memory is fleeting: our strength and challenge as humans.

Post-Sandy, I took a walk down Ocean Parkway in Brooklyn.  Ocean Parkway is Central Park’ architects (Vaux and Olmstead) tree-lined grand promenade, linking Prospect Park  and Coney Island.

Prospect Park is Brooklyn’s landscaped park courtesy of Vaux and Olmstead – and the park they preferred!

NYC’s Mayor Bloomberg and NY Governor Cuomo murmur loud enough to be heard over election babble:  Sandy’s vengeance  is the face of disasters to come.

And is the result of global climate change.

This is NYC’s third natural disaster in two years.

A killer 2010 snowstorm buried buses and cars for days on end, devastating holiday plans and shopping

Maybe we are at war?  Maybe Mother Nature is trying to tell us something?  If we are at war, who are our allies?  Our enemies?

A casualty!  This tree-crushed car must have horrified it’s owner. Luckily for the owner, this neighborhood suffered no power loss, flooding, or fires.

Luck is in the eyes of the beholder, especially after a disaster.  My neighbor complained about the lack of milk and eggs in the stores.  And of course no gas.

It seems the less we have to complain about, the more we complain.  I bet a week ago, people in Staten Island would have focused on this complaint.   Things change – like the climate.  And what we complain about.

Uprooted trees fell to their death, united with chunks of the earth which had kept them stable and solid for so long. What will we do without them? How will we live?

Thousands of trees were killed during the hurricane. Sadly, these fallen trees now block streets, damaged houses, cars, and, even killed people.
(If you look carefully…)
I guess someone realized this dead tree could no longer feed herself (photosynthesis) SO LEFT A BOTTLE OF JUICE on her fallen trunk. For the tree to drink.

Irony:

Killed trees = less absorbed carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Less trees = more carbon dioxide  = increased temperature.

Increased temperature = warmer ocean.

Warmer ocean = more hurricanes.

But we all know this.

Attack of the killer tree? Tree suicide? It almost looks like the tree attacked this car. She knows killing cars is one way to fight climate change.

Environmentalists have been crying ‘global warming’ for years, going back centuries.  Remember singing:  ‘they paved paradise and put up a parking lot.’ (Joni Mitchell’s ‘Big Yellow Taxi)

No Gas! Every gas station I saw was closed and lineless.
One more reason I am thankful and thrilled with a great public transportation system which IS up and running!
It’s as if the cars not crushed by trees were silenced by lack of gas. Coincidence?

Close to where Ocean Parkway meets the boardwalk,  the ocean’s surge took action on cars:

Cars were nudged out-of-place, not as dramatic as pictures of piles of boats in people’s yard. Disquieting. Like the ‘clean’ sidewalks and ‘dust’ in the air the closer one got to the ocean.

Sandy turned the entrance to the boardwalk into a sand dune!

Piles of sand, rearranged from one side of the boardwalk to the other – not major, not dramatic, subtle. Kind of like climate change so far. Kind of like small islands disappearing. Unless you live there. Or unless your car becomes buried in sand.

The ocean was apologetically quiet post hurricane. While I passed over a dozen wanderers, only one fisherman sat patiently waiting for signs of life to emerge on the end of his line.

There’s a ‘neutral zone’ between the energy of Coney Island’s amusement park and the calm, European flavor of ‘Little Odessa’, the Russian neighborhood of Brighton Beach.  In that zone is the NY Aquarium.

NYC’s diversity is its strength. We’ve survived 9/11, we’ll survive this. Diversity adds dimension and as perspective, the planet loses way too many species every year no thanks to human actions. I don’t think we can even begin to imagine how this loss of diversity will impact life as we know it.

Please donate to the victims of this natural disaster and for those who will suffer from disasters to come.

And vote:  remember only one candidate has spoken about climate change.  Climate change alone will focus our jobs and needs in years to come!

What do you think?  How can we save the planet?  What can each of us do?

From Science to Self

4 Sep

How’s your experimental procedure these days?

Which side of the test tube are you on in your current experiment?

I’ve always thought of coming up with new ideas like cooking:  messy, tasty meals are best, and recipes are optional.

It may have started with a right-brained implementation of the scientific

Amazing how it is probably easier to hold the brain than have a handle on the ideas and thoughts (the brain) holds.

method, or, maybe it was my left brain making sense of a management or communication mystery.  Regardless, my brain’s natural urge to create balance uncovered Human/Nature Concepts or how human behavior mimics the laws of science and nature.

Admittedly, this isn’t rocket science – but more metaphorical science.  After all, there is a reason why so many metaphors about human behavior refer to science and nature.

And what is more important to us than understanding our own behavior?  Even though mastering ‘ourselves’ seems as mysterious as E=mc2.  By the

From Berlin’s 2006 Walk of Ideas. The equation that captures the secret to change – or at least in Human/Nature terms

way, I’ll discuss later – not so difficult to understand -really.

To thrive, we need to understand ourselves.

To survive, we must understand and live within the laws of nature.  To me, it makes sense to learn these ‘needs’ together.

Understanding both may be hard, but learning about them doesn’t need to be a ‘hard’ science.

Shaking out the science and Mother Nature’s laws along with the life basics Daniel Goleman coined as emotional intelligence or EQ, I’ll explore:

Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence brilliantly captures all of those life skills needed for success – skills that separate the leaders from the wannabees. Perhaps Human/Nature will spark a new type of scientific intelligence, one we need to co-exist with the planet (and ourselves).

  • Finances and the Economy
  • Conflict
  • Inheritance
  • Guest Etiquette
  • The Chemistry of Creativity
  • Seeds
  • Balance and Equilibrium
  • Career advice
  • Preparing for the future
  • Teamwork
  • Sleep
  • Naked Identity
  • And more!

Starting September 24th, I’ll be posting on Mondays.

Challenge me:  let me know if you have a thought or question you want explored from either end of the spectrum!