A sketch…a world in flux

It’s a near-complete circle, unfinished at the bottom where the shape begins and ends, as though painted in one swift, smooth brushstroke, left barely disconnected by the painter without any second thought.  I’ve seen it a lot over the past year, as I’ve consistently thought about projects still unfinished, not quite realized. 

‘This Is It’ by Thich Nhat Hanh

Last night I was thinking about sketching.  The first drawing, the rough outline for what’s to come.  The more I think about it, the more I learn to appreciate it; and the more I realize that conception, for better or worse, has always appealed to me more than completion. 

That end result has always been less exciting to me, which I guess is ironic.  Here I am pursuing something and yet—maybe subconsciously—I’m not even in a big hurry to get it.  Maybe it’s a weakness, but it’s one that I embrace.    

There’s nothing like that initial moment where something comes right out from my head and onto the page.  The sketch is raw, still in motion and only just being born.  It’s breathing and you can feel the pulse, as Jude likes to say.

Meanwhile when something is complete, it’s complete.  Done.  It’ll be hung up on a wall, put on record, published in a printing house and maybe admired and talked about for ages to come, or it might be forgotten no sooner than it arrived, but either way it’s finished. 

It might take on a life of it’s own after you and that’s a beautiful thing, but even so, it’s a life that’s separate from you.  The sense of finality isn’t always comfortable, but probably necessary. 

There are only a few things that ever seem to remain constant in my life, anyway.  Like the people I’m lucky to call friends and family, and certain fundamental understandings of life and the universe. 

In my beginning is my end…
In my end is my beginning
-T.S. Eliot, “Four Quartets”

A friend once told me the only thing consistent in life is change.  The sketch, at best, reflects that fundamental truth.   It’s still in flux, still being made.  It’s future unknown. 

Open to possibility. 

Issue #4
Q&Co.

Fun with Al & Dean: Climate

Al and Dean are two old friends and neighbors who live across the street from one another. Every so often, they’ll get into a little discussion over things. What follows is one of their more recent conversations.

Al: Dean!

Dean: Al!

Al: I got a question for you.

Dean: Shoot.

Al: Let’s say you’re in your house and you’ve got a problem with your pipes. And on the matter you have the option of consulting a plumber, a tailor or a zookeeper.

Dean: Ok

Al: To whom would you be most inclined to listen?

Dean: The plumber.

Al: The plumber, right? Me too. But wait, let’s say the zookeeper came in afterwards, just as you were about to get to work, and said “Ahhhhh. Pay no attention to what the plumber says. It’s all a bunch of mumbo jumbo.” Just to be sure, you consult more plumbers, and they all pretty much agree on what’s causing the problem. Yet still, that zookeeper remains steadfast in his opinion. Who would you be most likely to believe?

Dean: The plumbers.

Al: Me too. But wait, how do you know that the plumbers aren’t just nickle-and-diming you, cheating you, bamboozling you? I mean, they would say there is a problem, right? A pipe problem is good business for them after all, right? They can turn a profit and make some money from the problem.

Dean: I suppose that’s possible, but I figured that was part of the reason I consulted more than one plumber.

Al: Right.

Dean: If they arrive at the same consensus, then there’s little chance they’re trying to trick me and more than likely, they’re just doing their job. More than likely, the simplest explanation is the right one.

Al: Cool, I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Dean: Well that’s why you have me.

Al: Too true. So now let’s say that in today’s current world, that an overwhelming majority of scientists across the world arrived at a consensus which acknowledges that climate change is happening, that it’s caused by human activity, and that it’s changing the planet in a way that is less hospitable to human beings.

Now, mind you, I’m not saying that it is the reality, but let’s just say that it was.

Anyway, scientists around the world arrived at this consensus, and not long after, we began hearing from politicians and businessmen around the world who said ‘Ahhhhh. Pay no attention to what those scientists said. It’s all a bunch of mumbo jumbo.’

Now, if that were the situation, who would you be inclined to believe? Let me ask you this. Historically, who has a better reputation for trustworthiness? Scientists, or politicians and businessmen?

Dean: Let’s just say I would trust the scientists.

Al: I would too. Cool.

Dean: Cool.

Al: But wait! How do you know those scientists are even telling you the truth? How do you know they aren’t cheating you, bamboozling you? I mean, they would say there is a problem, right? That puts the spotlight on them after all, and they so are likely to turn a profit, right?

Dean: Wrong.

Al: What do you mean?

Dean: Well for one thing, like in the situation with the plumber, that’s part of the reason why you would consult more than one scientist. If they seem to arrive at the same consensus, then there’s little chance they’re trying to trick me and more than likely, they’re just doing their job, as the simplest explanation remains the right one.

Al: Ok.

Dean: But even more so, scientists have been and remain anchored in their work by fact. They work to establish objective truths. That’s what they do, and have always done, for societies. That’s why they exist. And so they aren’t beholden to private motivations or opinions, unlike politicians and businessmen.

Al: So now that we’ve ironed out those hypotheticals, I can say here and now that I’ve accepted the fact of climate change indeed happening and being caused by human activity, as it is the scientific consensus of the planet.

Since we have just ironed out those hypothetical conditions, the only possible remaining point of contention between us–the only thing we can possibly debate at this point–is whether or not it is in fact the scientific consensus that climate change is real and being caused by human activity.

And to that point, I will provide for you now a list of sources who agree that our climate is changing due to human activity, and that it’s changing the planet in a way that is less hospitable to human beings. Afterward, if you are still so inclined, please feel free to do your own research using the same deductive reasoning we have here established.  (Below these links are additional resources to take action)

American Meteorological Society (AMS)
https://www.ametsoc.org/index.cfm/ams/about-ams/ams-statements/statements-of-the-ams-in-force/climate-change1/

Climate at the National Academies
https://sites.nationalacademies.org/sites/climate/index.htm

NASA
https://climate.nasa.gov/causes/

The Geological Society of America (GSA)
https://www.geosociety.org/gsa/positions/position10.aspx

American Geophysical Union (AGU)
https://www.agu.org/Share-and-Advocate/Share/Policymakers/Position-Statements/Position_Climate

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
https://www.aaas.org/news/aaas-reaffirms-statements-climate-change-and-integrity

American Chemical Society (ACS)
https://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/policy/publicpolicies/sustainability/globalclimatechange.html

American Physical Society (APS)
https://www.aps.org/policy/statements/15_3.cfm

Fourth National Climate Assessment
https://nca2018.globalchange.gov/

Climate at the National Academies
https://sites.nationalacademies.org/cs/groups/internationalsite/documents/webpage/international_080877.pdf

Australian Government – Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment
https://www.environment.gov.au/climate-change/climate-science-data/climate-science/greenhouse-effect

IOPscience
https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/11/4/048002

Climate Change Adaptation: What Federal Agencies Are Doing
https://www.c2es.org/site/assets/uploads/2012/02/climate-change-adaptation-what-federal-agencies-are-doing.pdf

International Panel on Climate Change Fifth Assessment Report, Summary for Policymakers (2014)
https://www.ipcc.ch/site/assets/uploads/2018/02/ipcc_wg3_ar5_summary-for-policymakers.pdf

 

*Resources to Take Action

 

Join and Donate to the Sierra Club

https://www.sierraclub.org

 

Guides to Taking Action in Our Everyday Lives

https://www.climategen.org/take-action/act-climate-change/take-action/

https://www.activesustainability.com/climate-change/6-actions-to-fight-climate-change/