P.S I’m still thinking about what to do with this blog and about what I can do to help mitigate the environmental damage caused by profligate individuals living in America and around the world. I hope to have something figured out and started by the end of the year. In the meantime have fun being alive on a planet that isn’t nearly as beautiful as it once was but is still awesome.
2017 begins much like 2016 ended, rain and more rain. After a few days of heavy rain the once peaceful little creek that ran along the side of my home has swollen into a raging river. I’m not too worried about that however I am a bit worried about all the rain bringing down a large tree on a steep slope that has my roof in its sights. Earlier today I went to pick some fruit but was unable to make it to the orchard due to much bigger raging river. I thought about testing my luck but if the rapidly moving knee deep water that was covering the narrow bridge took out one of my legs the other would certainly follow and I’d be washed off the bridge and pummeled against many boulders as I was sent downstream so it wasn’t worth it, not even for some rollinia.
Today is the first day of the last month of the year and I hope this month will be far less disappointing than last month. I’ve been relatively busy with work and thinking deep thoughts the past couple weeks so you may have noticed I haven’t been posting like I was Pre-Trump. I won’t be chiming in here again until New Years however in the meantime I will continue to try and help get important links noticed on Twitter.
P.S. A friend of someone I buy fruit from got hit by a car a few days ago in front of the fruit sellers home, went into a coma, and died a few days later. It reminded me of a very promising individual who was hit and killed on his bike at the age of 14 by a careless driver so with both of them in mind I say please be careful on and around the road especially if you happen to be in Thailand or in one of the few other places with as abysmal of a traffic safety record.
In an interview at the New York Times yesterday President-elect Trump said he was open minded and carefully looking at the issue of climate change. Now more than ever is the time to voice your support for the Paris Climate Agreement and the Clean Power Plan. Please contact the President-elect and urge him to stay in the Paris Climate Agreement, ensure the U.S. keeps it’s Paris commitments, and continues to lead the world in its effort to curb climate change!
The evidence is overwhelming and we have far too much to risk.
In a video updating the world on his presidential transition and explaining some of his policy plans for his first 100 days in office Trump said he will “Cancel job-killing restrictions on the production of American energy”, i.e., he will cancel health and environmental protecting restrictions on the production of dirty, unsustainable, and climate change exacerbating energy.
If Trump continues down this road pushed along by the likes of climate change denier Myron Ebell he will not only hurt America’s chance to lead the world in renewable energy he will also hurt humanity’s chance to avoid the most devastating effects of climate change; and all in exchange for some coal industry profits and a few unhealthy and unsafe jobs for people to blow up mountain tops, crawl into coal mines, burn coal, and dispose of coal ash.
The petition can be found here and if you agree please sign, comment, and help it get noticed. Also please support this petition as well along with any similar ones you may find because it’s important that those of us who care about maintaining and furthering the progress made in addressing climate change over the past 8 years are as vocal as possible because the best shot we have at positively influencing the path the Trump administration takes on climate change, and other issues, over the next four years is NOW.
I stole the following article from the Steve Bannon run Breitbart News, which I just read is now the most widely-read conservative site in America, because I didn’t want to link to it and give them the benefit of a few extra clicks on their advertisement loaded website that keeps automatically reloading and is severely affecting my internet speed. I re-post this article not to make you cringe but to give you some background on the guy we’re trying to get fired and in hopes it will motivate you to support this petition.
Besides the need to reduce the influence of money in politics the way people vote and the way candidates are elected also needs to change if we’re going to allow people to vote for their first choice without having to worry about “wasting” their vote or “spoiling” an election. If you’re interested in ranked choice voting and electing presidents based upon which presidential candidate receives the most votes then learn more and sign up for email updates via the links below.
I went to the beach today in hopes some sun, sand, and salt water would cleanse me of the last 24 hours. I did some snorkeling and saw some beautiful fish as I picked a few pieces of old plastic out of the ocean. Seeing an old and disintegrating plastic bag that has become attached to the sea floor wave back and forth with the currents like an underwater plant makes you realize how easy it is for a hungry fish to nibble away at it thinking it was food and not something that was going to get stuck in its stomach and eventually kill it. The largest fish I saw was only about half the size of my hand probably because like in many other parts of the world people have eaten just about anything worth eating however there were still small fish which came in a variety of shapes and colors.
I wonder if the decedents of these fish will be there when children today are my age or if they will vanish along with most of the world’s coral reefs due to a slight increase in water temperature and acidity as a result of all the carbon released into the atmosphere from all the fossil fuels we’re burning and forests we’re cutting down in order to satisfy our hunger for cheap meat and palm oil? While I was waiting for the boat back I was passed by a morbidly obese man probably in his late twenties. One of the Thai boatmen said “Hey, where you from?” and he replied “New York City.”, then the Thai boatman says “New York City, Mr. Trump!” and the fat guy says “Mr. Trump” as he does a big thumbs up at which time the same nausea and leg weakness I experienced on election night slightly returned as I once again thought about all the environmental consequences of this election. Should have been Bernie however it is what it is, now it’s time to fuel up and fight on!
I hope you’ll consider viewing and sharing articles and video clips like those below with friends and family before Tuesday. Rather than seeing it as preaching politics to people that probably don’t want to hear it see it as sharing some information which people can use as food for thought or choose to ignore. I’m confident the more people who step back and think ahead of Tuesday’s election the better chance the U.S. and the rest of the world will have at a better future.
The Paris Climate Agreement takes effect today and although the national commitments pledged thus far fall far short of what needs to be done if global warming is to be kept below 2C above pre-industrial levels and if the most environmentally devastating and socially destabilizing effects of climate change are to be avoided it at least provides a framework which gives humanity a chance at reaching this extremely important goal.
I ask any U.S. voters that visit this site and I hope you’ll ask any you know to take this critically important issue into account on Tuesday and note that one candidate has a plan to address it while creating new jobs and the only plan her competitor has is to deny there’s a problem and write it all off as a “hoax”. Trump doesn’t even list the environment as an issue on his campaign site however it does say he will “scrap the EPA’s so-called Clean Power Plan” and has said he will get rid of the EPA in almost every form. Of all the things that make Trump unfit to be president I think his ignorance and lack of concern as it pertains to climate change and other environmental issues is the most disqualifying.
Yesterday I took what I guess was a 3 or 4km hike up a slippery mountain slope in search of a waterfall. There were no signs just a very narrow path used by off-road motorcycles which the locals use to haul down fruit. However I went late in the afternoon so the motocross fruit farmers had already gone home for the day and there was nobody in the mountain forest and I couldn’t get a phone signal. Although it was only a short hike from 3G and the rest of civilization you could really feel the disconnect. After a bath in what was probably the coldest water I’ve ever experienced in Southeast Asia I headed back just before it got dark to continue working on some work stuff. Continue reading
Yesterday I was working and reading on my computer for most of the day and didn’t get much farther than my front porch so today I decided to get away from my computer and go for a long walk. Today’s walk was around 20km and culminated in a refreshing swim in a cool mountain river followed by some freshly fallen durian. I’m not a fan of dogs or pets in general, particularly those that are more like prisoners such as caged birds that have been robbed the ability to fly, but any dog that loves durian as much as this old stray/abandoned dog did is fine with me.
Last night I was out walking around enjoying the sights and sounds of some of the local frogs and toads. Then today at the market I saw some more frogs but they weren’t making any sounds and I didn’t enjoy seeing them. As far as the locals are concerned there’s nothing wrong with ripping the skin off of a living frog and letting it slowly die over a period of what I guess could be hours. As is generally the case when I see something that is just plain wrong I spoke up in hopes that it will help raise awareness and influence future behavior. If you’re going to eat an animal or its parts and excretions then you should know how it was caught or raised and how it was killed and be alright with that otherwise you shouldn’t eat it.
P.S. If you want to see seven terrible seconds of what I was talking about click here, if not enjoy the happy toad photo below.
The biosphere and human civilization can not afford 4 years of inaction and reversals of the modest climate change policies that have been enacted over the last 8 years. We need a U.S. president, as well as a U.S. Senate and Congress, that will not only support policies like the Clean Power Plan and treaties like the Paris Climate Agreement we need one who will build upon them because the international community’s current commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions fall far short of what is needed to ensure, or even make it likely, that the earth of the late 21st century will be as biodiverse and inhabitable as the earth of the early 21st century. Obviously climate change isn’t the only important issue in this election but I think it’s the most important as well as the most neglected. If you take a few steps back and take a broader more long-term worldview I’m confident you will agree.
If you’re eligible please don’t leave this election and the health of this planet to chance. Be sure to vote and encourage others to join you in making sure climate change deniers do not get elected president, senator, or congressperson.
I was reminded why I don’t eat eggs when I saw a truck that was hauling plastic crates that were absolutely packed with what looked to be some very unhealthy and sad chickens. I think they were egg laying hens whose worn out bodies could no longer continue laying enough eggs to justify their existence and were off to slaughter and I want absolutely no part in any of that abuse. Just imagine being treated like that, living in your own feces in a crowded dark barn or in a cage so small that you’re not even able to stretch out your arms let alone go for a walk.
I used to eat eggs from sources I could verify were free range and organic thus did not equate to me supporting big agricultural companies that seek to control as much of the food supply as they can by patenting seeds and the pesticides they are genetically engineered to grow with. However I’m often asked about what I eat and when I used to say “I eat eggs that I can verify are free range and organic.” what that translated to for most of the people asking me is “Mr. ethical and healthy diet and lifestyle man eats eggs, eggs are good, and even he admits that you need to eat animals or at least their milk and/or eggs in order to be healthy.”.
Since I don’t in any way want to condone the abuse that occurs during the production of the vast majority of eggs destined for human consumption I essentially stopped eating eggs over 5 years ago. I say “essentially” because since then I’ve probably had about a dozen eggs which I knew were from happy health chickens but I’ve had none this year and I don’t intend on eating any in the future. If you enjoy eggs then eat them, just make sure they come from an ethical source rather than turning a blind eye when you eat out or buy things made with eggs because you can be sure that those aren’t eggs anyone remotely concerned with animal rights and dietary ethics wants to be eating.
It’s disgraceful that in four debates the candidates for president and vice president were not asked a single question about planet earth’s and human civilization’s most pressing problem, climate change. Shame on all the moderators for missing a great chance to help educate the severely uniformed and misinformed U.S. electorate on this extremely important issue. Moreover shame on much of the U.S. electorate who choose to ignore the warnings and continue to burn fossil fuels in larger than necessary vehicles and eat meat like climate change, deforestation, and environmental degradation in general isn’t an issue while supporting climate change denying politicians or not bothering to vote at all.
I was going to spend a night or two away in order to let the paint dry but the fresh mountain air and tree-ripened organic fruit kept me away for three. I slept in a little wooden bungalow surrounded by trees and immersed in the sounds of frogs, crickets, and other small creatures of the night and as I lay in bed last night I wished that more urban dwelling people had the chance to spend a few nights surrounded by nature because it may teach or remind them that they are a part of a world that is much bigger than their country and the rest of human civilization including any of its creation myths.
Here are a few pictures to stimulate your appetite before you lose it watching tonight’s debate and no I’m not talking about the cows because I don’t find slitting the throats of those gentle beasts, gutting them, and eating the human-like flesh off their human-like bones to be very appealing.
I had to leave my place a day after getting back due to some painting. It’s only a little on some trim on the balconies however even a slight smell of paint or any other harmful concoction of chemicals, e.g., perfume and laundry detergent, is too much for me so I decided to leave for a couple days. I’m now at my mountain retreat which is a two and a half hour bus ride away where I don’t have internet access thanks to the screen on my phone dying after being dropped about 3 weeks ago. Anyway here’s a good article regarding recent U.S. actions in Yemen and the way the mainstream media has covered it.
Last time on our way back to Thailand we encountered two police checkpoints and our Thai driver had to bribe the Malaysian police in order to pass without being held up and hassled. When I returned from that visa run last July I sent an email to the Malaysian Tourism Authority, Malaysian Police, and their Anti-Corruption Department however it doesn’t seem to have done much good as they are still stopping and hassling Thai mini-bus drivers and probably some other drivers as well. Even though it didn’t seem to do any good last time I emailed another complaint today.
Next time you see or encounter something that isn’t right and could really use some improvement I hope you’ll take a minute to do something, speak up, or write an email because if enough people do these unjust and inconvenient situations will eventually improve. With that said here’s my 4 day visa run trip from Southern Thailand to Penang in 4 photos.
Another thing that was discussed in last night’s debate was Islamophobia so I wanted to briefly say what I think that is and isn’t.
Islamophobia isn’t wanting to keep people who live by their own set of medieval laws which make women second class citizens and make it dangerous to be gay, lesbian, or a freethinker out of your country; nor is it wanting to make it illegal for the people already in your country to wear burqas and similar identity concealing attire in public places and to dress children in such attire.
Islamophobia is wanting to ban all people who identify as Muslim from entering your country regardless of how they interpret and practice their religion. We shouldn’t be so afraid of being labeled intolerant that we tolerate things which should not be tolerated, nor should we place an entire broad and diverse group of people into one small box and label it based upon the most abominable members of that group.