Album Challenge Day 3: Graceland by Paul Simon

Graceland was kind of a comeback album for Paul Simon. Though, such an iconic songwriter maybe didn’t need a comeback. His previous album, Hearts and Bones, had not done well. Graceland was released the fall of 1986. It won the 1987 Grammy for album of the year. The South African vocal group Ladysmith Black Mambazo provided much of the backing vocals. Working with South African musicians in the mid-1980s meant he was breaking a UN cultural boycot agains South Africa for its policy of Apartheid. I think in the end, working with many African musicians was ultimately beneficial in lifting up the voices of African musicians oppressed by Apartheid. The title track is one of my all-time favorite songs. Of course, there is absolutely no chance of a solo guitar and voice replicating the complex bass part and harmonies that are a crucial component to the groove of Simon’s version. So, instead, I slow it down, simplify it, and break out the slide guitar for my version.

Album Challenge Day 2: The Nylon Curtain by Billy Joel

I think this was the last album I owned on vinyl in the BCDE (Before CD Era). It came out in 1982. My two best friends gave it to me for my 16th birthday (in 1984). For 20+ years I had a box of vinyl (years after I had a working turntable) in the basement. They were pretty musty smelling, so I took them (including this one) to Half-Price Books before we moved to Bemidji. And then a couple years later I found a really high end (but older) turntable at Goodwill for $5 and started collecting vinyl. So now, I’ve purchased it, plus many other albums again. I won’t tell you about the copy Sgt. Peppers (even with the little cutout Beatle characters) that I let stupidly go.

Nylon Curtain is one of my favorite pop/rock albums. When I was 16, I had the sheet music book for it, and could play rough approximations of some of the songs. But, man, Mr. Joel writes some pretty complicated chord progressions and melodies. Like Joshua Tree yesterday, I think this album is damn near perfect, with every song fitting in where it does. This album also works really well on vinyl. You have to stand up (or sit down) and flip the album over after side one ends with “Goodnight Saigon” fading to the sound of Huey helicpoters flying away. A perfect break before you continue with side two.

The lead song, Allentown, is actually my least favorite song on the album. I was always a little put off how hard it leaned into pop. However, if you look at it more carefully, you’ll find that it is a damn fine Woody Guthrie-like folk song lyrically. So, I’ve reimagined it as that.

Album Challenge – Day 1 U2 Joshua Tree

You know the album cover challenge that has infected Facebook like a virus? Well, I’ve been infected. Thanks Jeff. I do enjoy seeing friends’ 10 essential albums in the development of their musical taste. It’s like a poorly developed pop culture personality test. However, find it frustrating that part of the challenge is to not post any explanation of why that album was important to him or her. That’s the interesting part. I also like that it brings back the notion of an album as a whole being a piece of art, and not just a song. Context matters.

So, I’m going to break the rules. If you don’t like it, get your own blog. I actually posted day 1 on my Facebook feed yesterday, but then decided this morning (day 2) that this might be more interesting and engaging. Plus this is a hell of a lot more fun to think about than, well, everything else right now. I’m not going to plan out a list of my top 10 and put them in any sequence. Just whatever album comes to me the next day. I also decided I needed to learn how to play and record at least one song from each album. That should make it interesting. I’m not sure what the 10 albums will be. I hope I don’t wake up Queen on the brain one morning. That would be rough for everyone involved.

Day 1 is Joshua Tree by U2. This album was really my (like much of America) introduction to U2. I was familiar with their earlier work, but I didn’t own any of it. This album was released the spring of 1987, my freshman year in college. This was the first album I bought in CD format. It was ubiquitous that year to hear songs from this album thoughout the dorm.

The crescendo introduction to the first song “Where the Streets Have no Name” is one of the strongest introductions to a rock album I can think of. It’s one of those introductions that when you hear it, you immediately know, “this shit’s gonna be good.” It was. I think this album is damn near perfect. Every song works, and as a body of work, it works. Here’s m yrecording. Not perfect. And definitely not Bono. He’s tough to cover as a bass/baritone singer.

It’s Not What the Teachers Do, It’s What the Students Do

During the last month, teachers have had to rebuild their ship while sailing. That was a daunting task. I’m sure some have done it with grace and style while others have really struggled. Could be that those who were dynamic teachers in the classroom have found ways to engage students via remote learning.

I think a key guideline to remember is that how much students learn is not as much a matter of what the teacher does as what the student does. I am not absolving teachers of any responsibility for what their students learn. In fact, the opposite. Here’s my “prime directive” as a teacher:

The teacher’s job is to make it as easy as possible for as many of his or her students as possible to learn as much as possible to the highest level as possible.

I’m not saying school should be easy. It should be difficult. Learning new things is hard work. However, the difficulty should be in the navigation of understanding difficult concepts, not navigating the learning environment.

The pandemic has thrust us into a worldwide natural experiment about how we teach. Out of that may come a broader acceptance that the student learning is maximized when the focus of teaching methods shift from what the teacher is doing to what the student is doing.

I’m sure that there are some teachers whose conversion to remote learning is to simply post five 50 minute lectures and then use an online objective test. Hopefully this will be the outlier and what those teachers, students, and parents will learn is the limitations of that teaching style is that much of the learning is ephemeral.

This method of teaching, which has been the primary teaching mode for a long time, is largely ineffective because the teacher does the work and the student passively observes. There can be a place for that, but it should not be the means to learning. Of course everyone knows we learn better by doing. Teachers really know their subject because of the experience of doing the act of teaching it.

There’s a a silver opportunity in this pandemic cloud. Many teachers will realize the didactic lecture method works even less effectively when there is minimal give and take between student and teacher, or even student and student within the face to face classroom setting. Instead, shifting their focus to providing students an engaging question to answer, a problem to solve, a task to complete, and then providing students time to practice, dig in, collaborate, and then perform, present, or share the results of that work with the teacher and peers is significantly more engaging for all and, therefore, more effective. The teacher shifts from doing most of the work for the students to setting the stage for, coaching, facilitating, and then providing feedback/evaluation of student work and progress.

So, teachers thrust into a new way of doing things, what are you doing via remote learning that shifts the work from you presenting and students listening to students actively engaging with a concept and working with that concept?

Share your thoughts and let’s start a useful dialog to make us all better teachers.

50 Years Ago Today

The first Earth Day was fifty years ago today. Denis Hayes, a graduate student at Harvard and Gaylord Nelson, a U.S. senator from Wisconsin were the creative and political forces behind the genesis of this now global celebration. Twenty million people took part in first Earth Day demonstrations.

So, how are we doing today?

If we were a covid-19 patient, I’d say we are intubated and on a ventilator. So, not so good. Covid-19 prohibits responsible Earth Day gatherings today, therefore, Denis Hayes, now recommends that we “…make Election Day Earth Day…This November 3 vote for the Earth.”

Ten percent of the country’s population participated in demonstrations, prompting Congress to pass, and Republican president to sign into law, the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts, plus create the Environmental Protection Agency. Today we have largely gutted the EPA and rendered impotent the three key pieces of legislation protecting much our commons—the, land, air, water, and all species living on and within them.

Here’s how I think this has occurred. Large corporations and those with extreme wealth gained more and more influence in the political arena. They subsequently squeezed wealth and resources out of the middle and working class, causing an ever-increasing disparity in income, wealth, and access to the natural resources of the commons.

I recognize that these superorganism corporations do not make up the majority of businesses, the majority of which are small, locally owned, and good corporate citizens. The actions of the very powerful few however, have generated considerable and understandable frustration and anger. Republican party (and yes, I think primarily the Republican party) has seized upon that anger and used it to create a very vocal minority providing cover needed to gut of environmental protections, largely protecting those fomented into vocal anger and rage, for the purpose of maximizing profits. They know exactly what they are doing and doing so to increase wealth for a select few. It was brilliant political strategy. Mitch McConnell is maestro of such strategy. I also think this makes them sociopaths.

I understand corporation and landowner frustration with the bureaucracy created to enforce our environmental protections. I work for the Minnesota State Colleges system. I’m very well acquainted with bureaucracy. Like everything else, the most sustainable norm is always moderation, and certainly at times bureaucracy leads to regulations with unintended consequences, and because of the bureaucracy itself it is difficult to revise the regulations. It’s a nasty positive feedback loop for sure.

Here we are now on life support. There’s a new norm. Crisis. Moderation is no longer an option. Bold action must be taken or our children and grandchildren will live in a time of constant states of coronavirus-like emergencies as one pandemic, food crisis, water crisis, sea-level-rise refugee crisis washes over them like an ocean surf tumbling a drowning swimmer over and over, wave after wave.

We cannot allow this to occur. If we do, we are all complicit in the next generation’s new normal being a struggle for survival. Because of our continued inaction, our only choice now is to take bold action that will be costly and painful.

Our response to the coronavirus is  microcosm of our response to the larger environmental crisis. We can commit to the difficult, painful, purposeful, science-based approach, and shelter in place and practice proper social distancing so we can manage the rate of infection (which means we must financially supporting those who cannot afford to take the necessary pause to minimize collateral damage) or we can lose patience, incite the angry vocal minority, and make short-term decisions that end up costing us more in the long run, but start the flow of profits to the corporate superorganisms.

Earth Day is often treated as a celebration of the Earth and the natural world. Today, instead, on this 50th Earth Day celebration, I think it should be a day of repentance and contemplation of our relationship with the natural world and what we can do to replace our adversarial relationship with a reciprocal relationship.

Step one. We must reject leaders who incite sedition, insurrection, and violence for their own political gains, power, and wealth acquisition at the cost of the rest of the human population. We must choose leadership willing to lead us in the collective action necessary (as only collective action will work) to begin living each day as if every day is Earth Day.

A New Framework for Learning

This morning I’m sharing a short video titled “The Learning Cycle: Consider, Construct, Confirm.” This is a 14 minute “nutshell” description and example of a teaching/lesson/curriculum design method that I have developed and outline in detail in my book, Consider, Construct, Confirm: A New Framework for Teaching and Learning.

I offer this now for two reasons. First, my main task during my sabbatical has been to complete the second edition (check), and to revise and complete the list of support videos that accompany the book (not quite check yet, but getting there). This video is one of those. The second reason is that this might be of particular benefit to teachers suddenly thrust into teaching in a very different manner–so might spur on some additional thinking as they redesign their lessons. I think it also might be useful to parents suddenly thrust into a much more active role in their child’s schooling.

And for all others, well, it might be of interest simply in terms of learning more about how the human brain learns and what that might mean for how we do school.

Yes! That’s it Exactly!

I was nearly brought to tears this morning when what I have been feeling, worrying about, and thinking for the last, well, for a long time, was encapsulated by three New York Times essays. That constant background noise of my thoughts, worries and emotions might be akin to an individual’s constant tinnitus or even the background radiation of the universe. I was literally brought to the edge of tears–but I held it together, not so much from pain, fear, or sadness, but just as an emotional release, of: “Yes! That’s it exactly!”

My background noise is processed through writing–any kind of writing–from books about teaching to songs. I wish I was more accomplished at it so I could better express and release more of it. Then, maybe I’d also provide for others, “Yes! That’s it exactly!” moments.

I ask you, what is your method of exploring your background noise of thoughts, worries, and emotions?

My songwriting, long undisciplined and feral, has recently become more intentional and nurtured, is always an attempt to explore and understand my background noise. My two non-fiction “sciency” books, Within These Woods and Ecological Identity were explorations of my (our) place in, among, and coming from our connection to our ecological (so everything) world. And even my book on teaching Consider, Construct, Confirm (edition 2 the result of my current sabbatical work and out in August by the way) is, in large part, an exploration of how this background radiation applies to my chosen profession. I think that explains why, though a “textbook,” many of my students have said, “it’s actually enjoyable to read.” We all need to explore our own background noise. And if you have followed my blog these past few years you undoubtedly find this background noise expressed in a confusing mix of media and styles. If I was better at any of them, I’d be a renaissance man. Instead, I’m just a guy in the 21st century with access to the internet.

The last essay I read this morning tapped into the feeling part of my background noise and my attempts to understand and process our current times. Viet Thanh Nguyen wrote in “The Ideas That Won’t Survive the Coronavirus“,

Sometimes people ask me what it takes to be a writer. The only things you have to do, I tell them, are read constantly; write for thousands of hours; and have the masochistic ability to absorb a great deal of rejection and isolation.

I’m out I thought. This is why I have a real job with a steady salary! He continues,

As it turns out, these qualities have prepared me well to deal with life in the time of coronavirus…The fact that I am almost enjoying this period of isolation — except for bouts of paranoia about imminent death and rage at the incompetence of our nation’s leadership — makes me sharply aware of my privilege…Many of us are getting a glimpse of dystopia. Others are living it.

Right!? I realize many of the emotions I’ve been processing are rooted in guilt, and maybe some shame thrown on top for spice. That’s not a particularly healthy jumping of point for action or creativity. Yet, we have no choice but to leap.

The rest of Nguyen’s piece describes how the varying affect of coronavirus on different peoples in our society is largely a function of inequity. Coronavirus has further exposed the inequity throughout the enacted story of the American dream. He thoughtfully ends by providing signs of hope coming from this crisis, by identifying things we might do to strengthen the sustainability of our democratic society, closing with,

Americans will eventually emerge from isolation and take stock of the fallen, both the people and the ideas that did not make it through the crisis. And then we will have to decide which story will let the survivors truly live.

Before reading Nguyen’s piece, Paul Krugman punched me in the gut, hitting my solar plexus of worries in “American Democracy May Be Dying.” In this, he describes the shift from democracy to authoritarianism in Hungary over the past few years, outlining parallels to here in the U.S. He focuses on lessons from the Tuesday Wisconsin primary, writing,

Wisconsin, in particular, is well on its way toward becoming Hungary on Lake Michigan, as Republicans seek a permanent lock on power…in 2018, Wisconsin’s electorate voted strongly for Democratic control. Voters chose a Democratic governor, and gave 53 percent of their support to Democratic candidates for the State Assembly. But the state is so heavily gerrymandered that despite this popular-vote majority, Democrats got only 36 percent of the Assembly’s seats.

Most troubling for Krugman was the over-ruling of the Governor’s attempt to delay the primary requiring voters to counter stay-at-home directives and congregate in public polling places, thus endangering themselves and/or further spreading the virus.

So why did Republican legislators, eventually backed by the Republican appointees to the U.S. Supreme Court, insist on holding an election as if the situation were normal?

He asks, and then answers:

[t]he state shutdown had a much more severe impact on voting in Democratic-leaning urban areas, where a great majority of polling places were closed, than in rural or suburban areas. So the state G.O.P. was nakedly exploiting a pandemic to disenfranchise those likely to vote against it.

What we saw in Wisconsin, in short, was a state party doing whatever it takes to cling to power even if a majority of voters want it out — and a partisan bloc on the Supreme Court backing its efforts. Donald Trump, as usual, said the quiet part out loud: If we expand early voting and voting by mail, “you’d never have a Republican elected in this country again.”

That disenfranchisement leads me to the first piece I read that resonated with the logical/thinking component of my background noise. David Leonhardt and Yanya Salez, in “America Will Struggle After Coronavirus. These Charts Show Why.” provide a startling series of short descriptions and data sets outlining the history and impact of income/wealth inequality in the U.S. It’s illuminating when you look at the data. Two stand out.

Since 1980, the GDP has risen 79% while after tax earnings of the low and middle income population has risen 20% and 50% respectively, while the wealthy after tax income has risen a staggering 420%.

Since 1989, median family net worth increased somewhat equally among all Americans, rising about 60% until the great recession beginning in 2007. At that time, all median gains made by all families were wiped away, and then some, with a recovery of about 10% above what the median net worth was back in in 1989 as of 2016–so still down 50% from where it was in 2007. However, the richest 10% lost about 10% of their median net worth, from 2007 to 2013, and since have recovered not only all losses, but increased the median net worth by an additional 10%. So now,

…the richest 0.1 percent of American households own 19.6 percent of the nation’s total wealth, up from 15.9 percent in 2005 and 7.4 percent in 1980. The richest 0.1 percent now have the same combined net worth as the bottom 85 percent.

This wealth inequality is now fully exposed and laying bare the fatal impact this will eventually have on many of our fellow citizens and on democracy itself. The majority of Americans struggle daily just to survive, and will not do so if their daily lives are even temporarily interrupted economically. Because of the growing wealth inequity of the past 30 years, we are now going to be faced with either a forced, very rapid redistribution of wealth, or while those that can afford to wait out the coronavirus the working poor will need to get back to work to resume production of the supply chain and to fuel the economy. We are seeing an increased call already to get back to work despite the dangers. This will only exacerbate the impact of wealth inequity. Those with can and will still hide away or access health care if infected while those without cannot.

The only way forward, then for those holding power and wealth, is to rely on authoritarian means to silence the majority at the mercy of greed. The only way forward for that silent majority to not get stuck in a Hunger Games-like dystopian future is to reclaim its voice and not only stop the increasing wealth gap, but reverse it to post WWII, but pre-1980 levels. Hopefully this can be done via a peaceful, political process. Otherwise, we will eventually see the end of democracy or capitalism, or both.

My background noise of thinking, worrying, and feeling comes out in all of my professional and personal choices and activities. I have taught primarily in the public sector, with a short stint in a private school that left me feeling like I was contributing to the inequity.

In my personal life it is explored primarily now through my hobbies of writing, focused right now on songwriting. This is evident if you look at what I have written of late. The only “hit” (meaning anyone else wanted to hear and play it) is my song, “My Heart Aches.” This summer Eliza Gilkyson heard it and asked to help me finish it and record it. Her album, 2020, including this song is being released today. The album and song encapsulates a great deal of my background radiation. As I listen to her 10 songs, I keep thinking, “Yes! That’s it exactly!”

Here’s are the lyrics and Eliza’s recording of our song.

My Heart Aches
(c) 2020 Tim Goodwin Music / Gilkysongs

We marched 50 years and 500 hundred miles
From a Mississippi bridge to a Ferguson mistrial
Stepping over bodies of other mothers’ sons
Singing how someday, “we shall overcome…”
My heart aches. My heart aches

We marched 50 years and so many miles
With folded hands and complacent smiles
Condemned a generation to circumstance
And all we were saying was “Give peace a chance…”
My heart aches. My heart aches

We marched 50 years and countless miles
Ignoring the signs of our own denial
Waiting for some others to take a stand
And “hammer out justice all over this land…”
My heart aces. My heart aches

For the children locked in cages, far away where no one sees
For the helpless and the hopeless, and the homeless refugees
My heart aches. My heart aches

For the voices who’ve been silenced, at the mercy of our greed
For the prisoners of conscience who speak out for those in need
My heart aches. My heart aches

For the victims of the hatred, they are lying there on the ground
In the churches and the schoolyards, from the shots that took them down
My heart aches. My heart aches

For the claims made on our bodies, and who we can and can’t embrace
For the children of tomorrow, and the world they have to face
My heart aches. My heart aches

This song expresses concisely the constant background noise of my thoughts, worries, and feelings. That’s its purpose of course. That’s the purpose of art and creativity.

I have my own version of this song I’ll be releasing by the end of April along with 10 other songs on an album titled “The New American Way.” Through them I explored and understood much of my background noise at this time, I hope in a useful and productive manner. Eliza has expressed that it is her hope that her album, 2020, while serving as a necessary cathartic expression of concerns and pain, can help foster unity and coming together as one people.

It’s obvious why I have followed, looked up to, and often attempted to imitate or emulate her songwriting. That is also the hope and purpose of my my album. I don’t know if it’s really any good (except for one song I suppose). In the end, the purpose is, for me, a necessary exploration and expression of ideas and emotions. This brings me back to my earlier question: What is your method of exploring your background noise of thoughts, worries, and emotions?

Our individual and collective health relies, in part, upon us all knowing our answer to that question.

It Comes Down To Empathy

We say we are all in this together. But we are not. We cannot even say the virus attacks one and all the same. Like everything else, we find that one’s income and zip code greatly affect how the world affects the individual.

For example, the residents of the Navajo nation tribal lands are being hit harder with this virus. This is due to 40 % of the population lacking running water needed for increased hand washing as well as higher rates of health issues such as diabetes. Unique to this population is compromised immune systems from uranium mining pollution.

Individuals living in areas with higher rates of air pollution also may become sicker or have increased mortality rates due to prior damage to the lungs. Naturally then, populations living in poorer communities, who have been exposed to more pollutants, who also have less access to healthy food and affordable health care will be hit harder than the more affluent as an aggregate. We’ll hear about the celebrities taken by this virus. I too am greatly saddened by the loss of John Prine. Remember, thousands of individuals have lost their “John Prine.” Many of them grieve alone.

Of course, those that do not have the luxury of sheltering in place in the manner as me, are also at a much greater risk of contracting the virus. This burden is not just falling on the necessary work of nurses and doctors and emergency service professionals, but also all other lower-paid workers in the health care system. Much of our essential supply chain, and the workers in the service industry getting those goods into consumers hands are all kept functioning by lower-paid labor. This virus has turned those professions into high-risk professions.

The majority of Americans face choosing to work and increase the immediate impact of the virus, plus putting themselves and family at risk, or sheltering at home and potentially default on their rent/mortgage, car payments, and struggle to buy food. Both options are potentially life-threatening.

Comfortably watching TV last night, I saw numerous ads from companies, using celebrity faces stating “you are not alone.” But that is not true if you are bearing a stronger impact of the virus or the economic impact of the efforts to contain the virus. Those words mean nothing. Talk is cheap.

What it comes down to is to pause and have empathy. In what way is everyone struggling, and therefore, in what way will my actions help or endanger others in my community?

For example,when you go to the store, wear a mask. Not for you. For them. And go to the store fewer times, making more purchases so you don’t have to come back to the store after just a few days to get something you could have purchased last time. The more trips to the store, the more times the virus has an opportunity to use you as a vector to carry it to a new host.

We could be in this all together. What can you do to make this so?

PLASTIC!

How you are you doing sheltering in place? My family is healthy and able to adjust and continue with work and schooling. The biggest impact so far is psychological; it’s difficult to think or converse about anything else. My family is incredibly fortunate so far. However, it does mean that we stop thinking about other things.

For example, I normally attempt to purchase as little food as possible packaged in single use plastic. For example, I usually purchase parmesan cheese whole instead of grated in a plastic tub. I hope the thin shrink wrapping on the wedge of cheese has a smaller ecological footprint than the plastic tub labeled with a “5” in the recycling symbol on the bottom. I’ve opted for the shrink wrap though not recyclable and the tub technically is as our community collects and attempts to recycle plastics labeled 1-7.

While the tub is recycleable, I am not confident it actually gets recycled. And even if it did, one must consider the resources that were required to make the plastic in the first place. I suspect the plastic wrapping had less of an environmental footprint in terms of resource consumption to make than the thicker, more dense, larger tub. But, I don’t really know, which is also a problem.

The reality is studies have found that at most 10% of plastic ever produced has been recycled. I bet you think, and I thought, that the symbol meant that it was recycleable to some degree. That isn’t the purpose of that symbol. The purpose is merely to identify what kind of plastic it is so you can know if it is recycleable or not. This was a purposeful decision by the plastic industry.

Recognizing that we had a plastic problem, the decision was made not to reduce or reuse plastic, but instead to recycle. Focusing on the first two would hurt profits, so recycling was the only course of action and industry could take. What happened was that plastic production and consumption dramatically increased. We consumers thought erroneously that by recycling we were doing our part to “save the planet” and we could wash our hands (for 20 seconds remembering to wash the back of your hand, get between your fingers, and don’t forget about the thumb!). See, always thinking about the pandemic, even when not.

This dramatic increase in plastic production means the recycling market cannot keep up with the amount produced. Recycling only works if there is a market to purchase the plastic and reuse it as a raw material for more plastic production. We have a significantly greater supply of raw recycled plastic material than a demand for it. And when there is a high demand that is because we are producing more plastic (which 90% of will not be recycled). That means that most of the plastic doesn’t ever get recycled. The plastic that does not get recycled does not often end up in a properly designed landfill since it was separated from the traditional refuse pickup. 32% of plastic packaging ends up in the ocean.

That puts us into a positive feedback loop. We make more out of plastic, so we purchase more plastic. But, if recycling it is too expensive, the material is contaminated with the wrong kind of plastic or other refuse, then it is not usable as a raw material. If oil prices drop, as they have dramatically now, it is cheaper to make plastic from new raw materials rather than recycled. It is a sure bet that as oil prices drop and we shift to other sources of fuel, the oil industry will shift to plastic production as a market for their oil and we will see increased campaigning for the need for recycling instead of reducing or reusing plastic.

So what does this have to do with the pandemic? The last time I shopped I purchased the tub of parmesan. I don’t even really know why. I wasn’t thinking about the packaging. I was consumed with purchasing 2-3 weeks of groceries instead of my typical 1 week of groceries. I was thinking about convenience, what will keep longer, what can I fit in the freezer, etc.

It is of course natural to be consumed with the largest disruption to our economy and daily lives since WW II. At some point, however, we will have to return to normalcy, even if that normalcy is somewhat different. We will still have a plastic production and consumption problem. We will still have a climate crisis. We will still have a water and air pollution problem. The longer we are consumed with other thoughts and efforts of mere survival of one crisis, the other crises will expand. That’s a real problem, because all of these crises are interconnected, and none can be ignored as an increase in one will compound the others.

For now, shelter in place as much as possible so we can all get through this crisis. Then, when life begins to resume keep these other crises in mind. They are all interconnected, and ultimately these environmental crises will make this pandemic like like child’s play by comparison. In the end, it won’t be Mother Earth that will lose, it will be us fragile Homo sapiens economicus that will lose.

Here’s a link to a useful article that explains the recycle symbol and number key: https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/home/g804/recycling-symbols-plastics-460321/. Check with your local municipality to get a precise list of what plastic can be recycled in your area.

%d bloggers like this: