I want to be like her.
But like Billy Jack, sometimes "I just go berserk!"
If you've been reading this blog, you know Greta Thunberg amazes me. For such a tiny little thing, she stands taller and stronger and braver than any of us when she speaks to power about the rapidly declining health of Gaia. And she does it without anger. Or a gun or a knife.
I want to be like her.
But like Billy Jack, sometimes "I just go berserk!"
I know, I need counseling. But I suspect by the time I'm "cured," it will be too late for Gaia.
Meet Matt Seaholm. He's the proud face of the insidious war on banning the banning of plastic bags. As reported in The Intercept, the executive director of the American Progressive Bag Alliance is 'unapologetic in his antagonism of environmental groups that have been calling attention to "the ban on the ban." In Texas, Seaholm, the former national director of the Koch brothers-led Americans for Prosperity, positioned himself as the enemy of environmentalists.
'“They hate what we’re doing,” Seaholm told his plastics industry colleagues at a recent conference with a mischievous grin. “We wear this as a badge of honor.” The fact that environmental groups oppose the APBA’s tactics, Seaholm added, is evidence that his lobbying group “must be doing something right.”'
42 percent of Americans now live in states where they can’t pass local bans on plastics' thanks to his efforts and those of other Big Plastic lobbyists.
Seaholm derided the attempts at banning plastics as “primarily driven by emotion.”
Yeah, that and science and evidence. To quote Smokey Robinson, I second that emotion.
I encourage you to read the extensive article that also explores China's role in recycling plastic, the Trump administration's work against international efforts to crack down on plastic waste, the BS Starbucks and Taco Bell promotion of their "recyclable" tops, and the downright Machiavellian effort by Big Plastic and Big Soda to make you feel guilty about not recycling their crap by founding the Keep America Beautiful advertising campaigns that featured the infamous "Crying Indian" (an Italian-American).
While doing Sanctuary in the Miccosukee Embassy, I happened to come across this article in Mother Jones called Environmentalism's Next Frontier: Giving Nature Legal Rights. In the American legal system corporations and ships have rights. David Boyd, an associate law professor at the University of British Columbia and author of the 2017 book The Rights of Nature says “We have the capacity to recognize the rights of whomever and whatever we want. It’s just a matter of determining what’s important to us.”
The "Rights of Nature" idea reaches all the way back to 1972 (two years after the first Earth Day) when Christopher Stone, a University of Southern California law professor, suggested in his essay Should Trees Have Standing? that they should. He was one of the first Western legal scholars to contemplate nature’s ability to take part in lawsuits.
Rights-of-nature laws often work by appointing a guardian to advocate for a particular ecosystem or natural feature, much like a parent represents a child’s interests in court (Guardian ad Litem). The guardian can sue on the ecosystem’s behalf. If the ecosystem is awarded damages, the money might go into a trust dedicated to funding its restoration.
I may not be a lawyer to sue on behalf of Gaia, but I can still guard her interests by any means necessary. And you can, too.
Rosalie Fish got my attention when this picture showed up on my feed a couple of months ago. Spokane tribal member Alex Flett took the picture as the 17-year-old high school student ran in her last track meet for the Muckleshoot Tribal Schools. A member of the Cowlitz tribe, she took that opportunity to publicize the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women movement (#MMIW), a call for action to solve the murders and the mysteries, and to change the culture that allows it to happen. To do that, she painted a red hand over her mouth "to speak for those who couldn't speak for themselves" and wrote MMIW down her leg.
Yesterday I was reading an article about indigenous gender identity. Before the "Great Colonial Flood," the indigenous tribes were pretty cool and laid back about what made a man or a woman and gays (Two Spirits) were accepted as the norm and were in fact considered to be a blessing if a Two Spirit was part of your family. Many tribes also were matriarchal with at least one where the women owned just about everything while their husbands owned just their medicines and weapons. Of course, this all was disrupted big time when Europeans arrived with their God. Part of the genocide that followed was the White Man's attempt to beat the "devil" out of the 500 Tribes through any means necessary. Over time the role of women in the tribes was diminished because the Judeo-Christian God said men were supposed to be in charge and women were to be subservient to them. Violence against Indigenous women and the people of Two Spirits grew and often became minimized or dismissed both within and outside of Indigenous communities.
The article made me think of Rosalie's red hand painted across her mouth as she ran alone and bravely for all of those who have been killed or are missing. I couldn't shake that bloody red hand out of my head and wondered why I never saw this malignant behavior towards women in the New Seminole. Instead, I saw the most romantic and supportive relationship between Nokosee's parents. Busimanolotome Osceola, founder of the New Seminole, led by example and his son paid attention-- Nokosee is the most loving and supportive husband a woman could want.
And then I saw this new hand evolving behind my eyes which symbolizes a family of colors. I rounded up the usual suspects at the Miccosukee Embassy and made prints of Nokosee's, mine, and Haalie's hands. This is who we and the NS are: a tribe of many colors, young and old, gay and straight fighting for Gaia.
On Saturday, July 13th, the Loretto Police Department (Tennessee) posted on its Facebook page about the recent arrest of a man who officers said tried to flush methamphetamine down his toilet. The department warned residents against doing such a thing, which they said could lead to creating "meth-gators." The department wrote:
"On a more or less serious note: Folks…please don't flush your drugs m'kay. When you send something down the sewer pipe it ends up in our retention ponds for processing before it is sent down stream.
"Now our sewer guys take great pride in releasing water that is cleaner than what is in the creek, but they are not really prepared for meth.
"Ducks, Geese, and other fowl frequent our treatment ponds and we shudder to think what one all hyped up on meth would do.
"Furthermore, if it made it far enough we could create meth-gators in Shoal Creek and the Tennessee River down in North Alabama. They've had enough methed up animals the past few weeks without our help."
The department ended the post by asking residents to call the police if they have any drugs they want disposed of "in the proper way."
Which got me to thinkin' about Haalpatee, Nokosee's 18-foot one-eyed pet gator. If you read my books you know that gator did NOT need any stimulants to get him animated. I can only shudder at the thought of him-- or any gator for that matter-- getting high on meth. Talk about a horror movie-- with a message.
It all began on July 1st when actor Jason Statham took up the viral #bottlecapchallenge that requires a spinning back kick to remove a bottle cap. Clicking the link above will show you how it has evolved from a standard martial arts kick to an American football center's hiking a football at the bottle cap; to a gorgeous woman standing on a jet ski artfully clipping the bottle cap with her toe as she swings by.
But Nokosee's, mine, and Haalie's fav is by Native Hoop Dancer James Jones. His signature approach above is something three-year-old Haalie has tried until she's so dizzy she can't stand up straight. And, although her efforts kept us entertained on what would otherwise have been another slow day at the Miccosukee Embassy, it's interesting to note that when we finally stepped in to stop her, she protested vehemently, reminding us of her strong spirit and an innate need to overcome any challenge. Nokosee told me he sees her mom in her. I hugged him for that but then he said, "Too bad she's going to grow up and become a teenager."
I had to laugh. He was reminding me of my own father.
If you read Book One, you know Haalpatee was Nokosee's pet 18-foot gator. Haalpatee is Muskogee for "alligator." I named our daughter Haalie after him. But when we first met, he scared the shit out of me. Say what you will about these kinds of animals, I know he tried to save us from rednecks bent on killing us as they chased us down with their airboats on a moonlit night in the Everglades. His death was unconscionable, done at the hands of some tobacco chewing beer gut wielding sick fucks to teach Nokosee a lesson. Their grizzly deaths and scalpings at the hands of Busimanolotome Osceola, Nokosee's father and founder of the New Seminoles, were well deserved. Looking back, if it hadn't been for Haalpatee, I don't think Nokosee and I would be alive, and Haalie would never have seen the light of day.
Reading David Abram's The Spell of Sensuous brought back a host of memories, good and bad. And it also made me think about that big ol' gator-- who walked like a crab because he was blind in one eye-- in a different light, that he and "all God's Creatures Big and Small" and the plants they live amongst and feed upon are like us-- "experiencing forms." That is to say we share much when it comes to sensing the world around us; that we are brothers and sisters to warmth and cold, light and dark, birth and death, and the joys of sex in its many variations. They also know things we don't about how to live in this world and we shouldn't be dismissive of them, that we might just learn a thing or two about how to live here, and that we should respect their staying power. And, although we don't need to "stop bathing" or "forming a cult," paraphrasing the Gilmore Girls, life in all of its forms has "much knowledge."
If you read my books you know in Book One Nokosee and I met when he was on a Vision Quest. The Everglades was on fire at that time and he took time off of his busy schedule during his Walkabout in the swamp to save my life. In Book Two, I had my own Vision Quest to prove I was New Seminole worthy. Both of ours began in a smoke hut where our prime directive was to seek out a vision to guide us on our way. As much as I tried, I was getting nothing except short of breath and lots of coughing. Nokosee on the other hand saw the above where a rainbow turns into lightning.
When I asked him if had seen me, too, you know, because of our fated paths and because of my nickname which is pretty "Stormy," he told me in his deadpanned Hollywood-movie-Indian-monotone-voice he resurrects everytime he tries to be funny, "You know, leetle girl,* it not always bout you."
"Oh, Nokosee, you're no fun," I said.
"Oh, daddy, you're no fun," Haalpate echoed.
Daddy almost laughed so I pressed on to see if I could make him.
"You mean you didn't see me at the end of the rainbow?"
"No, Holatte-Sutv Turwv. But I did see you at the lightning strike. Your mo was on fire and you were smokin'."
"Yeah, smokin hot."
"Yeah, smokin hot," Haalpate replied.
Nokosee and I both turned to our baby girl, now three, born in the Everglades with fire and death all around as the New Seminole fought for their lives. We looked at each other. He wanted to laugh. I did
But he did smile. Proudly.
*Leetle girl was what his dad Busimanolotome Osceola, founder of the New Seminole, use to call me when he wanted to put me down. Later it became a term of affection.
But nobody heard it and the world burned the hell up. The End.
Or so the story could go. According to Greta we don't have much time left to change the ending to a happy one. Paraphrasing that great line from Cool Hand Luke, "what we have here is a failure to communicate with nature." Scientists call it “Nature-Deficit Disorder” (NDD) because we have disconnected from nature through the use of technology. Beyond the destruction of Gaia, this disconnect has negative mental and physical health consequences. But studies have shown that people with NDD and their “modern” ailments, such as ADHD, anxiety, or depression feel better when exposed to nature. And the cure starts when you PUT DOWN YOUR PHONE!
So, again paraphrasing another famous line from Timothy Leary to our grandparents, "Tune In (to Nature), Turn On (to Nature), Drop In (to Nature) to save us all. Before it's too damn late.
It's hard to ignore the climate crisis with sweat running down your face. Unless, of course, you're a sweltering idiot, a Republican, or a climate change denier.
That "screaming heat skull of death" appeared on a weather map over France on June 20th. Temperatures reached 104° Fahrenheit. Still, this heat wave was nothing compared to the 2003 one that killed 15,000 people across France.
Now U.S. presidential hopeful Mayor Pete Buttigieg is vowing to create a National Climate Corps if elected. He cites the U.S. military, the Peace Corps, and AmeriCorps as inspiration for his National Climate Corps -- which would more than QUADRUPLE the service opportunities available to high schoolers and recent graduates.
As much as Nokosee and I like this guy, I don't think he has a chance in America no matter how smart he is or how much he would make a great president. Despite serving six years in Navy Intel and deploying to Afghanistan for six months and being a popular South Bend, Indiana mayor (since 2012), this charming 37-year-old is openly gay and married. That's all it takes for his party to disqualify him from representing them against Trump because sadly, the Democrats want someone "safe," who isn't too radical in politics or life.
Which is exactly opposite of what this country and Gaia need. Playing it safe won't save us from a world on fire.
Holatte-Sutv Turwv Osceola.