The Flooding and Water Crisis in Jackson is a Warning That We Ignore at Our Peril

Water is the most precious and vital resource on Earth. Without it, all life ceases to exist. It is also extremely powerful and can both take life and give life.

In Mississippi, the recent flood in Jackson is more than just a flood. It is a warning that we cannot ignore. As the rain continued to fall and an important pump at the local water treatment plant failed, residents were surrounded by water, and ironically, unable to use it for bathing, drinking, or cooking.

Halfway across the world, another flood in Pakistan has killed 1400 people, disrupted the lives of those who survived, and has created losses that are estimated to be worth $30 billion dollars.

Regardless of whether excessive and repeated flooding occurs in Jackson, Pakistan, or any other place in the world, we cannot pretend that it is not happening. Climate change is real. Wars are fought over water.

I’m not usually a pessimist. But in this case, it’s hard not to be. How many more chances will Mother Nature give us before she destroys the world as we know it to be?

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Cramm This Book: So You Know WTF Is Going On in the World Today Book Review

When we get to a certain age, it is not uncommon to see the younger generation as lazy, entitled, or selfish. While this may be true for some, the truth is that young people are not always what their elders think they are.

Cramm This Book: So You Know WTF Is Going On in the World Today was published last month. Written by The Cramm founder Olivia Seltzer, this book takes both historical events and news headlines and explains them in a way that Gen Z would understand. Diving into contemporary issues (Black Lives Matter, Me Too, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, climate change, etc), she explains the history behind each and how that history has impacted its current status.

Reading this book gives me hope for the future. Though it is written for a certain audience, the appeal does not stop beyond the age of 25. Her ability to translate the past into understandable chunks is the key to its success. Its the type of book that if used in an academic setting, has the potential to make history come alive and feel relevant.

My only issue is that the section on what is going on in the Middle East (with Israel in particular) is missing some important facts that complete the story.

Other than that, do I recommend it? Yes.

Now Can We Believe in Climate Change?

Some say that climate change does not exist. It is just part of the natural cycle of life and nature.

After the damage that Hurricane Ida wrought on multiple parts of the country, millions of American are still suffering. In Louisiana, there are some parts of the state that may not have full power back until the end of the month. The return of full infrastructure and normal life (well, as normal as it can be with Covid-19), is going to take some time).

In my hometown of New York City, the destruction Ida left behind is much more than any of us in this part of the country could have imagined. Between flooding, fires, and tornadoes, it was storm that was dangerously underestimated. Approximately 40 people lost their lives to Ida.

I don’t know what it is going to take for all of us to believe that climate change is both real and dangerous. We cannot undo what has already happened. But I believe there is still time, if we are willing to do the work. The question is, can we face up to reality and do what needs to be done?

If we don’t, then we are dooming ourselves, our children, our grandchildren, and further generations to an Earth and a fate that will eventually kill us all.

Throwback Thursday: Container Homes (2016-Present)

When solving a problem, a little creativity never hurts.

Trends are just that. Some come and go quickly, others last and create change in the process. For the last few years, homeowners have been getting around the issues of climate change and rising home prices in the United States. One of the ways they have been doing so is via container homes.

Naturally, the idea was picked up by television executives. Container Homes has been on HGTV’s schedule since 2016. The show is also available on Hulu. Every week, the audience is introduced to a new family as their new home is built by converting shipping containers into a livable space.

This show is interesting. What I find compelling is the process of creating a house using unorthodox materials and the surprise when it is all said and done.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

Flashback Friday: The Zoo (2016-Present)

When we are children, going to the Zoo is a good day out.

The Zoo has been part of the Animal Planet lineup since 2016. This reality series follows the staff of the Bronx Zoo in New York City as they take care of the thousands of animals under their care.

I love this series. Though it is a reality show, it is the type of program that the audience will learn from instead of having their brains fried. The staff clearly love their job, treating the animals as if they were a common house pet instead wild animals who are under their protection. I also love that they talk about climate change and animal conservation in a way that is palatable and educational without the audience being aware of the lesson they are learning.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

The Handmaid’s Tale Series Review

Thanks to generations of brave and hardworking women, we have achieved rights and privileges that were once upon a time, a dream. But that does not mean that the fight is over.

The Handmaid’s Tale (based on the books by Margaret Atwood) premiered on Hulu back in 2017. In a world not too distant from ours, climate change and the low numbers of births opened the door to a second Civil War. When the dust settles, the United States as it existed is a thing of the past. The Republic of Gilead, a totalitarian regime, is now in control. The once archaic gender roles of the past are now the law of the land.

The women who are still able carry and bear children are slaves. Among them is Offred (Elisabeth Moss). She is given to a childless couple, Commander and Mrs. Waterford (Joseph Fiennes and Yvonne Strahovski) and has one job: give them a child. Offred’s only form of survival is to hang onto the past and remember the life, the name, and the family she had before everything changed.

Though I could not get into the book, I am part way though the first season and thoroughly hooked. What makes this story palpable and scary is not a dystopian future that is impossible to imagine as reality. Given our present predicament, it wouldn’t take much for this work of fiction to become something more.

It is for me, a reminder that in some countries (Saudia Arabia, for one), the daily experiences of women are not too far off from the women in this book. It is also a throwback to a not so far away time when we had to fight for even the most basic of rights.

If nothing else, it is stark reminder that our democracy and freedoms are not guaranteed. We must continue to do everything we can to ensure that they are protected.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

The Handmaid’s Tale is available for streaming on Hulu.

Best Movies of 2020

  1. Soul: Though it is marketed as a kids movie, the subtext of appreciating life feels appropriate and potent this year.
  2. Mulan: The live-action reboot of the 1998 animated film Mulan rises above its predecessor, making it fresh and relevant.
  3. Emma.: Anya Taylor-Joy stars as Jane Austen‘s eponymous heroine, Emma Woodhouse, introduced as clever, rich, and handsome. Directed by Autumn de Wilde, this adaption is entertaining, funny, and a lovely addition to the list of Austen adaptations.
  4. The Trial of the Chicago 7: The film tells. the story of the 7 men accused of being responsible for the 1968 Democratic National Convention protests. Though it is set in the late 1960s and early 1970s, it feels very 2020.
  5. Portrait of a Lady on Fire: This LBGTQ historical romance between a young woman and the female artist hired to paint her portrait is sweet, romantic, and powerful. It proves once more that love is love is love.
  6. Ordinary Love: Joan (Lesley Manville) and Tom (Liam Neeson) are your average middle-aged couple. When she is diagnosed with Breast Cancer, they both must deal with the rough road ahead.
  7. The Assistant: Jane (Julia Garner) is an assistant to a Harvey Weinstein-esque powerful movie producer. She starts to notice things that don’t sit right with her.
  8. I am Greta: This documentary follows teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg as she advocates for the world to pay serious attention to climate change.
  9. Mank: Gary Oldman plays Citizen Kane screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz in a performance that is nothing but Oscar bait.
  10. #AnneFrank-Parallel Lives: Narrated by Helen Mirren, this documentary tells not just Anne’s story. It follows other young women who survived the Holocaust. Parallel to the stories of the past, the viewer is traveling with another young woman as she visits different countries in present-day Europe.

I Am Greta Movie Review

The former American President Barack Obama once said the following:

“Change will not come if we wait for some other person, or if we wait for some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”

In 2018, the Swedish teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg was an unassuming young woman who decided to tackle climate change on her own. Every Friday, she would cut school and sit near the parliament building in Stockholm to protest the lack of action by the government. What started out as one young girl’s attempt to change the world grew into a movement. The new documentary, I Am Greta follows her journey from 2018 to the present.

Entitled #FridaysForFuture, the movement grew to include hundreds of thousands of people around the world following Greta’s lead. She soon garnered the attention of the media and politicians around the world. But while she inspired millions to make climate change their issue, she was attacked and ignored by some (mostly adults) for her unending commitment to the cause.

This girl is nothing short of inspiring. Given the pressure around Greta and the diagnosis of Asperger syndrome that creates a tunnel vision like devotion, it would have been easy for her to back down. But she has stayed strong and has yet to waver from the cause.

I absolutely recommend it.

I Am Greta is available for streaming on Hulu.

Flashback Friday: Mega Disasters (2006-2008)

Living on Earth requires the understanding that every once in a while, Mother Nature will reveal how powerful she is.

Mega Disasters aired on The History Channel from 2006-2008. Using a baseline of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the Indian Ocean Tsunami in 2004, the program explores the potential destruction that awaits humanity.

When the program originally aired, the predictions made were purely speculative. Seeing this show through 2020 eyes, I can’t help but think that we were warned. Instead of heeding the warning of man made climate change, we went on as if everything was fine. The reality is that if we don’t do something today, there might not be a tomorrow.

I recommend it.

The West Coast Fires are Undeniable Proof of Climate Change

For decades, scientists have been talking and warning about climate change.

Some have poo poo-ed it as either a hoax or the natural ebb and flow of nature throughout the year.

The fires on the west coast have damaged millions of acres. Homes, businesses, and livelihoods are destroyed. In short, they are undeniable proof that climate change is real and happening in front of our eyes.

Humanity is an impasse. The message is clear. We can either respect and protect our planet. Or we can destroy it. The choice is ours.

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