State of the Union a Letdown

(Preface: Regardless of what our government leaders do or say, there is lots that we can do as everyday people; that’s really the focus of my blog. My occasional rants about the powers-that-be notwithstanding, I feel that we the people are the real power-that-be.)

Shame on President Biden for barely mentioning climate in his State of the Union Address. And for not including climate action on his short list of unifying priorities.

“So tonight I’m offering a unity agenda for the nation. Four big things we can do together, in my view.”

  • Address mental health, good.
  • Fix opiate crisis, good.
  • Support veterans, good.
  • Fighting cancer — nothing wrong with that.

But no mention of climate action in there (other than electric cars)? Really??
Nothing about repairing the water cycle; building regional food resilience; insulating homes; retrofitting buildings for rainwater collection and graywater harvesting — and other sensible actions that might help check biospheric collapse, stabilize temperature extremes, and make us more resilient to what may come.

There’s more to infrastructure (a favorite rah-rah word) than just roads and bridges. We need to invest heavily in green infrastructure. Things like wetland restoration, regenerative agriculture, planting of vegetation to restore bare hills and mountains that are susceptible to erosion and mudslides. Projects to harvest excess nutrients that are polluting our waterways, and transfer those nutrients “uphill” to farms and barren landscapes that need the minerals and organic matter. Projects to rebuild topsoil. Restore dune and prairie grasses. You get the idea.

Besides building deep infrastructure, climate-action projects give people of all ages and walks of life the chance to be heroes. People need paths to glory and heroism besides the military. (Actually I would love to see our highly capable military forces deployed for climate-action projects.)

President Biden’s virtual silence on climate was almost like a live demo of #DontLookUp!
“We really did have it all, didn’t we?” — and our official and collective stance is to just take it for granted.

On the subject of stabilizing climate, there’s a video I would really like for you all to watch. Watch it now if you can. Or sometime today. It’s about 11 minutes long, and gives an exceptionally clear and concise overview of how we have “broken” the natural rain cycle, leading to drought-flood extremes, wildfires, and desertification. The good news is we can fix it.

Although obviously flooding and hurricanes are a major concern, the thing I worry about most is a “heat dome” like what happened in Portland and Sicily and other places last year. Temps soaring up to 120F, with a high-pressure bubble keeping away rain. And wildfires are another big worry.

This is why I wore burnt toast and carried a flaming thermometer poster at City Commission: to raise awareness of heat & the importance of repairing the natural water cycle.

This video points out that water is the main regulator of temperature extremes on our planet. The animated illustrations of how clouds are formed with the help of trees, how water gets pulled around the planet thru the atmosphere, etc. are excellent.

The video, by Water Stories, is called “Hope in a World of Crisis: Decentralized Water Retention.”

Please watch this today if you can! And think about how it applies to the place where you live. What have you observed about rainfall & temperature patterns in your area; how have they changed? I look forward to hearing your thoughts. And if you have any questions I’ll do my best to answer.

Further Reading:

• Here is the transcript of the State of the Union Address.

Water Stories website. Water Stories is “A learning, training, and action platform focused entirely on Water Cycle Restoration. Water Stories offers a community-centered approach to solving our most pressing environmental crises. One that delivers meaningful results after the first rainy season. We empower people to create healthy landscapes and water abundance by transforming water-sheds into water-catchments. People around the world are learning how to quickly create real substantive change for the health of their landscapes and communities — by working with water.”