Tag Archives: Global Warming

Climate Warriors

01climate-change-portraits“For us it’s not the issue of regulation. It’s the issue of survival.” — Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim –

07climate-change-portraits“If I were a young person, I would start to ask my government very seriously,‘Why didn’t you listen?’ I would start to look at companies and corporations and ask, ‘What did you do when you knew?’”  Farhana Yamin–

Feminism is having a moment — and, increasingly, a multicultural one.

These things are seasonal, with seasons being marked by generations rather than in quarter years. Feminism and civil rights and all manner of movement towards an eventuality where we will be able to take for granted our common humanity, consigning no one to the margins, waxes and wanes, falling fallow in the winter of our collective lives only to surge forth again at the start of spring. It’s a perpetual cycling in which we continue to spiral upward, in fits and starts, to higher levels of human consciousness, and higher levels of manifest human possibility.

Young and very visible women,  like Jennifer Lawrence, Lena Dunham and Amy Schumer are using their considerable platforms to break silence with the many invisible ways in which sexism permeates the culture. They are working at the level of culture creation, which after every legal battle has been fault, is where the battle will ultimately be won. We can make the world different only when we change our hearts and minds.

Of course, hearts and minds follow experience, which is why it is essential that we see the faces, and hear the voices of women — and women of color in particular, without whose voices we cannot claim to be engaged in a serious conversation about making change in any corner of our world.

When I opened my computer on November 30, 2015, intent on doing a little procrastinating (ahem, I mean, warm-up for my writing day), I felt vindicated by Vogue.com’s piece,  Climate Warriors,  which centered women of all races, nationalities and economic circumstances in the essential conversation about climate change which, let’s face it, is really a conversation about humanity’s continued survival on Earth, a conversation whose public face is too often male, and  privileged and white — a kind of myopia we can no longer afford. The next leg of the human journey requires that we engage with the all-of-us, wherever it is that we come from, whatever the color of our skin, whatever our sex, whatever level of economic opportunity we enjoy. 


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The Lost Art Of Mental Rigor


One afternoon last week, I sat in the living room of my father’s best friend, looking out at Lake Michigan from the penthouse floor. It was the four of us, my father’s great and lifelong friend (and schoolmate from the University of Chicago, where they both earned earned political science PhDs), his wife, an accomplished academic in her own right, my husband and myself, and we spent two of the most glorious hours talking — about Dr. Hamilton’s life and career (which intersected with my fathers as if they were the rhythm sections in each others’ bands), about his wife, the other Dr. Hamilton’s career, about their daughter and my father, who have both gone on to the great beyond, his daughter having left us in the plane crash that also took the life of Ron Brown, and my own father having lived to the ripe old age of 80, about the losses that shape a life and also the gains. It was cerebral and emotional and connected in a way that conversation so rarely is these days. It was a great reminder of how lucky we are when we have an opportunity to commune deeply with our minds and hearts engaged.

Dr. Hamilton and my father had the rarest of friendships. They were great admirers of one another, as human beings and as grand intellects who shared a deep commitment to social justice (they both played significant roles in the Civil Rights movement and in racial justice and human rights in the years beyond). Hearing him speak of my father with such love (and later hearing of my father’s great love for him from my stepmother), I was reminded of the proper role of the intellect in both public and private life. It is a lost art, this routine almost ordinary use of the mind through which we engage the big and meaningful ideas that turn our world.

I thought of those hours in Chicago when, upon my return to La La Land, where some of us work as hard as we can to pretend that nothing real matters, I turned on the telly and watched a couple of episodes of Showtime’s excellent if poorly titled series on global warming, The Years of Living Dangerously (you know a title’s a poor one when you can’t remember it to save your life).


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