Drink to Every Beast

Drink to Every Beast

The whole six degrees of separation thing was fully in play when I met Joel Burcat, a friend of a friend and an environmental lawyer like me who also writes environmental thrillers — like me.  Burcat worked for the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources (PADEP) as an Assistant Attorney General before moving into private practice (while I still work for a regulatory agency).  So many similarities! An interview was in order.

Burcat started writing fiction in 2008, publishing short stories in Euphony Journal (University of Chicago’s lit journal), the Montreal Review, Hobo Pancakes, Kaleidoscope, Diverse Voices Quarterly, Ragnarok, and Harrisburg Magazine. He’s also received recognition for his short stories: ScreenCraft Short Story Contest for Excellence and Cinematic Potential (Semi-Finalist, 2017; Quarter-Finalist, 2017 and 2016); and Valhalla Press Legal Professionals Writing Contest (Honorable Mention, 2013).

We’ve already established that Burcat’s favorite genre is the environmental legal thriller, but there aren’t that many out there so Joel took it upon himself to write one.  To that end, Headline Books published his first novel, a DRINK TO EVERY BEAST (release date May 31, 2019) about murder and midnight dumping.  Oh, and there’s a love story in there, too.

Burcat grew up in Philadelphia and is a graduate of the Pennsylvania State University and Vermont Law School. He has two grown daughters and a granddaughter, and lives with his wife, Gail, in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, the setting for many of his stories.

Here’s a synopsis of the novel (imagine flashing lights and lots of fanfare):

Synopsis for Drink to Every Beast

Peter and Cindy, youthful lovers, suffer horrific deaths after accidentally swimming in chemicals dumped in Pennsylvania’s Susquehanna River in Luzerne County. Hours later, Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) lawyer Mike Jacobs and inspector Charlie Zelinsky are on the scene to conduct a preliminary investigation. They are followed by disgraced, former DEP lawyer Tom Flynn, who claims to be conducting his own “people’s investigation.” Flynn suggests that the culprit is Big Bill McClatchy, the unscrupulous owner of a local truck stop. 

After Mike and senior DEP lawyer Roger Alden begin their investigation, Mike is introduced to the smart and seductive Sherry Stein at a lunch in Harrisburg, and they hit it off immediately. Sherry, an accomplished prosecutor in the Attorney General’s Office is working on an investigation of the charity operated by the wife of the Governor’s election opponent, the DA of Luzerne County, and she suspects the DA may be involved. Sherry and Mike’s relationship takes a steamy turn of events, but it also appears that Sherry is spying on Mike.

Roger sends Mike back to Luzerne County to begin the investigation and while there Mike falls into a relationship with the beautiful girl-next-door Patty Dixon. Patty is Mike’s mother’s nurse in the local nursing home. Patty is also being stalked by her psychotic former boyfriend, Greg Domarski, who is the father of her ten-year-old daughter.

Mike, Roger and Zelinsky meet with a number of confidential informants, not aware that they too are being watched.

Their lives intersect. Danger strikes–who will die? Will Mike discover the treachery before the midnight dumper kills again?

Sounds intriguing Joel.  I guess it’s time for a few questions:

While the field of environmental law is  growing, there weren’t that many of us when I started practicing law a few decades ago.  Did you always do environmental work or did you start out in some other kind of law.  How does your work impact your writing? 

I decided to become an environmental lawyer in 1974, when I was studying physical geography at Penn State. I needed to select a major and my professor suggested that geography would be a great way to prepare for a career as an environmental lawyer. That sounded interesting. He was right. I sought out environmental law programs and selected Vermont Law School as it had one of the only environmental law programs in the country at the time. Also, it was in Vermont. My first job was as an Assistant Attorney General for the Pa. Dept. of Environmental Resources. After I left DER I worked in private practice as an environmental lawyer. I have always been an environmental lawyer. My favorite genre in which to write is environmental legal thrillers, so my background greatly informs my writing. 

How long have you been writing?  Were you formally trained?  What’s your writing routine?  

I have written since college and took several writing courses back then. Once I became a lawyer, I found I was too busy with 60 to 80-hour weeks to write. In 1994, I did write a short story that was published about turning 40. I became serious about writing when I wrote two short stories in July 2008. Eventually, both were published. I have taken a number of courses and attended conferences over the past decade on writing.

When I was practicing law (I retired due to a visual disability in 2018), after my day job I would head up to my writing room and write from about 8 pm until midnight. Since retiring, I write starting in the morning. With DRINK TO EVERY BEAST coming out, for the past several months my time has been consumed with the business of books. 

I write for as long as I feel like writing, then I may take a break or call it a day/night.

What is your favorite type of book to read?

Thrillers. My reading tastes are pretty eclectic and I read all kinds of fiction. My all-time favorite writer was Philip Roth. I enjoy the work of Cormac McCarthy, Michael Chabon, and others. My favorite current short story writers are Annie Proulx and Nathan Englander.

What’s your favorite book and who’s your favorite author?

Tough questions. Favorite author is Philip Roth. PORTNOY’S COMPLAINT by Roth was both groundbreaking and taught writers to let go of your inhibitions, maybe to pretend that everyone you know is dead so you do not hold back in your writing. He wrote a number of terrific books. The scariest and most disturbing book I’ve read was THE ROAD by McCarthy. He’s written great books (ALL THE PRETTY HORSES is one of my favorites). Chabon’s THE YIDDISH POLICEMEN’S UNION was one of the most inventive books I have ever read. Among thriller writers, I enjoy Steve Berry, Thomas Harris (edge of your seat writing with Hannibal Lecter), Elmore Leonard, James Dickey, James Lee Burke (his NEON RAIN is masterful), Harlen Coben, and, of course, Scott Turow, Lisa Scottoline and John Grisham (his SYCAMORE ROW is terrific). There are so many other great writers, I hate to limit myself

Ah, The Road terrified me, so much that I couldn’t see the movie with Viggo Mortensen — who I adore — but I knew I could never unsee it so I refrained.  I think McCarthy can’t paint a picture bleaker than even George Orwell — an amazing skill for a writer — but one wonders if that’s the kind of stuff that normally goes on in McCarthy’s head.  Speaking of, where do you get your ideas?

Some ideas come from cases I have read or worked on. DRINK TO EVERY BEAST was very loosely based on the Butler Mine Tunnel case (I only based it on the idea that dumpers were dumping toxic waste into a borehole behind a garage that emptied, eventually, into the Susquehanna River). Some of my work comes from snippets from my career. I once interviewed a guy who lived in the woods in a mobile home. That interview became the basis for an interview of a confidential informant in DTEB. Most ideas are purely imagination.

Do you think writing is a form of therapy and, if so, has it helped you work through anything in particular?  What has been your greatest writing lesson?  Life lesson? 

Writing enables me to go somewhere that I might not visit. I do not write a chapter and say, “I feel better now.” I’m sure that is the case for some writers, but not me. My greatest writing lesson is: “Just write.” Stop fooling around, procrastinating, and just write. 

Life lesson: you can overcome any obstacle in your path.

My perfect writing day is to make a good cup of coffee, start writing early, and break (work in the garden or take a walk). Repeat.

Do you have a day job and, if so, when do you write?

Until 2018, I worked as a full-time partner at a law firm. Since I had a day-job, I limited my writing to after 8 pm and Sundays (I do not write on Saturdays/Shabbat. As Walter Sobchak announces on THE BIG LEBOWSKI, “I don’t roll on Shabbos.”). I did most of my writing at night, after 8 or 9 pm. Now I am able to write during the day. I get started no later than the very civilized hour of 9 am. I am thinking about writing earlier, like 6 am, but haven’t disciplined myself to do that yet on a regular basis.

If you could be a character in any novel, what character would you be and why?

I cannot tell you that. I need to have some secrets.

What’s your favorite childhood memory and did it make it into your writing?  

I had a good childhood, loving parents and we lived with my maternal grandparents from the time I was 4 years old until I was 8. Great memories. I went to junior high school on Spring Garden St. in Philly (Masterman Junior High, as it was called at the time) from when I was about 12 to 14. I took a bus and train every day to get there. Lots of adventures with my buddies roaming around Philly [unattended] as a kid after school. What were my parents thinking?

Some of my life stories make it into my writing. I include snippets, imagination, and exaggerations to make up for times that were not nearly as awesome as they should have been. I write what I know much of the time. Sometimes that is impossible, but much of my writing is writing what I know.

How much research do you do before you begin a writing project?

A fair amount. The chemical phenol plays a role in DRINK TO EVERY BEAST, and I did a lot of research regarding its use and health effects.  This included reading a number of ATSDR reports on a variety of chemicals, searching the internet, and interviewing two medical doctors on the health effects and treatment for phenol poisoning. My first novel (unpublished) is called WHIZ KID and is set in Philly in 1950. I did a ton of research on 1950 (which was NOT “the 1950s”), 1950 Philadelphia, and on the 1950 Phillies.

Will you stick to writing eco fiction or do you think you’ll branch out into something else.

I have a problem with the use of the term “eco-fiction.” Here is my take on the terminology (from my blog): 

My novel, DRINK TO EVERY BEAST, is an environmental legal thriller. That makes it different from eco-thrillers and environmental thrillers. All are thrillers, meaning that there will be a lot of action, quick pacing, suspense, dread, excitement, surprise, anticipation and plot twists. 

By definition, all three of these genres feature the environment as a central issue. To some extent, the protagonist will be trying to protect or defend some aspect of the natural environment and health of eco-systems and humans. For the most part, all feature villains, often corporations, that are much more interested in profit at the expense of the environment or human health. Nevertheless, there is district difference between the three genres. 

After reading many books from all three genres, here is my guide:

Eco-thrillers. An eco-thriller is a novel in which the action involves an environmental calamity that may be world-wide in scope or that will change some significant aspect of the Earth as we know it. Often greedy corporations are the antagonists. These books are part-science fiction or speculative fiction. Often a massive calamity that shatters the norm or defies scientific principles takes place in these books (e.g. ZOO, in which all of the animals attack humans effectively taking over the Earth; RELIC, in which a monster accidently is brought back from the Amazon rain forest to the New York Academy of Science and runs amok in Manhattan killing dozens of visitors to the museum; JURASSIC PARK, in which dinosaurs are brought back to life). For quite some time, eco-thrillers have been the mainstay in the environmental thriller category. Certainly, with issues like climate change, that can wreck disastrous consequences from one end of the planet to the other, eco-thrillers are here to stay. They are now sharing the spotlight, however, with environmental thrillers and environmental legal thrillers.

Environmental thrillers. These stories deal with real-world environmental issues. Often corporations are portrayed as greedy, thoughtless villains more interested in profit than in the safety of humans, animals, or the environment. There may be no legal proceedings in the book or they may be only tangential to the story. (e.g. THE MONKEY-WRENCH GANG, in which a group of environmental activists become eco-extremists in an effort to oppose environmental degradation and offenses by callous corporations; OIL AND WATER, in which a family is nearly destroyed when a corporation tries to steal a device that makes oil from garbage). Environmental thrillers are taking more of the spotlight as current writers highlight environmental issues that have real world consequences, as opposed to science fiction-y type books.

Environmental legal thrillers: a sub-genre of legal thrillers, environmental legal thrillers try to portray both environmental harms and the legal battles associated with those harms. The legal battle is central to the story and can involve investigations, trials, and appeals of significant environmental issues. (e.g. GRAY MOUNTAIN, in which a young lawyer opposes mountaintop removal mining in western Virginia; THE PELICAN BRIEF, in which opponents are assassinated on behalf of an oil tycoon who intends to drill for oil on Louisiana marshland that is habitat for an endangered species of brown pelicans). DRINK TO EVERY BEAST is an environmental legal thriller.

My first novel (unpublished) is called WHIZ KID and is a literary story about a young man trying to decide whether he should take a risk and become a novelist or, as everyone in his family wants him to do, go into advertising. This was set in Philadelphia in 1950 and the backdrop is the World Series run of the 1950 Phillies.  I have written a work of speculative fiction called LITTLE BROTHER, set about 15 years into the future, in which a local police department goes to war with the FBI. I may go back to both and have scribbled a few words of a sequel to LITTLE BROTHER.

Wow, thanks for that.  I may need to change the tagline on my novel!  So what do you think is the greatest thing about writing?

Easy question. That is when your characters start talking to you and telling you, almost demanding, that you write certain words and actions for them. The writer Nicole Bernier calls her characters her “imaginary friends.” When your novel writing is really humming along, your imaginary friends dictate their lines to you. That’s pretty cool.

And the final question, if you could have one superpower, what would it be?

To a certain extent, all writers who write stories about current issues have to see into the future. It is awful when you write something and then a few years later your story sounds outdated, or at best quaint. I’d like to be able to foretell the future.

Also, I wouldn’t mind being tall enough to change lightbulbs without a chair.

Good one!  It’s been a pleasure talking with you, Joel.  Best of luck with the book release! 

Stop back on May 31st for an excerpt of Drink to Every Beast.

pam lazos. 5.16.19

Posted in blog, book release, carbon footprint, environmental thriller, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Plastic-Free Life

[Fruits for a plastic-free life unite.]

Plastic-Free Life

I think I’m just one of those people that needs a mission.  This week I decided that if I’m ever going to even approach a Zero Waste Life, I need to find ways to buy things with less built-in waste.  The problem with that is I don’t have gobs of time to search the world for such items so why not coax the world into providing them for me?

I thought I might try something locally, like writing to my grocer and asking him/her to reduce single-use plastic usage and see if together we can’t make a small dent in some of this plastic craziness.

Here’s the letter if you want some ideas to do the same thing in your town:

Dear Mr. or Ms. Grocer:

Our world is awash in plastic — literally.  If you don’t believe me, you only have to google the Great Pacific garbage patch to see just how this 5-mile stretch of a plastic island is choking wildlife and suffocating the habitats and breeding grounds of the ocean dwellers.  Why should you care, you may be asking yourself now, since you are running a grocery store, not a marina, and how the heck does an ocean garbage patch affect you and your store anyway?

Well, allow me to share a bit of information.  The world uses about 4 trillion plastic bags a year while about 150 million tons of plastic is produced for single-use, and 8 million of those tons ends up in the ocean.  Holy crap of a waste stream, that’s a lot of plastic!

You, as the provider of food for the masses, are in a unique position.  The products you deem worthy of putting on your shelves are the ones people choose between to buy.  If you removed single-use plastic from the equation, there’d simply be less of it out in the world post-purchase.  I, and many others, would be thrilled if you were to remove the plastic from my zucchini and broccoli, from my squash and carrots, from my cauliflower and all the other veggies that have found themselves enmeshed in a prophylactic living situation.  

I don’t believe that wrapping vegetables in plastic improves the taste or quality of the product, and if it’s the possibility of contaminants — people do sometimes sneeze and cough when shopping — being transferred from person-to-product while the vegetables sit there, waiting for someone to purchase them, then you really don’t need to worry too much about that because:  a) everyone knows you need to wash your veggies before you eat them; and b) that’s what our immune systems are for.  Maybe I’m overstepping here, but perhaps you could just display things in the same manner they came into the world:  naked, the way God intended.

I understand there will be some people who prefer the plastic wrap, and for them — at least during this plastic phase-out period — you might want to leave a few bags around to collect the stray lemons and beets, and to catch the fish juice so it doesn’t drip all over the milk.  (Actually, I think we might always need to have some plastic around specifically for the drippy meat products because that just makes good sense.)  

For the rest of us, a few reusable bags for our vegetables would be great, allowing us to bag and bag again without waste, something we’d probably all willingly pay for if it meant one less turtle would end up with a straw stuck up its nose.  Oh, and speaking of straws, can you just eliminate those plastic ones and only sell reusable ones?  The turtles will be thrilled.

I know you have a lot on your plate and this seems like such small potatoes in comparison, but think about it.  As the provider of foodstuffs, you wield great power.  I just ask that you use it wisely. 

On behalf of the planet, I thank you for your kind consideration.

Want to start a movement?  Writer to your grocer and ask for a little help here.  Perhaps we can remove single-use plastics from our environment one grocery store at a time.  The turtles, and your children, will thank you.

pamlazos 5.10.19

 

Posted in conservation, environment, environmental conservation, environmental effects, plastic bag, plastics, saving the world, single use plastic, Uncategorized, waste, water, water conservation, zero waste | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Zero Waste Life

 

Zero Waste Life

Let me start by saying I am nowhere near living a zero waste life.  I am actually embarrassed by the amount of trash we produce (both personally, and as a society), but I am doing my best to reduce the amount of waste by paying attention to the things the products I buy are packaged in, buying in bulk where possible, and reducing, reusing and recycling always.  I don’t know I’ll ever get to the point where Lauren Singer is — making all my own products — but just buying less is an awesome start.

According to Singer, the average American produces 4.4 lbs. of trash per day!  I think I can at least do better than that.  I think we all can.

So – whatever you can do to make your footprint less, then go for it!  You may not get to zero, but you’ll feel better across all spectrums.

Today is Day 26 of the #AtoZ blogapalooza.  Finito! We made it, baby.

pamlazos 4.30.19

Posted in conservation, consumer safety, eco, environmental conservation, environmental effects, evolution, food packaging, organic food waste, product packaging, Sustainability, sustainable eating, Sustainable Living, Uncategorized, zero waste | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 37 Comments

Youth-Led

Youth-led

More than ever, the world needs a deus ex machina, a word derived from Latin and used to describe the point in an ancient Greek tragedy where a God was dropped onto the stage by a machine, sent down to fix an otherwise unfixable problem and provide the audience with a happy ending.  The machine that did the dropping was called the deus ex machina, but it also came to represent divine intervention in solving the unsolvable problems that lowly mortals were unable to fix on their own.

Most days it feels as though we in the 21st century are in the middle of Greek tragedy with an untenable future and no real consensus on how to make it all work out.  How will it end?  Will the heroes be reduced to dust while the bad guys win the day?  Will mankind be able to pass this tale of How We Saved the Planet down to our grandchildren’s children?  And for Godsakes, where is our deus ex machina?

I believe that it’s not divine intervention, or aliens, or a prophet, but our children that are going to save us.  Children like Greta Thunberg, a 16-year old climate change activist who knows that we have been dragging our feet on dealing with the worst of our issues — carbon that is heating up the planet — and is not afraid to tell us what she knows:

Or the Parkland high school kids who survived the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland Florida to become gun safety activists, and in the process, inspired a slate of gun safety legislation across the county — 67 new gun laws in 26 states passed in 2018, an unprecedented amount of legislation all thanks to a few kids who simply wouldn’t give up.

Or what about my favorite candidate for president, the former Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Pete Buttigieg, who, at least for me, stands out in the crowded democratic field because of his clear-eyed look into the future with the realization that the present will need retooling if we are going to make it there in one piece.  Okay, he’s not a teen, but he’s young, still learning, and willing to evolve.  If elected, he’ll be the youngest president ever at 37.

I’m not saying you have to be young to know how to fix things — we all know that kids can totally screw things up just as easily as adults — but we need to think young, and look at problems in a new way if we’re ever going to fix the mess we’ve created.

To youth-led activism and the deus ex machina kind of changes their energy and enthusiasm will provide.

Today is Day 25 of the #AtoZ blog challenge.  I can see the finish line!

pamlazos 4.29.19

 

Posted in Greek tragedy, gun legislation, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Xenophobia

XENOPHOBIA

xenophobia | ˌzenəˈfōbēə, ˌzēnəˈfōbēə |

noun:  intense or irrational dislike or fear of people from other countries: the resurgence of racism and xenophobia. DERIVATIVES xenophobe | ˈzenəˌfōb, ˈzēnəˌfōb | noun (online dictionary definition)

xenophobia:  n. The desire to run like your hair is on fire or egg your neighbor’s car  because someone who looks, dresses, eats, or practices a different religion than you moved in down the street. (my definition)

[Sketch from Oxford University Museum of Modern History]

So why the sudden rise in white nationalism across the globe?  Apparently, the situation has been decades in the making and it’s not as easy to answer as we had hoped.  Princeton sociologist, Robert Wuthnow spend eight years asking this question, interviewing rural Americans across the country, and had this to say:

I think the concerns about moral decline often miss the mark. I think a lot of white Americans in these small towns are simply reacting against a country that is becoming more diverse — racially, religiously, and culturally. They just don’t [know] how to deal with it. And that’s why you’re seeing this spike in white nationalism.

Although Wuthnow didn’t have a hard and fast solution to the problem, he did offer a lot of insight.

Nor do I have a solution, but I will offer this observation. It has long been known in the scientific community that, in general, only the most culturally diverse species make it through eons of evolution.  By increasing diversity you make the species more resilient and stable.

Back in the 17th century on the island of Mauritius, east of Madagascar, there lived the famed, fanciful and now extinct dodo bird.  Over time, because of the abundance of food on the island, the dodo lost the need to fly so it stopped using its wings and evolution, being what is was, the dodo eventually lost the ability to fly.  When Dutch sailors appeared in the late 1600’s (first dodo mention was 1598), they began hunting the bird for food, their habitat was degraded and ultimately, invasive species moved in and the dodo was out (last known sighting was in 1662).  The bird fell into mythological status until the remains of some specimens were found and scientists were able to determine its actual existence.

I think its important to note a couple of things:  the dodo had all its needs met for food and shelter so it didn’t push itself to do things it used to know how to do like fly (important for us as a population growing older — keep doing stuff so you don’t lose your skills, people!), or develop any new skills.  When the Dutch sailors arrived with their invasive species, the dodo could not fight them off and also could not run away because the flying thing was but a memory (adversity can sometimes lead to diversity).

Sure, life had been good for a while in their isolation on an island in the Indian Ocean with all the food, water and sunshine they needed, but by failing to diversify and inject some new skills into their lives with a healthy cross-cultural exchange, the dodo was not prepared for the invaders arrival and, as a result, faded into the oblivion.

The (most basic) moral of the story?  Embrace other cultures or go the way of the dodo bird.

Today is Day 24 of the #AtoZ blog challenge.  Two more days and I’m eXstatic.

pamlazos 4.27.19

Posted in diversity, evolution, mythology, Uncategorized, Xenophobia | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Be Like Water

Be Like Water

When I was born, I shared the water on this planet with just over 3 billion people.  Today, I’m sharing it with 7.7 billion and growing — at a rate of 85 million people per year — and it’s a safe bet that each and every one of those people are thirsty.

The average human can only last about three to four days without water.  Water provides all the systems of the body with the power it needs to hydrate, refuel, detox and thrive.  Somewhere between 60-70% of our bodies are made up of water. Several billion years ago, a few single-celled organism started focus groups, formed bonds, discussed logistics, and eventually crawled their way out of the primordial soup.  At one time, oceans covered the planet.  At one time, dinosaurs roamed the earth.  We’ve come a long way since then, but we’re still drinking the same water the dinosaurs did.  When scientist search for new planets to live on, they look for water first because without water, we’re toast.  

Bottled water is big business but it doesn’t necessarily benefit the commons.  Water companies blithely pull billions of gallons of water from underground aquifers — water that belongs to all of us — then put it in bottles and sell it back to us with no value added.  The product wasn’t altered or added to, just bottled, yet they sell it to us for upwards of $10/gal.   (As opposed to Guinness which has tremendous value added!)

Wait, what?  Doesn’t it come out of the tap for pennies on that dollar?  If you asked water what it wanted, I suspect it would want us all to reclaim the commons rather than let a few large companies make money off the rest of us on a substance that belongs to all of us.

The Kabbalah, a Jewish mystical/metaphysical interpretation of the Bible, teaches that water is the light of God made manifest on the physical plane.  If true, that means water has some serious mojo.  The ancient Kabbalists performed a water ceremony, called a mikvah, at a stream or spring as a way to purify the individual.  Kabbalists believed pure water — a physical mirror to the soul — could cure all ills, but that years of wars, pestilence, pesticides, and not being very nice to each other has dimmed water’s light and left it much less effectual.  

The Catholics pour water over a baby’s forehead while baptizing the infant in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, a very powerful prayer that welcomes the child into the Catholic faith.  The night before he died, Jesus washed the feet of the Apostles at the Last Supper, purifying them so they could carry on with that work after he was gone.  Many religions perform ritual washings and ablutions on the living and the dead to free them from both physical and spiritual uncleanliness.  You see the metaphysics at work here, right?  As a spiritual and religious aid, water is universal and necessary.   

That means we have a problem:  by 2030, one-third of the billions of people on the planet will not have access to clean drinking water; by 2040, we’ll have just over 9 billion people and the constant struggle of agriculture vs. energy needs vs. personal water usage will create dire water shortages for the planet; and if we don’t fix the broken system, by 2050, it could be game over.

 

So what to do?  Rather than say “the problem is too big; there is nothing I can do,” say, “We can be like water.”  By aligning ourselves with the essence that is water, you change the game.  Water is fluid.  Water is cleansing.  Water is buoyant, and intuitive, and multi-dimensional.  Water is ubiquitous.  Water is life.  Water knows how to heal itself and, intrinsically, you do, too.

Today, meditate on the blessings of something seemingly so bountiful, yet so at risk, and decide on what steps you might take to ensure it remains here — in good standing — for many generations to come.  Maybe start by buying a reusable water bottle.

Today is Day 23 of the #AtoZ blog challenge and like water on planet earth, I am all over this!

AND because I’m nothing if not efficient, consider this my entry for the last Friday of the month, the We Are the World Blogfest, #WATWB, because sometimes you just need to double dip.

I’ve skipped all the instructions for #WATWB, but you’re a clever bunch and can surely remember how it all works.  And while the articles I’ve cited are not the usual feel good variety, the are informative and useful, considering, and forewarned is forearmed.

A great weekend to you.

pamlazos 4.26.19

Posted in 7.7 billion people, blog, blog challenge, bottled water, conservation, environmental conservation, four days without water, Kabbalah, metaphysics, regeneration, Sustainability, Uncategorized, waste as a resource, water, water conservation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Vernal Pools

[Okay, all these photos are tidal pools not vernal pools, but it’s all I could find in my photo stream (these taken at the Giant’s Causeway in Ireland) and more evidence of their disappearance!]

VERNAL POOLS

Vernal pools are small seasonal pools that generally form following the spring snow melt and the autumn fall rains, ephemeral wetlands that create a breeding habitat for amphibians like frogs and salamanders.

Vernal pool inhabitants generally get their start in these shallow waters before moving to drier ground. Vernal pools provide a predator-free environment without which many of these critters wouldn’t survive.

As with all of nature many vernal pools are at risk due to overdevelopment which isolates not just the pool and the creatures getting their start there, but also weakens the gene pool through a lack of diversity.

Agricultural, urban and suburban stormwater runoff — all loaded with contaminants — are another stressor, as is climate change due to the variable and unpredictable nature of the weather, while water’s formerly robust legal protections, like the pools themselves, are slowly drifting away.

What happens to water happens to people. It’s time for us to act, or we’re going to have to plan accordingly.

Today is Day 22 of the #AtoZ blog challenge. I’m feeling a bit parched. How about you?

pamlazos 4.25.19

Posted in stormwater runoff, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments