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world wide wdenesdays :: cleaning up our room

i've been pleasantly surprised since i started world wide wednesdays that it's become one of the most popular features on the blog. i'm surprised chiefly because most of the posts are long and involved and deal with pretty complex and heady issues [or at least try to deal with them] and it makes me happy to think that there are enough people who are willing to slog through a long piece to get some more information about the place where we live.

of course, i'm not surprised that people are interested in the topics, because earth is a fascinating place. our crazy, troubled, unique history is filled with stories that even the most creative writers would struggle to imagine. i really believe that most of us want to understand why situations are the way that they are and that our minds really aren't satisfied by the limited vision we are given of the world around us because we know, instinctively, that there is more going on than we're being told.

unfortunately, part of figuring out what's going on in in the world today forces us to take into account how we've damaged our home. and we've damaged it a lot. every area of the planet is now showing signs of that damage, and yet we're still forced to waste time debating whether or not climate change even exists. it's a sad state of affairs that's made worse by the public presentation of the issue, which most often frames the debate as having two equal sides. i defer to the brilliant john oliver on this subject:



today is [has been] the forty-fifth annual earth day, a time when we take a moment to think about our planet and its future and how we will shape that future, or simply to take the google quiz to find out what animal we are. i am a mantis shrimp. [thanks to marie for calling my attention to the oatmeal piece!] earth day has become a kind of sombre occasion, one that confronts us with the results of our collective laziness, greed, stubbornness and procrastination. it's depressing, but we've made the mess and now we have to clean it up. my interest today is in closing earth day with a little reminder of why we want to do the work to clean it up.

for starters, i found this graphic [original source here] of some things about earth that are pretty damn amazing already. [please don't quit your job to extract gold from seawater. i've done the math, it doesn't work.]

you'll probably want to zoom in
and here are some photos taken from the earth porn web site to remind us all of just how amazing this place can be and how beautiful it is when we have cleaned up. [thanks to dom, who originally suggested i follow those guys on social media.]










this is the only place in the universe that has cats and owls and elephants and sharks and pythons and capybaras and ladybugs and penguins and, yes, mighty mantis shrimp. but more importantly, it's the only place that has us. it's our home and as much as we like to daydream about what life might be like on other planets, we know that there really is no place like home and that it's where we belong. so we should actively seek out ways in which we can lower our own impact on the environment, we should give power to those who commit to acting in the interests of the planet [we're coming for you, stephen harper] and we should do these things not just because they're "good for us", but because the awesome diversity and beauty of the world enriches our lives and makes us happier people. [or if that isn't motivation enough, behave responsibly or i'll come and strike you with my murderous appendages.]

so happy earth day to all, from more like space, and hopefully many more of them.

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as long as you're here, why not read more?

don't speak

you might think that it sounds dramatic, but linguistic genocide is something that happens. people in power will go to great lengths to eradicate certain languages, not just for the sheer joy of making the world a lesser place, but as a way of beating down the culture that's associated with it. language has a unique reciprocal bond with culture, and every group that has attempted to break down another has recognised that forbidding a cultural group from communicating in their own language is an extremely effective way to tear apart their culture.

there are lots [and lots and lots and lots] of examples of this sort of thing, some successful, some not, but far too many to cover in one blog post. however, i thought it was worth looking at some languages that have been the subjects of active repression, and what the political consequences of that have been.

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