350 & Stained Glass
This past week was filled with extremes that included plant and people wilting days with heat indexes over 100 degrees, which was then followed by an impressive storm that produced more than 3 inches of rain in less than 12 hours. While waiting for the deluge outside to subside, I decided to make a cup of tea and sit in our sunroom where the noise created by the rain hitting on my "little glass bubble" was incredibly loud, yet soothing. In addition to my tea, I brought along the latest issue of the Fairfield County/Housatonic Valley edition of Natural Awakenings to flip through. There, I happened upon an article that took me back to 2008. That was the year that I was a presenter at the Bioneers conference in New Bedford Massachusetts. The whole focus of the art installations and hands-on art activities that I implemented during the conference was on increasing awareness of the rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and its implications. In 2008, the goal was to create a movement that would begin to enact changes so that the planet would not reach the approaching threshold of 350 parts per million of carbon dioxide (hence the name 350, to learn more about this movement click on the logo to the left). Flash forward to 2019 and the article I was reading as the rain continued to pour down, which discussed new data from the Mauna Loa Observatory, in Hawaii, which shows that the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere have now reached 415 parts per million, which is the highest level ever recorded.
In 11 years, since the concept of 350 was first put forth, it is evident that whatever policies and actions have taken place it are not enough. But it is also apparent that many people still have no idea about how critical it is to reverse the trend of rising carbon dioxide levels. Why is that? Well consider this little tidbit that was shared in the same article, "While the CBS, NBC and ABC nightly TV news reports combined devoted nearly 18 minutes of coverage to the birth of the royal baby between May 6 and 12, airtime regarding climate change and extinction during the same period only amounted to one minute and 21 seconds, and only on CBS." If like me and the fictitious anchorman Howard Beale in the 1976 film Network you are a bit incensed by all of this, take a minute and visit Tinyurl.com/ClimateCrisisCampaign and sign the petition demanding that the media cover the climate crisis and related issues more frequently.
As the rain continued, my eyes drifted up from the article and were drawn to a stained glass piece that hangs in our sunroom. It was made by my father-in-law just before he passed away. Even on that dark, ridiculously rain-filled day the yellow sections of his piece seemed to glow and emanate rays of light. Light of a different sort radiated from another article in the same issue that discussed a Farm-to Table Marine Delivery system that is being developed by Robert Kunkel, co-owner of Harbor Harvest and a ship design and construction firm. Here is an excerpt, "Kunkel is passionate about the concept of disruptive sustainability and how the boatbuilding and local Harbor Harvest delivery service can contribute to combating the environmental side of global warming and emissions. 'We see the damage done when food is not sourced locally with emissions, traffic, noise and gas usage. We are doing our little part,' says Kundel". It seems that Natural Awakenings and Robert Kunkel are also providing us with a little bit of sparkling light.