Hope for Folks & the Planet: Don’t Mourn, Set up!

I’ve  been feeling somewhat hope these days, which is frightening. “Don’t get your hopes up,” my mom used to inform me. Nicely, why the hell not? I’d be simply as devastated both approach, if the present president finally ends up staying within the White Home.

The factor is, trump is (actually) banking on progressive folks on this nation feeling hopeless and helpless. As a result of hope, even a sliver of it, could result in motion. It may well lead us to make cellphone calls or write letters or name our legislators.

If we really feel it makes no distinction and we’re doomed, we’ll simply numb ourselves with social media or TV or alcohol or chips or outrage or no matter it’s that permits us to outlive these perilous instances. Worst of all, we could not make an effort to vote if we predict it doesn’t matter. Particularly if trump has made it harder and complicated to forged a vote.

Our Well being and Heritage Below Assault

This week, buried within the on-going chaos that’s America, there was information of the trump administration’s last preparations to sacrifice to the voracious Oil God, one among America’s most sacred and iconic wilderness areas: the Arctic Nationwide Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. Since his election, trump has taken direct goal at our pure heritage of wildlands and wildlife, and he’s undercut packages that promote clear air, clear water, and local weather stability.

It’s mind-boggling how rapidly he has reversed our nation’s progress and dismantled a lot of what I spent my thirty-year environmental profession doing. This isn’t about me, after all, however I’ve to say, it hurts. And most of the folks I really like and served with within the environmental discipline have additionally been surprised and demoralized.

One of many longest and most intense battles of my profession has been the trouble to guard the Arctic Refuge from oil drilling. So after I heard the information of how shut we’re to shedding this treasure, how trump is attempting to ensure this pristine wilderness is destroyed earlier than he leaves workplace, I’ll admit to hopelessness.

However after I wailed about it on Fb, my expensive Sierra Membership buddy BB wrote in response, “Resist. Set up.” He says that lots these days. However this time it sunk in.

The Arctic Refuge
Photograph: Pure Sources Protection Council

You and I Can Make a Distinction

I instantly poured my ache and fervour right into a letter to the editor of the Washington Put up to share what I do know of what’s at stake within the Arctic Refuge. Off it went, and the subsequent day The Put up referred to as to say they needed to print it. I used to be so excited! You imply, I can nonetheless do one thing helpful? I’m not powerless? I can do greater than march within the streets waving indicators and yelling until I’m hoarse?

I desperately wanted this reminder that we *all* have on a regular basis instruments that may make a distinction. I’m speaking to YOU! I problem you to seek out one thing that you just really feel passionately about and write a letter to the editor, ideally responding to one thing they’ve lately printed. Under is my letter :


“I am sickened by the Trump administration’s last-minute effort to sacrifice one of many nation’s most delicate and iconic wilderness areas to grease drilling [“Drill plan for Alaska refuge is finalized,” front page, Aug. 18]. Most People won’t ever take an Alaskan bush airplane north of the Arctic Circle to the Arctic Nationwide Wildlife Refuge. But a transparent majority opposes drilling there, honoring our nation’s beneficiant custom of setting apart irreplaceable components of our pure heritage for future generations.

As director of the Sierra Membership’s public lands program in the course of the Nineteen Nineties, I used to be privileged to go to the refuge and to have fun the annual porcupine caribou herd migration with the Native Gwich’in group. These hardy folks depend upon the caribou for meals, clothes and instruments, simply as they’ve for hundreds of years, and their non secular and cultural traditions revolve across the animals. They name the caribou calving grounds within the Arctic Refuge “Iizhik Gwats’an Gwandaii Goodlit,” which means the sacred place the place life begins.


President Trump’s determined push to desecrate this valuable and pristine piece of God’s creation earlier than Jan. 20 dishonors indigenous tradition, denies the local weather disaster and provides the definitive reply to the query we’ve been asking for 4 years: Is nothing sacred to this man? No, nothing is.”


And right here’s a notice (edited) I simply acquired about simple and protected methods you’ll be able to assist be certain there’s hope for the longer term:

  • Make calls: share your enthusiasm and hope with potential voters. You possibly can be the explanation why somebody votes for Biden/Harris.
  • Obtain the Vote Joe App: This organizing device means that you can attain out to arrange your folks & obtain updates from the Democrats.
  • Be a part of Biden for President’s volunteer Slack: Join with Joe Biden’s marketing campaign and study concerning the newest volunteer alternatives. You’ll meet different volunteers as properly — nearly, after all!

Within the phrases of the martyred union organizer and songwriter, Joe Hill:

Don’t Waste Time Mourning, Set up!

caribou - Hope for Folks & the Planet: Don’t Mourn, Set up!

Courtesy: Alaska Conservation Basis

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Sep 13, Grand Remembrances

Today is Grandparents Day in the United States. Being a Grand is a special honor. I feel very blessed that my wife and I have two grandchildren. We were able to visit them today. Yes, we are still being cautious with the coronavirus, but we also find it very difficult to not see them when they live so close. So today we did drop by to visit Jacob (age 10) and Sophia (age 7) along with their parents. We brought donuts and caught up with them. Our grandchildren are still pretty young and this is a precious time in their lives – and ours!

I wish I had known my grandparents better. We never lived in the same place. Dad was a career Air Force pilot, so we moved around a lot. But we did get to see them once in a while when they would visit us, or we them.

A Plague of Giants

There are five known magical ‘kennings’ or types: air, water, fire, earth, and plants. Each nation specializes in of these kennings, and the magic influences the society. There’s a big pitfall with this diversity of ability and locale–not everyone gets along.

Enter the Hathrim giants, or ‘lavaborn’ whose kenning is fire. Where they live the trees that fuel their fire are long gone, but the giants are definitely not welcome anywhere else. They’re big, they’re violent, and they’re ruthless. When a volcano erupts and they are forced to evacuate, they take the opportunity to relocate. They don’t care that it’s in a place where they aren’t wanted.

I first read Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid books and loved them (also the quirky The Tales of Pell), so was curious about this new venture, starting with A PLAGUE OF GIANTS. Think Avatar: The Last Airbender meets Jim Butcher’s Codex Alera series. Elemental magic, a variety of races, different lands. And it’s all thrown at you from page one.

But this story is told a little differently. It starts at the end of the war, after a difficult victory, and a bard with earth kenning uses his magic to re-tell the story of the war to a city of refugees. And it’s this movement back and forth in time and between key players in this war that we get a singularly grand view of the war as a whole. Hearne uses this method to great effect.

There are so many interesting characters in this book that I can’t cover them all here. Often in books like this such a large cast of ‘main’ character can make the storytelling suffer, especially since they don’t have a lot of interaction with each other for the first 3/4 of the book–but it doesn’t suffer, thankfully. And the characterization is good enough, despite these short bursts, that by the end we understand these people and care about what happens to them.

If there were a main character it would be Dervan, a historian who is assigned to record (also spy on?) the bard’s stories. He finds himself caught up in machinations he feels unfit to survive. Fintan is the bard from another country, who at first is rather mysterious and his true personality is hidden by the stories he tells; it takes a while to understand him. Gorin Mogen is the leader of the Hathrim giants who decide to find a new land to settle. He’s hard to like, but as far as villains go, you understand his motivations and he can be even a little convincing. There’s Abhi, the son of hunters, who decides hunting isn’t the life for him–and unexpectedly finds himself on a quest for the sixth kenning. And Gondel Vedd, a scholar of linguistics who finds himself tasked with finding a way to communicate with a race of giants never seen before (definitely not Hathrim) and stumbles onto a mystery no one could have guessed: there may be a seventh kenning.

There are other characters, but what makes them all interesting is that they’re regular people (well, maybe not Gorin Mogen or the viceroy–he’s a piece of work) who become heroes in their own little ways, whether it’s the teenage girl who isn’t afraid to share vital information, to the scholars who suddenly find how crucial their minds are to the survival of a nation, to the humble public servants who find bravery when they need it most. This is a story of loss, love, redemption, courage, unity, and overcoming despair to not give up. All very human experiences by simple people who do extraordinary things.

Hearne’s worldbuilding is engaging. He doesn’t bottle feed you, at first it feels like drinking from a hydrant, but then you settle in and pick up things along the way. Then he shows you stuff with a punch to the gut. This is no fluffy world with simple magic without price. All the magic has a price, and more often than not it leads you straight to death’s door. For most people just the seeking of the magic will kill you. I particularly enjoyed the scenes with Ahbi and his discovery of the sixth kenning and everything associated with it. But giants? I mean, really? It isn’t bad enough fighting people who can control fire that you have to add that they’re twice the size of normal people? For Hearne if it’s war, the stakes are pretty high, and it gets ugly.

The benefit of the storytelling style is that the book, despite its length, moves along steadily (Hearne is no novice, here). The bits of story lead you along without annoying cliffhangers (mostly), and I never got bored with the switch between characters. It was easy to move between them, and they were recognizable enough that I got lost or confused. The end of the novel felt a little abrupt, but I guess that has more to do with I was ready for the story to continue, despite the exiting climax.

If you’re looking for epic fantasy with fun storytelling and clever worldbuilding, check out A PLAGUE OF GIANTS.

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The Artwork Of Gary Choo

Gary Choo is a concept artist/illustrator based in Singapore. I’ve know Gary for a good many years ( 17, actually ), working together in animation studios in Singapore like Silicon Illusions and Lucasfilm. Gary currently runs an art team at Mighty Bear Games, but when time allows he also draws covers for Marvel comics, and they’re amazing –

The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo

To see more of Gary’s work or to engage him for freelance work, head down to his ArtStation.

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