Wednesday, March 31, 2010

It Really Is Spring!

Next Tuesday I will be on my way to Miami for a week for holiday and then headed to San Francisco, my new home. I was quite confused/unsure/freaked out for a while about this plan, but the closer it gets the more excited I am.

Little ol' Amsterdam has had many sunny wonderful days this month and I'm really happy to have been around to see them all. It would have been very disappointing to have only experienced the coldest, dreariest, most horrible winter of my life to never enjoy actual spring like sunshine in this little charming city. Very similar to my traveling days in 2004 of Eastern Europe - all winter, no sunshine, then a brief week in jail when I returned home only to end up living on a friend's floor for two months before finding a place in Brooklyn where I worked at a swanky NYC restaurant while moonlighting at film festivals where Alec Baldwin hit on me over his own concern for Burmese political prisoners. Ah, the life of a 20-something!

But I'm no longer a 20-something, so that must all come to a halt, except for the adventure parts. I don't think I will ever stop wandering about searching for the next adventure. I plan on being a wild haired, traveling, cursing, loud laughing, wine drinking grandmother one day. . . with a home of my own of course.

Throughout the darkest days of winter here (late January until the end of February) everyone kept explaining that the best part of this city is when the sun finally shines and you get to sit in the park enjoying the hours and hours and hours of sunlight. I'm leaving too early to watch the sunset at 11pm, but for a girl who grew up in south Florida I finally understand the wonder of Springtime. It's hard to appreciate an April afternoon of sunshine when every afternoon is filled with sunshine. But I finally get it!

I stumbled onto this article from 2008 about James Lovelock, a climate scientist. The article is about enjoying your life while you can . . . because we are passed the point of reversing climate change destruction and are only in a position to adapt to it. In a moment where the word green appears on everything from toilet paper to pet food to oil company adverts, Lovelock's words have a devastating and inspirational quality to them. He sits tearing down what you have been told you can do to help the world while building back up the opportunities we must now begin to recognize as the world's next great adventure.

At one point the article states: "He dismisses eco ideas briskly, one by one. "Carbon offsetting? I wouldn't dream of it. It's just a joke. To pay money to plant trees, to think you're offsetting the carbon? You're probably making matters worse. You're far better off giving to the charity Cool Earth, which gives the money to the native peoples to not take down their forests."

and: " . . . recycling, he adds, is "almost certainly a waste of time and energy", while having a "green lifestyle" amounts to little more than "ostentatious grand gestures". He distrusts the notion of ethical consumption."

then akwarkedly explaining the period of leading up to World War II: "Humanity is in a period exactly like 1938-9, he explains, when "we all knew something terrible was going to happen, but didn't know what to do about it". But once the second world war was under way, "everyone got excited, they loved the things they could do, it was one long holiday ... so when I think of the impending crisis now, I think in those terms. A sense of purpose - that's what people want."

I'm not sure 'one long holiday' is the right choice of words there, though I understand his meaning, but I agree that being proud that you are doing your part of save the planet by buying Seventh Generation and recycling is not the sense of purpose we are looking for. The same can be said for our need to find new opportunity in our economic circumstances as many of us are being forced to find new purpose in our lives that does not include buying new shiny things to make us happy. In a moment where the control over our lives feels out of our hands, we must take new actions on new paths to reclaim our sense of who we are and what we want. Devastating and inspiring.

It must be the springtime. . .

Take care,
Renee Claire

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