2020, the one where we were quarantined.

Kat Haber
Posted November 28, 2020 from United States

Is it dawning on you yet? Climate, another 2020 emergency, find here actions you can easily take for this holiday season.

As the Master says, “Judge not, yet ye be judged by the same measure you judge others. Do not take the beam from your brother’s eye, deal with the beam within your eye.” Judging others and ourselves for not doing enough to right our relations in Earth's living systems while our climate is breakingdown changes nothing. So let us not judge, let us rather learn and act responsibly.

We are all responsible for the place we find the condition of EARTH in for this November 27, 2020. This year of the beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic pulled back the curtain on so many layers of human-caused emergencies for the survival of homo sapiens along with most species depending on Earth's living systems. The list is long of the breakdowns in Earth and the carbon consequences place us on the precipice of not surviving. So what can we do?

It turns out there are many things we each can do right now, right where we are. 

We can build groups, networks, entire movements on social media. Which is your favorite platform? Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, What's App? What are ways of communicating survival? What is yours to communicate? What is yours to do?

My lungs are weary and still clogged from COVID. The lungs of EARTH, the Amazon rainforest, is protected by many indigenous tribes. Specifically the Yawanawa tribe in Acre, Brazil, survival is also at stake from deforestation, encroachment, COVID-19, dengue, and malaria. Please watch this 5 minute TED Talk from Tashka, Yawanawa. 

in 2014, I walked across the United States of America in the Great March for Climate Action from LA to DC over 8 months for 3,500 miles. We were listening for how people understood climate changes in their communities, and how they were mitigating their choices' impacts, and adapting to those they could not. Many reported then wildfires, droughts, heat waves, hurricanes, intense storms, flooding, rising seas, and so many more. Others were understanding these as just Xtreme weather or natural cycles. Now many more understand that humans are responsible for the breaking down of many ecosystems.  22 percent of Democrats today – and 12 percent of all likely voters — now consider climate change the “most important issue” facing the country. Former President Obama writes in his recent book, A Promised Land, referring to the swift trip in 2009 to Copenhagen to face the Chinese about climate that actions taken then was akin to  a “pail of water thrown on a raging fire.”

So what are  climate steps you can take right now to finish strong in 2020?  

Here are ten shifts for your climate aware and caring mindset:

1. We belong to each other. 2. Useless, be more. 3. Here is where it's from. 4. Now, now now. 5. Ever listening, ever learning. 6. Ask questions to learn.  7. Precautionary Principle-in this uncertain/risky moment, what decisions might be made that take 7 generations into the future into account. 8. Count. In. Be. Matter. 9. Celebrate the little wins. 10. Show up, stand up, speak up.

Climate changes are affecting your region tight now. For recent news, check out this.

Scientists like Katherine HayhoeJames Hansen, and Michael Mann join others who are getting our attention. Listen to them and invite others to listen up with you. Watch these 2020  TED Talks: former Vice President Al Gore, Johan Rockstrom, or any of these COUNTDOWN Talks

May these tips help you take effective climate Christmas action. Every choice has a consequence. Let's live lightly in our places for peace to prevail in our neighborhoods. 

Christmas Trees? Live v. Plastic – ahhh, which? or any? Options? RENT A LIVE TREE!  If buying, buy local. Think tiny and beautiful. Potted tree, then plant? The bigger the tree, the more carbon it absorbs. Reimagine this tradition for the least carbon consequence and the most climate benefit.  Or if invasive trees are a problem in your region, get out the axe and cut it down. Get advice from your local specialists. Whatever is recommended in your area, do: 1) ask for permission to remove a tree of course, and 2) double-check about allergies, for cedars especially. How do pesticides growing Christmas trees in your region affect allergies? Buy a used plastic/tinsel/other tree!  Find old faux trees on e-bay, Craigslist, Freecycle. Martha Stewart suggests these wall tree ideas. If a live tree still calls you– go outside instead, forest bathe, absorb the fragrance and reconsider your need to end that tree's contribution to that ecosystem. Make a reusable tree – Such as having a large dead bough as the center piece, and then attach evergreen pieces to it (drilling holes) or other methods. 

Recycling Trees: Mulching and decompose your live tree when the season is over. Recycle.  

Decorations: Where might you find unusual decorations for the tree, table and mantel? Red berries or colorful gourds, pomegranates, dried fruits? 

Ornaments: Buy antique, vintage, flea-market, ornaments. Make your own permanent(!) ornaments  Make your own – edible cookie ornaments (with earth-friendly sugar).  

Energy Efficiency: Layers, layers, layers, instead of turning up the heat, put on the layers. Turn down the thermostat. If family visits, Xplain why. 

Feasting: Go vegetarian, or go delicious vegan, or at the very least, buy a much smaller ham or turkey. Focus on the great side dishes. Try a cashew nut loaf, or a mushroom dishes in an almond crust. Consider food waste, carbon intensity. This scientific study compares over 1000 studies on carbon footprints of different foods!  Feast wisely. Perhaps make one less dish? Gather that money for the hungry (= almost 1/4th of the United States population during the pandemic as we witness miles long lines for free food. Sharing is a 21st Century solution for climate breakdowns. Find ways to be cheerful givers. During this difficult time of the year, pulling together our neighbors however we might will build our community's resilience.

If meat is still on your menu, consider grass-fed, pasture-raised, hormone-free local poultry, lamb, pork or beef. Natural grasslands are huge carbon sinks. Grasslands are thought more reliable at storing that carbon than trees, especially in semi-arid lands, so help maintain natural grasslands through natural grazing systems. Boost soil health and increase carbon stocks in rangelands. Think farmers markets and health food stores. Or if you have fish lovers, how about wild-caught salmon and trout?

Giving from the heart: Buy less and definitely don’t buy a fossil-fuel based product, especially plastic. Give Xperiences or hand-made creations? Give a pass to National Parks. It will help support the parks, which are our American treasures, for future generations, plus this gift gives the gift of adventure instead of plastic. Go caroling while wearing masks. Prepare a handmade carol booklet and flashlights to see with. Kids love this and will remember it well into their future lives. How about teaching a relative how to fix something or a skill you can inspire them with like fixing a tire or a special computer platform. How about baked gifts or special holiday foods. Or how about regifting?

Give gifts that help with being environmentally friendly: beeswax wraps, reusable water bottles, a tree (apple is great), a chili pot plant. Enviro friendly might also include 1. Shampoo Bars 2. Organic cotton produce bags made from old t-shirts 3. Stainless steel food container, skip the plastic. 5. Reusable menstrual kit, every reusable pad replaces 125+ disposables. 6. Reusable coffee cup

As gifts, create handmade clay by kids make good decorations for packages  How about food growing gardening-associated gifts. Give seeds. Give books on climate change and what to do about it and ask the giftee to pass it on to someone else when done. Paul Hawken’s Drawdown lays it out clearly as to what are priority changes we can help create to fight climate change. Kids love “The Tantrum that Saved the World”, by Michael Mann and Megan Herbert, read here in 48 minutes. Donate to a charity, climate or one your loved- one supports.  “Adopt” an animal at the zoo by donating to the contribution of its care. You can also do this in someone else’s name, and usually you get a photo of the animal, its ‘name’, and a certificate with your name as the donor. Whether you approve of zoos or not, those animals still need the best care we can afford to give them. In this pandemic lockdown, zoos are financially stressed. Ask others to donate to a charity for you, like a wildfire survivor family. Write poetry. Record an elder being interviewed by a teen for Story Corps. Originally illustrate a Christmas Story. 

Shipping: Choose slow delivery mode (truck, train), and not with quick delivery (plane): The average American generates demand for about 60 tons of freight annually, according to the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board. The U.S. Postal Service—the largest parcel delivery service in the nation—delivered more than 5.1 billion packages last year. “I would just recognize that free shipping, free one-day delivery, it’s not free,” said Sasan Saadat, research and policy analyst at Earthjustice. “It comes at the expense of the health of communities that live near warehouses and freight hubs.” Advocate for improvements in corporate practices. If COSTCO has too much packaging, let them know you want less waste. Jimmy O’Dea, senior vehicles analyst at the Union of Concerned Scientists, asks us to demand that retailers buy more electric delivery trucks. Amazon announced in September, 2019 that it would purchase 100,000 electric delivery vehicles from startup automaker Rivian,

Wrapping: Reduce, reuse, recycle packaging, papers with special articles/dates, beautiful fabrics of long gone useful garments, ribbons from gifts given in years past. Wrap presents in tea towels or pillow cases or something that is actually useful for a long time. Recycle boxes through Buy Nothing Groups on Facebook, or through Craigslist – larger boxes especially. Give unwanted gifts to charity or sell on eBay or return at the shop. Might you adopt someone who is all alone and without family? A widow, widower, or divorcee, maybe? A single parent with children? Give them the warmth and pleasure of simply belonging and being included in a family and cared for. 

Holiday Lights: LED lights take only 1/10th of the energy that regular incandescent Christmas lights do and are much more durable. Protect wildlife with those Candles, perhaps? Low-key beeswax candle on the front porch or in the window for a warm, welcoming golden glow. Use beeswax candles- not :paraffin (fossil fuel-based) or soy (unsustainable and likely GMO) candles – such as beeswax tealights, votives, or short tapers, anchored in sand inside of small paper bags, for exterior lighting.                                            

Sleighing or Other Traveling: Easy: If driving to visit family for the Holidays, take the most fuel efficient car!  Harder: take the train or bus. 6 million+ Americans just flew for Thanksgiving 2020. Let's not repeat this for Christmas. Anyway is better than flying! Best yet, this year, stay home and zoom with the rest of your family.  

Volunteer: So many Earth related projects to choose from: Christmas Bird Count, organize a polar bear challenge to raise $ for climate action or make carbon footprint measuring a fun annual family activity?         

We can change the way and what we choose. We can take informed climate actions this Christmas. Let's be generous with all life in Earth in our EARTH home. As so many marchers say, There is No Planet B. We can do this, if we do this together. We belong to each other. 

Comments 6

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Dawn Arteaga
Nov 28, 2020
Nov 28, 2020

Kat, what a lovely and powerful sharing filled with ways to re-imagine traditions and be more thoughtful with our time and resources. It was amazing to see you and hear your voice after so long yesterday. I do have hope that the longer this global pandemic continues the more people are waking up to the need to re-imagine "normal" and be more thoughtful and intentional in our choices. I hold tightly to that hope - and wish you a peaceful holiday season!

Kat Haber
Nov 29, 2020
Nov 29, 2020

Thank you, Dawn, for your kind support. Now is the moment. Wherever we are is the place. We are the ones.

Tamarack Verrall
Nov 28, 2020
Nov 28, 2020

Hi Kat,
So many terrific and Earth-loving ideas not only for the holidays coming up, but for becoming practises we weave into our lives ongoing. The need o take care of our planet and each other in much better ways, is a road we need to follow in every way we can. Thank you for such a caring list.
For the love of the trees, our planet and each other,

Kat Haber
Nov 29, 2020
Nov 29, 2020

Caring for Earth is also selfcare. Thanks so very much, Tamarack!
Yes, more trees, please. Here is one tree project that WE Rotary, the virtual Rotary Club I started in 2014, HEIWA are second generation Hiroshima survivor trees. https://www.facebook.com/HeiwaRotary

Karen Quiñones-Axalan
Dec 03, 2020
Dec 03, 2020

Hello, Earth-loving Kat,

Thank you for reminding us not to judge and for enumerating earth-loving ideas in this post. Coming from a country that recently faced another series of fierce typhoons as an effect of climate change, I feel your love as you provide solutions to the problem.

Thank you so much. It was so lovely to listen to your voice at the Encourager Party. See you at the Aspire Conference later, too. Thank you for caring, Kat! You're such a precious light to this wounded world. Stay strong!

Kat Haber
Dec 03, 2020
Dec 03, 2020

Karen, thanks so very much for your thoughts and support. Love seeing you at Aspire. We belong to each other. You make belonging lovely! Let's elevate wiser choices so we can live life abundantly in Earth's systems.