I’m happy to announce that my little collection of essays, Another End of the World is Possible, is now available for sale in print and e-book. All proceeds from the sale will go to Gods & Radicals Press/A Beautiful Resistance. Continue reading “On Sale Now: “Another End of the World is Possible” by John Halstead”
This was a sermon or homily I recently gave at Beverly Unitarian Church, in Illinois, and First Unitarian Church of Hobart, in Indiana, on two consecutive Sundays. I began by showing the clip below, from the HBO series, The Newsroom. In the scene, a deputy director of the EPA is being interviewed by a news anchor.
I love that video. It’s funny, but it’s also accurate. Except for the part about permanent darkness, everything the EPA director says in that video is true.
I especially get a kick out of the reaction of the producer, when the EPA director says, “The person has already been born who will die due to catastrophic failure of the planet.” And she says “What did he just say?!”
I had my own “what did he just say?” moment a few years ago. …
I have Monarch corpse pinned inside a shadow box on my bookshelf. A few years ago, I found it dying and waited for it to die before taking it inside. One day, I will show the corpse of the Monarch to a grandchild and tell them the story of the Monarch’s multi-generational migration. And I will tell them that my generation and those before mine forgot the lesson of the Monarch.
Yule: The first day of what used to be called winter. In an age of melted polar caps, snow is just a memory. Continue reading “A Wheel of Year for an Age of Climate Change”
A little while ago, someone commented that they were disappointed to see that I had written the essay, “Fight Like a Hobbit! Fight Climate Change!”, when I had previously published “‘You’re Not Fucking Gandalf”: 12 Movies to Remind You That Pagans Need to Grow Up’. Continue reading “I’d Rather Be a Hobbit than a Wizard”
In yesterday’s post, “‘What If It’s Already Too Late?’: Being an Activist in the Anthropocene”, I faced the fact that we are … well, f**ked. Our civilization is rushing toward its inevitable end. And it’s going to take out a big part of the biosphere with it.
Cap and trade is not going to save us. Renewable energy is not going to save us. Nuclear energy is not going to save us. Carbon capture is not going to save use. The politicians are not going to save us. The scientists are not going to save us. The activists are not going to save us.
We are not going to be saved.
For so many reasons, we are going to fail … and fail badly.
Once we come to terms with that fact, the question becomes …
So What Do We Do Now?
We’re going to lose the fight against climate change
(The fact that we think about it as a “fight” probably has something to do with why we’re going to lose.)
Human civilization will collapse and the human species will be lucky to survive.
I had a terrible thought recently …
“What if it’s already too late?”
Actually, this idea has been haunting me, hovering on the boundary between my conscious and unconscious mind, for some time.
In 2016, Bill McKibben, founder of the climate activist organization 350.org, came to speak at a rally at the BP tar sands refinery in my “backyard” in the highly industrialized northwest corner Indiana. The occasion was a series of coordinated direct actions around the world against the fossil fuel industry, collectively hailed as the largest direct action in the history of the environmental movement.
What struck me about McKibben’s speech, though, was its tone of … well, hopelessness. Here’s how he concluded his 10 minute speech:
That’s pretty sobering material for a speech at an environmental activist rally, not to mention a speech by one of the leaders of the climate movement:
“We’re not going to stop global climate change. It’s too late for that.”
At the time, I was caught up in the enthusiasm of participating in my first act of civil disobedience, so I didn’t think much about McKibben’s words.
But they kept coming back to me.
Midsummer in the Shire
This year, the summer solstice falls on June 20 or June 21, depending on your time zone. The summer solstice is the longest day of the year and the apogee of the light. In the Neo-Pagan religious tradition, the summer solstice is called “Litha”. It is one of eight holidays on the Neo-Pagan Wheel of the Year.
The name “Litha” is first found in the writings of the the 8th century monk, the Venerable Bede, who recorded that “Litha” was Anglo-Saxon name for the intercalendary time between June and July. But the reason why Neo-Pagans use the word “Litha” has less to do with an 8th century monk, and more to do with Hobbits.