Find Calm In The Storm

'How To Citizen' wants your voice; climate change is here; and see Shang-Chi!

I gained a lot of perspective filming across the country this summer for my PBS show America Outdoors. Here I am harvesting wild rice with a member of the Ojibwe Anishinaabe tribe in Minnesota.

We are deep in production for Season 3 of the How To Citizen podcast and I’d love your voice and perspective as part of the show. Since my birthday is this week, here’s what you can gift me: Tell me about a time technology impacted your ability to participate in society, for better or worse.

Examples:

  • Vaccine disinformation from YouTube frayed your family or community relationships.

  • Online fundraising helped support a valued local business or non-profit.

  • A digital forum galvanized a group to change policy in your school, company or local government.

Leave a video or audio message here, and thanks in advance.

In other news:

  • My first long piece for Puck went out a few weeks ago. If you missed it, you can read the full thing here. It’s about billionaires and taxes and bad movies. Sign up for “The Easy Stuff” where my next piece will be about climate. 

With its new restrictive abortion law, Texas legally interprets women as simpletons unable to make their own health decisions. Meanwhile, Mexico, an actual narco-state, does the opposite by decriminalizing abortion. Floods and fires ravage the land in what is still merely a trailer for the feature-length fuckery we can expect from a planet responding to our abuse. Hospitals overflow in the wealthiest country in the world again despite the best-available science being offered for free as a magical vaccine. We don’t care for the mental health of our health care workers who we’ve abandoned, just like so many soldiers from the wars we don’t acknowledge. And I didn’t even weigh in on Afghanistan because by the time I read enough think pieces to play the part of foreign policy expert, everyone in my social media feeds stops caring.  

I’ve left many things out, but this is as much as I can hold in one breath, so please pause with me for a moment, and take a breath. 

And do it again.

Now, in place of the maelstrom which passes for news, fill your mind with these healing books.

All We Can Save: Truth, Courage, and Solutions for the Climate Crisis, edited by Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson and Dr. Katharine K. Wilkinson

This book is filled with the voices we’ve been ignoring for hundreds of years. It’s the perfect follow-up to David Wallace-Wells’ The Uninhabitable Earth and reminds me there’s still so much good we can do if we just listen to the people closest to the problems in our world. 

See No Stranger: A Memoir and Manifesto of Revolutionary Love, by Valarie Kaur (pronounced “core”)

This book will nourish your mind and soul and give you a different way to see the world and those we consider “others.” It’s especially pertinent given the 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks.

Mexico Supreme Court rules criminalizing abortion is unconstitutional (CNN)

We’ve gotten to a place where a nearly failed, narco-state is showing more respect for women’s bodily autonomy than the Republic of Texas. Perhaps it’s time to return Texas to Mexico.

9/11 was a test. The books of the last two decades show how America failed (Washington Post)

This is the longest read ever, but it’s worth it for the honesty. We failed in our response to this attack and became a worse version of ourselves. 

Americans Stretch Across Political Divides to Welcome Afghan Refugees (New York Times)

It’s not all terrible out there. I love finding and sharing stories that reflect our common humanity. In the face of the painful retreat from Afghanistan, many of us are coming together to help.

21st-Century Storms Are Overwhelming 20th-Century Cities (Wired)

This is a sobering analysis. I was in New York City during Hurricane Sandy and remember the epic infrastructure failures of floods and power outages as if they happened yesterday. Since then, the richest city in the nation has spent billions to protect itself but against the wrong type of threat. Climate change is here for us all.

Muir Woods park staff annotates own signs with historical corrections for racism, misogyny (San Francisco Chronicle)

This is what I’m talking about! I don’t want us to destroy history, I want us to expand our understanding of it. This creative and more complete telling of the Muir Woods legacy is a beautiful example of changing the story we tell ourselves about ourselves. 

Video Time!

I haven’t been this excited about a Marvel movie since Black Panther. Yes, I said that. Please try to see Shang-Chi. It’s a beautiful film, and Simu Liu is great. I last saw him in the indie film, Women Is Losers.