By Robert A. Vella. It may seem paradoxical to laypeople that we would have severe cold weather spells in wintertime given that the world is rapidly warming up due to manmade climate change; and, climate change deniers are quick to exploit this paradox for political reasons. But, it is true. Global warming is increasing the incidence of extreme weather events of every kind from prolonged droughts and powerful storms to deadly heat waves and brutal cold snaps. The following details the basic science behind the phenomenon popularly, though inaccurately, known as the “polar vortex.” The real polar vortex is something else altogether…
Co-Sponsors of Green New Deal Resolution, Five goals of Green New Deal, Green New Deal Resolution, November 2018 Fourth National Climate Assessment: Volume II Impacts Risks and Adaptation in the United States, October 2018 Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5℃ by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Rep. Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York), Sen. Edward Markey (D-Massachusetts), Sunrise Movement
Sunrise Movement protesters outside then Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s Office – December 10, 2018
Photo Credit: Sunrise Movement
While our president is fixated on building a wall along our southern border to keep us safe from the invasion of “bad hombres,” he refuses to acknowledge our greatest existential threat: climate change disruption. Young climate change activists, clamoring for bold action, have found a champion in the newly elected Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York). At twenty-nine years, she is the youngest member of the US House of Representatives.
On February 7, 2019, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Edward Markey (D-Massachusetts) introduced a nonbinding resolution that sets out the framework for the Green New Deal. The proposal has gathered 64 House and nine Senate Co-Sponsors, including presidential hopefuls Sen. Cory Booker, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Sen. Kamala Harris, Sen. Bernie Sanders, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren. In an interview with Politico, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California), not present at the unveiling, referred to the proposal as a mere suggestion.
“It will be one of several or maybe many suggestions that we receive,” Pelosi said. “The green dream or whatever they call it, nobody knows what it is but they’re for it right?”
The Green New Deal Resolution – List of Co-Sponsors
Photo Credit: Sunrise Movement
In the preamble, the Green New Deal Resolution cites the critical findings of the October 2018 “Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5℃” by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the November 2018 Fourth National Climate Assessment: Volume II Impacts, Risks, and Adaptation in the United States. Continue reading
Brazil Military Dictatorship (1964-1987), Brazilian poet Ferreira Gullar (1930-2016), Inequality, Jeff Bezos, No Mundo Há Muitas Armadilhas (There are Many Traps in the World) by Ferreira Gullar, Oppression and Injustice, Poema Sujo (Dirty Poem) by Ferreira Gullar, São Luís/Maranhão/Northeast Brazil
Historical Center of São Luís – Maranhão – Brazil
UNESCO World Heritage Site: Portuguese colonial architecture
Photo Credit: Kamaleao
My Poetry Corner February 2019 features the poem “There are Many Traps in the World” (No Mundo Há Muitas Armadilhas) by Ferreira Gullar (1930-2016), a Brazilian poet, playwright, art critic, and essayist. Born in São Luís, capital of the northeastern state of Maranhão, he was the fourth child of eleven siblings of a poor, working-class family.
As a young man, while earning a living as a radio announcer and editor of literary magazines, Gullar frequented poetry readings and devoured books of poetry by the best of Brazilian and foreign poets. At nineteen, he published his first poetry collection. But he saw no future in his suffocating, small-town life in the impoverished northeast region. He fled to Rio de Janeiro in the early 1950s, where he worked as a journalist for magazines and newspapers.
Beginning in 1962, his work reflected his concern about combating oppression and social injustice. After becoming a member of the communist party, he joined the struggle against the military dictatorship (1964-1985). Following his arrest and imprisonment in 1968, he went into exile in 1971. For the next six years, he lived in Moscow, Santiago, and Buenos Aires. In Buenos Aires in 1975, fearful for his safety in the wake of Argentina’s military takeover (1976-1983), he wrote his best-known work, “Dirty Poem” (Poema Sujo).
Ferreira Gullar among millions of students and other demonstrators gathered to protest against military dictatorship – Rio de Janeiro – Brazil – June 26, 1968
Photo Credit: Folha de São Paulo
In the opening stanza of the featured poem, “There are Many Traps in the World,” Gullar makes a simple declaration:
There are many traps in the world
and what is a trap could be a refuge
and what is a refuge could be a trap
Some traps that we humans perceive as refuge come to mind: religion, cults, Facebook, and narcotic drugs. Continue reading