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Showing posts from 2016

The Hunger That Keeps This Whole Thing Going

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A couple of months ago I once again hiked the trail that, earlier in the spring, had inspired me to compose that very ominous post: When Faith in the Earth Betrays Us. This time, though, it was an entirely different experience. The air was calm. The leaves were full, and various luscious shades of green. Sure enough, ample evidence remained of the circumstances that had prompted me to write that earlier post. Numerous fallen trees and limbs still blocked the trail. But there was also much more abundant evidence that life would not be subdued. Life, it seemed during this hike, was indomitable. In fact, life was so indomitable, it seemed that the entire forest was literally breathing as one. Yes, literally!




It started softly at first, almost inaudibly. The rhythmic rising and falling of sound became just barely perceptible only to disappear again amongst the chatter of birds and the rustling of leaves. When it returned it was a little bit louder, and distinctly like the sound of breath…

A Nudge Toward Repentance

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Every once in a while I experience an apparent synchronicity of events that leaves me musing about the possible existence of some greater intelligence acting in our day to day lives. That such God-like intelligence might be tweaking events in our lives is a foregone conclusion for some. Others are inclined to pass off these occurrences as mere coincidence that the perceiving individual chooses to invest with whatever meaning might be appropriate to him or her. I’m fairly agnostic on the matter. However, regardless of how we might think they came to be, such interesting collections of events can serve to focus our attention on lessons that might be worthwhile to learn, or relearn, as the case may be. For instance, here’s a recent occurrence of “synchronicity” in my life:
Event #1: I was heading home from work last Friday afternoon when I decided to make a detour for an early dinner. I made a right turn at a busy intersection and then quickly maneuvered into the left lane in order to ma…

Healing Awareness

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One of the highlights of my work is that it allows me to meet people from all over the world right here in my hometown. A few days a month I help out with an organization that provides assistance to immigrants and refugees who are new to the St. Louis area. I try not to pry or ask unnecessary questions, but often enough I become privy to stories of great pain and hardship. Youths from Sudan and Somalia, women from war-torn Congo, victims of Bhutanese and Bosnian ethnic cleansing, endangered translators from Iraq and Afghanistan – I feel honored and privileged to be a part of their lives. Hopefully I’m able to provide some measure of hope and healing to them after having experienced far too much of the darkness of this troubled and chaotic world.




The other day I was speaking with a young man whose entire family still remains back in one of the cities most devastated by the Syrian civil war. He fled there without many of the documents that all of us here in the U.S. would just assume w…

When Faith in the Earth Betrays Us

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Spring has been peeking out of the darkness of winter for a few weeks now; at least here in the city where I live. The occasional warm days have teased us. Hints of green and fleshy buds have enticed us with visions of things to come. The bounty of life is poised to burst forth and grace us with color and fragrance, bird sounds and activity, delicate seedlings and earthy possibility.



I was just a little bit surprised, then, by the relative barrenness of the woods on the outskirts of town during my hike there last weekend. With the exception of the occasional swath of violet where a stand of almost blossoming redbuds seemed to glow, the forest was practically naked. In retrospect, I shouldn’t have been surprised. Urban centers are generally a bit warmer than the surrounding areas on account of the heat stored in the abundant concrete and asphalt. It makes sense that spring would arrive just a little bit later on the outskirts. It’s also the case that I was hiking in a hilly area, with…

Ideas For Treading More Lightly on the Earth

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You may not have had the opportunity yet to see that I’ve totally revamped Crossing Nebraska’sContents page. Please take a few moments to explore it here if you so choose. The various categories that I’ve created will make it easier to find topics that are of interest to you. I’ll be adding hotlinks shortly in order to make navigation even easier.


In going through this process it occurred to me that I’ve written quite a few posts that in some way encourage the reader to tread more lightly on the earth. Whether more generally related to living simply and sustainably, or more specifically related to the human-caused threat of climate change, these posts all encourage mindful living for the benefit of ourselves and all living beings. For a time I had a separate blog page detailing specific things that I’m doing or have done in order to tread more lightly on the earth. I’m updating that page and republishing it here since the new Contents page will make it so much easier to find. I’m also …

Freedom, Responsibility, and the Price of Fireworks (and Carbon)

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A week or so ago I wondered aloud on social media about the carbon footprint of the Super Bowl. Just how much fossil fuel ends up being burned in order to bring that annual spectacle into existence? Of course, I wasn’t really expecting an answer. I was simply hoping to get the question percolating in people’s minds as they watched. Despite its rhetorical nature, though, my question does indeed have an answer. It would just take a whole lot of work for us to arrive at a reasonable estimation of it.
Not surprisingly, I was taken to task for my elitist attitude. After all, I enjoy a good film festival now and then, which has a carbon footprint, and my blog resides on servers that require a lot of energy to power up and keep cool. What’s the difference? We’re all creating carbon dioxide with our various endeavors and diversions. This person here sits in front of a television screen watching a football game. That person there sits in front of a computer screen blogging. Different strokes …

The Only Thing Worse Than Human Extinction is Economic Recession

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Did this title get your attention? I hope so. I intended for it to be provocatively absurd for reasons that will become apparent by the end of the post. I also intended for it to call attention to a fundamental assumption that seems to undergird the thinking of even some of the most intelligent individuals with regard to economic growth and climate change mitigation. Namely, that growth in overall consumption can and in fact must continue, and that we merely have to transition away from fossil fuel use in order to halt and begin to remediate the effects of carbon dioxide on the global climate.
Alright, I’ve already said a mouthful. Please allow me to take a step back and unpack what I just stated by sketching out some basic parameters and a couple of definitions: Our world population is projected to grow at about three quarters of a percent per year between now and the year 2050, at which time the earth is expected to be home to some 9.7 billion people. United NationsThe…

Getting Real On Climate Change Mitigation

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It’s a brand new year, but many of our old problems remain – climate change being one of them. To be sure, progress has been made toward the recognition and measurement of the problem. But we’re still a long, long way from having a clear picture of its full extent, let alone a solution.
An obvious recent highlight is the success of the United Nations Conference on Climate Change which ended last month in Paris with 193 countries coming to agreement that a problem exists and that its mitigation requires reductions in carbon dioxide emissions. Unfortunately, no legal mandate exists for countries to follow through on commitments made there, so it remains to be seen what actual impact this accord will have. Interested readers might want to check out how merely changing a single word from “shall” to “should” drastically changed this agreement. Nations agreed that they should take action (yeah, they really should) as opposed to allowing themselves to be bound by the legal implications of a…