How a hellish climate change meetup taught me to find my own way

J. R. and J. J.I met J. R. less than a year ago through The Great Michael Vine. J. R. shares my burden of saving the world. He is a lab rat and freelance journalist and writes for Scientific American and LiveScience. His book about the universe was published in 2009. Follow him on Twitter.com/JRMinkel.

Hello, Zepfanman.com readers!! Are you ready to rock?! ‘Cause I am. This is my first ever stint as a Guest Blogger, so big ups to J.J. for knowing quality when he sees it. If you like what you read here, check out my blog A Fistful of Science. Now let’s get down to it.

I’ve become increasingly interested over the past year in playing a more active role in my community. The big watershed for me was the death of Pops Minkel (my dad) in 2009. I realized how much of my grumpy attitude had come from him, and faced with the prospect of turning to “shit and dust,” as Michael Vine likes to say, I decided I wanted to spend my remaining days on Earth making as much of a difference as I could. I’ve since come to realize that being the change I want to see is going to be the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

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Flood support in TN & KY

It’s taken me several days to come to grips with the flooding in Nashville. At first, it literally hurt too much to read about the destruction in this city so close to my heart, but now I realize that this blog can be another channel to list sources of aide for the disaster. Nashvillest is keeping an updated account.

Nashville flood
Flooded Nashville Riverfront, Sunday (via tandemracer)

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HRC’s Buying for Equality guide

Since there wasn’t an overwhelming majority response for the Tuesday topic, I decided to just go with something I feel needs to be better publicized: Buying For Equality 2010. Since 2002, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation has issued an annual report card on corporate America’s treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees, consumers and investors. You’d be surprised how many major companies have failed to even respond to the survey, year after year (e.g. Lowe’s, Publix, Tupperware, Blockbuster, and IAC which has dozens of huge sub-companies).

HRC PDF download Read more HRC’s Buying for Equality guide

2009 Challenge: Climate crisis epiphany

As I watched “the most important meeting in human history” last week, I decided that the COP15* would be a good topic for The Best of 2009 Blog Challenge. More specifically, seeing this chart (below) about global warming triggered an “aha! moment” for me. Over the past couple of years, the majority of scientists have come to a consensus on realistic numbers indicating the human impact on climate change. Here is my brief attempt to make sense of what’s going on and what we can do about it.

Temp Change
Climate Scoreboard temperature change

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An unforgettable event

Event postponed until further notice, but you can still donate on the ABHF website. Planit Nashville actually has an even bigger bash planned for the future instead!

The more I think about it, the closer I get to attending the  “$30 for 30” charitable event and birthday party on October 24th (I’m supposed to be in Memphis that weekend). Amber is one of the best event planners in the Nashville area and she’s one of the best people I know on top of that! There are certain people in this world who have such a loving aura around them, and Amber is one of them.

The party will be in Lebanon, but it’s worth the trip, even if you think you won’t know many people there. Most importantly, though, it’s for a good cause: The Anna Brooke Hurdle Foundation and a portion to the 15th Judicial District Child Advocacy Center. For more about ABHF and the event, go to the Planit Nashville website. Even if you can’t attend, please consider donating.

$30 for 30

America’s Best Idea

I just wrapped up what I’d like to call my birthday week in which I spent most evenings watching the premiere of The National Parks documentary on PBS. Last Sunday, I recommended that people donate to the Park Service in place of gifts to me. After watching the final episode (the 6th, each 2hrs long), I couldn’t resist reminding you why the parks are “America’s Best Idea”.

Reworked Denali from McKinley Princess
Reworked Denali from McKinley Princess

The final episode does a great job of summing up the purpose and history of the parks. If you only have time to watch one episode, watch this one (and/or the first one). These are not just the sweeping landscapes of America; they also consist of historical monuments where Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his “I Have a Dream speech” and where Japanese-Americans were interned during WWII. The National Park System preserves America’s irreplacable links to the past.

This is where we were
This is what we’ve loved
And now it’s in your hands
– Terry Tempest Williams

All six parts will be available streaming online through Friday. The DVDs will be released on Tuesday, currently $64.99 on Amazon (35% off). If you’re feeling more philanthropic, consider replacing your next meal out with a donation to the parks instead. In addition to the link on my Facebook, you can also donate directly to the National Park Foundation.