Monday, May 28, 2012

Occupy Wildlife

This is a warning to the 1%: Be afraid. Be very afraid. My children have been radicalized.

During the fight to keep her school open, Beanie, along with schoolmates, wrote letters to our governor and state senator, and stood in front the building with a hand-lettered sign to "Save the Purple Panda" (the name of her school mascot), shouting at cars to "Honk to Save Center Street." She asked why the kids could not vote to keep her school open, reasoning that after all, "the kids are the ones that go there."

On Saturday, Beanie and her friend, Pants, along with Bubbie, launched a campaign to "Save the Walruses," which Beanie and Pants explained to me is about raising awareness about climate change. They learned about the threat to walruses in one of the many endangered species calendars that we seem to amass in our house, along with multiple copies of the Heifer International "gift" catalog... Then they created this flyer on google docs (with a little advice from me on how to find photos of "cute" walruses):
Then they took their fight to the street. Or rather, to the sidewalk in front of our house, engaging in a bit of street theater to attract the attention of passersby to the plight of the walrus:
Even the most jaded among us can find sympathy for dolphins or pandas, but who speaks for the walruses? These three:

Thursday, May 24, 2012


Yesterday, this tree was planted in front of our house. Not by us, but by the city. I cannot tell you where the funds for this come from - like whether it was public or private - but I will tell you this: I think it is money well spent. This tree will grow and it will brighten your drive past my house, even when you hardly take notice of it, and add to your enjoyment of your walk along my street, especially when the sun is strong and the tree tall enough to offer shade. It is a connection to the natural world and a reminder of our place in (and responsibility to) it. I am talking not from "mere" sentiment, but the deep boned understanding that is equal parts feeling and knowing: These things matter. I would suggest especially now, when too many people talk about what "we" can or cannot afford. Like our neighborhood school, which will be closed when this academic year ends. Our family (Beanie included!) and so many other families here joined together to fight the good fight. I hope we all continue to practice understanding, especially in times that challenge, even discourage, our ability to do so. I want to teach my kids: Hold the line. Be right. These days, I find comfort in what anthropologists, historians, and others describe: People have been making, unmaking, and remaking themselves and their best efforts for a long time. In the meantime, I am enjoying my tree and looking forward to seeing it grow.