Things that give me hope

1.) New York’s Youth Poet Laureate, Ramya Ramana, reading her poem titled “New York City” at Mayor Bill de Blasio’s inauguration (transcript available here):

When I watch this young woman read, I can almost believe that change is possible. That the tides are turning. That we, the people, can and will rise.

Not just because of the beauty and fierceness and demand for justice that shines so clearly through her performance–although that alone is enough to blow me away.

But because this beauty and fierceness and demand for justice takes place at the swearing-in of a new mayor in the city that is America’s heart. The city that has been sanitized and stratified by 12 years of Bloomberg’s neoliberal policies. The city that has become an extreme–and extremely visible–symbol of an economic system that crushes lives and spirits.

The city that refuses to give up fighting.

In that fight, I see a world of new beginnings.

2.) Rebecca Solnit’s essay, “The arc of justice and the long run: hope, history, and unpredictability.”

Solnit argues that “[s]ometimes cause and effect are centuries apart; sometimes Martin Luther King’s arc of the moral universe that bends toward justice is so long few see its curve; sometimes hope lies not in looking forward but backward to study the line of that arc.” She gives examples of social and political seeds that germinated for years, decades, even centuries before bearing fruit: the role of hip-hop in the Arab Spring uprisings; the influence of Thoreau’s writing, which sold few books when he was alive, on both Gandhi and King; the effect that a seeing a talented black trumpet player had on a young man who grew up to help end segregation by aiding the plaintiffs in Brown v. Board of Education.

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Friday Links, 9/6/13

Muriel Landers (source: Fuck Yeah Historical Fat Ladies)

Whew, am I glad it’s Friday.

Climate and Sustainability
A great interview with Naomi Klein on grassroots climate activism and the problem with many big green groups.
-If you want to see more pictures from the Energy Exodus, check out this Flickr set.
-Have I mentioned lately that I love David Roberts? Well, I’m going to say it again.  His top 20.5 parting insights on climate change, written before he started a year-long sabbatical, are brilliant.
-An important reminder about the history of the Brayton Point coal plant, which stands near the site where Native Americans were massacred in 1676.
-I love the #PowerShiftJourneys profiles of young leaders.
The NYT has a great profile of Mosaic, the solar energy investing site.
We should add climate change to the civil rights agenda.
Solidarity in diversity is key to powering up the climate movement.
-Sandra Steingraber writes about her experience spending 15 days in jail after a civil disobedience action.
-Bill McKibben writes about the necessity of a leaderless, decentralized but connected climate movement.

One thing I never get tired of watching: fabulous fat bellydancers.

Fa(t)shion
-The Advanced Style coloring book is now out! Whooo!
-This comic about fashion tips from nature is great.
-I’m so jealous of Nicolette Mason, who got to visit Tarina Tarantino’s sparkle factory!
-Also of Haley and Amanda, who got a sneak preview of the new Re/Dress store that’s opening in Cleveland.
-I just found out that there’s a Canadian plus size clothing company called Laura. It must be named after me, right? 😉
-This bride’s pink ombre tutu is amazeballs.

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Just when you thought there was nothing new to say about hope and climate change…

…along came David Roberts, and made a mind-blowingly good observation:

Will unexpected, rapid changes in coming decades be good or bad, positive or negative? That depends on millions of individual choices made in the interim. Some of those choices, if they happen at just the right moment, could be just the perturbations that spark cascading changes in social, economic, or technological systems. Some of those choices, in other words, will be incredibly significant.

Which ones? That we cannot know. It could be any of them, any time. Precisely because we cannot know — because any one of our choices might be the proverbial butterfly’s wings — we must act. We must take advantage of every affordance, grasp every opportunity. We don’t know when history might unlock the door, so we have no choice but to keep pushing on it.

Also an important point:

Remember, there is no “too late” here, no “game over” — it will be a tragedy to shoot past 2 degrees to 3, but 4 is worse than 3, and 5 is worse than 4. Being unprepared for any of those will be much worse than being prepared. The future always forks; there are always better and worse paths ahead. There’s always a difference to be made.

Go read the whole thing, in which he draws inspiration from chaos theory and history. His perspective is new and original–and seriously, stunningly hope-inducing.