Month: January 2015

“That’s why I’m single.”

Today was pretty good for me. The only bits that weren’t too great were (1) leaving my physics notebook somewhere, and (2) dealing with the sexist attitudes of boys men who don’t think they have sexist attitudes.

If I end up going to a California State University, then I’ll need a couple of general education courses before graduating. Could be Chicano Studies, Black Studies, American History, Women’s Studies, or a handful of others (two courses in the same sequence). I’m always thinking that I have no idea which I’ll choose if I do end up going to State. I thought of this a little bit today as I was standing outside my physics classroom awaiting the professor. Looking around, I thought, “Tell me I’m not the only woman in this class.” Next to me was a black man, and I thought, “He’s probably the only black person in this class.”

Opening my eyes to ‘the patriarchy,’ so to speak–but really more just the denigrating, objectifying, &c. attitudes so many even young men seem to have toward women–has also opened my eyes to racism.

Anyway, the title of this post comes from a Facebook conversation an acquaintance of mine was having. It’s not worth detailing (neither is any of the women-blaming, women-bashing, women-hating, women-wanting ‘tude I ever deal with online or IRL of course). It’s just this aggravating, offensive, and frankly somewhat pitiful things that I’ve heard a lot of male persons say (both online and IRL). Goes something like this:

[Something I hate that seemingly all women do/think/don’t do/don’t think]. That’s why I’m still single.

No, maybe you’re still single because you’re not the kind of man who attracts the kind of woman you say you need.

Well, that’s all I’ll write for now. Feminist that I am, I’m not a man-hater, and it’s time for me to go spend the rest of the evening with my husband–who is basically just…

The cheese with my wine. The drink in my cup. The E & my M. The sub-woofer in my sound system…

Okay, metaphors aren’t my “thing.”

Shipmates and friends

USS George Washington, Japan

When I was in the Navy, I spent too much time being angry about the handful of crappy people I met. I was angry when someone’s word meant more than mine because of their rank–not their knowledge, argument, or even their reputation for sound judgment. I was angry when some people were ruined just by an accusation, while others walked around practically flaunting their ability to get away with anything. Sometimes it’s who you know. Sometimes it’s who you’ve offended. Sometimes it’s luck, perhaps.

There’s certainly a measure of unfairness in the Navy. Also, I hate donning an SCBA! But my point is that I spent so much time being angry and feeling wronged by some bad eggs that I not only acted pretty rotten myself, but I also made a fool of myself in front of some very good eggs that I also met along the way. I met many wonderful people in the Navy, one of whom I even married, and honestly I feel embarrassed by how emotional and rash I sometimes often was in front of them in those days.

Only now I am starting to miss them and appreciate them more, and to realize how much time I wasted in their company, not enjoying their company, but being miserable about my idiot Chief or why do people have to gossip? or other things.

Monday I got together with a woman I knew close to five years ago. We met a few months before I left for Japan, became friends, and then didn’t see each other for all those years. We had a lot to talk about, neither has a complete picture of what the other has been busy with–but that’s okay. I felt like we clicked again just like we did all those years ago, back when my hair was dyed black–as she remembered aloud. I laughed. It’s ridiculous.

Then yesterday or the day before, I posted to Facebook, asking if anyone had done time in the Selected Reserve because I’m thinking about joining before my IRR time is up. A woman I used to work for, who has since been rightfully promoted, and is also a recruiter now, asked me what information I needed. I messaged her, and just started to remember all she had done for me. She hadn’t just directly helped me, like when she nominated me for Sailor of the Quarter. She also helped me because she was reasonable and fair and hard-working, and the example she set made me want to be better. She motivated me to get lots of qualifications and to help others get them too. She showed me what leadership is. That’s not to say I always appreciated her in those days, but mostly I did. And now? It can’t even benefit her to help me, but she still is.

I am so grateful for the people I’ve met in the Navy. I have met people to show me what friendship, leadership, teamwork, hope, and commitment really look like. I’ve met people who brought out the worst in me–and people who helped me overcome that. I love so many of them, and really, I’m sure they have no idea. That’s alright. I’m just so grateful.

Why Christians should take climate change seriously, and all use public transit

Okay, we can’t all use public transit. Even I can’t, and I really want to! It’s not always practical — but I’ll get back to this.

Today I read an article on NPR about Tony McMichael, an expert in climate change, and also a physician and epidemiologist. He died in September — here’s the article, by the way — but I’m strongly interested in his legacy. Admittedly, I haven’t read any of the man’s papers, but I think I’ll look some up on my school’s research database later. Anyway, according to NPR, one of the significant things McMichael did was predict and observe some of the effects of climate change on public health.

This struck me because I’m interested in climate change precisely because I’m worried about the effect on public health. Don’t get me wrong, it’s also the polar bears. It breaks my heart a little to think about them all starving to death. It’s incredibly sad how many of the world’s coral reefs have died because of ocean acidification. And honestly, I think it’s a sin too.

What I’m getting at is that if there’s one reason to care about and quit harming the environment, it’s that harming Mother Earth is also harming all of her inhabitants. I wrote 18 pages to persuade my last English professor of this, so I’ll be honest about not wanting to write too much right now. But the data is out there, easy to access for free, and not only does it suggest that humans are causing significant climate change, it also suggests that very real human beings are suffering in terms of economics and disease. What’s particularly disturbing is that often the people suffering the most are not the ones really driving carbon emissions; and the people consuming the most electricity, wasting the most food, watering their lawns, etc., either don’t care or don’t believe there is a problem because it hasn’t started to affect them yet.

So if there’s one reason to care about our planet, the only place there is for our race to live… unless somebody creates an artificial wormhole for us, and so on, a la my favorite movie, Interstellar, it’s that people are suffering. It surprises me that more people and organizations don’t try to talk about climate change in this light. “Save the whales” can’t possibly mean more than “save other people,” can it? And let’s face it, few of us have much concept or concern regarding what Earth will be like 100 years from now, which is probably why the price of gas affects our consumption far more than the fell boding of a whole lot of scientific research.

Now to my Christian brothers and sisters. We have dominion the creatures of the earth, so are we masters or stewards? I think to be masters in a Christian way, we must be stewards, taking care of what has been entrusted to us and putting the needs of others above our own.

Here’s some support from the Bible (because I don’t think I’m just making this up myself):

I guess I should take more time to persuade and also to include research just in case anyone does read this, but… it is a blog post. My point is that humankind wasn’t given the earth to destroy. We weren’t given dominion over the other creatures just so that we might enjoy ourselves better. We were made in the image of God, so why don’t we try to be creative like he is? To be kind and merciful like he is? The Bible also tells us that God is not above caring even for the sparrow, insignificant little bird as it may seem to us to be. I also believe in what we Catholics sometimes call ‘preference for the poor,’ and so I assert that working to improve the environment, or at least to slow its destruction, is actually working to help the poor… and not only are we morally obligated to help the poor, I think that if the Holy Spirit dwells in us, that is, the love of God, then it should be quite natural that we should want to help the poor.

I know that there are Christians who do indeed help the poor, although they do no help them by driving Priuses or abstaining from meat or trying to ‘go green’ in whatsoever way. But it disturbs me that there are so many Christians who deny the really, really evident claims of climate scientists who, after all, are trying to help the world by bringing it to our attention that we’re hurting it. I urge anyone who reads this and has a heart for those who are greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven to truly make an effort to care for the poor by caring for the earth; and for those who do not believe the hype, I urge that you begin some serious research with an open heart and mind (and with prayers) into whether what I have written and alluded to is true.

Please consider the question, as well, “What happens if it is true, but I didn’t believe it?” Indeed, one is hard pressed to come up with a reason not go live a more environmentally conscientious lifestyle — even without believing in ‘global warming.’

Since I said I’d get back to it, back to public transit. All I want to note is that there are things we can each do, even if all of us can’t do all things. I can’t use public transport, but I can unplug things I’m not using. You may not be able to live without air conditioning, but maybe you can bike to work. With a little discipline, lots and lots of us could surely commit to Meatless Monday, right? Reusable bags and bottles. Efficient cars and appliances. Solar panels. Native ground cover instead of grass, in some places. Eating only ethically sourced palm oil, coffee, etc.

There is so much we can do, and I am only trying to point out that the question of whether humans are driving devastating climate change (which honestly isn’t even a question to me anymore) is very important because, as Dr. McMichael knew, it is a matter of global health. Real moms and dads and babies.

++ If anyone needs help with research, or wants me to cite specific papers, etc. to support statements I made in this entry, feel free to comment and ask. I just don’t want to spent tons of time documenting on this post when I’m not sure many people will really read it or check my references anyway. The primary reason I write is to get these things off my chest for a bit. Thanks.