April 28, 2012
Well, the good news is the U.S. economy expanded from January to March, this year. The bad news is, the expansion was only a “disappointing” 2.2* percent. And, the March jobs report showed that only 120,000 jobs were added to the economy, down for the third month in a row.
Over in Europe, Britain entered a double-dip recession; Spain’s unemployment rose to almost 25%; Standard and Poor cut Spain’s rating to near junk bond status and Germany – the strongest of the Eurozone economies – is looking a little anemic around the edges.
Meanwhile, though the “bomb, bomb,bomb; bomb, bomb Iran” rhetoric has calmed a little, Wired.Com reports (US Amassing Stealth Jet Armada Near Iran) “The U.S. Air Force is quietly assembling the world’s most powerful air-to-air fighting team at bases near Iran …” and that “The fighters join a growing naval armada that includes Navy carriers, submarines, cruisers and destroyers plus patrol boats and minesweepers enhanced with the latest close-in weaponry.” I guess TPTB believe the time for singing is coming to an end?
At home on the climate change front, Arctic Sea ice keeps on melting while the oil companies lick their chops, methane plumes in the now open sea keep on pluming, and our weather keeps on weirding, a poll released by Yale University this month shows that 69% of Americans interviewed agreed that “global warming is affecting the weather here in the United States.”
(Personally, I’m waiting for the news that 69% of Americans just headed for the streets of Washington DC, pitchforks and torches in hand, to protest the lack of any meaningful progress in dealing with climate change. However, that’s another story …)
This is not the first poll showing that a majority of the American people are at odds with their government’s views on things. Yet, the government keeps on trying to shovel more money to the wealthy to “get the economy going”, prepare for wars most of us don’t want and ignore actions on climate change that we do want. So, what are we mortals to do as the world creeps ever closer to calamity?
Here at my house, I’m gardening. I’m nursing my early garden along, hoping for more rain than the fast-moving, spit-on-the-sidewalks thunderstorms we’ve had overhead here during April as May, our rainiest month, approaches. Tomorrow I’ll get out and prepare the rest of the garden for May planting, though I’m going to plant half the vegetables after that and the rest of them in mid-May, which is the usual time for planting around here. Just in case we get another dry, super hot summer like we had last year.
I struggle to keep a well-stocked pantry as the price of most things continue upward, to look for new ways to do more with less, visit with the neighbors and try to feel out what people around here are thinking in the face of this wobbling world. Some of them even read the blog.
And, small project by small project, I’m getting repairs caught up on the house – inside and out – hoping it will provide me with the same solid shelter for the rest of my life it has provided to others over the last 112 years.
Yes, I still fire off the occasional letter to my congresscritters, sign petitions, even attend protests (when people are of a mind to protest something these days). But, more and more, I feel a futility in these things, as I sense others of my friends and neighbors do.
It’s not a good feeling, which is probably why I spend so much of my time doing the practical things I’ve chosen to do. I find many of my neighbors feeling the same way, even though we don’t always see eye to eye on the reasons. I’m also still encouraged by the Occupy movement – especially the young people – though, honestly, I think the powers they fight against are too entrenched to change much of anything in time. At least they are awake, aware and struggling to articulate a more sustainable future for us.
Hopefully, when they see things probably won’t change, they’ll bring those characteristics back to their local communities. I believe, as the world creeps on to calamity, that’s as good a place as any in which to have them.
*Edited 4/29 to reflect correct GDP number.