You might have noticed I’ve been a bit quiet, and I apologize for not being a better correspondent. Truth is, I thought I would have loads of extra time once the girls went to college, but it seems they need me now as much as they did when they were home. Lulu has been struggling with school, and finally made the decision to take a leave of absence and move back home. She’s got a part time job and she’s thinking about what’s next. Betsy, ever connected to her twin, has also gone through her own change of sorts and is switching her major to “something that will help animals.” Handling the Chronofact that her friend Pierre found has had a profound effect on her. She’s been glued to the FutureCoast Twitter, following the reports, listening to the voicemails, and even spent some time looking for the lost Boston Chronofact. She sends me links she finds on climate change and has joined several campus activist groups. “It’s our future,” she reminds me often, “if we don’t do something, we’ll lose it all.” Now, I know I’m biased, being her mother and all, but it is deeply moving to see how committed she is to all this. What started as a crazy obsession of her mom’s has turned into a calling for her, and she has never been more animated, more active, more ALIVE. She’s recruited Pierre to her cause as well, and seeing the two of them in action makes me feel like we’ve got a shot at changing things. Some people might listen to those voicemails and feel defeated, like the problem is too large and too unwieldy for us to do anything about. Not my Bets–she’s taking it as a call to action, a chance to educate herself and others and to think about and do things that could help turn the tide. She asked me to pass this message on to you. Please understand what a big deal this is for her–she’s never been interested in performing or talking in front of any kind of audience, real or virtual, and even to do this quick video, she insisted that Pierre be there next to her for moral support. I am humbled by her passion.
This one struck too close to home.
Despite being raised vegetarian/vegan, I became a pescetarian in college. Paul, my husband, is what he calls “a committed omnivore” and we have had more than one passionate debate about the food we consumed. This was our compromise. I would add fish/seafood, he would give up red meat and poultry. And despite the occasional lapse at a burger restaurant, it’s a lifestyle that has suited us, and then our girls, fairly well.
I have a confession to make. I adore lobster. You’d think the veggie girl would have the most issues with a critter who is cooked by being plunged live into boiling water, and at first I did balk at the idea. Then Paul showed me how he humanely killed “the sea cockroaches” before dipping them in their final bath. I think it was his plan all along to shock me with the most graphic element of my new diet, instead of gently easing me into a plate of fish sticks, or a bowl of clam chowder. Maybe it was all that butter, or the fact that it kind of had a texture like firm tofu, but I found it heavenly sweet and delicious.
Yet now I find myself questioning my choices again, faced as I am with some glimpse to come from this voicemail we just decoded:
The lobsters are almost gone. What I’ve learned to love as a treat will, in some possible future, become a rare relic, a leftover icon of a much more diverse ocean than the one this future will get. Of all the possible futures, this one is more upsetting to me, because I see evidence all around me that this is one of the real, true possibilities we face. Extinction. Loss of ocean habitat. A sea boiled to the point where we may not be able to continue our current commercial fishing practices. Our lives will change. The imperative is how we will respond and adapt.
The immature, selfish part of me is wailing that lobsters should be dinner, not museum exhibits. The more mature me is dusting off her old, dog-eared copy of the Moosewood Cookbook and joining the local CSA in the spring. The choices we make matter. I can’t decide for anyone else, but I can control my own actions. It starts here. We need to save the planet. Come along, or get out of the way.
This is our dog, Charlie. He’s a nine-year old standard poodle, but he’s no fluffy fashion hound. He chases the cat, and runs through the woods, and plays fetch, and eats raw bones just like any other canine. He once got in a fight with an Irish Wolfhound and pinned him to the ground (fear not–no blood was spilled; it was all just posturing and dominance). Poodles come in three sizes, standard, miniature and toy, as do some other breeds like the Schnauzer. Apparently, in the future, pandas do too:
There are two things that fascinate me about this message. First, that in the future it is apparently ok to keep pandas as pets, but more eyebrow-raising is the idea that there are designer pet pandas. Modifying companion animals via selective breeding is nothing new, but I wonder what leads us down this particular path. Currently pandas are endangered, protected and rare. What happens to get us to the point where “everyone at school” could have one? Could this be one of the unintended consequences of cloning, or some other future science to replicate these creatures? The designer mutt, the “labradoodle,” was created for a noble reason, but the rush to exploit this designer dog craze led to regrets.
There is no denying that even today, we are facing an extinction crisis. Climate change is going to effect every life, not just the humans. Somehow I doubt there will be designer pet frogs in the future, though.