The Green New Deal….A Beautiful Fantasy

There has been so much buzz around the Green New Deal initiative presented by Democratic Representative Ocazio-Cortez recently. This initiative was proposed to simultaneously tackle climate change and economic inequality.. It’s goals are lofty, and ones that most Americans would love to see happen, but more of a pipe dream than a realistic endeavor right now.

The plan calls for greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles to be at zero within ten years. It calls for the end of using fossil fuels across the board, including manufacturing and transportation, and a transition to alternative energy and fuel. Also included is a massive goal of repairing and improving our infrastructure and net zero energy building, which includes upgrading all existing structures. On the economic side, not only does it call for guaranteed living wage employment for everyone, but also reparations and protections for those who have been disadvantaged by industry in the past. Basic utility prices are mandated to be affordable and available to all. Sounds wonderful! But is it realistic or just utopian musings?

With the caveat that the best indicator for future behavior is recent past behavior, critics of this plan are right to be skeptical. Historically, our country has an abysmal track record of bringing bright shiny ideas like this into concrete reality. Just look at the Obama stimulus package. Or the new rail project in California that just got permanently cancelled. Great ideas that offer both economic equality and protection against climate change have broad support in their proposal but almost utter failure in their implementation. The biggest reason, in my opinion, is that the powerful corporations and elite of this world have a big stake in maintaining their wealth and influence and as a whole do not act in ways that would foster equality and access for all. Until this changes, all these ideas are just a dream. One only needs to realize that with all the amazing technological advances we have seen this century alone, we still drive vehicles that are operating with 100 year old technology while patents that would revolutionize this remain suppressed for national security reasons.

I’m not saying we should stop dreaming and wishing for a healthier, cleaner, more just and equal society. I’m saying that in order for this type of change to happen, we all need to clear away the distracting chatter and get serious about how we can address the fundamental blocks to achieving this goal. Until we get real about that…. this is all a beautiful fantasy.


I Don’t Need The Energy You Are Bringing To Me!


energy (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

The title of this post is a direct quote, made by me, to a well-meaning GI doctor. I am so proud of myself for being able to express this in a healthy, non confrontational way. Boy have I come a long way. Applause, applause. This got me thinking… many times during a day or week are we influenced by another person’s energy, for better or worse? And how aware are WE of the energy WE bring into each and every interaction?

For most of my life, I have been one of those odd people who are highly perceptive to energy. Only recently, though, have I begun to understand what this means exactly. As a survivor or abuse from before I could even read, I learned to read the moods of the people who surrounded me. I needed to, to survive. This coping mechanism might have been a brilliant way to stay alive when I was in an abusive situation, but as far as it working in day-to-day life….well, not so much. Like most coping skills we use when we are in midst of a crisis, they serve their purpose for that particular situation. It is when those same techniques are used when there is no real threat that we run the risk of negative consequences in a big way. Amazed that it took me this many decades to figure this out, but better late than never.

Throughout my life, I have been deeply affected by the moods of other people in my surroundings. If I was in a particularly good mood, coming home from work to a house filled with teenage chaos and angst could plunge my happy thoughts into the abyss and immediately I became mobilized into “fix it” mode.  When the man of my home would enter in a particularly gruff mood, I would quickly quiet the children, clean like a crazy person, and attempt to present a relaxing and calm environment for him. The result of all this? I was constantly on alert and always in response mode, never stopping along the way to just “be” or take even a moment for introspection. Decades of this instinctive reaction eventually wreaked havoc on both my physical health and my sanity.

Many years of hard work has allowed me this opportunity to reflect on my behavior patterns…..what ways they worked and the ways they destroyed. Although I appreciate my natural empathic abilities, I wish those abilities were inclusive of truly feeling MY feelings. It is a journey, my friends. So last week I had an appointment with a new gastroenterologist. After the obligatory weight and bp screening by the nurse, I sat in the exam room for 35 minutes waiting for the doctor. A recent trip to the ER for sudden dark rectal bleeding prompted me to follow-up with this new doctor. He entered the exam room and began to check my medical history along with the notes from my recent ER visit. Within seconds, his demeanor switched from calm and professional to extreme concern and a bit frantic. As he continued his review, I could literally feel the tension building in his body and caught myself instinctually reacting to that. When he began to state that he was going to call the short procedure unit at the hospital and get me on the schedule for an endoscopy and colonoscopy immediately, I had to stop him and change the dynamic in the room with my declaration above. He was more than a bit surprised by my statement, so I went on to explain that my body is very sensitive to mood and energy and that his anxiety was translating into my feelings of dizziness, light-headedness, increased pulse and heart rate,  shallow breathing…..none of which could be good for my long-term health. It also triggered a feeling of helplessness, doom and gloom, and hopelessness within me. Also not good things for my long-term health.

He excused himself from the exam room and returned a few minutes later, much calmer with a big smile on his face. He thanked me for my comment and said I was brave for voicing it. Me, brave. Go figure. It was his comment that has left me wondering just how often we are aware of the energy we bring to all our everyday interactions with each other. Of course it is difficult being present and conscious of this at every moment, but well worth the effort to try. Imagine the difference it would make in a child’s life and self image if, every time they entered our space, we lit up like Christmas morning and brought a loving, caring energy to our interactions with them. Imagine that. And for that reason alone, I for one am making a conscious effort to be aware of the energy I bring. How about you?

Yes, I'm a happy child.