Author Archives: Denny

All new posts moving to Micro Blog

Off and on for the past year I’ve been increasingly frustrated with the slowness of this blog. Whether loading the site to upload a new post, edit or just view, it’s been too slow. I’m still not certain how much of the problem is the server and how much of it is WordPress. Regardless, a few weeks back I decided it was finally time to try a couple of the alternatives I’d been considering. I signed up first for Blot.im as I thought it would be the likely answer. It’s a great service but after three weeks I decided I should at least try an account at Micro.blog before making any decisions. I’ve been cross-posting most of this blog’s content there since 2017 but never actually had a full-on hosted account.

After 24 hours using Micro.blog I’ve decided that I’ll be hosting there. It didn’t take me long to decide I preferred it. While I do like the simplicity of Blot’s posting via files in folders, I’m even more impressed with the speed and ease of posting to Micro.blog. Other benefits of Micro.blog are the templates and other available plugins. To my eyes it looks quite a bit nicer than Blot or WordPress and so much less effort/cruft than WordPress.

So, all future posts will be here: https://denny.micro.blog/

DIY Climate Adaption: Diet

So, it’s 2022 and the US continues its utter and complete failure to meaningfully deal with the climate crisis. At all levels. The government is failing at so many things, most importantly, the climate crisis. But we, the people, we are also failing because we insist on living high-carbon lives. We refuse to walk or bike away from cars, trucks, and SUVS. We insist the highest level of comfort in our homes, cooled to 72 in the summer, heated to 76 in the winter. We must have the latest, best and most consumer goods. We deserve that flight across country for a vacation.

In short, we behave badly and wait for a broken government to force us to behave in the way we must. I’ve heard the argument that only government can fix the problem with mass, large scale programs. I get that such programs can and do help and are needed. But we as individuals make choices everyday and if 332 million US citizens insist on making selfish choices it adds up to a lot of carbon in the atmosphere. Everyday we insist on the maximum comfort and convenience we can afford.

I’ve written before about the steps I take in my daily life to try to adapt, to explore and express and act on my concern in the way that I can. I’ll continue to do this because I think it’s the most important aspect of life in 2022. A few weeks back I wrote about cutting plastic out of my life as much as possible.

Another adaption I’ve made is food choice. I’ve been vegetarian for 28 of the past 30 years. I do sometimes eat fish out of a nearby lake. For a brief period I also ate locally raised pork and beef as well as venison from deer hunted locally. With the exception of fish a couple times a year I’ve cut all of the rest back out of my diet and have gone to a nearly vegan diet. The only exception is ice cream and on rare occasions, cheese. My diet is fairly healthy but is very simple and cheap. Don’t let anyone tell you a healthy diet is expensive. Anyone could do this diet or a variation and save money, and reduce carbon. This is the diet I’m personally happy with.

Most days it’s this:

  • Breakfast: Coffee, oatmeal with an apple or berries, malt-o-meal with peanut butter
  • Lunch in the winter: Vegetable soup
  • Lunch in the summer: Enchiladas or hummus and pita
  • Dinner or snacks in late afternoon: Malt-o-meal with peanut butter, popcorn, pumpkin-butter oatmeal balls, pumpkin-butter on toast, pumpkin-butter on graham crackers (yes, I like pumpkin butter), oatmeal with an apple or berries.

Drinks: water, tea, coffee, hot chocolate

The above diet is packaged in paper, cardboard or steel cans with limited to no plastic so, recyclable or compostable. It’s a healthy diet with lots of fiber, adequate protein, not too much sugar, and a good balance of vitamins.

My shopping list, all available at any standard grocery store:

Breakfast: Oatmeal purchased in large paperboard box tubes (Much cheaper than boxes with serving size envelops of that also usually have lots of extra sugar), apples, cinnamon (purchased in bulk), brown sugar, soy milk (paper carton), coffee

Lunch, enchiladas: Refried beans in a steel can, enchilada sauce in a steel can, corn tortillas in a plastic bag, nutritional yeast ordered in bulk, plastic bag.

Lunch, soup: Crushed tomatoes in a steel can, beans from steel can, frozen mixed vegetables from a plastic bag, pasta from a paperboard box, spices, salt, nutritional yeast.

Snacks or dinner:
Plain popcorn kernels sold in plastic bag, vegetable oil in spray can (quick spray onto popcorn after popping to help flavoring spice to stick), nutritional yeast, garlic, salt.

Pumkin butter: Easy to make using canned pumpkin (1/4 cup), peanut butter (2 tablespoons), cinnamon, brown sugar (2 teaspoons) and salt. I mix that up and put it on toast or graham crackers)

Pumpkin butter oatmeal balls: 1 cup of oatmeal. I blend half of it into flour then mix it up with the above serving of pumpkin butter and roll it into balls. No baking needed and ready in minutes.

Any peanut butter will work in the above. I used to buy whatever “natural” variety available at the store that was cheapest and in glass. Lately I’ve been buying big bags of peanuts and I blend them into peanut butter. Takes more time but it’s cheaper and I’m reusing all the glass jars I saved from buying the store bought peanut butter. And really, the peanut butter I make is better. I’ll do a separate post on a few tips when making peanut butter.

Tea is herbal from a box or mint that I’ve grown. Hot chocolate is straight baking cocoa in a paperboard container… just add sugar and soy milk.

With a fairly standardized diet I generally shop just once every 5 weeks. I tend to buy most of the same stuff and know what I need for that period of time. Of course it’s just me, with a family this would be more complicated. But primary, underlying point is the same. A healthy vegetarian or vegan diet restricted to recyclable or compostable packaging is possible and cheaper.

Want to add in some junk food? Go for it but if you buy ice cream get it in a paperboard container. Cake and brownies can be baked from a mix that comes in paperboard boxes. If you must buy fruit juice (not all that healthy given the concentration of sugar) buy it in frozen concentrate in paper and dilute it a bit with extra water.

When I shop I have a few rules that I refuse to break. It limits my diet and I don’t get to eat things I like. For example, no yogurt because it only comes in plastic containers. I buy coffee in the vacuum sealed bricks packaged in a kind of plastic/aluminum. It’s not something I can recycle but it’s less waste than the other options. There’s only two options for coffee in this brick packaging… luckily, it’s good strong espresso and that works. Happily, it’s cheaper too.

The point is that my options are more limited and I don’t cry about it. We have to stop acting as though we are entitled to anything we can afford. We have to limit ourselves even if that means doing without things we like. The whole point of adapting to this climate emergency is that we will have to do without certain options and luxuries but we should be thankful if we are privileged enough that we can afford the things we need.

Oh, last, eating out at restaurant/take out: I almost never do. Probably once a month or less, just when family are visiting and it’s a group thing.

So, that’s my basic approach to grocery shopping for a climate-adapted diet. There are other details I didn’t cover that might be a consideration but for now I think that’s a start.

When daily life becomes constant crisis

From climate collapse to the continuous move of the U.S. further and further to the right, we seem to be living in very dark times. With the recent recent decision of the Supreme Court to overturn Roe and hints of more to come in the fall, not to mention the elections, it’s all a bit much. These are the things that dominate my daily thoughts and, like the gravity of the Earth, I don’t seem to be able to escape them. To be honest, I don’t exactly want to escape because to do so would seem wrong. This is our reality and I don’t want to escape or deny it. It’s true that at the moment I feel powerless to affect much change but the solution isn’t to ignore it or to pretend things are okay.

The result is that any happiness I feel is fleeting and strongly tinged in guilt. Visiting with family or friends is increasingly difficult because all I can think to talk about is climate collapse or one of our other current crises. And not only that, I find it difficult to listen to others share anything from “normal” life. I just don’t want to hear it because, again, it feels wrong to be talking about anything other than the crisis.

My life for many years has tended to be one of solitude as I live in a tiny house in the woods. It’s easy for me to be secluded, on my own. Perhaps that has contributed to how and what I think about. I hold myself apart because I don’t know how to participate in “normal” life and don’t want to because in my view, normal is destructive. And, something that frightens me almost as much as the destruction is the fact that so many people either don’t see it or actively seem to ignore it and carry on with a shrug of the shoulders. I think of the humans of the future looking back at our time. They will shake their heads and ask: What were they thinking? How could they let this happen?

Denny

July 16, 2022

Under the Milky Way

Looking south (from North America) at this time of year is looking towards the center of our galaxy. The milky clouds are the dense stars, gas and dust in the disk of the galaxy. Photo taken with the iPhone 13 Pro.

Democrats and populism in 2022

As an anarchist I’ve long thought the two party electoral system of the US is deeply, fundamentally flawed. It’s never been a democracy so much as a republic with a veneer of democracy. Of the two parties the Democrats are the ones that are, in recent decades, the party seen as being “left” or progressive. Of course it’s not at all but it has those elements within it and is seen as the best chance for a manifestation of those political expressions. Robert Reich’s article discussing the Democrats in terms of 2022 politics is on point. This bit stood out for me:

The most powerful force in American politics today is anti-establishment fury at a rigged system. There is no longer a left or right. There is no longer a moderate “center”. The real choice is either Republican authoritarian populism or Democratic progressive populism.

Democrats cannot defeat authoritarian populism without an agenda of radical democratic reform – a pro-democracy, anti-establishment movement. Democrats must stand squarely on the side of working people against oligarchy. They must form a unified coalition of people of all races, genders, and classes to unrig the system.

Trumpism is not the cause of our divided nation. It is the symptom of a rigged system that was already dividing us.

Denny

July 9, 2022

Pyrrhopappus pauciflorus, desert-chicory

A vibrant yellow flower with dark gold center, blurred grass background of gold and green

A species of flowering plant in the family Asteraceae. It is native to the southern United States found in prairies, clay soils and disturbed habitats.

Denny

July 6, 2022

Yeah, I’m not a fan of the Democrats at all. Or the two party system or the system that we have in place now. It needs a complete renovation from the ground up. Even so, this is worth a watch.