This category called Big Picture covers topics that reach beyond the relatively specific information that most categories provide. It includes my reviews of books, movies, and events, as well as reflections and an overview of what is going on in our world today.
The Big Picture is less pleasant when you know that. But there are many things that each of can do, for ourselves, our families, and our communities. I’m just a bit more of a preparedness advocate now. And as I keep following news from a variety of places around the web, I’ll keep on commenting here.
I Used to Live in Sonoma County Whenever I followed hurricane news, I couldn’t help but wonder how life would unfold for people whose families and homes were affected. But when forest fires went roaring through Sonoma County and other parts of Northern California, I mourned for a city I loved. I had moved to Santa Rosa in 1969, as a young librarian with a new job, and I lived in Sonoma County for over ten years. I met my husband Kelly there. I had the pleasure of being the first librarian in the new Sebastopol Library. When Kelly and …Continue reading →
In April of 1815, an Asian volcano blew its top. Mount Tambora, on an Indonesian island, let loose with explosions that sounded like cannons to Stamford Raffles, the Lieutenant-Governor of Java 800 miles away. The immediate results killed thousands of people in the area around the volcano. This was just over 200 years ago and word did not spread quickly around the planet. It was months before word reached the United States, and Americans had no idea what drastic effects the event would have on their lives. In fact, they would never know what hit them. It would be over …Continue reading →
This website has its personal moments (like the love letter I wrote my husband one day), but I’m sure a lot of people who come here just get the information they are looking for and go on. At least, that’s what I try to provide with many of my blog posts. How to do this or that, which product is best, etc. A dear friend of mine who I don’t see very often phoned me today. After being reclusive, she has recently become much more of an activist for our Mother Earth. I said that I haven’t felt to go …Continue reading →
After we moved to a hillside in a town in New Mexico, we developed the habit of watching the ravens in our neighborhood. They go by, often in groups, and we watch them settle on trees nearby. Then I got caught up in some reading about them. I knew they were smart but I didn’t realize just how smart. Ravens and Crows: What’s the Difference? In a nutshell, ravens are larger and they soar more. A video is a good way to see the difference… Books I Recommend about Ravens and Crows The first book I read was about …Continue reading →
My favorite adventures are ones that other people go on and then write a good book about what happened. When I saw the subtitle of Sarah Marquis’ book Wild by Nature, I figured I was in for a treat. The subtitle is From Siberia to Australia, Three Years Alone in the Wilderness on Foot. Would I want to do something like that? No, never. But to read about it… ah! Sarah Marquis, from Switzerland and in her late 30s, has hiked the Pacific Crest Trail and done a long hike across Australia before she pulls this adventure together. Going through Mongolia, …Continue reading →
Why make simple living a priority? Here I’ll give you my big-picture answers, ranging from personal satisfaction to that elephant in the room, the effects of overpopulation. This is inevitably quite personal, as other bloggers would answer the same questions in their own unique ways. What Is Simple Living? Simple living means evaluating how we live our lives and how we decide on purchases in the light of the big picture of living on a planet where many of the results of industrialism are pollution and waste. So it means asking questions like: Do I really need this? Do I have anything already …Continue reading →
What if humanity disappeared off the face of the earth in some unspecified way, whether a virus, space aliens, or a Rapture? What if the rest of the world wasn’t harmed by our departure? What would New York City look like after a while? (Hint: the underground passages would fill with water and poison ivy would climb up the buildings.) What do we know from Chernobyl that would give us clues as to how nature might react? What about the toxic chemicals we would leave behind? This no-human scenario, massively unlikely as it is, provides the framework for a very …Continue reading →
Ted Koppel has written that the U.S. power grid is very vulnerable to cyberattack and that if parts of the grid go down, it could easily be weeks or months before they could be brought back… if they could be. Koppel has been a newsman for most of his long life, including twenty-five years at ABC’s Nightline. He is skilled at pulling the threads of many interviews into a story, and that is exactly what he has done in his new book, . The tale is scary. The government isn’t prepared for the chaos that would ensue if the power …Continue reading →
I’ve just been reading an ebook called Small Ways to Make a Big Difference. It’s full of wisdom, it’s delightful, it’s inspiring, it contradicts itself, and it’s free. You can get it at the link or via the image at the bottom of this article. It’s a compilation of quotes and thoughts from a variety of people. from Mother Teresa to little-known bloggers. That’s why it contradicts itself: some of the writers see things differently from others, and wisely the editor Raam Dev lets the voices all be there. I admit it, I do have my cynical moments about our …Continue reading →
Live simply that others may simply live. This statement, attributed to Mahatma Gandhi, provides the reason for simplifying our lives. Everything we buy has an environmental and human price tag. If I buy a pair of shoes, for example, they are made from a variety of materials that came from somewhere. People manufactured the shoes, perhaps in substandard working conditions. There may have been toxic waste from the factory. The shoes were transported, quite possibly from overseas, to a store or website where I found them. If I need those shoes, that’s just how it works, but if I don’t …Continue reading →
Peak Oil is a reality that is changing our world and our lives. In a nutshell, the term refers to the fact that we have reached a peak in extracting oil from the planet, or we soon will. This peak is the halfway mark, which doesn’t sound too bad — but we have extracted the easiest oil there is to find and remove. After this, extracting petroleum will be more costly, both in money and in ecological impacts. There is widespread scientific and political agreement as to the reality of Peak Oil, although people do disagree as to the exact …Continue reading →
, by Thom Hartmann, is a depressing book and an optimistic one. I found it both VERY depressing and VERY optimistic. When a friend offered to lend it to me, I wasn’t going to take it till I noticed who had written it. Hartmann is a prolific and profound writer on many subjects. I took the book and buried it in a large pile until I had the emotional stamina to tackle the state of the world. That was a couple of days ago. For two days, off and on, I read one discouraging fact after another until my heart …Continue reading →
One day, I wandered over to my husband Kelly’s bookshelf in search of something to read. I came away with by William J. Burroughs. In the book,Burroughs pushes back the dates of early humans by thousands upon thousands of years compared to what most people think. But I already was aware of that research, because Kelly is fascinated by prehistory and reads widely in the field. What was completely new to me, and quite intriguing, is that evidently the climate of the planet stabilized about 10,000 years ago — but before that, humans were contending with a very erratic climate. …Continue reading →
, by Elizabeth Lesser, is a book about how “suffering and crisis transform us, humble us, and bring out what matters most in life.” The quote is from a man in the book who was in a terrible accident and experienced much pain. It’s a very loving book, even as she tells heartbreaking stories of people coping with the loss of a child, their own illnesses, and more. Her own life is woven into the tales in a way that I really enjoyed, like getting to know someone. I read it hoping for something that would help me come to …Continue reading →