Sunday, April 20, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Grandma takes a punch to the stomach

MarionFranckW

By
From page A13 | February 03, 2013 | Leave Comment

I recently read an interview that I might have put aside as “extreme” except that it got me in the grandmother gut.

The person interviewed in the December 2012 Sun magazine was Kathleen Dean Moore, a philosophy professor, writer and activist in global environmentalism. Keenly aware of climate change, she thinks the good times of our planet are over.

“We have brought the world to the brink of ruin,” she says, “by acting under the delusion that humans are separate from the earth, better somehow, in control of it.” She believes that as we destroy our habitat, we destroy ourselves.

This dismal thought was hardly the only one that tempted me to put the article aside, but I kept reading.

In addition to her professional efforts, Moore personally deals with our failing ecosystem by trying to live lightly on the earth. She gave away her hybrid car, eats local food and spends her summers in a cabin in Alaska where power comes from a creek.

She does permit herself flights to speaking engagements and if she needs running shoes, she buys them. Her honesty about her own concessions to comfort kept me reading, which is how I got to the grandma stuff.

Moore believes it’s up to grandmothers and grandfathers to save the world. The young, although they care intensely about the future, are starting careers and raising families and don’t have time for political action. Healthy older folks should lead the charge.

The lines that hit me hardest were these: “If your granddaughter has asthma because there is dust in the air, get out in the street and demand clean air. If your grandson is not learning well because there are toxins in the water, you should be at the city-council meeting. Their parents are busy making a home for these children but you have the time and the ability to make a difference. To love someone is to have a sacred obligation to protect them.”

This made me feel guilty, but I wanted to ask, “What if I want to help in the home, too?”

I fly to Chicago to give breaks to my daughter and son-in-law by cooking meals, doing pick ups and drop offs, and driving on errands. I try to be a loving presence for my grandsons. My frequent visits, I say to myself, are incompatible with becoming an activist.

That’s not true, of course. I, too, could give up a car. I could eliminate foreign travel. Politically, I could lead the charge—on something.

Problem is, that’s not my style. I suppose I have the intellectual wherewithal to lead a movement, but I’ve never been that kind of person. I’ve organized events, but they were things like a neighborhood camping trip, a Girl Scout excursion, or a multi-family overnight in the bark houses at Indian Grinding Rock State Park.

I feel no drive to organize an environmental event, let alone a protest, let alone a movement. I add my name, my presence or my money to other people’s movements and ideas but I’m not a principal player.

How do I square that with the fact that I am worried about the future of our country and our world?

My grandsons could be alive at the turn of the century, 2100. Will they inhabit a country grown too crowded due to coastal erosion? Will they have enough to eat? Will someone care for them?

Right now they’re towheaded toddlers, which makes it hard to picture them as 90-year-olds in wheelchairs, but their adulthood is not so far away. What will that be like if the ozone layer continues to dissolve?

Is it ok to keep doing what comes naturally to me, writing for a small town paper, volunteering at Yolo Hospice, kayaking, visiting the grandkids?

Am I simply a sophisticated excuse maker, a typical selfish American stuck in “take” mode?

Or — ray of hope — might the crisis be less dire than predicted? (See a September 2012 article in Wired Magazine titled, “Apocalypse Not: Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Worry About End Times.”)

Moore, however, puts her view strongly: “I think we have to find the time to be politically active. I don’t want to cut anybody any slack on that.”

She also feels she knows who’s to blame for our plight: corporations, especially transnational petrochemical companies. I think it’s more complicated than that: everyone who seeks a better life by having more money for themselves, their children or their retirement is hurting the environment in some way.

Almost everything we do uses energy.

The problem with saving the world right now is that it requires us to go against our self-interest. Like many people, I would help more if there were some way to do it without renouncing the pleasures in my life, especially those trips to Chicago.

I hope that soon an attractive middle ground will become available, some way for this grandma to become part of the solution instead of part of the problem.

But I suspect that a middle ground won’t emerge until activists like Moore have doggedly dragged us out of our comfort zone, pulling so hard in one direction that we can’t help but land in the middle. I’m resisting that drag, clearly. I’m waiting for someone or something to show me the way.

Grandma isn’t deaf yet, or heartless, just unsure how to proceed.

— Marion Franck lives in Davis with her family. Reach her at marionf2@gmail.com

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Davis Enterprise does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    A springtime ritual

    By Wayne Tilcock | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Tom Adams seeks Davis school board seat

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1

     
    Hub of activity: DHS newspaper keeps evolving

    By Zoe Juanitas | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Holy fire ceremony draws thousands in Jerusalem

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

     
    Tour renovated YCCC facility Thursday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Tour Davis Waldorf School on Wednesday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    The fifth annual Tour de Cluck is soon to be hatched

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    Ortiz lawn signs available

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Sign up soon for spring cooking classes

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Robb Davis team to rally on Saturday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Steadfast in their support

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A4, 2 Comments | Gallery

     
    Yolo Hospice offers free grief workshops

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Sign up for Camp Kesem caterpillar crawl

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Quilters gear up for annual show

    By Sebastian Onate | From Page: A4

    KDVS launches fund drive on Monday

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A5

     
    Calling all Scrabble fans

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5 | Gallery

    League hosts a series of candidate forums

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

     
    Hub webpage is seeing traffic increasing

    By Zoe Juanitas | From Page: A8

    Birch Lane celebrates its 50th anniversary

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A16

     
    Hotel/conference center info meeting set

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A16

    Lescroart welcomes all to book-launch party

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A16 | Gallery

     
    DEVO set to serve up 14th annual Winkler Dinner

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A16 | Gallery

    Learn Chinese crafts at I-House

    By Sebastian Onate | From Page: A16

     
    Preschool open house set at Davis Waldorf

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A16

    .

    Forum

    Take ownership of your health

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B5

     
    Reliving the agony and ecstasy of spring

    By Marion Franck | From Page: A7

     
    Keep your baby safe

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

    Not thrilled with lack of symmetry

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

     
    Core values on campus

    By Our View | From Page: A12

    Road diet? No, city diet!

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12, 4 Comments

     
    We’re reveling in our equality

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12, 1 Comment

    Vote no; it’s fiscally responsible

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12, 1 Comment

     
    Rick McKee cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A12

     
    Bill is an affront to UC Davis ag biotech and local farmers

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A13, 1 Comment

    Don’t want to sit in Fix 50 traffic? Consider alternatives

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A13, 1 Comment

     
    .

    Sports

    Devils burn up the track

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    UCD softball shut out by Santa Barbara

    By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Aggie men shoot 9-under, lead own tourney

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Stars shine in Woody Wilson Classic

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1, 1 Comment | Gallery

     
    UCD roundup: Aggie baseball swept away by Highlanders

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2

    A’s score 3 in ninth, rally past Astros 4-3

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

     
    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    .

    Business

    Yolo Federal Credit Union gets WISH funds

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

     
    PG&E pays taxes, fees to county, cities

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9, 1 Comment

    Will Davis get an Old Soul?

    By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A9

     
    Pediatricians, nurse practitioner hired at Woodland Healthcare

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9 | Gallery

    Asian stocks mostly higher after mixed U.S. earnings

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

     
    Davis Roots will showcase its graduating startups

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A14

    University Honda wins another President’s Award

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A14 | Gallery

     
    Dutch Bros. raises $19,000 for girl with leukemia

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A14 | Gallery

    .

    Obituaries

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Sunday, April 20, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: B8