Planting flowers

“Why so optimistic about 2019? Everything is so messed up?

“I think it will bring flowers.”

“Yes? Flowers? Why?”

“Because I’m planting flowers.”

Cartoon on the Facebook page, Limping to Jerusalem

While a generation of environmental progress followed the first Earth Day in 1970, bringing cleaner air and water did we Boomers succeed with the environmental movement?

No, not yet. Today’s deregulatory zeal – rolling back regulations on mercury pollution – makes it seem that cleaning our environment is too inconvenient. Is addressing the reality of human caused climate change just likewise too much bother, despite the dire warnings of the Fourth National Climate Assessment?

Oh, here a lot of people will pitch in with denial since they’re smarter than the scientists or the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Institute, NASA, the Pentagon and even the Vatican. They should read why former climate skeptic Richard Muller, professor of physics at UC-Berkeley, changed his tune to full-voiced support of the climate movement. They should read why the Heritage Foundation’s lead denialist changed sides and now leads the Niskanen Foundation’s efforts to address climate change.

They should but I doubt they will do anything but pen a few smug comments.

As for me, I’m calling political leaders and, as our recent election showed, such efforts by hundreds of thousands of Americans are creating the political will to save a livable planet. The House is moving forward.

You can read about Muller here:

The conservative Niskanen Center’s climate section is here:

Jack Shipley

To Rep.-Elect Lauren Underwood

Dear Rep. Lauren Underwood,

We urge your careful attention in the new session of Congress to the Energy Innovation and Dividend Act introduced with bipartisan signatories during the lame duck session passing. The act is expected to be introduced after you begin office, mid-Q1.

As the quadrennial climate assessment argued forcefully, the time for strong action to curb emissions of carbon and other heat-trapping gases is immediately at hand. Earth faces crisis and the Trump administration sits firmly in denial.

Your election provides hope. Northeastern Illinois is now uniformly represented by people dedicated to science and, most importantly, to listening receptively to the concerns of their constituents.

Introduction of the bill is a positive step, but the battle is just beginning. We know that the bill, its co-signers, our group, the Citizens Climate Lobby, and climate science in whole will be under vicious attack by those whose financial interests are rigidly calcified in protecting carbon intensive coal mining, oil and gas exploration. They have billions of dollars in sunk assets on the line.

These forces stand in the way of creating the political will for a livable world. They stand in the way of a majority of US citizens, including those in your district who proudly elected you to represent them. More information about carbon fee and dividend is available on the CCLwebsite:

In closing, the Green New Deal is a terrific, bold and energizing idea, but certainly of tenuous likelihood until Democrats flip the Senate and White House in 2020. Just so, we need affirmative action on climate more quickly to force the deniers’ and delayers’ hands ahead of the election.

With best regards,

Jack Shipley

Conscious Cup Coffee Roasters

Constituent and Ardent Phone Banker

Member, McHenry County Chapter of the Citizens’ Climate Lobby


How can you remember in detail something that happened 30 years ago?

How can you not remember something that is so extraordinary to your life?

I was attacked by four boys my junior year in high school, more than 50 years ago. I remember the incident with absolute clarity. I believe Professor Ford can remember being assaulted 30 years ago with the same clarity.

It leaves me seething that Professor Ford must face systemic doubt, questions about her character, and, now, threats for coming forward.

While I faced no social stigma for prosecuting punishment to the boys, our cultural history is clear that girls and women would have then as now. So, for many wrong, culturally imposed reasons, Professor Ford kept her silence then.

Times change. It’s time to listen up to Professor Ford in this instance as we have begun with women in other cases.


A near certainty exists that sorting photos, especially of children, results in double the time spent being added on the end.

Up with the sun

My brother-in-law, Ray, drove from Waukegan one Friday last month and we headed up to Duluth to see another BiL, Dennis, so that we could tour brewpubs and visit an award-winning distillery tasting room.

I had wanted to slip out in the depth of night for astrophotography but the weather wasn’t cooperative. But, Dennis, being Dennis, needed to be at his hockey game at 6 am so I offered to drive with him if I could sneak down to the lakefront for sunrise. Maybe ol’ sol would peak between the clouds.

I settled in at Canal Park, mounted my 24mm lens to the camera, the camera to a tripod and gingerly worked over the rock riprap to get closer to the water. I think things worked out just fine.

This is the Duluth harbor entrance. It’s massive if you walk along it out to the lighthouses on each end. The entrance welcomes ocean freighters and lakers in excess of 1,000 feet long seeking bulk cargo of taconite, a processed ready-for-the-kiln iron ore. I like that this photo sets it in scale against the vastness of Lake Superior.


Later Ray, Dennis and I enjoyed a visit to Castle Danger brewery, which disappointingly is not in Castle Danger, where we could have had walleye cake and pie at the Rustic Inn, but in Two Harbors, a fine town but lacking aforementioned walleye cake.

We stayed sober visiting Bent Paddle Brewery in Duluth, and Vikre Distillery, not far from where I shot the photo above.

So, don’t trust weather reports when your camera is at ready and get the heck out of bed before the sun rises. I don’t do that often.

The sun sets on a million wonders

Samara sunset 2

From the south end of Playa Samara but sunset anywhere along this divine beach is splendid. Next time, though, I’m going to try long exposures to see how the water will form across the rocks.