How do we change?

I watch each and every day and wonder how to make a difference. I write and yes I tweet. I think if I can say something I can make a difference. If I can point out one more lie, convince one person, get the media to do something about a blinding double standard. I want to do something. In my old life, when I was business manager at COMET (www.meted.ucar.edu) I felt like I was doing something. I’ll forever be proud of the good that we did. We trained meteorologists in new science, to use new tools, to understand the science of climate change. We taught emergency managers. We taught military forecasters, preparing them for wartime and how, for example to forecast dust, sounds simple but it isn’t. I never agreed with the reasons behind the wars, especially in Iraq, but I’m really proud of the work we did to help keep our armed services safer. I was really proud when I received my first coin from a Navy Commander or when an Admiral took the time to tell me the history of Stennis despite his busy schedule. We were making a difference. Despite everything, I’m still really proud of the program. Like the NWS, which was our primary sponsor, our program was the face of success. COMET is a non-profit program that provides education and training in the atmospheric sciences free for everyone in the world. Sponsored by government agencies, the Meteorological Service of Canada, EUMETSAT, Bureau of Met of Australia – a worldwide effort that serves the world – agencies doing together what no one group could do by itself. It saved a lot of money and did a lot of good. I should say does – it goes on –  like a proud parent I’ve had to let it go.

So anyway, I’m used to serving the world, and looking for ways to do more and now I’m left trying to do other things. I’ve had the freedom to not go straight out and get another job after I was laid off from COMET. I wish I didn’t – it was my mum’s death from Pancreatic cancer that gave me this freedom. I’ve got a lot of health challenges and they got bad after mum died and I wasn’t doing as much as I feel like I should have been. At the same time, I’ve learned to paint – people tell me I’m pretty good and I’m selling a few paintings. I’ve started a blog and I’ve become active on twitter. I’m working hard to be a voice of positive change. I’m also (finally) doing the final edit on my next series of books (Night’s Angel) and am trying to market my first series (Star’s End).

I’m still frustrated because I can’t seem to make a difference. I watch the narrative around Hillary Clinton, President Obama, and the democrats and I want to just scream (yes, I yell at my TV). I was talking to dad’s second wife (Pat 2) about the election and while she’s voting for Hillary she still had the slight reluctance of not quite trusting her. I pressed on why. It was emails – we talked through the whole thing and she admitted ok – well there’s nothing there but there’s something. What is it, well there was whitewater – that was nothing – nothing has ever been proved. It set her back on her heels a bit and she admitted that it’s true. There is nothing there but the media will not let it go especially in this day and age of false equivalencies and a loss of actual facts.

How do we do this? How do we have a conversation? Where is the discussion of issues? There is a lot of discussion of is climate change real – it is – the science is sure and we’re seeing the results now – today. But where is the discussion on what do we do about it. Republicans refuse to have that conversation because they don’t want to have to figure out the implications of what to do if they acknowledge we are playing havoc with our worlds climate. We can’t have a conversation about race. It falls away to any distraction we can find. The properness of kneeling, baskets of deplorables – is it polite to call out people about racism, xenophobia, sexism, misogyny, homophobia, hatred.

Yes, I’ll call out the media. With a few exceptions they seem incapable of calling out lies anymore. Donald Trump is the worst example of this. They call Hillary Clinton untrustworthy with  every other breath but they have never given that title to Donald Trump. They will not call him a liar or they laugh it off as “impossible to fact check” so why try. You have a debate moderator who has said that  isn’t his job. Truth and facts used to be what the media was about. There was something called investigative reporting where they pushed for the truth. Today it seems that they are more about I’m not even sure what – I think it’s mostly about ratings and clicks and not much else. I’m literally afraid when I complement someone for calling out truths and facts for fear that they will be fired for doing so.

How do we make a difference? How do I make a difference? I don’t know? How do we bring facts back? How do we call our media out? How do we make sure that important things are covered? I’ll keep blogging. I’ll keep writing. I’ll play with painting and have fun there. I’ll keep doing everything I can, for as long as I can and not give in to despair. I’ll also really hope that the future that I wrote does not come true. The ending of the last book in that series – no spoilers – ended with the idea of we are stronger together – but it was a hard way to get there. I think we can find an easier way.

 

3 thoughts on “How do we change?

  1. I do have a very strong opinion about how to make a difference, especially how to know you have. Make it FACE-TO-FACE. You felt it when you were teaching, and working directly IN PERSON with others. Tweeting and writing online (unless you are that one-in-a-million influential writer with their finger on the pulse of all topics) will never get you there. Even if it is a volunteer activity, solve problems where the problems are happening. Every other approach is a second-hand experience, not as good, and not as effective. Find a way to use what you know, or just show up and pitch in.

    I gave up working in the entertainment industry (and took a 50% pay cut) in favor of health care professions for these reasons. Everyone loves movies and TV shows, but they don’t solve anything except to help temporarily relieve bad moods. By comparison, every time I helped doctors diagnose by producing good images, fixing a fracture, administering a vaccine or comforting someone during the dying process, I had a victory that meant more to me than medals. Now that I’m retired, I help raise and train service dogs for a variety of disabilities.

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    1. COMET is the world’s best distance learning resource for working meteorologists – I am disposed to teaching and learning at a distance
      I don’t disagree with the personal approach and making that difference one-on-one but I also believe in using distance learning or other forms of social media. Social science is the cutting edge of how meteorologists, emergency managers, broadcast meteorologists work together to deal with extreme weather so I’m hard wired to the online forms of change as well.

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