Weather: Sunny, near-cloudless, cool in the shade, breezy.
Number of people: 6 stoppers, 1 walkby
Number of hecklers: 0!
Pages of notes: 5
Conversations between people previously unknown to one another: 2
Packets of Small State Seeds given away: 2
People who recognized and commented on the Peanuts reference: 3
People who called the booth “cute”: 1
Money raised for Environmental Justice League of RI: $0.14
Saturday confirmed as a low head count day.
I really like seeing graduates with their families.
I’m sure you’ll be shocked, shocked, to hear this, but people who say they’re going to show up don’t always. However, when they do show up, it’s extra nice.
It can be very hard to get people to talk about specific things they are scared to lose. That’s why, in the first conversation below, I’ve included a long song of praise for the climate of the Pacific Northwest, which I didn’t have to pry out of this person at all.
I don’t wake up in the morning and say, This is my main concern, but I recognize the threat that it poses. I went to the University of Washington and I studied psychology, I minored in astronomy — I’m so interested in earth and space science. That’s why I stopped. You don’t usually see that together, climate and anxiety … The first thing I think of is geological effects, as far as rising water. In Washington State, there’s a lot of things I might lose to Mother Nature. (Like what?) The city, the ferries — [the town I live in] is near a shipyard, a naval base, where they house active aircraft carriers to get repaired. … Especially there, where the ferry terminal is — it’ll be so detrimental to all the new architecture. Seattle is built on top of a city [I think he meant on top of a hill]: you go east, you’re going up, you go north, you’re going up. So I might lose 1st, 2nd, 3rd Street. It’s not like there’s a quick fix — “Oh, we’ll put a wall up” — that’s not gonna work. Everything’s mild in Washington State, springs are really wonderful — usually it’s right where you would expect the temperature to be. The fall is kinda the same as the spring, maybe a little warmer. An ideal day in the summer is the high 80s, dry heat. The air quality is the best, you can’t beat it.
Yeah, I would say I’m definitely anxious about global warming. It’s an interesting problem — there’s a dichotomy of being really concerned and the knowledge that the horrible things about it are probably not going to affect me, so I want to enjoy the state that the world is in now while that’s possible. I mean, according to the predictions that scientists are making — I live in the first world, so it may have dramatic but not life-threatening consequences. I’ll still be able to enjoy life in a way that most people aren’t going to be able to. I do have a fear of getting old and having a lot of things become huge problems around the time that I get old and can’t take care of myself. A fear of not being able to do anything about it — not being able to enjoy the world because you know this horrible thing is coming.
What if it was going to be sooner? You know, what if in the paper you read that instead of fifty years, it’s going to happen in thirty years or whatever?
I hate to say it, but I think that would — rather than wanting to immediately do something, I would be in the mode of trying to enjoy the world as much as possible. There’s a way to slow but not stop it, and I think a lot of people are like, “Well, fuck it.” If it did look that imminent, there are all these things I would want to do and see.
Do you really hate to say it?
A little bit, because I think it’s a reflection on my weakness as a person, where everyone’s out to have a good life, which got us into this — why should we stop it now?
What do you see yourself doing to look out for people in this harder world?
I think it’s going to require a radically different way of looking at resources that I don’t think anyone in the U.S. is at all used to. I’m a planner, and I try hard to live off not a lot, so that’s a skill I could maybe give to other people — like how not to use an obscene amount of water. I’ll be the jerk who’s like, You can’t take a 20 minute shower, you just can’t.
Are you that jerk now?
No, not really. I try to be mindful of what I use, where my food’s coming from, but Americans are conditioned to not pay attention to that because we don’t have to.
I’ve been feeling glum about getting my work published, and then I get mad at myself for being glum, because it’s stupid. The reason I write isn’t to get published, but then I catch myself caring about this, and then I get so angry at myself for caring. My skin is so thin, and I keep waiting for it to get thicker as I get older. I should be impervious, but I’m not, and that’s what makes me so mad.
What if, like, future you could tell you that your skin is never going to be thicker, it’s not going to happen?
But then what do I do with that? I think the problem is more that I continue to need praise and positive reinforcement … I just want to know if it’s good or have it not matter.
To live off not
a lot not to live on
what anchors and underpins
all your respirations
to remove yourself
from less and less
a thin wavelength
an extraordinary measure
before it’s needed
or as it’s needed before
in order not to need
as much to live
with that collapsed
as far away as impact
of the Andromeda Galaxy
our only one
we’d better take care of it
I forgot my shift
today was short and
so was startled
to know I’d have
to leave so soon
with so little time
to talk myself down from
a tearjerker ending
at least let me have
that guilt, that pleasure
of knowing I could
have done so much