Wilderness and the American Mind by Roderick Nash (5th Edition)

It took me a while to get through this one, but I’m finally finished and I’m excited to share Roderick Nash’s incredibly influential Wilderness and the American Mind.

It’s worth noting that I have complicated feelings about this book, but I stand by recommending it to anyone serious enough to finish this 385-page history of the United States’ dominant cultural, philosophical, and political perceptions of wilderness going back to our European routes.

This book sparked the modern discipline of Environmental History and it’s a part of Nash’s larger influence on spearheading the development of the Environmental Studies. Some people even call Wilderness and the American Mind the “Book of Genesis for conservationists.”

I don’t see eye-to-eye with Nash on many things. For instance, his future vision for “Island Civilization” mentioned in the 5th edition epilogue makes me cringe, but the pros of reading this book far outweigh the cons.

If you’ve read some of my other posts you may know that I am a big annotator when I’m reading something dense and/or interesting. This book evoked a ton of annotations and, somehow, it became this weirdly perfect balance of moments where I loved what he had to say and moments when I all out challenged Nash in the margins.

My scribbles aren’t all that legible, but you get the point.


Generally, there is one large criticism that I can blanket over Nash and this book specifically:

It is overwhelmingly written from a perspective that privileges well-off highly-educated white males and has a general disregard for religion. So if you read this, remember that some people outside of cities probably loved the wilderness. Wilderness appreciation doesn’t just come in the form of highly educated dudes who wrote romantic poems and essays.

Nash briefly goes against this larger urban lean by mentioning Daniel Boone as a “pioneer wilderness lover”, but this slight push early on doesn’t do much to counter his theory that urbanites were the ones that forged wilderness appreciation. I just can’t imagine that other surveyors, trappers, and “woodsmen” like Boone didn’t choose that profession because of some appreciation for wilderness.

Ultimately, this lean towards the highly-educated male just represents a larger bias of history. Nash briefly expresses this, but it doesn’t account to much.

To be sure, most of the response of ordinary American’s to wilderness went unrecorded (any pioneer who wrote down his impressions was, by that fact, exceptional) …

Roderick Nash, Wilderness and the American Mind

History draws on a small sample of written works, but the lack of written evidence for non-urban wilderness appreciation IS NOT evidence for a lack of non-urban wilderness appreciation.

George Washington is another example of a young man who lived in the wild country during his years of working as a surveyor, but we can’t say he hated the wilderness just because he didn’t write poetry about it. If anything, the simple act of choosing a profession that places you in such wild country may even be a testament of some appreciation.


In addition, the eurocentrism of this book largely ignores Native American history of land use and perceptions of nature except for a small reference in the “Alaska” chapter clarifying the difference between the indigenous concept of “land” compared to the European concepts of “wilderness” which drive this book.

Furthermore, this difference between “land” and “wilderness” is something that I think we need to address within Judeo-Christian roots as well. Early on Nash considers Jewish influence to be one of negative disdain for the wilderness. It seems to Nash that if Jews and Christians thought wilderness was good for one thing it was only for the challenge that it presented to us. However, I believe this is an oversimplification.

Nash mentions Saint Francis of Assisi early on as an example of a Christian with what he views as a uniquely positive view of wilderness, but I believe there is much more to this tradition than one person.

I’m reminded of a section from Mercy Amba Oduyoye’s Beads and Strands. This is a much more contemporary source than what Nash was describing, but she does a great job at articulating the frame for a “land-ethic” and I think it speaks to the larger tradition which she’s pulling from. The section is titled, “The earth, a neighborhood” and it is taken from an essay titled The People Next Door.

As earth dwellers, our lives are in constant relationship with the sun, the moon and the atmosphere around us. On earth, other beings are our neighbours – plants, animals – some too small for eyes to behold and others much larger than we are.

Mountains and rivers are so imposing that we sometimes feel them as the habitation of being that is different and more potent than we are. Minerals, solid, liquid and gaseous, are all our neighbours.

… Our environment is full of unacknowledged neighbours, all who are in need of survival, healing, or affirmation and call for our understanding and practice. We know who our neighbour is. The challenge is how to live as neighbours …


That short rant aside: I really enjoyed this book and I’m leaving it having learned a lot. If there’s one thing that Wilderness and the American Mind does best it is introducing you to the bounty of wilderness thinkers from our history and maps out their relationship to each other.

Even by occasionally arguing with Nash, I’ve been able to refine my own beliefs and challenge myself to articulate the shape of my own “wilderness philosophy” and “land ethic”.

In addition, I am incredibly grateful that I read this book along with a larger class that introduced me to other influential thinkers such as William Henry Dana, Herman Melville, and Alexander Von Humboldt.


Some of my favorite chapters include John Muir: Publicizer, Aldo Leopold: Prophet, A Wilderness Philosophy, and Alaska. In addition, although I’ve spent many a time discussing Thoreau in past classes and read both Walden and Civil Disobedience, I got a couple of important things to take away from his chapter as well.

For instance, Thoreau’s view of a balanced life between civilization and wilderness not through the middle ground of a rural agrarian lifestyle, but through a sort of straddling the extremes achieved by fully immersing oneself into the polar ends of both “the most civilized” and “the most wild”. On top of that, Thoreau is often misunderstood as saying “wilderness” is the preservation of the world, but he actually uses the broader term “wildness” which can help us understand the core difference between debates of ecological “wilderness management” and the more philosophical concept of a “pure” wilderness “untouched” by humans.

Of all the new people introduced to me through this book, however, Aldo Leopold is the one that I’ve resonated with most. I’ve already added Leopold’s Sand County Almanac to my reading list. So, keep an eye out for a review on his Land Ethic essay.

The 5th edition chapter titles include:

  1. Old World Roots of Opinion
  2. A Wilderness Condition
  3. The Romantic Wilderness
  4. Henry David Thoreau: Philosopher
  5. Preserve the Wilderness!
  6. Wilderness Preserved
  7. John Muir: Publicizer
  8. The Wilderness Cult
  9. Hetch Hetchy
  10. Aldo Leopold: Prophet
  11. Decisions for Permanence
  12. Toward a Philosophy of Wilderness
  13. Alaska
  14. The Irony of Victory
  15. The International Perspective
  16. 5th Edition Epilogue – Island Civilization

My Big Takeaway.

When facing massive issues such as environmental degradation and climate change we CANNOT ignore history. Navigating the complex world set in front of us requires a wide-angle historical vision of how we got where we are and what forces are in play.

Public conceptions of wilderness contain a large amount of diversity resulting in a broad range of sometimes conflicting goals and convictions, but ANY major victory for environmentalism depends on working across philosophical boundaries and unifying a diverse environmental political coalition.

Wilderness in the American Mind does a fantastic job at painting the development of our current systems of wilderness and the political and cultural coalitions that have shaped it, and I can’t stress enough how important that information is.


(This post has since been republished on LinkedIn, Medium, The Outbound, and Cam & The Outdoors).

Meeting Climate Change with Art: Downsizing & First Reformed

This post was originally part of a larger post looking critically at how common themes of climate change have been finding their way into popular films. However, that post was getting LONG and I decided to cut these movies out for a part-2 of sorts.

In the original post, I split these common Hollywood narratives into 2 main groups: Apocalyptic Dystopias and Climate Conscious Bad Guys, but in today’s post, I will be exploring 2 films that don’t fit neatly into either category.

If you haven’t read the first post yet, I highly recommend checking it out before you read on. It will give you a better context before we go into these next two films.

They are Downsizing and First Reformed.


If there is one theme that connects these movies it is that they don’t allow climate change to exist in a vacuum. Climate change takes center stage for much of these films, but the inclusion of this looming threat seems to be as part of a broader collection of problems specific to our contemporary psyche.

Mental health, the Second Gulf War, cancer, human rights, and even divorce all make important contributions to these stories.

I think we’ll be seeing a lot more of these movies as climate change begins to take up more and more of our attention, and it’s important that we think critically of how we present themes of climate change in these films as well.

At this point in our lives, you can’t tell a compelling story of our contemporary lives without addressing the giant climate change elephant in the room.


Downsizing

In Downsizing (directed by Alexander Payne), we kick off our story with a last-ditch, hail marry, scientific discovery set to rescue us from the impending disasters of climate change – a Norwegian scientist developed a safe and reliable technique to shrink human beings AND their subsequent carbon footprint.

10 years after this discovery we turn to Paul Safranek (played by Matt Damon) for the main body of this story. Safranek is an occupational therapist loaded with debt and trying to get the house of his wife’s dreams while working for the Omaha Steak factory.

So, following the advice of his recently “downsized” friend, Paul and his wife Audrey (played by Kristen Wiig) decide to “get small” so they can start living large in an upper class “downsized” community.

This change sends Paul on a truly wild ride that I won’t try to spoil, and by the end of the film Paul even comes in to close contact with some Norwegian climate change dooms-dayers prepared to hunker down in a mega-bunker for a few thousand years.


At its core Downsizing is a film about a man searching for meaning in a world full of all the same crazy and difficult things we face every day. Hell, Paul even has to deal with student loans!

As it comes to climate change specifically, I don’t think Downsizing is necessarily a great story for us. For instance, the film actually gives air time to a common and problematic narrative that sustainable practices (represented by “downsizing”) could be “bad” for the economy.

It doesn’t devote much time to this “sustainability vs. economy” idea (and characters claiming “downsizing” is bad for the economy aren’t always painted in the best lighting), but Downsizing doesn’t seem to actively address the fallacy that sustainability and economic prosperity are somehow a zero-sum choice.

In addition, (although the film ends on a generally hopeful note) there doesn’t seem to be any final messages of hope specifically addressed toward climate change.

However, Downsizing hammers in some very important points that need to surround our climate change thinking. Downsizing pulls us into a world where climate change is very real and very bad, but (without minimizing climate change) the story refuses to ignore all the other big things equally deserving of our attention.

At one point, Paul Safranek comes face to face with some characters who have totally given in to climate despair and it includes some worthwhile critique of these characters’ ideology. Paul actually comes close to joining these people on their quest to “save humanity” by walking down into a mega bunker and locking the door, but he eventually comes around to his friend Dusan’s advice, “these people are like a cult”.

In truth, giving up on our planet – and the poor and vulnerable people who inhabit it – to lock ourselves down in a Norwegian bunker is both unproductive and self-righteous. Sure, these Norwegian’s were taking climate change “seriously” in a world full of climate change deniers, but “taking things seriously” shouldn’t be our only judgment criteria.

If there is one thing Downsizing does best, it is communicating how the inequalities of race and class will follow us into every aspect of life. The films “downsized” communities look like perfect upper middle class suburbs, but their wild parties are fueled by poor Asian and Latinx workers living in slums outside of the community’s literal wall. These are the people Paul would have been abandoning if he had given up and walked down into the bunker with the rest of the Norwegians.

In addition, despite the inspirational keynote describing how “downsizing” can save the planet, the primary reason people decide to “get small” has a lot more to do with wealth, debt, careers, status, and even tax credits. Carbon footprints and “saving the planet” have nothing to do with most characters’ decisions. Paul repeatedly says things like “plus all the good you’re doing for the environment”, but his altruism comes off like a joke to others.

Lastly, Downsizing shows us that no technology can exist in a vacuum – despite the motivations of the inventor. One character is forcibly “downsized” and shipped to the US in a TV box after she was arrested for protesting the Vietnamese government, there is talk on the news of corrupt nations “shrinking” vulnerable populations, crazy cable hosts rant and stir up fears of “illegal immigration” in a world with small people, and we’re even told of a character who is killed because of a sloppy, unregulated procedure.

No new sustainable technology or public policy we introduce (especially some procedure that can turn people “small”) will exist in a vacuum of “environmental problems” alone. The inequalities of race and class and the full range of human motivations cannot be ignored.


First Reformed

Lastly, I want to talk about First Reformed, written and directed by Paul Schrader. Schrader is much more famous for writing classic films like Taxi Driver and Raging Bull, but to many, First Reformed‘s gritty tone and spiritual Thomas-Merton styled inquiries into God, religion, and justice make it Paul Schrader’s magnum opus.

Similar to how Taxi Driver tapped into looming issues of the mid 70’s with Vietnam, political assassinations, and a racially charged obsession with “law and order”, First Reformed takes a deep dive into the issues haunting us in 2017.

We learn early on that our main character, Reverend Toller, used to be a chaplain in the US military when he encouraged his son to enlist, sparking Reverend Toller’s divorce when his son was later killed in Iraq. As the story unfolds, we follow Toller on his darker and darker path towards climate despair, alcoholism, failure to face his potential cancer, and eventual consideration to wear a suicide vest to a church event with a major global polluter present.

At one level, First Reformed falls into the trap of the earlier mentioned “climate conscious bad guy” films. Our main character is compelled toward action in the face of climate change and the destruction we’ve brought to Earth, and the only paths he seems to notice are violence or a what-about-ism that downplays the danger or passes the responsibility to others. It’s worth recognizing this similarity, but it is clear that Toller is not a Thanos-style bad guy nor does he play that role in the narrative.

At its core, First Reformed is as much about loneliness as Taxi Driver and Raging Bull. Reverend Toller is FAR from the sociopathy of Travis Bickle (Taxi Driver) or the paranoia of Jake LaMatta (Raging Bull), but self-destruction and violence find their way into the brutal loneliness of each of these films.

And much like Taxi Driver and Raging Bull, First Reformed is a hard movie to wrap your head around. The ambiguity can be off putting at first, but there are so many different things going on during First Reformed and it can be taken in many different directions. In truth, First Reformed is best treated as a film to spur serious thinking and conversation.

So, I’ll consciously set aside all the other directions you could take this film and pick the intersection of 2 themes which can be interpreted with specific relevance to climate change: Ignoring Warning Signs and Hope vs. Despair.

Ignoring Warning Signs

It’s hard not to at least subconsciously connect these moments in the story, but I’ll be honest. I actually didn’t think much of this aspect at first, and now I believe this is one of the most compelling ways to frame the story.

Almost every warning sign expressed in this film seems to be ignored. Toller continues to avoid the doctor’s office despite peeing blood and regularly vomiting, Toller suddenly disrupts almost all of his personal relationships when he begins to plan his suicide, and the church organist even finds a half dozen empty bottles of whiskey in Toller’s trash shortly after he is told to stop drinking by the doctor.

It isn’t until the very end that Toller’s boss confronts him and addresses the abundant warning signs, but any action to help Toller is deferred to a later time.

Allegorically, this mirrors the lack of significant human action in response to climate change. We can come up with a billion excuses, but the simple truth is that we’ve all seen the abundant warning signs and we know exactly what they mean. Still, we continue to kick the can down the road or pass responsibility off to someone else.

Hope vs. Despair

The tensions between themes of hope and despair are central to the human experience and this film does a fantastic job of communicating the tension.

Reverend Toller begins First Reformed with faithful messages of hope,

Despair is a development of pride so great that it chooses one’s certitude rather than admit God is more creative than we are.

First Reformed, Paul Schrader

And by the end, Toller switches tone to an overwhelming degree of despair,

I know that nothing can change and I know there is no hope.

First Reformed, Paul Schrader

However, Paul Schrader intentionally designed First Reformed’s final scene to evoke a near perfectly split in how people interpret it. I won’t spoil any specifics, but its incredible ambiguity has caused MANY people to vehemently disagree the ending.

(without giving away any specifics) It boils down to interpretations of miraculous hope verse interpretations of cynical despair.

If you were hoping to find out “what the director thought it meant” Schrader won’t provide much help. On a podcast with filmmaker Sofia Coppola, Paul Schrader weighed in,

I don’t know what the ending is.

– Paul Schrader on First Reformed

Like I said earlier, this movie is more about spurring conversation than sending a clear message. However, rather than get caught up arguing for an ending of either despair or hope, I’ve found meaning in this story’s ending through an earlier quote by Toller himself,

Wisdom is holding two contradictory truths in our mind, simultaneously, hope and despair. A life without despair is a life without hope. Holding these two ideas in our head is life itself.

First Reformed, Paul Schrader

First Reformed’s perfectly split ending lives up to this paradoxical tension between despair and hope. When it comes to Hope vs. Despair, there just isn’t an easy answer.

This tension reminds me of a similar section from Radio Raheem’s monologue on love and hate in Spike Lee’s Do The Right Thing,

The story of life is this: static.

One hand is always fighting the other hand, and the left hand is kicking much ass. I mean, it looks like the right hand—Love—is finished.

But hold on, stop the presses; the right hand is coming back. Yeah, he got the left hand on the ropes now, that’s right. Ooh, it’s a devastating right, and Hate is hurt. He’s down.

Do The Right Thing, Spike Lee

Connecting the Dots

Accepting this paradox also speaks insight into the narrative’s potential allegory regarding climate change represented by the theme of “ignoring warning signs”.

The “ending” of humanity’s ultimate climate change story is just as unsure as the ending of First Reformed. We know we’ve been ignoring warning signs, but now what? Do we fail to stop the catastrophe? Is any miraculous vision of hope just fantasy in the face of climate change? Or does a miraculous kind of hope have the power to overcome even Toller’s level of despair?

If we build off of the earlier mentioned “hope and despair” quote, we’ll see that actually Toller frames this relationship between the novel issue of climate change and the ancient issue of Hope vs. Despair,

Man’s great achievements have brought him to a place where life as we know it may cease in the foreseeable future.

Yes. That’s new.

But the blackness is not.

Courage is the solution to despair, reason provides no answers. I can’t know what the future will bring; we have to choose despite uncertainty.

Wisdom is holding two contradictory truths in our mind, simultaneously, hope and despair. A life without despair is a life without hope. Holding these two ideas in our head is life itself.

First Reformed, Paul Schrader

Wrapping It Up

These films aren’t necessarily perfect, but they both contain interesting angles that are important for us to keep in mind as we move forward and try out new narratives.

If you haven’t already, I highly recommend checking out the earlier blog post, “Improving Our Narratives”. It goes into a few other films and frames the importance of narratives which this post came out of.


Feel free to message me or leave a comment with some feedback, and always let me know if there are other important films, books, or other pieces of art that you think are worth exploring.


(This post has since been edited and re-published to Medium as ‘How Downsizing and First Reformed Take on Climate Change’).

Meeting Climate Change with Art: Improving our Narratives


There are a lot of things we need in order to face climate change. Individual action and policy change are necessary, but we often overlook the importance of stories. Narratives help us to create meaning, and we are in desperate need of meaning.

Narrative becomes the way you make sense of chaos. That’s how you focus the world. It’s the only reason you should ever try this writing job.

– Dennis Lehane (Author: Shutter Island, Mystic River)

Put simply,

Stories matter.

– Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Author: Americanah, Half of a Yellow Sun)

But of course, not all stories are made equal. Themes surrounding climate change are starting to find their way into popular films, but there have been some serious flaws.

Outside of documentaries, there seem to be only two main ways Hollywood has been comfortable including climate change in feature-length films: Apocalyptic Dystopias and Climate Conscious Bad Guys. Neither of these story types have been good enough.

I’ll be spending the rest of this blog post diving into examples of those two main categories I laid out, and hopefully (after laying out my criticisms) I’ll be able to layout some hopeful examples which can send your imagination off in positive directions.

This is serious. We need to do better.

Apocalyptic Dystopias

The most common and recognizable settings for climate change in popular narrative fiction comes in the form of apocalyptic dystopias. A generation before us these stories jumped onto the cold war fears of nuclear apocalypse. Now, they’ve used these apocalyptic narratives to address our looming fear of climate change.

We’ve all seen these movies, “Humans screwed it all up and now the earth is a wasteland where we play flaming bass guitars and fight over water”. Unless we’re talking about 1995’s Waterworld… in which case, “The icecaps all melted, and now some people kinda have gills and we fight on jet skis”.


Mad Max: Fury Road pulled all the stops and imagined a world hit by every single worst-case scenario of climate change.

The basic critiques of these films are pretty straight forward. They aren’t that realistic and they work off the general assumption that we all screwed it up with climate change.

The dystopian future can have a way of animating some people to act. However, these narratives don’t build us a path forward.

Motivation by fear does not give us the long term substantial progress we need. The Mad Max worst-case scenario animates despair and defeatism which may motivate some but can cause others to brush it all off with hopeless abandonment. Why even try if we’re going to destroy the world anyway?

Let me be clear. I read Orwell in high school. So, I know how important a good dystopian narrative can be, but we need stories with subtle realism communicating the complexities of climate change while providing us with a sober hope.

Besides, detrimental climate change doesn’t only look like mass desertification.

Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar (2014) gives us another example of a future ravaged by climate change, but — despite being a fantastic film — Interstellar also isn’t the climate change narrative we need.

Sure… It includes a final message of hope for the future, “People make it! Ingenuity and science save us”… but, the film’s hope is found by getting the heck off our planet. Earth is just considered a ticking time bomb running out of time.


But then there’s 2014’s Young Ones.

I ran into Young Ones (directed by Jake Paltrow) as an example of “water war” type movies turned a little hopeful. It isn’t Biggest Little Farm level of hope, but Young Ones makes huge steps forward compared to Mad Max: Fury Road and Interstellar.

At its core, Young Ones is a story about adulthood. The film explores 3 different characters (Ernest Holm, Flem Lever, and Jerome Holm) as they take on succeeding roles as “man of the house”.

But what makes Young Ones stand out on climate change is its opening lines:

I never saw this land when it was green. My father did. He worked it before the drought came. He used to talk about it all the time. He used to talk about the wheat they grew, and the pride they felt.

He always believed in the land.

Even as the fights over water first divided states, then towns, and then neighbors. Most people who could, left. But he had his reasons for staying. He was convinced the land would come back. It just needed water. And he was right.

Resilience is on full display in Young Ones, and the eventual hope of the narrative is found in the land itself. There’s even a little nod to organic agriculture.

At one point a “water worker” tells Flem (I know what a name) it wouldn’t even be worth bringing water to his father’s land since he “killed it with pesticides”. Ernest Holm (the one who “always believed in the land”) is the only one with farmland that could actually support crops even if water was routed to him.

But Young Ones also stands out in a subtler way.

It has a tad more realism to it than a full-blown apocalypse. Sure, it’s still a dystopian future film, but after spending more time in the story you find out that some people actually do have water.

They talk about big corporate farms getting priority for water piping over smaller farmers and when Jerome later crosses a state line, we find a place that seems to be abundant with water. This neighboring state is home to cities and businesses like we would see today, and there’s even a shot of them in a mall with a decorative fountain in the background.

The inequality is summed up well with a quote from Anna. She had smuggled Jerome across the border and had a deal to smuggle him back, but says this:

Keep that hundred. That whole round trip thing is a scam…

You don’t need to call us, just walk right through. The border guards won’t stop you. They don’t care that you’re going back.

Young Ones provides a positive direction for climate apocalypse films, but we still have a long way before this progress finds its way into the mainstream.


Shameless Plug: If all that talk about “water wars” got you curious about that #1 resource check out my blog post reviewing James Salzman’s Drinking Water: A History.

But first, I want to talk about the other popular way climate change has recently entered our narratives.

Climate Conscious Bad Guys

We’ve seen this one popping up a lot recently, “There’s this guy trying to do some messed up things… but he’s also concerned about pollution or overpopulation. So, we can kinda sympathize with him.”

Filmmakers know that climate change is a big deal, and they know that most of us think it’s a problem worth fixing. Because of this, incorporating themes surrounding climate change has been an effective way to build sympathy towards previously 2-dimensional antagonists.

One writer from Aquaman said using pollution as a motivator for King Orm “gave him some nuance”, it made him less “mustache-twirly” (NYT Article).

In Aquaman, Orm’s first big step toward aggression with the “surface world” is to throw up all the trash from the sea onto our beaches. However, Orm’s concern over pollution is given passing attention at best and his character definitely seems more focused on the usually bad guy power stuff.

When it comes to climate-conscious bad guys, Thanos is the gold standard. Avengers: Infinity War has no new protagonists to develop. So, we’re given plenty of time and opportunity to develop Thanos’s past traumas and convictions — all delivered to us with Josh Brolin’s magnetic performance.

The simple truth is that Thanos is a phenomenal villain, and we can’t ignore that his genuine concern toward overpopulation and limited resources are a vital part of what makes him so compelling.


Then there’s the curious case of 2019’s Godzilla: King of Monsters.

The director of Godzilla: King of Monsters, Michael Dougherty, has made it clear he believes the movie is actually a well-designed allegory for climate change. Truth be told, Godzilla wasn’t always laughable men fighting in rubber suits. The original 1954 Godzilla is actually a powerful film with compelling allegories and political commentary.

Godzilla (1954) makes direct and poignant criticism of nuclear testing,

(Godzilla) was probably hidden away in a deep sea cave, providing for its own survival, and perhaps others like it.

However, repeated underwater H-bomb tests have completely destroyed its natural habitat. To put it simply, hydrogen-bomb testing has driven it from its sanctuary.

It mirrors and references the destruction of Japan from nuclear and conventional bombing in WWII,

[to her children, as Godzilla destroys the city around her]

We’re going to join Daddy! We’ll be where Daddy is soon!

AND it even delves into the moral dilemma of building a weapon of mass destruction,

If the Oxygen Destroyer (a weapon possible of killing Godzilla) is used even once, the politicians of the world won’t stand idly by.

They’ll inevitably turn it into a weapon. A-bombs against A-bombs, H-bombs against H-bombs.

As a scientist — no, as a human being — adding another terrifying weapon to humanity’s arsenal is something I can’t allow.

The original Godzilla did NOT mess around. Seriously, the 1954 Godzilla was one of the best movies I watched for this blog post. It’s slow to start, but the ending is phenomenal. 

Because of this, I gave Godzilla: King of Monsters a chance to be more than a monster fight flick. You can actually see how they tried to construct the climate change allegory. The destructive force that is Ghidorah is stored under the ice of Antarctica and, when people release him, Ghidorah rapidly approaches the gulf coast surrounded by a “category 6” hurricane (so big they had to make a new category for hurricanes).

But… Godzilla: King of Monsters falls flat in the face of its lofty ambitions.

At best, they try to jam in too many things about nature, human action, and religion for a 2 hour movie, but there are just too many contradictions and cringe-worthy oversimplifications for this to be a successful allegory.

Don’t even get me started on the end credits montage seeming to suggest Godzilla fixes every ecosystem he touches because of his magical cure-all “radiation” — including the cities he just destroyed?!

Props to them for trying… but Godzilla: King of Monsters is simply one more monster fight flick.

The only substantial way the story brushes up against climate change is with monologues from… *drum roll*… climate-conscious bad guys!

Who are the ones that let Ghidorah (who apparently represented climate change) go? Eco-terrorists!

Why? Because they want to “return balance” by wiping out “civilization” and human’s influence on our planet.

Balance is literally Thanos’s thing…


Unfortunately, the role of these climate-conscious bad guys seems to just stop at sympathy.

Whether it’s Aquaman, Godzilla, or Avengers, the good guys beat the bad guys, we feel victorious, and when it’s all said and done, the story chooses to simply ignore the antagonist’s climate change related motivating factors and roll the credits.

When everyone comes back in the crescendo of Avengers: End Game, they have a huge battle, iron man pulls big time on our heartstrings, and we’re set up for another fantastic spider-man movie, but no time is devoted to that original issue of overpopulation.

I can’t hide the fact that I still loved both Avengers. I’m really a sucker for Iron man and I loved his story arc, but we can’t ignore the fact that simply including overpopulation just for bad-guy-sympathy ultimately dismisses the problems of climate change.


A promising model forward

A golden example of how we might better improve the role of climate change in our narratives actually comes from another Marvel film.

Black Panther (2018) directed by Brian Coogler.

A lot of great things can be said about Black Panther. It put black female leads front and center and excited our imaginations with a futuristic African society untouched by colonialism, but for the purpose of this particular blog, Black Panther provides a north star on how we can better portray narrative conflict between our protagonist and antagonist.

It did something Avengers couldn’t do.

Killmonger, like Thanos, has a sympathetic past trauma motivating his actions, but when Killmonger is defeated, the moral of our story isn’t a pedantic “killing white people is bad”.

As the protagonist, T’Challa (the Black Panther) must honestly address the legitimate problems animating Killmonger’s actions.

Wakanda will no longer watch from the shadows. We can not. We must not. We will work to be an example of how we, as brothers and sisters on this earth, should treat each other.

Now, more than ever, the illusions of division threaten our very existence. We all know the truth: more connects us than separates us. But in times of crisis the wise build bridges, while the foolish build barriers. We must find a way to look after one another, as if we were one single tribe.

And T’Challa’s transformation doesn’t come off as quick or cheesy. The seeds of this change are planted early on with T’Challa’s ideological conflict with Nakia, whose empathy for people outside Wakanda — in addition to the trauma and injustice represented by Killmonger — helps to push T’Challa to question his isolationist beliefs.

This is a huge step forward in popular narratives addressing race in the United States, and Black Panther’s delicate handling of a complex situation is something we need to learn when it comes to climate change.

Imagine what it would be like if conflict with a climate-conscious bad guy forced our protagonist to honestly address the issues animating our villain. We’d get all the sympathy required of a complex antagonist AND our narrative would positively address climate change along the way.

Wrapping It Up

I don’t pretend to be some expert in what exactly we need to do differently, but it’s clear that our current narratives are woefully unequipped to address the complexity and depth of climate change. Remember,

Stories matter.

– Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Author: Americanah, Half of a Yellow Sun)

There are two additional films outside the “Apocalyptic Dystopia” and “Climate Conscious Bad Guy” categories that I do want to talk about — First Reformed and Downsizing.

But this post is getting to be LONG, so I’m cutting them out to publish separately.

In the meantime, let me know if there are any stories I’m missing. Any other movies? Also, I know this held a big focus on feature-length films, but are there any good books that step up to the challenge?


(This post has since been edited and re-published on Medium as ‘Hollywood Needs Better Climate Change Narratives’).

The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry by John Mark Comer

I received this book for free from my school’s ASB, and honestly, it came at a great time. Despite having a whole ton of “extra” time at home during COVID, I’ve been experiencing a lot of stress to “be productive” with every day I get. Walking the line between productivity and rest is no easy task.

This book speaks to some of the deepest anxieties for our generation and this particular moment. Reading it now gave me a good dose of perspective that I hope to carry on with me throughout quarantine.

A little “disclaimer”: I 100% didn’t know this until I opened up the book, but it’s pretty “christiany” in the young, Portland, full-of-nods-to-social-justice sense. Overall, I liked it, but (just so you’re aware of the tone) it’s the kind of book where he says, “hey, no worries if you aren’t christian. I get it!”, and proceeds to talk a lot about Jesus since that’s his tradition and framework.

If you don’t mind reading a book from this perspective, or (better yet) if you actually really enjoy reading books from this perspective, then I highly recommend The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry.


The premise is Simple.

Most of us are living lives without a healthy rhythm between work and rest. Our days-off are filled with slightly less tiring “personal to-do lists”, and the things we do to “relax” leave us just as tired as before. The “Hurry Disease” has become a major issue of physical, mental, and spiritual health.

If you go against the grain of the universe,

you will get splinters.

H. H. Farmer

So… What philosophical and historical influences are driving all this “Hurry”? And how can we apply the practices of ancient Jews and Christians to fight “Hurry” in our modern context?

All the while, this book is incredibly straightforward. Comer splits it all up into 3 general parts. Part 1: The problem / Part 2: The solution / Part 3: Four practices for unhurrying your life.


Plus, this book is EXTREMELY well researched and VERY easy to read.

Its large font, wide margins, and informal tone make it easy on the eyes and the brain, but Comer isn’t just blowing hot air. He constantly references philosophers, theologians, researchers, and (of course) the bible.

Comer’s fun, intellectual personality permeates every sentence of this book. Somehow, even his notes section reads like a conversation. Right after a perfectly standard reference from the Huffington Post, you get this beautifully quirky note,

“20. Another fun tidbit: one legend says that pioneers who Sabbathed on the Oregon Trail arrived there before those who didn’t”

The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry

Seriously haha, who goes through all that trouble just to add tone to their references section!?


Honestly, reading this book even became a regular way for me to slow down in the middle of my busy days. If I didn’t want to jump on any big assignments (but didn’t want to mindlessly surf youtube either), I just picked up the bright orange book off my desk, read a quick chapter, and (in about 30-minutes) I usually had the energy to dive back into my work.


(This post has since been re-published on Medium as ‘Ruthless Elimination of Hurry: The Quarantine Book I Needed).

Drinking Water: A History by James Salzman

Drinking Water: A History provides an open-minded, wide-view of perhaps the most vital resource in human history. I was extremely excited when I first found this book, and it did NOT disappoint.

Over the course of one week, I methodically annotated each of the 258 pages with a complicated personal system of underlines, squiggles, stars, and boxes reserved for my most engaging books.

It’s my conviction that the fundamental basics of human life provide the biggest challenges and opportunities to addressing the grand visions of justice we aspire to. The path towards social, environmental, and economic justice requires critical emphasis on healthy food, reliable shelter, clean air and safe water.

But the short and simple subtitle is what differentiates this book in the face of other contemporary conversations around water – History.

The same fundamental challenges of drinking water have existed since before the Roman empire. Effective solutions to contemporary challenges must take into account the unique forces at play throughout human civilization.

To Salzman, this means understanding water as a multifaceted resource. Water has always had physical, cultural, social, political, and economic significance. Overlooking any one of these factors can sabotage any attempt to make real progress.

To get a sense for this comprehensive range, just check out the chapter titles:

1. The Fountain of Youth

2. Who Gets to Drink?

3. Is It Safe to Drink the Water?

4. Death in Small Doses

5. Bigger Than Soft Drinks

7. Need Versus Greed

8. Finding Water for the Twenty-first Century

Although the book was published in 2012 (and its age occasionally shows), Salzman’s words remain profoundly relevant. Ultimately, this book points the reader back to the massive challenges currently facing wealthy and poor countries alike.

The last chapter, “Finding Water for the Twenty-first Century” even looks to the future, and it does so with optimism. Salzman honestly explores a wide variety of potential solutions – embracing their promise, but never shying away from draw backs and cautionary tales.

On every page – without fail – Drinking Water: A History provides a comprehensive, balanced, and detailed perspective to a fundamentally overlooked topic. If you’re anything like me, you should read this book. You won’t be disappointed.

It’s Your Ship by Captain Michael Abrashoff

If you haven’t already heard of this book, the subtitle tells you exactly what it’s about “Management Techniques from the Best Damn Ship in the Navy”. At it’s core, this book is about the people and forces that shaped Captain Abrashoff’s counter-cultural approach to leadership and the lessons he learned commanding the USS Benfold.

It’s Your Ship balances lofty grand visions of what great leadership means with an abundance of humble and honest anecdotes from putting those ideals into practice.

I’ll admit… I was initially skeptical of Captain Abrashoff… My own prejudice convinced me forward-thinking lessons didn’t come out of military hierarchy. I was wrong.

I’ve been incredibly impacted by this book in short-term and long-term ways. As I write this, I manage a team of 7 staff members at PLNU’s student radio station (Aka Point Radio #represent), and this book inspired me to double down and make very concrete changes to how I lead my team.

Just read some of my favorite chapter titles:

Learn Real Leadership

Lead by Example

Listen Aggressively

Communicate Purpose and Meaning

Create a Climate of Trust

Look for Results, Not Salutes

Take Calculated Risks

Go Beyond Standard Procedure

Build Up Your People

Generate Unity

Improve Your People’s Quality of Life

See what I’m saying? Isn’t “Listen Aggressively one of the best mottos you’ve ever heard? That is one hell of a guiding principle.

Abrashoff was given command over one of the poorest performing ships in the pacific fleet, and through empowerment, listening, and respect he built the space for his crew to thrive. In 15 months, that same crew earned the Spokane Trophy. They were the best surface ship in the pacific fleet.

This isn’t a book for CEOs and politicians. The fact is, we are all leaders one way or another. Everyone has something to learn here!

I recognize my idea of “pleasure reading” isn’t totally normal, but if you have the chance to read this book go for it. It’s quick chapters and clearly marked subsections make it easy to pick up and put down for a few minutes of reading here and there.

Meeting Climate Change with Art: Hope

This marks the final part of my 3 part series on RAGE, Despair, and Hope. If there is an overarching take away within the series, it is that each emotion has its proper place.

Just as we need to remember Hope, we can not ignore the presence of Despair. Without an honest expression of Despair, Hope remains an empty platitude – vulnerable to collapse in moments of real darkness.

Writer and theologian, Frederick Buechner, articulates this tension between Hope and Despair as “Tragedy and Comedy” in his book Telling the Truth: The Gospel as Tragedy, Comedy, and Fairy Tale. Before Buechner gets to anything bright and hopeful, he uses page after page to make the tragedy of human experience undeniably clear.

The Gospel is bad news before it is good news.

Telling the Truth: The Gospel as Tragedy, Comedy, and Fairy Tale

Still, acknowledging the Despair does not diminish the importance of Hope. It is not “either-or”. Hope and Despair exist in tension.

If nothing is done to dramatically reduce carbon emissions, we will find ourselves on a path to mutually assured destruction. EVEN IF we act now, climate change will still provide a massive toll on all aspects of human life – with a disproportionate effect on the poor and marginalized.

AND without minimizing any of that:

People everywhere are stepping up.

State and local governments in the US have stepped up to meet the challenge of Climate Change despite the ignorance of the Trump administration (C2ES, State Climate Policy Maps).

Specifically: 22 states and the District of Columbia have adopted specific greenhouse gas emission standards, 10 US states have implemented cap-and-trade carbon pricing policies, 29 states and the District of Columbia have renewable electricity portfolio standards, 15 states and the District of Columbia have higher appliance efficiency standards than federal requirements, California and Oregon have low-carbon fuel standards, and 27 states and the District of Columbia have either written plans for climate resilience or are considering it (C2ES, State Climate Policy Maps).

Bill Gates and Terra Power designed a clean and safe nuclear reactor fueled by depleted uranium, Iceland is operating a geothermal carbon capture plant, and Crop Trust is collecting wild-type relatives of common crops to breed climate-change-resistance into our food system (storing their seeds in Noah’s-Ark styled bunkers like Svalbard Global Seed Vault).


Side Note: Svalbard Global Seed Vault actually looks like something out of a James Bond movie… You should at least give it a google, but Crop Trust provides a VR compatible tour if you have some quarantine time to kill, or you can check out this youtube video.

I mean… just look at this picture.

I digress.


There are BIG reasons for hope.

But despite it all, Despair and Cynicism are often overwhelming. We’ve all had long nights when the push to Cynicism outweighs the Hope we might have had.

It is the responsibility of artists to help us see Hope where Hope is due. Time and time again we turn to artists for imagination and vision beyond the tragedies of the present moment.

Nothing evokes the Hope we need like art.

Art can challenge our imagination.

The UN Twisted Gun Sculpture:

Or, the classic anthem Imagine by John Lennon:

You may say I’m a dreamer

But I’m not the only one

Art can speak to resilience.

Move on Up by Curtis Mayfield:

Just move on up

Towards your destination

Though you may find, from time to time, complication

This Little Light of Mine sung by Fannie Lou Hamer

In the jail house, I’m gonna let it shine

Childish Gambino’s 6-minute sonic-experience Stand Tall

Keep all your dreams, keep standing tall

If you are strong you cannot fall

There is a voice inside us all

So smile when you can

When you can

Tupac’s personal ode to single mothers, Keep Ya Head Up:

I give a holla to my sisters on welfare

2Pac cares, if don’t nobody else care

And I know they like to beat you down a lot

When you come around the block, brothers clown a lot

But please don’t cry, dry your eyes, never let up

Forgive, but don’t forget, girl, keep ya head up

And – of course – Bastards by Kesha

Don’t let the bastards get you down, oh no

Don’t let the assholes wear you out

Art can evoke movement and narrative.

People Get Ready by The Impressions

People get ready, there’s a train a-comin’

You don’t need no baggage, you just get on board

All you need is faith to hear the diesels hummin’

Don’t need no ticket, you just thank the Lord

Peace Train by Cat Stevens

Now, come and join the livin’.

It’s not so far from you

And it’s gettin’ nearer

Soon it will all be true.

Times they are a Changin’ by Bob Dylan

For the loser now

Will be later to win

A Change is Gonna Come covered by Aretha Franklin

There’ve been times that I thought… I thought that I wouldn’t last for long,

But somehow, right now, I believe that I’m able, I’m able to carry on…

I tell you that it’s been a long… and, oh, it’s been an uphill journey all the way,

But I know, I know, I know, I know a change is gonna come…

We’ve even seen this moral narrative applied to Climate Change.

I’ve included a clip of Al Gore from An Inconvenient Sequel. The music swells and Gore delivers the end of a powerful speech to images of destruction, progress, and setbacks alike.

References to a moral-arc narrative like Al Gore’s are powerful and they can be broadly applied to a wide variety of struggles.

As with any grand historical narrative, it has its drawbacks. It can be easy to interpret as strictly linear – ignoring backlash movements – but the simplicity of a moral-arc narrative gives it potency.

It casts an inspiring vision of an inevitable victory – but in a subtle way – these narratives also remind us that we stand on the shoulders of giants, and (although we may not see the day when our work is complete) others will continue to stand on our shoulders until all is as it should be.


I’ll leave you with what may be the earliest recorded use of this moral-arc narrative. It comes from Abolitionist and Unitarian minister, Theodore Parker.

Look at the facts of the world. You see a continual and progressive triumph of the right. I do not pretend to understand the moral universe, the arc is a long one, my eye reaches but little ways. I cannot calculate the curve and complete the figure by the experience of sight; I can divine it by conscience. But from what I see I am sure it bends towards justice.

Things refuse to be mismanaged long.

“Ten Sermons of Religion” (1853)

(This post has since been combine with content from RAGE and Despair to form a larger story published on Medium).

“Telling the Truth” by Frederick Buechner

Buechner (pronounced Beek-ner) delivers an honest, simple, and all the while profound book with Telling the Truth.

With the intriguing subtitle “The Gospel as Tragedy, Comedy, and Fairy Tale,” it is clear Buechner approaches this subject from the tradition of a Christian preacher.

Buechner regularly addresses “the preacher” and does not shy away from the stories and poems of the Bible, but there is a much broader chord being struck here. At its core, this is a book written for storytellers and artists.

We are all of us in it together, and it is in us all. So if preachers or lecturers are to say anything that really matters to anyone including themselves, they must say it not just to the public part of us that considers interesting thoughts about the Gospel and how to preach it, but to the private, inner part too,

to the part of us all where our dreams come from, both our goods dreams and our bad dreams

They must address themselves to the fullness of who we are and to the emptiness too, the emptiness where grace and peace belong but mostly are not, because terrible as well as wonderful things have happened to us all.

Telling the Truth: The Gospel as Tragedy, Comedy, and Fairy Tale

For those skeptical that this book is really just for preachers, it’s worth noting Buechner’s affinity for quoting Shakespeare just as much as the Bible.

I read Lear my sophomore of High School, but this book brought a life out of those words that I had forgotten. The soul of this book is summed up from it’s first quote – Edgar’s final line, “stammering the curtain down” in Lear:

The weight of this sad time we must obey

Speak what we feel, not what we ought to say.

Lear [5.3.324-352]

Shakespeare’s Lear serves as a guiding star for the strange, wild, conflicting levels of truth that shapes Buechner’s book.

Insofar as the truth is tragic, (Shakespeare, in Lear) told a tragedy of men and women suffering more than even their own folly and wickedness seem to merit.

Insofar as the truth is comic, both in the sense of terrible funniness and of a happy end to all that is terrible, he told a comedy of madmen and fools.

Insofar as the truth transcends all such distinctions and points beyond itself, he told a kind of fairy tale where everybody is disguised as something he or she is not and only at the end are all the disguises stripped away so that finally all are revealed for what they truly are, and like the beast in “Beauty and the Beast,” the old king, with Cordelia in her beauty dead in his arms, is finally turned into a human being.

Telling the Truth: The Gospel as Tragedy, Comedy, and Fairy Tale

His movement through Tragedy, Comedy, and Fairy Tale is simple and profound. Buechner doesn’t skim past Tragedy to the wonderful platitudes of Comedy.

Beuchner beats you down with brutal honesty in his Tragedy chapter, and even when he begins the Comedy chapter spends time to surely remind us of the Tragedy.

As he writes in the very beginning,

The Gospel is bad news before it is good news.

Telling the Truth: The Gospel as Tragedy, Comedy, and Fairy Tale

By preserving the Tragedy Beuchner carefully preserves the depth and meaning of the Comedy.

It is perhaps as important to look closely into the laughter of Abraham and Sarah as it is important to look closely into the tears of Jesus

Telling the Truth: The Gospel as Tragedy, Comedy, and Fair Tale

If you want a book that looks closely, Buechner will not disappoint. Telling the Truth is wise and incredibly deep. I could pine over this book and find a million beautiful quotes, but I’ll restrain myself so you can read it first hand.


(If you’re interested in this concept, ‘Telling the Truth’ is also cited in my post ‘Meeting Climate Change with Art: Hope’ and this tension between Tragedy and Comedy plays a key role in my Medium story ‘Art and the Emotions of Climate Change’).

Meeting Climate Change with Art: Despair

I’ve been pushing off writing this blog post for quite some time now. COVID19 has upended our entire lives, and this project faced no special treatment.

But I’m still here. I’m writing this blog post, and I want to continue this project because I think it’s truly important.

The theme for this post is Despair. Fitting I know.

The Scream by Edvard Munch

I was walking along the road with two Friends

the Sun was setting – The Sky turned a bloody red

And I felt a whiff of Melancholy – I stood

Still, deathly tired – over the blue-black

Fjord and City hung Blood and Tongues of Fire

My Friends walked on – I remained behind

– shivering with Anxiety – I felt the great Scream in Nature

Edvard Munch

It is no secret or grand observation for me to tell you there is a tremendous amount of anxiety and despair among all of us who wish for climate justice. The terms “Eco-Anxiety” and “Climate-Despair” capture this unique collective dread many are facing.

Other terms pull an even deeper weight “Eco-Nihilism”, “Climate-Nihilism”, and “Human Futilitarianism”.

It is easy to fall down a rabbit hole where our individual agency to advert apocalypse fades away. There have been plenty of conversations out there on the internet as to whether “alarmism” is responsible.

Some are afraid this end-is-nigh messaging will could paralyze us, or present people with an opportunity to relinquish personal responsibility.

On the other side, some argue the knowledge of these worst-case scenarios could be helpful. The social science research council published this article The Useful Discomfort of Critical Climate Social Science.

Setting aside solutions and specific science, our current situation regarding climate change evokes general despair in a lot of people.

It is the challenge of artists to speak to this. We need art that will let people grieve honestly and move out of a lonely wallowing paralysis.


Yes. Avoiding all the pain that lies ahead would require swift, sudden, unprecedented change and we haven’t done enough.

But there will be no magic bullet to get us out.

The path forward is long and requires steadfast determination and patience.

Our anxiety can tempt us to burn out in this despair, but this issue is too important for us to give up. Give space to grieve and remember to breathe.

A rugby coach of mine once said, Slow is smooth. Smooth is fast.

Your long term physical and mental health is vital, and I believe sharing and producing art will play a vital role in preserving such health.


For more reading, check out this vice article, ‘Climate Despair’ Is Making People Give Up On Life. It’s a long read, but it’s worth it. This multifaceted look at the massive issue of ‘Climate Despair’.

Its honest depiction of this issue is heartfelt, serious, and rational all at the same time.


(This post has since been combine with content from RAGE and Hope to form a larger story published on Medium).

Meeting Climate Change with Art: RAGE

I’m going to spend the next few posts diving into a couple of key emotions that often surround the issue of climate change – RAGE, Despair, and Hope.

As you may be able to deduct from this week’s title, we’re talking about RAGE today!

Who else gets MAD when they think of climate change? HOW LONG HAVE WE KNOWN? HOW LONG HAVE OUR COMPANIES AND GOVERNMENTS SAT PARALYZED?

The opening line to this Dark Waters trailer says it perfectly, “You knew… and still you did nothing”

If you haven’t already seen Dark Waters you NEED to watch it. 
The New York Times wrote an article in 2016 telling this insane story, “The Lawyer Who Became DuPont’s Worst Nightmare”. It’s described like this:

“Rob Bilott was a corporate defense attorney for eight years. Then he took on an environmental suit that would upend his entire career – and expose a brazen, decades-long history of chemical pollution.”

When I saw this movie in theaters my emotions ranged from PASSIONATE RAGE to cryingI HIGHLY recommend this film if you haven’t seen it already. Such a great narrative.

But we can’t talk about inaction on climate change without some Rage Against the Machine!

I’m drawn to their lyrics in Guerrilla Radio…

(Spotify)(Youtube)

“As the polls close like a casket

on truth devoured

A silent play in the shadow of power

A spectacle monopolized 

The camera’s eyes

On choice disguised

Was it cast for the mass who burn and toil?

Or for the vultures who thirst for blood and oil?

Yes, a spectacle monopolized

They hold the reins and stole your eyes.”

RAGE at its finest.

But there’s a call at the end of Guerrilla Radio,

“It has to start somewhere

It has to start sometime

What better place than here?

What better time than now?

All hell can’t stop us now”

Rage is just one of those things that comes out. Sometimes we just can’t hold it back no matter how it makes us look to others.

I think of this poem from the old testament prophet Jeremiah:

“When I speak, the words burst out.

‘Violence and destruction’ I shout.

So these messages from the Lord have made me a household joke.

But if I say I’ll never mention the Lord or speak his name,

his word burns in my heart like a fire.

It’s like a fire in my bones!

I am worn out trying to hold it in!

I can’t do it!”

– Jeremiah 20:8-9 (NLT)
PastedGraphic-6.tiff

And of course, we gotta land this plane with a video of Greta Thunberg showing some truly poetic RAGE

Evidenced by Thunberg, This RAGE can often lead to defiant protest, and defiant protest can exhibit itself in some unique ways.

For a creative look at public displays of defiance, I loved this photo and video based New York Times article ‘Like a Scream of Resistance’: Rio’s Carnival in Bolsonaro’s Brazil.


If you’re on the search for some more RAGE worthy music, check out a couple of my favorites to send you down a few rabbit holes:

Vietnow by Rage Against the Machine (Spotify)

Prophets of Rage by Prophets of Rage (Spotify)

And for who like your music just a tad lighter, Zombie by The Cranberries (Spotify)


(This post has since been combine with content from Hope and Despair to form a larger story published on Medium).