Posts Tagged ‘Greta Thunberg’

The Rainbow Connection, Arbor Day and Earth Day Every Day

Friday, April 30th, 2021

April 30th is National Arbor Day. However, individual states make their own dates according to the best time to plant a tree. For example, in Conversation with Trees by Stephanie Kaza, the author writes about Arbor Day in California taking place in February or March, before the dry season, to give the seedlings the best chance of survival. I think the 30th is good here in PA, but you can check your local paper or Google, for example, When is Arbor Day in Missiouri? and will learn it is the first Friday in April. I like the fact that National Arbor Day is in April, the same month as Earth Day celebrations, since trees are such a vital
part of Mother Nature with their ecological profile that provide beauty and life to the planet.

BUT, you can donate money to the National Arbor Day Foundation any time and plant a tree to honor someone. Two of my friends did just that for my birthday or just as a gift. Here’s what you receive if you join the Arbor Day Foundation:

FREE With Your Membership (

  • 10 free trees to plant in your yard or in a forest in your honor
  • Tree and shrub discounts in the Online Tree Nursery
  • A subscription to Arbor Day, our colorful bimonthly newsletter
  • The Tree Book, a useful guide to planting and caring for your trees

I plan to check this out to see if I wish to join or just make a donation to honor my niece Dori and her husband Chuck, whose home in the woods in California was not destroyed, but the land around her home was destroyed and many trees burned. Below is an essay I created from Dori’s note to family and friends and her courage in the face of so much lost. I call it The Rainbow Effect.

“The Rainbow Effect: “The Bear Fire in California

During COVID, life goes on, and for those in California where fires raged, life has been a real challenge. The fires in California are far from me, except my sister’s daughter lives in the “Bear Fire Zone” and my older daughter is not far away from where the fires raged. My letter from my niece Dori made me realize that her experience on her land has affected me 3,000 miles away, personally and ecologically.  Here is her recent note to family and friends:

Dori & Chuck’s land before the Bear Fire

We want to thank everyone for their love and support during the Bear Fire. We have a new normal, which is challenging, but we are making steady progress. The burned pastures have turned green since the rains, which helps our emotional state dramatically. The forest itself is toast and every day there are less trees as crews move through removing standing dead trees.

Some of our friends have moved trailers into their properties to start to rebuild. Others may not rebuild. It’s a traumatic loss for everyone. We are waiting for the shop debris to be cleared soon and then we can start to rebuild the shop. We just purchased a new metal building to replace the wooden one. We are excited to not see the rubble and start fresh.

We have a great support network and everyone is looking forward to a brighter new year.

From Dream Creek Ranch, we wish everyone a happy, healthy and peaceful new year.

Much love,

Dori & Chuck

The same view of the land after the Bear Fire.


Dori sent me Before & After photos. Seeing the actual photos made me realize how scary their situation was and is. Miraculously, their house was the only one in their neighborhood not damaged by the fire. The photos and captions are from her property and I have interspersed them between the questions and answers. Many of her neighbors have left for good. Too much damage and perhaps too much trauma.

Q: When did you vacate your house because of the Bear Fire?

A: September 8th at 3pm we got an immediate evacuation order. Normally you get a warning but it went straight to an order. They blocked off the only way up to allow for egress. But that left people in town unable to get back home to evacuate their stuff and animals. I worked on getting the llamas and goats evacuated for hours but they weren’t letting animal rescues up.

And the power was turned off the day before because of wind. Our generator wouldn’t restart so we were without power or internet. We waited as long as we could. At 12:15 am we had to let the animals out of the barn so they wouldn’t get trapped inside. By that point we could hear propane tanks etc., blowing up in the distance and texts were telling us that Berry Creek was completely on fire.

Q: Where did you stay? How long?

A: We made it to our friends house about 40 minutes away at 2:30 am. When we arrived they had also just got an evacuation warning. But we stayed because they were far enough out. We also sheltered there 22 months before for ten days during the Camp Fire. (When?)
Q. Was yours the only house left that wasn’t burned in your “neighborhood?

There were 1700 structures lost. We were one of about 50 that survived. Our house and barn survived. That was a combination of a miracle and lots of clearance that Chuck has been actively working on for the past two years.

Q. How many neighbors who lost their homes left for good and how many stayed?

A: Hard to say. A lot of properties haven’t been cleared yet. Some people came back before that and are living in tents or trailers with generators. Others are in town. Others have already left for other places to live. Among our friends it’s 50/50 on who plans to rebuild. It’s a terrible loss of community. 16 people died that night.

Q: Why do you stay?

A: This is our place on earth. Even with forest devastation, it feels like home. Our ranch has always been a gathering place. And now it’s the only familiar spot on the mountain. Our friends who have lost everything come and sit in this magical place and are able to have a few moments of relaxation and normality. By all accounts our place should not be here. Every day is a blessing that we still have our home. Our safe place.

Additional comment from Dori in another email:

One thing I forgot when you asked about how many people lost houses and how many people returning. We fenced off the bottom pasture for our friend Dennis and his four dogs and his new trailer. It was almost impossible to find housing with animals, much less four big dogs. And pretty soon our only neighbors (because of the fire?), Rex and Ruthie, will be moving a trailer onto our property while they rebuild. It takes a village.

Dori is an artist and when sent me the double rainbow photo with this comment, four months after the fire, I knew she would be okay. Here is what she penned after I asked her why they stayed on their land.

I was sitting in my studio months after the fire, trying to kick my creative mojo in gear. It was like a physical weight weighing me down emotionally and physically. I looked out the window and there was a double rainbow. A sign from the universe that it was going to be ok.  And to paint all the colors!


Dori’s Double Rainbow photo

Seeing the photos and reading her words made me realize that the fires may not have destroyed our home, but because someone I know and love was in the middle of the all this destruction, I want to acknowledge her (and her husband) for their courage and optimism. The younger generation of women like Dori tells me that we can survive anything, even COVID and fires, with attitudes like Dori’s.

P.S. I made this post ready earlier on Wed., and in the evening i saw a one hour documentary with Greta Thunberg, the one teenage young woman who has garnered so much press about climate change. I watched the California fires, like Dori’s, the trees dying from beetles that usually die in winter, but with increased temps don ot die but eat the trees, and so much more.The documentary brought climate change to my doorstep!


Our House Is on Fire by Greta Thunberg and Family

Friday, June 26th, 2020

NOTE: Earlier this month I posted about D-Day and under that short posting was my poem Crazy Dayze, with reference to this book and two others I will be reviewing.  Here’s the link back to the poem if you wish to read or reread it:

Greta Thunberg is the protesting teenager who crossed the ocean in a ship because of her carbon footprint by plane was unacceptable to her, speaking before the United Nations and directing her harsh and angry criticism to the older generations who have been destroying our home, planet Earth.

This book, Our House Is on Fire, narrated mostly by her mother, Malena Ernman, also contains input from Greta’s father, Svante Thunberg, her younger sister Beta Ernman, and of course Greta herself.  What surprised me about this heartfelt book is how open and honest all of the contributors are, starting with mental and physical health issues in their home, thus the subtitle: Scenes of a Family and a Planet in Crisis.

In the Preface, here is what Malena, a well-known opera singer who walked away from her career because of this dual crisis, says in the opening paragraphs, quoted directly, introducing herself and her family and noting the book is about the crisis that struck their family….

But above all it’s about the crisis that surrounds and affects us all. The one we humans have created through our way of life: beyond sustainability, divorced from nature, to which we all belong. Some call it over-consumption, others calls it a climate crisis.

The book begins with the issues in their home. Greta becomes anorexic and also is diagnosed with  high-functioning autism, and sometime later, her sister Beata is diagnosed with several problems, including ADD.
Chapter by chapter, which are called scenes, the family is seen to be unraveling. Without the issue of climate change, the book would be an interesting study on how a family copes with two children who have mental issues, which Malena notes is more and more common in Sweden, a country that seem to enjoy a high level of sophistication, using the planets resources the way most of us do, indiscriminately.

However, when Greta begins her demonstration at her school, solo, the scenes shift to one that goes beyond the family, but the impact of Greta’s mindset does create a family shift. As Malena notes (direct quote):

Surely, not everyone needs to become a climate activist. But at a bare minimum we could all stop actively destroying our environment and our planet, and stop showing off that self-same climate destruction as trophies on social media…….I am a big part of the problem myself.

I have so many pages turned down with important statements and quotes that I would need several pages to complete this review. Instead, I am urging you to take the book from the library or buy a soft-cover version for $17.00 (Penguin Books) and read about how this family is surviving this personal and global crisis. Hopefully, you will want to heed the alarm and make changes in your lifestyle that will curb the rapid changes on the planet. (The other two handbooks listed at the bottom of my poem provide specific steps, and I will review those in July.)

This excerpt from the back cover of the book has a good summary:

Steered by Greta’s determination to understand the truth and generate change, they began to see the deep connections between their own suffering and the planet’s…..(fighting) their problems at home by taking global action. And it is the story of how Greta decided to go on strike from school, igniting a worldwide rebellion.


P.S. This book, reminded me of a movie from the late 1980s called “Amazing Grace and Chuck.” Amazing Grace is a basketball player and Chuck is the young boy protesting nuclear proliferation. Reading about Greta and her mom especially reminded me of Chuck and his father, who supports his protest.

Here is the info from the Internet in case you want to watch it: