The year winds down haltingly to closure. With this, I sort through myriad revelations on the past and predictions for the future. The positive me searches for refuge from the gloomy girl who awakens in a state of moribund prophesy at the end of every year. THIS year also marks the end of a decade which has had numerous ups and downs on a personal and a geopolitical level.
I promise that for every downer, I shall provide a glimpse of shimmering light of positivity. Let’s begin with something wondrous! The stunning Hummingbird with more than 300-species among them bedazzle with shimmering color. Scroll through this beautiful Audubon presentation of “Jewels of the Sky.”
The pages of Cornell Ornithology Labs provide another fabulous space for bird-lovers to keep up with the soaring beauties above us.
What of the ever increasing greed of the few who ravage our planet for profit while assuring the throngs of American Fox News-ites that deregulation has boosted the economy to make a better world for them. How on earth does ruining habitats around the globe help any of us? This “boost” of the economy didn’t help the middle or poor, but the already extremely wealthy plutocrats and oligarchs:
“In the U.S., the richest 0.1% control a bigger share of the pie than at any time since 1929.” (Bloomberg analysis)
Top Ten Richest Americans in 2019:
- Jeff Bezos: $114 billion
- Bill Gates: $106 billion
- Warren Buffett: $80.8 billion
- Mark Zuckerberg: $69.6 billion
- Larry Ellison: $65 billion
- Larry Page: $55.5 billion.
- Sergey Brin: $53.5 billion
- Michael Bloomberg: $53.4 billion
Human ingenuity at its best: growing a 500-acre forest in the middle of Egypt using recycled wastewater. While you read this amazing story, take note (and bookmark!) the Good News Network. Here are more good news reports from April of this year at another positive news website, One Tree Planted, which gives you live updates on trees planted around the globe. We all need more affirmative news in our lives and these sites are packed with the best type of news reporting–on human kindness, cleverness, and joyful living.
Education in Reverse
The changing tides of education “reform” prove to be a bipartisan cauldron of bad ideas. Californians now experience the magical Community College system in reverse to the days of a Junior College as orchestrated by the State Chancellor’s Office. The number of graduates and students who transfer to university are “disappointing,” according to Eloy Ortiz Oakley, the system chancellor, in his “state of the system” presentation in March of this year to the Board of Governors.
Well, here’s an interpretation, Chancellor: the unemployment rate has been at historical lows for some time and many jobs do not pay nearly enough to allow for a decent living in many California cities. So, some students take the courses they need in between multiple jobs and finish when and if they can. There are not many who can fit 12-16 units of coursework per semester into a busy work life, yet this is what the State Chancellor’s Office pushes for. What could be more disappointing than cutting nearly 300 classes at City College of San Francisco this past November on the eve of Spring 2020 registration with the bulk of the classes belonging to Older Adult Ed programs, Art, Music, and Physical Education? The reasoning as stated by CCSF Chancellor Mark Rocha: “So that we can graduate more students of color.” Hunh? WT…? How does slashing courses in art, music, and physical education equate to graduating more students of color? It’s maddening, confounding, and disheartening all in one fell swoop. We can’t only blame Betsy DeVos and the G.O.P. for our education woes.
I’d be willing to bet that book reading goes up this time of year with all the winter storms and the fires burning in a wood stove. Nothing punctuates the feeling of hygge better than a fire and a good book. Here are a few best of lists:
- Literary Hub: The 20 Best Novels of the Decade
- BuzzFeed: 24 Best Books of the Decade
- GoodReads: Best Books by Decade
I have one more end of year and decade writing left in me.