We often harp on the ways in which doing what we enjoy and what we think is good for the world need not be mutually exclusive. It’s refreshing to find we’ve struck an arguably better balance than ever before between the two – or rather, with both supporting one another. The things we find personally fulfilling seem to coincide quite well with our vision for how to build a better world, and things which bring us a deep sense of satisfaction, joy, and meaning seem to elicit reciprocation.

But geography can be a motherfucker. And of course time, that intermittently looming cloud of mortality, lingers above us as a reminder that what we’ve got here is precious, of limited supply, and of uncertain lasting extent. And with all the magic of satellite communication, we still can’t feel the embrace of people we love, or truly be in the presence of those we miss dearly and care for.

This free-spirit, experimental, nomadic lifestyle is amazing. And it’s a struggle too. On one hand we’re learning more about humanity and the world, better understanding what that love is that binds us all as a species, through the vast expanse of history, that’s woven into our DNA. Yet on the other hand we’re separated from those we feel closest to. And while we’re also better understanding the notion of a global community, its complex web of culture and language, mountains and rivers, commerce and politics, we’re lacking the sense of being a part of a more tangible community, one where we can walk down the street and recognize faces, help friends through hardships, fight for causes, celebrate achievements, and water gardens of vegetables and of the mind.

And so sometimes we stumble into amazing scenarios like we did last night at the Yeti in Tulsa. We’re surrounded by strangers chumming up with us like family, singing songs we love, dancing conga lines tallying bananas, marveling at shirtless men in Village People get-ups gesturing giant Y’s, M’s, C’s, and A’s en masse. We inhale the thick cloud of smoke and exhale fire until 2:00 in the morning. Until 3:00, we belt out The Lumineers and CCR and a dozen 90s pop hits, with the most committed night-owls, in defiance of the 35-degree night air. And then we huddle back indoors in dim-lit secrecy with the regulars and employees until 4:00, sharing stories and basking in short-term nostalgia.

Their faces seem familiar. Their demeanor is warm. The atmosphere is light – though smoky – and smoothed over with an alcoholic buzz. And it feels so much like home that we love it here as much as we imagine we might love it anywhere. And then I find myself longing for the faces that – for a second – I think I’m recognizing when I meet someone new, out here, in the “buckle of the Bible belt.” I find myself missing the streets I could navigate by smell as I cursed the stench of a failing sewage system.

I find myself torn between my love for humanity and my love for humans, between my thirst for knowledge and my appetite for companionship, and most essentially, between what I already have and what I’ve yet to find.

So as a reminder to myself, and as an attempt to share these sentiments more poetically, here are some lyrics to a Grey Milk song that you’ve probably heard before if you’ve ever seen me play in a basement or on a street corner.

If no tomorrow comes from today
We watch the night fall and moonlight fade
Until only darkness and cold remains
I will not vanish, I will decay

Swallow the world in a breath of air
Exhale myself and now I am there
And I am here and I’m everywhere
I am the oxygen and I am the core
Of the world
Nothing more
Than of the world

I breathe in sunrise, I breathe out night
My lungs are blackened, my lungs are lighted
I breathe in oceans, I breathe out plains
My lungs are golden, my lungs are salted
And oh, I am whole

If I leave today, please don’t be afraid
I’ll be okay, things work out in ways
When I go away, I’ll come back some day
If not to your arms, then down with the rain

I’ve slept in the arms of these Eastern hills
For long enough now to realize the Sun
Sets in the West to rise in the East
And home is to me the whole in-between

Lo! I am home.



Public Comment?!

For a while now, we’ve been talking about a fee-and-dividend system (shortly to be explained) as the best public policy to combat climate change. We didn’t think it would get any real discussion in the media or in Washington. And yet, now, people are talking about plans that have significant fee-and-dividend elements! Wow!

Basically, fee-and-dividend is a price/tax on carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases where all the revenue goes back equally in checks to every American (or every citizen or everyone over a certain age). Through the tax/fee, administered as far upstream (near the point of initial extraction) as possible, it prices the true cost of fossil fuel usage into market prices, creating a market-based structure that incentivizes products and modes of production that pollute less. The dividend, or rebate, resembles Alaska’s oil fund dividend except that here the money comes from a program that helps the environment, rather than the profits reaped by harming it. The money ensures that people are able to deal with the increased costs that companies will certainly pass on in large part to consumers. Even better, because everyone gets the same dividend check, those corporations and individuals who pollute more than average will pay more tax than they get back, while the majority who pollutes less will actually get more back than they pay in. In this way, those who pollute more are essentially paying those who pollute less for destroying their planet, while creating a price-structure that incentivizes the transition to a sustainable economy overall. It’s quite beautiful.

Already this year, our favorite Senator, Bernie Sanders (Ind.-VT), and Sen. Boxer (Dem.-CA) have introduced a carbon price bill that would rebate 60% of the revenue as a dividend, use $300 billion over 10 years to pay down the deficit, and invest more in green technology research and development. We’d definitely prefer a pure, 100% rebate, but this bill would certainly be a great achievement with great potential to lessen the catastrophic impact of climate change. Now, a few Democratic representatives and senators have floated a similar idea and are ASKING FOR PUBLIC COMMENT. Please read this article¬†and write in with your opinions (before April 12!) to cutcarbon@mail.house.gov. The fight for this legislation is still like pushing a rock up a mesa, but it looks like Obama’s going to bother to give a nudge this year and the rock is slowly ascending, rather than crushing our bodies at mesa-base as it has done for the last four years.

This legislation will not pass without significant popular pressure. Extremely wealthy oil, coal, and gas companies will spend millions on advertisements and lobbyists to turn public opinion and politicians against carbon pricing. You can, for free, use your voice to talk to your fellow citizens, bedmates, family unit compatriots, corporate victims, and wonderful friends about the need for a carbon price. And you can write and call your representatives… and, because they are ultimately dependent on votes to keep their power, they actually sometimes listen to what their electorate wants! If you voted for them last time, you can tell them they need to support this to keep your vote. If you didn’t, tell them you might if they do the right thing here. If you won’t vote for them anyway, tell them you’ll volunteer for their opponent. That really scares ’em. Anyway, democracy is not a spectator sport, so let’s watch it a little less and do it a little more. I love you all.

– Adam (w/Jesse)

P.S. You can check out our podcast about carbon pricing here!

P.P.S. We’ve learned an awful lot about Arkansas and the profound implications of what we’ve witnessed in impoverished rural communities of the South. We’ll be sharing soon!