Facing Truth

by  Jonathan Woolson (bio follows)

These are our choices, that we choose to continue,

…and the results of our choices, that we make every day…


…and the fragmented limbs and bodies of South Sudanese, Syrian, Israeli, and Gazan children,

…and the Right of Return is ground into the pulverized dust of Palestine’s concrete and bricks,

…and the hungry multitudes left behind by the “free market”,

…and the energy-hungry multitudes of house lights and street lights and car lights crowding out the watchful stars,

…and the flailing façades of money-glutted “democracies”,

…and the bodies of children and non-combatants smashed, without apology, by U.S. remote drone strikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen, controlled by American pilots from faraway places like Buffalo NY,

…and the tentacled intrusions of permanent, totalitarian mass domestic and foreign spying and prying into everyone’s affairs, from janitors to Senators, all for our own protection, of course, Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

…and the brittle-dry boreal forests of northern Canada and Siberia flashing into ash and acrid smoke,

…and the stinking tar sands production facilities and holding ponds, stretching for thousands of industrialized, deforested hectares, crying toxic tears into the Athabasca River,

…and the drying, dying Californian fields struggling to find water to feed the ground, to feed the people,

…and the burning heart of the Daiichi reactor pouring its ionizing radioactivity into the quiet Pacific,

…and the return of ugly, long ago-repudiated fascisms to the governments of Nippon and Europa while it plants new choking roots in America and Canada,

…and the merciless meta-national corporations eating up the land, the people, the water, the sea, the sky,

…and the lies, manipulations, toxic agendas, and paper-thin propagandas pretending to be information, playacting the “the news”,

…and the aspirants of patriarchy in the U.S. Supreme Court and Congress, seeking to control and enslave sovereign female bodies,

…and the lifeless bleached reefs and acidifying ocean ecosystems,

…and the lifeless plastic soup of a throw-away culture, stirring slowly in Texas-sized gyres of garbage, mistaken for “food” by sea birds and fish,

…and the anaerobic dead zones of Gulfs and Oceans,

…and the endless sellout and theft of indigenous peoples’ lands for drilling and hydrofracking and death,

…and the U.S. Navy’s long range sonar tests which deafen and bludgeon the bodies of thousands of sentient cetaceans, our warmblood-brothers,

…and the bees fading unnaturally into a future natural history exhibit, slaughtered by neonicotinoids and greed,

…and the rotting containment barrels leaching plumes of Strontium 90 seeping through the packed clay toward the aquifers, toward the Cattaraugus Creek and into the Great Lakes of Erie and Ontario, down the Saint Lawrence into the World Ocean, because ALL WATER is connected,

…and the kilometer-wide patches of methane hydrates bubbling lazily up from ocean shelf, through an ever-warmer Arctic Ocean.

…and the glaciers cracking and washing and sliding ever-faster into the patient, rising ocean,

…and each new unconventionally hydrofracked and “accidentally” poisoned aquifer and stream continuing to leech its poisons into the bodies of uncounted generations of animals, plants, and humans, because ALL WATER is life, connected,

…and the human extinction-level limits we choose to race blindly past, smashing through each finite ecological tipping point,

…and the endless crashing waves of extinguished species, each winking out, forever,

…and the ever-present sting of cognitive dissonance each time I turn on a light, or get into a car, open the refrigerator, or start up the laptop,



…and allow ALL OF THIS to pour into my heart,

…almost, but not quite to breaking,

…learning to…

…let go of anger,

…let go of grief,

…let go of blame,

…let go of guilt,

…let go of shame,

…let go of denial,

…let go of fear,

…and remember to breathe,

…transform this weight,

…with love,

…with gratitude,

…within each sheltered moment of precious stability,


…before the oncoming storm,

…which promises to smash everything in its path,

…and listen to the echoing, pounding urgency of this planetary transition,

…utterly still,

…in this dark truthful moment,

…listening, while Great Mother shifts through our wrenching, improbable birth to Another Way of Being.

…and implore, “What can I do to help? Where do we start?”




“The trouble is that once you see it, you can’t unsee it. And once you’ve seen it, keeping quiet, saying nothing, becomes as political an act as speaking out. There’s no innocence. Either way, you’re accountable.”


— Arundhati Roy, Power Politics (2001) South End Press, page 7



Jonathan Woolson serves as the university webmaster for the State University of New York at Fredonia. An open source culture advocate, Jonathan has been known to dance with with Nahko and Medicine for the People fans, groove to the Hungry March Band musicians & street dancers, and to keep some occasional company with straight edge punks, Upstate Occupiers, Quakers (Friends), Unitarian Universalists, Greenpeace hippies, Deep Green resisters, Red Earth Women’s Alliance marchers, U.N. People’s Climate activists, Nuke-Free Cattaraugus Creek water walkers, lovely acupuncturists, tons of awesome kids, serious professors & teachers and other ne’er-do-wells and assorted riff raff. Read more here.


McPherson was interviewed by Coral Reef for Radio Free Santa Cruz on 26 September 2014. Listen here.


McPherson was among the panelists for a local television show in Santa Cruz, California the night of 28 September 2014. The result is embedded below.

Comments 108

  • although Jeff has his disagreements with me about something I’m in complete agreement with him on his statement that “A tiny share of the populace is doing the vast majority of the consumption which is destroying the planet.”

    ..and the enclosures, capitalism, private land ownership, and it’s re-branded face by billionaires, called ‘libertarian’..

    – liberty to destroy the common good for personal gain

    capitalism by any other name..

  • Why is there never any discussion on the element of ever-increasing human population?

    Because quite a few NBL blog participants have two or more offspring and don’t wanna go there.

  • It’s taken me 51 years to actually understand a very simple concept, but it’s been really helpful!

    There are people who base their lives on logic. They may feel things deeply, they may be very physical people, and they may not always act on logic even when they know it, but their core belief is that things need to make sense. They experience guilt and discomfort. They don’t like it, but they own it when it happens. If they suffer from cognitive dissonance, it’s a soul wrenching thing for them; knowing one thing as true and being forced to express something else is torture.

    And there are people who do not operate this way. Whether they are damaged and afraid, or unable to understand logic, or just unflappably confident in their own intuitive wisdom, their most basic need is not that things make sense, it’s that their concept makes them feel good, safe, secure. Cognitive dissonance is on a much deeper level, they just compartmentalize until anxiety-producing idea combinations never come in contact with each other.

    And the people of Planet Logic don’t get that. We get infuriated, most especially when it’s clear that a person from Planet Denial isn’t stupid, and yet, and yet they, they … aaaaargh! How can they SAY that?

    I can’t say I respect the people of PD, but being able to identify someone as being from there, and say oh, I get it, they’re from PD, instead of blowing up in amazed frustration every time I come across another denier or apocal-optimist (love that, sorry I can’t credit the author) has brought me some peace. After all, we’re all going down, if the orchestra wants to play while the Titanic sinks, I’m not going to sweat it.

  • Ogardener,
    I recently became aware that David Suzuki had 4 or more children.IIncredible.
    A life spent explaining biology and writing books lamenting the human impact on the Earth,then that.

  • @ david higham

    I forget the details, but I read a piece on Suzuki a long time ago, he seemed to be the typical fraud, with several large houses, staff, tv contracts, he’s a whole corporation in his own right, selling his product, which is pretty much greenwash and hype at the right price.

  • .
    Learn to be satisfied living an unsatisfactory life. Learn to desire what you already have.
    Just sittin’ on this runaway train, staring out the window, with a cat on my lap.
    The Voluntary Extinction Movement
    Thou shalt not procreate.
    The Church of Euthanasia
    Save the planet, kill yourself.

  • @ ulg:


    There are numerous ways to obtain enough stick fuel to run an RMH in most climates.

    I have built two of them. One in a Mongolian buddhist nunnery and one in my residence.