02 February, 2010

Tony Dungy's book

This was my monthly article for the parish newsletter in September of '08. Forgot to post it here, and it seems timely given the Colts are playing this Sunday.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

As we head back into the school year and the beginning of football season, this month’s margin smudges are in the pages of some light reading appropriate for this time of year: Quiet Faith: The Principles, Practices, and Priorities of a Winning Life by Tony Dungy and Nathan Whitaker.

As you football fans know, Tony Dungy is the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts and the winning coach in Super Bowl XLI. It’s also well known that he is a Christian; he is not bashful about talking about his faith and is willing to use the publicity that an NFL coach receives to do that in all manner of venues. The book was a big hit when it was published last year, and many of you may have read it already.

The book is the memoir of a football coach, so there is a certain amount of football involved, but it’s not a book about football. Instead, it is a book about faith. He talks with frank honesty about his struggles early on in the league, his questioning whether he is doing God’s will in his life, and his struggles about whether or not to continue coaching. His son James committed suicide toward the end of the season in 2005; he spends a whole chapter talking about the grieving process, even including the things he said when he spoke at his son’s funeral.

Here are just a couple of quotations:

“I had always said that trusting in the Lord was the answer. Now, facing my own tragedy, I knew I needed to accept the truth that God’s love and power were sufficient. If I really believed it, I needed to use this personal and painful time to validate that belief. God would work for the good of those who love Him, even if we didn’t understand how He was going to do it.”

“I didn’t want to be an icon. I wanted to provide hope. I wanted my experience to open people’s eyes to the opportunities available to all of us. Not necessarily just opportunities in football…but any opportunity to knock down the walls that divide us. That’s how God wants it to be.”

There’s a reason this book was a #1 bestseller, and it’s not because a bunch of football fans bought it. It’s worth your time to read, and your faith will be strengthened by it. As always, you can borrow my copy—it’s on the shelf in my study.

11 December, 2009

More thoughts on college football

I wondered out loud at this time last year if this would be the year I quit caring about college football.

Turns out I was right.

It's funny, now that Texas is scheduled to play for the (deliberate quotes here) "national championship," and Colt McCoy is once again a finalist for the Heisman, and I should theoretically be on the edge of my seat with anticipation, or on top of the world, I just find it hard to work up the emotional energy.

Several things contribute to this for me. At least one part is that I've moved to a small town in deep south Texas, where they root enthusiastically for the local college team, but it's a division II school, without all of the hype and media coverage that follows most major-college programs.

And I got to know some of the players, and the coach. They came to church together this year, during "fall camp" before the start of the season. So I got a chance to preach to them, and later lead pre-game devotions for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, which was most of the team. When they came to worship, many came up to the altar rail during communion to ask for a blessing, so I literally laid hands on... oh, I didn't count, but I'm guessing about two-thirds of the team, and asked for God's blessing and protection on each one.

Watching them play this year reminded me of my freshman year in college, when I shared a suite with four guys on the team. Made watching the game a completely different experience. I'd frequently watch a play and ask the guy next to me what happened--I might not even notice the tackle at the end, because the whole time I was watching my friend Richard, who played center, pancake-block his man... or I was focused in on Joey, or Jason, or Joel.

Watching the Javelinas was like that this year. Okay, maybe we didn't make the first down and we have to punt, but Markeith made his block, did you see that?

But a big part was that last season's ending soured me on major-college football. So let's just be honest about some things.

First, major college football is an entertainment industry. The players are, depending on how you define it, professional entertainers. They might not get paid directly, but the players get scholarships and make connections which will help them financially in their future careers, even if they don't play professional ball in any future league. They're compensated. The pricing of tickets and licensing of apparel and broadcasting rights is not driven by what you need to break even, like in small programs, it's driven by what the market will bear.

Second, let's just call it what it is. The BCS is not a playoff. It's a cartel.

(go look up the definition, and then tell me you disagree with me. Go on, look it up. I'll wait.)

Last year was a mess. Nine teams with a reasonable argument that they should be playing for the crystal football. This year was almost worse. Six teams finished the regular season undefeated. (Alabama, Florida, Texas, Boise State, Cincinnati, and TCU).

I think my poster child for why the BCS is broken is Boise State. They have the most legitimate gripe, in my opinion. The Broncos have run the table, gone undefeated in the regular season, three out of the last four years. I don't care what conference you play in, that's ridiculously hard to do. They got into the BCS once before, and beat Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl. Remember the Statue of Liberty play and the guy who scored the winning points proposing to his cheerleader girlfriend?

And after all that, there was not any serious conversation about having the Broncos play for the crystal football this year. (Why the hell not?) Instead, the BCS cartel made the cowardly move of having the "outsiders" play each other. What's that about....?


Boise State is in a "non-BCS conference," i.e., not a part of the cartel, which is not driven by trying to create a champion, or athletic success, or fair competition. It's driven by making money. The rules are that #1 and #2 (according to a bizarre and arcane ranking system) play each other, and then each bowl chooses teams from those available (with certain limitations) that make the most sense (i.e., most money) for each one. Boise Sate and TCU are outsiders. Small-market outsiders. How many people live in Boise, Idaho?

And since I included the Heisman in this ranting last year, I might as well include it this year.

As long as we're calling things what they are, we have to quit calling the Heisman the award for "the best player in college football." You might, at best, call it the award for "the best quarterback or running back who plays for a team that finishes in the top 5 in the AP poll."

What made me give up on the Heisman this year was the end-of-year reporting. Sure, I know writers gotta write and talking heads gotta talk, and part of their job is to stir up controversy. And since it's been clear for about a month now that (barring any major upset) it was probably going to be Florida or Alabama vs. Texas on January 7th, the pot-stirring has been more about the funny statue than the "championship game." (again, deliberate quotes)

I will admit to a little bias, but I also honestly think Colt McCoy is the best player in college football. Just one stat: 45 career victories, an NCAA record. Oh, the others are outstanding players too.

After thanksgiving night, the overwhelming consensus in the media was that he had it sewn up. But there was still one game to play. If Colt does not win because in the last game before the voting deadline, he had a rough night against one of the ten best defenses in the country... then let's rename it to the award for "the best quarterback or running back who plays for a team that finishes in the top 5 in the AP poll and has a good game the last week of the season."

* * * * *

For the record, the TAMUK Javelinas made the playoffs. You know, playoffs? With college-student players, who manage to find a way to do it every year in division II and also take finals? Yeah, they lost in the first round. An amazing game, lost because the opposing team made a 64-yard field goal as time expired. (I saw it with my own two eyes and still didn't believe it.) I'm still proud of them for a good season.

Lost fair and square. The way Boise State should have a chance to do.

out of hibernation?

A recent request by our diocesan communications department to link to various bloggers in the diocese made me realize that it's been almost a year since I wrote anything.

I started this blog in September, 2005, just two months after I began a new phase of life, employed as clergy and working as a congregational pastor. The first line of the first post was "hello, world," ironic when you consider the recent frenzy surrounding Tiger's life.

The thing that pushed me over into the blogisphere was that I was already publishing things on the internet. I was required, at my former parish, to write a monthly column for the printed newsletter. It was already published (deep down in the church's horrible web page, but out there nonetheless). And people started asking for copies of my sermons, and I learned as an airport consultant that once something leaves your hand, it should be treated as public knowledge.

So I figured, if I'm already publishing, I might as well write a blog. My rule was that I would post any newsletter article that might vaguely be interesting outside the parish, and any sermon that someone asked for a copy of. And to those entries I would add various other essays.
[side moment of true confession--there were a couple of people who asked for copies of sermons, and I thought it was not because they wanted to read it again for their own spiritual growth, but because I had said something controversial that had upset them... and I was afraid of them trying to use my words against me, so I lied (just a couple of times) and said that I hadn't written out a full manuscript.]

Over the last four years, several things have happened.
* My old friend Meeegan and new friend Tripp got me writing about the book Sabbath, which was a whole series in itself.
* My friend Gordon, aka Real Live Preacher, encouraged me to write and got me in on the ground floor of a network of bloggers for the Christian Century.
* We had a child, which completely sucked my brain clean of the ability to sit and write coherently for several months.
* I started thinking about who was reading, which led me to shut up where others were speaking up. You can read about that here:
* I finally got on Facebook, which changed the way I stay in touch with some friends. I still check my regular list of blogs, and wider church news, as has been my habit every Monday morning for 15 years. I'm not the only one who has slowed or ceased blogging when they found a new way to connect... the list of blogs I read regularly gets smaller and smaller as people quit writing.

But the biggest reason is that I'm at a new parish now, and they are not exactly technologically sophisticated. Note: that doesn't mean stupid, or ignorant. I have at least seven university professors and a dean in my congregation, and I'm working on the president. We just communicate differently. The patriarch of the congregation, a man universally loved in this little town, told me once he checks his email once a month, whether it needs it or not.
Yes, we have a parish newsletter, but (and there's layers of meaning in this) it is physically cut-and-pasted together by our editor. My articles for it tend to be announcements of upcoming events, giving detail, rather than meditations, or something else useful or interesting outside of Kingsville. (side note: Peter Gomes said once in my hearing "sermon-ettes make Christian-ettes," and I agree wholeheartedly. I absolutely despise trite little front-page newsletter offerings. I've tried for five years to learn to say something spiritually meaningful in three hundred words or less, and I can't do it. Maybe I need to take up poetry like my friend Gil...)

And not one time in a year have I been asked for a copy of a sermon. Either my sermons suck now, or people just don't ask. Not sure I want to know which is true.

In eleven months of living in Kingsville, I think I have six facebook friends in town--only four from the congregation, and they never contact me or post anything on their own facebook accounts.

(plus it's been a hectic year in a lot of ways.)

At the end of the day (one of my favorite phrases), I'm not sure who's reading this any more, and the original reason for writing the blog has gone away.

I still publish, and occasionally it's something useful outside of Kingsville. So there will be more posts to come--maybe as soon as later today. But if you're still reading... don't hold your breath in between.

17 December, 2008

non-spiritual ranting: and the Oscar goes to...

When I was a kid, I used to enjoy watching the Oscars. The Academy Awards show, I guess it’s actually called. I liked seeing all the people from the movies dressed up in street clothes, and trying to remember which movie I had seen them in. I remember Johnny Carson was the host a few times, and he was so classy about his presentation, and I loved getting to see him because normally I didn’t get to stay up late enough to watch his show.

Then there was the presentation of the awards themselves. Just like today, there would be little clips from the movies that had been nominated, and then that moment of tension while the envelope was opened: “and the winner is…”

Somewhere along the way, the presenters were instructed to say something different. Instead of announcing a winner, they were told to say “and the Oscar goes to…” I didn’t notice at first, until one actor brought it up in his acceptance speech, acknowledging all the other nominees and saying that he couldn’t believe he had won if they were also nominated.

* * * * * * * * * *

Do you want to know the best movie of 2005? Hands down? Absolutely no contest?


I’ll just say this: if you’ve never seen it, go rent it. Better yet, go buy it, because you’re going to want to keep it. And then get the DVDs of Firefly, which was its TV predecessor. Or come borrow mine. But you have to give it back, because it’s easily on my top 10 list of movies I’ve ever seen.

It may even be the best science fiction movie ever made.

It crosses genres (western meets science fiction), it tells a story of deep and meaningful relationships between people, and what they do and sacrifice for each other. It’s a story about society, and about the nature of the self. Every single one of the characters (okay, maybe not Jayne) is deeply written enough that you could spend hours talking about just that character. The acting is superb. It’s funny, not as in staged gags and humor, but as in the way that people really laugh with each other. It’s sexy in parts, but there is no blatant why-is-this-in-here sex scene. There are tears for the cast and probably for the audience. There are moments of shocking revelation. There’s action and violence, but not the kind of action that takes over the plot of the story.

Okay, enough waxing rhapsodic.

I’ll bet you a nickel you can’t name the “best picture” Oscar winner that year, even though it was just a couple of years ago. [short interlude while the music plays and gives you time to think]

It was a film called Crash, which was a heavy-handed, slap-you-in-the-face-with-the-point movie about racism and the ‘gritty reality’ of urban life. The other nominees included… Munich, a violent, nasty film about terrorism and the horror surrounding it on all sides, Capote, a film about a tortured homosexual writer falling in love with a man who is on death row for the murder of an entire family, and, please God let me forget this movie, Brokeback Mountain, which I’m not going to dignify with any further comment. (you all who are mortally offended at this point because I’ve criticized your favorite movie ever, take a deep breath. The point is that they’re all dark, depressing, twisted films)

It was a growing-up moment for me when I realized that the Oscar didn’t go to the best actor, film, or song, it went to the one that got the most votes from the members of the academy. And there’s sometimes a vast difference between the two. But we shouldn't really blame the Academy. Every community rewards those who affirm their image of themselves, and the Oscars exist for the purpose of self-congratulation.

And you know what? I hardly watch the Oscars any more. We record it every year, and I sometimes fast-forward to see the acceptance speeches for the big awards, but at the end of the day I really just don’t care what “the academy” thinks.

* * * * * * * *

Well, I’ve had another one of those who’s-the-best growing-up moments this year, in an entirely different arena: college football.

I frankly think there’s something seriously wrong with the inflation of college sports into a farm system for professional sports. I’ve already ranted on that elsewhere.

But if you’re going to play a competitive game, and have a ranking system, then you should have a champion at the end of the season. That’s just logical. Every other sport at every other level does this—except Division I football. I’ve never liked the BCS, not since the beginning. But this year is worse than usual.

There are nine teams (twelve, if you count the teams with two losses) whose players, coaches, and fans have a legitimate, reasonable argument to say that their team is the best in college football. Nine. Boise State, Penn State, Texas Tech, Utah, USC, Florida, Alabama, Oklahoma, and Texas all could play in the last game of the season and say they deserved to be there. On January 8th, some announcer will hand the coach (probably Bob Stoops) the crystal football, and seven other teams will watch and say, “nice game, but we could have beaten those guys.” (Texas players will say, “we DID beat those guys.”)

And for me, it’s going to be one of those moments like when they hand out the Oscars. “and the crystal football goes to…” Well, that’s nice and all, but they’re not the best team. They’re one of the teams that got enough votes to get into the last game of the year.

And who are the voters? Sportswriters, who are supposed to be neutral, but everyone knows are biased toward the teams they cover and the teams that make news. Boise State doesn’t get any love from this crowd, not even after a couple of spectacular seasons. How many readers are in Boise? And then there’s the coaches’ poll. Does anybody seriously think that coaches of major college football programs are actually watching a whole lot of other teams play and making unbiased, informed votes? I bet Mike Leach probably watches a whole lot of game film, but not a whole lot of Florida Gators game film, seeing as how Texas Tech doesn’t play them very often. So they have to listen to the news same as the rest of us, and see the highlights and the scoreboard.

Which leads to another abomination in this process. Thanksgiving weekend, there were three big games played. Florida-Alabama, Texas-Texas A&M, and Oklahoma-Oklahoma State. All with big implications for the last game of the year. And the announcers and commentators were talking about not just wins, but “style points.”

Style points? Excuse me? What is this, figure skating?

* * * * * * *

To put another face on this, let’s go to the perspective of an almost unknown person, a woman named Debra, who lives in a tiny, one-stop-sign-no-Dairy-Queen town in the Texas panhandle, which means, in case you’ve never been there, that this woman lives in the middle of nowhere. Her husband is the local football coach, which, let’s just acknowledge, can’t be an easy life. Her kids, of course, are football players. They’re also good students, and attend church regularly, and volunteer in the community.

So one of her kids (Daniel) grows up and gets ready to move away, and he’s recruited to play football at a big school that’s hours and hours away from her home by car. A school that plays big-time college football, where the defensive linemen weigh well over three hundred pounds and can bench-press the team bus and rip phone books in half. Her son plays quarterback, but this school already has one—maybe the most gifted athlete the school has ever had at the position in a hundred years.

So your son sits on the sidelines for a year, and never gets in the game, and that’s okay, because you don’t want him to get killed. But then the amazing athlete leaves school to go play football on Sundays and your kid gets to play, and sure enough, he gets hurt. Hurt bad enough that they take him to the hospital in an ambulance while the game is still going on.

But your kid is tough, and he does his rehab and lift weights and drinks milkshakes and gains weight and goes back out there for another season. And gets hurt again, this time bad enough that for a while the doctors are afraid he might not be able to walk again. Would you let your son go back for a third season?

Well, unbelieveably, she does, and the third year the kid has finally started to really fill out, and he has a good season. A really good season. In fact, people start talking about giving him that funny-looking famous trophy for being the best football player in the country. How would that feel? From wondering if your son is going to walk again to winning the prize for best player in the country in one year?

Well, I’m sorry, dear readers. Daniel “Colt” McCoy did not win the Heisman this year. Why? Because the award is granted by voters, and his team will not be playing in the last game of the season.

Earlier this year, Texas Tech beat Texas, by one play. Michael Crabtree made a great athletic catch and struggled into the end zone. Two guys had a shot at him, and neither one made the tackle. If either one of those guys makes the tackle, we’re not even having this conversation. (if any one of five different plays gets made over the course of the game, the same is true) Instead, Texas is undefeated, all the press coverage is on them, and the debate is about who gets to play them in the last game… and Colt McCoy probably wins the Heisman easily. You know it’s true.

You could make a similar argument for the other two finalists, or for Graham Harrell. If their team had gone undefeated, they get far more attention, they get to wear the mantle of “quarterback of the undisputed #1 team in the country,” and they probably win the Heisman. But it’s more bitter for Colt McCoy, because they lost by one play. One defensive play. One defensive play in October is the difference maker in deciding who is the best quarterback in the country? And how on earth to you explain this rationally to Daniel’s mother? Good luck.

* * * * * * *

Okay, I know, I’m ranting.

What I’m wondering is, will I look back on this as the year I quit liking college football?

14 October, 2008

Spam and Eggs

Happy Schereschewsky day, everyone!

It's the feast day of this blog's patron saint, Samuel Isaac Joseph Schereschewsky. I intended to write something commemorating the day. You know, use a few words to honor the man of many words.

And then, instead, I sent a LOT of words. Spam happened. And it's my fault. I clicked the wrong button.

As far as I can tell, an email has been sent to every person in my address book telling them to check out my facebook page and asking them to sign up for an account. (yes, I do have a facebook page. I'm late to the whole facebook party, but finally got there. That's another story for another day.)

Then I tried to send a "sorry, please disregard earlier email" message, but my email program wouldn't let me, saying that I had exceeded the maximum number of messages in an hour. As if I was a spammer... oh, wait, I guess I am.

My whole freakin' address book. It includes three quarters of the active members of my current congregation, about a hundred core leaders from other congregations I've served in and still keep in touch with, at least three ex-girlfriends (don't ask), all of the clergy of West Texas, three judges, fifteen or twenty bishops (one of them a primate), my Senators and Congressman... Ah, crap.

Right. I'm a spammer. And I have egg on my face. (Spam and eggs, get it?)

I'm going home to hide in the closet.

26 September, 2008

two thousand feet of rock--finished!!!

(This post has been overdue since March. Better late than never)

It took a lot of work, but... we have a labyrinth!

Here's how it started: with an empty field.

We staked out the widths of the paths with string and flags, and asked the congregation to come put a rock next to one of the flags. People of all ages helped, with rocks big and small.

Eventually, we called a couple of work days. People brought pickup trucks, and we were able to place several loads each day.

At the beginning of the process, the rector placed the initial stone on the altar in our worship space. When we finished the labyrinth, it went in the center.

It's a big labyrinth...

Come walk with us!

25 September, 2008

The Mathematics of Inevitability

Sometimes, it really sucks being trained as an engineer.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Two weeks ago Tuesday afternoon, I was packing to go to a conference in Corpus Christi, Texas. Then we got the word that the conference was postponed because of in impending hurricane. By Wednesday evening, the projections said that Ike would be directly overhead of us here in San Antonio on Sunday morning, as a category 1 or 2 hurricane.

I sent an email to my congregation, warning them of the possibility of a hurricane (just in case someone wasn't listening to the news), and telling them to use their common sense on whether or not they should try to get here for worship on Sunday. I planned out a couple of alternate routes for myself for Sunday morning (the two most obvious ways to get from my house to the church campus have streets that flood).

We weren't alone--events got cancelled all over San Antonio. Kids' activities, high school football... and the Texas Longhorns rescheduled a football game in Austin. Now there's a sign that the world just might be coming to an end.

On Sunday morning, Ike was... over five hundred miles away. In Missouri, for crying out loud.

The very best minds we have, using the most sophisticated computer modeling we have, missed their guess by five hundred miles. Some things we still don't know how to predict, or else are inherently unpredictable.

And then there are other things, whose behavior we know very well how to predict. And that's why it sucks sometimes to be an engineer.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Engineers, you see, are trained to understand the way the world works, and to make it a better place. I studied with Phil Bedient, and I know that hydrology is a fascinating and complicated discipline, but if you over-over-simplify, this is true:


V=Volume of water
R=rate of rainfall
I is a coefficient for the percentage of the impervious surface of the land, from 0 to 100%
T=time of rainfall
A=area on which the rain falls

Just for fun, I've used this basic formula (yes, I'm a nerd) to calculate the rate of rainfall, based on the amount of time it takes to fill up a trash can with the runoff from the roof of my house.

Applying to the impending hurricane:

Houston, my friends, is a great big place. It's flat as a pancake, with a huge portion of it paved over or developed. By late Thursday evening, our best guess had changed, and a storm five hundred miles wide was heading for the city, where it was about to rain very, very hard.

And the engineer part of my brain said: It's going to flood, and at least a few people are going to die. The only question is where, and how much.

I've also studied roadway design and traffic flow, and even if there's not such an overly simple equation to show you, I know that if you made every highway single-direction flow out of town, and somehow got the residents of the city to move with military precision, with no breakdowns or accidents, you still couldn't evacuate four million people in less than two days, even if you wanted to.

Which meant that when the mayor of Houston (or the disaster response people) said that they were "taking a calculated risk" when they only ordered the evacuation of certain portions of the city, that's true, but it's only partially true. The other side of it is that they know that they can't evacuate the city that fast, and people with pretty good models for runoff and floods (like the aforementioned professor) know where it's going to flood first, so they move those people first.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Seven years ago this September, I remember having a similar moment about an impending disaster. I didn't see the first plane hit the world trade center, and I was hoping it was a particularly horrible accident. But when the second plane hit, I was sitting on my friend Brian's couch watching it on TV, and it was clear that this was deliberate.

I was stunned for a few minutes, wondering how on earth, and who... and then I started thinking about what was going on. Suddenly, the part of my brain that studied high-rise building design jumped over and overlaid itself on the part of my brain that had been an airport consultant for a few years, and I knew--I knew--that the towers were coming down.

I stared at the wall, and saw in my imagination the curves from the steel construction handbook that describe the strength of steel as a function of temperature. I saw, dancing before my eyes, the homework I had done in high-rise design and in structural stability class. And I turned to Brian and said, "Oh, God, they're gonna collapse."

It's just the mathematics of inevitability.

(by the way, it's not that I'm a particularly good or smart engineer. I'm certain that every one of my classmates came to the same conclusion, wherever they were scattered around the country, only they got there faster than I did)

I got up to call my only friend who worked in the World Trade Center, and got as far as picking up the phone, before realizing that he's pretty smart guy, and was (if he was even in the office that day) already on his way out of the building. I put the phone back down, and went and sat back down on the couch, and waited for the horrible scene I knew was coming.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

When a city floods, whose fault is it?

You can't blame the hurricane. It didn't decide to turn North, it just happened.

You can't really blame the city engineers, either. They designed a bayou system for Houston that will handle some tremendous storms. If I remember right, Braes Bayou is designed for the five-hundred year storm. (That means a storm of such intensity that it occurs, on average, once every five hundred years) But it was designed for a five-hundred-year storm in the city in which it was built... and Houston kept growing. Several years later, the runoff from all that extra pavement still flows downhill (such as that is in Houston), and it gets to the creeks and ditches and bayous as intended, but there's more of it than there used to be.

So who's to blame now? Should we tell Mrs. Martinez on the west side of the city that she is not allowed, after all, to realize her dream of owning a house in America? Should we forbid St. Martin's from constructing their enormous new worship space? Make the members of Second Baptist Church park on the grass rather than paving over a parking lot the size of Massachusetts?

Even if maybe we should say some of those kinds of things, we probably won't..because this is basically a free country, and people are going to do what they're going to do. There are laws in place in many inhabited areas that require new construction to be offset by the creation of retention ponds, which makes me feel a little better. But there are plenty of good people who find ways around those laws, or who ignore them because constructing the water retention areas are sometimes expensive.

It's old news by now, but I guess we have to keep saying it. We must recognize that our lives are interconnected. What I do matters.

We breathe the same air, we share the same water supply. When I cut down a tree, we all have a tiny bit less oxygen to breathe. And when I pave over the land, there are people (literally) downstream who are affected.