As I begin to train more seriously in preparation for next year’s 3,000-mile Great March for Climate Action, I am rediscovering the joys of walking. The weekly walks around Gray’s Lake with friends and fellow climate marchers have been a wonderful opportunity for “slow talk” – the mobile equivalent of a meal done “slow-food” style. I’ve also enjoyed walking as transportation, and the reminder that it doesn’t take that long to get from Sherman Hill to downtown Des Moines on foot.
Yesterday, I tried something new. A friend dropped me in Altoona for a 10.2 mile hike back to Des Moines. My legs will probably be sore for a couple days, but it was a wonderful experience in walking as meditation, a physical slow-down that gave my mind and spirit a chance to slow down as well.
Moving more slowly through the world yesterday allowed me to see things I would not have noticed otherwise, including (1) the challenges of how to walk on a busy rural road with no shoulder; (2) the many beautiful, shady alleys on Des Moines’ east side; (3) a young man playing Dixie on his fiddle; (4) the kid who asked me to throw a water balloon at him (I obliged); (5) a chorus of cicadas singing in the trees toward dusk; (6) the bells of St Paul’s Church; (7) and the powerful mural on the wall of the PACE building, which I’d never looked at closely because I’m always speeding by on my bike.
With the weekend of slow walking behind me, it’s time for a week of fast talking. Here’s a review of our program line-up . . . still a work in progress:
Monday, we ask who you would prefer as a role model for your kid: Governor Branstad, who continues to refuse to take any responsibility in SpeedGate, or fired DCI investigator Larry Hedlund, who paid the speeding fine of the trooper who was driving the Governor’s car at 84 mph last April. We meet Brandi Preul of the Iowa Youth Rugby Association. And we talk with Mary LaHay about the recent court decision overturning the animal torture conviction of a man who beat his puppy to death after the dog messed the floor.
Tuesday, we talk about Governor Branstad’s stated commitment “to make sure everybody is treated with respect and dignity,” and the reality of how he has responded to the atrocities at the Iowa Juvenile Home in Toledo. In this week’s A New Beat on Learning, we learn more about the Montessori program at Cowles School in Des Moines.
Wednesday, we talk with Adam Mason of Iowa CCI about the “Fix the Debt” campaign. We also provide some rebuttal to Bruce Rastetter’s opinion piece on his vision for the future of agriculture, i.e., big corporations controlling food production across the globe. We also talk with Julia Trigg Crawford, whose family farm in Texas is in the path of TransCanada’s pipeline. Construction there has already begun, and Julia writes: “It is maddening as I watch them tear up my place. They have had two armed guards at the site 24/7 since April, watching me and my property. They told me they were there ‘watching the equipment,’ but for nearly 3 weeks there was NO equipment, so obviously it was surveillance of me.”
Thursday, we talk about the unprecedented number of Americans who have lived for at least part of their lives in poverty. The data on America’s declining economic fortunes should be as clear as, well, the noses on our faces . . . or the evidence of climate change. We also talk with Dr. Richard Deming on the last day of the Million Dollar Marathon, as he phones us from the marathon’s finish on the Atlantic coast in Delaware.
Friday, we talk with Connie Ryan Terrell of the Interface Alliance of Iowa, getting her take on the Iowa Legislature’s education reform bill, and her perspective on the components of that bill that address homeschooling. We get an update on Saturday’s Big Latch On, an event to raise awareness of the importance of breastfeeding, and to move the general public toward greater acceptance of public breastfeeding. And in this week’s Climate Beat, we meet some of the people who have committed to marching across America next year with the Great March for Climate Action.
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