Arab Spring Brings New Growth

BOSTON — The dust is still settling from the ongoing restructuring of the Middle East known as the Arab Spring. What started with the self-immolation of Tunisian street vendor Mohamed Bouazizi in 2011 has tapped a well of civil disobedience that has trickled throughout North Africa and the Middle East for nearly a decade.

In Egypt, the protests led to the ouster of then President Hosni Mubarak. His nearly thirty year rule came to an end after eighteen days of sustained demonstrations, both in the streets and online. In the upheaval since, Mubarak’s successor and Egypt’s first democratically elected president, Mohamed Morsi, was replaced after a term of just a year, in a coup d’état led by the military general Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

While comprehensive death tolls have been difficult to tabulate; over eight-hundred civilians were killed and six-thousand injured in the eighteen days between the start of the protests and Mubarak’s ouster and conservative estimates place the death toll at over eight-hundred on just one day in 2013 during the Rabaa massacre by Egyptian security forces led by el-Sisi. The protestors, the people of Egypt at large, who have catalyzed the political upheaval in Egypt have also channelled their energies into alternative methods of civic engagement.

Amin Marei, a native Egyptian and a current Teaching Fellow at Harvard and the Associate Director for Professional Education for the Harvard Graduate School of Education, actively participated in the the Arab Spring by co-founding Mashroo3 Kheir (The Good Deed Project). I interviewed him to get his perspective on the Arab Spring, and what has happened since its first peak.

Wakanene Sebastian Kamau:   What motivated you to participate in the Arab Spring? What was your thought process behind starting Mashroo3 Kheir?

Amin Marei: For me, it was an opportunity to eradicate corruption in the country and to achieve social justice, freedom of expression and equity.The thought process behind Mashroo3 Kheir, which translates to (the Good Deed Project) was to capitalize on all the energy that was clearly present during the Arab Spring and try to channel it towards civic engagement and community development. The theory of action as, that if we provide the youth with opportunities to learn more about their communities and positively influence their society, then they can be actively engaged citizens who are able to tackle the challenges of their communities.  

WSK:  How would you describe the mission of Mashroo3 Kheir in your own words?A

M: To provide the youth with an opportunity to develop themselves while working with fellow citizens and learning from them.

WSK:  What were some of the successes/challenges in maintaining the growth of Mashroo3 Kheir?

AM: The successes include supporting the development of hundreds of volunteers who have been the part of Mashroo3 Kheir many of whom have become active members in their own communities. I hope that another success is supporting fellow members of the community in a thoughtful way. The challenges include navigating our way through complex laws and regulations. They also include working with volunteers, which has an element of unpredictability that makes it hard to sustain the work.  The other challenge is how to support other members within your community without being condescending or making them feel that you’re better than them. This is a real challenge in Egypt, and in the Middle East where classicism is a serious issue.

WSK: How involved are you in post-peak Arab spring activism?AM: I’m involved in projects that I would like to believe are related to activism, not necessarily in the traditional sense. Through my work at Harvard, I support the learning of phenomenal educators all over the Middle East. I also do my best to be as supportive as I can be to any person who is interested to support others within his/her community.

WSK: How involved you with activism in Egypt now that you are abroad?

AM: Again it depends on the definition, I’m definitely less involved since I’ve been living abroad for some time, but I do my best to stay connected and to support anyone who asks for my support.

4HR Story: Ansel Adams in the 21st Century

Does Ansel Adams need another retrospective? As perhaps our country’s most well-known landscape photographer, his expansive, cathedral-like depictions of the American West are as culturally ubiquitous as today as they have been in the thirty-five years since this passing. From the default desktop images on our computer operating systems to the stock photos on new picture frames, Ansel Adams, much like the mountains in his work, cast a long shadow.

Ansel Adams in Our Time, on display at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, takes on this implicit challenge by orienting the artist to be seen ‘through a contemporary lens.’ The show creates a visual bibliography of the artists work and situates it in the legacy of the government surveyors-photographers who came before him, and a range of contemporary photographers who have come after. At nearly 200-pieces, over 100 of which are his own, the exhibition has room to show the artist at his most iconic, “Clearing Winter Storm” and “Monolith, the Face of Half Dome”, while also including his lesser-known works from San Francisco.

The exhibition starts in a dim, verdant green gallery with prints arranged in no-frill rows. The orderly queue which forms as soon as one turns into the room, coupled with the low hum of bodies shuffling forward, create an atmosphere, not unlike a popular hike on a busy day. The most well-known prints are shown early and serve as cairns — they affirm the popular conception of Adams’ work and, when they peter out, signify that what lies beyond is outside the well-worn path. On the wall opposite the celebrity prints, contemporary artist Sharon Harper’s series of full-colour lichen-covered boulders serve as a counterbalance to the otherwise severe tone of the gallery. While the didactic texts adjoining Harper’s series explains that the style and inclusion of the lichen boulders are due to their treatment as “specimens in a 19th-century natural history museum”  the linkage feels tenuous and otherwise incongruous with the rest of gallery. This mismatch is an example of where the ambitious prospect of making Ansel Adams feel fresh, falls short.

To pick a guiding narrative for the show, the pieces exhibited underscore that ‘nature’ and its cousin ‘wilderness’ exist as concepts of our design; our politics and our aesthetics slant how we depict of them. This works best when different artists photograph the same site. This is done, by my count, twice, once with a juxtaposition of Adams with Carleton Watkins and once with Adams and English photographer Eadweard J. Muybridge. In both instances, Adams is shooting after the elder photographer and, in both instances, Adams’ version carefully removes signs of logging roads. To what end is Adams hoping to achieve with his edits? As a vocal political supporter of the parks, is his decision to show them as they could be instead of as they are to be read as a wishful thinking or a way to inspire others to value them? Or does he just think they look better without the signs of human influence?

Furthermore, What does this all say about the American West today? While we have more parks (there are now 61 national parks in the United States) we are still negotiating land rights, regularly deal with drought, and continue to exploit natural resources. From the lens of the collection of contemporary artists saved for the final room, the time for aesthetic retouchings of the West is over. The political, economic, and environmental stakes are too are simply too high to be ignored. Stephen Tourlentes captures the eerie light from a remote Colorado Super Max prison at night, a reminder that mass incarceration is perhaps an even more insidious issue when it is intentionally placed out-of-sight. The harsh fiscal and environmental realities of the desert are  portrayed by Bryan Schumaat using a modern ghost town-turned-dump and Victoria Sambunaris’ rich birds-eye view of Wendover, Utah, a city on the edge of the desert and mountain range. Mitch Epstein’s ‘Altamont Pass Wind Farm, California’ points out the absurdity of the underlying motivations in our society that cause us to develop and maintain a golf course in the desert, next to a wind farm. These photographs are deeply emotional, their resonance to our day and age should have warranted greater emphasis in the exhibit. Ansel Adams captured the zeitgeist of the West during his time. While he doesn’t map cleanly to ours, the broad themes run current today.

Tess Rothstein & People Protected’s Protest

Early last Friday, a sunny morning, a truck fatally struck Tess Rothstein on Howard Street in San Francisco on her commute to work. A bystander who witnessed the event explained that as Rothstein rode along the parallel-parked cars along the strip, a door opens unexpectedly. As she dodges the car door, she swerved into the truck’s path. Within two hours, a group gathered in memoriam and in advocacy.

Any city cyclist knows the dangers that come along with cycling when they feel the first multi-ton bus fly by and test their balance. But in San Francisco, crashes are prevalent and can be deadly. Howard Street alone, in the blocks without protected bike lanes, has claimed 8 lives.


Outraged, San Francisco cyclists have formed advocacy groups. One of the most successful, People Protected, just two months before this crash celebrated a major win illustrated in newly opened protected bike lanes on Valencia and Howard Street. With the victory of that project, bike lanes started on 6th street. Rothstein was struck only two blocks before, on 4th.

Within two hours, People Protected gathered at the spot of Rothstein’s death in memoriam of her life and in protest to be sure she did not “die in vain.”

Protestors lined up a few feet from the parallel parked cars. With cars whizzing by, these advocates acted as human barriers between cyclists and the vehicles of the busy street. The group gathered 3 times throughout the day, with the support of local media and politicians.

Other advocacy groups such as Our Bikes further guided the way for cyclists and concerned political participants throughout San Francisco to act in dissent against anti-bike policies. An instagram post highlights a call to action.

The group offers further instruction on their website, offering a template for individually crafted, personal emails to the Mayor and members of the MTA Board. So far, over 1,000 emails have been sent from their page. A few sample emails offered by the site are here:

“To Mayor Breed and the San Francisco MTA Board,

Last year New York City installed more than 25 miles of protected bike lanes. This year they’re planning to install more than 30 miles. How many miles are you going to install this year?

Had you completed the protected bike lane on Howard to Embarcadero—or at a minimum, 4th Street—Tess Rothstein would be alive today. We need to be proactive in the installation of protected bike lane infrastructure to reach our Vision Zero target of zero fatalities by 2024.

Finish the protected bike lane on Howard by the end of March.


“Dear Mayor Breed, Board of Supervisors and SFMTA,

Tess Rothstein was killed this week after a driver opened their door into her path, forcing her under a truck which ran her over.

A protected bike lane on Howard would have saved her life.

We need the SFMTA to be proactive and install protected bike lanes on every stretch of the high injury network by the end of this year.

Other cities have taken swift action and expanding their protected bike lane networks rapidly. Why does the SFMTA under Ed Reiskin’s leadership only install protected bike lanes after someone is killed? That is not leadership.

Extend the protected bike lane on Howard to 3th Street within the next 21 days and to the Embarcadero by the end of 2019. These deaths cannot continue in our city.

Thank you.”

Outraged bikers from many groups cycled in and out of the protest, including Janice Li of the San Francisco Bike Coalition who stated, “If we keep designing streets for fast moving cars and don’t acknowledge that there is so many people walking and biking on our streets today, people will die.”

However, issue driven groups were not the only supportive attendees. The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s spokesperson, Paul Rose, attended as well: “SFMTA’s confirmed Howard is one of the most dangerous streets for cyclists in San Francisco and are looking into making changes.”

He attempts to explain a bit how: “The mayor issued a directive on Wednesday that the MTA should move quickly with projects to increase safety around the city on our high injury network. So we are certainly doing that. This will be on of the areas we are exploring options to get those improvements in by this year.”

The Board of Supervisors representative from the district of the crash, Matt Haney, paid respects and expressed grief and a great sense of urgency: “This is the second fatal crash that we’ve seen on our streets this week… And, so this is one of the most urgent crises that we face in our city.”

Finally, San Francisco Mayor, London Breed, also visited the site. She reiterated that the city plans to improve safety, “but while we wait for these capital improvements, we need to make short-term safety enhancements, which I have instructed the SFMTA to do without delay.”

The city sees this is a problem, and each group has expressed commitment to action. Citizens were in peaceful protest, politicians promised to make political changes, and in the spirit of SF and Silicon Valley, techie cyclists advertised their cyclist apps.

Applications like Blocked show where bike lanes are currently blocked by construction in the city. Some visualizations show the most dangerous and at-risk crash sites of the city. Others like Bikesy simply route a rider on a bike-safe route to their destination in an attempt to promote ease and safety of bike travel. And throughout most of these advocacy group sites, there are seemingly endless tools, workshops, maps, among other resources and projects to help the average cyclist.

Although this issue affects SF particularly hard, many cities are grappling with the same issues. Coalitions of safe-biking advocates have formed throughout the US, including D.C., New Orleans, Cambridge, Hawaii, and Philadelphia, as well as National  Lobby Groups with local chapters.

Personally, the initial fear instilled in me by the first bus that passed too closely has been enough to end my bike-to-work days. But so many of my friends have been “tapped” by cars, and a few seriously hit. One told of a time just outside our space at the Media Lab where he was hit at the intersection. He fell off his bike, his wheel was completely bent, the driver of the car was flustered, fearful, and angry, and all he could think about was that he could have died.

Stories like my friends are frightening, and stories like Tess’s are tragedies. However, I feel hopeful and inspired by the response of those in San Francisco, and hope the outcry of protests and groups like these ensure that safety measures are put in this city and many others across the US and beyond to protect people like Tess.

Boeing 737 Max 8

Lion Air Flight 610 crashed on October 29, 2018. All 189 passengers and crew died.
Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crashed on March 10, 2019. All 157 passengers and crew died.

No photo description available.

(For some reason the embed for original post isn’t working)
Facebook’s translation:

March 10, 2019-my lucky day
Running to catch flight et 302 Addis Ababa – Nairobi, which crashed 6 minutes after taking off, I had my nerves because there was no one to help me go fast. I lost it for two minutes, when I arrived, the boarding was closed and I watched the last passengers in tunnel go in – I screamed to put me in but they didn’t allow it. In fact, the flight lost it because I didn’t give a suitcase (otherwise they would expect me for 10-15 minutes or more, because finding a suitcase loaded wants at least 40 minutes). Also, as I learned later, I lost her because I came out first and very quickly from the plane and the connection ambassador who came to receive me didn’t find me

Airport people, kind, promoted me to the next flight that would leave at 11:20, they apologized for the inconvenience and transferred me to a nice lounge for the-waiting.

On 10:50, as we joined the next flight, two security officers informed me that for security reasons that a senior officer will explain to me, they will not allow my boarding. In my intense protests they left no margin of discussion and led me to their superior, to the airport police department.

He told me gently not to protest and say thank you to God, because I am the only passenger who did not enter the flight et 302 which is missing. And that this was why they can’t let me go, until I determine who I am, because I didn’t get on the flight and everything. At First I thought he was lying, but his style left no margin of doubt.

I felt the ground lost under my feet, but I came back in 1-2 seconds because I thought something else would happen, some communication problem maybe. People were kind, they asked that they had to ask, they my elements and let me wait.

They made me sit in a living room and they told me to wait there until they warn me.

I was looking on the internet to find elements for the flight, friends from Nairobi informed me that 30 minutes after the expected time had not landed and there was no information about her luck and suddenly all the wifi of the airport.

Fortunately there are sms – from close friend I learned that the flight crashed almost just took off and that the issue was going out in the Greek media.

Then I realized that I must immediately contact my own people and tell them that I was not in and that for two small random circumstances I lost the flight – the moment I made that thought i collapsed because then exactly I realized how lucky I stood.

This text I wrote to manage my shock. I’m posting it because I want to tell everyone that the invisible and, nēmatídia of fortune, the out-of-plan circumstances knit the web in which our life is taken. It’s millions of small threads we almost never feel – but one to break is enough to feed the whole web instantly.

Really, it’s the first time I’m so glad I wrote a post and I’m grateful to live and that I have so many friends that made me feel their love – kisses to all and a warm thank you for your touching support. Special citation reference for early surgery and support to Jeroen Par Dijk Panos Fragiadakis Haris Kamariotakis and a big sorry to my family for the shock you’ve been looking for.

Maybe not too old to rock n roll – but certainly too young to die…

Sunday 10/3/2019, 13:00 Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

(the post went up from Nairobi to which I finally arrived)

Both planes were Boeing’s 737 MAX 8, which flew its first commercial flight between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore on May 22, 2017.

Source: Airways

Boeing was optimistic about its new plane even after the Lion Air crash.

Since Sunday’s crash, many countries have responded quickly by grounding all of their 737 Max 8’s. Here are snapshots from around the world. In India…

In China…

When government has been slow to react, customers and travel agents are taking matters into their own hands.

And, from the US…

Here’s NYTimes’ flight map of existing routes flown by the 737 Max 8.

Source: NYTimes

For good measure, let’s toss in news about Trump:

A historic weekend for Central Ohio high school hockey

For the first time in history, Dublin Jerome HS made it to the Ohio high school ice hockey final four, beating neighboring Olentangy Liberty HS 1-0 for their spot to represent Central Ohio.

Dublin Jerome earns their spot in the final four.

In the state semifinal game, they played University School, a private school in Cleveland that had won the state championship twice, most recently in 2009.

The close game eventually went to overtime.

Jerome wins in dramatic fashion! (This clip ends up getting picked up by ESPN and makes it to #3 on the SportsCenter top 10.)

As the first Central Ohio school to make the ice hockey state championship game, the team had already accomplished a lot.

The game turned out to be an uphill battle, as Jerome played St. Ignatius high school, a private, all-boys school in Cleveland that has won 7 ice hockey state championships, including the last three (2016, 2017, 2018.)

The Jerome team made it close, but eventually came up short.

Despite the loss, the Jerome team has lots to be proud of, and the fourth consecutive championship for St. Ignatius raises questions about fair competition among Ohio high schools. After the fact, local news picked up the story.

Do we bridge the divide?

In the recently published book, Educated, Tara Westover writes about her experience of how education exposed to her immensity of the world after having grown up in an isolated community with her family. As a child growing up in Idaho, she never saw a doctor and didn’t learn about the Holocaust or the civil rights movement until college. Our perception of the world is filtered by what (we think) we know. Besides formal education, our knowledge can come from observation, experience, friends, family, and media. Of those, media is what private individuals and organizations can control. The power to control what we think is the reason that Maggie Hughes, a graduate student at the MIT Media Lab, believes “media has an immense amount of power”.

That power has been twisted and abused worldwide, leading to the popularly used term fake news. Although still rampant, knowledge of its prevalence is spreading through stories about Russia, China, climate change, the alt-right, online advertisements, and much more. One way to defend against misinformation is to know who publishes it. An analysis from 2018 by ad fontes media plots news source by partisanship and factfulness. Although one may disagree on exactly what source is considered neutral, it shows that as partisanship increases, so does fabricated information.

Source: ad fontes media

Another way to blunt the effects of disinformation is to encourage self-reflection of biases. Maggie works in the Laboratory for Social Machines which has the mission to “conduct analyses and build tools that promote deeper learning and understanding in human networks”. This results in projects such as the Electome, which analyzed Twitter for the popularity of campaign issues during the 2016 election, and Social Mirror, an interactive visualization to help twitter users identify the political polarization of their network. A third way to fight fake news is to change how news is made. Maggie has been working on a project to enable communities to create their own news and take control of their portrayal in the media. She hopes that this will build empathy between social groups that might be suspicious of each other.

At the same time, she’s “skeptical about the desire to bridge or to bring people together [because] … what’s the halfway point between moral and immoral”. Maggie clarified that statement, “not to say everyone on the right is immoral”, which was reminiscent of Hilary Clinton’s comment describing Trump supporters as a “basket of deplorables”. The sentiment of finding the halfway point echoes the concept of journalistic objectivity. It’s important to show both sides of the story, but if one is clearly wrong, it doesn’t deserve equal credibility.

When thinking about the oft-discussed social divisions in the United States today, one question to ask is, what are we fundamentally divided on? Is it something irreconcilable like slavery was in the 19th century, which was one cause for the American Civil War? Or, is it a litany of issues including immigration, equal rights for women/minorities/LGBTQ, taxes, economic opportunity, and anti-establishmentism? Are our dividing issues something that we could discuss and work together towards an agreeable outcome? If not, what’s next?

Asking ethical and moral questions in bio-inspired design

The young woman on the subway holds a pair of tweezers. She looks at the seat next to her at a wad of chewed up gum. She glances furtively, then grabs the gum with the tweezers, which she drops with her gloved hands into a small plastic bag.

Once off of the train, she stops at a trash can in the subway station. She collects a hair from the rim of the can, placing it in another bag. She grabs a cigarette butt off the street.

Later, in a lab, she extracts DNA from the samples and analyzes the genetic material for traits. Caucasian, female. She uses the information to create a three-dimensional model of the stranger. Soon the wide blue eyes and slightly amused expression of a woman’s face is staring back at her from the computer screen.

This biologically inspired art by Heather Dewey-Hagborg highlights the ethical and moral concerns in using genetic material to surveil, and profile people. Two years after “Stranger Visions’ was completed, the Toronto police used DNA technology to try and solve cold cases, and another company started marketing genetic identification tools to police in the U.S.

Do we have dominion over nature, or it over us? This is a question fundamental to those working in bio-inspired design projects, said Wakanene Sebastian Kamau , an artist and scientist working at MIT’s MediaLab.

“I think that we, as humans, forget that nature is an integral part of our experience on earth, not something just to have dominion over,” Sebastian said.

Should we make leather goods from human tissue grown from biological samples?  It’s legal currently to do so, a fact exposed in Pure Human by artist Tina Gorjanc.

Designers like Gorjanc push our understanding of the dilemmas associated with biotechnology. For a biochemist like Sebastian, Gorjanc’s and Dewey-Hagborg are asking vital questions. “(It’s) a speculative project that explores the future of fashion and the frank unpreparedness of our current legal infrastructure to handle the current and future suite of biotechnology products,” Sebastian said.

Synthetic biology — the human engineering of biological processes — will likely shape the future of design. The microbiome, the vast community of microbes that inhabit our bodies and world, is influencing design of building materials, our homes and cosmetics.

“Collaborative engagement with biology through design is an on-going recalibration of our status as species within nature,”  Sebastian said.

How do we choose to live?

Mechanical engineering student Seiji Engelkemier has faced many choices of what projects to work on, but since 2011 the influence of climate change predictions on his decisions seems ever-growing. Such considerations do not leave those decisions any easier to make. On the contrary: Seiji, like many of his generation, is caught between paradoxical ideals, and at each step of shaping his life has to ask: is it possible for my work to focus on societal needs without losing its transformative vision? As international order erodes into the rising seas, is it possible to balance the potential of a project with its feasibility in the world, or the potential of a career with its suitability for me?

Where do you decide to make a survivable world?

Seiji first encountered reports of global warming while in middle school, watching An Inconvenient Truth on pay-per-view; at the time he was surprised he hadn’t heard of global warming on the news, and did not imagine then the extent to which it would guide his later interests. He found more to read on the topic and discussed climate change with a father interested in the technical challenges and novel technologies more than in the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions. Seiji then went to a residential private high school where he accelerated his readings on climate change but didn’t find many conversations on campus addressing it at a global scope; the school’s sustainability group, for example, was concerned mostly with local recycling.

Who can make a survivable world?

As a student at MIT, however, Seiji did find those global conversations, and followed some of them along branches that left the realm of technological solutions. In looking to the environmental consequences of diet he decided to become mostly (“like 95%”) vegetarian. In labs and internships he helped develop new technologies: he used optical fibers to grow algae more quickly (turning atmospheric CO2 into food), and made mushroom-grown materials to replace styrofoam, leather, and rubber foam. In groups of students, including the organization pressuring MIT’s endowment to divest from fossil fuel companies, Seiji joined discussions of how political decisions made by public institutions could determine feasibility or infeasibility of a technically perfect solution. This awareness that perhaps more of the problems underpinning climate change were political than were technical led Seiji to design visualizations of MIT’s funding sources, and to build a database of power plants for evaluating policy impacts.

What need you do to make a survivable world?

But while he recognizes the necessity of politics, Seiji feels that his next job will stay on the technological side because that’s where his skills and patiences are. (“I’m not the type of person for that [policy] work.”) He’s considering startups but also applying to graduate schools this semester, so I ask him how he’s evaluating the projects he visits: is he really comparing the environmental consequences he could have in each one? In a haha-but-serious tone Seiji says he prioritizes short-term impacts over long-term ones, proposing “a Net Present Value model of carbon abated”. But, I ask, it’s not like you’re going in sequence through Project Drawdown’s sorted list of impactful solutions and sending out job applications, right? It turns out he had a class project on refrigeration because it was at the top of that list – but no, he generally feels he’s read enough he can trust his gut to make informed decisions rather than doing the calculations by hand. How much does he value finding projects through which to express this internalized insight over those (like refrigeration) with a potentially larger effect but not much room for transformative creativity? For incremental technologies like refrigeration, Seiji says, more people besides him can and are working on it; for him it always comes back to “how good I think I could be at [these projects], how good I think everyone else is at them” and how many others are already working on them.

How do you start making a survivable world?

Seiji, like many of his generation, expects himself to do the analysis of what everyone else is already doing and balance it against his potential contribution to an overarching societal goal. This analysis can be a burden; Seiji’s plan to invest 5-6 years in graduate school is informed by being “pretty sure we’re gonna overshoot 2 degrees” of global warming (the temperature rise at which, among other things, 98% of the world’s coral is expected to die). “My generation and the next generation are responsible for whether humans can make it; and we probably will, but as to whether that is a bleak future or a kind of better future, I think my generation will be largely responsible.” He says that sometimes that’s pretty depressing, but laughs and adds that the depression “is also motivating: ‘Oh, things aren’t going well’ means there’s all the more incentive to work harder and try to make it less bad.” Of course, this “sense of urgency/worry/stress pushes you, gives you drive, but it’s not necessarily sustainable mentally.”

When can we start making a survivable world?

Reflecting after our conversation, it seems to me that Seiji’s “from each according to their ability”-style choices have been made in a life where his understanding of and orientation towards climate change are seen always as a personal duty, where it is considered each individual’s responsibility to understand the entire world and change it despite the malices and negligences of our political institutions. This trap of individual responsibility and collective impotence is, I feel, a precise target of the Green New Deal. It asks of us “When can we start making a survivable world and how?”, then answers itself with a loud and public “Now, here’s how.” Whether or not it passes in any useful form, acting on the realization we can say such things powerfully, clearly, and together could transform some of these impossible ideals imposed on our individual decisions into a collective analytical ability to make a better world, or at least a survivable one.