great jupiter!

Or: How I snuck aboard the USS Scripps despite erratic biorhythms.

Getting accepted into the Scripps Howard Institute on the Environment for a week of specialized enviro journalism training has got my brain humming. It’s humming early Ramones. Stuff about Chinese food and electric shock; the crackle of adrenaline and obliviousness.

Seems the neural channels this opportunity is illuminating are deep in those same pleasure centers of delinquent memory. Simple, pure, and supercharged.

It’s as if the prettiest girl in school walked blithely by the rows on rows of steroidal jocks lined up like penguins at the school dance and gripped my elbow for a turn beneath the light-fracturing disco ball and streamers.

You know, if that sort of stuff mattered to me.

It’s even more dear to me as someone who has seen similar opportunities crash in the recent past thanks in no small part to what is known in head-shrinking circles known as a Major Depressive Disorder and a century past more simply, and less completely, as dark melancholy.

I don’t dwell overly much on past decisions — I’m more of present-predicament obsessive — but being invited to participate in a Q&A with Bill Dawson for the journal of the Society of Environmental Journalists a few weeks before loading my Florida-bound bones on Continental’s best gave me reason to pause and consider these past dozen years.

Why have I sought to tell environmental stories time and time again? Sought to make them central to my work? And, more generally, why didn’t I bum rush my way into Jupiter (or its like) two, four, six years ago?

Those would be lessons for me to suss out, and Bill’s questions certainly put them plainly on my plate (thanks, Bill!) in a way that forced me to look a little harder. While the details of all that mess wouldn’t be as popularly interesting, it’s enough to say the whole situation bumps my proud meter over this fellowship up another point or two.

So, like, this is for all my chemically imbalanced amigos and amigas out there. I pray you will keep muscling through to enjoy a few lighter moments to come.

Today, it will be my pleasure to plumb the obscurities of conventional agriculture, land use, topsoil loss, genetic manipulation, and toxics. When the weight of the world’s diet gets to be too much, we are promised a canoe trip down a stretch of the Wild-and-Scenic Loxahatchee River.

Tonight, Marla Cone, editor-in-chief of the Environmental Health News, will school us on the “slow poisoning” of the Arctic.

Tomorrow’s focus is on water and water policy; climate change will be the topic the day after.

You can check out our full agenda and even ship me your questions about any of these topics. I really will try to get them answered.

So, whether dear Scripps had a slow year and decided to round up the applicant base with a San Antonio rabble-rouser just to make things interesting or they thought I was cherry from the first string of epithets they stumbled into in the Current, no matter.

I’m here. Now somebody feed me some green knowledge. Or at least hum me some Road to Ruin classics.

Scripps-related blog posts:

Great Jupiter” ii (Marla Cone on Arctic toxics, etc.)

“Texas can look to Louisiana for coastal destruction clues”

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