Moving Trees

In this post-election turmoil, it’s time to start focusing on goals that really matter.

Todd Daniel
8 min readNov 15, 2020

Life reminds me of the elevator on the starship Enterprise. As the elevator sped up you could see the lights of each floor out a window zooming by faster and faster. As I get older the days speed by and so do the months and years. My deep-thinking, pondering brain is destined to become ashes. So that’s why I have this desire to “download” as much as I can into my blogs.

At age 7 my teacher called me the Absent-Minded Professor because I was always daydreaming and distracted. I was fascinated with outer space and spaceships, and mentally I was far away.

In my 30s I began to see the shortcomings of Christianity and I became obsessed with saving the world, so I joined the Sierra Club. I served on numerous committees and task forces and held various positions, and received 10 awards for my service.

By age 44, after 7 years of working 20 hours a week as a volunteer, I began feeling the burn. There are progressive people who want to move things forward and there are conservative people, who guard the status quo. I thought people would appeal to logic, but they do not. So, in 2004 I started blogging with one central theme — how do you change human thinking in a way that will stop the death of the Earth. I have written over 400 blog posts on this topic.

Lately, it has occurred to me that humans are like trees, and, like roots, much of their value system and world view is buried beneath the ground. How do you make people environmentally and socially conscious? It’s like moving a tree, and that’s hard to do because of the root system.

When I began blogging 16 years ago I had a regular following of engaged readers and their thoughtful feedback helped me to move forward in my intellectual journey. But these days, few people read anymore and even fewer people read blogs. So, I now write with the hope that some future generation will benefit from my thoughts.

I have a desire to do some good with the remaining years of my life. But I fumble around and wander aimlessly because I’m not sure what I CAN do to make a difference.

When my last day comes I won’t have a headstone and there won’t even be an urn. My ashes are going straight to the dipsy dumpster, which is fitting since I am just as much a criminal to this Earth as everyone else. I have no money and all I have to give is love to my rescue animals, family members, and friends.

The 4th-century theologian Jerome tells one of my favorite stories about the last days of the Apostle John. John was old and frail, so his disciples carried him to religious events, and he would simply say to the gathering, “Little children, love one another.”

But then I have read in social media this past week where Christians are saying they can’t “love” anyone who voted for Biden and Harris because they “support abortion.”


Hurricane Zeta recently passed over my home, leaving much of my county in the dark. On the night after the hurricane, I was driving on back roads and I was amazed at how pitch dark it was — no streetlights, traffic signals, or anything. At first, I thought it was creepy, but then I thought, “Why am I afraid of the dark?” There’s really nothing to be afraid of. It’s not like in those prehistoric days before fire was invented, where predators would pluck you in your sleep and drag you into the forever darkness. Now we’ve wiped out most of the large land predators and can sleep safe and sound. So, what was I afraid of? Was it my millions of years of evolution talking to me?

I’m amazed at how fear drives human behavior. The fear of death became the inspiration for religion, and symbols that showed a belief in the afterlife began showing up at burial sites 40,000 years ago. Christianity really wasn’t a new religion but rather a collection of ideas that began evolving in caveman days. It seems we don’t like the idea of not existing, so we started coming up with stories, and the Egyptians and other Middle Eastern cultures created elaborate mythology about life after death. In fact, in Ancient Egypt, much of life was spent preparing for death.

Much of the political divide I see in America today boils down to fear. For instance, everyone wants to take your guns away. First, it was Obama, then Hillary, and now Biden. Maybe all three will just appear at your door at once. Then there’s the fear of the riots, and news agencies and social media sensationalize them to the point where we believe the entire nation is going down in flames. We keep our doors locked and our blinds down, even in the day. Stalkers and boogeymen are everywhere.

My advice is to not let yourself be manipulated by fear. If we as a people can learn to sort through our irrational fears we can better learn to understand one another and find ways to work cooperatively to solve common problems. For instance, I commend President Trump on the work he did on criminal justice reform, which received support from Democrats as well. That was a great example of how both political sides could work together to solve a problem, and it gave me HOPE!

But when it comes to a women’s right to choose or protecting the environment or providing a decent life for the average American, Republicans and Democrats are sharply divided and heels dig in.

Two Camps

So, the Christian evangelicals see us progressives as immoral for being pro-choice, and we libtards see evangelicals as hypocritical for supporting a president with a long history of wife-cheating and immorality and playing golf on Sundays instead of attending church. I personally see Trump as a sycophant who cynically uses Christians for their votes. Waving a Bible upside down and not being able to recite a single Bible verse is a little hypocritical to me. But then, the religious right tells me how God used King Cyrus to do great things. Impressively, God only needed Trump in the White House for four years — I guess his work is done.

I did come across a social media post by Kristen Heitzmann, an award-winning author. Since she’s definitely a “public figure,” I’m pretty sure I’m allowed to reprint it:

“I have thousands of Facebook friends I don’t know. They have requested my friendship and I have accepted. When I see today that some are rejoicing in the face of enormous fraud that is destroying our election process, the potential of a presidency held by abortion and infanticide advocates who intend to subjugate America to the New World Order, I realize there is nothing in me that will receive grace or impart grace by continuing that relationship. I care nothing for the number of friends and everything for walking justly before God.”

I have found her post troubling and it’s stayed in my mind this past week. For one thing, no significant fraud has been found in any state, after a week of examinations. But I know we have to listen to how the election was “stolen” for the next four years. Secondly, she is suggesting that her God will view her more favorably if she tells all the Biden voters to screw off. This sanctimonious, self-righteous, and judgmental attitude is typical of the religious extremists I’ve run into. Marilyn Manson wrote a song about how people “can’t see the forest for the trees,” and “can’t smell your own shit on your knees.” I think about those lines all the time.

To address Ms. Heitzmann’s comment about “infanticide,” that’s when a baby is murdered within a year of birth. No one supports that, so I guess she is using the term incorrectly to make abortion sound more horrible. The fact is that Jesus never mentioned abortion, but he did mention many other things that I do not see Christian evangelicals following. Secondly, sex education, access to contraception, and Plan B could greatly reduce abortions, but these initiatives are strongly resisted by Christian groups.

And as for the “New World Order,” I see this buzzword used when “socialism” loses its shock factor. I’m guessing she means that President Biden will move us into alliances with other nations that will take away our individual rights. My belief is to the contrary — we need worldwide cooperation more than ever to address common challenges like climate change, rainforests protection, disease, and extreme poverty. I embrace a New World Order because the Old World Order sucks, and only benefits the super-rich.

Are Humans Flawed?

This is a debate I’ve had with my environmental colleagues for 14 years, and it fits in nicely with Christian dogma. As a child, I was told that I was a bad kid because I had a “sinful nature,” and I needed to ask Jesus to forgive me. So, at age 8, I asked Jesus to come into my heart. My interpretation of that belief has since changed. Humans are not flawed at all, but rather we are a by-product of the Big Bang and 13.7 years of organic and inorganic evolution. We are just one of millions of animal species and we eat, drink, poop, pee, and screw just like any other mammal. We are animals and our selfishness is part of natural human behavior, going back 2 million years ago to the African Savanna, where we needed to horde to survive. What Jesus is saying to me is that we are given a consciousness and as a species, we are unique in that we can override our animalism and live as an enlightened species. Jesus gave us an example to live by. So, are American Christians following that example? Yes, on the liberal left but “NO” when I see all the gay-bashing, Muslim-bashing, immigrant-bashing, green-bashing, prosperity gospel, and gun-worship. The level of hypocrisy is sickening and is leading to our global destruction.

I do understand that humans are trees and our root systems are influenced by our upbringing, our community, and millions of years of evolution. Trees cannot be moved without the risk of harming the roots. But if we don’t try to move the trees we are heading to a dark future of extreme climate change, fouled oceans, and poisoned soil and air. Aside from wiping out millions of other creatures, ignoring our own problems is securing our own doom.

If anything, maybe I can plant a few seeds of thought during my final years on Earth. I want my fellow countrymen to see the difference between “Christianity” and “Christian Nationalism,” which is what’s really being worshipped now. If socialism is evil, I would say that capitalism is far more evil because it has put the majority of the world’s wealth into the hands of a few multi-billionaires. If you think that is “right” and “Christian,” perhaps you should think again.

Originally published in my personal blog, The Second Sun.



Todd Daniel

Mother Earth screams, yet few people hear except for the poets and idealists. I write about my planetary home. Newsletter ver: