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May 28, 2021

#sh*tkidssay

2yo: Here, Mommy, hold these. *pulls sunglasses from his diaper*
Me: --3
Wild Rainbows, @wildrainbow2

weekly survival tip

This weekend’s Memorial Day holiday marks the kick-off to summer travel and it’s looking like this year is going to be almost as busy as it was pre-pandemic. Are you ready? To prepare, the key is to book early. Check out a few more tips here.

trail talk

One year ago this past Tuesday, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on George Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes, murdering him in front of a slew of witnesses. For months after that act, this country convulsed with protests over the too-often lethal ways law enforcement officers treat Black people and people of color. A national reckoning with race and racism continues to this day. Much has been written about those events and, in the last week, about where we are one year later. Here are a few items that caught our eye: The PBS NewsHour produced a one-hour special on the killing that explores the ongoing impacts of systemic racism, police killings, distrust of law enforcement and the trauma these episodes create. This piece, from The Atlantic, looks at the changing, albeit uneven, shifts in public opinion around the Black Lives Matter movement and policing reform. Although more Americans are aware of and concerned about racism in this country, to what degree that increase will impact public policy and legislation is still unclear. Finally, there is this analysis from professors at the University of Colorado Boulder of what has most changed in the United States since Floyd’s death. Topics they cover include: the prominence of the Black Lives Matter movement, anti-racism education, police reform and the role of video evidence in court.

Meanwhile, over in the world of gymnastics, Simone Biles is back on the competition floor and at her awe-inspiring, rival-shattering best. Last weekend she performed, and landed (albeit with a small stumble only because she had so much power she over-rotated) a Yurchenko double pike vault. It is a trick so difficult, and so dangerous, that no other female gymnasts have ever tried it. It’s probable no other women are even attempting to learn it at their gyms. Videos of her performing the skill, which will likely soon be named after her, have—predictably—gone viral. However, as pleased as Biles may be having added this move to her repertoire, there is some controversy around it too. That’s because judges, and really the International Gymnastics Federation, have yet to award it a value that many believe accurately reflects its difficulty. But (and this is the best part) Biles remains undeterred. When asked why she would continue performing the vault, even if she’s not rewarded with adequate points for it, she answered simply: “Because I can.” Which is also why her shimmering leotard on Saturday was adorned with an added embellishment: a goat.

trail matters

Around the world, almost uniformly, populations are in decline. The one exception being in Africa, where many families still have four or five children. Elsewhere, deaths are moving toward outnumbering births and the consequences of such drastic demographic change are immense. While fewer people may mean less stress on resources, a slowing of climate change and improvements to women’s daily life, that’s not certain. What is clear, according to this recent New York Times story, is that “longer lives and low fertility, leading to fewer workers and more retirees, threatens to upend how societies are organized—around the notion that a surplus of young people will drive economies and help pay for the old. It may also require a reconceptualization of family and nation.”

The impacts of climate change are widespread, as we know. And, like everywhere else, this country’s treasured national parks are also not able to escape the affects of a warming planet. Although the original mission of the National Park Service was complete conservation, new guidance published last month for park managers makes clear that is no longer possible. The new modus operandi “aims to help park ecologists and managers confront the fact that, increasingly, they must now actively choose what to save, what to shepherd through radical environmental transformation and what will vanish forever.” In the era of global warming it seems those who safeguard our parks—some of our wildest and most remote places—are entering a new era full of hard choices about what environmental change and loss we can accept and where “there may be room to shepherd changes in a less calamitous direction.”

trail mix

Looking to up your outdoor baby gear game? Want to buy only what’s necessary and not overdo it, too? This comprehensive, thoughtful, guide from our friends over at Tales of a Mountain Mama will give you all the information you need. From baby carriers perfect for hiking, to sleeping bags, strollers, bouncers, wool layers (duh) and more, they’ve got you (or, well, your little iksplorers, to be precise) well covered. Once you’re kitted out with the recommendations here, there will be no stopping you. See you on the trails!

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