Tag Archives: earth

50 years of life – part 2 addendum

Of course I can’t mention California state parks without a political side…..

Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger has proposed massive state park closures as part of his proposed budget, in an effort to "save" hundreds of millions of dollars.  AND he has rejected state Democrats’ proposal to add $15.00 to the state park fees for visitors.

News of The Terminator’s proposed park closures and parks on his hit list, which includes Sinkyone State Wilderness Park:

50 years of life – part 2

Next week Tom is taking me to one of my favorite places on earth to celebrate my 50 years of living – Sinkyone Wilderness State Park on the Lost Coast in Northern California.  The Lost Coast is so named due to the lack of major road and highway access to the area. 

Embedded in the 60 mile stretch of the Lost Coast, Sinkyone is a beautiful park rich with Native American History. To get to the Sinkyone State Park, visitors must get off the major highway onto a secondary road which ends at the access road to the park.  This access road is a 3.5 narrow/one lane, steep, and winding path which opens up to  a cliff that overlooks the ocean when you get into the park.  The road continues along the park to various areas where you can camp.  On any given day a visitor can see a herd of elk wandering through, take delight in watching seals play in the surf and on a clear day hope to see a whale off in the distance.  This is in addition to the pristine beauty of the surroundings.  Needless to say, I am very much looking forward to this respite. 

From the California State Parks site on Sinkyone’s history:

For thousands of years before the first Europeans arrived, the Sinkyone Indians lived in this part of the coast. They occupied permanent villages alongside streams and rivers, and moved out in family groups to hunt and forage in the hills during the summer. They spent time along the coast fishing, gathering seaweed and shellfish, and hunting seals and sea lions, and harvesting the occasional dead whale that had washed on shore. Fish were an important source of food during the winter. All kinds of fish were caught, but the seasonal salmon run was especially important.

Most park visitors today assume that human beings have had little impact on this area. But every trail, road, or flat spot has been modified by human activity. Game trails were turned into pathways for pack mules loaded with tanbark for the tanneries of San Francisco. Roads were carved and graded for lumbering operations. Open areas and marine terraces were farmed and used to pasture sheep and cattle. Occasionally, what appears to be a wagon road or a modern jeep trail is actually an abandoned railroad right-of-way.

Here are other links with additional information I found on the Lost Coast:

King Range National Conservation Area: The Lost Coast

Hiking the Lost Coast


Hiking the Sinkyone Wilderness State Park

Green Party proposes hour of darkness

I serve as secretary of the Eco-Action Committee, an official committee of the Green Party of the United States.
See the Eco-Action Committee News Ticker here.

I found this post today about an action item the Eco-Action Committee has put forth for the third Thursday of each month – Dark Earth Hour:

December 18, 2008

This holiday season, the Eco-Action Committee of the Green Party of the United States is asking Americans to observe a Dark Earth Hour from 9 to 10 p.m. tonight, the third Thursday of the month.

By turning off all unnecessary lights and appliances for that hour, we can show our understanding of the need to conserve energy as we seek to move away from destructive technologies and to wind and solar power.

The Dark Earth Hour is more than symbolic. Especially during this period of high electricity use, it can represent an actual reduction in power demand. The Eco-Action Committee encourages people to light candles, visit with family and friends, or simply take a quiet hour of down time during this busy season.

No matter what your political persuasion, the Dark Earth Hour is a reminder that we are all in this together, and we can all take this opportunity to power down for the Earth.

Granny D offers some assurances

Doris “Granny D” spoke over the weekend in Philadelphia. She was sharing the program with Whoopi Goldberg

Philadelphia: October 12, 2008

Thank you.

It seems that the world is changing around us this autumn. I know that some of my feistier friends have been hoping for big social and political changes — for a revolution of some sort — to get us on a new path to a better future on a healthier Earth. I do not think they imagined that the revolution might take the form of strange torpedoes called credit default swap derivatives, exploding our banks and bankrupting our governments, but revolutions rarely arrive or turn out the way you expect. This society has run its course. We the people have long been ready for fresh growth, greener growth, scaled more to the needs of human beings and their communities.

I have been thinking lately of my old Texas writer friend Molly Ivins, who passed away not long ago and left us with an insufficient store of good humor to see all the amusing and satisfying turns of justice in the present economic collapse. She would remind us that Freedom’s just another word for no retirement money left to lose. Yes, the walls have crumbled, but now we are free from all that anxiety about losing all our money. There’s not much left to worry about. Molly would have been the one to take a few flat busted CEOs out for a scotch and water somewhere toward Greenwich Village and laugh with them and tell them they were all being sons-of-bitches anyway and had it coming. And they would laugh and have to agree. She was an American and never forgot that we are all equals. So what would Molly do? I have a little rubber bracelet that asks that question. She would remind us that the treasure of America isn’t in our banks anyway. It is in our families and friendsh!
ips, in our brotherhood and sisterhood as a free and creative people.

Sticking together, none of us will starve. Besides, we can always grow enough zucchini for everyone, can’t we?

We need not fear Fear Itself this time around, for fear is a humbug. If we have learned anything in all the Aquarian splendor of the last few generations, it is that fear for the loss of material things is but the jitters of an addict, and the jitters go away once we relax into whatever new world we find ourselves come into.

You will hear people on television worrying about the return of the Great Depression. I have heard that several times during the last week or so.

I am old enough to have memories of that time, are any of you? Maybe we were hungry sometimes, but did we starve? No, because we had our friends and family and the earth to sustain us. The earth may have been reluctant to feed us in some of those years, but never our friends nor our families.

If you lived through that time, and if now you hear some young expert on television saying the term “Great Depression” as if it were a great monster who might return, let me ask you – you who remember the last time – there are a few of us left – let me ask you if your memories of that time are not more round and golden than sharp-edged?

My husband, Jim, made an ice rink from a little meadow, and he made a few dollars extra those winters of the Depression. I learned to put on one-woman plays, and performed in women’s clubs here and there, making the rest of what we needed. We were fountains of creativity. We were fountains of friendship to our neighbors. As a nation, we were a mighty river of mutual support.

That same Great Depression made some people in other countries ready for violence, genocide and war. But, somehow, through the exceptional miracle that is America itself, the hard times only made us more willing to help the world when our help was needed.

I am not advocating hardship, and I am not cheerleading for poverty. Indeed, prosperity is the green wreath we cherish most, though it means little without the times between.

Imagination! Let me suggest that a generation raised on books and storytelling, where one’s own imagination had to fill in the colors and details, made us a generation quite able to imagine marvelous ways to fill our family dinner table in those years. Let me suggest that the power of imagination was essential to the rise of all the grand improvements we achieved for each other and called our New Deal. Imagination allows the citizen and the politician to connect with people of every situation and condition.

I have often heard it said that the more right-wing members of our present political order will not bend on a difficult issue — say stem cell research — until someone they love needs that bit of medical magic. Well, I think that suggests that the foundation of right-wing politics is a grand absence of imagination. If you cannot imagine what people need until it happens to you, then I suggest you have never read a mystery book under your covers by flashlight. I do not mean to pick on my more conservative friends, but imagination and its product, empathy, are necessary in a democracy, if it is to survive and prosper as a just and happy system of life. Imagination, empathy, education and moral leadership are the essentials of a good and humane democracy.

Nine years ago, at the age of 90, I walked 3,200 miles across the United States. I was promoting a specific political reform that did in fact pass Congress later. I was also cleaning out my heart after the death of my husband, Jim, and my best friend, Elizabeth.

I met the old America along that road – the America I hadn’t seen since the 1930s and which I had almost forgotten.

Toyah, Texas, is an old railroad town just west of the Pecos, where the ruins of a once-beautiful main street stand like a crumbling movie set. Berta Begay offered shelter to me on the night I walked into Toyah. She didn’t know me but was glad to greet me on her porch and welcome me to stay in a little shack she had across the road, if I would please give her time to clean it up and put some fresh linens on the bed.

It was a little yellow bungalow near the tracks. The kitchen floor had linoleum creatively held down in strips to the wavy wood beneath by upholstery tacks. The house was cooled by the open doors and a few fans. The yard was dirt with a little grass, and everything about the house was well-ordered and clean. She said I was welcome to stay for as long as I needed.

Berta is a beautiful Native American and hispanic woman who, each evening, prepared a beautiful basket of bread and a casserole dinner. She told me about her family. Her daughter, whose name is Misty Moon, was about to graduate from a local public college as an agriculture scientist. Her son, whose name is Dearheart, was a medical assistant at a community hospital. Her husband, Steve, was an expert machinist. Berta was at that time the postmaster of a nearby town. She was rightfully very proud of her family, as they had come a long way in one generation, thanks to their hard work and their imagination in a land of opportunity. You must understand that this town is a dusty place on a great stretch of dusty desert. They had made it their Garden of Eden.

There was a collection of lavender antique bottles in the little house. Berta collects them in the desert as her mother had done before her. The pharmacy in Pecos, thirty miles away, has a nice collection of them also, left over from the days when Berta’s mother traded bottles for medicine for her children. That’s how far and how fast they have come, and how even glass strewn on the desert had been swept up into prosperity by the force of their imagination and love for one another. The pharmacist, too, was in that circle of love, as one can see by the bottles still in his window.

Berta helped introduce me around at Toyah’s tiny city hall, which also serves as a church for the town. The two women clerks invited me to speak the next evening. The next morning, they had already created and installed hand-made posters at the gas station and in the general store out on the highway, beautifully promoting my talk on political reform.

Townspeople brought food to the evening event. Berta brought delicious cold snacks made from prickly pear cactus paddles. I saved some for breakfast the next morning. If I ever doubt that I am a tough old nut, I can remember that I had cactus for breakfast in Toyah, Texas, west of the Pecos. Very tart and tasty, by the way.

In the back of the hall during my talk, there were a few patient children trying to make sense of what we were saying. It made me remember when I was a child in Laconia, New Hampshire — I was that child in the back of the room. Visiting speakers came to town all in a summer crowd of experts and entertainers called the Chautauqua meeting. A big tent was erected on the Pearl Street playgrounds, the largest open space in town. Speeches, entertainment, and pot luck dinners were planned for the whole week.

I went for two reasons: The fun reason was that there were dramas performed—like the villain foreclosing on a mortgage and putting the farmer’s pure daughter in harm’s way. I loved drama, and got myself a part in any play put on by the women’s club, the Elks, or the Grange of Laconia. This would later serve me well when we had to survive by our wits.

The adults listened to the political speakers. They learned how the railroad monopolies were ruining the small farmers. The great Progressive-Populist Movement had begun at such meetings in the early 1890s. Great fist-waving speeches at these meetings kept people informed, interested and fired up.

My Mama didn’t know if her children would ever be able to afford proper educations, so she made us listen to the lectures so we would at least have a few thoughts in our heads. Well, those Progressive thoughts are still rattling around up here. I thank my Mama’s imaginative university.

After my talk at the Toyah city hall, which was about the undue influence of lobbyists and large donors on the political system and what we might do about it, there were heartfelt comments from the townspeople about how they could no longer defend their own town and how it was suffering. At the end of the evening, Berta folded a letter into my hand. It was a long and beautifully written letter about her spiritual beliefs and about her town. The letter detailed how political corruption was literally dismantling the town, selling off the beautiful historic buildings for their bricks, and changing the rail service that had once been the lifeblood of the town. Her letter concluded “God has a mission for all of us, through we often don’t know the details, so therefore we trust. When you pray, please remember this little town.”
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Plastic Bags – lets BAN them

Once in the slideshow, use the scroll bar on the right side of the screen to scroll through.

Everyone on earth should see this. It’s that important.

And please pass it on

Retailers in U.S. – Food Rationing?

It’s kind of creepy to see that retailers have the power to ration food….

http://www2.nysun.com/article/74994
Food Rationing Confronts Breadbasket of the World
By JOSH GERSTEIN
Staff Reporter of the Sun
April 21, 2008

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. – Many parts of America, long considered the
breadbasket of the world, are now confronting a once unthinkable
phenomenon: food rationing. Major retailers in New York, in areas of New
England, and on the West Coast are limiting purchases of flour, rice, and
cooking oil as demand outstrips supply. There are also anecdotal reports
that some consumers are hoarding grain stocks.

At a Costco Warehouse in Mountain View, Calif., yesterday, shoppers grew
frustrated and occasionally uttered expletives as they searched in vain
for the large sacks of rice they usually buy.

“Where’s the rice?” an engineer from Palo Alto, Calif., Yajun Liu, said.
“You should be able to buy something like rice. This is ridiculous.”

The bustling store in the heart of Silicon Valley usually sells four or
five varieties of rice to a clientele largely of Asian immigrants, but
only about half a pallet of Indian-grown Basmati rice was left in stock. A
20-pound bag was selling for $15.99.

“You can’t eat this every day. It’s too heavy,” a health care executive
from Palo Alto, Sharad Patel, grumbled as his son loaded two sacks of the
Basmati into a shopping cart. “We only need one bag but I’m getting two in
case a neighbor or a friend needs it,” the elder man said.
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How Green Are You?

Test Your Eco IQ

1.  Do you have recycling bins at your house? (my answer=yes)

Good for you! Recycling is probably the easiest thing you can do to go green! It even cuts up 1,000 pounds of annual carbon dioxide emissions that contribute to global warming . Even though you do recycle, you can be even “greener” by choosing products with the least amount of packaging possible and by choosing easily recyclable packaging, like paper or glass; very few municipal recycling programs accept plastics other than those labeled #1 and #2.

2.Have you replaced at least one incandescent bulb in your house with a compact fluorescent light bulb (CFL)? (my answer=yes)

Good for you! Replacing just one 75-watt incandescent bulb with a 19-watt CFL cuts 75 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions per year and up to 750 for the life of the bulb, not to mention the money savings on your energy bill.

3.  If you drink takeout coffee or tea, do you bring your own mug or use a disposable cup from the cafe? (my answer=reusable mug)

Bravo! Reusable mugs are healthier for you and for the planet, leaving trees in forests where they belong and keeping non-degradable polystyrene out of landfills.

4.  Which saves more water, washing dishes by hand or using a dishwasher?(my answer=by hand)

No! Surprisingly, hand washing dishes can actually use up to 50 percent more water than a water-saving, energy-efficient dishwasher. The most efficient dishwashers on the market use only 4 gallons of water, but some conventional models can use as much as 14 gallons. If you’re in the market for a new dishwasher, look for Energy Star-rated appliances. They use at least 41% less energy and water than federal standards require.  This one I wasn’t sure about since I don’t have an electric dishwasher and hadn’t done my research.

5.  How often do you use green cleaning products? (my answer=whenever I can find them)

That’s a good start. Using green cleaners all the time cuts down on your environmental impact, since conventional cleaners are filled with a host of chemicals that produce harmful byproducts during production and harm aquatic life when they wash down the drain. Green cleaners are also healthier; they have fewer volatile organic compounds that can trigger asthma and other respiratory problems, and rarely do they contain chemicals that can poison you or your children or cause serious skin reactions if spilled.

6.  Which do you prefer: bottled water or tap? (my answer=tap)

Good for you! Tap water meets stricter federal and local standards for chemical contaminants, and drinking tap water helps eliminate the waste associated with single-use plastic bottles, only 10 percent of which are recycled each year.

7.  Have you installed aerators on your kitchen and bathroom faucets? (my answer=yes)

Congratulations! Aerators cut water usage from 5 gallons per minute to 2.75 gallons or less. The most efficient models use only 1 gallon; if yours isn’t a 1 gpm model, replace it and save even more water than you already are.

8.  When you go shopping, which do you choose? Paper or Plastic? (my answer=paper)

Trick question! Neither. Bringing your own bag is the more environmentally responsible choice. In the U.S., petroleum-based plastic bags consume about 12 million barrels of oil annually, and many are not recycled, meaning that they end up in trees and waterways where animals mistake them for food. Paper bags consume four times as much energy to produce as plastic bags and they generate 70 percent more air pollution during manufacture.This WAS trick because “neither” wasn’t an option in the answers!

9.  How do you get to work? (my answer=a little of everything)

You’re off to a good start. The less you drive, the less you pollute. An average 12-mile daily commute generates 2,750 pounds of CO2 annually, so cutting your driving by half would eliminate 1,375 pounds.

10. Do you purchase renewable energy through your power utility? (my answer=yes)

Way to go! It may cost a little more than coal power, but a home powered by green energy cuts down on both greenhouse gas and mercury emissions coming from coal plants but it preserves natural environments from destructive mining.

For more information about issues on the quiz and more, please see:
Recycling Now
Are Compact Fluorescents a Fire Hazard?
Water Saving Appliances PR
Rites of Spring (Cleaning)
Consider Its Lifecyle: Bottled Water