Transition: Seed Swap Ukiah Farmers Market Today Saturday 4/21/12 9:30am


Seed Swap in the Ozarks

Seed Swap 
Saturday 4/21/12
9:30am – Noon

Ukiah Farmers Market
Alex Thomas Plaza/School Street

Bring seeds in labeled envelopes
Vegetables, natives, flowers, herbs

Leave seeds at Mulligan Books beforehand
if you cannot attend…

Transition Ukiah Valley is part of an
international localization movement
to build community resilience

~

 
From CAROLE BRODSKY
Ukiah Daily Journal

Peggy Backup, Scott Miller and partner Trudy Morgan sit at the couple’s kitchen table, eating dried pears gleaned from a local orchard and sorting seeds into small, labeled paper envelopes.

The trio and other members of Transition Ukiah Valley are preparing for a seed exchange event taking place Saturday, April 21 at the Ukiah Farmers Market.

The Transition Ukiah Valley group began meeting in 2011. The group is part of a worldwide transition movement that started in the United Kingdom in 2005 to address issues they believe are impacting local communities as the effects of climate change, skyrocketing oil prices

Will Parrish: Albion! The History


From WILL PARRISH
Ukiah

In the introduction to his 1965 book The Making of the English Working Class, English social historian E.P. Thompson described his motivation as being to rescue “from the enormous condescension of posterity” the “lower orders” of people in 18th and 19th century Britain who resisted the brutal emergence of industrial society. In this famous phrase, Thompson was referring to the patronizing treatment oppressed groups of people receive from propagandists for the ruling class, whose main goal in writing history is inevitably to trumpet the virtues of the present order.

A group of Northern California historians, some of whom once studied under Thompson at Warwick University in the UK, set out eight years ago to recover, for the benefit of posterity, a non-patronizing history of Northern California’s communal movements. The culmination of that effort, which originated with a series of conferences at UC Berkeley and on the Mendocino Coast in 2004, is an excellent new book titled West of Eden: Communes and Utopias in Northern California, published last month by Oakland-based PM Press.

“Condescension?” It would be hard to think of a category of people who are more universally treated with disdain than the communards of the ’60s and ’70s. According to the dominant view, thousands of rural “hippies” fled to the country, selfishly seeking refuge from the roiling social conflicts of the time, having little contact with the outside world from that point on. These rustic enclaves were quickly overrun by deadbeats, loafers, and crazies, who bathed only infrequently and commonly became perma-fried on account of too many bad acid trips. Or, at best, the communes were naïve, destined to be short-lived experiments

Todd Walton: Big Data


From TODD WALTON
UnderTheTableBooks
Mendocino

“Mathematics are well and good but nature keeps dragging us around by the nose.” Albert Einstein

A wintry April day—rain, cold, our two woodstoves hard at work translating matter into energy so we may carry on in comfort. Yesterday we celebrated the idea of spring, if not the reality, with the delivery of four cords of firewood from Frank’s Firewood of Boonville, so now several days of stacking wood are upon us. I am graduating from my seventh Mendocino winter, and Frank’s fantastic firewood has kept me snug and warm through every one of them. Thank you, Frank!

Yesterday also brought an email from a friend with the subject heading Data Plague, with a link to an article from the New York Times about Big Data, a hot topic in the world of computer science and technology. Big Data is the incomprehensibly large amount of raw data piling up from all electronic activities that leave digital traces, including scientific research and social media. For instance, every minute of every day some forty-eight hours of video are uploaded to YouTube: the equivalent of eight years of content each day.

According to the Big Data article, many people in government and academia and private industry are interested in mining this rapidly growing data universe, and President Obama has earmarked 200 million dollars for his Big Data Research and Development Initiative. And just last month the National Science Foundation awarded 10 million dollars to Berkeley’s A.M.P. Expedition, which stands for “algorithms machines people,” a team of U.C. Berkeley professors and graduate students working to advance Big Data analysis.

Gene Logsdon: Gardening In The Nude (or New Use For Rhubarb)


From GENE LOGSDON
The Contrary Farmer
[Repost]

One of the greatest mysteries of life for me is society’s ambivalence about the naked human body. People line up by the hundreds every day to get a look at Michelangelo’s anatomically-correct statue of David. But if a real live David were to stand naked beside that statue, the sex police would haul him away, even in Italy where nude statues are as common as pizza.

I once did a lot of “research” into the subject of outdoor nudity. Research for a writer means I “asked around.” What gives here, anyway?

You’d be amazed. Actually most of you would not be amazed because what I found out was that most people, given their druthers, would not wear clothes in their back yards or even front yards, if they could get away with it, at least not when the weather is nice. People I asked drew the line only at going beyond the home environment unclothed or where the environment inclined excessively to poison ivy and mosquitoes. One person put it this way: “If everyone took their clothes off while they mowed the lawn, in twenty minutes no one would take a second look. If the nude person was as ugly as I am, no one would take a first look.”

I have a hunch that there are plenty of backyard swimming pools whose waters reflect bare backsides more than they do swimsuits. For sure what passes for a swimsuit in many of them would make a typical thong look kind of klutzy. But people also expressed a yen, if they trusted that I was not going to name names, for gardening in the nude. In fact the practice has been sanctified into folk tradition, at least in the Ozarks. According to folklorist Vance Randolph, writing in the 1930s and 40s, the spring planting ritual in the hills involved a sort of celebratory session of love making

Top 10 Ways Walmart Fails on Sustainability…


From INSTITUTE FOR LOCAL SELF-RELIANCE

What’s Missing From Walmart’s Global Responsibility Report

In response to Walmart’s release of its Global Responsibility Report, Food & Water Watch and the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) have published the Top 10 Ways Walmart Fails on Sustainability. Since 2005, the country’s largest retailer has been making splashy announcements and issuing slick reports to highlight its environmental and social responsibility efforts. Food & Water Watch and ILSR contend that Walmart fails to live up to its promises and continues to ignore the fundamental problems with its business model that harm the environment, undermine healthy food choices, and exacerbate poverty.

“No amount of greenwash can conceal the fact that Walmart perpetuates an industrialized food system that diminishes our natural resources, causes excessive pollution, and forces smaller farmers and companies to get big or get out of business,” said Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch.

“Once again, Walmart is using sustainability as a marketing tool to improve its public image and propel its growth —  even as it continues to pave over critical habitat, increase its greenhouse gas emissions, and flood the market with shoddy products that go from factory to landfill in record time,” said Stacy Mitchell, senior researcher at ILSR.

Top 10 Ways Walmart Fails on Sustainability is based on ILSR’s report Walmart’s Greenwash: How the company’s much-publicized sustainability campaign falls short, while its relentless growth devastates the environment and Food & Water Watch’s report Why Walmart Can’t Fix the Food System.

Download Top 10 Ways Walmart Fails on Sustainability.

Katniss Everdeen: Local(ist) Hero


From BACK PORCH REPUBLIC

On the Local Economy and The Hunger Games

The comments presented forthwith do not necessarily represent the opinions of the author, nor any reasonable human being. On the other hand, inspired by this meisterwerk (subtitle: “A Critique of Pure Treason”), this essay may be a product of a voice of some generation at some point whose collective tongue cannot be extracted from its collective cheek. The author also posts here with less silly (but still somewhat silly) thoughts.

The world of Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games could be cited as the frightening result of Tocquevillian democratic despotism. The Capitol, bent only on rapid materialism and consumption, is lulled into abandoning their mores and is oblivious to questions of the morality of pitting 24 adolescents against each other in a fight to the death as long as they are entertained. Katniss and Peeta, the flawed heroes of our tale, are bent on bucking the system, refusing to be a “pawn in their Games” and eventually becoming the symbols of resistance for the impoverished Districts who have become artificially dependent on the Capitol’s kindness for their very existence. Besides their growing role as reluctant leaders in the resistance against the evil President Snow, Peeta and especially Katniss show fierce loyalty to their home, District 12. In this essay, I will examine how themes of localism pervade Collins’ kid lit series and the “total economy” of Panem is a means of destroying the local character of the Districts.

In the oft-cited Federalist No. 10, James Madison outlines the causes and discontents of faction in the newly forming union of the United States. A faction, Madison writes, is “a number of citizens, whether amounting to a majority or a minority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest

4 Things Grosser Than Pink Slime…


From TOM PHILPOTT
Mother Jones

The specter of “pink slime”—pureed, defatted, and ammonia-laced slaughterhouse scraps—has caused quite the uproar over the past six weeks. (The latest: Propublica has a great explainer on pink slime and other filler products.) The current fixation on pink slime may well lead to the demise of the product; already, supermarket and fast-food chains and school cafeterias are opting to stop adding the stuff into their burger mixes. The company’s maker, Beef Products International, has had to temporarily shut down three of its four plants in response to collapsing demand, which doesn’t augur well for the company’s long-term health.

But I’m wondering if focusing on the ew-gross aspects of “lean, finely textured beef” (as the industry calls it) doesn’t miss the bigger picture, which is that the meat industry’s very business model is deeply gross. Even if pink slime is purged from the face of the earth, the system that produces our meat and related products (eggs, milk) won’t be fundamentally changed. A while back, I identified something about meat production that’s “even grosser than pink slime”—proposed new rules that would privatize inspection at poultry slaughterhouses while dramatically speeding up kill lines. Here are four more.

1. “Rodents on egg conveyor belts.” Want to see for yourself what it is like inside a teeming livestock confinements—or at least read an account from a journalist who’s been inside one? Good luck. The meat industry strictly protects its facilities from public view. That’s why animal-welfare groups have taken to sneaking camera-toting undercover agents into facilities posing as employees. Over and over again, what they record is horrific. The latest: An undercover Humane Society of the United States investigation found stomach-turning conditions at a facility run by Pennsylvania egg giant Kreider Farms. Here are some highlights:

Underground Chickens…


~
From BEGINNING FARMERS

Find out where to get information about everything you need to know to raise chickens on a small to medium scale…

1) Raising chickens is becoming more and more popular with small farmers, urban farmers, homesteaders, others. Many people are realizing that the difference between pasture raised chicken meat and eggs, and those from large confinement operations is similar to the difference between fresh seasonal heirloom tomatoes, and those picked green, ripened with ethanol, and shipped across the country.

Chickens can also be beneficial in diversified farming operations by helping to control pests, providing an alternative, year-round source of income, and producing high-nitrogen manure for fertilizer.

Interest in raising chickens has grown quickly in the last few years, accompanied by a resurgent interest in heritage breeds, pastured poultry, and on-farm processing…

  • Chickens 101 - offers basic information about raising chickens, starting with eggs, coop plans, chicken breeds, and more.
  • Chicken Breeds List doesn’t just list breeds, as their name might suggest. They also provide great information and articles on chicken care, breeding, and much more.
  • Raising Poultry – an information packed site that provides a broad range of information and resources regarding all aspects of raising poultry. A great place to start.
  • The Country Chicken – is about the care and raising of backyard chickens. There is information about chicken coops, daily care, pictures of breeds, and an excellent links page.

Green Smoothie Recipes – Top 5


From THE BEST OF RAW FOOD

Try the best green smoothie recipe ever! I drink about two full blender jars of these drinks a day. They are healthy, easy and quick to make and absolutely delicious.

Each green smoothie recipe below is chuck full of healthy minerals (e.g. calcium and iron), vitamins, co-factors, life force, fiber. And very important, they are alkalizing. Green smoothies are critical for health.

To make these recipes, all you need are the ingredients and a blender. A high speed blender such as Vitamix or Blendtec is best because they break the cell wall. This way you absorb the nutrients easily. But if you’re just starting a raw vegetable diet, any other blender will do too. My first year on raw food, I just used a hand blender (Cuisine art, 700 Watt).

All recipes serve about 2-3 people and can be kept for up to 12 hours as long as you add enough water (great when traveling).


Kale and Banana Smoothie

Ingredients

2 bananas
2 tablespoons hulled hemp seed
1 bag of frozen blue berries
2.5 cups pure water
1 teaspoon super foods of choice (optional)
5 leafs of kale

Directions

  1. Put all ingredients in a high speed blender.
  2. Add enough water so that all ingredients are covered.
  3. Blend well.
  4. You may want to add a little more water if you like your smoothie thinner.

This is a great way to add (wild edible greens) to your raw food diet. You won’t even notice it.

The Specter of Secularism: Lies and lunacy on the campaign trail…


From READER SUPPORTED NEWS

We, the people, are united by our shared humanity and our common citizenship. We are divided by our divergent sectarian beliefs. In the past, these divisions led to oppression of those out of favor by those holding the positions of power. At times, persecution reached the point of cruelty and lethality. At other times, civil wars broke out as competing sets of true believers sought to gain or retain temporal power. Based on the sterling insight of what unites us and the shameful history of what divides us, the Founding and the Framing generation ordained and established a secular Republic.

Despite the contemporary rampant ignorance of people who should know better, secularism is not a religion; it is a philosophic perspective and a constitutional prescription. The Constitution of the United States neither enthrones nor endorses any variety of religious persuasion, any more than it anoints or approves any particular approach to economic activity.

While congregants of particular religious denominations have struggled since the start of the Republic to seize the reins of power, they have always done so without constitutional justification. America is neither a Christian nor a Capitalist nation. It is a Constitutional Republic in which all are free to follow their conscience in the practice of religion and to seek their fortune by all legal means. The only requirement consistent with the constitution is that each of us allows others the freedom to do the same.

Despite this historical background and continuing reality, Mitt Romney in his response to a question about the recent HHS contraceptive regulation requiring religiously affiliated organizations to provide coverage for all women employees, declared: “I think there is a desire to establish a religion in America known as secularism.”

Rewilding Our Children


From GEORGE MONBIOT
The Guardian

Hope for humanity lies in recognising their animal nature.

Three weeks old, warm and gently snoring on my shoulder as I write, you are closer to nature than you will ever be again. With your animal needs and animal cries, moved by a slow primordial spirit that will soon be submerged in the cacophony of thought and language, you belong, it seems to me, more to the biosphere than to the human sphere. Already it feels like years since I saw you, my second daughter, in the scan, your segmented skeleton revealed like an ancient beast uncovered by geologists, buried in the rock of ages. Already I have begun to entertain the hopes and fears to which every parent has succumbed, perhaps since the early hominids laid down the prints which show that the human spark had been struck.

Let me begin at the beginning, with the organisation to which you might owe your life. When I was born, almost 50 years ago, in the bitter winter of 1963, the National Health Service was just 15 years old. It must still have been hard for people to believe that – for the first time in the history of these islands – they could fall ill without risking financial ruin, that no one need die for want of funds. I see this system as the summit of civilisation, one of the wonders of the world.

Now it is so much a part of our lives that it is just as hard to believe that we might lose it. But I fear that, when you have reached my age, free, universal healthcare will be a distant fantasy, a mythologised arcadia as far removed from the experience of your children’s generation as the Blitz was from mine. One of the lessons you will learn, painfully and reluctantly, is that nothing of public value exists which has not been fought for.

David Sedaris on his reading habits…


From NYT

David Sedaris

I was a judge for this year’s Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, so until very recently I was reading essays written by clever high school students. Now I’ve started Shalom Auslander’s “Hope: A Tragedy.” His last book, “Foreskin’s Lament,” really made me laugh.

When and where do you like to read?

Throughout my 20s and early 30s — my two-books-per-week years — I did most of my reading at the International House of Pancakes. I haven’t been to one in ages, but at the time, if you went at an off-peak hour, they’d give you a gallon-sized pot of coffee and let you sit there as long as you liked. Now, though, with everyone hollering into their cellphones, it’s much harder to read in public, so I tend to do it at home, most often while reclining.

What was the last truly great book you read?

I’ve read a lot of books that I loved recently. “Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea,” by a woman named Barbara Demick, was a real eye-opener. In terms of “great,” as in “This person seems to have reinvented the English language,” I’d say Wells Tower’s “Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned.” What an exciting story collection it is, unlike anything I’ve ever come across.

Do you consider yourself a fiction or a nonfiction person? What’s your favorite literary genre? Any guilty pleasures?

I like nonfiction books about people with wretched lives. The worse off the subjects, the more inclined I am to read about them… Complete article here
~~

OWS: A Pamphleteer’s Occupation…


From GREG RUGGIERO
HuffPost

Who in their right mind would start a new small press at a time when the economy is so bad, e-books are rising, and book stores, libraries and perhaps the printed word itself are getting shoved down the same path as vinyl records and record stores?

Why bother to sink resources and turtle-pace time into producing, mailing, and shelving printed matter when we can now reach one another with speed and buzz, hummingbird-style?

Some people, like Rory O’Connor, use terms like “legacy media” to refer to old-school operations like newspapers. We have, indeed, entered an era where “friends and followers” are displacing corporations as producers of the news people give their attention to. But that does not displace printed matter as a whole. In fact, the Occupy movements are giving birth to a beautiful revival of print-based underground press activity. Tidal, a journal of Occupy theory, is one of a host of new Occupy-related print-based initiatives that is channeling the energy, ideas, art and aspirations that is making waves. The editors have two beautiful issues out to date, and give them away, thanks to donations of all types, including labor. I’ve seen people reading Tidal in the streets and in the courtroom. Just seeing it in people’s hands is uplifting to me. Print projects like Tidal, and there are many others, offer solidarity and intellectual self defense against corporate efforts to achieve cultural control.

Despite all the immediacy and connectivity offered by online communication, print still matters. Print is intimate. We can hold it in our hands, touch it, pass it to one another.

Transition: What is a carrot worth?


From BEN JAMES
Town Farm in Northampton, Massachusetts
Excerpted from greenhornsThe Atlantic
Thanks to Janie Sheppard

Last week at market a customer complained about the price of our dill (two dollars for a not-huge bunch). He said the price was an outrage, but he was smiling, so I was too confused to ask why he was going ahead and buying the dill, or even how he’d arrived at his notion of its value.

This is not an unusual occurrence; every week at market we get at least one or two potential customers who shake their heads in dismay at a $2.75 head of lettuce or a $4.00 pint of strawberries. Sometimes I engage in conversation, sometimes I don’t. I try not to get defensive, and I frequently encourage a customer not to buy the product, offering suggestions of where to find cheaper food, either at the market or elsewhere. I do my best not to reveal that the value of our produce is a question that regularly fills me with a tremendous amount of anxiety.

What is a carrot worth? A bunch of kale? A handful of berries? Too often, I find myself on the tractor making quick calculations in my head. For a bed of carrots, there are the soil amendments, the cover crop last fall, the chicken manure, the organic fertilizer, the plowing, tilling, seeding, irrigating, thinning, weeding, harvesting, washing, bunching, packing, and selling. Plus the cost of the tractors, implements, and fuel. Plus the cost of childcare and preschool. Plus, somehow, all the time spent on the computer (where does that fit in)? And I haven’t even mentioned the cost of the land (hundreds of thousands of dollars, in our case). The sheer number of labor hours and material and property costs that went into helping this soil

Transition: Is your Home a Box or a Dynamo?


From JOHN ROBB
Resilient Communities

I have to admit. I sometimes fall into the trap of thinking about my home in the traditional way.

What’s the traditional way of thinking about a home?  To see it as a box.

A very big box that holds a family’s things.  A box that can be decorated both inside and out.  A box that needs constant repair to maintain its box-hood.

If you really think about it.  A static, decorated box isn’t really a home.  It’s a mausoleum.  It adorns you and your family in your repose.

The new way of thinking about a home is as a dynamo:

A dynamic, living system that produces food, energy, water, and much more.  A system that helps you to actively respond to changes in the global economy and environment, particularly as they careen out of control.  A productive asset you actively participate in managing.  An asset that grows more valuable the worse the things get.

Here’s a question to think about.

Another Turn of the Crank…


the premier philosopher of community and rural life

From WENDELL BERRY
Forward to
Another Turn of the Crank (1995)

Field Observations: An interview with Wendell Berry

The essays in this book deal with a number of important issues that have now become obscured by poor politics, and they deal with other issues, equally important, that are now little noticed, and are perhaps not noticeable, by politicians;

The book is therefore vulnerable to some misconceptions that I would like to correct beforehand. Nothing that I have written here should be construed as an endorsement of either of our political parties as they presently function.

Republicans who read this book should beware either of approving it as “conservative” or of dismissing it as “liberal”. Democrats should beware of the opposite errors.

One reason for this is that I am an agrarian; I think that good farming is a high and difficult art, that it is indispensable, and that it cannot be accomplished except under certain conditions. Manifestly, good farming cannot be fostered or maintained under the rule of the presently dominant economic and cultural assumptions of our political parties.

Another reason is that I am a member, by choice, of a local community. I believe that healthy communities are indispensable, and I know that our communities are disintegrating under the influence of economic assumptions that are accepted without question by both our parties-despite their lip service to various non-economic “values.” The “conservatives” believe that an economy that favors its richest and most powerful participants will yet somehow serve the best interest of everybody. The “liberals” believe just as irrationally that a merely competitive economy, growing always larger in scale and controlled by fewer and fewer people, can be corrected by extending government charity

Battle for the Soul of Occupy…


From ADBUSTERS

Alright you jammers, occupiers and Springtime dreamers,

First they silenced our uprising with a media blackout… then they smashed our encampments with midnight paramilitary raids… and now they’re threatening to neutralize our insurgency with an insidious campaign of donor money and co-optation. This counter-strategy worked to kill off the Tea Party’s outrage and turn it into a puppet of the Republican Party. Will the same happen with Occupy Wall Street? Will our insurgency turn into the Democrats’ Tea Party pet?

It’s up to you to decide if our movement goes the way of Paris ’68, the dust bin of could-have-been-insurrections, or something more daring, more inspiring, something not yet dreamed.

Will you allow Occupy to become a project of the old left, the same cabal of old world thinkers who have blunted the possibility of revolution for decades? Will you allow MoveOn, The Nation and Ben & Jerry to put the brakes on our Spring Offensive and turn our struggle into a “99% Spring” reelection campaign for President Obama?

We are now in a battle for the soul of Occupy… a fight to the finish between the impotent old left and the new vibrant, horizontal left who launched Occupy Wall Street from the bottom-up and who dreams of real democracy and another world.

Whatever you do, don’t allow our revolutionary struggle to fizzle out into another lefty whine and clicktivist campaign like has happened so many times in the past. Let’s Occupy the clicktivists and crash the MoveOn party. Let’s #DEFENDOCCUPY and stop the derailment of our movement that looms ahead.
~~

Soil and Health Library…


Soil And Health Library


Health begins in the soil — Healing begins with hygiene — Liberty begins with freedom

[We have linked to this site from the beginning of Ukiah Blog and periodically draw attention to it for new readers. Much of this is wisdom that never grows old, though out of print and now in the public domain. There is often some stuff that science has since proven false, and some that is, yes we love it, "cranky"... but the truly useful shines through. Most recently, Linda Gray circulated this book link: http://curezone.com/upload/PDF/Arthur_F_Coca_MD_The_Pulse_Test_by.pdf, self care allergy testing for chronic health sufferers.

Linda writes: I’ve been telling anyone I know that has any type of chronic health issue about The Pulse Test because it looks to me that almost no one has ever heard of it and I think it may just drop off the face of the Earth otherwise. It’s less known now than it was almost forty years ago when I first read it. Back then I found it to be right on with my food allergies and Coca claimed that it can help some people with epilepsy, diabetes, irregular heart, depression, chronic bronchial infections, and many other chronic illnesses, besides just plain old allergies (in other words, according to him, many chronic illnesses are simply allergies). You don’t really have to read much more than the first couple of chapters to get the gist of it. It’s pretty simple." More on this in a few days... -DS]


This website provides free e-books, mainly about holistic agriculture, holistic health and self-sufficient homestead living. There are secondary collections about social criticism and transformational psychology. No fees are collected for this service.

The library’s subject seemingly-diverse topic areas actually connect

Giving Up on Environmentalism…


From DAVE POLLARD
How To Save The World

It’s been about 40 years since my first environmental activism, fighting against the Churchill River hydroelectric diversion in Northern Manitoba and the Mackenzie Valley Oil & Gas Pipelines through the pristine and fragile Canadian arctic to US markets.

We lost the Churchill River fight — in 1976 the so-called socialist provincial government flooded 850 square kilometres to divert 80% of the water from one huge river to another — because it was cheaper to dam one than two. All told, 2600 sq. km. were flooded, 25,000 First Nations people were either driven off their land or had their way of life irrevocably altered, and the ecosystems of the northern half of the province were desolated in ways we’re only now beginning to realize.

We stalled off development of the Mackenzie Valley pipelines then, but they are now being fast-tracked by the current corporate-owned ultra-conservative Canadian government in order to provide cheap energy to power the eco-holocaust called the Alberta Tar Sands. Big Oil wasn’t in much of a hurry back in the 1960s — they knew the value of the oil reserves they “owned” would only go up.

In the intervening 40 years, from the heady counter-culture days of the late 1960s, the human species has done more damage to this planet than we did in the previous 30,000 years, i.e. since the inception of human civilization, by almost every possible measure: loss of biodiversity on land, in the seas and in the air, loss of natural habitat capable of supporting any creature sustainably, pollution of land, air and sea, non-renewable resources extracted and non-biodegradable wastes produced. So much for the idealism of the boomer generation.

Todd Walton: He Touched Me


From TODD WALTON
UnderTheTableBooks
Mendocino

“If our American way of life fails the child, it fails us all.” Pearl S. Buck

Reading Bruce McEwen’s tragic Hug A Kid, Go To Jail, I thought, “My God, there but for the grace of luck and chance and (in my system of belief) the intervention of angels, I, too, might have been arrested for child molestation and been sent to prison and labeled a sex offender for the rest of my life—on several different occasions. What? How?

When I was in my late thirties and living in Sacramento, I played basketball every morning at a neighborhood park. Three days a week I met my friend Bob there for rousing games of one-on-one, and two days a week I shot around by myself. Along with the basketball court, the park featured a big lawn and a swing set and a public bathroom. So one morning I was shooting hoops and these two moms showed up, each with a cute kid in tow, and they wandered to the far end of the park and spread out a big blanket for playtime and snacking and reading and whatnot.

As I continued shooting hoops, one of the kids, a girl, skipped across the lawn to the restroom adjacent to the basketball court and entered the little cinderblock building on the side marked WOMEN. A moment later she let out a blood-curdling scream, and in the next moment I was on my way into the restroom to rescue her. But some unseen power grabbed hold of me, and a loud inner voice said, “Don’t go in there. Whatever you do, don’t go in there!”

The girl screamed again—bloody murder!—and I turned on my heels and sprinted across the lawn toward the moms, waving my arms and shouting, “Your little girl is screaming in the bathroom.”

Transition: Which train would you rather be on?…


From ROB HOPKINS
Transition Culture

I am really pleased today to be able to share with you some of the key outputs from Transition Streets, which I have written about here before.  Let’s start, for people who are new to the concept, with this short video which beautifully captures how Transition Streets worked in Totnes:

Transition Streets has already been rolled out in places other than Totnes, but in a few weeks, a whole supported programme will be coming out whereby you will be able to run it in your community (I’ll let you know). You can see the first section of the Transition Streets workbook here to get a flavour of it. It is a great example of the tool from ‘The Transition Companion’ called ‘Street-by-street behaviour change’.

The main output from Transition Streets is the ‘Final project report’, which “shares information about the Transition Streets project, funded by the previous government’s Low Carbon Communities Challenge funded: how it worked, what it achieved, what was learnt and where we are heading next”.  You can find a summary of its findings here.  It is a very thorough round-up of the project.

However, the most fascinating to me is “Social Impacts of Transition Together (SITT): Investigating the social impacts, benefits and sustainability of the Transition Together/Transition Streets initiative in Totnes“, which goes into the more qualitative aspects of Transition Streets, what motivated people to get involved, what changes people made

Book Preview for April, May, and June 2012…


From THE MILLIONS

April:

coverThe Cove by Ron Rash: For the poet, novelist and short story writer Ron Rash, this could be the break-out novel that gives him the name recognition of such better-known Appalachian conjurers as Lee Smith, Robert Morgan, Fred Chappell and Charles Frazier. The Cove, set in the North Carolina mountains during the First World War, is the story of Laurel Shelton and her war-damaged brother Hank, who live on land that the locals believe is cursed. Everything changes when Laurel comes upon a mysterious stranger in the woods, who she saves from a near-fatal accident. “Rash throws a big shadow now,” says Daniel Woodrell, “and it’s only going to get bigger and soon.” (Bill)

coverFarther Away: Essays by Jonathan Franzen: From Franzen, a collection of essays and speeches written primarily in the last five years. The title essay generated considerable attention when it appeared in The New Yorker in April. In it, Franzen told of his escape to a remote, uninhabited island in the South Pacific following the suicide of his friend David Foster Wallace. Two pieces in the collection—“On Autobiographic Fiction” and “Comma-Then”—have never been published before. Others focus on environmental devastation in China, bird poachers in Cyprus, and the way technology has changed the way people express intimate feelings to each other. (Kevin)

coverImmobility by Brian Evenson: Genre-bender Evenson (Fugue State, Contagion) returns with an inventive mystery centering around a brilliant detective wasting away from an incurable disease and, consequently, frozen in suspended animation for years. Thawed out by a mysterious man, he must solve an important case

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