Transition: Emotional Resilience In Traumatic Times…



From CAROLYN BAKER
Age of Limits

In March, 2011, I returned from Northern California where residents there were profoundly anxious regarding the effects of radiation on the West Coast from Fukushima. How not, when on April 1, the San Francisco area newspaper, Bay Citizen, reported that “Radiation from Japan rained on Berkeley during recent storms at levels that exceeded drinking water standards by 181 times and has been detected in multiple milk samples, but the U.S. government has still not published any official data on nuclear fallout here from the Fukushima disaster”?

In typical American media fashion, out of sight, out of mind. Fewer and fewer stories of radiation realities in and issuing from Japan are being reported in mainstream news. An occasional comment surfaces, usually assuring us that we have nothing to fear. It’s all so benign. Apparently, we can now move on to “really important” stories like the 2012 election campaign.

And yet, whether explicitly stated or not, Americans and billions of other individuals throughout the world, are not only terrified about radiation but about their economic future—an economic future which will be inexorably more ruinous as a result of the Japan tragedy and its economic ripples globally. By that I do not mean that they feel mild anxiety about embellishing their stock portfolios, but rather, are feeling frightened about how they are going to feed their families, where they will live after losing their house in foreclosure, where they might find employment in a world

Transition: Sustainable Living as Religious Observance…


From DMITRY ORLOV
Club Orlov

I have spent the last few days at a conference organized by the Four Quarters Interfaith Sanctuary near Artemas, Pennsylvania. Titled “The Age of Limits,” it was well attended and promises to be one of a series of annual conferences to address the waning of the industrial age and the social adaptation it makes necessary. This conference was quite different from all the others I have attended.

First, the venue is a campground; a beautiful one, consisting of lush meadows surrounded by an equally lush but passable forest girded on three sides by a fast-flowing creek of cold, clean water. This sanctuary is dedicated to nature spirituality, and includes a very impressive stone circle and a multitude of little shrines, altars, charms and amulets hung on trees. (Also included is an assortment of cheerful hippies skinny-dipping in the creek.) Second, spirituality was prominently featured in the presentations: the question of spiritual and emotional adaptation to fast-changing, unsettled times was very much on the agenda. Third, the campground is owned by a church; one of undefined denomination, theological bent or specific set of beliefs, but a church nevertheless. Lastly, the campground is run by a monastery that is at the heart of this church; the monks and nuns do not wear habits, do not seem to have taken any specific vows other than those of loyalty, poverty and obedience, but in substance not too different

Transition: How to Start a Tool Lending Library…


From DAVID LANG
MakeZine.com

David Lang, something of a reluctant maker, is on a journey, intensively immersing himself in maker culture and learning as many DIY skills as he can, in part through a generous arrangement with our pals at TechShop. He’s regularly chronicling his efforts in this column — what he’s learning, who he’s meeting, and what hurdles he’s clearing…

Throughout my Zero to Maker journey, I’ve prided myself on how much I’ve been able to accomplish without actually owning many of the tools I’ve needed. As someone with a tight budget and an even smaller studio apartment, I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how much I can accomplish through collaborative outlets like TechShop and Noisebridge. However, last week, my strategy fell apart.

While working on building a standing desk in my room, the cheap, electric drill I was using totally gave out on me. I was building the desk out of large pieces of reclaimed wood, the drill was a critical part of the equation, and hauling the entire project to TechShop made no sense. If only there was an easy way to borrow a tool. Turns out, there is, but not for me because I live in San Francisco. If I lived across the Bay in Berkeley or Oakland, I could swing by the local Tool Lending Library and get what I needed.

Tool Lending Libraries work just like book lending libraries, except they allow the temporary use of tools instead of books. They allow a community to access the tools they need

How to Not Kill a Cyclist…


From MATTHEW BALDWIN
TheMorningNews

My friend was driving down a suburban road, me in the passenger seat, when he came up behind a cyclist. There was no bike lane and a car was approaching from the opposite direction, so he slowed such that we remained behind the rider.

After the other car went by, my friend began to accelerate, intent on passing. “Hang on,” I said. “There’s a sharp bend just ahead, and you don’t want to pass while we’re both going around it.”

“Why not?”

“Because—well, just watch.”

My friend tapped the brake and fell back. As the rider navigated the curve, he swung out into the road and upon reaching the straightaway returned to the shoulder. As my friend passed a few seconds later, the cyclist gave a friendly wave.

“Got it,” my friend said to me. “Thanks.”

I’m not a better driver than my friend—in fact, quite the opposite. But I am a cyclist, while he is not, and he appreciated knowing more about how we operate.

As many cyclists are aware, there are entire bookstore sections devoted to advice on co-existing with cars. We read them as if our lives depended on them, because often they do. But there are also many things bike riders would like drivers to know—like, we don’t ride on the sidewalk for a reason (it’s dangerous and in many places illegal), or that “cyclists” and “pedestrians on bicycles” are two distinct groups, or that we know we look ridiculous in bike shorts. As well as the following:

Gene Logsdon: What Is The Secret Of Parsnips?


From GENE LOGSDON
The Contrary Farmer

Whenever I go to a big supermarket that carries fresh food, I always find these long, wrinkled, ugly, rooty-looking things called parsnips on display. Someone must like them or they wouldn’t be there, but I can’t find anyone who admits to eating them, or anyone who knows what the attraction might be. It certainly isn’t phallic, as carrots sometimes get portrayed.  What is the allure of parsnips?

We grew parsnips once. They were slow to germinate so weeds got a head start on them. As for taste, I am not saying they weren’t edible if cooked with enough butter, but that is kind of true of cardboard too. Parsnips are “best” in early spring after having spent the entire winter in cold or even frozen soil. The cold enhances their taste which tells me that in the fall they must taste terrible. Nowadays, marketers sometimes refrigerate fall-harvested parsnips before selling them.

Parsnips have been cultivated and cherished at least back as far as ancient Roman times. The most obvious reason for their popularity is that they are available to eat before any new growth arrives in spring, a real advantage before modern storage methods came along. But there are other roots in the ground that also survive winter. Why parsnips?  Help me out here.

What little solid history I can find about the parsnip only increases the mystery. In Gardening For Profit, an interesting old book by Peter Henderson, first published in 1867, the author goes to great length pointing out that parsnips

Krugman, Hartmann: End This Depression Now…



From THOM HARTMANN

Keynes was right, Reagan was wrong… We’ve gone through a great forgetting…

We have a monoculture of ruthless corporations as the only way we do business… Without strong unions, Big Money is all there is…

The tepid response to the current economic crisis could ruin the United States and Europe.

We are living through a time where we face an enormous economic challenge… We are facing — obviously — the worst challenge in 80 years and we are totally mucking up the response. We’re doing a terrible job. We’re failing to deal with it. All of the people, the respectable people, the serious people, have made a total hash of this. That is a recipe for radicalism. It is a recipe for breakdown…

There are a lot of ugly forces being unleashed in our societies on both sides of the Atlantic because our economic policy has been such a dismal failure, because we are refusing to listen to the lessons of history. We may look back at this thirty years from now and say, ‘That is when it all fell apart.’ And by all, I don’t just mean the economy.
~~

Genuine Heirlooms are Seeds with Stories…



Heirloom bean harvest. Credit: Patricia Larenas

From PATRICIA LARENAS
Shareable

Genuinely heirloom seeds are seeds with stories. They were passed down through generations of families and communities. Typically, they traveled long distances with immigrants to new lands as cherished food plants. These traditional sources of food were a comfort, and beyond that, a necessity. In our urban supermarket and fast-food culture it’s easy to forget that at one time families relied on what they could grow, and the crops they grew were a rainbow of diversity.

What happens to these unique varieties of edibles when there is no one to grow them and pass seeds on to the next generation? Extinction. Many have already been lost, but there are heroic efforts underway to save as many as possible, along with their stories.

A Cucumber Lost, Then Found

For example, I love the story of the Collier Cucumber, named after a family who began growing it in about 1910, after being given seeds by traveling gypsies. Seed sleuth Sara Straate, was able to collect information through interviews with the Collier children. Straate, who is a Seed Historian with Seed Savers Exchange (SSE), learned that in the 1950’s the parents had planted all of the seeds they had. As fate (and weather) would have it, the entire crop failed. The family was crushed to have lost this much-loved cucumber, which they ate fresh

Hey, Mendo Right-Wing Fascists: Ya got nothin to tell and sell but hate and fear…


From DAVE SMITH
Ukiah

[Here in Mendo we have our Sunday Ukiah Daily Journal served frequently with a prominent helping of steaming garbage from the far right on the op-ed pages. Here to save the day, The Three Mouskateers, Messrs. Mark Albrecht, John Hendricks and Mark Rohloff have taken it upon themselves to “promote the conservative point of view in Ukiah”. They do not appeal with logic nor documented systematic analysis. It’s all “pot calling the kettle black” and pure, red-hot, hyperbolic hate.

Marvin Gentz, bless his heart, and others strive mightily to counter their feverish, inept, ineloquent spewing, and my fingers are getting itchy to blast them back.

With apologies to the community, public service sometimes requires us to acknowledge the existence of those who would destroy democracy if we didn’t stay vigilant. Here is their latest (UDJ 5/27/12) from the fire-and-brimstone gates of Mousekateer hell… -DS]

In the beginning of our once great country, the United States of America was founded on the joint understanding that God was our guide and partner in the enterprise of freedom. Those who landed at Plymouth Rock sought the guidance of the Almighty, too, and eventually premised the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution on this relationship. In fact, the First Amendment to the Constitution states freedom of religion to be the cornerstone of our enterprise.

Dumb Rich People…


From ALAN GRAYSON
Reader Supported News

A few weeks ago, it was reported that some right-wing rich guys’ club had pledged $100 million to defeat President Obama. The Koch Brothers led the way, pledging $60 mil. Which is pocket change, when your net worth is $50,000,000,000.00.

Leaving aside the obvious issue – the estate tax – I’m puzzled as to why all those right-wing rich folks feel that way. The foundation of their wealth – the stock market – has performed vastly better when Democrats have been in charge.

In 2008, the New York Times reported that since 1929, $10,000 invested in the stock market under Democratic Presidents (over 40 years) had become $300,671. Meanwhile, $10,000 invested in the stock market under Republican Presidents (over 35 years) had become only $11,733.

Well, at least the affluent caste didn’t lose money during Republican regimes, right? Wrong. The value of the dollar dropped by 92% during that period. So in real value, $10,000 invested in the stock market under Republican Presidents actually became just $955. And forty-six cents. In economic terms, roughly the same effect as some foreign enemy blowing up 90% of our factories, warehouses, farms, malls, office buildings, apartment buildings, and every other productive asset.

Poor rich people. All the money gone. Those darned Republicans.