Wednesday, June 19, 2013
In These Times published a cover story on the transition movement, in its June 2013 edition. I was familiar with Transition Santa Cruz, and Transition San Lorenzo Valley, two local transition efforts. In fact, I attended a recent presentation by Gar Alperovitz at UCSC, sponsored by Transition Santa Cruz. I was, in other words, generally aware of the transition "idea."
I was not aware, until I read the In These Times article, that there are at least 1,105 transition towns in 43 different countries. I hadn't yet discovered the Transition Network website.
It turns out that there are a lot of people out there, trying to change the world.
And, you know
Tuesday, June 18, 2013
My grandson Dylan is seven years old. He is moving into a new house, out in Soquel. Here he is in Soquel Creek.
Soquel Creek and other natural areas are not far away from where Dylan is moving, and Dylan recently saw a deer, right in his new neighborhood.
According to my wife Marilyn, who was with him, Dylan immediately, and without any prompting, said that cities should be developed so that buildings were built higher. If that were done, he pointed out, cities wouldn't need to spread out so much, and destroy the places where deer live.
This is actually quite a sophisticated urban planning insight, sometimes called "smart growth." I talk about this topic frequently on my weekday Land Use Reports on KUSP Radio, but I doubt that Dylan is a listener. We have never had a discussion about these planning principles.
Maybe it's genetic!
Monday, June 17, 2013
Family schedules being what they are, my family provided me with a celebratory Father's Day dinner on Saturday, just one day in advance of the "official" Father's Day.
My daughter Sonya (and her children) wrapped up some coffee beans, and some of those beans were themselves wrapped up in chocolate. This was definitely a hit as a Father's Day gift. Unlike the young boy in Wales, made famous by Dylan Thomas (or who was, perhaps, Dylan Thomas himself), I tend to like the "useful" gifts. Though I am far from her father, my wife, Marilyn, provided me with a gift of three white shirts. VERY useful. Another hit in the gift department.
My son Philips came to dinner with a book - another good gift choice for this particular father. The book in question was Dave Eggers' most recent novel, A Hologram For The King. Sometime ago, having read a review, I made a kind of promise to myself to read the book. This quasi-commitment was noted, in fact, in this Two Worlds blog, as you can see if you click the link. Today, the day after Father's Day, I am already about half done. The book is as good as the reviews opined!
My "official" Father's Day was not without its "official" Father's Day activities. These included, particularly, a Father-Daughter-Son hike to and around the City's Loch Lomond Reservoir, pictured above.
That day with my kids was the REAL gift!
Loch Lomond is as pretty as the picture shows. And as I have also noted before, this is water, destined for drinking, that doesn't get run through a huge, energy-sucking, marine-environment-destroying desalination plant. It was nice to see our city's water in its natural element. It was a really nice Father's Day for me.
Sunday, June 16, 2013
Saturday, June 15, 2013
The image above is from the Summer 2013 edition of Earth Island Journal. The cover story is called "Prying Eyes," and documents how corporations and law enforcement agencies are spying on environmentalists, who are being investigated as part of the "war on terror."
It is a pretty disturbing article, over all, particularly if you are one of those environmental "terrorists" who don't like fracking. Oops! Count me in their number.
Are we ready, yet, to start dismantling the national security state? Or, are we still more afraid of foreign terrorists than we are of our corporate keepers?
I recommend the article, as we ponder the answer.
Friday, June 14, 2013
There are still a couple of days left to see Arcadia at the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco. Arcadia is one of the best plays that Tom Stoppard ever wrote. Stoppard (pictured) has written a lot of great plays, too!
As in all of Stoppard's works, Arcadia contains a lot of word play. And there is a lot of sex (not graphic). And there is, more than anything else, an expression of the ineffable beauty of this human life, this dance through time, till death, and an appreciation of its wonder and its greatness, no matter what we may lose along the way:
Oh, Septimus! - can you bear it? All the lost plays of the Athenians! ... How can we sleep for grief?
By counting our stock. Seven plays from Aeschylus, seven from Sopocles, nineteen from Euripides ... You should no more grieve for the rest than for a buckle lost from your first shoe, or for your lesson book which will be lost when you are old. We shed as we pick up, like travellers who must carry everything in their arms, and what we let fall will be picked up by those behind. The procession is very long and life is very short. We die on the march. But there is nothing outside the march so nothing can be lost to it.
Thursday, June 13, 2013
On June 1st, a billionaire got married in Big Sur. He spent $10 million dollars for the wedding, and will have to pay the Coastal Commission an additional $2.5 million dollars as a fine - at least, that is the proposal. The Coastal Commission is going to consider the matter at its meeting this coming Friday, June 14th. Compliance with a negotiated "Cease and Deist" order, and a negotiated "Restoration" order, is Sean Parker's penalty for having made massive changes to the natural environment, and for having built a "fantasy world" among the redwoods, without the benefit of a required coastal permit.
The billionaire's action was called "fucktarded" by one of my Facebook Friends. The Urban Dictionary says that "fucktarded" means "a situation, person, or thing that is both fucked up and retarded simultaneously." That description may be apt.
My own observation is perhaps less vituperative. Pictured below is the "fantasy world" that the billionaire created in the redwoods. Above is the "before" view.
Now, as between the World of Nature (above) and one of our human creations (below), which seems best to exemplify the kind of world in which we should want to live? You decide!
If you like the "above" picture better, and don't think the "improvements" made for the wedding actually made any genuine improvement to the World of Nature at all, think about whether there isn't a more general lesson to be learned from Sean Parker's "fucktarded" wedding.