Sep 26, 2007

Egalitarian Leadership & RRFM on Sat

Ok, I don't have a TV but I've recently begun watching Jon Stewart online occasionally (damn you, Alternet for those li'l clips). I saw Evo Morales on the Daily Show and thought I'd tip off those of you who missed it. He speaks about the merit of varied experiences, reminding me that many paths are as valuable as formal education (or maybe even northern science?). It was an exciting and empowering interview. I was heartened to hear President Morales speak to climate change, excited to hear him call out excess and luxury.

Last night I was chatting with some friends who quickly disposed of my notions of hierarchy by redefining it through experiences rather than traditional norms of gender, race, class, or age. It was a point of learning that I bumped into accidentally, though I'd been heading for it for a while.

Also (!) Critical Mass is 15 on Friday! I look forward to another CM w/ a broken rear derailluer. (How have I been riding on that shit for a month?)

And, the Really Really Free Market is on Saturday in Dolores Park from 1pm - dusk. The reminders always mention a toaster oven... one of my clients has one on her sun porch so I think it's coming to the market. We'll see if anyone takes it.

The Dirty Dove Infoshop was open yesterday and I got an instructive tutorial on my li'l camera. I quickly put that info to use, leaving the infoshop for a friend's dinner party, which wrapped up with a photography session (after devolving into a YouTube freakout). The pix aren't grainy anymore! Thanks, Megan!

Sep 24, 2007

On the Master's and Raingear

So today I could be in London starting my Master's in Conservation, but I'm in SF scheduling dog walks and habitat restoration for the week. It's impossible for me to say that I would be better off in London, but I'm a little achy today, thinking that I could be somewhere new, if only education weren't so fucking expensive. (I paid my way through my undergrad, so I know something about this). I have another year to come up with the funds... Compacting helps, for sure.

My lack of school funds makes me a bit more impassioned for projects like the Really Really Free Market and the Dirty Dove Infoshop. Free share of knowledge makes way more sense to me than over-extrapolated (capitalist) education systems. Don't get me wrong, I want the education, and I need instructors. But there are lots of theories, skills, languages, and such that we can learn from each other.

Tomorrow I'll be at Dirty Dove, asking Megan to show me how to use my camera, and getting tips on sewing a holster for my hand shears. (I've never seen a non-leather holster for hand shears, and I've never seen even the leather holsters used.)

But I'm up against that seasonal challenge that I hit last year as a Compactor. It's gonna rain. I spend about 6-8 hours outside each day, even when it rains. That's on my bike, walking dogs, and pulling weeds. I need functional rain gear. Last year I called it a professional exception and bought new rain pants and a coat as I had worn out my set from the 2 years before. It was a light rainy season and I thought I'd make it through w/ that stuff to this year, but I crashed my bike and ripped up both the pants and coat (mad love to the driver who pulled outta his parking space, causing me to get caught in the Muni tracks: you rock).

Have you ever bought raingear? That shit is expensive. Grrrr, I might just have to do it as I haven't seen any useful raingear in any thrift stores or on Freecycle. I feel like such a freak in REI, especially when I get all drooly over camping gear and bike lights... and I think I just talked myself into at least checking out their dumpster tonight.

Sep 20, 2007

Workaholic?

Maybe you remember that instead of just curbing my consumption this year, that I had also planned to work less. M'kay I'm failing at that goal, hence my sporadic installations on this blog. For real, I've got my dog walking, the public outreach project, a contract for habitat restoration (kick ass!), and a cool piece of work organizing for a local restoration guru. Now those jobs pay, but they're all solo commitments so I have a few side projects that allow for collaboration.

I hit you up here about the Really Really Free Market at least once a month, so you know about that one. But I've just gotten involved w/ a gorgeous group of folks forming a free infoshop in SF. I mentioned Dirty Dove back when it kicked off in July. Tuesdays 4-8pm @ 3030B 16th St @ Mission St.

If you're interested in my diy guides for habitat restoration/urban harvesting or a free consultation on planting for wildlife in SF, you can find me at Dirty Dove on Tuesdays. I'll bring the same info to the Really Really Free Market. There's a lot more to both groups, that's just my li'l contribution.

Or if you're available this Sunday, I'm doing a workshop as part of my friend's show at Cellspace. Amber's piece, Mission Greenbelt, is up until September 29th, so hit it up!

I hope to also work with Amber on her upcoming show at the SF Arts Commission Gallery near City Hall w/ these workshops. More on that to come.

When I'm not doing all this shit, I'm applying for funding so I can take up my acceptance in University College London's MSc in Conservation. I deferred my admission (which would have began on the coming Monday) to get some funding ... if you run into a grant that I should be applying to, send it along!

Sep 7, 2007

Stepping Stones

Perhaps you can tell that I've found lots to do w/ the time that I don't spend shopping. One project that I'm working on right now is an effort to engage new people in habitat restoration. I am particularly interested in reaching folks in my own age group. Twenty-somethings rise up! Let's get dirty and help wildlife!

San Francisco is a biodiversity hotspot, largely because of its isolation. Surrounded by water on three sides and bounded to the south by San Bruno Mountain, the species of plants and critters in SF evolved in very specialized circumstances.

Thanks in part to topography, we have many islands of natural habitat left in San Francisco. You can see those islands in our undeveloped hilltops, Glen Canyon, and the shores along the Pacific and parts of the Bay.

We need to connect these islands in order to maintain diversity. Isolated species inbreed and implode leading to their extirpation (local extinction). We've learned that losing one species can trigger an extinction/extirpation cascade in which we also lose up to 30 other species that were somehow connected to the first. Our open space in SF is amazingly diverse, but that biological diversity is not necessarily going to persist. We can connect these islands of habitat with stepping stones that will link larger open spaces. We can create corridors to aid butterflies, bees, and birds along our sidewalks and in our backyards.

Several of my friends are working on just these sort of projects. Amber Hasselbring has proposed a Mission Greenbelt to connect Franklin Square Park to Dolores Park. If you are in SF, the Hidden Histories show is a must see. Amber and I are lucky to work with the rest of the Nature in the City education and stewardship committee on the recently conceived "Green Hairstreak Project". Liam O'Brien is our butterfly guru (no, I cannot spell the fancy title) and he has brought an amazing proposal forward to connect two populations of the Green Hairstreak to encourage their inter-breeding, and therefore, their survival.

I'll be holding a few workshops this fall on Radical Restoration. More to come on that.

Sep 4, 2007

Emphasizing Interdependence

So I was ranting yesterday about how we can't just lament the environmental crises we face, but we gotta connect our struggles. Well, I ran into this stellar article today that puts this all a bit more eloquently than I do. It may just seem like an anti-corporate rant for a second, but hang in there, it's worthwhile.

Sep 3, 2007

Politicians vs Bikes Pt2

US Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters has joined the backward Rep. McHenry in asserting that bikes are not transportation. What the fuck is going on here? I dunno what these folks would call it when I ride 10-20 miles each day to get to jobs in various neighborhoods in SF. Clearly, whatever it is, it's not transportation. More pointedly, Secretary Peters insinuates that bridges are falling because huge portions of transportation funds go to bike and ped paths (and lighthouses), which is bullshit. For some analysis of these statements about bikes, read the response from the League of American Bicyclists.

You can read the full interview to see how she scapegoats marginalized modes of transport to explain why bridges are collapsing, while simultaneously lamenting the idea of a higher gas tax.

This sort of thinking is never going to relieve us of our oil addiction. Things must change if we're going to make our lives sustainable. Change doesn't necessitate deprivation. Why do we whine so loudly for being asked to change a bit or to bear the costs of our extravagances? We have many of the solutions that we need to break oil addiction, for example.

As in all of nature, our habits are related and have rippling manifestations in other parts of our lives. Break the oil addiction and maybe my cousin, Jon, wouldn't be in Baghdad right now. I'm over looking at these consumption issues as strictly "environmental". They're all related to our social issues, particularly labor and health issues, but also war and property rights, and land use and transportation and capitalism in general. And scarcity (of oil, timber, WATER, pasture, etc) is only going to emphasize these relationships going forward.