always good stuff from Green for All out of Oakland.
always good stuff from Green for All out of Oakland.
Three vignettes from Copenhagen show that personal responses to the conference might be the greatest cultural happenings around.
I am running through the crowd with the French artist Thierry Geoffroy. He is saying (in a deep French accent): “Zee, it is getting dark. They are closing in. They are going to kill us all. This is the plan. But then we keep going and we move around a corner and Geoffroy is saying. Ah, but you see, now it is more calm. We have come to a different part. All that has past.”
Such was my experience of the mass protest in Copenhagen this past Saturday. Estimates vary widely as to how many marched. Fox News says 25,000; the organizers say 100,000; and the police say 60,000. There were arrests of 968 (this number appears exact).
In the media centers and on the street, more intense interest has been paid to the possibility of violence than any particular detail of the negotiations. This is understandable. In addition to our seemingly innate tendency to be fascinated and compelled by images of violence, there is the fact that the expression of violence is the one real thing happening here.
“Violence, when not in the hands of the law, threatens [the state] not by the ends that [the violence] may pursue but by its mere existence outside the law,” writes Walter Benjamin. “By what function violence can with reason seem so threatening to law and be so feared by it, must be especially evident where its application, even in the present legal system, is still permissible.”
The example that Benjamin gives to illustrate this point in “A Critique of Violence” is the worker’s strike – the state allows it to happen, despite its violent nature, because the power of the massed workers is sufficiently dangerous. The strike, like the protest, is violent regardless of whether it employs overt violence as a particular technique because it opposes order and the interests that constitute the state. Of course, even protests and strikes can go too far in the eyes of the state and claim a level of violence that the state cannot abide without losing authority. Protest, in both its permitted and non-permitted forms (both of which, by Benjamin’s definition, are essentially violent) is the most available and most direct negotiating tool for the 6 billion people not inside the Bella Center.
Four people from different parts of the world arrive at Lykkesholms Alle 7C. They are greeted by a Danish family: husband, wife, and three boys, the youngest a baby. Also in the home are three women from Peru – two dressed in traditional highland clothing, one in jeans?and a camera crew of two people. After some small talk and a little getting to know each other, people take seats around a coffee table, others on the floor, some on chairs and a sofa. The camera crew remains standing. The children come in and out. The older of the Peruvian women asks for a photo from each person. She places the photos (given in the form of IDs) on some yellow flowers in the middle of the table, then gives each person a yellow candle. Each person writes his or her name and also his or her wishes for the next year directly onto the candle. The woman then lights each candle, muttering various incantations. She sprinkles sugar over the flowers and the photos and the candles. And then we sit and wait for each flame to burn down the wax entirely. Where we were rushing before, we are not rushing now. It is just the 14 of us in the room and the early northern darkness that presses against the window becomes a hypnotic abyss.
A dinner of about 25 people in a home near the center of town: home-cooked food, arrangements of dried flowers on the table, and several bottles of wine. Many at the dinner are involved in one form or another with a labor-intensive intervention project that is calculated to have an effect on the media coverage of COP15. The dinner is a break in the preparatory work for this intervention. Again there is a camera crew filming the event. At some point, people start giving speeches. This has been planned, which surprises me, because everything leading up to it has seemed so casual. The first speech is by a scientist, who gives a long hymn to Tycho Brahe and the scientific process (truth above ideology, and so forth). He is followed by an art student talking about the power of images, who in turn is followed by a business professor on the topic of learning not to be frightened by the facts of a new world, who is followed by an artist and activist on the need to avoid the grips of institutions. Then the planned speeches end and one woman stands up and proposes that the fundamental problem with comprehending climate change is our inability to come to terms with death. She then speaks about a friend, Brad Will, who was recently shot dead during a protest. She gathers herself and sings a song the she and Will used to sing together. ??My karma is to good for you to worry ’bout the crazies / I love everybody and there’s nothing that I own??
I almost didn’t stay for the dinner. I said that I needed to go get some work done, that I was writing a blog about cultural response to the conference. The host said, “This is culture.”
the magnitude of stresses that our oceans are feeling is overwhelming. here is yet another story of marine depletion & it’s repercussions. and i hate to hate on tejas once again…but. a great NYT op-ed by Paul Greenberg.
cassette tape lamps via Inhabitat.
Radiation contamination from Cold War era uranium mining continues to threaten the health of the Navajo Nation, via NYTimes.
my first attempt at growing vegetables: a little photo diary…
slow bolt cilantro looking excited to have found the light.
the vegetable garden plot.Â i had to relocate 7 roses: not fun.
mexican spice basil!Â so pretty.Â sadly, they died when i was away for 5 days.
royal purple beans.Â i was afraid i was going to have a hard time distinguishing between the beans & the weeds…turns out they are quite distinct.
this is about 6 weeks after planting the seeds.
Roebson & Chadwick tomatoes.Â yum.
trying again with the mexi spice basil.
teeny tiny basil leaves!
i had no idea my royal purple beans were going to sprout royal purple flowers!Â pretty!!
beans growing quite tall.
i just planted the tomatoes out in the garden, so i shall have more updates soon.Â i hope they make it!!
BikeWise is a great new interactive resource for bicyclists to report incidents of crashes, safety hazards & thefts.Â The idea is that anyone who is involved in or witness to an incident logs a report into the BikeWise database.Â BikeWise then records & organizes those incidents by city, state and country and displays them on an interactive google map.Â You, as a cyclist can pull up a map for any area or view a list of incident reports. From Worldchanging:
Although the site’s creators are based in Seattle, this tool is available for cyclists everywhere. The site (with about 90 percent accuracy) can sense your location, and will pull up information for the city you are surfing the web from. I think it’s great that Bikewise has created a space for people to talk to each other about how to make their city a better place. The trick will be getting enough users to generate reports to make the data useful for people like city planners, analysts and public policy officials. So, if you’re a cyclist, head to Bikewise and get the conversation started!
That last point is critical – as of today, there are only 11 states reporting any accidents, 18 reporting hazards and incidents, and in total there are maybe a few dozen incidents reported for 2009 in the whole US.Â Hopefully word will spread so this tool can be put to use.Â If the BikeWise developers are correct in saying that over 75% of cycling crashes go unreported, then no wonder city planners keep ignoring our pleas for bike-safe roadways.
It looks like the site is still a work in progress.Â The interactive maps are pretty user-friendly, but the incident reporting could use some organizational improvements, like organize by date, incident type, etc.Â It would be especially useful to planners & city officials to be able to download the database info into an excel spreadsheet of some sort.Â Maybe this is in the works.
Skate Study House is the furniture design child ofÂ duo Pierre Andre Senizergues andÂ Gil Le Bon De LaPointe who, in their work,Â mix a tribute to the post-WWII Case Study House project with modern skateboarding culture.Â Just added to their collection are a few limited edition pieces made entirely from scrap and second-hand skateboards.
Keeping with Senizergues’ skateboard flare from his world champion days, but daring into the unknown, together these two skateboarders shed new eco light on green design and waste with three new limited edition pieces from Skate Study House.Â An organic collection, The Waste is The Best gives homage to waste, made 100% of throwaway materials and is constructed from excess skateboard cutouts of laminated wood.
The new pieces feature a â€œCobble Chairâ€, â€œSpine Tableâ€ and â€œSpace Shelvesâ€ to add to the Skate Study House collection.Â Inspired from Senizerguesâ€™ creative vision and designed with Gil Le Bon De LaPointe, The Waste is The Best is the next generation of green design and adds an organic twist to the Skate Study House collection.
I’ll take the spine shelves, please.Â Thanks.Â I also like several items from their main collection.
An adventure in vermicomposting…round two.
It has been just over a year since the unfortunate death of our Savage Worms and the mourning period is over.Â Now that our apartment has begun to thaw from the winter chill, I have had a hankering for a new herd of worms.Â I know that Pear Tree Worms does not have quite the same ring to it as Savage Worms, but I feel like calling the project Savage Worms II is a little like naming a new pet after a recently deceased one.Â Fido II?Â Sad!Â Besides which, Andrea, founder of the original vermicomposting adventure, has moved across the globe to Papua New Guinea (and has also been on a mission to find a Melanesian breed of food-loving worms!).Â Feeding the worms will not be quite the same with out A though.Â Remember this?
First things first, I had to gather the equipment.Â I couldn’t find a bin quite as good as our original (A, where the heck did you find that bin?), but I settled for a standard Rubermaid.Â I spent a couple frustrating hours drilling holes – lots on the top and upper sides, fewer and smaller on the lower sides and bottom.Â Several stuck-in-plastic drill bits and one snapped-in-two drill bit later, I finished (obviously, I am a novice with the power drill).
Next, order worms!Â After perusing a couple vermicomposting sites and not feeling strongly about any of them, I remembered having read and referenced Red Worm Composting several times during the Savage Worms days.Â Vermiculture enthusiast & blogger Bentley has oodles of great vermicomposting advice on his site, so I figured I might find some worm-buying recommendations.Â Well, as it turns out, Bentley actually sells worms!Â And at a cheaper rate than the other two sites I was considering!Â So that made my choice easy.Â So far, the choice has proven to be an excellent one – great customer attention and a nice full sack of healthy worms.
Step 3, food & bedding.Â I started collecting food scraps & setting up the worm bin about a week and a half before the worms were to arrive.Â For bedding I used a mix of shredded newspaper, egg carton and trimmings off one dead & one dying branch from one of our palm plants.Â I mixed the materials together and wet them so they were damp but not dripping.Â By the time I got all of that in order it was Tuesday.Â Then I waited for the post!Â The worms arrived, as promised, on Thursday.Â I was a little concerned that I had not given the bin enough time to equilibrate, and i wanted to give the worms some time to settle after their cross-border journey (Red Worm is located in Canada), so i left the worms in their sack, left the sack in the opened box, and left the box sitting in the worm bin over night.Â Overcautious, perhaps, but so far there have been no casualties.Â I had wondered if any of the worms might crawl out of the sack during the night – it was tightly sealed, but there were a few worms peeking out when I opened the box.Â Sure enough, Friday morning as I parted some bedding to leave a pile of food, there was a lone worm squirming around in the bedding.Â Anyway, I opened the sack and burrowed it into the bedding, with the opening facing a nice pile of ripe food scraps so that the worms could venture out at their leisure.
Can you spot the adventuresome wiggler?
So far, so good.Â I have checked on the worms a couple times, trying not to be over-disruptive.Â They seem to be adjusting well and have a healthy appetite.Â Not one left in the sack, a few wanderers crawling up the sides, but no escapees.Â I’ll do a full-on check up and feeding later this week, so stay tuned.