Environment

Will Biofuel Save Us?

Its been a while since I have written on here, and want to get back into the habit!

The a recent TIME Magazine issue really got me thinking. Titled “The Clean Energy Myth”, the main article talks about how biofuels have their own set of moral and environmental issues to deal with. I think it is very important we examine this evidence now before it gets so far down the road that to really revert it would be extremely difficult.

Ethanol and biofuels have been labeled as the “next generation of alternate fuels”. They are said to be clean an renewable, friendly to the environment and totally independent from OPEC who we buy our oil from. Sure, it is a renewable source of energy. But lets examine how this affects the world in a bigger picture. (more…)

Mob a local store for the Environment!

Ever wander what the opposite of a boycott is? Wonder no more. An innovative nonprofit called Carrotmob this fascinating new strategy for environment action that remixes those old Hacienda fundraisers where everyone shows up for a meal and 5% goes to your local high school.

In this case, Carrotmob took bids for the highest percentages from various grocery stores. And instead of donating the money, the store commits to using the money to do environmental improvements as directed by Carrotmob. Then everyone and their brother shows up to buy stuff from the store at a appointed time.

Unfortunately it’s in San Francisco, but maybe if the idea catches on, it’ll come to a neighborhood near you!

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Inspirational Lunch

I had a great lunch conversation with two young white men today who are feeling the pressure to “produce and provide” and are looking for alternatives to succumbing to this stereotype and just joining the corporate project. After lunch, I wrote this:

As I think about our conversation more in the understanding of my daily work at a social services agency in town, I am reminded on the necessity to invite anyone and everyone with whatever ethnicity or background (age, sexuality, religion, political persuasion) to participate in the work of healing (and radical positive social change and happiness creation) in our society. There is enough pain to go around. Everyone can have a hand in creating peace. I think a place like where I work, is where push comes to shove, and the realization that we can’t find enough people (of ANY race, class or gender) to facilitate the creation of a new society, and not enough people to persuade others to stop beating each other in inter familial violence). It feels desperate.

There were some black people back during the time of emancipation, who didn’t want to participate in the mainstream US society, and they opted to farm somewhere and live in peace with their indigenous neighbors. Just a random thought about what it would look like if instead of clamoring to be just like white people (when I say white here, i mean the white people that southern black folks encountered…rich, conservative, separatist, tea parties, cult of true womanhood, Victorian, etc) and be accepted into their culture and politics, we searched the alternatives that our indigenous (to Africa) pasts gave us. but we didn’t for the most part. (more…)

Vessels of the Holy Spirit or Agents of Entropy?

He who knew nothing other than creatures would have no need for thinking of sermons, for each creature is full of God and is a book [about God].
-Meister Eckhart

High school physics classes generally teach something about the Laws of Thermodynamics, which can be summed up, more or less, as the following: Energy can be transformed — for example, from electricity into light, as in a light bulb, or vice versa, as in a solar panel — but energy can never be destroyed. It does, however, inevitably change into less and less usable forms. In other words, there is always a bit of waste. When electricity is turned into light in an incandescent bulb, a bit of the energy is lost as heat. As energy changes form, it tends to become less useful, a process called entropy.

Physics Lesson Two: A couple of decades ago, physicists and cosmologists had basically agreed that the universe started with the Big Bang, when the entire cosmos exploded from a point microscopically small, and that the universe would end with everything collapsing back onto itself in what they termed the Big Crunch. The theory was appealing for a number of reasons, not least of which is the symmetry of explosion and collapse. A lot of religious folks found the theory interesting because it seemed to mirror the traditional stories of Genesis and Apocalypse. (more…)

Andy Goldsworthy: Rivers and Tides

This week I watched Hotel Rwanda and The Ground Truth. Both films deeply moved me and I highly recommend them to all of you.

Cover of Passage by Andy GoldsworthyBut sometimes I get tired of writing about politics and all that’s broken in the world. So instead I’m writing about Rivers and Tides, a documentary I just watched about Andy Goldsworthy, a British artist whose medium and gallery is nature. He uses rocks, ice, leaves, snow, grasses, flower petals, iron pigment and other found elements to create works that are often transient – washed away, melted or blown into air. The only record of his works are the photographs he takes and shares through books such as Passage (cover right).

The documentary follows his creative process from a beach in Nova Scotia to the meadows of Scotland where he lives. Although I’d enjoyed his photo books before, listening to him talk about his work gave me a whole new respect for his work. He is not just an experimental postmodernist with a clever idea. His vision is rooted in place and time. Like Wendell Berry he is an artist who has discovered the importance of going back to the land and staying put. He talks of the changes he’s seen in the village where he and his family have lived for 12 years: the births, but also the deaths. This appreciation for the process of change is central to his work. (more…)