Friday, August 5, 2011

Capacitor dance company visit

While in San Francisco this week, I have had the opportunity to experience art and science in new, beautiful ways. On Wednesday, I visited San Fran's premier modern dance company, Capacitor, which creates pieces to capture the essence and nature of different aspects of nature, science and environmental issues. I had e-mailed her about my passion for her company's work and my desire to learn more. I was welcomed into the studio and got to see them work on their new show and education concept, Okeanos, or Oceans. Watch the clip below to see their previous success with Biome, a piece exploring the concepts of moment and spirit in Costa Rica's cloud forests.
As an aspiring choreographer and environmental communicator, dance presents an opportunity to imagine ourselves in a more spiritual and physical relationship with the natural world. Visually, the dancers represent how truly connected we are to nature, not separate or in competition with nature, as some might have us believe. This is especially relevant in today's world, where climate and environmental destruction is an increasingly defining human interaction with nature. Yet, there is so much to gain from cooperating with nature - our health, peace and prosperity depend on it. I hope the work of Capacitor dance company in San Francisco is the beginning of a movement in arts and environmental communication that celebrates the beautiful harmony that is possible with nature is a visual, emotional and intellectual way.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

"We walk the plank with our eyes wide open.."

I recently discovered this Australian artist who goes by Gotye and I am amazed by his musical talent and the depth of expression in his music and unique videos. This song and video captures the creativity that he is ruled by. Below I've copied the lyrics for you (as I do hold hope someone may read this!) to analyze.

The lyrics capture what I've observed about the human-environment crisis (climate change etc) and my own internal debacle on the issues. Although no one ever knows what the future will hold, facing impending consequences from a changing climate leaves myself and my generation cautiously marching forward into whatever mess awaits us. "You just get used to living in fear or give up, when you can't even picture your future."
"Some people offered up answers, we made out like we heard. They were only words, they didn't add up to a change in the way we were living." Do you agree with this statement? Are we doing enough and working fast enough to shift away from greenhouse gas producing processes and energy supplies? I feel there are a lot of people working as hard as they can, but as he refers to in the final lines, we are all trying to "stay afloat" and in the modern economic system of consumerism, that means consuming resources and producing products.

"So this is the end of the story
Everything we had, everything we did
Is buried in dust
And this dust is all that's left of us
And only a few ever worried

While the signs were clear
They had no idea
You just get used to living in fear
Or give up
When you can't even picture your future

We walk the plank with our eyes wide open

We walk the plank with our eyes wide open we
(walk the plank with our eyes wide open we)
Yeah we walk the plank with our eyes wide open we
(walk the plank with our eyes wide open we)

Some people offered up answers
We made out like we heard
They were only words
They didn't add up
To a change in the way we were living
And the saddest thing
Is all of it could have been avoided

But it was like to stop consuming's to stop being human
And why'd I make a change if you won't?
We're all in the same boat
Staying afloat for the moment"

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Death of Environmentalism!

Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger have something new to say and I'm listening, that the "environmental" movement should die! I'm listening because I know these guys actually do care about the well being of the earth's ecosystems, however, I'm exhausted from being an "environmentalist" and I'm ready for a new label! Or a lack of one... I'm exhausted by years of defending and debating climate change, obsessing over using re-usable bottles and containers and fearing getting run over on my bike in a world that is not suited to such practices.

TIME Magazine's Bryan Walsh wrote an article in 2008 that captures why these "environmentalists" want to kill and re-design their own movement!

" 'The Death of Environmentalism' (and a follow-up book entitled Break Through) argued that for all the media and fund-raising attention, the green movement had failed to make real progress on the most important environmental issue of our time: climate change. That failure was due to an essential misconception. Global warming was not an "environmental" problem like acid rain or local water pollution that could be solved through regulation — in this case, cap-and-trade programs like the Kyoto Protocol. Rather, it was an all-encompassing threat that would demand changes to our global energy system far more revolutionary than anything that could realistically be achieved by regulation. As they saw it, cap and trade, which involves putting limits on greenhouse-gas emissions and allowing companies to buy and sell the right to produce carbon, was a political dead end — no one would accept the kind of high carbon prices that would be required to make a significant dent in global warming.

Far from accepting the idea that high energy prices are a fair short-term trade for averting long-term climate change, a little economic pain at the pump has seemingly been enough to undo the work of Al Gore and friends. In Europe (where even pro-Kyoto nations have struggled to reduce their carbon emissions), and in China and India (where there is zero support for environmental policies that will restrain economic growth), the story is not that different. Environmentalists have made the world care about global warming; they just haven't made us willing to do anything tangible about it.

Depressing stuff, but Shellenberger and Nordhaus — despite the title of that infamous essay — are optimists. The green movement's mistake has been to define climate change in terms of limitations: to our lifestyles, our energy use, our economy. Instead, they argue, what's needed is a shift to "the politics of possibility," fed by epic government investment in energy technology that will make renewables economically viable on their own merits against fossil fuels. That will be a tough battle with the global economy entering choppy waters, but at least Shellenberger and Nordhaus have injected a vital strain of realism into an issue far too critical to founder on green dreams."

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Friday, October 15, 2010

Re-Power America: Protect the Clean Air Act and the EPA

So Cool!

As Pheadra said at the 10/10/10 rally infront of the white house, we have to get excited about protecting the EPA. Because Kerry's climate change bill didn't pass this year, the only body left with the authority to regulate GHG emissions is the EPA's under the Clean Air Act. But there are a lot of people lobbying and fighting to make sure this doesn't happen. We have to fight back for our clean air and our climate.

Thousands of Repower America members around the country took a stand for clean air and submitted their photos and videos in support of the Clean Air Act. This new video is a declaration that we won't stay quiet while we lose our last, best line of defense against big polluters. Oh and the music is by Bluebrain!

Monday, October 11, 2010

10/10/10 Get to work rally: Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins

Hello everyone!
This is what I did yesterday! Watch this video and hear Phaedra's point of view that being an "environmentalist" means caring about protecting people's livelihoods, our economy and justice in this country and in the world. What a wonderful woman and point of view!

Oh and that's me holding the sign on the bottom left corner next to the stage!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Support The Land and Water Conservation Fund!

Hi everyone,

This is the campaign I'm working on at The Nature Conservancy! The Fund balances the loss of one natural resource — offshore oil and gas — by using a small portion of the drilling fees to protect important land and water elsewhere.

The program is authorized to receive up to $900 million a year. But despite an increase in energy production, funding for land and water protection has been low and unpredictable— diverted elsewhere by Congress.

Contact Your Senators: Call Their Office or Send a Letter or Email

  1. Get the contact information for your senators' officesfrom this U.S. Senate website.
  2. Use these talking points:

    Support comprehensive legislation (S. 3663) that is now pending in the U.S. Senate for land and water conservation that includes:

    • Investment in our lands and waters in [INSERT YOUR STATE NAME HERE] by fully funding the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
    • Protecting and restoring our coastal waters and estuaries, like those in the Gulf of Mexico, by establishing an Ocean Trust Fund.
    • Proposals to address the long term problems of the Gulf of Mexico that preceded the impacts of the Deepwater Horizon Spill.
  3. Be sure to put your name and where you live at the bottom of the letter or email. If you're calling, make sure to tell the office that you are a constituent.

That's all it takes! Thank you for supporting the lands and waters we cherish and cannot live without!

Monday, October 4, 2010

DiscoveryNews: "Should we sell the oceans to save them?"

"the world's oceans are remarkably similar to public bathrooms. No one owns them, and the people who use them have no incentive to keep them clean.

So it is with fishing policies throughout much of the world. While government regulations have shortened fishing seasons and brought lawsuits on some unruly actors, commercial fishing largely remains a "take all you can get any way you can get it" business. As a result, as much as one third of the world's fisheries have collapsed, and many others teeter on the brink.

How can we reverse the sorry state of the seas? How about selling them off? At first glance, it might look like handing a chunk of ocean to a fisherman or an entire fishing company is ludicrous; they'd just hoover up all the fish in the area and move on. But according to a new study, the government of Chile has met with great success in turning over its maritime resources to private industries.

The public bathroom analogy is an idea more often referred to as "the tragedy of the commons." Since the 1960s scientists have understood that any unowned natural resource is likely to be ravaged by people seeking to use those resources, either out of greed or a simple need to survive. It's a clear pattern in humanity's use of almost everything the world has to offer -- water, forests, wildlife populations, even air. Nobody owns them, so everybody exploits them.

This isn't a workable arrangement on any scale. Local, regional, and global populations expand, and eventually a resource is overwhelmed. In parts of the world, some fisheries have already been decimated; for others it remains just a matter of time.

However, Chile has shown that by handing territorial rights to pieces of the ocean to both individual and large-scale fishing interests, they can turn fishermen into responsible stewards and protectors of their environment:

The new laws gave exclusive ocean territories to local 'artisanal' fishers, and excluded the big industrial fishing fleets, which had their own exclusive fishing zone.

Scientists and small fishers then worked together to understand and rebuild the shattered fish stocks in their zone, leading to a shared vision and voluntary agreements on how to manage them. Fishing pressure was reduced in the industrial fishing zone by cutting the number of big vessels.

The authors of the study note that Chile is in many ways a unique example -- the country has recently undergone political upheaval and its leaders have been very open to new ideas about how its resources should be managed. But the country's success should be taken as a hopeful sign that a similar model -- one of privatizing the oceans, in effect -- could be a revolutionary new force for ensuring the long-term sustainability of the planet's immensely important fisheries.

Image: Alessio Viora/Marine Photobank