Archive for April, 2006


Abandon hope, all ye who live

Friday, April 28th, 2006

Derrick Jensen‘s got an article in the latest Orion Magazine, an excerpt from his forthcoming book (with some other punk publisher, the punk). It’s on why hope is a paralyzing concept and why we should all get over it. The short version of what he’s saying is: hope = paralysis. And what we need, those of us who agree that the world is, in his words, fucked, is action.

Beyond Hope

THE MOST COMMON WORDS I hear spoken by any environmentalists anywhere are, We’re fucked. Most of these environmentalists are fighting desperately, using whatever tools they have—or rather whatever legal tools they have, which means whatever tools those in power grant them the right to use, which means whatever tools will be ultimately ineffective—to try to protect some piece of ground, to try to stop the manufacture or release of poisons, to try to stop civilized humans from tormenting some group of plants or animals. Sometimes they’re reduced to trying to protect just one tree.

Here’s how John Osborn, an extraordinary activist and friend, sums up his reasons for doing the work: “As things become increasingly chaotic, I want to make sure some doors remain open. If grizzly bears are still alive in twenty, thirty, and forty years, they may still be alive in fifty. If they’re gone in twenty, they’ll be gone forever.”

But no matter what environmentalists do, our best efforts are insufficient. We’re losing badly, on every front. Those in power are hell-bent on destroying the planet, and most people don’t care.

Frankly, I don’t have much hope. But I think that’s a good thing. Hope is what keeps us chained to the system, the conglomerate of people and ideas and ideals that is causing the destruction of the Earth.
(more…)

Not for dialup users

Friday, April 28th, 2006

But if you’ve got ye olde highe speede internete, you can watch Mr. Kos on the Colbert Report.

Take it to the seats!

Friday, April 28th, 2006

Inspired by Tom Friedman’s column urging final straw responses, students at Penn State seem to be the first to take it to the seats:

** PENN STATE’S ECO-ACTION REFUSES TO LEAVE ADMINISTRATION BUILDING, CALLS FOR PENN STATE TO REDUCE GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS **

From: ECO-ACTION, PENN STATE’S ENVIRONMENTAL ACTIVISM GROUP

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

APRIL 27, 2006
STATE COLLEGE –

Penn State’s environmental activist group, Eco-Action, is taking its message
about the importance of reducing greenhouse gas emissions at Penn State University to the school’s administration building on Thursday, April 27th. A sit-in will be taking place in the lobby of Old Main. The group of students (approx. 10) will remain inside Old Main until the university has agreed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 7% below 1990 levels. The students are supported by 4,500 students and academics who signed letters that are addressed to President Graham Spanier, asking him to commit to a greenhouse gas reduction goal of 7% below 1990 levels. This would make Penn State University a national leader in the movement to stop global warming.

Over the course of the past two years since the campaign Kyoto Now! was
launched, President Graham Spanier has continually refused to meet with
Eco-Action to discuss why he will not commit to EcoAction’s requests. Supporters maintain that our government’s outright refusal to acknowledge the affects of global warming will not be tolerated on Penn State’s campus. In conjunction with Greenpeace, Eco-Action has held rallies and conducted other days of action to bring awareness to the campaign. The group of strong-willed students has gone to great lengths to get Penn State to set greenhouse gas reduction goals. They will not be leaving Old Main until negotiations have produced a result Eco-Action is comfortable with.

This event is timely because Earth Day was recently held around the world to
bring awareness to the use of alternative energy options. Local central
Pennsylvania press (see: Centre Daily Times, Daily Collegian) has been covering
Eco-Action’s efforts for the past two weeks, especially the rally the group
held outside Old Main on Tuesday. New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman addressed the need for students to take this kind of action as recently as last Friday (April 21, 2006) in his column titled The Greenest Generation.

CONTACTS:

Maura Cowley
814-883-6861

Katie Stoner
814-571-2424

Genevieve Caron
717-314-3444

David Klatt
847-644-3169

Any volunteers?

Friday, April 28th, 2006

It was a dark and stormy podcast

Wednesday, April 26th, 2006

Chelsea Green has beaten The Beatles to the punch: our first podcast! You can go directly to it on the Through the Eye of the Storm webpage, or using the itunes program, search for “Chelsea Green” or “Voices from Mississippi”. What is it? It’s a 20-minute-ish radio documentary based on the book.

No Bar Code

Wednesday, April 26th, 2006

By Michael Pollan
Mother Jones

May/June 2006 Issue

An evangelical Virginia farmer says a revolution against industrial agriculture is just down the road.

I might never have found my way to Polyface Farm if Joel Salatin hadn’t refused to FedEx me one of his chickens.

I’d heard a lot about the quality of the meat raised on his “beyond organic” farm, and was eager to sample some. Salatin and his family raise a half-dozen different species (grass-fed beef, chickens, pigs, turkeys, and rabbits) in an intricate rotation that has made his 550 hilly acres of pasture and woods in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley one of the most productive and sustainable small farms in America. But when I telephoned Joel to ask him to send me a broiler, he said he couldn’t do that. I figured he meant he wasn’t set up for shipping, so I offered to have an overnight delivery service come pick it up.

“No, I don’t think you understand. I don’t believe it’s sustainable – ‘organic,’ if you will – to FedEx meat all around the country,” Joel told me. “I’m afraid if you want to try one of our chickens, you’re going to have to drive down here to pick it up.”

This man was serious. He went on to explain that Polyface does not ship long distance, does not sell to supermarkets, and does not wholesale its food. All of the meat and eggs that Polyface produces is eaten within a few dozen miles or, at the most, half a day’s drive of the farm – within the farm’s “foodshed.” At first I assumed Joel’s motive for keeping his food chain so short was strictly environmental – to save on the prodigious quantities of fossil fuel Americans burn moving their food around the country and, increasingly today, the world. (The typical fruit or vegetable on an American’s plate travels some 1,500 miles to get there, and is frequently better traveled and more worldly than its eater.) But after taking Joel up on his offer to drive down to Swoope, Virginia, to pick up a chicken, I picked up a great deal more – about the renaissance of local food systems, and the values they support, values that go far beyond the ones a food buyer supports when he or she buys organic in the supermarket. It turns out that Joel Salatin, and the local food movement he’s become an influential part of, is out to save a whole lot more than energy.

In Joel’s view, the reformation of our food economy begins with people going to the trouble and expense of buying directly from farmers they know – “relationship marketing,” the approach he urges in his recent book, Holy Cows and Hog Heaven: The Food Buyer’s Guide to Farm Friendly Food. Joel believes that the only meaningful guarantee of integrity is when buyers and sellers can look one another in the eye, something few of us ever take the trouble to do. “Don’t you find it odd that people will put more work into choosing their mechanic or house contractor than they will into choosing the person who grows their food?”

Joel, who describes himself as a “Christian-libertarian-environmentalist-lunatic farmer,” speaks of his farming as his “ministry,” and certainly his 1,000 or so regular customers hear plenty of preaching. Each spring he sends out a long, feisty, single-spaced letter that could convince even a fast-food junkie that buying a pastured broiler from Polyface Farm qualifies as an act of social, environmental, nutritional, and political redemption.

“Greetings from the non-bar code people,” began one recent missive, before launching into a high-flying jeremiad against our disconnected “multi-national global corporate techno-glitzy food system” with its “industrial fecal factory concentration camp farms.” (The dangerous pileup of modifiers is a hallmark of Joel’s rhetorical style.) Like any good jeremiad, this one eventually transits from despair to hope, noting that the “yearning in the human soul to smell a flower, pet a pig and enjoy food with a face is stronger now than anytime in history,” before moving into a matter-of-fact discussion of this year’s prices and the paramount importance of sending in your order blanks and showing up to collect your chickens on time.

I met several of Polyface’s parishioners on a Thursday in June as they came to collect the fresh chickens they’d reserved. It was a remarkably diverse group of people: a schoolteacher, several retirees, a young mom with her towheaded twins, a mechanic, an opera singer, a furniture maker, a woman who worked in a metal fabrication plant in Staunton. They were paying a premium over supermarket prices for Polyface food, and in many cases driving more than an hour over a daunting (though gorgeous) tangle of county roads to come get it. But no one would ever mistake these people for the well-heeled, urban foodies generally thought to comprise the market for organic or artisanal food. There was plenty of polyester in this crowd and a lot more Chevrolets than Volvos in the parking lot.

So what exactly had they come all the way out here to the farm to buy? Here are some of the comments I collected:

Full Steam Ahead

Tuesday, April 25th, 2006

Vermont lawmakers to call for Bush impeachment

By Shay Totten | Vermont Guardian

Posted April 25, 2006

BURLINGTON — A Progressive lawmaker today will introduce a formal resolution in the state Legislature calling on Congress to draft articles of impeachment against Pres. George W. Bush.

Rep. Dave Zuckerman, P-Burlington, claims support from at least a dozen lawmakers, including Democrats, Progressives and one independent, and expects to have more co-signers before handing the resolution into the House clerk later today.

The following legislators have signed onto the resolution as of early Tuesday: Rep. George Cross, D-Winooski; Rep. Winston Dowland, P-Holland; Rep. Michael Fisher, D-Lincoln; Rep. Steve Green, D-Berlin; Rep. Sandy Haas, P-Rochester; Rep. Jason Lorber, D-Burlington; Rep. Jim McCullough, D-Williston; Rep. Chris Pearson, P-Burlington; Rep. Kathy Pellett, D-Chester; Rep. Daryl Pillsbury, I-Brattleboro; Rep. Dexter Randall, P-North Troy; Rep. Ann Seibert, D-Norwich.

The resolution lays out a broad case for impeachment, ranging from wiretapping U.S. citizens to lying about reasons for going to war in Iraq. It is modeled, in part, after recent resolutions approved by county Democratic committees

“We should not get into perpetual impeachment proceedings with every president, and if you disagree with their policies you should work through the democratic process,” said Zuckerman. “However, no president is above the law, and while Republicans used impeachment to carry out a policy disagreement with a president, this is about a president who thinks he’s king. We threw that notion overboard more than 200 years ago.”

Zuckerman, who has been mulling this resolution since February, put it on hold as the session gathered steam and he considered making his own bid for the U.S. House. Then county Democratic committees took up the call, as did several towns.

“I thought it was appropriate to give those grassroots efforts time,” he said.

Zuckerman is relying on the Jefferson Manual of rules for the U.S. House of Representatives that allows state legislatures to initiate impeachment proceedings by submitting charges to Congress.

The Sound and the Fury

Monday, April 24th, 2006

CG author and wind-power world-changer Paul Gipe is now a pod person. (That’s the “sound.”)

The Watt also reports on some huge movement in U.S. biodiesel production. (For lack of anything suitably furious, that’ll have to be the “fury.”)

(Yawn)

Monday, April 24th, 2006

Iraq WMDs didn’t exist… blah blah blah… President is a liar whose pants are on fire… blah blah blah…

The important thing is EVIL, EVIL, EVIL crushed under the mighty fist of GOOD, crushed like a little evil bug, now and forever. Onward Christian soldiers!

More front-liners

Monday, April 24th, 2006

We’re partial to Diane Wilson here, but of course she is one of many dedicated people around the world who are able to face down their fears of persecution and social ostracization to do the right thing. Congratulations to the recent winners of the Goldman (“Green Nobel”) Prize.


Follow us
Get every new post delivered to your inbox
Join millions of other followers
Powered By WPFruits.com