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Posts Tagged ‘knowledge’

Hey all:

After mucho technical difficulties, I’ve managed at last to get the full interview up. I hope you enjoy the topics. Adam’s a great guy to talk to, and I hope we can do it again in the future. So here, without further ado (or technical issues), is the video.

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Mention the word summit nowadays and most people will probably envision a meeting involving suits, cigars, old men (and a few women), lots of talk, copious amounts of hard alcohol, and piles of taxpayer money. And all for naught.

But there’s a different definition for summit, one that evokes images of impossibly high peaks rising black and vertical above the snowbound shoulders of mountains. This is the image I want you to see when I tell you that I went to the ECOSummit this weekend. It was a meeting, and it did have men and women present, but the similarities between this summit and the aforementioned cease there.

Because this meeting was about climbing mountains. Many of the speakers (and many of the audience, too) had experience facing the mountain. They had made attempts at the lofty goal, impossibly high. They had bruised themselves on it’s unyielding stones. They had become disoriented in the thin air and the heavy fog that swept in with no warning. They had been caught in sudden, sodden rainstorms, driven by icy winds that winnowed the cold into their bones and forced them back down to the shoulders of the mountain, their own shoulders slumped under the weight of defeat. And yet, once they had recovered, back up the mountain they trudged again. Ever hopeful; ever passionate; ever willing.

Others were on their first ascent, their packs and their smiles bright, their eyes wide open and expectant. They are beginning from the trailhead at the base of the hills, up the gentle path into the broad shoulders of the mountains. Through the glades of deep green grasses and yellow flowers. They move with vigor and the expectation of success. With clear eyes they regard the peak, high but possible. They also carry new gear and new knowledge. Perhaps the ascent will be easier for them. If so, it will be in part because they follow the path forged by their iron-willed predecessors.

A few who were there had reached the peak. You could see it in their eyes and in their bearing: the gleam of a knowledge that can’t be shared; the relaxed confidence of accomplishment. They know the way now. With their eyes closed they can recount each step, stumble, recovery, and, finally, the joy of looking down on the vast rolling shoulders that reached to the curve of the earth. They stood on the summit of the impossibly high peak and peered across impossible distances. They could and did kiss the sun. And now they watch, advise, and encourage others to do the same.

This event, this summit created the conditions for exposition, discussion, collaboration, and the opportunity to draw strength and sustenance from others who shared the same vision. As such, it was a success. And I’m glad I was part of it.

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CalpopsGarzasWash08www.montereybaycnps.org/

Let’s do it. Get rid of the grass, at least most of it and plant fire resistant, drought tolerant, disease and bug resistant, sexy, wild, natives.  Native fire resistant plants are a real asset to your yard anywhere in California. Did you know that a watered apple tree or Indian Hawthorne burns better than an unwatered Ceanothus, and with just a little water Salvias (Sages) are harder to light than a watered fruit tree?  This and much more information about fire prevention  provided by Las Pilitas Nursery. Easy fixes for high risk fire areas.  Here is a picture of a garden landscaped with fire retardant plants.garden-tour-2

Plant natives grapes which are fire resistant make a beautiful arbor or barrier and you can eat the grapes.  fire_562s

Plant natives to attract bird, butterfly and hummingbirds.  Milkweed is the only plant the monarch uses and it also attracts swallowtails.  butterflyweedThe natives  are very low maintenance. They can be very showy and spectacular like our California Lilac,  Ceanothus, left, Ceanothus_L.T.Blueor low and inconspicuous like Pacific Mist Arctostaphylos, right.images Pacific Mist loves coastal sandy gardens where it grows one foot high and 6-8 feet across. Then there are the fragrant varieties for your smelly garden. California Mock Orange (Philadelphus lewisii) center.  Thumbnail pictures from Las Pilitas.

a494-1

And so many sages.  This one is called Hot lips and hummingbirds love it. large_salvia

Natives have everything you need for a carefree spectacular garden.   Save money on water, pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, save time, mowing, weeding, hedging, spraying, and the energy savings in hard labor are all good reasons to Go Native.

By planting natives and getting them established, which does take a little time in the beginning, you can just let them do what comes naturally and leave all the work to them.  There are perennials which come back every year, annuals that reseed themselves, hardwoods, softwoods, bushes and trees for the layered effect.   There are many varied reports on  deer resistant natives.  You will have to check with your local extension or neighbors on what works best in your area.  I think the general consensus is they love roses and if they are hunger they will eat anything.  So, this one is up to you.

Check out the gardens below.

nativeplantswww.thedigeratilife.com/…/

p_ng_mass_bl2www.cnps-yerbabuena.org/…/local_gardens.htm

gardenwphttp://tinyurl.com/ctx8l4

This is a very good site.  Full of fun facts and information.  It is hosted by Randy White. The site below, Food Not Lawns, is just a little off subject. I just thought I would put it in here to give you something to think about.  It is well worth a look see.  You can’t help but learn something.

flores_food_not_lawns_1

http://www.foodnotlawns.net/

I have taken you on quite a tour and it is just the tip of the iceberg.   If you just want to get started a good place to start learning about natives is at  the California Native Plant Society.  They have field trips to local areas and a great list of nurseries that carry native plants.   One nursery on the list is Las Pilitas.  It has an online Landscape and  design plan.  You just answer some questions about your planting area and it will tell you what plants to plant and where. Also, a must read on fire prevention.

And now that you are thinking about Going Native you can also start thinking about what you are going to do with all the extra time and money you will have after planting a native garden.  The time you save you could spend oh, I don’t know, sleeping, surfing.  Kowabunga.

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Tom Ogren is a genius. Last week we did a frenetic cross-town exposition on plants, allergies, and health with him. As he showed us around SLO, pointing out the allergy-inducing plants that abound in public places, it sunk in to me that we’ve been pretty careless about how we’ve landscaped our homes and our city. (I’ve created an interactive map of our journey so you can follow along and see which plants Tom identified).

Tom explaing the finer points of oak pollination to me.

Enter Tom Ogren. His findings mark the next step in creating a sustainable, livable environment. In a nutshell what Tom has discovered over 25 years of investigation and analysis is that allergies are getting worse—and we are responsible.

Why? Because we apparently don’t like cleaning up a mess.

Now, during our walk, Tom threw out a few latinate terms that I certainly can’t remember (you’ll have to read his book to get the full story), but the gist is that many female plants produce seeds or berries.

Which fall off.

Which we then have to pick, sweep, or scoop up.

So, to avoid the trouble, we just plant male trees instead. And this is where we shoot ourselves in the foot—or up the nose. Because male trees usually produce pollen.

Tons of it.

And since it doesn’t have anywhere else to go, it goes right up the schnoz.

Bottlebrush: it might look gorgeous, but you'll want to enjoy from a distance

Not that any of this was intentional: for many years landscapers and homeowners simply chose plants based on their aesthetic appeal. The most obvious example of this type of philosophy can be seen in the water-intensive lawns and plants that still dominant our cityscape. Now, however, given the burgeoning awareness of our limited resources, there has been a concerted move toward sustainable landscapes. Beautiful new front yards are beginning to appear based on this new, sustainable approach.

We need the same awareness to burgeon (I love that word) about creating allergy-free landscapes. It is a means of creating a sustainable environment for our eyes, lungs, and immune system. Seriously. Given the amount of money we invest in anti-allergy medications, this is a very expensive problem that could significantly reduced simply by changing our landscaping practices.

And some cities are already doing it. With Tom’s advice and guidance, several cities in the southwest and, believe it or not, in New Zealand, have adopted landscaping policies that forbid certain plants and that require the planting of female versions of others. They’re very progressive. Even feminist.

Lastly, Tom recommended a few things you can do to at least limit the effect of seasonal allergies. A list:

  • DON’T rub your eyes. Some pollens look like miniature ninja stars or balls of spikes, so rubbing your eyes when they itch will only result in itchier eyes that are now bloodshot
  • If you’ve been outside for a while (especially if it’s been windy), take a shower and put on fresh clothes once you’re inside
  • If your allergies are really bothering you, stay in the shower, close all the windows and the door, and make it hot—the steam will help clear your sinuses
  • If it’s a bad allergy day and you can make it to the beach, do it—the fresh air from the ocean will clear you up
  • Lastly, and most importantly, buy and eat local honey

I had no idea the last bastion of male dominance would be in the plant world. Go figure. Now that I do know, feminists unite! Let’s get female plants their rightful place in our yards and streets!

How about you? Do you have allergies? Have they gotten worse? How do you deal with them?

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Okay, so the environmental group I’m working with? The one I just blogged about? You might have guessed by now that it’s ECOSLO. Well, they’re taking part in Art After Dark, and last night they had Adam Hill, the new District 3 County Supervisor, as their guest. And I’m affirming that they are definitely doing good things. I met some very cool people there (in addition to Adam, of course).

However, the event was attended by about 45 people, max. I know, because I was there the whole night, lurking. (That’s me: I lurk). And the type of people who attended were the type you’d expect: the wonderful, the well-meaning, the converted.

Total mildly curious and/or drunk attendees? Zero.

Now, maybe I’m being totally unrealistic, but I would have liked to see three times that amount. I mean, it was a chance to meet with a supervisor (and for some of us, a former instructor)! Not only that, but he’s cool. Actually cool. A politician. I know.

I’m drifting. Back to my point. Which was…. If an organization wants to stay viable it has to practice a certain amount of openness and inclusiveness. This has always been a truism, but now, with the current green zeitgeist racing through our collective consciousness, the time is perfect for opening heretofore closed doors.

Have to you ever thought that maybe, just maybe, thinking certain things actually brings them into existence? (Some physicists do, but they’re crazy.) Or maybe because you’re thinking of something you are more aware of similar phenomena? Anyway, I had just written the last post about inclusivity when I came across this article, tweeted by one of our followers. In the wonderful article (that is now in my “special” folder on my laptop), the author, Andrew Outhwaite, lists common barriers to achieving effective, long-term change. This one REALLY nails my thesis on the head:

Barrier: Being too identified with your own profession/network/clique, and its language, symbols, models, paradigms and habits can seriously inhibit inter-network collaboration, even within the sustainability movement.

Community-Enabling Technology: Encouraging information Cross-Pollination. Universities (e.g. BTH, UTS and RMIT) are encouraging transdisciplinary research to enable innovation across departmental, sectoral and epistemological boundaries.

Time to broaden the horizons, methinks. And to prove that I’m not letting any grass grow under my observations, I’m off to meet with Chris McCann, a student a Cal Poly who’s part of the Empower Poly Coalition and the business community. Let the synergies begin!

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So, you know when you go to the store for milk, you can never get just milk? After the gym last night I ran in to New Frontiers for…milk. But the apples were calling to me. They were local, See Canyon apples, and they looked DELICIOUS; they also looked different. Different than the typical apples I see in most stores. Oddly, the small, mottled, blemished organic apples appealed to me more than the large, shiny, symmetrical apples. (Yes, I think about this kind of stuff all the time. It drives Denette crazy.)

And here’s where I started getting philosophical. (Denette is rolling her eyes right now).

Until recently the mindset has been shiny = new = good. There is some logic in this. After all, bruised = old = good doesn’t sound very reasonable. (Sounds pretty gross, actually). However, the little red orbs of waxed perfection represent something completely different to me: shiny = commercial = bad. shiny, conventional apples

The main issue here is not that perfection is bad, or even that striving for perfection is bad—those are both goods in my book—but that the appearance of perfection is bad. In the case of the commercial apples, the process of making pretty things is actually deceptive: it hides the imperfections that exist and creates a false impression of fresh loveliness. I’ve bitten into the shiny commercial surface before only to be surprised by the woody dryness of an apple well past its prime freshness date. Because the apple had to drive 2,500 miles to get here, it’s bound to be old and tired after a journey like that.

And do I even need to mention the hidden chemical badness? Probably not.

I’m seeing a trend away from the shiny/new/good perspective, and I hope it will continue. Because if more people develop a different mindset about what indicates good food then demand will go up. Then maybe producers and distributors wouldn’t need to spend so much time and money prettifying, packaging, and preserving our foodstuffs. Instead, they could focus on getting us the best tasting, healthiest local products.

Speaking of healthy and local. Check out this new Co-op in SLO. Good things are happening!

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