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Posts Tagged ‘participation’

In our continuous effort to be absolutely ubiquitous, I have started posting on YouTube.

Our first piece is an excerpt from Episode 6: the “solar oven scene” to be precise. It’s fun and exciting. (My mom’s excited anyway). In the future I see us moving toward the YouTube format and away from the structured episodic format to give us more freedom and the ability to stay current. (Not that staying current is in any way related to my inability to stay on schedule).

So, what do you think? Any suggestions for quick, 5-minute bits we can do?

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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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Thank you, Freecycle! We just picked up two real (as in designed for the purpose) worm bins. And we even got the red wrigglers. Now, along with our homemade bin, we will have plenty of compost and castings. Plenty.

Worms and all!

The woman who freecycled the bins told us that she had gotten them for free from the City of SLO. Time to put on the Deerstalker and investigate!

Hercules and Catwoman are thrilled!

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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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In keeping with the idea of promoting community activism, our very own song writer Jora is trying to help out a local girl scout troop with their annual cookie drive. What particularly appealed to me in this drive was the troop to troop option. You can order girl scout cookies here and they will be delivered to our troops overseas. Thinking of cookies as a real comfort food I really liked this idea. It is a way of letting our troops (some of whom may have sold GS cookies themselves!) know we are thinking about them and send them our best. The cookies are $4 a box.

You can email Jora your order. Please include a phone # so she can verify your order. Checks can be made payable to: Girl Scout Troop #40175 and mailed to PO Box 6135 Los Osos Ca 93412. Please order no later than Saturday February 1, 2009.

Here is a list of cookies:

  • Thin Mints (The BEST!)
  • Tag Alongs Peanut (Butter Patties)
  • Sugar Free Chocolate Chips (new)
  • Dulce de Leche(new)
  • Samoas (carmel delights)
  • Do-si-does (Peanut Butter Sandwichs)
  • Trefoils (Shortbread)
  • Lemon Chalet Creames (new)

If you need ingredient listings you can visit littlebrownie.com

I thought the troops would like the thin mints and lemon creams. The thin mints were always my favorite. Oh my gosh. I remember selling these when I was a girl scout a million and half years ago. Anyway let’s not go there. Thank you, Jora, for letting us know about this.

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So I am sitting in my favorite coffee house, Black Horse (which used to be called Uptown and which is where I used to work in my college days sooooo long ago). After the euporia of my latte began to wear off and more pragmatic thoughts began to filter through my brain, a conversation I’d had with my mom bubbled back to the surface. It was about coffee grounds. Coffee grounds and gardens. And reusing. And not wasting.

You see, coffee grounds are GREAT for my garden. And Black Horse has LOTS of coffee grounds. Therefore, getting LOTS of coffee grounds from Black Horse would be GREAT for my garden. Oooooh, I LOVE logic! (You can tell that by now my latte high has completely dissipated).

Seriously, Eric makes the BEST lattes.

I asked Eric—the manager and coffee hero who created my nectar-of-the-gods—if Black Horse recycled its grounds. His response was measured and polite.

“Hell no. We have way too many grounds for that.” He pointed to the trash bins where they deposited the steaming remains of brewed and espressoed coffee.

“But you would give them to someone who asked?” I pressed.

“Sure. In fact, we have a few people who come in for that already. Why, were you thinking about some for your garden?”

My opening arriveth on golden wings.

“Yep. And I have a few other friends who might like some, too.”

Do I ever. Here’s the deal: if you live in SLO and you need grounds, feel free to stop by and ask for a bag of grounds. Better yet, bring your own bag. Tell Eric that Samson sent you. If we get enough interest, I’ll formalize this with Eric and we’ll create an actual Grounds for the Garden program, which will benefit everyone involved:

  • Us gardeners will get some beautiful high-quality grounds for free
  • Black Horse will reduce their trash fees and get increased customer pass-through
  • We’ll be taking waste bound for a landfill and reusing it to produce necessary commodities

If you’re NOT from SLO, have you considered asking your local coffeehouse about reusing their grounds? They’ll probably be up for it if you explain the potential benefits.

Huzzah for community involvement!

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Okay, so The Moose is Up again! Unbelievably! I actually feel like I know what I’m doing with Final Cut, which is certainly a sign of the end of the world.

In this episode we get out and mingle with other people at a free faire and a bike kitchen. I also update you on the garden and the state of the compost. Oh, and I get to make some insalata caprese! Which is great, because then I also get to eat it.

Let us know what you think of the latest installment. And if you have any ideas for content, leave it in the comments.

Cheers!

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