On June 3, 2010 Jacques Cousteau’s 100th birthday was honored at the California Academy of Sciences. A Santa Cruz county non-profit, Ocean Revolution, led the way by organizing the 6th Annual World Oceans Day Celebration. Cousteau’s grandchildren, Fabien and Celine Cousteau, were in attendance for the VIP reception and public world premiere of Ocean Voices. Supporting this musical premiere were sponsors and conservation allies: Academy of Sciences, School Messenger, Monkey Business, Oceana (with Central Coast representatives) and Max Davis Company. Oceana provided the key advocacy role.
This event was the first in a series to celebrate Jacques Cousteau’s June 11, 1910 birthday. In opening remarks, Celine and Fabien Cousteau commented on not fully realizing their childhood was unique until later in life. Celine discussed her good fortune in having women explorers as role models. Fabien brought to light the misconception of representing the oceans as 73% of the surface of the Earth, noting this was an example of thinking in only two dimensions. “The oceans really make up 99% of the living space on the planet, when considered three dimensionally.” Both Cousteaus stayed focused on personal advocacy, acknowledging everyone in the room was probably thinking about the Gulf oil spill, and how important it is to take individual conservation actions.
Ocean Voices, which combines narratives and music from around the world, was the focus of the Academy of Sciences NightLife, an after-hours program that combines music, cocktails and science every Thursday night. Beyond Ocean Voices, the Academy continues recognizing Jacques Cousteau’s birthday with exhibits displaying the impact of plastic in the oceans since his birth.
This Ocean Voices premiere also launches the 2010 festivities for World Oceans Month, as Oceana continues its work to ban new oil and natural gas drilling off the Pacific coast. Oceana’s message is clear: “We cannot allow the tragedy of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill to occur in Pacific waters.“
“What better way to honor the legacy of Jacques Cousteau and kick off the 2010 World Ocean Day than sending a loud “call-to-action” to stop new oil drilling off our precious coast,” said Dr. Geoff Shester, Oceana’s California Program Director.
Lea Haratani commented, “While the devastation of the oil spill pours 500,000 gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico daily, Central Coast non-profits work to deal with the ongoing deluge that fouls the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. It’s time to take action for our oceans, for the sake of future generations,” said Lea Haratani, Vice Chair of Oceana’s Ocean Council. “We must ensure that nothing like the tragedy of the Gulf oil spill ever happens again and take action today to prevent less dramatic, but equally invasive pollution, like plastics.
Many of the products were similar to prior years, but a few new additions popped up and stood out from the crowd. One was a individual garden bed greenhouse from SunPod. Eco-friendly vegetable ink dry erase markers from AusPen made their mark. And Taylor’s Tonics Chai Cola stood out as the most unique and attractive booth (see picture). There were many more additions, but these stood out to me.
This year’s speakers were very similar to previous years, but all of the talks I attended were very informative and inspiring. Amy Goodman spoke about the need for public television as an alternative to the mainstream media. As well as alternative approaches to standing up for your own rights, such as how The Yes Men , as well as a Utah student who posed as a bidder to save thousands of acres of public land from development and shine light on a faulty auction. Paul Stamets made a powerful presentation about the power of mushrooms to solve global problems. And many many others gave inspiring messages about how to make the world a better place. Even the Mayor of San Francisco showed up and gave a brief speech.
Instead of describing each talk due to the incredible number of talks, you can purchase any of the speeches on the Green Festival website.
At the end of each day, the festivities continued at after parties throughout San Francisco. There were at least 5 different after parties over the three days.
Lastly, if you did not make it to the event, or wanted to review anything you saw, definitely check out the Green Festival Website for a very detailed account.
If you would like to see photos of the event, please see them here.
As always, if you need event publicity, calendar submittals, photography, a website, or graphic design, please see the Services section on Envirovents.
This past Saturday in Sebastopol, California, the 11th annual Harvest Festival brought information, politics, and music together in harmony. Well, not quite, but close. There are many Harvest Festivals across the United States around this time of year. They are held at a different time of the season, depending on the approximate time of harvesting crops in the area. The festivals are used to celebrate the time of harvest, as well as provide information about the harvest.
The festival in Sebastopol was a bit different than a typical Harvest Festival. This time of year was harvesting time for medical Marijuana in northern California. The event centered around the use of medical Marijuana and legalizing Marijuana. It has always been a hot topic of debate, and this event proves that enough people are interested in seeing it legalized.
Whether you are for or against legalization or medical use, I suggest you attend an event like this to gather information from both sides of the argument. It may just make you think different about what you may hear from the news media or friends.
To get information similar to information presented at the event, try visiting www.westcoastleaf.com, a newspaper publication which attended the event.
What message? A message of change in environmental policy. As the world faces climate change as a global crisis, 350.org has presented a campaign to unite the world behind a simple number, 350. To garner attention to the growing carbon emissions causing global climate problems. I won’t bore you with the details, but 350 is the maximum parts per million of CO2 in the atmosphere our earth can sustain at any given time. Today, we’re almost 40 parts per million above that limit. So 350.org has set out to join people together to show their support, and hopefully garner attention of world leaders to make changes in the world to address the problem.
The event itself brought thousands of people, a very large “350″ spelled out by human bodies, and even political figures in support of global warming changes in politics. The event occurred all over the world in much the same way. See the 350.org website for all the details of the events around the world, as many of them were filmed and photographed.
That is the simple explanation of the event, but what does it mean to you?
As far as I see it, our society is split between believing whether or not climate change is actually a problem. Many scientists have come to the conclusion that is true and that humans are the cause. Unfortunately, that does nothing for the average citizen, which may have access to the information, but does not know or understand the data enough to make an informed decision. The global climate is an extremely complex system with many variables. The complexity makes it very difficult for anyone to know what is really happening in our atmosphere, even the experts. Therefore the average person either does not understanding the science or does not believe the scientists are correct. There are scientists on both sides of the coin making their conclusions, so it’s easy to make an argument either way.
So instead, I present you with a different viewpoint. Instead of focusing on the expansive topic of world climate, think for a minute on a small scale. If you take a small amount of water, such as a pond or stream, and you pollute it with toxins, it becomes undrinkable. On a larger scale, it works in exactly the same way. There is plenty of information and data confirming the pollution of our water supplies, leaving our planet with less than %10 of clean water resources remaining. That fact has been proven humans were the cause. So think about the same thing for the air we breathe. If we pollute the air with toxins in a small area, the air is no longer breathable. Again, enlarge the area (the atmosphere) and you will get the same result.
The simple fact of the matter, is the water and air are being polluted and killing many animals, including humans. I say forget about climate change and concentrate on something factual that everyone can understand. Add pollution and eventually you will become affected by it.
When everyone is focused on a belief of scientific data, there will be believers on both sides. But when you face the facts that are simple for everyone to understand, it is difficult to ignore.
Last night, October 23, 2009, Oceana, the world’s leading ocean conservation organization, hosted a special benefit dinner in San Francisco to honor the city’s former Mayor and long-time California Statesman, Willie Brown, Jr. Oceana presented an award to Willie for his nearly half-century commitment to public service. Willie has paved the way for many civil services to flourish in California.
The night’s reception dinner was set amongst a gorgeous sunset and ocean view of the San Francisco Bay and Golden Gate Bridge, which was a telling reminder of the beauty in nature onto which the event was shedding light.
Lea Haratani of Oceana opened the evening with a few quotes and facts to set the mood for the evening. Her dedication to conservation was clear, as she excitedly explained how “we live in a time where there is a major global crisis and we have the tools and knowledge…to turn it around in only ten to fifteen years.”
Jim Simon, Executive Vice President of Oceana, announced and presented the award to Willie Brown. Mr. Brown returned the favor of his award, with a thank you to “non-profits, volunteers, and citizens who present critical information for people and their representatives to make more informed choices” that will lead to a better future. This is something heard amongst many local policy officials and non-profits alike. It is up to the citizens to take charge of their own communities by forming groups and organizations to study the problems, as well as letting their representatives know how they feel and present them the information. Oceana, among countless other non-profits, paves the way to getting that information in the hands of citizens and elected officials. Oceana’s website presents a whole slew of facts, statistics, problems, and solutions.
Jim Simon seemed to have all of the facts and statistics memorized, as he continued the evening with a great speech. His energy for solving problems was very clear.
Jim says “the good news is it’s not complicated to fix….the solutions already exist, and ocean conservation is where we can already notice results within three to five years: such as when we regulate commercial fishing to prevent over-harvesting, the fish populations return to normal.” He continued enthusiastically “it’s one of the most important problems that we can actually solve!”
Jim said the solutions can be broken down into four easy steps. “One, protect the habitat. Two, stop pollution. Three, set and enforce quotas and regulations. And four, stop subsidizing commercial fishing. ” That puts it as easy-to-follow as you can get.
Last in the roundup of speakers, came John Aiken, Director of the Palo Alto Zoo, who spoke about his insights into ocean conservation from a land-based perspective. How our impacts on land directly contribute to problems in the ocean, and vice versa. An entire ecosystem can be affected by only a single species depletion.
As an addition to the night’s speakers, a fun fashion (or trashion) show of creative and “trashy” clothes were sported by Haute Trash.
Each outfit, made from real trash (yes, something someone would throw in the garbage) was accompanied by humorous puns and satires by the announcer. They sure know how to make trash and recycling a whole lot of fun! We need people like them to shine some light on our problems with some fun and humorous ways to get us moving in the positive direction.
With that, I will end this blog with Haute Trash’s great closing quote. “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the pollution.”
Today I found a different type of environmental event to go to. Yoga in the park. This wouldn’t normally be classified as an environmental event because it does not advocate anything about the environment. But, many green folks practice yoga because it is a way to connect with your body and your srroundings in a different way.
This particular session of yoga was a bit different than a typical one. Half way through, the instructor, Ariella, decided to throw in a “walking meditation” for everyone to let go of expectations and connect with your body. It was difficult to let go of what was going on around us because there was a lawn mower and a lot of school kids all around the park making lots of noise. Reconnecting with our bodies and the cool grass beneath our feet was a great way to let go of the distractions around us.
So while it wasn’t an environmental event, it can still provide us with insight about our living environment and a way to make peace with the world around us.
If you happen to be in the Albany area, make sure to head over to Free Yoga in the Park Monday, Wednesdays, and Fridays at noon.
Chuck Durrett, the co-founder of the cohousing movement (www.cohousing.org), spoke to a packed house about the benefits to creating community and cohousing in our current society. The event was produced to garner support and interested parties in developing a cohousing development in Mountain View, California. Members of the Silicon Valley Cohousing organization were in attendance to gather information about cohousinging.
The event brought well over 80 people in attendance with a diverse crowd, many of whom were seniors or those close to retirement.
This event was the first event in which all future blogs will take shape. Event notes will be taken and delivered to you through this blog. The reason, is to provide the world with the information presented at the event, so that all may flourish and utilize great ideas from prominent individuals. So, below are the first set of notes taken during the event:
Top qualities of a successful cohousing design:
1) Future residents need to help in the creation and design of the community.
2) Physical design is designed over time concerning how much privacy everyone does and doesn’t want.
3) Common house needs to be practical, convenient, fun, and sustainable for creating community.
4) Decision making needs to involve the community and always focus on what will create more community.
Features in design: Common workshop, kitchen, hall, outdoor space
Inter-generational cohousing seems to always be designed with the children in mind at the forefront to create an atmosphere for growing up.
Cohousing seems to fit very well with senior housing and provides a good quality of life, happiness, and fun.
People have as much privacy in their house as they want, and outside they have as much community as they want.
Teaching skills and sharing larger tasks with other members creates efficiency, community, and education.
Cooperative dealings with external problems can be worked out if the focus always stay on the community and what will work. Positive approaches and creative thinking can help make problems easily solvable without creating restrictions to community members.
Prioritize expenditures for efficiency and community.
The people really feel like they own and are part of the community when they are involved in the creation and design of it.
Creating larger scale sustainable practices like collective solar installations to decrease energy costs and many other costs that are cut down when a group goes in on it together.
Expenses on external purchases which other community members can provide also saves money.
People start hanging out on their front porch rather than their back porch. People get to know each other and want to visit instead of not talking to their neighbors and being more private.
Cohousing can be much less expensive during an economic downturn. People can move out of their previous houses and join with others to pull their money.
Look at the geography and real estate prices to find soemwhere which fits well for the community and is affordable.
To find out more, find resources, and ask questions, visit cohousing.org. Another alternative is ic.org for intentional communities based around specific interests.
Like always, Envirovents offers note-taking, photography, video, websites, and flyer designs for events large and small. Please contact us for details.