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This group is for those of us who live in LA that wish to better our lives through healthy living. Some topics may include organic foods, vegetarianism, animal companions or environmental issues such as smog, energy use, beach cleanup, etc.
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{ else }   Message: EventShare: Organic Planet Festival, August 26th, Eureka, Northern Cali  
2nd Annual Organic Planet Festival
Celebrates Healthy World

Event to feature music and workshops; showcase non-toxic products

The 2006 Organic Planet Festival will return to Humboldt County (Northern Cali) on the fourth Saturday in August, offering a healthy assortment of activities, booths, music, workshops and food. Highlights include free organic birthday cake to celebrate the City of Eureka’s 150th anniversary, a fun activity area for kids and a giant mountain of organic salad that promises to surpass last year’s world record-sized plate.

The daylong event is hosted by Eureka-based Californians for Alternatives to Toxics (CATs) and is one of only a few northern California organic and toxic-free festivals, providing a family-friendly way to share information about living healthier lives.

Visitors to the 2006 celebration on the Waterfront in historic Eureka can check out the wares of natural and organic exhibitors, learn about alternatives to pesticides in the garden and get tips on how to shop for organic foods on a budget. Kids can enjoy a special area just for them, which includes miniature golf, a petting zoo, edible organic necklaces and lots more non-toxic fun.

Everyone can come hungry. Organizers of the event plan to toss together a veggie combination even bigger than the 1,000-plus pound salad monster they made last year, which dwarfed previously published efforts to create the world’s largest organic salad.

The festival kicks off Organic Harvest Month in September, which highlights the growing popularity of organic foods. U.S. sales of organic foods have grown 20 percent or more annually for the last seven years, with overall sales around $4 billion, according to the Organic Consumers Association.

The festival is about all things for healthier, non-toxic living. This includes organic food, clothing and flowers, and consumer goods that are alternatives to those that are toxic, such as personal care items, building materials and pest control products.

Humboldt Creamery and Organic Valley will once again be on hand to distribute free samples of their organic ice cream, while other major sponsors' contributions include Wildberries Marketplace's kids' area, Northcoast Co-Op's organic birthday cake for the City of Eureka’s 150th anniversary and Eureka Natural Foods' World's Largest Organic Salad. More than 50 organic and natural-product exhibitors will be in attendance, providing information and showcasing their products.

Speakers' topics include how to shop for organic foods on a budget and how to avoid pesticides in your garden, while workshops will cover everything from how to make “recycled music” to how to use recycled vegetable oil as fuel in diesel vehicles.

Bands from Humboldt County, the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond will serve up good tunes throughout the day. They include Pan Dulce, a local 30-piece steel drum calypso orchestra; Aphrodesia, an afrobeat group from San Francisco; the Joe Craven Quartet, a modern jazz and bluegrass band based in Sacramento; Raining Jane, funky folk rockers from Los Angeles; and Clinton Fearon and the Boogie Brown Band, reggae musicians from Jamaica and the Pacific Northwest.

The Second Annual Organic Planet Festival will take place in Halvorsen Park at the bayside end of L Street in Eureka. Almost 4,000 people attended in 2005 and more are anticipated this year. Several special events are planned in the week running up to the festival, including speakers and an organic garden tour.

Festival admission is $10 ($5 before noon) and FREE for kids 12 and under, and will take place from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m on Saturday, August 26. There will be a free raffle for door prizes. Proceeds support CATs' community and outreach programs. The Organic Planet Festival is accepting exhibitor and volunteer applications.

For more information, call 707-445-5100, email: info@organicplanetfestival.org or visit: http://www.organicplanetfestival.org.

CATs' Mission and Work

Californians for Alternatives to Toxics was founded in 1982 by community groups from throughout northern California that wanted a regional center for information and action about hazardous pesticides and other chemicals, and promotion of non-toxic alternatives such as organic products. In the ensuing twenty-four years, CATs has established its reputation as a strong and effective voice for those who choose healthier and less toxic lives for their families and future generations.

For more information about the group, which is based in downtown Eureka near the Waterfront in an environmentally retrofitted, solar-powered Victorian home, visit: http://www.alternatives2toxics.org


Posted: Aug 21, 2006 2:39pm | (0) | (0) |  
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{ else }   Message: Mendocino ~ Ecotopia Rising  
Mendocino
 
 
Ecotopia Rising
 
 
PLACE is far more important to human health and happiness then is commonly recognized. There are many, many aspects of place that have to be explored in order to understand why this is so and in order to the create appropriate means for the making and maintenance of human habitat.
 
One of the unfortunate realities of our time is that we are rapidly destroying the natural and human-built habitats that make up the context within which most humans can build a place that fits their personal nature and requirements. This is a crises of ecology, economics, community, architecture and development. It is the result of an almost universal strategy of moving to a new pristine area that has sought after intrinsic value and, then, despoiling it by careless, short-sighted development - then, moving on. Until recently, there has always been somewhere else to move to. No more. The restoration of once devastated areas is one of the most exciting development stories going on today.
 
There have been notable exceptions throughout history where humans have diligently worked to achieve an integration between natural habitat and human made habitat. Places of remarkable beauty, culture and economy have been created. Overall, however, this has been a losing battle as the structure of our society has imposed its inevitable logic on (so called) civilization’s development patterns. In many respects, we are now in the end-game in making of a single human artifact of planet earth.
 
I live, when I am there, in a part of the world that was badly raped, has partially recovered, and is working to find the balance between all the competing factors that modern civilization brings to the process of evolving itself. Mendocino County, a hundred or so miles North of San Francisco, is a place of incredible natural beauty and a sometimes example of intelligent development. It struggles with the issues of development and defining itself and it holds a promise of actually finding its way to a sustainable solution.
 
I call it Ecotopia after the novel - although the reality is different than the story - there are many Ecotopian values at play in this part of the world. I also wonder, given present trends, if there may be a clash in the future between this region with the rest of the US. An attempted raid on our water is an example of the kinds of conflicts that may well shape our political future. Such risks as this are actually embedded in the law of the land through treaties such as NAFTA. Circumstance such as this is why I believe that the next viable political/economic unit will be based on regional ecological-economic/ bio regions.
 
Below, to show the story of Mendocino (see website), are a number of images, collected over the last two years, from all seasons and many different parts of the county. These present but a small aspect of the place and, what is even more remarkable, they are not the consequence of extreme editing or even selection. Anywhere in America can offer up a set of photos of similar quality. In most places the images would not be the predominate reality but the result of highly effective editing. In Mendocino, you can be lead around blind folded for days, shooting the camera at random, and achieve the same level of images I show here. I live in a county where you can drive for hours and not see a piece of franchise architecture (except for a few gas stations and not the majority of these) and never the now ubiquitous cell phone tower. I can eat a full variety diet provided exclusively from local home grown organic farms. Where there is a rich cultural life yet most of the communities are a few hundred and the cities extremely small by modern standards. At night, I can listen to a silence that the vast majority of Americans, today, can never “hear.” The presence of wild animals still exists and makes up a daily experience. And yet, the mail gets delivered on time, Fed Ex is there, when you need them, and I can purchase most consumer goods and tools without too much travel, time expended, or delay. Many will argue that the majority of US Citizens can not live this way; that it is not practical; that the dense city environment is necessary to modern life. I agree that there is a necessary and viable role for the densly populated city. I do not agree that cities have to be polluted; that they cannot be as “green” as where I live. The amenity of my place can be anywhere on Earth - as different, of course, as the local terrain and culture dictates. The negative trade-offs of pollution, crowding, noise, ugliness and unhealthy conditions that are becoming increasingly dominate in our habitat are not inevitable - they are not even the necessary result of our present population levels. These unfortunate results, are the consequence of poor political decisions and policies, exploitative development practices, runaway, mindless consumerism, the abuse of the (mythical) “free” market economy, and generally, just plain bad design. More importantly, however, it is our society’s inability to deal with systemic issues that is causing the consequences that few actually want.
 
Mendocino, although a poor county, recently fought off the development scheme, mentioned above, to run a water line one mile up the river where I live to a mile out to sea to fill huge mile long Mylar bags and haul the water down by tugs to San Diego. Because of NAFTA and California’s water laws, this was not easy to do. This would have ruined a river rich in Salmon and not made a significant dent in the southern California’s water problems which can more easily be solved locally by sane policies and better design. Mendocino recently, against a huge campaign by chemical companies, banned genetically altered plants and animals from the county (see: www.gmofreemendo.com). There are many ins and outs to these controversial issues and, myself, I would rather see market mechanisms be the path to their resolution not use of regulatory law. Unfortunately, in today’s political, economic environment not to say STOP is to say yes. Fetzer Vineyards, the largest buyer of grapes in California, has gone organic, over the last eight years, with all of it’s own grape production and expects all of the grapes it buys from all suppliers to be organic by 2010. The run off from chemically grown grapes is very damaging to the environment and on the scale that the California wine industry is becoming, not sustainable. Fetzer has found that it’s wine wins more rewards and it is less expensive to grow, organically. Real Goods, a large supplier of alternative solar and water systems, has it’s home office and demonstration facilities in Hopland. These facilities include a retail store run entirely off solar energy. Here is a County, once exploited, determining it’s own future by putting decisions into the hands of it’s own citizens to balance out economic, ecological and life-style issues.
 
The pictures at the website (all Mendocino with the exception of three taken on Sea Ranch a couple of miles into Sonoma County) are taken of my back and front yards and also include views of our beaches, artists studios, homes, stores, bed and breakfast inns, and art gallery, our land fill and recycling center, pasture land, towns, a RV park, a waterfall right in the middle of a subdivision, a church and a chapel, a lighthouse, two parks and a flower garden and a winery - all within 60 miles of our house. Here is a landscape where indigenous peoples lived for centuries, that was heavily exploited in the 19th and early 20th century and is now finding a human-nature synthesis in the 21st Century.

http://matttaylor.com/public/mendocino.htm


Matt Taylor
Nashville

March 13, 2004
Copyright© 2002, 2003, 2004 Matt Taylor

Posted: Jul 27, 2006 6:46pm | (0) | (0) |  
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{ else }   Message: Solutions to the Al Gore Film - from HopeDance Magazine ~ Radical Solutions Inspiring Hope  
Solutions to the Al Gore Film
by Bob Banner
www.hopedance.org

Larry's Note: The smilely faces in the text below came with the Care2 formatting...it's a mystery!


The Al Gore film is the best power point presentation I have ever seen. Its like a power point presentation on steroids for sure. This essay is about the solutions. The film was weak around the solutions... but that’s okay because so many of the other expose investigative documentaries do the same thing. We have The Corporation, Wal-Mart, Outfoxed, The End of Suburbia, Why We Fight... all superbly explain the problem but are weak in solutions. I surmise the reason is that they need to express the problem well enough for people to really get it. We are used to be clobbered over the head to get it, to get that we have a problem. Well I think it might be safe to say that there’s a growing population that already agrees to a very large degree that we have problems. What we need is a vision and solutions. So after seeing the gory gore film I sat down and wrote out a litany of solutions. The film did list a number of solutions while the credits rolled but they were short and snappy. Actually at the website http://www.climatecrisis.net/takeaction/ they go into more detail.

Stop or slow down consumption.
Check in really why we are buying? Do we really need it? Are we fighting terrorism by shopping endlessly? Or are we that insecure that we are defining our mode of happiness by accumulating more and more stuff?

Stop or slow down working.
Why are we working? To quote the comedian Ellen Goodman: “Normal is getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work, driving through traffic in a car that you are still paying for, in order to get to the job that you need to pay for the clothes, car, and the house that you leave empty all day in order to afford to live in it.” Does that fit us? If so perhaps not working ought to be on the top of the list for stopping global warming. Or perhaps we don’t have to be that rigid, we could start taking time off for something called citizenry or ones passion or to be with loved ones or to become a mystical activist. How can we be good citizens and activists if we have become a slave to a system where we need to have 2-3 jobs just to pay the rent or mortgage?

Buy local.
The buying local campaigns that are sprouting all over the country cannot be emphasized enough. Buy local foods, buy organic, buy local entertainment, support the genuine local economy. The less we have to have things trucked, railroaded, airplaned, overseas shipped... the better for lessening the burning of fossil fuels. Also check out the new and rapidly relocalization movement throughout the country and learn more and start implementing their policies and ordinances in the cities we live in. There are more than 100 relocalization groups in the country so far [more about this in the Sept/Oct issue of HopeDance].

Also there is the local currency movement and the LETS system movement that is creating our own money so we can guarantee that the money stays local. Investing in SRIs and Regenerative Investing is a good way to invest in our money, into the community, into technologies that will help create a more sustainable and socially just future.

We also need to understand that there are numerous resources from which to spend our monies that support a future that we are seeking. The fair trade certificate is one example with coffee, chocolate, bananas and the numerous non-sweat shops where one can buy clothes and hats and shoes that are manufactured by a union or a living wage employer. Seek them out and support them (http://hopedance.org/new/issues/56/article4.html).

We need to remember that people’s buying habits can make a difference. When the corporation’s (or the insurance companies) bottom line is being threatened, they will change. With the new activism by shareholders and simply people not buying their products, the corporations will have to change or die out. Remember the stats in the film about Toyota and Honda (rising) while GM and Ford were in the red (declining).

Education.
We need to review books and films and TV shows that deal with this subject. There are numerous media that is making a difference. If we need to turn the TV off go for it. However there are excellent quality shows, programs and films out there that we need to see with our friends and community to help each other in this time of urgency: LinkTV, FreeSpeechTV, UC, Colors on satellite TV (I prefer DISH over DirectTV since the conservative media mogul Rupert Murdock owns the latter). Get off cable. Support TV that’s making a difference while saving money.

Most of our daily papers are from the old paradigm where they focus mucho on advertising to pay for their high tech offices and equipment while giving us the same old same old. Its a closed loop of extravagance and old paradigm consciousness. We need to seek out the pioneers who are thinking and acting outside of the box and support them.

There are numerous publications that are participating in this overhaul: Adbusters, The Ecologist, Ode, Parabola, Permaculture Activist, Mother Jones, Yes.. and of course google search can take us to so many solutions we cannot complain any longer that we don’t have the information. At our finger tips are answers to solving this crisis when it comes to specific solutions that we are capable of handling.

Psychology.
We need to wrap our minds around this thing called change and challenge. We are in a dire situation and we need to not panic and move from fear but with a vision and with the support of others so we don’t feel so alone and alienated. Community building is a wonderful way to meet people, get together with like-minded individuals, create neighborhood groups to clean up and work together to form alliances to the point of actually going to city councils and speaking to power to enact some change. City Repair started as a small group of people who wanted to take over the “public” space that ones finds at every city intersection. They simply used the “public” space but it was illegal. They ended up doing a direct action that was illegal, got arrested, got media attention, spoke about our need for public space and within a year brought it to the attention of the city council and won. Now the entire city of Portland has an ordinance that indeed the “public” space at city’s intersections are really for the public. Go to http://www.hopedance.org/new/issues/51/article2.html for details of this particular solution which can make for a large impact around such challenges as peak oil and global warming. The point to emphasize in this psychological empowerment of individuals is to know that we actually have the POWER to enact policy change. It’s very similar to what the 132 Mayors of cities in the US who have embraced the Kyoto Protocol. They simply cannot wait for an irresponsible federal government that refuses to sign on. The mayors took it upon themselves. People will have to take it upon themselves to create the solutions. Not just simple ones like recycling or buying a CFL lamp but to create and implement policies that are taking on the major contributors to global warming.

Also part of the psychological arena includes HOW we are going to make these changes. Will the motivator be fear and guilt? Will the Al Gore film and all the other ones listed above motivate us because we will be scared shitless.. and our efforts will be motivated by that? Yes it might work for a few and it might work for awhile; but for how long? Without a vision and some solid evidence that these changes we are talking about are not necessarily motivated by sacrifice but out of JOY. We will have more time gardening, hanging out with people and become closer to nature because our needs are going to become more basic. With less driving and flying we will become more creative in our neighborhoods. And our sense of security will need to be grounded in nature not one that is isolated and fearful of nature or in need of more weapons and violence. If and when we see more models of sustainable communities; when we see more and more models of a green economy then it will spread because of the joy and smiles on peoples faces, not because we are behaving out of panic and fear.

Also, with all the various problems and challenges we cannot pick one that we think is dutiful and out of obligation. We need to pick a cause that resonates with our passion and purpose in order to sustain our inspiration and energy so we don’t burn out. I cannot emphasize how important this is. If we are going to do activist work with a stick up our butt or out of anger and resentment, who’s going to want to change and follow us. If they see our smiling faces, and can see that our hearts are into it and can taste the fresh vegetables we are eating and feel how we communicate, and smell the joy in our activism, they will be drawn to the vision we are creating... and that kind of change will be long-lasting and sustainable.

Transportation.
Why are we traveling? Where are we going and why? It’s not just a matter of choosing a different mode of vehicle. If we do it superficially it will not take root. We need to go deeper into the reasons WHY we do things as well as the HOWs of behaving in certain ways. Are we traveling to get to a job that we might not need? When will it get to that point where being in traffic for hours to get to a job that still keeps us in debt simply no longer is sane? Is it now? Are we in denial now? How deep do our habits really go? I recall reading somewhere that insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly expecting different results. This might be a good time to investigate our levels of insanity.

Bikes, electric cars, electric bikes, rickshaws and walking and carpooling and trains and buses are all going to help out and they are all good. If we live far away, we need to move closer to town. Calculate and orchestrate our car trips if we need to. Become smarter, become greener. Go to restaurants that use local produce, if we are going to eat out.

There are numerous changes ahead of us. Most of us, definitely including me, resist change. We usually wait until the crisis is right in front of our noses before we change, before we act, and sometimes it’s too late. Many people during the Depression opted to commit suicide rather than change. I’m sure there will be a number of us who will do the same. The inevitable changes may be too overwhelming... and because we have become obese and complacent and lethargic and apathetic, suicide may look easier than pursuing a changed life. We have become the frog in luke warm water and we will die when the water heats up. The time for energetic change (jumping out of the hot water) may have passed for some. I wonder if it’s possible to become comfortable with change and chaos. Imagine the patience and tenacity and resilience the people affected by Katrina had. When we look at those photos imagine where we will be, HOW we will be?

The message of those documentaries are not about going back to sleep and hiding under the blanket of delusion and despair but one of awakening to what we are really here for. This is our time. We were born for this transition. The earth and our friends need us. As Alice Walker wrote: “Every small, positive change we make in ourselves repays us in confidence in the future.” I think she also wrote, “We are the change we have been waiting for.” So, what are we waiting for?

Bob Banner publishes HopeDance, screens progressive films, washes windows and runs a Film Library. He can be reached at info@hopedance.org.

This just in:
Lloyd’s of London [a major insurance carrier] produced this Adobe Acrobat (PDF) document on the subject of Global Warming:
http://tinyurl.com/fybmd
They believe it’s happening!


Posted: Jul 7, 2006 10:55pm | (1) | (0) |  
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