Photo

"I miss being a tree."

A sign on a piece of wood I put up in a tree. 
This one is a bit of a stretch, but I think it’s an act of kindness because speaking out for the voiceless is always a good thing.
Deforestation is a sad reality, & each year the United States imports nearly 8.5 million hectares (1 hectare = 10,000 m2) of timber. Trees are literally the lungs of the earth. They absorb air pollutants and produce oxygen, in addition to supplying shade and back support for people who like to sit. On the cool side, there are plenty of tree-planting initiatives going on around the world, and this one offers a list of ways that you can help. 
I appreciate the unexpected break I sometimes get from my daily routine, and I like reading things that make me question my ideals. I use tree products every day without much thought: notepads, books, printing paper, pencils, toilet paper, paper towels, the chairs I sit on, the dresser I pick clothes from, the table I eat off of, the flooring I walk on, and the framing of the house I live in.
Likewise, I hope this oddity in a tree — one in a long line of sidewalk greenery — will bring a smile to any passersby who notice, and possibly spark some thoughts within them.
               
Day 2/30

"I miss being a tree."

A sign on a piece of wood I put up in a tree. 

This one is a bit of a stretch, but I think it’s an act of kindness because speaking out for the voiceless is always a good thing.

Deforestation is a sad reality, & each year the United States imports nearly 8.5 million hectares (1 hectare = 10,000 m2) of timber. Trees are literally the lungs of the earth. They absorb air pollutants and produce oxygen, in addition to supplying shade and back support for people who like to sit. On the cool side, there are plenty of tree-planting initiatives going on around the world, and this one offers a list of ways that you can help. 

I appreciate the unexpected break I sometimes get from my daily routine, and I like reading things that make me question my ideals. I use tree products every day without much thought: notepads, books, printing paper, pencils, toilet paper, paper towels, the chairs I sit on, the dresser I pick clothes from, the table I eat off of, the flooring I walk on, and the framing of the house I live in.

Likewise, I hope this oddity in a tree — one in a long line of sidewalk greenery — will bring a smile to any passersby who notice, and possibly spark some thoughts within them.

               

Day 2/30

Text

Some views on what matters in life…

An interesting (but overly dense) article which asks the age-old question of existential thought, Does Anything Matter?

The article is a review of the intellectual arguments in Derek Parfit’s new book, “On What Matters,” which defends objectivity in ethics as proof of the actuality that anything can matter. I don’t fully know what this means, but it sounds hopeful. Parfit later goes on to describe how three “opposing” social construct philosophies (those of Kant, Hobbes/Locke/Rousseau, and Bentham’s utilitarianism) are "climbing the same mountain on different sides." This analogy makes me think of the awing woodcut prints by artist Tom Killion, 28 Views of Mount Tamalpais.

Title: "Bolinas Ridge to Pt. Montara (Gulf of the Farallons)"

Title: "Mt. Tamalpais from Bulkley Ave., Sausalito"

Title: "West Point, Mt. Tamalpais"

Title: "Bolinas Ridge Sunset"

Title: "Golden Gate (& Mt. Tamalpais) from Grizzly Peak"

One major argument against objectivism in ethics is that people disagree deeply about right and wrong, and this disagreement extends to philosophers who cannot be accused of being ignorant or confused. If great thinkers like Immanuel Kant and Jeremy Bentham disagree about what we ought to do, can there really be an objectively true answer to that question?

Through logic and reason, Parfit determines that there is. He presents this moral claim as an objective truth, that “what matters” most in our social construct now is that “we rich people give up some of our luxuries, ceasing to overheat the Earth’s atmosphere, and taking care of this planet in other ways, so that it continues to support intelligent life.”

I like the prospect of preserving some of that mountainous beauty, from all its angles.

Video

An informative and uplifting video (which references back to my blog post from last month) put together by the GreenPeace activists in Chicago who advocated for the Fisk and Crawford Coal Plants to “QUIT COAL”.

Video

From the mouths of babes #3

This one is old, but strong, like an aged cheese.
In 1992 12-year-old Severn Suzuki spoke at the UN Earth Summit about the importance of environmental responsibility, reminding all the decision-makers in attendance of the impact their actions and inactions have on current and future generations, and reprimanding them for their hypocrisy in not practicing what they preach.

Link

 

"What we see in nature is that nothing goes to waste. It’s us, humans, who are the parasitic influence, the garbage makers."

Clean-up projects in Estonia, Slovenia, & San FranciscoLet’s do it world!

"Amid so much pessimism and destructiveness, there is nothing better than seeing our neighbors work to transform the reality in which we live. The changes start small, at home, in local schools and communities. But with the connecting power of the Internet and social media, soon enough the word spreads out and large-scale environmental (not just political) action becomes possible."


I’m happy to do my part in spreading the word. So far there are nineteen world teams represented in the “Let’s do it!” campaign, and San Francisco is the only representation of North America. I’m adding my hands to the daily clean-up movement.

Photoset

Seeing is believing. If you want your message to be heard, you have to put it out there for all to see; and if you’re not being heard enough, be louder.

Maybe it’s harder to see what’s in front of you when the air you’re surrounded by is filled with pollutants. Pictured above are the efforts of people who are determined to be heard, and whose messages are in your best interest to hear out and care about.

The first image above pictures a message sent out by eight Greenpeace activists in Chicago’s own Pilsen neighborhood. Painted last week on 25 May on a 450 foot smokestack, “QUIT COAL” is their proclamation to the Fisk Generating Station (as well as the Crawford Generating Station in the Little Village neighborhood), a coal-fired power plant not covered by current Clean Air Act emission standards.

On the day previous, 24 May, eight different Greenpeace activists rappelled off a bridge at the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal. Their hanging bodies prevented a coal barge from passing.

All sixteen men and women were arrested.


The second photo is an advertisement for NRDC, a not-for-profit dedicated to safeguarding the earth’s natural systems. “Air pollution kills 60,000 people a year,” the ad states, ostensibly comparing air pollution to a fatal weapon in its bold and effective imagery that utilizes a building’s smokestack as the barrel of a gun.

The imagery is intense and provocative, but not so far off. According to crime statistics from the NationMaster website, roughly 100,000 people in the world are murdered by firearms annually; over 9,000 of those murders take place in the United States. And as it is recorded in a truth-telling study published by the ELPC on the Fisk and Crawford coal plants as mentioned above, the excess release of particulate matter into the atmosphere by coal plant emissions has extreme detrimental effects on the health of surrounding communities (human and natural). “The health- and environmental-related damages from these coal plants cost the public in excess of $127 million per year… The Illinois agreement sets January 1, 2019 – over 12 years after it was announced [and with 8 years’ leeway from now] – as the deadline for Midwest Generation to reduce its SO2 emissions.” The U.S. EPA estimates that by 2014, if these emissions are reduced and the coal plants begin to “QUIT COAL” so to speak, there would be 

• 14,000 to 36,000 less premature deaths, 

• 21,000 less cases of acute bronchitis, 

• 23,000 less nonfatal heart attacks, 

• 26,000 less hospital and ER visits, 

• 1.9 million less days when people miss work or school, 

• 240,000 less cases of aggravated asthma, and 

• 440,000 less cases of upper and lower respiratory symptoms. 


If seeing is believing, then certainly the act of doing is believing in something.

These recent uprisings by Greenpeace activists who, yes, may be a bit crazy to choose to get thrown in jail and, yes, may be a bit fanatical in affirming their fervent beliefs… are examples of direct non-violent action that, even modestly, make a difference in protecting the earth and the futures of all its inhabitants. And I’d like to argue that it’s better to be arrested for defending a just cause than for adding to the statistics of annual firearm homicides.

~

-For more on direct environmental activism, I recommend watching the controversial film by Derrick Jensen, END:CIV. On 1 May, in honor of May Day and to maximize its outreach, the movie was put online for the public’s free viewing pleasure.
-The NRDC’s website also features a page where you can Take Action Now on threatening environmental issues by signing your name and submitting letters which urge positive change to various officials.
-Greenpeace also offers the public a forum in which they can Take Action, by signing your name on a message to Edison International telling them to shut down Chicago’s Fisk and Crawford coal-fired power plants by 2013.

I’ll blog at a future date on what I think about these online “action” sites on which internet surfers can make a difference by writing their name and clicking a button.