Local 20/20 Weekly Announcements February 22, 2021
The Tug Hercules works down Admiralty Inlet at Point Wilson by Dave Seabrook
COVID-19 Update on Mon, Feb 22nd *Update* The Weekly COVID-19 update with Jefferson County Public Health Officer, Dr. Thomas Locke. To watch live or recorded videos of the entire 9 a.m. Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) meeting, including the 9:45 a.m. COVID-19 update, go to the websitefor videos of meetings. You can choose “Streaming Live” or, if viewing later, “Recorded.” You can alsolisten liveto Dr. Locke on KPTZ or later in the KPTZ archives. And see below, in Community Notices, for how to be COVID S.M.A.R.T.!
For Farmers Only: USDA Grant Programs Webinar and Farmer Q&A - Thurs, Feb 25th *New* *Online* USDA Grant Programs can be very useful for farms, yet the application process and knowing when the right time to apply can be daunting. Join the North Olympic Development Council and WSU Extension Regional Small Farms Program as they moderate an info session and discussion about upcoming USDA Grant Program applications and how each program may work for your farm. Two major programs to be covered are the Value Added Producer Grants and the Rural Energy for America Program. They will also have a Q&A session with a local farmer and recipient of multiple USDA programs to share lessons learned and share their experience.
Guest speakers include Carlotta Donisi with USDA Rural Development and Ryan McCarthey from Dungeness Valley Creamery in Sequim. Moderators include Mark Bowman with North Olympic Development Center and Kellie Henwood with WSU Extension. Register here in advance for this webinar to receive the Zoom link. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. This free webinar is made possible by funding from USDA Rural Development and will be recorded and available for viewing. Time: 10-11 am Location: Online
History and Operation of the Port Townsend Olympic Gravity Water System - Thurs, Feb 25th *Online* This presentation is part of a larger project: The Port Townsend Paper Mill--Past, Present, and Future.The Jefferson County Historical Society and the Port Townsend Public Library are teaming up with the City of Port Townsend, the Port Townsend Paper Mill, KPTZ 91.9, the Swan School, and other partners to present a suite of programming this winter all about the Mill – its history, economic and workforce impact, recycling practices, and of course its product – paper!
Hosted via Zoom No registration required, FREE
Time: 7:00 – 8:00 PM Location: Online
Dam It - How Beavers Shape our Landscape - Sat, Feb 27th *New* *Online* A Zoom presentation by Ben Goldfarb, an environmental journalist from Spokane, Washington, sponsored by the Quimper Geological Society In his book, Eager: The Surprising, Secret Life of Beavers and Why They Matter, Ben Goldfarb reveals that our modern conception of healthy ecosystems is misguided, distorted by the fur trade that removed millions of beavers from North America’s waterways. The consequences of losing beavers were profound, and a growing coalition of “Beaver Believers” now recognizes that ecosystems with beavers are far healthier. Many work to restore these industrious rodents to their former haunts. Ben will discuss the history of this world-changing species; how they help us fight drought, flooding, wildfire, and climate change; and how we can coexist with this vital, but occasionally challenging, species.
Zoom Meeting ID: 964 1790 8762, Passcode: quimper
Time: 4:00 pm
WSU Spring Growing Groceries Class - Register Now - Starts March 1st *Online* This spring Master Gardeners and local experts will teach gardeners about local soils, seed starting, best cultivation practices, pest management, composting and more. Each participant will pick-up a packet of supplies for homework and online hands-on skill building activities*. Pick up locations will be in Port Hadlock and Port Townsend. Monday and Wednesday mornings from March 1st - 31st from 10:00 - 11:30 AM . Plus: two optional class check-in/Q&A sessions on April 19th and 21st from 10:00 – 11:20 AM. Cost: $50
Classes will be held via Zoom. Register via this link or fill out this 2021 Spring GG-Registration-Form, and mail it with your payment of $50 to 121 Oak Bay Road, Port Hadlock, WA. Questions? Please feel free to email Bridget.
First Annual Olympic Cooperative Gathering - Thurs, Mar 4th *Online* You are invited to an on-line Cooperative Gathering to meet folks from other Olympic Peninsula cooperatives to explore how we might help grow each other’s cooperatives and the cooperative movement locally through establishing a network. All are welcome to attend. To register for zoom link, go here.
Time: 6 to 8 pm (zoom room opens at 5:30 pm) Location: Online
Fermentation with Midori Farm - Fri, Mar 5th *Online* Jefferson County Historical Society's First Friday Speaker Series this month features Hanako Myers and Marko Colby from Midori Farm. They will share the basics of naturally fermenting vegetables through the process known as lactic acid fermentation. The demonstration will include the fundamentals of making sauerkraut and kimchi. Suggested donation: $10. Register here via Simpletix.
Livestreamed via Zoom.
Time: 7:00 – 8:00 PM Location: Online
Farmers Market Annual Meeting: Vendor Attendance Required - Sun, Mar 7th The Annual Meeting will include essential information for a successful 2021 Market season, including the ways the markets will continue to align with Covid-19 safety guidelines. A holistic community and financial report for 2020 will be presented. For vendors, the meeting is mandatory, and Friends of the Market are also welcome. The meeting will be held via online platform, with a link shared in mid-February. Look for upcoming news about Board Elections; we're working to make that happen in a separate secured online forum. Time:6-7:30 pm Location: Online
Climate and Energy Forum: Federal Climate Legislation - Wed, Mar 10th *New* *Online* Come learn about climate action in the 2021 Legislative session from:
- Derek Kilmer, US Representative, 6th District
- Maria Cantwell, US Senator, WA State (Invited)
This Climate Town Hall will include strong advocates for climate action on Bainbridge Island. Rep. Kilmer will provide an update on federal climate legislation and take questions from attendees.
Join with this Zoom Link.
For more information, go here.
Time: 5:00 - 6:00 pm Location: Online
Sponsored by: Local 20/20, Climate Action Bainbridge, Sustainable Bainbridge, Citizens Climate Lobby, EcoAdapt,, and Olympic Climate Action
Local 20/20 Climate Action Outreach Meeting - Thurs, Mar 11th *New* *Online* Want to help educate the community on what we all can do related to reducing our carbon footprint? Attend our monthly meeting to learn more about what is currently planned, and add your ideas to the mix! Meetings are generally on the second Thursday of the month, from 3:00 - 5:00 pm. For the online meeting information, email Cindy.
Time: 3pm – 5pm Location: Zoom online
Local 20/20 COVID-19 Resources l2020.org/COVID-19/ *Online* A central location for community-wide information relating to COVID-19, updated frequently. Includes Reliable Information Sources, Vaccine info link, Food Sources, Community Covid-19 Resource pages, Giving and Getting Assistance, Community Events Online, Community Face Mask Program, and information web posts related to COVID-19. Look in the red box at the top of the page for all the newest information.
Rising COVID Case Rates - Rising COVID Risk! The Jefferson County community has done exceptionally well holding widespread COVID at bay. Good Job!! We are now faced with a third wave and rising rates in our county. We must not let up and get lax in our vigilance! The Department of Emergency Management is asking you to:
Be COVID S.M.A.R.T.!
S: Sanitize Frequently
M: Mask appropriately - even with family & friends outside your household
A: When socializing - stay in good air flow. Outside or Inside with fans and open windows
R: Room Between People - Social Distancing reduces virus transmission
T: Technology for Gatherings - Use zoom or other conferencing technology instead of in-person visits
SpringRain Farm Now Hiring Several positions are available, and interviews are happening now. The sustainable integrated-systems farm has a "limited hierarchy," with team members participating where they are needed. Job descriptions and online application are available on their website.
Jefferson Land Trust Is Hiring a Half-Time Communications Coordinator and a Half-Time Stewardship Assistant
The Jefferson Land Trust has a track record of high quality and innovative conservation work preserving habitat, working farms and forests in Jefferson County. The half-time (with benefits) Communications Coordinator will report to the Communications Manager and will support the mission of the Land Trust by showcasing our work and ensuring the organization has positive and widespread visibility in the region. See the full job posting and read the complete position description here.
The Stewardship Assistant will report to the Stewardship Director and will support the mission of the Land Trust by completing both administrative and field-based stewardship tasks associated with the perpetual protection of conservation lands in Jefferson County. See the full job posting and read the complete position description here.
Veg Rx: Fresh Produce at The Food Co-op January through March, the Food Co-op's partnership in the Veg Rx program offers $20/month in fresh produce buying-power. If your family qualifies for Apple Health and you have at least one person in your household under age 18, talk with your Jefferson Healthcare clinician about your food budget. Veg Rx can help stretch your fresh-food dollars. During the Farmers Market season, you can use your VegRx for fresh produce at the Markets.
Farmers Market Launches BIPOC Business Start-up Fund
Jefferson County Farmers Markets (JCFM) has launched a Farmers Market BIPOC Business Start-up Fund. Applications are now being accepted, and will be open until funds are exhausted.
The Fund seeks to reduce barriers for small business entrepreneurs to join the farmers market with low overhead and have a successful market season. Those applying to the Fund may receive $250-$1000 to procure supplies, mobile equipment, marketing/signage, etc., or other start-up costs. There are no strings attached, and applicants are welcomed to a 4-hour ‘Bootstrap Business’ class, to hone a business plan, led by the Center for Inclusive Entrepreneurship, a Fund partner.
The Farmers Market Vendor Application, and new Fund Application are available here.
Peter’s Place: A Local Documentary about Housing *New* *Online* Peter's Place is an ongoing project to build Community Spirit Villages to house our local homeless. This video about the project has already been viewed over 700 times in this past week. Watch it HERE , get inspired, and consider how you might choose to contribute, from donating funds HERE, procuring donated furniture for shelter interiors, or volunteering for the build effort, itself. If interested, contact Judy HERE .
Free Biochar! *New* Spring must be in the air. The Olympic Carbon Fund is giving away biochar again! Farms are eligible for whole cubic yards of biochar. Backyard food growers are eligible for the Bucket Share: All the biochar you want, ten gallons at a time. Read about both programs and about biochar generally on the OCF website.
Housing Solutions Network Call to Action
Now more than ever, affordable housing is key to our health and economic recovery from the pandemic. Finding solutions is going to require action from all of us.
Housing leaders and advocates across Jefferson County have created a Community Call to Action for Housing. They are calling on everyone to take action; individuals, businesses, nonprofits, and government all have a role to play. Today, they ask you to stand with them and: READ THE DECLARATION & CALL TO ACTION SIGN YOUR NAME SPREAD THE WORD BY SHARING THIS MESSAGE
Join the Jefferson County Farmers Market Board of Directors
The Jefferson County Farmers Market Board is an enthusiastic group of market vendors and community members who love local food and strengthening our local economy. We have two open board member positions. If you have: experience with fundraising, marketing, policy writing, graphic design; connections with organizations or groups; or experience inspiring people to volunteer their time, please consider applying! Submit a completed application here. Learn more here.
Local 20/20 Social Justice Workgroup Webpage Now Live *Online* Besides the Local 20/20 Social Justice Statement and Addendum, the newly launched pages feature sources we are reading and discussing, community organizations and businesses to support, a spotlight on a regional community artist, and links to other reading and visual resources. Our intent is to learn and share how to be an antiracist, how to support antiracist policies and ideas, and how to incorporate anti-racism into our core purpose, identifying the relationship between climate justice and social justice. To view the new pages, go here. You can find it hereor at the Resiliency of the Heart group webpages. Check out our New Music section (on the first link) to share the voices of young Native Americans.
Local 20/20 Statement on Systemic Racial and Social Inequities
As our hearts, minds, and bodies survive and move through the COVID 19 pandemic and into the uprising of voices demanding social and racial justice sparked by the murder of George Floyd at the hands of law enforcement, Local 20/20acknowledges the existence of systemic racial and social inequities in our country. With compassion, we “take a knee” in solidarity with victims of oppression in any form. We pledge to work harder at understanding what it takes to make positive change toward our collective goals for policy that reflect antiracist actions and ideas. Local 20/20’s mission is to promote sustainability and resilience through advocacy and education. We recognize that our goals of a healthy existence for all can ONLY be achieved through policies that uphold racial and social equity. As we enjoy the benefits of living in this incredible paradise, we also acknowledge that we live on land usurped by European Settlers from the Jamestown S’Klallam, the Lower Elwah Klallam, the Port Gamble S’Klallam, the Skokomish, the Quinault, the Quileute, the Hoh, and the Makah tribes.
Read about actions that have emerged since we first posted this statement.
See updated readings in our Resilience Review section below on this topic.
Host a Meeting on the Local Housing Emergency *Online*
The HSN's Outreach Housing Action Team is releasing the Cultivating Community Solutions to the Housing Crisis video online to continue reaching broader audiences and inspiring more action. You can view the video here. You can continue spreading this call to action by sharing this video in the community. COVID-19 is a threat multiplier to the challenges our struggling community members were already facing. You can join the HSN Giving Circle here.
Just Soup on Tuesdays On Tuesday, 11:30-1:30, Just Soup provides free, hot soup lunches at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 1020 Jefferson St, on the Tyler St. bus line [by the Bell Tower.] Enter the rear church parking lot on Franklin, and whether you are on foot, bike, or car, you will be in line for curbside pickup, with masks, gloves, and safe distancing protocols in place. Pick up a lunch for yourself or your neighbor in need. No questions asked.
Many partners and supporters have come together to feed Port Townsend one bowl at a time!!! This information also appears onLocal 20/20 COVID-19 Resources Meals Page here. Times and Locations: 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. Tuesdays, St. Paul's Episcopal Church
Download Port Townsend Walking Times Map
Local 20/20 Transportation Lab's popular walking times map is downloadable here.It provides approximate travel time on foot between points. Estimates are based on an average speed of 3 mph. Walking is healthy, social, fun, costs nothing, keeps your carbon footprint small and allows you to maintain social distance. Use the map to find new routes across our beautiful town.
Emergency Text Alerts from Jefferson County Sign up to receiveJefferson County Department of Emergency Management’s emergency alerts by text on your mobile phone and/or by email. NIXLE messages provide crucial information in an emergency & are sent directly to your text-enabled device and/or email. Thesign up web pagealso has information about other alert and warning systems, including the tsunami warning system and the WSDOT alert system.
A Tool for Neighborhood Organization Nextdoor is a private social network for YOUR neighborhood. Use this linkto join one of 59 Nextdoor Neighborhoods in Jefferson County. Currently there are 12,139subscribers, with many new members joining each day. EmailPete Hubbard with questions or comments.
Calling Local Photographers!
Local 20/20 Weekly Announcements invites local photographers to submit images that capture the character of our community and its natural setting. For the opening photo of each weekly email, we seek local color, horizontal (“landscape”) orientation, and jpeg format. Please no children, pets or recognizable faces. Kindly send to email@example.com. Please include your name in the jpeg filename. We are an all-volunteer non-profit, so compensation for your talent and generosity is a photo credit and our profound thanks.
Do you have readings, podcasts or videos to share that are aligned with our Local 20/20 mission? Please submit themhere for consideration.
What does an Ecological Civilization look like?*New* Yes! Magazine’s Spring 2021 issue is focused on “Ecological Civilization.” In their introduction they lay out the case that climate change is far more serious than most people understand and existing plans for responding to it are doomed to fall short unless we make deep and sweeping systemic changes. “We need to forge a new era for humanity —on that is defined, at its deepest level, by a transformation in the way we make sense of the world, and a concomitant revolution in our values, goals, and collective behavior.” They then describe “six rules” for humans rejoining the natural world including diversity, balance, fractal organization, life cycles, subsidiarity, and symbiosis. While the authors admit that we have a long way to go towards making this vision a reality they maintain that it is possible, and that young people especially are looking for a future worldview that they can believe in. I urge everyone, young and old and in-between, to read this essay and think about being part of the solution revolution rather than riding the business-as-usual train all the way to the end of the line. Find the essay (14 minute read) and the many really great accompanying articles here.
Massive Landslide Cools Fjord From Hakai Magazine, a journal of “coastal science and communities,” author Nicola Jones reports from the waters of the Salish Sea but north of us. At the head of the Bute Inlet on approximately November 28th of last year, a massive landslide was triggered by melting permafrost and a retreating glacier. It went undetected for days even though it is estimated that the wave created when it got to the glacial lake may have been as high as 110 meters in places. The water scoured out the river channel as it traveled some 70 km down the inlet. As a result the waters of the inlet, which had been significantly warming, were suddenly cooled back to where they had been in the year 2000. While there salmon habitat has been thoroughly disrupted for now, the overall impact longer-term is unknown. Please find this interesting article here. If you have not visited Hakai Magazine before, I encourage you to do so. There are a wide variety of articles on topics of interest to marine ecosystems with special, but not exclusive, focus on the Salish Sea and the coastal communities along its shore. And the photography is amazing. Hakai Magazine.photo credit: Grant Callegari/Hakai Institute
Activating the Local Food System in Emergency Responses This article is from the peer-reviewed Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development and highlights the work of the non-profit organization Fresh Approach, which operates in the Bay Area. They present their response to the pandemic as they reached out to local farms in order to fill food boxes for those who in need. They used local food banks as distribution points and provided appropriately sized deliveries as USDA contractors for the 'farmers to families' food box program. It's a short report that illustrates the ability of small diverse local farms to be nimble as the backbone of a community food system. Locally, we had some of the same activity going on through our primary USDA contractor, OlyCAP. This is a great reminder of the central importance of a community’s food system to emergency resilience: please find this article here. photo credit: Fresh Approach.
Why Avoiding Climate Change Maladaptation Is Vital Sometimes in discussions relative to climate change people get tripped up over the semantic difference between mitigation and adaptation. In general mitigation refers to reducing our carbon footprint so we help slow or stop global warming. Adaptation typically refers to action taken in preparation for or response to the effects of climate change. However, there is also such a thing as maladaptation, making changes that either further contribute to climate change or have other unintended consequences. This guest post recently published in Carbon Brief discusses how we should think about proposed solutions to problems we face now or in the future. For one thing they advocate focusing on vulnerabilities. A good adaptation solution would help alleviate current problemd but also address underlying vulnerabilities. Potential solutions must be considered from the perspectives of all stakeholders, including those not typically present at the policy making tables, also typically those most vulnerable. Please consider the implications and applications for our local situation. You can find the article here. photo credit: Lisa Schipper/Climate Brief
The Great Awakening: An Excerpt As we consider the challenges of global climate change and myriad intersecting crises, we first try to understand why it is happening and then try to imagine rational responses. Multiple thinkers identify “overshoot” the core of the problem. In our effort to grow endlessly, we are burning through resources faster than our planet can provide them. Most of the proposed solutions to current challenges continue to rely upon growth and market capitalism as an organizing paradigm. This post at Resilience.org is the first chapter of a book titled "The Great Awakening: New Modes of Life amidst Capitalist Ruins," by David Bollier and Anna Grear. Bollier and Grear propose “new” ways of understanding our challenges and “new” solutions. They discuss how previous societies have also run into overshoot situations and argue that a common response is for societies tp transform themselves to freely share knowledge and management of property and production, moving away from capitalism to a more local, substance economy, with examples from previous civilizations. They identify certain milestones that sound familiar to our present situation.This excerpt includes a link to where you can purchase it and a link to download it for free. If you’re ready for some good paradigm busting reading and thinking please find the Chapter 1 excerpt here. Photo credit: Ship of Fools by Hieronymus Bosch/ Resilience.org
The Terrifying Warning Lurking in the Earth’s Ancient Rock Record To understand what’s happening to the Earth you need a multi-dimensional perspective. When we consider climate change, we usually come at it from a human or at best a biological perspective. We study the rise and fall of civilizations and wonder if the dominance of homo sapiens across the globe might threaten other species. Modern ecological theories such as the Gaia hypothesis and Holling’s socio-ecological resilience envision Earth as a self-regulating biosphere whose purpose is to maintain an environment fit for life. But there is much more to the story.The sheer mass and momentum of Earth’s geology and its dance with the geochemical influence of atmospheric CO2 levels may in fact be the more dominant driver of climate change. This long-read from The Atlantic science writer Peter Brannen takes us on a fascinating romp back through geologic time. Tracking CO2 levels and tying them to the paleoclimate record, Brannen also keep us connected to biologic conditions to see what the science is telling us. Although The Atlantic has a paywall, it usually allows a few free articles per month to each IP address, please find this highly recommended article here. Photo credit: Brendan Pattengale/The Atlantic.
The Efficiency Curse Well-known food author Michael Pollan writes this op-ed in The Washington Post on food system resilience. He discusses how our food system has developed to be very efficient and how this helps to keep prices low. But efficiency comes at the price of diminished system resilience. Pollan helps us understand how different supply chains exist for retail customers and for institutional customers such as restaurants or schools. He covers the problems that can arise when production becomes too centralized or big and discusses the issue of farming mono crops versus diversified cropping. Diverse small farms, such as those in the PT/Chimacum area, can more easily adapt to challenges. Pollan also offers the perspective that while efficiency is easy to measure, resilience is not. If a community purposely seeks to improve the resilience of its food systems it should understand that it will be making an investment in lowering the risk of adverse outcomes for hard-to-predict hard times. Please find the article here. The Washington Post has a paywall but usually allows several free articles per month before the paywall cuts you off. Illustration credit: Mark Allen Miller/Washington Post
Rondout Riverport 2040 Vision. Local 20/20’s name refers not to the year we lost down the COVID hole, but to vision. We can use the power of imagination to look together towards our future and decide what we want it to look like. This involves the process of thinking critically and searching our souls for what values we want to preserve and amplify and choosing what things we can do without. This wonderful article from Andrew Willner at resilience.org imagines a future on the Hudson River and is an admirable example of how we can reconfigure a post-carbon future in response to climate change. It is a shining example of how place shapes the imagination of a people. Those of us now living in the coastal Salish communities have ample food for thought from our indigenous ancestors as well as other more recent arrivals. We are limited only by our imaginations. Please read this articleand have fun imagining what things might look like in the place where we live at the branching of the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
Kalama Methanol Refinery and the Thin Green Line
The January column for Local 20/20’s Resilience Review in The Port Townsend Leader is from Polly Lyle, a member of the Local 20/20 Climate outreach group. She describes the ramifications of a proposed methanol refinery in Kalama, Washington, and shares some good news on the recent developments from WA Department of Ecology. Learn more about that proposal, as well as another one in Oregon, in this article.
Insurrection, Pandemic, and Censorship In this article, thinker Richard Heinberg reviews recent tumultuous political events and places them in context. In a previous essay he discussed the breakdown of consensus reality (see article below). Here he returns to that theme as he focuses on communication and censorship. At first he seems to be defending the rights of people to say whatever they want and that we will have to learn to live with cognitive dissonance. But then he turns a corner. He suggests holding the line not merely at spreading lies but also at speech that threatens harm to others. Although Heinberg avoids discussion of how we should consider anti-public health (e.g. vaccination conspiracy theories) speech, he does remind us to think critically. He urges us to build emotional resilience so that we might best help our communities navigate “the craziness to come.” Please find the article here
A Farmer and His Extra Row From the Transition Town of Jericho, Vermont, author Laura Markowitz shares this inspirational story of how a community responded when a local farmer said he would love to plant an extra row of butternut squash but didn’t have the labor he would need to pull that off. The Transition Town community responded they could support that need, so the farmer planted in early summer. Harvest time is always weather dependent, and in this case the threat of an early frost required short notice to gather the laborers. About a dozen people showed up and picked 584 squash in little more than an hour. A ton of food for locals in need was grown by a partnership between a skilled farmer and a community supportive of local agriculture. This is a great concept that would work for us.Please find the article here.
Mom, We Crashed The Planet Our neighbor across Admiralty Inlet, Vicki Robin, shares her thoughts about planetary physics, consumption, oil, and overshoot. Vicki asks a lot of “what if” questions and then wonders why we are not making any real progress on solving the climate crisis we face. She offers up the analogy of addiction and the approach of the “Anonymous” programs, with their first step of recognize that whatever we are doing is not working, its not helping to leave the planet in a better place than we found it. She then asks why we can’t see that unless we actually change our behaviors we threaten the future of everything we love with collapse. What follows is a wide-ranging exploration through literature and philosophy, Shakespeare and Monty Python, focused on our predicament. Please find the article at Resilience.org or at the Vicki Robin blog.
Saving Farmland, Supporting Young Farmers This article focuses on reforming our concepts of land use and preserving land for Common Purpose. Author David Bollier gives an overview of his latest podcast, Agrarian Commons, titled “Frontiers of Commoning.” It starts with an important observation, especially for theses times: “At the root of peace is sufficiency and wholeness, and that means people having their needs met, people being fed.” Bollier interviews a young organic farmer from Maine and her multi-pronged strategy to promote “community-supported and collectively stewarded farmland.” Bollier mentions a program there called “Seaweed Commons” that promotes seaweed aquaculute and “ecological literacy of stakeholders in the marine economy." Bollier discusses this and other such endeavors as critical to efforts to “build new types of food systems that are regenerative, diversified, and community minded.” Anyone who wants to be part of creating a new local and resilient food system here will find this discussion of value. Please find the discussion and link to the podcast at Resilience.org or at the David Bollier Blog.
Global Warming Could Stop Relatively Quickly after Emissions Go to Zero
From Inside Climate News, Bob Berwyn summarizes climate-related findings from 2020. Bven though our economy slowed during 2020 due to the pandemic, the levels of CO2 in the atmosphere continued to rise to record levels. But unexpected findings show that despite the La Niña oceanic cooling effect of 2020, we still had record warming even compared to 2016, a year when the El Niño warming effect dominated. The rate of warming in the polar regions was found to be about three times the global average, and the thawing of permafrost is now well underway releasing carbon in a positive feedback loop. Also as polar ice melting accelerated, we are now seeing global sea level rise of 2 inches per decade on average. Berwyn also reviews the findings that many places in the world most affected by climate change were the least studied. Finally, an unexpected but welcome result from research indicates that if we can get to net zero emissions we stand a good chance of breaking the vicious feedback cycle and warming may level off and stabilize within just a couple decades. Quite a hopeful thing that should motivate us to redouble efforts to stop our greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible. Find the article here.
In Pursuit of Better Agriculture (and a Better Society)
The way we farm and the way we think are connected. When, 10-12 thousand years ago we started growing annual plants to feed ourselves and this permitted cities and civilization to take root. We started to think of ourselves as being in control because we grew food rather than simply gathering what nature provided. We started to think short term instead of long term. In this interview of Bill Vitek, a colleague of Wes Jackson, Olivia Malloy discusses the movement to explore the value of “New Perennials” as something both new and ancient.” Vitek sees growing perennial grains as a way to look to nature and observe how ecosystems exist. Vitek asks us to think critically that culture that is based on extraction, consumption. The way we try to turn land into a machine and make it work non-stop, and how we treat workers the same way. He observes that our education systems are geared to preparing kids to live a short-term, fast-paced life; the gig economy. They also discuss how the emergence of a new, truly sustainable, agriculture can scale up to meet the need and co-exist with our existing dominant paradigm during a period of transition. The concepts discussed are very much relevant to how we radically transition our systems to address converging crises and climate change. Initially published in a new journal titled Merion West, please find the article here.
2020: The Year Consensus Reality Fractured Let’s get real, people. 2020 has been a year that has at times seemed surreal or even unreal. In this year-end essay Richard Heinberg discusses the concept of consensus reality. He first describes how consensus reality develops then talks about how it has fallen apart. Heinberg argues that a breakdown of consensus reality during a period of economic, political, or social emergency may contribute to societal collapse when it undermines the social trust that is required for complex societies to function. Heinberg takes it a step further when he suggests part of the problem is a deep “blindspot” and lack of a “unifying vision” here in the U.S. If our “main guiding value is only ‘more” (consumerism) then we continue to dig ourselves a very deep hole indeed. In the last part of the essay Heinberg optimistically speculates that despite the challenges a new consensus is possible. He describes a very positive view of what that that could look like and though he acknowledges that such a reunification will be difficult, he leaves us with the notion that it is something worth striving for. Please enjoy a peaceful holiday season and find Heinberg’s article here.
Citizens Climate Assembly: Report from the UK There are indicators that our existing national political system is not up to the task of responding to the climate crisis. For multiple reasons our political "leaders" seem unlikely to enact the significant change we need within the urgent timeframe required. One possible alternative providing a glimmer of hope is a “Citizens Climate Assembly." A citizens assembly is a form of participatory democracy in which members of the community are called to duty to listen to the evidence and craft recommended actions and strategies. The UK convened a climate assembly earlier this year with 108 members of the public randomly selected. They met over a period of five months and heard testimony from 47 subject matter experts. A 556-page report from this citizen group was recently released and an article from carbonbrief.org goes over some of its findings and offers links to the full report. The hope is that citizens working together can find solutions that will be acceptable to a majority of stakeholders and that it will help coerce and support politicians to enact needed policies. The report provides 50 key recommendations to help the UK reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050. In a world where both our ecosystems and our democracies seem imperiled this approach offers a way forward. Please see the post above on a Washington State Citizen Climate Assembly starting January 2021. For a detailed look at the UK effort and its findings please access the article here.
Transforming Life on Our Home Planet, Perennially This essay by Wes Jackson et al is the first part of a new book, The Perennial Turn: Contemporary Essays from the Field, and it is a joy. The authors suggest analysis as the first step in facing “the multiple, cascading crises that humans have created.” He argues that agriculture may be “the worst mistake in the history of the human race" (argued by Jared Diamond among many others) and that by ramping up agriculture to industrial scales we have monkeyed with ecosystems that we do not fully understand or appreciate. The book discusses how our claim to dominion over the resources of the entire planet sets up an artificial separation of humans from nature. They key thing to understand, the authors write, is that earth’s atmosphere, lithosphere, and hydrosphere are not separate from the biosphere. Earth is alive in a holistic way. As they put it, “We hold this to be a truth that must become self evident: Our shared human responsibility is to live on, not dominate, our home planet.” Success will be measured by the “long-term flourishing of ecosystems, including people.” Their prescriptions do not reject reductionist science but call for greater appreciation of complex systems and a “revolutionary change in theory and practice.” They reject fantasies of unlimited growth. They close soberly by considering Wendell Berry, who says we live on “the human estate of grief and joy.” They acknowledge that our cumulative harms of the past mean that unless we change we face grief “unprecedented in human history.” Please find the article here.
Just Eat It: A Food Waste Story This worthy yet entertaining documentary on YouTube is an eye opener. The documentary also goes into wasted land, water and inputs. The documentary is free, with a few ads. Filmmakers and food lovers, Jen and Grant, dive into the issue of food waste and pledge to quit grocery shopping and survive only on discarded food for 6 months. In addition, the film looks into expiry dates, perfect produce, and portion sizes, supposedly little things that add up to an overwhelming problem. You can watch the video here.
It Took a Townsend The November column for Local 20/20’s Resilience Review in The Port Townsend Leader is from Tracy Grisman, who is a member of Local 20/20's Beyond Waste Action Group. Tracy provides a recap of the Repair Cafe she and others organized earlier this year. The title of the article is “It Took a Townsend: A Fond Memory from 2020." In the article we are introduced us to a new term, the Repairocene (noun): A time when common goals of healing, repairing, and restoring of our lands, our things, and our relationships are shared. Port Townsend’s Repair Café debut was a smash hit! (No pun intended.)You can find the article on our website here.
The "Market" Won't Save Us from Climate Disaster This article from The Guardian’s Robert Devine argues that “expecting the free market to fix global warming is like trying to pound nails with a saw.” It quotes a former Chief Economist for the World Bank calling climate change “the greatest and widest-ranging market failure ever seen.” Devine goes into what “market failure” means and how a defect in communication has contributed to consumers not having the appropriate information when they choose to buy, say, a gallon of gasoline. He talks about how ecosystem services have been terribly undervalued for too long. Devine stops short of offering a prescription for radical departure from the free market but offers some ideas for how the current system can be greatly improved and perhaps work towards our goals instead of against them. Please find the article here.
Food for Thought Author Leander Jones tackles the problems of our dominant industrial agriculture model and how a system that relies on global production and transportation contributes to risk for some communities when it is stressed by situations like Covid-19. Jones offers an alternative model practiced in Germany that combines collective land ownership with CSA membership. Such a model adheres to principles such as localism, ecological sustainability, common ownership and production for need rather than profit. It pays farm workers a living wage that is independent of crop fluctuations. CSA members are encouraged to help work on the farm and invest their labor as well as their capital to help ensure success. The operation Jones highlights resists growing in size beyond that which serves its members. Also, Jones illustrates how growing local food for local consumption can greatly help reduce agriculture’s greenhouse gas footprint. It's a model worth exploring locally. Please find the article here.
No Matter Who Wins The 2020 election is behind us and many people feel optimistic for our future once again. Thus it is a good time to inject some big picture reality into the equation. Some may equate reality with pessimism but as our political leaders begin to transition to establishing new priorities and approaches to problem solving it would be good to base our plans on reality and science. Nate Hagens is with the University of Minnesota and the Institute for the Study of Energy and the Future. He is one of those big picture guys, especially in finance and energy systems. Just before the election he wrote an essay in which he draws our attention back to the really big problems we face, all of which have in recent months been forced off the radar screen of our limited attention spans. He covers the impact of COVID and its economic impact, pending oil supply problems, and our interdependence with the natural world as well as offering some great titanic iceberg analogies. Hagens offers a number of quotes that begin with the same phrase “No matter who wins the election” such as “we will have to face a more complex and less certain energy future.” Readers are encouraged to take the time and inform themselves on the Big Picture with Nate Hagens, find the article here.
How to Fix Our Country's Empathy Problem, Starting with the Farmworkers Who Keep Us Fed This article from Salon’s Ashlie Stevens provides good food for thought. It takes up the situation of the migrant workers who play a key role in our food supply chain. Most of us are mostly unaware of the role these essential workers play and of the conditions with which they contend. Stevens argues that many of us have lost a sense of empathy, that we don’t consider the suffering that others must endure simply to earn the money needed to support themselves and their families. We have become deficient in empathy. As we consider how to make our local food system more resilient for the challenging times ahead, we should create a system that works for all stakeholders. Justice for front line workers fosters stability and resilience and, more importantly, it is simply the right priority for our fellow human beings.Please find the article here.
Kiss the Ground This fantastic documentary presents the amazing potential of regenerative agriculture. Narrated by Woody Harrelson and featuring Ian Somerhalder, this 2020 Tribeca Film Festival selection was produced by Josh & Rebecca Tickell and provides viewers with the compelling story of how our soil can not only sequester carbon but even draw it down from the atmosphere. The film includes the perspectives of thought leaders, soil conservationists, ranchers, and farmers. This is one of those rare examples of something tangible we can undertake to head off a catastrophe. You can watch it now on Netflix, or on October 22nd you can stream it for $1. This 84 minute film will leave you feeling... hopeful. To watch a trailer, and to learn more, please visit the Film’s websitehere.
The Great Climate Migration Compared to many places, we live in a region where the climate forecast offers reasonable temperature and adequate rainfall. While we cannot expect to escape the direct nor the indirect effects of climate change, we may be one of the places where people from other regions migrate to escape inhospitable temperatures and humidity, drought, or recurring natural disasters. It is, however, a complex situation. A recent report from ProPublica & The New York Times Magazine takes a look at the prospects for climate migration. They begin with analysis of the geophysical forecasts for the U.S. using county-level data displayed in a series of interactive maps. The accompanying article provides an in-depth analysis of the impacts on agriculture, water, and housing issues, as well as consideration of economic and social factors that are quite concerning. This is important information as we begin to think about how we might react and what community values we would like to uphold in such a scenario. The ProPublica article ishere, and aninteractive and comprehensive mapping feature ishere.
New Study Shows a Vicious Cycle of Climate Change Building on Layers of Warming Ocean Water It would have been easy to miss the alarming new report from researchers who describe how the Oceans are “stabilizing”. These days it would be quite understandable to welcome any sort of stabilizing but in our oceans this represents an ominous situation. The ability of our oceans to buffer the impacts of CO2 and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere has allowed us to delay the onset of the major impacts of climate change forecast for the future. However, it seems the ability of the oceans to perform this service is ending far sooner than scientists had expected. One of the study's co-authors is Michael Mann of Penn State who also says we now cannot rule out some of the more dire risks including that atmospheric CO2 could triple by the year 2100, and that global average temperature could rise by 8 degrees F. Even as so much of our attention seems focused on things like the death toll from COVID-19 and an uncertain political situation we should also take time to assess our world from the big picture perspective and to act accordingly.Find the article by Bob Berwyn at Inside Climate Newshere.
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