El Norte

El Norte via IMDB

Recently I watched a great film, El Norte, which I think everyone should watch especially with the recent situation of the many Guatemalan children at the US border.

El Norte is a 1980s film that follows a Guatemalan family torn apart by a harsh coffee plantation owner’s wrath towards employees seeking better treatment and compensation. The film brings to life the trial and tribulations of two young siblings leaving their home to escape hardships and find freedom. The film is beautifully shot with scenes containing ethereal vignettes and passionate strengths of will.

Weekly Links #2

Another week almost wrapped up. It never fails to astound me how quickly the week passes, whether you are having fun or not! Happily I am heading up to San Francisco to visit a friend and maybe even to do my own investigation into the reality of the unaffordability of the housing market.

So have a fantastic weekend and here are a few articles for your reading pleasure.

Two abandoned towns, Lexington and Alma, are reemerging through the mud of the drying Lexington Reservoir.

The City of Portland, Oregon is building the first ever multi-modal bridge just for people and not cars.

 

DIY Creative Space

DIY small home

After a fun day spent tubing on the Russian River at Johnson’s Beach in Guerneville, we decided to take a tour through the area. Driving across undulating hills covered with vineyards, old oak trees, and green fields we found ourselves in Sebastopol. We then made a pit stop where we had the luck to spot a tiny home just beyond a fence in a neighboring parking lot.

So we drove over to investigate this tiny home and who could be making it. There we found Chimera, a nonprofit DIY creative space that provides equipment and classes for all manner of projects. A community space for thinkers, makers, creatives, and inventors. What could be cooler than a space that has the tools necessary to make a tiny home!

Chimera Makers Space

 

We met the founder Dana who gave us a quick tour of the grounds. According to Dana there are few of these maker/creative spaces in San Francisco, but this is the first one in the North Bay. His enthusiasm for the space was apparent and we were happy that he had a moment to step away from his project to give us the low down.

fence art

Here in Santa Cruz we have the Hub for Sustainable Living which includes The Bike Church and The Fabrica. The Bike Church is a community cooperative that provides all the equipment and tools needed to repair bikes while The Fabrica provides salvaged textiles, equipment, and classes for various textile arts. However, we do not have a makers space. Time to ramp up Santa Cruz!

 

For the Love of Andrew Bird

The sweet sounds of Andrew Bird are on constant rotation on my iPod. His recent release, Things Are Really Great Here, Sort Of, is a beautiful, melancholy album. The album is a cover of The Handsome Family and the hauntingly beautiful song, My Sister’s Tiny Hands, cannot be missed.

Weekly Links #1

Baltimore Bus Stop via http://www.mmmm.tv
Baltimore Bus Stop via http://www.mmmm.tv

The bus stop I normally use is just a simple bench with a sign, nothing more nothing less. But this bus stop sculpture in Baltimore looks a lot more fun to relax on while waiting for the bus! This weekend I am heading out to Fort Bragg in Northern California and then over to the Russian River for some inner-tubing fun! Hope you all have a great weekend and if you are looking for something interesting to read this weekend then without further ado:

According to a Stanford University civil engineering professor all of California’s energy needs can be switched to renewable power by 2020.

Salon reports on the rise of multi-family housing construction across the US and the potential demise of McMansions.

On a cultural note: check out this Feminist Country Survival book from the 1970s full of poetry, pictures of life in the country, and thought-provoking essays on country life from women’s perspective.

 

 

 

A Story of Bees and Drought

Image via  Rakib Hasan Sumon/Flickr
Image via Rakib Hasan Sumon/Flickr

Bees are dying. For the past several months, on a daily to weekly basis, I have noticed bees floundering on the ground, struggling to fly, or lying down with their life force gone. Has anyone else noticed this?

I did not think too much about it. Just kept this nugget of information in the back of my mind, figuring it was a normal occurrence. However, that may not be the case.

According to an article by Alice Daniel on KQED, California Drought Dries Up Honey Supply, I learned that the drought is a big factor in the demise of the honey bee. Central Valley beekeeper David Bradshaw explains that he has to feed his bees a syrup blend to keep them from going hungry. Nectar from wildflowers, sage, buckwheat, alfalfa and other plants are not available this year due to the drought. With a lack of water, these plants are staying dormant instead of producing nectar rich flowers.

The article also reports from Gene Brandi, the vice-president of American Beekeeping Federation, that California is typically a top producing state for honey. However, he explains that with the drought this time around there is a scarcity with both rainwater and irrigation water.

What does the future of California look like if this drought persists?

There are already weekly news articles about water issues from across the state, particularly in Central Valley on the over-use of ground water, sinking water tables, and uncertainty of water availability in some communities. Not to mention this recent article that indicates that El Nino is no longer a sure thing this coming winter.

With a moderate chance of rain this winter let us consider the historic precedence of drought in California. The chart below indicates that during the medieval time period California experienced two “megadroughts” spanning 200 years. Now that is a scary prospect.

via Mercury News

So if those “megadroughts” occurred in our recent past, pre industrial revolution, what does that mean for our present and future with climate change thrown into the mix?

A report, Indicators of Climate Change in California, by the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, explains that summertime temperatures have increased between 1950 and 2010 in California. Daytime heat temperature increased for all of California expect for Central Valley, while nighttime heat temperature increased for all of California.

According to the report “increases in both minimum and maximum temperatures, particularly during the summer, are expected to have public health, ecological, and economic impacts, such as heat-related deaths and illnesses, decreased agriculture production, and greater demands on California’s electricity supply.”

Additionally, a white paper released by the California Climate Change Center indicates that “climate change will increase the number of dry years and decrease the number of wet years.”

The climate is going through an uncertain transition prompted by our impact on the earth. Inevitably there is always change, but man-made change is not the same. The question is do we do something about it or sit back and watch?

 

Madagascar Wildlife

Ring -tailed Lemur
Ring -tailed Lemur

Animals, lizards, and birds, Oh My!

Madagascar is a mysterious place. There is not much mention of this small island nation in the news, even though they recently experienced a governmental coup and about 90% of the population lives on less than $2 a day (that is a whole other story that I will dedicate to a future post).

Putting the political and economic aspect of Madagascar aside for the moment, let us focus on the wildlife! These are the beautiful photographs of Madagascar’s endemic species by Will Burrard-Lucas.

Will is a UK based wildlife photographer who has invented his own camera, called the BeetleCam, to get up close and personal with wildlife. Amazing! According to his bio he is also involved with conservation organizations around the world – using his photography to help raise funds. You can see more of his photography here.

Ring-tailed Lemur
Ring-tailed Lemur
Ring-tailed Lemur
Ring-tailed Lemur
Sifaka
Sifaka
Sifaka baby
Sifaka baby
Black Lemur
Black Lemur
Sportive Lemur
Sportive Lemur
Panther Chameleon
Panther Chameleon
Brookesia Chameleon
Brookesia Chameleon
Kingfisher
Kingfisher
Kingfisher
Kingfisher

Mountains Through the Eye of the Beholder

Conrad Jon Godly

sweeping up to the sky – platonic movement of underground plates, shifting and crunching the earth into the protruding form of mountains. mountains are a thing of movement. mountains painted with shades  of black, brown, green, and white. from the top of the mountain you are greeted by 360 surrounding views. a vantage point, a primitive place where one feels in control of destiny. i have never seen the swiss alps in person, but from the art of Conrad Jon Godly I can see the beauty and mysteriousness of their memory as rendered in oil paint.

i found this through miss moss, my go to place for spotting great art and culture.

Conrad Jon Godly
Conrad Jon Godly
Conrad Jon Godly
Conrad Jon Godly

Surreal United States

I’ll admit it, I found this Buzzfeed article through Pinterest. That site is completely addicting. However, that addiction did allow me to stumble upon this amazing find.

The article introduces the reader to 29 surreal places to visit in the US. I have never been one to dream of traveling around the US, but this article inspired a 180 on my thinking.

Behold two entirely enchanting places of the US:

Mendenhall Glacier Caves in Alaska

AER Wilmington DE / Flickr via Buzzfeed

Oneonta Canyon in Oregon

zschnepf / shutterstock.com via Buzzfeed

Both of these places speak to the diversity and beauty of the landscapes of the United States. One part of the country offers sheer ice and translucent hues while the other offers moss-covered cliffs and filtered sunlight. These landscapes beg to be visited and admired. The colors, textures, sounds, smells call out through the photos, whispers of hushed natural poetry. To see the United States, to see the landscapes….

Maybe you will also find the inspiration to travel around the US.