27 February 2010

All Nations Are Part of One Human Family

All Nations Are Part of One Human Family
I have probably posted this before. Well, here it is again.


Human Rights Are For Everyone: Cut the Military Budget

Cut the Military Budget
Weekly Friday evening peace vigil at Percival Landing

For most of the vigil I held a sign that read, "Human Rights Are for Everyone."

Priest Point Park

A couple photos from Priest Point Park in Olympia, Washington:
Priest Point Park
Tree (Black and White)

Priest Point Park
Tree with Moss

25 February 2010

Percival Landing Panorama, February 2010

Percival Landing Panorama 20100224
Wednesday, February 24, 2010

This panorama is far from perfect, many of the seams are off. The color temperature is off. Perfection isn't the goal.

Whoa were there some awesome clouds today!

view full size (11 MB 30,000 x 4,111): Percival Landing Panorama 20100224

24 February 2010

Photo Essay 2/24/2010


America, Fuck Yeah!

Advance warning: this video might be a little offensive to some people. I apologize if that's the case, but it made me laugh. Yeah, I know it's sick. If would rather not experience violence, swearing and vulgar statements, then don't watch this.


22 February 2010

Moonglow, City Glow, Clouds and the Sound

October 2009
Eld Inlet, Olympia, Washington

The clouds are lit from beneath by city light - presumably from the Tacoma/Gig Harbor region of the Puget Sound. Interesting how pollution can actually cause incredibly beautiful scenes, sometimes.


19 February 2010

Woodard Bay Forest Panorama

Woodard Bay Forest Panorama
This is an 11 image composite. It was made shooting free hand.

larger (2.8 MB, 10,000 x 1,584): Woodard Bay Forest Panorama

Detention Center

The following is a comment (edited for clarity) that I left on an article about a protest against the Northwest ICE Immigration Detention Center. The facility is located in Tacoma Washington, and I cross-posted the same article here on Peace is Possible. And also here again is a slideshow of the day's events.

by berdww
on 2/15/2010 @ 9:26am

I think that the ICE Detention Center is a symptom of the deeply diseased nature of our society.

When some people are willing to put others down for the purpose of economic self-interest then there is a problem. People are willing to exploit each other - and there is a fundamental violence that exists at the roots, and in the heart, of our socio-economic political system.

The Detention Center is an outward manifestation of what is a culture of cruelness, meanness, hurtfulness, exclusion, fear, and exploitation (etc.). It's a culture that permeates to the roots and heart of this society.

17 February 2010

Percival Landing

It was quite dark when this photographic image was captured. This was a 15 second exposure, at f4 and iso 100.
Percival Landing
Percival Landing, Friday, February 12, 2010 at 6:08 p.m.

16 February 2010

Heart of Gold

Big Rally for Education, Environment and Labor in Washington State

More information: Rally to Protect Our Future

Carrying Capacity

I was listening to the radio last night. KOWA FM 106.5 on the right hand side of the dial. I just caught a few minutes of the program, someone was talking about consumption and carrying capacity. People in the USA consume resources at an astounding rate - so much so that if everyone in the world consumed at the same rate as people in the US, then there would need to be material resources on the order of what only 4 or 5 more Earth scale planets could provide. According the program, people in the USA use on average about 30 hectares of land to support their annual consumption. Scary to think about. They also said that the USA is no longer the leader in per capita consumption (although the USA still uses much much more than any other nation.) The leaders in per capita consumption are the UAE (United Arab Emirates) and Kuwait. Other nations in the top 10 included Australia, Ireland, New Zealand - and right off the top of my head I can't remember which others. KOWA Radio — Olympia, WA

14 February 2010

The Band & Neil Young - Helpless(Live)

Happy Valentines Day

Rally Against the NW Immigration Detention Center

No Mas Deportaciones! Justicia Ya! Saturday, February 13, 2010

Tacoma, WA - People came from near and far (Tacoma, Seattle, Olympia, and Portland) for a protest rally against the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Detention Center in Tacoma, Washington. The detention center is run for-profit, by The GEO Group Inc. According to the description on company's website:

13 February 2010

Include Everyone

Include Everyone
Why not include everyone!?

For heavens sakes, wouldn't it only be right to include everyone?

The following is a letter I just sent to President Obama, attached to this photograph:

Dear President Obama and Administration,

Mr. President, my best deduction leads me to believe that you have your hands tied by this unjust system we live in. I can understand how it could be possible that you're held hostage, much like the rest of us, in the bondage of this harmful system which is exploitative and degrading toward both people and the planet...

However, I want to take time and energy to send you a special note of encouragement. I want to encourage you to stand up against the establishment. Please. Stand up against the status quo.

I believe that all people deserve to be treated well. And so does this marvelous planet.

I encourage you to make every effort that you possibly can, without endangering your own welfare and that of your family, in order make it so we can live to see a day on this planet when ALL people will be treated well.

Mr. President, I believe that peace really is possible. A peace that includes everyone.



Thanks very much to the kind stranger who did this photograph.

also see: olyblog.net/photos-2132010

Incluyende Todos!

12 February 2010

The Earth and Human Beings On the Cosmological Scale

On the cosmological scale human beings and the Earth are very small, and precious. I hope humanity will live to see a day when all people and the earth will be treated well. People and the planet deserve to be treated well. Really - does anyone deserve to be treated badly?

Earlier tonight I was sitting outside enjoying the wonderful warm weather and the light misty drizzle, when I noticed a star (maybe Sirius) peeking out from behind the clouds. I mentioned this to someone near me, which provoked a great conversation about cosmology. We talked about the relative size (mass) of human beings and the planet Earth in comparison to the Universe.

The Sun is one of a billion stars in the Milky Way. The galaxy is one of billions in the Universe.

The Sun comprises over 99% of the mass of the solar system - Jupiter, 2.5 times the mass of all of the other planets combined, takes up the bulk of the rest the rest of the mass.

That makes the Earth very small. And that makes human beings very very small.

And so it is important to remember that sometimes the best gifts come in small packages. I think that's a good way to think about people.

(We also talked quite a bit about society, politics and economics, and how necessary change is - considering the many serious ongoing injustices in the world today, including the fact that one billion human beings suffer from chronic structural hunger.)

The photo is of the peak of Mount Rainier peeking out above clouds, from September 2009.

For a bit of sardonic humor, below is the Galaxy Song, from Monty Python's The Meaning of Life, on YouTube:

Balance and Question, Two Songs by The Moody Blues

Balance and Question, by The Moody Blues

Douglas Fir Photos

Ah, the wonder of nature! It's too bad that magnificent trees and nature are relegated to parks. Not that I dislike parks, it's just that it would be nice if nature was all around us, rather than the intense and prolific waste of industrialized rural/suburban/urban landscapes.

Here are four photos of douglas fir trees and forests.

near the Ohanapecosh river, Mount Rainier Nat'l Park

What would you wish for?

If you could make a wish and you knew it would come true, then what would you wish for? (And there is no asking for an unlimited number of wishes - everyone gets only one wish.)

Dark Trail at Night with Flash

Garfield Trail in Olympia

11 February 2010

Do Ecosystems Have Rights?

Why do corporations have rights when living ecosystems do not?

Please watch this very important, interesting, and powerful speech by Mari Margil.

Mari Margil speaks to the 2009 Bioneers conference in the spirit of The Lorax:
Protecting Against Environmental Degradation by Recognizing the Rights of Nature

I am also reminded about another set of important videos that have powerful ideas to share.

The Story of Stuff. And also The Story of Cap and Trade.

There are also a couple other videos in the production queue.

This is really really awesome work by Annie Leonard. Please also take time to see these important videos. http://www.storyofstuff.com/

It's all good food for thought.

10 February 2010

American Disillusion

I grew up with the idea that the USA was the greatest nation on Earth. That this is a land of equal opportunity, a land of altruism. It's easy to see why that story could get confusing in light of the historical realities of the enslavement of Africans and the virtual genocide of Native Peoples. It's hard to know what to believe, I suppose. But the reality on the ground is that America is a very violent place. Ranging from domestic violence to state violence against civilians. Ranging from harmful economic activities to colonialism and outright wars of aggression.

When Obama was elected, and inaugurated, it would have been hard not to feel hopeful. The rhetoric, if not completely correct, was in a pretty good place. But in what's now over a year since the Obama Administration assumed power, there has been a degeneration in the rhetoric, and certainly a widespread feeling of disappointment with the real politic. An example of degeneration of rhetoric is the difference between talking about opportunity and prosperity for all, to the more recent focus on propping up the "middle class." The degeneration has been gradual, like the flim-flam approach to Universal Health Care, and the Obama plan to increase military spending; and yet it has also been spiked with notable events, like the use of the Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance speech to advocate America's supposed need for war, and the dreadful showing at the Copenhagen Climate Conference.

The disillusion is driving home some simple and chilling truths. The socio-economic political system of the United States is broken. It is corrupt. I have been saying this for over 10 years. And articles like the following only make it more and more clear. So what to do...

The fact is that human activities - industrial activities - over the past 200+ years have done tremendous damage to the living systems of this planet Earth. Earth is our home. We would be wise to take care of it. After all it either belongs to all of us, or to none of us at all. The policies coming out of Washington D.C. and other locusts of political power in the USA (as well as other places in the world) make little to no sense. A drastic change in focus is needed. A change toward the direction of taking care of the planet, and taking care of each other. The adversarial, profit-oriented model of destructive competition endangers the future of humanity and most of the life on this planet. Change is due.

First, there needs to be a disruption of the two-party duopoly that represents the amoral corporate profit motive.

Then there is the need to remake the system anew - to make a system that is altruistic and grounded in the intention to serve life.

Yep. So, check out this article for more reason to challenge and oppose the unmanageable and amoral status quo:
February 9, 2010

Obama's "Change" Drops Its Mask

The Democrats are Coming After Social Security


It’s official: the Democrats are coming after Social Security and Medicare. All the backroom scheming and political conspiring is finally out in the open.

In an unusually long, 1,800 word editorial, entitled The Truth about the Deficit, published February 7, The New York Times -- cheerleader for neoliberalism -- gives its solution to the country’s debt problems. The main idea is summed up thus:

“To truly tame deficits will require serious health care reform [Obama’s plan slashes Medicare], the sooner the better. Other aspects of the long-term fiscal problem — raising taxes and retooling [reducing] Social Security — must take place in earnest as the economy recovers.”

read more: http://www.counterpunch.org/cooke02092010.html

08 February 2010

A Social Transformation Toward Sustainability and Justice Would Benefit Everyone

First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.
the words of Mahatma (Mohandas K.) Gandhi

This quote needs to be framed in reference to the struggle by people native to the Indian Subcontinent against what was the tyrannous and incredibly violent and harmful colonialism that was waged under the auspices of the British Empire.

I also like the idea of altering the quote slightly so that it ends with "everyone wins" - because real social transformation toward justice and sustainability would benefit everyone. Real social transformation, justice and sustainability would prove to be a winner for everyone...

Wow!!! Humanity has done such a huge damage to itself and to the living systems of the Earth in such a short time since the advent of fossil fueled industrialization!

The following are thoughts which are cross-posted at OlyBlog, link below:

I would really like to see people from the various social and environmental justice movements working along more of a unified front.

The root causes of environmental degradation and ecological unsustainability; imperialism and wars of aggression; exploitative labor practices; societal oppression; and poverty and any other social injustice are the same.

I would like to see a broad based, inclusive and supportive social movement - a movement that is accessible to everyone regardless of age, gender, race, ethnicity, religion, ability, creed, and/or any other distinguishing feature - in order to effectively and successfully challenge the status quo: a status quo which is currently doing so much harm to all people.

Please imagine a movement to challenge the current establishment's enablement of a degrading and dehumanizing status quo of economic instability, ecological unsustainability, and social injustice...

Further thoughts and avenues for consideration on this topic include, but are not limited to, potential solutions and responses such as 1) permaculture: a resilient, sustainable and independent local/regional economic infrastructure, 2) socio-economic egalitarianism, 3) making health care a central and foundational economic feature ...and etc....

larger image olyblog.net/working-union

07 February 2010

Evolution to an Altruistic Society

I am interested in an evolution of human societies to a place where people widely uphold the idea that it is not okay for people to hurt each other. I think it's remarkably phenomenal that we live in a society that is so far from, and in many ways the exact opposite of, the simple idea that it is wrong for people to do harm to one another. The modern economy is based in hurtful, divisive, derisive, destructive, exploitative and violent activities.

So I think the following passage, which comes to us from over 115 years ago, is striking in its relevance to the current situation of our modern day economy. People talk about progress. But we need a wake-up call, because in some very real ways, the economy is actually degenerating - and becoming more exploitative. When all is told, in many ways that are very real, the economy is getting worse and worse for common people, and for everyone—everywhere.

I believe that everyone deserves to be treated well. How about you? Do you agree? If you do, then I ask: where do we start changing this abusive and destructive socio-economic political system?

Passage from Voices of a People's HistoryMary Elizabeth Lease, "Wall Street Owns the Country" (Circa 1890)
from A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn and Anthony Arnove

"This is a nation of inconsistencies. The Puritans fleeing from oppression became oppressors. We fought England for our liberty and put chains on four million of blacks. We wiped out slavery and our tariff laws and national banks began a system of white wage slavery worse than the first. Wall Street owns the country. It is no longer a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, but a government of Wall Street, by Wall Street, and for Wall Street. The great common people of this country are slaves, and monopoly is the master. The West and South and bound and prostrate before the manufacturing East. Money rules, and our Vice-President [Levi Parsons Morton] is a London banker. Our laws are the output of a system which clothes rascals in robes and honesty in rags. The parties lie to us and the political speakers mislead us. We were told two years ago to go to work and raise a big crop, that was all we needed. We went to work and plowed and planted; the rains fell, the sun shone, nature smiled, and we raised the big crop that they told us to; and what came of it? Eight-cent corn, ten-cent oats, two-cent beef and no price at all for butter and eggs—that's what came of it. The the politicians said we suffered from over-production. Over-production, when 10,000 little children, so statistics tell us, starve to death every year in the United States, and over 100,000 shop-girls in New York are forced to sell their virtue for the bread their niggardly wages deny them.... We want money, land and transportation. We want the abolition of the National Banks, and we want the power to make loans direct from the Government. We want the accursed foreclosure system wiped out.... We will stand by our homes and stay by our fireside by force if necessary, and we will ot pay our debts to the loan-shark companies until the Government pays its debts to us. The people are at bay, [so] let the bloodhounds of money who dogged us thus far beware."

more information: Mary Elizabeth Lease, "Wall Street Owns the Country" (Circa 1890)

In other news, Fort Lewis Army Base and McChord Air Force Base have been merged into a join operations center. "Lewis-McChord: A giant military marriage"

Percival Landing Friday February 5 2010 b

Percival Landing

04 February 2010

Economic Profligacy, and Disparity

5% of the World's Population Consumes a Third of Its Resources and Makes Nearly Half of It's Waste. That 5% is US.
Economic Profligacy and Disparity


I am profoundly affected by the environment. Environmental degradation makes me sad. Environmental degradation makes me sick.

I am signed up on an eco-psychology listserve, so I receive articles forwarded from similarly minded and interested people all around the world. That's how I was alerted to the following article in the NYT Magazine. I haven't read the whole article, but it's nice to see the field of eco-psychology in the somewhat mainstream press (not that the NYT Mag is exactly mainstream.) Well you get the idea.

Here's a link: Is there an ecological unconscious?

03 February 2010

Olympia Harbor in 1856

view larger: Olympia Harbor

Washington did not become a state until 1889. Washington was the 42nd state to become part of the United States.

In 1856, over 30 years prior to Washington becoming a state, the landscape around Olympia was very different than it is today, in 2010.

I imagine that the environment was much healthier back then, with great flocks of wild birds, and a bounteous feast accessible for harvest from the waters of the Salish Sea.

01 February 2010

Presidents' Day Rally and Lobby Day

Olympia, Washington State Capitol

Two weeks from today: Monday, February 15, 2010

More information: Presidents' Day Rally and Lobby Day

Letter to the Editor Published in Today's Olympian Newspaper

I wrote a letter advocating for a state income tax to the editor of The Olympian newspaper. More information about that, and additional commentary, here.