Saturday, December 31, 2005

ACLU Advt from NYT 12/31/2005

Nominated for Good Nature's best designed advertising of the year 2005. Simple, well thought out design making the clear connection without clutter or color. Elegant design, message and engages citizens to act.

What you gonna do when they come for you? Go to

ACLU for details.



Friday, December 30, 2005

National Priorities: Cost of Iraq War

National Priorities keeps tabs on the cost of the Iraq war.

I don't know why you would want to see the billions of dollars spent on this invasion by President Diebold-- maybe it will help put our country's stolen treasure in perspective?

Does it for you?

But there it is -- read and weep. I am a vote for Out Now! Civil war over there is going to be more blood on GWB's hands -- but that is going to happen sooner or later.
The Kurds are already gearing up for war as the Bush propaganda machine paves the way for a withdrawl with enough troops leaving to effect change in the 2006 Congressional elections.



Tilden: California's Gem of a Park

Tilden Regional Park is East Bay's outdoors gem
Outdoors Columnist
Published Friday, Dec 30, 2005

Nestled in the East Bay hills east of Berkeley is Tilden Regional Park, a 2,750-acre oasis that is the best family outdoors destination anyone could image. The park, with no entrance fee, simply has something for everyone - grand vistas, easy hiking trails, an abundance of wildlife and the world's most complete collection of California native plants.

There are oodles of things for kids, too, such as carousel and steam locomotive rides, but the solace of nature on a crisp winter's day is something that captivates everybody. To enjoy this park, located just far away from a densely-populated urban area, requires little more than layers of clothing to ward off the cool weather and a picnic lunch to be enjoyed at one of 13 sites, all outfitted with tables, fire pits and restrooms.

On the northwest edge lies the Tilden Nature Area, where the only man-made items are trail signs and where wildlife and vistas take center stage. This 740-acre preserve contains a blend of native stream, woodland and chaparral communities, contrasted with introduced pine and eucalyptus forests, all set around Jewel Lake.

My favorite jaunt in the nature area is the 31/2-mile round-trip Wildcat Peak and Laurel Canyon Loop, an easy circuit with an elevation change of only 500 feet. It starts at the back of the visitor center and is marked with a symbol - a narrow bay laurel leaf and a berry. Simply follow these unusual markers and you won't become lost.

The path goes along bubbly Laurel Creek, through groves of canyon oaks and bay laurels and ultimately to Wildcat Peak, a 1,250-foot-high summit that gives exquisite views of San Pablo Reservoir, Mount Diablo and the entirety of San Francisco Bay. You'll receive such an intimate feeling that it seems you can literally reach out and touch these distant sites. Close at hand you'll also discover a living memorial of giant Sequoias, dedicated to folks who have worked for world peace.

From this lofty vantage point descend on Wildcat Peak Trail through grassy, open slopes and eventually through a grove of eucalyptus, before reaching the visitor center. Plan a visit to the nearby Little Farm, as well, and greet some domestic animals. During this time of year the entire nature area is very quiet. In spring many more walkers take this path to observe masses of wildflowers. Whether winter or spring, however, you'll not be bound by the dense valley fog. The sky here is crystal clear.

The more populated regional park has many more people, black-tailed deer and a variety of diversions, including an 18-hole public golf course. For outdoors enthusiasts, the botanic garden is a "must see." The visitor center offers tours and lectures that complement a unique collection of the state's native plants, including numerous rare and endangered species. The facility is handcapped accessible, with drinking water and restrooms provided.

Another curiosity, though indoors, is the Brazil Building constructed by the Works Progress Administration. It contains the interior from the Brazilian exhibit from the 1939 World's Fair. Don't pass up a ride on the Herschell Spillman merry-go-round - a splendid antique carousel, complete with hand-carved, beautifully-painted animals. An accompanying calliope will take you back to another era in Americana.

From Stockton, the simplest way to reach Tilden Park is to take Highway 24 west from Walnut Creek and after passing by Lafayette and Orinda, turn off on Fish Ranch Road. Turn right at Grizzly Peak Boulevard to the Lomas Cantadas entrance. Once inside the park you can take Wildcat Canyon Road from the Botanic Garden to the Tilden Nature Area.

Park hours are 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. Dogs and bikes are not allowed. A free map is available to the Visitor Center. For information call (510) 562-7275 or online at East Bay Parks.

Contact outdoors columnist Peter Ottesen at

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Stop killing trees for catalogs

Think about this scene the next time your REI, LL Bean, Sahalie, Columbia and other "green" type retail outfit asks you to flip through their product line on paper.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

From the Field: Oaxaca Mexico's forests, mushroom hunting, and self governance

Inspired story in From the Field online journal about Seattle anthropologist Melissa Poe's work in Oaxaca Mexico's outback.

Can you identify those mushrooms that Ms. Poe is holding?

Her story appeals to me because of the convergence of three problems faced locally in Oaxaca and throughout the world: economic development, social justice, and natural resource conservation.

Read my Dad's story and learn about fungus among us, and how an indigenous Mexican community responds to state sponsored clear cutting of their forest.


Friday, December 16, 2005

Sugan by Seamus Heaney -- new poem

Sugan -- (from current issue of Poetry London Subscribe!)

Ferns and foxgloves in a forged iron grate
They ditched last year: hedge-hobbed now, green-sleeved
In undergrowth where a knapsack-sprayer corrodes —
The cast-off ‘mankiller’ — and a rusted wire
Hook for twisting hay.

The fluster of that soft supply
And feed, handfuls coaxed from a ruck
Paid out to be taken in, in furl and swivel
Turning, tightening, rickety-rick,
To rope —
though just as often at the other end
I’d manipulate the hook,
Walking backwards, winding for all I was worth
By snag and by sag the long and the short of it
To make ends mesh,
in my left hand
The cored and threaded elderberry haft,
In my right the fashioned wire,
breeze on my back,
Sun in my face, a power to bind and loose
Eked out and into each last tug and lap.

Seamus Heaney was born in Co. Derry in 1939. His next collection, District and Circle, will be published by Faber in Autumn 2006. He received the Nobel Prize for
Literature in 1995.

©Copyright of this poem remains with the poet: please do not download or republish without permission.

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Wednesday, December 14, 2005

World Changing organizations in 2005 -- Fast Co. Awards

Good organizations fighting for social justice, peace, health care, housing, dignity and hope. See Fast Company list with snapshots of their top picks.

Groups like PATH, Grameen Bank are all but invisible in their daily work.

Of course there are many world changing groups around, but I like the fact that the slick, go go business magazine editors at Fast Co. took time out to recognize there is more to business than money, and more to life than profit.



Thursday, December 08, 2005

W.S. Merwin poem "Utterance"

I like this outfit's work:

Copper Canyon Press

Copper Canyon Press garnered its third National Book Award in poetry for the seminal new collection by W.S. Merwin, Migration: New and Selected Poems. It was the first National Book Award for the 78-year-old poet who lives in Hawaii.


Sitting over words
Very late I have heard a kind of whispered sighing
Not far
Like a night wind in pines or like the sea in the dark
The echo of everything that has ever
Been spoken
Still spinning its one syllable
Between the earth and silence
- W.S. Merwin

In related news, Ted Kooser, US Poet Laureate, won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for poetry for his book Delights & Shadows, published by Copper Canyon Press of Port Townsend. The award of $10,000 was for "a distinguished volume of original verse by an American author." The book was one of 196 entries for the prize and won Copper Canyon's first Pulitzer Prize.

Additionally, Copper Canyon's founding director Sam Hamill won the 2005 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Washington Poets Association.

Copper Canyon Press receives ongoing funding from WSAC's Institutional Support Program. Visit their website at

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Call to Stop Forest Destruction -- Forest Stewardship Council

José Saramago urges FSC General Assembly to stop forest destruction

Manaus, Brazil -- José Saramago, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1998, has called upon the participants of the FSC General Assembly 2005 to decide concrete steps that contribute to stopping the planet’s destruction.

In an address by video to a meeting of more than 300 members and observers of FSC in Manaus, Brazil, José Saramago stressed, “I hope Brazil, Latin America and everybody in the world will become aware of the gravity of the situation which I think can be translated in this very simple phrase: “The planet is in danger,” in reference to forest destruction.

The Nobel Prize winner called upon the FSC Assembly to help save the planet. “We are destroying the planet and we have the obligation to save it, because there is no one else that can do it.”

Representatives from more than 60 countries, including organizations such as Greenpeace and WWF; the Brazilian governments; international companies such as IKEA and The Home Depot; and academic institutions are meeting through Friday, December 9th to debate strategic initiatives to improve forest management worldwide over the coming years.

“This is a unique opportunity for FSC members to decide what policies and standards can be implemented to make a difference in preserving forest around the world,” said Heiko Liedeker, FSC Executive Director. “FSC is proving once again that participation, balanced representation and equal power to vote are a powerful strategy to bring people together, find solutions and promote responsible stewardship of the forests.”

Around 67 million hectares of forest are currently FSC certified in over 65 countries; and more than 10 thousand forest products carry the FSC labels in global market. Progressive companies, respected non-governmental environmental and social organizations, as well individual support FSC, the most credible organization promoting responsible forest stewardship.


The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is an independent, not for profit, non-government organisation based in Bonn, Germany. It provides standard setting, trademark assurance and accreditation services for companies and organizations committed to responsible forest stewardship. Founded in 1993, FSC’s mission is to promote environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial and economically viable management of the world’s forests. Its governance structure ensures that FSC is independent of any one interest group by requiring an equal balance in power between its environmental, social and economic chambers as well as a balance between interests from the economic north and south.

The FSC forest management standards are based on 10 Principles and Criteria for responsible forest management. FSC also provides Chain of Custody standards for manufacturers and processors of forest products. The Chain of Custody standards allow credible tracking of certified wood and wood products from certified forests through trade and manufacturing to committed retailers and consumers.

Over the past 12 years, 67 million hectares in 65 countries have been certified according to FSC standards while several thousand products are produced using FSC certified wood and carrying the FSC trademark. About 4,200 producers of forest products participate in the FSC system. Major retailers in Europe, North America, South America and Asia ask for FSC certification when ordering forest products so they can assure their customers that products they are buying support responsible forestry. FSC operates through a network of National Initiatives in more than 36 countries. Further information is available on

For further information, please contact Zandra Martinez

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Rise up: Protect Orcas of Puget Sound

Version 4 "Rise up" is a final draft for the proposed orcas postcard Good Nature Publishing Co. has designed as a public service ad to be used by groups like People For Puget Sound. Let me know what you think of this style. Thank you.