December 22, 2007

Round Up From The Ground Up | Volume One

It doesn't matter if you don't think my titles are clever. I do. And I sleep easier at night because I'm witty.

Today's edition of the Grassroots Change Department (get the title now?) comes from the Sustainability Desk here at Deserted After Dark. Thoughts and contributions welcome. Snide remarks are not.

I'm a big fan of the book, Affluenza. If you haven't read it, put it on your wish list. It's a great read, I promise. The book was written, made, and produced in association with an organization called Redefining Progress. The people at RP are my heroes. In fact, if they happen to stumble across this, I hope they read this line

I want to do my internship with you in the field of Sustainable Economics

But I digress. They are connected with a variety of people and issues that you should know about, beginning with the organization itself. Seriously, check out their website. Other cool things happening:

Climate Justice Now!

-This is a blog put together by a group of people who were at the recent United Nations conference in Bali (more info here). Put plainly, there is just some awesome insider analysis here worth reading. Enjoy.

An Unequal Burden
(.pdf link)

- This is a rather lengthy document (for some of you, five (5) pages is too much, I know) that was put out a few years ago (2004) on the subject of African Americans receiving the short end of the stick when it comes to climate change. The Executive Summary gives you a pretty good idea of what's going on, but the in-depth statistics are, at the very least, eye-opening.

Environmental Justice and Climate Change Initiative

(EJCC)

-This movement defines grassroots. Made up of a larger network of members, the EJCC is all about restructuring the discussion of climate reform, and giving youth a voice in the debate. After all, it's their air, too, right?!

California Interfaith Power & Light

- The website really speaks for itself on this one. I feel like I don't really have a lot of selling to do. But be sure to check out the Theology page, 'cause it's amazingly in-depth.

Cooler


- I know you all are probably all done with your Christmas shopping. But how about birthdays? Or just every day jazz. This should be your hub. Cooler calculates the global greenhouse emissions of every product they sell, and then reverse it by creating agreements with other retailers. For instance, on the front page right now is a PT Limited Edition Cruiser Bicycle. If I purchased it through Cooler, instead of Overstock, I would be eliminating 230 pounds of global warming pollution. Pretty cool, huh? They are connected with Ebay, Staples, Macy's, and many more stores. So if you have to shop, shop green!

You guys all have a Merry Christmas. I'm taking a break from this screen for awhile. I'll see you after I have had my fill of caramel rolls.

Cheers,
Sam
"There are three critical ingredients to democratic renewal and progressive change in America: good public policy, grassroots organizing, and electoral politics."
Paul Wellstone




December 21, 2007

Phoenix Friday | December 21st, 2007

None of these videos have anything to do with Phoenix. But I think that they are awesome and you should see them. Enjoy.

From John:



From Wooster:





Hope this starts your weekend off with a little bit of fun. Be Well!

Cheers,
Sam
"I have no fear of losing my life. If I have to save a koala or a crocodile or a kangaroo or a snake, mate, I will save it."
Steve Irwin

December 20, 2007

I (Used To) Believe

So you know that feeling? That feeling you get when you find out that the pool doesn't really turn purple when you pee in it? The feeling when you find out that Santa was really your parents? The feeling when you find out that ringing bells is just annoying?

Duped. Just plain sucker-punched. I felt that this week. And it hurt.

I am an avid listener of NPR (even as I type this, All Things Considered is on in the background), and I had a rude awakening yesterday. On my way back up north from the abbey, I tuned into Tucson's NPR affiliate, KUAZ. It was two (2) o'clock, and The World was on. This threw me for loop. The World is usually heard at seven (7) o'clock on KJZZ here in Phoenix. And right after that, at three (3), was my favorite NPR show; Marketplace. That show is heard at six (6) here in Phoenix. To say the least, I was flabbergasted. The proverbial rug was yanked out from beneath my feet.

For all this time, I had been duped. I thought Kai Ryssdal was speaking to me live. I thought I was hearing the day's business numbers as they happened. Guess that isn't the case. The numbers are stale, Kai. You tricked me. And NPR, with all your satellites and fancy technology. I feel like you stole from my innocence. Shame on you.

I know that most of you couldn't care less about this, but it was a big event in my day. Anyone out there feel a little solidarity?

Cheers,
Sam
"The radio makes hideous sounds."
Bob Dylan

PS - If this man gets elected, I'm moving to Canada.



December 16, 2007

You Say Tomato, I Get Acid Reflux

Recently, I discovered that my body has decided to reject amazing food. I have began using a product similar to this ("All you do is chew a few!") to combat my issues with salsa and food after nine (9).

I was in the hospital for a lot of my toddler years thanks to asthma. Since then, I have had nothing more than a cold. So it's frustrating to find out that I might have Acid Reflux, or GERD. However, doing a little digging (as I sometimes do), I found this article saying that the two are often linked.

Even if they are related, when I first started to feel badly after I ate tomato-based products, I thought I had an ulcer. This last semester was the first time I have been a full-time student in five (5) years. Also in the last six (6) months, I quit a promising job with the Green Giant, searched for (and subsequently found) three (3) other jobs to fill the financial void, found a beautiful woman that tolerates my horrible jokes and outlandish dreams for the world, and dealt with renting a house from the Forties ('40s).

I used the time period of six (6) months as a base, because for the last two (2) years I have traveled to Santa Rita Abbey once in the winter, and once in the spring. The Abbey is located just outside of Sonoita, AZ, where this man was born and raised. It's a beautiful time of rest, relaxation, and rejuvenation. I always look forward to it, and even more this trip.

So maybe I don't have a stress-induced ulcer. Maybe just a little mis-alignment of the spirit. Either way, though, these next few days of silence and re-centering are much needed. See you on the other side.

Cheers,
Sam
"It takes more courage to retreat than advance."
Joseph Stalin





December 14, 2007

Phoenix Friday | December 14th, 2007

Si Se Puede! (Si No Son Odiosas)
Yes We Can! (If They Are Not Filled With Hate)

Sorry this took so long. Hope it was worth the wait. Quick note for those of you who don't follow the links. Usually, I put links in for a little deeper digging, and some really funny jokes (at least, I think they are). Today, however, there are some links here that are essential to a fuller understanding of the debate. I am already long-winded and arguably heady, and the links are an attempt to provide a more holistic vision of what is happening without wasting too much of your time. There are some jokes, too.


6:15PM - Kevin, Brittany, Quinn, Jon, Seth, and myself enter the auditorium of South Mountain High School. The purpose: to discuss and dialog the propsed change to Phoenix Police Department Operations Order 1.4 (For some reason, to access each section you need to be using Internet Explorer. Sorry for the inconvenience). We were not the only ones in attendance. Some reports say six hundred (600) people, but there I am sure there was more. All of the major news outlets were brandishing cameras, and there has been plenty of press coverage regarding the events that unfolded. Just to get that part out of the way, here are some links to those stories. But let's move on, shall we?

6:30PM - Mary Rose Wilcox introduced the panel and began to introduce the first speaker. Her attempt was combated by a large group of people loudly reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. A majority of these people were asked to leave fifteen (15) minutes later after their rude, disruptive, and abusive comments did not cease. So much for a constructive dialog.

6:45PM - After the dismissals, things slowed down a bit. At times, the cameras moved from the stage to the remnant dissenters. But more than not, the night went on without much more of a disturbance of the previous sort. The panel, whose December 31st deadline has been pushed back to due the immense public outcry, is made up of Rick Romley, Grant Woods, Juan Rivera, and Paul Charlton. Guest speakers were mainly members of the Latino Community such as Salvador Reza and Micheal Nowakowski. But that list is anything but exhaustive. For nearly three hours, the four (4) member panel was bombarded with concerned citizens. I say this with a smile. For the most part, I think that legislatures believe the "Pledge of Allegiance" sort of trouble-makers are the majority. This is definitely not the case. And I think it was constructive for the men charged with this task to realize what they are up against. Fifty (50) percent of Phoenix's population is Latino. That makes me a minority.

Most speakers were interrupted by applause, given standing ovations, and carried off the stage with chants of "Si Se Puede!". Seeing upwards of seven hundred (700) fellow humans chanting a message of hope is a beautiful sight. In fact, there was even one speaker who compared marching with Salvador Reza with his prior experiences with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Cesar Chavez. Definitely worth the price of admission.

Mayor Phil Gordon, who had face time for a taping of Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives at Matt's a few days ago, was not in attendance. For a full text of his statement on Operations Order 1.4, click here. Some highlights from the document:

- "[1.4] is the Order that has caused Phoenix to be labeled by some as a "Sanctuary City".

- "It was written for another time."

- "Rhetoric is replacing reason. There is too much hate."

- "All State and Federal Constitutional guarantees must be met."

- "There, can be no racial or ethnic profiling."

1) The term, "Sanctuary City" came from a group of people consumed with fear and hatred. The term gained momentum in the national lexicon recently during the CNN/You Tube Debate. Mayor Gordon is changing with the political winds. This is not excusable, however it is understandable. Both Mayor Gordon and Governor Napolitano have recently made decisions that were different than the platforms they ran on. Again, inexcusable but understandable considering the local and national pressure they are facing. A word of support to either of them would be a great idea: Mayor Gordon Governer Napolitano. Remember, these two are our employees.

2) That "other time" was ten (10) years ago. If anything, the issue has moved closer to the front of the debate and increased in importance. Ten (10) years of inaction has only compounded the complexities, fears, and hatred. Something must be done now. If not yesterday.

3) See number one (1). If anyone is succumbing to rhetoric, it is not the millions of people that make up the Latino Community here in Phoenix. It seemed as though those seven hundred (700) people desired reconciliation with their neighbors, friends, families, and fellow citizens. There should be no rhetoric concerning human rights and justice.

4) Great idea, that's the law, right?

5) Sounds a little like rhetoric to me...

The night was an institute. I hope that more Anglos join the discussion. There are many layers to the issue, and there is no silver bullet. That is for sure. But like that Precious Moments birthday card says, "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."

I challenge you to do something about this. You might not be able to join in solidarity at Pruitt's, or have the personal experiences of some of my friends who are here without legal documents. But knowing more about the issues is, arguably, just as important. It is ignorance and unaffectionate that perpetuates the fear and hate.

Thanks for trudging through this with me. Like my good friend Michael Caine said in The Weather Man, "Easy does not enter into grown up life." I'm exhausted. Thoughts?

Cheers,
Sam
"No matter what other nations may say about the United States, immigration is still the sincerest form of flattery."
Clayton Cramer

December 12, 2007

Let Them Be, Even In This

When those with him saw what was happening, they said, "Master shall we fight?" One of them took a swing at the Chief Priest's servant and cut off his right ear. Jesus said, "Let them be. Even in this." Then touching the servant's ear, he healed him.

(Luke 22:49-51, The Message)

On Sunday, five (5) people were killed and another five (5) were wounded in Colorado. If this is news to you, here are some articles I will pulling information from.

I want to start this off by clearly stating that my thoughts and prayers are with the families of those who were killed, and their respective communities. I have personal ties to Denver, Youth With A Mission, and Colorado Springs. A tragedy like this is difficult to endure and I pray that the families affected can find peace, hope, and solace in the comforting arms of their communities. I start with such hesitation, because I have major qualms about the events that perspired on Sunday, and I want to differentiate between defending my faith and the defending Mr. Murray's actions. The latter is definitely not the case.

When Matthew Murray entered New Life Church on Sunday and began shooting, security guard Jeanne Assam emptied her clip into his body. Senior pastor Brady Boyd credited Assam with saving one hundred (100) lives. Assam and her fellow security guards are all volunteers. All have law-enforcement backgrounds (Assam worked in Minneapolis), and carry weapons. The church has detailed evacuation plans for "hustling worshipers into secure zones" during emergencies. Other churches, such as the local North Phoenix Baptist Church have similar security protocols. In fact, T.D. Jakes at The Potter's House in Dallas, employs a private team of armed, uniformed guards that keep watch over the congregation.

I have a problem with all of this. The Jesus I believe in was killed for his beliefs. The Jesus I believe in rebuked his disciples when they retaliated in violence. The Jesus I believe in left the ninety-nine (99) for the one (1). Interesting and ironic then, that Pastor Boyd recognized his security guard for saving one hundred (100) lives. The Jesus I believe in, seeing the violent end of his life near, said, "Let them be. Even in this."

There's really nothing else I am able to say. But your comments are appreciated.

Cheers,
Sam
"People around here are serious about protecting their own."
Patton Dodd
(Former New Life staff member speaking on the security presence)


Note: The two victims from the YWAM center in Arvada, CO, do not have memorial funds created yet. Below is a link to fund set up in honor of the two sisters shot and killed at New Life Church in Colorado Springs, CO.

Works Family Memorial Fund

December 10, 2007

Out of Many, One (or: E Pluribus Unum)

I feel like there is so much I could talk about today. But I have to narrow it down to keep your (and my) attention. Therefore, I say: Once more unto the breech, dear friends, once more!

Living in a simple way is important to me. This is not confined to issues of global warming, in fact some environmentalists think that the recent barrage of press on the subject might be a little too much. I definitely agree that the pendulum might be a little on the global warming side of things, but regardless, there are three (3) different stories I want to talk about in areas closely related.

From the Bad News Department first. The 10 million diesel trucks in China have recently propelled the country past the United States as the world's largest emitter of global warming pollutants. The trucks create so much exhaust that it dims the headlights of oncoming vehicles. For fear of rationing, drivers wait hours idling in line to get as little as five (5) gallons of gas (pictured).










After I began reading the article, I was hoping for the answer. The solution to the problem of large amounts of diesel exhaust. But to no avail. China's economy is so volatile that raising standards - and thus the cost of transporting goods - would crumble entire industries. This would cause incredible inflation among the Chinese economy, and would be sure to ripple across Europe and the Americas. This prognosis provided little hope. Trucks meeting the Euro 4 pollution standard cost upwards of $35,000 US dollars, whereas the Euro 2 standard trucks cost $23,000. In addition to those numbers, let's take a quick look at these: Sulfur concentrations are limited to 15 parts per million in the US. In China, 2,000 parts per million are allowed. So there you have it: Lower pollution standards with a higher concentration of pollutants. Not a good combination, if you ask me. This New York Times article is part of a comprehensive series on the subject of the Chinese environment. There are some really interesting graphs, maps, and other cool toys on the site. Enjoy.

Let's move onto some Good News. Researchers from Oregon State University began testing a high-tech buoy to capture wave energy in the Pacific Ocean this fall. Pretty cool. There is a lot of complicated science behind it all (full text), but this graphic should help:



Basically, the extremely-renewable energy of a wave is going to be captured and converted into usable, electric energy. That's awesome.

And finally, Local News. Super Bowl XLII (42) will be green! AZ Super Bowl's campaign, Go Green, AZ! is more than just a couple of billboards. Some highlights of the program:

- 100% of the power for the Super Bowl will be renewable. Salt River Project will be donating the renewable-energy credits from wind and solar sources.

- AZ Super Bowl is teaming up with the NFL Environmental Program to plant thousand of trees on more than forty-two (42) acres in the area devastated by the Rodeo Chediski fire.

The website also has a list of forty-two (42) recycling facts. There are some really interesting things on the list. Definitely worth a peek.

That's all for now. Four finals down, only one to go!

Cheers,
Sam
"I pray what I am feeling in my heart will be communicated clearly that those who hear me will say, 'We must act!'"
Nobel Laureate, Al Gore
(In his acceptance speech December 10th, 2007)

December 7, 2007

Phoenix Friday | December 7th, 2007

So much time and so little to do. Wait a minute. Strike that. Reverse it.



Phoenix Friday, here we come...

We start off on a somber note, but with a possible silver lining. As many of you know, sixty-six (66) years ago today, one thousand, one hundred seventeen (1,117) soldiers lost their lives aboard the U.S.S. Arizona. Take a moment today for remembrance. In response to this, yesterday Congressman Harry Mitchell wrote a letter to Donald Winter, Secretary of the Navy. In it (full text here), Mitchell asked Winter to name a new Aircraft Carrier the U.S.S. Arizona. I like the move, would be interested to know your thoughts. Here are a couple of other news articles for a little more background. And maybe, my friend Garrett can help us understand the differences in sizes. The new ship has the call letters, CVN-79, whereas the the ship that was in Pearl Harbor had the call letters, BB-39. Not sure what that means, hoping my Navy friend can come through with an explanation...

Speaking of Garrett, he is one of many of you that do not read this blog from Phoenix. I know this because I have begun to use Google Analytics. I have had readers from Egypt, Germany, Korea, China, Japan, and ten (10) states. If you have a blog, the software is free and really fun to use. That is, if you're a dork. Anyway, I know Fridays won't be the most exciting thing for those of you who live outside of the Valley. Hang with me anyway. My self-esteem depends on it. I digress...

Tonight, a local nonprofit organization (and one that I used to call 'employer') celebrates twenty-five (25) years of dedicated service to our city's youth. Neighborhood Ministries is faith-based, nonsectarian organization committed to inner, at-risk youth and their familes. Currently, they are in the midst of $14 million campaign to finish building on the eight (8) acre campus on 19th Avenue and Van Buren Street. To celebrate the quarter-century milestone, Kit Danley and crew are throwing a party at the Phoenix Convention Center.

I worked in the Development Office there for a year and saw incredible things happen. If you are able to support them financially, or with a gift of time or service, I would highly suggest the experience. One of the most reciprocal volunteer opportunities I have ever had. You can change the world there, I promise.

And if you need any sustenance on the way to changing the world (Although, Gandhi did it on an empty stomach), here is a cool site. This blog is quickly becoming one of my favorites. Even though the LRT (Light Rail Transit) is still a year from being operable, it's good to know where to get some good grub on the line. And it warms my heart even more to know that people here in our city have the foresight, anticipation, and energy to put something like this together. Simply Amazing. The site is definitely worth checking out, and their reviews are more than fair.

On the subject of alternative transportation, is anybody else frustrated with the lack of bike lanes on most of Phoenix's streets? Since I have been riding more, my awareness of this startling fact has risen dramatically. Truly appalling. I think I would be less taken off guard if Phoenix drivers knew how to share a lane. If I needed to clear out my bowels, I would have had a cup of coffee and a bran muffin. Seriously, Mr. Ford Excursion, don't (drive) so close to me.

And now for the much talked about calendar. Feedback would be appreciated. I recently changed the settings, so now you don't have to have a Blogger account to comment. Anyway here we go:

Cesar Chavez Plaza
1st AVE and Washington ST

Saturday, December 8th, 10AM - 6PM
Tamale Festival (Rain or Shine)

No admission fee because vendors are selling tamales. Darn. On both counts. I love a good tamale and this is like a chili cook off, but for tamales. Yum.

Downtown Phoenix Public Market
721 N Central AVE

Every Saturday 8AM - 1PM (Rain or Shine)
Every Wednesday 4PM - 8PM (Rain or Shine)

This place is awesome. Only local farmers and businesses are on display and selling some goods. If you have ever been to Matt's Big Breakfast, this is where Matt gets all his food. Seriously. Worth the trip now, and even more so when they transfer into a 4,000 square foot building early next year.

Arizona Science Center
600 E Washington ST

Wednesday, December 12th, 7PM
Global Climate Change Lecture Series
"Could Geoengineering Reverse It?"
Speaker: Roger Angel

Admission is free because the rest of the museum is closed by that time. I know it sounds super geeky to attend a lecture on geoengineering, but it's free.

Phoenix Art Museum
1625 N Central AVE

Sunday, December 30th, 1PM
Movies At The Museum
"The Name of the Rose"

The movie is free with regular museum admission ($10 Adult/$8 Student). Currently at the museum, there is a really cool graffiti fashion exhibit, and the Group f/64 exhibit that I talked about before to view after the flick. I mainly want to see this because the movie stars Sean Connery and Christian Slater. Christian Slater, seriously?! Amazing.

***

Obviously, this list is not exhaustive. I'm trying to pick out the most interesting things that don't necessarily get all the press. You already know about First Fridays, the Suns games on Monday (I'll be there!) and Tuesday, etc. However, if there are things you would like to see that aren't on here, I'm open to change. Suggestions are always welcome.

Be glorious this weekend. Have some fun, and stay safe.

Cheers,
Sam
"A brilliant man will find a way to not fight a war."
Admiral Yamamoto
(In the 2001 film, Pearl Harbor)

December 1, 2007

Fun In The Sun: Practicing What You Teach

First off- I'm sorry it's been a few days since I have updated, my Constant Reader. The end of the semester is quickly approaching, and I had to study and take a few finals here and here. Furthermore, the Phoenix Friday edition for November 30th, 2007 was skipped because I spent the day here, and the night here. Hark, have no fear. Phoenix Friday will return with vigor this week. I have some really cool things cooking, including an up-to-date, in-depth calendar of anything worth doing. Be looking forward to that. In the meantime, let's catch up on some news from the Green Room:

The State Press is reporting that ASU is announcing plans to power as much as one-fifth (1/5) of the Tempe campus with solar energy. The news comes on the heels of an announcement that the brand new School of Sustainability will be offering a menu of majors in Sustainability (B.A., B.S., M.A., M.S., and Ph.D.). The new school was birthed out of the well-established Global Institute of Sustainability.

The fact that a portion of ASU's energy is now renewable alone is groundbreaking, and newsworthy. But even more so is the application of the New American University. The idea itself, and the man behind it have been under a lot of scrutiny over the last couple years. However, the idea is beginning to flesh out, and people (including myself) are taking note. I'll speak for myself here, but I think many others agree: I flat out didn't think it would work. The ideas were too ambitious, too far from what ASU had previously been known for (i.e. Number three (3) on Playboy's Top Ten Party Schools in 2006). Furthermore, there was, and is, no gray space with Dr. Crow. His plan was for a New American University started tomorrow. Not in five (5) years.

Now that the dust has settled a little bit, the New American University isn't seeming to be such a bad idea. It takes the theory of the classroom and propels it into practice. It takes the schools of public administration, public policy, and nonprofit studies (my major), and places them right in Downtown Phoenix, amongst relevant discussions. It takes all the ideas that surround a faltering ecology, and puts into practice a solar energy program on campus. It promotes collaboration, innovation, and all sorts of other cool buzz words.

Below is one of eight (8) videos that the Office of the President put together for a little positive PR on the subject. Here is a link to the rest. And before I go, here is a link to an article that might give you an idea why Dr. Crow's ideas are met with a little hostility. Have a great Thursday, and I'll see you on Friday. Can't wait!

Cheers,
Sam
"Like Corn Flakes and milk, Maroon and Gold go together."
Professor Matthew C. Whitaker