Gloves Off Arts Activism

“If you attack the establishment long enough and hard enough, they will make you a member of it.” ~ Art Buchwald.

That’s one of the things that has long concerned me about many of the environmental organizations we have supported for years. Example: the beautiful Nature Conservancy magazines that arrive every month with their gorgeous covers, great writing and photography.  You can’t help but get an impression of a polite, established organization dedicated to conserving pristine swathes of nature for those who have the time and money to enjoy them. This is far from the whole truth, of course, but by its own definition, TNC prefers “non-confrontational, pragmatic solutions” over, say, dressing up in a gorilla suits and scaling a wall to protest rain forest destruction in Indonesia, a Green Peace stunt that caused giant Nestlé to reconsider where it accesses palm oil for its popular KitKat brand.

From my perspective, we need it all, the whole shebang of responses to avoid a continued mismatch between the urgency of the planetary crisis and what can be done to arrest the worst impacts on species, including us. Which is why kudos to the Sierra Club Loxahatchee Group for inviting two local arts activists to show and tell about Artful Activism for Pro-Environment Community Engagement. The event at the Jupiter Library last Saturday morning deserved a larger audience. But what it lacked in size it made up for in age-diversity and enthusiasm, and I left with a sense that we might all access our inner artist, and/or support the professionals in their efforts, to reach people emotionally. And while we’re at it, let’s broaden the definition of art to include poetry, spoken word, improv, street theater, and more, to arrest the slide to ecocide we are currently headed for.  Here’s a model: Eve Ensler’s one-woman show, The Vagina Monologues, has morphed into an international V-Day movement to end violence against women.  Clearly, it has a long way to go. The epidemic of domestic abuse currently in the news is a sign that facts alone are not going to get us where we live.

My friend and colleague, Mary Jo Aagerstoun of EcoArt South Florida, led off with a slide of the Stone Crab Alliance which, that very afternoon (October 18) marched on Gov. Rick Scott mansion in Tampa, brandishing banners that read: It’s All About Our Water.  Founded seven years ago, EcoArt SF aims to integrate and infuse art into sustainability strategies: “Art and science, as twin knowledge forms, must be tapped in tandem to create the wisdom, and activate hope, that underpins sustainability.” See an example of ‘social sculpture’ by Jackie Brookner at Elders Cove, West Palm Beach, and click the link to find drip-mist-2 (1)out more about the organization’s goals and projects.

Dr. Aagerstoun then showed slides of other groups that are using art activism in their communities, many of them examples of exactly the kind of prankish, gloves-off approach that Green Peace favors in its campaigns. Two resonated especially strongly with me (see the list at the end of this post for more).
The Illuminator’s mission is to “smash the myths of the information industry and shine a light on the urgent issues of our time.” During the recent People’s Climate March weekend in New York City, it projected this glowing message #FloodWallStreet Stop Capitalism! End the Climate Crisis! on the side of a building.  I also love the BackBone Campaign and supported their work for the People’s Climate March with a donation. Their mission is “to train progressive activists and organizations nationwide who are working toward human dignity, environmental sustainability and peace.”

Next up, visual artist and research biologist Diane Arrieta, with examples of her work which “illustrates the links between biodiversity (including endangered species), healthy ecosystems and human health.” Like street artist and activist, Banksy, Diane uses available exterior walls as a canvas for her stunning murals. If you can get this image out of your mind, you’re more organized (or is it Little Panda 2distracted?) than I. While Miami is a public space art-friendly city, Arrieta has found that getting permission is no easy task in some municipalities. I cannot imagine my hometown allowing public buildings to be used for art activism of this cutting-edge kind.  But maybe no one has put it to the test.  If people we elect to serve our needs fail to grasp the connection between a healthy ecosystem and the wellbeing of our cities and citizens, what is the point of clean, tree-lined streets, top-notch schools, and excellent sports facilities?   Join the Scouts’ beach cleanup by all means,  but first do everything possible to ensure that there will be a beach for us and our children.

The Sierra Club audience was more eager to share ideas than talk about their response to the art, per se, but you could read that as a sign that we intuitively ‘got’ how powerful and edgy arts activism could be, and were already thinking about ways around roadblocks and new forms of expression. Why not more artists-in-residence so they are paid for their work? Why not students teaching their peers? Why stop at buildings and overpasses?  Why not project messages on clouds? How about a more mobile form of message delivery where by the time someone complains, the show has moved on? How about peel-off art activism decals with potent images and messages for our homes and/or cars? Why not? Michael Moore, move over.

More resources from the presentation:

Beautiful Trouble — A Toolbox for Revolution

The Yes Men

Raging Grannies

Living Planet Report — “…not for the faint-hearted.”

Overpass Light Brigade

Rude Mechanical Orchestra

The End of the Known World?

Tipping point:  “The moment of critical mass, the threshold, the boiling point.”

Popularized by Malcolm Gladwell, tipping point, like the Chinese characters for crisis that combine danger and opportunity, describes where we are as a species. On the one hand, our climate is approaching a point of no return where it tips from ‘change’ — which is already evident, particularly in South Florida where I live — to ‘chaos’ about which we can only offer educated guesses, none of them good.  On the other hand, we have unprecedented opportunities to reverse the damage caused by capitalism gone rogue, and see the fruits of our effort in our lifetime, and/or in the lives of our children and theirs.

boiling-waterDon’t expect to find guidance in political promises that continue to insist we can have infinite growth on a finite planet. Generally, scientific papers do a better job in framing the problem than in pointing to solutions.  For some — my spouse and I, for example — the thing we can do is right under our feet: soil to be healed, food to be grown, and forests to be started.  We are enrolled in an introductory permaculture course this month at the renowned Mounts Botanical Garden, about which more later.

In Soil Not Oil, physicist/environmental activist/author, Vandana Shiva, builds a clear relationship between healthy soil and our survival as a species.  Could it really be that simple?   “Every step in building a living agriculture sustained by a living soil is a step toward both mitigating and adapting to climate change,” she writes.   James Hansen makes a similar urgent argument for sequestering carbon in the soil.  And Rodale Institute’s White Paper on regenerative agriculture points out:

Excess carbon in the atmosphere is surely toxic to life, but we are, after all, carbon-based life forms, and returning stable carbon to the soil is a tonic that can support ecological abundance.

What if we reject options like geothermal engineering or methods of extracting fuels from photosynthesis or seawater for the risky business they are.  What if enough of us put our attention on reclaiming land to plant trees and grow food? Where’s the downside?

As the documentary, Growing Cities, points out, Americans have reverted to this simple idea in times of crisis.  The Victory Gardens of World War II come to mind, and Michelle Obama’s anti-0besity campaign that includes a vegetable plot on the grounds of The White House.  Then, when ‘happy days are here again,’ we ‘forget’ how powerful these choices make us and surrender to the ease of supermarket shopping and Big Ag dominated food system.  The good news: skills may lie dormant, but they don’t go away.

One of the projects of Transition Totnes, the UK’s first Transition Town,  was to interview elders about their life experiences of an earlier, slower time.  People who grew up during the Depression and World War II are an ever-shrinking group now, but there are plenty of 70- and 80-somethings with good memories of growing up on a farm or living in small towns where everyone knew each other by name and often worked together in some common enterprise.

I am thinking about the series of interviews FAU professor and performance artist, Sherryl Muriente, conducted with elders in the Italian town of Artena, subject Regeneration City, a documentary about The International Society of Biourbanism summer school in July 2013.  She uncovered among the nonnas of Artena a tradition of bread baking that had all but disappeared, and was able to revive it in an inspiring local festival.  (A second screening of the film was held in Lake Worth last weekend.) This could be a great project for any Transition Town in the making, and, nonna that I am, feel ready to work both ends of the interview.

Degrowth is far from a popular idea in my circles (yet), but it could be that better days are ahead if we can let go of the world we’ve been conditioned to accept and open ourselves to the one that is possible, and possibly superior, to this one. Samuel Alexander, founder of The Simplicity Collective, thinks so.  He makes a persuasive case for a degrowth economy, one that achieves a steady state within the Earth’s biophysical limits:  “Renewable energy cannot sustain an energy-intensive global society of high-end consumers. A degrowth society embraces the necessity of “energy descent”, turning our energy crises into an opportunity for civilisational renewal.”  This is also at the heart of Transition’s energy descent philosophy.

Self-identified ‘degrowth activist,’ Charles Eisenstein is eloquent on the subject. From The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know is Possible: “When any of us meet someone who rejects dominant norms and values, we feel a little less crazy for doing the same. Any act of rebellion or non-participation, even on a very small-scale, is therefore a political act.”

 

 

Waking Up is Hard to Do…But Not Impossible

Charlie Brown Doing OKNo comment needed on this, the first slide of a Transition Towns — 8 Years On show we did at Friends Quaker Meeting House in Lake Worth last night, our monthly Transition meetings that have been in progress since January. Putting it together was an education and reminder about how quickly this movement has grown, from the work of Rob Hopkins and his permaculture students in Ireland in early 2005 as they created an “energy descent action plan,” to a worldwide reach: some 1,000 Transition Initiatives in 42 countries.  If you were with us last night, this is a rerun.  If you weren’t, please read on:

A year after he completed his teaching gig and Ph.D. dissertation on the subject, Rob Hopkins started Transition Town Totnes (UK, 2006), and the movement took off like a shooting star.  Many people responded to the opportunity to tackle four key issues that Transition addresses: climate change; our addiction to oil; the myth of endless growth; a skewed economy.

If you’re a subscriber or regular reader of this blog, chances are you are already in the 61 % of Americans who accept the scientific basis for climate change and/or the 48% who recognize that it is “a major threat.”  But I’m going to bet that, even so, you may not have woken up to the fact of our addiction to fossil fuels and why we need to swiftly break it. The concept of Peak Oil shows that around 2008, cheap oil production, upon which our civilization relies  — at least here in the prosperous part of the world — ‘peaked,’ and thereafter, we have had to spend more money, resources (e.g. water), and energy, to extract a diminishing supply. Fracking, which has been touted as the next boom in energy, is actually one sign that we are scraping the bottom of the barrel, pun appropriate.  The case for scaling back on conventional energy use while developing renewables (solar and wind), has never been stronger.Why Transition 4 reasons

You may not be aware that the myth of endless growth was exploded in 1972 with the release of Limits to Growth, and the estimates about when we would reach planetary ‘overshoot,’ that is, when we have ‘used up’ more resources than can be replenished by Nature, are proving all too prescient. Yet, again in the wealthy part of the world, the notion that we can enjoy endless growth on a finite planet, remains a fixed ideology, espoused by government and business.  It is the reason the economy and concern for the environment are so often at odds.   In an economy skewed toward the already wealthy and powerful (and vote-buying) sector, one needs to be constantly reminded that small businesses, including organic farmers and local food producers (to look at one example) create more jobs, better health and well-being, social justice, and keep money circulating in the local community.

The slide show goes on to describe how and where Transition is taking root, and it’s an inspiring human story that I would be glad to bring to your club, faith group, or organization.  I could use the practice, and it’s free.

Most Transition Towns get going when a small group of engaged citizens begin to talk together about our predicament and how we can move beyond it, in and as communities, to a different way of thriving with less energy, more connection, and joy.  Sometimes, the group gels quickly and starts to adapt the low-carbon, relocalizing approach of Transition to the needs of the local community. Sometimes — as in Transition Palm Beaches — partnering with other groups on some common grounds, can be the catalyst.  To date, we have helped — in partnership with EcoArt South Florida and Gray Mockingbird Community Garden — to bring Symphony of the Soil, an important documentary by filmmaker, Deborah Koons Garcia, to the 400-seat Muvico in City Place (WPB) and raise money for a new composting site in the community.

Ken and kids seedingThis April, Transition Palm Beach members participated in C’est La Via, an ‘urban acupuncture‘ project to revitalize underutilized public spaces, in this instance, the bleak alleyway behind the bustling Clematis Street row of restaurants and shops in downtown West Palm Beach, transformed for one day with a scrubbing, paint, plants, music and people interaction into an urban oasis.  This weekend, we went to the historic Osborne School in Lake Worth to participate in planting several acres with a variety of soil-restoring seeds, under the guidance of Ken Horkavy, garden manager and permaculturist, and an enthusiastic bunch of kids. Come back a year from and you may see once vacant land becoming a food forest for the community.  Volunteers welcome.  Get your hands in the dirt.

For me, focusing on what can be done locally is enriched greatly by what is going on the wider world of Transition.  Most of this information is available on two big sites and two emerging ones:  Transition US, the clearing house for Transition information and education in this country.  It offers free online seminars and a wealth of good, inspiring material.  If you cannot be at a seminar, the audio and transcript versions are posted promptly.  In August, the Mid-Atlantic Regional Transition Hub (MATH) was formed, to enable Transition Towns to share information and best-practices. In our area, we have a smaller, promising version in Transition Southeast and Deep South.  In the UK, where all this began, there is The Transition Network, home of Rob Hopkins prolific blog, basic information about the movement, and a list of Transition Initiatives around the world.  As of this writing, the newest is Tiv’on, Israel.  Transition Palm Beaches is still officially registered as a ‘mullers’ group.

Rob Hopkins is often quoted as saying the cavalry is not coming to save us.  But what if we’re the cavalry?  Let’s saddle up and ride.

Stay Local, My Friends!

My tribe was on the march yesterday, some 400,000 of them in New York City, the biggest climate march in history. I have never been more proud of fellow UUs – 1,500 of them – for being in the forefront of a movement for climate justice. Saturday night, All Souls Unitarian in New York hosted an SRO panel of climate activists; click here for a video of the entire event.

Stay local 3So, I wasn’t physically in New York with Bill and Naomi and Vandana. Somehow burning fossil fuels to attend a climate march seemed, well, unseemly. In Florida, there were a number of marches in solidarity with the Big One. Transition Palm Beaches, and the emerging Transition Town Lake Worth, were well represented at the one in Delray Beach, joining Lake Worth Commissioner, Chris McVoy, the Raging Grannies, and The Sierra Club, among 50 others. We occupied the four corners at Swinton and Atlantic Avenues, held aloft a collection of hand-lettered signs (I wore mine on my back), and waved as supporters walked (mostly drove, sigh) by, horns honking, many showing thumbs up.   We chatted and compared notes on what we were doing, personally. Who came in an EV (we did)? Who is growing food (lots of us)? How to get best mileage from your hybrid? What will it take to get the Sunshine state to capitalize on its greatest energy asset (votes)? You get the picture.

M, MJ and Dean at Climate MarchSo, while it has been uplifting to see the crowd numbers come in today and look at all the photos of marchers (thank you, New York Times for covering the event), these conversations and the day-to-day work of learning how to thrive in community while powering down, continues apace. We meet, we plan. Today, I facilitated a loan of a seed ball-making machine from Northwood Greenlife community in West Palm Beach to the historic Osborne School in Lake Worth, where new-minted Garden Manager, Ken Horkavy, is going to plant four fallow acres starting Saturday, with a gala kickoff.   A year ago, I didn’t know a seed ball from a ball of wax, let alone that a machine could make them.

It must be in the water, but everywhere you turn, people are making moves to liberate ourselves from our long addiction to fossil fuels because we know we must. There are MeetUps about walkability forming. Urban alleys will be rehabbed as people-friendly spaces. Next weekend, at the Transition Monthly meeting, we’ll be showcasing how far the movement has come in the eight years since a mild-mannered permaculture teacher named Rob Hopkins decided to apply what he learned from the discipline to the challenges of climate change and resource overshoot.   Also in the works, an alternative gift salon, in time for a saner holiday season. Coming soon, to your neighborhood.

The Story of (Old) Stuff

Five years ago, Annie Leonard’s The Story of Stuff launched a movement to “build a more healthy and just planet” by calling attention in an accessible, charming way to how thoughtlessly we acquire, dispose of, and waste stuff, and what this means in the Big Picture. Today, it has 750,000 loyal followers, including me, and three other animated videos of equal power and ingenuity.

I have my own story about stuff and it is largely about appreciating what I already own, a riff on the great UU Minister, the late Forrest Church’s admonition: Learn to want what you have.

Maybe because I am something of an antique myself, I really love my old stuff. I’m not referring to furniture and bric-a-brac I inherited, although I can get emotional about my parents’ circa 1965 Danish Modern chairs with the marks of wear and original covers that now grace my living room. By ‘old stuff,’ I mean things like the t-shirt and straw hat (pictured below), both in my life for about a quarter of a century, each with a little history of its own that makes it precious to me. Old friends, you might say.

tshirt mendocinoThe pink t-shirt I bought for about $5 on a down-market shopping expedition with a fashion- and bargain-conscious younger friend in California. Her idea of a great find was something like my t-shirt that she could pair up with her designer jeans and other pricey London fashions. In the 1990’s, it was still possible to find t-shirts made in the U.S.A., as was this one. Colors were basic, too. Pink, as opposed to Shell or Blossom, so familiar to clothing catalogues stuffed with stuff made in China today.  And, although it was a modest outlay even for the decade (equivalent to about $9 today), my t-shirt was made to last, holding its classic shape while becoming softer and more comfortable through the years. Nowadays, I wear it for exercise or as a pajama top, paired with another much-loved relic from my closet you can probably imagine without a photo. I doubt the label Mendocino on a clothing line is around anymore. But it always makes me nostalgic for California wine country and a more upbeat future for the world’s eighth largest economy.  (Today, Made in America clothing is a short list.)

Greek Straw HatFor an outing to MacArthur State Park Beach this past weekend, I wore the straw hat that lives in my vehicle waiting for just such an occasion. Circa 1990, it was purchased for a trip to Greece, to keep the Aegean sun off my face while we sailed around the islands for a week with a group of friends. My favorite island was car-free Hydra, and I wonder what our lives would have been like had we decided to jump ship. A favorite memory was the expression of disbelief on the face of Nico, our Greek captain, when we tried to explain to him what a home mortgage was. My best buddy, Susan, threaded a length of pink grosgrain through a couple of holes punched in the brim so the hat would stay on my head (same ribbon, still works). The hat is in many photos of my trip, with my then dark hair poking out around the brim. I keep my beloved straw hat going by mending little tears or holes with a fabric glue, and if the day arrives that there is more glue than hat left, I shall mount it on the wall.

Annie Leonard has returned to Green Peace International as executive director and I expect we’ll be seeing more of what she is sensational at: breaking down important facts into compelling animated stories anyone can understand. If you haven’t seen her explain the difference between “More” – that is, the endless growth paradigm some economists are stuck in, despite the finite limits of the planet – and “Better” – an economy that works for everyone and stops destroying the environment – don’t wait another minute (I’m almost done here for now, anyway).

Although Green Peace is best known for pulling stunts to embarrass corporations into changing course, Annie remains optimistic about what can be accomplished with a little bit of honey: “Corporations can apply their ingenuity to environmental progress, not destruction, and we will keep working with a broad network of supporters and allied movements to push them to do the right thing.”

We could all let them know what we think of their stuff and what it took to get us to buy it in the first place, and what it really costs and who it hurts to bring it to our shopping outlet, by not buying it.  “Shopping” in your own closet means learning to reuse, repurpose, repair, re-love what you already posses. It is one small, potent step anyone can take immediately. Besides, you’ll never know what treasures could be waiting there for you unless you look.

Not Easy Being Hopeful?

If you thought it wasn’t easy being green (whatever that means), try being consistently hopeful under the circumstances. A week ago, research from the University of Melbourne found the forecasts of the groundbreaking 1972 Limits to Growth are on target. We are, says the report, in the early stages of global collapse. I have been aware of the book since E. Shaw Cole, my then father-in-law, a respected water systems engineer, returned from the Club of Rome meeting with a copy in hand. Popi was no political radical, yet as a practical, sane, good man, he grasped what we were in for if we didn’t change course.  And he wanted all of us in the family to get it, too.

This past Sunday, 350.org’s brilliant film, Disruption (available here), was released for online viewing. We had a house-party screening for two, and, although there is no denial about climate change and resource wars in this home, the images from Typhoon Haiyan and tDistruptionhe emotional testimony of the Philippines representative at a recent climate conference, left us both shaken.

So between taking in the film and the latest validation of Limits to Growth, my week began at a low point. I had a date with a blog post, but my head was spinning and my heart hurt. Later Monday, I got a call from fellow Transitioner, Nathan Venzara, bursting with good news about his plan to build a Tiny House for his young family. The Tiny House movement is a form of downsizing and simplifying life, often motivated by environmental concerns. Nathan is excited about the prospect of living more lightly and sanely, and to be free of debt (what a concept!)  He has agreed to talk about his project at a future Transition monthly meeting, and I’ll be writing more about the subject here.  His steadfast dedication to bringing it about, to do the thing that he can do now,  helped snap me around.  I was able to shift my focus to all the great organizations that are coming together in New York City on September 21 for the People’s Climate March, over 1,100, large and small, including 300 universities and colleges from the area.  There will also be 1,500 actions in 130 countries (more by the numbers).  Clearly, many people agree with activist/author, Naomi Klein: “We have a responsibility to rise to our own historical moment.”

Do I want to be at the march? Hell, yeah! Got a bed for two nights thanks to my generous friend and fellow yogi, Julia Hough. Now if I can figure out how to beam myself there …

So far, Transition Town Media (PA) and Transition Newton (NJ) will be representing the movement at the march. That makes sense, geographically. But people are coming from all over the country, including from California, by train, bus, carpool.  Some even on foot.  It’s that important. So, hear this: If you can’t, for whatever reason be there yourself, at least support those who will be putting their bodies on the line, e.g Team Backbone is looking for donations. Every action adds up.

The other thing we must do is keep on working to change the status quo which is most certainly on track to destroy civilization as we’ve known it. (Not everyone agrees that’s a bad thing.)  Says Dr. Naomi Oreskes, Harvard science historian, (quoted in the film): “The reality we’re facing is very grave. So how do you not get depressed about it? Well, one way you don’t get depressed is by work.”

Right now, I’m working on a slide-show called Transition Towns: 8 Years On for our next meeting.  The research about how this grassroots movement, born out of permaculture, has successfully grafted itself onto communities all over the world, is uplifting.  I remind myself that, even if I don’t make it to the People’s Climate March later this month, I have plenty to do right here.  And when the going gets tough, I replay one of Rob Hopkins’ cheerful You Tube talks.  Or I dip into my handy copy of Active Hope: How to Face the Mess We’re in Without Going Crazy by Joanna Macy,  She writes:

“The biggest gift you can give is to be absolutely present, and when you’re worrying about whether you’re hopeful or hopeless or pessimistic or optimistic, who cares? The main thing is that you’re showing up, that you’re here and that you’re finding ever more capacity to love this world because it will not be healed without that.”

https://www.facebook.com/peoplesclimatemarch

http://thetinylife.com/what-is-the-tiny-house-movement/

Who Speaks for the Earth?

In the 1970’s, when I was active in the National Organization for Women (and a proud charter subscriber of Ms. Magazine), I made women’s rights my prism for who got my vote, and which businesses and charities I would support. It was a simple approach but proved a spot-on compass for decisions that would affect my life as a woman on many levels. Although I’ve come lately and through a circuitous route to this realization, the rights of the Earth serve much the same purpose.

The idea that the Earth does in fact have rights – to exist, to habitat, to thrive and evolve – no less than humans and all other livings things, is these days usually attributed to author, Catholic priest, and ‘geologian,’ Thomas Berry, and to Aldo Leopold’s land ethic.   Both proposed a profound ecological consciousness that is lacking in our worship of the Big Fix.   It’s hard to understand how anyone working on environmental issues could miss this forest for the trees, but people can (and I did).

Budda quote on timeSometimes it takes one riveting speech to bring it all home.   This did it for me.  I’m at the first Healing Our World Conference (Orlando, 2013) listening to Sister Patricia Siemen, director of The Center for Earth Jurisprudence at Barry Law School, and feeling something like an electrical current move through me. Here she is at a TEDx, describing how she was transformed from a social justice activist working on securing land for a homeless shelter – “Over my dead body would some [protected] bird stand in the way …” to an attorney who regularly litigates for the rights of Florida’s rivers and streams. In that speech, and many others she has given, she argued convincingly that human rights that ignore the rights of all beings and the Earth itself, harm ‘the single emergent community’ of which we are all a part.

I’m with Sr. Pat that there’s something wrong with a legal system that supports the destruction of the environment for short-term legal economic benefit.   Of course, Citizens United has only exacerbated this. In a ‘true Earth democracy,’ says Sr. Pat, if other species could vote, they would vote us off the planet.  And with good reason:

In my backyard, it’s farewell, Panama Hatties, hello, gridlock over the Intracoastal bridge:

Palm Beach Post: PGA Partners has optioned 7.95 acres on the south side of PGA Boulevard at Ellison Wilson Road, along the Intracoastal Waterway. The firm has applied to annex the site into Palm Beach Gardens, raze the restaurant and build its mixed-use project, initially valued at $175 million.

Miami Herald: One of the world’s rarest forests, a section of Miami-Dade County’s last intact tracts of endangered pine rockland, is getting a new resident: a Walmart.

And don’t even bring up Minto West, a project that opponents point out will essentially double the size of the existing town.

So who speaks for the Earth? This is only partially a rhetorical question, and I hope it is one that encourages reflection based on your own experience — of ownership; your sense of ‘the commons;’ your appreciation of the wild. And if you were to attempt to answer, perhaps you, too, arrived at the same response: if not us, then who? If not now, then when?*

So don’t forget to vote: http://voteyeson1fl.org/sections/page/faq

Dig more deeply into this topic here:

http://www.earthrights.org/

http://therightsofnature.org/

http://earthjuris.org/

http://celdf.org/democracy-school

*(Blending Hillel the Elder and activist, John E. Lewis)