Archive for March, 2010

Hugo Chavez at Copenhagen Conference

17/03/2010

Chavez, calling it like he sees it

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez links capitalism to the current state of global environmental degradation during an address on FORA.TV at the COP15 Climate Conference in Copenhagen.”A ghost is stalking the streets of Copenhagen…it’s capitalism, capitalism is that ghost,” says Chavez. He mentions in his address, a placard that demonstrators were holding up outside the conference building, which stated “Don’t change the climate, change the system”. He also stated, “If climate change were the banks, they would have saved it.”

Raw Milk as Food Rights Catalyst

17/03/2010

By: D.R. Richards

"Where's the Food?"*

We just attended a talk, sponsored by the Weston A. Price Foundation, given by author David Gumpert, who wrote The Raw Milk Revolution. The main point we took away from this informative talk was that raw milk is at the center of an issue about Americans loosing their right to choose what they eat and drink.
Says Gumpert, “The framers of the U.S. Constitution did not include the right to eat and drink what you wished. It wasn’t placed along the right to bear arms or to assemble  becuase growing your own food or purchasing it from your neighbors was a given”.  Gumpert also stated that international agencies such as the World Bank and others were trumping national laws via agreements and treaties that were eliminating U.S. sovereignty on such issues. This seems a bit hard to believe but true, at least on the food front.  To learn more or purchase The Raw Milk Revolution, see the publisher’s website. The book comes highly recommended from audience members who had read it. * Title of another interesting book written years ago on the subject of food supply rights.

Mt. Huascaran, Highest in Peru: Images posted

14/03/2010

By D.R. Richards

Mt. Pisco, warmup for Huascaran

We’ve posted images on our Facebook page  from a Mt. Huascaran (21,812′/6767 m) expedition on which I was expedition co-leader. Click here to view the images, which range from climbing on route and images of the glaciated terrain and summits to some group shots.

Prajna, The Best Knowledge

13/03/2010

Shirley's Herbal Sweat Studio

The Simple Pleasures of Jamaica

On a morning bike ride around Treasure Beach, Jamaica recently, I was drawn to stop and admire a beautiful hand built sandstone building, surrounded by lush perennial herb and flower gardens, fruit trees and meandering pathways.  Shirley, the owner, walked down the hillside, greeted me with a warm, broad smile and welcomed me into her yard for a chat, typical of the Jamaican residents we had met during our two week stay.  It turns out Shirley is a well-known herbalist and massage therapist in town, had built the structure herself for her massage business, and within minutes I had signed up to have one of her legendary herbal sweats and relaxation massages. With this vitally important step out of the way, we toured the gardens and learned about the fragrant mixture of wild Jamaican herbs and fruit juices Shirley uses to send her clients to relaxation nirvana.

In Jamaica, the elder women pass their knowledge of herbs and plants from generation to generation, as Shirley’s mother had while she was growing up in nearby Great Bay.  Shirley explained the provenence of each plant, either planted from seed, field dug, or gifted from a friend or family member.  Her knowledge of the individual characteristics and uses of each plant was remarkable. When we parted over an hour later, I could barely wait until it was my turn to savor her herbal ‘detox’ treatment and relaxation massage.

Shirley Genus, Jamaican Herbalist & Massage Therapist

So it was that the next day, I watched as Shirley chose from her yard the pimento, lemon grass and eucalyptus to help clear my lungs, and lime juice for cleansing my skin.  She tossed these and other herbal delights into a cauldron of  boiling water over an open fire.  She then poured the boiling, aromatic mixture into a clay cauldron tucked inside a three-sided steam room with a cloth door.

In I went, with Shirley’s instructions to stir the mix, ‘breathe’ and stay hydrated with the water she provided. This was not your typical steambath!  Immediately, the rich herbal smells filled the small space and I settled in to enjoy a blissful 30 minutes of total relaxation.  Next came the oil massage, which included a fascinating philosophical commentary by Shirley about the history of Jamaica, the value of massage, the state of our busy lives, her world travels and education in the United States, and good humored bantering about gender differences.  Shirley’s massage combined many styles, and is uniquely her own brand.  I dare say it’s one of the finest massages I’ve ever had.

As I ventured back to reality toward the end of the hour, I asked Shirley when she was going to write the Book of Shirley.  She laughed heartily and replied,  “Everyone wants me to write a book.  I say to them, come back and see me and we will continue to talk together and teach each other.”  I think I will, Shirley, thanks.

Top 10 Green Universities

12/03/2010

Going Green U, Image: Trendhunter Mag

The Sierra Club has just released its new feature on green colleges, listing what they named the Top Ten Green Universities. It used to be that small, private colleges seemed to be the only ones that cared. Now the supersized universities are realizing that adopting green strategies is a smart move to reduce costs and attract students.

The ten schools that “get it” are (enrollment):
#1 Middlebury College (2350);
#2 University of Colorado-Boulder (29,000);
#3 University of Vermont at Burlington 10,750 students, Burlington, Vermont
#4 Warren Wilson College, 850 students, Swannanoa, North Carolina
#5 Evergreen State, 4400 students, Olympia, WA
Read the rest of this story

Milestones: Ron Verblauw, 1933-2009

12/03/2010

By D.R. Richards

Good Friend and Mountain Man, Ron Verblauw

Unexpected friends come into one’s life, sometimes for a brief time, but leave an indelible mark. Ron Verblauw was one of those people in my life. He and his wife, Carol, moved to Sunapee, New Hampshire, USA from New Jersey because of Ron’s love of the country and skiing. He had served as a director on the National Ski Patrol’s Eastern Division, ran a trucking company in New Jersey for 40 years, served in the U.S. Air Force in the Korean conflict and was a district governor of Rotary International.

I must admit, I was prepared not to be fond of Ron at first, because of his pro-development stance regarding our local Mt. Sunapee Ski Area and his “proactive aire” about getting things done in, what used to be, our little sleepy community, which can often rub the locals the wrong way. I later saw this as a wonderful attribute, and I quickly realized Ron was an amazing person for many reasons. (more…)

Ghost Towns, Above and Below Water

12/03/2010

Newfoundlanders Abandon Villages, Cod Fisheries Gone

Child with Cod, circa 1895, from Greenpeace

After more than 400 years as the foundation of one of Earth’s great fisheries, cod are not coming back to Canada. The costs are more than environmental.

In the mid-20th century, cod supported more than 40,000 eastern Canadian fishermen. That’s when industrial catch techniques nearly tripled annual harvests. By the early 1970s, cod numbers plummeted.

Fishing stopped for a while. Cod came back. Fishing started again. Cod disappeared. In the early 1990s, the government halted fishing again, expecting the fish to return, just like before — but this time, they didn’t. They’ll likely vanish before mid-century.

Scientists can’t say for sure what’s going on under those cold gray waters, but they can speculate.

Newfoundland communities abandoned since 1960

There were likely too few cod to revive a population: individuals simply couldn’t find each other to reproduce. Some other species might have taken their spot in the web of life. The web itself has changed shape, and may no longer have room for them.

“You see this very rapid, drastic collapse of large predatory fishes that used to dominate, particularly cod,” said Boris Worm, a marine biologist at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia. “You see a rapid collapse of those, and a shift of the ecosystem towards invertebrates and small pelagic fishes.”

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MSI’s Web/Online Changes

05/03/2010

By D.R. Richards

FaceBook Twitter

It’s a beautiful day. I should be spring skiing at Mt. Sunapee, but we’ve been making some new additions to the website, and this blog. We’ve added Facebook and Twitter icons on various pages, and reintroduced online forms on our Contact and Fair Trade and Donation pages. We’ve also made it easier to find the Fair Trade Page by adding a link to the main pages. We’ve migrated this blog to www.mtnspirit.org as of today, so our address is slightly different but you can still reach us at the old address.

Our Booth, I'l Festival, VT Getting the word out.

Getting our name out there is almost as important as fundraising and continuing to offer safe, meaningful programs. While our heart is in the mountains, we’ve stayed indoors to get these important features added to our site.  Keep track of our Facebook page, we’ll be using that as our online photo album for various programs, past and present.  Now to go hear Greg Mortenson tonight…

Google Translator

02/03/2010

By D.R. Richards

Easy to use Translator

I use Google Translator quite often for composing emails that I send to businesses in Peru. I admit it,  I’m cheating, but when dealing with businesses, it’s often a more reliable way to get my point across, and not cost mistakes, and money. If you’ve not needed Google Translator, you might find it fun to type a few words in English and see what it spits out at the other end, in Chinese or Russian.
We’ve had some Russian interest in one of our posts by Amanda Richards,  “Rebuilding the Machu Picchu Ruins” .  A Russian website has a link, and one of our photos on their site, so I decided to post a reply in Russian. I wonder if they’ll read it!
Signed,
Рэнди Ричардс
Горный институт Дух

Politicians Will Not Change the World

01/03/2010

An Open Letter from a “Former Economic Hit Man”
By John Perkins

Former "E.H.M.", John Perkins

[Editor's Note: I have long been a fan of  New York Times Bestselling author John Perkins, after reading Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, which should be read by every citizen of the world - by Americans to see how our lifestyle impacts "third world" countries, and by those citizens in countries that have been taken advantage of by the "corporatracy". Please Read on....]

“Many of you have asked how I feel about the Obama administration . . .

In short: the fact that we moved from a conservative Republican oilman from Texas to a liberal Democratic African American from Illinois, and yet change plods along at a snail’s pace – if at all – is a confirmation of what I discuss in detail in my “HOODWINKED.”

Our president has little real power. (more…)


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