Archive for May, 2010

Twitter Got Us Outside Today

15/05/2010

Evil Twins?

Harrison Kaplan*

Who says computers keep us indoors?  This afternoon, Amanda was Twittering and Facebooking an article I had written a few days ago on how studies show green exercise helps mental health. Enter old friend Rob Kaplan, who  happened to be visiting his parents’ home, here in the area.  He was on Facebook the same time Amanda  was posting on FB and Twitter.  After reading the article, he thought of us, and gave us a call.

Just about that time we had decided to climb Mt. Sunapee,  so I asked Rob if he and his family would like to join us.  “Sure” he said, “just name the time.”  In about an hour, Rob, his two kids, Lucas and Harrison,  my wife Amanda and I were headed up  the old Dick Durrance trail, from Newbury, NH.

Lucas and Harrison are outdoor kids, the former is headed for Camp Coniston this summer, and both are then headed to a Boy Scout camp, (their parents will also be involved in facilitating at the camp).  They seem to be kids who love to camp, get outside and seek adventure. They seem atypical of many kids who spend a lot of time and attention in front of a computer.

Enjoying the spring green**

Facebook has helped me do everything from connect with old friends, to  keep up on an American Mountain Guides Association examee’s  experience on a recent ski guides exam.  Maybe it’s not all bad. Maybe it can, in fact, help get us outside, (I never thought I’d say that). Maybe it’s all about balance.

Jerry Mander writing in “In Absence of the Sacred” stated that technology in not neutral.  By it’s very nature, it pulls us away from nature. He wrote that the computer just doesn’t sit there, it sucks us in.  Point taken.  But it was cool how Facebook  may have pulled us together for a nice afternoon hike with Rob and his kids. It’s all about balance. As my old climbing and skiing buddy, Junji Itagaki says, “step away from the machine” …and go climb a mountain, but check Facebook on your way out, you might have some friends that will join you.

Images:
* Harrison stands by the old doubled up stump at the start of the old Dick Durrance Ski Trail, in Newbury NH.
** Harrison Kaplan, R. Richards and Rob Kaplan cross the brook near the start of the old ski trail.
Historical Notes:
The Dick Durrance Ski Trail was the first ski trail on Mount Sunapee, cut by the Newport/Mt. Sunapee Ski Club. Members also built a cabin on the mountain’s southeast shoulder, at the top of this ski trail. The cabin’s logs came from the immediate area, and were all cut by hand. Hikers can still see the outline of the ski trail by observing the old growth line at trail’s edge. The author skied this trail in about 2001 when we had a March dump that covered up all the trail, making for great backcountry skiing. It’s a bit narrow in spots, but in good deep snow, it’s great skiing. I have pictures of the old cabin which was still standing in the late ’70’s. (I’ll post these images one of these days). Back in the day, ski club members would boot pack the trail, climb to the cabin and stay the night and have races or runs on the weekends.

I wrote the Governor at the time,  in the late ’70’s, and requested permission to save the cabin. When he said no, I gave up on the idea to restore the cabin. But in hind sight should have persisted. We’d have a great skiing historical landmark today.  Oh well, I was only a teenager then.  I thought that when I got a no from the government, that was it. Now I, and others,  know better.

Why We Need Live Music #5

15/05/2010

Busking is the practice of performing in public places for tips. Busking performances can be just about anything that people find entertaining. We were recently held over in Paris due to the Icelandic ash cloud, and while there, encountered this classy group. It was nice to see these performers on a public square, a few blocks from the Louvre. They even had a cello case open for tips.

Black Diamond Equipment: Sold

11/05/2010

Utah’s Black Diamond Equipment sold for $90 million
By Mike Gorrell, Salt Lake Tribune, USA

Chouinard started BD

Peter Metcalf knew the business model he followed for two decades in building Black Diamond Equipment Ltd. from scratch into a $100 mil- lion-a-year company was insufficient to carry the Salt Lake County-based firm far into the future.

But now Metcalf believes he has found a partner with the financial resources to grow in a global economy. Clarus Corp., a publicly traded Connecticut company with no operations but lots of money to invest and $200 million worth of tax-loss credits, announced Monday that it is buying Black Diamond for $90 million.

A newly created company will continue to carry the Black Diamond name and retain Metcalf as its president and CEO. But it also will offer a broader line of respected outdoor products. As part of the deal, Clarus purchased Sacramento-based Gregory Mountain Products Inc. for $45 million and will.. Read the rest of this article

Experiential Education at Inti Raymi

11/05/2010

Inti Raymi in Cusco

Peru’s Inca History Rich with Experiential Education: At least from what we see at current Inti Raymi Festival
Every year on June 24 Cusco celebrates the festival of Inti Raymi at the Inca Fortress of Sacsayhuaman.
This festival was celebrated by the Incas as the Festival of the Sun in honor of the God of the Sun: Wiracocha. The Inti Raymi symbolizes the eternal consecration of marriage between the Sun and human beings. The festival is

Inca Royalty Observe Inti Raymi

now the second largest festival in Latin America with an expected 200,000 people visiting Cusco.

But from an educator’s eye, there is more going on than just a festival. Groups of students from all over Peru but especially from the Quechua speaking, and Inca origins, come to participate in experiential tests of courage and craftsmanship.  It is a wonderful and proud event in which to participate,

An 18-Yr-Old Balances

where young from come to throw, climb and balance, all the while, with elders looking on.  The sense of pride and community at the Inti Raymi is palpable.

When I first attended some 12 years ago, it had not been so big. So be it. The

Stone Throwing Competition

festival is popular and deservedly so, not only for the sense of history of the Inca, and Quechua heritage, but to see teens competing, representing their communities, here at this historical place, Sacsayhuaman.
Images: R. Richards, Mountain Spirit Institute
Mountain Spirit Institute has been running programs in Peru since the late 1990’s that focus on experientially learning and giving back to the people of the Andean villages we encounter. We pride ourselves in staying off the beaten path. See our website at www.mtnspirit.org for more information. MSI is a non-profit educational organization.

On The Road- Piha, New Zealand

10/05/2010

If you’ve not been to Piha, New Zealand, here’s a scene leaving the small west coast hamlet, driving up the narrow curving road to the lookout. The road doesn’t accommodate big trucks well. Although there is some building going on, Piha is surprisingly relaxed considering it’s about 25 minutes from New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland.  We spent the NZ winter there in ’09, and this was our commute for groceries and visiting with Amanda’s sister and kids in Auckland.

Global Meditation to Heal Waters

07/05/2010

If Group Meditation reduced violent crime in Washington DC, what could a massive healing meditation do for the world’s waters?

Startling & Postive Results

Below is a writeup on the now-oft quoted meditation event in Washington DC.  Then read further, about a worldwide meditation event scheduled for May 18th at 15:38 EST to send healing prayers to the world’s waters.

From alltm.org
A study published in the peer-reviewed journal Social Indicators Research reports on one of the most dramatic sociological experiments ever undertaken. Researchers predicted in advance that the calming influence of group meditation practice could reduce violent crime by over 20 percent in Washington, D.C., during an 8-week period in the summer of 1993.

In fact, the findings later showed that the rate of violent crime–which included assaults, murders, and rapes–decreased by 23 percent during the June 7 to July 30 experimental period. The odds of this result occurring by chance are less than 2 in 1 billion. Rigorous statistical analyses ruled out an extensive list of alternative explanations, according to John Hagelin, (more…)

A Sea Change

06/05/2010

Imagine A World Without Fish
Ocean acidification threatens over one million species with extinction–and with them, our entire way of life.

Time for Course Corrections

DVD: Directed by Barbara Ettinger
Recipient of the NOAA 2010 Environmental Hero Award

A Sea Change documents how the pH balance of the oceans has changed dramatically since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution: a 30% increase in acidification. With near unanimity, scientists now agree that the burning of fossil fuels is fundamentally reshaping ocean chemistry. Experts predict that over the next century, steady increases in carbon dioxide emissions and the continued rise in the acidity of the oceans will cause most of the world’s fisheries to experience a total bottom-up collapse–a state that could last for millions of years. Read more..

Directed by Barbara Ettinger
Produced by Barbara Ettinger, Sven Huseby, Susan Cohn Rockefeller

Music by Joel Goodman

Time to Break the Oil Addiction

06/05/2010

Sign the Petition

Now is a Good  Time to Break the Oil Addiction
From Greenpeace
On March 31st, President Obama announced a plan to allow oil and gas exploration and drilling in 167 million acres of coastal waters that have been protected for decades. Obama’s plan would expose the waters off southern Atlantic states and the eastern Gulf of Mexico to oil spills and other dangers, threatening many tourism and fishing-dependent communities. The news is even worse for Alaska’s Beaufort and Chukchi Seas, which are especially sensitive to oil drilling because they provide critical habitat for polar bears, whales, seals and other important Arctic species.

And of course, opening more areas to drilling only prolongs our dangerous addiction to oil, which is pushing us closer and closer to runaway climate change.

It’s time to quit oil, get clean, and make a permanent switch to renewable energy. Tell our President to just say no to offshore drilling.

Oil Spill Cleanup Timeline: 3 Months

03/05/2010

Current time-line to shut down Gulf of Mexico oil spill: three months.
Christian Science Monitor

Oil Slick in Gulf of Mexico

Federal officials gave a sobering appraisal of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill Sunday, with Interior Secretary Ken Salazar saying ‘ultimate relief’ was 90 days away.

Officials speaking about the Gulf of Mexico oil spill Sunday morning appeared to be steeling the Louisiana coast – and the nation – for consequences that could be “catastrophic.”  The officials, who run the agencies charged with mitigating the impact of the spill on America’s Gulf coast, used unusually stark words to describe the situation and the difficulties of the remedy. Read the rest of this story

We’ve Really Done It Now

03/05/2010

Gulf Oil Spill 2010, Image: Reuters, UK

I can’t help but think, with the Gulf oil spill, that we’re simply fleas on the back of a living organism that’s about to shake us off.  The spill is big. A retired expert mentioned this morning on The Power Hour internet radio show with Joyce Riley said there is not an easy way to stop such a huge oil spout, which is under such high pressure. It’s escaping the man-made hole created thousands of feet under the ocean’s surface. The expert actually said the only way he knew of containment, was to use an atomic blast, placed just in the right way, to seal the hole.

In any event, Chief Sealth from the Pacific Northwest was right, “We do not own the earth.”  This latest mishap by us, seems to really be screwing things up.  To be more informed on a culmination of “the perfect storm” read Richard Heinberg’s Peak Everything which addresses a number of issues which are peaking on our planet today.
Below if from Amazon’s page on Peak Everything.

Heinberg is Brilliant

From Publishers Weekly
In his latest, “Peak Oil” expert Heinberg (Oil, War and the Fate of Industrial Societies) puts that theory in place alongside corresponding peaks in population, food production, climate stability and fresh water availability to paint a grim future of overlapping and accelerating global crises. For an introduction to Peak Oil, the idea that coming fossil fuel shortages will be sudden and drastic, readers should seek Heinberg’s earlier works; this volume assumes familiarity and addresses the challenges a post-carbon world poses for a global community “as reliant on hydrocarbons as it is on water, sunlight, and soil.” The worst-case scenario, “global economic meltdown” read more

Description of Peak Everything
The twentieth century saw unprecedented growth in population, energy consumption, and food production. As the population shifted from rural to urban, the impact of humans on the environment increased dramatically.

The twenty-first century ushered in an era of declines, in a number of crucial parameters:

* Global oil, natural gas, and coal extraction
* Yearly grain harvests (more…)