Daily Archives: May 9, 2020

Catastrophe: Dialogues On Storytelling And The Present Moment—Part 2, Climate Change & Sacred Groves


Commonwealth Club

May 9, 2020

Please join The Commonwealth Club of California and UC Berkeley’s Townsend Center for the Humanities for the second in a series of dialogues on catastrophe, storytelling and the present moment. In “Climate Change and Sacred Groves,” Townsend Center scholar Sugata Ray will meet with visual artist Ranu Mukherjee to investigate the relationship between the natural world and the sacred realm, especially as it has developed in India over the last several centuries of civilization and the rise of the Anthropocene era.

In his most recent book, Climate Change and the Art of Devotion, Sugata shows how a site-specific and ecologically grounded theology emerged in northern India in the wake of the Little Ice Age (ca. 1550–1850), an epoch marked by climatic catastrophes across the globe. His interests dovetail in unexpected and compelling ways with Ranu’s visionary and captivating recent work, which positions the banyan tree as a meeting point between ecology and culture. Their conversation will be an opportunity for viewers to contemplate and rethink the role of art as it relates to contemporary concerns around climate, disease, human flourishing and the sacred.

Sugata Ray is associate professor of South and Southeast Asian art in the History of Art Department at the University of California, Berkeley. His research and writing focus on climate change and the visual arts from the 1500s onward. Ray is the author of Climate Change and the Art of Devotion: Geoaesthetics in the Land of Krishna, 1550–1850 (2019); Water Histories of South Asia: The Materiality of Liquescence (2019; coedited); and Ecologies, Aesthetics, and Histories of Art (forthcoming; coedited).

Ranu Mukherjee is a visual artist who makes paintings, animations and large-scale installations. Her current work focuses on shifting senses of ecology, non-human agency, diaspora, migration and transnational feminist experience. Her most recent installation was presented at the ecologically focused 2019 Karachi Biennale; she has exhibited solo at the San Jose Museum of Art, the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, the Asian Art Museum, and the de Young Museum. She is an associate professor in graduate fine art at the California College of the Arts. Mukherjee is represented by Gallery Wendi Norris.

NOTES
Artwork from The Met (in public domain): “Krishna and Balarama by a River: Page from a Dispersed Bhagavata Purana (Ancient Stories of Lord Vishnu)”

Part one in this series, “The Book of Exodus,” can be viewed here

Practical Permaculture: for Home Landscapes, Your Community, and the Whole Earth: Bloom, Jessi, Boehnlein, Dave, Kearsley, Mr. Paul

Permaculture is more popular than ever, but it can still be a daunting concept. If you are new to permaculture and interested in learning more, Practical Permaculture offers authoritative, in-depth, and hands-on advice for a more holistic approach to sustainable living. Jessi Bloom and Dave Boehnlein, two dynamic leaders in the permaculture community, explain the basics of permaculture, share their design process, and explore various permaculture systems including soil, water, waste, energy, shelter, food and plants, and animals and wildlife. They also profile the fifty most useful plants for permaculture landscapes.

…(read more).

Food-matters,

The Ecological Landscape Professional: Core Concepts for Integrating the Best Practices of Permaculture, Landscape Design, and Environmental Restoration into Professional Practice: Ohlsen, Erik

 

Create a meaningful career restoring the planet. Ecological landscaping provides implementable solutions to many of the world’s problems including viable new career paths for a growing regenerative economy.

This book includes FREE Online Trainings in Professional Ecological Design. Go Here to Register: https://erikohlsen.com/ecological-landscape-professional-trainings/ (Copy & Paste in your browser)

Integrating the principles of permaculture with the practices of professional landscape design provides a powerful strategy to restore the planet and create a regenerative economy simultaneously. A global movement has already taken root throughout the landscape industry and standards are transforming away from old practices that pollute and destroy ecosystems toward methodologies that repair the environment.

The Ecological Landscape Professional outlines best practices for ecological landscape design, landscape fertility plans, ecological planting strategies, water-harvesting systems, project management, professional design processes, and building a regenerative career developing your own ecological landscape business. An ecological landscaping approach can provide implementable solutions to many of the environmental challenges and community issues that we face globally. Imagine what life would be like if your job was to design and implement regenerative landscapes, farms, and restoration projects. Imagine a career where you grow food, catch and store water, repair watersheds, build wildlife habitat, sequester carbon, build healthy soil, and transform your community. We can’t afford to wait for anyone else, we have to act now to save what’s left for future generations. Restoring our world can’t be a weekend hobby any longer as we so desperately need to scale regeneration.

That’s was this book is all about. It’s here to inspire you, to educate you, and to empower you to gain the techniques and strategies necessary to have a beneficial and ecological impact on your community. The best practices inside this guide will give you tools you can use to create a livelihood regenerating the planet. It’s a toolkit to change your life and the world around you.

…(read more)

Food-matters,

The New Wild: Why Invasive Species Will Be Nature’s Salvation, Fred Pearce

 

A provocative exploration of the “new ecology” and why most of what we think we know about alien species is wrong

For a long time, veteran environmental journalist Fred Pearce thought in stark terms about invasive species: they were the evil interlopers spoiling pristine “natural” ecosystems. Most conservationists and environmentalists share this view. But what if the traditional view of ecology is wrong—what if true environmentalists should be applauding the invaders?

In The New Wild, Pearce goes on a journey across six continents to rediscover what conservation in the twenty-first century should be about. Pearce explores ecosystems from remote Pacific islands to the United Kingdom, from San Francisco Bay to the Great Lakes, as he digs into questionable estimates of the cost of invader species and reveals the outdated intellectual sources of our ideas about the balance of nature. Pearce acknowledges that there are horror stories about alien species disrupting ecosystems, but most of the time, the tens of thousands of introduced species usually swiftly die out or settle down and become model eco-citizens. The case for keeping out alien species, he finds, looks increasingly flawed.

As Pearce argues, mainstream environmentalists are right that we need a rewilding of the earth, but they are wrong if they imagine that we can achieve that by reengineering ecosystems. Humans have changed the planet too much, and nature never goes backward. But a growing group of scientists is taking a fresh look at how species interact in the wild. According to these new ecologists, we should applaud the dynamism of alien species and the novel ecosystems they create.

In an era of climate change and widespread ecological damage, it is absolutely crucial that we find ways to help nature regenerate. Embracing the new ecology, Pearce shows us, is our best chance. To be an environmentalist in the twenty-first century means celebrating nature’s wildness and capacity for change.

…(read more).

Food-matters,

Beyond the War on Invasive Species: A Permaculture Approach to Ecosystem Restoration: Orion, Tao, Holmgren, David

 

Invasive species are everywhere, from forests and prairies to mountaintops and river mouths. Their rampant nature and sheer numbers appear to overtake fragile native species and forever change the ecosystems that they depend on. Concerns that invasive species represent significant threats to global biodiversity and ecological integrity permeate conversations from schoolrooms to board rooms, and concerned citizens grapple with how to rapidly and efficiently manage their populations. These worries have culminated in an ongoing “war on invasive species,” where the arsenal is stocked with bulldozers, chainsaws, and herbicides put to the task of their immediate eradication. In Hawaii, mangrove trees (Avicennia spp.) are sprayed with glyphosate and left to decompose on the sandy shorelines where they grow, and in Washington, helicopters apply the herbicide Imazapyr to smooth cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora) growing in estuaries. The “war on invasive species” is in full swing, but given the scope of such potentially dangerous and ecologically degrading eradication practices, it is necessary to question the very nature of the battle.

Beyond the War on Invasive Species offers a much-needed alternative perspective on invasive species and the best practices for their management based on a holistic, permaculture-inspired framework. Utilizing the latest research and thinking on the changing nature of ecological systems, Beyond the War on Invasive Species closely examines the factors that are largely missing from the common conceptions of invasive species, including how the colliding effects of climate change, habitat destruction, and changes in land use and management contribute to their proliferation. Beyond the War on Invasive Species demonstrates that there is more to the story of invasive species than is commonly conceived, and offers ways of understanding their presence and ecosystem effects in order to make more ecologically responsible choices in land restoration and biodiversity conservation that address the root of the invasion phenomenon. The choices we make on a daily basis―the ways we procure food, shelter, water, medicine, and transportation―are the major drivers of contemporary changes in ecosystem structure and function; therefore, deep and long-lasting ecological restoration outcomes will come not just from eliminating invasive species, but through conscientious redesign of these production systems.

Food-matters,

Lentil Underground: Renegade Farmers and the Future of Food in America, Liz Carlisle

A protégé of Michael Pollan shares the story of a little known group of renegade farmers who defied corporate agribusiness by launching a unique sustainable farm-to-table food movement.

The story of the Lentil Underground begins on a 280-acre homestead rooted in America’s Great Plains: the Oien family farm. Forty years ago, corporate agribusiness told small farmers like the Oiens to “get big or get out.” But twenty-seven-year-old David Oien decided to take a stand, becoming the first in his conservative Montana county to plant a radically different crop: organic lentils. Unlike the chemically dependent grains American farmers had been told to grow, lentils make their own fertilizer and tolerate variable climate conditions, so their farmers aren’t beholden to industrial methods. Today, Oien leads an underground network of organic farmers who work with heirloom seeds and biologically diverse farm systems. Under the brand Timeless Natural Food, their unique business-cum-movement has grown into a million dollar enterprise that sells to Whole Foods, hundreds of independent natural foods stores, and a host of renowned restaurants.

From the heart of Big Sky Country comes this inspiring story of a handful of colorful pioneers who have successfully bucked the chemically-based food chain and the entrenched power of agribusiness’s one percent, by stubbornly banding together. Journalist and native Montanan Liz Carlisle weaves an eye-opening and richly reported narrative that will be welcomed by everyone concerned with the future of American agriculture and natural food in an increasingly uncertain world.

…(read more).

Food-matters,

 

Capitalist Pigs: Pigs, Pork, and Power in America: Anderson, J. L

 

Pigs are everywhere in United States history. They cleared frontiers and built cities (notably Cincinnati, once known as Porkopolis), served as an early form of welfare, and were at the center of two nineteenth-century “pig wars.” American pork fed the hemisphere; lard literally greased the wheels of capitalism.

J. L. Anderson has written an ambitious history of pigs and pig products from the Columbian exchange to the present, emphasizing critical stories of production, consumption, and waste in American history. He examines different cultural assumptions about pigs to provide a window into the nation’s regional, racial, and class fault lines, and maps where pigs are (and are not) to reveal a deep history of the American landscape. A contribution to American history, food studies, agricultural history, and animal studies, Capitalist Pigs is an accessible, deeply researched, and often surprising portrait of one of the planet’s most consequential interspecies relationships.

…(read more).

Food-matters,