Sunday, March 20, 2016

Earth Hour 2016 in Pictures - We allowed Mother Earth to breathe for at least one hour in one year, we can do better!

Major landmarks, businesses, and communities all over the world turned their lights off for one hour at 8:30 p.m., yesterday, Saturday, March 19th to raise awareness about climate change and show support for renewable energy.
                                                                              
Manhattan, Empire State Building
 
Las Vegas

London, The House of Parliament
 
London, Piccadilly Circus
 
Paris, Eiffel Tower
 
Vienna, The Schoenbrunn Palace
 
Rome, Vatican Basilica
 
Rome, The Trevi Fountain
 
Sweden, The Hyllie water tower in Malmo
 
Serbia
 
The National Library of Belarus in Minsk
 
Indonesia, the business district in Jakarta
 
Japan, Tokyo Tower
 
Thailand, the Grand Palace in Bangkok
 
Moscow, the Bolshoi Kamenny Bridge, Kremlin in b/g 
 
Bejing, China, the National Stadium (Bird's Nest)
 
Australia, Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge
 
 
  
 

Mercy, Mercy Me (The Ecology Song), Marvin Gaye


Big Yellow Taxi, Joni Mitchell


Be The Rain, Neil Young & Crazy Horse



Sunday, January 24, 2016

Human Impact has pushed Earth into the Anthropocene, scientists say (The Guardian)

The Guardian, January 7, 2016 http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jan/07/human-impact-has-pushed-earth-into-the-anthropocene-scientists-say

New study provides one of the strongest cases yet that the planet has entered a new geological epoch

 Fishermen float onboard a boat amid mostly plastic rubbish in Manila Bay, the Philippines. Humans have introduced 300m metric tonnes of plastic to the environment every year. Photograph: Erik de Castro/Reuters

There is now compelling evidence to show that humanity’s impact on the Earth’s atmosphere, oceans and wildlife has pushed the world into a new geological epoch, according to a group of scientists.

The question of whether humans’ combined environmental impact has tipped the planet into an “Anthropocene” – ending the current Holocene which began around 12,000 years ago – will be put to the geological body that formally approves such time divisions later this year.

The new study provides one of the strongest cases yet that from the amount of concrete mankind uses in building to the amount of plastic rubbish dumped in the oceans, Earth has entered a new geological epoch.

“We could be looking here at a stepchange from one world to another that justifies being called an epoch,” said Dr Colin Waters, principal geologist at the British Geological Survey and an author on the study published in Science on Thursday.

“What this paper does is to say the changes are as big as those that happened at the end of the last ice age . This is a big deal.”

Geological periods





He said that the scale and rate of change on measures such as CO2 and methane concentrations in the atmosphere were much larger and faster than the changes that defined the start of the holocene.

Humans have introduced entirely novel changes, geologically speaking, such as the roughly 300m metric tonnes of plastic produced annually. Concrete has become so prevalent in construction that more than half of all the concrete ever used was produced in the past 20 years.

Wildlife, meanwhile, is being pushed into an ever smaller area of the Earth, with just 25% of ice-free land considered wild now compared to 50% three centuries ago. As a result, rates of extinction of species are far above long-term averages.

But the study says perhaps the clearest fingerprint humans have left, in geological terms, is the presence of isotopes from nuclear weapons testing that took place in the 1950s and 60s.

Istopes common in nature, 14C, and a naturally rare isotope, 293Pu, are present through the Earth’s mid-latitudes due to nuclear testing in the 1950s and 60s.
 
More than half of all the concrete ever used was produced in the past 20 years. Photograph: Bobby Yip/Reuters “Potentially the most widespread and globally synchronous Anthropogenic signal is the fallout from nuclear weapons testing,” the paper says.

“It’s probably a good candidate [for a single line of evidence to justify a new epoch] ... we can recognise it in glacial ice, so if an ice core was taken from Greenland, we could say that’s where it [the start of the Anthropocene] was defined,” Waters said.

The study says that accelerating technological change, and a growth in population and consumption have driven the move into the Anthropocene, which advocates of the concept suggest started around the middle of the 20th century.

“We are becoming a major geological force, and that’s something that really has happened since we had that technological advance after the second world war. Before that it was horse and cart transporting stuff around the planet, it was low key, nothing was happening particularly dramatically,” said Waters.

He added that the study should not be taken as “conclusive statement” that the Anthropocene had arrived, but as “another level of information” for the debate on whether it should be formally declared an epoch by the International Commission on Stratigraphy (ICS).

Istopes common in nature, 14C, and a naturally rare isotope, 293Pu, are present through the Earth’s mid-latitudes due to nuclear testing in the 1950s and 60s.

Waters said that if the ICS was to formally vote in favour of making the Anthropocene an official epoch, its significance to the wider world would be in conveying the scale of what humanity is doing to the Earth.

“We [the public] are well aware of the climate discussions that are going on. That’s one aspect of the changes happening to the entire planet. What this paper does, and the Anthropocene concept, is say that’s part of a whole set of changes to not just the atmosphere, but the oceans, the ice – the glaciers that we’re using for this project might not be here in 10,000 years.

“People are environmentally aware these days but maybe the information is not available to them to show the scale of changes that are happening.”

The international team behind the paper includes several other members of the Subcommission on Quaternary Stratigraphy’s Anthropocene working group, which hopes to present a proposal to the ICS later this year. The upswing in usage of the Anthropocene term is credited to Paul Crutzen, the Dutch Nobel prize-winning atmospheric chemist, after he wrote about it in 2000.

Key markers of change that are indicative of the Anthropocene. A shows new markers, while B shows long-ranging signals.

Prof Phil Gibbard, a geologist at the University of Cambridge who initially set up the working group examining formalising the Anthropocene, said that while he respected the work of Waters and others on the subject, he questioned how useful it would be to declare a new epoch.

“It’s really rather too near the present day for us to be really getting our teeth into this one. That’s not to say I or any of my colleagues are climate change deniers or anything of that kind, we fully recognise the points: the data and science is there.

“What we question is the philosophy, and usefulness. It’s like having a spanner but no use for it,” he said.

Gibbard suggested it might be better if the Anthropocene was seen as a cultural term – such as as the Neolithic era, the end of the stone age – rather than a geological one.

Evidence we’ve started an ‘Anthropocene’
  • We’ve pushed extinction rates of flora and fauna far above the long-term average. The Earth is now on course for a sixth mass extinction which would see 75% of species extinct in the next few centuries if current trends continue

  • Increased the concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere by about 120 parts per million since the industrial revolution because of fossil fuel-burning, leaving concentrations today at around 400ppm and rising

  • Nuclear weapon tests in the 1950s and 60s left traces of an isotope common in nature, 14C, and a naturally rare isotope, 293Pu, through the Earth’s mid-latitudes

  • Put so much plastic in our waterways and oceans that microplastic particles are now virtually ubiquitous, and plastics will likely leave identifiable fossil records for future generations to discover

  • Doubled the nitrogen and phosphorous in our soils in the past century with our fertiliser use

  • According to some research, we’ve had the largest impact on the nitrogen cycle in 2.5bn years

  • Left a permanent marker in sediment and glacial ice with airborne particulates such as black carbon from fossil fuel-burning


Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Twas The Week After Christmas - Happy New Year!


Twas The Week After Christmas

Twas the week after Christmas 
and all through the house
Nothing would fit me, 
not even a blouse.

The cookies I'd nibbled, 
the eggnog I'd taste.
All the holiday parties 
had gone to my waist.
When I got on the scales 
there arose such a number!
When I walked to the store 
(less a walk than a lumber).

I'd remember the marvelous 
meals I'd prepared;
The gravies and sauces 
and beef nicely rared,

The wine and the rum balls, 
the bread and the cheese
And the way I'd never said, 
"No thank you, please."

So--away with the last 
of the sour cream dip,
Get rid of the fruitcake, 
every cracker and chip
Every last bit of food 
that I like must be banished
Till all the additional 
ounces have vanished.

I won't have a cookie-- 
not even a lick.
I'll want only to chew 
on a long celery stick.

I won't have hot biscuits, 
or corn bread, or pie,
I'll munch on a carrot 
and quietly cry.

I'm hungry, I'm lonesome, 
and life is a bore --
But isn't that what 
January is for?

Unable to giggle, 
no longer a riot.
Happy New Year to all 
and to
all a good diet!
 
 



New Year's Resolution, Camera Obscura


Gonna Make It Through This Year, Great Lake Swimmers


Funky New Year, The Eagles


New Year's Resolution, Otis Redding & Carla Thomas


What Are You Doing New Year's Eve, Ella Fitzgerald

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

A Very Native American Christmas to You!

http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2014/12/24/how-do-native-americans-celebrate-christmas-158445
NPR via the Library of Congress
A Native American family gathers around a Christmas tree in Montana, ca. 1900-1920.
 
With the spread of Christianity among some Native Americans in the early 20th century came certain Christmas rituals — trees and presents and jolly old Santa Claus — that were folded into traditional wintertime celebrations.
 
According to a 1909 account in the Tombstone Epitaph, members of the Gila River Indian Community — living on reservations in Arizona — were introduced to imported-from-Europe Christmas customs, such as St. Nicholas and Christmas trees. "It was the first time the Indians had ever seen the good old saint and they were highly amused and pleased."
 
The Yale Expositor of St. Clair County, Mich., reported on December 18, 1913 that for certain Sioux dwelling in South Dakota, Christmas and its accoutrements came through government-run schools. In each village, the Sioux collected funds for a feast. One member dressed up as Kris Kringle and made speeches and handed out presents. Native American children, the newspaper noted, "were quick to show interest in the Christmas tree."
 
In a round-the-nation story, The Winchester News from Winchester Ky., on Dec 31, 1910, wrote that the Christmas tree "brought to their notice by the palefaces, caught their fancy and today ...forms the center of nearly all the Indian Christmas celebrations."
 
Some Native Americans put a special spin on Christmas, incorporating traditions and tales that dated back ages. The Salish passed down a Christmas story of a "great and good man who came among their forefathers and performed miracles of all kinds, and on leaving them said he would return in the form of a large white coyote," the 1910 Winchester News noted. "They say he has appeared at different times, but has not been seen now for more than 150 years."
 
A 1904 San Francisco magazine cover, by Maynard Dixon, showing Santa Claus with a cowboy and a Native American man.
 
New York Public Library
 
In San Felipe Pueblo, N.M., the 1913 Expositor account pointed out, the holiday celebration among Native Americans living there was "a curious mixture of Christian and pagan customs."
Members went to the old mission church in the morning, held a feast at midday and then began "a fantastic and ceremonial dance that continues for half a week.
 
Today, explains Deborah A. Jojola, Curator of Exhibitions at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque – which represents the 19 Pueblos of New Mexico — "most of the Pueblo Nations within New Mexico have seasonal cycles for ceremonies and celebrations."
Many Pueblo communities celebrate the harvest, she says. And the day of the patron saint of the church and the village that "blends both native and Catholic expressions with a single purpose — the welfare of the people."
 
But through the decades, Christmas – which also combines old familiar folkways with Catholicism — has taken on added significance. On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, she says, many of the Pueblos host special masses and dances.
 
The Jemez Pueblo, for example, celebrates with Buffalo Dances on Christmas Eve and early morning on Christmas Day. The Buffalo Dancers – featuring two men and one woman — make their way down from the nearby mesas into the Pueblo "bringing the Spirit of Prayer, Song and Dance," Deborah says. The woman "is said to represent Our Mother of all living things, She is young, beautiful and full of strength. She holds the utmost honor during the four day celebration."
 
In Isleta Pueblo, Deborah says, there is a winter dance held in the St. Augustine Church after the Christmas Eve mass. Many of the festivities are for all ages. "In virtually all ceremonies," Deborah says, "Pueblo children are integral participants. Indian parents rarely, if ever, need a babysitter for traditional ceremonial preparations or actual events."

The Christmastime dancing is led by elders, but at some point on the fourth day of the celebration — young children are invited to dance. For many, she says, "this is their first welcome celebration."

 

What Child is This - Native American Flute


Native American Christmas Music

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

"We Say Thank You to the Earth" and Happy Thanksgiving!


by Joanne Shenandoah/Lawrence Laughing
(this poem translates Lawrence Laughing's language verbatim)

 

"In respect to our home the earth, we say thank you to the earth
For everything she gives us, nourishing us every day.
We give thanks to all the water in the world, everything within that water.
We give thanks to all the grass that lives on the land.
We give thanks to all the berries, the fruits, the medicines.

We give thanks to the animals that keep the forests clean.
We give thanks to all the trees for their different uses that they give to us,
For shelters, for fires that we make in the winter time keeping us warm.

We give thanks to the birds who sing their beautiful songs.
We give thanks to the four winds.
We give thanks to the grandfathers, the ones that bring rain.
We give thanks to our oldest brother, the sun, who shines his light every day.

We give thanks to our oldest grandmother, the moon,
For she is the one that has been charged with the duty
To make sure that light has a continuance.
She is the one that watches over all the movements
Of the water and also the water within us.
We give thanks to the stars, her helper.

And we give a special thanksgiving to the four sacred beings
That watch over the human family.
Sometimes we notice them when we are traveling in dangerous places.
They are the ones that come to our minds
And say go around, don't go further
To protect us and steer us away from danger.

So that's what we do.
We start right from the earth and we climb the ladder
Right to the special place beyond the heavens
Where there's a special spirit that lives there,
The spirit that makes it possible for us to be here
And everything that we have mentioned.

And so with collectiveness of our hearts and minds
We send a special thanksgiving and greeting to the spirit of us all."

Happy Thanksgiving!
 



Prayer for Peace, Lawrence Laughing


Lawrence Laughing


Mother Earth, Joanne Shenandoah

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Holiday gift shopping, already?


Can you believe? Where did 2015 go? Holiday gift shopping ads scream it's that time of year. Of the thousands of ideas, here are a few suggestions that clicked with me, and may with you.

While my brother was still alive, for my birthday he gave me The Beatles 1 cd. So many wonderful memories!


1 is a compilation album originally released in November 2000. It features virtually every number-one single achieved in the United Kingdom and United States from 1962 to 1970 by the Beatles. Issued on the 30th anniversary of the band's break-up, it was their first compilation available on only one compact disc. 1 was a commercial success, and topped the charts worldwide.

The Beatles 1 is now available on DVD:

 
The above link from Paul McCartney's website describing what one will receive from the newly released Beatles 1 Video Collection; in-depth promotional films and videos; the deluxe edition including 50 films and videos.
For Bob Dylan fans: The Best of the Cutting Edge 1965-1966: The Bootleg Series, Vol. 12
 
For Bruce Springsteen lovers,
 
 
The Ties That Bind
 
The Ties That Bind features 52 tracks on four CDs plus four hours of never-before-seen video on two Blu-rays. It includes eleven previously unreleased rarities including Meet Me In The City.
 
Chrissie Hynde's book Reckless: My Life as a Pretender is now available.
 
An excerpt from the NY Times' book review: There are a number of fine moments in “Reckless,” which, at its best, is a sensitive and rowdy coming-of-age story. Ms. Hynde figured it out as she went along. “I thought if I kept not doing what I didn’t want to do,” she says, “I would naturally get closer to what I did want.”
 
For jazz lovers, The Jazz Standards: A Guide to the Repertoire
 
 
"The Jazz Standards, a comprehensive guide to the most important jazz compositions, is a unique resource, a browser's companion, and an invaluable introduction to the art form. This essential book for music lovers tells the story of more than 250 key jazz songs, and includes a listening guide to more than 2,000 recordings.
 
Author Ted Gioia, whose body of work includes the award-winning The History of Jazz and Delta Blues, is the perfect guide to lead readers through the classics of the genre. As a jazz pianist and recording artist, he has performed these songs for decades. As a music historian and critic, he has gained a reputation as a leading expert on jazz. Here he draws on his deep experience with this music in creating the ultimate work on the subject.

An introduction for new fans, a useful handbook for jazz enthusiasts and performers, and an important reference for students and educators, The Jazz Standards belongs on the shelf of every serious jazz lover or musician."
 
For classical music lovers is the beautiful book The Steinway Collection: Paintings of Great Composers:
 
 

"Music lovers will delight in the beautiful color paintings and eloquent prose portraits in The Steinway Collection: Paintings of Great Composers. Chopin, Wagner, Liszt, Beethoven, Berlioz, Mozart, Verdi, Mendelssohn, Handel, and Schubert are among the composers celebrated in this historic book, which was originally printed in 1919 as an in-house publication of Steinway & Sons but has never before been released to the public. The paintings by esteemed American artists and accompanying essays by the brilliant critic James Gibbons Huneker are intended, in Mr. Huneker's words, to "evoke musical visions; for music is visionary, notwithstanding its primal appeal to the ear." An introduction by acclaimed broadcaster and writer David Dubal, Juilliard professor of piano literature, gives the book historical perspective."
 
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's book Mycroft Holmes is a fun compliment for the Sherlock Holmes' afficianado.
 
 
 
"Before the golden age of Sherlock Holmes in London, another Holmes with a superior mind
jumped around town sorting out minor oddities. Mycroft Holmes blows a hole in Doyle’s canon to make room for the brother who may have taught his younger brother a thing or two.
But wait, didn’t this author play basketball? Isn’t he the guy who taught Uncle Jessie to sink a free throw on Full House? Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is not only an NBA legend, he is also a massive Sherlock Holmes fan. The mystery that Abdul-Jabbar and Waterhouse build from local myth to government scandal is enticing and unpredictable, keeping readers guessing what mess Mycroft will find himself in next. It also sets up an entire backstory that explains how Mycroft Holmes became the man in the pocket of the British Crown when Sherlock comes onto the scene.
The mystery at the center of Mycroft Holmes proves to be just as thrilling and full of twists as if Sherlock himself were on the case. For all the modern retellings of the Holmes brothers and Sherlock’s adventures, the choice to not only set the story in the late 1800s, but mimicking the voice of Doyle is refreshing. The partnership and friendship between Douglas and Holmes is well-developed and one that you will grow to care about deeply as the story unfolds.
The backstory constructed for Mycroft Holmes by Abdul-Jabbar and Waterhouse is sure to earn a place in the early canon of the Holmes brothers’ tales. Fans of Doyle’s original tales will take more pleasure in Mycroft Holmes than those who enjoy more modern retellings of the Holmes brothers.
Holmes and Douglas’ journey from England to Trinidad is familiar to the tales of Holmes and Watson, but Mycroft comes into his own character and not merely a shadow of the brother we all know and love. At times Mycroft’s oddities are frustratingly similar to Sherlock, however, Mycroft Holmes breathes life into the character that could have easily shaped the Sherlock Holmes Doyle penned into existence."
For movie lovers, TCM's Greatest Holiday Classic Films.
 
Includes Christmas in Connecticut; A Christmas Carol, The Shop Around the Corner, and It Happened on 5th Avenue.
 
And for anyone who would want, in addition, or help the environment, a tree can always be planted at the Arbor Day Foundation http://shop.arborday.org/content.aspx?page=commemorative
 
 

 

Happy shopping!
 


Love Me Do, The Beatles


Like a Rolling Stone, Bob Dylan


The River, Bruce Springsteen


2000 Miles, Chrissie Hynde & The Pretenders


Mood Indigo, Duke Ellington & His Orchestra


Raindrop Prelude by Chopin, performed by Alicia Keys


Spies, Coldplay


The Shop Around The Corner starring Jimmy Stewart, Margaret Sullivan


The Memory of Trees, Enya