Archive for ecology

Fairs as Wilderness Stewardship Sponsors

Posted in Events / Celebrations with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 5, 2014 by Drogo

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I attended the 2014 ‘Harpers Ferry Outdoor Festival’ (HFOF) at the ‘Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship’ (BRCES) because I believe in the concept of celebrating art and sport to preserve wild land and clean water. It is amazing to consider, during a recession based on commercial monopolies, that it is possible to support local talent and save our woods, forests, creeks, rivers, and the wild and free creatures whose lives depend on these environments. During an era where it is common for people to litter on their way to a job that pollutes natural ecology, events like HFOF are truly revolutionary and patriotic in Native American terms.

The BRCES land is beautiful; almost 1,000 acres of wilderness and a small organic farm run by a caring family. Years ago when I visited with my father, BRCES had just begun their mission on the land, and the old white house was over grown and in disrepair. Now the buildings and land are functional again, while being in harmony with the landscape. BRCES is truly a success story for environmentalists.

Volunteers run the show during HFOF. I was lucky enough to be a volunteer under the leadership of President Lisa Cullinane. Lisa is very friendly, kind, and smart; which by the way is my favorite kind of leader. We started preparing a few weeks before the event, and by the event I felt things were flowing well. Vendors are small businesses and non-profit organizations that rent spaces around the field, using tables and tents. I really enjoyed the variety of concessions, and the food and drink was good. There are always tensions and stress involved in any production, but any problems that arose were resolved. Hundreds of people attended the festival; although my non-profit tent for ‘Sustainable Cooperative for Organic Development’ (SCOD), and my fine artist partners did not get visited by many people during the event, so we did not make any earnings. For me it was ok, because I believe in the concept and I was happy to be there.

Camping was easy. I slept in my tent the first night, in the field behind my table. At night the humidity lifted, however this created a dew which saturated my books and artwork exposed to the sky; however items in the tent and oddly enough below the table-cloth were fine. The second day my art partners arrived and set up a tent to shade us a bit; which really helped survive a day of full sun in the field. I also wore sun-block, a large hat, and sunglasses so as to not be sun-burned. Some of us rented the white house for the second night, which was very nice indeed! Staying at the house was a relief from the electric generator that was kept running all night at the main field, to keep their fridge on to preserve the food. Also the best part of the field at the crest, had become over-crowded with vehicles; which in my opinion ruined the very purpose of being there… in other words it turned the perfect camping spot into a parking lot. Despite traffic congestion, most reveled in the mirth, and many stayed up all night with enthusiasm and excitement!!

Bands began playing the first evening, and continued through the night into the next day and night. Some of the bands I had already worked with as friends, so it was a good treat to have them play there. I was even able to deliver my final fan cartoon print-outs to one of the band members that visited my table. Unfortunately I was not able to advertise for the bands, as I had hoped, because like I said very few people came to my booth. Although most of the show revolved around the main stage, my favorite part was the small stage by the grand fire pit. The field has a natural amphi-theater shape around the fire pit; which had just been made formal by Boy Scouts with impressive stone work and movable wood benches. At night the fire pit area hosts musical jam sessions, which embrace the audience, allowing anyone to play with the bands; this is musical freedom and creative collaboration at its finest!!!

Lastly in this article I want to thank everyone that helped make the event happen. Some of my personal high-lights were being with friends, hiking the trails, and witnessing natural phenomena such as the lightning-bug show across the fields, and even into and above the trees!! As I observed the natural light show, I meditated on how often our Nation’s founders enjoyed wonders that surpassed the magic of their technologies back then. Even today many scientists concede that our artificial efforts fail, in comparison to the energy efficiency of the natural world. Thank you also to those that stayed and picked up all the trash! I admit I was tired after the event, and disappointed to once again have to pick up after people that litter. Also the sheer abundance of garbage was not encouraging to my opinion of humanity. However I was pleased there were enough people to pick up all we could find, after many hours of pick-up. I even returned to the site days later to double check that the clean-up was as effective as I thought. Any negative issues did not stop us from having fun, nor did any problems hinder the success of the event as a whole. I definitely want to return next year to BCRES, and be a part of music festivals and sports competitions that donate to wilderness stewardship, and take place within a nature preserve. Please let us get more people to join us!!!!

Rev. Walton D. Stowell II, M.Arch.

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Arcology by Paolo Soleri

Posted in Alternative Architecture, Arts (Design & Performance), Cooperatives / Communities / Networks / Travels, Critical Commentary of Civilization, Individuals / Members / Monsters / Creative Writing, Sustainability with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 2, 2011 by Drogo

Cosanti and Arcosanti

Report based on books, and images and text found on the Arcosanti Project website

Architect Paolo Soleri was a student of Frank Lloyd Wright at Taliesin East and West. In 1956 he settled in Scottsdale, Arizona and established Cosanti. The Cosanti Foundation then began their largest project called “Arcosanti” in 1970 based on Arcology (Architecture + Ecology). Arcology advocates urban interaction and accessibility in environmental structures. It seeks to minimize the use of energy, raw materials and land, reducing waste and environmental pollution; and allow interaction with the surrounding natural environment.

Arcosanti is an evolving prototype town with a capacity for 5,000 people. Arcosanti demonstrates massive ways to improve urban conditions through alternative architecture, and lessen pollution. Even the mega-structures will only occupy 25 acres of a 4060 acre land preserve. This keeps the natural desert an intimate part of the architectural experience. The rules of nature dictate the human designs, instead of just copying conventional methods that miss the point of living with nature. Arcosanti builds for efficient use of space, resources, and solar orientation.

Stowell Architects owned his books, and  loved his designs.

“Greenhouses provide gardening space for public and private use, and act as solar collectors for winter heat. The residents of Arcosanti are workshop alumni, who work on planning, construction, teaching, computer aided drafting, maintenance, cooking, carpentry, metal work, ceramics, gardening and communications. They produce the world-famous Soleri Bells, as well as hosting 50,000 tourists each year in a Gallery, Bakery, and Cafe open every day except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years Day. Guided tours introduce visitors to the philosophy, history, planning and ongoing construction of the site. Concerts and other events in the Colly Soleri Music Center also allow visitors to experience Arcosanti. Shows include dinner, and are often followed by a pictograph light show on the opposite mesa.” – Arcosanti Website

Worst World Ecological Disasters

Posted in Cooperatives / Communities / Networks / Travels, Environmentalism with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 5, 2010 by Drogo

Worst World Ecological Disasters

(taken from “Foreign Policy”)

***

1. Nigeria

Niger River Delta, Oil Spill

(since 1966)

*

2. China

Coal Industry, Underground Coal Mine Fires

(since 1962)

*

3. Haiti

Charcoal Industry, Deforestation

(since 1492)

*

4. Uzbekistan / Kazakhstan

Cotton Industry, Aral Sea, Water Depletion from dams and canals

(since 1960’s)

*

5. Pacific Ocean

World Consumer Production Industry, Garbage Dump Island

(since the 1960’s)

* Garbage Island is now larger than the United States, and 100 ft deep!

Organic Bio-Diversity in Lawns

Posted in Arts (Design & Performance), Nature Studies, Organic Gardens, Sustainability with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 4, 2010 by Drogo

Environmental Lawns

Environmentally conscious lawns should consider the ecological impact of their existence, and should tend to function more like the natural environment of the surrounding landscape. How much fossil fuel is wasted maintaining your lawn? How much pollution and artificial garbage is created from maintaining the lawn? How hard do you have to work, or how much money do you pay to maintain your lawn?

Green Grass & Purple Violets

Meadows in nature have various types of grasses and plants, although certain species can dominate particular fields at certain times. Most meadows have wildflowers, clovers, and other types of plants in them; therefore an environmental lawn should have different representatives present, reflecting indigenous plants. Rather than using herbicides that pollute our environment, we should allow plants that are often called “weeds” to be included in our wanted lawn vegetation. Dandelions, clovers, violets and others when allowed to grow and bloom in a lawn add a natural beauty that has been so long denied by a Nazi style psychology attached to keeping lawns.

Organic Bio-Diversity in Lawns is the best design according to Nature.

Ecological Gardens

Gardens usually mean less mowing area, but also require maintenance of their own. Gardens need planting, tilling, weeding, watering, and sunlight; the amounts of which depend on various environmental factors. The key is to reduce the amount of soil area exposed between plants, thus increasing plant density. Mulch piles are a must.

Mulching Mowers

Neuton Electric Battery Mowers cut as aggressively as electric cord mowers, which is almost as strong as combustion fossil fuel mowers. They come with 2 batteries, 2 blades, and parts can be reordered as needed. The Neuton company is based in New England.
We need to cut down on Oil Consumption. One way is to stop using Oil and Gas mowers. Use human powered mowers, or Electric which can be supplied by Alternative means (Wind, Solar, Hydro, Geothermal, etc…). Tractor mowers with Diesel engines need to be run more on Vegetable Oil (Bio-Diesel).
Switch to fuels that can be produced from rapidly renewable or constantly renewed resources. Let’s get alternative energy, from the natural sources.  Build the alternative systems into the mainstream by mass marketing, and they will consume. It must become more than trendy, it must become as sexy, fun, and patriotic as joining the military during World War II.

Watch SCOD Greenhood video!