Ok don’t get me wrong, I’m super stoked to be in Brazil. But I’m missing out on some seriously amazing activism back home. First, the Occupy Wall Street protests in NY and tons of other cities? Thank goodness the left is showing signs of life. I was getting pretty depressed that the Tea Party was able to rally so much energy and passion while we were seemingly doing nothing. I would love to hear your opinions on it as I’ve basically only heard I have seen on Facebook, the Daily Show, and this editorial from the NY Times (both worth watching/reading).
But next came one of the most amazing stories I’ve ever heard from some of my best friends in Pittsburgh, Eva, Seth, Nikki, and the rest of Free the Planet. I’ll let Eva tell it from her blog post that appeared on tarsandsaction.org, wearepowershift.org, and good ole’ pittsburghsec.org (and has since racked up over 250 “likes” on Facebook). I’m so proud and WISH I could have been there.
This past Friday, the only thing I was worried about was coming up with a good presentation for the Association for Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) Conference. While relaxing on my porch after a strenuous week of midterms, our student government president happened to walk by and inform us that the White House had just contacted her about President Obama coming to Pittsburgh on Tuesday. We had been planning to confront the Organizing for America office the following Friday to tell Obama to stop the pipeline, but if Obama was in town, we had to send the message to him directly. I, however, had a midterm during the exact hour that Obama would be coming and resolved to recruit a few friends to greet him.
On Sunday at the AASHE conference, we grabbed Bill McKibben right before his speech and let him know we planned to greet Obama on Tuesday. At the end of his speech to a national conference of hundreds of climate leaders, he said the best thing they could do was attend the rally to meet Obama with a strong message to say NO to the Keystone XL pipeline at 11AM, Tuesday at 313 Oakland Ave. My heart skipped a beat- Bill McKibben, one of my idols, had just announced my house address to a national conference. What’s more- he then told us to stand up so everybody knew who to find. I hesitantly stood up with two of my friends, Nikki Luke and Seth Bush, who looked around nervously.
What happened after was chaos. Within five minutes we were interviewed by the City Paper, the Tribune Review, and asked by dozens more what our plans were. The problem was—we didn’t have a plan. And I had a midterm when Obama was coming. Here’s the thing: if Bill McKibben calls you out at a national conference to organize a rally, you are going to organize a rally, whether you have a midterm or not.
Wow it’s been a long time since I last posted. In the mean time I wrote a 46-page final paper for my summer research project (on the symbolism in natural gas industry media), got my visa (at the last minute!) and filled out about 1,532 pieces of paperwork. Now I’m sitting in DC waiting for my plane to Brazil!
I’m making a new blog for my trip to Brazil. Please check it out at aventurasnosol.wordpress.com.
Can super awesomeness and future fame be absorbed via cohabitation? I hope so because my housemates are totally amazing and on the brink of fame. They’re known on the blogosphere as RIVKA but in real life they’re Reggie and Becky (get it? Rivka is the hebrew version of Rebecca). They make chill/trance/dance/wonderland music that transports you to another world. They’ve gained a lot of popularity through blogs and word of mouth… someone even made this music video for their song “Kid Animal” without even telling them!
On Tuesday they’re releasing a new single through a label. We got a sneak peek of it last night and I think you’ll really like it! Stay tuned via Facebook and dowload their album on Bandcamp (only $3).
PS It’s my 101st post! Yay!
It’s a sad reality of the conservative party that most of their most vocal media figures are stubborn, grumpy, intolerant, chauvinist, white men. At least that’s the impression I’ve always had. But I always figured it was my liberal bias; I mean, most conservatives seem crabby to me, especially when they’re arguing against my beliefs. But now two sociologists have taken a stab (a real, scholarly stab) at explaining why conservative white males (CWMs) are like this, particularly in the context of climate change. Yes, it has been experimentally shown that white men are more likely to deny climate change than any other group. Here are some explanations for why, put forth in the paper and paraphrased by David Roberts at Grist:
- First there’s the “white male effect” — generally speaking, white males are less concerned with a variety of risks. This probably has to do with the fact that they are less exposed to risk than other demographics, what with running things and all.
- Then, as Chris Mooney notes, there’s the “social dominance orientation” of conservatives, who see social life as following the law of the jungle. One’s choice is to dominate or be dominated; that is the natural order of things. Such folk are leery of climate change solutions premised on fairness or egalitarianism.
- Then there are the well-understood “system-justifying tendencies” of conservatives. The authors explain that conservatives strongly display tendencies to justify and defend the current social and economic system. Conservatives dislike change and uncertainty and attempt to simplify complexity. Further, conservative white males have disproportionately occupied positions of power within our economic system. Given the expansive challenge that climate change poses to the industrial capitalist economic system, it should not be surprising that conservative white males’ strong system-justifying attitudes would be triggered to deny climate change.
- Finally, there’s “identity-protective cognition,” a notion borrowed from Dan Kahan at Yale. (See this PDF.) Here’s how Kahan and colleagues sum it up:
We propose that variance in risk perceptions — across persons generally, and across race and gender in particular — reflects a form of motivated cognition through which people seek to deflect threats to identities they hold, and roles they occupy, by virtue of contested cultural norms.
“Motivated cognition” refers to reasoning done in service of justifying an already held belief or goal. It helps explain why the CWM who know the most about climate science are the most likely to reject it; they learn about it in order to reject it. See Chris Mooney’s great piece on that. Point being: when facts (or the implications of those facts) threaten people’s social identities, they tend to dismiss the facts rather than the identity.
In short, CWMs have historically sat at the highest rung of the social ladder which gives them an incentive to uphold the status quo and their conservative views only reinforced that fear of change. Conservative ideology also holds a “dog-eat-dog” view of the world so they reject movements promoting equality. The last point means that people, particularly individualistic white males will not perceive something as risky if that behavior is critical to their way of life, in this case they cannot perceive the danger of global warming because then they would have to perceive that consumption, capitalism, and social inequality are contributors, and this would be an attack on the forces that keep white men at the top.
Tim DeChristopher is a climate activist who was arrested for thwarting a BLM auction of 130,000 acres of pristine Utah lands to the oil and gas industry. That was three years ago, and DeChristopher was merely an economics student. Now he has become a folk hero for the environmental movement. He was recently sentenced to two years in prison and a $10,000 fine, much lighter than the original 10 years and $750,000 that the prosecution was pushing for.
As a native of West Virginia, he saw the horrors of the coal industry, especially mountain top removal, which fueled his activist spirit. He has spoken around the country, and I saw him give an extraordinarily motivating speech at Powershift this spring (in the above image).
You can read much more about DeChristopher around the blogs, but I had to post some of his statement to the court here. It’s long, but well-written and powerful. See the full statement on Grist.
Images of sand formations, top from NJ and bottom from CA. Via Wired.
I’ve talked before about how much I love the Harry Potter series. When something has been part of your life over 10 years (over half my life), it moves from the role of “really good book” to something totally different… and as the movie posters have been trumpeting, “it all ends” tonight. While I have been pretty disappointed with some of the movies I thought the last one was really really good so I’m excited for this one.
In celebration of the premiere we made butterbeer cupcakes, a recipe I’ve been wanting to try for a while after I saw it on amybites. I’m forgoing posting the recipe/steps because she did such a nice job in her post.
I would definitely recommend this recipe, it’s delicious and tastes just like the drink at the theme park (not that needs to be the official standard of taste, but I thought they did a great job). The only change I made was making the frosting with 1/3 cup cream soda in place of the 1/3 cup butterscotch the recipe calls for and I used vanilla bean instead of extract. Also I made only half the amount of ganache and still had a lot left over so I would cut the proportions of that. Otherwise it’s a very well written recipe, the cakes is light yet moist and not too sweet which is good because the filling and frosting is very sweet. Check out the butterscotch filling below!
I’ll get back to you with what I think of this movie (and whether it makes me cry like the last one did…). Let me know what you think too!
I love this latest example of fibre/fiber arts entering the mainstream via new editions of Penguin Classics embroidered by artist Jillian Tamaki, available in October.
P.S. In case you were wondering:
Fibre Arts: A broad term that covers various types of modern work that are made with fibre but which are distinct from traditional categories such as tapestry.
‘The use and development of non-traditional materials in art, combined with feminist consciousness about the relationship between certain materials and processes and women’s cultural and historical traditions, led to an intense questioning of art traditions … The idea of using fabric as an art material both summed up the iconoclasm of the 1970s and established a context within which to mount a feminist challenge to the way art history honored certain materials and certain processes instead of others.’ (Whitney Chadwick, Women, Art, and Society, 1990) (encyclopedia.com)
Whoa, how’s that for a highfalutin definition.
(a repost from the PSEC blog)
A little break from fracking talk for a TED talk by Bill Ford, Henry Ford’s great-grandson, on the future of cars and ways to move beyond them. Can you imagine going to college and being told that your family was responsible for America’s consumer culture and the resulting problems that are now spreading around the world including global warming?
My favorite TOMS have finally worn out. As you can see above, the sole has worn completely through and the fabric is beginning to poke through. Since TOMS are practically the most popular shoe around right now, I’m not going to tell you about the brand or “ooh and aww” over their charitable mission which you already know. While I still love TOMS (especially my new wedges), I am thinking of branching out for the following reasons:
I bought my Toms over winter break which means they have lasted about 6 months. While I do wear them a lot, and they don’t make claims about being super durable, this is still pretty ridiculous! If I had to buy a new pair twice per year I would end up with a LOT of old shoes.
2. Life Cycle Analysis
I’ve searched a lot over the internet for whether old Toms can be composted or recycled and I haven’t found anything specific. It seems that the canvas is made partly of recycled plastic, so that wouldn’t decompose, and the sole is made of recycled rubber, so it’s probably not recyclable either. I would really like for them to work on making a compostable shoe. They wouldn’t have to change much, using a natural latex bottom and biodegradable canvas upper and sole wouldn’t change the look or durability of the shoes.
3. “One-to-One” Criticism
There has been some criticism of their “one-to-one” model. The blog Good Intentions makes some good points:
- It’s quintessential Whites in Shining Armor.
- It’s doing things “for” people not “with” people.
- They allow people to pay to travel with the distribution trips as shoe fitters thereby promoting poverty tourism.
- They promote the “awareness raising” activity – One Day Without Shoes – which is really just a marketing ploy.
- They ship in goods for free that outcompete local goods, it’s a short-term solution that could create long-term problems.
- There are many better and cheaper ways to get shoes on the feet of the poor. Continue reading