Current Affairs

My July 4th Paradox

Every year around the Fourth of July I have this same conundrum. While I'm grateful for the independence and peace that we are afforded in the country and how thankful I am for the people in my life that have served in the armed forces, I have difficulty celebrating war. Fireworks

The July 4th celebration we usually attend in Cayucos, CA is fun and amazing. Sitting by the ocean is so peaceful and watching our kids and now our grandkids in awe as the fireworks go off from the end of the pier is so fun. In the back of my mind though there is always this thought that those fireworks represent real bombs that killed real people and are still killing people today. Over 100,000 just in Syria this year. Being part of a celebration of that eats away a little part of me every time I do it.

I don't buy into the theory that peace is only bought through the barrel of a gun. I'm not a fatalist, nor a "fairytaleist" believing that either there is no end to war or that only in the "end of days" will we see true peace. I believe humans have the capacity to reason and given the chance, peace could be brought about by humans reasoning together. There's a lot of unnecessary baggage, religious and political, that we'll need to shed first.

I also cringe at the cost of these July 4th celebrations nationwide. The Boston celebration alone costs $3.5 million including all the support costs.  A small town celebration can cost in to the tens of thousands.  If you add all that up, we could feed a lot of hungry people for a year and get a lot of mental health patients out of the creeks and into facilities that could really help them, not just institutionalize them.  It would go a long way in helping save the tens of thousands of kids that die every day around the world from some hunger related issue.

So land the plane here Tim. Paradoxically, we'll likely go to the Cayucos celebration and I'll watch my wide eyed grandkids wrapped in blankets at the beach. This year though, I'm going to give what I think my families piece of the celebration would cost to our local homeless relief to take care of some of the least of these close to home. I hope you'll do the same.  And after the fireworks are silent, I'll do what I can do to bring reason to the world I can affect to build a lasting peace without war.




Reminders While Riding

As I was riding to work this morning I was a car with two bumper stickers.  I’ve seen this before and end up repeating them as I finish my ride, but this morning, this time of the year, this season they struck me as profound.  On the left side of the back bumper was this one:

Yep. it's that simple.  The more you can live in peace, with yourself and with others, the better life is.  And I can say for my life, I gratefully live in peace.  

With myself; I'm happy where I'm at and who I am.  It's not a pride thing, but rather contentment.

With others; I'm at peace as far as I can control. There may be ill will out there toward me, but I don't know of it.  Time passes and peace comes.  

I'm pretty sure I'll remain at peace as long as I accept that I don't exist because of me or for my benefit. Also that others don't exist because of me or for my benefit.  Remembering these simple truths will help me stay in a peaceful, anti-center of the universe, state.

(By the way, did you know that the "Peace Symbol" was created as a representation of the semaphore flags for "N" and "D" which represent "Nuclear Disarmament" a movement for which is was designed in the 50's. That whole urban legend of this being a devilish or communist symbol is horse pucky.)

The bumper sticker on the right side of the car was this:

Certainly a great time of year to read this with all the opposite messages bombarding us every day.

These two mental gifts I received this morning from some commuting philosopher were much appreciated. The reminders to me, to peacefully live and to be aware of what is most important to me, will hopefully outlast my morning ride and perhaps me altogether through what I teach the next generation.




Occupy Thanksgiving

Take a good look around the world and you'll see that we are the 1%. With 1.2 Billion people living on around a dollar a day, very few in this country have reason to complain. 

The map shows the percentage of people per country that live below the poverty line. I don't know about you, but I'm very grateful and feel compelled to do my part to share my wealth and time to help the worldwide 99% and the 1% in this country living at the poverty level. 

Occupy Thanksgiving, every day.



Low Impact Development: Projects for a Healthy Watershed



Contact:            Lana Adams

                        (805) 286-0072



Low Impact Development: Projects for a Healthy Watershed


Sustainability implies long-term, stretched time-scales...forever. It's intimidating! SLO Green Build, the San Luis Bay Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation and Santa Lucia Chapter of the Sierra Club, and local government agencies have joined together to present ideas on low impact development and a healthy watershed on Wednesday, April 1 from 6:00 until 9:00 pm at the Atascadero Lake Pavilion.


Three presentations will focus on sharing a watershed approach to focus our individual and collective efforts towards sustainability and will show tools available to ensure that those efforts lead to real change, on-the-ground.


There will be beer, wine and pizza available while guests enjoy live music and networking between the presentations.


Keynote Speakers


Noah Smukler, Morro Bay City Council Member, will present the local Spencer's Market LID Stormwater Restoration Project where low impact development is modeled for future renovation and development.


Dominic Roques, PG, is a registered geologist working for the Central Coast Water Board where he is helping to define and pursue the Board's vision of Healthy Watersheds. He has embraced the watershed approach in his work in water quality protection, which has included: creating water quality monitoring programs for citizens; designing pollutant reduction strategies in impaired waterbodies; research and administration of stream and wetland protection; and regulation of urban stormwater. Dominic represents the Water Board on the Executive Committee of the Morro Bay National Estuary Program and also serves on the Water Operations Advisory Committee of his local community.


Darla Inglis, PhD, is the Director of the Central Coast Low Impact Development Center. Darla has provided expertise on many LID projects nationwide including award-winning designs that balance growth with environmental integrity through the use of innovative and sustainable water resource protection strategies and techniques. An integral part of her work is bringing together government agencies, the public, developers, and environmental groups to integrate natural watershed functions as part of livable communities.



Green Residential Renovation and Remodels


Contact:            Lana Adams
                        (805) 286-0072

Green Residential Renovation and Remodels

SLO Green Build presents a Learn-Build-Save workshop focused on energy-efficient residential renovations and remodels Monday, March 30, 2009 from 6:30 until 8:30 pm.

Jim McNamaraof EOC will discuss both the utility company and the federally funded low-income energy efficiency programs throughout the county.

Kevin Hauber of the Mortgage House will share special funding opportunities specifically for energy efficiency improvements.

Location: San Luis Obispo Library, 995 Palm Street

Networking opportunities and snacks provided.  Suggested donation: $5

The SLO Green Build Learn-Build-Save workshop series is co-sponsored by the California Central Coast Chapter of the USGBC. These workshops bring useful green building topics to builders and home owners on a monthly basis.