recentpopularlog in

robertogreco : watershed   12

[Essay] | Faustian Economics, by Wendell Berry | Harper's Magazine
"The general reaction to the apparent end of the era of cheap fossil fuel, as to other readily foreseeable curtailments, has been to delay any sort of reckoning. The strategies of delay, so far, have been a sort of willed oblivion, or visions of large profits to the manufacturers of such “biofuels” as ethanol from corn or switchgrass, or the familiar unscientific faith that “science will find an answer.” The dominant response, in short, is a dogged belief that what we call the American Way of Life will prove somehow indestructible. We will keep on consuming, spending, wasting, and driving, as before, at any cost to anything and everybody but ourselves.

This belief was always indefensible — the real names of global warming are Waste and Greed — and by now it is manifestly foolish. But foolishness on this scale looks disturbingly like a sort of national insanity. We seem to have come to a collective delusion of grandeur, insisting that all of us are “free” to be as conspicuously greedy and wasteful as the most corrupt of kings and queens. (Perhaps by devoting more and more of our already abused cropland to fuel production we will at last cure ourselves of obesity and become fashionably skeletal, hungry but — thank God! — still driving.)"



"The normalization of the doctrine of limitlessness has produced a sort of moral minimalism: the desire to be efficient at any cost, to be unencumbered by complexity. The minimization of neighborliness, respect, reverence, responsibility, accountability, and self-subordination — this is the culture of which our present leaders and heroes are the spoiled children.

Our national faith so far has been: “There’s always more.” Our true religion is a sort of autistic industrialism. People of intelligence and ability seem now to be genuinely embarrassed by any solution to any problem that does not involve high technology, a great expenditure of energy, or a big machine. Thus an X marked on a paper ballot no longer fulfills our idea of voting. One problem with this state of affairs is that the work now most needing to be done — that of neighborliness and caretaking — cannot be done by remote control with the greatest power on the largest scale. A second problem is that the economic fantasy of limitlessness in a limited world calls fearfully into question the value of our monetary wealth, which does not reliably stand for the real wealth of land, resources, and workmanship but instead wastes and depletes it.

That human limitlessness is a fantasy means, obviously, that its life expectancy is limited. There is now a growing perception, and not just among a few experts, that we are entering a time of inescapable limits. We are not likely to be granted another world to plunder in compensation for our pillage of this one. Nor are we likely to believe much longer in our ability to outsmart, by means of science and technology, our economic stupidity. The hope that we can cure the ills of industrialism by the homeopathy of more technology seems at last to be losing status. We are, in short, coming under pressure to understand ourselves as limited creatures in a limited world.

This constraint, however, is not the condemnation it may seem. On the contrary, it returns us to our real condition and to our human heritage, from which our self-definition as limitless animals has for too long cut us off. Every cultural and religious tradition that I know about, while fully acknowledging our animal nature, defines us specifically as humans — that is, as animals (if the word still applies) capable of living not only within natural limits but also within cultural limits, self-imposed. As earthly creatures, we live, because we must, within natural limits, which we may describe by such names as “earth” or “ecosystem” or “watershed” or “place.” But as humans, we may elect to respond to this necessary placement by the self-restraints implied in neighborliness, stewardship, thrift, temperance, generosity, care, kindness, friendship, loyalty, and love.

In our limitless selfishness, we have tried to define “freedom,” for example, as an escape from all restraint. But, as my friend Bert Hornback has explained in his book The Wisdom in Words, “free” is etymologically related to “friend.” These words come from the same Indo-European root, which carries the sense of “dear” or “beloved.” We set our friends free by our love for them, with the implied restraints of faithfulness or loyalty. And this suggests that our “identity” is located not in the impulse of selfhood but in deliberately maintained connections."



"And so our cultural tradition is in large part the record of our continuing effort to understand ourselves as beings specifically human: to say that, as humans, we must do certain things and we must not do certain things. We must have limits or we will cease to exist as humans; perhaps we will cease to exist, period. At times, for example, some of us humans have thought that human beings, properly so called, did not make war against civilian populations, or hold prisoners without a fair trial, or use torture for any reason.

Some of us would-be humans have thought too that we should not be free at anybody else’s expense. And yet in the phrase “free market,” the word “free” has come to mean unlimited economic power for some, with the necessary consequence of economic powerlessness for others. Several years ago, after I had spoken at a meeting, two earnest and obviously troubled young veterinarians approached me with a question: How could they practice veterinary medicine without serious economic damage to the farmers who were their clients? Underlying their question was the fact that for a long time veterinary help for a sheep or a pig has been likely to cost more than the animal is worth. I had to answer that, in my opinion, so long as their practice relied heavily on selling patented drugs, they had no choice, since the market for medicinal drugs was entirely controlled by the drug companies, whereas most farmers had no control at all over the market for agricultural products. My questioners were asking in effect if a predatory economy can have a beneficent result. The answer too often is No. And that is because there is an absolute discontinuity between the economy of the seller of medicines and the economy of the buyer, as there is in the health industry as a whole. The drug industry is interested in the survival of patients, we have to suppose, because surviving patients will continue to consume drugs.

Now let us consider a contrary example. Recently, at another meeting, I talked for some time with an elderly, and some would say an old-fashioned, farmer from Nebraska. Unable to farm any longer himself, he had rented his land to a younger farmer on the basis of what he called “crop share” instead of a price paid or owed in advance. Thus, as the old farmer said of his renter, “If he has a good year, I have a good year. If he has a bad year, I have a bad one.” This is what I would call community economics. It is a sharing of fate. It assures an economic continuity and a common interest between the two partners to the trade. This is as far as possible from the economy in which the young veterinarians were caught, in which the powerful are limitlessly “free” to trade, to the disadvantage, and ultimately the ruin, of the powerless.

It is this economy of community destruction that, wittingly or unwittingly, most scientists and technicians have served for the past two hundred years. These scientists and technicians have justified themselves by the proposition that they are the vanguard of progress, enlarging human knowledge and power, and thus they have romanticized both themselves and the predatory enterprises that they have served."



"If the idea of appropriate limitation seems unacceptable to us, that may be because, like Marlowe’s Faustus and Milton’s Satan, we confuse limits with confinement. But that, as I think Marlowe and Milton and others were trying to tell us, is a great and potentially a fatal mistake. Satan’s fault, as Milton understood it and perhaps with some sympathy, was precisely that he could not tolerate his proper limitation; he could not subordinate himself to anything whatever. Faustus’s error was his unwillingness to remain “Faustus, and a man.” In our age of the world it is not rare to find writers, critics, and teachers of literature, as well as scientists and technicians, who regard Satan’s and Faustus’s defiance as salutary and heroic.

On the contrary, our human and earthly limits, properly understood, are not confinements but rather inducements to formal elaboration and elegance, to fullness of relationship and meaning. Perhaps our most serious cultural loss in recent centuries is the knowledge that some things, though limited, are inexhaustible. For example, an ecosystem, even that of a working forest or farm, so long as it remains ecologically intact, is inexhaustible. A small place, as I know from my own experience, can provide opportunities of work and learning, and a fund of beauty, solace, and pleasure — in addition to its difficulties — that cannot be exhausted in a lifetime or in generations.

To recover from our disease of limitlessness, we will have to give up the idea that we have a right to be godlike animals, that we are potentially omniscient and omnipotent, ready to discover “the secret of the universe.” We will have to start over, with a different and much older premise: the naturalness and, for creatures of limited intelligence, the necessity, of limits. We must learn again to ask how we can make the most of what we are, what we have, what we have been given. If we always have a theoretically better substitute available from somebody or someplace else, we will never make the most of anything. It is hard to make the most of one life. If we each had two lives, we would not make much of either. Or … [more]
wendellberry  2008  economics  science  technology  art  limits  limitlessness  arts  ecosystems  limitations  local  humanism  humanity  humility  community  communities  knowledge  power  expansion  growth  interdependence  greed  neighborliness  stewardship  thrift  temperance  christianity  generosity  care  kindness  friendship  loyalty  love  self-restraint  restraint  watershed  land  caring  caretaking  morality  accountability  responsibility  respect  reverence  corruption  capitalism  technosolutionism  fossilfuels  waste 
may 2019 by robertogreco
Urban Nature | WTTW Chicago Public Media - Television and Interactive
"A Wild Plan for San Francisco"
http://interactive.wttw.com/urbannature/wild-plan-san-francisco#!/

"In San Francisco they’re imagining a world in which cars share the road with birds, bees, butterflies, and bicyclists. We cycled a few of the wildlife corridors designated in the city’s Green Connections Plan."



"Hiking Through History in The Presidio"
http://interactive.wttw.com/urbannature/hiking-through-history-presidio#!/

"What did San Francisco look like before Europeans got here? You’ll find the answer in the Presidio. This urban national park has dunes, marshes, a mountain lake, and a plant so rare we can’t disclose its exact location."



"The Streams Below Our Streets"
http://interactive.wttw.com/urbannature/streams-below-our-streets#!/

"Cities once converted streams into sewers to make room for development. But now there’s a growing movement to unearth these buried waterways."
nature  urban  urbanism  cities  classideas  sanfrancisco  presidio  watershed  wildlife  animals  maps  mapping  history  naturalhistory  via:namhenderson 
june 2017 by robertogreco
USGS - Streamer
"Stream is a new way to visualize and understand water flow across America, With Stream you can explore our Nation’s major streams by tracing upstream to their source or downstream to where they empty. In addition to making maps, Streamer creates reports about your stream traces and the places they pass through.

Stream is fueled by fundamental map data [http://nationalmap.gov/small_scale/ ] for the United States at one million-scale from The National Map Small Scale Collection."
usgs  maps  mapping  us  streams  water  watershed  tools  classideas 
april 2016 by robertogreco
Map | Platte Basin Timelapse
"A Watershed In Motion

Imagine if you could follow a drop of water on a 900-mile journey downstream from mountains to plains. Imagine you could listen to its myriad stories as it makes its way from an alpine trout stream to a prairie river full of cranes, or from a staircase of massive dams and reservoirs to a six inch pipe that waters a farmer's thirsty crop field.

Once considered part of the Great American Desert, the Platte River Basin is one of the most appropriated river systems in the world. Every drop of water is spoken for, and little is free.

The basin supports an industrial agricultural powerhouse laid over one of the most endangered and altered grassland ecosystems on earth. Beneath the ground it harbors more than half of the mighty Ogallala Aquifer; fossil water whose quantity and quality are now at stake. Today this basin is being asked to be both food producer and energy pump in an age of climate change and economic uncertainty.

What if we could use the tremendous power of photography and storytelling to see a watershed in motion? What if we could leverage those images to dig deeper and grow understanding about our water resources, and build community throughout a watershed? What if this could be used as a template to start a conversation and look at other stressed watersheds around the world?

This is what inspires us. This is our aim. Join us on the journey."
watershed  maps  mapping  platteriver  oglallaaquifer  rivers  us  nebraska  wyoming  colorado 
may 2015 by robertogreco
River Reciprocity | The Evergreen State College
"This interdisciplinary science and visual arts program is focused on rivers, streams, and watersheds and is designed for beginning students in art and ecology. Students will explore the role of art and science in helping people develop a deep and reciprocal relationship with a watershed. We will study physical stream characteristics that affect the distributions and relationships among biological organisms. We will develop observational skills in both art and science as well as keep illustrated field journals that are inspired by a connection to a specific stream.

The first half of the program focuses on the Nisqually River watershed. Through readings and field studies, students will learn the history of the watershed, study concepts in stream ecology, learn to identify native plants in the watershed, and learn about current conservation efforts. We will work with local K-12 schools to conduct water quality testing, identify aquatic macroinvertebrates, and provide environmental education to elementary school students. The study of freshwater ecology will include basic water chemistry, stream flow dynamics, primary productivity, organic matter and nutrient dynamics, aquatic insect taxonomy, ecological interactions, current threats to freshwater ecosystems, and ecological restoration. The program will focus on current research in riparian zones, streams, rivers, and watersheds. Students will have opportunities to be involved in small-scale group research projects in stream ecology. An overnight field trip will be organized to provide in-depth experiences in the field and study of rivers on the Olympic Peninsula.

Students will develop beginning drawing skills and practice techniques for keeping an illustrated field journal. They will work in charcoal, chalk pastel, watercolor, and colored pencil. They will explore strategies for using notes and sketches to inspire more finished artworks. Through lectures and readings, students will study artists whose work is inspired by their deep connection to a place. Each student will visit a local stream regularly and, in the second half of the quarter, will create a series of artworks or an environmental education project that gives something back to their watershed."
aesthetics  ecology  environmentalstudies  environment  fieldstudies  naturalhistory  visualarts  art  watershed  carrileroy  luciaharrison  evergreenstatecollege  coursedescriptions  programdescriptions  2014  restoration  naturalresources  rivers  streams 
september 2014 by robertogreco
Welcome to National Atlas Streamer!
"Explore America's larger streams as you trace upstream to their source or downstream to where they empty.

Learn more about your stream traces and the places they pass through in brief or detailed reports."
geology  maps  rivers  usgs  mapping  water  streams  watershed 
july 2013 by robertogreco
Mother's Nature - Homes - Dwell
"The Watershed is an off-the-grid writer’s retreat that architect Erin Moore designed for her mother, nature writer Kathleen Dean Moore."

[Slideshow here: http://www.dwell.com/slideshows/mothers-nature.html ]

[See also another Erin Moore project:
"Two Tiny Pavilions Respectfully Perch Atop a Lava Flow on Maui"
https://www.dwell.com/article/two-tiny-pavilions-respectfully-perch-atop-a-lava-flow-on-maui-5758d262 ]
[broken links, try this:
https://www.dwell.com/article/modern-off-the-grid-retreat-in-oregon-fdc1b719 ]
wren  oregon  2008  design  architecture  erinmoore  watershed  writing  nature  srg  edg  glvo  homes  wrencabin  cabins  kathleendeanmoore 
october 2012 by robertogreco
‪Teddy Cruz Presentation‬‏ - YouTube
"We can be the producers of new conceptions of citzenship in the reorganizing of resources and collaborations across jurisdictions and communities…We could be the designers of political process, of alternative economic frameworks."

[via: http://www.diygradschool.com/2010/06/professor-teddy-cruz-ucsd.html ]
teddycruz  cities  citizenship  sandiego  tijuana  watershed  conflict  borders  community  communities  militaryzones  military  environment  infromal  formal  collaboration  2009  housing  crisis  density  sprawl  natural  political  art  architecture  design  urban  urbanization  urbanism  recycling  openendedness  open  vernacular  systems  construction  economics  culture  pacificocean  exchanges  flow  landuse  neweconomies  micropolitics  microeconomies  local  scale  interventions  intervention  communitiesofpractice  crossborder 
july 2011 by robertogreco
Artichoke: How do you interact with content ideas and experiences to build new knowledge, be it in a school classroom, a museum space, a community space or an online space?
"After identifying a watershed teams of students could explore questions like “Trace the water you drink from rainfall to tap” in real life excursions to explore where water goes.…

Students could record their research through voice recording, digital video and digital photographs, storing these online through Flickr, YouTube, Podmatic etc . And water shed locations could be identified and detail recorded Google Maps as below."
bighere  classideas  watershed  googlemaps  local  awareness  flockr  maps  mapping  lively  googlelively  artichokeblog  pamhook 
july 2008 by robertogreco
You Are Here | NetSquared, a project of TechSoup.org
"Every day we consume resources:water, energy, food....produce waste. But where do these resources come from? where does waste go? By placing the user in context of resource use through maps & pictures, You Are Here will answer these questions."
place  geography  sustainability  resources  food  energy  environment  watershed 
march 2008 by robertogreco

Copy this bookmark:





to read