people + planet @ peace

 

My mission is to strengthen people and planet through philanthropy

 

Friday
May192017

Indigenous and Inclusive: 46th Annual Stanford Powwow

The Stanford American Indian Organization (SAIO) and the Stanford Powwow Planning Committee hosted the 46th Annual Stanford Powwow on May 12-14, 2017. This "Student Reflections" video profiles several students involved in producing the event and the teamwork involved in hosting the largest student-run powwow in the nation. 
 
What strikes me about these bright students is their inclusive approach to celebrating and honoring indigenous cultures from around the world. Held annually on Mother's Day weekend, the Stanford Powwow honors our mothers and mother earth.  
 
Surrounded by the beauty of Stanford University Eucalyptus Grove, this annual event that reminds me of what makes Stanford so special to me the "intertribal" community of people. 
 
Congratulations to all the students who made this year's Stanford Powwow a success.
 
Video music: Intertribal Song by Black Lodge. 
Sunday
May072017

Stanford Alumni Association Board of Directors Retreat

Stanford Alumni Association Board of Directors. Stanford Sierra Camp at Fallen Leaf Lake. May 5, 2017. Photo by Paul Gurney.This academic year was my first of a five-year term serving on the Board of Directors of the Stanford Alumni Association

The Stanford Alumni Association seeks to reach, serve and engage all Stanford alumni and students; to foster a lifelong intellectual and emotional connection between the University and its graduates; and to provide the University with goodwill and support.

Founded in 1892 by the University's first graduates, the Stanford Alumni Association aims to deliver the most effective alumni relations program anywhere in higher education. Its diverse offerings include a bimonthly magazine; online communication and networking tools; academic and social programming (on and off-campus); a worldwide travel/study program; and numerous Stanford-related products and initiatives.

This past weekend (May 4-7), members of the staff and board of directors gathered at the Stanford Sierra Camp on Fallen Leaf Lake for a special retreat. The sessions were facilitated by the leadership of the Stanford d.School, also known as the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford. 

The entire weekend felt like a family reunion, with many recreational and leisure activities between our working sessions. Highlights included a Cinco de Mayo bingo contest, a hike to Glen Alpine Falls, a boat tour of Fallen Leaf Lake, a farewell reception and dinner for outgoing board members, and an unforgettable moment: I SAW A BEAR!

As a dual alumnus of the Graduate School of Education (MA '05, Policy, Organization & Leadership Studies) and School of Humanities and Sciences (MA '06, Sociology), I am particularly thrilled to work toward developing new initiatives, opportunities, and programs that reach and engage our graduate alumni community

What most stands out to me from the weekend is the friendships I have made in my short time on the board. My colleagues are outstanding in so many ways, in their professoinal lives, personal relationships, and passion for the ideals that we pursue in our University community. I am filled with gratitude, most sincerely, for the opportunity to serve.

#NeverStopGrowing


Saturday
Apr222017

Factivists: Factivate!

Today I particiapted in the March for Science - San Francisco as a demonstration of my commitment to protect and promote one of my highest civic values: science.

The event celebrates public discovery, understanding, and distribution of scientific knowledge as crucial to the freedom, success, health, and safety of life on this planet.  The organization is a nonpartisan group, marching in support of the following goals: Communication, Funding, Policy, Literacy, and Diversity.

Please join me in standing up for science.

 And please be aware that we can do more than march, we can: 

  • Vote to elect representatives who will advance scientific investments, fund scientific education and research, and promote science-based policies at all levels of government.
  • Support scientific institutions and organizations financially.
  • Volunteer as a naturalist, citizen scientist, or environmental steward.
  • Advocate for scientific research in the fight against HIV/AIDS!
  • Continue to march to give voice to this important civic value. 

Together, we can build a healthier, safer, and smarter nation and society.

Here are the highlights of today's programming:


Friday
Apr212017

Science Saves Lives

Tomorrow, I will be taking part in the March for Science San Francisco. I support this movement as a demonstration of my commitment to protect and promote one of my highest civic values: science.

It's no coincidence that this movement is taking place on Earth Day, and most years I appreciate and applaud the awareness that the day brings to our collective conscience, as nothing unites humanity more than our planetary dependence and existence. We all depend on nature's bounty and live within her boundaries.

However, this year is different. I am serving in a new role at the National AIDS Memorial Grove and on a daily basis, I'm exposed to the importance of our health care system, the innovative scientific solutions developed to our most pressing public health concerns, and the critical need to invest in scientific knowledge for public health, safety, and national security. AIDS and other infectious diseases will only disappear if we can bridge the scientific and societal solutions that emerge from our pursuit of new knowledge. We must advance!

This year is also different for me because of the political disreagrd, devalued role, and diminished investment in science. I will not call it a "war" on science, because I feel as though there are already too many casualties literally for this "war on science" metaphor to be sensitive. It is a life-and-death matter, not a tired metaphor.  But I will say this:

Science saves lives. If we are to find a cure for AIDS; if we are to alleviate the unbearable pain and suffering of the sick; and if we are to overcome the deadly viciousness of the virus: we need science and we must speak up for scientific research. Our destiny is in our hands.

In addition to marching, here's what I pledge to do:

  • I will vote to elect representatives who will advance scientific investments, fund scientific education and research, and promote science-based policies at all levels of government.
  • I will support scientific institutions and organizations financially.
  • I will continue to volunteer as a naturalist and citizen scientist.
  • I will advocate for scientific research in the fight against HIV/AIDS!
  • I will continue to march to give voice to this important civic value.

Together, we can build a healthier, safer, and smarter nation and society.

Monday
Apr102017

Stanford Powwow: Water is Life

Original artwork by Jack Malotte and edited by Bernardo Velez.

As the largest of the college powwows, and one of the top 10 in the nationStanford University sees 10,000 visitors a day and 250 dancers for the annual Mother’s Day weekend event. This is the university’s 46th year hosting the event and it is entirely run by students who are part of the Stanford American Indian Organization, which was created in 1972 to abolish the “Stanford Indian” mascot.

The Stanford Powwow will be held in the Eucalyptus Grove at Galvez and Campus Drives.  All events are open to the public and overnight camping spaces are available. Donations for parking are welcome.

The Stanford Powwow begins on Friday, May 12 at 7:00 PM with the first Grand Entry of dancers and continues until 10:00 PM.  On Saturday, May 13, the 21st Annual Stanford Powwow Run, a 5K race and 1 mile youth run, will begin at 8:00 AM.  Registration for the run ends at 7:40 AM. Dancing will continue from noon until 10:00 PM.  On Sunday, May 14, dancing will continue from noon until 6:00 PM.  Also open throughout the three-day event are more than 100 arts and crafts, souvenir, information, and food booths. As a celebration of sobriety, no drugs or alcohol are allowed.

As a proud alumnus of Stanford's Native American Cultural Center, I look forward to this annual event and hope to see you there!

Sunday
Apr092017

Wildflower Festival at Sunol Regional Wilderness

Little Yosemite

This weekend, I attend the Spring Wildflower Festival at Sunol Regional Wilderness. Activities included naturalist-led hikes, crafts, music, and nature activities. I was super excited for the ethnobotany hike, but unfortunately, I didn't make it to the site in time. There's always next year!

I posted several observations on iNaturalist that I came across on the Little Yosemite and McCorkle Trails. Special thanks to the East Bay Parks Regional District for the fun afternoon!

Here are three highlights from the day:

Castilleja exserta

Suborder Sauria

McCorkle Trail

Sunday
Apr022017

Educational Tall Ship Sets Sail

This weekend, I celebrated the launch of the Matthew Turner, an educational tall ship build entirely from wood and constructed over the past four years entirely by volunteers. I was honored to serve on the board of directors of the Educational Tall Ship in its earliest days and it's a project with special importance to me personally. 

As a result of my volunteer service to the board, I was able to get to know Alan Olson, the visionary man behind the idea to build this ship to connect young people to the water-- “We want them to learn about the powers of nature, like the wind and the sea” -- I applaud his vision and success as an transformative force for future generations in the Bay Area. 

Watch this informative video about the project and be sure to see the ship near the Bay Model in Sausalito!

Monday
Mar062017

War metaphor, what is it good for?

Recent guest blog posts by Dr. Jon Foley (@GlobalEcoGuy) in Scientific American make no mistake: it is a time of war. There is a war on science.

Metaphorically speaking, right?

In “How to Defeat Those Who Are Waging War on Science,” (Feb. 27, 2017), Foley and Christina Arena write, “America has a choice to make. A choice between advancing civilization or bringing it down. A choice between knowledge and chaos. Now, everyone must choose which side they are on."

Dr. Foley seems to be fixated on the metaphor in “War on Science” (Feb. 20, 2017) and in another article, when he warns: “The War on Facts is a War on Democracy” (Jan. 25, 2017). It’s clear he’s armed for confrontation, if not combat.

YIKES!

Dr. Foley is Executive Director of the California Academy of Sciences — a beloved institution in Golden Gate Park where my career in development began in 2010. I now stay involved via iNaturalist and volunteer with citizen science projects that monitor tide pools along the California coast.

I can appreciate what Dr. Foley is trying to say and that he thinks in bold terms. However, while the war metaphor might “rally the troops” in military terms, does it really help advance science in realistic ways? Do scientists really want to be viewed as combatants in a war? How does this advance a culture of "safe spaces?"

Personally, I am deeply troubled by headline emphasis on war and it makes me extremely uncomfortable.

Dr. Foley, I respectfully ask: Do we really need another war metaphor? Now? Aren’t we divided enough? Doesn’t this just perpetuate more “us versus them” thinking? Isn’t that dehumanizing?

It seems like certain generations of Americans love to talk in terms of war. They understand what that means and it speaks to them. OK, but I think a new generation is looking for better metaphors.

At best, it’s a basic metaphor that does what basic metaphors do: symbolize a concept by evoking imagery. However, at worst, the war metaphor implies indirect and direct violence as a proxy for opposing ideas and values. I highly doubt that Dr. Foley is advocating for violence in his war-on-science approach.

To be clear, I DO think there is a real war going on right now due to climate change, which has real victims and globally requires multi-national alliances and creative solutions fueled by innovations in science and technology, much in the same ways that surfaced globally in World War II — read “A World at War” by Bill McKibben.

But this literal war isn’t quite what Dr. Foley and others mean when they metaphorically talk about a war on science, which is another reason I think a better metaphor would suffice. By calling everything a war – war on drugs, war on poverty, war on (FILL IN THE BLANK) – we lose any effectiveness of the metaphor. It’s tired. I’m tired of it.

Further, conservationists in particular should be careful of "crying wolf” too many times. War as a metaphor is, in my opinion, overplayed and way too simple whereas the situation Dr. Foley is describing is incredibly complex. The war metaphor is also incredibly limiting and I implore life-loving scientists and theorists be more sophisticated than that, if less macho...

In looking for a basic critique of the limitations of the war metaphor, I came across a paper, “On revising conceptual metaphors for argument” (2016) by Erik Isaksson, a student at University of Gothenburg's Department of Philosophy, Linguistics, and Theory of Science. Isaksson argues that there are serious problems with using war as a conceptual metaphor for argument and discusses several limitations, including:

No Fallacies Argument: “Arguments based on the assumption that in war, anything goes. As long as the war metaphor reigns, nothing but winning matters — there are no fallacies in argument.”

Aggression Argument: “Certain types of people (perhaps those afraid of conflict) are driven away from serious philosophical discourse because of how aggressive it is. And " … it stands to reason that the loss of these people entails a loss in knowledge and competence.”

Blindness Argument: “… as we think of argument as war, we lose sight of some non-adversarial goals. We end up competing rather than cooperating."

Isaksson says, "... we would be well served by picking a metaphor which encourages cooperation rather than competition. Furthermore, the metaphor should aid us in accomplishing the primary goal of argument: arriving at the truth together. Testing one party’s idea against another’s in bloody war is certainly one way of doing this, but there might be other ways. Rather than finding the truth (and agreement) by attacking each other until one of us gives way, perhaps it is possible to cooperate towards finding the truth."

In summary, my reasons for opposing the war metaphor include:

  • It creates an “us versus them” dynamic that is dehumanizing.
  • It implies indirect and direct violence as a proxy for opposing ideas and values.
  • It is an overplayed and tired metaphor that is too limiting.
  • It emphasizes that nothing but winning matters.
  • Aggression alienates people and we lose their knowledge and competence as a result.
  • We end up competing instead of cooperating.

If recent marches have taught me anything, it’s that wit is more energetic and effective than the war metaphor. 

Make wit, not war!

At the San Francisco Women’s March in January, the wit levels were over the top! Thanks to the uplifting power of clever wit and humor, I was energized and inspired far more than any tired war metaphor could ever elicit. I’m excited for the upcoming March for Science – San Francisco, where I expect to see the best/worst placards my science-loving, creative community can come up with. I look forward to it!

Let's disarm the tired war metaphor and energize a new generation of FACTIVISTS!

“Out of our labs and into the streets!”

Let’s promote peace above all. Let’s talk. Let’s make our voices heard. And let’s find a better metaphor than war.

Will you join us?

Sunday
Mar052017

The March for Science - San Francisco

The March for Science - San Francisco celebrates public discovery, understanding, and distribution of scientific knowledge as crucial to the freedom, success, health, and safety of life on this planet. We are a nonpartisan group, marching in support of the following goals: Communication, Funding, Policy, Literacy, and Diversity.
 
Join us on April 22nd, 2017 (Earth Day 2017), as we March For Science!
 
RSVP on Facebook
For more information: MarchForScienceSF.com
Saturday
Mar042017

San Francisco Native Nations March

 
Idle No More SF Bay and Tribal Nations in the west are in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and Indigenous grassroots leaders who are calling on our allies across the United States and around the world to peacefully March for Native American rights on March 10th. We ask that you rise in solidarity with the Indigenous peoples of the world whose rights protect Mother Earth for the future generations of all.

The march will begin at 5:00 p.m. at the Federal Building at 7th & Mission. There will be a short rally there before the march to the Civic Center. The rally at the Civic Center will include a traditional California Indigenous opening with Corrina Gould, speakers on the history of Native Americans and the Federal Government, Native American leaders, and others.

This event is co-sponsored by Idle No More SF Bay and the International Indian Treaty Council

RSVP on Facebook.