people + planet @ peace

 

My mission is to strengthen people and planet through philanthropy

 

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. 
Saturday
Feb252017

A Visitor Center for the Presidio of San Francisco

This morning the Presidio Trust, Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, and National Park Service celebrated the opening of the new Visitor Center at the Presidio of San Francisco. 

The Presidio of San Francisco is a 2.347 mi2 (6.08 km2) park and former U.S. Army military fort on the northern tip of the San Francisco Peninsula and is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. The park is characterized by many wooded areas, hills, and scenic vistas overlooking the Golden Gate BridgeSan Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean. It was recognized as a National Historic Landmark in 1962. -Wikipedia

"A Park for Evenyone"

Today's festivities were truly reflective of San Francsico's diverse communities, as the opening remarks declared that this is "A Park for Everyone." The schedule of activies began with an Ohlone Welcome Dance by the Costanoan Rumsen Carmel Tribe, a portion of which is shared above and below. Other highlights included performances by the Loong Mah Dragon and Lion Dancers (portions of which are shared below); a ranger-led history walk, Buffalo Soldiers: Gone but not Forgotten; Latin fusion music by Peregrinos Cosmicos; and many other activities, including lawn games and whiffle ball!

Given all of the events outside and the beauty of the day, I didn't even make it inside the new Visitor Center. I'll have to come back and check it out another day!

Acorn Song honoring the plants and trees

Dragon Performance

Lion and Dragon Performance

Thursday
Feb162017

Earth Institute at Columbia University

Pictured: (1925) Keck, Charles. Science sculpture located at Columbia University main gates at 116th and Broadway in New York, NY. Photo © Adam Bad Wound circa 2003.

With tremendous joy, I share news of my acceptance to the Executive Certificate in Conservation & Environmental Sustainability at the Earth Institute at my beloved alma mater, Columbia University

I studied at Columbia directly after college and my years in New York are among the best memories of my academic youth. There's a special "coming of age" chapter in my life that took place in New York. I'll admit, I'm somewhat relieved it's over, but I've always admired Columbia's Earth Institute and I'm recently motivated to advance my knowledge in the areas that matter to me most: conservation and environmental sustainability.

The topic of "resilience" seems to be constantly on my mind these days. I can't help but think, hasn't someone pursed "reslieincy studies" before me? Yes, Adam, there are entire bodies of knowledge on this topic. Why not take an introductory course?

Course description:

Principles, Tools, and Approaches for a More Resilient World

Instructor: Thomas Murtha

The great acceleration of human impacts on a finite planet is straining the resilience of earth system processes that support human society. Humanity has now crossed at least four planetary boundaries affected by climate change, loss of biosphere integrity, land system change, and altered biochemical cycles.

This is a survey course that examines the squeeze on planetary boundaries and introduces essential principles, tools, approaches, and resources for providing individual citizens with the agency to address sustainability issues in their homes, workplaces, and communities. Through the course lectures, readings, videos, and discussions, we will examine how individuals and civil society can better align lifestyles and societal values to enable a more resilient and diverse world. Topics may include climate change, freshwater use, land system use change, rate of biodiversity loss, economic benefits from the wise management of ecosystems, sustainable capitalism, and developing new narratives for humanity in the Anthropocene Era that enable prosperity, diversity, and good lives.

Sunday
Feb122017

Devil's Gultch Trail

This morning, I joined a valued friend and fellow California Naturalist to re-trace our steps on a trail that we explored with a knowledgeable botanist back in 2012. At the time, we were studying the ecology of riparian corridors:

riparian zone or riparian area is the interface between land and a river or stream. Riparian is also the proper nomenclature for one of the fifteen terrestrial biomes of the earth. Plant habitats and communities along the river margins and banks are called riparian vegetation, characterized by hydrophilic plants. -Wikipedia

The trailhead begins where meets Devil's Gultch Creek meets Lagunitas Creek in Samuel P. Taylor State Park. This area is of great concern to the California conservation community, as it provides vital habitat for at least three endangered species: coho salmon, steelhead trout, and California freshwater shrimp

Memoralable moment: we were fortunate to see two large fish spawning; first at the 'Salmon Crossing' bridge, and second, a 10-minute walk north on the trail along Devil's Gultch Creek. Unfortunately, we couldn't identify the species due to poor lighting conditions and murky waters, but it was wonderful to see two large salmonids in their native habitat. My inner grizzly bear wanted to scoop them up for lunch, but no! Not these important, endangered creatures. Instead, I enjoyed a delicious falafel and hummus wrap at Lagunitas Grocery & Deli after our hike. It was a beautiful day to get out of the city, enjoy some fresh air, and spend time with a valued friend.

During our hike, we noticed that the aftermath of recent storms has revealed remarkable changes to the landscape: fallen trees (many of which were huge!), washed out trails, evidence of landslides, and rivers of mud. In addition, the recent moisture created wonderful conditions for mushrooms!

I've selected several photos to share below, but please help me identify some of these species via iNaturalist!

Observations by 'badwound' on February 12, 2017.

Wednesday
Jan112017

National AIDS Memorial Grove 

It is with great pleasure that I share news that I have joined the National AIDS Memorial Grove in Golden Gate Park as Director of Development. I am absolutely thrilled to return to the park where my career as a frontline fundraiser began at the California Academy of Sciences. In addition, my return feels like a full-circle homecoming, as I served on the Grove’s board of directors from 2011 to 2015, co-chaired World AIDS Day in 2012 and 2013, served as board secretary, communications committee chair, and I contributed significantly to the the strategic planning process during my years of service as a volunteer.

It's great to be back to a place that I adore and to an organization that has already contributed tremendously to my professional development. I'm also excited to spread my wings as a Development Director and to strengthen the Grove's vibrant culture of philanthropy. It's the 25th silver anniversary of this national treasure and I'm eager to apply my professional focus toward its next chapter of growth, inspired by the healing power of nature and the leadership of supporters and volunteers from across the nation. 

The mission of the National AIDS Memorial Grove is to provide, in perpetuity, a place of remembrance so that the lives of people who died from AIDS are not forgotten and the story is known by future generations.

The idea for the National AIDS Memorial was first conceived in 1988 by a small group of San Francisco residents representing a community devastated by the AIDS epidemic, but with no positive way to express their collective grief. The group selected the de Laveaga Dell in world-renowned Golden Gate Park as the site for their memorial, an area that had fallen into a state of disrepair and was unusable by the public due to poor funding in the park budget. A team of prominent landscape architects and designers volunteered countless hours to create a landscape plan that would be fitting as a timeless living memorial. Site renovation began in September 1991 and ongoing maintenance and improvements continue each year. The site is the location of the National Observation of World AIDS Day annually on December 1.

Landmark Designation

In October 1996, through the passage of legislation spearheaded by Representative Nancy Pelosi, President Bill Clinton signed the National AIDS Memorial Grove Act, which recognized and designated the site as a National Memorial of the United States; a status comparable to that of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Mount Rushmore, and the USS Arizona at Pearl Harbor, among others.

Civic Ecology

Since my early interest and involvement, I’ve been drawn to thinking about the Grove from the perspective of the emerging field of civic ecology, which recognizes that it’s impossible to separate humans from nature. Civic ecologists examine how people in urban environments are caring for—restoring and stewarding—local natural resources. However, civic ecology practices are not just about caring for nature; they are also about caring for neighborhoods and healing communities, particularly in the aftermath of disasters and tragedies. The Grove, in my view, is a perfect case study in demonstrating the transformation of a physical and spiritual landscape. The Grove reflects my view that as places are defined by special people; people are defined by special places.

Join us!

I invite you to join me in spreading the word about this national landmark: 'Like' us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, donate, volunteer, sign-up for updates, or find more information about how you can get involved on our website: www.aidsmemorial.org

Best of all, I invite you to visit the Grove and explore it for yourself!