people + planet @ peace

 

My mission is to strengthen people and planet through philanthropy

 

Entries in Community (22)

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
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

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!

Friday
Nov152013

Batkid Saves San Francisco!

Today, I saw a superhero! In the heart of San Francisco at Union Square, I saw Batkid himself, Miles Scott, thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation

What a fantastic day to be a San Franciscan. Only comparable in size and energy to the World Series victory celebrations, the streets of San Francisco were electric!

Thanks Batkid! 

Watch full coverage of Batkid from the local news:

Wednesday
Aug212013

Welcome, BABS! 

Image from bayareabikeshare.com

Bay Area Bike Share arrives

After enjoying recent vacations with the Vélib' in Paris and Nice Ride Minnesota in the Twin Cities, I have been eager for the Bay Area to start a bike sharing program. After walking past a station instillation in Downtown San Francisco today, I immediately joined BABS, the Bay Area Bike Share program!

Starting on August 29th, the region’s bike sharing system will launch with 700 bikes and 70 stations across the region, with locations in San Francisco, Redwood City, Mountain View, Palo Alto, and San Jose. The program is intended to provide Bay Area residents and visitors with an additional transportation option for getting around the region, in a fun, easy, and affordable way.

The system consists of a fleet of specially designed, heavy-duty, very durable bikes that are locked into a network of docking stations located throughout a region. Bay Area bikes can be rented from and returned to any station in the system, creating an efficient network with many possible combinations of start and end points. With hundreds of bikes at stations along the peninsula, the system will be available for use 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. 

The Bay Area Bike Share is a pilot project in a partnership among local government agencies including the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, Sam-Trans, Caltrain, County of San Mateo, City of Redwood City, and the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority.

Grab your helmet, join today, and let's race! 

Friday
Aug092013

Honor the Treaties

Today is the United Nations International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples and the theme is "Indigenous people building alliances: Honouring treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements."

Appropriately, today is also the launch of the new website of Honor the Treaties, an innovative organization dedicated to amplifying the voices of Indigenous communities through art and advocacy. Founded by Aaron Huey, National Geographic Photographer and author of Mitakuye Oyasin, the organization funds collaborations between Native artists and Native advocacy groups so that their messages can reach a wider audience.

I'm honored to serve on the Advisory Board of Honor the Treaties to establish a strong partnership with the Lakotamedia Foundation. Together, we are part of a growing movement and of building alliances that honor treaties and other constructive agreements.

We Have A Responsibility

Today, indigenous communities are fighting their most important battles in recent history—battles to protect the integrity of their land and water and traditions. The treaties are at the heart of these battles. Article VI, Clause 2 of the US Constitution, also known as the Supremacy Clause, lists these treaties as the "supreme law of the land."

These legally binding contracts contained promises that recognized tribes' rights to live self-governed and undisturbed on their own land, with religious freedom; to hunt, fish, and gather natural resources; and to have benefits such as healthcare, education, and in some cases financial payments for lands previously sold to the government. These treaties, on a daily basis, are being violated.

This is not a closed chapter in history. This is a living issue. You can make it visible. You can teach it. You can join the fight. We have a responsibility to honor the treaties, honor the earth, and honor one another.

Artistic Activism

Checkout this Ted Talk by Aaron, America's Native Prisoners of War, based on his experiences photographing poverty in America, which led him to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. There, the struggle of the native Lakota people—appalling, and largely ignored—compelled him to refocus.