robertogreco + alaska   23

The Making of a Democratic Economy | Ted Howard | RSA Replay - YouTube
"While not often reported on in the press, there is a growing movement – a Community Wealth Building movement – that is taking hold, from the ground up, in towns and cities in the United States and in the United Kingdom, in particular.

Ted Howard, co-founder and president of the Democracy Collaborative, voted one of ‘25 visionaries who are changing your world’, visits the RSA to share the story of the growth of this movement, and the principles underlying it. Join us to explore innovative models of a new economy being built in cities from Cleveland, Ohio to Preston, Lancashire, and to discuss how we might dramatically expand the vision and reality of a democratic economy."
economics  tedhoward  inequality  democracy  extraction  extractiveeconomy  us  uk  2018  capitalism  privatization  finance  wealth  power  elitism  trickledowneconomics  labor  work  universalbasicincome  ubi  austerity  democraticeconomy  precarity  poverty  change  sustainability  empowerment  socialism  socialchange  regulations  socialsafetynet  collectivism  banking  employment  commongood  unemployment  grassroots  organization  greatdepression  greatrecession  alaska  california  socialsecurity  government  governance  nhs  communities  communitywealthbuilding  community  mutualaid  laborovercapital  local  absenteeownership  localownership  consumerism  activism  participation  participatory  investment  cleveland  systemicchange  policy  credit  communityfinance  development  cooperatives  creditunions  employeeownership  richmond  virginia  nyc  rochester  broadband  publicutilities  nebraska  energy  utilities  hospitals  universities  theprestonmodel  preston  lancashire 
november 2018 by robertogreco
Eve Tuck on Twitter: "I'm Alaska Native but grew up in a white community in Pennsylvania. I realized while talking with my children today that even the concept of… https://t.co/IzA9R1bKCI"
"I'm Alaska Native but grew up in a white community in Pennsylvania. I realized while talking with my children today that even the concept of reciprocity is taught differently between Indigenous + white communities...

In the white community, it was taught w a negative connotation. Like "tit for tat" or "what comes around goes around."

In the white community in which I attended schools reciprocity was taught as something for the weak. As something for suckers. As a concept to be gamed or taken advantage of.

In Alaska Native communities, reciprocity is life. Is what it is to live in a good way, with honor.

Reciprocity is an offer of water to drink before taking an animal's life (as in teachings that Oscar Kawagley shared) because we can't forget the ways our lives depend on each other, are mutually implicated; and that is a gorgeous, courageous way to live, not weak.

Capitalism disguises reciprocity. But reciprocity is actually the higher law.

Reciprocity is misunderstood as something akin to quid pro quo. This is a total emptying of the concept."
2017  evetuck  reciprocity  alaska  indigenous  oscarkawagley  quidproquo  honor  interdependence  capitalism  mutualism  multispecies 
november 2017 by robertogreco
Forgotten but not Gone: The Pacific Fisher - bioGraphic
"In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, populations of the fisher (Pekania pennanti)—a forest-dwelling member of the weasel and otter family—were in steep decline across much of its native range of northern North America. Both fur trapping and habitat loss from logging and urbanization took a heavy toll. However, once trapping bans and timber harvest restrictions were put in place, the species rebounded in many regions.

Unfortunately, that trend hasn’t carried over to the West Coast of the U.S., where an isolated population of fishers, known as the Pacific fisher, continues to struggle. Scientists estimate that only 4,000 Pacific fishers remain, with just 300 left in California’s Sierra Nevada Range. These individuals now face a new and rising threat: illegal marijuana grow sites that are cropping up on public lands. Growers use poisons to protect their plants from rodents, and these chemicals are indiscriminate killers.

Despite the Pacific fisher’s high vulnerability to extinction, this little-known mammal has yet to receive federal protection under the Endangered Species Act. In the absence of this type of government regulation, an uneasy collaboration among scientists, conservation organizations, and the timber industry has filled in to take its place. For now, these efforts offer hope for the Pacific fisher—but without endangered species status, there are no assurances that current protections will continue into the future."
animals  wildlife  pacificfisher  2017  nature  california  washingtonstate  oregon  alaska  classideas 
june 2017 by robertogreco
Sitka Fellows Program | Island Institute
"The Sitka Fellows Program brings together some of the most exciting, promising talent across all fields and disciplines to spend a summer residency at the Sheldon Jackson Campus in Sitka, Alaska. We look for visionaries of all stripes: frame-busting, independent thinkers who wish to immerse themselves in their work alongside smart, enthusiastic young people from radically different backgrounds.

Entering its third year as a program this summer, the Sitka Fellows Program incubates the talents of the intellectually, artistically, and socially entrepreneurial. It was borne of the belief that highly promising young talent has few opportunities to remove themselves from the commotions of daily life and focus, fully and intentionally, on innovative and ambitious ideas.

Assembling diverse, perceptive minds in one place cultivates a creative energy not easily achieved in a more insular, disciplinary environment. (To wit, the 2012 session saw a computer game designer residing across the hall from an alternative comic book artist, who both made and shared their meals with an engineer-turned-sculptor – all of them living together as peers and collaborators.) Similar to programs like TED and the Santa Fe Institute, we believe that great ideas will shape our future, and that building a community to foster such cross-disciplinary dialogue and action is one of the best ways to transform theoretical ideas into significant forces of change and impact.

Backed by a commitment from the Sitka Fine Arts Camp and the Sheldon Jackson Campus, the Sitka Fellows Program will award six residency fellowships to the most promising emerging talent under the age of 30. Fellows will live for seven weeks on Sitka’s 133-year-old Sheldon Jackson Campus, a National Historic Landmark, and will be provided with studio and research space, meals, and a community environment in which they can interact with each other as well as with local Sitkans. In sum, residents will be free to dedicate themselves fully to their work."
alaska  sitka  residencies  art 
april 2016 by robertogreco
Outer Coast College
[See also:
https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2015/12/11/outer-coast-college-seeks-replicate-deep-springs-success
http://the-toast.net/2015/11/19/theyre-building-a-deep-springs-for-women-in-alaska-and-i-need-a-minute/
http://www.adn.com/article/20151217/lawmaker-plans-new-unusual-private-college-sitka
http://www.newsminer.com/news/alaska_news/group-targets-sheldon-jackson-campus-for-new-college/article_0c863fa0-a772-11e5-a518-277bec2027c3.html
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/dec/20/group-targets-sj-campus-for-new-college/?page=all ]

"What if we could start over with higher education?

We love our colleges and universities. After all, college is where we solidify our deepest beliefs and forge our dearest friendships. It’s where many of us proudly take responsibility for our lives for the first time. Long after graduation, we recall our college years with fondness.

But many of us know that these rosy feelings mask the truth about higher education in the United States—that it’s showing its wear. Crises loom:

1) Quality: At many colleges and universities students simply aren't learning...
2) Cost: ...while the price of a college education continues to skyrocket.

Films have been shot, articles have been written, bills have been passed. But these problems persist, to the point where they can seem intractable.

We think otherwise. We think a college education can be affordable and transformative, intellectually and personally. To prove it, we’re building a college of our own.

Three Pillars

Outer Coast College is a nascent two-year institution of higher education in Sitka, Alaska. Our curriculum is one for the whole person, built upon the three pillars of Academics, Service & Labor, and Self-governance.

We draw our inspiration from Deep Springs College, a small and remarkable postsecondary institution nestled in a quiet valley just east of the Sierra Nevada. Although a remarkably successful and admired educational institution, nearly a century after its founding Deep Springs remains the only college of its kind.

Self-governance
As at Deep Springs, Outer Coast College students self-govern. Students hire faculty, determine curriculum and course offerings, serve on the Board of Trustees, legislate academic and student life policies, and serve as the admissions committee to select incoming classes.

Academics
Outer Coast College provides a rigorous liberal arts environment, in which a sincere appreciation for learning and intellectual inquiry is encouraged. Excellence in pedagogy and student scholarship are hallmarks of the college.

Service & Labor
We believe in the value of labor as soulcraft and the power of service as a moral education that can instill a lifelong obligation of service to society. Students assume a labor responsibility to sustain the college’s day-to-day operations: running the kitchen and dining hall; growing and harvesting food (vegetables from the garden, salmon from the ocean, etc.); a “work crew,” guided by a foreman-carpenter, that assists with the historic restoration and rehabilitation of Sheldon Jackson Campus’s 100-year-old buildings; and the important work of dishwashing and custodial upkeep. Similarly, students rotate through service positions and apprenticeships with organizations in the community, contributing to Sitka and its vibrant culture.

Today’s universities function more as sprawling conglomerates than as schools: they manage multi-million-dollar athletic programs, police departments, hospitals, science research facilities, massive food and residential services operations, and sprawling real estate portfolios. Meanwhile, the academic job market often discourages great teaching by providing incentives for faculty to focus primarily on research.

Outer Coast is a relentlessly student-focused institution. Excellence in scholarship is different from excellence in teaching. Outer Coast College faculty’s foremost obligation is to create a dazzling, neuron-bending pedagogic and intellectual experience for students, and to treat teaching as a craft in its own right. At Outer Coast College, excellence in teaching is the expectation.

After two years Outer Coast students transfer to four-year institutions, where they can take advantage of the resources of a larger institution. This model aspires to be the “best of the both worlds”: students can complete a robust two-year liberal arts education without crippling debt, then transition into two years of a traditional undergraduate education with a far clearer sense of themselves."



"Mission Statement
Outer Coast College seeks to teach and inspire promising young people to create virtuous change in the world and in their own lives. It aims to accomplish this mission by providing a rigorous and challenging academic curriculum marked by exceptional pedagogy and faculty engagement; by imparting the value of labor and service to a diverse student body entrusted with broad powers of self-governance; by cultivating love for community and respect for nature within the setting of Sitka, Alaska; by fostering creativity, curiosity, honesty, generosity, resilience, self-reliance, and good humor; and by accompanying students in their search for self-understanding and moral worth.

Who We Serve
The student body of Outer Coast College will be national and international in breadth, and diverse in many ways, including race, gender, and socioeconomic status. The college will make a special effort to recruit students from Alaska, particularly Alaska Natives and rural Alaskans, as well as high-achieving students from underserved backgrounds.

Brief History of the Project
Founded in 1878, Sheldon Jackson College was the oldest institution of higher learning in Alaska until its closure in 2007. At that time, title to the deteriorating campus was transferred to the nationally recognized Sitka Fine Arts Camp.

In the ensuing years, led by the inspiring vision of the Fine Arts Camp, the community of Sitka rallied to restore the campus in perhaps the largest volunteer effort in the history of Alaska.

Today the Sitka Fine Arts Camp runs its summer programs on the Sheldon Jackson Campus to national acclaim, filling Sitka with tremendous creative energy.

In summer 2014 Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins and Roger Schmidt began discussing the possibility of founding a new college on the campus in partnership with the Fine Arts Camp.

In January 2015 Jonathan visited Deep Springs College to explore adapting its model to Sitka. While there, Jonathan met Will Hunt, a second year student who subsequently committed to move to Sitka in the fall to join the effort to create a Deep Springs-inspired college on Sheldon Jackson Campus.

Full-time work to create the college began September 2015. A four-person principal team of Jonathan, Will, Stephanie Gilardi, and Javier Botero coalesced through the fall. In mid-November, the team organized a two-day convening on the campus, bringing together collaborators from Sitka, Alaska, and the Lower 48 to contribute to the vision of Outer Coast College.

Through the fall and winter Jonathan, Will, Stephanie, and Javier created seven working committees, collectively charged with advancing the disparate work of creating a college, from accreditation to pedagogy to fundraising to admissions and recruitment. All aspects of the Outer Coast College project are actively progressing through present (April 2016)."
alaska  srg  colleges  universities  deepspringscollege  outercoastcollege  servicelearning  labor  self-governance 
april 2016 by robertogreco
Never Alone (video game) - Wikipedia
"Never Alone, also known as Kisima Inŋitchuŋa ("I am not alone"), is a puzzle-platformer video game by Upper One Games. Swapping between an Iñupiaq girl named Nuna and her Arctic fox companion, the player completes puzzles in a story based on Alaskan indigenous stories told in eight chapters."

[via: https://vimeo.com/152108782
"one of the finest examples we have of what happens when technology leverages the insights of the humanities"]

[See also:
http://neveralonegame.com/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lM_80zVzwpI
http://kotaku.com/never-alone-the-kotaku-review-1659789150 ]
games  videogames  srg  edg  neveralone  2014  alaska  indigenous  indigeneity 
january 2016 by robertogreco
Orion Magazine | The Rules of the River
"At midnight on the Toklat River in the Alaska Range, the thermometer recorded ninety-three degrees. The sun, dragging anchor in the northwest sky, fired rounds of heat against the cabin. I was lying naked on the bunk, slapping mosquitos. Next to the wall, my husband lay completely covered by a white sheet, as still and dismayed as a corpse. He would rather be hot than bitten, and I would rather be bitten than hot.

I had come to the Toklat River to think about global warming, and it wasn’t going well. The week’s heat was breaking all-time records, drawing a new spike on the graph of jaggedly rising temperatures in Alaska. The average day is now four degrees warmer than just a few decades ago, and seven degrees warmer in winter. The Arctic is heating twice as fast as the rest of the world.

Furious and despairing, I had no chance of falling asleep that night. So I pulled on clothes and walked to the bank of the river.

The Toklat is a shallow river that braids across a good half mile of gravel beds, dried stream courses, and deep-dug channels. Sloshing with meltwater, it clatters along among islands and willow thickets. Banging rocks on cobblestones, surging into confused swells, the gray currents that night looked unpredictable and chaotic. But there were patterns.

A hydrologist once explained the rules of rivers to me as we walked a river-path. The dynamics of a river are manifestations of energy, he said. A fast, high-energy river will carry particles—the faster the river, the bigger the particle. But when it loses energy and slows, the river drops what it carries. So anything that slows a river can make a new landscape. It could be a stick lodged against a stone or the ribcage of a calf moose drowned at high water. Where the water piles against the obstacle, it drops its load, and an island begins to form. The island—in fact, any deposition—reshapes the current. As water curls around the obstacle, the current’s own force turns it upstream. Around one small change, the energy reorganizes itself entirely.

And here’s the point: no one pattern continues indefinitely; it always gives way to another. When there are so many obstacles and islands that a channel can no longer carry all its water and sediment, it crosses a stability threshold and the current carves a different direction. The change is usually sudden, often dramatic, the hydrologist said, a process called avulsion.

On the Toklat that night, the physics of the river played out right in front of me. A chunk of dirt and roots toppled from the bank, tumbled past me, and jammed against a mid-river stone. The current, dividing itself around the rootball, wrinkled sideways and turned upstream. It curled into pocket-eddies behind the roots. Even as I watched, the pockets filled with gravel and sand. A willow could grow there, and its roots could divide and slow the river further, gathering more gravel, creating a place where new life could take root.

I shoved a rock into the river. The sudden curl of current made me grin. Yes, we are caught up in a river rushing toward a hot, stormy, and dangerous planet. The river is powered by huge amounts of money invested in mistakes that are dug into the very structure of the land, a tangled braid of fearful politicians, preoccupied consumers, reckless corporations, and bewildered children—everyone, in some odd way, feeling helpless. Of course, we despair. How will we ever dam this flood?

But we don’t have to stop the river. Our work and the work of every person who loves this world—this one—is to make one small deflection in complacency, a small obstruction to profits, a blockage to business-as-usual, then another, and another, to change the energy of the flood. As it swirls around these snags and subversions, the current will slow, lose power, eddy in new directions, and create new systems and structures that change its course forever. On these small islands, new ideas will grow, creating thickets of living things and life-ways we haven’t yet imagined.

This is the work of disruption. This is the work of radical imagination. This is the work of witness. This is the steadfast, conscientious refusal to let a hell-bent economy force us to row its boat. This is much better than stewing in the night."
kathleendeanmoore  2014  via:anne  disruption  imagination  radicalism  witness  witnessing  conscientiousness  economics  work  complacency  globalwarming  alaska  arctic  toklatriver  rivers  patterns  continuity  change  avulsion 
june 2015 by robertogreco
Study finds ancient clam beaches not so natural - University Communications - Simon Fraser University
"Casting a large interdisciplinary research net has helped Simon Fraser University archaeologist Dana Lepofsky and 10 collaborators dig deeper into their findings about ancient clam gardens in the Pacific Northwest to formulate new perspectives.

Lepofsky’s research team has discovered that Northwest Coast Indigenous people didn’t make their living just by gathering the natural ocean’s bounty. Rather, from Alaska to Washington, they were farmers who cultivated productive clam gardens to ensure abundant and sustainable clam harvests.

In its new paper published by American Antiquity, Lepofsky’s team describes how it isolated novel ways to date the stone terraces that created clam beaches. These beaches are certainly more than 1,000 years old and likely many thousands of years older. The researchers identified many places where people built gardens on bedrock — creating ideal clam habitats where there were none before. This, the researchers concluded, clearly challenges the notion that First Nations were living in wild, untended environments.

“We think that many Indigenous peoples worldwide had some kind of sophisticated marine management, but the Pacific Northwest is likely one of the few places in the world where this can be documented,” says Lepofsky. “This is because our foreshores are more intact than elsewhere and we can work closely with Indigenous knowledge holders.”

The researchers, who worked with First Nations linguistic data, oral traditions and memories, geomorphological surveys, archaeological techniques and ecological experiments, belong to the Clam Garden Network. It’s a coastal group interested in ancient clam management.

“Understanding ancient marine management is relevant to many current issues,” says Lepofsky.

Her team is comparing clam garden productivity to that of modern aquaculture and assessing whether the shell-rich beaches of clam gardens help buffer against increasing ocean acidification. The team will also build experimental clam gardens, applying many of the traditional cultivation techniques learned from First Nations collaborators as a means of increasing food production and food security today.

This latest study is on the heels of one done a year ago by Lepofsky and her collaborators. The original three-year study published in PLOS ONE found that these ancient gardens produced quadruple the number of butter clams and twice the number of littleneck clams as unmodified clam beaches. It was the first study to provide empirical evidence of the productivity of ancient Pacific Northwest clam gardens and their capacity to increase food production.

The Tula Foundation, Parks Canada, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and Wenner Gren, among other groups, are funding the team’s studies.

Key highlights of new study:

• Northwest Coast Indigenous peoples from Alaska to Washington State managed clam beaches in a variety of ways. These included replanting of small clams and building rock terrace walls at the low-low tide line to create clam gardens.

• Northwest Coast First Nations language terms indicate clam gardens were built in specific places by rolling the rocks for two purposes. One was to create rock-walled terraces ideal for clam growth. Another was to clear the beaches of unwanted rubble that would limit clam habitat.

• The researchers developed novel ways to date the clam gardens and their preliminary excavations revealed that many date to more than 1,000 years ago.

• Working on these clam gardens posed some logistical challenges since many are only visible for about 72 daylight hours per year.

• Extensive air and ground surveys revealed that clam gardens can be found from Alaska to Washington State, but in some places, such as the Gulf Islands, recent rising sea level obscures the rock walls. In some areas, clam gardens made possible the dense ancient First Nations settlements that dot our coastline.

As Canada's engaged university, SFU is defined by its dynamic integration of innovative education, cutting-edge research and far-reaching community engagement. SFU was founded almost 50 years ago with a mission to be a different kind of university—to bring an interdisciplinary approach to learning, embrace bold initiatives, and engage with communities near and far. Today, SFU is a leader amongst Canada's comprehensive research universities and is ranked one of the top universities in the world under 50 years of age. With campuses in British Columbia's three largest cities—Vancouver, Surrey and Burnaby—SFU has eight faculties, delivers almost 150 programs to over 30,000 students, and boasts more than 130,000 alumni in 130 countries around the world."
britishcolumbia  cascadia  firstnations  nativeamericans  2015  clams  clamming  food  fisheries  clamgadens  washingtonstate  alaska  oceans  danalepofsky 
may 2015 by robertogreco
Why Should We Support the Idea of an Unconditional Basic Income? — Working Life — Medium
[Section titles: ]

"What would you do?
Didn’t they try this in Russia?
The magic of markets
Can we really improve capitalism or is this just theory?
Larger rewards lead to poorer performance.
Capitalism 2.0 sounds great and all but can we afford it?
Okay, it’s affordable… but wouldn’t people stop working?
But still, what about those few who WOULD stop working?
Why would (insert who you dislike) ever agree to this?"
universalbasicincome  capitalism  communism  economics  markets  2014  scottsantens  namibia  poverty  danielpink  productivity  power  choice  workweek  hours  thomaspiketty  psychology  motivation  canada  seattle  denver  1970s  taxes  taxation  inequality  alaska  mincome  employment  unemployment  work  labor  freedom  empowerment  ubi 
february 2015 by robertogreco
The California Sunday Magazine
"Whittier, Alaska, is a town of about 200 people, almost all of whom live in a 14-story former Army barracks built in 1956. The building, called Begich Towers, holds a police station, a health clinic, a church, and a laundromat. Its hallways resemble those of a school or a detention center. One can often find residents shuffling around in slippers and pajamas. The only way to get to Whittier by land is to drive through a two-and-a-half-mile, one-lane railroad tunnel that shuts down at night.

In summer, cruise ships, charter boats, and commercial fishing vessels bring thousands of visitors to Whittier’s harbor on the west side of Prince William Sound. In winter, though, the city gets about 250 inches of snow, and 60 mph winds are not uncommon. The weather is so brutal that children commute from Begich Towers to school through a tunnel. In the months when visitors are scant and seasonal businesses are all boarded up, what asserts itself is the strange intimacy of a place where at any hour a resident can knock on the police chief’s apartment door, where students get homework help at their teacher’s kitchen table, and where the pastor conducts baptisms in an inflatable pool in the basement. — ERIN SHEEHY"
alaska  photography  hittier  2015  begichtowers  communities  indoors 
january 2015 by robertogreco
On a Warmer Planet, Which Cities Will Be Safest? - NYTimes.com
"Alaskans, stay in Alaska. People in the Midwest and the Pacific Northwest, sit tight.

Scientists trying to predict the consequences of climate change say that they see few havens from the storms, floods and droughts that are sure to intensify over the coming decades. But some regions, they add, will fare much better than others.

Forget most of California and the Southwest (drought, wildfires). Ditto for much of the East Coast and Southeast (heat waves, hurricanes, rising sea levels). Washington, D.C., for example, may well be a flood zone by 2100, according to an estimate released last week.

Instead, consider Anchorage. Or even, perhaps, Detroit.

“If you do not like it hot and do not want to be hit by a hurricane, the options of where to go are very limited,” said Camilo Mora, a geography professor at the University of Hawaii and lead author of a paper published in Nature last year predicting that unprecedented high temperatures will become the norm worldwide by 2047.

“The best place really is Alaska,” he added. “Alaska is going to be the next Florida by the end of the century.”

Under any model of climate change, scientists say, most of the country will look and feel drastically different in 2050, 2100 and beyond, even as cities and states try to adapt and plan ahead. The northern Great Plains states may well be pleasant (if muggy) for future generations, as may many neighboring states. Although few people today are moving long distances to strategize for climate change, some are at least pondering the question of where they would go.

“The answer is the Pacific Northwest, and probably especially west of the Cascades,” said Ben Strauss, vice president for climate impacts and director of the program on sea level rise at Climate Central, a research collaboration of scientists and journalists. “Actually, the strip of coastal land running from Canada down to the Bay Area is probably the best,” he added. “You see a lot less extreme heat; it’s the one place in the West where there’s no real expectation of major water stress, and while sea level will rise there as everywhere, the land rises steeply out of the ocean, so it’s a relatively small factor.”

Clifford E. Mass, a professor of atmospheric science at the University of Washington, writes a popular weather blog in which he predicts that the Pacific Northwest will be “a potential climate refuge” as global warming progresses. A Seattle resident, he foresees that “climate change migrants” will start heading to his city and to Portland, Ore., and surrounding areas.

“The Pacific Ocean is like our natural air conditioning,” Professor Mass said in a telephone interview. “We don’t get humidity like the East Coast does.”

As for the water supply? “Water is important, and we will have it,” Professor Mass declared. “All in all, it’s a pretty benign situation for us — in fact, warming up just a little bit might be a little bit welcome around here.”

Already, he said, Washington State is gearing up to become the next Napa Valley as California’s wine country heats up and dries out.

“People are going crazy putting in vineyards in eastern Washington right now,” he said.

There may be other refuges to the east. Don’t count out the elevated inland cities in the country’s midsection, like Minneapolis, Salt Lake City, Milwaukee and Detroit, said Matthew E. Kahn, a professor of environmental economics at the University of California, Los Angeles.

“I predict we’re going to have millions of people moving to those areas,” he said in a telephone interview.

In his 2010 book “Climatopolis,” Professor Kahn predicts that when things get bad enough in any given location — not just the temperatures and extreme weather, but also the cost of insurance and so forth — people will become “environmental refugees,” fleeing cities like Phoenix, Los Angeles and San Diego. By 2100, he writes, Detroit will be one of the nation’s most desirable cities."
us  climatechange  alaska  cascadia  california  2014  washingtonstate  oregon 
september 2014 by robertogreco
Radical hope for saving ocean fisheries – Megan Molteni – Aeon
"The good catch: Hope for the world's devastated oceans rests on a change in the hearts of the fishermen that know them best"



"‘Used to be, the first three days I would stay awake straight,’ he tells me, wincing slightly and running a hand through his thick, greying hair. ‘But I just can’t do that anymore.’

Nor does he have to. For Seitz and a handful of other fishermen in California, the testosterone-frenzied, fish-till-you-drop lifestyle is becoming a thing of the past. This is no accident. Rather, it is the deliberate work of old enemies who have teamed up in the face of environmental tragedy to chart a new course in collaborative resource management. If the venture is successful, it could not only revolutionise the way the American fishing fleet does business: it might forever alter the way we think about our planet’s last great frontier."



"The modernisation of the world’s fishing fleets was good for fishermen, but it was very bad for fish. Looking back at historical catch data, scientists estimate that the marine biomass of open-ocean communities declined by 80 per cent within 15 years of industrialised exploitation. The ocean has lost more than 90 per cent of its large predatory fishes — iconic species such as the bluefin tuna, the Atlantic cod, and the Pacific halibut.

How did this happen in less than a century? The simple answer is hubris. The notion that we could take and take from the seemingly limitless bounty of the sea without consequences has permeated everything from governmental policy to management efforts to fishing culture for decades. You see it in the government-subsidised expansion of the US fishing fleet despite falling catch rates; in modern management strategies that enabled fishermen to catch as much as possible in a given time frame; in a supply chain that encourages opacity and deceit at every stage. However, the more complicated answer is that we have managed (and mismanaged) economic incentives, consumer markets, scientific data, environmental policy and, above all, individual accountability. Fishermen get much of the blame for the state in which we find ourselves — this ‘race to the last fish’ — but they didn’t build this system by themselves. They are, however, the ones with the power to change it.

When Rob Seitz was growing up in Fairbanks, Alaska, he didn’t play sports or do much studying. Instead, he’d spend weeknights and weekends out at sea with his grandfather, fishing for salmon and halibut. In 1988, he took up fishing full-time. The next year, the Exxon Valdez ran aground in Prince William Sound, spilling 11 million gallons of crude oil into Alaska’s icy waters. The disaster shut down the salmon fishery, and over the next decade Seitz was forced to cobble together a living in less lucrative fisheries. By the time things recovered, aquaculture (or fish farming) had come to the US, and in 2000 prices for salmon plummeted. That was the end of Seitz’s fishing career in Alaska. He drifted south, eventually landing in Astoria, Oregon, a fishing port perched at the mouth of the Columbia River, and home to the third-largest fish processor in the world.

That same year, 750 miles further south, California’s Morro Bay fishery was officially declared a federal disaster. Like so many ports along America’s coastline, Morro Bay had seen the advent of enormous trawlers that destroyed local marine wildlife in just a few decades. Between 1986 and 2000, fish landings and economic revenue in Morro Bay fell by more than 80 per cent. This was emblematic of fisheries the world over — starting in 1988, global catch estimates show a steady decline of more than 300,000 tons per year. In Morro Bay, a common story began to unfold. Stocks collapsed. Processors left town. Regulators stepped in. The Pacific Fishery Management Council and the National Marine Fisheries Service spent $30 million to buy out fishermen who were willing to get out of the business — about 40 per cent of the town’s fleet. By 2002, the remaining fishermen were getting desperate. That year, under pressure from a federal mandate, the regulators announced they would be making large closures up and down the California coast, to protect fish habitat and prohibit trawling. While the size of the closure was to be dictated by regulatory agencies, the exact boundaries were open to public input. And this was where the nation’s largest environmental group — the Nature Conservancy — saw an opportunity to step in.

The conservancy quickly realised that, to establish the right boundaries for the closures, it would have to go to the very people who were fighting to keep the fishing grounds open. ‘What the fishermen had was a deep local knowledge of the habitats of certain species,’ Michael Bell, a senior project director with the conservancy, told The New York Times in November 2011. ‘There wasn’t scientific information at that level that could match the fisherman knowledge.’

So Bell went to the fishermen of Morro Bay to ask for help. The proposition was this: either work with us, sharing your knowledge to create a proposal for the new closures — of which we’ll help mitigate the financial burdens — or don’t, and let the regulators put the lines wherever they want.

Fishermen were torn. To work with environmentalists would mean allegations of ‘sleeping with the enemy’ from friends and colleagues. On the other hand, any other economic opportunities had left town with the processing plants. Eventually, out of the 23 permit-holders approached, 13 fishermen volunteered to sell their permits and six of those also sold their boats to the conservancy. Other fishermen began sharing their knowledge of areas needing protection for breeding grounds and juvenile fish habitat. ‘They realised this was a chance for them to shape their destiny a bit,’ said Bell. And so, together, the conservancy and the fishermen came to the council with a plan for the closures.

By 2006, this unlikely partnership had resulted in the creation of 3.8 million acres of protected fish habitat — all of it off-limits to trawling, and with stricter regulations for other kinds of fishing. It also made the conservancy the second-largest fishing permit-holder on the west coast — unprecedented for an environmental group. For decades, the typical dynamic in US fisheries consisted of fishermen pushing the limits of what scientists said was sustainable, management agencies not doing enough, and environmentalists filing lawsuits. This didn’t do much for how environmentalists and fishermen felt about each other. The conservancy’s move changed everything. Other environmental groups had bought boats and licences in order to retire them and relieve pressure on fish stocks, but no other conservation group had become a significant stakeholder in the fishing industry. ‘Before that, we had an advocacy role only,’ said Bell, ‘and now we were at the table with assets.’

But what to do with those assets? The conservancy wanted to find a fishery model based on collaboration, which would work for both the environment and economics — a model that would break from the practices that caused the decline in the first place. Rather than taking boats and permits out of action, they decided to lease some back, provided fishermen agreed to new sustainable practices. These included switching gear to traps and hook-and-line, updating catch-reporting technology, and sharing that information with the conservancy for research and monitoring purposes. Those fishermen who agreed to the new conditions got a special exempted permit to fish Morro Bay’s waters.

The plan wasn’t popular with everyone. ‘Fishing was our heritage,’ Andrea Lueker, then assistant City Manager, told me. ‘And we were very concerned we were going to lose fishing in Morro Bay.’ The conservancy realised that in order to get the full support of a city built on trawl fishing, they would have to resurrect the trawl fleet. They had the boats, but no one to captain them by their rules. They needed new blood.

Back in Oregon, Rob Seitz was having something of an existential crisis. After six years of gruelling work aboard crabbing boats, tuna boats, salmon boats and anyone else who would take him, he had his first captain’s job. He also had a wife and four kids. Seitz found himself wishing he were going to his kids’ football games rather than getting his butt kicked for a few more pounds of crab. But if he weren’t out there, someone else would be. And that meant money in someone else’s wallet instead of on his mortgage. He felt trapped. And he worried about the kind of legacy he was leaving his children.

Then one day, he picked a book of home remedies off his in-laws’ coffee table and flipped to the chapter titled ‘midlife crisis’. Inside, he found a passage from Carl Jung: it said that when you’re young you separate yourself from society so that you can go out and create value for your own life, but once you have children there is a desire to return to society, to meet social goals rather than personal ones. Seitz was intrigued and sought out more of Jung’s work, until one day the message became clear: life isn’t about personal gain, it’s about trying to make the world a better place in which your young can grow up. The revelation brought relief.

‘I realised that all this time I’d been thinking, “I’m a victim.” Things happened to me and all I did was complain about it,’ Seitz said. He didn’t want to suffer at the hands of a broken system any longer: he wanted to change it and himself. So when he heard that Morro Bay was looking for a trawler, he jumped at the opportunity. It was a chance to build up a whole new system that rewarded fishermen for making sustainable choices.

As Seitz was moving his family south, further monumental changes were hitting the California’s Central Coast. At the beginning of 2011, the Pacific Fishery Management Council switched … [more]
fishing  oregon  california  policy  2013  us  meganmolteni  morrobay  astoria  alaska  pacificcoast  robseitz  collaboration  environment  sustainability  nature  natureconservancy  commercialfishing 
july 2014 by robertogreco
A Spectre Is Haunting Alaska—the Spectre of Communism | Demos
"In 1976, Republican Governor Jay Hammond started Alaska's sovereign wealth fund (SWF), which has come to be called the Alaska Permanent Fund. The way it works is Alaska has a big pile of money that it uses to buy up the means of production (sometimes called stocks and bonds). Those investments yield returns and revenue for the state. Right now, Alaska plows that revenue into its universal basic income (UBI) program, which is called the Permanent Fund Dividend. The way it works is the state sends a check to every single Alaskan each year. Last year, it was $900, but in better years, it has been as high as $2000. For a family of four, that's a $3,600 and $8,000 income boost respectively.

The Alaska communist story gets more interesting than that though. The way Alaska builds the principal of the fund is in line with another of Myerson's proposals: take back the land. You see, the oil wealth in Alaska happened to reside underneath public land. Instead of doing the red-blooded American thing and just giving all of that natural wealth that nobody creates away to oil companies, Alaska held on to its ownership and collects royalties from the oil. Those royalties are plowed into its SWF. So what you have in Alaska is a state that is leveraging publicly-owned natural resources to build a SWF that pays out a UBI. Or as conservatives on twitter call it: a communist hellscape.

How has communist Alaska fared you may be asking? Well, they have a 10 percent poverty rate, which is 33 percent lower than the nation as a whole. It has the second lowest level of income inequality in the country. It must be pretty cool to live there because half of the shows on TV are about it. It does not appear to be on the verge of collapse any time soon. And there are no, as far as we know, gulags or forced labor camps yet. So all in all, I'd say its adventures in communism have been pretty successful."
universalbasicincome  communism  economics  alaska  2014  jessemeyerson  mattbruenig  income  poverty  inequality  us  policy  ubi 
january 2014 by robertogreco
Unknown Fields Division
"The Unknown Fields Division is a nomadic design studio that ventures out on annual expeditions to the ends of the earth exploring unreal and forgotten landscapes, alien terrains and obsolete ecologies. Join the Division as each year we navigate a different global cross section and map the complex and contradictory realities of the present as a site of strange and extraordinary futures.
 
Here we are both visionaries and reporters, part documentarians and part science fiction soothsayers as the otherworldly sites we encounter afford us a distanced viewpoint from which to survey the consequences of emerging environmental and technological scenarios."

[Blog: http://www.unknownfieldsdivision.com/blog/ ]
travel  galápagos  amazon  arcticcircle  ecuador  australia  alaska  roswell  chernobyl  sciencefiction  scifi  obsoleteecologies  exploration  unknownfieldsdivision  neo-nomads  nomads  fiction  design  architecture  from delicious
march 2012 by robertogreco
n+1: The Frozen Ladder
"I had time to be angry at the euphemism before I collapsed over a life raft box staring at the gulls hanging in the air outside the wheelhouse. I felt incredibly cold. I had time to think, oxygen ending, that I would remember this scene for the rest of my life and so far it has held true. It has never become a memory, it’s still a flashback with the smell and feel intact of the motion of the boat, its gentle heavings like part of my own body, seeing the birds’ wings making minute adjustments. Sea birds are very large, they follow the boat. There was heavy fog and I could only see us, our boat, and then dark sea and white foam."
alaska  fishing  autobiography  memory  memories  death  dying  storytelling  from delicious
november 2010 by robertogreco
Sarah Palin the Sound and the Fury | Politics | Vanity Fair
"Even as Sarah Palin’s public voice grows louder, she has become increasingly secretive, walling herself off from old friends and associates, and attempting to enforce silence from those around her. Following the former Alaska governor’s road show, the author delves into the surreal new world Palin now inhabits—a place of fear, anger, and illusion, which has swallowed up the engaging, small-town hockey mom and her family—and the sadness she has left in her wake."
2010  politics  sarahpalin  us  vanityfair  alaska  from delicious
september 2010 by robertogreco
Cascadia (independence movement) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
"Cascadia (commonly called the Republic of Cascadia as a full name) is a proposed name for an independent sovereign state advocated by a grassroots environmental movement in the Pacific Northwest of North America. This state would hypothetically be formed by the union of British Columbia, Oregon, and Washington. Other suggested boundary lines also include Idaho (all or parts), western Montana, Northern California, parts of Alaska, and parts of the Yukon. This type of "federation" would require secession from both the United States and Canada. The boundaries of this proposed republic could incorporate those of the existing province and states."
cascadia  canada  independence  alaska  us  secession  california  britishcolumbia  bc  politics  history  geography  activism  washingtonstate  oregon 
september 2009 by robertogreco
Tell the Raven
"Tell the Raven is a community writing project for my Grade 6 (grade 4 material is in the archives) students in Fairbanks, Alaska. The Raven totem pole stands in the middle of our playground. Our stories go out to the world."
dougnoon  blogs  tcsnmy  sixthgrade  blogging  writing  classideas  exchange  teaching  edtech  education  schools  wikis  alaska 
october 2008 by robertogreco
WorldChanging: Chinook Salmon Invade South America
"People introduced chinook to southern South America for aquaculture about 25 years ago, but now the species has started self-sustaining & rapidly expanding in wild...While North American counterparts are dwindling South American chinook are flourishing"
chile  aquaculture  animals  fish  nature  invasivespecies  environment  ecosystems  southamerica  northamerica  us  cascadia  alaska  canada  salmon 
june 2008 by robertogreco

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