Wednesday, April 1, 2009

V. Shiva nails it: Bringing food security close to home is the essential thing

To feed our ever-growing appetites, we push industrial agriculture
methods on once-traditional agrarian societies, and now we want these
faraway lands to produce a different kind of food: biofuel, to feed
the West's automobiles. At some point, Shiva argues, we're going to
have to choose between sacred cow and sacred car.

Shiva founded an organization called Navdanya to promote research in
organic agriculture and saving heirloom seeds. In her 2008 book Soil
Not Oil: Environmental Justice in an Age of Climate Crisis, she argues
that the rebirth of sustainable, traditional agriculture offers the
best way forward, in both India and in the West.

"There is a myth that there are agricultural societies, and then there
are industrial societies and service societies, as if when you become
an industrial or service society you don't need food," she says. "As
we hit climate chaos, as we hit peak oil, assuming that you can get
your food from far away and use fossil-fuel-intensive systems to
produce food is totally not sustainable. Bringing food security close
to home will have to be the project of the future."

More at

More Calendar Marking: Friends of the Library Book Sale!

Friends of the Salem Public Library Spring Book Sale

Friday, May 1 & Saturday May 2
10 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.

Sunday, May 11
1 - 4:30 p.m. ($3 Bag Day!)

In Anderson Rooms A&B at Salem Public Library 585 Liberty St. SE

Spring sale offerings include thousands of excellent books sorted by genre and topic to make it easy for readers to find what they’re looking for. Categories include mystery, biography/autobiography, travel, cooking, fantasy, Westerns, hobbies and craft s, romance, large print, and more.

Prices are, as always, excellent, with paperbacks and children’s books for 50 cents each; hardbacks for $1. A long list of AV items is available, including CDs, tapes, records, videos, posters and more.

The best bargains of all are available Sunday, when shoppers can fill a bag to take away for just $3.

In addition to books, the Friends are always in need of helping hands for this big event. Willing volunteers can contact Dana in the Friends’ Bookstore in person or by phone at 503-362-1755.

Another great Straub event: Leave No Child Inside

Working Together to “Leave No Child Inside”
7 p.m. Thursday, April 23 Loucks Auditorium

The “Leave No Child Inside” campaign is seeking to reverse alarming trends in children’s activities and reconnect children with nature. Presenter Martin LeBlanc will talk about the campaign and give examples of how communities are working to give their children outdoor experiences.

Martin LeBlanc is the National Youth Education Director for the Sierra Club. He is a founding member and vice president of the Children and Nature Network and is responsible for building the youth leadership with the “Leave No Child Inside” campaign.

LeBlanc was an at-risk youth who had his life turned around through an outdoor experience as a teenager. He worked as an outdoor educator with at-risk youth in Seattle, Washington and served as recreation advocate for Texas Parks and Wildlife in Austin, Texas. He serves on numerous advisory committees related to environmental education.

The presentation is free and open to the public through support from the Charla Richards-Kreitzberg Charitable Foundation, the William S. Walton Charitable Trust, Salem Public Library, City of Salem, and Marion Soil and Water Conservation District. For more information, contact the Friends of Straub Environmental Learning Center at 503-391-4145 or visit

The Friends of Straub Environmental Learning Center is a Salem-based, nonprofit organization dedicated to environmental education.

No Fooling: Why Salem must not develop the Battle Creek Golf Course

I don't golf. I think all golf courses should be converted to food gardens immediately if not sooner, and that it should be illegal to use any chemicals to grow grass anywhere (the need for petrochemical fertilizers being nature's way of telling you you're trying to grow something in the wrong place). So this isn't about my desire to preserve golfing.

But a golf course is still better than suburban sprawl. And the City of Salem knows it. Here's an excerpt from a five-page letter to "City of Salem Property Owners" concerning "Flood Hazards in the City of Salem" that the City sent me today:

"In Salem, unusually warm weather mixed with heavy rains that melt the snow in the higher elevations and flood local streams, referred to as a "Pineapple Express," contribute substantially to flooding, and ongoing development within the City continues to displace natural areas that have historically functioned as flood storage."

Well, there it is then. If Salem presses ahead with allowing development of the Battle Creek Golf Course, they will have put all of us on the hook to rescue flooding victims who build on that land (and their victims, since the development will cause other properties to flood as well).