Veggie Voyagers

Couple travelled 30 states and 3 Canadian provinces between 7/07 and 5/08 running their 1987 Ford truck on straight veggie oil. The blog continues with a focus on the natural world and energy politics from a personal perspective

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Pvt. Bradley Manning, Drones, Resurgence

 Despite the rapid onset of summer we had one more spurt of spring rain last night at the Main Gate at Beale Air Force Base where over a dozen of us from all over Northern California had journeyed to protest yet again against illegal, immoral drone strikes (as we have for over two years.)
 This is also the week leading up to the trial of Pvt. Bradley Manning. We are all amazed how few people know about him. He was arrested in 2010 in Iraq and charged with releasing classified material to the news medium "WikiLeaks" which made the word "whistleblower" a household word. The only thing I saw, and showed to as many people as I could, was the "Collateral Murder" video which showed US helicopter troops killing an unarmed journalist and other horrors. Manning has undergone torture and secrecy and now heads into trial with Mass Rallies, petition campaigns, ads and even nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize. (See
 I include Toby's hairy shoes here not so much as comic relief as a statement about the thorny life of a peace activist. She earned these putting up banners, which she painstakingly made, on fences. Later guards came out and tried to scare us about rattlesnakes and wolf spiders. Then the weather- which was supposed to be partly cloudy and 5MPH winds bent my tent right over me and doused us all good. Then by dawn we were over at the Wheatland Gate where these good activists blocked the road into the base for about an hour until the CHP came. Renee said, "maybe it was worth getting the service people mad at us if we saved a life from being killed by a drone attack."
 Lastly, Toby just had her birthday and Flora turns 40 on Friday. She holds a sign that says, Peace Is Its Own Reward. I think that is worth bearing in mind when all the intensity of the world is pressing in on us. We must do what we are called to do but we must also outreach, educate and agitate beyond what we are comfortable with in order to widen the discourse and be "seen" by a powerful country that has very little use for free speech and free press and open dialogue on controversial practices. WE are the ones that must make this happen so I really appreciate those who pushed through their reservations to block the road today. We respect the many reasons people want to get to work on time and how frustrated they get but perhaps something good will come of it if we keep Peace in our hearts and push on to stop the atrocities of U.S. war crimes.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Purge Monsanto !

 Isn't this face enough? Do we want GMO corn, wheat, sugar, fish etc. going into this perfectly evolved little human? It doesn't matter that she is not my child or my relative and that I don't know her name. She is the child of all of our futures. The building block of all future humans. Why would we want to taint her with possible (probable) disease and take away the rich genetic macrocosm of life as we know it that could sustain her existence and allow her to safely reproduce our species? Is it a death wish to ignore what Monsanto is doing?
Today, all over this planet people marched for the future of this child and all those we stand to lose track of in a dimly illuminated future of genetic roulette.
 Today in Sacramento we had some amazing speakers, poets and musicians. This woman, who I believe came with rainforest activist Eda Zavala is a traditional healer from Amazonia. When she sang her prayer the air itself responded with fullness and gratitude and the heritage trees of the Capitol lawn leaned in for the sustenance. It was magic and she was ordinary and we were linked and she taught us. We were spellbound with the truth of Aliveness and the prayer of our own Beingness.
 And with that the hard reality of responsibility. Here is the assignment-- go to this website and get to work. (I will join you there shortly.)
 Mother Earth will Thank you by remaining on her slowly evolving course. You may not see an improvement with all the other crazy human caused madness going on but at least the life experiment that has been going on here on Earth won't be screwed up by the Monsanto profiteers. We have a big battle -- boycotts, petitions, labeling campaigning, leafleting, media and political hand, mind, foot work... The last days were heady but no one else is going to stop the GMO insanity but us so we had best commit.

Monsanto Davis

 Families against Frankenstein Food.

 and this is what it is all about... the elegant, simple, complex and rich magnificence of creation itself. Yes, apples brown when opened... a lot of food goes bad when shipped. It is also increasingly clear that GMOs are causing health problems and we are losing the beneficial insects like bees and butterflies with the Round-up ready (herbicide) genetically modified seed. The Monsanto Protection Act passed by Congress guarantees that Monsanto will continue to forge its monopoly over the world's food supply with patent rights over seeds and genetic make up, an abomination of human hubris over the millions of years of natural evolution. If the pollinators are destroyed the fools in bio-tech will not be able to feed the planet. We must vote with our dollars, get food labeling laws passed, call for more research to prove the health concerns, sound the alarm....

Guantanamo morphs into Monsanto

 My vanity wanted a photo of my newly purchased orange jump suit and black bag over my head but wouldn't you know it I wasn't the star of this show! There we were, three crones aiming our message to the early morning traffic the morning Obama made his speech. Of course he could close the place down -- he can blame the republicans all he wants but let's keep calling him until he realizes that rhetoric alone isn't enough.
So much going on. I pause to consider talking about Chico's decision to draft a Sit/Lie ("Civil Sidewalks" or how I learned to love living in a police state) Ordinance. No, I'll leave that for another time.
 Today a car full of us went to Davis to the Monsanto office where once before, in dreary winter, I went with Occupy. This time there was a lively bunch of people too but I think even more diversity of age, background and expression. I'm eager to outreach to the people I met. Like the honey bees we all love we are the pollinators of the world we want, the world we want to preserve.
 If you enlarge this photo you can see one of the most problematic things about Monsanto and why it will be so hard to break their grip on our food supply. It's easy to despair when you recognize how entrenched they are.
 But when you look in the faces-- the many different faces-- of the hard working activists you realize that we can do this. We have the power of the pocket book and our base in the organic food movement. You have to enlarge this photo too to see what foods to avoid.
In Chico we are talking seriously about another push to get GMO labeling back on the ballot. The energy and enthusiasm is there.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Old Coastal Friends

 We came over to Arcata as an interim get away between surgery recovery and restarting chemo. We stayed the first night with Susan and Robert in Willow Creek and then with Angela, Raymond, Lin and Jet in Bayside. I've known Angela since high school and Susan since nursing school. I'm so grateful to have old friends to visit and relax with. They and their families have been really kind to us.
 Today a stroke of luck helped me find my old friend Lynn. We've been friends for 36 years but I'd lost track of her. Her house isn't really accessible so I was writing a note to put on her mailbox when she pulled up hauling a horse trailer full of trash from a beach clean-up. So many memories flooded back looking at her beautiful face.
 Today we hiked up into the Headwaters Forest which is now preserved after the struggles of Judi Bari and countless others to save the ancient redwoods at the headwaters of the Eel River in the 80s.
 Yesterday we walked around the Bayside neighborhood, enjoying the rhododendrons and other flowering plants that have now dried up at home. So much glory... so lovely at the coast!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Mothers Day

 What women bring-- I look at these faces and I know it would take too long to tell you. The loving hours spent in the fields of human endeavor that bring us closer to justice and to caring for all.
 ...Music, teaching, bringing up the young. Linda, below, is wearing clothing she made from a commitment to garment workers... a new endeavor is born.
 And Mira, below, is here from Guatemala supporting an art school there for young people and multiple other projects that help her community.
 Orien and I were brunching yesterday to support the CCE&NN Program (see if I can get this right-- Community Clinical Education and Nurse Navigation Program) that assists women who are facing breast cancer financially as well as with education and emotional support. So many other women inside the Women's Club Mother's Day morning-- all doing good work.
It is an honor to be a mother and to stand next to my daughter as we resume our work as Women in this harried world. Yesterday was a wonderful step aside to just enjoy each others company.
Mother's Day Proclamation
by Julia Ward Howe*, 1870
The First Mother's Day proclaimed in 1870 by Julia Ward Howe
was a passionate demand for disarmament and peace.
Arise, then, women of this day! Arise, all women who have hearts, whether your baptism be that of water or tears!
Say firmly: "We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies. Our husbands shall not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have taught them of charity, mercy and patience. We women of one country will be too tender of those of another to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs."
From the bosom of the devastated earth, a voice goes up with our own. It says, "Disarm, Disarm!"
The sword of murder is not the balance of justice. Blood not wipe out dishonor, nor violence indicate possession. As men have often forsaken the plow and the anvil at the summons of war, let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of counsel. Let them meet first, as women, to bewail & commemorate the dead. Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means whereby the great human family can live in peace, each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesars but of God.
In the name of womanhood and of humanity, I earnestly ask that a general congress of women without limit of nationality may be appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient and at the earliest period consistent with its objects, to promote the alliance of the different nationalities, the amicable settlement of international questions, the great and general interests of peace.

Biography of Julia Ward Howe
US feminist, reformer, and writer Julia Ward Howe was born May 27, 1819 in New York City. She married Samuel Gridley Howe of Boston, a physician and social reformer. After the Civil War, she campaigned for women rights, anti-slavery, equality, and for world peace. She published several volumes of poetry, travel books, and a play. She became the first woman to be elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1908. She was an ardent antislavery activist who wrote the Battle Hymn of the Republic in 1862, sung to the tune of John Brown's Body. She wrote a biography in 1883 of Margaret Fuller, who was a prominent literary figure and a member of Ralph Waldo Emerson's Transcendentalists. She died in 1910.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Faire and Fair

 The Endangered Species Faire is part of an exhausting but exuberant first Saturday in May every year. There is also a "Pioneer Day" Spring Parade that I am boycotting because the parade committee would not change the name of the parade last year after representatives of the Mechoopda and Pomo people both spoke to Occupy Chico about how painful to them it is to celebrate pioneers and we made a well reasoned request that was never responded to. That was enough for me. Change it or stay away from it. (I don't feel done trying to change the name.)
Anyway, there is nothing I would want to change about the Endangered Species Faire that Butte Environmental Council puts on each year. It is a Gem.
 We have been blessed with creative people working all year in the schools with children to educate and make puppets representing endangered species. In this section the creatures of Air, Water, Earth came out separately after the original Procession of the Species... a wonderful, solemn entrance of many children, adults and their spectacular and humble puppets.
 It was nonetheless heart searing to hear the little voices on the microphone one after the other describing their species... so many at risk and these little people not really understanding why this is happening to their animal.. me either. me either.
The next stop was the International Fair at Chico State University where I got some fun shots of Jeanne Christopherson's dancers.
 At the end we were all samba-ing around and a couple of the guys from an Arabic country, I think they were perhaps Saudi, came out and danced around to the beat with the crowd. Just one big family under a hot spring sun. I loved it.