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

Sunday, January 19, 2014

The Beloved Community

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would have been 85 years old on his birthday this year. It is so good to see the huge outpouring of love and support within the community for his legacy and that of the civil rights movement and its martyrs. The idea of the Beloved Community came from remarks Dr. King was making in the 1950s as he was grappling with non-violent strength and the nature of "agape" a love that transcends struggle and opposition. It feels like a trust from a deep well-spring to be part of that experience of community in these times.
Our Peace and Justice Center director, here with his daughter, focuses much of his time and attention on The New Jim Crow (see the book by that name by Michelle Alexander.) Mass incarceration is a scourge here in America and it's good people are waking up to it... we have 5% of the world's population and 25% of the world's prisoners. Much of this is due to the criminalization of mental illness and addiction and I'd add poverty. The statistics show that people of color are incarcerated at much higher numbers for the same "crimes"-- this glaring inequality is the face of racism in America.
The program tonight to celebrate the life of Dr. King was incredible. I only include Karisha (who sang Hallelujah! with her singing partner Sarah in their amazing MaMuse duo) because I got such a sweet picture of her with her baby. There were more children tonight than I remember ever at one of these events and at the end about 25 of them came up to sing Bob Marley's "One Love."
Trinity Methodist Church has hosted this gathering for many, many years. I think this was among the best celebrations ever. The church was packed and we all shared a wonderful Jamaican dinner after the "service," thanks to Baba Ross-Walcott and a few dozen volunteers. I'm so grateful for the organizing that went in to the program and the dinner planning. Thank you friends.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Our unfolding story

 Tatiana and Flora came to Chico to help install a RAFTT (Radical Art for These Times) exhibit at the Butte County Public Library. I have a bit of survivor guilt about the experience of helping put it all together-- Flora got her camera stolen while we were working on this. However, as you can see below there is a lot to be proud about. These little felted people in their dioramas really do deliver the story of our legacy of environmental direct action.
 We had two cases and the one above was all devoted to Fracking... I'm excited to have this interesting way of getting people educated about this frightening technology. We are working to get a moratorium here in Butte County but the display doesn't address that campaign--just the concerns.
 Here is one of the dioramas... completely realistic figures. To learn more about this action at the Royal Bank of Scotland go to
 Here's most of the case... Tatiana really worked hard to get all the dioramas into this very limited space. It will be intriguing to hear how the public responds to this art exhibit.
 In the last post there was a picture of Tim DeChristopher in the flesh. Here he is as the famous Bidder 70. Learn about the current effort to save Utah wild public lands from oil and gas exploitation at
 And here are my darlings-- the Food Not Bombs folks, so near to my heart. Here's a history of this international movement
This diorama is about Wangari Maathai and the Green Belt Movement of Kenyan tree planters
and this one about saving whales and dolphins --the brave activists of Sea Shepherd‎  The ones I don't write about that are on the top are Bolivian people blocking the road in the fight for water rights, the Nevada Test Site and Greenpeace activists scaling a coal plant tower... all these good people united in a humble glass case in one of our great institutions-- our Library!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

At the Wild and Scenic

 On Saturday I went to workshops at the Activist Center and Native American drumming, songs and dances at the Haven Center. It was wonderful to be back in Nevada City and in the midst of so many incredible people.
 I felt honored to listen to Tim DeChristopher and Bryan Cahall and to have their words barreling around in my brain and my emotions so touched by the concern and community of so many good people on the same wavelength.
 Plus, an added bonus is that it rained most of the day. The hungry earth, at least in the Sierra foothills, got a good drenching although Michael said in the valley there wasn't a drop.
 On Sunday I attended environmental films and will follow up on many of the issues I learned about. Just in Nevada City there were interesting issues. This fish on a bicycle a RAFTT (Radical Art for These Times) artist explained to me was knit from Grocery Outlet bags and was part of the Squid Row Project to create a Boardwalk meeting place that is a "car free happiness zone."
And other RAFTT members, Tatiana and Flora among them, created this Shadow Play about Fracking. In this tale the animals are sickened by fracking but are able to turn industry and the spokes people of this insidious evil around so that the earth is made healthy again. In this photo you are seeing the inside of the stage. A large audience of children and adults sat spellbound on the other side. I'm so glad there was a happy ending. Now if we can only convince Governor Brown to put a Moratorium on Fracking (call 916-445-2841 by the end of Jan. 14th!) we might stand a chance here in California at least of defeating one of the evils that plagues are future.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Learning the drought

 Well, I haven't only been sitting around waiting for rain. Today there was a long meeting of the steering committee for our Frack-Free Butte County Moratorium. We are trying to manifest the people we need to keep our Tuscan Aquifer safe. But, without rain, well levels are starting to go down, especially with water transfers from other counties. Tonight I'll be hosting the Ecotopia radio show (streaming 6pm Pacific time til 7pm on and I'll be talking with the President of the Great Basin Water Network about the water grabs of the populated southern desert cities against the needs of the environment and rural people of northern Nevada and western Utah. My other guest is the Director of AquAlliance, the organization that is trying to save us from having north state water shipped south here in California. It is beginning to really look like we won't even have enough water for our own irrigation and valley trees this summer and it is very unnerving.
 After the Frack-Free meeting I walked by Big Chico Creek in Upper Bidwell Park where I snapped these photos. The sycamore have not lost their leaves and they rattle their reminders that this isn't fall... this is deep winter and still no rain.
 Michael and his friend Art took a window of opportunity to go to Utah and cash in on high mountain powder. I miss Michael but I am completely happy he is doing what he loves best... skiing in the high country.
 My wildlife adventures center around who is at the feeder. In this case the ravenous little lesser goldfinches. Sparrows are way down this year but our local nuthatches seem to enjoy an easy feed now and then. We would all like things to be easier in 2014. I hope they will be.