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Tag: nature

On Mosses, Modesty, and Sustainability

Like all kinds of life, mosses have something to teach us about right living.

Basically a lift from an outstanding conversation on On Being with Krista Tippett titled “The Intelligence in All Kinds of Life,” this post celebrates the modesty and sustainability of one of the simplest and oldest kinds of life on Earth.

The guest, Dr Robin Wall Kimmerer, is a bryologist (expert in moss) and member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. This balance of scientific knowledge and indigenous knowledge provided an interesting backdrop for the entire conversation.

“Science asks us to learn about organisms. Traditional knowledge asks us to learn from them.” – Kimmerer to Tippett

 

As I often do, I heard this episode while hiking. And, as I often do, I was hiking with my camera.

The conversation between Tippett and Kimmerer immediately changed my typical shooting subjects and perspective. Rather than going wide and grand, I shot everything with my 45mm f1.8 (90mm equivalent) for fun and challenge and did so low to the ground.

Here: a few choice quotes from and shot-while-listening images inspired by Kimmerer and Tippett. And a new respect for modest mosses.

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Artfully Articulated: The Imbalance between People and Nature

One of my biggest wishes is that we could figure out a way to live with the natural world instead of on top of it.”
– Songwriter Isaac Brock in the audio commentary on the Modest Mouse song Coyotes from their album Strangers to Ourselves.

I share his wish to realign people and nature.

Here: a personal go at his artful articulation of the issue.

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Sustainability: 10 Great Books on People, Nature, & Business

“What does it mean that the earth is so beautiful? And what shall I do about it? What is the gift that I should bring to the world? What is the life that I should live?”

This line from poet Mary Oliver‘s Long Life was read by Krista Tippet on a recent episode of On Being.

I’ve not yet enjoyed a truly epiphanal moment with regard to beauty, gift, or purpose, but I’ve seen varied and fleeting glimpses in sustainability. At that intersection of people, nature, and business.

Ray Anderson, on the other hand, has.
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Vote Yes for Parks in Colorado Springs

I strongly encourage you to vote yes on 1A. The video below helps explain why.

The Taxpayer Bill Of Rights, a 1992 amendment to Colorado’s Constitution, is an interesting monster.

One of its consequences is that “excess revenues” may either be returned to the taxpayers or directed toward a specific, voted-upon project.

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Dow Chemical Video: Corporate Communication & Community Contrast

Note off the top: this post is one of only two that ties together the themes of this blog – marketing, environment, and culture (only other one was about Lisa Gansky’s The Mesh).  Now, on to the post …


Dow Chemical Company
.  Do you associate the name with nature, harmony, connectedness, or humanity?

No?  Then you need to see this absolutely beautiful production from 2006 (posted to YouTube by DowChemicalCompany):

 

 

When I encountered this gorgeous production and its sweeping message, I was instantly fascinated with the idea of a global chemical company issuing this message.

Some of the intended takeaways:

  • Chemistry is natural
  • Nature is beautiful
  • Nature is clean and safe
  • Chemistry is clean and safe
  • Humans are nature
  • We’re all connected
  • Dow is human
  • Dow cares about people

In summary: trust Dow Chemical because they care about you and what they’re doing is healthy, safe, and consistent with nature.

Clearly, Dow, whose vision is “To be the most profitable and respected science-driven chemical company in the world,” obviously hopes viewers get swept up in the glossiness – and they do.  The comments below the video are incredibly and overwhelmingly positive.

Not everyone, however, is buying this expensive piece of corporate communication from the company who still claims that Agent Orange, one of its products, was not harmful.

I don’t have time to parse the necessarily troubled history of a massive chemical company, but I expect – and fairly – that this was a counter-press against some negative headlines.

Which brings us to the synthetic, abnormal, dangerous, and toxic aspect of Dow Chemical.

Here’s the same audio bed with new video (posted to YouTube by ForBhopal):

 

 

Members of the Dow stakeholders community have created quite a contrast to the original video.

Here’s a contrasting website (one of many): TheTruthAboutDow.org

Here’s a contrasting book:  Trespass Against Us: Dow Chemical and the Toxic Century

 

So What?
More voices, more publication, more sharing – this is a great time to be alive!

This corporate vs community contrast must always be kept in mind.  Corporate happy talk doesn’t fly like it used to.  I tend to believe my friends and neighbors more than I believe a global operation whose incentives tend to be short term and whose moral obligations are to shareholders above stakeholders.

The Dow homepage reminds me very much of the final video in this previous post about the BP disaster; I think it’s the smiling, colorfully-suited workers.

 

From Anonymous Appreciation to Personal Invitation

A quick follow up to the last post about a vibrant painting by a local artist hanging at the Pioneers Museum in downtown Colorado Springs.

I brought the post to the attention of the artist, Tracy Felix.  We had a short email exchange in which he shared a few additional images and gave me insight into his creative and production processes.

In some cases he works from his own photographs, as well as postcards and photos from others.  In other cases he works strictly from imagination, informed by decades of hiking, skiing and exploring our area.

Here is an example of the former, a new painting from a recent trip to Durango:

Grenadier, range, mountains, Colorado, Molas Lake, Durango, Ouray, peaks, lake, nature, painting, fine art, Tracy Felix, Denver

The Grenadier Range from Molas Lake by Tracy Felix

Here’s an example of the latter, an imagined scene generated from the general idea or concept of “northern New Mexico”:

img class=”size-large wp-image-605″ title=”Along the Rio Grande” src=”http://ethanbeute.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/Along-the-Rio-Grande_-Tracy-Felix-748×1024.jpg” alt=”Rio Grande, Colorado, New Mexico, fine art, painting, Tracy Felix, Denver, art, artist” width=”534″ height=”725″ />

Along the Rio Grande by Tracy Felix

The point of this post: rather than simply enjoying a painting at a local treasure of a museum, I decided to shoot a couple photos and write a brief piece about it.  From that limited initiative, I received more insight into the person and the process behind the images, images of three additional paintings not in the online gallery, information about a current showing of work by him and his wife, Sushe, and a standing, informal invitation to the Felix’s home and studio.  I think that’s wonderful.

Here’s the third image I received; it’s inspired by the La Plata mountains in the San Juan range near Durango:

La Platas, La Plata mountains, Colorado, painting, Durango, art, fine art, artist, Tracy Felix, Denver

La Platas by Tracy Felix

Here’s a Denver Post feature from July 2008 about Tracy and Sushe Felix.

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