“There is a message written in creation by our creator” ~ Robert Kennedy Jr– from his speech at Sierra Summit 2005
While in San Francisco Saturday, we finally received word from a friend who lived in NOLA whom we had been concerned about. He and his family spent 3 days in their attic as the food waters rose to 6 feet in their home. They, unfortunately, “lost everything.” If you’ve ever seen the TV coverage, his grandson was the one shown over and over again being plucked from the roof in a rescue basket.
He is now in Atlanta, Georgia, staying at a Ramada Inn 2 weeks free, trying to start over and looking for a job. He is uncertain if he’ll ever return to New Orleans. His daughter, which he was putting through college, will now not be able to fulfill her education because the money will be spent starting their lives over again. His wife has seizures so it’s amazing that she survived the ordeal in the attic. We are arranging to help this family in need get back on their feet. If you are a reader from the Atlanta area, it would be great if you could drop us a line!
We are back from the three day Sierra Summit conference and catching up with emails and such (cleaned out over 300 spam on the journal comment box alone !) What a waste of valuable time. Sad to say the conference was another rather unpleasant experience. Sierra Club wasn’t involved with the exhibitors. They instead hired a company to put on their expo. The planning wasn’t done very well and many vendors, including us, were billed without our knowing for fees which weren’t disclosed in the agreement (some sneaky union stuff). Attendance (seems that 90% of attendees were over 40, proof that there is such a thing as the “greying of the green movement”) was rather sparse because the Sierra Club didn’t advertise outside their membership base. A friend, who joined us on the first day on the Summit, inquired about becoming a student Sierra Club member. He was told that he was the only one in Northern California. In fact there was a only one other member, that one being in Southern California! A total of 2 in all of the state of California!
I don’t want to dwell on the disappointing aspects but highlight the good. Camping was provided free for those attending the Summit. The campsite was located on the scenic Pacific coastline outside the city limits near the Golden Gate bridge, otherwise known as the Presidio. From our campsite, under the tall sloping pines, we could hear the ocean. The magnificent bay and bridge were only a short walk away. The weather, of course, was erratic. The bay was constantly windy and cool the whole time we were there. Layering was a must. Forget about keeping one’s hair in place– the wind had its way.
As for the Sierra convention, in addition to typical vendors trying to sell things, such as hybrid cars and eco travel packages, there were quite a few informative only exhibits (besides ours!). One dealt with the hideous and criminal aspect of mountain top removal; others with peak oil, local harvesting and recycling. There was also a proto type, bike powered generator which caught our eye that’s being developed by a University in Michigan. We are thinking that this would be great whenever PTF hosts film screenings. To watch the movie, a volunteer(s) would have to pedal the bike.
There were quite a few speakers at the event – Al Gore, Robert Kennedy Jr, Alice Waters and more. A few of us look in on Al Gore’s opening commencing speech Friday morning. Saturday afternoon a hoarse (due to a cold) RFK Jr took the podium. Aside from the political bashing (which I thought we could do without at this point), his speech turned more into sermon as it progressed, which was quite unexpected and refreshing. He spoke of the creation, our special relationship to the natural world and how the wilderness has been a sacred place for people and prophets throughout the ages for figures such as Moses, the Jews and Christ (read more).
Late Saturday afternoon we drove to Golden Gate Park to catch the tail end of the massive Power to the Peaceful (last year 50,000 people attended this event). Never seen so many people on bikes in one place – only in Frisco!
There were a few film documentaries that we wanted to pre-screen before bringing them to PTF. We were able to meet the directors and film subjects of The Real Dirt on Farmer John (introduced by my favorite chef Alice Waters) and Kilowatt Ours. So, hopefully, these flicks we’ll be screened here soon.
After the convention, we spent the time walking along the coast and bay area. The last day was misty and foggy and we spent a wind whipped and chilly morning walking across the entire Golden Gate bridge. The cool overcast weather seems to have followed us down to So Cal – fall is here!