Friday, November 23, 2007

Desserts from Iris' Green Fest!

In the spirit of festivities, hope that you all had a happy Thanksgiving and here are some nourishing bites from my recent visit to the Green Festival - (IMPORTANT NOTE - OUR VOCAB & FINAL IS BELOW THIS POST!)

*Mushrooms can save the world, visit -,,, and Amazing book by Paul Stamets is Mycelium Running (available from public libraries).

*Farm Bill -,

*Really great local affordable herbal healthcare clinic -

*Regional source for herbs including locally grown Chinese herbs -

*Local food sources -,,,

*Shop locally -

*Positive Local Banking -

*Local alternative power initiatives -, especially Community Choice energy -

*Community Dialogue - (from a UAS event) -,,,

*Cohousing and intentional communities -,,,,,

Thursday, November 22, 2007


You will be handing in your final exam to me at the beginning of our last scheduled class meeting together.


Here, in alphabetical order, are seventy-one Green Keywords that have figured centrally in various ways in a number of the texts we have read and discussed over the course of this term.

1. "Abrasion,"
2. "Agroforestry,"
3. "Backstory,"
4. "Biodiversity,"
5. "Biomimicry,"
6. "Biopiracy,"
7. "Bioregional"
8. "Biosphere,"
9. "Capital,"
10. "Climate Change,"
11. "Commodification,"
12. "Commons,"
13. "Companion Planting,"
14. "Consensus Science,"
15. "Cradle-to-Cradle,"
16. "Culture Industry,"
17. "Deep Ecology,"
18. "Democracy,"
19. "Denial,"
20. "Depletion,"
21. "Ecofeminism,"
22. "Ecology,"
23. "Economy,"
24. "Ecosocialism,"
25. "Ecosystem,"
26. "Ecotage,"
27. "Endangered Species,"
28. "Energy Descent,"
29. "Environmentalism,"
30. "Externality,"
31. "Field Worker,"
32. "Footprint,"
33. "Greenhouse Gas,"
34. "Greenwashing,"
35. "Guerilla Gardening,"
36. "Heirloom Produce,"
37. "Industrial Agriculture,"
38. "Integrated Pest Management,"
39. "Leapfrogging,"
40. "Limit,"
41. "Luddite,"
42. "Malthusian,"
43. "Monoculture,"
44. "Native,"
45. "Natural Capitalism,"
46. "Natural Capital,"
47. "Naturalist,"
48. "Nature,"
49. "Objectification,"
50. "Offsets,"
51. "Organic,"
52. "Recycling/Downcycling,"
53. "Permaculture,"
54. "Pollution,"
55. "Polyculture,"
56. "Post-Scarcity,"
57. "Precautionary Principle,"
58. "Primitivism,"
59. "Profit,"
60. "Renewable,"
61. "Seed Saving/Seed Sharing,"
62. "Service/End Use,"
63. "Sustainability,"
64. "Technical Metabolism,"
65. "Toxicity,"
66. "Triple Bottom Line,"
67. "Use Value/Exchange Value,"
68. "Vegetarianism,"
69. "Viridian,"
70. "Waste,"
71. "Wilderness"

Choose fifty Keywords from this list. Organize your chosen Keywords into three separate, conceptually connected, sets. You can use any criteria that seems useful to you to organize these sets. The only rule is that no resulting set can contain fewer than six Keywords.

Each set should have a title or heading that indicates the criteria governing inclusion to that set. Once you have organized your three sets in this way, briefly define each one of the Keywords you have included in each set in your own words. Ideally, your definitions should be as clear and as concise as possible. These definitions should be a matter of a sentence or two rather than a paragraph or two. They are definitions, not essays or explanations. It should be clear from your definitions why each of the Keywords in each of the three sets are conceptually connected to each other, but it is also crucial that no terms within a set are to be treated as synonymous, and that your definitions distinguish Keywords from one another (even if the resulting distinctions are sometimes matters of nuance).

Once you have defined all these Keywords, provide a short quotation (feel free to edit and prune to keep your chosen citations properly pithy) from one of the texts we have read this term to accompany your definition. The quotation you choose can be a definition you found helpful in crafting your own definition, it can be an example or illustration you found especially clarifying, it can a matter of contextualization, framing, or history that you found illuminating, it can even be something you disagreed with so strongly it helped you understand better what you really think yourself.

Obviously, there are endless ways of organizing these sets, defining their Keywords, distinguishing them from one another, and connecting them up to the texts we have read. What matters for this first part of the exam is that you follow the rules of the exercise, not that you arrive at some single "right answer" you may think I have in mind.


Write a short essay (5pp.), in which you show that the conception(s) of "nature" -- understood as intelligibility, as sublimity, as home, as resource, as object, as wilderness, as custom, or what have you -- assumed or expressed in the argument of one or two (at most two) of the texts we have read together this term yields unexpected insights or problems for that text, or provides the basis for an unexpected commonality or continuity between two texts texts you are comparing in your reading. (How do you know the problem or insight you are calling attention to in your reading is sufficiently strong to warrant consideration as "unexpected" in the sense I mean? That's easy: It must simply be a strong enough claim that you can imagine an intelligent opposition to it.)

Monday, November 19, 2007

Article on MSN: Warning of U.S. Financial Collapse?

As I am not a particular fan of msn's journalism, I was rather curious to an article that I happen to accidentaly notice (thanks to msn's care for your curiosity by sending you to their main site after exiting a hotmail account) today. Anywhoo, I felt that this article is an important article to concider by Bill Fleckenstein on MSN Money. Take it for what it is of course, but, there is somethng in this article that I find interesting.

Funny thing is that life still seems normal for some reason...

Friday, November 16, 2007

Just sharing

There is a copy of The Death of Environmentalism in the library, at the circulation desk if anyone doesn't want to print it out.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Permaculture Link

Hi all!
You can find the Holmgren text, Essence of Permaculture, by visiting his website at -
It is at the top right of his page. You can also get it there in Spanish or Brazilian Portuguese!
I highly recommend his book - Permacuture, Principles & Pathways Beyond Sustainability.

Also here is the schedule for the Green Festival this week end -
I'll be there on Friday, and also volunteering at the main stage area Sat morning 10-2, come & visit!

All my best, Iris**

Some Terms

Some of the terms we've discussed the past few weeks, most of which are likely to appear on the final. The list is not yet complete. But it would be a good idea to start thinking about these terms in advance. Also, I thought it might be fun to open the list to you all. What are terms that should appear but are not yet here? Add them in Comments. Check back here over the next couple of weeks, the list will continue to expand.

"Climate Change,"
"Companion Planting,"
"Consensus Science,"
"Deep Ecology,"
"Endangered Species,"
"Integrated Pest Management,"
"Natural Capitalism,"
"Precautionary Principle,"
"Technical Metabolism,"
"Triple Bottom Line,"

Monday, November 05, 2007

Controversial Pesticide in Santa Cruz

There is a conveniently appropriate topic in the media that fits neatly with the readings of this week.

Just in case you did not hear about the pesticide issue in Santa Cruz (of all places!) that is going on in California politics, Democracy Now! only briefly reported . . .

"In California, a judge has given the green light to a controversial pesticide spraying in Santa Cruz County. On Thursday, Superior Court judge Paul Burdick rejected the county’s restraining order because he said it could not prove the spraying would harm the public. The chemical, Checkmate LBAM-F, will be used to halt the light brown apple moth. Checkmate’s manufacturer, Oregan-based Suterra, has refused to release the ingredients of the pesticide and petitioned the courts to keep them secret. One hundred residents on the Monterry Peninsula reported respiratory illness after a similar chemical was sprayed there in September."

Fox News in Reno, NV.'s version:

IMPORTANT - New Permaculture Reading!

Hi! Please read this truly excellent text on Permaculture, instead of the one assigned - (nice copy), (if can't access pdf).

It is clear and comprehensive. I think this is an important reading of a real option for healthy planning. The ATTRA text is vague and outdated in comparison. Looking forward to Thursday, Iris*

Thursday, November 01, 2007

My required duty and pleasure for missing class

Notes on Inteligent Materials Pooling and Silent Spring, by Rafael Abreu Canedo
...directly related to Bhopal

I like the idea of a closed-loop recovery/re-use system, but does every process have a bi-product that can be used for something else, or recovered for re-use?

I suppose a useful thing to determine in carrying this materials flow would be this term “Sustainable”. You’d have to define sustainable. Who gets to define it? The elite in this structure? This brings me to my next question. Would business structures remain the same? Would workers be contracted by a wage, and never see the real profit from their labors? What about co-ops?

I do however agree that operations with a certain output (product), should also provide an input program, so as to minimize surplus of raw materials for output production. Sharing a “materials bank” would not, however, solve the problem because the problem arises not from the amount of resources available for production, but instead, from the reasons and/or goals for even producing products at all. Is it to satisfy the needs of humans, in direct relationship to the environment, is it to appendage a society’s unsustainable relation to it’s environment, or is it for the flexible accumulation of wealth. These three overlap.

Is it fair to make the claim that all toxic by-products of industrial processes are viable resources for other industrial processes? And I would be skeptical about the “closed-loop” point of view because, sure, you can use the by-product of a source material, and you may even be able to keep using it perpetually, but the original source material does not remain in it's original state, thus optimal for it's original use, so it has to keep being extracted from the earth, thus introducing more and more of it's by-product to be perpetually used (perpetually?): which is not a closed loop.

To end my thoughts on this, I would say that in order to think about materials and processes in terms of sustainability, you have to measure it against certain standards. However, there are things that we cannot measure, or simply aren’t measuring, and we cannot speculate on the effects that these un-measured or un-measurable aspects of processes and materials will have on our bodies and/or our environment. To define something as sustainable has to assume that science and it’s instruments are infinitely precise and capable…which I highly doubt.

This has everything to do with what Rachel Carson is talking about in Silent Spring. Scientists were creating chemicals and measuring the results in terms of killing pests. In these terms the chemicals were great. But what they weren’t able to measure, whether because of instrumental short-comings, or academic/ideological short-comings, were all the other results. Other results they could not even imagine. Intelligent Materials Pooling could be rooted in the same “control of nature” conceived in arrogance, for the convenience of “Man”. Where are the eco-feminists at?—hehe.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Those having trouble scrolling back to the syllabus links, this should take you there. Those who have a chance, check out this piece by Vandana Shiva as well. Lots to talk about tomorrow, see you then!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Alternative Media Blog

I thought I would share an interesting blog I stumbled into. This blog is called CENSORED and it deals with under-reported news. I found interesting articles that I would never found anywhere else in the media. If you are interested in independent-alternative media you should take a look at this:

In response to the wildfires in San Diego, this brief article on CENSORED speaks of Blackwater USA's plan to build a border training camp near the US/Mexico border in Potrero (about 20 miles or so east of San Diego):

Friday, October 26, 2007

World of Warcraft on EBay

Below is link to a WoW character for sale on Ebay:

Holy fucking WoW!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Femicide in Congo

I know it is outside of the arena of our course, but below is a link to the interview on Democracy Now (Monday, Oct 8, 2007) regarding the human rights struggle in Congo that I had briefly mentioned in class on Thursday--- "They Are Destroying the Female Species in Congo": Congolese Human Rights Activist Christine Schuler Deschryver on Sexual Terrorism and Africa's Forgotten War"

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

SF Chronicle article concerning bike share

Today's edition of the San Francisco Chronicle ran a front-page article on S.F. moving to catch up with European bike-share programs that we discussed earlier in the class.

Ethanol's Boom Stalling

In the Sunday edition of The New York Times there was an interesting/disturbing article about ethanol's spot on the market plunging.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Check out the Democracy Now podcast!!

Hey everyone... I just wanted to encourage my fellow classmates to, during a free moment (which I know can be rare), listen to the Democracy Now Podcast with Amy Goodman for Friday, Sept. 14th. It has an excellent interview (approx half-way into the podcast...but the first part is excellent as well) with the writer of From Empire to Earth Community: Author David Korten on "The Great Turning"
He discusses some issues I thought were interesting and timely with our class discussions. The Democracy Now website provides a brief description:
The International Forum on Globalization and Institute for Policy Studies is hosting a three day teach-in this weekend titled "Confronting the Global Triple Crisis: Climate Change, Peak Oil (The End of Cheap Energy) and Global Resource Depletion & Extinction." We speak with, among others, David Korten - publisher of the magazine YES! A Journal of Positive Futures and author of "The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community."

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Arthur Magazine

Found this magazine a while back from this article in the SF Weekly, Arthur Magazine is not an eco or sustainable themed mag at all so this is a bit off topic generally but the free Septemeber issue has an article and interview with Becky Stark from Lavender Diamond that is eco/sustainable related sort of. You can read the article online if you down load the PDF from the Arthur website, or find a free copy around the city. Teh weekly describes the mag thusly, The free publication carries with it an unflinchingly anti-corporate, anti-soundbite attitude, running rants and expositions on the far-flung subjects captivating its writers.

Just a thought....

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Samuel Mockbee

This is a link to an article about the southern architecture program that I very vaguely refered to this morning. It is a program at Auburn University. I have just always thought the idea and execution were interesting and positive. Samuel Mockbee (who they unfortunately refer to as "Sambo" in the article) is the Prof that started the program. The actual houses that they design and build are beautiful as well.
The Rural Studio's Samuel Mockbee

Monday, September 03, 2007

Provisional Syllabus

Critical Theory B: Nature in Theory, Fall 2007

Instructor: Dale Carrico;
Course Site:

Grade Breakdown:
Attendance/Participation 20%
Co-facilitate Class Discussion/Precis 20%
In-Class Report 20%
Final Exam: 40%

Week One | Introductions

August 30
Administrative Introduction, Personal Introductions

Week Two | Contemporary Environmentalist Idols and Transcendentalists Precursors

September 6

Curtis White, Idols of Environmentalism, Ecology of Work
Ralph Waldo Emerson, from Nature; Henry David Thoreau, from Walden

Week Three | Ecofeminism

September 13

Cathleen McGuire and Colleen McGuire, Ecofeminist Visions
Rosemary Radford, Ruether, Ecofeminism: Symbolic and Social Connections of the Oppression of Women and the Domination of Nature, from Carol Adams, ed., Ecofeminism and the Sacred
Catherine Keller, Dark Vibrations: Ecofeminism and the Democracy of Creation
Greta Gaard, Toward a Queer Ecofeminism

Week Four | Ecosocialism

September 20

An Ecosocialist Manifesto by Joel Kovel and Michael Lowy
Joel Kovel, Why Ecosocialism Today?
Common Voice, Ecosocialism
James O'Conner: Selling Nature
Mike Davis, Slum Ecology
Walter R. Sheasby's Amazon Guide: "So You'd Like to… Replace Capitalism with Green Socialism"

Week Five | Natural Capitalism

September 27

Paul Hawken: Natural Capitalism
A Roadmap for Natural Capitalism, Amory Lovins, Hunter Lovins, Paul Hawken
Michael Albert: Natural Capitalism?
Wayne Normand and Chris MacDonald, Getting to the Triple Bottom Line
James Boyle, Enclosing the Genome
Peter Barnes: Capitalism, 3.0
Time to Upgrade
A Short History of Capitalism
The Limits of Government
The Limits of Privatization
Reinventing the Commons
Trusteeship of Creation
Universal Birthrights
Sharing Culture
Building the Commons Sector
What You Can Do

Week Six | Deep Ecology

October 4

Arne Naess, The Shallow and the Deep
Introduction to Deep Ecology, An Interview with Michael E. Zimmerman, by Alan Atkisson
E.P. Pister, The Rights of Species and Ecosystems
Church of Deep Ecology
Murray Bookchin, Social Ecology Versus Deep Ecology

Week Seven | Some Victoriana

October 11

Guardian UK Review: Victorian Holocausts
Amartya Sen NYT Review, Victorian Holocausts
Mike Davis, Victorian Holocausts, Chapter One.
Oscar Wilde, The Decay of Lying
John Stuart Mill, On Nature

Week Eight | Critique of Technological Society

October 18

Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer, The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass Deception
Jacques Ellul, The Technological Society
John Zerzan, Agriculture
John Zerzan, Technology
John Zerzan, Why Primitivism?
Marc Stiegler, The Gentle Seduction

Week Nine | Bright Green or Dim?

October 25

Bruce Sterling, Viridian Design
Grist on Worldchanging's Bright Green Principles (read the Comments!)
Apple Computer: Fun for You, Toxic for the Environment
When 1st Life Meets 2nd Life
Kirkpatrick Sale, Lessons from the Luddites
The Californian Ideology

Week Ten | Toxic World

November 1

Al Gore on Silent Spring
Rachel Carson, Silent Spring, The Obligation to Endure
Michael Braungart, Intelligent Materials Pooling: Evolving a Profitable Technical Metabolism
What Happened at Bhopal?
Alex Kirby, Contaminated Breastmilk
Blacksmith Institute, 10 Most Polluted Places

Week Eleven | Alternative Agricultures

November 8

Malcome Scully, The Destructive Nature of Our Bountiful Harvests
Introduction to Permaculture: Concepts and Resources
Deborah Madison, Grace Before Dinner
Ted Nace, Breadcast of Democracy
Jack Kittredge, Pesticides in Food
AMS/USDA, Organic Food Standards and Labels
Sustainable Agrigulture Delivers the Crops

Week Twelve | Extracting Ourselves from Extraction

November 15

Saul Landau, Ronald Reagan and Bottled Water
National Resources Defense Council, Bottled Water: Pure Drink or Pure Hype?
BBC: World Water Crisis
The Coming Water Wars: Demography and Water Resources
The Coming Water Wars: Chart
Dale Allen Pfeiffer, Eating Fossil Fuels
Howard Kunstler, The Long Emergency
Howard Kunstler, A Five Part Online Video Exploration: The Long Emergency
Chris Vernon, Agriculture Meets Peak Oil

Week Thirteen

November 22 Thanksgiving Holiday

Week Fourteen | The Death of Environmentalism

November 29

Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus, The Death of Environmentalism

Don't Fear the Reapers
, A Grist Special Series on the Alleged Death of Environmentalism

Week Fifteen | An Inconvenient Truth

December 6

"An Inconvenient Truth" (Screening)
Closing Remarks Hand in Take Home Final Exam

Invitation to Our Blog

I've invited everybody to the blog, or at least I've tried to do so. If you have not received an invite, or if you have had trouble logging in, e-mail me from the e-mail account that you use most often and I'll re-send your invitation. I may have misinputted your e-mail address or screwed with case-sensitivity or some such thing. Accepting the blog invitation should be a relatively simple matter of clicking a link and providing some information at your first log in. To post content to the blog type in the address for blogger and it should ask you to log in or automatically will take you to our blog, at which point you should be able to post content. To read the blog just type in the address for our blog itself. If there are any problems, we can talk about them at our next meeting. Don't worry, there are always little problems to deal with here and there, it's not a big deal. Feel free to experiment, post whatever you like, see you all soon.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Readings for Week Two

A Provisional Syllabus for the Whole Term will be ready in a few days. But here's what we're covering next week:

Part One:

Curtis White: Idols of Environmentalism and Part Two: The Ecology of Work


Part Two:

From Nature, by Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nature, Beauty. Read more, if you like.

From Walden, by Henry David Thoreau, Where I Lives and What I Lived For, Spring, Conclusion. Read more, if you like.

It would be great to have at least a couple of folks step up to co-facilitate the discussion of these early texts. Talk to me after class tomorrow or e-mail me over the weekend if any of these texts appeals to you with special forcefulness.

Co-facilitating Discussions and Writing a Precis

One of the key assignments for our course will be your co-facilitation of class discussion of an assigned text. This assignment also requires that you generate a précis of the text you are taking responsibility for. This precis should provide a point of departure for your contribution to the discussion in class, and you will also hand it in to me at the end of the session.

Think of this precis as a basic paraphrase of the argumentative content of a text.

Here is a broad and informal guide for a precis, consisting of question you should ask of a text as you are reading it, and again after you have finished reading it. Don't treat this as an ironclad template, but as a rough approach to producing a precis -- knowing that a truly fine and useful précis need not necessarily satisfy all of these interventions.

A precis should try to answer fairly basic questions such as:

1. What is the basic gist of the argument?
2. To what audience is it pitched primarily? Does it anticipate and respond to possible objections?
3. What do you think are the argument's stakes in general? To what end is the argument made?

a. To call assumptions into question?
b. To change convictions?
c. To alter conduct?
d. To find acceptable compromises between contending positions?

4. Does it have an explicit thesis? If not, could you provide one in your own words for it?
5. What are the reasons and evidence offered up in the argument to support what you take to be its primary end? What crucial or questionable warrants (unstated assumptions the argument takes to be shared by its audience, often general attitudes of a political, moral, social, cultural nature) does the argument seem to depend on? Are any of these reasons, evidences, or warrants questionable in your view? Do they support one another or introduce tensions under closer scrutiny?
6. What, if any, kind of argumentative work is being done by metaphors and other figurative language in the piece?
7. Are there key terms in the piece that seem to have idiosyncratic definitions, or whose usages seem to change over the course of the argument?

As you see, a piece that interrogates a text from these angles of view will yield something between a general book report and a close reading, but one that focuses on the argumentative force of a text. For the purposes of our class, such a precis succeeds if it manages
1. to convey the basic flavor of the argument and
2. provides a good point of departure for a class discussion.