Most Scenic Grocery Shopping Yet

Dang, if I could shop weekly at a Safeway like this Canmore Safeway
getting my groceries would be just that much more therapeutic, among other things. In case you’re wondering, the interior of this Safeway in Canmore, Alberta is much like pretty much every other Safeway I’ve been in, including the only one I’ve visited that rivals this one in terms of scenic surroundings: the Banff Safeway.

The Safeway in Pollock Pines, California is also pretty great.

Just Read: The Meaning of Human Existence

Exalted we are, risen to be the mind of the biosphere without a doubt, our spirits uniquely capable of awe and ever more breathtaking leaps of imagination. But we are still part of Earth’s fauna and flora, bound to it by emotion, physiology, and, not least, deep history. It is folly to think of this planet as a way station to a better world.

Picking up where The Social Conquest of Earth left off, EO Wilson continues to tell the story of humanity in The Meaning of Human Existence. With such a suggestive title, this book could very be about humanity’s destiny, and while there is certainly some discussion of that, of our potential as a species, this book feels to me largely concerned with what it means to be human from a variety of perspectives.

Although you may not come away with a sense of what our purpose is, reading this book is tremendously worthwhile, even (or especially?) Continue reading

Nausicäa at 30: as relevant as ever

Nausicaa posterHappy 30th, Nausicäa

I require all of my environmental science students to watch this film, in hopes that they’ll see it for the first time ever, or if they’ve seen this anime classic before, that they’ll reconsider its themes with new perspectives.

Nausicäa of the Valley of the Wind is an amazing film and has aged remarkably well. The world it immerses you has been so completely, enthrallingly crafted that soon, once you’ve oriented yourself in the post-apocalyptic landscape, you’ll relate to the characters and their circumstances. Then the action begins, and it’s a riveting ride to the end. And in all that—the huge, monstrous bugs, the fleets of massive warplanes, the Sea of Decay—Hayao Miyazaki shows us perspectives about what it means to be a human surrounded by and dependent upon nature, caught in the complexity of society, thrust into the struggle to shape the future. This is why I’ll be having future students in my classes watching this film as long as I’m involved in environmental education. It’s an epic masterpeice about environmental health, environmental justice, leadership, empathy and so much more.

Admittedly, Nausicäa is almost too perfect of a protagonist. Her will and values are unbelievably strong, but I think that incredulous mettle of hers is necessary. Nausicäa is the stuff of legend, of an ecological mythology that maybe we need now more than ever.

If you’re going to (re-)watch Nausicäa, I suggest going for the subtitled version.

Game Changing: the latest from The Story of Stuff

The latest installment of The Story of Stuff, “The Story of Solutions,” is an accessible, even empowering fresh framing of familiar environmental and social issues. Although we’ve bemoaned the shortcomings of GDP as a progress indicator for quite some time, Annie Leonard does an amazing job of explaining this and offering a path forward in just under 10 minutes!

While the analogy of the economy as a game used in “The Story of Solutions” is simple, it’s remarkably effective in its intuitiveness and provides insight for action. I also love that excellent examples of what is working (what Dan and Chip Heath call bright spots in Switch) are mentioned in this video to give us a sense of what we can do now. And speaking of Dan and Chip Heath, with this video The Story of Stuff Project, once again, nails nearly every dimension of stickiness in the Made to Stick SUCCES model. Awesome.