Monthly Archives: January 2014

Our Watershed as a Lifeboat, Our Whole Earth Watershed, “Planet Water”

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“The health of our waters is the principal measure of how we live on the land.” Luna Leopold

This weekend, the University of California Santa Cruz Common Ground Center (“Education for a Just and Sustainable World”) sponsored a series of programs about restoring our watersheds. The keynote speaker was Brock Dolman of Occidental Arts & Ecology. He’s such an inspiring teacher! He coined the phrase “Planet Water” and talked about our watersheds as “basins of relations” and lifeboats.

We heard from community leaders who saved the San Lorenzo River Valley from becoming a 4 lane freeway and sewer canal in the 1970’s, and we took a walk along the San Lorenzo River with salmon expert Don Alley. Don talked about the loss of the Coho Salmon in the San Lorenzo as a consequence of city water diversion during droughts, and discussed the need new water use policies that leave water in the river for fish, including regulation of sand bar opening at the river mouth and regulation of the Branciforte Creek diversion channel. Our city Council needs to hear from us about these issues!

There are three major river systems that flow into the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary: the Salinas River (subject of much of John Steinbeck’s writing), the Pajaro River (where much of the action in Fruit of the Devil takes place), and the San Lorenzo (which flows from the Santa Cruz Mountains through the center of Santa Cruz City). Historically, they all supported wild salmon, a keystone species, and now an endangered species in those watersheds. The presence or absence of salmon is an indicator of the health of the watershed, the health of our lifeboat and “basin of all our relationships”.

The Coastal Watershed Council, one of the organizations participating in the weekend watershed  “teach-in”, has started a new coalition of local watershed organizations – the San Lorenzo River Alliance. Recently, they sponsored a community paddle on the San Lorenzo, which has been closed to boating through the city for decades. I got to go on that adventure, and discovered the great beauty of the wild river that flows through our city. The City Council may decide to lift the ban on boating the San Lorenzo. I hope so! And “I hope someday you’ll join us!”

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May 23, 2012 – work in progress

I have been working on writing my novel, The Death of the Gecko, for the past two years. It’s an eco thriller about how ordinary people become accidental environmental activists when that which they hold sacred is assaulted. Imagine Erin Brokovich, Nevada Barr, and Margaret Coel going salsa dancing with the Lorax and Neil Gaiman’s American Gods and you’ll kind of get the flavor of my story. I’m establishing this new blog to write about the process of writing my novel, but most of my time, for now, is devoted to the writing of the story. One thing I hope to see happen with this blog is CONVERSATION! I know there are lots of people concerned about the pesticides methyl bromide and methyl iodide, which are being used in California on strawberries, as well as the enormous amount of other toxins our communities are being exposed to. This is a story about Monsanto, and the interlocking corporate directorates responsible for raping our planet and desecrating the sacred! My hope in writing The Death of the Gecko is that people will be more informed and will be inspired to act, and that a community of activists will find a place here to express themselves – their concerns and their successes. Hope to hear from you!

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