John Muir’s “Hetch Hetchy Valley”

Hetch Hetchy WaterfallThe text that follows has been scanned from “Hetch Hetchy Valley,” the final chapter of John Muir’s book, The Yosemite, published in 1912. Where I found this version has the other chapters from the books as well as links to relevant sources. After you read this, please make a comment noting one or two quotes that you found particularly compelling, moving, persuasive or even over the top!

Yosemite is so wonderful that we are apt to regard it as an exceptional creation, the only valley of its kind in the world; but Nature is not so poor as to have only one of anything. Several other yosemites have been discovered in the Sierra that occupy the same relative positions on the Range and were formed by the same forces in the same kind of granite. One of these, the Hetch Hetchy Valley, is in the Yosemite National Park about twenty miles from Yosemite and is easily accessible to all sorts of travelers by a road and trail that leaves the Big Oak Flat road at Bronson Meadows a few miles below Crane Flat, and to mountaineers by way of Yosemite Creek basin and the head of the middle fork of the Tuolumne.

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Focus the Nation; 2% solution

This week the staff/faculty Environmental Advocacy Group and the new student Plant Preservation Club are hosting a number of events about climate change. All are invited to join us in the Campus Center Fireside Lounge.
The events include:

Monday, January 28: Two showings of the “Inconvenient Truth”

11:30-12:50 and again from 1:30-3:00 (campus contact: Gwendolyn Alley)

Wednesday, January 30, 4:45-6:30pm: Live Webcast of the “2% solution”

(campus contact: Elzbet Diaz de Leon)
features – Stanford climate scientist Stephen Schneider, actor and clean energy advocate Edward Norton, green jobs pioneer Van Jones, and sustainability expert Hunter Lovins. see:

Thursday, January 31, Noon-3:00: Focus the Nation TEACH IN (campus contact: Steve Palladino)

12:00-12:30 Event introduction and “earth friendly” potluck lunch (see below for details)
12:30-1:00  FORUM “How will climate change affect Ventura?”
Steve Palladino, Ventura College – Climate change overview
Paul Jenkins, Surfider – Impact on watersheds and coastlines
Doug Fischer, CSU Northridge – Vegetation changes
Everyone – “What can we do?”
1:30-3:00 “Revolution Green”  DVD w/Willie Nelson (a documentary about biodiesel pioneers Bob and Kelly King).
See: with more information about Focus the Nation events that will take place at almost 1500 colleges/universitys/community groups on January 31st.

To participate in the potluck you’ll need to bring your own cup, plate, and flatware and a food item that is “earth friendly” (leave that last part up to you!) Love you have you and your students/co-workers/friends join us. If you want to be connected to our informal Environmental Advocacy Group, let me know and I’ll have you added to the email list.

Earth News, Earth Day


On Thursday January 31st, Focus the Nation is organizing a national teach-in about climate change solutions for America. The re are already over a thousand colleges, universities, high schools, middle schools, places of worships and organizations pledging to take the entire day to focus on these solutions. EDN has developed the K-12 curricula for this event and partnered with Focus the Nation to stream the 2% SOLUTION, a free, live interactive web cast on Earth Day Television. This webcast will begin at 8PM EST, January 30th, with experts Hunter Lovins, Van Jones, Stephen Schneider and the participation of over 1,000 schools and organizations. To host a teach-in at your school, watch the webcast or get active, visit Focus the Nation.


In addition to the Focus the Nation and Earth Day Network webcast, Architecture 2030 will have an exciting Face It webcast on January 30th. It is available to view anytime after 9:00 AM and lasts about a half hour. It can be used in the classroom before or during the teach-in to develop student ideas and will include information about their competition, Reverberate, which offers $20,000 in prizes!

EARTH DAY 2008: Coming near you!

In collaboration with the Green Apple Festival, EDN will convene large Earth Day celebrations at venues in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, LA, New York City, San Francisco and Washington, DC. These events, held on April 18-20th, will lead up to Earth Day on the 22nd. Stay tuned for more details on our website.

Nominate a Teacher & Win Gary Braasch’s New Book!

Gary Braasch, author of Earth Under Fire: How Global Warming is Changing the World, has kindly donated copies for our great teachers. Win this book by nominating the next featured Teacher of the Quarter! If you or someone you know is an educator working to promote awareness and civic action for the environment, email education [at] with information including: background, awards or grants received; personal or professional contribution to the environment; and a headshot photo.

Climate Change Educator Grant

There’s still time to apply for the Climate Change Educator Grant. If you are taking steps to reduce your school’s carbon footprint, email education [at] to receive an application for a $500 stipend and support for your school’s project.

New from the Department

National Civic Education Project (NCEP) Web Pages

In major cities like Cincinnati, Chicago, LA and New Orleans, EDN collaborates with teachers and their students to combine civic and environmental education with hands-on learning to improve the environmental health of their communities. Beginning next week, a webpage for each school will be available, giving access to our NCEP teacher’s resources including: lesson plans, sample projects and links.

Buy Earth Day 2008 Poster

New Partner Pages

Join the new Earth Day Network Partner pages at to connect with people worldwide about the environment and Earth Day 2008 plans!

Thank you your continued dedication to your students and the environment. Please let us know how we can assist you in greening your schools!

Sean Miller
Director of Education

Miller [at]

Amelia Kissick

Education Coordinator

Kissick [at]

light verse by Joyce LaMers

January 26: Joyce LaMers

friday on Saturday at the Bell Arts Factory
432 N. Ventura Avenue – Ventura
last Saturday of the month 7:30pm
host: friday
Open Mic

Dick Cheney shoots quail
With an aim that can’t fail,
But he sure pulled a boner
When he shot that big donor.

Joyce La Mers


“ArtLife is still here because of you and your devotion
to the obscure and enlightening work we all do.”
–Phil Taggart, in an e-mail to local poets

The work is obscure and enlightening
And yet it’s what poets all do,
A concept that’s just a bit frightening
Because it is terribly true.
And yet it’s what poets all do
In spite of the pay, which is minimal,
Because it is terribly true
That letting one starve is not criminal.

In spite of the pay, which is minimal,
A poet is sworn to speak truth,
And letting one starve is not criminal
Though it might be considered uncouth.

A poet is sworn to speak truth
So let the chips fall where they may,
Though it might be considered uncouth
To listen to what poets may say.

So let the chips fall where they may
On work both obscure and enlightening.
Who listens to what poets say?
What a concept! That really is frightening!

Joyce La Mers

Joyce LaMers is the queen of light verse and has been a force in mid-coast poetry for many years. She’s a treasure and always gives a not-to-miss reading.
Future Readings:

February 23: Holaday Mason
March 29: Roe Estep

some literary & cultural events

Looking for literary, cultural or eco events?

Look no further than this mighty blog!

Here are some events coming up over the next few weeks:

Registration is open for a yoga class I’m teaching 11am Sundays: 1/27, 2/3, and 2/10 ($49 for all 3 one hour classes) plus a Haiku & Asian Philosophy class I’m co-teaching with Sophia Kidd 9-noon Sat. 2/9 ($49). We may do a second session later as a fundraiser for Art City (whatcha think, Sophia?)


The Tuesday Night poets meet at 730pm tonight and every Tuesday night at the Artists Union Gallery for an open mic and often a featured poet. Tonight Jan . 22 is Chyrss Yost from Santa Barbara; she’s a poet and an editor of several anthologies including California Gold. Next Tuesday Jan 29 the feature is Jim Lenfesty, founder of the Ojai Poetry Festival; he’s also published several books including a beautiful translation of Cold Mountain. Looking ahead, David Oliveira returns from Cambodia to read at the AUG Feb. 26.


Thursday’s Train of Thought continues to arrive at the Artbarn on Thompson at Kalarama; music, open mic, read your favorite poems, relax by the fire…BYOB


This Saturday afternoon 2pm Jan 26, head for the hills behind Santa Barbara for the second annual William Stafford reading organized by Westmont’s Paul Willis. Bring your favorite Stafford poem to read alongside feature Glenna Luschei and David Starkey at the First Crossing Day Use Area, Paradise Road, Santa Barbara, Los Padres National Forest. In case of rain, indoors at the nearby Los Prietos Ranger Station. No day use fees necessary.

William Stafford won the National Book Award in Poetry in 1963 for his book TRAVELING THROUGH THE DARK. He subsequently served as Poetry Consultant to the Library of Congress and as Poet Laureate of Oregon. During World War II, he worked as a conscientious objector at the Los Prietos Civilian Public Service Camp. This camp, now torn down and converted to a picnic area, is the exact site of the reading.

Directions: Allow a half hour of driving time from Santa Barbara. From 101, take Hwy. 154 to the top of San Marcos Pass. Descend the other side of the pass 3.5 miles to Paradise Road and turn right. The First Crossing Day Use Area is 5.5 miles up Paradise Road, just past the Los Prietos Boys Camp. (The Los Prietos Ranger Station is a mile closer to Hwy 154).


Saturday night Jan 26 7:30pm head over to Bell Arts where Friday hosts Joyce LaMers plus an open.


Fridays at the Getty? First Fridays at the LA County Nat History Museum? Why not do both Friday Feb. 1 by checking out the scene at the Getty from 6-9pm (Peter Case at 730–need a reservation though) then cruising over to the Nat Hist Museum! Lecture at 530, music etc until midnight. And if you don’t want to leave town, you can always check out First Fridays Ventucky…


Sat. Feb 2 is Ojai’s annual Mardi Gras party at the Women’s Center. Live music, costumes, food, rowdiness, costume contest!


Check back for more todos including MARCH 8: FANDANGO–FUNDRAISER for Art City! and California State Laureate Al Young’s visit to Ventucky College! etc etc etc!

CA Poet Laureate Al Young to Visit Ventura

ay-with-glasses-2007.jpgCalifornia Poet Laureate Al Young will visit Ventura College Spring 2008, mostly likely on a Monday at noon in April during National Poetry Month. He may also lead a writing workshop at 130pm then read that evening.

Watch this space for updates on this exciting visit by a warm and wonderful poet and performer!

To learn more about Al, visit his website

Martin Luther King: text for “I have a dream”

I Have a Dream

Here’s a copy of the text of one of Martin Luther King’s most famous oratories, most commonly known as “I Have a Dream.” (click here for the source)

[Delivered on the steps at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. on August 28, 1963]

Source: Martin Luther King, Jr: The Peaceful Warrior, Pocket Books, NY 1968

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of captivity.

But one hundred years later, we must face the tragic fact that the Negro is still not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize an appalling condition.

In a sense we have come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men would be guarranteed the inalienable rights of life, liberty, nad the pursuit of happiness.

It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check which has come back marked “insufficient funds.” But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check — a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to open the doors of opportunity to all of God’s children. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment and to underestimate the determination of the Negro. This sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.

We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. we must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny and their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.

And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, “When will you be satisfied?” we can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.

Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.

I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slaveowners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day the state of Alabama, whose governor’s lips are presently dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, will be transformed into a situation where little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith with which I return to the South. With this faith we will be able to hew our of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with a new meaning, “My country, ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim’s pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring.”

And if America is to ba a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!

Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous peaks of California!

But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!

Let freedom ring from every hill and every molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

When we let freedom ring, whem we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”

Martin Luther King’s Birthday: I have a dream video excerpt

Martin Luther King’s birthday is an ideal time to remember his contributions and celebrate his life. His “I have a dream” oratory is aa important today as it was the day he gave it.

There are lots of versions MLK’s “I Have a Dream” on youtube, and I looked over a few of them before choosing this one. It may not be the best, and it does not include the whole text, but I liked the combination of clips, text, images, and hearing his voice speak the familiar words. Listen to it once, then listen to it with both going at the same time, starting one, then moments later (about 8 seconds), start the next, hear his words echo, and live on.