Category Archives: climate change

Ain't no Sunshine

Apparently we took our usual great weather to Paris and it decided to stay there — I haven’t seen the sun since we got home and I’m freezing… we only had one day of drizzle in our entire stay in Paris and several very warm days.

On the plus side, we’ll be in Scottsdale next weekend for a wedding — I’m sure there will be sun there and we can warm up again!

UPDATE: Of course, since I complained, the sun is now out. Yay.

Brushfire Season



Sadly, brushfire season begins with a vengeance this year in Santa Barbara. I’ve walked the gorgeous gardens in the Botanical Garden and there are so many beautiful homes around there — this is a sad loss.
With water cuts throughout SoCal this year as well, there’s going to be a lot of dry fuel waiting to go up. It could be a very bad year for brushfires.

Officials at the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden in Mission Canyon had big plans for the century-old Gane House, the Craftsman-style home the garden purchased many years ago. They wanted to seek historic landmark status for the building, which was named after the original family that owned it. It was to be restored and become their administrative center.

Last night flames engulfed the two-story building, leaving little more than three brick chimneys standing.

“Obviously we’re very heartbroken. It’s a large, large loss for us,” said Nancy Johnson, the garden’s vice president of marketing and government relations. “We were hoping to restore it to its grandeur.”

Lost inside were all the gardening tools, horticultural materials, the metal shop that made tags to identify plants, overstock of books published by the garden, and the office contents and computers of the head gardener and facilities maintenance man. Biofuel gardening trucks parked outside also appear to have been destroyed.

The home and garage of Edward L. Schneider, the garden director, also burned to the ground, Johnson said. In addition, they lost a building used to propagate plants and a deck over Mission Creek.

Johnson said firefighters “made a valiant effort to save our other buildings,” including the herbarium, the library and library annex and the rare book room. “They really worked hard yesterday to save those buildings so we’re really appreciative of that.”

She also said the garden was saved by a decision last year to spend between $300,000 and $400,000 on six hydrants. “The firefighters told us that had those hydrants not been installed, they couldn’t have saved the other buildings,” she said.

Since we are all about the change here… a place to connect with other people interested in changing things.

Sort of a “facebook” for change.

Our Vision

Today as citizens of the world, we face a daunting array of social and environmental problems ranging from health care and education to global warming and economic inequality. For each of these issues, whether local or global in scope, there are millions of people who care passionately about working for change but lack the information and opportunities necessary to translate their interest into effective action. aims to address this need by serving as the central platform informing and empowering movements for social change around the most important issues of our time.

History is a social entrepreneurship venture based in San Francisco, CA. The company was founded by Ben Rattray in the summer of 2005, and with the support of a friend from Stanford, Mark Dimas, and a founding team of Darren Haas, Rajiv Gupta, and Adam Cheyer, launched the first version of its site in 2007.

Part-time crusader

“Sentiment without action…is the ruin of the soul” — Edward Abbey

“Do not burn yourselves out. Be as I am — a reluctant enthusiast, a part-time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it’s still here.

So get out there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, encounter the grizz, climb the mountains, bag the peaks, run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for awhile and contemplate the precious stillness, that lovely, mysterious and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to the body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies — You will outlive the bastards.” — Edward Abbey

“Nature is self-organizing and resilient but, like any problem solver, needs options — lots and lots of players, from microbes to whales. The more potential options are available, the more likely new relationships can emerge to succeed or men those that have been disrupted and broken, and the more resilient a stressed ecosystem is likely to be.”

“Aldo Leopold…observed that the key to healing broken habitats was to save as many of the parts as possible. The processes that create and shape diversity — fires and floods, for example — are also important. An ecosystem that is shaped by occasional fires must be big enough to replace species that are lost to fires where they occur, or its diversity is vulnerable and temporary, perched on the edge of inevitable decline.” –Chip Ward, “Hope’s Horizon”



The Victoria bushfires are terrifying. Please go here and donate if you can — in any fire situation, the Red Cross is first on the scene and really does a great job of taking care of the victims who have lost their homes or been forced out of them by the fires. And an awful disaster in terms of lives lost and homes lost. Living in SoCal, we’ve seen several huge disastrous fires in the last few years. We’ve managed well so far, only having to evacuate once, which we turned into a relatively pleasant experience. But when you see fire surround your community on all sides, or smoke billowing up and starting to blow over your home, it is a horrible, frightening thing. And when people don’t have time to escape, these fires are deadly. The loss in Australia is just heartbreaking. When it happens close to home, it is sad, but at least most people here had time to get out safely. Unfortunately that didn’t happen for the people in these fires.

We’re fortunate here to have a reverse 9-1-1 system in place. When we were evacuated, we received a call to leave our home in plenty of time to get out. I would encourage everyone to ask their communities to put these systems in place. It is well worth the cost to be able to save lives in an emergency situation. And everyplace has something — if not fires, then tornadoes, earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, ice storms, whatever. People need time to prepare and to get out if they have to, and our community leaders need to make sure they get the warning in time.

Just a reminder that you can work to be a change leader in your community, too. Get to know your neighbors, plan for how to handle emergencies, and help each other out. Last time around, I took a neighbor’s cat with me to evacuate and moved her car to a safe place for her since she was out of town. We made sure all our neighbors were out safely or leaving before we left, and we stopped by our community evacuation center once we were back home and took pet supplies over to take care of the animals, as well as taking additional supplies to the animal shelter that was simply overwhelmed with animals that had been evacuated. We now have a “bug out” kit that can be easily thrown in the car full of emergency supplies.

Mostly it takes awareness, though, knowing what local weather conditions are, being prepared to get out if you have to.

And helping out those who have been devastated by tragic circumstances.

Hey, you, get outta my cloud

illustration by Kuniharu Shimizu haiku by soji

Fog makes the world a painting obscure.
Even close trees are half unseen.
But a lonesome crow won’t stop calling:
He objects to being in this dream.

Over and over, the sages tell us that this world is but a dream.

When one awakes on foggy mornings, with the mists obscuring hills and valleys and the trees and village buildings appearing as diaphanous apparitions, we might even agree with them. Didn’t we see this same uncertain mirage in the hills of Vermont? The hollow of the Yangtze River valley? The streets of Paris? Don’t the memories blend with the dream and turn reality into phantasmagoria?

The world is a dream from which there is no escaping.

In this still dream, there is a crow calling. He doesn’t stop. When everything else is frozen in the sepulchral dawn, the bird continues to scream. Maybe he realizes the same dream. He protests loudly.

The ancients hold the outer reality to be unreal. But there is the inner reality too. Some of us do not readily accept the conditions of this existence. We have eyes to see, but we also have voice to refute the existential delusion.

Deng Ming Tao, 365 Tao

The fog rolled in so thickly last night that everything is soaked as is by the rain, even under the patio covers. We couldn’t even see the street lights or the houses across the street last night. This morning it is still thick, and we seem to have been transported to San Francisco for the day. We have a “dense fog advisory” for the area:

A dense fog advisory remains in effect until 10 am PST this

This will impact elevations between 250 and 900 feet… roughly the
area from Interstate 5 eastward to the foothills. Commuters should allow
additional travel time this morning… as most of the east to west
highways leading into the major cities will be impacted.

A dense fog advisory means visibility will frequently be reduced
to less than one quarter mile. If driving… slow down… use low
beam headlights… and leave plenty of distance ahead of you. If
your vehicle becomes disabled… pull as far off of the roadway as

We drove through this kind of fog a lot when we first came to San Diego, but I haven’t seen it this thick this far inland for some time. One holiday season we hit both snow and fog while driving home through the mountains from Arizona — I just got behind a big rig and followed it into San Diego. Slowly. For those traveling home after the holidays, this kind of fog means planes can’t land at our airport, so travel plans get interrupted. Our friends coming back from Maryland were stuck in Salt Lake City the other night, and had to fly back the next day.

Politically, I predict 18 more days of fog. Then perhaps some fresh air and sunshine…

More Swampage

These are the days I wish it snowed here instead of raining — the entire yard is turning into a flood zone… at this point I worry about the plants drowning.

And rainy, gray weather takes away all my energy to actually do anything, hence the lack of posts, etc.


UPDATE: It seems to have stopped for the moment — ran out to clean out all the storm drain pipes so at least the yard and patios stopped flooding!

Sure wish we would have gotten those new rain gutters done this year, though. Seems like it may be a very rainy season…

Eh. More on the way in…


Holy Crap, IT IS HOT!!!!!

Poway, California 92064 Conditions & Forecast : Weather Underground
Western Poway, Poway, California PWS
Updated: 4 sec ago

107.2 °F / 41.8 °C

Record temps today for sure. Our backyard thermometer reads 110 right now…..

Stay cool, kids…..

My kids are gaming here with friends today. They have water in the fridge, fans, air set at 80, and will set up coolers with ice for their drinks. Hubby and I are off to the Fair, which will still be hot, but at least by the coast. Geez, what a day!