Monthly Archives: September 2011

Summer brings gifts of unknown things…

As I have done a couple of times, I am re-publishing my editorial for my alumni newsletter “The Homepage”.

Editorial – Fall 2011, The Homepage, Alumni Newsletter for Saybrook Graduate School – all rights reserved, L. Kinyon, 2011
After an eventful spring focusing on personal health issues, Summer, for me, began  on Midsummer’s Day (Solstice) with a magical hike to explore a series of Labyrinths Oakland’s Sibley Volcanic Monument. The largest located in an old quarry high in the East Bay Hills was created  “as a gift to the world” by San Francisco East Bay artist, Helena Mazzariello in 1990.  Today there are 6 earthwork Labyrinths created by other artists scattered about the park.  There no maps or pointers on the trails, one must hike, explore, and discover.  It was nearly 98 degrees as we began our hike at the trail-head and it just got hotter and hotter as we went along. It was to be the hottest,

(and, the last really warm day) of the Bay Area’s summer of 2011: A precursor to one of the hottest summers on record for most of the country and, due to an unusual off-shore pattern, one of the coldest here in the Bay Area. 

As I work at my keyboard to compose this editorial on an unusually cool and foggy September afternoon, my thoughts are with the residents of Texas who have lost their homes and livelihoods in the devastating fires this past two weeks and to the people on the Eastern Seaboard still struggling with the aftermath of Hurricane Irene. 
This summer’s storms, drought, the massive fires in Arizona and Texas, while in Northern California 2011’s unusually cool and damp [re: dismal] summer is steadily destroying viticulture and fruit crops only underlines the changes in the climate we are facing as a planet.  In a recent article published by Stephen Leahy for the cyber news service, Inter Press Service, Leahy claimed, “It is now virtually certain a child born in 1979 will not reach 50 years of age before the Arctic is ice-free in the summer. That is a rapid change on a planetary scale, with far-reaching consequences that scientists are just beginning to understand.”  Climatologists tell us that the melting Arctic ice is directly affecting the record drought experienced by the American SW and Africa.

On Sept. 8, researchers at the University of Bremen in Germany reported that the Arctic ice melt bettered the previous minimum of 2007. Other research centers using different satellite and analysis tools say the extraordinary decline of ice in 2007 has not yet been exceeded this year and 2011 remains a close second.

“We think it will end up a little bit short of the record – not that it really matters,” said Mark Serreze, director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center in the US city of Boulder, Colorado. (Record Arctic Ice Melt Threatens Global Security  15 September 11)

and, also from the The National Snow and Ice Data Center:

This study shows where the tracking of sea level rise is heading in terms of the level of detail possible and the instrumentation that can be brought to bear,” Scambos said. “We’re showing that glacier changes can start fast, with a single climate or ocean ‘bang’, but they have a long persistence.” Anthony Lane and Katherine Leitzell, New study details glacier ice loss following ice shelf collapse  25 July 2011)

Winter is predicted to be another harsh season of cold and storm sweeping the continent while drought and, with it, the inevitable wildfires will continue to plague the Southwest.  As I write, the Environmental Protection Service has scrapped new regulations that limit green house gasses (42 ER 1334, 6/17/11, )As our political leaders deny the difficult truths revealed by climatologists it is up to all of us to continue the work of understanding the challenges ahead and providing a much needed antidote for the popular bad science and out right lies based upon political agendas fed wholesale to one and all. As example of political propaganda presented as science: The study by the conservative think tank, The Heartland Institute, Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, and Science and Environmental Policy Project [SEPP] says “mankind will be much better off in the year 2100 than it is today and therefore able to adapt to whatever challenges climate change presents.”( http://www.nipccreport.org/reports/2011/pdf/pressrelease.pdf)

Saybrook alumni and the larger Saybrook community are in a unique position to educate our peers and to find solutions for a challenging future through our writings, our work in the world and, also, in keeping in touch by sharing information through social media, creating an maintaining blog sites, speakers’ lists through our regional activities and hosting events focusing on these issues (such as the “Food Day” event discussed below). Saybrook scholars are to be found in every sector of business, government and science research in countries from Southeast Asia and the Pacific Rim to Canada and Europe.  The potential for influencing research and public perception as a counter measure to the political agendas of institutions such as The Heartland Institute referenced above is present and, in this editor’s opinion, much needed.  We can empower ourselves and use our influence as scholars and activists in our diverse communities to envision a future that, while challenging and uncertain, may yet be a little bit better for our presence.

In more personal news, the day after my Midsummer hike, I was off to Oregon to present a workshop in Dreams and Personal Myth in the picturesque coastal village of Waldport.  The drive north along 101 was on a perfect summer day with an over night pause in the old fishing town (and, now, tourist mecca) of Bandon-by-the-Sea for dinner and a little (early) Holiday shopping. Everywhere I stopped the economic downturn was the chief topic of conversation: empty businesses, people packing up and moving away … somewhere …   Despite the economic downturn, the workshop in Waldport went so well for everyone that I’ll be returning in November to do a followup during the annual Coastal Celtic Music Festival (Nov. 11-12: http://www.yachatscelticmusicfestival.com/) working around the festival schedule to explore our dreams (see https://lezlie1.wordpress.com/workshops-seminars-travel/ for all the details).

July ran by on swift feet and, suddenly, it was August and the Saybrook Homecoming was here.  With Drs. Linda Reibel and Kathia Laszlo, I was honored to sit on a panel on sustainable farming and conscious purchasing in the food world. With Dr. Reibel I hope to follow up this panel with a “Food Day” event in October in Berkeley (stay posted for the details!).  For what that’s about and to organized your own event, go here: http://foodday.org/.

September, my birth month, is now here. As the Autumnal Equinox heralds the shorter days and cooler weather, the tree-lined streets of Berkeley are decked out in their annual display of reds and golds. The the Bay Area’s several thousand students and scholars are returning to their studies.  On their heels, Berkeley’s annual “Solano Stroll” kicked off a year celebrating the Centennial of Women’s Suffrage in California.  I was invited to march in the parade with the Association of American University Women in commemoration of this milestone in women’s history.  (I’m somewhere behind the sign on the right…) In the garb of our fore mothers and to an enthusiastic crowd, we were applauded throughout the 4 mile route of the parade. I am certain that our grandmothers and great-grandmothers marched with us. Later in the day, as several of the women

who had taken part in the march “strolled” Solano Ave. tasting the treats of Berkeley’s “Gourmet Ghetto” and enjoying the work of the many artists whose booths lined the avenue, many people stopped us and engaged in dialogue on the subject of suffrage and how much work remains for women and men in the cause of basic human rights for the women of the world.

Saybrook alumni continue to make our presence known throughout several countries with the outstanding work of creating a sustainable and dignified future for all of us.  Profiled this issue is Dr. Kathrina L. Rashidand her work as a child abuse investigator for Alameda County.   We remember a leader in the humanistic movement, Dr. Theodore Rosak and honor the Saybrook community members in their work and publication.  Elsewhere we hear from other alumni working in a variety of fields from creating art to the military from the many far corners of this Earth. Truly, as the adage goes: “diversity r us”.  The great need to keep doing this work was all brought to home to me at this year’s Solano Stroll in the words of a young Iranian woman who has begun a jewelry business: “We aren’t done yet, the women of Iran cannot vote!”   I heard my grandmother, Ethel Roberts (who was a suffragist), respond in my voice, “Well, we’d better get busy, then, hadn’t we?”  On that note, I will end this editorial and get busy!

More information on the Arctic ice melt: Arctic sea ice extent small as never before http://www.iup.uni-bremen.de/seaice/amsr/minimum2011-en.pdf University of Bremen Institute of Environmental Physics Dr. Georg Heygster Tel. +49 (0)421 218 62180 E-Mail: heygster@uni-bremen.de
With the support of the ESA/GMES project Polar View, daily maps of the sea ice extent are publicly provided at http://www.iup.uni-bremen.de/seaice/amsr/.