I Wonder How Mario Savio Would Be Treated At SSU Today by Shepherd Bliss

by Shepherd Bliss
Guest Writer
Dandelion Salad
December 13, 2012

Free Speech Mural, Berkeley

Image by George via Flickr

The creation of the Mario Savio Speakers’ Corner this semester was my favorite event during my five years at Sonoma State University. It was a good example of what is taught in SSU’s Foundations of Leadership course, UNIV. 238, which I taught for three years.

The dynamic Savio was a beloved teacher at SSU from 1990-1996. He is best known as a leader of the Free Speech Movement in the mid-sixties, while a student at the University of California, Berkeley. That movement galvanized students around the U.S. against the American War in Vietnam. The Savio memorial committee wanted to inspire people, as Savio did, “to act upon conscience to insure justice.”

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Gratitude to Trees by Shepherd Bliss

Weeping Fir Tree

Image by Dandelion Salad via Flickr

by Shepherd Bliss
Guest Writer
Dandelion Salad
September 13, 2012

Morning: Listening

Trees transform, shield, shade and provide oxygen, fruit, and beauty. They offer many other gifts. Without trees, humans would not survive. Through the magical process of photosynthesis, tree leaves and other green plants release oxygen by transforming carbon dioxide and water.

As our human learning community walks into the woods here beyond the Dominican University of California, I invite you to experience the plant community. Continue reading

Green-washing “Sustainability” by Shepherd Bliss

by Shepherd Bliss
Guest Writer
Dandelion Salad
August 31, 2012

applebins

Image by melihaik via Flickr

“Sustainability” has become a buzzword. But what does “sustainability” really mean? One definition is that it requires a triple-E bottom line—economics, the environment and equity. However, this word sometimes is used to “green-wash” and promote things that are not sustainable. Genuine sustainability must be evidence-based. But language can be used to conceal rather than reveal.

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Frontline Battle Against Chase Bank, CVS Pharmacy and Armstrong Developer by Shepherd Bliss

by Shepherd Bliss
Guest Writer
Dandelion Salad
July 22, 2012

Colors of Fall

Image by sarahkim via Flickr

Small town Sebastopol residents in Northern California have been waging a fierce David vs. Goliath struggle against the powerful Chase Bank, CVS Pharmacy, and Armstrong Development for over two years. The implications of this struggle extend beyond this one town, as big business continues to seek to expand its wealth.

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Local businesses threatened by Chase and CVS Pharmacy by Shepherd Bliss

by Shepherd Bliss
Guest Writer
Dandelion Salad
June 28, 2012

Ripening Blackberries

Image by Dandelion Salad via Flickr

I’ve operated the small, artisan Kokopelli Farm, which grows mainly berries, for the last 20 years. It is located a couple of miles from small town Sebastopol’s downtown commons in Northern California. Our town has less than 8000 people and is the economic center of what is called the West County of the coastal Sonoma County. We historically have had a vibrant local economy, which is now being threatened by the desires of big businesses to further concentrate their enormous power and drain the agrarian wealth out of the land and people.

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Occupy Media Grows by Shepherd Bliss

by Shepherd Bliss
Guest Writer
Dandelion Salad
http://www.vowvop.org
March 18, 2012

Occupy Wall Street Day 14

Image by waywuwei via Flickr

Occupy.com, which means to occupy the commons, will go online later this month,” reported Michael Levitin, a 35-year-old founding editor of the Occupied Wall Street Journal. He spoke on March 16 at an event in Santa Rosa, California, hosted by the forthcoming Occupied Press—North Bay/Prensa Ocupada—Bahia Norte.

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Occupy’s Growing Pains–Reflections of an Insider by Shepherd Bliss

By Shepherd Bliss
Guest Writer
Dandelion Salad
http://www.vowvop.org
March 15, 2012

Occupy COMO

Image by Dandelion Salad via Flickr

I have been active in the historic Occupy movement since it first erupted onto public space. I have attended numerous meetings, rallies, teach-ins and other events, as well as written supportively about it. Since the Sept. 17 opening at Occupy Wall Street in New York, I have been excited and ignited by this incredible uprising.

Recently I have become frustrated by some of its hostile interpersonal dynamics. We could benefit from more tolerance, compassion, and respect for differences within the millions of members of the 99% that we claim to represent.

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Sonoma County Daily Attacks Occupy Movement By Shepherd Bliss

By Shepherd Bliss
Guest Writer
Dandelion Salad
http://www.vowvop.org
Feb. 3, 2012

Occupy America - We are the 99%

Image by Dandelion Salad via Flickr

The Sonoma County daily’s Press Democrat Feb. 1 editorial “Occupy Movement in Ashes” is wishful thinking. Our phoenix will rise during this month. You wait. You watch. You see.

Occupy is still an infant, having been born in New York Sept. 17 with Occupy Wall Street. It is not even five months old and already the local daily tries to editorialize it into ashes. Rumors of our death are premature. We have made mistakes, including in Oakland. We’re learning and experiencing what one activist calls “growing pains.”

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Occupy Enters 2012 By Shepherd Bliss

By Shepherd Bliss
Guest Writer
Dandelion Salad
http://www.vowvop.org
January 12, 2012

Occupy America - We are the 99%

Image by Dandelion Salad via Flickr

Sonoma County’s Occupy movement in Northern California opened 2012 by two well-attended events—one outside in the streets and another inside. Around 140 people attended a county-wide Town Hall on Occupy at Sebastopol’s United Methodist church on Jan. 9. Over 400 people marched on and peacefully shut down two Wells Fargo Bank branches in Santa Rosa on Jan. 6.

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Small Town Sebastopol Contributes to Occupy Movement By Shepherd Bliss

By Shepherd Bliss
Guest Writer
Dandelion Salad
http://www.vowvop.org
Dec. 11, 2011

Occupy America - We are the 99% bumpersticker on my car

Image by Dandelion Salad via Flickr

Good things can come in small packages. Sebastopol in semi-agrarian Sonoma County, Northern California, has a population under 8000. Occupy Sebastopol (OS) recently has been home to a bee-hive of activity in this town’s square that describes itself as “Peacetown, USA.”

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Occupy Sebastopol By Shepherd Bliss

By Shepherd Bliss
Guest Writer
Dandelion Salad
http://www.vowvop.org
Nov. 19, 2011

Occupy COMO

Image by Dandelion Salad via Flickr

We celebrated Occupy Wall Street’s (OWS) second monthly anniversary in small town Sebastopol, with its less than 8000 residents, in Northern California on November 17. We packed a City Council meeting where over two-dozen people spoke in favor of Occupy Sebastopol (OS) and the five-member Council supported it.

Though large cities and police assaults on peaceful occupations fill mass media reports, many smaller and mid-size cities continue with successful, vigorous occupations around the United States.

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The Occupy Movement Builds Democratic Learning/Action Communities By Shepherd Bliss

By Shepherd Bliss
Guest Writer
Dandelion Salad
http://www.vowvop.org
Oct. 20, 2011

Occupy COMO

Image by Dandelion Salad via Flickr

Occupy Wall Street gatherings on Oct. 15 at around 1500 sites in some 80 countries revealed a global uprising for building democratic learning and action communities. People were joyous to be together in streets and parks, on church steps, outside banks, and elsewhere—playing music, chanting, and exercising their freedoms. They sat in circles, paraded around with bands, and fed each other in dramatic outpourings of anger, aspiration, feelings, energy, humor, yearning, and wisdom.

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Learning from the Community of the Land By Shepherd Bliss

Growing Red Raspberries

Image by Dandelion Salad via Flickr

By Shepherd Bliss
Guest Writer
Dandelion Salad
http://www.vowvop.org
June 18, 2011

While recently shoveling aged horse manure around berry vines on my small organic farm to fertilize them, which gives me great pleasure, I thought about what I have learned about the community of the land by farming over the last two decades. I noticed how spreading brown gold–to which I add the green manure of decaying plants–utilizes waste to transform plants and help them grow. The animal-plant connection is essential to life.

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No Blow Movement Grows By Shepherd Bliss

By Shepherd Bliss
Guest Writer
Dandelion Salad
http://www.vowvop.org
June 29, 2010

Pretty Fall Leaves
photo by Dandelion Salad

Peter and Susan Kendall of Orinda, Northern California, are not your typical political activists. This couple really wants some peace and quiet, so they can be comfortable within their suburban home and with their backyard chickens, berries and tomatoes.

But wait! While at their home recently a siren-pitched, shrieking scream interrupted that serenity—a leaf blower, which some call a debris blower, since it kicks up far more than leaves. The couple had bought three different kinds of leaf blowers, not to use, but to demonstrate how much noise and air pollution they make, even the allegedly quieter ones.

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Time to ban this health threat: Leaf blowers By Shepherd Bliss

By Shepherd Bliss
Guest Writer
Dandelion Salad
http://www.vowvop.org
February 9, 2010

Pretty Fall Leaves
photo by Dandelion Salad

previously published on PressDemocrat.com

‘‘Avoid using leaf blowers and other dust-producing equipment to cut down particulate matter,” recommends the California Air Resources Board. Why?

Simply put, leaf blowers kill. “Approximately 65,000 premature deaths from cardiopulmonary causes may be attributable to particulate air pollution each year,” according to the Natural Resources Defense Council. That’s only people. Leaf blowers also kill bees, butterflies, insects, plants and wildlife. They are hazardous to human health and to the ground itself.

Also known as debris blowers, these industrial machines explode and then fire up at more than 100 mph hour and kick up chemicals, fungi, spores, animal fecal matter, molds, diesel soot, allergens and other toxic substances. They combine to compose deadly particulate matter.

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