Hello beautiful!

It sure has been a whirlwind summer of travels, learning, campaigning, vacationing and cleansing! Whew!  Since my last blog post I:

1. My Greenpeace students and I won our short-term goals in the Trader Joe’s campaign  – TJ’s agreed to work with the Monterey Bay Aquarium in developing a sustainable seafood policy and to discontinue the sale of “most” red-list fish species! Our California state-wide campaign and the DC Greenpeace Organizing Term’s campaign on the east coast proved incredibly effective and fruitful!  http://traitorjoe.com/

2. Spent a week in Alabama at Pete’s lovely family’s beach house, which was so wonderful minus the all-night rural Alabama hospital visit for a nasty kidney infection that was mal-treated

3. Went to my sister’s wedding in Kauai! It was magical! Two huge rainbows and a blessing of rain during the ceremony.

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4. Spent several days in Calgary with one of my best friend’s and favorite Canadian’s in the whole wide world – Heather Hendrie! Living in the “Texas of the North” was eye-opening; I had never realized how severely the oil and gas industry holds that part of the world by the balls. From Calgary I took a train north to Edmonton where I met up with the 30 GOT students and coordinators for our Greenpeace Canada Expedition! I’m going to write some insightful information and personal reflections on what I had the opportunity to witness first hand there below.

5. Made it through my last week of the Greenpeace Organizing Term – concluding my 5th and final semester with Greenpeace as a GOT Coordinator.  Although I will always cherish the organization, my GP family and the 63 students I trained, I am just elated to be moving on to work with the Rainforest Action Network as their Rainforest Agribusiness Campaigner! http://ran.org/campaigns/rainforest_agribusiness/   I am so honored and excited to be a campaigner at last, a position I have been working towards for the past 5 years since graduation and interning for Amazon Watch.  I have the opportunity to work with Leila Salazar-Lopez (Campaign Director), who was my boss and mentor at Amazon Watch and is the one who in large part inspired me to be where I am today.  It will be a steep learning curve for sure, but I’m up for the task after almost a month of glorious vacation!

6. Post final week on the job I traveled to Indiana with Pete to spend a fantastic and relaxing week with his beautiful family. We celebrated his grandparents’ 60th Anniversary in southern Indiana near Bloomington in the woods with his entire extended family and then the rest of the time in Noblesville hanging out with the sweet Dorothy Day and Oliver, 3 1/2 and 1 1/2 years old!  Since returning Pete helped me pack up my old house and move into a new place just 3 blocks from Dolores Park and my yoga studio, straddling the Mission, Noe Valley and Upper Market in the Castro. My walls are turqoise, all the ladies in the house do yoga regularly, we’re getting a CSA veggie box and a kitten!! Life is good.

The Master Cleanse: http://themastercleanse.org/

After the big move I cruised south on the 1 to Big Sur to get blissed out on my Master Cleanse! http://themastercleanse.org/  I’d always wanted to try a cleanse like this and figured with some vacation time it would be perfect, so I dove right in. Lemon squeezed into water with maple syrup and cayenne pepper for 10 days though some do less or more. Each website offers something a little different, but I’d stick to Stanley Burroughs’ little yellow book which you can get at the health food store.  Since my sister’s big baby shower BBQ party is Sunday, which I’m coordinating, I decided to do 7 days of the cleanse, not including the phase-out diet, which would put me in in line to eat regularly by Sunday, Day 11 Master Cleanse.

I’d say that overall, I’m on the fence as to how effective the cleanse is for actually getting the nasty “stuff” out.  I was disappointed I never eliminated anything impressive, like all the crap that is stuck on the lining of our intestine walls inhibiting us from absorbing the vitamins and minerals in the food we eat.  However, I have not eaten refined sugar in 8+ months, I have not eaten meat since age 8 and hardly eat dairy. Perhaps I just didn’t have that much to get out.  But as far as slimming down and sloughing off excess weight, mucus, disease and unhealthy tissue, it works like a charm.  I lost 14 lbs. in 7 days! The average is 2 lbs. a day, and I did just that!  And I feel GOOD.  People tell me that my eyes are clear, I look more vibrant than usual, and look slimmer.  But don’t expect to feel good during the cleanse. Some people feel great throughout and claim they have more energy than usual, but I felt moody, irritable, hungry, and low energy.  The first couple days I continued biking all over the city but became weak.  However, my energy level today, Day 9, is superb!

If you are going to do the master cleanse, make sure you take a lot of personal, meditative, quiet time for yourself. I found that when I did yoga daily, meditation, writing, reading, sunbathing, and hot spring soaking, I felt wonderful, really blissed out and high.  But when I was around a lot of people, watching folks eat meals, working at farmers markets and in big social scenes I became irritated and grumpy.  Seriously, this can make or break your cleanse. I think your will power and discipline to push through the hunger pangs and bad moods is directly correlated with your mind set, and that is 100% linked to your surroundings and actions during the cleanse.  So make intentional choices and you’ll enjoy the greatest benefits!  Don’t freak out if you notice an insanely sharp sense of smell developing!  I became so sensitive to smell that I found people’s breath incredibly offensive (even my partner who almost always smells like peaches and puppies) and had to resist vomiting in yoga smelling the body odors and breath circulating throughout the room.  Trash, cellars, car air conditioning, exhaust – all things you will smell more acutely than ever, almost like a dog!  Enjoy these special powers!!

The Canadian Tar Sands: http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2009/03/canadian-oil-sands/kunzig-text                     http://ran.org/campaigns/freedom_from_oil/

To switch gears from cleansing to polluting, I’d like to take a minute to share my thoughts and some important information about the Tar Sands, the largest and most destructive industrial project on the planet right now. As a US Citizen, I feel incredibly invested in stopping the tar sands as it’s not only the most environmentally harmful way of extracting oil possible, but it’s turning a 10,000 year old ancient forest into a desert as we speak!  The Boreal contains 35% of Canada’s wetlands and stores 47 Billion tonnes of carbon!  If you are from the US, you should know that we import more oil from Canada than any other country, second to Mexico.  Canada has been the #1 exporter to the US for 7 years! As peak oil is becoming more and more of a reality, corporations and industries that rely on it are becoming increasingly desperate.  This has led them to a remote, pristine swath of Ancient Forest in the Boreal – Alberta, Canada – to dig up our world’s last remaining 20% of ancient forests in the name of oil.

In August I visited a town called Fort McMurray in Alberta, Canada, the door-way into the Tar Sands.  Fort McMurray is a community in northern Alberta that attracts migrants from all over Canada and beyond with a ‘sort of’ facade of lucrative work.  ‘Sort of’ because although the work is lucrative – people make triple digits starting day 1 to dig up the earth in search of bitumen, the most energy-intensive form of oil in the world – but the toll on the workers’ health over-shadows any real promise of wealth.    Not to mention the environment.  The Athabasca and Mackenzie River Basin encompasse 1/4 of Canada’s water supply and over 11 million liters of toxic sludge is seeping into the Athabasca River basin EVERY SINGLE DAY.  The species that once thrived in this water basin now have overwhelmingly high rates of cysts and tumors, rendered inedible for the First Nations people that for thousands of years have relied on them for sustenance.  The 1.5 barrels of toxic waste created from the production of each barrel of bitumen has effectively contaminated this entire river basin.  The children of Fort Chipewyan are told to no longer swim in the rivers and there are many cases of diagnosed bile duct cancer in that community.  You would think that we could at least be sensitive to the First Nations people living there, but hegemony and development, as always, blind us to the simple tenants of human rights!  Canada, the US and New Zealand are the only countries that have not signed the UN Declaration on Indigenous Rights! Just disgusting.

As we toured a few sites of extraction, processing plants, and drove through the muddy maze of dirt roads and three story trucks in under cover Greenpeace vans, silence broken by sporadic sobs and moans of the students filled the air. Inside the vans.  Outside the vans, the smell of sour, putrid toxicity filled my nostrils.  It burned my nose and my lungs.  The yellow, brown haze in the air was disgusting, and sadness brewed within me thinking about the workers and communities who inhaled this every day. But the workers have a choice, so I don’t so much pity them; the First Nations people have inherited this problem unwillingly.

By 2020 production in the Tar Sands is expected to quadruple! The Tar Sands covers one quarter of Alberta; if all this is developed it will destroy a land mass the size of Florida.  The Tar Sands are mined over 300 metres deep; the trucks used are three stories high!  And what’s most unbelievable about this process – they use natural gas to get the oil (bitumen) out, incredibly GHG intensive.   To add insult to injury, this whole process releases the 47 Billion tonnes of carbon stored in the forest floor!  Bitumen is the most heavily processed form of oil, compared to oil crude (the lease processed and most readily-usable form of oil) or natural gas.  70 – 90% of the oil goes to, who else, but the United States.  Tar Sands oil is 3-5 times as energy intensive as a conventional barrel of oil.

Solutions/Resistance:

Mike Hudema, the lead Greenpeace Canada Tar Sands campaigner, taught us all of this and also spoke a bit about sustainable agriculture and how that is linked to Canada’s use of fossil fuels.  Apparently between 2001 and 2006, Canada lost 17,500 farms!  And the average grocery store product travels 1,500 miles between farms and the grocery store isle!  This is obviously a huge problem.  The gross misuse and waste of fossil fuels in Canada to quench the thirst and greed of the United States is leading us down a deadly path.  We need to spread the word about the Tar Sands and speak out!  There is a coalition of 72 groups working on halting this project in Canada, organizing and executing actions on a regular basis, working with US mayors and Canadian premiers.  But the Canadian premiers are just as bad as the industry.  Although 71% of Albertans want a moratorium on Tar Sands development, the Canadian Government has approved 100% of the proposed projects!!!

We need to see that 2 out of 3 tar sands jobs are in construction, which will be over once the project is done.  These are not sustainable, green jobs!  Alberta is the sunniest province in Canada and has the potential of creating 112,000 jobs in solar, according to Hudema’s research.  We need to push for renewable energy investments in Alberta and STOP the US from importing this dirty Tar Sands oil!!

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What we’re working to protect:

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