Sunday, March 30, 2008

Provost, Provos and Provo

Provost: (1785-1850)
A French Canadian Fur Trapper. The first what man to see the Great Salt Lake. He narrowly escaped death at the hands of “savages.” Where Provo, Utah got its name.

The radical Dutch counter-culture movement that exploded onto the European stage in the early 1960s which created virtual panic for the national government and local authorities. The Provos were a radical group of freethinkers; inspired by anarchism, Dadaism, and radical philosophy. They used non-violence and performance art called “happenings” to provoke reactions from the local police, working towards social change. The group was officially formed on May 25, 1965 by anarchist Roel Van Duyn and others who quickly began organizing around the international anti-war movement. In their brief manifesto they proclaim: "It is our task to turn their [the state’s] aggression into revolutionary consciousness." The group’s tactics are generally associated with “Situationism” and the work of Guy Debord, who authored Society of the Spectacle a Marxist inspired critique of industrial society’s obsession with consumption. The groups loosely defined mission was to break the strangle hold capitalism had on society through creative action directed locally. The Provos were a mixture of radical leftists, Marxists, street kids, and artists. Many were anti-work, and praised the writings of Paul Lafargue who penned The Right to Laziness. But most were more politically active, writing anti-monarchy leaflets, organizing demonstrations, and publishing a magazine. One Provo even landed himself on the city council in Amsterdam.

The Provos are most famous for their series of “white plans” of which the white bicycle was the most popular. The plan called for the prohibition of cars from the city’s center and the strategic placing of white community bicycles that would be maintained by the police. The group even donated fifty bicycles that they had painted white, but which were quickly confiscated by the authorities and the plan never materialized. Other white plans included the white chimney, which called for filters to be placed on all large smoke stacks in order to reduce air pollution, and other white plans that called for better health care for women, legalizing squatting, and disarming police officers. One plan even proposed that victims of car accidents be immortalized in the pavement by outlining their bodies in white paint. The so-called "traffic terrorism of a motorized minority" would thus become an ever-present reminder of the violent potential of the automobile.

As the movement grew, the police began to react more and more violently, which created a mystique for the group who were few in numbers but do to media coverage appeared to number in the thousands, which terrified government authorities. During the royal wedding of Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands to a German man who had been a member of the Hitler Youth, police expected a massive terrorist attack by the Provos, and over 25,000 troops were deployed! A newspaper headline even said “The Provos are Attacking!” The Provos ended up lighting off a few harmless smoke bombs, but the police reacted violently and images of the embarrassing incident were printed all across Europe. By 1966 political violence was at its zenith in Amsterdam, hundreds were being arrested, and demonstrations were made illegal. Eventually the group began to faction into more radical elements who supported the use of violence, and some who began to seek political careers within the system. These were criticized for institutionalizing the movement, and after 1967 most had gone their separate ways. The Provos dissipated into political and social obscurity. Today the Provos are survived by the Kabouters (gnomes) a leftist political party in Holland.

The Utah city with 105,166 people. Most conservative city in America with over 100,000 people. 88.52% white. Home to BYU, the LDS MTC, and a host of other Mormon-specific acronyms (mostly surrounding dating).

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Five Years In Iraq

With the fifth anniversary of the war in Iraq upon us, and as President Bush praises Iraqis for fighting Al-Qaida, the lives of Iraqis continue to get worse. According to polls cited on Democracy Now, 2/3 of Iraqis want us to withdraw immediately. However, in a recent interview with Dick Cheney on a morning talk show, he made it clear that public opinion is of little importance. Well sure, why would it be, the Iraqi government hasn’t privatized the oil yet. Over the weekend, the Winter Soldier Investigations were held at the Labor College in Maryland, Receiving practically no corporate media coverage. Again, was there, and the stories of the soldiers are worth listening to.

To watch the testimony see

On March 19th 2003 I was living in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic. I went grocery shopping that day and bought a news paper with large letters and images of the invasion. I was so sad, yet all around me the Mormon missionaries I served with were proud and pleased (the white ones that is).

On March 19th 2008, I attended a small candle light vigil in Provo Utah, organized by a high school senior named Alex. He and his guests felt good about what they were doing, and told the newspaper reported that they believed they were making a difference. I felt saddened that they actually believed that this small rally would sway the opinion of the man whose office we stood in front of: Orrin Hatch, or anyone else for that matter. I have been to rallies against the war every year since 2005, and it would seem that each year they become less relevant to the determination of the architects of this new foreign policy.

We are in an election year. If Barrack Obama gets elected will he withdraw the troops? I doubt it. He may withdraw the troops and then invade Pakistan.


Permaculture/Intentional Communities – Intentional Community website – National Cohousing Association –Emma Goldman Finishing School IC –Great Resource for Urban Watershed work –Bioneers –Earth Activist Training (CA) -Occidental Arts and Ecology Center –Path to Freedom House self -eliance (CA) –Permaculture Latin America –Permaculture Activist Magazine –The Permaculture Institute –Live Power Community Farm, Biodynamic farm (CA) –Culture Change, Transport Network –The solar Living Institute –Lost Valley –Aprovecho Education center

Forestry/Agroforestry/Arboriculture –Arbor Day foundation –Association for Temperate Agroforestry –Center for International forestry Research –Forest Certification Resource Center –Earth Source Forest Products –Eco-Trust Forests LLC –The Forest Guild –Dove Tail Inc. Community Forestry –Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (see forestry center) –Sustainable Forestry Initiative (cert.) –Sierra Institute Community forestry –Society of American Foresters –The Sustainable Woods Network –Forest Stewardship Council –Pacific Forest Trust –Forest Protection Portal –Forest Ethics advocacy –Trees Water People –Community Forestry International -FAO –Green Leaf Forestry Great Program! –The National Forest Foundation

Environmental Organizations –Foundation for Deep Ecology –African Reforestation Organization –Carbon sequestering for your life –LA Org, reforestation, and urban water –DUH –DUH – Earth Policy Institute –Institute for Culture and Ecology –Society for Ecological Restoration –Wiser Earth Environmental Org data base –National Wildlife Federation –World Wildlife Fund –Rainforest Action Network –Friends of the Earth –The Nature Conservancy –Natural Resource Defense Council

Localism/Bioregionalism -Eco-Trust does amazing work with the concept of Bioregionalism –Middlebury Institute for the study of Secession –Cascadia Bioregional page –Planet Drum Bioregional Org, (CA) –Vermont Commons, secession –Lakotah Freedom! –Institute for Local Self Reliance

Urban Planning/New Urbanism/Green City –Smart Growth America –Smart Growth –American Community Gardening Association –AMAZING RESOURCE, Post Carbon cities, relocalize –Sustainable Communities Network –City Repair in Washington –Lincoln Land Institute –American Public Transportation Association

Agriculture/Food/Food Sovereignty/Ethical Consumption –National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service –Institute that studies food and development related issues –where does our food come from? –Find CSA’s and local farmers –GREAT resource for basics of sustainability and ethical consumption –Family Farm Defense and Agro issues –Organic Consumers Association, protecting organic standards (see also Organic Farmers and Gardeners Union) –La Via Campesina Food Sovereignty/Peasant Movement –The National Farmers Union – Ethical Consumption, eco-labeling –Great Resource! Fair trade etc. –Seed Savers and sellers –Urban Agriculture! –Community Food Security’s North American Food Policy Council –National Family Farm Coalition –Slow Food International –Acres Magazine –The Ecological Faming Association –Organic Volunteers, WWOOF –Ecology Action, Bio-intensive farming –IPC Food Sovereignty –Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy –Agriculture Policy –The American Farm Bureau -Natural Resources Conservation Service (Conservation Security Program) –American Farmland Trust

Fair Trade –United Students for Fair Trade –Citizen’s Trade Campaign –GREAT Resource –Student Trade Justice –United Students Against Sweat Shops –Trans-Fair –FLO –Responsible Shopper –Global Exchange –Food Alliance Certification –Naturally Grown Food Certification –International Fair Trade Association –Organic Cotton Products –NO SWEAT

Labor/workers Rights/Popular Movements –Industrial Workers of the World –United Farm Workers (Cesar Chavez’s group) –Workers Solidarity Network –Brazil’s Landless Workers Movement –American Indian Movement –American Palestine Public Affairs Forum –Workers Independent News –Worker and Trade solidarity –Labor NET –AFL-CIO –Working For America Institute –Solidarity Center –National Labor College

Cooperativism/Solidarity-conservation Economy – The US Federation of Worker Owned Coops –Grassroots Economic Organizing, solidarity Economy! –Conservation Economy (part of Eco-Trust) – International Cooperative Alliance –National Cooperative Business Alliance –North Country Cooperative Development Fund –National Council of Farmer Cooperatives –Social Investing -Social Funds Investing –Green Worker Cooperatives (NYC) –Equal Exchange F.T. Co-op –Cooperative Life (New England) –National Association of Housing Cooperatives –North American Students of Cooperation –University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives –Northwest Cooperative Development Center

International Development/Post- Development –News and resource for international development –Sustainable Development Indicators –Oxfam-fair trade, poverty –CARE –Rainforest Alliance –cert and sustainable Agro –Journey to Forever, great resource –Trees Water People –US AID –UN Development Program –Food and Agriculture Organization –World Health Organization –World Vision International –The World Resource Institute –Sustainable Harvest International –EcoLogic Development Fund –Rainforest relief –Skoll Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship

Participatory Democracy/ Corporate Accountability – The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund- works with communities to stand up to corporate power, and establish ordinances promoting authentic democracy –AMAZING resource and activism –Program on corporations, law and democracy –Democracy Unlimited (Humboldt) –The National Initiative for Democracy, People Power –Public Citizen

News, Media, Publishing and Information –Environmental News Network – Rise Up- web hosting, email –LEFT news, theory, conflict watches, and articles –AK Press publishing –Out of Portland, cool stickers –Videos of activists talking about THE ISSUES – Great Resource –Democracy Now Radio and Podcast, great news source! –Independent Media Center National Organization –Multinational Monitor magazine started by Ralph

Anarchism –The Catholic Worker Magazine and movement page –Christian Peacemaker Team -Anarchy Archive

Non-Profit/Land Trusts –Land Trust Alliance –The Trust for Public Land –Institute for Community Economics –World Land Trusts for conservation –Pacific Forest Trust –American Land Conservancy

Health and Health Care –Common Weal Holistic health –Health Care advocacy group! –Peoples Health Care Movement

Political Economy –Work Less Party out of Canada, with some amazing ideas –US and World Social Forums –The Green Party of the United States –New American Dream –Women for Peace! –United For Peace and Justice –Famous center, MLK, etc. –Center for Constitutional Rights –Association of Community Organizations for reform now _Amnesty International –Corporate Watch –US Green Party –The Democratic Party
www.sp-usa.og –Socialist Party USA –Human Rights Watch –The New Economics Foundation

Anthropology –Society for Applied anthropology –American Anthropological Association
www.eanthorg – AAA Anthropology and the Environment –Cultural Survival

Utah Environmental Resources

There are all sorts of things we can do to save energy. First of all we should know where our energy comes from. Coal? Solar? Hydro-electric? Reducing electricity consumption from a coal fired power plant can have an impact on global warming if we all act collectively. Turn off lights, unplug appliances you are not using, use energy star certified appliances, clean the back of your refrigerator regularly, find programs that support alternative energy such as wind or solar. You can also simply lower your thermostat and put on a sweater in winter or open a window in summer. When you have your own place, look into passive solar design, double and triple pained windows, and solar panels. And of course, hold your elected officials accountable, and put pressure on them to support a green economy.
If you live in the West, chances are your water is coming from a long distance away. In Utah, we depend on giant reservoirs and catchments of water up Provo and Rock canyons for our water. This water has been diverted from natural hydrological cycles to water lawns, agricultural fields and fill bathtubs. Of course it isn’t wrong to use water, but the more conscientious we are about our use, the more the water can stay in the rivers, stream and lakes. Limit shower time, REPLACE lawns with native and drought tolerant vegetation, don’t wash drive ways sweep them. And of course, hold your elected officials accountable, and put pressure on them to support a green economy.
Links: (Central Utah Water Conservancy District)
FOOD and General consumption
This, in my humble opinion is the most important! What we eat and what we consume are intimately connected to the ecological and social problems we face. Our cheap food is heavily subsidized by fossil fuels and drenched with fertilizers and pesticides that affect our water ways and drinking water. That inexpensive t-shirt you’re wearing was probably produced in China for a pittance, at the expense of US manufacturing jobs. On average, the food on our table comes from about 1,200 miles away! These are usually called FOOD MILES. This combined with toxic and destructive industrial food production practices are wreaking havoc on our earth and our health. Buying organic and fair trade food and products is a great step to reducing out impact, but it is even more impactful if we buy LOCAL organic food. Local food is usually grown by small farmers, who use fewer chemicals, and who have a stake in the local economy. Supporting them means they won’t have to sell their land to a sub-divider! So start small, buy more organic products at the store, DO NOT shop at Wal-Mart, patronize farmers markets and support local farmers before buying store bought organics.
Another thing we can do is reduce or stop our meat consumption. Meat production in the US is both unethical and environmentally destructive. Another thing we can do is reduce, reuse and recycle our waste. Provo and Utah generally are not the best recyclers, if you are dedicated, there are ways to recycle most things.* And of course, hold your elected officials accountable, and put pressure on them to support a green economy.
Links: (food Miles)
This one is pretty obvious, when we drive we emit all kinds of bad stuff, this not only affects the climate, but also our local air quality and water ways. Utah has what are called inversions, which trap all the pollution from cars in the valley, causing serious respiratory problems for children and elderly. So, use public transport, drive less, bike and walk more, plan errands around a single trip. Or you can offset your emissions with a reputable NGO like Carbon Fund. And of course, hold your elected officials accountable, and put pressure on them to support a green economy.
Ecological Literacy/sense of place
In reducing our impact on the planet it is also ESSENTIAL that we acquaint ourselves with the natural systems and beings that surround us. Ecological Foot Print can be measured quantitatively, but literacy is a qualitative impact that each of us has to find for ourselves. Understanding the basics of the hydrological cycle, carbon cycle, learning to identify local flora and fauna, volunteering with invasive plant removals or river clean ups, hiking, camping, hunting responsibly, etc. These are only a few ways in which we can reconnect to the land, gaining a better understanding of why all the other things are necessary in the first place. And of course, hold your elected officials accountable, and put pressure on them to support a green economy. (Ecological Foot Print Quiz)
Political Engagement and awareness
Lastly, it is ESSENTIAL that we are engaged with the ongoing debates on the local, state, and national political stage. There are very real differences in how candidates approach the environment; research each and come up with your own conclusions about who might be the best candidate to guide us to the green economy. Stay up with news, and read books and articles about relevant issues, then write editorials, articles, emails, or letters to appropriate representatives about your concerns.

A few General Organizations:

BYU and Utah Organizations
Eco-Response BYU- The Utah Valley Sierra Forum- The June sucker recovery project- The Utah Native Plant Society-
Tree Utah-
Slow Food Utah-
Utah Rivers Council-
Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance-
Salt Lake Sierra Club-
Wasatch Community Gardens-
Post Carbon Salt Lake-
Nature Conservancy Utah -
HEAL Utah (nuclear waste Issue) –
Mormons for Equality and Social Justice –
University of Utah Office of Sustainability –
On World CafĂ© –
Save Our Canyons –
Utah Environmental Congress –
Utah Vital Signs Report -
Utahans for better transportation -
Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment -
Friends of the Great Salt Lake –
Utah Back Country Volunteers-
Utah Society for Environmental Education –
Utah Moms for Clean Air –

*Recycling in Utah
Waste Management is pretty much the only local recycler, but it’s tough to get apartments to sign up with them, there is no city mandate for recycling. So you can either take your recyclables to the city drop off @ 1625 South Industrial Parkway This the Provo city Compost station, which is open Spring/Summer/Fall Monday - Friday 8 am -6 pm, and Saturdays 8 am - 5 pm. Winter hours are Monday - Thursday 8 am - 6 pm. Its basically a big space to dump organic waste, but there is a large green waste management bin a the far end.
You can recycle-Paper, cardboard, 1 & 2 plastic, aluminum and tin cans: NO GLASS
You can also recycle paper, aluminum cans, and cardboard at BYU campus.
There is one place in Salt Lake that recycles glass, if you ever want to make the trip:
Rocky Mountain Recycling Inc (801) 975-1820 2950 W 900 S Salt Lake City, UT
Other Utah Recycling Organizations:
If you would like a tour the Waste Management Recycling Facility in West Jordan call: (801) 280-8200 press zero and ask to talk with Troy Larson


I just started working at the Provo City Water Sources Department. Every Morning we stop at a gas station, Mavericks. There are usually a lot of people there, getting gas for the day, buying coffee. I see coke trucks and other mechanical beasts of burden. There is a gaggle of sea gulls that circle overhead. One day a man in a taxi drove off with the pump in the tank. He stopped suddenly and ran out shaking his head to put the pump back. As we drove away, we passed a McDonalds with a DVD rental machine outside, there was already a man standing confused in front of it, getting his media fix for the day. We pass a large truck with a Lexus add on the side, a car in nature, whizzing down a country road. A car in its natural habitat. Our foul attempt to reconnect to the nature we destroy at 60 MPH. On the radio, the report talks about the recent Starbucks share holder conference, a gathering of the faithful in times of trouble. The audience erupts in applause as the CEO takes center stage and prophesies of future growth and innovation. I feel comforted that their stock has fallen 45% in the last year. The quicker the economy crashes the sooner we can get back to what matters most. The announcer’s voice explores the idea of an ethical stock market that would not invest in Sudan for example. A glossy stock broker’s voice chimes in with a sneer at how ridiculous it would be for a stock person to have to think about morals AND profits.