Friday Homestead Dispatch
Ondoyant Obstinate Oligarchy
Learn to say “Fuck You” to the world once in a while. You have every right to. Just stop thinking, worrying, looking over your shoulder, wondering, doubting, fearing, hurting, hoping for some easy way out, struggling, gasping, confusing, itching, scratching, mumbling, bumbling, grumbling, humbling, stumbling, rumbling, rambling, gambling, tumbling, scumbling, scrambling, hitching, hatching, bitching, moaning, groaning, honing, boning, horse-shitting, hair-splitting, nit-picking, piss-trickling, nose-sticking, ass-gouging, eyeball-poking, finger-pointing, alleyway-sneaking, long waiting, small stepping, evil-eyeing, back-scratching, searching, perching, besmirching, grinding grinding grinding away at yourself. Stop it and just DO. Don’t worry about cool. Make your own cool. Make your own, your own world.
– Sol LeWitt's advice to Eva Hesse, 1964
I just recently heard of the process (from KC friend Pat Tomek) for a recycling technique to turn plastic bags, among other kinds of trash and recyclables, into graphene, by using a technique developed by Rice University in 2020 called flash Joule heating.
Graphene is highly recyclable and very stable. It’s a single layer form of graphite, which is normally mined and processed to separate its layers to form graphene. By using this method it could reduce the levels of pollution normally associated with graphite mining, and possibly more importantly, graphene generated by waste can reduce costs and can be added to rubber, concrete, and asphalt to add strength and performance.
Rice University lab chemist James Tour said, “The flash graphene technique can convert a ton of coal, food waste or plastic into graphene for a fraction of the cost used by other bulk graphene-producing methods. This is a big deal. The world throws out 30% to 40% of all food, because it goes bad, and plastic waste is of worldwide concern. We've already proven that any solid carbon-based matter, including mixed plastic waste and rubber tires, can be turned into graphene.”
For you Arizonans, we once again have an opportunity this November to win an anti-corruption majority on the Corporation Commission. We already have Sandra Kennedy, the first and only African American in Arizona to hold statewide office and the first statewide elected official, west of the Mississippi, who is a fierce consumer advocate and has worked hard, against stiff odds, to lower unjustified utility rate increases and creating more solar and renewable energy in Arizona, especially roof top solar.
Now running in November is Lauren Kuby, a sustainability scientist at Arizona State University and a recognized national champion for climate action and clean energy. As a two-term council member and former vice mayor of Tempe she championed the creation of the Tempe Family Justice Commission to promote access to just, safe avenues of care for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and sex trafficking. And, as a result of her work with community members, Tempe leads the state in climate action-planning and bold, empathetic justice for families and people of all genders. In 2020, Sierra Club Arizona celebrated Lauren as a Women’s History Month Climate Hero.
In the Blog for Arizona, Lauren said, “…the Commission is referred to as the ‘Corruption Commission.’ We’ve had APS and other utilities, really not just helping to select the commissioners in the elections, but actually interfering during the process and in a very direct way with emails, texts, meetings that happened with commissioners. So, we’ve seen not just the handpicking of the very regulators that regulate them, but we’ve received a renewable energy standard that still remains 15% by 2025.”
Lauren collected 2,000 separate $5 contributions from Arizona voters, and once she hit 2,000 contributions, she was granted her Clean Elections funding from the state. She uses that money to run her race. She can only accept one $5 donation from any registered voter so won’t you show your support?
America explained to Non-Americans.
And, of course, gasgasgasgasgasgasgasgasgasgasgas…bag. Consider Charles Pierce writing that When did the consensus among us common folk break down that the oil companies are a miserable flock of price-gouging harpies interested only in lining their own pockets, despoiling land and sea and contributing to the planet’s self-immolation? I mean, Deepwater Horizon wasn’t that long ago. When did a Democratic administration’s threat to crack down on price-gouging become “politically risky”?
Then we run up against the problem of more drilling…and as reported in the Washington Post, In recent days, major oil companies in the United States have said they would rather use their earnings from higher prices to boost payouts to shareholders and expand their operations slowly, rather than rush to drill new wells. Good news? Bad news?
Pierce follows up with So now, as Ukraine fights to remain an independent nation, and as the economic recovery from a worldwide pandemic rolls on largely unacknowledged by much of the elite political press, the oil company executives, who currently hold a plethora of oil leases, are shoveling the money they’re gouging out of the rest of us to their shareholders rather than plowing it into developing the leases they already own. The Republicans are operating out of transparent bad faith on the issue, “supporting” the ban on the piddling amount of Russian oil we import while banging on the administration for, among other things, refusing to revive the rotting corpse of the Keystone XL pipeline, the continent-spanning death funnel and conservative fetish object.
And, if you want to wade through the article, the New York Times reported on Wednesday that Republicans Wrongly Blame Biden for Rising Gas Prices. Republicans are chanting in lockstep Keystone, Keystone, Keystone. Marcia, Marcia, Marcia.
No good answers…how’s your bicycle holding up?
A pretty engaging article in the Tucson Sentinel about reversing desertification caught my eye this week. It focuses on the work of Ricardo Aguirre who owns an 8-acre plot of land in the arid area around Red Rock just NW of Tucson. The land where his family once farmed cotton and ran cattle is where he now demonstrates methods to restore grasslands, improve soil health and ultimately reverse desertification.
One quite interesting takeaway is that, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, revitalizing grasslands in desertified regions does more than improve watershed function, it allows the soil to breathe in and trap carbon – making it a natural countermeasure to the rising carbon dioxide levels contributing to climate change. Pawlock Dass, with the department of land, air and water resources at the University of California, Davis, said Forests store a large percentage of their carbon above ground, that is the bulk of the tree biomass, that is a trunk of a tree, and in a wildfire, all that carbon is released into the atmosphere. Grasslands, however, store most of their carbon below ground as root biomass where it’s protected from fires and promotes healthy soil that allows grasslands to grow back.
Aguirre and WEST consultants are working on land restoration projects in Cochise County and are seeking state and federal contracts as well.
This leads to a longer conversation for another time about the idea of permaculture, working with, rather than against, nature; of protracted and thoughtful observation rather than protracted and thoughtless action; of looking at systems in all their functions, rather than asking only one yield of them; and allowing systems to demonstrate their own evolutions.
What’s a posting these days without a bit of fine Russian entertainment?
On that note, here’s something to chew on from Dylan Smith, the editor of the Tucson Sentinel:
So yes, it is dumb to boycott things that have no actual connection to Vladimir Putin or even, in some cases, to Russia. But it’s also foolish to demonize every vestige of Russian culture, and ordinary Russian citizens, and Russians abroad, as a result of a catastrophic war launched by a despot. It’s dangerous to demand that Russian shopkeepers and cooks and violinists take a loyalty test before you allow them to serve you a meal or play you a song. It leads to ugly cruelty and pointless suffering.
And it undermines the actual strategy of Ukrainian president Vladimir Zelensky to reach out to Russians directly, broadcasting videos in the Russian language appealing to their honor and desire for peace. Many Russians living abroad despise this war and the regime that has instigated it. Those Russian émigrés are a direct line to the Russian citizens whose resistance to the conflict and recognition of the rights of Ukraine could be crucial in bringing the war to an end.