Monday, February 26, 2024

Monday morning rants..........


Monday morning rants....... turn back now if you need a smiley face.

Back from a weaving workshop, a group of 6 lovely woman who attended a 3 day basket making workshop about 17 miles up the road.  I thought it would be attended by local basket makers although Winter Weave has been around since 1988, I know as I attended, that is how long I have been weaving.  Although I only wove baskets for a few years, taking a hard right turn to ceramics I have always found it creeping back into my day to day life through knotting, darning socks, gardening etc.  I think it's in our DNA..... woven strands of deoxyribonucleic acid actually a double helix that looks a lot like twining. 

It was an 8 hour day of intensive twining.  My group was composed of 3 local weavers and 3 weavers who have traveled from New York and Pennsylvania.  All totaled there were 38 weavers who attended from several different states.  There was time for meeting, discussing world issues, eating and weaving.  I love small groups where everyone can express an opinion and be heard.  We shared what life was like in a their neck of the woods.  But what I was really dumb struck by, most of this traveling band of weavers, travel the world yes, the world attending or organizing basket weaving events.  🤯 

I had Sunday to mull a few things over and have a few questions, no I have a lot of damn questions.  As we all know from this blog I am an avid gardener, I spend quite a bit of time outside and that has turned me into a consummate weather watcher.  I am very aware of rainfall, rainfall patterns and as the years have progressed become more and more alarmed.  It is about the climate and my carbon footprint!  This is a precursor to my AH-HA moment on my Sunday morning walk around the yard. 
My awareness of climate change started around 1999 when I was working as a hired an estate gardener in and around Cuyahoga County, northeast Ohio, zone 5a growing season.  Something was happening but didn't know what and so it has gone these last 25 years.  

Back to basketweaving.  I looked at what the other teachers were teaching and materials used.  The youngest teacher in her 20's was teaching painted paper baskets and they were stunning.  The other teachers (all over 60) were making baskets, made out of rattan.  Rattan comes from the rainforests of Southeastern Asia, put on a boat and shipped over to the states.  
If you would like to know more: read, Rattan Industry Overview or watch, Rattan harvest.  It is not a pretty story and pretty damn alarming.  China is now the #1 producer of rattan.  The room was a sea of rattan baskets, there were kits available, the stuff was everywhere.  A ball room filled with rattan, compounded with a herd of traveling people descending on northeast Ohio to make something pretty to sit in their house.  My carbon awareness was in the stratosphere and it was gasping for oxygen!   Why isn't there a movement to weave from materials locally grown, like willow?  I know of two willow farmers here in Northeastern Ohio.  It's sustainable and in our backyard.  The ash trees are gone due to the emerald ash borer but the oaks and hickory are still plentiful.  There are brambles by the boat load.  I can honestly say I no longer support this activity. 

In the last month I have become pretty pissed off with "eco-tourism".  Hey let's go to Alaska on a cruise ship! Here is a mind blowing look at the environmental impact: Alaskan cruise impact  I understand that people made their retirement and then wanted to see the world.  It was what the old industrialist tycoons and their families did.....  meanwhile my family was in steerage fleeing eastern Europe.  or Ireland from a potato famine.  Spend your retirement on saving world!

Don't do it!  Stay home and watch a documentary on Alaska and indigenous people or go flush your cruise ship toilet into the pristine waters of an Alaska bay.  Watch the orca whales swimming in your last nights sewage because that is what is happening.  Wake the fuck up!  One ship carries 4000 passengers, that is so much bilge to empty into harbors or even worse out at sea. 

Or no wait how about Antarctica?  

this is from a cruise ship that sank in 2007 and left a huge diesel oil spill affecting thousands of migrating penguins. nbcnews

For those of us in Northeastern Ohio, that entails hopping on a plane to get the boat departing for some place we really should not be going.  If you're a scientist, great and I will even help buy your ticket!  But if you're a bored old person with too much money lets take a minute and think about this.  As I now know 3 people who have done the Antarctic cruise I am thinking this is the new Hawaii of my parents generation.  All of these people dashing off to Antarctica have grandchildren.  Did they take them?  No.  
Let's look at the breakdown:
The average per-passenger CO2 emissions for an Antarctic vacation are 4.14 tons or the same amount of carbon pollution the average human produces for one year.  Each tourist arrival accounts for average 83 tons of snow loss a 2022 paper found . Add the risk of fuel spills, non-native species hitchhiking on tourists clothing.  Scientists are finding invasive species particularly urgent because most tourism is concentrated in ice-free coastal areas that have the continent's greatest terrestrial biodiversity.  Non-native plants will only become more tenacious as the climate warms.  Think this is crazy?  Antarctic ecologist Dana Berstrom, lead an international program called Island of Antarctica; they spent time vacuuming tourists and national program people and analyzing the data.  All major weed species in North America and Europe were found.  The most common, Poa annua, whose seeds stay viable for 4 years now has an established foothold in Antarctica....... Kentucky Bluegrass!  If you would like to read more, here is the link: Environmental impact Antarctic cruise ship.  The future generations may only see a polar bear or emperor penguins in a zoo at the rate we are going.  The average cost of an Antarctic cruise is around $10,000 plus the airfare to get there.  Take a child, go to the zoo and donate the $10K to the zoo because they are the hope that future wildlife might survive the next many years of a warming planet.  The last time the earth saw carbon in the atmosphere this high was the Pliocene era (3-5 million years ago)  and we all know what happened; read more here NASA

We cannot simply go about the world on whims anymore. I don't have grand children but I do care about the future of the planet.  Human rights and politics are important but there will not be a piece of land to fight on if the climate doesn't turn around.  Do you honestly think the woman or man holding a dying child in a third world country grieves less than you do when famine or flood hits as the earth warms?  We are the privileged, the educated who are supposed know better but we don't, we stay in our little bubble.  We say we care but look at our behavior, it sucks for the rest of the world.  In my lifetime my growing zone has increased two times.  I am now attempting to garden in zone 7a and this last week of February we are going to be setting heat records.  Again, wake the fuck up people!  Every single issue that sets our underpants on fire is nothing compared to climate change.  
Have too much money? Send your money to plant trees, check out Arbor Day foundation 
This is the stack on my desk from one days mail asking for donations to support the environment! 
Pick one!

want to adjust your carbon footprint use an app, I am using Klima

I am also loving the Treecard app:

There are so many ways to get started "just do it"!!  
(sorry as Nike emitted 10 million metric tons of CO2 last year) 

I am off to put up a low tunnel and plant some lettuce and radishes.  Hope springs eternal around this place.

it's NOT!


  1. Rant seconded.
    One of my friends on the Welsh Border..just over in doing all sorts of what she calls "hedge bothering" and runs courses on using natural local materials..Sally Pointer..she is on FB and Insta, she probably has a website and online courses.
    She makes lovely things!

  2. Hi gz! I follow Sally Pointer on youtube and think she is just brilliant! She does make lovely things and I have learned so much about making needles and cordage from her videos. She has been, very much, a "go-to" reference person when I get stuck on something like rhetting or even when to harvest. How amazing she is your friend!! I also watch Huw's garden and love that channel too....... a Welsh gardener with so much common sense!