Category Archives: Uncategorized

Red Lake Band to Go Fully Solar Within Five Years

Photo: Michael Meuers

Artist rendition of rooftop solar panels to be installed on Red Lake Nation’s major buildings.

This is the kind of stuff that I’m talking about!! The vision I’ve had for my community for years! Inspiring article I just wanted to share. Here is a great quote I got from the article:

“Renewable energy harnesses the natural forces of life, of nature, which provides the foundation for who we are as Native People,” McArthur said. “At the end of the day, our language, our songs, our cultural traditions are all based on the great gift of heat and light from Gimishoomisinaan Giizis (Grandfather Sun) and the many gifts of Gimaamaanaan Aki (Mother Earth). And as we move forward, we strive to utilize the many blessings from nature, with the utmost respect and adherence to the processes which preserve and conserve these precious gifts.”

Mothers, Babies on Navajo Nation Exposed to High Levels of Uranium

A child watches as 18 inches of contaminated soil is removed from the community in which he lives. The gray pile in the distance is mine waste from the Northeast Church Rock Mine, the largest underground uranium mine in the United States.

Check out this article about the high uranium levels that children are exposed to on the Navajo Nation. It’s an older article, but still goes to show how these mines were left many years ago, and the effects still remain.

Here’s a excerpt from the article:

This study is the first to look at what chronic, long-term exposure from all possible sources of uranium contamination—air, water, plants, wildlife, livestock and land—does down through the generations in a Native American community.

Since the study began in 2012, over 750 families have enrolled and 600 babies have been born to those families, said Dr. Johnnye Lewis, director of the Community Environmental Health Program & Center for Native Environmental Health Equity Research at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center and NBCS principal investigator.

“We’re collecting a huge amount of data,” Lewis said. “At this point … all of our results are preliminary, [but] what we do know is that if we look at uranium in urine in the Navajo participants we see higher concentrations than we would expect based on the U.S. population as a whole… [In babies,] we are seeing a trend that uranium levels in urine increase over the first year.”

The Navajo Nation overlies some of the largest uranium deposits in the U.S. Between 1944 and 1986, miners extracted nearly 30 million tons of uranium from Navajo Nation lands. Navajo miners did not have protective suits or masks; they took their work clothes home for laundering; they and other community members used rocks from the mines to build their homes.

Daily Iowan: “UI Ready to Shun Coal”

Earlier this week, the Daily Iowan published an article detailing University of Iowa’s President Bruce Herrald’s announcement that UI will be coal free by 2025.

Here’s a bit of the article:

“University of Iowa President, Bruce Harreld, announced on Feb. 20 the UI will be coal-free by 2025.

According to a press release, Harreld said, ‘It’s the right choice for our students and our campus, and it’s the surest path to an energy-secure future.

‘In 2025, we expect to have diminished our reliance on coal to the point it is no longer included in our fuel portfolio.’

The UI will continue its efforts to advance energy programs to ensure there is ‘an abundant supply’ of alternative-energy sources, he said.

The UI has taken steps to reduce its dependence on coal — in 2008, the university established seven ‘sustainability targets’ to be achieved by 2020, according to the press release.

Since the 2020 vision’s inception, the UI has managed to reduce its use of coal by 60 percent.

This correlates with one of the sustainability targets, which seeks to derive 40 percent of the UI’s energy from renewable resources — a far cry from a university once dependent on fossil fuels, according to the UI sustainability website.”

The coal industry’s destructive tendencies towards global climate is well known, and this plan to shift away from using the energy source as a means of powering our university remains to be small, but important step in combating climate change.

Ideally, given Iowa’s inclination towards wind energy, we’ll see more institutions making the shift away from dirty fossil fuel.

A small city in Iowa is devoting 1,000 acres of land to America’s vanishing bees

Popular Science recently posted an article about the 1,000 Acre Pollinator Initiative in Cedar Rapids, discussing the specificity of the project along with the impact that it will have on the community.

Here’s a short snippet of the article:

This spring, Cedar Rapids (population: 130,000) will seed 188 acres with native prairie grasses and wildflowers. The city’s plan is to eventually create 1,000 acres of bee paradise by planting these pollinator-friendly foodstuffs.

Scientists think the pollinator crisis is caused by a variety of factors, including pesticides, pathogens, and climate change. Meanwhile, with farms, parking lots, mowed lawns, and other human developments replacing wildflower fields, bees have been losing habitat and their food supply. While many of the drivers behind bee population decline remain mysterious, the people of Cedar Rapids hope to at least give pollinators places to perch and plants to feed on.

The 1,000 Acre Pollinator Initiative grew out of a partnership with the Monarch Research Project(MRP), whose goal is to restore monarch butterfly populations. It was Cedar Rapids Park Superintendent Daniel Gibbins who proposed converting 1,000 acres into pollinator habitat over five years. So far, the project has secured $180,000 in funding from the state and the MRP.

Gazette Features Climate Narrative Project

screen-shot-2016-12-13-at-9-13-27-am The Gazette featured the Climate Narrative Project’s final presentation last week, University of Iowa Climate Project Tells Stories in a Changing World.

Here’s a clip:

“The Climate Narrative Project partners with Yale Climate Connections, which released a report this year that seven in ten Americans rarely or never discuss climate change with family and friends.

“Part of our task is to say, ‘Why?’ How do we reach new people? How do we tell a story to get people to think about these issues?” Biggers said.

It’s not just artists who will need to answer those questions, which is why fellows come from across disciplines. Coury is studying international relations, and other fellows this semester include students of environmental science, psychology, anthropology, marketing and business economics. They learn public speaking techniques and think about ways to engage people beyond simply sharing data.

“I feel like the best way to truly get social issues to an audience is telling those personal stories,” fellow Solomon Worlds said, a senior studying classical saxophone and psychology.

He is planning to attend law school and had intended to study international law, but after completing the fellowship is considering switching his focus to environmental law instead.

People of color and historically marginalized groups have been the most impacted by climate change, he said, and he sees environmental work as a way to advance human rights.

“If you can help the earth, you can help everyone,” he said. “I feel like, if we can fix the canvas, we can than fix the rest of what’s on that canvas.”

Climate Narrative Project

screen-shot-2016-11-30-at-9-50-28-am The Climate Narrative Project is a special media arts initiative in the Office of Sustainability at the University of Iowa, designed to reach across academic disciplines, shape a new narrative on climate change, and chronicle regenerative approaches to energy, food, agriculture, water and waste management, community planning and transportation. Selected Fellows work with Writer-in-Residence Jeff Biggers on semester-long investigative projects, using visual arts, film, radio, theatre, dance, spoken word and creative writing mediums. The Climate Narrative Project is an investigative initiative: What accounts for the gap between science and action on climate change, and what can we do more effectively to communicate informed stories and galvanize action?

Check out Climate Narrative Projects over the past three years.

The Importance of Direct Action


When it finally hit me that Donald Trump was going to be our next president, a cascade of emotion came over me. Disbelief turned to anger, and anger turned to tears. The gravity of the situation has not hit any of us yet, but be assured that our job just went from an uphill climb to ascending Mt. Everest. The new president is going to be one of isolation and exploitation and our duty to mother nature along with our obligation to all humankind has become even more imperative. Now is the time to act directly and proportionally to those who threaten our future and our present. As Americans, we truly believe that we are exceptional and able to accomplish anything in the face of any obstacle; this was the case last night as a ‘hidden’ vote manifested itself. Racism has only been hidden to those who have not been paying attention and can no longer be swept under the rug. Action that will affect those outside of the government is now the most promising avenue for change, as we need change immediately, not four or eight years from now. When we make choices that support our world view and purchase products or do without in order to manifest change from the inside out, we can accomplish much in a short time. This election is the last stand of an America that promotes colonialism and exploitation of minorities all over the world as well as in our back yard. We must unite as this schism expands for those who know and understand the world and those who choose to remain ignorant and expect to be great just for being an American. I have never been more ashamed of my fellow Americans but I have also never been more sure that in order to make America great, we need to defend our liberties as well as our resources by strong means and measures. The threat looms large and we need to be diligent in our preparedness to take direct response to that which we deem threatened. The police cannot arrest all of us if we are united. This is not a call to violence, rather a call to preemptive occupation. We lose elections like this because the educated and empathetic are concentrated into pockets of states; I say, venture out and interact with the rural voter in order to either correct a misconception or incite an unreasonable response that will be deemed hateful and serve to galvanize the effort. Whether we stand in front of bulldozers or chain ourselves together or any other type of preemption, we will be doing a service to all, even those who think they don’t agree with our morals.

This rhetoric sounds extreme because we are in extreme times. We can stand on our principles or we can stand on our feet to rise up and defeat this scourge of hatred that is sweeping the globe. We must align with our fellow men and women and eagles and bears and fish and trees and say NO! WE WILL NOT ALLOW THIS ANYMORE, WE WILL BE THE AGGRESSORS, WE WILL FIGHT FOR OUR LIBERTIES AND OUR GREATNESS SINCE THIS COUNTRY HAS YET TO BE TRULY GREAT FROM TOP TO BOTTOM. AMEND THE CONSTITUTION SO THAT ALL MEN, ALL WOMEN OF ANY COLOR OR CREED ALONG WITH ALL LIFE AND LIFE GIVING ENTITY ARE CREATED EQUAL AND HAVE THE RIGHT TO LIFE, LIBERTY, AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS.


E Pluribus Unum

The Outline Outside My Mind

Theme : Have you ever wondered how great nature can be? Doesn’t matter your answer to that question because either way, this project will entice you to form a more perfect union with trees.

General storyline: I, along with a good friend of mine, will be walking through a forest and talking about the intricacies, the beauty, the majesty, the drama, the romance, the war, the famine, the peace, the pieces, and the nature of what we see. We will, of course, supplement all the factual information with statements that may not be facts to the general public, but they are to us.

Main characters: Those featured in this work will be, as of today, will be Raud, yours truly, and my main man Creek may sneak on camera.

Interviews: I have interviewed Creek, the caretaker of the particular forest I will be filming in, and Andy, the university’s urban forester. I am currently working with three other folks to get interviews. Some more viable than others, so we shall see who else will join in.

Arts Medium: I will be working with film. I do not think it will be on an old-timey crank-and-shoot, but the world has many surprises and that is always an option.

P.S.: I plan on reaching out to Leonardo DiCaprio, so, ya know…the film should be pretty cool.




Leo lovingly pointing at...

Leo lovingly pointing at…