Activism, Live & Uncut

To see the photos I’m referring to below, go here to the Facebook post.

We get upset a lot (with good reason) about the damage from clearcutting and new sprawl development. But also hugely damaging is our so-called “landscaping” of existing places.

Until very recently this was just a plain sand, beachside parking lot w various dune vegetation growing around it. Dune daisy, Gaillardia, dollarweed and other. Beach entrance down the street from my house.

Now the powers that be (either the City or the owner of the lot — some developer bought it from City a couple yrs back w plans to build a Marriott) have paved it with hot black asphalt and “landscaped” it. Including what looks like spraying of what they would call “weeds” but was a stable community of various native & dune-adapted vegetation.

When I try to talk about this “little stuff” I’m used to having my concerns ignored or dismissed. But this little action on this one piece of land is part of a huge bigger problem. After all the scientific information that has been published, including in mainstream widespread news outlets, about how we are killing off our life-support system, we are still doing it.

As you can see, a substantial amount of natural vegetation is left, but who knows if it is slated for “improvement” too. Beating myself up bc this stuff happens when my back is turned. Never any notice, no asking advice or input of local residents who have training in ecosystems restoration, permaculture etc.

  • We need to stop spraying
  • Why are we allowing ANY sod grass monoculture, with its associated damaging regime, on public land in a natural area, especially east of the A1A and right along rivers etc.
  • F’ing black asphalt, cartoon mass-produced plants … and cheddar-cheese mulch for “color” — CAN WE STOP.
  • The list goes on, supply your own.

My heart is heavy right now, it was already heavy before I came out for my walk this morning and saw this.

I often ask what I’m doing here but I really have no other place to go. Just extra heartbroken this morning. At the beach down the street from my house. I know there are many positive trends gaining momentum, and that for the greater good I can’t afford to wallow in discouragement. Just sharing my raw heart right now. Thank you all for being here.

Please let’s find more ways to join forces and push back against the death-dealing norms.
Heartbroken right now (other stuff not just the environment) – please someone say something good, let’s try to pull together and make some good from the madness we see.

I apologize to Mother Earth all the time, in tears. I tell her I am so sorry for my own part in the madness and destruction.

It’s Sunday, and Fathers Day to boot, but I did leave a voicemail w one city official who i have a rapport with (tone was respectful but distraught, i did not try to disguise my anguish) – he will hear it when he gets to the office tomorrow – and I will continue to work to make progress in this matter and will update you guys. Also I want to organize a regional citizens’ effort to reform public landscaping practices; probably will start with a Zoom meeting and you will all be invited.

(And a comment I added below the post – you can see the photo by visiting the post): Positive example for comparison purposes … Here is a County beach entrance nearby (footpath planted with sea grape and beach grasses alongside). The County did a beautiful job with this. Natural vegetation is part of the unique identity of a place. Can you imagine if this path were lined with sod-grass instead? (and its associated poisons and irrigation requirements). I praise the County for taking this natural approach to landscaping.

Update: On Tuesday June 22, I organized a Zoom meeting of fellow citizens who want to shift our damaging and expensive landscaping practices. If it hadn’t been for my distress at seeing the sodgrass-and-asphalt abomination on the beach entrance at the end of my street, I might not have been motivated to organize this meetup. Some good next action steps came out of the meeting. One is a #PuffyLandscaping campaign celebrating soft, low-maintenance, native/adapted vegetation that requires no chemicals to maintain. So if some situation in your community has brought you to fury and despair, see what kind of good you can turn it into.

Further Exploration:

See my video on this topic here.
(Heads-up: Contains profanity, raw emotion). “After typing my post expressing sadness and frustration about the “improved landscaping” of a beachfront parking lot on my street (posted to this group earlier this morning), I made a video. Different channels reach different people. And I’m learning sometimes that we eco folk, in our effort to sound “calm” and “rational,” may be undermining our efforts to light up a sense of urgency in public officials, developers/companies, fellow citizens. In this spirit I offer this 12-minute video. I hope you find it helpful in your own efforts to activate eco awareness and an appropriate sense of urgency in your neighborhood, city, watershed, and hopefully we pull together for our whole bioregion. We need a shift!! It is not optional!! We owe it to our ancestors and to future generations to clean up our act now.”

Comments re the video:

1) See Katie Tripp’s business card below <under the Facebook post>;

2) In addition to being known toxins to bees, many of the chemicals we are spraying, with our hard-earned tax dollars, are more persistent than “til it’s dry”; they get into the water table and storm drains and from there, into the waterways where they are toxic to marine and aquatic life.

3) To clarify what I said about being available to give talks to your neighborhood group, activist group, church school etc — I offer such talks FREE as part of my self-appointed calling as a freelance public servant. Private organizations do engage me for paid speaking gigs, which is part of how I make my livelihood as I mentioned — BUT my talks for grassroots/neighborhood/community groups are offered free, as a public service from my heart.