Really Cool Concept for Virtual Travel

In my life, I am very fortunate to have been able to travel (all over the USA, and to a few other countries as well). Growing up in a military family, travel came with the territory! We drove cross-country from one duty station to the next, and camped at national parks and state parks along the way. I did a good bit of traveling as an adult too: to England, Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium, Mexico, Jamaica, Australia, Malaysia, Canada. I even got to live in Japan for five years, back in the 1990s.

At this point in my life, and in our planet’s life, I am choosing to limit my travel. As I’ve mentioned before, I am just about 100% committed to no more flying. And, I retroactively purchased carbon offsets for every flight I could remember taking in my adult life — and padded the numbers for good measure.

That said, having had so many opportunities to experience the wonder of different places and cultures, I don’t feel I have any right to tell other people not to travel. (Exception: my many tweets and other posts unabashedly telling country leaders they need to stop having climate conferences in person. That I will stick to! As the meme said, “If there’s any event that should have been done by Zoom …”)

What I can do is share resources for mitigating the eco footprint of your travel if you like. (Gold Standard carbon offsets are the top choice of eco-minded folk I know and trust.)

Also, I can share some powerful writing that helped me understand the damaging cultural and economic impacts of travel, and how I could mitigate those. I learned the term “decolonizing travel”; learned that colonialism infects a lot of our travel; and that tourism causes a lot of the same problems as gentrification. (My favorite article on the problematic aspects of tourism is “Lovely Hula Hands,” an acclaimed piece by Haunani Kay-Trask. Other writing that’s opened my eyes is linked in my “Thoughts on Tourism” series, which you can find in the Further Reading section below.)

OK, so now onward to the immediate topic of this post! This past week I stumbled, via Facebook-wander, upon a company that leads people on virtual trips. The company employs guides that are local to each place, and the virtual tourists get to watch local artisans at work, and then, if they like, buy handcrafted items from the artisans. All virtually!

Now, some people might say, “Meh, that’s not the same as real travel!” And, OK, it’s not. But on the other hand, meatspace travel has always had its serious downsides, both for the visitor and for the host locale.

And look at the times we’re living in now! Pandemics, biospheric crisis, political unrest, and people everywhere feeling really squeezed for time and money. Not to mention the extreme weather that’s grounding more and more flights these days. And let’s face it: Even at the best of times, in-person travel comes with some very real stress factors.

I tend to agree with what I read on the virtual travel company’s site, that virtual is the future of travel. It’s ethical; it’s safe; and I have a feeling I’m going to sign up for a trip sometime! Something like this might just be enough to satisfy my urge to visit (say, for example) Tashkent or Samarkand or Peru or India.

Now to put in a plug for the company. It’s called Local Purse; it was founded by a woman named Lola Akinmade Åkerström; and it’s won an award for being a hot startup for 2022. Go check out Local Purse! (Website ; and Facebook page ). From Marrakech to Cuzco to Nigeria and beyond, Local Purse offers some very tempting tours that are affordable both money-wise and time-wise. And of course there is that nice low eco footprint.

As I mentioned, I found Local Purse by the Facebook-hopping random-walk thing (which I probably do too much, but then again I always end up stumbling on such great people and info). So now I’d also like to put in a plug for the person whose ad led me to Local Purse, and that is a digital-nomad lifestyle writer named Nora Dunn who calls herself The Professional Hobo. She offers good advice, so if you’re a digital nomad, or think you might want to be, check out her Facebook page and her website theprofessionalhobo.com! (Here’s a post where she interviews Lola Akinmade Åkerström.)

And finally, a thought for artisans and entrepreneurs everywhere: We can all get in on virtual travel, by offering tours of our own places too!

Further Reading:

• My post “Thoughts On Tourism (Reading List)”. Includes link to Haunani Kay-Trask’s article “Lovely Hula Hands” mentioned above.

• My post “Thoughts on Tourism (Reading List — More)”.

“Thoughts on Tourism: Air Travel”. A mere 1% of the population causes half of global aviation emissions. Should this 1% pay — out of their own pockets — to offset their aviation admissions?” My response: Yes! They should. (We should, I mean, because at one point in my working life, I was part of this 1%, flying up to 11 times a year for a total of over 40k miles a year.) In this post I share how I have handled my air-travel footprint.

Light that candle! Wear that dress! Use that bath bomb! Eat that fruit! Spill the wine!

hello friendly reminder that you do not need a special occasion to use nice things! If you wait long enough your nice bath bomb won’t be as fizzy! your favorite fruits will go out of season! candles are meant to be burned, not looked at! you’re not enjoying your special tea if it’s just sitting in your cupboard! you’re allowed to have nice and special things on completely ordinary days! heck, it might just make that day special

(these words are from someone who goes by the handle “mysteryhacked”; you can follow them on some platform but I’m not sure what the platform is; doesn’t appear to be Facebook or Twitter — someone shared it as a screenshot on Facebook which is how I saw it)

And I say: YES!!! THIS. I love using my grandmother’s china for my everyday dishes. And spending beautiful evenings lit by nice candles that I bought from the thrift store for 50 cents or a dollar because the person who bought them 10 years ago at a boutique for 15 dollars never used them (they were “too pretty to burn”), and then later the person died or had to downsize and so that too-pretty-to-burn candle ended up in a thrift shop.

Long ago (around 1998), I had a beautiful jacket that I kept saving for special occasions. Over the years of me saving it for some special occasion that never arrived, the beautiful jacket got ruined by mildew. So I know whereof I speak!

And on this general carpe-diemish topic, one of my favorite ancient poems just came to me. It’s from the Odes, a collection of Latin lyric poems by Horace (65 BC- 8 BC). I no longer have the magazine clipping or whatever that I had taped to the cabinets of my trailer back in Austin 20 years ago, but I have read the poem so many times I can (mostly) remember what that text said. Note, a google will reveal various versions of the translation, none of which quite feel as rhythmically satisfying to me as the version I memorized all those years ago, and have (with errors no doubt) retyped below for you:

Seek not to know — we cannot know — what ends, the gods will bring, my love, to you or me.
Consult no Babylonian astrologers! 
Far better to endure whatever comes, whether Jove grant us many winters more, or whether this be the last, that now wears out
the Tuscan sea upon opposing rocks.
Be wise. Strain clear the wine. Since life is brief, cut short far-distant hopes.
Even while we speak, time, envious, takes flight. 
Live this day well.
Put little trust in what tomorrows hold.

New Year’s Intentions

Happy New Year to you! Got any special intentions or aspirations for 2022?

One of my intention/aspirations is to gather what I would call a “life-pod”!! Micro intentional seaside urban community, generating abundance, adapting in place.
I have just updated my post in the DA Connections group (Facebook) to include the term “life-pod.” And I’m copy-pasting that Facebook post below for you guys, and will be adding some extra details to it here.

I Am Seeking: Friendship/Community. Specifically, a “life pod” of longterm housemates (or very close neighbors). Maybe 3 to 5 people besides myself. Could include couples. Oriented around principles and ethics of Deep Adaptation, permaculture design, radical reduction. And, arts, creativity, financial resilience, occupational freedom. And last but definitely NOT least: anti-racism; de-colonization.

And, if a romantic connection happens for me, that’d be fine too but it isn’t my primary focus (though I take joy in helping other people find whatever connections they seek). Our plans as a life-pod would include pooling stuff and finances to the degree that we are comfortable (my house is fully furnished with stuff that’s ready to share); developing portability and resilience to be able to move to another geographic location together if circumstances absolutely required it, but basically being committed to adapting and building community in place; being in service to our wider community.

I’m almost 60 but open to any-age, multi-generational community, possibly including a “joint tenancy in common” of the house. I occupy my place (I’m getting away from the term “own” for various reasons) mortgage-free, and it is a sweet place on 1/10 acre where I’m cultivating native plants and a micro forest which includes some food for humans. Household expenses are very low, promoting occupational freedom and ample leisure time for residents.

Gender/orientation: cis-het female; she/her; enjoy sharing space with people of all ages and genders.

My Location: a seaside neighborhood in the historic urban core of Daytona Beach, Florida USA. I love city life, and intend to always continue living in urban spaces.

Seeking Deep Adaptation/permaculture/collapse-aware folks who live in Daytona Beach, Florida, USA, or are willing to move here! To explore and navigate what collapse might mean for us, and help build our community’s resilience.

My house is a laboratory for low-footprint living. I practice hardcore water conservation, play games of “how low can you go” with electricity consumption, compost everything I can, etc etc etc! It’s fun, and I enjoy sharing with housemates and friends who want to experience and practice this lifestyle.

There’s no hope for any future without community. And even if we could survive without each other, there’d be no joy and no point in it. (BTW speaking of joy, if by chance you play Bananagrams, that’d be a huge plus, as my family, who I love playing Bananagrams with, lives a 16-hour train ride from me!)

If this sounds interesting and you want to get more of an idea of whether we might have life-pod compatibility, give me a shout! You can also check out my various channels besides this blog (Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, TikTok etc.) to get an idea of what I’m like as a person and if we might click.

And, if you’re not already familiar with the following, you might find it helpful to check out Riot for Austerity (90 Percent Reduction Challenge); Deep Adaptation; permaculture design principles and ethics; Transition Towns movement; bioregionalism. (Not only to get an idea of me, but for your own benefit as well!)

Besides seeking a life-pod, I am also simply seeking similarly minded people in my geographic area (within about 6 miles / 10 kilometers of downtown Daytona Beach) who’d want to meet up (outdoors) and weave a wider regional community support network.

2021 Climate News Wrap-Up

“The Year in Climate News” — looking back over 2021. A lot happened.

2021 was yet another year that felt like five. … Before summer had even begun, drought, heat and fires had already torn across the West. … Despite inaccurate claims from Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas, we explained: No, the reason for the blackouts was not frozen wind turbines. The main problem was frigid temperatures that stalled natural gas production, which is responsible for the majority of Texas’ power supply. Fast forward to early June, when it wasn’t technically summer yet, but the American Southwest was already baking and drying up.”

The Year in Climate News
A lot happened this year. Jog your memory with stories compiled by The New York Times climate desk.

To get where we want to go, we need to know where we are and have been. Thank you always to the New York Times for its climate coverage.

New Year Party Invitation

💚🎊🎉 Dear Friends! Please don’t spend this last day of 2021 alone! (unless you want to). YOU are invited … to a worldwide New Year’s gathering all day starting right now!! The Deep Adaptation* New Year’s gathering is happening for 24 hours (starting about 4 hours ago), and it is wonderful! Chatting & socializing with collapse-aware companions all across the globe. I just had coffee and hung out for about an hour and a half with deeply likeminded people, good music. ☕️🎵🎶☮️

I will be going in & out all day as my work flow permits. See Zoom invite below! Such a friendly wholesome way to ring out the old year and welcome the new. Hope to see you there!! As I have mentioned on this blog, I’ve been involved with Deep Adaptation for awhile and draw a lot of sustenance from this group of compassionate, aware, and sensitive humans. 💚💚💚

* Deep Adaptation is a concept, agenda, and international social movement. It presumes that extreme weather events and other effects of climate change will increasingly disrupt food, water, shelter, power, and social and governmental systems. These disruptions would likely or inevitably cause uneven societal collapse in the next few decades. The word “deep” indicates that strong measures are required to adapt to an unraveling of western industrial lifestyles. The agenda includes values of nonviolence, compassion, curiosity, and respect, and a framework for constructive action.” (Wikipedia) https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deep_Adaptation

You are invited to attend the DAF 2022 Global Countdown event – which has just started, and will keep going for another 24 hours! 🙂

Here’s the Zoom link to join: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82130055381?pwd=QU9VNEFPMzZhbWV0VkNiN2RJS2FYUT09

Volunteers and participants in the Deep Adaptation Forum are planning various activities over this time, from music to readings and conversations. See the evolving programme here. We will also be sharing this slideshow, which presents an overview of the activities of various DAF groups and circles.

Do feel free to jump in at any time, and for any amount of time, to meet whoever is online, and have a drink and/or a chat.

End of Year Housecleaning – Scribbly Notes

My final end-of-year housecleaning task today includes both paper stacks and electronic dregs. I forgot about some notes I’d scribbled from various webinars, videos, random fragments that popped into my head, talks that I was preparing, etc., in the latter part of this past year starting in August. Since it’s nowhere near as large a volume of material as “My Year in Webinars 2020,” a monster post I did back in September where I spewed forth a year and a half’s worth of conference and webinar notes, I’m pasting the text directly in here rather than uploading it as a PDF. Warning: The notes below are mostly just dribs and snips, unlikely to be useful to most folks. But, as always, if you/your community should desire a talk on any of the topics herein, I can either put a talk together for you, or track down other speakers for you. 

Meta-note: I’m doing this radical new thing where I don’t beat myself up and call myself a loser and a train-wreck for having scraps of tiny spiral notebook notes that I’ve left lying around for months without typing them up and doing something with them. This novel “not beating myself up” thing saves a wondrous amount of energy, which I can use to just type the darn notes up already and maybe enjoy the beauty of the day while I’m at it. If this self-leniency resonates with you at all, I encourage you to experiment with it! (As I type, gentle golden light beams over my shoulder and flickers on the wall, in the shape of the leaves of the trees in the yard to the west of my office window. And I hear some of the lighter-weight windchimes gently chiming every once in a while. Bonus: The breeze is strong enough to feel pleasant wafting through the window but not so strong as to scatter my pile of tiny little ballpoint-scribbled papers all over the room.)

Florida Native Plant Society Lunch & Learn Fri 8/20/21

FWF & FDOT study “Economics of Roadside Vegetation”

Partnership to Save Plants: FDOT, FWF, FNPS

FDOT Native Plant Working Group

ETDM planning phase is best time to get involved with a plant rescue

FDOT ETDM environmental screening tool

TRIBE On Homecoming and Belonging

Sebastian Junger

Humans need to feel:

1 – Competent at what they do; 2 – Authentic in their lives; 3 – Connected to others

“Treating combat veterans is different from treating rape victims because rape victims don’t have this idea that some aspects of their experience are worth retaining.”

3 factors seem to crucially affect a combatant’s transition back into civilian life:

1 – Cohesive and egalitarian tribal societies – resource-sharing; “social resilience” – egalitarian wealth distribution

2 – Ex-combatants shouldn’t be seen — or be encouraged to see — themselves as victim

3 – Vets need to feel that they’re just as necessary and productive back in society as they were on the battlefield.

“One way to determine what is missing in day-to-day American life may be to examine what behaviors spontaneously arise when that life is disrupted.”

THE REAL GOAL (notes for a permaculture talk I was putting together perhaps?)

• Can’t always get what we (think we) want

• Social Capital

• Leverage Points

Low: Tinkering with numbers

High: Beauty; what gets defined as beautiful

(Notes for another talk I gave)

Friday talk

– 5 R’s (Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose, Recycle)

– Story of Stuff 2:37 intro

– Cradle to Cradle book McDonough 

– Permaculture ethics; don’t buy anything you wouldn’t be willing to bury in your backyard (tall order but worth aspiring to)

– J2ZW; Terracycle.com

– Modular local plant (Dutch)

– Lo-Tek Resiliency book

– Ants, worms

– “Compost happens”

– New type of bioaccumulation

First permaculture design principle (that I learned) was

Relative location

– Food: grow some of your own and buy from local farmers

– Business: support local shops, restaurants

– Employment: DIY, telecommute

– Education: DIY, homeschool, online, unschool

– Church, community

Permaculture is a set of design principles, inspired by observing how nature works. It’s meant to allow people to more effectively meet their basic needs with less burden on other species and on the ecosystem. In fact, with ecologically smart design, we can actually BENEFIT the ecosystem more than if we were doing nothing (not that doing NOTHING is actually possible) by applying these principles.

I wonder what this country could have been like if African or Native American cultures could have become our dominant culture, instead of bleached Anglo becoming our dominant culture. People idolizing English-looking buildings, lawns, etc. Trucks with trailers carrying ride-on mowers and edgers and leaf-blowers to one piece of ground after another. Our culture is an experiment in what happens when a whole country decides that art and beauty are impractical and optional. 

New England Historic Society webinar

Transmission of material culture from England to New England 1620-1720

“You don’t have sumptuary laws unless people are dressing sumptuously.”

In England, materials were scarce and workers were plentiful. New England was opposite.

Woodlots limited in England – deforestation; wood plentiful in New World

Job opptys limited in England; construction jobs plentiful in New World (my ancestor who came over in 1630 was a house-carpenter and cabinetmaker, as was my ancestor who fought in the Revolutionary War)

Colonists enacted regulations re timber harvesting (uh hello! Native Americans had managed forests!)

Ornate chest on left was older — SIMPLE chest on right was newer; relied on technology and transport

Mortise & tenon joinery

A turner could make a chair five times as fast as a joiner could

PW – Peter Woodbury of Beverly

Sawmills were popular in colonies because unlike in England, joiners guilds didn’t fear competition, and also deforestation was not a concern.

Sawmills were the repository of colonial venture capitalist funds

Q&A

– How did Native Americans cut down trees and make furniture?

Don’t know; wish I had learned. Working on it right now.

Presentation by Nancy ___, senior curator.

Goofy cabinet design on spindly legs — maybe they did it “because they could” (new technology)

COP26 TED Climate Session 1 – YouTube

1) Slide of global tipping points – they cascade. Example: polar ice melting –> temperature turnover over ocean –> alters monsoon pattern in Africa

2) We have surpassed 4 of 9 boundaries

SPEED & SCALE

Action Plan for Solving Climate Crisis Now (6 components)

1 electric cars

2 decarbonize

3 food

4 protect nature

5 clean up industry practice

6 tech (mechanical trees etc) for carbon removal

Book cont’d

Climate change amplifies inequities. USA historically largest emitter, MUST go first. 

– to show world it can be done

– to drive down cost, AND

– to fund transition in less rich countries

Climate crisis is humankind’s greatest opportunity to address longstanding inequities.

Speaker on geothermal (young woman – impressive) – Drills, fracturing rock (my opinion it sounds like a deal w the devil) (Her idea of repurposing the oil drilling industry’s skills and equipment is very tempting in its sensibleness, however)

Greenhouse gases (different speaker I think?)

– Nitrous oxide

– Methane (holds heat)

– Carbon dioxide (lingers)

Most methane is from RECENT emissions; cutting methane is fastest most immediate opportunity to slow down warming.

Pie chart shows Ag, Energy, and Waste Management being about equal thirds

Energy production is largest and cheapest to address. Most emissions are from PRODUCING fossil fuels.

Oil fields in Texas are now wasting enough gas to heat 2 million homes. Mainly because government and industry have been DATA-DEPRIVED. But the technology is getting better. 

– Waste management solution: Generate electricity from landfill methane

– Ag: Suppress methane in cow guts. Use digesters to digest manure and make electricity. 

Also ag: RICE. Maintain shallower level of water in rice fields.

Countdown.TED.com or on YouTube channel

Solomon Goldstein-Rose (very young man – impressive)

– He considers nuclear “clean” (I disagree)

– Also seems to assume that our modern Western industrialist models of education, health, etc. are the ideal that we should impose on every other “backward” country (this was just my immed reaction; need to watch video again)

Says we need to multiply today’s global electricity production by 12 times! 

It’s not OK to simply replace today’s world with a “clean” version. 

DO Look Up!

Yesterday I subscribed to Netflix just so I could watch Don’t Look Up, the darkly comic portrayal of human denialism in the face of an impending event that will destroy the entire planet and everyone on it. The film, with its star-studded cast including Meryl Streep as POTUS, is currently trending #1 on Netflix. I found the film well worth watching.

Someone in the Deep Adaptation group just posted this link to a YouTube by Leonardo DiCaprio (who played the role of the lead scientist in the film):

DiCaprio on the film and the actionable window for climate

At the end of his 4-minute talk, Mr. DiCaprio shares a link for those who want to know what actions we can take.

Also: Hear from director Adam McKay on that super-powerful triple ending!!