gasparin's blog

City Bees Are All the Buzz!

I wanted to keep bees on a suburban lot in South Carolina, but it was "illegal" under the regulations of the homeowners' association -- which had all actually been written by the developer and turned over to the 'association' as a de facto constitution. I was already involved in a fight with the same developer about his desire to build two houses on a area of isolated wetlands that were preserved as a 'conservation easement', precisely because of his initial development -- but they had been preserved by the Army Corps of Engineers (ironically) in their (often misguided or malicious) efforts to manage the nation's waterways and this federal power to protect 'isolated wetlands' in such a way had been promptly repealed by the Bush administration... leading to a sort of development boom in the South Carolina Lowcountry, since much of the previously protected wetlands were now governed only by state regulations (and most states had no such regulations since the activity had been in the domain of the Corps of Engineers).

Anyway, it seemed a more important fight; to save that small boggy & impenetrable patch of swamp magnolias, pines, gums, and even invasive species (Bradford Pears, and Tree of Heaven especially, but also lots of lawn grass and garden plants), since neighbors used one corner (which had been "accidentally" razed) as a dumping area for yard waste. And so I saved the little "less than an acre", from the developer who wanted to sell two more homes in a neighborhood where we already lived on lots the size of postage stamps. And also saved it from the crowd in the homeowners association meetings who wanted a "pool and/or clubhouse" on the forested land. I saved it, and so I still heard birds singing, and woodpeckers pecking. And, I had lots of bees, birds, butterflies, lizards, and snakes, and worms, and mice, and moles, etc. (because they still had a bit of the wild from whence to come) and I received plenty of fines and threats for my suburban permaculture experiment (one "neighbor" actually climbed on his roof to see what was in the jungle behind my fence, instead of merely asking and enjoying the tour that I loved to give to anyone who would let me), that was quite a spectacle... but as for the honey, someone else was reaping that reward. And I felt I didn't have the energy for the hives, much less the fight that would ensue once the hives were discovered. The thought of hives gave me hives, heh, pun fun. Yet the idea came to me again, when considering an 'urban ecovillage' in Buenos Aires, and the prospects for hives in urban areas. It seemed to me that the tree-lined streets and gardens full of flowers and citruses would provide a comfortable habitat, and the bees would be as integral and natural addition as they were in my suburban garden. However, when my own (usually entirely supportive) wife looked at me as if concerned for my mental health after I suggested the idea of intentionally bringing entire hives of bees into an urban apartment tower, I knew that it would likely be as difficult of a battle here as anywhere. (Especially considering that she's a "mental health" advocate, who has done a great deal of work to get people OUT of mental institutions.)

Yet, a small collective of underground apiculturists in New York City are teaming up and forming a powerful lobby that has already succeeded in introducing legislation to overturn the city's ban on bee-keeping. They're showing that the idea is not only viable, but that it enriches the local environment (and economy) in more ways than most people seemed to anticipate. It's hardly just for the honey. Click on through to read this very interesting article that has everything from direct action anarchist apiculture to ecopsychology...  (continued...)

You Can't Be 'Neutral' on a Moving Train

Sometimes I think of the enormity of darkness which our world contains, and find the tragedies involved simply too crushing. How small we are! How seemingly powerless! So many people spend their time preparing for 'the revolution', even agitating for it... and without some historical perspective they have no firm grasp of what it is they are actually agitating for. They seem to feel the urgent need to move, but don't know where to go or how to proceed. And I find myself in need of hopeful words -- words that succinctly explain how the revolution is NOW. Not something that we have to wait for, or organize for, or agitate for... it's something that can begin in the ways which we live our lives; the foods we choose to eat, the ways we bring our children into this world and raise them to adulthood, and the stories that we tell about our histories and our day-to-day existence.

I found such a succinct explanation, today, in the conclusion to Howard Zinn’s 1994 book You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train: A Personal History of Our Times. Actually, the words were a truncated version of what follows and (believe it or not) they came from the mouth of Matt Damon, in his narration of a documentary about the life of Howard Zinn with the same title as Zinn's book. If you feel you’re invested in bringing good to your world, by whatever means, perhaps you’ll find these words encouraging. (continued...)

Attack of the SpamBots! ...Retrolithic Determined to Remain an Ad-Free Blog!

tagged with:

Due to an attack of pernicious and prolific spambots -- who either just now found the site or else just now developed the means to overcome our defense mechanisms -- I have had to disallow unregistered users from being able to post comments without approval. I do want to apologize for any inconvenience this causes; I know I personally prefer being able to post to a site without registering AND without waiting for my comments to appear... And, as time permits, I will be actively working on a technical fix that will allow this degree of functionality to be returned to this site. (continued...)

Comin' Home: Defining Anarcho-primitivism -- by John Moore

This, in my opinion, is likely THE definitive anarcho-primitivist essay, and certainly something that any would-be critics of that ideology should read before launching into many of the oft-repeated condemnations of anarcho-primitivism or its proponents.

John Moore was not only a preeminent anarcho-primitivist, but a genuine philosopher... also a poet, a professor, and much much more. In his short life -- mostly through succinct self-published texts -- he contributed more to this most recent 'school' of anarchist politics than many of the self-professed 'anarcho-primitivists' who are still attempting to advocate this ideology today as professional primitivist polemicists.  (continued...)

The Human Baby -- by James Kimmel, Ph.D.

"Tenderness appeared in man's mammalian ancestors eons before he learned to preserve fire or shape a stone." -- Lewis Mumford, The Conduct of Life

Ninety-nine percent of all humans who have ever lived were hunter-gatherers. Studies of hunter-gatherer societies readily confirm the respect given, and the support provided, by the group to a mother nurturing a baby. Since ancient times, however, continuing until the present, there has been a concerted effort in Western civilization to eliminate the necessity for the natural mother to nurture her newborn. Mothers in many cultures and at various times have been encouraged to suppress their tender feelings toward their babies, discouraged from nurturing them in the biological human way, and to give over their baby's care to others.
...
The history of childhood in the civilized world reveals that babies have not always been perceived as lovable or needing tenderness. At various times and for varied reasons, they have been seen as evil, harmful, burdensome, worthless, unwanted, and expendable. They have, of course, been treated in accordance with these beliefs about them (deMause, Beekman). Lloyd de Mause, in his book on the history of child care, has stated, "The history of childhood is a nightmare from which we have only recently begun to awaken. The further back in history one goes, the lower the level of child care, and the more likely children are to be killed, abandoned, beaten, terrorized, and sexually abused".
...
DeMause is referring to the societies of civilization, not to societies of people living outside civilization. The story of people who live as hunter-gatherers is quite different as regards children than the one described by him. Studies by anthropologists of hunter-gatherer groups do not describe infant and child care in these groups as a "nightmare." They usually describe the care of the young as "indulgent".
....
A human baby born today, to any parents anywhere in the world, would have no trouble fitting into a hunter-gatherer society. He evolved to do so. On the other hand, any baby born today in modern society does not fit our world, nor would any baby born in the past fit it either. Babies (and mothers) have not changed in their reproductive biological or genetic structure; it is society and mothers who have changed in their response to, and in their attitude toward, babies. We no longer value and support mothering or the babies' critical need to develop in relation to a tender, nurturing mother.

[ed. Those are some excerpts of a brilliant essay by Dr. James Kimmel that offers a sort of broad anthropological overview of childhood... About what our species has evolved to expect in terms of childrearing... and about what our contemporary culture seeks (and succeeds) to do with its proscribed childrearing practices (which amounts to acculturation; domestication & alienation from nature, including alienation from our natural selves and others like us.).... I really encourage everyone to read the essay in its entirety, even those of you who think reproduction is 'evil' and plan to never have any association with children.]  (continued...)

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