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“Regeneration is active: We become full participants in the process of maximizing life’s creativity. This is a far more expansive vision than the familiar eco-critique that stressed smallness and shrinking humanity’s impact or “footprint.” that is simply not an option today (…) we are here, we are many and we must use our skills to act. We can however, change the nature of our actions so that they are constantly growing, rather than extracting life. (…) We can accelerate simply through our labor, the restoration and regeneration of living systems, if we engage in thoughtful, concerted action. ‘We are actually they keystone species in this moment so we have to align our strategies with the healing powers of Mother Earth, though there is no getting around the house rules. But it isn’t about stopping or retreating. It’s about aggressively applying our labor toward restoration’. (…) from here on, when we take, we must not only give back ,but we must also take care. (448-449)

Naomi Klein-  This Changes Everything

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Note: This is an old post whose content was created for fun, with little to no proof-reading or editing. Please read this post keeping that in mind.

Over the past few months I’ve put my blog on the back-burner as I’ve grappled with a lot of changes in my life, some good, some bad and others whose end influence has yet to be determined. In the course of six months I’ve moved from traveling in my car and sleeping under the stars from one BLM spot to another, climbing and camping in Europe, moving to a house in Bishop and now finally living in San Francisco. It’s been a half-year jam-packed with intensely vivid experiences as I’ve learned more about myself and probably gone through more emotional troughs and peaks in that time period than in any other. I

With this blog post I wanted to highlight some of the things I’m excited about in my current stage in life, along with some quotes from a novel I’ve read recently called “This Changes everything Capitalism vs. the Climate” by Naomi Klein. This book, for sure, gets a high spot on my reading list for all humankind and I encourage everyone to read it as soon as possible.

The introductory quote highlights the power and importance of ecological restoration as not only a tool to use in our arsenal against climate change, but as a foundation for an overall philosophy that needs to be globally adopted if we are ever going to make the cultural shift necessary to combat this immense threat. Klein uses it broadly, but here I am going to use it specifically to talk briefly about habitat restoration the type of work I engage in every day.

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I have spoken of the rich years when the rainfall was plentiful. But there were dry years too, and they put a terror on the valley. … The land cracked and the springs dried up and the cattle listlessly nibbled dry twigs. … People would have to haul water in barrels to their farms just for drinking. Some families would sell out for nearly nothing and move away. And it never failed that during the dry years the people forgot about the rich years, and during the wet years they lost all memory of the dry years. It was always that way.- John Steinbeck, East of Eden

One of my new "offices" at the Presidio Bluffs

One of my new “offices” at the Presidio Bluffs

Note: This is an old post whose content was created for fun, with little to no proof-reading or editing. Please read this post keeping that in mind.

I read that often quoted passage from John Steinbeck in a KQED article (KQED is the Bay Area’s public radio station) describing what is now being coined as “Marin storm”- yet another atmospheric river similar to that we experienced in late December. Now, however, I’m in the middle of the action- the North Bay- and not watching the youtube videos of San Franciscans falling in giant puddles on their bikes from the parched desert of Bishop. I had a great deal of fun today battling the winds while cursing myself for deciding that biking down the steep hills of the city during a storm was a good idea (now that I’m all cozy and safe, I realize it was a most excellent idea- so much fun) and getting totally lost while accommodating to my new neighborhood (a trip to Trader Joe’s became a prolonged epic adventure). We are getting plentiful amounts of rainfall   , but man oh man it is definitely warm! This can be good, as warm air tends to bring more moisture, but in terms of our dismal snowpack this is bad business- snow will likely only fall at above 8000 feet, not really helping our terribly low snowpack numbers. Snowpack is our lifeline during the summer; as we deplete the reservoirs, the slowly melting snow is supposed to recharge them. During a good year, this works. However, the typical climate of California isn’t at all stable and often has cycles of prolonged drought- most of the state is a desert, after all, a fact many forget as irrigation has turned the arid land green. Climate change is expected to make the temperatures warmer and intensify droughts. Rain, when it does fall, will fall more like in the events we are currently experiencing- all at once in a matter of days, followed by long periods of dry, hot weather. I fear that many Californians will use this storm as evidence that we are emerging from a drought when really we are only sinking deeper into its hold- I fear that Steinbeck is probably right.
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Photos in Bishop. Sads.

A typical scene here in the Owen’s Valley; desert scrub, cottonwoods and willows along the Owen’s River and the snow-capped White Mountains only 7 miles away but more than 8,000 feet higher in Elevation.

Note: This is an old post whose content was created for fun, with little to no proof-reading or editing. Please read this post keeping that in mind.

A little less than a year ago, I went on a run.

…I turned around and had to stop to take in the incredible vista that was laid out before me. Instead of the Sierras I saw the sun setting over the white mountains, bathing the boulders littered all over the landscape in a soft golden hue. With my heart pounding and my adrenaline racing I thought to myself this very, very cheesy thought – ” this is it”. I need to be in places like this. And I need to protect places like this. I want to understand places like this; I want to understand the science of the ecosystems that are its foundation, but I also want to be able to interact in them, through running, climbing and hiking so I can tap into the mysterious aspects of these that make me feel good, essentially. And hey- guess what- that’s what I’m doing! I’m studying conservation biology, I am climbing, I am running and I am tapping into the mental game… etc. I ran down the hill grinning from ear to ear.

I wrote that in my blog post Owen’s River Gorge that I published on April 2, 2014.

I am happy to say that less than a year later what I imagined actually came true-pretty literally. In the beginning of November I moved full-time to Bishop, CA after spending the summer traveling and climbing around the Sierra Nevada and in Eastern Europe. What brought me to Bishop was not the spectacular climbing or easy access to a variety of outdoor recreation opportunities (you can basically do everything here except go surfing), but an Americorps position focused on protecting the public lands here in the Eastern Sierra and making stewards out of users. I have been performing a variety of tasks focusing on watershed restoration but also touching on volunteer engagement and outreach. However, I won’t lie; living in Bishop was definitely a big factor in my decision to accept the position. The perks of living on the East Side have indeed been pretty sweet…

P.S.- warning, this is a loooong post. Read More