Friday, April 20, 2012

Earth Day events in Southern California

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Earth Day
"When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world."
--John Muir, naturalist


Earth Day was conceived in 1969 by Sen. Gaylord Nelson, D-Wisconsin, and his assistant Dennis Hayes, after a trip they took to Santa Barbara following the devastating oil spill off the Southern California coast. According to legend, the men were so outraged by what they saw that upon returning to Washington, D.C., Nelson introduced a bill designating April 22 as a national day to celebrate the Earth. The date was chosen to help commemorate the birth of famed naturalist and conservationist John Muir, who was born on April 21, 1838.
It’s estimated that 20 million Americans participated in the first Earth Day in 1970. By the year 2000, formal events celebrating Earth Day were being observed in 184 countries, and more than 500 million people participated in those events.
This year marks the 42nd anniversary of Earth Day. Events are planned throughout the month of April in dozens of communities throughout California. (Note: Please contact event organizers to confirm information provided in this listing.)


  • This year, celebrate Earth Day amid some of Nature’s finest at one of California’s national parks--and enjoy free admission, too. Admission fees are being waived April 21-29 at more than 100 national parks, including Yosemite, Sequoia-Kings Canyon, Muir Woods, Pinnacles, Lassen Volcanic, and Death Valley. Additional fee waivers are planned this year on June 9 (Get Outdoors Day), Sept. 29 (Public Lands Day), and Nov. 10-12 (Veterans Day weekend).
  • The California State Parks Foundation has identified 19 major park restoration and cleanup projects on Saturday, April 14, in honor of this year’s Earth Day. Volunteers are asked to register in advance if they want to be a part of the cleanup projects. The 19 project sites identified for this year’s work parties are listed on the California State Parks Foundation website.

Los Angeles/Orange Counties

  • Anaheim: The Center Street Promenade in downtown Anaheim goes trashy from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 21, in a tribute to Earth Day, as the MUZEO’s TrashARTist Challengeprojects will be on display. The expo will feature sustainability business booths, crafts workshops, live music and entertainment, and food from local food truck operators. Student winners of this year’s TrashARTist Challenge will be announced that day, and the winning entries will be on display at MUZEO between April 21 and May 28. The annual competition recognizes students’ artistic reuse of trash to promote a message of conservation and stability. Students and their teachers will be competing for a variety of prizes, including Disneyland tickets and movie passes.
  • Culver City: STAR Eco Station will host its 12th annual Children’s Earth Day on Sunday, April 22, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Billed as the largest children’s environmental event in Los Angeles County, it will feature environmental-themed games, food, crafts, prizes, vendor booths, face painting, children’s art exhibits, celebrity guests, and more. The event is free, but admission will be charged for tours of the STAR Eco Station.
  • La Cañada Flintridge: Entertainment, a barbecue, and family activities are part of the events planned for the weekend of April 21-22 as the Descanso Gardens celebrates Earth Day. Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night will be presented by the California Shakespeare Ensemble in the Under the Oaks Theater, beginning at 3:30 p.m. Saturday. On Sunday, from noon to 2 p.m., the outdoor theater will host the Mobile Homeboys in concert, while an Earth Day barbecue will be presented from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday at the Gardens’ Main Lawn. Children can explore nature through hands-on activities while families celebrate locally raised foods at Patina’s eco-friendly family barbecue. An admission fee will be charged.
  • Laguna Woods: Celebrate the spirit of Earth Day by safety disposing of your household hazardous waste, electronic waste, old paper files, and unwanted household goods. The city of Laguna Woods is hosting a “Goods Exchange” program from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 21, at City Hall. Usable household products turned in by other residents will be available for those who can reuse the items. In addition, experts will be on hand to answer your questions about air quality, electric vehicles, recycling, and water/energy conservation.
  • Lancaster: Antelope Valley pays tribute to Earth Day and California’s official state flower at the annual California Poppy Festival, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. April 21-22, at Lancaster City Park. The annual celebration carries on the Earth Day message of caring for the environment. The festival site covers 55 acres and boasts hundreds of exhibits and not-to-be-missed performances, along with food and beverage vendors. Free tram service between the festival entrance and parking areas. An admission fee will be charged.
  • Long Beach: Learn what you can do to help the planet’s oceans when the Aquarium of the Pacific hosts its 12th annual Earth Day program on April 21 and 22. Learn simple, everyday tips to protect the planet. Hands-on demonstrations, exhibit booths featuring Earth-friendly organizations. Regular aquarium admission prices will be charged.
  • Long Beach: A daylong festival to celebrate Children’s Day and Earth Day is planned for Saturday, April 28, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., in El Dorado Park. Activities will include a park parade, music, cultural presentations, educational activities, games and relays, and more.
  • Los Angeles: Celebrate Earth Day with family-fun activities from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, April 15, at the Autry National Center in Griffith Park. Special events will include storytelling, a family craft activity, music programs, and museum tours with the Museum teacher. Visit the Museum’s current exhibit, “Art of Native American Basketry,” and make a basket of your own. A museum admission fee will be charged, but the event is free for Autry members.
  • Los Angeles: Celebrate Earth Day with an afternoon of environmental activities on Saturday, April 21, at the Augustus Hawkins Nature Park, 5790 Compton Ave. From noon to 4 p.m., there will be hikes of the 9-acre urban park, ranger-led nature presentations, kids’ crafts, and face-painting. Details are available by calling the park at (323) 581-4498.
  • Los Angeles: Radio station K-EARTH and the Los Angeles Zoo will team up to present the Los Angeles Zoo Earth Day Expo on April 21 and 22. The weekend events will include recycled crafts, information booths, and K-EARTH deejays. This year’s expo includes a celebration of the special California wildlife all around us, maybe even in your own backyard. Paid zoo admission required; free to GLAZA members.
  • Los Angeles: Celebrate Earth Day at the Los Angeles County Art Museum on Sunday, April 22, because, as the museum explains, “Earth Without Art is Just ‘EH.’ ” Starting at noon, there will be artist-led workshops, bike-related films, storytelling, nature sketching, and a guided walk through the natural art on the museum campus. Free museum admission to those with a bike helmet, or a receipt for bike parking, or who use alternative transportation to visit the museum that day.
  • Los Angeles: Woodley Park in the San Fernando Valley will once again host the city’s annual World Fest celebration for Earth Day, scheduled for Sunday, May 20. The program gets under way at 10:30 a.m., and activities will wrap up by 7 p.m. The event will feature live entertainment, speakers, kids’ activities, environmental exhibits, pet adoptions, more than 100 eco-friendly or pet-friendly exhibitors, an extensive food court and beer/wine garden, and more. The park is close to Metro’s Orange Line for those who want to leave their cars at home. An admission fee will be charged; advance discount tickets are available online.
  • Manhattan Beach: Music, dancing, eco-displays, family fun events, and more are promised for an Earth Day celebration from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 28, at Polliwog Park. Live bands will play from 1:15 p.m. to 4 p.m., preceded by a kids’ concert at noon and the city’s Environmental Hero Awards at 1 p.m. Earn a chance to win prizes, and increase your eco-awareness, by taking an Eco Quiz. There will be food, commercial booths, and more.
  • Mission Viejo: A combined celebration of Earth Day and Arbor Day is planned for the morning of Saturday, April 28, along the Village Green in Oso Viejo Park. The day’s events include a community cleanup and planting from 8 a.m. to noon along Oso Creek, a free compost giveaway sponsored by Waste Management of Orange County, compost workshop, and Green Expo from 9 a.m. to noon, with dozens of educational and eco-friendly exhibitors.
  • Newport Beach: The Peter and Mary Muth Interpretive Center (2301 University Drive) will host this year’s Earth Day program presented by the Newport Bay Conservancy, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, April 22. The event--titled “Learning from Nature”--will include environmental exhibits, scavenger hunts, science discovery and craft booths, live entertainment, and drawings for some great prizes. Last year’s event drew more than 1,000 participants.
  • Northridge: Planet Green Recycle of Chatsworth, which remanufactures inkjet cartridges, is teaming up with Cal State Northridge for a two-day electronic waste collection drive in honor of Earth Day. Unwanted old electronics, cellphones, GPS devices, MP3 players, and used printer ink cartridges will be collected from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 27 and 28 in Lot G10, located at the corner of Lassen Street and Zelzah Avenue.
  • Pasadena: The 10th annual Earth & Arts Festival is planned from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, April 14, at Memorial Park and The Armory Center for the Arts, 145 N. Raymond Ave. This free event will include Earth-friendly art workshops, special film screenings, live entertainment, an interactive drum circle, eco-friendly exhibitors, local food truck vendors, a sustainable beer garden, and a guided bike tour of Pasadena’s sustainable sites. Follow the event on Facebook.
  • Redondo Beach: A community beach cleanup will be followed by a family-friendly celebration on Saturday, April 21, in a program co-sponsored by the SEA Lab and Redondo Beach Public Works Department. Activities run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and include the beach cleanup at 10 a.m. and a composting workshop at 11 a.m. Participants will earn a free gift by leaving their cars at home and walking, biking, or using public transit to get to the event. Bring some old single-use plastic bags and trade them in for a reusable tote bag. Bring “gently used” work attire and shoes to a reuse booth sponsored by the South Bay Business Environmental Coalition. Download the event flyer to get free parking at the Redondo Beach Marina.
  • San Clemente: A waterfront celebration of Earth Day is planned from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 21, at Parque Del Mar, overlooking the San Clemente Pier and Pacific Ocean. There will be educational displays, live entertainment, recycling demonstrations, and giveaways.
  • San Juan Capistrano: A free environmental educational program will be offered at The Ecology Center, beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday, April 14. The event will include music, free vegetable seedlings, and an eco-lab exploration and scavenger hunt.
  • Santa Clarita: A combined celebration of Arbor Day and Earth Day is planned for Saturday, April 14, in Central Park. The event will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and give participants an opportunity to remember the importance of being green and taking care of the planet. The Santa Clarita Valley Family of Water Suppliers is sponsoring this year’s celebration. The event will feature live entertainment, educational displays, and water conservation techniques.
  • Santa Monica: A three-day festival of yoga and music will celebrate the spirit of Earth Day at the Tadasana Festival from April 20 to 22, sponsored by the eight yoga studios located within Tadasana’s Yoga Alley, at the edge of the beach facing the Pacific Ocean. The festival will feature themed yoga tents, lecture domes, artwork, chill zones, an organic food court, and more than 60 vendor booths promoting eco-goodness. An admission fee will be charged.
  • Torrance: Your commitment to the environmental protection extends well beyond Earth Day, and in that spirit, Torrance is combining its annual Environmental Fair with a Corporation Yard Open House and Disaster Preparedness Fair on Saturday, June 9, at the City Services Facility, 20500 Madrona Ave., from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event will feature energy-efficient appliances and zero-emission vehicles, displays on water conservation and natural landscaping techniques, energy conservation tips, and more. A free recycling drop-off event will occur concurrently at City Hall (Maple Avenue entrance), where residents can drop off paper records for shredding, e-waste, old shoes and clothes, and used oil filters. Free bags of mulch will be given away, too (while supplies last).
  • Whittier: A family-friendly celebration that promotes environmental awareness is scheduled for Saturday, April 14, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the headquarters of the Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County, 1955 Workman Mill Road, Whittier. There will be more than 50 exhibit booth displays, composting and gardening workshops, landfill and water reclamation plant tours, eco-friendly arts and crafts, environmental puppet shows, and train rides around the exhibit grounds. Free shuttle from satellite parking lots on Crossroads Parkway North.

San Diego

  • Chula Vista: A celebration of the environment, healthy living, community, and social consciousness is the message behind Earth Day Jam 2012, presented April 27-28 at the Chula Vista Center Mall. This free eco-festival runs 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. both days. It features live entertainment, more than 150 exhibitors, educational speakers, children’s events, an eco-fashion display, cultural arts, and more.
  • La Mesa: A free family-friendly celebration of the environment for East County families is planned from Sunday, April 1, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., at Mt. Helix Park. The event will feature food booths, live music, children’s events, conservation education, eco-friendly vendors, and more. Free shuttles will be provided to event site from remote parking lots, the La Mesa fire station, 10105 Vivera Drive, and Grossmont High School.
  • Oceanside: A full week of activities will culminate with a daylong festival on Saturday, April 28, as the Green Oceanside Campaign celebrates Earth Day 2012. The annual Green Fair will run from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Oceanside Pier Amphitheater. It will include dozens of environmental exhibits, kids’ activities, live entertainment, a composting workshop, environmental youth art contest, and nonprofit organization educational displays. Other events during the week will include an environmental film festival from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, April 26 at the Sunshine Brooks Theater, free used oil filter exchange, compost workshops, free e-waste collection, and Loma Alta Creek/beach cleanup. Pre-registration for the cleanup efforts, from 9 a.m. to noonSaturday, April 28, can be completed online.
  • San Diego: Support programs to help wildlife by collecting aluminum cans during the Cans for Critters program. Register online and collect as many recyclables as possible by Earth Day,Sunday, April 22, then take the recyclables to a community recycling facility and donate the proceeds to the Cans for Critters Fund page. Prizes and incentives offered for the top recyclers.
  • San Diego: Balboa Park will again host “Earth Fair,” which bills itself as the world’s largest free environmental celebration, on Sunday, April 22. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The celebration will feature hundreds of exhibit booths, three entertainment stages, special themed areas, a food pavilion, a kids activity area, a children’s parade, the eARTh Gallery art show, and an exhibit of emission-free autos.
  • San Diego: Students at San Diego State University are planning a full week of events for Green Fest Earth Day April 22 to 28, beginning with a 5K walk/run on Sunday, April 22 (proceeds benefit the campus Children’s Center). There will be daily “Know Your Food Campaign” programs with rotating topics, a GreenFest fashion show, guest speakers, environmental films, and the SDSU Green Challenge on Friday, April 27. The week’s events wrap up with the GreenFest Festival, 1 to 7 p.m. Saturday, April 28, in Parking Lots E & F.
  • San Diego: Students at UC San Diego have a week of Earth Day events planned on campus April 16 to 20 in honor of pioneering naturalist John Muir, including an inspirational address by the Dalai Lama in his first visit to San Diego. The campus will host a free e-waste collection event April 16 to 18 and the “Muirstock” music fest from 3 to 11 p.m. Friday, April 20, on Muir Quad, and the campus Sustainability Resource Center is hosting a daylong open house on Monday, April 16. The Dalai Lama will speak on campus on Wednesday, April 18, 9:30 a.m., in RIMAC Arena, but the event is sold out. The campus Earth Day observances culminate on Sunday, April 22, with Earth Fair, billed by organizers as the world’s largest Earth Day festival, in Balboa Park.
  • Vista: Alta Vista Gardens will be hosting an Earth Day Festival on Saturday, April 28, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Special events will include music and dance performances, children’s games and activities, guest speakers, art exhibits, plant sales eco-friendly vendors, garden tours, gardening demonstrations, raffles, and the Duchy of Brandenburg Medieval Village, including sword-fighting demonstrations throughout the day.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Tax Day, Emancipation Day

No, you are not being emancipated from paying taxes.

Today taxes are due, pushed back by one day because of yesterday having been Emancipation Day, celebrated in Washington D.C.

As you pay your taxes today, perhaps you might find it in your interest to contact your elected officials (congressmen/women, US senators, President) to ask that our nation reduce our spending on defense and military.

Image via News Junkie Post
If we are going to pay taxes, let it fund diplomacy, education, healthcare, infrastructure development, renewable energy investment and community building initiatives instead of killing people. Enough bloodshed has happened. It takes time to heal and the time to start is NOW.

Below, please find a letter written in 1865 from a former slave to his former master, in honor of Emancipation Day. Here is a thread that analyzes the validity of this letter.

The legacy of slavery and colonialism live on in the world. Each person needs to come to terms with this history and with how the psychological damage it caused to the slavers and enslaved affects us all today. This is a social dialogue that happens in private spaces like people's homes, but which can and should happen in public forums.

Related issues are not just matters of race relations, but also the broader question of control of the laboring capacity of others for wealth generation of a minority of people. Is this an extreme view to you? How so? Do you agree with this? How so? Do you have other insights to offer?

Please share your thoughts with us.


Dayton, Ohio, August 7, 1865

To My Old Master, Colonel P. H. Anderson
Big Spring, Tennessee

Sir: I got your letter and was glad to find you had not forgotten Jourdon, and that you wanted me to come back and live with you again, promising to do better for me than anybody else can. I have often felt uneasy about you. I thought the Yankees would have hung you long before this for harboring Rebs they found at your house. I suppose they never heard about your going to Col. Martin's to kill the Union soldier that was left by his company in their stable. Although you shot at me twice before I left you, I did not want to hear of your being hurt, and am glad you are still living. It would do me good to go back to the dear old home again and see Miss Mary and Miss Martha and Allen, Esther, Green, and Lee. Give my love to them all, and tell them I hope we will meet in the better world, if not in this. I would have come back to see you all when I was working in Nashville, but one of the neighbors told me Henry intended to shoot me if he ever got a chance.

I want to know particularly what the good chance is you propose to give me. I am doing tolerably well here; I get $25 a month, with victuals and clothing; have a comfortable home for Mandy (the folks here call her Mrs. Anderson), and the children, Milly, Jane and Grundy, go to school and are learning well; the teacher says Grundy has a head for a preacher. They go to Sunday-School, and Mandy and me attend church regularly. We are kindly treated; sometimes we overhear others saying, "Them colored people were slaves" down in Tennessee. The children feel hurt when they hear such remarks, but I tell them it was no disgrace in Tennessee to belong to Col. Anderson. Many darkies would have been proud, as I used to was, to call you master. Now, if you will write and say what wages you will give me, I will be better able to decide whether it would be to my advantage to move back again.

As to my freedom, which you say I can have, there is nothing to be gained on that score, as I got my free-papers in 1864 from the Provost-Marshal-General of the Department at Nashville. Mandy says she would be afraid to go back without some proof that you are sincerely disposed to treat us justly and kindly -- and we have concluded to test your sincerity by asking you to send us our wages for the time we served you. This will make us forget and forgive old scores, and rely on your justice and friendship in the future. I served you faithfully for thirty-two years and Mandy twenty years. At $25 a month for me, and $2 a week for Mandy, our earnings would amount to $11,680. Add to this the interest for the time our wages has been kept back and deduct what you paid for our clothing and three doctor's visits to me, and pulling a tooth for Mandy, and the balance will show what we are in justice entitled to. Please send the money by Adams Express, in care of V. Winters, esq, Dayton, Ohio. If you fail to pay us for faithful labors in the past we can have little faith in your promises in the future. We trust the good Maker has opened your eyes to the wrongs which you and your fathers have done to me and my fathers, in making us toil for you for generations without recompense. Here I draw my wages every Saturday night, but in Tennessee there was never any pay day for the negroes any more than for the horses and cows. Surely there will be a day of reckoning for those who defraud the laborer of his hire.

In answering this letter please state if there would be any safety for my Milly and Jane, who are now grown up and both good-looking girls. You know how it was with poor Matilda and Catherine. I would rather stay here and starve and die if it comes to that than have my girls brought to shame by the violence and wickedness of their young masters. You will also please state if there has been any schools opened for the colored children in your neighborhood, the great desire of my life now is to give my children an education, and have them form virtuous habits.

P.S. -- Say howdy to George Carter, and thank him for taking the pistol from you when you were shooting at me.

From your old servant,

Jourdon Anderson

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


Dear community,

The events below go far in showing why Los Angeles is such an amazing city. ;) There are a bunch of interesting, stimulating, world and mind changing events coming up and they are mostly free, though some have suggested donations.

Events include talks (through American Friends Service Committee and Zocalo Public Square), Earth Day events, CicLAvia, free tomato growing class, a play inspired by Homegirl Cafe homegirls, info on preparing a toxic free funeral for your loved ones, and more.

Events listed run through the end of the month. Enjoy!


What: Friends Peace Dialogue - "The Transition Movement: From Oil Dependency to Local Resiliency"

Hosted by: American Friends Service Committee

When: Thursday, April 12, 7:00 - 8:00 pm

Where: AFSC Office, 634 S. Spring St., 3rd Flr., Downtown Los Angeles, 90014

Join the AFSC in Los Angeles for a timely discussion on the Transition Movement. The Transition movement is a grassroots response to a number of global changes including peak oil, climate change, and economic stability. The movement recognizes that change must happen within every aspect of our society. Here in Los Angeles, there are various local groups creating and participating in a wide variety of Transition movement activities, including organizing workshops on repurposing old clothing, chicken hutch building, bicycle repair, designing solar cookers and building community gardens. The Transition Movement goes far beyond "going green" but into root level and local change based on individual empowerment.

Notes: (Event occurs during downtown Artwalk night. Parking available at Joe's Parking lot on Spring and 5th St., or take public transit -- Pershing Square exit off of the Red Line is 2 blocks away.)

Cost: free!


What: Free tomato growing class! 'Tis the season!

When: Saturday, April 14, 9-11 am

Where: At all Armstrong's Garden Center locations

Grow your own tomatoes! They taste way better than store bought, contain more nutrients (you can pluck them when they are ripe, not weeks before like store bought), they won't have pesticides, they won't be shipped from some far away place like China, and they are YOUR beautiful babies! Head out to this class if you can, it is free and depending on where you go, they will teach you organic growing methods. It doesn't matter if you don't have a garden - you can grow in a container on a patio, or anywhere that you get good sun.

Cost: free!


What: CicLAvia

When: Sunday, April 15, 10 am - 3 pm

Where: Along over 10 miles of Los Angeles streets! From east of the LA bridge to Little Tokyo to City Hall, down Spring St. to 7th, all the way to Melrose and Heliotrope! For a map, click HERE.

Ciclovías started in Bogotá, Colombia, over thirty years ago as a response to the congestion and pollution of city streets. Now they happen throughout Latin America and the United States. Connecting communities and giving people a break from the stress of car traffic. The health benefits are immense. Ciclovías bring families outside of their homes to enjoy the streets, our largest public space. In Los Angeles we need CicLAvia more than ever. Our streets are congested with traffic, our air is polluted with toxic fumes, our children suffer from obesity and other health conditions caused by the scarcity of public space and safe, healthy transportation options. CicLAvia creates a temporary park for free, simply by removing cars from city streets. It creates a network of connections between our neighborhoods and businesses and parks with corridors filled with fun. You can walk, bike, skate, skateboard, dance, rollerblade, anything goes except automobiles!

Cost: free!


What: Sacred Crossings: Bringing Funerals Home -- Integrating death into the cycle of life with joy! with Rev. Olivia Barham

When: Friday, April 13, 2012 at 7:30 pm

Where: L.A. Eco-Village - 117 Bimini Place, Los Angeles, CA 90004

Did you Know?

*You can delegate a family member to act as your funeral director?
*Embalming is not required by law?
*The body of your loved one can lie in honor at home for a 3-day vigil?
*You can create, decorate and transport a casket to the place of disposition?

Are you, or someone you love preparing to make their final transition? Or would you like to opt out of the toxic funeral industry by planning ahead, no matter what your age is or the condition of your health? Or make sure that your loved ones know what your wishes are about your final journey? If you would like to learn more about your options for creating a deeply meaningful, Green and affordable wake and funeral in the comfort and privacy of your own home, then join our intimate gathering as we discuss the legalities and logistics of Home Funerals and our options for Cremation, Burial and Green Burials. Sacred Crossings educates, inspires and empowers families to reclaim the lost art and ancient ritual of a Home Funeral.

We will view films of home funerals and Green burials - your discretion is advised.

Notes: Reservations required: email crsp [at] igc [dot] org or call 213-738-1254

Cost: Fee: $10 - $15 (sliding scale)

What: Zocalo lecture - Can Diverse Societies Cohere?

When: Friday, April 13 at 7:30 pm

Where: Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), 250 South Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA

Although the world is getting smaller, our divisions are increasing. Communities that used to be alike in religion, ethnicity, language, or income have begun to diverge along these lines. Because people naturally avoid engaging with those unlike themselves, modern society has become increasingly fragmented. And yet some communities manage to bridge the divides, to cohere despite the odds. It’s through cooperation that such achievements are possible, and cooperation, argues Cambridge University sociologist Richard Sennett, is a craft. Sennett, author of Together: The Rituals, Pleasures and Politics of Cooperation, visits Zócalo to discuss why, in a diverse society, cooperation is a craft that can—and must—be learned.

Notes: RSVP online to attend.

Parking $9 at the Walt Disney Concert Hall garage. Enter from Second St., just west of Grand Ave. Or take public transit - exit Civic Center off of the Metro Red Line.

Cost: free!


What: Zocalo lecture - Is Eating Well Just for the Rich?

Sponsored by: KCRW

When: Thursday, April 19 at 7:30 pm

Where: Goethe-Institut Los Angeles, 5750 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA

Some of us are eating better than ever. But most Americans still live in a fast food nation. The number of U.S. farmers’ markets has nearly doubled, but at least 88 percent of Americans fail to consume the recommended daily allowance of fruits and vegetables. Over 1 million people tune into the Food Network each night, yet 14 million people live in food deserts at least a mile from a supermarket. What would it take for us all to eat well? Journalist Tracie McMillan, author of The American Way of Eating: Undercover at Walmart, Applebee’s, Farm Fields and the Dinner Table, spent a year working and eating with the people at the bottom rung of the food service industry to try to find out. She visits Zócalo to discuss what’s keeping Americans from getting the food they want and what we can do about it.

Notes: RSVP online at:

Cost: free!


What: Cafe Vida -- a theatrical play!

Sponsored by: Produced in partnership between Cornerstone Theater, Homeboy Industries and Homegirl Café. Community partners include Hunger Action LA, Solano Canyon Community Garden, and the Urban & Environmental Policy Institute at Occidental College.

Where: The Los Angeles Theater Center, 514 S. Spring. St., Los Angeles 90013

When: Thursdays - Sundays from April 26 - May 20. From Thu-Sat it takes place at 8pm, with Sunday matinee at 2 pm

Acclaimed playwright Lisa Loomer pens the first production in Cornerstone Theater Company’s Hunger Cycle with an original work, Café Vida. Chabela and Luz are two rival homegirls ready to leave the gang life and begin anew at Café Vida, the only place in the city that gives young women and their shady pasts a genuine second chance to start a new life free of violence. It’s here that these former enemies pull themselves up by their shoelaces, maintain a steady diet of self-respect, learn to compost, tend a garden, julienne an onion and take your lunch order with a smile and a heaping side of transformation.

Notes: Café Vida is the first play in Cornerstone Theater’s recently launched Hunger Cycle, a series of nine world premiere plays investigating the universal and urgent need for food and how filling that need has the power to transform individuals and communities.

Cost: $20 advanced purchase online, pay what you can at the door (accessible to all).


What: Earth Day South LA

Sponsored by: Community Services Ltd., Normandie Avenue Elementary School, Los Angeles Conservation Corps, City Year, Guerilla Food Not Bombs, Earlez Grille, Steel Deck, VegFund, WORKS USA, Offices of Mark Ridley-Thomas, USC Office of Civic Engagement/University Neighbor Outreach and others. Booths featuring: Hunger Action LA, Community Build, Community Coalition, LA Community Action Network, Garden Gateway, TreePeople.

When: Saturday, April 14, 11am to 4pm

Where: Normandie Avenue Elementary School, 4505 S. Raymond Ave, LA, CA 90037. At the corner of Normandie and Vernon.

Community Services Unlimited and numerous partners and sponsors will hold the 4th annual Earth Day South LA Festival, an educational, fun and safe event for the whole family. Join us as we celebrate our collective vision for a more vibrant and earth-friendly South Los Angeles with this year's theme - air - visible throughout the event. Participate in service projects, all day activities for kids, cooking demos and workshops including gardening with natives, recycled art and yoga.

Cost: Free, though there is a suggested donation of $5 or more. No one turned away for lack of funds


What: Topanga Earth Day Festival

When: April 21st and 22nd, 10 am til sundown

Where: At the Topanga Community House Fair Grounds, 1440 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd., Topanga, CA 90290

Authentic musical performances, guest speakers, ecological artists, innovative environmental demonstrations, non-profit organizations, yoga, biodegradable & sustainable solutions, products and services, alternative energy, healing arts, primitive skills & living by example workshops, organic food & beverages, a free bio-diesel shuttle, composting, water conservation, and native planting for all ages and all cultures.

Notes: The Love and Haiti Project, Kids Make A Difference

Cost: $12 suggested donation

Friday, April 6, 2012

Facebook has a woman problem!

A few weeks ago, I blogged on the power of the petition -- it only takes a few seconds of your time to sign a petition, but the impact can be HUGE (which is why has become such a hugely successful organization!). Well, this blog post is dedicated to getting your signatures on a rather interesting issue that relates to very local to global issues -- global impacts of a corporate board, and the world's most popular social networking site, Facebook.

I received an email from a friend and fellow blogger today who is upset by the fact that Facebook is going public and has formed a board on which sit 0, yes, ZERO women.

Here is what she had to say:

Sorry for the group mail, but this is an issue i care deeply about.  I've sat on 2 boards now, and i was the only female director on either of them (and these aren't small companies with 2-man boards; 1 is a UK fortune 500 company with 12+ board members; the other a music major, also with 12+ directors).  There are some women on this chain who have also sat on corporate boards, and i'm sure they could tell a similar story.

There is a real problem with corporate culture when absolutely ZERO value is placed on diversity.  I have seen firsthand how much power a corporate board wields, and I want to see a world someday where corporate actions reflect the diverse thinking / lives / consumption / etc. of a diverse world.  This includes women, people of color, the LGBTQ community, etc.  

Especially for a social networking site like FB, arguably one of the world's most influential corporations, this is entirely unacceptable.  When you have an all-star like Sheryl Sandberg working for you, or external players like Mary Meeker (THE go-to internet guru), is it really that much of a stretch to have ONE female on the board?  (Surely, we aren't all brain dead?)

Let's start with this first step.  And I firmly believe that as things progress, it will no longer be acceptable to not have women on boards, to not have people of color or gay men/women, etc etc.  And maybe I'm being naive, but I think this will in turn change the attitudes and then actions of Corporate America.

I'm writing this to brothers and sisters who recognize this is more than a "woman problem" -- it's a first step to changing a force of power that quite literally shapes the ways that you and I live our daily lives.  Please take a moment to sign, and even better -- pass it on!

HERE is a link to sign the petition to Mark Zuckerberg to put at least one woman on his board. Seriously? Do we have to do this? It is 2012 not 1950!!!

My friend blogged about this issue at the site she writes for, Qulture. Click HERE to link to her article.

Let's see how this works out...


Nisha Namorando Vida
Founding Director
Local to Global Life Works

Monday, April 2, 2012

Moments of clarity

Image from IO9 article on science on harnessing electricity from humid air
It is time for human beings to evolve into their collective highest potential. In the Human Family blog post, we touched on how humans have the same genetic capacities to develop markers of intelligence. We also postulated on some underlying reasons and intention for discrimination.

Below are some videos to frame the concepts addressed in the Human Family post into alternative perspectives.

First is a TED talk by actress Thandie Newton talking about her process of embracing her 'otherness' and difference from other people in the community she grew up in. She discusses the process of realization she underwent to discover that the human 'self' is often an image that individual people create for themselves based on copying people in society around them and reflecting back a self that fits in. She realized that the self is ever changing and also a mirage in certain senses, and talks about how liberating of a thought this is.

The second video is a TED talk by a neuroscientist who underwent a brain stroke. She discusses how all humans have two personalities that live in each hemisphere of their brain. Each half of our brain has a completely different function, which impacts the self that is housed in that side of the brain. Our right brain connects us to the perpetual and infinite stream of energy, chemistry, light and life around us. It is a constant part of this flow and does not separate the human self from the rest of existence. The left brain is logical, the planner, looks to the future and considers the past. It separates itself from the flow and picks out what specific elements it wants the human body to recognize in order to make sense of the world around it.

The third video is very brief. In it, Jim Carrey describes what he calls his 'awakening', or connection to the greater realm of energy around his human 'self'.


Thandie Newton:

How it feels to have a stroke:

Jim Carrey: