Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Way Out There

Andrew Skurka took another long treck in the wilderness. 4,500 plus miles in Alaska. 26 miles a day. 20 plus days without seeing another human being. It is far different from hiking on the established trails. 

The last third of expedition took him into northern Yukon and the Arctic. During one stretch, Skurka traveled 657 miles over 24 days without crossing a road or seeing a human being. It was just him and his video camera. The clip he showed from that period revealed some of his deepest reflections. For Skurka, "big wilderness has a different feel to it." His surroundings were so wild, "big, open, and vast." He "could have been the last person on earth," and felt unsettled by this "new level of vulnerability and sense of self-dependence." His mentor, Roman Dial, put it into perspective: "You are not on the Appalachian trail anymore. In big wilderness, there is no such thing as comfort."[...]
You are "just another animal," and just "as vulnerable and exposed to nature as the creatures around you." There are "bigger powers at play than you could ever understand or imagine."

Wild stuff. Safe journeys Andrew.

RIP Pinetop Perkins

Pinetop Perkins passed away, 97 years young. I am amazed his solo career did not start sooner. From the Australian.
At 75 Perkins was invited to record his first album as a frontman on After Hours (1988). He followed it with Pinetop's Boogie-Woogie (1992), on which his stomping piano style was backed by a superior cast of blues guitarists including Matt "Guitar" Murphy, Jimmy Rogers, Hubert Sumlin and Luther Tucker.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Big Ag Will Not Work

Michael Pollan is interviewed in the Globe And Mail. I really like this graph.

It’s also an interesting formulation because we just don’t have the choice of continuing down the path of this highly industrialized, highly fossil fuel-dependent food industry, even if we wanted to. Even if we decided that’s what we liked best, we’re going to find we don’t have the fossil fuel to support it. We would find that having a globalized food economy is fraught with risks, as we’re seeing with the current price spikes. And that food security, whether you’re talking about countries or smaller units, is endangered by having the food system we have. A lot of the political instability we’re seeing now is tied to problems with the globalized food system. So the idea that’s it’s working and that we could continue on this path is just not a choice available to us. We have to figure out another way to do it. And to say the only alternative is the tiny artisinal farm is false. There are many ways to do it. All of them involve changing industrial agricultural, however.
On a related note, I saw the PBS documentary of his book Botany of Desire today.  The movie complimented and even enhanced the book. Usually when I read a book and see the movie, I am disappointed.