The Eleven August 2019

The Eleven is my monthly newsletter for friends and family.

It comes out on the 11th of most months. You can sign up for it, here. Archived past versions of The Eleven, are over here.

Beloved Festival by Carlton Ward
Greetings!
Hello from the Beloved Festival year 12 (photo above by Carlton Ward). I’ve been attending this one every year and it just keeps getting better. On Sunday, the 11th, 2019, it will be a late morning after a very long night for many of the attendees.
Before I start with a review of the last couple months – please take a moment to donate to Amy McGrath who is running against Republican Senator Mitch McConnell. Donate any amount. You’ll feel better after that.
Well, it’s been quite a full time on my end these past months. The main reason I didn’t send out an 11 for July was because I was busily preparing for the Oregon Country Faire. Here are some highlights from recent travels around the area.
June : Summer Solstice Healing Retreat @ Breitenbush – my 24th year. I started attending this event in 1995 when my friend Shelley G. asked if I wanted to travel from my new home, Seattle, and volunteer for something fun in Oregon. I had no idea how influential this event, Breitenbush, and the family I’ve met there would be on my life. It’s a sweet gathering where we all offer healing workshops for one another and I get to play a ton of music and sing my heart out. This year was, as they say “the best solstice ever!”. Come join me next year – send a note to be alerted when tickets go on sale (usually in April). It’s one of the most cost-effective ways to visit Breitenbush, too.
June : World Domination Summit : This was my 2nd year attending this incredible conference. My write up from last year still stands as an accurate reflection of what this is all about – how to live an extraordinary life in a conventional world. But this year I really dove deeper and tried harder to understand what was going on. And, I offered 2 meetups of my own to fellow attendees. Yes, it’s an incredible group of people from all over the world coming together for a week sans cynicism and sarcasm. And, when that happens, and people are there to learn from one another and collaborate on each others projects and personal growth – incredible results occur. I’m still in awe of my experience this year and bought a ticket for the final year, 2020. This is probably the most expensive ticket that I bought this year, but the price was worth it for just one day. Join me next year!
July : 2 weeks later I was helping out in the Wileyware booth at the Oregon Country Fair – 50th Anniversary. I finally realized that what I do at OCF is visit with friends old and new in a 5-day long conversation-fest. I played music naked at the Ritz on Friday this year, which is certainly fun. And the Wileyware gang is a blast – our annual cocktail party on Thursday night featured many of my favorite musicians – Steve Bennett, Timothy Michael Shaw, and Katie Sontag. Overall, one of my best Faire’s ever. Then, it was home to rest for a couple days before the …
Northwest String Summit or, Strummit as it’s known. This was my 4th year attending Strummit and I have to say it was one of the best musical highlights of my life. The quality of the music is very high – it’s mostly jamband/bluegrass – which I love. Think Danny Barnes meets Yonder Mountain String Band meets Dark Star Orchestra meets a bunch of traveling bands that you’ve never heard of who are full of such heart and stories it makes you wanna cry with joy. See below for some links to the Saturday night Yonder Mountain set and music by SideBoob (a collection of all of the women who play the festival who are available to play at the time appointed). Their outfits were incredibly outrageous this year. Strummit has some work to do to improve – some of the same issues I note in my review above from 2018 are still prevalent. I’m particularly concerned about the amount of time bright spotlights are focused directly at the audience and I’m working to try to get this across to whomever is running the mainstage lights. I’m mostly discussing this in the Strummit FB group . Btw, it would be great to have more friends at this event next year. Come dance with me!
August: This past weekend my friends and I played @ Destin and Kellie’s wedding. That was delicious and fun – here’s a picture of me with Mt. Hood behind from Husum, WA!
Albert in Husum 2019
Then, there is the ongoing work with QuietCleanPDX ! I’m meeting with a group every other week to push for a ban on gas-powered leaf blowers. Check out our Resources page. If you want to stay abreast of what we’re doing click here and that will automatically add you to our email list on that topic.
I’m also still busy trying to protect and increase Portland’s tree canopy. I organized a group to go see Canopy Stories, recently, and that was fun and educational. If that topic interests you, join us in a group on Facebook .
There were also some community building activities – I instigated a fun 44th Ave. SE block party on 8.2.19. It was the first time some neighbors who’d lived on the block for years had ever met one another. And, the mix of generations was awesome to experience, too. On another day I gave a lesson in “birthday autoresponders” to 2 local 13-year olds while their parents watched. I’m trying to figure out how to pass along the knowledge I have about social media and email marketing to the next generation – because they are powerful tools if used well. I’m also playing way too much online chess on chess.com. Just one more game…
Like you, I’m pretty upset about the gun violence that’s been happening. It’s the fault of Republicans and especially President Trump – that is where the blame lies – and I hope you’re excited as I am to throw them out of office in 2020. They are also responsible for our inaction on climate change. Until they are gone we can all keep speaking out and working on issues and for candidates who speak the truth and do not for support white supremacy. I do have hope – and will continue speaking out.
In the meantime, I think it’s also important to take care of our health – physical and emotional. Do what you have to to get enough rest; drink water; and stay connected with friends and family. We will weather this storm – let’s do it together and laugh, cry and live in the world we want to see – NOW!
Take care and happy Summer.
Albert
PS – Here’s a great set of music by the Yonder Mountain String Band from this year’s Strummit. And Sideboob’s show – all the women who played at Strummit.
PPS – If you like the work I do in the world please take a moment and post a review in one of the spots below. This is something I asked of business connections, but I’d love it if you’d say something if you would. Thanks!
Greetings!
If you are willing, I’d love your review on the following platforms. If you have a Constant Contact account a review in the Constant Contact marketplace would be fantastic.
If not, a review on Nextdoor.com , Yelp!,FacebookLinkedIn or Google , would be welcome – thank you!
I hope you’re having a great Summer.
Sincerely,
Albert Kaufman
PS – if you leave a review in 5 of the 6 places – let me know and you will receive something very fun.

 

Defeating Climate Change by Dismantling World Economies

Climate Change

Climate Change

I’ve been working on a campaign to rid my City, Portland, Oregon of gas-powered leaf blowers. This seems like low-hanging fruit in our fight to stop climate change. DC just banned them, so I figure we can do the same. While I’m working on this it got me to thinking what other simple changes could we make that would have a great impact on our climate.

For a long time I’ve had a few ideas that I think would make society simpler and in case #2 reduce commute times. The first is “Where does this dirt go?” The idea is that there is a centralized database that could track when dirt is being dug and moved — which could connect those who have dirt/fill with those who need it — rather than what currently seems to happen — dirt is dug, and then moved to a pile in the sub or ex-urbs and then brought back in via dump trucks. The 2nd idea is also database driven and has people who do exchangeable jobs switch with others to move their jobs closer to their homes. Ie, I am a 3rd grade teacher who drives an hour each day to my school — instead I switch with another 3rd grade teacher so that both of our commutes shorten — this might involve many people switching.

But really on a larger scale, a great way for us to combat climate change will be to pretty much shut down our current economy. I’m in the US, but other countries would probably benefit from this action, too. Our current economy is pretty new and does not have to be the way things are — it just is. So, what do I mean by shut down the economy?  Basically, everything that is not necessary to peoples’ lives should stop being produced. Especially, anything that has to do with war or killing (speaking of low-hanging fruit). Yes, many jobs will disappear and the transition will both take time and be a challenge to all of us. And, the other choice is cooking ourselves to death and moving towards a planet that is uninhabitable. So, please hear me out and possibly suggest ideas that could shape this into an actual policy.

Here’s further what I have in mind: the complete localization of everything. I wander my neighborhood in SE Portland and imagine a future where more people are at home — spending time with their kids; learning french and the piano. Imagine a life like that lived by Bill Murray in Groundhog Day — where we’re spending our precious lives learning, playing, cooking food together and being in community with one another. Doesn’t that sound more appetizing than commuting to a cubicle and spending 40+ hours a week working, anyway?  It does to me. I think it does to a lot of people.

So, what would go? Well, war-related everything. Health insurance companies seem unnecessary — I could see the US copying Germany’s version of healthcare. The production of a lot of stuff — I’m sure there’s some way to figure out together what’s useful and what’s not? And then for those jobs that are necessary, we share them.  The stock market and the way companies progress by driving up share prices for shareholders obviously needs to change. That’s leading to the using up of our natural resources — I’m watching as Oregon forests get chopped down for toilet paper and phone books by out of state investment companies looking to make a quick buck. These trees are the planets lungs — there should be an immediate moratorium on cutting trees, worldwide and planting as many as possible.

And, as quickly as possible we should all be moving towards solar and wind-powered everything. Wow, there’s a lot to think about here.  The gist is — how quickly can we transition away from our current way of doing things to something that looks more local, village-like, less resource-intensive, and less fossil-fuel based.  While we reduce our human population.

Last word on that idea: there’s a lot of talk about “replacement level” population growth. Why on God’s earth would we want to be at replacement level? Why is that seen as a good thing? The US with 320 million people is crowded. Forget replacement level — shrinking could be a great thing for all of us.

Further thought is needed on a lot of this. And, my a-ha moment about changing how we do things seemed valuable enough that I wanted to share it. Let me know if you have something to add. Thanks. For a better world, Albert Kaufman

PS – this article was also shared on Daily Kos – if you’d like to read some interesting comments check it out.

4.7.19 – this books looks like a good guide. How to Do Nothing

Spring 2016 – Saving Time – Use Facebook Less

Spring Cleaning: How to use Facebook less.

Happy Spring. Like many, I find myself using Facebook at lot of time when I have other things to do.  My simple hack is to have Facebook open on one browser and the rest of my productivity tools (Hello, WordPress) open on another. This has led to using Facebook a whole lot less. Many of us learned to use Facebook for marketing our businesses back when it was free and reach was a real thing. Now that you have to pay to play, and even that is an unreliable indicator of any kind of usefulness, that which Facebook is useful for has shifted. I still do think that Facebook is useful – especially for networking and keeping in touch with others. Organizing things also goes pretty well – groups, events – still are great ways to gather people for a cause.  Try putting Facebook in it’s own browser and having the rest of your world happening on another and see what you think – I’d love to hear your thoughts below.

2.6.18 – Update: I took Facecrack off my phone (as well as Instagram) = this has led to about 70% decrease in my use of Facecrack – I highly recommend this move! 

In other news, it was quite a weekend. I attended the first ever Cultivation Classic.

Cultivation Classic

Spring into Cultivation Classic

According to Jeremy Plumb, one of the organizers: “This competition welcomes growers who can demonstrate a commitment to organic production methods, moving toward a regenerative approach,” said Jeremy Plumb, owner of Newcleus Nurseries and Farma dispensary in Portland. “This competition regards the quality of the process used, as well as the quality of the product.

I learned a ton. I met great people. My Congressman, Earl Blumenauer was there. I’m still tickled by how incredible the event was – really great speakers; good food; people dedicated to organic; good music. I can’t wait till the next one.  Here’s info about the winning strains

Then, there’s global warming. You just can’t escape it.  We just had the warmest April in Portland’s history. I still believe the answer is lessening the number of people on the planet, gradually.  I can’t believe how little the topic of human population growth in regards to climate change is discussed. I had a talk with a friend this past weekend who was arguing that US populatin growth is just fine. We’re the fastest growing population of any developed country and our consumption levels are over the top – so, hello warmest month ever, we’ve been expecting you.

I’ve been inspired, lately, to make more content and to share more of my thinking with the world. So, that’s what this is about. Thanks to Tim Ferris and Seth Godin and Michael Katz, some of the people who put out great content on a regular basis. I hope to fit into this tradition 🙂  I used to write a whole lot more – my newsletters used to be little tomes and as the trend has changed to shorter format, so have I.

That’s it for today. Have a great Spring! I hope life is treating you well. Feel free to leave comments below and to share this post on the social network of your choice!

AlbertCultivation Classic

More pictures of the event here.

100 Year Weather Event, or the future of life in the Pacific Northwest?

My heart goes out to everyone in the Pacific Northwest who is being adversely affected by the current rains.

In the Pacific Northwest we’re used to heavy rain and all that it entails. But the recent rains have led to a level of flooding and hardship that people are calling a “100 Year Event”. I most recently heard people talking about this at Breitenbush where I spent new years and learned that two of the newly built bridges that span trails there had been washed out. Next up have been the January rains which have led to roads washing out, peoples’ houses being flooded and lots of landslides. Some towns like Vernonia, Oregon, seem to be having repeat flood events and the recent news is of thousands having to leave homes around the state, car accidents and lots of property damage.

My main question is “is this global climate change and its effects?” If so, are those who are calling this a “100 year event” actually missing the possibility that this may be how life here will continue to be from now on – rainy, with more and more rain and displacement.

I’ve long been following demographic trends around population growth and have been making the connection between our increased numbers and our effect on the environment. More pollution, species loss, rapid glacier melt, and running out of resources like oil have all been shown to be happening on an upward trend for years. What is less obvious is how all of this effects our world in places like Oregon, where we’re in a situation like the frog in the slowly heating water – we probably won’t change what we’re doing until the heat is turned way up, otherwise, the frog, in this scenario slowly boils and dies. Now, with the current rain, we have a warning sign that can’t be ignored.

Will we be smart and move towards actions that will slow global climate change or will we continue to adjust to its adverse effects and grin and bear it? Some smart moves that I think Oregonians could take that might increase our chances of experiencing a better future would be to plant trees and stop clear-cutting the ones we have. This would improve our (and the rest of the world’s) air quality, help control storm water and erosion problems and keep hillsides from sliding. I also think it would make sense for there to be some sort of program to move people out of floodplains and onto higher ground.

If there’s a chance that this year’s rains might repeat regularly what other moves should we as a society consider to avoid the high costs of the damage and to keep us all safe and dry? I’m sure there are hundreds. Should we be removing any extra pavement that exists as the group Depave works to do? Should we be planting millions of fruit and nut trees to make ourselves more food self-reliant and cut down on shipping costs of food? Are millions of new community and backyard gardens in our future? I’d love to see a state-wide or bioregion-wide analysis done of how we currently use our land and other resources and plug in possible weather events into the equation. I’m sure that would shed light on how prepared we will be for any future contingencies.

Will we learn from the current weather event? I suggest we treat it not like a “100 year event” but plan for the possibility that it may happen again next week, and next year. Let’s plan for the future not be run over by it.

————-

I posted this article on Daily Kos and there have been 100+ comments in one day. It’s a very interesting discussion of this topic. I highly recommend giving it a read – some very cool analysis, ideas, links and videos on the topic.

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