Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Update from Bezerkely- July 4th weekend traction

The fireworks in Oakland were fun, but its tough to be impressed by any fireworks after several years of the Boston 4th of July extrazavaganza. More exciting than the actual fireworks was just the whole weekend and how some projects are emerging to define how I'll be spending my time this summer. Friday I talked with the pres of NorCal Solar about the Oakland Solar Tour I'm coordinating, and I also met with folks from
Independent Image Entertainment - I'm going to be assisting a highly talented and experienced storyboard illustrator write his first graphic novel (comic book) and potentially assistant direct a movie in the Fall.
Saterday I made $40 gardening for a woman I met while volunteering for Food not Bombs, and today I went to the Code-Green office to pick up some books on grant-writing and to meet with Bob, the president, who said that if they receive the grant, they'll pay me a percentage.
Tonight I'm going to happy hour in San Francisco with The League of Independent Voters (a.k.a. the league of pissed off voters). I met a few active members at an event during World Earth Day, and they impressed me with what they're trying to do - they seem very committed to organizing a stronger progressive community and I'm all for that.
As for web finds, I'm reading a lot of www.grist.com and also the iraq web blog www.dahrjamailiraq.com. For books, I'm reading don't think of an elephant! know your values and frame the debate by George Lakoff and I'm rereading George Orwell's Nineteen-eighty-four

Thursday, June 23, 2005

I'm back...

Okay, I'm back to blogging on this site for now cause I'm not sure I need the other website at www.greencollarjobs.com - I'll still keep the domain name, which I still really like, but i'm not too keen on the website service squarespace.com. Between freebob and blogger I have webspace and blogging ability. I'm not thrilled with my Frontpage design for my freebob website so I'll explore how to improve that sloppy setup. I'll probably point my greencollarjobs.com domain name to progressive2008 blogger and keep developing those ideas there.
So, lets see - cool things I did this past week -
- Sunday Hare Krishna Temple night- lecture, dinner, dancing and chanting - it was far out and I had a great conversation with Ricardo, who's a longtime ficture in the Bezerkely scene. Then I had a great time walking back towards my place with a kid named Ninja who played me smooth reggae on his mp3 player and sang along.
- Last night I went to a lecture on the craft of writing that was held in a funky loft with wine and cheese. Gabriel Kram threw out more information than I've heard in entire semesters - and he did it in an hour. So while he did nothing but straight lecture, he presented some great ideas on crafting a story. The loft was of a documentary filmmaker, a petite gal with elfish features named Smith, who said she's juggling several documentary projects at once right now.
- Speaking of which, www.storycenter.org had the most interesting post for me on the weekly jobfile I received today from media alliance. They're looking for interns to help with projects they're doing in the summer and fall, so I shot them an email asking for more information. I love the idea of story telling and digital formats of storytelling is definitely the hot medium today and in the future. writing has its place- even in digital format and digi needs writers - and today's young people and kids aren't reading the newspapers they're interacting with the news and with content or on the other extreme, they're getting it all from TV.
- Tonight I went to the sign making party for the ella baker center. We're going sunday to Chad - the worst of the cali youth prisons, to march in protest and hold a press conference releasing a report describing the terrible abuses of the California Youth Authority - the way they treat the kids sounds like they should be put in jail, not to mention that its ineffective, expensive, and it all adds up to being downright tragic. The good news is that with enough concerted pressure these warehouses where they throw kids can be closed and replaced by programs that actually help the kids. Tonight a woman, Ravita, and her son David were there. David is 7 and he was cracking us up - funny kid. I asked him if he had any siblings and he said his brother's in CYA for another 2 years of a 5 year sentence. Ravita had many stories about the CYA. She'll be there Sunday along with Cindy, Zach, and several others that were there making signs tonight. It'll be a fascinating day.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

I'm moving to a new blog called greencollarjobs.com

Blogging technology has really evolved. I've found a site that gives me a lot more control and allows me to do more quite easily and has lots of capacity to allow me to expand as my needs and vision for the site evolve. The host is www.squarespace.com and through it, I've set up my new website/blog called www.greencollarjobs.com
Don't get me wrong, www.blogger.com is great, especially because its free and easy to start using right away to get the hang of blogging. I've learned about blogging, I'm a convert, and I want to upgrade. Its like a new sport :-). Most important thing about blogging is that its gotta be fun!
The reason I chose the greencollarjobs website is because I see my website as something that will evolve from my initial blogging on what I'm learning as I seek my green collar job to helping every person who wants to make the green pledge, and wants a green collar job. This includes people who could never dream of pursuing an advanced degree, who didn't graduate from college or from high school. Being an environmental educator, to have relevance in these times to a broad spectrum of people, means, I believe, to address people's issues where they are at the core - JOBS. There are millions of people all over this country and all over this world who need jobs, and will take the job that they can get, whether it involves polluting the planet, lining the pockets of rich CEO's while they just scrounge by, or even (often) polluting their own bodies with toxics in the workplace. I'm convinced that the only way environmental sustainability is going to grow is by convincing people with tangible jobs that pay and are healthier and just more fun than working for a company steeped in the old oil-based industrial corporate industrial model. Green Collar Jobs addresses the biggest social issue of our time - CLASS. The world NEEDS to welcome and train its working class blue collar people (people that come in all hues) we need to love blue collar people and we need to welcome them into green collar jobs. Green Collar Jobs is about white collar and blue collar people coming together to form a new working class to build a new green economy built on the moral principle that all life is sacred and each person, like the earth, deserves respect. These are the ideas behind Green Collar Jobs, and they are not my own, but things I've learned from visionary teachers and leaders planting the seeds for a movement and planting green collar gardens in the Bay area.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

uphill battles

Today I feel a real sense of place, as environmental educators like to say. I feel in all down my legs and in my bum. I went for a nice bicycle ride to Tilden park, a place a dude named Brandon told me was close by, easy to get to, and had great bike paths. He even gave me directions - he said it was "just up Spruce St."
The key word in that statement was UP. There was nothing JUST about four miles of solid uphill, and the whole time I'm thinking that the dang park had to be just over the next precipice. The way back was when my hands and arms got a turn at working because I was clenching the breaks most of the way back down. Whooeee - great sense of place. Lance Armstrong I am not.
The upside today was that I got a great lesson on bikes from Scott at the Missing Link Cooperative, where I bought my bike. Its so awesome to buy from a place where there's no boss, and all 15 or so employees actually own and run the store. Anyway, he told me all about the wheels and the gears and how to take the wheel off and how to best lock the bike - some really basic stuff but he was so nice about it and didn't make me feel like a fool for knowing nothing about bicycles.
Oh, so the reason I went back to the store today is kind of funny, and freaky. On my first attempt to bike to Tilden park I soon realized that there was nothing holding my front wheel in but gravity. Someone had removed my quick-release thingy that attaches the front wheel to the frame! I biked back (carefully, and admittedly, foolishly) to the Missing Link and Scott was really cool, didn't even charge me for the missing part, and gave me this 1/2 hour awesome lesson. Hmmm maybe he was concerned that I was going to kill myself if he didn't show me a thing or too. Nice guy, and if he was laughing at me, he was kind enough not to let me know. Bike on!

Friday, June 10, 2005

If you travel long enough, you may find yourself back where you began

Once upon a time I canvassed door to door for Greenpeace...it was my very first job and I took it during the summers before and after my freshman year of college. Many thousands of dollars in tuition and umpteen jobs later, when people ask me what job was the most fun, I still have to say that canvassing job. I loved working with passionate idealists and engaging normal folk in important conversations about our world and how we treat it and how we can do a better job.
As I have passed the ubiquitous SUMMER JOB - SAVE THE ENVIRONMENT signs and classified ads plastering San Fran and Berkeley, I've known that it was door-to-door canvassing work. I fought the urge to call because, come on, I have my Masters now, I can't be going back to do the same thing I did before I had a high school diploma! That lasted about a week, and then I broke down and called this morning. When it comes down to it, talking with people one at a time about politics and the environment is my idea of an awesome time, and my education has made me a lot better at seeing the big picture, and yet I still think that grassroots is the most powerful tool we have. It might be the only tool we have against powerful lobbyists, and it works.
So, I called this morning, and Lilia asked me to come in this afternoon. Before we were done she offered me a field manager position and said that I'd also make a great candidate to be the director for one of the many offices they plan to open in coming months. Can you see me running a canvassing office? I think that I'd love it.
I was impressed with Lilia and what the organization is doing (I'll write more about that in another post) and I love the idea of being a mentor to young idealists and activists. So tomorrow is my observation day, where I tag along with an experienced canvasser. I'll be thinking hard about whether I want the job and asking a lot of questions.

update from berkeley

Kerry Reynolds Uncut
Okay its Friday, June 10. I've been living in my sublet apartment in Berkeley for 10 days now. This week has flown by - Sunday was the sustainability forum, Tuesday I went to Palo Alto to stay with cousins, Wed was my cousin's high school graduation from Menlo park upper school in Atherton. The school has been revamped since a deluge of money from the internet boom. Google CEO Eric Shmidt gave the commencement - his daughter was graduating - and claimed that the school is now among the top 100 college prep schools in the nation.
Yesterday morning I interviewed at the Ecology Center for their Administrative Coordinator position, and that afternoon I found this beautiful bike at a great price and after much rangling, I bought it. This afternoon I'm interviewing with Grassroots Campaigns in downtown Berkeley. The work would be akin to the greenpeace canvassing I did in high school and the beginning of college, and it was the most fun I ever had at work, but also a tiring exercise to constantly ask for money. Of course I want to really evaluate the income and opportunity there and whether their focus on single-issue campaigns, while it is an important part of our democracy, is a good direction for me to take at this time. The campaign they're hiring for is to support Environmental Action's campaign to defeat Bush's "Clear Skies" initiative. There are leadership opportunities available, and I'm interested in the idea of mentoring others to be great canvassers. It's likely that I'd need to start in the trenches, and display talent and initiative to move into a leadership role.
www.grassrootscampaigns.com and www.environmental-action.com

Monday, June 06, 2005

Motherhood and sacrifice

My earlier thoughts on motherhood didn't chip the surface of how much a mother goes through in concern for the life and wellness of her children - and it never ends, especially when, like my mom, you've got a Marine for a son and a vagabond for a daughter. The sad thing today is that I've put my mom through emotional hell, and I should know better. I always forget when I'm travelling that my family needs to know where I am or they worry.
This time was the worst for my dear mom. The last phone call she got from me on Thursday was that I had sublet an apartment in Berkeley, CA. Then she tried to call on Sunday, and when I didn't return her call she became concerned. She called and called again, and she understandable began to think the worst had happened. She didn't have an address for my new apartment, and she knew it wasn't like me not to return her phone calls right away. Maybe my phone was stolen- but who stole it? Maybe some thug who tied me up in the new sublet?
The truth was that I had left my cellphone in my friend's car Saturday night, and since I was busy all day Sunday at an environmental forum in Berkeley, I didn't check my email until Monday morning when I saw the panicked please-call-any-time-of-day-we're-worried email from mom and dad.
So by the time I called it had been over 24 hours since my mom first began to worry- she had called all my friends, called the police, called my cell phone and credit card companies. She tried hunting me down like a homocide detective, and the information and example of stolen persons given to her by the police only put uglier visions into her imagination. She was about to call Honor in Palo Alto and have her combing the streets of Berkeley for clues into my disappearance.
What had happened was Saturday I went out with AEI friends Damien and Khiet to an environmental and social justice music and poetry event called Voices Rising in San Francisco, and I left my cellphone in Damien's car. The next morning I woke up late and booked over to Berkeley's International House to help out with the International youth and student forum for a sustainable future put on by the california student sustainability coalition(www.sustainabilitycoalition.org) a very great day of conversation, work, and coalition building. The students there were fantastic, and when the whole day was over, we continued hanging out and celebrating till late so I didn't check my email until Monday morning.
There's a lot of things that I wish I'd done differently to have prevented all the worry that my mom went through. We always talk on weekends because of the free phone minutes, so I should have checked in on Sunday. Mom, I will always be sure we're in contact on weekends, or that you at least know what I'm up to, and that you have the contact info for where I'm staying. In this world of technology its strange how through cellphones and internet you can instantly connect with people very far away, and yet when you unplug from that connectivity, the lack of knowledge of your whereabouts can be very disconcerting for family. I'm very blessed to have a mom who would do anything for my happiness, and its my responsibility to keep in touch. I hope never ever to cause that sort of worry in my mom ever again. She was gracious about it and was just so happy that I was okay. Hooray, the nightmare is over! Now lets go enjoy this gift of a day. Love, Kerry

Monday, May 30, 2005

San Fran Arrival

Kerry Reynolds Friday May 27 2005
May 30, 2005. I've made my way back to a place that has always ignited my imagination and awakened me to the possibilities of sustainable cities - San Francisco! The landscape is gorgeous and everywhere you look, people are working to take the pollution out of the city and make it more livable - from zero-emission buses to curbside compost collection, aggressive pesticide reduction laws and "green" golf courses, this city is leading the way. I've come for World Earth Day, a week of workshops, displays, films and events throughout the San Fran that explore greening cities June 1 - 5.
I just left Buffalo, where I had a great time with my nephews and sister-in-law. For some reason, the blogger won't let me upload the beautiful pic of baby Max. Hmmm...this is the thing I fear about blogging...I don't want to get sucked into the techno-clutter of it all. I will try posting just once a week, that'll keep things sane and keep me away from being chained to the computer. Oh, I see...I need to upload it to my freebob site first - that site is a mess. I have to see if I can get this blog hosted onto that site.

``What an exciting time in your life''

I spent much of the first full day in San Fran in a coffee shop surfing the net, reading local news, and planning my life/trip/adventures - here was a freewrite I did during that time....I wonder why oregon chai tastes so darn good, and why its so expensive..well, not too bad at this place, 2.10 for a small ...that is a lot when you think about it. I'm at central coffee est. 1995 its on the corner of Hayes and central street, sort of between Haight st and the Golden Gate park. Tara is the coffee barista of this hour and she asked me very pleasantly how I was doing and I didn't hear her at first, or recognize that she was addressing me, so she asked again, and we had a nice conversation, top notch I'd say. She is studying art education at san fran state. She talked about how much better she felt after taking a nap today. When I told her how I had just arrived here after finishing grad school in environmental ed and that I had been doing environmental writing in Myrtle Beach but I came out here because I wanted to see if I could do freelance environmental writing out here, Tara said ``what an exciting time in your life'' with a very genuine look, and said how terrific the neighborhood is that we were (panhandle, she called it) because its peaceful and yet there's lots to do when you want.
There are many parks around here that it takes the edge off the city street. There are lots of trees and plants lining the sidewalks.
Its hard to forget the physical environmental in this area because the landscape is so dramatic, the hills rise up and down higher and grander than anything, making the houses seem small in comparison to the contours.
And the smell, there's something about the plants, there's a certian flower, I think that I must smell around here, that reminds me of when I've visited before. I like the smell of san francisco.