Indigenous Futurisms Fest comes to Tacoma this June

As a showcase to Indigenous science fiction authors, scholars, and artists, ALMA in Downtown Tacoma will host the Indigenous Futurisms Festival Northwest (IFFNW) Friday and Saturday, June 9-10. While admission is free and open to all, registration is encouraged.

IFFNW will showcase award-winning First Nations and First American scholars, artists and other Native creators from the Pacific Northwest and beyond. There will be an interactive programming highlighting musicians, painters, instruction on making tabletop role playing games (TTRPG), podcasts, discussions with elders, children’s activities and many live performances.

“IFFNW will help dispel contemporary misrepresentations of who they are today. We are thrilled to collaborate with ALMA as a safe and welcoming gathering spot that channels, celebrates, and seeks to nourish the soul of this land, the people on it, the people from it, and those just passing through.”

Kristin Gentry (Choctaw), says Native Realities’ Director of Community Engagement and Outreach

What is Indigenous Futurism? Dr. Grace Dillon, editor of Walking the Clouds, and Anthology of Indigenous Science Fiction, coined the term to describe literature, comics, art, fashion, and other media that seek a way forward through fantastical and speculative imaginings that hold close to values of relationship, integrity, interconnection, and balance. Dillon chose the term in homage to Afrofuturism, which is an “examination of how Black culture intersects with technology and the African diaspora.”

Examples of other Indigenous Futurists works include Love After the End: An Anthology of Two-Spirited and Indigiqueer Speculative Fiction, and The Marrow Thieves.

The Facebook event page for IFFNW can be found here.

City of Tacoma grants approval for outside investor to pave over Tacoma’s Aquifer

Why did this happen, what conditions were required to be met, who is this company, and can the community appeal this decision? 

On Earth Day, 2023, the City of Tacoma gave conditional approval to Bridge International to build the largest warehouse complex in the world. Taking up 50 football fields the project would involve among numerous other environmental impacts, including paving over 150 acres of South Tacoma’s aquifer, which is the city’s emergency backup water supply in the event of droughts or a natural disaster like an earthquake or volcanic eruption cutting access to the main pipeline from the Green River.

Why did this happen?

Continue reading “City of Tacoma grants approval for outside investor to pave over Tacoma’s Aquifer”

Tinkertopia – Tacoma’s Creative Reuse Center

If you’re in Downtown Tacoma visiting either the University of Washington in Tacoma, the local TAM (Tacoma Art Museum), Museum of Glass, or Washington State History Museum – just across the street on Pacific Ave you HAVE to go see Tinkertopia!

Tinkertopia works with local businesses and the community to safely gather reusable materials, converting them into imaginative arts and craft supplies for kids, teachers, “makers and tinkerers.”

Tinkertopia was founded by two artists, one a preschool art teacher who were committed to not only providing opportunities for the community to have low-cost art supplies but also to divert local waste-streams.

Continue reading “Tinkertopia – Tacoma’s Creative Reuse Center”

Strategies for battling climate crisis at home

It’s easy to feel helpless in the face of all the dire reports, but there are things that we can do, that we all should try to do at home, in addition to pressuring government to stop funding oil.

is in the news lately over the publicity of their direct action against a Van Gogh painting that was behind glass. Regardless of how you feel about their strategy to bring attention to their cause, it has gotten people talking, and one of the best things is that people are Googling what they are calling for, and people are suggesting other tactics. This is actually a good thing b/c we need all the ideas we can get. Just Stop Oil is in response to the energy situation in the UK where 3/4’s of their domestic energy comes from fossil fuels and the current Prime Minister Liz Truss wants to open up more off-shore drilling. In lieu of the recent flooding in Pakistan that sent 3/4’s of the country under water, in lieu of wildfires all over the world, this is the opposite direction we need to go in. That is what they are calling attention to, through shutting down roads, gluing themselves to bridges, etc.

What is going on in the US? We have rather a dumpster fire of division across our country. But Biden was able to pass his Climate bill which will provide a ton of money for great number of investments. Many good things are there and there’s potential for more.

What are some things that we can all do at home?

Continue reading “Strategies for battling climate crisis at home”

2020: Coming up for air, albeit with a mask

It’s been a year since my last post and there were many reasons for that. First was work, developing taxonomies and controlled vocabularies for machine learning related projects. Then Covid happened, so I couldn’t go out to museums and galleries. Then I had to become a learning coach for my teen who is taking multiple AP classes online. Add to this ongoing efforts to stay current on technology and knowledge management by taking webinars, reading books, and going to virtual conferences. On top of all that, the hot mess that was American politics. It is Dec. 1st and I have finally come up for air – albeit with a mask.

I will do my best to re-cap and document the beta launch of Austin’s EAST online studio tour in a second post. It happened a couple weekends ago and unfortunately overlapped with an online conference so I was not able to attend in real time, but I will do my best to document for posterity.

After this I will try something new. All this time I have been tracking and posting links on Twitter for a variety of topics: online museum resources, digital humanities, digital preservation, open access courses, ethical AI, Asian visual culture and literature, taxonomy, ontology, linked data, and more. I’d like to attempt once a week to compile and curate these into newsletter type posts.

Once a month I will do my best to safely find a way to go out and look at art and review it. I will perhaps also make a post once a month looking at what local exhibitions are currently open for view and will share safety notes and tips, as well as share what online resources are available for those wanting to stay at home.

I will also work toward making occassional posts promoting resources and options for those wanting to live a more eco, sustainable, plastic-free lifestyle as that is top of mind as well.

I’d like to also share and promote local, small businesses in featured posts, pulling in photos from my Instagram account.

2021 will begin in just one more month – and I am feeling very hopeful that we will get past all this.

Art|Tech|Eco|Culture

Art – Tech – Eco – Culture could save the 21st century

What does Art-Tech-Eco-Culture mean? It represents a convergence of design, political will, mobilization and creativity that just may thwart the most dire climate change predictions.

I haven’t written enough about eco topics lately, but they have weighing on my mind, especially this past year. If you’re like me, it’s been difficult to stay focused in 2017. Each day when I wake up like Dorothy Parker asking “What fresh hell is this?” What keeps me moving forward? Action plans and recognizing where positive changes ARE happening.

If we focus on the negative, things can look hopeless…but something positive DID happened this year. The election of Trump re-invigorated and mobilized everyone concerned about the environment, social justice, economic justice, and health. Realizing also how connected these concepts are is no longer an abstract. It has became obvious in memes spread by middle school kids. When 11 year olds are ‘woke’ to these ideas we’re getting somewhere. The shift IS happening.

In the past year with Trump administration attacks on climate science, environmental regulations, groups and concerned citizens have been organizing like never before. Through social media, blogs, and small businesses, interests in ways to save the planet have sky-rocketed. Trends that have been simmering since 2006 have exploded.

It couldn’t come any sooner – In just the past month we’ve had at least 3 devastating hurricanes, unprecedented flooding and out of control wildfires in the west. The warnings Al Gore gave years ago as a nightmarish but distant future, are happening right now.

So, what are these trends I’ve been seeing – in stores, documentaries, book-sales, product sales, on social media, in local legislation, in laws around the world? By themselves they may seem small or inconsequential – but they are driving real changes in industries and policies around the world. Companies are shifting investments and product strategies because of these trends. Citizens are speaking up and demanding new laws.

recycling rates around the world

  • Plastic bag bansMother Nature Network has an interactive map of locales around the world that have banned plastic bags.

bag ban map

  • Rise of Tiny Homes
  • Interest in Minimalism
    • Growth in books and blogs on de-cluttering, simplifying, downsizing.
    • Swap party movement – articles showed up in blogs, on Pinterest – now even Oprah, Women’s Day, Weight Watchers and Good Housekeeping are telling Americans how to host a clothing swap party.
      • The average American throws away 70 lbs. of clothing and accessories each year. Instead – go to swap parties with your bags of clothing, books, accessories, home items. Visit with friends over drinks, snacks. Go home with new treasures. Remainders go to local charities.
  • Sustainable Farming
    • The Netherlands ,the second largest exporter of food in the world, employs techniques using 90% less water:
    • Aquaponics – chemical free, it also uses a fraction of the water used in conventional agriculture.
    • Permaculture – is about working with nature, not against it, to produce ‘permanent agriculture.’
  • Efforts to Reduce Food Waste
  • DIY movement
    • Thanks to YouTube and other forms of social media, it’s become possible to move being consumerism to create for ourselves.
    • Evolving into ‘Do it Together’  Bartering and communal efforts connect people and help share skills.
  • Growth of Veganism
    • This is huge – with animal agriculture accounting for more global warming gasses than the transportation sector. Documentaries have been uncovering these links and how leading environmental groups have been bullied by these industries to keep this quiet.
    • The documentary What the Health which aired on Netflix this year resulted in a spike of people waking up to the enormous impact that animal protein has on causing cancers, diabetes and heart disease. Moving to a plant-based diet will save countries billions of dollars in health care costs.
  • Decades of processed foods affect on Western gut bacteria has lead to an epidemic of immune disorders. This has spurred a movement toward reintroducing probiotics into our diets. (And I’m not talking about sugary, processed yogurt.)
  • Rise of interest in Yoga
    • This has been politically contentious in some Muslim and Christian communities who have decried this as somehow converting people to Hinduism. In truth, Yoga is enormously prevalent across communities in the world, of many religions. Sikh practicioners, for example, are not Hindu. This fear is as weak an argument as thinking that Westerners using ‘Zen’ practices to de-clutter their homes will turn them into Buddhists. Or that the Japanese celebrating Christmas will turn into Christians. It hasn’t happened.
    • In truth, the practice of yoga (and meditation!) across the world, among prison populations, urban schools, veterans suffering from PTSD, or refugees suffering from the traumas of war – has lead to tremendous healing.

 

It’s Halloween and the Indonesia Rain Forest is on fire – what can I do?

George Monbiot alerts us that: “Indonesia is burning. So why is the world looking away?”

To give perspective on the devastation of this fire:

“it is currently producing more carbon dioxide than the US economy. And in three weeks the fires have released more CO2 than the annual emissions of Germany.”

For those of you who would like to have a Palm Oil-free Halloween, please refer to this list: