Category Archives: climate change

LTE to Oregonian on cellphones

Dear Oregonian,

I read the article recently about the teacher who finds her students texting and her reaction to that experience. I gave up my cellphone 2 years ago and have hardly looked back. I first did it because I didn’t like the disruptions in my life – phone calls, texts, you know the drill.  While others have been stepping up more and more towards smart phones, I continue my distance. It’s interesting because I’m in the high-tech industry, have been for the past 15 years as a software tester and now a teacher of social media and email marketing. You’d think I’d be swimming in mobile technology – but I’m anything but! And I Love It!  

As a businessperson I do think it’s important to be available to all possible inputs out there – phone, text, email, social media (OK, perhaps not FAX).  I also enjoy LPs, Cassettes, CDs – yep!  But when it comes to mobile, I feel my unplugged life makes me a calmer person.  It makes me a less-distracted one – I’m becoming a better and better driver because my attention is improving rather than being scattered.  And, I think it’s even an advantage in business as when I’m talking to someone, they have my full attention – I am not about to be interrupted during our talk.  I never take a call, or interrupt something for something buzzing or ringing in my pocket or on the restaurant/café table (please don’t!, it’s a tech turd, actually!).

Yes, I can’t always be reached by people who I love. Yes, I miss out sometimes on last minute invitations or impromptu gatherings.  Yes, I’d love an app to do this or that.  But no app is going to plant garlic cloves. No app is going to stir a pot of chili.  No app is going to replace a hug – in fact, my sense is that apps increase the distance between us – taking our time with community and friends and focusing our attention elsewhere.  

Without mobile technology my life feels richer than it ever has. If you’ve never done a tech-fast before – give it a try. There are many great articles out there about how one works and their benefit. Who knows, maybe you’ll join me someday (unless you’re already there) and give up your cell, altogether.  You can do it.  You might even like it!

With gratitude,

Albert Kaufman

PS – see other writing I have done on this topic: Why I originally gave up my cellphone, and The Cellphone game 🙂

This just in from the NYT on 8.26.12 – get rid of the tension

Farm My Yard Design Contest in full swing!

I’m having fun with a sign design contest. Check it out @ http://farmmyyard.org/yard-sign-design-contest/
Here’s Kate posing with my first sign this weekend. This is going to be good!

Lone Fir Community Garden

3.19.12 – I believe this is a good idea, and have put this effort on hold for the time being as I learn more on the issue. Feel free to ask how it’s going, to me, and Metro…

Yes, it’s time for a new face for the SW corner of the Lone Fir Cemetery, dontcha think?  Here’s a petition to that end. Please sign and encourage your friends to, thanks!

http://www.change.org/petitions/turn-the-sw-corner-of-the-lone-fir-cemetery-into-a-community-garden-please

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.

Albert on TV – 2011

Albert Kaufman, Jim Lockhart and Richard Carpenter on today’s issues – Portland Cable Access – Fall, 2011

I took part in a show with Jim Lockhart and Richard Carpenter recently to discuss population growth and other environmental issues.  I got to be the star and so thought I’d put this out into cyberspace for my own record of my current thinking and hopefully to entertain and enlighten others.  Let me know what you think.

http://youtu.be/bfA44l5R6Xw

Occupy Portland and Beyond

10/18/11 – Great Article by Chris Hedges – A Movement Too Big To Fail http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/a_movement_too_big_to_fail_20111017/

There’s something going on around here“, quotes Paul Krugman of the NYT. There’s some great writing about this movement and some great activism going on right now.  I thought I’d share what I’m finding.  In no particular order:

9/23 – Video of Occupy WallStreet – well done photographically…

A list/map of all Occupy Groups in the world.  Livestream of the Occupy PDX happenings.

Blog post by Chris Hedges on the People’s Republic of Portland blog – a great read as is everything he writes, IMHO.

YES Magazine author Sarah Van Gelder’s Article: Where the 99% Get Their Power: “The protests are giving the unemployed, the uninsured, the evicted, indebted students, homeless veterans, and would-be retirees a place to break out of their isolation. OccupyWallStreet shows that millions share their hardships and are standing up. Transforming shame, self-doubt, and isolation into solidarity unleashes enormous power.”

Orion Magazine’s, Christopher Ketcham’s Reign of the 99 Percenters

A list of needs of the Occupy Portland folks.  I’m sure this list is still pretty current.  Food, Shelter, Clothing are generally always needed.

Popular saying: Dear 1%, We fell asleep for a while. We just woke up. Sincerely, the 99%

Great photos from NYC protests



The Nation – http://www.thenation.com/article/163844/occupy-wall-street-most-important-thing-world-now 

Petition time for SB 525

Please sign this petition NOW!
And share it:
http://www.change.org/petitions/stop-delivery-of-unwanted-phonebooks-in-oregon