Category Archives: Power to the People

Strawberry Fields Betrayal

The post below is from a local woman I greatly admire. Sue Spengler’s a local middle school teacher who for many years ran her own school. She’s so many things to many people, one of those members of society who adds intellect and heart and sparkle every day of her life. She is also one hell of an activist. This year (and last year) she’s been very involved in trying to save one of our open spaces, a park  right next to the mountains where the people of Colorado Springs can hike, bike, and enjoy Nature.

What she worked to save this land from was a billionaire (x 10.5), by the name of Philip Anschutz, who moved to our city some years ago. He bought the only local daily newspaper, bought a famous 5-star hotel (The Broadmoor), bought several of our biggest tourist attractions, like the Cog Railway that takes a couple of hundred thousand people up to the top of Pikes Peak every year, and Seven Falls (another attraction) . . . and then decided that wasn’t enough. He wanted our public park that happened to be right next to his hotel.

I don’t know how exactly the deal went down. He owned some land that the public was already using on a daily basis for hiking, so his lawyer-minions finagled a “swap”: The land (that we were already using and which would have created a public relations nightmare if he took from the public) in exchange for some pristine parkland that he wanted as place for picnicking and pony-riding for his rich hotel guests.

I don’t know what kind of razzle-dazzle went on to make the people of our city (who are supposed to be in charge of protecting our parks and our properties) make a swap/deal with this billionaire. But once word got out, the taxpayers, the people who have lived in Colorado Springs for many years, even for generations, became furious. How dare they swap our land without a public VOTE? These are our PARKS!!! They belong to us ALL!!! This has been a public park since 1885!

A group got together, and protested publicly, making their voices heard. To no avail. There was nothing to do but gather the money and sue. They did, and they lost (a District judge named Michael McHenry ruled against the people of our city). And so the people appealed to the Colorado Supreme Court.

This week we got word that the Colorado Supreme Court refused to hear the appeal.

— SK

Now that you’ve heard the backstory, here’s Sue’s “Master Plan”:

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“Panorama at Strawberry Fields” from KRCC.org

 

Well, heck, I finally did it. It took me all day. I’ve been crafting a letter to the editor about the North Cheyenne Canon Master plan in my head for weeks, trying to figure out how to pare it down into something digestible and understandable, when the Plan itself is a 130-page behemoth of a hodgepodge of ideas with no real substance that is basically a “blank check” of plans with nothing specific — it just has a “tool box” of things that they can choose from if/when they’d like, including: paving Gold Camp Road (so shuttle buses can drive on it), closing Mesa Avenue to only Broadmoor shuttle buses, closing down all the pullout parking at the picnic areas along S. Cheyenne Creek and making people walk in from a brand new trailhead/parking lot, and closing S. Cheyenne Canon Rd to all traffic. There ARE some good trail ideas up around Stratton Open Space, and plenty of carrots for our high-level mountain biking community (making the Chutes downhill only, e.g.), but overall, it’s a plan with a premise of: “How can we cram more people IN?” (yes, it includes a “Marketing Plan”… !!), instead of a plan with a premise of: “How can we make our city park great for the people we serve?” Anyway, I finally sat down to write my letter today. But what came out was a poem…

My Master Plan

I sit with my notebook and write at a wobbly,
splintery picnic table, one of many under
this public pavilion.  At least some underpaid
city employee was told to paint them brown.
Through the scrub oaks, I see:  four
old ladies with hiking poles and sun hats,
three hardcore mountain bikers, a snake
of multi-generational hikers, two deer grazing,

a young couple from Palmer Park stringing
up a hammock, an elder couple with binoculars,
a mother and teenage daughter looking for a trash
can in which to place their pooch’s poop.

I scramble up a short social trail to the mesa
above the pavilion, and there it is: a spectacular
view of Strawberry Fields, where King Philip
plots his Broadmooresque stable and bbq party venue.

Up here, I watch a hawk hover, hear a bluebird
call, and discover a decomposing coyote.
Below, in the south canyon, I watch white whales shuttle
up and down, as a blaring ambulance struggles

upstream towards Seven Falls. The trails
on this wild and unnamed mesa below Mt. Cutler
are slated to be closed in the new Master Plan —
a plan meant to deflect from the city’s neglect.

What should a Master Plan have?  What does a City Park need?
Closed public roads? More trailheads and parking lots for tourists?
Private-public partnerships where somebody profits?
Ideas that will never be funded because we can’t even afford to take care of what we’ve got?

Nah.  What we really need is simple and more cost-effective than that:
picnic tables made from those newfangled recycled weather-resistant materials
pullout parking areas that make the creek and its coolth easily accessible to all
trail systems that respect and reflect the needs of the locals who use them
a limited number of cars, but only during peak summer weekends
a regular maintenance crew to keep the picnic areas beautiful
friendly city park rangers to enforce the rules
a budget that reflects our values
trash cans near picnic sites
clean, open restrooms
and above all else…
that playground
you promised
the children
in 2003,
but never
built.

 

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Monthly Museletter – August 2018

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“Lunar Libration” by Tomruen, via Wikimedia Commons

Hello everyone!

Karla sent me her wonderful newsletter well over two weeks ago, yet I’ve only now published the bits that I feel connect the best to the Flora’s Forum audience. For this delay, I apologize.

I also had a realization. Instead of going through the whole newsletter and creating an online version once a month . . . why not just parcel out these videos, quotes, book reviews and other interesting tidbits, through the month and post more often?

(Why didn’t I think of this before?)  I think it will be more fun to do a few posts throughout the month, and then I won’t be late, and perhaps you won’t be overwhelmed with too much content at once.

That is what I shall start in September. For now, the last Museletter!

(Today, I’m especially excited to share “The Death Cafe” video, which I found to be both heart-wrenching and beautiful.)

Thank you, Karla, for once again sharing your Wisdome News!
❤ —SK

P. S. If you’re from Colorado Springs and would like Karla’s full newsletter that includes local events, you can write her at karlaann45 @ gmail.com.

Love to you all,

Sandy

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“The smile on my face doesn’t mean my life is perfect. It means I appreciate what I’ve been blessed with. I choose to be happy.” —Charles Schulz (Peanuts creator)

Designed with the Earth in mind, the gentle washer, Monono (Japanese for “empathy for all”) washes the equivalent of 12 tees with 5 minutes of hand-cranking, uses no electricity, fossil fuels, or dry-cleaning chemicals, and much less water than our washers (only 18 liters).

Two Colorado College students who came to Death Café last winter made this 10 minute documentary film. Everyone’s welcome to join the conversation; FMI contact Susan Coffey goingmywaydeathcare (at) gmail.com.


Also pertinent: THE GREEN BURIAL GUIDEBOOK by Elizabeth Fournier (2018) is in libraries now. It includes information about non-toxic “green embalming fluids” and alkaline hydrolysis, a non-fiery way of cremation that produces earth-friendly cremains.

Sisters Leah Song and Chloe Smith of Appalachia Rising sing “Resilient.”

“Realigned and on point,
Power to the peaceful,
prayers to the waters,
Women at the center,
All vessels open to give and receive,
Let’s see this system brought down to its knees.”

You can read more about their music here.

What are “STRANDED ASSETS” & why do they matter? They appear to be a mirage, a Ponzi scheme on the part of big oil/coal/gas companies.

A wiser approach?
“The biggest problem for the climate change fight isn’t technology — it’s human psychology.”

Ecological oyster shell “living shorelines” restore habitat and build up beach edges!

Good News for Colorado! 
Sierra Club got Denver mayor Michael Hancock to commit to 100% clean renewable energy by 2030. 

Shea Moisture (established 1912!) is an ethical, fair-trade, family-owned, women-supporting business that will leave you soft, clean, and smelling great!
(I love their Peace Rose soap!)

Another by Charles:
“All you need is love, but a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.” —Charles Schulz

BRILLIANT!
Biologist Janine Benyus, founder of the Biomimicry movement champions the idea that we should take cues from the natural world, because what better teachers exist? This hour presentation, at the Aspen Ideas Festival, is worth listening to — the only thing that would make it more exciting is if we could see the pictures she sees.

A final note from Karla:
“I’m ‘guerilla gardening’ golden raintree seeds in alleys & empty lots in memory of my little sister Elise Marie Clarke. Soon I’ll harvest bee plant seeds to scatter around on my morning walks, then marigolds, cosmos . . . To me, SEEDS are symbols of the ‘unstoppability of Life’.”

By U.S. Department of Agriculture (Seedling), via Wikimedia Commons

By U.S. Department of Agriculture (Seedling) [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0) or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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Until next time . . .

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Monthly Museletter—July 2018

 

Lunar_libration_with_phase2

“Lunar Libration” by Tomruen, via Wikimedia Commons

 

Thank you, Karla, for sharing your Wisdome News!❤ —SK

P. S. If you’re from Colorado Springs and would like Karla’s full newsletter that includes local events, you can write her at karlaann45 @ gmail.com.

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“We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.” —MLK

YAY for COSTA RICA—no fossil fuels by 2021! (Share if you think your country is capable of great things!)

“The noblest art is that of making others happy.” —P.T. Barnum (in The Greatest Showman movie)

No gas, no license, no insurance, no plug-in . . . a covered pedal & solar-powered trike. ELF- SHARING webs are being formed among friends, family, neighbors, students & co-workers. Hmmm—shall we get Tangerine or Lime or Zebra?

Scientists project that without intervention, there’ll be more plastic than fish by weight in the oceans by 2050.

“We did not leave the stone age because we ran out of stones. Why are we waiting to leave the fossil fuel age until we’ve consumed the last coal, oil, & gas?” cleoinstitute.org

“When your enemy is making mistakes, don’t interrupt him.”— Brad Pitt
(Does this go for presidents?)

“ . . . the larger the animal, the more it has to be fed, and a goat produces five times as much milk in proportion to her body weight as a cow.” —MILK, A 10,000 YEAR FOOD FRACAS by Mark Kurlansky. (Is it time for us to give up raising cows?)

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“Milking an Artificial Goat at Grubighütte” by David Short from Windsor, UK, via Wikimedia Commons

Is your sunscreen destroying coral reefs, which are the supermarkets of the oceans ?

How does the Volcan de Fuego volcano in Guatemala and the Kilauea volcano in Hawaii differ? CBS gives an excellent science lesson about two types of volcanos!

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Photograph by E. Klett on 27 January 1994; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, via Wikimedia Commons. “Snow-covered Kanaga Volcano in Alaska erupts a small column of tephra, gas, and steam. Kanaga is a stratovolcano. View is toward the west.”

A MUST-SEE!
SING THE WATER SONG with Algonquian Elders & Women & Girls.

Did you know?
CORAL REEFS cover only 1% of the ocean floor, but are home to more than 25% of marine life.

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“Coral Reef, Elephant Beach, Andaman, India,” by Harvinder Chandigar, via Wikimedia Commons

Bee hives and solar panel farms make happy partnerships!

“It may feel dangerous for a woman to actualize her full potential because it may mean risking some form of rejection by her mother.” A friend shared with me she’s taking HEALING THE MOTHER WOUND , an online course from Bethany Webster. Their free 18-page e-book is an excellent way to get the flavor of the course.

Until next month . . . have a beautiful July!

 
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Monthly Museletter for the Merry Month of May 2018

Lunar_libration_with_phase2

“Lunar Libration” by Tomruen, via Wikimedia Commons

 

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“Women Dancing with Veils at the May Day Pageant” (not dated or attributed), via Wikimedia Commons

 

Happy MAY DAY! This month we’re busy with spring planting, spring weeding, and spring everything-else so the newsletter’s, I mean Museletter’s, a little lighter. And so are our hearts! Hooray for spring! Thank you again, Karla, for sharing your gleanings with us. ❤ —SK

P. S. If you’re from Colorado Springs and would like Karla’s full newsletter that includes local events, you can write her at karlaann45 @ gmail.com.

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By Alias 0591 from the Netherlands, Honeybee, via Wikimedia Commons

“Honeybee”, by Alias 0591 from the Netherlands, via Wikimedia Commons

“BEES made my lunch. Bees made my lunch. Thank you Bees! Thanks a bunch for my salad, my HONEY, my milk and my munch, cuz Bees, you made my lunch!”
—new chorus for the song DIRT MADE MY LUNCH by the Banana Slug Band

Water conservation worked in Capetown!

A Vimeo Staff Pick: Thomas Blanchard’s DANCE DANCE—flowers freezing & dye- inundated!

“We know that the hidden crimes of slavery and environmental destruction are not just inextricably linked but mutually reinforcing and reach around the planet.”—Kevin Bales, Blood and Earth: Modern Slavery, Ecocide and the Secret to Saving the World (2017)

The best film I saw at the Native American film fest: PEOPLE OF THE STANDING STONE: the Oneida Nation, the war for independence, and the making of America (27 min., 2017) It’s now in our local library system, with 45 reserves already!

“Nobody gets addicted to Kale—we’re addicted to CHAOS!
—Karla

2351_-_München_-_Maibaum Maypole in Munich, by Andrew Bossi via Wikimedia Commons

“Maypole, Munich, Germany” by Andrew Bossi via Wikimedia Commons

Is that a maypole in your village square, or are you just happy to see me?
(I’m almost embarrassed to admit I did not know the symbolism of the Maypole. And now I’m almost embarrassed that I do.) —S.K.
“The Maypole is a popular and familiar image of May Day and Beltane. A phallic pole, often made from birch, was inserted into the Earth representing the potency of the God. The ring of flowers at the top of the Maypole represents the fertile Goddess. Its many coloured ribbons and the ensuing weaving dance symbolise the spiral of Life and the union of the Goddess and God, the union between Earth and Sky.”
For the Beltane-curious, you can read up on May Day here.

SOLAR CELLS GETTING THINNER THAN HUMAN HAIR! 

We Missed Karla’s Birthday! (Happy Belated Birthday, Karla! I love your little birthday poem!)
“Happy Birthday to me. I’m seventy-three. All systems are working! I’m grateful and FREE!”—Karla, April 18

Many animals in my Tribe—The Silver Hairs—are in danger of extinction because of global warming. This film shows why.

“…thank you for this most amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirits of trees, and a blue dream of sky, and for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is YES!” —e. e. cummings

By Temtem at English Wikipedia (Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons.) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

“Honeybee Swarm”, by Temtem, via Wikimedia Commons

This photo reminded me that in Colorado April is “swarm season”. Seeing a swarm up close is one of the most amazing and exciting things ever! There is no need to fear a swarm. These bees are full of honey on their adventure to locate a new home and so are docile—the chance of being stung is very low. If you see a swarm, please contact your local beekeeping organization; they have a network of beekeepers who would love to give these honey-makers a good home. Act quickly, though, as they’ll probably only be around for a few hours!—S.K.

“Listen to the MUSTN’TS, child. Listen to the DON’TS. Listen to the SHOULDN’TS, the IMPOSSIBLES, the WON’TS. Listen to the NEVER HAVES, then listen close to me—Anything can happen child, ANYTHING can be.”
—from Shel Silverstein’s illustrated poetry book WHERE THE SIDEWALK ENDS

What if you could make money every time the wind blows? Matt Brown has an idea of how to make this happen for the people of Rhode Island!

Make a note of it: Full Moon on May 29th.

Judy-China-Dahlia

I had to share this beautiful bone china dahlia that a friend gave me in April. (Thank you, Judy!) Every time I look at it I will think of the beauty of of friends and flowers.

Until next month . . . have a beautiful May!

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The Highest Evolution: Working with our Hands

The values we need are of knowledge: of how to live with Nature, of how to care, of how to share.

I think you’ll agreethere’s no one like Vandana Shiva. I hope you’ll enjoy this short film and her wisdom!—SK

 

 

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My Favorite Meme

And this is the way to heal the world, too. —S.K.

Embracing-Female-Power

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Monthly Museletter – January 2018

Lunar_libration_with_phase2

“Lunar Libration” by Tomruen, via Wikimedia Commons

Two full moons this month—tonight and January 31st (a blue moon!).

Thinking ahead for next winter:
Grow your own snowman! This spring plant white pumpkin seeds (check out “Casper”  here or here) and keep three sizes to stack for Frosty days!

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“Chocolade boon” (chocolate bean – or – technically cacao bean), by Oriel, via Wikimedia Commons

Nothing Like Chocolate, a documentary by Professor Kum-kum Bhavnani, is about the slavery-free products from the Grenada Chocolate Company. Watch it for free on Vimeo (search: Nothing Like Chocolate).

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“Nothing is softer than water, yet for overcoming what is hard and strong, nothing surpasses water.”Lao Tzu

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Did you know? Two of the worst global catastrophes occurred as the result of sleep deprivationthe Chernobyl Meltdown and the Exxon Valdez oil spill. Lack of sleep can also wreck our immune system and can doubles the risk of cancer. (From Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker)

Collective Eye Films, who brought us Queen of the Sun has now blessed us with another informative beauty Seed: The Untold Story. Reserve it at your local library or buy it for your kids & grandkids . . .

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Jane Goodall on Mother Earth! 

Iceland’s new Prime Minister, Katrín Jakobsdóttir, is a 41-year-old feminist and environmentalist . . . could we please follow suit?

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SO TRUE!
“I don’t have to chase extraordinary moments to find happiness—it’s right in front of me if I’m paying attention and practicing gratitude.”—Brené Brown

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I’m thankful for intrepid photographers, camera technology, and the web—all of which give us glimpses like these into the hidden beauties of Mother Earth, like these emerald pools in Zion National Park.

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“The Emerald Pools were rushing with water as rain and snow continued to fall on April 14th, 2012.” (Upper Emerald Pools, Zion National Park), by Jonathan Fortner, via Wikimedia Commons.

 

How to reduce your use of single-use plastic products and keep a lot out of our Oceans from the Canadian Wildlife Federation:

Eight-ways-to-reduce-single-use-plastics

India’s Forest Man:
“You’ll have to kill me first, before you kill the trees. . . . Nature is Godas long as it survives, we survive.”  Jadav Payeng (of the Mishing tribe of India) who’s planted 1500 acres of forest on his home island since 1979. Learn about him here.

One of my favorite quotes:
“If you’ve ever been called defiant, incorrigible, forward, cunning, insurgent, unruly, or rebelliousyou’re on the right track.” Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes, author of Women Who Run with the Wolves

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“Quebec Wild Wolf” by Peupleloup, via Wikimedia Commons

 

Remember:
Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. —Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

 

A Happy New Year to all!—Karla and Sandra

 

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