Green Rhetoric

This blog originated as a course blog for the community of Rhetoric 181, "Green Rhetoric," in the Department of Rhetoric at the University of California at Berkeley, Fall, 2007. It continues its life as... something else.

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Peach Kings sing Brighter Than Sunshine

The Peach Kings sing Brighter Than Sunshine

Thursday, January 14, 2010

how to identify greenwashers

if it sounds too good to be true, look for these to be sure...

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Green Rhet Returns

I'm teaching a second edition of the Green course in the Rhetoric Department at UC Berkeley this term, and I'll be teaching a third edition of the course at SFAI in the City this Spring. Each class is different of course, both because each community is different and because the news, issues, concerns that find their way to the forefront of Green discourses also change (while also many things, sometimes agonizingly many things, remain very much the same). Still, check out and follow their blog here and by all means jump into the conversation as you please, offer up sage advice, raise hell, and so on.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Thursday, August 20, 2009

small farmers see promise in obama's plans

a step in the right direction

Monday, March 16, 2009

White House Victory Garden!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

water/energy catchment

i thought this might interest some. a lot going on in such a short bit, and a lot that's interesting. i loved reading it, but i wonder if he does anything but preach to the choir. with such a quick mention of giving up taco bell, such a quick run through of why and how it connects to the water system, i'm not sure anyone eating a taco would give it a second thought. or for that matter, be reading this article. but what's the point of thinking like that?
a few other points:

"The bad news is, we are far behind where we should be. The good news is, it's not too late. Check that: it very well might be. But who wants to think like that?" love it.

and that we're not overpopulated. it's not that our agriculture is too taxing of resources to feed us, but rather to feed the food we eat. eat lower on the food chain and you can still have babies without guilt!

in all, i just like how he mentions many little bits of bigger environmental ideas/philosophies/quandries (many of which were a unit in our class!) and ties it all together in a neat package with a good message. harness some of that rain.
on that note, anyone know of anyone looking to build a water catchment/greywater system? all the "workshops" (which to me seem like someone paying for their system with the attendees "class fees") are so expensive. i'd love to help build one though.

Monday, November 10, 2008

obama's food politics

[h/t shane]

I thought this might be an encouraging read during such bleak times.

From our friends at the ethicurean:
So what might we expect from an Obama administration when it comes to food policy? Maybe quite a bit. In his plan for rural America, he lays out a number of policy positions that are a departure from the status quo. Obama:

* Supports subsidies as a safety net, but calls for a $250,000 payment limitation and closing of loopholes, so that the program supports family farmers, not corporate agribusiness.
* Supports regulation of CAFOs (factory livestock operations).
* Wants to enforce anti-trust laws that so that smaller farmers can compete against large-scale meatpackers.
* Wants to cap the size of agricultural businesses that can receive government funds for environmental cleanup so that taxpayers don’t subsidize cleanup for large, polluting corporations.
* Supports Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) for meat, a critical issue as we learn how widespread melamine contamination of animal feed is in countries like China.
* Wants to increase support for organic agriculture and local food systems by helping farmers with organic certification/compliance costs.
* Wants to provide incentives to encourage and support new farmers, land conservation, renewable energy on the farm, and microenterprise for farmers and other rural Americans.
* Calls for greater food safety surveillance and communications.
* Plans to encourage local foods in schools.
* Supports providing farmers with incentives that will prevent agricultural runoff.

for the rest of the article...

I am just happy to know that our President-elect possesses the word organic in his vocabulary!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

vandana shiva in berkeley in september!

Dr. Vandana Shiva, world-renowned Indian scientist, environmentalist, and agricultural activist will be in Berkeley on Sept 2nd. Hope some of you can make it.


International Forum on Globalization, KPFA Radio 94.1 FM, and Navdanya
International Present:

An Evening of Functional Wisdom with Vandana Shiva

Introduced by Jerry Mander, Director, International Forum on Globalization (IFG)

& Debi Barker, Director, Navdanya International – US Office

September 2, Tuesday, 7:30 PM

First Congregational Church of Berkeley

2345 Channing Way at Dana

Berkeley, CA

Tickets: $12 advance, $15 door, at supporting bookstores

Or on line:


Information: 415.561.7650 or

Dr. Vandana Shiva, world-renowned Indian scientist, environmentalist,
and agricultural activist was designated by Time magazine a "Hero for
the Planet." Winner of the alternative Nobel Peace Prize (the Right
Livelihood Award) and named by AsiaWeek as one of the top five most
important people in Asia, Dr. Shiva is the author of numerous books
including Biopiracy: The Plunder of Nature and Knowledge and Stolen
Harvest: The Hijacking of the Global Food Supply. In addition, she has
published over three hundred papers in leading journals, and is a
founding board member of the International Forum on Globalization and
the founder of Navdanya International, a science and policy research
center based in India.

While daily news reports of increasing worldwide food riots
demonstrate the failure of the current global industrial food system,
Dr. Vandana Shiva will offer wise and innovative solutions for the
grim global realities of climate change and horrific food shortages.

"Shiva has devoted her life to fighting for the rights of ordinary
people in India. Her fierce intellect and her disarmingly friendly,
accessible manner have made her a valuable advocate for people all
over the developing world." —Ms. Magazine

Thursday, July 31, 2008

This is not Green, Just Rhetoric

What better outlet than the Rhet dept to offer this link:

Radical Philosophy Conference at SFSU, Nov 6-9

Chances are I didn't read the program very closely and Dale is on one of these panels already :)

Friday, July 4, 2008

Site full of amazing references

Can you tell I am going through my saved Permaculture emails, and pulling out gems to share?

Here is another one -

Best wishes, Iris*

PS. I am almost done!

Biomimicry Site

Recommended by a woman who went to a design conference and the woman speaker associated with this site was the star.

Enjoy! *Iris

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Online book on local SF wild foods

Can look through the whole book for free in preveiw mode!

Book about the world food system & making it democratic

This looks like an interesting read - thought I'd pass it on -

RAJ PATEL's book STUFFED AND STARVED: The Hidden Battle for the
World Food System.

"One of the most dazzling books I have read in a very long time. The
product of a brilliant mind and a gift to a world hungering for

—Naomi Klein, author of No Logo and The Shock Doctrine.

Half the world is malnourished, the other half obese—both symptoms
of the corporate food monopoly. To show how a few powerful
distributors control the health of the entire world, Raj Patel
conducts a global investigation. What he uncovers is shocking—the
real reasons for famine in Asia and Africa, an epidemic of farmer
suicides, and the false choices and conveniences in supermarkets. Yet
he also finds hope—in international resistance movements working to
create a more democratic, sustainable, and joyful food system. From
seed to store to plate, STUFFED AND STARVED explains the steps to
regain control of the global food economy, stop the exploitation of
farmers and consumers, and rebalance global sustenance.

Raj Patel, former policy analyst for Food First, a leading food think
tank, is a visiting scholar at the UC Berkeley Center for African
Studies. He has written for the Los Angeles Times and the Guardian,
and though he has worked for the World Bank, WTO, and the UN, he's
also been tear-gassed on four continents protesting them.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Glen Canyon Dam

I don't know why it took me so long to do this, but I looked up the Glen Canyon Dam on Wikipedia. The canyon is spectacular. There's a huge (7,000-by-3,000-pixel) picture of the bend leading to the dam hosted on Wikipedia, and it looks exactly like I imagined: a mind-bendingly-majestic parting of ancient rock with an anemic, putrid-looking trickle of sludge seeping past the colossal (but, compared to the rock surrounding it, unimpressive) concrete face of the dam, surrounded by a vast expanse of sparsely-featured land covered by all these stupid-looking telephone wires.

Here's the Wikipedia entry on the dam itself; I thought it was pretty interesting. I wonder when the Colorado will flow through there again...

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Veggie Sausage

It's not soy. It's a combination of barley and potato. And it is quite delicious. The meat-eaters at the party were able to tell quickly that it was not "real" sausage, but didn't complain about it. Usually that denotes politeness, but I actually think they enjoyed it. I used "Field Roast" available at Rainbow Grocery or Valencia Whole Foods. I cut it into bitesized morsels, marinaded it overnight in a cuban style marinade, i.e., lots of cumin. It was a mixture of fresh lemon, lime and orange juice with olive oil, paprika, oregano, cumin and salt and pepper. I added organic small tomatoes, mushrooms, squash, bell peppers (red, green, yellow), and onion to the marinade. In hindsight I think I should have added a little jalapeño or some smokey habanero. The red pepper was off the hinges... it was so good--tart and fleshy.

For dessert I chopped up a heap of organic cherries and strawberries and marinaded them in a mixture of balsamic vinegar, lime and sugar with orange zest. Let that sit for about a half hour and then added vanilla ice cream to individual servings. Holy sheise, it was good.

I'm working on clearing space in my backyard to start growing some stuff of my own (greens, tomatoes, etc.), but I'm going to need some help. I wonder if any of you gorgeous experienced farm-folk could help me out in planning the garden and giving me some tips on organic cultivation. I've got loads of time now that I'm done with school. Any help will be immensely appreciated.


Wednesday, May 28, 2008


1) read this: monkey bio-robot. we're moving towards Cylon-hood. Haraway says we're already cyborgs. Moravec says sentient robots superior to us will be our children; that even squid should be transformed into robots because they've earned their spot in the evolutionary lineage. what does this mean for sequoias and the pacific?

2) June 7, 2008. I'm having an afternoon of delicious cocktails, veggie sausage skewers and organic summer fruit compote (yum) at my home to celebrate successful completion of 4 years of books, writing, shit-talking, etc.

please join me and other friends. there may or may not be a few stray trannies, so be prepared. email me for deets:

Monday, May 19, 2008

costa rica carbon neutrality

hi folks,
i'm in the thick of finals so i don't think i'll go, but i though i'd pass this along. it's tonight, monday!
TODAY: Costa Rican Minister of Environment on Carbon Neutrality

Roberto Dobles
"Costa Rica: The Carbon Neutrality Challenge"

Costa Rica has declared that it will go carbon neutral by 2021. To meet
that challenge, energy officials from the Central American nation have
gone on a fact-finding tour of the United States, seeking out best
practices that can be incorporated at home. The Center for Latin American
Studies together with the National Resources Defense Council have helped
coordinate the delegation’s visit to Berkeley, focusing on global
strategies for carbon neutrality, methods for reducing dependence on
fossil fuels and the building of partnerships for future collaborations.
Minister Dobles will discuss his country’s efforts to mitigate carbon
emissions during this special presentation.

Roberto Dobles is the Costa Rican Minister of the Environment and Energy.

Co-sponsored by the National Resources Defense Council.

Monday, May 19, 5:00 pm
Room 554, Barrows Hall
More information:

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Critical Theory Magazine of sorts?

I'm looking for a grad gift, and thinking of buying a subscription to some cool magazine for a friend interested in the Frankfurt school, critical theory, environmentalism, avant garde, post-everythingism yadda yadda... you know they type because you probably are that type -- and I mean that in the most complimentary of ways :). Any ideas? Quickly, before Friday!

Thanks, and I'd be up for a post-finals beer (after the 23rd).


Thursday, May 1, 2008

End of Term Bar Festivities?

Dale suggested that perhaps we all get together to celebrate the end of the term soon. I would like to throw out some dates: Friday the 9th, Sunday the 11th, Tuesday the 13th or Wednesday the 14th. Perhaps Jupiter Bar or the Graduate? Let me know.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Vandana Shiva comes to town, April 28th

APRIL 28, 2008
8 PM

Vandana Shiva
In conversation with Carol Tang
Hosted by the California Academy of Science.
Before becoming an international environmental activist, Vandana Shiva was one of India's most reputed physicists, with a master's degree in the philosophy of science and a Ph.D. in particle physics. Since the 1980s, Shiva has championed the anti-globalization movement and is one of the leaders of the International Forum on Globalization. Her research and resultant advocacy explores the applicability of traditional Vedic knowledge and ecology to alleviate poverty in developing countries.

She is the founder and director of the Research Foundation for Science, Technology, and Ecology, an organization whose research has validated the ecological value of traditional farming and whose efforts have been instrumental in fighting destructive building projects in India. Shiva has also been active in repositioning women in the debate on development, for which she received the Right Livelihood Award, also known as the "Alternative Nobel Peace Prize." Shiva has authored over 300 papers in leading scientific and technical journals and books include Biopiracy, Stolen Harvest, Monocultures of the Mind, and Water Wars. Her many awards include the Global 500 Award of the United Nations Environment Program and the U.N.'s Earth Day International Award for her commitment to the preservation of the planet.

Tickets-$19-can be ordered at:
Or by calling the City Box Office at: 415.392.4400

food rationing?

the apocalyse nears! get out and plant your garden! buy a machete! can some zucchini for goodness sake

but really.
two reactions to this crisis stick out: the man at cosco who buys an extra bag of rice in case a neighbor needs one.
and the anonymous who buys 10 50 lb bags to "hoard." i'm sure if they're going for $500 he might sell one. and really could that be possible. while i don't think the apocalypse nears and i do think we have the resources at home to provide for ourselves if we put energy into supporting local ag, i do also realize that food could get really expensive really fast. food and gas are unfortunatly inextricable and to add to that we have people hoarding rice. and exports being suspended. and once hoarding begins, where does it end? hopefully more of us will hoard for eachother. we'll remember our neighbors. we'll have more dinner parties. it's really fascinating that this article plays both sides of this spectrum, demonizing the hoarder a bit, but also causing that little bit of alarm that could prompt hoarding.

plant a garden. not only will you have some extra food, but you'll feel better about the encroaching doom. it's really the most tangible miracle to put seeds in bare ground and in a few days see little baby plants coming up. and they grow every day. a little patch of sanity and effusive joy.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Pure Blue & White Marble - We are the World.... ...ahem

Dale has mentioned how humanity took a big leap when we saw the whole earth all of a sudden from space. This image of the vulnerable, pure, blue and white marble is often what we think of still today. Think again - and take a peek at this - all four images are worth scrolling through. What are the implications?


Thursday, April 17, 2008


"I believe it is time for queers to come out of the woods and speak for ourselves."
Greta Gaard.


I recently went camping for my friend's birthday up in Big Basin. It was Ecofabulous! Here are some fotos: These were just too good not to share. haha!

Also, check this site out. Careful where you open it, it's a bit pornificent.