Weekend Linkages: May Day Edition

Billy Bragg sings the Internationale

William Morris How I Became a Socialist

Vision zero is going well here in LA

Riding a bike in American should not be this dangerous

Texas Plans to Punish Companies That Move Away From Fossil Fuels

Buckets and Hydroponic Baskets for Growing Summer Veggies

I’m for more caftans

The right kind of worker (a podcast episode for your May Day)

In the Zone

I went on a Los Angeles Mycological Society mushroom foray with Bat Vardeh of Foraging and Mushroom Hunting Women of SoCal, on the 9th way up in the Angeles Forest. It was the most gnomecore thing I’ve done in a long time.

We traversed an area dramatically altered by the Bobcat fire of 2020, giving our gnomecore revelries a bit of a post-apocalypse vibe. But amidst the destruction we found mushrooms that thrive in burn zones. The fire vaporized whole trees leaving nothing but a pit where roots used to be. In fact you could follow the negative space of those vaporized roots in the landscape. Within these crevices tiny mushrooms have started the work of transforming the burned remains of the forest into a new landscape.

One thing I learned on this walk is that children are the best mushroom hunters. One particularly enthusiastic kid found the first mushroom and consistently, throughout the day, found more and more. I think it’s because children don’t have the filters on sensory inputs that we adults have. They welcome sensory chaos and don’t yet have the fully formed defenses we adults have to filter, classify and, at worst, ignore the wonder around us.

We didn’t’ find any edible mushrooms, though morels pop up fleetingly in similar burn sites. But I’m happy to look at any mushroom and edibles are just the icing on the cake.

In addition to mushrooms, the fire revealed opportunities for an archeology of late capitalism. Here a Wizard Charcoal Lighter can from maybe the early 1970s washed down from the nearby Buckhorn campground.

And a vintage Pepsi can, also from the early 70s. If only the fungi could learn to metabolize these things but I’m afraid we’re stuck with them.

More on mushrooms in burn areas.

Peter Kalmus Arrested in Climate Change Protest

I’ve taken a break from Twitter for a few weeks and so missed friend of the blog Peter Kalmus’ arrest this past week for locking himself to the JP Morgan Chase building in downtown Los Angeles. Peter, a climate scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab, says in an editorial for the Guardian that he and other activists, part of Scientist Rebellion, chose Chase because the bank funds the most new fossil fuel projects.

Explaining his action Peter says,

Nothing has worked. It’s now the eleventh hour and I feel terrified for my kids, and terrified for humanity. I feel deep grief over the loss of forests and corals and diminishing biodiversity. But I’ll keep fighting as hard as I can for this Earth, no matter how bad it gets, because it can always get worse. And it will continue to get worse until we end the fossil fuel industry and the exponential quest for ever more profit at the expense of everything else. There is no way to fool physics.

As this protest took place during a week when temperatures here broke records you’d think that the local media would have said something but there wasn’t a peep about it with the exception of the excellent LA Podcast.

Peter was a guest on episodes 39 and 116 of our podcast. You can follow him on Twitter at @ClimateHuman. There’s a fundraiser for his and other activist’s legal defense here.