Note: All my posts on the ’60s are gathered under “The ’60s,” above. Being a blog, these posts would normally be in reverse order, with the newest post on top. However, for this particular category, they are arranged with the oldest posts at the top in order to clarify the sequential nature of the posts. The newest posts will be at the bottom.

Hello Darkness, My Old Friend

  • In 541 AD, the Plague of Justinian spread from Constantinople across Europe, Asia, North Africa and Arabia killing an estimated 30 to 50 million people — about half of the world’s population.
  • The Black Death, which hit Europe in 1347, killed 200 million people in just four years — one-third to one-half of all Europeans.
  • Smallpox killed 90 to 95 percent of the indigenous population of the Americas in the 15th century, after it arrived from Europe. Mexico went from 11 million people pre-conquest to one million.

Could the planet be responding to the critical state it’s in right now? Fossil fuel electricity is one big factor, as are cars. A myriad of other assaults on planetary health (exacerbated by this criminal American adminstration in eliminating any and all environmental rules) have pushed planet earth into a crisis.

The Gaia Hypothesis, promulgated in the late 1970s by James Lovelock and Lynn Margulis, which proposes (as defined in Wikipedia) “…that living organisms and inorganic material are part of a dynamic system that shapes the Earth’s biosphere, and maintains the Earth as a fit environment for life. In some Gaia theory approaches, the Earth itself is viewed as an organism with self-regulatory functions.”

The planet is a living, breathing entity, conscious in ways we cannot imagine.

I’ll go even farther into woo-woo land here. In the ’60s, when I was living in Big Sur, I’d always thought of the idea of hugging redwood trees as being New Age lameness. But one day I thought I’d see what hugging a redwood tree was like. I wrapped my arms around it, laying my cheek against the soft bark — and I felt a jolt, a connection. This thing was alive, and it knew I was there. Well, well.

A number of books have come out lately, including Underland: A Deep Time Journey, by Robert Macfarlane, describing the discovery of the “wood wide web,” or the “mycorrhizal network” going on underground between mycelium and tree roots, which share nutrients and information. In one case I read about an alder tree that was attacked by beetles: it sent this information to alders quite a distance away to get ready, and the latter manufactured some kind of antibody to resist the beetles.

Trees, as well as the living and breathing earth, are alive in ways we can hardly comprehend.

Is the virus sending us a message?

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Peter Calthorpe, Designer of Pedestrian-Friendly Cities, Advocate of Sustainable Building Practices

Stewart Brand introduces and interviews Peter in this Long Now Foundation seminar on long-term thinking. About 30 years ago, Peter developed the concept of a “Pedestrian Pocket,” a pedestrian-friendly, transit-linked, mixed-use urban area with a park at its center. The Pedestrian Pocket mixes low-rise high-density housing, commercial and retail uses.



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Home in the Pyrenees Mountains in France

Our friend and carpenter yogan was hiking in the Pyrenees recently and came across this beautiful little home. He recognized it from our book Home Work, where it was featured in a section on countercultural builders in France, and shot these photos. It was built by Jeanne-Marie; she based the design on the old stone barns of the region, but used wood rather than stone.

Here is a link to yogan’s book (in French) of wild buildings around the world: www.cabanophiles.com

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Bluegrass Bonanza

Strawberry ’86 Jam: John Hartford / Bela Fleck / Doug Dillard / Sam Bush / David Greer / Pat Flynn



From Doug Armstrong

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