Michael Pollan on Sustainable Food

Great 15 min talk from Pop!Tech — good reminder on what it takes to produce our food, and how the current system can’t last, nor should it given the better alternatives:

Most widespread day of political action in history

This past weekend I had the honor of volunteering with the 350.org team during the final 48 hours of their global day of action on October 24, in more than 180 countries and every single time zone. It was filled with the same intensity and emotion as Election Day — complete with lots of under-slept bodies and a dank campaign office. I was thoroughly impressed, learned a good deal, and had a blast. I’m preparing a more in-depth write-up on lessons learned, but in the meantime I wanted to pull together my status updates from the day (start reading from the bottom!) as well as some of the videos i shot.  

ok, 350.org has basically turned into a porn site for online organizers. (and my coworkers have caught me sneaking peeks) #350ppm 11:49 PM Oct 26th

v cool: 200 Kayakers form giant floating 350 4 Day of Action. video: @amaser #350ppm #PDX via @350 @blakehschmidt 4:48 PM Oct 26th

RT @philaroneanu: Just about to enter the UN bldg in NYC. Going to deliver your @350 photos to Ban Ki Moon’s climate team @secgen #350ppm 1:40 PM Oct 26th

Grandiose q’s for a Sun, exploring future of citizen organizing + leaderless orgs in social change w/ @heif after ystrday’s @350 events 2:08 PM Oct 25th  

There’re few thing more beautiful to me than what @350 crew + thousands of vol organizers achieved today. all deserve much sleep. #350ppm 1:33 PM Oct 24th

RT @350 on ABC News: Boston to Beijing, Sydney to Delhi #350ppm (via @350buzz) 1:21 AM Oct 24th

video walkthrough of massive 350 Times Sq event: + smiles frm organizers after: #350ppm 6:40 PM Oct 24th cheers erupting from #350ppm HQ as global day of action photos hit homepage of NYT, IHT, Le Monde 6:05 PM Oct 24th

Photo: rallying in times sq under photos from #350ppm global day of climate action 4:19 PM Oct 24th

Photo: From times sq, proud organizers, mvmt builders #350ppm global day of climate action 4:16 PM Oct 24th

Big rally in times sq right now, showing pics of millions ppl taking action in almost every cntry to change our climate future #350ppm 4:07 PM Oct 24th

350 global day of climate action takes over TIMES SQ right now, photos frm around world. Unreal! VID: #350ppm 3:59 PM Oct 24th

this is what new organizing looks like. what’s happening behind largest distributed global action; VID: #350ppm 2:11 PM Oct 24th

athletes organizing events around the world for #350ppm global day of climate action; behind scenes video: 1:16 PM Oct 24th

McKibben re digital organizing: this is beta test of whether we can take this new arch. + make it serve some useful end 1:12 PM Oct 24th

RT @350: #CNN is SO our fav network right now: RT @Agent350: #350ppm on CNN this morning! Josh gets the story exactly: 1:07 PM Oct 24th

caught up w/ @billmckibben for realtime update on #350ppm day of action as it unfolds around the world: #350ppm 1:05 PM Oct 24th

incred photos coming in fast and furious frm #350ppm actions around the world: several of us tagging/sorting furiously 12:15 PM Oct 24th

Highlights reel from Climate Ride 08

Still busy sorting through photos and videos from our incredible 5 day Climate Ride, but here’s a great photo slideshow by Kip Pierson, our official photographer in the meantime. Kip’s local to DC and I’d definitely recommend him if you need a wedding or event photographer. I’ve put a few of my own pics up here and below, the ones I took from my iphone.But really you should check out Kip’s slideshow, which i don’t think i can embed here.

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Frequently asked questions about my ride from NYC to DC (Climate Ride 08)

This is for climate change?
Well, against it, really.

Have you been training?
Define training?

Well, I mean, do you ride a lot or something?
I biked to Annapolis and back last weekend… This will be much more difficult, but I plan on surviving.

Will they shut down the highways or something?
Definitely not. Apparently there are other roads between New York and DC, at least one of which goes through Amish country, where we’ll be spending a night.

What happens to the money if you don’t finish?
Thanks for your confidence. The money will be re-routed from the beneficiary organizations to cover my medical expenses. Ok?

You’ll have overcome climate change when this is over?
Fer sure.

How much money did you raise at the fundraiser you guys hosted at the Black Squirrel last week?
Almost $1,000 — thank you to everyone who stopped by and contributed!

Is it too late to make a contribution?
No! Quick — here’s my fundraising page. I’m almost at my goal… You can help me get there.

Wait, when do you leave?
Saturday AM at the crack of dawn. If you’re in NYC, stop by our kickoff event, 6-10p at BLVD (199 Bowery). Tickets.

What’s this team thing?
Asher, Dave, and I are all riding under the 1Sky banner — because we want to show our political leaders that America’s ready for bold federal climate solutions. Here’s our team page. And Phil is riding under the 350 banner for similar reasons.

And why are you doing this again?
It feels like exactly the right thing to do at exactly the right time, and we’re going to have a blast.

What’s the schedule? Where will you be and when?Here you go.

Best way to keep up with the ride while you’re on the road?
– Climate Ride 08’s blog and twitter feed
– This here blog and twitter feed

Ode to Friends Who Can Write BOOKS. Check these out.

All of a sudden, 83% of the people I know and respect in the world decided to sit down and write a book this year.


Having tried my own hand at this writing craft, I’m in awe. At the urging of former Dean campaign colleague Zephyr Teachout, I penned a chapter for the recently published Mousepads, Shoe Leather, and Hope: Lessons from the Howard Dean Campaign for the Future of Internet Politics. This was among the more grueling and painful experiences of my professional career (albeit ultimately rewarding), and I hope never to have to write anything as long as this ever again (i.e. a book).So all of you real writer-people are deserving of a huge nod (or at least a link) —


First on the list: former Dean campaign colleague, friend, and fellow EchoDitto co-founder Garrett Graff released last month what seems to be quickly becoming the authoritative modern history of internet politics (i think there are some visions for the future too, but i haven’t read the second part yet): The First Campaign: Globalization, the Web, and the Race for the White House. Check out this slick review he scored in the NYT just the other week — congrats! Likely the first of many books to be expected from “the astonishingly young Mr. Graff.”


Another friend and internet mogul (where mogul = smart internet-consultant colleague and middle school classmate) Brian Reich released almost simultaneously with Garrett a book that guides business leaders and social enterprises through their use of new media. I can attest that a ton of research went into this book in the form of in-depth interviews with more than 35 business leaders who are exploring and pioneering on this landscape; not to mention a great deal of well qualified personal experience: Media Rules!: Mastering Today’s Technology to Connect with and Keep Your Audience


Bill McKibben has been a friend, mentor, and fellow campaigner for many years now. He’s actually a professional writer, so he’s the last person on this list to potentially benefit from any additional blogospheric mentions. But I want to recommend the book here anyway because Bill is an incredible story-teller (i.e. easy to read) and writes more eloquently in this book about the virtues of Local than anyone else I’ve encountered on the subject: Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future. From local food systems to energy systems to social capital, Bill ties it all together. I’m also thinking that this book had something to do with “locavore” making Oxford’s Word of The Year. It’s a great read — esp the acknowledgments page, because that’s where I get an unexpected shout-out.


On a related note, I’ve become a huge fan of the work of the Step it Up gang — an impressive band of recent Middlebury College grads who decided that waiting around for the political winds to change in Washington wasn’t a good way to invest their bottled up energy. So they rented a house in Burlington, VT (not far from former Dean campaign HQ) and got to work tapping the web to organize thousands of local grassroots volunteers all over the country. The outcome was hundreds upon hundreds of political rallies in towns across the country in April and again in November. Both days of action had a tremendous impact both on Congress and on the climate movement at large. And then, because they somehow weren’t tired after a year of 15-hour days, they worked with McKibben to write down all that they learned and heard and published it as a simple guide for local organizers: Fight Global Warming Now: The Handbook for Taking Action in Your Community. Keep an eye on these guys as well — they’re helping to change the way we think about organizations and political advocacy (here’s a short interview that I did on this), and it’s been a privilege to work alongside of this incredible team.


If you couldn’t tell from the previous two books, there’s plenty coming out of my alma matter these days. One of my former professors and fellow climate campaigner Jon Isham just completed a wonderful and long-overdue modern handbook for climate activists and leaders everywhere: Ignition: What You Can Do to Fight Global Warming and Spark a Movement. It has essays from some of the best, including McKibben, Gus Speth, and Jared Duval. Given the great deal of thought and legwork that went into making this book come together, I hope it’s ready by anyone doing any work at all to fight climate change. To crib from Island Press: “Combining incisive essays with success stories and web resources, the book helps readers answer the most important question we all face: “What can I do?”


Finally, I’m in the middle of reading Nordhaus and Shellenberger’s new book, Break Through: From the Death of Environmentalism to the Politics of Possibility. It’s their first book since their controversial but excellent essay of several years ago, “Death of Environmentalism.” Of all the books I just listed, this one is easily the most dense with new thinking and most likely to make me rethink our entire approach to social change. It’s positioned as the new What’s the Matter with Kansas or Lakoff’s Don’t Think of an Elephant, and I can see why, given Michael and Ted’s backgrounds not only as wicked-smart academics and pollsters but also as “environmentalists.” They do a pretty solid Q and A with Amazon page that’s worth checking out. And it seems to be selling like hotcakes, which is great news. Congrats, guys.

where did all of these catalogs come from?

… and, what’s a catalog? Just when i thought purchasing a physical CD was a quaint notion, when’s the last time anyone outside of Iowa ordered holiday gifts from a catalog?I returned from a few days away to find a mountain of catalogs begging to be redirected to the landfill (my building doesn’t recycle them, sadly). Then I remembered a recent post somewhere about a free service called CatalogChoice.org that does all the legwork of unsubscribing for you — from whatever catalogs you no longer want to receive. Brilliant.No idea if it works yet (ask me in 8 weeks), but it couldn’t have been much easier, and it sure is a great idea long overdue.