Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Dick Bennett touts "Storms of my Grandchildren," a wonderful book on climate change

Please click on images to ENLARGE view of Dick Bennett in the CAT 18 studio reviewing a book on climate change on December 29, 2009.

Sky Blaylock and Dick Bennett visit briefly after Professor Bennett completed a short take Tuesday afternoon, December 29, 2009, to be run next week on CAT 18 on Cox Cable in Fayetteville, Arkansas

Please click on image to ENLARGE view of Dr. James Richard Bennett, a University of Arkansas professor emeritus in English, visiting with Sky Blaylock, manager of the Fayetteville, Arkansas, public-access channel, on December 29, 2009. Bennett was a founder of the OMNI Center for Peace, Justice and Ecology. Bennett is one of many members of OMNI who regularly appear on the CAT channel, which runs live on the Internet 24-7 showing everything that appears on Cox Cable 18. OMNI members' messages are as diverse as the nonprofit organization's name would imply. Peace may be the big focus during war time, but justice in health-care coverage for all and fighting global climate change through local efforts and helping to purchase land for World Peace Wetland Prairie to demonstrate the importance of protecting soil, water and air worldwide are never out of mind.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Free wetland workshop for educators planned for early February

Materials and Workshop are FREE! Registration is required.

Limited to 20 participants, so register early!
For more information about the workshop and other teacher training opportunities at the Fred Berry Conservation Education Center call (870) 449-3484.
Participants will receive 6 hours of
Professional Development credit.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Splitting small lots below minimum size required by zone inevitably leads to environmental problems

Please click on image to ENLARGE and read times and dates of public hearings on a lot split that would create two lots smaller than the standard in the Neighhborhood Conservation district.
The lot is narrow but has frontage on both South Street and East Avenue. The bad news is that it is mostly steep and runoff will be significant if it is covered with red dirt for development. There will be no way to KEEP the WATER WHERE it FALLS if the lower part of the lot is graded. Two driveways and two sidewalks and two houses on the site of a single house will make almost all the surface impervious.
During construction, keeping red dirt, mud and various types of silt from running down East Avenue and into the Spout Spring Branch will be impossible.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Face of a coyote: Click on this headline for photos of a pet coyote

Please click on image to enlarge and go to flickr site to see a few more photos of coyotes on prairie at Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport on December 27, 2009.

IMG_3315coyote face EXCEL

Coyotes hunt mice on prairies of Northwest Arkansas

Please click on image to ENLARGE view of coyote on Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport property on December 27, 2009, to ENLARGE and move to Flckr site to enlarge views of several more photos of coyotes at XNA on December, 2009.

The coyotes of XNA on December 27, 2009

Please click on images to ENLARGE view of coyotes on Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport prairie land on December 27, 2009.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Geese just a sample of the wildlife and native people of Northwest Arkansas displaced by immense human population

Please click on images to ENLARGE view of geese over Arkansas 112 on December 26, 2009.

What route do you take from your home in Northwest Arkansas if or when you have to drive to XNA?
If you aren't into the acronym scene, XNA is the designation the federal aviation gurus have given to the former Fayetteville airport ripped out of Drake Field in south Fayetteville and created anew in a beautiful part of northwest Arkansas that might be described as a high plain: prairie land on a relatively high plateau with springs and CLEAR, COLD STREAMS.

Take Arkansas 112 between Fayetteville and the Highfill area and you might begin to see what so many of us are fighting for when we discourage mindless development of this magnificent area.
Any route one travels to and from XNA can reveal a lot of the magnificence of the Northwest Arkansas of only a few decades ago and even of a century or more ago.
If you stay off I 540 and travel some of the various other routes to the airport, you may begin to understand.
Essentially, the damming of the White River was the final damning of Northwest Arkansas, one of the most magnificent regions of the world.
Get out and look at the old barns and farm houses instead of the "starter castles" and see the free-flowing streams instead of the concrete-bottomed ditch that drains XNA to an Illinois River triburary.
Notice the prairie and the steep, wooded hillsides and the geese and ducks and other wildlife. That is what NWA was all about only a few decades ago. The springs and rich soil and the vistas from the highlands made people settle here.
The native Americans who previously inhabited the area before the U.S. was created and before the Louisiana Purchase took it from the French, didn't overpopulate the land. They lived on it and prospered on its natural features.
Now the area's natural beauty and potential to provide easy access to sustenance for human beings and other living things is shattered into many small pieces by subdivisions, many of which have failed as the boom in easy loans and temporarily high-paid buyers and short-sighted bankers and greedy people in general found willing buyers and sellers among the many mostly land-appreciating descendants of the area's 19th-century settlers and newcomers from faraway areas.
Anyway a person chooses to approach XNA, the mix is the same: The nearly two-century-old buildings, trees and eons-old land forms juxtaposed with the failed dream castles of the newly wealthy workers and the greedy, land-ignorant who would seek profit without a smidgen of understanding of what they would be destroying.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Bing Crosby was singing about tonight when I was only two years old


Natural Resources Conservation Service removed some pretty healthy riparian vegetation from Scull Creek but left some bad spots with targeted debris blocking stream flow

Please click on images to ENLARGE.

The Scull Creek trail bridge at Ash Street and Chestnut Avenue has had this same debris hung up on it for maybe three months or more since the worst flood of the fall of 2009 sent water flowing over the bridge, but the NCRS contractors ignored it and spent a lot of their time paid for by federal money cutting live trees from the riparian zone and overflow areas of Scull Creek and other streams in Fayetteville, such as the Town Branch.

The good news is that the native wildflowers along the same stretch of trail in the Scull Creek riparian zone were mostly left standing. That means more seed to sprout in spring and more seed for the wild birds to eat. The square stems with now-wrinkled huge leaves still forming water-holding structures along them are cup flowers. a species that grew 10 feet tall and more at World Peace Wetland Prairie and many other prairie areas in Northwest Arkansas in 2009.

By morning, tall grass and tall wildflower seed and other sources such as this native smartweed near Scull Creek and native buckbrush and nonnative China honeysuckle and nonnative privet berries will be among the few places for migrating birds to feed if the snowfall is as predicted.

Wouldn't the birds love it if the trash were picked up from the ditches running from the streets and the apartment dwellers would actually help?

Remember that birdfeeders are important for wintering birds but that every stick of vegetation and every square foot of natural soil left in place are more important for birds and other wildlife.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

December 20, 2009, Christmas Bird Count for Fayetteville, Arkansas

Provided by Joe Neal

Greater White-fronted Goose 3
Ross’s Goose (2 count week; 3rd time on count)
Canada Goose 868
Wood Duck 2
Gadwall 118
American Wigeon 6
Mallard 223
Northern Shoveler 190 (highest for count)
Am. Green-winged Teal 63
Northern Pintail 1
Ring-necked Duck 22
Lesser Scaup 6
Bufflehead 56
Hooded Merganser 2
Common Merganser 1 (5th time on count)
Red-breasted Merganser 2 (3rd time on count)
Ruddy Duck 7
Pied-billed Grebe 19
Great Blue Heron 21
Black Vulture 22
Turkey Vulture 216 (2nd highest for count)
Bald Eagle 10 (mature8; immature 2)
Northern Harrier 4
Sharp-shinned Hawk 4
Cooper's Hawk 8
Red-shouldered Hawk 22 (highest for count)
Red-tailed Hawk: 36
American Kestrel 33
Merlin 1 (only 2nd time on count)
SORA 1 (first for count)
American Coot 148
Killdeer 79
Least Sandpiper 2 (4th time on count)
Wilson’s Snipe 39
Ring-billed Gull 311 (high for count)
Rock Pigeon 311
Eurasian Collared-Dove 84 (high for count)
Mourning Dove 211
Greater Roadrunner 3
Eastern Screech-Owl 1
Great Horned Owl 7
Barred Owl 1
RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD 1 (first for count)
Belted Kingfisher 14
Red-bellied Woodpecker 51
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 18
Downy Woodpecker 78
Hairy Woodpecker 12
Northern Flicker 46
Pileated Woodpecker 8
Eastern Phoebe 4
Loggerhead Shrike 1
Blue Jay 52
American Crow 636 (count high)
Carolina Chickadee 190
Tufted Titmouse 124
White-breasted Nuthatch 54
Brown Creeper 8
Carolina Wren 122 (count high)
Winter Wren 7
Sedge Wren 6
Marsh Wren 1 (4th time on count)
Golden-crowned Kinglet 10
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 13
Eastern Bluebird 267 (count high)
Hermit Thrush 3
American Robin 90
Northern Mockingbird 108
Brown Thrasher 3
European Starling 12855
American Pipit 39
Cedar Waxwing 63
Yellow-rumped Warbler 100
Field Sparrow 10 (2nd lowest on count)
Savannah Sparrow 123
Le Conte's Sparrow 1
Fox Sparrow 6
Song Sparrow 87
Swamp Sparrow 86
White-throated Sparrow 241
White-crowned Sparrow 107
Dark-eyed Junco 603
Northern Cardinal 308
Red-winged Blackbird 791
Eastern Meadowlark 191
Western Meadowlark 2
Rusty Blackbird 4
Common Grackle 6 (one of lowest on count)
Brown-headed Cowbird 164
Purple Finch 1
House Finch 64
Pine Siskin (3 count week)
American Goldfinch 131
House Sparrow 158
Blackbird species 8050

Total species 94: count day: 92; 2 additional species were identified for the count week (3 days before and 3 days after count day). Notable misses: Several diving duck species (weather too mild), Eastern Towhee, Harris’s Sparrow, etc. We also missed Double-crested Cormorant – first miss since 1996. But still a GREAT day. Good work Fayetteville CBCers!


So if you were going to pick the weather for your CBC day, what would you want? This year we had warmth & and almost no wind. A perfect day to be out all day.
The great star birds for this year are certainly the Sora found by Jason Luscier’s group

Rufous Hummingbird snagged by the Mulholland group at the home of Paul & Ann Johnson in Farmington. They got to the house first thing in the morning and had the bird within 5 minutes. Jacque brown, David Oakley, and others have collected images. I have included one of Jacque’s images of this bird in the report
Both species are firsts for the Fayetteville CBC, dating back to 1961.

Thanks to you 43 PARTICIPANTS (includes 40 in field, 3 at feeder): Douglas James, Andrea Green, Nancy Varvil, Gwen Bennett; Mike Mlodinow, David Chapman, Steve Erwin, Michael Lehmann, Jason Luscier, Christy & Mike Slay; Jeff Kimmons, Maureen McClung; Kim Smith, James Morgan, Warren Fields, Lynn Armstrong; Joanie Patterson, Donald Ouellette; Paige & Mary Bess Mulhollan, Sarah Lehnen, Josh Newman, Sarah King, Kelly Mulhollan; Andrew Scaboo, Brandon Schmidt; Ben Burnette; Joe Neal, Richard Stauffacher, Roseann Barnhill, David Oakley, Jacque Brown, Louise Mann; Joan Reynolds, Stephanie Cribbs, Leigh Helm, Scott Michaud, Jane Purtle, Adam Shaffer. At the feeders: Elizabeth James, Bob & Sara Caulk. Finally, Taylor Long joined several groups taking pictures of the CBC.

Northwest Arkansas Audubon Society generously agreed to donate the $5 per participant fee which goes to National Audubon to organize, store, and make accessible the massive mid-winter bird data so useful to the public and to science. This will be around $200. Thank you NWAAS for helping make this count a roaring success.

Thanks to Doug and Elizabeth James for AGAIN hosting another enjoyable after count tally-up & social gathering at their home. Doug spent all day in the field and Elizabeth spent part of the day observing at feeders, then had all of us over.
Finally, for a hecka of a lot more data, check out & play as you wish, by visiting the CBC section of the National Audubon website. -- Joe Neal

Creating a wetland-mitigation bank an excellent way to help protect our environment and protect wildlife habitat; but mitigation must never routinely excuse developers and public agencies to make a full effort to keep the water where it falls

The idea of a wetland-mitigation bank discussed in a video below is excellent and can be effective.
However, the availability of a mitigation bank must NEVER be used as an excuse for allowing developers or even public agencies to avoid keeping the water where it falls in every case where it is possible.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Florida finally got the message. When will Arkansas get it?

Beaver Water District offers a new educational effort with short video presentations: Click this headline for an mp4 sample

Do Your Part to Protect Beaver Lake

“Beaver Lake. We drink it every day.” That’s the core message of Beaver Water District’s latest educational outreach campaign, which kicks off on Christmas Day.
“This is a call to action,” said Alan D. Fortenberry P.E., CEO of the District. “Beaver Lake is our drinking water. Clean water is vital for public health. These videos address concepts such as how the lake came to be built and how runoff from storms can harm the lake. The idea is that the more people know, the more they will care and do something about it.”
At the end of each video, viewers are asked to “Do your part to protect Beaver Lake.” This is followed by information about accessing Beaver Water District’s website, where visitors will find links to tips about how to keep polluted storm water out of Beaver Lake.
“We’re excited about this campaign,” said Amy Wilson, Director of Public Affairs for the District. “We get calls every week from people wanting to know what they can do. They have a lot of questions. They want to understand water issues. What better way to bridge the gap than to localize the message and apply it to Beaver Lake and Northwest Arkansas. It’s a formula for success.”
The 30-second videos deal with how the lake came to be built; the definition of watershed and the primary watersheds in Northwest Arkansas; the types of everyday pollution that can negatively impact the lake and what individuals can do to stop it; and the role that clean, potable water has in protecting public health and safeguarding the economic future of our area. They will air on KNWA-TV and Fox24, Jones Television, Community Access Television, and the city of Fayetteville’s government access channel. In addition, they may be viewed by visiting and clicking on the water faucet logo with the message Consume, Conserve, Connect.
Beaver Water District supplies drinking water to more than 250,000 people and industries in Fayetteville, Springdale, Rogers, Bentonville and surrounding areas. These cities resell the water to surrounding towns and communities. The District’s mission is to serve our customers in the Benton and Washington County area by providing high quality drinking water that meets or exceeds all federal and state regulatory requirements in such quantities as meets their demands and is economically priced consistent with our quality standards. For more information, visit

Monday, December 21, 2009

Democrat/Gazette December 21, 2009, editorial advocating saving sale-barn land for Fayetteville National Cemetery pleases majority of veterans and neighbors, but the problem is that saving Town Branch homeowners from flooding downhill from the cemetery is still being ignored: VA already at work preparing to dredge and fill wetland and pipe stormwater directly to Hill Avenue and thus to the 11th Street bridge on the Town Branch

Please click on individual photos to ENLARGE view of wetland area along the north edge of the Fayetteville National Cemetery being prepared for dredging and filling for grave sites. The depressional wetland developed over centuries because it is above a bedrock karst area where groundwater sinks into the underground caverns and aquifers and reduces surface-water flooding. When it is piped to the Town Branch it will further aggravate the flooding danger between Ellis and Van Buren avenues already created by the University of Arkansas' failure properly to manage stormwater on the campus and by paving and development along Martin Luther King Boulevard and on the Aspen Ridge/Hill Place project.

Save acres for vets

Now buy the land for the cemetery

Monday, December 21, 2009
LITTLE ROCK — LIKE WARM Arkansas Christmases, dry eyes after It’s a Wonderful Life, and little boys from the Natural State scribbling “LSU gear” on their annual wish lists, some things are just not meant to be. That’s the way it seems with the controversial student apartments that apparently won’t be built in south Fayetteville. You know, where Washington County’s historic livestock auction house operated until June.
A lawsuit that sought to override the city’s denial of a rezoning request seems to be kaput. Campus Crest developers of North Carolina wanted to buy the property from the auction house’s owner, Bill Joe Bartholomew, and build 500 apartments on the property. But the drawn-out legal ordeal surrounding this purchase became just too much to bear. Mr. Bartholomew now wants his suit dismissed.
The proposed sale to Campus Crest became a flashpoint for veterans and others last summer. They wanted to secure the site across Government Avenue from the city’s National Cemetery so they might preserve the sacred nature of that location. They basically argued that more student apartments in an overbuilt Fayetteville wasn’t an appropriate use of the land. They had a point. The former auction barn parcel does provide an ideally located space to enlarge this rapidly filling cemetery.
Fayetteville’s council denied Mr. Bartholomew’s request to rezone his property. The rezoning would have sealed the sale and enabled Campus Crest to purchase and develop the property. That’s when Mr. Bartholomew filed his suit against the city.

This latest development means the corporation that oversees the cemetery’s operation, Congress, the national office of Veteran’s Affairs, and veterans’ organizations need to find a way to purchase this property. The space needs to be preserved and protected as a final resting place for our veterans in the decades to come.

"There Was a Man" offers a chance to see Donna and Kelly playing a couple of rare instruments on December 20, 2009, at Good Folk Productions on Block Street in Fayetteville, Arkansas

There was a man

Aubrey james | MySpace Video

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Mike Shirkey's concert on Block street was a double-header win Saturday and Sunday

Lauren Hawkins among the most consistent fans of Donna and Kelly for the past decade and more.

Donna & Kelly up the ante

Aubrey james | MySpace Video

Professor Emeritus Dick Bennett, founder of OMNI Center, rises after another productive meeting of OMNI's Climate Change Task Force

Nick Brown of the University of Arkansas' sustainability team provides a well-reasoned explanation of the good things about the Copenhagen Climate Summit. and says this is the first such event in two decades at which the United States showed significant leadership

Climate Change Task Force hears reports from several experts in various disciplines on December 20, 2009

Please click on images to Enlarge photos of CCTF meeting on December 20, 2009.

Climate Change Task Force meeting begins in 15 minutes

CCTF Meeting from 1-3pm Today.‏
From: joanna pollock (
Sent: Sun 12/20/09 9:43 AM

Good Morning! Join us at the OMNI house at 3274 Lee Street in Fayetteville from 1-3pm (we will adjourn earlier if possible). Robert McAfee will briefly share the importance of climate change preparedness. Ryan Denham will share the main talking points and action items from 1sky. Jacob Holloway will address agriculture and the importance of organic farming for sustainable living. Nick Brown will share outcomes from the 25x25 meeting in Little Rock and news from the CEW campaign. Please join us if you can and carpool as much as possible. We need your help to make this movement strong so organizers are not just talking to each other.

See below the 1sky press release from founder Gillian Caldwell.

Joanna Pollock
Climate Change Task Force, OMNI
Climate Precinct Captain, 1sky

World Leaders Fail to Deliver a Critically Needed Deal to Tackle Global Warming
1Sky Campaign Calls for Climate Leadership from Obama and the U.S. Senate
December 19, 2009
Contact: Liz Butler; (202) 487-4908,
Gillian Caldwell; (202) 446-8811,
As the United Nations climate change talks in Copenhagen staggered on, it became clear that they will conclude without reaching the bold and binding global agreement needed to stave off climate catastrophe. In response, 1Sky Campaign Director Gillian Caldwell called upon President Obama and the U.S. Senate to lead by ensuring the passage of bold and comprehensive climate and clean energy legislation as soon as possible.
“Events continue to unfold as we speak, but it is clear that the Copenhagen talks will not result in the fair, ambitious, and binding global treaty that the world desperately needs,” said Caldwell. “The 1Sky campaign pushed hard for President Obama to join the Copenhagen negotiations and we were pleased that he did, but unfortunately the proposals offered by the Obama Administration fell short of what was needed. The hopes of grassroots advocates and civil society leaders for a successful outcome have been dashed largely because the U.S. has yet to take bold action to tackle the climate challenge.”
“Our work is clearly not done yet -- the science calls for much more urgent action than what we’ve seen to date, and President Obama has acknowledged that,” Caldwell continued. “Delay only benefits the fossil fuel industries that are reaping record profits while destroying our future. We call upon President Obama and the Senate to take bold action as soon as possible in 2010 to secure our future.”
1Sky and its many partners in the growing movement for real climate solutions had flagged three key points to determine whether the Obama Administration’s efforts in Copenhagen could be deemed a success:
Acknowledging U.S. responsibility for climate change by making substantial financial investments in the transition;
Setting goals for short term emission reductions that are consistent with science;
Using the prominence of the Copenhagen conference to push the U.S. Senate for real action in the coming months.
Caldwell noted that the U.S. Senate’s failure to pass a strong climate bill in 2009 presented a significant roadblock to progress in Copenhagen. “Every day the U.S. Senate delays undermines the U.S.’s negotiating position and diminishes our potential to lead the way in the clean energy economy of the future,” Caldwell said. “President Obama must step up to the challenge and rally the American public behind bold climate legislation and secure a strong bill from the U.S. Senate. The longer we wait, the worse it gets: the International Energy Agency tells us that every year of delay costs $500 billion.”
Caldwell called for the U.S. to significantly increase its weak proposed emissions reduction of 4% below 1990 levels by 2020, which falls far short of scientific recommendations of 40% reductions. She also called upon the U.S. to ensure significant investments in international climate finance. “The most vulnerable communities need clean pathways out of poverty and humanitarian assistance for climate disruption that they did little to cause,” said Caldwell. “Financial commitments from developed nations are essential to ensure our national and global security, to boost our economy by opening up new clean energy markets and partnerships, and to ensure that poor nations can adapt to climate change while developing sustainably.”
“The Copenhagen talks failed to produce the substantive outcomes the world desperately needs. We are more determined than ever to secure strong U.S. climate legislation and a fair, ambitious and binding global treaty,” Caldwell concluded. “More than 12 million people across the world, including 600,000 in the U.S., raised their voices for strong action before and during the conference. This rapidly growing global grassroots movement will not be denied. We won’t stop short of the real solutions that science and justice demand.”
1Sky is a collaborative national campaign for strong federal action to tackle global climate change and invest in building the clean energy economy of the future. As one of the largest national campaigns in the country, 1Sky combines the force of 540 allied organizations, 184,000 committed climate advocates, 3,300 volunteer Climate Precinct Captains covering more than 394 congressional districts in 50 states, and a team of 43 including 33 organizers in 23 states working to mobilize constituent support.
For more information on 1Sky contact Alex Posorske at (301) 270-4550 x230 or

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Saturday, December 19, 2009

Jake Lamkins responds to Northwest Arkansas Times editorial on Fayetteville National Cemetery and the Washington County Livestock Auction property

Re your editorial today, Dec 19, about the Bartholomew family:

Last Tuesday, Dec. 15, your reporter wrote an article about this subject.
I emailed him the following:

"To Skip Descant,
Just read your article in today's TIMES about the Bartholomew property.
You wrote:
"Although the Regional National Cemetery Improvement Corp. that formally oversees operation of the cemetery
has said it wants to expand in another direction, Buckner said Monday he still wants to see the Bartholomews’
property used to expand the cemetery."

That is in error. The RNCIC does not have anything to do with the operation of the national cemetery. Gloria Bailey and her great staff operate the cemetery as part of the U. S. Department of Veteran's Affairs.
The RNCIC has chosen to concentrate on buying lots on Government Avenue and Hill Street to donate to the cemetery because they are the only properties we have been able to afford.
We presently need about $50,000 to buy another lot on Hill Street and we are having a hard time raising it.
So, the $millions needed for the Bartholomew property are far beyond our reach.
Please visit our website at for more information about us."

He replied:
"Thanks Jake.
Thanks for clearing this up. And I'm sorry for the oversight. I'll be sure to put in a correction.
Thanks again for writing.
Skip Descant"

I thought the subject was closed but now you repeat the SAME ERROR in your editorial today and pile even more malarkey on the subject.

I will not go into the rest of the editorial's misperceptions, errors, slanting of the news and critique of the democratic process of having open hearings with citizen input.

I will be happy if you will just tell your readers that the RNCIC DOES NOT RUN THE NATIONAL CEMETERY.
The truth is we are a little organization that has been buying small parcels of lands for 25 years and giving them to the national cemetery.
The only reason the national cemetery is not full and closed to burials is because of the RNCIC.

Jake Lamkins

Joe Neal suggests less shopping, more protecting

less shopping, more protecting‏
Joe Neal (

Back in 2000 I saw a Red-tailed Hawk nest in the stout fork of a big old prairie-era post oak. The oak was part of a small forest developed on former Tallgrass Prairie habitat well marked by impressive prairie mounds. There were Northern Bobwhites in the surrounding fields and Painted Buntings in the shrublands. Visitors to northwest Arkansas and us locals are invariably drawn to this area now because it is Steel Creek Crossing in the burgeoning retail-entertainment district in the vicinity of NW Arkansas Mall.

There was a big battle over these old prairie oaks in 2000, begun when Mary Lightheart climbed what she called the “mother tree” and vowed to stay until development plans were dropped. She kept her vow to stay, but eventually law enforcement brought her down and arrested others who tried to take her place.

I was out Christmas shopping in that area yesterday. What remains of that old oak barren is a handful of fantastic mature native trees and prairie mounds between two popular retailers, Kohl’s and Target . Kohl’s refused to make any compromise with their store building plans at the time. Folks who supported Lightheart handed out bumper stickers after the fracas that read, “I will never shop at Kohl’s.” Trash from the parking lots collects there, mute witness to what happens when a worthwhile fight is lost.

I haven’t seen one of those “I’ll never shop…” adorning a bumper in a few years, so I guess this too has now largely faded. Just from an ecological viewpoint, the little remnant is worth a visit because it is a perfect example of a unique Ozark habitat once much more widespread in northwestern Arkansas. There’s plenty of parking nearby, too.

But I am a historian and a birder, and when I’m out that way, I always stop and look at the oaks and the mounds, remembering that big hawk nest, the bobwhites, and buntings. Bobwhites and Painted Buntings are two of our native birds whose declines are thought by some to be a mystery. Stop by the little woodlot. The reason for decline, at least in our western Arkansas neck-of-the-woods, is palpable.

I also notice that while I did, and do, support the notion of boycotting environmental travesty, like others here, I move on. It’s like being push out to sea by the rip tide. The people who work in Kohl’s and Target look and likely feel just like you & I.

The trash out there in the pitiful prairie remnant got me to thinking yesterday about whether or not any of it was worthwhile, even from the get go. I think Lightheart and the others were right to protest , even if against overwhelming odds. I don’t mean to celebrate “tilting at windmills.” But how else will native birds and their habitats receive protection when they are jeopardized? How else will politicians and developers be put on notice that their decisions have real consequences, and not just the positives that get headlines.

I agree with the reputed views of a Populist agitator from the 19th century, who supposedly told a bunch of angry Kansans, "What you farmers need to do is raise less corn and more Hell." I suppose that’s what Lightheart had in mind when she climbed her mother tree – less shopping, more protecting.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Upper White River Basin Foundation Web site: Click on this title to watch video and read latest "state of the water" report


Joe Neal's wonderful work now available online: Click on this headline to visit his link


Greetings on this last day of the Copenhagen "negotiations." We are at a pivotal point in human history. We have actually reached a precipice of fundamental social change largely due to unjust global economic practices that have been escalating since the industrial revolution. What I am speaking of in the simplest of terms is a fundamental characteristic of human nature, albeit in varying degrees from person to person. That quality is Greed.

I speak boldly today because this is a moment of chairos in each of our lives. Climate change is the global ecological outcome of social injustice. Social injustice is inherently ecological because the earth is the source of our resources. Don't misunderstand me, I am not blaming or suggesting maliciousness by any given society. I am speaking of something insidious we will all need to join together as a human people to remedy. We shall see by tomorrow morning, but citizens may need to take the lead.

Regardless, of what world leaders do or do not do, lifestyles, as we have known them will be transformed. Those of us in nations that have over-consumed resources, needed to sustain life on our planet, will begin to notice droughts, floods, severe storms and mass migrations like we have not known before. Many nations of the global South already do experience those daily. The way we produce food and what many of us eat will eventually  change.

Leaders of the global South are telling us that bribery and the failed debt programs of the past (IMF) will not work this time. The global South is already feeling the outcomes of a warming earth and will continue to feel them more severely at first. Scientist tell us that they will reach the North. (the Union of Concerned Scientist and the IPCC report of 2007 are excellent resources).

What else am I talking about though? I am really joining in the discussion regarding cultural transformation. The best part of this transformation is that it will actually make us in the more “developed” nations healthier, emotionally, spiritually and physically. Recently I was speaking with a female friend from the Middle East, who has lived in the states for sometime, and we agreed that all cultures have illness. Cultural sickness is generally symptomatic through various forms of oppression. In the United States we are oppressed by corporate socialism (not true capitalism) and his little sister consumerism. We are socialized to believe that we need more stuff and that our value as people is measured by the amount of stuff we can accumulate. Our culture tells us that without the accumulation of luxury and things (and yes cheap food) then we cannot be happy. But what is the more difficult challenge is that our infrastructure makes it difficult to survive without burning fossil fuels.

Humans want their basic needs met and they want community, family and to contribute to their tribe creatively. People want to be accepted by those they love. They want to be appreciated and encouraged. These are the “things” that actually give us a sense of well-being.

Some of you know I am studying counseling to specialize in eco-therapy, but also because I believe as we see more disasters, crisis counselors will be greatly needed. I only hope I can finish fast enough! 

Bottomline: We are going to have to reduce our emissions, which will take lifestyle change. Will our local, state and especially federal government help us by creating the green economy and infrastructure we really need? We can only keep telling them to do just that. In the meantime, we can start to revolutionize our own lives and help each other do it. I know I need a lot of help! Making these changes isn’t easy and we all start at varying baselines. 

The G-77 (I prefer to think of them as the lower emitters per capita and there are actually 134 of them) is asking the global North leaders to reduce our emissions by 45-60% so that they can go on living. The G-77 comprises 80% of the world population according to Ambassador Lumumba Stanislaus D-Aping. He also reminds us that we are ultimately one human family. See:

Ironically I feel the need to quote John Locke today. “All mankind…being all equal and independent no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty or possessions.” Well, that is precisely what NAFTA and CAFTA have done. Now the global South is calling us on our “Climate Debt.” Climate debt is what many of the global South believe we owe them for our disproportionate release of green house gas emissions that is wreaking ecological havoc on them already. They don't want our money. They want us to live in respect of their rights and the planet we all share.

Greed does not just harm those it directly denies. Greed hurts us all.

Can you feel it? The tide is turning.

I hope you will join us at the CCTF meeting on Sunday (December 20th) from 1pm-3pm at the new OMNI house 3274 Lee Street in Fayetteville. Dr. Nick Brown with the Clean Energy Works campaign will join us to give us an update on the 25x25 meeting that occurred in Little Rock this week. He will also bring suggestions of how we can more effectively work together to mitigate climate change.

Other topics we will cover:
·       After Copenhagen, Where do WE go from here?
·       Why organic farming matters.
·       Lifestyle changes we are making and more that can be made to improve quality of life    and reduce emissions.
·       Preparation for the inevitable impacts of a world with already 390 parts per million.
·       Progress of current, awareness raising projects: The book forum, counter tea-bagging literature.

Joining together and doing what we can no matter how big or how small is good for our health. Life is short. We improve the quality of our lives by helping one another wrestle with the anxieties these overwhelming social and ecological realities can give us. We would love for you to come talk with us.

Do NOT miss the interview Amy Goodman gives us with the Bolivian president, Evo Morales.(

I have watched several world leaders speaking on these issues online and in my opinion no one captures these broad, sweeping human realities better than President Evo Morales. In general eye-opening footage of COP-15 at

If you have time let me know if you can attend our meeting. Thanks so much and I do hope you enjoy your winter solstice. Thank you for letting me share my thoughts with you.


Joanna Pollock
Climate Change Task Force Facilitator, OMNI
Climate Precinct Captain, 1sky

If you missed the big reception this week at KUAF's new studios, please enlarge sample photos below

Please click on images to ENLARGE photos fro KUAF on December 16,2009.

World water supply subject of video underground for December 27, 2009

Video Underground
is happy to share an evening with you to watch
a film that makes and in depth analysis of the
the responsibilities and injustices surrounding the ownership of world water supplies, as well as the conflicts caused:
Blue Gold
Sunday-- December 27at 7 p.m., 2009
at the
OMNI Center for Peace Justice & Ecology
Bennet House
3274 NORTH LEE AVENUE in Fayetteville
next to Nibbles Academy of Cooking

Video Underground meets the second and fourth Sundays of the month. Offered by members of the OMNI Center for Peace, Justice & Ecology.
Donations provide refreshments and carbon offsets.

Government channel schedule available online: Please click this title to view next week's schedule

Schedule of Government Channel

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Experts such as Bruce Shackleford, Brad Huffines, Bill McKinney and Joe Woolbright (not pictured) describe the technique and benefits of a controlled burn for Frou Gallagher's Government Channel camera

Please click on individual images to enlarge views of Woolsey Wet Prairie on December 16, 2009.
Earl, pictured on his four-wheeler, is a veteran of controlled-burning management.

Bruce Shackleford (from left), Frou Gallagher, Brad Huffines and Bill McKinney discuss wet prairie management as the Dec. 16, 2009, burn at Woolsey Wet Prairie winds down.

Controlled burning, a standard prairie-management tool, demonstrated at Woolsey Wet Prairie on December 16, 2009

Please click on individual images to enlarge view of Woolsey Wet Prairie on December 16, 2009.