Bye, Bye, Bags

Jennifer Savage / Today @ 2:08 p.m. / Nature , Ocean

Today in plastic bags #1

Finally, at long last, after years of advocacy, decades of data and a half-century of existence, single-use plastic bags are no longer welcome in California. Governor Jerry Brown made it official today.

From the Gov’s newsroom:

“This bill is a step in the right direction – it reduces the torrent of plastic polluting our beaches, parks and even the vast ocean itself,” said Governor Brown. “We’re the first to ban these bags, and we won’t be the last.” Read the whole thing here,

North Coast environmental advocates celebrated. Zero Waste Humboldt President Maggie Gainer said, “In Zero Waste Humboldt’s never-ending mission to end the environmental and economic damage done by single use products and packaging, it’s nice to take a moment to celebrate.” Gainer pointed out that Arcata is among the 127 California cities and counties that had already adopted a single use plastic bag ordinance. She ended her statement with a quote by Mark Murray, executive director of Californians Against Waste (and HSU alum). “Forty years ago there were no plastic grocery bags,” Murray said. “Four years from now, we’ll forget there ever were.”

Today in plastic bags #2

The ban comes on the heels of Coastal Cleanup Day, coordinated locally by the Northcoast Environmental Center. Plastic bags are always in the “Top 10” most common types of litter collected

Representatives from Humboldt Surfrider and Humboldt Baykeeper, longtime advocates of the ban, cheered the Governor’s signing as well. Former Humboldt Surfrider Volunteer Coordinator MJ Mazurek, who worked for years to persuade people to switch to reusable bags and has since left the North Coast for the North Shore, posted on Facebook, “Way to go Jerry!!! Thanks to the thousands of people that helped make this happen – now let’s do the same on Oahu!”

California is the first state in the nation to outlaw single-use plastic bags.

More coverage in the L.A. Times and Sac Bee.

Finally, all that work paid off! The Bag Monster, Arcata Plaza, April, 2012



‘A Neofeminist Deconstruction of Female Identity in the Weed Industry as Expressed in an ‘Underground’ Hip-Hop Video,’ or, ‘Bitches Be Crazy’

Jennifer Savage / Yesterday @ 11:24 a.m. / Culture , Humboldt , Humor

Ryan Burns sent me a link to an animated music video (above) in which the narrator talks smack about “Nor Cal Gold Diggas.” He wanted my take on it, I assume, as A Woman Passionate About Gender Equity and Misguided Cultural Norms. So I watched it. If the video was satire, the poor animation and great-awful lines – “I’m gonna stick’er with my Fiskars” – would be brilliant. But “Hella Richtor” seems to be serious. I found myself mildly amused at the video’s existence, then remembered that I am a humorless feminist, so I decided to treat the leitmotifs more seriously, asking myself, as always, Should I be offended?

First, let’s look at the overarching storyline, in which a woman comes to town and uses her sexual wiles to seduce a sought-after rich man (in this case, a grower, natch) and incurring the wrath of the women who were there before her. This is not a new tale but one of several relationship scenarios that has been examined in art through the ages. Does it reinforce the stereotype of women as more willing to tear each other down than embrace one another as sisters? Sure. But in this context, we have the creative, artistic expression of a specific cultural experience and can examine it as such. 

What about the name-calling? “Gold digga” and “grow ho” are both used to label the miniskirted, fish-netted antagonist. Is this an example of slut-shaming? If you embrace and endorse the mentality of Hella Richtor’s narrator, then maybe yes, you are being judgmental about women who attach themselves for materialistic reasons to guys who grow pot. We can agree that it’s wrong to be judgmental – but from books and movies to reality TV shows and pop culture blogs, we’re entertained by assessing the behavior of others. 

Additionally, Hella Richtor’s throwing down of the gauntlet – “Go back to the Valley” – is an expression of the passionate outsider vs. insider mentality that exists in Humboldt County in general and this particular subculture specifically. (Ultimately we’re reminded “it’s a blessing” to be here.)

Finally, the violence. Few things upset me as much as the culture of violence that exists toward women, most of which is sexualized and all of which results in injury and death for thousands of individuals across the globe at a rate of which is unfathomable -– for every minute it takes me to write this, approximately 20 people are victimized by domestic violence, most of whom are women being hurt by men.

So how does that relate to the punching, shooting and the aforementioned threat of Fiskar-sticking by the homegrown cartoon characters against the “Nor Cal Gold Digga Cherry Picker”? I don’t think it does. This is clearly make-believe. There’s not even any cartoon blood. Are abuse and murder problems in the hills? Sure. (I say that based on news reports and word on the street – I have no immediate, personal connection to say anything definitively.) Is that fact connected to this video in any but the most spurious way? I just can’t take it any more literally than I would actions in South Park. To give the video more credit than due, we can compare it to the old-timey murder ballads, the appreciation of which does not equal endorsement for the behavior described within.

Sanctuary Sunday, Hikshari’ Happiness, Eureka Excellence!

Jennifer Savage / Sunday, Sept. 28 @ 6:46 p.m. / Celebration , Community , Eureka Rising , Event , Feel Good , Good News , Local Happenings , Nature , Trails

Your Redwood Community Action Agency emphasized both “Community” and “Action” with the first “Explore the Coast: Sundays in the Sanctuary” event. Centered at the foot of Hilfiker lane, the mini-fest offered free kayaking, rollerskating, plein air painting and drawing, mud digs, birdwatching and other interpretive activities. 

The sunny day and opportunity to learn more about the coast brought an enthusiastically participating crowd. If you missed it, or if you were there and are looking forward to the next one, it’s only a few weeks away on Sunday, Oct. 19.

RCAA Active Living Program Manager Emily Sinkhorn

What makes exploring even more fun? Roller skates!

Free fun via kayaks and canoes.

Artist Gary Bloomfield assisted with birdwatching and artmaking.

Eureka, where the artists are.

Searching for critters.

A gift from the mud makes for a quick biology lesson.


Those Are California Market Squid Egg Cases In Case You’re Wondering

Jennifer Savage / Sunday, Sept. 28 @ 11:49 a.m. / Animals , LoCO Challenge , Ocean

Maybe you saw these things? 


Curiosity abounded on Facebook. “Anyone know what these are?!!!” Mad River Beach seemed to be the hotspot. Thanks to Twitter, we didn’t have to wonder for long. “California market squid Doryteuthis opalescens in egg cases,” we were told. Thanks, Internet!

Good Things Happened in Crescent City

Jennifer Savage / Sunday, Sept. 28 @ 11:39 a.m. / Celebration , Community , Del Norte , Feel Good , Good News , Local Happenings , Nature

Rugged and expansive, the Siskiyou Wilderness offers an above-average experience according to, well, anyone who’s been there. (Adam Spencer has a definitive story in the Del Norte Triplicate.)

Last Friday, Friends of Del Norte celebrated 30 years of the over 180,000 acres encompassing the Siskiyou, Klamath, and Six Rivers National Forests with a well-attended art gala, slideshow, birthday cake, passionate tributes and, of course, a poem by Thoreau, all at Crescent City’s Gallery of Art and Culture.

Joe Gillespie, a founder of Friends of Del Norte, helped advocate for the creation of the Siskiyou Wilderness through lobbying in Washington, D.C. during the 1970s and 1980s.

Whereas Friday’s event highlighted the utter necessity of protecting nature, Saturday’s dedication of the new Crescent City Harbor Interpretive Trail and extension of the California Coastal Trail reflected recovering from the forces of it.

Since being destroyed in March, 2011 by the Japanese Tohoku earthquake-generated tsunami, the harbor has been rebuilt to the tune of $54 million, making it the first “tsunami-resistant” port on the West Coast

The dedication event focused on the new trail, plus a 10-foot promenade lining the docks. While not quite complete – some railings and wind shelters need to be finished – the mood among harbor staff was nonetheless jubilant. Crescent City Harbor Commissioner Wes White said the goal was to provide a “beautifully restored access to our coastline and we have truly succeeded.”

In addition to new artsy oceanic-themed bike racks, the recreation area includes interpretive signage, art installations and an enclosed fish cleaning station.

“We want it to be a resource for all the community,” said Harbormaster Charlie Helms.

One of the first groups to utilize the space is the Northcoast Marine Mammal Center with a 5K/10K “Fun Run/Walk” next Saturday.

The dedication was attended by conservationists, fishermen, business professionals, elected officials, including Del Norte County Supervisor and Coastal Commissioner Martha McClure, plus expected-to-be-elected state legislature candidates Mike McGuire and Jim Wood.

“It’s absolutely stunning,” Wood noted of the rebuilt, enhanced harbor.

Smiles abounded.