By: Tonya Barnett, (Author of FRESHCUTKY)
It is easy to get swept away by the images of immaculately kept green spaces. Lush weed-free gardens filled with blooms are a true thing of beauty. More experienced growers know the amount of time and effort required to achieve these results all too well – some relying on sprays and treatments to keep their garden looking its best. And while the use of fungicides, pesticides, and herbicides can be helpful in the garden, recent years have seen a noticeable shift towards a kinder, gentler gardening approach. Let’s learn more about this sustainable method.
The gentle gardening approach, or gardening with kindness, is a phrase most commonly used by those who maintain their growing space by using sustainable methods. Whether growing houseplants in pots or planting a large vegetable patch, gardeners have started to focus on sustaining a healthy garden ecosystem through the use of natural means.
Gardening with kindness dismisses the use of chemical sprays, fertilizers, and other potentially damaging products and replaces them with a more natural and holistic approach.
Kinder, gentler gardening moves beyond the simple focus of organic gardening methods. Gardening with kindness considers the grower’s overall impact on the plants, the soil, and the native garden wildlife. In addition to using sustainable methods, growers use diversified plantings which are attractive to various pollinators and beneficial insects. Many who utilize the gentle gardening approach emphasize increased yields as well as overall crop improvement.
Other key elements of gardening with kindness include attention to crop rotation to maintain soil vitality and the use of various planting techniques. Both interplanting and companion planting are believed to be beneficial within vegetable beds. Soil health is key in maintaining healthy plants.
In the past, many commercial fertilizers have been found to disturb various soil qualities and create nutrient imbalances. Rather than using these fertilizers, those using sustainable methods have made the shift towards humus and compost.
Various types of herbicides and fungicides have also been found to create disturbance among organisms in the soil. With the elimination of these products, those who garden with kindness choose to create a thriving base from which plants are able to grow and thrive.
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Posted by Pam Gausman on Apr 13, 2015 in Events | 0 comments
The Circus is in town! Circus Vargas is playing at the Westfield MainPlace in Santa Ana April 16-20, the OC Great Park in Irvine April 23 – May 4, and the Laguna Hills Mall May 7-18. The Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach is happening this weekend Friday, April 17 – Sunday, April 19. See the website gpib.com for information and a schedule of events. There is a Wilderness Access Day at Bommer Canyon this Saturday and the Orange County Model Engineers are holding their free monthly public train rides this Saturday and Sunday. Speaking of trains, the Rail Festival and Steam Weekend is happening this Saturday and Sunday in Perris. Enjoy your week!
Ongoing / Week-long Events / Museum Happenings
Circus Vargas, America’s favorite traveling Big Top circus continues to thrill and enchant children of all ages with their new and amazing 2015 edition, Arlequin! Steeped in tradition and devoted to all things magnificent and happy, Circus Vargas presents an array of unparalleled artists and performers dedicated to captivate and astound you! An amazing experience, where new memories are created and treasured for generations to come! Aerialists, acrobats, clowns and the ballyhoo of nostalgic Americana engulf you from the magical moment you enter The Big Top! Circus Vargas is in Santa Ana April 16 – April 20, 2015.
Canvassed in beautiful blue and yellow, the welcoming and familiar essence of sawdust, sparkles and spotlight lights, brings with it a barrage of sensations that touches the hearts of young and old alike. Join us for an amazing experience, built on tradition with vision and innovation, to create new and treasured memories for generations to come. A world of wonder and awe await you under the big top, at Circus Vargas! Don’t miss this great opportunity to meet and mingle with the cast of Arlequin! Arrive 45 minutes early for an exciting, interactive pre-show where children (of all ages) can create their own magic under the big top! See website for ticket information.
Children’s Museum at La Habra
Our mission is to encourage enthusiasm about learning in a hands-on environment that opens the world even to the youngest child. Our museum features 7 galleries and 14 different hands on exhibits, many of which remain unique to the field today. In addition to these exhibits, an outdoor dinosaur topiary and historic 1942 caboose, the Museum features an exhibit which changes 3 times a year. The Children’s Museum welcomes local, national and international visitors. Children can ride a kid-size carousel, take a walk in T-Rex’s footprints, pet an Arctic fox, pump gas, drive a bus, dress up and perform, and dig for fossils all in one afternoon!
The spring/summer exhibit is California Full of Life and it opens Tuesday, March 31 and runs through August 24, 2015. This exhibit introduces guests to the ecosystem diversity found in our beautiful Golden State. Visit the deserts, beaches, mountains, and redwoods and learn about the life cycles of plants and wildlife. Have fun on a mini camping trip at the Museum. Learn about living in a tent, camping foods, camping gear, and California state parks & wildlife. Get a taste of our great outdoors with the Children’s Museum at La Habra’s Spring 2015 Changing Gallery Exhibit, California: Full of Life!
Monday, April 13: MUSEUM CLOSED
Tuesday, April 14: Springtime Necklace Craft: We have all the materials for you to create your own fun and colorful springtime necklace. Event runs 11-3pm. Free with Museum admission.
Tuesday, April 14: Reading Circle: Event begins at 11:15am. “Did you feed your baby’s brain today?” There is no better source of brain food than reading aloud! Bring you eager listener to our weekly reading session in the Nannie’s Travels gallery and get your fill!
Wednesday, April 15: Little Picasso Family Art Center – Make a “paint” date every Wednesday (11:00am – 3:00pm) at the Museum for lots of messy time exploring color and texture! There are easels, washable paints, brushes and paint smocks ready for little artists to use. This is a drop in art studio and subject to change. All programs free with paid admission (Kids and Adults $8, La Habra residents $7, Kids Under 2 Free).
Thursday, April 16: Mini Yogis – Enjoy some bonding time with your child and learn breathing and stretching essential to yoga. This class is designed especially for the parent/child experience! Class held on the 3rd Thursday of the month at 10:30am. Free to CMLH Members & visitors with paid admission. Class size is limited. Please call (562)383-4485 to make your reservation.
Thursday, April 16: Springtime Necklace Craft: We have all the materials for you to create your own fun and colorful springtime necklace. Event runs 11-3pm. Free with Museum admission.
Friday, April 17: Free Art Fridays – Free to CMLH Members and visitors with paid Museum admission. Friday is fun day in the Family Art Center with lots of art materials to create whatever you’d like! Unleash your creativity today!
Saturday, April 18: Earth Day Craft – We’re celebrating the Earth with this “earth friendly” craft! Free with Museum admission. Event runs 11:00am – 3:00pm in the Family Art Center.
Sunday, April 12: Family Art Sundays: Finger Paint Art Little Bunnies – Kids will get creative using their fingers to paint springtime bunnies. Class runs 1:30pm – 2:30pm. Class size is limited. Please call (562)383-4236 for reservations. Free with museum admission.
Discovery Cube Orange County
LEGO Travel Adventure runs January 17 – May 10, 2015. Embark on a travel adventure with LEGO at the Discovery Cube Orange County! You can go anywhere over land, sea, and air by creating extraordinary vehicles to take you where you want to go! To go on a travel adventure to exotic locations, you need to think creatively, plan, and build vehicles to move through all types of terrain, including mountains, oceans, jungles, deserts and more! Where will you go? What will you build? How will you get there? Join us at the Discovery Cube Orange County to find out!
National Geographic Presents: Earth Explorers runs January 17 – May 3, 2015. Travel to the wildest places on earth in National Geographic Presents: Earth Explorers. This hands-on exhibition allows you to let your imagination run wild as you become an explorer of the world, taking part in adventures to discover new science and technology. Come follow National Geographic’s explorers as they venture off to dangerous and remote parts of the world!
Kidseum (art-based children’s museum operated by the Bowers Museum)
The newly renovated Kidseum is high-tech and interactive with a focus on its new mission, “Igniting imagination through exploration,” stressing the excitement of art and archaeology. Be sure to check out the new “Glow Cave” with its fun art making activities, ride the magical Wells Fargo stagecoach through time in the “Green Screen Time Machine,” and explore archaeology like never before in our new Archaeology Lab. There will be a lot of visual stimulation and engaging education with new smart tables, smart boards and computers.
Special Weekend Programs for children and adults! (included with admission). Admission is $6 for Ages 2 and Up, Under 2/Members are Free. Adult free admission with current Bowers Museum ticket stub.
Sunday, April 19: Family Drumming Circle – Join professional drummer Martin Espino on Sunday, April 19 from 1:30 p.m.-3:00 p.m. at Kidseum to participate in a family drumming circle. Recommended for ages 2-8! Martin will teach children the basics of drumming and music. Then children participate in the indigenous Mexican drumming circle and sound great! The drumming circle and the art studio are complimentary with admission. In the Art Studio today (from 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.) children can make their very own maracas and rainsticks and take the music home!
Monday, April 13 – Friday, April 17: Celebrate Week of the Young Child – The world isn’t just one palette. It’s a beautiful rainbow. (Joan Smalls) No one understands this more than the children that Pretend City serves each and every day! Therefore, we are dedicated to being an active participant in the Week of the Young Child™, an annual celebration sponsored by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), to raise awareness and advocacy surrounding the importance of early childhood programs and services.
During the Week of the Young Child, we demonstrate our unwavering commitment to early education by facilitating and hosting a range of events and activities to promote our overall mission including:
Activities run 10:00am – 5:00pm. RSVP: Not required. Fee: Activities are included with museum admission (Adults and Child 1 and over: $12.50, Infant to 12 months: Free).
Monday, April 13: Baby Steps through Pretend City! – Would you like to attend an event dedicated specifically for babies? Do you have questions about feeding, napping, crawling, or just want to enjoy an event where you and your baby can come and play and socialize with other parents in the community? If so, please join us at Baby Steps through Pretend City! This is your opportunity to ask questions, meet other parents, and engage in developmentally appropriate activities and exhibits. You may not have realized that Pretend City was designed with your infant in mind, but with so many excited, older children playing in the museum, it may be hard for your little one to get around. This monthly event allows you to take advantage of these exclusive, infant only times by engaging in age-appropriate facilitated activities which will teach you about your baby’s developmental milestones. Event runs 2:00pm – 3:30pm. RSVP: Register here. Registration required. Maximum: 220. Fee: $10 per adult, infants and Pretend City Members are FREE!
Friday, April 17: Homeschool Field Experience Day – Once a month we offer Homeschool students unlimited access to our interactive exhibits offering learning through fun experiences. A field experience to Pretend City offers your students a learning experience through hands-on educational play. The Pretend City environment allows you to create a plethora of curriculum and activities to surround your students with challenging problems and absorbing questions. Event runs 10:00am – 5:00pm. RSVP: Register here. Registration is required by Wednesday, April 15. Maximum: 300. *When you come to Pretend City on the Homeschool Day, please present your Homeschool Day ticket and Homeschool ID card (or district letter, private school affidavit, etc) to the Front Desk. Fee: $9.00 per students $9.00 per adult.
Fridays, April 3 – May 8: Kindness Club – Social Skills Program – This 6-week series helps children explore compassion, self-awareness, and self-control. Each class will include a mindfulness exercise and an art or play activity to encourage self-regulation, compassion, and kindness. Children will also practice identifying feelings, effective communication and problem solving as they recognize the benefits that kindness can bring to their lives. Class Days and Dates: Every Friday, April 3rd through May 8th. Time: 12:30 – 1:15p.m. Specifically for: Children 4-6 (preschool & kindergarten) Parents must remain on the premises. RSVP: Register here. Registration required. Class Minimum: 5 children Class Maximum: 15 children. Fee: $60 for class series (includes 6 classes and museum admission for registered child and one adult on day of the class). $15 walk-in fee (does not include museum admission).
Friday, April 17: Family Friday Fun: The City Olympics – It’s Family Friday and the ultimate Family night is happening at our City Olympics! Join us for an evening of physical fitness, family and play. Participate in the Olympic events in each of our exhibits, including “Quick Dress” in the Fire Station, an Obstacle Course in the Theater, Olympic Trivia in the Marina and more! You can even decorate your medal and pose for a photo op on our Olympic pedestal! Other activities include and opening & closing ceremony, an athlete’s dinner & an opportunity drawing with a ton of great prizes. This is one family night you won’t want to miss out on! Event runs 6:00pm – 8:30pm. RSVP: Register here. Registration required. Fee: $10 per person.
This imprint of a Geometric Tesseract is being referred to as the Cosmic Cube Matrix of God’s archetypal matrix of the 144,000. The Cosmic Cube holds the schematic and blueprint to God’s Laws by building the architecture of the City Four Square or Krystal Cathedral. This represents the Four planes of matter in the Four quadrants of our Universe. This is also representing the four elemental bases of our raw material making up the planes of matter (Air, Fire, Water, Earth). These four elementals make up the main chemical constituents of our DNA code and are being re-encrypted by the Aurora’s through the “Crystal River”. The City Four Square or Krystal Cathedral contains the blueprint of the Solar Christ identity of the 144,000 archetypes of the sons and daughters of God. This new life foundation, which is the new grid for building base matter in the blueprint as designed by the 144,000, is necessary in order to focus the Divine Wholeness of God consciousness in the given dispensation of the Ascension. The City Four Square or Krystal Cathedral is where the Crystal River Flows and is represented as the “Golden City” archetype that returns God’s Natural Laws back to this creation. Its projection is to be held as embodied by the divine messengers, such as described in prophecy as those with the seal of the lamb on their foreheads, containing the schematic of the Cosmic Cube 144 Matrix. 
Ultimately the tetrahedron structure forms the base of the Geometric Tesseract which is the Cosmic Cube Matrix of God’s 144,000, which is the architecture held by the Oraphim for City Four Square or Krystal Cathedral. The Founder Guardian Oraphim are the Keepers and protectors of the City Four Square schematic in its geometric Tesseract design transmitted by the Cosmic Cube Matrix. These are the Omniversal Time Code Keepers that we are capable to interact and communicate within this dimension of the earth timelines during the Trans-time continuum opening.
Transcript – For years the Guardian Host have been showing me optical lenses which refract the light source into the holographic projector of the consciousness blueprint fields. It was shown how intermediary lenses, also referred to as eyes, are used in Mind Control systems to manipulate the patterns of refracted light in the 3D reality in order to create distorted holograms. The Negative Aliens technology created many of these artificial intelligence “eyes” that operate as the optical lenses of the False Father gods, such as Yahweh. These alien networks run bi-wave and reversal current into the planetary body and planetary mind in order to siphon energy into their artificial systems. In 2010 the Krystal Star family with the 144,000 seal in their 3rd Eye began to witness the schematic of the Divine Mind of God blueprint imprinted upon the center of our brain. The actual living and eternal Divine Plan of God through the Holy Father’s Laws is being projected as a geometric schematic which contains the instruction sets of the divine will blueprint as perceived through its “All Seeing Eye”. Unfortunately, the All Seeing Eye symbol has been hijacked in the past through the many uses of its symbolism in black magic rituals carried out for satanic or luciferian purposes. Which can be observed as the symbolism used in black magic to gain control over the economic and financial system, as well as the entire global money supply.
The Eternal Eye of God instruction set has been placed in the field through our physical, embodied person, and our mission is to ensure that we hold this 144 cell schematic for the energetic balance of the planet. When the schematic is being released for transmission into the field, it is similar that the body is acting as a transformer for the frequency current, stepping down and stepping up the variation of frequencies as they are being run throughout one’s internal circuitry. The Divine Will from the Mind of God Blueprint has been placed in the 33rd parallel north latitude coordinate for access all over the globe. The 33rd parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 33 degrees north of the Earth’s equatorial plane. It crosses Africa, Asia, the Pacific Ocean, North America and the Atlantic Ocean.
This begins another stage of the process which planetary guardian gridworkers are able to access the geometries required to create diamond sun networks of trinitized forms, that support the building of Triad Communication Stations throughout the globe. This is required to change the bi-wave energy system to the tri-wave energy system, which in effect is moving from a closed energy system into an open source network.
The installation of Triad Communication Stations and Krystal Star networks are designed to replace Reversal Networks that have been collecting Loosh from the earth inhabitants, and to work with the Krystal Star organic technology to open spiritual links to communicate directly with Krystal Star and Aurora Guardians throughout the many timelines. This began as a focused Planetary Grid Network repair project to install Krystal Star hosting and communication networks in December 2012, during the change of planetary hosting. 
I haven’t written for quite a while on this blog site, and for that I am sorry. Life has been anything but simple, but it can be if I discipline my mind and behavior. (I say to myself). Something has called me back here on this Tuesday morning where all is quiet on the western front. I cherish the silence and contemplative life where I can be with my heart and thoughts with you.
As I look out my window, the Morning Glories greet me along the porch rails. My dog Ella waits at my feet until it’s time for our daily walk along the back roads of Sonoma where I am sure to bump into a familiar face, a neighbor happy to say hello.
I know I’m not alone in this room of my own. I like the idea of you being out there about to start your day too, me here at my writing desk, sharing in an intimate exchange on this Sacred Tuesday.
I breathe in and out, and savor these precious moments, wondering if you might be doing the same? Each day is so unique and short-lasting. And as Stephen King said, “Life can turn on a dime.”
I have made a home here, among the ripening grapes, the growing garden, and the stoic Redwood trees, but more, I have made a home in my soul. I may just be “a Soul in Sonoma,” but who says I need to be more? I sense the timelessness in the air, in the start of a new day.
“Your True Home Is the Here and Now,” Thich Nhat Hanh, Zen Master & Activist writes this in Lion’s Roar magazine. He talks about the 5 Practices to Nurture Happiness, and how to find one’s true home. 1. Letting go. 2. Inviting Positive Seeds. 3. Mindfulness-Based Joy. 4. Concentration and 5. Insight. He says, “We each have many kinds of ‘seeds’ lying deep in our consciousness. Those we water are the ones that sprout, come up into our awareness, and manifest outwardly. ”
As I think about his wise words, I water my soul seeds by connecting with each of you through my writing. It’s a simple act, but a good one: true, fun and genuine.
I wish you peace and joy on this Sacred Tuesday. May you find what fills your soul tank. Thank you for being in my life.
Posted by nouspraktikon on November 10, 2016
This time the churches woke up, some of them…
I hear that many missions and para-church organizations, for example Franklin Graham, were able to make an eleventh hour appeal which allowed Evangelicals to lay aside their prejudice towards Mr. Trump and cast a vote with the better interests of the country in mind.
A dear Christian friend of mine sent me a podcast of a sermon which he had attended the Sunday before the election. It was, by some standards, a competent and well delivered sermon, well within the standards of orthodoxy of the denomination in which it was preached. In fact, so unobjectionable that I had a sense of deja vu. Not that I have any doubts that it was an original sermon, prepared with much prayerful labor the week before. None the less I had heard its like many times before…so much so that I could tell where it was going as soon as its first lap around the homiletic field had been passed.
The theme was “render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and unto God what is God’s” and as with all competent preaching on the gospel passages, it noted that the coin was in Caesar’s image and each human is likewise stamped with God’s image. Accordingly we obey Caesar but live for the Lord. Doesn’t that sound familiar…yes, and true as well.
True as far as it goes…but is that enough?
The problem of Historicism
This genre of sermon can be improved without limit, simply by adding more detail drawing from historical and archaeological sources. The preacher can illuminate the encounter between the Pharasees and Christ with all sorts of interesting and relevant observations on Jewish sects and Roman administration during the first century AD. However this tends to turn Jesus into a historical figure. Of course, Jesus is indeed a historical figure…but he is much more than that to men and women of Christian faith, for he our coming Lord as well and most importantly our now living and resurrected Savior. If our present situation was similar to what the Church faced in early gnosticism, then the salient battle would be to convince people that Jesus was a historical person. However, aside from certain New Age and occult movements of negligible importance, nobody today believes in a “spirit Jesus” who never suffered in an incarnate body.
Most people today do in fact believe that Jesus of Nazareth lived and died on earth, but not all understand that he is presently alive and will come again at the end of the age. Whatever preachers may believe in their hearts, much of the preaching in mainstream churches is still infected by 19th century historicism, and therefore gives the impression that Jesus is a historical figure rather than a present Lord.
The problem of Secularization
Obviously a pure historicism would lead to infidelity. Many great atheists, such as Ernest Renan the French author of a famous Life of Jesus, not only believed that Jesus really existed but greatly respected him as a radical thinker and ethical exemplar. This “Jesus-ism” whatever its merits as philosophy, is far removed from Christian faith, and I don’t mean to imply (aside from some Unitarians and other extreme liberal pastors) that it is characteristic of mainstream churches. What is more characteristic is a misplaced faith in the agency of human institutions and movements to improve human nature, as if Christ had poured his spirit out, not just into the church, but into civilization as a whole.
According to this theory, the human race has undergone two-thousand years of edification. First Christ, then the church, and finally the generality of the human race has been lifted up into a kinder and gentler form of existence. This is called by some theological tyros, the process of “secularization.” Circuses have been replaced by hospitals and schools. We are no longer barbarians, we are Christians. If there are any barbarians left, they just aren’t up to speed with the program, and they are in bad need of edification…by schooling if possible, by force if necessary.
There is something in me that finds this way of thinking very agreeable. Let’s call it the Hegelian temptation. We just drift on the current of history and things keep improving. The human race is constantly engaged in a discovery process and the cultural conversation keeps getting better and better. Since we are basically good, we don’t need any scary supernatural interventions, and we can dispense with prayer and the Person prayed to. It is an activist, but purely immanent Christianity. Indeed, it is a Christianity which is ultimately “too good” to be denominated Christianity at all, and boldly declared to be Humanism.
The opposition between good intentions and Scriptural realism
All of this is quite attractive…but unfortunately a lie. It stumbles on the doctrines of original sin and the necessity of an atonement for sin. This atonement must be one which humans cannot self-administer to themselves apart from a Savior who breaks into our sinking world of cozy immanence. Ultimately, the societal effects of sin are so debilitating that this Savior will have to come back to planet Earth in order to restore our planet to truth and justice. Thus the doctrine of “secularization” runs afoul not only of the scriptural doctrines of original sin and vicarious atonement, but it obviates the necessity of a second coming of the Lord.
I doubt that I can convince anyone using mere words. Rather, Christianity is an experiential religion. Do you, the reader, feel that human nature is improving due to a sustained collective self-effort? If not, why not? Compare what you observe with the world-view that you discover in the Bible. It may or may not be the world-view that you would embrace out of any number of possible alternatives, but never mind that, rather, is it the truth or not?
It would appear that modern men and women have a bias towards the left-wing version of Hegelianism, or what is popularly known as “progressivism”…namely, the feeling that human society can be reformed through collective action. Every human institution must come up for a referendum on reform or abolition, whether it be marriage, property, or the state. The upshot is (especially since the secular millennium has take the place of the second coming of Christ) a bar of reform which must constantly be raised higher and higher, in which all particularities within society are homogenized into a undifferentiated Being. Of course this is not called Neutral Monism, or even “the blob from outer space”…but rather is decked out in attractive slogans like “democracy” and “equality.”
In the meantime the right-wing Hegelians, the ones who still call themselves Christians, sit in the pews and listen to sermons on a man who lived a comfortable two-thousand years ago. They too have faith, at least until recently, that that inexorable process of secularization, by which church values would become social values, bespeaking a kinder and a gentler world. Thus the progressive and the conservative can listen to the same historical message and draw forth different applications. For the conservative the application is quiet acceptance of a mysterious transcendental will working itself out in history, while for the progressive it is a call to social activism. This is convenient for the pastor, who can appeal to both sectors of his congregation ( I almost said, clients) without too much discord. I won’t speculate whether this is deliberate cunning or something beyond individual intentions.
Build the wall
Neither quietism nor autonomous activism is appropriate to the believer. The message must be neither a call to usher in the millennium or to sit on one’s hands. If you hear a voice saying “tear down the wall” you may be assured that the apostles of Being are calling you to action. If you say, I won’t tear down the wall and I won’t build it either…I will allow the will of God to work itself out in the dialectic of history, you are obviously competing for the laurel wreaths of the right-wing Hegelian academy. Unfortunately, that house is burning down quickly, and my advice is to get out with your soul intact.
Nehemiah built a wall. It was built successfully under adverse circumstances and with much nay-saying. None the less he prodded his countrymen to activism through a clear exposition of the will of God. He didn’t sit on a fence…he built one. Likewise we are called to build walls around ourselves, walls protecting decency, walls delimiting the just portion of each individual or family from the other, walls against the intrusion of occult forces which seek to penetrate into the human realm, walls delimiting the authority of various modes of social governance to their special spheres, and many, many other kinds of walls.
Whether there should be a wall between the United States and Mexico is a matter that should be decided through the agreement of the nations concerned. However there is one wall-building from which no Christian is exempt. Building the wall against sin.
Despite the brilliance of Stirling's Stuttgart and Gehry's Bilbao, the thoughtful power of Snohetta's library, the penetrating reticence of Zumthor and Leiviska, monuments cannot make up a city. We cannot live in a state of constant climax, nor can a humanly satisfying life be set amid a background in which formal and spatial events struggle against each other in a kind of three-dimensional, multi-branded brawl. There will have to be some sort of matrix from which the monumental emerges. It will not do to say (with some of the proponents of high PoMo) that in a democratic society we each deserve to build a monument, that everyone's 15 minutes of fame should be translated into three-dimensional built stuff. Such a way of making cities would result in universal road-to-the-airport syndrome, where ducks and decorated sheds succeed each other ad nauseam--at best caviar mixed with marrons glaces, at worst (ie normally) tacky, shabby and completely banal.
To suggest that there should be a hierarchy of importance in the environment is not a call to return to the pyramidal societies of the past but a plea for the public realm. Cities all over the world are growing at a colossal rate. In poorer countries, combined technological and agrarian revolutions are drawing people to cities with forces as powerful as those that caused the explosion of tiny towns in the north of England during the first industrial revolution 250 years ago. In richer countries, there has been a colossal expansion of the suburbs caused by increasing populations, changed family structures and burgeoning affluence.
Shanty towns and suburbs are both cating land at a rate unprecedented since civilization (the culture of cities) began thousands of years ago. Such land is almost by definition highly fertile, for before the development of mechanized transport, cities had to be located as near to their sources of food as possible. Now, with transport costs in many countries being held artificially low by government intervention, food sources can be much more dispersed and, by using artificial fertilizers, they can be on land which was previously unproductive (while of course increasing pollution). But all this has costs: ecological ones that are masked by conventional accounting. As the history of places like Easter Island shows, a civilization can collapse if it cannot understand ecological imperatives because they are masked by conventional rituals. The islanders chopped down every tree they had to support a religion that demanded more and more huge carved monoliths. Lack of trees led to erosion the agricultural base collapsed the islanders had to resort to civil war and cannibalism. Their civilization ended.
We are (I hope) a good distance away from cannibalism at the moment. But we are beginning to move on a downward path. Most of us (except Texan fanatics) have realized that we are living in a world with limited resources, and Easter Island is an analogue that, as Jared Diamond points out, we should never forget. A tiny piece of land isolated in the vast Pacific has extremely important lessons for a little planet drifting round a small star on the edge of a galaxy. (1) Gaia, James Lovelock's name for the complicated, interrelated self-organizing systems of relationship between the organic and inorganic aspects of the earth, is totally indifferent to individual species. We, as a species, happen to have been successful since we discovered the benefits of civilization. We have been particularly and spectacularly successful in the last couple of centuries, when the natural world has been dominated as never before by us and our machines, and we have exploded in numbers like a bloom of algae in an over-nitrogenated lake.
Modern, mechanical civilization is becoming unsustainable, as phenomena as different as global warming and the AIDS epidemic dramatically demonstrate. Gaia will survive, but it is utterly unconcerned with humanity. Unless we can live in harmony with the planet, we shall perish as the algae do when their bloom becomes too great their pond becomes sterile, waiting to become repopulated by windblown seeds and the life-forms that attach themselves to the legs of wading birds.
But it would be better for us to continue to be successful and learn to live more sensibly. So we need to change our relationship to the planet. Instead of trying to dominate it, we should study and respect it, and try to work with it. Here, architects, planners and landscape designers are immensely important, for buildings consume more energy and materials in their construction and running than any other human activity, save perhaps transport and manufacture. Eroded as our professional architectural status is by commerce and bureaucracy, we can still make a huge difference to the relationship of humankind to the planet.
Yet ecologically aware architecture is only part of the answer. As I never tire of pointing out, the Nazi party was the only successful green political movement ever to achieve power. There are some very strange authoritarian creatures in the rich undergrowth of the green movements: think of Wright's Broadacre City. Wright was very far from being a fascist, but his ideal rural community bears uncanny similarity to the very authoritarian society portrayed by Thomas More in Utopia. Each male citizen of Wright's city was to be given an acre of land at birth that, on coming of age, he would be expected to cultivate to feed himself and his family. Wright did not reveal what would happen to a chap who didn't want to live as a tiny smallholder, but presumably punishments would have been unpleasant, socially, if not physically.
Broadacre City was an early apotheosis of the modern suburb, then scarcely out of its infancy. It celebrated its huge, low density, land-take, its reliance on the automobile, its narrow and oppressive values (though Broadacre's were supposed to be rather more idealistic than the ones real suburbs have now). If we are to live in greater harmony with the world (and with each other), suburban form must alter. Few doubt the advantages of suburbs for certain people at certain periods of their lives. Suburban living offers close contact with nature, and low levels of pollution of all kinds: it is in many ways ideal for families with young children (though not for teenagers).
Of course, suburbs are popular, but they must change if we are to survive as a culture. Without losing their essential attributes, they should be more dense, less demanding of land and less generative of car travel. Few models of such development have been explored, and few of these have been followed up, but at Boras in southern Sweden planners offered architects opportunities to speculate on how suburban development could be densified. Two schemes in particular: from Finland (by Helin & Siitonen) and from Denmark (by Vandkunsten), showed provocative new approaches to making dense suburban developments that made the most of opportunities offered by the hillocky forested landscape and by technology available to maximize use of ambient energy (AR November 1993).
A more dense example of eco-suburbia is to be found in Sutton, London, where Bill Dunster has developed a scheme that offers densities at least comparable to those of surrounding Victorian terraces (far higher than Boras) and makes maximum use of technologies not readily available when Boras was designed (AR November 2003). Another approach to making more ecologically aware suburban living is shown in the house and office designed for themselves by Sarah Wigglesworth and Jeremy Till in Islington (AR January 2002). There, on a very difficult site next to one of the main railway lines from London to Scotland, quite ordinary and easily available materials such as sand bags, straw bales, solar collectors and corrugated polycarbonate sheet were bravely used to make an experimental building with unusual thermal capacitance and receptivity to ambient energy.
In Santa Monica, Pugh Scarpa Kodama have ingeniously shown how low-cost housing can be almost energy self-sustaining by using photo-voltaic arrays, solar collectors and careful orientation (AR November 2002). In south-east Asia, Ken Yeang and one or two others have shown how the abundant ambient energy of the Tropics can be used to modify internal climates by using geometry and planting. Several ideas have emerged for tapping the wind power, for instance by incorporating turbines into tall blocks, but such proposals have yet to be tried, perhaps because they obviously have very difficult if not insuperable problems with noise made by the turning mechanisms. The Foster practice and architects like Christoph Ingenhoven have shown how breathing skins on office blocks can considerably reduce energy consumption and improve working conditions (see AR July 1997).
Stefan Behnisch has done wonders in the Genzyme Center in Boston by creating the first green office block in North America, where careful manipulation of sun and daylight, use of natural convection, recycling, night cooling and many other devices are estimated to make very considerable energy savings and health improvements compared with a conventional building (AR April 2004). On a grand scale, there is the possibility of a hydrogen revolution. The key problem of finding ways of generating and distributing hydrogen massively without using fossil fuels is yet to be cracked--there is no point in adding to carbon dioxide production to create large quantities of liquid hydrogen which is dangerous and difficult to manipulate, even though when it is burned, the product is nothing more than water vapour. But developments in hydrogen production using solar, wind and wave power, give hope of breakthrough within a decade or two. How can architecture and planning respond? We ought to be thinking now. In Cambridge, England, for instance, there is a scheme by which solar energy is used to break down water to provide hydrogen that powers a small fleet of buses.
Even more urgent is the need to explore imaginatively the energy-saving and life-enhancing technological developments available today. They range from electro- and phototropic glass to integrated systems of climate control and energy conservation. We have few examples of their use so far. For instance, glass skins that can change according to the weather, those that can generate electricity and ones that are self-cleansing. The technology is there. More design invention is needed.
As yet, nanotechnology may seem both impossibly arcane and quite remote from applications in design. Yet if it can be made to work (and progress seems increasingly rapid), nanotechnology will have immense implications for the manufacture of buildings and their contexts. Molecular robots will be able to combine and change to make buildings that might begin to build themselves. They will certainly be able to alter rapidly in response to the time of day, weather and seasons.
What of cities themselves? How can they be more ecologically apt? Many experiments in the last few years have shown that as well as investigating the possibilities offered by technology, we should be looking into those of human geometry. Cities and other settlements should become more dense, and more mixed in function, to reduce both resource-expensive journeys, and destruction of agricultural land and wilderness. How can we evolve urban relationships of habitation, work and leisure that offer advantages like the privacy, human scale and contact to nature for which people flock to the suburbs? Architects, planners, engineers and landscape architects must collaborate.
Their influence may be muted by absurd and clumsy business and bureaucratic structures. In a recent article (2) Richard Rogers, the leader of the UK government's Urban Task Force pointed out that, despite some excellent planning ideas for reintroducing housing into London (mostly on brownfield sites), 'decision-making is left in a quagmire of mediocrity. Many of the delivery bodies operate first and foremost as land dealers and surveyors concerned with numbers and management, not design . if we don't get the design of cities and neighbourhoods right, then all our work on crime, education, health, jobs and social exclusion will be undermined'. Architects and the other design professions must produce imaginative ideas about how to create better, greener, gentler cities because no one else is going to.
It is impossible to say what such cities will look like. Only Curitiba in Brazil has evolved a thorough-going environmentally conscious plan (AR May 1999), and that is highly specific to the local climate, economy and topography. The advent of democratic, ecologically aware buildings and cities will restore variety and wonder to a world that is being homogenized into placelessness by the antiquated absurdities of the building industry and a morass of inapt management systems.
Much of the technology is available--it must be imaginatively applied. Architects must abate their fascination with figure and focus on humanity--the potential is huge, exciting and wonderfully rich. We inherit wonders from our ancestors: we are bound by the ethos of our profession to add to them for our successors. P.D.
1 Diamond, Jared, Collapse, How Societies Choose to Fail or Survive, Allan Lane/Penguin, London, 2005, p29ff.
2 The Guardian, 29 January 2005.
SCANDINAVIAN COMPOSITION, Peter Davey, November 1993
Swedish social idealism is not dead. In 1990, Boras, a small city some 35 miles inland from Gothenburg in south-west Sweden, held a competition for part of Hestra Garden City, a new housing area on the town's north-west edge. The Stadsbyggnadschefen (city building director) Hasse Johansson had the idea of injecting new initiatives into the rigid Swedish bureaucratic system (which produces well made and appointed affordable housing, but at the cost of architectural and social imagination). He set up a Nordic competition for four areas of housing, each to be designed by a Swedish, a Finnish, a Norwegian and a Danish architect. The winning architects in each sector were to bring the best of their national social housing traditions to bear on a delightful forested landscape, permeated by traces of agricultural activity like old dry-stone walls and punctuated by little rounded hills left behind by glaciation. A real community was to be created which could, in twentieth-century Scandinavian fashion, enjoy the natural landscape as well as having social existence. It is to be a proper settlement, with school, nursery, shops, restaurant and library in a central building. The Danish and the Finnish housing schemes are reviewed here. Each has particular national character within the overall context of decent social democracy.
DESIGNING OUR FUTURE, Peter Davey, January 2001
A year or two ago, Max Fordham, the distinguished environmental engineer, remarked that, 'Even if [human generated] global warming can't be proved to be taking place, we should behave as if it is'. By its nature, climatic change cannot be determined with any accuracy over a short period of time. As we all know, there is a great deal of randomness about the weather . and it is ridiculous to make generalized inferences on the basis of a couple of hot summers or wet autumns. Only observations over decades or even centuries can demonstrate whether or not climatic alteration is really taking place . undoubtedly, the world has been getting warmer in the last couple of decades. Since 1980, the global mean temperature has begun to climb well above the likely range of natural variability experienced in the previous 120 years .
We simply cannot tell whether or not this global warming is natural, or human-made, or a combination of the two . Fordham's proposal that we should behave as if it is a product of human activity must be taken seriously . So anyone involved in originating buildings, clients and consultants alike, can make a real difference to the planetary balance . All students should be taught about the importance of the ecological imperative from the first hour of their first year. By intermediate stage, a thorough understanding of the principles of passive and active energy conservation should be expected. At graduation, students should be required to understand total environmental impacts of their work, both as individual buildings and parts of a greater organism.
NATURE TALKING WITH NATURE, Charles Jencks, January 2004
Do people have to understand all this--for instance, be familiar with the evolution of the universe to respond to those parts of the garden where this story is told? It seems to me better in the first instance if they come on these installations in the right frame of mind, interpreting and feeling the garden according to their mood and the few cues provided, not as if they had to pass an examination in astrophysics. Since in garden art, as others, there is always more significance than intended, and since perception is best as an active, projective affair, the intended meanings can be secondary, left to be uncovered later. On the other hand, the kind of cosmogenic art that interests me engages the mind and makes claim on deep truths that are revealed at a certain time and place. It manifests such things as diagrams of nature--forces, laws, mental constructs, truths of the universe--that appeal only to those who take the trouble to decode them. Symbolic art is most effective when it stimulates the search for meaning and turns it into a basic part of the experience. Of all the arts, gardening is well positioned to engage in that dialogue of natures--cosmic, physical, organic and human--that captivates the mind and senses. [On his garden at Portrack, Scotland. Photo: Charles Jencks, from The Garden of Cosmic Speculation, Frances Lincoln, London, 2003.]
LANDSCAPE FORM AS A REDEMPTIVE STRATEGY
Kenneth Frampton November 1999
Since Megalopolitan development now takes place at a global scale few options are available that are capable of significantly improving the socio-cultural and ecological character of the average urbanized region. Other than insertion of new systems of public transport, only one possible strategy seems to be universally available: blanket application of landscape interventions . as a way of improving the environmental harshness of large tracts of our urbanized regions. The ubiquitous black-top parking lots of north America are a case in point. For clearly all such lots could be transformed into shaded parking areas through subsidized application of tree planting as a public coordinated programme. Given the present escalation of global warming, ecological low-term benefit accruing from such provision would be considerable, the related enclosure of such places by planted berms would lead to further cultural benefits, together with the enactment of legislation prohibiting the use of asphalt for the surfacing of parking areas, to reduce the destructive distribution of water run-off produced by the automotive system. It is easy to construct parking bays out of perforated, prefabricated paving elements filled with grass, so that the entire parking network throughout a megalopolis could be transformed into a landscape. The ecological and cultural benefits are self evident.
This general greening strategy possesses other pastoral benefits: first the tendency to reduce the built environment to an endless proliferation of free-standing objects would be overcome by landscape which would integrate everything into the surface of the ground, second, landscape would have the advantage of being more accessible to the man in the street, than the contemporary built environment with the seemingly unavoidable harshness of its instrumentality.
PACIFIC RIM & PLANETARY CULTURE, Peter Buchanan, August 1991
Throw away your atlases. They are all utterly obsolete. Familiar projections by Mercator and others are centred on the Greenwich Meridian. Imprinted thousands of times over in our memories is the gestalt of continents framed by water and framing in turn between them the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. The Pacific Ocean is neither framed nor properly present. Nor too often enough, is it evident how the USSR and Alaska lean towards and almost touch each other (like Michelangelo's God and Adam) across the Bering Strait. But since the bombing of Pearl Harbor drew attention to the very centre of that ocean and its accessibility from both sides, the Pacific has progressively become not the edge of the world but its very centre. Perched precariously and opposite each other on its seismically unstable rim and locked in a symbiotic competitive interplay are Japan and California, the two key centres of the late twentieth century.
Catherine Slessor March 1995
The power of architecture to heal division and improve the lot of humankind will be greatly tested in the coming years, as South Africa struggles to transform itself. We seek to reflect this in our coverage of a range of projects across South Africa's broad social and cultural spectrum. As the political climate changes, overwhelming social problems are slowly being addressed, widening the role of the architect and generating new ways of working. From these tentative beginnings, progress is being made towards an inclusive and life-affirming architecture . In the past [the roles of South African architects] have been extremely precarious, but now the future depends on them.
KINDERGARTEN CHATS, Peter Blundell Jones, September 1996
For a recent building in Stuttgart, Hubner sought to create a network of spaces within a recognizable order, yet he also allows for variety and encourages exploration. Most important was to get the scale right, so that the spaces did not seem too large. The adoption of a module of 2.75m, based on the requirement of about 20 children sitting in a circle, set the size for a series of aedicules or houselets, the conceptual components of the building. On the outside, these display the small scale appropriate to children, while fulfilling the need for a building which seems large enough to compete with surrounding trees and the five and six-storey neighbours. On the inside, they are interconnected, the module defining a frame that may be left open or closed. In the short-stay kindergarten, located in the basement, the aedicules supply specialized corners in the otherwise open-plan teaching spaces. In the first floor creche, they make up a large group space. At higher levels, they break into more intimate and enclosed attic-like bedrooms where the longer-stay children can take a nap.
SIX THEMES FOR THE NEXT MILLENNIUM
Juhani Pallasmaa, July 1994
DEFENCE OF ARCHITECTURAL QUALITY
Architecture continues to have a great human task in mediating between the world and ourselves . It is evident that the current cultural condition renders the emergence of profound architecture as difficult as of profound literature. The post-historical condition tends to erase the very foundations of architectural manifestation by uprooting ideas and experiments before they have had time to take root in societal soil. It turns them into instantaneous commodities in the market of images, into a harmless entertainment devoid of existential sincerity.
Some of the essential questions of the architectural profession today are: can architecture define a credible social and cultural goal for itself can architecture be rooted in culture in order to create an experience of locality, place and identity can architecture recreate a tradition, a shared ground which provides a basis for the criteria of authenticity and quality. I wish to suggest six themes for the re-enchantment of architecture at the turn of the millennium. I firmly believe in the continued human mission of architecture and its possibility of grounding us in the continuum of time and in the specificity of place . The six themes that I regard essential for the strengthening of architecture's position in the post-historical reality are: 1. Slowness, 2. Plasticity, 3. Sensuousness, 4. Authenticity, 5. Idealization, 6. Silence.
THE NATURE OF GOLDSWORTHY, Peter Buchanan, February 1988
Partly to recapture the wellsprings of art, the original awe at nature's variety and sense of oneness with the universe found in primeval art, many sculptors, particularly in Britain and the United States, now work with natural materials in nature. But while the Americans, often with earth-moving equipment, work at the heroic scale demanded by their huge landscapes, the British work in smaller more modest ways. Most modest of all, but amongst the most delightfully moving, are the ephemeral sculptures of Andy Goldsworthy . Crystalline shards of ice, precariously poised beside a pond, form an arch that glistens and sparkles in the sunlight . In another season, coloured leaves or petals stuck by spittle form chains or patches of contrasting colours that soon break up as the parts curl or blow away. A chain of leaves slides slowly over the still surface of a pond or even floats away in a conga dance on the surface of a stream, casting a shadow that leaps over pebbles and bright winking wave patterns in a self-destructive and frenzied fandango.