Singing Ashes Ashes All Fall Down: #ClimateChange, #MariaFire, #RawWineLA, #Poetry

I want you to feel the fear I feel every day.
And then I want you to act.
I want you to act 
as you would in a crisis.
I want you to act as if our house is on fire.  

Greta Thunberg

Another day, another fire.

Singing Ashes Ashes All Fall Down.

by my front door this morning

That’s what it feels like around here in Ventura County. In 2017 #ThomasFire burned hundreds of homes and other structures in my community and for awhile was the biggest fire ever in California, then last November a mass shooting then a fire, and now this week the Easy Fire and then last night the MariaFire which threatened the Clos des Amis Winery and vineyards where I’ve been interning this year. And these are just the BIG fires…

Because of Climate Change and poor policies, this is the new normal in California — a state where literally half of the population lives in an area at risk for wildfire.
Twenty-five years ago people could be excused for not knowing much, or doing much, about climate change. Today we have no excuse.–  Desmond Tutu

While friends say PG&E and Edison needs to underground the lines — one way to “harden” them so they are less likely to contribute to the rampant wildfires primarily caused by climate change. But no one wants to pay $15k EACH to underground and harden the lines: “According to PG&E, the cost of converting an overhead distribution line to an underground line is about $3 million a mile, more in dense urban areas. It’s between $1 and $3 million a mile to build them new, depending on the circumstances.”

That 15k per customer is just the “distribution lines. Burying high-voltage transmission lines that travel hundreds of miles through forests and over mountains would be a financial (and environmental) nightmare,” writes David Roberts at Vox.

So what can we do?
We can join with students on their Friday Climate Strike, participate in a Climate March or even a poetry reading– yes I’m reading “All Fall Down” a climate crisis poetry reading tomorrow Nov. 2 at Art City in Ventura.

We can push for change, for “ways to mitigate the fire danger are land-use reform including changing zoning and building codes, repairing and restructuring PG&E and other state utilities, and creating microgrids.In a microgrid, during a PSPS event or blackout, consumers can island off using solar power: “The core problem with California’s electricity system is that its millions of customers are overwhelmingly dependent on power generated by large, remote power plants and carried over long distances on overhead power lines, often through hilly, mountainous, and/or forested territory becoming dryer and more fire-prone by the year,” writes David Roberts at Vox. “If the state continues with the current model, a growing population will mean more power plants, more power lines, more vulnerability to wildfires, and more PSPS events. The system is too vast and sprawling to entirely prevent that, no matter how well trees are trimmed. Over half of wildfires aren’t even caused by electrical infrastructure, but 100 percent of wildfires can burn it.”

“What California communities need is a partner in planning their distribution systems around their varying goals: resilience, clean energy, integration of EVs, smart land use, and so on. Right now, they have no such partner, because their power utilities are not structured to play that role.”

Fortunately, all new homes in CA will be built with solar beginning in 2020 — and wouldn’t you rather spend 15k on getting solar panels for your house than burying lines?

What can we do?

In addition to going solar and creating an island so we can live off grid, one way is to continue to put pressure on politicians– and the Climate Strike started by Greta Thunberg has gone a long way to calling politicians and people’s attention to the problem of climate change.

And we can drink #RawWine.

You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you.
What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.
Jane Goodall
What we eat and drink makes a huge difference. As Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinardhas discussed extensively, we must practice regenerative agriculture if we want to preserve our planet.
That’s where biodynamic wine comes in — it is a form of regenerative agriculture.
According to the facebook event page, RAW WINE is the world’s leading natural, low-intervention organic and biodynamic wine fair since 2012 and it comes to LA on November 3rd and November 4th: Master of Wine Isabelle Legeron’s two-day showcase of some of the best wine talent in the world leads “the charge for transparency, providing clarity to consumers and driving the conversation to know what’s in your glass. The fair will bring together producers, chefs, sommeliers and drinkers to showcase what natural wine is all about, aiming to help new growers target new markets and existing wineries reach the still developing natural wine scene.” From the RAW WINE website:

RAW WINE is a celebration of some of the best wine talent in the world. They produce natural, organic and biodynamic wines, all with few if any additives in the cellar. They are pure, kind to the planet, very possibly better for your health and best of all absolutely delicious.

RAW WINE is leading the charge for transparency. We believe that in an ideal wine world any processing and additives will be clearly communicated to the drinker so that you know exactly what is in your glass. RAW WINE is a first step in this direction – we list all additives and processing on both the website and fair catalogue. We are proud to be leading the way.

RAW WINE is committed to empowering all wine drinkers through real, informed choice. RAW WINE is unprocessed. It is about truth, authenticity and frank wine talking, but most of all it’s about showcasing really good wine.

During my trip to France as a member of the US Wine Tasting Team, I met with one of the RAW WINE participants who I wrote about before when we wrote about a Crémant, Clos des Quarterons – Amirault’ s Xavier Amirault and he drove us around the vineyards, into the cellar’s caves, and to meet the chickens.
From the website’s page about their philosophy: “Our wine’s alive from earth to heaven.”
“Biodynamic farming is a global view of the farm,” Xavier explains. “In French we say it is  “Un Organisme Vivant”. Located in Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil, they farm according to the principles of biodynamics; the estate is 100% certified organic by Ecocert and certified biodynamic by Demeter. I have pages of notes to write up but in the meantime, enjoy this photo essay:
The enthusiasm of Xavier Amirault about the soils and the land is infectious — and the wines are DELICIOUS. In France they are amazingly affordable, but they are comparable in the US to other biodynamic wines. His wines are available at Winehouse LA.
The event starts at 10am and goes until 6pm. In addition to tasting wine from 110 producers, each day offers three seminars:
Sunday, 3 November 2019 12:30 – 13:30 What’s a ‘Pet Nat’ and why should I drink it?
With Lou Amdur (Lou’s Wine Shop)

Pétillants naturels(meaning ‘natural sparklings’ in French), or pet nats as they are known for short, are all the rage and understandably so. Often delicious and highly quaffable, they are a very accessible bubble alternative to the likes of Champagne. But what exactly is a pet nat? Are they just fun, easy drinkers or are they capable of complexity, depth and even age? Is it in fact a distinct category or a generic term for natural bubbles? Hear from a collection of proper pet nat producers, find out more about how their creations are grown and made, and join them and Lou Amdur (of Lou’s Wine Shop fame) for a tutored tasting of the end result.

14:00 – 15:00 Bugs – the More, the Merrier
With Marc Barriot (Clot de l’Origine), Sebastian John (Frank John) & Federico Stefini (1701 Franciacorta), in conversation with Ninette Paloma (Santa Barbara Independent)

Understanding the importance of soil life for the making of great wine.

15:30 – 16:30 Understanding Austria – The Home of Biodynamics
With Stephanie and Eduard Tscheppe-Eselböck (Gut Oggau) & Johannes Zillinger, in conversation with Marissa Ross

Get to grips with the fundamentals of this Austrian farming philosophy that has, over the last century, literally taken the wine world by storm, helping vines thrive and flourish, producing wines of intense vibrancy and purity. But what is Biodynamics really about? How does it work? Where did it come from? Why was it needed and, most of all, why is it still relevant today? Explore this fascinating world with the guidance of some of Austria’s foremost biodynamic growers and makers.

Monday, 4 November 2019

12:30 – 13:30 If Champagne can do it, so can you! How to farm cleanly in a marginal climate.
With Pascal Doquet (Champagne Pascal Doquet& President of the Association des Champagnes Biologiques), Morgane Fleury (Champagne Fleury), Clémence Lelarge (Champagne Lelarge-Pugeot) & Cyril Bonnet (Champagne Bonnet Ponson).

The challenges of growing organically in marginal climates.

14:00 – 15:00 Understanding Orange Wine
With Michael Volker (2Naturkinder), Caleb Leisure, Tracey Brandt (Donkey & Goat), in conversation with Marissa Ross.

15:30 – 16:30 Working with Old Vines
With Darek Trowbridge (Old World Winery), Noel Tellez (Bichi Winery) & Jason Ligas (Sous Le Vegetal), in conversation with Richard Parks III.

Tickets are $110 for both days or $70 per day.  RAW WINE Los Angeles is being held the Fashion District of downtown L.A. at City Market Social House (1145 South San Pedro Street, Los Angeles, CA 90015).Visitor Information
How to get to the venue
Opening Times
Read more about RAW WINE
The Earth is a fine place and worth fighting for.
Ernest Hemingway

“Throwing Stones” by the Grateful Dead
Words by John Perry Barlow; music by Bob Weir
Barlow has posted the lyrics to his songs.
Copyright Ice Nine Publishing.

Picture a bright blue ball, just spinning, spinnin free,
Dizzy with eternity.
Paint it with a skin of sky,
Brush in some clouds and sea,
Call it home for you and me.
A peaceful place or so it looks from space,
A closer look reveals the human race.
Full of hope, full of grace
Is the human face,
But afraid we may lay our home to waste.
There’s a fear down here we can’t forget.
Hasn’t got a name just yet.
Always awake, always around,
Singing ashes, ashes, all fall down.
Ashes, ashes, all fall down.

Now watch as the ball revolves
And the nighttime falls.
Again the hunt begins,
Again the bloodwind calls.
By and by, the morning sun will rise,
But the darkness never goes
From some men’s eyes.
It strolls the sidewalks and it rolls the streets,
Staking turf, dividing up meat.
Nightmare spook, piece of heat,
It’s you and me.
You and me.

Click flash blade in ghetto night,
Rudies looking for a fight.
Rat cat alley, roll them bones.
Need that cash to feed that jones.
And the politicians throwin’ stones,
Singing ashes, ashes, all fall down.
Ashes, ashes, all fall down.

Commissars and pin-stripe bosses
Roll the dice.
Any way they fall,
Guess who gets to pay the price.
Money green or proletarian gray,
Selling guns ‘stead of food today.

So the kids they dance
And shake their bones,
And the politicians throwin’ stones,
Singing ashes, ashes, all fall down.
Ashes, ashes, all fall down.

Heartless powers try to tell us
What to think.
If the spirit’s sleeping,
Then the flesh is ink

History’s page will thus be carved in stone.
And we are here, and we are on our own
On our own.
On our own.
On our own.


If the game is lost,
Then we’re all the same.
No one left to place or take the blame.
We can leave this place and empty stone
Or that shinin’ ball we used to call our home.

So the kids they dance
And shake their bones,
And the politicians throwin’ stones,
Singing ashes, ashes, all fall down.
Ashes, ashes, all fall down.

[Bridge two:] Shipping powders back and forth
Singing black goes south and white comes north.
In a whole world full of petty wars
Singing I got mine and you got yours.
And the current fashion sets the pace,
Lose your step, fall out of grace.
And the radical, he rant and rage,
Singing someone’s got to turn the page.
And the rich man in his summer home,
Singing just leave well enough alone.
But his pants are down, his cover’s blown…

And the politicians throwin’ stones,
So the kids they dance
And shake their bones,
And it’s all too clear we’re on our own.
Singing ashes, ashes, all fall down.
Ashes, ashes, all fall down.

Picture a bright blue ball,
Just spinnin’, spinnin, free.
Dizzy with the possibilities.
Ashes, ashes, all fall down.
Ashes, ashes, all fall down.
Ashes, ashes, all fall down.
Ashes, ashes, all fall down.
Ashes, ashes, all fall down.

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