Thursday, September 14, 2006

Earth & Environmental Science Journalism Dual Master's

As I'm sitting here in the backyard of my mother's house and thinking, "What is the next step?" I sometimes consider going back to school to learn how to deal with all of the things I learned in Peru. Here is a program at Columbia. The Earth & Environmental Science Journalism Dual Master's Degree Program sounds like something close to what I could really use right about now. I'm overwhelmed by the task I've set myself—getting to know and then portraying people, farming techniques, and the issues facing them. I've never tried to do anything like this before, at least not on such a large scale and definitely not without some guidance (where are my teachers?).

Another program that sounds pretty awesome and on-target is the UC Berkeley Journalism school's program on Science and Environmental Reporting. I have good intentions and I really do believe that farming in the Incan way has potential to show us something about farming in the US, but what evidence do I have? I am but a humble photographer who is trying to figure out some way that photographs can do more than just observe. I need an agronomist, and an ecologist, and someone who knows about public policy.

Then again, there's the problem of how to organize what we already have into something powerful and compelling, and worth all the time and money that's been invested thus far.

What I feel right now is that I can (and have) read the studies and now I am trying to make some sort of cohesive idea about it myself, but I want someone to check it when I'm done to make sure I understood everything correctly. And that doesn't happen when you're not in school, except when the critics get ahold of you and tear you up. Eeee. That's how I feel. Squeamish.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


This is what I'll be wearing as the sun changes its course. I've liked Uggs too, but for now I really appreciate the handmade quality of these puppies—Windwalkers. In fact, one of these coming days I really want to drive out and see her at work, and see if she can fix mine up a little—they've worn through just a bit at the back because they're a tiny bit big. When you order yours (as I'm sure you'll do) then just make sure you send in a trace of your foot, so you're sure to get the right size, no guessing. This is what keeps me warm and cosy and feeling like I'm still wearing flip flops.

Hungry Planet

Hungry Planet photographer Peter Menzel photographs families from around the world with a week's worth of groceries (link to photos in German magazine article) (link to NPR interview with Menzel and D'Alusio). Published by Ten Speed Press in Sept 2005.

Photographed in the same style as the Material World project (where families were photographed with all of their possesions in front of their home), the diets are sometimes astonishing, sometimes inspiring (I must eat more veggies!), and sometimes embarrassing (try Bhutan vs. Brooklyn). How much food do we need? And what are we eating?

Here's a blurb from their site (note foreword and essays by some of my favorite authors):
To assemble this remarkable comparison, Menzel and D'Aluisio traveled to twenty-four countries and visited thirty families from Bhutan and Bosnia to Mexico and Mongolia. Accompanied by an insightful foreword by Marion Nestle, and provocative essays from Alfred W. Crosby, Francine R. Kaufman, Corby Kummer, Charles C. Mann, Michael Pollan, and Carl Safina, the result of this journey is a 30-course documentary feast: captivating, infuriating, and altogether fascinating.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commision

The Truth and Reconciliation Commision was put into place to resolve the discrepancies between what the government, the army, and the terrorists did, what the newspapers reported, and what people experienced in the years of Fujimori and Sendero Luminoso. An extremely important organization whose existence made it possible for the citizens of Peru to reconstruct exactly what they experienced, so that they could leave the past behind and put their energy into rebuilding their democracy.

State of Fear

State of Fear is a documentary film focusing on Peru during the years of Sendero Luminoso and the reign of Fujimori. A good place to start if you don't know much about the terrorism of The Shining Path and the role the government played in those years. There are also interesting correlations drawn in the film between the way former president Fujimori stretched the limits of democracy through fearmongering to retain power, and the current War on Terrorism in the U.S. We could stand to learn something here... Democracy is a fragile thing.

Ancient canals discovered in Peru

Evidence of ancient canals suggest that civilization began much earlier in South American than was previously thought. Here is a New York Times article about ancient irrigation canals discovered in Peru January 3, 2006 Science section

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Organic farming and the UN

Organic farming points way to reducing rural poverty, UN says January 25 2005 UN article.
This article was something that really struck me as I researched the Peru project—organic farming could have significant impact on rural communities worldwide, helping the economy and preserving the environment.