Adonis Diaries

Archive for May 8th, 2012

Our oceans are dying

Water is everywhere. A potato is 80% water, a cow 74%, a bacterium 75%, a tomato at 95%, and human 65%.  Most liquid when chilled contract 10% but water only 1%, but just before freezing it expands.  When solid water is 10% more voluminous, an utterly bizarre property which allow ice to float, otherwise ice would sink and oceans would freeze from the bottom.

Without surface ice to hold heat in, the water warmth would radiate away and thus creating more ice and soon oceans would freeze.  Water is defying the rules of chemistry and law of physics.  The hydrogen atoms cling fiercely to their oxygen host, but also make casual bonds with other water molecules, thus changing partners billions of times a second and thus, water molecules stick together and can be siphoned without breaking but not so tightly so that you may dive into a pool (see link in note).

Marine ecosystems are collapsing, and 85% of fish stocks are dangerously depleted. But no one is policing the trawlers’ plunder, and waste is poisoning our seas.

Scientists say that what we need right now is a bold plan that:

1. sets aside 20% of our blue planet as conservation areas by 2020, allowing the seas to replenish for generations to come;

2. ends subsidies to the industrial fishing complex; and

3. creates a new protection agreement for the oceans outside of national boundaries.

Stephanie B of avaaz team is calling for action:

“Our oceans are dying. Beset by pollution and demolition industrial fishing, the magical and bountiful deep blue is turning into a barren desert. But in the next 72 hours, governments are considering a new rescue plan — and we can help push it through.

Governments spend billions subsidising the commercial fishing industry to pillage our seas. The new plan would end this scandal, craft a new treaty to protect the high seas, and establish critical marine protection reserves. But Canada, the US and Japan are threatening to water down or even kill it. Our only hope is to get behind Europe to champion the idea before it’s too late.

This crucial meeting is being held quietly behind closed doors at the UN. Let’s break open the talks and deliver massive global support to Europe to save our oceans.

Against the odds, the European Union is pushing for an agreement this week, and has the support of droves of developing countries. But the blockers are battling to limit the conservation areas and kick decisions on a global treaty far into the future.

If they don’t get that, they are threatening to drown the plan completely before it is even born. This week is do or die for the oceans — our only hope is to massively and publicly get behind the Europeans in the next three days and drive an oceans rescue plan through.

We know we can win on oceans. Our community helped establish the largest marine reserve in the world and won protections for whales and tuna. But our oceans are dying faster than ever, and one by one species are coming closer to the brink. Let’s demand a comprehensive global oceans rescue plan now.

Stephanie, Iain, Allison, Alice, Ricken, Luca, Diego and the rest of the Avaaz team

For signing the petition http://www.avaaz.org/en/72_hours_to_save_our_oceans/?vl

Note https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2011/05/21/part-4-whats-of-water-from-a-short-history-of-everything-by-bill-bryson/

What’s wrong with my headdress?

Versatility and creativity in women headgear and hair fashions are the sure sign of a rebellious spirit among women.

When uniformity in hair design and headdress are witnessed in a society, you can be sure that the system is veering toward a one-directional path in religious beliefs, ideological indoctrination, or political structure (see link in note).

Included in headdresses are veils, scarves… that cover the hair and face.

Cynical Idealist posted on APRIL 25, 2012:

 So why can’t I wear it? 
1. Headdresses promote stereotyping of Native cultures.
The image of a warbonnet and warpaint of native Indian is one that has been created and perpetuated by Hollywood. The image  bears minimal resemblance to traditional regalia of Plains tribes.
It furthers the stereotype that Native peoples are one monolithic culture, when in fact there are 500+ distinct tribes with their own cultures.

It places Native people in the historic past, as something that cannot exist in modern society. We don’t walk around in ceremonial attire everyday, but we still exist and are still Native.

  • Headdresses, feathers, and warbonnets have deep spiritual significance.
  • The wearing of feathers and warbonnets in Native communities is not a fashion choice. Eagle feathers are presented as symbols of honor and respect and have to be earned.
  • A few communities give them to children when they become adults through special ceremonies, others present the feathers as a way of commemorating an act or event of deep significance. Warbonnets especially are reserved for respected figures of power.
  • The other issue is that warbonnets are reserved for men in Native communities, and nearly all of these pictures show women sporting the headdresses. I can’t read it as an act of feminism or subverting the patriarchal society, it’s an act of utter disrespect for the origins of the practice. (see my post on sweatlodges for more on the misinterpretation of the role of women).
  • This is just as bad as running around in a pope hat and a bikini, or a Sikh turban cause it’s “cute”.
  • It’s just like wearing black-face.
    “Playing Indian” has a long history in the United States, all the way back to those original tea partiers in Boston, and in no way is it better than minstral shows or dressing up in blackface. You are pretending to be a race that you are not, and are drawing upon stereotypes to do so.
  • As I said previously, you’re collapsing distinct cultures, and in doing so, you’re asserting your power over them. Which leads me to the next issue.
  • There is a history of genocide and colonialism involved that continues today.
    By the sheer fact that you live in the United States you are benefiting from the history of genocide and continued colonialism of Native peoples. That land you’re standing on? Indian land.
  • Lads taken illegally so your ancestor who came to the US could buy it and live off it, gaining valuable capital (both monetary and cultural) that passed down through the generations to you. Have I benefited as well, given I was raised in a white, suburban community? yes. absolutely.
  • By dismissing and minimizing the continued subordination and oppression of Natives in the US by donning your headdress, you are contributing to the culture of power that continues the cycle today.
  • But I don’t mean it in that way, I just think it’s cute! Hopefully I’ve illuminated that there’s more at play here than just a “cute” fashion choice. Sorry for taking away your ignorance defense.
  • But I consider it honoring to Native Americans!
  • I think that this cartoon is a proper answer, but I’ll add that having a drunken girl wearing a headdress and a bikini dancing at an outdoor concert does not honor me. I remember reading somewhere that it was also “honoring the fine craftsmanship of Native Americans”.
  • Those costume shop chicken feather headdresses aren’t honoring Native craftsmanship. And you will be very hard pressed to find a Native artist who is closely tied to their community making headdresses for sale. See the point about their sacredness and significance.

I’m just wearing it because it’s “ironic”!

  • I’m all for irony. Finger mustaches, PBR, kanye glasses, old timey facial hair, 80’s spandex—fine, funny, a bit over-played, but ironic, I guess. Appropriating someone’s culture and cavorting around town in your skinny jeans with a feathered headdress, moccasins, and turquoise jewelry in an attempt to be ‘counterculture’? Not ironic.
  • If you’re okay with being a walking representative of 500+ years of colonialism and racism, or don’t mind perpetuating the stereotypes that we as Native people have been fighting against for just as long, by all means, go for it.
  • But by embracing the current tribal trends you aren’t asserting yourself as an individual, you are situating yourself in a culture of power that continues to oppress Native peoples in the US.
  • And really, if everyone is doing it, doesn’t that take away from the irony? am I missing the point on the irony? maybe. how is this even ironic? I’m starting to confuse myself. but it’s still not a defense.

Stop getting so defensive, it’s seriously just fashion!

  • Did you read anything I just wrote? It’s not “just” fashion. There is a lot more at play here. This is a matter of power and who has the right to represent my culture. (I also enjoy asking myself questions that elicit snarky answers.)

What about the bigger issues in Indian Country? Poverty, suicide rates, lack of resources, disease, etc? Aren’t those more important that hipster headdresses?

  • Yes, absolutely. But, I’ll paraphrase Jess Yee in this post, and say these are very real issues and challenges in our communities, but when the only images of Natives that Americans see are incorrect, and place Natives in the historic past, it erases our current presence, and makes it impossible for the current issues to exist in the collective American consciousness.
  • Our cultures and lives are something that only exist in movies or in the past, not today. So it’s a cycle, and in order to break that cycle, we need to question and interrogate the stereotypes and images that erase our current presence—while we simultaneously tackle the pressing issues in Indian Country. They’re closely linked, and at least this is a place to start.

Miss Cultural Appropriation Police, what CAN I wear?

  • If you choose to wear something Native, buy it from a Native. There are federal laws that protect Native artists and craftspeople who make genuine jewelry, art, etc. (see info here about The Indian Arts and Crafts Act). Anything you buy should have a label that says “Indian made” or “Native made”.
  • Talk to the artist. Find out where they’re from. Be diligent. Don’t go out in a full “costume”. It’s ok to have on some beaded earrings or a turquoise ring, but don’t march down the street wearing a feather, with loaded on jewelry, and a ribbon shirt.
  • Ask yourself: if you ran into a Native person, would you feel embarrassed or feel the need to justify yourself? As commenter Bree pointed out, it’s ok to own a shirt with kimono sleeves, but you wouldn’t go out wearing full kabuki makeup to a bar. Just take a minute to question your sartorial choices before you go out.

…and an editorial comment:  I should also note that I have absolutely nothing against hipsters. In fact, some would argue I have hipster-leaning tendencies.

In my former San Francisco life, I had been known to have a drink or two in the clouds of smoke outside at Zeitgeist, and enjoyed shopping on Height street.

I enjoy drinking PBR out of the can when I go to the dive bars near my apartment where I throw darts and talk about sticking it to ‘The Man’. I own several fringed hipster scarves, more than one pair of ironic fake ray-ban wayfarers, and two plaid button downs.

I’m also not trying to stereotype and say that all hipsters do/wear the above, just like not every hipster thinks it’s cool to wear a headdress. So, I don’t hate hipsters, I hate ignorance and cultural appropriation. There is a difference. Just thought I should clear that up.

A great explanation of why you should stop this hipster nonsense.

Note: https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2009/06/14/headdress-sign-of-revolt/


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