CMG Monthly :: December


Rebecca Solnit gets inside Paris Climate Talks
“The 1.5-degree manifesto came with a proposed hand signal—a pinky finger (one) jutting from a fist (the degree point) and five fingers on the left hand outstretched—that participants can hold up during the deliberations. It’s painful that little solidarities and signals like this are being looked upon to save people from, to put it baldly, burning and drowning.”

“The difference between 1.5 and 2 degrees may seem academic; however, while even the latter is a goal we will have to work hard to achieve, the former means the difference between apocalypse and survival in many parts of the world.”

Climate Change Cheat Sheet
Awaiting ratification of the world’s first anthropogenic climate altering agreement from the Paris convening of over 150 countries, a little clarity about what’s at stake . . .

“How much is the planet heating up?
1.7 degrees is actually a significant amount.”

“​Will a tech breakthrough help us?
Even Bill Gates says don’t count on it, unless we commit the cash.”

“How much will the seas rise?
The real question is not how high, but how fast.”


Vatican Climate Change Light Show
“The installation, called ‘Fiat Lux: Illuminating our Common Home,’ is a prettier addition to Pope Francis’ landmark encyclical released in June, which called for swift action on climate change.”

Grist :: Crazy Vatican Light Show Illuminates The Popes Climate Message


Great Green Wall
“Once complete, Africa’s Green Wall will be a manmade forest of drought-resistant trees (principally acacia) stretching across the entire continent. Nine miles wide and 4,750 miles long, the vision for the project is as ambitious as it is necessary.”

The Leviathan scale of this landscape intervention is unprecedented in human history. What new ecologies will usher forth . . . only time will tell . . .

SF Gate :: Wall-of-trees-being-planted-across-Africa-to-halt-6686653.php
Photo courtesy of The Higher


Groundwater, Deceptive Abundance
“ . . . the upper 1 1/2 miles of Earth’s crust contains 22.6 million cubic km of groundwater — nearly the equivalent of the Antarctic ice sheet, just beneath your feet. If that water were distributed on the surface of the planet, it would pool 590 feet deep over our current landmasses.”

“But . . . the world’s underground reservoir is not as large as it seems. The vast majority is old groundwater, which tends to be brackish, saline, low quality and difficult to access. . . .  Young (high quality) groundwater, which entered the earth sometime in the last hundred years, makes up at most 6% of the supply.”

“Groundwater use is fine in principle, but rapidly expanding megacities have not been careful to conserve resources. In Mexico City, for example, where 70 percent of water is withdrawn from the subterranean supply, parts of the city have sunk 30 feet over the past century as the aquifers fall and the earth falls with them.”
Photo courtesy of ::



“We are on a marble floating on nothing.”

This Is Colossal :: First Timelapse of the Solar System To Scale


Cinematic Magic
UC Berkeley Professor Chip Sullivan draws narrative parallels between film conceits and ingredients of making place beloved

  1. An Illusion of Depth
  2. A Multiplicity of Views
  3. A Sense of Mystery
  4. A Sense of Drama
  5. A Feeling of Community
  6. A Whole Universe

DIRT :: What Landscape Architects Can Learn From Hollywood


Lichen Walls
Just six months before our lichen wall at SF MOMA is scheduled to reopen (+ we are raring to see how the molasses-paced growth has progressed over the nearly 3 years of renovations), we are excited to see BiotA lab is advancing the technology behind lichen/moss gardens. If ours was the world’s first, BiotA lab could be proliferating the idea. Like spores, our ideas seed + spread . . . here’s to the conversation!

“Instead of developing surfaces resistant to moss and lichen, the BiotA lab wants to build facades that are ‘bioreceptive.’

BiotA lab, based in University College London’s Bartlett School of Architecture, was founded last year. The lab’s architects and engineers are working on making materials that can foster the growth of cryptograms, organisms like lichens and mosses.”

The Atlantic :: Bioreceptive Buildings


Public Park Culinary
A new program for WWWW!  Bok Choy drying to make vegetable soup.
Found on Hang Ah Tea Room’s fb page:
“The neighbors are hanging Bok Choy over the fence on this sunny day to make ‘dried vegi’.  Once all the moisture is removed, the process is considered done and can be stored in a cool, dry place for a long long time.  These ‘dried vegi’ typically will be used in a soup.  The soup can help balance your chi, helps restore your healthy self when you have a sore throat, cough, etc.”
Some more amusing images, not particularly related to WWWW:×613.jpg

Haibun :: Walking Poems
Haibun is a form of poetry that is a meeting of the inner and outer journey, the objective + subjective experience of place. Matsuo Basho (1644-1694) was the form’s master. Myriad translations of Basho’s Oku no Hosomichi, or Narrow Road to the Interior, bespeak its continued potency. Here, a 1966 translation of the opening paragraph:

Days and months are travelers of eternity. So are the years that pass by. Those who steer a boat across the sea, or drive a horse over the earth till they succumb to the weight of years, spend every minute of their lives travelling. There are a great number of ancients, too, who died on the road. I myself have been tempted for a long time by the cloud-moving wind—filled with a strong desire to wander.

It was only towards the end of last autumn that I returned from rambling along the coast. I barely had time to sweep the cobwebs from my broken house on the River Sumida before New Year, but no sooner had the spring mist begun to rise over the field than I wanted to be on the road again to cross the barrier-gate of Shirakawa in due time. The gods seem to have possessed my soul and turned it inside out, and roadside images seemed to invite me from every corner, so that it was impossible for me to stay idle at home Even while I was getting ready, mending my torn trousers, already dreaming of the full moon rising over the islands of Matsushima. Finally, I sold my house, moving to the cottage of Sampû for a temporary stay. Upon the threshold of my old home, however, I wrote a linked verse of eight pieces and hung it on a wooden pillar. The starting piece was:

Behind this door

Now buried in deep grass,

A different generation will celebrate

The Festival of Dolls.

Translated by Nobuyuki Yuasa


(The Narrow Road to the Deep North and Other Travel Sketches, 1966)

National Geographic returns to the geography that inspired the magnum opus. For the literary geeks among us, gives a Haibun how-to.

BUREAU OF PUBLIC SECRETS :: Nine Translations of the Opening Paragraph of Matsuo Basho's Oku no Hosomichi

National Geographic :: Bashos Trail :: Closer Look Writing Haibun



SF Chronicle :: John King's (et al) Holiday Book Gift Guide


“The language of landscape has . . . become the native language of humans.” Anne Whiston Spirn
When we cannot speak our native tongue, we invent, imagine and spin myth. This mysterious Crooked Forest has raised “speculations about witchcraft and energy fields.”
Practical speculation about special coppicing techniques and boat-building motives match the myth making, “but the grove is hiding its secrets.”
Beautiful all the more for its mystery . . .
15 16 17 18


19 20 21 22 23

We popped champagne & swapped mountains of cookies to celebrate a beautiful year & to delight in the creative culinary designs the holidays bring.
Sugar, ginger, chocolate chip…an artful array of cookies for all! 

IMG_2100 IMG_2089  IMG_2112 IMG_2114


Happy Holidays!

Whether its family or solitude, light or dark, sacred or profane, warm or cold, feast or fast that you chose for yourself, enjoy.