Why Stewart Brand is wrong on nukes—and is losing

By Harvey Wasserman
Senior Editor
The Free Press
July 25, 2010

(this is a segment from the middle of the article)

Stewart Brand now seems to equate “science” with a tragic and dangerous corporate agenda. The technologies for which he argues – nuclear power, “clean” coal, genetically modified crops, etc. – can be very profitable for big corporations, but carry huge risks for the rest of us. In too many instances, tangible damage has already been done, and more is clearly threatened.

If there is a warning light for what Stewart advocates, it is the Deepwater Horizon disaster, which much of the oil industry said (like Three Mile Island and Chernobyl) was “impossible.” Then it happened. The $75 million liability limit protecting BP should be ample warning that any technology with a legal liability limit (like nuclear power) cannot be tolerated.

Thankfully, there is good news: We have true green alternatives to these failed 20th-century ideas. TheyÂ’re cheaper, safer, cleaner, more reliable and more job-producing than the old ways Stewart advocates.

Read the whole article here.

Note from Alicia:  I post this with some sadness.  In early spring 1970, I brought Living on the Earth to Stewart Brand at the Whole Earth Catalog, when it was an unfinished manuscript with illustrations. Stewart directed me to Whole Earth Catalog’s distributor Book People to help me find a publisher for it, and offered to review it in the Catalog once it was published.  This one act of kindness changed my entire life as an artist.  I am astonished that his clear voice for the preservation of the Earth has come to carry the messages for the nuclear power, coal and biotech industries. 

In Which I Illustrate a Tour T-shirt for a Major Japanese Pop Star

Singer/songwriter Yuki, a Sony Japan label artist, released an album this year called The Present, and I was hired to draw and letter a design proscribed by the singer herself, for her 2010 tour t-shirts.

The t-shirts have just been released, and, as of today, June 22, are the second item from the top on YukiÂ’s blog. Yuki and her staff chose the colors of the drawing and lettering as well as the shirt. (There’s a super punk design t-shirt for the same tour just above mine. I like it.)  What I found amazing about the this t-shirt is that the design is not printed – it is machine embroidered onto the t-shirt.  Even the handwriting!

Next month YukiÂ’s staff will release a shawl and matching pouch I illustrated and lettered per their design, also to be offered on YukiÂ’s tour.  I’ll let you know when they are posted.

The lettering is the lyrics to YukiÂ’s lovely song in which a man and a woman describe what they do over the course of 24 hours, which contrast interestingly and become confluent at the end. My illustrations feature images from YukiÂ’s lyrics, including frogs, braids, and roses.

Yuki specifically requested that the drawing for the back of her t-shirt look like the illustration on the back cover of my book Living on the Earth, only with braids, roses and frogs.

Another World, a novel by Banana Yoshimoto with drawings by Alicia Bay Laurel

When I met Banana Yoshimoto in September 2009, I asked her if she’d like my illustrations for her next book. It turned out, she did. Here it is, published on May 30th, 2010, with one of my drawings on the cover and one opposite the title page (the drawing below).

The assignment was this: an ink line drawing of a woman, a cat and a plant. I made nine of them and send them all for consideration. Banana-san and her publisher chose two. Here are some of the out-takes.

The novel is not translated into English yet, but gist of the story, as I understand it, is this:

A young woman falls in love with an artist who is grieving his departed wife. The artist keeps drawing pictures of the wife, who was not really a human, but a cat in human form. His wife cared only about other cats, and thought the kind of things cats think. Eventually, though, he does come to appreciate the young woman and return her love. Along the way we also get an environmental message about making a better world. The title of the work is “Another World.”

Banana-san wrote in the afterword of her book:

It is my feeling that the difficult times we are facing now will continue for a while.

We should trust in our intuitions and instincts and not lose sight of ourselves. Otherwise, we’ll find it too hard to keep living in this world. In such times, I hope this novel of mine will stay close to the reader as a useful tool to overcome such difficulties, even if for a little while. You don’t have to follow the same lifestyle as the characters in the novel. It’s just my wish that you will at least read and feel their emotions that constantly vibrate in sympathy with Nature.

This series of novels titled “Kingdom” has been written during a peculiar period of my life. It has been hard work, but I do adore my characters.

Also, this is going to be the last novel that my father had read with his own declining eyes, because he has lost his eyesight now. He has seen the sceneries of this novel with his heart; I will hold this fact in my arms for the rest of my life.

Since my childhood, I have admired Alicia Bay Laurel, the author of “Living on the Earth”. I always wished that someday I would also be living in a forest like she does. The reality is that I am still living in Tokyo as an author. Even so, that wish is still there, just like in those long ago days.

When I met Alicia, she told me once that she could draw a picture for the cover of my book. I was so overwhelmed with joy, I didn’t know what to say. In my mind I was pinching my cheek to make sure that I was not dreaming.

She has no equal when it comes to drawing the most appropriate picture for this novel. She is the person who has cast a most beautiful spell on this novel. And I thank her for that.

Tofu Pate

Cool vegan protein for hot days.

Place together in a food processor:

10 oz extra firm organic tofu, cubed
4 T Red Star nutritional yeast flakes
4 T extra virgin olive oil
1 T dulse flakes
1 tsp. dried or fresh dill weed
2 tsp. ume vinegar

Blend well and turn out into a festive dish. Serve with whole grain crackers and/or bite-sized raw vegetables.

Taping the interview for LA Artstream

Tonight Jack and Kay Enyart brought me to the Downtown Artists Space in the Los Angeles Downtown Arts District to record a webcast interview for Art With Enyart, Jack’s bi-monthly show for LA Artstream.

Meet Jack Enyart, animation artist/writer/agent/consultant, my friend since junior high school, and host of the show, and Jonathan Jerald, producer of LA Artstream, Mark Walsh, our director, and Kay Enyart, soon to be head of the pattern-making department at the Pacific Design Center’s Academy of Couture. Jonathan turns out to have visited or lived almost every place I have visited or lived in the San Francisco Bay Area in the late 60s and early 70s. Amazing that we never met before.

Twilight in the first floor of the Downtown Artists Space.

DAS’ classic artist loft kitchen

I sit with Jack on the set for soundcheck. I am wearing the Living on the Earth illustration print dress that Tokyo fashion designer Aya Noguchi made for her autumn line in 2007. The interview was fun, and, at the end, I played on guitar and sang “Sometimes It Takes A Long Time,” one of my original songs from my CD What Living’s All About.  You can see the show HERE.

Webcast Interview on Art with Enyart

On May 17, 2010, I will be interviewed by my friend Jack Enyart, renowned animation artist, writer, agent, consultant, and teacher, overall "man about ‘toon" in Hollywood, on his bi-monthly webcast "Art With Enyart."  Jack will focus on my art career and art methods ("the things other artists want to know").  At the end I will perform one of my songs.  The webcast will be posted for, well, a long time afterward, at LA Art Stream, or at this page, where Jack’s previous interview programs are also posted.

Protect Northern Okinawa from Environmental Distruction by US Military Bases

Please email President Obama here if you’d like to see US military bases in Okinawa removed or limited for the good of the Okinawan people and their natural environment.

Below is an open letter sent to the current Prime Minister of Japan, Yukio Hatoyama, the head of Japan’s first liberal government in over 50 years, sent to me by one of the tens of thousands of dedicated activists opposing the continuation of environmental destruction in Okinawa by the US military bases there.

To Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama

Dear Sir,

More than 90,000 people from Okinawa and other parts of Japan attended the rally, at Yomitanson, Okinawa, on April 25, to oppose the relocation of the US Marine Corps Futenma Air-station to any place inside the Okinawa Prefecture. The rally was a clear expression of the consensus of the Okinawan people. Mr. Prime Minister, you said that the opinion expressed by the rally was a “part of the people‟s will”. Are you going to take this “part of the people’s will” seriously? Your cabinet action seems to be trampling upon the consensus of the Okinawan people.

On April 26, the day after the rally, the conference on the practical issues concerning the Foreign and Defense affairs, which has been adjourned for a while, was resumed in the Washington DC. Mr. Campbell, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State commented that he was encouraged by the new Japanese proposal concerning the Futenma problem. He made clear that his government is resolute on solving the problem based upon the 2006 bilateral agreement forcing the relocation site on Henoko. Mr. Campbell was "encouraged‟ since you are now trying to relieve yourself from the no-win situation by abandoning an attempt to find a relocation site outside the Okinawa Prefecture and approaching his side.

We, Association to Protect Northernmost Dugong, have been active for ten years since 1999 to preserve the ecosystem so that the Okinawan dugongs, critically endangered population, can continue to live. We are deeply concerned over your decision to turn to a modified version of the 2006 bilateral agreement containing a plan to landfill a place off Henoko and a part of the Oura Bay, a plan direly destructive to the dugong’s habitat.

Mr. Prime Minister, you have kept your ideas on solving the Futenma problem secret until recently when you told Mr. Torao Tokuda, a former member of the House of Representatives and considered to be influential upon the Tokunoshima politics, that you are considering to relocate a part of the Marines in Futenma to the Tokunoshima Island, Kagoshima Prefecture and use the island to host some of their trainings. You are still refusing to tell the details of the modified version of the 2006 agreement while planning to visit Okinawa on May 4.  It is evident that your visiting is an attempt to persuade the Okinawa Governor Nakaima to accept your idea of relocating the Futenma base inside the Okinawa Prefecture.

It is reported that you are modifying the current plan of choosing a part of the Camp Schwab and the coast nearby as the Futenma relocation site in order to obtain the approval of the US government. The modified plan, it is reported, consists of moving the runway further offshore from the location asserted by the current bilateral agreement; the runway would be either a pier-type airstrip supported by piles or a certain „mega-float‟ construction. We are certain that the both plans, just as the current plan of reclaiming the place off Henoko, would destroy the ecosystem of the area. Driving thousands of piles into the seabed will destroy the coral reef. The pier-type runway will block the sun-light necessary for photosynthesis. The „mega-float‟ structure consists of a large number of giant steel pontoons connected together upon which a runway will be constructed. It also blocks the sun-light. In order to fasten the runway, giant seawalls and mooring system must be constructed. This would destroy the seabed ecosystem. The seawalls would alter the sea-current. We have seen how the passage-way connecting the Katsuren Peninsula and the Henzajima Island constructed in the Kin Bay altered the sea-current and seriously disturbed the reef ecosystem.

Either one of the plans would put a giant lid on the sea. Both plans kill the ocean ecosystem just as the current landfill plan. They are, as you said as regards the landfill plan, “blasphemy against nature”. If you think, as reported by the media, that any plan other than the reclamation will reduce the environmental impact you are seriously mistaken.

Destruction of the coral reef by driving thousands of piles into the seabed, vibration and noise caused by pier-type structure or "mega-float‟ would chase away the remaining dugongs. The only food for dugong is a kind of sea-grass growing in shallow water not far away from the shore. Dugong must remain close to the shore. Sea-grass grows by photosynthesis and so needs sunlight. Putting giant lid on the sea would destroy the only feeding place for dugong.

We are strongly against your "modified‟ plan of forcing the Futenma relocation site off Henoko. The citizens of Ginowan, shouldering the burden of "The Most Dangerous Air-station in the World‟, the Futenma Air-station, just want to have the Futenma Air-station closed and returned immediately. The citizens of Ginowan and the Okinawan people hope to have the Island free from the military bases. They do not want to see the base moved from one location to another within the prefecture. Mr. Prime Minster, your party, the Democratic Party Japan, came into power to realize the sovereignty for local communities. It simply goes against your platform to deny the consensus of the Okinawan people so clearly against the new base inside the prefecture.

Mr. Prime Minister, your duty is not to look for a relocation site for the Futenma Air-station; your duty is to stand firmly and request the US government for an immediate closure and return of the Air-station; only then a first step for establishing an "equal relationship with the US‟ may be realized. It is a crime to destroy the natural environment of Okinawa by forcing a new military base upon the people and deny the way of life depending on products from sea and earth.

For six years we have continued sitting-in on the Henoko beach with the local people to oppose the base construction. Our non-violent action has stopped the destruction of the sea where dugong lives. We remain resolute against any attempt to build a new base off Henoko.

Mr. Noboru Houjuyama, a former Director of Naha Defense Facility Agency, once voiced his hope to „live with the US bases‟. We, instead, want to live with nature. Together with our friends we shall continue our effort. Let us also be clear that we are firmly opposed to choose the beautiful Tokunoshima Island or any other place in the Ryukyuu Archipelago as a Futenma relocation site or as a place to move a part of the military trainings presently done in Futenma.

April 30, 2010
Association to Protect Northernmost Dugong
Representative: Masako Suzuki

May 10 update on this situation

Alicia Bay Laurel Signs Her Books at Changing Hands Bookstore May 2, 2010

IÂ’m signing old and new copies of Living on the Earth at Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe, Arizona from 2 PM to 4 PM on Sunday, May 2.

I will not be giving a talk, just listening to the people who bring me their old and new copies of my books to inscribe. I always add a little illustration when I sign.

HereÂ’s the store event webpage.

Changing Hands Bookstore
6428 S McClintock Dr
Tempe, AZ 85283

Alicia Bay Laurel on Radio Free Phoenix May 5 and 7, 2010

My dear friends,

My friend Andy Olson, the owner, operator and chief radio personality at Radio Free Phoenix interviewed me last January.  I played and sang some original songs live in the studio, plus Andy played cuts from my recordings.

Andy will air the interview as part of his show on Wednesday, May 5th at 10 AM, Pacific Standard Time.

He will air it again on Friday May 7 at 6 PM Pacific Standard Time.

You can listen to Radio Free Phoenix over the Internet here.