Wednesday, December 31, 2008


This was in an email sent from a brother today:

"It is sad that Israel is bombing Gaza City. It is sad that the children were killed in the last Afghan bombing.

You know I went to church ... yesterday, and the preacher never mentioned the plight that so many areas and people of the world are in today.

It is so sad that such a venue is not used to solve the problems of the world. Never once did he say - 'Wow, can you believe the problems global warming is causing.' ... 'We need to lobby for alternate means of transportation so we can all sell our gas guzzling cars.' Or, 'Can you believe what happened in Gaza City? We need to unite and work to put an end to such action.' He didn't even say - 'Wow, can you believe the killing going on in the Gaza Strip and Afghanistan? Let's take a moment and pray for those people.'"

I responded to my dear brother (somewhat indirectly and off-topic):

"A wonderful friend from Brazil, was giving me hell during this trip over Christmas to Rio--for being a hypocrite:

Despite my being an agnostic from about my Junior High School days-- I have gone to Mass fairly regularly/irregularly through the years, have been a Parish Council President (Father Rayner Dray in Tifton asked me to run for this office during a church-building period, despite his knowledge of my "agnosticism") and I taught Middle School CCD ("conservation and development of sustainable community") here at at Our Lady of Guadalupe for 15+ years, etc., etc.. (I am a "Catholic"; it is a part of my software--since Mom, with Dad's support, saw to it that we were produced in that cultural tradition; and I feel comfortable participating as a "sinner" and "lost soul" in my church ... at our local Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church, and in the larger sense of "Church".)

I do recognize that I can be/am very hypocritical--but I also recognize the hypocrisy of others ('Christians' who support War and Capital Punishment; 'environmentalists'/'Greenies' with big homes and automobiles--and conventional-air-conditioning; 'conservatives' who don't really support conservation; folk who de facto don't seek real solutions to poverty, problems in our educational systems, and the serious troubles we've been in since the advent of capitalism and the industrial revolution; those who 'Hope/hope' only through prayer and not through scientific knowledge, critical/creative thinking and action; etc.; etc..

I do think it is important to discuss this hypocrisy ... ours and that of others!"


[This is something from several years ago which Robert Cruz--a friend since childhood--asked me to send him ... after discussion of a multitude of things during a long phone visit yesterday. It is summary of a 20-page report and related thoughts, which I might post herein later (after a bit of editing).]
¿Es Cuba?* ¿¿O …, Es el Mundo?
(Pavel Martinka’s draft of an essay written after his "recent" 2006 visit to Cuba: Stories for his children and theirs—and for others who might significantly help to change the world in which they live)
Major Impressions

A Model for Realizing Sustainable Community?? Cubans are living a very low input life-style that is peaceful and relatively crime free, and that has a great foundation of holistic education and adequate health care for all--and that is developing urban and organic agriculture. It is of course highly significant that their premier politician has gained the honor and respect through the Revolution of most of the Cuban population, and he does govern as a dictator and the system is totalitarian . Therefore, there are well-enforced limits to consumption, movement and development by humans. As I listened to my primary host (Dr. Rafael Ojeda) in Cuba in June of 2006, walked the streets of La Habana, watched the Cuban television channels, and participated in the meeting on Desarrollo Local, I could not help but think that this is perhaps a type of system much of the world may have to utilize to curb consumption, population growth, and anarchy in order to achieve maximum protection of our essential natural resource base and relative equity and justice for all, i.e. what might be called Positively Ethical Applied Community Ecology (PEACE).

Respect for Fidel and the Revolution. Cubans-- … like Brazilians, Mexicans, Nicaraguans, Poles, Ukrainians, and US citizens, ... --are beautiful and imperfect people using a functional but imperfect socio-political/economic (ecological) system in an attempt to achieve quality life. A huge majority of those over fifty who were the have-nots during the Fulgencio Batista years and previous years of U.S. colonization (the have-nots were by far the majority) have a tremendous respect and loyalty to Fidel for all his wonderful efforts. Younger Cubans may have respect for and loyalty to Fidel, but are more likely to overtly complain, to want considerably more, and even to attempt to flee Cuba. (For instance, I recently had a young Cuban student, Lisette, in my biology class who is probably in her early 20s. She credibly painted a very dark and deprived picture of her starving childhood in Cuba.)

What Right Does the U.S. Have to Decide for and Punish Others?!! It really is a
“ mortal sin” (or part of our/U.S. children’s “original sin”) to exert power over nations with economic/trade sanctions, embargos , , attempted assassinations and invasions, and trumped up-charges against alleged terrorists --all of which stifle charitable assistance and serve to “ostracize” the government and people of Cuba—truly creating a tremendous hurt to the flesh and stomachs--and hearts and souls--of millions of innocent people. We should work hard at lifting economic sanctions against Cuba and at serving up justice to all the Cuban people, including the Cuban Five.

What We Might Do That Would Be Positive for Both Cuba and the U.S.? We could learn from Cuba a considerable amount about education, health care, organic and urban agriculture, living a low-input, energy-conserving lifestyle, and dealing with crime and terrorism. And since they are a nation with a biocapacity – ecological footprint deficit, they could certain benefit from some of the 33% of the world’s resources we (the U.S.) exploit and utilize (greedily--as 5% of the world’s population).

Thursday, December 18, 2008


LBJ said "The only thing worth being is a teacher, a preacher, or a politician!"

We are all ... all of these.

I would hope that we do them ethically and well (which I suppose is redundant).


We're off to Rio, and will be a couple blocks from Ipanema Beach.

I'll try hard not to stare at "the girl":

"Olha que coisa mais linda
mais cheia de graça
É ela menina que vem
e que passa nun doce balanço,
caminho do mar...
Moça do corpo dourado,
do sol de Ipanema
O seu balançado é mais que un poema
é a coisa mais linda que eu já vi passar...Ah!
Porque estou tão sozinho Ah!
Porque tudo é tão triste Ah!
A beleza que existe
A beleza que não é só minha
que também passa sozinha Ah!
Se ela soubesse que quando ela passao
mundo sorrindo
se enche de graçae fica mais lindo
por causa do amor
por causa do amor
por causa do amor ... ."

"Tall and tan and young and lovely
The girl from Ipanema goes walking
And when she passes, each one she passes goes - ah
When she walks, she's like a samba
That swings so cool and sways so gentle
That when she passes, each one she passes goes - ooh(ooh)
but I watch her so sadly
How can I tell her I love her
Yes I would give my heart gladly
But each day, when she walks to the sea
She looks straight ahead, not at me
Tall, (and) tan, (and) young, (and) lovely
The girl from ipanema goes walking
And when she passes, I smile -
but she doesn't see (doesn't see)
(she just doesn't see, she never sees me, ...)."

2008 was one of my best years.

Wonder what 2009 will bring?


Sunday, December 14, 2008

Have some great days these last two plus weeks of December 2008

I'd like to wish Winston and Woodlandpixie et al. some fantastic last days for the wonderful year of 2008!

Thanks for the invite in this year of 2008--to contribute to BBC. [I'll try and spend some time doing a bit of writing tomorrow; however, we will be traveling to the other Rio (de Janeiro! ... We do also spend quite a bit of time in my wife's old homeplace, Rio Medina.) next week, and stay for 10 days. Therefore, my postings will continue to be relatively "few and far between".]
I especially appreciate all of you who voted for Barack Obama, ... as well as you who didn't but are now supportive of him in his tough challenge as a world leader. His/our work is really cut out for him/us, especially after the fix previous world leaders (and particularly George W. Bush) have gotten us into as a result of inattention to ecological principles and processes, and the resultant incapacity to think critically.

We all need to help in an effort toward Positively Ethical Applied Community Ecology, or Conservation and Development of Sustainable Community.
Everyone be careful during your days off. And we'll meet down the road.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Working Toward Community Gardens (Local Food/Holistic Education) in the Seguin Area

1. We will continue to develop the grounds at Sample Society, 607 Jefferson Ave., Seguin in collaboration with the owners/directors:

· We have the small garden which was planted last year, which will be better planned and replanted in the early spring. (This might become a perennial herb and perennial flower area.)
· I've plowed another area (hard and with lots of caliche) around the back fence using an organic grower's tractor and turning-plow, and will have some chicken manure/"compost" delivered this winter for building up the fertility of this soil--at the poultry producer's convenience. (Also, we hope to get some organic matter from the "local" fish hatcheries next week.)
· Tentative plans are to disk the manure in and broadcast a late winter/early spring garden of turnips & mustard greens--and some chard, spinach and lettuce.
· I'll ask the city to deliver some more chipped mulch--and we'll do lots of mulching and employ use of plastic for soil solarization weed control.
· Around the inside perimeter of the garden (area not plowed) and other areas of Sample Society land, we'll plant some perennial fruit and ornamental trees, bushes and vines--into a weed-guard mesh.
· We'll attempt to get folk involved in assigned/first come-first served raised-bed plots on the west side of the plowed area. (Folk might use their production in their home, or sell at the Downtown Farmers Market.)
· In the east area, I plan to plant calabacitas (easy to grow and produce from early spring 'til late in the fall, and in demand by Mexican-Americans), okra (easy to grow; harvest is the problem), tomatoes, and chiles, etc. (I might plant some poppies also. Grew them years ago down at the Farm in Stockdale, and they're not hard to grow and harvest. ... And I love poppy-seed kolaches and pie--and cake!)
· And perhaps we'll get a small shade house built for raising transplants.

2. I do realize that we need to work hard on getting Master Gardeners and/or other organizations and governmental entities--and more volunteers--involved. ... I've been enjoying myself kind of piddling around, but realize we need to collectively plan and work together to make this concept of community gardens to really work here in Seguin.

(If properly organized, and if appropriate energy and critical thinking were invested, this effort could take off:

· A family et al. actively involved in community service ministry has a plot of land they are targeting for a garden area in Seguin near where they collaborate to distribute food to the needy (in addition to the garden they are developing in Stockdale),
· Pedro Schambon, Marvel Maddox (Siempre Sustainable Network), Tim Barr (TLU) et al. are working with the Guadalupe County Ministerial Association on "Faith Community Plots on Pedro's My Father's Farm".
· The pastor at Mosaic Community Church has a long-term interest for possible garden plots near the church and Seguin Community Health Center.
· There are plenty of "vacant lots" around Seguin (on school grounds*, near Christian Cupboard, etc.) that could be used for local food production and holistic outdoor/hands-on education.)
. Various other organic and conventional growers of produce in the Seguin areas should be a part of the planning and development of this effort.

*[I spent some considerable amount of time with various aspects of the political campaigns in 2008.

In 2009, I hope to spend a considerable amount of time working with teachers/activists, at local school board meetings, with folk at Texas State University, and with TEA, etc. in Austin, etc.--trying to develop a critical mass of folk doing some critical thinking and taking action towards realizing networks of small neighborhood schools with a holistic ecologically-based curricula.]

3. We'd love to get CLEAN leaves (preferably unbagged, but if you must bag them we'll take them) delivered to the spot marked "Compost/Abono" at Sample Society, 607 Jefferson Ave.

If this becomes overwhelming for us at the Sample Society location, Pedro Schambon at My Father's Farm, 14400 FM 725 (a couple of miles west of Johnny's Barbeque) will take all the leaves we can provide him.

[Rodney Burton, Siempre Sustainable Network, has suggested Pedro and I get on KWED to request delivery of leaves to our compost piles rather than let these nutrient laden beauties go to the landfill. ... We'll get around to this.

Also, I generally go around and pick up what bagged leaves I can in my neighborhood. Nevertheless, my family will be traveling to Rio for a wedding and be gone ca. 10 days around Christmas. Perhaps some of you in Seguin might search the streets and capture these jewels before they head to the landfill during this period?]

4. Pedro and I will work with Tim Barr and other appropriate contacts at TLU to obtain use of their cafeteria scraps for composting.

5. We'll need to work to get water lines to various parts of the garden area at Sample Society, and get ready to lay out systems of more efficient drip lines.

Thanks for indulging me in this outpouring of ideas for "community" gardens in Seguin.

(And we would appreciate your precious leaves--if you don't want them!)

paul martin
Siempre Sustainable Network

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

What I'd Like for Christmas This Year

I have lots of stuff from living for most of my 62 years as a “have” in an Empire with considerable power. I never care for any gifts, because I think we all--kids and adults in most countries North of the Equator, and the "haves" in other areas of the world--consume way too much in a very unethical/"sinful" manner. ...

Moreover, I don't really care to give much to other than the truly poor in the world--and I wish that Christmas, Hanukkah, Eid, Yule, Kwanzaa, Umoja, … might be that type of Holiday for all folk (i.e., a time for giving to the truly poor, mostly South of the Equator, and time for truly achieving Peace--and weaning ourselves from the 200,000-400,000+ kilocalories many of us each consume per day).

For Peace and the sustaining of Nature and the Land, I hope that we might all consider giving--this Holiday season, in the name of our loved ones--to an organization like Oxfam International, ... .