Monday, August 20, 2007

An Unknown and Worldwide - Common Adventure Environmental and Social Movement

In this Blog I have postulated that emerging social networking concepts on the Internet are important tools which can allow many more citizens to become involved in environmental, ecosystem and natural resource issues. In 2002, one of my first attempts to start a Blog on this topic, was titled "Common Adventure on the Internet." At that time I only posted one article, but I revisited the idea again in 2003 with several more posts using different Blog software. In 2004, I also prepared an article about this topic and a presentation titled "InterActive InterNetworking for Ecological Commons" for the PlaNetwork Interactive Conference in San Francisco.

A central theme of my own experience and thinking is that an organizing concept like a Common Adventure has been used by individuals and small groups of people throughout time to conceive and attempt to actualize a commonly determined goal. Regarding the environmental movement there have been hundreds of thousands of such goal oriented projects that I have learned about during my lifetime. I have participated in quite a few myself. Before the Internet age people used bulletin boards, U.S. mail, phone calls, newsletters, slide shows and public service anouncements to organize environmental projects and sometimes town hall meetings, and local, regional and occasionally national conferences. As the Internet has matured people are now learning how to use more sophisticated communication techniques. An interesting phenomena is that even though some groups try to internetwork with each other, most of the time they still operate independently and their efforts are often are not well known by people who are not directly involved.

Recently I read about an exciting new and positive view about how much larger, and worldwide, the small groups may be that are working to fundamentally change our human relationship to the environment and to each other.

Paul Hawken, noted environmenalist, entrepeneur, and auther, in his new book titled"Blessed Unrest" that contains the sub title "How the Largest Movement in the World Came Into Being and Why No One Saw it Coming."

In a May 23, 2007 interview on Democracy Now with Amy Goodman, Hawken said, "The whole book really is about a rise of a movement that is a shift between a world created by and for privilege to a world created by community, and it details the rise of over one million organizations in the world who address civil liberties, social justice and the environment. And even though they’re atomized and there’s many of them and they don’t seem connected, due to modern technology -- cell, texting, internet -- they're starting to intertwine, morph and come together in ways that is making it much more powerful than it has been before."

The Paul Hawken web site multimedia section also provides links to several videos. One is titled " Across Borders Media 2007: Paul Hawken on Blessed Unrest, and Social Networking.
In this video he notes that the powerful social networking tools on the Internet and cellphones are "transforming our awareness of who we are as people, where we live, how we relate to each other, and what kind of world do we want our children to inherit from us and our children's children's children."

In the Democracy Now interview noted above Hawken also noted that he is involved in creating a project "website called precisely to create, in a sense, an information commons for this unnamed movement that is also the fastest-growing movement in the world...."

The WiserEarth web site notes that it... "serves the people who are transforming the world. It is a community directory and networking forum that maps and connects non-governmental organizations and individuals addressing the central issues of our day; climate change, poverty, the environment, peace, water, hunger, social justice, conservation, human rights and more. Content is created and edited by people like you."

In several posts on this Blog I have also written about positive effects that" The Semantic Web" can have for individuals, groups and communities as Internet information becomes more organized using new semantic tools; and about "Google Earth" which provides a very positive and exciting way to explore the earth and produce information about places that people care about.

In my next blog post I intend to write about some more concepts I have learned about the GeoWeb and what I believe may become one of the best ways for individuals and citizens to address specific place based issues that include time based sources of scientific information, public participation and visualization, including photos, maps, videos, animations and 3 Dimensional scenarios.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Total Eclipse of the Moon and Celestial Phenomena

Science@NASA today posted a very nice article titled, Dreamy Lunar Eclipse, explaining this phenomena and providing information about where and when the next eclipse will be visible on August 28th. In Boise, MDT, the eclipse starts about 03:52 A.M and ends about 05:22 A.M.

NASA also provides another "Eclipse Home Page" with more information about this eclipse and Past, Present and Future Eclipses.

Another article posted at Scienc@NASA on July 11, noted that the Great Perseid Meteor shower will be in view coming even sooner, on August 12.

During my lifetime I have watched and photographed many eclipses of the moon, one total and a few partial eclipses of the Sun and many other unusual celestial phenomena. While the eclipses are happening it is easy to drift into a state of imagination about the wonder and excitement that primitive peoples may have had when suddenly an unusual celestial event took place. Unfortunately many people today, especially those who live in cities, do not often see the night sky and may miss some of the most amazing natural events that happen in their lifetimes. When these events can be predicted, they can also be shared and celebrated by families, friends and communities and provide much more long lasting and important memories, at a much lower cost than 4th of July Firework displays.

For those interested you can join the Science@NASA mailing list and receive regular weekly advance notices of many other interesting phenomena including Sun Spot explosions that might produce auroras, or Northern Lights we migt see. (Here is a link to some amazing photos of Auroras seen in February, 2003 for example) Often NASA provides spectacular images and movies of events that are too small for us to see with our eyes, but space cameras and instruments can capture. I recommend taking a look at the Science@NASA Story Archives for great images and articles you may have already missed.

Enjoy the night sky whenever you can. Some special celestial events also take place during the day. I will try to post more photos and information as time permits.