Finished up All We Can Save: Truth, Courage, and Solutions for the Climate Crisis edited by Ayana Elizabeth Johnson & Katharine Keeble Wilkinson last week.

I was initially not expecting much because it had been so hyped up, which usually leads to disappointment. However in this case the hype was much deserved.

The book is a collection of essays and poems by women, most of whom are working on the frontlines of the climate crisis. Honestly, it is a great book to read if you are feeling discouraged or hopeless. The stories, advice, examples, and guidance helped to pull me out of the slump I was in. Feeling refreshed and ready to begin the Climate Reality Leadership Corps training at the end of this month.

First Book Illustration!

Woah! Hey! Hey! Hey!
My first book illustration project is out in the world!
Come learn all about clean energy with Sven!

This is the second in a series of nine books for children ages 5+ to help teach the basics of climate change as well as ways to help slow things down a bit.

I’ve been volunteering with Climate Science for just about a year now, mostly creating images for the website/app. Was honored when they wanted me to be a part of the book project. I am part of a team of artists so for each book I am assigned 2-4 pages.

This has been a lot of work, but each book has been a great learning process. Not just in workflow/skills, but also subject matter. I just gotta be careful because I keep ending up spending far too much time learning about different animals and plants. Although that isn’t totally a bad thing.


Went for a night hike. Met a new bird. This is a common poorwill.

A common poorwill, a small spotted brown bird, sitting on a dirt path lit by a flashlight.

Link - ‘Underwater Roombas’ Scan Southern California Coast for DDT Barrels


“It wouldn’t be the company’s first offense. In 2000, the pesticide manufacturer faced a superfund lawsuit for discharging millions of pounds of DDT into Los Angeles County sewers that poured into the Palos Verdes Shelf between 1947 and 1971. But, the barrels were never mentioned in the lawsuit, reports Gizmodo.

Using a deep-sea robot and a hunch, Valentine and his team first found barrels seeping toxic waste 3,000 feet deep in the sea in 2011 and 2013 by happenstance while working on other research endeavors. Old records and shipping logs revealed that between 1947 and 1961, 767 tons of DDT were potentially tossed into the ocean, according to the LA Times’ 2020 investigation.”

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Made some Irish soda bread today while waiting for the pickled red onions to cool. Turned out pretty darn good.

Currently reading: O Pioneers! by Willa Cather.

Only a little ways in. So far enjoying it. Trying to make sure to read shorter fiction between the more dense stuff.

A photo of lots of  nasturtium leaves.

The snakes and desert tortoises are waking up.
A neighbor reported the first bear sighting this week.
The sweet gum tree is budding, which means I’ve been waking up congested.
Nasturtiums and sierra man-root are exploding all over the trails.
I guess spring is coming on.

Didn’t notice much man-root last year. Calscape doesn’t even show them as growing in our area, but they are everywhere. I may be confusing it with a close relative though.

Spring is nice, but it is always sad to see winter go. Especially when this one was not particularly cold or wet.
Was hoping for one last cold hurrah, but we will see. Still have a few more days until the 20th.


Slowly adding little libraries to google maps. Not doing this in a systematic way, just adding them in as I find them while out on walks.

Screenshot of google maps with scattered location icons indicating where libraries are.


Took a break from worrying out about this project to go outside and worry about this project.


Left these babies on the vine a bit too long. Plant still has at least 20 more that are still very green. Not sure what kind they are exactlty, some sort of cherry tomato that I think came from our produce box.

White ramekin full of cherry tomatoes sitting on brick wall. Tomato plant in the background.

Link - This Is Not Good Design


“In 2021 we have enough information readily available to exhaustively vet ideas, measure costs, run scenarios, and project outcomes. We frequently choose to skip over most of these activities because they take time and cost money. But I suspect that the more salient reason we skip them is because testing an idea is too risky to the ideologue.

Entire systems of business are constructed to protect the idea-havers from the idea-deliverers — to insulate them from the questions and concerns that those most acquainted with how things work and how people use them have as soon as they receive their orders.

Insulation is the enemy of empathy. If you can’t access the impact of your ideas, then you will never understand the damage they can do. But that makes you no less responsible. There is no plausible deniability in good design.”
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Link - True Design


Sometimes I feel extremely alone in my desire to only want to work for organizations I believe in. I don’t want to contribute to mass consumption, don’t want to work just make more garbage. I do my best to be hyper-conscious of everything I put out to make sure it is sending the right macro and micro messages. In the end I always just feel like Lisa Simpson with her gazpacho.

Sometimes it is all too much and it gets very frustrating fighting the current. But every time I see someone talking about things like social responsibility and sustainability, it gets a little easier.

“When we, as designers and service providers choose to sign on a client, product or service, we are consciously, or not, supporting their ideas and what they stand for. To whom we choose to say no to, is a political act. When we see hundreds of thousands of work which may be either in copywriting, illustration, development, consultation, any particular service which helps in voicing and communicating certain ideologies which are not in alignment with our values, we are supporting the notion to their agenda further. There are a lot of things to factor in of course from the service provider point of view, but the most important thing is to do it consciously too. And work towards positioning the clients you work with, to your own values and principles. And it is not about saying no, but even inviting the clients you already have and offer consultation in shifting their strategy into a more responsible and sustainable way. It is a strict endeavour to apply, yet if we choose to leverage our collective power, it is the biggest civic act we can work towards together. Together we can influence the market towards a more responsible position within our society and communities. Community over competition.”
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Books Read in 2020


How to be a Graphic Designer Without Losing Your Soul
by Adrian Shaughnessy

Sage Bloom & Water Rights
by Margaret Collier Graham

A Sand County Almanac and Sketches Here and There
by Aldo Leopold

Do Good Design: How Designers Can Change the World
by David B. Berman

A Planet to Win: Why We Need a Green New Deal
by Kate Aronoff, lyssa Battistoni, aniel Aldana Cohen, hea Riofrancos

The Wisdom of Insecurity: A Message for an Age of Anxiety
by Alan W. Watts

Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?
by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Green Graphic Design
by Brian Dougherty

A Wizard of Earthsea
by Ursula K. Le Guin (2nd read)

The Daughter of Odren
by Ursula K. Le Guin

Parable of the Sower
by Octavia E. Butler

The Backyard Homestead: Produce All the Food You Need on Just a Quarter Acre!
by Carleen Madigan

The Left Hand of Darkness
by Ursula K. Le Guin

What Color is Your Parachute? Guide to Rethinking Interviews
by Richard Nelson Bolles

What Color is Your Parachute? Guide to Rethinking Resumes
by Richard Nelson Bolles

The Vignelli Canon
by Massimo Vignelli

Art and Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking
by David Bayles, Ted Orland

by Rainbow Rowell

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life
by Mark Manson

Jim Henson: The Biography
by Brian Jay Jones

Akata Witch
by Nnedi Okorafor

How to Be an Antiracist
by Ibram X. Kendi

Akata Warrior
by Nnedi Okorafor

This was the first year I really embraced digital library loans. Could never get into reading anything long in a digital format, but having a tablet changes everything. Very lucky for that. 2020 had a lot of low energy/motivation days so I tried to do my best to make the most of a bad situation and read instead of just moping about. When I was younger I would be constantly reading, but somehow got away from it. Hoping to keep up this momentum. For this year I’m already 4.5 books in, so far so good.

Link - Food Tech Guide: UX Research for Plants, People and our Planet


“This guide was created to connect the dots across digital products in the food world while planting the seed of change and empathy to collaborate across systems to succeed in designing the future of food, together.

As we move through this pandemic, one thing is for sure, more people than ever are engaged in our food system. They are interested in starting in self-sufficiency with initiatives like starting their garden at home, in their communities or even in the medians of the road. Wanting to learn about healthy nutrition and zero waste practices to minimize impact, and ultimately achieve a gorilla closed-loop system that starts at home.

At last, we ask ourselves, and you the reader: How can we continue to educate current and future generations about where our foods come from to better design a food system for everyone?

Like the organization Eat Just states: Fostering a view of a healthy planet starts with our most important choice: what we eat every day. More than anything else, this decision matters most.”
Read More.

Compost Day!

(Photo was from a previous trip. Today the sky was not cloudy at all and was way too hot for February.)

One of the many things to love about this city is we have a community compost bin. Which I found it through La Compost.

It is easy to think that composting is just a thing that gardeners do, but the reality of it is everyone should be doing it. It helps create nutrient-rich soil and reduce greenhouse gasses. Green waste that ends up in landfills creates methane. Lots and lots of methane.

“Municipal solid waste landfills are the third-largest source of human-related methane emissions in the United States, accounting for approximately 14.1 percent of these emissions in 2017.” (USDA)

So communal composts are extremely important, especially since not everyone can (or wants to) have a compost bin.

We don’t have a ton of food waste. It all either goes to soup stock or rabbit food. Citrus peels also are turned into all-purpose cleaner before disposal or they become citrus powder. If a scrap can be regrown I do that. Still, every once in a while something goes bad or the scrap isn’t useful so it ends up in the tub under the sink. Then about every two weeks, we take it to the compost.

This bin is maintained by members of the community garden. The group here is wonderful because they leave several plots open to the public totake produce they need. It is nice to see more garden spaces trying to create change and help others instead of just locking people out.

Link - Socialism’s DIY Computer


“A computing enthusiast since 1979, Zoran Modli caught wind of Galaksija after the publication of Computers in Your Home. As host and DJ of Ventilator 202—a renowned New Wave radio show on Serbia’s Radio Beograd 202—Modli was something of a minor celebrity in Yugoslavia. This was the period in which the compact cassette tape had begun to usurp the 12-inch vinyl record as the listening medium of choice for audiophiles; portable pocket recorders like the Sony Walkman were in the ascendant. Sensing an opportunity in this media shift, Regasek called Modli one day in the autumn of 1983 with a pitch for a radically new Ventilator segment. Because all the day’s computers, including Galaksija, ran their programs on cassette, Regasek thought Modli might broadcast programs over the airwaves as audio during his show. The idea was that listeners could tape the programs off their receivers as they were broadcast, then load them into their personal machines.

During the hour, Modli would announce when the segment was approaching, signaling to his listeners that it was time for them to fetch their equipment, cue up a tape, and get ready to hit record. Fans began to write programs with the expressed intention of mailing them into the station and broadcasting them during the segment. Those programs included audio and video recordings but also magazines, concert listings, party promotions, study aids, flight simulators, and action-adventure games. In the case of games, users would “download” the programs off the radio and alter them—inserting their own levels, challenges, and characters—then send them back to Modli for retransmission. In effect, this was file transfer well before the advent of the World Wide Web, a pre-internet pirating protocol.”

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Be Your Own Salad Spinner


Even though I have been a vegan for many years I don’t eat a lot of salads. The main reason for this is I don’t like soggy greens and I am never going to spend money on something as wasteful as a salad spinner. Giant tubs of plastic on plastic. There has to be a better way.

Surely people were eating freshly cleaned dry greens before plastic?

So here is my new solution and so far it has been working amazingly well.

  1. Wash Greens
  2. Place greens in cloth bag or wrap up in a tea towel.
  3. Go outside and spin it around and around. You can do big windmill circles or small wrist circles. Spin above your head or at your side. Whatever. Just go fast.
  4. It only takes a few minutes and your greens are ready to go.