Laura Stec was our keynote speaker. She started by saying that thirty year of activism had convinced her "if it isn't fun, it doesn't get done." Her recipe for making cuisine more sustainable is basically adding enjoyment to good ingredients. The summary is "the cook puts energy into the food, so that the food will put energy into the cook." She had good things to say about eating grains, beans, and fresh vegetables.  Locally grown foods have less embedded fossil fuels in them than anything else. Cooking them fresh puts less energy into processing them any other way. "The key is high vibe food, meaning having fresh food that you can enjoy more than eating out for less money." She feels that the shared experience of gathering, cooking, and eating while talking over food is what makes us human.


She considers another key ingredient to be a sharp knife, long enough to cut most vegetables easily. She said you should spend some quality time with a good sharpener every time you put another half hour of chopping into the blade. Mainstream beef represents really unsustainable energy use patterns. Everything from the fertilizer and shipping to getting rid of huge manure piles requires lots of fossil fuels. I was hoping she would say good things about locally pastured beef, but I didn't hear it. She heaped lots of praise on cooking beans and grains. She urged us to try out other grains to. She showed us a platter of them. Things like barley, amaranth, quinois, and at least half a dozen others.


It was hot in the ampetheater, so we moved back into the shade before the next speaker. I can't show you pictures of that because it was me. I gave another version of my "change we can believe in" speech. This time I ended with "After the Republicans and Democrats have taxed you until all you have left is the change in your pockets, remember that it has become more interesting than it used to be."

This time the questions were stuff like "Do any of the quarters have snakes on them? I answered "no, but the New York quarter has the Erie Canal snaking across it, does that count?" Somebody else wanted to know if there were any amphibians in the set. "There is a boatload of soldiers on the NJ quarter about to make an amphibious landing, does that count? I replied." Now I'm wishing I'd ended with "When you give a homeless person a quarter, don't jut give them a quarter. Give them the whole State. Like if you have a Georgia quarter in your hand, say 'here's Georgia!' when you drop it in their cup."


Lynne,  the Nurse who is talking about single payer health care in front of every group around here spoke next. We were a very friendly croud for her. Click her picture to see the handout she passed around. In a similar vein, the Fair Elections lady also spoke and passed out her flyer.

Carol wanted us to know about the 9/11 film festival coming up. Click her poster to find out more about that.


To read a nice summary of the woman worried about the mercury emissions coming out of the cement kiln between Cupertino and Mountain View, click on her picture. She is battling to have the local cement kiln closed. She objects because it emits mercury, a poisonous polluter. They also use 5% of the energy we consume. It's one of the four worst cement plants in the USA.

After the cement lady was Steve Kline, the treasurer of Marriage Equality Silicon Valley. Their website is He is consulting for Lynne Williams' campaign for the Maine Green Independent Party's nomination for Governor in 2010. Her website is

Until Prop 8 had passed he had been in the closet, sending money but doing nothing more. The shock of that loss had made him an activist. Now he is participating with his skin in the game. As someone who has organized 50 political campaigns over 13 years, he knows how it works. He personally thinks that they shouldn't go for another battle over prop. 8 this election cycle. His attituded is "we don't get that many bites at the apple. If we go around too often attitudes about our cause will harden. 2012 will be a better year for us."

Somewhere in there he mentioned that John Muir, (the guy on the California quarter) was known to have gay sexual relationships during his life. It was news to me. He doesn't have the clout to prevent people from trying to gather signatures to get something on the ballot next year, but he thinks if none of us support it the campaign will go nowhere. To get something on the ballot, they will have to spend at least 3 or 4 million bucks to pay signature gatherers for their work. That won't happen without a lot of support. He mentioned that if they do get it on the ballot, he will do what he can to help it pass.

Steve also said that MESV is doing phone banking every Sunday, calling voters in Maine and asking them to vote No on Question 1. That is a referendum on Maine's November 3, 2009 ballot that asks, "Do you want to reject the new law that lets same-sex couples marry and allows individuals and religious groups to refuse to perform these marriages?"

There was a lot more, but I kept getting distracted from my mission by things like playing badminton and eating food. The conversations I had were great to. I'm wishing I had taken pictures of people like Aisha, Susan, and their friends, but it just seemed like a better thing to just participate. We had a great time.