Don’t miss these talks

Chico State’s sixth annual enviro-conference, rain barrels and a good biker book

Jim Pushnik

Jim Pushnik

Timely talks
I talked to Chico State’s Jim Pushnik (pictured) about the upcoming This Way to Sustainability VI Conference. The busy Pushnik (the university’s Jack Rawlins Endowed Professor of Environmental Literacy, and director of its Institute for Sustainable Development) is the go-to man for info about the popular environmental conference, which last year featured such eco-luminaries as actress Darryl Hannah, Sea Shepherd Capt. Paul Watson and radical activist-author Derrick Jensen.

This year, Butte College is partnering with Chico State, and they will be hosting an entire day of events on Nov. 5, including the keynote speech of nationally known green-workforce advocate Debra Rowe.

This year’s conference, which runs Nov. 4-6, will be a little more “user-friendly,” Pushnik noted. (Jensen’s talk last year apparently ruffled the feathers of more than one person trying to take in the afternoon talk while accompanied by children asking why Jensen was dropping so many F-bombs.)

Pushnik is looking forward to the Nov. 4 keynote talk of Paul Rowland, executive director of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.

“He was in the sustainability game long before we called it sustainability,” said Pushnik. “He will be speaking on the need for addressing sustainability in education today.”

The Friday morning talk by Jerome Ringo—of San Francisco-based, green-job-promoting outfit Apollo Alliance—“is a really exciting one,” said Pushnik. “He’s an extremely passionate advocate for social equity.”

Friday night’s keynote presentation is a joint lecture/discussion with widely known author, journalist and China/Tibet expert Orville Schell and filmmaker/author/mountaineer David Brashears—part of the university’s On the Creek Lecture Series—and promises to be the highlight of the conference.

“Their discussion will highlight the state of glaciers in the Himalayas,” said Pushnik, “but in reality it’s about the state of fresh water on the planet. We’re very fortunate to have gotten them.”

Saturday’s keynote speaker, David Cobb, looks like a good one, too. Cobb, the Green party nominee for U.S. president in 2004, will be speaking on “How ‘Corporate Personhood’ Legalizes Environmental Destruction and What We Can Do About It.”

Also offered: A slew of daily talks focused on the themes of green learning, building, business, living and advocacy—by widely known locals and others.

A $50 ticket gets you into the three-day conference, including the Schell/Brashears lecture. Otherwise, cost is $20 per day. For more details, and schedule of events, see

Save it from a rainy day
Big Chico Creek Watershed Alliance is hosting a Rain Barrel Workshop on Nov. 13, 9 a.m.-noon, at Bidwell Presbyterian Church (across from Tres Hombres). Learn to build your own rainwater catchment barrel to collect runoff from your roof in the winter for use in your garden in the dry summer months. The time-honored practice of using rain barrels helps conserve water, reduce urban runoff and recharge the groundwater. Workshop cost is $25. All tools and materials provided. Sign up early—barrels limited. Call 892-2196 or e-mail <script type="text/javascript" language="javascript">{ document.write(String.fromCharCode(60,97,32,104,114,101,102,61,34,109,97,105,108,116,111,58,99,111,111,114,100,105,110,97,116,111,114,64,98,105,103,99,104,105,99,111,99,114,101,101,107,46,111,114,103,34,62,99,111,111,114,100,105,110,97,116,111,114,64,98,105,103,99,104,105,99,111,99,114,101,101,107,46,111,114,103,60,47,97,62)) } </script> for more info and to sign up.

Book for bikers
Check out Bike Snob: Systematically & Mercilessly Realigning the World of Cycling, by BikeSnobNYC. Utterly, refreshingly bike-centric, Bike Snob (available at Lyon Books) covers it all—from history to maintenance to how to ride in inclement weather.