Saturday, September 5, 2015


Gyre: The Plastic Ocean has been making its own waves go-round. The exhibition organized by the Anchorage Museum of Art, moved on and is now being unpacked at the University of Southern California, Fisher Museum of Art.

Anchorage Museum of Art
Anchorage, Alaska
February 7 - September 6, 2014

David J. Spencer Center for Disease Control Museum
Atlanta, Georgia
January 26 - June 19, 2015

USC Fisher Museum of Art
Los Angeles, California
September 2 - November 21, 2015

Friday, September 4, 2015

International Day of Peace

September 20 is the United Nations International Day of Peace. The San Geronimo Valley Community Center is hosting a music festival and art exhibition. As peaceniks and longtime supporters of the idea of a world without war we are participating with these artworks:

One Wish - Peace
Judith Selby Lang

The tradition of candles on the birthday cake harkens back to the Ancient Greeks who burned candles to represent reflected moonlight. Long ago in Germany candles were placed in the center of a round cake to symbolize "the light of life." 

In my family, an important part of the birthday celebration was the cake, the song, and then the thrill of blowing out all of the candles. The belief that the silent wish would indeed come true, had me wishing big. Never for a new bicycle or a new dress, even as a young child I was wishing for world peace. These days there are way too many candles on my cake so I am back to only one and my wish remains the same, One Wish - Peace.

The True Cost of Plastic
Richard Lang
Judith Selby Lang

For the International Day of Peace we turned our attention to a somber bit of plastic jetsam that is washing up onto Kehoe Beach in the Point Reyes National Seashore. Through the years we have amassed quite a collection of toy soldiers plus Cowboys & Indians, space-men, and pirates that chronicle the history of world conflicts. To date, we have well over 200 from Japan, Korea, China, and from gutters from our San Francisco Bay Area neighborhood. The miniature helmets and weapons make it clear that war is our subtext and whether it is the internal disagreements of life’s decision-making or real war, these little figures are a way for the psyche to play; to imagine the impact of combat.

Now home from the war, wracked by a long life at sea, some of the faces are gnarled, chewed on, abraded by the sand. When we looked into their tiny faces we were amazed by their expressions. Each soldier is a poignant reminder of the ravages of war and the extremes to which nations will go to preserve dominion over the petrochemical world. Is plastic still cheap when the cost of war is added to the calculation?

Friday, July 31, 2015

The Green Straw

When the mercury on the car thermometer went beyond 95°, Judith realized it was time to pull over for a cool beverage before arriving to teach her watercolor class in Rohnert Park. To enter the corporate realm of Starbucks might be considered a transgression but when it is the only place close by, it is it is the only place.

She files this report:

When I saw this bold sign on the front door, I felt relieved. I can be green and enjoy my iced coffee. Since the straw is green (in color) I thought their message might mean that the straw itself is eco-green. So when I stepped up to order my drink I asked the barista about the straw. He stumbled, trying to come up with convincing facts, then said that 20% of all plastic used in Starbucks cups and straws was from a recycled source. Although the Starbucks website proudly tells about their recycling, they fail to say anything about their straws:

As one of many companies in the food service business, we continue our commitment to lead the industry toward greater access to recycling for cups and other packaging—including driving demand for recycled materials. A key milestone came in 2006, when we began offering a cup with 10% post-consumer recycled paper fiber in North America, after helping develop the technology and leading the industry to gain approval for using recycled fiber for food packaging. We also include 50% post-consumer, recycled PET (rPET) in our cold cups used in European markets, and 15% rPET in our Bistro boxes in the US.

The barista, trying to ease my dismay, pointed out a delicious alternative — the completely edible cookie straw, completely wrapped in plastic.

Back in my car and on the road, even though my guilt was not assuaged, I enjoyed my drink and was refreshed. However, I realized it is time to let everyone know about a truly green straw.

Last week Eli and Richard harvested our rye (for making whiskey!). The stems are hollow and quite substantial, Dude!!! Anyone need a straw? STRAW STRAWS, LTD . Organic, sustainably harvested, completely biodegradable and gluten free!!! (its rye, not wheat). Dump the plastic "straw." A great VC opportunity. 

Hey, come on over for a cool drink. It's time for sundowners on the deck. We applaud the efforts of The Last Plastic Straw where they request that wait staff at bars and restaurants just ask before they automatically put a straw in the glass.  

At our house, we never ask if you want a straw, instead we ask - do you want one olive or two?

And soon we will be asking if you want a whiskey.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

kickin' it

News of the US Women's World Cup win on Sunday has us kickin' it up. Talk about triumph!

In 2014 when British photographer Mandy Barker put out a call for footballs, we were bereft. We wanted to contribute to her effort and although we had boxes of balls we had no World Cup style "footballs." Then as serendipity or fate would have it, just in time we found one soccer ball that we sent along with some of our American "footballs." Read our blog post here about our luck of the find.

Her planetary-space inspired photographs of the balls captured the public imagination. When her images went viral, we were thrilled to see our Kehoe Beach ball included. Her acclaim continues as her fine work was featured in Smithsonian Magazine, May 2015.

Fueled by women's soccer fever, we recently caught up with Mandy to wish her continued success. Go team!!!

And lest we forget the importance of Title IX and the boost it gave to girl's and women's sports, read our blog post here.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Nurdles in Egypt

...from The 2000 Year Old Man: Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks' classic comedy album of 1961:

CR: So you knew Shakespeare? He wrote 37 of the world's greatest plays...
MB: 38
CR: 38? We only know 37. It must never have come to light.
MB: Came to light!!???  It closed in Egypt!!...I backed that play....Queen Alexandra and Murray.

Well, Queen Alexandra and Murray may have closed in Egypt but nurdles and microplastics from Kehoe Beach are in Cairo, Egypt this month at Darb 1718 Contemporary Art and Culture Center as part of Out to Sea? a traveling exhibit organized by the Museum für Gestaltung Zürich. Click here for the Facebook page dedicated to the show in Egypt.

The international tour of "Out to Sea? The Plastic Garbage Project" goes on and on!

The exhibition was just at the Universalmuseum Joanneum: Naturkundemuseum Graz, Austria (green dot) and opened on June 26 at Utzon Center in Aalborg, Denmark (yellow dot). 

Red dots mark the numerous previous exhibition locations.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Oh Happy Day

Sending rainbow greetings from Kehoe Beach — 
celebrating the happiness of marriage. 

Saturday, June 13, 2015

MORE JOY for World Oceans Day

To celebrate World Oceans Day we took the grandkids to the aquarium at the California Academy of Sciences. What better way to experience why the health of the oceans is so incredibly important and what more clearly demonstrates health than speciation? And in the human realm the speciation of personality is demonstrated in our family's burgeoning speciation of psyche. There is nothing more fun than to see this underwater extravaganza through their eyes.

Good news about efforts, as Sylvia Earle says,"to give the ocean a break." The expansion of Cordell Bank and the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuaries is a move in the right direction. These sanctuaries are the source of one of the richest areas of nutrient upwelling on the planet and provide fishing free zones that will help protect marine and coastal habitats. 

Kudos to Doug Woodring for hosting Plasticity 2015 in Cascais, Portugal — putting plastic front and center in the conversation about resource management. Although we could not be there in person, we had told Doug we would, as the saying goes, be there in spirit and thanks to Livestream we were able to tune in, in real time, and now everyone can watch it here.