Thursday, September 17, 2009


Stephen Souza
Born in 1955
Worked for private industry since age 11, then self employed for over 20 years and now semi-retired raising my kids.
I'm a Californian whose Catholic Irish ancestors moved from Ireland to the Bay Area sometime before 1864. My mother and stepfather still live in the house bought by my relatives in 1864 in downtown Vallejo, BTW the 1st city in the state to go bankrupt.
Married to a 1st grade public school teacher and we have 2 children, a 6 year old son and a 4 year old daughter.
We live on a 80+ acre ranch in the Coastal range mountains, which has most of its wildlife still intact - Fox, Bear, mountain lion, Bob cat, raccoons, Grey squirrels, ground squirrels, lizards, snakes, Chipmunks, etc...
The only domestic animals we have are chickens and a cat.
We have an organic orchard, with apricots, peaches, plums, apples, grapes, pomegranates, cherries, and nectarines. We sell a small portion of our fruit at our (Honor system) fruit stand 3 miles from our house.
I developed and maintain a natural spring for our water supply for 3 homes. Water gets low in late summer, so I invested in 20,000 gallons worth of water storage tanks. I pump the water with solar photo voltaic panels 400 feet up a mountain for a gravity feed water system. I also use solar for heating our water. We live a mile from the closest neighbor, but about 8 miles from Interstate 80.
Being a self described environmentalist, I very much enjoy and feel very lucky living here.
We are doing very well, but many are not, and that is one of the reasons I'm online, to hopefully help change that.
The Environment is, and probably always will be my biggest concern, although many progressive issues touch me in sensitive places. Iv'e been an environmentalist ever since my grandmother, Mary, turned me on to Jacque Cousteau, as well as National Geographic magazine. My surrogate father also inadvertently turned me green by taking me hunting, camping, and fishing throughout my childhood. I still love these activities, but realized long ago that our environment was being degraded at an alarming rate. For example, some of the fish I caught as a child were not even existent when I reached adulthood.
In adulthood, my most "Teachable moments" as George Will says, was traveling to other countries - Mexico, Belize, Honduras, Guatemala, Venezuela, Fiji, Australia, China, Hong Kong, and Costa Rica. Of all, Latin America is my favorite, mostly because it taught me about the connections we North Americans, in the United States, have with all Latin American cultures, especially concerning the "conquering" of this continent by the "Conquistadors", and the many changes that took place since then.
The natural environment in these places are also being hit hard, in a rapid rate that is unsustainable for this planet. The proof isnt just in science, but everywhere you look. The pollution around the world, even in this country is horrendous, and not just with the tons of chemicals we use everyday, but with all of our natural resources that we literally flush down the toilet. When I say "toilet", I mean the Oceans that surround us. We allow our soil and sediment, not to mention pollution, to literally wash away from our land into the oceans that we use as big toilet.
Scuba, and free Diving, in, and around the coral reefs from the Caribbean to the Great Barrier Reef, I have seen 1st hand the damage this runoff has done with our great oceans.
Global Warming, even if completely wrong, doesn't change the fact that our planet is being degraded at an unsustainable rate.
I feel the media is a big part of the answer to these problems, as I have been studying the effect media has on people for over 10 years. I'm a fan of the late George Seldes, who was a great investigative reporter/journalist for over 90 years, almost the entire 20th century.
A must see documentary is his Academy-Award nominated film by Rick Goldsmith - Tell the Truth and Run: George Seldes and the American Press

More to come in the next few hours and days.

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