Environment

Whole Earth Festival: Peace Plus Sustainability = Life

Artist builds a Peace Chain Reaction at Davis Whole Earth Festival

Peacenik Joe Murphy explains his mission to promote world peace through his handmade pendants with the word peace in 89 languages at the Davis Whole Earth Festival. He said he has sent more than 565,000 into the world where they help people connec
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Peacenik Joe Murphy explains his mission to promote world peace through his handmade pendants with the word peace in 89 languages at the Davis Whole Earth Festival. He said he has sent more than 565,000 into the world where they help people connec

From solar balloon cookers to mindful cannabis and the benefits of barefoot, the 46th annual Davis Whole Earth Festival served up dozens of waste-free ways to preserve Mother Earth and promote well-being this weekend.

But perhaps the most popular stop Sunday on the UC Davis Quad was Joe Murphy’s Peace Chain Reaction booth, offering pendants emblazoned with the word “peace” in 89 languages ranging from Tibetan (she da) to Vietnamese (hoa-binh), Italian (pace) to Zulu (ukuthula), Navaho (ho’zho) to Lithuanian (taika), even Klingon (roj).

“It brings me a lot of peace to be able to make my art, and people tell me when they wear their peace pendant or they see somebody else wearing one, it starts a conversation and reminds us we are connected,” said Murphy, 49, who’s been promoting the peace chain full time for 24 years and has sent 565,773 clay and wood peace pendants into the cosmos. His pendants normally go for donations of $5 to $10 apiece.

Murphy’s mantra is, “Practice kindness and it will grow; the more you share, the bigger it gets – you are world peace!”

Sacramento’s Marshall Smith stopped by to say he’s gotten results with the brown clay medallion etched with friedan (German for peace) “I take it with me every time I ride the Harley. It’s worked so far,” said Smith, 62, wearing a T-shirt featuring Towelie from “South Park’ and the words, “I have no idea what’s going on.”

Cady Horobin-Wohlers of Yolo County Children’s Alliance said her roots are Jewish and German. Yet she was more intrigued by the pendants with the Egyptian word for peace (hotep) written in hieroglyphs and the medallion that has “peace” in braille, “because Louis Braille was a child when he invented it; it’s so amazing.”

Saanti means peace in Nepalese

The pendants brought out each person’s global citizen. Briana Pereira, a UC Davis English major, said she was getting peace in Catalan (pau) to go with the one she had in Japanese (heiwa).

Murphy’s Peace Chain Reaction booth was strategically located next to one selling copper pendants made from recycled weapons of war, including wire used in the Minuteman intercontinental ballistic missile system.

The Whole Earth Festival offered many ways to preserve the planet’s resources.

Lois Richter, festival craft coordinator and a fixture on the weekly Davis Garden Show on KDRT, said people can start by replacing their lawns with grasses and shrubs that use far less water than Kentucky bluegrass, or even going to rocks. “Never take out a tree or your yard will be so much hotter you won’t save anything on water, and group your plants according to their water needs,” Richter advised. “Baby trees need water, so the best thing is to give most trees one deep soaking every two weeks.” A good goal is to cut your water usage by 60 percent, she said.

Not everyone was on board.

Some weeds that grow between crops are edible themselves.

Laurie Loving, a longtime member of the Davis N Street Coop that’s home to 50 adults and 15 kids, said, “We’re already doing drip irrigation to minimize our water use, and we’re looking at putting in a ‘gray water system’ to recycle water for landscaping.” Loving said she and her neighbors don’t think it’s fair that Gov. Jerry Brown has ordered everyone to cut back water use by 20 percent “when we’ve already minimized our water use.”

Another way to save water is to eat wild food, including some of the weeds that grow naturally between your crops, said UC Davis grad Wolfgang Rougle, proprietress of the Springfed Organic Farm and Nursery in Cottonwood. Rougle, author of “Sacramento Valley Feast – Don’t Eat Sterile, Eat Feral!” said you can eat prickly lettuce, milk thistle and wild mustard. Recipes can be found at www.localharvest.com.

Next to the geodesic dome and the free-flowing dancers, Sacramento physicist Bing Gu and his daughter Amelia were demonstrating what they think will be part of the drought solution – their California Sunlight solar balloon energy system. By heating one of their solar balloons in the sun, you can boil a cup of water in 14 minutes, heat up an entree in 20 minutes and even purify a cup of sea water. “The answer to our water needs is turning ocean water into fresh drinking water,” Gu said. “Our balloons get up to 400 degrees, and temperatures of 200 degrees can kill any germs or junk in the water,” he said. “Our solar technology is very efficient – the problem is a lot of people are talking about it, but not a lot are doing it.”

Back at the Peace Chain, Murphy was showing off the carved pendant with the word “Saanti.” “The one I’m wearing today is in Nepalese, for my friends caught in the earthquake,” Murphy explained. “Everyone’s OK, but there’s a lot of work to rebuild.”

Call The Bee’s Stephen Magagnini, (916) 321-1072.

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