Arcata Marsh climate change talk by Patrick Carr promotes awareness, simple changes

By Matthew Hable|
Flapjack staff

Located at the north end of Humboldt Bay and along the Pacific Flyway, a major north-south flight path for migratory birds that expands from Alaska to Patagonia, situates The Arcata Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary, a 307-acre sanctuary that includes marshes, sloughs, uplands, mudflats, roughly five miles of trails and an Interpretive Center.

Patrick Carr, a psychologist with a bachelor’s degree in environmental science and lecturer for the evening’s Climate Conversations, patiently waits for the last participant to arrive at the center five minutes pass the scheduled 7 p.m. start time. The Interpretive Center operates as an exhibit, bookstore and info center pertaining to the sanctuary. Seven of the eight folding chairs are occupied in the shape of a semicircle, which are facing a wide window that overlooks a spectacular view of the marsh—the sun begins to set beyond the marsh, adding to the overall visual splendor. The last participant arrives and the lecture begins.

Carr welcomes the discussion group to the event and proceeds to describe the sustainable implementations of the Interpretive Center.

“This building is equipped with a passive solar building design, high-efficiency LED lights and skylights,” said Carr.

Collectively, the Interpretive Center qualifies as a net-zero building, meaning that the amount of annual renewable energy consumed significantly outweighs the use of non-renewable energy, resulting in less production of greenhouse gasses.

Greenhouse gasses are essential to life on earth—without them our planet would be frozen and unsustainable. However, too much emission of greenhouse gases overheats the planet that threatens humanity. Moreover, global warming has had observable effects on the planet due to human activities—a century’s worth of burning fossil fuel, overpopulation and globalization. If sustainability practices are not implemented on a global scale and industrial activities continue to emit greenhouse gases at an exponential rate, future generations will struggle with sea level rises, ocean acidification, intense heat waves, longer periods of droughts and so on.

Next, Carr offers other options to reduce our inherited carbon footprint habits: transportation, dieting and consumerism. He suggests a collective vegan diet would effectively reduce carbon footprint. The global food production and consumption, namely beef, produce more greenhouse emissions than transportation combined; however, transporting meat overlaps with production. Additionally, a decrease or complete abstinence from consuming meat could reduce the risk of heart disease and other health-related issues.

“The internet globally consumes 10% of electricity,” said Carr.

Consumerism contributes to climate change. The internet is woven into our society—businesses rely on it to survive and people depend on it as a primary source of communication in the digital age. The demand for internet is spreading at an increasing rate as globalization develops across the world; as a result, companies supply the demand with devices, especially smart phones, laptops and accessories, such as external hard drives. Ultimately, the production and use of devices are the contributor to high emissions of greenhouse gasses. Also, the cost of fuel to transport goods also impacts the climate. The world constantly operates in this vicious cycle that intensifies global warming.

Needless to say, persuading an entire planet of people to change their lifestyle is no easy feet. There are many factors that circumscribe change towards consuming energy renewably.

Opposing views of climate change is “intensely emotional,” said Carr.

To evolve requires a deep, communal understanding of climate change before taking action, first and foremost. In a fragmented society that is mostly ignorant or indifferent about climate change, achieving a collectively sustainable movement seems merely impossible—it would take a global village to influence real change. Another major setback for change involves economic prosperity. In a world dependent on fossil fuels, leaders of renewable energy need to convince the government, parliaments, corporations, politicians and other globalized leaders that the transition would be greater than profits generated by fossil fuels.

Despite the tremendous challenges supporters of renewable energy face, there is hope in the long run. Redwood Coast Energy Authority, a non-profit joint powers authority (JPA) based in Humboldt County, received state approval in January to lead a new energy program that aims to “provide lower electric rates and local control of our energy sources” by implementing renewable energy practices. Sonoma, Marin and San Francisco opted into similar programs. If programs like these succeed, this could lead a path to saving society or at least reverse the effects of global warming.

Human beings are one with nature and each of us have a certain connection to it beyond biological reasons.

“I have a spiritual connection with nature,” said Valerie Carr, biologist and wife of Patrick Carr.

Humboldt transplant and auto racing enthusiast, Bob Friedman, also participated in the discussion. He is passionate about finding ways to incorporate renewable energy to the sport without compromising speed.

“I am from the dark side,” said Friedman. “I spent years driving race cars and working in factories that produced car batteries.”

After inhaling and observing the immense amount of pollution pumping into the air over a long period of time, Friedman decided to leave Florida and head west. He has been in Humboldt since 2016 and is currently pursuing entrepreneurial ways to produce his own brand of race car batteries.

Climate Conversations concluded with a reminder that change begins with awareness and an open discussion about the issue.

Another action we can take is “sacrificing vacation for renewable energy,” said Carr. “Instead of saving money for a long vacation, take a short one and invest your money into sustainable practices around the house.”

Ride your bicycle to work, switch to energy bulbs, grow your own food—a little goes a long way.

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Tenacity of Ferocious Few rages on

By Matthew Hable
Flapjack Staff

On a cold San Francisco night inside a humid Bottom of the Hill on June 23, 2011, The Ferocious Few walks up to the stage in front of a sold-out crowd of about 250 people. They are opening for the venerable Holly Golightly and the Brokeoffs.

Francisco Fernandez, frontman and founder of The Ferocious Few, is dressed in black from neck to toes and hair slicked back like Ricky Nelson. He picks up his black acoustic guitar and signals his sit-in drummer for the first tune. The lights dim and Francisco aggressively strikes an acoustic chord. They ferociously rip through their 45-minute set with a series of rapid strumming, drumming, and various tales of the devil and heartbreak.

The crowd woos and applauds with sincere excitement in between songs. Francisco ends his set alone with a moving dedication to San Francisco, a ballad called “The San Francisco Song.” The crowd cheers after he finishes the song, the lights brighten and the house DJ cues up his playlist.

Fast forward to spring 2016. Fernandez retreats to Los Angeles to recuperate from failed personal and business relationships in the Bay Area. Following an eight-month stay in Berlin and a brief visit in Oakland, Fernandez moved to Austin, Texas in January 2017 with a newfound determination to reinvigorate his music career.

“I went through every possible mistake you can make,” said Fernandez. “I feel more prepared to start all over again.”

Fernandez puts his coffee down on the table and gathers his thoughts. It’s a gloomy day outside Figure 8 Coffee Purveyors, a small cafe located in East Austin. He is wearing a cream-colored nudie suit, a design less flashy than the one Gram Parsons wore. Fernandez’s hair is slicked back as usual and he is wearing eyeglasses with a thick black frame.

The Ferocious Few was established in 2005 in Oakland. Fernandez, 21 years old at the time, aspired to create a politically-charged rock band in the style of Rage Against the Machine, but has since evolved into a distinctive blend of Richie Havens-meets-Motörhead. Do512, a website dedicated to Austin’s entertainment scene, describes The Ferocious Few as “a twist of punk and a bit of rockabilly.”

Booking concerts in the Bay Area was challenging during the formative years of The Ferocious Few—they were fairly inexperienced musicians and new to the area. It wasn’t long before members of The Ferocious Few dwindled from a quartet to a duo.

“I realized how hard it was to manage different personalities,” said Fernandez in regards to the downsizing of the band.

Fernandez recruited his friend Dan Aguilar on drums—together they developed their act by busking in the streets of San Francisco.

Acoustic guitars are typically fingerpicked or strummed with moderate intensity, but Fernandez sweeps through his acoustic guitar with mesmerizing speed, aggression and accuracy. Combined with his gravelly vocals and Aguilar’s equally powerful drumming abilities, an irresistible showcase of musical talent is presented.

“There was a time, years ago now, when Francisco and Daniel played on the streets here in San Francisco often,” said Richard Woodul, longtime fan and friend of The Ferocious Few. “Although I played several instruments when [I was] younger, I did not pursue a career in music, so their drive and passion for their music is admirable to me.”

It wasn’t long before passersby started recording The Ferocious Few and posting videos of their street performances on YouTube. Concert promoters and local musicians started noticing their videos online, which led to bookings not only in the Bay Area, but throughout the country.

In 2009, The Ferocious Few signed to Birdman Records, an independent record label based in San Francisco and owned by David Katznelson, former A&R vice president of Warner Bros. Records. The following year, they released their debut album Juices and promptly hit the road.

“One of my fondest memories with The Ferocious Few is from a few years back,” said Maria Scott, former merchandise hand for The Ferocious Few. “They were opening for Cyndi Lauper in Oklahoma to a packed venue… not a lot of people knew who The Ferocious Few were and so they weren’t paying much attention at first, but by the second or third song, the whole place was up on their feet hooting and hollering for more!”

At this point in their career, pressure is beginning to apply to the band, partly because of contractual obligations to recoup their expenses. Aguilar left The Ferocious Few in 2011, because he wasn’t willing to commit to the high demands and insufficient pay of touring. Shortly after Aguilar’s resignation, Fernandez collaborated with new musicians and signed to a management deal.

That “toxic” management relationship “went sour fast,” said Fernandez.

Balancing the business side of music while being an artist was awfully frustrating to Fernandez. The demands of leading new musicians and complying with management obligations took a mental toll on him that ultimately led to abandoning his own project and management team. The one good thing to come out of this experience was a polished self-titled album that was officially released in 2016—many years later due to contractual reasons.

The years 2013-2017 proved to be a wandering period for Fernandez. In 2013, he briefly relocated to Martinez, a city in the East Bay, before traveling through Texas and up to New York, where he laid low until summoning up the enthusiasm to perform at SXSW in March 2014. Immediately after SXSW, Fernandez travelled to Los Angeles—he formed a new band under The Ferocious Few and it wasn’t long before they toured up and down California, including a stop at Coachella. Later that year, Fernandez settled with a woman in Oakland—he stayed put until the relationship ended in October 2015. Shortly after their separation, Fernandez made his way back down to Los Angeles to not only recover, but to spend more time with his sister. In May 2016, he packed up his belongings and moved to Berlin. He performed at various gigs throughout Germany, Netherlands and Switzerland for the next eight months.

Fernandez recorded and self-released an album entitled Ousted in October 2016, which is about “the push of the creatives out of their preferred habitats and the pushing of gentrification,” he said. “It is also about my personal life.”

That December, Fernandez moved back to Oakland, where he discovered that a number of his friends had passed away in the infamous Ghost Ship fire. This tragedy triggered Fernandez to plot his next move in life, for it is unpredictable and transitory. In January 2017, he packed up his belongings once again and moved to Austin. Eventually, Fernandez found a home in East Austin and jobs delivering groceries as well as remodeling houses.

Austin is famous for its lively music scene, which constantly attracts aspiring musicians from all over the world. As with most metropolitan cities, the high concentration of artists in one area creates a tremendous challenge to break through the underground threshold, especially in the internet age. Despite the hurdles Fernandez continues to face, he remains positive and hopeful.

“I don’t know if any place is my place—playing music is my place. When I feel empowered to do that, where sustainability is working despite capitalism; where you can get fairly compensated for your work; you have a safe, clean place to sleep; you can provide a service that people want, then move to the next situation—that sounds like more of a happy place for me.”

With upcoming gigs and two albums to plug, The Ferocious Few shows no signs of calling it quits anytime soon.

Do Si Dos & bitter — Redwood Curtain pairs its beers with Girl Scout cookies

By Matthew Hable
Flapjack staff

Redwood Curtain Brewing Company partnered with Girl Scouts on Friday, Feb. 10 at the tasting room in Arcata — they hosted a cookie and beer pairing event to raise funds for the Arcata chapter of Girl Scouts.

“We, as Redwood Curtain Brewing, purchased and used 23 boxes of cookies for this event,” said Amy Mollberg, administrative manager at Redwood Curtain. The four pairings were decided by various Redwood Curtain staff members.

Alli McCarthy is a bartender at Redwood Curtain.

“I’m in charge of collecting payment and stamping hands tonight,” she said.

The fee for the flight was $10, which ultimately benefitted Girl Scouts of Arcata. After processing payments, McCarthy instructs patrons to get their cookies from the Girl Scouts booth, which was located across the room from her booth.

“My favorite is the Special Bitter and Do Si Dos pairing,” McCarthy said to one patron as she stamped his hand.

Patrons who settled with McCarthy weave through the crowd to get to Elizabeth Fog, one of the coordinators of the event representing Girls Scouts. Fog is assisted by her daughter who is in official Girls Scouts uniform.

“We thought this would be fun way to raise funds for our organization,” said Fog as she checks stamps while her daughter repeatedly hands out trays of cookies to people.

After obtaining a tray of cookies, which also carries a pairing guide, patrons make their last stop at the bar. McCarthy is assisting a bartender with pouring duties as another Redwood Curtain employee collects money for the flight fee. She efficiently fills four 2 oz. glasses of beer per tray.

Per McCarthy’s recommendation, the Special Bitter, a light golden ale with biscuity and nutty aromas, compliments well with the oatmeal and peanut butter flavors of Do Si Dos cookies. Other pairings include:

• Samoas, a chocolate and caramel cookie topped with coconuts, with English Barley Wine

• Thin Mints, a minty wafer with chocolate coating, and Dry Irish Stout on nitro

• Savanah Smiles, a lemon cookie with powdered sugar coating, and Belgian Trippel

A room full of smiling faces, cookies and beer indicated a profitable event.

“I understand the Fogs sold another 48 boxes of cookies, which is right on par with other booths they do, i.e., outside Safeway,” Mullberg said. “All in all, yes, this has been a success for the Girl Scouts,” she said.

Redwood Curtain and Girls Scouts will host another cookie and beer pairing event on Saturday, Feb. 18 at the tasting room.