Earth is Dying: An Easter Reflection

  • Posted on: 19 April 2014
  • By: Tamie Fields Harkins

A week ago, the Island Institute hosted a showing of a new TV series about climate change. The show is called Years of Living Dangerously. It definitely has its merits. I went to the showing, and there were about 15 other folks from Sitka there. After the show the group discussed climate change for a while, and I got frustrated, because I felt like everyone's comments were along the lines of, "Things can change for the better if we just do X, or if we just do Y." I tried to give voice to my frustration, but I'm afraid I wasn't very articulate at the time.

the definition of capitalism

  • Posted on: 19 April 2014
  • By: Tamie Fields Harkins

I have come up with a definition of capitalism that I like because it has within it the explanation of the problem. It is not, in other words, a neutral definition, such as Webster's might try to give us. Neutral definitions are useful. And sometimes loaded definitions are useful too.

Capitalism is the system of relating to the world wherein absolutely everything--including all life forms, all land and water and air, mental processes, all labor, all pleasure, every stage of life including birth and death and love and loss, and everything else--is commodified.

a street in san francisco

  • Posted on: 18 April 2014
  • By: Tamie Fields Harkins

This week I was thinking about the time that a friend of mine came last year to visit me. Her name is Deb and she was staying at a hotel near the famous Pier 49, in San Francisco. I live in Berkeley, which is close to San Francisco as the crow flies but not as the traffic dictates. So it took me a while to get to her. I had directions, and I had the address of her hotel, but once I got near Pier 49, I just couldn't find the right street. I was driving up and down the main drag, looking for the street on the address she'd given me.

An Innovative Film Grid About Resilience

  • Posted on: 14 April 2014
  • By: Carolyn Servid

More and more people these days are thinking and talking about resilient communities. I invite you to take a look at an innovative grid of film clips featuring teachers, writers, scientists, activists, students, conservationists, and others sharing their thoughts and ideas about what resilience means and how we might incorporate it into our lives, our work, and the places we live.


to take into account

  • Posted on: 7 April 2014
  • By: Tamie Fields Harkins

I read recently this poem by Galway Kinnell (a poet whose poetry I highly recommend!) and I'd like to enter it into the collective conversation about what it means to be an artist. I would love to hear folks' reflections back on this poem. I'm especially curious to hear what people think he means when he says in the first stanza ("almost too late").


Sitka is a place where you can be outside your house and be alone. At the same time.

  • Posted on: 6 April 2014
  • By: Tamie Fields Harkins

I've arrived! Here I am, in Sitka, Alaska, a small town (population 9,000 souls) poised on the edge of a huge sea (the Gulf of Alaska). It's Sunday afternoon now, and I arrived late Friday night, so I haven't been here 48 hours. Most of the hours I've been here have been taken up with the bliss of sleeping without being responsible for anyone else, and catching up with Carol, whom I haven't been with in person for two years. We've also baked a lot of sweet potato fries, and drunk a lot of tea.

Introducing Sitka Fellows as an Institute Program

  • Posted on: 21 March 2014
  • By: Peter Bradley

We're thrilled to announce that we're bringing the Sitka Fellows on board as part of our larger residency program. Since launching in 2012, the Sitka Fellows Program - which has until now operated independently - has brought 15 young artists, inventors, and entrepreneurs to live and work in Sitka for seven mid-summer weeks.

what i do on a normal saturday

  • Posted on: 8 March 2014
  • By: Tamie Fields Harkins

Tamie Fields Harkins and Carol Green will be in Sitka in April for the spring 2014 Collaborative Residency. Tamie is blogging regularly in advance of her time in Sitka. You can read more on their residency page here. 

Today is a normal Saturday. The difference between one geographical location and another, or one season in life and another, maybe has everything to do with how, in that place and time, you spend a normal Saturday. In some places or times, a person might go to a Farmer's Market, or make waffles with the kids, or do yoga, or pay all the bills. In other times and places, a person might go hunt elk, or go blackberry-picking, take an elderly parent to another round of appointments, go to work, or write a poem. But we do Saturdays, or at least this is what I'm claiming right now, in a certain way, depending on the climate and the stage of life.

how should i write these blog posts?

  • Posted on: 4 March 2014
  • By: Tamie Fields Harkins

"The reverse side also has a reverse side." -Japanese proverb quoted in a poem by Stephen Dunn

I started blogging seven years ago and I've been blogging just about every day since then. What I love most about this medium, I think, is how immediate it is. I can write about what happened today, and if you were around today, you can read, today, what I thought about what happened. And that immediacy somehow cultivates a sense of togetherness, of community. And even if you weren't physically around today, even if you were in Angola or Laos at the time, somehow being able to look into my life in something approximating more immediate spacetime than a letter...well, it can be lovely.