May 2008

Soon-to-be-Launched Website!

May 27, 2008 01:21.44 PM

Hi, folks. You're visiting the construction site of our soon-to-be-launched website. Not everything's working, so have a look around, but check out to purchase cds & peace tees.


Sandy & Pat
emma's revolution


Happy Birthday, "Swimming to the Other Side"!

May 27, 2008 11:01.29 AM

Dear Friends,

Well, it's actually "Happy Belated Birthday, Swimming!" We drafted this email to you on May 2nd--the birthday--while en route to Marblehead, MA for the first of three shows in MA with Holly Near. We had a great show that night (see Jordan's blog about the show and our music at the JWA and the next two nights, but it was an extremely busy tour, hence, our emailing you today.

So, as we listen to the predictions of the Indiana primary--with NC going to Obama!--imagine Friday, May 2nd and read on . . .

"It was twenty years ago today . . ." Well, actually that's someone else's song and it was really 18 years ago today, but today is the birthday of Pat's song, "Swimming to the Other Side"!


It was the height of Bush Senior's Administration, homelessness had tripled and all of the activists Pat knew were feeling exhausted and disheartened. She felt that way too, but as she tells the story, Pat felt like she had to say something. As she sat on her porch with her guitar that evening in 1990, Pat remembered that the thing that brings her back to herself, and back to her strength, is to sing. She looked up at the night sky and began to sing. The song came out whole and as she says, "I never changed a word of it."

Looks like she didn't need to. The song has been a staple of her performances and, now, ours together, ever since she wrote it. So many of you have written to tell us that you've sung "Swimming" at a wedding or memorial, at your child's school or your church, in your living room with friends. And, of course, after the feature on NPR's "All Things Considered" in 2002, many many more people fell in love with the song. If you didn't hear the broadcast that day, with guest appearance from Pete Seeger, you can still hear it at NPR's website.


Spring has sprung in DC and we were thrilled to come home this week to the new community garden that's blooming in our backyard! We have great sun and space but, since we're on the road so much, we'd never been able to garden it ourselves. We put the word out to some young gardeners and, now, things are literally springing up, thanks to a team of neighbors who are headed up by the creative, knowledgable energy of garden coordinator, Bea Trickett. With visits from the kids in MJ & Jerry Park's "Little Friends for Peace" clubs, there are many hands breaking ground, sowing seeds, building bird and bat houses and turning compost! Check out these photos to take a peek.


Still, spring is a little funny this year, with the temperature fluctuating wildly during the three days we were home, from the 50's on Monday to the predicted 80's today, when we left. And, during last weekend's trip for three great shows with Holly Near in Madison and Chicago, we passed an eighteen-wheeler on the highway that had snow piled on top of it. Global climate change is here. But, hopefully, not to stay.

After our show in San Diego last month, we were given a tour of the Birch Aquarium at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, on the beach in La Jolla. The aquarium is famous for its permanent exhibit of miraculous sea creatures, particularly its jellyfish, and our guide, Lisa Shaffer's, favorite . . . the sea dragon. But, Lisa especially wanted us to see the climate exhibit that opened there last year. Lisa used to work at Scripps and is now the head of the Environment and Sustainability Initiative at UCSD, a new project to "identify environment and sustainability questions that require collaboration across disciplines within the university, and to build partnerships with entities beyond the university, to provide the knowledge to inform policy as well as contributing to solutions and adaptations to address present and future environmental problems." Since the opening ceremony of the climate exhibit (ribbon cut by, none other than, Al Gore), more than 80,000 school-age kids have visited the exhibit to learn about past climate change from ice cores drilled in Antarctica and Greenland, see the acidification of the oceans and the danger to coral reefs, and find out what they can do to make changes right now. It was an engaging, playful exhibit on an otherwise really heavy topic.

Then, Lisa took us to meet with Dr. Steve A. Kay, Dean of the Division of Biological Sciences at UC San Diego ( who told us about his research in sustainable biofuels. He spoke about the hazards of ethanol: Since it competes for land that would otherwise be used for growing food, ethanol causes food shortages that are already a reality in many countries. Steve spoke in particular about experiments with an algae that takes very little space to cultivate, grows in salt water and, using CO2 through photosynthesis, desalinates the water in the process and produces an oil which can be harvested for use in cars. We asked when this product could be ready for consumers and fully expected he'd say something like twenty years. His answer was, "Four to five years." We were thrilled to hear about his and other's research in truly sustainable alternatives to petroleum. Read more.

Which brings us to Kenya and a brilliant small-scale project that is slowly recreating forests in an otherwise increasingly desertified land. The article in Permaculture magazine (, Winter '07 Issue) described that a combination of three years without good rain, a growing population, people cutting down trees as their only source of income, and slash and burn practices has left "a huge swath of East Africa, dusty brown." Now, the Kenyan Woodlands 2000 Trust is reversing this trend, creating areas of "thriving trees . . . cool, shady and beautiful," by putting the relentless power of the sun to use through solar panels. The panels pump well water into raised tanks and the water can then be carefully allocated using drip irrigation to sustain drought-resistant trees, many of which "need only a month or two of irrigation twice weekly to establish themselves." To support the W2T project, contact

And imagine how the balance of power in the world would be shifted if Africa became a world energy supplier through solar technology!


Speaking of technology, we're very conscious of our carbon footprint. We drive our Prius whenever possible, rent a hybrid when we can and purchase wind credit offsets for rentals when we can't, use recycled paper, trade wind credits for 100% of the electricity usage in our home & office and we are once again carrying organic, eco-dyed tees:

Organic Tees in Unisex (S-2XL) and Women's Styles (S-XL): ?Salaam, Shalom, Peace? on certified 100% organic cotton, preshrunk, with eco-friendly dye. Made in USA. Women's shirts are a slimmer cut, so order one size up. emma?s rev swirl on sleeve! In black, with light grey text. $25 each. Contact to order.

And, we're looking for someone to come on the road with us! Responsibilities include setting up and running our cd/tee/etc. sales table at concerts & conferences, sharing driving so we can fly less and use our hybrid vehicle more (and, ultimately, use a vehicle that runs on recycled french-fry oil!). Must be organized, responsible, have sales experience, good with people, good driving record, able to lift 45-50 lbs and have a good sense of humor. : ) This is a paid position. Contact us at for more details.

We look forward to seeing folks in NY, VA, NC Thanks, as always, for your support. We look forward to seeing you wherever you are.

Peace & love,

Pat Humphries & Sandy O
emma's revolution