Sunday, July 24, 2011

Cement (Once Living Stone)

At home today, I pulled off the shelf a maroon-colored spiral bound journal dated 2003 and began reading. I came upon this poem. So dramatic I was!
What Lives In Me

Though I bear no progeny
What lives in me
Will live on in the flowers
In the rocks and in the altars
In the drops of the sea;
In the cement of the plazas,
Once living stone,
And in your heart, eternally.
Let the tombstone read:
I was human with all my griefs
I was blasted with the winter of hope.

Above is my photo of a friend walking.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

July 20 Reading in Berkeley

I'll be reading at Pegasus Books in Berkeley on July 20th.

Lyrics and Dirges: A Monthly Reading Series
Start: 7:30 pm
Location: Pegasus Books Downtown, 2349 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, CA
(510) 649-1320 Curated by Sharon Coleman

Complete list of readers: Joseph Lease, Adam David Miller, Tiffany Higgins, Doeba Bropleh, and Claudia Castro Luna.

See Event Details, Full Bios

Friday, July 15, 2011

Goddesses of Warnings

Ms. Homeland Security: Illegal Entry Dress Tent, 40" x 50", 2005, by Robin Lasser and Adrienne Pao

Thanks to friend and artist Michele Guieu, who let me know about Robin Lasser's affecting work. Here we see two images from Robin's series of tents.

Michele calls the female tent-figures goddesses of warnings.

The cool image below refers, airily, to the melting of our glaciers.
Ice Queen: Glacial Retreat Dress Tent
40 x 48 inch color photograph, 2008

See more art by Robin Lasser

Porcupines You Can Live In: Degrowth and Its Pleasures

I attended the July 8 opening party at the Yerba Buena Center For the Arts. My attention was drawn by Suzanne Husky’s Sleeper Cell Hotel exhibit. There we find three porcupine-like structures, made out of wood pieces. Peeking in, you see there is soft bedding inside them, an invitation to curl up inside and exist off the grid in your very own beehive in the forest, or perhaps in the urban landscape. A handmade sign labeled “Degrowth” suggests this is an encampment of activists—you might become one! Informational materials are scattered around. I was gratified to learn about the concept of Degrowth. If I get it correctly, here is Degrowth in a nutshell:

Why keep pushing our economy to expand continuously when this very economic growth has been the root of environmental degradation? Let’s take our hours out of the market and put them into making culture here together. Let’s get rich in hours “spent”/given over to creating community among us! (Sounds fun!)

Yes, I always have always wondered why newscasters announce the number of "new housing starts" as a measure of our economy's health, when new housing starts inevitably imply new destruction of habitat. (Am I missing something?)

The exhibit quotes Wikipedia on Degrowth:
Degrowth thinkers and activists advocate for the downscaling of production and consumption—the contraction of economies—as overconsumption lies at the root of long term environmental issues and social inequalities. Reducing consumption does not require individual martyring and a decrease in well-being.
Rather, 'degrowthists' aim to maximize happiness and well-being through non-consumptive means—sharing work, consuming less, while devoting more time to art, music, family, culture and community.
See more on Suzanne Husky's art

Friday, July 8, 2011

Atlantis Lifts Off

Atlantis Lifts Off
For Last Shuttle Mission,
Job Growth Falters Badly.
Newest Nation is Full
Of Hope and Problems.
More Syria Protests.
Another Dose of Neurosis.
Oceans Are At Dire Risk,
Team of Scientists Warns.
As Wall St. Polices Itself,
Prosecutors Use Softer Approach.
Extreme Heat Bleaches
Coral, and Threat Is Seen
In Rising Seas.
Atlantis Lifts
Atlantis Lifts Off
Atlantis Lifts
—from headlines of July 8, 2011

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Early Morning Fishing on the Xingu River

"The Brazilian government's position on Belo Monte goes against the image it promotes as a regional leader and its role as the host of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio +20) in 2012," said Astrid Puentes, Co-Director of the Inter-American Association for Environmental Defense (AIDA). "We hope that the governments of the region stop promoting environmentally and socially harmful projects and instead seek truly sustainable development based on respect for human rights.”(Source: Amazon Watch website.)
Although the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has demanded that Brazil stop the licensing process, at the end of May Brazil authorized the license for the dam. IACHR has stated that the license violates international law pertaining to the human rights of the indigenous peoples there. What's more, the dam violates Brazil's own constitutional protections--both of indigenous peoples and of the environment.

Specifically, Brazilian constitutional protections against forced expulsions of native peoples will be violated in the Big Bend area of the Xingu River, as the river will be diverted and an artificial reservoir created, forcing thousands of native Xingu to be displaced.

Ironic that Brazilians honor a yearly Indigenous Peoples celebration by noting historical mistreatments of now-extinct peoples, while this current turn of events seems to set up a tragedy-in-the-making for a still-living native people who have continued their traditions for thousands of years.

Photo from Amazon Watch
Read More News on Brazil from Amazon Watch

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Global Warming Doesn't Exist?

I met a man who told me, "Global warming doesn't exist."
"No?" I asked.
He replied, "No. Volcanoes spew far more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than humans do. It's impossible that we're creating climate change."
Curious, I decided to do a little research, and I found that...
Atop a crater on the Big Island of Hawaii, the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory at Kilauea has been entertaining this question of whether volcanoes determine warming more than human activity. Their research finds that both underwater and aboveground volcanoes all over the planet give off about 200 million tonnes of CO2 each year. Volcano admissions stay pretty steady across time, whereas human emissions have only grown. Total "global fossil fuel CO2 emissions for 2003 tipped the scales at 26.8 billion tonnes. Thus, not only does volcanic CO2 not dwarf that of human activity, it actually comprises less than 1 percent of that value," according to the USGS.

This same fellow also maintained that global warming was a scare tactic created by oil companies and their pals (like Al Gore, he said!) so they can jack up the price of oil to the scared public, convinced of scarcity.

So many dooms, so many fears!