Archive for June 11th, 2012

by lizard

Environmentalists are easy targets. They conjure quick stereotypes of hippie activists divorced from reality. They also act as self-appointed sirens of crisis, trying to point out how destructive our species’ impact has been on this planet.

Environmentalism itself is a global call to action for humanity to act collectively before it’s too late. Such a brazen declaration will inevitably lead to angry responses, like this fragment from a longer comment @ Intelligent Discontent:

Pseudo intellectuals posing impossible and illogical arguments about “pristine” wilderness disgust me because not one of them recognises the reality we are faced with everyday. They would rather pound their chests and scream at the sky about the “inhumanity” of it all rather than find real life solutions.

The humans who fight to mitigate the negative impact their fellow humans are having on this planet must sometimes feel they are put in the position of defending every misguided step to protect something from destruction.

I poked around a bit in my library for some fodder for this post, and found something from Can Poetry Save the Earth? by John Felstiner (Yale University, 2009):

Yet ecological zeal can backfire. Preserving Yosemite National Park meant first evicting Ahwahnee and Miwok Indians, while Yellowstone got rid of Shoshone and Lakota. Arizona’s Black Mesa Mine, shut down for fouling the air, draining the water table and thereby sacred springs, had also provided jobs for Navajo and Hopi Indians. Cleansing the air may itself hasten global warming because pollution haze absorbs and scatters sunlight. Curtailing ranchers and loggers drives them to sell land to developers. In Canada, the 1980’s campaign against slaughtering seals, beaver, and fox for fur coats and scarves left native trappers strapped for a living. They had to turn their land and themselves over to companies building gas pipelines through a pristine valley, flooding the land for a hydroelectric plant, drilling for oil in teeming offshore waters.

Also, it should be mentioned, the book I’m referencing is constructed of mostly paper.

When you push too hard about the cataclysm of our species’ insatiable consumption of this finite earthly bounty, it’s very easy to point out the inherent hypocrisy of humans who consume criticizing our collective consumption.

It doesn’t make the unsustainable trajectory of our collective behavior any less true, but it does muddy the waters, tarnishing the “hypocrite” messengers of responsible planetary stewardship.

With information at our fingertips—with no excuse NOT to know—I find myself thumbing through my twitter scroll and NOT selecting articles like the Mother Jones piece about the decline of microbes in the Gulf of Mexico, post-BP.

I don’t want to know. I choose to ignore many things (like the World Population Clock). Because I know I’m intimately involved in the destructive processes set in motion a long, long time ago.

The disdain for those righteous tree-huggers offering themselves as convenient scapegoats is sadly predictable, but it doesn’t make what they’re warning about any less dire.

Anyway, this week’s selection is from a cute little publication from New Directions, edited by Jeffrey Yang, titled BIRDS, BEASTS, AND SEAS: Nature Poems from New Directions (New Directions, 2011).

It’s a strange little poem by Lorca, translated by W.S. Merwin. Enjoy! Continue Reading »

by jhwygirl

It started June 1st with Montana Public Radio news director Sally Mauk’s interview of Royce Engstrom. You can download the podcast here or stream it from the Montana Public Radio newsblog.

It’s quite clear from that interview that even now, Engstrom hasn’t been able to separate the facts from his own defensive and inaccurate version of events. Listen as Mauk corrects Engstrom when he attempts to make it sound like the police were aware of the rape and sexual assault by the Saudi student prior to his university-facilitated escape back to his home country.

I also appreciate how Mauk calls out Engstrom when he touts his successful investigations which resulted in a number of students removed from campus – and into our community.

KECI has been touting an upcoming interview with Engstrom.

Tonight, in perusing KGVO’s website (AM 1290 here in Missoula), I find that Peter Christian’s Talk Back will be hosting University of Montana’s Royce Engstrom on Wednesday Morning.

Talk Back is a short half-hour local talk show, done from 8:30 to 10 a.m. every weekday morning. In reading KGVO’s website, Engstrom was invited to “to answer your questions about the campus and a host of recent University related events.”

Lovely. Do make sure to listen and call in on Wednesday morning, Missoula….and Montana. 406-721-1290. I know I’ll be listening.

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