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June 15, 2017
The environmental challenges are complex, an understatement I know.
Our problems are pressing and complex and are made the more difficult as we struggle under a cloud of skepticism and division and the discouraging weight of a Doomsday Clock that was moved forward in January to two-and-a-half minutes to midnight in response to Trump’s election. That’s the closest we’ve been to midnight since 1953.
Access to potable water may be the most pressing of our challenges.
“The world runs on water. Clean, reliable water supplies are vital for industry, agriculture, and energy production. Every community and ecosystem on Earth depends on water for sanitation, hygiene, and daily survival.
“Yet the world’s water systems face formidable threats. More than a billion people currently live in water-scarce regions, and as many as 3.5 billion could experience water scarcity by 2025. Increasing pollution degrades freshwater and coastal aquatic ecosystems. And climate change is poised to shift precipitation patterns and speed glacial melt, altering water supplies and intensifying floods and drought.” World Resources Institute
The good news is that there are many working conscientiously to raise awareness and funds. Some of our readers and contributors are among them. There are good people offering time and expertise, sometimes putting their own lives and livelihoods in danger.
This month our core team and guest writers have chosen to focus largely on water, but they also address the need to respect science (Naomi Baltuck) and the need to acknowledge that war is a danger to the environment in general as well as a cause of human hunger. (Michael Dickel). If the Syrian Civil War were to stop right this second, one wonders how long – how many years, perhaps decades – it would take to make that country’s land farmable again.
Michael Watson, Carolyn O’Connell and Joe Hesch touch their experiences of farms before industrial farming. Priscilla Galasso, John Anstie, Paul Brooks, Marieta Maglas and Rob Cullen speak to us of water. Corina Ravenscraft and Sonja Benskin Mesher remind us of the element of greed – as does John – and Sonja points to gratitude. Enough is truly enough. Charlie Martin’s poems are poignant, making us think about how sad it would be if we lost it all. Liliana Negoi brings a quiet and practical appreciation of nature. Phillip Stevens paints the earth in all her delicacy and need for tender husbandry.
Thanks to our core team members for stellar, thoughtful work as always: John Anstie, Michael Watson and Michael Dickel, Priscilla Galasso and Corina Ravenscraft, Charles Martin, Liliana Negoi, Naomi Baltuck and Joe Hesch.
Welcome back to Paul Brooks, Phillip Stephens and Sonja Benskin Mesher and a warm welcome to Marieta Maglas and Rob Cullen, new to our pages.
We hope this issue will give you pleasure even as it provokes you. Leave your likes and comments behind. As readers you are as import to the The BeZine project, values and goals as are our contributors. Your commentary is welcome and encourages our writers. As always, we offer the work of emerging, mid-career and polished pros, all talented and all with ideas and ideals worth reading and thinking about.
In the spirit of peace, love (respect) and community
and on behalf of The Bardo Group Beguines,
Jamie Dedes, Founding and Managing Editor
Photo credit: A Mongolian Gazelle, victim of drought, Gobi Desert 2009 courtesy of Mark Heard under CC BY 2.0
How to read this issue of THE BEZINE:
Children call on world leaders to save the ocean, World Oceans Day
Let the Rains Fall, John Anstie
Hybrid: Warm Hunger, Michael Dickel
Water, Ralph Waldo Emerson
Don’t Blink, Joseph Hesch
The Desert, Marieta Maglas
#what more do you expect, Sonja Benskin Mesher
Remember the Farm, Carolyn O’Connell
That Was Then, This Is Now, Naomi Baltuck
For My Children, Rob Cullen
Except where otherwise noted,
ALL works in The BeZine ©2017 by the author / creator
Rev. Ben Meyers and the Unitarian Universalists of San Mateo (UUSM) invite our neighbors in North Central San Mateo to join with us for Justice Action Monday on May 1 from 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. at UUSM, 300 E. Santa Inez Avenue, San Mateo, CA 94401. Phone: 650-342-5946 Office Hours: Tu-Fri 10-5
This week we’ll write (or draw if you’re inclined) the seven-step scientific process on postcards and send them to climate science deniers. Don’t worry, we’ll have a cheat sheet with the seven steps and the six deniers and their addresses ready for you to use. Materials, snacks and stellar company provided.
“The race is now on between the technoscientific and scientific forces that are destroying the living environment and those that can be harnessed to save it. . . . If the race is won, humanity can emerge in far better condition than when it entered, and with most of the diversity of life still intact.”
― Edward O. Wilson,
We’re getting ready to hit the publish button on this month’s issue of The BeZine in a few hours. The theme this month is Environment/Environmental Justice. Here, our friend Judith Black helps us to warm up with her TED-X video on StoryTelling and Climate Change organized by the storytelling community.
JUDITH BLACK (Storytelling: A Window on to the World
A Mirror into the Heart) is a professional storyteller, story maker, and teacher/coach with an international following. Originally trained at Wheelock College as an early childhood educator, Judith leapt from the classroom to the stage after training at London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. Ultimately she bound these two passions with storytelling and for thirty-five years has been using story to motivate, humanize, entertain, and teach. She is the winner of many awards in her field.
If you are reading this in an email, you’ll likely need to link through to view the video.
© portrait, Judith Black
our gray skies pass when mango sky comes,
warm with laughter, chanting its gentle way into
the space where turtle speaks in earthy colors,
speaks in that easy way only turtle can, as one who is
at home in herself, between her plastron and carapace,
wisdom in her slow ballet; her introversion, a model
for living well in this grinding war-spun world . . .
turtle is my totem and we live on our turtle island,
she is the everyday re-enchantment of my solitary
cosmos, my solidarity with life, i read her pastoral
letters in green on green, the sweet grasses and seas,
she speaks of connectedness, the basic constituents
of enigma, wizardry, and the madness of the times
and how best to dance the madness into light, she is
essence, the unrushed cure for wretched nature-deficit,
that consuming affliction, the spawn of modern day’s
backlit screens and relentless marketers of every bilk;
turtle healing is simple peace and master lessons in
self-containment, she draws us into our meditations
and back along the first path of Maka Ina, the lost or
forgotten primal path of the earth ways and feminine
energies and the lunar cycles that whirl us heavenward
Victoria’s writing prompt is about change. Beyond adding my one small voice to the voices of others, I feel powerless to dramatically effect some changes that need to happen for a green and peaceful life on this Earth. These issues seem to be my major preoccupations. I want my son and my daughter-in-law and other people I treasure to grow old in a world that is stable, salubrious and kind.
In the end, my best gift to them – perhaps the best gift any of us can give to the people we love – is to honor Gandhi’s admonition to “be the change,” to let our inner work toward wholeness (heaven) combine with the inner work of others to move the flow of world culture, customs and events toward a positive tipping point. There is an old wisdom that says “each wo/man’s step forward is a step forward for all human kind.” The inherent tranquility to be found in nature helps when taking these important steps forward. This is one of the reasons we need to protect the environment. Our connection with nature and our hope for peace are inextricably bound.
“Around the world–even in some of the countries most troubled by poverty or civil war or pollution–many thoughtful people are making a deep, concerted search for a way to live in harmony with each other and the earth. Their efforts, which rarely reach the headlines, are among the most important events occurring today. Sometimes these people call themselves peace workers, at other times environmentalists, but most of the time they work in humble anonymity. They are simply quiet people changing the world by changing themselves.” Eknath Easwaran, Your Life is Your Message: Finding Harmony With Yourself, Others, and the Earth
© 2013, poem, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved