This Wednesday Writing Prompt is courtesy of Priscilla Galasso and Steve Wiencek

Priscilla and Steve


When we talk about Environmental Justice, it is sometimes assumed that people will agree on what is ‘the right thing to do’. However, as with anything else, our decision-making about Justice is influenced by our values, by the things that we deem ‘special’, ‘important’, or ‘sacred’. We propose that there are (at least) three categories of valued environments, or ‘Holy Ground’: Nature, Place and Community. Think about these three different arenas and how you see Justice being applied to them.

For example, if Community is your value, you may feel that Environmental Justice has to do with how people are impacted and how human activity creates change. If Place is your value, then questions about Justice probably will involve a particular area with borders of a physical or conceptual nature. It may be that feelings of injustice are felt in terms of ‘This, not That’ or ‘Us, not Them’ or in a desire to see a Place resist change. If Nature is your value, then you may see Justice in more fluid terms as the balance of resources between producers/consumers and prey/predator is in a state of constant flux with perhaps no ultimate goal.

So, as you sit down to write about Environmental Justice in your unique voice, identify your values. Perhaps use the lenses of Nature, Place and Community to focus. What is important to you? Why? How does it affect your decision-making? What factors impact this ‘sacred’ ground? How do different cultural models or systems impact your cherished home? What feelings arise in you – what empathy for Living Things or Living Habitats? What fears?

Thank you for spending time with these concepts and these questions. Your presence, your life energy, and your embodiment of love is a gift that we are privileged and honored to receive. Please, share your poems with us!

© 2016, text and photographs (above and below), Priscilla Galasso and Steve Wiencek, All rights reserved.


WEDNESDAY WRITING PROMPT

 All poems shared in response to the theme “Environmental Justice” suggested by Priscilla and Steve will be published here next Tuesday.  You are welcome to come out to play no matter the status of your career: beginner, emerging or pro. Leave your poem or a link to it in the comments section below. You have until Monday at 8:30 pm PST to respond.  If you are responding for the first time, please be sure to send a short bio and photo to thepoetbyday@gmail.com.Your bio and photo will be posted with your first poem by way of introduction.


PRISCILLA GALASSO (scillagrace, striving to live gracefully) is a member of The Bardo Group Beguines, the core team that publishes The BeZine. Her stellar essays and stunning photography are as outstanding as her commitment to environmental protection and the wilderness.  She began blogging some time ago and this is what she has to say about that adventure: “Inspired by my sister’s Flickr 365 project on her 50th year, I began my own venture of self-discovery with my blog. My life had changed dramatically in the previous 5 years, and I had changed with it. My husband died, my kids moved out, I sold our home and moved in with a tall, dark Scorpio named Steve.  I had a lot to process, a lot to learn about growing up and being responsible in this Universe.  My eyes are open in a way they have never been before, and I want to share my vision and experiences.” Link HERE for an interview with Priscilla.

STEVE WIENCEK (Scholar and Poet Books, EBay and Scholar and Poet Books, Abe Books ) is the owner and founder of Scholar and Poet Books. He helped out with the September 2016 issue of The BeZine, which addressed environmental issues.  You can read his feature article, Nature … Place … Community HERE.  Steve says of his independent online store:  “We are experienced book, music and video sellers. Our extensive and varied inventory includes a large collection of classical music CDs, LPs and sheet music; colorful and hard-to-find vintage GGA pulp fiction paperbacks; vintage children’s books and more! Find us and like us on Facebook, please!”


ABOUT THE POET BY DAY

B Street Books, 2018 Reading Challenge … and Steve Wiencek’s online independent bookstore, Scholar and Poet Books


“The Bookshop has a thousand books,
All colors, hues, and tinges,
And every cover is a door
That turns on magic hinges.”
American poet, Nancy Byrd Turner (1880-1971)

One of the great fun things in life is popping into a used-book store and exploring the shelves, finding old friends and making new ones. Our local is B Street Books, a brave little independent that’s managed to keep its doors open when so many others are forced to close down.  If you live in San Mateo, California and haven’t been there, do go. Wherever you live in this world, be sure to support independent bookstores, whether they sell new and/or used books. They are as necessary to the spirit of democracy as schools and libraries.

“The replacement of independent bookstores by firms such as Barnes & Noble, Waterstones or Borders superficially provided a wide range of reading, but their policies further limited choice.” Sara Ayad, The History of the Book in 100 Books: The Complete Story, From Egypt to E-Book

B Street Books’ owner and staff put together a reading challenge for 2018.  It’s the bookish equivalent of Dr. Terry Wahl‘s functional-medicine challenge to eat two-hundred different fruits and veggies over the course of the year, something to force explorations beyond the easy, obvious and/or habitual.

“Read a book,” the B Street team encourage …

  • published in the year you were born;
  • published more than 200 years ago;
  • written by someone with the same initials as yours;
  • longer than 500 pages;
  • shorter than 100 pages;
  • in a genre you don’t usually read;
  • based on the cover art;
  • that challenges your views;
  • that you were supposed to finish in high school;
  • recommended by a friend;
  • recommended by a child;
  • on which a movie is based;
  • with a one-word title;
  • that you loved as a youngster;
  • that is set in or near your home town;
  • that has won a Pulitzer Prize; and,
  • that you bought a B Street Books.

The books I started out with this year are the ones I got for Christmas from my son:

I’ve linked you to Amazon for these books but that doesn’t mean you can’t scope them out at your local independent or check with Steve (below) to see if he has copies available.


Speaking of independents:

Check Out

Scholar and Poet Books

Steve Wiencek helped out with the September 2016 issue of The BeZine, which addressed environmental issues.  You can read his feature article, Nature … Place … Community HERE.  Steve says of his independent online store:  “We are experienced book, music and video sellers. Our extensive and varied inventory includes a large collection of classical music CDs, LPs and sheet music; colorful and hard-to-find vintage GGA pulp fiction paperbacks; vintage children’s books and more! Find us and like us on Facebook, please!”


ABOUT THE POET BY DAY

THE BeZINE, Vol. 2, Issue 12, Environmental Justice, Intro and Table of Contents with Links

September 15, 2016

Originally published on The BeZine, Be inspired…Be creative…Be peace…Be
Reminder: Join us this Saturday for 100,000 Poets and Friends for Change. Our theme this year is Environment/Environmental Justice.

The Environment is a complex array of interconnections and interbeing (as Thich Nhat Hahn would say). Steve & I have various metaphors for this. He likes to refer to “his bowling pins”. He imagines setting up a toy set of pins on a lawn and bowling at them. When they scatter, you set them back up exactly where they landed and bowl again. This takes you all over the neighborhood in endless permutations. I think of “trophic cascades”, changes in an ecosystem that originate at an extinction or other dramatic altering of balance, similar perhaps to “the domino effect” but less linear. However you try to wrap your brain around it, the nature of Life on this planet is intricate and incomprehensible. We are wise to approach it with the utmost humility. Because we are intrinsically involved, however, we must not fear to engage. We are already immersed. We might as well learn to float, swim or drown with awareness. With that understanding, we invited our contributors to share their perspectives from where they are. And there are many other currents besides. Let me just mention a few for further research:

Environmental Law – there are some exciting changes emerging in the championing of the Rights of Nature in legal systems. Corporations have legal protection and rights as individuals in many countries, while communities and natural entities (bodies of water, land, animals, etc.) do not. The ability to stand up against the interests of a Corporation and say, “We don’t care if you want this resource. You can’t have it!” is an idea that can be incorporated into law. Thomas Linzey of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) is working to make that happen. Watch his keynote address to the Public Interest Environmental Law Conference (PIELC) HERE.

Deep Ecology/Environmental Philosophy – Deep ecologists are a group of philosophers who question the anthropocentrism embedded in the logic and ethics of Western culture. Arne Naess is the “Father of Deep Ecology”. Peter Singer is another important philosopher who spearheaded the discussion about the ethical treatment of animals in the early 70s. These philosophers are everything from temperate reformers (Aldo Leopold and Wendell Berry) to anti-civilizationists (Derrick Jensen).

Habitat/Wildlife/Green Corridors – where human interference has fragmented the landscape, other species suffer huge losses. Establishing connected corridors of undisturbed terrain help to shift the paradigm from domination to coexistence. The American Prairie Reserve has a habitat base of more than 353,000 acres. Read the story of this amazing management project HERE.

Organic Farming – the proliferation of large factory farms that employ pesticides, herbicides, hormones and other chemicals while dumping huge amounts of toxic waste on the land has significantly impacted the health of the planet. Soil health, human health, pollinator health – so many things are involved here. Returning to methods of food production that are more locally-scaled and less dependent on chemicals is a natural remedy, but must be radically and quickly implemented to turn degradation around. Support organic farming in your area!

And now, we proudly introduce our Table of Contents,
Priscilla Galasso with Steve Wiencek

Editorial Notes

How Will I Behave Here?, Priscilla Galasso, Contributing Editor
Nature…Place…Community, Steve Wiencek, Guest Editor
Cruel Legacy, Jamie Dedes, Managing Editor

Environment/Environmental Injustice

Awareness

All Things Are Connected,  Naomi Baltuck
The Power of Place, Michael Watson
The Hoopoes Are Back, Lynn White
Dawn Chorus, Lynn White
Another Kind of Beauty, Jamie Dedes
Cloud Watching, Jamie Dedes
Meditating on Ancient Oak, Carolyn O’Connell
The Wordless Mystery, Jamie Dedes
There Is Pleasure in the Pathless Wood, Gordon George Byron, Lord Byron

Action

The Victories Are Important!, Corina Ravenscraft
Regicide, Joe Hesch
Trespass, Terri Stewart
Naturally Devoted, Priscilla Galasso
Environmental Injustice,  Mark Heathcote
Soil Isn’t Sexy – Neither is War, Michael Dickel
Climate Change (poem), Michael Dickel

Extinction

Rounded With a Sleep, Part 1, James Cowles
Rounded With a Sleep, Part 2, James Cowles
For the Last Wolverine, video reading, James Dickey
Last Call, Corina Ravenscraft
Eden Revisited, Charles Martin
Black Honey Fare, Renee Espriu
Hoping It Regenerates – Again (artwork), Jerry Ingeman

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Access to the biographies of our core team, contributing writers and guest writers is in the blogroll where you can also find links to archived issues of The BeZine.