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Monday, September 28, 2009

Guest Blog: The Contents of the Bags: A Review of Coming in Hot

By Jennifer McStotts

When the draft for Vietnam was in full swing, my father volunteered not because he believed in the war or lusted for battle, but because he couldn’t avoid the draft. He knew if he volunteered, he would get a better assignment, and if he survived, his life afterward would be more stable. A risky reason to enlist, but it is also common thinking among women who serve: the desire for training, for education, for opportunity and stability. Much like many women who serve today, his enlistment launched three decades of silence in his family. The first time I remember him mentioning Vietnam was in my late teens. We were in twining lines waiting for flu shots, staying together until we were divided, men to the left, women to the right. He stood just off my shoulder, and as we neared the split, he asked, “Are you squeamish about needles?”

I chuckled. “No, are you?”

To my surprise he gave the smallest shudder and said, as our lines split apart, “I’ve put parts into body bags that you couldn’t even tell were once a person, but for some reason needles still give me the creeps.”

He didn’t speak of his service even as I considered joining myself, except to say that a commission was better than enlistment and that serving as a woman was not easy. Choosing to remain a civilian isn’t something I regret; in fact, it is a luxury for which I am thankful, but it was pressing on my mind as I sat down, Saturday evening in Tucson, Ariz., for the performance of Coming in Hot.

The stageplay is an adaptation of selections from the Kore Press anthology, Powder: Writing by Women in the Military, from Vietnam to Iraq, which collects the work of nineteen women who served in the U.S. military in a variety of roles. Lisa Bowden and Shannon Cain, the co-editors, admit that they “went into the project with the idea that this work would contribute to the chorus of opposition to the war in Iraq . . . We saw immediately the necessity of setting aside any bias and agenda.” It was, nonetheless, this agenda, bias, and perspective that made me wonder if the adapted work would be solely anti-war, primarily a piece of activism, especially given that the work was produced by Kore Press and directed by Bowden.

What the audience witnessed was a well-balanced collection of monologues composed into a one-woman show featuring Jeanmarie Simpson (original score by accompanist Vicki Brown on strings and pedals, with recorded voice talents of Donald Paul Stockton and Kaylene Torregrossa). Before I go any further, I would like to applaud Simpson. While her performance wasn’t flawless, she was also presented with a nearly impossible task in portraying 14 distinct characters in 80 minutes, without costume change; she did so successfully — laudably — using her voice, her mannerisms, and her versatility as an actress, but at times the variety of accents necessary to distinguish so many women became less convincing.

It is troubling that the adaption and direction called for Simpson to do so in the first place. The message or point of the play could have been narrowed, refined, or, in the alternative, the number of monologues could have been reduced (19 contributions became 14 characters, and an even greater number of segments given the recurring appearance of Charlotte Brock’s character in Mortuary Affairs). Characters could have been conflated without much loss of narrative effect and without forcing Simpson to stretch to distinguish them; as one audience member said immediately after the performance, “There were too many stories. It was too much, and it didn’t say enough.”

That said, despite missed light cues, despite a few stuttered lines and awkward moments involving her blocking, Simpson brought life to characters within the simplicity of an otherwise stark production. The set consisted only of one chair and one table — more of an operating table, clinical and spare — which was primarily used for the Mortuary Affairs scenes in which Brock’s character stood over it as if looking down on a body. The lighting consisted of only a few overhead fixtures at various angles with the exception of one water effect and one flashlight held by a crew member. What felt strange, to me, was the balance the director struck between the one-woman show format — meant to emphasize character and message — and the use of recorded voice segments to supplement Simpson’s work. In addition, it was confusing that at first the recorded voices were only used for the male voice of a boot camp instructor, then a female voice for the character Simpson was portraying silently on stage, and finally that same female voice switched to a male role. While I don’t agree with one audience member’s assessment that it would have been better to focus on a very small number of stories — four being the number she mentioned — it did feel inconsistent to rely on the one-actor model while supplementing and distracting from her performance in a variety of ways.

The original score by Vicki Brown was a perfect accompaniment to the monologues. Brown used the same themes and structure each time Simpson returned to the recurring character of Charlotte Brock in the mortuary. At other times, her music set the heartbeat of the scene, calling its pace; at every moment, she took the pain and the challenge of Brock’s writing (and Simpson’s portrayal) to a higher level.

These recurring scenes pulled me in the most and made me think — again, as I often have before — of my father’s offhand comment. “I’ve put parts into body bags that you couldn’t even tell were once a person.” Brock says something very similar about “the contents of the bags” that Mortuary Affairs handled, especially in one harrowing scene in which the deceased is little more than “a head, a hand, and an arm.”

What Simpson, Bowden, and Cain attempted to do in the adaptation and performance was no easy task — to tell these stories and to grant these women their individual voices when their silence has been so pervasive. What perhaps made the sections by Brock so powerful was that she, too, was trying to give someone a voice, both herself in the world in which she found herself surrounded, but also the dead who lay upon that table.

About the Blogger

Jennifer McStotts is the daughter, niece, and ex-wife of United States Marines, as well as a second-year MFA student in creative nonfiction. Her work has been published in Future Anterior, in International Journal of Heritage Studies, and by Preservation Books.

Thursday, September 24, 2009 Issue Launch & Reading Tonight! A Journal of the Built & Natural Environments, a Tucson-based online journal that examines the interface between the built and natural environments, is holding its first-ever issue launch and reading tonight!

8 p.m. : University of Arizona Poetry Center : Tucson

This celebration of the “Borders & Bridges” issue (No. 24) features readings by contributors Christopher Cokinos (Hope is the Thing with Feathers and The Fallen Sky), Pamela Uschuk (Crazy Love), Deborah Fries (Various Modes of Departure), and headlining artist David Rothenberg. It will take place on September 24, at 8 p.m., at the University of Arizona Poetry Center in Tucson.

David Rothenberg is a philosopher, musician, and the author of Why Birds Sing, Sudden Music, Blue Cliff Record, Hand’s End, and Always the Mountains. His articles have appeared in Parabola, Orion, The Nation, Wired, Dwell, Kyoto Journal, The Guardian, The Globe and Mail, and Sierra. Rothenberg is also a composer and jazz clarinetist, and he has seven CDs out under his own name, including On the Cliffs of the Heart, named one of the top ten CDs by Jazziz Magazine in 1995. His latest book is Thousand Mile Song, about making music with whales. Rothenberg is professor of philosophy and music at the New Jersey Institute of Technology.

  • Welcome, Issue Overview, Contributor and Editor/Board Callouts (in audience), and First Reader Introductions - Simmons Buntin

  • Pamela Uschuk (poetry) - 8 minutes
  • Christopher Cokinos (nonfiction) - 8 minutes
  • Deborah Fries (poetry) - 8 minutes

  • Introduction of David Rothenberg - Kieran Suckling, Center for Biological Diversity
  • David Rothenberg (music and prose) - 20-25 minutes

  • Refreshments and book signings (UA Bookstore will sell books)
Mark your calendars and please join us for this free and fun event! For more information, view

Monday, September 21, 2009 Issue No. 24 Now Live! A Journal of the Built & Natural Environments ( is pleased to announce the launch of Issue No. 24: Borders & Bridges.

Our largest issue yet, interactive contributions include a guest editorial by U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords, Agritopia as the UnSprawl case study, a long lost interview with poet A. R. Ammons, new poetry features (translations and our first online chapbook, with audio), essays by Christopher Cokinos and Mark Tredinnick, articles on the silence of owls and severing the U.S.-Mexico borderlands, plus new fiction, poetry, nonfiction, reviews, and more.

Check it out now at — and be sure to add to the conversation with’s new commenting tool for contributions. And then join us at 8 p.m. on September 24th at the University of Arizona Poetry Center in Tucson for the Issue Launch & Reading, featuring David Rothenberg, Pamela Uschuk, Christopher Cokinos, and Deborah Fries.

Specifically, Issue No. 24 includes:


  • Guest editorial by Gabrielle Giffords, U.S. Representative, Arizona’s 8th Congressional District : Solar is the Bridge to Our Future
  • Columns by regular contributors Simmons Buntin, Deborah Fries, David Rothenberg (with image gallery), and Lauret Savoy


  • Philip Fried interviews poet A. R. Ammons (1926-2001); an interview dating back to 1980 yet as timely today as it was 29 years ago

UnSprawl Case Study

  • Agritopia in Gilbert, Arizona — Crafted with a sort of evangelical "New Ruralism," the 166-acre Agritopia neighborhood east of Phoenix mixes gardens, pastures, orchards, restaurants, lush trails, and more with historically inspired homes designed to bring neighbors together.


  • “Night at the World’s Largest Atomic Cannon” by Christopher Cokinos, with audio
  • “Body Exposed in the Golden Wind” by Florence Caplow
  • “Positioning” by J. David Bell
  • “Lee’s Ferry” by Ben Quick
  • “Mustering the Sky” by Mark Tredinnick


  • “To Wit, to Woo: The Silence of Owls” by Kathryn Miles
  • “Ken Wu and the Fight for Canada’s Remaining Pacific Coast Old-Growth,” with online slideshow, by Joan Maloof and Rick Maloof
  • “A Hole in Time” by John Lane
  • “A Region of Wounds: Severing the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands” by Tom Leskiw

ARTerrain Gallery

  • Four series of impromptu sculptures-in-the-wild and studio sculptures by R. L. Croft


  • Borderland Translations: Tedi Lop├ęz Mills, translated by Wendy Burk — poems in English and Spanish with audio
  • God, Seed: Online chapbook of poetry and images by Rebecca Foust and Lorna Stevens, with audio
  • Other poetry (and audio, too) by Pamela Uschuk, Jessica Weintraub, Polly Brown, Linda Parsons Marion, Jenn Blair, Laura Sobbot Ross, J. P. Dancing Bear, Beth Winegarner, Peter Huggins, Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer, George Moore, Eva Hooker, Scott Edward Anderson, Alison Hawthorne Deming, William Keener, Brett Foster, Thorpe Moeckel, Joe Wilkins, and Sue Swartz


  • “The Hank Williams Dialogues” by Andrew Wingfield
  • “The Garden” by Jaren Watson
  • “Stones” by Jeffrey Stevenson

Reviews of…

  • A Conservationist Manifesto by Scott Russell Sanders
  • The Trouble with Black Boys and Other Reflections on Race, Equity, and the Future of Public Education by Pedro A. Noguera
  • Unexpected Light, poems by C. E. Chaffin
  • Crazy Love: New Poems by Pamela Uschuk

Friday, September 11, 2009 Issue No. 24 Launching Soon!

The next issue of A Journal of the Built & Natural Environments will launch by September 21. With the theme of "Borders & Bridges," it's another outstanding issue featuring, among others:
  • A long interview by Philip Fried with the poet A. R. Ammons
  • Essays on the world's largest atomic cannon, suicide off the Golden Gate Bridge, traveling by GPS, being a single father in the West, and the Australian pastoral
  • Articles on the sudden increase in daytime owl sightings, Ken Wu and the fight for Canada's remaining Pacific Coast old-growth (with online slideshow), archaeology in South Carolina, and U.S.-Mexico border woes
  • Our most comprehensive poetry issue yet, featuring our first online chapbook (poems and images), our first translations (Wendy Burk translates Tedi Lopez Mills), and poetry by Pamela Uschuk, Alison Hawthorne Deming, J. P. Dancing Bear, Peter Huggins, Jessica Weintraub, and many others
  • Fiction by Andrew Wingfield, Jaren Watson, and Jeffrey Stevenson
  • And much more!
So tune in, and stay tuned, at

Friday, August 28, 2009 Issue Launch & Reading : Sept. 24 in Tucson A Journal of the Built & Natural Environments, a Tucson-based online journal that examines the interface between the built and natural environments, is holding its first-ever issue launch and reading.

This celebration of the “Borders & Bridges” issue (No. 24) features readings by contributors Christopher Cokinos (Hope is the Thing with Feathers and The Fallen Sky), Pamela Uschuk (Crazy Love), Deborah Fries (Various Modes of Departure), and headlining artist David Rothenberg. It will take place on September 24, at 8 p.m., at the University of Arizona Poetry Center in Tucson.

David Rothenberg is a philosopher, musician, and the author of Why Birds Sing, Sudden Music, Blue Cliff Record, Hand’s End, and Always the Mountains. His articles have appeared in Parabola, Orion, The Nation, Wired, Dwell, Kyoto Journal, The Guardian, The Globe and Mail, and Sierra. Rothenberg is also a composer and jazz clarinetist, and he has seven CDs out under his own name, including On the Cliffs of the Heart, named one of the top ten CDs by Jazziz Magazine in 1995. His latest book is Thousand Mile Song, about making music with whales. Rothenberg is professor of philosophy and music at the New Jersey Institute of Technology.

  • Welcome, Issue Overview, Contributor and Editor/Board Callouts (in audience), and First Reader Introductions - Simmons Buntin

  • Pamela Uschuk (poetry) - 8 minutes
  • Christopher Cokinos (nonfiction) - 8 minutes
  • Deborah Fries (poetry) - 8 minutes

  • Introduction of David Rothenberg - Kieran Suckling, Center for Biological Diversity
  • David Rothenberg (music and prose) - 20-25 minutes

  • Refreshments and book signings (UA Bookstore will sell books)
Mark your calendars and please join us for this free and fun event! For more information, view or contact editor Simmons Buntin at

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Guest Blog: Aldo Leopold and the Roots of Environmental Ethics

By Joshua David Bellin

From June 22 to July 17, I was one of 25 college and university faculty to participate in the National Endowment for the Humanities summer institute on Aldo Leopold. Titled “‘A Fierce Green Fire at 100’: Aldo Leopold and the Roots of Environmental Ethics,” the institute commemorated the 100-year anniversary of Leopold’s arrival in Arizona to take up his first position with the United States Forest Service. During the course of the four weeks, we heard from experts in the field; traveled to locations Leopold visited during his time in the Southwest; discussed and debated Leopold’s legacy in the disciplines of environmental ethics, wildlife ecology, conservation biology, and environmental literature; and (occasionally) unwound over a few beers. It was an exhausting, invigorating, exhilarating experience, one that taught me loads about Leopold and, more importantly, about the distance we have yet to travel to approach the ideal he voiced sixty years ago in “The Land Ethic,” his signature essay from A Sand County Almanac (1949): “A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise.”

Aldo Leopold

The institute took place in Prescott, Arizona (pronounced like British “waistcoat”), a small town that, at an elevation of 5,300 feet, provides a summertime refuge from the brutal heat of Phoenix. “Everybody’s Hometown,” banners on lampposts announce; the ubiquitous ravens who cackle imperiously from atop these perches seem to agree. The former state capitol of Arizona, Prescott now offers mostly tourist attractions, including remnants of a once-famous Whiskey Row, plenty of restaurants and antique shops, and (so they say) the world’s oldest rodeo. July is monsoon season, when moisture from the Sea of Cortez gets sucked up into the sky and dumped on the land in storms of amazing suddenness and ferocity. West of town Thumb Butte, haven for nesting peregrines, floats in the blue distance. Our accommodations were provided by Prescott College, an experimental school founded in the 1960s that offers a robust environmental curriculum, recycled granite in the bathrooms, herds of wild javelinas wandering the alleyways between dorms, and neither grades nor credits. Our main classroom, in the Sharlot Hall regional history museum, was an unfinished cement studio space with a horrendous echo and squealing chairs; considering that the museum now faces the loss of all state funding due to Arizona’s budget crisis, though, the director and staff were incredibly generous in permitting us to take over their grounds for a month.

The institute’s participants were a diverse group, both regionally and by discipline. Philosophers were particularly well represented (all of them, unlike me, sporting enviable heads of hair; maybe philosophical reflection encourages follicle retention). But there were also faculty from my own disciplines of Literature and American Studies, as well as from Biology, Religious Studies, Political Science, Women’s Studies, and even, in the case of a woman who teaches in Hawaii, Dance. The disciplinary diversity, unfortunately, wasn’t matched by much visible ethnic diversity, though one woman did tell me she’s part-Cherokee. Inevitably, our discussions turned to issues of environmental justice, something Leopold, surrounded though he was by Native and Hispanic populations, barely touched on, and something our own ethnic makeup suggested still needs to be vigorously addressed. We also talked about hunting — another Leopold passion that the vegetarians in the group, myself included, wrestled mightily to understand as a form of love for the wild — as well as about the question of Leopold’s radicalism (or lack thereof), the applicability of his land ethic to the global-scale environmental crises we now face, the proliferation of land ethics in such contemporary settings as urban gardens and the slow foods movement, and much more. The faculty who steered us through these subjects represented the cream of the Leopold crop: biographer Curt Meine, a cheerful and energetic soul who offered me an impromptu lesson in reading land health during an interminable bus ride to Leopold’s rookie post of Springerville, Arizona; Julianne Newton, whose own biography of Leopold emphasizes the development of his ecological thinking; J. Baird Callicott, the dean of environmental ethics, who almost single-handedly put Leopold on the map for philosophers initially inclined to dismiss him as a mere government functionary unworthy of joining their arcane brotherhood; and in the final week, author Scott Russell Sanders, whose writings, including his recent, marvelous A Conservationist Manifesto (reviewed in the forthcoming issue of, have earned him a spot in the Leopold tradition of environmentalist philosophy and prophecy. By month’s end, all of us had designed or retooled syllabi that we’ll be taking home to our own campuses, as well as making publicly available on the website of the Institute for Humanities Research at Arizona State University. If in so doing we can spread the gospel of Leopold to as wide and diverse an audience as possible, the institute will have served its purpose.

I’ve always respected Leopold as both a thinker and writer, but the institute gave me a greater appreciation both for the quality of his ideas and for the lengthy process by which he achieved their full flowering. When he first arrived in the Southwest, Leopold was a faithful disciple of the Progressive-era utilitarianism preached by the head of the Forest Service, Gifford Pinchot, who saw timber as a “crop” to be managed solely for commercial purposes. Only gradually, over decades of observation, reflection, communication with leaders in the emerging field of ecology, object lessons in the United States and abroad, and more than his fair share of mistakes and missteps, did Leopold emerge as the revolutionary thinker who emphasized the need for humans to live harmoniously with the natural world, to reject economic profit as the sole measure of the land’s value, to view the biota as a unified whole with which humans should tamper only reluctantly, and to understand ourselves as a part of that unity, linked to the land in material, historical, ethical, and spiritual ways. The Southwest proved a fertile starting-point for Leopold’s development, his tutorship in the region’s fragile ecosystems making him particularly alert to the human impact on the land. It was also in the Southwest that the seeds were sown for his most dramatic about-face: his revolution from advocate of predator eradication to defender of wolves and grizzlies as essential members of the land community. In a stunning confessional from his most famous short essay, “Thinking Like a Mountain,” Leopold recounts the epiphany he experienced upon the downing of a mother wolf:

We reached the old wolf in time to watch a fierce green fire dying in her eyes. I realized then, and have known ever since, that there was something new to me in those eyes — something known only to her and to the mountain. I was young then, and full of trigger-itch; I thought that because fewer wolves meant more deer, that no wolves would mean hunters’ paradise. But after seeing the green fire die, I sensed that neither the wolf nor the mountain agreed with such a view.

Leopold exaggerates and compresses his revelation here; though a letter has recently surfaced proving that he did indeed shoot two timber wolves during his first year in Arizona, it would be decades before he seriously reconsidered the wisdom of predator-eradication programs. (Indeed, in the letter itself, he laments not the death of the wolves but the loss of his pipe.) But as Scott Sanders pointed out, the fact that Leopold retells this incident in a way that isn’t literally true enables him to evoke its deeper truth: the need for each of us to see the land as a living whole, worthy of our love and respect. In this sense, Leopold provides a powerful example for students and for all of us who struggle to meet the environmental challenges of our time: rather than assuming that he knew what was best for the earth, he allowed that far older and wiser teacher to instruct him in its ways.

In Leopold’s essay “Some Fundamentals of Conservation in the Southwest,” written in 1923 but unpublished until 1979, some 30 years after his death, he places the American experiment in its historical context and finds occasion for judgment and regret: “Five races — five cultures — have flourished here. We may truthfully say of our four predecessors that they left the earth alive, undamaged. Is it possibly a proper question for us to consider what the sixth shall say about us?” I hold this question in my mind as I return to my home to teach, to raise my children, and to work for the restoration and revitalization of the land.

Joshua David Bellin with his children at the Grand Canyon, a not-too-far drive from Prescott, Arizona.

About the Blogger

Joshua David Bellin teaches American, Native American, and Environmental Literature at La Roche College in Pittsburgh. Having published three scholarly books and numerous articles in these fields, he has recently taken a break from academic writing to focus on fiction and creative nonfiction. Under the pen name of J. David Bell, he has published in such periodicals as Word Catalyst, SNReview, Gander Press Review, Queen City Review, and the upcoming issue of

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Received: Strategy for Sustainability recently received:

Strategy for Sustainability: A Business Manifesto
by Adam Werbach
Harvard Business Press

From Harvard Business Press:
One June 1st, General Motors and Citibank were kicked off the Down Jones stock index. Just five years ago, we thought that these companies -- and other institutions like Circuit City and Lehman Brothers -- were the heart and soul of American capitalism. We were wrong. They were not sustainable.
It's time for a business strategy framework that matches the turbulence of the 21st Century. From Adam Werbach, one of the world's leading business advisors to companies such as Wal-Mart, NBC-Universal, and Frito-Lay and a recognized though leader on sustainability issues, the new book Strategy for Sustainability: A Business Manifesto outlines a plan for integrated and long-term business success.
"Companies are creating a strategy for sustainability becuse they know the world will change, and they need to build an organization that's nimble, flexible, and connected in order to succeed," says Werbach. "Any company that hasn't rethought its business plan in the last year is operating on an outdated playbook."
According to Werbach, sustainability has four key components: social, economic, environmental, and cultural. Companies that successfully engage all four components improve their bottom line and simultaneously drive new business opportunities.
Werbach calls on business to move past the old Jim Collins' BHAG (Big Harry Audacious Goal) mentality and instead adopt "North Star Goals" -- aspirational business goals that aim to solve a global human challenge as well. North Star goals, already adopted by the likes of Dell and Starbucks, not only help businesses stay profitable but they help companies engage their employees to navigate the turbulent waters ahead.
. will not be reviewing this book in a future issue.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

America Honors Leaders: Greenpeace Scales Mt. Rushmore

Greenpeace Makes Urgent Call for Climate Action From Face of Mt. Rushmore
Challenges President Obama to lead the world in fighting global warming

Learn more at (includes video)

WASHINGTON - This morning [July 8, 2009], 11 daring Greenpeace climbers hung a banner on Mount Rushmore challenging President Obama to show real leadership on global warming. The banner, measuring sixty-five feet high by thirty-five feet wide, features an unfinished portrait of Obama with the message, "America honors leaders not politicians: Stop Global Warming." The demonstration comes as President Obama meets other G8 leaders in L'Aquila, Italy today to discuss the global warming crisis in the lead-up to UN climate treaty negotiations in Copenhagen this December.

"This monument celebrates leaders who rose to the great challenges of our past. Global warming is the greatest crisis humankind has ever faced and it is the defining test of leadership for this generation. It's an open question whether President Obama will pass that test," said Greenpeace USA Deputy Campaigns Director Carroll Muffett.

To highlight the issue, 11 activists completed a challenging climb to the top of Mount Rushmore, and three rappelled down, hanging the nearly 2300-square-foot banner as they descended. The activists, highly trained in rock and industrial climbing, took special care not to damage the monument, using existing anchors placed by the National Park Service for periodic cleanings. The demonstration follows a series of protests in Italy this morning where other Greenpeace activists hung banners on coal plant smokestacks calling attention to the collective failure of leadership on global warming at the G8.

"We're at a moment in history where President Obama must show real leadership on global warming, not only for Congress and the American people, but for the world. Unfortunately, the steps taken to address the crisis so far have been grossly inadequate," said Muffett. "While President Obama's speeches on global warming have been inspiring, we've seen a growing gap between the president's words and his actions."

The best science shows that to avoid catastrophic global warming, governments must take action to keep global temperature rise as far below 2 degrees Celsius as possible. "Given President Obama's pledge to follow the science, it's troubling that his administration has not yet endorsed emission targets strong enough to keep us below that critical threshold."

Earlier this year, the experience with climate legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives, which was drastically weakened by lobbyists for the oil and coal industries and other big polluters, showed that unless the president provides strong leadership on this issue, special interests will win out over the common interest.

"Doing what it takes to solve global warming demands real political courage," Muffett added. "If President Obama intends to earn a place among this country's true leaders, he needs to show that courage, and base his actions on the scientific reality rather than political convenience."

Greenpeace is calling on President Obama to use every tool at his disposal, both within and outside Congress, to strengthen U.S. climate policy with scientific integrity, and to take that policy to Copenhagen in December as evidence the U.S. will do what it takes to solve the climate crisis.

Specifically, Greenpeace is calling on President Obama to:

. Strive to keep global temperatures as far below a 2 degrees Celsius increase as possible, compared to pre-industrial levels to avert catastrophic climate change;

. Set a goal of peaking global emissions by 2015 and be as close to zero as possible by 2050, compared to 1990 levels;

. Cut emissions in the U.S. by 25-40 percent by 2020, compared to 1990 levels;

. Join and encourage other members of the G8 to establish a funding mechanism that provides $106 billion per year by 2020 to help developing countries adapt to global warming impacts that are now unavoidable and halt tropical deforestation.

Greenpeace is also calling on President Obama to attend the Copenhagen conference personally to ensure a strong, science-based agreement is reached.

For live streaming video, pictures, and footage visit:

Contact: Molly Dorozenski (on site), 917-864-3724,
Michael Crocker (Washington, DC), 202-215-8989,

Earlier this year, Greenpeace released its roadmap for slowing climate change, the Energy [R]evolution, which shows that the U.S. can cut emissions 25 percent by 2020.To read the full-report, visit:


For the record, supports a little non-violent civil disobedience.

Friday, June 26, 2009

New Interactive Book Features Personal Essays About Global Warming

New Anthology Offers Personal Stories and Reflections on Global Warming from New and Established Writers and Photographers

Unique collaboration between nonprofit and publisher will make interactive book accessible to millions of Americans for free.

NEW YORK - A new generation of writers and photographers with a personal connection to global warming are taking inspiration from Henry David Thoreau and other legendary environmental authors by publishing their works in a special anthology from the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) and Penguin Classics.

The nonprofit science group and Penguin Classics selected essays and photos by 67 Americans for the new book Thoreau's Legacy: American Stories about Global Warming. The contributors include scientists, students, grandparents, activists, veterans, journalists, evangelical Christians, artists, and businesspeople who live in 32 states stretching from Alaska to Florida. A foreword on global warming by award-winning novelist, poet and nonfiction author Barbara Kingsolver helps to set the context.

UCS and Penguin Classics will offer the anthology for free online as an interactive book at and a forthcoming eBook. A limited edition hardcover also will be available for purchase. The online interactive book will allow the anthology to be instantly shared with friends through emails and on social media sites.

"This partnership was unique in so many ways, but no more so in the reversal of roles we each played," said Kevin Knobloch, UCS's president. "Penguin Classics spearheaded efforts to inform the public about the need to speak out about global warming, while we took the editorial and publishing lead."

"I have great respect for the work of the Union of Concerned Scientists," said Elda Rotor, editorial director at Penguin Classics, "and it's been very satisfying for us to have been able to help generate public participation in this project, and we hope their voices will be heard; particularly as Congress debates legislation to reduce the pollution that contributes to global warming."

Personal Perspectives from Across the Nation

As Ms. Kingsolver writes in her foreword, to find hope in our future "we must radically reconsider the power relationship between humans and our habitat." The contributors to Thoreau's Legacy do just that. We see the changes in New England's natural beauty through the eyes of an observant ninth-grader. We learn how pollution and a warming climate are affecting the Yakama Indians' way of life. We follow a family whose faith has led them on a journey to protect the planet. We look into the fearsome eyes of an old polar bear crossing the Alaskan ice. And we get a useful, if painful, lesson from a New Orleans native who can never go home again and who worries for other American cities. These are just a few of the many personal accounts about climate change in this collection.

The Genesis of this Anthology

UCS and Penguin Classics teamed up in September 2008 to encourage writers and photographers to submit their personal impressions of global warming -- in words or images -- for publication in a new book.

Hundreds of bookstores across the country joined the effort by displaying easels and distributing free bookmarks about the project. Both Penguin Classics and UCS featured the project prominently on their Web sites.

The partners received nearly 1,000 submissions from established and aspiring writers and photographers from across the country. They submitted 200- to 500-word personal accounts or photographs that focused on the places they love and want to protect; the animals, plants, people and activities they fear are at risk from a changing climate; and the steps they are taking in their own lives to stem the tide of global warming.

A team of reviewers from Penguin Classics and UCS selected 67 contributions for the anthology. Working with Mixit Productions, they produced an innovative interactive book. In July a limited edition hardcover coffee table book and a downloadable eBook will also be available.


The Union of Concerned Scientists is the leading science-based nonprofit working for a healthy environment and a safer world. UCS combines independent scientific research and citizen action to develop innovative, practical solutions and to secure responsible changes in government policy, corporate practices, and consumer choices.

Penguin Classics is the largest and most comprehensive publisher of classic literature in English in the world, and as a publisher is committed to using paper products from manufacturers that are committed to sustainable paper production techniques, and to in-house conservation and recycling in our daily business practice.