Climate Disruption: Thought of the Week

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Book Cover - What we Think About When We Try Not To Think About Global Warming by Espen Stoknes

What We Think About When We Try Not To Think About Global Warming
by Espen Stoknes
Photo Credit: Stoknesdotcom

Toward a New Psychology of Climate Action

We need…stories that tell us that nature is resilient and can rebound…, if we give it a chance to do so. We need stories that tell us that we can collaborate with nature… We need stories about a new kind of happiness not based on material consumption.
~ Espen Stoknes in Interview with Richard Schiffman, Yale Environment 360, August 20, 2015.

Brazil’s First Female President Under Fire

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Protesters in Sao Paulo - Brazil - 16 August 2015

Protestors on Avenida Paulista – São Paulo – Brazil – 16 August 2015
Photo Credit: David Shalom / iG São Paulo

After leading Brazil’s economic boom under Former President Lula da Silva (2003-2010) and its record in reducing unemployment and poverty, the left-wing Workers’ Party (PT) government is facing a tough time. A weak global economy has taken its toll on South America’s largest economy. As has happened before during periods of recession, Brazil’s cost of living and job losses are on the rise again. This time, the implosion of the US$2 billion graft at oil giant, Petrobras, in March 2014, has weakened the nation’s economic foundations and moral fabric.

For the government opposition, conditions are ripe for bringing down President Dilma Rousseff and the Workers’ Party, in power since 2003. With the media giant, Grupo Globo, stoking the fires of discontent, and backed by the major conservative party (PSDB), an estimated 795,000 people from rising right-wing organizations and the middle class took to the streets for the third time this year on Sunday, August 16, in all major cities across the country. Continue reading

Climate Disruption: Thought of the Week

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Locations of US Power Plants 2013

Locations of US Direct-Emitting Power Plants 2013
Photo Credit: EPA Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program

Fifteen US States to Block EPA’s Clean Power Plan

On August 13, 2015, fifteen state attorneys general petitioned a federal court in Washington to block new U.S. rules to curb carbon emissions from power plants. States requesting the stay are Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
~ See Article by Valerie Volcovici, Reuters, at Climate Central.

Nell Vera Lowe Williams: A “Fierce” Caribbean Woman

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Nell Vera Lowe Williams - Jamaica - 1940s

Nell Vera Lowe Williams (1918-2006)
Jamaica – 1940s
Photo Credit: Finding Samuel Lowe

On August 1, 2015, I met author and entrepreneur Paula Williams Madison at the Leimert Park Book Fair in Los Angeles. What a surprise to learn that our grandfathers were both Hakka Chinese immigrants to the Caribbean!

Born in Harlem, New York, to Jamaican immigrants, Madison is the youngest of three siblings. Her memoir, Finding Samuel Lowe: China, Jamaica, Harlem, recounts her quest to find her maternal Chinese grandfather. At the heart of her riveting journey is her mother, Nell Vera Lowe Williams.

My connection with Nell Vera Lowe was immediate and intense. I saw the multitude of Caribbean women who fight against all odds for their place in the sun, raising their children to become achievers. I saw my mother. I saw myself. Continue reading

Climate Disruption: Thought of the Week

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Pacific Walrus - Moms & Calf

Pacific Walrus – Moms & Calf
Photo Credit: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Warming Temperatures Push Pacific Walrus North

In Alaska, hunters and scientists say walrus migration patterns are veering from historical hunting grounds as temperatures warm and the ocean ice used by the animals to dive and rest recedes farther north. Remote communities at the edge of the Bering Sea are seeing a steep decline in walrus harvested.
~ Article by Rachel D’Oro, Associated Press, Anchorage, Alaska, August 6, 2015.

Celebrating the Small Fruits of Our Labor of Love

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Cover of The Things that Fly in the Night by Giselle Liza Anatol

Book Cover: The Things That Fly in the Night by Giselle Liza Anatol
Photo Credit: Rutgers University Press

Rejections are an integral part of the writing life. The record of best-sellers initially rejected confirms the writer’s scourge. But this is of little consolation when you open your electronic mailbox to find another rejection letter from a literary agent. It read:

Thank you for your inquiry. We are sorry that we cannot invite you to submit your work or offer to represent you. Moreover, we apologize that we cannot respond in a more personal manner. We wish you the best of luck elsewhere.

That the literary agent responded to my query letter is highly commendable. Some agents don’t respond.

For the remainder of that day and during the following days, I struggled with the toxic fallout: Your work is not good enough. You’re wasting your time. Then…a discovery restored my battered self-confidence as a writer. Continue reading

Climate Disruption: Thought of the Week

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President Obama launches the Clean Power Plan - 3 August 2015 - USA

President Obama announces the Clean Power Plan – August 3, 2015
White House – Washington D.C. – USA
Photo Credit: Susan Walsh/Associated Press

USA Clean Power Plan for Existing Power Plants

On August 3, 2015, President Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the final Clean Power Plan that sets flexible and achievable standards to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 32 percent from 2005 levels by 2030, 9 percent more ambitious than the proposal.
~ Learn more at the EPA Website.

“Philosophy” – Poem by Brazilian Poet José Guilherme de Araújo Jorge

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Panoramic View of Tarauaca - State of Acre - Brazil

Panoramic View of Tarauacá – State of Acre – North Brazil
Birthplace of Brazilian poet J.G. de Araújo Jorge
Source: Blogspot Tarauacá 100 Years (1913-2013)

My Poetry Corner August 2015 features the poem “Filosofia” (Philosophy) by Brazilian poet José Guilherme de Araújo Jorge (1914-1987), a favorite poet among the people, especially the youth, for his romantic lyricism and socialist message. His romantic poetry speaks to lovers who had loved and lost.

The following stanzas from two of his romantic poems, titles unknown, were sourced from the Brazilian literary website, Pensador (Philosopher).

Seems like madness
How to explain the truth
that love, that lasts for such a short time
hurts me for an eternity.

You think you love several times…
Delusion, pure delusion,
the strange miracle of the human heart
I found difficult to understand,
and perhaps still don’t comprehend:
– Every time we love
It’s like the first time…

In his 1969 publication, No Mundo da Poesia (In the World of Poetry), J.G. de Araújo Jorge confessed that love was his most important poetic theme. Love is life. “Poetry without life, is like the paper flower, or of plastic material,” he wrote. “It lacks sap, lushness, perfume. It won’t be honey or fruit. It won’t know birds or bees. It’s a sad imitation.”

He also considered himself a modern poet who communicated with the people of his time, interpreting their hopes, anxieties, and despair. “If young people read my verses and know them by heart, and write them in their notebooks, and buy my books, then I’m not only a modern poet, of today, but a contemporary of the future, because I’m already addressing tomorrow.”

A political activist since his student days when he was detained in 1937 by the military government, J.G. de Araújo Jorge became a member of congress during the 1970s. During his lifetime, his social and political poems were highly disputed.

In O Poeta Na Praça (The Poet in the Square), published in 1981, he stated that there’s no incompatibility between the poet and the politician. As examples of lyrical poets who were great political leaders, he mentioned Lorca, Neruda, Mao Tse-tung, and Ho Chi Minh.

In the following excerpt from his poem, “Ordem do Dia” (Order of the Day), the poet calls attention to the social inequality of his time, an issue still relevant today in Brazil and across our planet.

We fight because – all of us – whites, blacks and yellows,
we cry and eat, we grow and study,
we suffer and build, like men without color,
we all need the same white milk
and the same book, and the same earth, and the same freedom to live.
To live. Or at least, to die, but fighting.

In the second stanza of the featured poem, “Filosofia” (Philosophy), the poet muses:

People say they’re rich… Maybe…
But then again maybe not…
To be rich…is just to be able
to do whatever your heart desires…

To read the complete poem in its original Portuguese and my English version, and to learn more about the poet, go to my Poetry Corner August 2015.

Climate Disruption: Thought of the Week

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Video: Exploring Climate Change
Interview with Dr. Pieter Tans – NOAA – May 28, 2015

How Scientists Feel About Climate Change

“I feel exasperated that it is taking so many decades before society gets serious about the challenge posed by climate change – speeches and declarations, yes, but nothing has been done that measures up to the challenge… Every year there are more warning lights that start blinking red…”
~ Dr Pieter Tans, Lead Scientist, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
[Excerpt from Is This How You Feel? Blog]

Living Our Dream Career

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Draft Cover May-June 2015 - Photo Ed Rudolph - Food Stylist Marcella Capasso

Draft Magazine Cover May/June 2015
Photo Ed Rudolph – Food Stylist Marcella Capasso

My friend Marcella Capasso, a freelance food stylist, is a soft-spoken, unassuming person and mother of a six-year-old daughter. Those photos of mouthwatering food in cookbooks, magazines, menus, and product labels have all been styled. For photo shoots, she buys and prepares the food or beverages, and then arranges it for the camera. Over the years I’ve known her, she has shared artisan bread, exotic fruits, green vegetables, and fresh flowers used in her various photo shoots. I’ve also enjoyed some of the dishes she has prepared as recipe tester for magazines.

Born in Idaho, where she attended Boise State University, Marcella moved to New York in search of her dream career. Beginning in 1998, her job as bookkeeper for Ross Whitaker, a top New York photographer, exposed her to the discipline needed for success in the business and introduced her to food styling. Following advice from food stylists, she went back to school; this time, to a culinary arts school for essential cooking and baking skills. Continue reading

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