June 15, 2017
The environmental challenges are complex, an understatement I know.
- Big Ag pollutes our waterways and groundwater, air and soil. Some wetlands, rivers and their tributaries can no longer sustain life. Much pastureland is befouled with pesticides, animal waste, phosphates and nitrates and other toxic residue from unsustainable farming practices.
- Sudan Relief Fund, World Food Program, Oxfam, Catholic Relief Fund, Buddhist Global Relief, the World Food Program and many other organizations are working to mitigate widespread hunger, which is a problem of economic injustice as well as environmental degradation and environmental injustice.
- Drought and resulting famine are devastating the Sudan, the West Upper Nile and Yemen.
- In many areas of the world, access to potable water is sorely lacking.
- Lack of access to clean water is exacerbated by a want of toilets for some 4.2 billion people, which has a huge impact on public health. The result of poor hygiene and sanitation is Dysentery, Typhoid, Cholera, Hepatitis A and death-dealing Diarrhea. More people die of diarrhea in Third World counties than of AIDs.
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
TABLE OF CONTENTS
How to read this issue of THE BEZINE:
- Click HERE to read the entire magazine by scrolling (now includes this Intro), or
- You can read each piece individually by clicking the links below.
- To learn more about our guests contributors, please link HERE.
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