Posted in General Interest

Three Poems by Barbara A. Meier

The Rattlesnake and the Hen

There is a garden ring of stumps
guarded by Sugar pine and Douglas fir,
majestic in the shedding of needles,
forming a carpet of spongy pine duff.
The scent of rich decay coalesces with the perfume
of pine bark baked in sun at 5000 feet.

The cluck and cackle of one Gallus Gallus Domesticus
punctuates the susurrus of the creek pooling around rocks.
She grubs for earthworms and crickets, under the duff mounds
and rotting stumps, unaware of the shaft of sunlight
through the feathery branches illuminating the coil
of the Crotalus Oregonas. His brownish blotches melding green,

rattling the needles with his castanets, startling the hen
to hysterical squawks and shrieking cackles.
Her Salvation comes in a shovel
held like a fiery sword in the hand
of Archangel Michael, thrusting down,
severing the head from a gyrating body in space.

In the silence of the hen, the gasp of the wind
high in the trees, comes the thud of dirt clods
hitting metal, the fall of the head into the hole, buried.
The body hung to dry on the cabin side.
and pine needles raked to cover the blood.
By the creek, the Gallus Gallus Domesticus,

scratches the dirt, wallowing a hollow,
tossing dust on her feathers bathing her body in dirt,
chuckling with happy noises, standing, shaking,
and flinging the earth, from her feathers, cleansed of parasites,
in the garden of stumps, surrounded by pine,
with the murmur of creek and heat of the sun.

Idols (Isaiah 46)

Depression is the idol in my mind:
a bird of prey, perched on my tablets
of destiny, tearing the cuneiform symbols
off the damp clay. The idols are asses
loaded with gypsum bas-reliefs
depicting every dragon memory
in the event panels of my life.

I am that beast of burden, an onager
laboring westward, bearing the gold
and silver of shame, anxiety, and bitterness
to a new land where I have been summoned.
Your words shatter my stories and melt my fears.

They comfort me when I don’t understand
your purpose and what is to come.
The former things of ancient times
are recorded in my DNA because
You are my God and there is no other.

Bahia del Espiritu Santo (Bay of the Holy Spirit)
dedicated to the LWML

Ascribe to the Bay
the Brown Pelican, the Watchman
on the piling, the prophet, gate-
keeping the muddy waters of Mobile Bay.

Ascribe to the Bay
the Laughing Gull, Black-headed, smirking
like the laugh of Sara behind
orange lifeboats strung along the Fantasy.

Ascribe to the Bay
bullrushes, shaggy carpet, shielding
Moses, the bass and the blue hyacinth
in the lush estuary of the Tensaw Delta.

Ascribe to the Bay
the osprey, the fishing-hawk, sheltering
in its nest in the crucified tangle
of cables of an abandoned crane.

Ascribe to the Bay
the Jubilee, the swarm of crabs, shrimp, and eels,
shimmy up the shore, filling washtubs
with God’s Firstfruits.

Ascribe to the Bay
the Resurrection Fern, dead-looking,
supported by the Live Oak branch,
waiting for the baptismal grace of water.

Ascribe to the Bay
the women who came, dressed
in purple, carrying banners in praise
to the Lord, missionaries with small boxes.

Ascribe to God
the glory of His creation and His plans for our mites
and our availability. We are the rivers flowing, flushing
the Bay on the third day to be reborn again.

© 2010, Barbara A. Meier

BARBARA A. MEIER has spent the last four years living on the Southern Oregon Coast.  She retired from teaching this summer and hopes to find time to travel and write. Her first Micro Chapbook, “Wildfire LAL 6” came out this summer from Ghost City Press. She has been published in The Poeming Pigeon, TD; LR Catching Fire Anthology and The Fourth River.  https://basicallybarbmeier.wordpress.com/
Posted in General Interest

Environmental Justice ~ Netted Turtles, Suffocating Whales, The Ocean Needs Help ~

Netted turtles suffocating whales,
fettered fish, life in the seas, no more
some fishermen’s tales, or of pirate ships
with towering sails, is now filled with
plastic tin can waste –
Smoky dust hangs everywhere, frightened
birds restlessly seek air, all clean, one large
falcon fell, and brought a 737 down to land,
real flier  of the skies, is the bird or  machine?
sunlight blocked, nothing pure nothing fresh
to taste, land weeps for flora and fauna, forests
denuded are falling to death, dinosaurs long gone
to rest hope new ones don’t surface, as water is

scarce and plants depressed- no more does the
nightingale sing, so loud is the clang and hi-fi din,
flowers are captives of terracotta pots, rubbish dumps
growing are up to the chin,

Colors all smudged –reflect the Earth’s distortion
my heart pains at the planet’s destruction-
have we left a place, free of pollution?
I wonder if ever we shall find a solution.
May the Lord so merciful and gracious
forgive us, for the dishonor and desecration.
Come forward, look around, let us take action,
It’s time we cleaned the land and cleared the ocean.

© 2020 Anjum Wasim Dar

ANJUM WASIM DAR (Poetic Oceans), one of the three newest members of the Zine team, was born in Srinagar (Indian occupied Kashmir) in 1949. Her family opted for and migrated to Pakistan after the Partition of India and she was educated in St Anne’s Presentation Convent Rawalpindi where she passed the Matriculation Examination in 1964. Anjum ji was a Graduate with Distinction in English in 1968 from the Punjab University, which ended the four years of College with many academic prizes and the All Round Best Student Cup, but she found she had to make extra efforts for the Masters Degree in English Literature/American Studies from the Punjab University of Pakistan since she was at the time also a back-to-college mom with three school-age children.

Her work required further studies, hence a Post Graduate Diploma in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) from Allama Iqbal Open University Islamabad and a CPE, a proficiency certificate, from Cambridge University UK (LSE – Local Syndicate Examination – British Council) were added to  her professional qualifications.

Posted in 100TPC, Bardo News, Calls for submissions, Event/s, Facebook Discussion Page, General Interest, news/events, Poets/Writers, The Bardo Group Beguines, The BeZine

Announcing our three new Zine team members and other news …

The Bardo Group Beguines, publisher of The BeZine, is pleased to welcome Mbizo Chirasha, Anjum Wasim Dar, and Kella Hanna-Wayne to our team.

MBIZO CHIRASHA (Mbizo, The Black Poet) is a recipient of PEN Deutschland Exiled Writer Grant (2017), Literary Arts Projects Curator, Writer in Residence, Blogs Publisher, Arts for Human Rights/Peace Activism Catalyst, Social Media Publicist and Internationally Anthologized Writer, 2017 African Partner of the International Human Rights Arts Festival Exiled in Africa Program in New York. 2017 Grantee of the EU- Horn of Africa Defend Human Rights Defenders Protection Fund. Resident Curator of 100 Thousand Poets for Peace-Zimbabwe, Originator of Zimbabwe We Want Poetry Movement. He has published a collection of poetry, Good Morning President, and co-created another one Whispering Woes of Ganges and Zembezi with Indian poet Sweta Vikram.



ANJUM WASIM DAR (Poetic Oceans) was born in Srinagar (Indian occupied Kashmir) in 1949. Her family opted for and migrated to Pakistan after the Partition of India and she was educated in St Anne’s Presentation Convent Rawalpindi where she passed the Matriculation Examination in 1964. Anjum ji was a Graduate with Distinction in English in 1968 from the Punjab University, which ended the four years of College with many academic prizes and the All Round Best Student Cup, but she found she had to make extra efforts for the Masters Degree in English Literature/American Studies from the Punjab University of Pakistan since she was at the time also a back-to-college mom with three school-age children.

Her work required further studies, hence a Post Graduate Diploma in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) from Allama Iqbal Open University Islamabad and a CPE, a proficiency certificate, from Cambridge University UK (LSE – Local Syndicate Examination – British Council) were added to  her professional qualifications.



KELLA HANNA-WAYNE (Yopp) is a disabled, chronically/mentally ill freelance writer who is the editor, publisher, and main writer for Yopp, a social justice blog dedicated to civil rights education, elevating voices of marginalized people, and reducing oppression; and for GlutenFreeNom.Com, a resource for learning the basics of gluten-free cooking and baking. Her work has been published in Ms. Magazine blog, Multiamory, Architrave Press and is forthcoming in a chapter of the book Twice Exceptional (2e) Beyond Learning Disabilities: Gifted Persons with Physical Disabilities. For fun, Kella organizes and DJ’s an argentine tango dancing event, bakes gluten-free masterpieces, sings loudly along with pop music, and makes cat noises. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter, Patreon, Medium, and Instagram.


The BeZine thebezine.com
bardogroup@gmail.com
This is a digital publication founded by The Bardo Group Beguines, a virtual arts collective.

The Zine is published regularly each quarter and each Zine is themed:

March – Waging Peace;
June -Environmental Sustainability/Environmental Justice;
September – Social Justice; and
December – Life of the Spirit.
The BeZine communications and submissions go to bardogroup@gmail.com

The call for Zine submissions generally opens for 4-to-6 weeks before publication and closes on the 10th of the month in which the Zine is to be published. The Call for Submissions to the March 15 issue – themed Waging Peace – is currently open and will close on March 10. Submissions for the Zine blog may be sent at any time.

Our 2020 100TPC logo designed by team member Corina Ravenscraft (Dragon’s Dreams)

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In September we also do 100,000 Poets (and others ) for Change. This is a global event (see 100TPC.org) and at The BeZine we do a virtual event in which everyone may participate from anywhere in the world. A virtual event also facilitates and encourages participation by the homebound. Contributing Editor, Michael Dickel (Meta/ Phor(e) /Play – Words, Images, & More) hosts. 100TPC is held on the fourth Saturday in September.  We hold the event open for 24 hours, sometimes longer.

Occasionally, we have a theme for the month on the Zine blog. February 2020 is illness and disability. This may include mental illness. This event is co-hosted by YOPP!, a social justice blog dedicated to civil rights eduction, elevating voices of marginalized people, and reducing oppression, which was founded and is managed by Kella Hanna-Wayne, one of our new Zine team members.

We are not yet firm on doing April as poetry month but that will probably happen. It is likely that in August 2020 – like August 2019 – the blog will focus on Climate Action.

The Bezine also offers two Facebook Discussion Groups:

The BeZine 100TPC IS NOT a place to share poetry or announce publication. Through this group we’re especially interested in filling an information gap by collecting links to pieces on practical initiatives – ideas for taking action – from anywhere in the world, “best practices” so to speak that foster peace, sustainability and social justice, especially those that might be easily picked up and implemented elsewhere. This has been an uphill battle but the dream that people will regularly start using it for that thrives.

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The BeZine Arts and Humanities Page (not just for poetry) is a place to share all your arts activities and accomplishments, not just poetry, in the hope of inspiring one another and encouraging collaborations among the arts and within our community. Through this group you are invited to announce publications, showings, events et al. You are encouraged to share your videos: music, poetry readings, photography, art, film and so forth.

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The BeZine is an entirely volunteer effort and we are unable to pay contributors but neither do we charge submission or subscription fees.

On behalf of The Bardo Group Beguines and
In the spirit of love (respect) and community,
Jamie Dedes
Managing Editor

Posted in Environment/Deep Ecology/Climate Change, General Interest

“Partnering With Nature” Exhibition To Be Presented at the World Economic Forum’s 2020 Annual Meeting

spiral artworkDepartment of Seaweed: Living Archive, 2018–ongoing; Julia Lohmann (German, b. 1977), Violaine Buet (French, b. 1977) and Jon Lister (New Zealander, b. 1977); Seaweed and rattan; Dimensions variable; Photo: Pierre-Yves Dinasquet, Department of Seaweed.


Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum has announced that a special exhibition, “Partnering with Nature,” will be on view at the World Economic Forum’s 50th Annual Meeting, Jan. 21 through Jan. 24 in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland. Drawing from the “Nature—Cooper Hewitt Design Triennial” exhibition originally organized by Cooper Hewitt and Cube design museum, this adaptation is a collaboration between the Smithsonian and the World Economic Forum (WEF). This is the fourth year that the Smithsonian and the WEF have collaborated on bringing an exhibition to the Annual Meeting in Davos. Installed in the Congress Centre, the exhibition will be offered alongside panels, workshops and other sessions organized by the WEF that address the ecological crisis and the Forum’s major focus on sustainability.

“A global platform for design, Cooper Hewitt is delighted to once again collaborate with the World Economic Forum and highlight the power of design to address the most significant environmental issues of our time,” said Caroline Baumann, director of the museum. “Through this powerful, interactive exhibition, Cooper Hewitt will invite leaders to rethink our relationship to nature and jumpstart the dialogue on sustainability practices on an international scale.”

Four installations will encourage participants to play with natural elements, learn about the symbiotic relationships in nature and be inspired to imagine a more cohesive approach to working with nature.

The works on view include:

  • Department of Seaweed Prototyping Workshop, 2019–20. Founded by Julia Lohmann in 2013, the Department of Seaweed brings together experts in design, science and craft to experiment with the fabrication processes and material properties of seaweed and explore possible applications of this plentiful and renewable resource. For the installation at Davos, Lohmann will create a seaweed structure, Hidaka-Ohmu, and have available living seaweed and a display of hanging, dried seaweed to show the materials used in the craft process. Participants will work with seaweed in a workshop with Lohmann’s team.
  • Tree of 40 Fruit, 2008–ongoing. Artist Sam Van Aken collapses an orchard of fruit trees into a single tree using centuries-old grafting techniques. Van Aken worked with Fructus, the Swiss Association for the Protection of Fruit Heritage, to identify, collect and graft 40 apple varieties onto a 6-year-old tree. The varieties originated, are historically grown, or are important commercial varieties in Switzerland. Van Aken maps the tree grafts with hand-drawn sketches that are color-coded to each blossom’s season. Participants will be invited to try bench grafting—a technique where scionwood is grafted to root systems to create new trees.
  • Totomoxtle, 2017–ongoing. Totomoxtle means “corn husk” in the Nahuatl language and refers to the brilliantly colored veneers made from native Mexican corn by designer Fernando Laposse. Since 2017, Laposse has collaborated with farmers, agronomists and scientists to reintroduce native varieties of corn that were decimated by industrial farming. The initiative has led to local job growth, a resurgence of craft and food traditions, and restoration of indigenous farming practices. Participants will join in the completion of a mosaic.
  • Algae Platform, 2019–20. Developed by Atelier Luma, a think-tank, workshop and space for research, production and learning, the Algae Platform investigates the potential of algae as an alternative material to plastic with many possible applications in the architecture and design field. Algae is a globally renewable resource that is found in natural, urban and industrial landscapes, and can be 3-D printed into vessels and extruded into filaments for textiles.

Related programming includes presentations by the designers in the Hub, followed by hands-on workshops. On Jan. 21, the designers from the Algae Platform and the Department of Seaweed will share the creative process of turning unwanted natural materials into art and everyday objects. On Jan. 23, the artists behind the Tree of 40 Fruit and Totomoxtle will discuss what ancient agricultural techniques can teach people about caring for the land. Additional programming during the series includes a Design by Nature session, Jan. 24, featuring Baumann in conversation with Netherlands-based artist and innovator Daan Roosegaarde who explores breakthrough ideas that bring nature and humans together in a sustainable way.

About Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Cooper Hewitt is America’s design museum. Inclusive, innovative and experimental, the museum’s dynamic exhibitions, education programs, master’s program, publications and online resources inspire, educate and empower people through design. An integral part of the Smithsonian Institution—the world’s largest museum, education and research complex—Cooper Hewitt is located on New York City’s Museum Mile in the historic, landmark Carnegie Mansion. Steward of one of the world’s most diverse and comprehensive design collections—over 210,000 objects that range from an ancient Egyptian faience cup dating to about 1100 BC to contemporary 3-D-printed objects and digital code—Cooper Hewitt welcomes everyone to discover the importance of design and its power to change the world. Cooper Hewitt knits digital into experiences to enhance ideas, extend reach beyond museum walls and enable greater access, personalization, experimentation and connection. The museum is fully accessible.

For more information, visit www.cooperhewitt.org or follow @cooperhewitt on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

About The World Economic Forum

The World Economic Forum engages the foremost political, business, cultural and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas. The World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting brings together over 3,000 participants from governments, international organizations, business, civil society, media and culture from all over the world. The theme of the 50th annual meeting in Davos is Stakeholders for a Cohesive and Sustainable World.

Ah, Monday. Yesterday was record warm and windy; Saturday was just record warm. Today is seasonably cool and dark, thick cloud blocking much of January’s wan sunlight. The weekend was not just record warm. In much of New England temperatures were six or seven degrees above the old records for the date. This, probably inevitably, […]

via Weaponizing Fire — Dreaming the World

Weaponizing Fire — Dreaming the World

Posted in General Interest

eat, pray, love

A bit of post-holiday enchantment from the magical brushes of Zine friend, Gretchen Del Rio.

Gretchen Del Rio's Art Blog

watercolor aceo 10/2015 watercolor aceo 10/2015

‘May the warm winds of Heaven blow softly upon your house. May the Great Spirit bless all who enter there. May your moccasins make happy tracks in many snows, and may the rainbow always touch your shoulder.   Cherokee prayer blessing

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Posted in General Interest, Religon

Happy Hanukkah!

Boy in front of a menorah courtesy of ארכיון השומר הצעיר יד יערי – Hashomer Hatzair Archives Yad Yaari under CC BY 2.5.

HAPPY HANUKKAH

to all those who are celebrating

from

The Bardo Group Beguines

Posted in General Interest

December poems ~ “Look to the Light” (Hanukkah), “The Magnificat” (Advent and Christmas) & Mevlûd-i Peygamberi (the Birth of the Prophet)

My soul magnifies the Lord ...


Look to the light, the light in the window,
The simple lit candles that shimmer and shine.
The message is clear as simple lit candles,
The passion for freedom is yours and is mine.
– Rabbi Dan Grossman

December is a month rich in the holy days of the Abrahamic traditions. Jews celebrate Hanukkah, a commemoration of the Jewish reclamation of The Temple of Jerusalem in 164 B.C.E. Christians celebrate Advent – a period of waiting for the birth of Christ – followed by His birth, Christmas.  Muslims celebrate the birth of the Prophet in November or December depending on the lunar calendar. We do not need faith to appreciate the beautiful poems, music and artwork inspired by our religions, Abrahamic or others.


Look to the Light

Menorah

Menorah

In 164 B.C.E., the Syrians who ruled Israel took away the Jews’ right to practice their religion. Led by Judah Maccabee the Jews rebelled and succeeded in reclaiming their sovereignty and they rededicated The Temple of Jerusalem. The history of the celebration of Hanukkah has had some interesting turns in more recent times.

There’s a story of a young Polish soldier in then General George Washington’s army who held a solitary Hanukkah celebration on a cold night in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.  The soldier gently placed his family’s menorah in the snow and lighted the first of eight candles for the first night of Hanukkah. The man was perhaps a bit homesick and missing his family. He must have thought about how much they’d suffered over time from religious persecution. There were tears in his eyes when General Washington found him. Washington wondered what the young man was doing and why he was crying. The soldier told his general the story of Maccabee and the other Jews. It is said that Washington was heartened by the telling and moved on to battle and victory. That menorah is now on display at the Smithsonian Museum.

Yet another story surfaces in 1993 Billings, Montana where a family was lighting their menorah one night. As is custom, they placed the lighted menorah in the front window of their home where it was stoned by anti-Semites, as were the homes of other Jewish families that same evening. The town newspaper printed dozens of menorahs.  Rev. Keith Torney, a minister of the First Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, distributed them to all the Christians and the paper menorahs were placed in windows all over Billings as a sign of solidarity and of respect for the freedom to practice religion as one’s conscience dictates.

Look to the Light is a commemorative poem written by Rabbi Daniel Grossman and set to music by Meira Warshauer. Enjoy!  … but if you are viewing this from an email subscription, you’ll have to link through to the web/zine to view and hear it.


The Magnificat

The Ode of Theotokos (Song of the God Bearer)

It is only in the Gospel of Luke that we read of Mary’s recitation of this poem that harkens back to Jewish prophecy and is constructed in the traditional verse style of the times with mirroring and synonymous parallelism.

From the Book of Common Prayer

My soul doth magnify the Lord: and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
For he hath regardeded: the lowliness of his handmaiden.
For behold, from henceforth : all generations shall call me blessed.
For he that is mighty hath magnified me : and holy is his Name.
And his mercy is on them that respect him : throughout all generations.
He hath shewed strength with his arm : he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
He hath put down the mighty from their seat : and hath exalted the humble and meek.
He hath filled the hungry with good things : and the rich he hath sent empty away.
He remembering his mercy hath holden his servant Israel : as he promised to our forefathers, Abraham and his seed for ever.


The Prophet’s Nativity

A book explaining the meaning of the term Jashan e Eid Milad un Nabi

A book explaining the meaning of the phrase Jashan e Eid Milad un Nabi

One poem that celebrates Mawlid, the birth of the Prophet, is exceptionally sweet. It was written by the Turkish Süleyman Çelebi (also known as Süleyman Of Bursa) who died in 1429. You’ll note that in addition to honoring the Prophet Mohammad,  it honors three mothers: Asiya the mother of Moses, Mary the mother of Jesus, and Amina the mother of the Prophet.

12/21/2019 Correction from Anjum Wasim Dar (Poetic Oceans) “The Holy Prophet Mohammed pbuh wasborn on the 12 of Rabbiul Awal…according to Islamic HijriCalendar…this date is observed as His birthday/Eid eMilaad un Nabi…it can be in any month of the English year…not just November or December”

Mevlûd-i Peygamberi, Hymn of the Prophet’s Nativity

Some have said that of these charming three
One was Asiya of moonlike face,
One was Lady Mary without doubt,
And the third a houri beautiful.

Then these moonfaced three drew gently near
And they greeted me with kindness here;
Then they sat around me, and they gave
The good tidings of Muhammad’s birth;
Said to me: “A son like this your son
Has not come since God has made this world,
And the Mighty One did never grant
Such a lovely son as will be yours.

You have found great happiness,
O dear, 
For from you that virtuous one is born!
He that comes is King of Knowledge high,
Is the mine of gnosis and tawhid*
For the love of him the sky revolves,
Men and jinn are longing for his face.

This night is the night that he, so pure
Will suffuse the worlds with radiant light!
This night, earth becomes a Paradise,
This night God shows mercy to the world.
This night those with heart are filled with joy,
This night gives the lovers a new life.

Mercy for the worlds is Mustafa,
Sinners’ intercessors: Mustafa!

– Süleyman Of Bursa 

* monotheism

– Jamie Dedes

Photocredits: (1) © Jamie Dedes,The first illustration was created using a public domain photograph of The Magnificat (Le magnificat) by James Tissot; (2)Hanukkah Lamp, Lemberg (Lviv, Ukraine), 1867–72 from the collection of The Jewish Museum of New York under CC BY-SA 3.0; (3) Photograph of a book explaining the meaning of the phrase Jashan e Eid Milad un Nabi by Saudmujadid under CC BY-SA 4.0

JAMIE DEDES is a freelance writer, poet, content editor, and blogger. She manages The BeZine thebezine.com and its associated activities and The Poet by Day jamiededes.com, an info hub for writers meant to encourage good but lesser-known poets, women and minority poets, outsider artists, and artists just finding their voices in maturity. The Poet by Day is dedicated to supporting freedom of artistic expression and human rights.

Thank you, Mbizo Chirasha, for making Jamie Dedes, Managing Editor, of “The BeZine” the featured profile of the year and for including the work of so many of our Zine friends and other worthy poets who pound the keyboard for peace, justice, and human rights including Anjum Wasim Dar and Michael Dickel, Contributing Editor to”The BeZine.”

Originally posted on Miombo Publishing: December dribbles her signature dance towards January, shaking off jackets of Christmas fever welcoming 2020 flipping pages into another millennium. We are capping this year of diversity with a blessing of global poetry. This journal celebrates the power in togetherness and the vintage of diversity .Poets and poems featured in…

via TIME OF THE POET JOURNAL : Of Wretched Slogan Vagabonds and Political Hoodlums!! — The Wombwell Rainbow

TIME OF THE POET JOURNAL : Of Wretched Slogan Vagabonds and Political Hoodlums!! — The Wombwell Rainbow

Posted in General Interest

The December issue of “The BeZine” will be published later today …

“The BeZine” will be published today as scheduled, but probably rather late in the day. We’ve been running a bit behind, but what a delight in a world gone mad to encounter all the wisdom and compassion in the hearts of our contributors. I get to spend the day with these beautiful souls.

“There is a LIGHT in this world. A healing spirit more powerful than any darkness we may encounter. We sometime lose sight of this force when there is suffering, and too much pain. Then suddenly, the spirit will emerge through the lives of ordinary people who hear a call and answer in extraordinary ways.” Richard Attenborough

Jamie Dedes
The BeZine
Managing and Founding Editor

Posted in General Interest

Draconian Rules cut food benefits to poor families/disabled/elderly including 1.4 Million U.S. Veterans

USDA logo for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program / Public Domain

“Almost 1.4 million veterans live in households that participate in SNAP (formerly food stamps), CBPP analysis of data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey finds. In every state, thousands of low-income veterans use SNAP to help put food on the table. Florida has the largest number of veterans participating in SNAP (120,000), followed by California and Texas (97,000 apiece). In Oregon, Rhode Island, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C., at least 10 percent of veterans live in households that received SNAP in the last year. SNAP Helps Almost 1.4 Million Low-Income Veterans, Including Thousands in Every State MORE, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, by BRYNNE KEITH-JENNINGS and LEXIN CAI



the unconscionable dance in the canyons of power,
lined with megalithic buildings, the edifice complex
of the spin-meister’s lie, that the demigods can do
anything – anything – walking this asphalt valley

a parade, flailing lemmings trussed and trusting their
die-cut dreams to the pitiless whim of the military/
industrial/medical alliance, whose war-cries are of
greed and arrogance, believing they’ll live forever,
today’s sovereignty, tomorrow’s guarantee. But it’s

all delusion – cultures die and the hope-crushing
architects of cuts and austerity measures are like
the rich man in the Lazarus story, there’ll be
some kind of backlash, some kind of hell to pay …

Rich Lazarus! richer in those gems, thy tears, Than Dives in the robes he wears: He scorns them now, but oh they’ll suit full well With the purple he must wear in hell” Richard Crenshaw (c.1613-1649), English cleric, teacher, metaphysical poet, Steps to the Temple. Sacred Poems, Delights of the Muses (1646)

© 2010, poem, Jamie Dedes



New SNAP Rule Would Cost Many of Nation’s Poorest Their Food Aid

by Robert Greenstein, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities Statement

The emphases are mine. / J.D.

On December 4, the Trump Administration issued a draconian rule in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, or food stamps) that will cut off basic food assistance for nearly 700,000 of the nation’s poorest and most destitute people. Those affected — SNAP participants ages 18 through 49 who aren’t raising minor children in their homes — are among the poorest of the poor, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) data. Their average income is just 18 percent of the poverty line. Their average monthly SNAP benefits are about $165 per month.

A longstanding, harsh provision of SNAP limits these 18- through 49-year-olds to just three months of benefits, while not employed for at least 20 hours a week, out of every three years. Because of its severe nature, this provision of law also allows states to seek, and USDA to grant, waivers of this three-month cut-off for areas where insufficient jobs are available for these individuals, such as when unemployment is elevated.

From the provision’s enactment in 1996 until now, both Democratic and Republican presidents alike have operated under a common set of criteria in granting waivers from the three-month cut-off. And Democratic and Republican governors alike have sought and secured these waivers. Thirty-six states currently have waivers for parts of their state where unemployment is highest.

Now, the Trump Administration is abandoning this longstanding, bipartisan practice, however, and replacing it with a much more restrictive rule that will increase hunger and destitution. The new rule sharply restricts states’ ability to protect unemployed adults from the harsh time limit. It does so by substantially narrowing the criteria that states have most commonly used to qualify for waivers, thereby greatly shrinking the number of areas that can qualify for relief. As a result, the Trump Administration itself estimates that the rule will cut off basic food aid to nearly 700,000 unemployed or underemployed individuals.

Most of these individuals are ineligible for any other form of government financial assistance because they aren’t elderly, severely disabled, or raising minor children. For many of them, SNAP is the only assistance they can receive to help make ends meet.

What’s more, the final rule is more severe than the proposed rule, which itself was very harsh. States currently can request waivers when they experience rapidly rising unemployment, as typically occurs at the onset of economic downturns based on the Department of Labor’s determination that the state qualifies for extra federal unemployment benefits. But under the final rule, states must rely on historical data that would not reflect the onset of economic downturns until many months later. Moreover, far fewer areas will qualify for waivers during a widespread, national recession. A state with spiking unemployment reaching levels as high as 9 percent would not qualify for a waiver if national unemployment were also high, such as at 8 percent. This will limit a core strength of SNAP — its responsiveness to changes in economic conditions so that individuals who lose their source of income can quickly qualify for temporary food assistance. Instead of mitigating a recession’s harm, the new rule will exacerbate it.

Another Flawed “Work Requirement” Proposal

Adding to these concerns, although participation in a work or training program counts toward fulfilling the 20-hours-a-week requirement, states are not required to provide work or training slots to these individuals — and most states don’t. Furthermore, pounding the pavement and searching hard for a job does not count toward meeting the requirement. If you can’t find a 20-hour-a-week job on your own, you’re cut off SNAP anyway.

The Administration’s portrayal of the new rule as a reasonable “work requirement” thus is misleading — as noted, most states don’t offer any job, training opportunity, or slot in a work program to most people subject to the three-month limit. And people who are “playing by the rules” and looking hard for a job are cut off nonetheless.

In addition, the history of the three-month cut-off shows that some people who should qualify for an exemption from it because they suffer from a significant health condition often don’t get an exemption — and lose their SNAP benefits anyway, because they can’t satisfy the paperwork and other bureaucratic hurdles involved in securing an exemption. That’s especially troubling now, because the Administration is giving states little time to prepare for this sweeping change. Properly identifying which destitute individuals in formerly waived areas should be subject to the three-month time limit and which should be exempt (due to conditions that affect their ability to work) can require both training staff and allocating additional administrative resources.

Rule Hits People of Color, Those With Limited Education and in Rural Areas Hardest

Cutting off basic assistance doesn’t appear to help individuals get jobs, as research into the SNAP time limit, and similar rules in Medicaid, demonstrates. The rule will hit hardest those with the greatest difficulties in the labor market. That includes adults with no more than a high school education, whose unemployment rate is much higher than the overall unemployment rate; people living in rural areas where jobs are often harder to find; and people who are between jobs or whose employers have cut their hours to less than 20 hours a week, which is common in the very-low-wage labor market even when the economy is strong.

People of color are likely to lose benefits disproportionately under the rule, given their much higher unemployment rates and continued racial discrimination in labor markets. The African American unemployment rate has long been roughly double the non-Hispanic white unemployment rate. Studies have found that white job applicants are much likelier to receive callbacks after job applications or interviews than equally qualified Black applicants.

Here’s how the new rule will harm these groups. Under the new rule, an area can qualify for a waiver only if its average unemployment rate over a recent 24-month period has been 20 percent higher than the national average for the same time period and was 6 percent or higher. But a local area with an overall 5.8 percent unemployment rate can have an African American unemployment rate closer to 10 percent, as well as an unemployment rate around 10 percent for people of all races who are age 25 or over who lack a high school diploma or GED.

The Administration and House Republican leaders sought, but failed, to secure these policy changes as part of the farm bill that Congress passed on a bipartisan basis last year. The Administration is now implementing through executive action what it failed to secure through legislation.

Robert Greenstein, UDSA photograph / Public Domain

Instead of punishing those facing destitution and other difficult circumstances, the Administration should seek to assist them by pursuing policies such as more and better job training and employment programs, a higher minimum wage, and a strengthened Earned Income Tax Credit. Denying them basic food and nutrition is not the route that a fair and compassionate administration of either party should take.

Note: The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) is a progressive American think tank that analyzes the impact of federal and state government budget policies founded by Robert Greenstein, the author of this feature. CBPP is 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, the Center’s stated mission is to “conduct research and analysis to help shape public debates over proposed budget and tax policies and to help ensure that policymakers consider the needs of low-income families and individuals in these debates.

Posted in General Interest

Moshe’s House in Space, flash fiction and photography by Michael Dickel, artwork by Moshe Dickel

Author’s note: Sometimes, our children tell us things that they see or know, and we don’t have faith in our children’s senses. This is speculative fiction about climate change that suggests the children might yet show us a way, even if it is too late for us. This flash fiction appeared in The BeZine July 15, 2016. A somewhat different version of it originally appeared on Fragments of Michael Dickel (now called Meta/ Phor(e) /Play).
Ark-2 Digital Art from photos and sidewalk chalk Ark-2
Digital Art from photos and sidewalk chalk (photographed)
©2014 Michael Dickel

Moshe’s House in Space

Before, no sand swept through, no water splashed—a beach at driving distance, yes, but a long, long walk away. Before the three-year old’s stories, which I only half listened to: he was born in clouds before dinosaurs were alive; he died; “But now,” he said, “I’m becoming alive again.”

I thought a story he told me one morning came from his dreams.

He knew a dinosaur, he told me, with bright blue feathers in the day. At night it turned wooly and gray, to keep warm. The dinosaur had a name, Pollaydowen.

I thought, what an amazing imagination my three-year old son has, what colorful dreams.

He had other stories, about his house in space and all of the animals that lived there with him, a farm he had at this house. He went on and on with details—listing every animal we saw at the zoo, on farm visits, in books, on videos, on the internet; listing all of the plants and flowers he had heard of; listing creatures great and small in his lakes and seas.

How did he know all of them?

He insisted we should visit his house in space.

Then changes came suddenly, not slowly, as even the most pessimistic predictions had held. One day, news report said the sea covered beaches even at the lowest tides. The next week, waves washed across roads. Houses washed away. Whole neighborhoods of people could barely evacuate before the surf swallowed the land and their belongings.

The water washed sand over everything. The ozone layer shredded. Paint bubbled and peeled on cars, houses, government buildings. Everything and everyone aged.

Soon, sand dunes blew across the road in front of our house. The house looked like fifty years of neglect had settled in on it over the past few weeks.

That last day, my wife and I heard my son speaking in his room. And we heard another voice.

We went in. A bright blue flash turned toward us.

“We have to go,” my three-year old calmly explained, “now.”

“These sands end time here, the last to flow through the hour-glass,” the blue lizard-creature, Pollaydowen, added.

As we left the house, we trekked through hills of sand.

We returned once, to see what had happened.

I left this note for you who might find it, scratched in the walls, just in case anyone remains. We have an ark.

Photo ©2014 Michael Dickel
Photo ©2014 Michael Dickel


 

Posted in Environment/Deep Ecology/Climate Change, General Interest

The Honeymoon’s Over, a poem by John Anstie

Spring’s promise of high summer
has passed, the lush greens gone,
and now less vibrant. Parched.
Stale somehow. Disappointing.

The promise so much sweeter
than reality; the heady warmth;
sun filled days and mirage haze
the balmy heat, hot naked nights.

We should enjoy this time, by rights
but if it brings us closer to the fall;
the Autumn of our life, if that is all
then can we not enjoy the cooling

promised winter chill, another world,
its yielding to the blacks and whites
mysterious greys, the icy haze,
the freezing hibernation, preserving.

But no. An earlier Spring, that comes
too soon, and sooner still the melting
Arctic ice. One day, there’ll be no more
dreaming of a summer honeymoon.

© 2017 John Anstie
All rights reserved

Posted in 100,000 Poets, Musicians, Artists and Activists for Change, 100TPC, Artists and Activists for Change, Corina L. Ravenscraft, Environment/Deep Ecology/Climate Change, General Interest, Nature, poetry, trees, Writing

It’s Not Too Late, a poem by Corina Ravenscraft

This quarter’s BeZine, we are joining with 100TPC (100 Thousand Poets (and others) For Change. We’re celebrating in solidarity with Greta Thunberg, the amazing 16-year old climate change activist traveling by ship to attend two important global events: The Climate Action Summit in New York on September 21-23 and the UN Climate Conference in Santiago in December of 2019. Please read the September issue and enjoy the creations of artists, poets, musicians, writers and all manner of creative activists as we speak up for the planet! 🙂 Please join with us on the 28th for our Virtual 100TPC.

Natural Splendor
All photos in this image are mine except the smoky mountains at dawn, which is “Silhouette Of Mountains During Dawn” by cmonphotography from the free to use site Pexels.com. Link to photo: https://www.pexels.com/photo/silhouette-of-mountains-during-dawn-1809644/

I have been awestruck into silence beneath towering, emerald

Tree cathedrals. In shallow, turquoise, warm waters I’ve dived,

Swimming in shocked delight with giant, graceful, green turtles.

Navigating a steep cliff face with a foot-thick ship’s rope, I’ve

Observed the surf-pounded stones and sea lion caves below.

Thundering waterfalls have temporarily deafened me, as they

Transformed to swollen streams with cold, clear, melted snow.

Oh, fresh breaths of clean, mountain top air, taken away,

Overlooking panoramic views of violet and blue-fogged hills.

Listening to late evening concertos of crickets and frogs,

Awakens gratitude for Nature’s dynamic set of skills.

Tell all that Earth’s destroyers must now be Her demagogues!

Engage with more than platitudes and lukewarm dialogues.

~ © C.L.R. 2019

 

Posted in General Interest

Eco-Tourism and Jungle Law

We were grateful for bug screens on our trip to the Amazon, but the natural world often defies human-made barriers.

For instance, we shared The Hammock Room at the Research Center with a tarantula. He wasn’t as interested in us as we were in him.

It was a reminder to shake out our shoes each morning before getting dressed. Insects and critters found their way into our little sanctuary, but it was the ones I couldn’t see that bugged me.

We ventured into the jungle with Orlando, our guide. In spite of the heat and 90+ percent humidity, we covered as much skin as possible with clothing, and sprayed the rest with repellant. Nighttime mosquitoes carry malaria, daytime ones dengue fever, and I forget which ones carry yellow fever, but I didn’t want to be breakfast for anybody.

Below are a few of my own unofficial rules of the jungle for the timid traveler.

Rule of the Jungle #1– bring mosquito repellent!

Fallen trees and leaves, mud, and overnight storms in the tropical rainforest made hiking challenging.

We wore rubber boots to keep our feet dry.  Bea stepped in a puddle deeper than anticipated, and water poured into her boot.

Rule of the Jungle # 2–Watch your step!

Orlando uprooted several small trees, and cut the trunks off with his machete to make tea from the bark to relieve his mother’s arthritis.  He replanted the roots in the fertile soil, so the tree would survive.  Maybe the tea really was for his mom, but it was a tactful way of providing us with walking sticks to help balance on slippery walkways.

Rule of the Jungle #3–Take the hand extended to you, and be grateful for kindness in any form or guise.

So many trees and leaves were poisonous, covered with harmful insects or razor-sharp edges.  Another guest at the Research Center slipped and braced herself on a porcupine tree.  It left dozens of venomous barbs in in her hand, which swelled up painfully.  The nearest doctor was hours away, so her guide cut the barbs out with pins and a knife, and gave her anti-biotics.

Rule of the Jungle #4–Don’t touch ANYTHING!

Rule of the Jungle # 5–There are exceptions to any rule.

Orlando caught Olive Whip Snake with his bare hands.

He showed us how to handle a snake without getting bitten…

Orlando’s grandfather was a shaman. “My grandfather said if you can get a snake to wrap around you, it will become gentle and give you its energy.”  As soon as it wrapped around him, the snake grew calm, and then Orlando released it into a tree.

Rule of the Jungle #6–Be as open to new experiences as you can without endangering yourself or others.

Rule of the Jungle #7–Bring your camera!!

We caught many tantalizing glimpses of wildlife, but they were often quicker than I was when it came to focusing the camera.

However, some critters obligingly held still for me.

Occasionally I would be rewarded with a shot like this.

Or this….

Or this…

 

Or this…

 Or this…

Rule of the Jungle #8–Only you can know what it requires for you to glean the most meaning and satisfaction out of your jungle experience or your life.  Do no harm, be respectful, but make up your own rules, and break them whenever necessary.

All images and words copyright 2013 NaomiBaltuck

Posted in Environment/Deep Ecology/Climate Change, General Interest, James R Cowles

Climate Change, SETI, And Dr. Fermi

There’s certainly a warning here by our esteemed colleague, Jamies R. Cowles. It was originally published on our sister site, Beguin Again. / Jamie Dedes



The recent report on the findings of climatic research into the causes and probable evolution of climate change – a more accurate term than “global warming” – prompted me to consider a possible answer to Enrico Fermi’s classic question “Where is everybody?” Multiple generations of science fiction writers have projected a future in which the Milky Way Galaxy fairly teems with life, rather like Times Square on New Year’s Eve or the tavern in the first Star Wars movie  – so much so that the late Prof. Stephen Hawking has publicly counseled SETI investigators to – not literally STFU – but certainly to exercise due caution in broadcasting the existence of intelligent life on earth to every corner of the Galaxy. (Not that we have a choice by now:  earth’s electromagnetic emissions by now comprise a bubble 200-plus light-years in diameter.)  We do not know, says Prof. Hawking, what sharks may inhabit the interstellar waters. (My analogy, not his.) So far, we have been safe. Except for the never-reproduced “Wow Signal”, for which a serious possible explanation has now been proposed, SETI researchers have so far not found any intelligent signal, using any kind electromagnetic energy, that so much as hints at an intelligent origin. The following is pure speculation on my part, albeit – so I would argue – intelligent and informed speculation, as to this eerie silence. Anyway, I submit the following for your consideration …

“Wow!” Signal

The evolution of an intelligent species – actually, any species – usually takes multiple millions, even billions, of years. I say “often” and not “always” because the speed with which a species evolves can be measured in days, perhaps even hours, if the evolving organism is simple enough.  Consider a flu virus comprising only several dozen base pairs. Add the adjective “intelligent” to the noun “species” and then we really are talking hundreds of millions, most likely billions, of years. It took about 4 billion years for the intelligent species homo sapiens sapiens to make an appearance on Planet Earth.

However … in terms of “boots on the ground” real time, evolution proceeds by fractions of a millimeter, temporally speaking.  The proto-hominid is concerned with finding enough wood to keep her / his family warm tonight, and perhaps for a couple nights in the future. S/He is likewise concerned with finding an area with abundant resources for hunting and gathering for perhaps a week or so in the future. Even when settled agricultural communities evolved, the primary emphasis was on this year’s harvest, and perhaps … maybe … next year’s. What is the point of all this? Only that the fraction-of-a-millimeter-at-a-time nature of evolution militates against anything that could reasonably be considered long-term planning. From the standpoint of survival and the propagation of one’s genes into the future, this is a good thing. A hunter-gatherer of, say, 100,000 years ago who paused to consider the long-term ecological effects of rampant deforestation, the poisoning of the atmosphere by wood smoke, the depletion of the oceans, etc., would probably be devoured by animals – or other hunter-gatherers – before s/he had a chance to reproduce, in which case I would not be around to write this “Skeptic’s” column and you would not be around to read it. At least in terms of earth-like intelligent life, it would appear that individual human beings, and human communities, are not “hard-wired” to reflexively consider The Big Picture. From a “boots on the ground” perspective, evolution has simply not equipped us to think in those terms. We can certainly learn to do so. But it does not come naturally. It is like learning to use your left hand if you are right-handed. Furthermore, this difficulty is reflected in our political institutions and our educational systems. Ditto economics. It is no accident that late capitalism does not encourage long-term planning – defined as time-frames measured in generations at least or centuries. As for millennia, i.e., the time-scale when climate change becomes glaringly, life-and-death critical … well … fugg-id-aboud-it!

Granted, I am referring now to terrestrial life, and to cognates thereof, i.e., to life that evolved on temperate, water-abundant earth-like planets, perhaps on a “super-earth”, orbiting a stable, main-sequence sun-like yellow-dwarf or red-dwarf star like our sun within that sun’s habitable zone. If the evolution of intelligent life on such earth-cognates was anything like the evolution of intelligent life on earth, then the environmental challenges we face on earth today would – so I would speculate – have their equivalents on those extraterrestrial worlds. So, from the standpoint of SETI, there is good news, but there also may be – remember, I am speculating here – bad news. The good news is that it is reasonable to conclude that, in the Milky Way Galaxy, there are around 2 billion earth-like planets (“earth cognates” in my terminology), but perhaps as many as 17 billion or even 100 billion. The bad news is that, for the reasons I have outlined above, the challenges posed for the evolution of intelligent life may be as difficult for beings inhabiting those planets as they are for us. (And remember: this is assuming the existence of intelligent life to begin with, i.e., discounting the “rare-earth hypothesis”, which is by no means a crackpot opinion.) Assuming that the laws of chemistry, physics, and celestial mechanics are the same everywhere, it is reasonable to conclude that our own environmental challenges on earth would have their equivalents on those alien worlds. So the key question in assessing the likelihood of the existence of intelligent life elsewhere in our Galaxy is:  are there evolutionary regimes that result in brains whose “hard-wiring” is more congenial to long-term – as defined above – planning? I mean planning in time-frames commensurate with large-scale changes in the home planet’s environment.

Desert Drought Dry Elephant Global Warming

Forms of socio-political organization also enter the mix. Serious question:  to what extent, if any, is an emphasis on individuality, individual rights, individual liberty – basically, the presuppositions of an “Enlightenment-centric” socio-political culture – compatible with long-term planning for the survival of the species when challenged by incipient catastrophies like climate change? Maybe dealing with these challenges requires that intelligent species develop, if they have not done so earlier, forms of social organization similar to, e.g., the “formics” in the Ender’s Game / Speaker for the Dead cycle of novels, or the Borg Collective of Star Trek, or the Caretakers who used – but did not build – the wormhole subway in Carl Sagan’s incomparable science-fiction novel Contact. Or, less benevolently, the Dark Ones of Babylon 5 or the malignant alien collective that launched the planet-devouring self-replicating Von Neumann machines in Greg Bear’s The Forge of God and Anvil of Stars. Without in any way advocating for such a collectivist polity, a lucidly honest historical assessment would certainly indicate that trying to induce human beings to unite for collective action to confront a common danger is pretty much like herding cats … and feral cats, at that … unless the end-in-view is the apocalyptic and uncompromising destruction of some human enemy. Think “Manhattan Project.” That kind of cooperation we are damned good at! Climate change / global warming? Well … maybe not so much.

Back in the ’60s, the astronomer Frank Drake formulated the by-now-classical Drake equation, which attempts to quantify the number of intelligent species in the Milky Way Galaxy by factoring in quantitative estimates of the various coefficients that combine to produce intelligence in various planets’ species. I like to think of the Drake equation as analogous to the design of a digital circuit, with various “gates” — AND gates, OR gates, NAND gates, XOR gates, etc., etc., — that determine whether a given species achieves intelligence and a technological civilization capable of communicating with other intelligent species inhabiting planets and evolving their own civilizations. Many of the factors in the classical Drake equation are obvious, e.g., the rate of planet formation in a star’s habitable zone (however one might define that), the fraction of planets that actually evolve life, the fraction that evolve intelligent life, etc., etc. The historical trend strongly suggests that we have greatly underestimated the number and type of relevant coefficients in the Drake equation. For example, I would suggest that one such overlooked coefficient — one that I have never seen acknowledged in the literature — is the fraction of planets whose axis of rotation is stabilized by the presence of a large moon and the influence of other, probably gas-giant, planets in the same star-system. (An example of where the absence of these factors is critical is Mars. Mars only has two little pebbles for moons, Deimos and Phobos, and so Mars’ axis of rotation has, over the millennia, precessed perhaps 90 degrees, and the climatic variations would virtually preclude the evolution of intelligent life. By contrast, earth has a very large moon and is farther away from Jupiter, with the result that earth’s axis of rotation is stable enough to ensure a stable climate congenial to the evolution of intelligence.) Bottom line:  it is reasonable to conclude that the proportion of intelligent species capable of taking the long view, of planning for the future in terms, not of years or even of generations, but at least of centuries would have a critical bearing on whether a given “candidate” species achieved intelligence and survived long enough to develop space travel and a sophisticated communication technology. This is perhaps one missing coefficient in the classical Drake equation:  the percentage of species that have evolved intelligence sufficient to engage in long-range planning.

Radio Telescope Antennas Bure Peak

But our response — or lack thereof — to climate change strongly suggests that we may in perhaps a century, maybe less, encounter a break point where our endemic inability to take future centuries, even future millennia, into proper account may render us a footnote in some hypothetical Sagan-esque Galactic survey. We have to overcome the short-sightedness selected into us by the imperatives of evolution. So far, there have been five mass extinction events in earth’s history. We may well be in the middle of the sixth. Granted, some of these were unavoidable, e.g., the end-Permian catastrophe 250 million years ago. Others, if they occurred today, might be preventable, given long-term planning, e.g., the Chicxulub event 65 million years ago. But all would require a capacity for long-range planning for which we humans have thus far shown little aptitude or inclination.

So perhaps now we have the answer to Dr. Fermi’s question of “Where is everyone?”. Perhaps the eerie silence we detect with our radio telescopes is mute testimony to the scarcity of intelligent species that evolved an intelligence, and the accompanying social and political organizations, sufficient to deal with multiple-millennia-long threats to those species’ existence. Maybe the Universe is silent because, thanks to the in-built limitations inherent in evolution, intelligent species’ own short-sightedness caught up with them.

© 2019, James R. Cowles

Image credits

“Wow” signal … North American Astrophysical Observatory … Public domain
SETI logo … SETI Institute … Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International
Radio telescopes … Bure Peak Observatory … Public domain
Drake equation … Mohammad Alrohmany … Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported
Human evolution … Wellcome Images … Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International
Global warming map … Environmemtal Protection Agency … Public domain
Desert and tree … Max Pixel … Public domain
Two planets … Pixabay … Public domain

Posted in Environment/Deep Ecology/Climate Change, Event/s, General Interest

U.N. CLIMATE SUMMIT 2019, “A Race We Can Win”

Flag of the United Nations / public domain

The United Nations has opened additional places for civil society groups to participate in the 2019 Climate Action Summit, in recognition of the crucial role of civil society in driving forward urgent climate action.

Successful applicants will join global leaders in the General Assembly at UN Headquarters in New York on September 23, as well as working meetings across the Summit’s key action areas, to be held on September 21 and 22.

These places are in addition to more than 200 invitations that are already being issued to civil society representatives, including over 100 youth representatives. More than 600 young people will also participate in the Secretary-General’s Youth Climate Summit at UN Headquarters on 21 September.

The announcement is being made in conjunction with the 68th United Nations Civil Society Conference, which was held in Salt Lake City from 26 to 28 August, convened by the UN’s Department of Global Communications.

UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Climate Action Summit, Luis Alfonso de Alba said the UN was responding to the overwhelming demand for increased participation from civil society.

“With carbon pollution increasing and the global thermometer rising, we are seeing the impacts of climate change getting worse every day, causing huge damage to people, communities, and ecosystems everywhere. But the movement to tackle climate change is gaining momentum, as people and organizations everywhere are demanding action. The Climate Action Summit will be a moment for civil society to join with leaders from across government and politics to push climate action into a higher gear.  The voices, solutions, and engagement of civil society are more vital than ever.”

HEADS-UP: SEPTEMBER 5 DEADLINE

Civil society groups – in all countries and across all fields – who are working to drive forward positive climate actions and solutions are encouraged to apply for the additional positions by submitting a short written submission by September 5 at https://reg.unog.ch/event/31641/.
Applications will be assessed by a panel consisting of UN representatives leading broader engagement with civil society and experts on the Sustainable Development Goals.

The application review process will take into account gender and regional balance when assessing candidates. Reviewers will also recognize the resilience and leadership of individuals from marginalized and vulnerable communities, including but not limited to indigenous and tribal communities, people living with disabilities, refugees, LGBTQ and otherwise. Candidates must also clearly demonstrate a commitment to addressing the climate crisis and advancing solutions, including through leadership positions, partnerships with other stakeholders, and evidence of impact.

Successful applicants will be notified by September 9.

For media inquiries and interview requests on this announcement, please contact:

Dan Shepard, UN Department of Global Communications: shepard@un.org
Esra Sergi, UN Department of Global Communications: sergie@un.org
For media inquiries on the United Nations Civil Society conference, please contact:

Felipe Quipo, UN Department of Global Communications: queipo@un.org

Follow @ladealba on Twitter for the latest news on the Climate Action Summit.

Posted in 100,000 Poets, Musicians, Artists and Activists for Change, 100TPC, General Interest

100TPC Read a Poem to a Child Compilation & Curriculum

September 23rd – September 28th 2019

The compilation and curriculum are the result of a collaboration among 100,000 Poets for Change, Florida State University, and Reading Is Fundamental with selections from The John MacKay Shaw Childhood in Poetry Collection of Florida State University Libraries Special Collections and Archives.

Download the Poetry Compilation for Readers.pdf

Download the curriculum Simple ways to make poetry engaging 2.0  and the poetry workbook.

Freely accessible Sound Cloud playlist of 100TPC Read a Poem to a Child Initiative

Posted in 100,000 Poets, Musicians, Artists and Activists for Change, General Interest, Poems/Poetry

Freely Accessible Sound-Cloud Playlist for 100TPC Read a Poem to a Child Week Initiative, courtesy Michael Dickel and Randy Thomas

READ A POEM TO A CHILD WEEK

Sep 23 at 12 PM – Sep 28 at 11 PM EDT

August 26, 2019: THANKS to Michael Dickel (Meta/ Phor(e) /Play) for putting together this post for us on behalf of The BeZine  and for his interview of Randy Thomas. This post was originally done for last year’s event, but the SoundCloud playlist is still up and has grown a bit. I’m posting it today to remind you of this charming resource. / Jamie Dedes



A SoundCloud playlist!

August 2018: Thanks to 100 Thousand Poets for Change co-founders Michael Rothenberg and Terri Carrion, and especially to our 100TPC friend, Voice-Over legend Randy Thomas, we have the honor of presenting a compilation of children’s poems read by master Voice Artists and created for the 100TPC community in support of the 100 Thousand Poets for Change Read A Poem To A Child initiative. / Michael Dickel


Randy Thomas and the other voice actors / voice over artists in the playlist (further down) volunteered their talent and time to Read a Poem to a Child!

Thomas started her career as a radio personality and DJ in New York, LA, Detroit, and Miami. She’s announced for the Oscars, Emmy Awards, Tony Awards, Entertainment Tonight, The Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame Inductions, The Kennedy Center Honors, and much more. You likely have heard her announce:

“You’re watching Entertainment Tonight!”

or

“Live from Hollywood, it’s the Academy Awards!”

Voice Announcer Randy Thomas
Source


The BeZine asked Randy Thomas a couple of questions about how this came to be:

The BeZineWhat inspired you to organize these wonderful readings by VO artists for Read a Poem for a Child?

Randy ThomasI am always intrigued when invited to use my voice in a positive way that gives back to the community. My dear friend Michael Rothenberg, a world-renown poet told me about his effort to share a poem with a child during one specific week. He found interest from all over the world. It’s wonderful.

The BeZine: You have inspired a number of voice artists to contribute their voices—how did that happen?

Randy ThomasThe Facebook community of voice actors and friends that I have seemed to rally behind this idea. We all have our own audio booths to record quality audio in, and they are all being so generous with their time and Voice sharing these poems. I am proud to have played a small part in this beautiful effort.

You can hear the amazing results below, in the embedded SoundCloud playlist.


Please feel free to play these recordings
for children around the world!

These may be played right here from this post or go HERE.



Thank you Randy Thomas
and brilliant VO artists
for sharing your talent for the children!



All audio ©2018 by the individual Voice Artists.
Poetry copyright belongs to the poet
or other current copyright holder.

Post text ©2018 TheBeZine.com and 100TPC.org
Link-sharing of the SoundCloud playlist is allowed.
Link-sharing or credited re-blogging of this post is allowed.
Readings in the playlist are provided for free personal use,
not for commercial purposes or paid events.
The audio may not be recorded or redistributed in any form
other than a link to SoundCloud without permission of the voice artist(s).