The Green Confessions of Nat Turner

Sojourners was kind enough to invite me write “The Green Confessions of Nat Turner: The Rich and Varied Roots of Black Environmental Liberation Theology” for the May 2016 magazine.

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The article begins:

WHEN ONE THINKS of black environmental liberation theology, the name of slave-rebellion leader Nat Turner might not immediately spring to mind. Perhaps it should . . .

The temporary link is available until April 11, 2016. Beyond that date subscribe to Sojourners.

John Francis: African American Planet Walker

On Thursday, April 10, 2014, I had the honor of listening to Dr. John Francis, Planet Walker. He was invited to speak at the Inspire Speak Series at the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Pittsburgh. Dr. Francis was sponsored by The Green Building Alliance. He was an African American environmentalist long before environmentalism coalesced into a national movement in the late 20th Century and a cultural way of being in the 21st Century. Watch his Ted Talk:

He proudly continues to advocate for the earth.

John Francis walks the Earth, carrying a message of careful, truly sustainable development and respect for our planet.

(https://www.ted.com/speakers/john_francis)

Monongahela River Weeds and the Ghosts of an Industrial Past

At the Waterfront in Homestead, Pennsylvania, I discovered a trail with the Monongahela River on one side and a mall on the other side.

Homestead was an access point for immigrants who worked in the Homestead Steel Works during the 19th century. The immigrants moved from the river’s edge  up the hill to 8th Avenue. Fast forward into the future, and I spotted a robin on a limb on the trail re-framing the past for leisure and recreation. The rivers edge is covered by trees and weeds, some flowering.

It’s great heading out the woods for a hike but we can find places to walk in urban places like Pittsburgh.

Photos by Dianne Glave on an iPhone

Eve Project, A Farm, A Saturday Afternoon

What a lovely afternoon spent with the EVE Circle. LaVerne Baker Hotep, with the Center for Victims of Violence and Crime (CVVC), organized a retreat for a group of African American women at Wild Red’s Gardens, formerly known as Mildreds’ Daughters Farm. It is the only farm within the Pittsburgh city limit.

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The women spent a joyous day outdoors on the farm. When the skies darkened and it got cooler, they joined together for food and fellowship.

I shared part of the afternoon with the women sharing about African Americans and the environment, and leading a guided meditation focusing on faith, the environment, and health. I was delighted to see Lois McClendon with B-PEP/Coalition Against Violence and a Pittsburgh environmentalist. 

Photos by Dianne Glave

2012 State of Diversity and the Environment Blog Carnival

Another Blog Carnival Presented by Rooted in the Earth! Read the original call for blogs.

I am going to keep this simple: my hope is to join with each of you  to meaningfully and fruitfully gather together face-to-face focusing on people of color and the environment in the near future. In 2009, Audrey Peterman did just that with Breaking the Color Barrier in the Great American Outdoors.

Some thoughts on some wonderful work in 2011 and where we are headed in the future including 2012:

~ Andrea Roberts’ Extending our Useful Lives Being Honest About Sustainability and Mortality

~ Rue Mapp’s The Year of Relevancy

~ Dianne Glave’s She Wolf  Transitioning to the New Year of 2012

Go to the blogs to read thoughts, ideas . . . some are transforming thoughts into action.

Do contact me at dianneglave@gmail.com if you would like to add your blog to this carnival.

Thomas Merton Center: Environmental Justice

The Thomas Merton Pittsburgh’s Peace and Social Justice Center continues to do the good work. The center started 40 years ago focuses on social justice based on the non-violent resistance.

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They serve the Pittsburgh community and beyond in the areas of economic justice, anti-war, and prisoner’s right. Just recently, the center launched another committee on environmental justice based in part on faith and spirituality. Wanda Guthrie, one of the Thomas Merton board members, was central in launching this new committee. Many thanks for her hard work along with the other committee members present at the first meeting.

Photos by Dianne Glave

AFAM Environmental History & Black History Month Without Carter G. Woodson?

Carter G. Woodson

February is Black History Month. Carter G. Woodson, the father of African American history, started it all in 1926 with Negro History Week.

Woodson was strategic deciding on the second week of February between Frederick Douglass’ and Abraham Lincoln’s birthdays for that special week devoted to African American history. Douglass was born enslaved in Talbot County, Maryland and knew the southern environmental landscape first hand, as a forced laborer without wages. The same was true for Woodson who was enslaved in Canton, Virginia in the same geographic region of Douglass’ birth place.

As for President Lincoln, he wasn’t the savior to those enslaved. African Americans of Woodson’s generation mythologized Lincoln through much of the twentieth century. Lincoln was more concerned about preserving the Union at any price during the Civil War. If freeing African Americans from enslavement helped so be it. If keeping African Americans enslaved bound the North and South together, that worked too. No matter your interpretation of history, whether through the lens of expediency or largesse, Lincoln was instrumental in changing how African Americans worked the land in the shift from enslavement to sharecropping, the latter into freedom.

In the midst of Black History Month 2012 . . . in this the second week of February in which Woodson marked Negro History Week . . . always remember Woodson was one of the first historians to write African American history. I owe a debt to him because his scholarship was a precursor of African American environmental history. Many of us owe a debt from historical and contemporary perspectives.

Carter G. Woodson, thank you for The Mis-Education of the Negro and A Century of Negro Migration.

One and all, have a joyous and educational 2012 Black History Month!

She-Wolf: Transitioning to the New Year of 2012

Tulips in Bloom, Chicago

Right now I’m caught up in series of novels titled Game of Thrones, and the HBO series based on the novels.  Creatures called dire wolves–from the Ice Age and now extinct–are central to one of many over-lapping  story-lines, with dire wolves in symbiotic relationship with young royals. 2011 transitioned so quickly cart-wheeling into 2012, and I am embracing my she-wolf. I don’t bite but am running hard and fast down two different paths: the environment and health. Like the story-lines in Game of Thrones, the two paths have and continue to overlap. I’m including some of my favorite photos from 2011 some with and without rhyme and reason in relationship to the text. Put simply, these photos like so many I took last year simply touched me.

The first path is environmental. I continued my life’s work, a ministry to people and the earth, sharing the gospel of African Americans and the environment. Back in 2010, I published Rooted in the Earth: Reclaiming the African American Environmental Heritage. Continuing into 2011, non-profit organizations invited me to do speaking engagements, some of the content based in part on the book:

At Barnes & Noble with a Little Fan

I also did a radio interview with Groovin 1580 FM and a book-signing with the Wildlife Federation at Georgia Tech. In 2012, I will continue to share an environmental gospel, speaking at the Tuskegee Institute Historic Site in Alabama and Getty College in Pennsylvania.

From Fall 2010 to Summer 2011 when I  continued my environmental opus, I was in an intensive Clinical Pastoral Education Program training for chaplaincy. I managed to complete the program, while still blogging.

Interestingly, the Rooted in the Earth WordPress Annual Report differs from my favorite blogs “penned” during part of the program. The highest ranking blog going back to 2010 was (drum roll please) Predators: Survival of the Fittest in a Busted Paradise. Perhaps not so surprising since my blogs on film and television ranked higher than some of the historical blogs. People like popular culture. Well, so do I.

Grand Isle, Louisiana, 2007 (ok, not 2011!)

I also love history and my personal favorites included Kentucky, African Americans, and the Environment, Harriet Tubman Working Nature, Barack Obama: An Alternate Environmental History, and 2011 MLK Day: Remembering Martin Luther King, the Environmentalist. Hey, I’m a historian. What can I say. I’m back on the steep happy hill–that’s the she-wolf in me on the move–blogging again in 2012 with a call for blogs for a State of Diversity and the Environment Blog Carnival.

So what’s that second path as I continue loping on winding path?  Back in 2010, I never imagined that graduating with an M.Div. in “Faith, Health and Science” at the Candler School of Theology at Emory University would be life changing concerning my health. Over the last year I lost 17 pounds and hope to lose about 20 more. No rush. One pound at a time. Jenny Craig, Nutrisystem, Weight Watchers . . . make it happen like Mariah belts out in the recent Jenny Craig commercial.

I continue being heart healthy with nutrition and exercise. I serve as a pastor at Crafton United Methodist Church and some of the members have followed my example joining Weight Watchers. Others have been serving healthy options like veggies at Coffee Hour after church. And yes, I found time to blog about spirituality and religion at BeingEphesus.com.

Korean War Memorial, Washington, DC

I am grateful to everyone in my personal life who patiently listened to my stories about being on paths of the environment and health. In addition, so many colleagues invited me into their institutions trusting me to share one vision of  an African American environmentalism. I did not take that trust for granted because many of the people in the audience were college students. I honored to continue working with young people, my favorite “demographic.”

Now I stand among many talented and committed in an environmental family with shared interests in diversity. One kind and generous person in stood out in 2011: Na’Taki Osborne Jelks. I knew Na’Taki for years going back to 2005 when I went on a hike with Keeping It Wild in Georgia. It wasn’t until she organized several events for me that I got to know her better. I am grateful for Na’Taki and so many others devoted to the cause.

I invite you to continue with me embracing your inner-she-wolf (or whatever creature works for you) on paths to protecting the planet and good health, with a dash of science. Thank you for coming along with me.

Photos by Dianne Glave

2012 State of Diversity and the Environment Blog Carnival

Welcome to the third Rooted in the Earth Blog Carnival!

People of color faced many obstacles in 2010 and 2011 including higher rates of unemployment during the Great Recession and increased conservatism concerning diversity/ethnicity in the US. There has also been much to celebrate with an African American president and a growing Latina/o population. I wondered in 2012, the new year, if the same ups and downs are true, when it comes to those working and serving for diversity (people of color) and the environment. Personally, I can count more than twenty people of all ethnicities I can reach out to with expertise concerning people of color and the environment. Five years ago, the ranks were thinner. At the same, time I sense some (justice) fatigue among the ranks.

I am sending a call for blogs responding to a the state of diversity and the environment in 2012. I will include your name, organization, a personal/non-profit description, and blog/website. The blog carnival is broad enough to include stories about nascent environmental movements among and concerning people of color, projects-in-progress that will help to grow the movement, ideas for the future, and more. For those who do not blog, please contact me directly so we can work together to add your perspective to the blog carnival.

Submit your blog to 2012 State of Diversity and the Environment by January 19th. All blogs will be subject to review based on suitability to the topic.

Dianne Glave

Barnes & Noble Book Signing

On September 10, 2011, I was invited by Nu Lambda Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha, Inc. to share about Rooted in the Earth: Reclaiming the African American Environment Heritage at Barnes & Noble Bookstore at the Camp Creek Marketplace in East Point, Georgia. We followed with a group discussion, book signing, and personal conversations. Some in the audience asked:

  • What kind of research did you do for the book? How long did it take to research and write the book? It took several years at archives like Tuskegee University and Hampton University. And it took two years to write Rooted in the Earth.
  • Would you assign your own book to college students in one of your classes? Yes, but I would not rely solely on the book for my lecture and discussion.
  • Is the book used at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU’s)? I don’t know about specific schools but the book was marketed to the mainstream, academics, and librarians across the country.

Great afternoon! Great people! Of special note was Cynthia Parks, President of Nu Lambda Omega who was a charming co-host at the event.

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Many thanks to Na’Taki Osborne Jelks who organized and co-hosted the event.

Photographs by Na’Taki Osborne Jelks and Michael McCrimmon