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.

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Shades of Nature: Environmental Fiction Blog Carnival

Shades of Nature: Environmental Fiction is the Second Rooted in the Earth Blog Carnival. This time the focus is on environmental fiction or literature. Although I lean towards history and popular culture, I so dearly love fiction too. After reading blogs by the contributors to this carnival, look out for the Third Rooted in the Earth Blog Carnival in the near future.

Many years ago, I learned that Lauret, my friend, was editing a volume that included environmental fiction. The result was The Colors of Nature: Culture, Identity, and the Natural World (2002) edited by Alison H. Deming & Lauret E. Savoy. The second edition of the collection arrives online and in bookstores in February 2011. They edited the book from two perspectives: Deming who is white and Savoy who is of African descent. Both women were clear about their perspectives based on diversity in the preface which defined the collection.

Al Young, the author of one of the essays titled “Silent Parrot Blues,” introduces his piece on environmental racism with a story:

Even I, who knew next to nothing about parrots, understood that this parrot was exceptional . . . His coat of many color was listless and raggedy. Not only did he look as though he’d been plucked and picked on, he looked as though he had been ‘buked and scorned,’ as the faithful Negro spiritual would have it.” (p. 113)

The parrot, a metaphor for environmental racism, could not speak much like people who cannot speak up for and defend themselves when say a company opens up a garbage dump in an impoverished neighborhood skirting environmental laws.

To expand on this idea of inequity, Savoy says, “What is the American Earth to people of color? Of course there is no single or simple answer.” (p. 9) The following blogs come from many perspectives including ethnic-and bio-diversity:

FICTION

“Yard Yarns (Limerick and Haiku Prompt),” Mad Kane’s Humor Blog.

“Time and Tide Pools,” The Daily Neurotic: A Webblog About Life’s Peculiarities Otherwise Known as the Dailies.

“Fiction: A New Heaven and and a New Earth,” The Great Auk — The Greatest Auk: Not Bad for Being Extinct.

“Flying Alone,” Memorizing Nature: Fantastical Yet Critical Writings by Elaine Medline.

“Stone,” Frogs and Ravens: Some Days We Are Ravens; Other Days, Frogs

The Marshlanders Sample Chapter: Beaver Night.

“Rooted in the Earth: Reclaiming the African American Environmental Heritage: An Excerpt,” From the Blog by the Same Name.

REVIEWS

“A Review of Toni Morrison’s A Mercy,” The Schleicher Spin.

“A Damn Good Flood,” The Schleicher Spin.

Darryl A. Perkins the author of Into the Night and Understanding Goshawks offers shares some advice for writers of nature and the environment:

“The challenge of environmental fiction is to take something imaginary and not factual, and wrap it around something that is not only real, but necessary for our survival.  A further challenge, particularly of people of color, is to share our experiences and or imagination on the subject, with an audience that is unaware of our history and involvement with the environment.  However, there are heroes out there fighting the good fight like Rue Mapp, and Frank and Audrey Peterman.”

I am moved by the words of the authors who have shared their blogs in the Shades of Nature: Environmental Fiction Blog Carnival. Please take the time to comment on the blogs to encourage these environmental writers as they continue their creative pursuits.

How I Got Into African American Environmental History!

That's Me on the Right

I have been doing diversity and environment since the  early 1990’s. It started for me in the M.A. program in the History Department at Stony Brook University. When I transitioned to the Ph.D. at Stony Brook, I said to my dissertation advisor that I wanted to write my dissertation on African Americans and the environment. She gave me a blank look and said there was no one in the department, probably the whole country, who could advise me concerning my topic. Well, I forged ahead, struggled really. I finally finished my dissertation with some help from Mart Stewart, an outside advisor on my dissertation committee.   

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 What is African American environmental history? 

Carl Anthony gives us a definition: “African American environmental history is concerned with questions of environmental justice in the past; patterns of exploitation within society that have limited African American access to nature and the fruit of the community engagement with the environment; African American resistance to that exploitation and mobilization to confront environmental injustice; ways that African Americans have acted on the environment and have been affected by it in everyday life; the historical environmental health exposures and risks to African American communities; the role African Americans have played in helping to build sustainable societies. (ASEH News, American Society for Environmental History, Spring 2006, 9)    

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When I began doing the work on African American environment there were no definitions. Even today, if you google African American environmental history, a definition does not pop up. That’s so unlike google.  One of my early efforts in working towards defining African American environmental history was an article on African American women and gardening

In  my personal and professional struggle, I have been an academic for many years. There were few people of color I could count on, and that I knew of who working in various areas concerning diversity and the environment . So my cohorts and primary audience were mainstream academics. I was frustrated and alone, often asked, “Where are the white people?” in my narratives and analyses. 

From Black Enterprise

I still teach. I still think like a historian. In many ways, I still write like a historian. What’s different though is I have more people to connect with now that I’m writing for a broader audience with the upcoming book and my ongoing blog. 

I have Rue Mapp, Jarid Manos, Rona Fernandez, EcoSoul, James Edward Mills, Evonne Blythers, Phoenix Smith,Danielle N. Lee,  Audrey Peterman, Dudley Edmondson, and so many more. And thankfully, I have all of you!

A Scratch-n-Sniff “All Shades of Green” Blog Carnival

Welcome to the April 2010 Diversity of Science Carnival (DiS) #9  titled “All Shades of Green” Diversity in Outdoor and Environmental Awareness. Details are already available for submissions for the next DiS Blog Carnival #10. Many thanks to Danielle N. Lee who was kind enough to invite me to guest blog at her DiS Carnival this month.   

I am Dianne Glave, your host at the center of the carnival ring of bloggers. Our theme is all things April: celebration of earth day, arbor day, environmental awareness and all  earthy-eco-related things through the written word and images of the blog. There’s some scratch-n-sniff in here too. I am excited about this month’s submissions.   

Each blog highlights the April theme of “All Shades of Green” Diversity in Outdoor and Environmental Awareness. In addition, I asked contributors to describe the smell of April and what they are up to.

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Take a look at the blogs and their responses to my questions:   

Hatched from the Same Egg Interview with Jared Manos. “Sun warming the waxy green out of live oak tree leaves.” The second edition of Jared’s Ghetto Plainsman is available at your local Barnes and Nobles Bookstore.    

   

Anne Jefferson’s More Tributes to Reds Wolman From all Those Who Miss Him. “April smells like mud. And I mean that in a most complimentary way (I study mud).” She is in the midst of the end-of-semester hamster-wheel, trying to stay on top of courses and grading while keeping up with her own research sputtering along.   

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Rue Mapp’s Easter Egg Hunt. “The smell of April is FRESH!” Rue Mapp, the goddess of all things outdoor and afro, just returned from the White House Summit in DC on Outdoor Recreation and the Environment. She will be running a program to connect kids and their parents to the great outdoors this summer.   

   

Danielle N. Lee’s Travelog San Francisco: Protecting the Coastal Bay. “April smells like flowers.” Danielle is graduating with her Ph.D. Learn more at her blog Urban Science Adventures!.    

Boys Scouts Planting a Tree, Cascade United Methodist Church

Rona Fernandez’s Turning Garbage into Black Gold. “The smell of April is green like moist grass after a rain, yellow like daffodils and blue like the sky after a storm. Rona is headed to the Macondo Writers Worship, hopefully to do more nature writing for Brown Girl Going Green blog!   

   

Suzanne E. Frank’s Weeding in the Forest. “April generally smells like freshly turned wet earth, and then, of course, the smell of new mulch that everyone is laying down all over.” Suzanne is busy with aa spate of plant sales and a flurry of planting, as she ends up buying more than  she can possibly fit into her garden beds, but will manage to pack in somewhere. 

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Diana R. Williams’ Sharing Our Stories: After Natural Disaster. April smells like sweet rain, cool and refreshing.” As the president of Candler Women, she just accepted Emory University’s Campus Life Outstanding Student Organization Event Award for the 100 Women at Candler Luncheon.   

   

Kristina Necovska’s A Conversation wth Nalini Nadkarni, “Queen of Canopy Research.”   

Vegetables Just Pushing Up, Organic Garden, Emory University

 Susan Horton’s Everyday is Earth Day for These Women in Science.  

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Sam Lemonick’s A Conversation with Seismologist Kate Hutton.   

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At the Texaco

I smelled something too: April is the sweet smell of the honeysuckle that crept along the fence of the parking lot that was the playground at my Lutheran grade school. I snapped the base of the flower and drainied the sweet honey-taste into my mouth. I blogged April too in Bees and Boys at the Texaco and Sacred Moments: A Baby Owl and Two Strangers in a Parking Lot.   

Cherish the last smells, sights, tastes, and sounds of April.   

PHOTOS BY DIANNE GLAVE   

 

The Oscars: Avatar, Hurt Locker, and the Environment

Na'vi Blue, Avatar

The Oscars are coming. Watch the 82nd Academy Awards on Sunday, March 7, 2008 on ABC. Why? Because of the environmental themes, that’s why. I’m not going to cover everything but here are some of my picks, of course based on, yes, the environment.

AVATAR is my number one pick, not because it had the best actors, not because of a fabulous screenplay but because of the environmental justice themes. Go to Rue Mapp’s Outdoor Afro to learn more about the connection to environmental justice and environmental racism in the film.

Next in the running is District 9, another film with environmental themes. The aliens who land in Johannesburg, Africa are a metaphor for apartheid in Africa, segregation in the US, and racism around the world. Their ship breaks down and the South Africans responds by corralling the insect aliens into a camp–a garbage dump, a shanty-town of shacks–in much the same way the US did with the Japanese during World War I with internment camps in the deserts of California and Nevada. The movie also points to how much humans, citizens, and aliens, illegal aliens or immigrants, are very much the same. I also love science fiction so there.

District 9

My third pick is THE HURT LOCKER. It’s all about the Iraqi landscape. White hot sun. Dry desert. The acting and screenplay are also amazing focusing on adrenalin junkies and post-traumatic stress syndrome among American soldiers in Iraq. So there are also themes of health and medicine in a great film.

So onto another category. Since JULIA AND JULIA was not nominated for Best Picture, Meryl Streep for Best Leading Actress will represent for the entire movie. Part of the film is set in Brooklyn. One of the Julias writes her blog on cooking all of of Julia Child’s French cuisine recipes while living above a storefront in Brooklyn. Concrete. Asphalt. Metal bars on doors and windows. It may not be everyone’s ideal environmental paradise but it’s what many a city-dweller is accustomed to compared to the wild. And we can watch the foodways of a Brooklynite cooking French food and an American in Paris coming up with a French cookbook. A bit convoluted but it all works for me. So Meryl Streep gets my Best Actress nod.

So here is the big Barbara Walter’s question she often asked during her Oscar special that precedes the award ceremony: if you were a tree, what tree would you be? And I’ll add why did you choose that tree. I am a Gingo Biloba tree because I saw so many planted in squares of earth that was surrounded by concrete when I worked in Manhattan.

Gingko Biloba

I haven’t seen all the movies nominated in the Best Picture category but hope to as I search for other environmental themes on the big screen. See you at the Oscars.