Friday, January 19, 2024

50 ways to cure the climate

Greetings, Poetry People!  As I write, snow is falling steadily for the second time this week here in the MD suburbs of DC.  Our 4-day school week dwindled to just one yesterday, and while it's nice to finally have snow days in January, right where they belong, the bigger climate picture is always on my mind.

So I have two bon mots for you today (and I'm not using that expression in the Francophone way meaning "clever remarks"; I'm using it the way my dad used to, meaning "little treats.")  The first is a poem from DEAR HUMAN ON THE EDGE OF TIME: POEMS ON CLIMATE CHANGE IN THE UNITED STATES (Paloma Press 2023).  I'm still getting to know all the poems and poets included in this anthology, where my poem "Prompt: Write a Climate Crisis Poem" appears.  This one I'm sharing is not by me!

Sonnet for the Seasons: New England | Kate Cell


And what if we could stop it, after all,

   could stop the change too swift for us to grasp,

   listening instead to the maple's sweet dusk

drip in the metal bucket?  The whipp-poor-will

may never summer here again.  Recall

   to us Lock's Pond, ice thick enough to rasp

  through to snatch the drowsy trout, the chilled clasp

of hands raw in glazed wool gloves.  How small,

how petty our accounting of the world

  in all its flames.  We have no means to measure

    the beauties we have lost, burnt, broken--

our love shies away from our grief, we lie curled

  in shame.  How should we learn now what we treasure?

    Wait.  Only wait, for the windflower to open.

So who is this decidedly not petty Kate Cell, the poet? "Kate Cell is the Senior Climate Campaign Manager for the Climate & Energy program at the Union of Concerned Scientists. In her role, she manages the UCS Climate Campaign, leading a multi-disciplinary team of scientists, policy analysts, legislative affairs staff, and outreach and communication experts working to achieve policies that can reduce global warming emissions and increase resilience to climate change impacts. ... She holds a BA in English and psychology from Macalester College and studied at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop."

I don't know about you, but all my hope is in the people, as Adrienne Rich wrote, "those who, age after age, perversely, with no extraordinary power, reconstitute the world."  So my second treat for you on this third Friday of the month, Climate Friday here at mjlu, is a link and an excerpt from The Grist 50, annual list of climate and justice leaders to watch, published by Grist Magazine. Just look at who they are and what they're doing!!!  We are not alone.  Here's just one group of folks working hard on solutions in the Business & Technology arena.


Evette Ellis

She’s building the workforce to support EV infrastructure
Evette Ellis headshot

Long Beach, CA

Cody Finke

Laying a new foundation for cleaner construction
Cody Finke headshot

Oakland, CA

Aaron Fitzgerald

This founder wants to turn everyday products into permanent carbon sinks
Aaron Fitzgerald headshot

Houston, TX

Rob Lawson-Shanks

He’s tackling e-waste with circular design — and robots
Rob Lawson-Shanks headshot

Chantilly, VA

Sandeep Nijhawan

This tech entrepreneur’s next challenge: Green steel
Sandeep Nijhawan headshot

Boulder, CO

Sanjana Paul

Her hackathons fuel climate innovation
Sanjana Paul headshot

Cambridge, MA

Joanne Rodriguez

She’s harnessing fungi to tackle construction waste
Joanne Rodriguez headshot

Bolingbrook, IL

Uyen Tran

Countering fast fashion with lessons from nature
Uyen Tran headshot

New York, NY

Franziska Trautmann

From a recycling problem, she’s creating a coastal-restoration solution

New Orleans, LA

Franziska Trautmann headshot

Seriously, friends, go meet all 50 of these "Fixers." You will get inspired. Is "enspaired" a word, like the opposite of "despaired"?  That's what I mean.

I'm pretty sure we will all find enspairation too at the round-up today, served up today in a steaming cup by Robyn Hood Black. See you there!

Friday, January 5, 2024

the elfchen celebrate

Happy New Year, poetry friends, and may it be filled with the breath of peace within and without!

It's the first Friday of January and so the Inklings are tackling a challenge set by yours truly.  I gave my fellow Inklings, said a person at a craft night who spent her time there ordering gifts on the internet, "the gift of HOMEWORK?!"  It was on the order of an Advent calendar, with little doors to open, but instead of chocolates or stickers or Legos or big words (I made that for my kids one year), it had POETRY PROMPTS.

And not just any poetry prompts.  Since I am no longer Christian (though I grew up as the PK of a Lutheran minister) but a pagan-flavored UU, at my house we celebrate what you might call a portmanteau winter holiday called Yuletide.  There's a special candle tree and, of course, ritual words to say each night as we light one more candle celebrating a gift of the human spirit, starting on the Winter Solstice, December 21 and lasting 12 days until January 1st. Here's a slightly abridged version of the words, which my kids (24 and 21) of course know by heart. 

For the challenge, I asked everyone to "pick one prompt that appeals and address it however you like!" As the instigator of the challenge and of the whole Diwakwanhanumas enchilada, I felt compelled to answer all 12 prompts, but the darling (and moreish) Elfchen helped me keep it doable.  Here I go, letting my light shine! (There are a couple you saw last week.)

I hope you'll go and see how the other Inklings selected and addressed these prompts--it will be a complete surprise for me, since we haven't met since Yuletide started.  Let's thank Marcie at her eponymous blog for ushering us into the New Year!

Catherine @ Reading to the Core
Mary Lee Hahn @ A(nother) Year of Reading 
Molly Hogan @ Nix the Comfort Zone
Linda Mitchell @ A Word Edgewise
Margaret Simon @ Reflections on the Teche