Previous month:
May 2011
Next month:
July 2011

Of Interest: "50 Common Eco-Crimes Committed By College Students"

Most people try to be mindful of the environment, students included, but it’s not always easy to remember that almost every action we take has the potential to damage the world. College students especially have many opportunities to change their ways for the better, but for one reason or another, still continue to commit eco-crimes against nature. Read on to learn about 50 crimes you may be committing, and what you can do about it.


Many of these "crimes" are all also perpetrated by those of us in our ... um ... post-college years.

"A Quieter Life Now" An exchange of letters with Wendell Berry

YES! contributing editor Madhu Suri Prakash is a longtime friend of poet, essayist, novelist, activist, and farmer Wendell Berry. Inspired by changing attitudes among her college students, who were reading Berry, Madhu declared the Wendell Berry Era, and wrote to him, proposing that he write an open letter to President Obama calling for funding to establish new small farms. This correspondence ensued. 


Bill McKibben, Naomi Klein, Wendell Berry Call for Civil Disobedience on Tar Sands | The Nation

The Tar Sands, also known as the oil sands, are one of the largest remaining deposits of oil in the world, and efforts to extract the resource from a mix of clay and other materials underneath Canada’s Boreal forest have created the biggest, and by the accounts of numerous scientists and environmental groups,  the most environmentally devastating, energy project on earth.

TransCanada, one of the largest companies involved in tar sands exploration, has proposed a 1,661 mile, 36-inch extension of the newly built Keystone Pipeline from Alberta, Canada to oil refineries of the United States. This would expand the capacity for refining oil produced from Alberta tar sands by approximately one million barrels per day.

Time for the fight-back.

A group of leading environmental activists, many associated with the grassroots group, and many of them Nation writers, have issued a call and invitation for concerned citizens to take part in a campaign of non-violent direct action this summer in Washington, DC, in all likelihood, organizers say, during the last two weeks of August.


SEE ALSO "The People v. The Pipeline"

Wendell Berry and scuffs on the floor

A while back when she considered renovating, she asked prominent Port Royal resident, poet, novelist and essayist Wendell Berry if she should replace the old, painted floor in the restaurant area.

“Wendell said not to change a thing. He said: ‘The scuffs on the floor show all the traffic made from the customers' scooting their chairs, and that is part of the store's charm, and that is why I like coming in here,' ” said Tipton, 51, who has a section of the store devoted to Berry's books.

“This is a quaint little store where you enter as a stranger and leave as a friend,” said Tipton, who takes photos of customers and hangs them on the “wall of fame.”


Wendell Berry is #5 on "The Kentucky Bucket List"

4. Watch Harlan County U.S.A., Barbara Kopple's Oscar-winning 1976 documentary about the "Bloody Harlan" coal miner strikes of the early '70s shows just how dangerous that job used to be (and still is).

5. Read the works of Wendell Berry. The Henry County environmentalist, ruralist, activist and writer is considered one of the nation's greatest minds.

6. Visit the Harland Sanders Café and Museum in Corbin. It's where the Colonel first served his fried chicken with "11 herbs and spices" and birthed an internationally fried chicken recipe.


Right between Harlan County and Harland Sanders.

A new study of Wendell Berry's work

"The Achievement of Wendell Berry: The Hard History of Love" a new book about Wendell Berry's work by Fritz Oehlschlaeger of Virginia Tech is now available at Powell's Books, Amazon, and perhaps your local independent bookstore.

"The Achievement of Wendell Berry: The Hard History of Love is a nearly comprehensive engagement with the work of Wendell Berry, who is without question one of America's most important contemporary writers. This book will remain a significant contribution to scholarship on Berry for some time to come." -- Joel James Shuman, editor of Wendell Berry and Religion and Associate Professor and Chair of Theology at King's College" 

""This is a gentle book about a gentle man. A damning description for those who assume gentleness has no political implications. Oehlschlager, however, shows that the interconnection between Berry's poems, novels, and essays helps us see how gentleness is the decisive challenge to the world created by human hubris. This is an invaluable book to those who know Berry's work well and to those who do not." -- Stanley Hauerwas, author of Hannah's Child: A Theologican's Memoir 

"Adopting Wendell Berry's own practice of exploring ideas through significant works of literature, Oehlschlaeger offers a deeply insightful treatment of Berry's major themes and genres, thus making his own distinctive, nuanced contribution to the agrarian conversation about living in good faith, in our places and with our neighbors."--Ellen F. Davis, author of Scripture, Culture, and Agriculture: An Agrarian Reading of the Bible


TV actor cites Wendell Berry

Ron Swanson really is a man’s man, which some might argue is a nice change of pace from the proliferation of pretty boys on television!
I’m going to get a little waxy on you now, this is coming from my my favorite agrarian writer Wendell Berry, I’m pulling a lot of this from his philosophy, when the industrial revolution hit and advertising became big, we were sold a bill of goods that you deserve to put your feet up, you shouldn’t get your hands dirty, that’s beneath you. You should buy our vacuum cleaner, our electric typewriter, whatever it is. You should have all this luxury so that you no longer have to perform menial labour and everybody bought it hook line and sinker and we’re still buying it. And what we’ve lost sight of is that performing manual labor with your hands is one of the most incredibly satisfying and positive things you can do. Anybody who does something like doing a really good job of mowing your grass with a push mower, or washing your car, things that still exist in our world, you know that feeling of satisfaction. Or you know what a great one is, changing your tire. For the small percentage of people who will still change their own tire because they’re wearing high heels or they don’t want to get their Dockers muddy, there’ a very Ron Swanson feeling of I need to rely on nobody to sustain my life.


News about Counterpoint, Wendell Berry's publisher

After a year spent reducing the size of its list, closing its New York office, and stabilizing its staff, Berkeley-based Counterpoint LLC is "in a good place," according to president and publisher Charlie Winton, pointing to a spate of high profile reviews coverage and rapid growth of e-book sales. The house also has a number of big titles slated for fall and winter, including a new book by punk rock political activist Sander Hicks, former owner/founder of Soft Skull Press, now a Counterpoint imprint, who returns to Soft Skull to publish what will likely be a controversial book on the events surrounding 9/11.

In an interview, Winton discussed the closing of Counterpoint's New York office last fall ("two people 3,000 miles away was causing problems, just with communicating," he said) and coping with a down economy. "The recession was a challenge," he said, outlining the need to reduce the size of Counterpoint's staff and reduce the list by 10%. Counterpoint now has a "posse of 13" staffers, Winton said: seven full-time workers, three contract workers (including editor-at-large Dan Smetanka), and three freelance editorial workers.