28 January 2010

undergraduate animal ethics conference

Are you (or do you know) an undergraduate student who has written about animals? This upcoming conference is a great opportunity to gain experience presenting research and to meet other students who are also into animal studies.

Animal Rights is the theme of Utah Valley University's Environmental Awareness Week. This is excellent! I hope that this represents a shift in the academic focus on sustainability. While most colleges and universities have sustainability initiatives, very few have explored the environmental and ethical costs of their multiple relationships with animals. I'd like to see how their sustainability portfolios would change if they did.

See below for more details.

Utah Valley University Animal Ethics Conference
March 29 - April 1, 2010
Keynote Speaker: Tom Regan


Abstracts are now being accepted for undergraduate presentations on the topic of human-animal ethics and the theological, moral, legal and social status of animals in contemporary society. Acceptable themes include (but are certainly not limited to) animal ethics, ethics of food, humans and animals and the environment, animal testing, animal exploitation, religion and animals, history of animal ethics, the moral status of animals, factory farming, commentaries, critiques, and so on.

Submitted abstracts should range between 150-250 words and will undergo a blind review process. Those selected will be asked to present a paper of approximately 7-8 pages (or 15 minutes) in length at the conference.

Please include a Cover Sheet with the following information: author's name, institutional affiliation, title of paper, address, phone number, and email address. Please do not include any of this information on the abstract itself.

The deadline for abstracts is March 15, 2010.
You will be notified of your acceptance by March 21, 2010.

Please submit all abstracts and/or questions to the following email:

Click here for more information.

If you decide to present at the conference, let me know. I would like to blog about your research and experience at the conference.

24 January 2010

north american conf for critical animal studies

The 8th Annual North American Conference for Critical Animal Studies takes place Saturday, 10 April at the State University of New York in Cortland, New York. The theme is Abolition, Liberation, and the Intersections within Social Justice Movements.

Call for presentations:

We welcome proposals from all community members, including but not limited to nonprofit organizations, political leaders, activists, professors, staff, and students. We are especially interested in topics such as the histories of social movements, nonviolence, alliance politics, spirituality and social movements, freedom, democracy, and notions of total inclusion. We are also interested in reaching across the disciplines and movements of environmentalism, education, poverty, feminism, LGBTQA, animal advocacy, globalization, prison abolition, prisoner support, labor rights, disability rights, anti-war activism, youth rights, indigenous rights/sovereignty, and other peace and social justice issues. Presentations should be fifteen to twenty minutes in length. We are receptive to different and innovative formats, including, but not limited to, roundtables, panels, community dialogues, theater, and workshops. You may propose individual or group ‘panel’ presentations, but please clearly specify the structure of your proposal.

***Please stress in your paper/roundtable/panel/etc. how you will be focusing on the program theme and linking it to environmental justice and animal advocacy, rights, liberation, and protection.

Please send proposals OR abstracts for panels, roundtables, workshops, or paper presentations of no more than 500 words. Please send a 100 maximum word biography for each facilitator or presenter.

The deadline for submissions is 15 February 2010.

**Accepted presenters will be notified by e-mail by 20 February 2010.

Please send proposals/abstracts and biographies electronically to:
Sarat Colling
Co-Conference Director

For more information, click here for the Institute for Critical Animal Studies.

22 January 2010

hi, i'm marya and i live in an apartment

Thanks to a recent New York Times article, I'm no longer considering Apartment Dwellers Anonymous. Though focused on men, the reasons given for eschewing suburban homes and returning to apartment living in the city definitely resonated with me: easy proximity to fun & friends, and the ability to be worry-free when something needs fixing.

I love living less than 1 block from the subway and 5 bus lines, and walking distance to an organic market, a library, a post office, 2 recreation centers and grandmama!

And talk about being green! What can be greener than dozens of discreet individuals and families living in the space of 1 single person/family home? And less space usually means less consumption and less waste.

The power and importance of green renters is only recently coming to the fore. Local, state and federal governments have to be pushed to provide green incentives and enact laws to get more building owners to join & lead the green revolution.

And it can't be too soon. City living is the global future.

18 January 2010

dear martin:

I have been talking to my daughter, Mara, who's 4 1/2, about you. Our conversation started on Friday 15 January. I told her that I wanted to tell her about a really important person, someone who's more famous than Michael Jackson. Her eyes widened and she asked one of her favorite questions, "Are you kidding or are you serious?" It was hard for her to believe that there could be someone more famous than Michael Jackson. We have been watching youtube videos of Michael Jackson since she was 2 1/2.

Then she asked why you were famous. I told her that you were committed to being a good neighbor and that you went around the world talking about the importance of being a good neighbor. She understood this because her first teacher, Ms. Bonnie, had taught her how important that was.

Yesterday, I told her that Auntie Tracye, Walt and I started an organization called We Feed Our People more than twenty years ago to remember and celebrate your work by feeding homeless people on your new holiday. And then I showed her the photo of us at a We Feed Our People event. She had alot of questions about her hat.

And then...

Mara: Where is he now?

Me: He's buried in Atlanta.

Mara: How old was he when he died?

Me: He was 39.

Mara: Wow, that's old.

Me: No, not really. That's younger than me.

Mara: If he was young, then why did he die?

(I should explain at this point that my father, Bobby Hale, and my eldest aunt, Manolia Young, died last year so she was curious about death.)

Gulp! I had not expected to have to talk to her about this part of your life. I was trying to keep it light, the way that Sesame Street might approach it.

I took a deep breath and told her that someone had killed you with a gun.

Mara: Why?

Quadruple gulp! I was not ready to explain segregation and racism. I told her that it was too difficult to explain.

Our conversation made me wonder how you, as a parent, explained to your children what you did and why. And the conversations that you had with yourself, Coretta and other parents who were also activists.

And it makes me think about how I haven't been as much of an activist since becoming a parent. And what that means for me and Mara and our neighbors around the world.

14 January 2010

earthquake: haiti

I have been sitting for an hour trying to figure out what to post about Haiti.

I started retooling content from Treehugger on green initiatives in Haiti. But I felt uneasy about promoting organizations that I had not personally vetted. Saying nothing seemed equally problematic. So I have decided to give a bulleted lowdown on earthquakes using content from wikipedia's general entry on earthquakes and its entry on Haiti's earthquake .

An earthquake's:

→ also called a tremor or temblor
→ the result of a sudden release of energy in the Earth's crust that creates seismic waves
→ recorded with a seismometer (aka seismograph)
→ intensity of shaking is measured on the modified Mercalli scale
→ point of initial rupture is called its focus or hypocenter
→ epicenter refers to the point at ground level directly above the hypocenter
→ moment magnitude (or the related, mostly obsolete Richter magnitude) is conventionally reported with magnitude 3 or magnitude 7 (the largest)

Haiti's earthquake registered at magnitude 7!

An earthquake works:

→ by shaking (triggering landslides, volcanic activity) and displacing the ground
→ thru its epicenter, which, if located offshore, can cause a tsunami

An earthquake is caused by:

→ rupture of geologic faults
→ volcanic activity
→ landslides
→ mine blasts
→ nuclear experiments

13 January 2010

new book: black nature

I just found a new book titled Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry, edited by Camille T. Dungy, published by University of Georgia Press, December 2009.

UGA Press description:

Black poets have a long tradition of incorporating treatments of the natural world into their work, but it is often read as political, historical, or protest poetry—anything but nature poetry. This is particularly true when the definition of what constitutes nature writing is limited to work about the pastoral or the wild.

Camille T. Dungy has selected 180 poems from 93 poets that provide unique perspectives on American social and literary history to broaden our concept of nature poetry and African American poetics. This collection features major writers such as Phillis Wheatley, Rita Dove, Yusef Komunyakaa, Gwendolyn Brooks, Sterling Brown, Robert Hayden, Wanda Coleman, Natasha Trethewey, and Melvin B. Tolson as well as newer talents such as Douglas Kearney, Major Jackson, and Janice Harrington. Included are poets writing out of slavery, Reconstruction, the Harlem Renaissance, the Black Arts Movement, and late twentieth- and early twenty-first-century African American poetic movements.

The Berkeley Institute of the Environment will host a symposium at the University of California, Berkeley, 4-6 March 2010, titled Black Nature: A Symposium on the First Anthology of Nature Writing by African-American Poet. Six of the poets will participate in public discussions on the literary and environmental issues raised by the anthology: Clarence Major, Harryette Mullen, Ed Roberson, Evie Shockley, Natasha Tretheway and Al Young. Guest speakers include Camille Dungy, Robert Hass and Carl Phillips.

chocolate (& arugula) city

Parliament popularized the term "chocolate city" for Washington, DC with its album of the same name and title song in 1975. The song starts with the following lyrics:

Uh, what's happening CC?
They still call it the White House
But that's a temporary condition, too.
Can you dig it, CC?

Thirty-five years later, it's still called the White House but Barack Obama has, indeed, made its whiteness temporary.

While DC is still a chocolate city, 54% of residents are black, it is a far cry from the 70% majority of 1970. But green's the new black, right?

With Obama at the federal government helm and Adrian Fenty at the local government helm, George Clinton needs to write a 21st century anthem titled chocolate & arugula city. (He can invoke Obama's quip re the price of arugula at Whole Foods in front of farmers in Adel, Iowa!)

Mayor Fenty has pledged to make DC the greenest city in the U.S. He has greatly expanded the District Department of the Environment, signed off on a 5 cents bag tax marketed as a way to save the Anacostia River, supported the Smart Bike program, and made bike commuting a major priority. On a personal level, Fenty drives a Smart Car, and is an avid cyclist and marathoner.

I'd also like to see more of a focus on providing local, organic and vegan options in the public schools, and more consideration of apartment dwellers who are also interested in being more green.

Any photoshop/graphic design experts out there want to submit a redesign of the Parliament album cover, adding some arugula flavor?

12 January 2010

green colonialism in zimbabwe

Exploring Environmental History's 30th podcast focuses on the environmental histories of colonial Zimbabwe. Jan Oosthoek, the host, interviews Vimbai Kwashirai, Lecturer at Durham University, about his examination of the debates and processes of woodland exploitation in Zimbabwe during the colonial period (1890-1980).

Click here to listen to the podcast.

photo attribution:

11 January 2010

asa roundtable on nature & race studies

Britt Rusert, Duke University, and Sonya Posmentier, Princeton University, are organizing a roundtable titled "The Problem with Nature in Race and Ethnic Studies" for the 2010 American Studies Association conference in San Antonio, Texas, 18-21 November.

They are seeking scholars working from different sites within race and ethnicity studies to ask how a rigorous engagement with race studies might transform our thinking about the environment and vice versa.

Interested parties should send a brief CV and a 250-500 word abstract to bmr6@duke.edu by Friday, 15 January. The abstract should address your research and how it relates to the roundtable theme along with what topics and questions you would bring to the discussion.

Click here for the full announcement.

04 January 2010

free stores: one of my favorite things

What's a free store? A permanent or temporary space where everything is free. A more public freecycle. What's not to love?

My most recent experience with a free store was at Baltimore's Artscape, an arts festival held every July. (That's also where I played my 1st human foosball game!) Volunteers at the Baltimore Free Store had hung and strewn dozens of donated items that were free to all. I found a toy, candleholders and a shirt.

The Baltimore Free Store has found a permanent location and should open by spring 2010. They are always looking for volunteers.

There's also Crayons to Computers, a free store for teachers in Cincinnati, OH. There have also been free stores in Detroit, Brooklyn and Manhattan.