Sunday, May 18, 2014

It's been a long year: I'm back and some environmental films!

My friends.  I've missed you.

I have missed writing here, too, and I feel remiss for not having done so.

I made a commitment to myself in the fall of 2013, before writing more here, and before writing for magazines, I had to finish my book, Polluting Mama: An Ecofeminist Memoir (Toronto: Demeter Press, 2014)  I did!  Yes, I did!  I wrote every morning from 4:00 a.m. until 6:30 a.m. (sometimes starting even earlier), woke up my daughter and then drove her to school.  Depending on my work schedule, I'd head back to more writing later in the day/eve, but I have had a lot of other responsibilities this year, so the writing had to take place mostly in the wee hours.

I did it, I did it.  The book is done!

I am making small revisions now and it will be out early fall--in print and on kindle. I'm so excited. Those who have read the work like it very much and I hope you will, too.

It was an exhilarating academic year.

Last June, 2013, I took over directing the Sustainability Studies Program at Stony Brook University and it rocked my life.  What an opportunity this has been to make a real "environmental" difference in the lives of our students at Stony Brook and beyond.  We brought many speakers to the University this year and into our classrooms--Sandra Steingraber, Michel Gelobter, Micheal Dorsey, Joni Adamson, Kristen Iversen, Dave Chameides, David Cassuto, Carl Safina, Desi K. Robinson, along with many others. These folks spoke to us about a variety of environmental issues including fracking, radioactive waste, nuclear weapons and Rocky Flats, environmental justice, food justice, animal rights and factory farming, and climate change.  In my eco media class, Dave Chameides (film guy and two-time Emmy- Award winner) taught my students how to make environmental short films and I'm so pleased with the results (see below!). We had an environmental film series, too, and showed a great selection of films including Earth 2100, Fierce Green Fire, Bidder 70, No Impact Man, Food Inc, No family History, Atomic States of America... and more....

So much happened this academic year, it's impossible to capture it all in one blog entry... One of the highlights was speaking at my local legislature to oppose the importation of radioactive fracking waste from Pennsylvania and Ohio to Suffolk County.  I encouraged many others to join me, including two students, Cory Tiger and Andi Burrows, as well as our visiting guest speaker that day, writer, Kristen Iversen, Sierra Club members and others.  We were thrilled to experience unusually rapid success in our efforts. The morning after we spoke, the legislature voted, unanimously, to ban ALL fracking waste from being purchased, imported, or used in any way in Suffolk County, Long Island. Success for the future generations!

With Kristen Iversen, author of Full Body Burden, at the Suffolk County Legislature

Oh, I wrote a piece about the Alice Walker film, Beauty in Truth  for Spirituality and Health Magazine.  My daughter and I went to see Beauty in Truth when it opened in NYC at Columbia University and we met Pratibha Parmar, the filmmaker.  The film appeared on PBS as part of the American Masters series.  I snuck that in despite my promise to write nothing but my book. I adore Walker, so I couldn't resist.

My piece, "Hurricane Sandy A Diary," was published with ISLE, Oxford University Press, in spring 2014.

Today: there is still grading to complete, administrative tasks to tend to, students to graduate at the end of the week-- but I wanted to say hello and let you know that I'm still here!

Oh readers, I am back and ready for a summer of new writing: poems, stories, and essays about love, the earth, friendship and motherhood. 

And here, for your viewing, are a series of film shorts by my students from our Environmental Media and Film class, Spring Semester 2014 (first-time filmmakers) on various environmental topics.  I'm so proud of the work my class did.  Thank you to my co-teacher, the filmmaker & Sustainability guy, Dave Chameides, for expertly guiding the students through this process, and to the film tech TA extraordinaire, Justin Fehntrich, for helping as well.  I know you will enjoy and be moved by these environmental film shorts.  My students are passionate, clever, and visionary.  Please watch all four sections... they are worth it.

Environmental Film and Film part 1

Environmental Film and Media part 2

Environmental Film and Media part 3

Environmental Film and Media part 4

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