Saturday, January 21, 2012

cuts and invasions


Eyes hands how many hands have touched my breasts i'm not just talking about lovers hands i'm talking about doctors and nurses and technicians and surgeons and radiologists and machines pressing and radiation Eyes heart and neck /cut/ my neck and breasts and womb and belly and face Eyes for that I am alive for that I am Eyes for that I am dead Eyes inside airport breasts hospital bed sonogram MRI catscan mammogram watchful arms up! dig in


                   secret what?

Post location here ## .... ten second to press # button

shoes off
coat off
belts off
scarf off
put your personal belongings
in this plastic

airport nakedness

all bags are black

Where did you purchase those BIG breasts?

                   What color [are your] blinders?

Thank you
     for not speaking
do not be a busy body
Just So

are you an eco terrorist?

   drones are flying up high

private groups talking privately
##   can they accomplish?
fake bellies marching
penguins marching
In front of Japanese consulate
   penguins voting
will they get arrested?
[unspoken fear]
quietly 200 species dying each day
not enough poetry not enough
deep greens
solar panels ## solution
not so
do not look for solutions
back to the forest
but when they are lost
no more forests
what then?
it's not just  humans?
so anthropomorphic are you!

GUILT for all that I have not done

the babies


listening now

raining tears

you certainly understand
though you pretend
not to

Friday, January 20, 2012


Thursday, January 19, 2012


No More Fukushimas Peace Walk
March 2- March 21, 2012

Oyster Creek Nuclear Power Plant- Forked River, NJ
to Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant- Buchanan, NY
toVermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant- Vernon, VT

One year after the Nuclear disaster at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Facility the situation is far from under control. Dangerous levels of radioactivity are still being found hundreds of miles from the site of the accident. Almost 90,000 people have been forced to leave their homes with little hope of returning. In addition to the incalculable health costs and psychological trauma, the decades-long process of clean-up and decontamination of almost 1000 square miles of land may cost as much as 250 billion dollars with limited prospects for success.

Our walk is a prayer for the suffering of the Japanese people as a result of their government’s reckless nuclear policies. It is also a plea for the people of New Jersey, New York, and New England to recognize the grave dangers that nuclear energy poses to our lives, our property, and all life on our Mother Earth. Nuclear energy is neither safe nor clean. The threat of a nuclear accident at one of our own aging nuclear facilities is all too real and the consequences would be unimaginably catastrophic.
We walk together in love and solidarity for a nuclear free future. A more just, sustainable, and compassionate world built on respect for all living beings and for the earth that sustains us is possible now more than ever. Please join us to help make it a reality.

March 2— (Friday): Evening Gathering-- Forked River, NJ area
March 3—(Saturday): Forked River (Oyster Creek Power Plant) to Toms River, NJ
March 4—(Sunday): Toms River to Point Pleasant Beach, NJ
March 5—(Monday): Point Pleasant Beach to West Long Branch, NJ
March 6—(Tuesday): West Long Branch to Perth Amboy, NJ (Stay on Staten Island)
March 7 – (Wednesday): Staten Island, NY to Hoboken, NJ
March 8— (Thursday): Wall St. (Manhattan) to George Washington Bridge
March 9-- (Friday): Leonia to Paterson, NJ (Stay in Wayne)
March 10-- (Saturday): Tallman, NY to Nyack, NY
March 11-- (Sunday): Croton-on-Hudson to Indian Point (Vigil @ Indian Point, 1pm; afternoon program in Peekskill)
March 12 – (Monday): Rest Day (Vigil at Entergy Headquarters, White Plains, NY @ 12pm; Evening program in Manhattan)
March 13— (Tuesday): Shuttle to Hudson NY. Walk from Hudson to Kinderhook, NY
March 14-- (Wednesday): Kinderhook to East Greenbush, NY (stay in Albany)
March 15—(Thursday): Albany to Niskayuna, NY (Vigil at Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory)
March 16-- (Friday): Shuttle from Niskayuna to Worcester, MA. Meet the Leverett Peace Pagoda walkers.
Walk from Worcester to Springfield, MA.
March 17—(Saturday): Springfield –Holyoke, MA
March 18—(Sunday): Holyoke- Northampton, MA
March 19— (Monday): Northampton- Montague, MA
March 20— (Tuesday): Montague- Northfield, MA
March 21-- (Wednesday): Northfield – Vernon, VT (Vermont Yankee)

[This schedule is subject to change. Please check with the contacts listed below for any changes and/or for daily start and finish locations]

Walk initiated by Nipponzan Myohoji, Grafton Peace Pagoda.

For more information, contact: 518-658-9301
Before the walk: Christian Collins,; 718-850-1094(home); 413-320-2856(cell)
During the entire walk: Jules Orkin,; 201-566-8403
For the MA portion of the walk: Tim Bullock,; 413-485-8469

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

I'm A Climate Scientist - Extended Version (NSFW)

Monday, January 16, 2012

I miss you, Dr. Martin Luther King

I miss you, Dr. Martin Luther King.

This morning, when driving my daughter to a play rehearsal, we heard a Martin Luther King rap song on WBAI. My daughter smiled a big one.

King’s voice rang out, surrounded by powerful beats and drums.

“I remember hearing those words live on TV,” I told my daughter.

His words still ring true—the plight of African Americans in this country remains an unfair and terribly hard one.

Then, she asked me about my experiences with King and Civil Rights growing up.

“Didn’t your parents do Civil Rights actions?” She asked.

“Yes, when I was just a baby and toddler, my mom and her friends took us to the courthouse in downtown Miami. In the late 1950s and early sixties. They made us drink from the ‘negroes only’ water fountain. That stunned the white folks who worked there! How shocking for them to see a group of little white kids and babies in strollers, all lined up to get a drink of water from the ‘negroes only’ fountain.”

My daughter listened intently.

“And, you know the story about the Freedom Riders who came down south from up north, blacks and whites who road deep into the south to protest the Jim Crow laws and racial oppression? Well, around this time, a similar group called CNVA (Committee for NonViolent Action) came to Miami. They stayed with my parents and their friends in the early sixties. The did Civil Rights work with local African American ministers. Meetings were held at our houses, money was raised. We took rides in their 'Spirit of Freedom' boat-–the boat that CNVA tried to take to Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Of course CNVA was stopped before they got anywhere near Cuba—but my parents and their friends marched in support of this voyage--across the bridge in heavy rain in Miami Beach, while the 'Spirit of Freedom' group attempted to boat to Cuba. After, their boat was confiscated.”

“Neighbors called us Reds, and the FBI watched very closely—lodging themselves outside of our houses. All these upper-middle class Jews (doctors, lawyers, dentists) in their houses in Miami Beach and Miami! What a time it was.”

I also told my daughter about how my mom and dad refused to go into any restaurant or hotel that my Caribbean nanny, Margie, couldn’t eat or sleep in. We just saw the movie, The Help. I told my daughter it was like that back then for real. She’s seen The Long Walk Home, which I also show in my classes on feminist mothering. The Long Walk Home –it’s one of my very favorites on this theme, along with Corinna, Corinna.

It was a different time.

It was a different time, but not different enough.

Case in point: today, as we drove past the lower income part of my town, and police checked each car for updated registration, they let me pass with just a wave. My car registration, in fact, is out of date; I'd forgotten to put the new one in. When one policeman caught this and asked about it, I explained that the new one was at home. He said, "I trust you. Go on." A white woman in a nice car. What if I had been a woman of color? Would he do the same thing? Would he trust me then?

“Why are they over here, stopping cars, mom?” My daughter asked.

For the very reason Mr. Luther King, the Freedom Riders, Rosa Parks, and so many others risked their lives, I tell my daughter.

Thank you, Dr. King. Yet words of thank you do not justice to what you are owed.

I would like to say things are all better now--that our world is color blind-- but in far too many ways, racial discrimination abounds. Count up percentages of inequity today, just as you did then in your speech: who fill our prisons, who die (most) on death row, who attend the most poorly rated public schools, who earn the lowest wages, who live in the (most) contaminated areas, who have the highest rates of infant mortality, and who die (most) from curable diseases?

I miss you very much, Dr. Martin Luther King.

We still need you.

Photo Courtesy of seavisioneternelly at Flcker.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

A Few DAYS more to fight Fracking in N.Y. FLOOD the DEC and Cuomo with calls and Letters

January 11, 2012 is the deadline for public comments before Cuomo moves
ahead with hydrofracking in NYS.

Please, if you will, take any or all of the
actions below in the next 3-4 days to protect New York's precious air,
water, land, and economy.


#1: Call Governor Cuomo every day. Be polite & direct and
tell him to ban hydro-fracking and commit to using renewable energy. New
Yorkers want safe and sustainable jobs and energy for generations to come.
Tell him that you vote in the Presidential race and will not forget his
stand on this issue. If he allows hydrofracking, you will not support his
future gubernatorial or presidential campaigns.

Here is his phone number: Albany: 518-474-8390

Here's his contact info for e-mail BUT THAT'S NOT NEARLY AS EFFECTIVE AS A

least one letter. Multiple short letters that address different points are
even better. DEC has one approved web-based form, but snail mail (has to go
out soon) is considered to be much better. All comments must be received by
them before January 11.

Here is a link to learn how to submit effective comment(s) to the DEC.
Please note that the DEC has requirements on how comments can be submitted
and comments sent by email, fax or telephone will NOT be entered into the
official record. Please read this web page with instructions and act
"to see cliff notes on draft doc only" --

Mail your comments to:
Attn: dSGEIS Comments
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
625 Broadway
Albany, NY 12233-6510

The DEC demands that any comment address specific content of the RD SGEIS
draft document, so you will want to go to those "cliff note" type web pages
above for some quick help on this. Here are some suggested points to
* No adequate assessment of the serious health impacts of fracking
* Inadequate and unclear rules about fracking in floodplains
* Limited protection for primary aquifers
* Unacceptable set-backs, even for NYC watershed
* Fracking waste is not classified as hazardous
* Tracking of fracking waste is left up to gas industry operators
* Open pits for storing fracking waste have not been outlawed
* Drilling is allowed under state-owned land
* No comprehensive, focused plan to analyze the cumulative impact of a full
build out of gas wells
* Have ignored documented science about natural migration of methane and
contaminants in drinking water

Go to any of the following web sites for more information on writing to the
Shortcut to "cliff notes" at

http://www.United for

#3: Send this well-organized coalition letter to Gov. Cuomo to
demand the withdrawal of the DEC draft, RD SGEIS, (DEC recommendations to
Cuomo). This is a group letter that follows the public comment guidelines in
a powerful way. The SGEIS has been called "a political document only - not
scientific." Please read and sign this letter and please tell all your
neighbors & friends to do the same:

#4: This one you can do now or after the deadline. Write a personal letter
to Gov. Cuomo and send it by snail mail. See One Million Fracking Letters
for further information and a sample letter (there is an online letter here as well).
Mail to:
The Honorable Andrew Cuomo, Governor of New York State NYS State Capitol
Building Albany, NY 12224

These are the most powerful & effective actions you can take at this
time...but you are not enough...please forward this request to your neighbors,
friends, relatives, children, real estate agents & businesses you know who
don't want Fracking (read: toxic poisoning). Please forward as soon as
possible. The clock is ticking. DEC wants comments by Wednesday, January 11,

Thanks for doing what you can to protect our air and water!

Leslee Rachel Cooper
High Falls, NY

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Fall of Water and the New Year

We are all so busy.

I am a full-time single mom, professor, and  writer.  I also consider myself an environmental activist and spend a good deal of time promoting environmental issues, as well as protesting on the ground.

What does this mean? It means I never sleep. It means I’m constantly chasing after the carrot, never catching it-quite-and always feeling like I’m 'not good enough.' Most women I know feel this way.

My students find me to be scattered. Some of them grumble. Others are more forgiving, as they know my heart is in the right place--it is just that I'm over-extended. My adolescent daughter has no patience for my seeming inattentiveness and failures. My editors shake their fingers at me because I’m late on deadlines. Some friends are offended because I'm forgetful or don’t have more time for them. It's true, my memory often fails me because there is so much, too much, on my mind, and too much to keep track of. My house needs work. My cooking is pathetic. My diet is not what it should be. My daughter is often late and it's my fault. Sometimes when I speak, words fail me. I frequently have a cold and a hoarse voice. I'm plain worn out.

I am a woman/mother of the twenty first century.

I care deeply about the earth, and I want to do everything in my power to try and preserve this beautiful planet in my last few years here, to end the suffering from early and unnecessary cancers, illnesses and genetic defects, to save the water, to save our vanishing species. If it means I’m a bit late, or that my lesson plans are not letter perfect, well that is a price that must be paid. The ocean matters more, the seals, whales, dolphins, and the lives of my neighbors and the future generations matter more to me than winning a prize for the homemaker or professor with the best organizational skills. I do the best I can. I really do try. I'm not going to parties (okay, I go very occasionally--new years', for example). I'm not painting my nails or getting facials. I'm not watching TV. Even my daughter tells me to take a break and socialize more. I swear, I'm working as fast and as hard as I can!

Is this a feminist issue? Would I be this disorganized if I were a man? Probably not. I'd either have a wife, or a secretary, or an assistant--or all of the above. How do men do make that happen?

How many of us are raising children alone, trying to take care of the many every-day tasks that must be tended to: bill paying, shopping, cooking, laundry, household upkeep, scheduling, schlepping and agonizing over our children-- as well as taking care of our outside-of-the-home paid job responsibilities, and doing some kind of volunteer work? Yes, crazy as it sounds, many working moms are also volunteers. We're also trying to maintain our figures (under the guise of mental health--we 'need' excercise to think straight!). We're superwomen, see. Well, sort of. At least in my case, we're cobbling-it-together-very-very-tired-while-trying-to-be-superwomen. We walk, we run. Nope, we can't fly.

There are millions and millions of us.

Not that being married made it any easier once upon a time. Having a partner at home did not help me with my workload. I know some people find their partners to be helpful, but statistically, most women carry a double-shift, and most men do not. (For those men who really do their equal share, kudos to you—I know you are out there, and I know some of you. To date, however, you are in the minority!). Personally, I work a triple shift, at least. Much of it is unpaid.

Recently, I was visiting with a couple—the man has a mirror career to mine. Yet, he has a stay-at-home-wife who helps him with everything. She is highly efficient. I want to steal her. In listening to their conversations, I was struck with deep dark envy. He has so much help-- help that I will never have unless I inherit a huge sum of money. That is never going to happen (perhaps I should say that--miracles do happen). She (my friend's wife) makes sure the bills are paid, the house is in good order, the refrigerator is stocked, the kids are alright, and all the home stuff is tended to--all the seemingly 'little things' that add up to a lot and that women do not get compensated for. She even helps him with his job! If I had that help, maybe I would be less forgetful, more timely, more efficient, and better, oh so much better at everything and, finally, ‘good enough’! Surely, I would even be more popular!

Of course, this makes me sound like I’m complaining.

Don’t I have a great life? You bet. I'm cancer free. I’m a tenured professor. I teach wonderful courses that I design-- with super cool students who take them. I write and live in a safe, warm place. My child is healthy and well adjusted. Meanwhile, much of the planet is struggling. We’re in hard times in the western world! So many poor folks are out of work, out of homes, scrambling just to survive. Throughout the planet, there are disasters of every variety-- rape, murder, starvation, violence, exploitation, environmental crises, and mass species extinction. Who am I to say a thing about my exhaustion? I'm not carrying wood and water on my shoulders, or digging ditches. Women and people and nonhuman forms of life are suffering all over the planet in such profound ways. Certainly, my petty worries are nothing by comparison. I have no room to complain.

I'm just saying, if I were a guy, I'd do more, I'd do it better, and I'd sleep a lot more. Added to that, my middle-aged roll in the middle, my aged eggs, or my facial lines and greying hair wouldn't stop me from the perpetual youth thing. I could have two more sets of families if I dared and, a few more young and beautiful spouses who would admiringly ask me while batting their eyes, "what can I do for you, dear?"

Seriously, I am very grateful for the privileged position I occupy and gifts I've been given. I have a long line of feminists (female) who came before me to thank for my tenure and my writing career. Many wonderful men helped me along the way and I thank them profusely for their support of my career path. Without these mentors--male and female, I would be....who knows, but I wouldn't be who, what, and where I am today.

I guess it is all about balance. There are many, many extraordinary men, but by and large, women still do too much.

Anyway, as tired as I am, and as little time as I usually have for my daughter, I decided we would go away for the Christmas break. Taking a break meant staying off the computer for a week (for the most part). We went to California where we have family and many good friends. It was the usual scramble to see the relatives and “get through the holidays”-- which for me is not always particularly easy (the subject of another piece of writing).

I love my friends and family, but nevertheless, the best part of the whole trip was taking my daughter to visit the Pacific ocean.

After several holiday parties, and much visiting—in the Berkeley area—we drove to Monterey. As soon as we got out of our rental car and stood by the edge of the cliffs by the water, both of us relaxed. We smiled--deeply smiled.

My heart cracked wide open for the first time in a long while.

The tension of a long semester released.

The tension of family get togethers, lack of sleep, and holiday travel released.

The ocean embraced and welcomed us.

We stood in silence.

The waves crashed against the cliffs and grew still momentarily. Then, the ocean raged again.

The salty air whipped through our hair --making it curly and wild.

What was the ocean saying?

Relax. Slow down. I am here. I am stronger than anything you know.

We spied a few seals. On the beach down below, children laughed. A band of seagulls flew high in the distance.

The waves crashed against the cliffs. A large roll of sea foam folded seductively and boldly into itself.

Relax. Slow down. I am here. I am stronger than anything you know.

In northern California –in the Monterey/Carmel area, trees are bent by the strong sea winds. Ansel Adams made them famous. These trees are perfect in their angular elbow shapes. I remember them from my childhood family jaunts when we lived in Berkeley. My dad would load us up in our VW van on weekends, and we traveled to Big Sur, Pt. Reyes, Asilomar, Carmel, Yosemite. Dad was big on getting us outside. We spent our weekends hiking or walking in nature.

When I stand by the ocean, now, it is a sacred experience. All thoughts vanish, all concerns about my “self” are gone. I stand and listen to something much greater and grander than any human creation. As Deena Metzger suggests, this body of water, all bodies of water, are much stronger, vaster, and wiser than any of us, stronger than this poisonous human race. Water will outlast humans and our insanity, our narcissism, our greed.

Yet, what form will this water take after the damage we humans have done?

We are poisoning the ocean, we are poisoning the water.

Rachel Carson warned us of 'man's hubris' in the Sea Around Us and Silent Spring--she explained how biomagnification moves up the food chain from seaweed to small fish, to larger fish, to mammals, and finally to us --thus intensified poisons enter our bodies. She warned of such poisoning as the U.S. tested nuclear bombs in the Bimini Islands (and elsewhere) in the 1950s, destroying populations in an act of grave environmental injustice to the peoples of those islands and the world, and to the beings of the sea. (To see a powerful visual timeline of nuclear bomb tests, watch this).

I watch a lot of anti-nuclear films and I show some in my classes. The most powerful one of all is the 1959, On the Beach. It takes place, as many of you know, in Australia, and it begins with and contains ocean water as its primary and fundamental symbol. The film is post-apocalyptic and tells of the story of the final month or so of the last human beings on earth to survive nuclear war. Over and over the filmic depictions of the sea remind us of what is at stake: everything.

Now the Japanese government fills our oceans with endless tons of radiation. They are not the only ones. Many countries, including our own, dump atrocities in the water. We drill and spill. We invade the sacred. Where is the public outcry? Where is the U.N.? Where are the world governments?

Where are you?

Since 3/11 post Fukushima, more radioactive material than has ever been released in human history continues to be dumped in the sea by Japan. The consequences of radioactive ocean dumping are vast. The radioactive waste, as Deena Metzger and ocean scientists show us, harms seals and other ocean life. Surely more violence will be done. Right now, a large swathe of radioactive debris is making its way to the west coast of the US—the very coast I stood on with my daughter two days ago. Right now, radioactive waste from Japan is hitting Vancouver beaches, a friend tells me. Right now, we are witnessing the pain this waste brings to our ocean brothers and sisters. Right now, cancer is on the rise-- one in two people will be diagnosed in their lifetimes.

Right now, the ocean is calling out to us.

We come from the ocean.

Water. What will we drink? What will we eat?

What creatures will survive?

Between the radiation and toxics that humans dump into our waters, and the ocean acidification from man-made climate change, what will be left for future generations?

Who will swim in a radioactive and toxic sea?

A day may come, and soon, when children will not swim in any body of water. What will those children think of us? Do we want to be remembered as a generation of ecocidal murderers?

Many writers have predicted this for years--Marge Piercy wrote of this in He, She and It; Margaret Atwood hints at it in Oryx and Crake and The Year of the Flood, as does Starhawk in Fifth Sacred Thing.

A day will soon come, when our sister and brother sea creatures will/may vanish altogether. Scientists say if sea life is destroyed, we cannot live.

Environmental injustice and ecocide are hard to face, but we must face the water. We must. This is not a time for resting, hiding, or covering eyes. There is no time to waste.

We must open our eyes, hearts, brains and spirits to make vast changes in how we live, whom we vote for, what we do with our days.

I call on everyone everywhere to become an environmental activist!

Find your own voice and way to participate, join the cause of preserving this earth.

We need more environmental supermen and superwomen.

All hands on deck. The ocean water is calling.

I am stronger than anything you know, but I cannot save you. Only you can save yourselves.

I close with these words of Deena Metzger's:

"I put out my arms but I cannot hold them all or from such a distance. And yet I know that deep empathy can take us down into the heart of the matter and we will find the ways that turn us toward restoration. How long will it take, looking at these photos, to live in such ways that we do nothing, nothing, nothing at any time to harm the earth so?"

By Heidi Hutner.