Tuesday, November 21, 2017

How to be Fearless (and even Happy) in Frightening Times

For decades I’ve worked to shift the world toward peace and environmental harmony. It’s uphill work, and this past year I’ve seen the biggest setbacks yet. So, I created what I needed: a list of strategies for overcoming compassion-resistance fatigue.

It's just been published in Kosmos; click on this title to read the full list: How to be Fearless (and even Happy) in Frightening Times.


Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Banff Moments: Guest Post by Amar Athwal

A few years ago, a wildlife activist in Alberta forwarded an email called "Moment" from a photographer in Banff, British Columbia. I got on his email list and started getting, every so often, another "Moment" in my inbox: one of his gorgeous photos accompanied by a brief description. The photographer, Amar Athwal, is this entry's guest blogger. ~ Marybeth
Photography is my way of engaging with nature, my way of finding balance in life, my way of having a creative outlet and most important my way of sharing how amazing nature is. Everything in nature is my photography subject, from flora, fauna, landscapes, night sky, and more. Here are four examples:

 Blackpoll Warbler

We experienced a great spring bird migration this year; one of the reasons for that was seeing this male Blackpoll Warbler. A rare sight in our neck of woods. Few years back a study was conducted with these warblers, a half gram tracker was placed on the back of these 12 gram birds before they made their southern migration journey. Out of the 37 birds that were tracked, five were recovered the following year. From the information the trackers were able to gather, those five birds averaged 2,540 kilometers non-stop flight in roughly 62 hours, over the Atlantic Ocean. Just amazing.
Wood Lily

During the summer the colours are everywhere in the mountains and the western wood lilies play a big role in that. But only for about a month their beauty is on display, which is well worth stopping for (and for me well worth fighting the mosquitoes to get few good pictures). A quick picture is not good enough, I will walk around until I find the right flower with the right background. And if you don’t come back with dirt on your knees and elbows, then you did not try hard enough to get the best picture possible.

This large male grizzly was  busy during the mating season. At the start of the season he was following a female in the Lake Louise area. Then few weeks later he decided to cover about 60 kms over few days to see another female. Then he was back near Lake Louise with another different female. And only he knows what he was up to during the times he has not been spotted between those three encounters. He has been busy, covering the distance and keeping ahead of the larger males to mate with a willing female. And he still has few weeks to go before the mating season is over. Just a small window into the life of a male grizzly bear.
Rufous Hummingbird

I came across an active Rufous Hummingbird nest during the latter part of July, normally when the hummingbirds are done with nesting and enjoying the summer until they make their way to Mexico for the summer. During the summer the Rufous Hummingbirds can be found as far north as Alaska. No other hummingbird breeds farther north then the rufous. One way travel from their winter home Mexico to Alaska is about 6400 kilometres, not bad work for a very small but feisty 8 cm long bird. 
Peyto Lake
For raw beauty, it's hard to beat Peyto Lake area. After watching a beautiful sunset at Peyto lake, I decided to sit down among the rocks and watch the sky get darker and the stars make an appearance. Only sounds I could hear as the brighter stars were making their appearance, was of the vehicles when they would go over the rumble strips on the road in the distance, the water making its way down from Peyto Glacier and, more than likely, a pika moving among the rocks near me in the dark. I was still able to see some of the warm colours from the setting sun in the distance, in the clouds and in the fire smoke from the west. In the sky I could also see a glow, just a hint of  northern lights. Once my camera had taken the pictures I had planned, I packed up and made my way to the car. Half way there, a small owl flew front of me. Nice way to end the trip.
To see more of Amar's photos -
Website: banffmoments.com.
Facebook: Banff Moments.
Instagram: naturebyamar

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Adrienne Rich: My heart is moved by all I cannot save

                   My heart is moved by all I cannot save:
                   so much has been destroyed

                   I have to cast my lot with those
                   who age after age, perversely,

                   with no extraordinary power,
                   reconstitute the world.
                                                  ~ Adrienne Rich, Dreams of a Common Language

Friday, June 9, 2017

Free Summer Eco-Reads

From now until June 15th, a group of 20 authors--me included--are giving away our books. These books, from memoirs, to children's books, to novels, novellas, anthologies, mysteries...from a diverse and international group of committed and talented writers...all rise from a shared love of the natural world, and a commitment--especially now, in these dark political and climate-changing times--to protect this more-than-human world and to celebrate all its wonders.

Inspiring. Informed. Adventurous. And FREE. Get yours here: http://wildpolitics.co/20authors/.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

At the Associated Writing Program's conference in Washington, D.C. this past February, poet Jill McCabe Johnson handed out broadsides of my poem, "December 21st," with a political action for Resist Write Now!

Here's the broadside, the poem -

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Loren Eiseley: Immense


Once in a lifetime, if one is lucky, one so merges with sunlight and air and running water that whole eons, the eons that mountains and deserts know, might pass in a single afternoon without discomfort.

                  ~    Loren EiseleyThe Immense Journey


Thursday, February 18, 2016

Love, Sex, Earth: Guest Post by Lorraine Anderson

My guest blogger, Lorraine Anderson, has just released a beautiful and inspiring anthology, Earth and Eros, with color photographs by Bruce Hodge. Anderson has an incredible gift for creating ground-breaking anthologies: she edited the renowned Sisters of the Earth, one of the first anthologies of women's writings on nature, and one of the most important books I've ever read. Earth and Eros is equally seminal. ~ Marybeth

There it was again, the Hallmark version of Eros: the winged boy with arrows in his quiver meant to strike lust into young hearts. In this guise, dreamed up by the later Greek satiric poets, Eros enjoyed wreaking havoc in the Greek pantheon, smiting the gods with inconvenient desires and provoking unrequited loves. Zeus falls for the mortal Semele; Venus falls for the mortal Adonis. Tearing and rending of garments ensues, as do offspring: from the former couple, Dionysus, that hearty partier.

But this is a trivialization of Eros that obscures its power to move postmodern people toward a rapprochement with the natural world. In the most ancient Greek stories, Eros is a fundamental cause in the formation of the world, representing the power of love to unite discordant elements and bind humankind together. It’s that sense that we urgently need to recover today. Properly understood, Eros is a force of nature, the innate life force that connects us to ourselves, to other human beings, to all other living beings on the earth, and to the earth as a living being. Eros is fuel for a revolution of the heart. And sex plays an essential role in that revolution.

Native American poet Sherman Alexie refers to sex as “the fog-soaked forest into which we all travel,” “the damp, dank earth into which we all plunge our hands / . . . / to search for water and room and root and home.” Sexuality is basic and universal, and its great beauty is that when we are naked, vulnerable, and aroused, when we are out of our minds and fully in our bodies, we are perhaps closest to our own nature and our own wild hearts. In that moment we know for certain that we are part of, not above, the animal kingdom.

All of the environmental sins of our time spring from holding ourselves above and separate from the great body that provides for our every need. When we see ourselves that way, we impose our own self-serving plans on the natural world. The catastrophic results are all around us. Sexuality draws us into relationship and makes us see that we are part of—not apart from—nature. When we understand that what we do to nature we do to ourselves, we are much more likely to respect and hold sacred the land and other beings. We are much more likely to listen to and cooperate with the great intelligence that informs all life around us.

So next Valentines Day, go outside. Listen. Listen to your own beating heart, to your deepest longings, and to the world around you. Listen hard. Listen as if your life depends on it.


Lorraine Anderson is editor of the new book Earth& Eros: A Celebration in Words and Photographs, which brings together prose and poetry by nearly seventy authors—including Gary Snyder, Terry Tempest Williams, Pablo Neruda, Diane Ackerman, D. H. Lawrence, and Louise Erdrich—to celebrate the sacred erotic dimension of humans’ relationship to the earth. Foreword by Robert Michael Pyle and photographs by Bruce Hodge.