If you read this blog, you would likely guess that after a summer full of heat, drought, and then a windstorm, I couldn’t wait for autumn running. It has arrived! I saw many geese yesterday flying southward–a beautiful sight–and I said to my husband, “Maybe it’s about to get colder.” Well, it has been very cool at night, and it’s wonderful sleeping weather. Today I ran a different route than usual, and I ran up some steep hills for about a mile, down a very leaf-covered sidewalk for about a mile, and then had more uphill for a bit longer. The day was crisp and orange, with a perfect blue sky. Beautiful running weather!
Now on to the many things I have been meaning to blog about this week:
- As many know, Justin Trudeau was elected to be Canada’s new prime minister. He is in the Liberal party (which is to the left of the current prime minister Stephen Harper and the Conservatives but right of the NDP). Everyone I know was incredibly happy that Harper is no longer prime minister, even those who preferred the NDP. Trudeau has already committed to no Northern Gateway or eastern pipelines through Canada, a renewed moratorium of tankers on the northwest coast, revisiting First Nations rights, and replenishing wild salmon on the Fraser River, among other things. I’ve been an advocate of all these issues, particularly with my series on the Great Bear Rainforest and my work with non-profits on the Fraser River, Burrard Inlet, and surrounding streams. So this re-election was a good step in the right direction. I hope Canada moves away from the oil sands and fracking and toward renewable energy and other tech that will get us off fossil fuels. I like to say that old bones and old brains should stay in the ground.
- During the Vancouver Film Festival, we watched Racing Extinction. I don’t even know if I can find the words powerful enough to describe the film. Made by the same filmmakers of The Cove, the film’s primary focus is on a world changing so fast–and with climate change thrown in to the pot of pollution, excess resource grabs, deforestation, etc., species are going extinct at a faster rate than ever before. The ending of the documentary is visually stunning and emotionally heartbreaking–but the looks captured on children’s faces and really everyone’s faces, is very hopeful. See it! I’m also looking forward to J Ralph’s and Sia’s “One Candle” song on Youtube, which was featured in the film. I don’t think it’s been released yet. The film comes out widely in December. “It’s better to light one candle than curse the darkness.”
- Finally, the Winds of Change: Short Stories about Our Climate anthology is out! Ordering information is at Moon Willow Press, a press release went out today at Sustainable Business, the book launch’s registration is up, and I’ve gotten two boxes of the book as well as mailed the book to all the contributors. Exciting stuff! I can’t wait to meet some of the authors on November 17th at the launch and reading. I have not met any of them in person, but several are from Vancouver and one of them is coming from the UK to visit. I will post Michael Rothenberg’s foreword to the book below, just as a teaser.
Winds of Change: Foreword
The realities of global warming and the decimation of the environment have eroded the parameters of time and space, and have turned the human psyche upside-down. The painful truth of the destruction brought on by the human race has jangled our nerves and imagination. We have pushed ourselves beyond our comfort zone to a nightmare world of broken dreams. We know what the future is like because the future is now.
Science fiction is now a love story; a love story is now a political satire. The environment is inside and outside of us all, and there is suffering and confusion. As a result, poets, writers, and artists of every discipline have begun a powerful and unceasing global analysis of what the world is, and what it will be like, for our children, as everything we thought we knew about our planet Earth has been compromised and set adrift.
Winds of Change is a historic document born out of a short story contest held in conjunction with 100 Thousand Poets (Authors) for Change. The purpose of this global event is to amplify the movement of poets and writers—and all artists who hope, through their actions and events—to seize and redirect the political and social dialogue of the day, and turn the narrative of civilization towards peace and sustainability. Change is in the air.
The more I read this anthology, the more I understand the raw essentiality of this movement. We have seen quite a few anthologies of poetry spring up since the birth of 100TPC in 2011, but this is the first anthology specifically focused on issues of sustainability and the first to call out to fiction writers to join the discussion. Some say that poetry, art, writing, and music aren’t supposed to make a change—that they can’t make a change. They say they like to “keep their poetry and their politics separate.” They like to quote Auden’s “In Memory of W.B. Yeats,” singling out the line “poetry makes nothing happen.” (Read “fiction makes nothing happen.”) But, by my understanding, Auden’s words run deeper and stronger and are more essential than a
chastisement of mixing your art and politics. In fact, for me, Auden suggests the opposite by context. Art belongs to civilization, and what we deliver from the imagination transposes and unearths our understanding of who we are and what we do as humans. Civilization is the platform for these creative works of change. The moment we say “poetry makes nothing happen,” something indeed happens.
We follow Winds of Change, and we search for understanding and direction. The writers in this great collection offer us hope against the fear that we have gone too far in our experiment of destruction. There is beauty here. Change is coming. Let us begin anew!
–Michael Rothenberg, founder of 100,000 Poets for Change (100TPC)