Sunday, April 22, 2007

Peace on Earth Day


Happy Earth Day!

I mean it — even though it's been a bad year for my beloved Barton Springs and for the planet Earth.

One of the organizations (SOS) here that has fought the hardest to keep our local evironmental treasure, Barton Springs, alive has been forced into bankruptcy by legal costs for battles that should be fought by city, state and federal agencies whose agendas read like templates for wise use ideology.

Austin is perceived by outsiders to have one of the strongest environmental movements in the country. Sad.

We're losing the Springs, losing the Hill Country aquifer that filters our water and losing air quality to an obscene set of "clean" coal plants. Toll roads are cutting through neighborhoods and farmland to take people to developments where none should ever have been allowed. And we're paying tolls on roads we've already paid for. Republican math.

Dying bees and Climate Change are about to make the work we do to protect the environment moot, in four years or fifty.

Lately I am experiencing an environmental identity crises.

I don't want to give time to groups whose message has been diluted by developer interest. I don't want to help plan the "build out" of the aquifer. The stragegies and activist groups we've formed are getting knocked out by governing bodies that serve corporate interest and Republican courts. What's next?

1. Consciousness raising about globalization and the disasterous effect multi-nationals have on local living conditions all over the world. Laura Dunn's new film The Unforeseen addresses this. We've got to stop them.

2. Work to put in place measures to stop Climate Change and Global Warming.

3. Fast track alternative energy and transportation systems.

4. Dismantle Free Trade agreements that don't protect workers and the environment and that are written to supercede government controls at national, state and local levels.

5. Wage peace because war is the worst polluter of all.

6. This work will be easier if American's take back the vote. Here is a video about the Texas Paper Ballot Bill.

Will these big picture actions save Barton Springs? Probably not. But maybe our grandchildren will have a place to live.

Here are some organizations that claim to work for the environment. Help us add to this list by sending in your own favorite environmental activist groups. And let us know if any have falled from within to wise use rhethoric and habit.

At earthfamilyalpha we write about this all the time — help us expand our impact by sending links to your friends, lists.

Happy Earth Day

©Susan Bright, 2007.

* "Peace Mural" copyright 2004, directed by Trish Graham
Location: Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy


Climate Change: Why We Can't Wait, James Hansen, The Nation, 4/21/078

Adapt or Die, Mark Hertsgaard, The Nation

Al Gore's Inconvenient Truth dvd available.

Some environmental organizations:

Friends of Barton Springs Pool

Sierra Club, Earthjustice: Because the Earth needs a good lawyer.

American Bird Conservancy

National Audobon Society

The Great Backyard Bird Count

The League of Conservation Voters

Nature's Classroom

Waterkeepers Alliance

The Abalone Alliance (history)

Global Green USA

Earth Island Institute

National Resources Defense Council

Alliance for Justice

Earth First


Nuclear Control Instutute

Rainforest Action Network

Greater Edwards Aquifer Alliance

Click here to read about Earth Day Events in Austin.

Click here to play a wonderful video: The Solar Bipedal Chariot,
thanks to Marjorie Wood for sending this to us.

Susan Bright is the author of nineteen books of poetry. She is the editor of Plain View Press which since 1975 has published one-hundred-and-fifty books. Her work as a poet, publisher, activist and educator has taken her all over the United States and abroad. Her most recent book, The Layers of Our Seeing, is a collection of poetry, photographs and essays about peace done in collaboration with photographer Alan Pogue and Middle Eastern journalist, Muna Hamzeh.

Announcement: The Plain View Press e-store has just gone online.


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Anonymous Anonymous said...

You put up really outstanding and thought provoking content.

Thank you for that.

All your goals are laudable.

Any suggestions on how to reach them?

The closest you come is item 6 - Americans take back the vote. There is of course a pre-supposition in that assessment. That Americans - the 'populist democracy' - are superior to the rest of the planet and they know better or would make much of a difference to any of the items 1-5.

But item 6 is certainly a desirable goal nevertheless for the denizens of America.

How to achieve it?

Not that I have the full answer, but I do have some preliminary thoughts on it that I hope you can look at, and if they make sense, to develop them further to make item 6 happen.

You can read these preliminary thoughts in ch7 of "Prisoners of the Cave" at

If anything in there is useful, please take it and run with it to develop a strategy to achieve item 6.

Apart from that, items 1-5 can only be achieved with the help of the world's public uniting for a common cause. The cause of normalizing the affluence of the Global North with the deprivation of the Global South. IMHO. Global warming, the environment, the pollution, the fish, the air, are all laudable considerations for the people of the North who have all of the basics of life and essential necessities like food shelter clothing, education and freedom from tyrranny and imperial hegemony met, but unless these same basics are extended to the people of the Global South first, why should the world worry about the problems of the environment? They are already dying by the tens of thousands for the want of basics.

Thus perhaps instead of worrying about global warming first, the good peoples of this 'populist democracy' - once they reclaim item 6 - can worry about first a more equitable sharing of the earth, its wealth, its resources, and its exploitation - i.e. either all be exploited, or none, for its one ship of humanity. We all float and enjoy the ride, or all sink - together!

Thanks again,


4:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


thanks for this thoughtful comment and for earlier ones too.

yes the people of the North must work to re-distribute the wealth -- here too it is unequal, 95 percent belonging to 2% -- the robber barons.

there is much to do.


10:34 AM  

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