Friday, March 6, 2009

Wendell Berry on "Hope" & Power Shift 2009

On March 1st, the Chesapeake Climate Action Network hosted an event - "Artists for the Climate - A Night with Wendell Berry, McKibben and Speth" at George Washington University's Lisner Auditorium.

The $15 general admission tickets ($10 for students) allowed attendees to hear from Wendell Berry, one of the giants in environmental literature -- along with writers Bill McKibben and Gus Speth -- in a night of discussion, poetry and inspiration. Additional speakers included the noted authors and activists Terry Tempest Williams and Janisse Ray, as well as Rev. Lennox Yearwood of the Hip Hop Caucus.

Music was performed by Grammy award winning musician Kathy Mattea, the Southern Applachian old time musical group Here's to the Long Haul, and Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia Rapper of the Year, Laelo Hood.

Wendell Berry is the author of more than forty books of essays, poetry and novels. He has worked a farm in Henry County, Kentucky since 1965.. According to the New York Review of Books, Berry is "A Kentucky farmer and writer, and perhaps the great moral essayist of our day."

Check out this poem read by Wendell Berry, at the event:

Bill McKibben is an American environmentalist and writer who frequently writes about global warming, alternative energy, and the risks associated with human genetic engineering. Beginning in the summer of 2006, he led the organization of the largest demonstrations against global warming in American history, Step it Up and continues his work with

Gus Speth is Dean of the School of Forestry & Environmental Studies at Yale University. Dean Speth has been a leader or participant in many task forces and committees aimed at combatting environmental degradation, including the President's Task Force on Global Resources and Environment; the Western Hemisphere Dialogue on Environment and Development; and the National Commission on the Environment.

Kathy Mattea is a Grammy Award winning country music and bluegrass performer, singer of the Number One hits "Goin' Gone", "Eighteen Wheels and a Dozen Roses", "Come from the Heart" and "Burnin' Old Memories", as well as twelve additional Top Ten singles. Her recent album, Coal, explores her heritage as the granddaughter of coal miners, the human cost of coal and the way of life in coal-country.

Terry Tempest Williams is a naturalist, writer and environmental activist whose writing explores relationships between environmental issues and social justice. Her most recent book, Finding Beauty in a Broken World, is a "A singular meditation on how the natural and human worlds both collide and connect in violence and beauty".

Janisse Ray is an environmental activist, poet, and award-winning author whose first book, Ecology of a Cracker Childhood, recounts her experiences growing up in a junkyard, the daughter of a poor, white, fundamentalist Christian family. Ray has also been a contributor to Audubon, Orion, and other magazines, as well as a commentator for NPR's Living on Earth.

source: CCAN website

Members of the public could have purchased $100 tickets to attend the pre-event reception. Alexis Baden-Mayer, an Organic Consumers Association staff member, attended this reception, and had this to say about it:

Before the main event, I attended a more intimate gathering where I had the opportunity to meet Wendell Berry. I asked him about the next day's Capitol Climate Action, a direct action to shut down the coal plant that fuels the Capitol. He said he joined Bill McKibben in organizing the protest because coal is "tearing up the mountains in Kentucky and West Virginia, and destroying the forests, an unlimited resource, for the sake of the extraction of a limited one." As for speaking to organic consumers, he said simply, "Well, I hope I enjoy their food."

Source: Organic Consumers Association website

Capitol Climate Action was a part of Power Shift 2009:

From February 27th to March 2nd, 2009 young people from across the country will converge on Washington D.C. to take a message of bold, comprehensive and immediate federal climate action to Capitol Hill.

This was the subject of the day of action, organized by Bill MicKibben:

Wendell Berry talks about his participation in the action:

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