Saturday, September 24, 2016

Edward Abbey: "America's prickliest and most outspoken environmentalist."

When googling "nature writers," I came across the picture and wiki page for Edward Abbey. I'd never heard of him; so I wanted to investigate. He was an interesting character for sure, and now I have to go find some of his books to read...

Here is a quote that sums up a lot of his opinions:
One final paragraph of advice: [...] It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it’s still here.
So get out there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, climb the mountains, bag the peaks, run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, the lovely, mysterious, and awesome space.
Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to the body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much; I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those desk-bound men and women with their hearts in a safe deposit box, and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this; You will outlive the bastards.
- Edward Abbey
He was a curmudgeonly stubborn environmental anarchist by all accounts. He spent a lifetime on the FBI watch list for being anti-war and anti-military, and took great pride in it.
The theme that most interested Abbey was that of the struggle for personal liberty against the totalitarian techno-industrial state, with wilderness being the backdrop in which this struggle took place.
How had I never heard of this guy?

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Wendell Berry's Standards for Technological Innovation (1987)

I came across this while doing some research for a lesson plan and thought it needed sharing.

Wendell Berry's Standards for Technological Innovation (1987)

To make myself as plain as I can, I should give my standards for technological innovation in my own work. They are as follows:

1. The new tool should be cheaper than the one it replaces.
2. It should be at least as small in scale as the one it replaces.
3. It should do work that is clearly and demonstrably better than the one it replaces.
4. It should use less energy than the one it replaces.
5. If possible, it should use some form of solar energy, such as that of the body.
6. It should be repairable by a person of ordinary intelligence, provided that he or she has the necessary tools.
7. It should be purchasable and repairable as near to home as possible.
8. It should come from a small, privately owned shop or store that will take it back for maintenance and repair.
9. It should not replace or disrupt anything good that already exists, and this includes family and community relationships.

Couldn't have said it better myself.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Wendell Berry, 'the sum of his beliefs.'

I saw this article about Wendell Berry that I wanted to share. It is written by David Skinner and has a very poignant opening:
For many of us, daily life is not an exercise in conviction. Our actions part ways from our ideals. In moments of weakness, we yield, like tall grass in a strong wind, to forces beyond our control. What others say, we accept. What happens to be on sale, we buy. What we actually think and believe is less a factor in how we live.
At seventy-seven years old, Wendell Berry continues as a great contrary example to the compromises others take in stride. Instead of being at odds with his conscience, he is at odds with his times. Cheerful in dissent, he writes to document and defend what is being lost to the forces of modernization, and to explain how he lives and what he thinks.
He is the sum of his beliefs.
I am currently working on a lesson plan centered around a Wendell Berry essay for high school ELA class. I have to describe why I think the particular literary work deserves to be added to the curriculum. I don't think they will accept:  Because it is Wendell Berry...
I want what I actually think and believe to be MORE a factor in how I live. I think that is something all of us should strive for. 
How ya like them Berries?