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Let’s keep the world beautiful

We are very proud to be joining 10,000 like-minded friends in Washington, D.C., next Sunday (“President’s Day” in America), to be part of a peaceful demonstration. Why? For me personally, I can say for sure that a key reason is the deep emotional connection that occurred in me when I watched the above ad, and another more famous one named “The Crying Indian”, as a young boy about 42 years ago. “Keep America beautiful,” it requested of me, and on some level, I have been trying to do that ever since. Now more than ever, we are aware that the Earth’s interconnected ecosystems cannot withstand all the pollution we can throw at them, and what impacts one area plays out worldwide. This is just the beginning of an ongoing discussion, as you know, friends. We hope you will join us, in DC or where ever you are, in this common and most imperative cause… to keep the world beautiful.

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KXL ride ends, real fight begins


Photos of Tom Weis, president of Climate Crisis Solutions, on his journey to raise awareness of opposition to TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline project. Beginning Oct. 13, 2011, Weis rode his rocket trike from the Canadian border at Montana to Port Arthur, Texas, along the proposed path of the pipeline extension.

The following letter from Tom Weis is being republished with the author’s permission.

Date: Wed, 21 Dec 2011 07:50:42 -0700

Dear Friends & Colleagues,

2,150 miles later, the Keystone XL Tour of Resistance formally concludes today at the end of the line in Texas. What more appropriate place to end the “Ride for Renewables: No Tar Sands Oil On American Soil!” than in the fence line community of West Port Arthur, in the shadow of some of the world’s largest oil refineries raining toxic emissions down on one of America’s poorest communities? Enough is enough!

Despite the numerous premature declarations of victory, and the recent pathetic display of political gamesmanship in Washington, DC, things have only gotten more dire out here on the front lines, where people would be most directly impacted by the Keystone XL tar sands nightmare. For more on this, check out my recent op-ed in the Huffington Post.

In solidarity with all the courageous farmers, ranchers, rural families, indigenous leaders and fence line residents I’ve been so honored to meet during my 10-week trek along the proposed pipeline route, I URGE ALL AMERICANS TO RELENTLESSLY CHALLENGE PRESIDENT OBAMA ON KEYSTONE XL ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL – particularly in key swing states – until he denies this un-American pipeline. Alternatively, PRESIDENT OBAMA NEEDS TO LAY OUT A GREEN ENERGY PLAN FOR AMERICA that will revive our ailing economy and put millions of unemployed Americans back to work.

The “Ride for Renewables: No Tar Sands Oil On American Soil!” may be ending, but the fight to defeat Keystone XL and ecocidal tar sands mining has just begun. Read more

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Feb. 13, 1990: The Story of Tiny and Valera


In the late summer of 1989, I had an idea to approach the University of Central Florida’s student newspaper, “The Future,” about writing a weekly column. I wrote the first one and very humbly submitted it in person to the editor, Scott Altman. Without much fanfare, it was accepted, and so it went for the next fifteen months. Ultimately, many positive experiences grew from these efforts. One esteemed instructor made much of my work and was instrumental in me winning a Scripps-Howard Foundation Fellowship for the column. Thank you, Keith Fowles. Read more

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Please help stop the Keystone XL pipeline

Having recently learned about Canada’s tar-sand mining operations, I have found them to be a monumental man-made disaster. In Alberta, the depth and impact of this immoral business grows daily, expanding exponentially, with devastating consequences for the earth and its inhabitants; just some of us now, but eventually, everyone. Right now, the Keystone XL (KXL) pipeline venture is on a fast-track to approval in America, promising to bring crude from Canada’s oil sands to refineries on the Gulf of Mexico coast of Texas – at high risk to our air, water and other precious natural resources. Many people are unaware of this story, which boils down to greed versus responsibility. Unfortunately, the blame for “allowing this to happen” touches us all.

It’s very easy to think this issue is not too important, but right now, lobbyists are pushing KXL through very easily. Their backers are set to win, and get richer and richer, at what expense to our environment? Fueled on by unlimited demand for oil and more oil, all those influences ensure oil companies continue turning massive profits every year at the expense of our environment; after all, those corporations are only doing what our laws and actions allow them to do.

It seems clear that only people can protect nature, and although we might reasonably expect our leaders to do so, if we don’t raise our voices in concern, they really cannot stand up and fight. Sadly, I feel that the damaging effects of the planet-altering tar-sand operations occurring inside Canada’s Boreal Forest speak for themselves. Of course, to those making money in that business, negative environmental impacts are trivial compared to tantalizing “jobs” and so-called “energy independence.” Many accept those claims without thinking and seem ready to defend KXL to its bitter end. Respectfully, we invite everyone to stop this madness and help us pursue new sustainable energy solutions. We should not risk trashing America’s natural resources!

With all of this in mind, you and I have a very important job to do right now… so please join me in signing this Change.org petition: Stop the Tar Sands Oil Keystone XL Pipeline

Next, please go to tarsandsaction.org to learn the latest about the catastrophic environmental armageddon underway in Canada by oil companies, the misleading claims coming from those companies, powerful lobbyists in America and even some of our most respected leaders… and the irreversible toxic assault set to escalate against America’s natural resources if we don’t stand together now to stop it. Those behind this site are also organizing a demonstration in Washington D.C. on Nov. 6, so this is an excellent time for you to weigh in and help us advance this critical cause in your own ways. Please act soon, as the President may issue his final order granting or denying the KXL pipeline as early as November 1, so we have no time to lose.

Thank you very much for your attention, your peaceful, thoughtful action and leadership, and any constructive feedback you wish to share.

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Arc of the Poet, Part 12: Resistance

In the spring of 1995, I was trying to be many things to many people, and those wide attempts to stretch, please and succeed consumed so much energy that more than once, I was caught unprepared for the results. Especially for my inner-poet, it was a mad time.

That January, I had sent the following letter to Tom Tilford at Midwest Poetry Review to thank him for publishing Ethereal Stones, share more work and continue building our relationship. The sticky note he returned with my letter appears below. Read more

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Arc of the Poet, Part 3: True Love

Thank you very much for your interest in my education and exploits as a poet over the past 20 years. With Arc of the Poet, I’m aiming to share the most interesting highlights and lowlights as briefly, and as colorfully, as possible.

Even before 1990 had officially begun, I recall feeling anxious for it to be over. It truly was an endurance test for me, involving one marathon ordeal after another. I turned 23 that year, with no fanfare, and I took that as a sign of maturity. I also persevered in seizing my military and college experiences with the best of my thoughts and abilities, which I saw as evidence of my growing strength and confidence. By the time it ended, 1990 gave me a great deal in return for all my efforts. Read more

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Apr. 3, 1990: Paying Homage to April Fools

In the late summer of 1989, I had an idea to approach the University of Central Florida’s student newspaper, “The Future,” about writing a column. I wrote the first one and very humbly submitted it in person to the editor, Scott Altman. Without much fanfare, it was accepted, and so it went for the next fifteen months. Ultimately, many positive experiences grew from these efforts. One esteemed instructor made much of my work and was instrumental in my winning a Scripps-Howard Foundation Fellowship for the column that appeared July 25, 1990, under the headline, “Wishing for Chicago Life in the Heart of Orlando.” Thank you, Keith Fowles. Read more

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