Call for Writing

Posted Nov. 11, 2015

City Creatures Blog is looking for creative nonfiction, personal essays, memoir or other work exploring the way cities foster opportunities for transformation, intimacy, and connection between humans and animals. City Creatures Blog publishes year-round and guidelines are here.Landscapes is looking for critical essays, creative non-fiction, poetry, photography and artwork with the theme of “ecotones as contact zones…intersections in and of  landscapes: human and non-human, microscopic and macroscopic, virtual and embodied, ecological and cultural.” Deadline is November 18 and guidelines are here. For more information (including detailed guidelines regarding possible topics or issues), contact Dr. Drew Hubbell and Dr. John Ryan here.  Ashland Creek Press has a December 15 deadline for short stories for their next edition of Among Animals, a book-length anthology focused on animals (including the intersection of human and animal lives). Guidelines are here.Kenyon Review is looking for poetry, essays, fiction, and drama for a September / October 2016 special issue on the poetics of science. Deadline is December 31 and guidelines are here.Under the Sun is looking for quality creative nonfiction and other essays. (Congratulations on so many “notable” mentions in Best American Essays 2015 and Best American Sports Writing 2015!) Deadline is January 2, 2016  and guidelines are here.The 2016 Climate Fiction Short Story Contest is seeking fiction on the possible futures created by climate change. The first prize winner will receive $1,000 and the best submissions will be published in an online anthology. Kim Stanley Robinson, the legendary science fiction writer, will be judging the contest along with climate fiction experts from Arizona State University. Deadline is January 15, 2016 and guidelines are here.Creative Nonfiction’s fall 2016 issue will be dedicated to “learning from nature.” Deadline is February 1, 2016 and there be a $5,000 prize for Best Essay and a $1,000 prize for best runner-up (there is no reading fee). Guidelines are here.

Source: Adrienne Ross Scanlan ILCW member (USA) and editor of Blue Lyra Review literary journal. For more information about the Blue Lyra Review or to subscribe.

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New Conservation Filmmaker

Posted Nov. 11, 2015
Films by Fulcrum has announced that they have three films for sale with six more to follow in 2016. Wilderness in America, a historical look at the way Americans have treated the land over the last four centuries, from something to fear and conquer to something to protect and value. This short introduction explains why the film was made:

The Salamanca Interviews of WILD10, hear the passion of these attendees of the World Wilderness Congress in Salamanca, Spain during the fall of 2013 and why they are fighting to protect our wild areas world-wide. And the Thomas Locker Visual Biographies collection that features four of Thomas Locker’s books, all read aloud by children’s literature expert and storyteller Judy Volc. The viewer hears the story while Locker’s beautiful paintings tell the visual story with music and sound effects. For more information go to: http://www.FilmsByFulcrum.com

In Support of World Population Day

Posted Nov. 11, 2015

By ILCW member Prerna Singh Bindra (India)

July 11 is World Population Day, and so I thought this is as good a time to proclaim, in full possession of my faculties, that I have resolved not to add one more person to the world’s 7,327,715, 901. Of course, the population clock would have ticked, the numbers jumped by the time you read this, even by the time I finish writing it.
This decision not to have a child is not an easy one for a woman, anywhere, but perhaps more so in India. We may have made strides in women’s empowerment. We may have had a woman prime minister, and women manning our forests and our borders, and venturing into space. Yet, ultimately, the worth of a woman, indeed her reason de entre, is to procreate. And all the better, if she births a man.

Let me dispel some myths and do some plain talking here:
One refrain childfree people often hear is: People who don’t have kids are “selfish, shallow and self-absorbed” (Read the book with the same title): Really? One reason I took this path – and there are others; more personal, and not for public consumption – is that I believe it is unselfish. At over 7.2 billion, we have no calling to perpetuate our race. The earth is groaning under our weight. Not only are there too many of us, but most of us have a dirty, greedy footprint. There is no disputing that overpopulation (and ceaseless consumption) is the single biggest cause of the hot soup – I mean global warming and its nasty consequences – we find ourselves in currently.
And any child I – part of the highly consumptive class – bring into this world, is frankly going to be this irresistible, cute little guzzler of water and nappies, food and fuel, vastly disproportionate to her/his diminutive size. As she/he grows, so will the wants – gear and gadgets, beer and burgers, car and bigger cars, home and second homes. She/he is going to consume electricity from Bhutan, coal from Australia, cotton that travels from India to Bangladesh to US, and then back. She/he will wash, wear, cook, create, travel, fly, achieve… All those things which make our hearts swell with pride, but cost the earth dear. There are enough mind-numbing statistics to support this, however this post is not about proving points.
It’s widely acknowledged, even if in hushed tones, that not having children may well be the biggest contribution to limit your environmental footprint. Grist writer Lisa Hymas coins the acronym GINK: Green Inclination No Kids. Telling, though, that the dictionary defines a “gink” as a foolish or contemptible person.
I think too, of the world we bring our kids into. We prefer not to face the inconvenient truth, but there is no escaping the fact that resources crucial to our survival are shrinking, getting dirtier. Water wars are already occurring, they will only get more frequent, murkier. Our food is frankly, filth. I do not want my child gasping for air, her lungs function far below capacity, as is the fate of Delhi’s (India’s capital and ranked the as the most polluted city in the world) children.
I would want my child to breathe fresh air, eat safe foods, drink clean water, swim in clear springs, marvel at rainbows, revel in lush forests, be humbled by the ocean, watch a tiger…
We are robbing our children, and their children, of nature’s endowment and abundance, of wonder and beauty.
We are leaving them a vastly insipid, impoverished world.
A word here for parents, and prospective parents: I am not preaching, I do not claim a high moral ground. You love kids, yearn to nurture them? Do so. Raise them to be happy, sensitive, kind people. In fact, I love (some) of your kids too. I adore my lively little niece, and my shy, and oh-so-bright nephews. I enjoy their company. I love their unwarped view of the world. I delight in the neighbourhood kids who come to meet my dog, browse through my books, and ask me incessant questions.
Each of us have different values, circumstances, desires. I respect your choice. Respect mine, too. This isn’t about you. The world, and everyone in it applauds you. Celebrates with you every step of the way: baby showers, birthdays, daughter days, weddings and then, more baby showers. Parents, grandparents, friends exult in your little bundle(s) of joy. Governments offer tax breaks. Hotels and travel agencies offer special deals (children under 12 free!). While we were left mumbling excuses for our choice; when you assume we would feel differently if “we had our own”; that we will change our mind. That we will rue this (selfish) decision, only by then, it will be too late.
There are so many things wrong with that, I do not know where to begin.
For one, it’s judgmental. Patronising? What makes you think you know me better than me? Have any of us sidled up to you, asking, if you regret having that charming little brat currently shrieking the house down for the newest Barbie?
So, is a family only husband/wife, children? How about parents, siblings, pets, soul sisters, friends?
Not having children is not a selfish, lazy, shallow decision. It does mean that us childfree types have guts to stick to our choice, bucking extreme social and every kind of pressure.
It’s a very tough choice to make. Bucking a norm, blessed by God and society, is never easy. And yeah, while one doesn’t miss the patter of little feet, there is the occasional pang for easy companionship and love that is the gift of a well-brought-up child.
My only ask here: Think outside your worldview. Change the narrative. The idea might be radical, but why not make it the new normal?
Meanwhile, I brace myself for the trolls and the brickbats.
This article was first published in daily O on World Population Day 11 July 2015

Forces of Nature: Environmental Elders Speak

Posted Nov. 11, 2015

Resources for ILCW Members
This website is packed with informative interviews by environmental leaders. The aim is to record and share first-person accounts of key decisions, case studies and stories that can assist today’s decision makers defend our natural heritage.
Forces of Nature: Environmental Elders Speak is a project of Resource Renewal Institute (RRI), which has developed original solutions to complex environmental problems for over 25 years. RRI launched the Environmental Elders Program to tap a reservoir of human knowledge and experience within the fields of environmental policy and activism, natural resource management and human health – and provide access to a collection of best practices and case studies to affect current environmental affairs.
Borrowing from oral history and autobiography, RRI’s video project Forces of Nature: Environmental Elders Speak brings together casual anecdotes with detailed accounts, the videos jump between the personal and the universal, offering stories of environmental battles won and lost so that future generations can be better prepared for challenges ahead.  Together these stories illustrate the dynamic tapestry of nature and the common threads that unite us globally in the fight to protect our most precious natural resources and special places for future generations.

Blood Lions–Behind the Scenes

Published Nov. 11, 2015
Empowers Africa Presents Film
Blood Lions–Behind the Scenes
The Explorers Club, New York, December 2, 6:00-8:30 p.m.

7. Pippa Hankinson_1

Photo © Pippa Hankinson
Non-profit foundation Empowers Africa is hosting a special screening of the new documentary film, Blood Lions™, which exposes the shocking captive lion breeding and canned hunting industry in South Africa. This will be the first public screening of the full 85-minute documentary in the United States.
The fundraiser will take place at The Explorers Club, 46 E 70th St, New York, starting with cocktails at 6:00 p.m. The special screening will be followed by a panel discussion on South Africa’s captive lion industry and its links to canned hunting, voluntourism and the burgeoning lion bone trade with Asia, featuring Dr. Andrew Venter, CEO of Wildlands, Dr. Luke Hunter, President of Panthera, and ILCW member (South Africa) Ian Michler, Blood Lions™ consultant, and lead character.

“We are hosting this fundraiser to support the Blood Lions™ campaign to raise awareness and put a halt to this brutal and unethical industry,’’ says Krista Krieger, executive director of Empowers Africa.  “If hunters, volunteers and tourists stopped supporting South Africa’s commercial lion breeders, it would go a long way towards closing their facilities down.”
According to leading South African NGOs Wildlands and Endangered Wildlife Trust, as well as the respected New York based NGO, Panthera, captive lion-breeding does nothing for lion conservation. Not a single captive-bred, hand-reared lion has been successfully released into the wild. Instead, every day in South Africa, two to three captive-bred, effectively tame, lions are killed in canned lion hunts.  Helping to fuel this industry are eager volunteers who unwittingly pay up to $1,000 per week to hand-rear lion cubs that have been forcibly removed from their mothers after birth.
Says Dr. Andrew Venter, CEO of Wildlands: “The scale of the industry is huge, with some 4,000 lion cubs born in captive breeding facilities in South Africa each year. Unbelievably, in South Africa canned lion hunting is legal, generating some US$10 million per year.’’
Dr Luke Hunter, President of Panthera, says the growth in Asian demand for lion bones (used as a proxy for tiger bones in traditional Chinese medicines) has created yet another revenue stream. South African lion breeders export over 1,000 lion skeletons annually for the lion bone trade in Asia. Hunter says: “There is absolutely no medicinal value in lion parts – you might as well consume cow for all the health benefits of lion bone. South Africa’s legal trade only fuels the demand for big cat body parts, providing a ready market for cats poached in the wild.’’
In order to reserve a seat for the Blood Lions™ event on 2 December, a donation of $150 can be made for regular seating or a $250 for VIP seating. “All donations from the screening will be granted from Empowers Africa to Wildlands to support the Blood Lions™ campaign. Funds raised will be used to recruit additional NSPCA Wildlife Unit inspectors to prevent abuse in the captive lion industry and to support wild lion conservation in South Africa,” Krieger says.
“We are thrilled to be supported by Empowers Africa in New York,” says Blood Lions™ co-producer Pippa Hankinson of Regulus Vision. “It’s been four years since I embarked on this project and I am determined to see an end to this cruel industry. As Martin Luther King Jr. famously said: “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter”.
For tickets for the event, click here.

Blood Lions

Posted October 28 2015.
Blood Lions image

Blood Lions is a new documentary that shines a light onto the shadows of canned or captive hunting in Africa – how lions are being “bred for the bullet.” The film follows acclaimed environmental journalist, safari operator and ILCW member Ian Michler, and Rick Swazey, an American hunter, on their journey to uncover the realities about the multi-million dollar predator breeding and canned (or captive) lion hunting industries in South Africa. It is a story that blows the lid off claims made by these operators in attempting to justify what they do. Last year alone over 800 captive lions were shot in South Africa, mostly by wealthy international hunters under conditions that are anything but sporting.
Ian Michler has been following this story since 1999, and he goes onto the breeding farms to witness the impacts that decades of intensive breeding is having on the captive lions and other predators. Aggressive farmers and most within the professional hunting community resent his questioning, but the highly profitable commercialization of lions is plain to see – cub petting, volunteer recruitment, lion walking, canned hunting, trading and the new lion bone trade are on the increase. And all are being justified under the guise of conservation, research and education.
In parallel the film follows Rick Swazey, who purchases a lion online from his home in Hawaii. He then travels to South Africa to follow the path canned hunters do.
The film interviews trophy hunters, operators and breeders as well as recognized lion ecologists, conservationists and animal welfare experts.The film shows in intimate detail how lucrative it is to breed lions, and how the authorities and most professional hunting and tourism bodies have become complicit in allowing the industries to flourish.
There is also hope in this story as the Australian government recently announced a complete ban on the importation of all African lion trophies into Australia.
http://www.bloodlions.org/

Women writers connect with nature on river trips in the West

Posted October 21 2015.
Feature story about ILCW Member Page Lambert (USA)
By Colleen O’ConnorThe Denver Post
Posted:   09/03/2015
Author Page Lambert spends some time with her Arabian horse Farside in a community pasture near her Mount Vernon home in Golden. (Cyrus McCrimmon, The Denver Post)

Lambert by McCrimmon

Page Lambert’s first raft trip through the Grand Canyon changed her life. Even the danger didn’t stop her. At the Lava Falls Rapid, considered the biggest and most scary, her raft shot into the air, and she plunged deep into the murky water. She surfaced, gasping for air, but the waves dragged her back down.
Still, she persevered, and that night, “elated and grateful,” she bonded with the crew over margaritas and steak.
“It was my first outdoor adventure that paired my love of writing with my love of the outdoors in a physical way,” she said on a recent afternoon, sitting on the deck of her home in Golden. “That experience was so powerful to me.”
It inspired her to create river trips for women, which she’s been doing for 18 years. This year, her six-day journey that starts Sept. 21 will travel down the Green River of Utah’s Majestic Canyons.
She schedules these trips toward the end of the rafting season because they’re not about “maximum whitewater, life and death, a thrill every minute,” she said. “They’re about letting the river replenish you.”
Since ancient times, women have gathered at rivers, bathing children and washing clothes and filling cooking pots. “It’s where we cleansed and purified ourselves,” she said. “Where we went to tell ourstories and share our dreams, to create a vision for the future.”
The theme for this trip is reaching the crossroads of life — professionally, personally or artistically. Because such transitions can be like navigating through fog on a river at night, she believes wisdom is best gained by relying on the senses.
“When there’s nothing but nature around you, all of those senses are heightened,” she said. “You’re suddenly keenly aware of the smell of dampness on the air or the shift when the winds begin to blow — you see it in the grasses.”
Being rooted in the present moment, she said, is essential for good writing and artful living.
Women and wilderness
She’s become expert at making course corrections in her own life.
As a young adult, she was working for a financial planning firm in Cherry Creek when everything suddenly changed.
“I met a cowboy and fell in love,” she said.
They married, and moved to a tiny town in the Black Hills of Wyoming, where she started a new life as a young wife and mother and began writing stories.

Read more

United Nations General Assembly Adopts

Posted October 21 2015.

The United Nations General Assembly unanimously adopted (on 30 July 2015) a resolution on “Tackling Illicit Trafficking in Wildlife.” Concerned over the serious nature and the increasing scale of poaching and illegal trade in wildlife and its adverse economic, social and environmental impacts, and expressing particular concern over the steady rise in the level of rhino poaching and alarmingly high levels of killings of elephants in Africa, the United Nations General Assembly unanimously adopted the resolution.

The aim of the UNGA Resolution is to “prevent, combat and eradicate illegal trade in wildlife within the existing international legal framework.” It urges Member States to reduce the demand for illegal wildlife products and to address sustainable and alternative livelihoods for affected communities to enable them to benefit from wildlife and wilderness. And to make illicit trafficking in protected species of wild fauna and flora involving organized criminal groups a serious crime.

For more information, please read the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora..

New Wilderness Area in US: The Boulder-White Clouds

Posted August 1, 2015.

On same spot_Norton

Photo by Boyd Norton taken in 1969 at the precise spot where the mile-long open pit mine was planned.
More than 275,000 acres at the heart of the Boulder-White Clouds area in Idaho will be designated as a Wilderness Area – the largest number of acres designated as wilderness in the US since 2009 – with the passing of the Sawtooth National Recreation Area and Jerry Peak Wilderness Additions Act. Nearly fifty years ago ILCW member Boyd Norton and a few other lovers of the Idaho wilderness formed the Greater Sawtooth Preservation Council to stop a mine that American Smelting and Refining Company was proposing in the beautiful Idaho mountains. There have been ardent supporters then and since, that have worked very hard to bring this area into Wilderness designation including Cecil Andres, the Idaho Conservation League, Sierra Club, the newspapers across Idaho, Our Wild America, ILCW member Doug Scott, Edwina Allen, Senator Jim Risch, Congressman Mike Simpson, and many others. Congressman Simpson was particularly firm in letting the White House know that “National Monument” status would not be acceptable as it would not offer the same permanent protection as a Wilderness Area designation. For more information: Scotchman Peaks and Idaho Statesman.

Boyd Norton who took the photo of this beautiful area (above) writes:
“It was 47 years ago when several of us formed the Greater Sawtooth Preservation Council in Idaho Falls, Idaho to stop a major open pit mine in the White Cloud Mountains near the Sawtooth Range in central Idaho. We stopped the mine but it took almost 50 years to get the White Clouds protected as a wilderness area. The bill passed the final hurdle August 4 in the Senate and 275,000 acres are now protected as a wilderness area. Though I was involved for several years testifying at hearings and writing articles about the place, it was really my Idaho colleagues who kept at it – Jerry Jayne, Russ Brown, the late Ernie Day, the Idaho Environmental Council, the folks at the Idaho Conservation League, the Sierra Club and many individuals. We owe them the vote of thanks for persevering. This photo was made in 1969 at the precise spot where a mile long open pit mine was planned. Lesson: never give up.”