anna brones

writer + artist + activist

Posts Tagged ‘environment

Wangari Maathai

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“We cannot tire or give up. We owe it to the present and future generations of all species to rise up and walk!”

-Wangari Maathai

Born in rural Kenya, Wangari Maathai was the first woman in East and Central African to earn a doctorate degree, which she was granted from the University of Nairobi in 1971. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, she served on the National Council of Women of Kenya. It was here that she came up with the idea of planting trees, a concept that she grew into a large scale, grassroots organization, the Green Belt Movement, focused on conserving the environment and improving the lives of women. Planting trees meant planting hope, a form or protest and renewal, fighting oppression with growth.

Environmentalist. Activist. Human rights advocate. Writer. Her work was inspired by her roots, but reached a global audience, and in 2004 she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. 

I was recently reading Terry Tempest Williams’ book When Women Were Birds, and learned that the two had met in the early 1980s, and Wangari had become mentor of Terry’s. Terry herself had been inspired to start the Green Belt Movement of Utah.

Terry writes, “When I once asked her what she had learned from planting trees, she said, ‘Patience.'”

That sentiment stuck with me. Patience. It’s the same sentiment that’s in Wangari’s quote above.

The patience to speak up.

The patience to listen.

The patience to rise up.

The patience to continue.

I wonder what wisdom Wangari would give to us today. I think it would still be the same. We must continue to rise up and walk. We must be patient and persistent.

This papercut is a part of the Women’s Wisdom Project, a project focused on showcasing the wisdom of inspiring, insightful women by making 100 papercut portraits.

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Rachel Carson

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Writer, scientist, ecologist, conservationist, activist. Rachel Carson was many things, and her work continues to be instrumental today.

Her book Silent Spring, published in 1962, galvanized the environmental movement (and also pissed off the chemical industry; Monsanto published 5,000 copies of a brochure parodying the book). But her writing extended far beyond that. In fact, she was first published at the age of 10 in a children’s magazine. She was a woman ahead of her time; in 1936, she was the second woman hired by the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries.

Carson believed in the wonderment that comes from the natural world, and she sought to share that with her readers, reminding us that we are but a part of the larger system around us.

The quote that I used in this portrait of hers is part of a longer one from Silent Spring, and I wanted to share in its entirety:

“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature — the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.”

And if we contemplate and understand the beauty of the earth, it becomes that much harder to continue to act in a way that destroys it.

This papercut is a part of the Women’s Wisdom Project, a yearlong project focused on showcasing the wisdom of inspiring, insightful women by making 100 papercut portraits.

Written by Anna Brones

April 6, 2018 at 08:38

This Week’s Stories: Textile and Coffee Waste, Sustainable Beer and Taking Action

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domestic-stencilworks_processpic

Here is some of my work published this week:

Coffee Waste or Product Potential? – This story was featured in the print edition of Fresh Cup but is also up online. “Wast is simply resources in the wrong place,” says Daniel Crockett of Bio-Bean. I love that sentiment, because it challenges us to rethink what we assume is, or isn’t, something with potential.

10 Fashion Brands Innovating with Textile Waste – Speaking of waste, I also wrote a piece on textile waste. Did you know that in just 20 years, our textile waste has doubled? Today the average American discards around 70 pounds of textiles per year, the majority of it ending up in landfills. Fortunately, there are some innovators out there attempting to do something with it.

Patagonia is Making a Sustainable Kernza Beer – Patagonia, long known for its apparel, is moving into the food space. I love their efforts in working to build a better food system, and the new Long Ale beer is just another example.

Food, Agriculture and Environmental Organizations and Independent Media Outlets You Can Give To – If you’re looking for places to support this holiday season (and places whose work is very needed in the current political climate), I put together a roundup of some food and environment related organizations and media outlets over on Foodie Underground. There’s also an essay about caring (which includes a recipe for pumpkin oatmeal pudding) if you’re interested.

And finally, these weren’t written by me, but I was happy to have Hello, Bicycle mentioned in this list of presents for women cycling fans, as well as this mention of Fika: The Art of the Swedish Coffee Break in Condeé Nast Traveller.

Image: Domestic Stencilworks

Written by Anna Brones

November 18, 2016 at 12:08

2,592 Reasons to Hate Coffee Pods

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KCupsEarth3_0

Well, actually I didn’t write that many. But I did go on an anti coffee pod rant this week.

“If you’d had asked coffee specialists that this was going to happen, they would have told you, ‘That’s ridiculous,’” Mark Pendergrast, author of “Uncommon Grounds,” told the Seattle Times. That’s because coffee pods are ridiculous, but just like with so many other things, we’ve traded convenience for taste. In the process we’ve ended up with a product that’s really bad for the planet. For example, all of the K-cups (the name for the Keurig pods) sold in 2013 could wrap around the Earth 10.5 times.

Coffee pods. Wrapped around the earth 10.5 times. Think about it.

You can read the full rant – which includes all the environmental, economic and quality reasons not to drink single-brew coffee – on Foodie Underground.

Image: Mother Jones

Written by Anna Brones

March 27, 2014 at 14:25

Should We Care About Organic Food?

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“I now feel completely vindicated for NOT buying organic foods.”

Well, great.

The internet was abuzz with the recent study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine that found little evidence that organic foods are more nutritious than conventional grown food, and I found myself getting severely agitated by comments like the above posted in social media circles. Granted, I spend a lot of time thinking about food, but simple statements like the aforementioned prove to me that we are entirely removed from the food process and what we are eating. We are oversimplifying a complex issue.

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Written by Anna Brones

September 11, 2012 at 08:18

The Beauty of Eating Outdoors

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Mediocre wine is excellent if you have a view, coffee is exponentially more delicious when brewed after a night in a tent, and trail mix can compete with the fanciest hors d’oeuvre when you’re in the middle of a hike. It’s simple: food always tastes better outdoors.

I was thinking of this in the process of drinking a mug of wine, overlooking a horizon of red rock formations last week. Dirtbags, sunsets and merlot do go hand in hand after all.

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Written by Anna Brones

June 5, 2012 at 13:50

Lessons from SXSW Eco: Communication

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I’d never been to Texas, and it turns out, all those people that kept saying, “You’ve never been to Austin?? You’d love it!” were, in fact, quite right.

There was two stepping and fried food and cowboy boots. Lots of cowboy boots. But the main takeaway from one week in Austin was something different, and it’s all thanks to the new South By Southwest Eco conference. Three days of listening to the best and brightest on green issues and the main takeaway is that it’s all about communication; how we interact with people and engage.

If we don’t want missed opportunities, we must start with communication. Facts and figures don’t work; relationships are everything.

Well, that and cowboy boots are game changers on the dance floor. Seriously.

Written by Anna Brones

October 9, 2011 at 19:19