Wendell Berry(b. 1934) • Descended on both sides of his family from five generations of Kentucky farmers • Received an MA in English and pursued his writing • Bought a small farm in 1965, which eventually grew to 125 acres • A lifelong Baptist, but often criticizes Christian organization for not challenging the cultural complacency about environmental degradation
Wendell Berry:Activism • On February 10, 1968, Berry delivered "A Statement Against the War in Vietnam" during the Kentucky Conference on the War and the Draft at the University of Kentucky in Lexington: • On June 3, 1979, Berry engaged in nonviolent civil disobedience against the construction of a nuclear power plant at Marble Hill, Indiana. He describes "this nearly eventless event" and expands upon his reasons for it in the essay "The Reactor and the Garden." • On February 9, 2003, Berry's essay titled "A Citizen's Response to the National Security Strategy of the United States" was published as a full-page advertisement in The New York Times. Berry opened the essay—a critique of the G. W. Bush administration's post-9/11 international strategy—by asserting that "The new National Security Strategy published by the White House in September 2002, if carried out, would amount to a radical revision of the political character of our nation." • On January 4, 2009, Berry and Wes Jackson, president of The Land Institute, published an op-ed article in The New York Times titled "A 50-Year Farm Bill." In July 2009 Berry, Jackson and Fred Kirschenmann, of The Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, gathered in Washington DC to promote this idea. Berry and Jackson wrote, "We need a 50-year farm bill that addresses forthrightly the problems of soil loss and degradation, toxic pollution, fossil-fuel dependency and the destruction of rural communities." • Also in January 2009 Berry released a statement against the death penalty, which began, “As I am made deeply uncomfortable by the taking of a human life before birth, I am also made deeply uncomfortable by the taking of a human life after birth." And in November 2009, Berry and 38 other writers from Kentucky wrote to Gov. Steve Beshear and Attorney General Jack Conway asking them to impose a moratorium on the death penalty in that state. • On March 2, 2009, Berry joined over 2,000 others in non-violently blocking the gates to a coal-fired power plant in Washington, D.C. No one was arrested. • On May 22, 2009, Berry, at a listening session in Louisville, spoke against the National Animal Identification System (NAIS). He said, "If you impose this program on the small farmers, who are already overburdened, you’re going to have to send the police for me. I’m 75 years old. I’ve about completed my responsibilities to my family. I’ll lose very little in going to jail in opposition to your program – and I’ll have to do it. Because I will be, in every way that I can conceive of, a non-cooperator." • In October 2009 Berry combined with "the Berea-based Kentucky Environmental Foundation (KEF), along with several other non-profit organizations and rural electric co-op members" to petition against and protest the construction of a coal-burning power plant in Clark County, Kentucky. On February 28, 2011, the Kentucky Public Service Commission approved the cancellation of this power plant. • On September 28, 2010, Berry participated in a rally in Louisville during an EPA hearing on how to manage coal ash. Berry said, "The EPA knows that coal ash is poison. We ask it only to believe in its own findings on this issue, and do its duty." • Berry, with 14 other protesters, spent the weekend of February 12, 2011 locked in the Kentucky governor's office demanding an end to mountaintop removal coal mining. He was part of the environmental group Kentuckians for the Commonwealth that began their sit-in on Friday and left at midday Monday to join about 1,000 others in a mass outdoor rally. • In 2011, The Berry Center was established at New Castle, KY, "for the purpose of bringing focus, knowledge and cohesiveness to the work of changing our ruinous industrial agriculture system into a system and culture that uses nature as the standard, accepts no permanent damage to the ecosphere, and takes into consideration human health in local communities." --courtesy of Wikipedia
Wendell Berry Obama awards Wendell E. Berry the 2010 National Medal of Arts and Humanities. • In his acceptance speech, offered a contrast of the “boomer” versus the “sticker.” • The boomer: desires power and money; willing to monopolize and industrialize without considering the land and its people. • The sticker: values connection to the land and people over pillaging its resources and degrading its makeup, speaking to an ethic of intentionality and sustainability over a modern sense of economic growth or progress.
Michel de Montaigne(1533-1592) In Middle French: Quesçay-je? In modern French:Que sais-je? “What do I know?” “I am myself the matter of my book.” "I have never seen a greater monster or miracle than myself."
Food Power:1943 WWII U.S. propaganda poster • Food power is the use of agriculture as a means of political control • One nation or group of nations offers or withholds commodities from another nation or group of nations in order to manipulate behavior.
Food Power:1954 to 1976 • President Eisenhower begins Food for Peace program in 1954 • After 20 years of commercial agriculture, first US food surplus • Basis for US food aid program today • Earl Butz, US Secretary of Agriculture, renews the term “Food is a weapon” • Fight worldwide famine to defend against political unrest and the spread of Communism • Food as one tool is US political arsenal
Dwindling Food Diversity In 1800s, more than 7,000 varieties of apples. Now? Less than 100.
Climate Change:Past, Present, Future(?) From the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, working under the auspices of the United Nations
Effects of Climate Change Estimated effects of climate change on health through number of Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALYs) — the sum of years of potential life lost due to premature death, and the years of productive life lost due to disability, associated with climate change: drought, changing crop patterns, heatwaves, pestilence, pollution, etc. ad nauseum --From the World Health Organization
Agrarian— adjective • 1. of or relating to cultivated land or the cultivation of land. • noun • 1. • a person who advocates a redistribution of landed property, esp. as part of a social movement.
Etruscans(900 B.C.-250 B.C.) • Pyrgi tablets, discovered in Italy in 1964, allowed linguists to read Etruscan for the first time
The Forgotten Dialect of the HeartJack Gilbert How astonishing it is that language can almost mean, and frightening that it does not quite. Love, we say, God, we say, Rome and Michiko, we write, and the words get it all wrong. We say bread and it means according to which nation. French has no word for home, and we have no word for strict pleasure. A people in northern India is dying out because their ancient tongue has no words for endearment. I dream of lost vocabularies that might express some of what we no longer can. Maybe the Etruscan texts would finally explain why the couples on their tombs are smiling. And maybe not. When the thousands of mysterious Sumerian tablets were translated, they seemed to be business records. But what if they are poems or psalms? My joy is the same as twelve Ethiopian goats standing silent in the morning light. O Lord, thou art slabs of salt and ingots of copper, as grand as ripe barley lithe under the wind’s labor. Her breasts are six white oxen loaded with bolts of long-fibered Egyptian cotton. My love is a hundred pitchers of honey. Shiploads of thuya are what my body wants to say to your body. Giraffes are this desire in the dark. Perhaps the spiral Minoan script is not language but a map. What we feel most has no name but amber, archers, cinnamon, horses, and birds. Audio Link
Homework • Read • Solnit Essay • Lopez Story • Laux Poem • Research • Find a plant or two from the Arkansas Garden and learn as much as you can • Growth habits/cycles • Nutritional and climate needs • Means of propagation • Folk connotations/surrounding mythology • Anything else that catches your eye