Imperfect Serenity

I began this blog in 2005 while I was taking care of two young children and my dying mother, so the title, Imperfect Serenity, referred to my struggle to stay spiritually grounded during a difficult time. Eventually the title came to include my experiences in eco-justice activism, anti-racism work, and book publicity. As I started publishing my writing on Huffington Post and Salon, I stopped posting here often, but many of the topics are still timely, so feel free to poke around.

February19, 2015


By |February 19th, 2015|Categories: Climate Change, Racism|0 Comments

I'll be speaking this Saturday at a gathering on Climate, Race, and Justice. I find that talk has been rewriting itself over and over in my mind, even though I was supposed to be working on something else today, an article to accompany my book publication in less than two weeks. The intersection between Climate, Race, and Justice is something I've been interested in for a while. It's part of what brought me to this work, and I have felt that learning to talk about the intersections is part of what I'm called to do. But this is the first time I've been challenged to make a public statement about it--preferably in less than 30 minutes. It's hard. I believe that people learn best through [...]

May3, 2014

Not Standing Alone

By |May 3rd, 2014|Categories: Nonviolent Direct Action|8 Comments

Direct action is never quite how you practiced it. At the run-through the night before the PNC annual shareholder meeting in Tampa, Florida I was one of several people who role played how we planned to stand up during the meeting, take off our business jackets to reveal t-shirts that said, “Praying for PNC to act responsibly” on one side and “No $ for Mountaintop Removal” on the other. Then we planned to close our eyes and pray for the duration of the meeting or until they kicked us out. As we debriefed the role play at the St. Petersburg Friends Meeting, I said how comforted I felt by the grounded woman standing next to me—so it was ironic that when the real moment came, [...]

July31, 2013

Southern Africa Trip: One Year Later

By |July 31st, 2013|Categories: Climate Change|1 Comment

Exactly a year ago I jumped out of my rental car on a bridge in Francistown, Botswana and took this picture of the dry Shashe River bed, knowing that I’d use it in talks about climate change in Africa. It’s hard to believe it’s been a year since I landed in Botswana, and the anniversary is making me nostalgic for that trip and aware of all the stories and pictures I never shared on this blog. I have a good friend, a white American, whose husband is West African. When she saw this picture of a Botswana supermarket, she exclaimed, “Oh, thank you for taking this picture!” Like me, she is aware that Americans get most of their images of Africa from The Lion King and The Nature [...]

May7, 2013


By |May 7th, 2013|Categories: Climate Change, Spirituality|1 Comment

Dustin White A little over a week ago, I attended a gathering in Kentucky organized by Read the Spirit, a wonderful interfaith publishing group that has been very supportive of my work. (You can read more about that gathering though the above link.) As soon as I started planning the trip, I knew that I should also use the opportunity to visit a mountaintop removal site in Appalachia. Despite all I’ve been learning about this devastating practice through my work with Earth Quaker Action Team, I had never actually seen it myself. My friend Dustin White of the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition agreed to take me to a site in West Virginia, so I stopped to see him on my way home from Kentucky. [...]

March21, 2013

Why I’m Fasting

By |March 21st, 2013|Categories: Climate Change, Nonviolent Direct Action|0 Comments

Let me just say up front that I am not one of those people who feel all joyful and clearheaded when they’re fasting. The first time I fasted, a few months ago, I was looking at the gummy bear vitamins by 7am, wondering if eating a handful would be cheating. I had decided to fast one day a week before my civil disobedience in February because it felt like I was stepping into a deeper commitment to activism, one that would require sacrifice, and I needed some spiritual preparation. Still, I was nervous about giving up food entirely, so I allowed myself juice and fruit shakes. In fact I spent $5 a pop on the raw vegetable combos available at my local juice bar. I felt [...]

February14, 2013

Police Report

By |February 14th, 2013|Categories: Climate Change, Nonviolent Direct Action|2 Comments

Well, it’s Valentines Day, and boy am I feeling the love! Thanks to everyone who prayed for me/held me in the Light during my recent civil disobedience action. I felt so well supported by everyone—especially my family, Chestnut Hill Meeting, and Earth Quaker Action Team. You can see the greeting I got on my release from Amy Ward Brimmer and Ingrid Lakey. I’ll be writing an article about this leading for Friends Journal and another for Waging Nonviolence, so I won’t say too much here, except to answer the questions that friends have been asking about the experience. Basically it was very exciting to be making this stand with such an impressive group of people. I was particularly pleased to see civil rights leader Julian Bond [...]

January31, 2013

I’m ready to risk arrest. Will you support me?

By |January 31st, 2013|Categories: Nonviolent Direct Action|2 Comments

Dear Friends, Within the next month, I plan to commit civil disobedience, which may well lead to my arrest. It’s a big step for me—the first time in my life I’ve done this—but saving the climate for our children feels that important. Will you support me, not by getting arrested yourself, but by taking a bus to DC for a different and legal event? As many of you know, I’ve felt increasingly called to work to prevent catastrophic climate change. (If you think “catastrophic” is an exaggeration, please read Bill McKibben’s Rolling Stones article.). We all have an exciting opportunity to make a difference by joining and the Sierra Club in Washington, DC on February 17 for a march against the Keystone XL Pipeline, which [...]

August7, 2012

Thoughts from South Africa

By |August 7th, 2012|Categories: Climate Change|1 Comment

I've been traveling in Southern Africa for the past week and a half--my first time back to the region in over twenty-five years since serving in Botswana as a Peace Corps Volunteer. Between visiting old friends and interviewing people about the effects of climate change, I have way too many stories to report in a blog post, but here are a few one-liners: Highlight: seeing old friends. Most Poignant: visiting my old school and house in Bobonong and seeing how they've changed. Most Ridiculous: repeatedly turning on the windshield wipers when I want to signal a turn because everything on my rental car is on the opposite side. Biggest Surprise: how impressed I was by the diamond mining town, Orapa. Realization: Botswana's early decision to [...]

June23, 2012

How to Stop Abuse

By |June 23rd, 2012|Categories: Climate Change|2 Comments

Quiz: Which of these things happened yesterday? A famous football coach was convicted of sexually abusing 10 boys. A Roman Catholic official was convicted of endangering children by covering up priest sexual abuse under his watch. A summit of global leaders failed to agree on meaningful action to stop corporations and governments from continuing to abuse the earth. All of the above. I won’t hold you in suspense; it’s d, all of the above, but a and b got all the news coverage in the United States because sexual abuse by individuals gets better ratings than environmental abuse by large institutions. We just can’t help it—human beings like a good scandal, and the news media has been giving us plenty of headlines lately. As the [...]

April20, 2012

Earth Quaker Activism

By |April 20th, 2012|Categories: Nonviolent Direct Action, Spirituality|4 Comments

Just over three years ago, I wrote a blog post questioning whether I could still call myself an activist and reflecting on what type of social engagement I felt drawn to. An even earlier post, questioned what kinds of political events I wanted to bring my children to, especially after the Bush Administration demoralized so many of us who opposed the wars Bush started. This year I’ve felt a rebirth of my activist spirit and, after a long sojourn from blogging, want to share what has been life giving. Ever since the genesis of the Earth Quaker Action Team, I’ve been cheering them from a distance, thinking that some day—after the book came out, then after the year of fundraising for the GSFS Costa Rica Exchange [...]