Blog2019-02-12T23:49:29+00:00

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.

May7, 2013

Sacrilege

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 350.org 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 [...]

December15, 2011

45 Degrees

By |December 15th, 2011|Categories: Climate Change|0 Comments

Last week a friend of mine from Botswana called to say hello. Some of you may know the story—that I served there in the Peace Corps in the mid-1980s then lost touch with a dear friend and miraculously reconnected with her a few years ago. Anyway, she calls from time to time for a brief chat, which always thrills me. Knowing that it’s summer there now and that climate scientists predict that Southern Africa will be hit hard by climate change, I asked if it was hot. “Oh my God!” she exclaimed. “It’s 45 degrees!” For those of you who live in the Fahrenheit world, that’s 113 degrees to us. I checked later on the Internet to see if I had heard her right. Turns [...]

September11, 2011

What Do We Remember?

By |September 11th, 2011|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

I once heard of a study that compared how people from the United States and people from Japan remembered two key events of World War II: the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the bombing of Hiroshima. Not surprisingly, the two groups remembered history differently. The Americans studied knew much more about Pearl Harbor and felt it was particularly treacherous because it was a surprise attack when the US was not yet at war with Japan. For them, the details of Hiroshima were a little sketchy, but they remembered that that bombing took place during a time of war and believed that it ended the conflict, thus saving lives in the long run. The Japanese, on the other hand, were more likely to remember Hiroshima, which [...]

August14, 2011

Long Story Short

By |August 14th, 2011|Categories: Uncategorized|5 Comments

I haven’t posted in nearly two months, partly because I’m still in the waiting and trusting phase that I wrote about last post. Here’s a little update. We thought our short sale deal was approved, and so we started packing. We got approved for a mortgage and told our kids to pack their books and take their posters off the walls. I set up gas and electric service and scheduled movers, mold removers, and a chimney guy to deal with the back-draft around the hot water heater. Turns out, however, that only the major part of the deal was settled. The sellers still owe back taxes to the city of Philadelphia, as well as a home equity loan, which was originally with the same bank [...]