Archive for category environment
This post was locked away in drafts for years. Sharing the updated version now since its all still quite true. And since I’ve grown to be braver today than I was then…and because although I am slightly hesitant to share this post (its graphic and personal) I’m doing it anyway (obviously…) in hopes of inspiring something good. Whatever that may be. LOVE and LIGHT ALWAYS.
(sketch book drawings circa 2002- 2007)
I’m living in the house, built by my dad and maternal grandfather, that I grew up in. I lived here until I was 8, then moved with my parents, brother and sister next door to the other house my dad built. Our family called this house “the other house” for a while, and used it for storage. It is quite the time capsule. When I was in high school the house was something of a clubhouse for my friends and I. There was an old stereo system with a record player and 8-track player, lots of records and 8-tracks from the 70’s, a cabinet with liquor from my parent’s wedding, and later, a pool table… I moved in here “on my own” when I was 18, then moved out when I was 23 and back in and out again several times from when I was 26 until now.
I’m here constantly surrounded by physical reminders of my past, some joyful, some creepy and sad. Among the old books, toys and random leftover stuff from the 1980’s in the attics/closets/cabinets are boxes upon boxes of my journals and sketchbooks. I once was a person who sketched/doodled/drew and wrote all the time. All. The. Time. In lieu of speaking to people, I drew and I wrote. It started when I was around 11 or 12 with typical stuff in my kitty cat journal. Then more typical tween stuff in my little blue diary with the little gold key. Then when I was 13/14 some things happened and the books multiplied. My brain chemistry changed and I put myself in dangerous situations with other unsupervised kids and I was taken advantage of most likely because I was a dumb, overly-trusting, insecure, pretty young girl. My first ” boyfriend” literally kicked me after I confronted him about his physically and emotionally pressuring me to be intimate with him. I didn’t tell anyone about this at the time, except for one trusted girlfriend and my books. I buried the memory until about 10 years later, when it exploded out of me with terrible consequence. It was’t until several years after that first decade-overdue reveal that I was able to talk about it and then really start the process of forgiving myself for being so angry at myself for all those years.
So, back to the books. The writing evolved to darker pondering over that particular experience, as well as thoughts on Catholicism, trustworthiness of friends and various other existential crisis (probably typical of most teenagers). In my senior year of high school, when I started considering going to college to major in fine art, I began to draw more. I was half drawing to try to figure out the proper way to draw “life”, and half drawing to escape life. The Surrealists call the practice automatic drawing, and some consider it to be a sort of yoga for artists. I know that the drawing and stream-of-consciousness writing helped me to work through many dark days…but never really turned into something I felt comfortable with selling to people as an art object…which is one of the reasons why I probably should just burn most of these books and finally release the darkness.(…but first I’ll blast some of the drawings to the internets!)
My point is that writing and drawing and sharing is beneficial. It is somewhat unfortunate, that many of the things I’ve felt compelled to share are negative and unpleasant. But it is very fortunate, for some, that these same things are useful for learning or connecting, especially for young people who have had similarly unpleasant experiences. This year I plan to return to teaching art and mentoring youth. After doing that work for almost 7 years I needed to recharge and regroup (and finish figuring myself out). I’m now ready to rock, as it were. Anyway. There are drawings about conflicts attached to this post.
Sometimes it seems my expressions of frustration over the current state of our shared environment are met with blank stares and deaf ears. Why is this? Misunderstanding? Denial?
We all know that golden rule- Do unto others…so why not transcribe that to holding the Energy Industry accountable for environmental damages in South Louisiana and beyond? Beyond that…let’s push for the day where alternative energy becomes the norm.
Pictured above is Amelia Kassel, a Chitimacha woman, mother to Daisy Brady (Leblanc, Banzhoff) and grandmother to Ivy Rose Leblanc Lind (my maternal grandmother).
This connection to some of Louisiana’s first settlers invokes a sort of dizzying feeling and makes the feelings I’ve always had about the natural wonder of this place somehow mean something more. I need to learn more.
The Comprehensive Master Plan for a Sustainable Coast has been finalized and passed by the legislature, after almost three years of examining data and running computer models, and another year of a public comment and conflict resolution. This is Louisiana’s Hail Mary pass, our imperfect, best, last shot at turning the tide of our coastal crisis.
But before the ink on the plan has dried, it faces great challenges. We at GRN have watched while coal terminals have expanded across the country, as the United States moves away from burning this dirty fuel. These coal terminals have grown into mountains in Plaquemines parish. And RAM Terminals, LLC, is threatening to place another mountain of coal just upstream from the mouth of the Myrtle Grove project.
We need to put the River to work building healthy wetlands in Louisiana, but a river full of coal runoff cannot build healthy wetlands. Coal runoff has PAHs, heavy metals, and other toxins that will cripple the health of the existing marshes, as well as compromise whatever wetlands the restoration project seeks to build.
Not only is this a threat to the health of the people who live near Ironton, but it’s a threat to the health of all of us on the coast that will depend on the success of that project to build healthy wetlands. The coal dust that blows from the coal mountains covers boats in black dust, and gives people black lung.
Tell the Army Corps, Louisiana DNR and Louisiana DEQ, that they cannot allow the premier coastal restoration project, the Myrtle Grove sediment diversion, to be polluted with coal runoff.
For the Gulf,
Gulf Restoration Network