Tag Archives: plastic pollution

Dang. I forgot to get a Manscaper.

I love Bill Maher.  If you do, too, you’re in for another treat.

Sooooo, not only did I forget to get a manscaper, Bill’s piece reminded me that I don’t have a:

  • Tivo programmer
  • Liposuctionist
  • Gardener’s Personal Trainer
  • A dog whisperer
  • A look-alike
  • A private farmer
  • A hand-sanitizer dispenser lady
  • Someone to mistake me for Sharon Stone
  • A shark tank tender (you can hear the crowd not like the shark tank joke – yea!!!!!!!)

Luckily the marijuana valet, I have covered.  Just kidding.  Criminy!!

But on a more serious note: if I were a “job creator,” here are a few of the jobs that I would fund with every cent, and every breath, on every day for the rest of what I would hope to be a long and awe-filled life:

  • Farm sanctuary animal tender.
  • Captive animal rehabilitator and returner-to-the-wild (land and ocean animals).
  • Builder and tender of worldwide seapens for those animals who cannot live in the wild.
  • Inventor of all-quiet ocean vessel technology.
  • Transporter of animals from the now-closed factory farms.
  • Solar power inventor and developer.
  • Ocean plastic picker-upper.
  • General environmental cleaner-upper (on land and water).
  • Finder of how to recycle everything – yes, everything; no waste.
  • Ticket-writer for trash throwing.  Oh, and also leaving food in the grocery store in aisles other than where you picked it up, with the justification, “they pay people to put it back.”
  • Native animal and plant specialist and habitat restorer.
  • Organic farming technique (meaning, the way our grandparents’ generation farmed) teacher.
  • Shutter downer of the big pharma/AMA/insurance and Wall Street/banking/investing blocs (now, those are locks on some doors I can believe in, Ms. Bachmann).
  • Vegan nutrition counselor.
  • Exercise instructor for every senior citizen center and hospital everywhere, ensuring the availability of outside instruction, water time and focus on core strengthening.
  • Network chiropractic and gentle touch provider for all animals, not just humans.
  • Teacher of worldwide population control and sustainable living.
  • And, yes, I would love to have a personal assistant and vegan chef.  I really couldn’t leave those off, because anybody who knows me knows that I would love that.

I like my list.  I like the world that my list lives in.  In my mind, I live in that world.  And while I may not be the “job creator” that makes all that happen, I am part of the recipe for that reality.  We all are.  And I know that there are job creators out there, working right this minute on creating all of this.

Well, except maybe the last one.  I might just have to get organized and cook for myself.

A few of the people who were working on September 1, 2011 - Save Japan Dolphins Day

Hullabaloo for clean headwaters (and a secret)

Poor Fork of the Cumberland River

Okay, so now it’s time to let the cat out of the bag. There are a few out there who don’t want me to tell, and many who do. So, I’m taking the bull by the horns and spilling the beans. The spillage decision was triggered by an upcoming river-cleanup. One that occurs next weekend, on Saturday, September 10, 2011.

The Flying Foresters, who continue to amaze one and all by their shooting-star-blaze return to Harlan, are behind the cleanup again, teamed with the Kentucky Waterways Alliance. And I (on my knees in my most prayerful pose) give thanks that I am not an organizer. And that they are. They have put together a masterful team of people going, doing, giving, showing. Again, I am not one of them. I have no clue who is doing all the work because, once again, I am thankful that I am not the organizer.

I’m very happy cheering on from the sidelines. And doing my part: splashing in the water on a gorgeous late Summer/early Fall day. And having my name thrown into the hat for prizes. And having a huge barbeque with music by Cumberland River and I don’t know who all else after an already-perfect day. Yeah. I can do that. By the way, I just want to repeat a complaint here that all the fun and prizes and food and music have made it decidedly not an event that I can add to my martyr-activity quota. Okay, just kidding, and clean water is serious business. So, now I’ll get back to the point. Swear.

The Cumberland River Cleanup aka Headwaters Hullabaloo is coming! Fast!! So let me set the stage just a bit. Last year’s cleanups, both the first and second, were the most amazing days in all of time. Sunny, hot and dry as late Summer/early Fall in Harlan can be. Huge blue sky. Big cotton-ball puffs of clouds, as they always are there. Vistas that you haven’t seen until you’re standing in the middle of the Cumberland River or its headwaters. Even if you grew up there. Oh, man. We are talking beeeeeeautiful.  Not to mention standing shoulder-to-shoulder with some fine human beings who are taking care of business, river cleanup style.

Gorgeous day.

Doing good work.

In Harlan County.

Does it get any better?

So, please come if you’d like. We’ll play nice. Not too rough. We won’t make fun of your accents (cause y’all do have them; you know this, right?). Swear!

And now to the secret part, which I have to tell you ’cause you’re gonna see it if you come. And that is, that Harlan County is that most gorgeous of hollers in all of the universe. There, I’ve said it. Everyone from there knows this. It’s been our secret from the beginning. And we haven’t told. But we’ve finally decided, like on one of those made-for-TV movies, to let you guys in on it.  But not one of those creepy ones where river zombies come up out of the sandy bottom to grab your ankles.  NOT one of those.  Okay, back to the point.

A few of you have discovered us in the last few years. And our secret. But what we have done, whilst you have moved amongst us (it classes up a piece to add “st” to the end of a few words), is to not let on that Harlan’s beauty is a secret. It’s the only way we could figure out how to do damage control on its getting out. ‘Cause if we let on that it was a secret to be kept, then you’d go blab, and then all these people would be there, and, well, we like it the way it is.

But I don’t know if the secret has been leaking, or if people have just stumbled on us. Because people are coming.  More and more. And dang it, if Justified didn’t add insult to injury. More people. Coming to see where they shoot some of the episodes. Argh. Four-wheelers making use of old stripping (Appalachian coal style) and logging roads. With the most awesome vistas.  No comment on the four-wheelers. No blog on it yet. Do you reaeeeeallllly wonder where I’ll end up on that issue? : ) Okay, back to the issue at hand.

The secret. So, we couldn’t tell you that it was a secret without somehow compromising the secret itself. And have, theresoforest, tried to act like nothing’s going on, just nonchalantly minding our own business. In fact,
if you’ll notice (“notice” said with a sing-songy voice), we Eastern Kentuckians are rather  known by our standoffishness, shall we say, to strangers, our aloofness, hostility even. Well, now you know why. We just didn’t know how to keep our secret. And we knew that if we didn’t talk to you much, that was probably the safest way.

So, here it is September 4, 2011. And I am here, as the unofficial spokesperson for a multi-generational secret (and my personal history tracks back to the beginning of the first secret-keepers, the Chickamauga Cherokee), to let you in on the fact that Harlan’s beauty is a secret we’ve been keeping from you.

The rest will play out. Maybe you’ll track for FB posts from others who have been here. Maybe you listen for #harlan tweets to hear the buzz. Maybe you’ll watch some awesome footage made by Harlan Countians on YouTube. Or, maybe you’ll come to find it out, for yourself, in the first person. Maybe you’ll splash in the beautiful headwaters of the Cumberland River in our second year of splashing, cleaning, but mostly, loving the waters on a gorgeous late Summer/early Fall day.

You’re invited.

September 10, 2011, from 9:00am to 4:00pm

Harlan County Campground and RV Park
8331 Hwy. 119
Putney, KY

You don’t need the freaking zip code; that’s how wonderful it is here.

And you can tell a few people, now that the red-hot secret is out.  Imagine how it will look from a kayak.

View from Pine Mountain


I saw this morning, via the magic of facebook, that, a year ago today, I posted a quote.  So today, and here, I would like to reprise that post in honor of Ray Anderson, whom I think we would all call “a fine man.” … Continue reading

Universal Sacredness of Life – Support the UDAR

Poster by Andy Beattie

Poster by Andy Beattie

Support the UDAR.  However you can. By voting. By considering.  By editing.  By signing the declaration.  By joining a local animal rights organization.  And a few international ones.  And maybe, if you’re lucky, it can be both for you.

But support it we must, in order to not die ourselves.

When even one species leaves the planet, the planet is changed, and so are we.  The Martha I am is, perhaps imperceptibly, changed by even one extinction. And so, because imperceptible with one, we think it will be so with two.  And three.  And three hundred.

At which extinction will the change be perceptible to the densest among us?  It already and certainly is among the most perceptive. I do not count myself among them.  I am aware only of the conceptual likelihood that this is so.

At which extinction do we acknowledge that we do not value the sacredness of life.  Where life will be a commodity to trade in for us all?  When my flesh is only so much protein on the market?

Now – you see, I don’t believe that that day will come. I believe that right now, we are waking up to the sacredness of life.  And that all life, if one’s own is to be truly and presently lived, is regarded with awe.  And respect.  And love.

Support the universal dignity of life; live in the awe of life; support the UDAR.


Poster by Andy Beattie

Poster by Andy Beattie

(For access to wonderful information about animal rights, thank you, Andy Beattie.)

Upper Cumberland River Cleanup Part Deux – Bring Deux

Just a short thingy letting you know, in case you don’t, that another Upper Cumberland River Cleanup is coming next Saturday, September 25, organized by master instigator Croley Forester.

Part Deux.  Bring Deux.  What if every person who participated in the last cleanup showed up with a friend this time.  That means that, instead of 80ish people cleaning up the river on September 25, we would have more than 160 people, hauling out plastic, tires, scrap metal, refrigerators, cars, stoves, tires (tires deserve a second mention), plastic, plastic (plastic deserves three) and more plastic (or four).  The plastic may not be the most dramatic pound-wise, but it’s certainly the piece de resistance in river or beach cleanups, because it is responsible for more marine animal deaths than any other single substance.

So, come.  Come walk in the headwaters just as the leaves begin to fall and swirl in little tornadoes as cars wind their way on the Harlan highways (image courtesy of Lisa Blanton Tolliver and Dinah Day FB conversation), set in the oldest terrain in the USA.  Bring your shovel (I still have my big one in the trunk if you show up empty-handed, but a small one is probably more practical), wading boots, and your big old heart.

Harlan Center; Harlan, Kentucky;  Saturday, September 25, 2010; 8:00a.m  For more information, go to Facebook, key “Harlan County River Cleanup Part II.”  And let him know that you’re coming.  With a friend.

And just in case you don’t realize what a problem plastic is, watch this video, and come play in the water with us.

My backyard, and yours

A good Saturday in Harlan

A good Saturday in Harlan

If we all truly lived from the spirit of NIMBY (not-in-my-back-yard), we would be in trouble with no hope of recovery.   But today your back yard is a little cleaner, or will soon be a little cleaner, as a result of the efforts of 80 or so citizens of Harlan County, Kentucky.  These folks, who gathered together at the behest and under the watchful eye of Croley Forester, divided into teams, and competed to see who could remove the most trash from the headwaters of the Cumberland River, specifically the three forks of the Cumberland:  Martin’s Fork, Poor Fork and Clover Fork.

How is that your back yard?  For a moment, consider that every last thing that starts out in a river (or is thrown out of a car window, which then washes into a storm sewer and out into a drainage ditch, then a creek, and then a river) ends up in the ocean.  Oh, maybe that was too absolute.  Some of it might get caught

up in a water treatment plant, and so the solids would be appropriately disposed of in a landfill.  But the largest proportion of it is not caught anywhere.  And if it’s made of plastic, for instance, it’s either out there in the ocean blue or on its way, and once it’s there, it’s never going away.

A great wad of plastic

A great wad of plastic

Maybe you don’t think of the ocean as your back yard.  Maybe you don’t like the water.  Or even the beach.  And a cruise is out of the question.  And fish?  Pee-YOO!  And maybe I’m even a member of the I Don’t Like the Ocean Club.  But that’s not the point.  I think the point is, it is your ocean, and mine, whether we like it or not.  It’s the only one we have.  And whatever lives there has a right to a healthy home, just like you do.

So yesterday these 80 souls removed several tons of junk from the headwaters of the Cumberland.  We won’t have an official count till tomorrow when the trash will be picked up by Harlan County Santitation, and sent to the landfill.  But here are a few photos just to give you an inkling.  Several tons of junk, including tires, cars, refrigerators (think freon), catalytic

Tires are sources of polyaromatic hydrocarbons.  Yum.  Not.

Tires are sources of polyaromatic hydrocarbons. Yum. Not.

converters (think heavy metals), VCRs and TVs (more metals), a plastic sliding board, washing machines, and the dreaded and ubiquitous plastic, will not find their final resting place in the ocean or in the gullet of some dying ocean creature because these people made it so.

So, to my fellow Harlan Countians, I can’t express how proud I am to count myself as one of you.  I can’t say how thrilled to my core I am that a native son has come home.  And to the rest of you’uns, I just want to let you know, Harlan County’s got your back. yard.

The Poor Fork of the Cumberland River

The Poor Fork of the Cumberland River