Tuesday, May 26, 2015

A Planet of Boat People--A New Poem by Stan Brunn


Note: with the global international coverage of “boat people” hoping for new and safe homes in the U.S., southern Europe and also southeast Asia, this poem is about these people, their homelands and asiprations.

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A Planet of Boat People

Daily photos show packed boatloads fleeing Libya and Tunisia

And also Haiti, Cuba, Thailand and Malaysia

Searching for new homes, livelihoods and security

Where they can live with some hope and tranquility.

Fleeing persecution and oppressive regimes

Seeking havens of safety are their highest dreams.

Boat people have been around for centuries

Not just associated with recent histories.

What if the millions of “boat people” had stayed home?

Think how differently civilizations would have grown.

People left coastlines and interior mainlands

To settle nearby and distant coasts and islands.

Puzzling why some Europeans and Americans oppose boat people today

Even though their ancestors came by boat in a bygone day.

They don’t want to grant them homes or citizenship

But instead return them to hardships and dictatorship.

The Western hemisphere has strong “boat people” traditions

Of those fleeing persecution and harsh living conditions.

Many Africans were forced to leave behind families and nations

To work everywhere on distant colonial plantations.

Not all who crossed seas and oceans waters deep and wide

Reached new homes safely with dignity and pride.

Many Europeans were met by peaceful Native Americans

Who were critical in making new homes and developing multicultural nations.

Boat people’s history also significant in what is today Australia

But also North, Central and coastal South America.

And those settling South, East and Southeast Asia coastal places

Have strong cultural and genetic origins in east African spaces.

We need to universally support those seeking freedom and liberty

And counter those exhorting exclusion, racism and bigotry.

Contemporary maps of international diasporas and migrations

Show “boat” and “plane people” of many belief systems and nations.

And those countries and cities that welcome these new diversities

Are experiencing healthy new human geographies.
                                                                                                                             
24 May 2015
Stan Brunn

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Monday, May 25, 2015

Best Thing You Will See Online May 25, 2015

Sustainability at Arlington National Cemetery.

Sustainability at Arlington National Cemetery

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This Memorial Day, I thought I would focus on one of the most important sites in the American consciousness: Arlington National Cemetery.

The site is one of the nation's most iconic places. Once home to Robert E. Lee, it became a national cemetery during the Civil War. Many well-known American figures are buried there including John F. Kennedy, Philip Sheridan, and Leland Holland.

Like many cemeteries and public parks, there is an intentionality to the grounds and landscaping. In recent years, the cemetery has focused on environmental sustainability as a major theme of operations. Check out the cemetery's Website that focuses on sustainability here.

The organization has three main themes that focus on the sustainability of the grounds:

  1. Wise use of water and fertilizer. The cemetery focuses on planting native plants that will utilize limited amounts of water and fertilizer.
  2. Habitat for wildlife. Planting ornamental plants that are good habitat for native insects and birds provides broader opportunities to support the regional ecosystem of northern Virginia and the Washington D.C. area.
  3. Plant diversity. When there are a variety of plants in complex grounds and parks such as a cemeteries, it makes sense to focus on plant diversity so that the grounds can survive any pest or condition that would harm a single species. Plus, plant diversity creates a more interesting landscape than a monoculture setting.
The efforts of Arlington National Cemetery demonstrate that sustainability management is reaching into many areas of our society, including places that we might not expect.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Best Thing You Will See Online May 24, 2015

New York State of Mind Cover.


New York Quiz Answers Revealed!


The new World Trade Center Building. Photo
by Bob Brinkmann.
On Wednesday, I posted a New York quiz to commemorate the board meeting of the National Cave and Karst Research Institute that was held in New York City for the first time in its history. Check out the quiz here. The answers are below.

1. Manhattan Schist.

2. Second.

3. Hawaii, the Big Island.

4. Fourth.

5. End moraine.

6. This is a trick question. It wasn't officially a hurricane. It was officially classified as a post tropical storm. However, it packed winds of a Category 2 hurricane.

7. Lisa Minnelli.

8. 468.

9. de Blasio; Cuomo; Gillibrand and Schumer.

10. Hofstra University.

11. Brooklyn Heights.

12. 30 degrees.

13. Theodore Roosevelt.

14. Lincoln Center.

15. Olmsted.

16. Hudson and East Rivers.

17. The Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island. The only one attached to the continent is The Bronx.

18. LGBT rights movement. Stonewall is a gay bar that is still open. The police raided the bar which led to the riot.

19. Robert Moses.

20. The Cotton Club.

21. Staten Island. 400 feet.

22. 11th; roughly the same population as Virginia.

23. They occurred when poor immigrants rioted against the Union draft rules in Manhattan during the Civil War.

24. Dutch.

25. U.S. Grant.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Best Thing You Will See Online May 23, 2015

Sinkhole vs. corvettes.


Even Tiger Woods Could Make this Putt Into a Missouri Sinkhole

Missouri is home to hundreds of caves such as Meramec
Caverns in this photo. These caves are quite safe.
However, on occasion, sinkholes form when cave roofs
collapse. The sinkhole on the golf course in Branson likely
formed from a cave roof collapse.
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Many media outlets are reporting on a giant sinkhole that opened up near a golf course near Branson, Missouri. The hole is really a series of sinkholes that coalesced to form a giant. According to the report in USA Today, it is 80 feet wide and 35 feet deep.

The first big cave I ever went into was in Missouri. The state is heavily impacted by karstification and caves are common in many places. Sometimes, cave roofs collapse to create dramatic sinkholes. This seems to be what happened to form this monster.

Karst landscapes undergo tremendous changes over relatively short geologic time and are among the most active landscapes in the world.