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So far aSIR017 has created 11 blog entries.

7/14/17 : Rev Billy Take Trump Tower


7/14/17 : Rev Billy Take Trump Tower

From the decidedly uninspiring, relatively oppressive confines of Trump Tower, I manage to have an incredibly inspiring afternoon on June 22nd with the help of Reverend Billy Talen and the Stop Shopping Choir. Through a new practice he and his wife, collaborator and the Choir’s director Savitri D., have deemed a “Radical Ritual” –Rev Billy is seeking to re-evolve popular conceptions of protest in the era of Trump, shirking more potentially predictable examples of civil disobedience characterized by some as being tame, particularly in the ever-growing face of fearmongering and oppression nationwide. In the Reverend’s words, “We express our intimate privacy in the shadow of Evil. This may be the seed of all change, of revolutionary change”, engaging in a “radical writing” workshop that is a perfect example of smaller-scale action whose comparative size has no bearing on the weight of its potential impact.

6/16/17 : Standing Rock Peace March

6/16/17 : Standing Rock Peace March

UPDATE: The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe won a significant victory today in its fight to protect the Tribe’s drinking water and ancestral lands from the Dakota Access pipeline. Also, from The Atlantic.

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With helicopters circling overhead, I interview protestors at the increasingly turbulent Standing Rock Indian Reservation, currently the center of a dispute over an intersection of land rights and environmental concerns. “The non-natives, they’re in it too, so I’m surprised that their congresspeople are not trying to stop it,” says one Native protestor who selects to remain anonymous. That shows you what big money does.” The water protectors put their bodies on the line in the face of the hostile, disturbing and violent presence of military and police forces, eschewing anything that might be obtusely labeled as “identity politics” in favor of ideologically-based inclusivity. “It doesn’t matter what color you are or where you come from,” says one speaker. “If you are understanding of the movement that we are partaking in, then you are family just like the rest of us.”

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6/10/17 : SUSTAINABLE DIVESTMENT

6/10/17 : Sustainable Divestment

From New York, at a Fordham University panel entitled Divest Invest New York: The Business Case,” I collect the opinions of a range of climate-change and business experts on the intersection of those two fields, a line of concern that has risen to particular prominence in recent years.

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As the state of the environment worldwide has crept toward an ever-increasing state of alarm, it has thus been put on an inevitable collision course with the distinctly American institution of Capitalism. Navigating this intersection has become, as panelist David Levine of the American Sustainable Business Council states, a matter of finding and creating “businesses that advocate for a sustainable economy, an economy otherwise known as ‘Triple bottom line:’ People, Planet, Profit.”

Crucial to the Fordham panel, and thus to the very goal of creating sustainable business models, is the notion of Divestment, as concrete an action a corporation or individual can take in an effort to rid themselves of connections to environmentally hazardous resources and actions. As many of the panelists saw it, divestment is a necessary tool in the economic portion of the battle against climate violence.

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4/21/17 : Catskill FARMERS

4/21/17 : Catskill FARMERS

From the robust, multi-seasonal Liberty Farmers’ Market I interview an array of Catskill-based vendors carrying locally sourced food and drink.

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Many farm workers and owners count themselves as part-time upstate residents, commuting each weekend from Manhattan and Brooklyn, in some cases, to sell their produce to Catskill locals. Speaking to the farmers responsible for everything from Long Eddy’s Eminence Road Farm Winery to Franklin’s Sherman Hill Farmstead Cheeses, I gather perspectives on the importance of local farming, underlining the crucial nature of sustainability and how purchasing food from a “family operation,” as Sherman Hill’s Linda Smith puts it, is a relatively easy way to bolster the local food economy and up the ante in one’s kitchen at the same time.

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3/31/17 : TROUT SEASON Springs Open

3/31/17 : TROUT SEASON Springs Open

In Roscoe, New York, the “epicenter” of the fly fishing pastime , I speak to staples of the town’s famed fishing culture such as its “First Lady,”

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Joan Wulff. In tracing not only the story of the fly fishing tradition as it pertains to Roscoe but the history of the region itself, as well as some of its local idiosyncrasies, it becomes abundantly clear that the small upstate town has come to define fly fishing as much as the sport has defined it.

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3/17/17 : EXTREME ENERGY STORIES

3/17/17 : EXTREME ENERGY STORIES

Traveling to “gaslands” across America, from Texas to the upstate New York shores of the Delaware River, I collect the stories of those affected by the dramatic rise in nationwide gas drilling, in a variety of ways.

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“It would destroy everything,” says one Callicoon, New York farmer of the potential presence of fracking in the Catskill mountains. “One contamination and that’s it.” Despite the vastly disparate geographic differences in the respective places they reside, one thing uniting this diverse group of people is a shared understanding of the havoc drilling not only on their own land, but surrounding areas would wreak. However, this anxiety is not limited to a strictly environmental context — as one Nigerian citizen alarmed by the uptick in drilling in Baldwin Hills, California, says, gas-related development in his home village left in its wake “no safe drinking water, no light, no streets [and] no housing.”

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2/10/17 : Standing Rock WATER PROTECTORS

2/10/17 : Standing Rock WATER PROTECTORS

During the middle of November I went to Standing Rock to stand in solidarity with the Water Protectors where I was welcomed. I was invited to record, interview and have recorded

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conversations that I then shared with video pieces and a 3 part radio series. In this segment I gather the thoughts of First Nation Water Protectors who were generous enough to take time from their constant onsite activism to share their perspectives. “It doesn’t matter where a Sioux is from — they’re still Sioux,” one Protector put it. “I believe that the people that step up and fight with us are the lost ones that were killed in genocide and reincarnated.”

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1/19/17 : TRUMP INAUGURATION PROTEST RALLY

1/19/17 : TRUMP INAUGURATION PROTEST RALLY

In the immediate lead-up to January’s presidential inauguration on November 20th, I travel once again to Columbus Circle, where a crowd noticeably larger in size and fervent in spirit has assembled to protest the now-imminent dangers a Trump administration would pose to marginalized groups,

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as well as the American populace and citizens of countries around the world who might find their daily lives affected by a foreign leader. “I think everybody’s still somewhat appalled with the results,” says Jahaira, a young woman who considers protesting Trump something of a no-brainer. “I’ve been [protesting] today, tomorrow, and the day after.” Many of Jahaira’s fellow protestors have similarly persistent mindsets, digging into the sidewalks outside Trump strongholds such as the tower in Columbus Circle for what is beginning to feel like something approaching the long run. For these citizens, vocal dissent is the best weapon against the potentially overwhelming notion of a near-half decade spent in a Trump-led country.

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12/16/16 : TRUMP DAY-AFTER ELECTION ACTION

12/16/16 : TRUMP DAY-AFTER ELECTION ACTION

At the “We Won’t Wait” Anti-Trump rally, on the day after the election on November 9th, in New York’s Columbus Circle, a group of people as diverse as the city they are protesting from gather to register their contempt for the incoming president in wake of an exceedingly turbulent and shocking election.

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“I can’t just sit in my room and be sad,” one young woman rooted firmly outside Trump Tower says. “I have to be an activist now.” Indeed, many of the people assembled this afternoon may have not considered themselves activists, but the election of Trump has effectively and rapidly inspired them toward action. With an emphasis on accountability — “there is no one to blame here but us,” says a megaphone-aided protester — concerns and anger regarding a Trump Administration’s potential policies and the effect they might have on already-marginalized groups of people are voiced. However, fierce, action-based optimism also shines through. “Another world is already being born,” says another protestor. “And we the people can see it clear.”

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11/25/16 : Standing Rock Peace March

11/25/16 : Standing Rock Peace March

With helicopters circling overhead, I interview protestors at the increasingly turbulent Standing Rock Indian Reservation, currently the center of a dispute over an intersection of land rights and environmental concerns.

» read more

“The non-natives, they’re in it too, so I’m surprised that their congresspeople are not trying to stop it,” says one Native protestor who selects to remain anonymous. That shows you what big money does.” The water protectors put their bodies on the line in the face of the hostile, disturbing and violent presence of military and police forces, eschewing anything that might be obtusely labeled as “identity politics” in favor of ideologically-based inclusivity. “It doesn’t matter what color you are or where you come from,” says one speaker. “If you are understanding of the movement that we are partaking in, then you are family just like the rest of us.”

» show less