Before I get too far along in the alphabet of appreciation, I need to circle back to the basic abc’s. In my mind, that includes my friendships with the great Mexican poet, environmentalist & human rights advocate Aridjis (Homero, that is), his equally talented translator and political action organizer, Betty Ferber and their daughter Chloe.
If you have never heard Homero read his award-winning poems or novels of the last six decades, you are bound to fall in love with the way he rekindles both beauty and political determination in us; that’s why I nominated him for the Orion Society’s John Hay award many years ago. Betty is equally talented, and her sensitive translations fully embrace the power of Homero’s images and stories. Betty is just as much the driver for the pioneering Artist-Scientist Collaborative, Grupo De Cien, which has persuasively weighed in on stopping environmental hazards and human rights violations for many decades now.
Through that framework, Homero and Betty joined forces with me, Lincoln Brower, Margaret Atwood, David Suzuki and many others to get a front page New York Times story on February 14th, 2014, Leaders urged to Restore Monarch Butterfly Habitat, as he sent our requests by diplomatic pouch to the three elected leaders of Mexico, the U.S. and Canada the day before their summit. The only thing they agreed upon while in retreat together was to collaborate on restoring farmland and forest habitat along endangered monarchs’ nectar corridors.
By listing the new website Make Way for Monarchs that Tim Tracy, Ina Warren, and I had launched the week before, we found ourselves with 2.5 million new readers within the first month of our outreach!
More recently, I’ve collaborated with Chloe Aridjis who is based in the U.K. on her efforts to galvanize writers of all stripes around climate action through Writers Rebel. Chloe edited my piece on climate change issues surrounding the sacred Cedars of Lebanon, and her own book Sea Monsters is a powerful statement of where climate change might lead us.
I am grateful to all three of them for welcoming me into their extended family where ever we meet: along the border wall, under a solar panel, at a Trilateral Commission conservation meeting, or at a poetry reading.