From the Stacks: March 10, 2006

Utne receives some 1,200 magazines, newsletters, journals,
weeklies, and zines. Add in hundreds of books, CDs, and DVDs, and
it’s a flood of media that lines the walls of our library and piles
high on our desks. All the ideas, people, and stories inspire
lively daily chatter, but they can’t all fit into our bimonthly
magazine. So we share the gems here in our weekly editions of ‘From
the Stacks.’ Check in every Friday for the freshest highlights of
the independent and alternative media.

It’s an exciting time at
GreenPrints, a
journal out of North Carolina for the philosophizing gardener in
all of us. Spring is approaching, and the quarterly is branching
out with a new CD. The spring issue announces the arrival of
The GreenPrints
, a compilation of some of their favorite stories
read aloud, interspersed with songs sung by The Stone Family
Singers (the journal is somewhat of a Stone family affair). Among
this issue’s dirges to daisies and paeans to petunias, you’ll find
a fascinating (albeit mock) case study of a man with an unusual
condition: ‘dendranthropy,’ the belief that you have turned into a
tree. Also notable: ‘How to — Quickly — Empty a Room Full of
Plants,’ a short guide to planning a ‘Spring Plant Exchange.’ —
Nick Rose

Advance uncorrected proofs of
Derrick Jensen‘s two-volume
Endgame (Seven Stories Press) arrived in our mail this
week. Dedicated to Shawnee organizer/resister Tecumseh, and
weighing in at 929 pages, it forcefully, lovingly, despairingly,
and tirelessly describes how human civilization — with its global
capitalism, plutocracy, and oil-based economy — is destroying
planet Earth
Volume 1: The Problem of Civilization
) and examines what
is to be done to take down civilization and live sustainably
Volume 2: Resistance
). Militant and provocative, Jensen
looks at systems of exploitation from many angles and criticizes
those who fail to act and refuse to even consider the questions:
‘What if those in power are murderous?’ and ‘What if they’re not
willing to listen to reason?’ Jensen’s assertive, aphoristic style
demands reader response. (‘A primary purpose of the police is to
enforce the delusions of those with lots of pieces of green paper,’
he writes.) Doing his best to speak for salmon and sturgeon, Jensen
asks, ‘What would the rivers themselves think?’ He nudges readers
not only to answer this and other difficult questions themselves
(‘What will you do when the oil runs out?), but to see their own
complicity and act responsibly. Due out in June. — Chris

The pages of the latest
Earth First!
reverberate with reactions to the recent arrests of environmental
activists. Talk of ‘snitches’ abound as Earth First!ers wonder
where to go from here. One writer, ‘Josh,’ makes the argument that
‘this Green Scare is a public relations scheme’ meant to distract
people from recent political scandals. While there has been tough
talk of treating these ecoteurs as ‘terrorists,’ Josh points out
that the defendants were never charged under terrorism statutes.
But the March/April issue highlights some positive developments
too. ‘EF! In the Big Easy?’ centers on one member’s humanitarian
activities in post-Katrina New Orleans, while ‘Peak Opportunity!’
finds optimism in the prospect of ‘peak oil.’ — Bennett

The March issue of
, the monthly magazine about ‘Life on Wheels,’ has
two wonderful artist profiles: impressionist painter Pierre-Auguste
Renoir and DJ $hortness (Rynita McGuire). The juxtaposition of
these two talents might seem jarring at first, but it all comes
down to the essence of art. ‘The pain passes, but the beauty
remains,’ Renoir said of painting through the pain of rheumatoid
arthritis. A century later, DJ $hortness tells New
, ‘Music and creating things are deep in my soul. I
love sharing a part of me with the world. When I’m up there doing
my thing, I’m more than that girl in the wheelchair.’ — Beth

The newest issue of The
Chronicle of Philanthropy
covers the charity workers in
Iraq who are truly ‘in harm’s way.’ In a place where help is sorely
needed, humanitarian workers are facing grave danger from bomb
attacks, shootings, and kidnappings. The biweekly newspaper
profiles one group, Christian Peacemaker Teams, which employs the
strategy of physically ‘getting in the way’ of potential harm. The
pacifist organization has been in the headlines since four of its
members were abducted in November. (As of March 9, they had not
been released, though Al Jazeera aired a video of three of the men
two days earlier.) Most relief groups in Iraq are trying to keep a
lower profile, the impetus for which is explained in an article
entitled ‘Charity Under Fire.’ The special section on the war also
contains a moving memorial, ‘The Wounds of War,’ with pictures of
some of the people who have lost their lives in Iraq for the sake
of humanitarian causes. — Bennett Gordon

A walk around your neighborhood will never be the
same after you’ve read the latest issue of
New Urban News.
Winner of a
Utne Independent Press Award
, the newsletter gets specific
while keeping it real. The March issue covers the arcane minutiae
that make up our urban landscape — street width, ‘alley offset,’
and ‘parking benefit districts’ — with an eye toward the overall
gestalt that makes our communities more, or less, livable. If
ungainly gutters are getting your goat and you’re a corner store
policy wonk, then New Urban News will be right up your alley. —
Nick Rose

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