Remember the Baiji on Earth Day!

The Chinese River Dolphin, the baiji, was put on the endangered species list in 1979. By 1996, it was considered critically endangered. It was declared officially extinct in 2006. A rare sighting of a large white fish in 2007 was confirmed to be a baiji, but there is no hope of its return as a species.

The baiji is the first known aquatic mammal species to become extinct since the Japanese sea lion and the Caribbean monk seal in the 1950’s. It is the first widely researched cetacean species whose extinction is directly tied to human impact.

Pollution of the third longest river in the world, the Yangtze River, is out of control. Industry, agriculture, increasing waterway traffic, and fishing methods not only led to the baiji’s extinction, it has had a negative effect on China’s human population. In addition, illegal dumping, cargo ship leaks, and waste from factories have all poisoned the river. Safe drinking water is now a serious concern. Research done on the growing number of “cancer villages” along the Yangtze is unsettling.

Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baiji

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jun/04/china-villages-cancer-deaths

The Baiji, by D. Marie Prokop

BaijiCover

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Amazing Grace- Jars of Clay

I grew this heart into a drifter
I never felt the roots I bare
I sold my sight, oh brother, sister
For a mountain of fool’s gold, it’s gone
Only God knows, God knows where

My soul was restless for redemption
My feet were lookin’ for a place to stand
Well, I ain’t got no life
And you know I ain’t got no money
Just the faith of an empty hand

Amazing grace, I feel you coming up slowly now
Like the sun is risin’, heat on my face
Oh love that keeps on shinin’, don’t let the shadow come
Ya know I gotta feel your healin’ rays

I hitched a ride, I was a beggar
I had murder on my hands
I needed water to rinse these stains
But only blood could remove what’s spillin’
And pardon me the blame

Menilfest! Art/Words/Noise 4/18/15

Houstonites, come out to this free, family-friendly arts festival in the Neartown area on Saturday! There will be lots of event-only swag from D. Marie Prokop available (such as Baiji bracelets and Liang knit hats).  D. Marie will be there to sign copies and shake hands (and possibly give hugs).

D. Marie is bringing her family- she’d love to meet yours!
Check it out @ Menilfest.com.
Remember- it is all for the bright!

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A Bird in a Cage- Dietrich Bonhoeffer

German pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer was executed by the Nazis on April 9, 1954 for his part in a plot to kill Hitler. Days later, the prison where he was held would be liberated by US troops. He was 39 years old and newly engaged. His theological and literary legacy 70 years later is profound.

I wrote a song called “Bird in a Cage” which was adapted from Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s “Letters and Papers From Prison” (edited by Eberhard Bethge).

Listen to “Bird in a Cage” by Diane Prokop

Who am I? the cheerful squire, a sane man? The friendly, confident man in chains?
Who am I? The bearer of misfortune, day after day? A smiling, proud winner, here to stay?
Am I really what men say that I am?
Am I only what I know of myself?
A bird in a cage, a bird in a cage, a bird in a cage
Who am I? Restless, longing, sick to the bone? A creature struggling for breath, hands caressing my throat?
Who am I? Yearning for beauty, kindness and life? Trembling at a distance for my friend’s strife?
Who am I? This one calm, the other, a hypocrite? Am I one today and tomorrow another?
Who am I? A contemptible, woebegone weakling? Is there an army in me, all but refusing?
Who am I? This lonely question, it mocks me, God.
Who am I? A bird in a cage, a bird in a cage,
O, I am Thine!

Read the English translation of Bonhoeffer’s original poem, “Who Am I?” here.

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The Brain Is Wider Than The Sky

The brain is wider than the sky,
For, put them side by side,
The one the other will include
With ease, and you beside.

The brain is deeper than the sea,
For, hold them, blue to blue,
The one the other will absorb,
As sponges, buckets do.

The brain is just the weight of God,
For, lift them, pound for pound,
And they will differ, if they do,
As syllable from sound.

The Captain put down the volume of Emily Dickinson poems he was reading when he heard a knock at the door, and hobbled over to answer it.  Upon opening the door, he discovered his old friend and former colleague Mark Yancey standing there with a tired smile on his pale face.  His head of red hair was edged with gray.

The Red Cloak, Chapter 4, The Brain

 

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