Writings of the general word's body
Monday, February 19, 2007
February 14, 2007
Global Warming Composition
“America has not led, but fled, on the issue of global warming"
Global warming is an issue that needs to be faced straight-on. It is not a joke, and will start to affect us in the very near future. In fact, according to UC Berkeley Scientists, “a five degree temperature rise - projected to occur in the next 30-50 years at current rates of carbon dioxide accumulation in the atmosphere - could result in a $15 to $30 billion in annual damage to American crops.” So what do we do about it? How do we stop this, in some sort, ‘monster’ that has the potential to kill us? I feel that it is not that hard to prevent global warming. By simply changing the way we use our cars, we can make sure that less carbon dioxide (CO2) gets released. Trees gobble up CO2 like crazy, but now there are not enough trees to get all the CO2 that we humans exhale. Why not? One word: deforestation. Loggers are cutting down whole forests numerous times a day, and it’s getting to the point where soon, there’ll be no more trees left! If we would just turn off electrical items when they’re not in use, or even find a way to conserve energy, we’d be putting a lot less greenhouse gases into the air.
Many of the cars on the roads now get 35 miles per gallon (mpg). This means that we take more trips to the pump, which increases the price of gasoline. There is a solution. In fact, there are many. For one, you could get a Hybrid car, which is a car that runs on battery power that is generated in the process of driving. Hybrid cars only produce 1/2 - 2/3 the greenhouse gases of regular cars and SUVs. You may also get a tax break if you purchase a Hybrid car. Even if you couldn’t buy a Hybrid car, there are ways you can prevent global warming. By driving 45-60 mph, making sure your car is tuned up, and making sure your tires are properly inflated, you will get the best mileage possible from your car, and produce the fewest greenhouse gases possible. By carpooling with a nearby co-worker, you will keep more cars off the road, keeping less greenhouse gases from getting into the air. Whenever possible, try to walk, bike, or take public transportation instead of driving your car. If everyone would take these small steps, they’d prevent millions of tons of carbon dioxide (and other greenhouse gases) from getting into the air.
Deforestation is the process of removing trees from an area of land. Trees breathe in CO2 as we exhale it. By cutting down the trees, we release the CO2 into the air, which contributes to global warming. By planting a tree every 2,000 miles (when traveling by car), you help prevent global warming. By simply growing a tree in your room, you make your air cleaner. Trees make the world’s air cleaner. With deforestation going on, trees cannot make the world’s air cleaner, allowing pollution and the release of greenhouse gases make global warming even worse. There are many ‘Adopt-A-Tree’ organizations out there, waiting for others to join their cause and help stop global warming. Another thing that we can do to help save the trees would be to create an ‘Endangered Species’ sort of list for trees. We do this for animals, and it’s helped bring back many animals from the edge of extinction. Trees are even more important. Also, like animals, there are different kinds of trees that live in different types of climates. This means that one certain type of tree may be being cut down because someone wants to put something there that relates to the climate. For example: say someone wants to build an indoor ski resort in Hawaii. Since there are a bunch of palm trees in the way, that person hires a crew to clear them out. Suddenly, the indoor ski resort becomes a great hit, and they start popping up all over Hawaii, and then start popping up in Jamaica, California, and Puerto Rico. Palm trees everywhere are being cut down, making them an endangered species. Without an endangered species list, we have no way of protecting our trees and preventing global warming.
Did you know that even when you’re not charging your cellphone, your charger is using energy just by being plugged up? Apparently, many people don’t since they waste energy in this very way numerous times a day. If you can’t avoid this, then switch your light bulbs to compact fluorescent light bulbs. These save energy, and make your lights brighter. Did you know, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), replacing 5 of your current light bulbs with 5 compact fluorescent light bulbs is equivalent to taking 8 million cars off of the road? Only 5 compact fluorescent light bulbs! Imagine if everyone had 5 compact fluorescent light bulbs in their homes. Now imagine 10, 15 fluorescent light bulbs! It isn’t that hard to keep the Earth at a stable temperature. This is proof that by doing something as small as changing what kind of light bulb you use, you can help prevent global warming.
Although some people may not like to believe it, global warming is an issue that’s here and is growing stronger. By taking small steps such as: changing the way we use our cars, decrease deforestation, and stop wasting energy, we can help change our Earth positively, and prevent global warming.
- What do 'Future Nigeria', 'Sons-and-Daughters', Funmi Iyanda's New Dawn talk show and a novel called His Father's Knickers have in common? - read Chude's Blog and find out.
- Because she posted a one-year rememberance to the late soul singer David Lynden Hall - and many other reasons you best find out yourself, read Jola Naibi's blog.
- And you can never have too many blogs on Nigerian writing and such like, so why not check Uzezi out?
- And there's Vera's blog. Why? Because she's 'Verastic'.
Sunday, February 18, 2007
- Words and image are courtesy of Sumaila Umaisha, and the blogger thanks him.
Monday, February 12, 2007
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Meanwhile, Giles Foden, author of the book from which The Last King of Scotland is adapted, reviews 2001 Caine prizewinner Helon Habila's 2nd novel, Measuring Time, published this month in the UK by Hamish Hamilton - and later this year in Nigeria by Cassava Republic. Foden writes:
"Given the way the country has gone, Nigeria now being a byword for scheming selfishness and corruption, it seems no accident that twins should play such a big role in the late renaissance of the Nigerian novel, as illuminated by Helon Habila, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Helen Oyeyemi... Habila... author of the acclaimed Waiting for an Angel, has also written a novel in which twins and history are central. It is a very subtle piece of work in which the story of a family and community in northern Nigeria in the 1980s and early 90s is woven into a wider sociopolitical narrative, touching on education, responsibility, the colonial inheritance and the mythic substratum of folklore." - Read the review in full.
- An interview with Habila - was published in The Independent last week.
Ogunlesi is one of 12 winners in the $1,000 category, and he did it with his poem, Visiting the Yellow River - below.
Visiting the Yellow River
How can you (without a pang of conscience) my host
And guide, say that you have suddenly fallen short
Of enthusiasm? What will happen to my dreams
Of seeing the Olumo Rock; and to the beating heart
Trapped in my feet, waiting to drown
Itself in the muddy waters of the Yellow River?
Have I come, possessed with the spirit of one held host-
Age, that I might in oceans of chivalry plunge and drown;
Knowing how blest it is to be short
On fear and long on the courage that steels the heart.
For what is fear if not a song trapped eternally in a cage of bad dreams?
Nor marvelled at the joys that spring like a river
Therefrom. The overall effect is like an upgrade of the heart
Or like sanctifying yourself with the host
That proceeds from the blessed hand of a priest. Cut short
At once your song of fear. You can learn to drown
Your sorrows. It is a shame when a man has no living dreams
Left to fatten. We shall cut his silken hair short
And leave him to gnash his teeth by the rivers
Of Babylon. Do you want us to sing for you, beloved host,
That the pillars of your manhood are weak of heart?
And to give you another chance, another time. I’d rather drown
In the lake of fire than pass up this chance to join the Heavenly host
(The roll call of souls who have chosen to die dreaming big dreams).
And don’t even think of warning me that the Yellow River
Is haunted by spirits. To accept anything short
Change myself. I will not relent. Even if my heart
Ceases to beat, my blood will continue to be a river
That never grows silent, never ceasing to drown
Cowardice. For what could be worse than a dream
Visited by slumber, but too spent to play the sprightly host?
Which is why my favourite dream is of me learning to drown.
Alas, I have a host who is a bad talisman, and my time is now very short …
- Poem reproduced with permission.
- Images of Olumo Rock and River Ogun - taken in Abeokuta on 22 August 2004 © M.Wood
I photographed this sunset in mid-January. You can see the steel arch of the under-construction new Wembley stadium in one image. In the same month as these 'sunset' views, snow hit - allowing for these postcard scenes below, taken from my kitchen window.
Bottom left - snowy scene taken in January.
Bottom right - similar scene taken February 8th.
And right now in London, it's raining non-stop. If it's not one thing, it's another...
Becoming Abigail (Akashic Books; 2006) by Chris Abani: This book stayed with me long after I finished reading it. Abigail is a broken girl who lost her mother and had a troubled father who never really recovered from the death of his beloved wife. Abigail is shipped off to England to live with a family member and presumably to a better life which turns out to be one of cruelty and betrayal that leaves her forever scarred. The poetic prose and short abrupt chapters are very effective in bringing you immediately and viscerally into Abigail's world. A moving tale.
Selah's Bed by Jenoyne Adams: This is the story of a young woman struggling with herself. She is married to a pious husband who is not there for her emotionally especially after learning she was pressured into having an abortion earlier in life. She looks for love and solace in the arms of the different men she photographs and struggles with a grandmother addicted to prescription medication. Adams has a lyrical style and writes with a lot of empathy, giving you a glimpse into the life of Selah and so allows you to root for her.
26a by Diana Evans (Chatto & Windus, 2005) - The Hunter family lives at 26 Waifer Avenue in Neasden, North London. Twins Georgia and Bessi inhabit the loft they’ve nicknamed 26A. Along with younger sister Kemy, older sister Bel, their tortured Derbyshire father and their homesick Nigerian mother, the twins face the minefield of growing up and inevitably apart, complicated by a serious assault on Georgia during a visit to Nigeria, which she hides from the world.
On Beauty by Zadie Smith (Hamish Hamilton, 2005) - Smith's homage to EM Forster's Howard’s End is set in an archaic and insular university town in New England. At the centre of the piece are the Belseys: Howard, a world-weary academic, his warm-hearted African-American wife, Kiki, and their three spirited children – Jerome, Zora and Levi. Add the Kipps family to spice up the academic rivalry, and some shabby morals, and you get a terrific comedy about the mind, race and above all, love.
I read several books this year including Wole Soyinka’s You Must Set Forth at Dawn, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus and Half of a Yellow Sun; Sefi Atta’s Everything Good Will Come and Ike Oguine’s A Squatter’s Tale. My favourite is Half of a Yellow Sun. No other book has been so successful in anchoring the reader in the condition called Nigeria . I loved Atta’s Everything Good Will Come (Farafina; 2005). On a recent plane trip my family read passages in the book and we had fun. That book should have been aggressively marketed. The sister can write.
Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go (Faber; 2005), is one novel I read recently, and I enjoyed it with heart-fluttering trepidation. His simple and accessible diction, his capacity to give everyday words new and terrifying meanings, the depth of his imagination and mastery of craft, all point to the creation of a masterpiece. Never Let Me Go explores the depths of rootlessness and aloneness with such palpable subtlety that only Kazuo Ishiguro could command.
My second pick would be No Sense of Limits by Araceli Aipoh. Here, she weaves the tragic tale of four women who all but one, have no sense of limits. Linked to these women is the mysterious character, Greg. Aipoh deploys an uncanny power of observation, suspense and clarity to narrate a riveting story of love, betrayal, power, lust and dust, situated in the amorphous city of Lagos. One comes out of No Sense of Limits knowing for sure that one cannot buy love, but ultimately pays for it!
My two books would be: Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and The Dewbreaker by Edwidge Danticat (which I read for the first time this year). Half of a Yellow Sun presents the human tragedy of the Biafran war: the pogroms that preceded it, the duplicity of the elite, starvation as a tool of war, ethnic bigotry on all sides of the conflict, and also manages to serve up some of the most complex Nigerian female characters I've seen in years. The Dewbreaker, which presents the life of a Haitian tonton macoute and the victims of his torture gives a poignant portrait of love, loss, forgiveness and leaves the reader wondering about redemption - just how much can a human being change in a lifetime?
Njabulo Ndebele: The Cry of Winnie Mandela - I yearned for more when I finished reading this novel. And this, perhaps, is where my problem lies. I don’t know whether it is because I enjoyed the novel so much that I feel that Ndebele could have done more with the materials at his disposal or whether, genuinely, he really needed to do more. This 120 page novel is so different, so unusual, so wonderful. Yet, something in me believes that were the same materials to be given to Ngugi wa Thiong’o, he would have come out with a 700 page novel, with every single word, every single sentence serving as a memorable experience. But I will need to read the novel again.
The Cry of Winnie Mandela (David Phillip; 2003) is concerned with the experience of waiting women. It spins off from the story of Penelope in Homer’s Odyssey who, for nineteen years, waited for the return of Odysseus, her man, and who throughout the period, stoically resists the advances of the numerous suitors who lay siege on her house. Ndebele links the experience of this woman with those of four fictive representatives of hundreds of thousands of South African women who waited as their husbands disappeared for all kinds of reasons during apartheid. The women relive their experiences and hold imaginary conversations with Winnie Mandela, the prominent one who waited as her husband languished in jail. And, together, the five women seem to demand a reason as to why different societies demand unqualified fidelity from their women. While he does not, in the end, excuse the multiple crimes she committed, the acts of violence she perpetrated, Ndebele seems to canvass for an understanding for the sexual scandals surrounding Winnie Mandela.
Gabeba Baderoon: A Hundred Silences (Kwela/Snailpress; 2006) - I don’t think I will ever be able to capture adequately the impact that Baderoon’s third collection of poetry has on me. The work is so smooth, so sonorous, so satisfying. No, Baderoon’s themes are never grand – at least not always. Rather, her focus is always on small things, on little things that hardly receive attention, otherwise: like chirping birds suddenly falling quiet in the trees, like the impact a mouse makes on a tree as it runs through its branches, like the private laugh of a couple in their bedroom, like the anxiety in the hearts of two lovers on the eve of their wedding, like the experience of filming swans at sea, like the little lessons an individual receives when s/he goes picking mushrooms with a friend in the garden, like… I am totally awed by Baderoon’s power of observation, by her gift for recalling details, by the confidence with which she converts minor matters into poetry, and by the patience and talents she applies in honing her lines.
Kola Tubosun - author of Headfirst Into The Mettle
No Sense of Limits by Araceli Aipoh: I must say that I was not at first moved to read it being unreasonably finicky about book covers. But I did. My in-law told me it is the next big book in Nigerian literature. I like the story which was like watching an interesting Nollywood flick. It is hard to imagine that the story set in the crannies of Lagos was written by a non-Nigerian. The plot is engaging, and the style greatly used. It read at times like Soyinka's You Must Set Forth at Dawn and Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code that I read only days before, where all or most of the action takes place within the course of the persona's journey through flashbacks and gradual disclosures. In Soyinka's case, it was a flight back from exile while in No Sense of Limits, it was the femme fatale's drive through Lagos on a course of revenge. I'm glad I read the book.
The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler: With so much hype about this book, I finally got a copy, and read it in one night. I must say that I was not much impressed to equal the hype raised by critics. I am not a feminist. I read the book for information, and pleasure. And I wasn't disappointed. I think my best part was the funny/sad narration of a woman whose husband slept around ostensibly because the wife would not shave her pubis. My friends joke about a riposte, in form of The Penis Diatribe. But mischievous humour apart, it's always nice to read literature that seeks to defy conventions, and to shock. Great work.
- Books of 2006 - I, II, III
- Concluding part of Books of 2006,as published in The Independent, Lagos, Sunday 11 February; compiled by Molara Wood.