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Terry Tempest Williams, photo by Zoe Rodriguez, 2014.

Pamela has published essays in The Writer, mothersalwayswrite, Literary Mama, Parent Co., The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Huffington Post. Please visit her at .

A Voice in the Wilderness: Converstaions with Terry Tempest Williams.

Tutu believes that "it was courageous leaders who gave the sides hope that negotiations could lead to a good outcome," and applauds De Klerk and Mandela for their leadership. What qualities did both embody in the process of moving toward democracy? Are there lessons for our own leaders, faced with difficult situations?

Where do you think Tutu gets his hope? Think back to this book's introduction, and to Jim Wallis's story of Tutu inviting the South African police officers to join the winning side.

What does Tutu mean by "God has a sense of humor." How does this compare with Howard Zinn's "The Optimism of Uncertainty?"

Why is the Tutu essay a fitting conclusion for this anthology?

Do you agree that "Only justice can stop a curse?" What's the relationship between this concept and Tutu's notion of forgiveness?



It seems that everywhere we turn, we find people in despair, feeling there's nothing they can do about the most critical issues of our time. Yet others face the same realities (or challenges far greater and more personally risky) and still find ways to act. Think over the essays you have read. Review Ch. 43, "You Have to Pick Your Team," and then write an essay about which of these authors (at least one) you would "pick for your team" and why (their attitude, the issue they care about, their personal stories, etc).

Making Love to the Earth: The Eco-feminism of Terry Tempest Williams.

A Conversation with Terry Tempest Williams.

Even though, Maggie Gallagher in her essay the benefits of marriage in “Why marriage is good for you,” states that she is trying to promote the return to more traditional view of marriage within the society.


"The Dark Years" by Nelson Mandela
Mandela describes how authorities attempted to "exploit every weakness, demolish every initiative, negate all signs of individuality-all with the idea of stamping out that spark that makes each of us human and each of us who we are." How can individuals promote the opposite in each other-that is, how can individuals or authorities encourage "that spark that makes people human and each of us who we are"?

Why would Mandela and his ANC colleagues go to such lengths to get news of the outside, like passing it from cell to cell on scraps of toilet paper? How does a sense of political isolation foster despair, while being connected with an engaged community encourages hope? How do you break down your political isolation?

Most of us will not face the hardships of imprisonment like Nelson Mandela, but in what other ways can we be imprisoned? What qualities does Mandela suggest help human beings surmount even the greatest of challenges?

Loeb writes, "Those who make us believe anything's possible, however, and fire our imagination over the long haul, are often the ones who've have survived the bleakest of circumstances. It's the men and women who have every reason to despair, but don't, who may have the most to teach us, not only about how to hold true to our beliefs, but about how such a life can bring about seemingly impossible social change." Do you agree or disagree with this why? What lessons can we draw from people facing the most difficult situations for our own more modest challenges?

How can courage be multiplied? Can you think of a time in your life or a situation you've witnessed when courage multiplied? Explain.

"It was ANC policy to try to educate all people, even our enemies." What was the point of this policy? Have you ever reached out to someone with whom you radically disagree on an issue about which you felt passionately? What was it like?

"An Orientation of the Heart" by Vaclav Havel
In the beginning of his essay, Havel describes how hope is "a state of mind, not a state of the world." And he distinguishes hope from optimism. How would you distinguish the belief that things will turn out well from the deeper sense that guides us even when we are unsure of the results of our actions. Have you ever faced a personal situation where you acted even though the outcomes were uncertain?

What states of mind and approaches to the world do you think nurture hope? Do you know someone who exemplifies a hopeful approach to the world, and not just an optimistic one? Describe this person.

Have you ever heard people label activists "exhibitionistic" or say they were just trying "to draw attention to themselves." What was your response when you realized this same charge was being levied at a later successful democracy movement that challenged a Communist dictatorship? Did this make you question the way our own society so quickly dismisses our own political dissenters?

Would you agree with Milan Kundera that the petition circulated by Havel and others was futile? Why or why not? Compare Havel's description of people being brought together to challenge the regime in an apparently futile context with Paul’s friend Lisa standing in the rain and realizing she'd later helped inspire famed baby doctor, Ben Spock. How do these examples suggest that the impact of our actions may only be clear in hindsight?

How did the petition help keep the prisoners going? Have you ever witnessed a situation where the supportive actions of others help courageous individuals keep acting? Do you agree with Havel's judgment that small acts of resistance can still matter--even if they don't have the desired immediate outcome?

Since the dictatorship was still in power when Havel wrote his essay (and according to global consensus likely to remain so), what allowed him to see the cracks in the walls of their seemingly unchallengeable rule? Is it possible for us to look similarly beyond the horizon to see what might be possible in changing unjust situations in our own political context? What does it mean to "make a way out of no way"?

Havel describes resistance against a dictatorship that seeks to control every aspect of daily life in a way that prevents questioning the prevailing authorities. Does our dominant culture ever function in a similar way? If so, how? If much our culture avoids talking about the real and urgent questions of our time, what would a culture look like that challenges this? What signs of it do you see in today's America?

“Reluctant Activists” by Mary Pipher

Coyote Clan: Terry Tempest Williams.

A "resource for information related to the life and work of Terry Tempest Williams"

Burton describes a luncheon last year for independent booksellers where Williams received one of five awards. Everyone said they loved indies. “They were gratifying and funny and some were impassioned, but Terry always manages to take it outside, to put you in the situation where you’re empathizing. You’re there understanding in that real way.”


"Sept 1, 1939," by W.H. Auden
In the days following the Sept. 11 attacks, this poem may well have been passed around more on the internet than any other poem in the English- speaking world. Why did people respond to it so powerfully? What would it mean if we took Auden's message seriously, "We must love one another or die?"

"The Optimism of Uncertainty" by Howard Zinn
Zinn provides many examples of people and events in history that show how seemingly powerless people can actually change the world. Can you think of additional examples from history or your own experience that support this point?

Zinn warns: "Pessimism becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy; it reproduces itself by crippling our willingness to act." Can optimism also become a self-fulfilling prophecy? Write a statement using "optimism" or "hope" that explains why this might be true.

"People are not naturally violent or cruel or greedy, although they can be made so. Human beings everywhere want the same things: they are moved by the sight of abandoned children, homeless families, the casualties of war; they long for peace, for friendship and affection across lines of race and nationality." Do you agree or disagree? Support your position with specific examples. In addition to the commonalties Zinn identifies, what are other human commonalities that transcend distance and culture?

How would you summarize Howard Zinn's perspective on what we learn from history? He writes: "Throughout history people have felt powerless before authority, but that at certain times these powerless people, by organizing, acting, risking, persisting, have created enough power to change the world around them, even if a little."

Do you agree with Zinn's judgments that political power is “more fragile than we think,” and that fundamental change does not come in one fell swoop but as an a long “succession of surprises”?

Similarly, Loeb writes, "History also shows that even seemingly miraculous advances are in fact the result of many people taking small steps together over a long period of time." Is this the view of history you've been taught? How many of the examples Zinn gave of unexpected turnings did you know about? What about accurate depictions of citizens making change? Think again of the Rosa Parks story. What is the value of value of emphasizing courageous and positive moments when ordinary citizens helped change the world?

If you think of Zinn as a fiery radical, were you surprised by his inviting the string quartet to play in his classroom? What does this say about the sources that sustain us?

Rocky Mountain Review of Language and Literature 49 (1995): 106-112.Williams, Terry Tempest.
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Terry Tempest Williams is just that, an ecofeminist.

Award-winning author and environmental advocate Terry Tempest Williams will share a reading with the public as part of ACES' Jessica Catto Leadership Dialogues on:

Thats why I am writing this essay to prove on what they do right.

"Terry Tempest Williams has such an enormous talent for exploring the nexus between humankind's creative and destructive forces. She brings home, through otherwise untold personal stories about the environment, the consequences of our actions or, our failure to act." Tom Cardamone, ACES Director

Terry Tempest-Williams - Thoreau and Wilderness - Google

Naturalist, free speech advocate, and award-winning author Terry Tempest Williams has published sixteen books in a range of genres including novels, memoirs, poetry and essay collections, and a book for children. Her 1991memoir, Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place, is considered a classic of nevironmental literarture. WIlliams received the Distinguished Achievement Award from the Western American Literature Association, the Wallace Stegner Award given by The Center for American West, a Lannan Literary Fellowship, and a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship in creative nonfiction. She is currently the Annie Clark Tanner Scholar in Environmental Humanities at the University of Utah. Her writing has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, Orion magazine, numerous anthologies worldwide, and The Progressive magazinefor which she is a columnist. She divides her time between Wilson, Wyoming, and Castle Valley, UT.

Terry Tempest Williams’ Refuge Essay 1049 Words | 5 Pages

Terry Tempest Williams is the author of seven collections of essays, including Red: Passion and Patience in the Desert, An Unspoken Hunger, The Open Space of Democracy, Finding Beauty in a Broken World, and the highly acclaimed memoir Refuge, which is widely considered a modern classic of environmental writing. Williams often collaborates with visual artists as well, producing books such as Desert Quartet, Illuminated Desert, Coyote’s Canyon, and Pieces of White Shell: A Journey to Navajo Land. She’s the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim and Lannan Foundations, serves on the Governing Council of the Wilderness Society, and currently holds the Annie Lee Clark Fellowship in Environmental Studies at the University of Utah.

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