American Guild of Organists
Milwaukee Chapter

Remembrances of Phyllis Stringham

  • 21 Sep 2012 7:01 AM
    Reply # 1078775 on 901106
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  • 21 Sep 2012 8:24 AM
    Reply # 1078834 on 895676
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    Reply # 1078873 on 897834
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  • 21 Sep 2012 9:33 AM
    Reply # 1078913 on 895356
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    Reply # 1078984 on 897843
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    Reply # 1079106 on 895518
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    Reply # 1079167 on 907307
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    Reply # 1079253 on 1000097
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  • 21 Sep 2012 4:12 PM
    Reply # 1079257 on 894749
    After NABC [North American Bioregional Congress] II in Traverse City , Michigan (1986 ), Bruce Hinkforth and I came back to Milwaukee and, sometime in the next year, claeld a meeting on bioregionalism. Only two people came. After the spring Chippewa spearfishing season and boat landing Witness in 1988, we put out a call to form Milwaukee Greens, and 50 people showed up. So we went with that formation for our bioregional advocacy work. That work for the next 12 years was immeasurably indebted to all we learned from our NABC/TIBC attendance, including the wonderful Green Cities conference in Chicago where Peter Berg was one of the keynote speakers.Howie Friedman put together the July 1989 Green Cities Conference at Loyola University in Chicago where Peter Berg and Jimmy Boggs led off with keynote addresses. In his opening, Peter started out with a story of animals as a magical presence in cities. He argued that cities themselves were a threat to the planet because of the resources they pulled in and the garbage they put out. To answer the challenge of how can we contribute to life systems in the city, he offered these considerations for guiding discussions at the conference: 40% of land in cities goes to accommodating autos; No city has a system to re-use greywater; Retrofitting just city buildings with renewable energy could cut energy costs by one-fourth; There has to be a new urban consciousness for dwelling on the planet—urban dwellers are the new pioneers.Milwaukee Area Greens (MAG) announced ourselves publicly at the water quality visit of Greenpeace’s ship, the Beluga, in July 1988. We channeled those first 50 people into action task forces on issues of Urban Green Spaces, Water Quality and Toxins; Recycling and Solid Waste; Ozone Layer/CFCs; and the mayor’s upcoming appointment of director of the Department of City Development. Later came support work for light rail in the city (eventually defeated by talk radio and Republicans). The Local Currency model and other neighborhood solution projects of the E.F. Schumacher Society were too small in scale for Left Greens to support, but given what the financial meltdowns have shown in concern for families and cities, I wished we’d done more on those. MAG helped to build the statewide network in support of Chippewa treaty rights and a statewide Green group. Those treaties that protected hunting, fishing, and gathering rights were also an extra legal protection against timbering and mining in rural/wilderness areas. Over the following decade, Milwaukee Area Greens study groups included “A Green City Program for San Francisco…,” ecofeminist readings (especially Judith Plant’s Healing the Wounds: The Promise of Eco-Feminism) and Starhawk videos; Lappe9 and Schurman’s Taking Population Seriously; Paul Hawken’s The Ecology of Commerce; Kirk Sale’s Human Scale, and more. We tried to keep all ideological difference debates within the study groups, follow through with practical work and strategies from the theory, and build outward from our internal business meetings and in our public organizing.I have VHS tape of the Chicago “Green Cities” conference keynotes. ( If Planet Drum doesn’t have a similar record of this, I’d be glad to donate it.) On the tape, Peter then chairs a workshop of bioregion reports from different cities. Quite unfortunately, the tape goes blank there and all one can do is fast- forward and see the rapid images, but no voices, of various workshops, plenary, and closing talking circle. It’s like a long dream sequence where one feels the argument is coherent without recovering the actual content. I know the political level was high just by who I see: Grace and Jimmy Boggs, and Shea Howell (all of Detroit Summer), Roberto Mendoza (Muscogee, Oklahoma); Sam Grant (Twin Cities); Ellen Smith and Don Wescher (both MAG); Margo Adair (San Fran) and Starhawk knitting I think there was reference to about 100 people attending, drawing activists also from Chicago, Madison (WI), Oklahoma City, and elsewhere.Milwaukee Area Greens once ran a great picture of Peter with David Haenke addressing a tentful at TIBC 1996 in Tepotzlan, Mexico. The pic is in the second last issue of the MAG newsletter, (vol. 30, Spring 1997). On a long shot, I will ask the photographer if she still has the original or digital. Somewhere I may have an extra copy of that newsletter article/photo to send Planet Drum. (Copy to David, too?)Our sincere condolences go out to Judy and Ocean. I wish to remember and honor Peter for his many decades of influential work and inspiration, and to thank everyone at Planet Drum who continues to carry the spirit and message.Rick Whaley, Milwaukee Rivers watershedP.S. Update on Milwaukee green spaces, for any interested:The 11 acre plot of Downer Woods at University of Wisconsin Milwaukee was protected, even though the covenant that covered the original donation was supposed to always protect it. Efforts are still ongoing to save Seminary Woods as the Archdiocese sells off its land to cover ongoing court case settlements. (They’ve now filed for bankruptcy.) The neighborhood and Green struggle for Humboldt Yards (an old railroad yard gone wild) was lost to a chain grocery store and a local medical clinic. Earth Poet and green spaces activist Jeff Poniewaz notes, however, that Milwaukee Common Council may have preserved a small green strip at river’s edge when they okayed the Milwaukee River Greenway plan whereby the fringe of wild land along both sides of the river within the city limits is kept natural. When the old county mental hospital was closed, the 235 acres of County Grounds, as it is known, evolved into a flood detention basin; plus 40 acres of forest to become a State Forestry Education Center; 55 acres to be the newest Milwaukee County Park; and 89 acres for UWM to build a campus and research incubator, including some residential development and 11 acres designated as Monarch Butterfly Preservation Habitat on the 89 acres. [Thanks to the fine urban-wilderness photographer and writer Eddee Daniel for this last update.]Today, bioregionalism is also strongly reflected in Milwaukee by the following organizations: Milwaukee Riverkeeper, The Park People, Wild Ones (natural landscaping), and of course, Will Allen’s Growing Power local food revolution, headquartered here. Also sprouting in some Wisconsin cities, according to Bruce Hinkforth, still with the Greens as chair of WI Greens, have been the Scandinavian eco-cities model of Natural Step (eg., Ashland, WI) and the Transition Towns model (eg., “Sustain Jefferson”). Regional high-speed rail was recently killed by Gov. Scott Walker, along with Milwaukee jobs to build those rail cars.
  • 22 Sep 2012 9:32 PM
    Reply # 1080319 on 901106
    I was wondering if you ever thhguot of changing the layout of your website? Its very well written; I love what youve got to say. But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it better. Youve got an awful lot of text for only having 1 or 2 pictures. Maybe you could space it out better?

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