Stephanie Greene

Commentator

Stephanie Greene is a free-lance writer now living with her husband and sons on the family farm in Windham County.

Greene: Call Me

Mar 6, 2017

I’ve been calling my representatives in DC - and other people’s too. I’ve urged, begged, scolded and thanked. I actually prefer writing, but I’ve been assured by ex-senate-staffers that calls work because they must be tallied. They say emails and petitions can be ignored, while snail mail is slow because it must be tested for toxins and explosives.

Most of us know that plastic debris is an environmental problem we need to solve. According to The Wall Street Journal, the U.S. goes through 100 billion plastic shopping bags a year, which require 12 million barrels of oil to make. The American Progressive Bag Alliance, which represents the plastics industry, estimates that only 15% of those bags get recycled properly. And the California Coastal Commission calculates that roughly 80 percent of all marine debris is plastic, which never biodegrades.

Writer Zadie Smith has said she sometimes wishes she could go to jail, so she could finally read as much as she wants.

My husband and I just completed a loop out to Wisconsin and back. Driving our Prius among 18-wheelers doing 80 felt like being a ballerina dropped into the middle of an ice hockey playoff.

As in the last two presidential elections, there’s a big push to register new voters. After all, Millennials – defined as being between 19 and 35 years old - now outnumber Boomers by a good half million. It’s a group both parties are eager to reach.

Greene: Harassment

Sep 23, 2016

I felt sorry for the Muslim women ordered by French police to remove their outlawed “burkinis” or leave the seaside in Nice. Those women just wanted to enjoy the beach.

For Lisa Sullivan, owner of Bartleby’s Books in Wilmington, there was no choice about whether to rebuild after TS Irene. She and her husband own the building, so they were going to stay.

We’ve all dealt with what I call Danglers.

After 14 months, villagers in his Tanzanian town of 7500 now call Newfane’s Dan Saynor Babu, which means grandfather. The locals revere elders, and at 62, Saynor is currently the only Peace Corps volunteer in his area over 30.

While researching her family’s involvement in Rochester’s Eastman School of Music, a friend went to a family party where she talked to a 95 year old cousin, who, as a young woman, had been enrolled in Eastman’s year-long program as a composition student.

When the news broke in 2009 that the First Lady was putting in an organic garden at the White House, all my gardening friends sent her Gilfeather Turnip seeds. Picturing a forest of turnip plants on the White House lawn, we all rushed out to buy packets.

Greene: Asylum

May 4, 2016

I was stunned to learn that currently, children are representing themselves in front of immigration judges.

This includes children as young as five.

On July 21, 1969, the day after the first moon landing, The New York Times published a poem called Voyage To The Moon by Archibald MacLeish on its front page. Today, that seems almost as miraculous as the landing itself. But back then, poetry was still part of the everyday fabric.

I’ve long thought political speeches and their relative effectiveness had a lot to do with the tone in which they’re delivered – almost, you might say, their musical pitch.

I was dismayed to learn that the new Common Core recommendations for teaching reading and writing have dramatically downsized the use of literature. The emphasis is now on nonfiction. The rationale is that most workplace reading is nonfiction, so to make students college and career ready, this would be a smart step.

People might be surprised at how many Vermont households are busy making Chinese dumplings to celebrate the Year of the Monkey, which begins Monday the 8th. But when you consider the number and scope of Asian exchange programs the Freemen Foundation has funded, it makes a little more sense.

With the Internet, there are no longer any stupid questions. Inquiries can be worded awkwardly or misspelled, and you will still get answers. No more shame or fear of looking ignorant. But the catch is: those answers will vary wildly in quality. Truth used to be gated territory, jealously curated by a seemingly mysterious elite. But the crowd-sourced Internet has shown us how relative that perspective can be.

I was recently at a party where I talked to a single mother about creating supportive community. As a volunteer fire fighter, she gets called out at all hours. She asked a couple of neighbors if they’d watch her son when she had to fight a fire.

Greene: Laid Up

Dec 7, 2015

After taking a header down the stairs a couple of weeks ago, I found myself limping around on crutches, with a sore shoulder and bruised ribs. I realized I had (literally) stumbled into an ideal disability laboratory. This is what it’s like to be immobile, and in pain, I thought. Welcome to old age.

syntika / iStock

For parents, the question of nature vs. nurture is never just academic. It’s a huge responsibility to raise a happy, healthy child and we want to get it right. As young parents of boys in the early ‘90’s, I felt like my husband and I were daily carving out new policy, setting up the laws of a small but terribly energetic country where anything could happen.

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