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Douglas Haynes "Every Day that We Live is the Future"

Douglas Haynes of the Department of English shares how government programs and non-profit organizations in Nicaragua are working to mitigate environmental injustices.
Douglas Haynes "Every Day that We Live is the Future"

Douglas Haynes photo

In his presentation "Every Day that We Live is the Future: Essays on Environmental Injustice in Nicaragua," Douglas Haynes read excerpts from his published essays and shared the experiences he and his study abroad students had in one of the Western Hemisphere's poorest countries. He also discussed how government programs and non-profit organizations in Nicaragua are working to mitigate environmental injustices, including organizations that partner with his UW Oshkosh study abroad course in Nicaragua.

The following is the description of his presentation:

This presentation will journey through daily life in some of Nicaragua’s most marginalized communities to show how poverty magnifies the negative impacts of ecological degradation there. Nicaragua is the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and ranks among the world’s ten most vulnerable countries to climate change. The narrative nonfiction and photographs shared in this presentation portray a Managua squatter settlement on the shore of one of the world’s most polluted large lakes, as well as a peasant farming community increasingly undermined by years of extreme weather. By documenting how these communities in Nicaragua are affected by pollution and climate change, these essays reveal how ecological degradation and economic inequality gradually and cumulatively combine to make survival increasingly difficult not only for low-income Nicaraguans, but for many of the world’s poor.

AUDIO-ONLY PODCAST

In this audio podcast, Douglas Haynes presents his symposium “Every Day that We Live is the Future: Essays on Environmental Injustice in Nicaragua”


The following are essays by Professor Haynes about his Nicaragua experiences. His students from his Writing Across Cultures in Nicaragua study abroad course also produced a magazine of essays and photos called Building Bridges Between Nicaragua & Wisconsin. The entire magazine is available in PDF format.

The Lake at the Bottom of the Bottom

Virginia Quarterly Review, Summer 2011

By Douglas Haynes

It's 8 a.m. in The Bottom, and the sun already feels like a flashlight in my eyes. A guardabarranco, Nicaragua's national bird, flicks its two-pronged tail feathers on the jury-rigged power line behind Edda Montes's house of scrap wood, sheet metal, and concrete blocks. The sun glints off the bird's iridescent blues and oranges. It has a panoramic view of Lake Xolotlán: high enough to see the pale-green water stretch toward dusky mountains but too low to see the deltas of drainage ditches pocked with plastic bottles and unpaired shoes just below the knoll Edda's house sits on…

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Scenes from the January 2012 interim "Writing Community Development in Nicaragua" with Professor Douglas Haynes

A Peaceful Nicaraguan Election Brings a Mandate for Sandinista Social Programs

By Douglas Haynes

At 3 a.m. on election day in Nicaragua, an elderly woman emerged from the dark streets of Managua’s Barrio La Primavera and planted a plastic chair in front of the Alfonso Cortés elementary school, then went home to take a shower. She wanted to be the first to vote when the polls there opened at 7 a.m. Two men walking slowly with canes arrived just after her, saying, “The Sandinistas are here to vote first…”

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Scenes from the January 2012 interim "Writing Community Development in Nicaragua" with Professor Douglas Haynes

Storms Without Names

Climate Change Wreaking Havoc in Central America

By Douglas Haynes

“It’s worth it to come up here to drink a cafecito and meditate on the world, maybe write a poem,” Evenor Malespín told me on top of San Pedro de Carazo, Nicaragua’s highest hill. “Or even eat a carne asada.” Malespín has three bony, chestnut-colored milk cows, but subsistence farmers such as him can rarely afford to eat beef…

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Scenes from the January 2012 interim "Writing Community Development in Nicaragua" with Professor Douglas Haynes

Study Abroad Photos by Liz Granberg.

Professor Haynes's Writing Across Cultures in Nicaragua study abroad course is hosted by the non-profit organization Compas de Nicaragua. To learn more about this organization, see the website: Compas de Nicaragua