|Howard Horowitz (www.wordmaps.net)|
By Jonathan Sanzari
Professor Horward Horowitz came to visit our class to share with us his environmental writing, wordmaps and what got him into environmental writing to begin with.
Professor Horowitz said it all started with his experience working in Oregon where he planted trees with his co-op organization that was started during the 1970s. The co-ed organization helped bring forest that had been logged back to life by replanting shrubs, trees and other landscape essentials. It was working there that he witnessed a woman tree planter started bleeding from “every hole in her body,” according to Horowitz.
The woman started bleeding because she inhaled too much of the Agent Orange herbicide mixture that was sprayed on the plants. Everyone in the group was feeling some sort of unpleasant side-effects due to inhaling the fumes that was a mixture of diesel fuel and Agent Orange. The herbicide mixture was commonly used during the Vietnam War to expose enemies that were hiding in heavily forested areas in Vietnam. According to the Aspen Institute, “as many U.S.Vietnam-era veterans know, dioxin is a highly toxic and persistent organic pollutant linked to cancers, diabetes, birth defects and other disabilities.”
Professor Horowitz was outraged that government agencies were spraying this terrible mixture onto living plants and into the atmosphere for others to breathe. He took action by contacting local newspapers and news stations. Professor Horowitz saved that forested area by letting the proper authorities know that it is unacceptable and got them to refrain from using it.
While Professor Horowitz was a forest worker he wrote one of his books of poetry and incorporated his experiences into the poetry. Horowitz also specializes in pesticides and wrote a 200-page research document for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to stop the usage of Agent Orange and its relative chemicals. The use of Agent Orange was banned in the U.S. in 1979. Horowitz altered his document for the EPA to create an academic paper to get a PhD.
Soon after, he helped numerous people’s environmental law cases in need of a credible and scholarly source. Some cases he didn’t even charge money for because he’s in it for making change for the greater good of the planet.
Horowtiz’s love for writing environmental poetry didn’t disappear after all the legal battles he was involved in. Horowitz had a vision of sorts late one night at precisely 3 a.m. This vision was the start of his unique poetry style that was later featured in the New York Times in the 1990s. Horowitz’s unique style is to strategically place words to form a piece of land or river. His “Manhattan” poem is his most popular and was the one featured in the New York Times. Horowitz shared his passion for helping the environment through poems and through writing documents for the judicial system that help bring awareness to the misinformed.