Independent Writer • Educator • Theater Artist • Activist - Company Message

Collateral Damage: The Iraqi People (Bad Dog! Publishing, 2003), coauthored with George Sapio; photographs by George Sapio

"Higher Education on a Slippery Slope," chapter, in Policing the Campus: Academic Repression, Surveillance, and the Occupy Movement, Anthony Nocella II and David Gabbard, eds. (Peter Lang, 2013)

Selected Recent Magazine & Online Writing

Kunduz Massacre Is a Brutal Reminder of US Militarism's Civilian Victims, Past and Present. Most US residents assume the military that operates thanks to their tax dollars has a permanent, blanket order to not bomb schools, clinics, places of worship, community centers, neighborhoods, and other civilian structures. Like bomb shelters. And hospitals. But . . .

New York Does Not Have a Ban on Fracking, despite media and other contentions that it does. Let's not perpetuate this myth.

False Accusations Against Human Rights Champion Should Not Influence School District. Op-ed in Ithaca Journal in response to Ithaca Schools superintendent's capitulation to political pressure from apologists for one government’s subjugation of a population.

Theater review. Edgar Allan: Creepy and Kooky, Hilarious and Spooky . . . by the Coldharts (Katie Hartman and Nick Ryan) at the 2015 Ithaca Fringe Festival.

Theater review. Bortle 8: Free Spirit in the Sky. by Drunk Lion Productions at the 2015 Ithaca Fringe Festival. Chris Davis's compelling one-man show.

Citizen Journalist/Frack Tours Operator Bullied Yet Undaunted. A Pennsylvania judge with an apparent conflict of interest rules against citizen journalist Vera Scroggins (right) in favor of a Texas-based fracking company.

Five Major Pipeline Ruptures in January 2015. "Maura Stephens created a factual companion narrative (and commentary) providing background information on each of the incidents. She also shows how this 3-minute montage [from The Rachel Maddow Show] may be used as an organizing tool."
from Protecting Our Waters)

Big One Down! But More to Go . . . The Coalition to Protect New York celebrates the state "ban" on fracking, but knows it's only a small victory. The fossil fuel threat, with massive infrastructure buildout, continues. (with CPNY)

When Is a Ban Not a Ban? When It's Not Enough. FrackBustersNY recognizes the "ban" as a moratorium extension and cautions against celebration without examination. (with Virginia Rasmussen and FrackBustersNY)

American Lung Association Contradicts Its Own Mission. The ALA acknowledged that fracking causes massive amounts of cancer-causing air pollution. But, after receiving hefty donations from a fracking company, it switched to falsely promoting gas as "cleaner than other fossil fuels." (with asthma and allergy physician Ronald Saff, MD)

Walmart's Not the Bargain You Might Think It Is. People flock to the megacorporate store for perceived bargains and convenience. Here are some facts that might keep them from adding their hard-earned cash to the profits of a company that's squashing lives and worker rights worldwide.

Don't Assume Fracking "Won't Happen Here." On the eve of an important election in New York State municipalities, Stephens points out how misleading it is when some claim "it's unlikely to happen here."

Open Letter to the Wilderness Society: How DARE You? in response to its appeal headlined “We need strong standards for fracking on our public lands”

Fracking: We Know What We're Against. But What Are We FOR? Antifracktivists are often accused of being hypocritical for using fossil fuels, or of not offering up alternatives to "natural" gas. Show detractors this.

Columns in No Frack Almanac (PDFs), 2012-13:
New York's Already Being Fracked (Vol 2/Issue 2, p. 12)

Antifracktivists Arrested at Seneca Lake Protest. Jeremy Alderson, Gary Judsen, and Susan Walker are arrested as 20 protesters block access to a hideous compressor station run by Inergy, Inc., that threatens this jewel of the Finger Lakes -- a region known for wineries, organic farms, outdoor pursuits, and breathtaking scenery.

More Media Madness--This Time It's CBS. An egregiously poor "journalism" piece on fracking and New York State by CBS attempts to make even a brilliant scientist and luminous advocate for environmental sensibility look bad.This is slimy and shameful, CBS.

Don't Thank an Antifracktivist. If you sit by and wait for others to stop this massive industrialization, we've already lost. 

Governor Cuomo: Protecting Us from Bath Salts, but Not from Fracking?  New York becomes the 34th or 35th state to ban bath salts. Fine, but what are Cuomo (and other governors) thinking when they allow fracking, the chemicals and other dangers of which harm many more people than this designer drug -- and will leave permanent and irremediable damage to our one and only environment? 

Higher Ed's Role in Occupy and Related Social Justice Movements. A call on faculty, staff, students, and administrators to get involved, with concrete suggestions. Because to not get involved is to be complicit in our own oppression.

Are There Prospects for Democracy in Burma, Iraq, and the USA? Examining ties between Occupy and counterpart social movements on other continents. A talk delivered at the Asian American Heritage Conference at Northeastern Illinois University, April 12, 2012 (PDF).

"Public" Media Joins "Gang Green" in Colluding with Frackers. NPR's serenades to the gas industry are getting more and more blatant. Let's pick apart some of these egregious transgressions from journalistic integrity.

How One Town Beat a Billionaire Bully. Full version of story on Dryden ban (below) that ran in Yes! magazine.

Fracking Bans That Can Stand. In a resounding win for activists, two different state Supreme Court justices have upheld fracking bans in two different New York towns.

Chemical Warfare Legacy, Abroad and at Home. Reading Fred Wilcox's book Scorched Earth: Legacies of Chemical Warfare in Vietnam makes people ask, "What can we do?" Here are a few ideas.

How Mainstream Media Fuels Rabid Anti-environmentalism. The corporate-state collusionist framing is working. It's not just a few "Tea Party crazies" in Virginia who now think sustainable development is a plot against "the American way." And MSM isn't helping.

Fracking Industry Colludes With Pennsylvania Legislature; Dangerous New Law Heads to Governor's Desk. Pennsylvania's state legislature has effectively signed a death warrant for a number of residents, who knows how many. Corbett’s about to make it official. (In fact he did.)

State of the Union: Terrifying. But at Least He's Honest. Maura Stephens's response to portions of President Barack Obama's 2012 speech related to "natural" gas and regulations on the oil and gas industry. 

Gasland Filmmaker Josh Fox Arrested at House HearingPerhaps the ejection of Josh Fox from "Our" House will help wake up the somnalent among the U.S. public to how much this nation has become entrenched in oligarchy, and spur people to read about ALEC and how corporations in bed with corrupt politicians are adversely affecting every aspect of our lives.

Bill McKibben, Take Heed: Why are you playing footsies with Obama and his big polluter pals? Let's not waste time on appeals to a president who's colluding with the enemies of the people and the environment. Direct action is the way forward.

The American Lung Association in Bed with a Big Polluter. For shame on the ALA for its greed and stupidity in partnering with Encana Oil & Gas. Would it take money from RJ Reynolds? This is what happens when NGOs that started out with good intentions grow so big they lose sight of their original vision and mission.

A Wakeup Call for Burma's Parliamentary Democracy Party. There's somthing wrong with a party that claims visitations by spirits and instigates interparty warfare while purporting to want peace, equality, and democracy.

DEC: Inergy LPG Storage in Salt Caverns Is Insane. Say No. Today was the deadline to comment to the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation on the proposed Inergy, Corp. liquefied petroleum gas storage in salt caverns on beautiful Seneca Lake. I was not as polite as most of those who wrote.

Rat Poop in the Pancakes. We might as well be feeding our kids poison if we allow fracking in our communities.

An Open Letter to New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo, who appears to be about to lift the moratorium on fracking in much of New York State.

Why Are We Letting Fossil-Fuel Billionaire T. Boone Pickens Write Our Energy Policy and Push for More Dangerous Gas Drilling? Corporate tycoon Pickens, unelected to public office, has essentially written a bill to require "natural" gas in some vehicles, even as communities across the country are protesting the dire environmental, health, and economic impacts of drilling.

15 Gas Industry Claims and Why They're Wrong. They spend tens millions of dollars a year to convince lawmakers and the public that "natural" gas is great. Let's take a look at the propaganda.

The Fight Against Fracking. How New Yorkers won a moratorium on a drilling practice that threatens their homes, water, and lives.

A New Gulf War: Lessons from Mesopotamia. Could we be witnessing the U.S. version of the destruction of the Marsh Arabs’ habitat?

Part I:   Why Did Gov. Cuomo Establish the Hydrofracking Advisory Panel?
Part II: How Appointed "Environmentalist" Organization Representatives Betray, Not Represent the Antifracking Movement
Part III: Conclusions and Demands

Marcellus Shale: Are the Risks Worth the Rewards? Someone in my community will die because of fracking. It’s inevitable. Are the risks worth the reward? How many lives are worth how many dollars?

Heartbreaking Stories Warn New Yorkers of What May Be in Store if the State OKs Controversial Gas Drilling. Residents of others states are issuing words of warning for New Yorkers who may soon allow companies to use the "fracking" process to drill for natural gas.

Madoff's Shocking Scheme Is Just a Microcosm of a Much Bigger Disaster. All of Wall Street has been engaging in crimes and swindles like Madoff's against the U.S. people, and the rest of the world, for decades.

U.S. Abandons Iraqi Translators to Their Fates While Diminutive Denmark Rescues Its Own. A followup to the harrowing tale of "Andy,"the local interpreter who is fighting for his life after serving the U.S. military in Iraq.

U.S. Failing to Help Iraqi Translator and Family Targeted for Execution. He thought he could rebuild his country by helping the Americans. Now an Iraqi translator and his family have been targeted for execution, and instead of helping, U.S. officials have trapped him in an endless Catch-22.

It's Getting Hot Out Here, on what the G8 should be doing about climate change, from the Women Making a Difference OpenSummit blog on the occasion of the G8 Summit 2007, to which Maura and 31 women from around the were invited to contribute.

A Serious Proposal for the UN: Helping Women Leave Victimisation Behind, selected from Maura Stephens's writings as an invited contributor, with 31 other women from around the world, to the Women Making a Difference blog commemorating the fifth anniversary of the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace, and Security.

Charge to the G8: Take Serious Action on Burma and Free Aung San Suu Kyi, selected from Maura's contributions to the Women Making a Difference OpenSummit blog on the fifth anniversary of UNSCR 1325.

Lessons Learned. Our editor, Maura Stephens, comes from a family of folks who reduced and reused — call them early sustainability advocates.

A Sustainability Primer. Ithaca College takes a leading role in incorporating sustainability in its operations and curriculum. What's it all about? 

Being Gay at IC: A Retrospective. The closet doors opened on campus decades ago, but full equality is still a distance away.  

Ireland's prosperity trap. A booming economy is no cause for complacency; now more than ever Ireland must look after its natural and material wealth, its citizens, & its democracy.

Prosperity shock. Wealthy now after decades of hardship, Ireland seems to have what most countries dream of. But Maura Stephens, measuring the changes she has seen over many years, has a warning for the envious.

To lose a child. Bereaved parents around the world face the greatest grief known to our species. Nothing can diminish their loss, but Maura Stephens suggests that perhaps there are some healing ways to channel it.

This Christmas, get your priorities straight. At the end of a year of tragedies, from Banda Aceh to Kashmir via New Orleans, Maura Stephens says it’s important to hear the message buried by the ring of shopping tills.

A plan for peace in Iraq. Or at least a start toward peace. Now, if only Bush would pay attention.

Why torture is OK. How can a “civilised society” tolerate the inhumane treatment endured by the people in Abu Ghraib, Guantánamo Bay and other American prisons?

The heart of Burma. A small, determined group of exiled Burmese activists are sacrificing their personal lives to free their leader and their country, reports Maura Stephens.

Broken links in Iraq.How can western citizens aid people in shattered post-war Iraq? In her first monthly openDemocracy column, Maura Stephens tells a story of fragile solidarity.

To Iraqi friends. For this American writer in Amman, Jordan, the nearness of Baghdad evokes an intense longing to return. But she cannot.

Letter from Baghdad. On our last day in Iraq, people say farewell and ask us to take their photographs. They think it will help if Americans see their faces, that maybe then they won't drop the bombs.

BLOG (on hiatus 'til sometime . . . )

Promise/Insh'Allah, full-length drama set in New York and Baghdad, 2003-7, about a U.S. journalist, the Iraqi man she befriends, and the cultural chasm between them. Dialog sample copyright 2010 by Maura Stephens; all rights reserved.

Academic/Scholarly Writing Samples
The Play as Powerful Social Statement: The Exonerated by Erik Jensen and Jessica Blank (PDF), copyright 2008 by Maura Stephens; all rights reserved.

Tracy Letts’s Bug: A Plot Full of Paranoia — or Is It? (PDF), copyright 2009 by Maura Stephens; all rights reserved.

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