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A weekly look at creativity, arts, and culture in southwest Michigan, hosted by Zinta Aistars.Fridays in Morning Edition at 7:50am and at 4:20pm during All Things Considered.

Art Beat: Words to span the earth

Robert Weir holds a book about John McConnell, founder of Earth Day
Michael Munday Photography
Robert Weir holds a book about John McConnell, founder of Earth Day

Have laptop, will travel. Or just bring a pencil and notebook. That is the motto of Robert Weir’s life – the life of a writer, speaker, activist, and world traveler. He has written articles for Encore magazine in Kalamazoo for more than two decades, and his most recent book is a collection of those articles titled, Outstanding People and Their Amazing Accomplishments.

Weir has traveled to 26 countries over his lifetime, much of it with no more than a backpack on his back. Gathering his travel experiences into stories, blogs, and books, Weir has also taken on the role of activist, speaking on social justice issues, environmentalism, and more.

A conversation with Robert Weir

A collection of cover stories by Weir for Encore Magazine
Courtesy of Bob Weir
A collection of cover stories by Weir for Encore Magazine

“International travel has reminded me that we are all one human species, regardless of the country we live in, ethnicity or nationality that we claim to participate or be in,” Weir says. “When I travel, I do not go as a tourist. A tourist goes with a complete itinerary and a traveler goes to a destination from which he or she might not return. So I like to stay with people in their homes. I don’t stay in hotels unless I really, really have to. I like to interact with the people and learn about the culture.”

From these experiences, Weir has arguably developed his most fervent cause—caring for the Earth.

“I’m very much involved with the idea of the relationship between peace and justice and the care of the Earth,” he says. “Peace is not the absence of war. Peace comes from an honest understanding of another person’s point of view. And if we understand each other, we may still disagree—and that’s fine—but we are less likely to harm each other. And justice is not an eye for an eye—that’s legalized revenge. Justice comes from an equitable sharing of all of the world’s resources by all of the world’s people. We need that form of peace and that form of justice before we can begin to take care of the planet Earth.”

Weir has written 29 self-published books along with about 30 contracted books for corporate clients and is now working on two more—one a novel and the second an historical novel. He has also written seven radio scripts for All Ears Theater.

Weir’s presentation, “Peace, Justice, and the Care of Earth,” will be at 2 p.m. on June 25th at the Portage Zhang Senior Center.

Listen to WMUK's Art Beat every Friday at 7:50 a.m. and 4:20 p.m.

Zinta Aistars is our resident book expert. She started interviewing authors and artists for our Arts & More program in 2011.
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