Changing Culture Norms through Storytellling

Cultural norms help to shape who we are. The stories that we hear every day. Those going against those norms are often outcast, but they are brave and being true to themselves in their actions.

What if this was all about gaining equality. Equality in the races, in gender, in identity. We are all people after all. Men had been forced to hide their feminine side and women their masculine. Many behaviors seek to overly espouse the opposite. Business women with short hair in suits. Women smoking. Or driven to over expression through hiding their true nature. Men who become over powering and violent in action. Culturally we seek to numb and hide in our actions. Drinking, drugs, over-consumption. We are obviously sick and getting sicker. While some of this can be attributed to our diets, those have been controlled by the cultural norms and so we must look deeper at the root. Continue reading “Changing Culture Norms through Storytellling”

Evolving Consciousness as a Human Right

“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.” So begins the United Nations document The Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Twenty two years ago I was faced with sexual slavery for the first time.  It was on a water testing trip with my high school to the Amazon basin and we were passed on the river by barges heading to supply the people looking for gold.  One of the supplies that barges carried were girls my age.  I was 14 at the time and that event made an impression on me.  One of my goals in life would become to create a world in which slavery couldn’t couldn’t exist. (Not to mention the practice of dumping mercury into the water to retrieve gold isn’t the best idea for the environment.)

Continue reading “Evolving Consciousness as a Human Right”

Food Security in the Valley

PVGrowsA Food-Secure Pioneer Valley- from Our Fields to Our Tables

While I couldn’t possibly capture the whole of the wonderful energy and information that flew through the air at the PVGrows Fall Forum, I can certainly try to grab some of the highlights and bits that I held onto in order to enlighten those who couldn’t make it.

The first big handy chunk of information was the description of a healthy food system.  The elements of this included: vibrant gardens, justice & fairness, healthy people, sustainable ecosystems, thriving local economies, and strong communities. Continue reading “Food Security in the Valley”

Redefining the Heroine

Traditionally the hero/ine was the achetype that comes in and saves the day when something has gone wrong or justice needs to be done.

To me, through the lens of sustainability and environmental justice, a heroine is a support for people who know they need help.   She enables organizations and groups of citizens, through facilitation and training, to create a better world for themselves. A better world which is based on the shared values and culture of the community and not what someone else thinks they should be. Continue reading “Redefining the Heroine”

Eastern States Exposition: The Big E

Last year my first year at the BIG E and since I could not muster up the desire to attend again this year, it might just be my last unless some changes are made.

The Big E is an awesome opportunity to reach out and share some of what is truly special about New England.  Music, arts, goods grown and made here, could all be featured in such a way to generate revenue, and encourage additional tourism and ‘local holidays.’ Continue reading “Eastern States Exposition: The Big E”

No news is good news. Wait. Why is that?

Ever heard the phrase no news is good news?  This phrase to me makes it seem like the only news should be negative.  Well I don’t think so and neither does YourOliveBranch.org.

Your Olive Branch is immersing itself into the information and communications realm as a portal of positive news at the intersection of peace and sustainability.  It is great because it effectively hits on the needs of so many who are dis-illusioned with the current offerings while providing a much needed nectar for those seeking nourishment for their soul. Continue reading “No news is good news. Wait. Why is that?”

SVN Spring Conference: Haiti Onward

Clothing drying on the line at a Haitian CampThe most emotionally charged session that I attended during the Spring SVN member gathering at Skamania Lodge was Haiti Onward.  In part, this was because the rawness of the earthquake and its aftermath, and in part because of my experience volunteering for several weeks with AMURTEL had me feeling connected deeply to the stories that were shared.  The session touched upon several organizations that are working on revitialization and the rebuilding effort and offered the SVN community the opportunity to be inspired to participate in that effort.  Following are a few brief pictures of what was heard during the session. Continue reading “SVN Spring Conference: Haiti Onward”