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”

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”

What is local?

When I say local I’m referring to a store that is in walking distance from my house and food grown in my backyard.  I go further out when what I need is unavailable.

Think of local like a bulls eye.  You and your home is the center.  You only go outside of each ring if necessary.  There are varying sizes of the ring, but once you reach 100 miles away from home you are outside of local.  Why 100 miles? Well the people of the 100 mile diet used that number and their argument sounds reasonable.

When buying locally the things I need, the first consideration is what is best for the environment (non-toxic, low footprint, little packaging) and and second how close can I get to home?  I’m not talking about close to home as in a store in your town.  I am referring to one that is locally owned and independent.  Businesses such as large retail stores, restaurants and hotel chains are typically not local.

Local ownership results in 68% of the money spent returning to the community compared with 43% spent at a non-locally owned store.  For the Andersonville study- where I got those numbers- click here.  But enough about that: there will be more information on why buying local is important in another post or you can check some information out now at Pioneer Valley Local First.

Just remember that while in many ways the definition of the term is based on personal decision there are some things that according to the dictionary, local is not.

Local is not widespread or general.

Local is unique and gives you a taste of an area’s culture that you can’t get everywhere.

What’s Peak Oil?

Out to dinner with my friend the other night I casually referred to Peak Oil in a discussion. We were talking about topics that might be potential articles on Earth Thrives. As it turns out he didn’t know what Peak Oil was. Hadn’t heard about it and didn’t mention the fact until I had rolled on to another topic.

This friend had spent at least the past two years running a company whose focus sales demographic was the triple bottom line business, and so I assumed that he of all people would know what peak oil was. Turns out I was wrong.

Over the next week I asked another ten colleagues and friends if they knew what Peak oil was. I expected that they would know when I asked and was not prepared to find that all but one of them didn’t.

I shouldn’t have assumed that my friend or anyone else, for that matter, has the same knowledge that I have. This is not to say that I am amazing, but more to show that my foci are unique to my interests. We all have our own interests which lead to what we read, look up and study in depth. The topics that I have spent more time with include (but are certainly not limited to):
Urban gardens, Peak Oil, sustainable communities, organization development; leadership development, GMO’s (genetically modified organisms), socially responsible business, alternative economies, and local living economies.

While I have spent that last two years immersed in the world of green and sustainable while working on my Masters degree from Goddard College in Socially Responsible Business and Sustainable Communities, not everyone else has gone as in depth in the same topics, even industry professionals.

Let’s face it, many people still think of sustainability as a topic that stands on its own, when it is really a lens through which you see the world.

So, don’t assume that if you bring up something like the Andersonville Study in a conversation about why buying local is important that the person you are talking to has a clue to what you just referred. Ask if they have heard about terms, studies, and topics that you otherwise might take for granted that they know. It will help you to educate yourself as well as others and that is what we need to have happen in order to build the breadth and depth of our information.