education

Ithaca: Give Cornell Cooperative Extension feedback on a new DIY waste-reduction workshop

The Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County is seeking volunteers to participate in an interview to evaluate material for a new workshop focused on Do-It-Yourself (DIY) projects that help save energy. The goal of the material is to prioritize and explain the most effective actions people can take to reduce energy waste in their living-spaces. The interviews will take approximately 45 minutes and be recorded. The purpose is to obtain feedback on the interest-levels and comprehensibility of the topics and presentation format. The final outcome of the project is to implement these workshops in homes across Tompkins County. We would like to schedule interviews in the next few weeks, and we are available to meet at a time and location most convenient for you.

Please contact Kevin at kmp235@cornell.edu, thanks in advance!

Via Share Tompkins

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Help girls surf the crimson wave

Days For Girls Sewing Event, May 16-17th at All Saints Church in Lansing: Help make cloth pads for young women to use when they’re menstruating.

What if not having sanitary supplies meant DAYS without school, DAYS without income, DAYS without leaving the house? Girls use leaves, mattress stuffing, newspaper, corn husks, rocks, anything they can find…but still miss up to 2 months of school every year. Worse, girls are often exploited in exchange for hygiene. It turns out this issue is a surprising but instrumental key to social change for women all over the world. The poverty cycle can be broken when girls stay in school.

Can’t sew? No problem! “Non-sewers can help cut and iron or donate toward the 100% cotton and flannel fabrics that we will use.”

Download the poster here.

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Humble Teacher Shocks Community By Leaving $8.4 Million To Charity

Awesomeness:

A retired teacher who worked with special-needs kids, the late Margaret Southern drove a 1980s Cadillac, lived in a modest home and had just one indulgence in life: taking her friends out to eat from time to time.

So when the Greenville, S.C., community learned that the humble resident, who died at age 94 in 2012, had left $8.4 million to the Community Foundation of Greenville, a group that provides grants to targeted programs, they were pretty shocked to say the least, Greenville S.C. News reported…

It’s the largest gift the Community Foundation of Greenville has ever received in its 56-year history and Southern requested that the money be spent on the causes she cared about most — children’s education, special needs programs and the humane treatment of animals, the organization said on its website.

Half of the funds will be given to the Greenville Humane Society, a no-kill adoption center, and the rest will be distributed among a number of other organizations.

The Greenville Humane Society was particularly grateful for the gift since it hasn’t been able to keep up with public demand since it opened a new facility, Director Kim Pitman told the Greenville Journal.

Pitman just regrets not having had the opportunity to meet Southern.

“She strikes me as a kind of person I would like,” Pitman told Greenville S.C. News, “doesn’t put on airs, smart, loves her animals.”

Will you stand up for animals in this year’s Ithaca Festival Parade?

Just saw this on Facebook:

Please join Finger Lakes Animal Rights on Wednesday May 29th, to march in the Ithaca Festival 2013 Parade, themed “Where the Heart Is”. We’ll be walking resources — carrying signs displaying titles of books, podcasts, films, etc. related to making the world a better place through veganism. Anyone is welcome to join in. A great opportunity to show our community that it’s a win-win situation to Wear a Heart for ALL animals.

Finger Lakes Animal Rights parade banner

Finger Lakes Animal Rights parade banner

More info and ongoing updates: www.veganedu.org/parade/

Contact & RSVP: fingerlakesanimalrights@gmail.com

Do you know how to listen?

I attended a free listening workshop here in Ithaca in 2011 that was really amazing. I went after I’d already been in Ithaca’s Talking Circles on Race and Racism — which are so wonderful, but so dependent on good communication. I really think I could have been a better listener (and a better white ally) if I’d attended the Listening Workshop before the Talking Circles!

The main idea is that usually, people aren’t really, truly listening to each other. They’re kind of waiting so they can speak. For instance, when someone says something about oppression, the other person isn’t necessarily listening with an open heart, ready to hear every painful detail — they’re usually going through a whole list of automatic, unhelpful responses (agreeing or disagreeing, questioning, giving advice, problem solving, thinking of a similar experience, coming up with reasons or explanations, etc. — there’s a list on our refrigerator!). The result is that we don’t actually hear what the other is saying. It takes awareness and practice to move away from these automatic responses, but I’ve got to say that it is well worth the effort. It really changed the way I communicate with people, for the better.

Think about what widespread adoption of this approach to communication could do for our world. Learning to be better listeners can only help our struggles for social and environmental justice. When someone speaks of their experience of racism or classism or heterosexism or sexism or any other oppression, it may stir up memories of things you read, or movies you saw, but that doesn’t mean that those are fit responses; the other is talking about their life, and now is not the time for anecdotes about movies, but for listening. Likewise, it might be painful to hear how we harm animals by not being vegan, but shouldn’t we at least listen to the voices of those we’re harming (via their proxies and spokespeople, those humans who can speak in words we can understand, who seem to have animals’ interests in mind)?

If you’re an activist, my guess is you’d like to be listened to. We have to be the change we want to see, so we need to work on our own listening.

Anyway, I can’t recommend these programs highly enough — and there happens to be a Listening Workshop SATURDAY, April 13th, 9am-12:30pm (they ask folks to please be 5 minutes early).

It will be held at the Ithaca Community Childcare Center (IC3), which is a really cool building at 579 Warren Road Ithaca, NY 14850 between the medical campus and Boces on Warren Road. Please bring snacks/beverages, and register at: www.thelisteningworkshop.com. It is 100% free.

Conference: “A Politics of Disability, Animal Liberation, and Queering”

dis-abled dog running with the help of wheels

Dear vegans of today: Thank you for being awesome. This is so incredibly far beyond anything that was happening when I was an 18-year-old baby vegan. How far we’ve all come!

1st Annual Conference “Engaging with Eco-ability”
Binghamton University, New York
April 27 and 28, 2013

Theme:
A Politics of Disability, Animal Liberation, and Queering

The 1st Annual Conference “Engaging with Eco-ability” will be hosted at Binghamton University April 27th & 28th, 2013. The conference will be organized and moderated by Anthony Nocella II and JL Schatz. The goal of this conference is to lay the groundwork for an edited book that’s part of the Critical Animal Studies series published by Lexington Books.

Sponsors include Binghamton University English Department, Binghamton University, Institute for Critical Animal Studies, and Students for Critical Animal Studies.

More info / RSVP on Facebook.

10 things you can do to help bees

This morning I started to read Bee Deaths From Colony Collapse Disorder On The Rise As Researchers Point To Pesticides on Huffington Post, and then I realized I’d rather find out how I can help, instead of just feeling bad about the problem. Here are some suggestions I found on the interwebs.

  1. Stop buying GMO, non-organic food, and support organic agriculture instead. Buy used and/or organic clothing.
  2. Learn about where your food and clothing comes from and how much pesticide went into its production.
  3. Stop using pesticides in your own lawn and garden.
  4. Sign petitions banning pesticides, and support the use of organic alternatives.
  5. Encourage your local government to do more to help bees.
  6. Attract bees by planting clover, flowering trees, and herbs that bees like. Provide a water source so they can take a drink when they visit.
  7. Let your veggies go to seed after harvest, to help fatten up your bee neighbors for the long winter.
  8. Educate yourself about bees so you can be more sure of how you relate to them and what you might like to do to help them.
  9. Pass on your knowledge about bees. Your voice is powerful, and the bees can’t speak for themselves! Make sure that kids understand that bees are an important part of their ecosystem.
  10. Provide bee habitat, but make sure you’re keeping bees and humans safe from hurting each other by marking bees’ homes.

    The only one I saw folks mention elsewhere that I didn’t put here was “become a beekeeper / support your local beekeeper.” I don’t feel that it would be my place to confine and manipulate others and take things they make, or to encourage others to do that. It takes the average worker bee her entire life to produce just one twelfth of one teaspoon of honey. They make it for their colony, not for us.

    If you do choose to use bee products, please make sure they’re locally produced and that you feel good about the way the bees are living, from birth to death. Since your decision impacts the lives of other beings, you may want to educate yourself about some of the ethical problems with beekeeping, honey, and beeswax. Thank you!