Feed aggregator

Sanderson Farms: Stop Advertising Your Contaminated Chicken as '100% Natural'!

Organic consumers - 8 hours 37 min ago
Belong to campaign: Appetite for a ChangeCook Organic Not the PlanetThe Myth of NaturalCategory: Food Safety, Health Issues, OCA in the NewsArea: USA

"By federal law, all chickens have to be cleared of antibiotics before they leave the farm," says the folksy, flannel-wearing actor in a Sanderson Farms "Truth about Chicken—Supermarket" video. 

So imagine our surprise when we learned that government testing of Sanderson chicken products uncovered 11 instances of antibiotics for human use in Sanderson chicken—after it had left the farm.

One of those antibiotics, chloramphenical, is not only prohibited in food-producing animals, but according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Toxicology Program report (2016), is "reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen."

Antibiotics aren’t the only "unnatural" substances in Sanderson chicken. Tests revealed growth hormones prohibited in poultry production, pesticides and prescription drugs—including one with hallucinogenic effects!

Tell Sanderson Farms CEO Joe Sanderson: Stop advertising your contaminated chicken as '100% Natural!'Read more

Nonprofits Sue Third-Largest Poultry Co. for False Advertising of Drug-Contaminated Chicken

Organic consumers - 16 hours 43 min ago
Environment & Climate, Health IssuesJune 22, 2017 sanderson_600x314.png

Sanderson Farms’ ‘100% Natural’ Advertising Claims Deceive Consumers, Threaten Public Health
 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 22, 2017


Contact:
Katherine Paul, Organic Consumers Assoc., 207-653-3090, katherine@organicconsumers.org
Kari Hamerschlag, Friends of the Earth, 510-207-7257, khamerschag@foe.org; Patrick Davis, Friends of the Earth, 202-222-0744, pdavis@foe.org
Paige Tomaselli, Center for Food Safety, 415-826-2770, ptomaselli@centerforfoodsafety.org

OAKLAND, Calif.—Three nonprofit groups filed suit today against Laurel, Miss.-based Sanderson Farms, Inc. (NASDAQ: SAFM) for falsely advertising products that contain a wide range of unnatural and in some cases prohibited substances, as “100% Natural.” Substances include antibiotics, steroids, hormones and even a drug with hallucinogenic effects. The groups suing Sanderson are Organic Consumers Association (OCA), Friends of the Earth (FoE), and Center for Food Safety (CFS).

Sanderson Chicken claims its chicken is 100% Natural or “nothing but chicken.” But recent testing conducted by the National Residue Program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) found 49 instances in which samples of Sanderson products tested positive for residues of synthetic drugs that are not “100% Natural.”  Thirty-three percent of the 69 FSIS inspections, conducted in five states, uncovered residues that no reasonable consumer would consider “natural.”

Test results included:

• Eleven instances of antibiotics for human use, including chloramphenical, which is prohibited for use in food animals.
• Positive results for ketamine, a drug with hallucinogenic effects, using testing methods normally applied to beef and pork. Valid testing methods have not been developed for ketamine in poultry, because ketamine is not approved for use in poultry.
• Ketoprofren, an anti-inflammatory drug
• Predisone, a steroid
• Traces of growth two hormones: melengesterol acetate and a beta agonist ractopamine. Both are banned in chicken production.
• Six instances of residues of amoxicillin, a medically important antibiotic for human use and one that is not approved for use in poultry. Deserves further investigation because, similar to ketamine, valid testing methods have been developed only for beef.
• Three instances of penicillin residue at up to 0.285 ppb, for which the residue regulatory limit is zero.
• Positive test results for the pesticides abamectin and Emamectin, using testing methods that apply to pork.

“Consumers should be alarmed that any food they eat contains steroids, recreational or anti-inflammatory drugs, or antibiotics prohibited for use in livestock—much less that these foods are falsely advertised and labeled ‘100% Natural,’” said Ronnie Cummins, OCA’s international director. “Sanderson’s advertising claims are egregiously misleading to consumers, and unfair to competitors. The organic and free-range poultry sector would be growing much more rapidly if consumers knew the truth about Sanderson’s products and false advertising.”

“Drugs in our chicken is anything but natural,” said Kari Hamerschlag, FoE’s deputy director of food and technology.  “This scandal is a wake-up call to all the consumers who want healthier meat. The widespread presence of drugs in Sanderson Farms chicken reflects the excessive use of antibiotics and other chemicals used to keep animals alive in the filthy, inhumane, factory-farm conditions in which the birds are raised.”
 
“Sanderson Farms’ claim that there is ‘only chicken in [their] chicken’ is an outright lie,” said Paige Tomaselli, senior attorney at CFS, and co-counsel in the case. “The pharmaceuticals and other contaminants that FSIS found in Sanderson’s chicken present potential human health and food safety risks. Consumers are being deceived in thinking that these products are natural and wholesome.”

With FY 2016 sales of $2.816 billion, Sanderson Farms sells chicken in California and other states, under its own brand name and private labels, through retail stores such as Shaw’s, Albertsons, Food 4 Less, Foods Co, WinCo Foods and others. Sanderson chicken is also distributed to institutions, and is sold to casual dining outlets, such as Arby’s, Darden Restaurants (which owns Olive Garden, Longhorn Steakhouse, Yardhouse, Capitol Grill and others), Dairy Queen and Chili’s.

The nonprofits are represented by Brooklyn, N.Y.-based Richman Law Group, Santa Fe, N.M.-based Elsner Law & Policy and Center for Food Safety (CFS).

Read the formal complaint here.

About the Organic Consumers Association
The Organic Consumers Association is an online and grassroots non-profit 501(c)3 public-interest organization advocating on behalf of more than two million U.S. consumers for health, justice, and regeneration. For more information, please visit www.organicconsumers.org. @OCA_Press.

About Friends of the Earth
Friends of the Earth fights to create a more healthful and just world. Our current campaigns focus on promoting clean energy and solutions to climate change, ensuring the food we eat and products we use are safe and sustainable, and protecting marine ecosystems and the people who live and work near them.

About Center for Food Safety
Center for Food Safety’s mission is to empower people, support farmers, and protect the earth from the harmful impacts of industrial agriculture. Through groundbreaking legal, scientific, and grassroots action, we protect and promote your right to safe food and the environment. Please join our more than 900,000 consumer and farmer advocates across the country at www.centerforfoodsafety.org. Twitter: @CFSTrueFood, @CFS_Press

About Richman Law Group
Richman Law Group is a collective of lawyers specializing in impact litigation to repair the world. Richman Law Group was founded on the idea that what cannot be achieved by way of legislation can sometimes be achieved by way of litigation. This tight-knit cadre of tenacious and diverse professionals is dedicated to fighting for the rights of its clients, and through them, the needs of the community at large. For more information, please visit www.richmanlawgroup.com.

About Elsner Law & Policy, LLC  
Elsner Law seeks to make food systems more just, ethical and sustainable, through representation of local and national non-profit organizations, small businesses, and political organizations. More information available at www.ElsnerLaw.org.

Wait 'til you hear this.

Organic consumers - Tue, 2017-06-20 16:05
Environment & Climate, Food Safety, Genetic Engineering, Health IssuesRonnie CumminsOrganic Consumers AssociationJune 19, 2017https://salsa3.salsalabs.com/o/50865/p/salsa/donation/common/public/?donate_page_KEY=12139 oca-2017-summer-campaign-55k-1000.png

“It always seems impossible until it’s done.” – Nelson Mandela

As if you aren’t concerned enough about the rampant use of pesticides, hormones and antibiotics in your food—wait ‘til you hear the latest news.

We’re on the verge of announcing alarming facts about what’s in one of the most common foods consumed in the U.S.

It’s news that will serve as a wake-up call to consumers—and we hope, a warning to the food industry: Consumers will not tolerate lies and deception when it comes to what’s in our food.

Today we launch our summer online fundraising campaign. Your donation, which will be matched by both Mercola.com and Dr. Bronner’s, will help fund our ongoing work to expose the health and environmental hazards of industrial food. Please help us reach our quarterly goal of $250,000 by midnight June 30. Donate online, by mail or by phone—details here.

As I travel this country and talk to people like you, the number one concern I hear is that you’re worried about your health and the health of your families. Next up is concern about how the industrial food system is polluting the environment, including your local water supply.

You also tell me that you no longer trust most big food brands to tell you the truth about what’s in your food, or how it’s produced.

From farmers, I hear how they’re fighting an uphill battle against the bad actors in the food industry, whose deceptive marketing claims make it difficult for authentic organic farmers to compete.

I hear all of you.

Sometimes it takes months, even years to do the work required to expose the dangers of industrial food, and the lengths to which Big Food goes to hide the truth.

But trust me, we’re working on it. Along with a team of other dedicated organizations and activists.

Please help us reach our quarterly goal of $250,000 by midnight June 30. Donate online, by mail or by phone—details here.

Next month will mark the one-year anniversary of Obama’s signing of the DARK Act—the bill that killed GMO labeling. It was a big loss for the Food Movement. And a big loss for you.

Faced with Monsanto’s bottomless pit of money and complete lack of ethics, we could have given up on bringing down the world’s most evil corporation, and the factory farm industry it props up with its endless supply of GMO animal feed.

We might have thrown up our hands and declared the take-down of Monsanto “mission impossible.”

Instead, we buckled down. Because it was never about just labels. Or even just GMOs. It’s always been about the corruption that permeates the entire industrial food system.

As Nelson Mandela said, “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”

It may not be done yet. But with your continued support, I believe it’s not only possible—but inevitable—that consumer power (and common sense) will prevail.

But we must not let up the pressure.

This quarterly campaign is critical for funding our ongoing work to expose the worst actors in the industrial food system. You can donate online, by mail or by phone—details here.

We know there are many good organizations in need of funds these days. We hope you will continue your generous support of OCA. Thank you.

In Solidarity,

Ronnie Cummins
International Director

 



P.S. More than 80 percent of our support comes from individual donors like yourself. Donations of $5 and $10 really add up! You can donate online, by phone or by mail, details here. Thank you!

 

 

Monsanto's Mess—Four Signs Consumers Are Winning

Organic consumers - Thu, 2017-06-15 15:20
June 13, 2017Organic Consumers AssociationKatherine PaulGenetic Engineering, Health Issues, OCA in the News Aces 1000x523

When the colours turn grey and the lights all fade
To black again
We’re in over our heads
But somehow we make it back again – lyrics from “Beautiful Mess”

Next month will mark one year since Congress obliterated Vermont’s GMO labeling law and replaced it with its own faux-labeling measure. The DARK Act was an outright attack on consumer and states’ rights. Still, then-President Obama refused to veto it.

We lost the right to labels on GMO foods. But we never lost our determination to expose Monsanto’s corrupt manipulation of government agencies, or the truth about just how harmful Roundup herbicide is to humans and the environment.

Fast forward to today. Monsanto is facing down scores of lawsuits by people, or their families, who were diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma after being exposed to Roundup. Those lawsuits have led to revelations about possible collusion between Monsanto employees and former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officials to bury evidence of Roundup’s carcinogenicity.

Meanwhile the EPA, perhaps fearing consumer backlash, refuses to rule on whether to renew the license for glyphosate (the active ingredient in Roundup), even though we’re now nearly two years past the deadline.

Food companies are being sued, too, when product testing reveals that brands labeled “100% Natural” contain glyphosate residues. And the Food & Drug Administration recently announced it will resume testing of consumer foods for glyphosate.

Farmers are growing fewer GMO crops. Other countries are banning GMOs and glyphosate.

It’s no wonder Monsanto can’t wait to hand over the keys to Bayer. Things are getting messy. For consumers and environmentalists, it’s a beautiful mess.

Here are four signs we’re winning the battle against Monsanto.

1. Court battles pull back the curtain on Monsanto’s corrupt activities. The fact that over 1,000 plaintiffs are involved in dozens of lawsuits alleging that exposure to Roundup caused them or their families to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma (a potentially deadly cancer) is compelling enough. Especially when a mainstream media outlet like CNN, often silent when it comes to challenging the corporate establishment, takes notice. That in itself is a win for consumers.

But the bigger win may be what those lawsuits are doing to shed light on Monsanto’s sustained campaign to bury the truth about its deadly products.

In March, the New York Times, citing court documents, reported on possible collusion between former EPA officials and Monsanto employees to hide the facts about the health risks of glyphosate:

The court documents included Monsanto’s internal emails and email traffic between the company and federal regulators. The records suggested that Monsanto had ghostwritten research that was later attributed to academics and indicated that a senior official at the Environmental Protection Agency had worked to quash a review of Roundup’s main ingredient, glyphosate, that was to have been conducted by the United States Department of Health and Human Services.

The revelations confirmed consumer suspicions that Roundup isn’t “safe,” and validated the opinions of scientists who question its safety. They’ve triggered calls in Europe for further investigation.

Reporters continue to scrutinize the MDL (multi-district lawsuits) documents unsealed so far (the judge in the case has since refused to unseal any further documents). US Right to Know’s Carey Gillam, who has been following the court documents closely, recently reported on her on a decades-old study, “A Chronic Feeding Study of Glyphosate (Roundup Technical) in Mice,” uncovered during litigation but until now hidden from public view, that suggests Roundup causes cancer:

The two-year study ran from 1980-1982 and involved 400 mice divided into groups of 50 males and 50 females that were administered three different doses of the weed killer or received no glyphosate at all for observation as a control group. The study was conducted for Monsanto to submit to regulators. But unfortunately for Monsanto, some mice exposed to glyphosate developed tumors at statistically significant rates, with no tumors at all in non-dosed mice.

2. EPA forced to investigate Monsanto corruption. Thanks to the work of reporters studying court documents, the EPA has stepped in. On May 31, the agency’s inspector general responded to Rep. Ted Lieu’s (D-Calif.) call for an investigation into possible collusion between Monsanto and EPA officials. (Organic Consumers Association also called for an investigation. We haven’t heard back). 

The EPA may just be going through the formalities to appease Lieu and his constituents. But even if that’s true, it’s still a sign that consumers are getting through to an agency that has historically been aggressively pro-Monsanto.

3. Consumers are fighting back through the courts, too. Monsanto and Big Food have long been allies in the campaign to hide GMOs, and the pesticides used to grow them, from consumers. Will the Junk Food Giants reconsider their position, if they, too, get dragged through the courts?

The Organic Consumers Association, along with other groups, have been testing food products for glyphosate, and taking companies to court for falsely marketing their products as “natural” and “100% Natural.” Pending cases include the one against General Mills’ Nature Valley granola bars, and another against Sioux Honey. Both products contain glyphosate. (A recent study from Canada revealed glyphosate in 30 percent of the food products tested).

And lest we forget, Roundup isn’t just sprayed on agricultural products—it’s a best-selling consumer product, too. Labels on Roundup sold in stores like Walmart, Costco, Home Depot, and online at Amazon, claim the product is safe for humans and pets. That’s not true—so we’ve sued Monsanto directly for false labeling.

4. FDA resumes testing food for glyphosate. As the lawsuits flow, and more evidence comes to light about the toxic impact of glyphosate on human health (including bad outcomes for pregnant moms and their babies), the FDA has been shamed into testing foods for glyphosate residues—a project it had previously abandoned:

The FDA, the nation’s chief food safety regulator, launched what it calls a “special assignment” last year to analyze certain foods for glyphosate residues after the agency was criticized by the U.S. Government Accountability Office for failing to include glyphosate in annual testing programs that look for many less-used pesticides in foods. But the agency scuttled the testing after only a few months amid disagreement and difficulties with establishing a standard methodology to use across the agency’s multiple U.S. laboratories, according to FDA sources.

The testing reportedly resumed in early June. It remains to be seen if the FDA will share, much less publicize, its findings—and whether the agency will continue to claim, as it has in the past, that glyphosate residues are “safe.” Stay tuned.

Katherine Paul is associate director of the Organic Consumers Association.

 

Don't Let Trump Deregulate GMOs!

Organic consumers - Thu, 2017-06-15 14:56
Belong to campaign: Millions Against MonsantoCook Organic Not the Planet#resist and #regenerateCategory: Environment & Climate, Genetic Engineering, Health IssuesArea: USA

In 2016, when polls predicted he would lose the Iowa primary, Trump insulted Iowa voters when he tweeted: “Too much #Monsanto in the #corn creates issues in the brain?” But don’t be confused by Trump’s tweets.

The Trump Administration has just announced a new GMO deregulation scheme, and it’s the most audacious effort to force dangerous, experimental “foods” onto the market since genetically modified organisms (GMOs) were first introduced in the 1990s.

Under Trump’s new GMO deregulation plan, there would still be no safety testing or meaningful labeling of GMOs. There would still be nothing to protect organic and non-GMO crops from contamination—which isn’t all that different than what we got from Obama and every president going back to George H.W. Bush.

Fact is, every single GMO that’s ever been submitted to U.S. regulators has been approved! From the first GMO, Monsanto’s genetically engineered growth hormone rBGH that makes cows over-produce milk, to the latest gene-edited apples, potatoes and mushrooms, Americans eat a lot of GMOs that are banned in many other countries.

TAKE ACTION BY MIDNIGHT JUNE 19: Don’t let Trump deregulate GMOs! Read more

'in a way we’ve never seen before'

Organic consumers - Tue, 2017-06-13 21:21
Environment & Climate, Genetic Engineering, Health IssuesJune 12, 2017 resist_regenerate_jumping_1000x523.png

“I think that it is conceivable that we could wake up and we could have activists controlling literally the local level in a way that we've never seen before. With that power, we'd have the sovereignty to pass legislation that really fundamentally affects people's lives.” – Micah White, Occupy activist, in an interview with NPR

In my recent travels to speak to groups like the Organic Horticulture Benefits Alliance (OHBA) in Houston, Texas, I’ve noticed that a lot more people are talking about politics these days.

And it’s not just national politics on their minds.

Like you, many people are fed up with how big corporations are interfering in local politics, in ways that strip cities and states of their right to local control—including the right to pass local pesticide bans, to ban fracking, to reject the construction of factory farms, and to protect local water supplies from pollution, and local organic farmland from contamination caused by drifting GMO seeds and pesticides.

You may already be working in your city or your state. On a critical environmental or food and farming issue. Or maybe you're working to elect new candidates who will serve you and your community, not some corporation.

But if you’re still looking for a way to get involved—and have fun doing it—I invite you to plug into our #Resist & #Regenerate Movement. To learn how you can become a #Resist & #Regenerate organizer,  watch this webinar that we hosted last week. Then, click on the map to find a #Resist & #Regenerate chapter near you, and sign up here if you’re willing to join a volunteer team.

We now have almost 4,000 members in 241 #Resist and #Regenerate chapters on Meetup.com. Some chapters are working on local elections. Some are organizing campaigns to get local stores to stop selling Monsanto’s Roundup. Others, in Iowa and Wisconsin, are taking on giant corporations intent on building more factory farms.

Some #Resist & #Regenerate chapters are collaborating with local climate groups, while others are getting more involved in natural health issues and the Medicare for All Movement.

#Resist & #Regenerate is off to a great start, but we need more chapters.

We also need volunteers to take the lead in some of the existing chapters. Click on the map to find a #Resist & #Regenerate chapter near you, then sign up here if you’re willing to join a volunteer team. (Not sure about becoming a group leader? Find a local friend, and become co-leaders).

#Resist & #Regenerate is about more than just fighting back against one politician or one administration. It’s about bringing people together—around food, farming, natural health, climate and other environmental issues—to work at the local and state level to take back our communities from corporations, and to advance policies that regenerate everything from our health to our local economies.

It’s also about making new connections, building stronger communities—and having fun doing it.

In Solidarity,

Ronnie Cummins, International Director, Organic Consumers Association

Fertile Follow Up: To whom and when?

Follow up. It’s vital but so tough to do right.

Either we don’t know what to say, fear “bugging” the very folks we want something from, or both. So we don’t follow up enough or well, which undermines engagement and results—no matter how compelling our campaigns may be!

Follow up shows we care
It also signals realism and camaraderie; conveying our understanding that (just like us) our folks get asked for a lot of things by a lot of people; are busy and need reminders; and that changing habits or behavior is hard. When we follow up consistently, with thought and evident effort, we’re building the ongoing relationships likely to foster long, loyal relationships with our people. Priceless.

I’m sure your organization thanks donors post-contribution.  Consider the huge potential of broader follow up. It’s huge.

Whom to follow up with (first)
As always, focus your efforts on people who are either 1) most likely to respond with the action you want, or; 2) pose the greatest risk if they don’t respond. Those who post a risk are current and recent donors, program participants, volunteers at risk of disengaging if they’re not nourished by your organization in some way a.s.a.p.

Within this group, focus on folks who have most recently put their toes in your organization’s water for the first time or who are up against a deadline of sorts—maybe a recent donor who hasn’t given in a year or the parent such as haven’t donated in a year or a volunteer coming up to that six-months-of-service point at which you’ve seen so many volunteers drop out.

Take Risha, a one-time volunteer who helped with your animal shelter’s event last week. Risha stepped up because her friend Amy was chairing the event; not because she’s passionate about your cause. But she saw that powerful video you premiered, was actively engaged in the event, and may share interests with Amy.

Now’s the time to reach out to Risha and invite her to do more with your shelter. Better yet, ask Amy to reach out to Risha. The right messenger makes all the difference.

When to follow up
Reach out with your first follow up a.s.a.p. Imagine if Amy had asked Risha to volunteer with her as they were riding home together after the event. No time like the present! Get back in touch with your people in three or fewer days after your last interaction.

Then continue following up regularly—until it’s not worth your time and effort or you’re asked to stop. You’ll have to experiment with what “regularly” means for you. The schedule is likely to vary among campaigns and segments. You may follow up bi-weekly with the first-time volunteers who worked the recent event, and slow that down to monthly outreach for the next two or three months.

When to stop following up
Identify your benchmarks based on your goal for each campaign. What positive response looks like will vary campaign to campaign, segment to segment, ranging from opening your email, clicking through to your volunteer site, or registering for an info meeting. 

You’ll know when to stop (or redesign your approach) when you’re not getting any results, or your contact asks you to stop. Listen closely, in whatever way you can, to be sensitive to the responses you get or don’t get, and adapt your approach accordingly. It’s as important to know when to slow down or stop following up, as it is to start. 

What do I say? What’s the best way to say it?
I’ll be back soon with these answers. Meanwhile, prioritize one-to-three top follow up campaigns to start with, then figure out the best time for the initial follow up and how frequently to continue.

Fertile follow up—It makes all the difference in the world.

P.S. Get more nonprofit marketing tools, templates, case studies & tips delivered right to your inbox!
Subscribe to Getting Attention email updates.

Categories: Non profits

FALSE LABELING: These eggs say 'pasture-raised.' But some aren't.

Organic consumers - Wed, 2017-06-07 16:42
Belong to campaign: Safeguard Organic StandardsCook Organic Not the Planet#resist and #regenerateCategory: All About OrganicsArea: USA

If you’re one of those lucky consumers who can buy eggs from a known source, like a local farmer or neighbor, you don’t have to worry about the label on the carton. You can easily verify if the hens producing your eggs roam free on pastures—or whether they spend most of their lives cooped up.

But consumers who buy their eggs at stores have to rely on labels—and on the honesty of the brands that apply those labels—for information on how various egg brands are produced.

When a company like Handsome Brook Farm goes out of its way to market all its eggs as “pasture-raised”—even though some of them aren’t—consumers end up paying a premium for a low-quality product.

When a company like Handsome Brook Farm goes out of its way to market all its eggs as “pasture-raised”—even though some of them aren’t—consumers end up paying a premium for a low-quality product. - See more at: http://action.organicconsumers.org/o/50865/p/dia/action4/common/public/?action_KEY=20742#sthash.Nx1tYwO4.dpuf When a company like Handsome Brook Farm goes out of its way to market all its eggs as “pasture-raised”—even though some of them aren’t—consumers end up paying a premium for a low-quality product. - See more at: http://action.organicconsumers.org/o/50865/p/dia/action4/common/public/?action_KEY=20742#sthash.Nx1tYwO4.dpuf

TAKE ACTION: Tell Handsome Brook Farm: Stop Labeling Your Eggs ‘Pasture-Raised’ When They Aren’t!Read more

Tell Scotts: I'm boycotting all your lawn and garden products until you stop distributing Monsanto's Roundup!

Organic consumers - Thu, 2017-06-01 17:12
Belong to campaign: Millions Against MonsantoAppetite for a Change#resist and #regenerateCategory: Genetic Engineering, Health IssuesArea: USA

Consumers can buy Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide online from Amazon.com, in their local independently owned hardware store, or in giant retail stores like Walmart, Home Depot and Costco and others. But all those stores get their Roundup from one source: Scotts Miracle-Gro (NYSE:SMG), which owns the exclusive right to distribute Roundup to retailers in the U.S. and most of Europe.

Despite its cozy and profitable relationship with Monsanto and its obviously toxic chemical-based business model, Scotts goes out of its way to portray itself as an eco-friendly company, dedicated to preserving nature. The company says it designs products that “work in harmony” with nature. The Scotts website says: 

As gardeners, it is our responsibility to leave the environment in better shape than we found it. That’s our commitment at ScottsMiracle-Gro.

Really? Nothing says poison like Monsanto’s Roundup.

TAKE ACTION: Tell Scotts Miracle-Gro CEO Jim Hagedorn: I’m boycotting ALL Scotts brands until you stop selling Monsanto’s Roundup! Read more

7 Steps to Passionate Volunteer Messengers

You face an uphill battle to recruit volunteers and retain them at ever higher and more effective levels of engagement. For those of you with small or all-volunteer organizations, there’s absolutely nothing more important. And, as time and budgets get tighter, and reliance on volunteers increases, it’s harder than ever.

There’s a proven yet seldom-used method to boost success in both dimensions AND extend your organization’s reach and impact without adding budget or hires: Building your team of passionate volunteer messengers.

The value of launching your volunteer messengers is huge; a real win-win doable with limited time and expense. Take these seven steps to launch your team of passionate volunteer messengers. I’ll follow up with posts on each step, starting with the most productive pilot program I know:

1) Assess potential barriers to success

What’s likely to be in your volunteers’ way? ASK if you don’t know

  • Lack of confidence or skill
  • Don’t see it as part of their role
  • No or limited access to target audiences
  • Not interested.

2) Get success factors in place

  • Staff trust and respect for volunteers
  • Internal support for program
  • Active, visible volunteer modelers

3) Recruit your first team of messengers (Pilot)

  • ASK for help; don’t assume!
  • ID best opportunities: Specific campaign works best, with a clear goal and deadline. Ideal to select a campaign that is related to your messengers’ volunteer work.
  • Select a small team most likely to act or have the greatest influence: Evaluate volunteers’ roles, networks, talents, communications skills, personality, and passion level.
  • Get to know your messengers: What motivates them? What do their days look like?

4) Develop the right systems & tools

  • Design policies and guidelines: Best practices, do’s, don’ts for conversations and social media.
  • Develop tools and templates to increase your volunteer messengers’ ease, participation, and confidence.

5) Provide training & ongoing support

  • Provide practice-based training: Reinforce value and rewards; introduce scenarios; review messages, policies, templates, and tools; getting help. Practice and more practice.
  • Support messengers: How can you boost success via ongoing supports—coaches, FAQs, private Facebook group, training the trainers? How will messengers get immediate help?

6) Launch, thank, & reward

  • Thank your volunteer messengers with verbal appreciation and recognition.

7) Assess, analyze & revise or expand

  • Assess pilot program impact via anecdotes and messenger feedback
  • Analyze impact vs. what it takes to deliver the program and ROI of other approaches
  • Revise program as indicated and/or
  • Build out your program by adding volunteers to your messenger team or launching a team for another goal.

Keep posted for my recommendation on what to launch with and case studies that show you how it’s done!

P.S. Get more nonprofit marketing tools, templates, case studies & tips delivered right to your inbox!
Subscribe to Getting Attention email updates.

Categories: Non profits

Regeneration: The Next Stage of Organic Food and Farming—and Civilization

Organic consumers - Wed, 2017-05-31 14:47
Environment & Climate, Fair Trade & Social JusticeRonnie CumminsOrganic Consumers AssociationMay 28, 2017 sunrise1000x523.png

Regenerate—to give fresh life or vigor to; to reorganize; to recreate the moral nature; to cause to be born again. (New Webster’s Dictionary, 1997)

When a reporter asked him [Mahatma Gandhi] what he thought of Western civilization, he famously replied: “I think it would be a good idea.”

A growing corps of organic, climate, environmental, social justice and peace activists are promoting a new world-changing paradigm that can potentially save us from global catastrophe. The name of this new paradigm and movement is regenerative agriculture, or more precisely regenerative food, farming and land use.

Regenerative agriculture and land use encompass the traditional and indigenous best practices of organic farming, animal husbandry and environmental conservation. Regeneration puts a central focus on improving soil health and fertility (recarbonizing the soil), increasing biodiversity, and qualitatively enhancing forest health, animal welfare, food nutrition and rural (especially small farmer) prosperity.

The basic menu for a Regeneration Revolution is to unite the world’s 3 billion rural farmers, ranchers and herders with several billion health, environmental and justice-minded consumers to overturn “business as usual” and embark on a global campaign of cooperation, solidarity and regeneration.

According to food activist Vandana Shiva, “Regenerative agriculture provides answers to the soil crisis, the food crisis, the health crisis, the climate crisis, and the crisis of democracy."

So how can regenerative agriculture do all these things: increase soil fertility; maximize crop yields; draw down enough excess carbon from the atmosphere and sequester it in the soils, plants and trees to re-stabilize the climate and restore normal rainfall; increase soil water retention; make food more nutritious; reduce rural poverty; and begin to pacify the world’s hotspots of violence?

First, let’s look at what Michael Pollan, the U.S.’s most influential writer on food and farming, has to say about the miraculous regenerative power of Mother Nature and enhanced photosynthesis:

Consider what happens when the sun shines on a grass plant rooted in the earth. Using that light as a catalyst, the plant takes atmospheric CO2, splits off and releases the oxygen, and synthesizes liquid carbon–sugars, basically. Some of these sugars go to feed and build the aerial portions of the plant we can see, but a large percentage of this liquid carbon—somewhere between 20 and 40 percent—travels underground, leaking out of the roots and into the soil. The roots are feeding these sugars to the soil microbes—the bacteria and fungi that inhabit the rhizosphere—in exchange for which those microbes provide various services to the plant... Now, what had been atmospheric carbon (a problem) has become soil carbon, a solution—and not just to a single problem, but to a great many problems.

Besides taking large amounts of carbon out of the air—tons of it per acre when grasslands [or cropland] are properly managed… that process at the same time adds to the land’s fertility and its capacity to hold water. Which means more and better food for us...

This process of returning atmospheric carbon to the soil works even better when ruminants are added to the mix. Every time a calf or lamb shears a blade of grass, that plant, seeking to rebalance its “root-shoot ratio,” sheds some of its roots. These are then eaten by the worms, nematodes, and microbes—digested by the soil, in effect, and so added to its bank of carbon. This is how soil is created: from the bottom up... For thousands of years we grew food by depleting soil carbon and, in the last hundred or so, the carbon in fossil fuel as well. But now we know how to grow even more food while at the same time returning carbon and fertility and water to the soil.

A 2015 article in the Guardian summarizes some of the most important practices of regenerative agriculture:

Regenerative agriculture comprises an array of techniques that rebuild soil and, in the process, sequester carbon. Typically, it uses cover crops and perennials so that bare soil is never exposed, and grazes animals in ways that mimic animals in nature. It also offers ecological benefits far beyond carbon storage: it stops soil erosion, re-mineralizes soil, protects the purity of groundwater and reduces damaging pesticide and fertilizer runoff.”

If you want to understand the basic science and biology of how regenerative agriculture can draw down enough excess carbon from the atmosphere over the next 25 years and store it in our soils and forests (in combination with a 100-percent reduction in fossil fuel emissions) to not only mitigate, but actually reverse global warming, read this article by one of North America’s leading organic farmers, Jack Kittridge.

If you want a general overview of news and articles on regenerative food, farming and land use, you can follow the newsfeed “Cook Organic Not the Planet” by the Organic Consumers Association (OCA), and/or sign up for OCA’s weekly online newsletter (you can subscribe online, or text “Bytes” to 97779.)

 You can also visit the Regeneration International website, where you’ll find this list of books on regenerative agriculture.

Solving the soil, health, environmental and climate crises

Without going into extensive detail here (you can read the references above), we need to connect the dots between our soil, public health, environment and climate crises. As the widely-read Mercola newsletter puts it:

Virtually every growing environmental and health problem can be traced back to modern food production. This includes but is not limited to:

• Food insecurity and malnutrition amid mounting food waste
• Rising obesity and chronic disease rates despite growing health care outlays
• Diminishing fresh water supplies
• Toxic agricultural chemicals polluting air, soil and waterways, thereby threatening the entire food chain from top to bottom
• Disruption of normal climate and rainfall patterns

Connecting the dots between climate and food

We can’t really solve the climate crisis (and the related soil, environmental, and public health crisis) without simultaneously solving the food and farming crisis. We need to stop putting greenhouse gas pollution into the atmosphere (by moving to 100-percent renewable energy), but we also need to move away from chemical-intensive, energy-intensive food, factory farming and land use, as soon as possible.

Regenerative food and farming has the potential to draw down a critical mass of carbon (200-250 billion tons) from the atmosphere over the next 25 years and store it in our soils and living plants, where it will increase soil fertility, food production and food quality (nutritional density), while re-stabilizing the climate.

The heavy use of pesticides, GMOs, chemical fertilizers and factory-farming by 50 million industrial farmers (mainly in the Global North) is not just poisoning our health and engendering a global epidemic of chronic disease and malnutrition. It’s also destroying our soil, wetlands’ and forests’ natural ability to sequester excess atmospheric carbon into the earth.

The good news is that solar and wind power, and energy conservation are now cheaper than fossil fuels. And most people are starting to understand that organic, grass-fed and freshly-prepared foods are safer and more nutritious than chemical and GMO foods.

The food movement and climate movements must break through our single-issue silos and start to work together. Either we stop Big Coal, Big Oil, fracking, and the mega-pipelines, or climate change will soon morph into climate catastrophe, making it impossible to grow enough food to feed the planet. Every food activist needs to become a climate activist.

On the other hand, every climate activist needs to become a food activist. Our current system of industrial food, farming and land use, now degenerating 75 percent of all global farmland, is “mining” and decarbonizing the soil, destroying our forests, and releasing 44-57 percent of all climate-destabilizing greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and black soot) into our already supersaturated atmosphere, while at the same time undermining our health with commoditized, overly processed food.

Solving the crisis of rural poverty, democracy and endless war

Out-of-touch and out-of-control governments of the world now take our tax money and spend $500 billion dollars a year mainly subsidizing 50 million industrial farmers to do the wrong thing. These farmers routinely over-till, over-graze (or under-graze), monocrop, and pollute the soil and the environment with chemicals and GMOs to produce cheap commodities (corn, soy, wheat, rice, cotton) and cash crops, low-grade processed food and factory-farmed meat and animal products. Meanwhile 700 million small family farms and herders, comprising the 3 billion people who produce 70 percent of the world’s food on just 25 percent of the world’s acreage, struggle to make ends meet.

If governments can be convinced or forced by the power of the global grassroots to reduce and eventually cut off these $500 billion in annual subsidies to industrial agriculture and Big Food, and instead encourage and reward family farmers and ranchers who improve soil health, biodiversity, animal health and food quality, we can simultaneously reduce global poverty, improve public health, and restore climate stability.

As even the Pentagon now admits, climate change, land degradation (erosion and desertification), and rural poverty are now primary driving forces of sectarian strife and war (and massive waves of refugees) in places like Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya and Somalia. U.S. military intervention in these regions, under the guise of “regime change” or democratization, has only made things worse. This is why every peace activist needs to become a climate and food activist and vice-versa.

Similarly, corrupt, out-of-control governments continue to subsidize fossil fuels to the tune of $5.3 trillion dollars a year, while spending more than $3 trillion dollars annually on weapons, mainly to prop up our global fossil fuel system and overseas empires. If the global grassroots can reach out to one another, bypassing our corrupt governments, and break down the geographic, linguistic and cultural walls that separate us, we can launch a global Regeneration Revolution—on the scale of the global campaign in World War II against the Nazis.

One thing we the grassroots share in all of the 200 nations of the world is this: We are sick and tired of corrupt governments and out-of-control corporations degenerating our lives and threatening our future. The Russian people are not our enemies, nor the Chinese, nor the Iranians. The hour is late. The crisis is dire. But we still have time to regenerate our soils, climate, health, economy, foreign policy, and democracy. We still have time to turn things around.

The global Regeneration Movement we need will likely take several decades to reach critical mass and effectiveness. In spreading the Regeneration message, and building this new Movement at the global grassroots, we must take into account the fact that most regions, nations and people (and in fact many people who are still ignorant of the facts or climate change deniers) will respond more quickly or positively to different aspects or dimensions of our message (i.e. providing jobs; reducing rural and urban poverty and inequality, restoring soil fertility, saving the ocean and marine life, preserving forests, improving nutrition and public health, eliminating hunger and malnutrition, saving biodiversity, restoring animal health and food quality, preserving water, safeguarding Mother Nature or God’s Creation, creating a foundation for peace, democracy, and reconciliation, etc.) rather than to the central life or death message: reversing global warming.

What is important is not that everyone, everywhere immediately agrees 100 percent on all of the specifics of regenerative food, farming and land use—for this is not practical—but rather that we build upon our shared concerns in each community, region, nation and continent. Through a diversity of messages, frames and campaigns, through connecting the dots between all the burning issues, we will find the strength, numbers, courage and compassion to build the largest grassroots coalition in history—to safeguard our common home, our survival and the survival of the future generations.

Ronnie Cummins is international director of the Organic Consumers Association and a founding member of Regeneration International.

Improvements in gender equality and decades of sex ed have not made women more orgasmic

Go to www.reuniting.info - Mon, 2017-05-29 00:22
Interesting new study finds that - contrary to the sexology advice of the last decades - more masturbation and more partners do not increase women's ability to orgasm during partnered sex. How much do sexologists really understand about human sexuality/orgasm/sexual pleasure and their connections with wellbeing?

From the study ("Determinants of female sexual orgasms" https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5087699/):

There has been a continuous declining trend regarding the age of first orgasm in masturbation, but not regarding the age of the first orgasm in intercourse. Nowadays, half of women have had their first orgasm in masturbation at least 5 years prior their first orgasm in intercourse. They have had more time to practice their sexual pleasure via masturbation before their first intercourse, but that has not helped them to achieve an orgasm any younger during intercourse. This result diverges from expectations.

There are even some findings that masturbation is associated with poorer relationship quality, greater risk of female sexual arousal disorder, impaired sexual satisfaction, impaired orgasm (especially vaginal orgasm) and with other adverse processes (Brody, 2007). In this study, female relationship quality was not associated to masturbation frequency but general sexual satisfaction was lower among women who masturbated actively. Active masturbators considered their intercourse more often very pleasant than women who masturbated less often.

Those women who had orgasms much more easily via masturbation had problems to experience it in intercourse. The ease of attaining an orgasm via masturbation was not a good measure of orgasmic capacity during intercourse. Half of the women surveyed usually had an orgasm in intercourse via stimulating both clitoris and vagina, and only one-third usually via stimulating clitoris. Based on these results, the role of the clitoris is not as dominant in sexual stimulation towards orgasm in intercourse as has been expected.

Abstract Background

The pursuit of sexual pleasure is a key motivating factor in sexual activity. Many things can stand in the way of sexual orgasms and enjoyment, particularly among women. These are essential issues of sexual well-being and gender equality.

Objective

This study presents long-term trends and determinants of female orgasms in Finland. The aim is to analyze the roles of factors such as the personal importance of orgasms, sexual desire, masturbation, clitoral and vaginal stimulation, sexual self-esteem, communication with partner, and partner’s sexual techniques.

Design

In Finland, five national sex surveys that are based on random samples from the central population register have been conducted. They are representative of the total population within the age range of 18–54 years in 1971 (N=2,152), 18–74 years in 1992 (N=2,250), 18–81 years in 1999 (N=1,496), 18–74 years in 2007 (N=2,590), and 18–79 years in 2015 (N=2,150). Another dataset of 2,049 women in the age group of 18–70 years was collected in 2015 via a national Internet panel.

Results

Contrary to expectations, women did not have orgasms that are more frequent by increasing their experience and practice of masturbation, or by experimenting with different partners in their lifetime. The keys to their more frequent orgasms lay in mental and relationship factors. These factors and capacities included orgasm importance, sexual desire, sexual self-esteem, and openness of sexual communication with partners. Women valued their partner’s orgasm more than their own. In addition, positive determinants were the ability to concentrate, mutual sexual initiations, and partner’s good sexual techniques. A relationship that felt good and worked well emotionally, and where sex was approached openly and appreciatively, promoted orgasms.

Conclusion

The findings indicate that women differ greatly from one another in terms of their tendency and capacity to experience orgasms. The improvements in gender equality and sexual education since the 1970s have not helped women to become more orgasmic. Neither has the major increase in masturbation habits (among women in general). One challenge for future studies is to understand why women value their partner’s orgasms more than their own.

FULL STUDY

 

Topic:
Categories: Healthy sexuality

Tell Amazon, Home Depot and Walmart: Stop Selling Monsanto’s Roundup

Organic consumers - Fri, 2017-05-26 15:47
Belong to campaign: Millions Against MonsantoAppetite for a Change#resist and #regenerateCategory: Genetic Engineering, Health IssuesArea: USA

It’s probably not in your garage, or on your shopping list. But how many of your neighbors will spray their lawns and gardens this summer with Roundup herbicide, thus exposing you (and your family and pets)—possibly without your knowledge and definitely against your wishes—to Monsanto’s cancer-causing chemicals?

If the answer is one, it’s one too many. With everything we’ve learned about the health risks of exposure to Roundup (and its key active ingredient, glyphosate), and the lengths to which Monsanto has gone to hide those risks, no ethical retailer should still be selling Roundup to consumers.

TAKE ACTION: Tell Amazon, Home Depot and Walmart: Stop Selling Monsanto’s Roundup!Read more

After the March Against Monsanto—What’s Next?

Organic consumers - Thu, 2017-05-25 16:28
May 23, 2017Organic Consumers AssociationKatherine PaulEnvironment & Climate, Genetic Engineering Monsanto Corporate Greed sign 1000x523

“Yes, we must absolutely go out into the streets, but our protests need to be more than generalized expressions of collective rage and grief; they must target the very functioning of the system that seeks to destroy us. Crucially, we should also be laying the groundwork for concrete organizing projects designed to move past protest and start building power from the bottom up. Protest alone–even militant, focused, and strategic protest–is a dead end if we don’t build an infrastructure of resistance to sustain our movements and communities in the long term.” – Micah White, Occupy activist, in an interview with National Public Radio

On Saturday, May 20, activists took to the streets, all over the world, for the sixth annual March Against Monsanto protests. News reports like those from Switzerland, Bangladesh, Toronto and, here in the U.S., Denver and Miami painted a picture of solidarity against what’s come to be known as the most evil corporation in the world.

As in years past, the Organic Consumers Association wholeheartedly supported this year’s march. We promoted it through our website, newsletter and social media networks. We mailed out about 400 packets of anti-GMO and anti-pesticide banners, bumperstickers and leaflets, to March Against Monsanto organizers.

We have always actively participated in the global March against Monsanto, and we will continue. But we also recognize that anti-Monsanto protests alone have not forced enough change, fast enough.

As Occupy activist Micah White said in a recent interview with National Public Radio, protest alone does not give us political power. How true—if we learned anything from our years of work trying to pass GMO labeling laws, it was this: As long as corporations own our politicians, no amount of public support, no amount of protesting a corporation, without also addressing our broken political system, will move us in the direction we want to go.

As long as we replace actual scientists with “industry consultants” and put them in charge of regulatory policy, as long as we appoint corporate CEOs, instead of scientists, to head the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) science arm, we can have no realistic expectation that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or USDA will put our concerns ahead of corporate America’s unquenchable thirst for profits.

Corporate influence over our politicians is not unique to the Trump Administration. It has been building up over the past 40 years, according to this article published in 2015 in The Atlantic, which notes that corporations spend about $2.6 billion a year on reported lobbying expenditures—more than the $2 billion we spend to fund the House ($1.18 billion) and Senate ($860 million). The corporate takeover of our government didn’t happen overnight, the article says, but it happened. And it changed everything:

Things are quite different today. The evolution of business lobbying from a sparse reactive force into a ubiquitous and increasingly proactive one is among the most important transformations in American politics over the last 40 years.  Probing the history of this transformation reveals that there is no “normal” level of business lobbying in American democracy. Rather, business lobbying has built itself up over time, and the self-reinforcing quality of corporate lobbying has increasingly come to overwhelm every other potentially countervailing force. It has also fundamentally changed how corporations interact with government—rather than trying to keep government out of its business (as they did for a long time), companies are now increasingly bringing government in as a partner, looking to see what the country can do for them.

Monsanto, poster child for all that’s wrong with our dominantly industrial food and agriculture system, a system that is responsible for nutrient-poor, pesticide-ridden food, polluted waterways, and global warming, is just one of hundreds of corporations that play the lobbying game.

Monsanto’s “partnership” with our federal government has been wildly successful. But corporate corruption of the U.S. political system runs well beyond Washington, D.C. At the state level, we have government’s like Maine’s, trying to strip local communities of their right to ban pesticides. And then there are city governments, like Fremont, Neb., making back-room deals to allow behemoth corporations like Costco build factory farms that will pollute local waterways.

It’s clear, as White said in his interview, that we must “move past protest and start building power from the bottom up.” As he describes it:

I've been an activist since I was 13, so my whole life has been doing this. I think it's very possible for us to build a social movement that would win elections in many, many rural communities very quickly. Much more quickly than anyone's ever seen. I think that it is conceivable that we could wake up and we could have activists controlling literally the local level in a way that we've never seen before. With that power, we'd have the sovereignty to pass legislation that really fundamentally affects people's lives.

We think he’s right. We also think author John Atcheson is right when he says: “If you don’t stand for something you won’t win anything.”

To that end, as we all move on after this year’s March Against Monsanto, Organic Consumers Association (OCA) has launched a #Resist and #Regenerate Movement, aimed at resisting the corporate takeover of our food, farming, and political systems by electing new local, state and federal politicians, and by engaging in consumer campaigns . . . but also advocating for solutions that will regenerate—not only those systems, but our health, our environment and our local economies.

How will we build the movement? By enlisting the help of concerned citizens and conscious consumers in moving beyond online “clictivism” and protests, to on-the-ground political and consumer action. We’ve launched the #Resist and #Regenerate Movement on Meetup.com, to help reach new activists, and to give them the tools—and motivation—to work on local issues and local elections. We hope activists will use the platform to connect the dots between their work, with the work other food, farming, natural health, climate and social justice activists are doing, in their shared communities.

So, if you participated in a March Against Monsanto last weekend (and even if you didn’t), and you’re looking for the next step in the fight against Monsanto (and a host of other bad-actor politicians), start, or join, a #Resist and Regenerate Meetup group.

It’s time to get out, get active, get political and get corporations out of our politics.

Katherine Paul is associate director of the Organic Consumers Association.

Bring Yourself to Work? James Porter Does

Do you bring yourself—with your passions, personal history, and personality—to work, or do you check “the real you” at the front door?

Here’s hoping you bring “all of you” to work. It’s the only way to feel fully at ease in your job, to nurture the relationships you need for success and satisfaction (for you and your organization), and to bring the greatest value to your role and responsibilities.

Take James Porter, director of communications at The End Fund. James recently asked me (via email from his personal address) to donate to the END Fund in support of his participation in a marathon this June. He describes the race, and the cause, then links his passion for his work (and participation in the race) with his experience of being marginalized as a gay boy growing up. His story is moving, memorable, and forges a quick and strong connection with readers. For James, the personal is professional:

Hi Nancy,

When thinking through who to ask to support me, some of my fellow rockstar runners came to mind, including you!   My training is well underway for the Race to See the END! Running a marathon in Africa has been on my bucket list since I started running, and what better way to cross that off than running the June 18 Race to See the END marathon in Victoria Falls (Zambia & Zimbabwe) while raising funds and awareness for neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), which affect over 1.5 billion people worldwide.   My fundraising page has some of my story, but I wanted to share a bit more with you as standing up for those affected by NTDs is something that’s close to my heart. Throughout my career, I have always worked on behalf of marginalized communities  – immigrants, refugees, and most recently people affected by NTDs. Giving a voice to the voiceless enables me to help lift people up even in a small way as they feel other forces trying to bring them down.   Please support me with $10/mile, or $260  for the full marathon, which can provide treatment for 520 people. You can also sponsor me at the half marathon level for $130 (260 people treated) or a 10k at $60 (120 people treated) – or however much you can.    As someone who was bullied, teased, and made fun of growing up for being different and not fitting in with the other boys, I understand what it feels like to be marginalized. Even today, as a confident adult gay male living in a liberal city like New York, I am reminded every day that nothing comes easily and we must continue fighting as people in power attempt to take away our rights and make us invisible.   But what about those who are not fortunate like me and don’t have the means or support to rise above obstacles? Well, that’s why I will do everything I can to help remove as many obstacles as possible – including NTDs. Will you join me in this fight?   Thanks for the encouragement along the way!   With gratitude,
James   Use this inspiring model as motivation to bring one more aspect of yourself to work today. It’ll be good for you and good for your organization. The personal IS professional!   P.S. Get more nonprofit marketing tools, templates, case studies & tips delivered right to your inbox!
Subscribe to Getting Attention email updates.
Categories: Non profits

3 Ways to Stay Safe from Cyber Attack

Yes, this has to matter to you. Maybe you dodged the bullet of the most recent global cyber attack.  But the next one or the ones after that could wreck your communications impact and a lot more. If or when your organization gets hacked, it’ll bring all activity—including communications and fundraising—to an absolute standstill. Even worse, it will require an enormous investment of time and budget to repair and get back up and going; even with that, critical donor data, program stats, and email lists may be lost or corrupted.

So do something about it, even if your ED or IT staff or consultant is standing still.
My husband, Sean M. Bailey, happens to be an expert on cybersecurity and the recent author of Hack-Proof Your Life Now. What’s great about Sean’s advice is that it’s efficient and doable. He advises you take three steps asap to protect yourself and your organization:

1) Update all your software, especially any Microsoft Windows programs.
Microsoft has event made emergency updates available Windows XP and other programs it had previously stopped supporting.

2) Backup ALL of your files.
Take advantage of the free cloud backup services such as Dropbox, OneDrive, Google Drive, and iCloud, among many others. These are easy to use and can save you a lot of money if you get his with a ransomware attack. I back up all my work and personal files to the cloud. It’s fantastic because you have access to them from any place or device.

3) Don’t open attachments or click on links that seem even the slightest bit fishy or unusual.
Follow the 10-Second EMAIL Rule if you want to confirm that an email is dangerous: EMAIL stands for “examine message and inspect links:” 

  • Triple check the from line to unmask the email’s actual sender
  • Question the validity of the subject line, whether it’s trying to hijack your emotions with fear (i.e. “Your Account Will Be Closed”) or entice you through curiosity (any subject line about payments, invoices, or some topic that grabs your attention)
  • Look for questionable greetings in the email with spelling, grammar, or awkward salutations
  • Look for the same in the body of the email and the signature
  • Hover your mouse over every link in the email to see its real destination, which you’ll see is not the place the email says it will be.

If in doubt, it’s safest just to delete any suspicious email. Anyone with serious business to conduct with you will persist to get in touch via social, phone, or snail mail. Just do it, now!

Learn more about staying safe from cyber attacks in this recent interview with Sean, published in The Huffington Post.

Sean M. Bailey is the co-creator of the Savvy Cybersecurity training program, an interactive workshop to teach people to boost their online security. He is the co-author, along with Devin Kropp, of Hack- Proof Your Life Now!: The New Cybersecurity Rules.

P.S. Get more nonprofit marketing tools, templates, case studies & tips delivered right to your inbox!
Subscribe to Getting Attention email updates.

Categories: Non profits

Regeneration: Rules for Revolutionaries

Organic consumers - Wed, 2017-05-10 14:22
Environment & Climate, Fair Trade & Social Justice, Politics & GlobalizationRonnie CumminsOrganic Consumers AssociationMay 8, 2017 people bumping fists 1000x523.png

“Our common planet and governing system are fast approaching the point of no return. We must unite to protest and resist the out-of-control corporations and politicians that are degenerating our food, health, environment, climate, economy and politics. But we must also inspire and mobilize a new radical majority by focusing on positive solutions and alternatives in the marketplace and in the political arena—by building a multi-issue, multi-constituency power base in all 50 states, 3200 counties, and 39,000 cities and towns across the nation. The Regeneration Movement is a new grassroots-powered movement arising out of the organic food, natural health, fair trade and climate movements. Inspired by the Bernie Sanders insurgency, this new movement is dedicated to connecting the dots between all of our burning single issues, and to bringing together people and movements into a powerful revolutionary force. Our strategy is to mobilize a critical mass of Americans to oppose corporate crime and political corruption, through powerful public education, protests, consumer boycotts and political action. Over time we believe that our growing movement will gain the strength and power to bring out-of-control corporations to heel and, on the political front, to ‘throw the bums out,’ to replace the majority of the 500,000 elected public officials—from Main Street to Washington D.C.—who currently represent the interests of the corporate and economic elite (the ‘1 percent’), and replace these indentured bureaucrats with a new corps of insurgent public servants, willing to stand up and fight for the public interest. We are not talking about minor adjustments to our catastrophic ‘Business-as-Usual’ model. We are talking about a ‘Regeneration Revolution’.” – Ronnie Cummins, “Who We Are: Declaration of the New Nationwide Meetup.com Network called ‘Resist and Regenerate,’” April 22, 2017

Degeneration Nation

After eight years of failed promises, warmongering, and “business-as-usual, by-the-rich, for-the-rich” governance by the Obama administration and U.S. Congress, the Democratic Party Establishment and the mass media went on to sabotage the 2016 grassroots-powered campaign of radical insurgent Bernie Sanders. Instead, they nominated the hugely unpopular Hillary Clinton for President.

As a result, 92 million people stayed home on election day, 62 million voted for the neo-fascist billionaire Republican candidate Donald Trump, and 65 million voted for Clinton. Clinton “won” the popular vote but lost the Electoral College.

A hundred days into the Trump administration, what have we learned?

Number one: The Trump administration and the Republican-controlled Congress and Supreme Court, aided and abetted by Wall Street, fossil fuel companies, Big Pharma, Big Ag, and the military-industrial complex, as well as by collaborators in the Democratic Party Establishment and the “deep state” (FBI, CIA, and the military hierarchy), are the most corrupt and dangerous ruling elite in U.S. history.

Number two: A full 35-40 percent of the electorate (mainly older white people who live in the suburbs and small towns and rural areas outside major cities) are so bitter, nationalistic, greedy, brainwashed, racist, misogynist, homophobic and/or delusional that they continue to support Trump and his cronies no matter what they say or do. Climate change denial, xenophobia, racism, environmental pollution, cutbacks in health and social services, regulation rollbacks that let corporations pollute and poison at will, increased military spending, and tax cuts for the rich and big corporations are apparently no problem for Trump’s mass base, even as we rush headlong toward catastrophic global warming, economic meltdown and endless war.

The level of Trump support is now approximately the same as the Nazi Party (37 percent of the vote in the 1932 elections) enjoyed before Hitler became Chancellor of Germany in 1933. Given this mass support for what can only be described as 21st Century corporate fascism, the Trump resistance has no choice, at least for the moment, but to focus on mobilizing the “other 65 percent” of the electorate, especially the youth and racial minorities, who did not vote for Trump.

Grassroots mobilization and mass protest against the Trump junta have reached an all-time high. Yet our growing Anti-Trump resistance is still rather weak in terms of explaining exactly what it is we are fighting for. Are we talking about a return to Establishment Democratic Party rule, a slight revision of the status quo we experienced during the Obama and Clinton administrations? Or are we talking about a genuine grassroots “Political Revolution” as called for by Bernie Sanders, now the most popular politician in the U.S.?

We’ve protested against Trump’s corporate cronies and swamp cabinet; against dirty oil pipelines and fracking; against rollbacks of environmental, food safety, health and consumer protection regulations; against the slaughter of civilians in Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan and Iraq; against racist police and immigration policies; against laws designed to marginalize workers, poor people and minorities; and against anti-choice and homophobic cabinet and Supreme Court appointments and legislation.

Now, it’s time to work for something. It’s time to connect the dots between all of our burning issues, and unite our single-issue constituencies under a common vision and strategy for societal Regeneration—we cannot afford to return to the Democratic Party Establishment’s business-as-usual politics.

Resistance and Regeneration: Five Rules for Revolutionaries

It’s no secret that our current food, farming, health, climate and political crises pose a mortal threat, not just to our well-being, but to our very survival. The question is: What do we do about it?

Here are several organizing principles that we need to keep in mind, along with concrete action steps to begin to meet up and work with others in our local communities who are also ready for radical change.

Rule Number One: Talk about big change, not small change

We need to stop focusing exclusively on our favorite single issues or on the latest “protest du jour” against the Trump Administration. The reason Sen. Bernie Sanders is currently the most popular national politician is not because he’s talking about single-issue small-scale reforms, but rather because he’s talking about a multi-issue economic and political revolution. In times of radical crisis and dissatisfaction, people are looking for systemic change, not just minor reforms or empty rhetoric.

Rule Number Two: Describe the New Revolution in positive, solution-oriented terms, with a special emphasis on regenerative food, farming and land use

Regeneration: Formed or created again; spiritually reborn or converted; restored to a better, higher, or more worthy state.

The regeneration of the body politic requires that we disengage ourselves from business-as-usual activism and the standard gloom and doom conversation on climate, health, war, politics, economics, ethics, and peace.

“Sustaining” a dying planet or “mitigating” catastrophic climate change or political fascism is no longer an option. We must change the global conversation surrounding the climate crisis, global poverty, unemployment, low-paying jobs, endless war, and deteriorating public health from halfway measures of “mitigating” to “reversing” or “solving.”

As we must never tire of explaining, there are grounds for hope. In terms of our food, farming, health and climate crisis, there is an organic, world-changing, field-tested, shovel-ready climate-stabilizing solution at hand. It’s no further away than the knives and forks in our hands. It already exists, on our local farms, gardens, lawns, parks, rangelands, wetlands and forests.  The solution to Climate Armageddon and many of our other pressing problems (health, nutrition, rural poverty) lies literally in conserving, restoring and re-carbonizing the living soil beneath our feet. Regenerative food, farming and land use, scaled up globally over the next 25 years—whereby we draw down more greenhouse gases from the atmosphere than we emit, and store this carbon in the soil, forests, and wetlands—can turn the tide of modern history from degeneration to Regeneration.

According to India activist and author Vandana Shiva, “Regenerative agriculture provides answers to the soil crisis, the food crisis, the health crisis, the climate crisis and the crisis of democracy."

Although Regeneration is used most commonly in reference to transformative food, farming and land-use practices, from the perspective of our new Movement, Regeneration principles can be constructively applied to every major problem of modern society, including national and international security, economics, unemployment, politics, health and ethics.

Even if the world manages to move to 100-percent renewable energy and zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, as pledged by 200 nations at the Paris Climate Summit in 2015, and manages to “sustain” or stabilize atmospheric CO2 at 450-500 ppm, this is not enough to get us back to the safe level of 280-350 ppm of CO2 in our atmosphere. The only way we can safeguard the future of civilization is to not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050, but to also simultaneously scale up regenerative food, farming and land use so as to sequester enough carbon (200-250 billion tons) in our soils, forests and wetlands to reach the kind of “normal” atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases that we had several hundred years ago, before the industrial revolution.

If you are unfamiliar with the enormous impact of industrial food and farming and destructive deforestation and land use practices on global warming and the concept of natural carbon sequestration through regenerative land use, please visit the Regeneration International website.

If you’re unaware, as most of us are, that the majority of greenhouse gas emissions today come from not cars or industrial manufacturing and utilities, but rather from our out-of-control industrial food, farming and land-use practices, read this compelling article.

Rule Number Three: Connect the dots between single-issue movements and constituencies

None of our current single-issue movements are strong enough to change the degenerate dynamics in the marketplace or the political arena. We can’t go on having a food, anti-GMO and organic movement over here, a climate, environmental and anti-war movement over there, and scores of separate silos for environmental justice, health care, natural health, alternative energy, animal rights, LGBT rights, immigration rights, fair trade, Black Lives Matter, indigenous people’s rights, fair labor, women’s rights, family farmers’ rights, and students’ rights. We can’t go on having a segment of radicals and progressives who work on electoral politics but stay aloof from protests and issue-based campaigns, while those of us working on consumer, economic justice, environmental justice, racial justice or other issue-based campaigns ignore electoral politics.

Rule Number Four: Beyond online activism, build a massive on-the-ground Resist and Regenerate Movement 

We can’t rely on internet activism alone to get the job done. Yes, we must become even more effective in terms of using the internet and social media for public education and for putting pressure on corporations, regulatory bodies and politicians. But we also have to regularly step away from our laptops and phones, and trade Facebook time for face-to-face time. We need to communicate and meet up in person with our friends and neighbors, and our fellow activists in different movements, and begin to figure out how to exercise our collective consumer power, and political power, in numbers too big to be ignored. We need a new movement—one that empowers consumers and citizens to both resist the corporate takeover of our government, and also to propose solutions to regenerate our health, environment, economy and democracy.

All of our burning issues arise from the same degenerate “profit-at-any-cost” system, while all of the solutions we need are interconnected. Healthy soils, healthy people, healthy climate, healthy forests, clean water, healthy oceans, animal welfare, farmworker rights, peace, social justice, and rural/urban prosperity can go hand and hand if we move from our degenerative factory farm/junk food/industrial/globalized food, farming and land-use system to one based on organic and regenerative farming, animal husbandry, forestry and land use. A green economy based on renewable energy, regenerative farming, retrofitting the nation’s housing stock, mass transportation, commercial buildings, and infrastructure can provide jobs for all willing to work while we move toward zero fossil fuel emissions by 2050.

Reframing national and international security around the real threats we face: climate change, water scarcity, global poverty and environmental degradation, can provide our armed forces and the armed forces of all the nations of the world with something useful and meaningful to do, while providing a global basis for cooperation, rather than conflict.

Rule Number Five: Localize the Resist and Regenerate Movement

Through meetups and networking in our local communities, through connecting the dots between our single issues, we can resist the Degenerators and strengthen the Resist and Regeneration Movement. By reaching out to other activists working on food, farming, natural health, justice, climate, peace, and environmental issues we can bring about a revolution, not only in the marketplace, but in the political arena as well.

How do we start this process?

A few days ago we emailed this message to 500,000 organic consumers. Please read this call-to-action, and sign up to lead or participate in one of the hundreds of new Resist and Regenerate Meetup chapters that are forming across North America.

The time is late. The situation is dire. But we still have time to turn things around.

Venceremos. We shall overcome.

Ronnie Cummins is international director of the Organic Consumers Association and a member of the Regeneration International steering committee.

Velorution acquire Fitzrovia Bicycles

velorution - Thu, 2017-05-04 10:42

Jonathan Cole our managing director comments, "We are really excited to welcome Fitzrovia Bicycles to the Velorution family with our acquisition of certain assets of this  iconic bike store" The acquisition was made after Fitzrovia based in New Cavendish street reached the end of their current lease.
Spiralling rents and rates in the area made it impossible for the store, which had a very heavy focus on workshop services and bike building to continue trading.

"When Fitzrovia approached us we made a very quick decision to move all their retail and  workshop facilities to our Great Portland St locations less than 500 metres away so that customers could continue to enjoy the Fitzrovia customer experience uninterrupted."

Further information is available on request from info@velorution.com 0207 148 5572

Categories: Liveable cities

Velorution acquire Fitzrovia Bicycles

velorution - Thu, 2017-05-04 10:42

Jonathan Cole our managing director comments, "We are really excited to welcome Fitzrovia Bicycles to the Velorution family with our acquisition of certain assets of this  iconic bike store" The acquisition was made after Fitzrovia based in New Cavendish street reached the end of their current lease.
Spiralling rents and rates in the area made it impossible for the store, which had a very heavy focus on workshop services and bike building to continue trading.

"When Fitzrovia approached us we made a very quick decision to move all their retail and  workshop facilities to our Great Portland St locations less than 500 metres away so that customers could continue to enjoy the Fitzrovia customer experience uninterrupted."

Further information is available on request from info@velorution.com 0207 148 5572

Categories: Liveable cities

A Personal Message From OCA Director Ronnie Cummins

Organic consumers - Wed, 2017-05-03 16:57
Environment & Climate, Genetic Engineering, Politics & GlobalizationRonnie CumminsOrganic Consumers AssociationMay 2, 2017 resist regenerate no website 1000x523.png

Wall Street, Big Ag, Big Pharma, and multinationals like Monsanto, Dow, Exxon and Wal-Mart have always been able to buy industry-friendly regulations that put you and your family, and indeed our future survival, at risk.

But as we’ve seen recently—with the White House and Congressional attack on climate, food safety, factory farm, school lunches and environmental regulations, the escalation of the never-ending wars in the Middle East, the announcement that the USDA will not test foods for Monsanto’s poisonous pesticide Roundup, and the EPA’s plan to roll back a ban on Dow’s brain damage-causing pesticide (chlorpyrifos)—the corporate takeover of our political system has created what can only be described as a national emergency.

Out-of-control corporations and politicians, aided and abetted by the mass media and indentured scientists, are degenerating our food, health, environment, climate and democracy. This national and international crisis will only get worse—unless we act fast, act smart, and act together.

Please help us build a massive #resist and #regenerate movement to stop the corporate takeover of our democracy, and to bring about solutions that will regenerate everything from our food, farming, and health, to our economy and our democracy.

Get started today by setting up a local group on Meetup.com. Join a #Resist and #Regenerate meetup near you or sign up here to start one, then read the instructions below to get started organizing.

We learned a lot when we took on Monsanto and Big Food in the fight for GMO labeling. But perhaps the most important lesson was this: We have not yet built a movement big enough, or powerful enough, to beat giant corporations with deep pockets.

We must, and we can, do better. But to succeed, we’ll have to step away from our laptops and phones, meet in person with our friends and neighbors, and start exercising our collective consumer power, and our collective political power—in numbers too big to be ignored.

It’s time to build a new on-the-ground movement—one that empowers consumers and citizens to both resist the corporate takeover of our government, and regenerate our health, environment and democracy.

We call it the #resist and #regenerate movement. Today I’m personally inviting you to help lead and grow this new on-the-ground movement.

There are over 500,000 elected and appointed officials in this country. Too many of them are on the wrong side of the issues you care about—food, GMOs, health, the environment, social and economic justice.

Unless we elect new leaders—not just Congress members, but also city, county, school board, park board, and state officials—nothing will change. Politicians will continue to serve the corporations that fund their campaigns. Corporations will continue to write the laws that allow them to poison and pollute.

We have the power to change this—we just need to exercise it. And that means moving beyond our single-issue organizing, in favor of building a united and massive movement, both online and on the ground.

Today, I’m asking you to help lead this movement. Join a #Resist and #Regenerate meetup near you or sign up here to start one, then read the instructions below.

Through meetups and networking in our local communities, by connecting the dots between our single issues, we can resist the Degenerators and strengthen the organic and regeneration movements.

By reaching out to and communicating with other activists working on food, farming, natural health, justice, climate, peace, and environmental issues we can bring about a revolution, not only in the marketplace, but in the political arena as well.

Please join us today as we #resist and #regenerate.

In Solidarity,

Ronnie Cummins
International Director

 

 

How to get started

Millions of people, in cities and counties across the country, are connecting via Meetup.com. By creating your own local “#resist and #regenerate” group on Meetup, you’ll be able to instantly connect with people who care about food, GMO, climate change, natural health, social and economic justice, animal welfare and other issues.

The Meetup platform makes it easy for you to invite local activists to a meeting to discuss how to make more progress on all of these issues, by working more closely together. We already have 200 of these Resist and Regenerate meetup groups going across the country, but we need thousands.

Here’s what to do (if you run into any problems, email organize@organicconsumers.org and someone will help):

1.    Check out the map to see if there is already a #Resist and #Regenerate group in your area.

2.    Go to meetup.com. Follow the instructions for setting up an account (it's free).

3.    Fill out this form. Once we've got your information we'll set up your #Resist and #Regenerate group and email you the link to join. (Your page will look like this, view the #Resist and #Regenerate map here.)

4.    Join your group!

5.    After you join your group, your OCA regional coordinator will make you a co-organizer for your group. Your regional coordinator will be on hand to answer questions.

6.    Once you are an co-organizer for your group, you can schedule your first meetup (Click on “Home,” then click on “Schedule a meetup.”)

7.    After you schedule a meetup, email organize@organicconsumers.org and your regional coordinator, to let them know. We’ll send you a packet of leaflets, bumper stickers and other materials. You’ll also find resources on your group homepage—click on “Pages” then “Resources.”