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Tell These Grocery Stores: No GMO Apples, Please!

Organic consumers - Tue, 2017-02-14 21:10
Belong to campaign: Millions Against MonsantoCook Organic Not the PlanetCategory: All About Organics, Genetic EngineeringArea: USA

This week, the GMO Arctic Apple is headed to grocery stores for a trial run. They’re being tested in the Midwest—if you’re a Midwesterner, please read this!

Who stands to benefit from the GMO apple? Not consumers like you. Definitely not apple growers, who have been opposing this apple all along. The only benefits will go to Intrexon, the synthetic biology company that owns the GMO salmon, the GMO mosquito and the GMO apple.

You can still disrupt the market for these apples and keep them off our plates and out of our environment. But we need you to act now during this trial run in grocery stores.

 Read more

Philpott Is Right: Trump’s ‘Dark Forces’ Are Coming for Your Organic Food

Organic consumers - Tue, 2017-02-14 20:23
All About Organics, Politics & GlobalizationRonnie CumminsOrganic Consumers AssociationFebruary 14, 2017 Smoke Man 1000x523

Over the past three decades, organic food, farming, and products in the U.S. have grown into a $50-billion-a-year powerhouse, representing more than 5 percent of all retail grocery sales. This growth has been achieved with little or no help from the White House, Congress or the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and that’s been true no matter which party, Democrat or Republican, has been in power.

At current rates of growth the majority of food sales in the U.S. will be organic or 100% grass-fed within three decades. Unfortunately these current levels of growth for organic, no matter how impressive they seem, will not be enough to prevent the current (food- and farm-related) public health, environmental and climate crises from metastasizing into a full-blown catastrophe within 25 years or less. That’s why my organization, the Organic Consumers Association is organizing for what we call a Consumer and Political Revolution 2017-2020.

Although the majority of consumers—no matter whether they voted for Hillary (65 million), Trump (62 million), or stayed home and didn’t vote (92 million)—tell pollsters that they know that organic food is superior to chemical/GMO food, in terms of nutrition and environmental impact, and that they believe that pesticides, synthetic hormones, antibiotic residues and GMOs are dangerous, Congress keeps subsidizing industrial agriculture, factory farms, processed food and GMO corn-derived ethanol to the tune of billions of dollars a year. At the same time, lawmakers show little or no support for organic or transition-to-organic farmers or programs.

100% grass-fed beef and dairy products are now the fastest growing segment of grocery store sales. Yet most grass-fed beef and cheese is imported from overseas (Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay) for the most part because here in the U.S., the USDA subsidizes factory-farm meat and animal products, rather than helping U.S. ranchers, farmers and processors move toward grass-fed, pasture-based, and regenerative production.

The Obama Administration behaved very much like the Bush Administration before it, providing little or no support for organic farming while touting the supposed benefits of GMOs, hi-tech agriculture, ethanol and agribusiness-friendly free trade agreements. Despite promises made in 2007 on the campaign trail that his administration would require mandatory labels on GMOs, Obama did nothing. In 2016, when Congress (including a number of recent Trump cabinet appointees) rammed through the controversial Roberts/Stabenow/Pompeo Dark Act, taking away the rights of states to require mandatory GMO labeling, Obama remained silent—instead of using his veto power.

Let’s get organized! Join a call with Ronnie Cummins, OCA’s international director.

Organic consumers - Mon, 2017-02-13 18:49
Belong to campaign: Millions Against MonsantoSafeguard Organic StandardsCook Organic Not the PlanetCategory: Environment & Climate, Politics & GlobalizationArea: USA

Our health, our environment, our basic right to know—everything is under attack.

How do we unite the people working in our own communities on food, natural health, social justice and climate issues into a more powerful movement that can put an end to corporate crime and political corruption in the marketplace and in the political realm, while regenerating our health, our economy, our local communities and our democracy?

Sign up to join Ronnie and the Organic Consumers Association for this important call about how to launch both a #ConsumerRevolution and a #PoliticalRevolution.Read more

Regenerating Public Health: Beyond Obama and Trump

Organic consumers - Mon, 2017-02-13 17:51
Environment & Climate, Health IssuesRonnie CumminsOrganic Consumers AssociationFebruary 5, 2017 Money 1000x523

As evidenced by the 2016 primary and general elections, Americans–Democrats, Republicans, Greens, and Independents–want real change, radical change, not just “business as usual.” That’s why Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) nearly won the Democratic Party nomination in 2016 with his call for a “Revolution,” including Medicare for All, reining in Wall Street, higher taxes on corporate profits, an end to wars in the Middle East, and free tuition for students at public colleges. Polls consistently indicated that had Sanders survived the dirty tricks of Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee, and actually won the Democratic Party nomination, he could have defeated Trump by a significant margin.

On the Republican side of the partisan divide, 63 million (mainly white),bitterly dissatisfied Americans cast their votes against Hillary Clinton and for Donald Trump, a self-proclaimed revolutionary, who promised to “Make America Great Again,” by reducing taxes, and by raising the living standards of everyday Americans. Trump’s platform included putting an end to Obamacare and providing a more effective and affordable system of healthcare by devolving power to the states.

Since his inauguration, Trump and his minions have unfortunately declared war on the majority of Americans with a divisive, indeed alarming, series of sexist, racist, authoritarian and homophobic policy pronouncements and executive orders. After declaring he would “drain the swamp” of lobbyists and special interests, Trump has instead hypocritically put forth the nominations of corporate millionaires, billionaires, Wall Street insiders, militarists and climate deniers to his Cabinet, along with an anti-abortion extremist to the Supreme Court, and has enacted a series of executive decrees on immigration, environmental pollution, and pipelines that have brought millions of protesters out into the streets.

According to the well-respected Institute on Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP),

“Trump has issued instructions to effectively gag government scientists, thus threatening continuity and public accountability in research, and is preparing to gut regulations across multiple sectors that were designed in the public interest. He is building a cabinet of powerful millionaires and billionaires, some of whom oppose the very purpose that their agencies are mandated to serve. He is perpetuating the idea that recognition of climate change is subject to a belief system rather than to scientific evidence. He is attempting to reverse the social-, economic- and environmental-achievement and promise of renewable energy. –IATP newsletter Feb. 4, 2017.

One of the most pressing crises we face, a major topic in the 2016 elections, is our rapidly deteriorating public health and healthcare system. See the linked article and video at the end of this article. Unfortunately, neither Establishment Democrats (Clinton et al) nor Republicans (Trump) appear ready to “bite the hand that feeds them” (Big Pharma, the American Medical Association, insurance companies, junk food conglomerates, corporate agribusiness, chemical polluters) and offer a real solution, in terms of effective and affordable healthcare and public policy that address the underlying causes of rampant disease and sickness, not just the symptoms.

The root causes of the world’s most expensive and ineffective system of healthcare—the U.S. healthcare system—are not only medical errors (failing to focus on prevention and nutrition for example) and malpractice (the third leading cause of death in America), but also the self-destructive lifestyle choices or addictions (junk food, alcohol, tobacco, drugs, and lack of exercise) of the majority of the population. The everyday behavior of consumers in our Fast Food nation, compounded by the routine “profit-at-any-cost” contamination of our environment, have not only degenerated public health, but have also raised healthcare costs ($3.3 trillion per year and rising) to the point where they are threatening to bankrupt our entire economic system.

Let's Talk

Organic consumers - Mon, 2017-02-13 15:30
February 13, 2017Organic Consumers AssociationEnvironment & Climate, Health Issues, Politics & Globalization Girls on phones 1000x523

UPDATE: Click here to listen to OCA's national organizing call with director Ronnie Cummins!

Our health, our environment, our basic right to know—everything is under attack. We need everyone on deck.

How do we unite the people working in our own communities on food, natural health, social justice and climate issues into one powerful movement to end corporate and political corruption at the local, state and federal levels?

Join Ronnie and the Organic Consumers Association for a national call about how to launch both a #ConsumerRevolution and a #PoliticalRevolution

Everyone is feeling it right now—the compulsion to get involved, to do something positive to protect our health and our environment. Can we regenerate our food and farming system? Can we regenerate our health? Our local economies? Even our democracy?

We think the answer is yes. But only if we give up single-issue organizing and start working together, from the grassroots up.

What do you think? We want to hear from you.

TAKE ACTION: RSVP for the call-to-action with OCA's Ronnie Cummins on Thursday, Feb. 16 at 8 p.m. Eastern/ 5 p.m. Pacific!

 

What Is Karezza? ~ How Sex Without Orgasm Deeply Satisfies Us (Part 1)

Go to www.reuniting.info - Thu, 2017-02-09 17:54

by Christina Antonyan

Recently I spoke to a gentleman in his late 40’s who said “The practice of Karezza is my new found Sex God.” I had no idea what he was referring to.

It turns out he had what he called a ‘porn addiction.’ He was watching porn between 4-6 times a day almost everyday and ejaculating every time.

He was addicted to the dopamine reward rush.

He went on to say:

“It took me years to deeply feel and understand the confusions of my sexual biology and lack of information society had given me about sex.

After so many years I finally found a sexual method where I wasn’t chasing ejaculation.

As a man I believed sex was all about finishing with a grand release.

Ejaculation is necessary sometimes, and that is how we are wired to continue our human evolution as men. It’s a very primal and natural force.

But there is a far more powerful practice called Karezza. In fact when I first heard about the concept of Karezza, I thought it was some new age crap, until my wife was finally able to convince me to try it.

The Karezza method is like meditation, at times it can be very hard to explain the feeling of nothingness or in this case erotic euphoria.

You smile for no reason, because you are filled with joy, peace, contentment, love and abundance of energy – for someone who has never felt all of these emotions at once– it’s very hard to describe.

Once you have this type of sex, it’s hard to go to back to the thrill of chasing the mating mind of ejaculation.

The intimate euphoric feeling outweighs the chase.

But there are times when our primal forces take over and we just want to have sex, which is also fun. Feeling the difference between each style of sex is the best discovery I’ve ever made.

The best part about this practice is how intimate and deeply connected my wife and I have become.”

What Is Karezza?

Karezza gets its name from the Italian word for caress – a gentle, affectionate form of lovemaking in which orgasm is not the goal, and ideally does not occur in either partner while making love.

The best explanation I’ve found on the subject comes from J. William Lloyd written in 1931.

Many of us can argue that lovemaking without orgasm can be very unnatural.

Lloyd argues that it’s simply care and skill in the sexual realm, changing its form and direction of activity in such a wise way that the desired pleasure may be more fully realized and the undesired results avoided.

According to Lloyd Real Karezza requires preparatory mental exercises.

“It requires first the understanding and conviction that the spiritual, the tender side of the relation is much more important, much more productive of pleasure in fact, than the merely sexual, and that throughout the whole relation the sexual is to be held subordinate to this love side as its tool, its agent, its feeder.

Sex is indeed required to furnish all it has to the feast, but strictly under the leadership of love.

It requires, second, the understanding and profound conviction that in this kind of love-feast the orgasm is a marplot, a kill-joy, an awkward and clumsy accident, and the end of everything for the time, therefore most undesired.

It requires, third, an understanding of the psychological law that all emotions are to a considerable extent capable of being “sublimated,” that is expressed in a different direction and with reference to another object than that first intended.

We have all seen actors first arouse an audience to emotional intensity and then direct that emotion at pleasure to laughter or tears, to love or-hate, revenge or pity, lust or purity.

Taking full advantage of this law, the Karezza artist sublimates a portion of his sexual passion into the more refined, intellectual, poetic and heart-sweet expression of feeling, thus preventing it from ever reaching that pitch of local intensity which demands explosive discharge.

In other words the soul, taking over the blind sex- emotion, diffuses it and irradiates the whole being for a prolonged period with its joy-giving, exalting potency.

It is art, intellect, morality and estheticism in sexual enjoyment instead of crude, reckless appetite.

As you acquire the habit of giving your sexual electricity out in blessing to your partner from your sex-organs, hands, lips, skin, eyes and voice, you will acquire the power to satisfy yourself and her without an orgasm.

Soon you will not even think of self-control, because you will have no desire for the orgasm, nor will she.”

Lloyd also notes that during the practice of Karezza the sex-organs become quiet, satisfied, demagnetized, while the rest of the body of each partner glows with potency, bliss coupled with an after-feeling of health purity and wellbeing.

The sweet satisfaction of fullness, realization, and peace often last for days.

The Orgasm Hangover

Throughout the book, Lloyd describes the hangover that orgasm can produce. Here is one of his detailed descriptions:

“There has been a momentary joy, but too brief and epileptic to make much impression on consciousness, and now it is gone, leaving no memory.

The lights have gone out, the music has stopped. Even if no more, there is disillusionment, sudden indifference, a wish to sleep.

An intense rise in dopamine levels is succeeded by lows, setting up an addictive, ultimately unsatisfying, cycle. Those who practice Karezza, are less liable to excess, because they spared the waste of the orgasm.

In contrast, those who do not use Karezza are vastly more liable to excess, and this is usually from too frequent and intense orgasms.

The marvel of practicing Karezza is that as consciousness of internal strength and power develops, the physical sign disappears. The peace that follows is the peace of power.”

When Sex Satisfies

When sex feels sacred in the use it gives a divine
innocence to the moment, a satisfying sweetness of
recollection in the memory.

Sex is only satisfying where it is absolutely free, in a
liberty made new and genuine by glad, mutual
consent at every moment of its being.

Sex only satisfies when on both sides there are
kindness, innocence, consideration – a love that is
goodness in expression, that gives and blesses.

Sex only satisfies the finer natures when it unites
souls, not merely copulates bodies for a thrill.

Sex having two offices – to unite souls and propagate
bodies – there are for these offices two unions:
Karezza-union for the deeper love, orgasmal-union for
physical begetting.

Do not make the mistake of using
the latter for the former.

In the next article I will discuss the Karezza Method and the role of each partner.

Original article: What Is Karezza? ~ How Sex Without Orgasm Deeply Satisfies Us (Part 1) Main Topic:
Categories: Healthy sexuality

How To Practice Karezza – (Part 2)

Go to www.reuniting.info - Thu, 2017-02-09 17:53

By Christina Antonyan

In the previous article I discussed “What is Karezza? In today’s article I will share the gentleman’s wisdom on how to practice Karezza as well as some takeaways from Lloyds book (Download the free PDF version here).

In Lloyds book the description of the practice is quite vague. This is because it’s not about technique or a goal driven encounter, instead it’s a relaxation and connection process of ‘not doing.’

It’s very similar to relaxing into a deep meditative state. It’s more of an experience than a practice.

The gentleman who introduced me to the Karezza method shared his insights below on how to properly practice Karezza. Here is his wisdom:

Mindset

To be able to fully understand the Karezza method the couple must first start with mental and spiritual values.

They must agree that they do not wish to have an orgasm and that there is a greater spiritual and physical unity of emotional bliss to be obtained without it.

Thoughts

 Think more about your love than your passion. Translate your sex passion as much as possible into heart-passion.

Be sensitively alive to the charm of your lover’s tones, touch and smells.

The emphasis is put on love, adoration and affection, which allows the couple to stay away from the edge of orgasm.

Why Foreplay Doesn’t Work For Karezza

We commonly refer to foreplay as building each other’s anticipation with orgasm being the goal.

The pleasures of Karezza, however, do not rely on the rewards that come from approaching one’s own orgasm or inducing it in a lover.

Instead the pleasures come from rewarding feelings of mutual adoration and generous touch. Instead of foreplay, what do we do when we get into bed?

First bond with each other by laying in a comfortable position and gently caressing, or holding one another as you kiss.

After some time slow penetration begins. Developing some structure helps, because ingrained habits are not easily changed.

Time and Space

Choose a time when both of you can be alone, unhurried and free from interruptions. Be sure the room is warm, the surroundings are pleasant and esthetic.

When You Feel You Are Losing Control

 If you sense yourself or your partner slipping into performance mode while making love, pull back into relaxation with deeper and longer breaths from your abdomen.

Deep abdominal breathing reverses the increased muscular tension and the urge to restrict breathing that coincide with the buildup to orgasm.

Slow Sex – How Slow is Slow?

It’s best to begin in a position that doesn’t allow for much movement, because it’s easy to slip into familiar sex. The point of Karezza is moving very slowly and at times falling into complete stillness.

This is where a lot of magical and gratifying experiences can occur. As a result the lovemaking goes in waves, much like breathing. Erections also come and go.

Communicate the wordless sounds of pleasure and touch whenever you feel it.

There are times when you will fall asleep while your penis is still inside her. Waking up in the morning is so enjoyable because you never “finished.”

The feeling of joy, playfulness and staying connected lasts all day.

How Karezza Relieves Sexual Tension

Because the practice of Karezza emphasizes non-goal-oriented sex, it activates the body’s relaxation response.

In contrast, for a man ejaculatory sex is a function of the fight-or-flight (sympathetic nervous system) response, particularly when his survival is at stake.

Biologically driven sex is exactly that – you are in performance mode, doing what needs to be done to survive through passing on your genes. It also happens to feel very good.

This powerful drive produces orgasms, but not necessarily the profound feelings of safety or desire to remain close to your partner.

The body “reads” bonding behaviors (like Karezza) as signals for feeling safe and getting closer.

How Long Does It Take To Feel The Benefits?

Karezza can be a bit like watching paint dry at first. It does not produce rapid, obvious results (like a new foreplay technique might).

The gentleman also suggested that it’s best to try Karezza for at least three weeks to compare the benefits of it with regular sex.

The effects of Karezza are cumulative.

The changes are so natural that it’s easy to miss the link between the practice of Karezza and the changes you will experience.

For example: you might feel a growing sense of joy and optimism, connectedness with others and your surroundings and being in the state of ‘flow.’

Best Positions

When you are starting out, it’s not important for a man to penetrate deep into the woman’s vagina.

What’s important is to learn how to be fully relaxed, open, and still. You’ve got to get your body use to being inside her without wanting to ejaculate and thrust hard.

The gentleman suggested avoiding the missionary position, because for most men this triggers the ejaculation/mating sex urge.

Woman on top is perfectly fine, but her movements have to be extremely slow. Side to side works well too. Any position is okay as long as you can relax, stay comfortable and avoid any kind of tension.

[Visit confidentlovers.com for position images]

Karezza is a return to equilibrium.

For some people that may mean taking a nap throughout the day, for others, it will mean an increased libido.

Either way, Karezza is not an attempt to recreate the intensity of honeymoon neurochemistry.

The energy it produces is not “edgy,” but rather “lighthearted.”

Original article - How To Practice Karezza – (Part 2)

Categories: Healthy sexuality

Velorutionary - Dr Eva Marie Muller-Stuler

velorution - Tue, 2017-02-07 22:59

 

Eva Marie Muller-Stuller 

What do you do for a living?

I'm a senior scientific advisor and analytics leader developing machine learning products for finance, retail, tech and other clients. This means I look at all of the data artefacts that people leave behind or that surround us to understand what drives behaviour. I also have a soft spot for start-ups. I'm in the middle of setting one up with a friend and I mentor others, helping them define their product strategy or to find funding.

What are you passionate about?

Many things. I really love my job and mathematics - it's just such an interesting field to work in. But I also love playing music, all kinds of sports, travelling and making things.

How long have you been a cyclist?

In my hometown many people cycle so it is the normal way of getting around as a school-kid. I think I started cycling when I was two or three years old. But even before that I was in a seat on my dad's bike.

What bike are you riding now?

A Gazelle Van Stael. I love her to bits and she's so pretty that everyone gives me compliments about her.  It’s getting so bad the other day I was at a set of traffic lights lost in my own world when someone came up to me and started speaking.  I just replied “Yes, thank you she’s a really pretty bike” before they repeated themselves and asked for directions.

What appeals to you about cycling?
It's lots of fun. It's freedom and it's fast. My days are quite busy so riding my bike helps me get around faster.

How often do you ride?

Nearly every day if the weather isn't too bad.

What is your favourite cycle route or destination?

To a coffee shop to meet a good friend.

 

 

 

 

 

Archived from Velorution Magazine issue 4

 

Categories: Liveable cities

Tell Your Senators: Vote NO on Sonny Perdue! #NoPerdue! Block Trump's #SwampCabinet!

Organic consumers - Wed, 2017-02-01 19:27
Belong to campaign: Millions Against MonsantoCook Organic Not the PlanetSave the BeesCategory: Environment & Climate, Farm Issues, Genetic Engineering, Politics & GlobalizationArea: USA

Remember the DARK Act vote last summer? When your Senators had to decide whether or not to block state laws requiring labels on genetically engineered food?

There’s a vote coming up in the Senate that’s even more important. It’s the vote on whether to confirm Sonny Perdue as the next Secretary of Agriculture.

Former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue is a Monsanto-funded politician who made millions selling fertilizer and gaming the farm subsidy system. 

Tell Your Senators: Vote NO on Sonny Perdue for Agriculture Secretary! Read more

6 Ways to Train All-Org Messengers

Flickr: Chip Griffin

The pressure is on to connect and mobilize your people as the world in which we work grows increasingly complex, crowded, and uncertain. Why not recruit folks already connected with your organization to help as marketing and fundraising ambassadors?

Your colleagues, board members, volunteers, and loyal donors have tremendous potential to strengthen relationships, drive participation, and raise money IF you launch this six-step training program:

1) Share a clear call to action
Get super-specific when you ask people to step up as organizational messengers. Break your request down into small, doable steps. For example, request they “email your five closest friends or family members to ask them to support our organization during this first-time matching gift campaign” or to “discuss your passion for our organization with friends next time you go on a walk or out for dinner, sharing email addresses for those wanting to know more with me at me@ourorganization.org.”

Vague requests such as “spread the word” or “help us meet our goals” are more likely to push prospective ambassadors away than to mobilize them for action! The clearer you are, the more doable your call to action for newbie messengers.

2) Design training to make it easy for your ambassadors to connect & motivate giving and the other actions you need most
The more comfortable your ambassadors are in sharing their passion and your organization’s impact, the more they’ll do it (and do it well). Ask folks who are already serving as “unofficial” messengers what their colleagues should know. Their success stories and flops make great training content.

Credit: Rachel Calderon

3) Uncover your ambassadors’ burning questions or greatest barriers to reaching out on behalf of your organization
When Rachel Calderon, Marketing and Communications Manager at the Central Florida Foundation, charged Foundation board members to serve as brand champions, she asked them to share their burning questions. Responses ranged from, “How come more people don’t know what we do and why?” to “How do we reach influencers in specific industries?”

Rachel’s query revealed collective nervousness (it’s comforting to know you aren’t alone) and enabled her to address gaps in knowledge and technique. Asking works far better than guesswork in uncovering what’s hold your ambassadors back. Keep those lines of communication wide open.

4) Build on your messengers’ personal passions

Credit: City Year L.A. Board Member Octavia Spencer

Fundraiser-extraordinaire Gail Perry shares a powerful approach to uncovering board members’ passions: “Why do you care?”

Gail asks board members to share what sparks their enthusiasm for your organization’s work. She finds that as your ambassador shares what fuels his passion for your cause and impact, “he re-ignites his own passion.” Win-win.

This technique works equally well for colleagues (it helps them connect their particular function with the bigger picture), donor, and volunteer messengers.

5) Guide ambassadors to share their passion with an ask
Build your team’s skill and confidence by sharing concrete examples of situations that are ripe for an ask.

  • What to say “as is” (your organization’s name, tagline, and positioning statement) vs. what to say in their own words (their own stories and the ask)
  • What to do when x, y, or z happens
  • Who to ask for help and how
  • What to do with any insights they gather from these conversations (invaluable for strengthening your marketing and fundraising approach). 

6) Motivate them to practice, practice, practice (and more practice)
The best way I know to replicate conversations is to create ultra-specific scenarios for your ambassadors to role-play. Ask them to break into pairs to role-play a few different scenarios you provide, taking each role so they get to stand in the shoes of their conversational partner. Then ask a few pairs to “present” to the group to spark more questions.

Practice typically highlights problem areas so you can lead your messengers through them. Most importantly, practice shifts the unknown into the familiar.

Now’s the time to select, ask, and train your ambassadors to jump on board to help meet your 2017 goals. Then launch them with this toolkit in hand, so they generate the greatest engagement, donations, and personal satisfaction possible. To teamwork!

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

Trump’s Pick for Ag Secretary Has ‘Bigly’ Ties to Big Ag and Big Food

Organic consumers - Tue, 2017-01-24 10:02
January 24, 2017Organic Consumers AssociationKatherine PaulEnvironment & Climate, Genetic Engineering, Politics & Globalization Sonny Perdue 1000x523

In announcing his pick last week for Secretary of Agriculture, Trump heaped predictable praise on Sonny Perdue, promising that the former governor of Georgia will “deliver big results for all Americans who earn their living off the land."

We predict that Perdue will indeed deliver “big” results—but he’ll deliver them to his friends in Big Food and Big Ag, not to America’s rural farmers, and surely not to America’s consumers.

If it’s true that you can judge a man by the company he keeps, well, judge for yourself whose side Perdue is really on. 

The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), that multi-billion-dollar lobbying group that represents Monsanto, Dow, Dupont, Coca-Cola, General Mills (you get the picture) rushed to praise Perdue’s nomination. In a statement, GMA’s president said her group “looks forward to working with [Perdue] on issues key to keeping America's food the safest and most affordable food supply in the history of the world.”  Coming from the GMA, leader of the charge to keep labels off GMO foods, we know that “safest and most affordable food” is code for “industrial chemical GMO food.” 

And by now, we also all know that Perdue, who was named 2009 Governor of the Year by the Biotechnology Innovation Organization, counts both Monsanto  and Coca-Cola  among his many corporate campaign donors. 

What else do we know about Perdue? Here are some not-so-fun facts:

•    Perdue hails from Georgia, which leads the country in poultry production, most of which comes from factory farms. Although he’s not related to the founders of Perdue Farms, Perdue helped the giant chicken-producing factory farm business expand its Georgia operations by $155 million. That might explain, as Grubstreet points out, why the National Chicken Council, which lobbies on behalf of the poultry industry, can’t wait for Perdue to be confirmed.

•    A former fertilizer salesman, Perdue at one time owned Houston Fertilizer and Grain which, after its acquisition of Milner Milling Co., morphed into AGrowStar, a grain business with operations across Georgia and South Carolina. His supporters cite his business operations as proof that he’s qualified to lead the USDA. They fail to mention the role chemical fertilizers play in water pollution and global warming, much less the cost to farmers of relying on synthetic inputs instead of regenerative practices which rely on organic composting and that improve both crop yields and soil health, without the pollution side effects.

•    Perdue has a degree in veterinarian medicine which, coupled with his professed disdain for regulations that he deems “unfriendly” to farmers, means he’s more likely to overlook (or overturn) existing regulations requiring veterinarians to cut back on the use of antibiotics in order to  address the current health crisis—antibiotic-resistance—caused by the over-use of antibiotics, especially in animal feed.

•    Perdue is a climate-denier who made headlines in 2007 when he prayed for rain during a drought. Alternet reported that “backed up by a choir singing ‘Amazing Grace,’ accompanied by three Protestant ministers, and twenty demonstrators from the Atlanta Freethought Society, Sonny Perdue, Georgia's Baptist governor, led a crowd of hundreds in prayers for rain.” Not that there’s anything wrong with praying, but how about also acknowledging the role healthy soils play in making crops resistant to drought, and even preventing it in the first place? We probably won’t get that acknowledgement from a man who once said this: “It’s become a running joke among the public, and liberals have lost all credibility when it comes to climate science because their arguments have become so ridiculous and so obviously disconnected from reality.”

•    Perdue has no qualms about taking government handouts. Environmental Working Group (EWG) reports that between 1995 and 2014, he cashed in on $278,679 in taxpayer-funded subsidies for his various businesses. Will he be open to overhauling the current system which doles out $25 billion/year in subsidies (paid out mostly to large producers, not small farmers) for commodity crops, like wheat, GMO corn, GMO cotton and GMO soy? And instead support subsidies for organic and regenerative (and small) farmers who are reducing pollution, producing more nutrient-dense (and pesticide-free) foods while enhancing their soils’ capacity to draw down and sequester carbon? Again, not likely we think, given that Perdue is co-founder of Perdue Partners, a global trading company that specializes in trading goods and services, including commodities, and that he assured Trump that trade will be a big priority for him.

•    Perdue apparently hasn’t made the connection between junk food and health (much less industrial ag and global warming). At a 2003 meeting organized by his wife (then first lady of Georgia) and sponsored by Coca-Cola and Chick-fil-A, Perdue praised the soda giant for its “ its continued effort to grow its business presence and invest in Georgia, as the Company prepares to open a $100 million plus expansion to its Atlanta production facilities.”

Before his nomination, Perdue served on Trump’s ag advisory committee whose talking points, as reported on November 15, by Politico, “offer a roadmap on how President-Elect Donald Trump's agriculture secretary could shape agricultural policies, including the sweeping promise to ‘defend American agriculture against its critics,’”. . (emphasis ours).  Of course, what the committee means by “American” agriculture is industrial factory farm and GMO commodity agriculture. And we all know who the committee sees as its critics—that would be us and a host of other groups that advocate for healthy food and a clean environment.

For all the talk about sticking up for rural farmers and rural America, the plain fact is this: Perdue’s track record consistently reveals his support for corporate agribusiness—not small farmers or rural Americans. There are his aforementioned corporate campaign donations. And this—in 2009, Perdue signed a bill that blocked local communities in Georgia from regulating animal cruelty, worker safety and pollution related to factory farms. That’s hardly “looking out” for the little guy.

Given his known (real) priorities, we predict that right out of the gate, Perdue will go after new USDA regulations, passed under the Obama Administration in December 2016, that are designed to “expand small farmers’ ‘protections against the most egregious retaliatory practices’ used by big chicken companies like Tyson.” Those rules can’t go into effect until a 60-day comment period has passed—which gives Perdue plenty of time to quash them in order to protect his state’s $39-billion factory farm chicken industry. If he does go after the new regulations, it will be his way of confirming his support for the highly profitable Tyson-type corporations—not small farmers who currently suffer, financially and otherwise, under a system that is titled in favor of big corporations.

If confirmed, Perdue will oversee a budget of more than $140 billion and a staff of more than 100,000 people in an office that, as Civil Eats points out, executes “policy in a wide variety of areas, including food, agriculture, natural resources, rural development, and nutrition. The agency oversees the national school lunch program and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) as well as food safety and farm policy programs, the Forest Service, and various land and water conservation efforts.”

And of course, Perdue will play a key role in negotiating the 2018 farm bill.

We’d love to see Perdue really support rural farmers and Americans, by supporting the farmers who are farming in a responsible way. But as Naomi Klein said, the Trump cabinet is a “corporate coup d’état. Perdue, from all appearances, fits right in with the rest of the millionaire and billionaire corporate cronies tapped by Trump to run the country. The last time he ran for governor, in 2006, financial statements showed he was worth about $6 million and his businesses about $2.8 million, according to Politico.

Perdue may have impressed Trump by showing up for his job interview wearing a backpack and a tie with little tractors on it.  But most farmers are smart enough to see through Perdue's phony concern for rural farmers, no matter how he dresses it up.  And it will sure take a lot more than that to convince us that Perdue will support the real future of agriculture—which is organic and regenerative.

Please call your Senators and ask them to reject Sonny Perdue for USDA secretary of agriculture.

Katherine Paul is associate director of the Organic Consumers Association. Like this article? Sign up for OCA’s weekly online newsletter.

 

Ronnie’s Inauguration Day Message

Organic consumers - Fri, 2017-01-20 16:44
Environment & ClimateRonnie CumminsOrganic Consumers AssociationJanuary 20, 2017 revolution orange 1000x523.jpg

Today, Donald Trump was sworn in as president of the United States.

Today, I'm announcing our #ConsumerRevolution and #PoliticalRevolution 2017-2020 platforms.

If Hillary Clinton placed her hand on a Bible today, promising to protect the U.S. Constitution, we would be organizing a massive movement to change her positions on many issues, including war, Big Ag and GMOs.

If Bernie Sanders took the oath of office today, we would be celebrating his authenticity, and his solid track record (not just lip-service) of support for at least 90 percent of the issues we care about. Then we’d get to work on the other 10 percent—with hope and enthusiasm.

But today, we witnessed the swearing in of a president who has signaled loud and clear his intent to maximize the profits of giant corporations—like Exxon Mobil, BP, and Monsanto and Bayer (whose merger he's set to approve)—on a scale never before seen in our lifetimes. Public and environmental health be damned.

Trump has appointed a slate of millionaire and billionaire corporate cronies to key, powerful positions, with orders to immediately set to work rolling back any regulations or policies that even hint at cutting into corporate profits. We will have an EPA Administrator, an Energy Secretary and a head of the CIA who largely reject the international scientific consensus that human behavior is a contributing factor to global warming.

We will have billionaire bankers running the U.S. Treasury Department and the American economy.

And yesterday we learned, not surprisingly, that the new USDA Secretary of Agriculture will be former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue. Another millionaire climate-denier, Perdue is a cheerleader for the worst of the worst agribusiness corporations. Based on his history, Perdue will have no interest in protecting the interests of rural farmers, farm workers or consumers from the routine poisoning of our food, water and air by factory farms, pesticides and GMOs.

We have our work cut out for us in the coming months and years. As Frances Fox Piven, a professor of political science and sociology, recently wrote, we’ll need to keep signing petitions, but that won't be enough. We’ll need to, as she said, “throw sand in the gears of everything” just to protect the most basic of human rights.

With that in mind, we have developed two platforms that will guide our work, beginning immediately.

#Consumer Revolution 2017-2020

Overarching goal: Force corporations that sell consumer products, including food, clothing, drugs and personal care products, to respond to consumer demand for truthfully labeled products that have a positive impact on human health and are produced using regenerative processes and practices that not only prevent harm to human health and the environment but also measurably improve soils and combat global warming.

(1)    Move toward making organic, 100% grass-fed, and regenerative food and farming the norm, not just the 5-percent alternative in the marketplace, by doubling sales of organic to $80 billion by 2020, and by increasing sales of U.S. grass-fed meat and dairy, and organic and pastured poultry and pork by at least 400 percent by 2020.

(2)    Achieve a 50-percent reduction in sales of GMO food and animal feed by 2020, with the aim of driving GMO animal feed off the market.

(3)    Force major food brands and companies that fraudulently label their products as “natural,” “organic” or “GMO-free” to remove misleading labels and/or transition their products and production methods to organic and/or regenerative practices.

(4)    Increase market share for clothing made from organic cotton, wool and other natural fibers through a high-profile “Care What You Wear” campaign that encourages consumers to boycott GMO cotton and synthetic fibers.

#PoliticalRevolution 2017-2020

Overarching goal: Reform the current political process to create a democracy that works for all people, not just wealthy corporations and the 1%, by uniting the food, climate, economic and social justice, natural health and peace movements in a coordinated effort to support candidates, elected public officials and policies, at the local, state and federal levels, that support our common goals.

(1)    Support the candidates and elected officials endorsed by the post-Bernie Sanders movements, including “Brand New Congress” and “Our Revolution.”

(2)    Lobby candidates and elected public officials to support OCA’s #ConsumerRevolution platform

(3)    Lobby candidates and elected public officials to support the “Our Revolution” platform, with the addition of:

•    on climate: a focus on regenerative agriculture and soil carbon sequestration as a global warming solution, in addition to fossil fuel emissions reduction and renewable energy

•    on healthcare: a focus on "Medicare for all" that includes coverage for preventive, natural and alternative healthcare solutions

•    on food: a focus on food policy that supports consumer health and consumer right to know, and acknowledges the role food production plays in environmental and climate policy

•    on living wage: a focus on raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour so that lower-income Americans can afford organic food

(4)    Organize local grassroots meet-ups and coalitions to run candidates, for local and state offices, who support our issues.

(5)    Oppose any candidates or policies that promote racism, sexism, homophobia, militarism and all forms of discrimination, whenever and wherever they arise.

(6)    Oppose any laws or illegal attempts to disenfranchise voters.

(7)    Support the decriminalization of drug use, including the legalization of marijuana, and oppose the war on drugs.

(8)    Combat climate change by promoting candidates and policies that advance regenerative food, farming and land use, in addition to fossil fuel emissions reduction and renewable energy, as solutions for achieving zero emissions, for reversing global warming by sequestering excess CO2 and greenhouse gases in soil and forests, and for addressing our public health, water and environmental crises.

Why do we need a revolution?

Our democracy is broken. Under the Trump Administration, we could witness the final collapse.

The handful of corporations that control our food, farming, energy and pharmaceutical industries have corrupted the marketplace to the point that it generates enormous profits for CEOs and shareholders at the expense of workers, consumer choice, human health and the environment.

Our political process no longer works for a majority of people in this country, much less for the future of the common good. The failure of this process can be traced to the disproportionate influence of corporations and the uber-wealthy (1%) on policymaking, either through direct lobbying or by using generous campaign contributions to buy the loyalty of incumbent and/or future politicians.

These systemic failures originated and are perpetuated from the top down. They will be corrected only by a bottom-up grassroots rejection of the status quo, by a critical mass of citizens who hold a new, more hopeful vision for a healthier, safer, more equitable future.

What can you do?

Today, I call on you personally to get involved in our consumer and political revolutions. OCA and our allies will be organizing as never before at the local and state levels, pulling together the energy and talents of people young and old, from environmental, social justice, peace—every movement that shares our vision.

We’ll need people who live in and understand the needs of rural communities. We’ll need city dwellers. We’ll need lawyers and accountants. Farmers and factory workers. Moms and Dads.

We will have to work together, for each other. Because it's clear that our elected officials will not be working for us.

It’s time to get out from behind our laptops and cell phones, to break out of our silos, to break the pattern of single-issue organizing.

Please follow our communications as we roll out critical new consumer and political campaigns. Please share our messages far and wide. Please attend the community meetings and house parties we will soon be organizing.

And if you can, please support our critical work with a donation today—or better yet, become a monthly donor. Thank you!

In Solidarity,

Ronnie Cummins
International Director

 

P.S. We are raising money for the Organic Consumers Fund (OCF), our 501(c)(4) lobbying arm. Contributions to OCF are not tax deductible. But OCF funding is critically needed for our political work. You can donate online, by mail or by phonedetails hereThank you!

A Local Minnesota Dairy Farm Is Locked in a Costly Legal Battle With the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) Over Its Right to Sell Raw Milk

Organic consumers - Wed, 2017-01-11 18:17
January 11, 2017Organic Consumers AssociationMelinda SuelflowFood Safety girl talk 420x280

Lake View Natural Dairy, Grand Marais, MN

A local Minnesota dairy farm is locked in a costly legal battle with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) over its right to sell raw milk and other dairy products directly to consumers. 

Lake View Natural Dairy in Grand Marais, Minn., is just an hour north of OCA’s home office. The farm, which was settled in the 1880s by owner David Berglund’s ancestors, sells unpasteurized dairy products to friends, family and neighbors.

Since 2013, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) has been threatening to shut down Lake View Natural Dairy farm, unless Berglund agrees to let the state inspect his farm. 

But Berglund says that under the state constitution, the farm can sell its products directly to consumers who come to the farm, without the threat of state inspection and regulation. The Minnesota Constitution guarantees that, “Any person may sell or peddle the products of the farm or garden occupied and cultivated by him without obtaining a license thereof."

And Berglund is saavy enough to understand that inspection is simply a vehicle to enforce regulation. In Minnesota, there are no regulations on the books for raw milk other than a brief statute that says raw milk can be “occasionally secured or purchased for personal use by any consumer at the place or farm where the milk is produced.”

To be clear, Lake View Natural Dairy runs a very sanitary and clean operation. And because consumers have to come to the farm to purchase products directly, the farm’s customers know this.

Berglund’s very real concern is that allowing the MDA to inspect his farm will lead to an unlawful attempt by the MDA to impost statutes meant for pasteurized milk production on the dairy’s production of raw milk. This would require Lake View Natural Dairy to pasteurize its milk, something neither the farmers, nor customers, want. Plus the costs of pasteurization equipment and a bottling plant would quickly put this small family farm out of business.

On November 16, Lake View’s case was heard by the Minnesota Court of Appeals in St. Paul. Earlier this year, the local district court upheld the state’s inspection order, and Berglund appealed it. If the Court of Appeals affirms the district court’s decision, Berglund and Lake View Dairy will appeal that decision to the Minnesota Supreme Court.

Because there is a patchwork of state laws regarding the sale of raw milk and raw milk products across the country, Lake View’s case could set a national precedent. Minnesota is the only state that guarantees a farmer the right to “peddle” his or her products on the farm. 

Implicit in this constitutional right of farmers to directly “peddle” their products to consumers is our right as consumers to purchase foods directly from farmers, without government interference.

Recent studies have debunked the myth that raw milk is a high-risk food. In fact, the numerous health benefits of raw over pasteurized dairy products are becoming more widely recognized, and consumer demand for these products is increasing.

Why is the MDA so intent on shutting down Lake View Dairy? It likely has something to do with the fact that the Big Dairy lobby sees small dairy farms, especially those selling raw milk, as a threat to their business. 

Personally, as a consumer who purchases raw milk from Lake View Natural Dairy, I am appalled at the aggressive nature of the MDA’s threats against David Berglund. In its attempt to force Berglund to submit to a farm inspection, MDA threatened Berglund with jail time and exorbitant daily fines and inspection costs.  As a tax-paying citizen, I am also appalled at the thousands of tax payer dollars being spent by the MDA to deny my right to purchase healthy foods directly from a local farmer.

Luckily for me and all of the rest of Lake View’s customers, David Berglund and his family are  willing to stand up to the MDA and defend their rights and our rights. Let’s stand with them.

As a small family farm, Lake View Natural Dairy needs our help to fund its legal battle. You can make a tax-deductible donation to help support the farm and cover the family’s legal costs here. 

More information on Lake View’s case here. 

Monsanto and Its Minions Are Poisoning Us: How Can We Defend Ourselves?

Organic consumers - Wed, 2017-01-11 18:15
Genetic Engineering, Health IssuesRonnie CumminsOrganic Consumers AssociationJanuary 11, 2017http://ronnie.organicconsumers.org/monsanto-and-their-minions-are-poisoning-us-how-can-we-defend-ourselves/ Restaurant person food 1000x523

Monsanto (soon to be Bayer) and their minions are poisoning us. Yet another independent peer-reviewed scientific study (article linked below) has confirmed that Monsanto’s notorious weedkiller, Roundup, sprayed on most major agricultural crops and animal feed, including corn, soy, canola, sugar beets, cotton, wheat, alfalfa, and beans–contaminating the majority of the non-organic foods in U.S. grocery stores, restaurants, and school lunch cafeterias–is toxic, even at the routine parts per billion or trillion level ingested by most Americans everyday.

Roundup is everywhere, in our food, in our cotton clothing, in our urine, in our breast milk, in the rain, in our drinking water, rivers, fish, and wildlife. Following up on the declaration of a respected scientific panel of the World Health Organization in 2016 that Roundup (active ingredient glyphosate) likely causes cancer, compounded by numerous studies linking Monsanto’s top-selling herbicide to hormone disruption, birth defects, kidney damage, and other diseases, the question we should be asking today is not whether we need more proof that the Biotech Bully of St. Louis is deliberately poisoning us for profit, aided and abetted by indentured scientists, media hacks, and politicians; but rather how do we drive Monsanto’s Roundup and Roundup-tainted foods off the market?

Hint number one: don’t hold your breath for the Trump administration, Congress, or the regulatory agencies to ban or even restrict the use of Roundup and the thousands of other pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, and chemical fertilizers contaminating our food and water and destroying our soils’ ability to sequester carbon and re-stabilize our dangerously out of control climate. Trump’s new regime is filled with “business as usual” Monsanto cheerleaders, Wall Street bankers, and corporate cronies who love industrial agriculture and America’s fossil fuel suicide economy.

Hint number two: don’t expect Big Food companies, fast food giants, retail supermarket chains, school cafeterias and institutional food providers to voluntarily remove Roundup and other agri-toxics from their product lines and menus.

Hint number three: don’t rely on the fraudulently labeled “natural,” “all natural,” or “non-GMO” brands of companies such as Ben and Jerry’s, Dannon, General Mills, Kellogg’s, or Whole Foods’ 365 brand, to keep Roundup and other poisons out of your food.

The only way to protect yourself and your family from toxic pesticides such as Roundup, as well as the other poisons laced into your food, is to buy certified organic and 100% grass-fed foods today and everyday, or else buy organic and transition to organic (certified or not) products from farmers and ranchers in your local area that you know and trust. Or better yet, grow your own, or at least some of your own food.

It’s important in terms of consumer self-defense to understand that most GMOs and toxic herbicides such as Roundup end up, not only in non-organic fruits and vegetables, but also, in fact predominately, as ingredients in processed food, cooking oils, and animal feed. Ninety percent of U.S. corn and soybeans for example, most of which is Monsanto’s “GMO Roundup Ready,” is used to produce high fructose corn syrup (a common junk food ingredient), low grade cooking oil, animal feed, and ethanol.

Most U.S. consumers don’t yet fully understand that the poisons such as Roundup, atrazine, dicamba, neonicotinoids, and “Agent Orange” 2,4 D, coated on seeds or sprayed on crops for animal feed end up in your milk, your ice cream, your hamburger, your eggs, or your fried chicken. Don’t believe “natural” or “non-GMO” claims unless the product is organic or 100% grass-fed, We are what we eat. But we are also what our farm animals (and fish) eat. Boycott factory farmed foods, not only in the grocery store, but in restaurants as well.

If we can’t trust the government or the large corporations, we need to take matters into our own hands, today and everyday. Take control of your health and your diet. Protect our common home, the Earth’s environment and the climate. We need a #ConsumerRevolution and we need it now. Join up with the Organic Consumers Association and Millions Against Monsanto to drive Roundup and other poisons off the market. Together we can begin to organize a food and political revolution in 2017-2020 that will move us toward a food, farming, and land use system that is not only healthy and just, but Regenerative and climate-friendly as well.

Source: Britain’s most used pesticide is linked to a serious liver disease which can be fatal, shocking new study claims.

1 Week into 2017: Where are You Headed?

This practical, doable marketing plan template takes you from goals to benchmarks, work plan, action, and impact! 

Eeesh! Those New Year’s resolutions—including the ones we set for marketing and fundraising work—are so hard to keep.

That’s because most resolutions are action items, rather than goals (the real “what we want to get to”). When things in our work worlds change—making those actions irrelevant or too difficult, or throwing them into question or making them too difficult— there’s no clear framework for assessment and adaptation. So the resolutions fade out, leaving you disappointed.

INSTEAD…

  1. Articulate your marketing goals (a.k.a. resolutions) —start with a max of three smart, realistic, and attainable goals for the next 90 days. If you get pressure to go beyond that, push back as hard as you can. Planning too far ahead in this volatile environment is a waste of time and effort, and too many goals are pure self-sabotage.
  2. Outline the specific benchmarks that will indicate you’re making progress towards these goals (or not). You have to be able to SEE these benchmarks for them to indicate how you’re doing.
  3. Create a nitty-gritty work plan of the actions most likely to get you there, including the frequently-overlooked 1)who does what and 2)skills and time required.
  4. Monitor your benchmarks on a frequent, ongoing basis and adjust actions accordingly. Even if this means you can’t execute all planned communications, your end result will be better! Action without benchmarking typically wastes your time and effort.

Get this practical, doable marketing plan template now.
It’s a proven path to getting attention and driving actions you need right now!

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Categories: Non profits

Tell Ben & Jerry’s: Stop Defrauding Consumers—It’s Time to Go Organic!

Organic consumers - Thu, 2017-01-05 16:21
Belong to campaign: Millions Against MonsantoThe Myth of NaturalCategory: Food Safety, Genetic EngineeringArea: USA

If there were an award for “greenwashing,” it would likely go to Ben & Jerry’s, the iconic Vermont-based ice cream brand, now owned by Unilever.

Ben & Jerry’s has done a brilliant job of selling consumers on the idea that the company cares about social justice, the environment, the climate, and its customers—the company even brags about its "Caring Dairy" program and its commitment to using non-GMO ingredients.

But behind that greenwashed façade lies the tale of a company that relies on a #dirtydairy industry that has poisoned Vermont’s waterways, that abuses animals, that is bankrupting farmers and is contributing to global warming by stripping the soil of its ability to draw down and sequester carbon.

TAKE ACTION: Tell Ben & Jerry’s: Stop Defrauding Consumers—It’s Time to Go Organic! Read more

3 Techniques to Avoid Getting Overwhelmed in 2017

Guest bloggers Beth Kanter & Aliza Sherman wrote The Happy, Healthy Nonprofit, a must read for communicators & fundraisers.

If there is one thing we can agree on, it is that that last quarter of 2016 was especially stressful. Not just the usual hectic workload of year-end campaigns, but a difficult election season—a combination that has left many nonprofit communications professional feeling overwhelmed and

For many of us, the holiday vacation time probably did not come fast enough. We all probably enjoyed a nice reprieve from deadlines, tasks, and deliverables. And, after taking a break, it is hard to get back into the swing of things.

One thing we do know for sure, 2017 will be the year that we will absolutely have to exercise our resilience muscles in order to do our best work and not get slowed down. In our book, The Happy Healthy Nonprofit: Strategies for Impact Without Burnout, we discuss ways that nonprofit professionals can use at work and avoid the stress of competing priorities. Here are three techniques to put to work right now:

1) Set Boundaries

There are times when you need to stand firm and protect yourself in order to be productive. Setting boundaries is about making clear choices and priorities and standing firm to defend the space and time you need to recharge.

Saying “No” more to requests that take up your time can be challenging in the workplace. You can’t always say “No” to your boss or board. But you can draw some clear lines to know when your workload is going overboard, and you need to bring it up to your superiors to make some reasonable adjustments.

Wendy Harman, formerly the director of Information Management and Situational Awareness at the Red Cross and a White House Presidential Innovation Fellow, uses an accountability buddy to stay on track with boundary setting. She and a friend speak weekly for 10 minutes to check on how their boundary setting is going. The conversation helps them both become more aware of where they are overloaded at work or even in their personal lives.

2) Work to Your Energy

Knowing the peaks and valleys of your energy at work can help you identify the best times to be working on the more challenging assignments and when to do lighter tasks until your energy rises again. Get to know your Ultradian Rhythms, the natural rhythms of your body and brain that repeat throughout the day. These differ from your Circadian Rhythms that rise and fall with light and dark, and dictate your sleep cycles.

“I take breaks to stretch my eyes and body every 90 to 120 minutes,” says Cheryl Contee, CEO of Fission Strategy, who applies techniques to work with, not against, her Ultradian Rhythms. She learned this technique from the book The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working by Tony Schwartz. Schwartz explains that our brains can only focus for 90 to 120 minutes before it needs a break for ten to twenty minutes.

An effective way to manage your energy is to design your workday based around those rhythms. While you may not have complete control of your daily calendar, being aware of your energy flows and trying to plan out your work tasks to align with those cycles can make you more productive.

3) Unplug Regularly

If you are around other people, especially in conversation with others, turn off your smartphone. Don’t succumb to “Technoference,” the distraction and relationship interference one experiences from looking at one’s devices instead of focusing on the person or people in front of them.

Try a digital detox by disconnecting completely from your electronics for any extended amount of time. Start by simply turning off your smartphone or mobile device in the evenings after work or on the weekends. Build up to entire weekends or make sure to leave devices in the car when you’re going out to eat or attending an event. Any deliberate and consistent amount of time away from technology will improve your ability to focus and relax.

By giving your brain and body essential downtime throughout the day and workweek, you are replenishing your much-needed energy to be happier, healthier and more productive.

What new habit will you commit to in 2017 to build your resilience at work?  Come share with us in the Happy Healthy Nonprofit Facebook Group.

Meet authors Beth Kanter and Aliza Sherman on The Happy Healthy Nonprofit Book Tour starting January 31, 2017. Dates and details here.

Beth Kanter @kanter was named one of the most influential women in technology by Fast Company and is the award-winning author of The Networked Nonprofit books. She is an internationally-acclaimed master trainer and speaker.

 

Aliza Sherman @alizasherman is a web and social media pioneer; founder of Cybergrrl, Inc., the first women-owned, full-service Internet company; and Webgrrls International, the first Internet networking organization for women. She is a motivational keynote speaker and the author of eleven books, including Social Media Engagement for Dummies.

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Categories: Non profits

Sign by Jan. 10! Support Healthy Soils!

Organic consumers - Tue, 2017-01-03 20:03
Belong to campaign: Organic TransitionsCook Organic Not the PlanetCategory: Environment & ClimateArea: USA

The federal government has finally recognized that increasing soil carbon is an essential part of the solution to climate change!

TAKE ACTION by midnight, January 10: Sign our petition in support of the Framework for a Federal Strategic Plan for Soil Science. 

 Read more

Invite Your Congresspersons to the 'Soil Is the Solution' Briefing

Organic consumers - Tue, 2017-01-03 19:57
Belong to campaign: Cook Organic Not the PlanetCategory: Environment & Climate, Politics & GlobalizationArea: USA

On January 11, our Regeneration International project is bringing a team of experts to the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. to brief Congress on the fact that our ability to feed the world and cool the planet depends on how we care for the soil.

TAKE ACTION: Send an email invitation to your members of Congress.Read more

Act by Jan. 10! Support Strategies to Help Feed the World and Cool the Planet!

Organic consumers - Tue, 2017-01-03 19:51
Environment & ClimateAlexis Baden-MayerOrganic Consumers AssociationJanuary 3, 2017 Soil Hands 1000x667

You know that switching to organic and pasture-based agriculture is what we need to do to feed the world and cool the planet—because healthy soil can both provide abundant food, and also draw down and sequester carbon.

But do our federal policymakers know this? And if so, are they doing anything about it?

As it turns out, at least some of them have heard the message. Our job is to push them to act. Here are two ways you can help:

Action #1: Deadline Jan. 10: Support the 'Federal Strategic Plan for Soil Science' 

Action #2: Invite Your Congresspersons to the 'Soil Is the Solution' Briefing 

The National Science and Technology Council’s Soil Science Interagency Working Group just released “The State and Future of U.S. Soils: A Framework for a Federal Strategic Plan for Soil Science.” This breakthrough document that officially recognizes that:

Soil is essential to human life. Not only is it vital for providing most of the world’s food, it plays a critical role in ensuring water quality and availability; supports a vast array of non-food products and benefits, including mitigation of climate change; and affects biodiversity important for ecological resilience. These roles make soil essential to modern life.

Thus, it is imperative that everyone—city dwellers, farmers and ranchers, land owners, and rural citizens alike—take responsibility for caring for and investing in our soils.

TAKE ACTION by Jan. 10: State your support for the 'Federal Strategic Plan for Soil Science'

In addition to organizing public comments in support of the “Federal Strategic Plan for Soil Science,” we’re also organizing a briefing on Capitol Hill to educate Senators and Members of Congress about regenerative agriculture’s capacity to address some of our most pressing problems:

1) Skyrocketing rates of diet-related diseases, 
2) Rapidly vanishing natural resources, especially water, and 
3) Dangerous concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

These problems have one thing in common: They can't be solved without soil. We might take dirt for granted, but we can't do much without it. As an anonymous wit observed:

Humankind, despite its artistic abilities, sophistication and accomplishments, owes its existence to a six-inch layer of farmable soil—and the fact that it rains!

TAKE ACTION: Click here to invite your Senators and Members of Congress to attend our January 11 briefing on how caring for the soil can help feed the world and cool the planet.

If you’re in the D.C. area, you’re welcome to attend, as well.

And here’s a third way you can support regenerative agriculture this month. Join us at the Regenerative Agriculture Track at the Future Harvest-Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture Conference on January 13, in Hyattsville, Md. Click here to register.

Let’s start the new year right—by working on a plan to transition to a 100-percent regenerative food and farming system.