Greensprings Completes a Natural Life

Sunday, 05 May 2013 16:45

 By Jayalalita

grave sites9_copySince every life ends in death, isn't dying consciously a way to take conscious living to the limit? And if mindful living, for you, includes minding your carbon footprint every step of the way, why not keep it as low as possible when you make your exit? Do you want your body reduced to ashes in an energy-guzzling process that sends pollutants into the air (as in the process of cremation — typically thought of as the best of available choices)? Do you want to have it pumped full of toxic preserving chemicals and stashed in a predominantly metal coffin, which then goes into a concrete or metal vault (the system used in most burial grounds to keep the earth from sinking)? Imagine this: your body could simply be returned to the earth — your final composting effort, as it were — in a place that doesn't rob land from nature and even provides protected space for wildlife, with a simple field stone for a marker, engraved, perhaps, but neither cut nor polished.

I had a long and truly inspiring conversation with Joel Rabinowitz, the director of Greensprings Natural Cemetery Preserve, to learn all about it. The cemetery that became operational in May of 2006 had its genesis when two women from Corning, Jennifer Johnson and Susan Thomas, got it into their earth-loving heads at the beginning of 2000 (right on January 1st!) that a local natural option should exist. The natural burial movement was just getting going then. The Green Burial Council, which provides eco-certification for cemeteries and funeral homes, currently lists 37 certified natural burial grounds in the United States, with more in existence operating without certification. Obviously, they're far outnumbered by conventional cemeteries. But note that conventional doesn't equal traditional: advocates of natural burial are quick to point out that current practices only began in the past couple of centuries. Factor in sustainability, and it's a no-brainer to go back to the old way.

Read more: Greensprings Completes a Natural Life


Southside CC Welcomes New Director

Friday, 03 May 2013 16:39

By Patrice Lockert Anthony

13 4_Nia_1

In the beginning, on the south side of town, there were the Community Mothers. They were a group of Black women who took upon themselves the care, upkeep, and uplift of the Black Southside community. They were the village, as it were. From this beginning, an official organization formed, called the Francis Harper Women's Club. The Francis Harper Women's Club created the ServUs League. Members of the league raised money and persuaded four Ithaca businessmen to serve on the first advisory board. By 1927, the League and club were meeting in a house at 221 South Plain Street. In 1932 they were able to purchase property at 305 South Plain Street, the current site of the Southside Community Center. In 1937, the center as we know it was built (by the Works Progress Administration). In 1938, in a ceremony attended by First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, the center was dedicated. It flourished.

Today, the Southside Community Center is experiencing a re-birth; a vibrancy. Nia Nunn Makepeace, the new Executive Director, is a large part of that renewal. She has brought a new sense of energy and purpose to the Southside Community Center. Indeed, Dr. Nunn Makepeace is purpose driven. She is a single mother, a fairly recent (two years) PhD (in psychology) recipient, the school psychologist at Beverly J. Martin elementary school, and a very engaged, respected, and beloved member of the Ithaca community.

Read more: Southside CC Welcomes New Director

Media Literacy Education Is an Important
 Part of the Food Justice Movement

Thursday, 04 April 2013 00:35

By Sox Sperry

On February 18, during a community discussion at the library on the enduring importance of Black History Month, someone asked about how educators can most effectively engage student dialogue in a society shaped by institutions of racial entitlement and oppression. Dr. Margaret Washington and Dr. Robert Harris both said that it was through the use of contemporary media, especially film, that students can be stimulated to look more deeply into the critical questions about justice and resistance. Project Look Sharp, an educational initiative of the School of Humanities and Sciences at Ithaca College, develops awareness of the primacy of media in our children's world as the basis for developing an innovative approach to media literacy education.

Fifteen years ago, Look Sharp's founders, IC professor Cyndy Scheibe and LACS teacher Chris Sperry, asked teachers what they needed to help their students to become effective media critics. Teachers responded that they needed tools that would allow them to incorporate media questions into the teaching of core content. Who made this message and for what purpose? Is this information credible? How do you know? Who might benefit from the message and who might be harmed by it? With this teacher mandate, Project Look Sharp offers trainings in the integration of critical-thinking media literacy into classroom curricula at all education levels. In 2012 we were invited to provide staff development experiences close to home for ICSD and at New Roots, and far away, in the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan.

We have created eighteen curriculum kits with hundreds of lessons using media document analysis as the basis for teaching within a wide range of subject and grade levels. All of these are available for free on our website, "Critical Thinking and Health," a first-grade curriculum, uses children's TV commercials to help students focus on food groups and nutritional messages in advertising. "Economics in U.S. History," a middle-school curriculum, uses World War I posters to explore the role of food production in wartime. A high-school curriculum, "Media Construction of Chemicals in the Environment," uses posters, book covers, and web pages on food additives to ask questions about worker and consumer health and about the intent of messages and credibility of sources. "Global Media Perspectives," a ninth-grade global studies curriculum, uses film clips to explore the 2008 food crisis in Africa and the cultural lens of its media construction.

Read more: Media Literacy Education Is an Important
 Part of the Food Justice Movement


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