Friday, 31 May 2013 17:06
By Joe Romano,
Racism does not have a good track record. It's been tried out for a long time and you'd think by now we'd want to put an end to it instead of putting it under new management.
— Thomas Sowell
Ateenager and grandparent are sitting in a restaurant. The elder asks the youth, "What's going on these days?" The youth explains that biology homework is tough and that the current topic, genetic divergence, is particularly difficult. "Really?" comes the response, "What does that mean?" "Well," says the student, "it is when living beings branch apart genetically and begin to become different." This causes a pause for thought and then the reply: "Oh... like black people and white people?"
A long pause ensues. Others in the restaurant who had not been listening previously begin to look over to see who said that last phrase. They know any comparison of "black people" and "white people" is likely to be problematic, or, at least for some listeners, entertaining. The room is noticeably quieter as a result.
A true definition of genetic divergence aside, there have been many moments since life began on Earth at which "living beings" have "branched apart." The split between plants and animals would have been, perhaps, a more obvious choice, or guessing when mammals and reptiles took different paths. The grandparent's choice is about race -- it seems to be front of mind when biological "difference" arises.
Friday, 31 May 2013 14:58
By Luke Jones,
GSCP Program Director
In 2011, GreenStar Community Projects, Inc. (GSCP) and our partners organized our first successful Food Justice Summit with speaker Malik Yahini. In 2012, we made the Summit an annual event, with enormous success. In 2013, GSCP is finally ready to step out into the community as a force for food justice in the region, working to ensure equitable access to healthy food, which has previously been a limited privilege.
What is food justice? Food justice seeks to ensure that the benefits and risks of where, what, and how food is grown, produced, transported, distributed, accessed, and eaten are shared fairly. Food justice represents a transformation of the current food system, and is focused on cohesive networks of local food distribution, care for the community and the environment and, above all else, eliminating disparities and inequities.
In action, food justice means communities actively exercising their right to grow, sell, and eat healthy food. Healthy food is fresh, nutritious, affordable, culturally appropriate, and grown locally with care for the well-being of the land, workers, and animals. People practicing food justice leads to a strong local food system, self-reliant communities, and a healthy environment.
Sunday, 05 May 2013 16:45
Since 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.
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By Alexis Alexander,
Technologically speaking, 2015 is shaping up to be a pretty good year so far. Over the past several months, the Front End, Information Services, and Membership Departments have been collaborating on register improvements to enhance our service to member-owners, especially as it relates to renewal processing. Recent upgrades by the software developer and manufacturer of our register system...