Monday, 01 December 2014 01:21
By Joe Romano,
Sticks in a bundle are unbreakable.
— Kenyan proverbWhen you look up commonality in the Oxford Dictionary, it provides a simple and sole definition: "1. The state of sharing features or attributes." The definition is followed by this use in a sentence: "A commonality of interest ensures cooperation."
Finding the word cooperation in this brief thirteen-word entry seemed odd, because the purpose for my seeking the definition in the first place was to support the idea that there exists a commonality between Kwanzaa and cooperation.
Kwanzaa's Nguzo Saba, or seven principles of African Heritage, and the seven principles of cooperation that guide us at GreenStar certainly seem to share features and attributes. Do Kwanzaa and cooperation have a commonality of interest that would ensure cooperation between them? That they each hold seven principles as the foundation of their philosophy is a promising start.
Sunday, 02 November 2014 02:12
By Joe Romano,
— Henry Van Dyke
We're rolling into that part of the year when Thanksgiving arrives, with its festive overtones and deeply misunderstood history. Most of us know that there are problems with the holiday as it's currently celebrated, so why not update the festivities?
Everyone enjoys a good meal and getting together with friends, neighbors, and family. And most of us have much to be thankful for. Since Americans have already built a perfectly good holiday season, and because this is one of the better events in it — you can, after all, eat and fall asleep without buying a single present — maybe we should keep it around ... with a few updates.
The name, Thanksgiving, is fine. A day to actually celebrate gratitude would be a great holiday, even for those among us who suffer trying circumstances in their lives. As a youth, for example, Alice Walker had less to be thankful for than many others did. The daughter of sharecroppers, her mother worked as a maid to help support the eight children in her family. She had what most Americans would call an underprivileged upbringing. When she was 8, she was shot in the eye with a BB pellet. The serious injury left her quite self-conscious of the scar on her face. She wanted nothing more than to be able to hide from the world, which, in her mind, was that of a young, disfigured black girl in the racially divided South of the 1950s. After all, what could she have to be thankful for? Instead of building hate or resentment, she managed to write words of gratitude: "'Thank you' is the best prayer that anyone could say. I say that one a lot. Thank you expresses extreme gratitude, humility, understanding."
Wednesday, 01 October 2014 14:37
By Kath Tibbetts
I saw an article headline the other day stating that one in three children has never climbed a tree ... in fact, 60 percent of them would rather do just about anything but go outside. It got me thinking.
I was the kid who never climbed the trees at the local park. Afraid of hurting myself, I'd watch the rest of my cohort scramble up, dangle from, and jump off trees fearlessly, while I'd shuffle off to the swings. It's not that I didn't want to climb, I was simply petrified.
In the sixth grade, my folks started sending me to nature camp in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. For one week a summer, I would camp out on mountain ledges and swim in gorges. By the end of my first week, I had scaled and rappelled down a 100-foot rock wall. And I felt like a champion. At that camp, I learned how to build fires, maintain a compost pile, and simply be comfortable in the wilderness.
Unfortunately, today's average child is not exposed to the type of experience I had in the White Mountains. In fact, children are spending half as much time outside as their parents did when they were children. Richard Louv, journalist and author of Last Child in the Woods, says, "The child in nature is an endangered species."
In the Ithaca area, we're fortunate to have several groups working to combat this issue. I reached out to Tim Drake and Jed Jordan of Primitive Pursuits, a local nature-based education organization ("Get Out and Stay Out" is one of their tongue-in-cheek taglines), to get their take. They told me that they see their work as a sort of "cultural intervention" aimed at bringing a necessary and healthy relationship with the natural world back into our modern society.
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By Alexis Alexander,
In response to several requests, I am happy to announce that we're offering a new information session for member-owners and nonmember customers this summer, called Co-operative Enterprise 101. Membership Administrator Laura Buttenbaum, who developed a similar and well-received training for staff this past fall, will lead the session. Join us for one of two scheduled sessions on Thursday, July 9 or Monday, August 24. Classes will run from 7 to 9 pm in the Classrooms @ GreenStar. I...