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Visit to New Community Project (Starksboro, VT)

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Introduction

Over the past 50 years, the average global temperature has increased at the fastest rate in recorded history. Experts see the trend is accelerating and have called for urgent actions to curb irreversible pending damage. One place to learn and acquire practical action skills to combat climate change and promote sustainable living is the New Community Project in Starksboro, Vermont, an experimental and public educational center for JUST and SUSTAINABLE living practices.

Just 33 minutes’ drive from Burlington, one is welcome to this amazing natural place with myriads of experiential sustainable living. I share with you my experience.

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Green Hills, Silver Waters

“These green hills and silver waters, are my home, they belong to me,

and to all the sons and daughters, may they be strong, and forever free.”

My eldest son sang the Vermont state song in his 3rd grade chorus this spring. The other day as we talked about the impacts of the fracked gas pipeline on Geprags Park and the yellow-winged warbler habitat, he came up with a new version: “these black hills and polluted waters are my home, they belong to Vermont Gas.” He laughed with a 9 year old’s take on dark humor. My son is privileged to live in a community where the hills are intact, not annihilated by mountaintop removal, and waters are drinkable and swimmable, unlike many places on the frontlines of fossil fuel extraction.

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The Yin and Yang of Lyme Disease and Climate Change

book cover imageBy Brendan Kelly

Our usual Western view of the world teaches us separation. Medically, we’re taught to believe that each organ is separate from the others and that the physical, mental, and emotional aspects of our lives are distinct. We’re also encouraged to see ourselves as separate from the people and the world around us. The long history of Chinese medicine offers us a different view—one of interconnection.

From an Eastern view, all of our organs are connected and the different parts of our lives are woven together into a whole. Likewise, we are part of the human and ecological communities surrounding us. For several thousand years, Chinese medicine has understood that what happens on a large scale is a reflection of what occurs on a smaller scale, and vice versa. Similar to a modern Western understanding of holograms, where each small part of the picture contains the entire image, Eastern medicine recognizes that what happens within us is reflected in what happens in nature.

Though we’re encouraged to see it as two distinct issues, Chinese medicine can help us recognize that what’s happening with the climate is being mirrored in our internal environment. In particular, the rapid heating and destabilizing of the climate is mirrored in the rapid increase of Lyme disease.

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Update From Ghana

gideon2It has been 4 months since I left Vermont to Ghana after completing my 4 months Community Solutions Program (CSP) Fellowship with 350Vermont in December 2015. Considering it is the same length of time I spent in Burlington brings to heart memories etched on my mind. Not only did my time with 350VT shaped my experiences and activism, 4 months later, that relationship is shaping my vision.

Some months ago, when the foliage had put on their best possible color in the Green Mountain State, I shared a vision with friends who had grown to become my family. The vision was to eradicate kerosene lanterns in Ghana by replacing them with solar lamps. The motivation behind this was my attempt at seeing energy poverty in Ghana as a climate justice issue.

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Your Investment Matters – Personal Divestment Workshop

your investment matters“Whenever we spend a dollar, we are saying ‘yes’ to something.” Those wise words have stuck with me and haunt some people every time they make a purchase of something they’d rather not be affirming. You probably try to buy local food, buy clothes and furniture second-hand, and maybe even buy solar power (or at least buy less fossil fuel). But have you thought about your investments? Your mutual funds and 401K may be invested in the same companies which are destroying our planet, and you may not even know what you’re saying “yes” to. Divesting your portfolio from these dirty stocks is the ticket. But how to begin?

Get the help you need to take the influential step of divesting from fossil fuel stocks, and ensure that you have other viable options to invest your money. You’ll be able to take the information to your place of employment and to your friends and family to encourage them to divest as well. (more…)


The VT Youth Activism Summit was AWESOME!

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50 teens attended, bouncing from workshop to workshop, pizza party to ice cream social, silk-screening to the healing arts space, there was something inspiring for everyone. Teens learned skills of observation, communication and transformation as in a Theatre of the Oppressed embodiment activity about racial justice.

To lift up the importance of creativity in the struggle for justice, we created an art space which was constantly full of young people creating their own stencils, banners for the march, and silk-screening tee-shirts. To center the importance of self-care in our movement work we created a healing arts space where participants could come and get massages, herbal teas, tarot readings, make fire cider and more.

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Why Break Free?

Break Free: Stop the Bomb Trains
On May 14, people from across the Northeast will stand in the way of the fossil fuel industry in one of the largest actions in a coordinated, global wave of escalation. In Albany, NY, local groups have been fighting oil trains—which bring explosive fracked oil from the Bakken shale of North Dakota to the Port of Albany—for about four years.  May 14th will be the first mass direct action, an escalation welcomed by the local community. This is one person’s call to action.

Why?

If I asked you to be part of a huge global day of civil disobedience for the Climate, you might well ask me “Why?” Why should I spend time and energy travelling to the distant city of Albany to shut down operation of a rail yard for a day, and then go home and back to business-as-climate-destroying-usual?

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Please Help Young Climate Activists “Rally for the Planet”

youth lobbyOver the past few months, students and teachers from over a dozen Vermont high schools and colleges have given up their Sunday afternoons to plan a major day of action to promote greater political action on climate change.

They are calling this event the Youth Rally for the Planet, and hundreds of students have already signed up to attend! They could really use your help to make this day a reality! These students will march together in solidarity, learn more about climate change through educational booths on the Statehouse lawn, and stand together to listen to speakers and performers demand greater political action on climate change.

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Break Free Albany: Stop the Bomb Trains

Break Free Albany is a mass action for climate justice on May 14th where thousands of people will stand up against the fossil fuel industry in North America. Break Free Albany represents a coalition of communities and organizations gathering for a mass civil disobedience act against oil trains, gas pipelines, and other fossil fuel projects. It is time for the fossil fuel era to come to an end! Many people will participant in the direct action or come to rally and stand in solidarity.

This action is part of the 350.org initiated Break Free From Fossil Fuels global week of action – May 7 through 14. Albany 2016 is one of the actions in the United States, complementing other actions across the country and on five other continents. Sign up to take a stand against the fossil fuel industry here!

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No New Leases/Surround the Superdome

New Orleans, LA | March 23, 2016 | K.C. Whiteley reporting12891151_10205628548502283_1427425124478694306_o

As part of the national Keep it in the Ground campaign, the “No New Leases” action on March 23rd at the New Orleans Superdome represented an historic moment in the environmental movement here on the Gulf coast.

Hundreds of protesters from Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida and Georgia arrived in New Orleans on the morning of March 23rd to defend the waters and eco-life of the Gulf of Mexico. Gulf coast communities joined national and global partners to say no to the continued exploitation of the Gulf as a “sacrifice zone” for fossil fuel development.

At stake was 43 million new acres of federally controlled ocean for fossil fuel development, an area the size of the entire state of Louisiana and half of Mississippi, and the 8th largest carbon source remaining on the planet.

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