Category Archives: awareness

Living Sustainability

robin kimmererIn this presentation (video*) Dr. Robin Kimmerer clearly and beautifully teaches us the relationship of living The Honorable Harvest to our quest to live in balance with Mother Earth; how to save ourselves by coming into relationship with Nature. She is Distinguished Teaching Professor and Director, Center for Native Peoples and the Environment at the State University of New York (SUNY), College of Environmental Science and Forestry.

Indigenous Peoples from all four directions of our planet are calling for a change in our consciousness, a move from head to heart guided by the Laws of Nature. The Honorable Harvest is a “covenant of reciprocity” and a guide to living sustainability in all aspects of our life. Dr. Kimmerer reminds us that in the indigenous way of thinking matter and spirit are mutually reinforcing whereas in the scientific world they are mutually exclusive.

What makes her voice so important to all of us is she speaks the language of reciprocity as a scientist (botanist) and Indigenous leader (Potawatomi Nation) drawing on “the wisdom of both indigenous and scientific knowledge for our shared goals of sustainability.”
Dr. Kimmerer is a voice you may not have heard yet, but need to hear now especially if you are asking yourself, what is sustainability and how do I live it?

Her most recent book is  Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants.

*This video presentation was published on YouTube on Aug 6, 2014 by the Center for Humans and Nature and recorded at their 2014 Forum on Ethics & Nature held at the Chicago Botanic Garden. The theme was A Cascade of Loss, An Ethics of Recovery. The Forum explored the topic of extinction, balancing information with ethical reflection about the possibilities of biodiversity and bio-cultural recovery.

Spongy Parking Lots and Sustainability


Oregon Drought

It takes a drought sometimes for a fresh approach to catch on.

An NPR Morning Edition program (January 2015) was about the urban planners in Los Angeles seeing npr citiesthe need to view the city as a sponge, absorbing water, rather than corralling, then whisking it away down the drain and into our waterways.  “Engineering water into submission” is how they talked about it on NPR and it dates back to the Romans and aqueducts.  It also is how I got to the idea of retrofitting existing surface parking lots to be spongy ones as part of my neighborhood work as a sustainability advocate.

I live in the Old Town Chinatown (OTCT) neighborhood of Portland, Oregon.  One rarely hears the word, sustainability pass anyone’s lips at land use meetings despite the City’s reputation for sustainability, awards for its healthy, connected neighborhoods and a significant number of LEED certified buildings.  Similar to skid row landscapes in other medium and large-sized cities, OTCT is peppered with surface parking lots, many waiting for infill or development especially those owned by the redevelopment agency, with centrally located ones returning money in the manner of a cash machine to its owners and managers.

After listening to the broadcast, it wasn’t hard to extend this fresh idea of spongy to the problem we face here in Old Town Chinatown. Not only are the surface parking lots signals of a blighted landscape, but planet-wise they waste precious water; pollute as water run-off contains toxins e.g. gasoline, heavy metals, and nasty Polycyclicheat islands Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) with heavy rain days being particularly worrisome as they may result in combined sewage overflow* (CSO); and they contribute to the overheating of our urban areas as heat islands, “pushing air temperatures up to 10°F (5.6°C) warmer than surrounding areas with open land and vegetation.” Portland State University’s Vivek Shandas has lead an effort to map heat islands and make the tool available on-line.

Surface parking lots, impervious surfaces, are a sustainability nightmare.

The advantages to local businesses of  “parking” as a requirement by cities to attract employers and shoppers is hardly offset by the damage to our environment, the health of our residents, the local economy (they are not taxed at the same rate as nearby buildings) and to those elements of sustainability often referenced to as “externalities.” Economic factors, money, often reigns supreme in much of local decision making.  Of course the costs to mitigate the damage done to our planet and people is born, eventually, by the taxpayer, those living in blighted areas and our children and grandchildren.

“An awful lot of urban planning particularly in poor areas has doubly impoverished

the poor by the ugliness which surrounds them and its understandable that it so difficult to

reach and sustain gentleness there..” John O’Donohue

cover for spongyThe good news lies in retrofitting many of these surface parking lots.  Locally we put together a cross collaboration team of architects, engineers, designers, and our resident expert on low impact development also known as green infrastructure, Maria Cahill.  Retrofit tools and methods are readily available for conserving water, then returning it to the ground or filtering it for re-use in nearby parks and gardens; decreasing pollution of nearby rivers and streams especially in times of heavy rain days – projected to increase here in Portland in this age of climate change; reducing the heat by increasing the tree canopy; and using rain gardens, living walls, and swales to significantly reduce the harm done by surface parking lots.

City documents, plans, or RFPs don’t often call out retrofitting surface parking lots. It must happen in some cities because Toronto, for example, published a Guide for Greening Surface Parking Lots which covers mainly new lots and in Portland’s Climate Action Plan decreasing Urban Heat Islands are called out “… especially in areas with populations most vulnerable to heat, through strategies such as revegetation, tree preservation planting and maintenance, de-paving and porous pavement, green infrastructure like bioswales and eco-roofs and site development performance standards.”  The Climate Action Plan also addresses sequestering carbon “through increased green infrastructure (trees, plants, soil) and natural areas. Reduce effective impervious areas by 600 acres. Expand the urban forest canopy to cover at least one-third of the city with a miclimate action plannimum canopy cover of 25 percent of each residential neighborhood and 15 percent of the central city, commercial and industrial areas.”

Retrofitting doesn’t necessarily mean a reduction in parking spots if that turns out to be a gating factor in getting local support for a demonstration or pilot project, as we are doing.  The effort to retrofit Spongy Parking Lots is an opportunity to take a closer look at mobility options (where “by car” and “more parking” is not the default option for solving issues raised by employers in our central city and by retail merchants and the entertainment/hospitality industry.

The OTCT Community Association, made up of primarily business owners and some non-profit organizations serving the homeless and providing addiction treatment, recently formed a new committee, Transportation and Mobility of which “Mobility & Parking” is on the agenda.  Too soon to tell how it will function as a gateway to fresh ideas and innovation, but our team is ready with the recommendation for our redevelopment agency in collaboration with our Bureaus of Environmental Services and Planning and Sustainability  invest in demonstration project for spongy parking lots here in OTCT given their number and the harm they produce, and, in terms of the neighborhood’s role in the emerging mobility movement to get people out of their cars in this age of climate change.  Be it a private or public surface parking lot Screen Shot 2015-08-31 at 11.37.15 AMdoesn’t matter as long as the owner, along with a majority of Oregonians, “values the state’s natural beauty, outdoor recreation opportunities, and relatively clean air and water. They also value a good economy, but they want an approach to economic development that recognizes the importance of the state’s natural environment to its quality of life.”

We have been identifying our spongy champions working in the many agencies that would be involved in bringing a demonstration project forward and raising awareness through social media, especially videos on our PDXdowntowner YouTube channel.  There is our webpage at where we have included an overview of spongy parking lots, relevant links to videos, articles and whitepapers,  and an overview of our team members.

Like our Facebook page to indicate you support thinking spongy when it comes to surface parking lots.

Ruth Ann Barrett, Portland, Oregon, August 31, 2016


*CSO has been a big issue in two cities I have lived in – Portland, Oregon and San Francisco, California.  Portland’s CSO Control Program (December 2011) reduced CSOs to the Columbia Slough by more than 99% and to the Willamette River by 94%.




Inspiration from Three Leaders of Sustainability

This is the time of year I often return to those EarthSayers, the voices of sustainability, that have inspired me. The voices of our citizens who offer me helpful solid advice for weathering the storms of war, global warming, economic instability, injustice, and disasters of all kinds while keeping focused on identifying and promoting those among us who are sustainability leaders. Here are three such leaders on that I want to share with you.

jmroberts2_bio2The 2009 video by John Marshall Roberts is entitled, Inspiring Sustainability in Skeptics, and he does address skepticism and the challenge of communicators to be more effective, but he begins by advising us to tap into the present with a sense of awe in order to create radical change and commit “to redesigning our society so it can last over time.” Six minutes in length, these are words that stick.

annieIn October I had the opportunity to interview Annie Leonard best known for her Story of Stuff Project. This series of videos woke up many of us to not only mindless consumption, but to the story of bottled water, cap and trade, cosmetics and, in 2013, The Story of Solutions. It explores how we can move our economy in a more sustainable and just direction, a huge task, but possible if we focus on game changing solutions rather than just a “better way to play the old game of more.” In my eyes Annie Leonard is a sustainability champion so we created an special collection. You can see her work and interviews in one place on and return to them for inspiration and motivation. Here is my interview of Annie entitled, On Being Biased.

Screen Shot 2014-12-30 at 2.08.35 PMAnd if we are to move our economy there is one game changing concept called the circular economy which is being primarily defined and implemented by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. I met Ellen MacArthur just after she completed her single handed sail around the world and before she found her calling to “rethink the future” and become a game changer. In this 2011 interview by Jon Snow I find find her energy and self assuredness catching. Visit the Circular Economy special collection to view videos that define and explain the Circular Economy along with individuals in business adopting the framework.

I could go on and cite more of the EarthSayers who inspire and motivate me in my work as a sustainability advocate, such as Roz Savage on Taking Responsibility; Aveda President, Dominique Conseil on Changing Our Habits; Kind and Generous by singer Natalie Merchant; Recognizing the Great Mystery by Mayan Elder Flordemayo; and Wendell Berry reading his poem on Hope, but you need to take time to find the voices that speak to your needs when you visit content is curated for relevancy and quality so as to save you time searching for the hundreds of sustainability leaders who are citizens from all walks of life speaking on behalf of Mother Earth and her peoples. They will inspire and motivate you I promise.

Warmly and with best wishes for 2015,
Ruth Ann Barrett, Sustainability Advocate, December 30, 2014 from Portland, Oregon.

Sustainability in Higher Education

Occasionally we create a special collection on because a particular person, organization or event inspires us.

asshe4blogIn the case of the newly created, all video collection, Sustainability in Higher Education, the inspiration was the 2014 Annual Conference of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) held here in Portland, Oregon, the last week in October.  The video interviews we conducted at the conference form the basis for this special collection and were combined with other speakers from previous AASHE conferences as will future conference video content.  Over 2,000 faculty and students attended this year putting to rest the idea that sustainability is a passing fad.  An even higher attendance rate is expected next Fall in Minneapolis, Minnesota where the best of campus sustainability practices will be in the spotlight along with thought leaders, student advocates, and faculty members.

At this year’s conference we video interviewed Stephanie Herrera, AASHE Executive Director; Annie Leonard of the Story of Stuff Project and Executive Director of Greenpeace, USA; Marcelo Bonta, founder of the Center for Diversity & the Environment; and eco-artist and activist, Amy Livingstone of Sacred Arts Studio.

Stephanie of AASHEThe major challenge for organizations to integrate planet, people, and prosperity elements into a cohesive strategy that is then reflected in tactics such as programs, products, and services is one AASHE is facing head on.  Stephanie Herrera called it out as major emphasis of AASHE’s  intention to encompass not just the environmental, but the social justice and financial elements of sustainability.  Having grown up on a Superfund hazard site located in the Denver neighborhood of Globeville, Ms. Herrera continues to be engaged with the struggles of impoverished communities and their efforts to address their health and economic issues. It’s a perspective she brings to her work at AASHE and a challenge reiterated by keynoter Marcelo Bonta in his very personal story of how he came to create the Center for Diversity & the Environment. Their Mission is to racially & ethnically diversify the U.S. environmental movement by developing leaders, diversifying institutions and building communities.

Annie Leonard directed our attention to our under-developed citizen muscle and an economic model emphasizing unrestrained growth and over consumption resulting in an Citizen Muscle Logo copyover-developed consumer muscle.  “There is a better way to live on this planet in a more sustainable, more healthy, just, and way more fun way” she advises and the solution lies in exercising our citizen muscle and moving towards an economic model that reflects values of empathy, respect, and collaboration.  She adds: “It is important to seeking a better life for us all that we believe that things can get better.”

We noticed that many students and faculty were wrestling with the issue of integrating sustainability throughout the curriculum in an environment of disciplines and departments. They talked about a significant amount of fence jumping, mountain climbing, and intense paddling up rocky rivers along with reports of “engineering” programs to build bridges and, on the very practical side, achieve environmental objectiAquinas-College-squareves such as zero waste. In one workshop I attended I was paired off with Dr. David Weinandy of Aquinas College where here he teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in Communication and Management. His colleague Jessica Eimer is the Director of Sustainability. David talked about sustainability being the “essence of our college identity.”  Their Faculty Sustainability Fellows Program, open to all faculty members, consciously implements sustainability throughout the curriculum. It’s not limited to any one discipline, but is interdisciplinary. Incentives include a small stipend, educational opportunities, and a mode to discuss their projects with the greater campus community.

Next year we are hoping to be able to interview more of the faculty and students who, like Professor Weinandy and his colleagues at Aquinas, are teaching us all how to better weave sustainability into the fabric of organizations to increase awareness and adoption, especially among and for our youth and their children and grandchildren.

Ruth Ann Barrett, Sustainability Advocate, December 15, 2014, Portland, Oregon.

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Sustainability: Cows, Sage Grouses, and Grasslands

cowspiracyTwo disconnected events yesterday and today were linked in my mind to the large, open spaces of the West and the challenges we face in striving for a sustainable future.  The first was spotting this marquee yesterday with “The Sustainability Secret” catching my eye.  The cowspiracy took longer to process.

Cowspiracy is a new environmental documentary (trailer here) with the emphasis on the industry with tCowspiracyhe link to a sustainability secret being secondary as suggested in the title. After reading about the intrepid filmmaker “uncovering the most destructive industry facing the planet today, and investigates why the world’s leading environmental organizations are too afraid to talk about it” I don’t think the film reflects a whole systems approach to problem solving, but I won’t say much more until I have a chance to see it.  And there was that nasty situation in 1998 summed up in this story headline as “Oprah Winfrey vs. The Beef People.”  Will maintain an open mind.

What came along today in my inbox was a New York Times documentary on the Sage Grouse and Wind Turbines.  These two events together got me thinking of several sustainability champions that address climate change from the perspective of grasslands, carbon, cows and (what wasn’t mentioned much) climate change:

Allan Savory

Allan Savory

In this videoGrasslands, Carbon, and Climate Change, Jeff Goebel talks about the importance of restoring grasslands to pull carbon out of the atmosphere, doing so rather quickly, and the relationship of grassland restoration to climate change. His interview relates to cows and places like Wyoming where sage grouse live.  Jeff has been influenced by the work of Allan Savory who isPresident and Co-founder of the Savory Institute in Boulder, Colorado and is featured here in this video interview, How to green the world’s deserts and reverse climate change.

“Desertification is a fancy word for land that is turning to desert,” begins Allan Savory in this quietly powerful talk. And terrifyingly, it’s happening to about two-thirds of the world’s grasslands, accelerating climate change and causing traditional grazing societies to descend into social chaos. Savory has devoted his life to stopping it. He now believes — and his work so far shows — that a surprising factor can protect grasslands and even reclaim degraded land that was once desert.

As an urbanite I feel more comfortable learning about the economic and social aspects of sustainability especially when it comes to understanding the conversations and recommendations of experts. Yet my roots are firmly planted in the farmlands of Ireland and Canada, my family having been dairy farmers so I’ve been interviewing farmers and experts like Jeff Goebel and Allan Savory then adding them to the in special collections addressing biodiversity and climate change.  I hope this post proves useful to understanding what may well be a sustainability secret, one I would argue of many.


Ruth Ann Barrett, Sustainability Advocate, Portland, Oregon, July 25, 2014




Innovation and Social Sustainability

We recently curated and added to the collection two video interviews of women seeking out innovation in nutrition and community development the more social or people aspect of sustainability.

Isabel Hoffman

Isabel Hoffman

TellSpec -What’s in Your Food? (Video here)

Isabel Hoffmann CEO of TellSpec updates with her CTO Stephen Watson, their progress over the last  three months on the TellSpec handheld device. The device tellspecbeams a low-powered laser at the food you wish to analyze, measures the reflected light with a spectrometer, and sends the data via your smart phone, computer, or tablet to TellSpec’s servers in the cloud.  Know more about what you eat as the information captured is then displayed on your computer, tablet or smart phone so you can intelligently decide if you want to buy or eat the food. While we tend to see hardware solutions as being in the the  realm of tech innovation, and it is, sustainability suggests we emphasize the social path and its use for maintaining the health of our citizens and food safety.  Sustainability > People > Health > Nutrition and Wellness.

Karen Litfin

Karen Litfin

Ecovillages – Integrating people, planet, and prosperity at the community level (video here)

Karen Litfin is a faculty member in the Department of Political Science at the University of Washington. She specializes in global environmental politics, with core interests in green theory, the science/policy interface, and “person/planet politics.” In this interview she talks about her book, Ecovillages: Lessons for Sustainable Community having traveled to ecovillages on five continents.

Sustainability > People > Cities and Communities> Community Development >EcoVillages

Putting Typhoon Haiyan in the context of the “Fierce Urgency of Now.”

What brings home the catastrophe of Typhoon Haiyan are two speeches I recently added to EarthSayerstv especially in the context of the urgency of addressing climate change and what we citizens need to see happen as suggested by Jeffrey Sachs in today’s Financial Times.  Home IF we take the time to listen to our EarthSayers Mary Robinson and Jeffrey Sachs.

tn_24971First, Mary Robinson addressed climate justice in a speech to participants at the BSR (Business Social Responsibility) conference, November 5-8 in San Francisco. She talks about climate justice and the fact that the people least responsible for it are the most impacted as is the case in the Philippines. She reminds us of the importance today of Martin Luther King’s phrase,  “the fierce urgency of now.” Mary Robinson served as the seventh, and first female, President of Ireland from 1990 to 1997, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, from 1997 to 2002. She heads up the Mary Robinson Foundation on Climate Justice.

tn_24972Secondly, Jeffrey Sachs presents the key note presentation on sustainability, most particularly sustainable development (environmental and economic) for the first Global Grand Challenges Summit 2013 in London.  The lecture is on how sustainable development must occur and how countries are not doing enough to meet this in either terms of energy and the economy. Video Published on Mar 30, 2013.

What you and I need to see happen:

In an October 15th 2013 article in the Financial Times in response to the climate catastrophe of Typhoon Haiyan, Jeffrey Sachs notesPeople need to see credible energy plans, pathways for each country and region to a prosperous low-carbon future. Such pathways can be found, but aside from excellent work in a handful of places, such as the UK, Denmark and California, such long-term planning has not been done… The basic elements of a pathway include four key pillars: more electricity from low-carbon technologies rather than coal; replacing fossil fuels with electricity as the fuel source for sectors such as cars and household heating; greater energy efficiency in industry and the home; and the end of deforestation (which emits carbon).

Jeffrey D. Sachs is a world-renowned professor of economics, leader in sustainable development, senior UN advisor, bestselling author, and syndicated columnist.

Ruth Ann Barrett, Sustainability Advocate, November 15, 2013, Portland, Oregon.

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Revisiting Definitions: What is Sustainability?

“Since you and I have been communicating regularly again, all of sudden ASPA has been publishing a lot on this subject and soliciting for articles on it too.”  Nancy Foye-Cox, Member, National Council, American Society for Public Administration (ASPA)

Nancy and I go way back to the mid-seventies when we served together on the ASPA Committee on Women in Public Administration. Over the last few months, and since I moved but an hour away from her,  we have been emailing more frequently.  And, yes, ASPA like other professional associations are increasingly turning their attention to sustainability pppresulting in more opportunities to increase awareness and answer one of the first questions often asked, What is Sustainability?  Over 60,000 searchers a month ask a variation of this question on Google and even more on the term, sustainable as in sustainable business. This out of the 1.2M overall searches per month on sustainability, thirty-seven percent from the United States.

Dr. Stuart Hart

Dr. Stuart Hart

Complicating matters is the issue of there being the opportunity to customize an answer based on individual interests and world views. Stuart Hart the Samuel C. Johnson Chair in Sustainable Global Enterprise at Cornell University’s Johnson School, observes “Sustainability is tribal to some degree. There are many different factions. People come from different directions that all use the same term.”  In other words, there is no one strict definition (video quote 1:37).  This is particularly nettlesome as some folks use this lack of precision “as an easy way to set sustainability  aside.” It is for this reason that I am revisiting some definitions and also citing a recently posted video from the folks at Eastman Chemical Company.  You may find these quotes by sustainability leaders  helpful to reference in conversations. Link to the their videos in email and in your blog posts.  Most importantly, craft your own definition of sustainability and be passionate about it.

“Defining sustainability also means you have to admit what you are not yet doing that you ought to be doing.  And so that gap between aspirations and reality is what you want to cross.”  Christoph Lueneburger of Egon Zehnder International (video 3:02)

Dr.Karl-Henrik Robèrt

Karl-Henrik Robèrt

The first of four operational principles for sustainability is “in a sustainable society mined materials such as carbon dioxide from fossil fuels and heavy elements are no longer systematically increased in concentration in natural systems.” Karl-Henrik Robèrt, M.D., Ph.D. and founder of The Natural Step. (video 8:29) ”

My vision for sustainability at Eastman is that it is embedded in everything we do, it is part of our DNA, part of our daily life…it is an attitude, a state of mind, its not something you choose to do one day and not the other.” Godefroy Motte, SVP, Regional and Sustainability Officer, Eastman Chemical and

“What sustainability comes down to is balance. It’s about having to make hard choices every single day. To do things that are right for business, right for the planet, and ultimately right for you.” Matt Acarino, Chef ( (video 2:49)

“Look and listen for the welfare of the whole people and have always in view not only the present but also the coming generations, even those whose faces are yet beneath the surface of the ground — the unborn of the future Nation.” The Constitution of the Iroquois Nations: The Great Binding Law, Gayanashagowa.

There are many more of our leaders addressing sustainability and several animated videos in our special collection, What is Sustainability on, voices of sustainability to help with the conversations around sustainability at home, in the office, and in our communities.

Ruth Ann Barrett, Sustainability Advocate, Cleveland, Ohio, June 28, 2013

Indigenous Voices of Sustainability – Ecuador Trip

When your videographer colleague announces in March he is going to Ecuador in February you swing into action to get the word out and hopefully raise some money for his trip. This is no vacation, rather with the help of the Pachamama Alliance folks in Ecuador, a dive deep into the interior to interview shaman and get their views on the status of our Mother Earth.

Barry bag 600xBarry Heidt left on February 2, 2013 and will be returning with the voices of these indigenous leaders of sustainability in late February.  The exposure by Barry to the Global Alliance and the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth coupled with his experience from Awakening the Dreamer, the Pachamama Alliance’s symposium series and his most recent work with Sustainability Action Media (SAM) inspires his journey to Ecuador.

dreamer posterThe personal history behind this trip started with Barry’s participation in an Awakening the Dreamer workshop. Later, at the Bioneers 2010 Conference Barry documented the panel on the Rights of Nature at which Mari Margil, an associate director of CELDF announced the launch of The Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature and formally made public their Tungurahua Volcano Declaration.  His interview of Mari is here.

The Global Alliance then began a campaign for the signing of the Universal Declaration of Rights of Mother Earth introduced at the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth in Cochabamba, Bolivia, on the 22nd April – Earth Day 2010.

I interviewed Barry about his upcoming trip. Give a listen here

Barry’s work with the Sustainability Action Media (SAM) coalition this last year also reflects a focus by the SAM coalition members –, SustainableTV, and Sustainable Today – on increasing the indigenous voices of sustainability to include the live streaming of the Wisdom sam logofrom the Origins conference in September 2012 and the documenting of the EarthDay 2012 conference sponsored by the Earth & Spirit Council.  At both events Barry added to the content mix by interviewing indigenous leaders from the United States, Guatamala, and Mexico.  All of this valuable content is highlighted on EarthSayers as will be the Ecuadorian shaman in special collection on Ecuadorian Wisdom Keepers.

donate button

If you are interested in contributing to Barry’s trip and post production expenses, SAM can accept tax deductible contributions made to our coalition member, The Center for a Sustainable Today, a tax exempt organization.  Contact me for details at or call me at 415-377-1835.   Sponsorships by organizations of SAM content is also an opportunity to support increasing the visibility of indigenous voices of sustainability.

Ruth Ann Barrett, Sustainability Advocate, February 4, 2013, Portland, Oregon.

Three Voices of Sustainability and 1 Billion Rising

sustainability awarenessThis past year we made an effort to increase the number of indigenous voices of sustainability to our collection and those of women.  You see this reflected in our voices of Sustainability 2012 where we feature the animated stories of Annie Leonard, the photography of Lisa Kristine, the inspiring words of Mayan elder Flordemayo, and add a reminder of the upcoming 1 Billion Rising event – women calling for an end to violence.

Since last year the collection has grown to nearly 1,500 voices of sustainability drawing attention to the many men, women, and children from around the world who speak up on behalf of Mother Earth, her citizens, and the principle of prosperity. They include business and civic leaders, experts, teachers, consultants – citizens from all walks of life. Click on the titles to view videos and follow additional links.

Life with Annie Leonard

annieThis last month we honored Annie Leonard by including her in our special collection, Sustainability Champions and featured her work to include:  The Story of Citizens United, The Story of Electronics, The Story of Broke, The Story of Cosmetics, The Story of Bottled Water, and Cap and Trade: Devil in the Details.

Annie Leonard was the International Honoree 2012 of the tenth Annual Global Exchange Human Rights Awards.

The Wisdom of the Elders by Lisa Kristine

tn_24242Lisa Kristine, a fine arts photographer, talks about how her childhood led to seeking out indigenous knowledge through her photography of people, interconnected as we are, and all sharing the gift of our first breadth. She has documented indigenous cultures all over the world. A TEDx presentation by CalicoCanyan.

We also added to our collection her very moving TEDx presentation in Maui on January 22nd of 2012, Illuminating the World of Modern-day Slavery.

Recognizing the Great Mystery by Mayan Elder Flordemayo

flordemayoKeys to Recognizing the Great Mystery by Mayan elder Flordemayo of the Thirteen Grandmothers, reminding us the heart is key and the biggest challenge is to be still. If you have not heard of the International Council of Thirteen Grandmothers, please visit their site. They represent a global alliance of prayer, education and healing for our Mother Earth, all Her inhabitants, all the children, and for the next seven generations to come.


1 Billion Rising – February 14, 2013

On V-Day’s 15th Anniversary, 2.14.13, we are inviting ONE BILLION women and those who love them to WALK OUT, DANCE, RISE UP, and DEMAND an end to this violence. ONE BILLION RISING will move the earth, activating women and men across every country. V-Day wants the world to see our collective strength, our numbers, our solidarity across borders. Here is their Website.

Become sustainability advocates. Use to pepper your conversations with out-of-the-box thinking, link to fresh voices on social network discussions, especially LinkedIn, and use social media and advertising to spread the word to increase sustainability awareness.

Ruth Ann Barrett, December 31, 2012, Portland, Oregon.