Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Iraqi war?

Monday, January 30, 2006

Being Caribou

A film documenting the experiences of a Canadian couple as they follow the Porcupine Caribou herd for five months on the journey to & from their breeding grounds in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge--the exact spot caught in controversy over drilling for oil. It's an incredibly moving film, with gorgeous scenery, & spurts of amusing irony provided by the Bush doll that the couple brings with them on their trek. And it is quite the trek: five months & roughly 930 miles. These two are truly hardcore & their documentary is definitely worth checking out. It has now won 17 awards at international film festivals!
We own a copy & anyone is welcome to borrow it (may be a week or so before it is available, as it is now being passed around Levi's work--just let us know!)

Friday, January 27, 2006

The Other Journal

theotherjournal.com is an excellent website which provides a forum for exploring issues of social justice. Topics change quarterly, I believe. Currently the focus is Africa. This website was created by a handful of young people, a few of whom are friends of ours. The forum on April 7-9 looks great--films, a benefit concert series, and lectures.

Borgen Project

Last night I attended the Borgen Project's Prefunk for Poverty. A nice, informal gathering at Pies & Pints in Roosevelt. The Borgen Project is a small, local & pretty new (2003) non-profit--their focus is Poverty Reduction Through Political Accountability.
I met one of their volunteers at an event last year & when I saw the Prefunk for Poverty I knew it would be a great place to meet others concerned with issues of hunger & poverty & to do some networking. I posted the Prefunk on the blog I administer for Heifer volunteers & a newly interested volunteer came to the pub & brought a friend.
When thinking & working in the realm of ending hunger & poverty, there are definitely times of discouragement. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed & get depressed by the statistics & wonder how I can possibly make a difference. And then I go to gatherings like the Prefunk for Poverty & remember why there is hope & why this work is so important. I sat for over two hours last night & talked with others who are all concerned about the same issues & working to find sustainable solutions. It was incredible to listen to the goals & struggles of an emerging non-profit like the Borgen Project (& straight from the mouth of the creator & president no less!)

As only one person, I can do very little. But joined together with countless of others, there's strength & hope & the power to change the world. That sounds corny, but it's true.

For any interested:
Prefunk for Poverty
Thursday, February 23rd, 6-8pm-- and every fourth Thursday of the month
Pies & Pints in Roosevelt
(yummy, cheap food)
They are also having a fundraiser on March 5th at Chopsticks, the dueling piano bar on lower Queen Anne. It promises to be quite an entertaining night!

Thursday, January 19, 2006

loving our neighbors

Thank you, Eliza, for expressing your hopes and convictions, for commiting yourself to actions beyond thoughts and ideas. Thank you, too, for inviting co-ownership of this blog, and in so doing, inviting all of us to participate with you in taking small steps toward positive change--in our own hearts, in our own homes, in our communities and beyond. I love the idea of posting our thoughts and experiences (which will inevitably include successes and failures) here for ongoing encouragement.

Kyle and I are working on getting to know our neighbors. Not just their names and what they do for a living...but taking small steps to share life with them in practical and friendly ways. Borrowing and lending tools (and ingredients for baked goods), taking the time to say hello or go over and talk if we see them out in the yard. Sometimes we are surprised by how much courage this takes for us (though I am admittedly much more shy than Kyle when it comes to this sort of thing). I've noticed that kids do this naturally and wonderfully, and have no shame about asking your name if they've forgotten it (like we do, thinking, of course that we must be perfect and witty, wonderfully conversational, and never, NEVER awkward!) Having our pup Grover has opened up many new opportunities for connecting with our neighbors, which has been great. This is one area we are trying to grow in!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Personal Goals?

My thoughts today took me in the direction of setting goals...suppose I made a different goal every week (or at least every month) to try out simple lifestyle changes & to attempt positive change in the world around me? Here are a few I thought of:

--for one week attempt to throw away as little trash a possible (i.e. don't use disposable items, don't buy things with excessive packaging, etc)
--for one week eat local food as much as possible. I think this one would be much easier in the summer & fall, with the incredible abundance offered by local farmer's markets
--one day, stop & talk to one of the many homeless people on the streets of downtown Seattle. On my way to & from work, I pass many of the same homeless people asking for money & we often smile & exchange greetings, but have never had a conversation. I would like to find out their name, a little bit about them & why they are homeless, their hobbies & hopes.
--for one week ride my bike everywhere I need to go. To work, to the store, to my friends', etc. This may be one of the biggest challenges yet!

Please share if you have any goals for changing the world, starting with our little corner of it!

Ending Homelessness in King County

An organization called the Committee to End Homelessness in King County has put together a ten year plan for wiping out homelessness within their Washington county. The plan contains already existing strategies that are known to achieve sustainable success, but for the first time a group is combining strengths & resources to approach homelessness with the goal of ending it completely!
"A roof over every bed in King County: Our Community's Ten-Year Plan to End Homelessness"