Archive for the ‘Event’ Category

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By Katrina Phillips

DC EcoWomen with Green Living Project founder Rob Holmes In partnership with the UN’s World Environment Day, Green Living Project recently held a Washington, DC, premiere to share their latest films.  Green Living Project is a filmmaking and marketing company that creates short films to showcase examples of sustainability in action.  DC EcoWomen was a promotional sponsor for the event and several EcoWomen attended, including myself.

Our evening began with a short local spotlight story from Sam Ullery, the Schoolyard Garden Specialist for DC’s education office.  I had no idea the DC school system had such a position, and it was great to see Sam’s passion to provide students in the area access to local, nutritious food.

Elisabeth Guilbaud-Cox from the UN Environment Program Regional Office for North America also joined the screening.  She applauded the audience for attending because as our 7 billion-person world ever increases demand on resources, “we need to empower ourselves to bring about change”.

DC EcoWomen was a local sponsor for the event.The six films screened at the event included stories from the US and Central America, each focusing on a local sustainability project’s success.  Issues ranged from agroforestry in Belize to refurbishing bicycles “rescued” from landfills in Chicago.  It was a great reminder to us that all it takes is regular people with a passion for change coming together to reach a sustainability goal.

Green Living Project founder and chief storyteller Rob Holmes was our guide through the films of the evening, and shared how each film was  made during our viewing.  We ended with a preview of the latest films from Africa, and the footage looked stunning!  I can’t wait to see them!  Rob also shared that he is currently seeking projects to highlight for their upcoming trip to Asia, so contact Jenny at Green Living Project if you know of great stories to share.   All in all it was an informative ininspirational event – and I even won a door prize!

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Last EcoHour, DC EcoWomen learned a great deal from Kimberly Wilson, director and founder of Tranquil Space yoga studio.  This successful young woman has managed to create a business plan that integrates tenacious entrepreneurship with the zen that only yoga provides.  Wilson is currently working to finish a master’s degree in social work and has little business experience but shared with us how she acquired her savvy.  Read below to hear her story and learn why “running a business is a lot like yoga.”

When starting up a business, Wilson first found her center.  She planned, gathered resources, made lists, and mentally prepared herself for the tasks ahead.  Next, she honed in on her intentions.  What was it that she wanted to create and offer?  Once she developed her plan, she created momentum and started with foundational marketing products such as business cards, a website, and a location.  Finally, she generated customers and established a consistent flow.  In her mind, she envisioned these steps as the stages of a yoga class, where participants find their own centers, warm up and build energy, and find their crescendos before winding down into relaxation.

Wilson did not always have this peaceful approach toward business and life.  Before Tranquil Space, she was stretched thin with a full-time job, part-time yoga instruction from her home, and dreams of empowering young women through movement and artistic endeavors.  Just as in yoga, Wilson found her center and focused her energy on growing her passion into a viable business.  She reminded us of the importance of taking a stepwise approach, because “the biggest reason for failure is trying to please everyone.”  Once you have one product, you can expand and connect it to other areas of expertise within yourself or in your community.  In 2006, she wrote her first book and had set the foundation for her own eco-friendly clothing line.

Wilson showed us all that running your own business isn’t easy, but well worth the hard work.  Her recommended reading includes The Artist’s Way, The E Myth, The Right-Brain Business Plan, Wherever you Go There you Are, Generation Earn, and Savvy Girl’s Guide to Money.  She left us with a poem from Marianne Williamson, below.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.  We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we’re liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Thanks Kimberly for a wonderful EcoHour discussion!  Hear her EcoHour presentation first hand and follow Kimberly’s adventures on her blog.

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By Vesper Hubbard

Devora kimelman-Block, Jess, Tonya Tolchin, Meredith Sheperd_2

In April, DC EcoWomen hosted a panel discussion for EcoHour on local farming. We heard about kosher meat production from Devora Kimelman-Block (KOL Foods), about private DC gardens from Meredith Sheperd (Love and Carrots), and small-scale produce farming from Tanya Tolchin (Jug Bay Market Garden). These women have all made admirable commitments to sustainable practices that promote the health and well-being of their friends, families, and communities.

Devora started off the talk with her story. Over a year ago she found herself trucking cattle to a kosher slaughterhouse in Baltimore in order to get the food she needed prepared according to her family’s diet. As she was taking these time intensive and costly trips she thought about how the task fit into her own spiritual journey and how the process could be made better. Prior to 2007, when she decided to found her own slaughterhouse, people had to choose between kosher and sustainability. What started as a hobby quickly turned busy and she found investors to help her turn the venture into a full time job. She also commented that people before WWII considered meat to be a treat rather than a daily diet staple. Her company encourages meat minimalism.

Tonya grows veggies, flowers and herbs on an organic farm in Prince Georges County in Maryland. As a child she grew up in a town with one of the best agricultural programs in the country but did not find a lot of personal interest in it. Farming was not considered “cool.” Once in college however she became interested in the subject of food shortages and took a course linking farm ownership with poverty issues. She quickly found her way onto a local farm and food bank and started volunteering her time. After college she came to DC to work with Sierra Club. Once married, she found that she and her husband had an enjoyment for farming and decided to start a farm, an idea that seemed absurd at the time. However after some serious business planning their farm was underway. Tonya remarked that the times of have changed and people are beginning to see the value in local farms and personal agriculture again.

Meredith runs Love and Carrots a local company that starts gardens for people in urban areas. It all started when she moved into a house in the DC area with a great yard but the soil was no good. Her closest community garden had a 2 year waiting list to join. After observing the yard space of her neighbors, she decided to start a business creating gardens in these underused green spaces. She deals with people who have been separated from gardening but want to learn. She commented that people have been culturally removed from the action and concept of personal and local agriculture. Now local farming has become a new and large trend.

There were lots of questions from the audience and some of the tips/answers the ladies offered were to really vet farmers. Ask lots of questions to get to know them especially if you are looking for certain qualities in your food, whether it is organic, sustainability or other standards. Tonya offered that her company/farm offers internships to professionals and students who want a chance to “try on” farming. Devora spoke to being a woman in the Kosher food business and said her gender has not been a sticking point. She is the main point person for her organization so most people know her gender immediately. She also offered that people should start cutting down their diet to eating meat twice a week rather than every day. Such is a more sustainable practice.

Farm resources:
Realtimefarms.com – A crowd-sourced nationwide food guide. We enable you to trace your food back to the farm it came from, whether staying in or dining out, so you can find food you feel good about eating.

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Read below for a guest blog entry by Caroline Wick for a recap of our book club’s latest gathering:

On Sunday, January 27, EcoWomen gathered to discuss The Dirty Life by Kristin Kimball.  The book tells the story of Kimball’s decision to ditch her city life for cows, long cold winters and, of course, dirt.  (You can get a feel for the book here with this audio slideshow from NPR).  

During the discussion, EcoWomen pondered Kimball’s decision and wondered whether they would make the same life-altering choice.  Everyone enjoyed the book not just for its content, but also for Kimball’s prose:  “I had never in my life been so dirty.  The work was always dirty, beyond what I’d previously defined as dirty, and it took too much energy to keep oneself out of it.”

Each participant shared not just her thoughts on the book, but also a snack.  One participant embraced the theme and brought green beans that she harvested and canned.  Another snack, the sticky, but delicious, homemade tahini-honey-chocolate squares disappeared quickly.  We’ll share recipes for other favorites – including coconut ginger muffins – on this site.

Bummed that you missed the fun?  There are more book clubs to come:

  • For those that can’t commit to finishing an entire book – join EcoWomen on February 15th to discuss a few pages from Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and other short pieces on the theme of farming and love.
  • In March, we’ll discuss Letters from Yellowstone.  Join us fiction lovers!

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By  Lisa Seyfried

This month’s EcoHour on January 17th features Suzanne Ehlers, the President and CEO of Population Action International (PAI). PAI is leading the charge on family planning, advocating for women and families to have access to contraception in order to improve their health, reduce poverty and protect their environment. Read her full biography on our speaker page.

Population Action International’s work on climate change takes a different approach than other organizations’ approaches.  Their focus is on the role that women, as family planners, play in their community’s adaptation to climate change.  According to the Population Action International (PAI), ‘[w]hen women are empowered to plan and space their children, they are better able to adapt to climate change and ensure the survival of their families.

The idea is that reducing population growth will lead to less impact on the planet and less strain on women.  Geographic locations that will be most affected by climate change in the future are generally the same areas that will see rapid population growth in the future as well.  A map of this trend is available on PAI’s website.  The goal of Population Action International’s work is to empower women and to address climate adaptation strategies.

PAI does this by highlighting the need for reproductive justice.  Global women’s rights advocacy often centers on the need for family planning. PAI takes that one step further and links family planning to environmental sustainability.  Family planning has a huge impact on resource distribution and use.  By highlighting the need for this, PAI brings attention to the role that women can play in reducing the impact of climate change.

PAI not only works to produce educational materials on the subject (and they have a lot of very informative articles, briefs, and blog posts!), but also advocates for these policies.  Their newest advocacy guide, Weathering Change, is a film that documents how family planning, girls’ education, sustainable agriculture and environmental conservation interact.  Understanding the intersection of these four elements means understanding that ‘women are important agents of change in addressing climate change challenges.’

PAI also provides grants to reproductive health organizations in countries such as Kenya, Nepal, Malawi and Ethiopia to further promote the inclusion of gender considerations and population’s impact on climate change in national and international policy plans.

 


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Denise is running our financial planning workshop on Wednesday, January 25.

About Denise Bump

Denise Bump is a Financial Advisor and partnerof Bump & Associates, a platinum financial advisory practice of Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. in Washington DC. She has been in her current position since 2002 and has been with Ameriprise Financial since 2000.

As a financial advisor focusing on working with professionals, Denise works with her clients to design a personal financial plan based on their life goals and aligned with their values. This strategy focuses on helping them become more confident about managing their financial objectives. It is designed to provide solutions to both your everyday and long-term financial questions, and is personalized to meet the needs of high net worth individuals and small business owners. As a team, she and her clients continually monitor progress towards financial goals and update their plans based on changes in market conditions and individual situations.

Denise and the Bump & Associates team believe that education is empowerment. They strive to educate their clients to make knowledgeable decisions about their financial life. The clients in their practice have access to the necessary information to help them move toward their financial goals. Bump & Associates also believes in contributing to their community and offering opportunities for their clients to join them in community events.

Bump & Associates was identified by The National Association of Board Certified Advisory Practices (NABCAP) as a “top advisory practice” in the Washington, DC-area list of top advisors as announced in the September 9, 2011 edition of the Washington Business Journal.*

Community Service

  • Women’s Information Network, Advisory Board member, Washington, DC
  • Whitman Walker Clinic LSP, Community Advisory Board member, Washington, DC
  • The DC Center, Board Member, Washington, DC
  • William James Foundation, Sustainable Business Contest Judge, Washington, DC

*The NABCAP Premier Advisor (“Program”) research was conducted from April to August 2011.  Fewer than three and a half percent of financial advisors in the areareceived the recognition. Advisors were evaluated based on twentycategories, including customer service model, experience, credentials,compliance record and other criteria. A financial advisor’s final ranking maynot represent a particular client experience. The National Association of BoardCertified Advisory Practices, manages the Program, but does not endorselisted financial advisors. Working with this financial advisor is not a guaranteeof future financial success. Investors should conduct their own evaluation of afinancial professional. For details go to:http://nabcap.org/about-methodology.cfm

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by Stephanie Madden

This post discusses the November 2011 Book Club meeting.

For the past two months, my life has been all about disasters. No, I don’t mean that in a melodramatic way. I recently started a position working on a grant to develop more effective risk communication trainings for local leaders to better prepare communities before, during, and after disasters. I was excited that this month’s book club selection, A Paradise Built in Hell by Rebecca Solnit, could provide further insight into my job, as well as raise important issues that will become increasingly salient in a world where climate change is a reality (check out September’s book club selection Merchants of Doubt to learn more about the history of climate change denial).

Our discussion of the book focused around the utopian societies that Solnit describes arising out of disasters, where resourceful and resilient citizens must take control of saving each other and their communities, while those in power suffer from “elite panic” over the thought of losing controls built into many societies that allow often crumble when disasters strike. However, we were left wondering if it is something special to large scale disasters that can form these types of communities, or if even the disasters of everyday life, such as being diagnosed with cancer or suffering from addiction, can also bond people as they face these challenges together.

While Solnit uses natural disasters, such as Hurricane Katrina and the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, and intentional disasters, such as 9/11, as case studies to debunk the idea that disasters turn people into panic driven mobs, Solnit also brings up the idea of economic disasters. In our current economic climate that has seen the rise of the Occupy Wall Street movement, Solnit’s principles of disasters leading to the impulse for social change seem to be represented each day on the news.

Solnit writes, “The real question is not why this brief paradise of mutual aid and altruism appear but rather why it is ordinarily overwhelmed by another world order.” If the worst events can bring out the best in people, why can’t this impulse be sustained in everyday life?

In a world where natural disasters are becoming more prevalent, Solnit challenges us to think about what we think we know about disasters, and I think an even larger challenge for us is to also figure out how to best prepare for these disasters before they happen, which seems to begin with fostering a community spirit well before the next disaster strikes.

Interested in becoming more involved in disaster preparedness in your community? Check out these resources:

Citizen Corps helps coordinate volunteer activities that will make our communities safer, stronger, and better prepared to respond to any emergency situation. It provides opportunities for people to participate in a range of measures to make their families, their homes, and their communities safer from the threats of crime, terrorism, and disasters of all kinds.

Community Emergency Response Teams Program educates people about disaster preparedness for hazards that may impact their area and trains them in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations.

Gender and Disaster Resilience Alliance, a virtual network committed to transparency, an inclusive approach valuing difference, shared leadership, and a social justice approach to disaster reduction.

Ready.gov is a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) intiative helping communities be informed (what to do before, during, and after an emergency) and make a plan (prepare, plan and stay informed for emergencies.)

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Blog post by Lina Khan

On Sunday, November 6, DC EcoWomen learned what a community farm can bring (and, for some of us, where they could find one!).  DC EcoWomen volunteered for an afternoon at The Farm at Walker Jones, an urban farm that is part of the campus of Walker Jones, a DC Public School.  The Farm provides its food to the school, DC Central Kitchen, and other organizations, or sells it at a farm stand to raise money for supplies.  According to Sarah Bernardi, the Farm Coordinator, they stick to natural forms of insect repellant such as corn starch — and rely on volunteers like us to help keep up the herbs, vegetable, and fruit gardens.  We soaked in amazing autumn weather that I considered ourselves lucky to get after a couple of weeks of rain.

Almost 20 DC EcoWomen members and friends joined us, some looking to catch rare outdoor time, others to meet like-minded residents of DC, or both.  While we dug our trowels into the earth to uproot weeds and cleared debris around the herb garden, a variety of conversation flowed — being on the job hunt, good spare-time reading, running routines (which I don’t know a thing about), and inspirational speakers.  That last topic was tied to potential new speakers for the EcoWomen speaker series.  More than a few EcoWomen expressed a sense of gratitude from getting to help out the Farm and be outdoors for the day —  so in a way, this Farm gave back to us.  When we had finished our work and eaten lunch, we listened to Ms. Bernardi tell us how the Farm got started, and we asked a bunch of questions ourselves.

This Farm is an idea that is continuously growing.  It was once a deserted vacant lot, then several crops that continued to expand, and now a farm with its own beehives!  The question of how to make it an asset for the community and for the kids nearby continues to direct its mission.  We were excited to be a part of it.

 

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by Holly Li (a DC EcoWomen member)

It was a refreshing experience to participate in DC EcoWomen’s Resume Workshop taught by Jessica Lubetsky.

I learned several practical tricks in tailoring my resume to specific jobs. For example, always adjust the content in the “Summary” section using keywords from the job posts. I also felt that I was part of a larger community of professional women with a positive attitude towards life and full of ambition for self-improvement and self-realization.

As an environmental lawyer who is “in-between (real) jobs” and doing document review work, I can’t help doubting my skills and ability. Especially considering that most of my friends already have their (or my) dream jobs. At the workshop, I met two extraordinary women who are also licensed lawyers with professional training in the environmental legal field, and they were also doing document review projects. Laughing at our common occupation, I realized two things: first, document review was the safety net webbed by the forward-looking legal pioneers to protect their fellow lawyers from unemployment in hard times; and second, I was not the only one hit by the economy and actually have many allies in my battle to find a better professional path.

In addition, Jessica was a wonderful teacher – supportive and resourceful. She encouraged each of us to talk about our goals and passions, and then tried to help us connect with people who might be helpful in certain fields. She also generously offered to provide individual resume critiques to each woman who attended the workshop.

I was inspired to learn about how to market myself better and to connect with other professionals who have similar passions and are confronting the same barriers that I am.  Together, we are building a better future for the planet, and for the professional women who care about the planet.

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by Molly Cheatum (a DC EcoWomen member)

The resume workshop last week was my second DC EcoWomen event. My first was to hear Dr. Jennifer Sass speak at EcoHour about her story as a career-driven woman in a mostly male environment. Good stuff. I wish I had more EcoWomen experience to draw from, especially after this past week’s resume workshop. Jessica Lubetsky led the workshop, and she did not disappoint. I am continually amazed at how many smart, capable, and genuinely interesting women live and work in this city. Jessica, along with the other 20+ women who attended the workshop, are either already in the environmental field or looking for work in this field, and all had varied experiences, including engineering, water, and policy.

I am no different, just recently laid off from a job in conservation economics and looking for similar work. This resume workshop gave me the much-needed motivation to get my resume in tip top shape. Covering the basics, Jessica laid out the framework of a good resume, flipping between her own resume as an example and pointing out what she looks for in others’ resumes. As the workshop rolled along, there were a couple of tidbits that stood out for me:

  1. Add a splash of color. Not too much, but a little, might make your resume stand out a bit more than the bland black and white, Times New Roman resume we all, or most, started out wit
  2. If I’m not getting paid then it doesn’t countnot true. Including volunteer or extracurricular work in experience, especially if you were managing a database, project, or team shows you aren’t a couch potato. (Though watching episodes of Law & Order, or BSG are exceptions.)
  3. Don’t stress if you’re unemployed. Take time to visit museums, coffee shops, and go out with your friends. Your status will change. Taking the time to appreciate and enjoy the affordable, free entertainment that exists in a city like Washington, DC will leave you with little regrets.

There were other helpful tidbits, like including “keywords,” changing up your resume to reflect each job posting, and including languages and computer skills. Maybe the number one thing Jessica mentioned is to remember that what encompasses a good resume is slightly different from person to person, so make it your own. All in all, this was a very helpful workshop and an evening well spent.