Facebook Boycott Update and Action Item Request

Facebook Fails to Appease Organizers of Ad Boycott NYT

As the Facebook advertising boycott continues, this website continues to add its’ voice to countless others who are calling for Facebook to be held accountable for hate speech, violence, misinformation and other significant problems that it is allowing to continue.

Facebook does not yet seem moved to action, and appears confident that people will continue to use the platform (eyes on screens) and spend $ (advertising revenue). We all have a part to play in speaking up against hate. In that spirit, here is my ask for today:

ACTION: This website does have a Facebook page, and that is a way that many in this community are connected. My ask for today is that you join others by following the website (here) by email/through WordPress. Not only will you get more information (the website has far more details, resources and an online store!), you will be able to stay connected without opening Facebook.

By joining others on the website, you will be a part of helping make a statement to Facebook, and contributing one small action towards change against hate speech. Click here for details.

NOTE: In line with the boycott, I will not be promoting this on Facebook. Please share widely within your circles. See you soon!

Click here for details.

Categories: Public Petitions, Uncategorized | Tags: | Leave a comment

Asking for Free Stuff From Freelancers – Video Proof of Why it Doesn’t Work… :)

Freelancers and others frequently get asked to work for free, or for significantly reduced rates. It definitely happens in the non-profit world, and I have heard from others that it is frequently a problem in the creative world as well.

Along with strong support for a Universal Basic Income, and significant caps on CEO/executive and other high earner salaries to close the gap between low and high earners, let’s start from the premise that everybody deserves to be paid fairly for the skills and expertise that the bring to a project. We all deserve to have a living wage, whether freelancer or not.

Happy watching! (And thanks to everyone in the video for testing the theory in the real world, so that I don’t have to do it! :))

Watching from Facebook? Join us on the website for more great resources!

Categories: Economic Justtice, Freelancing, NGO, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Stop Hate for Profit – Boycott of Advertising on Facebook

As many of you may have already heard, a boycott has begun, Stop Hate for Profit – withdrawing advertising dollars from Facebook until they strengthen their regulations and policies related to hate speech, violence, misinformation and other related pieces.

I personally know that I, and this website, are a very small operation, and my few dollars of advertising that I have spent do not register in any meaningful way in Facebook’s advertising budget. At the same time, I firmly believe that we each need to use our voice – in whatever form that takes – to stand up for what is right. Collectively, we can create changes that none of us can do on our own.

So, in that spirit, I will not be spending any money on Facebook for July and August, and possibly later. This could change (earlier or later) depending on the status of the boycott and if/when changes happen. I will do my best to keep you updated on things as they evolve.

In the meantime, for those of you who have joined us only on Facebook, I would like to offer extra encouragement to come over to my website and join there! All of my posts (which you see on Facebook) are there, plus I have lots of extra resources, and an online store, filled (and growing!) with lots of cool, sustainable items!

If you know others who might be interested in joining as well, please share this around. The more the merrier! 🙂

Categories: Consumerism, Online Store, Uncategorized | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Online Store: More New, Cool Sustainable Items Added!

The online store is continuing to grow! Looking for more ways to be sustainable? Not sure what options are best? Looking for someone else to do the research for you to save you the time?

The MennoAdventures online store is growing and adding new items! Whatever you are looking for, we have it! 🙂

Here are a few items to highlight. Check the online store regularly for updates and more cool, sustainable items!

TruEarth Laundry Detergent Strips (no more shipping huge plastic bottles full of liquid detergent!): Click here to order.

Tru Earth Laundry Strips
Click here to order.

Darn Good Yarn: Click here to order

Shop Darn Good Yarn
Click here to order

EcoLunchBox. Click here to order ECOlunchbox

So much more than just lunch boxes. Great, reusable containers and other items for a variety of uses!

ECOlunchbox - Healthy for People and Planet
Click here to order ECOlunchbox

TomatoInk: Click here to order: TomatoInk

TomatoInk- discount ink and toner
Click here to order: TomatoInk

TomatoInk.com is a supplier of Earth-friendly ink and toner and eco-friendly printer supplies and accessories. We hope to help save the world, one cartridge at a time.

By providing our customers with green choices, we not only conserve precious natural resources, but we also help you conserve some green in your wallet. Our recycled and remanufactured printer peripherals give the same high quality results as their brand name counterparts, but cost up to 80% less! Now doesn’t that feel good?

Click here to order: TomatoInk

We also have fair trade Palestinian embroidery items (here), amazing bedding (here), Pela phone cases (here: Pela Case) and more. Want more details? Check out the online store page on the website.

NOTE: These are all affiliate programs. By clicking on the links before making your purchase, you are helping to support the sustainability work that this website is doing, along with supporting the many sustainable businesses that I partner with. Thank you for your support! Happy browsing! 🙂

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Donations of any size are gratefully accepted to help cover the costs of maintaining this website. Click here to donate. Thank you for your support!

Categories: Lucky Iron Fish, Online Store | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Consulting/Coaching – New Services Added: Plant-Based Eating Made Easy :)

As the pandemic shutdown continues, with some restrictions lifting in various places, several things have shifted, particularly around how we, collectively, source and prepare food. People are baking more – yeast shortages, unheard of before, are now a common occurrence, with flour and other supplies flying off of the shelves. At the same time, increased discussion regarding the possible/likely links related to our current mainstream factory farms/animal food systems (in terms of individual health, zoological diseases and their role in this pandemic, and overall climate health) has increasing numbers of people seeking out more plant-based options.

At the same time, when switching key aspects of how we buy and prepare food, many people struggle with how to make that transition, particularly when also managing other aspects related to living in a pandemic.

Help is on the way! Are you looking for help with plant-based eating? I am now offering coaching sessions – all about how to switch to plant-based eating, whether you want to go 100% plant-based, or start with a few simple changes to how you eat.

Sessions will be customized, depending on what you are looking for, and where you are starting from, and may include, among other things:

– learning simple tricks and ideas about how to switch to more plant-based eating

– finding recipes or resources to help make meal planning, or travelling easier

– sharing and exploring resources related to reasons for switching to plant-based eating

– switching to reduced waste and/or plastic with food purchasing, storage and prep

– other items as requested.

You may choose one-on-one, or invite a few friend to form a group, or book a larger group session. I will do my best to customize sessions to where you are at – whether you are looking for quick and easy or more complex food projects.

NOTE: I am not a certified nutritionist. You are responsible for your own health decisions. I am here to help provide ideas, work with you and to share my experience on the journey towards plant-based eating.

Questions? Want more information? Curious about rates? (I aim to keep my rates as affordable as possible for everyone!) Go to the website and contact me for details. I look forward to hearing from you! 🙂

Categories: Food and Emisssions, Freelancing, Plant-Based Coaching, Plant-Based Eating, The China Study | Leave a comment

Online Store: New Items Added – TruEarth Laundry Strips and Pela Phone Cases

I am very pleased to announce that two new items have been added to the online store! As of today, TruEarth Eco Laundry Strips, as well as Pela Compostable Phone Cases are both available!

Details are on the online store page – here.

Want to go straight to the manufacturer’s website to put in an order or learn more? You can do that as well: Pela and TruEarth.

Stay tuned for more details. I am hoping to have more items in the store in the next few weeks.

Happy Browsing! 🙂

Categories: Online Store | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Happy Monday – and a Few Great Quotes

I saw a quote on social media few days ago, and am sharing it here. While I was searching for that one, I came across a couple of others, that I am sharing as well. Happy Monday!

These quotes are relevant in all of the areas that we talk about here – development, food, sustainability and others. As we all deal with this pandemic, and the climate crisis, our collective failure to listen to experts – who have been calling for massive changes to prevent a climate crisis for decades – can not be ignored. Changes to our choices – individually and collectively – need to be radically rethought, so that we come out of this pandemic with a Green New Deal (in various forms, locally and globally), with related changes to how we live, work, eat, use energy, get from place to place and support each other collectively, among others.

Here

And a couple more…

Here
Here

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Donations to support this work are graciously accepted. Details on the website. Thank you for your support!

Categories: Climate Change, COVID 19 Pandemic, Food and Emisssions, Fossil fuel divestment, International development, NGO, Plant-Based Eating | Tags: , | Leave a comment

What I’m Reading: Three Cups of Deceit (A Fact Check and Response to “Three Cups of Tea”)

Jon Krakauer

Based on wide-ranging interviews with former employees, board members, and others who have intimate knowledge of Mortenson and his charity, the Central Asia Institute, Three Cups of Deceit uncovers multiple layers of deception behind Mortenson’s public image. Was his crusade really inspired by a desire to repay the kindness of villagers who nursed him back to health when he became lost on his descent down K2? Was he abducted and held for eight days by the Taliban? Has his charity built all of the schools that he has claimed? This book is a passionately argued plea for the truth, and a tragic tale of good intentions gone very wrong.

100% of Jon Krakauer’s proceeds from the sale of Three Cups of Deceit will be donated to the “Stop Girl Trafficking” project at the American Himalayan Foundation (www.himalayan-foundation.org/live/project/stopgirltrafficking).

Jon Krakauer

When Three Cups of Tea was first released, the book suddenly became frequently talked about – at least in some development circles. In my circles, responses seemed to fall (very roughly and unscientifically) down two lines – those who thought it was an inspiring and fact-filled story, proving that all you need to be an excellent NGO worker is to be a nice person with a nice story and, on the other hand, those of us (mainly people in the NGO world in some way), who saw countless red flags, both in his story and in the development model he was advocating for. Full disclosure: From the beginning, I have been firmly in the second camp.

Having heard bits and pieces over the years about the follow up from the original book, and then his second book, I hadn’t thought about it for a long time, until an unrelated discussion happened to bring it to my attention. A quick search, and some reading, got me at least partly caught up on what has happened in recent years.

Many of my concerns with the original book, and the work that followed, are covered in detail in Three Cups of Deceit. Without writing a full dissertation on everything that is wrong with Three Cups of Tea, I will summarize a few primary concerns here. These are my points (ie not quoted directly from Three Cups of Deceit), but they are generally shared among various critiques that have been written of Three Cups of Tea:

1) It promotes the idea (long ago disproven) that work in development requires only that someone “be a nice person who wants to help”. As with countless other jobs, being a nice person is obviously required, but is in no way a substitute for professional expertise or knowing what you are doing/how to do it well. And, ultimately, the damage done by poorly managed development projects is so destructive (to communities and to other organizations), that being “naive but well-intentioned and nice” results in impacts that are actually not a very nice for others at all.

2) It is overwhelmingly, factually inaccurate. It is fiction posing as non-fiction.

3) It is extremely disrespectful of communities that he claims to want to serve and help. The focus is on him and his imaginary hero-story – where he is the knight in shining armour saving helpless communities from themselves. He sees himself as Santa Claus, dropping in from the outside to deliver gifts, then leaving again. That is not development – it is the epitomy of White Saviour Complex.

4) It promotes a model of development that is not grounded at all in modern best practices, and is actively harmful in many ways – far more than can all be identified in one post. His model promotes a world-view that is highly colonialist, disrespectful of others, and not effective at achieving his stated goals. For example, putting funds towards teacher training or other things would have had a greater positive impact on education than putting it towards construction. That said, given that he seems to have kept most of the funds for himself, it can’t even be said that he put the money towards construction – but that was the theoretical aim, it seems.

5) The active mismanagement of funds and other problems risks decreased trust, by the general public, of the work that really good NGOs are doing. Hopefully, the reverse is true, and people will learn from this, and really appreciate the excellent, transparent and accountable work that countless good NGOs are doing. 🙂

I am grateful to the author of Three Cups of Deceit (and others), for doing the hard work to fact check an organization that has been unaccountable for far too long. Based on what I was able to find currently, I was not able to (in a fairly brief search), definitively determine the current status of the organization. That said, I can say definitively that it is not an organization I would donate to, or recommend that others donate to. If you have a copy of Three Cups of Tea on your shelf, consider replacing it with Krakauer’s well-written critique, instead.

Want to read more about this? Here are a few more resources, with a few key quotes. All are well worth reading.

(Note that some of the resources on this topic are a number of years old, from when some of the more significant allegations of corruption and misuse of funds came to light publicly).

How the U.S. military fell in love with ‘Three Cups of Tea’ Washington Post

“No amount of tea with Afghans will persuade them that we are like them, that our war is their war or that our interests are their interests,” said Michael Miklaucic, a longtime official with the U.S. Agency for International Development who is currently serving at the Pentagon’s National Defense University. “The war in Afghanistan isn’t about persuasion or tea. It is about power.” (Italics mine).

WP

What Mortenson Got Wrong The New Yorker

Another reason I’ve always had trouble talking about Mortenson’s books is that it’s hard to give an alternative for people who feel the need to act. Even before the reports of C.A.I.’s mismanagement, I saw little value in this model of development. It’s centered around a foreigner, and the foreigner has no special expertise in either education or Central Asia. Even a balanced and reasonable individual is likely to fail in this situation. 

The New Yorker

Three Cups of BSForeign Policy

Over the last 50 years of studying international development, scholars have built a large body of research and theory on how to improve education in the developing world. None of it has recommended providing more school buildings, because according to decades of research, buildings aren’t what matter. Teachers matter. Curriculum matters. Funding for education matters. Where classes actually take place? Not really. (Italics mine).

Foreign Policy

Here are a few more:

CharityWatch Hall of Shame: The Personalities Behind Charity Scandals and

3000 Cups of Deceit by Jon Krakauer.

Categories: International development, NGO | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

We have to wake up: factory farms are breeding grounds for pandemics – Guardian

We have to wake up: factory farms are breeding grounds for pandemics: Covid-19’s history is not yet fully known, but the links between animal and human health could not be clearer Guardian

NOTE: During this pandemic, and always, immediate safety, health and other concerns come before discussion on other related issues. Discussion on policies during the pandemic, their implications and choices we make collectively for the future do not, in any way, minimize the impacts of the present crisis.

While this pandemic continues, and most of the world remains locked down, it feels imperative to me to try to look at root causes, as a way to reduce the chances that this happens again. This does not minimize the work that countless people are doing to find a treatment etc. However, I think we can all agree that working to prevent the next pandemic is at least as important as addressing the current crisis. To be clear, information on this current pandemic is rapidly changing. I am focusing on a combination of what we know about this pandemic in the present, as well as what seems to be clear about trends, related to animals, food systems and climate change, in broader terms.

……..

Following up from a few days ago, there is more evidence that factory farming – and the general systems through which most of the world gets animal products (including meat, dairy and eggs) is an overwhelming contributor to the disease spread which leads to pandemics and the type of crisis that we are in right now.

Pathogens do not respect species boundaries, either. Influenza and coronaviruses move fluidly between human and animal populations, just as they move fluidly between nations. When it comes to pandemics, there is not animal health and human health – not any more than there is Korean health and French health. Social distancing works only when everyone practises it, and “everyone” includes animals. (Bold mine)

Guardian

So, the evidence is clear, The question is only related to how we respond to the clear risk to our own health (personally, communally and for the climate), that this evidence presents to us.

To reduce risk of pandemics for ourselves, our gaze needs to turn to the health of animals. In the case of wild animal populations, such as the bats that scientists have theorised as a probable origination point for Covid-19, the best solution seems to be to limit and regulate human interaction.

In the case of farmed animals, though, the lack of public understanding has allowed unscrupulous corporations to move policy in exactly the wrong direction. Across the globe, corporations have succeeded in creating policies that use public resources to promote industrial farming. One study suggests that the public is providing $1m per minute in global farm subsidies, overwhelmingly used to prop up and expand the current broken model. The same $1m a minute that promotes factory farming also increases pandemic risk. (Bold mine).

Guardian

What other systems are allowed to remain so pervasive in every day life, with consequences that are so profound, yet so unspoken? So, here’s today’s challenge. Let’s come out of this pandemic with at least one silver lining. Let’s make sure that we change our systems so that we have reduced our risk for the future. What does that look like practically?

Here are some next steps to consider. Pick, choose, adjust for your individual circumstances. 🙂

1) Stop eating animal products. Use up what you currently have in your fridge/freezer, and commit to not buying more after that.

2) Commit to only eating animal products from very small farms (eg a few backyard chickens etc), where the disease risks can (presumably) be managed, and we are not interfering with nature/wildlife (eg hunting etc). For overall climate emissions, a total consumption reduction is in order (especially for meat), but this is one way to still use eggs, for example, without the disease risks that come from larger operations.

These two are the fastest pathways to change, and are best for both disease prevention and climate health. Systems change, from a policy perspective, is very difficult, especially when large players are making money on the status quo.

Especially during this shutdown, stocking up on dried legumes and rice etc is not only easier and more sustainable, it’s also more cost effective. A large bag of brown rice and a few bags of dried lentils and chickpeas goes a long ways. 🙂

3) In addition to the above, a secondary level of change work is related to advocacy and policy change. After significantly reducing/eliminating the market for animal products from factory farms etc, creating strong policies to ensure better practices for the future is much easier, although it still often takes a long time.

Let me know what changes you are making in response to this challenge. I’d love to hear from you. 🙂

Hope everyone is staying safe!

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Categories: Climate Change, COVID 19 Pandemic, Food and Emisssions, Plant-Based Eating, The China Study, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

NYTimes: Bill Gates, at Odds With Trump on Virus, Becomes a Right-Wing Target

Bill Gates, at Odds With Trump on Virus, Becomes a Right-Wing Target NYT

This particular conspiracy theory – or at least parts of it – is one that I have seen circulating multiple times already on social media, and it is discouraging, to say the least. In an era in which strong, cooperative leadership and community – both local and global – are so important, engages in baseless conspiracy theories is wildly counterproductive.

To be clear, I do not agree with Bill Gates, or his foundation, on everything. I disagree with the tax and other systems that allowed him, and others, to become so wealthy. Also, naturally, as with any development organization or foundation, I don’t agree with every planning, programming or funding decision that he or the org have made (although I have spent only minimal time accessing, so that’s a fairly superficial assessment.)

Regardless of any policy or program disagreements that I may have, there is absolutely no place for these kinds of attacks or conspiracy theories. They are fundamentally inappropriate and must stop. I am no engaging on the specifics of the topic at hand here – just the fundamental process of how we engage in positive and meaningful public dialogue, including civil society, government, faith groups, non-profits, public health and others.

From that perspective, there are a few things that are needed, including:

– Respect: If we do not start from a fundamental place of respect for others, everything that comes later will be tainted. A strong civil society is better equipped to discern baseless conspiracy theories and not give them traction.

– Shared Values and an end to Polarization: Any conversation that becomes black and white, like this, is likely to end poorly. When the discussion becomes “I do option A and I’m right, so anybody who doesn’t do option A is bad”, the conversation has little value, and will likely do a lot of harm. To be very clear, that does NOT include tolerating hate speech of any kind, violence against anybody or other similar things. It does mean, however, that more cooperation and less polarization would do the world a lot of good right now. 🙂

– Cooperative, respectful leadership: Leaders that enflame tension, belittle others or use a crisis to justify their own authoritarian tendencies cause problems for everyone. Humble, cooperative and respectful leadership is needed from everyone.

So, here’s hoping for an end to the conspiracy theories, and a positive, cooperative, respectful future. Happy weekend everyone! 🙂

Categories: COVID 19 Pandemic, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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