WebSpotlight: FlavorVegan

Looking for some tasty vegan recipes to try? Our own Portland MOGO member Chelsea L. has started her own blog, FlavorVegan, to promote and celebrate “flavor — in food and in life.”

Recent tasty recipes include sugar cookies, pumpkin pie with an almond crust, blueberry bundt cake and Soyrizo empanadas. Yum!

And Chelsea definitely knows her recipes, as she’s a recipe developer for Bob’s Red Mill (so if you’ve tried some of their mixes, you’ve probably tried one of the recipes she’s created).

~ Marsha

Image courtesy of FlavorVegan.

Wayne Pacelle in the News, Leading the Charge to Help Farmed Animals

With less than a week to go until the election, most people are focused on the presidential race. (I know my stomach is clenched tighter than a clam, and I wince and peek with only one eye when I check the latest polls and speculations.) But the Proposition 2 race in California will have an equally significant impact for millions of farmed animals. As you may know, if passed, the California Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act would phase out the use of gestation and veal crates, as well as battery cages.

There have been an enormous number of people and organizations working on behalf of farmed animals and Proposition 2. But every campaign needs a spokesperson, and one of the most visible and vocal advocates of Prop 2 has been Wayne Pacelle, CEO of the Humane Society of the United States. (Pacelle and HSUS are responsible for initiating the ballot initiative.) Recently there has been a bit of press about and by him, which I though was worth sharing. The New York Times recently ran a great feature story about Pacelle, Prop 2 and the animal protection movement, and the LA Times ran an op-ed from Pacelle about Prop 2 in Sunday’s paper. The Huffington Post also recently ran a story about Pacelle and Proposition 2. A columnist at Examiner.com talks about Prop 2 and mentions that, although he’s a proud meat eater, he’s impressed with Pacelle’s strategies and that Pacelle “seems to be a voice of sanity from animal rights groups.

If you haven’t checked out Pacelle’s blog, A Humane Nation, be sure to do so. It’s on my RSS feeds.

~ Marsha

WebSpotlight: Spread Those Small Acts of Kindness – It Adds Up

Stop for a moment and think about how you felt the last time someone — especially a stranger — did something kind for you. It might have touched you, inspired you, surprised you…even made you a little suspicious. When we reach out to people with acts of kindness, no matter how small, they can make an enormous positive difference. Imagine if a million people decided to do one act of kindness for a stranger each day. Imagine if everyone did. Imagine if each and every daily act were an act of kindness. That would be quite a world. Why not start creating that world today? Here’s a little help:

Portland MOGO member Michael L. forwarded me a link to HelpOthers.org, which he found via StumbleUpon. HelpOthers.org defines itself as a “portal dedicated to small acts of kindness.” The site focuses on the power of paying kindness forward in several ways. People can download or order smile cards: do an anonymous kind act for someone, and leave them a “tag” card, encouraging them to engage in a kind act for someone else. There are inspirational stories about people doing kindnesses for others. You can join a Smile Group and commit to doing an act of kindness a week and sharing with your group mates. You can find ideas for spreading kindness. And you can comment on the submissions of others. It’s such a simple concept, but it has the capacity to touch millions of lives and help set a standard for a new way of living in the world. Check it out and get your smile (and inspiration) for the day.

If you’re looking for even more ideas for spreading kindness, or want to extend the concept to your school, work place or community, browse the ideas suggested at the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation.

And, in case you haven’t heard about the Free Hugs Campaign, explore this simple way to spread kindness, and check out the video that started it all:

And then, go hug someone, and commit to spreading acts of kindness every day. You’ll be glad you did.

~ Marsha

MOGOing Around Portland: Transition PDX

If you’re concerned about issues such as peak oil, water and food shortages, the global climate crisis and other systems whose decline will have a major impact on humanity’s way of life, you might be interested in knowing about Transition PDX, which is an initiative beginning here in the Portland area to help move our community “from oil dependency to local resilience.”

A group of people have begun meeting to explore ways of informing and positively affecting the community regarding the transition town concept, as well as developing a vision of what a transition community would look like and how it might function.

The Transition towns movement was developed by Rob Hopkins as a response to the need for a new way of thinking and living beyond our oil-based culture. There’s a book, a downloadable primer, a wiki, and a couple of websites, as well as transition groups that are being established around the U.S. and the UK.

I found out from an acquaintance that there’s a “Social Change Forum” meeting at People’s Co-op (3029 SE 21st ) this Wednesday, October 29 at 7 pm. I’m not sure if it’s related to the Transition PDX project or not, but some of the goals seem similar.

If you’re especially interested in issues surrounding peak oil, there’s also a Portland Peak Oil group that meets regularly.

~ Marsha

Greensumption: A Reminder That We Can’t Buy Our Way to a Humane World

With green being the new black and ethical consumption one of the hottest trends, people are putting their dollars to work supporting green businesses, products and services. While buying ethically is an excellent and important step on the way to a humane world, consumption is still consumption. In order for that compassionate, sustainable, just world, with resources enough for everyone (including the animals) to flourish, we’re going to have to significantly reduce our consumption — especially we Westerners, who gobble up the planet’s resources at an alarming and unsustainable rate.

Recently I came across a little video from the International Forum on Globalization. The video (just under 5 minutes) uses satire to remind viewers that we can’t buy our way to a sustainable world. Greensumption celebrates shopping against climate change, lauding such actions as buying a Prius for every member of the family or greening your 10,000 square foot second home.

Share this with your friends and family who’ve been limiting their MOGO (Most Good) choices to jumping on the ethical consumerism bandwagon.

~ Marsha

Image courtesy of ralphbijker.

World Got You Down? Get Reinspired With These Videos

If we focus on the realities of the world — the poverty, injustice, destruction, suffering, cruelty — it’s easy to want to dive into bed, throw the covers over our heads and hide, or to give a big sigh, give up on trying to make a difference and shrink our circle of concern to our most immediate needs and relationships. Because mainstream media often doesn’t cover the positive changes occurring, it’s easy to forget that there ARE positive changes occurring — a lot of them. It’s also easy to forget how much power we as individuals have in the choices that we make every day.

But people have begun to notice something: a shift is happening. More people and organizations are doing more…all over the world. In my work I’ve come across many resources, including these short videos, which have inspired me to hold onto my hope and continue my walk down a more compassionate, sustainable path.

The next time you’re ready to hide or give up, take a few minutes to let videos like these reinspire you:

The Shift — “We are in the middle of the biggest social transformation in human history.”
(About 6 minutes long)

A favorite quote from the short film:

“Making the world a better place is not only your responsibility, it is your joy, it is your blessing, it’s your gift. It is your opportunity to make your life mean something. So take it.”

Blessed Unrest — “How the largest movement in the world came into being and why no one saw it coming.” (About 6 minutes long)

A clip from Paul Hawken’s speech at the 2006 Bioneers, based on his book, Blessed Unrest.

The Power of One — “The power of one is the power to do something. Anything.”
(About 1 minute long)

A brief, powerful clip from the Earth Communications Office. I use this clip for some of my humane education presentations. It always makes me tear up — and feel very inspired.

What reinspires you?

~ Marsha

MOGOing Around Portland: The Portland Fruit Tree Project

Part of choosing MOGO (Most Good) means reducing waste, eating locally-produced foods when possible, eating healthfully, and building community, so I was excited to discover a group here in Portland called the Portland Fruit Tree Project. The group’s mission is to:

“…increase equal access to fresh, healthy food and foster stronger communities by empowering neighbors to share in the bounty and care of urban fruit and nut trees. We strive to increase community knowledge-sharing and self-sufficiency through education in food preservation and fruit tree cultivation.”

People around Portland who have fruit or nut trees they’d like to share with others can register their trees and then, when the time is ripe, host a harvesting party. Volunteers harvest the goodies and get a share (the other share goes to people in need). People can also register their trees as “open harvest,” which means that volunteers can harvest from the trees during a certain time period and following certain criteria.

The organization also hosts workshops on topics such as food canning and preservation and tree care.

If you’re interested in getting involved this fall, there’s a Harvesting Party in North Portland this Saturday, October 25.

If you know of other organizations in the Northwest doing MOGO things, be sure to let us know.

~ Marsha

Photo courtesy of Portland Fruit Tree Project.