Mark Your Calendar: Upcoming MOGO-esque Portland Area Events

I finally had a chance to update our Events page with some upcoming Portland area events. New ones include:

A World of Warfare: Dynamics of Conflict in the 21st Century
April 6-8
Lewis & Clark College Templeton Student Center, Council Chamber (615 SW Palatine Hill Rd) Portland
For the 47th annual International Affairs Symposium, learn about issues that surround warfare in the 21st century, from using private firms in war, to preparing for tomorrow’s conflicts to debating international law.
Free and open to the public.

Human Trafficking Information Session
Tuesday, April 7, 9:30 am – noon OR
Tuesday, April 21, 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Franciscan Spiritual Center (6902 SE Lake Road, Suite 300) Milwaukie, OR
“Join us for a fact-filled session conducted by the Oregon Coalition to Combat Trafficking in Persons. We will discuss the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, victim identification, victim needs, immigration relief for international victims and much more.”

Gluten-free Baking Class

Thursday, April 16 @ 7 pm
Sunnyside United Methodist Church (3250 SE Yamhill St.) Portland
Vegan baker and Try Vegan PDX member Chelsea Lincoln will be leading a class on gluten-free baking, from learning about different flours to learning to bake pancakes, biscuits and cupcakes. $10 fee for supplies.
Find out more.

Witness for Peace Northwest Speaker Tour: NAFTA Turns 15 Free Trade, Food Security and Migration in Mexico
Thursday, April 16th @ 7 pm
Multnomah Friends Meeting House (4312 SE Stark) Portland
A discussion with Baldemar Mendoza Jiménez, Agro-ecologist with the Union of Organizations of the Sierra Juarez, Oaxaca. Take a deeper look at the effects of NAFTA, including resistance to genetically modified (GMO) corn, the impact of migration on sending communities, and the struggle for food security in Oaxaca ’s indigenous communities.
This event is open to the public. Professional translation (English-Spanish) provided.

Isa Chandra Moskowitz Cooking Demo

Sunday, April 26 @ 2 pm
Hollywood Library (4040 NE Tillamook) Portland
Renowned vegan chef and Post Punk Kitchen founder Isa will be demoing delicious dishes.
Free tickets for seating will be given out 30 minutes prior to the program.

Let Live Activism series: Effective Tabling and Leafleting

Sunday, April 26 @ 2 pm
NW IDA Office (1732 NE Alberta St.) Portland
Vegan Outreach volunteer leafleters will be offering a training on effective leafleting. Topics covered will include:

  • Overcoming shyness
  • Choosing appropriate leafleting venues
  • Understanding your target demographic
  • Preparation of supplementary leafleting materials
  • First Amendment rights and other legal issues
  • Formulating effective responses to common questions

Check out the Events page to find more. Email us if you know of good MOGO-esque events happening in the area.


Ordinary Hero: 3 Cups of Tea, a Man Transformed, Thousands of Children Educated

In 1993 a failed mountain ascent by a climber led to an encounter with a tiny village in Pakistan and the children who had no school there, which led to transformation and a new life’s purpose. Greg Mortensen vowed to the children he met in that village that he would build them a school. Since then, Mortensen has helped establish nearly 80 schools for children in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and he has focused on educating girls, believing that “You can drop bombs, hand out condoms, build roads, or put in electricity, but until the girls are educated a society won’t change.”

Mortensen co-authored a book about his experiences, called Three Cups of Tea. The award-winning best-seller has inspired and motivated others, and it has been so popular that Mortensen has created a version for young adults, as well as a children’s book called Listen to the Wind.

Mortensen has also created a non-profit, the Central Asia Institute, to help with the education of children (especially girls) in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and Pennies for Peace, an educational and fundraising campaign for kids to learn more about helping other kids.

~ Marsha

It’s Time to Broaden Our Conception of Peace

(Please note: My apologies for the lack of posts this last week; I was preparing to present a workshop at a peace conference and didn’t have time to post anything.)

This last weekend I attended a peace and justice studies conference here in Portland, and led a workshop called “The World Becomes What You Teach: Manifesting Peace Through Humane Education.” It was my first peace conference, so I didn’t know quite to expect.

I enjoyed hearing from a variety of speakers. Some of my favorites were Jo Ann Bowman and Kayse Jama, who talked about the importance of addressing and discussing race in the peace movement, and of eliminating barriers that prevent people of color and people without a lot of money from participating more fully; Catherine Thomasson, who talked about the connection between global warming and war (and actually mentioned veganism!); Colonel Ann Wright, who was a career army vet who tendered her resignation because she couldn’t support the attack on Iraq (she also talked about the prevalence of sexual abuse and rape in the military); and Zahra AlKabi, an Iraqi native who gave an impassioned explanation of why Americans must do much more to stop the suffering of the Iraqi people.

Of course, it was saddening and disheartening to hear about all the violence and destruction and suffering that war brings to people all over the world. But, what I also found sad and disheartening was that I heard almost no one mention peace in any context other than as the antithesis of war. There were a couple of mentions of a connection to the environment. But, I didn’t hear anything about how peace is connected to media and marketing, or to animal cruelty and oppression, or to consumption, or other larger issues of social change. Isn’t peace more than just non-war? Isn’t it also non-violence of all kinds upon all beings? Isn’t it also non-oppression? Isn’t it also non-exploitation? Isn’t it also an awareness of the connections to poverty, hunger, pollution, food security, sexism, speciesism, and so on? Isn’t peace a positive and proactive and conscious pursuit of a humane world?

I also noticed that, while there was much focus on the evils of various governments and militaries and other systems, there was very little mention of the power of our own choices to make a positive difference. Part of my workshop included an exploration of the impacts of various products on people, animals and the planet, and an analysis of the different kinds of hidden suffering, destruction and oppression that the products in ads perpetrate on people, animals and the earth. I’m not sure that many of the members of my audience had even considered such connections.

People seem to equate peacemaking with demonstrations and rallies and protesting and pressuring the government to change. Certainly change at the governmental level is essential to a peaceful world. But so is recognizing the effects of our daily actions on everyone around us. The choices we make influence what happens to people, animals and ecosystems all over the world. If people don’t have adequate food, water, shelter, education, work and meaning in their lives, there certainly won’t be peace.

I think it’s time to broaden our conception of peace to include peace and justice for all. And to integrate the pursuit of humane daily choices as an important part of our peacemaking.

Two quotes I love by noted peacemakers that illustrate these points:

“To stop any suffering, no matter how small, is a great action of peace.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

“Peace is not a goal to be reached but a way of life to be lived.” ~ Desmond Tutu

~ Marsha

Mark Your Calendar: Fall Conferences (and Workshops) Worth Noting

One of the fortunate aspects of living in the Pacific Northwest is all the terrific conferences and events available throughout the year. Below are a few worth knowing about (though you’ll have to pick, as some share the same dates):

Peace and Justice Studies Association Conference
September 11-13, 2008
Portland, Oregon (at Portland State University)

This conference brings together educators, scholars, activists and others to “explore alternatives to violence and share visions and strategies for peace-building, social justice and social change.” This year’s theme is “Building Cultures of Peace.” Although it’s a bit pricey, this conference is jam-packed with sessions for peace-lovers of all types. And, if you’re interested, I’ll be leading a workshop on Saturday the 13th about the power of humane education to help manifest peace.

Nonviolence as a Way of Life Conference
September 11-14, 2008
Eugene, Oregon

This conference offers “workshops, panels, dialogues, play-shops and other activities focusing on inspirational and practical applications of nonviolence in all areas of human life.” Speakers include Marshall Rosenberg and Julia Butterfly Hill.

Living Earth Circles Workshop
September 27, 2008
Hood River, Oregon

Living Earth Gatherings is hosting this 1-day workshop designed to “provide the basis for ongoing Living Earth Circles, communities of practice where dialogue and deep reflection combine with creative, compassionate social action on the critical issues facing our communities and our world.”

Animal Law Conference

October 17-19, 2008
Portland, Oregon (at Lewis & Clark Law School)

Lewis and Clark Law School is hosting its 16th annual conference. This year’s theme is “One Earth: Globalism and Animal Law.” Although you may think that a law conference would be just for lawyers, there are some useful sessions for those interested in animal advocacy and in knowing more about legal issues that pertain to animal protection. There are some terrific speakers lined up for this conference. (Note: Unless you’re a student, it’s a bit pricey.)

October 17-19, 2008
San Rafael, CA (and Seattle, WA)

If you want to see some of the top environmental movers and shakers, check out the very popular Bioneers Conference. The conference brings together visionaries who are helping create a “healthy, equitable, diverse and beautiful world.” Since CA is a bit of a trip, you can also attend one of the satellite conferences, such as the one in Seattle, Washington. Satellite conferences include a mix of regional speakers and events and a live satellite of speakers from the national conference.

Sowing Seeds Workshop
October 24, 2008
Vancouver, B.C.

Interested in learning to teach others about the power of their choices? The Institute for Humane Education’s special 1-day workshop will teach you how to offer effective and transformative humane education programs in schools or your community. You’ll learn new activities that teach critical thinking about relevant issues of human rights, animal protection, environmental preservation, the media, and consumerism. (Full disclosure: I work for IHE. But, even if I didn’t I’d recommend the workshop; and I’ll definitely be attending!)

Do you know of other great conferences and workshops that people wanting to live a MOGO life would be interested in? Please share them!

~ Marsha

New Book Alert: At Rest with the Animals by Colman McCarthy

At Rest with the AnimalsSyndicated columnist, peace activist, peace instructor and founder/director of the Center for Teaching Peace, Colman McCarthy has turned his attention to our relationship with animals in At Rest with the Animals: Thoughts Over Thirty Years. Published this month through the Humane Society of the United States’ Humane Society Press, the book offers a collection of McCarthy’s essays from over more than three decades (most written during his time at the Washington Post), exploring “the human family’s sometimes cruel, sometimes kind relations with animals of all sizes and stripes.” (You can find out more about the book from one of HSUS CEO Wayne Pacelle’s blog posts.)

Since I haven’t yet read the book (it’s not even available at my public library yet), I can’t recommend it officially. However, I have read a couple of Mr. McCarthy’s books (2 are part of my own personal library), and his writing is amazing and inspiring, so I can only imagine that this book is, too.

McCarthy has been teaching courses and workshops on nonviolence and peace since 1982. When I read his book I’d Rather Teach Peace (highly recommended), I was incredibly inspired and so sad that I hadn’t been fortunate enough to be one of his students. I would have killed to be in his class! (Wait — that’s not nonviolent; uh, I would have really treasured being in his class.)

Just a few choice quotes from McCarthy:

“Wars aren’t stopped by fighting wars, any more than you can fight fire with fire. You fight fire with water. You fight violence with nonviolence.”

“Unless we teach our children peace, someone will teach them violence.”

“Over the years, I’ve had suggestions from other teachers to offer what they call ‘balance’ in my courses, that I should give students ‘the other side.’ I’m never sure exactly what that means. After assigning students to read Gandhi I should have them also read Carl von Clausewitz? After Martin Luther King’s essay against the Vietnam War, Colin Powell’s memoir favoring the Persian Gulf War? After Justice William Brennan and Thurgood Marshall’s views opposing the death penalty, George W. Bush and Saddam Hussein’s favoring it? After a woman’s account of her using a nonviolent defense against a rapist, the thwarted rapist’s side?”

So, email your local library and ask them to buy this book, and read his other books while you’re waiting. (And, once you’ve read his book(s), feel free to send us your review for potential posting.)

~ Marsha

MOGO Media: News You Can Use

Overcoming rage and revenge to promote peaceOde Magazine – 5/08
Profiles the stories of three people who have endured great hardship and tragedy, and have turned their loss into working for peace.

Choosy moms choose fruits and vegetables from farmers marketsPlenty -5/08
A new study recently published in the American Journal of Public Health reports that low-income families who are given the opportunity to buy fresh produce from farmers markets, prefer to spend money on fresh fruits and vegetables.

It’s a dam shameIndependent (UK) – 5/23/08
An alliance of indigenous leaders gathered in Altamira, Brazil, recently to try to stop plans for the construction of a hydroelectric dam. The dam would displace thousands of people and destroy their way of life.

One (hundred thousand) Tin Soldier(s)Common – 5/21/08
The Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers recently released a report stating that, although awareness about the issue of child soldiers has been raised, and efforts have increased, little has changed for the

“Little girls gone wild” – 5/20/08
Interviews Gigi Durham, author of the new book The Lolita Effect: The Media Sexualization of Young Girls and What We Can Do About It. The interview focused on the sexualization of young girls.

(Thanks Corporate Babysitter for the heads up.)

Kentuckians blowing their top over mountaintop removal operationsIndependent (UK) – 5/20/08
Reports on the impact the mountaintop removal coal mining is having in Kentucky and in the Appalachian mountains.

Portland, Oregon students to get new history lessonKGW – 5/18/08
The Portland, Oregon, public school district has decided to adopt a new textbook that will help students “see history in a different way,” including discussing some of Oregon’s early racist laws.

Are you gonna eat that?New York Times – 5/18/08
Reports on the large amount of food wasted by Westerners (especially Americans), and how some organizations are taking action.

Small steps toward saving horsesNew York Times – 5/17/08
Profiles organizations like LumberJack farm, which try to rescue and rehabilitate thoroughbreds to save them from being slaughtered.

Report reveals significant biodiversity lossCommon Dreams – 5/16/08
A report by the World Wildlife Fund, the Zoological Society of London, and the Global Footprint Network reveals that “biodiversity has plummeted by almost a third in the 35 years to 2005.”

Canadians concerned about food supply turning to urban agricultureVancouver Sun – 5/16/08
Reports about food security issues and what some people are doing to improve theirs.