Tuesday, January 29, 2008

SoJust MeetUp Next Wednesday Jan 30th at 7PM

Here is an event posting courtesy of Robbie Samuels of Socializing for Justice in Boston:

Are you looking for like-minded progressives to hang out with in Boston? Want to cross-promote your events and campaigns? Are you new to the area and looking for groups to get involved in? Are you psyched about building strong cross-issue coalitions?

Join Socializing for Justice at the Foggy Goggle* for Putting the SOCIAL Back in Social Justice IV
Wednesday, January 30th at 7PM
No program. No speaker. Just arrive and enjoy yourself.

RSVP (greatly appreciated!) at www.sojust.org - newcomers always welcome!

There will be drink and appetizer specials - 1/2 price appetizers, $7 pitchers of beer, and $12 fishbowls.

At Socializing for Justice (SoJust) events you can hang out with friends, make new ones, find a date, get the scoop on a job, and find out what's going on this weekend - political or social. And the best part is that SoJust members share your vision of building a more just world.

If you're involved with a group or project and want to spread the word bring flyers for the free lit table - and there'll be lots of opportunity to schmooze and network while sharing cheap pitchers of beer

*Sorry, this event is 21+ and the bathroom is located downstairs (no elevator).

The Foggy Goggle is across from the Hynes Convention Center at 911 Boylston Street.

$2 fee per person to cover group expenses.

From our FAQs:
"It's not very easy for me to meet new people and I'm not really one for small talk at bars."
We hear you. That's why at SoJust events, in addition to traditional name tags, we have "Ask Me About" and "Looking For" tags. That way you can slap whatever you're into lately up on your shirt and wait for fellow SoJusters to approach you. These seem to do the trick of moving past the basic "where do you live? what do you do for work?" questions to conversations that lead to more substantial connections.

"What actually happens at events?"
You'll always be greeted by friendly folks who can help get you socializing, introduce you to people, and chat with you about questions or wishes. It's likely a few people will be there promoting their campaigns and issues (yes, SoJust welcomes that sort of behavior). At our bigger events, there's always a literature table to toss down flyers, postcards, and other paraphenalia about events around town. Most importantly, we can pretty much guarantee there will be someone there you've never met before. As one of our members said, "You are bringing together people who might never get together otherwise - if that ain't a step towards justice I don't know what is."

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Green Up Your Next Event

According to Greg Christian's publicist, Tali Hylen, "There is a growing trend to “go green” when it comes to event planning as more businesses and organizations recognize their social and environmental responsibilities. People are gaining consciousness about the considerable environmental costs and environmental waste involved with catered parties, and are working to find ways to decrease their collective ecological footprint. As the push to conserve energy and reduce wasteful operations is on the rise, one Chicago caterer is pleased to announce that his company will now expand to offer green and sustainable services for all elements involved with catered events.

Greg Christian Catering and Events offers such ‘green’ services as: natural, healthy, organic sustainable menus, invitations printed on recycled paper, biodegradable service ware, eco-friendly cleaning supplies, on and off-site composting and recycling, and numerous other ideas to help transform Chicago corporate meetings and parties, weddings and special events into green events. He also practices water conservation, offers re-usable living botanical centerpieces, and donates un-served foods to local food banks." How cool is that? I personally don't have catered events, but if I did, I would certainly look for a caterer as ecologically conscious as Greg. I have been to a few corporate meetings/events, and I'm usually shocked at all the stuff that gets thrown away. Perhaps if more conscious consumers got on the planning committees of these events, there would be a lot more caterers like Greg.

Greg says, "The reason we are including food miles to the recipe is to raise peoples consciousness to how far their food travels. The biggest polluter in the world is the global food system. Period. To lesson this pollution-chefs need to pay more attention to this-for the right reason. Chefs say they buy local for flavor. This is a good start-but the real reason should be -to save Mother Earth from all the pollution we-as chefs-contribute. When chefs start talking about food miles-people will listen-and pay more attention to where there food comes from. When chefs talk about better flavor-people will be a bit less apt to buy local-since getting to a farmers market-is very inconvenient for most-----so I will educate chefs to talk food miles-when they realize the pollution they are saving-and they pass this knowledge to their customers-real change will happen faster-so we can heal Mother Earth--and last as a species."

For more information about Greg Christian Catering and events, please visit www.gregchristian.com. If you don't live in the Chicago area, you might have luck finding a ecologically minded caterer in Co-op America's National Green Pages. They only have 30 restaurants/caterers listed so far, but one just might be in your neck of the woods. Alternately, you might talk to your caterer about your preferences, and educate them in the process. Go local, go durable, go organic, and try for zero waste!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Nonprofit Career Fair in Boston

Idealist.org is co-sponsoring a Nonprofit Career Fair in Boston on Tuesday, February 5th from 12pm – 4pm. The free
event is hosted by Boston University's Community Service Center, and will be held at Boston University’s George Sherman Union, at 775 Commonwealth Avenue.

This free career fair, for which 110 organizations have already signed up, is a great opportunity to learn about a wide variety of
jobs, internships, volunteer positions, and fellowships in the nonprofit sector. If you have been meaning to volunteer somewhere but haven't gotten around to it, or if you are thinking of a career in the nonprofit sector, this is a great chance to see what opportunities are out there in the Boston area.

Jillian Glazer, of Idealist.org goes on to say:
"People from every experience level, including undergraduate and grad-school students, experienced professionals (both from within the nonprofit sector and those transitioning from business and government), as well as other members of the community are welcome to attend.

For more information, and to register (it's free, but we need to know how many people to expect), please go to:

and click on Boston in the list of cities on the right-hand side. Then, scroll down the page until you see the Registration for Job Seekers on the right, across from the list of registered organizations.

The 2008 Boston Nonprofit Career Fair is co-sponsored by the Brandeis University Hiatt Career Center, and this year our national series of Idealist Career Fairs is generously sponsored by e - NYU's Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service - and by Commongood Careers.

If you don't live in Boston, have no fear! Check out http://www.idealist.org/fairs to see if Idealist is hosting a non-profit fair in your fair city.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Afterlife of Cellphones - New York Times

Here's a great article on what happens to cellphones after you throw them out or send them back to the manufacturer. E-waste is becoming a big problem because we keep replacing our months-old gadgets with newer, shinier ones.

Lots of websites have information on how to donate your cell phone or how to start your own donation drive for your organization. If you live in the Boston area, you can donate your old cellphones to The Network/La Red, which uses them in their LGBT domestic violence program. You can find donation boxes at places like Wainwright Bank.

The best way to reduce e-waste, of course, is to use electronics until the very bitter end, and then recycle them. Hopefully we can all help reduce this toxic waste!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

What Happens within the First Hour of Drinking a Cola?

Here we thought the bad news about buying cola products was the multiitude of maladies wrought by the multinational corporate purveyors of the product. Here's some other bad news about the stuff.

-10 minutes: 10 teaspoons of sugar hit your system, which is 100 percent of your recommended daily intake. You'd normally vomit from such an intake, but the phosphoric acid cuts the flavor.

-20 minutes: Your blood sugar skyrockets. Your liver attempts to maximize insulin production in order to turn high levels of sugar into fat.

-40 minutes: As your body finishes absorbing the caffeine, your pupils dilate, your blood pressure rises, and your liver pumps more sugar into the bloodstream.

-45 minutes: Your body increases dopamine production, tricking you into feeling pleasure and adding to the addictiveness of the beverage.

-60 minutes: The sugar crash begins.

Source- Dr. Mercola: http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_9665.cfm

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Another reason to give up plastic water bottles

In case you are still using colored Nalgene bottles, or other polycarbonate #7 plastics for drinking, you might want to read the Boston Globe article, "Is Plastic making us fat? . Recent research findings have linked the endocrine disrupter bisphenol A to animal obesity and an increase in fat cells. No wonder my diet hasn't been working!

"A recent US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study found that about 93 percent of the US population had bisphenol A, a chemical that can be found in canned goods and in hard, clear plastic items such as baby bottles and hiking containers, in their body. A study at the University of Missouri-Columbia showed that mice fed bisphenol A during early development - at lower amounts than what would have resulted in the levels found in most people in the CDC study - become markedly more obese as adults than those that weren't fed the chemical. Tufts University scientists observed similar phenomenon in rats."

My advice is to swich to stainless steel water bottles like Sigg bottles (available at Whole Foods and REI) or to bring glass mason jars with lids (not as handy for travel but it could work at the office).

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch

While I'm on the light-hearted topic of garbage, let's talk about the great mass of plastic bags floating in the northern Pacific Ocean, called by some as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

Yes, there's a large mass of plastic bags and other unbiodegradable things floating in the middle of the ocean, collected there by the currents pattern and left to disintegrate into small pieces, where they are eaten by sealife and enter the ocean food chain. Because it's in no country's territory, there's no specific party that is responsible for cleaning it up. Thus, it sits there, accumulating plastic, growing bigger every day.

I don't really have anything cheery to say about this, now, it's just another part of our altered environment. I just hope we figure out what to do before it's too late.

Naples: the Proverbial Canary?

The end of the world has come to Naples, Italy: there's no place to put the trash.

The city's garbage has been piling up in the streets since December, when the last landfill was closed. New incinerators are not yet operational, and the residents of neighboring countries are, understandably, not thrilled to take other people's garbage into their own land. People's health is at risk, especially with illegal burnings, dumpings into the ocean, and just sitting there, on the street, rotting.

Although part of Naples' problem can be attributed to politics and organized crime, I'd argue that part of it is the modern lifestyle, with tons of disposable items being used every day, little composting, and the stuff you don't want can just be magically taken away on garbage day.

Our way of living is starting to stink!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Ten Personal Solutions to Global Warming

Let's continue this week with a few more life-changing lists!

The Union of Concerned Scientists has put out a list of "Ten Personal Solutions" to combat global warming in your own life.

The Green Guide's Top Ten gives great tips on little things you can do, like shortening your shower time, that will add up to a lot of CO2 being saved in the atmosphere.

If you know of any other lists, or have any of your own tips on how to fight global warming in your life, leave us a comment!

Monday, January 07, 2008

The Rule of Finite Spaces

The post-holiday weeks can be very stressful for parents, who have to try to assimilate all the cool new stuff that their kids get into playrooms, bedrooms, and living rooms. Most conscious consuming parents out there implore the relatives to limit gifts; we ask for no gifts, experience gifts (like lessons or museum memberships), consumable gifts (like art supplies), or green gifts. But do the relatives listen? If you are a parent you know the answer.

So what to do with all the new stuff? I have tried to teach my children The Rule of Finite Spaces. We have a basket for doll clothes; when the basket is full it is time to donate some doll clothes to children who have less. We have a hamper for dress up, two shelves for books, a basket for stuffed animals, you get the picture. My children are only 4 and 7, but even they can see that when the basket/box/shelf is full, something has to go. Many parents feel a need to get rid of some older stuff with the holiday onslaught of new stuff. Some moms I've talked with do their playroom "clean out" while the kids are asleep. While I've been tempted to go that route (because it would save me from the endless "But I still play with that, mom!"), I feel like my children would miss an important lesson.

The ability to let go of attachment to your stuff is a process, and it's not necessarily easy. As a child I was a "saver." I saved all my birthday cards, photos, mementoes, souvenirs, etc. If you can believe it when my mother finally made me clear out boxes from her attic in my 20's I found boxes of stuffed animals and my Girl Scout uniform (I know, "what a loser!"). Clearly I was attached to my stuff, and it was hard to break out of that. Ultimately, though, I found the ability to let go of once prized treasures quite liberating.

I am trying to teach my children these lessons in increments:
Our stuff doesn't define us.
Our homes are finite spaces.
If you got something new, let go of the old one and give it to someone who has less.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Go see Reverend Billy's movie!

Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping is one of our favorites, which is why we're so glad that his movie is in theatres! Produced by Morgan Spurlock, What Would Jesus Buy? is an entertaining lesson to us all about how obsessed Americans are about shopping.

If the movie isn't in a theatre nearby, never fear! Reverend Billy may be preaching in your hometown very soon!