Weekly e-Newsletter 3/16

Art of the Week

Give Peace Its Wings
by Karen I Shragg American writer, poet, and activist

I give peace its wings
Every time I cut the confining ropes of hatred
Every time I open my eyes to the bottlenecks of inequity
I give peace its wings
give it a home where it has never lived
Or taken root for long,
Every time I dismiss difference
And search for common ground
Every time I tune out false vilifiers
And plug into the universal music
That plays on the channels
of our common DNA.
I give peace its wings
When I refuse to be played like an instrument
To benefit someone’s greed
on channels of patriarchal agendas
thinly disguised as news.
I give peace its wings
When I choose to dance to a rhythm
of my own creation
Avoid the lies spewed
towards those whose history
has roots in another story.
I give peace its wings
when I find meaning in the journey of finding
More room for wild things
and a balance demanded in the heartbeat of
Nature’s calling
I give peace its wings
Every time I shun the language of those
Who beckon me to fight invented evil
When there is more than enough to go around
For peace does not allow me
to ignore the real bullies who march in
Against our will to clip our wings
fill their bank accounts with our sorrow
Dictating the need to
tether them to the ground
With ropes of blood stained resistance
And finally give peace its true wings.

About the poem Karen says, “This poem reflects the dilemma of hating war but knowing there are times when fighting back is required so that tyranny does not win. I would like to dedicate it to the memory of Lynn Elling. I was his vice president for awhile on the board of the peace organization World Citizen Inc., which he founded after experiencing the horrors of war.”

Upcoming Events

Bad News: UN Climate Report Addresses Threats to Maternal Health

Source: PBS News Hour

The latest report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) points to several deeply troubling signs about the climate crisis that must be immediately addressed. For the first time, the IPCC linked maternal health to climate change. Epidemiological research is showing associations between higher temperatures and low birth weight, stillbirths and other adverse pregnancy outcomes.

It also pointed out that climate change is causing greater damage at lower temperature increases than was previously thought. So far, the mean global temperature has been raised by approximately 1.1°C, (2°F) which has been enough to begin melting permafrost, significantly reduce agricultural productivity, dry out peatlands, and impact many animal and plant species through an increase in floods, droughts, and heatwaves.

Moreover, the report predicts that at an increase of 1.5°C, up to 14% of land species face “a very high risk of extinction”, and 8% of the world’s farmland is projected to become “unsuitable for farming”. At a 2.0°C increase, between 800 million and 3 billion people could begin to face chronic water shortages and severe malnutrition.

Sustainability Tip: 5 Reasons to Take a Nap

Taking a short nap may boost your energy, creativity and heart health. Credit: CNN

As this CNN article points out, take a nap, especially if you’re still tired from the switch to Daylight Saving Time:

“The time change actually inspired National Napping Day, which happens annually the day after the clocks move ahead.”

A NASA-funded study found that astronauts taking naps up to two and a half hours improved working memory performance.

Research shows that taking a nap once or twice a week for five minutes to an hour could lower the risk of heart attacks, strokes, or heart failure by 48%.

“A 2020 study focusing on women found the more sleep-deprived the women were, the more likely they were to consume added sugar, fatty foods and caffeine.”

And surprisingly, “napping has been found to improve the overall quality of even nighttime sleep.”

Weekly e-Newsletter

March 16, 2022
Editors: Amy Durr, Rae’Jean Alford
& Terry Gips

At the Alliance

It’s hard to believe we’re only two weeks from Earth Month. Please let us know if you would like to have a presentation at your work, school or organization on SHE Kindness (Sustainability, Health, Equity and Kindness).

Please contact us if you’re an educator who might be interested in reviewing our SHE Kindness School Program materials and helping in any way.

In addition, we’re looking for 20 middle and high schools (10 of which are in under-served communities) in Minnesota and across the country to do presentations. Please let us know at info@afors.org if you know of a school that might be interested.

We are excited to continue celebrating Women’s History Month with an amazing poem, spotlight, and song.
If there are any specific women or national campaigns celebrating women that you would like us to highlight in our newsletter please send us an email at info@afors.org . We also welcome your general newsletter submissions.

Women’s History Month Spotlight: School Teacher Collects Artifacts for 70 Years​

Elizabeth Meaders, a retired school teacher from Staten Island, shows part of her collection.
Photo by Islam Dogru / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Elizabeth Meaders, a retired school teacher from Staten Island, has spent seven decades collecting objects related to the history of Black Americans. Consisting of over 20,000 items, her work provides an unrivaled and detailed glimpse into the lives, triumphs, and tribulations of the African American experience with amazing breadth: artifacts cover slavery, the Civil War and abolitionists, the Civil Rights Movement, sports, show business, and African American women among many other areas of interest.

“The whole country has been negligent in teaching history, because African American history has been left out of the history books,” she says. “I call this a patriotic teaching and healing instrument, because when you are educated, you are healed.”

Learn more about Elizabeth Meaders’ wonderful collection here.

Q&A: A Solution to Reducing Pain at the Pump?

Credit: NBC News

Q: As Americans face sharply increasing gas prices contributing to inflation, many policymakers are suggesting a “gas tax holiday.” Would it be a good solution?

A: No. As Carola Binder, associate professor of economics at Haverford College, points out in this NPR interview, while removal of a federal and/or state gas tax would certainly reduce the immediate price of gas and provide some relief for low-income households that most feel the effects, the truth is that high income households spend the most on gas and would get the most relief. Far better would be to target relief to those most negatively impacted from inflation by providing them a direct payment or stimulus payment.

Binder also points out that the most the pump prices could be decreased is about 18 cents per gallon, so it wouldn’t be a huge savings. By our calculations that’s roughly only 4%, which is a relatively small price decrease on only one item, with overall inflation at roughly 8% and gas prices up 40% in January.

Finally, some are proposing a windfall profits tax on oil companies. However, she argues that it wouldn’t decrease prices consumers pay at the pump, and it would reduce domestic supply of oil and could backfire and actually increase gas prices in the long run.

See the whole interview here.

Take Action: Break Free from Plastic

Plastic contaminating our oceans. Photo by Naja Bertolt Jensen on Unsplash

The Break Free from Plastic Pollution Act of 2021, introduced to the U.S. Senate about a year ago, would be a monumental step forward in combating plastic waste. The legislation would phase out the use of single-use products, improve the responsibility of producers of certain products (single-use and beverage products, etc.) in mitigating their plastic waste output, increase recycling and compost rates nationwide and prevent plastic from entering human and animal food chains.

Please join the Alliance in supporting the American Sustainable Business Network and One Step Closer to Zero Waste’s collaborative initiative to pass the Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act, as well as similar pieces of legislation in Washington, New York, and California.

What to Watch

Watch Sarah Kay’s beautiful TED Talk “If I Should Have a Daughter,” a moving spoken poem about mothers’ wishes for their daughters. 

“Your voice is small, but don’t ever stop singing.”

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