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March 1, 2013 6:00am
Julia Butterfly Hill: Psyche by name...
It is one thing to want to act; it is another thing to take action; and it is an another thing still to act consciously to bring about lasting change.
Sometimes the most effective activism takes place during ordinary encounters with family, friends, and even strangers—each interaction a chance to educate by example, embodying our ethical beliefs as best we can. In Living Among Meat Eaters
, Carol Adams helps us become more aware of the message we're sending, with self-tests, strategies, meditations on vegetarianism, and tips for dining out and entertaining at home when meat eaters are on the invite list.
In Consciousness in Action: The Power of Beauty, Love, and Courage in a Violent Time
, Andrew Beath has gathered the wisdom of several leading spiritual activists (John Mack, Julia Butterfly Hill, and others) to show how right mind and right livelihood can bring about enormous change. The activists talk about aligning their spiritual values with their wish to bring about social and political change.
Will Tuttle in The World Peace Diet: Eating for Spiritual Health and Social Harmony
offers a powerful and polemical call for us to recognize that our choices not only impact the lives of others but also make us healthy or sick. We can no longer separate our lives from the lives of the beings who live with us on this planet, and, conversely, working for the good of others is working for the good of ourselves.
September 21, 2012 6:00am
Kate Lawrence: Practical Peacemaker
How do we make peace? Sometimes making peace means not
doing violent things; sometimes it means actively resisting violence; sometimes it means creating a life that prevents violence from happening in the first place; sometimes it means all three of these.
David Kidd decided to make peace proactive—as a response to environmental disaster. In Growing America
, he recounts how when he learned about global warming in the years of the administration of G. H. W. Bush he decided to organize his local community to plant trees. And that's what he did. Twelve million of them. But Growing America
is much more than about planting trees. It's also about David's commitment to peaceful resolution of conflict, his vegetarianism and his meditative practices, and his vision for a vibrant civil society, fully engaged in striving toward a more perfect union both at home and throughout the world.
, pattrice jones makes peace by advising people on how to resist violence—while ensuring that they themselves retain some degree of peace of mind in the face of shocking violence. In Making Their Own Peace
, Ann Madsen reflects on Muslim, Christian, and Jewish women in Jerusalem who have struggled to live peaceful lives in a spirit of tolerance and interreligious dialogue in that war-torn city.
Judy Carman expresses her peace through a meditation on the meaning of ahimsa
, or non-violence, in Peace to All Beings
; while Kate Lawrence provides in The Practical Peacemaker
insights and tips on how to be a peacemaker in your everyday life.
Finally, of course, Lantern publishes a woman who received an award for peace—and a pretty big one at that: Wangari Maathai
, recipient of the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize. She made peace her mission through doing what David Kidd does: plant trees. She also fought to stop the systemic violence to communities and ecosystems from governmental malfeasance and greed.
For more on the International Day of Peace, click here
June 27, 2012 10:36am
The question is always thrown at me in the most random moments—in the middle of a biology lab, during a tennis team pasta party, or even at a Yale campus interview. And each time, I wonder how to answer it. Throughout most of high school, I gave people an answer that was easy to grasp: for the environment. Not many people bother to argue with hard numbers—who would dispute the amount of carbon dioxide released into the air per pound of meat, the inefficiency of producing a given weight of beef as opposed to potatoes, deforestation per half-pound hamburger? But I always knew that the reason for my vegetarianism was far more complex than just being purely environmental.
A few months ago, my cell phone buzzed late at night, signaling a text message. I was awake reading a book, and fumbled around before flipping my phone open. "So," it read, "I'm vegetarian now…"
May 31, 2012 6:00am
David Kidd: He's never met a seedling he didn't want to plant
On the face of it, Wangari Maathai
and David Kidd
might not seem to have much in common.
One is a former Vietnam veteran and Transcendental Meditator; the other was a social justice and women's rights campaigner from Kenya who was the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. Yet both had an abiding passion and concern. They both feared the collapse of the world's ecosystems and the advent of global warming, and both found an answer to it: They planted trees. Millions of them. David Kidd planted twelve million trees throughout the United States as part of his American Free Tree program. Wangari Maathai planted forty million trees throughout Kenya with the Green Belt Movement, her grassroots environmental and civil rights movement that not only reforested whole swathes of her country but was instrumental in overturning the corrupt regime that ruled Kenya for twenty-five years.
Kidd and Maathai were both Arbor Day Foundation award winners and both understood that planting trees didn't have to be left to the experts. Anyone could do it. They also knew that something happens when you plant a tree: it stimulates a reverence for, and love of, the planet that can drive not only you, but everyone involved with your ideals, to work harder for their community, their county, their state, their country, and beyond that for the planet as a whole. You can visit each of their websites, linked with their names at the beginning of this entry, to support their work.
In Growing America
, David Kidd reveals the secrets behind effective community organizing and how to transform the desolate and polluted corners, medians, and sidings of the US into green and productive land. In The Green Belt Movement
, Wangari Maathai reveals the struggles and triumphs of her campaign to reforest Kenya and how you can start your own Green Belt Movement campaign. Both books save trees as well. They are published, like many Lantern Books, on at least fifty percent post-consumer waste, chlorine-free, recycled paper!
For more on World Environment Day, click here
April 26, 2012 6:00am
Julia Butterfly Hill: Giving us food for thought
Lantern tries to do its bit to support the earth. We publish environmental pioneers like Wangari Maathai
, print on post-consumer recycled paper
, use wind power, composts
, keep a vegan office, use energy-saving light bulbs, and recycle
. We drink organic-shade-grown-fair-trade coffee. For our pains, we were given a gold certification
in the Green Press Initiative's Publisher Certification program
You could say we're obsessed. Every day of the year. Yet, if the human species is to save itself on this planet, and not destroy everything else, beyond all individual actions we take and practices we change, we will need to change our consciousness: the way we see
the natural world.
Contemporary science is now revealing what ancient wisdom long understood: that natural systems are not only more intricately connected than we at once thought, but their complexity reveals patterns of startling simplicity and beauty that can offer the cure to the restoration of those systems and the healing of the world.
April 12, 2012 1:54pm
A Practical Peacemaker Ponders . . .
I grew up in a clean-your-dinner-plate kind of family, with parents whose food limitations during the Great Depression and World War II rationing had taught them to value food highly. That ethic has stayed with me, so I have been shocked over recent months to learn of the gargantuan amounts of food wasted, some of it, especially in restaurants, still perfectly edible.
I'd been idly aware of this topic when it was recently brought again to my attention in a blog post by James McWilliams (I highly recommend following his blog "Eating Plants"
). He cites a study
finding that consumers throw out an astonishing half
the food they buy!
April 5, 2012 6:00am
Jim Mason: Plenty to think about
Other-than-human animals are an overwhelming presence in our collective and individual lives and, at the same time, are taken for granted by human animals. Sociologists have neglected the study of human-animal interaction and the role of animals in society. This is true despite the fact that animals are an integral part of our lives: in our language, food, families, economy, education, science, and recreation.
In more than thirty essays, Social Creatures
examines the role of animals in human society. Including work by Peter Singer, Tom Regan, Carol J. Adams, Josephine Donovan, Barbara Noske, Arnold Arluke, Ken Shapiro, and many leading scholars, anthropologists, and psychologists, the book also comes with an extensive bibliography of hundreds of articles and books.
In order to know how we can best address cruelty to animals, we need to know why
we are cruel to animals. This essential, yet perhaps elusive, question is the centerpiece to Lantern's publishing program.
March 15, 2012 12:58pm
A Practical Peacemaker Ponders . . .
When we bought our present home in 1999, the dishwasher was, shall I say, vintage. In recent months it had become noisy and wasn't cleaning well; we were looking forward to replacing it with a more efficient model. After some days spent researching and shopping, we chose one that qualifies under the improved 2012 Energy Star rating system. I was amazed at how little water this model uses: less than three gallons per load. You'd have trouble washing dishes by hand with that amount of water, as just filling the sink would take about two gallons, plus you'd need rinse water. Its electricity use is modest too, although we don't worry too much about that because our solar PV panels generate more electricity each year than we use.
February 8, 2012 4:02pm
A Practical Peacemaker Ponders . . .
Here was a surprising link in my inbox: CPI Financial, a website dedicated to offering advice and analysis for bankers and business leaders throughout the Middle East, headlined the recommendation to go vegan.
, begins as follows:
Ok, here's the bad news. You're going to have to become vegetarian. Sorry. As soon as possible, so you may as well put down that chicken sandwich and start now. Not just you though, all of us are going to have to stop eating meat and dairy products if the world has any hope of not going to hell in a hand basket.
What? Did I read that correctly? Of the myriad reasons for veganism, why were investment bankers being urged in that direction?
January 19, 2012 11:48am
Growthbuster Dave Gardner in action against growth profiteers.
A Practical Peacemaker Ponders . . .
For those of us concerned about poverty, environmental degradation, and climate change, the idea that economic growth underlies these problems will probably not come as a surprise. Growth-- higher production of consumer goods, stepped-up extraction of resources, more and bigger houses, freeways and shopping malls--has been accepted almost unconditionally as the best way to run governments and assure prosperity. It is seen as the most potent answer to lifting people out of poverty and assuring full employment. Go out and shop more, we are told. Few people dare to publicly challenge the American religion of growth, and those who do should be read, supported, and discussed.
Or in the case of one new documentary, watched. I'm referring to Growthbusters: Hooked on Growth
?), in which Dave Gardner, a courageous citizen of Colorado Springs, Colorado, becomes sufficiently fed up with the development, congestion, and depletion of resources he sees around him to run for his city council.
November 22, 2011 4:29pm
Publisher certification awarded by Green Press Initiative, November 2011.
The results are in, and Lantern has been given a gold certification in the Green Press Initiative's new publisher certification program. This is great news (though it proves what we already know)!
Lantern was the first publisher to sign up with the Green Press Initiative in 1999, and we work hard every day to make responsible business choices, from our power sources to our computer disposal choices to our eating and travel methods. As a company that prints books, we've paid special attention to paper issues. The publisher certification program is rigorous, but as we told our GPI rep, we aren't interested in anything but the gold.
Here's what gold certification means:
- The vast majority of our books are printed on post consumer recycled paper. That paper is also certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, meaning that the supply chain is documented.
- We print our books in the U.S. to cut down on transportation costs and so that work conditions are regulated.
- We run a green office, with clean sourced energy, the strictest reuse and recycling policies possible, and various other efforts like composting and the use of public transport.
We hope that you, the reader, will support Lantern and GPI in our endeavor to preserve the ancient forests and the natural systems on which all life depends. One way is to buy books that cost a little more but make a positive commitment to the environment no only in their words, but in the paper that they are printed on. For more information, visit www.greenpressinitiative.org
January 21, 2011 9:38pm
A Practical Peacemaker Ponders . . .
We don't have to look far to learn of ways we have exhausted the resources of our planet, and driven countless species to extinction, by our addiction to more, more, more. Recently I read an example of how this played out on the American continent over 150 years ago. The following is not meant to support meat-eating, but rather to relate how another group depleted their food supply past the point of no return.
January 19, 2011 11:12pm
Farmer's Market in Lhasa (photo: Nathan Freitas)
Our industrialized, resource-intensive agricultural system is once again contributing to food instability. Food prices spiked along with oil prices in 2008, and there were food riots all over the globe, from Mexico to Africa to India.
In the past few days, world food prices have reached a new high, and there are riots in Algeria over the problem. The cost of such common ingredients as flour and cooking oil has doubled in just a few months in Algeria, and unemployment is estimated to be around 25 percent. Protesters have ransacked government buildings, banks, and post offices.
This is not the most serious incident since the beginning of the year related to rising food prices. The riots in Tunisia
have resulted in the fall of the government. In Jordan
, thousands of demonstrators protested rising food prices and unemployment.
December 31, 2010 11:59pm
Farmer's Market in Lhasa (Photo: Nathan Freitas)
I've been trying to get people in the Transition movement interested in vegetarianism for some time. ("Transition" is a group originating in the U. K. dedicated to local planning for a post-carbon future.) However, a recent discussion of plant-based nutrition on the "Transition Culture" blog
gave vent to some pretty blatant resistance to plant-based nutrition at the very top of the Transition movement.
In the middle of a back-and-forth discussion about the future of the Transition movement, the "Permavegan" (Jonathan Maxson) politely tried to raise the question of plant based nutrition on what I thought were fairly straightforward scientific grounds. To put it mildly, a lot of people blasted him unfairly, viciously, and without apology.