Writing at the intersection of motherhood, feminism and my Latinidad

31 May 2012

It's Back! Summer of Feminista 2012

La verdad, mujeres? This almost didn't happen. It's been a tough year for this feminista. I have another summer project in mind and was going to let this fall away quietly. Then I attended the Top Bloguera Retreat and one bloguera asked what this summer's theme would be. Then I received a tweet from another feminista. I looked up at the Goddess and said, "Ay, I hear you!" So here we are. Drum roll please!.....

The theme for this summer is simple. Election 2012.

Prompts to choose from:

a. As a feminist and/or Latina, what key issues are you following? What does President Obama or Gov. Mitt Romney have to do or say to earn your vote?

b. What are you doing to get Latinas registered and to the polls in November?

I know this is biased towards Latinas who can vote and I know there are many out there who cannot vote for many reasons. I want to hear from you too. Address this anyway you want: If you could vote, what you could say to those of us who can vote, anything.

I welcome contributions from all political points of view.

The How:: 

1) Sign up for a week.
2) The Monday of that week, email me your post and I'll post it sometime that week here.
3) If you want, you can repost on your blog, but it's not a requirement.
4) In fact, if you feel that you need to be anonymous, that's ok. Just select that option on the form.
5) Yes, I am asking for Latinas who identify as feminists, Chicana feminists, womanists, etc, to respond.

Now, andele! 

Need a refresher on what we talked about last year? Here's a wordle of Summer of Feminista 2011

29 May 2012

Earth Talk Tuesday: Is the Gulf Really Back to Normal?



DiálogoEcológico
De los Redactores de E/La Revista Ecológica

Querido DiálogoEcológico: He visto bastantes anuncios celebratorios en televisión, muchos patrocinados por British Petroleum (BP), instándome a ir de vacaciones en el Golfo de México. ¿Pero han vuelto las cosas realmente “a la normalidad?”                      -- Paul Shea, Dublín, OH

El Golfo de México puede estar abierto para el comercio y ansioso de atraer turistas, pero todavía no está claro si los ecosistemas marinos y costeros son sanos dos años después de la explosión del aparejo de perforación de BP a 40 millas de la costa de Luisiana, dejando escapar al final 205,8 millones de galones de petróleo en la columna de agua.

Cinco meses después del desastre de abril de 2010 la administración de Obama publicó un plan detallado de recuperación, invocando una inversión de hasta $21 mil millones—cuya mayor parte vendría de las penas civiles de BP—para la limpieza y restauración a largo plazo del ecosistema. Con mucho de este trabajo ya bien en marcha—diseñado para complementar los poderes reconstituyentes de la Naturaleza—algunos observadores se pronuncian contentos con los resultados hasta este momento.

"La recuperación natural es mucho más grande que lo que se esperaba cuando sucedió la tragedia," dice James Morris, un biólogo con la Universidad de Carolina del Sur y miembro del comité del Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones encargado por el Congreso de evaluar los efectos del derrame en el ecosistema del Golfo. "Los temores de la mayoría de las personas—que habría un desplome catastrófico del ecosistema en el Golfo—nunca se realizó".

"Las pesquerías se han recuperado en forma abismante," reportea Morris. "Una de las conclusiones interesantes fue que después de la fuga de petróleo, las poblaciones de pez cebo se desplomaron, y las poblaciones de peces de rapiña explotaron. La razón fue que no había presión pesquera en los principales animales de rapiña porque la gente dejó de pescar después del derrame. De esta manera las poblaciones de peces de rapiña se expandieron enormemente, y diezmaron su presa habitual".

No todos comparten una visión tan color de rosa. El grupo ambiental internacional Greenpeace indica: "A través de la cadena alimenticia, las señales de alerta se están acumulando. Los delfines están enfermos y a menudo agonizantes. Peces importante de forraje están plagados de daños en las agallas y en su desarrollo. Especies de agua profunda como el pargo han sido afectadas con lesiones y sus arrecifes están perdiendo biodiversidad. Las comunidades costeras luchan con cambios en las pesquerías que constituyen su sustento. Los arrecifes de ostras fuertemente afectados no se recuperan y peces de deporte como la trucha moteada han desaparecido de algunos de sus lugares tradicionales".

Sin embargo otros observadores afirman que dos años no son suficiente tiempo como para decir si los ecosistemas de la región serán dañados severamente a largo plazo. "Realmente no sabemos los efectos que tuvo el derrame de la plataforma Deepwater Horizon en aguas profundas porque sabemos poco acerca de los procesos de los ecosistemas allí," reportea Gary Cherr, director del Laboratorio Marino Bodega de la UC Davis y autor principal de un papel recientemente publicado en la revista Bioscience. Cherr y su equipo de investigadores, inclusive prominentes oceanógrafos, ecotoxicologistas, y ecólogos, concluyen que los científicos necesitan más tiempo para estudiar cómo contener el daño de tales accidentes, especialmente dada la tendencia de buscar nuevas fuentes de petróleo en regiones costa afuera alrededor de EEUU y ultramar.

"El mar profundo no es una zona muerta. No es un desierto. Hay mucha vida allí," agrega Cherr. "Desafortunadamente hasta que sucede un desastre  no tratamos de recolectar los impactos. Y eso es difícil de hacer cuando se carece de un entendimiento completo—o aún parcial—del ecosistema".


EarthTalk® (DiálogoEcológico) es escrito y editado por Roddy Scheer y Doug Moss y es una marca registrada de E - La Revista Ecológica. (www.emagazine.com). Traducción española de Patrice Greanville. Sírvase enviar sus preguntas a: earthtalk@emagazine.com. Suscripción: www.emagazine.com/subscribe. Pida un número gratis: www.emagazine.com/trial.



EarthTalk®
E - The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: I’ve seen a lot of warm and fuzzy TV ads, some sponsored by BP Oil, urging me to vacation in the Gulf of Mexico. But are things really “back to normal?”    -- Paul Shea, Dublin, OH
The Gulf of Mexico may be open for business and eager to attract tourists, but it’s still unclear whether or not marine and coastal ecosystems there are healthy two years after BP’s offshore drilling rig exploded 40 miles off the Louisiana coast, eventually releasing 205.8 million gallons of oil into the water column.

Five months after the April 2010 disaster the Obama administration released a detailed recovery plan, calling for spending up to $21 billion—most which would come from BP’s civil penalties—on clean-up and long-term ecosystem restoration. With much of this work—designed to complement the restorative powers of Mother Nature—well underway, some observers are pleased with the results so far.

“The natural recovery is far greater than what anybody hoped when it happened,” says James Morris, a University of South Carolina biologist and a member of the National Research Council committee tasked by Congress to assess the effects of the spill on the Gulf's ecosystem. “The fears of most people—that there would be a catastrophic collapse of the ecosystem in the Gulf—never materialized.”

The fisheries have come back like gangbusters,” Morris reports. “One of the interesting findings was that after the oil spill, bait fish populations collapsed, and predator populations boomed. The reason was that there was no fishing pressure on the top predators because people stopped fishing after the spill. So the predator fish populations rebounded, and they grazed down their prey.”

Not everyone shares such a rosy view. The international environmental group Greenpeace reports: “Throughout the food chain, warning signs are accumulating. Dolphins are sick and dying. Important forage fish are plagued with gill and developmental damage. Deepwater species like snapper have been stricken with lesions and their reefs are losing biodiversity. Coastal communities are struggling with changes to the fisheries they rely upon. Hard-hit oyster reefs aren’t coming back and sport fish like speckled trout have disappeared from some of their traditional haunts.”

Still other observers argue that two years is not enough time to tell whether the region’s ecosystems will be severely damaged long term. “We really don’t know the effects the Deepwater Horizon spill had in the deep sea because we know little about the ecosystem processes there,” reports Gary Cherr, director of UC Davis’ Bodega Marine Laboratory and a lead author on a recently released paper published in the journal Bioscience. Cherr and his fellow researchers, including leading oceanographers, ecotoxicologists, and ecologists, conclude that scientists need more time to study how to contain damage from such accidents, especially given the trend to seek new sources of oil in off-shore regions around the U.S. and beyond.

“The deep sea is not a dead zone. It’s not a desert. There’s a lot of life down there,” adds Cherr. “Unfortunately it’s not until a disaster happens that we try to piece together the impacts. That’s difficult to do when you don’t have a complete—or even partial—understanding of the ecosystem.”

CONTACTS: James Morris, ww2.biol.sc.edu/~morris; Greenpeace, www.greenpeace.org; Bioscience paper, www.aibs.org/bioscience-press-releases/resources/Peterson.pdf.

EarthTalk® is written and edited by Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss and is a registered trademark of E - The Environmental Magazine ( www.emagazine.com). Send questions to: earthtalk@emagazine.com. Subscribe: www.emagazine.com/subscribe. Free Trial Issue: www.emagazine.com/trial.

20 May 2012

There is too much to tell!

So I will sum up.

1) I'm headed to DC as one of the top Blogueras for the first ever LATISM Latina retreat. Monday we head to the White House for a briefing with administration officials to discuss issues concerning Latinas. I'll be sure to report on all the happenings over Twitter and Facebook. I'm not sure if I can live blog from my tablet, but we'll see.

2) I entered the Good Maker competition to speak at the TedxUChicago 2013 gathering. I need your vote! Thankfully you can only vote once, so no need to go back every day.

It's been a whirlwind around here! Hope to catch you up when I return.

17 May 2012

Should Sheryl Sandberg be a Feminist Role Model?

Disclaimer: I began this post in August 2011 and with the flurry of activity that is graduate school, I just now completed this thought. Any datedness is my fault, not the fault of my awesome friends who contributed their voices to this conversation. ~veronica

Photo from The New Yorker profile
One day over the summer I realized that Sheryl Sandberg had taken over my inbox.

I had press releases about her TED talk and her Barnard commencement address, with pleas to blog about them. Then came emails about a profile in The New Yorker. People wanted me to know about her and friends wanted to know what I thought of her. Is she a feminist? Is her advice feminist? Should we be playing her TED talk to every woman and girl? Finally my curiosity took over. I dove into the pool that is Sheryl Sandberg.

And I jumped right back out.

My mind was spinning and I wasn’t sure what to think. This is where I usually email a friend or two to talk it out. Maybe start a conversation on Facebook or Twitter. But I didn’t even know where to really start. As I walked my way through Sandberg’s remarks, I knew what I had to do. Assemble a small flock of feminist thinkers:

* Cinnamon Cooper: Textbook editor by day, purse maker by night. She also is the author of Everything Cast-Iron Cooking. Not to mention one of my best friends.

* Kate D.: Fundraiser to feminist organizations aka she writes the grants that fund the revolution. She currently works at a reproductive rights organization in DC. We became friends when she lived in Chicago and we were in the same book club.

* Tina Johnson: Human Resources Consultant. We became friends when we both participated in Leadership Illinois.

* Courtney Martin: Editor at Feministing.com. We met when we spoke on a panel together in 2010.

* Claire Mysko: Author of You’re Amazing! and Does This Pregnancy Make Me Look Fat? I can’t recall how we actually met, but each time we chat I feel like we’ve been friends forever.

* Latoya Peterson: Editor of Racialious and all-around awesome hip hop feminist. We became friends during the third 2008 Progressive Women’s Voices class.

I chose this group of lady friends (including a few who wanted to join us, didn’t have time to contribute) because of their diverse vantage points in leadership, organizational management and feminist thought.
***********

Veronica: Do you think that Sandberg is a feminist? Why or why not? She has implemented a progressive family leave policy, but dismisses affirmative action for women. What does it mean to be a feminist in such a public role?

Latoya: She may not be a feminist in name, but I’d consider her actions and award her the title. True, she could use a bit of education as to what “structural issues” are, since she appears to think that everyone has an even shot - and life just doesn’t work that way. However, she does go out of her way to speak to and address women, and acts a mentor and advocate in the workplace. The sentiment is mixed, but I can think of many other women who don’t mentor, advocate, or even publicly discuss matters of gender.

Kate: I read the article about French feminist Elisabeth Badinter in the July 25th edition of the New Yorker and that piece also focused on this issue a bit. This is nothing new in feminism of course, but I like the acknowledgement (in both pieces) that oftentimes, taking this kind of position is grounded in a level of privilege that most women (or even most people) do not enjoy. So, as Cinnamon says below, I am supportive of practical approaches to advancement for women and I think they’re useful, but I cringe to see them offered as some kind of panacea. Like it’s just that easy, you know? Of course it’s not. It’s kinda like that whole brouhaha with Oprah and “The Secret” a few years back (which I know was blown up and overgeneralized and I’m sure misunderstood by many on both sides, but still) - sometimes there are very real barriers to achievement with which the more well-off feminist thinkers and businesswomen are wholly unfamiliar, and ignoring them is a huge blind spot.The “structural issues” issue, as Latoya mentions above.

Veronica: Is Sandberg the epitome of “a guy’s feminist?” A strong and smart woman who is willing to do the work, has a family and above all rarely blames men or society for women’s lot. She instead points the finger at women. Or is she, as Latoya points out, just blind to the systemic and structural challenges that women face?

Courtney: I’m with others who have talked about her neglect of systemic issues and privilege. She leads the TED talk by admitting that many women in other countries are in a different boat, but doesn’t admit how different many American women’s realities are. The way she flattens out American women infuriates me, particularly as she is being given so much airtime to call attention to the ways in which class, race etc. are still beasts in determining women’s trajectories in life and leadership.

Tina: My personal opinion is Sandberg has been very lucky to be in the right place at the right time; now you can argue this is luck or strategic. There is no doubt she is a bright women who knows exactly how to get what she wants in life. She has been able to find the right mentors and people to help her climbing the corporate ladder. Finding a mentor is a tough thing for a woman (as we read in the article) I worked hard to find a mentor and never was able to make that happen, women didn’t want to help me because I looked like a threat to them and men didn’t want to citing that they were too busy, but I think it was most likely the same reason that was stated in the article.

Sandberg is fortunate to a nanny and people who work to help her at home. But I have to believe that she pays for that with trade-offs that are of her own choosing. I don’t believe she makes a decision without weighing all of the facts and honestly, raise your hands with me, haven’t we all paid someone to clean our houses and help with chores.

Claire: I agree with everyone who has pointed out Sandberg’s failure to address the real systemic barriers women face in the workplace. Pat Mitchell’s criticism of her networking dinners made up of a group of educated, elite women hit the nail on the head for me. It’s this “head in the sand” mentality that kept bothering me more each time I read the article.

And let’s not forget that Sheryl Sandberg’s mentor was Larry Summers. The same Larry Summers who, while president of Harvard, got himself into hot water after making public comments about how he believes there are differences between men’s and women’s “intrinsic aptitude” in engineering and science. The same Larry Summers who played a key role in deregulating financial markets. And we all know how that went. The article raised an interesting issue that most women lack sponsorship from senior male executives—and that Sandberg’s success is due in part to fact that she did have that kind of sponsorship from a man with a lot of power--but in all honesty the Summers brand of power doesn’t really jibe with my feminism. This is not to say that Sandberg necessarily espouses every one of Summers’ beliefs because she was mentored by him or even that Summers is an all-around bad guy. But I do think that when we talk about the importance of giving women access to power, we should also examine what kind of power we’re talking about.

Veronica: Does Sandberg need to “lean in” to Facebook’s board? She uses that term to describe how women need to jump into career opportunities, especially leadership opportunities. There is an importance of women in high positions. When women are a critical mass (at least three) in the board room, women and girls’ issues are on the table. Perhaps if enough women were on Facebook’s board, then the issue of pro-rape pages and groups wouldn’t be an issue anymore.

Latoya: Depends. Would that be a symbolic victory, or does being on the board just make sense for her career trajectory? She may want to use that energy for other projects or other things. I think that Facebook needs to look seriously at the composition of their board, but I don’t think that every woman in the spotlight has to do every single thing. I may be too green in my career to comment effectively, but I thought people joined boards for things they are very, very committed to. Especially folks with a high powered gig. Does she want to go from thinking about Facebook 10 hours a day to thinking about it 15?

Courtney: As others have articulated, I find some of Sheryl’s ideas really resonant, particularly the “lean in” idea. I’ve noticed moments in my own life when I’ve “leaned out” and it rarely had to do with systemic injustice as much as my own fears or insecurities. Her voice will now be in my head in those moments--a real gift. I also like her look at the ways in which women and men cast their success differently. I wrote about both of these elements.

Cinnamon: I think the thing that struck me the most was how her actions seem very inclusive of women and very family/female friendly, but yet she doesn’t seem to rattle the seats of those above her. I wish that was questioned more. Why doesn’t she want a seat on the board at Facebook? And why didn’t the interviewer get Mark Zuckerberg to answer the question about why she’s not on the board. It makes me wonder if she’s just gotten lucky to always find a male mentor who will help her advance, but only so far and when she hits her limit she moves to the next opportunity instead of just accepting the blockage. Considering her role and what she’s done at Facebook already, I think she deserves a board position and I’m shocked that she isn’t fighting for it. Unless she is fighting for it but decided to not make that fight public.

Veronica: Do you think Pat Mitchell and Gloria Steinem should be more public with their criticism or keep it public? Do you appreciate/have public debates with friends?

Courtney: I actually thought this was one of the most interesting things about the piece. Gloria and Pat were able to express their disagreements or disappointments with Sheryl’s analysis without being cast as catty or back-stabbing, as is so often the case when powerful women disagree with one another publicly. It was heartening to me that they felt comfortable being real about their differing view points, without making anything into a personal attack, and that the journalist respected the spirit in which these disagreements were communicated and didn’t manipulate it to create drama.

Veronica: What does a feminist leader/manager look like? What should leadership look like from a feminist?

Cinnamon: I was one of the bajillion viewers who watched her TED talk online a while ago and it has resonated with me. The 3 things she mentions in that talk are great and practical tips for any woman who is working. Her tone in the TED piece is encouraging without sounding antagonistic. And is presented in a way that I don’t feel is pointing the finger at women. However the finger-pointing came through stronger in this article. I think it is not only productive, but necessary to get women to change their actions so they can advance. But if that is done without looking at why women need to “learn” things later in life that men “pick up” along the way, then women can only advance so far. I would like to see her do a follow up video explaining 3 things men can do.

As a feminist and a manager I’ve done a lot of soul searching to make sure that my expectations of my staff and my interactions with them are not affected by any gender differences that I’m aware or unaware of. When assigning tasks, offering feedback, and doing reviews I think about what I’m going to say and why I’m saying it and ask myself if I would say it to someone else on the team who is of a different gender/age/etc. My approach may be different for each person I work with, but I try to make sure that those differences are because of the individuals’ personality and not something I’m bringing. I think this approach has made me a better feminist and a better manager and a better person. And I think Sandberg does that as well. Her making everyone in a meeting scoot together so everyone can fit at a table is one action. This inclusive attitude benefits women and I see it as being very feminist and am surprised she doesn’t.

Tina: While reading Sandberg’s article, I was immediately struck by the fact that at her core she is a servant leader which is probably why many of the things she professes ring true for me. A servant leader as described by Robert K. Greenleaf is “a person who is servant first, who has responsibility to be in the world, and so he/she contributes to the well-being of people and community.

When I look at the article from that point, I don’t know whether I would call her a feminist leader or some hybrid of the two. I have a difficult time with the title of feminist and what that means to me so I have spent some time soul searching and will continue to see how this manifests itself with me.

I found several themes in the article in addition to servant leadership. I found pragmatic, righteous and social themes in the article which points to the fact Sandberg tries to appeal to all women. Being able to appeal to women is genius in my book. If she can move women toward a call of action, I am right behind her.

Sandberg works hard to hold woman accountable for their actions and to make certain they are held to a high standard. I really like how she talks about the fact we are not leading the lives our mothers and grandmothers led. That portion resonated for me since I have worked hard over my own career to make certain I don’t take for granted what women before me either gave up or fought for. Again, I see that her servant leadership heart is compelling her to reach out and push women to do more and be more and as I said above, her means to call them to action is varied and seems to work.

As far as her work to recruit people to Facebook from Google and other companies, well from my HR background there is nothing wrong with this, we all are guilty recruiting people we know, correct me if I am wrong, but I think this is called ”Networking” and all of the boys are doing it! Of this, for Sandberg it is just more public due to her level in the organization and the fact that she has put herself out there for people to watch her every move. I believe we are still fighting a double standard here, the boys are allowed to have their clubs and hire their buddies, but when women do it, OMG what is the world coming too. I also have to believe since people are calling her to ask about opportunities, they are not happy where they are and/or are looking for the next step. Kudos, to those women who are taking upon themselves to call and ask, isn’t what Sandberg is pushing women to do. Men to it all of the time, ask for the sale, ask for the deal, ask for the job, ask for the assignment and the list goes on. I would be remiss if I didn’t also point out that not only does she recruit people but she develops them. What better way to grow to the next level and again, we see her servant leadership side coming out.

So, is Sandberg a feminist or should we coin a new leadership style here and call her a Servant Leadership Feminist or a Servant Feminist Leader. I am still fuzzy on that whole title thing. I have never been a huge fan of titles, but in this work-a-day world we have to embrace them whether we like it or not. So for now, I think I will join the ranks of Sandberg and be a Feminist Servant Leader and explore what the leadership model looks like for all of us!

Claire: I thought the piece really illustrated the heap of conflicting rules of engagement women face when it comes to leadership. On the one hand, Sandberg used the example of her “aha!” moment when she was embarrassed about being invited to Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Summit, and was pushed by the event organizer to “own her power.” But wait! The truth is that she’s successful because she has ambition but she’s so modest and “low ego” (says Mark Zuckerberg). And then there’s all that research about the pitfalls of being perceived as incompetent if you’re too nurturing and you invest time and energy in helping others succeed. Which is, of course, exactly what Sandberg does herself when she encourages other women to “sit at the table.” Don’t ask “girly” questions, but okay, let’s talk about the dilemma women face when taking time off to have children. Don’t worry so much about balance. And yet…how the heck do we get to some models of feminist leadership that don’t end up making women feel like they’re performing a tightrope act?


***********
Since this conversation took place, Sandberg has only increased her visibility as a powerful woman who expresses concern over other women for leaning back or opting out. She continues to be asked to speak to young women about leadership and taking control of their careers.

And for the most part, I agree with her. I too have seen women step back, quit before they start. Hell, I've done it. But she rarely addresses the system where women make their choices is just wrong.

Put simply, for women, to choose to not do something is acceptable. It is a seductive choice to make. To "choose" to quit work and stay home is socially acceptable. Yes, I know stay-at-home-moms get a lot of shit about "not working," but as a working mom, their situation is freaking tempting when day after day I stay up far too late to get through my own homework. I'm not complaining about my life, rather I'm admitting that even this feminista mama who loves her work and is in the middle of a PhD program so she can do her job even more kick ass considers chucking it all to stay at home. Is the inertia to work outside the home as strong for SAHM as the pull to stay home in times of crisis or doubt for working outside the home mamas? I think it's that pull that keeps us stuck to the back of our chair, almost physically unable to "lean in" as Sandberg demands.

As we cheer on Sandberg as a role model, I want us to keep in mind where she has learned her business savvy. One of her mentors is Larry "Girls Can't Do Math" Summers. He also doesn't believe that women want to work the kind of hours that Sandberg puts in. He quotes her, not by name, in his infamous speech as he talks about women not wanting to work 80 hours a week:
Another way to put the point is to say, what fraction of young women in their mid-twenties make a decision that they don't want to have a job that they think about eighty hours a week...To buttress conviction and theory with anecdote, a young woman who worked very closely with me at the Treasury and who has subsequently gone on to work at Google highly successfully, is a 1994* graduate of Harvard Business School. She reports that of her first year section, there were twenty-two women, of whom three are working full time at this point. 
And yet, many women are waiting with baited breath for Sandberg to lean forward to demand her place on the Facebook Board of Directors. Not one woman sites on that board and who more worthy of the token girl spot than Sandberg? As CV Harquail says:

Leadership requires the leader to use her presence, her platform, and her power to make a difference. And authentic leadership requires a person to align her presence, her platform, and her power to maximize their impact and make her leadership real.


If Sandberg truly wants young women to follow her lead, I believe she needs to do more than become a billionaire and give truly amazing speeches. She can't extoll women to take the reins when she allows (she's second in command and must have some say in the matter) for the board to be composed of only white men.

And that's where Sandberg really gets my goat. Has she hit a glass ceiling herself and pushes young women to make up for her inability to change Facebook's board? Or is it that she doesn't care? The board isn't my only issue with Sandberg, but it's a great manifestation of all the smaller things that irk me. For the most part I like Sandberg's messages, I want young women to feel like they can do anything they set their mind to. However, there's something about Sandberg's messages that makes me hesitant to pay the dues for fan club access.

Many of the students I interact with see Sandberg as a role model. They find inspiration in her words. Perhaps her speeches will result in more women leaders. Only time will tell. Considering I remember what it was like in my early 20s, perhaps they are using Sandberg's words to fortify their own promise to themselves that they won't sit back and let life happen to them...until that day they do sit back. I just hope they don't beat themselves up too much over it.

Sandberg has branded herself a motivator of women. She has challenged us to be a leader in our own lives. And some of us are challenging her right back.



* Sandberg's official biography says she graduated in 1995, thus I assume Summers merely got the year incorrect. If anyone knows that Summers is talking about someone else, please let me know and I'll retract this point. 

15 May 2012

EarthTalk Tuesday: How to "Fair Trade Your Supermarket"

EarthTalk®
E - The Environmental Magazine


Dear EarthTalk: What is the “Fair Trade Your Supermarket” campaign?
-- Brian Howley, Washington, DC

A project of the non-profit Green America, the “Fair Trade Your Supermarket” campaign aims to empower consumers to advocate for more “Fair Trade” products on store shelves at their local supermarkets. Fair trade is a system of exchange that honors producers, communities and the environment by ensuring that farmers and artisans throughout the developing world are paid fair prices for their work and have direct involvement in the marketplace. The goal of the wider Fair Trade movement, according to Green America, is to build real and lasting relationships between producers in developing countries and businesses and consumers around the world.

And that’s where your neighborhood grocer comes in. “While the Fair Trade movement is gaining steam nationwide, most of our supermarkets still carry few–if any–Fair Trade products on their shelves,” reports Green America. “Together, we can put Fair Trade products within reach for millions of Americans.”

And just how does Green America expect us to do this? “First, take stock of Fair Trade products in your supermarket—look for coffee, tea, chocolate, rice, sugar, honey, wine, fresh fruit, and olive oil.” Scan the relevant aisles for third-party certifier Fair Trade USA’s distinctive black-and-white “Fair Trade Certified” label, which is only attached to imported goods where the producers receive fair prices for their products and where strict socio-economic and environmental criteria are met during production. Alternatively, look for the logos of other third-party certifiers such as “Fair for Life” or “Fair Trade Federation” on product labels if you think fair trade versions may be available in a given product line.

“Then, you can encourage the store to stock more Fair Trade products by talking to the store manager as a loyal customer,” adds Green America. They suggest using comment cards, which can be key to getting a store with no Fair Trade items to start carrying them. “Every time you go grocery shopping, drop a comment card in the box asking your manager to stock Fair Trade items.” Of course, talking to a store manager in person may be even more effective, especially if you are armed with a pile of your receipts from the store from the previous month or two to show how much spending power you alone would be able to allocate toward Fair Trade versions of the items you are buying there.

Another creative way to spread the Fair Trade gospel would be by volunteering to hand out free samples of Fair Trade products that the store already sells in order to raise awareness and build consumer demand. “Stores sell more of a product when a sampling table is set out, and if you, your friends and family are working the table, the labor is free for the store too.”

But why stop with your local market? If there is a chain supermarket outlet in your area, take it to the top by writing an e-mail, letter or postcard to corporate headquarters informing them of your desire to buy Fair Trade items in all of their stores. Check out the Fair Trade Your Supermarket website (link below) for more tips on how to make your next shopping trip fairer to the planet and its people.

CONTACTS: Fair Trade Your Supermarket, www.fairtradeyoursupermarket.org; Green America, www.greenamerica.org; Fair Trade USA, www.fairtradeusa.com.

EarthTalk® is written and edited by Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss and is a registered trademark of E - The Environmental Magazine (www.emagazine.com). Send questions to: earthtalk@emagazine.com. Subscribe: www.emagazine.com/subscribe. Free Trial Issue: www.emagazine.com/trial.


DiálogoEcológico
De los Redactores de E/La Revista Ecológica

Querido DiálogoEcológico: ¿Qué es la campaña "Comercio Justo Para Su Supermercado?”
-- Brian Howley, Washington, DC

Un proyecto de Green America [América Verde], un grupo sin fines lucrativos, la campaña "Comercio Justo Para Su Supermercado" intenta ayudar a los consumidores a recomendar más productos de "Comercio Justo" para los estantes de sus supermercados locales. El comercio justo es un sistema de cambio que beneficia a los productores, comunidades y el ambiente al asegurar que agricultores y artesanos a través de mundo en vías de desarrollo sean pagados precios justos por su trabajo y tengan participación directa en el mercado. El objetivo del movimiento más amplio de Comercio Justo, según América Verde, es construir relaciones más reales y duraderas entre productores en países en desarrollo y negocios y consumidores alrededor del mundo.

Y ahí precisamente es donde entra su almacenero local. "Mientras el movimiento de Comercio Justo gana terreno por todo el país, la mayor parte de nuestros supermercados todavía llevan pocos–o ningún–productos de Comercio Justo en sus estantes," reporta América Verde. "Juntos, podemos poner los productos de Comercio Justo al alcance de millones de norteamericanos".

¿Y cómo espera América Verde hacer esto? "Primero, haga un inventario de los productos de Comercio Justo en su supermercado—busque café, té, chocolate, arroz, azúcar, miel, vino, fruta fresca, y aceite de oliva". Escudriñe los pasillos pertinentes en busca de la distintiva etiqueta en blanco y negro "Certificado Como Comercio Justo" del certificador independiente Comercio Justo USA, que sólo se aplica a bienes importados cuyos productores han recibido precios justos por sus productos y donde se han satisfecho estrictos criterios socioeconómicos y ambientales durante la producción. Alternativamente, busque los logos de otros certificadores externos como "Justo Para la Vida" o "Federación de Comercio Justo" en las etiquetas de productos si cree que versiones de comercio justo puedan estar disponibles en una línea de productos dada.

"Entonces, Ud. puede pedir a la tienda que venda más productos de Comercio Justo hablando con el director de la tienda en su calidad de leal cliente," agrega América Verde. Sugieren usar tarjetas de comentario, que pueden ser clave para conseguir que una tienda con ningún artículo de Comercio Justo empiece a llevarlos. "Cada vez que Ud. vaya de compras, deje caer una tarjetita de comentario pidiendo al director del establecimiento que venda artículos de Comercio Justo ". Por supuesto, hablando con un gerente de la tienda en persona puede ser aún más efectivo, especialmente si está armada con una pila de recibos de la tienda de uno o dos meses anteriores para mostrar cuánto poder adquisitivo usted podría asignar a versiones de Comercio Justo de los artículos que compra allí.

Otra forma creativa de expandir el evangelio de Comercio Justo sería ofrecerse para repartir gratuitamente muestras de productos de Comercio Justo que la tienda ya vende para despertar conciencia y fortalecer demanda de consumo. "Las tiendas venden más producto cuando se arregla una mesa de muestreo, y si usted, sus amigos y familia trabajan la mesa, el trabajo es gratis para la tienda también".

¿Pero por qué parar con su mercado local? Si hay una tienda de supermercado cadena en su área, llévelo a la cumbre escribiendo un correo electrónico, una carta o una tarjeta postal a la sede de la corporación expresando su deseo de comprar artículos de Comercio Justo en todas sus tiendas. Examine la página web de Comercio Justo Para Su Supermercado (enlace más abajo) para más sugerencias sobre cómo hacer su próximo viaje de compras más justo para el planeta y su gente.

CONTACTOS: Fair Trade Your Supermarket, www.fairtradeyoursupermarket.org ; Green America, www.greenamerica.org; Fair Trade USA, www.fairtradeusa.com.

EarthTalk® (DiálogoEcológico) es escrito y editado por Roddy Scheer y Doug Moss y es una marca registrada de E - La Revista Ecológica. (www.emagazine.com). Traducción española de Patrice Greanville. Sírvase enviar sus preguntas a: earthtalk@emagazine.com. Suscripción: www.emagazine.com/subscribe. Pida un número gratis: www.emagazine.com/trial.

14 May 2012

MIRCI CFP: Adrienne Rich Symposium, Oct. 20, Toronto


CALL FOR PAPERS

Motherhood Initiative for Research and Community Involvement 
(MIRCI)

ONE-DAY SYMPOSIUM ON ADRIENNE RICH
October 20, 2012, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

In celebration of the life and work of Adrienne Rich (1929-2012)
Poet, Essayist, Radical Feminist, Anti- War Activist, Mothering Theorist, and Author of Of Woman Born: Motherhood as Institution and Experience.

We welcome submissions from scholars, students, activists, workers, artists, and others inspired by the work of Adrienne Rich.

Cross-cultural, historical and comparative work is encouraged. We are open to a variety of types of submissions, such as: academic papers from all disciplines; presentations by community activists and social service providers; creative submissions - performances, films, storytelling, visual arts; and workshops.  

Please send a 250-word abstract and 50-word bio to aoreilly@yorku.ca by July 1, 2012. One must be a 2012 member of MIRCI to present at this symposium.

Demeter Press
140 Holland St. West, PO 13022
Bradford, ON L3Z 2Y5 Tel: (905) 775-9089

Disclosure: I am getting a complementary membership to MIRCI and subscription to the journal in return for posting these updates. It is, however, something I would have agreed to do for free because I think their work is so wonderful.

10 May 2012

All-aboriginal King Lear at Canada's National Arts Centre


See the woman jumping? That's one my new friends, Tantoo Cardinal, practicing for the all-aboriginal "King Lear," which opens this Friday at Canada's National Arts Centre. We met on the NWI delegation in January. She talked about this production and was so excited. I wish I could make it up to see it! But if you are in Ottawa, please try to see it...for me!


It's getting some great press about the boundaries this production is crossing:
For decades, Schellenberg was told there simply weren't enough working aboriginal actors to pull off the Lear of his dreams. In 2012, however, director Peter Hinton has been able to assemble not just an all-aboriginal but an all-star team to bring Shakespeare's greatest tragedy to life.
How many times have people of color heard that "there's just not enough of you to do X" ? It takes time and a lot of effort, but eventually dreams are achieved such as this one. It's a grand achievement on many scales. The article mentions that some directors do not believe that Aboriginal actors can even do Shakespeare, thus aren't offered the roles. Then there are some in the Aboriginal community who have rejected Shakespeare. As the article says, there are high expectations riding on this production.

Break a leg, Tantoo & company!

08 May 2012

Introducing Earth Talk Tuesdays

I am proud to announce a new partner for Viva la Feminista! Each week, if the story fits, I'll be sharing the latest EarthTalk column from E Magazine. Environmental issues are definitely feminist issues and even more so feminist mom issues. I felt this way for many years and even felt more connected to the environmental movement before the feminist movement. However, after my trip to Guatemala in January, I am even more certain that what happens to the Earth is an issue for feminists to pay attention to. With that in mind, I present the first in the columns and it hits far too close to home. GREEN CLOUD COMPUTING! OMG, I practically live on the cloud, especially when working with classmates. But read on...Oh! All columns will be in English and Espanol! I hope you enjoy this addition to Viva la Feminista. ~The management

EarthTalk®
E - The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: Why is Greenpeace upset with some leading tech companies for so-called “dirty cloud computing?” Can you explain? -- Jeremy Wilkins, Waco, TX

Leading tech companies like Google, Apple and Microsoft are now offering unprecedented amounts of data storage and access to “apps” on huge Internet-connected servers, saving consumers and businesses the hassle of installing and running programs and storing information on their own local computers.

This emerging trend, dubbed “cloud computing,” means that these providers have had to scale up their power consumption considerably, as they are increasingly responsible for providing more and more of the computing horsepower required by the world’s two billion Internet users. No doubt, sharing such resources on centralized servers is more efficient than every individual and business running their own versions separately. In fact, the research firm Verdantix estimates that companies off-loading data and services to cloud servers could save $12 billion off their energy bills and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 85 million metric tons within the next decade. But for the greenhouse gas savings to be realized, the companies offering cloud computing services need to make the right energy choices.

Greenpeace has been tracking sustainability among tech companies for over a decade, and recently released a report, “How Green is Your Cloud?” assessing the green footprint of the move to cloud computing. According to the analysis, some of the major players (Google, Facebook and Yahoo) have gone to great lengths to ensure that significant amounts of the power they need come from clean, green sources like wind and solar. But Greenpeace chastises others (Apple, Amazon and Microsoft) for relying on so-called “dirtier” sources of power, such as coal and nuclear, to run their huge data centers.

“When people around the world share their music or photos on the cloud, they want to know that the cloud is powered by clean, safe energy,” says Gary Cook, a Senior Policy Analyst with Greenpeace. “Yet highly innovative and profitable companies like Apple, Amazon and Microsoft are building data centers powered by coal and acting like their customers won’t know or won't care. They’re wrong.”

Greenpeace’s report evaluates 14 major tech firms and the electricity supply chains in use across more than 80 different data centers that power cloud-based services. Some of the largest data centers are in buildings so big they are visible from space and use as much power as 250,000 European homes. If the cloud were its own country, says Greenpeace, it would rank 5th in the world in electricity consumption.

“Companies like Google, Yahoo and Facebook are beginning to lead the sector down a clean energy pathway through innovations in energy efficiency, prioritizing renewable energy access when siting their data centers, and demanding better energy options from utilities and government decision-makers,” reports Greenpeace. But unfortunately the majority of the industry is not marching in step. As such, Greenpeace is calling on all tech companies with cloud services to develop siting policies based on access to clean energy sources, invest in or directly purchase renewable energy, be transparent about their energy usage, share innovative solutions so the sector as a whole can improve, and demand that governments and utilities increase the percentage of clean, green power available on the grid.

CONTACTS: Verdantix, www.verdantix.com; Greenpeace, www.greenpeace.org.

EarthTalk® is written and edited by Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss and is a registered trademark of E - The Environmental Magazine ( www.emagazine.com). Send questions to: earthtalk@emagazine.com. Subscribe: www.emagazine.com/subscribe. Free Trial Issue: www.emagazine.com/trial.



DiálogoEcológico
De los Redactores de E/La Revista Ecológica


Querido DiálogoEcológico:¿Por qué está Greenpeace incómoda con algunas compañías técnológicas por la llamada "computación de nube sucia"? ¿Pueden explicar? -- Jeremy Wilkins, Waco, TX

Compañías tecnológicas prominentes como Google, Apple y Microsoft están ahora ofreciendo cantidades inauditas de almacenamiento de datos y acceso a "aplicaciones" en servidores inmensos conectados a la Internet, ahorrando a consumidores y negocios el jaleo de instalar y operar programas y almacenar información en sus propias computadoras locales.

Esta tendencia naciente, apodada "computación en la nube," significa que estos proveedores han tenido que escalar su consumo de energía considerablemente, ya que son cada vez más responsables de proporcionar el poderío de computación necesario requerido por los dos mil millones de usuarios de la Internet mundial. Sin duda, compartir tales recursos en servidores centralizados es más eficiente que ver a cada individuo y negocio operar sus propias versiones separadamente. En efecto, la firma de investigaciones Verdantix calcula que si las compañías descargasen datos y servicios en servidores de nube ellas podrían ahorrar $12 mil millones de sus cuentas de electricidad y reducir 85 millones de toneladas métricas de emisiones de gas invernadero dentro de la próxima década. Pero para conseguir estos ahorros de gas invernadero, las compañías que ofrecen computación en la nube deben hacer cuidadosas elecciones de energía.

Greenpeace ha estado estudiando la sostenibilidad entre las compañías tecnológicas por más de una década, y recientemente entregó un informe, "¿Cuán Verde es Su Nube"? evaluando la huella verde del movimiento hacia la computación en nube. Según el análisis, algunos de los mayores jugadores (Google, Facebook y Yahoo) se han esforzado mucho para asegurar que cantidades significativas de la energía que necesitan provenga de fuentes limpias y verdes como el viento y solar. Pero Greenpeace castiga a otros (Apple, Amazon y Microsoft) por depender de las llamadas fuentes más "sucias" de electricidad, como carbón y nuclear, para operar sus inmensos centros de datos.

"Cuando la gente alrededor del mundo comparte su música o fotos en la nube, ellos quieren saber que la nube está conectada a energía limpia y segura," dice Gary Cook, un alto analista con Greenpeace. "Sin embargo compañías sumamente innovadoras y rentables como Apple, Amazon y Microsoft construyen centros de datos alimentados por carbón y actúan como si sus clientes ni sabrán ni les importará. Están equivocados".

El informe de Greenpeace evalúa 14 empresas técnicas prominentes y las cadenas de suministro de electricidad en uso a través de más de 80 centros de datos diferentes que potencian los servicios de nube. Algunos de los centros de datos más grandes están en edificios tan grandes que son visibles del espacio y utilizan tanta energía como 250.000 casas europeas. Si la nube fuese su propio país, dice Greenpeace, sería No. 5 en el mundo en consumo de electricidad.

"Compañías como Google, Yahoo y Facebook están comenzando a dirigir el sector por una senda de energía ecológica vía innovaciones en la eficiencia de energía, priorizando acceso a energía renovable cuando eligen donde construir sus centros de datos, y exigen mejores opciones de energía de las empresas de electricidad y el gobierno, reporta Greenpeace. Pero desgraciadamente la mayoría de la industria no marcha a este ritmo. En vista de esto, Greenpeace está urgiendo a todas las compañías técnicas con servicios de nube que desarrollen política de localización basadas en acceso a fuentes de energía ecológica, invertir en o comprar directamente energía renovable, ser transparente acerca de su uso de energía, y compartir soluciones innovadoras de modo que el sector en general pueda mejorar, y demandar que los gobiernos y empresas de servicios aumenten el porcentaje de energía limpia y verde disponible en la red.

CONTACTOS: Verdantix, www.verdantix.com; Greenpeace, www.greenpeace.org.

EarthTalk® (DiálogoEcológico) es escrito y editado por Roddy Scheer y Doug Moss y es una marca registrada de E - La Revista Ecológica. (www.emagazine.com). Traducción española de Patrice Greanville. Sírvase enviar sus preguntas a: earthtalk@emagazine.com. Suscripción: www.emagazine.com/subscribe. Pida un número gratis: www.emagazine.com/trial.