The Noah Project

Rebuilding a sustainable world.

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Live Streamed Lecture by Vandana Shiva

Arts-Vandana Shiva poster

Internationally renowned eco-feminist, philosopher, and activist Vandana Shiva will be paying a visit to Winnipeg this weekend, and while her ticketed event is now sold out, local organizers have arranged an alternate, free live-streamed teach-in.

Shiva will be speaking to a group of paying attendees on the evening of March 28 as part of the “Fragile Freedoms” lecture series, presented by the University of Manitoba’s centre for professional and applied ethics, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, and the CBC.

On March 29, Shiva will be giving a lecture about Earth democracy from 90 Sinclair Street, which will be broadcast as a live-streamed teach-in to other locations across Canada, including a secondary location in Winnipeg.

The organizers of this event state that “there is no lecture hall or community centre with the capacity to hold everyone who should hear her inspirational and empowering message,” which is why they are offering this free, live-streamed event “in the spirit of decentralized knowledge-sharing and radical self-education.”

The notion of radical education, and radical self-education, is part of a larger movement to create spaces of knowledge-sharing outside of formal educational structures.

British scholar David Hicks believes that in its current form education “inevitably reproduces the social, political and economic norms of the dominant ideology. In the west this is capitalist, technocratic, individualistic, materialist, and patriarchal.”

In contrast to the Fragile Freedoms event, the teach-in on March 29 is free, and organizers of the second Winnipeg location—the University of Winnipeg Womyn’s Centre and the Women’s and Gender Studies Students’ Association—are attempting to make it as accessible as possible.

Free snacks, coffee, tea, bus tickets, and childminding are all offered as part of the event. It’s also being offered in a wheelchair accessible room in proximity to accessible washrooms.

For those who may be unfamiliar with the concept of Earth democracy, organizers of the teach-in provide a definition to use as a starting point before hearing Shiva’s thoughts: “Earth democracy is the worldview that we as humans can be part of a healthy planet, but we must take action to protect peace and swaraj (sovereignty) for all living beings: Let us learn about our right to water, our right to seed and to food, and our right to life.”

Join in the live-streamed teach-in at 7:00 p.m. on March 29 at room 2M70 at the University of Winnipeg.

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Sacred Economics

A reader recommended I look into the book Sacred Economics: Money, Gift, and Society in the Age of Transition by Charles Eisenstein.  I checked out his website and was completely blown away by this short film.

The book is also available on-line.  You can find it here.

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Healing Historical Trauma Through Traditional Culture

Dina Gilio-Whitaker ‘s review of Leslie Korn’s new book Rhythms of Recovery: Trauma, Nature, and the Body brings up an issue often ignored by health professionals – the role historical and cultural trauma can have on the emotional and physical well being of the individual.

Medicine, like politics, is often a matter of perspective; for many cultures illness is caused by being out of balance emotionally, spiritually, mentally or physically. Trauma, too, can cause imbalances that lead to physical illness by disrupting the body’s natural rhythms that maintain wellness. So argues Leslie E. Korn, author of a new book entitled “Rhythms of Recovery: Trauma, Nature, and the Body,” published and released this year by Routledge.
And, unfortunately, all too often the healthcare industry is of little help. “In my experience I observed that the physical and mental health professions are very compartmentalized in our approach to treatment. The physical health people treat the body and the mental health people treat the mind but nobody [other than those we call ‘healers’] really helps the client integrate and understand how the symptoms, the discomforts or distress that they’re experiencing are a whole [system],” Dr. Korn explains.
 In addition to integrating mental and general healthcare modalities, what distinguishes this book is its recognition of the role of culture and historical trauma. For American Indians the history of genocide and colonization has resulted in what psychologists call postcolonial stress disorder, which occurs not only on an individual but community level and often goes unacknowledged. Continue reading

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Research Shows Organic Milk Healthier

In Sandi Doughton posts information on the first large-scale study to compare milk from organic and conventional dairies across the United States

…the researchers found significantly higher levels of heart-healthy fatty acids in organic milk. The reason is that organically raised cows eat more grass and less corn and other grain-based feed than their conventional counterparts, said lead author Charles Benbrook, of the university’s Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources. Continue reading

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Becoming Minimalist

Joshua Becker’s story begins on a fine spring day:

Our story begins on a beautiful three-day weekend at our home in suburban Vermont. The sun was shining, the flowers were blooming, the grass was beginning to green, and the trees were budding. I was cleaning my garage, my wife was cleaning the bathrooms, and my 5-year old son was in the backyard asking us to come play with him. At that very moment, I struck up an entirely coincidental, life-changing conversation with my neighbor who commented, “Maybe you don’t need to own all this stuff.” The juxtaposition was striking. My possessions piled up in the driveway… my son in the backyard… my day slipping away… I immediately recognized something needed to change. My belongings were not adding value to my life. Instead, they were subtracting from it. Continue reading

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Spirituality Enhances Health

In a study, posted on the Elevated Existence blog, research shows spirituality enhances a person’s health – particularly their mental health:

“In many ways, the results of our study support the idea that spirituality functions as a personality trait,” said Dan Cohen, assistant teaching professor of religious studies at MU and one of the co-authors of the study. “With increased spirituality people reduce their sense of self and feel a greater sense of oneness and connectedness with the rest of the universe. What was interesting was that frequency of participation in religious activities or the perceived degree of congregational support was not found to be significant in the relationships between personality, spirituality, religion and health.” Continue reading

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Peoples’ Top Regrets

Nurse reveals the top 5 regrets people make on their deathbed

This article by Sina Avari reminds us of what is important in life:

For many years I worked in palliative care. My patients were those who had gone home to die. Some incredibly special times were shared. I was with them for the last three to twelve weeks of their lives. When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again. Here are the most common five:

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
This was the most common regret of all. When people realize that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.

It is very important to try and honour at least some of your dreams along the way. From the moment that you lose your health, it is too late. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it. Continue reading

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Folklore Uses of Local Plants Effective in Treatment of Diabetes

The Guardian News reports that recent studies  are “validating the folklore uses of local plants and spices such as bitter leaf, scent leaf and Gongronema latifolium (Utazi in Ibo) among others in the management of diabetes.”

A STUDY published in April 2013 edition of Journal of natural pharmaceuticals found that treatment of alloxan diabetic rats with polyherbal combinations of Vernonia amygdalina (bitter leaf), Gongronema latifolium (Utazi in Ibo), and Ocimum gratissimum (scent leaf) caused significant reductions in the blood glucose level (BGL) of the diabetic rats both in acute and prolonged treatment (two weeks).
The University of Uyo researchers found that the activities of various combined extracts were comparable and more pronounced than that of glibenclamide and compared to that of glibenclamide in the prolonged study. The anti-diabetic activities of the various herbal combinations confirm the folkloric use of these polyherbal remedies.
The researchers concluded, “the finding of this study confirms the efficacy of the various polyherbal combinations used traditionally by herbalists of Ibibio tribe of Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria for the management of diabetes which are of advantage. Further studies into polyherbal combinations used in the management of diabetes are encouraged to support the advantage of polytherapy.”

You can read the entire article here.

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Ditch the Low Fat Diet and Eat Like an Early Victorian for Better Health

Reposted from “to your Health.”

One of the biggest mistakes I see in nutrition is that we that we look at life in these narrow “slices” of time, and think this is how things always have been. We might think that nutritionally, we’re a little worse than a while ago (or not), but we don’t have any perspective or context to help us see exactly HOW different things are now.

Let’s take, for example, the current fad of eating low fat. At no point in human history had we ever eaten low fat until the past 30-40 years, when research linked hydrogenated fats and trans fats to heart disease. While those man-made fats absolutely contribute to heart disease, there has never been a study that linked butter or lard to plaques or any other cardiovascular problem. Yet without solid research on which to justify this change, the national recommendation then became to avoid ALL fats. We then invented fat-free yogurt with more sugar in it than even a candy bar, but with all the “wholesome goodness” that yogurt seems to imply. Continue reading

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Who’s Writing Your News Content?

I just received a newsletter from William Reed Newsmedia titled Science & Nutrition that I didn’t sign up for, but that focuses on topics that are of interest to me. So, when an article titled, “Autism linked to decreased microbe diversity in the gut” popped up I clicked on it.  I landed on a page that gives a short description of a study with findings which, when you read the case study, you realize are “correlational” and need “following up.”  Conveniently tucked into the beginning of the case study is an advertisement for Zembrin, with a link that takes you to a website where you can purchase the product:

Zembrin® is Experiential – “Feel” the Benefits

PL Thomas
Published: 15-Jul-2013
Format: PDF file
Length: 2 Page(s)
Type: Case Study
PL Thomas

Also conveniently placed, at the end of the case study, was a list of companies who carry related products.  Although this is a rather transparent example, Andrew Sullivan notes, on his blog, that  this trend of publications mixing paid advertising with news content, without indicating it as such, is becoming more and more common. He references Jeff Jarvis’ post In the End Was the Word and the Word Was the Sponsor’sJarvis states that the reader should never be confused about the source of content because, “to do so breeds inconsistency… conflict of interest… and loss of brand value.”  The key principal has to do with integrity and survival:

Brands are chasing the wrong goal. Marketers shouldn’t want to make content. Don’t they know that content is a lousy business? As adman Rishad Tobaccowala said to me in an email, content is not scalable for advertisers, either. He says the future of marketing isn’t advertising but utilities and services. I say the same for news: It is a service.