Hello, and welcome to my first The Eleven for 2012. If you're just joining us this is my monthly e-letter that I send out to the world - full of recent thoughts, accomplishments, failures and a call to action or two. I hope you like it - you're welcome to unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link below. I'm also in expansion mode and I'd love it if you'd forward this on with your recommendation of how you enjoy this monthly missive if you feel so moved. Well, hold onto your hat cause there's a lot going on right now!
One thing I love about creating The Eleven each month is how it forces me to be creative and say something each month. No matter what mood I'm in, I take a few hours to get my words/thoughts out. It pushes me to write and edit on a deadline. Another aspect of this endeavor that I enjoy is the feedback that I receive from people. Sometimes it's a thumb's up, sometimes a recommendation of something to look at or look into, or a referral to someone who is interested in topics I've raised. The responses are usually pretty positive thanks to the company I keep and helpful. I've created a FB fan page that will outline more specifically my thinking about creating newsletters. Feel free to join up and if you want to start one of these of your own I'd be glad to help get you started.
|Wileyware Earrings Coming out of the Kiln|
Last month I worked for one of my favorite local organizations, Friends of Trees. I designed their Facebook landing page with their help. If you've been with me for a while you know that I'm a tree hugger and a tree planter and have been for years. I led tree plantings in Seattle in the 90s and also have done a few in Portland. More recently I've been working on trying to get more fruit and nut trees planted and I'm planning to learn more about tree care through the Portland Fruit Tree Project's training program this Winter/Spring.
|"New Tree" by Chijo Takeda|
But you know what I'm really grappling with lately? The wide gap between the way things are and the way I wish they were. I guess that's at the heart of all activism. As I learn more about forestry issues (LINK to best article on forestry issues I've seen in a long while), for instance, I just have to wonder why we're such a greedy bunch? As I learn more about our industrial food system, I can't help but wonder how we've let things get this bad. I saw a bumper sticker yesterday that said "food = poison" and that's not too far from the truth in most cases. And then I watch our US Congress unable to make the simplest smart moves to help the citizens in this country and beyond and I'm just baffled at our inability to show empathy, to care for the less fortunate and to think a few moves ahead about our future.
I don't think I have all the answers but I certainly agree with filmmaker and activist Michael Moore and others that it's beyond time to get money out of politics. The fact that any of the current buffoons running as candidates for the Republican nomination for President have any chance at all of being taken seriously as contenders to President Obama stinks greatly of how big a role money plays in our buying the resulting political and judicial systems. For a very short time we had publicly-financed city council elections in Portland and I thought it was a great system. Some candidates used the system and the playing field was leveled - look for people to start demanding this type of fairness in politics in the near future and thanks to Occupy folks for continuing to raise this and other important issues.
Business-wise, I've been spending a lot of time on the computer lately. Mostly on Facebook. I'm continuing to learn about the platform and how it can be interesting personally (make the close friends list, you'll thank me), and helpful to small businesses, professionally. I don't think there has ever been anything like Facebook in the history of the world - a "place" where a billion people are posting information about themselves and their thinking - where so much sharing is going on and where the "game" changes on what feels like a daily basis. Today there is timeline, yesterday (it feels like) there were the multiple changes to the news feed and I'm sure there will be plenty of changes in 2012. It's so interesting to me to navigate a stream that is flowing so quickly and to try to stay on task. There are many levels of value to the system and by spending time with it I'm learning some best practices which I've taught in the past. I'm going to open up my house again soon to another series of classes. If this sounds interesting to you please get in touch. In the past I've generally held a class once someone has requested one :)
I'm always looking for collaborators. If social networking/email marketing/activism is an area you'd like to pursue further, perhaps we can team up. I'd love to have more collaboration going on in my life - never doubt that a small team of people can get a lot accomplished :) paraphrasing Margaret Mead.
|Breitenbush: Meadow Pool|
Personally, I had a great new Years spent at Breitenbush Hot Springs. If you've never been there, I highly recommend it. It is one of the main reasons I moved to Portland in 2002 - to be closer to a place I had already grown to love - great food; amazing hot springs; captivating forests; interesting people and a vibration I've never felt anywhere else. I had an amazing walk one night in the dark there with a partially working flashlight. I realized at one point that I didn't' need the light as I've walked the paths there so many times, so I turned it off. Bliss.
Here's to a more mature 2012. May our world make a better attempt at righting the wrongs; feeding the hungry; saving other species from extinction; cleaning our air. May intelligence and kindness prevail over stupidity, carelessness and meanness.
May we all get better at diplomacy and communication and learn how to live lighter on the earth.
Have a great month!