Turkish women beekeepers to lead organic revolution

More than 10,000,000 women live in rural parts of Turkey, and although Turkey has one of the world’s lowest employment rates for women (22%), women are working full-time (albeit unpaid) while they care for their large families and run small family farms. But in these remote villages, they are cut off from the city centers, so there are limited opportunities to translate this labor into income, educational opportunities, or professional development.

Organic beekeeping, particularly in rural untouched areas such as Northeastern Turkey is an ideal livelihood for women, because women are stable –therefore not moving their bees into areas with harmful crops or pesticides– and beekeeping can be done right from their backyards without taking away too much time from raising a family.

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What’s hiding in your cleaning products. You’ll want to know this.

From Living Green Magazine

New independent lab testing on 20 top household cleaning products reveals that cleaning products commonly contain hidden chemicals linked to cancer, birth defects and pregnancy complications. The tests were commissioned by the national nonprofit Women’s Voices for the Earth.

The report, “Dirty Secrets: What’s Hiding in Your Cleaning Products?” (www.womensvoices.org) shows that top-selling cleaning products and detergents, including Tide Free & Gentle, Pine-Sol and Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner, contain toxic chemicals not revealed to the consumer.

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Women and the Arab uprising: 8 change agents to follow

Women have been at the forefront of the uprisings that started in Tunisia and soon cascaded west to Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Syria and across the Gulf. Over the past year, Arab women have relished the promise of a change — and found a new sense of equality long suppressed under sclerotic patriarchal regimes.

But many women activists fear that promise is now receding; and that women’s rights are being left on the political back-burner. In Egypt’s first post-Mubarak parliamentary elections — largely seen as the nation’s first free and fair vote — only nine of the newly elected 498 parliamentarians are women.

Popular Egyptian activist blogger Dalia Zaida says shortly before the elections, she conducted an informal poll of 1,400 voters across Cairo and found not a single person, male or female, who said he or she would vote for a female presidential candidate. Women across the region worry about this growing chasm between the reality of women’s unyielding participation on the streets and their stark absence from the formal political process.

Some secular female activists also fear that the rise of Islamist parties, whatever their professed moderation, will curtail their political space.

In Egypt, women have faced brutal treatment at the hands of the caretakers of the revolution — the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces. Activists describe its handling of protests as incompetent at best, and malevolent at its worst. Back in March, when the military forcibly expelled protestors from Tahrir Square — the epicenter of pro-democracy protests — 18 female activists were arrested, 17 of whom say they were forced to undergo “virginity tests,” (the military has claimed the tests were done to protect the army from possible allegations of rape).

Recently, hundreds of women from across the Middle East attended a conference in Egypt to discuss how technology and the Internet, namely social media, can be used to protect and advance women’s goals in the region. The Egyptian-American pundit Mona Eltahaway moderated the conference, taking the stage with both arms in casts. In November, she was sexually assaulted and beaten by soldiers near Tahrir Square. The plaster didn’t preclude her from articulating her message: “The most revolutionary thing a woman can do is share her experience as if it matters.”

As countries across the region struggle to dismantle inequitable systems and build civil society anew, these are just a few of the female “agents of change” who are sharing their experiences and have no intention of backing down.

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32,000 year-old flower has rebloomed

From Treehuger

Melting permafrost is not helping climate change, as it gives off gusts of globe-warming methane. But the world’s scientists are finding a treasure trove in areas where the snow melts.

A team at the Institute of Physicochemical and Biological Problems in Soil Science, Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow, Russia discovered – in a fossilized squirrel burrow in Siberia – remnants of the ice-age flowering plant Silene stenophylla. The plant had been buried at a depth of 38 meters in sediments with a temperature of ?7°.

Radiocarbon dating of the plants seemed to show that an ancient squirrel stashed them around 31,800 years ago, just before ice rolled into the area near the Kolya river.

Scientists used growth hormone to coax silene stenophylla back to life and eventually, back to bloom. They are now, according to the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences report ” the most ancient, viable, multicellular, living organisms.”

The discoveries of this ‘ancient DNA’ as permafrost in colder regions melts is becoming a trend. Sometimes, seed finds turn out to have been deposited much later than scientists first believe, but the Soil Cryptology Lab in Moscow went to some lengths to ascertain that silene stenophylla‘s seeds were really as old as they seemed to be.

As permafrost melts, there will be more finds like silene stenophylla, and some scientists think ancient seeds might even begin to bloom spontaneously, giving hope that previous extinct varieties of plants will come back to life.

And if not, there’s always Norway’s seed vault to provide some genetic info.

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Jean Houston on the role of women on the planet right now.

Jean Houston is in the air this weekend. My friends, Jennifer and Kimberly, spent some time in the middle of a women’s locker room discussing her contributions to the planet — and the role of women today. So I thought I’d share a special moment I had with her in Boulder, CO. Below is the transcript of my interview with this icon. Here’s the link to the audio. You’ll want to hear her say this. Oh what locker rooms can unlock!

Philosopher, scholar and cultural icon, Dr. Jean Houston is one of the foremost visionary thinkers and doers of our time, and one of the principal founders of the Human Potential Movement. She has worked intensively in 40 cultures and 100 countries helping to enhance and deepen their own uniqueness while they become part of the global community.

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We’re 2 today!!! Let’s sing “Happy Birthday” together.

Send us a video of you singing “Happy Birthday Women Of Green” and we’ll send you a special gift to celebrate our second birthday. We’ll share it with our almost 5500 Facebook fans and Twitter followers too!

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Frack attack

From Huffington Post via Women Of Green

WASHINGTON — Natural gas drillers would be required to disclose the chemicals they use in hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” on public lands, according to draft rules created by the Department of Interior. The proposed regulations would also force companies to report the amount of any given chemical injected during the fracking process.

The move for increased regulation comes after President Barack Obama touted his commitment to expanding natural gas production while ensuring the drilling is done responsibly. “My administration will take every possible action to safely develop this energy,” he said during his State of the Union address last month. Fracking, which involves the high-pressure injection of undisclosed chemicals into rocks containing oil or natural gas, has drawn increasing scrutiny from environmentalists who suggest the process contaminates groundwater and destroys ecosystems.

Under the proposed regulations, companies would be required to reveal the “complete chemical makeup of all materials used,” according to a copy of the rules obtained by The Huffington Post. But environmentalists have noted that, while the regulations offer some “good elements,” the rules still offer companies considerable protections for “trade secrets,” an exemption some worry could negate the rule.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has said regulations will also cover well-bore integrity and regulation of flowback waters (the fluids that rise to the surface after hydraulic fracturing operations are complete). Further, reports detailing the ingredients used in the fracking fluids and a fluid treatment plan must be submitted 30 days before operations begin at any proposed well.

Interior spokesman Adam Fetcher elaborated in a statement.

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The Jewels of Jes: Spreading compassion through jewelry

I truly believe the reason my work has been so successful is because it’s infused with my passion for life – passion born from a place of deep compassion, for all creatures and our beautiful Mother Earth. My collectors can feel this and have expressed how deeply inspired they are by the love built into every design and how good it feels to wear jewelry and support a company that celebrates life, by honoring ethical practice and raising awareness.

My interest in the environment developed from a childhood spent mostly outdoors. Countless hours riding my horse bareback deep into the wooded hills near my home – never failed to return me to my souls essence. Nature was my altar as much then, as it is today. It’s the place where I can hear and feel my heart’s wisdom; not only does it inspire my creativity, but anchors it. My relationship with animals is no different. They are so pure, present and without judgment – I always feel relaxed in their company, like I can really be myself and love without constraint.

When you love something unconditionally, it is natural to want to do anything in your power to protect it. My real work as an artist is to spread compassion and bring awareness to the suffering innocent, and the abusive practices that are detrimentally impacting our Earth. As a business owner and entrepreneur, I feel a responsibility to affect positive change in my immediate environment – and on a global level. Implementing ethical practice in business requires a lot of research, attention to detail, and in many cases extra expense – but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I get to stand behind (and in front of) a company that brings more beauty into the world, while helping eliminate what is not so beautiful. My dedication to this level of integrity has also created amazing opportunities to collaborate with bigger companies making a powerful impact socially and environmentally.

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UN panel says only Sustainable Development can create a ‘Resilient Planet’

From Environment News Service

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, A panel of current and former heads of government, ministers and lawmakers Monday launched a plan for world leaders to propel an “ever-green” energy revolution that could wean the world off fossil fuels, when they meet in Brazil later this year.

The report of the High-level Panel on Global Sustainability links the United Nations’ goals of reducing poverty and inequality to promoting the use of wind, solar and other renewable energy sources to power the economies of rich and poor nations alike.

The report, “Resilient People, Resilient Planet: A Future Worth Choosing,” contains 56 recommendations to put sustainable development into practice quickly, moving it from a general concept to the core of mainstream economics.

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What’s in your sushi these days

Recent studies estimate that fish off the West Coast ingest over 12,000 ton of plastic a year. How many plastic water, soda, juice bottles and plastic bags did you toss last year? Say NO to plastic. Promise?!

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