Friday, November 23, 2012

Eco Amazons

I was sort of drowsy when I started reading Dorka Keehn's Eco
Amazons: 20 Women Who Are Transforming the World. But when I'd
gotten past the forward and introduction and met the first women I had
an energy shot buzz without benefit of beverage. This is not your
typical bio and props. Each chapter gets to the heart of a woman who
has taken on a cause and draws the links between her life, her
passion, and her impact on the larger world. There is a wonderful
variety of women. Not all are learned or well connected. They let
their concern and anger move them powerfully rather than waiting for
someone else to do something.
"I never imagined that I'd live in a place that would hurt my
babies.". Cheryl Johnson was raising seven children in a Chicago
housing project when she read about the high rates of cancer in her
neighborhood. She mobilized other women to help her document the many
health problems there. "The men didn't help; they didn't have the
same instinct mothers have to protect their young ones." She found a
lot to protect young ones from: high levels of lead and asbestos in
the projects and landfills and toxin emitting factories surrounding it.
Alice Waters studied in Paris during her junior year in
college. She fell in love with a way of cooking and eating involving
fresh ingredients and a welcoming atmosphere. Back in the United
States she was inspired to start a restaurant that would be a
political and social place and serve responsibly produced, fresh
foods. The birth of her daughter made food politics become more
urgent to her. She visited a middle school and was shocked to see
only a microwave--not a kitchen. She wrote about her discovery in a
newspaper article. The principal asked her for help.
If you want to read about strong women, if you care about our
earth and those we share it with, or if you want to feel inspired and
empowered read the book. I will close this review with the words of
Annie Leonard, a critic of overconsumption, "Scientists in the field
of happiness have proven over and over that once our basic needs are
met (i.e., a roof and food and other necessities), what provides
happiness is not things. Number one on the list is the quality of our
social relationships, the second is having a sense of meaning beyond
yourself, and number three is coming together with others toward a
shared goal. How lucky we are that the very things we need to get
this country on a sustainable, fair, and healthy path contribute most
to our happiness." Scribbling this review in adult Sunday school, I
must respond with a heart felt Amen!!!
On a personal note, I'm so excited and a little nervous that there are
just four more rehearsals before we go into production mode.
A great big shout out goes out to my
Our Town acting family, not only for their talent and hard work, but
for the kindness and openheartedness with which they took in a
newcomer. Reminds me of the song "Consider Yourself" (well in, part
of the family...) from the musical Oliver.
Julia Emily Hathaway

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