"Inspiring others into action by demonstrating the Power of One Woman."

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Voluteering Offers Sustainability Experience

Do you have a passion you want to dive into? Want to learn more about organic gardening? Want to learn how to live off-grid? The website WorkAway.info is a cultural exchange and learning program where hosts offer room and board for an exchange of volunteer support. While writing the book Power of One Woman, I made the decision to volunteer for three Work Away programs to learn with people in action. I volunteered on a 12-acre organic farm in the Georgia Mountains; with a couple building an off-grid retreat center in the Alabama Mountains; and on an adventure center in the Rocky Mountains.

An inspiring benefit of Work Away is meeting people. I met intelligent, conscious people from the around the planet: Switzerland, Ukraine, B.C., France and from around the United States.  

Many young women and men are taking a year to learn more of what is out there. I spoke to Jill and Mackenzie two young women traveling the planet volunteering and learning skills, visiting new places and meeting friends. Jill a 22 year-old woman from California is volunteering on organic farms with the intention of opening up her own farm. Jill is thoughtful with her diet; eating an all-organic diet traveling with tealeaves, such as strawberry, from gardens she has visited. Jill found fresh pine needles from a recently cut tree, studied their benefits, learned pine needles have Vitamin C and made tea from them.

Jill stated, “I want to gain experience in what I want to build. I am curious about the connection to food and water and where it comes from, in local areas how farmers are growing food in their region. What are the local trees and plants in the region and what do the gardens look like? I am volunteering with farm to table hosts. I am interested in herbs and how they can be made into essential oils and medicinal tinctures.”

Jill, Mackenzie and I talk by the outdoor fire in the mountains and Mackenzie is sketching Jill and myself. Jill continues, “In North Carolina, I stayed with a family of four on a picturesque farm in a valley. We picked hundreds of pounds of apples and pears, made applesauce and pear sauce and prepared for market days.” Jill heads next to a Florida farm and is excited to read the book, “Florida’s Edible Wild Plants” by Peggy Sias Lantz. Jill states, “I want to see farms and communities at different phases. I want to learn more about cooperative living and see other’s perspectives.”

Mackenize is a Chicago native and one year out of college. She worked in Washington D.C. as a Post Baccalaureate Fellow. She explains, “I am traveling because I realized my job and the track I was on would not make me happy. I feel traveling is a way to figure out what I want to do and learn more about myself. I was caught up in it.

“I wanted to learn more ways of living because I just knew the one way. I feel connected to the efforts of people in touch with the land.” Mackenzie spent three months in Alaska before heading to Talladega, Alabama. She continues, “I wanted to see the south and experience off-grid living. I wanted to feel more in touch with the land and nature. I see how I feel being out in nature and how I feel after being on the Internet. After spending time outdoors, I feel city life is a harder life to live. Working in the lab, I didn’t feel my brain was thriving. I began thinking there was more than one way to think. I put myself outside my comfort zone, and expanded my vision. I got out of the box of who I was. I have had tons of new experiences. I realize we can’t assume.

I listened to people and heard many new views. Seeing other peoples’ views helps me to think differently. For instance, there was no trash pick up in Alaska. We were very aware of what we consumed, and we had to burn our trash. I became more aware of our impact on the planet not just sending trash off. Learning is really important. Being uncomfortable is really important because it helps us grow. I am thinking about my diet, and I am thinking about my impact on the planet.”

Jill, Mackenzie, and I enjoyed the different terrains, the people we met, and the different cultures. We expressed an expansion of awareness within ourselves meeting new people and growing from new experiences. Jill and Mackenzie stated they would continue to travel creating in their minds and hearts a roadmap for their future.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Ellen "Dream Entry" Turns into an all Night  Alabama National Forest Experience

While volunteering at an eco-center in the Talladega National Forest in Alabama, I shared my dream with the co-owner, Mandy of creating Power of One Woman into a movement, spreading the message that women have the strength and power to create a cooperative and sustainable world. I recently finished the book Power of One Woman where I interviewed 60 women working for the planet. I shared with Mandy my vision of having the book published and the documentary made so these women’s remarkable stories are shared!

Feeling motivated, I walked into Mandy’s cabin and stated, “I am sharing my dream with Ellen.” I wrote a draft and decided to take a quick hike for endorphins and clarity. I told Mandy I would send the email after an inspirational short hike. I did not see the trail markers on the return.  An overcast, fall afternoon, I continued to search for the trail until I came upon a road. As I walked, the area became more remote. I hiked the opposite direction until dark came where I sat on the side of the road. I knew the owners, Dustin and Mandy, would be looking for me. I heard the shouts, and I shouted back. I knew I was safe; they did not. I had on a light jacket and my dog, Josie, was with me. The dark hours continued on the November night, and I made a bed of leaves where Josie and I lay. The shouts continued, and I continued shouting back. I decided a few times to walk towards the shouts coming upon logs, hills, and thorns and returned to my bed of leaves. I relaxed my mind and sent blessings to Dustin and Mandy. I wanted them to know I was safe. I stayed in a place of gratitude for the leaves, the ground and fresh mountain air. Rain fell and I moved under a fallen tree crouching my head against it. Josie lay next to me. 12 hours of darkness allowed me to stay in a warrior attitude. At the slightest shift of light of the early morning, Josie and I made our way down the road. The road opened up to a more commercial road where we walked for miles until it came to an end. I knew the search and rescue team would be moving out any minute so I decided to hike in the mountains towards the sound of cars.

We walked across beautiful creeks, orange and yellow foliage and marvelous overhangs. I followed a sound for an hour until we came to a large creek. The sound I heard was a generator of a home. I shouted across the creek, and a woman in a bathrobe came out shouting back. I waved and explained I had gotten lost. She returned with her husband who looked at me and went up the hill for his kayak. After paddling my way across the creek, Billy heard my story and explained he had no cell service. He started his truck to take me to Dustin.

I dialed my cell phone from his several times as we bounced up and down on the dirt roads. Billy said, “Just wait; we will be there soon.” I heard stories of coyotes and bear sightings. Billy had a southern twang made famous in movies. He was also kind. We drove up on Dustin’s driveway to the Search and Research squad. I hurriedly hopped out explaining to the Sheriff I was the woman they were looking for. I ran to Dustin and quickly said, “I am okay!!” I had only one briar cut on my leg.

Mandy came out and said, “I knew you were coming back because you were excited about writing Ellen!” My cell phone, computer, and notebook with pen were sitting exactly where I left them. As procedure, the sheriffs asked Mandy the questions, “Are you sure she wants to return?” They were asking was my disappearance intentional? To Mandy, it was definite I was returning; I had declared my mission of creating Power of One Woman into a movement, and I was sharing this with the Ellen Show. As we sat around the fire that day recounting the events and hearing everyone’s perspective, I was grateful. Women are powerful. We are mindful and adventurous, and creative. I was grateful to the team of men who made their way through the forests calling for me; for my dog Josie staying by my side, and for the beauty I experienced. The clarity of cooperation, teamwork was opening my mind. Dustin hiked, shouted and persevered most of the night. Volunteers joined him. He and Mandy were grateful and gracious when I returned. My focus during the night was to stay safe and present; I knew what Dustin and Mandy were experiencing, and I was grateful for our friendship. My experience writing the Power of One Woman interviewing women of courage, talking to people supporting the mission, I knew in the woods all was okay. It was one night of nature immersion. I sent my intention and story to Ellen! 



Wednesday, October 4, 2017

As many of us are feeling uncertainty as the latest news flashes, I feel it is important to focus. Focus on what is important to us, taking the time to be, to give gratitude.
I have had the incredible experience of speaking to over 60 women working for the planet from many backgrounds including organic clothing designers, organic gardeners and farmers, scientists, authors, speakers, artists, and educators. I have written these stories in the book, Power of One Woman. When I first had the idea for Power of One Woman, I wondered if hearing other women’s stories would stimulate other women into action for the planet.

The stories I have heard have lit a fire under me! Women are courageous, powerful, tenacious, creative, entrepreneurial and graceful. As I speak to inspirational women I feel motivated every day to take a step forward. Sarah Shanley Hope, mother of two is moving lightening speed with The Solutions Project creating 100% clean energy in the United States. I feel so excited about solar, wind and water energy I see the time when are all off the grid! Lynne Cherry, author of 30 amazing children’s books is producing and directing films of children’s astonishing work for the planet in Young Voices for the Planet. Women, if you are looking for inspiration, go to the Young Voices for the Planet website. Three young girls in Lexington, Massachusetts convinced their town council to put solar panels on all town buildings. The girls’ confidence increased, and they swayed their school officials to put solar panels on their school!

Carolyn Finney is devoted to healing and encouraging people of all races and backgrounds to spend time in nature. Stacy Malkan with U.S Right to Know and Robyn O’Brien author of The Unhealthy Truth are speaking for our right to know the truth of what is in our food. Florence Williams is traveling the globe sharing the knowledge and research: nature heals and is vital to our health in her book, The Nature Fix!  Anne and Stephanie Reynolds, mother and daughter team travel tirelessly to and from Haiti creating Fair Trade chocolate and vanilla products and Bev Missing in South Africa creating Fair Trade beautiful handmade personal care products together paying fair wages to over 1000 local people. When you hear stories of injustice, read stories of women and Fair Trade and better yet, purchase Fair Trade!

Purchasing clothes from companies such as Synergy Organic Clothing founded by Kate Fisher provides fair wages to women in Nepal. Purchasing organic socks from companies such Little River Socks Mill co-founded by Gina Locklear provides fair wages to United States’ workers.

Karen Washington speaks to the justice and integrity of having clean, healthy food and builds gardens in rural and urban spaces and on rooftops! Entrepreneur and creative thinker, Judith Winfrey connects rural and urban farmers with local farmers markets around the state of Georgia increasing the access to local organic foods.

Architect Rebecca Bryant is creating a movement in green building: speaking, designing, and consulting on how buildings and structures are meant to be like trees giving back to the earth and healing our minds and our bodies. Medical doctor Aly Cohen moved by the research and the healing occurring with healthy lifestyle choices is creating The Smart Human website and authoring the book providing us with the information to make informed healthy choices.

Need words of inspiration? Go to Laura Klein’s blogs at Organic Authority and Eco Salon! Read Marion Stoddard’s story of cleaning the Nashua River on Work of 1000 website. And one of my favorite: want to see children thriving and having no need for medication because they are moving out in nature read about The Green School in Bali founded by husband and wife team, Cynthia and John Hardy. Young, strong women are creating nature immersion programs such as Brinkley Hutchings with Nature Connect North Carolina and Nature Connect Alabama. Melinda Kramer with Women Earth Alliance and Wendolyn Bird of Tender Tracks are reminding us the importance of support, storytelling, dancing and singing. Wendolyn shares the story of a tribal member going to the elder and saying, “I am feeling distraught and a bit depressed,” and the tribal elder responded, “When did you stop dancing?” Movement is proven in numerous researches to aid our bodies and our minds. Movement out in nature amplifies this healing. Feeling a bit down, dance! Get out in the wind, the sun, and trees and forest bathe!! Trees are healers, and our bodies and minds feel it.

I shared with one woman I call on my warrior self when I see injustice! When I see bully movement, I know it is time for clarity, inspiration, and action. Sarah Shanley Hope said, “If we are in a ditch then let’s get out together!” Women let’s work together and move forward. As many of these remarkable women have expressed, “Find your passion, surround yourself with support, and take action!”

Monday, September 19, 2011

Nina Simons, Femininity in Action

An internationally acclaimed speaker, advocate; author, and leader within the environmental movement, Nina Simons’ calming voice exudes the strong feminine spirit she writes and speaks of. Nina describes being among the sunflowers, bees, butterflies and vegetables and experiencing an awakening to nature while walking through Gabriel Howearth’s garden with her now husband Kenny Ausubel. Nina and Kenny created “Seeds of Change” in 1989 with Gabriel with the mission “to preserve biodiversity and promote sustainable, organic agriculture.”
One year later, seeing a need to bring like-minded people together focused on sustainability, Nina and Kenny once again trail-blazed creating an annual conference which set the foundation for “Bioneers” a term Kenny created, and now a non-profit hosting their 22nd annual conference which “highlights breakthrough solutions for restoring people and planet and inspiring a shift to live on Earth in ways that honor the web of life, each other and future generations.”
What once began as a 250 people conference now hosts 3,000 people from across the globe and transmits videos around the world reaching over 9,000 people. Nina and Kenny left Seeds of Change with the mission of bringing like-minded people together focused on “innovative solutions” for the planet.
Nina’s personal evolution with Bioneers resulted in the creation of “The Women’s Leadership Conference.” Nina saw the desire by women to rise in leadership related to deeply passionate issues such as children’s health and education. The Women’s Leadership Conference aims at connecting women and accentuating the best of our feminine side to nurture and bond with our masculine side to lead and create.
“Moonrise” an anthology of stories of women “leading from the heart,” edited by Nina and Anneke Campbell, was an outgrowth of Nina’s women’s leadership work.
Nina’s soft-spoken manner is warrior spirit in action. Nina’s grace and eloquence combined with her commitment and dedication results in strength, boldness, and change. Nina is a role model for women desiring to make a difference for the planet. Her 24 years of working in sustainability has paired her with almost every environmental leader in the country. The impact of her work is far reaching. She now speaks at United Nations conferences. Nina knows the planet is calling us for assistance; she also knows it will take men and women moving forward together and educating our children on the important issues.
I was moved by Nina’s openness and sincerity in our interview. Though an interview with Nina requires scheduling several weeks in advance due to her speaking schedule, she was completely enthusiastic and present. Nina underscores how appreciative she is seeing women stepping courageously forward; using our voices to speak for the earth. She sees a ripple effect happening from each woman stepping forward and she reiterates, now is the time. Nina knows personally what the Power of One Woman holds to make a difference and she personifies it.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Robyn O'Brien "America's Food Crusader"

Robyn O’Brien described the day that changed her life from full-time mother to national speaker, author, and activist on food. Robyn was introducing solids to her infant daughter and cooked eggs for breakfast; her daughter had a severe allergic reaction to “touching” eggs. The doctor explained to Robyn it was a allergic reaction that “just happened” and that egg allergies were common. This didn’t sell Robyn; she could not walk away from her feelings of ambivalence. Searching for understanding, she researched; and she found stunning information about the American food supply.
She learned that while European nations were issuing caution and prevention related to foods, the United States allowed food to be manufactured and sold without human trials having been conducted to determine their safety or the health risks and health costs related to the use of chemicals, artificial ingredients, and genetically modified foods found in many of our foods today. Foods in the United States are commonly made with either artificial dyes, artificial sweeteners such high fructose corn syrup, hormones or a combinations of these ingredients; these either not used in other countries or these ingredients are labeled so that consumers can make an informed choice. This is taking a toll on our children’s health. Robyn was alarmed to learn these same foods are sold in a more natural version in Europe; thus many of the foods sold here are either banned or were never introduced in Europe. Robyn’s research also shows a correlation between the chemically laden food and common U.S. ailments such ADD, diabetes,obesity, cancers to name a few.
Robyn felt she found answers other parents deserved to know. She felt a new world had opened up and she wanted to share it. She wondered how many other parents were interested in learning many of our children’s allergies could be prevented through proper nutrition. So she consulted her family and the “Allergy Kids Network,” was founded. Now a national educational based non-profit, it serves as a support base for parents seeking solutions and prevention to their children’s allergies. The website www.allergykisd.com is a wonderful resource containing a wealth of knowledge.
From looking for answers to her child’s allergic reaction and not turning away from the facts, Robyn has become a national spokesperson for food and the author of the book, “The Unhealthy Truth: How our food is making us sick and what we can do about it.” While Robyn knows that many of our foods are making us sick; she also knows that eating the right foods can keep us well. Robyn makes the links between our food, our health and the health of the planet. Her TEDX in Austin http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rixyrCNVVGA received a standing ovation.
Robyn has never swayed or backed down from the reality of food facts in the U.S. and when radio shows have canceled because advertisers might pull their advertising if she is on, she knows there is another show waiting. Robyn has opened the door for many families seeking solutions; and has helped with getting stricter standards on food. For more information please visit, www.Robynobrien.com. “While none of us can do
everything, all of us can do something when it comes to protecting the health of our families. And hope is the knowledge that change is possible, even when it seems hard to imagine.” Robyn O’Brien

Friday, June 3, 2011

A modern-day explorer, Milbry Polk makes discoveries about our planet while paving the way for other women.

Milbry Polk is a modern day explorer; mentor and trendsetter for women. At a young age, Milbry decided that she wanted to be an “explorer.” Influenced both by her father who took her family traveling to the Middle East and Europe and by historical figures such as Alexander the Great, she knew she wanted to see more of the world while making a contribution to it. She accomplished what she set out to do and she learned early on that she was in a profession recognized by men for men. I learned from Milbry that exploring doesn’t mean finding new pieces of land: It means making new discoveries about our land our animals, and improving our knowledge of our vast world. As Milbry stated, “Exploring doesn’t just mean conquering or claiming, it means making new discoveries filling in the blank places of knowledge.”
Milbry also used her knowledge and passion for exploring in authoring the book with Mary Tiegreen, “Women of Discovery." Milbry realized women have a major contributing role in exploring our planet so with Lela Hadley she created “Wings World Quest” a non-profit organization supporting and celebrating women explorers. Wings went on to become internationally recognized as a support network for women explorers. Women’s work was now being featured through public lectures, educational programs, a Flag program and fellowships and grants to nearly 100 women worldwide.
Making over 20 expeditions, Milbry has traveled to places most of us will only see in pictures. She has written and contributed to over a dozen books, spends frequent amount of time on the speaking circuit, and has been recognized for her work through numerous awards. Stepping down in 2010 as the Executive Director of Wings, Milbry is focusing her time on writing a new book about exploration. She continues to travel, documenting her experiences in her blog http://milbry.blogspot.com..
Milbry is a mentor; mentoring many women’s work including mine. Milbry has generously offered her time in supporting the success of "Power of One Woman" serving an advisory board member. From our first conversation, I saw that Milbry connects women, science, and women with science. Milbry expressed her strong desire to help the planet through supporting women’s work for the planet. Scroll through the Wings website at: www.wingsworldquest.org and you see women across the globe making new discoveries regarding animals, plants, forests, and oceans, contributing to the future of our survival.
Milbry is a pioneer in the true sense of the word; traversing to new places, taking on new challenges, connecting, supporting, and teaching her wisdom. Milbry Polk to me has the spirit of the great pioneers such as Amelia Earhart.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Laura Turner Seydel, National Eco-Activist

Intelligent, articulate and down to earth – these are what came to mind as I sat with Laura Turner Seydel – a, Southern-based, National Environmental Activist. Sitting in her Atlanta home, “Eco-Manor,” Laura outlines with vivid description Atlanta’s environmental difficulties. She also describes viable solutions with this same strong energy. Laura educates herself on the issues and takes action including creating many programs and foundations addressing environmental issues. Laura’s interest in the environment comes from her own love of nature, and by her father, Ted Turner’s, modeling. She sits on several of his environmentally focused boards such as chairing the Captain Planet Foundation.
Drinking herbal teas and water; it is clear that taking care of the planet includes taking care of her; Laura has a healthy look to her. She describes a story that is a clincher for her. The “Environmental Working Group” (EWG) asked her, her father, and her son to participate in a generational study. They measured for chemicals in their blood and found different chemicals levels in each of them. In Laura’s body the chemicals found were more related to those found in personal care products and cosmetics such as parabens and phthalates. In her son, who was twelve at the time, the chemicals were more related flame-retardants and in her father, toxins such as lead and asbestos were more common. The findings of this study accelerated Laura’s interest in eliminating our exposure to toxic chemicals.
In addition to chairing and sitting on several boards, Laura is busy making speeches. She reads books and studies research findings to stay updated. Her role as an environmental steward also includes educating her three children on issues making this a family affair. She feels strongly on raising our children ready to inherit the earth. Her commitment to the environment carries through in most areas of her life including family purchases; eating habits, driving a hybrid Prius, environmentally-friendly landscaping and yard care; and writing articles. Her website, www.lauraturnerseydel.com., houses an extensive list of environmental resources and educational pieces. And her home, Eco Manor is the first Gold LEED certified residence in the Southeast and has its own website www.ecomanor.com.
I witness Laura treated as a local Atlanta celebrity with a group of people surrounding her; yet there is no fanfare. She appears gracious and courteous to all who greet her. I am inspired by her willingness to look deeply at the issues and to act on them. As she learns the truth on local water Issues, - she creates with her husband, Rutherford, “The Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeepers;” when she learns how air pollution is affecting children, she creates the program, “Mothers and Others for Clean Air”, with a local politician. Though her schedule is evidently full as we meet, she is fully present and calm; moving on to the next interview, soccer game, school project, and fundraising event. Laura knows that with privilege comes responsibility and through her own hard work, and intelligence, she creates opportunities and solutions. Her staunch commitment, determination, and congruent lifestyle come clearly through: she walks her talk. Please visit her website at www.lauraturnerseydel.com to learn more.