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Healthy Children, Healthy Planet Group Forming

The Northwest Earth Institute (NWEI) is an amazing organization dedicated to a grassroots approach to influencing how lightly or heavily people choose to tread on the Earth. The hallmark of NWEI is the peer-led discussion group setting where people gather to discuss topics around certain themes: Voluntary Simplicity, Discovering Sense of Place, Globalization, Deep Ecology, and Sustainable Living. One of the organization's most recent additions was a discussion guide on "Healthy Children, Healthy Planet".

A couple of years ago, at my former workplace, about a dozen of us formed a noon-time lunch group. Every Wednesday, we'd meet as the very first group to go through the discussion text for Healthy Children, Healthy Planets. What I loved most about the group was that the discussion offered a platform for me to explore so many different views and approaches to raising our children, especially when we are faced with powerful forces of the big C's: corporate interests, capitalism, consumerism.

I was thrilled to receive this message from Chris, who is currently seeking other urbanMamas and urbanPapas to participate a Healthy Children, Healthy Planet course that will begin next week:

A group of Portland moms will begin the eight-session Northwest Earth Institute discussion course, "Healthy Children, Healthy Planet." The purpose of the course is to understand how the pervasive effects of advertising, media, and our consumer culture can influence a child's worldview; to discover ways to create meaningful family times and healthful environments for children; and to explore ways to develop a child's connection with nature and to foster their creativity.

We will meet from 7-9pm on the 4th Wednesday of the month at Bipartisan Cafe (SE 79th & Stark), starting March 28th. So far, the group is all moms, but dads and people without children are welcome, too. A facilitator from NWEI will join us for our first meeting, bringing materials and getting our discussion started, then we will take turns facilitating meetings thereafter. Cost of materials is $15. F or more information about NWEI and this course, see www.nwei.org. If you are interested in joining this discussion, please send an email to Chris (mcmusser AT bigfoot DOT com).


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NWEI is a fantastic organization, and it's great they are starting this up. Meeting with a group of like-minded parents is one of the most inspiring ways to get motivated to make greener lifestyle changes. We just started forming GreenGroups at www.enviromom.com. Our first meeting involved 7 motivated Portland moms, some new to eco-friendly living and some who've been doing it for years. We're starting out slow and supporting each other in our effort to make changes. If you can't make the NWEI meetings and want to form your own informal GreenGroup, send me an email and we'll hook you up with folks in your neighborhood.

Also FYI: Bill McKibben, who's just published Deep Economy, about living sustainably through communities will be at Powell's April 2.

A good online resource is Tiny Footprints, a project of the Oregon Environmental Council. It's a website full of "resources for parents and their communities who want to raise their children in a way that is good for their children's health and the environment." Here's the link:


Hi - I am hoping that someone who participated in this group might be interested in sharing feedback, results, life-changing outcomes with other urban Mamas on the Activistas forum. If that's you, please let me know! It'd be really great to post some after-the-fact impressions and experiences with others (I can write it up if that's easier), plus we'd like to form another group in the fall so knowing how it went would be helpful in moving ahead. Thanks!!

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