Sunday Links, 3/15/15

ice shaped like heart on snow-covered lake

Climate and Sustainability
23 women in the climate movement who inspire us.
50 years after Selma, a search for environmental justice.
In 2014, for the first time in 40 years, global CO2 emissions have stalled, but…
-Bill McKibben: Climate change won’t wait for Paris: vive la resistance!
-George Monbiot on the UN climate conferences’ failure to address the production end of fossil fuels: “There is nothing random about the pattern of silence that surrounds our lives. Silences occur where powerful interests are at risk of exposure.”
-Naomi Klein: How will everything change under climate change?
We need regenerative farming, not geoengineering.
Jordan’s 6,000 mosques will soon all have rooftop solar.
The USDA is helping rural farmers get their own renewable energy.
10 myths about fossil fuel divestment put to the sword.
“Man-made” climate change is a major women’s problem.
There’s a local flower movement blooming.
Why bike lanes are battle lines for justice.
These urban farmers want to feed the whole neighborhood–for free.
-I would love to live in an urban treehouse.

Fa(t)shion
Celebrate the style of these 8 women for International Women’s Day.
-I love Leah’s photoshoot with Jim Hawkins.
-Nancy reviews Chaffree anti-chub-rub shorts.
Mei Smith NYC will bring indie designers to plus size customers.
Why I love altering my shape with corseting (and it has nothing to do with looking thinner).
9 oversized floral looks from the Spring 2015 runways.
Lust list: the Curvy Couture Roadshow 2015.
18 places to buy colorful lipstick.
-Harriet Parry’s dramatic floral headpieces are everything. I also love this dress made of flowers and this tulle dress adorned with flowers. Continue reading

Reminder: the People’s Climate March is coming up next month

I know I haven’t been blogging about climate change much lately because my mind has been on other things (and because I only have the energy to think, act, and write about so many issues at once). But I haven’t forgotten.

The People’s Climate March, which will take place in New York on September 21st, will be the single largest climate event to date.

This is going to be huge, and it’s important.

As Bill McKibben says in his call to action:

You can watch the endgame of the fossil-fuel era with a certain amount of hope. The pieces are in place for real, swift, sudden change, not just slow and grinding linear shifts: If Germany on a sunny day can generate half its power from solar panels, and Texas makes a third of its electricity from wind, then you know technology isn’t an impossible obstacle anymore. The pieces are in place, but the pieces won’t move themselves. That’s where movements come in. They’re not subtle; they can’t manage all the details of this transition. But they can build up pressure on the system, enough, with luck, to blow out those bags of money that are blocking progress with the force of Typhoon Haiyan on a Filipino hut. Because if our resistance fails, there will be ever-stronger typhoons. The moment to salvage something of the Holocene is passing fast. But it hasn’t passed yet, which is why September is so important.

I’m going to be there, and I hope you’ll join me.

You can check out the event’s transportation page to see if there are buses going from your area to the march. Many local 350.org chapters are also holding art builds before the event–there will be six here in Massachusetts alone–so even if you can’t attend the march itself, there are still ways to get involved.

Another thing money can buy: time

Money doesn’t buy only job opportunities, kindness, and compassion: it can also buy time.

Last night, I was poking around the Transition Lab‘s website (because yes, I still have fantasies about doing it, even though I probably won’t for a whole bunch of reasons), and I noticed an announcement about two new work-exchange scholarships they’re offering:

At Transition Lab, we face an irony: While building a new economy, we still need to charge tuition in order to pay our bills in the old economy. Yet, the students who would benefit the most from our program don’t have a lot of money, because the traditional economy isn’t working out for them. It’s a double bind that is preventing the new economy to take off.

So we are going to take an innovative leap to break this cycle: We are offering the two remaining slots in our 2014 Co-Creator Program as gifts in exchange for the gifts that students can offer our program. That’s right- full tuition to two students in exchange for what they can gift us in return. Really? Yep. Gifts for Gifts.

It’s great that the people at Transition Lab recognize this double bind and are working to make their program more accessible.

But it reminded me how easily money can serve as a substitute for time and energy. People who can afford TL’s tuition can just go, no strings attached; those who can’t have to come up with a skill that’s useful to others, and then spend their time and energy practicing it throughout the program.

It’s similar to all the festivals and events that offer volunteer slots in return for free or reduced admission. Those who can afford tickets have the luxury of spending their time however they want; those who can’t, don’t. Volunteering isn’t necessarily bad–it can be fun if you do it with a group of friends. It can be a good way to practice your skills and learn new ones. But it can also be exhausting. Sometimes you just want to relax and enjoy yourself without having to work.

And that’s not even getting into the many, many people who work multiple jobs just to make ends meet, who wouldn’t have the time to go to festivals or events if they wanted to.

I want a different world: a world in which free time isn’t a luxury, but a right. A world in which people have the time and energy to explore who they are and what they want to do.

Reducing the standard work week to 21 hours, spreading out work more evenly across the population, and instituting a basic minimum income would go a long way toward making that possible.

Speaking of which, Alyssa Battistoni’s recent essay in Jacobin Magazine, Alive in the Sunshine, is a must-read. She argues that reducing the workweek and instituting a basic minimum income is necessary to achieve both economic justice and environmental sustainability–and would also give people the time to build communities and enjoy life.

Her analysis reminds me of my favorite book, Bill McKibben’s Deep Economy, condensed into a form that’s both more succinct and more specific about policy goals. It also reminds me of this great video about visualizing a plentitude economy, made by Juliet Schor (whom Battistoni quotes) and the Center for a New American Dream:

This is the world I want to build.

(Note: just to be clear, I think Transition Lab is going great work toward building that world, and I’m not disagreeing with or attacking their decisions at all. I’m just using them as an example to illustrate my train of thought about the ways in which, in our current system, people with less money often end up with less free time and less control over how they spend their time.)

Sunday links, 12/22/13

Merry almost-Christmas to those who celebrate it, and I hope you are all having a warm and festive season!

Fa(t)shion
-On fashion as armor.
-So apparently Torrid is rebranding itself to be less alternative and more trendy–didn’t that already happen like eight years ago? Torrid hasn’t been alternative in a long, long time.
Bangladesh factory fires: why brands are accountable and should compensate victims now.
-The Closet Feminist questions the meaning of quirky style in a three-part series here, here, and here.
Why “12 Years a Slave” star Lupita Nyong’o should be your new fashion idol.

Fat Acceptance
Memo to Michelle Obama: fat shaming is not ok.
-Sadly, there will not be a NOLOSE conference in 2014, but people are planning local fat events all over the country. If you’re in Boston, check out the Boston area fatties meetup group for updates!
-If you’re looking to make a holiday donation that promotes body positivity, check out the Girls Rak bellydance and body image program.
Just no, Jennifer Lawrence.
Tyra Banks, please say no to Special K.
The HAES files: examining the so-called “evidence.”
-If you’re in San Francisco, check out Marilyn Wann’s Movement of the Month Club.
-Yet another way that diet culture is harmful to people’s health: spike in harm to liver is tied to dietary aids.

Climate and Sustainability
-Bill McKibben’s latest: Obama and climate change: the real story.
Renewable energy, education, and economic development combine at Philadelphia Solar Schools Initiative.
Sink tank: in Miami, climate scientists ask, “how soon, how deep?”
The entire IPCC report in 19 illustrated haiku.

Jobs and the Economy
This new conference on transition economics looks potentially awesome.
-I love the idea of Write A House, a new organization that gives houses to writers in Detroit. They’re raising money by IndieGoGo for their first home renovation.
An open letter to Sheryl Sandberg from a 20-something woman in tech.
“We don’t have a marketing budget”: the dirty side of blogging.
Surviving rent: why artists can’t afford critical neutrality.

Everything Else
I don’t want Tim Wise as an ally. No thanks.
-Melissa writes about how the way Beyonce is sexy with her partner feels safe to her.
On defending Beyonce: black feminists, white feminists, and the line in the sand.
Hot sauce over humanity: on Sriracha.
Notes from the urban/rural divide: romance vs. reality.
-I really like this piece, which ties in with my recent post on the complexity of hope: Hope, power, and how Occupy invigorated our generation’s fight for survival.
On gender diverse parenting vs. raising a gender creative kid.
On depression, and the toll academia extracts.
A female author talks about sexism and self-promotion.
-Lindy West’s takedown of Love, Actually is perfect and hilarious. “Cock-blocktopus” = my new favorite word ever.
How to be less of a jerk to students with anxiety disorders.
Sensitive Santas, who are specially-trained to work with autistic children, are a huge win for families.
20 last-minute black feminist gift ideas for girls.
Calling IN: a less disposable way of holding each other accountable.
-Tori writes about many of her students losing their food stamp benefits.
-Angi writes about her big polyamorous wedding.
A personal look at #NotYourAsianSidekick, and an interview with Suey Park, who started the hashtag.
On long-term travel as running toward, not running away.
Darcy the hedgehog’s Instagram pictures are adorable!

It’s time for a pro-life economy (no, not that kind of pro-life)

From the tragic story of adjunct professor Margaret Mary Vojtko’s death to my own adventures in job insecurity, everything I’ve read and experienced has convinced me that we need a pro-life economy.

Not in the traditional anti-abortion sense (ugh), but in the sense of putting human lives first, and profit second. And since our lives are inextricably tied to the health of our planet, we need to prioritize that too.

We need jobs. Green jobs, well-paid jobs, jobs with benefits (or government systems to provide those benefits).

We need an end to the ideology of infinite growth–which, in a world of finite resources, is quite literally unsustainable–and a focus on human health and happiness.

We need an end to the casual cruelty of corporate capitalism–the callous profit-seeking that allowed an adjunct professor to die penniless, near-homeless, and uninsured while the university’s president received a $700,000 salary.

Bill McKibben succinctly summed up what’s wrong with our economic system in his 2007 book Deep Economy: the Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future:

Alongside the exhilaration of the flattening earth celebrated by Thomas Friedman, the planet (and our country) in fact contains increasing numbers of flattened people, flattened by the very forces that are making a few others wildly rich.

His observation is even more true now than when he first made it, back in the less-shitty days before the Great Financial Crisis.

Continue reading

Friday Links, 9/6/13

Muriel Landers (source: Fuck Yeah Historical Fat Ladies)

Whew, am I glad it’s Friday.

Climate and Sustainability
A great interview with Naomi Klein on grassroots climate activism and the problem with many big green groups.
-If you want to see more pictures from the Energy Exodus, check out this Flickr set.
-Have I mentioned lately that I love David Roberts? Well, I’m going to say it again.  His top 20.5 parting insights on climate change, written before he started a year-long sabbatical, are brilliant.
-An important reminder about the history of the Brayton Point coal plant, which stands near the site where Native Americans were massacred in 1676.
-I love the #PowerShiftJourneys profiles of young leaders.
The NYT has a great profile of Mosaic, the solar energy investing site.
We should add climate change to the civil rights agenda.
Solidarity in diversity is key to powering up the climate movement.
-Sandra Steingraber writes about her experience spending 15 days in jail after a civil disobedience action.
-Bill McKibben writes about the necessity of a leaderless, decentralized but connected climate movement.

One thing I never get tired of watching: fabulous fat bellydancers.

Fa(t)shion
-The Advanced Style coloring book is now out! Whooo!
-This comic about fashion tips from nature is great.
-I’m so jealous of Nicolette Mason, who got to visit Tarina Tarantino’s sparkle factory!
-Also of Haley and Amanda, who got a sneak preview of the new Re/Dress store that’s opening in Cleveland.
-I just found out that there’s a Canadian plus size clothing company called Laura. It must be named after me, right? 😉
-This bride’s pink ombre tutu is amazeballs.

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This is what a deep economy looks like: Cupcake Camp Boston (plus OOTD)

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you may have noticed that I’m a bit obsessed with Bill McKibben’s book Deep Economy. This is because McKibben so clearly articulates a vision for a future that is livable, community-based, and joyous–a future that will destroy neither the planet nor the lives of its inhabitants. His book is both practical and visionary: both a blueprint for creating a healthier society and an exploration of what that means.

And so, when I recently attended Cupcake Camp Boston, I couldn’t help but see it as one delicious example of a deep economy: a tiny, tasty model of a society built around community connection rather than profit.

Cupcake Camp promotes both local businesses and community togetherness, with a good helping of buttercream frosting. The basic idea is that you pay a small fee to sample a certain number of cupcakes from local bakeries. (Ironically enough, I didn’t end up eating a single cupcake! By the time I arrived, tickets were sold out, so I just wandered around. A few of the booths gave me cupcakes despite my lack of a ticket, but I was too full from breakfast to eat them, so I was planning to save them for later…until they started getting all melty, so I gave them away instead.)

In addition to the cupcakes themselves–which are both a great deal for the consumers, and great publicity for the bakers–there were all sorts of fun, free activities, including a cupcake relay race and a cupcake eating contest!

Continue reading