Sep 242009

Sick and tired of everything being turned pink to make us more aware of breast cancer?  Not to worry, this year there is a new strategy–objectifying women:

Are we to be concerned about breast cancer so that men can leer at us?  Are men supposed to be concerned about breast cancer so they have something to leer at?  Cutting edge, witty or funny?  At the risk of being called a humorless feminist, not hardly– sophomoric and deeply insulting to both men and women would be more accurate.

Awareness is not the issue, what we need is a serious approach to pledging to eradicate the  causes of this disease, not advertising that suggests it is all about how we look or a pledge to obsessively check our breasts as this PSA from Yoplait which insultingly suggests that we know our “girls”:

 September 24, 2009  Posted by on September 24, 2009 Comments Off on In The Teenage Wetdream Department: Objectifying and Belittling Women In The Name Of Breast Cancer Awareness
Sep 242009

Perhaps one of the most insidious things about about breast cancer and how we treat it is that some of the same companies that produce drugs to treat this disease also produce products that have been linked to or shown to cause cancer.  This year, Breast Cancer Action’s Think Before You Pink campaign targets one of those companies, Eli Lilly,

“the sole manufacturer of rBGH — the artificial growth hormone given to dairy cows that increases people’s risk of cancer. Eli Lilly also manufactures breast cancer treatment medications and a pill that “reduces the risk” of breast cancer.”

Please take a moment and let Eli Lilly know that Milking Cancer is not acceptable and needs to stop.

Note:  Eli Lilly is certainly not the only company that profits from both sides of the cancer fence.  See more here about  Novartis and Astra Zeneca, two other companies that engage in this despicable practice.

 September 24, 2009  Posted by on September 24, 2009 Comments Off on Tell Eli Lilly It Is Time To Stop Milking Cancer
Sep 222009

Excerpted from the first of a four part series on the gender-specific impact of climate change by Masum Momaya:

Women are particularly affected by climate change because they generally do not have secure, affordable access to and control over land, water, livestock and trees; thus, they are forced to make do with limited resources and alternatives when their subsistence needs and livelihoods are threatened. Elderly women, disabled women, women widows and indigenous women often face the most acute challenges related to climate change whilst having fewer resources to compensate for and adjust to changes.


As the primary collectors of water in the Global South, women and girls now have to walk or travel farther to obtain water and employ more intensive means to collect and store water. In some cases, girls are likely to not attend school to complete these tasks or perform other chores while their mothers get water or engage in other income-generating activities when existing water-dependent tasks such as farming are threatened. Moreover, in some places, it is dangerous for women and girls to travel far to get water – they are raped and abducted as they walk long distances through conflict-ridden territory, sometimes unaccompanied.

In places like Asia and the Caribbean, women have been faced with either death or difficult rebuilding of lives and homes in the face of severe cyclones, hurricanes, floods and tsunamis. A study of extreme weather between 1981-2002 found that natural disasters kill more women than men or kill women at an earlier age than men. For example, women vastly outnumbered men in tsunami deaths in 2004 and annually, women outnumber men in cyclone deaths in Bangladesh.

Soil & Food:

In addition to the impact of climate change on water, permanent temperature changes have reduced the number and biodiversity of available plants, including for medicinal purposes.  As a large percentage of the world’s farmers, food gatherers and healers, women are often dependent on local ecosystems for health and livelihoods. Rural women alone are responsible for half of the world’s food production and produce between 60-80% of the food in the Global South.

When food is scarce and/or expensive, women and girls are more vulnerable to malnutrition and starvation.For instance, an UNDP study found that rainfall shortages in India resulted in periods of low food consumption, rising food prices and starvation-related deaths of girls. Similarly, during the bread crisis in Egypt between 2007-2008, women and girls compensated for the shortages of bread by working more for paid income outside the home, eating less and spending more time preparing less expensive food from scratch.

Read the complete annotated article here.

 September 22, 2009  Posted by on September 22, 2009 1 Response »
Sep 222009

The other evening I sat on my patio and listened to the stillness of the approaching night. I wanted to meditate about balance, or more to the point I suppose, the lack thereof that seems to challenge us on a daily basis.

There were 2 crickets, one would chirp and then the other, taking turns, it seemed that they were quite courteous, each waiting until the other had finished. It seemed a fitting chorus for my meditation. Slowly my ears detected the sound of children playing down the block, their laughter made me smile. And then I began to hear the noise of the nearby streets although I hadn’t heard that at first. Not such a fitting chorus as the crickets, but certainly symbolic of the problem.

The equinox marks a point of equality between the day and night, a moment of celestial balance and in many parts of the world, the beginning of the harvest season and a period of gratitude. Here in the Northern Hemisphere it marks the beginning of longer nights that envelope us with a physical darkness that seems to ask us to look within for our own strength. It is a time to re-center.

Below are a few quotes that resonate for me. Please feel free to share your own thoughts about balance and gratitude in the comments.

Carol P. Christ:

We do not give so that we will receive, we give in gratitude because we have already received–from our mothers, from others, and from the earth—in a circle that goes back to the beginning of time.

As the wheel turns from summer to fall, it is time to give thanks for all that Beautiful and Bountiful Earth has given to us. And to think of what we can give back to the earth and to those who have generously shared its abundance with us.

Susan Hawthorne:

(W)hat we face is not unique. We are not the first generation to have to deal with “the dark hurlings of nature” although we may be the first to have brought it upon ourselves.

It is no accident that time and again earth is compared to the human body. Our planet like us is a living system – its ecosystems like our circulatory and endocrinal systems rise and fall responding to the events taking place on its surface and in its interior spaces. This is not a romantic idea of mine, it is metaphoric, but no less real for being so.

Our human experience suggests such metaphors to us as we grapple with ways of understanding our selves and our relationship to the world whether it be earth as body, wind as breath, the great flows of rivers, oceans and lava as tears and blood, grass and trees as hair and limbs.

(Cross-posted  from my new blog, Reclaiming Medusa.)

 September 22, 2009  Posted by on September 22, 2009 Comments Off on Autumnal Meditations
Sep 212009

Via Amnesty International:

Amnesty International said today it welcomes the release from a Mexican prison of Jacinta Francisco Marcial, a mother of six who was falsely accused in 2006 of kidnapping six federal agents. The human rights organization adopted Francisco Marcial as a prisoner of conscience this past August and has pressed for her release after concluding no evidence existed against her and she had been arrested, tried and convicted because she was poor and of indigenous heritage.

“The Mexican government has finally recognized that there was never evidence to justify Jacinta’s trial, conviction and imprisonment on charges of kidnapping,” said Kerrie Howard, deputy director of Amnesty International’s Americas program.

Francisco Marcial, 46, an Otomí Indigenous woman from Santiago Mexquititlán in the Mexican state of Querétaro, was sentenced to 21 years’ imprisonment in December 2006. Six agents of the Mexican Federal Investigation Agency claimed they were held hostage by Jacinta and other operators of market stalls during a raid on pirated DVD vendors on Santiago Mexquititlán square in March 2006. Francisco Marcial was arrested in August 2006 — more than four months after the raid — and told she was going to be questioned about the felling of a tree. However, once in prison she found out that she, along with two other women, were being accused of kidnapping the agents.

Her release raises serious questions about the reliability of the entire prosecution case and highlights clear failings in the investigation. Amnesty International is calling for a full review into her unfounded prosecution and for her to receive full compensation for unfair and wrongful imprisonment.

Francisco Marcial in her own words prior to her release:

 September 21, 2009  Posted by on September 21, 2009 Comments Off on Prisoner Of Conscience Jacinta Francisco Marcial Released In Mexico