Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Optimizing Sustainability

Optimizing Sustainability


Blessings of the Equinox! If you've had a long dark winter, you can take a breath now and smell the first fragrance of Spring. For a short time, the nights and days are equal, and at last, the light will begin to overtake the dark. Balance is the key to this Equinox holiday and indeed to the renewal of Spring. Imbalance is simply unsustainable, whether it's the imbalances between rich and poor, humans and the environment, or between men and women. Imbalances always seek to right themselves and come back into balance once again.  

We often speak of checks in the same breath as balance, as in "checks and balances." To become sustainable, the inimitable human urge toward maximizing everything has to have some checks, and I don't mean the kind we deposit in our bank account. In truth, I have never been crazy about the word "sustainable." While I wholeheartedly agree with it in principle, the word speaks more about maintaining than thriving, holding back rather than moving forward with a good balance of joy and common sense.  

I prefer the word optimization, asking the question: What is optimal for our future? Optimizing is not maximizing - it's not going as far as we can whenever we can, but invokes the ideal conditions for evolving and thriving. Below you will see a new series of free telecalls from Shift Network, called THE SPRING OF SUSTAINABILITY. Check it out, it features some of the best minds on the subject of renewable energy, green technologies, and sustainable practices.   
 Meanwhile, in honor of the balance of the season, what is optimal between men and women? And may I begin where I left off on my last post. . . .

For those who read my tirade on Rush Limbaugh in my last blog, please know that we were not alone. There was enough protest that even the U.S. Army pulled its advertising from Limbaugh's show, along with at least 140 othersWhen such an uber male institution as the Army joins forces with the causes of women, we know we're getting somewhere. Thanks, Guys, we really appreciate having your support!

However, not all the news is so good. Mitt Romney declares he wants to do away with Planned Parenthood, denying women low cost health care, breast exams, pap smears, and birth control.     

Meanwhile Senate Republicans are looking to repeal the 18-year-old, formerly bipartisan Violence Against Women Act, which has been highly successful in reducing domestic violence.  Apparently the bill has been amended to now include Gays and Native Americans, and I guess that's just going too far, so let's can the whole thing, and turn our backs on roughly 12 million women per year who were victims of domestic violence (according to CDC's calculations) and ignore the fact that45% of women murdered are killed by their male partner. But hey, that's one way to keep population down while making it harder to get birth control.

But really, I don't get it. We're told that single mothers - women who stick by their children when the fathers run off - are the downfall of the American family. But we're not supposed to use birth control, and we're not supposed to have an abortion either. And now some factions want to deny us any protection when we try to fight off those who would force the aspirin out from between our knees. Maybe we
should all just put on Burkas and hide out until this insanity is over.  

Lysistrata anyone?

For those who might have skipped out on studying Greek literature, Lysistrata is a comedy by Aristophanes, performed during the time of the Peloponnesian War (4th century B.C.). In this play the women of Greece start a powerful peace movement by withholding all sexual activity from their heterosexual relationships until a peace treaty is negotiated and signed between Athens and Sparta. It works! And the celebration afterward was spectacular, to say the least.

Let's instead imagine what is optimal - safety and protection for all. Women safe in their home and on the streets; men safe from gangs and going to war. Women able to earn an equal salary for the same work; men not having to carry the financial load by themselves. Children who are planned, wanted, and cared for through adulthood. A way that men and women can thrive together, working in partnership, mutual respect, protecting what is sacred to each.  

Let's become sustainable in our relationships  to each other, to the earth, to a glorious future that awaits us all.

Let's celebrate this Equinox as a love affair between heaven and earth, light and dark, masculine and feminine. And let's fall back in love with our world once again.

Brightest Blessings,

Anodea Judith 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Rushing Out on a Limbaugh


rush limb 
I thought it would be old news by the time I got around to writing this, but it looks like the gender storm is just beginning. This time shock jock radio host Rush Limbaugh has gone too far and ignited the kind of feminist outcry I've been wanting to hear for a long time. Maybe it took a blowhard like him to wake us up to the fact that things haven't really changed all that much in the new millennium as far as women are concerned. That's an awakening that will ultimately benefit all of us.

If you're not up on the latest set of insults aimed at half the human population, suffice it to say that the abortion debate has now taken a back seat to arguing about women's right to have any birth control at all covered by insurance. Rush Limbaugh made such derogatory comments to a female law student that Obama himself was compelled to call her and apologize. I won't belittle this blog by repeating Limbaugh's adolescent taunts here but if you really want to know, you can discover for yourself why his advertisers are fleeing in droves.
If you want to join the wave of pressure to have him removed from some of the 600 radio stations that host his show, sign the petition here!

It's not like this little comment exists in isolation. The panel of five conservative Congressmen who held the forum on whether insurance coverage of contraception violates religious freedom, refused to allow testimony from any females, saying that the women chosen were not "appropriate witnesses."                                      
Darrell Issa
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.),
Chair of the House Oversight & 
Government Reform Committee.

"What I want to know is, where are the women?" Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) asked Rep Darell Issa before walking out of the hearing after the first panel. "I look at this panel, and I don't see one single individual representing the tens of millions of women across the country who want and need insurance coverage for basic preventative health care services, including family planning.Where are the women?" 

Now, I may sound a bit cynical but I don't know whether having women testify would have done all that much good. We just get labeled as angry bitches and you might be thinking that about me even now. What I think would be more effective is for each of those men to be locked alone in a room with a couple of two-year-olds for 48 hours while strapping a large watermelon to their bellies. If they survive that, then they might be eligible to vote on this issue.

Now of course, the debate has not been balanced where Viagra is concerned. CNN talk show host, Jack Cafferty says it's not the same issue: "Viagra is used to treat a medical condition, erectile dysfunction. Birth control is a lifestyle choice."

Excuse me?  Medical issues are exactly what law student Sandra Fluke was trying to address.
Sandra Fluke: Law Student who was
the target of Limbaugh
But really, folks, this is much more than a feminist issue. In a world dying under the weight of overpopulation, where 20% live in bone-chilling poverty, where food production is declining as climate temperatures rise, where clean drinking water is becoming an upper class privilege in many parts of the world, where one out of every three women is raped or beaten--refusing contraception digs a grave for the future of all humanity.

We're better than this. We can work together. We can co-create a glorious future. It's in our hands. But sometimes it requires going on a rant like this one to get us to wake up. Thank you for listening and making your voice heard in this swelling outcry against injustice and stupidity. Please help take Limbaugh off the air. At least  make the statement that we're out here and paying attention. At least half the people of the world will thank you.


Anodea Judith