For the past four years, Catamount Earth Institute has partnered with Upper Valley civic groups to offer Northwest Earth Institute discussion series. Catamount Earth Institute is one of about 30 partners of the Northwest Earth Institute (NWEI) of Portland Oregon.

The Northwest Earth Institute created a new six-session discussion course in the  spring of 2014, Seeing Systems: Peace, Justice and Sustainability. As Martin Luther King has said:  “Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly .…We aren’t going to have peace on Earth until we recognize this basic fact of the interrelated structure of all reality.”  This course is a great way to clarify the interrelations of peace, justice, and environmental sustainability.

The Norwest Earth Institute has a two-session series about energy called Powering a Bright Future. Catamount focused on this series in the winter and spring of 2014 in the Upper Valley. Powering a Bright Future is linked with NWEI’s Global Warming course and together they’re called Change by Degrees: Addressing the Climate Challenge

The Northwest Earth Institute also has a new series called Hungry for Change. The series explores the interconnections of our food systems and our relationship to and responsibility in these systems. This course challenges us to look at our roles not only as consumer of food, but also as creators of food, of systems, and of the world we live in.

 In the spring of 2013 Catamount piloted an Upper Valley version of the NWEI’s EcoChallenge in which participants challenge themselves to reduce their waste, energy, use more public transportation, eat a more healthy diet, and other healthy lifestyles. Participants blogged about the successes and challenges and appreciated the feedback and support of other participants.

Catamount Earth Institute is grateful to the Dorothy and Jack Byrne Foundation for its support to make NWEI books.

Healthy People, Healthy Planet

In the winter of 2012, we focused on the NWEI discussion guide A World of Health for a program which we called is a six-session reading and discussion series that explores “good health,” the connection between human health and the environment, and how we can sustain both. The discussion topics include: precautionary medicine; eating well; household toxins, and healthy natural systems. Throughout the discussion guide there are individual actions that promote good health and in turn, promote a healthier environment.

Healthy People, Healthy Planet is for groups of 8-12 people, meets weekly for 1 ½ hours, and is based on a discussion guide and anthology – A World of Health – by the Northwest Earth Institute. The discussion is largely self-facilitated with start-up assistance from experienced volunteers. The guidebook is the only cost for the program. Books are available for loan from Catamount. The Co-op Food Stores, the Upper Valley Food Co-op, and the Howe Library in Hanover have books to loan. There are sets of 10 books for library groups available on a first come, first serve basis. Group members should read Session I (10 pages) and the introductory pages before the first discussion. For more information, see a sample of the first 13 pages of the discussion guide at course sampler.

Catamount is grateful to the Jack and Dorothy Byrne Foundation, the Mascoma Saving Bank Foundation, the Upper Valley Sierra Club, the Stettenheim Foundation, the Frank and Brinna Sands Foundation, and King Arthur Flour for subsidizing the discussion guides and providing set of books for loan by participating libraries. Thanks also to the Co-op Food Stores, the Upper Valley Food Co-op and Health Connections of the Upper Valley for purchasing sets of books to share with discussion groups.

Celebrating our Healthy People, Healthy People discussions

On April 17, members of seven Healthy People, Healthy Planet groups celebrated friendships, concerns and ideas around environmental and human health. Common concerns are fighting for GMO labeling in VT, reducing and cleaning up plastics, composting, and restoring the riparian zone damaged by Hurricane Irene.

Celebrating Menu for the Future

Thirteen of the 23 Menu for the Future groups were represented at a festive April 6 potluck and program by gardener Henry Homeyer.

Menu for the Future News

Many of the discussion groups have continued to meet with potluck suppers and other events. There have been two farm tours – one at Cedar Circle Farm and one at Hogwash Farm – in opposite corners of East Thetford.

Here are some happy Hogwash piglets.