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Sustainable Happiness? 6 Ways to Get There by Catherine O’Brien and Ian Murray – YES! Magazine

Sustainable Happiness? 6 Ways to Get There

Discover natural highs, map your interdependence, and other ways to discover joy within your reach.

by Catherine O’Brien, Ian Murray
posted Mar 20, 2013

Hugging Fingers photo by Pranav Prakash

Photo by Pranav Prakash.

In the past ten years there has been an escalating interest in happiness. Hundreds of books and studies have emerged to guide us toward finding the good life, but achieving personal happiness is only a part of the equation. When happiness is partnered with well-being and sustainability it takes on a whole new dimension: sustainable happiness.

Sustainable happiness takes into account that happiness is interconnected with other people, other species, and the natural environment by a remarkable web of interdependence. This means that our daily actions and decisions contribute toor detract fromour own well-being, and that of others. Sometimes things that make us happy may harm our community, ecosystems, or future generations.

Sustainable happiness can lead to a more sustainable lifestyle and greater life satisfactionand sometimes it’s right at your fingertips. Other times it involves reawakening to the joy that comes from simple pleasures or generating options for a lifestyle change. Here’s how you can start:

1. Cultivate Appreciation

According to happiness experts, gratitude and appreciation are associated with happiness and life satisfaction. Taking a moment to experience appreciation is a marvelous counterpoint to the constant bombardment of media messages that tell us we dont have enough stuff or that we arent good enough, rich enough, beautiful enough, and so on. Appreciation brings us into the present. Perhaps its taking a few seconds to feel the delicate warmth of a winters sun on your face, birds singing early on a spring morning, or the delicious aroma of coffee wafting from the kitchen. Allowing yourself to absorb and appreciate the moment can be an antidote to stress.

2. Embrace your Natural Highs

Natural highs are natural, everyday things that are foundsometimes literallyright under your nose, like the fragrance of a rose garden. Tuning in to your natural highs alone could bring you hundreds of daily experiences of delight and contentment. Have you ever stood under a tin roof and listened to the rhythmic drumming of rain while the moist air cools you on a hot summer day? How about the sound of childrens laughter in the park?

To seek out these experiences, simply pay attention to the wonder of the world around you. Here are some of the natural highs people have shared during the course we teach in sustainable happiness:

Watching my daughter sleep
The smell of the earth thawing in the spring
Hearing an owl hooting at night
The cold side of a pillow
Feeling the sun on my face
The sound of an iceberg breaking apart
Smelling flowers, especially roses
Gazing at the Northern Lights
Hiking in the woods
Riding my bike
Birds singing in early morning
Lying on the grass and enjoying a starry night
The moment of bursting to the surface while swimming
Watching a beautiful sunset

3. Chart Your Sustainable Happiness Footprint

Take a snapshot of a typical day with a Sustainable Happiness Footprint Chart. Just list your activities from the time you wake up until you go to bed (such as eating breakfast, going for a run, heading to work/school, etc). Each column demonstrates how these activities impact you personally, and how they may impact other people and the environment.

You may want to chart your Sustainable Happiness Footprint for a week. Take a look at your chart and ask yourself if there is one thing you might shift to enhance your well-being, or the well-being of other people, other species, or the natural environment. Click here to download a Sustainable Happiness Footprint Chart.

4. Create an Interdependence Map

The Sustainable Happiness Footprint Chart portrays the many decision points that are available throughout your day. You can create a more complete picture by drawing your own Interdependence Mapa visualization that demonstrates how your life is intertwined with the world around you. You can make your map as detailed as you like.

An Interdependence Map joins the dots of all the interconnections that contribute to the existence of a person, thing, or idea. You may think of it as a complex web that links us to others, both near and far, and all the things in between.

Once youve made your list, look at each item and ask yourself if its been too long since you engaged in something that makes your heart sing.

Imagine, for example, the story behind something as commonplace as a piece of paper. We can trace all of the factors that influenced its existence. If the paper was made from wood pulp, the map would include natural resources (trees, the sun, wind, soil, and water); historical inventions that affected the use of paper (printing presses); machines that were created to harvest trees, transport logs, and convert the wood into paper; energy sources for the various processes; water and chemicals at the paper mill; paper packaging resources; and even the human resources during all the stages of extracting, manufacturing, and transporting materials to the place where they are purchased.

Creating an Interdependence Map of your own can lead to important insights. The Interdependence Map for paper is quite basic in comparison to the complex webs that an individual might have. You could include: ancestors, family, friends, resources for shelter, transportation, food, energy sources for clothing, electricity, and heat. Remember that each of these items is a hub for other webs of interconnection too. The one for food alone would be extensive.

Once you complete the Interdependence Map, ask yourself this question: Is there one thing that I could change that would lead to sustainable happiness? Even one shift has ripple effects in the world. Many people find that changing something that contributes to their own well-being is a good place to startlike reducing the consumption of fast food, going for a walk after work, spending more time with family, turning off the TV, or starting a gratitude journal.

5. Make Your Own “Happy List”

Take a few minutes to list all the things that make you happy. Jot everything down that comes to mind. Once youve made your list, look at each item and ask yourself if its been too long since you engaged in something that makes your heart sing.

The final step is to take a look at your list through the lens of sustainable happiness. Then ask yourself if anything on your list is detrimental to you, someone else, or the environment.

6. Value Genuine Wealth

Genuine wealth is found in relationships, natural beauty, and an appreciation for life, loving, and laughing. Building genuine wealth can be as straightforward as taking time for family and friends and enjoying your natural highs.

Try this:

  • Make a list of all your genuine wealth. You could include family, friends, education, the natural world around you, health, sensory experiences, political freedom, the ability to love and laugh, etc.
  • Ask yourself if you take any of these for granted.
  • Is there anything on your list that you would like to increase or improve in order to enhance your genuine wealth? If so, what steps do you need to take to accomplish this?
  • How are you contributing to the genuine wealth of other people or your community? Is there anything more that you would like to do?

Once you begin to draw on these sustainable happiness choices, youll likely discover that there are many new choices that you can makeand they’re already within your reach.

For more information on exploring sustainable happiness: sustainablehappinesscourse.com.

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Cedar Gillette, a domestic violence counselor in New Town on the Ft. Berthold Reservation… thinks that the increase in domestic violence mostly stems from…the privileged status of the oil and gas industry. “Oil company workers are not accountable to the community,” argues Gillette. “They can treat people however they want because they think they are untouchable.” (excerpt)
Please read and share this! I suppose with all I have studied, I should not be shocked, but I am. I am shocked and I am angry. This is so far beyond unacceptable-it is contemptible.
Koch industries seems to want to replace Satan, and I’d say their campaign is ahead in the polls. Don’t let these monsters keep destroying our communities, and victimizing people. Not only should we save VAWA, we should work to get Koch’s charter revoked. Corporations only exist because of the supposed good they can do for society beyond what can be accomplished by individuals. IF this (and that cataclysm in the Gulf) are not charter revoking worthy offenses, I cannot imagine what could be? Plotting to assassinate a US President? Oh WAIT! the Oil barons were in on THAT too!!;-/

Fatal Sincerity

Last week we reported that Sam Hirsch of the US Attorney General’s office announced in a private meeting that a lawsuit may be filed against VAWA. The Violence Against Women Act had been passed each year since its introduction in 1994, until provisions protecting Native American women were introduced last year. The bill was supported by many politicians of both parties, but some representatives refused to vote it back into law unless the tribal provisions were drastically changed. After an unpopular attempt to reword the language, VAWA passed with full tribal provisions early this year.

As previously reported, several groups and individuals associated with the oil company Koch Industries, Inc. have been protesting the bill, claiming that holding rapists accountable to the Native reservations they commit crimes on is unconstitutional. This has caused some readers to question what the motives of these anti-VAWA activists are.

Sources now claim…

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Contrary to those who believe aliens, gods etc will appear and right all wrongs for us, I believe that WE are righting the wrongs the same old way-thru hard work, determination and consciousness raising. Progress has always been in baby steps, but as the Shift continues it does seem that the baby is picking up his pace sometimes;-)

All the wrongs are connected and interwoven parts of an imposed system-whether we call that imposed system colonization or ancestral lizard-people bloodlines, it’s key feature is that it DOES NOT WORK.

As we dismantle the imposed, nonfunctional system and work step by step to replace it with systems, and habits of being that ARE functional we will see improvements leapfrog across old boundaries and grow by orders of magnitude instead of baby steps as the process continues.

Ending racism may not SEEM to relate to ending environmental destruction, or income inequality, or corruption in governments and corporations but it does. It is an integral part of the divisive mindset that promotes and creates all of those problems-so as we defeat it, so do we weaken the rest, and vice versa-as we treat our environment with more respect so too will be naturally treat one another with more respect as well.

Thank you all for all that you do to make our world a better place-keep up the good work!;-)


The Native American Rights Fund (NARF) fully supports the introduction of H.R. 1278, a new landmark bill in the U.S. House of Representatives that would amend the Trademark Act of 1946 regarding the disparagement of Native Americans through marks that use the term redskin.

NARF commends Rep. Faleomavaega and all the original sponsors of this important bill, which sends a clear signal that some members of Congress do not take anti-Native stereotyping and discrimination lightly. These Representatives now join Native American nations, organizations and people who have lost patience with the intransigence of the Washington pro football franchise in holding on to the indefensible a racial epithet masquerading as a team name.

NARF also commends all those individuals in the on-going Harjo and Blackhorse proceedings in federal agencies and courts for their tireless advocacy attempting in righting this wrong. While these cases have yet to succeed, they have provided the springboard for legislative efforts like the new bill.

For over 20 years NARF has been involved in the cases, attempting to accomplish what this bill, if enacted, would do. NARF represented the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), the National Indian Education Association (NIEA), the National Indian Youth Council (NIYC)), and the Tulsa Indian Coalition Against Racism (TICAR) as amici curiae in Harjo et al v. Pro Football, Inc. NARF also organized amici briefs in support of the Native petition for Supreme Court review, including one by a broad range of Native nations and organizations, and others by law professors, psychology professors and social justice advocacy groups.

NARF, NCAI, NIEA NIYC, TICAR and other major Native American organizations all have raised concerns regarding race-based stereotyping and behaviors in sports,, particularly the racially derogatory name and logo of the “Washington Redskins” professional football organization. Such concerns have been expressed through numerous communications, public statements, and meetings, including a 1972 meeting with then Washington Redskins president Edward Bennett Williams, after which no team owner ever met with Native people opposing the name.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office registered six trademarks between 1967 and 1990 that consist of racially derogatory and disparaging material, which opens Native Americans to contempt and public ridicule in violation of Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.c. § 1052(a). While there is enormous uplifting good in the human spirit, racism is the dark side of humanity that has caused much suffering among our diverse human family. Section 1052(a) wisely recognizes that one basic manifestation of prejudice, discrimination, or racism is the use of racially derogatory names, caricatures, or stereotypes that disparage peoples and persons and hold them up to contempt and ridicule; and this statute safeguards citizens through the registration of such trademarks.

In ruling unanimously in the Harjo case to cancel the Redskins trademarks, the PTO Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) admitted that the six existing trademark licenses should not have been approved. That ruling was overturned on a technicality, laches, which was interpreted to mean that the plaintiffs waited too long after turning 18 to file suit. The current Blackhorse case is identical, except that the plaintiffs filed when they were 18 to 24. In a recent hearing before the PTO TTAB, the Washington franchise argued that even these young plaintiffs waited too long and should have filed on the day they turned 18. In addition to this ongoing trademark cancelation case, Native people have filed Letters of Protest with the PTO to stop new requests for trademark licenses for the same disparaging name.

Should this legislation be enacted, it would provide justice to the plaintiffs and protestors in these cases, would free the PTO to automatically deny federal protection for this disparagement, and would spare present and future Native American peoples and persons from suffering public humiliation and discrimination from the name of the team in the nations capitol.

Native nations and citizens have a treaty, trust and special relationship with the United States, and rely on the federal government more than any other segment of society to make certain that its actions do no harm. Because of the duty of care owed to Indian tribes and people by the Department of Commerce, it is incumbent upon them to strictly enforce the provisions of 15 U.S.C. § 1052(a), in order to safeguard Indian tribes and citizens from racially or culturally disparaging federal trademarks. They are required by law to assess the issues in light of its federal Indian trust relationship and associated fiduciary duties to protect Indians and Indian culture from degrading federal trademark registrations. That trust relationship encompasses an affirmative duty on behalf of the Department of Commerce and the PTO TTAB to protect tribal culture and safeguard Native Americans from racism in sports conducted under color of federal law.

Founded in 1970, the Native American Rights Fund (NARF) is the oldest and largest nonprofit law firm dedicated to asserting and defending the rights of Indian tribes, organizations and individuals nationwide. NARFs practice is concentrated in five key areas: the preservation of tribal existence; the protection of tribal natural resources; the promotion of Native American human rights; the accountability of governments to Native Americans; and the development of Indian law and educating the public about Indian rights, laws, and issues.


©2012 Native American Rights Fund

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The manuscript of survival – part 289 by Aisha North

Today is another great day indeed, but one that will be met with indifference from many, for this day will be all about integrating what you have already been injected with, but also one that will bring with it new and improved levels of understanding. But again, this does not pertain to all humans, as this only pertains to those who have already opened their hearts to this, and who are welcoming these heavenly injections of light and hope. For the rest of humanity, it will seem to be more of the same old, same old, as they continue to drag themselves through another day of this mortal coil.

Make not mistake, life can seem to be much less than bleak for many of your fellow men and women even without these injections from above, for all is not pain and unhappiness. But their joy cannot be compared to the joy that is yours, as soon as you have opened the doors within that let in these heavenly emissaries. For then it is as if the volume has been turned to max, and the mufflers have been removed, and as such, the exhilaration will be multiplied many times over. In addition, when you reach out and connect to other open souls as you are doing here in the space that has been set aside for such a purpose, you will feel that this also heightens the intensity of all of these positive vibrations another notch or two. For that is what this truly is at heart, good vibrations. But if you refuse to reset your receiver and tune into this new channel, you will not be able to pick it up, and all this heavenly music will literally pass you by.

So again we say stay tuned, for there is more to come, and even if it at times can be a little bit taxing to receive these heavenly signals, know that the outcome is certainly more than worth it. For the choir you have set up has already acquired many new members, but the roster is about to multiply even further as you yourselves have started to emit this wondrous voice from heaven from your own hearts. And now, this song is being picked up by more and more eager ears, or rather hearts, and they will be attracted by this tune and come knocking on your door, ready to hear more. And as long as you keep singing in tune with this new vibration, you will be able to make even more join in and harmonize alongside you. And they again will entrain others with their new vibration. And on and on this goes, like a veritable train of love where new cars are being hitched on one by one.

And so again we say look around, and see that you are already swimming in a sea of love, created by each and every person who has had the courage to open their own heart and pour our the contents within, increasing the size of this beautiful pond beyond belief. But this is only the beginning, dear ones, and know too that there are other ponds just like this, already brimming over with the love that has accumulated there. And soon, these ponds will start to merge and intermingle, growing outwards and covering more and more of the surface of this little blue planet of yours. And soon, when you look from above, the waters of these small ponds will have outgrown even the vastest of oceans you can see from outer space.

So we thank you all, for doing what you do, and for being what you are. For you are the ones making all this happen, step by step, song by song, choir by choir. So sit back and listen well, for you are indeed already an integrated part of this heavenly choir, already being heard near and far throughout the lands. And the song that you sing, is indeed the song of freedom, finally being sung by those that have attained that freedom. It is not a song of longing any more, it has become a song of being. And with that, we will leave you for today, but we will return again and again to continue to sing your praise. For it is well deserved, more than you can know, and so we stand here today, applauding your efforts. For the sound you are all making is soaring through your universe and beyond, carrying with it the confirmation that mankind is about to break out into a song that will break all the records hitherto set by this human race.


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6 Ways to Fuel the Cooperative Takeover by Sven Eberlein – YES! Magazine

6 Ways to Fuel the Cooperative Takeover

From now on, the global mantra for filling market gaps is going to be, Theres a co-op for that. But co-ops need customers, money, and training. How do we shift from business as usual to the work of cooperation?

by Sven Eberlein
posted Mar 20, 2013

Wages Co-Op

A WAGES-trained co-op.

In the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, businesses, products, and services that benefit people, communities, and the planetÑinstead of a few megabanks and billionaireshave been in higher demand. The International Cooperative Alliance’s recently published “Blueprint for a Cooperative Decade” lays out a long-term vision to make cooperatives not only the fastest-growing form of business but the acknowledged leader in environmental, social, and economic sustainability. From now on, the global mantra for filling market gaps and new demands, according to Eric DeLuca of the National Cooperative Business Association, is going to be, “There’s a co-op for that.” But co-opslike any kind of businessneed customers, money, training, political support, and help from their communities. How do we shift from business as usual to the work of cooperation? Here are a few strategies.

1. Find Money

Where do you get the money to finance a new co-op? Traditional banks are loath to lend to co-ops, often because they are unfamiliar with them or do not trust that a cooperative business model can yield profits. But there are institutions that can help.

The National Cooperative Bank (NCB) has become a leading funder for new housing, business, and consumer cooperatives. Chartered by Congress in 1978 and privatized as a member-owned financial institution in 1982, it has provided more than $4 billion in loans and investments to co-ops all over the countryfrom a New York City housing co-op to an organic grocery in San Francisco to a solar project at Denver International Airport. Most recently, NCB has been working with PNC Bank in Pittsburgh to allocate $13 million in loans to local co-ops.

The nonprofit Heartland Capital Strategies Networkallied with NCB and other credit unionsis another rapidly growing source of funding for cooperatives, especially for the union co-op movement. The organization has committed billions of investment dollars to profitable projects in green construction, manufacturing, affordable housing, and transportation.

McKusker's Market photo courtesy of Franklin Community Co-op.

McKusker’s Market photo courtesy of Franklin Community Co-op.

2. Convert to a Co-op

Some cooperatives get their start from traditional sole proprietorships or corporations. This can happen, for example, when a business owner wants to retire or move on and the employees buy the business.

Franklin Community Cooperative (FCC) in Greenfield, Mass., acquired McCusker’s Market, in nearby Shelburne Falls, when the owner of the longstanding natural foods store was ready to retire. A third of FCC’s members lived near McCusker’s. The purchase allowed FCC to keep its commitment to serve downtown Greenfield while solving its space problem at its popular flagship store. All of McCusker’s Market’s staff were rehired and retrained, and sales went up 15 percent during the store’s first year as a cooperative. Since the purchase, the cooperative has attracted many more members all over the region.

3. Hook Up With Big Partners

Bring co-op business to the mainstays of your communityhospitals, schools, government serviceswhich are already committed to community-scale investment and the public good. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship: The co-op keeps money circulating in the community; the institution provides stable demand for the co-ops services or products.

Ohio Cooperative Solar photo courtesy of the Cleveland Foundation

Ohio Cooperative Solar photo courtesy of the Cleveland Foundation.

“If you can get even a small bit of a university’s goods and services devoted to your co-op,” says Democracy Collaborative co-founder Gar Alperovitz, “you can go to any bank, and they’ll be happy to finance you, because you’ve got a market.”

The Evergreen Cooperative Initiative, a group of local, sustainable, and worker-owned co-ops in Cleveland, is built on a strong partnership between the co-ops and local institutionssuch as Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals, and Case Western Reserve Universitywhich have a combined annual buying power of more than $3 billion.

Ohio Cooperative Solar, another Evergreen business, is in the process of installing photovoltaics at these three institutions and has also placed nearly 700 solar panels on the city hall and library rooftops in nearby Euclid. Evergreen Cooperative Laundry (a green cleaning operation) washes bed linens for Judson Retirement and McGregor Homes, two large nursing homes in the area.

Shift Change Poster

The film Shift Change gives an inspiring look at worker-owned enterprises, from the Mondragón co-ops in Spain to the Arizmendi bakeries in San Francisco to Isthmus Engineering in Madison, Wis.

4. Be Co-op Curious

You can learn more about the business of sharinghow co-ops work, why they’re important, how to support them, and how to start and manage onefrom organizations across the country working to promote cooperative enterprise.

The Bay Area group Women’s Action to Gain Economic Security (WAGES) was founded in the 1990s to help immigrant women form cooperative housecleaning services. Now they are creating toolkits for anyone looking to start a green cleaning co-op. “With all the emphasis on co-ops coming on the heels of the Occupy movement, we’re seeing an increased interest right now,” says Elena Fairley, who is working with WAGES as an AmeriCorps VISTA member.

College and university programs are also training the next generation of cooperative entrepreneurs. The Cooperative Teach-In is a nationwide initiative that has connected colleges, universities, and programs like AmeriCorps VISTA with cooperatives across rural and urban America.


The Toolbox for Education and Social Action is a worker-owned producer of resources in support of the cooperative movement, including the game Co-opoly.

The Teach-In uses creative tools to help participants learn the importance of cooperative economics. For example, the “Democracy Rating Warm-up Exercise,” an interactive survey, allows participants to “rate the level of democracy in the institutions they interact with on a daily basis,” and group discussions explore how the cooperative model differs from typical business models. And a fun way to gear up for a cooperative future is to play a round of Co-opoly: The Game of Cooperatives.

As interest in cooperative business has grown, some young entrepreneurs have taken it upon themselves to learn more. For example, Co-cycle is a group of 15 undergraduates who crossed the country last year on their bicycles, visiting more than 70 co-op organizations and building a network of like-minded communities. “A year ago I didn’t know what a cooperative was,” writes Co-cycle participant Riko Fluchel on the riders’ blog. “Now, after the nine weeks of touring cooperatives across the continental United States, I know first-hand that cooperatives empower people’s lives.”

The Co-cycle journey is chronicled by a team of filmmakers from New York University in the forthcoming feature-length film To The Moon, which will introduce viewers to the ideas that guide cooperatives and Co-cyclelike teamwork and dedication to a new shared economy.

Arizmendi Bakery photo by Tony Nguyen

Arizmendi Bakery photo by Tony Nguyen.

5. Shop Co-op

By buying from co-ops or using cooperative services, you can create local jobs, keep wealth in your community, and shop according to your values.

  • The most comprehensive directory of U.S. cooperatives is CooperateUSA.
  • You can also find your local food co-op through the Cooperative Grocer Network.
  • Looking for a co-op starting near you? The Food Co-op Initiative maintains a map of co-ops still in the organizational stage.
  • The new Data Commons Cooperative is building a “Stone Soup” directory, find.coop, created by members.

6. Make Co-op Friendly Laws

Cooperatives are often at a financial and technical disadvantage in an economy dominated by quarterly profits and shareholder returns. The United Nations recently resolved “to encourage governments and regulatory bodies to establish policies, laws, and regulations conducive to cooperative formation and growth.” In 2012, the United Nations celebrated the “International Year of Cooperatives,” noting that co-ops “build a better world” and “empower people.”

Big Dividends For Your Community
How credit unions put members’ money to work right where they live.

At the federal level, supporters of cooperatives are pushing for the National Cooperative Development Act (H.R. 3677) (NCDA), which would create a national development center designed to bring federal resources to cooperative development. From loans and seed capital for start-ups to funding for technical assistance providers, passage of the NCDA would not only help level the playing field for co-ops but increase economic development and create much-needed jobs in underserved areas of the country.

A different bill would raise the cap on small business loans from another type of co-op: credit unions. Fifteen years ago, the banking industry lobbied for and obtained this cap to throttle its competition. The Credit Union Small Business Jobs Bill (S. 2231) would more than double the limit to nearly 30 percent of assets. According to the Credit Union National Association, this would enable credit unions to loan an extra $13 billion of their $300 billion lending capacity to small businesses in the first year alone, helping to create as many as 140,000 jobs.

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I too have noticed different behaviour in pets. I know they are very aware of energy and also that they sometimes take on our energy, or out processing to help us so not surprising. Ever notice how when you are sick your pets will nurture you and give you love and energy(and cats will actively heal you with that cool purr frequency thing;-)?