I was making pretty landfills for a living.

28 Sep 2011

Sometimes the challenges of the planet seem too big, too complex. What can I do? What is my role to play? My late friend, John Armer, used to say, “Our job is to leave the sandbox cleaner than when we found it.” I have always liked this simple yet poignant saying.

I am a textile designer by trade. For years, I designed products for mass markets — Walmart, Target, etc. I loved my job. Creating patterns and designs is total joy for me. In 2004, I got a call from a competitor who wanted me to come work for them.However, I couldn’t do it. It didn’t feel right. It felt like a step sideways. It was a blessing though, because it got me thinking. What is the next step? What does it look like?

It was around this same time that I walked into a mass market store and found a sea of check-out stands, all filled with customers, all with baskets filled with stuff. All I saw was a glacial-size flow of landfill. Cheap stuff to be enjoyed briefly and then discarded. It was in that moment that it hit me—I was making pretty landfills for a living!

Determined to have my life’s work be something I could be proud of, it was on that day that I started down the road that would ultimately lead to the creation of Harmony Art Organic Design — an independent, printed organic fabric company. I am happy to report that six and a half years later, colorful printed organic cotton is no longer an anomaly but a growing market segment.

It is my sincere belief that for the “sandbox” to get collectively cleaner (or remain dirty and continue to inherit more debris) there is a magic shovel. No, I can’t solve poverty, climate change, financial exploitation, or war. What I can do (and what everyone on the planet can do) is to look at my own life. What contribution am I making with my life’s work? What about your contribution? I made the decision to walk away from a steady paycheck to create a new, healthier fabric option for people and businesses. I don’t expect you to quit your job and start your own company — that’s extreme. But I do think if we each took a good hard look at the results of our life’s work, and simply focused on creating the best possible product (or outcome) for the world, the change would be explosive and powerful.


Raising consciousness through clothing: An interview with Eileen Fisher’s Director of Social Consciousness

27 Sep 2011

Eileen Fisher’s personal core values are about helping women and girls find their voice and their personal path in life so that they can achieve what they were meant to achieve. She happens to do this this through designing and manufacturing clothing for women that are meant to unfold their inner and outer beauty. To me, this is the true purpose of business — to raise consciousness through capitalism. Imagine what the world would be if all the CEO’s of Fortune 500 companies did that same?

In this podcast, I interview Eileen’s Director of Social Consciousness (yes, social consciousness), Amy Hall. She has worked at the company for over 17 years helping Eileen and all the staff support the company’s efforts to practice business responsibly. That includes activating the leader within for women and girls. “It starts with finding your voice — and where we are with it now is what we call activating leadership. Activating that internal voice, that internal ability that everyone has to take charge, to take control of the situation, to be a leader in her own right. It doesn’t mean they have to go off and run for public office. It means leading a household, leading a community, leading a cause, leading a belief,” says Amy Hall.

We call that at Women Of Green “Being the Change”. How are you doing that in your world?


We still have a long way to go, baby.

24 Sep 2011

UNITED NATIONS: Prominent female politicians including US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff joined voices Monday to demand a greater global political role for women.

“Despite notable progress, gender inequality persists,” Rousseff, who became Brazil’s first female president earlier this year, said at a high-level event held at the United Nations ahead of this week’s UN General Assembly.

“Women are still the ones who suffer the most from extreme poverty, illiteracy, poor healthcare systems, conflicts and sexual violence.”

Rousseff noted that on Wednesday she would become the first woman in the history of the United Nations to open debate at the UN General Assembly.

“As someone who tried to be a president, it’s very encouraging to see those who actually ended up as a president,” Clinton joked at Monday’s event, in a reference to her unsuccessful presidential campaign in 2008.


Harness Your Creative Genius with the Right Fuel

13 Sep 2011


Ellen Livingston is founder of Living Yoga Now, a yoga studio and raw food learning center in Ann Arbor, MI. Ellen has studied nutrition for over 20 years, and lives a vibrant, healthy raw lifestyle. She provides raw food coaching, classes, and nutrition tips.

When passion, mental clarity, and focused energy all come together, our creative expression is at its peak. We’re not likely to make major creative breakthroughs when we’re tired, uninspired, feeling foggy or scatterbrained, or in pain or discomfort of some kind. If you want to live an inspired life and spend a lot of time in your creative genius zone, you need to keep yourself feeling good.

There are many spokes in the “wheel of health” that require our dedicated attention, such as healthy food, good sleep, sunshine, fresh air and exercise, loving relationships, beauty, humor, and meaningful creative work that we enjoy. Our health is hampered by any spoke that is out of alignment. It is a lifetime project to keep all these important requisites of health in balance, a project that requires our constant recommitment if we truly want to thrive and experience our peak creativity.

One spoke is not more critical than another, but the food we choose to put into our body several times every day has a particularly major impact on how we will feel, how well we can function and whether we can tap our genius zone.

Surely you have experienced the dullness of being that follows a very rich or heavy meal, or the mental fog that accompanies a day of eating mostly junk foods. How about a scattered or antsy feeling from refined sugars or stimulants, followed later by a deep tiredness? In these scenarios it is often all we can do just to keep up with the general tasks laid before us – originality and sustained creative flow is just not happening. Can you imagine the possibilities if instead you were running on the perfect fuel and operating at full capacity, all the time?



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