Eco Living Magazine presents:
Barack Obama: The West’s new white knight
Barack Obama’s Presidency has come to represent, to many people around the globe, the hope for a new future based on fairer principles – after a dark time of ignorance and fear induced US international policy. With the US still seen as the world’s pre-eminent economic and military superpower, it was a frightening time for many, to witness the US under George W Bush, invading Iraq and operating a ‘tooth for a tooth’ style anti-terrorism policy. There has been too much death, flying under the banner of a ‘good old boys’ quasi religious war against Islam.
With the election of the US’s first African American President, it is seen as an almost symbolic shift in consciousness toward disadvantaged minorities and away from the entrenched ruling elite. The hyperbole and fanfare that has accompanied Obama’s rise to the oval office has been quite incredible, and not since the assassination of John F Kennedy has sentiment reached this level of fervor in the US. Of course, for a country founded in part on the slavery of African Americans, it is quite a journey for one stained with that skin to reach the highest office in the land.
Obama enters the office of the Presidency at a time of real crisis, with the US leading the world financial markets down a spiral of unprecedented severity. There will be nowhere to hide, and states of emergency are the making or breaking of leaders. Will the huge expectations be rewarded or will they crush the life out of such a left field candidate running the biggest game in town? President Obama has assembled a quality team to execute government policy and it will be interesting to see what type of CEO he is – consensual or lone ranger? The call to action right now is loud; and it is for decisive and far reaching policy to end the panic, stimulate demand and stop the freefall of markets.
Will the West’s new white knight come to the rescue of a jaded and cynical world? Will Obama be able to restore belief in the US’s democratic quest to bring freedom and enlightenment to parts of the globe ruled by despots? Where are we right now on capitalism’s life cycle, and will the market welcome legislature to rein in its unfettered desire for ever more? Barack Obama comes to town at a time when there are a lot of burnt fingers and I think Wall St will keep its mouth shut for a while anyway. It is a great opportunity to start again – to rebuild a US economy and world economy factoring in things like climate change at the outset. To get carbon credit schemes functioning around the globe and for governments to guide development based on principles of sustainability.
If global capitalism is widely believed to have seen off socialism, then the ‘champ’ has all of a sudden fallen in a big hole of his own making. Where have all the ‘free-marketeers’ gone? We are not hearing so much about how perfect the market is and all that self correcting claptrap. No it is big business with its hand out for government assistance and packages in the trillions of dollars. The US carmakers, which have studiously ignored non-oil dependent technologies for so long, are at the front of the queue demanding bail outs for their failing billion dollar businesses. Perhaps it is time to let go of the status quo and allow real change to take its course. President Obama and his team will be faced with questions like this, and how much damage control will be good for the US in the long run?
I think there is a collective hope for some personified goodness in America’s new leader, and that he will heal some old wounds in the country and in the greater world. Whether this can transmute beyond mere words and sentiment into empowering action will have to be seen. In a similar way to our own PM Kevin Rudd, who came after a decade of self interest under Howard, and had the opportunity to ‘say sorry’ and ratify Kyoto, will they both talk the talk…and walk the walk?
2009 is going to be a fascinating and challenging year to be alive. I wish President Barack Obama all the very best!
©Eco Living Magazine.
Eco Living Magazine presents:
Eco Baby Stuff Reviews
Baby Lavender Lotion
Using nature’s gentle botanicals, this lotion is a gentle way to complete the bathing ritual and to restore moisture back into your baby’s skin. With 100% natural and active ingredients to nourish and support your skin, you can trust Invoke Natural Skincare products on your baby’s beautiful skin. Products are not tested on animals and are vegetarian and vegan friendly. There are no synthetic ingredients, such as Sodium Lauryl, Laureth Sulfates, colours, fragrances or preservatives, so the products are gentle enough for babies. The Baby Lavender Lotion is part of Invoke Natural Skincare’s Mums and Bubs Range, which feature products that centre around the natural calming and soothing properties of lavender and chamomile essential oils to help encourage a content baby. Available in 50ml for $8 or 125ml for $16, visit www.invokenaturalskincare.com.au.
Funky Little Monkeys!
At Gecko Tots, they step outside the square with funky kids designs. Vibrant colours and patterns to create fun clothes for the special little people in our lives. The uniquely designed babies and children’s clothes are made out of 100% cotton, which is ideal for our Australian climate. Cotton is also kind to children with sensitive skin. Range includes baby and children’s clothes, toys, accessories and bedding in beautifully designed bright fabrics. Fabrics are hand printed and all clothes are handmade with love. The great colours allow you to mix and match to enable your child to dress in a fun and unique way – true to their individual personalities.. All garments are designed by owner (and mother of 5 children – youngest is 2.5!). The fabrics are manufactured, printed and sewn in “sweatshop free” environments. About 72 families benefit directly from this venture in India, Indonesia and Australia. To clothe your kids in freedom and sunshine visit: www.geckotots.com
“Little Tacker, Naturally” is a beautiful range of products for babies & children. Using gentle & mild ingredients that nourish, protect & repair the delicate skin that children have. Try the Precious Bundle Baby Cream for perfect top and bottom care in a handy tube that is easy to apply to a wriggling baby. A vital ingredient in the range is Mandarin EO – well known to reduce anxiety & restlessness, for peaceful times for the whole family. Also available are Relax-a-Bub Massage & Bath Oil, Nighty Night Bubbles, & Sleepytime Bedroom Spray. W:www.coonawarralavender.com.au
Skin Things Baby Range
“Natural Baby” gift pack (4 pc)
An ideal gift for mum & baby. Includes a super sensitive soap bar, 250ml of baby wash, 125ml baby oil, and the fantastically gentle SkinThings baby balm presented in a delicate white gift bag. The baby balm is a delicious combination of nourishing plant oils and soothing essential oils of lavender and chamomile – Ideal all over moisturiser as well as a healing nappy balm. The Baby Wash is nice and gentle for delicate skins – and the purest essential oil for a baby massage – great for bonding. A beautiful welcome gift for any lucky baby. Order online at www.skinthings.com.au
Nappy Road Test Special
Sandman Night Nappy from Sustainable Hemp Products
“I have just spent a few weeks trialling the Sandman Night Hemp Nappy with wool cover from Sustainable Hemp Products. I usually use terry squares with a booster system at night, and polar fleece wraps. My son, at almost 11mths, is a moderate wetter – some nights heavy. My current nappy system works most of the time, with the occasional very wet nappy ‘leaking’. When I first saw the new nappy, it looked big and bulky, and I thought it would never dry! I liked the pattern on the outside of the nappy, and the wool cover looked funky. I was initially bemused by all the snaps, but quickly realised that there were actually a great design that would enable the nappy to be used over a lot of growth time. I washed the nappy and all the inserts, and to my surprise, everything dried in the same amount of time as the boosters I currently use! Rainy weather meant this happened around a slow combustion stove. The knitted wool cover came pre-lanolised, and as yet I have not had to re-lanolise it! The nappy and both inserts all dried in a day! Once I put the nappy on, I found it to be much less bulky and more fitted than I assumed it would be. The snaps made getting it on a breeze, and the all in one cover was a lot better than doing up velcro and watching as my son undid it behind me. In the morning, the nappy itself was wet, but my son’s bottom was dry, and he had no rashes! We gave up using liners because he got rashes from them. The soaker was mildly damp, but his clothes were dry. Over several more uses, I have found this nappy to be up to scratch. No matter how much he wets in the night, his skin is dry in the morning, as are his clothes. This nappy seems to hold a lot of wee!
Summary: Easy to wash, fairly quick to dry, easy to put on, and works well as a night nappy. Excellent customer service as well. Highly recommended. Reviewed by Linda, NSW
©Eco Living Magazine.
Eco Living Magazine presents:
Mad, bad and dangerous to eat the series
A2 Milk Different White Stuff
With The Sacred Chef
INTRO: A few years ago; ‘milk was milk’, it came in funny shaped glass bottles and was delivered by a milkman, (who was rumoured to be infamously linked with extramarital activities), and who would run along behind the truck carrying the clinking milk bottles in their crates.
Then, along came the momentous choice between full fat milk and low fat milk; and glass milk bottles went the way of the dodo. Nowadays, producers are adding so much stuff into milk that it is hard to keep up – omega 3 fatty acids, added calcium, vitamin D, in addition to coffee, chocolate, banana and other flavours. ‘Low fat’ has been joined by ‘no fat’ and milk comes in a variety of cartons and plastic bottles. So, today a trip around the supermarket and up the dairy aisle entails a whole lot more choosing time than it once did.
If you really think about the simplicity of where it all came from – over there is the cow and here is a bucket and you pull on these…. Well now there is a whole new kind of cow’s milk to think about called A2, and this is an essentially different type of milk than everyone else’s. Humour aside, this is probably the most important development in the understanding of one of our most cherished consumer foods. We drink a lot of cow’s milk and we give our kids a lot of cow’s milk products, and if there is a concern about it; we should all be informed.
There are two main forms of the important cow’s milk protein, beta casein, found in the cows’ milk that you drink. These two forms are known as A1 and A2 beta casein. The A2 form of beta casein has been identified by scientific research to be the original form of beta casein that would have been produced by cows thousands of years ago. Every litre of milk contains about two teaspoons of beta-casein, usually a mix between A1 and A2. A2 is the original type but over time a natural mutation occurred in some European cattle, and A1 beta-casein developed, says Keith Woodford, professor of farm management and agribusiness at Lincoln University in New Zealand, and the author of a book on the subject: Devil in the Milk.
According to Woodford, the genetic difference between the two beta-caseins is tiny, but the difference in outcome is enormous. “The beta-casein has 209 amino acids (the building blocks of proteins) and the difference between A1 and A2 is just one of these,” he says.
A1 milk beta-casein has been linked to allergies, type 1 diabetes, heart conditions and more recently some psychological conditions, such as Asperger’s Syndrome, Autism and Schizophrenia. For more info on these issues or to see details of the Devil in the Milk by Keith Woodford visit www.unireps.com.au
A2 milk is not genetically modified. It’s not that the A1 protein is taken out later: it’s that it was never there! The milk used in A2 branded milk is taken only from cows that produce the A2 form of beta casein.
Make Your Own A2 Yoghurt
Sterilize all bowls, utensils or yogurt maker (internal container) before starting. You can sterilize them in the dishwasher or boil them for 5-10 minutes.
What do you need:
* 2 litres of A2 Full Fat Milk
* 1 teaspoon dairy-free acidophilus
1. Bring milk to just under boiling point, and then pour the milk into a glass or earthenware dish. Let the milk cool to about 42°C.
2. Prepare starter by combining acidophilus powder with 3 tablespoons A2 Milk (at room temperature).
3. Pour the starter mixture into the milk carefully without disturbing the skin that may have formed on the surface of the milk.
4. Cover with a cloth, place in a warm, draft-free place for 8 to 12 hours or overnight, and do not disturb it until the yoghurt thickens.
5. Drain any excess liquid and store in the fridge for 4 to 5 days.
To make your yoghurt a thicker consistency
1. Remove the skin on the surface of the yoghurt you’ve just made.
2. Pour the yoghurt into a muslin bag.
3. Hang the bag over a bowl and let drain for about 2 hours or until the desired thickness is obtained.
Serve with fresh berries or passionfruit; stir a little maple syrup through for an added treat.
©Eco Living Magazine.
Eco Living Magazine presents:
Heading: Winter-Spring Earth Wisdom
By Glenys Livingstone Ph.D.
Intro: In the Southern Hemisphere we have just passed the Earth holy-day of Winter Solstice, which was in late June; and are moving into Early Spring which may be celebrated in early August and is traditionally named as “Imbolc”.
Winter Solstice is the Seasonal Moment of the year when Earth’s tilt leans us furthest away from the Sun – when the dark part of the day is at its longest. The stories of Old tell of the Great Mother giving birth to the Divine Child on this night, as henceforth the Sun’s light and warmth begin to return, and the ongoing creativity of Earth is assured. This Earth holy-day was adapted by Christianity as the time to celebrate the birth of its Divine Child, but the Divine Child of more ancient Earth-based religious practice was understood as renewed Being itself, the promise of never-ending renewal – apparent eternal Creativity itself. And just so, may we re-story it again in our times, with our own renewed understandings. From this point of the year on, for the next few seasons, Sun’s strength will grow, until it peaks at Summer Solstice and turns yet again.
At the sacred site of Newgrange in Ireland – known by its indigenous name as “Bru na Boinne” – where the megalithic mound is dated at 3200 B.C.E. , the Winter Solstice dawn lights up a Triple Spiral motif that is engraved on the inner chamber wall. It is thought that this Triple Spiral represents the Triple Goddess as She was known by the ancients in that place, and also that it represents the heart of the sacred heritage of ritual celebration of eternal creation, that the seasonal Wheel of the Year expresses, and that this site records .*
Winter Solstice is the time for the lighting of candles, for embracing the miracle of being, for choosing a joyful response to the awesome fact of existence, for celebrating the gift of birth. Birthing is not often an easy process – for the birthgiver, nor for the birthed one: it is a shamanic act requiring strength of bodymind, attention and focus of the mother, and courage to be of the new young one.
Birthgiving is the original place of “heroics”. Many cultures of the world have never forgotten that: perhaps therefore better termed as “heroics.”(In pre-Olympian times, Hera was Amazon Queen of the Land and not the “wife of Zeus”. Heracles was her hero, because he did her bidding, thus the term “hero” is derivative of “Hera”).
Patriarchal adaptations of the story of this Seasonal Moment usually miss the Creative Act of birthgiving completely – pre-occupied as they often are with the “virgin” nature of the Mother being interpreted as an “intact hymen”, and the focus being the Child as “saviour”: even the Mother gazes at the Child in Christian icons, while in more ancient images Her eyes are direct and expressive of her integrity as Creator.
Winter Solstice and Early Spring rituals may be a contemplation of the Creativity of the Cosmos – Cosmogenesis … how it all unfolds. When told from within a “Mother-mind” – a mind that connects the biological creativity of the female body to Cosmic Creativity, to our “Navel” lineage, to the Nativity of every being, then we are all the Holy Ones. And we all – female and male – may know the skill and care required for “birthing” the New, whether that is physical, psychological or however one categorizes it.
In Earth-based religious practice, the ubiquitous icon of Mother and Child – Creator and Created – expresses something essential about the Universe itself … the “motherhood” we are all born within (not simply a “brotherhood”). It expresses the essential Communion experience that this Cosmos is, the innate and holy Care that it takes, and the reciprocal nature of it: that is, how one is always Creator and Created at the same time. We cannot touch without being touched at the same time. We may realize that Cosmogenesis – the entire Unfolding of the Cosmos – is essentially relational: our experience tells us this is so.
Subheading: Early Spring/Imbolc
The Early Spring/Imbolc celebration is traditionally a time of dedication to the nurturance of the New Young Being. Once again, this is no wimpy task: it is for the brave and courageous, whether one is committing to the new being in another, or in one’s self. The Great Goddess Brigid of the Celtic peoples is traditionally invoked for such a task. She has been understood for millennia as the ‘One Who tends the Flame of Being’: a Brigid-ine commitment is one that is unwavering in its devotion to the central truth of each unique particular self. The stories of old speak of Brigid in three primary capacities – that may need spelling out in our times, as they are almost forgotten skills: She is imagined as blacksmith, physician and poet … all three.
Blacksmith is one who takes the unshapely lump of raw metal, melts it, then takes the fiery hot form and shapes it. This is no stereotypical “feminine” act: the Goddess of old is not bound by such patriarchal dualisms. She is spiritual warrior, shaman – this is her eternal virgin quality, never separate from the ‘mother’ quality or the ‘Old One’ quality, and no need to characterize such power as “masculine” or dissociate it from “nursery” activity.
Physician is one who understands the “physics” of being, of matter – how a body relates within itself and within its context, functions harmoniously and thus may heal/ become whole. In this role, Brigid is scientist, healer – none of it is separate. Her physics are biologically connected – an understanding of dwelling within a whole and seamless Universe.
Poet of Old is one who speaks the metaphors, the stories of cultural knowledge, the sacred language of creativity – one who “spells” what may be so. It is a power of spirit: the voice enabled by air, resonant with the winged ones – the birds – whose perspective transcends boundaries. The ancients knew Poetry as a sacred and powerful task – that with our words, we do create what is so. Brigid’s “motherhood statements” are statements of the Mother/Creator, Who once again is never separate from her whole self – the Young One and the Old One – represented in the Triple Spiral dynamic.
The coming into Being that Winter Solstice and Early Spring celebrates, is an awesome thing. It takes courage and daring. It has taken courage and daring – always. In these times of change, it is perhaps particularly so. Our times require the melting down of so much that no longer works, that will not carry us through. These times require the re-shaping and speaking of new realities – an aboriginal magic of new connections, with what is already present within us, if we can but plumb it, open to it deep within. This is a great seasonal moment to get with the plot of Creativity, to align ourselves with our Native Wisdom …the Wisdom that in fact brings us all into being. We may respond to the gift of being by receiving it graciously – and thus become responsible. Though we may feel inadequate, we are not – and we need to begin.
It can be a useful exercise to re-write prayers or songs learned perhaps too well as a child or later, to re-speak them and imbue them with new understandings. It is a way of spelling one’s self, of changing one’s mind – to articulate with each word and phrase what one truly believes to be so. And besides, many of the prayers and praises that are found in patriarchal religions of recent human history are often founded upon the expressions of some earlier Earth-based Goddess religion that is now unmentioned and buried. So any re-writing and listening to one’s own interpretations of the pattern of the prayer may end up being closer to its original sense, as well as speaking a new moment.
I offer the following, addressing the Universe as Mother:
Who is with us,
Holy is our Being.
Thy Kin-dom is present.
Thy Desire is felt throughout the Cosmos.
We graciously receive your infinite daily abundance.
May we forgive each other our lack of skill and insensitivity.
May we understand our inner guidance,
and perceive each other’s needs.
For Thine is the Kin-dom, the Power and the Story,
forever and ever.
Blessed Be . **
© Glenys Livingstone 2008
* See Martin Brennan, The Stones of Time: Calendars, Sundials, and Stone Chambers of Ancient Ireland. Rochester Vermont, Inner Traditions International, 1994.
** Glenys Livingstone, PaGaian Cosmology: Re-inventing Earth-based Goddess Religion. IUniverse 2005, p. 259, with acknowledgement of Karen Davis’ term “Kin-dom”, from “A Peacable Kin-dom and the Ethics of Eating”, EarthLight, Issue 51 Vol 14 No.2., Autumn 2004. p.54.
***Newgrange: The Megalithic Passage Tombs of Newgrange, Knowth, Dowth, Fourknocks, Loughcrew and Tara are located in the present day County of Meath on the east coast of Ireland. The Boyne Valley Mounds at Newgrange, Knowth and Dowth were built around 3200BC making them older than Stonehenge in England and the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt. Built by Neolithic farming communities about 5000 years ago, the passage tombs have clear astronomical alignments such as the Winter Solstice Sunrise at Newgrange and the Equinox Sunrise at Loughcrew.
©Eco Living Magazine