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Jan 26
2010

Nonviolence

Posted by Bruce Robinson in women , students , rights , protest , policy , peace , nonprofit orgs , news , media , law enforcement , justice , journalism , international , Ideas , history , government , families , education , activism

Bruce Robinson

 

Conflict doesn’t have to be violent. In fact, proactive non-violence can be used to force change, and those skills and tactics can be taught and practiced. That’s what Cynthia Boaz is doing at an international conference in India this week.

Cynthia Boaz, a Sonona State University professor of political science, has studied the mechanics and practices of non-violence, and is presenting on that subject this week at an international conference hosted by War Resisters International. All true and effective non-violent movements for change must first gain a measure of popular support within the repressed indigenous populations, she explains, then as the movment gains strength, the oppressor is left with nothing but force to try to sustain itself.

Ghandi and the Rev. Martin Luther King are often seen as exemplars of non-violent leadership, but Boaz says the high-profile charismatic individual at the head of a movement is atypical, and not necessarily the most effective model.

But just as grassroots leaders can study and learn the skills and tactics of nonviolence, Boaz observes that oppressors, too, can and do try to understand and deflect those efforts.

 

International Center on Nonviolent Conflict

Jan 25
2010

Ecoliteracy in Bhutan

Posted by Bruce Robinson in students , religion , policy , peace , nonprofit orgs , international , Ideas , history , government , education , conservation , children

Bruce Robinson

The modern idea of sustainability education in northern California is also finding a home in the schools of a small ancient culture nestled high in the Himalayas.

 

Zenobia Barlow is Executive Director of the  Center for Ecoliteracy in Berkeley. She is also a Fellow of the Post-Carbon Institute, which is based in Sebastopol. She is seen here with Bhutan's Prime Minister, Lyonchhen Jigmi Y. Thinley. Barlow co-founded the Center for Ecoliteracy 20 years ago, and while their principles are gaining ever wider acceptance, she still is often asked to define the term. Here’s her answer.

Under Bhutan’s governance model focused on promoting “gross national happiness,” there are four priorities:  (1) good governance; (2) environmental conservation and preservation; (3) preservation of their ancient Buddhist culture; and (4) a non-destructive economic development strategy. But Barlow observes that it has only been in recent years, as the county slowly opened itself to the west, that Bhutan’s culture and traditions faced any real threats to their preservation.

All the beautiful photographs on this page were taken by Barlow or document her trip. To see more, go here.

There is also a blog entry about her visit on the Post Carbon Institute website.

 

 

Jan 07
2010

"The Harvard Psychedelic Club"

Posted by Bruce Robinson in students , speaker , research , religion , protest , politics , peace , medicine , media , law enforcement , journalism , jail , history , events , education , drugs , chemicals , author , activism

Bruce Robinson

Much of the social upheaval of the 1960s can be traced back to four men at Harvard University at the beginning of the decade, contends journalist Don Lattin. His new book, The Harvard Psychedelic Club, does exactly that.

Don LattinDon Lattin, the longtime former religion reporter for the San Francisco chronicle, attributes his choice career path to his own informal psychedelic experimentation as a college student in the early 1970s. He says that experience, which was shared by thousands of his contemporaries, also inspired him to research and write The Harvard Psychedelic Club.

Timothy Leary in San Francisco in 1995, a year before his death.In his book, Lattin gives each of the four main figures an iconic title. Ram Dass (Richard Alpert) is “Seeker,” Houston Smith is “Teacher,” and Andrew Weil, “Healer.” And after some extended deliberation, he settled on calling Leary “Trickster.”

Albert Hoffman, inventor of LSDSwiss chemist Albert Hoffman (right) inadvertently synthesized LSD in 1938, and accidentally became the first person to ingest it in 1944. In the United States, clinical research into the properties and effects of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) did not begin with Leary and Alpert’s Harvard experiments in 1960, Lattn reports, but can be traced back to studies in the previous decade, a project secretly funded by the CIA.

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Dec 21
2009

Kinship Center

Posted by Bruce Robinson in youth , teens , students , Sonoma County , seniors , resources , recreation , planning , nonprofit orgs , families , education , community , children

Bruce Robinson

In addition to the usual parents-plus-kids households, modern families can be cross-generational, or blended in other ways. However these households may be structured, the Sonoma Kinship Family Center exists to provide them with assistance and support.

Patricia Morrow (left), Program Director for the Sonoma Kinship Family Center in Santa Rosa, says that the organization gets many of  their clients through Child Protective Services and other law enforcement related bodies, although referrals are a growing source of contacts as well.

{play}http://media.krcb.org/audio/nbr/kincontact.mp3&autoplay=0&autoreplay=0" width="200" height="20" bgcolor="#FFFFFF"> Patricia Morrow (left), Program Director for the Sonoma Kinship Family Center in Santa Rosa, says that the organization gets many of  their clients through Child Protective Services and other law enforcement related bodies, although referrals are a growing source of contacts as well.

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Morrow adds that, whenever possible, the Kinship Center will extend their efforts to assist individuals who may not be part of the immediate family group, but are still concerned for the welfare of the children involved.

The Center is located at 411 King Street, near downtown Santa Rosa (see map below) and is open M-F, 9-5.  (707) 569-0877.  Their services are also available in Spanish.

 

 

 

Dec 03
2009

Town Hall on SSU Budget

Posted by Bruce Robinson in students , speaker , Sonoma , Rohnert Park , planning , finances , events , education , economy , community , California , business , budget

Bruce Robinson

With difficulty, Sonoma State has weathered a 17% budget reduction this semester. Now they’re waiting to see how much more they will have to cut in the months ahead.

Looking ahead to the next academic year, SSU CFO and Vice president for Administration and Finance, Laurence Furukawa-Schlereth (right) , offered a silver lining of sorts, telling the campus community assembled at the midday Town Hall meeting that he hoped to avoid any further job losses in 2010-11.

Former Dean of the school of Social Services at Sonoma State, Bob Karlsrud, questions the no layoffs pledge, because it does not cover the part-time lecturers who teach the majority of courses offered at the university. Because they are rehired each year, it’s not considered a job loss when a new contract is not offered for the next semester. Karlsrud contends the campus has added too many contractual administrative positions, at the expense of keeping teachers in classrooms.

Catherine Nelson, a political science professor who represents the Sonoma campus on the statewide CSU Academic Senate, believes the current fiscal crisis also represents an opportunity for the school to clarify and redefine its core vision of itself, something she says is not yet happening here or anywhere else. But she has an idea of what it could include.

The next Town Hall meeting at the university will focus on the troubled Sonoma State University Foundation on December 16th.