PUBLICITY CONTACT: 1 Lisa Braun Dubbels I Catalyst Publicity & Promo Group I 651.343.7315 I email@example.com
PRESS RELEASE: In 2009, resolve to create a better world and more meaningful MOGO life "There is deep and useful wisdom in this book. It is clean, courageous, and generous." ‐‐John Robbins, author of Diet for a New America, The Food Revolution, and Healthy at 100
(Minneapolis, MN)—With a world steeped in materialism, environmental destruction, and injustice, what can one individual possibly do to change it? While the present obstacles we face may seem overwhelming, author and humane educator Zoe Weil shows us that change doesn't have to start with an army. It starts with you. Through her straightforward approaches to living a MOGO, or "most good," life, she reveals that the true path to inner peace doesn't require a retreat from the world. Rather, she gives the reader powerful and practical ways to face these global issues, and improve both our planet and our personal lives. Weil explores easy ways to live with compassion, integrity, and wisdom, but also provides the knowledge and tools to put our values into action in meaningful, far‐reaching ways, and showing readers that their simple decisions really can change the world. Inspiring and inclusive, Most Good, Least Harm is the next step beyond "green"—it’s a radical new way to empower the individual and motivate positive change. For example, one of the ways you can live the MOGO way is to “pursue joy through service.” “This holiday season, many are struggling. To live a more MOGO life, consider how you might be of service to those in your community who are facing serious hardship and make a commitment to give. You may give in the form of volunteerism, helping out at the local homeless shelter, bringing baked treats to people in a nursing home or hospital, shoveling an elderly neighbor’s drive when it snows. You might also want to connect with churches and synagogues that organize gift‐giving to people who cannot afford presents for their kids. When you do this, you will likely discover an incredible side effect: joy. Perhaps more than anything else, giving to others brings us deep joy.” Zoe Weil has been a humane educator for more than 20 years, which enables us to find solutions that work for all by approaching human rights, environmental preservation, and animal protection as interconnected and integral dimensions of a healthy, just society. She has inspired tens of thousands of people of all ages to make a difference by choosing to do the most good and the least harm in their everyday lives. She is the cofounder and president of the Institute for Humane Education and the author of Above All, Be Kind and The Power and Promise of Humane Education, among other books. She created the first M.Ed. degree and certificate programs in humane education in the United States. Zoe leads MOGO and humane education workshops throughout the United States and Canada. She lives in coastal Maine. Visit zoeweil.com for information on workshops and presentations.
PUBLICITY CONTACT: 2 Lisa Braun Dubbels I Catalyst Publicity & Promo Group I 651.343.7315 I firstname.lastname@example.org
MOST GOOD, LEAST HARM: A Simple Principle for a Better World and More Meaningful Life by Zoe Weil Atria Books/Beyond Words y ISBN‐10: 1‐58270‐306‐3 y PRICE: $15.00 y On sale: January 6, 2009 224 pages • Paperback • 5 ½” x 8 7/16” “Most Good, Least Harm is a brave, honest, important book. Zoe Weil not only teaches us how to think more comprehensively about today’s critical political, environmental and energy issues, but, more importantly, how to act more effectively. We learn about the necessity of personal engagement for the good of our communities, our democracy, and for the hope of a sustainable future. With facts and individual stories she shows us that the change in our behavior will be successful, not because of financial gain, but because of the deepening of joy and meaning in our lives.” —Robert Shetterly, artist “By wedding a clarity of a new vision of community goodness with the clarity of meaningful citizen action, Zoe Weil’s amazing book is a recipe for saving the soul of America, and beyond. Most Good, Least Harm is a Must Read Now for everyone who wants to do something to make our country and the world a better place for the next generation, as well for all of us who have not been as effective as we could be in improving the human condition. It is a recipe for creating a nation of responsive social heroes, who collectively can achieve the positive changes we all desire.” —Dr. Philip G. Zimbardo, author of The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil “Zoe Weil’s pioneering book, Most Good Least Harm, offers a vision for how we cultivate a loving sense of appreciation for all forms of life. With a rare blend of wit, wisdom, and humility, she offers an inspiring roadmap for how to lead our lives in a way which brings balance to ourselves and the planet.” —Susan Feathers, executive director, John and Terry Levin Center for Public Services and Public Interest Law ‐ Stanford Law School “Zoe Weil’s beautifully distilled teaching is both hopeful and illuminates the way to a life that’s at once peaceful, purposeful and joyous. She offers potent medicine for the false and commonly‐held belief that doing good requires personal sacrifice, and points the way to a path filled with congruence, reminding us that our inner and outer worlds are inextricably intertwined. She offers solid and clear prescriptions for a life well‐lived, and one that is personally fulfilling and aligned, while recognizing the complexity of choices we all face, every day.” —Nina Simons, President and Co‐Founder, Bioneers “In a society where we often see ourselves as powerless to effect change, Zoe Weil provides a brilliant framework for leading us to a life of mindful choices, compassionate action and collective change. Most Good, Least Harm is a guide to blending spiritual activism, moral self‐reflection and environmental concern for a more conscious life and a healthier planet.” —Gregg Krech, author of Naikan: Gratitude, Grace and the Japanese Art of Self‐Reflection
**Zoe Weil is available for interviews. For information about the author and Most Good, Least Harm, please contact Lisa Braun Dubbels at 651.343.7315 or via e‐mail at email@example.com**
PUBLICITY CONTACT: 3 Lisa Braun Dubbels I Catalyst Publicity & Promo Group I 651.343.7315 I firstname.lastname@example.org
10 Principles for a MOGO Life Here is a condensed version for a quick way to think about choices that do the most good and the least harm (MOGO). Use it as a general guide and easy reference. 1. Commit to the 3 Is: Inquire. Introspect. Live with integrity. Expose yourself to information and ideas about MOGO living by talking to and learning from people from all walks of life who are also trying to do the most good and the least harm, by reading widely and deeply, by visiting websites aimed at making a difference, and by viewing relevant films. You can find a list of websites, books, magazines, and films, updated regularly, in the resources section at: HumaneEducation.org. Then introspect: identify your values, consider what is most important to you, assess your talents and interests, and seek out ways to put these together practically and productively. Finally, live with integrity. To the best of your ability, put your values into practice. 2. Work for change. Give some of your time, resources, and talents to create systemic change that benefits all. Choose the issues that most concern and compel you, get involved, and relish the joy that such generosity brings to yourself and others. If you can, make your career one that is MOGO. 3. The 4 Rs: Rethink, reuse, repair, and recycle. As much as possible, rethink your use of products that are unnecessary, inhumane, produced through exploitive business practices, nonrecyclable, overpackaged, toxic, and/or unsustainable. When you do make purchases, choose the most sustainable, efficient, humane, fairly traded, and healthy versions. Then reuse what you can, repair what is reparable, and recycle when you are through. And in the midst of these 4 Rs consider what you could borrow instead of buy, and what you could share with friends and neighbors so that they can better rethink unnecessary products, too. 4. Eat for life. As much as possible, choose plant‐based foods produced close to where you live, grown organically, and unprocessed. This will improve your health, the environment, the lives of animals, and the well‐being of other people. 5. Reduce your ecological footprint. Drive less, carpool, walk, bike, car‐share, and use public transportation more. If you need to own a car, choose one with the best fuel efficiency to meet your needs. Choose the most energy efficient and ecologically friendly options for homes, home repair, appliances, lighting, heating, and cooling. Choose your recreation and vacations with MOGO in mind as well: an ecotourism excursion over a cruise; cross‐country skiing instead of downhill skiing; canoeing more often than motorboating. 6. Transform education. People need relevant information, tools for critical thinking, and motivation to lead meaningful lives that contribute to a better world. Whether you are a parent, student, teacher, elder, or concerned citizen, help make living sustainably and peacefully the very purpose of education at all levels by engaging in dialogue with lawmakers, educators, and school and university administrators.
PUBLICITY CONTACT: 4 Lisa Braun Dubbels I Catalyst Publicity & Promo Group I 651.343.7315 I email@example.com 7. Invest your money ethically. If you are going to rely on a mutual fund for retirement or college, choose a socially responsible investment fund. Ask for a portfolio and assess whether the company invests in the kinds of businesses you want to support. Seek out community banks and credit unions and consider microlending and investment in social businesses as a means of using your money to help others. 8. Build community. Find others who share your desire to make MOGO choices by joining existing groups or creating your own group, and invite people to join you. You will enjoy the friendship and camaraderie and help make a difference at the same time. Don’t forget the communities of which you are already a part. Get to know your neighbors and work with them to make your neighborhood healthy, supportive, and safe. 9. Teach others. Share what you know and learn with others to STATISTICS: Happiness engage them in the challenge of living a MOGO life, too, using positive communication that does not judge or blame. Listen as often and Personal Satisfaction as you speak. Teaching and learning happen everywhere: one on one, in schools, in religious congregations, at camps, in families, in Percentage rise in per capita income print and film, at learning centers, on social networking Internet in the U.S. since 1970:62 sites, at senior facilities, etc. Model your message and speak your truth in kind and inspiring ways wherever you are and with Percentage decrease in quality of life in the U.S. since 1970, as measured whomever you’re in contact. by the Index of Social Health: 51 10. Strive for balance. Set reasonable goals for yourself and Percentage of Americans making remember that the “most good, least harm” equation includes you. over $100,000 a year who agree with You are a role model for a MOGO life, so find the balance that lets the statement, “I cannot afford to you live joyfully, enthusiastically, and compassionately. buy everything I really need”: 26 percent
Median size of a new house built in the U.S.: 1949: 1,100 sq. ft. 1970: 1,385 sq. ft. 1996: 1,950 sq. ft. Household size in the U.S.: 1970: 3.14 persons per household 1995: 2.65 persons per household Between 1990 and 1996 nearly 19 percent of adult Americans made a voluntary lifestyle change that entailed earning less money (not including regularly scheduled retirement).Eighty‐five percent are happy about that change. Nearly 50 percent of them made $35,000 or less before their change.
PUBLICITY CONTACT: 5 Lisa Braun Dubbels I Catalyst Publicity & Promo Group I 651.343.7315 I firstname.lastname@example.org
The Seven Keys to MOGO KEY 1: LIVE YOUR EPITAPH Most of us don’t write our own epitaphs. If they’re written at all, they come from those who knew us well, and hopefully they reflect what we ourselves would have wanted said about us. But what if you were to write your epitaph now, in the fullness of your life, to seriously consider how you would want to sum up your contribution, what would you say? Try it. Now consider your holiday shopping list and the gifts you’ve already gotten or plan to get; your plans for celebration; your holiday traditions. If you put your epitaph side by side with your choices this holiday season, how are you doing at actually living your epitaph? Are the gifts you’re giving aligned with the values your epitaph espouses? Are your planned celebrations? If not, reassess. Try putting your epitaph into practice right now. As I write in Most Good, Least Harm, living aligned with our values is, I believe, the most powerful way to cultivate inner peace and serenity – a lovely gift to ourselves as well as to others. KEY 2: PURSUE JOY THROUGH SERVICE Many are suffering this holiday season. Millions have lost their jobs and are struggling with the basics. They cannot even buy their children a winter coat or mittens, let alone a new toy. During this holiday season, consider how you might be of service to those in your community who are facing serious hardship and make a commitment to give. You may give in the form of volunteerism, helping out at the local homeless shelter, bringing baked treats to people in a nursing home or hospital, shoveling an elderly neighbor’s drive when it snows. You might also want to connect with churches and synagogues that organize gift‐giving to people who cannot afford presents for their kids. When you do this, you will likely discover an incredible side effect: joy. Perhaps more than anything else, giving to others brings us deep joy. At least this is what dozens of people told me whom I interviewed for Most Good, Least Harm. How nice that what is best for others is often best of us, too. KEY 3: MAKE CONNECTIONS AND SELF REFLECT As you buy gifts, food, wrapping paper, ornaments, etc. this holiday season ask yourself some questions. What are the effects of these purchase on other people, animals, and the environment? All your purchases will contribute to the economy, which is a positive effect in these hard times, but your money is your vote for the world you want. Some purchases have very negative consequences. For example, a toy made from plastic in an overseas sweatshop may contribute to pollution, human exploitation, and resource depletion, whereas a wooden toy made locally from an artisan may be more aligned with your values. Facial lotion from a company which tests its products on animals may be less aligned with your values that a lotion made by a cottage industry with natural ingredients that are known to be safe. As you ask questions of the products you’re considering buying, you will need to make some effort to find the answers. Very little is supplied by the labels and ingredients. You’ll have to dig to find out if your purchases are truly aligned with your values. You can visit www.responsibleshopper.org to learn about some of the larger multinational companies and their products. I also provide a wealth of resources for this in Most Good, Least Harm and through the weblinks at www.HumaneEducation.org/weblinks. After doing some research to make connections between the things you buy and their effects, self reflect. What choices matter to you? Having learned new information, what new choices can you make that are in accordance with your values?
PUBLICITY CONTACT: 6 Lisa Braun Dubbels I Catalyst Publicity & Promo Group I 651.343.7315 I email@example.com KEY 4: MODEL YOUR MESSAGE AND WORK FOR CHANGE Mahatma Gandhi was once asked by a reporter, “What is your message?” He replied, “My life is my message.” Each of our lives is our message. What message do you want to convey this holiday season? Holidays are often stressful. This year in particular, with so many people struggling financially, the stress may be even greater. But you can convey whatever message you want this holiday. You can reject the pressure to buy more and more stuff, and make beautiful and delightful holiday gifts instead. Here are a few suggestions for homemade gifts: • baked goods and preserves • potted cuttings from favorite plants • a poem or a painting • a treasure hunt for children with a family heirloom as the prize • coupon gifts such as a backrub a week or doing the dishes for the designated dishwasher for a month or the cooking for the designated cook Shifting our way of thinking around the holidays toward modeling our message allows us to embody what we want to create in the world, but we also must work for change. As long as the purchase of more and more overpackaged, toxic, sweatshop‐produced, disposable, resource‐depleting stuff is the norm, our individual choices will be drops in the proverbial bucket. But when we work to change the system so that the holidays are less about things and more about love, kindness, and joy, we help create a world in which we aren’t faced with unhealthy pressures each December. One organization, Redefining Christmas, is working to create change in how we perceive the holiday season (http://www.redefine‐ christmas.org/). This site urges people to give donations to a loved one’s favorite charity as a gift. What can you do to help change the system? Might you write a letter to the editor? Write a comment on a blog? Speak out at your religious institution? You’ll find lots of suggestions for changemaking in Most Good, Least Harm, but for now, consider a small step toward redefining the holidays toward meaningful acts of generosity and goodness. KEY 5: FIND AND CREATE COMMUNITY It’s particularly challenging during the holiday season to buck the buy‐as‐much‐as possible system without support. Your family may not be happy without dozens of gifts under the Christmas tree or expensive presents each day of Hannukah. It’s important to find or create a community of people who also want a holiday season that revolves around joyful giving, sharing, and connection, not just the buying of more stuff. Start with your family. Have a discussion about what would bring the most joy this holiday season. Share ideas about gifts of service and donations, about starting new traditions that include volunteering or treasure hunts or game‐playing. Delve deep to discover what would bring the greatest gifts to your family members. Expand your concept of family to include new friends who share your values. Find a way to celebrate with these friends through a potluck gathering, music‐making, conversation, charades. Bring interpersonal interactions back into your life (as opposed to virtual interactions on your computer!) to build a stronger, more connected community. KEY 6: TAKE RESPONSIBILITY It’s so easy to be influenced by the prevailing values of our culture. We are bombarded with messages to buy more and more. Several people were killed in the U.S. on Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving which is reputed to be the biggest shopping day of the year) because they were trampled to death by frenzied shoppers. This is insane, yet how
PUBLICITY CONTACT: 7 Lisa Braun Dubbels I Catalyst Publicity & Promo Group I 651.343.7315 I firstname.lastname@example.org many of us find ourselves influenced by such messages? It’s difficult to swim against the consumerist current and to take back the holidays. Advertisers are brilliant at manipulating us. Yet we are responsible for our choices, our actions, and our decisions. It may be challenging to embrace this responsibility because so many forces around us make us unaware and unconscious of our decision‐making around the holidays. For example, many of us don’t think twice about buying wrapping paper that may have come from virgin forests just to be discarded moments after it’s been ripped off a package, yet we are responsible for those trees being cut down and for the waste generated and pollution caused from the production to the disposal of not only wrapping paper but everything we buy. If you are making an effort to make connections and self reflect (Key 3), to model your message and work for change (Key 4), and to live your epitaph (Key 1), you have probably become more aware of the effects of your choices and the ways in which they do and don’t truly reflect your values. Now take responsibility for those choices. If responsibility feels tiring and unpleasant, try reframing it. When you take responsibility you become the agent of your life. You gain freedom and strength, and a sense of yourself as powerful. When we refuse our responsibility we become victims of advertising and peer pressures and keeping up with the Joneses. Who wants that? Responsibility is liberating! KEY 7: STRIVE FOR BALANCE Usually, the holidays are anything but balanced. We often don’t eat balanced meals; we may tip the balance toward excess activity and away from relaxation, and we usually unbalance our checkbooks. This holiday season, strive for balance. One of the challenges of MOGO living comes when we want to change our lives to reflect our values more deeply, but our culture makes it difficult to do this. We don’t like being different. We don’t like the inconvenience. We may not appreciate the call toward awareness, analysis, and responsibility. Our desires and values may come into conflict. You may have felt some conflict reading these blog posts: the conflict between wanting to put lots of gifts under the tree for your expectant children, and wanting a simpler, more values‐based holiday; between wanting more like‐minded community‐building, but also to be with your family of origin even if they don’t share your goals; between wanting more stuff yourself and knowing that your desires may have unintended consequences on the environment. Striving for a MOGO balance during the holiday season can come when we elevate some important values that often get overlooked when we write our list of best qualities. While some of our top ten values may include generosity, integrity, compassion, honesty, kindness, and courage, there are other wonderful values that may be just what we need to cultivate and embrace during the holiday challenges. These include: • flexibility • humor • creativity • humility • patience • acceptance • openness With these values in mind, we can be kind to ourselves, accept our limitations, aim to use the 6 keys described in the previous posts while acknowledging that this 7th is a critical component of a joyful MOGO life, too.
PUBLICITY CONTACT: 8 Lisa Braun Dubbels I Catalyst Publicity & Promo Group I 651.343.7315 I email@example.com
Interview: Zoe Weil Q: Why did you write Most Good, Least Harm? A: Most Good, Least Harm is a book that’s been brewing in my mind for almost a decade. As a humane educator, I wanted to give the general public what I’ve been giving my students for years – the inspiration and tools to live deeply humane and meaningful lives that contribute to a better world. Q: What is the MOGO principle, and why is it important? A: MOGO stands for “most good,” which is a short version of the principle of doing the most good and the least harm for ourselves, other people, animals, and the environment. When we do the most good and the least harm through our daily choices, our acts of citizenship, our communities, our work, our volunteerism, and our interactions, we create inner and outer peace. This is the MOGO (Most Good) principle. Living with MOGO as a guiding principle opens us to growth, joy, renewed and renewing energy, and many and varied opportunities in life, work and our relationships. Q: What’s the central message of Most Good, Least Harm? A: Your efforts to help improve the world will also improve your life (and the reverse). Choosing to do the most good and the least harm is personally enriching and helps to bring about a peaceful, sustainable, and humane world for all. Q: Who would be interested in your book? What does your book offer the average person? A: Most Good, Least Harm is for anyone who’s eager to make a positive difference and who wants to live a more meaningful, fulfilling life. Q: How is this book different from all the sustainability and “green living” books that have been published recently?
A: In two ways: it’s not simply about green living, but about making choices that do the most good and least harm for everyone: you, other people, animals, and the environment. It’s also about improving and enriching your own life. Q: Many “green” books have focused on a list of small or simple actions to take. Why and how have you taken a different approach? A: Often we see two different approaches to creating change. One is a laundry list of dos and don’ts. These are the books with 100 ways to do x, y or z. The other is policy focused, recognizing that individual personal choices won’t save the world. The truth is, we need both. When, through our individual choice‐making, we demand and support more humane and sustainable products, foods, etc., these develop more quickly. Yet, we also need systemic political, economic, educational, technological, and agricultural and other changes in order to make significant, rapid, and practical change. Q: Isn’t the MOGO principle about sacrifice and doing without? Isn’t it unrealistic to expect most people to make such choices? A: Virtually all of us are willing to sacrifice for a greater good. We do it all the time! We sacrifice for our children, our elderly parents, our friends and neighbors in need, our country, and more. Most of us find the greatest joy in our lives comes when we give to others, when we’re part of creating good in the world. In the industrialized world, despite our relative affluence, happiness is on the decline. My premise, based on both personal experience and research, is that when we do the most good and least harm in a broad way, sacrifice becomes a misnomer because we feel joy in being part of a the creation of a better world and meaningful life. Q: Isn’t the MOGO principle primarily for people with wealth who can afford to make different choices?
PUBLICITY CONTACT: 9 Lisa Braun Dubbels I Catalyst Publicity & Promo Group I 651.343.7315 I firstname.lastname@example.org difference between a dog and a pig, or a cow and a cat, A: People with wealth have an enormous opportunity to improve the world with their resources, and I believe or a chicken and a parakeet in terms of their ability to they also have a responsibility to do so. But people with feel pain or pleasure. That we call certain things cruelty wealth are also more likely to buy lots of resource‐ when perpetrated on one species and normal depleting, pollution causing stuff and to have a much agricultural practice when done to another is not larger carbon footprint. Those without wealth may MOGO. already be making MOGO choices because they are more affordable (hanging laundry on a clothesline, Most Good, Least Harm asks us to connect the dots and using public transportation, shopping at thrift stores, see the interrelationships among all forms of etc.). There are so many ways to participate in the oppression and destruction so that we can create the creation of a better world – many of them don’t cost a most viable, meaningful, and positive solutions for all, lot of money ‐‐ and everyone can find their niche that including animals as individual beings. inspires and enlivens them. Q: What did you learn from writing Most Good, Least Harm? Q: What do you think prevents people from making A: It was both humbling (my life is far from the MOGO MOGO choices? ideal I seek) and liberating (MOGO is an ongoing A: Fear, apathy, greed, laziness, inconvenience, process, not an outcome). destructive systems, and lack of knowledge and support all come into play. We humans are capable of Q: Where should people who’ve read Most Good, extraordinary goodness, and terrible cruelty, of altruism and selfishness (and everything in between). But even if Least Harm and want to continue pursuing a MOGO we were to harness all our best qualities, we’d still have life go for resources and support? trouble always making MOGO choices, because there A: Our website at the Institute for Humane Education are so many systems in place that are unhealthy, (IHE) (http://www.humaneeducation.org) offers a exploitative, and destructive. One of the most variety of helpful resources (weblinks, suggested books, important MOGO choices a person can make is to magazines, etc.) so that individuals can access participate in the process of changing destructive additional information about MOGO issues. IHE also systems into healthy ones. publishes a monthly Humane Edge E‐Newsletter and a frequently‐updated blog, Humane Connection Q: Most “green” books address conserving and (http://humaneconnectionblog.blogspot.com), both of which often include ideas and resources relevant to protecting different species, but don’t include animals MOGO. IHE also has a Facebook page through which asindividuals within their circle of concern. Most Good, interested people can connect and share. Least Harm does. Why? A: Here in the U.S. we love our dogs and cats. We Additionally, one of the 7 keys to MOGO is to build recognize that they are sentient, like us. They feel; they community. The greatest support comes from others suffer; they experience happiness. We have laws to who share your passion for going on this journey to lead protect them. It would be illegal to go home and press a a MOGO life. Most Good, Least Harm offers suggestions hot iron into the flesh of your dog or cat to leave a about how to do this. permanent mark. It would be illegal to put your pet bird into a cage so small she couldn’t stretch a wing or to cut off half her beak with a hot blade. Yet these are normal Q: Why have you focused on humane education in practices in farming today, and we even havenames for your work? these things (branding and debeaking). But there’s no
PUBLICITY CONTACT: 10 Lisa Braun Dubbels I Catalyst Publicity & Promo Group I 651.343.7315 I email@example.com A: The sooner we transform our educational systems so just solve our problems without educating young that young people are offered relevant education for people about the issues and engaging their creativity creating a peaceful, sustainable, and humane world, the and sense of responsibility, we will be hard‐pressed to better. Humane education teaches about the most succeed. I’d like to see humane education and the pressing challenges of our time to help the next MOGO principle become the guiding philosophy of all generation become creative changemakers for a viable, education. healthy future. I believe this is the most important work we need to do today, and if we neglect it and hope to transform it so that we can educate a generation with Q: Who inspires you? Who have been your teachers in the knowledge, tools, and motivation to be part of making MOGO choices? creating a healthy, peaceful world. A: So many! There are obvious historical figures like Mahatma Gandhi and Harriet Tubman, but really I’m Q: What do you like to do when you’re not writing or inspired every day by the students and graduates of our teaching? M.Ed. and certificate programs, as well as the staff at A: I spend as much time as I can outdoors: hiking, the Institute for Humane Education. They’re my biggest daily teachers. gardening, swimming, running, and kayaking. I love summer street pan music (where I embarrass my son by Q: What’s your next project? being one of the first to start dancing). I also enjoy A: My next project is very big, but I look forward to improvisational comedy, which sometimes finds its way starting it: I want to write a book about what’s \wrong into my teaching. I read voraciously. But most of all I with our educational system and how we can truly love spending time with my family and friends. STATISTICS: Our effects on others Percentage of world’s goods and services consumed by the world’s richest 20 percent: 86 Percentage of world’s goods and services consumed by the world’s poorest 20 percent: 1.3 It would take four Earths for everybody on the planet to live the lifestyle of North Americans. Since 1940 Americans alone have used up as large a share of the earth’s mineral resources as all previous humans put together. The waste generated each year in the U.S. would fill a convoy of 10‐ton garbage trucks 145,000 miles long (over halfway to the moon). Per capita American consumption of soft drinks in 1989: 47 gallons Per capita American consumption of tap water in 1989: 37 Gallons Total energy consumed in producing a 12‐ounce can of diet soda: 2,200 calories Total food energy in a 12‐ounce can of diet soda: 1 calorie
PUBLICITY CONTACT: 11 Lisa Braun Dubbels I Catalyst Publicity & Promo Group I 651.343.7315 I firstname.lastname@example.org
Article: Living Simply by Necessity and Choice (1,225 words. For permission to reproduce on a one‐time, non‐exclusive basis, contact Lisa Dubbels at email@example.com). We often hear that green living is for the rich. Organic food is pricier than pesticide‐sprayed conventional food; local, fresh produce is more expensive than processed junk food; solar panels and solar hot water systems are costly; and hybrid cars are significantly more money than their non‐hybrid counterparts. All this is true. But the greenest person I know, my friend and colleague at the Institute for Humane Education, Khalif Williams, isn’t rich. Khalif built his 580 square foot home himself using local wood and salvaged windows. He and his family recently installed solar panels (after 3 years in an electricity‐less home). They carry their water from their outdoor well and fill a container in their loft that provides it gravity‐fed to their sink. They produce humanure in their composting toilet and heat their home with wood, much of which is cut from their property. They grow vegetables in their newly raised beds. Khalif’s family has very little material stuff, but a wealth of non‐material possessions including an incredible community that works, trades, and plays together. Khalif made these lifestyle choices by necessity and choice. His family couldn’t afford a big mortgage or expensive purchases, but it was also extremely important to him to live in alignment with his values. He and his wife believed that living simply, in community, and with attention to the effects of their choices on others would be deeply gratifying. And it has been. If we all lived more like Khalif, imagine how rich our lives would be: rich in relationships, sustainability, and the joy that comes from living deeply connected to our family, friends, neighbors, and values. In these challenging economic times, more and more people are perceiving their lives as downwardly mobile, diminished, and uncertain. Many are losing their jobs and watching their retirement income and the value of their homes plummet. They are simplifying not because they want to, but because they have to. As more people scale down and buy less, more businesses struggle because few are buying their products. This is why economists and politicians tell us to shop. When we fail to shop even more people lose their jobs, and the recession cycle spirals downward even faster. The irony is that it is the very excesses of our lives that have contributed to so many problems we see today – global warming, toxic pollution, resource depletion, desertification, deforestation, massive loss of biodiversity, even our current recession which was ignited by the excess of buying houses we couldn’t afford on credit we couldn’t pay back – and “downsizing” appears to be just what the earth needs. But that’s little comfort to someone who has lost her job and wonders how she’ll afford her mortgage. We don’t have to choose between the earth and a healthy economy. I believe that we can have a thriving economy, a joyful citizenry, and a restored environment. But we need some paradigm shifts in order to achieve this. We must turn away from an economy based on the production of disposable, toxic, unsustainable stuff toward the production of durable, sustainable products that serve real needs. Since this will still leave many people who produce excess stuff out of work, we must also shift from an economy based primarily on the sales of material goods to an economy based more on services and experiences. And the final shift must include a dramatic commitment to a green economy in which in our energy sources, our vehicles, our homes, our clothes, our cleaning products, our food, etc. are produced in a
PUBLICITY CONTACT: 12 Lisa Braun Dubbels I Catalyst Publicity & Promo Group I 651.343.7315 I firstname.lastname@example.org restorative, just, sustainable manner. Thankfully, such a shift will employ millions of people – a win‐win for humanity and the environment. There is great joy to be found in living simply, sustainably, and with awareness. As people find themselves forced to live with less, it’s understandable they will be afraid. We need clothes, food, and homes, and it is terrifying to be uncertain about these basics of life. But if we are relatively secure that we can meet these basics, then the task becomes embracing a simpler, more sustainble lifestyle rather than feeling deprived. This can be a difficult perceptual hurdle, but Khalif’s family shows just how positive such a life can be. Picture this: Khalif and his wife, Amy, pulling their toddler in a sturdy cart up the road to bring their neighbor warm, homemade cookies. Or this: a gathering of ten families at their neighbor’s house in which they clear some land for a garden, the children helping as they are able, and then all feasting at the ensuing potluck. Or this: a weekly open mic night in a barn down the road, the crowd spilling out into the starry evening, each person contributing a small donation for the fresh soup and bread (which funds the effort), each reveling in the talent of the community, some singing, some reciting poetry, one child juggling, all to the delight of the audience. This is a snapshot of Khalif’s life, but it is a life each of us can claim for ourselves. And when we do, we feel anything but deprived. A slowing economy may force us to simplify, but as long as we are able to afford the necessities of life we may find that we’ve never lived as joyfully. As financial systems recover, through the establishment of a truly green economy, we may realize that we have enough stuff. What we may then want is to cultivate with all our energy is this richer, more satisfying life. How can you reframe your life, embrace simplicity and community, and thrive with less? I’ve included many suggestions in my book, Most Good, Least Harm: A Simple Principle for a Better World and Meaningful Life, and here are just a few: • Write down and then live your epitaph. When you die, what would you like to have achieved? What will matter most to you? If you can live your life with your desired epitaph in mind, you will likely find your life deeply enriched right now. • Find and create community. There are many ways to become involved in your community and build meaningful relationships while also solving economic challenges. Visit meetup.com and converationcafe.org for finding like‐minded friends and neighbors; then visit neighborrow.com and timebanks.org to find people in your community with whom to share and trade. • Pursue joy through service. Chances are that if you’re reading this, even if you’re facing serious economic challenges, you have something to give. Giving is the quickest route to joy. Visit volunteermatch.org, get engaged with a local non‐ profit that’s working to create positive, systemic change, or join a service club like Rotary International or Lions Club. Often, our volunteer efforts also lead to new connections and even rewarding paid work. • Make gifts to express your gratitude. It’s enlivening to create, and delightful for both receiver and giver when you make and give gifts. Whether food, crafts, flowers you’ve grown in your garden or window box, songs or drawings – such creations are often more deeply appreciated and cherished than anything store bought. • Revel in nature, sing, dance, and love. It really is true that the best things in life are free. Find a tree to admire and a sunset to soothe your soul. Sing a song of praise, dance your heart out, and love with all your might.
PUBLICITY CONTACT: 13 Lisa Braun Dubbels I Catalyst Publicity & Promo Group I 651.343.7315 I email@example.com Zoe Weil is president of the Institute for Humane Education (IHE) which trains people to be humane educators and promotes humane living through an M.Ed. degree affiliated with Cambridge College, a certificate program, workshops and online courses. She is author of Most Good, Least Harm, Above All, Be Kind, and the Moonbeam gold medal award winner for juvenile fiction, Claude and Medea.
PUBLICITY CONTACT: 14 Lisa Braun Dubbels I Catalyst Publicity & Promo Group I 651.343.7315 I firstname.lastname@example.org
Available workshops The MOGO Workshop (for a mini‐workshop) or Choosing a MOGO (Most Good) Life (for an evening presentation) Brief description of the course: For mini‐workshop: When you live a life that deeply embodies your values, not only do you help improve the world, you also cultivate your own inner peace and joy. Imagine discovering your life’s purpose, gaining support, making a difference, and finding joy all at the same time. That’s what our MOGO workshop is all about. This interactive workshop is designed to help participants examine their lives and their values and learn how to make their daily choices, their work, their volunteerism, and their participation in democracy a reflection of their deepest values. MOGO, short for ‘most good’, is a guiding principle that asks us to consider how we can make choices in our lives that do the most good and the least harm to ourselves, other people, other species, and the environment. Participants will learn the 7 Keys to MOGO, interact with like‐minded people who also want to make their lives more meaningful and generously engaged, and leave with a personal plan for the future. For Evening presentation: When you live a life that deeply embodies your values, not only do you help improve the world, you also cultivate your own inner peace and joy. Imagine discovering your life’s purpose, gaining support, making a difference, and finding joy all at the same time. This presentation will offer participants the opportunity to consider how the MOGO principle, which invites us to make choices that do the most good and the least harm to ourselves, other people, other species and the environment, can become a guiding force for personal transformation that creates greater meaning in our lives while contributing to the creation of a safer, healthier, and more peaceful world for all. Through this engaging presentation, you’ll learn ways to more deeply align your life choices with your deepest values. A note from Zoe Weil: I have taught children, adolescents and adults about human rights, environmental preservation, media literacy, animal protection, green and humane living, and the connections between these issues (among other related subjects) for over 20 years in all sorts of venues, from schools, to conference centers, to universities. I lead MOGO and humane education workshops regularly across the U.S. and in Canada.
PUBLICITY CONTACT: 15 Lisa Braun Dubbels I Catalyst Publicity & Promo Group I 651.343.7315 I email@example.com
Testimonials for Zoe Weil: What people have said about Zoe Weil’s presentations, workshops, and courses "Zoe Weil is one of the most inspiring speakers I have ever heard. People leave her talks eager and able to make a difference in the world." —Michael Greger, M.D., Director, Public Health and Animal Agriculture, The Humane Society of the United States “Zoe Weil is every conference organizer's dream speaker: well‐ organized, well‐spoken, informative, and entertaining. Her rankings as favorite speaker have been consistently high.” —Alex Hershaft, Ph.D., Chair, Animal Rights National Conferences “After only the first few minutes listening to Zoe Weil speak at a compassionate living conference, I was completely changed. I had never seen anyone so clearly embody her message or so deeply respect her audience. She addressed the participants from her heart and guided us masterfully with her wisdom and compassion.” —Khalif Williams, Executive Director, Institute for Humane Education “Zoe Weil is more than a speaker. She transforms lives and is changing the world with every presentation.” —Caryn Ginsberg, Founder, Priority Ventures Group “Zoe Weil is one of the most inspirational speakers I’ve ever had the pleasure to enjoy in person. She has an uncanny ability to motivate even the most apathetic audience member to act to make the world a more compassionate and merciful place.” —Josh Balk, Outreach Coordinator, The Humane Society of the United States
“I heard Zoe Weil speak at a conference in 2001. Zoe so inspired me to think about and see things in a completely different way that within six months I had given up my job as a business/IT consultant to become a humane educator. To say that she had a big impact on my life would be an understatement, indeed.” ‐ Bob Schwalb, M.Ed. Humane Educator, HEART "Zoe Weil is a phenomenal speaker who inspires hope whenever she speaks. Courageous, astounding, and passionate ‐ these words reflect Zoe's character and vision." —Dani Dennenberg, M.Ed., Higher Education Sustainability Consultant, Northwest Earth Institute “As a teacher, I frequently attend workshops and trainings, and I can honestly say that Zoe Weil combines the very best of what I look for in a presenter. She speaks from the heart with passion and good humor as she threads her extensive personal experience together with elegant analyses of solid research. You can count on Zoe for an exuberant presentation which is a sensible and memorable balance of both heart and mind.” —Melissa Feldman, M.Ed., Founder, Circle of Compassion “Zoe’s expertise and passion awaken powerful feelings in her listeners. Intelligent, affable, and intuitive, Zoe connects with her audience at all levels and leaves a mark of professionalism as
well as a deep and personal impression.” —Roberto Giannicola, Founder, Provokare Responses to Zoe’s Workshops “Zoe’s energy was contagious. For those of us looking for a shot of inspiration, we got it! Even for myself, coming in to the workshop with little background knowledge of the Institute for Humane Education and somewhat vague expectations, I’m able to leave now with a renewed commitment to be the best resource I can be for my students.” —Jessica Stammen, Maine “Zoe, you have been one of the most inspiring, wise, and fun facilitators I have ever had. You bring such a wonderful humility and energizing spirit, and it just makes me really inspired!” —Jeanette Richelson, Maine “The entire presentation/structure was outstanding…. Keep up the great work. I hope your activities will expand across the entire planet!” —Karen Coker, Maine “Excellent workshop that will help me both professionally and personally in creating a more humane community.” —Linda Jariz, The Linkage Project, Maine “Thank you for this whole experience. It has been such an amazing inspiration. Words can’t describe how wonderful this has been for me.” —Wendy Workman, Ontario
PUBLICITY CONTACT: 16 Lisa Braun Dubbels I Catalyst Publicity & Promo Group I 651.343.7315 I firstname.lastname@example.org “The workshop is incredibly empowering.... I want to thank you for your incredible work. You are so full of life, energy and love, which makes one’s heart willingly open to receive in the most welcoming way all your messages. Thank you for inspiring me.” —Veronica Munoz, Ontario “Thank you very much…. You and this program are wonderful, and I’m so glad I attended!” —Kim Sproul, California "It was my favorite seminar I have ever taken." —Dan Capello, Pennsylvania “Congratulations on your thorough treatment of the issues, focus on both content and process, and the integrity, spirit, and caring reflected in what you do. The dynamic and flexible nature of your process is highly commendable. Thanks so much for your dedication and efforts to this work!” —Shannon Markley, Washington “Thank you for your continued efforts to share the message of compassionate living, for teaching us to be introspective, and setting an example so others can look at themselves and make more humane choices.” —Lynn Hildebrand, California “On a scale of 1 to 10, this is 11.” —Nancy Harrison, M.D., California "This was absolutely unbelievable. I was totally touched and changed." —Michelle Turechek, Illinois "[The workshop] exceeded my expectations profoundly.... Every component of the last two days was truly ineffable. I have never experienced such positive energy in a workshop.... The most rewarding two days."
—Sarah Hambley, British Colombia "This should be part of every program charged with educating future educators! In all the education courses I've taken... this has been the most useful and inspiring." —Julie Thompson, Colorado "It was so amazingly inspiring to hear you speak exactly what is in my heart." ‐Shari Leskowitz, Texas "This workshop has given me so many new and exciting ways to spread the message of compassion. I feel rejuvenated and challenged. I can 't wait to get home and make my life even more responsible and humane.... Thank you so much for such a mind and heart expanding weekend." —Kirsti Gholson, New York "As a high school student, I found this the most educational thing I have ever been part of.... It was inspirational. I 've always known I want to help others, and in this weekend my goals have become clear. You have shown me I can do anything. This was life changing, and I will never forget it. Thank you. You are changing the world, and make me feel like I can too.” —Allison Jaquish, British Colombia "I feel empowered: I am reminded of my passions and my dreams... but most importantly I am re‐charged and ready to get out there and develop programs in my hometown. Thank you." —Jessica Anderson, Colorado "This has been an incredible weekend, and I have learned so much about the world and about myself." —Kelsey Zabolotnuik, British Colombia “I am so excited and grateful that you are bringing humane education and humane lifestyles to other people as
your life’s work! It helps me and others so much to see ideals made real.” —Erika Straus‐Bowers, Pennsylvania “Absolutely beyond my expectations... a mature, thoughtful, balanced presentation.... I was most impressed with their compassionate, spiritual attitude.” —Sydney Thomas, Ph.D., Maine “Coming to this workshop was very encouraging and supportive ‐ I know that I want to make a difference in a greater way. Thank you so much for what you are doing.” —Linda Cousens, Maine ”Thanks so much. You’ve taught me a lot and gotten me excited about the potential of humane education and making a difference in the world.” —John Brazner, Nova Scotia “To even attempt a workshop of this type is a huge undertaking ‐ to accomplish it as successfully as this one is a real coup!” —Margaretha Beckers‐Netherton, Virginia “Thank you so much for what you do! I like how you make everyone right and valid ‐ this is important to impart to humane educators, and I got it.” —Juli Szilagyi, Arizona “We are all teachers, and seeing myself as a teacher it’s about time I owned this responsibility. I thank you … for so many concrete examples on how to do this work.... Thanks for your example.” —Mary Sichel, New York “I had already been directed by some knowledge of your pioneering efforts. It is wonderful to meet individuals such as yourselves who have done so much to deepen the animal‐human‐earth protection understanding.”
PUBLICITY CONTACT: 17 Lisa Braun Dubbels I Catalyst Publicity & Promo Group I 651.343.7315 I email@example.com —Susan Carr Grant, New York “I can honestly say that it was the single most life‐changing and eye opening experience in my life so far! The presenters were great teachers not just because they were effective communicators who could connect with the students, but they were most effective because their actions and life choices taught their message... I have been challenged to take action to respect and care for everyone on earth and that has been very uplifting for me.... Thank you so much for touching my life and inspiring me to do something special with my life. I’m so excited about the ‘new eyes’ you’ve given me through which I now look at the world with more compassion and understanding.” —Donna Calvao, California “The whole weekend was incredible and very inspiring. Thanks.” —Mark Herman, California "I will incorporate all the wonderful things I learned into my everyday work and life and future work…. I came to this workshop thinking that I was a very aware person, but I found myself learning many things that I had never considered before and left with my mind opened, my horizons broadened, and my consciousness definitely raised." —Sue Morris, Pennsylvania “The best workshop I have ever attended because it was not status quo. You took the time to help your participants really learn from within themselves.” —Kim Connor, Texas “[The workshop] seriously exceeded my expectations and hopes!” —Debbie Ozarko, Ontario
“You are so loving; you are superb role models and activists for the rest of us.” —Ginny Mead, New Hampshire “Such richness of sharing and learning in this wise and compassionate living place has helped move me forward on the path to conscious responsibility and love. I will live what I have been nourished with here.” —Marjo Kannry, Maine “The course revitalized my ability to see the beauty in the people, animals and things around me. It called on me to bring a critical eye to all my activities and to examine the far‐reaching effects of my choices." —Marla Lender, New York “This is a class that has touched my life because it invited me to challenge my values. I am grateful for that opportunity and for the love and energy that the instructors pour into this class to allow it to happen.” —Valorie Larson, Maine “This is the most powerful course I have taken at the University of Maine, by far.” —Gina Graveline, Maine “Empowering…it made me less judgmental of others and more hopeful that change in the world is possible. Thanks for inspiring me to become an educator and for the knowledge that teaching can empower both teacher and student.” —Rachel White, Washington, D.C. ”It was all inspiring and eye opening. The examples of activities were most important to me, as I now have resources to use in my own life…. I’m still absorbing the wonder of it all!” —Diane Moreau, Massachussetts
"I feel so much better prepared to advocate for humane ways of being on this Earth in both my personal life and in my role as a public school teacher. The people reverberated with positive energy, kindness, and the hunger to bring about compassionate change." —Claire Ruthenburg, Maine "[The workshop is] a great way to model safe/secure activist work that touches people and creates positive change more successfully than anything else I have seen." —Sarah Perine, California
Published on Dec 27, 2008
With a world steeped in materialism, environmental destruction, and injustice, what can one individual possibly do to change it? While the p...