Archive | October, 2011

Good Dog

Posted on 28 October 2011 by Jason

“It’s the basis for positive reinforcement training.”

Stilwell explains that her method, known as Positive Dog Training, is all about spotting and rewarding the behavior you like as it happens. “Thus, the good behavior is likely to repeat, encouraging the dog to learn to live in a human world successfully.” Each dog has his own idea of the best reward— some favor toys, some work for food, others simply want approval.

Training doesn’t have to be time- consuming, repetitive homework. Once you and your dog learn the basics, you can do short sessions.

The Clicker Method

A click of a small noisemaker used in training lets the dog know when he’s just done the right thing. As soon as we see the behavior, we’ll click faster than our brains can tell our mouths to say, “Good dog!”

For example, to train “Watch me,” sit down with your dog, the clicker and some tiny treats. If he focuses on the treats or looks away, do nothing. If he glances at you, click and toss him a treat. A few click/treats later, your dog will figure out he did something to make the reward happen. Be prepared, because that thought will be followed by a very deliberate look at your face. After that, training will move at high speed.

“Work on the basics first,” counsels psychologist Linda Michaels, owner of Wholistic Dog Training, in San Diego. “Four commands—sit, down, wait and come—will get you started. You can do mini-training sessions throughout the day, such as ‘sit’ for breakfast or dinner, ‘come’ when called, ‘wait’ before going out the door, and ‘down’ during television programs. Continue practicing during commercials.”

“How my service dog, Hunter, figured out what I needed and how to help me, I don’t know, but I have great respect for the intellectual abilities of dogs. Training is a way of opening communication; just like with a human, you can never be sure where the conversation will take you,” remarks M. Shirley Chong, a professional clicker trainer in Grinnell, Iowa.

“Positive training lets a dog be your friend, not a boot camp soldier obeying orders,” advises Patricia McConnell, Ph.D., a certified applied animal behaviorist in Black Earth, Wisconsin, and author of multiple titles, including The Other End of the Leash. “When he exhibits new behaviors, capture them, add a cue and give them a cute name. Always, the basis of the best tricks happens when the dog offers his own ideas.”

Pat Miller, of Peaceable Paws, in Fairplay, Maryland, also respects an animal as a thinking partner, “You get to see them figure out how things work,” she says. Miller, who serves as the training editor for Whole Dog Journal, has trained dogs, cats, horses and a pot-bellied pig.

She’s particularly pleased to have transformed a terrier, previously deemed unadoptable by a shelter because of his biting, into a happy, stable patron of New York’s Central Park. Positive dog training literally saved his life.

Retraining/Renaming Bad Behaviors

With patience and know-how, jumping up on people can turn into dancing the conga. Grumbly growling noises can turn into “Whisper,” or “Tell me a secret.”

Excessive barking can be interpreted as bored whining: “There’s nothing to do!” Or, your pet could be answering another dog that you can’t hear. Changes in weather also can make a dog anxious and vocal. Of course, he may just want attention. If you find the reason, it’s easier to find the cure.

Is a dog shy or fearful? “Don’t put him in a situation beyond his comfort zone,” counsels Cara Shannon, an expert in curbing aggressive dog behavior in Austin, Texas. “Let him observe from a safe distance, but not interact, perhaps watching his surroundings with you from inside the car.”

She also relates the story of a fearful foster dog that learned nose work (scent discrimination) and can find a small vial of essential oil hidden in a room. “The praise she receives gives her confidence to try other new things,” observes Shannon.

Stilwell remarks, “Learning to cope with newness is a huge benefit for any animal.”

Sandra Murphy is a freelance writer at StLouisFreelanceWriter@mindspring.com.

Connect with positive trainers: Victoria Stilwell, Positively.com; Linda Michaels, WholisticDogTraining.com; Pat Miller, PeaceablePaws.com; M. Shirley Chong, ShirleyChong.com; Patricia McConnell, PatriciaMcConnell.com; Cara Shannon, BuddysChance.com/Caravacchiano.html.

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Shop Smart

Posted on 28 October 2011 by Jason

Today, Americans can tap into one of the best bargains around by voting to support our local and regional economies. By shifting our shopping to locally owned and operated retailers and service providers, we help create and retain area jobs, support community commerce and build valuable relationships and social connections within our community. With every local purchase, we leave the store enriched, having deepened both community social capital and genuine wealth.

Imagine the joy of knowing that your purchase contributes to the dentist supplying braces for the local grocer’s kids, the local insurance agent’s mortgage payment, the local banker’s roof repair and the local roofer’s dinner— all of them friends and neighbors. The list of benefits—from shoring up local home values to ensuring access to local produce—keeps expanding as your dollars continue to circulate within the community.

Yet, finding a fuller range of locally made items at locally owned stores will continue to be challenging until shoppers demand it. One way to begin aligning purchases with your values is by patronizing stores that offer socially responsible and fair trade items.

Shaktari Belew, author of Honoring All Life: A Practical Guide to Exploring a New Reality, explains how purchasing goods and services can actually create local community wealth for all if they are specifically designed for that outcome. “When items are designed to be created and sold locally, everyone involved benefits, from the suppliers that obtain the raw materials through those that manufacture, sell and buy the finished item. Even the environment benefits.”

Belew encourages our learning as much as possible about purchases. “Once people are aware of the two vital concepts of localization and design, they will be better able to scrutinize purchases,” advises this designer and wholesystems thinker who focuses on resilient community design. As a Transition US.org workshop leader and one of the primary designers of the Community Engagement Process for Unified Field Corporation’s whole-systems/ quadruple bottom line financial model, this Oregon resident tries to follow her own advice. “The Cradle to Cradle C2C certification helps,” she says.

The C2C program is an eco-label authorized by McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry, co-founded in 1995 by William McDonough, the author of Cradle to Cradle. The certification process assesses a product’s safety to humans and the environment, plus its potential for future life cycles. The “program focuses on using safe materials that can be disassembled and recycled for another purpose or composted as biological nutrients. To date, hundreds of items, from building materials, bedding and linens, baby care and haircare products to personal and household cleaning products, have been C2C certified.

If you plan to ship gifts long distances this gift-giving season, why not use the first C2C-certified consumer product—a U.S. Postal Service packing box? It exemplifies how a complex good design makes a product people- and planet-friendly. All 60 of the product’s boxes, decals and labels, involving 1,400 component materials, had to be certified, but the benefits are big: reduced costs for handling waste and disposing of hazardous materials; plus, the receiver may easily recycle the item with a free conscience.

“Imagine a closed-loop market system in which any number of items made from finite resources such as glass, paper, steel, plastic and cloth are designed to be reused in a near-endless cycle,” says Belew. “Imagine a world of goods designed for easy repair and maintenance, rather than obsolescence.”

Belew, the designer of Will’s Bills, a form of complementary currency, also recommends buying items that have long-term reusability specific to our needs. “My daughter loves a particular curry sauce, which comes in a little glass jar with a screw-top lid,” she relates. Rather than recycle the jars, the family reuses them for storing small things at home. “They’re also the perfect size for single servings,” she says.

Sometimes, just a simple shift in perspective can change an item from trash to treasure.

Linda Sechrist is an editor of Natural Awakenings community magazines.

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Economics of Happiness

Posted on 28 October 2011 by Jason

Since the Second World War, we have been assured that more economic growth is good for us. But is it? By any measure, the U.S. economy, in its pursuit of constant growth, is in dire need of critical life support. Too many people have lost jobs, homes, scholarships and retirement savings, along with peace of mind, in the face of complex uncertainties. Those individuals that have jobs are earning less in real income than in 2001, even though they spend more hours working and commuting than previous generations.

We’ve had enough of the official mantra: Work more, enjoy less, pollute more, eat toxic foods and suffer illnesses, all for the sake of increasing the gross domestic product. Why not learn ways to work less and enjoy it more; spend more time with our friends and families; consume, pollute, destroy and owe less; and live better, longer and more meaningfully? To do all this, we need fresh solutions that engage America’s people in redefining goals for the economy (what we want from it) as opposed to the economy’s goals (what it demands from us).

An Economy Based on Quality of Life

Although an economy based on a high quality of life that makes people happy may sound revolutionary, Thomas Jefferson, the third U.S. president, enshrined the pursuit of happiness as a human right when he drafted our Declaration of Independence. Jefferson emphasized that America’s government was, “to secure the greatest degree of happiness possible for the general mass of those associated under it.” Likewise, the Constitution of the United States declares that government is to promote, among other things, the general welfare of the people.

Americans are able to achieve a better life, as we’ve proved many times in the past, benefiting mightily as a result of forward steps ranging from democracy, women’s suffrage and civil rights to inventive technological leadership. Although history shows that this has been accomplished primarily by changing national policies, any new economy delivering improved well-being is first brought about largely by active citizens that choose to invest more time in building a nation that reflects increasingly enlightened values.

Everyone’s quality of life—from today’s parents to future generations of great-grandchildren—depends upon individuals collectively working to build a new economy based on the concept of genuine wealth. In his award-winning book, Economics of Happiness: Building Genuine Wealth, ecological economist Mark Anielski explains this new and practical approach grounded in what people value most, which he states is: “Love, meaningful relationships, happiness, joy, freedom, sufficiency, justice and peace”—qualities of life far more vital than blind economic growth and material possessions.

Preferred Measure of Progress

To determine whether our economy promotes the greatest good or the happiness of the American people, we need to understand what makes us happy and how economic policies enhance or thwart our pursuit of happiness; we also need a better instrument of economic measurement than the gross domestic product (GDP).

The GDP counts remedial and defensive expenditures for pollution, accidents, war, crime and sickness as positives, rather than deducting these costs. GDP also discounts the value of contributions such as natural resources and ecosystem services, improvement in quality of life, unpaid domestic work, volunteer work, good health and social connection.

Anielski, in concert with economic experts such as Charles Eisenstein, author of Sacred Economy, Hazel Henderson, author of Ethical Markets, andNobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, recommends that economic policies aim to boost societal welfare, rather than GDP. All agree that a new indicator of well-being, such as the U.S. Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI), could be used to more accurately measure economic progress.

The Science of Happiness

A respected “science of happiness,” pioneered by University of Illinois positive psychologist Edward Diener, Ph.D., dubbed Dr. Happiness, and other researchers, has existed for more than a decade. The study of what makes people happy and life fulfilling repeatedly demonstrates that the economic route to happiness does not consist of endlessly widening the superhighway of accumulation. Rather, it resides in a host of personal values that are closer to our hearts, as illustrated by the Himalayan nation of Bhutan (population: about 700,000).

For many years, Bhutan has measured its general well-being—as the people themselves subjectively report it—using a Gross National Happiness (GNH) index. Its government bases policy decisions on how they might effect the kind of happiness associated with contentment, family, community, spirituality, education, compatibility with nature and good physical health. After years of primary research, the Bhutanese have identified nine domains for assessing happiness: psychological well-being, physical health, time use (work-life balance), community vitality and social connection, education, cultural preservation and diversity, environmental sustainability, good governance and material well-being.

In 2004, the first annual International Conference on Gross National Happiness was held in Bhutan. Hundreds of government representatives, scholars and other thought leaders from more than 40 nations gathered to explore the possibility of making GNH the true indicator of a country’s health and quality of life. As of 2011, a non-binding resolution by the United Nations General Assembly urges that countries now measure their health and happiness, as well as wealth. Sixtysix countries backed it.

Measuring Americans’ Life Satisfaction

Seattle, Washington, the first U.S. city to implement a measurement of life satisfaction, is parlaying Bhutan’s indicators—psychological well-being, physical health, work/time balance, education and capacity building, cultural vitality and access to arts and culture, environmental quality and access to nature, apt governance and material well-being—as part of its own Sustainable Seattle Happiness Initiative. Spearheaded by Sustainable Seattle Executive Director Laura Musikanski and her team with encouragement by City Council President Richard Conlin, it may become America’s first GNH city.

Initial survey results, intended to spark conversations that matter, will be discussed at future town meetings in Seattle neighborhoods and used to recommend policies for consideration by the city council. Repeating the survey every couple of years will reveal progress.

Interest in a similar Happiness Initiative is growing in cities and towns from coast to coast, such as Napa, California; Bowling Green, Kentucky; Duluth, Minnesota; Santa Fe and Roswell, New Mexico; Bellevue, Nebraska; Portland, Oregon; and Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Some 100 colleges and universities also are beginning to apply the Happiness Initiative survey.

How to Become Happier

To improve our own well-being within any economy, we need to attend to our security, social connections and the way we balance our time. Choosing to live with less stuff and lighter debt supports a better life with less income but more time, lower stress and better health. As individuals, we can:

Focus more on matters of family and community and on building trust.

Devote less attention to maximizing incomes and more attention to acts of generosity.

Ask our employers for more time off instead of higher pay.

In our local communities, we can find ways to design more relationshipfriendly places such as farmers’ markets, where shoppers tend to engage in many more conversations than in supermarket aisles (Worldwatch Institute). In cities, we can call for public and private spaces that facilitate social connection, instead of discouraging it via urban sprawl.

Ecological economist Dave Batker, co-author of What’s the Economy for Anyway? (film clip at Tinyurl. com/3tc9dlk), believes that moving forward requires greater citizen involvement in the shaping of democracy, laws and our collective future. By ditching pundits and talking with neighbors, city by city and town by town, citizens throughout the United States are moving to do this using newly learned techniques such as those offered by Open Space Technology, World Café, Transition Towns, Sustainable Cities, The Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education, and the Institute of Noetic Sciences’ Worldview Literacy Project.

In St. Petersburg, Florida, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and other places, citizens are cultivating a stronger sense of community with real discussions about local issues and economic goals. They aim to arrive at a clear-eyed view of what citizens really want from the economy.

In St. Petersburg, the culmination of Sharon Joy Kleitsch’s 10-year effort to build a flourishing community through helpful workshops on timely subjects, meaningful conversations and aligning constructive partnerships is reaching a crescendo this month at Beyond Sustainability: Ecosystems, Economics, and Education, the Institute of Florida Studies’ 36th annual conference, at Hillsborough Community College (Tinyurl.com/3avntte). Kleitsch remarks, “I show up, pay attention and listen for opportunities where my connections with policy makers, educators, nonprofits and community activists can help convene people in meaningful conversations that can make a difference in building a resilient community.”

In Oklahoma City, Sustainable OKC, a volunteer organization working towards community sustainability at the crossroads of business, environment and social justice, frequently partners with the city’s Office of Sustainability, the CommonWealth Urban Farms project and the Oklahoma Food Cooperative (Sustainableokc.org). The grassroots organization advocates shopping locally and sustainably.

Jennifer Alig, Sustainable OKC president, is consistently delighted by the growing number of residents that don’t just attend events such as movie screenings of The Economics of Happiness, but also show up to plant food to feed the hungry and join Common- Wealth Urban Farms work parties to feed neighborhoods using the products of thriving urban farms on vacant city lots. Alig notes, “After events, we sometimes use Open Space Technology to talk about topics that people are passionate about and willing to invest their time in.”

The kind of society that makes for health, happiness, true prosperity and sustainability is one with strong local economies and flourishing communities that includes many activities provided by local nonprofits. It’s one characterized by:

Local small businesses and banking

Farmers’ markets and urban gardens

Urban designs that favor shared walks instead of isolated commutes

Public spaces for social interaction Circumstances in which buyers know sellers

Businesspeople that sponsor and volunteer for local activities Salary differences that are not vast

Citizens building a better world together

We intuitively know what is required to create such a society, starting in our own community. What we need is the determination to make sure the economy serves us; rules that benefit all of the people; a commitment to widespread quality of life, social justice and sustainability; and the political will to make good change happen.

John de Graaf, media and outreach director for the Happiness Initiative, speaks nationally on overwork and overconsumption in America. He recently co-authored What’s the Economy for, Anyway? – Why It’s Time to Stop Chasing Growth and Start Pursuing Happiness, with David Batker. He is also co-author of Affluenza: The All-Consuming Epidemic. Fifteen of his documentaries have aired on PBS.

Linda Sechrist writes and edits for Natural Awakenings.

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Concentrates Has Moved

Posted on 25 October 2011 by Jason

Concentrates Inc, has been serving the Greater Portland area since 1938 has a new home at 5505 SE International Way, Milwaukie just 2 blocks from Bob’s Red Mill.  With the largest selections of bulk organic fertilizer, soil amendments, organic feeds and more, go check out their new space and take advantage of the many seasonal offerings.

Visit concentratesnw.com for more info.

 

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New Study Finds Menstrual Cups Do Not Increase Risk of IUD Expulsion

Posted on 25 October 2011 by Jason

A recent study found that women who used internal menstrual devices, such as menstrual cups, are not at a statistically higher risk of IUD (intra-uterine device) expulsion than those who use pads. Conducted by the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, the study looked at nearly 1,000 women who had IUDs inserted during 2009. In an interview at the annual meeting of the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada, lead researcher Dr. Ellen Wiebe shared the inspiration for her work. “Every week or so, I would get asked the question, ‘Is it okay to use a cup with the IUD?’ And I looked in the literature, and there were no answers.”
Menstrual cups are becoming increasingly popular among young, health-conscious women in the United States. Unlike tampons, reusable menstrual cups collect the menstrual flow, rather than absorbing it, and are reusable for many cycles. With concerns about toxic shock and environmental waste, menstrual cups are a convenient lifestyle choice for many women – now including those with IUDs as well.

To learn more about healthy, environmental menstrual options, please contact GladRags at 800-799-4523 or visit gladrags.com.

 

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Natural Awakenings Launches New Website

Posted on 25 October 2011 by Jason

Natural Awakenings has launched a new website supporting the monthly print and digital publication of the Greater Portland and SW Washington edition. Local and National magazine articles, news briefs, advertising, resource guides and calendars are now just a click away. The Natural Awakenings monthly magazines will also be archived for future reference.
Publisher Jason Baker notes, “My favorite part is the opportunity for our area’s healthy living businesses to tell their story. We want to share with our readers the personalities and interesting details behind these businesses and keep their stories on the site as a kind of mosaic of our community.”
Natural Awakenings’ popular local print calendar and Community Resource Guide are now available online as well. They are dynamic and allow for much more information, including photos and web links. News and Health Briefs and Calendar events can now be submitted online for both the print and digital publications.
The new website is a great resource to find local practitioners and organizations that can help people live happier and healthier lives.

Visit the new website at naportland.com.

 

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Locally Owned Retailer Opens Third Store

Posted on 25 October 2011 by Jason

After much anticipation, independent shoe retailer, When The Shoe Fits, opened its third store in the Grand Central Shopping Center, Vancouver, in October. With its focus on women’s and men’s premium comfort shoe brands and staff trained in addressing most common foot problems, the company has enjoyed strong growth since opening their first store in 2004.
Stores owner, Amy and Alan O’Hara’s long careers in the shoe industry prepared them to cater to what proved to be a large customer base that not only values high quality footwear, but also appreciates being fitted by someone who really knows their product and can adjust shoes and inserts properly to help alleviate or prevent sore feet.
With this new and larger location, the couple is excited about their ability to enhance and grow categories of footwear that they feel are under served in the local market. Alan’s feeling is, “I think customers would love to have the chance to buy all their shoes from people who can really fit them and know feet too. Athletic, outdoor and dress are things that we can expand on now that we have this nice big space.” Amy agreed that, “Women in our area know us for having super comfortable shoes for any occasion. We don’t want to sacrifice style for comfort so we’re always looking for new lines that can be dressy but still comfortable.”

When The Shoe Fits other stores are in Fisher’s Landing and Salmon Creek. For directions go to whentheshoefits.com.

 

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Energy Healing – Try It for Free

Posted on 25 October 2011 by Jason

Often referred to as “acupuncture without needles,” Energy Healing, an effective tool for treating ailments and preventing illness, is easy to learn, easy to apply, and best of all is portable and can be used any time, any place. Learn about this “next generation” technique for accelerating healing and enhancing well being in a free two-hour class offered by PNW Pranic Healing, a regional educational non-profit.
This in-depth Introduction to Energy Healing is designed for those who are interested in learning how to develop their skills. This class provides participants with the tools to treat common first aid ailments such as cuts, scrapes and burns, as well as provides a foundation for general self-healing.
Pranic Healing, a no-touch healing technique that complements Western medicine as well as other healing modalities, has been taught and practiced in more than 150 countries, from the cancer hospitals in India to Kaiser Medical Center in Los Angeles and Portland. Students learn the basics of working with their energy aura, including learning to “scan,” or feel the energy, to “sweep,” or clean away congested energy, and to “energize,” or supplement areas in their aura that have a pranic deficiency.

Reservations are required for this free introductory class offered on November 12 from 1:00 to 4:00pm. at the National College of National Medicine, 049 SW Porter St., Portland, Room 321. For more information or to RSVP, contact Liza Burney at heart-to-heart-healing.com.

 

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Education and Prevention Tips as Peak Rodent Season Begins

Posted on 25 October 2011 by Jason

It’s that time of year again when hairy critters begin looking for a home to check into for the winter. Since autumn marks the onset of peak rodent season, it’s the ideal time to be informed on the many dangers of rodents.
As it begins to get colder in the autumn, rain/snow disrupts the rodent’s natural environment, forcing it to seek shelter and food indoors. This puts humans at greater risk of coming in contact with the diseases they carry, such as Salmonella, Trichinosis, Leptospirosis, and the potentially deadly rodent-borne Hantavirus.
Mice and rats are not only a nuisance; they can be very destructive, too. At least 5 percent of all fires deemed “undetermined origin” is believed to be caused by rodents that have gnawed through electrical wiring.
One prevention tip to help deter rodents from coming indoors is to seal up potential entrances to your home. Using sheet metal, steel wool or concrete, seal up any holes larger than one-quarter inch in diameter. Mice can squeeze through spaces as small as a dime. Also, keep high-risk areas, such as garages, attics and storage areas, free of accumulated litter and garbage. Rodents are attracted to undisturbed areas in and around stored objects. Keep all food, including pet food, in metal or thick plastic containers with tight-fitting lids.

Call NW All Natural Pest Elimination to schedule an appointment today 503.703.3618, jfimple@nobuggy.com.

 

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My Delight Cosmetics Launches Vegan Cosmetics Line

Posted on 25 October 2011 by Jason

The My Delight Cosmetics concept was developed when the company owner experienced an allergic reaction to chemicals found in the over-the-counter makeup products she had been using for years. Upon the realization that she was among a growing population of women in search of natural cosmetics, she decided to satisfy the need by launching her own brand.
My Delight Cosmetics just launched their full line of natural, vegan cosmetics. “We are really excited to bring to market all natural cosmetics. It is important that women can enhance their natural beauty without compromising their health,” said Kim Jones, Product Development Manager for My Delight.
My Delight doesn’t ignore the diversity of women’s skin tones. “When we were choosing colors for our foundations, we were very mindful of all skin tones and we were also considerate of the various undertones as well”, said Jones. As a result, the company’s product line offers colors appealing to the full spectrum of women.
Another big announcement for My Delight is their 2012 “Real Women, Real Beauty” Model Search. “As a part of our mission, we want to inspire every woman. Therefore, it’s very important that we always use real women as our models. We are inviting regular women to become the face of My Delight Cosmetics,” said Jones.

For more information on the Model Search, please visit mydelightonline.com/models

 

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