Monarchs, Milkweed, and Sustainability
How many monarch butterflies did you see during the summer of 2014? Most people in Michigan and the rest of the Midwest would answer, “Fewer than ever before.” That is true, but they may not know why. In fact, their dwindling numbers are closely related to unsustainable activities and practices of humans. Did you know that the activities and practices that are killing butterflies also contribute to the rapidly accelerating climate change we are experiencing?
Can you name a cooperative? A presenter at the 2014 International Summit of Cooperatives in Quebec, Canada, (October 5-9, 2014) reported that 78% of those people she surveyed in various countries could not name even one cooperative. In October of 2014, I gave a presentation on sustainability before a group of 119 undergraduate business students. In response to my written survey at the start of our session, 85% could not name a cooperative. Fortunately, that lack of familiarity is likely to change.
Entry #24 Elvia's Textile Creations
This is Elvia Minas of San Miguel Escobar. I met her on a research trip to Guatemala during the summer of 2012 when I traveled there to learn about the Direct Trade Coffee Cooperative known as As Green as it Gets. I was delighted by the beautiful patterns as well as the quality of Elvia’s creations and purchased several for myself and family members. After seeing mine, some of my friends even purchased items from Elvia, and I continue to put others in contact with her.
Entry #23: Love doesn’t figure on the balance sheet, but it’s the only thing that makes a difference.
Entry #23: "Love doesn’t figure on the balance sheet, but it’s the only thing that makes a difference."
I attended the national Net Impact Conference in Baltimore October 25-27, 2012. As a side note, I am grateful that I got out of Baltimore on one of the last flights on Sunday, October 28 before the airport closed because of Hurricane Sandy. Hurray! But, let’s continue to think about and help those on the East Coast who are digging out from the losses.
Entry #19: Why should we bother with organic bananas?
An experience: While I was selecting my breakfast from a buffet table at Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, New York last summer, a young lady was overseeing the apples and bananas. A woman approached and remarked, “Why would they bother with organic bananas?” The young lady responded that she wasn’t quite sure, so I spoke up.
Entry #16 – June 11, 2011
Don’t Let the Perfect be the Enemy of the Good – Voltaire
This photo includes my Business Law and Public Policy Students, officers of Spartan Global Development Fund, MSU Students for Fair Trade, and others from the Broad College of Business. The occasion was a visit by Dr. Kevin Danaher of Global Exchange for our Annual Fair Trade Bash. He spoke in my classes about “Green Careers.”
Entry #15 – March 13, 2011
Everybody Reads – and Promotes Sustainable Practices
This is my friend Scott Harris: caretaker, guardian, manager, and owner of Everybody Reads Bookstore in Lansing, Michigan. He has devoted over five years of his life to creating and nurturing a welcoming, community-based bookstore. The store offers reading materials for underrepresented topics and provides a gathering space for community groups. Books and magazines include topics related to sustainability, human rights, and diverse ways of thinking and living.
Entry #12– January 7, 2011
Highest Quality Chocolates - Produced in Michigan and Serving the World
I am a Fair Trade and sustainability advocate, and I love chocolate. So, it’s great to combine those passions. Mimi Wheeler is doing wonderful things with chocolates and foes them in sustainable ways at her company in Empire, Michigan: Grocer’s Daughter Chocolates. Walking into Grocer's Daughter is akin to walking into the wonderful smells and tastes of chocolate shop in the movie "Chocolat" but with the cheerfulness, inside and out, of bright colors typical of Mexico's Caribbean or Ecuador's coastal towns. The flavors vary including pear, ginger, apricot orange, sunflower seed, chilis, and more. Each handmade chocolate is gorgeous, too.
October 26, 2010 - Entry #5
"If you build it, they will come."
Last month, a friend and I spoke of how our community needed a place where friends can meet for a cup of coffee or tea and socialize among kindred spirits. The place should promote sustainability by serving Fair Trade, organic, and local foods, in addition to selling or lending books.
October 5, 2010 Entry #3
Chakra and chacra
I was recently reminded of another chacra: a garden. The fact that chakras and chacras sound identical is intriguing. Both are about a healthy lifestyle through balance and integration. The photo shows my friend Oscar Santillán in his family’s chacra at Pakarinka Sisari in Agato, Ecuador.
October 1, 2010 Entry #1
“A tiny spider rains sunlight upon me through its web.”
I saw this spider web at Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, New York this summer (August 2010). The spider is so tiny that it does not show up in the picture. The web is a metaphor for my teaching, my research, my life, and the pursuit of sustainability. I like the idea that spider webs are associated with writers. During the first week of my classes, my students and I discuss the spider web and how it serves as a metaphor for the subject matter of our class and learning in general.
Copyright©2010, by Paulette L. Stenzel for text and photo.
Paulette L. Stenzel
I am Professor Emeritus of International Business Law and Sustainability at Michigan State University (MSU). I am also a mom, learner, writer, violinist, environmentalist -in -process, traveler, and avid reader. I continue to teach part time at MSU and coordinate the Broad College Ethical Leadership program Additionally, I advise Spartan Global Development Fund - a microfinance organization.