REUSE! Because You Can’t Recycle the Planet

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Thursday, September 10, 7pm, Roxy Theater, details below

The documentary REUSE! Because You Can’t Recycle The Planet follows “Reuse Pro” Alex Eaves’ cross-country adventure to the 48 contiguous U.S. states. On his journey, he demonstrates the different ways people and small businesses reuse products to benefit “people, planet, and wallet.”

Eaves contends that recycling is not enough. Our consumer-based lifestyle has created immeasurable waste and pollution. Excessive extraction of our earth’s natural resources is killing our planet. This issue is complicated and imminent. But REUSE! is much more than a scary lecture spewing facts about our country’s waste problem. It’s a real portrayal of sustainable solutions that exist in our everyday lives. Illustrated in an edutainment framework, Eaves breaks down fun, easy, and sizable ways that everyone can reduce consumption.

The Reuse mission promotes the concept that materials can be diverted from landfills by repurposing and redistributing them back into the community. In REUSE! people are passionate about reusing. From filling gas tanks with French fry oil for fuel, to building climbing walls in an old industrial wasteland, to growing gardens on the backs of pickup trucks, the creative possibilities are endless.

One of these stories is closer to home than you may think. REUSE! was actually kick started in Burlington and features some of the area’s favorite stores including Conant Metal & Light, and yours truly, the Peace & Justice Store! Eaves has expressed great excitement to return to Burlington; this time, for a three-day tour to promote the film’s debut.

The Peace & Justice Center will proudly screen REUSE! Because You Can’t Recycle The Planet at Merrill’s Roxy Theater on September 10th at 7 p.m. The documentary will be followed by a Q&A discussion panel with filmmaker and crew. Tickets are available for $10 now at the Peace & Justice Center or at the Roxy Theater the night of the event.

The Peace & Justice Store is also launching an upcycling campaign. The first workshop will be held Friday, September 11th from 5:00-7:00 p.m. at the store and will feature REUSE! t-shirt making facilitated by Alex Eaves himself. Participants will learn how to apply some of the reuse techniques demonstrated in the film. Tickets are $20. Email or call (802) 863-2345 x3 to sign-up in advance.

Out with the new and in with the old! Check out the trailer, come to the screening, learn about the cause, and express your creativity in this series of exciting events!

Campaign Nonviolence Conference 2015 Report from PJC Director Rachel Siegel

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I had the pleasure and fortune to attend the Pace e Bene Campaign Nonviolence training and conference in Santa Fe August 7th and 8th. The name of the conference was “Mobilizing the Nation for the Times We’re In: Ending War, Poverty, Nuclear Weapons and Environmental Destruction – Building a Culture of Peace.” Audacious? Clearly. Possible? Hopefully. But to do so, we can’t look at any one war, any one issue of oppression or injustice, any one environmental disaster. We need to connect the dots and build a movement of movements. Again, this sounds audacious but I left the conference more committed than ever to work toward this goal.

My understanding of and commitment to nonviolence was greatly magnified. I feel more committed to the abolition of nuclear weapons, to creating a culture of peace, to my own meditation discipline and to researching what it would mean to be a tax resister. My lack of knowledge of nonviolent history and practice was highlighted and I feel motivated to learn and live more of it.

The challenges I left with include the “marketability” of nonviolence. I think that when people hear “nonviolence” they think of something passive and only useful in specific instances. Or something dramatic that is reserved for a faraway situation like Mahatma Ghandi’s campaign for Indian Independence. It is not something accessible or hip. I see now, more deeply, that nonviolence is more than something to practice in protest. It is something to cultivate in my inner life, something that takes discipline, something that I can then share with the world around me. Like Roshi Joan Halifax said, “It is not mushy.”

Rev. James Lawson was the key note speaker. He is a famed Civil Rights Movement leader and teacher of nonviolence. Martin Luther King, Jr. called him “the leading strategist and theoretician of nonviolence in the world.” Rev. Lawson said that he sees more activism than ever in the US currently but that activism must become a discipline that is deeply grounded in nonviolence. As Dr. King said, “The question is not nonviolence vs. violence. It is nonviolence vs. nonexistence.”

Another speaker was Erica Chenoweth who is the first social scientist to study nonviolence and the co-author, with Maria Stephan, of “Why Civil Resistance Works.” She outlined clearly and empirically why nonviolent campaigns are more successful than violent ones. Her research shows that no movements have failed if they reach 3.5% participation. Vermont has a population of about 600,000. 3.5% is 21,000.

One of the goals of Campaign Nonviolence is to “mainstream nonviolence.” This would mean making people fluent or at least conversational in the language of nonviolence and practicing aspects of it in our daily lives. Like reading, which was previously only for the privileged and is now mainstream, we can create a campaign for nonviolent literacy. We can train 21,000 Vermonters on nonviolent history. If we start with school boards and work our way to students and families, it might take 20 or 30 years. That sounds like a long campaign, but if we don’t start, we’ll never get there. It’s that or, as Dr. King said, we have no future.

Please join me in committing to a life of nonviolence in our homes, in our daily lives, and in our work to change the world around us.  To learn more, check out the resources below.

  • You can see each of the talks and panels online here.
  • You can see me give an overview of my experience at an informal report I gave to staff, interns, and donors here.
  • You can learn more about Campaign Nonviolence here.

The speakers who had the biggest impact on me were James Lawson, Erica Chenoweth, and Roshi Joan Halifax. I highly recommend you take the time to check out any or all of them.

Congo Luzingu Festival is two weeks from today

The Peace & Justice Center is proud to support the Congo Luzingu (Congo Life) Festival on Saturday August 15th from 12-3 pm at Contois Auditorium in Burlington City Hall.  This festival is being hosted by the community of people from Congo-Brazzaville living in Vermont with a goal of strengthening mutual understanding between Congolese people who have settled in Vermont and their friends, neighbors, teachers, coworkers, employers and the wider community.

The festival will celebrate art, music, dance, poetry, food and traditions from the Republic of the Congo. It will include displays of sculpture and clothing; maps and images of our people and geography; samples and recipes of Congolese food; and enactments of some of our rituals.  The festival also will feature a “Sapologie” performance with Les Sapeurs de Burlington.  La Sape is a social movement based in Brazzaville that embodies elegance, style and manners as a means of resistance.  Featured performances also include traditional drumming and dance by Ngoma Za Kongo, a New York-based group; and modern Congolese dancing by a local troupe of Congolese youth.

We hope to see many Peace & Justice Center members and friends there!

To find out more about the motivation behind this event watch this video of community leaders Goma Mabika and Daniel Ngan speaking with host Mike Cohen on CCTV’s Live at 5:25 on July 29th.

Songs for Hope is a week away

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Join the Peace & Justice Center on Thursday, August 6th at 6:30 p.m. for our annual Songs for Hope event. There will be community singing of peace and justice folk songs followed by candle boats set afloat in memory of those killed by the US dropping the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki 70 years ago.

Training to be a Recruiter for Peace

We believe that there are safer ways to pursue adventure, gain discipline, and develop job skills than joining the armed forces. All young people – no matter their socioeconomic class, race, or gender – should have access to alternatives that best suit their personalities and aspirations. Young people should be encouraged to think critically about decisions regarding the military and combat so that they can be sure it is what they really want. In addition to this we believe that for the peace movement to continue to grow, build and be sustainable it is essential that we recruit young people to participant in it.

This Fall we are offering a one day training on being a recruiter for peace. In this workshop participants will learn strategies for encouraging young people to participate in peace work and have conversations about ways to reach goals without participating in combat. This event includes introducing participants to myths and truths about the armed forces, outlining a bit of history of nonviolent resistance, conceptualizing nonviolence as powerful, practicing question formation as a tool for getting others to think deeper about serious commitments, practicing ways of encouraging and supporting youth. This is A LOT to cover so the training tends to be directed in part by the participants interests, skill sets and goals. Please fill out the registration below so we can better prepare to meet your needs and expectations. There will also be tea and desserts! Those who complete this training are encouraged to join members of the Peace & Justice Center in recruiting for peace visits at area high schools during the calendar year. To find out more contact Kyle at 802-863-2345 x6. Thanks!

Event Details:
Saturday, September 12th from 2-4pm
at the Peace & Justice Center, 60 Lake Street, Burlington, VT.