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PARA Year in Review: 2022

OVERVIEW

The work of the Pachamama Alliance Rochester Area reaches broadly into the community through the individual passions and interests among us, all within the Pachamama Alliance mission of bringing forth an environmentally sustainable, socially just, and spiritually fulfilling human presence on this planet.

For that reason our Summary this year will focus on individuals - and the many ways each individual has engaged and impacted our Rochester Area community

(and beyond) - with each person’s unique gifts and talents and passions.


While much of PARA’s work is done in small groups or in collaboration with other organizations/efforts, the main PARA support comes from monthly meetings (via Zoom, throughout 2022) where we discuss ways we can inspire and collaborate with each other. Because we each have broad interests and activities, our “PARA Initiatives” have grown this year as our umbrella broadens and more people engage with us. Members also link actively with PARA Community Partners.

PARA’s primary outreach efforts are the monthly newsletter and the website, which include information, resources, and great inspiration. These outreach efforts provide further support to the varied Initiatives and highlight the many other local organizations whose work aligns with our Pachamama mission. Frequent blog posts also offer inspiration to the broader community as they express the interests and passions of our members.


PARA is a heart-centered community that celebrates our interconnectedness with all life - human and beyond. It is in this context that we welcome others to join our community, and become part of a network of committed agents of change.


Pat Wartinger (supported by the Pachamama Alliance Introduction to Community Climate Action Training)

Successes this year:

  • NY STRETCH Energy Code was adopted to improve heating and cooling building codes for new and remodeled buildings in Henrietta.

  • Community Choice Aggregation (CCA)/Community Renewable Energy Aggregation: Henrietta is in Monroe Community Power and looking forward to bidding in spring.

  • A Grant for Site Development of a Vermicompost Facility twice as big as Geneva’s, partnering with IMPACT EARTH for food waste collection.

  • Henrietta town buildings have IMPACT EARTH food waste buckets exchanged weekly by Pat Wartinger

  • Henrietta is considering native pollinator plants for plantings next summer.

  • Color Henrietta Green will be having a Tree Seedling Sale. Order early.

  • Color Henrietta Green/IMPACT EARTH are also looking for farmers who would be willing to have IMPACT EARTH drop off some food waste to be composted along the side of a field with close road access. Contact Pat Wartinger – even if you are not in Henrietta!

  • Pachamama Alliance International featured a fantastic video — of Pat Wartinger’s activism and accomplishment!


Andrea McIntosh

  • Finger Lakes Forest Church: "People, Nature, Spirit". Meets every first Saturday of the month in rotating locations. See Finger Lakes Forest Church Facebook page for events.

  • Contemplative Living meets the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of each month. The 12 person gathering begins with an opening prayer. A member then shares a verse, poem, song, etc. to reflect upon before our meditative time together in centering prayer.

  • Earth Care: "Inspired by the Honeoye UCC and affiliated with the Color Your Community Green Initiative". We are a grassroots environmental organization dedicated to the sustainability of Honeoye Lake and surrounding communities.


Dave Inglis Seeds of Hope 2022 Summary:

  • The Seeds of Hope (SOH) Planning Team is currently composed of Padme Livingstone, Chante Ishta Kasper and Dave Inglis, with Pat Wartinger serving as faithful Zoom host. During 2022, SOH created the following on-line gatherings to help inspire, equip and empower people to “be the change”:

    • Intro to Regeneration: Bringing the Earth Back to Life

    • Revolutionary Perspectives for Ominous Times

    • Transcending Fear, Activating Hope

    • "Youth v Gov"

    • Creating Fields of Peace in Minefields of Conflict

    • Regenerating Hope in a 9/11 World

  • Attendance ranged from 21-51 per session, with an average of 34. Each session included stimulating input and broke the participants into small groups to process and personalize what they experienced.

  • SOH took a break after the September gathering to allow the members to self-regenerate. But now SOH is back! The gathering on February 5, 2023, will address “Why Antisemitism Should Be Everyone’s Concern” and will feature Joyce Herman as primary presenter. On March 5 the SOH session will focus on green burials. April’s Seeds of Hope will likely be an introduction to Resilience and Acceptance in the Face of Collapse.


Tim McGowan: Accelerator’s Collaborations Team, Citizens Climate Lobby, Braver Angels

  • Climate Solutions Accelerator. As a member of The Accelerator's Collaborations Team, Tim speaks to the newsletter at every meeting and highlights the blogs, courses, etc. Tim plans to include a highlighted summary of January's phenomenal edition when the Accelerator's spreadsheet is updated.

    • The last Collaborations Team meeting of the year contained two items of prospective importance.

      • The first item was a discussion around the local implementation of the Infrastructure Act and The Inflation Reduction Act.

        • In this context, CCL has already initiated a discussion with Sen. Gillibrand's staff, who promised to gather with the Accelerator and others to start conversations on local education and community access to these enormous pieces of legislation.

        • The result at the Collaborations team meeting was the creation by Eric Zeise representing Metro Justice of a "federal-acts-task force" that Tim has joined. There is a new channel on Slack focused on this effort.

      • The second item of note was an excellent informative presentation by Michelle Wenderlich of Metro Justice on Rochester for Energy Democracy. "R.E.D". Metro Justice's campaign to take over RG&E and turn it into a public utility.

  • Citizens’ Climate Lobby meets monthly by Zoom and has been actively working to encourage federal action on climate issues.

  • Braver Angels has been focused on organizing and reaching out to a wide range of individuals and organizations to talk about the Braver Angels Way. While that relationship building and the development of several projects and initiatives are underway, there are no local presentations to date.


Joyce Herman: Reclaiming Democracy

  • Focus on Democracy

    • As part of PARA’s informal partnership with Temple Sinai, Joyce has spearheaded a group that brought five distinguished speakers to Temple Sinai for a series: Democracy Under Threat: Finding Our Way Forward. About 30 (?) PARA members publicized and attended these events. This series featured prominent national and local speakers who addressed a timely and crucial issue for these times. Pulitzer prize-winning reporter David Cay Johnston’s A Way Forward: What’s Needed for Our Democracy to Endure? was followed by Cherie Brown, founder and executive director of the National Coalition Building Institute, speaking on Healing and Bridging Our Divides: Creating a Democracy that Works for All. The third program featured Robert C. Lieberman, the Krieger-Eisenhower Professor & former Provost at Johns Hopkins University and co-author of Four Threats: The Recurring Crises of American Democracy. On September 19, at 7:00 PM with Jennifer Leonard, outgoing President of the Rochester Area Community Foundation and Simeon Banister, incoming president addressed “How Injustices and Inequalities Undermine Democracy and Community.”

    • Ongoing advocacy efforts to sustain democracy, including postcard writing, letter writing, calls to public officials, and circulating important articles and posts, were engaged in by many Pacha people.

  • Focus on the Rise of Hate Speech and Violent Acts against Black and BIPOC people and the Dramatic Rise in Anti-Semitic Action and Speech

    • PARA raised the level of visibility of antisemitism through the January newsletter, (created in Dec 2022). Both the newsletter itself, plus a blog and a resource list on the website increased visibility about this “oldest hate,” and offered positive ways to counter it.

    • The newsletter highlights events focused on challenging hate speech, racism, and antisemitism.


Sue Staropoli, Lynne Westmoreland, Judy Kiley, Mattie Schmitt, Natasha Besch-Turner: Exploring White Supremacy and Indigenous Allyship (Monthly meetings of 5 people, supporting each other as we each focus on varied and meaningful aspects of indigenous allyship)


Sue

  • Participated in the Indigenous Peoples’ Day advocacy and celebration efforts

  • Included events at Ganondagan and other Indigenous resources in PARA newsletter

Judy

  • Membership at Ganondagan Historic Site

  • Attended 3 indigenous Celebration days at Ganondagan Site

  • Have discussed meaning and importance of Indigenous People’s Day with family and friends

  • Say Indigenous Prayer at family meals on Thanksgiving and on other days.

  • Joining Indigenous People’s Day Committee this month.

  • Discussed meaning of Ganondagan with Great Grandson in Victor School district about change in October holiday from Columbus Day to Indigenous People’s Day. Have visited sites, including Longhouse and Trails at the site with Great-Grandson and family. (ongoing).

Mattie

  • Joined and participated in meetings and activities of the regional Indigenous Solidarity Network

  • Functioned as Treasurer for the Indian Affairs Committee through NY Yearly Meeting of Quakers

  • Facilitated connections that led to a grant to support an indigenous core curriculum among the Haudenosaunee

  • Continued membership in, donated to, and attended events sponsored by and volunteered for Friends of Ganondagan

  • Organized and offered personal tours for multiple groups to Ganondagan State Historic Site

  • Participated in the Rochester-based Indigenous People's Day meetings and activities

  • Participated in Pachamama Rochester sub-group learning how to be better allies through shared indigenous education efforts

  • Rewrote a personal land acknowledgement statement

Lynne

  • Brought the film, "Doctrine of Discovery" to the Tri-UU congregation in Summerfield, FL with a follow up conversation about the documentary with congregation members.

  • Continually raised indigenous issues and spirituality in conversations and urged people to read Robin Wall Kimmerer's Braiding Sweetgrass. Participated in singing the water prayer to the Rainbow River as a preface to qi gong practice in Dunnellon, FL.

Natasha

  • Shared support and fellowship in learning about and bringing awareness and allyship to bear in kindling right relationships with local public institutions.

  • Shared opportunities for personal growth and participation in events, including volunteering at Ganondagan and attending Indigenous People's Day celebrations.


Brad Grisley, Jennifer Insull-McCarthy: Eat For Life Plant Rich Diet (PRD) #4

  • The facebook page Eat For Life Plant Rich Diet (PRD) #4 remains up and is open to anyone who wants to join. Six new members joined in 2022.

    • The purpose of the page is for people to share Plant Based ideas, recipes, products, blogs, places to purchase plant based products, growing veggies, etc. Consequently the focus is on eating a Plant Rich Diet, which simply means eating a higher percentage of plants/plant based products than animal/ animal based products.

    • The page is open to people who choose various types of plant based diets and is not solely for Vegans or Vegetarians. Every small step or change to increasing plant consumption and decreasing animal consumption is a win for the Planet.

  • If you have not already, please join, invite a friend, and SHARE your Plant Based enthusiasm.


Mary Gleason: The Work that Reconnects, Sanctuary of the Wild, Resilience and Acceptance in the Face of Collapse

  • The Work that Reconnects, developed by root teacher Joanna Macy, enables participants to explore their deepest feelings about the unraveling going on in the world, to re-member their radical interconnectedness with all beings, and to bring new energy and dedication to their work for change. Chante Ishta and Mary offered two workshops in the fall of 2022, in Rochester and Ithaca, with a combined attendance of 26 brave souls. Please see the Facebook page for Genesee region The Work that Reconnects for further offerings.

  • Sanctuary of the Wild is a monthly outdoor gathering of people who seek the sacred in the natural world. The gatherings are offered on a monthly basis and have ranged in attendance throughout 2022 from four or five to almost 30. See the Facebook page for Sanctuary of the Wild for further offerings.

  • Resilience and Acceptance in the Face of Collapse is a 9 week online course, in which participants explore the environmental, social, and political unraveling currently underway, as well as resilience and acceptance tools for going forward. Eighteen people engaged in the course in the fall of 2022, and two more groups are set to go underway beginning January 10th with 18 participants in each. Planning is also underway for several face to face meetings in local libraries. Information will be posted through PARA when dates are set.


Bob Palumbos: 2022 C.A.R.E. GROUP ACTIVITIES

  • CARE - Conversations About Racism for Everyone - continued its work of personal transformation and education around racism, including lively discussions about the following books:

    • Resmaa Menakem, in My Grandmother’s Hands, enhanced awareness of the trauma deeply woven into the experience of all Americans regardless of race.

    • Ta-Nehisi Coates, in Between the World and Me, shared a conversation he had with his 15 year old son to prepare him for a world in which that trauma acts itself out in deadly ways toward young black men.

    • In 2023 we are reading Octavia Butler’s Kindred


Victoria Zelin & Jonathan Cloud: Possible Rochester | Possible Planet

  • Published a blog post on delawning and finding new roots in October

  • Launched a Tree Planting initiative with other groups, including Cornell Cooperative Extension and the City Forester

  • Launched Great Lakes Basin bioregional study group

  • Became fiscal sponsor for international networks and groups in Colombia and Costa Rica and assisted these groups in raising and deploying tens of thousands of dollars for regenerative projects

  • With the help of local groups, overcame opposition to small-project community PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy)


Climate Activism Partners

Color Your Community Green is a PARA community partner. Many participants in our PARA Drawdown courses in 2017-2020 are now engaged actively in their own local initiatives. Color Your Community Green is part of the Climate Solutions Accelerator.


IN SUMMARY

While 2023 is well underway, we look back to celebrate the experiences and accomplishments of 2022.


And we approach the days ahead with hearts open to exciting new possibilities, each person listening to what is “mine to do” - and supporting, inspiring and collaborating with one another as light in the darkness of our world.


All are invited to join us in this work - and the circle of this vibrant and passionate community will continue to radiate love and creative action into the Rochester area and beyond.


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