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Moonrise: “The Power of Women Leading from the Heart”
Edited by Nina Simons with Anneke Campbell, Foreword by Terry Tempest Williams

Review by Candy Jones:

Moonrise is as spectacular as a Harvest Moonrise. It soars large into the sky, gathering with it the visions dreams and actions of a collective of true visionaries, setting the readership into a distinctively uplifting and edifying journey into the solutions being bantered about by this earth’s greatest minds and hearts. Moonrise cleverly and systematically creates an arch of comprehension, sensitization, and yes illumination on to the pressing social and environmental issues of the day and beyond. Nina Simons, co founder of the legendary Bioneers organization, has amassed a spectacular collection of thirty-seven essays written by both herself and other leading Pioneer (hence Bioneers) thinkers of our times who are tackling some of the world’s greatest social ills all in a fashion distinctively outside of the box, and, yes, the box is recycled!

Whenever I open a book devoted to discussing social/environmental/political problems I do so with a hefty sense of trepidation. After all, contemplating the world’s ills can be overwhelming if not depressing. Yet, with Moonrise, the moon sheds little glare and spawns soothing rays of inspiration as the reader is provided truly innovative solutions and on-going programs that are successfully battling the very ills of which we despair. That’s 37 chapters of solutions in motion.

One such visionary providing a solution is Judy Wick with her essay on Local Living Economy. Judy Wicks is the founder of the landmark White Dog Café in Philadelphia. Judy has rethought success, community, and relationship, to say nothing of her concept of business. Her very successful restaurant not only feeds its clients food concocted from green, organic, local suppliers, but she has educated her “competitors” and community as to the value and means by which to do the same. She takes her clients on solar house tours, educates them on the working of biodiesel, organic farms, prisons, and instills in them a sense of activism in their community inspiring them to become vibrant members of society. Judy is an agent of change advocating a local living economy based on maximizing relationship not profits. Judy’s being doing all of this successfully for twenty-six years. It’s astounding what she has created.

Another chapter of note, is Janine Benyus chapter on “What Life Knows”. Janine is a naturalist, educator and writer who advocates using natures engineering genius to develop green solutions to some of our most confounding design problems. She calls this “biomimicry”. Janine points out that nature has 3.8 billion years of engineering experience relating to sustaining life and that this vast knowledge might be a wise well from which to draw! Janine delves into the issue of silica and plankton. Janine revels that photosynthetic plankton makes its cell walls out of silica without emitting toxins and carcinogens as does our Silicon chips and solar cells manufacturing processes. She points out that the University of California scientist are mimicking the way the plankton forms silica which may alter the way computer chips are made! Janine examines other such natural innovations borrowing from nature’s design such as Geoffrey Coates creating biodegradable plastics inspired by the way mollusks use C02 to make sea shells, or the way a scientist named Frank Fish, redesigned the Japanese Magnet train to avoid the boom it created when traveling in tunnels as well as increasing its fuel efficiency by redesigning it’s beak to mimic the design of the Kingfisher. Frank was a committed birdwatcher, and it was his astute observation of nature that brought him his design solutions.

Other submissions from the likes of Julia Butterfly, Eve Ensler, Alice Walker, and the every inspiring Terry Tempest Williams make this two hundred ninety five page book an anthem of sounds solutions and glimpse of what’s possible and what is to come as these profoundly gifted visionaries and leaders cut an intelligent, sustainable, and inspirational path of life that we can journey along in the days, weeks, and years to come. Moonrise gives me the juice to bound into the future with hope and excitement.

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Pink Pages Book Club How-To Guide:

CODEPINK is and has been a place for women to put their ideas – about resisting war, influencing foreign policy, showing solidarity with women in other countries, and much more -- into action. We've built a strong national base of local groups AND a powerful presence in Washington, DC, and we have a media reputation and reach far beyond that of other small groups.

As a book club organizer, you'll receive the month's book suggestion with discussion questions. You'll put together a group of people, probably all or mostly women, to read and talk about the book. The following month, you'll crack open a new book and discuss the related questions.

How do you start a book club?

  1. First, do your outreach. Ask women in your local group, but go beyond that by posting flyers at your local public library and/or bookstores. These are excellent ways to foster diversity in your members and meet new people. Talk Pink Pages book club up with women who areinterested in foreign policy and opposed to the US wars, but who may not be interested or available for our street actions. Ask those who are interested if they know someone who'd like to join a book club.

    Select a location that can be available for book club meetings for at least 3 months. While your home is one obvious choice for a place to meet, you should also consider such places as a library, cafe, or community center. Find a space that is reasonably quiet, accessible to transit, and easy for people to get to.

  2. Set a consistent day or evening and time (first Tuesday of the month at 8 PM, for example), so that you do not have to go through the process of scheduling each meeting. Once set, keep the same day and time; this creates an expectation of commitment and a group bonding that builds from month to month.

  3. Choose someone to facilitate discussion. This person may be a teacher (or former teacher), or anyone who is comfortable running a group discussion. This role can rotate among members of the book club club, but it's best to have the same person do it for 2-3 months. Agreements that help groups flourish include: making sure everyone has a chance to speak; encouraging shy or new people to contribute; and gently encouraging listening in someone who tends to dominate discussion. The discussion should go for about 45-60 minutes, depending on the size of the group and the level of interest. Make sure everyone knows the next meeting date before leaving.

  4. Common questions to get book discussions started include these:
  • What did you find surprising about the facts introduced in this book?
  • How has reading this book changed your opinion of a certain person or topic?
  • Does the author present information in a way that is interesting and insightful, and if so, how does he or she achieve this?
  • If the author is writing on a debatable issue, does he or she give proper consideration to all sides the debate? Does he or she seem to have a bias?
  • How has the book increased your interest in the subject matter?

Get your book, start reading, and look forward to great discussions!