Articles & Information
During our time in Ireland we biked 26K on the Waterfood Greenway. We got to enjoy the beautiful countryside views and pick wild blackberries.
Be sure to scroll through the photos!
A short film I made as a tribute to my son and his boundless love for life and beautiful spirit.
Be sure to have the sound on!
"Looking Through James' Eyes"
August 24th, 2018
Worth a watch! Inspirational video about how each and every person can make a difference.
This presentation was created for my environmental ethics capstone project. It follows my journey of how our garden became certified as a national wildlife habitat and what the steps to get certified are.
A little bit about the video:
How can we rethink the idea of what our lawn should be? Instead of pouring harmful fertilizers, pesticides and insecticides onto our lawns just to cut them down, can we change the way we define what a beautiful lawn is?
How can we all be "ecolutionary renegades" like Ron Finley encourages and take back our yards. Instead of having a monoculture of grass, let's fill it with productive garden beds, wildflowers and native plants that help sequester carbon emissions and help the environment. Let's create a natural habitat for the wildlife around us.
I believe we can solve big problems with local solutions. All it takes is for each of us to take just one step. This is why I am starting the conversation and retelling the story of what beauty is in a garden.
Hope you enjoy!
This presentation was the capstone project for my introduction to humane education course. I was tasked with coming up with a positive vision for a solutionary-focused humane education program or project that I wanted to implement.
I decided to create a presentation that could easily be tailored for people of all ages, from young children to adults.
When we look at the words that we use, we can begin to think critically about them and determine if they are helpful or harmful. If they are harmful, we can then use it as an opportunity to change the way we speak. During the presentation, I offer alternative phrases that we can use to start the shift to more animal friendly phrases.
Excerpt from the presentation:
Why do we feel the need to change the name from cow to beef, or pig to pork? We say ‘livestock” in reference to the farmed animals that are used for food. If you break down the word live stock, it is essentially stock that is alive. It’s a way of reducing them as a commodity that you can trade. It strips them of their sentience. Most people don’t bat an eye when you say slaughterhouse. But when you step back and think about the word, you start to question why in the world do we need something in the English language that is a house of slaughter?
Author, Carol Adams explains that when we drop the possessive language when talking about animals, such as, instead of saying, the lamb’s leg or the chicken’s wing we say, leg of lamb, chicken wing, it enables us to fall into the cognitive dissonance trap and that animal’s identity gets lost.
We use words to distance ourselves from the reality so that we can stay blissfully (kind of not aware) of what needs to happen in order to have that burger.
Hope you enjoy and are able to incorporate into your humane education!
Introduction to Humane Education: Hope and Evidence-Based Optimism Assignment Brief:
Enlightenment Now offers an exploration of humanity’s progress since the Enlightenment toward greater reason, equality, and peacefulness. Pinker painstakingly points out that, overall, we are healthier and freer now than in previous eras. Create an activity or presentation or write an article/essay for any age group based on an aspect of Pinker's book that you believe makes the best case for evidence-based optimism and encourages hope.
Although there was much that I disagreed with in Steven Pinker’s book, I did agree with the notion that nostalgia can often hold us back from enjoying the here and now. I decided to use the film, Midnight in Paris, to look deeper at the connection between nostalgia and parenting. Was it really better to raise a family in the past?
What I found out was that contrary to what we believe, there is evidence that things are getting better. Could this be a cause for optimism? I think so.
Below if the presentation that I did for my Introduction to Humane Education course. I hope you enjoy!
I'm incredibly proud of this project I did for my environmental ethics class in order to raise awareness for our growing population and what the impact will be for the animals, earth and fellow humans.
Video can be found via YouTube:nwww.youtube.com/watch?v=0-zdcWJGxAI&t=13s
By Abby Power
Music by my husband, Gerald Power: Artificial Memory: https://soundcloud.com/artificialmemory
Looking out my window and there’s people everywhere.
I know you don’t wanna talk about it but who else is gonna care?
Our climates heating up and our wells are going dry.
Just how are we supposed to look into our children’s eyes?
Environmental degradation, conflict, wars.
I’m not sure you’re ready for that big storm?
How about the fish, do you care about them?
They may be gone by twenty fifty taking with it coral gems.
What about the birds where will their home be?
In treeless skies that no one will ever see?
A world in balance and a world at peace is exactly what this place needs.
Not a population that goes at warp speed.
Can’t we stop this mindless consumption?
We don’t have infinite resources; so let’s stop making that assumption.
Look for the helpers as Mr. Rodger’s said
The answers right in front of you, just listen to good ole’ Fred.
We all need to learn about humane education.
That thinks about the animals, the environment, our population.
Let’s teach our fellow neighbor about their choice in contraception.
It’s their right, their body. There’s too much misconception.
Remember that less is more. Things won’t always make us happy.
Take only what you need, just listen to Dear Abby.
Be a reflection to this earth. A mirage or an illusion.
So when you leave this place you leave nothing but a revolution.
In less than forty years we may have no other choice but say goodbye.
So let’s do all we can now and raise that battle cry.
Are you ready to join the fight? Who’s with me, what do you say?
Let’s take action and make strides, before we get to our species last day.
In my Environmental Ethics class we were discussing strategies of how to talk about climate change in a way that brings about community action and engagement. I watched Per Espen Stoknes' TedTalk on How to Transform Apocalypse Fatigue into Action on Global Warning and thought it offered wonderful strategies that can also help in many other social justice movements like animal and human rights issues.
As an animal rights activist, I am often speaking to many different people and trying to find ways to connect. What I love about Per Espen Stoknes' speech is that it makes us look at the human condition. Why are we passionate about some things and not about others? How do go from disengagement to engagement?
Below you will find a post that I did that breaks Stoknes' steps in bite-sized pieces. Be sure to click on the photo to see them all!
Today would have been my dad’s 59th birthday.
In June of 2016, my dad died at the age of 57 from a heart attack. I often had told him how terrified I was that one day he may have a heart attack because of his diet. He ate the standard western diet that was filled of animal products, saturated fat and cholesterol. After my dad died I decided that I wanted to do something to honor him and to help other people and that is when I became certified in plant-based nutrition. I now educate the community about the benefits of a whole foods plant-based diet in hopes that it may save someone else’s life since it was too late for me to save my dad’s. I miss my dad terribly but every time I get up and stand in front of a group of people and talk about a Whole Foods Plant-Based lifestyle, I feel a little bit closer to him. Miss you, Dad. xoxo
According to the CDC:
Heart Disease Facts
Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn of the Cleveland Clinic has scientifically proven that a whole foods plant-based diet without added oil can not only prevent, but can potentially reverse heart disease. This is huge!
Our food shouldn’t be killing us. Our food should be healing us.
If you are interested to learn more, please check out the following resources:
Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn
T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies
Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
Ornish Lifestyle Medicine
Forks Over Knives Documentary (on Netflix)
Every vegan will tell you that their only regret is that they didn’t go vegan sooner.
A year ago today I became vegan. It started as a regular Sunday morning. I was excited to be going to my first New England Vegfest. I was already a vegetarian but had been toying with the idea of veganism. I knew that the dairy and egg industry were just as cruel as the meat industry but I needed a push. I needed to expose myself to the truth.
I wanted to go to the Vegfest to see if I could fit in as a vegan. I didn’t know any vegans in real life and only had heard of the stereotypical “angry vegans”. I didn’t want to be an angry vegan. I was worried that these people would not be my tribe. I was a 32-year-old mom originally from Pennsylvania and I was on the plan. I got married, bought a house, had a kid, played happy families and at the dinner table we smiled and laughed as we ate our "humane" chicken dinner. I really questioned whether I was ready for this lifestyle change. Could I be a vegan and still conform into societal roles? I knew deep down that after I walked out of my front door that day that I would be coming home a vegan. I remember making myself my “last meal”, a caprese salad with cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and basil. I remember that I wasn’t even hungry and it wasn’t even that good but I ate it anyway because 1.) I was worried that I would find nothing to eat at the VegFest (ha!) and 2.) I wouldn’t ever have cheese again.
At first I was completely overwhelmed at the VegFest. There were SO many people there but I was pleasantly surprised to see that everyone was so diverse. They couldn't all be angry vegans, could they? Food trucks were serving things like Seitan and Jackfruit. What the hell was seitan anyway? I decided to dive in head first. I remember trying a Boca “chicken” burger…oh my gosh. It tasted just like chicken. I then tried the Earth Balance Cheddar “Cheeze-it’s”…oh my gosh. It tastes just like cheese. As the day continued I tried more and more food and realized that just maybe, everything was going to be okay.
The VegFest put on guest presentations and I decided to go to the “How to go Vegan” talk. I thought, okay, this will give me more information about how all of this works. Well little did I know, the infamous James Aspey was the guest speaker and that I had hit the vegan jackpot. The room was packed. People were sitting on the floor, against the wall and standing outside of the ballroom just to hear him speak. He walked into the room like a celebrity. People started cheering and clapping. My first thought was wow, vegans are really passionate about other vegans. Maybe there is something to this. James Aspey gave the best damn speech that I have ever heard. Here is a link to the speech he gave at the New England VegFest. Please watch it. By the time James was done speaking he had converted me. I could no longer live a life that did not align with my values. I walked out of that room feeling sky high. I went home and knew there was one more thing that I needed to do if I wanted this to stick. I watched Earthings. That was the longest 1 hour 35 minutes 47 seconds of my life. I watched with my hands covering my tear soaked face. Every 10 minutes I had to pause to collect myself but I made myself continue until the very end. I’d be damned if I didn’t finish this documentary. If the animals had to endure this abuse and exploitation, then I could watch it and bear witness to their suffering. That’s when I made the connection. All of the doubt of whether I could do this immediately vanished. It wasn’t an option to not do it. I declared that not in my name will this happen. I was willing to endure anything that people threw at me. My part is easy. There are so many options and alternatives. It’s the animals who suffer.
The first month was filled with learning and educating myself. I researched what vegan options I could eat at restaurants, found new recipes to try, learned more about what clothes and products are vegan and why I shouldn’t go to the zoo anymore. What I loved most about transitioning was that I got to try so many new different types of fruits, vegetables and vegan alternatives that I’d never heard of before. My life was filled with more food than it ever had been. I was eating more of a variety of food then when I was eating meat, dairy and eggs. I started feeling better, I lost weight and had more energy. I had a complete mind-shift. What right do we have to exploit animals? We are also animals, just a different species. How would we like it if what was done to the other animals was done to us, day after day, until the tragic end? I realized that they are here with us, not for us. We can co-habitat on this beautiful world. How did I not see it before?
As the days went on I definitely drank the vegan Kool-Aid. I got the t-shirts, the buttons, the books, etc. (By the way, vegan t-shirts are a great way to spread the message if you are a new vegan and/or introverted.) I watched more and more videos, subscribed to podcasts, visited r/vegan and felt like I had a community I could go to for support. I found this aspect to be extremely important. You need people. The best days are when you meet vegans in real life! It is awesome.
I also decided to become certified in plant-based nutrition through the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies. I now give presentations to communities about the benefits of a whole foods plant-based diet in hopes that it improves the health of families everywhere. My now four-year-old son is thriving on a plant-based diet and has overcome many health challenges due to the nutrition he is getting from vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes and nuts and seeds.
Becoming vegan has been a catalyst for a lot of internal growth. I’ve always shied away from confrontation. I hated voicing my honest opinion when I knew that others may disagree. My words don’t always come out properly when I’m nervous and I tend to shake in fear. The more time that went on however, the more I knew that I couldn’t be passive any longer. I needed to speak up for the animals, even if I trembled as I spoke. Life begins at the edge of your comfort zone and I wanted to be an activist. As a birthday gift to myself I joined the Boston’s Anonymous for the Voiceless Cube of Truth and I LOVED it. I’ve since done more cubes and demonstrated against Canada Goose and look forward to being involved in more activism this year.
I will be a spokeswoman for the animals. I will speak for them since they cannot speak for themselves, no matter the opposition that I face. I may shake and tremble but I will not be silent. Veganism is about fighting injustice. I want to inspire change! I look forward to making a difference and standing up for those that are oppressed. My heart has opened like a flower on a warm summer morning. My compassion extends to all beings, including my fellow human, the animals and the earth. I'm so lucky to have a husband and son who followed suit. We are a happy and healthy vegan family. I look forward to what year 2 brings and yes…. I found my tribe and they are awesome.