Issue 3                                 Sustainability and Earth Stewardship                                    December 2006

Home  Newsletter Archives

Editor-in Chief:
Bekki Shining Bearheart
Chief Cook and Bottle-washer:
Crow Swimsaway


What's New at CEH

Book Reviews:
  Green Living and
  You Can Prevent Global     
  Building Green   
The Company We Keep:  Reinventing Small Business  for People, Community and Place
Your Feedback
Bekki's Art:
  Two Necklaces for Yvonne
Activists' Corner
Update on Robin
Submission Guidelines
What's New at CEH

Welcome to our third issue of the CEH Newsletter. This issue highlights some of the projects we are working on related to sustainability. We'll also share some resources you can use to live more lightly on the earth, utilize the principles of sustainability, and enhance your own health and well-being and that of the planet. To that end we are starting a new column which will give you monthly tips and information on little (and big) things you can do to live more sustainably. We need a catchy name for the new column, and are contemplating a suitable reward for the person who sends us the winning selection.

No Feedback this time. Let us know what, if anything, the newsletter is doing for you.

Michelle Sampson, one of our intensive graduates and long-time member of the CEH drumming circle, gave birth to a boy on Dec 8. His name is Hunter. He was 6 lbs. 10 oz.  and 19 inches at birth. Congratulations To Michelle and her husband Bill, and many blessings and a big welcome to Hunter!

We are now on the list for the World Drum Project, and hope to do a ceremony with the World Drum at Dragon Waters or nearby sometime in early 2007 ( see the web site here: ). If you want to participate, or want to sponsor a World Drum ceremony with us facilitating, let us know. Also you can sponsor your own event by going to the web site and contacting the coordinator. Tell them we sent you.

Bekki and Crow

We're looking for someone to review Spirit Knife, Soul Bone; The Ancient Shamanic Art of Extracting Negative energies by Crow Swimsaway PhD.
You get a free (reviewer's) copy of the finally completed, corrected second edition (JUST OUT!) and we get an independent opinion on the book to publish here in the Newsletter.
Spirit Knife, Soul Bone is now available in both pdf on CD and in print. In the new year the voice recording on CD, read by the Author, will be available. Mairynn Wrentmore of Art and the Goddess, putting fresh faces on mythic legends  (, and a member of our Athens area journeying circle, is designing the new cover for the CD--- and quite amazing it is too. Please see our website for details.

The Company We Keep: Reinventing Small Business for People, Community and Place; By John Abrams; Chelsea Green Publishing Company, May 2005; $27.50 USD; ISBN: 1-931498-73-3; Hardcover; 328 pages

Reviewed by Teny Bannick

The Company We Keep is an intimate story about the birth and transformation of a small design build firm from a partnership to a sole proprietorship to a privately held worker owned cooperative business that continues to evolve as its owners learn about the entity they are creating by creating it.  The story is presented humbly by the original owner who is learning as much about facilitating group decision making, as about running a successful business, as about the importance of place based business and investing in the local community as about the craft of designing and building as South Mountain Company develops.  As individuals take on the responsibility of co-ownership their confidence builds and they experience and develop skills as persons and professionals.

You will learn how the philosophy, commitment to values and traditions that have grown organically out of the process of doing it together support the ongoing success of this unique small firm.

John Abrams presents a compelling model for organizing a business in a way that empowers the individuals who do the work that their business depends on to stay viable.  As co-owners work together the incentive to do well as workers is interrelated to the success of the business and experienced directly by all as their own success.  Such a model stands as a challenge to the “dog eat dog” competitive business model where success is defined as “getting ahead” and depends on impressing some higher ranking boss.  John gives ten reasons why it makes sense for employees of a business to be its owners.  Number 8 is Justice;

“The inherent injustice of our current economic system (all wealth goes to the shareholders) can be tackled, through employee ownership, by shifting wealth to the real stakeholders, those who actually create it.”

 While this book is essentially about a model for business ownership it is written as a memoir that allows an inspiring glimpse into the way the business operates, making a strong case for changing the way we think about commerce and what really matters.

Teny Bannick, Associate AIA
Consulting LEED™ AP
Teny has workeded as an architectural designer since 1981.  Since earning her masters degree  (architecture,   Miami University, 1994) she has developed an extensive awareness and understanding of sustainable design applications.
She is currently employed by  Panich and Noel Architects in Athens, OH, as one of three LEED accredited staff.  They offer architectural, mechanical and electrical design, planning and construction administration services for commercial, industrial, institutional, educational, and residential projects.  As members of the US Green Building Council, the Committee on the Environment for AIA and Green Energy Ohio they work to advance high performance design, transform the marketplace to seek out green design and increase the capacity of the building profession to integrated design standards.
 Teny is also a member of the CEH Drumming circle.

We invite you to forward our newsletter to anyone you think might be interested...

Book Reviews:
Green Living; By theEditiors of E/The Environmental Magazine; Andrews McMeel Publishing; June 2005; $16.00; Softcover; 320 pages
You Can Prevent Global Warming (and save money!); By Jeffrey Langholz, PhD and Kelly Turner; Plume/Penguin Publishers; 2003; $10.95; Softcover; 370 pages

Reviewed by Bekki

Two must- read, must-have books.

You Can Prevent Global Warming is very user-friendly. It's organized to give you 51 ways to make a difference at home, at work and at play. Ways to use less energy, shop more consciously, and reduce-reuse-recycle. Even how to invest in green stocks!

Each section covers a topic, giving a brief overview and important, simple facts that help you grasp the effect of, for instance, using energy efficient light bulbs.  Each section includes  a list of  things you can do to help slow global warming,  and there is a box in each section showing the amount of money you save annually, amount of CO2 that is NOT emitted when you do it, and in some cases a breakdown of other savings in money or environmental costs. At the end of the section are web sites and internet resources that give you more info.

You Can Prevent Global Warming
Chapter 11: Phantom Loads
TVs and VCRs that are turned off cost Americans nearly a billion dollars a year in electricity. At least 5% of your annual electricity bill is consumed by apppliances when they are off. The good news is, you aren't stuck with using phantom loads.

You can save energy and money by unplugging any appliance that has a built-in clock or other display when you aren't using it. Using a power strip for your TV,VCR, stereo,etc, and turning the strip on only when needed is another way to save energy. Plus you get the benefit of power-surge protection. The strip will use a minute amount of energy compared to all of your appliances.
You can also shop for equipment that has low phantom loads: ask the clerk about watt useage and automatic sleep/standby modes.

Green Living is more comprehensive, and less of a quick resource. You will probably want to peruse it chapter by chapter, but not necessarily in order. It has sidebars and boxes that give you bite-sized information to get you started. It looks at global warming, but also addresses overall improvement of health and quality of life for us and for the planet.

It includes chapters on smart food choices, natural health care, personal care, clothing, pets and pet care, ecotravel, gardening, and raising kids, as well as the  energy use issues at the heart of  YCP Global Warming.

Green Living
Chapter 3: Personal Care
According to the National Institutes of Occupational Safety and Health, 884 of the ingredients routinely used to make cosmetics and personal care products are toxic and another 500 are skin sensitizers.
The good news is, this book will tell you what to avoid (Parabens, DEA.TEA,MEA, FD&C colors, D & C colors, surfactants,toluene, formaldehyde, to name a few) and why, and what your alternatives are. You get the low-down on products and companies to avoid. You also get information you need to spend your money on healthful, safe products and companies that are doing good things for the environment. If you are already buying health food brands you are avoiding some trouble, but some substances are still being used even in by some of the "heathy" manufacturers.

Links with info on Sustainability
Conservation Economy  link for info on Green Building and other aspects of a sustainable society. This site is VERY comprehensive.  Submitted by Teny Bannick.
There are LOTS of useful links on our web site's Links page:
These include local, regional and national organizations.

Send us your favorite Link

Building Green: a Complete How-To Guide to Alternative Building Methods; By Clarke Snell and Tim Callahan; Lark Books, New York; 2005;  $29.95
by Crow

We are dreaming (dreaming very hard, including a bundle of magical prosperity work around the idea) about building a new house, one that will include a proper teaching and and meditation space.

So, Bekki has been doing a lot of online research on Building Green.  The new house has to be the most ecologically sound (and economical) building we can design and build and there is an amazing amount of excellent reference material available now.  So far, the best book she has come up with is this one, Building Green.

This is not really a book review, because we are rushing to meet a deadline AND this is a HUGE and very detailed book (600+ pages, thoroughly illustrated with great colour photos). It covers Cordwood, Earth Plaster, Straw Bale, Cob, and Living Roofs in enough detail that, yes, you could plan and build a building using any of these popular Green techniques.

Part of the delightful 'how-to" approach is that the authors actually build a building, before your very eyes, using every one of those techniques. Best of all, when they goof up, they show you what happened and why and what they should/could have done to avoid the problem. They constantly analyze and compare, and include enough information and evaluation of ordinary, less-than-Green, building techniques to help you decide what will be the best balance for you.

Their total approach is a very organic, living one.   Everything from actually jumping (up and down) in the mud to mix the earth plaster to helping the reader understand the significance of suiting structure to site.  They are idealistic: they believe Green Building is possible.  They are realistic: they want you to know that any building technique, any building material, any site you choose and any way you prepare it does have an  impact on nature.  They tell you how to evaluate the impact of your ideas; in great detail.

If you are building (in any stage of the process), if you are curious, if you care, get this book. 
Bekki's Art
Two pieces I made for a friend to give as Yule gifts:

Malachite Necklace with Delica Beads
Scenic Jasper with Delicas

Activist's Corner
For this issue, instead of highlighting a organization we are including an article by Crow about an action we took on behalf of the Great Lakes.

A Day in the Halls of Power
by Crow

It is interesting to spend a day in the halls of power, though at times (such as when I got to sit at a Senator's desk - he was not present) I felt just a little like a kid on a tour to learn how "government" works.

Bekki and I spent November 29th at the State House in Columbus, Ohio, taking part in Ohio Environmental Council's (OEC) lobbying day.  It was my first time, Bekki's second, doing this kind of work. We went to support The Great Lakes Compact. (Our badges read, "DON'T SINK THE GREAT LAKES COMPACT.") The Compact is a complex piece of legislation which, when approved by the Great Lakes States  and the U.S. Congress, will protect the Great Lakes from massive water withdrawals and diversions.  We are involved as a Great Lakes State and because there is a huge amount of work still needed to bring Lake Erie back to its original beauty and ecological balance.

The Compact as written will block the shipping of tanker loads of Great Lakes water to South East Asia (actually attempted a few years ago) and the building of pipelines from Erie to the American Southwest.  While the Great Lakes contains 20% of the world's fresh water, and 95%of the US' fresh water, it is not a renewable resource.

So we worked!  In the morning we recieved a concise briefing session from OEC staff, a very hurried box lunch and then three scheduled meetings with state legislators.  Whew. The hard part was running from building to building to our closely schedlued meetings.

There were eight lobby groups: men and women, multi-racial, ranging in age from 20s to 70s. OEC salted the groups with a few staff but mostly we were concerned citizens from around Ohio, and we all spoke up. Bekki and I worked with three other citizens.  We met face to face with two legislators. One was "in session". We met with his aide.

We met first with Jimmy Stewart, Republican, who is actually our Representative and who just won a very  close race.  He was a bit rueful about that and on his very best "I'm good on the Environment," behaviour.  He was also a typical politician managing to make no commitments, though using lots of words to do so.  Still, he seemed to listen and he knows which side his water glass is filled from.

Next was my big moment. There weren't enough chairs in Senator David Goodman's (Republican) office, so the aide seated me at the senator's desk.  I made a couple of cracks about sitting in the seat of power, then we began grilling the aide. He was a nice young man, learning how to be a politician. he could not be committal but seemed to understand our position and took copious notes.  The OEC folks had assured us that this is how it works and that such information gets through to the legislators. I hope so.

Before the next meeting we sat in on the full Senate in session, as they considered changes in gun control legislation.  Very interesting, especially since I never went on the State House Tour when I was a kid. Then regrouping around a cup of (machine - urk) coffee before our last conversation.

Representative Jim McGregor, Democrat, was too easy but  fun. He is one of the sponsors of the bill, and there had just been a caucus on the topic so he was able to give us an up to the minute report on the bill's chances.  He thought it would pass committee; not a 'shoo in' but pretty likely.  Then he lobbied us! He has been working with the Conservation Coalition in support of commercial fishing buy-out legislation (H.B.609 and S.B.351).  This is a small but significant matter aimed at eliminating some abusive fishing practices in Lake Erie that have been killing tons of fish and creating pollution. So we listened to him: a nice quid pro quo.  We all tried not to sound like politicians as we expressed concern and agreement.

Did Bekki and I do any good with this hard day's work?  Driving home we both felt positive about the day.  We exercised our rights of expression; we saw a little of how government works; we had, perhaps, moved legislation in a direction we feel to be important.  Yes, we did good. We Took Action and will probably do it again.


Yes, Whew, it really is almost the end of the year.  And a time we like because, as a registered church (State of Ohio), we are able to grant both federal and state income tax deductions on the donations we receive.  That is a small give-back to you, but it is something.

So, Thanks!  It has been another year of growth and advancement. Not the least evidence of  which is this gorgeous Newsletter Bekki is putting so much into.  We could not have survived more than 20 years doing our work and almost exactly 16 years (on the 17th of December) as a church, without your support.

Checks dated by Dec 31 allow you  to enjoy a deduction off of your 2006 taxes.

Update on Robin
For all those of you who participated in healing work for her, an update on our friend Robin Brigante. As some of you know, Robin was in a car accident in November 2 years ago. Her spine was broken at the neck (which did not impact the spine) and at the middle thoracic area (which caused paralysis below the waist).  Crow and I started energy work with her during a visit while she was in the hospital in Columbus, then as soon as she could be moved to a nursing home here we began to visit her. The drumming circle did work for her from time to time, and various students taking trainings visited her with us. She got out of the nursing home finally, and this past year she graduated from OU as a rehabilitation counselor.  Habitat for Humanity built her a house that allows her to be almost entirely on her own. She has a wheel chair and a vehicle she can drive, and is working part-time as a counselor. Crow continues to see her every few weeks for Cranio-Sacral sessions. It has been a long journey. We are really proud of her, and happy that we could play a small part in helping her to heal.

Your support of our work allows us to help people like Robin, whom the system often leaves behind. When you take our classes or donate to the church, it keeps us on the road and serving the community here and else where.  We are grateful to be able to serve, and you all are on our minds as we do this work that we love.

Church of Earth Healing Newsletter Guidelines for Authors

Our newsletter is a monthly publication which  includes articles, book reviews, workshop profiles and reviews, news of current and upcoming events and stuff that is really hot that we feel you need to know about. We focus on alternative healing and other work of the church and ourselves, though we cast our net widely.

We love to write and have lots of good material to share.  We also value your outlook, talents, and opinions so we welcome contributions.  These may include specific material we request from you, our readers. We welcome all kinds of material, preferably on our monthly topic. If you are submitting something on the topic, we must receive it before the deadline. If it is of general interest we will fit it in as soon as we can. Articles on topic receive first priority.

We work in Microsoft Word; that is the most convenient electronic form to receive material in.  If you need to use another form please ask first. Format is quite open.  Please place the title, author (in exactly the form you want your name to appear - including degrees, professional designations, etc.) and a very brief bio at the beginning of your offering. Please keep it fairly short and snappy, since we have limited space. We will read everything we receive before publishing it.  We would prefer not to have to edit for intelligibility or length.

                 All Contents Copyright Church of Earth Healing 2006