Why is A Different Way So Important Right Now?

We just launched A Different Way: Living Simply in a Complex World and over 200 people are off and running with the new course, organizing discussions in your communities and coming together to create change. This new course book shares insights on how simple living is a way to make our own paths in life – paths that allow for investing our time in the things that matter most to us, making choices that create less waste and more good, using (or not using) technology intentionally, and critically examining the messages that tell us what to believe, what to value, and who to be. 

At a time when bad news about the environment abounds, and many safeguards protecting our health and the environment are at risk, you might wonder why simple living is important now. And yet, consumer-oriented and profit-driven culture drives many of the negative trends at play. Unfortunately, in spite of persistent negative environmental indicators, levels of consumption continue to rise.

Throughout this new course book, you will have the opportunity to explore the challenges faced living in a consumer-oriented society. You’ll also explore opportunities that you have to insert yourself into the systems and make change – in your personal life as well as in your community, and beyond. You’ll have the opportunity to ask yourself how your passions and interests meet the world’s greatest needs – and how you can create more time for the things that matter most in your life.

In the United States, it’s a time when slowing down to reflect and simplify may seem like a luxury — with so much going on in the political sphere, and many of us feeling called to do more, and be more involved. However, we believe that living simply in a complex world means moving beyond our homes and daily routines. Instead, living a simple life is also an act of resistance to the status quo, a call for transformation through personal example. Our personal actions matter, especially when we invite others to join us. Our actions matter when we push for change at the organizational, city, state or national levels. Ultimately, we must seize the opportunity to influence broader change.

As you embark on this journey, consider the future you desire and what is required to bring about change. Remember that every positive action begins with individuals just like each of us. We can indeed find a different way during these complex times – and invite your community to join you in making these ever-important shifts! We hope you’ll join us in connecting our individual values and actions to the larger picture, finding power to make real change in our lives, communities, and in the world at large.

To learn more about A Different Way, click here. To order your copy, click here. 

NWEI’s Newest Course Book Is Here!

NW Earth Institute’s newest course book is here! We are very excited to announce the launch of A Different Way: Living Simply in a Complex World, which explores practical ways to simplify your life and reduce your impact, while also reconnecting with what matters most in your life. This new book explores issues related to simplicity and time, technology, consumption and the media, and provides an opportunity to reconnect with your values while discovering how simple living intersects with sustainability — at the personal and global levels.

This new course book shares insights on how simple living is a way to make our own paths in life – paths that allow for investing our time in the things that matter most to us, making choices that create less waste and more good, using technology intentionally, and critically examining the messages that tell us what to believe, what to value, and who to be.

You can order your copy of A Different Way today, and engage your network in a discussion group on making a positive impact during these complex times.

For those who have used our Voluntary Simplicity course book in the past,  you won’t want to miss A Different Way! This new book is not a revision or replacement of the Voluntary Simplicity course book, but rather continues the exploration of simple living with entirely new content. If you’ve organized a Voluntary Simplicity course in the past, consider reconvening your group to continue the dialogue and discover new ways to take action on the issues that matter to you.


Changemaker Interview: Advanced Micro Devices Makes Big Impact with EcoChallenge

NWEI’s Director of Membership and Engagement, Liz Zavodsky, sat down with Kate Barber, the Go Green Project Manager for AMD (Advanced Micro Devices) to talk about AMD’s inspiring experience participating in NWEI’s EcoChallenge.  During the EcoChalleng over 300 AMD employee team members from three continents and seven countries saved over 1,500 plastic bottles from the landfill, over 8,400 pounds of CO2 from entering the atmosphere, and over 18,000 gallons of water. Here, Kate shares what inspired AMD to participate and tells us more about the impacts. 

What inspired AMD to participate in the EcoChallenge?

Sustainability is a core part of AMD culture as well as our business strategy, and it’s something we work towards daily. Our commitment to environmental stewardship is visible at so many levels within the company: in our sites’ active green teams and thriving community volunteer programs, and embedded in our mission to design the most advanced and energy efficient computing products on the market. At AMD, our employees are always eager to design a better world and push themselves to new heights of innovation. We knew that if we challenged AMDers to find new ways to conserve and protect the planet through the EcoChallenge, we’d get a great response. It was no surprise that AMD enthusiastically participated as a global team and reached second place in the October 2016 EcoChallenge.

What are AMD’s 3 biggest takeaways from the Eco Challenge?

  1. Keeping the Momentum: The success of the EcoChallenge underscored the enormous potential we have to harness AMDers’ passion for the protecting the earth to drive even more successful eco-initiatives year round. The EcoChallenge has already helped galvanize new projects by our site green teams and we believe it will spark even greater momentum for our annual worldwide Earth Week events in April.
  2. Innovation through Collaboration: The EcoChallenge provided an amazing platform for AMDers to easily share ideas as a team. We strongly believe this sort of collaboration and exchange of ideas is an essential piece of what makes us great at what we do: creating innovative, high performing, and energy efficient products. In 2014, AMD set an ambitious goal — our 25×20 Initiative — to accelerate the energy efficiency of our mobile processors 25-fold by 2020. We’re proud to be ahead of schedule towards that goal. The success of the Eco-Challenge inspires us to collaborate, innovate, and work even harder to meet the challenge.  
  3. Individual Actions, Big Results: Seeing the impact and collective difference we can make through each of our individual efforts solidified our position that we’re all in this together. Being green is about more than what each of us can do as individuals to reduce our personal impact on the earth, it’s about the incredible results that we can all achieve together through our collective actions. We’ll keep this perspective alive in conversations and projects throughout the year as we continue to grow our established green programs: helping AMDers choose sustainable commute options, reduce waste, use less energy, and reduce overall environmental impact.

Thanks to AMD and Kate for sharing this story of change! Interested in bringing the EcoChallenge to your organization? Customized, private EcoChallenge events are available year-round. For more information, click here. And, for more information on AMD’s efforts to ignite change, visit their Corporate Responsibility website.

*Kate Barber is Go Green Program Manager for AMD. Her postings are her own opinions and may not represent AMD’s positions, strategies or opinions. Links to third party sites are provided for convenience and unless explicitly stated, AMD is not responsible for the contents of such linked sites and no endorsement is implied.

Be an Agent of Change: Join NWEI Founders for a Training Beginning 2/27

For those of you in the Portland area, NWEI founders Dick and Jeanne Roy and the Center for Earth Leadership invite you to consider joining a five-session leadership training beginning February 27th.

As Dick and Jeanne note, the recent presidential election calls us to advance sustainability and ecological awareness through heightened citizen action in our local communities. During the Agent of Change training, each participant will develop a vision and plan for how to participate in the Portland-area citizen response.

As one Agent of Change training participant said, “A course such as this is absolutely needed in our community. In measurable and immeasurable, small and large, ways students’ efforts have mitigated damage to the planet by changing consciousness and behavior. Perhaps the greatest contribution of the course is instilling the belief that everyone is a leader who can influence changes that promote sustainability.”

Participants in this training will be given tools and strategies to develop a project, with input from others in your group. After the training, participants may join the Agent of Change Network, which plans regular gatherings for alumni to provide ongoing inspiration and support.

There is no charge for the training, but advance registration is required. To reserve your space, contact Jeanne Roy at 503-227-2315 or email jeanne@earthleaders.org. You can also read more about the training here.

What’s Next? Leading For Change

Wow, what a week! A new administration, and then over 3 million people across the world participated in Women’s Marches standing up for the causes they believe in. Several NWEI staff and board members marched in Portland, Denver and Washington, D.C, and after being inspired by the experience we’ve been asking “what’s next?”

Although we are not a political organization, we continue to see our model as providing opportunities for people to create stronger communities regardless of political leanings. We are an organization dedicated to creating positive action, committed to meeting people where they are. We believe no change is too small — in fact, the choices we make every day, by rote or by habit, are exactly where change is most possible and powerful.

This past week has highlighted the much-needed work ahead. We acknowledge the complexities of the Women’s March, and the missed opportunities to create an intersectional space that was fully welcoming for communities of color, LGTBQ communities, and other marginalized groups. Even with people coming together in what is possibly the largest demonstration ever in the U.S. to advocate for change in women’s rights, human rights, health care, civil rights, climate change and social justice, we still have difficult and important work to do.

As NWEI staffer Liz Zavodsky reflected post-march: “We must remain present, engaged, and willing to have difficult conversations to stand up for our causes and one another. How can we do this in a complex world?” Whatever you believe, we welcome the opportunity to work together in support of efforts that improve the wellbeing of people, planet and place. This year, we’ll be busy continuing to spark dialogue and action in organizations, businesses, colleges and municipalities. We’ll aslo launch our new course book next month – A Different Way: Living Simply in a Complex World – and invite you to consider the power of living simply in a complex world. We’ll also be developing a new curriculum on leading for change over the course of the coming year, and encourage you to stay tuned for more on that effort.

As we enter a new era, we invite you to connect with those in your communities about what matters most to you. We invite you to reflect on how you can protect and preserve what is dear to you. Finally, we invite you to take action in support of a healthier, more sustainable world.

What will you do to lead for change?

We leave you with this, perhaps our favorite quote, and very apt for this week:

You must be the change you wish to see in the world. – Ghandi










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