“Everybody Can Be Great – Because Anybody Can Serve”

“Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

Since 2013 NWEI’s staff has recognized Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a day of volunteerism and service. Staff take action in the community, many times coming together to complete a service project as a team, in honor of Martin Luther King Jr.

In 1994, legislation was passed to designate Martin Luther King Day as a Day of Service – to encourage people to use the federal holiday as an opportunity to give back to their communities. As Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’”

Over the past several years, NWEI staff and friends have volunteered at Gilbert Park Elementary School in Portland, helping with the school’s gardens, as well as volunteered with Portland-based non-profit Friends of Trees, thinning out invasive species and planting native shrubs in order to diversify the ecosystem. Boulder-based staffer Deb McNamara has involved her family in acquiring donations for Emergency Family Assistance and will do so again this year.

Looking for something to do today or this week in your community? Tuesday, January 17th is also a National Day of Racial Healing, and you can visit www.dayofracialhealing.com to learn more about all of the civic activities you, your organization or community can do on January 17.

At NWEI, we believe every person has the power to create positive action. We also believe the little things make a big difference. Here’s to being the change we want to see – and to the spirit of service that Martin Luther King Jr. exemplifies.

Introducing NWEI’s Newest Course Book on Living Simply in a Complex World!

A Different Way: Living Simply in a Complex World is the newest course book from Northwest Earth Institute – to be released next month! This new course book will help you rediscover a way of life that’s simpler and driven by what matters most, providing opportunitites to reconnect with your values, and discover how simple living intersects with sustainability — at the personal and global levels.

The concept of “living simply so that others may simply live” has been around for hundreds of years. Today, we choose simple living as 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. A Different Way: Living Simply in a Complex World connects our individual values and actions to the larger picture and helps us to find power to make real change in our lives, communities, and in the world at large.

Session topics explore living a life of happiness and meaning,  addressing ‘busyness’ and distraction, practices to consume less and create more, and our relationship with technology. Throughout the course book, there are opportunities to cultivate mindfulness and intentionality, and to connect, reflect and act on your relationship with time, technology, material possessions and media.

A Different Way is currently available for pre-order and will be available in paperback and ebook in mid February. This course is a great way to engage your community, friends, or neighbors in dialogue and action in 2017, and we hope you’ll consider organizing a course this Spring!

NWEI is an Oregon Public House Nonprofit Partner this Year!

The Oregon Public House is a nonprofit pub in Northeast Portland that donates its proceeds to support nonprofits in Portland, and we’ve been selected as a nonprofit partner this year!

We will have a volunteer shift each week from January to June at the pub, and it’s a fun way to show your support for NWEI! Volunteers help out in the pub which cuts their costs and helps them raise more money to support local organizations. If you’re looking for a volunteer opportunity where you get to meet lots of great folks, spread the word about NWEI, and enjoy a free meal and a drink after your shift, email Liz@nwei.org to find out more and schedule a shift.

You can also support NWEI by dining at the pub between now and June! Every customer gets to cast a vote for their favorite nonprofit partner and those votes add up to financial support for NWEI.

NWEI volunteers and staff will be at the pub every Sunday from 4-8pm in January, come on down and see us and enjoy the “aletruism” as you have a pint to change the world.

Announcing the New Campus EcoChallenge!

We are very excited to announce the launch of the Campus EcoChallenge in January 2017! Just like our annual October EcoChallenge, the Campus EcoChallenge is an online tool that uses our proven model to spark learning and action on sustainability and community issues. The Campus EcoChallenge customizes the experience and challenges for students, and gives them a framework to turn inspiration into impact.

Starting in January, college faculty, students and staff will be able to participate in the Campus EcoChallenge throughout the year. Participants will choose their own event dates and then engage students in classes, or campus-wide. We will be finalizing student-specific actions for the Campus EcoChallenge over the next few weeks, but you can see a preview of the platform at campus.ecochallenge.org. Please join us or help us spread the word!

As always, we continue to offer private, customized EcoChallenges as well for businesses or organizations. Let’s continue to find ways to take action as we enter into a new year!

Practicing What We Preach

Over the years, NWEI has evolved into an organization that lives its values by providing a flexible, family-friendly work environment, encouraging staff to recharge with annual personal retreats, offering a sabbatical for long-term employees, and revisiting our practices and policies regularly to ensure that we continue to evolve and grow. This year, we’re taking another step towards living out our values of simplicity and sustainability by closing the NWEI offices next week from December 26th-December 30th.

Why do we think this is important? Americans work on average longer than their counterparts in the world’s largest economies. Full-time employees report working an average of 47 hours per week, which equates to nearly six days a week, according to Gallup.

While we are each dedicated to working full force to protect our environment and usher in a more sustainable future, we are also committed to living out the values of simplicity and community – things we’ll be focusing on next week. When we’re not at the office, we’ll be spending time with the ones we love, getting outside to our favorite places in nature and enjoying the joys of cooking meals and sharing them with friends and family.

We know that taking time to do these things is essential to sustaining ourselves – while also giving us space to reflect on what is most important in our lives and shoring up for the important work ahead.

We wish you and yours a restful holiday – and hope that as we turn into the winter season on this longest of nights, that you too will find time to slow down, reconnect with what is important in your life – and, in turn, act in ways that embody your deepest values.

Happy Holidays from all of us at NWEI!

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