September 20, 2011
The possibility of hydrogen fuel cells to power our mobile energy future will be the subject of a presentation by Newcastle resident Tomlin Coggeshall at a Citizens Offering New Alternatives (CONA) public forum on Tuesday, Sept. 20 at 7 p.m. at Mobius, Inc. in Damariscotta.
Coggeshall has worked for the past several years for the National Hydrogen Association, which recently merged with the U.S. Fuel Cell Council to become the Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Association, helping to organize its annual trade show. He will share his personal observations about the evolving state of the technology and the politics involved.
“As we hear the dying gasps of the oil industry, we still feel its death grip on our fuel options and our pocketbooks,” he says. “New oil within our own borders is getting harder to find and more and more expensive to extract from deeper and more remote locations.
For a few more years, we can keep buying oil from our friends and enemies in the Middle East but that is killing our domestic economy, as we pump oil west and money east, plus we really don’t need more carbon in our atmosphere anyway. And we know the price is only going up. Powerful established interests don’t want us to put any credence in a technology that can easily replace petroleum in transportation applications including cars, trucks, buses, trains, and planes with a carbon-neutral fuel that will not increase in price. So, while producing ads that show them working on new energy technologies, most oil companies are doing all they can to cast doubt on and pull funding from viable alternatives so that they can enjoy a few more years of dominance and huge profits in the lucrative energy market they have invested heavily in and can’t let go of for a host of self-serving reasons.”
Mobius is located on 319 Main Street, across from the Yellowfront Market and next to Rising Tide Market. For more information, call 549-3731.
June 11, 2011
Noted educator, author and community organizer Reza Jalali, will speak on “New Mainers; the Changing Face of Maine,” at this year’s CONA annual meeting Saturday, June 11 at the 1812 Farm in Bristol. The meeting will begin at 5 p.m., a potluck dinner with cash bar begins at 6 p.m. and Jalali will speak at 7.
Jalali, a Kurd from Iran, has lived in Maine since 1985. He holds an MFA degree, and he teaches in Portland at the University of Southern Maine, where he also manages the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs. He also teaches courses on Islam at the Bangor Theological Seminary and is the Muslim Chaplain at Bates College.
A refugee and human-rights advocate, he is a member of the board of directors of Amnesty International USA and has led delegations to refugee camps in Turkey and Bosnia, and has participated in numerous United Nations-sponsored international conferences. In 1992 he visited the White House as part of a national delegation to discuss the plight of Kurdish refugees fleeing Iraq.
Jalali’s essays, short stories, and commentaries have appeared in local and international newspapers. He wrote the foreword to the 2009 book New Mainers: Portraits of our Immigrant Neighbors, published by Tilbury House in Gardiner, which discusses the lives of twenty-five recent immigrants from around the world who have made Maine their home. His first children’s book, Moon Watchers, also published by Tilbury House, in June 2010, received the Skipping Stone National Award for Multicultural Books in May 2011. New Mainers and Moon Watchers will be on sale at the event, and Jalali has offered to sign them.
A forthcoming book by Jalali, slated for publication later this year, is God Speaks in Many Accents, about the religions that Maine’s immigrants have brought with them to their new home.
During the meeting portion of the evening from 5 to 6, there will be a brief review of CONA’s activities this past year, and a vote on the slate of board members proposed for the coming year. Members are asked to bring potluck items, either a main dish, salad or dessert.
The 1812 Farm is on the west side of Bristol Road, Rte. 130, about six miles from Damariscotta, just up over the hill south of the Bristol Town Hall. There’s ample parking, though people are encouraged to car pool if possible. For more information, call Kay Liss at 549-3731 or Wendy Ross Eichler at 882-7060.
May 11, 2011
The infamous School of the Americas is the topic of former CONA board member Suzanne Hedrick’s presentation on Wednesday, May 11. Hedrick has long been an activist for social justice, particularly in Central America.
Concerned about US policy in Central America in the 1980s’, Hedrick took her first trip as part of a women’s Witness for Peace delegation to Nicaragua in 1987 during the Contra War. She’s also been on numerous peace and justice delegations to Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Venezuela and Cuba and attended a number of rallies at the School of the Americas at Fort Benning, Ga. where Central American military were trained. In March 2010 she was part of a School of the Americas Watch delegation, founded by a catholic priest, to El Salvador where the US was widely implicated in the brutal civil war there during the 80′s and 90′s.
Growing up as a Franco-American in Maine during the depression, Hedrick learned first-hand about poverty and bigotry. After attending Gorham State Teacher’s College, she taught in a one-room schoolhouse, then in the 1950s’ taught outside of Philadelphia where she said she witnessed the “ugly face of racism.” Moving back to Maine, she was labeled a “communist” by her fellow teachers for supporting civil rights and opposing the Vietnam War.
In addition to CONA, Hedrick has served on the board of Peace Action Maine, the steering committee of the New England branch of Witness for Peace and the executive committee of Maine United Nations Association. She lives in Nobleboro with her husband Charles.
The talk and slide presentation will begin at 7 p.m. in the Porter Meeting Room at Skidompha Library in Damariscotta. For more information, call 549-3731.
April 22, 2011
On Earth Day, Samuel Kaymen will talk on the work of Earth University and Sustainable Harvest International. Kaymen, an authority on organic and bio-dynamic agriculture and founder of the company that produces Stonyfield Farm organic yogurt, will present a first-hand look at the university and non-governmental organization that teach people in the developing world management and farming skills so they can lift themselves out of poverty.
Kaymen is on the board of both organizations.
The talk, accompanied by several short films, will be held on Earth Day Friday, April 22 at 2 p.m. in Damariscotta at Skidompha Library’s Porter Hall. The talk originally was planned for February 25, but was rescheduled due to snow.
Earth University, a four-year agricultural university located in Costa Rica, teaches students from some 22 developing countries to be “agents of change” in sustainable agriculture and natural resource management. The university, founded 20 years ago, has been recognized as a leader in higher education for the 21st century.
Sustainable Harvest International is a Maine-based non-profit organization working in Central America with the poor to assist them in lifting themselves out of poverty through the application of organic methods of agriculture.
The talk, sponsored by CONA (Citizens Offering New Alternatives) is free, but donations are welcomed.
[author] [author_image timthumb='on']http://conamaine.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/samuelkaymen.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Kaymen grew up in Brooklyn, N.Y., and was educated as a chemical and electrical engineer. As an adult he moved to New Hampshire, where in 1983 he founded the natural dairy foods company Stonyfield Farm, that produces organic yoghurt that is now sold throughout the United States and Canada and in several European countries. Kaymen now lives in Walpole, Maine.[/author_info] [/author]
He also founded the Northeast Organic Farmers Association and served as its president for twelve years. Kaymen went on to found The Rural Education Center, an organic farming school. He has served on the Board of the Biodynamic Farming & Gardening Association. Currently, in addition to being Vice Chair of EARTH University Foundation’s Board of Directors and on the board of Sustainable Harvest International, he serves as Trustee of Southern N.H. University, on the Board of Overseers of the School of Community Economic Development.
For questions about the upcoming program call 549-3869, or 882-7060.
April 2, 2011
Rising Tide and CONA are again joining forces to hold another Green Beginnings Community Celebration of the new Growing Season. Talk on “Native Plants in Your Garden”, activities with herbs, starting seeds, art, “Healthy Snacks” from Great Salt Bay School 2nd Grade, silent auction and more for all ages. Music with Hope Hoffman, useful garden information from MOFGA, Extension, and of course, great food from Rising Tide. Saturday, April 2, 10-1 at Round Top Center in Damariscotta.
When we celebrate the arrival of spring at Green Beginnings on Saturday, April 2, from 10 to 1 at Round Top Farm in Damariscotta, one of the special treats will be “Healthy Snacks” prepared and served by some of the young GSBS students who are learning firsthand about good organic food as part of their classroom daily routine. They using recycled bowls and feed the food scraps to worms. The food comes from Rising Tide Market, one of the co-sponsors of the event with CONA (Citizens Offering New Alternatives).
Among the many activities for all ages will be an 11 am talk on organic gardening with native plants by Sharon Turner, a Master Gardener who teaches for MOFGA. Amy Witt from Extension will have a presentation and activity about culinary herbs. We’ll again be making paper pots and planting them with seeds to take home. Karen Kleinkopf will bring a FARMS activity, and Debby Atwell and Rosie Bensen have planned an art activity for all ages, celebrating flowers, herbs and vegetables.
Coastal Maine Botanical Garden will bring a ‘Pollinators: Flowers to Fruits’ game and a “How Seeds Travel’ activity about different mechanisms of pollination and seed dispersal. Hope Hoffman, so popular at last year’s event, will return to perform her unique fiddling for listening and dancing. There will be a poetry wall of spring poems by many Maine poets, some of whom will be present.
Rising Tide will provide organic foods to eat, and information about their value. There will be all sorts of information about gardening methods and opportunities, and a silent auction of gift certificates from local garden centers.
CONA is a local, member-supported organization, presenting programs to address issues of peace, social justice and the environment. Rising Tide Community Market supports local agriculture by offering organic, locally grown products. Round Top Farm is located on the north side of Business Route One in Damariscotta, just east of the traffic light at McDonald’s. The Farm is a community facility owned and managed by the Damariscotta River Association. Green Beginnings is free and open to everyone, though donations will be appreciated.
March 15, 2011
El-Fadel Arbab, a human rights activist and educator, who fled for his life at age 12 from Darfur and now lives in Portland, spoke March 15 about his personal experiences and the ongoing violence in western Sudan, an area the size of Texas. His PowerPoint presentation took place at Lincoln Academy’s Poe Theater in Newcastle and was attended by high school students from around the area, including a large contingent from Boothbay Region High School. The talk was organized jointly by CONA and Lincoln Academy’s Civil Rights team and the Midcoast Model United Nations team.
Since 2003, more than 400,000 people have died and over 2.7 million people have been displaced in the fighting between the Janjaweed, an armed militia of Muslim Arab Sudanese supported by the Sudanese government, and Muslim black Sudanese. Arbab, now an American citizen, is one of the few survivors willing to share his story with a broad audience. His talk, detailing how he escaped the Janjaweed, reunited with some of his family and finally arrived in New York City and then on to Portland, was riveting. It opened the hearts and minds of the crowd not only to the crisis in Darfur, but also to the challenges facing those leaving conflict areas to reside in the United States and build productive lives.
“I don’t want to see another child go through this,” he said. Arbab showed two films about the Darfur conflict, both asking the question why is the world permitting holocausts to continue after it vowed never again following Hitler’s extermination campaign against the Jews.
Arbab urged the students to become activists and work for peaceful resolutions to conflicts.