Thursday, July 29, 2010

WEA advocates take a stand for water and sacred sites

This evening, the Flagstaff City Council's Water Commission will hold a public hearing to decide whether to sell municipal drinking water to Arizona Snowbowl, the ski resort on the San Francisco Peaks, instead of or as well as reclaimed wastewater. WEA Delegates from our May 2010 Advocacy Delegation, Defending Sacred Places in the Southwest, are taking collaborative action towards protecting the Peaks.

WEA supports our initiative partner, the Save the Peaks Coalition, in their legal and public awareness campaigns to protect this holy mountain from interference and contamination in the name of economic development. Earlier this week, WEA’s Sacred Earth Advocacy Network advisor Carolyn Raffensperger, with WEA Advocacy Director Caitlin Sislin, sent a letter to Kathleen Merrigan, Deputy Secretary for the United States Department of Agriculture, urging USDA to rescind their snowmaking permit to Arizona Snowbowl.

The Peaks, which rise to 12,000 feet above Flagstaff, Arizona, at the Western edge of Navajo lands, are sacred to thirteen tribes – including the Navajo, for whom the Peaks represent a central locus of spiritual power. Presently, for tribes throughout the Colorado Plateau, the Peaks are threatened by proposed snowmaking that would increase the mountain’s ski resort’s annual skiable days. For these tribes, whose spirituality and culture are inextricable parts of a whole, the San Francisco Peaks are regarded as a holy place tantamount to the most revered sanctuaries of Western monotheistic traditions.

Either the use of wastewater – which is known to contain endocrine-disrupting contaminants and other pathogens – or the use of precious drinking water in this arid Western region, would represent an unacceptable degree of physical and spiritual risk to the mountain itself and to the health and well-being of future generations. Tribe members, community activists and other concerned citizens will present their views to the Flagstaff City Council at 6 p.m. this evening -- stay tuned for information on the outcome of the meeting, and our work in support of the Save the Peaks campaign.

Please see WEA Advocacy Director Caitlin Sislin’s recent article in High Country News for more information on the legal campaign to protect the holy San Francisco Peaks.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

We Are Together: WEA’s 2010 Gala

"I had to take a second and recognize your team and your admiring supporters for an amazing program last night. Not only am I sure it was successful for WEA, but I hope that you realize you inspired us all and showed us what's possible in our own endeavors...Thank you for demonstrating what it looks like to connect vision to action, and to tell an important story as well as it deserves to be told." -- WEA Supporter

On May 26th, a group of 250 Women’s Earth Alliance friends and supporters gathered in San Francisco for the 2010 Women's Earth Alliance Gala. Because we gathered, WEA was able to meet the $100,000 match pledged that evening by a generous donor. This meant $200,000 for Women’s Earth Alliance and our allies around the world. We offer our heartfelt thanks to all those who attended, celebrated, and powerfully launched WEA into its next level of effectiveness. See photos here.Our Giving Circle, the group of multi-year donors who cover 100% of WEA’s operational costs, expanded its membership by 6 generous individuals. Learn more about how you, too, can join our Giving Circle.
From the delicious organic meal by Back to Earth Organic Catering, music by globally recognized Hamsa Lila and special words by Paul Hawken and Julia Butterfly Hill, it was a night to remember. Paul Hawken closed the evening with these words: “I want to acknowledge each and every one of you tonight for being here, for having the kindness and generosity to support these extraordinary women….We are all so fortunate to be a part of something that is so grand….This is one of the most special NGOs in the world…. I want to acknowledge the true leadership that is in our midst.”

Thanks goes to so many for making this event possible. Truly, we are together!

Our Sponsors: The Wallace Global Fund, Unseen Pictures, Andrew Weeks Photography, Artisana, Back to Earth Organic Catering, Big Basin Vineyards, Benziger Winery, Earthlust, Everything AV, Farmer Jane,, Guayaki, Iron Horse Vineyards, Numi Tea, Nutiva, Square One organic vodka, Peridot Events, Tcho Chocolates, Thanksgiving Coffee Company, To-Go Ware

Our Host Committee: Aimee & Eloise Christensen, Ari Derfel, Ben Schick, Carlos Magana, Catriona Glazebrook, Erica Priggen, Janet MacGillivray Wallace & Randall Wallace, Jennifer Wood, Joel Makower, Julia Butterfly Hill, Laura Belzer, Marcy Taylor, Nicholas Heldfond & Simmone LaCorte, Nick & Sloane Morgan, Paul Hawken, Roselyne C. Swig, Sandra Hay, Stacey Frost.

See more photos here.