Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Women and Depression Conference 2007

I am flying up to Sydney next week to give a presentation at the Women and Depression Conference (23-25 May at the Carlton Crest Hotel). I was expecting to offer a two hour workshop 'Returning to Reverence of the Sacred Source' in which women are invited to use art, voice dialogue, the wondrous vulva puppets and other processes to become aware of and to begin to heal any dis-empowering attitudes to our most glorious and sacred feminine parts.

However I recently discovered that all presenters are now allocated a 30 minute slot only! It's going to be fun condensing all that into a 30 minute presentation. Any suggestions?

Returning to Reverence of the Sacred Source - Workshop abstract

The prevalence of terms for women's genitalia that can be classified as derogatory or dismissive, or terms which are nonspecific and vague reflects and perpetuates a cultural context in which women's genitalia are either conceptually absent or perceived negatively (Braun & Wilkinson, 2001). Participants in Lee and Sasser-Coen's (1996) qualitative study spoke of menarche as an experience that "contaminated" their bodies, and their genitals in particular. Is it no wonder that the self-esteem of young women plummets in their early teens?

While we as women experience any difficulty thinking about, talking about, ‘owning’ or experiencing the miracle of our genitals and reproductive cycles, what effects must that have on our health and happiness and our overall attitudes to being a woman?

'Returning to Reverence of the Sacred Source' is a powerful experiential workshop in which women have the opportunity to explore and renew their relationship with their vulva and vagina. We use art, voice dialogue, vulva puppets and group process to become aware of and to begin to heal any dis-empowering attitudes to our most glorious and sacred feminine parts. (NB No nudity is involved in this process).

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Dangerous GE food on our plates

'Hey Mr Monsanto, don't want you interfering with our food!'

The opening line of a song I wrote over 10 years ago is just as relevant today - if not more so. For a while Australia (my home) has benefited by being a little behind the times as well as by being separated by sea from other land masses. Alas we are not protected from the dubious motives of our politicians with the result that genetically engineered (GE) crops and GE foods are gaining approval and threatening our ecosystem, our health and that of our children.

When rats were fed the GE corn variety, MON863, they showed signs of kidney and liver toxicity. But the same corn was given a big tick by Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), declaring it safe for human consumption. Does this make any sense? A new study of the toxic effects of MON863 on rats concludes that the corn cannot be considered a "safe product". Yet FSANZ had access to the same test results back in 2004 and still gave it the thumbs up.

The good news is that there is no need to spend millions of dollars of taxpayers money trying to create genetically engineered drought resistant crops as Australian scientists have already produced them using conventional breeding techniques. A non-GE drought resistant canola variety developed in Victoria will be available to farmers this year. Despite the industry spin GE technology is being rapidly replaced by other technologies that don’t pose the same environmental and human health risks.

For more info and to take express your concern to our politicians visit the Greenpeace website and take cyberaction.