IN THIS ISSUE:
Happy Spring! The past 12 months have flown by in a blur of activity. We at Sacred Earth Network (SEN) have achieved most of the goals we set for ourselves last year. Now we find SEN evolving and diversifying in new directions. Many of you, our friends and supporters, know that SEN was founded in 1985 by a small group of North Americans who sought to make a meaningful response to the threat of nuclear war by establishing connections with then-Soviet ecologists.
By the early 90's SEN was interacting with hundreds of fledgling
environmental NGOs in northern Eurasia committed activists who
were finally in a position to turn back the tide of immense deterioration
to their homelandbut needed technical and organizational support
environmental scene. In the course of eight years of cooperative activity, our relationship with these NGOs has grown and deepened. While they continue to need plenty of help, and our commitment to assisting them remains unchanged, the relationship is now substantially reciprocal. Our northern Eurasian partners have much to teach, and have energized us to consider new ways to co-create a peaceful, sustainable future.
SEN is a people-driven organization. As we consider new projects, we spend time listening to the natural world and to each other, so that the passions of the staff, advisors, and board can be expressed in creative, impactful ways. The SEN team weaves a tapestry of diverse interests, including wildlife protection, coalition-building, permaculture, sustainable agriculture, eco-villages, spirituality and healing, outdoor environmental education, and alternative energy. By doing that which is most meaningful to us, we aspire to most effectively serve Planet Earth. Most importantly, we want to demonstrate high-voltage, successful environmental strategies not only abroad, but at home as well... "To live the vision," as one enthusiastic staff member put it. Stay tuned.
- The Editors
Central Asia's Tien Shan range-the Mountains of Heaven- one of the few homes of the endangered snow leopard and the site of two of SEN's initiatives (see Spring Snapshot: Susan Cutting Reports from the Field and The Snow Leopard Project)
News from the Moscow Office
With ETP Director Susan Cutting based in the US this year (back
from managing ETP activities in Moscow for almost 3 years), one
of SEN's main priorities was helping the Moscow office develop
the systems and staff necessary to begin to run
to make an effective stand for the environment. Through our highly successful Environmental Telecommunications Project, SEN has helped these activists not only to work for the health of the huge northern Eurasian landmass, but also to become world-class players on the global
ETP activities independently. We are very pleased with SEN Moscow's progress with this in 1997. SEN-Eurasia Director, Oxana Barkalova, has demonstrated leadership, clear, organized management, compassion and commitment to SEN's goals. Oxana made her first visit to the US to visit SEN's home office, meet the Board of Directors, and participate in a SEN staff retreat. SEN's financial manager, Davis Chapman, visited the SEN Moscow office, worked with them on their financial and administrative systems, and guided them through the first stages in creating an independent organization
Over the course of the year, Oxana Barkalova hired Boris Fomin <firstname.lastname@example.org> to replace Sergei Smekhov as Technical Coordinator and to coordinate the Biodiversity thematic component of the ETP. Boris has both strong technical skills in computers, software, and Internet use, extensive knowledge in ornothology, ecology and biology, and numerous contacts in nature reserves. Yuri Kopyrin has been providing additional technical consultant support in Moscow. SEN Moscow also took on Alina Arutyunyan as a part-time Accountant, and Anna Koukhta as the part-time Publications Coordinator. Valentina Glavcheva, a highly recommended translator/writer, and NGO volunteer from Dushanbe, Tajikistan, conducted an independent evaluation of ETP accomplishments in 1997.
Environmental groups from across the continent continue to "use" SEN Moscow as an information resource for environmental NGO contacts and sources of funding. In 1997, part-time SEN Moscow Information Coordinator, Irina Ussacheva responded to over sixty requests for lists of this kind. SEN produced and distributed one Russian and English edition of the Sacred Earth Network Newsletter, three editions of SEN Moscow's Russian language electronic mail bulletin on SEN/ETP activities, and the first Russian edition of the Directory of Environmental E-mail Users of Eurasia. SEN's English and Russian Web pages (http://www.igc.org/sen and http://webcenter.ru/~ecotok/) have been updated considerably, and SEN's database of environmental contacts in Northern Eurasia is now accessible on the Internet http://www.ecologia.org/SENdb/
In June, Oxana Barkalova, our SEN Moscow Director, joined our US staff for a 10 day "management summit." Our time together was exceptionally enriching, creative, and nurturing. We played, relaxed, and explored how to be most effective at what we do. By paying attention to current projects as well as ideas for new directions for SEN, we departed a stronger team, energized to carry on our unique version of what Tom Berry refers to as the "The Great Work." To quote Oxana: "During my visit we spent a lot of time in productive conversations about how to improve communication between our offices and most efficaciously implement projects. Aside from work in the SEN office, (which is also located in a natural area), we spent 3 days in the mountains and climbed up on some small summits, where we encountered beautiful views of the forests and hills of the White Mountains. The atmosphere in conversations was very warm and friendly. Despite the language barrier, that from time to time prevented me from completely relaying my concerns, I felt among close and long-time acquaintances. This trip helped me realize how much we, of different countries, have in common and how insignificantly small these cultural and social differences are in comparison to our common connection to this all-encompassing system that we call the Earth."
The SEN Moscow office has completed the process of registering
as an independent Russian organization, and they have chosen the
name, "EcoTok" which, in Russian, means high-voltage
current or flow of energy for environmental protection. Please
visit their new home page (in Russian at http://webcenter.ru/~ecotok/)
- Al Gore, from Earth in the Balance
The SEN Board of Directors has recognized that in order for the organization to continue to mature, it is important for Board members to be more actively involved in growing the vision and mission of SEN. The Board, while being supportive, has been geographically spread out, making it difficult to be more closely involved. A quest for a more local Board has resulted in the addition of three new members, all living in Massachusetts. ReBekka Tippens <email@example.com> is a storyteller and artist, as well as a long-time coordinator of citizen exchanges between Ukraine and the upper Pioneer Valley in Massachusetts. Leslie Goldstein <firstname.lastname@example.org> has a strong passion for permaculture, philanthropy and organic farming. Terry Hunt <email@example.com>, psychotherapist of 20 years and a trustee of the Roy A. Hunt Foundation, has had a lifelong commitment to environmental activism. Thank you Leslie, ReBekka, and Terry for helping SEN in such a tangible way!
We'd also like to thank Diane Depuydt <firstname.lastname@example.org> for her six years of service as a Board member and Director of the Deep Ecology Initiative. Last summer, Diane accepted the position of Executive Director of EarthConnections, an environmental education center located in Cincinnati, Ohio. Good luck Diane!
May our efforts help awaken this sense of awe in all people.
Issue #12 was produced by Claire Mandeville, Bill Pfeiffer, and Shanti Gaia. A special thanks to the following individuals for their contributions: Susan Cutting, Boris Fomin, Irina Usacheva, Cathy Pedevillano, and Erika Rosenthal. This newsletter has been printed on paper recycled from 100% post-consumer waste and has not been rebleached.
The SEN Newsletter is published one or two times a year in both English and Russian. A subscription is included with membership in SEN and costs $25 per year. Send a check payable to "Sacred Earth Network." SEN is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation.
Tel: (978) 724-3443
Fax: (978) 724-3436
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