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Shaping a Living World: Part 5-B

Hello again folks,

In my run up to Wednesday’s large post on the UN Sustainable Development Goals, I wanted to share another statement from a friend of mine that will be referenced in the piece.

This statement is from my good friend Kathleen O’Sullivan-Cook, a bisexual woman. She addressed each of my questions point by point, so I have edited it a bit for clarity. The Goal 5 Targets or my questions are in bold, and Kathleen’s responses are in italics;

 

As a woman, and a feminist. I fully support the premise of these initiatives. I have concerns about the idealistic natures of these goals given the current climate in America, but the importance of taking such a stance has its own influence. The fact that this is brought up at all is wonderful thing, yet conflicting with the fact that it needs to be brought up is despicable. All that has been said before, and will be said again I’m sure. To keep this brief, I’ll go through some highlights I have for each goal.

 

End all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere. (Goal 5 Target)

  • Some of the points I have to make may seem redundant, but as someone living through the climate it seems necessary to repeat. The idealism of the UN’s goals also doesn’t cover specifics, nor for certain countries. So, most of my points will be spoken as women living in America. The goals need to include making sure all women are no longer excluded from key influential systems that help raise them to positions of power, such as higher education “fraternities” that give shoe ins to members. They also need to be included in influential public roles, such as more governorships, religious figureheads, and other authoritative roles. These exist, but are still limited, and in many ways highly conservative women currently in these roles. We need more open feminists in these roles.
  • This of course leads to my next point that these goals need to include making certain all employers give equal pay, and close the wage gap. While strides have been made, the current atmosphere is still that women take on around 50% more of the household chores than men, struggle to be single parents, still take on more care for elderly or sick parents above the rest, they are still consistently paid less than men and given less compensation. There needs to further be goals in place to help alleviate this major imbalance.
  • Although this may be covered under “Ensuring universal access to sexual and reproductive health” there needs to be strategies for equal child care, equal access to childcare services for men as well to allow men to take on childcare burden. There needs to be the same paternity leave and services for men the same as women to care for children. This falls back to my previous comments regarding women taking on more than their fair share of the domestic home. However, in this point, it needs to be discussed that men are also often shut out of these “domestic” spheres, not only by other men, but women as well. The imbalance in this area can sometimes be self-inflicted, where psychologically women feel threatened if men move into this area as it takes away some of what little power they have. Where in reality if this is opened up more, then women can find more freedom to pursue higher careers. But also employers must make the true efforts here, to allow freedom and family care for both sexes.
  • To further my previous point, there also needs to be strategies to combat microaggressions against women, and also against men who try to take on burdens that women carry. Only by alleviating microaggressions can we build up from the bottom to move away from some of the larger inherent discriminations and change the mentality that allows them. This includes, employers, public spaces, educational institutions, and in the home. Without addressing the social psychological triggers that continue the current culture of “women domesticity” we can not move toward a more balanced system.

 

Eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation. (Goal 5 Target)

  • This goal should seem obvious, and yet still continues, and in many places in America people seem to encourage it, or at least do very little to stop it. Even here in Michigan which has one of the highest trafficking rates in the country, little seems to be done to combat it. As for violence, particularly private “domestic” violence, there is despicably little done to punish those who perpetrate the violence. Even our own police forces find it difficult to sympathize with women and girls when violence occurs. And yet, 1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime, and hundreds of women die every day at the hands of their significant other. In America, many see this as a women’s place, and the right of the husband to do such things. Domestic violence also leads to child abuse and family poverty. On the other hand, men experience domestic violence as well. Child abuse from abused mothers has a terrifying correlation to adult male murderers. Violence against men is also underreported due our societal norms. Rape is also tied into all these factors, without going into that as well.

 

Ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights…  (Ties in with Goal 3 target “By 2030, ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health-care services, including for family planning, information and education, and the integration of reproductive health into national strategies and programmes”) (Goal 3 & 5 Targets)

  • This goal is should be number one, as so many studies have shown that reproductive autonomy has so much bearing on so many other aspects of family life. Being able to control reproductive health will determine the nature of a woman’s relationship goals, family goals, education, wage earnings, and whether or not she has a career. This of course opens doors for more women to join in those public and authoritative roles as mentioned previously.
  • Such reproductive autonomy also has bearing on domestic violence and discrimination, although this may depend on the location and culture of the area this occurs in. This also ties into what I was saying before about microaggressions and changing perspectives to build up from to the higher systems.
  • There needs to be programs in place that incentivize fathers to first stay with their children, and make it easier for couples to work together when unexpected children arrive, and programs in place to help care for those children beyond what is in place now.
  • Stigmatization is also an issue, so working with lower socioeconomic areas to teach and give bias training is necessary. This all comes after pushing into higher unwanted birth rate areas to teach about reproduction and prevention.

 

While the Sustainable Development Goals do include some language that could promote LGBT rights (Goal 10, Goal 16, Goal 5), the goals have been heavily criticized for lacking any language that refers specifically to sexual orientation, gender identity, or LGBT more broadly. What are your opinions on this? (My question) 

  • It is a bit concerning that this wasn’t addressed at all, but this issue, although everywhere, appears to be a forefront in America, where in other countries, is much less of an issue, or isn’t looked at, at all.
  • Despite all that, it’s necessary to address these issues as they will grow further in all countries, and perhaps eventually in developing countries.
  • There needs to be specific language in some form that protects people’s rights for relationships as they wish and to address their needs and wants to do with their bodies as they want.

 

 

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Shaping a Living World: Part 5-A

Hello again folks,

I have a big post coming up (much bigger than my usual) on the UN Sustainable Development Goals. I will be talking about Goal #5 – Gender Equality. In the coming article I will be talking about Women’s Rights and LGBT+ Rights.

In preparation for that piece (which I am hoping to post on Wednesday), I asked some of my Facebook friends if they wanted to weigh in on some of the points raised in response to the SDG’s. Two friends of mine weighed in, and with their permission I am going to post their statements for full context before publishing my own piece, that way I can link back to them when I use excerpts.

The first is from Lupa, who is a bisexual woman, and artist/author over at The Green Wolf.  Do be sure to check out her work!

What follows is Lupa’s full statement;

The fact that the UN recognizes gender equality as essential to sustainability is a big deal. At a time when women worldwide are still being oppressed* in numerous ways, to include in my own home country of the United States, it’s heartening to see this level of intersectionality in environmental justice. I would love to see all of their Goal 5 objectives met in my lifetime, but I’d be content just seeing “universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights” come to fruition by 2030.

See, the thing is, no one wants to talk about the impact that having children has on women. It is absolutely your right to reproduce if that’s what you want, but it’s also your right to say no to reproduction, even if you want to keep having sex. There are women out there who had more children than they would have preferred to because they didn’t have access to birth control and/or because they were victims of reproductive coercion. The same goes for some women who really didn’t want children at all, but who ended up with them for similar reasons.

The goal, of course, is to raise the standard of living for everyone, and a great way to do that is to have fewer people to divide resources among. Yes, we need to focus on using fewer resources per person and using what we do have more reasonably and efficiently, but even when you’re living in really sustainable circumstances every additional person increases the demand for basic things like food, water and space to live. It’s just a matter of math. In areas where people live on pretty meager rations you still get deforestation and other habitat loss as the population grows. Studies show that when women have universal access to birth control, the birth rate drops dramatically. That’s good for the planet as well as people.

Moreover, given that women have been frequently left out of discussions on How To Fix Big Problems, getting women more engaged in these things means that we now have twice the number of people to help make the world a better place. It’s not that childrearing is a bad thing; if you raise great kids who are full of empathy, that’s another way to improve the world. But when women are forced to ONLY be mothers and housewives, it limits the ways in which we can contribute as a group, and often our contributions are minimized, especially if we don’t have access to education. When women have birth control and then have fewer kids, it leaves more energy and time for education and community engagement. There’s also more time for having a small business, which can mean opportunities to develop sustainable ways of being.

I do wish there was more explicitly said about including QUILTBAG (queer, undecided, intersex, lesbian, transgender, bisexual, asexual, gay) people in the sustainability goals. They’re already trying to show gender equality through improving the status of women, but they ignore how the oppression of QUILTBAG people (whether female or not) can scupper sustainability efforts in the same way that the oppression of women does. Not only are you keeping a big group of people out of play in finding the solutions for the problems we face and implementing them, but oppressing them also means they’re less likely to find help for other sustainability issues, such as poverty and disability.

When we are all allowed to work together, instead of fighting with each other, we are more effective as communities and as a species. It’s really one of the most remarkable things about Homo sapiens sapiens, in just how intricate our social networks can be, and how deep our empathy may be rooted. By breaking down divisions and celebrating diversity, we are encouraged to cooperate and find joy in each other. We have more time and energy to put toward things that matter, instead of wasting it on hate. And isn’t that pretty damned sustainable?

* I can’t speak directly to the experiences of non-binary people and other folks who don’t fit in a male-female dichotomy, but given that there are plenty of folks who don’t even admit they exist, I think it’s safe to say they deserve gender equality as well.

 

 


Books, Books, Books!

Hello folks,

I wanted to stop in and remind you about my books! I have five of them published now, and you can find them all on Amazon as well as on my Etsy shop!

Kindle and Print editions, $2.99 – $11.99

Or from my shop signed for $10! ($5 for the book, and $5 for shipping.)

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Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=Nicholas+Haney

Etsy Shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheWhiteWolfShop


Processing… Processing!

This is my post to remind you folks that I have not forgotten about you! Life has been pretty crazy lately and I just haven’t had much time nor mental capacity to sit down and type out any kind of lengthy. There is a lot going on in the world, and in my own personal life, and some of it is really draining…

So basically, this post is to remind that I am still here, and further work will be coming soon. The shop has been pretty busy, so I can’t complain there.  I am also just taking some time to get myself back together, and to process all the things going on, from the recent election and Standing Rock. More expansive work is forthcoming, I swear.

A quick note about forthcoming work. After some feedback on Facebook, I think I am going to start a prayer series here on this blog, based on a deck I use for divination and prayer. I think there is a lot of people out there who are struggling, and if I can help in any little way, I will. So stay tuned for that.

There are a couple of things I want to say about this past election. I have made my thoughts on bigotry pretty clear HEREbut I did want to reiterate some of that here. Donald Trump is going to be our next president, and this fills me with a lot of uncertainty and concern for many of the people I cherish the most. Trump’s rhetoric during the campaign has been  nothing short of deplorable, filled with misogyny, racism, sexism and general bigotry. I have made it pretty clear that I have no tolerance for those things. In addition, I feel that a Trump presidency has the potential of doing a great deal of damage and harm to already marginalized communities; POC, women, LGTB+ folks, immigrants, and pretty much anyone not a white male. Yes, I realize that puts me in a very privileged group, as a white male.

That being said, I want to make one thing clear. People in many of these marginalized groups are counted among my close friends, and are very dear to me. So I want to make it clear that I will do everything in my power to support and keep them safe.

I am here for you. You matter, you are important, and I hear you. What can I do to help?

Other than that, there is quite a bit I am still processing about this election. It has left me rather shaken, and I will work through that in time. You, dear reader’s, might even get a sampling of that. But personally, I am ready to leave this election far behind me. I have work to do to prepare for the coming days.

On another topic, I wanted to touch a little here about Standing Rock, and what is going on there. I don’t want to make any bones about it, I support the people at Standing Rock. Water is life, and we have been dependent on oil far too long. We need to be doing everything in our power to transition away from powering our civilization on the long dead. That is part of the conflict at Standing Rock, the struggle between life and death. Oil is toxic, and the Standing Rock Sioux are at risk of having their water poisoned by the Black Snake. Water is life, and I believe that access to clean water is a basic human right.

I wrote this on Facebook a little time back; and I think it is worth sharing.

“I just keep thinking about the Balrog from Lord of the Rings. The dwarves dug t0o greedily and too deep, and woke up that ancient horror.

Maybe the Black Snack isn’t all that different. Now we have to deal with this venomous, toxic beast we have unearthed. Yes, it has driven our civilization to new heights, but at the end of the day we made a deal with the devil, who has now come to collect.

How do I express my solidarity in this fight, me, whose ancestors were strangers from a strange land, and who built this country on the blood and bones of the natives.

The very people who now fight the Black Snake.

It is the Black Snake, the one who is made from those that are long dead, that drives the machines of war that oppress the natives.

And yet, the waters of this land flow through my veins, the air in my lungs, the minerals in my bones, the very tinder with which to alight the fires of my spirit.”

Water Rights, Indigenous Rights, Basic Human Rights, as well as environmental issues are all tied up with Standing Rock. It does my heart good to see support from peoples all across the globe, from America, Norway, New Zealand, Mongolia. This is bigger than any one person, and I will continue to support the Native Peoples in any way I can.

I think a new story is unfolding.

Thanks for reading!


Ceremonial Dagger

Since I am in the mood of shameless self promotion, I wanted to talk a little about a commission I just finished up.

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This ceremonial dagger was commissioned as a gift for a friend. I am really happy how it turned out!

It is made of 4140 chromemoly. The handle is made of birch wood, and the sheath is a combination of birch and poplar. Those are the mundane specifications.

As most of you know this is as much a spiritual blog as it is anything else. I have made no secret of the fact that I am an animist and spirit worker/shamanic practitioner. So what I really wanted to talk about today was the spiritual aspects that went into making this piece.

This piece was designed to be friendly to spiritual folk such as the Fae, or those that strongly connect with that kind of energy. Several spiritual people like the Fae are adversely affected by iron, which can range in severity. For some, it may just ground out their energy and make them magically impotent. For others, it can be like a fatal allergic reaction.

As such, this piece was created with great care. It was given regular offerings all through the creation process, as was the Forge Spirit itself. Yes, there is an actual spirit that resides in my forge, and I even named it. He is a fiery, amazing beast.

No, I won’t reveal that name here.

The spirit of this dagger revealed itself real early in the process. For lack of better wording, it is quite the chatty spirit. Not in any kind of negative way, it just seemed to have a lot to say. I think working with it was quite a treat.

However, I was not allowed to name it, that much was made very clear. In addition, the dagger spirit was aware all through the process that it was not meant to me. While our relationship was generally cordial, it was in fact a passing acquaintance. The piece has since moved on to its new home, where I am sure it will be loved and cared for.

Want to talk to me about a project? Link up with me on my Facebook page or by email.

As per the usual,

Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

 

 

 


Admin Updates!

Hey folks!

Random short post here, with a few recent additions!

In case you didn’t notice, there are now indexes for both of my ongoing series, just look up top.

Also, I added my shop’s Facebook page and Etsy shop on the right hand side.

—–>

Be sure to check those things out, yeah?

 

You all keep being awesome!

 

 

 

 


The Oil God — GODS & RADICALS

From Gersande: We found the tomb of an ancient sleeping God in the inky depths of the earth. In our hubris and greed we awoke him, and accepted to glorify him in exchange for cataclysmic, destructive power.

via The Oil God — GODS & RADICALS