-- - What's News?Letter -- Winter 2002/3 - --

1. What is This?
2. What's SOS About?
3. SOS Press's First Book!
4. Insights into Sustainability
5. Sustainable Holiday Shopping Tips
6. Using I.give.com to Support Your Favorite Charities

NEXT ISSUE: National Perspectives, A Personal Sustainability Quiz, The New American Dream and how you can help make it happen!
1. What is This?
We intend to use this e-newsletter venue sparingly but periodically, to capsulize issues that are important to our collective future and that of our public lands. Every issue will share ideas for living more sustainably: simple things you and your family can do and feel good about. We expect future issues to be shorter as our website continues to develop.

1) Are you interested in keeping track of sustainability issues and innovations SOS?

2) Is this the best email address to use for you?

3) Can you make some time every few months to read SOS newsletters?

If your answers are 'yes' or 'maybe for now', no need to reply. If you have a 'no', let us hear from you - no hard feelings. If you want to get on the What's News?Letter electronically, or know of others who might be interested, just email SOS and we'll add you to our mailing list!

2. What's SOS About?
SOS is a non-profit dedicated to the sustainability of public lands and the plant, animal and human communities that depend on them. The unique skills and experiences of our associates bring a wealth of knowledge and information to the search for solutions to maintaining our quality of life and environment.

SOS expands people's understanding of the language and science of sustainability and of systems thinking to bring about more sustainable use of public lands. Our mission is to change the paradigm of public land management from maximizing present net profit to one that respects all the needs of people and nature, and meets those needs with vigorous dedication to sustainability.

The seemingly vast reservoir of natural capital found on public lands has been systematically overdrawn. Communities dependent on natural resources suffer greatly from placing too much emphasis on economic growth without factoring in the social and environmental costs of unsustainable extraction. Faced with declining air and water quality, fragmented habitats and increasing development, plant and animal communities suffer as well.

SOS brings pressure to bear at the real leverage point for change: how we think about and value our public natural capital long-term. SOS strongly advocates sustainable practices by stressing evaluation of the triple bottom line of social, environmental and economic costs and benefits. SOS helps at-risk communities and concerned citizens apply sustainability criteria and systems thinking to their deliberations on the use of public lands. SOS excels at examining and describing human/landscape interrelationships and the profound effects mismanagement brings to all living things.

We help integrate sustainable practices into planning, design, and implementation of projects and processes. We advocate for sustainability as opposed to specific outcomes. When people know how to evaluate the sustainability of current and proposed actions, they can develop solutions that fit their unique situations.

We operate as a nonprofit so we are able to bring an impressive level of expertise to organizations and groups who could not otherwise afford these services. A sliding fee scale insures those most in need are not left out.

3. SOS Press Introduces Its First Book!
Education is key to our mission. To that end, we have a new publishing branch, SOS Press. Our first book, Collaborative Spunk: The Feisty Guide to Reviving People and Our Planet, by Dr. A. Gayle Hudgens, is hot off the press! Dr. Hudgens is a futurist and a sustainability coach from Texas with impressive credentials and experience. Collaborative Spunk presents an exciting yet practical approach to cultural change towards more sustainable lives for everyone.

Through the lens of The Natural Step Framework (see below), a science-based guide to sustainability, Dr. Hudgens describes the tight squeeze our planet and societies find themselves in this new millennium. The facts about where we are and where we are going will shake you to your core. But Hudgens brings to life the power of coaching to guide you to reviving yourself, your communities and your environment. Not surprisingly, the more compassionate and caring we are as individuals, the better the chance our planet will recover from its downward slide. And the more fulfilling our lives will be.

Collaborative Spunk will alarm, inspire and empower you to bring out the best in yourself and your communities. And you will gain powerful tools to coach others to the same end. Standing up for our children's future and the quality of our environment will bring you face to face with issues of greed and corporate control and Collaborative Spunk will show you how to win.

Check out the reviews and table of contents at www.collaborativespunk.org. You can order a copy there or by replying to this email. To conserve resources, we're using a print-on-demand service but I have a holiday supply on hand. The cost is $18.00 and, not to be outdone by Amazon, -- shipping is free throughout December!

4. Insights into Sustainability
Here's where we could really run amok and lose the privilege of sending you these periodic updates! We will keep it simple. Sustainability means the art and science of using our planet's resources now in a way that allows future generations to enjoy their benefits too.

For example, if we pump out aquifers (it's happening right now on public lands in coal-bed methane, i.e. shallow-well natural gas development) and over-fish the oceans (cod and rockfish stocks are depleted and no longer commercially fishable), what's left for our kids? Oil and natural gas are finite, non-renewable resources. Just when do we plan on developing new and vibrant industries in alternative energy?

Dioxin, a systemic fat-soluble toxin is found in every living creature. Inuit women above the Arctic Circle are advised not to breast feed their children because of the concentration of dioxin in their milk from their high fat diet. Is premium white paper, bleached with dioxins, that important to us?

We can't change everything about our lives overnight, and besides, it sounds kind of scary. But every choice we make towards living more sustainably so others can live adds up to a grand solution!

The Natural Step Framework outlines a powerful and very understandable explanation on the fundamentals of sustainability. The Framework was developed through consensus of fifty internationally regarded scientists. The TNS Framework has been applied extensively throughout Sweden with remarkable, positive results on their economy and their environment! Check it out at www.naturalstep.org.

5. Sustainable Shopping Tips
With the coming holiday shopping blitz, here are a couple of thoughts.

- Buying gifts that are consumable is much appreciated by those who are already managing "too much stuff": subscriptions, candles, books, foods, etc. are good places to start. The reading material can be passed along without the recipient having guilt pangs the next time you come to visit.

- Practical gifts that help others be more sustainable in their lives are wonderful. How about battery rechargers, solar outdoor lights, clothes in organic cotton, or gift certificates for trees?

- For kids, besides magazines, consumables aren't as much fun. So give gifts with longevity, things that are not likely to self-destruct within a couple of months and again, can be passed on in good conscience. Beware of PVC's and other soft plastics: besides releasing toxins in production, they continue to off-gas throughout their life.

- Plan ahead. Impulse buying born out of panic usually yields expensive, unsatisfying gifts that barely conceal your sudden lapse of imagination.

- Use (and re-use) recycled paper in wrapping and cards. Send e-cards to cut down on paper use.

What's all this have to do with public lands? The process of making paper isn't so kind to watersheds or the air, and there are lots of non-toxic, recycled alternatives to using virgin paper from trees. Wood products can be very satisfying, but not all trees are sustainably harvested - look for the "green" label. At least when your wood product bites the dust, it literally turns into (saw) dust eventually.

Petroleum products are used extensively in producing plastics while public lands are increasingly being targeted for oil development. If we lower the demand, we reduce the toxins that affect our water, plants and wildlife in the manufacture and disposal of plastic. We also keep our families healthier so we can enjoy the great, clean outdoors!

6. Using I give.com to Support your Favorite Charities
Shopping on-line can reduce the gas used to run to many stores. There's the shipping, but it's a lot more like public transportation for your package versus just you in a whole car. Buying locally made items can save on both and keep your money in your community.

If you do shop on-line, here's a great way to contribute to your favorite charity or non-profit, that doesn't cost you a thing! The service at I Give allows you to "shop-and-give" at over 400 retailers. And these aren't just offbeat little shops - we're talking Expedia, Amazon, Eddie Bauer, Lands' End, Office Depot, Best Buy and hundreds of other great sites.

Every sale will result in a small percentage of your purchase going to the organization of your choice... and you can redirect it whenever you want. If you'd like to direct the discount to SOS, go to this link: (www.igive.com/html/refer.cfm?causeid=21781). Or go to their home page to direct your discount to whomever you specify. It costs you nothing and sign-up is a snap. We have test-run this ourselves for several months, and other than remembering to uncheck the ubiquitous "let us send you advertisements" box, it's hassle-free.