Swans Commentary » swans.com June 17, 2013  



Beyond The Macrobiotic Faithful (Part III of III)


by Michael Barker



[ed. Please read Part I and Part II of this analysis.]


(Swans - June 17, 2013)   Owing to their fixation upon all that is deemed "natural," the work of macrobiotic enthusiasts has become heavily entwined with more conservative forms of environmental activism, one example being provided by a book published by a group of macrobiotic practitioners called Amberwaves. Edited by Edward Esko and the head of Amberwaves, Alex Jack, the book in question is titled Saving Organic Rice (Amberwaves, 2001), and it carries contributions from the likes of Paul Hawken, Vandana Shiva, Amory and Hunter Lovins -- all of whom focus their writings on saving natural foods from their apparent mortal enemy, genetically engineered crops.

Other than through the inexhaustible Paul Hawken, Amberwaves traces their ideological roots to the early days of American macrobiotics via numerous board members -- like for instance Woodward Johnson, who worked for Erewhon Natural Foods (in Boston) during the 1970s. Or take the head of Amberwaves himself, Alex Jack, who is the coauthor with macrobiotic guru, Michio Kushi, of The Cancer Prevention Diet. While yet another example is provided by Michael Potter, a pioneer in the organic foods industry who in 1969 co-founded Eden Foods, an enterprise whose initial orders saw them distributing natural food stuffs to Erewhon in Boston and Chico-san in California.

Here it is intriguing to investigate the environmental legacy of Anthroposophist Mark Retzloff, who is arguably one of America's most influential spiritual capitalists, who just so happened to help Michael Potter establish Eden Food. Retzloff's well-heeled spiritual pedigree is solidified through his being a trustee of the Rudolf Steiner Foundation (RSF Social Finance), and Retzloff's most recent capitalist ties come through his work as a co-founder of Greenmont Capital Partners -- an investment fund focusing on early-stage companies in the $500-billion Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability ("LOHAS") market. Thus Retzoff provides a glowing example of the type of green businessman that Paul Hawken and the Lovins love to theorize about in their floundering efforts to green-wash capitalism.

With their keen interest in magical gardening Anthroposophists, like Retzloff, have long felt at ease in the world of green politics, be they in the businessworld or otherwise. And such determined anti-materialists have done more than most to ensure that New Age rubbish (of which macrobiotics is just one variant) has been incorporated into the green cannon. Philanthropic bodies like the Rudolf Steiner Foundation help this nonsensical process along, and in this regard another of the foundation's more interesting trustees is businessman Neil Blomquist, who is the former CEO of America's top-selling brand of organic nutritional oils, Spectrum Organic Products, a brand now owned by the Hain Celestial Group. Here it is noteworthy that the Hain Celestial Group's former vice chair (Morris Siegel) is now a board member of the natural food behemoth Whole Foods Market (WFM); a business that ranks second only to Walmart in terms of sales of organic wares. But lest one think that natural, organic, corporate proprietors are any different from their non-organic brethran, WFM's...

...anti-union policies and strategies are well documented, and linked to [their CEO, John] Mackey's libertarian political-economic philosophy. In Mackey's own words: 'basically, labour unions don't create value.... Fundamentally, they're parasites. They feed on union dues'. Mackey wrote and circulated a 19-page position paper entitled, 'Beyond Unions' that has been circulated to 'team-members' since 1990. Numerous journalistic accounts have documented WFM's systematic efforts to prevent unionization. In addition, CEO John Mackey, refused to sign a United Farm Workers union petition to guarantee the rights of strawberry pickers in 1998. (1)

One of Mark Retzloff's many enterprising colleagues at Greenmont Capital Partners is Barney Feinblum, who, like Retzloff, has been party to more organic enterprises than one would care to mention. Amongst some of Feinblum's previous jobs, he has acted as the CEO of Morris Siegel's herbal tea company, Celestial Seasonings; served as the CEO of the United States' leading organic dairy Horizon Organic Dairy (whose founders include Retzloff) and which is now owned by Dean Foods (the second largest dairy company in the world); been a board member of Bossa Nova, a beverage company formed by Paul Hawken's son (Palo Hawken); worked as a founding partner of Fresh & Wild (now owned by WFM); and acted as a cofounder of Alfalfa's Market.

With regard the latter enterprise, Barney Feinblum set up Alfalfa's operations in the early 1980s with the aid of Retzloff and Hass Hassan -- an individual who had previously helped Feinblum set up Fresh & Wild. Hassan is also a board member of WFM, a senior executive at Greenmont Capital Partners, and a board member of Nude Skincare -- which he recently established with the aid of Ali Hewson (the wife of U2 corporate frontman, Bono) and the former Fresh & Wild CEO, Bryan Meehan, Meehan being the main player who helped found Greenmont Capital in the wake of Fresh & Wild's sale to WFM in 2004, whose current employment at Abacus Partners, means he rubs shoulders with the past president of the National Venture Capital Association.

Lest one understate his organic endeavours, Steiner-disciple Mark Retzloff was the cofounder of a private label organic dairy company called Aurora Organic Dairy. As one might expect, corporate growth priorities reign supreme at Aurora Organic, and their senior vice president of corporate development is Gary Sebek -- a recent managing partner at the private equity firm, 2x Consumer Products. Business is business, and this private equity group is thoroughly enmeshed in the non-organic corporate world, being run by Sharon Kieffer (a former senior executive at both PepsiCo and Kraft Foods), and Andy Whitman (who began his food career managing icons like Kool-Aid and Tang, and went on to build a successful career with General Foods and Kraft Foods).

Focusing on Sebek's aspirational career for a moment, in previous years he served as the CEO of Rudi's Organic Bakery -- a bakery that had been founded in 1976 by Sheldon Romer, having been named after the spiritual leader Swami Rudrandra (a disciple of Swami Muktananda, the founder of Siddha Yoga). Here the crossover between spiritual organicism and capitalism again comes into light, as Romer has been a board member of the Center for Dispute Resolution (CDR) Associates -- a group that helps harmonize the conflict resulting from class-war in accordance with capitalism's dictates (see "Alternative Dispute Resolution or Revolution"). Moreover, in an age of rampant profiteering, charity is now very much in demand, especially for businesses seeking to improve their public image; and so Rudi's Bakery counts itself as a supporter of several organic and environmental initiatives, one of these projects being the Organic Center, whose board is chaired by none other than green networker extraordinaire himself, Mark Retzloff. (2)

Like all too many green groups today (think for example, Conservation International) it is hard to tell the difference between the Organic Center and industrial lobby groups. Except, in this case, the Organic Center is registered as a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, not as a trade organization; and has a stated mission "to advance scientific research on the health and environmental benefits of organic foods, and to communicate those benefits to the public." Nonsense-mongers sadly pervade the Organic Center's management, and in light of some parts of the organic community's hostility to scientific undertakings, it is appropriate that the Center should include alternative health practitioner Andrew Weil, M.D. as one of their board members -- Weil being a man who, in the September/October 1992 issue of the macrobiotic magazine East West Natural Health, wrote with a straight face that he is "a great fan of placebo responses, considering them to be the heart of medical practice." Heaping garbage upon nonsense, he continued: "It is in the interests of both doctors and patients to foster this kind of natural healing as often as possible." So bearing this strange advice in mind, it should come as little surprise to find out that Weil is counted alongside many other wanna-be New Age gurus -- including not least Paul Hawken -- on the advisory council of the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society. (3)

Other significant representatives resonating on the Organic Center's board of directors include the chief operating officer of Whole Foods Market, Walter Robb; green lifestyle expert/TV host Sara Snow (whose father was a cofounder of Eden Foods, and who until recently served as an advisor to the Holistic Moms Network -- a group that counts Dana Ullma, one of America's leading advocates for homeopathy, among their current advisors); Ken Cook (who is the co-founder and president of the Environmental Working Group, which is chaired by Democrat powerbroker Drummond Pike); and holistic lifestyle guru Anna Getty (a Kundalini yoga teacher, daughter of the late J. Paul Getty III, board member of the New Age inclined Global Green USA, and blogger for Avalon Organics, which is owned by the Hain Celestial Group). Getty is also an advisor to the Slow Money Alliance.

As in the organic movement, spiritual-capitalist ties are evident through the work of the Slow Money Alliance, which was founded in 2008 and aims to bring people together "around a shared vision about what it means to be an investor in the 21st Century." Although money is the operative word in their name, this Alliance is very connected to the issue of food politics, as they endeavour to develop new ways of thinking about the relationship between food, money, and soil. As one reviewer of the Alliance's seminal text observes: "Carrying forward the game changing thinking of Paul Hawken's The Ecology of Commerce, Woody Tasch's new book" Inquiries into the Nature of Slow Money: Investing as if Food, Farms and Fertility Mattered (Chelsea Green, 2008) "fundamentally alters our understanding of money, showing the role it can play in building soil fertility and restorative economies in communities around the globe." Standout advisors to Slow Money include Joan Gussow (author of This Organic Life), biodynamic farmer Martin Ping (who is the executive director of Hawthorne Valley Association), Don Shaffer (who is the CEO of the Rudolf Steiner Foundation), and Michael Dimock (the former chair of Slow Food USA and Slow Food International). Indicative of the type of people who acted as founding members of the Alliance is former banker-cum-farmer Neil Chrisman, who formerly served as the managing director of JP Morgan before becoming the co-leader of Slow Food Western Massachusetts, where he splits his time between working on his own farm and on the biodynamically-run Moon in the Pond Farm.

As the previous examples suggest, the concept of Slow Money is intimately related to the work of the better-known Slow Food International -- a non-profit that was formed in 1989 by Carlo Petrini to counter the rise of fast food, fast life, and the disappearance of local food traditions. "Unsurprisingly, as a distinctive political ideology," one advocate of the Slow Food movement has argued, "eco-gastronomy has a new ideological appeal, with its emphasis on pleasure cutting across traditional distinctions of left and right." Yet despite clutching at straws, by alleging that Marxist ideas still inform some aspects of the movement's ideology, the same liberal commentator goes on to observe -- just a few pages later -- how: "Unsurprisingly, there is also a strong conservative element in Slow Food thinking, which laments the loss of traditional culture and is committed to the stewardship of the environment."

A case in point of this traditionalism put into organic-action is demonstrated by the support the Slow Food movement receives from His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, who says Carlo Petrini is "one of his heroes." The Prince then acted as a keynote speaker at the Slow Food movement's first Terra Madre (Earth Mother) or 'World Meeting of Food Communities' in 2004. Support for which also came from the right-wing government of Italy, and at the first Terra Madre "the neo-liberal governor of the Piedmont, Enzo Ghigo, and Italy's agricultural minister, Giovanni Alemanno (who is part of the post-fascist National Alliance) stood with Petrini at the opening ceremonies." (4)

With so much at stake politically-speaking, given the Slow movement's all-encompassing approach to social change, it is important to highlight that while the movement's promotion of localization is often viewed as the antidote to corporate-led globalization, this is a troublesome dichotomy to make. Thus even the seemingly innocuous revival of farmers' markets -- which are closely associated with the Slow Food movement -- can...

... be read as a re-entrenchment of nostalgic and socio-politically conservative notions of place and identity. Their re-emergence during a period of 'millennial reflection' could be read as an element of nostalgia for a 'golden age' when food was supposedly more nutritious and life in general more wholesome. ... The valorization of the 'local,' ... may be less about the radical affirmation of an ethic of community or care, and more to do with the reproduction of a less positive parochialism or nationalism, a conservative celebration of the local as the supposed repository of specific values and meanings in much the same way as the countryside has itself become powerfully symbolic. (5)

Indeed, unfortunately the promotion of wholesome local food as the primary means of revitalizing the global wasteland caused by capitalism often goes hand-in-hand with the romanticization of poverty and simultaneous dismissal of class politics. Such practices therefore often result in an uncritical celebration of the harsh (but organic) lifestyles of some of the world's most impoverished citizens: further intensifying such misunderstandings, emphasis is rarely placed upon the undernourished metropolitan poor, but instead focuses relentlessly upon the culinary delights of the mythologized happy poor (or essentialized peasant). This fixation is accompanied by an abiding concern with rural or foreign settings, which, cruelly, makes the rarified organic-poor the perfect foyle for the romantic travel articles, a popular form of edu-tainment in the bourgeois press. (6) These harrowing "oversights" of the Slow Food movement, however, do help explain why the movement selected Vandana Shiva to serve as one of their three international vicepresidents, Shiva being known among critical writers as an active promoter of the "left" populist notion of "culturally-perceived" poverty, which as her critics correctly argue, "is not only elitist but also complicit with globalized capitalism and reactionary currents that are on the rise worldwide." (7)

Flowing on from such dangerously naive ideological premises, Slow Food movement guru, Vandana Shiva, apparently has no qualms about working in close alliance with right-wing paramilitaries (the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) or other assorted Hindu nationalists for that matter. Lending them her international prestige, while furnishing all manner of farmers' movements with "the much-needed agrarian myth" that is so compatible with conservative ruralism. As Meera Nanda concludes in her discussion of this issue: "The connecting thread [between the right and left] is the defence of the traditional way of life." In this manner it is eminently fitting that Shiva's fellow vice president at Slow Food is American foodie megastar Alice Waters, who resides with Shiva on the advisory board of the eco-primitivist International Society for Ecology and Culture. (8)

Alice Waters, like Shiva, is of course a suitable choice as an ambassador of the elitist Slow Food movement, Waters herself being best known for having established the internationally acclaimed Chez Panisse: a restaurant that she opened in Berkeley in 1971, which set itself the task of supplying fresh, local and seasonal organic ingredients to Waters's friends and fellow well-to-do diners. Then, as now, California was a hotbed of counter-cultural experimentation; but sitting alongside the San Francisco Bay Area's well-defined and long-standing New Age sensibilities is the fact that the area is considered to be the "playground of US capitalism." This unique and unholy amalgamation was thus able to provide the necessary capital and wealthy consumers to enable all manner of counter-cultural enterprises to flourish, albeit ones that tended to steer clear of disrupting capitalist growth priorities. Here a very pertinent case in point is provided by Myra and Drew Goodman, who started farming organically at Earthbound Farm in the 1970s, supplying their organic berries and lettuce to Bay Area restaurants like Chez Panisse. What of course is rarely mentioned is that the production of this sought-after organic produce "rel[ied] on the 'time-honoured' exploitation of racialized and marginalized immigrant workers..." (9) Having for the most part glossed over this none-too-savoury history, neither Myra Goodman, nor evidently her colleagues, see any contradiction in her being a board member of the Organic Center.

Last but not least a strong macrobiotic connection to the Slow Food movement comes through macrobiotic pioneer Craig Sams, who is the current chairman of Slow Food UK. Here Sams is supported on the British movement's board of directors by the former chair of the mystically-inclined Soil Association, Clare Marriage, and a former Safeway supermarket board member, Prue Leith -- who is currently the food columnist for the right-wing newspaper The Daily Mail. Unfortunately such elite connections are all too common for the leading representatives of the Slow Food movement, as one could point to the fact that the former Malian Minister of Culture, Aminata Traoré, acts as key scientific advisor for the Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity, as does Vandana Shiva; while both Traoré and Shiva serve on the scientific committee of a none-too-progressive Spanish think-tank called IDEAS Foundation for Progress -- which was founded in 2008 by the neoliberal Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE).

Finally, it is interesting that well-known liberal political theorist George Lakoff is the IDEAS Foundation for Progress' key advisor on "Democracy and Political communication." This is worth recognizing because Lakoff's most famous book, Don't Think of an Elephant (2004), was published by Chelsea Green Publishing -- a publisher that specializes in printing eco-spiritual tomes. This spiritual connection demonstrates the depth to which mystical ideas have been normalized within some circles, as the now retired founding CEO of Chelsea Green, Ian Baldwin, is also the co-founder of the Marion Institute, a non-profit that "seeks to create deep and positive change for the earth and its inhabitants." One of the many magical projects currently supported by the Institute's so-called Serendipity Fund is titled "The Wisdom of the Chakras," which is run by clairvoyant Ellen Budd. Associate board members at the Marion Institute include the chairman of the Rudolf Steiner Foundation, Mark Finser; while current advisors include spiritual leaders Paul Hawken, Van Jones, Satish Kumar, and Nina Utne (the anthroposophical partner of former macrobiotic promoter Eric Utne). (10)

As this series of articles on the macrobiotic faithful has tried to briefly illustrate, nonsense has found a comfortable niche within green capitalist thinking: contributing towards a form of ideological mystification that can only serve to retard future efforts to tackle the global environmental catastrophe presently facing us. With such a flight from rational thinking amongst certain largely middle-class elements of society, winning leading eco-mystics over to a sane political position -- that is, one capable of saving humanity from the profit-motive -- will no doubt be nigh on impossible. Nevertheless this article has attempted to document the extent and depth of the relationships existing between more reactionary environmental trends, so that more rational campaigners can better understand the contours of the green political ground upon which they must operate, which in turn will hopefully render their current and future campaigns more effective. (11)


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1.  Josee Johnston, "The citizen-consumer hybrid: ideological tensions and the case of Whole Foods Market," (pdf) Theory & Society, 37, 2008, p.252. With regard the expense of natural food products, Stan Cox's useful 2006 article "Natural food, unnatural prices" determined that there are no WFMs "located in zip codes with average 2003 household incomes at or below $31,000 -- the approximate income earned by a full-time employee earning the average Whole Foods wage," and that "half of the zip codes with Whole Foods stores lie above $72,000 in average income," and one-quarter have incomes over $100,000. For a comprehensive overview of WFM's more recent anti-democratic operations, see Michelle Chen, "Digesting Whole Foods' unsavory politics," In These Times, August 17, 2009.  (back)

2.  The Organic Center's chairman, Mark Retzloff, is further counted as an advisor to a group known as Living Routes, whose "mission is to create opportunities to live and learn within human-scale communities that are consciously striving to live well and lightly." This project is clearly connected with Retzloff's anthroposophical concerns, as it is headed by former Findhorn educator Daniel Greenberg.

Another member of Living Routes' advisory board is social/spiritual change activist John Steiner, who is a former chairman of the aforementioned CDR Associates. Although not related to or even a disciple of Rudolf Steiner, John Steiner still follows the dominant New Age tendency to claim to transgress the old ideological politics of left or right -- a principle he truly embodies through his chairmanship of the Transpartisan Center. John also serves as a board member of the Boulder Institute, a New Age training hub that has received some funding from the Rudolf Steiner Foundation, in addition to obtaining support from more conventional secular funders like the Soros Foundations.  (back)

3.  Jack Raso, Mystical Diets: Paranormal, Spiritual, and Occult Nutrition Practices (Prometheus Books, 1993), p.17. For a detailed critique of Weil, see Arnold Relman, "A trip to Stonesville: Some notes on Andrew Weil," The New Republic, December 14, 1998. In contrast to his evident interests in anti-materialism and clear misunderstanding of a basic premise of science Weil's biographical note on his own Web site reads: "Twice on the cover of TIME magazine and author of 10 books, Andrew Weil, M.D. has become 'The voice of reason in a deeply divided world,' according to the San Francisco Examiner."

It is surprising to observe that the president of the Weil Foundation, which works to promote integrative medicine, is headed by Woodward Wickham (the former vice president of one of the largest US philanthropies, the MacArthur Foundation), while board members include former MacArthur Foundation president Adele Simmons, and Daria Myers, who is senior vice president for global innovation and sustainability at Estée Lauder.  (back)

4.  Geoff Andews, The Slow Food Story: Politics and Pleasure (Pluto Press, 2008), p.20, p.22, p.24, p.27. The Marxist connection owes much to the fact that the founder of the Slow Food movement, Carlo Petrini, was a leading member of the Democratic Party of Proletarian Unity during the 1970s. (p.6) More recently, in 2007 Petrini was courted by the newly formed centre-left Democratic Party, and allowed his name to go forward as one of the founding regional committee members, before breaking such formal connections after accusations that he had political ambitions to become the future Minister of Agriculture. (p.28) According to Andews, one of "the thinkers most admired" by Petrini is Wendell Berry. (p.89) Another figure "revered" by the Slow Food movement is E.F. Schumacher. (p.136)

Rachel Anne Horner Brackett, Savoring ideology: an ethnography of production and consumption in Slow Food's Italy, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Iowa, 2011, p.180. For an excellent overview of the problems associated with capitalist agriculture, see Fred Magdoff, John Bellamy Foster, Frederick Buttel (eds.), Hungry for Profit: The Agribusiness Threat to Farmers, Food, and the Environment (Monthly Review Press, 2000).  (back)

5.  Lewis Holloway and Moya Kneafsey, "Reading the space of the farmers' market: a case study from the United Kingdom," Sociologia Ruralis, 40, 2000, p.294; for a related discussion, see Dana Frank, Buy American: The Untold Story of Economic Nationalism (Beacon Press, 1999).  (back)

6.  By way of an example, Roberta Sonnino in her 1999 article "Farmers, tourists, and 'sustainable' development: A case study in Tuscany" (KU Anthropologist) explains that "the majority of the tourists who romanticize Tuscany have no idea that the 'historic preservation' seen in rural towns is directly linked to the collapse of local agricultural economies in the post war period. Impoverished farmers and sharecroppers in the region abandoned many of the stone houses (which are now remodeled as vacation homes) and migrated to urban areas during the years of the Economic Miracle of industrialization." Likewise, Carole Counihan's book Around the Tuscan Table: Food, Family, and Gender in Twentieth Century Florence (Routledge, 2004) "reveals that the diet of these sharecroppers [in Tuscany] was largely one of bread and thin minestrone soups, with very little meat, cheese, or variety. The mezzadria system continued throughout the first half of the last century, and a 1922 survey showed that Tuscan sharecroppers labored 300 days a year for approximately 14 hours a day. Existing conditions of undernourishment exacerbated by Fascist food policies and the World Wars led to massive urban migration following WWII. This migration led to a reconceptualization of the rural on multiple levels." David Horn's 1991 article "Constructing the Sterile City: Pronatalism and Social Sciences in Interwar Italy" (American Ethnologist) also "discusses the ways in which the Italian government propagated the rural as a 'natural' and 'healthy' landscape in the face of falling urban fertility. He points out that 'the regime's appeals to abstract rural values, and its calls for the 'ruralization' of everyday life, were at odds with the values of a great many Italians -- that is, with their own constructions of the urban and the rural.'" Rachel Anne Horner Brackett, Savoring ideology: an ethnography of production and consumption in Slow Food's Italy, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Iowa, 2011, p.33, pp.33-4, p.34.  (back)

7.  Regina Cochrane, "Rural Poverty and Impoverished Theory: Cultural Populism, Ecofeminism, and Global Justice," The Journal of Peasant Studies, 34 (2), April 2007, p.169. For a discussion of these criticisms see my article "Questioning Vandana Shiva."  (back)

8.  Meera Nanda, Prophets Facing Backward: Postmodernism, Science, and Hindu Nationalism (Permanent Black, 2006), pp.247-8, p.253, p.256. Waters and Shiva's both served alongside the late Teddy Goldsmith (the founder of The Ecologist magazine) on the advisory board of the International Society for Ecology and Culture. This is noteworthy because the extreme-right-wing French group, GRECE, has sought out and made connections to green Traditionalists like Teddy Goldsmith, who in 1994 accepted their invitation to address its 25th Anniversary Meeting. One person who has been particularly forthright in his criticism of Teddy's propensity to embrace such authoritarian forms of cultural essentialism has been Nicholas Hildyard, who had worked at The Ecologist from 1972-1997, and assumed the journal's editorship (with others) from 1990-97. He recalls that "political differences" with Teddy "over ethnicity and gender issues" eventually led him and the rest of the editorial team to quit The Ecologist. Nicholas Hildyard, "Blood and culture: Ethnic conflict and the authoritarian right," Corner House Briefing No.11, January 29, 1999.  (back)

9.  Richard Walker, "The playground of US capitalism? The political economy of the San Francisco Bay Area," in Mike Davis et al. (eds.) Fire in the Hearth (Verso, 1990), pp. 3-82; Julie Guthman, "Fast food/organic food: reflexive tastes and the making of 'yuppie chow,'" (pdf) Social & Cultural Geography, 4(1), 2003, p.51; William Friedland, Amy Barton and Robert Thomas, Manufacturing Green Gold: Capital, Labor, and Technology in the Lettuce Industry (Cambridge University Press, 1981); Bruce Neuburger, Lettuce Wars: Ten Years of Work and Struggle in the Fields of California (Monthly Review Press, 2012).

Alice Waters is so well-respected in corporate circles that in 2008 she was the recipient of Harvard Medical School's annual Global Environmental Citizen Award. To get a taste for the type of conservative environmentalism previously sanctified by this award, one should recognize that the winner before Waters was His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, and the recipient before that was the former US Vice President Al Gore.  (back)

10.  Paul Hawken, Van Jones, and Nina Utne were all members, in the not so distant past, of a non-denominational spiritual organization known as the Circle of Life Foundation. Other individuals connected to this spiritual group include Nina Simons (a co-founder of Bioneers, which is financially supported by Chelsea Green Publishing), and Jodie Evans (who is a board member of Bioneers and was a founding member of the Slow Money Alliance): both these women played a key role in founding CODEPINK: Women for Peace, as did Nina Utne and pagan eco-feminist Starhawk.  (back)

11.  Future articles will further probe this twilight world of mysticism by scrutinizing some of the institutional centers that propagate magical-minded diatribes against industrial civilization, one notable example being Satish Kumar's UK-based Schumacher College, whose recent "teachers" have included Craig Sams, Vandana Shiva, and Paul Hawken. In late July, Helena Norberg-Hodge will be running a five-day workshop at the Schumacher College titled "The Economics of Happiness -- Localisation"; which examines, among other things, the "spiritual and psychological importance of connecting to nature and community" and "The 'slow food' and 'slow money' movements."  (back)


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Swans -- ISSN: 1554-4915
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Published June 17, 2013