From the Editor Archive


And the winners are… Award Winning books 35% Off

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

The James Beard Foundation. The John Burroughs Association. The American Horticulture Society. These are just three of the many prestigious organizations that honored Chelsea Green authors this past year with top writing and publishing awards.

These awards recognize the quality of our authors’ ideas, the power of their writing, and in some cases, the beauty of the book’s design and presentation.

Since 1984, Chelsea Green has set the bar high for the sustainability movement and for green publishers—proudly printing our books domestically and on recycled content, while also paying close attention to the editing and design work that ensure our books are a lasting
part of any library.

Join us in congratulating Chelsea Green Publishing’s authors by taking 35% off these select award-winning titles until July 30th!

Happy reading from the folks at Chelsea Green Publishing!

Mastering Artisan Cheesemaking: The Ultimate Guide for Home-Scale and Market Producers

Mastering Artisan Cheesemaking Cover
Retail: $40.00
Discount: $26.00

ForeWord Magazine Book of Year: Gold Winner

Book Industry Guild of New York: 2nd Place

New England Book Show Award

New York Book Show: Professional Reference

Mastering Artisan Cheesemaking is a must-have book for the aspiring cheesemaker or cheesemonger. Not only is it amazingly easy to use as a reference book – laying out cheese science in as clear and jargon-free a way as possible – it’s also a fun time for the cheese obsessed reader.” —Gordon Edgar, author of Cheesemonger: A Life on the Wedge

The Art of Fermentation: An In-Depth Exploration of Essential Concepts and Processes from Around the World

The Art of Fermentation Cover
Retail: $39.95
Discount: $25.97

James Beard Foundation Award Winner

A New York Times Bestseller

International Association of Culinary Professionals Finalist

New York Book Show: Professional Scholarly

“This is, quite simply, the finest book on fermentation available. It is comprehensive, erudite, and surprisingly profound. Sandor Katz is the guru of a large and growing tribe of fermentation enthusiasts and this book will awaken you to the thrilling world of benign bacteria all around us. Not only do they provide us with pickles, cheese, bread, alcohol – but our existence depends on bacteria and they deserve our reverence and respect.” —Ken Albala, Food Historian and Coauthor of The Lost Arts of Hearth and Home: The Luddite’s Guide to Domestic Self-Sufficiency

The Organic Seed Grower: A Farmer’s Guide to Vegetable Seed Production

The Organic Seed Grower Cover
Retail: $49.95
Discount: $32.47

Garden Writers Association Silver Award of Achievement

American Horticultural Society Book Award

“There is nothing more important right now than growing and saving seeds; that most essential aspect of life. While we may have all done this once upon a time, we have mostly lost these skills to private industry or urbanization. Until now. John Navazio reveals all the techniques and tricks, some simple and some complex, that he’s learned only after decades of careful observation and practice. Incredible photos help tell the story of life that seeds represent. The Organic Seed Grower is what we need to take back community control of seeds from those who have taken it from us.” —Tom Stearns, president, High Mowing Organic Seeds

 

The Seed Underground: A Growing Revolution to Save Food

The Seed Underground Cover
Retail: $17.95
Discount: $11.67

Nautilus Book Awards Gold Winner

American Horticultural Society Book Award

Garden Writers Association Silver Award of Achievement

“Traveling about the country to introduce us to some of her devoted fellow seed savers, Janisse Ray teaches us more than we thought we needed to know about seeds: how remarkable they are, why they need saving, how to save them, and how many of them—each holding the future of some particular plant—have been lost and are being lost to our indifference. But in a world where everything we love—including seeds—seems to be under threat, Ray ultimately offers us hope.” —Joan Gussow, author of Growing, Older and This Organic Life

More Award Winning Titles On Sale

 
Perennial Vegetables Cover

Retail: $35.00

Sale: $22.75

 
 
The Resilient Gardener Cover

Retail: $29.95

Sale: $19.47

 
 
Edible Forest Gardens Cover

Retail: $75.00

Sale: $48.75

 
 
Gaia's Garden Cover

Retail: $29.95

Sale: $19.47

 
 
Taste, Memory Cover

Retail: $17.95

Sale: $11.67

 
 
Chanterelle Dreams, Amanita Nightmares Cover

Retail: $17.95

Sale: $11.67

 
 
Lynn Margulis Cover

Retail: $27.95

Sale: $18.17

 
 
The New Feminist Agenda Cover

Retail: $17.95

Sale: $11.67

 
 
Sex and the River Styx Cover

Retail: $17.95

Sale: $11.67

 
 
Dreaming the Future Cover

Retail: $17.95

Sale: $11.67

 
 
Reinventing Fire Cover

 Retail: $34.95

Sale: $22.72

 
 
Nuclear Roulette Cover

Retail: $19.95

Sale: $12.97

 
 
Growing, Older Cover

 Retail: $17.95

Sale: $11.67

 
 
The Holistic Orchard Cover

 Retail: $39.95

Sale: $25.97

 
 
Old Southern Apples Cover

Retail: $75.00

Sale: $48.75

 
 
Natural Home Heating Cover

Retail: $30.00

Sale: $19.50

 
 
The Passive Solar House Cover

 Retail: $40.00

Sale: $26.00

 
 
A Handmade Life Cover

Retail: $25.00

Sale: $16.25

 
 
The Bread Builders Cover

Retail: $35.00

Sale: $22.75

 
 
Wild Flavors Cover

 Retail: $34.95

Sale: $22.72

 
 
The Lost Language of Plants

Retail: $19.95

Sale: $12.97

 
 
Javatrekker Cover

 Retail: $19.95

Sale: $12.97

 
 
The Transition Companion Cover

Retail: $29.95

Sale: $19.47

 
 
The Man Who Hated Work and Loved Labor Cover

Retail: $24.95

Sale: $16.22


Discount codes do not combine with other offers—our books

already on sale for example. Free shipping for orders $100 or

more is applied after the discount is applied

Calling all Preppers, Permies, and Perennial Homesteaders

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

Want to grow rice in your backyard? How about warming up in your very own compost-heated hot tub?

Imagine if where you lived was not simply a passive landscape, but a living, growing habitat. That’s the reality for Ben Falk and his team at Whole Systems Research Farm in Vermont’s Mad River Valley.

Falk is a land designer and site developer at Whole Systems Design, LLC where, by imitating natural systems and utilizing regenerative techniques, his land can adapt to the challenges presented by climate change.

Inspired by a decade of experience, Falk has written a handbook invaluable for anyone who wishes to create working systems that allow them to live in harmony with their land and the natural environment, while preparing for the inevitable climate uncertainty of the future.

Permaculture Activist’s Peter Bane writes, “This book is tightly argued and rich with information…The discussion of living well on the edge of a shaky economy ranges across a vast terrain from the weight of firewood to detailing of buildings that last to making medicine from plants and fungi in the garden.”

The Resilient Farm and Homestead: An Innovative Permaculture and Whole Systems Design Approach offers working, tested results and practical information on a variety of topics, including:

• Landshaping;
• Water security;
• Perennial crops;
• Soil fertility;
• Nutrient-dense foods, and more.

“The Resilient Farm and Homestead weaves together permaculture theory as modified by actual practice on a ten-acre Vermont farm with a thorough preparedness guide for times of climate change and greater uncertainties of all kinds and sizes,” writes Carol Deppe, author of The Resilient Gardener: Food Production and Self-Reliance in Uncertain Times. “This book will be essential reading for the serious prepper as well as for everyone interested in creating a more resilient lifestyle or landscape.”

The Resilient Farm and Homestead is available now, and on sale for 35% off. Read Chapter 1 below.

Chapter 1: Creating a Positive Legacy while Adapting to Rapid Change

We’re Hiring! Join the Team as Our Next Web Editor

Thursday, May 2nd, 2013

Chelsea Green – an employee-owned, mission-driven book publisher — is looking for a creative, book-loving, savvy Web Editor to join our growing marketing and publicity team in the company’s Burlington, VT office.

If you’re interested, please send resume and cover letter to Communications Director Shay Totten: [email protected] No phone calls, please.

General Description

The Web Editor is responsible for ensuring that our consumer and media websites are up to date, and is responsible for drafting and then implementing the creative content for our social media channels, as well as our consumer email program.

Responsibilities

Manage our ecommerce site (ChelseaGreen.com), keeping book data up to date and highlighting major media hits.

Plan and compose postings for the ChelseaGreen.com front page.

  • Report website problems promptly, assist Online Marketing Manager and developers to resolve quickly
  • Manage special media site for sales (Media.ChelseaGreen.com), updating book data and marketing information as needed.
  • Conduct research on new authors to provide publicity background information on Media.ChelseaGreen.com.

Manage postings and interaction on Chelsea Green’s social media platforms.

  • Track and respond to social media statistics to ensure high quality, and high levels of interaction on all platforms.
  • Provide monthly reports to key staff and managers.
  • Manage Chelsea Green content on other platforms as needed, such as Scribd.

Draft Chelsea Green’s consumer and specialty email newsletters under direction of Communications Director and Online Marketing Manager.

  • Draft the list of books to promote, collect links and image URLs, as needed.
  • Re-code email html as needed to convert for ChelseaGreen.com web posting.
  • Draft promotional test subject lines, and marketing copy, for each consumer and specialty email.
  • Complete simple graphic design in support of social media marketing and publicity efforts, including press releases, staff business cards, and consumer ads.
  • Assist Online Marketing Manager with maintaining a list of potential online outlets for targeted promotion campaigns along with management of the ShareSale program.

Research and draft content topics posted to the company’s blog, social media, and multimedia channels for maximum SEO, reach, branding, and effectiveness.

Monitor emerging, and existing, trends and best practices in SEO, social media and other online marketing strategies.

Work with the Online Marketing Manager to develop strategies to grow our online marketing outreach through our direct email program, website, social media, and more.

Position Details: Full-time salaried position, based in Burlington, Vermont. Spends one day a week in the White River Junction, Vermont office.

Reports to: Communications Director

Qualifications: This is a position for someone with a demonstrated interest in online publishing and marketing and an interest in our company mission. The qualified candidate will be able to work within a team environment as well as work independently, and be responsible for tracking and monitoring their goals and objectives. One to two years experience multimedia publishing helpful. Must have: strong communication, writing, and interpersonal skills; ability to work in fast-paced, deadline-driven environment; Bachelor’s degree; strong computer skills and proficiency in Word and Excel; comfort with using Google Analytics and other online tracking software; proficiency in social media, and comfortable with administrative tasks. HTML and other multimedia experience is helpful, as is being familiar with Adobe Creative Suite – PhotoShop Dreamweaver, InDesign and Acrobat.

About Us: For almost 30 years, Chelsea Green has been the go-to publisher for people seeking foundational books on the politics and practice of sustainable living, including organic gardening and agriculture, renewable energy, green building, eco-cuisine, and ethical business. In 2012, we decided to practice what we publish and became employee-owned. We are a founding member of the Green Press Initiative and have been printing books on recycled paper since 1985, when our first list of books went on sale. We print our books on paper that consists of a minimum of 30 percent post-consumer waste and aim for 100 percent whenever possible. We also don’t print our books overseas, but rather use domestic printers to keep our shipping costs (and impact on the environment) at a minimum.

Guides for Natural Builders on Sale

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

Are you looking for some easy energy efficiency projects you can do around the house to reduce your carbon footprint? Are you planning to build a new house and want to work with local materials? Maybe you want to try your hand at building and baking in an earth oven. Humans were made to build, and the Earth has all the materials we need if we know where to look and how to use them.

We’ve put a selection of our keystone books on sale to inspire and guide you to think about natural methods for your next building project.

Chelsea Green has published classic how-to texts on natural building techniques since the mid 1980s, with some of them among our all-time bestsellers, like The Straw Bale House. We have continued this proud tradition with the recent publication of The Natural Building Companion and Passive Solar Architecture.

From curvaceous houses sculpted by hand out of cob, to the soft colors of natural plaster over straw bales, and the efficient radiant warmth put out by masonry stoves, natural building techniques have been making people comfortable for centuries. These ancient methods of construction have never really gone out of style, and today they’re more important than ever.

Happy reading (and building) from the folks at Chelsea Green Publishing.

The Natural Building Companion: A Comprehensive Guide to Integrative Design and Construction

Natural Building Companion Cover Image
Retail Price: $59.95
Sale Price: $38.97

In this complete reference to natural building philosophy, design, and technique, Jacob Deva Racusin and Ace McArleton walk builders through planning and construction, offering step-by-step instructions on siting, choosing materials, planning for heat and moisture, developing an integrative design, plastering, budgeting, and much more.

The book is part of the The Yestermorrow Design/Build Library, and includes an instructional DVD with dozens of step-by-step projects designed to help better guide you in the construction of your natural home.

What distinguishes “natural building” from the more mainstream designation “green building”? Author Jacob Deva Racusin discusses the differences, and how to bridge the gap in this video lecture. WATCH IT HERE…

Passive Solar Architecture: Heating, Cooling, Ventilation, Daylighting, and More Using Natural Flows

Passive Solar Architecture Cover Image
Retail Price: $85.00
Sale Price: $55.25

In this comprehensive overview of passive solar design, two of America’s solar pioneers give homeowners, architects, designers, and builders the keys to successfully harnessing the sun and maximizing climate resources for heating, cooling, ventilation, and daylighting.

 

Bainbridge and Haggard draw upon examples from more than three decades of experience to offer overarching principles as well as the details and formulas needed to successfully design a more comfortable, healthy, beautiful, and secure place in which to live. Even if the power goes off.

 

Bookbuilders of Boston gave Passive Solar Architecture an award for its professional and informative design. READ MORE HERE…


Adobe Homes for All Climates: Simple, Affordable, and Earthquake-Resistant Natural Building Techniques

Adobe Homes for All Climates Cover Image
Retail Price: $34.95
Sale Price: $22.72

Adobe bricks are an easy way to achieve a solid masonry-wall system. Contrary to stereotypes, adobe is adaptable for use in cold, wet climates as well as hot, dry ones. Energy and resource efficient, and requiring minimal effort for long-term maintenance, the humble adobe brick is an ideal option for eco-friendly building throughout the world.

 

Equipped with this book, you will be able to obtain a building permit, make and build with adobe bricks to create a beautiful, energy-efficient home that will last for generations to come.

Su Casa magazine reviewed Adobe Homes for All Climates. READ IT HERE…

Masonry Heaters: Designing, Building, and Living with a Piece of the Sun

Masonry Heaters Cover Image
Retail Price: $39.95 
Sale Price: $25.97

Masonry Heaters is a complete guide to designing and living with one of the oldest, and yet one of the newest, heating devices. The value of a masonry heater lies in its durability, quality, serviceability, dependability, and health-supporting features. And it is an investment in self-sufficiency and freedom from fossil fuels.

Those who are looking to build, add onto, or remodel a house will find comprehensive and practical advice for designing and installing a masonry heater, including detailed discussion of materials, code considerations, and many photos and illustrations.

 

Check out the Google Preview for gorgeous photos from the book. READ IT HERE…

Roundwood Timber Framing: Building Naturally Using Local Resources

Roundwood Timber Framing Cover Image
Retail Price: $39.95 
Sale Price: $25.97

This definitive manual marks the birth of a new vernacular for the 21st century.

 

Over 400 colour photographs and step-by-step instructions guide you through the building of anything from a garden shed to your own woodland house. This practical ‘how to’ book will unquestionably be a benchmark for sustainable building using renewable local resources and evolving traditional skills to create durable, ecological and beautiful buildings.

What does a roundwood building look like? Take a tour of Ben Law’s home in this brief video. WATCH IT HERE…

The Hand-Sculpted House: A Practical and Philosophical Guide to Building a Cob Cottage

The Hand-Sculpted House Cover Image
Retail Price: $35.00 Sale Price: $22.75

Cob is a building method so old and so simple that it has been all but forgotten in the rush to synthetics. A cob cottage, however, might be the ultimate expression of ecological design, a structure so attuned to its surroundings that its creators refer to it as “an ecstatic house.”

 

The Hand-Sculpted House is theoretical and philosophical, but intensely practical as well. You will get all the how-to information to undertake a cob building project. As the modern world rediscovers the importance of living in sustainable harmony with the environment, this book is a bible of radical simplicity.

You can browse and preview the full book here. READ IT HERE…

The Straw Bale House

The Straw Bale House Cover Image
Retail Price: $30.00 
Sale Price: $19.50

Imagine building a house with superior seismic stability, fire resistance, and thermal insulation, using an annually renewable resource, for half the cost of a comparable conventional home.

 

Welcome to the straw bale house! Whether you build an entire house or something more modest—a home office or studio, a retreat cabin or guest cottage—plastered straw bale construction is an exceptionally durable and inexpensive option.

This book is our all-time #1 bestseller!  

Athena Steen tells her story in this excerpt from the book. READ IT HERE…

The Carbon-Free Home: 36 Remodeling Projects to Help Kick the Fossil-Fuel Habit

The Carbon-Free Home Cover Image
Retail Price: $35.00
Sale Price: $22.75

You probably know that energy used in your home produces more global-warming pollution than your car, but what can you do to reduce your reliance on fossil fuels?

 

Read this book—then grab your handsaw, tape measure, and drill, and get started! A life powered by the sun is waiting for you. Meant as a guide for renovating existing homes, The Carbon-Free Home gives you the hands-on knowledge necessary to turn your existing house into an environmental asset.

Save money this summer: ditch your clothes dryer! Just one of many great projects from the book. GET STARTED…

Build Your Own Earth Oven: A Low-Cost Wood-Fired Mud Oven; Simple Sourdough Bread; Perfect Loaves

Build Your Own Earth Oven Cover Image
Retail Price: $17.95
Sale Price: $11.67

Earth ovens combine the utility of a wood-fired, retained-heat oven with the ease and timeless beauty of earthen construction.

 

Build Your Own Earth Oven is fully illustrated with step-by-step directions, including how to find materials, build an oven, tend the fire, and how to make perfect sourdough hearth loaves in the artisan tradition.

Why an earth oven? What is this “cob” stuff anyway? Read the book’s introduction to find out. READ IT HERE…

The Passive Solar House, Revised and Expanded: The Complete Guide to Heating and Cooling Your Home

The Passive Solar House Cover Image
Includes instructional DVD Retail Price: $40.00
Sale Price: $26.00

For the past ten years The Passive Solar House has offered proven techniques for building homes that heat and cool themselves, using readily available materials and methods familiar to all building contractors and many do-it-yourself homeowners.

 

This is the building book for a world of climbing energy costs. Applicable to diverse regions, climates, budgets, and styles of architecture, Kachadorian’s techniques translate the essentials of timeless solar design into practical wisdom for today’s solar builders. Includes a CD-ROM with Custom Design Software.

 

Use your windows to heat your home. FIND OUT HOW…

 

More New and Noteworthy Titles On Sale

The Solar House coverDesign of Straw Bale Buildings coverMaking Better Concrete coverNatural Home Heating coverThe Natural House cover
The New Ecological Home coverStone House coverUsing Natural Finishes coverEnergy Free coverRainwater Harvesting cover

 

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* Books on sale until August 15th*

The Art of Fermentation is Now a New York Times Bestseller!

Friday, July 13th, 2012

All you fermentation fanatics, it’s time to get out your crocks, lift a glass of kombucha and rejoice! Thanks, in part, to you and your devotion to this craft The Art of Fermentation by Sandor Ellix Katz is now a New York Times bestseller! Sandor’s weighty tome of all things fermented landed Friday at number 14 in the “Hardcover Advice and Miscellaneous” category.

Sandor’s bubbling up to the Times list marks only the fourth time in company history that one of Chelsea Green Publishing’s books has made it to the bestseller list. Chelsea Green’s previous books that made the Times‘ bestseller list were: Don’t Think of an Elephant! by George Lakoff (2004); The End of America by Naomi Wolf (2007); and, Obama’s Challenge by Robert Kuttner (2008).

At Number 14 on the list, Sandor’s book was tucked in between Go the Fuck to Sleep (13) and How Will You Measure Your Life? (15) on the Times’ extended list.

If you haven’t had a chance to check out Sandor’s book, take a moment to:

In the meantime, we want to extend a big congratulations to Sandor — a well-deserved honor for this self-described fermentation fetishist whose workshops and pure enthusiasm and joy for this age-old, DIY craft have helped to fuel its renaissance. How many of you out  there own his earlier book Wild Fermentation? I thought so.

It’s been a heady couple of weeks here at Chelsea Green: We were named 2011 Independent Publisher of the Year by ForeWord Reviews; we just announced that the company’s ownership has been transferred to its employees; and, now a New York Times bestseller.

What a way to close out the first half of the year, eh? And, we still have another half of a year to go. Whew.

Meet the New Owners of Chelsea Green Publishing: The Employees!

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION, VT — Independent book publisher Chelsea Green announced today that it has become an employee-owned company, with close to 80 percent of its stock to be held by its employees.

The move makes Chelsea Green unique among book publishers in an industry dominated by investor-driven, multinational corporations. Only a handful of independent book publishers can claim employee-ownership status, and of those Chelsea Green will be near the top in terms of the percentage controlled by employees.

The transaction, completed on June 29, allows a minority portion of the company’s privately held stock to be held by Ian and Margo Baldwin, who founded Chelsea Green in 1984 on the South Green in Chelsea, Vermont. Margo Baldwin is currently the company’s president and publisher and will maintain that role for the foreseeable future.

“Selling to our employees was the only way we could ensure the company could remain independent and stay in Vermont,” said Margo Baldwin. “The only one real way to repay investors, traditionally, is to sell. Our investors have been very patient over the years and this offered a way in which they could be repaid and allow Chelsea Green to continue its important role in the marketplace as an independent publisher.”

Chelsea Green was recently recognized by ForeWord Reviews as its 2011 Independent Publisher of the Year, in which the company was recognized for its “significant contributions in the categories of politics and sustainable living.” It also recently landed its fourth book  on The New York Times bestseller list, with Sandor Katz’s The Art of Fermentation landing at number 14.

Given the company’s long-term mission of publishing ideas to help communities remain resilient and businesses sustainable while connecting to their sense of place, making the move to an employee-owned model is an example of the company practicing what it publishes.

“Ian and I are thrilled that the company has taken this important step and look forward to working with our employees to advance the mission and to create an even more successful and profitable company in the years to come,” added Margo Baldwin. National studies have shown ESOPs to outperform their private sector counterparts in terms of overall profitability, productivity, employee retention and employee earnings.

Chelsea Green joins a growing list of Vermont employee-owned companies, such as King Arthur Flour, Gardener’s Supply, PC Construction, and Carris Reels, among others.

Chelsea Green continues to buck the trend in the publishing industry in other ways — closing out yet another profitable year in 2011 with increased sales from the previous year. Unlike others in the industry, Chelsea Green has remained focused on publishing strong content that is valued by its readers—an active community that Chelsea Green is in continual engagement through the active use of social media and author appearances.

In 2012, so far, Chelsea Green has been adding staff in an effort to expand its digital offerings, and improve its existing online presence as well as provide greater outreach and publicity support for its authors.

The New York Times: Madeleine Kunin “is almost unimpeachably right”

Thursday, May 10th, 2012

The New York Times Sunday Book Review features — on its cover no less — a glowing review of Madeleine M. Kunin’s forthcoming title The New Feminist Agenda: Defining the Next Revolution for Women, Work, and Family.

Judith Warner’s review of Kunin’s book is juxtaposed against the new book by Elisabeth Badinter, The Conflict: How Modern Motherhood Undermines the Status of Women. One book is “right” and the other is “wrong,” and we’re pleased to report that Kunin’s book is the right one.

“[W]hereas Badin­ter’s argument is beautiful and essentially wrong, Kunin — Pollyanna-ish faith in the family-friendly nature of female politicians aside — is almost unimpeachably right, as she diagnoses what we in Ameri­ca need, why we’ve never gotten it, and how we may have some hope of achieving change in the future,” writes  Warner, the author of We’ve Got Issues: Children and Parents in the Age of Medication.

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

Warner lauds Kunin’s use of ample details and examples of what states — or countries — are enacting family-friendly policies that empower parents and support children.

But, as Warner observes, while there may be public support for much of what Kunin proposes as solutions to the work-family balance that is out of whack, how to get there?

“[T]here has to be a way to turn public opinion — which according to Kunin is overwhelmingly favorable to paid sick days and family and medical leave — into something like a movement. A movement as motivating, gut-­compelling and passionate as the forces now arrayed for and against abortion rights. She acknowledges this is a tall order. ‘Could we hold a march for family­/work policies in Washington? Would anybody come?’ she asks shrewdly. ‘Or would they be too tired, too busy, too scared of losing their jobs to attend?’

“It’s a good question,” Warner posits. “How do you get today’s moms, and all their equally overtaxed potential allies, to show up for a revolution? Perhaps we need a 21st-century Gloria Steinem, a multi­tasking, minivan-driving, media-savvy soccer mom (or dad) with just enough of a hint of glamour to make protest as appealing a prospect as Girls’ Night Out.”

Indeed. Any takers?

If so, chime in on Madeleine Kunin’s Facebook page. Or, send her a note on Twitter.

The New Feminist Agenda is available in stores now and officially launches Sunday, which is, appropriately, Mother’s Day.

Speaking of Sunday, Madeleine Kunin will be the featured author on the Firedoglake Book Salon, with a discussion led by author Amanda Marcotte. Be sure to log in and join the chat.

Studen Loan Debt, Not Loan Rates, Is the Bigger Issue

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

As politicians stumble over themselves to agree on a legislative no-brainer — keeping student loan rates low — they are missing a bigger issue for many students and recent graduates: Student loan debt.

In a compelling new opinion piece posted on CNN.com, DIY U author Anya Kamenetz (Chelsea Green, 2010) argues that politicians should be focusing on debt forgiveness, not just keeping loan rates low.

She notes:

Some recent polls have shown that support for Obama among young voters, once Obama’s enthusiastic fans, may be waning in this election compared with four years ago. Student loans are seen by some as the president’s chosen key to regaining their hearts. But really, the issue has been raised for him by the Occupy movement, gearing up this May 1 with a new set of actions focusing on the cost of college and the depredations of the student loan industry.

Additionally, almost 700,000 people have signed a petition sponsored by MoveOn.org for student loan forgiveness, started by lawyer and student-loan debtor Robert Applebaum. And the Student Loan Forgiveness Act of 2012, introduced by U.S. Rep. Hansen Clarke, D-Michigan, last month, is aimed at offering relief.

What’s at stake here is the basic equation of the American dream: Hard work plus merit equals opportunity. As usually happens, hard times have led to cuts in support to public education and attendant tuition hikes. Young people are graduating into a dismal job market with an average of more than $25,000 in debt. Loan default rates were up sharply last year, and many graduates are questioning the value of their education. In eight years of covering and advocating for student debtors, I’ve never seen such a level of public outcry.

In lieu of this renewed, election year interest in young folks (ahem) we here at Chelsea Green are offering a free download of a particularly salient chapter from Kamenetz’s 2010 book that leads off with – ironically enough – candidate Barack Obama at a Hofstra University forum on the rising cost of higher education.

Kamenetz then walks readers through just how this generation of students is facing some of the most crushing debtloads in order to attend post-secondary institutions. She also expertly lays out a three-part plan to reduce the overall cost of higher ed in the United States, including a call to restore free college tuition. Colleges didn’t always cost so much, and there are even some out there today where students graduate debt-free. What a concept.

Chapter 3 – Economics, An Excerpt from DIY U: Edupunks, Edupreneurs, and the Coming Transformation of Highe…

The Hell Child: Citizens United Enters the Terrible Twos

Saturday, January 21st, 2012

Today marks the second anniversary of the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad U.S. Supreme Court decision known as Citizens United. Yes, it’s true, our little devil-may-care campaign spending hellion is now entering his terrible twos.

And it shows.

If any one felt as if the United States was a plutocracy wearing democracy as a fig leaf, Citizens United stripped away the remaining fragments of illusion and laid it all bare. The problem, is do enough people actually care?

Cries from the dozens of Occupy Wall Street protests and encampments around the country included calls for an end to the influence of limitless corporate donations on our elections, if not an end to the notion that somehow corporations are people. I mean, really, can they be turned into Soylent Green? I think not.

If you think we’ve seen the worst of big-money influence on our elections, think again: Read this eye-popping report from our pals at AlterNet, which outlines just how much money some corporations are prepared to spend — and others to earn — thanks to Citizens United.

How to stop it?

It’s not as easy as it seems, as Stephen Rosenfeld points out at Alternet, but the Internet-wide effort to thwart proposed “piracy” legislation gives some hope that a focused, concerted “strike” against those in power can have a positive, if potentially short-term, effect and victory.

The electoral system is rigged against actual populist uprisings and what ordinary folks want from their politicians and the government. In this game, free speech is most protected for those who can spend more. Most of us can’t pump unlimited monies into a SuperPAC — or have a platform like satirist  Stephen Colbert to mock these Hydra-esque offshoots of Citizens United.

As Gina Kim at Moyers.com points out in this great interview with Ellen Miller of the Sunlight Foundation, there may be ways in which we can bring greater attention to the companies and individuals donating to these SuperPACs as a way to better inform voters about who’s behind these groups. Legislation is in the works that would force donors to be listed publicly. Gee, imagine that!

A recent court ruling in California gives hope that local laws aimed at blunting the worst effects of Citizens United can be written in such a way as to stand the test of a court challenge.

We need more local efforts like that out of San Diego to combat Citizens United as it’s likely attempts at the federal level will meet with strong resistance by those who benefit from the status quo created under Citizens United.

Here in Vermont, lawmakers recently introduced a resolution — which, if adopted would be the first of its kind by a state legislature — calling on Congress to initiate a constitutional amendment to undo the damage of Citizens United. Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has launched a petition calling for support of just such a constitutional amendment — one that he’s introduced in the Senate. Close to 190,000 people have signed the petition so far — have you? You should.

There’s also a statewide effort in Vermont to get folks on Town Meeting Day to also call on Congress to amend the constitution. The state’s largest city has already approved the question to be placed on its ballot. More are expected to follow suit this month. Town meetings are held in communities across the state in March and, while not binding votes, can help to send a clear message to policymakers about what citizens expect from their government.

You should be asking your local representatives and elected officials to be doing the same.

If I recall correctly, the preamble to the Constitution reads, “We the People …” not “We the People Corporations … .”

A Strike for Internet Freedom

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

We’ve been asked by some of our readers if Chelsea Green will go on strike today in solidarity with dozens of larger sites, and hundreds of smaller ones, protesting two proposed pieces of federal legislation that have the potential to greatly infringe upon the Internet and free speech.

The answer is no, we’re not blacking out the site, but we do stand with our fellow online free speech advocates and organizations in opposing the legislation and support efforts to ensure these bills never see the light of day.

Besides, today is more like holding up a protest sign in the street. A good start, but to really ensure the government doesn’t quash free speech and access to information on the Internet action must be taken.

This site has a list of the major players who are on “strike” today to protest these bills — largely because they are rightly concerned with the government given too much leeway to shut down websites allegedly selling pirated material. There is little in the bill that actually combats piracy, rather it gives large companies more tools to shut down sites they deem a threat and using the government and the courts as their sledgehammer.

The bills are known as SOPA and PIPA and they stand for the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), which is in the U.S. House, and the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA), which is in the U.S. Senate.  ProPublica has a cool feature that shows you where your Representatives and Senators stand on the bill.

If you don’t like what you read, drop ‘em a line and let ‘em know. Congress reconvenes on Monday and the Senate vows to take up the legislation despite growing outcry over key provisions.

Here in Vermont, our senior senator U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy, a Democrat, is the lead Senate sponsor of PIPA. He also chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee that has jurisdiction over the legislation.

Leahy has collected hundreds of thousands of dollars from lobbyists and organizations who have been pushing SOPA and PIPA. And, last fall the Directors Guild of America feted Leahy in New York City for his “unflagging commitment to safeguarding the content created by DGA members and others in the creative and business communities against the ravages of digital theft and counterfeiting.” Read: He did our bidding and how we’re going to throw him a party.

More than a dozen groups that promote free speech — including the American Library Association and Reporters Without Borders — are urging the Senate Judiciary Committee to tone down the proposed law.

In a May letter to Leahy, the coalition wrote that the bill “makes nearly every actor on the Internet potentially subject to enforcement orders under the bill, raising new policy questions regarding government interference with online activity and speech.”

If pissing off librarians wasn’t enough for Leahy and his ilk, they’ve since upset major Internet companies, too.

Here are a few great sites where you can learn more about the dangers lurking in SOPA and PIPA , including the Electronic Frontier Foundation. The EFF has also set up an easy way for you to contact your federal representatives and voice your opposition to these bills.

As EFF notes, today is just the start of a series of actions. Some of the bigger efforts come next week when the House and Senate return from their “recess” and take up the legislation.

Though Leahy has offered to dump some of the more controversial sections of the legislation, expect the bill to rear its ugly head again. PIPA, in fact, was simply another Internet censorship bill — the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act — gussied up and given a new name. COICA never came up for a full Senate vote, and died a natural death at the end of the last session of Congress. Let’s hope the same happens with PIPA.

Yesterday Leahy castigated the strike, calling it an act of self-censorship that misstates the intent of PIPA. He urged his colleagues to debate and approve the bill next week.

All I can say is that if this “strike” is successful in mobilizing enough people to kill this bill, perhaps we should be thinking more broadly about physical, national strikes across all sectors of the economy to protest bad government policies. You know, the policies that seem to only benefit the 1 percent and leave us 99 percenters behind.

Just a thought.


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