Index - June, 2013

Vermont's Bill McKibben: Climate Warrior

by Rickey Gard Diamond

Bill, you were among the first to write about climate change for a general audience, and you've written many books since then—and yet carbon emissions continue to rise. Canada, which had been one the 33 nations that signed the Kyoto Protocol (unlike the U. S.), not only failed to meet commitments, it rejected the agreement's extension when it discovered tar sands and a new way to make money. China and India are now leading the U.S. in burning fossil fuels, trying to follow in our footsteps of energy consumption to grow their economies and "make money." What can Vermont women do to help nations—especially the U.S.—develop smarter energy sources?

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There Goes the Neighborhood: Tar Sands and You

by Rickey Gard Diamond

Deb Miller and Susan Connolly of Michigan are newly made environmental activists. They live on the banks of the Kalamazoo River, where the most-costly-inland-oil-spill-ever dumped 880,000 gallons of oil in 2010. Until then, neither woman had known that under their river was an oil pipeline, much less that the pipe was cracked. Enbridge Energy Company knew; they had discovered their pipeline's crack in 2005, and did nothing. They later testified that all the standards in place for their industry had been met.

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Bill McKibben

Photo: Nancie Bataglia


"Breached" by Sally Linder

Publisher's Message: Coming Home to Vermont

by Sue Gillis, Vermont Woman Publisher

Reading Tomas Young's The Last Letter from a Dying Veteran addressed to George W. Bush and Dick Cheney brought me to tears and anguish and despair. I recognized why when, just a few days ago, I was again roiled into a sickened rage after reading a Huff Post's Jon Ward interview with "W" while he was out in Crawford, Texas, mountain biking with 13 vets, four of whom had visible war injuries.

Ward asked Bush if he felt responsible for the injuries suffered by the men he was hosting and riding with. Bush remarked, "Well, to a certain extent you can't help it, because had I not made decisions I made, they wouldn't have been in combat... On the other hand, every one of these men were volunteers. None of them are angry. They themselves don't blame anybody. And so I believe strongly that the decisions I made were the right decisions, you know? I knew going in that there were bad consequences to war. That's why, if people study my decision, they would recognize I tried to solve the problems diplomatically."

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Photo: Jan Doerler

Activist Art Transcends Climate Change

by Allison Teague

"Where are the books? The poems? The plays? The goddamn operas? ...when people someday look back on our moment, the single most significant item will doubtless be the sudden spiking temperature. But they'll have a hell of a time figuring out what it meant to us."
—Bill McKibben, April 2005, "Art Sweet Art"

​Eight years after Bill McKibben, the founder of the grassroots organization, penned this quote, artists of all genres are finally heeding his clarion call. Artists are convening in Montpelier this June to tell the emotional side of being human in a changing climate. What it is like to live with climate change? They are showing us their hope and despair in an exquisite outpouring of inspired, activist eco-art.

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climate art

Photo: Pablo S. Aguilar

#2 Vermont Woman Special Series:
Green Mountain Care Board Profiles

Con Hogan: Seasoned Elder of Green Mountain Care Board

by Roberta Nubile

Cornelius Hogan is a modern renaissance man. His experiences range from being a corrections officer to a musician, from published writer to corporate head, from farmer to government official. Widely known in Vermont by his nickname, Con Hogan is now the wise and seasoned elder of the Green Mountain Care Board, helping to turn Vermont's burgeoning health care reform into public reality.

​When I drove up to Con and Jeannette Hogan's home on a dirt road in Plainfield, I looked for the horses I had read about on Con's website. Seeing none, I assumed he no longer had time for horses. In fact, the couple still runs East Hill Farm's boarding and training stable with the help of their daughter, Ruth Hogan-Poulsen and trainer Kathie Moulton. I got to see the horses after the interview, pastured just down the road.

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Con and Jeanette

Photo: Jan Doerler

Judy Tartaglia: A Financial CEO Who Values Patients

by Rickey Gard Diamond

My astonished husband first told me about Central Vermont Medical Center's then-new CEO and President. Judy Tartaglia welcomed the domestic violence training he was there to offer to medical staff as prevention educator for Circle, Washington County's organization for such services. She gave the impression that she thought her job was to enable all hospital staff to better serve patients. Imagine. Tartaglia had even moved her offices down from a windowed top view into humbler basement space, he said.

Now CEOs often talk fine principals on special occasions, but more rarely put them into action. With most multi-million-dollar enterprises, an inaccessible office on the most luxurious top floor will denote the person in charge. I told Tartaglia of my husband's report when I met her for an interview in her small windowless office.

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judy tartaglia
photo: courtesy of CVMC

The Eyes of Ceres: Legislative Summary
New Equal Pay Law Shines, but Hard Struggles Overall

by Cary Brown

​Every year the Vermont legislature sifts through hundreds of bills and administrative budget proposals. This year a number of issues directly touched Vermont women and children. 2013 proved to be a noteworthy year for women's economic equity with both the passage of an equal pay law, and a House and Senate struggle to balance budget constraints with the needs of low-income families, often headed by women. The budget and a number of other bills will have an impact on women and families.

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Tech Connection: "Girl Develop It" Embraces Geek Culture

by Lauren Lavallee, Vermont Woman's - technology columnist

Ready to meet some extraordinary women? Roll up your sleeves, and plunge into the growing world of technology. Women in tech is a hot topic. And women of different experience levels are gaining valuable skill sets to advance their careers, to prepare for career changes, or just to network for personal development—all through a tech group called Girl Develop It Burlington.

Girl Develop It, a non-profit begun in New York, runs classes designed for women who want to learn computer programming and technical skills in a social and collaborative environment. GDI's name plays with the word "IT," for information technology. "IT" becomes "it."

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Lessons in the Good Life from Pransky
and Sue Halpern

by Sheryl Rapée-Adams

A Dog Walks into a Nursing Home: Lessons in the Good Life from an Unlikely Teacher by Sue Halpern, 2013
Riverhead Books of Penguin Group

Pransky is a Labrador-poodle mix that Vermont author Sue Halpern describes as “a wavy blonde with velvet ears” and eager eyes “below a pair of bushy eyebrows that [make] her look wise and professorial.” The description is apt; Pransky is the teacher, as well as the star, of this story.

In Halpern’s newest book, A Dog Walks into a Nursing Home, she and her dog Pransky (named for Halpern’s mother) train and get tested for certification through Therapy Dogs International. The book then traces their Tuesday visits with the residents of a long-term care facility near her home that Halpern calls County.

Halpern writes, "After our bodies were done with us, what remained? If we were lucky, someone to tell our stories. So I will tell you about Fran and Lizzie and Dan and Thomas and the others Pransky and I met at County who are gone now…." Halpern demonstrates a few virtues herself.

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