Letter from Publisher for January 2018

Note: In a timely manner, with the birth of a New Year, Natural Awakenings has a new look. As you page through its contents, you may notice the subtle yet strategically thought-out upgrades in appearance. As always, we strive to keep you on the cutting edge of preventative, healthy and eco-friendly technologies, products and services.

Wow, 2018! Like everyone else I talk to, I feel like I’m living in a time warp. Has time actually sped up or is it just our perception? 2017 has been a year of so many changes and unexpected upsets. The “Me, too” movement burst onto the scene with most of us thinking it was all about a Hollywood mogul wielding power over young women for sexual favors.

It turned out to be the beginning of a solidarity movement with women recognizing their own individual self-worth and collective power. It spread beyond one well-known Hollywood mover-and-shaker to respected and trusted media figures, and then on to the halls of Congres—with reports that what we have seen to date is just the tip of the iceberg. If that’s true, 2018 may well be a year that will set in motion a new paradigm.

My hope is that as a people we will understand that our world has been out of balance with masculine energy, and this is simply a much-needed reset to restore feminine energy to the world. I was born shortly after the end of World War II and there has been only a handful of years when the US has not been involved in some type of war or conflict.

I know there are many that say these are times that call for a well-prepared military capable of swift action. That may be the case. However, the money devoted to military spending is mind numbing. According to the Peter J. Peterson foundation, in 2014 the US military budget topped out at $610 billion—that’s $9 billion more than the collective defense spending of China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, France, the United Kingdom, India and Germany combined.

Isn’t it time we took a closer look at some serious strategies that would promote peace? There actually have been bills introduced to Congress over the years that called for just that. In fact, in 2017 the senior democratic senator from New Hampshire, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, introduced S.1141: Women, Peace and Security Act of 2017. It was signed by President Obama and enacted into law on October 6, 2017. The bill requires the President to submit a government-wide “Women, Peace, and Security Strategy” within one year of enactment, and again four years later, describing how the U.S. will promote and strengthen women’s participation in peace negotiations and conflict prevention overseas.

The bill also requires the State Department, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Department of Defense to train personnel in matters related to the President’s strategy. Additionally, the bill encourages the State Department and USAID to establish guidelines by which overseas personnel will consult with stakeholders regarding efforts to resolve conflict and promote women’s participation in the mediation and negotiation process. Finally, the bill requires the State Department to brief the appropriate congressional committees on training regarding the participation of women in conflict resolution, and requires the President to evaluate and report to Congress on the strategy’s impact.

Given the current political climate, it may seem like a small beacon of light in a dark and endless tunnel. But, like the “Me, too” movement, sometimes a drop of water can create a tidal wave.

Peace and Blessings,
Roberta Bolduc