Sostane Blog

Archives for the ‘Portland Meetings’

Portland September Meeting: Why Women are Green Leaders

TOPIC: Why are women leaders in the environmental movement?


We did introductions and then had lively banter about concepts and ideas from the book Women in Green: Voices of Sustainable Design by Kira Gould and Lance Hosey. We discussed and shared insights about being women and how that influences our thoughts, problem-solving approach and perspective on the environment.


The main themes we discussed from the book were: Right Brain vs Left Brain, Approaches to Problem Solving, and the Nature of Women. Here are the details:

  • Right Brain vs. Left Brain – Each of us had stories demonstrating how men think in a more linear, logical, left brain way; whereas women approach things more holistically and include emotion, memory, experience and consequences to their thought process. Quotes from the book supported these findings and offered some insights beyond our shared experiences.
  • Approaches to Problem Solving – Similarly, we shared stories about differences among genders and how we get to a solution. We referenced passages from the book as well as real life tales of men not considering the same kinds of criteria in a problem that women often include. We discussed how our self-confidence can hinder or accentuate our problem solving abilities. Specifically sharing tales about having confidence to know you can tackle a problem and needing that to be able to jump in vs. how men sometimes jump in first and try to figure out if they have the tools to solve it as an afterthought.
  • Nature of Women – Again, we discussed sections of the book that highlight how women are caregivers, nurturing people and how that approach is required to heal the damage we have created. We talked about the sphere of the earth and the womb and our curvy, encompassing features. Our chat supported assertions in the book about motherhood and the holistic approach required to raise a child (physical, mental, emotional needs of children all being tended to simultaneously)

We ended with some concluding statements about what we got out of the discussion and meeting each other and the benefits we are building with the SOSTANE network. We talked about leveraging femininity and all of its attributes as an asset/competitive advantage, not just a consideration. Like all the rest of the tools we bring to our careers, we also bring our feminine superpower to think and approach things in our unique way. :)


Keely (facilitator), Carol (meetup member) and Lia (meetup member)

Portland February Meeting: Living with Less


What have you removed from your life to bring you more happiness?

This month we held our meeting in the new Laughing Planet location in the Ecotrust building. A little cold, but wonderful somewhat sunny Saturday afternoon.


Tangible Items

Almost half of our attendees could relate to moving in the last few years, long or short distances. Brie recalled her story of getting all of her boxes and packing materials from a family who had just moved, used them on her trip out east and then completed the cycle by giving them to another family who was getting ready to move. It’s almost as if those boxes had a long story of their own!

We all related on the many ways to donate and get rid of items we no longer need: Freecycle, CraigsList, Goodwill, Salvation Army and garage sales. None of us missed our old stuff and we all felt freer for doing so. Jennifer related that she had one room in her home that she purposely left empty and loves it. Maybe you could do the same and turn it into a mediation, dance or partying space.


Brie and a few others could relate on signing up for Green Dimes (now Tonic) and have found a definite reduction in junk mail. You can also do this at a few other site: Do Not Mail, Catalog Choice, 41 Pounds, and the DIY version at the Direct Marketing Association. It was also mentioned that you can feed your shredded papers to your worm bin. Never thought of that! Of course, you have to keep in mind the amount you are feeding them.

Some other ways of keeping items out of our homes, but still in our lives, was to use the library. You can borrow so many movies, documentaries, music, books and other entertainment and never have to keep a collection in your own home. Granted, you may need to wait for some of the latest releases but it’s free!


Local Experiences

Jennifer brought up how she would like to create a bike machine that could provide her with energy using her existing bike. Most businesses are trying to sell the whole machine, but we should be able to buy just a few parts to transform our existing assets. If anyone has any information on how to do this, please contact us!

We also touched upon low price or free yoga instruction and it was mentioned that Portland City Parks holds yoga classes in your local parks. We weren’t able to find a link for it as they were still showing their winter schedules, so if anyone has a good link, please let us know! You can also find instructional videos at the library or some studios hold a free class or two to let you find out more about their services. Here is a good example from January that allowed 21 free classes and you could try out 21 different instructors, seeing which one best fit you.

You could also try finding others to skill share with. Maybe you can provide some services for their services in return.

Brie also shared with us that she had done a presentation for her local Toastmasters group about living green and was surprised with how many people were interested and had questions for her after the presentation. Although we all may share our experiences in our green circles, it’s when we step out of them and share with others that we are spreading the message.

Wrapping Up

A book worth checking out: The Gort Cloud by Richard Seireeni

Barbara shared an upcoming event with City Repair and the Humanities Sustainability Research Project. Cheryl shared her new about Leave No Plastic Behind and her efforts to live plastic free for three months. See if you can take up the challenge!

Attending sisters were Kelly, Barbara, Brie, Cheryl, Siobahn, Jennifer and Kaytlyn. Great meeting everyone. Always inspiring.

Portland January Meeting: Looking Back, Moving Forward


Our kickoff meeting in Portland (woo hoo!) at the Ecotrust building. We would have had it at Laughing Planet, but they were not open yet so we found a great spot in the atrium.

Looking Back

How did you green your live last year?

Many sisters had participated in their local CSAs, purchasing from thrift stores, buying locally, and supporting local groups. Cheryl told us about her involvement with Leave No Plastic Behind and Hannah relayed info about her Q19 Greening cleaning company.

Many of us had expanded our personal gardens with bigger plans in the coming months. Composting, worm-bins, growing your own food. It was a hard year for tomatoes, but we were looking forward to this next year.

Some of our holiday giving last season was done through Heifer International and allowed us to connect with younger members of the family due to their “give a goat” or “give a duck” campaigns. A great way to introduce children to farming, sustainability and social impact.


Moving Forward

What do you have planned for next year?

Since Brie was new to the area, she appreciated learning about all the local resources such as the closest CSAs and Farmers Markets, New Seasons Markets, Portland’s Bright Neighbors, Tryon Life Community Farm, Free School Portland, and more. Barbara was a great resource in telling us all about these local avenues to source your food or to get more involved in your community. She seems to be connected with everyone! But we were amazed how many resources everyone brought to the table. We were all interested in finding more ways to trade products and services, either through bartering or skill trade.

Cheryl was also brave enough to put her idea out into the world of a grocery store that has no containers or plastic. We loved this idea and will help and cheer her on in any way possible. We know she can do it.

Sisters who attended: Hannah, Brie, Cheryl, Melora, Barbara, Kathryn, Kathy and Kaytlyn. Great meeting everyone. Thanks for making the table in the atrium work and your enthusiasm to start up this group!