Projects

EcoBirth Projects 
  • Connecting my environmental lineage and legacy to the true story of my place in life
  • Mapping your environmental legacy
  • Guarding the Rights of Future Generations
  • One Natural Lifefest-caring for the well being of our world

Scope of Storytelling project:

Guiding women to explore what influences the environment has had on their mothers and grandmothers and may have on their children and grandchildren. Creating a digital story with family and home place photos and a narrative of the specifics of where each ancestor was born, how they were born and how their health was connected to their place and time. Show an interactive map where their children and grandchildren live now with verifiable toxins influencing their current health, calculating risk factors for their future health. Empowering each woman to create what is worthy of her time and gifts, enabling her to live a life of meaning in a better world.

Themes to be explored by each storyteller:

Maternal lineage and legacy is an immutable connection and a sacred bond
Environmental effects can pass from generation to generation, involuntarily, which is not a lifestyle choice or genetic determination
Where you are matters-your place in our eco home affects your body and two generations after you
A cultures’ birth system is a reflection of its care for women, babies and earth

Reflections encouraged:

We are all connected in one vulnerable system
Natural cycles are being adulterated, including human birth and the life-force in our seeds and soil
Our institutions and industry do not function for the well being of the world, we need a precautionary principle
A sense of agency, hope, holiness and community will enable us to change the world
Compassion and motherly love is the model, courage and action is essential

Outcomes of project:

Each woman understands her intimate connection to her ancestors which supports her own authentic self and empowers her sense of agency to create a better world. She has a sense of community with all women and her fellow creature kin and her living environment.  She understands the burden and joy of motherhood which motivates her to pick a project to work on for social action that reflects her passion and specific skills and gifts.

 For more in depth information, visit the website:

My Personal Environmental Story

A Project of EcoBirth-Women for Earth and Birth

Purpose: A safer, healthier, non-toxic world by empowering women to create place-based stories of their personal environmental genealogy which will be used for environmental health advocacy outreach.

Outcome: By writing their own environmental stories, participants will

1.       Experience a heightened awareness of the personal and societal levels of environmental effects on themselves and their lineage and legacy.
2.       Move toward a shift in consciousness regarding their own responsibility for improving environmental health.
3.       Affiliate with a community of women creating social change to sustain healthy, caring humans and a healed earth home.

Within 2 years, 10 workshops will be conducted, with 100 alumnae launching their own social change projects.  An online community will be developed, housing multimedia My Personal Environmental Stories, which will be the central location for sharing stories. Affiliated sponsoring organizations will be able to use the stories to advocate for an environmentally healthier, non-toxic world.

Process: Two-day residential workshops will be conducted by experienced facilitators with up to 15 participants. Participants will write a personal narrative of their mother’s and maternal grandmother’s environmental legacy of 300- 800 words. The workshop method will guide the participants in a communal imaginative process of discovery and connection and offer guidance in story development. A video will be created for each participant and for the use of the affiliated sponsoring organizations for advocacy outreach.
 
EcoBirth-Women for Earth and Birth is sponsoring "My Personal Environmental Story" to enable women to connect to their ancestors, our Mother Earth and all life through exploring their environmental genealogy.  In telling their own story, women will realize that their place in the immutable lineage of humankind gives them the strength and passion to protect and care for all future life.

Why a Storytelling Project?

Storytelling is the oldest art, it emanates from one’s heart and mind connecting to the same in the listeners, creating community, empathy and shared catharsis. As National Storytelling Festival founder and International Storytelling Center President Jimmy Neil Smith has observed, “There is no substitute for the power, simplicity, and basic truth of a well-told story, as millions of story lovers all over the world know.”  The bards of yore likewise knew that simple fact. Indeed, because people throughout the ages have treasured well-spun yarns, the oral narrative has experienced a remarkable renaissance in recent decades.
Scientific studies have shown the effects of storytelling to be physiological as well as emotional.  According to a 2010 Princeton University study, our brains are hardwired to connect to other humans through story. MRI scans have shown stimulation in the same brain areas for the teller and the listener, a correlation that could prompt a deeper understanding between teller and listener. Stories can counteract “psycho-physical numbing” which makes less personal issues, like environmental toxins or global warming, difficult for listeners to grasp. “Environmental phenomena can have little visceral, emotional meaning for the public unless they are also presented by way of stories and images”, says University of Oregon professor Paul Slovic.  

Sharing stories can lead to positive change.

“Personal narratives can touch viewers deeply, moving them to reflect on their own experiences, modify their behavior, treat others with greater compassion, speak out about injustice, and become involved in civic and political life. Whether online, in social media or local communities, or at the institutional/policy level, the sharing of stories has the power to make a real difference”. Per The Center for Digital Storytelling in Berkeley, CA

Promotes healing for the storyteller and listener

According to psychologist James Pennebaker, author of The Secret Life of Pronouns,   “When you look at a problem from a range of different points of view, you begin to separate yourself from it. That helps you create distance from painful emotions.” Each storyteller may feel despair or anger when the effects of involuntary environmental influences, possibly passed on inter-generationally, are explored by them personally within their own lives and lineage. Each person’s story becomes an increasingly important source of meaning and identity. With this multi-generational approach, My Personal Environmental Story, will connect women to their maternal lines, before them and after them. And by the act of exploring their genealogy within the prism of local environments and telling that intimate narrative, they will be released from the negative emotions produced and come to a realization of their proper place in this world and their power to make a better world.

A good story is…

A good story structure is, according to Ira Glass, “This happened, then this happened and then this happened, and this is what it means”. Terrence McNally, a Los Angeles-based consultant and radio host and a former actor and director, tells his clients, a good story has “at least one flesh-and-blood character, scenes where people are exchanging dialogue and a question that gets answered or something changes.”  Pretty simple, but telling stories that are moving, personal and true, are the best way to connect and advocate for the common good of a clean environment, healthy bodies and happy babies within our present culture of oversaturated media and institutional disregard.

Why EcoBirth’s My Personal Environmental Story

EcoBirth’s My Personal Environmental Story will help women tell their life story by considering the two primary environments- place and birth- for themselves, their mothers and their maternal grandmothers. Through this process each participant will come to realize the hazards in their environmental genealogy and realize the healing in telling their own story.  And they will be empowered to affect the changes that are necessary for our Mother Earth and our children and grandchildren to thrive.
Imagine looking back to your grandmother's and mother's birth time to figure out what environmental influences you might have inherited? And have passed onto your children and grandchildren? Would you wonder what was in the air, water and food in their lives- and look twice at what diseases, birth defects, addictions there are in your family?  

My Personal Environmental Story Project Overview

In support of EcoBirth’s mission to relate Earth and Birth so all will be well, this plan brings grassroots  participants, affiliated organizations and state of the art technology together in outreach activities to engage women in the US  in creating place-based stories of their environmental genealogy. We rely on the importance of story, the love of place and the respect for our ancestors and the use of technologies old and new to create community and an enduring memoir of the importance of our maternal lines. The stories will be used to advocate public stances to eliminate toxins in our world and enable clean environments for the well being of all life on earth.

Educational Outreach Goals

-Create new models of motivation for social change by connecting women to place and to their ancestry and their own self narratives.
-Enable participants to share their stories of personal connection to their environment through multi-generational relationships and understanding of the hazards of the adulteration that has been done to the earth and their own bodies.
-Provide participants access to their shared history with local environments and through this engagement to facilitate a deep appreciation of place and its importance in creating a better world for their progeny.
-Use state of the art social technologies to influence others to become actively involved in creating a safer, cleaner world.

Project Outcomes

-Within two years, creation of 100 interactive maps and 100 narratives of My Personal Environmental Story.
-Posting of stories on the My Personal Environmental Story website/platform online.
-Integration of My Personal Environmental Story video storytelling and interactive mapping strategies into 10 affiliated sponsoring organizations programs and services and outreach advocacy.
-100 participants launching their own social change projects

Creating  My Personal Environmental Story

Facilitators will guide women to explore what influences the environment has had on their mothers and grandmothers and may have on their children and grandchildren. They will create a story with family and home place photos and a narrative of the specifics of where each ancestor was born, how they were born and how their health was connected to their place and time. A resource interactive map will be available where their children and grandchildren live now with verifiable toxins influencing their current health, calculating risk factors for their future health.

Themes to be explored by each storyteller:

The environment is personal
Maternal lineage and legacy is an immutable connection and a sacred bond
Environmental effects can pass from generation to generation, involuntarily, which is not a lifestyle choice or genetic determination
Where you are matters-your place in our eco home affects your body and two generations after you
A cultures’ birth system is a reflection of its care for women, babies and earth

Reflections encouraged:

We are all connected in one vulnerable system
Natural cycles are being adulterated, including human birth and the life-force in our seeds and soil
Our institutions and industry do not function for the well being of the world, we need a precautionary principle to prove a product  is safe before it is introduced for use
A sense of agency, hope, holiness and community will enable us to change the world
Compassion and motherly love is the model, courage and action is essential

Outcomes of project:

Each woman understands her intimate connection to her ancestors which supports her own authentic self and empowers her sense of agency to create a better world. She has a sense of community with all women and her fellow creature kin and her living environment.  She is motivated to pick a project to work on for social action that reflects her passion and specific skills and gifts.

How to start your story

Try these questions first to explore your environmental story:
What is your maternal grandmother's name, where and when was she born and what is her birth story?
 Do you have a photo of her as a baby? And any old photos of her birthplace?
 Can you find a current photo of her birthplace? Try googling her address.
Where did your maternal grandmother get her name?
What was happening during your grandmother's time- during her gestation and lifetime?
What environment did she grow up in? Physical and psychological?

What is your mother's name, where and when was she born and what is her birth story?
 Do you have a photo of her as a baby? And any old photos of her birthplace?
 Can you find a current photo of her birthplace? Try googling her address
Where did your mother get her name?
What was happening during your mother's time- during her gestation and lifetime?
What environment did she grow up in? Physical and psychological?

Have you found an icon that is multi-generational to represent a part of your story graphically? 

Refer to My Personal Environmental Story for more info- like what really is happening to create this inherited expression from your mother and grandmother- under the Science of it. And check out some history sources under the History of it. Under the Psychology of it tab you will find some fascinating sources on prenatal and perinatal influences on our psychological health.
There is a pantheon of sources to find out where there are environmental influences today, mostly created by government agencies dedicated to our well-being under the Map it tab.
The Acting on it tab lists some of the pertinent activist organizations that women may want to support.

Before participating in the project:

Bring a photo of your mother and maternal grandmother, yourself and your children and grandchildren. Bring an object that represents your relationship with them. Know the dates and birth town and birthplace and birth experience of your mother and maternal grandmother. 
Explore Google Maps, to look for your mothers and grandmothers birthplaces and towns. See The Map of it My Personal Environmental Story
Create a Historypin My Personal Environmental Story account and upload your photos if you can, or bring your photos and we will scan them for uploading.
Look up your ancestry on Ancestry.com, we will help you get further into the resources on genealogy online
Research history timeline, science and psychology tabs on My Personal Environmental Story

During the workshop you will:

See an example of My Personal Environmental Story, write a narrative story of 150-300 words, with photos and maps. You will use a central image, or figure or icon to highlight your story. Your spoken word will be woven together with images, sound effects and music to create a multi-media piece that represents the experience of your environmental lineage.
Receive help exploring your ancestry from available resources.
Have your story videotaped and uploaded to You Tube and Flickr and become a part of the Historypin My Personal Environmental Story collection and tour and My Personal Environmental Story website.
Have a content-rich placemark in Google Maps, including embedding: A Digital Story(uploaded to Google video) informational links, explanatory text, audio files (created or found)and video files or still images (created or found).

After the workshop you will be able to:

-Have a stronger sense of your own gifts and capabilities to create a safer, healthier and loving world for your children and grandchildren.
-Be an integral part of a community of women who are striving to create a caring world for all life.
-Be able to share your multimedia story with others online.
-Support inspiring organizations that are working in alignment with your values by allowing them to share your My Personal Environmental Story for their advocacy efforts.
- Be a Beloved Ancestor.

Declaration of Interdependence for EcoBirth

30 minute full presentation of My Personal Environmental Story

Interview about Women's Congress for Future Generations