Omega in Action

Omega in Action highlights inspiring people and organizations making meaningful change. From protecting the environment to empowering women, healing veterans, and serving nonprofits, you'll find fresh perspectives, trending news, and the latest information on noteworthy events here at Omega and around the world.

Omega Joins 400,000 for People's Climate March

2 months 3 weeks ago

This past Sunday, September 21, an estimated 400,000 people took to the streets of Manhattan to show their support for strong action on climate change. The Omega Center for Sustainable Living was proud to take part with fellow marchers.

As an organization we joined with well over a thousand other businesses, unions, faith groups, and environmental organizations, all sending a clear message to the governmental leaders assembled this week during the United Nations Climate Summit: We need strong, scientifically meaningful, and decisive action on climate change. Our future and the future of our children depends on it. 

The People’s Climate March was by far the largest environmental demonstration in history, exceeding organizers’ expectations many times over. As 350.org cofounder and Where We Go From Here speaker, Bill McKibbentweeted:

“Remind any politician you see: this was the largest political gathering about anything in the US in a very very long time. About anything!”

To everyone who joined in, either in New York City, or in any of the hundreds of solidarity demonstrations around the world, thank you. 


Join Us! People’s Climate March • 9/21 • NYC

3 months 6 days ago
The People’s Climate March well may be the largest mobilization of people in history to urge our political leaders to take strong and (hopefully) legally binding action on climate change.
 
In New York City, just prior to the annual United Nations Climate Summit, and coinciding with the events of Climate Week NYC, the streets of Manhattan will be flooded with committed people concerned about their future, their children’s future, and the future of humanity and all life on this planet. 
 
The Omega Center for Sustainable Living (OCSL) will be there. We hope you’ll join us, either in person in New York City, or in spirit at an event near you.
 
In the words of the event organizers:
 
“With our future on the line and the whole world watching, we’ll take a stand to bend the course of history. We’ll take to the streets to demand the world we know is within our reach: A world with an economy that works for people and the planet; a world safe from the ravages of climate change; a world with good jobs, clean air and water, and healthy communities.”
 
In supporting this historic event, the OCSL is partnering with over 1,000 businesses, unions, faith groups, and environmental organizations to urge world leaders, in both government and business, to take decisive, scientifically meaningful action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. There is no time to lose.
 
Read more about the logistical details of the People’s Climate March. If you can’t make it to New York City, there are solidarity events organized around the nation and around the world. Please consider taking part in one, or organize one of your own.
 
Our deepest thanks, and, again, please join us in supporting this historic event. 

From the Classroom: Bringing Mindfulness to Kids

3 months 1 week ago

Susan Meyer, scholarship recipient at this year’s Mindfulness and Education Conference, called it a powerful gathering with like-minded educators in a recent blog post about her experience.

“For the past few years, I have felt like a fish out of water in the current educational environment and have questioned how much longer I can continue in the profession,” Meyer wrote.

She now feels invigorated to start the school year with a more conscious approach.

“One of the biggest realizations I brought home from the conference is that if you can’t control anything else in your school environment, the most basic step you can take is to maintain a daily mindfulness practice,” she wrote. “Even if I’m teaching in an environment that doesn’t actively embrace the benefits of mindfulness, I can do it in my room, in whatever capacity I can manage.”

Research continues to show the benefits of bringing mindfulness into classrooms to help both teachers and students cope with the stresses and demands of the education system.

“Teachers cannot solve the whole problem of fixing what is wrong with public education,” she wrote. “But because we are the ones on the front line, we need to cultivate self-compassion—so we can stay in the job!”

In her own classroom, Meyer has a single-person “Quiet Tent” where children can go to retreat for some down time. She now feels inspired to use it as a breathing space, where she can teach them more mindfulness techniques.

A World Where Every Girl Is Valued

3 months 1 week ago

The Chattanoogan recently covered an inspirational local school visit made by Jin In, a 2013 Omega Women’s Leadership Center (OWLC) Intensive and 2014 Women Serving Women Summit participant. 

Jin encouraged the students to vision “a world where every girl is valued and supported to realize her full potential” and “to shift fundamental mindsets and ignite tomorrow’s women leaders.”

For Jin, this is not an abstract notion but a deep call to action rooted in her own childhood, when her widowed mother moved them from Korea to the United States. Through a mentor in her youth, Jin learned that destiny is not determined by gender, but by actions. Now Jin is a mentor, spurring young women to believe that the most powerful force for change in the world is themselves.

Jin In has spoken to organizations and at conferences across the world and worked with the UN Commission on the Status of Women to promote the leadership of young women. She hopes that by speaking to young women directly, she is “passing the baton” to future leaders and change agents.

“The best foreign policy is to develop future leaders, and education is the best platform to teach leadership,” she says. 

Read the full article

 

ACTION ALERT: Omega & the Hudson Valley Need Your Help

3 months 3 weeks ago

Please help preserve the environmental health, cultural heritage, and beauty of the Hudson Valley. Every voice counts—especially now!

The state Public Service Commission (PSC) has released a proposed outline for moving forward new transmission line projects. The proposal basically starts the whole process over—without addressing any concerns raised by the Hudson Valley Smart Energy Coalition (HVSEC) and its member organizations.

We have until Tuesday, September 2 (extension deadline), to tell the PSC there are big problems with this proposal!

In a nutshell, here’s what it contains:

By January 15, developers may submit their original plan, a modified plan or, with no obligation or incentive, an alternative that stays within existing rights-of-way.

Assisted by the New York Independent Systems Operator (NYISO), PSC staff will rank each plan based on six criteria, including amount of increased transfer capability, cost to ratepayers, new rights-of-way needed, and assessment of environmental compatibility, including visual impacts. The proposal gives no indication of how these criteria will be applied or weighted. The rankings, along with recommendations for which projects should proceed, will be submitted to the PSC by March 2, 2015. The public will have only three weeks to respond and comment on the recommendations. 

Under this proposal, 90 percent of the cost of any projects will be passed to downstate customers (including Dutchess County residents) and 10 percent to upstate customers. Furthermore, developers will suffer only 20 percent of the risk of going over budget—with ratepayers picking up the remaining 80 percent of the tab.

Here are HVSEC’s main concerns:

  1. Need. The proposal leaves off the table the question of need. To date, there has been no independent study taking into account trends in electricity usage, technological innovation, parallel generation, and advances in demand-side management. Instead, the process starts from an assumption of need.
  2. Context. There are currently many electricity-related projects and applications proceeding simultaneously in New York, each within its own “silo,” none being considered in the context of others. To avoid duplicative, inefficient, or unnecessary development, there should be a comprehensive state energy policy taking into account all of these initiatives.
  3. Uncertainty to property owners. Hudson Valley property owners will continue suffering economic harm from decreased property value, diminished farmland, stifled tourism, and an uncertain real estate market. The PSC is offering reimbursement to developers for their costs in creating proposals, but offers nothing to businesses, landowners, or communities taking an economic hit during this lengthy process.
  4. NYISO. Although the NYISO has the word “Independent” in its name, there are legitimate concerns about the transparency of its methods. Some feel NYISO’s makeup of previous electricity industry professionals inclines it to favor projects beneficial to the industry. Because this perception exists, NYISO should display maximum transparency regarding its evaluation process and methodology.
  5. Ranking. Although it is encouraging to see right-of-way usage, visual impact, and innovative technologies among the six criteria by which projects would be ranked, there is no mention of how the criteria would be weighted in the selection process. What might be most important to the PSC or NYISO could negatively impact the Hudson Valley’s economic vitality.
  6. Cost allocation. Based on cost allocation proposed in the new document, ratepayers in the area to be economically hardest hit by a new transmission project—the Hudson Valley—also must pay the lion’s share of the costs of selected projects, as well as the vast majority of cost overruns and likely all the expenses of unsuccessful applicants. Having the public assume 80 percent of the financial burden of cost overruns incentivizes developers to come in over budget and discourages efforts on their part to cut costs.

Time is short. This Tuesday, September 2 is the deadline for commenting on this new proposal via the PSC’s website.

We’ve created a shortcut for you. Log onto http://tinyurl.com/psccomments and click on “Post Comments” near the top of the page. You’ll be directed to a form where you can state your concerns.'

To submit comments electronically: You can post your comments here, and see others' comments here

Please don’t delay. Let the PSC know today that their current proposal does not address the major concerns of Hudson Valley residents.

Our deepest thanks.

Omega Staffers Building Rain Garden for Fox Haven Organic Farm

4 months 2 weeks ago

Current Omega seasonal staffer Brandon Sickbert, along with Joe MacDonald, former production crew chief at Omega, have teamed up to design a rain garden for Fox Haven Organic Farm and Learning Center

Sickbert says the experience he gained taking the Barton Kirk and Pete Muñoz rain garden workshop at Omega was instrumental in the project. Both Kirk and Muñoz are teaching another round of participants this year in the Ecological Literacy Immersion Program

“Rain gardens are created to slow water and filter sediment, pollutants, and nutrients before runoff meets groundwater or the creek, protecting our waterways and drinking water,” MacDonald says. “At Fox Haven this rain garden will slow and cleanse the water before reaching the Lewis Mill Creek below, a tributary to Catoctin Creek, which flows into the Potomac River.” 

According to EPA estimates, storm water runoff is responsible for about 70 percent of all water pollution in lakes, rivers, and streams. 

Fox Haven adds, “The garden will be planted with native flowers, shrubs, and trees that will provide valuable habitat for birds, butterflies, and other pollinators—including plants like milkweed to help support a struggling Monarch butterfly population.”

OWLC Attends Netroots Nation

4 months 3 weeks ago

Omega board member, Jamia Wilson, and cofounder of the Omega Women’s Leadership Center and chief external affairs officer at Omega, Carla Goldstein, attended the 9th annual Netroots Nation conference in Detroit, Michigan. At the gathering, more than 3,000 people convened to attend over 80 panels and 40 hands-on training sessions, a film screening series, and other events covering technology, politics, and activism "designed to educate, stimulate, and inspire the nation’s next generation of progressive leaders." The speakers included Elizabeth Warren, who gave the keynote address. 

Netroots Nation aspires each year to bring "thousands of bloggers, newsmakers, social justice advocates, labor and organizational leaders, grassroots organizers and online activists together to make new connections, hone their organizing skills, share best practices, and build stronger relationships with others working on the issues they care most about."

Over the weekend, Carla and Jamia also participated in a walk to raise awareness of the ongoing water crisis for Detroit residents. 

 

Omega’s Eco Machine™ Inspires Sustainable Schools Start-Up

5 months 2 days ago

Hundreds of individuals and groups have toured the Omega Center for Sustainable Living (OCSL) building and Eco Machine™ since the facility opened. Recently Schools for Sustainability (S4S) visited, describing the OCSL in a Huffington Post blog, as “a shining example of green building at its finest.” 

S4S says, “we envision our schools to possess many of the same qualities as the [OCSL]…a vibrant learning environment, a model for positive impact living…a place that exemplifies a healthy interdependence between humans and the planet.” 

Schools for Sustainability, based in Philadelphia and Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, is establishing a residential farm school in Monte Plata on land donated by former president of the Dominican Republic, Leonel Fernández. There they will, “combine education and local food production with comprehensive integrated water, waste, and energy management, that can be demonstrated to the surrounding community.”

One of the aims of S4S is that the model established in this first school will be copied globally. 

S4S cofounder Alyssa Ramos-Reynoso says, “Touring Omega was the perfect chance to learn about an environmentally net-positive water purification system, a technology that we will emulate and teach in our schools.”

Learn more about the OCSL building.

Yoga Service Conference Gets Write Up in YOGAChicago

5 months 2 days ago

Yoga teacher Carol Horton writes about her experience attending the third annual Yoga Service Conference (YSC), copresented by Omega and the Yoga Service Council, in the July/August issue of YOGAChicago. A volunteer teacher with Yoga for Recovery, a nonprofit offering yoga to women in Cook County Jail, she is also cofounder of the Socially Engaged Yoga Network, which supports yoga service and outreach in the Chicago metro area. 

“Having attended every YSC conference since the first one in 2012, it was a pleasure to reconnect with old friends, revisit the beautiful Omega campus, and re-engage with the energy, passion, and commitment that permeates this very unusual yoga gathering,” Horton writes. 

This year’s conference offered panel discussions and workshops to help explore how yoga philosophy and practice can have a bigger impact on social justice issues like inequality, discrimination, and privilege.

The conference created opportunities for those in the yoga service community to build skills and get inspiration from leading teachers who work with people in underserved communities every day. See how yoga has influenced some of their students in this slideshow

Read the full article

Learn more about the Yoga Service Council

Mindfulness Practice Growing Mainstream

5 months 6 days ago

Omega to Offer Mindfulness & Education Conference and More in 2014 

RHINEBECK, NY – Is mindfulness practice the next revolution? According to Time magazine, it may be. From stress reduction to work performance, from the classroom to the boardroom, from relationships to the dinner table—the benefits of mindfulness are now widely recognized. Omega, a leader in the field for more than 35 years, today announced it will hold an important conference and several workshops on this topic in 2014.

“For years we have seen people from all walks of life reap huge benefits from learning how to bring mindfulness practices into their lives, at home, at work, in schools, and in the public arena,” said Carla Goldstein, chief external affairs officer at Omega. “The promise of mindfulness is that we can be more reflective, resilient, and compassionate toward each other as individuals and as a human family,” concluded Goldstein.

The practices of contemplative education, Social and Emotional Learning, and mindfulness are being widely explored in schools throughout the United States. Research continues to show that mindfulness practice decreases stress, attention deficit issues, depression, anxiety, and hostility in children, while also benefiting their health, well-being, social relations, and academic performance.

The Mindfulness & Education Conference, July 25–27, brings together influential leaders in the fields of mindfulness and Social and Emotional Learning (SEL), including psychologists, educators, administrators, and teachers, to explore practical ways to teach mindfulness techniques to children grades K through 12. Internationally renowned speakers will address topics such as implementing mindfulness programs in schools, ways to support Social and Emotional Learning, cultivation of resilience, at-risk youth, and practices that support utilizing the methods of interpersonal neurobiology. Tiered Pricing and continuing education credits are available. Omega awarded 39 full and partial scholarships to the conference, thanks to funding supported in part by the 1440 Foundation, an advised fund of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation.

 

Additional upcoming programs in the field of mindfulness include:

Urban Youth Yoga & Mindfulness, July 2026, with the founders of the Holistic Life Foundation—Ali Smith, Atman Smith, and Andres Gonzalez, along with guest teacher Sharon Salzberg. This workshop shows you how to teach yoga and mindfulness to high-risk and hard-to-reach urban youth. Tiered Pricing and continuing education credits are available for this professional training.

Mindfulness in Education Teacher Training, July 2026, with Daniel Rechtschaffen, author of The Way of Mindful Education. This 5-day workshop helps you gain the skills and confidence you need to bring the many benefits of mindfulness to children in grades K–12. Continuing education credits are available for this professional training.

Mindful Self-Compassion: 5-day Intensive, July 27–August 1, with Steven Hickman and Michelle Becker. Self-compassion is a skill that can be learned by anyone. It’s the heart of mindfulness. This workshop is particularly valuable for health-care professionals and nonprofessionals who want an in-depth experience of mindful self-compassion. Continuing education credits are available for this intensive.

Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT): A 5-Day Professional Training for the Prevention of Depression Relapse, August 10–15, with Zindel Segal and Susan Woods. This is an innovative group program designed to prevent relapse in people who have recovered from unipolar depression. Based on the research of Drs. Zindel Segal, John Teasdale, and Mark Williams, and documented in their book Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Depression, this professional training combines the practice and clinical application of mindfulness meditation with the tools of cognitive therapy. Continuing education credits are available for this professional training.

Mindful Communication: The Path of Wise Speech, August 17–22, with Oren J. Sofer. Mindfulness and loving-kindness meditation, the Buddha's teachings on wise speech, and the contemporary discipline of Nonviolent Communication (NVC) collectively form a powerful foundation for cultivating awareness and empathy, strengthening our ability to be skillful in challenging situations, and developing our capacity to listen and speak from the heart. Tiered Pricing and continuing education credits are available.

Contemplative Practice in Higher Education, August 22–24, with Daniel P. Barbezat, Mirabai Bush, and more. Under the leadership of the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society, colleges and universities nationwide have integrated contemplative practices into a variety of their courses. In this professional training, four leading experts in the field introduce contemplative practices, review the related neuroscience research on meditation and learning, give examples of successful courses, and engage you in thinking about the role of contemplation in your own work.

To learn more visit eOmega.org, or call 800.944.1001. A limited number of media passes are available. To apply for a media pass, visit eOmega.org/press.

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About Omega Institute for Holistic Studies

Founded in 1977, Omega Institute for Holistic Studies is the nation's most trusted source for wellness and personal growth. As a nonprofit organization, Omega offers diverse and innovative educational experiences that inspire an integrated approach to personal and social change. Located on 200 acres in the beautiful Hudson Valley, Omega welcomes more than 23,000 people to its workshops, conferences, and retreats in Rhinebeck, New York, and at exceptional locations around the world. eOmega.org

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