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.

Women Working for The World Invites Carla Goldstein to Speak at Upcoming Forum in Bogota, Colombia

1 year 1 week ago

Carla Goldstein, Omega’s chief external affairs officer and cofounder of the Omega Women's Leadership Center (OWLC), has been invited to join an international delegation of influential women speaking at the first Women Working for the World forum. The forum was organized by Catalina Escobar Restrepo, president of the Juan Felipe Gomez Escobar Foundation, and Pat Mitchell, president and CEO of the Paley Center for Media, and a member of the OWLC advisory council.

In addition to Carla, some of the confirmed speakers include U.S. Ambassador Nancy Rubin, Princess of Greece Tatiana Blatnik, Former First Lady of Panama Vivian de Torrijos, and many more.

The forum was designed to explore gender issues such as poverty; the impact of women in the global economy; social inclusion for sustainable social development; leadership and empowerment; as well as key issues on reproductive health and the effectiveness and sustainability of interventions to communities that are at-risk and require focused and immediate attention. 

Approximately 400 opinion leaders will attend, ranging from government and corporations to NGOs and media from Colombia, Panamá, Venezuela, and the United States.

Learn more about the Women Working for the World forum.

2nd Annual Leadership in Sustainable Education Award Goes to Scenic Hudson

1 year 2 weeks ago

Omega CEO, Robert "Skip" Backus presented the second annual Leadership in Sustainable Education Award to Scenic Hudson on October 5, 2013, during the Omega Center for Sustainable Living Conference: Where We Go From Here. The award includes a $10,000 grant and an organizational development grant for a strategic planning retreat at Omega.

The largest environmental group focused on the Hudson River Valley, Scenic Hudson has preserved numerous sites, including Storm King Mountain, and has worked tirelessly for the protection and restoration of the Hudson River. Upon receiving the award, Ned Sullivan, executive director of Scenic Hudson, said, "We will take heart and inspiration from our partnership with Omega in our work for a sustainable Hudson Valley."

Learn more about Scenic Hudson

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Reaches Epidemic Levels Among Veterans

1 year 3 weeks ago

Omega Offers Alternative Treatment Options for Health-Care Professionals

RHINEBECK, NY – According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, 20 percent of Iraqi War veterans, and 11 percent of those returning from the war in Afghanistan, suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Mental health issues among service members have reached a crisis level. The Department of Defense and the Veterans Administration have recognized the gravity of this epidemic and are now actively supporting mind-body modalities, from yoga to mindfulness practice, as a complement to traditional drug and talk therapies for veterans.

“The number of veterans suffering from PTSD is alarmingly high, and growing on a daily basis. Suicide, homelessness, drug use, and spousal abuse are just a few of the ways that PTSD affects veterans and their loved ones. For more than 20 years, Omega has provided programs to support the healing of veterans and affected family members,” said Carla Goldstein, chief external affairs officer. “Our Veterans, Trauma & Treatment conference helps provide new tools for treatment so more veterans can experience healing.”

Veterans, Trauma & Treatment is an unprecedented gathering of experts in resiliency, trauma, and the treatment of trauma for veterans using complementary and alternative medicine. Health-care professionals, psychologists, social workers, caregivers, and counselors working with veterans suffering with PTSD and their families are welcome.

The Veterans, Trauma & Treatment conference begins on Friday, October 18 at 8:00 p.m., with an opening keynote by Tracy Gaudet, director of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Office of Patient-Centered Care and Cultural Transformation, followed by a keynote from Dr. Peter Levine, whose international best seller, Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma, has been translated into twenty-two languages. Throughout the weekend, conference participants will explore the best ways to use mind-body modalities to treat veterans who suffer with trauma.

In addition to hearing keynote talks from ten expert presenters, participants can choose from a variety of workshops, including mindfulness-based stress reduction, adaptive yoga for traumatically injured service members, the Social Resilience Model for healing communities with trauma, and attachment-based family interventions. Each workshop and keynote presentation has distinct learning objectives for the participants. The conference will end with a keynote address by Col. Richard R. Petri, MD, the chief of Physical Medicine and Integrative Health Services at William Beaumont Army Medical Center at Fort Bliss, Texas.

Omega welcomes anyone who seeks professional information on the mind-body modalities that the military is currently exploring. Continuing education credits are available.

For more details or to register, please visit eOmega.org or call 800.944.1001.

A limited number of media passes are available. Photography restrictions may apply. To apply for a media pass, visit eOmega.org/press.

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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Carla Goldstein to Speak at Womensphere Global Summit

1 year 1 month ago

Carla Goldstein, cofounder of the Omega Women’s Leadership Center and chief external affairs officer at Omega will speak at Columbia University in New York City on Monday, September 30th at the 6th annual Global Summit & Awards. The theme of this year’s event is “Creating the Future: Evolution + Revolution,” and brings together international leaders in education, business, policy, foundations and NGOs, entrepreneurship, and social innovation.  The speakers and delegates at the Summit are divided into nine councils, according to their topics of expertise. Carla Goldstein will be speaking about “The Future of Women & Girls.”

The Womensphere Foundation seeks to advance women’s leadership on a global level. During the Summit, speakers will address questions that are crucial to the progression of women as innovators, entrepreneurs, visionaries, and key creators of the world’s future. Among the many ideas discussed, the Summit hopes to answer important questions about how participants can collaborate to create enlightened leadership and how global stakeholders can unite to create a world that is inclusive and sustainable, in which women play an active part.

President Bill Clinton to Deliver Keynote Address at Omega Conference

1 year 1 month ago

Where We Go From Here Conference Will Examine Sustainability as a Question of Values & a Challenge of Systems Design—Now Including Conference Live Stream

RHINEBECK, NY—Nearly a year after Hurricane Sandy demonstrated just how real the threat of climate change is, the Omega Center for Sustainable Living (OCSL) is hosting Where We Go From Here: Opportunities & Solutions for an Interdependent World, a conference that addresses the imperative for examining sustainability issues from a holistic perspective based on the interconnection between human behavior, economic and social systems, and the environment. The conference will be held October 4–6, 2013, and will feature keynote speaker President Bill Clinton, 2005 MacArthur Fellow Majora Carter, environmentalist Paul Hawken, economist Jeremy Rifkin, and other major leaders in sustainability. The conference also will be available free to the public via live stream on Saturday, October 5, and Sunday, October 6.

As the problems of climate change and dwindling resources manifest themselves more clearly and urgently, the conference will assess the shortcomings of current sustainability efforts—and create a road map for going forward that places whole-systems thinking front and center.

“With ever more frequency and intensity, we are seeing the effects of being out of balance with the earth and each other. We cannot solve this problem without considering the whole—understanding the big picture and finding our place within it,” said Robert “Skip” Backus, chief executive officer at Omega and the visionary behind the Omega Center for Sustainable Living (OCSL). “We are thrilled that President Clinton will deliver the keynote speech. Omega is proud to initiate the discussion about where we go from here, and to serve as a model for a whole-systems approach to sustainability.”

Founded four years ago, the OCSL includes the first green building in America to receive both LEED® Platinum and Living Building Challenge™ certifications, and has evolved into an emerging environmental leader, offering programs that teach the regenerative environmental practices modeled by the building. Omega Institute is integrating similar designs into other facilities on its Rhinebeck, New York campus. A recent addition to the Omega Women’s Leadership Center is the first commercial project in the United States to meet Passive House certification standards—the building uses very little energy and the space is designed to reduce heating costs by 75%.

“Recognizing our interdependence—to each other and to the planet—is key to finding solutions to our pressing environmental challenges,” said Backus.

Where We Go From Here will include keynote talks, panel discussions, stories from the field, and a tour of the award-winning Omega Center for Sustainable Living.

Leading economists, environmentalists, philanthropists, designers, architects, and activists round out the list of speakers, including:

  • President Bill Clinton, Founder of the Clinton Foundation and 42nd President of the United States, was the first Democratic president in six decades to be elected twice, and led the U.S. to the longest economic expansion in American history, including the creation of more than 22 million jobs. After the leading the White House, President Clinton established the Clinton Foundation with the mission to improve global health, strengthen economies, promote healthier childhoods, and protect the environment by fostering partnerships among governments, businesses, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and private citizens to turn good intentions into measurable results. clintonfoundation.org
  • Jeremy Rifkin, president of the Foundation on Economic Trends, is an authority on economic sustainability. His books include The Third Industrial Revolution and The Empathic Civilization. foet.org
  • Janine Benyus, a biologist, consultant, and author of six books, including the classic Biomimicry, is cofounder of the Biomimicry Institute, a nonprofit organization that promotes the study and imitation of nature’s remarkably efficient designs. biomimicry.net
  • Majora Carter, recipient of a MacArthur “genius” Fellowship, founded Sustainable South Bronx in 2001 when few were talking about sustainability, and even fewer, in places like the South Bronx. Since 2008, her consulting company, Majora Carter Group, has exported climate adaptation, urban micro-agribusiness, and leadership development strategies for business, government, foundations, universities, and economically underperforming communities. majoracartergroup.com
  • Paul Hawken is an environmentalist, author, and entrepreneur who founded some of the first natural food companies in America to rely solely on sustainable agriculture. paulhawken.com
  • Bob Berkebile is an influential sustainable design architect and community planner, a founding principal of BNIM Architects, and a board member of the U.S. Green Building Council, the Nature Conservancy, and the Center for Global Community. bnim.com
  • Robert “Skip” Backus is chief executive officer of Omega and the visionary behind the Omega Center for Sustainable Living (OCSL). He helped lay the foundation for Omega’s environmental and conservation initiatives, including campus recycling and composting, sustainable purchasing and support of local agriculture, water conservation, and 100% sourcing of campus electricity from wind and solar technology.
  • Carla Goldstein, JD, is Omega Institute’s chief external affairs officer and cofounder of the Omega Women’s Leadership Center. An attorney with 25 years of experience in public interest advocacy, she has contributed to more than 100 city, state, and federal laws, and has worked extensively on issues related to women’s rights, poverty, public health, and social justice.
  • Peter Buffett is an Emmy Award-winning musician, composer, philanthropist, and author of the New York Times best-seller Life Is What You Make It. peterbuffett.com
  • Maya Azucena is an award-winning singer, activist, and cultural ambassador. At the 2010 United Nations Summit, she was selected by the Office of Secretary General Ban Ki Moon as the exclusive performer at the Every Woman, Every Child event. She is also a cofounder of the multimedia website MDGFive.com, which raises awareness for maternal health. mayaazucena.com
  • Rob Hopkins, author of The Power of Just Doing Stuff and The Transition Handbook, is cofounder of the International Transition Network, a charitable environmental organization. The Independent lists him as one of the top environmentalists in the United Kingdom. The Observer calls him “one of Britain’s 50 New Radicals.”

Speakers are subject to change.

People can join the conversation about where we go from here on Twitter @Omega_Institute (conference hashtag #OCSL2013), and on Facebook.com/Omega.OCSL.

For complete details or to register, visit eOmega.org/ocsl2013 or call 800.944.1001.

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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Veterans Tap Into the Healing Power of Music

1 year 1 month ago

Music is known for its ability to soothe souls and mend broken hearts, but research is showing that it can also heal the brain after trauma. A current example of how this works is found in Musicorps, a restorative program at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, which rehabilitates injured veterans through music. Since music involves several integrated aspects of brain functioning, Musicorps offers wounded veterans a chance to heal mentally and emotionally.

"Music involves so much brain geography,” explained Arthur Bloom, the director of Musicorps, “it can help an uninjured part compensate for an injured part or [even help] an injured part heal.”

Watch the video

Learn more about Musicorps

Explore Omega's veterans programs

Learn about other alternative therapies for veterans

Omega Awards $10,000 Grant To Scenic Hudson, Largest Environmental Group Focused On Hudson River Valley

1 year 1 month ago

Omega Elevates Environmental Stewardship with 2nd Annual Leadership in Sustainable Education Award

RHINEBECK, NY – Omega Institute, home of the award-winning Omega Center for Sustainable Living (OCSL), today announced the second recipient of their Annual Leadership in Sustainable Education Award. The award recognizes nonprofit peers who exemplify leadership in sustainable education and who share Omega’s commitment to building a more just and sustainable world. This year, Omega recognizes Scenic Hudson, an organization working to protect and restore the Hudson River and its landscape. Scenic Hudson will be honored with the award at Omega’s annual Where We Go From Here conference, October 2–4, 2013.

“Last year, Omega created the Leadership in Sustainable Education Award to further our commitment to environmental stewardship, and we are thrilled this year to advance the conversation around sustainability and environmental protection by awarding the second annual award to Scenic Hudson,” said Robert “Skip” Backus, chief executive officer at Omega and visionary behind the Omega Center for Sustainable Living.

Founded four years ago, the OCSL originated as the first green building in America to achieve both LEED® Platinum and Living Building Challenge™ certification, the highest standards currently available in sustainable architecture. The OCSL has since evolved into an environmental leader, offering programs that teach the regenerative environmental practices modeled by the building. Omega is integrating similar designs into other facilities on campus. The new office of the  Omega’s Women’s Leadership Center (OWLC) is the first commercial project in the United States to meet Passive House certification standards. The OWLC operates using very little energy and the space is designed to reduce heating costs by 75%.

“A true crusader for the Hudson Valley for 50 years, Scenic Hudson has been fighting day in and day out for the protection and restoration of the Hudson River. They have a strong emphasis on educating the community on the importance of the natural world and living by an environmental ethic,” concluded Backus.

“Omega is a world renowned institution that brings together people concerned with the environment and sustainable living. It’s a great honor for me to accept this award on behalf of all the people who make Scenic Hudson’s success possible. The support and partnership Omega is providing to us will inspire and catalyze our work to make the Hudson Valley a model of sustainable living in an ever-evolving world,” said Ned Sullivan, president of Scenic Hudson.

Scenic Hudson is credited with saving the Storm King Mountain from a proposed power plant and with launching the modern grass-roots environmental movement in the 1960s. The largest environmental group focused on the Hudson River Valley, the organization uses a combination of tactics, including land acquisition, support for agriculture, citizen-based advocacy and sophisticated planning tools, to create environmentally healthy communities, champion smart economic growth, open up riverfronts to the public, and preserve the valley's inspiring beauty and natural resources.

In addition to the $10,000 grant, Scenic Hudson will also receive an organizational development grant for a strategic planning retreat at Omega, to help strengthen their organization and further its mission.

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

About Scenic Hudson—Celebrating Our 50th Anniversary in 2013
Scenic Hudson works to protect and restore the Hudson River and its majestic landscape as an irreplaceable national treasure and a vital resource for residents and visitors. A crusader for the Hudson Valley since 1963, today we have more than 25,000 ardent supporters and are the largest environmental group focused on the Hudson River Valley. To date Scenic Hudson has created or enhanced more than 60 parks, preserves, and historic sites up and down the Hudson River and conserved over 30,000 acres. www.sh50.org and www.scenichudson.org

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Omega Staff Member Launches Company that Helps the Environment

1 year 1 month ago

Kristen Hess worked at Omega as a seasonal staff member for two months in the summer of 2010, an experience she describes as “fun, educational, healing, and uplifting.” During her time at the Rhinebeck campus, she met a number of environmental luminaries, including Colin Beavan, author of No Impact Man, and Deborah Eden Tull, author of The Natural Kitchen. Hess expanded her awareness of ecological sustainability and received her first introduction to permaculture.

Upon leaving Omega, she said, “I was so inspired by the environmental lifestyle that I began working on a project with my Dad to help boost participation in composting.” Over three years that project has evolved into a fantastic company called CompoKeeper. Kristen Hess and her father developed special bins that streamline the composting process. The end result is an effective, cleaner, and simpler system that will allow more people to make kitchen composting, like recycling, a routine part of their lives. Kristen’s next step is to raise the funds that will make it possible to manufacture the CompoKeeper on American soil, in order to reduce the company’s carbon footprint as much as possible (a guiding philosophy of permaculture).

Hess recently shared with us her story about CompoKeeper and how her work as seasonal staff at Omega helped inspire it. “Omega has shaped my life and guided me to devote my energy toward helping others and the planet,” she said.

We are proud to have been a part of this remarkable staff member’s journey and are in turn inspired by the ingenuity, determination, and integrity of her work. Thank you, Kristen, for demonstrating Omega’s mission to “awaken the best in the human spirit.” Check out CompoKeeper’s Facebook page to learn more about Kristen’s work and the evolution her company.

 

Omega Hosts Food Quality Gathering

1 year 1 month ago

Omega recently hosted a gathering to talk about food quality. Judith D Schwartz reported on the event in The Guardian: "When it comes to eating well, the advice we get is that fresh is better than processed, fruit and veg are better than fats and carbs, and organic is best of all. But what if the food we eat is not truly feeding us? Many choose to buy organic to be assured food doesn't have the 'bad stuff' in it. But how do we know it's got the 'good stuff' in it—flavor, wholesomeness, vitamins, minerals?"

"This question was among those taken up last week at a meeting on food quality at the Omega Institute for Holistic Studies in the Hudson Valley, New York, attended by farmers, educators, researchers, and activists looking to bring quality into discussions of food, nutrition, and agriculture. The Hudson Valley has become a food destination due to its many small farms and celebrated chefs (and because the famed Culinary Institute of America is located there)."

Read the full story

Omega Hosts 7th Annual Camp Lightheart for Kids

1 year 1 month ago

Having a parent with breast cancer can be frightening for anyone, but especially for children. In an effort to help children navigate such a difficult time, Breast Cancer Options, the largest provider of breast cancer services in the Hudson Valley, created Camp Lightheart.

A free sleep-away camp for children ages 8–14 who have a parent with breast cancer, Camp Lightheart was launched in 2007 on Omega's campus in Rhinebeck, New York. Each summer since, Camp Lightheart has created a safe, nurturing, and fun-loving experience for children of breast cancer survivors.

This year's 7th annual Camp Lightheart was sponsored by Omega Institute, the United Breast Cancer Foundation, Ulster Savings Bank, and generous donations through Breast Cancer Options.

Learn more about Breast Cancer Options

Learn more about Camp Lightheart

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