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Dedicated to bringing forth a human presence on this planet that is environmentally sustainable, socially just, and spiritually fulfilling.
September 2020

As we face these unprecedented times, with multiple crises and uncertainty affecting every aspect of our lives – I’m struck by how very important leadership is, and why the upcoming elections are so important.  

That’s why we’re using this issue of our newsletter to bring you much information about where and how to vote – the importance of creating a plan to vote – and to vote early – as well as ways you can become involved, if you choose, in addressing the issues of voter suppression and getting out the vote. This is a time when each voice must be used and heard – through voting and active engagement in the electoral process.  

Read the full text of Sue Staropoli's September video address here.

"The biggest problem in our world today is not global warming, hunger, racism, the rise of Islamic fundamentalism, or even nuclear proliferation.

The biggest problem in our world is lack of compassion. If we cultivate compassion towards ourselves, each other and all other animals, these other problems will be solvable.

Viewing ALL life as intrinsically valuable challenges each of us in upsetting and unpredictable ways."

- George Payne, from the article "Radical Compassion is the Solution"

In This Issue
Blog: Do I Need to Take Sides?

by Sue Staropoli

As I think of the world I want to see and help create, what comes to my mind are words like kindness, generosity, love, justice, compassion, humility, regeneration, collaboration, respect, connection, joy, reverence, unity, inclusiveness...

Yet when I look around me, especially in the political discourse, I see division, polarization, disrespect, arrogance.

I hear one “side” let’s be honest, my side – talking about the election being a battle for the soul of America and clearly intending to espouse the values and qualities just mentioned. Yet I wonder, because we – the people on “my side” – get caught up in the negativity, blaming, divisiveness, and arrogance we criticize the other side for. In this way, don’t we become what we hate? Even the language of “battle” reveals the underlying war mentality.

The thinking is that once “our side” wins in the elections, things will change radically and we will have the world/country we want. Yet will it stop the polarization that is so rampant – on both sides?  With a war mentality, the election can only produce winners and losers, with little mutual respect for each other, much less hope for a bi-partisan future of creative possibilities. (read the full post here)

Environmental Justice Update

Find new resources added to the Environmental Justice section of our website.

Check out the "Color Your Community Green" Program
 offered by Rochester People's Climate Coalition. 

Coming up: Intro to Intersectional Environmental Justice Workshop with Calvin Eaton on Tuesday, September 15, 7-9pm, hosted by the Rochester Brainery.

Opportunities for Action: Voting 2020

It is more important than ever to make sure you--and everyone--can vote in this election!
  • Create Your Voting Plan
  • Help Get Out The Vote
1. Make sure you are registered to vote, especially if you haven't voted recently or if you have moved. Monroe Country residents can go to: to check their registration and register if needed. The deadline to register to vote is Friday, October 9, 2020 - this applies whether you register online, by mail (postmark date), or in person.  

2. Request your absentee/vote-by-mail ballot early. ASAP.
Voting by mail is the safest way to vote amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Take the following steps to receive a mail ballot so you will be ready to vote in November. 

For those in Monroe County – there is good news! Applications for an absentee ballot are being sent by mail to all residents who are actively registered to vote in Monroe County. The new application form reflects the new NYS ruling that concern about COVID is a sufficient reason for using absentee/mail-in voting. 

The Absentee Voting application can also be downloaded from the Monroe County Board of Elections website, at 

3. When you get the application, fill it out carefully as directed. Then, you can mail it back via USPS OR drop it off at the Monroe County Board of Elections office at 39 W. Main Street, Rochester, NY 14614. Do this as soon as possible, so your name will be in the system when it’s time for them to send out the ballots in October.

4. When you get the ballot itself (sent out in October): Send in your ballot as soon as possible to avoid delays in delivery. You can mail it in by USPS, drop it off at the Board of Elections office 39 W. Main Street, Rochester, NY 14614, or drop it off at one of the Early Voting Centers (locations, dates and times listed at

5. Early, in-person voting options: If you want to go to the polls, you can vote before the election on Nov. 3. In Monroe County there will be 12 Early Voting Centers, open during specific hours from Oct 24 – Nov 1. Early Voting Centers function much like a normal polling site on Election Day but with more staff and heightened expertise. Find the locations and times on the MCBOE website,

Summary of dates:
  • Election day is Tuesday, November 3, 2020.
  • The deadline to register to vote is Friday, October 9, 2020 - this applies whether you register online, by mail (postmark date), or in person.
  • The deadline to request a ballot by mail is (received by) Tuesday, October 27, 2020.
  •  The early voting period in Monroe County runs from Saturday, October 24, 2020 to Sunday, November 1, 2020. Again, locations and times are listed on the MCBOE website,

REMEMBER: It is most important to fill out your application as soon as you receive it – and send back the ballot as soon as you receive that. This year especially it is critical that all ballots are sent in a timely way – to avoid expected problems in delivery.

For those NOT in Monroe County:
For more information see Americans Of Conscience Vote 2020 

Help Get Out the Vote in 2020!

The League of Women Voters has many opportunities and resources to engage in the work of fighting voter suppression and increasing voter registration.

Environmental Voter Project engages in phone & text banking to increase voter turn-out among the 16 million environmentalists who don't vote. Trainings are held weekly - check it out! 
Poll Workers Needed! The Monroe County Board of Elections is still looking for members of our community to work on Election Day as Election Inspectors. See this brochure to find out more. 

Looking ahead to October: Join others on the 1st day of early voting, Saturday, October 24, 12 noon, at Rochester's Liberty Pole to march and cast our votes together. More info here!
2020 Census: sign up and be counted! Sign up yourself and remind others to do so. It's quick, safe, secure. Go to 
Resources For Healing the Divides

Many people have expressed how challenging it is to stay grounded and non-reactive in political conversations, especially with people who have different opinions, or even people on our “side” who react in ways we do not support.

We are happy to offer "Healing the Divides: Depolarization Resources for Challenging Times" to help you grow in your capacity and skill in having difficult conversations, bridging divides, growing compassion, and reducing hate.

Seeds of Hope:
Separation and Connection in the Time of Covid and the Election 

September 6, 2020 
1:30-3:00 pm
Join us on Zoom for a time of gathering, listening, and healing. 

We are living in an era like no other — climate catastrophes, racial disparities and cruelties, attacks on our democracy, pandemic, polarization— all rising and visible as never before. It is a hard time for all of us. 

While we can’t make everything "all better," we can find ways to make human connections that will help us get through these times and find ways to make a difference. Despite oppressive forces determined to divide us, new and exciting connections are being made everywhere. As we have seen in the Pachamama Alliance, life is more satisfying and hopeful when we join hearts and take steps to make change. Even with brief opportunities to be listened to without interruption, it is possible to gain more clarity about how we can BE and what we can DO, moving forward in these times.

Come join us as we reclaim our natural human birthright to have warm close relationships with other human beings, with all creatures, and with the earth herself.
We look forward to seeing you on September 6. To join us, register here.
Project Drawdown
The words “climate change” and “global warming” are words that tend to polarize, as people argue over their cause. In Drawdown programs, however, our focus is on SOLUTIONS – and the common desire of all people for a better and more sustainable world.
Drawdown solutions not only lower emissions of carbon from the atmosphere, but also address issues of health, employment, environmental injustice, and wealth inequality.  Working on DD solutions is supporting the movement toward a just, sustainable way of life for all. See the Drawdown section of our website to find resources, programs, action opportunities -- solutions where you can make a difference!
Register for Drawdown Programs
From Pachamama Alliance International

Pachamama Alliance continues to be a resource for intelligent, compassionate, and motivating engagement on the issues of this time.
Further Resources
Visit the Resources page of our website to find the Community Calendar and Sustainable Shopping/Purchasing Power, which highlights ways to support black-owned restaurants and other businesses, as well as other resources to support your journey of learning and living in a socially just and earth friendly way.

If you discover events and resources to share, email with subject line "Newsletter Resources".
Like our FB pages
Pachamama Alliance Rochester Area

Rochester Drawdown

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"What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence or lawlessness; but love and wisdom, and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or they be black."
- Robert Kennedy, from a speech given in 1968
Do not be afraid!
These are days of power and possibility!
You are here now because you are needed!
Continue the adventure!
Keep making your difference!
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