The Savvy Path

    An Intimate Peek at a Superstar Chapter

    Support is a powerful thing and “strength in numbers” is far more than a simple cliché.

    These are two things Savvy women know to be true and the precise reason why chapters are so important to the existence and vitality of Savvy Women’s Alliance. Chapters include five or more women who meet at least eight times a year to discuss their personal journeys in nontoxic living and provide support for one another. Every chapter is unique and comes with its own challenges and triumphs. This month, I interviewed Beth Newberry and Trina Lavoie – two superstar women and co-founders of the Providence Chapter of the Savvy Women's Alliance – to ask them about their evolution and success as a chapter.

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    America's A-ha Moment: Not Just A Pretty Face | 10 Year Anniversary


    Baby shampoos linked to cancer? Hormone disruptors in our skincare? Lead in our lipstick?

    These questions and many more were brought into the public spotlight over the last ten years, turning educated consumers into protectors and activists.  An avalanche of progress rumbled - including a reduction of parabens and triclosan in mainstream products. While we aren't at the finish line yet, it is hard to push a cart through any big box store without seeing some of the impacts on product labels.  One of the avalanche triggers?  Stacy Malkan's  “Not Just a Pretty Face: The Ugly Side of Beauty.” 

    Not Just a Pretty Face is the true story of how Stacy Malkan, who along with several other at the Breast Cancer Fund (Breast Cancer Prevention Partners), Women's Voices for the Earth, Environmental Working Group, Friends of the Earth and others formed the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics creating the foundation for a national movement. The goal? To shift the $50 billion beauty industry away from harmful chemicals and toward safer products.  

    In celebration of the tenth anniversary of Not Just A Pretty Face we are proud to place this classic investigative deep dive on our Savvy Bookshelf.  How long has it been since you flipped through it? 

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    Gotta Love These Girls: Young Activists At Heart

       Photo: Clean Water Action

    If marching into a retail store to educate management on environmental health concerns is not on your to-do list, we dare you to press play on this video. 

    Yes, we are certain that Tess, Sophia, Erin, Kayla and Sidney will make you smile. But after listening to their brave hearts,you just might rethink about what happens when you walk into a store.   

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    How To Engage Your Inner Activist: It's Time

    What the heck is an activist anyway?

    "If I say the word activist you might have the image of people hanging banners, or chaining themselves to trees or screaming at authority figures or living in tents. Those are all activism. Or they can be.  But a lot of activists have never done any of these things. 

    So, what is the definition of activism? I think that really it is noticing something that you think needs to be changed and using your influence to change it."

    Elizabeth Saunders brings delightful humor to understanding today's activism (a word often followed by "oh, I am not that!) in out Talk Savvy to Me video. 

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    Meet Janet: A Flight Attendant With A Big Heart

    Imagine navigating your way through a busy airport with a broken wrist and ankle, towing baggage and dodging nearly late passengers. Then imagine flying across the country to volunteer with an organization, not knowing anyone, and just jumping in with both feet, limping slightly, where needed.

    Last February, Janet Conroy, Savvy Women’s Alliance Volunteer of the Year did just that. Janet is an airline attendant and is no stranger to airports and airplanes, so she may have a bit of an advantage -  getting there was the easy part. Walking into a room of strangers and asking, “how can I help,” takes courage, enthusiasm and commitment to a cause.

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    Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: This One Is A Keeper

    In celebration of the tenth anniversary of Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, the Savvy Women's Alliance recommends this book for it's summer chapter Gatherings.

    Envision: you are entering your local chain grocery store. The glass doors slide open and the produce aisle greets you. On your right are avocados from Mexico, bananas from Colombia, and peppers from Israel. You walk further through the market, snatching some rice from Vietnam and beans from India that you plan to throw together into a meal that you will later wash down with Vermont milk.

    Now imagine the items sourced from over 100 miles away vanishing.  Bye-bye Mexican romaine lettuce and beef sourced from Brazilian cows. What would be left in your shopping cart?  Would you panic?   

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    Made Safe Products

    Do you feel overwhelmed when trying to read labels while shopping for personal care or cleaning products--or any products, for that matter? Maybe you spend inordinate amounts of time parked in the aisle turning over bottles, puzzling over words like "green," "eco," or "natural," thinking what do those words even mean, anyway?! You pull out your smartphone to check through your apps, and discover that some products aren't even on apps. You go back home and do research on your laptop. Maybe you give up - you would be far from the first.

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    Mesmerizing Plastic-Free Inspiration : Beth Terry

    Through her Ted Talk and blog at My Plastic-Free Life, Beth Terry, author of Plastic-Free: How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can, Too has reached tens of thousands of people who are now striving to live as plastic-free as they can. Beth could have taken her deep desire to help the planet in many directions. Instead, she chose to focus on the one thing she felt most passionate about and where she believed she could truly make a difference.

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