How I found a little Awesomeness – Book Review

You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome LifeYou Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Normally I avoid self-help books like they’re toxic waste, but this one was good, funny, and what I needed in the moment. Yes I was a white woman reading a book by a white privileged woman, but it gave me the momentum to get out of my slump. Would read again.

I don’t use all the tips. I still haven’t tried meditating for example, but I keep positive reminders around, and try to think of a few things to be grateful for each day. I’m still not a fan of self-help, as it’s permeated with privilege, but this book is a good reminder to stay in the present, and believe that my dreams are possible.

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TOO MANY PEOPLE? Book Launch November 6th

TOO MANY PEOPLE?
Population, Immigration, and the Environmental Crisis
By Ian Angus and Simon Butler
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TORONTO BOOK LAUNCH
Featuring co-author Ian Angus and special guests
Sunday, November 6 at 3pm
Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre
427 Bloor St W | TTC: Spadina
Resistance Press invites you to hear author, socialist and climate justice activist Ian Angus speak about his new book. Ian is editor of Climate and Capitalism, an online journal focusing on capitalism, climate change and the ecosocialist alternative:http://bit.ly/qtLfZM. His previous books include Canadian Bolsheviks and The Global Fight for Climate Justice.
Ian will be introduced by allies from the climate justice movement and will take questions following his talk. Copies of Ian’s book will be available for sale during the meeting.
Light snacks and refreshments will be provided.
Organized by Resistance Press Book Room
Open Saturdays, 12pm-3pm
Praise for Too Many People?:
“This excellent book is steadfast in its refutations of the flabby, misogynist and sometimes racist thinking that population growth catastrophists use to peddle their claims. It’s just the thing to send populationists scurrying back to their bunkers.” —Raj Patel, author of Stuffed and Starved
“How did apparently progressive greens and defenders of the underprivileged turn into people-haters, convinced of the evils of over-breeding among the world’s poor? How did they come to believe the 200-year-old myths of a right-wing imperialist friend of Victorian mill-owners? It’s a sorry story, told here with verve and anger.” Fred Pearce, author of Peoplequake
“Ian Angus and Simon Butler are not ordinary environmentalists and Too Many People? is not an ordinary book on population and the environment. They demonstrate that by demolishing the notion that too many people (and too many consumers) are the source of our environmental ills we can get at the real problem: the system of accumulation and waste commonly known as capitalism.” —John Bellamy Foster, co-author (with Fred Magdoff) of What Every Environmentalist Needs to Know About Capitalism
“Sadly the population myth has been used to distract attention from the roots of ecological crisis in a destructive economic system and to shift the blame for problems such as climate change on to the poor. This splendid book is an essential read for all those of us concerned with creating an ecologically sustainable and just future. Buy it, read it and spread the word!” —Derek Wall, author of The Rise of the Green Left
“Ian Angus and Simon Butler’s superb book challenges the ‘common sense’ idea that there are too many people. Clearly and concisely they blame a system that puts profit before people and planet, refuting the arguments of the later day Malthusians. It is a book that should be read by every environmental campaigner, trade unionist and political activist.” —Martin Empson, author of Marxism and Ecology: Capitalism, Socialism and the Future of the Planet
“Angus and Butler have written a comprehensive dissection of the arguments surrounding over-population, It’s a vital and insightful socialist response to the debate and highly recommended to anyone interested in fighting for a better world and avoiding the pitfalls of false solutions.” —Chris Williams, author of Ecology and Socialism
“With clear prose and careful, cogent analysis, Angus and Butler provide the tools necessary to dismantle the myth of overpopulation step by step … [and] show the way to a more hopeful, justice-centered environmental and reproductive politics.” —Betsy Hartmann, author of Reproductive Rights and Wrongs: The Global Politics of Population Control
“This is an essential subject, and we are in Angus and Butler’s debt for treating it with such clarity and rigor.” —Joel Kovel, author of The Enemy of Nature
Too Many People? is available online at Haymarket Bookshttp://bit.ly/pZSVTz.

What I’ve been Reading – Soul of a Citizen by Paul Rogat Loeb

Book cover for Soul of a Citizen

This book has become my antidote to activist pessimism. That point I’m sure we’ve all experienced where movements seem to be crawling along at a snail’s pace, and we begin to doubt whether anyone is really listening.

The book is written from a very American perspective, but it holds important lessons for all activists. Loeb reminds us that all activists begin their journey in small steps, and that learning the journeys of others can help us remember where we started from. He also stresses the importance of knowing the real history of movements, rather than glorifying them. The people we consider to be icons of social movements took their place in history because of the support of many other activists that get left out of the history books.

Loeb also had some great points for engaging new activists and staying engaged yourself. Community engagement needs to happen in a way that allows us to come to others in safe spaces. We can learn a lot by making allies of our opposites. Sometimes we become so passionate about the causes we serve that it is easy to forget what it must be like to not yet have this understanding. People are more likely to get involved if the cause meets an immediate need, offers hope, and sense of connection with those around us.

We also need to take care of ourselves, this may mean focusing less on perfection and more on our small successes. It is better to be a good enough activist than not at all. It is also important to recognize when you’re pushing yourself too hard, and seek help from your allies.

He also had an important quote for those in power; “We know the state of a nation’s soul by looking at its budgets.”

For those of you in Toronto, this book is available at your local library.