Marcia G. Yerman

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Hillary Clinton and The F-Word

Hillary Clinton and The F-Word

As the electorate goes under the microscope for clues of what will transpire in November, questions about what Hillary represents to women voters — and how that connects to current concepts of feminism — will be on the front burner.

July 26, 2016 | No comment | Read More »

“Time To Choose”

“Time To Choose”

Estimates predict that by 2050 we will have reached the tipping point. Ferguson drives home the theme that the “next six to 10 years are crucial.”

June 28, 2016 | No comment | Read More »

Lauren Zapf: Changing the Dialogue For Women Vets

Lauren Zapf: Changing the Dialogue For Women Vets

Female vets must be recognized as contributing members of society, with valuable abilities and talents to bring into their communities.

November 12, 2015 | No comment | Read More »

Beat the Pollution with the Plume Air App

Beat the Pollution with the Plume Air App

Plume’s World Air Map collects beyond 500,000 data points every day from 11,000 stations, in order to build “predictive models” for over 200 metro localities.

July 10, 2016 | No comment | Read More »


Hillary Clinton and The F-Word

Hillary Clinton will become the Democratic nominee this week. Moving forward, whatever happens during the ensuing general election, the fact that she is a woman will be an inextricable part of the narrative.

Clinton has acknowledged the historical significance of becoming the first female presidential nominee of a major political party. She has also paid tribute to the women who have come before her, from the suffragettes to Shirley Chisholm.

As the electorate goes under the microscope for clues of what will transpire in November, questions about what Hillary represents to women voters — and how that connects to current concepts of feminism — will be on the front burner.

SheKnows Media recently released the results of an online survey titled #TheFWord. Conducted during the period of 12/28/15-1/7/16, it garnered 1,622 responses. The focus was to nail down an understanding of women’s relationship to feminism — how they do or don’t identify — with a look at demographics including age, race, employment, and household income.

The second part of the study dug into the Clinton vs. Trump match-up.

The response breakdown was:

By age:

  • 31 percent Millennial (1985-1998)
  • 43 percent Generation X (1965-1984)
  • 24 percent Baby Boomer (1946-1964)
  • 2 percent Silent Generation (1945+)

By Race:

  • 77 percent White
  • 9 percent African American
  • 8 percent Hispanic
  • 4 percent Asian
  • 2 percent Native American

By Employment:

  • 78 percent Employed Full or Part Time
  • 12 percent Managing a Household
  • 4 percent Retired
  • 3 percent Student
  • 2 percent Unemployed

An overall look at the sample’s identification with feminism showed that 46 percent identified as being a feminist, 22 percent didn’t, and 32 percent responded, “it depends/not sure.”

Those who were 25-29 years old and 55-64 years old identified as feminists by 53 percent and 54 percent, respectively. The middle generation of 30-54 year olds registered at 44 percent.

The higher the household income was, the greater the percentage of women identifying with feminism. For those in the $0-49k sphere, 35 percent of women identified with feminism. At $75-150k, it was 47 percent, with women over the $150k range hitting 53 percent.

53 percent of those employed full-time identified as feminists; women responding as “Managing My Household” were at 28 percent.

Although the number of respondents who were women of color was only 25 percent compared to white women, it came through very clearly that “black and brown women” have a lot of ambivalence about where they stand on the feminist continuum. According to the study, “Black women in particular regard feminism with skepticism,” feeling “excluded from its benefits in practice.” The white mainstream feminist agenda is too often tone deaf to the concerns of women of color.

Feminism is perceived by two groups as being “anti-traditional values,” leading those respondents to an “actively NON-Feminist” stance. “Black Women Breadwinners Who Value Tradition” and “Conservative Stay-At-Home-Mom White Women” both believe that “Feminism is actively hostile” to their values. Perhaps that is why self-identifying Non-Feminists at a rate of 40 percent define the word Feminism as synonymous with “rejects traditional values.”

That premise was driven home in a quote appearing in a New York Times article about Hillary Clinton. Roy M. Neel, who served as Bill Clinton’s Deputy White House Chief of Staff, explained that Southern women had a distinct dislike for Hillary because her personal choices were “something of an affront to their sense of who they were.”

How can Hillary reach out to those women who don’t define feminism as, “The belief that women and men should have equal rights and opportunities” — or those who are concerned that Hillary’s brand of feminism is non-inclusive of their lifestyle, pressing concerns, or truly multigenerational and multicultural?

Women who are Trump supporters (54 percent do not identify as feminist and 11 percent do), responded to the question, “Are YOU ready for a female president?” with the stats of:

  • 33 percent yes
  • 38 percent unsure
  • 30 percent no

Potentially, 71 percent of Trump-supporting women are ready to accept a woman as President.

A look at the political beliefs of Trump’s female supporters includes some surprises, and confirms some expectations.

  • 54 percent generally support Abortion Rights
  • 75 percent generally support Equal Pay by Law
  • 62 percent generally support Marriage Equality
  • 79 percent generally oppose Accepting Refugees
  • 49 percent generally oppose Gun Control Laws
  • 72 percent opposed the Affordable Care Act

The research takes an ironic look at the “givens” in today’s society — options which were not accessible to women in the 1960s, a time when job ads were segregated. Many women who do not consider themselves feminists have benefited from these changes. Of all women surveyed:

  • 92 percent have a credit in their own name
  • 91 percent have used birth control
  • 57 percent have kept a job when they were pregnant

Inevitably, some circumstances remain unchanged, except now women have an awareness and context for the circumstances. The study terms it “#TheFemaleTax.” Examples include (all surveyed women):

  • 56 percent have been sexually harassed
  • 57 percent have not earned equal pay for equal work
  • 61 percent have had their ideas overlooked

Women identifying as Feminists report these situations at approximately a 20 percent higher level than Non-Feminists.

I spoke by phone with Elisa Camahort Page, Chief Community Officer of SheKnowsMedia, to get more insight. “We wanted to understand the relationship women had to feminism,” she told me. “It’s a very nuanced issue.” That motivation included the premise that a better understanding of the myriad factors could lead to “action.”

Through “slicing and dicing the data,” Camahort Page’s two biggest takeaways were:

“Women are not confused as to what feminism is ‘supposed to be.’ They just aren’t sure that, in practice, it’s for them. With women of color and conservative stay-at-home-moms feeling most excluded from [feminism’s] current mainstream efforts.

Across the board, women still report, experience, and are worried about all manner of micro- and not-so-micro-aggressions, from being interrupted and overlooked to being harassed. This is the price we pay (in addition to unequal pay, of course) for being a woman in the world…working or not.”

We discussed the continuing insularity of the movement, and the need for broadening outreach to all women. “Women of color feel that mainstream Feminism is upper-class white women who don’t see intersectionality,” said Camahort Page. She pointed to enlarging concerns beyond reproductive rights and equal pay.

Hillary Clinton has made a point of stating that although she knows that she doesn’t have everyone’s support, that she wants to be everyone’s President. She stated, “Building bridges are better than building walls.”

Exit polls showed that in the 2012 elections, 53 percent of the voters were women. If 21st century feminism can begin to address the inequities within its walls, bridges can be built.

We might actually get a woman president.

A version of this article originally appeared on the website

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Jul 26, 2016 | No comment | Read More »

Beat the Pollution with the Plume Air App

3 Screens PLUMEExtreme heat waves are happening with alarming regularity. Summer used to be the time for kids to be outside non-stop. Now, both children and adults need more information on how to protect their health from a wide range of pollutants in the air.

Plume Air Report is my go-to tool. There are others, but Plume is my favorite. It is available free as an iOS and Android download.

Innovator, Romain Lacombe, is the founder and CEO of Plume. He has a varied background which includes environmental economics, math, banking, a stint in Silicon Valley, and a Fulbright scholarship. Open Data, which is a key premise behind Plume, is one of his top concerns.

During the COP21 conference in Paris, Lacombe co-organized the international event “Data Against Climate Change.” He believes that data can boost “climate innovation,” as well as serve as an instrument of assessment and evaluation.

Equally important for Lacombe is delivering to users a drill down on pollution history for specific areas via “geolocation.” This illustrates hourly shifts, and daily comparisons to annual levels. Lacombe defines this as “making the air more transparent.”

Plume’s World Air Map collects beyond 500,000 data points every day from 11,000 stations, in order to build “predictive models” for over 200 metro localities. For those vicinities without a station, a combination of Artificial Intelligence and data science can estimate air pollution levels on a 60-minute basis. Emissions become a concrete entity, “democratizing access to environmental information.”


The map contains hexagons of different sizes and colors to demarcate city population size (from 1 million to 10 million), and city pollution (from black indicating a Plume index of +300 to two shades of blue ranging from 0-20 and 20-50). Twenty countries are listed alphabetically; 150 cities cover North and South America, Europe, and Asia.

In the morning, I have a Plume Index Air Quality message waiting for me, with information about the current level of pollution. Living in New York City, change can be dramatic from day to day, and even within a 24-hour period. The more polluted the air is, the higher the number.

Individuals can set their level of sensitivity as Low, Normal, or High. Favorite activities to check in on are represented by icons symbolizing running, bicycling, going outdoors with young children, and eating outside. With the hourly breakdown, it makes it easier to plan activities. You can also be informed of the temperature and the UV Index. The primary pollutants of ozone, particulate matter, and nitrogen dioxide are noted, and compared with mean yearly averages. At times when pollution is HIGH, I am advised to “Take it easy” with almost everything. I even get a special message stating: “IMPACT IF CHRONIC EXPOSURE. The air has reached a high level of pollution. Higher than the maximum limit for 24 hours established by the World Health Organization (WHO).”

You don’t have to be a geek to appreciate the deeper look into air pollution that Plume makes available. Clicking on the “head icon” with the brain center brings you to a series of concise evaluations about pollution specifics including:” What is it? Where Does It Come From? What are the risks?”

In the section Everything You Should Know About Pollution, there is information on the “inversion layer,” which traps pollutants. I particularly liked the descriptions of frequently used terms like Nitrogen Dioxide, Ozone, Sulphur Dioxide, Carbon Monoxide, VOCs, and Particulate Matter. Many people are familiar with the verbiage, but don’t always fully grasp how or why their health is impacted.

In 2015, during the month of March, Paris hit a calamitous concentration of air pollution — beyond the numbers of Beijing. Plume Labs informed the French government of the circumstances. In response, officials took steps to cut vehicle traffic by 50 percent for a full day.

Lacombe has written: “Air pollution is an invisible enemy, but we can fight back: actionable information helps limit our exposure, improve our health and well-being, and make our cities breathable.”

Each year, air pollution leads to almost 7 million deaths around the world. It is presently the world’s fourth-largest health threat. If we want to avoid the highest level of pollution on the Plume scale, Airpocalypse — where everyone is advised to stay indoors — a consideration of how serious a problem air pollution is must be addressed.

Tell Your Governor: Support the Clean Air Plan

Images: Courtesy of Plume Labs

This article originally appeared on the website Moms Clean Air Force.

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Jul 10, 2016 | No comment | Read More »

Divest to Invest: The New Global Movement

One of the big topics currently on the minds of those who are concerned about climate change — from college students to those planning for retirement — is how to combine concern for the future health of the planet with money issues and economic safety.

Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) recently put forth an amendment to the Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2016. It called for the Secretary of the Treasury to develop a blueprint to initiate Clean Energy Victory Bonds. The goal was to use the example of World War II Bonds to mobilize the American public, and to raise revenue to finance clean energy undertakings. The projected goal was $50 billion. On April 19, a vote tally of 50 yes and 47 no fell short of the requisite 62 votes needed for passage. The concept was simple and positive, yet the usual naysayers were part of the opposition: Jeff Sessions (R-AL), a top Trump endorser; Chuck Grassley (R-IA), who is blocking the Supreme Court nomination process; James Inhofe (R-OK), climate denier.

Another option is getting traction, and that is the emphasis on divesting from savings and assets that are tied into fossil fuel companies.

The city of Copenhagen announced in February that they would be selling all of its stocks and bonds in gas, oil, and coal. They are positioning themselves to become the first carbon-neutral capitol by 2025.

Prince Charles has moved to purge his foundations and private holdings of all fossil fuel assets. So has Leonardo DiCaprio, of Hollywood royalty. And if dealing with money makes you feel anxious, just know that the Rockefeller Brothers Fund has divested from fossil fuels and is proactively seeking solutions to climate change. I listened to a video of a press conference where Justin Rockefeller discussed how that decision was based on both “moral and financial reasons.”

So where does that leave us common folks? Actually, with plenty to do.

A good place to start learning about options is at Divest Invest. They have an extremely robust website with information geared to different groups, including individuals. I spoke with Vanessa Green, who is managing the Divest Invest Individual Campaign, which asks people to take the lead in creating change, “accelerate clean energy for all,” while “avoiding unnecessary risk” in their investments. One image showed a father and son with the quote, “What little savings I have is fossil free because my investments are a bet on my son’s future.”

Man with Kid_edited-1
Green informed me of an online petition put forth requesting American businesses “to offer fossil free 401(k) options.” DivestInvest is part of a coalition of groups driving this agenda.

In context of the concern that people have about their retirement funds, Green noted, “That’s why they need to be asking questions. Coal, oil, and gas are increasingly risky investments, particularly for people on fixed incomes,” she pointed out. Green explained that that her organization was working to create an “on-ramp” accessibility, so that the public could familiarize themselves with both the “shift in consciousness” and the risks associated with fossil fuel companies in the face of climate change concerns.

Fossil Free Funds is a tool that is easily accessed via the Internet, and measures the climate risk of mutual funds. Yet as Green emphasized, divestment is only one part of the equation. It’s a two-part solution which includes changing perceptions and pivoting mainstream thinking. There is a growing push from consumers for Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) and greater transparency. In addition, financial advisors may not be aware of the options available.

Presently trading on the New York Stock Exchange, is a new fossil-free investment from Etho Capital. It’s an exchange-traded fund (ETF) that excludes all fossil fuel companies. It also chooses equities based on climate efficiency. I reached out to Ian Monroe, a lecturer and visiting scholar at Stanford University, who is also the President & Chief Sustainability Officer at Etho Capital to learn more. Via e-mail he wrote:

“I started working with climate-efficiency data while teaching courses on solutions to climate change at Stanford, and looking at the sustainability of investments. If we really want to solve climate change, a huge piece of the puzzle is for investors around the world to move trillions of dollars out of dirty energy and into climate solutions. Fortunately, this is starting to happen.

We’ve created the ETHO ETF to make it easy for everyone to align their investments with their personal values. It is based on our Etho Climate Leadership Index, which invests in the most climate-efficient companies, while removing irresponsible industries (like fossil fuels, weapons, and tobacco). Our performance has shown that you really can invest in ways that are better for both the planet and your portfolio.”

“People are the cornerstones of social movements,” Green underscored when we spoke. “The more people pay attention to the way big corporations do business, the more they will understand the impact it has on their lives.”

Tell Your Governor: Support the Clean Power Plan

This article originally appeared on the website Moms Clean Air Force





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Jul 9, 2016 | No comment | Read More »

Local Activism Pays Off

Individuals from all walks of life, who are concerned about the future of their children...

Dec 18, 2014 | No comment | Read More »

The Military Battles Climate Change

Ret. Adm. David Titley said,"The ocean, atmosphere and ice do not caucus, do not vote,...

Jul 27, 2014 | 1 comment | Read More »

EPA Adminstrator McCarthy Makes A “Moral Obligation To The Next Generation”

McCarthy, who doesn’t pull any punches, stated, “Climate change caused by carbon pollution is one...

Oct 11, 2013 | No comment | Read More »

IPCC Report: Man-Made Climate Change Is A Scientific Certainty

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its new report on September...

Oct 2, 2013 | No comment | Read More »

Small Businesses Support President Obama’s Climate Plan

After extreme weather incidents like Hurricane Sandy, 40 percent of small businesses do not reopen....

Jul 23, 2013 | No comment | Read More »

President Obama Vows To Cut Pollution

Obama addressed the climate deniers with the simple sentence, “We don’t have time for the...

Jun 27, 2013 | No comment | Read More »