Country and State Representatives

The email I sent to everyone with our September 22, 2020 Groundswell News Journal is below. After I sent it out we got one more Country Rep in Nigeria and another State rep in Pennsylvania USA:

Dearest Global Family of Activists,

We are starting an exciting and vigorous outreach campaign with Country Representatives. Jussa Kudherezera in Zimbabwe (one of our Board members) was the first to think of this idea and I loved it. When I asked him to tell me what he had in mind, he wrote: “I would be very happy to represent my country and contribute fully to this enchanting idea and being a country representative I grow our networks, share Grassroots Coalition works. Also find other like-minded organization to share their news with us for publications. Let’s hit the ground running together we can do it.”

I put Jussa’s idea on our Agenda for the September 19th Zoom meeting and others agreed to help with outreach. My interpretation of how this might look is this:

  1. Jussa is going to reach out to other environmental groups in Zimbabwe and start networking with them. Bigboy Musemwa also volunteered to represent Zimbabwe so they will be a team.
  2. Jussa and Bigboy will also look for important environmental news stories which are being addressed in Zimbabwe.
  3. I would love to give one full page to each country (or state) where we have a rep for News Briefs — not entire stories — just a few briefs. But I will continue to give Jussa, Bigboy, and our other representatives a page for his own work. This idea is not to replace our normal writers’ articles but to add more depth and strength to our international movement.
  4. Once our paper is ready with those stories, Jussa and Bigboy can send Groundswell News Journal to the people they have contacted when we have News Briefs for their area.
  5. The dream is that we will gather and unite more grassroots activists on specific campaigns (such as saving forests) and thereby increase our chance of really playing a significant role in healing Earth.

We now have representatives in 4 countries and 2 states:

Jussa Kudherezera, Zimbabwe (Manica Youth Assembly)

Bigboy Musemwa, Zimbabwe (Repair Earth Projects)

Ngo Banfogha, Cameroon (Hope for a Better Future)

John Machiaria, Kenya (SCOPE, Schools and Colleges Permaculture Programme)

Prince Kitumaini Kamundala, DR Congo (Action for Environment Care and Business and Ecosysteme        Management)

Jeannette Bartelt, Maryland USA (Green Earth Goods)

Doug Davis, New York State USA (Adirondack Council)

The beauty of this outreach is that we can build a larger and stronger grassroots network to save and protect the environment and all life.

Please let me know if you have enough extra time and energy to become a country representative or, in the U.S., a state representative.

As Jussa says, “Let’s hit the ground running together we can do it.”

For the Earth Always,

Iona Conner

Director of the Grassroots Coalition for Environmental and Economic Justice

Publisher/Editor of Groundswell News Journal

Facebook Group:

2170 Route 88

Brick, New Jersey 08724

The mission of Groundswell News Journal is to be a beautiful, inspiring, uplifting publication, which educates and enlightens people about the climate crisis through scientific articles and stories by and about activists who are working to protect life on Earth and preserve natural resources, especially in Africa.

Our Motto: Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without!


This is an edited version of the email I sent out to everyone with the March 2020 issue. I’ll be back as soon as I can with lots of great stories and an emphasis on Africa.

On Sunday, February 23, 2020, Groundswell News <> wrote:
Dear Friends Around the World,

Lots of big news and gratitude:

1. Thank you to Allen Hengst, who has been our Wire Editor carefully working with me for more than 10 years.

2. Thanks to all the readers who have contributed wonderful material to make this publication great.

3. Much gratitude to four generous donors to the Grassroots Coalition after John died – Fr. Ted Cassidy in Ohio USA, the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement, Graymoor’s The Union-That-Nothing-Be-Lost, Inc. Mass Department in New York USA, a very old friend and supporter of John’s work (and mine now), who may wish to remain anonymous, and a new friend who also prefers to remain anonymous.

4. My heart is extremely grateful to Mr Kennedy Kwuelum of Nexus Exchange in the UK and Lagos, Nigeria for working with me to create a prototype for my dream of franchising Groundswell News. Our Lagos Special Edition starts with three pages of their story from Lagos. Please email me at if you’d like to see this.

5. My newest angel, Mariam Nabukeera of Uganda, brought about a miracle in John’s memory by sharing the September issue and then sent me this message: “When I read about who your dear husband was, I forward the Newspaper to our sponsoring Charity here called WACENA (Women And Children’s Empowerment Network in Africa One of the Directors called Maggie Ndagire called me and said, “Persons like John are living icons and are such persons that we want our Children in our School to learn from. If your friend doesn’t mind, we [will] name one of our School block under construction – ‘John Bruce Conner.’” I was so excited to hear that from her. The School is called Future Victory School.”

6. I’ll be taking a break/vacation until October (I’ll be back much sooner than that) to recover from the difficult times of the past few years and to allow my hip to heal after a fall down the bleachers on December 14th after watching my adorable granddaughter’s basketball game. (I’m healed now, thank goodness.)

7. I’m creating a new website: but I’m still learning how to use it.

 8. Here are some of my favorite climate news sources, whose email lists you might like to get on:

a.       Common Dreams

b.       Climate News Network

c.       The Daily Climate

d.       A Network for Grateful Living

e.       Thomson Reuters Foundation

f.        Allen Hengst keeps up to date environmentally and politically, but it’s not always positive news. Email him at Allen is a brilliant activist.

During my break, I’ll be strengthening the non-profit to improve our chances of getting enough funding so that I won’t need another part-time job, creating a new website, taking a few trips (including one to Massachusetts to do a workshop at the Blessed Unrest conference in April —  ttps://, and finally doing my best to learn how to slow down and RELAX! You’ll find me swimming happily in the ocean at the Jersey Shore. (None of these things are happening because of the coronavirus but the Blessed Unrest conference was online and wonderful!)

I will be checking emails and Facebook sporadically so as not to lose touch with my friends during my vacation.

Stay well, carry on, be creative, be strong, be happy, have fun, and don’t forget to relax now and then.

For the Earth Always,

Iona Conner

Publisher/Editor of Groundswell News Journal (under construction)

Facebook Group: Groundswell News Journal

2170 Route 88

Brick, New Jersey 08724

The mission of Groundswell News Journal is to be a beautiful, inspiring, uplifting magazine, which educates and enlightens people about the climate crisis through scientific articles and stories by and about activists who are working to protect life on Earth and preserve natural resources.

Our Motto: Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without!

Our Slogan: The way forward: Cycle back to basics.

Simple-Living Tips to Reduce Fossil Fuel Use

Strong Ideas from Iona

  • Slow down.
  • Stop shopping (except, of course, for food and essentials).
  • Turn off the lights.
  • Stay home.
  • Appreciate the things you have.
  • Remember our motto: Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.
  • Grow as much of your own organic food as you can.
  • Mend old clothes and keep wearing them.
  • Prioritize the activities in your life and skip those that are not important.
  • Work on your dream.
  • Speak your mind in a loving way.
  • When you do shop, go to thrift stores and buy something that has already gone through the manufacturing process instead of buying new items.
  • Think of everything you buy from the “cradle to grave” so you understand that energy was used to dig up the raw materials, transport them, refine them, create something, transport it to a packaging plant and then to the store and then decide how it will end up, hopefully in recycling or the compost pile, not in the trash.
  • Give yourself electronic holidays and unplug everything you can.
  • Bring cloth bags to the store with you and remember to bring them into the store.
  • Boycott ads that try to convince you to buy things you don’t really need.

Little things you can do:

In the kitchen

  • Filter your water at home and carry it with you in a Thermos or other non-plastic container.
  • Buy plastic “shower hats” for leftovers so you don’t need to buy plastic wrap or other disposable covers; these tops are washable but rarely get dirty if they don’t touch the food.
  • Use intermittent cooking; that means bring something to a boil or simmer, shut off the burner for about 10 minutes and it will keep cooking. Turn the burner back on for a few more minutes and shut it off again.
  • Use the appropriate size pan on each burner.
  • Use lids to reduce cooking times and temperatures.
  • Buy items in recyclable containers and be sure to recycle them.
  • Compost in any way possible.
  • Use cloth napkins.
  • Use rags and dish cloths instead of paper towels.
  • Pack plates, cups, utensils, washed-out containers and napkins for leftovers or restaurants where they use disposables. Bring a plastic bag to bring your dirty dishes home for washing.
  • Vacuum refrigerator coils to improve efficiency.
  • Close the refrigerator and freezer doors as quickly as you can.
  • Pack the freezer with containers filled with water in empty spaces; this helps the freezer stay cold and use less energy.
  • For scouring powder, use baking soda and salt with a non-abrasive scrubby.
  • Buy eco-friendly cleaning and personal-care products and use them up.
  • Cut the tubes in half for products like toothpaste so you can reach inside them and scrape out the last bits.


  • Avoid them as much as possible.
  • Turn them off when not in use
  • Charge mobile devices in the car instead of a power outlet.
  • Don’t buy every single new gadget that comes along.
  • Dust or vacuum computer equipment to maximize it’s effectiveness.


  • Hang your clothes outside while you enjoy the morning fresh air and feel as if you’re in the country.
  • In wet weather, hang your clean clothes on a wooden rack indoors.
  • Iron as little as possible.
  • Use 1/4 cup baking soda as fabric softener.


  • Drive as little as possible and combine trips when you are out.

Home heating and cooling

  • Lower your thermostat as low as you can tolerate it; wear sweaters and long johns to keep warmer in winter. Every degree that you can lower the thermostat will save lots of electricity.
  • Use curtains or blinds to keep out the hot summer sun.
  • Use an attic fan on cool summer nights to bring cool air into your home; then shut all the windows during the heat of the day and go in and out quickly, without leaving the doors open any longer than absolutely necessary.
  • Don’t use an air conditioner if you can avoid it. It’s OK to sweat and drink lemonade under a tree on a hot summer day.


  • Buy compact fluorescents or LED light bulbs; the extra initial cost will be made up in electricity bill savings over the years.
  • Dust light bulbs periodically to improve their efficiency.

A Simple-Living Pep Talk

By Iona Conner, Publisher/Editor Groundswell News Journal

Each of us must do what we can from where we stand today, gently changing those habits and philosophies which hurt us and our environment. We must clear out the clutter in our lives and discover things we value most, making them our top priorities and withdrawing from other activities, which are stressful or meaningless. You already know what makes sense or not; what to believe or not. Listen to your inner voice and find the truth, the love, the wisdom of the ages deep within yourself.

Below are underlying principles for some of our actions.

  • If you only have time or energy for one thing today, choose the most important action that helps lighten your mental workload and gets you started.
  • Perhaps our motto will be useful to you: Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.
  • If you really need something, first try finding something used or repurposed.
  • It’s important to buy products made from recycled materials so that the cycle is complete and the market for recycled articles thrives.
  • Think and act until your new ways become habits and you can move on to newer, more profound changes.
  • Be creative and stubborn as you make your decisions and take action.
  • Honor your limitations and do as much as you can as quickly as you can given the amount of time, energy and money your current life offers. As time goes by, things will get easier.
  • Enjoy silence; nobody needs noise all the time.
  • Consider innocent children and help create a safer world for them.
  • The 12-Step folks have a wonderful saying: Progress, not perfection. Do your best given your life circumstances.
  • Restore immediacy to your life, meaning return to face-to-face communications rather than electronic ones; even phone calls build better relationships than emails.
  • Eat as much organic, home-grown food as you can; read those labels and look for “real” food, not that which has been manipulated by industrial processes.
  • Avoid packaging and buy in bulk at every opportunity. Wash out containers, get tares (weights of empty containers so you’re not paying for the containers) before you fill them up.
  • Learn about your own backyard, neighborhood and ecosystem. Turn off the TV and get outside to familiarize yourself with the nature all around you.
  • Instead of using electricity to play games, invest in things like a Scrabble board or a deck of cards and play games the old-fashioned way.
  • Teach others, with tenderness and compassion in your heart, what you are learning and what you are trying to achieve.
  • Make new friends who share your values and your excitement as you greet each day with hope and enthusiasm.
  • Get a hammock or a swing and remember to relax.

There are thousands of ideas, hundreds of lists and dozens of books to help you figure out ways to “Go Back.” Life is not about boozing and partying, football or fashion, escaping into a fantasy world. We are accosted daily by demoralizing and ridiculous advertising and marketing campaigns. These are distractions. Life is to be lived fully from our souls, it’s not about collecting “stuff” to impress others or satisfy unfulfilled dreams. Go for your dreams! Make them your priority.

Global warming and climate chaos are life-threatening problems caused primarily by our over-reliance on fossil fuels. Lives are lost every moment with species going extinct and people dying prematurely from multiple causes, including tumultuous weather conditions like droughts, hurricanes, wildfires, tsunamis, floods and other catastrophic events. This is serious and we need to act with the utmost urgency.

Thank you for taking time to read this page. We wish you all the best. We’re here to help you; don’t hesitate to use the contact form to send in questions or your own unique tips so that we can publish them.