Health - Environment - Change
Health - Environment - Change
ÖKOLOGIE.ORG is a San Francisco-based hybrid social enterprise operating at the intersection of Public Health Education and Environmental Research.
Our Social and Charitable Mission is to democratize public health education while empowering those in underprivileged communities to overcome the debilitating health effects often associated with ageism, environmental racism, and discrimination based on sexual orientation.
With the epidemic rise of sedentary lifestyles and the rapid increase in daily distractions, physical, social, and psychological well-being have become essential for maintaining whole-body health and wellness. At ÖKOLOGIE, we provide a holistic approach to reducing stress and instability, and achieving balance, wholeness, and happiness.
Healthful living requires a vibrant environment. We support environmental sustainability and responsibility through our publications, apps, and stewardship. ÖKOLOGIE also offers a variety educational programs, workshops, and corporate wellness programs focusing on environmental health related issues.
Our publications and services promote healthy diets, physical fitness, and mindfulness meditation. We aim to empower our community with evidence-based, timely information to inspire healthful choices and spark positive change.
ÖKOLOGIE maintains an integrated approach community and social activities. We advance cause initiatives through local advocacy efforts. We also donate a percentage of the proceeds from our publications to local nonprofit organizations
ÖKOLOGIE'S Book-A-Day Series
ÖKOLOGIE'S Book-A-Day Series
An informative overview of the many ways modern eating habits and our love for comfort foods are affecting obesity and the overall health of the average American. Many of our most beloved dishes act as toxic time bombs, contributing to an unsustainable health epidemic in our country. A recent study revealed that several chain-restaurant comfort-foods contain more than 5,000 calories in a single entrée, several times the recommended daily allowance.
We explain the risks and foods to avoid on your path back to a life and body in balance.
ÖKOLOGIE'S Book-a-Day series was developed to provided our readers with a knowledgeable, insightful and sometimes provocative perspective of issues surrounding environmental-health, sustainability, positive sexuality, and whole-body wellness. Each volume typically contains less than 20,000 words and is designed to be consumed in a single, one-hour reading session.
Our workplace wellness programs help the manager to care and, in turn, make the employees care about their organization, thus making our personalized approach and results last for a really long time after the delivery.
Constantly working is detrimental to creativity. Creativity is a precursor to innovation. If you want yourself and your people to be innovative, you need to help them relax, to engage in diverse physical activities, to develop a work/life balance.
In an environment where there is incessant activity and set goals, it is crucial not to lose sight of the people who are the cornerstone of an organization's success. When they are taken care of, with increased levels of health and vitality, they are certainly more focused, satisfied and engaged with more benefits for all.
Topics of Interest
Business Coaching Outcomes
Choose the program that suits your needs and let us adapt it accordingly
Social Responsibility & Philanthropy
Social Responsibility & Philanthropy
Social Responsibility Statement
As a leading provider of health education publishing, environmental-health research, and sustainability advocacy, ÖKOLOGIE formerly UrbanSculpt is committed to making a positive impact and promoting social change. Being an active part of the community is important to our organization, and we take that stellar reputation seriously. In fact, ÖKOLOGIE considers the trust and confidence it has earned from customers and suppliers among its most valuable assets. The company makes every effort to maintain this trust, demanding the highest ethical standards in all of its business activities.
To better guarantee these standards are upheld, ÖKOLOGIE has put in place an ethics policy, which outlines its core values, as well as its approach to doing business. At ÖKOLOGIE, integrity is a prerequisite to everything the company does, leading to successful and sustained business relationships.
ÖKOLOGIE'S goal is to focus on meeting customer objectives while sustaining environmental responsibility. Each product sold through the company’s retail arm is certified cruelty-free, sustainably manufactured, and free from harsh and dangerous chemicals. In addition to this focus on environmental responsibility, ÖKOLOGIE makes every effort to manufacture or procure products and services that provide fair, safe, and consistent value. In order to continually meet or improve those standards, UrbanSculpt employs a combination proprietary business process and the best green supply-chain technology available today, passing the benefits of this technology onto its customers, and ultimately to our community.
ÖKOLOGIE'S operations are specifically designed to have a minimal impact on the environment. As such, the company encourages communities to follow the internationally established environmental objectives of:
In the course of daily operations, ÖKOLOGIE formerly UrbanSculpt seeks to identify opportunities to reduce the consumption of energy, water, and other natural resources. Our main distribution channel and local corporate offices are both located in LEED Certified buildings that boast the following features:
Through the development of educational media & seminars, eco-friendly products, and health education publications; UrbanSculpt works to spread the word about the importance of combining a healthy lifestyle, sound mind, and environmental sustainability.
Systems theory tells us that maintaining balance requires achieving parity between our sociological and ecological environments. These systems cannot survive as silos and must be viewed within a global context. - At ÖKOLOGIE, we are passionate about improving living conditions for people around the globe by reducing social stratification, bigotry, and protecting the most vulnerable members of society. To that end, a percentage of the proceeds from the sale of materials published through our subsidiary, ÖKOLOGIE Press, are donated to the social justice and community outreach organizations cited below.
If you have any questions regarding our community outreach, education, or philanthropy efforts, please contact us a firstname.lastname@example.org
BECOMING THE DIFFERENCE - BREN’S STORY
BECOMING THE DIFFERENCE - BREN’S STORY
By Rachel Jackson (Writer for Marie Claire UK)
Have you ever dreamed of making a change to your life that makes it far, far better…forever? So many of us long for this, whether it is to make changes to our health, appearance, education, work or personal life. Brenda made an outstanding change which had a hugely positive impact upon all five areas of these areas of her life, all in one remarkable transformation – here’s her story:
The youngest of four children within a lively Mexican-Italian household located in the largely working-class neighbourhood of East Side San Jose, life for Brenda, or ‘Bren’, was never dull. Stable, yes, but full of the joys of youth: she would run around and play outside for hours, safely and energetically soaking up a zest for life, exercising without even knowing about it, the way children do. Or did – her playful, bubbly childhood games were in marked contrast to those of some of today’s children who have swapped their free, healthy birthright – boundless energy – for non-stop gaming, web surfing and channel-hopping. She and her siblings were getting the best out of their days, fuelled by the freshly cooked food that fed many similar households of the time.
Then, when Bren hit her early teens, life suddenly changed. Mental illness reared up in her father, turning her life and that of her family, completely upside down. Chaos reigned as Bren saw her Dad lose his job and his peace of mind, becoming emotionally, psychologically and financially unable to care for his wife and children. Worse still, he sometimes grew violent, which forced Bren and her mother to sleep in the back of the family car…
Where would it end? Anyone enduring such stress and disruption to daily life would feel the negative effects in every respect, particularly a sensitive young teenage girl. Daily stress took a toll on their diets and those regular, nutritious, family meals were displaced by a survival diet of heavy starches and fats. Little wonder that it all wreaked havoc on Brenda’s weight, her health and ultimately her self-esteem. Life’s great possibilities had melted into unhappiness and uncertainty.
However, the great thing about life is that it always changes. The years moved on and Brenda met a man, married and embarked upon her career. The lost little girl had found love, security and a degree of financial freedom. As all adults know, with freedom comes choice. The adult Brenda felt that she could now pamper herself with the fatty, comforting, processed so-called treats she had been denied. She piled her shopping carts high with sugary, salty, fatty food, not stopping to think about the real price it would make her pay. Like so many of us who go through trauma in life, food can act as a salve for our emotional wounds and the extra weight we inevitably carry becomes a comfort blanket – but one that makes us fundamentally unhappy.
Still, for now Brenda reached out for that calorie-laden comfort – they ate out more and more at chain restaurants and succumbed to a life of stress, overconsumption and infrequent exercise. It all took its toll and her small frame piled on the pounds, ballooning to an unhealthy size 16.
Who hasn’t reached out for that extra pastry and latte during a coffee break on a stressful day, or got into the habit of ‘treating themselves’ to high calorie, multiple course meals restaurants that they just didn’t need? Whilst Brenda celebrated her new-found financial and familial freedom by eating whatever she felt she wanted, whenever she wanted it, the effects on her body worsened. The once fit, thriving young lady felt herself morphing into a tired, overweight and unhealthy woman. Where had it gone wrong?
These feelings of being lethargic, heavy and unhappy grew until Brenda started to experience extreme bouts of depression and anxiety. As is often the case, this simply led to her craving more high sugar, high starch and high fat foods, which led to greater weight gain… soon she was locked into a seemingly unbreakable vicious circle.
More time passed, with Brenda growing increasingly unhappy about feeling less than whole; feeling far less than her best possible self. The watershed moment came in her mid 30s, when one day, she decided to make her life over. She wanted more for herself. Soon she had sold her interest in the fledgling Silicon Valley-based business she had invested in and instead she had embarked on a remarkable goal - to obtain her fitness and nutrition certifications.
And so, an altogether new journey began. This exciting new area of health and fitness education did more than simply fill a void which she had once tried to fill with food. Much more than that, it gave her invaluable tools for building a healthier life, weapons that she could use to win the food battle. She learned amazing new facts – that so much commercial modern food can be sold to us as healthy and nutritious when it is anything but. She was astounded to learn that a single entrée at one of her favourite chain restaurants could, in fact, hold more than an entire day’s worth of calories! Her daily ‘treat’, an Otis Spunkmeyer Blueberry Muffin, contained 500 calories and 50 grams of fat. Was it any wonder that she, along with much of the rest of the Western world, was sliding into obesity?
Brenda was gaining strength from this newfound knowledge. She decided that she would not just make a change; she would be the change and inspire others along the way. She started running every day, increasing her distance one block at a time. She fought through the discomfort until it became a pleasure and after six months she was enjoying a daily, mile-a-day run on the scenic Los Gatos Creek trail. She also started lifting weights and dancing as a way to keep things interesting and to drive her growing motivation. It was clearly working and though tough at the start it yielded fantastic results.
So who is Brenda now; who has that pressured teen, or comfort-hungry young woman become? Bren is now in the greatest shape – physically, emotionally, psychologically – of her life. She controls her portion sizes at mealtimes and works out daily, lifting three to four times a week and relishing her daily run. Six months of discipline led Brenda to lose an amazing 60 pounds of all the fat, starches, and sugars that nearly destroyed her life. Thanks to her healthy, enjoyable, life-affirming regime, she has dropped from an uncomfortable size 16 to a happy, healthy size 8.
So what drove the change in her? Was it luck alone, or something else? Brenda made a life-changing decision and the positive results followed. She recognised a responsibility to herself, her loved ones and even to her countrymen not to lose her potential in the all too familiar food battle. So many people spend their lives living with the effects of the preventable diseases – diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, high cholesterol, painful joints and more - brought on by becoming obese. Bren felt a duty to help others learn what she had learned and to help them make that wonderful life-change for themselves.
She therefore expanded her studies, earning first a Bachelor’s degree and then a Master’s in Health Science Education, where the majority of her case-based work focused on the health and environmental effects of minority communities in San Francisco’s Bay View Hunter’s Point region.
Now, she is both the same Brenda and an entirely different person – healthy, happy in charge of her health and therefore her destiny. She has given up taking in the substances that were clogging up her system and piling on fat – the processed foods, white flour, bread etc. Instead she fuels her body with the best that nature can offer – a vegetable drink at breakfast, plenty of fruit and vegetables and smaller portions of lean meat.
Occasionally, it is not always easy to stay consistently motivated, but she always finds a way, because ultimately, she is leading the life that she loves. Brenda has been on an incredible journey and she wants to share the path with others – she’ll not only help you make a difference, but you, like her, can become the difference that changes your life.
ÖKOLOGIE'S Research and Staff Writing Team
ÖKOLOGIE'S Research and Staff Writing Team
Brenda Billings, MPH, M.Sc - Founder & Principal Health Education Practitioner
Brenda Rivera-Billings is the CEO and Principal Health Education Practitioner for Ökologie. She graduated Summa Cum Laude with a B.Sc in Health Science Education / Environmental Health, Cum Laude with an M.Sc in Health Science, and a Master’s in Public Health (MPH). She holds an undergraduate degree in Humanities / Art History and also earned certificates in both Multimedia / Digital Arts and Nutrition Counseling. She's currently pursuing a Doctor in Public Health (DrPH). Brenda's research interests include empowering seniors and adults with disabilities, environmental-racism, social change, wellness counseling, positive sexuality, and women’s self-empowerment issues.
Meghan Stone, MSW, MEd - Staff Writer
Meghan Stone earned her Master’s degree in Clinical Social Work and Master’s of Education in Human Sexuality from Widener University. She has worked as a therapist, social worker, teen counselor, and sexuality educator. She currently resides in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where she writes, teaches and volunteers with the local community. Her passions are social work, travel, photography, art, and learning about other cultures.
Victoria Froud, MA - Staff Writer
Victoria is a writer, philosopher, wife and charity shop manager all rolled into one. She studied Philosophy in Cardiff and then at post-graduate level in London, but she now lives in a large seaside town and pursues her love of writing in her spare time. She loves to walk along the beach with her husband and her dog whilst dreaming up new ideas.
Leslie McIntyre - Staff Writer
Leslie is a writer and urban farming enthusiast currently living in New York City. Her work has appeared in Performer Magazine and eHow.com. She is a fiction reader for Ploughshares Journal and a contributing writer at Atlas Obscura.
Dr. Donald Billings M.Sc, D.B.A. - Advisory Board, CSR
With an established track-record spanning more than 20 years in leadership, entrepreneurial, and consultative roles serving global law firms, fortune 100 companies, and the non-profit sector, Donald is passionate about leading positive social change.
He holds degrees and credentials in a variety disciplines including Computer Science, Business Administration, Legal Studies, and Sustainable Leadership. He is currently pursuing his Doctorate (D.B.A.) in Technology Entrepreneurship.
Mine has been a privileged life, first for having traveled all over as son of a diplomatic family, then for having had the opportunity to study at Oxford, and finally for a gratifying career in business, in geriatric home care, and in writing. I enjoy using this wonderful medium to discuss the various aspects of life that are of interest to my readers.
Elektra Christensen - Staff Writer
Elektra is a staff writer based in Ökologie’s San Francisco headquarters. A 2013 graduate of San Francisco State University, she now seeks to forge her own path in the world while writing in her spare time. She has volunteered with the San Francisco SPCA and helped to lead an organization giving monthly family-style dinners to formerly homeless residents of single-occupancy hotels. Elektra is always seeking something new to learn; her research interests include mental health, sexuality, technology and social change.