Valerie Vande Panne, AlterNet

Valerie Vande Panne

AlterNet

Boston, MA, United States

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Recent:
  • Unknown
Past:
  • AlterNet
  • Next City
  • Columbia Journalism Review
  • The Daily Beast

Past articles by Valerie:

Why the fashion industry needs a major sustainability revolution

New York City is the fashion capital of the world. Its streets are peppered with influencers on Instagram photoshoots, its fashion week parties are annual events everyone vies to attend (but never eats at), and its sample sales are so exclusive you need an invitation to attend. Outside of fabulou → Read More

The Case to Repair, and Not to Replace

The Right to Repair movement rejects the primacy of disposable culture and proprietary technology. How proposed legislation could notch a victory for digital literacy and environmental sustainability. → Read More

The Paper on the Street

How street newspapers in cities empower the people who experience homelessness. → Read More

The battle for rights of nature heats up in the Great Lakes

In February, the voters of Toledo, Ohio, passed a ballot initiative that gives Lake Erie and those who rely on the lake’s ecosystem a bill of rights. The idea is to protect and preserve the ecosystem so that the life that depends on it—humans included—can have access to safe, fresh drinking water. → Read More

Is your life ruled by screens? I tried out sunglasses that block what’s on them – A

Imagine a pair of sunglasses that block TV screens! My mind went wild. → Read More

I tried special glasses that block TV images. They left me both hopeful and disappointed.

The idea was simple: Create sunglasses that block digital TV screens. A Kickstarter was born. Media buzzed. IRL Glasses were born. (IRL = In Real Life, natch.) Imagine a pair of sunglasses that block TV screens! My mind went wild. As a fan of the real world and a lover and rememberer of the analo → Read More

My friend wanted to call ICE when his boss laid him off and hired immigrants. Here’s what I told him to do instead. – A

A friend of mine worked in a tool and die shop in Michigan. That is, until recently, when he was laid off, just days after his employer hired immigrant workers with no visas. He is enraged. He is white, and to him, this was the exact thing Fox News warns about. He keeps repeating, “These immigran → Read More

Universal Basic Income is a big distraction from questions we should be asking

Universal Basic Income (UBI) is a much-touted solution to our increasingly tech-driven society, proposed by everyone from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to conservative libertarian think tank the Cato Institute. The idea is that UBI could replace vanishing jobs and give all Americans a cushion. Give ever → Read More

Here are 7 reasons overworked and underpaid workers on the U.S. coasts should move to Middle America

Money stretches a lot further when you’re paying a reasonable rent. If you live on the East or West Coast, you’ve probably been subjected to increasingly expensive rents, food, clothing, and more—tiresome commutes, working multiple jobs to pay the bills, and the exhaustion that comes with the frustration of not being able to do more of what you want.Unfortunately, the trajectory of… → Read More

7 dubious financial buzzwords that indicate someone is conning you

If it sounds too good to be true, take a closer look beyond the rhetoric. There are so many plans these days to “transform” an area via a “public-private partnership” that will “restore” and “fix” the local economy and lead to an economic “recovery” for the “brave” group of “stakeholders” who’ve come together to make it happen. The business leader drumming up support is often a “good friend” of… → Read More

You Don’t Have to Screw People Over to Survive

How Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap is healing people and the planet—one label at a time. “You don’t have to fuck people over to survive” are wise words I once heard radical comic book artist Seth Tobocman chant, repeatedly. It’s also the title of one of his books. Those words have stayed with me, and I’m a bit surprised more people don’t echo that sentiment.But one man—and his family business—does.Dr.… → Read More

This is the Terrifying Reality of America's 'Deadly, Dangerous and Destabilizing Role' in Global Arms Supply

Want to be part of peace? Stop working for, and investing in, these Big 5 arms manufacturers. Most Americans want peace—in the world, in their country, and in their own homes and communities.Even the most committed Trump supporter might want peace in Latin America and the Middle East—if it means “illegal” refugees stop “pouring” in to the USA.Yet, somehow, U.S. “commandos” were deployed to 149… → Read More

Here’s How Marketers Are Capitalizing on Your Shopping Habits — And 10 Tips to Stop Them

Ten tips to save yourself from being manipulated into spending more money. You probably purchase clothing and shoes without thinking too much about how you do it. Yet how you purchase apparel, from the time you first consider a product through the post-purchase experience, is being thought about, a lot, by people whose job it is to relieve you of more of your money. Your purchase process is… → Read More

Burning Man as We Knew It Is Dead — Here's How Its White Culture and the One Percent Killed It

Stay home and do your own thing in your own backyard instead. I spend a lot of my time writing and thinking about ways to foster a healthier world, economically, socially, environmentally, and spiritually. Burning Man has always seemed like something I should support. I have good friends who go every year, and one of my dearest friends, whom I have known since I was 14 years old, is one of… → Read More

I Finally Gave Up Getting My Nails Done — The Risks Are Just Far Too High

Nail polish is full of toxins affecting both customers and workers of salons. Last fall, I went through an intense body purification that can best be described as a religious experience. Over my nails.For more than 20 years, I’d had my nails done in a salon on a regular basis. I knew the chemicals were toxic. I knew salons are often havens for human trafficking. I knew the whole process was… → Read More

Do Fair Trade Labels Actually Mean Anything?

How to know if what you’re purchasing helps that poor person of color in the brand’s marketing. If you consider yourself a conscious consumer, you might have stood before the chocolate section at your Whole Foods, reading label after label of “fair trade” logos, and wondered, what the heck do all these different certifications mean?If you asked yourself that—you’re correct to wonder. There are… → Read More

How Small Businesses Are at the Mercy of a Few Greedy Credit Card Companies

With each disappearing punchable/stampable loyalty card, communities have fewer spaces for human interaction and privacy from data mining. Not that long ago—in recent memory, in fact—your favorite locally owned café probably offered a loyalty program that consisted of a small paper card (the size of a business card) you would keep and get stamped or punched every time you purchased a beverage or… → Read More

An Increasing Number of Struggling Americans Are Turning to Check Cashers and Payday Loans

This is what we can do about it. There’s an idea in America that if you are “financially literate,” there is a specific way you bank: You have a checking account and a savings account at a big-name bank. You have your checks from your employer directly deposited every two weeks, like clockwork, and you save at least 10 percent out of every check, until you have enough saved to cover living… → Read More

Meet the Artist Using Media to Defang Capitalism

Humor and truth help expose profound colonialism, racism, and straight-up ridiculousness used to sell luxury products. You may have heard of Shinola, the racist shoe-polish company of the early 20th century whose brand was reinvented by hypercapitalists from Texas into the feel-good story of Detroit, marketing $1,100 watches and bicycles for more than what many Detroiters would pay for a car. → Read More

I Gave Up Twitter for Lent: You Won't Believe What Happened Next

Life without social media can change your perspective. I gave up Twitter for Lent. For the last two Lents, actually: 2017 and 2018.I spoke with some journalist friends before Ash Wednesday, and their response was overwhelmingly: “You can’t give up Twitter.”Well, it turns out I can give up Twitter, because I did. Just like I dumped Facebook years ago. → Read More