clearskies, bluewater

Insights, reflections and creative imaginings for our awakening world


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WTF is going on?!?

Clearly there is a whole lot of chaos happening in our world at the moment. For whatever reasons (you can come to your own conclusions), the shock and awe value of our current moment in history cannot be overestimated. But. Today I received an email that I simply must share with whoever might be reading this blog post (see https://popularresistance.org/blog/):

“As you know from what we have been writing and posting recently, the United States has been escalating its aggression towards North Korea. This week, President Trump has taken serious steps towards an attack on North Korea and we are very concerned that it will happen unless we intervene now. Today he had lunch with members of the United Nations Security Council where he urged stronger sanctions against North Korea. This Wednesday, he is bringing all one hundred senators, without their staff, to meet with generals at the White House. The USS Vinson, a nuclear-armed aircraft carrier, is on its way to North Korea with a strike force and two Japanese destroyers.
We urge you to take action now to tell your Senators to oppose an attack on North Korea:
Click here to sign an email petition to your senators.

  • Use the Capitol Switchboard at 202 224 3121 to call your senators today and tell them that we want peace with North Korea. Negotiate with President Kim Jong-un. Stop US military exercises on the North Korean border.
  • Join us to protest at the White House in Washington, DC on Wednesday, April 26 at 2 pm while the senators are there. Click here for more information. 3.
  • If you can’t make it to Washington, DC, please organize an action at your senate offices this week and let us know about it so we can share the details. Contact info@popularresistance.org.
  • President Trump has already demonstrated through the Tomahawk Missile attack on Syria and the bomb dropped in Afghanistan that he is more than willing to use force. His recent rhetoric towards North Korea has been very inflammatory, calling it a problem that has to be dealt with. And it is possible that the war hawks want to create instability in the Koreas prior to the May election in South Korea to replace the recently-impeached President who was a close ally of the US. The current front runner in South Korea is less supportive of the US’ missile defense system (THAAD) that we are building against the people’s will. The President of North Korea has been acting in response to US military exercises on its border that simulate nuclear attacks and assassination campaigns. President Kim Jong-un has said that he is willing to stop testing missiles if the US stops its military exercises. We urge the US and North Korea to negotiate, not escalate. Take action now. ”

Dear Readers, I am sure I am not alone in feeling the strain of the past months since the United States government changed leadership, that is proving more dangerous and disastrous than we could have imagined. The assaults on citizens’ rights, human services, the environment, science itself and ultimately Humanity worldwide, have left many of us dumbfounded and outraged. I seriously wonder if a greater lunatic has ever been unleashed upon the planet than is happening right now (although he has had some serious competition for the title, I will admit).

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How far is too far? Will we collectively allow this lunatic-sociopath and his cohorts to commit nuclear war on our Earth, after we have already learned those horrific lessons 72 years ago? Are we so collectively brainwashed and amnesiafied that we cannot raise our voices loudly enough to get through to the power elite to STOP THIS MADNESS NOW?

I am trying, truly I am, to stay calm and to breathe through each day’s concerning, troubling, and increasingly worrisome news. I am doing everything in my power to add love and peace into the energy quotient of our sleepy and distracted world. But the news of the past couple of weeks, and now this imminent threat to not only the civilians of North Korea, but to the world itself, is simply too much. This lunatic must be stopped. Reason must be restored. Love and compassion must become the standards by which political action is judged. It is high time for some serious consciousness-raising, worldwide.

So please, everyone, speak up!! Call your senators and your congresspeople. Add your name to petitions, carry signs and march in the rain, talk about what is going on in the United States with your friends, your family, your neighbors, your co-workers. We can no longer afford the luxury of being uninvolved in creating peace on Earth. Yes, be loving, be kind, be joyful, meditate and hug trees. AND, speak up about the issues. Let your voice be loud and wide. If ever there was a time to take action, Now is it.

 

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The Revolution has begun

Saturday, January 22, heralded the beginning of a new era in the United States. Within 24 hours of a new figurehead ensconced in the White House, millions of citizens took to the streets of major cities and small towns in nearly every state, to show an incredible solidarity and strength in numbers as they marched, sang, shouted, carried signs, and gave impassioned speeches. Not since the era of Civil Rights and the Vietnam war have so many people joined together in the streets to protest their government’s abuses of power and rhetoric. Welcome to the era of Love.

The Women’s March on Washington, accompanied by hundreds of Sister Marches worldwide, brought out everyone who cares about humanity, equality and justice for all people, regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, economic class, educational level, or any other factor by which the US government creates statistics. Although it was organized and focused on Women and in large part was created as a response to the disgusting, disrespectful attitude of the new president during the election cycle, the marches and rallies were much more. Combined, it was a major show of support for the vast majority of humans who live, work, raise families, receive education, and contribute in myriad ways to our society.

Here in Denver, Colorado, the march and rally brought together a hundred thousand people, according to organizers. Denver is not known as a protest town, and the sheer numbers of people who showed up was extraordinary. Only Broncos football games bring huge throngs of people out into downtown Denver, so I am extremely proud of this community, joined by many from all along the Front Range area, for showing up to be a part of this movement.

For indeed an authentic, organized and strong movement has now begun in earnest within the United States. The past years have seen the beginnings of it with the Occupy movement, Black Lives Matter, Idle No More, NoDAPL, the Keystone Pipeline protests, and the supporters of Bernie Sanders, among many other justice movements. All of these together have worked to raise our collective consciousness and awareness of the extreme injustices being carried out daily by the heads of our government system, backed by powerful corporate interests, for their own benefit at the expense of most of us. No more, folks. With Trump now in office, the movement for a complete renovation of the system is on the menu.

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Americans during the Women’s Protest March: The New Normal?
Actress America Ferrera told the Washington crowd, “Our dignity, our character, our rights have all been under attack, and a platform of hate and division assumed power yesterday. But the president is not America. … We are America, and we are here to stay.”

What changed it so dramatically to bring millions of Americans into the streets during Saturday’s march, is that people have begun to understand that it’s no longer about isolated groups, causes or incidents, but that it’s about ALL of us. The new “president” (he’s not my president, no es mi presidente was a popular slogan at the marches) has succeeded in angering, disrespecting and inciting the majority of people from all walks of life, before even entering the White House. We are in for an interesting time to come.

In my view, the presence of Trump in the White House marks a turning point for America, from decades of apathy and ignorance, which only worsened and grew over the Obama administration, to this moment. People may still be addicted to their smartphones, but at least more and more are reading and watching stories about their new supposed leaders, and seeking out what is true, rather than continued reliance on corporate-controlled media outlets. They will continue to lose support and audiences as more people wake up to the lies being fed to them. The numbers of those protesting prove it: the People are waking up and they are finally paying attention.

The civil liberties and many laws designed to protect American freedoms are at greater risk of being lost than ever before. At this moment, it feels like there is smoke in the forest, and it could break out into massive fire. No one knows what will happen within the next hundred days, let alone the coming years. But it is clear from the protest marches across America and the world, that people are no longer content to let the status quo continue unabated. Many of the speechmakers spoke of the great need for continuous action on the part of all of us. That means Everyone, Every day, Doing Something. Putting our energy into thinking, talking, writing, and showing up to participate. Democracy is a verb, after all, as well as a noun. It is a living, breathing organism, made up of all of us. The only way to change a corrupt system is to clean it out, get rid of what has become diseased, and open it up to the clean air, water and life forces that will create a new, healthy system.

Dear Readers, if you attended a Women’s’ March and rally on Saturday, I applaud and thank you. If you supported them through your attention and prayers and energy, thank you. And if you weren’t there, weren’t aware of it, and would like to learn more, you have a great opportunity and journey ahead of you. These are the times we came here for. We are the ones we have been waiting for. The time is now: Step up. Show up. Speak up. Tell others. Together, we are changing our world.

 

 


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On Judgement and Gratitude

Here it is, Thanksgiving Day in America again. This holiday, more than any other, has the beautiful quality of going beyond all borders, ethnicities, polarization and ideology, if one embraces the core of what this day represents. Giving Thanks. Put another way, it is the epitome of Gratitude. What are you grateful for? Who are you grateful to? When do you feel gratitude? And, most importantly, why?

These are difficult, confusing times to be alive on Earth. At this moment, after all that has taken place over the past year in regards to world events, it is so tempting to fall into despair, anger, and judgement. Not many are feeling truly and deeply satisfied with Life-On-Earth at the moment. And for good reason, anyone who isn’t living in a cave must be aware of what a bloody mess we have created for ourselves.

And yet. What strikes me as the very most basic, important and useful thing that each of us can do, is to resist the strong temptation to judge, blame and shame another (or all the others) for our current state of the world. It is the easiest thing to do, and actually the most harmful. Blaming another, no matter WHO it is or how much you may dislike or revile them, only perpetuates the cycle of hatred, anger and fear that humanity has been living in for millennia. Judgement, like anger and all its associated mental and emotional states, stems from Fear. Fear is the Big Hook for us humans: it keeps us on an endlessly painful and imprisoned state of consciousness, from which we can be manipulated, coerced and otherwise made to follow others’ ideology and morally corrupt strategic plans. You who are reading this blog know what I am saying: the fascist regimes and authoritarian schemes created by small minded, even smaller hearted beings who rise to power do so through these tactics.

What can be done, you may ask? How can we turn this monstrous machine of human misery and suffering around? What will the next four years and beyond look like, for America and for the world? How can we cope? Who is to blame? What will happen?

Dear Readers, from where I stand, it seems obvious that the only way forward towards a world that is peaceful, healthy, joyful and abundant for all, is by moving from a state of judgement based on fear, to a state of grace based on gratitude. It is so easy, so ridiculously easy to scoff at these words and blow them off as some kind of airy fluff, to blow them off and instead hold onto skepticism, pessimism, the idea of separation, and moral indignation. That is what has been going on here on this planet for centuries. And we can see the effects of this kind of thinking all around us. Is it working for you? For your neighbors, including the ones without homes, who are taking up space in your alleys, sidewalks, and parks?  I ask each one of you to take a hard, long look inside of yourselves, and ask: Is your way of thinking, feeling and acting helping to further the goal of health, peace, and justice in the world, or helping to keep this old, ugly and worn-out paradigm in place?

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If you say it cannot be done, then get out of the way and let those who are changing the world’s paradigm do their work unencumbered. Do you really think one more human and his or her new administration is going to magically fix all that is broken in our country or in our world for the rest of us?

It is high time to stop believing that someone (anyone) else is going to save the world for us. No government anywhere can or will do that. What is needed now, and going forward, is “the kind of transformative social movement that has altered the course of history in the past.”(Wen Stephensen)  All huge, world-changing social movements throughout time worked because everyday people got so tired of what they were living in that they banded together and gained people power, then they went ahead and changed their cities, states, countries and yes, their world, for the better.

We are past the tipping point. We are now on course to change our world, the whole of humanity in the days ahead. This is no longer an isolated fight here or there, it is about ALL of Us Humans awakening to the realization that there is no savior, no ship coming down from the heavens, and no being great enough to save us all and our planet from ourselves. There is only us, each and all, every single day living and breathing upon this fragile and utterly strong planet that is our home. So what remains, on this day of Thanksgiving, is a choice: Will we continue to support fear and aggression towards each other? Or will we finally see ALL others as simply another small but powerful bit of the Whole, nothing to be afraid of, and find compassion, both for others and for ourselves?

Happy Thanksgiving to All.


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Why embracing idealism is being a realist now

It is the end of September, 2016. Here in the United States, the presidential elections loom before us in about six weeks. As I am sure you are aware, the ostensible choices for the next president (POTUS) are leaving the majority of us quite disgusted, to say the least. Never before have the American people had such absurdly unpopular humans running from the two main political parties. Never before have so many had the quandary of feeling they are not being represented by their political leaders. In short, this election is a fiasco.

But: We, The People, in fact DO have choices that many simply do not, or cannot yet see. The old and extremely tired argument that we MUST vote the lesser of two evils is simply one of the biggest lies ever fed to Americans by the power-elite. It is simply not true that we must vote for one or the other party, or else we throw our vote away. If only people would wake up to realize this, our votes would have infinitely more power than they do. There is no law stating that an American must vote for either the Republicans or the Democrats. It is not mandated by the laws. In other words, we have the ability to change our system by voting for a third, fourth or fifth party.

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Look, most of us realize by now that the American system is grossly corrupted, that there is no actual democracy (if there ever was) and that the power-elite are running this world. The United States is a major, though not the only, decider of what goes on in our world. Folks, when you look around you, what do you see? Obviously we are in a tremendous crisis moment here on Earth. However, within crisis is opportunity, as Taoism reminds us. And right now, this election, is one of those opportunities to actually change our trajectory from disaster towards a world that is healthy.

When I look around and listen to what others are saying and feeling, I observe great cynicism, denial, resignation, anger and fear. All of these are the tools of the power-elite, to keep us ‘in our place’. What is that place? One word sums it up: Powerlessness. The solution? Take our power back.

When Bernie Sanders ran his presidential campaign, millions of people in America, and also the world, heard him. Millions of people got behind him, because he was speaking Truth to power.

Speaking Truth to power.  Isn’t this what we really need to do? Where is your power, where does it live? We are a country made up of 320 million humans, and we are astoundingly diverse. And, we are simultaneously similar. I firmly believe that the vast majority of us desire to be free to live our lives and raise our kids in peaceful and healthy ways. We desperately want to save our planet from further destruction. And yet, we give our power away to idiots and blackhearts every single day. Why? Because we are living from a place of deeply rooted fear. Fear blocks us at every turn, and paralyzes us from standing up and speaking out for what we deeply believe in. As long as we do not raise our voices and our fists to the elite power structure (read: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump and all of their supporters and money-backers) NOTHING WILL CHANGE.

Tragically, Bernie Sanders stepped down from his fight for the presidency. The real reasons for his decision are still unknown, but I can imagine he had good ones. But, Jill Stein is still in this race as the Green party candidate. If you haven’t yet heard her platform, please look her up and hear what she is standing up for: it is for the human beings, the animals, the land, for the Earth and for peace. These values are at the very heart of what the whole mess we call Life is about. If you don’t think so, then I implore you to look inside your heart and find out what is inside it. Where do you stand? Why are you taking up space on this planet, if you are not here to help the Earth, the animals, the land, and the people?

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The times of ‘it’s all about me’ are done. This is a new time and the time is now to stand up for what you truly believe in, to awaken to the realization that we are the ones we came here for. Our first nation tribes are fighting for the Earth, for the Water, Land, Animals and People in North Dakota. They are putting their bodies on the line, they are opening their mouths, they are shouting, dancing, singing, standing up and praying: Save our Earth. It’s really so simple. Save our Earth, save ourselves.

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Will you vote with your fear voice in November? Or will you finally allow your heart’s voice to sing out loud and clear across this country, across this world? Our future is being created now. What do you choose?


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Rejecting the lesser evil, embracing the greater good

Today is a pivotal day in my political life, an Aha! Moment kind of day. Today I have gone to the mountain, and seen the proverbial Light.  I gained inspiration today, and also some sorely needed encouragement from a community of like-minded others. Today I went to a Jill Stein- Green Party rally.

Now some of you may be groaning, and ready to delete this post from your trigger-happy finger. Please don’t.  The last post I put up on facebook of a political nature (yes it mentioned Hillary Clinton in not the most glowing terms) landed a long and rather heated debate on my wall for a couple of days. That’s okay, at least people were reading and thinking and offering their opinions. Politics is one of the most emotionally charged subjects that we humans can address. I’d vastly prefer strong opinions, even anger, than apathy and denial.

Back to today’s rally. As some of you already know, I have been an ardent Bernie Sanders’ supporter this year. After the democratic convention and Bernie’s concession speech to Hillary, I (along with millions of other Berners) became despondent about the whole mess. I couldn’t go near the subject for the past month. And when I did speak with a trusted friend about the matter of what to do come November, his advice was to put aside the presidential nominee and rather focus on the issues at stake. The dems obviously have a better track record concerning matters of social justice, the environment, and then there’s the little matter of the future Supreme court appointees.  As I listened to his patient explanations, that made perfect sense, my heart and gut simply refused to listen. As logical as his argument was for voting ‘the lesser of two evils’, I went home feeling uneasy and anxious. No matter how plausible, I simply could not fathom myself actually ticking the box next to that woman’s name. Everything she stands for screams Status Quo. She is the Powers-that-Be’s gal, their latest puppet, and a vote for her is a vote for Business-As-Usual. Honestly, who really wants more of that?

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The crowd at Mercury Cafe’s Green Party-Jill Stein rally.

A friend told me about the Green Party rally to support Jill Stein happening today at a favorite café and meeting place for all things alternative here in Denver. I decided I’d go out of curiosity, since I really didn’t know much about her or her platform. As I sat and watched the event unfold, it became more and more interesting. Arn Menconi, a candidate for US Senate from Colorado, spoke and did his best to rile up the crowd. He’s a very progressive candidate who is needing many thousands of signatures to get on the ballet this November. Then there was a funk band who did a great job of raising the collective energy in anticipation of Jill Stein. Finally she arrived, to thunderous applause. Stein spoke for about 45 minutes, and by about halfway through, I was won over. My cynicism, which began with the thought, ‘this woman doesn’t have a chance in hell of winning this or any election,’ was overtaken more and more with head nodding, agreement, then clapping and WoohHoohing. Jill Stein is no slouch, folks.

She told it like it is to the crowd, in plain and eloquent language. There was no hedging nor skirting issues. The Green Party’s platform is calling for a “Green New Deal” as a 2016 version of FDR’s famous New Deal during the Great Depression of the 1930s. She called for the creation of 20 million new jobs in the clean energy sector, a $15 minimum wage nationally, an end to fracking and a moratorium on new fossil fuel infrastructure. They want to cut the military budget in half, thereby using all those trillions of dollars on social programs and green energy. Their goal is 100% renewable energy by 2030 (admittedly  a lofty, if important goal).  She spoke at length about racial injustice, and the need to create a Truth and Reconciliation commission that would engage in dialogs around racism and slavery that have existed for the past three hundred years, creating pathways for healing of those very deep wounds. She also spoke passionately about immigration, reminding us all of the fact that, other than the first nation tribes, all of us are immigrants in the United States. Their platform includes a roadmap for gaining Medicare for All at a national level, using a single payer system. She mentioned wanting to create a system for reparation to those who have (and continue to be) oppressed in this country. She came back to the goal of ending the United States’ role as warmongers in the name of peace repeatedly. She spoke about our Common Humanity on a world-wide level. She talked of forming a new Foreign Policy based on international law, human rights and diplomacy. She spoke of creating a Peace Offensive, and mandating a weapons embargo.

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Jill Stein telling it like it is and how she’d like it to be.

In short, Jill Stein’s speech embodied all the ethics, moral values and ideals of social and political justice, along with the creation of new ways of being a country for the greater good of everyone, not just those who are in power and want to remain so. She is a feisty, highly intelligent and non-corrupt human being who happens to be a white woman, and she is running for presidential office this November. She and her running mate, Ajamu Baraka, are working hard to gain enough support to be able to be included in the presidential debates next month. If enough people supported them, they could be a part of the conversation, so sorely in need of intelligent and compassionate voices for us all.

Jill Stein put it plainly today: the idea of ‘voting for the lesser of two evils’ is simply propaganda that is promoted by the Power Elite through their arm of disinformation, The Media. She urged us to not buy into it any longer. It simply isn’t true that you must vote for one of the two corporate party candidates. You can, and indeed absolutely should, vote your conscience. Vote for what you most believe in, dear Readers. Are your beliefs based in fear, or in strength, in your own human power?  Stein urges us to take our power back, to choose to go from feeling powerless, to claiming the truth of our powerfulness. And this year proves that fact:  Millions of people turned out to vote for Bernie Sanders, enough to have voted him into the White House. Why he chose to concede to Clinton, and in fact support her efforts to become president, is frankly beyond me. But nevertheless, now Jill Stein is standing up to continue this fight for the future of not only the United States, but actually the Earth. What happens in America has huge implications for the rest of the globe. Do we really want to acquiesce to Business-As-Usual, the warmongers, fossil fuel execs and banking corporations that have done a fine job of utterly devasting large swaths of our land, water, wildlife, people and societies?  Think about it. If you give up and do nothing, then you simply give your power away. And if you choose the ‘lesser of two evils’ well you are still choosing evil, aren’t you?

I am telling you, it is NOT a pipe dream to change how things are, how they have been. We are powerless as long as we believe that we are, that They are too strong and We are too weak and our voices don’t matter. Our voices DO matter, every single one. If every disenfranchised person living in the United States woke up and decided to be powerless no more, to raise their collective voices for themselves, their families, their communities, their land, their waterways and foodways: in other words, if we collectively stood up and spoke our truth to power, well it’s pretty obvious what would happen.

Martin Luther King Jr., one of the bravest and strongest humans to walk this Earth in recent history, gave one of the most powerful speeches in the history of the United States in 1963, on behalf of Blacks in their struggle for Civil Rights. I feel that his words apply today, not only to people of color, but for all of us who are oppressed and have lives of hardship and injustice here in America in 2016.  Therefore I am changing his speech to reflect all the people who feel this sense of urgency. He said:
It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of The People’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. 2016 is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that The People of the United States needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until all The People are granted their citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

Dear Readers, I implore all of you who are feeling even the tiniest bit uneasy with your political choices for the upcoming presidential election, to consider looking further into the Green Party’s platform and what Jill Stein is standing up for. Especially those of you who wanted Bernie Sanders for president. Look them up online at www.Jill2016.com or just google her, Ajumu Baraka, or the US Green Party. Find out more and really learn about the choices and issues at stake. Take the time to do some research on your own and ignore the naysayers. As the old Zen saying goes, ‘The people who say it cannot be done should not get in the way of the people who are doing it.’

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Tell It Like It Is

At the start of this new year, 2016, the world is looking messier and more chaotic than ever before.

In nearly every arena, from political to economic to cultural to environmental, people are behaving badly, with cruel and barbaric actions the norm for far too many humans on Earth. How much longer will we collectively tolerate such inhumanity on this planet? Why do we keep allowing it to play out this way? What can we do to turn this boat around, if anything?

As I look around at the industrialized world (both in the larger world via various internet sites and my own small, personal world), a few things feel crystal clear. One, the vast majority of people remain committed first and foremost to their own small world of themselves, their families, friends, pets, and work. This accounts for (I am guessing) about 90% of their thoughts, feelings and actions in the world. The other 9% seems to be divided into leisure activities such as drinking and eating, sex, shopping, and entertainment. For those few humans who have 1% of their thoughts, feelings and time free, the ideas of charity, do-gooding and saving the world belong here. Hence the state of our planet currently.

Perhaps this completely unscientific analysis seems rather harsh or unfair to you, dear Readers. After all, the people who read this blog are those few and rare individuals who probably spend considerably more than the average person’s amount of time and resources on doing good in and for this world. For that, I can only simply say, Thank You. But tonight, after seeing too much news, mainstream television (about 5 minutes is too much for me), and listening to ‘regular folks’ talking during the past week at my new job (as cheesemonger for my local grocery store), this is what I have surmised: few, if any, care about anything other than themselves and their own lives.

This is not the first time I have felt discouraged about the state of humanity, obviously. But at this moment at the beginning of this new year, this knowledge saddens me more than I can express. Even the simplest actions, such as recycling metal cans or glass bottles, fails to register as even mildly possible to do for far, far too many people. Sometimes I feel pretty hopeful about the future of this planet and its humans, even contemplating the idea that one fine day we will wake up as a collective and realize that killing each other and destroying our home, Gaia, is senseless and an utter waste, and we will stop it. Then I remember. People can’t even figure out how to set a can in a recycle bin, how are they possibly going to find out how to live with each other and the planet in a non-harmful way?

My big fascination right now is following all the folks who are grassroots organizing for Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign. In the past month, thousands of people across the United States have sprung into action to help get him the Democratic nomination. It has been very inspiring for me to see what seems like many people actually rally around this humble man, as he bravely and tirelessly tells us all where it is really at in this country, and why it seriously needs changing. The word he and his followers is using is one that is at the heart of what the United States was founded upon: REVOLUTION. It is a word that some people (the ones who have had an iron grip on this country for far too long) are deathly afraid of, and will probably stop at nothing to prevent from happening. And yet:

Stop it they cannot, for the time has come, things have coalesced to the point in time and space where The People (at least some of them) are standing up and shouting, with Bernie Sanders as their leader: NO MORE BULLSHIT. WE WANT CHANGE IN OUR GOVERNMENT THIS YEAR. EQUALITY. LIBERTY. JUSTICE. INTEGRITY. HONESTY. WE WANT OUR ELECTED GOVERNMENT TO WORK FOR US, HERE AND NOW. WE ARE MAD AS HELL AND WE ARE NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE.

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Americans are pinning their hopes on Bernie for president in this year’s election.

Words and rants similar to these were used during the American Revolutionary War. Those were also some dark and painful days in the history of the United States, and hope seemed dim against huge, nearly insurmountable odds. Yet the Americans eventually won that war against the English king and government. Some of the most beautiful words ever written were used as the foundation of the new constitution. And now, 240 years later, it is time to declare them again, just as vehemently: Give Us Liberty or Give Us Death!

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, Bernie-WEderiving their just powers from the consent of the governed, —That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.” The United States Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776

 


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Compassion and sanity in the face of merciless tragedy

Like so many others, I have read and tried to understand the horrific events in Paris, Beirut and Baghdad last week. Many wrote words of eloquence, as they grappled with yet another situation of insanity and brutality against humanity.

Of the articles I read, nearly everyone echoed a similar sentiment: We must not let fear and intimidation, even in the form of extreme violence, stop us from our ultimate goal: Unity of humankind, as the people of Earth stand up and say NO MORE VIOLENCE, NO POLICE STATE, NO MORE SENSELESS WAR AND KILLING.

The People Want Peace and Climate Change

We want Peace, NOW. Whoever is the puppeteer behind the curtains of the world stage, orchestrating these senseless acts of violence in order to create chaos, terror and fear, The People of Earth have a message for you: You cannot win. You can send in your henchmen to terrorize, wreak havoc and harm, but you have, in fact, already lost. The Light is stronger than any darkness you can attempt to spread. The earth has entered a new era of Light and of Love. Millions of people are awakening and realizing that separation is the Great Lie. We sink or swim together, because in reality, We Are One. And more and more of us are realizing this each day now.

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All eyes are on Paris, as the Global Climate summit is about to begin at the end of November. As the leaders of France enact Marshall law, closing borders, and arrests without just cause, some may think that the summit will not be held, or at the least held without the massive protests that have been planned for many months. But The People’s voices for REAL policy change in the face of the global climate crisis will not be silenced. Divestment from fossil fuels is happening. Millions around the globe have said no to drilling in the Arctic. Clean energy is gaining momentum, and it will continue in the years to come. The People of Earth are speaking. We will not be stopped.

My heart and prayers are with the families and friends of all those who gave their lives or were harmed by the attacks last week. Justice will be served. My greatest hope is that in time, the puppeteers will be prosecuted and removed from power so they can pull these horrific strings of terror no more.

I encourage everyone who can, to pull together in solidarity with each other and seek compassion and understanding, not separation, not judgement, not yet more warmongering. Let us now move into our true power as Masters of Love, of Light, of Peace. We are all in this life together. Let sanity prevail.

“We need global solidarity more than ever right now, and that is, really, what this movement is all about. Even as climate change fans the flames of conflict in many parts of the world — through drought, displacement, and other compounding factors — a global movement that transcends borders and cultural differences is rising up to confront this common existential threat.

Let’s hang on to that solidarity and love. Let’s learn from it. Especially at a time like this.

This movement for climate justice has always also been movement for peace – a way for people around the world to come together, no matter their background or religion, and fight to protect our common home. We can think of few better responses to violence and terror than this movement’s push for peace and hope.”  –Nicolas Haeringer, 350.org

http://www.nationalobserver.com/2015/11/16/news/paris-attacks-only-strengthened-our-resolve-activists-push-massive-climate-march


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Don’t Look Away

Maybe we do look – really look – but then, inevitably, we seem to forget. Remember and then forget again. Climate change is like that; it’s hard to keep it in your head for very long. We engage in this odd form of on-again-off-again ecological amnesia for perfectly rational reasons.We deny because we fear that letting in the full reality of this crisis will change everything. And we are right.

We know that if we continue on our current path of allowing emissions to rise year after year, climate change will change everything about our world. Major cities will very likely drown, ancient cultures will be swallowed by the seas, and there is a very high chance that our children will spend a great deal of their lives fleeing and recovering from vicious storms and extreme droughts. And we don’t have to do anything to bring about this future. All we have to do is nothing. Just continue to do what we are doing now, whether it’s counting on a techno-fix or tending to our gardens or telling ourselves we’re unfortunately too busy to deal with it.

All we have to do is not react as if this is a full-blown crisis. All we have to do is keep on denying how frightened we actually are. And then, bit by bit, we will have arrived at the place we most fear, the thing from which we have been averting our eyes. No additional effort required.

But before any of these changes can happen – before we can believe that climate change can change us – we first have to stop looking away.

Climate change has become an existential crisis for the human species. The only historical precedent for a crisis of this depth and scale was the Cold War fear that we were heading toward nuclear holocaust, which would have made much of the planet uninhabitable. But that was (and remains) a threat; a slim possibility, should geopolitics spiral out of control. The vast majority of nuclear scientists never told us that we were almost certainly going to put our civilisation in peril if we kept going about our daily lives as usual, doing exactly what we were already doing, which is what the climate scientists have been telling us for years.

Why then are climatologists speaking out about the dangers of global warming? The answer is that virtually all of us are now convinced that global warming poses a clear and present danger to civilisation.

It doesn’t get much clearer than that. And yet rather than responding with alarm and doing everything in our power to change course, large parts of humanity are, quite consciously, continuing down the same road…. What is wrong with us? – Naomi Klein, excerpt from This Changes Everything

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/mar/06/dont-look-away-now-the-climate-crisis-needs-you

Reclaimpower
In the introduction to her new book, This Changes Everything, Naomi Klein asks the Big Question to Humanity: What is wrong with us? And gives us a clue to the answer as she states that we must, collectively, stop looking away. Anyone who is even slightly awake on planet Earth today has to see that we are in a dangerous situation that is growing ever more so, soon to the point of no return. (Some would argue that we are most certainly there already.) Meaning that humanity has by now created an unprecedented environmental catastrophe without end into the far future. And yet we continue, day after day, to simply look away, avert our gaze, throwing up our hands, asking, What can be done? And then go about our daily lives, hoping that somehow, someone or something will come to our rescue and save the humans, nature and the planet.

Of course there are those who are so sick and tired of humans and their ceaseless greed and stupidity, that they are actively cheering for the armageddon to arrive and wipe the slate clean. Get rid of the idiots, let the Earth recover by herself, on her own huge planetary timeline and start over, perhaps with a different, more clever species at the reigns. Honestly, would that scenario really be so bad?

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We can no longer afford to bury our heads in the sand on climate change!

We need to speak our truth now, with clarity. To have courage is to live the way of the heart. To be fearless, to live without fear of retribution or having terrible repercussions if we speak the truth to the world. You cannot be truthful or loving if you are not courageous. The truth of our (meaning collective humanity and all life upon Earth) precarious situation can simply no longer be denied or ignored by the majority of us. Temperatures on Earth are rising, is the simple fact that, according to Naomi Klein and so many others, Changes Everything. It is no longer somebody else’s problem, it is yours and mine and every other human’s that you meet in a day. As long as we are too afraid or zoned or distracted by the thousand other things, we are missing the point entirely.

Call your appointed government leaders, letClimate Change Activists Demonstrate On Wall Street them hear from you about fracking, tar sands, mining the seas, the depths, destroying all that is left of wilderness and pristine areas of the world. Tell them to stop being in bed with the Big Oil companies and get a spine and do the Right Thing. Stop supporting any and all corporations that place Greed and Profits as their gods and reason for existence. Tell Starbucks that they ought to be only buying and serving Fair Trade coffee. Tell Walmart that it isn’t right that their family members and top people make more dollars  in one hour than their employees make in twenty years. Tell Shell Oil to get out and stay out of the Arctic forever, and all of their cronies too. Tell it to your friends, your families, to strangers, to co-workers, to the people in the queue in the grocery store. Tell the store managers you want to be served by actual humans, not their robots at the self-serve stations. The list goes on and on and on…….

Dear Readers, I have been silent now for some time, but I have not been sleeping. For the past year and more, since being back in the United States, I have been observing, listening, and watching. I’ve been reading and pondering and thinking and feeling into the current state of our world. It is quite obvious to me, as it no doubt must to be to you, that our world is deteriorating rapidly. What passes for “progress and development” is in actuality a game of passing off cheap technology and a whitewashed, flimsy excuse for the latest, greatest (fill in the blank here) to the People in order to pacify and placate them as the ones (are they human?) behind the curtain, just like the Great Oz himself, run completely amok, destroying, pillaging, warmongering, raping, and taking whatever they can, squashing whoever may be standing in the way, without even a single thought of morality or ethicality or responsibility towards the rest of HUMANITY, NATURE AND THE EARTH ITSELF.

capitalismisntworking

As the bumper sticker states, If you are not outraged, you are NOT paying attention!! Yes, you must keep working on your own soul and spirit, yes of course you have to keep to what is highest, bringing in Love and Light at every opportunity. But to think for a moment that by doing these things alone, without getting very real about the gravity of the situation on this planet, will make the problems magically resolve themselves is foolhardy at best and a death sentence at worst.

Ourchildrensfuture

What kind of a world are we leaving for our children to inherit?

Naomi Klein’s new book isn’t even on the library shelves yet, and here in Denver there are already fifty people waiting in line to read it. Find it, buy it, or borrow it, then read it, and take it as a rallying cry to raise awareness of the real issues we are facing. There is no time to waste.


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Staying in the Good Fight

This article feels important and very timely, so I share it with you all in the spirit of hope. Leigh

To My Friend the Climate Defeatist: Here’s Why I’m Still In the Fight

(Photo: Trekking Rinjani / Flickr)

My English friend Paul Kingsnorth was the subject of a long article two weeks ago in The New York Times magazine, “It’s the End of the World as We Know It … and He Feels Fine.”

A former editor of The Ecologist, Paul has gained new attention of late for his passionate and public despair over “an age of ecocide” and his proclamations that we are now powerless to do anything about it. That expression of despair coincides with an equally public withdrawal from the battlefield of big-scale climate and environmental activism. He warns, “What all these movements are doing is selling a false premise. They’re saying, ‘If we take these actions, we will be able to achieve this goal.’ And if you can’t and you know that you are lying to people.”

We find ourselves at each step battling against powerful corporate forces pushing hard from the other side.

The article and his previous writings in the same vein have struck a resonant chord as the hard reality of what we face reveals itself, not in theories about the future but in the current realities of fierce storms, unprecedented droughts, mutating weather patterns, and a lack of political will to take strong action. More than 500 people left comments on the Times web site. A young activist who works with me at the Democracy Center, also from the U.K., emailed the article to her parents with a note saying, “This is exactly how I feel!”

The hard question that Paul Kingsnorth provokes is neither a new one nor is it only about the climate and environmental crisis. It has been a question inherent in political activism as long as there has been political activism: What action do we take when we have no guarantee at all that what we do will make any difference?

To be an activist is to plunge into the unknown and into a world where guarantees of results do not exist. On climate and the environmental crisis we don’t know how far we’ve already pushed the planet toward ecological Armageddon or what impact we actually have when we block coal trains, hold impassioned news events, or get arrested at the White House.

So we guess, and there are two different ways we can guess wrong. The first is to overestimate our power to change what’s coming and to give people the “false hope” Kingsnorth warns about. The second is to underestimate what is possible, to believe that we are less powerful than we actually are and to do less than we can. That’s the wrong guess that worries me more. Faced with a choice between disappointment or failing to do all that is possible, I don’t find the decision a hard one to make.

The dictionary defines hope as “to want something to be true and to believe that it can be.” Despite so much evidence and sentiment to the contrary, on the climate crisis I remain radically hopeful. I am hopeful because the fundamentals of what we need to do—abandon fossil fuels, protect the planet’s forests, and organize our communities for resilience—are not mysteries nor are they impossible. I am hopeful because I see among the young a powerful, rising culture of environmental consciousness, creativity and action that far surpasses any generation before it.

And I am hopeful because I’ve seen things happen that weren’t supposed to. A decade ago in the U.S. gay marriage was an issue Republicans put on ballots to bring out homophobic voters to the polls. Today it’s riding a juggernaut of support and inevitability.

What is truly possible never reveals itself until we take the risk to seek it.

That said, as an activist I am also radically realistic and action on climate is an especially hard case. Issues like gay marriage require changes of hearts and minds and public policy. Action on climate requires all that as well, and then on top of it we still face the great unknown of how nature will respond to the changes we are able to make. And as we press for action, we find ourselves at each step battling against powerful corporate forces pushing hard from the other side. There is no doubt that the challenge we face is enormous and that major ecological damage is now an inevitability. As Kingsnorth says, “Things that we value highly are going to be lost.”

It is easy to see how all this adds up to a crisis of hope at the heart of climate activism. To those activists, young and not so young, who feel this way, my message is just the opposite of Paul’s. Don’t retreat—step it up, and as we do keep these three things in mind.

First, we must be strategic. Citizen action and energy is too valuable a resource to waste. We must be realistic about where we are starting from, especially in terms of political support. We must be clear and smart about our goals and where we are trying to go. Then we need to develop plausible (not guaranteed) paths that have a real shot at taking us there, along with a commitment to making mid-course corrections in our strategies as we learn along the way.

Second, just as the world we seek to protect relies on natural biodiversity, we must respect that effective action requires “activism biodiversity.” Some of us will act locally, as Kingsnorth does now, teaching his neighbors how to wield a scythe and campaigning against construction of a local supermarket. Others will unmask the actions of fossil fuel companies, or chain themselves to trees, or campaign for more public transit, or take action in international forums. We need to do not one thing but all these things and more.

Finally, we must not let despair and resignation become the greatest gift we could ever hand to those who would love nothing more than for the climate movement to lose heart. Our truest strength does not come from any guarantee of outcome. It comes from the power of acting on our deepest convictions, of forming real community and acting together, and from knowing that what is truly possible never reveals itself until we take the risk to seek it.

Like Paul and others, I also mourn for what is being lost. I mourn most deeply on those days here in rural Tiquipaya when I awake to the roar of a chain saw and the wrenching thunder of a falling giant. What we can’t do is let that mourning stop us from doing all we can. As the labor activist and songwriter Joe Hill said on the eve of his execution a century ago, “Don’t mourn, organize!”

Jim Shultz

Jim Shultz, founder and executive director of The Democracy Center, has led citizen advocacy projects in more than two dozen countries across five continents. He lives with his family in Cochabamba, Bolivia and tweets at @jimshultz.


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the Greatest Happiness

“The reason why love and compassion bring the greatest happiness is simply that our nature cherishes them above all else. The need for love lies at the very foundation of human existence. It results from the profound interdependence we all share with one another.” –The Dalai Lama

For the Tibetan Buddhist, peace of mind is a fundamental lifetime goal. They are taught to value contentment, fulfillment, and mental peace above all else, since one’s state of mind is believed to be the only possession that survives from one lifetime to the next.

Ignorance leads us to see everything– ourselves, others, all phenomena—as solid and separate. It keeps us from realizing that everything is actually very interdependent and connected– that our well-being depends upon the well-being of everything and everyone around us.

Compassion is at the core of the Tibetan Buddhist culture. They believe there is no greater vehicle than compassion and forgiveness to counteract the suffering caused by the self-grasping attitude.

They believe that using compassion in the face of conflict or aggression is to decide to act without the motivation to harm or retaliate– to act in a way that will best serve all individuals involved.

From Tibetan Portrait, by Phil Borges

Tibetan-girl-Phil-Borges

As the wheel of the years continue to turn, I see more and more clearly the wisdom of the Tibetan Buddhists, summarized in the passage above. Anger and hatred, both stemming from fear and the illusion of separation, are the real enemies of humanity. The evidence of this kind of thinking is everywhere present in our world. The challenges humanity now face are enormous. Self-grasping and self-concern are destroying our earth at an unprecedented pace.

Until the majority of humans living upon Earth realize the simple truth of “what I do to my brother I do to myself,” we will be unable to reverse the huge disaster we have created. The native American tribes have a saying, All living things are our relatives. It does not get any clearer than this.

Please take the time to teach compassion and forgiveness to whomever you can in the course of a day, in whatever ways are most appropriate. There is not a moment to waste.