Tag: Jennifer Browdy

Standing up for the future.

This is no sinecure – the future of mankind is at risk.

Very often I find a topic for Saturday that is easy on the mind. But I make no apologies for republishing, with Jennifer’s permission, a post that she published over on Transition Times yesterday. When you read it you will see clearly that promoting this today is right. For many readers may well be able to join thousands of others in showing their support for the Standing Rock Sioux tribe.

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World War III Has Begun: Which Side Are You On?

Although you wouldn’t know it from scanning the front pages of the mainstream media, a major battle in what Bill McKibben has called World War Three, the war to save the planet from human destruction, has been going down in Indian Country for the past six months.

Thousands of Native Americans, members of a whole host of tribes, have gathered at Standing Rock, North Dakota, to protest the North Dakota Access Pipeline (#NoDAPL), which was sited by the Army Corps of Engineers to run dangerously close to the Missouri River and the Standing Rock Reservation.

But as the protesters say, they are not just defending Indian country, they are defending everyone who relies on the Missouri for water—and not just humans but all life.

If there is anyone to look back at this turbulent period in human history on Earth—now coming to be known as the Anthropocene—they will surely wonder at the suicidal tendency of human civilization in the 20th and early 21st centuries.

Why, they will ask, would such an intelligent species willingly—even enthusiastically—engage in the poisoning of its waterways and underground water resources; the destruction of its forests; the chemical contamination of its soils and oceans; the overheating of its precious atmosphere by relentless burning of fossil fuels? Why would humans put so much of their intelligence and technological prowess into developing ever more lethal weapons of mass destruction, used to bludgeon each other? Why would they preside blithely over the extinction of millions of other species, the vicious ripping of the great ecological web of life on Earth?

Why indeed?

I know it’s hard for any of us to escape the clutter of our everyday lives, with the constant pressures and worries that beset us on the personal level. But this is precisely what is being asked of us now.

The courageous defenders out at Standing Rock dropped their ordinary lives to be part of the historic encampment protesting the stranglehold of the oil companies on our waterways and our lands. They are fighting in the courts, through the media, and most importantly with their physical presence, standing up to the bulldozers, the attack dogs and the pepper spray.

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Image source: Democracy Now!

This is what McKibben’s World War Three looks like—it’s already begun. It will be fought locally, as communities and individuals wake up to the implications of the destruction and decide that hell no, they won’t take it any more.

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Oil and gas pipelines in the U.S. Image source: https://projects.propublica.org/pipelines/

In my own corner of the world, we are under assault from General Electric, wanting to create toxic waste dumps right in the middle of our small rural towns. We have a gas pipeline being constructed, despite vehement protests, through a pristine old-growth state forest. We have oil tanker trains running constantly right through our communities. Despite a thriving organic and biodynamic farm renaissance, we still have far too many pesticides, herbicides and fungicides being used locally, and too many trees being cut down.

I have been thinking and writing for some time now about how important it is to align the personal, political and planetary in our own lives and in the way we relate to the world around us. On all three of these levels, 21st century American life is way out of balance.

It is time to focus, each one of us, on using our brief lifetimes to create balance and harmony on Earth. Sometimes the way to harmony leads through protest and discord, as is happening now in Standing Rock. Sometimes it can be as simple as choosing to support local, low-impact agriculture rather than industrial agriculture. Leaning on our political representatives to move faster on policy that will shift our society to renewable energy is key.

Wind farm in Ireland. Source: http://www.iwea.com/_wind_information
Wind farm in Ireland. Source: http://www.iwea.com/_wind_information

There are so many ways to get involved in this War for the Planet, many of them quite peaceful. The important thing is to get off the sidelines. Get involved. Feel the potential of this moment—it’s literally a make or break period for the future of humanity on Earth, and many other living beings too.

The brave defenders at Standing Rock are reminding us that we are all “natives” of this Earth, and we all have a stake in protecting her. Which side are you on?

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Yes, we are all natives of this world and that includes our dear animals and our wonderful animal companions.

Make a promise to yourself to make a difference; even one small difference. With that in mind, if you want to find an event close to you then the Sierra Club have a page where you can look up which event you would like to attend.

Make a difference!

Freedom with a capital ‘F’.

Sometimes the most obvious solutions take the longest to find.

I feel a little embarrassed that this introduction may come across as rather self-indulgent; I don’t intend that.

My purpose is to offer an introduction to a recent blogpost from Sue Dreamwalker that explains why her post really ‘spoke’ to me and why it felt important to share Sue’s post with all you good people.

Yesterday morning I left a comment to a Transition Times article, penned by Jennifer Browdy. The article was headed: Hillary Clinton: Holding the Center in These Complex Transition Times, So We Can Do the Essential Work of Creating a Better World.

Subsequently, I left a follow-up to my first comment, replying to a comment from Diane Husic. This is what Diane wrote:

Many of us realize what a critical junction the country faces in this election cycle. As an academic, I am trying to figure out the appropriate role I should play. We need to teach students to be respectful of difference, to be tolerant, to be problem solvers, and to be civically engaged, but we aren’t supposed to use our positions to “force” our political views on them. But given the magnitude of issues confronting the planet and humanity and the importance of having leadership that “gets it” (and displays compassion and empathy), this is a tough balance to try to find.

and this was my reply to Diane:

Diane, as someone who previously has run his own business and then, after selling it in 1986, spent a number of years as a mentor with the Prince’s Youth Business Trust in the UK, I have come to the conclusion that the best role model we adults can offer our ‘students’ is this: “Be the best you can be!” That flows from being fully aware of the person that one is. For self-awareness is the key to understanding oneself and, consequently, of understanding others. Understanding why people think and behave the way they do, for good and bad, is the only effective way of engaging with others and seeking that ‘civic engagement’ so critically important.

Apologies, that paragraph sounds like a damn speech! I didn’t intend it to be so. Plus, my own journey of self-awareness has been a long and tortuous one – but that doesn’t change my view just expressed.

Coincidentally, I have been having some informal chats with Jan Schmuckle: http://www.janconsults.com/home

Her recently released book on the effectiveness of Role Montage in building leadership skills is highly relevant to today’s students. In Jan’s words (and I have no commercial or financial link with Jan):

Role Montage: A Creative New Way to Discover the
Leader Within You is written from Jan’s experience
with her client work and her research. It helps
leaders explore self-awareness and leadership using
the role montage process.

I’ll creep back into my hole!😉

You can see why I offered a warning about coming across as self-indulgent!

But if you have stayed with me so far (and thank you) you will now understand why Sue’s post spoke so clearly to me. Republished here with Sue’s very kind permission.

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Set Yourself Free..

by Sue Dreamwalker. July 28th, 2016.

This morning I switched on the radio and the first record I heard was this one.. It was the very first time I had listened to this recording, never hearing it before.. It made me smile.. Especially when it mentioned taking Calcium and taking care of our knees..  So I decided to YouTube it to listen to again and to my delight found several versions..

Life has been busy within the Dreamwalker’s Domain this last week.. Last night I was so tired I went to bed at 7pm and slept for 12 hours.

Today the Universe thought to allow me to cool  down in the showers of rain,  so I thought I would share about my Busy time in the Sun on my Gardening Blog. And to share what brought such a smile to my face first thing this morning..

I particularly enjoyed the lyrics in the middle of this narrative of the inclusion of Rozalla’s Song Everybody’s Free to Feel Good, which is an old favourite of mine..

 So Go On FEEL GOOD and DANCE.. LAUGH and SING..

And SHARE THE FEEL GOOD FACTOR 

Sending Love and Blessings

Next time I will share with you the village I grew up in as we went  back to see the Well Dressings.. Along with some of my thoughts..

Sue

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Feeling good about ourselves is the result of knowing and liking who we are. The foundation stone of knowing and liking all the many good people we interact with throughout our lives.

And now go and hug a dog!

Has the human ‘pack’ moved on!

Believers and non-believers alike owe Pope Francis a giant ‘thank you’.

As regular followers of this place will have heard before, one of the roles of the ‘alpha’ dog, or more accurately referred to these days as the Mentor dog, in other words the female dog that in the days before domestication was the leader of her pack, was to move her pack if she intuited that the pack’s home range was not sustaining them. (Her other role was pick of the male dogs!)

Thus the title of today’s post came to me as just possibly the metaphorical equivalent. That the global human ‘pack’ has been sharply reminded by one of the world’s key religious leaders that ‘more of the same’ isn’t going to work for much longer.

Quite rightly, there has been a huge amount of reporting and analysis of last week’s Papal Encyclical. But one of the most beautiful and profoundly eloquent came from the writer Jennifer Browdy. If you haven’t come across her before then do drop across to her website; you will love what she presents!  I have been a subscriber to her blog posts for some time and that was how I came across her post called: And the Walls Came Tumbling Down: Pope Francis Shows Us the Way. Jennifer very kindly gave me permission to republish her post today.

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And the Walls Came Tumbling Down: Pope Francis Shows Us the Way

By Jennifer Browdy

The Encyclical on climate change and the environment released by Pope Francis this week has all the magic of the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1991. Back then, the antagonism between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. seemed implacable and unresolvable, a fight to the death. And then suddenly the wall came down and the world walked through, marveling, into a new era.

Now we have another abrupt shift, this time of a religious order. The leaders of the Catholic Church can hardly be accused of being “radical tree-huggers.” And yet here is Pope Francis, solemnly exhorting his flock of a billion Catholics worldwide to be respectful to Mother Earth and all the living beings she supports. In the blink of an eye, the language of Native American spirituality has been taken up by the same Catholic Church that once tortured and executed indigenous peoples precisely because of their different religious beliefs.

I urge you to read the entire Encyclical for yourself. It is a truly remarkable document, worth serious study. Of many passages I’d like to underline, here are two:

228 Care for nature is part of a lifestyle which includes the capacity for living together and communion. Jesus reminded us that we have God as our common Father and that this makes us brothers and sisters. Fraternal love can only be gratuitous; it can never be a means of repaying others for what they have done or will do for us. That is why it is possible to love our enemies. This same gratuitousness inspires us to love and accept the wind, the sun and the clouds, even though we cannot control them. In this sense, we can speak of a “universal fraternity”.

229 We must regain the conviction that we need one another, that we have a shared responsibility for others and the world, and that being good and decent are worth it. We have had enough of immorality and the mockery of ethics, goodness, faith and honesty. It is time to acknowledge that light-hearted superficiality has done us no good. When the foundations of social life are corroded, what ensues are battles over conflicting interests, new forms of violence and brutality, and obstacles to the growth of a genuine culture of care for the environment.

Here we find spiritual ecology enshrined as Catholic doctrine. And one thing about the Catholic Church—it is big on obedience. For believers, to ignore the Pope is to risk hellfire and damnation. In this case, though, the hellfire and damnation will be earthly, if we do not listen to the wise advice of Pope Francis and curb the insanity of industrial growth that goes beyond the limits of the planet to support.

Scientists appeal to our sense of reason, presenting compelling evidence that if we continue on our present path of wasteful consumption of the Earth’s resources, we will destroy our own future as a flourishing species. Religious leaders appeal to human beings’ moral conscience in invoking the responsibility of current parents and grandparents to leave a livable world to our descendants. It is up to the politicians, though, to translate vision into practice.

For too long, Christian conservatives in the U.S. have played the role of the ideological wing of Big Business, using money, manipulation and scare tactics to buy politicians and votes. In the face of the new Papal Encyclical, can American Christians really continue in good conscience to support the worst of the planet’s polluters and plunderers? Can they continue to elect mercenary politicians who hold our country hostage to the highest bidder?

If all good people who love our Earth and its creatures were to translate our love into action, as Pope Francis has just done so forcefully, I have no doubt the seemingly invincible wall of the industrial growth society we’ve been living with these past 200 years would melt away, revealing the path into a green, prosperous future.

“Where there’s a will, there’s a way,” the saying goes. Pope Francis has just shown us the will, and the way. It is now the task of us ordinary citizens to break the stranglehold of Big Business on politics and insist that our politicians follow his lead.

I close with an excerpt from the Pope’s “Christian Prayer in Union with Creation,” a vision of ecological interdependence if ever there was one:

“Triune Lord, wondrous community of infinite love,

teach us to contemplate you

in the beauty of the universe,

for all things speak of you.

“Awaken our praise and thankfulness

for every being that you have made.

Give us the grace to feel profoundly joined to everything that is.

God of love, show us our place in this world

as channels of your love

for all the creatures of this earth,

for not one of them is forgotten in your sight.

Enlighten those who possess power and money

that they may avoid the sin of indifference,

that they may love the common good, advance the weak,

and care for this world in which we live.”

Amen.

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And the meek shall inherit the Earth…. Photo by J. Browdy, 2015

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I am sure that, whatever your religious or spiritual persuasion, you will agree with me with regard to the beauty of Jennifer’s essay. I know there are millions and millions of people who will want to look back in a few years time and see how Pope Francis’ legacy literally saved our lives.