The fundamental political change has started . . .

by Mike Meyer – Medium.com – March 4, 2017

…Our political system, and that of all other post industrial societies needs to begin to change immediately. This cannot wait. Destruction of our planet’s climate and the completely interrelated political and population upheavals can only be managed with effective planetary alliances supporting the well being of the entire population and entire biosphere. Allowing people to make policies destructive to our long term survival is not an option. Allowing the traditional models of semi-democratic rule to work on the assumption that common sense is all that is needed to determine the welfare of our communities in a time of complete change only guarantees failure. We cannot afford that . . .

Online, open communities need to self organize to address the political change that is needed. Direct democracy with ignorance actively denounced is the route to a new, effective human self government.

read more…

 

 

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New Opera Based on Writings of Teilhard de Chardin, in Honor of “Laudato Si”

Upon this Handful of Earth

World Premiere Opera 

Friday, February 24, 2017, 7 PM

Church of St. Ignatius Loyola
New York City, NY

A brand new opera from renowned Norwegian composer Gisle Kverndokk and librettist Aksel-Otto Bull based on the writings of Father Pierre Teilhard de Chardin and in honor of “Laudato Si,” Pope Francis’ recent encyclical about the environment.

Upon this handful of earth explores the intersection of faith and science through the story of six people whose lives have been irrevocably altered by environmental catastrophe. Excerpts from accounts of environmental disasters, such as Chernobyl, tsunamis, pollution, and climate change, are read throughout, grounding the opera in the present.

The five-part opera also explores related social issues such as labor exploitation, wealth disparity, the high cost of progress, reliance on technology, and industry.

Upon this handful of earth is a meditation on the environment that seeks a way forward for mankind at a time when climate change is, once again, at the forefront of political debate.

This rare commission employs the magnificent beauty of the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola for a site-specific theater piece with a strong point of view.

Tickets and complete information or call 212 288 2520.

Use the code OPERA50 when ordering to get 50% off any seat.
This discount is good for advance orders only, and will not be honored at the door.

 

Upon this Handful of Earth

Gisle Kverndokk, composer
Aksel-Otto Bull and Gisle Kverndokk, libretto
K. Scott Warren, conductor
Joachim Schamberger, director

Shannon DeVine, The Priest
Nadia Petrella, The Young Woman
John Tiranno, The Young Man
Kenneth Overton, The Businessman
Sara Murphy, The Wife
Sarah Hawkey, The Child

Choir and Children’s Choir of St. Ignatius Loyola
New York Opera Society Orchestra

Co-presented by Sacred Music in a Sacred Space
and the New York Opera Society

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New EPA Website Launched Until Government Regains Sanity – www.CitizenEPA.US

www.CitizenEPA.US

My friend Dennis and I started this today – from conversation to idea to website in about 12 hours.

It will have a portal to the last pre-Trump version of the EPA.gov website.

MUCH more to come. Stay tuned. Spread the word.

“We understand that the Environmental Protection Agency is more than a website. However, until our government regains its sense of full and robust responsibility as co-caretaker and co-protector of the land, water, air, and health of human and non-human creatures of this part of North America that we call the United States of America, now and for future generations, we will act as a clearing house and resource center for all things that are not but should be on the EPA website since January 20, 2017.”

“Why do we need the EPA? The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was created in 1970 to protect the air, water and land of the United States, as mandated in the Clear Air Act (1963), the Clean Water Act (1977), the Wilderness Act (1964), and the Endangered Species Act (1973), and many other previous and subsequent laws passed by representatives of the citizens of the United States. These laws were not created and passed in a fit of ecological idealism. They were a response to serious and widespread industrial pollution, severe enough, for example, that it had caused the Cuyahoga River to catch fire twice (in 1952 and 1969) as it passed, laden with flammable effluents, through the city of Cleveland, Ohio.

Photo: Business as usual in the 1950s. Cuyahoga River (Ohio) on fire with flammable industrial pollutants.

Environmental protection has alway been a contentious issue in the United States because the creators of pollution don’t want to spend the money it would take to clean it up, or to keep it from happening in the first place. Behind the rhetoric of “getting government regulators off our backs” there are often industrial polluters who want to dump their toxic wastes in the nearest river, even if that means that the people downstream will get sick.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been our first line of defense against these industrial freeloaders (they get the profits now, we pay the costs later) for more than forty years. But with the advent of the Trump Administration, people with close ties to the polluting industries are taking over the EPA and intend to limit its watchdog role. We are convince that can only happen if the public is silent on issues of environmental protection. That is why the Circle of Conveners has started the Citizen EPA (Environmental Protection Alliance).

Participants in the Citizen EPA are bound together by a shared reverence for life, rather than by formal membership ties.”

www.CitizenEPA.US

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Human-human relations trump human-Earth relations?

Boy, oh boy, since the election of November 2016 and the inauguration in January 2017 it has been impossible for me to get a leg-up on things Ecozoic. I expend so much effort just trying to follow and understand the unfolding events of the day I’ve got nothing left for the beloved Ecozoic. Well, that’s not quite right. It’s not that I don’t have any energy left for it, it’s just that it seems too far away from what is important in the moment. The house is on fire here in America. I don’t have the attention span to also notice how the world is on fire.

I share this because it is a perfect example of how larger issues get eclipsed by smaller, more immediate ones to our daily lives, how the local mind eclipses the “world mind”. I’m living it daily and I know other Americans are too. Likely non-Americans as well.

With each political news event in these last three months – and especially in the last (very, very long) two weeks –  I feel my Ecozoic mind trying to telegraph to my Cenozoic mind the Ecozoic interpretation of the news but I just can’t quite receive it. It is too vague, small, quiet, distant.  Maybe it is too early in the unfolding of this 45th Presidential story. Maybe there is not enough stability, not enough purchase yet in the story, to know what is so. Too much dynamism. Maybe things are too molten, not cool enough yet to lay an Ecozoic narrative over it. Which is also an example of how easy it is to ignore the larger narrative, the greater cycle of Earth’s story, when the smaller human story is chaotic.

I am able to remind myself that the Ecozoic still exists even if I cannot fully sense it these days. I guess that is a good place to start.

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Educating in the Ecozoic – an online conference

Click here to go to the conference website.

Educating-in-The-Ecozoic-1

 

From K. Lauren de Boer (please see previous post for his bio):

For the past 12 + years, I have been facilitating on-line seminars through the Institute for Educational Studies (TIES), a group started by Phil Gang and Marsha Snow. The outreach has been primarily to the Montessori community with some outside of that community as well.  The entire coursework is grounded in ecology and cosmology and draws heavily on the work of Thomas Berry, Brian Swimme, Fritjof Capra, and others, as well as Maria Montessori’s cosmic vision for education the child. This has been driven and developed all these many years by the vision of Phil and Marsha.

I am part of an on-line conference organized by TIES starting in January, “Educating in the Ecozoic.” I hope you will join us for this important online conference.

Click here to download this pdf document.

Click here to go to the conference website.

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Fireflies in Trump’s Darkness – Reflections on the 2016 Election

k-lauren-de-boer-rcp0096  K. Lauren de Boer is a poet, essayist, and composer with a special interest in human-Earth relations. He is author of Where It Comes From, a collection of poems, and was executive editor of EarthLight, a magazine of spiritual ecology, for many years. You may find him via TerraVitaBooks.net.

Donald Trump’s rise is in part a backlash to the Obama years, and not entirely surprising. But it’s only part of the story. Many progressives, including myself, were lulled into believing, when Obama was elected, that the racial divides in this country were beginning to heal. How else could a black president be elected, twice? What were we basing that assumption on, exactly? How could it have been healed when there was so little real deep cultural work done to heal the past? He was elected more on a promise of change, not racial healing.

It was never completely about race, but about a disaffection with what life has become in America for many people. At its heart was a longing for change. There is a dearth of meaning in American life rooted in the lack of a story, a story that truly liberates the human from limited forms of identity, from seeing ourselves as mere consumers, or even mere Americans (or any of the sub-identities within our nationalist identity). There is a certain irony in that because we talk so much about freedom in this country, and the primary source of meaning is human liberty — from the shackles of ignorance, greed, narrow self-interest, from our latching onto our smaller identities. Americans tend to equate freedom with individualism and self-reliance. With that comes a mistaken notion that to be free is to be separate. But true freedom is found not in separation but in a vibrant interiority that thrives from relationship.

The difficulty with this election was that people needed positive references to help guide them, not the destructive references of anger, hatred, and fear. Bernie Sanders represented a more positive reference and ignited passion in many people, but was smacked down by a dying system that was nevertheless still powerful enough to overcome his efforts. And of course cosmology — a functional story — and a sense of ourselves as an integral Earth community are positive references entirely absent from the electoral process.

I was sorting through boxes in the garage the other day (one of the things I do when I need to take my mind off destabilizing news or events) and I came across a carton of back issues of newspapers I had saved. They were all about pivotal events — Clinton’s first election, September 11, Obama’s election, etc. What I noticed in the clippings from past elections was the remarkable similarity in the story line. The operant word was “change.” Bill Clinton was the candidate offering change. Then came Obama, offering the same. Trump was elected primarily because he was, compared to Hillary Clinton, the change candidate. He was seen as the outsider to a corrupt system, although he is the ultimate insider to the patriarchy. You could even say that he is the quintessence of patriarchy.

When Obama promised to go after Wall Street and make big changes, people were willing to look past race and vote for him. Trump appealed to the same frustration that people were feeling with a system rigged against them. And years of obstructionism and gridlock in Washington only confirmed their suspicions that career politicians were ignoring their pain. He just did so in a much darker way, appealing to baser instincts. People in this country are pragmatists. They tend to vote for their interests, not their ideals, at least for the most part. There are, of course, some who do vote their conscience, but they are in the minority. Many voted for Trump out of outright racism and hatred, but many of the same people voted for Obama when it suited their interests.

So, I’ve woken many mornings since election night feeling that I cannot wake up from a nightmare. In many ways, it is too surreal to believe. And yet I have to believe it and confront it. It’s not only the threat Trump poses to the health of the planet. It is also a nightmare because hate crimes and racial incidents are widespread since his rise to power. The Ku Klux Klan is holding a celebration of his election. Neo-Nazi groups, biker groups, skinheads, hate groups, and white supremacy groups are dancing in the streets. Resentment and fear of women can now be expressed openly. It’s like they now have permission to fling their hatred into the world. He is the dying patriarchy laid bare. He epitomizes the fear of nature, the body, a united humanity, and the spirit. This is the ugliest America.

And yet…there is more underneath all of this. Something to which I choose to adhere and that will eventually pull me out of my despair….

In many ways, this election was less about ideas and issues than it was about a clash between paradigms, or essential world views. One is in ascendance, the other is dying. One goes toward the light, one is blinded by darkness. One believes in the future, one attaches itself desperately to demagogues who idealize the past.

Ideologies shift, they come and go. Political factions come and go. They are like the shadows of shadows, mirrors that rise up and break and fall away. What endures is a beacon of light that people either follow or not, either embrace or reject. That is where the real choice resides, not in seasonal picks between candidates that are lighter or darker shades of each other. People will make the right choice when presented with actual and meaningful choices. That didn’t happen in this election. As for who supported Trump and who didn’t, I don’t think we really choose the factions we find ourselves in. We end up there by temperament or fate or accident, not by real choice. But commitment to that beacon of light is a choice, one that allows one to speak with some authority and wisdom about what is of ultimate concern to all of the Earth community and of our responsibility to safeguard it and nourish it in ourselves and others. So we should not be on the defensive or shy about our vision of the future. It is those who adhere to the dying system who must defend their actions.

We are fireflies in the sense that we carry that beacon of light within us. And we each have our own way of carrying our torch to provide people, and ourselves, with the references we need. The 2016 election has made it clear that it is all the more important for people of good faith to fill the airwaves and the town halls and the print media with messages that give people true references, ones that affirm life and the future. So the work continues and is even more important. People need something more to embrace than the empty promises of a demagogue. But if that is all that is offered, that becomes the more palatable choice than continued disaffection.

We are in a moment of destabilization. The infantile antics of people like Trump and his followers won’t much matter in the end. They will cause suffering, without a doubt. They will cause destruction and a lot of noise. There will be losses to mourn. But they will not extinguish life and the evolution toward the beacon of light. Destabilization causes a void, and it is at these moments that something new will arise.

—K. Lauren de Boer
December, 2016

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Reread 1978 essay The New Story in Wake of 2016 US election

Find your lodestone.

So often Thomas Berry’s words give a mountain-top view of what is real and valuable, in good times and bad, in the terminal Cenozoic Era, the nascent Ecozoic Era.

In light of the American election that took place November 8, 2016, this is your homework: reread the 1978 essay that Thomas Berry wrote The New Story, published as a booklet for Teilhard Studies (Teilhard Studies Number 1, Winter 1978).

Are his words still true? Are they truer now after the election? Do you see anything differently? If so, what?

Here is a link to a pdf of it if your paper copy alludes you: http://static1.1.sqspcdn.com/static/f/558814/15477548/1323199778867/The_New_Story.pdf?token=9y5NTzP1uAD90D633nBtK3g8FQA%3D

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Reinhabit the Hudson Estuary

Besides there being a lot of NY-CA energy around me these days, this project is important because it honors the human imagination in relationship with the human and other-than-human world. And speaks to beauty. I also like the boldness to publish the project as a “Bundle” (like old folios?), being free from binding, so that each page may have its own life separate from the Bundle.

Support the publication of a Bioregional Bundle, which includes art, poetry, ideas and practices for reinhabitation or living-in-place.

A Kickstarter campaign finishing on Wednesday, May 18, 2016. New Paltz, NY

About this project

Reinhabitation is the bioregional project of living-in-place whose foundations have remained rather constant and sturdy over time. Many would begin with this statement by Aldo Leopold, from his Sand County Almanac: “A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise.” The practical consequences of this enduring wisdom are to enlarge our sense of community to include water (and watersheds), plants, animals and soil and to assume a worth to them beyond an instrumental value for humans.

Leopold’s land ethic serves as a starting point for Thomas Berry’s articulation of the “earth community,” within which the human is embedded and is the source of celebration, creative inspiration and sustenance.

Ray Dasmann and Peter Berg write, “Living-in-place means following the necessities and pleasures of life as they are uniquely presented by a particular site, and evolving ways to ensure long-term occupancy of that site ….. Simply stated, it involves applying for membership in a biotic community and ceasing to be its exploiter.”

Berg offers the following cornerstones for reinhabitory practices: restore and maintain natural systems; develop sustainable means for satisfying basic human needs; and create and support a broad range of activities that make it possible to fit better into the life-place.

We are asking for help to print a Bioregional Bundle, which is a collection of art, writing and ideas that strive to anchor themselves in this vibrant context, while encouraging an appreciation of how wildness is central to land-based customs and community building (and is a counterbalance to the increasing virtualization of everyday life).

The Bioregional Bundle will include the following:

• A helpful Hudson Estuary map showing watersheds, forest communities and totem animals.

• Art Murphy’s powerful fossil photographs establish the presence of a deep prehuman past, often forgotten.

• George Tukel looks at how neighborhoods can become more self-reliant and convivial once they are located within bioregions.

• Carol Zaloom’s linocut prints and Mikhail Horowitz’s prose remind us of the eternal collision between the wild and cultivated worlds.

• Evan Pritchard, of the Micmac people, researches how Hudson Valley Native Americans, in the late 1600s and early 1700s, met basic needs in parallel to the European money economy.

These pieces are rooted in the Mid-Hudson Valley of New York but were intended to speak across bioregional borders and to diverse communities working to translate place identity into practical day-to-day activities.

It is important to emphasize that the contents of the Bioregional Bundle are composed and ready for printing which this Kick Starter effort is raising the money for.

We are seeking $6,650 to print 1,000 copies of the Bundle. Most will be distributed freely through local grassroots watershed groups, as a “potlatch” styled gift, and around 350 will go to Planet Drum Foundation, a not-for-profit bioregional networking organization out of San Francisco, California, for their national membership.

More at: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1569534818/reinhabitat-the-hudson-estuary?ref=card

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Earth Day and Earth Jurisprudence

July 6, 2015 - A NASA camera on the Deep Space Climate Observatory satellite has returned its first view of the entire sunlit side of Earth from one million miles away. http://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/nasa-captures-epic-earth-image

July 6, 2015 – A NASA camera on the Deep Space Climate Observatory satellite has returned its first view of the entire sunlit side of Earth from one million miles away.
http://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/nasa-captures-epic-earth-image

Happy Earth Day 2016! I thought this was beautifully articulated today by The Gaia Foundation in London.

What is Earth Jurisprudence?

In response to the multiple eco-social crises we face today, cultural historian and Gaia patron, Thomas Berry, called for a paradigm shift from a human-centred to an Earth-centred world view. Thomas believed, as we do, that today we need an Earth Jurisprudence – a deep philosophy and a way of governing our societies that recognises that the Earth is the primary source of the laws we must live by.

The Earth’s laws govern life on our planet, including our own. We are born into a lawful and ordered Universe and our responsibility as one of many species is to understand and respect these laws and living processes. Our governance systems need to be derived from these laws and our ways of life guided by them. Indigenous peoples who maintain their ways of life recognise this reality. The violation of these laws, as we are now witnessing, leads to ecological, climatic, social, and economic chaos.

This understanding, that human well-being is intrinsically linked to the well-being of Earth, is common to indigenous cultures and the way in which humans have understood our place in the world for most of our history. The idea that humans are superior and unaccountable to Nature rather than inextricably part of her, has led to a planetary crisis.  We have become profoundly disconnected from the Earth and treat the Earth as a collection of objects or ‘resources’ to be used rather than a community to which we belong.

Earth Jurisprudence acknowledges that the good of the whole takes precedence over the good of the individual elements. This is the foundational thought for the transition away from an extractive relationship with our planet and each other, fostered by the modern industrial society and the ideology of the growth economy. The way we govern ourselves needs to embody an ethical code of practice which requires us to live according to Nature’s laws for the well-being of the whole of Earth Community and future generations of all species.

More to explore through their work at The Gaia Foundation: http://us2.campaign-archive1.com/?u=02c4daf3f04db09cb03d78dc8&id=0a94625203&e=d742d2ce4c

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The Human Heart is the Brain of the Future

Gosh, that seems to sum it up in one simple phrase!

This is the tag line of the 2016 Annual Steiner Books Spiritual Research Seminar’s conference called Engaging the Heart at New York University, March 18-19, 2016 put on by Steiner Books/Anthroposophic Press.

This year’s seminar will feature professionals actively engaged in the world in developing new heart forces in social life, law, medicine, and education….(they) will explore contemporary problems and offer new models and paradigms to find creative solutions and opportunities for building a more human future.

More at https://steiner.presswarehouse.com/sites/steiner/Resrcs/User/sem_bro2016.pdf

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