Novermber 5, 2008

There is ALWAYS Hope Series #1: Taking TOGETHER a Leap of Faith!

Hello everysoul!

In the wake of the historic and most pivotal election of Barack Obama as the 44th president of the United States, with spirit high from watching the outpouring of joy of countless people in the US and around the world for this clean victory that will soon put an end to eight infamous years of the worst, most corrupt and destructive US administration since the foundation of this country, it is time to consider what our role can be, wherever we live, to contribute in a positive, inspired and committed manner to the bonfire of hope that has been kindled tonight.

Despite the misgivings some might have as to the actual changes this new president will be able to implement given the legacy of military hubris, economic turpitude and downright malevolence he is inheriting from his predecessor, and aware that many heightened expectations, some of them clearly unrealistic in the short term, might not be met, we do have, individually and collectively, a key responsibility to fulfill.

There is a choice to make, and this choice is ours only to make. Shall we continue, as we probably all did at some point, to be passive spectators, armchair critics and pessimistic doomsayers pretending to be holding hopes for a better future but doing nothing—or so little it amounts to quite nothing—or instead roll up our sleeves and put our hands at the wheel of change to push with the entire weight of our soul's aspirations for a world of spontaneous kindness, unconditional love and true peace, so as to make such a dream world, a true heaven of earth, come true?

In short, are we ready to take a leap of faith?

Just like so many of our American brothers and sisters did, who have just entrusted the future of their nation to a soul with a great gift for inspiring hope and empowering everyone with his simple and yet powerful "yes we can" leitmotiv, are we willing to embark on a new journey towards the promised land of a brighter future, no matter what sacrifices this may entail, and in spite the uncertainty about our ultimate success?

This is the moment we have been waiting for, praying for, hoping for... This is OUR Moment!

This is not about telling you what you should do. This is about invoking the deeply help belief that together, united as One Global Family, we can overcome all the challenges of this new century and come through at the other end of this seemingly endless tunnel of despair and despondency as a victoriously unified humanity, rising from the bloody cesspool of centuries of hatred, war and spiritual blindness to become All That We Are as Sons and Daughters of the Universal One.


Soon I'll come back to you with a proposal and a means to kick-start action and inspire changes towards the better, more enlightened future we all hope for, pray for and wait for.

This will be my contribution to the new winds of change and rays of hope now sweeping all hearts around the world. In the meantime, I trust you will be listening to your soul's still small voice within and start imagining, conceiving and creating what your contribution will be.

In the spirit of service to the One in All...

Jean Hudon
Earth Rainbow Network Coordinator

Also Recommended:

Full text: Obama's victory speech

After 8 long years of Bush, the world has a fresh start. Sign on to our global message to Obama, celebrating change and urging him to live up to his campaign promises -- on climate change, peace and on human rights. We’ve built a huge Global Obama Message Wall near the White House, where the petition signatures and personal messages will be pasted. Let’s reach one 1 million signers and messages to Obama! Sign the message, and spread the word: Dear President Obama: As citizens across the world, we congratulate you on your election, and celebrate your campaign commitments to sign a strong new global treaty on climate change, close Guantanamo prison and end torture, withdraw carefully from Iraq, and double aid to fight poverty. No one country or leader can meet the world's most pressing challenges alone, but working together as one world in a spirit of dialogue and cooperation, yes we can bring real and lasting change.

P.S. To ensure that these compilations are not blocked, please add to your safe senders list. Your feedback is as always welcomed and may be included in a coming compilation - unless you prefer it is not. Circulating this compilation (or any part of it) and personally inviting your correspondents to subscribe to this list would also help enlarge the circle of people who have access to this material. Please include the following note and the URL address for the archived copy below along with your forwards, so others may have the opportunity to explore the original copy, if they so choose.

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"Earth Service is Earth Healing. Earth Healing is Self Healing. And Self Healing is nothing more than that re-connection to pure Joy which is the substance of all that is. All healing is a gift of grace and it comes easily in silence. In the moment of grace you open a channel for love to flow into the World. This is the Earth Service, Earth Healing and Self-Healing that is calling to many of us. The Earth herself as a living being is undergoing Transformation on a grand scale and we, Her children are here to help ease this transition."

- David Wodtke ( -- Taken from - See also his wisdom-filled monthly short stories featuring various animals. The following quote comes from one of them...

"An easy way of knowing if you're being too hard on yourself is when you are noticing all the annoying faults of others. The two go hand in hand. It's uncanny. It's not just that you notice though, you may notice and accept people as they are or you may resist, reject and become perturbed. The simple remedy is Love, but it begins with acceptance of what is. Two or three deep breaths with focus engenders acceptance and letting go. That is all breath is in a way. It comes and goes without trying. Watch it and learn. The critical mind is good at making lists which can bee very useful. Lists of lessons learned, of dos and don'ts, of flaws and positive attributes. What we do with our list determines their value. Our faults are there to help us to see in a new way. A failed experiment tells us to use a different approach next time. If we begin to see clearly that our faults or those of others are merely useful information that shows us a better direction, then we see that our very worst sources of pain and self-loathing are our greatest gifts and guidance. They become a treasure map that leads to a buried chest full of gold and precious gems. All that remains is to get your shovel and dig deeper. Mouse knows that you can always go deeper into who you are no matter how humble and small appear. There is no limit to your magnificence and potential."

- Taken from Mouse and Hummingbird

One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said, ' My son, the battle is between two 'wolves' inside us all. One is Evil - It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. The other is Good - It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.' The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: 'Which wolf wins? 'The old Cherokee simply replied, 'The one you feed.'

- Forwarded by Steve Blackman (


1. A Call for Conscious Evolution
2. The Context for a Conscious Evolution
3. The TH Interview: Jerry Greenfield of Ben & Jerry's
4. We Are Hard-Wired to Care and Connect
5. Scientific Function and Structure of Networks
6. Old Struggles on a New Earth
7. ROUGH SEAS: The Grandmothers' November Message
8. School of Shamanism: November Forecast
9. Commentary: Food From the Grassroots
10. Obama Helped Stranded Stranger 20 Years Ago
11. This election is not about major policies. It's about hope.



To: Kathleen Beatty (
Date: 1 Nov 2008
Subject: Re: I no longer have any hope

Hi Kathleen!

I've done a bit of home work to help you see the bright, shining LIGHT at the end of the proverbial tunnel.

I've been scouring the web to find out if there is any cause for hope and in less than 3 hours I found plenty!

I've therefore just decided to start a new series of compilations to be called...

There is ALWAYS Hope Series #1:

Yes I took it from you signature line!

So before I show you what I found so far, here are some comments...

Hi Jean,

You have not heard from me for awhile -- and I don't think you'll agree with what I am going to write to you--

Basically it is that I have no hope for the future of our Earth -- the 'biosphere' of biological life forms on Earth. I can no longer believe in an 'Ascension' or 'Shift' dependent on a mass 100th-monkey kind of awakening of enough humans to change the overall consciousness.

Sometimes I think like you but then I hear within that all will be OK - of course it will take some time to resolve all problems but we are immortal aren't we, and all considered, I truly believe it will go quite fast...

I live my life among regular human beings, and see no evidence of a mass awakening to compassion and caring for any beings other than themselves and their extended selves --their small circle of family and friends. Since many many people spend their lives shouting to each other in public on cell phones, one cannot avoid hearing exactly what it is that humans are concerned with -- and it is not the destruction of our Earth, and what we can do to stop it. When I go shopping, I see grocery carts filled with poisonous products and dead animals. I have pointed out to countless people the chemtrails up in the sky, and time and time again have seen the glazed look come over their faces and watched them shut down and change the subject. I see streams of cars, wherever I go, most with only one person in them. And everywhere, all over the Earth, millions of animals living in cruel captivity and dying terribly cruel deaths.

All you say is true and the apparent don't care attitude of so many people can be a real hope turn off. Yet it is all on the surface - as deep within, most people are fundamentally good and caring beings - and depending on where you live the picture can be very different. In some places, like in the Christian fundamentalist Bible belt, people are so addicted to their religious illusions, they don't seem to be able to see anything beyond their religious and cultural bias. But if you come in Canada, especially in Quebec, B.C and Ontario, or if go on the West Coast of the US or in many socialist European countries, you will find that the vast majority of people are very sensitive to environmental issues, social justice and LOTS of other progressive things. Clearly there are places on Earth where the future already has a good foothold. This will continue to grow and the number of laggards will eventually diminish significantly. We just need to stay positive, keep working and keep walking our talk.

I am coming to the conclusion that the idea of the 'Shift' is a sort of mass delusion to allow humans to go on living and go about their daily tasks, in the face of overwhelming evidence that not enough of us have the capacity to care enough to stop the imminent end of precious life on Earth.

I'd venture to say that this sort of thinking is in itself part of the problem. It has been demonstrated again and again that what we most believe in is what we have. If you believe deeply that there is not enough good in the world to tip the balance in the right direction - that is, what is for the highest good of all - then you don't contribute to nurturing this perception by your own energetic signature and rippling effect in humanity's collective consciousness. On the other hand, and in line with the often mentioned placebo effect, if you believe our world and humanity will eventually heal and that a bright future will inevitably come to be, then that's the thought-forms you generate and radiate all around you. Doing so not only energizes and radiates positive feelings that are themselves magnified when interacting with other people's similar feelings, but it also gives you the drive and positive outlook to see current problems as exciting challenges to be mastered and motivates you to actually contribute in all kinds of ways to the solutions, locally and globally. People with such a dynamic, positive attitude usually have an infectiously powerful influence around them to catalyze more of what is good for all.

I have always liked what Ariel Ky has to share --but her last missive came from China, where she must not be able to avoid the terrible cruelty to animals all around her. I don't like to point fingers at individuals, but this to me is an example of believing in something --the 'Shift' -- against all common sense, against the evidence of our eyes and ears and brains.

Well you don't have to look that far to find the telltale signs of animal cruelty. Just go in the meat section of any supermarket and you'll find thousands of animal cadavers - I know it sounds crude and excessive but that's what they are - exposed to everyone's view. Very few of those animals have been raised in natural environments and allowed to live a normal life. They are treated like a mere industrial product to be processed and sold for profit with no respect whatsoever for the sentient, sacred Life forms they all are. As for China, I suppose you refer to their cultural taste for dog "meat" which is so horrifying - and with good reasons - to so many people. Yet if you live and India and have been educated to have a deep reverence for cows, left to roam free amidst the traffic even of their largest highways, you will probably see Westerners who mistreat and eat cows with the same revulsion as we see Chinese people with regard to the way they treat and eat dogs (about 10 millions every year) and also cats in some regions. Recently Hong Kong, the Philippines and Taiwan have banned the practice of dog eating. So a change is certainly possible. Perhaps even one day most everyone on Earth will be vegetarians by choice and out of respect and reverence for all Life forms. This is a thought-form I prefer to nurture and energize...

Even your own compilations -- masses and masses of articles about the destruction of our forests, our oceans; the poisoning of our air and the very earth itself, the soil in which our poisoned food is growing. Against that there are only a few human voices raised -- let alone the few who actually change their lives in terms of what they buy and how they live; and a few channeled messages stating that mass consciousness is changing -- which is just NOT TRUE -- and promising that somehow all these cruel and uncaring humans are going to be transported into a New Heaven on a New Earth, which -- if this should happen -- the humans will no doubt begin destroying and perverting as they are now doing our Earth as she is.

Well, as for my reporting of things that need to change, the analogy I like to use for this is that it's like when our bodies experience pain because something is hurting (for whatever reason). A pain signal is sent to the brain and our consciousness thus registers there is something wrong that needs to be fixed - the more intense the pain, the more urgent the reaction to fix the problem. Circulating information about what's wrong in our world has the same function. Unless humanity's consciousness is informed of the consequences of our actions, there won't be any improvement. Of course, a pain too intense can also cause a shock and the reaction can be delayed because we have a hard time believe what is happening to us. But eventually we take action, unless we are mortally wounded. Our planet has been raped, burned and abused for over a century now and we have finally noticed the harm we are doing. Can we shift from self-centered abusers to wise stewards and protectors of our living planet? I choose to believe in this - to take this placebo green pill - rather than buy into the disempowering notion that we cannot become better and finally treat all life as we would want to be treated. In fact, the spiritual shift into Oneness consciousness which is now exponentially expanding in humanity's common pool of sentient knowledge - starting in a few individuals years ago acting as the first frozen crystals of water from which a whole thick ice can then quickly grow to cover a whole pond - will eventually spread out to every soul... I truly believe this as I have for over 25 years. And because I have this belief, I always found the motivation to do all I've done over the years and enjoy the ride all along...

I don't expect you to agree with me. And I wish I could have the hope you have, but I can't. I often feel I am living on a planet filled with the insane -- those who are destroying their home -- humans are the only animal who foul our own nest -- and those who are denying what is in their faces and believing that some miracle is happening when I can see that it is not.

Of course, you know that it's all in the eyes of the beholder... Yes there are mountains of evidence that we are spoiling our planetary nest and we ought to acknowledge this and not try to deny it or shy away from facing this massive challenge—and I'm certainly not suggesting we should all put on rosy New Age glasses and ignore the insanity around us. But like a climber who sets upon to ascend a tall mountain, although he/she is intensely focused on all the difficult challenges that need to be faced of his/her way up to the summit, he/she never forgets about what his/her goal is, never takes his/her eyes off the "ball"...

If I thought that my one tiny bit of individualized consciousness among the 6.2 billion on this planet [[make it 6,734,166,876 - this November 2 at 3:51 am, according to the World POPClock Projection]]--if I truly believed that by believing and visualizing a change I could bring it about --I would do so, as I'd done for much of the last 40 years. But I think this is akin to the dancers in the Ghost Dance, who believed, fervently, that the spiritual energy they contacted in the Dance would protect them against the bullets. Which it did not.

I continue to pray for peace on Earth, especially FOR Earth and the poor poor animals --but I no longer have any hope.

Well thank you Kathleen for sharing your honest feelings with me. It gave me the motivation to look for rays of hope and present you with my own feelings on this matter ;-)

Peace, Kathleen

I wish you Love, Light and plenty of laughters


There is ALWAYS hope.

God is a circle whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere.

There is no anti-depressant that will cure a depression that's spiritually based, for the malaise doesn't originate from brain dysfunction, but from an accurate response to the desecration of life.
David R. Hawkins, Power Vs. Force

All shall be well
And all shall be well
And all manner of things shall be well.
Julian of Norwich


The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation - A WONDERFUL INITIATIVE!
The foundation is associated with the World Kindness Movement active in 19 countries!
Here are some examples taken from their current newsletter:
The Holiday's are just around the corner and there are plenty of people who could use a little cheering up and kindness, so we have compiled a list of a few ideas to brighten someone else's day!
- Volunteer at a soup kitchen
- Donate old children's books
- Go to a nursing home and sing holiday carols
- Donate canned goods
- Send out holiday cards telling people why they are special
- Donate blood
- Shovel your neighbor's walkway or driveway
- Anonymously pay someone's parking ticket
- Drop off baked goods for your neighbors
- Keep a supply of bottled water and crackers in your car to give to homeless people
- Donate gently worn winter coats
- Buy a Christmas tree for a family that can't afford one
- Invite an acquaintance over for the holidays who doesn't have family close by
- Give your coffee or hot chocolate to a construction worker
- Drop off a bag of groceries for a family that is in need
Check also their wonderful inspirational stories! Here is an example...

A Little Difference that can make a Big Difference
Just want to share this little thought with you..... Many of us these days are too scurried in doing things for ourselves.... everyday... day in, day out, people have spent their time cramming their time doing things that they think make themselves happy. For, they believe that is what True (Real) Happiness is!! Yet, how many of us... come to realize that True (Real) Happiness lies not in desiring ourselves to be happy first BUT rather in others to be Happy first!! And, it is that Little Difference that makes a Big Difference in this world..... After all... isn't it the saying goes.... "It's always better Giving than Receiving!"Sometimes, kindness or giving does not need to be in a form of monetary terms..... It can be just a simple smile, a gentle word or a helping hand... and that already can make a lot of difference in another person's life...... To some people.... this can a gentle nudge to put them back onto their feet... Yet, I wonder how many of us can cultivate that thought?? Do YOU think this is possible?? Can we join hands to make it possible in this world by beginning with you and me??

Craig Kielburger - One Act of Kindness
Craig shares a story that exemplifies the power behind small acts of kindness and how it can send ripples of kindness forward - Me to We.

Me to We
A movement often begins when people least expect it. But in every generation, just when the world needs shaking up, a seed is planted. And from that seed, many come together to help it grow. 1960s: The civil rights movement ushers in a new era of equality. 1980s: The anti-apartheid movement brings justice to the oppressed. 2008: The Me to We movement inspires daily actions that change the world.We live in an era of interconnection. Every choice we make, every dollar we spend, every action we take profoundly affects our world. And through simple steps—a conversation, a compassionate decision, a change of our culture’s priorities—we can meet our world’s many challenges together. It all begins with a shift in thinking: from Me to We. History shows us that every great social movement began with one incontestable truth: somebody did something. Me to We helps everyone answer the question: what have you done to change the world today? MAKE sure to watch the video at TRULY AWESOME AND MIGHTILY INSPIRING!!! Watch Me To We 2008 at (Make sure to listen to Justin Trudeau's rousing motivational speech in Clip #6!! - nearly halfway into this clip) and read Thousands of youth gather for global change at Free The Children's National Me to We Day

It Takes a Child (3 min 24 sec)
A clip from It Takes a Child, featuring Craig Kielburger at 12 years old. This inspirational and educational video features the story of how Craig founded Free The Children and the international work of the organization. Get more information or order the video here

Check also the Coin-spiracy!
The Coin-spiracy revolves around the launch and tracking of a uniquely coded kindness coin called a UNI - short for the universal nature of kindness. Each UNI Coin is launched by a school or youth group. To participate, the school or youth group commits 3 kind acts: one for self, one for the environment and one for another. Then, the coin (along with a travelling document called a "pass-port" - new as of 2006) is passed on to the recipient of the kind act who in turn joins the Coin-spiracy by committing 3 kind acts and passing on the coin. -- Between November 2002 and June 2007, over 207 UNI Coins have been invested in kind action, resulting in 282,323 hours invested in service and over $270,143 raised for communities in need locally as well as in over 45 countries around the globe.

Care to Make a Difference
9,577,729 members - 30,660,397 petition signatures - 1,799,042 friend connections

Sooo many wonderful groups doing good around the world! Check those Google search results
Volunteers around the world

Action Without Borders
Our Vision: We would like to live in a world where: All people can lead free and dignified lives. Every person who wants to help another has the ability to do so. No opportunities for action or collaboration are missed or wasted. Our Mission: Action Without Borders connects people, organizations, and resources to help build a world where all people can live free and dignified lives. It offers 14,844 volunteer opportunities and it has 80,960 organizations, 1,149 idealist groups, 1,929 programs, as well as 164,225 people and 81,110 volunteers involved --- and much MUCH more! This site also offers tons of wonderful ideas such as: Thinking Vertically: Food Systems of the Future - Identifying Nonprofit Leaders Using Social Media - Thinking About Volunteering in Another Country? - You'll find 100's more through this link.

Kiva - We Let You Loan to the Working Poor
Kiva's mission is to connect people through lending for the sake of alleviating poverty. Kiva is the world's first person-to-person micro-lending website, empowering individuals to lend directly to unique entrepreneurs in the developing world. Check their ASTOUNDING press coverage! As of last June, they had assisted about 40,000 borrowers in 40 countries and provided a total of about $27 million in funding!

Children of the Earth
We believe in the possibility of world peace: -- One Earth with all her children smiling.We envision a future in which all our children live and work as one people, caring for each other and caring for our home, the living Earth: -- One People, learning to learn, learning to love, learning to live.We invite, encourage, and support all people to develop learning opportunities so that children and youth everywhere will have the skills, knowledge and inspiration to bring forth a better world. Our programs, presentations and conferences are all about learning. -- creating, experiencing, participating in a global culture of peace and non-violence.

World Spirit Youth Council
15 individual youth came to participate in the World Spirit Forum. They discovered that they had been drawn to the Forum through a common realization: Spiritual transformation is essential to effective peacemaking in the world. Václav Havel expressed the same awareness with these words: Without a global revolution in the sphere of human consciousness, nothing will change for the better... and the catastrophe towards which this world is headed, whether it be ecological, social, demographic or a general breakdown of civilization, will be inevitable. Because the 15 youth shared a passionate belief in the need for an organized movement of youth who live INNER PEACE, the World Spirit Youth Council was organized to meet that need.

Peace Partnership International - Building Bridges of Peace
Peace Partnership International is building bridges of peace to span economic, political, generational, gender, and national differences, so that everybody can come together to co-create a culture of peace.Activities we undertake in collaboration with various levels of business, civil society, and government to awaken understandings of a culture of peace and catalyze actions to bring it about include, among others, development of youth leadership for peace; establishment of Cities of Peace; conversion to a peace economy; celebrating and profiling demonstrations of peace; planning, organizing, and taking part in international conferences, public outreach events, and education projects; sharing best practices; and building a global network of people and organizations who together can reveal and foster an expanding culture of peace.

Check the Women's Health Magazine selection of 100 best websites

The Time Magazine 50 Best Websites 2008,28757,1809858,00.html

Trails in the U.S.
Your best resource for Hiking, Mountain Biking, Water Trails, Winter Trails, and more! Planning a day hike, mountain bike ride or backpacking trip? has all the information you need to enjoy the outdoors! offers more than 43,000 trail maps and descriptions and topo maps of the entire United States!

Action Terroriste Socialement Acceptable
Initiatives de conscientisation originales et percutantes


Global Prayer Project - Prayer, Meditation & Discussion with James & Salle Redfield
Our twice-monthly gatherings have been making a powerful difference, both in people's individual lives and the world at large. Many of you have written us saying that the energy generated from this network of spiritually-minded participants is "indescribable," and we look forward to continuing this healing circle of focused prayer. Like all prayer experience devoted to helping others, many participants have felt the results in their own bodies and received guidance for their own lives.Research tells us that the more people praying together, the more powerful the prayer and the greater the level of energy felt by the participants. We invite you to join the largest regular prayer network in the world. If you would like to take an active role in maintaining a circle of positive intention across the globe, while going deeper and heightening your own spirituality, join us on Tuesday, November 11. Let's see how large we can grow, and how much difference we can make... US & CANADA Tuesday, November 11, 8 pm New York, 5 pm Los Angeles -- Australia Wednesday, November 12, 12 noon Sydney -- Europe Wednesday, November 12, 1 am London CLIP

The Battle for Reality (FALL 2008)
What really happened at the 1999 WTO demonstrations in Seattle? On television, it looked like vandalism and random violence. On the streets, it looked like part festival, part uprising, part police riot. Now there’s a movie version. Activist and author David Solnit was there—organizing in the streets and speaking up on the set. (...) My attempt to engage with Townsend’s movie helped me see how important it is for members of social movements to tell our own stories—not just about Seattle, but about all our struggles and victories—and to tell them loudly, publicly, and compellingly. Widespread amnesia about the history of movements and rebellion is part of what has made grassroots organizing in the U.S. so difficult. Many activists have romanticized Seattle as a semi-spontaneous rebellion that arose as if by luck. This ignores the key strategizing, mass mobilizing, networking, education, and alliance-building that made Seattle possible. Battle in Seattle’s greatest contribution may be that it reminds us of this and spurs us to action. A group of Seattle anti-WTO veterans launched the Web site, which aims to correct some of the film’s misrepresentations. “Stories are how we understand the world and thus shape the future,” explains a statement on the site. “They are part of our fight against corporate power, empire, war, and social and environmental injustice, and for the alternatives that will make a better world.” The real Seattle reshaped the story of what is possible for millions of people around the world. CLIP

Talkcast is with David Spangler (November 3, 2008)
David is an internationally known spiritual teacher and writer who possesses very attuned intuitive capacities as well as a first rate intellect with an excellent grasp of contemporary philosophical and cultural issues. Much of his recent writings and spiritual teachings are directed toward how we can support external events in the world through our work on the inner planes. David is one of the few genuine "elders" in the field of subtle activism.

5 More Friends uncensored (29 October 2008) Wonderful initiative that certainly helped!
Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Cruise, Cameron Diaz, Snoop Dogg, Harrison Ford, Julia Roberts, Ben Stiller, Will Smith, Steven Spielberg, Justin Timberlake, along with Sacha Baron Cohen as Borat, Zach Braff, Colin Farrell, Neil Patrick Harris, Scarlett Johansson, Shia LeBeouf, Tobey Maguire, Ryan Reynolds, and Jason Segal, are featured in a second of a series of public service announcements to encourage American youth to vote in partnership with Google, YouTube, Declare Yourself, and MySpace.


Note: This growing humanitarian catastrophe, resulting from a five-year conflict that has claimed an estimated three million lives, has been getting some media coverage lately but is clearly and urgently in need of much greater attention from the international community and action to help bring an end to the harrowing suffering of more than 1.6 million people displaced recently by the continuing violence. To help, go at Congo Global Action and please keep this situation in mind in your meditations and prayers and envision that all parties cease violence and that true lasting peace soon prevail.


Congo-Kinshasa: UN Agencies Stepping Up Relief Efforts Amid Reports of Fresh Fighting

UN News Service (New York)

4 November 2008

United Nations agencies are stepping up their efforts to assist hundreds of thousands of people displaced by violence in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), amid reports that fighting has resumed in rebel-held territory in North Kivu while the ceasefire seems to be holding in the provincial capital of Goma.

According to the UN peacekeeping mission in the DRC, known as MONUC, fighting continues intermittently between PARECO, an ethnic militia, and rebels led by renegade general Laurent Nkunda in the village of Kiwanja, some two kilometres outside Rutshuru, in rebel-held territory.

MONUC peacekeepers at a nearby base appear to be trapped in the crossfire, but have yet to report any casualties among their ranks, although there is concern that the intensity of the gunfire may have caused some damage.

The mission said it has temporarily suspended a humanitarian assessment mission in the area and gathered aid workers in a safe house to wait out the gun battle.

Meanwhile, the ceasefire between Congolese armed forces (known as FARDC) and the rebel National Congress for the Defence of the People (CNDP) seems to be holding in Goma, the capital of North Kivu province.

UN peacekeepers are boosting their presence there, with two additional companies arriving today and a Formed Police Unit (FPU) expected tomorrow. The 17,000-strong MONUC - which has been mandated by the Security Council to protect civilians - has been overstretched in recent weeks.

The mission currently has 5,000 peacekeepers in North Kivu, including some 1,700 in Goma, which has a swelling population of between 700,000 and 1 million.

Ambassador Jorge Urbina of Costa Rica, which holds the rotating presidency of the Security Council for November, told reporters today that the 15-member body will discuss boosting the UN's largest peacekeeping force later this month, while adding that there is "no consensus" on the issue at this point.

Meanwhile, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Alain Le Roy and the Secretary-General's Special Representative for the DRC, Alan Doss, are continuing their visit to North Kivu, where today they visited camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs) and UN military bases in the region, before meeting with humanitarian workers.

They also met with Congolese Prime Minister Adolphe Muzito, as well as European Union and United States representatives.

Yesterday Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appointed former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo to serve as his Special Envoy on the issue and to work with leaders in the region and the broader international community to end the crisis, which has forced an estimated 250,000 people to flee their homes in recent months. Mr. Ban also said he would travel to the region to push forward peace efforts.

Up to 100,000 people - around 60 per cent of whom are children - have fled their homes in the last week alone, according to the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), which noted that this brings the total number of IDPs in North Kivu to around one million or 20 per cent of the entire population of the province.

The condition of newly displaced children and women is "desperate," the agency said in a news release, with thousands having had very little to eat since they fled their homes and minimal access to clean water and health care. Hundreds of children are also presumed to have been separated from their families and forced to fend on their own.

The World Health Organization (WHO) reported that increasing quantities of medical supplies are being provided by foreign governments for the crisis, but more support is needed to meet urgent health needs.

The World Food Programme (WFP), for its part, said it will soon start distributing a 10-day ration to more than 135,000 people in six camps around Goma. The agency is moving more food from Uganda and Zambia into the DRC to meet growing demands.

Meanwhile, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is trying to determine the whereabouts of tens of thousands of IDPs from three camps near Rutshuru that were destroyed and emptied last week. Refugees from the DRC are also continuing to cross over into neighbouring Uganda, UNHCR reported.

The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said a mobile UN human rights team was allowed into the area controlled by CNDP forces yesterday for the first time since the crisis began.

While this was a welcome development, the Office noted that the team was accompanied by an armed member of the CNDP, which severely compromised their ability to conduct interviews and to gain information. The team, which is looking into reports of targeted killings in the rebel-held areas, plans to try again today.

In a related development, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Luis Moreno-Ocampo, expressed concern about the situation in the Kivus and recalled that his office is closely monitoring information about attacks against civilian populations, forced displacement of populations, murders, rapes, pillaging and looting, reported to be taking place amid the recent fighting.


Related articles and videos:

Congo-Kinshasa: Children Most Vulnerable as Thousands Need Urgent Aid (4 November 2008)
Hundreds of children are fending for themselves after being separated from their families in fighting between the army and rebels in the eastern province of North Kivu, aid workers have said."Up to 100,000 people fled their homes due to heavy fighting between belligerent armed groups in North Kivu last week," said Jaya Murthy, the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) communications specialist in the region. At least 60 percent of those who fled are children. CLIP

Congo-Kinshasa: EU Calls for More Deployment in Country (4 November 2008)
British Foreign Secretary David Miliband and French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner held talks with President Jakaya Kikwete in Tanzania on Saturday to discuss the deteriorating security situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo.During the meeting with Mr Kikwete who currently chairs the African Union and France, that holds the European Union chair urged the United Nations to deploy more soldiers in Congo to combat the violence which has seen more than 1.6 million people displaced. The two officials were in Dar es Salaam as part of their whirlwind diplomacy to galvanise international response to the crisis and find a quick way to halt escalating fighting and prevent a humanitarian catastrophe. CLIP

Why the world enjoys while we are dying in the Congo (November 4, 2008)
(...) Congo is a very rich poor country, it has thirty percent of the world’s reserves of cobalt, ten percent of the world’s reserve of copper, eighty percent of the world’s reserve of coltan (a mineral used in new technology device such as dvd players, IPod, mobile phone etc.. as well as in the military industry). And these multinational corporations are profiting at enormous rates while the Congolese people are suffering tremendously. CLIP

Country profile: Democratic Republic of Congo (30 October 2008)
A vast country with immense economic resources, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) has been at the centre of what could be termed Africa's world war. This has left it in the grip of a humanitarian crisis. The five-year conflict pitted government forces, supported by Angola, Namibia and Zimbabwe, against rebels backed by Uganda and Rwanda. Despite a peace deal and the formation of a transitional government in 2003, the threat of civil war remains. The war claimed an estimated three million lives, either as a direct result of fighting or because of disease and malnutrition. It has been called possibly the worst emergency to unfold in Africa in recent decades. CLIP

Corporations Reaping Millions as Congo Suffers Deadliest Conflict Since World War II (January 23, 2008)
A new mortality report from the International Rescue Committee says that as many as 5.4 million people have died from war-related causes in the Congo since 1998. A staggering 45,000 people continue to die each month, both from the conflict and the related humanitarian crisis. Amidst the deadliest conflict since World War II, hundreds of international corporations have reaped enormous profits from extracting and processing Congolese minerals. We speak to Maurice Carney of Friends of the Congo and Nita Evele of Congo Global Action. [includes rush transcript] Watch this video...

Deadliest Conflict Since World War II

Watch also Congo's Forgotten War at (Heartbreaking!)

Find out more about the current situation through Recent News Stories



A Call for Conscious Evolution

Oct 24, 2008

By the Evolutionary Leaders

The human family is in the midst of the most significant transformation of consciousness since its emergence in Africa over one hundred thousand years ago. Consciousness has been evolving for billions of years from the first cell to us. We are becoming aware that through our own consciousness the universe can know itself. This awareness reveals incredible new potential for our individual and collective humanity.

Simultaneously, we are the first species on this Earth aware that we can destroy ourselves by our own action. This may be the greatest wake-up call to the evolution of consciousness since the origin of Homo sapiens.

We now realize that we are affecting our own evolution by everything we do. This knowledge awakens in us the aspiration to become more conscious through subjective practices including meditation, reflection, prayer, intuition, creativity, and conscious choice making that accelerate our evolution in the direction of unity consciousness and inspire us to deeply align our collective vision.


At this juncture in human history, urgent global crises challenge us to learn to live sustainably, in harmony and gratitude with one another and with the living universe. The changes required of humanity are broad, deep, and far reaching. Only by acting swiftly and creatively can we birth a planetary culture that will bring well-being to every form of life in the Earth community.

The good news is that a compelling new story of our potential as a whole human species is emerging–a story of collaboration, citizen action, dialogue and new understandings propelled by unprecedented levels of democratic freedom, multicultural exchange, and access to communication technologies. It is nothing less than the story of our collective evolution.


We recognize that the inner and outer aspects of life evolve together. A dramatic awakening in consciousness will involve an equally dramatic shift in outward aspects of our lives. In particular, we see the following as vital opportunities for our conscious evolution, both personally and collectively:

Cultivating a Paradigm of Aliveness: We regard the universe as deeply alive and conscious by nature. In a living universe, our sense of subtle connection and participation with life around us is the basis for a compassionate and cooperative approach to living.

Educating for an Evolving Consciousness: Awakening consciousness is the foundation for all the change we seek to see in the world. We can work to elevate our capacity for conscious reflection and creative action in our personal lives as well as our collective lives as communities. We must support research and educational strategies that optimize human capacities and explore the nature of consciousness.

Restoring Ecological Balance: The balance of planetary ecosystems is fundamental to our survival. We must reverse the pollution of our global commons–the water, air and soil that nourish all life. We must encourage the proliferation of clean, renewable energy sources and expend all necessary resources toward mitigating the effects of climate change.

Encouraging Conscious Media: We must find innovative ways to use the new electronic media as the mirror of our positive evolutionary story, investing in their capacity to reach across differences of generation, culture, religion, wealth, and gender to build a working consensus about our collective future.

Engaging in Social and Political Transformation: More sustainable ways of living will require the support of a more conscious democracy and vibrant civil society from which more enlightened leaders will emerge. All individuals should be encouraged to use their gifts to create participatory, responsible and compassionate models of governance.

Working for Integrity in Commerce: Conscious businesses that are aware of the scope, depth, and long-range impacts of their actions are key to achieving sustainability. Business must become an ethical steward of the Earth’s ecology and consciously establish an economic basis for a future of equitably shared abundance.

Promoting Health and Healing: The science of mind-body-spirit health has demonstrated the profound connection between the health of a whole person and the health of the system in which he or she lives. Whole systems healing, respecting both traditional knowledge and modern sciences, must be supported in physical, social, and spiritual domains.

Building Global Community: The new story is about all of us who share this planet. Together, we can create a culture of peace that eliminates the need for armed conflict, respecting and appreciating the glorious diversity of our human family.


Our group has done its best to articulate possibilities for the evolution of consciousness at this crucial moment in time. Please reflect on this document, feel what resonates in your being and calls forth a response on your part. We invite you to discuss it with others, continuing this global conversation by adding to it the wisdom that is uniquely your own.

Together, let us co-create a new narrative of conscious evolution that is a call to individual and collective action, birthing the most significant transformation of consciousness in history. Join in the Call to Conscious Evolution by signing the pledge now. (NOTE: Only 347 persons have signed it as of November 4!)

A Call to Conscious Evolution
Climate change, economic disparity, educational inequities, geopolitical tensions -- these mounting concerns are symptoms of a world that is out of balance. Together we can shift consciousness by co-creating a new way of being together. The Call to Conscious Evolution was born following a gathering of global visionaries. It's a movement that fully supports that the future is not what happens to us, but rather what WE create. Together, we can co-create a new narrative of conscious evolution by:
* Building a global community and creating a culture of peace.
* Restoring ecological balance to nourish all life, and mitigate the effects of climate change.
* Engaging in social and political transformation by calling for a more conscious democracy.
* Promoting health and healing by acknowledging the profound mind-body-spirit connection.
* Supporting research and education that optimize human capacities.
* Encouraging integrity in business and conscious media.
In this great time of uncertainty, join us in elevating consciousness to create a better world. One governed by meaning and purpose. Accept nothing less. Every voice counts -- your voice counts.
I join with Deepak Chopra, Marianne Williamson, Jean Houston, and other evolutionary leaders to pledge to make my conscious evolution an important part of my life, and in so doing help make the world a better place.



The Context for a Conscious Evolution

Oct 24, 2008

By the Evolutionary Leaders

A Call to Conscious Evolution: Our Moment of Choice


Our economy is in crisis, wars are continuing to add to their deadly toll, and the balance of world power is shifting dramatically. Meanwhile, trust in government is at a historic low. Are we entering an era of chaos and decline, or are we poised to jump to a higher order?


...of a fractured, dualistic way of thinking (us vs. them, human vs. nature, win/lose) that is dangerously out of touch with the acute interdependence, wholeness, and unity in diversity of all that lives. Looking outward but not inward, reacting to external symptoms but not the root cause, we can’t see why our world is out of balance. No wonder! As Einstein famously said, “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”

“Throughout history, the really fundamental changes in societies have come about not from dictates of governments and the results of battles but through vast numbers of people changing their minds. By deliberately changing the internal image of reality, people can change the world.”(Willis Harman, Global Mind Change: The Promise of the 21st Century)

Only such a shift in our shared field of consciousness, a collective waking up to our real human potential, will put us on the path to a life-enhancing future. But how can such a shift occur? Will it happen only after a fatal tipping point has been reached, with nothing to break our fall, or can we now intentionally choose to wake up to our shared responsibility for our future?

Signing the Call to Conscious Evolution: Our Moment of Choice may seem to you like a small, merely symbolic action. Yet even a single butterfly moving its wings can, according to Chaos Theory, cause a ripple effect large enough to change global weather patterns forever. Consciousness, similarly, is a unified field that can shift dramatically when the spontaneous emergence of new possibility captures increasing attention. Witness the sudden, over-night collapse of the Soviet system of communism when the real possibility of freedom took hold in people’s minds.

As you join in signing this historic document, and as you go on to initiate conversations about our collective future as this document invites, you can be confident that your voice will be heard and your profound influence powerfully felt

This Call to Conscious Evolution: Our Moment of Choice was jointly issued by thirty-eight thought leaders and change agents whose names you will find listed below. They share a global, long-range perspective and a deep faith in our combined creative capacities to shape our own destiny. The future, in their view, is not what “happens to us” but rather what we can NOW imagine - actually see, taste, and feel - as possible and then go forward to create through our actions. This group of individuals who met to address the global prospects for evolutionary leadership on July 26 of this year at the Chopra Center in Carlsbad, CA were invited by the Chopra Foundation, Source of Synergy Foundation, and Association for Global New Thought. Their legitimacy however comes from a universal mandate that empowers us all: If not us, who? If not now, when?

These collective thought leaders know that the way we create meaning and purpose in our lives is through the narratives we tell about ourselves, where we’ve come from, what we aim for and why - and if we don’t like the way it’s reading now, we can change our story. This is a radical view of human freedom at a time that many fear our fate has already been sealed.

The butterfly, for which the global ripple effect is named, is a potent symbol of transformation. While mere change can mean becoming an ever bigger caterpillar, transformation is fundamentally different. The caterpillar inside its cocoon dissolves into a liquid carrying imaginal cells that construct an entirely new kind of creature with great beauty and the power of flight. The human imagination has a similar power - to perceive entirely new possibilities in our present conditions and to bring those possibilities into being. That is why Einstein also reasoned, “Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”

Signing the Call to Conscious Evolution: Our Moment of Choice signifies that you are ready to begin encircling our world, as its old forms are dissolving, with fresh imagining of what is possible, to share this sense of possibility with as many others as you can, and to work with them to consciously create with guided action a peaceful, just, harmonious and vibrantly beautiful world that reflects in every way the true nobility of our common humanity. The time has come.

Sign the Call to Conscious Evolution: Our Moment of Choice




The TreeHugger Interview: Jerry Greenfield of Ben & Jerry's

by Jesse Fox, Tel Aviv, Israel on November 1, 2008

Ben & Jerry's have given us TreeHuggers plenty to think about over the past few years. Between their Climate College, "global cooling" efforts and PETA's calls for them to use breast milk in their ice cream (say what!?), Ben & Jerry's have managed to stay several steps ahead of the game for years.

Last week, we caught up with Ben & Jerry's cofounder Jerry Greenfield at Maala's 2008 Corporate Social Responsibility Conference at the Tel Aviv Hilton, where he gave a lecture about his (& Ben's) fascinating journey into the world of responsible, and sustainable, entrepreneurship. Here's what he had to say...

TreeHugger: Jerry, you just gave a speech to an audience of Israeli CEO’s and investment bankers about the Ben & Jerry's model of social responsibility, which I would guess is quite a bit more radical than anything anybody else in the room is doing right now. How receptive do you think they were?

Jerry Greenfield: What I talk about at these kinds of events is based on our experience. I think sometimes people feel like Ben and I are trying to, well, pontificate is too strong a word, but direct people that business should be a certain way. What we are doing is sharing our experience of running a business in a non-traditional way. So usually I try to tell some humorous stories about how we started, how we didn’t have any training and we’re not your usual business people. We tried to run a business the way a person on the street would, at the beginning.

Most people in the US view corporations as selfish entities, and we didn’t want to have that kind of business, so we said we’re going to see if we can be different. So we try to let people know that you don’t have to do it the traditional way; you can do it differently - it’s possible. The tradition thinking is that environmental and social responsibility takes away from profitability, but our experience is the exact opposite. There are many people in the business world that would like to do that, but don’t know how.

I think it will become a competitive advantage, because that’s what consumers respond to. So often people are buying products and services and that they don’t really like, but they feel like they don’t have any alternative.

TreeHugger: In your speech to the conference you said, “Business is the most powerful force in our society today… Business has incredible power and influence over our society, all of which [it uses] in the narrow interest of business, which is to make money… We would not tolerate that from any other major entity in society, but it’s okay for business.” How do you think that went over with the crowd?

JG: I think businesspeople know how powerful business is, particularly big corporations. Business is very involved in trying to influence policy, such as lobbying against all sorts of regulations or against raising the minimum wage. All of this is done to promote business’ narrow interests, and it’s done behind the scenes – because it would be very unpopular if people knew about this stuff, and businesses want people to like them, which is why they spend so much money on advertising and marketing, to try to get consumers to feel good about the stuff they are buying.

Ben & Jerry’s takes a different approach. We try to do good deeds and act in the consumer’s interests. I don’t think the whole world is going to start acting that way overnight, but there are tangible benefits of doing it. For example, people that work for the company feel better about what they are doing, employees feel more motivated.

"If It's Not Fun, Why Do It?" Jerry Greenfield at Maala's 2008 Corporate Social Responsibility Conference.

TreeHugger: After your speech, the CEO of one of the big cellular companies gave a presentation about the charity work that his company does, including donating to kids who are fighting cancer. He neglected to mention that his company's cell phones and antennas are seen by many in Israel as a major cause of cancer! What will convince corporate managers to start moving the core of their business activity toward sustainability and social responsibility, instead of continuing along more or less the same path while covering it up with donations and greenwash?

JG: It’s really an interesting question – the core of your business versus these things on the side. I don’t quite know where to start. What we essentially figured out was that normally in business you think about cost, quality, time of delivery, things like that. We added another factor – responsibility for social and environmental impacts – as another fundamental thing, alongside price and quality.

Managers are trained to think in terms of these things, and when you add another factor, it adds another layer of complexity, which managers don’t like. Plus they may not even believe in these environmental and socially responsible things in the first place! So you may be asking people to do things they don’t believe in, and which they think just makes their job harder. Unless you have people in the company who believe in these things, its’ going to seem like a burden.

So I think it needs to come from the top. As important as it is to have these ideas bubbling up from [workers and consumers], the person at the top has to make the decisions. That person is looking at the welfare of the company, hopefully not just in the short term, but in the long term as well.

You know, when Ben and I started doing this like 20 years ago, these ideas were considered very fringe. Nowadays they are quite mainstream. That’s the way it happens. The companies that start things like this are the smaller, innovative, entrepreneurial companies. The big conglomerates are not leaders on this; they come on board after it’s been shown to work. That’s the nature of their role. They are behemoths who are good at making something bigger once it has already developed.

Sometimes people say to me, what do think about businesses who are doing good things, but only because they think it’s good for business. I say whatever makes businesses be more positive is wonderful. If they are just going through the motions, and good things are coming out of it, that’s okay.

TreeHugger: But at the pace these things are happening, are we really going to prevent the big ecological crises that people are predicting?

JG: The difficult thing with something like global warming is that a lot of times humans don’t respond until there is an emergency, and you cannot always see the real impacts of things until you are past the tipping point.

I’m not convinced that we can’t make dramatic changes quickly enough to dent those huge impacts. Carbon in the atmosphere – people say it’s beyond repair, that it’s too late. I haven’t really bought in to that line of thinking yet. I think you do the best you can, try your absolute hardest, and if you are successful - good. And if not, at least you tried.

"I've got 4 flavors here!" Jerry hawks his wares to conference participants.

I think real change is hard for any institution, it has to do with the nature of institutions. At Ben & Jerry’s, the biggest things for us in making our company more sustainable were the ingredients, the packaging, and, being a somewhat energy-intensive business, the freezing and transport of the product. That was the change that we made at the core of our business, the fundamental stuff. We committed to reducing our energy footprint per pint. You make a commitment and then you just make it happen.

I think that’s part of the answer to your questions – the issue of measuring success.

Companies are really good at things they can measure. That’s a good way for companies to address sustainability issues: first commit, and then start measuring. You don’t know where to start until you take an inventory of your baseline.

TreeHugger: Do all Ben & Jerry’s franchises share your business philosophy?

JG: Absolutely. It doesn’t work if you have people throughout the company that don’t believe in it. We have a mission statement, which deals with our product mission, economic mission and social mission. All three are equally important. We wrote it back in the 80’s and there was this discussion about how to not put one of top of the other, so we ended up writing them horizontally.

The hard part comes when you achieve your financial mission for the year, but not your social mission. Is that a successful year? For it to work, the person at the top has to take these missions with equal seriousness.

You know, when we were coming up with this, it was not easy to convince the managers. Some thought it was great, some thought it was lousy. The question even came up: Does someone have to believe in the company’s social mission to be hired by the company? Isn’t that un-American, or even illegal?

The conclusion that we came to was that people can believe anything they want, but when they are at work, they have to be working to achieve the social mission no less than they are working to make a profit for the company. It’s part of their job. One thing that is different today is that it is completely accepted that this is the mission of the company.

TreeHugger: How did Unilever’s takeover of the company affect these things?

JG: Unilever has surprised me at how much they have allowed the social mission to continue. I don’t think they know how to do it themselves, but the current CEO, Walt Freese, has been there a few years, and he’s great. He believes in the mission, and he’s doing everything he can to make it central to the company.

Here’s an example. A year or two ago, the CEO decides he wants to come out with a flavor called “American Pie.” On the lid would be a pie chart showing the US federal budget. Military spending would be about 50%, and the rest would be all these little slices like environment, jobs, health care, whatever. And then on the packaging, there would be some information about how some of the military budget goes to Cold War weapons systems that are no longer needed, like the 10,000 nuclear bombs in the US arsenal. Now anyone would agree that 10,000 nuclear bombs is more than you would ever logically need. What happens after you drop 5? The country spends around $20 billion maintaining this nuclear arsenal. The packaging would ask if this is so wise – maybe it would be better to spend that money on children?

So Walt Freese goes to talk to his bosses at Unilever about this. I wasn’t there, but at some point he talks to his boss, who talks to his bosses. They talk to the lawyers, and in the end they decide that it’s okay. And “American Pie” came out talking about nuclear bombs on its packaging.

TreeHugger: What advice can you offer people who are thinking about opening environmentally and socially responsible, sustainable enterprises?

JG: I think the key concept is sustainability. That’s a word that is thrown about a lot these days, but human activities are not always thought about in terms of “is this sustainable over time?” I think we’re now reaching a point where this is THE question that is going to be asked about businesses. Global warming, whether you believe in it or not, has brought the issue of sustainability to the forefront.

The interesting thing about doing business in this other kind of way – a community-based business or an environmentally forward-looking company – is that you still have to do all the other business stuff well. Just because you are based on certain values, that does not mean you don’t need a great product, good marketing, distribution and so on. Nobody is going to buy Ben & Jerry’s if they don’t like the product.


MUCH MORE IN THE 17,000+ articles (!!!) archived in the TreeHugger Weekly Archives

What is TreeHugger?
TreeHugger is the leading media outlet dedicated to driving sustainability mainstream. Partial to a modern aesthetic, we strive to be a one-stop shop for green news, solutions, and product information. At TreeHugger we know that variety is the spice of life, so you can find all you need to go green (...) TreeHugger is helping the masses get hooked on sustainability, and thankfully, it appears the masses are getting hooked on TreeHugger. Press notables have hailed us as “Having Balls,” dubbing us a “green CNN”, and a “Green Blog God.” CLIP




We Are Hard-Wired to Care and Connect

by David Korten

The good news: The changes we must make to avoid ultimate collapse are identical to the changes we must make to create the world of our common dream.

The story of purple America is part of a yet larger human story. For all the cultural differences reflected in our richly varied customs, languages, religions, and political ideologies, psychologically healthy humans share a number of core values and aspirations. Although we may differ in our idea of the “how,” we want healthy, happy children, loving families, and a caring community with a beautiful, healthy natural environment. We want a world of cooperation, justice, and peace, and a say in the decisions that affect our lives. The shared values of purple America manifest this shared human dream. It is the true American dream undistorted by corporate media, advertisers, and political demagogues—the dream we must now actualize if there is to be a human future.

For the past 5,000 years, we humans have devoted much creative energy to perfecting our capacity for greed and violence—a practice that has been enormously costly for our children, families, communities, and nature. Now, on the verge of environmental and social collapse, we face an imperative to bring the world of our dreams into being by cultivating our long-suppressed, even denied, capacity for sharing and compassion.

Despite the constant mantra that “There is no alternative” to greed and competition, daily experience and a growing body of scientific evidence support the thesis that we humans are born to connect, learn, and serve and that it is indeed within our means to:

- Create family-friendly communities in which we get our satisfaction from caring relationships rather than material consumption;

- Achieve the ideal, which traces back to Aristotle, of creating democratic middle-class societies without extremes of wealth and poverty; and

- Form a global community of nations committed to restoring the health of the planet and sharing Earth’s bounty to the long-term benefit of all (see YES! Summer 2008: A Just Foreign Policy).

The first step toward achieving the world we want is to acknowledge that there is an alternative to our current human course. We humans are not hopelessly divided and doomed to self-destruct by a genetic predisposition toward greed and violence.

Culture, the system of customary beliefs, values, and perceptions that encodes our shared learning, gives humans an extraordinary capacity to choose our destiny. It does not assure that we will use this capacity wisely, but it does give us the means to change course by conscious collective choice.

The Story in Our Head

The primary barrier to achieving our common dream is in fact a story that endlessly loops in our heads telling us that a world of peace and sharing is contrary to our nature—a naïve fantasy forever beyond reach. There are many variations, but this is the essence:

It is our human nature to be competitive, individualistic, and materialistic. Our well-being depends on strong leaders with the will to use police and military powers to protect us from one another, and on the competitive forces of a free, unregulated market to channel our individual greed to constructive ends. The competition for survival and dominance—violent and destructive as it may be—is the driving force of evolution. It has been the key to human success since the beginning of time, assures that the most worthy rise to leadership, and ultimately works to the benefit of everyone.

I call this our Empire story because it affirms the system of dominator hierarchy that has held sway for 5,000 years (see YES! Summer 2006: 5,000 Years of Empire). Underlying the economic and scientific versions of this story is a religious story which promises that enduring violence and injustice in this life will be rewarded with eternal peace, harmony, and bliss in the afterlife.

To reinforce the Empire myth, corporate media bombard us with reports of greed and violence, and celebrate as cultural heroes materially successful, but morally challenged politicians and corporate CEOs who exhibit a callous disregard for the human and environmental consequences of their actions.

Never mind the story’s moral contradictions and its conflict with our own experience with caring and trustworthy friends, family, and strangers. It serves to keep us confused, uncertain, and dependent on establishment-sanctioned moral authorities to tell us what is right and true. It also supports policies and institutions that actively undermine development of the caring, sharing relationships essential to responsible citizenship in a functioning democratic society. Fortunately, there is a more positive story that can put us on the road to recovery. It is supported by recent scientific findings, our daily experience, and the ageless teachings of the great religious prophets.

Wired to Connect

Scientists who use advanced imaging technology to study brain function report that the human brain is wired to reward caring, cooperation, and service. According to this research, merely thinking about another person experiencing harm triggers the same reaction in our brain as when a mother sees distress in her baby’s face. Conversely, the act of helping another triggers the brain’s pleasure center and benefits our health by boosting our immune system, reducing our heart rate, and preparing us to approach and soothe. Positive emotions like compassion produce similar benefits. By contrast, negative emotions suppress our immune system, increase heart rate, and prepare us to fight or flee.

These findings are consistent with the pleasure most of us experience from being a member of an effective team or extending an uncompensated helping hand to another human. It is entirely logical. If our brains were not wired for life in community, our species would have expired long ago. We have an instinctual desire to protect the group, including its weakest and most vulnerable members—its children. Behavior contrary to this positive norm is an indicator of serious social and psychological dysfunction.

Happiness Is a Caring Community

These neurological findings are corroborated by social science findings that, beyond the minimum level of income essential to meet basic needs, membership in a cooperative, caring community is a far better predictor of happiness and emotional health than the size of one’s paycheck or bank account. Perhaps the most impressive evidence of this comes from studies conducted by University of Illinois professor Ed Diener, and others, comparing the life-satisfaction scores of groups of people of radically different financial means. Four groups with almost identical scores on a seven-point scale were clustered at the top.

Consistent with the Empire story that material consumption is the key to happiness, those on Forbes magazine’s list of richest Americans had an average score of 5.8. They were in a statistical tie, however, with three groups known for their modest lifestyles and strength of community: the Pennsylvania Amish (5.8) who favor horses over cars and tractors; the Inuit of Northern Greenland (5.9), an indigenous hunting and fishing people; and the Masai (5.7), a traditional herding people in East Africa who live without electricity or running water in huts fashioned from dried cow dung. Apparently, it takes a very great deal of money to produce the happiness that comes with being a member of a caring community with a strong sense of place. The evidence suggests we could all be a lot healthier and happier if we put less emphasis on making money and more on cultivating caring community.

The purple American desire to create a society of healthy children, families, communities, and natural systems is no fluke. It is an expression of our deepest and most positive human impulses, a sign that we may overall be a healthier and less divisive society than our dysfunctional politics suggest.

Learning to be Human

If the properly functioning human brain is wired for caring, cooperation, and service, how do we account for the outrageous greed and violence that threaten our collective survival? Here we encounter our distinctive human capacity to suppress or facilitate the development of the higher order function of the human brain essential to responsible adult citizenship.

We humans have a complex three-part brain. The base is the “reptilian” brain that coordinates basic functions, such as breathing, hunting and eating, reproducing, protecting territory, and engaging the fight-or-flight response. These functions are essential to survival and an authentic part of our humanity, but they express the most primitive and least-evolved part of our brain, which advertisers and political demagogues have learned to manipulate by playing to our basest fears and desires.

Layered on top of the reptilian brain is the limbic or “mammalian” brain, the center of the emotional intelligence that gives mammals their distinctive capacity to experience emotion, read the emotional state of other mammals, bond socially, care for their children, and form cooperative communities.

The third and, in humans, largest layer is the neocortical brain, the center of our capacity for cognitive reasoning, symbolic thought, awareness, and self-aware volition. This layer distinguishes our species from other mammals. Its full, beneficial function depends, however, on the complementary functions of our reptilian and mammalian brains.

Most of the development of the limbic and neocortical brains essential to actualizing the capacities that make us most distinctively human occurs after birth and depends on lifelong learning acquired through our interactions with family, community, and nature. Developmental psychologists describe the healthy pathway to a fully formed human consciousness as a progression from the self-centered, undifferentiated magical consciousness of the newborn to the fully mature, inclusive, and multidimensional spiritual consciousness of the wise elder.

Realizing the fullness of our humanity depends on the balanced development of the empathetic limbic and cognitive neocortical brains to establish their primacy over the primitive unsocialized instincts of the reptilian brain. Tragically, most modern societies neglect or even suppress this development.

A depersonalized economic system with no attachment to place disrupts the bonds of community and family and makes it nearly impossible for parents to provide their children with the nurturing attention essential to the healthy development of their limbic brains. Educational systems that focus on rote learning organized by fragmented disciplines fail to develop our potential for critical holistic thinking. Leaving social learning to peer groups lacking the benefit of adult mentors limits development of a mature, morally grounded social intelligence. We are conducting an unintended evolutionary experiment in producing a line of highly intelligent but emotionally challenged reptiles wielding technologies capable of disrupting or even terminating the entire evolutionary enterprise.

The Power of Conversation

Getting out of our current mess begins with a conversation to change the shared cultural story about our essential nature. The women’s movement offers an instructive lesson.

In little more than a decade, a few courageous women changed the cultural story that the key to a woman’s happiness is to find the right man, marry him, and devote her life to his service. As Cecile Andrews, author of Circles of Simplicity, relates, the transition to a new gender story began with discussion circles in which women came together in their living rooms to share their stories. Until then, a woman whose experience failed to conform to the prevailing story assumed that the problem was a deficiency in herself. As women shared their own stories each realized that the flaw was in the story. Millions of women were soon spreading a new gender story that has unleashed the feminine as a powerful force for global transformation.

The voluntary simplicity movement organizes similar opportunities for people to share their stories about what makes them truly happy. The fallacy of the story that material consumption is the path to happiness is quickly exposed and replaced with the fact that we truly come alive as we reduce material consumption and gain control of our time to nurture the relationships that bring true happiness.

We must now begin a similar process to affirm that those of us who choose to cooperate rather than compete are not fighting human nature. We are, instead, developing the part of our humanity that gives us the best chance, not merely for survival, but for happiness.

The process of changing the powerful stories that limit our lives begins with conversation in our living room, library, church, mosque, or synagogue. By speaking and listening to each other, we begin to discover the true potentials of our human nature and our common vision of the world. It is not a new conversation. Isolated groups of humans have engaged in it for millennia. What is new is the fact that the communications technologies now in place create the possibility of ending the isolation and melding our local conversations into a global one that can break the self-replicating spiral of competitive violence of 5000 years of Empire.

As this conversation brings a critical mass of people to the realization that the Empire story is both false and devastatingly destructive, we can turn as a species from perfecting our capacity for exclusionary competition to perfecting our capacity for inclusionary cooperation. We can create a cultural story that says competition and polarization, whether the red-blue political divide or the rich-poor economic one, is not the inevitable result of being human. It is the result of suppressing the healthiest part of our humanity.

There are no trade-offs here. The institutional and cultural transformation required to avert environmental and social collapse is the same as the transformation required to nurture the development of the empathetic limbic brain, unleash the creative potentials of the human consciousness, and create the world we want. It is an extraordinary convergence between our reptilian interest in survival, our mammalian interest in bonding, and our human interest in cultivating the potentials of our self-reflective consciousness.


David Korten wrote this article as part of Purple America, the Fall 2008 issue of YES! Magazine. David is co-founder and board chair of YES! His latest book is The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community. His website is


From: Trevor Osborne">
Date: 03 Nov 2008
Subject: Scientific Function and Structure of Networks

Hello everyone,

Over the past 15 years I have become increasingly aware that the network structure is the new paradigm template of the coming civilization. I believe Network Structures will replace the hierarchy (pyramid) structures that have dominated our society for thousands of years. When understood Network Principles can open the doors to all sorts of new possibilities.

NOTE: This network concept should not be confused with network-marketing.

Network structures increase freedom and empower people. The Internet is a great example of a Network Structure. Conversely, hierarchy structures entrap and dis-empower people. For example, hierarchy structures facilitate the rich to get richer, and the poor to get poorer.

A couple of days ago I downloaded one of the most important videos I have come across. It was aired on Australia's ABC TV last week. It is the best explanation of how networks are created and function. I watched it for the second time this afternoon with my partner, Annette. The story line kept our attention throughout the entire 54 minute show. As I watched I started to see even clearer how important this information is to all of us and so did Annette. For instance, towards the end of the documentary they outlined a whole new approach to medicine that could lead to discover how we could more easily cure diseases that are currently plaguing humanity.

You can download a compressed WMV version (132MB) of this excellent video by clicking HERE.

Alternatively you can download it directly from the ABC website:

It is in both WMV or MP4 (Mac) but is larger (215MB) than the above download. You will need to click on the video title "How Kevin Bacon Cured Cancer" (which is a misnomer because he doesn't).

I would appreciate any comments from those of you who take the time to watch this well-presented video - especially if you experience an "ah ha moment" how this knowledge could benefit our way of life.

Best wishes,




Old Struggles on a New Earth

By Daniel Pinchbeck - March 2008

Although my book on prophecy and the Mayan Calendar is behind me, I am still approached all the time by people in search of the meaning of the encroaching end date of December 21, 2012. “Is it the end of the world?” reporters ask me on television. In emails, I am begged for advice on matters ranging from shamanic ritual to retirement funds, from dealing with extraterrestrials to seeking a safe place to hide out from polar shifts, earthquakes and super storms. Meanwhile, academics and self-taught experts send me their pet theories on tribal prophecies, astrological conjunctions, UFOs, Egyptian gods, quantum consciousness, Illuminati conspiracies, free energy technologies and much more.

My view is that “2012” is useful as a meme if it helps us to catalyze a shift in global culture and consciousness. Rather than fretting about what may or may not happen on that date, we should concentrate on the work that needs to be done now, on an inner as well as outer level. My recent focus has been the outer level, studying social theory and political philosophy. If we were to have an opportunity to transform society, what could that transformation look like in a practical sense? How could it be carried out? I have been reviewing the ideas of thinkers like Macchiavelli, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Thomas Jefferson, Karl Marx and Hannah Arendt, seeking insight into the nature of politics and power.

How do we bring awareness gained through shamanic practice or yogic discipline back into the gritty realities of political struggle and the fight against global inequity of wealth and resources? It seems there is still a lot of denial among Western mystics and “New Agers,” as well as elitism and spiritual materialism. Whether someone does a flawless series of asanas, drinks ayahuasca with 20 different shamans or visits hidden monasteries in Bhutan has no value as a sign of spiritual attainment. How they live day by day, what they do with the psychic energy and time available to them and how their work helps to liberate others is what matters.

I see this tendency to ignore the social and political struggle in the works of wildly popular writers such as Eckhart Tolle, who has repackaged Vedanta for the masses. In Tolle’s recent book, A New Earth, he writes: “We are coming to the end not only of mythologies but also of ideologies and belief systems.” According to Tolle, the creation of the “new earth” needs no change in social practices as long as you make “the present moment… the focal point of your life.” Tolle exhorts his audience to “enjoy what you are doing already, instead of waiting for some change so that you can start enjoying what you do.” Whether you are an artist, teacher, Fox News executive or currency speculator doesn’t matter: “The new earth arises as more and more people discover that their main purpose in life is to bring the light of consciousness into this world and so use whatever they do as a vehicle for consciousness.” For Tolle, the effort to change our society’s inequitable and unsustainable practices has no particular value compared to the paradise of presence.

The popularity of this message is unsurprising. Some political thinkers argue that the adoption of Eastern thought in the West has given people a way to accept capitalism, and “Empire,” by finding detachment from it. For the critic Slavoj Zizek, Western Buddhism and Hinduism “enables you to fully participate in the frantic pace of the capitalist game, while sustaining the perception that you are not really in it, that you are well aware how worthless this spectacle really is — what really matters to you is the peace of the inner self to which you know you can always withdraw…” Zizek goes so far as to propose, “the onslaught of New Age ‘Asiatic’ thought… is establishing itself as the hegemonic ideology of global capitalism.”

The shift of “2012” could mean that Eastern mysticism, the earth-based shamanism of tribal people and the West’s pursuit of philosophical and scientific knowledge about the world come together to create a new form of consciousness. I suspect the West still has to realize its spiritual destiny — its dharma — in the transformation of matter and the creation of a truly equitable and sustainable world. As the design scientist Buckminster Fuller wrote, “No human chromosomes say make the world work for everybody — only mind can tell you that.” We may not need “ideology” any more, as Tolle says, but we still need good ideas about how we reinvent our society and its institutions to become ethically transparent and sustainable. Rather than escaping from society’s problems by embracing pure presence, we can use the awareness gained from spiritual practice to become more effective agents of social change.


Daniel Pinchbeck is the author of Breaking Open the Head: A Psychedelic Journey into the Heart of Contemporary Shamanism (Broadway Books, 2002) and 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl (Tarcher/Penguin, 2006). His features have appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Rolling Stone, Esquire, Wired and many other publications.


Forwarded by Len Satov (

"When the wisdom of the Grandmothers is heard, the world will heal."

--Native American Prophecy

ROUGH SEAS: The Grandmothers' November Message

"Grandmothers," I said, "the changes that are upon us in the world now are enormous. People are really scared. What would you have us do?"

No sooner did I ask my question than I saw was the sea. It was nighttime, the light was faint, and I was somewhere out in the middle of the ocean. The sea was stormy and the waves were rolling and crashing around me in gargantuan swells. Then I noticed that I was sitting in a small boat, riding the huge ups and downs of these waves and that others were there with me. "All of us a together in the same boat," I said and when I heard what I'd said I realized that the Grandmothers were playing with words and in spite of the dark and the rough ride, I laughed out loud.

The storm was fierce and our boat was being roughly tossed on the water. People were holding on to the edge of the railing and holding on to one another as well. But as I watched all this I was aware that our boat had a very good captain and we had no choice except to ride this storm out. The boat was sturdy - I could see and feel it's strength -- not a big boat certainly, but not a flimsy boat. It was well made, basically well made. And as I observed all this I began to wonder, "Does what I'm seeing here have to do with our country (America) or is it about the human condition today·?" And as I began to think about this, the Grandmothers quickly answered, "Both."

"You are in the trough," they said and when I heard this I remembered what it felt like to be swimming in heavy surf and find yourself at the bottom of a wave with a set of big waves bearing down on you. This experience always terrified me. Smiling grimly the Grandmothers said, "Ride it. Ride it." And when they said this I remembered that they had earlier taught us how to surf under all conditions, taught us how to stand steady, no matter how rough the sea of life got. Now the surf that surrounded us was even bigger. "But at least now we have a craft and we're inside it," I said. "That's something."

"Go with the ride," they said to me. "Don't try to fight it or second guess it. Go with the ride and make sure you all work together." And as I watched, I noticed that some of the people in the boat were bailing and some were rowing. "Nobody is trying to push anybody overboard," I said, " and that's good because that could have happened. I've seen people react that way when they're afraid. But No," I continued, "we're doing this together." And as soon as I spoke I heard the Grandmothers say, "And this is what will save you. Your coming together like this and helping one another.

"For too long you have been cut off from a sense of community, from an understanding of oneness," they explained. "You have been living the way you say wild animals live and actually you are wrong even in this," they said. "Wild animals are much more co-operative than mankind has been in recent times. For far too long human beings have lived on their own, each one for himself or herself. Each one hunting for themselves, grabbing and hiding things from others·" and shaking their heads, the Grandmothers said, "and now you can no longer do that.

"You are in this boat together and only together will you make it," they said, their expressions serious. And when I glanced at the boat I saw that what they were saying was true. People were stationed all over it; the way our weight was distributed was perfectly proportioned. Each one was in her or his correct place to give balance to the vessel.

"You will come through this," they said, "but what is really important is how you will feel about yourself when you do come through this. If you contribute and work for the good of the whole, you will feel good about yourself. If you hide in a corner and weep or stand at the rail and scream you will not feel good about yourself. Find a way to be useful," they said, "and do that.

"And in the mean time," they said, "love one another, give comfort to each other, reach out, support and give. This is beyond," they said and shook their heads, seeming at a loss for words. "What is happening now is beyond anyone's comprehension, it is beyond their ability to manage. What is taking place now is the result of the way your minds have operated for a long, long time. The extreme selfishness that has run your world," they said, "has now come home to roost.

"So take this rough ride as an opportunity to acquit yourself in a way that makes you proud. Do the right thing. Take the high road. Reach out. Be all that you can be. Do it now-while you are on this rough sea.

"The old ways of hoarding and grabbing," they said, "will not work now. Humanity is one," they said. "You must think, live, work and act as one. What helps one, helps all. And if it does not, it is not truly helpful. You will soon be turning away from your selfish ways," they said and nodded their heads, their expressions thoughtful. "Some of you will do this easily and with grace," they said, "and others will do it kicking and screaming. But you WILL turn away from your selfish ways because they will not work for you any more." Then they gave me a big smile, shot their arms into the air and cried, "All for one. One for all.


I salute the beauty/power within you, Sharon McErlane * The Net of Light

The Grandmothers say, "Each person is a point on the great Net of Light and each point of light forms a network to which all life is connected. Yin and yang have now begun to shift and during these difficult times, the Net of Light will hold the earth together. Meditate on the Net of Light; use it to support one another, to support the earth, and to strengthen the energy of yin on the planet. Know the reality of this Net, for by knowing it and being at one with it, you will do untold good." * *

Imagine a world of perfect balance, peace and progress for ourselves, our planet and future generations. However, at present our world is not in harmony -- environmental degradation, horrific increases in crime against the helpless, and wars erupting all over the globe. The Grandmothers say that these are symptoms of gross imbalance, an imbalance caused by too much yang, the principle of masculine energy and not enough yin, the principle of feminine energy. "The present imbalance of energy on earth has placed all life in danger," the Grandmothers say. "It is time to return to balance. And for this, women must lead."

Who are the Grandmothers? The Great Council of the Grandmothers appeared to Sharon McErlane one morning as she walked her dog on the beach. "We have come to empower women so that each one can begin to bring the great imbalance on earth into balance," they said. The Grandmothers' message is life-altering. It transports us from a state of helplessness, created by the imbalance on earth and in our own lives, to a state of empowerment and confidence - not confidence in the individual, small self that we have been told we are, but confidence in the Great Self that we really are. As a result of her life-changing experience with these loving beings, Sharon wrote "A Call to Power: The Grandmothers Speak."

The book reveals the Grandmothers message, including the ceremony of Empowerment and Casting the Net of Light. It invites all people to take part in the sacred evolution of our planet. Sharon is the Grandmothers' student and a mouthpiece for conveying their message. Although she is honored to share the Grandmothers' wisdom, it is not her message, but theirs.


Also forwarded by Len Satov (


School of Shamanism: November Forecast

The main themes for November are Breakdown and Breakthrough. You will surely experience both at different times as well as different sides of them throughout the month. This month provides for an incredible portal to the next level of conscious awakening and functioning. The false personality and everything related to the false personality is absolutely terrified as it is forced to leave behind its comfort level of limitations and survival tactics. Since change is inevitable, and Breakdown will happen whether you wish it to or not, the old patterns of behavior and survival that you have relied upon to make sense of your physical reality will no longer be effective. No matter what kind of glue you think you have to hold your external life together, it will not be strong enough to withstand the forces that are now dissolving the old structures. Therefore, the focus should be on strengthening the inner life so that you can bend and not break.

This is not a time to strategize and try and second-guess what is coming but rather a time to become more comfortable with not knowing what the future holds. As we have said before, the mind is limited in what it can imagine. It bases its predictions of the future on past events. The foundational pattern that has provided security on the physical plane is rapidly dissolving, leaving a pool of chaos, confusion, freedom, hope and potential. In the midst of this you may feel at loose ends, adrift in a boat without a rudder. With that said, it is still very important to keep moving ahead, to stay focused, alert and aware, and not to fall into lethargy or apathy.

In a way, we are in the birth canal of a new reality and we have to keep pushing even thought it may be painful. If you give up, you will surely suffocate. But if you keep pushing, you will Breakthrough, birthing yourself into a new reality. Another analogy is that of being under water in a deep sea. You can give up and go down to the bottom and drown, or you can look up and follow the light and keep swimming towards it, breaking through to the surface. This is an intense month and we cannot stress enough how important it is to strengthen and empower your inner life.

There are several points this month worth noting. At the beginning of the month there is an influence, a sort of tug of war between the current structures that rule the physical world and the forces that are attempting to dissolve them. Both sides have power and the more resistance there is, the bigger the sparks when they hit. Learn to work with the power of the dissolving influence and use it to your own advantage. Just like in martial arts, it takes very little effort to use the force coming at you and to move with it, ultimately turning it towards your own goals and intentions. Resistance produces Stubbornness and manifests in being brittle and weak.

Another point this month is the shifting from one cycle to the next. According to Mayan Calendar scholars, we have been in a night cycle for approximately one year with the theme, "the end of manufactured lack". This theme corresponds to the study of what our reality is based upon, and how we have given power to the external manifestations of the physical world of structures, systems and technology. In order to see the end of manufactured lack, we must destroy its power over us. When you dissolve the powerful hold of the external, the external becomes something you can mold, use, direct and reshape according to your own inner intentions. Up to this point the external for many has molded, shaped and dictated and directed how we have lived our lives. So this is the shift in the balance of power that we have been working up to for a long time. This is a personal task, just like giving birth. No one can do it for you. According to the Mayan Calendar, we will be shifting into a day cycle for approximately one year beginning on November 13th The theme for this new cycle is "Consciousness surpasses technology". If we are successful, we will no longer experience the physical, external, structural world as having power over us but rather that we are its master through our own connection with a higher vibration and our own consciousness.

In order to have Breakthrough, you often need Breakdown first. Breakdown can show up in different ways depending on who you are and where you happen to be in your life. The best way to help Breakdown is to work with it in a non-resistant way. It may be inconvenient, infuriating, depressing and irritating. Be patient, be flexible, and be proactive by choosing each breakdown as an opportunity for an upgrade. It does not matter what it is. Be creative and make it fun. Pay attention to what is breaking down and how you can create an opportunity for upgrading. It may be that your reaction and ability to deal with a situation is what is being upgraded.

The times call for an increase in focus and discipline regarding any practice that strengthens your inner life. Don't take things personally, stay out of Martyrdom, refrain from judgment, be compassionate and keep your heart open and your connection to spirit as open and as well fed as possible. Stay away from places and people of a lower vibration, especially those that are stubbornly locked into old patterns and ways of thinking and being in the world. You will find them very uninspiring. Choose rather to be around places and people of a higher vibration that can actually assist you in reaching that level of consciousness. Those connections will feel really good and of a higher center.

On the heels of Breakdown, there is always a Breakthrough if we allow it. Breakthroughs can be simple and personal or large world events. Look for both to happen this month and watch the mind as it tries to talk you out of what you glimpse as a truth or a new way of seeing. The false personality is truly feeling threatened, as this is new territory and it does not have any answers. Here is something to contemplate. The physical Universe is being collectively created by agreement and from patterns available in one band of vibration, one octave of resonance. We have the opportunity to move to a new vibrational band, a new octave of resonance where we can collectively begin to create the physical structures of our external reality from a different place, a different spectrum of light, a new vibration. Once this happens and enough of the collective is operating out of the new band, there will not be enough energy in the old one to allow any structures created from there to remain. They will crumble for lack of creative attention. This process happens slowly and can be painful to the false personality and its death gripping attachments to what remains in the lower band.

The dissolving quality of the month is also dissolving the membrane that separates us from the new band of vibration and the higher octave. Observe your dreams and pay attention to the times. You may feel weird, unfocused, and questioning of your own external identity. Allow breakdown, use its power to move you towards the breakthrough that you need.


Your well-being may either breakdown or you may have great breakthroughs in your experience of life. Whatever you are striving for in this lifetime has the potential to happen. However if you have been on a mission of the false personality and not of spirit and your own inner truth, you may have some breakdowns before you can have your breakthroughs. This is an incredible opportunity to step up your personal growth especially in the area of building and strengthening your inner life and your connection to spirit. In this area you may experience great breakthroughs and end up in a place you could never have imagined. Stay out of your mind and don't let it boss you around. If you crash and you can't rise from the ashes by yourself, ask for help. Don't wallow in it.


This is a time when a whole new set of agreements and karma are available to hook up with and connect to. We had some time for completions and now the cycle begins again. It is crucial that you connect on a level of a higher vibration. Even your current relationships can be brought to a higher level of intimacy and functioning. Group meditations or visualizations will be a powerful way to create change and practice manifesting in a communal way. The influences support group work and gathering inner strength communally. This is also a good time to reach out to new relationships and to build new friendships. Practice having what you want come to you instead of struggling to find it out there somewhere.


The physical body may go through many strange symptoms, energy rushes and energy crashes, as well as skin eruptions and imbalances in kidney, liver, thyroid and adrenals. A good month to get some acupuncture and do some energy work for rebalancing body and energy. Drink lots and lots of water as you are busy using the dissolving influence to literally dissolve old calcified patterns in your own system. The elimination organs will be the hardest hit. Be kind to them, support them rather than giving them more to do. If you feel tired, sleep; if you feel energized, move. The body will go through its own breakdowns and breakthroughs as it is trying to catch up and to keep up with the accelerated times.


This is a good month for partnerships, especially with inspiring people and around an inspiring project. If you are not inspired in your work, look at changing. If you are not inspired in your personal partnership, change it. Partnerships may go through breakthroughs or breakdowns, depending on where they are and what they need. Look for major re-shuffling in all businesses, groups and companies. This is a good thing, as it will give a fresh energy and a new beginning to those that need it. If you have a business or company, you may want to shake things up a bit, change some patterns. The economy will continue keeping us guessing as more and more often its fluctuations will not make any rational sense. The challenge here is to really see the system as the "manufactured lack" identified in the Mayan calendar and dissolve its power over you. This is done through conscious choice and keeping your eyes on the opening to the higher vibrational band. This area of physical life with it its solid system, is now very fluid and flexible. Remember to use the force of it and to harness the power to fuel your own intentions.


Climate and weather patterns always accommodate what we need for our lessons. Look for increased lightening activity, storms, water events and drama around climate and weather issues. Since water is a prominent element this month pay attention to the water you drink. Be conscious of the gift, have gratitude and drink with thanks. Earth is another prominent element, especially the harder places of rock, as symbols of what survives the harsh dissolving aspect of water in beauty. Spend some time with rocks and allow them to teach you what they know.


Whatever happens, just remember that evolution only goes one way and spirit has it all figured out. We are truly moving into a time of extreme chaos, the false personality of the planet and its manufactured lack fighting for its life with the mind and the limited and outdated collective belief system as the general leading the army. It's a good fight but in the end spirit always wins. The question is how many casualties will it take to get there.

The world is on an accelerated path to becoming more of a global community and there is much happening off the provincial radar to support the progress of conscious evolution. Instead of reading disheartening and distorted news, look to the Internet and find inspiring stories of new innovations, discoveries, community projects and of people really helping, loving and supporting each other. Remember to feed what you want with your attention. If you pay too much attention to the negativity, you are adding to its fuel supply. Pay attention to the good stuff and talk about that instead. This is the way you will make a difference.


November 1-7: Stress points and portals of opportunity. Whatever breaks down, help it along, be proactive, not complacent and never give up. Look for opportunities for innovations, for upgrades, for inspiration. Watch your dreams and pay attention. Stay in balance with food, exercise, sleep and don't put too much on your plate. There is a quality of the energy being torqued and pulled, the dissolving influence hitting the resistance of old patterns, creating stress points that could manifest in breakage. Watch November 4th as a specific time for breakage or breakdown of some kind.

November 8-15: This cycle holds change and shifts of energy patterns. It is truly possible to push out of the birth canal and into the light. Breakthroughs on a personal or larger scale could put your experience of life on a whole new level. Do not give the mind any ammunition to disempower your experience or to question your choices and your decisions. A big event may bring a larger community of people together around a common goal or focus. During this time we also shift into the new cycle of the Mayan Calendar, the day cycle of “consciousness surpasses technology”.

November 12: Full Moon at 11:17 PM Mountain Standard Time. This full moon is an opportunity to shift your relationship with your external world. Rather than seeing it as having power over you, you can begin to change your position so you have power over it. Begin with gratitude for all that you have created in your life, all the lessons and karma and lack and prosperity and successes and failures and good choices and questionable ones. Love everything and be grateful for all the opportunities you always have. Give your attachments over to spirit. Move yourself into a position of appreciation and love for what you have created as your external world instead of fear, judgment and mistrust of how this external world may harm you or keep you from being happy. Understand that this is entirely up to you. This signifies an upgrade to your belief system and your personal power.

November 16-22: More on the themes of breakdown and breakthrough, ups and downs, different for different people. There will be lulls and plateaus and neutral points. Enjoy them while they last before the next wave comes and you need to swim again. Be sure to connect with community, family and loved ones. This is not a time to be a hermit. There is too much going on in terms of the formation of working groups and partnerships that will be important and effective for the future. The expression of life task work is stretching to come out in a new form and most likely in collaboration with others.

November 23-30: If you feel like you are hanging on by your fingernails, in fear and overwhelm, you are not allowing for the necessary breakdown. It may be that you have to face the truth of something difficult, either in yourself or another. This is a time for hard choices but ones that will ultimately lead you towards the breakthrough you are seeking. If your life is in order and you are experiencing expansion, inspiration and new connections, follow your heart and the voice of spirit. Watch for getting carried away by your passion. It may be time occasionally to check in on the details of your physical reality. Be practical, conservative and resourceful. Remember we are still in a very volatile time and anything is possible during times of change.

November 27: New Moon at 9:55 AM Mountain Standard Time. This is a good time for a ritual or ceremony to acknowledge your breakdowns and breakthroughs. Make it personal either helping something breakdown, using the opportunity to upgrade, or enjoying the aftermath of a breakthrough.

Have a great month,


More from the School of Shamanism through



Commentary: Food From the Grassroots

by Raj Patel

Raj Patel, author of ‘Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System,’ presents a grassroots fix for the food crisis.

The food crisis is only getting worse. With the floods in the Midwest, the price of corn has now broken through the $8/bushel mark—it was barely above $2/bushel in 2000. The price rises in corn and other staples threaten to push nearly a billion people toward hunger worldwide. Thousands of the world’s hungry have taken to the streets in food protests in dozens of countries. But, despite the outcry, governments are doing little to substantively change course in the way the world’s food is produced.

World leaders met in June at the Food and Agricultural Organization in Rome to address the challenge. They concluded in fairly general terms that there was a need for food aid, investment in agriculture, and support for more research. While these are important, they’re not new ideas. Indeed, much more time was spent, not coming up with new solutions, but redoubling a commitment to old ones.

Unfortunately, it’s the old ideas that have created the conditions for the crisis. They have moved us to a world in which more and more food is distributed by multinationals, where that food is grown and shipped around the world using fossil fuels, and in which poor peoples’ entitlements to food have been pared to the bone.

There is, however, no shortage of serious thinking about how the world might feed itself in the future. The International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development, a brain trust of over 400 scientists from industry, governments, the academy, and international organizations, recently bent themselves to the question of how we’ll feed a world of 9 billion people (the number projected for 2050).

The answer, they suggest, is right under our noses. It involves a deep shift in the way our food comes to us. More and more scientists are encouraging us to abandon the food system of the past century, and to go local and organic. Instead of industrial agriculture, they recommend increasing support for agroecological farming—a way of growing food that builds, rather than destroys ecosystems. Instead of spraying chemicals to get rid of pests, grow plants that attract beneficial insects. Instead of applying fossil-fuel-based fertilizers to the soil, a technique that destroys the soil’s own capacity to regenerate, lace the fields with legumes, which naturally help to fix nitrogen in the soil.

Improved farming science alone won’t fix things, though. As much as they need nitrogen in the soil, tomorrow’s food systems need democracy on the ground. The problem of starvation is one not of production—we produce more than enough food to feed everyone—so much as poverty and distribution. To fix this deeper problem, progressive groups and citizens are showing national governments that the best way to solve hunger is through active citizen participation.

Groups like Via Campesina, the 150-million-strong international movement of peasants and landless workers, have advocated a suite of policies that, together, they call “food sovereignty.” They’re policies that are exceptionally forward-thinking. A central demand is for women’s rights—not a demand that we might normally associate with peasants. Similarly, they call for a progressive reorganization of the international economy—an end to the unfair trade systems that the European Union and United States governments are so very keen on. Instead, they propose the one thing that governments are most afraid of—a democratic conversation about food, about how it should be grown, how shared, how distributed.

It’s a call that’s being heeded around the world. In increasing numbers of city halls, people are making it happen. By making local governments pay attention to hunger, a range of organizations, working on everything from local food purchasing programs to farmers markets, are shaping the future of food. The lesson is clear—to feed the world, we’re going to have to develop a taste for more democracy.

Raj Patel wrote this article as part of Purple America, the Fall 2008 issue of YES! Magazine. Raj is author of Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System (Melville House, 2008).

Watch an interview with Raj Patel and Amy Goodman at
Raj Patel, author of Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System talks to Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! about the food crisis. Global food prices have risen dramatically, adding a new level of danger to the crisis of world hunger. In most of West Africa, the price of food has risen by 50 percent—in Sierra Leone, 300 percent. In the United States there has been a 41 percent surge in prices for wheat, corn, rice, and other cereals over the past six months. And yet there are solutions at hand if we are willing to rethink our food system.


Recommended by David Fiske (

Note from Jean: To all those who have bought into any of the many smear campaigns that have been going on to destroy Obama's reputation and to try to convince you that you should fear this soul, here is a simple and true story that reveals more about his true spiritual nature than all the pr campaign for or against him.


Amazing: Obama Helped Stranded Stranger 20 Years Ago

Oct 05, 2008

The Norwegian newspaper VG has reported a truly amazing story about a newly-wed trying to get to Norway to be with her husband, and the stranger who helped pay an unexpected luggage surcharge.  The blog "Leisha's Random Thoughts" has translated the story.

It was 1988, and Mary Andersen was at the Miami airport checking in for a long flight to Norway to be with her husband when the airline representative informed her that she wouldn't be able to check her luggage without paying a 100 surcharge:

When it was finally Mary’s turn, she got the message that would crush her bubbling feeling of happiness.

-You’ll have to pay a 103 dollar surcharge if you want to bring both those suitcases to Norway, the man behind the counter said.

Mary had no money. Her new husband had travelled ahead of her to Norway, and she had no one else to call.

-I was completely desperate and tried to think which of my things I could manage without. But I had already made such a careful selection of my most prized possessions, says Mary.

As tears streamed down her face, she heard a "gentle and friendly voice" behind her saying, "That's okay, I'll pay for her."  

Mary turned around to see a tall man whom she had never seen before.

-He had a gentle and kind voice that was still firm and decisive. The first thing I thought was, Who is this man?

Although this happened 20 years ago, Mary still remembers the authority that radiated from the man.

-He was nicely dressed, fashionably dressed with brown leather shoes, a cotton shirt open at the throat and khaki pants, says Mary.

She was thrilled to be able to bring both her suitcases to Norway and assured the stranger that he would get his money back. The man wrote his name and address on a piece of paper that he gave to Mary. She thanked him repeatedly. When she finally walked off towards the security checkpoint, he waved goodbye to her.

Who was the man?  

Barack Obama.  

Twenty years later, she is thrilled that the friendly stranger at the airport may be the next President and has voted for him already and donated 100 dollars to his campaign:

-He was my knight in shining armor, says Mary, smiling.

She paid the 103 dollars back to Obama the day after she arrived in Norway. At that time he had just finished his job as a poorly paid community worker in Chicago, and had started his law studies at prestigious Harvard university.

Mary even convinced her parents to vote for him:

In the spring of 2006 Mary’s parents had heard that Obama was considering a run for president, but that he had still not decided. They chose to write a letter in which they told him that he would receive their votes. At the same time, they thanked Obama for helping their daughter 18 years earlier.

And Obama replied:

In a letter to Mary’s parents dated May 4th, 2006 and stamped ‘United States Senate, Washington DC’, Barack Obama writes:

‘I want to thank you for the lovely things you wrote about me and for reminding me of what happened at Miami airport. I’m happy I could help back then, and I’m delighted to hear that your daughter is happy in Norway. Please send her my best wishes. Sincerely, Barack Obama, United States senator’.

The parents sent the letter on to Mary. (picture featured at this blog)

Mary says that when her friends and associates talk about the election, especially when race relations is the heated subject, she relates the story of the kind man who helped out a stranger-in-need over twenty years ago, years before he had even thought about running for high office.

Truly a wonderful story, and something that needs to be passed along in the maelstrom of fear-and-smear politics we are being subjected to right now.

Forwarded by Kosta Gus Makreas ( on November 3. 2008

See also:

The Obamas' Greatest Family Moments (SLIDESHOW)


My wife made me canvass for Obama; here's what I learned...

This election is not about major policies. It's about hope.

By Jonathan Curley

from the November 3, 2008 edition

Charlotte, N.C. - There has been a lot of speculation that Barack Obama might win the election due to his better "ground game" and superior campaign organization.

I had the chance to view that organization up close this month when I canvassed for him. I'm not sure I learned much about his chances, but I learned a lot about myself and about this election.

Let me make it clear: I'm pretty conservative. I grew up in the suburbs. I voted for George H.W. Bush twice, and his son once. I was disappointed when Bill Clinton won, and disappointed he couldn't run again.

I encouraged my son to join the military. I was proud of him in Afghanistan, and happy when he came home, and angry when he was recalled because of the invasion of Iraq. I'm white, 55, I live in the South and I'm definitely going to get a bigger tax bill if Obama wins.

I am the dreaded swing voter.

So you can imagine my surprise when my wife suggested we spend a Saturday morning canvassing for Obama. I have never canvassed for any candidate. But I did, of course, what most middle-aged married men do: what I was told.

At the Obama headquarters, we stood in a group to receive our instructions. I wasn't the oldest, but close, and the youngest was maybe in high school. I watched a campaign organizer match up a young black man who looked to be college age with a white guy about my age to canvas together. It should not have been a big thing, but the beauty of the image did not escape me.

Instead of walking the tree-lined streets near our home, my wife and I were instructed to canvass a housing project. A middle-aged white couple with clipboards could not look more out of place in this predominantly black neighborhood.

We knocked on doors and voices from behind carefully locked doors shouted, "Who is it?"

"We're from the Obama campaign," we'd answer. And just like that doors opened and folks with wide smiles came out on the porch to talk.

Grandmothers kept one hand on their grandchildren and made sure they had all the information they needed for their son or daughter to vote for the first time.

Young people came to the door rubbing sleep from their eyes to find out where they could vote early, to make sure their vote got counted.

We knocked on every door we could find and checked off every name on our list. We did our job, but Obama may not have been the one who got the most out of the day's work.

I learned in just those three hours that this election is not about what we think of as the "big things."

It's not about taxes. I'm pretty sure mine are going to go up no matter who is elected.

It's not about foreign policy. I think we'll figure out a way to get out of Iraq and Afghanistan no matter which party controls the White House, mostly because the people who live there don't want us there anymore.

I don't see either of the candidates as having all the answers.

I've learned that this election is about the heart of America. It's about the young people who are losing hope and the old people who have been forgotten. It's about those who have worked all their lives and never fully realized the promise of America, but see that promise for their grandchildren in Barack Obama. The poor see a chance, when they often have few. I saw hope in the eyes and faces in those doorways.

My wife and I went out last weekend to knock on more doors. But this time, not because it was her idea. I don't know what it's going to do for the Obama campaign, but it's doing a lot for me.

Jonathan Curley is a banker. He voted for George H.W. Bush twice and George W. Bush once.


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