Archive for August, 2009

Videos – at last!

Okay, I have finally learned how to post Vimeo videos to this blog – huzzah! The following two videos are from our May symposium in Montreal. The first is Thomas Lovejoy, Biodiversity Chair at the Heinz Center for Science, Economics, and the Environment. The second is Laurie Michaelis of the Living Witness Project. Laurie is presenting by audio linkup from the UK, because he has eschewed flying due to its high environmental impact. (Although if this thing ever becomes commercially viable, maybe we’ll get him over here someday.) Enjoy the videos, and watch for more coming soon!


The Right Relationship Roadshow

New (well, comparatively new) on Geoff’s Eco-blog is a great behind-the-scenes discussion of doing presentations on the issues in Right Relationship, and how that’s been working out over the summer. It’s an interesting read – even I found it interesting and I’d heard most of it already. Head over there and check it out!

The non-violent reform that worked to end the slave trade in Great Britain and the United States (slavery, alas, took a Civil War to end) gives inspiration and hope that we can find a solution to the analogous situation we are now in – depending on an immoral economy to provide for us.

They also serve…

There’s a Quaker joke (not a terribly good one, I admit, but have you ever heard any good Quaker jokes? yeah, me neither) about a man who comes into Meeting for Worship and is puzzled by the lack of anything obvious happening, so he leans over to the Friend next to him and whispers “Excuse me, when does the service start?” The Friend shrugs and answers, “When the Meeting for Worship ends.”

The idea that service – to each other, to the community, to the world – is an integral part of a person’s religious life is found in many faith traditions; one expression of it that particularly speaks to me is the Dalai Lama’s emphasis on the importance of “universal responsibility”. More generally, it comes back to the idea of mindfulness: that whatever work or task we are engaged in should be an expression of our values and our commitment to doing good in the world as we perceive it.

Which is not to say, of course, that there aren’t a fair number of good and moral reasons to take on a job that goes contrary to one’s own values – dire financial straits being the one most usually cited. Not gonna lie, it’s a tricky balance, and the fact that a lot of us have to make those kinds of choices on a daily basis, between obeying our conscience and paying our rent, is maybe the best expression of the fundamental flaws in our economic system that I can think of right now.

Here’s a poem I’ve always liked, by Octavia Butler, from The Parable of the Sower (a brilliant book, incidentally):

Respect God:
Pray working.
Pray learning,
Pray creating,
Pray working.
Pray to focus your thoughts,
still your fears,
strengthen your purpose.
Respect God.
Shape God.
Pray working.

Think of the children!

Or the youths, anyway, because today’s post is about the youth climate movement(s). What the children are doing, as far as I can figure from the Eco-Fair I attended a few weekends ago, is building trash castles out of paper towel tubes and excessive glitter. Remember trash castles? Did everybody else have to do those when we were kids? I still remember my dad’s comment that he’d rather have a million trash bags sitting around than a million of those things. Myself, I figured it was a great solution if you happened to have a paper towel tube surplus, but it didn’t go terribly far toward addressing nuclear waste.

(All of which is terribly unfair to the children’s climate movement, of course, which actually does some pretty amazing things.)

But the point right now is youths, and specifically, the upcoming PowerShift event on October 21-23 in Ottawa. From their latest newsletter:

“This October, the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition will bring together over
one thousand young people from across Canada for two days of awesome
workshops and strategy sessions in Ottawa that will build to a MAJOR lobby
day on Parliament Hill on the third day. We will deliver our message of
change to our elected officials and push the federal government to take bold
steps in tackling climate change.

Youth of all backgrounds will come together to create a fresh, positive,
and inspiring vision of the future, one focused on our potential to overcome
the challenges of the 21st century, build a clean energy economy, create
green jobs, increase global equity, and revitalize our economy. Now is the
time for action. Now is the time for boldness.”

That is OCTOBER 21-23, everyone. The next day, October 24, is‘s International Day of Climate Action. According to their website, there are already six action events planned for Ottawa, so probably just about everybody’s going to stick around for that.

I still have no idea if I’m going; it depends if MEP is organizing an October 24 event in Montreal or not. I’ll keep you posted. (By “you”, of course, I mean the approximately six people who read this blog and aren’t involved with MEP in some way already. Whatever. Tell your friends.)

Anyway, if you want to get involved with PowerShift, contact Maggie if you’re an individual or Kimia if you’re an organization.

Oh, yeah. Youth are doing a bunch of other stuff too. Leave a comment and add something about your own group!

Falling stars

From my File For Looking At On Really Bad Days (not the greatest name, I admit, but I started it about the same time I found Hulk’s Diary That Is On The Internet, so, y’know), I’d like to share this:

“Even in the smallest things that we do, we have meaning. We have consequence. We have impact on the world around us. One person with a gun could change the future of the world – in Dallas, and in Memphis, and in a hotel in Los Angeles. How much more can people with a dream change the world – a Gandhi, or a King, or a Kennedy, or a Nelson Mandela? Folks, if you’re listening out there, you do have power. You do have the capacity to change the world. You may think that down the road, no-one’s gonna care, no-one’s gonna know…but you know what? You have an impact. You gotta follow that. And the source of all great ideas is love, and compassion, and gentleness of spirit, and being kind to each other. From that proceeds everything else.” – J. Michael Straczynski, commentary on “The Deconstruction of Falling Stars”

Shameless plug ahoy!

Very quick post today to announce that Right Relationship: Building a Whole Earth Economy is going into a second printing. Needless to say, we’re very happy about this. Keep spreading the word, folks!

I’m now off to get some more sleep. Spent last weekend at Worldcon, which was fun and awesome and occasionally bizarre. Cheers!