Wednesday, June 30, 2010


I sit here, between my twin brother's and my father's graves,
(who died at age 26 and at age 60)
and reflect on many things. Among them is the saving grace
of kindness...


At Pine Lake Cemetery, Bloomfield Township, Michigan
June 20, 2010


Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.

Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
it is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you every where
like a shadow or a friend.

~ Naomi Shihab Nye ~

(Words From Under the Words: Selected Poems)

Web version:

Our Son Brian's Blog: Wanderlust

Warmest Greetings

I am moved to share our son Brian's blog. There is depth reflected here in Brian's glimpses into other worlds, his larger questions, beautiful photographs, reflections and links. What a gift to experience a little greater understanding and connectedness with others so far away in miles and in how it is that we know our world. And ourselves... My heart is touched in being witness our son's travels, which is very much both an outer and an inner journey. I have also been deeply enjoying our conversations since Brian's recent return, and find myself consistently inspired to go deeper myself. Inspiration is contagious. And so is courage. Perhaps something here will also touch you. Sharing these heartfelt questions, soulful reflections, and glimpses into different cultures, religions, people and ways of life sends out the kinds of ripples which, I believe, our world deeply needs. Thank you, Brian.

Namaste ~


Brian in Morocco

Reflections on religion, symbols and tolerance
inspired by a two-month journey through
Nepal, Switzerland and Morocco.


Moreover, I see more of the nuance and complexity of the world. Of course the world is complex you say from the comfort of your home. But it is something else entirely to feel that complexity, to smell it, to taste it. Television cannot do that. Google cannot do that. Wikipedia cannot do that.

There is such a drive to categorize, to quantify. To place people in nice, clean boxes. To stereotype. To turn people into others. But we are all human. We all feel. We all matter. We are all part of us.

~ Brian Murray

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

What I Have Learned So Far

What I Have Learned So Far

Meditation is old and honorable, so why should I
not sit, every morning of my life, on the hillside,
looking into the shining world? Because, properly
attended to, delight, as well as havoc, is suggestion.
Can one be passionate about the just, the
ideal, the sublime, and the holy, and yet commit
to no labor in its cause? I don't think so.

All summations have a beginning, all effect has a
story, all kindness begins with the sown seed.
Thought buds toward radiance. The gospel of
light is the crossroads of -- indolence, or action.

Be ignited, or be gone.

~ Mary Oliver ~

(New and Selected Poems Volume Two)

Questions Before Dark

Questions Before Dark

Day ends, and before sleep
when the sky dies down, consider
your altered state: has this day
changed you? Are the corners
sharper or rounded off? Did you
live with death? Make decisions
that quieted? Find one clear word
that fit? At the sun's midpoint
did you notice a pitch of absence,
bewilderment that invites
the possible? What did you learn
from things you dropped and picked up
and dropped again? Did you set a straw
parallel to the river, let the flow
carry you downstream?

~ Jeanne Lohmann ~

(The Light of Invisible Bodies)

Web version:


See how Detroit may represent the future of transportation
and progress in America.

Warm Greetings

I am grateful this morning to have heard on KPOJ about the documentary playing tonight at the Bagdad Theater here in Portland. As I listened to the interview with the filmmaker, I knew that this was a film I would not want to miss. Tonight my oldest son, Brian, and I went to see BLUEPRINT AMERICA: Beyond the Motor City. This is an important film! If you haven't already seen it, please consider checking it out and spreading the word. And although everyone anywhere in our country would benefit from seeing Blueprint America, my Michigan friends and family will likely be especially moved. The entire documentary can be viewed here:

For a video of the documentary made one year ago - BLUEPRINT AMERICA: Road to the Future, which includes footage in Portland, Denver, and New York - please go here:

Peace & blessings ~ Molly


Another world is not only possible, she is on her way.
On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.
~ Arundhati Roy

There are now Bankster Sharks in the Water...

From Thom Hartmann's blog:

In his New York Times column, economist Paul Krugman is ringing the warning bell and saying we are in the early stages of a “third depression.” “This third depression,” he writes, “will be primarily a failure of policy” as the world’s leading governments focus “about inflation when the real threat is deflation, preaching the need for belt-tightening when the real problem is inadequate spending.” It's truly bizarre to watch country after country across Europe fail to learn the lessons of the past and hang tight to the economic policies of Herbert Hoover and Milton Friedman when both have been tried - and failed - repeatedly in countries all over the world over the past 80 years. The only reasonable rationale for why these national leaders are willing to destroy their social safety nets, throw their working people into serfdom, and drain the resources of their tattered middle classes to reduce their national debts is that - unlike other times in the past - there are now sharks in the water. Those sharks are the banksters, liberated in 1998 and 2000 by Phil and Wendy Gramm and Bill Clinton, Larry Summers, and Robert Rubin. Now that the banksters have been deregulated and can run trillion dollar gambling casinos, one of their easiest targets are the countries that have a lot of debt - just like the corporate raiders and so-called "private equity" companies look for companies with lots of debt to take down, disassemble, fire all the workers, and ship the jobs to China. Because these bankster sharks are now fully empowered in the waters of international finance, the traditional tool used to get countries out of Depressions - stimulative spending funded by debt - places a country at a huge risk of a shark attack (known in banking as a naked short attack), which can quite literally destroy the economy of a nation. Until the banksters are brought to heel, the wealth of nations will continue to collapse while the wealth of the banksters themselves will continue to explode.


Action is the antidote to despair.
- Joan Baez

The Third Depression

Recessions are common; depressions are rare. As far as I can tell, there were only two eras in economic history that were widely described as “depressions” at the time: the years of deflation and instability that followed the Panic of 1873 and the years of mass unemployment that followed the financial crisis of 1929-31.

Neither the Long Depression of the 19th century nor the Great Depression of the 20th was an era of nonstop decline — on the contrary, both included periods when the economy grew. But these episodes of improvement were never enough to undo the damage from the initial slump, and were followed by relapses.

We are now, I fear, in the early stages of a third depression. It will probably look more like the Long Depression than the much more severe Great Depression. But the cost — to the world economy and, above all, to the millions of lives blighted by the absence of jobs — will nonetheless be immense.

And this third depression will be primarily a failure of policy. Around the world — most recently at last weekend’s deeply discouraging G-20 meeting — governments are obsessing about inflation when the real threat is deflation, preaching the need for belt-tightening when the real problem is inadequate spending.


A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history. ~ Mohandas K. Gandhi

Each time a person stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, these ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance. ~ Robert F. Kennedy

It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end. ~ Ursula K. Le Guin

Monday, June 28, 2010


More than all else, my spiritual path is rooted in compassionate action. I imagine and envision that each and every moment will find our beautiful world growing in those who are committed to the values and calls for action reflected in The Charter For Compassion. Namaste.... Molly

Archbishop Desmond Tutu is among the Charter members


The principle of compassion lies at the heart of all religious, ethical and spiritual traditions, calling us always to treat all others as we wish to be treated ourselves. Compassion impels us to work tirelessly to alleviate the suffering of our fellow creatures, to dethrone ourselves from the centre of our world and put another there, and to honour the inviolable sanctity of every single human being, treating everybody, without exception, with absolute justice, equity and respect.

It is also necessary in both public and private life to refrain consistently and empathically from inflicting pain. To act or speak violently out of spite, chauvinism, or self-interest, to impoverish, exploit or deny basic rights to anybody, and to incite hatred by denigrating others—even our enemies—is a denial of our common humanity. We acknowledge that we have failed to live compassionately and that some have even increased the sum of human misery in the name of religion.

We therefore call upon all men and women ~ to restore compassion to the centre of morality and religion ~ to return to the ancient principle that any interpretation of scripture that breeds violence, hatred or disdain is illegitimate ~ to ensure that youth are given accurate and respectful information about other traditions, religions and cultures ~ to encourage a positive appreciation of cultural and religious diversity ~ to cultivate an informed empathy with the suffering of all human beings—even those regarded as enemies.

We urgently need to make compassion a clear, luminous and dynamic force in our polarized world. Rooted in a principled determination to transcend selfishness, compassion can break down political, dogmatic, ideological and religious boundaries. Born of our deep interdependence, compassion is essential to human relationships and to a fulfilled humanity. It is the path to enlightenment, and indispensible to the creation of a just economy and a peaceful global community.



Compassion is not just a feeling, not just an emotion. It can include feeling and emotion but for compassion to be authentic it needs to translate into action so that it becomes a social reality, a reality in daily life. ~ Tho Ha Vinh, Charter For Compassion Member and Head of Training, Learning and Development, International Committee of the Red Cross

Compassion is not hereditable. It can and therefore must be taught. The teaching of compassion, the exercise of the soul, will open the heart. And then nothing will be impossible.
Rabbi Awraham Soetendorp, Charter Member and Rabbi of the Reform Jewish Community of The Hague

In a world where force is too often the response to differences of opinion, culture and ideas of the divine, compassion is its one universal antidote. This Charter gives spiritual voices the opportunity to unite in this most authentic cry for peace. ~ Sister Joan Chittister, Charter Member and Founder and Director, Benetvision

Compassion doesn’t come naturally…people have to learn about being compassionate. And so for me, [the Charter] reflects what we can do in our educational systems, and generally in society, to educate people about the notion of compassion. I actually do not believe that there is a clash of civilizations. I think there is what is better termed a clash of ignorances. ~ Ali Asani, Charter Member and Professor of the Practice of Indo-Muslim Languages and Culture

Beyond Us and Them by Sheikh Jamal Rahman

Warmest blessings... I am not religious, but I experience this and the following article as speaking powerfully about remembrance of the core essence of the great religions and how it is that we can bring forth greater love, understanding, respect, caring, and compassion toward ourselves and all beings through these different traditions. Peace...


Rabbi Ted Falcon, Pastor Don Mackenzie, and Sheikh Jamal Rahman, known collectively as the "Interfaith Amigos," have been learning and teaching together since 2001. They blog weekly for YES! Magazine.

Beyond Us and Them

As a relatively recent U.S. citizen, I sometimes despair at the polarization of Democrats and Republicans and the angry vitriol that erupts from this divide. As a Muslim, I tire of the mean-spirited campaigns of fear mongering and hate that religious extremists direct at those with different beliefs. This incessant appeal to the basest elements of our nature—our fear of the Other, our easy refuge in Us vs. Them divides—is disturbing.

Guidance in the Quran

This issue, I realize, is not so much about the Other as it is about me. The issue is a deeply spiritual one, and I look for guidance in the Quran. A verse repeated several times in the Holy Book tells me that God will not change the condition of a people unless they change what is in their hearts. This verse reaffirms the age-old insight, found in all traditions, that a problem cannot be solved at the same level where it was created. We humans can be reconciled only by rising above the issues that divide us, by becoming aware that our disparate personalities and philosophies are actually parts of the same whole. Our sages tell us that such awareness leads to peacemaking—the art of restoring love and compassion to a relationship that has been torn apart through fear and hatred.



The Quran lets us in on God’s little secret: “We have created some of you as a trial for others: Will you have patience” (25:20). Meditating on this verse, I have begun to understand that the Glenn Becks, Christian rapturists, Israeli settlers, and Taliban and Al Qaeda members of this world are an invitation for me to grow and expand. In a hadith that anticipates our 21st century understanding of human psychology, the Prophet said, “The faithful are mirrors to each other.” Very often, what we dislike in others is something that we need to acknowledge, heal, integrate, and empower in ourselves. ~ Sheikh Jamal Rahman (very true!)

Back to Shore: Remembering the Healing Substance of Religion

This article can be found in YES! Magazine. Peace & blessings...

The "Interfaith Amigos"

by Pastor Don Mackenzie

A drift from substance is a recurring pattern in religious life. What will it take to call ourselves back to the essentials?

Imagine for a moment that you have climbed a very high mountain. You are finally at the top. Looking back, you can see the road behind you: You can see back through time all the way to 2000 BCE—the time of Abraham the patriarch. And if we look closely, one of the most vivid patterns we find is that of religions coming into being to contribute to healing—the healing of people, of communities, and of the planet. They are like a glass that holds water: The water is spirituality—that sensibility that bears within it oneness, unconditional love, and compassion. All of these things contribute to healing. Religions, then, are institutions and conveyances for healing substance.

Then why does religion seem to play such a major role in violence?

The pattern that I’m suggesting we recognize looks like this: A religion is formed, but soon the substance starts to leak out. Sometimes we end up with hollow shells—institutions totally emptied of substance. We end up taking care of the glass, and not noticing that the water has evaporated. Becoming aligned with institutions bent on violence instead of healing represents an evaporation of purpose.



Somewhere in our history, the link between inner spirituality and its expression in the world as loving social action grew faint. To renew that connection, we can draw deeply on traditions that call attention to our Oneness. ~ Paster Don Mackenzie

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Upcoming Michael Meade Events, Mosaic Multicultural Foundation, and More...

I share this for both my local friends and family and beyond. I hope you will be able to join myself and my sons and a full smokin', rockin' house for this great event! And I hope whether you are in this area or not that you will check out the Mosaic website and consider purchasing one of Michael's books or CD's - Amazing work! I am deeply grateful to Michael Meade for being among my teachers for some time now. I am changed, deepened, more wholly who I am through these experiences and what flows through Michael and his work. Peace & blessings....

Seattle, WA ~ Wed, July 7
All Pilgrims Church ~ 500 Broadway E

Portland, OR ~ Thurs, July 8
First Unitarian Church ~ 1211 SW Main St

You are invited to an evening of ecstatic poetry and sacred music, a combined song that voices the longings of the heart and whispers the nature of the soul. In dark and troubled times ancient peoples turned to the poets and mystics, not to escape reality, but to find solace, understanding, and inspiration. The mystics say that something that turns within us helps to make the world turn. They say that there is a "light seed grain inside; you fill it with yourself, or it dies." Come fill yourself with poetry and music.

Mythologist and storyteller Michael Meade will weave ecstatic poetry with ancient "wisdom tales", while The Qadim Ensemble offers devotional music of the Middle East. Qadim celebrates the rich spiritual heritage found in traditional Arabic, Jewish, Turkish Sufi, Greek, and Moroccan music.


Myth makes meaning and helps reveal the significance of both inner and outer events. Troubled and threatened as it may be, the world remains a mystery trying to be revealed. Reality isn't fully real until its hidden meanings have been revealed. Every event, inner and outer, has hidden meaning waiting to be revealed. Yet, it takes a story, a narrative shape to uncover the meanings that hide within the facts of the matter. ~ Michael Meade, Author of The World Behind the World (and much more!)

As a teacher and mythologist, Michael Meade is genius let out of the bottle. The World Behind the World is his strong medicine for hard times, an elixir of amazing stories, rich ideas, heart-breaking truth, and brilliant seeds of wisdom for remaking the world. ~ Jack Kornfield, Author of The Wise Heart (and much more!)

David Korten: "Agenda For a New Economy" and More...

At the Green Festival with another one of my heroes - visionary, author, activist David Korten. Sharing, learning, and participating in the work such as that done by David Korten changes us and changes our world. The below is a glimpse into his website and work. I am profoundly grateful to those like David who can imagine and bring alive a whole different world, one which truly cares about and works for all. Peace & blessings....

We humans are Creation's most daring experiment with reflective consciousness, the source of our distinctive capacity to choose our future as an intentional collective act. For some 5,000 years, we have used this capacity foolishly at an enormous cost to ourselves and to other living beings. We must now take the step to a new level of species maturity and demonstrate our ability to act with collective wisdom and foresight.

This weblog is my place to share my ongoing reflections on the nature of this challenge and report on my own attempts to contribute to its realization in my role as an active citizen.

The Path to a New Economy

For much of my adult life I have been embarked on a quest to understand the institutional sources of human dysfunction and map a pathway to positive change. Beginning with the launch of When Corporations Rule the World in 1995, my most widely read books have addressed the dysfunctions of a global economic system that values money more than life. For all the tragic pain created by the recent financial collapse, it is in the larger view a blessing as it demonstrates so conclusively that the economy we came to collectively worship as an engine of perpetual wealth creation was nothing more than an illusion based on massive fraud and self-deception.
My most recent book, Agenda for a New Economy: From Phantom Wealth to Real Wealth exposes the truth and maps a path to a new real wealth economy. You can follow my New Economy blog on the YES! Magazine site. See also the ongoing YES! web feature "Path to a New Economy."

Much of my attention is currently focused on the
New Economy Working Group, a partnership of the Institute for Policy Studies in DC (IPS), YES! magazine, the Business Alliance for Local Livinng Economies (BALLE), and the PCDForum. I am co-chair with John Cavanagh of IPS. We are developing a New Economy website intended to take the discussion of a transformative economic agenda to a new level. We hope to do an initial launch before the end of 2009.

The Great Turning

The framework I find most useful in understanding the nature of the challenge before us is summarized in my article "The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community" in the Summer 2006 issue of YES! and in my book of the same name. See also my web essay "The Great Turning: Epic Passage."

We can change the human course by changing the framing stories of our dominant culture. The prevailing Empire stories celebrate the individualism, violence and greed that express the pathologies of our collective human immaturity, while denying the potentials for community, love, and nurturing service that define our more mature human nature. The turning from Empire to Earth Community depends on changing these stories through conversations that make public the transformative inner wisdom we posses as individuals. Institutional change will follow naturally.

The companion website, Navigating the Great Turning, offers a rich source of ideas and resources for Great Turning Navigators who are working to turn the culture by changing its framing stories.


We seek: Within a generation, a global system of human-scale, interconnected Local Living Economies that function in harmony with local ecosystems, meet the basic needs of all people, support just and democratic societies, and foster joyful community life.

You may notice that this is a bit different from the greed-driven, money-centered, unjust, unsustainable, undemocratic, and predatory Wall Street ruled economic system we now have, which is why I’m so proud of being part of this organization.

Economic transformation depends in part on changing the prevailing stories about the nature of wealth, the purpose of the economy, and the possibilities of our human nature.

BALLE (Business Alliance for Local Living Economies) is lighting the way to a New Economy, a global system of human-scale interconnected Local Living Economies that function in harmony with local ecosystems, meet the basic needs of all people, support just and democratic societies, and foster joyful community life. It is an epic, even audacious undertaking, but the future of humanity lies in the balance and we stand beside millions of people the world over who are rising to this great challenge. Now is the hour. We have the power. We are the one's we’ve been waiting for.

~David Korten

John Perkins: "10 Things You Can Do To Save the Earth" and More...

John Perkins is an amazing soul and I am deeply inspired by this visionary's writings, work, and wisdom. What I've shared below is just a glimpse into his website. As John shares, may we each find our passion and do that, do whatever it is that is our part in bringing about deeply needed change on this beautiful planet we all share. Peace & blessings...

With John Perkins at the Seattle Green Festival, June 5, 2010


My mission is to do everything I possibly can to create a sustainable, just, and peaceful world for my grandson, Grant. To accomplish that requires the creation of such a world for every child born on every inch of this planet. For the first time in history, we are all interconnected. We share the same crises, including climate change, overpopulation, species extinctions, diminishing resources, and rising prices for the things that are essential to our lives. And we all understand this; we are all communicating with each other, through cell phones and over the Internet. We know that there will be no homeland security until we recognize that the the entire world is our homeland.

10 Things You Can Do To Save the Earth

As part of my participation in the national Earth Day action network I wanted to post this blog in full. I hope it inspires you take action too!

The hour is ours. It is now time for each and every one of us to step up to the task at hand, to ask the important questions, to search our souls for our own answers, and to take action.

1. Demand a world where the models for our children are the founders and managers of institutions that restore rain forests and polluted lakes, promote sustainability, and help starving people feed themselves — not the CEO‘s of irresponsible corporations, overpaid athletes and celebrities.
2. Break the pattern and rid our world of the viral form of predatory capitalism that has a stated goal of maximizing profits regardless of the social and environmental costs.
3. Bequeath a world to future generations that is headed toward sustainable, just and peaceful societies for all of us.
4. Join organizations that represent your passions, support them with your energy and/or money.
5. Use materials that are environmentally and socially responsible.
6. Support politicians who are in favor of the environment and will enact changes to protect it for future generations.
7. Vote in the marketplace for companies committed to doing the right thing environmentally and socially.
8. Let leaders know you want wholesome food, clean water and air; send emails — they do count, big-time.
9. Demand that every person on our planet has access to clean air and water, sufficient food, clothing and shelter, health care and a decent retirement.
10. Support companies that sell organic and local foods and operate on the basis of making profits but only while creating a sustainable, just, and peaceful world.

We are poised to enter a new era. Growing numbers of us recognize that it is time to stop the craziness, to stop honoring people who perpetuate a greedy, materialistic mentality, to cease buying magazines that feature their faces on the covers, and to switch off TV programs that try to convince us that squandering resources is something to be admired. it is time to move from a militarized economy into one that produces goods and services that enhance life for all sentient beings.

Now is the time to turn the Fortune 500 into a list of only those corporations and NGOs that best serve the planet and future generations. YOU CAN DO IT.


We must put an end to a predatory form of capitalism that has spread across the globe in the past half century. We must not be blinded by its greed and false promises of a shopping mall nirvana. This predatory form of capitalism is a disease. It threatens to consume us. When we see pictures of the BP oil spill spreading across the waters, let us all know that this oil spill is also a symbol for the mutant virus contaminating the entire planet. It is a disgustingly slick, real-life horror film that we must choose to no longer view only as audience members. We need to fully comprehend the fact that if you and I do not stop this disease it will kill our children and grandchildren. ~ John Perkins

We have entered one of the most important periods in human history, the Time of Prophecies. We have the opportunity to lift ourselves to new levels of consciousness. This time was foretold over the past centuries around the world. Now it is up to us — you and me — to make it happen. What a wonderful gift! ~ John Perkins

As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler; solitude will not be solitude, poverty will not be poverty, nor weakness weakness. ~ Henry David Thoreau

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Hafiz: A Golden Compass

A Golden Compass

Forget every idea of right and wrong
Any classroom ever taught you

An empty heart, a tormented mind,
Unkindness, jealousy and fear

Are always the testimony
You have been completely fooled!

Turn your back on those
Who would imprison your wondrous spirit
With deceit and lies.

Come, join the honest company
Of the King's beggars -
Those gamblers, scoundrels and divine clowns
And those astonishing fair courtesans
Who need Divine Love every night.

Come, join the courageous
Who have no choice
But to bet their entire world
That indeed,
Indeed, God is Real.

I will lead you into the Circle
Of the Beloved's cunning thieves,
Those playful royal rogues -
The ones you can trust for true guidance -
Who can aid you
In this Blessed Calamity of life.

Look at the Perfect One
At the Circle's Center:

He Spins and Whirls like a Golden Compass,
Beyond all that is Rational,

To show this dear world

That Everything,
Everything in Existence
Does point to God.

~ Hafiz ~

(I Heard God Laughing - Renderings of Hafiz by Daniel Ladinsky)

Web version:

The Current Mass Extinction

I share this because I care.
And because we all need to care.
And because we need courage... and to know we are all connected.

The Current Mass Extinction:
Human beings are currently causing the greatest mass extinction of species since the extinction of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. If present trends continue one half of all species of life on earth will be extinct in less than 100 years as a result of habitat destruction, pollution, invasive species, and climate change.



The third Global Biodiversity Outlook (GBO-3) published by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) warns that unless "swift, radical and creative action" is taken "massive further loss is increasingly likely."

Ahmed Djoghlaf, executive secretary of the CBD said in a statement: "The news is not good. We continue to lose biodiversity at a rate never before seen in history."

The U.N. warns several eco-systems including the Amazon rainforest, freshwater lakes and rivers and coral reefs are approaching a "tipping point" which, if reached, may see them never recover.

The report says that no government has completely met biodiversity targets that were first set out in 2002 -- the year of the first GBO report.

Executive Director of the U.N. Environmental Program Achim Steiner said there were key economic reasons why governments had failed in this task.

"Many economies remain blind to the huge value of the diversity of animals, plants and other life-forms and their role in healthy and functioning eco-systems," Steiner said in a statement.


U.S. scientists say the Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction of plants and animals, with nearly 50 percent of all species disappearing.


One in four mammals, one in eight birds, one third of all amphibians and 70 per cent of the world's assessed plants now appear on the Red List of endangered plants and animals.

According to the World Conservation Union, (IUCN) which draws up the annual List, the extinction rate is up to 10,000 higher than expected.

Human activity causing loss of habitat through urbanisation, agriculture and deforestation combined with climate change is revealed to be the biggest threat to plants and animals.



One isn't necessarily born with courage, but one is born with potential. Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can't be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest. ~ Maya Angelou

With courage you will dare to take risks, have the strength to be compassionate, and the wisdom to be humble. Courage is the foundation of integrity. ~ Keshavan Nair

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace; where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; and where there is sadness, joy. ~ Francis of Assisi

Thom Hartmann: This So-Called "Banking Reform" Bill

I first heard of Thom Hartmann when a friend passed on his book The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight to me in 2001. Since then, Thom Hartmann has grown to be someone I deeply appreciate, trust, am inspired by, and have learned so much from. Like myself, Thom was also born in 1951, grew up in Michigan, and now lives in Oregon. Over the years, I have come to recognize Thom as one of the most prolific authors I know, often writing a book a year and on diverse subjects. I have several of his books, and have grown through my experience of reading them. In addition, he broadcasts locally and nationally, and has perhaps the most informative talk show in our nation. Unlike the all too often norm in talk radio, he is committed to following the truth, wherever it may lead. Thom consistently demonstrates courage and integrity. Thom Hartmann is a great example of how one person can make such a big difference. Daily he encourages us all with his words of "Tag, you're it!" Peace & blessings...

This is from Thom Hartmann's blog:

Nearly two years after the American financial system teetered on the edge of a great Republican depression, Congressional lawmakers have come to an agreement early Friday morning to reconcile competing versions of the the bill in the biggest overhaul of financial regulations since the last Republican Great Depression. Big banks won big in this, as they can continue investing a significant amount of equity in hedge funds. The banks lost when it comes to speculative trades with their capital, although there are some loopholes that may turn into truck routes. The bottom line seems that, much like the so-called health insurance reform, there are a few really good bones in here thrown to consumers but the power, wealth, and monopoly of the big banks that, as Senator Byron Dorgan said of the US Senate, "They own this place," continue to own the Senate as well as you and me. There are no efforts whatsoever in the bill to do the single most important thing necessary to return competition to banking and prevent another economic collapse - that being breaking up the too-big-to-fail banking institutions and require banks to just be banks instead of bank/casino hybrids. Just like the so-called "health insurance reform" will actually give more power and money to the dozen or so monopoly US for-profit health insurance blood sucking and their CEOs, this so-called "banking reform" bill will give more power and money to the half-dozen largest and monopolistic US banks and keep the billion-dollar bonus paydays coming to their CEOs and senior executives and traders.



Thomas Jefferson argued for a tax on accumulated wealth because he knew that if wealth was passed down from one generation to the next, those lucky inheritors would turn into new aristocrats. You don't hear about the Founders passing on fortunes because most of them didn't believe in doing so.

What the neoconservative Republicans don't say is that the reason they want a smaller government is because they can make an enormous amount of money when they privatize formerly government functions. They want a power vacuum so that corporations and the rich can step in and profit from things that used to be nonprofit. Privatizing Social Security will bring a windfall to Wall Street. Our private health-care system has produced a huge crop of multimillionaires and multibillionaires like Bill Frist and his brother and father. One in twenty Americans is now getting water from a non-U.S. private corporation that is extracting profits from local American communities and taking those profits overseas. Large swaths of America's electrical infrastructure have been privatized and deregulated, leading to rate manipulation, brownouts in California, and huge profits for utility corporations. CEOs are looking forward to buying more Gulfstreams and nicer yachts, while America's middle class is paying more and more for basic and necessary services.

~ Thom Hartmann

New Heroes in the Fight Against Big Oil

This article is in YES! Magazine, one of many places where I find valuable information, action, hope, connection, inspiration, and more...

The Hands Across the Sand movement: How one Florida restaurant owner has organized a force against offshore drilling.

by Madeline Ostrander

Catastrophes like the spill in the Gulf expose the destructive side of industries and their environmental impacts. They also create unexpected heroes, ordinary people like Lois Gibbs, propelled into the political arena when industrial waste exposed her community in Love Canal, New York, to cancer-causing chemicals. Three decades after her story forced America to grapple with industries’ toxic legacy, the tar balls that are washing onto Florida’s beaches are galvanizing a new movement, started by Dave Rauschkolb, a surfer and pizza bar owner.

Rauschkolb is not a professional Sierra-Club type and seems offended when asked about his political affiliation. But his business depends on tourism, and he’s incensed that state and federal politicians let the oil industry take a gamble on the safety of drilling in the Gulf Coast. “I am very angry that our predictions to Florida’s legislators that this type of accident could happen fell on deaf ears,” Rauschkolb wrote in a recent op-ed. “We have been telling them for months of our serious concerns.”

His anger has turned him into an activist. Rauschkolb created “Hands Across the Sand,” a series of demonstrations on Saturday, June 26, that call for an end to offshore oil drilling. The events are simple: Show up at 11 A.M. at your local waterfront, and join hands at noon. Demonstrations are happening in all 50 states and more than 30 countries.

Rauschkolb got the idea for Hands last fall when he heard about a bill in the Florida legislature that would have brought offshore drilling within 10 miles of his beloved beaches. He decided to organize what he expected would be a modest local demonstration on the beach, but his message struck a nerve among Floridians. The protest mushroomed into a 10,000-person event on dozens of beaches across the state. Rauschkolb believes that the response helped kill the bill in committee before it reached the floor of the Florida senate.

Now he hopes that news of the BP spill will mobilize enough Americans to force sweeping change—not just a tough response to BP but a transformation of U.S. energy policies.
I called Rauschkolb in Florida to find out what he expected Hands to accomplish.


This is an opportunity for Americans to get it into their consciousness: Oil companies have been poisoning our energy policy and our political process with money and influence for far too long. The oil industry is calling the shots here, and it's time for Americans to take charge of their own energy future instead of allowing the oil companies to continue to dictate what kind of fuels we use. This has nothing to do with politics. It's time that Americans stop thinking like Democrats and Republicans. The news media have got us all bickering at each other. We need to be focused on the industries that are stifling our economic recovery. We need more things in this country that don't divide us. We need more things that bring us together and make us proud to be Americans. ~ Dave Rauschkolb


by Dylan Ratigan

The same Washington spinsters who have driven our country into the ground seem to be out in full force this morning, claiming that their latest policy "victory" is the most "sweeping change" of our financial regulatory since the Great Depression.

Actually, it is nothing more than window dressing.

The real sweeping change of our financial system took place over the past 20 years. The irresponsible repeal of Glass-Steagall in 1999. The Commodities and Futures Modernization Act of 2000 by Larry Summers and Bob Rubin -- the one that legalized the most destructive financial instruments of all, derivatives. The leverage exemption at the SEC in 2004, asked for (in person) and received by Hank Paulson and friends.

Of course, there are small victories here -- there is better investor protection and, most importantly, an awakened citizenry.

What's not fixed?
- The Cops (
regulators and ratings agencies) working for the crooks.
- Banks still
Too Big To Fail.
- Banks
gambling with your deposits.
- Banks allowed to "
mark to myth" and use off-balance sheet accounting to bonus themselves into the atmosphere, with the taxpayer taking the fall.
- Banks getting trillions from the
Fed, Fannie and Freddie -- AKA you, the future and present taxpayer.
What does it mean for us?

It means that the same people who brought you these horrible changes -- rising wealth discrepancy, massive unemployment and a crumbling infrastructure -- have now further institutionalized the policies that will keep the causes of these problems firmly in place.

Meanwhile, all involved in the facade try to pretend that this should be considered a success because, gosh, real financial reform is just too hard and those crafty banksters will just outsmart us anyhow. Many in the media are either too complicit, too confused or too lazy to contradict this spin, but the rest of us shouldn't buy that BS. Real and lasting financial reform is actually quite easy to implement -- and the last time we had a crisis of this magnitude, we kept the banksters in check for 70 years.

Time and time again in America, they don't win -- we do.

And I believe as we head towards election time with leaders whose only plan for creating new jobs is a few more workers manicuring soon-to-be even bigger Bankster bonus-fueled estates coupled with a few more government handouts, this lesson will be learned once again.


Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience...

To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness.

What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places -- and there are so many -- where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction.

And if we do act, in however small a way, we don't have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.

- Howard Zinn

Friday, June 25, 2010

Why Then Do We Not Despair?

Everything is plundered, betrayed, sold,
Death's great black wing scrapes the air,
Misery gnaws to the bone.
Why then do we not despair?

By day, from the surrounding woods,
cherries blow summer into town;
at night the deep transparent skies
glitter with new galaxies.

And the miraculous comes so close
to the ruined, dirty houses --
something not known to anyone at all,
but wild in our breast for centuries.

~ Anna Akhmatova ~

(Poems of Akhmatova, edited and translated by Stanley Kunitz with Max Hayward)

Web version:

Love and Revolution

The older I grow, the more I realize how lucky I am to have lived so long and been part of so many historic changes.

When I became a radical nearly seventy years ago, you ran the risk of seeming ridiculous, as Che Guevara put it, if you thought Love had anything to do with Revolution.

Being revolutionary meant being tough as nails, committed to agitating and mobilizing angry and oppressed masses to overthrow the government and seize state power by any means necessary in order to reconstruct society from the top down.

In the last 50 years, this topdown view of revolution has been discredited by the demise of the Soviet Union. At the same time, our approach to revolution has been humanized by:

•The modern women’s movement which informed us that the political is personal.
•The ecology movement which emphasized loving Mother Earth and the places where we live.
•Martin Luther King Jr.’s call for a radical revolution in our values and his concept of “beloved community.”
•In the last 15 years tens of thousands of very diverse community groups have sprung all over the world to resist the commodifying by global corporations of our relationships to one another. On January 1, 1994, the day NAFTA took effect, the Zapatistas dramatized this new movement by first taking over six Mexican cities militarily, and then retiring to Chiapas and other indigenous communities to engage the people at the grassroots in non-violent struggles to create new forms of participatory democracy.
•Nearly six years later, in the November 1999 “Battle of Seattle,” 50,000 members of labor, women’s youth and peace groups closed down the World Trade Organization, to inform the world that the time has come to create alternatives to corporate globalization.
•In 2001, a series of “Another World is Possible” World Social Forums began in Porte Allegre, Brazil, to help movement activists around the world recognize that it is futile to keep calling on elected officials to create a more just, caring and sustainable world, and that we ourselves must begin practicing in the social realm the capacity to care for each other, to grow and share food, skills, time, ideas, that up to now most of us have practiced only in our most cherished personal relationships.

As part and parcel of this new approach to revolution, the first United States Social Forum (USSF) was held in Atlanta, Ga., in 2007. The second forum will convene in Detroit in June 2010.

Detroit was chosen for the second USSF because, having suffered de-industrialization decades ago, Detroiters are now engaged in a City of Hope campaign, infused with new values of local sustainable economics, useful work and participatory democracy, to rebuild, redefine and respirit our city from the ground up.

Increasingly being viewed as a North American Chiapas, Detroit has become the mecca for young people, journalists and scholars who wonder if our efforts can help other cities address the increasingly urgent problems of homelessness and hunger created by the economic meltdown and the increasingly dangerous climate crisis caused by our consumerism and materialism.
That is why I hope thousands of Detroiters will join in planning and preparing next June’s second USSF.

Normally it would take decades for a people to transform themselves from the hyper-individualist, hyper-materialist damaged human beings that Americans in all walks of life are today, to the loving, caring Americans we need in today’s deepening crises.

But these are not normal times. If we don’t speed up this transformation, the likelihood is that, armed with AK47s, we will soon be at each other’s throats.

That is why linking Love and Revolution is an idea whose time has come.

We urgently need to bring to our communities the limitless capacity to love, serve, create for and with each other that up to now we have practiced only in our personal relationships. We urgently need to bring the neighbor back into our hoods, not only in our inner cities but in our suburbs, our gated communities, on Main St and Wall Street and on Ivy League campuses.

Beginning tonight we can begin forging a new link between Love and Revolution so that when we gather next June in Detroit we will have already begun the revolution of the 21st century.


I believe that we are at the point now, in the United States, where a movement is beginning to emerge. I think that the calamity, the quagmire of the Iraq war, the outsourcing of jobs, the drop-out of young people from the education system, the monstrous growth of the prison-industrial complex, the planetary emergency, which we are engulfed at the present moment, is demanding that instead of just complaining about these things, instead of just protesting about these things, we begin to look for, and hope for, another way of living. And I think that-- that's where the movement-- I-- I see a movement beginning to emerge, 'cause I see hope beginning to trump despair.

The struggle we're dealing with these days, which, I think, is part of what the 60s represented, is how do we define our humanity?

Grace Lee Boggs