Friday, January 31, 2014

No Tar Sands Keystone XL Pipeline!

Today the State Department released their Final Environmental Impact Statement on Keystone XL. It doesn't take a stand on the climate impact of the pipeline, and puts the ball squarely in President Obama's court to make a decision.

The last time there was a FEIS on Keystone, this was happening: two weeks of sit-ins at the White House to stop the pipeline -- and we set them back by years, and millions of dollars. 

Big oil wants you to believe that today’s report means this fight is over. And that’s the difference between us and them. 

Where they see a finish line, we see the starting blocks. Where they see a pipeline route, we see homes, and farmland. Where they see an export facility, we see a community struggling to breathe. Where they see an oil patch, we see a boreal forest and the violation of treaties. 

Where they see a bottom line, we see our future on the line.

And that’s why this is just another beginning.

- from

Pete Seeger: If There Is a World Here in 100 Years

Pete Seeger photographed at him home in Beacon, NY. 
YES! photo by Michael Bowman.
"If there's a world here in a hundred years, 
it’s going to be saved by tens of millions of little things."
- Pete Seeger
For more, please go here: 

In Loving Memory of Pete Seeger

Six Powerful Quotes to Remember Pete Seegar

Pete Seeger, the singer and songwriter who charged the way for the revival of American folk music, died on Monday at the age of 94. Known for creating hits like "We Shall Overcome" and The Byrd's chart-topping "Turn! Turn! Turn!," Seeger often spoke out on the belief that powerful music could change the world.
But his soulful nature and passion for life wasn't just prevalent in his melodies. Seeger's words, whether it was through his speech or his lyrics, can teach us a lot about spreading kindness and making a difference in the world. Check out the six quotes below, which reflect some of the artist's most inspiring wisdom.
  • GettyGetty

  • GettyGettyGetty

    Richest 85 People Own As Much Wealth As Poorest 3.5 Billion: Oxfam

    The Huffington Post Canada  |  By 

    wage gap
    The world’s 85 wealthiest people hold as much wealth as the poorest 3.5 billion, or half the world population, according to a new report from global anti-poverty group Oxfam.
    That’s roughly $1.7 trillion for both the 85 richest people, and the poorest half of the planet.
    The global economy has become so skewed in favour of the rich that economic growth in many countries today “amounts to little more than a ‘winner takes all’ windfall for the richest,” Oxfam said in a statement.
    The report, titled Working for the Few, warns that democratic institutions are being undermined as an increasing amount of wealth is concentrated in the hands of the richest, making it ever easier for them to influence policy to enrich themselves further. The report calls this process “political capture.”
    The report comes ahead of this year’s gathering of business people and policymakers at the World Economic Forum, and is clearly aimed to get the forum’s attention.
    “In developed and developing countries alike, we are increasingly living in a world where the lowest tax rates, the best health and education and the opportunity to influence are being given not just to the rich but also to their children,” said Oxfam executive director Winnie Byanyima in a statement.
    “Without a concerted effort to tackle inequality, the cascade of privilege and of disadvantage will continue down the generations. We will soon live in a world where equality of opportunity is just a dream.”
    The report does recognize that “some economic inequality is essential to drive growth and progress, rewarding those with talent, hard earned skills, and the ambition to innovate and take entrepreneurial risks.”
    But “the extreme levels of wealth concentration occurring today threaten to exclude hundreds of millions of people from realizing the benefits of their talents and hard work,” the Oxfam report says. It argues that income inequality widens other forms of social gaps, such as those between men and women.
    Among its findings:
    • Almost half of the world’s wealth is now owned by just one per cent of the population.• The wealth of the one per cent richest people in the world amounts to $110 trillion. That’s 65 times the total wealth of the bottom half of the world’s population.
    • The bottom half of the world’s population owns the same as the richest 85 people in the world.
    • Seven out of 10 people live in countries where economic inequality has increased in the last 30 years.
    • The richest one per cent increased their share of income in 24 out of 26 countries for which Oxfam has data between 1980 and 2012.
    • In the U.S., the wealthiest one per cent captured 95 per cent of post-financial crisis growth since 2009, while the bottom 90 per cent became poorer.
    Oxfam sees a risk to both democratic institutions and to social stability in these trends.
    “Instead of moving forward together, people are increasingly separated by economic and political power, inevitably heightening social tensions and increasing the risk of societal breakdown,” the report says.
    The WEF has itself been making noise about growing income inequality. A recent report identified growing wealth inequality as one of the top risks to the global economy.
    The WEF said income disparity in the wake of the global financial crisis is the "most likely risk to cause an impact on a global scale in the next decade" and warned of a "lost generation" of young people that could stoke tensions in society.
    "The generation coming of age in the 2010s faces high unemployment and precarious job situations, hampering their efforts to build a future and raising the risk of social unrest," the Forum said in Global Risks 2014, which was compiled with contributions by 700 global experts.
    Oxfam is calling on attendees at this year’s WEF to take a pledge to support progressive taxation and government health care and education programs, as well as to push for living wages at the companies they invest in and to “refrain from using their wealth to seek political favours that undermine the democratic will of their fellow citizens.”
     With files from The Associated Press
    Please go here for the original article and more:

    Thursday, January 30, 2014

    In Honor of My Twin Brother: Mary Oliver -- When Death Comes

     For John

    This is for my brother, John Ward Strong, Jr. who died 36 years ago today. John and I were 26 years old when he ended his life. Out of his tortured life and tragic death has emerged this passion within myself for life, for healing and awakening, for gratitude and love, for learning to open my heart and live with compassion and tenderness. I also do this for both of us. 

    So many of us grow up feeling isolated, although we may be surrounded by many people. We may - as John and I both once did - shut down, shut up, and shut out life, love, connectedness and belonging. Smiling outwardly but living lives of quiet inner desperation, too many cannot find the doorway through so much pain into awakening. Instead we live believing the lie that we are somehow horribly flawed and alone and unlovable.

    May we all root into paths of healing and awakening. And may we live with intention and increasing awareness of how very precious all of life is. May we spread the word... through a smile, a touch, deep listening, laughter, mindfulness of our judgments, and consciously choosing compassion, caring, kindness and love... again and again and again.

    It is my belief that we all need help in remembering who we really are. As I have pinched my nose and risked to open my heart and learn to give and receive the love that has always been there, all has become possible. In the midst of so much darkness and loss are always the hidden gems - the gifts which remind us of what we have forgotten. And then we begin to know and live with amazement, wonder, and holding ourselves and one another with great tenderness. Blessed be.

    And bless my brother for, in his death, pushing me through the doorway into life.

    With love and gratitude ~ Molly

    When Death Comes

    When death comes
    like the hungry bear in autumn;
    when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse

    to buy me, and snaps the purse shut;
    when death comes
    like the measle-pox;

    when death comes
    like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,

    I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering:
    what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?

    And therefore I look upon everything
    as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
    and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
    and I consider eternity as another possibility,

    and I think of each life as a flower, as common
    as a field daisy, and as singular,

    and each name a comfortable music in the mouth,
    tending, as all music does, toward silence,

    and each body a lion of courage, and something
    precious to the earth.

    When it's over, I want to say: all my life
    I was a bride married to amazement.
    I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

    When it's over, I don't want to wonder
    if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
    I don't want to find myself sighing and frightened,
    or full of argument.

    I don't want to end up simply having visited this world.
    - Mary Oliver

    Wednesday, January 29, 2014

    Gabrielle Roth: Life is Sacred Art

    Life is Sacred. Life is Art. Life is Sacred Art. 
    The art of Sacred living means being a holy actor,
    acting from the soul rather than the ego.

    The soul is out of space and time and hence always available,  
    an ever-present potential of our Being.
    It is up to each of us to celebrate and to actualize our being,
    and to turn each meal, conversation, outfit, letter and so on, into art.

    Every mundane activity is an opportunity for full authentic self expression.
    The soul is our artistic self, our capacity for transforming every
    dimension of our lives into art and theater.

    Gabrielle Roth

    Billy Collins: Despair

    So much gloom and doubt in our poetry -
    flowers wilting on the table,
    the self regarding itself in a watery mirror.
    Dead leaves cover the ground,
    the wind moans in the chimney,
    and the tendrils of the yew tree inch toward the coffin.
    I wonder what the ancient Chinese poets
    would make of all this,
    thee shadows and empty cupboards?
    Today, with the sun blazing in the trees,
    my thoughts turn to the great
    tenth-century celebrators of experience,
    Wa-Hoo, whose delight in the smallest things
    could hardly be restrained,
    and to his joyous counterpart in the western provinces,
    ~ Billy Collins ~
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    Monday, January 27, 2014

    Poem: The Spirit Likes To Dress Up by Mary Oliver

    Poem (the spirit likes to dress up)

    The spirit
      likes to dress up like this:
       ten fingers,
       ten toes,
    shoulders, and all the rest
      at night
       in the black branches,
         in the morning
    in the blue branches
      of the world.
       It could float, of course,
         but would rather
    plumb rough matter.
      Airy and shapeless thing,
       it needs
         the metaphor of the body,
    lime and appetite,
      the oceanic fluids;
       it needs the body’s world,
    and imagination
      and the dark hug of time,
         and tangibility,
    to be understood,
      to be more than pure light
       that burns
         where no one is –
    so it enters us –
      in the morning
       shines from brute comfort
         like a stitch of lightning;
    and at night
      lights up the deep and wondrous
       drownings of the body
         like a star.
    - Mary Oliver