AMELIA: The Magic of Transformation

Last November, I discovered a caterpillar crawling around on my parsley plants in the backyard. The plants were in pots, so that I could bring them inside to the screened-in porch if I discovered any caterpillars. And there she was … a chubby, happy black swallowtail caterpillar.
The previous year all the caterpillars got eaten and completely disappeared from my garden so this was exciting!
Amelia (yes, I named a caterpillar!) was crawling all over the 3 parsley plants that I brought in… She was “high-flying”, moving from plant to plant, and eating voraciously!
Then one day I could not find her … and looked everywhere. Eventually I discovered a greenish “case” that was suspended by a silver thread from one of the stems of the parsley.  She had created a beautiful chrysalis in which to allow the transformation to a butterfly take place.
A few days later I could not find her green home and discovered it had turned brown… and then a week later I discovered a second chrysalis! … given that it was November by this time and temperatures were dropping I was not sure they would make it over the winter …
So it was exciting last weekend to discover a black swallowtail butterfly sitting on the parsley plant on my back porch!! … resting, getting ready to fly into her new life!
An hour or two later she was on the ground cover right outside the back porch door.
Later I saw a big yellow butterfly flying and twirling through the air in a dance of delight … accompanied by a small black swallowtail butterfly … I couldn’t help thinking it was Amelia and the yellow butterfly had befriended her and was showing her around her new neighborhood!
I was so content and happy seeing her resting in the ground cover until it was time to take flight and dance in the air …
The next day was another sweet surprise: another lovely black swallowtail butterfly on my back porch! My heart soared! How fortunate I was to have watched the magic of Nature’s total transformation of these beautiful creatures.
So my conclusions are these:
·      Life wants to Live!
·      The metamorphosis from a caterpillar, with all feet firmly on the ground, to a butterfly flying gracefully through the air, even “dancing“ with a new friend, is truly miraculous …
One of my favorite quotes that lives on my fridge is by Buckminster Fuller:
“There is nothing about a caterpillar
that tells you it’s going to be a butterfly”.
Hmmmm … A total transformation that is truly magical …
Is there any possibility that humanity could ever have such a miraculous transformation?
·      Moving from Empire to Earth Community…
·      From being stuck in our current reality, like the caterpillar on the parsley plant, to the soaring possibilities of our visions?
·      From a planet whose Beauty is being degraded by the selfishness of over-consumption to honoring Nature …
·      To a world that puts caring and compassion above the addiction to more (aka greed) …
·      To a world that puts inclusion and connection above blaming others …
·      To a world that values living from the heart with compassion rather than from the head finding fault…
·      To an economy that creates "enoughness" for all … and everyone contributes their fair share …
·      To a world of delight and joy, developing connections with our Global Human Family as well as our non-human family … looking for and finding the miraculous in our midst.
May we open to the Grace of possibilities …

"I can’t breathe …"

These were the words repeatedly spoken by George Floyd, while lying face down on the pavement, his hands handcuffed behind his back, as police officer Derek Chauvin pinned his neck to the pavement with his knee for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, killing him.  Clearly, he was of no risk to the officer who committed this heinous crime, or any of the other three policemen who were present.  This was a brutal, cowardly and criminal act.

Thankfully someone took a video of this incident… and it went viral.  People around the country and around the world erupted in outrage and fury over this clearly criminal behavior by the police.  People everywhere responded by taking to the streets to support Black Lives, policing reform, justice, and in honor of George.

Last Saturday, I participated in a peaceful march in Chapel Hill to honor George Floyd and the other Black Americans murdered by police.  It was led by the youth of the local NAACP chapter.  In the middle of the march we took a knee for 8 minutes and 46 seconds…  Thousands of people knelt together, of all ethnic backgrounds, all ages, all walks of life … participating together in a show of solidarity that this is not acceptable and this has to change.  I was moved to tears…

It is both mind-boggling and glorious to see pictures of thousands of protestors in Portland lying face down on Burnside Bridge to protest the injustice:

Particularly poignant are pictures of thousands of protestors 

around the country and the world, lying face down on the pavement, with their hands behind their backs, for the 8 min, 46 seconds that officer Chauvin kept his knee on George Floyd’s neck.  

This feels like a pivotal point in our history and that now is an inflection point in which real change is possible.  By confronting the violence of the police, we can begin to change the systemic racial inequality that oppresses Blacks and people of color.  Our country was built on the backs of Black people brought from Africa against their will and forced into slavery.  Our economy was built on this free labor that we as a country stole from them, and continue to do so with many low-wage jobs with no benefits.  Our country has never dealt with this fact, much less considered reparations for our Original Sin of slavery.

Right now, there is a window of opportunity opening wider than it ever has before … this is the time to step up, speak up, and participate in bringing forth the shift in culture of what is acceptable in how we treat people.  It is a truly historic time to be alive and to offer your contribution.

Spiritual teachers have been saying for decades that it will take enough hearts breaking open in compassion for the world to "wake up" and create a new culture of inclusiveness, justice, compassion, and peace.  It is what Joanna Macy calls The Great Turning.

And this is a stunningly heart-breaking experience for every human being with a moral compass to see the video of George Floyd being murdered in less than 9 minutes, before our very own eyes… by the knee of the police.


The Great Turning has started: be part of it!
The shift that is occurring is one of compassion, 
of leading with the Heart.
 Join the movement in your local community.

 Make your voice heard and your heart felt!

This is a time of extraordinary transformation.  Open your heart and mind to what is possible and do everything you can to help create the world you want to give your children and grandchildren.

With compassion and blessings for our journey onward,




One of the clearest and most insightful perspectives I’ve heard about racism by Trevor Noah, on our social contracts.
Trevor Noah Breaks Down Reparations and White Privilege – Between the Scenes/The Daily Show.

Excellent article: 5 Ways White People Can Take Action in Response to White and State-Sanctioned Violence, from SURJ (Showing Up for Racial Justice)

SUPPORT CHANGE; particularly support Black-led movements:
  • Black Lives Matter is a global organization in the US, UK, and Canada, whose mission is to eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes.
  • Campaign Zeroto end police violence; see their website for specific policy solutions
  • NAACP has a mission is to secure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights in order to eliminate race-based discrimination and ensure the health and well-being of all persons.
  • Color Of Change is the nation’s largest online racial justice organization, helping people respond effectively to injustice in the world around us.
  • SURJ, Showing Up for Racial Justice SURJ’s role as part of a multi-racial movement is to undermine white support for white supremacy and to help build a racially just society.
  • 28 Organizations That Empower Black Communities

Join Us at the Global Climate Strike on September 20


Our planet is currently facing an unprecedented climate crisis, which threatens a sustainable world for our children and grandchildren.

Greta Thunberg, the 16-year old Swedish climate activist, sparked an international movement of youth speaking up and fighting for their future. They are calling on world leaders to listen to the scientists, recognize our Climate Emergency, call it the Crisis that it is, and act accordingly. As Greta has said many times, "We cannot solve the crisis without treating it as a crisis".
Millions of youth and adults around the world will come together on September 20 to Strike for the Climate! Over 500 climate strikes are planned in the U.S., in over 1664 cities around the world, and in 117 countries. New York City’s public school system just announced it would excuse the absences of students who have a parent’s permission to participate in the global climate strike!
The Secretary General Kumi Naidoo of Amnesty International fully supports schools allowing students to participate. He tweeted, "The climate emergency is the defining human rights issue for youth today. It will shape their lives in every way. That’s why I’ve written to more than 30,000 schools around the world urging them to let pupils join the historic climate strikes on the 20th & 27th September."
So, if you’ve been feeling overwhelmed, hopeless, or in despair, this is the time to effectively channel those feelings into action! It’s time to prioritize what matters most at this pivotal moment in our history, come together, and get in the streets.

Please share this email with anyone and everyone you can think of! Invite them to join you at a climate strike. Here is the link to find an event any where in the U.S. Scroll down to enter a zip code and a map comes up with all the climate strike events in the area.
This is an opportunity of a lifetime… to participate in a movement that makes a difference!  That shifts our planet into a new era of caring for all life on earth, recognizing we are truly One Humanity.
This is the time: NOW.

With blessings for awakening to the opportunities before us,
P.S.  Click here for Greta’s recent interview, We are Striking to Disrupt the System. discussing the  reasons for the Climate Strike.
P.S. Click here for a 3 minute talk Greta gave last fall at the Davos Conference on the seriousness of the climate crisis.

If You Wanted a Life of Meaning and Significance …

 If you wanted a life of meaning and significance … you’ve hit the jack-pot!       

Most of us reading this know that we are in a climate emergency. We’ve read the reports that say the greenhouse gasses we’ve put into the atmosphere are the highest in 400,000 years. Our weather is getting more extreme; we’re faced with severe droughts and wildfires, devastating hurricanes, our biodiversity loss is staggering, the Arctic is melting, income inequality is the greatest it’s been since the 1920’s, our economic system of capitalism promotes unsustainable growth on a finite planet, and still …. our politicians dither!

With all these issues coming to a head at once, this time is history is truly unprecedented.

So now what?

There is an urgent need to switch to renewables as fast as possible, as NC Solutions is doing with the promotion of 100% renewable resolutions around North Carolina. We can also press our representatives to vote for policies that support the shift to renewables, like the Green New Deal.

It is also clear that we have an opportunity for something so big that it is daunting, even overwhelming … we have the possibility of a "civilization re-boot".

As climate activist and educator Paul Gilding said in his book, The Great Disruption:

"Getting through to the good side of this crisis is going to
require us all to engage …
 This crisis presents what may be a ‘once in a civilization’ opportunity
for a step change in human evolution, but one driven consciously rather than biologically."

We have the possibility to transition to a sustainable and thriving future! This will challenge each of us to bring forth the best within ourselves.

What’s needed?
  • Courage … from the root ‘cor’, the Latin word for heart.
  • We need courage to pause and contemplate why we are here on this planet at this remarkable time in history.
  • We need courage to recognize that we’re in a time of major transformation. There is great danger and great opportunity.
  • We need courage  to envision the future we want, not the future our leaders tell us is politically feasible.
  • We need courage to take our power back!
  • We need courage to dream big!
  • We need courage to dream big and know there is no guarantee of success.
  • We need courage to live with uncertainty.
  • We need courage to ask ourselves what gifts we have to offer to this transition.
  • We need courage to serve our children and grandchildren, to ask what’s best for them.
  • We need courage to honor the deep excitement and passion for possibilities.
    • Remember the Moon Shot? When President Kennedy announced in 1961 that we were going to the moon in 10 years, most people thought it was completely impossible!
  • We need courage to be a "possibilitarian"! And be a role model for others.
  • We need courage to speak our vision to others, and risk being called foolish.
  • We need courage to look for and find our tribe of like-minded folks.
  • We need courage to move out of our comfort zone, and into a state of discomfort: only in a state of discomfort can we grow.
  • We need courage to acknowledge our heroic spirit and call forth our inner Heroine/Hero.
  • We need courage to choose an area of participation for 2019 and make a commitment to do it fully and passionately.
  • We need courage to recognize it’s an honor to be alive on the planet at this time and to have the opportunity to participate in a "once in a civilization" transformation.
As Nelson Mandela said, "It always seems impossible until it is done."
In 2019, challenge yourself to adopt some new behaviors:
  • Make a commitment to support one organization and donate regularly.
  • Make a commitment to support one local organization with your time and energy.
  • Make a commitment to change one or more of your behaviors to reduce your carbon footprint. Examples include:
    • Eat less meat and dairy. Institute a Meatless Monday to begin lowering your carbon footprint on your food choices. Eat local.
    • Fly less. Drive less. Flying is the most carbon intensive form of transportation. It produces 53 pounds of CO2 per mile. Once carbon is put into the atmosphere it stays there for 100’s to 1,000’s of years.
    • Stop using single-use plastic throw-away items; they are filling the oceans with debris; thousands of seabirds and sea turtles, seals, and other marine mammals are killed each year after ingesting plastic.
  • Make a commitment to be a more engaged citizen. Know what is going on locally and nationally, and regularly call your representatives at the state and federal level to share your opinion.
    • Individual actions are no longer enough. We must engage at the policy level to create bold enough actions to shift our direction toward renewables and away from fossil fuels. As the Citizens Climate Lobby says, "Politicians do not create political will, they respond to it". We the People have the power to create political will; We the People must use it!
    • For support in civic engagement, join with others in your area, or join your local Indivisible Group.

In the words of Clarissa Pinkola Estes, "… the fact is that we were made for these times. Yes. For years, we have been learning, practicing, been in training for and just waiting to meet on this exact plain of engagement".

Take Heart! This is the year to make our biggest difference!  With blessings for our full and passionate engagement in 2019!

Exciting New Wave Rising Up …

There is a powerful groundswell of energy rising up to address our climate crisis! We have an (undeclared) climate emergency and young people, even children, are recognizing this fact. They see that unresolved climate issues could wreak havoc on their futures. The newest, youngest, and most powerful voice on the global stage demanding the world address a changing climate is Greta Thunberg, a 15- year-old Swedish student.
Greta decided to create ‘Strike 4 Climate Action’ to protest the inaction of leaders to address our climate crisis, and get her voice heard. After several weeks of a full-time strike from school, she now attends school for four days and goes on strike every Friday, sitting in front of the Swedish Parliament building, until Sweden adopts policies that bring them in line with the Paris Accord.   Thousands of students from around the world have joined her in this protest.
Greta addressed the COP 24 UN Climate meeting in Poland last week. Here are the powerful and inspiring 4 minutes of her closing remarks. Amazing! Literally speaking truth to power… I’ve never seen such a clear example of that before!
And her 10-minute Ted talk about the necessity of changing the rules to address our climate crisis.
Greta speaks clearly about the need for civil disobedience. She urges all of us to act … take action, she says, then hope comes. But action first!
There are other groups spontaneously forming as well. They are speaking up and speaking out for action on our climate emergency. Extinction Rebellion, is an international movement using nonviolent resistance to minimize species extinction and avert climate breakdown. Sunrise is "building an army of young people to stop climate change and create millions of good jobs in the process". They are demanding a Green New Deal to adequately address our climate emergency.
How can we support these young people fighting for their future? How can we support young people whose future is on the line, but they don’t know it yet? How will we choose to engage in this crisis? To participate in the most important issue of our time? What’s happening on our earth that moves your heart (maybe even breaks your heart) and motivates you to act?
We cannot leave it to the "climate professionals"! All of us need to take a stand and raise our voices for a livable future.
You can find out more up-to-the minute details about US climate issues and actions by watching the National Geographic film, Paris to Pittsburg, which just aired Dec. 12.  It’s now available free for one week (Dec. 13-20)  at the National Geographic website or You-Tube Channel.

COURAGE needed

Reading the headlines about the heat waves and fires enveloping the globe with records being broken for the highest temperatures in the U.S., Europe, and Asia, we are seeing the effects in our weather due to climate change.

Our backs are pushed to the wall, and it’s not looking good for the "Home Team"!

We are faced with unprecedented converging crises: climate change including the Arctic melting at an unprecedented rate, which is projected to be ice free this summer or next; our ability to produce enough food for a global population that keeps growing; decreasing supplies of cheap oil which are expected to drive prices up; our unsustainable industrial agriculture with it’s heavy use of fossil fuel-based pesticides, fertilizers and farm equipment – note: it takes the equivalent of 10 calories of fossil fuel to produce one calorie of food; loss of biodiversity including pollinators upon which agriculture depends; and sea level rise, all against the backdrop of a surreal reality created by repeated lies at the highest levels.

We’re in a David and Goliath story if there ever was one!

It’s important not to go numb or distract ourselves with easy and useless activities. It’s also important to acknowledge our deep grief over what’s happening. Everyone awake to the truth of our current reality is going through a grieving process of some kind. It’s a process and you can get through it. Seek out your "tribe" of similarly awake and awakening folks. Remember you are not alone.

Now is the time to reach deep inside ourselves and bring forth our heroic self in order to rise to the challenge of this historic moment.

For this two kinds of courage are needed:

  • Courage to confront the truth: unless we change, we are headed toward an unlivable planet in 10-15 years
  • Courage to take action on this truth


For decades scientists have been warning us that burning fossil fuels is warming the planet. James Hansen, then head of Goddard Center at NASA, testified to Congress in 1988 about the dangers of climate change. We have held multiple international conferences on it, numerous IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) reports with dire warnings, and still very little action has been taken to reduce emissions.

Last fall 15,000 scientists signed a "Second Notice" Warning about Climate Change, stating that we are on a collision course with the natural world, and that "soon it will be too late to shift course away from our failing trajectory".

Climate change is linked to droughts, wild fires, crop failures, depleted ocean fish stocks, and extreme weather events, costing the U.S. billions of dollars just last year alone. We now know that our climate has become destabilized and the jet stream has been weakened. This resulted in last winter’s spilling of cold air from the Arctic that traveled all the way down to Florida.

Current carbon in our atmosphere measures 410 ppm (parts per million), an amount not seen for over 800,000 years!

This is a stunning number as you can see in the graph! The recommended maximum is 350 ppm.

One of the big problems is that carbon dioxide stays in the atmosphere for 50-300 years, with 20 percent lasting thousands of years. Based on all this, we are at risk of going over the agreed upon 2C (C = Celsius) degree limit set by the Paris Climate Accord. The latest research shows that we may reach that limit in 10 to 15 years, much sooner than projected in previous reports. The 2C degree limit is the line between dangerous and very dangerous climate change.

Another perspective on the limit we are approaching is to look at our carbon budget, the amount of carbon we can put into the atmosphere and still have a reasonable chance of staying under the 2C degree limit. According to Kevin Anderson of the Tyndall Institute in the UK our carbon budget runs out in the mid 2030’s.

We cannot simply continue the status quo, going full blast burning fossil fuels, and come to a screeching halt when the budget runs out. That would crash the economy. The transition from a high-carbon to a zero-carbon energy infrastructure takes decades. It’s necessary to rein in our carbon emissions now so that when the carbon budget runs out we are at or close to net zero emissions.

You can see from the graph above that the longer we wait to begin reducing our emissions, the shorter the amount of time left to stay within our carbon budget, and the steeper the cuts have to be.

Right now renewable energy is increasing exponentially which is great news, but it’s also important to realize that ALL manufacturing plants that make solar panels, wind turbines and electric cars use fossil fuel. Not to mention the hundreds of items that are part of our daily lives that are made from fossil fuel, which includes pharmaceuticals, concrete and asphalt, and plastics that are in practically everything: food packaging, soap and make-up containers, plastic bags and plastic bottles, to name some of the obvious ones.

The transition to finding ways to make all these products out of something other than fossil fuel, and to not use fossil fuel in the manufacturing process, is a colossal challenge… Yet this is what we need to do in order to get to net zero emissions. This undertaking is beyond any challenge that humanity has ever faced. The Climate Mobilization is a committed organization that recognizes this fact and is calling for a WWII-type plan to make this transition as fast as possible.
As mentioned previously:

Our backs are pressed to the wall!

It’s time for thoughtful, caring people to awaken to the challenges ahead, and come to terms with the potentially devastating impacts of climate change before it’s too late.

If you just cannot imagine that this devastation could happen, watch Earth 2100, a gripping ABC documentary about potential consequences of putting off addressing climate change until it’s too late.
Now what? The situation is dire.
We need to educate ourselves and then act.
Have the courage to confront the truth

and the courage to act on it.

Please don’t just believe what I say, do your own research. And when you do, first find out who funded the article or the study. There are many so-called "think tanks" that are really lobbying arms of the climate deniers, like the Koch Brothers or the petroleum industry.

Read the links in this article.

Subscribe to a newsletter at EcoWatchClimate News NetworkThe Guardian/Environment or Truthout Climate Disruption Dispatches so you receive climate information from an independent source, not an organization dependent on corporate advertising that promotes the status quo.

Watch videos and documentaries on climate change and our multiple crises. There are hundreds of them! See suggestions here.

Find people you can talk to about what’s happening in our country and our world; find your "tribe" who are similarly awake or in the process of awakening to the truth of the multiple crises we’re facing.

Discuss climate change and related topics often; help others understand and come to terms with what’s happening. Help shift our culture to one of urgency about addressing climate change and moving to a life-affirming culture.

Start a book club with a climate focus. Suggestions include: This Changes Everything by Naomi Klein or any of her other books, and/or Climate Disruption by Paul Gilding.

Follow what’s happening in the courts about climate, e.g., the case of the kids suing the government over not providing a livable planet for their future and the lawsuits claiming that Nature has rights.


Participate in bringing forth the world you want to live in and the world you want for your kids! Not to mention your grandkids… but notice the urgency here … we are talking about effects on your kids!


As grim as these statistics are, change is already happening! Paul Hawken shares that there are hundreds of thousands of organizations and millions of people all across the world already involved in solutions to our many crises, mostly running under the radar. This time will be remembered as the Great Unraveling or the Great Turning…. it’s up to us. We can be part of this great movement!

This is an unprecedented shift, as David Korten says in his book, The Great Turning: from Empire to Earth Community.

We can participate in the Great Transition to a life-sustaining culture! This is a once-in-an-epoch opportunity!

Do your part… don’t sit this one out… you want to be able to tell your grandkids what you did to help to help bring our country back from the brink of disaster and what it was like "back in the day!"

Sit down with your family and discuss what you want to do! Involve your whole family, especially the kids, in your projects.

Ideas: reduce your use of plastic, especially single use plastic bottles; figure out how to simplify your life and use less energy by flying less, driving less, biking and walking more; eat less meat and dairy; recycle more actively until your recycling each week is bigger than your trash; plant a garden; consider solar panels on your roof or back yard… prices have come down over 70% in recent years, and there are federal write off’s, plus the monthly savings on your energy bills are tremendous! Batteries are now available so it would be possible to go off grid. Thousands of Germans have already done that!

Divest from fossil fuel.

Fight fracking in your community. Fight all forms of fossil fuel infrastructure, like pipelines and new ports, that locks us in to fossil fuels for decades.

Put your values on the line and demonstrate in local issues. Make it a family affair and invite your neighbors to join you.

Vote for folks who pledge to support policies to protect the earth.

Vote for people who take no money from the fossil fuel industry. Excitingly, this is a growing movement!

Call your representatives … often … even to the point of being a nuisance! Attend town hall meetings and speak up!

This is part of our civic duty and these are necessary actions in order to have a thriving democracy, rather than a system of governance characterized by legalized corruption that works only for the 1% …


Get enough rest, exercise, drink pure water, and eat healthy organic food (organic farming actually sequesters carbon in the soil, so it acts as a "sink" to reduce carbon, compared to industrial farming that increases the amount of carbon in the atmosphere; not to mention avoiding all those pesticides!).

Spend time with family and friends. Spend time in Nature, find the beauty everywhere, laugh, sing, dance, and savor life…

And when you remember the David and Goliath story …

How To Make A Difference

EARTH DAY 2018 is Sunday, April 22! The first Earth Day was April 22, 1970, nearly 50 years ago … and the response to it was massive! Twenty million Americans showed up to participate in demonstrations, rallies, and educational programs all around the country! That was 10% of the population!

It’s amazing to look back and realize that before 1970 factories could release black clouds of toxic pollution into the air or dump tons of toxic water into our waterways, and there was nothing anyone could do about it. It was legal! At that time there was no EPA, no Clean Air Act, no Clean Water Act. There were no regulatory or legal mechanisms to protect our environment.

Fortunately for us, Senator Gaylord Nelson created Earth Day in order to bring attention to this growing problem. After pressure from millions who showed up to protest this travesty, only months later Congress authorized the creation of a new agency, The Environmental Protection Agency, to tackle our growing environmental issues.

As we have seen the current administration and the head of the EPA, Scott Pruitt, are doing everything they can to dismantle these basic protections of our environment and destroy the beauty of Nature, valued so highly by the vast majority of Americans. 

I find it heart-breaking that a prominent environmental advocate and gay rights lawyer, David Buckel, set himself on fire in New York on April 14, as a  protest suicide against ecological destruction. The New York Times reported that it received an emailed copy of a suicide note that read, "Most humans on the planet now breathe air made unhealthy by fossil fuels, and many die early deaths as a result – my early death by fossil fuel reflects what we are doing to ourselves."

My dear friend and colleague Marty Adams was so touched by the story that she wrote this moving and eloquent piece about it. It’s re-printed here with her permission:

"Monks immolated themselves in protest to the Vietnam war. 

This man took a serious stand about the tragic destruction of Mother Earth that we are all witnesses to, by ending his life in this dramatic and public way.

Whether we are awake to the ravages of climate catastrophe or not, it is happening. We don’t have to "believe"; this is not about faith or beliefs. 

Observe that your car windshield does not need to be cleaned of insect debris nearly as often as years back: there are hugely reduced numbers of insects. Good, you might say. But insects are many creatures’ food source.

Observe that there are also fewer birds and butterflies. Look around you. 

Don’t believe my observations and reporting, look up the numbers yourself. 

While you are at it, look up Sixth Mass Extinction.

May this man RIP. I am sad for those who knew him and his many talents.

Find a way in your own life to participate in solutions. It can be a small step, but do something."

One hugely important small step you can take today is to reduce your use of plastic. In fact there is so much plastic pollution in our landfills, oceans, and now even in our bodies that the focus of EARTH DAY this year is on plastic.

Did you know there is a massive dump of floating garbage in the middle of the ocean, thousands of miles from the nearest land? … called the Great Pacific Garbage Patch? … bigger than the size of Texas? Did you know that millions of sea birds, fish, and turtles die each year from ingesting plastic? 

There are now 5 Garbage Patches! … they are a testament of our indiscriminate use of plastic. We contribute to them everyday by littering and using non-biodegradable materials. Landfill trash flows out with the rains, moves into rivers and into the ocean, where currents sweep it to the closest patch. 

Did you know?

  • We currently recover only 5% of the plastics we produce.
  • The average American throws away approximately 185 pounds of plastic per year.
  • Annually approximately 500 billion plastic bags are used worldwide; more than one million every minute!
  • A plastic bag has an average "working life" of 15 mins.
  • In the last ten years we have produced more plastic than during the entire last century.
  • In the US, 100.7 billion plastic beverage bottles were sold in 2014; 315 bottles per person!
  • 57% of those were plastic water bottles.
  • The process of producing bottled water requires around 6 times as much water per bottle as there is in the container.

In response to our excessive plastic pollution, Earth Day 2018 is dedicated to providing the information and inspiration needed to "fundamentally change human attitude and behavior about plastics."

Chose any of these steps to get started reducing plastic use:

Here are 10 Ways to "Rise Above Plastic":

  • Choose to reuse when it comes to shopping bags and bottled water. Cloth bags and metal or glass reusable bottles are available locally at great prices.
  • Refuse single-serving packaging, excess packaging, straws and other "disposable" plastics. Carry reusable utensils in your purse, backpack or car to use at bbq’s, potlucks or take-out restaurants.
  • Reduce everyday plastics such as sandwich bags and juice cartons by replacing them with a reusable lunch bag/box that includes a thermos.
  • Bring your to-go mug with you to the coffee shop, smoothie shop or restaurants that let you use them, which is a great way to reduce lids, plastic cups and/or plastic-lined cups.
  • Go digital! No need for plastic cds, dvds and jewel cases when you can buy your music and videos online.
  • Seek out alternatives to plastic items that you rely on.
  • If you must use plastic, try to choose #1 (PETE) or #2 (HDPE), which are the most commonly recycled plastics. Avoid plastic bags and polystyrene foam as both typically have very low recycling rates.
  • Volunteer at a beach cleanup. 
  • Support plastic bag bans, polystyrene foam bans and bottle recycling bills.
  • Spread the word. Talk to your family and friends about why it is important to reduce plastic in our lives and the nasty impacts of plastic pollution.

How to make a difference?  Stop using single use plastic bottles today!!  And share why with everyone you know!

On Earth Day, show your appreciation for our magnificent Earth, our One and Only Home, by your actions!

With appreciation & love for our magnificent Mother Earth, 




Plastic Pollution Primer and Action Toolkit

Earth Day Network is working to secure a future free of plastic pollution. Sign their petition to world leaders, national governments, and local legislators:

Over 1 billion people worldwide will participate in Earth Day in 2018! Earth Day Network, the global coordinator of Earth Day, is building the world’s largest coalition of people united to ensure a healthy planet.  Click here for more information or to join the Earth Day Network and be part of the largest environmental movement in the world!

3 Years to Change Direction …

As a yoga and meditation teacher since 1973, I am getting many questions about why I’m talking about climate change and civic engagement these days instead of yoga poses and philosophy. To my mind addressing climate and being involved in our collective life is yoga! It’s taking yoga off the mat and into the world, seeing The One in The Many, which is the heart of the non-dual philosophy I’ve studied and taught. This perspective goes to the crux of the crises we are facing: thinking that we are separate beings rather different manifestations of One Spirit. We are in the midst of a tremendous shift in consciousness on the planet ~ from the love of power to the power of love. As Martin Luther King, Jr. says it so eloquently,
“It really boils down to this: that all life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied into a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. We are made to live together because of the interrelated structure of reality.” 
I have loved yoga, and taught classes, workshops, and trainings for decades, and am now expanding to speak about one of the most urgent and serious issues of our time: climate change and how close we are to irreversible tipping points. I fully believe that yoga practitioners and all spiritual practitioners have immense gifts to offer this unfolding emergency: to honor the Earth, to show compassion for all creatures, especially those weakened by climate stress, and to be courageous in living the deep values of our One Humanity.
So, that said, here’s the latest on climate science …
recently published study states that the world must set greenhouse gas emissions on a downward path by 2020, or risk not being able to contain the temperature rise within what is considered the safe limits of 1.5-2.0 degrees Celsius, according to the Paris Agreement.
To get a clearer idea of how much warming we’re talking about, convert the temperature in Celsius to Fahrenheit by multiplying the Celsius temperature by 1.8. So that 1.5-2.0 C becomes 2.7-3.6 F. That’s quite a bit warmer that many people may have realized.
One helpful way to get a handle on our climate situation is to consider our ‘carbon budget’, as reported in the Nature article noted above:
"The magnitude of the challenge can be grasped by computing a budget for CO2 emissions – the maximum amount of the gas that can be released before the temperature limit is breached. After subtracting past emissions, humanity is left with a ‘carbon credit’ of around 600 Gigatons (Gt)."
  • Clearly we cannot continue to burn fossil fuels at the current rate until we spend the 600 Gt budget and then stop on a dime. We must begin as soon as possible to lower our global carbon footprint in order to reach net zero emissions when our budget runs out. See the graph below:

Clearly we are in a climate emergency of mammoth proportions and this should be an "all hands on deck" moment,
            … but it isn’t.  
This could be a time when the entire country comes together to address an enormous problem, that left unattended will ruin the lives of your children and grandchildren (and my niece and nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews and my new grandnephew born less than a week ago),
             … but it isn’t.
Many scientists and researchers point out that we have the tools and the technology to shift from fossil fuels to renewables in time to avoid the worst damage of climate change. Mark Jacobson at Stanford University has a detailed plan for our country to get to net zero emissions that we could be following,
            … be we aren’t. 
This could be a moment that the entire country goes on high alert to address a major risk to the continuation of our civilization as we know it,
            … but it isn’t.  
It’s clear that waiting for the government to act will be too late, working alone will be too little, and the media has failed us by not reporting on the severity of the climate story.
Why aren’t we on high alert to this climate emergency?
  • Lack of political will. Extreme amounts of money are given to members of Congress to ensure their favorable vote, from corporations like the Koch Brothers, Exxon Mobil, Shell Oil, BP, and the auto industry, among many others. They are pros at climate denial. 
  • This "influences" mainstream media, including CNN, CBS, NCB, ABC, the New York Times, and The Washington Post, etc. in what stories they will cover, because of the advertising dollars at risk if they cover stories negatively affecting their advertisers.
  • Check here for independently owned media that do not have the biases of corporate media.
So, it is up to each of us to get engaged in protecting Earth and our future! What can you, as one single person, do to make a difference? Here are some ideas to get you started:
  • Align your actions with your values and lower your carbon footprint. The U.S. uses the equivalent of 5 earths each year, so we all have room to improve! We can simplify and de-clutter our lives and in the process lower our footprint. Compute how many earths you use each year with this Ecological Footprint Calculator. It’s fun, informative and also humbling! However, it’s easy to start with the low-hanging fruit, whatever is easiest to change.
  • Surprisingly one important thing you can do is to talk about climate change!!  Talk with friends, neighbors, family, store clerks, everyone! Share the videos above!  Forward this email to friends and family.
  • Research shows that 70% of people now believe climate change is happening and think that the government should do something about it! However, most people do not hear anyone talking about climate change in a given month. Talk about it! Speak up!! Let’s each do our part to bring the collective awareness of our impending climate catastrophe to the level of the national emergency that it is!Individual actions are important but are not enough! We must work together in groups.
  • Find an organization whose values you like: join and participate with your time or money.  See a list here. 
  • Especially note The Climate Mobilization, which along with many climate scientists, is calling for a WWII-scale mobilization that restores a safe climate by reaching net zero emissions within a decade.
    • "The climate crisis is causing immense human suffering and damage to the natural world. It threatens to destroy civilization and kill billions of people. Overcoming the climate emergency is the great moral imperative of our time." 
  • Increase your civic engagement!  Call your MOC’s (Members of Congress) regularly.  Let them know your opinions.  Repeat!
    • Join Daily Action and get a single action to do daily that focuses your civic activity!
    • One recent report said there were hundreds of thousands of calls to Congress demanding health care, and thousands attending town hall meetings (I was one of them!) Joining together in civic engagement made the difference! …and the healthcare repeal was stopped.    
Finally don’t forget to take care of your most important asset: YOU!
  • Take good care of yourself. Many people are feeling overwhelmed, depressed, sad, angry, and/or grief over what has happened and is happening to our Earth. Accept your feelings. Sit and experience them. Journal or talk with a friend. Get help if you need it. Get moving, breathing, eating well, resting, & sleeping well. Don’t forget to play and have fun!
Hold the most expansive perspective you can …  This is about a deep shift in consciousness, from seeing ourselves as separate individuals to being an integral part of the Web of Life, embracing our One Humanity.
"It is not given to us to know which acts or by whom, will cause the critical mass to tip toward an enduring good… We are needed, that is all we can know".You were made for these times! You would not be here otherwise…
With love & appreciation for our Earth and all her inhabitants,


4 Days Until Electors Choose Our Next President

In 4 days, on December 19, the Electoral College will vote, choosing the next president of the United States.
Clearly President-Elect Donald Trump has broken his campaign promise to "drain the swamp".  Instead has filled his cabinet with three men from Goldman Sachs and appointed people to head agencies who are on record saying those agencies should not exist.  Most of us are recoiling in horror to realize Trump’s presidency would do tremendous harm to our climate, democracy, economic equality, social and racial justice, LGBTQ rights, women’s rights, freedom of speech, our standing in the world, and on and on…  It would be a country that functioned even more to serve the elite 1% and create greater suffering for everyone else.  It would not be a country that we want to live in, nor want to pass on to our next generations.
But there is a glimmer of hope…  The Electoral College makes the final decision … in 4 days.  There is a huge effort underway to convince at least 37 Republican electors to not vote for Trump.  According to Lawrence Lessig, a Harvard University constitutional law professor, there are 20 Republican members of the Electoral College who are considering voting against Donald Trump.  I know it’s a long shot, and it is an unprecedented possibility … however, we are in an unprecedented situation.
You can get involved!
Make Democracy Matter has set up a map of the electors in each state.  Click on any red state to get a list of the Republican electors in that state; click on the elector and you have the option of calling or emailing them to request that they NOT vote for Trump.
Law professor Geoffrey R. Stone argues persuasively that voting against Trump under these circumstances is faithful to our nation’s founding principles: it is the courageous, patriotic thing for electors to do.  Also by the latest count, Trump lost the popular vote by over 2.5 million votes.
If ever there was a time for us to take action, to move out of our comfort zone and make a few calls (or emails, although calls have been shown to be more effective), to take a stand for what in our heart we know is right, to believe in the power of the people, to hope for a miracle and take action on it … THIS IS IT!!  
Let’s tap our Inner Warrior to get active and stay active … to fight for the country and the values that we believe in!
It’s also good to remember, as this great organization Climate Mobilization states:
"Whatever happens on December 19, there is no substitute for building an unprecedented mass movement to protect American democracy, secure fundamental human rights for everyone, and restore a safe climate through a WWII-scale mobilization. We remain firmly committed to that mission, and will keep mobilizing and organizing to build it in the coming weeks, months, and years."
Go to the Save Democracy website and click on your state to learn about protests in your state capital on December 19.  Sign up and attend!  Make history!

Our Collective Blind Spot That Elected Trump

The entire world was stunned last week by the results of the US Presidential election.  How could the wealthiest country in the world, one that professes democracy, have elected a man who runs counter to what the majority holds dear?  How could we elect a climate denier, who used racist, sexist, and xenophobic language throughout his campaign?
How can we make sense of this?  Is there a way we can view the election from a broad perspective that includes not only politics but also the economy and our culture, and thereby see more of the forces shaping the election?
"We have entered a watershed moment not only here in America, but also globally.  It’s a moment that could help us wake up to a deeper level of collective awareness and renewal – or a moment when we could spiral down into chaos, violence, and fascism-like conditions.  Whether it’s one or the other depends on our capacity to become aware of our collective blind spot."
This is the opening paragraph of an article by Otto Scharmer, co-founder of u.lab at MIT, Senior Lecturer, and Thousand Talents Program Professor at Tsinghua University.
In his article, On The Making of Trump – The Blind Spot That Created Him, Scharmer discusses the Economic Divide, the Political Divide, and the Cultural-Spiritual Divide that resulted in Trump as the President-Elect.  This is the most thoughtful, thorough, uplifting, and helpful response to these questions that I’ve read.
Scharmer also leads an international online program with over 75,000 people worldwide having participated.  His insightful, free course is designed for collaboration and guides participants to create solutions for their specific situations that serve our "Emerging Future".  There are 29,000 people registered in his current course!  This is a great opportunity to participate in a powerful, uplifting and global training.  If you’re intrigued, consider participating!