Category Archives: Sustainability

How to Change the World

On Facebook every day I see little messages like “Be the change you want to see.” and “Save the Rainforests” and “Give Peace a Chance.” Well, yes. Of course.  But let’s get real. What can we actually do to change the world? It isn’t enough to write a check or post a clever saying or read a book or love the sea lion pups. We have to be pro-active, steady and consistent.

Imagine for a moment that there is actually a fabric of planetary consciousness that floats above our heads in the near atmosphere.  This fabric is invisible to our eyes, but perhaps not to the celestial helpers who oversee our planet. They can tell at a glance the sorry state of our planet.

This fabric holds and reflects the thoughts and attitudes and mind-action of every person on the planet. When you or I have a fearful, negative, angry or resentful thought, our thoughts stain this fabric, help to turn it dark. When we have a spiritual thought, a loving experience, commit a selfless act, we add a tiny portion of light to the fabric.

I believe in this fabric. And I believe that darkness begets darkness, and that the light banishes shadows.

What color do you suppose the fabric of planetary consciousness currently is?

If we want to change the world, we need to be in control of our thoughts. I believe our thoughts are far more powerful than we can imagine. And when we are cruisin’ in the zone of light, we’re spreading the benign virus of love, which is a powerful way to lighten the fabric of planetary consciousness.

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Filed under Beauty, peace, Possibilities, Prayer, relationships, Social Consciousness, Spirituality, Sustainability

Energy

Let me begin this post by saying that I am not a scientist. I am not schooled in engineering or any of the ways in which power is generated. I have a basic knowledge of many systems of the world, but I have no expertise. What I do have, however, is a modicum of common sense, and that is what this post is about.

It seems to me that drilling for more oil is futile. Whatever pools of it we find, it’s still a finite resource and as our population continues to explode unabated, it won’t stretch as far as we think it ought to or need it to. Ditto natural gas and all those fossil fuels. Finite. Any energy system that requires them is unsustainable. To me, it is sheer madness to be using up our fossil fuels in automobiles and airplanes at such a prodigious rate. But what’s the alternative?

Alternatives are all around us. The tides go in and out, twice a day, every day. This seems to me to be an enormous resource of power. Even the temperature difference in the oceans between the surface and thirty feet under could be used to drive a turbine. Hydro-power we know how to use; we need to figure out how to use it without damming up all the rivers. Geothermal is in its infancy, and yet what more abundant power could could there possibly be? We just need to be a little more clever about it. Run certain strips of metal through seawater and they become magnetized. Magnetism is a source of power. And, by the way, isn’t the whole world covered by a magnetic field?  Bringing the needs down to a small, local level, what if we put thick plates of steel at every intersection on thick springs that ran a turbine under the intersection? Cars driving over the plate would turn the turbine and make the electricity to run the streetlights. I bet each one of you reading this post can think of at least a dozen ways to power your house, your town, your corner of the world.

The problem with all the solutions we can think of is that the fossil fuels we are using up are still so cheap that it doesn’t pay to invest entrepreneurial money on an alternative. So what if gas goes up to $5/gallon? Oh well, fewer lattes at Starbucks, but we’ll still fill our gas-guzzlers. What if it goes up to $10/gallon?

What if there suddenly is no more gasoline? Surely somebody, somewhere will do something about that, right?

Well, the time is now, because all these fossil fuels are finite. We’re running out of them. Drilling will not help. Coal-mining will not help. Fracking will not help, not in the long run. Those are short-sighted, non-sustainable solutions to a problem that needs vision for the next two hundred years or more. Now is the time to kick these alternatives into gear and get them going so that when that day comes that the gasoline pumps run dry — and believe me, that day is coming sooner than any politician will tell you — we’ll have another way of doing things already in place. Already up and running. A smooth transition.

In this era of unfettered capitalism where greed rules the day, money is not likely to be invested into a new infrastructure of power until there is real money to be made, and that isn’t happening yet, because gasoline is still less than $5 per gallon.  We need to stop looking down at the gas pedal and look up toward the horizon.  We’re running out of fuel. Carpooling one day a week isn’t going to help. We need real, sustainable solutions, put forth by the best minds in the world (not politicians) and we need them now.

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Filed under Social Consciousness, Sustainability

2012: The Year of Forgiveness

I’ve been naming my years for a while now. 2009 was The Year of Hesed (lovingkindness).2010 was The Year of the Tao. 2011 was The Year of Living Simply, and for 2012, I’ve chosen The Year of Forgiveness.

I’ve heard that to forgive someone means to merely allow them their path. Very simple, and my experience says that what is simple is best.

Many years ago, I hurt a lot of people who got caught up in my tsunami of self-destruction. I am soul-sorry about that, and everyone that I’m aware of has forgiven me for my actions during those dark times, for which I will be eternally grateful. I needed those times; they were a part of my path to today. Surely I can allow someone else their path.

I find that it’s easier to forgive someone the big transgressions, but what about the guy who cuts me off in traffic? I am usually outwardly calm, but in my head, I’m screaming: “You idiot!” I really don’t want to do that any more, so I’m going to stop it in 2012. I’m going to let the little things flow over me, making “allow them their path” my mantra for the year.

And I’m going to forgive myself, too, on a daily basis, for being imperfect and doing all the stupid things I do. I say the wrong thing all the time, I eat the wrong things, I still am tempted to slide into old behavior patterns. I no longer burn with resentment, but I can chew on a good one for a while before letting it go. I don’t want to do that any more, either, and so I won’t in 2012. Forgiveness is sustainable; resentment is not.

Living consciously is a decision. Each of us is faced with a million tiny decisions every day as to how to react to a million tiny situations. So in 2012, I will react with love in my heart and the perspective that while we all might be on different paths, the goal is the same.

I have a good feeling about what 2012 has to bring.

Happy New Year!

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Filed under Discipline, Learning, peace, Possibilities, relationships, Resentment, Social Consciousness, Spirituality, Sustainability, years

Occupy for A Constitutional Convention

I, like most aware Americans, are quite taken with the Occupy Wall Street movement. But it is not lost on the billionaires that the movement is unorganized. “Give us jobs!” is like saying, “Give me money.” It means nothing, really. The movement needs to have one specific purpose.

I suggest calling for a Constitutional Convention.

I’m not a constitutional scholar, but I do know that the billionaires are not the problem, it’s the people who make the laws who are the problem.  We need to revamp that system.

The system by which we elect our officials is corrupt. Those with the money have the power. This is wrong. But as long as there are no term limits, the system will continue to become more and more corrupt. Do you think the current congress is going to make changes to the system and put themselves out of a job? Of course not. It’s up to us to do that.

We could get term limits if we hold a Constitutional Convention. It’s time to put career politicians out of business. We could get a balanced budget amendment. We could radically change the antiquated taxation system. Universal health care? We already have that, because whoever goes to the emergency room at the hospital has their bill paid by the rest of us. But it’s unorganized and inefficient. We could fix that with a Constitutional Convention. We could demand a decrease our dependency on imported oil. We could become energy-independent! (Other countries are.) We could mandate taxes on corporations who ship their jobs overseas. We could demand that we get something in return for all the foreign aid we send to other countries. If they can’t behave, they don’t get to cash our checks for billions of dollars.

So listen up, those of you who are demonstrating for all the right reasons: Demonstrate for something concrete. Demonstrate for one or two specific things that can be changed. We can all unite our voices and get many things changed if focus on one thing we can all agree on: the system must be changed.

It’s time for a Constitutional Convention.

Pass the word.

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Filed under peace, politics, Possibilities, Social Consciousness, Sustainability

Gross National Happiness

This YouTube video will take sixteen minutes of your life but could have enormous repercussions, particularly if you repost it vigorously.

A better way is possible. It’s being done right now.

We have much to learn.

Make a difference today.

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Filed under Beauty, Possibilities, Social Consciousness, Spirituality, Sustainability

My thesis is now available

My Master’s thesis (Applied Theology),  “Spiritual Sustainability: A Personal and Social Imperative” is now available for download on the Kindle.

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What is Justice?

With Social Justice being somewhat of a battle cry these days, I think it might be important to ask those who are working for social justice to please define it.

The word “social” is easy. The dictionary says: “of or pertaining to the life, welfare, and relations of human beings in a community.”

The situation gets a bit thornier when we try to define Justice. Normal definitions have to do with moral codes and the law. Well, are the laws defined by our moral codes? Whose moral codes do we use, and how do we define those?

There are certain values which seem to be inborn. Those shared values make us human, and in fact, allows us to become a society. But we have such clever methods of justification that we can twist almost anything into a moral code.

Just watching the nightly news will make it obvious that there are at least two sides to every story, and a different opinion for every person watching. How can we derive our laws–our system of justice–from such a diverse pool, from such an aggregate of special interests? Our opinions, and therefore our beliefs, stem in great part from our needs.

Examine, if you will, both sides of the abortion controversy. Or the death penalty controversy. Or the controversy of your choice.  On each side you will find passionate feelings and opinions, and myriad justifications for those feelings and opinions.

But is that how we should write our laws? Should the moral code of our country be dictated by the current sway of passionate feelings and opinions?

Is there an alternative?

Matthew Fox, in his book A New Reformation writes: “Sustainabillity is another word for justice, for what is just is sustainable and what is unjust is not.”

What if we built our laws, not upon feelings, opinions and scriptural interpretations, but upon sustainability? What if we projected two hundred years into the future and refused to do anything that would knowingly cause harm to our descendants, seven generations hence?

What if sustainability was the law of the land?

We might have a stable economy. We might have an educational system that addressed the needs of the students. We might have a food and water distribution system that nourished every citizen. We might have a fair taxation system that we could depend upon for the next few generations. We might have systems that would perpetuate in righteousness, and the politicians would not be able to throw the citizenry into fear so they could be re-elected, because the very way our representatives are elected would be different.

Sustainability isn’t just another buzzword for the decade. It could very well be the definition of social justice, and the salvation of our society.

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