look out at everything growing so wild and faithfully beneath the
and I wonder why we are the one terrible part of creation privileged
to refuse our flowering…."
"We may be the first generations
in history to whom the future was seen so dispensable because we
are using up everything we can, it seems, as fast as possible, every
last bit of the oil, every last bit of fossil fuels, every last
bit of the top soil, as if there were going to be no tomorrow, and
that becomes, of course, a self-fulfilling prophesy."
"My view of our planet
was a glimpse of divinity…."
Mitchell, sixth man to walk on the Moon
"I think of
the tree-huggers hugging my trunk, blocking the chain saws with
their bodies. I feel their fingers digging into my bark to
stop the steel and let me breathe. I hear the bodhisattvas
in their rubber boats as they put themselves between the harpoons
and me, so I can escape to the depths of the sea. I give thanks
for your life and mine, and for life itself. I give thanks for realizing
that I too have the powers of the tree-huggers and the bodhisattvas."
--a deeply empathizing student named
"Everything was possessed
of personality, only differing with us in form. Knowledge was inherent
in all things. The world was a library and its books were
the stones, leaves, grass, brooks, and the birds and
animals that shared, alike with us, the storms and blessings of
earth. We learned to do what only the student of
nature ever learns, and that was to feel beauty. We never railed
at the storms, the furious winds, and the biting frosts
and snows. To do so intensified human futility, so whatever
came we adjusted ourselves, by more effort and energy if necessary,
but without complaint. Even the lightening did us no harm, for whenever
it came too close, mothers and grandmothers in everytipi put
cedar leaves on the coals and their magic kept danger away. Bright
days and dark days were both expressions of the Great Mystery."
--Luther Standing Bear, Oglala Lakota Sioux
ancient rhythms of the earth have insinuated themselves into the
rhythms of the human heart. The earth is not outside us; it
is within: the clay from where the tree of the body grows. When
we emerge from our offices, rooms and houses, we enter our natural
element. We are children of the earth: people to whom the outdoors
is home. Nothing can separate us from the vigor and vibrancy of this
inheritance. In contrast to our frenetic, saturated lives,
the earth offers a calming stillness. Movement and growth in nature
takes its time. The patience of nature enjoys the ease of trust
and hope. There is something in our clay nature that needs
to continually experience this ancient, outer ease of the world.
It helps us remember who we are and why we are here."
"We humans are not crew. We are
passengers having a good time entertaining ourselves.
The crew are the bacteria, the plankton, the plants, the bees,
the fish, etc that keep things going, making it possible
for us to live on Spaceship Earth."
-- Paul Watson
"The approach I am putting
forward is very similar to Jung's idea of the collective unconscious
. . . What I am suggesting is that a very similar principle
operates throughout the entire universe, not just in human
beings. If the kind of radical paradigm shift I am talking
about goes on within biology --if the hypothesis of morphic
resonance is even approximately correct-- then Jung's idea of the
collective unconscious would become a mainstream idea: Morphogenic
fields and the concept of the collective unconscious would completely
change the context of modern psychology."
"We must invent, or
re-invent, a sustainable human culture by a descent into our pre-rational,
our instinctive resources. Our cultural resources have lost
their integrity. They cannot be trusted. What is needed
is not tran-scendence but IN-scendance, not the brain but the gene."
--Thomas Berry, The Dream of the Earth
"Suddenly, from behind
the rim of the Moon, in long, slow-motion moments of immense majesty,
there emerges a sparkling blue and white jewel, a light, delicate
sky-blue sphere laced with slowly swirling veils of white, rising
gradually like a small pearl in a thick sea of black mystery. It
takes more than a moment to fully realize this is Earth . . . home."
"In outer space you
develop an instant global consciousness, a people orientation, an
intense dissatisfaction with the state of the world, and a compulsion
to do something about it. From out there on the moon, international
politics look so petty. You want to grab a politician by the scruff
of the neck and drag him a quarter of a million miles out and say,
'Look at that, you son of a bitch'."
"We know that the white
man does not understand our ways. One portion of the land is the
same to him as the next, for he is a stranger who comes
on the night and takes from the land whatever he needs. The
earth is not his brother, but his enemy - and when he has conquered
it, he moves on. He leaves his fathers' graves, and
his children's birthright is forgotten."
- Suqwamish & Duwamish
"The apocalypse is not
something which is coming. The apocalypse has arrived in major portions
of the planet and it’s only because we live within a bubble
of incredible privilege and social insulation that we still have
the luxury of anticipating the apocalypse.."
"What if our religion was
If our practice was our life
If prayer, our words
What if the temple was the Earth
If forests were our church
If holy water--the rivers, lakes, and ocean
What if meditation was our relationships
If the teacher was life
If wisdom was self-knowledge
If love was the center of our being." --Ganga
“Every part of this earth is sacred to my people.
Every shining pine needle, every sandy shore, every mist
in the dark woods, every clearing and every humming insect
is holy in the memory and experience of my people. ... The
air is precious to the redman. For all things share the same
breath – the beasts, the trees, and the man. ... All
things are connected. Whatever befalls the earth befalls the
sons of the earth.”
--Chief Seattle, 1854
“To stand at the edge
of the sea, to sense the ebb and flow of the tides, to feel the
breath of a mist moving over a great salt marsh, to watch the flight
of shore birds that have swept up and down the surf lines of the
continents for untold thousands of year, to see the running of the
old eels and the young shad to the sea, is to have knowledge of
things that are as nearly eternal as any earthly life can be.”
“Zapata didn't fight for 'the little lands' --as
Villa used to say-- but for Mother Earth, and from Her. His struggle
takes roots because his struggle is roots. This is why none of
his alliances remains. Zapata doesn't want to go anywhere:
he wants to remain. His purpose is not to open the doors of progress...
but to close them: to reconstruct the mythical map of a human
ecological system where each tree and each hill were there with
a purpose; a world alien to any dynamism that is not the vital
dialog with the earth.”
--Alfredo Krauze ,"Biografia
del Poder: Emiliano Zapata" (Mexico, FCE, 1987)
"No longer a dead rock we live
upon, the Earth is a living process in which we participate."
--Joanna Macy "Treat
the earth well. It
was not given to you by your parents. It
was lent to you by your children."
In 1854, the "Great White Chief"
in Washington made an offer for a large area
of Indian land and promised a "reservation"
for the Native American people.
Chief Seattle's reply, published here in full, has been
described as the most
beautiful and profound statement ever made on the environment.
How can you buy or sell the sky, the warmth of the land?
The idea is strange to us.
If we do not own the freshness
of the air and the sparkle of the water, how can you
Every part of this earth is sacred
to my people. Every shining pine needle, every sandy
shore, every mist in the dark woods, every clearing
and humming insect is holy in the memory and experience
of my people. The sap which courses through the trees
carries the memories of the red man.
The white mans dead forget
the country of their birth when they go to walk among
the stars. Our dead never forget this beautiful earth,
for it is the mother of the red man. We are part of
the earth and it is part of us. The perfumed flowers
are our sisters; the deer, the horse, the great eagle,
these are our brothers. The rocky crests, the juices
in the meadows, the body heat of the pony, and man -
all belong to the same family.
So, when the Great Chief in Washington
sends word that he wishes to buy our land, he asked
much of us. The Great Chief sends word he will reserve
us a place so that we can live comfortably to ourselves.
He will be our father and we will be his children. So
we will consider your offer to buy our land. But it
will not be easy. For this land is sacred to us.
This shining water that moves
in the streams and rivers is not just water but the
blood of our ancestors. If we sell you land, you must
remember that it is sacred, and you must teach your
children that it is sacred and that each ghostly reflection
in the clear water of the lakes tells of events and
memories in the life of my people, the waters
murmur the voice of my fathers father.
The rivers are our brothers,
they quench our thirst, the rivers carry our canoes,
and feed our children. If we sell you our land, you
must remember and teach your children, that the rivers
are our brothers, and yours; and you must henceforth
give the rivers the kindness you would give any brother.
We know that the white man does
not understand our ways. One portion of land is the
same to him as the next, for he is a stranger who comes
in the night and takes from the land whatever he needs.
The earth is not his brother, but his enemy, and when
he has conquered it, he moves on. He leaves his fathers
grave behind, and he does not care. His fathers
grave and his childrens birthright are forgotten.
He treats his mother, the earth, and his brother, the
sky as things to be bought, plundered, sold like sheep
or bright beads, his appetite will devour the earth
and leave behind only a desert.
I do not know. Our ways are different
from your ways, the sight of your cities pains the eyes
of the red man. But perhaps it is because the red
man is a savage and does not understand.
There is no quiet place in the
white mans cities. No place to hear the unfurling
of leaves in spring, or the rustle of an insects
wings. But perhaps it is because I am savage and do
not understand. The clatter only seems to insult the
ears. And what is there to life if a man cannot hear
the lonely cry of the whippoorwill or the arguments
of the frogs around a pond at night? I am a red
man and do not understand. The Indian prefers the soft
sound of the wind darting over the face of a pond, and
the smell of the wind itself, cleansed by a mid-day
rain, or scented with the pinon pine.
The air is precious to the red
man, for all things share the same breath - the beast,
the tree the man, they all share the same breath. The
white man does not seem to notice the air he breathes.
Like a man dying for many days, he is numb to the stench.
But if we sell you our land, you must remember that
the air is precious to us, that the air shares its spirit
with all the life it supports, the wind that gave our
grandfather his first breath also receives his last
sigh. And if we sell you our land, you must keep it
apart and sacred, as a place where even the white man
can go to taste the wind that is sweetened by the meadows
So we will consider your offer
to buy our land. If we decide to accept, I will make
one condition: the white man must treat the beasts of
this land as his brothers.
I am savage and I do not understand
any other way. I have seen a thousand rotting buffaloes
on the prairie, left by the white man who shot
them from a passing train. I am savage and I do not
understand how the smoking iron horse can be more important
than the buffalo that we kill only to stay alive.
What is man without the beasts?
If all the beasts were gone, man would die from a great
loneliness of spirit. For whatever happens to the beasts,
soon happens to man. All things are connected.
You must teach your children
that the ground beneath their feet is the ashes of our
grandfathers. So that they will respect the land, tell
your children that the earth is rich with the lives
of our kin. Teach your children what we have taught
our children, that the earth is our mother. Whatever
befalls the earth befalls the sons of the earth. If
men spit upon the ground they spit upon themselves.
This we know: the earth does
not belong to man; man belongs to the earth, this we
know. All things are connected like the blood which
unites one family. All things are connected. Whatever
befalls the earth, befalls the sons of the earth. Man
did not weave the web of life: he is merely a strand
in it. Whatever he does to the web, the does to himself.
Even the white man, whose God
walks and talks with him as friend to friend, cannot
be exempt from the common destiny.... We may be brothers
after all. We shall see. One thing we know, which the
white man may one day discover - our God is the same
God. You may think now that you own Him as you wish
to own our land; but you cannot. He is the God of man,
and His compassion is equal for the red man and the
white, this earth is precious to Him, and to harm the
earth is to heap contempt on its Creator. The white
too shall pass; perhaps sooner than all other tribes.
Contaminate your bed, and you will one night suffocate
in your own waste.
But in your perishing you will
shine brightly, fired by the strength of the god who
brought you to this land and for some special purpose
gave you dominion over this land and over the red man,
that destiny is a mystery to us, for we do not understand
when the buffaloes are all slaughtered, the wild horses
are tamed, the secret corners of the forest heavy with
scent of many men and the view of the ripe hills blotted
by talking wires. Where is the thicket? Gone, is the
eagle? Gone the end of living and the beginning of survival.
Controversy exists as to the precise words, given
in a speech, and several versions exist online. Chief Seattle
(more correctly known as Seathl) was chief of the Susquamish who
lived on the islands of the Puget Sound.
"The world is not a collection
of objects but a communion of subjects."
At Blackwater Pond
the tossed waters have settled
after a night of rain.
I dip my cupped hands.
I drink a long time.
It tastes like stone, leaves, fire.
It falls cold into my body, waking the bones.
I hear them deep inside me,
oh what is that beautiful thing
that just happened
~ Mary Oliver
“The countries with large
and influential indigenous populations are well in the lead in seeking
to preserve the planet. The countries that have driven indigenous
populations to extinction or extreme marginalization are racing
"The wonder is
that we can see these trees and not wonder more."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Messages from the Grandmothers and Chief
May 12, 2010
"You Are Desperately Needed"
"We ask you to cast, anchor, and hold the Net of Light steady
for the Gulf of Mexico," the Grandmothers said. "This crisis
is affecting the entire world, and humanity is asleep. Wake
up!" they cried. "Animals are dying, plants are
dying, and your Mother is writhing in agony. If you hold the Net
of Light steady at this time you will help stave off further catastrophe.
"You have been lulled into a false sleep," they said,
"told that others (B.P.) will take care of this problem.
This is not so," they said. "And this is not the time
for you to fall into oblivion. Determine now to stay awake, and
once you have made that commitment, think of, cast, and hold the
Net of Light. Hold it deep and hold it wide. Amplify its reach
to penetrate the waters of the Gulf and dive deep beneath the
crust of Mother Earth. Anchor it at the earth's core and as you
hold it there, ask it to unify with the mineral kingdom of this
planet. It will do this and will harmonize with all the solid
and liquid mineral states on earth-including oil and gas. The
Net of Light will call these minerals back into harmony.
"Whatever human beings have damaged, human beings must
correct," the Grandmothers said. "This is the law. We
repeat: This is the law.You cannot sit back and ask God to fix
the mess humanity has created. Each of you must throw your shoulders
to the wheel and work. We are asking for your help. Several years
ago we gave you the Net of Light so you would be able to
help the earth at times like this. Step forward now. This is the
Net of Light that will hold the earth during the times of change
that are upon you," they said.
"First move into your heart and call on us. We will meet
you there. The Net of Light is lit by the jewel of your heart,"
they said, "so move into this lighted place within you and
open to the Net of which you are a part. Bask in its calming presence.
It holds you at the same time that you hold it.
"Now think of magnifying your union with us. We, the Great
Council of the Grandmothers, are with you now, and all those who
work with the Net of Light are also with you. There are thousands,
even millions now connected in light," they said. "Along
with this union, call forth the power of the sacred places on
earth. These will amplify the potency of our joint effort. Then
call on the sacred beings that have come to prevent the catastrophe
that threatens to overwhelm your planet. We will work together,"
they said, nodding slowly.
"Think of, cast and magnify the presence of the Net of
Light in the Gulf of Mexico. See, imagine or think of it holding
the waters, holding the land, the plants, the sea life, and the
people. Holding them all!" they said. "The Net of Light
is holding them steady; it is returning them to balance. Let the
love within your lighted heart keep pouring into the Net of Light
and hold, hold, hold. Calmly and reverently watch as the light
from your heart flows along the strands of the Net. It will follow
your command and continuously move forth. As soon as you think
of it, it will happen. We ask you to practice this for only a
few minutes at a time, but to repeat it throughout the day and
"We promise that this work with the Net of Light will do
untold good," the Grandmothers said. "We are calling
you to service now. You are needed. Do not miss this opportunity.
We thank you and bless you."
This message is from the Peace Chief of the
Lakota Oyate, Arvol Looking Horse:
Chief Looking Horse
May 12, 2010
A Great Urgency: To All World Religious and Spiritual
Time has come to speak to the hearts of our Nations and their
Leaders. I ask you this from the bottom of my heart, to come together
from the Spirit of your Nations in prayer.
We, from the heart of Turtle Island, have a great message for
the World; we are guided to speak from all the White Animals showing
their sacred color, which have been signs for us to pray for the
sacred life of all things. As I am sending this message to you,
many Animal Nations are being threatened, those that swim, those
that crawl, those that fly, and the plant Nations, eventually
all will be affect from the oil disaster in the Gulf.
The dangers we are faced with at this time are not of spirit.
The catastrophe that has happened with the oil spill which looks
like the bleeding of Grandmother Earth, is made by human mistakes,
mistakes that we cannot afford to continue to make.
I asked, as Spiritual Leaders, that we join together, united
in prayer with the whole of our Global Communities. My concern
is these serious issues will continue to worsen, as a domino effect
that our Ancestors have warned us of in their Prophecies.
I know in my heart there are millions of people that feel our
united prayers for the sake of our Grandmother Earth are long
overdue. I believe we as Spiritual people must gather ourselves
and focus our thoughts and prayers to allow the healing of the
many wounds that have been inflicted on the Earth.
As we honor the Cycle of Life, let us call for Prayer circles
globally to assist in healing Grandmother Earth (our Unc'I Maka).
We ask for prayers that the oil spill, this bleeding, will stop.
That the winds stay calm to assist in the work. Pray for the people
to be guided in repairing this mistake, and that we may also seek
to live in harmony, as we make the choice to change the destructive
path we are on.
As we pray, we will fully understand that we are all connected.
And that what we create can have lasting effects on all life.
So let us unite spiritually, All Nations, All Faiths, One Prayer.
Along with this immediate effort, I also ask to please remember
June 21st, World Peace and Prayer Day/Honoring Sacred Sites day.
Whether it is a natural site, a temple, a church, a synagogue
or just your own sacred space, let us make a prayer for all life,
for good decision making by our Nations, for our children's future
and well-being, and the generations to come.
"There are no passengers on
spaceship Earth...we're all crew."
by Mary Oliver
I thought the earth
remembered me, she
took me back so tenderly, arranging
her dark skirts, her pockets
full of lichens and seeds. I slept
as never before, a stone
on the riverbed, nothing
between me and the white fire of the stars
but my thoughts, and they floated
light as moths among the branches
of the perfect trees. All night
I heard the small kingdoms breathing around me,
the insects and the birds
who do their work in the darkness. All night
I rose and fell, as if in water, grappling
with a luminous doom. By morning
I had vanished at least a dozen times
into something better.
Dr. Masaru Emoto is the Japanese scientist who has done the research
and publications about the characteristics of water. Among other
things, his research revealed that water physically responds to
Most of us are angry when we consider what is happening in the
Gulf. We may be of greater assistance to our planet and its life
forms if we sincerely, powerfully and humbly pray the prayer that
Dr. Emoto has proposed. Our united energy can literally shift
the balance of destruction that is happening.
Healing prayer of Dr. Emoto
"I send the energy of love and gratitude to the
water and all the living creatures in the Gulf of Mexico and its
surroundings. To the whales, dolphins, pelicans, fish, shellfish,
planktons, corals, algae and all living creatures... I am sorry. Please
forgive me. Thank you. I love you."
Recently a friend told me that she had been talking up my book
Sacred Demise: Walking The Spiritual Path of Industrial Civilization's
Collapse and suggesting to friends who are aware of collapse that
they read it. On several occasions the response was, "Well,
I don't want to engage in ‘negative thinking'. I'd rather
keep a positive attitude and stay hopeful in the face of what's
going in on the world." When I heard this, I smiled inside
because this perspective in particular prompted me to write the
book. One of my intentions in doing so was to help heal the false
assumption that looking honestly at the end of the world as we
have known it is synonymous with wallowing in negativity.
First, let me begin by assuring the reader that I do not recommend
staring down collapse 24-7. Initially, admitting the reality of
collapse is frightening and disheartening. People at first tend
to become overwhelmed with fear or hopelessness or both. At that
point, we can do one of two things: We can back off and process
the facts in bits and pieces, interspersing doing so with living
our everyday lives, doing things we enjoy with people we love,
and savoring everything in life that nourishes us. Or, we can
immediately engage one or more defense mechanisms in order to
assuage our fear and cognitive dissonance. The defense mechanism
most frequently employed is denial, and unfortunately, some forms
of spirituality are particularly useful in fostering denial because
inherent in them is the assumption that accepting the demise of industrial
civilization will drag one down into permanent depression, anger,
hopelessness, or despair. While it is true that when first acknowledging
collapse, one might experience such feelings, this does not guarantee
that one must choose to take up residence in dark feelings, redecorate,
change one's address, and permanently reside there.
I wrote Sacred Demise from the perspective of exactly the opposite
experience. Did I feel negative feelings when first learning about
collapse and its implications? Of course. Do I still have moments
when negative feelings return and cloud what was an-otherwise
normal day? Absolutely. But for me, acknowledging and preparing
for collapse has been a sea-change in every aspect of my life
which includes a full palette of emotional and spiritual colors
and hues. It has indeed made me more fully human and alive.
Rather than dragging me down into depression and despair, my
acceptance of what is, has liberated me both emotionally
and spiritually. As I have released false hopes of "fixing"
civilization cosmetically or creating a mass consciousness change
that might engender mass movements, I have gained much more energy
for my work and for preparation for the daunting days ahead. In
other words, I have gained a visceral understanding of "crisis
as opportunity"-a cliché which I bandied about earlier
in my life could not fully appreciate until I allowed myself to
deeply understand collapse and its ramifications.
Last month, Oregon Peak Oil researcher and blogger, Jan
Lundberg, put out a call to his readers to respond on three
questions regarding collapse:
What we are acting toward? What main outcome
might we be looking forward to?
What do we relish leaving behind, as collapse
begins or as it will be intensified?
What do we not want to leave behind unresolved;
or, what needs to be done before it's too late to accomplish
This week, Culture Change published the results of the survey
which I strongly encourage everyone to read. Here are a few responses:
•· I look forward to the world breaking up "into
small colonies of the saved" (Robert Bly). I look forward
to a simpler, less neurotic life for me and my children. I would
like to think that my children, while their chances of survival
may be lower, their chances of happiness will be higher.
•· The central change I would like to see is abandonment
of the addictive, frenzied, exploitative American way of life
in favor of a tribal, cooperative, relaxed way of life that puts
responsibility toward other species and the Earth, as well as
other human beings, first.
•· An authentic life that is centered around people
and not things. Revival of things spiritual and not material.
•· Learning how to live with each other and within
the larger community of our bioregions and ecosystems in a way
that is intimate, honest, humble, and humanly and ecologically
sustainable. That includes restoring viable community life, economic
and ecological relationships and systems - living systems.
While none of us knows exactly how the collapse of civilization
will unfold and while it is a process--sometimes subtle, sometimes
blatant whose beginning, middle, and end are and will be difficult
to discern, the responses to Lundberg's questions are encouraging.
First, they let me know that I'm not alone and that there are
many more individuals than I could have imagined who are looking
at collapse with the same optimism-and fear-that I feel when I
contemplate it. Moreover, what I hear in these responses is not
"negativity" but a deep longing for the possibility
of living lives in harmony with all of the earth community and
thereby experiencing the fullness of our humanity.
In the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries, Sigmund
Freud cultivated a very dark perception of humanity as he assessed
the baser instincts largely repressed in the human unconscious.
His pupil who became the famous Swiss psychologist, Carl Jung,
acknowledged the dark side of humanity which drove Freud to utter
despair but unlike Freud, Jung came to believe that the dark side
was a necessary ally in transforming human consciousness. He spent
decades studying myriad spiritual teachers, mythologies, and archetypes
of the unconscious, and championed the sacred in nature and in
the human psyche; however, Jung insisted that, "We must beware
of thinking of good and evil as absolute opposites. The criterion
of ethical action can no longer consist in the simple view that
good has the force of a categorical imperative, while so-called
evil can resolutely be shunned. Recognition of the reality of
evil necessarily relativizes the good, and the evil likewise,
converting both into halves of a paradoxical whole."
In other words, according to Jung, what we call "good"
and "evil" need each other and in our binary thinking
are opposite poles which in reality comprise the whole of the
human experience; one needs the other for completion, and particularly
for the transformation of consciousness. This is why Jung adamantly
declared that "Mental illness is the avoidance of suffering."
He was not referring to meaningless anguish but suffering which
we endeavor to make sense of so that our genuine human purpose
may be revealed to us.
In Sacred Demise, I repeatedly return to the question: Who do
we want to be in the face of collapse? My friend Joanna Gabriel
in a wonderful 2007 interview with Peak
Moment TV beautifully articulates the question "Who Am I
In A Post-Petroleum World". We both concur that these are
the ultimate questions that collapse is inviting us to address
in our individual lives and in our communities. I believe that
it is futile to attempt to do so unless we are willing to struggle
with all of the human emotions that emerge as we choose to stop
avoiding the issue of collapse and with the support of trusted
others, look at it honestly, welcoming it as a wise teacher and
Sacred Demise painstakingly guides the reader in opening to
the process of initiation that collapse is foisting upon us. The
ancients and all traditional peoples know that without initiations,
humans will not develop into mature, whole beings. In such cultures,
it would be almost unheard of for anyone to speak of "wanting
to avoid negativity" because all experiences and feelings
are honored as necessary aspects of the human condition, without
which humans cannot become fully conscious.
Among other things, collapse is asking us to grow up, to become
initiated elders and thereby guide humanity in a revolutionary
new direction. Near the end of Sacred Demise, I include an excerpt
from a comment a reader of my website, Truth
to Power, emailed me last year. He wrote:
"I, for one, would find much more meaning from putting
food on the table that is truly needed and sustaining rather than
taken for granted. Food that I raised or killed myself, or we
ourselves, or my neighbor did, and I bartered with him for it.
Much more so than the meaning Empire tells me what I am supposed
to get from sitting here in my cubicle (my penultimate day today!)
rearranging little electronic blips in exchange for money, which
I am then supposed to exchange not only for my sustenance, but
also for all sorts of diversions, to make me forget how meaningless
it all is. I, for one, will find consolation in knowing my neighbors
- and in knowing that they are there for me as I am for them,
rather than living amidst strangers, as most all of us do now.
I will find consolation in knowing that my ecological footprint
does not extend beyond my gaze. That the things I consume do not
cause death and destruction beyond my ability to see and internalize,
rather than out of sight and mind as now, and so much larger than
any being could ever have a ‘right' to. I, for one, will
find purpose in working closely and cooperatively and communally
with those around me to provide our own sustenance, comforts such
as they may be, and entertainments as time allows.I have no illusions
that life post-collapse will be idyllic, nor that the transition
will be anything but ugly. But neither shall I miss that which
is dying - the dizzying complexity of our oil-drenched lifestyles,
a thousand channels of nothing worth watching, mega-malls, motor
sports (how many kinds of insane are those!?!), celebrities, glitter,
growth, more, faster, bigger, keep up with the Joneses but ignore
the sweatshops and the dying ecosystems, consume, medicate, live
large... then die. Where is one to find a sense of purpose in
all of that?"
Whether one considers oneself "spiritual", atheist,
agnostic, religious, or eternally skeptical, the task of accepting
collapse and seizing the myriad opportunities it presents, is
sacred work. As for me, nothing in my life has proven more positive
Carolyn Baker, Ph.D., is the author of Sacred Demise:
Walking The Spiritual Path of Industrial Civilization's Collapse
(2009 IUniverse). She manages the Truth
to Power website at and has also authored U.S. History
Uncensored: What Your High School Textbook Didn't Tell You.
Hear a real story about an artificial tail Japanese sculptor to speak in San Francisco of labor of
Coming to San Francisco from Japan tonight is a touching tale
about a tail.
A bottlenose dolphin named Fuji caught a mysterious disease that
cost her 75 percent of her tailfin, a tragedy akin to a boat losing
most of its propeller.
The Okinawa aquarium where she lives cured the disease but couldn't
replace her tail. So it called upon the world's biggest rubber
and tire firm, Bridgestone, to make an artificial one.
Bridgestone's tires may be very good, but the fake tail didn't
The Okinawa Chiraumi Aquarium then turned to an Osaka sculptor
who crafts acrylic dolphins. Could he help make a tail for the
dolphin named after Japan's most famous mountain?
Kazuhiko Yakushiji felt he owed his happiness to dolphins. He
said yes and worked three years. This past July, the new tail
Fuji could not only swim again, she could jump out of the water.
"Fuji couldn't swim," the artist said in an interview
Monday as he recalled meeting the dolphin for the first time.
"She seemed really depressed. I thought Fuji might die if
nothing was done."
The problem was that Bridgestone had made a generic dolphin tail,
said Yakushiji, who at age 38 is one year older than Fuji.
"Each dolphin is different," said Yakushiji, who will
give a talk with illustrations tonight in San Francisco, the first
time he's told his story outside Japan.
"I found out that Fuji and her family have a special curve
in their tail," said Yakushiji, who had studied dolphins
at Florida's Dolphin Research Center. Together, he and Bridgestone
crafted a rubber-composite prosthetic fin with the proper curve
Yakushiji's devotion to dolphins began a decade ago, when he
was running a small energy firm inherited from his father.
"My heart and soul were exhausted," he said. He went
away for a swim-with-dolphins excursion at Ogasawara islands.
"I met a wild dolphin, and that changed my entire life,"
At first, he had been too tired to jump in with the other swimmers,
but he finally took the plunge alone on the other side of the
boat. The life-altering dolphin swam up and played with him.
"That dolphin completely healed me," he said. The encounter
moved him to quit his job and realize his life's wish to become
Dolphins became a dominant theme. "I wanted to show my gratitude,"
pledge allegiance to the Earth,
and to the flora, fauna
and human life that it supports,
one planet, indivisible,
with safe air, water and soil,
economic justice, equal rights
and peace for all.
Environment and Development
Organization of the Women's Foreign Policy Council
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