Thursday, July 05, 2012

TAKING THE STEP


Yup! I'm starting a new walk. I've been toying with the thought for awhile. I liked my previous retreat from the Internet and I'm doing it again, this time in an open-ended way. I'm not sure where the path leads but, as the sage says, a long journey begins with a singe step.

achoqueexisteumrecome25c325a7o

Thanks to all and I hope to see ya down the trail.

(The photo above is from a lovely blog post called Gratidão!)

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

STILL CRAZY AFTER ALL THESE YEARS


289968_10100357394136278_2104120727_o
photo by Shanti Martin 

My old Oregon community. May God bless and keep them well.

AND it's important to note that there are ecological conditions that do or do not support this. For example, if there was no spraying in my tropical home of Rio Branco, Brazil, the result could be more denge fever or malaria. Obviously, there are limits to "crazy" and that's what we are trying to figure out nowadays as we enter the times of great change. One thing is for sure -- health and survival are local, one size does not fit all.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

EULOGY FOR RIO +20 AND A DECLARATION OF HOPE


rio20collapse
RIO +20 Collapse -- photo source

Powerful words from George Monbiot:

After Rio, we know. Governments have given up on the planet 

The post-summit pledge was an admission of defeat against consumer capitalism. But we can still salvage the natural world

Monday, June 25, 2012

THE CHINA PRIZE: IN BRAZIL AND IN THE USA


It's all about trade and commodities.

commodities

Last week, on the sidelines of RIO +20, Brazil and China have jointly reinforced their financial cooperation with a financial reserves $30bn swap arrangement aimed at reinforcing trade and resistance to financial shocks from Europe and the USA.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

VIVA SÃO JOÃO - VIVA XANGO


More music for the night of São João and Xango:


VIVA! SÃO JOÃO

All across Brazil, tonight belongs to São João.  Here is some (sorry that it's incomplete) of Gilberto Gil's documentary about the traditions of the Nordeste.




RIO 1492 + 520

I didn't expect much from RIO +20 but it was hard to see the world leaders so unable to come up with anything but words that attempt to mask their inaction.

RIO 1492 + 520 
photo -- stage set for Verdi's opera, "A Masked Ball" (1999 Bergenz Festival)

It's been about 520 years since that day when Columbus made it across the Atlantic and placed a fatal foot on the America's. The killing of people and forests continues to this day. I sure hope that we may yet figure out how to be here on earth in a peaceful and sustainable way.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

AIR CONDITIONING FOR ALL


Coolant-articleLarge
Air-conditioning in Mumbai, India -- Photo: Kuni Takahashi for The New York Times

[UPDATE 22 June -- There's a follow-up debate today at the NY Times --  "Is it a good goal for everyone in the world to have access to air-conditioning — like clean water or the Internet? Or is it an unsustainable luxury, which air-conditioned societies should be giving up or rationing?"  The focus on the developed world is good. It really drives home how our lifestyles make us complicit.]


The likely response to a warming world is more use of air conditioning wherever it can be afforded. But, according to this NY Times report by Elisabeth Rosenthal and Andrew W. Lehren, the new non-ozone-damaging gases are by weight thousands of times more potent as CO2 and "up to 27 percent of all global warming will be attributable to those gases by 2050."

This is not only an urban Asian problem. Here in Brazil I am watching air conditioning follow the cars and rural electrification (Luz para Todos) into the Amazon forest where people want it for the same reasons as Asians, Australians, Europeans and North Americans do -- to deal with the heat.

Suely Carvalho, the Brazilian-born chief of the United Nations Development Program’s Montreal Protocol and Chemicals Unit, said: “The developing countries are already struggling to phase out, and now you tell them, ‘Don’t do what we did.’ You can see why they’re upset.”

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

"DEFEAT OBAMA" IS THE LATEST PRONOUNCEMENT FROM THE PRINCIPLED POMPOUS PROFESSOR


I am no fan of Obama but the principled pronouncements of the pompous professor Roberto Mangabeira Unger fall clearly into my major "GIMME A BREAK" department.



Who is this guy?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

DEEP LISTENING

... and much more from Rumi through Coleman Barks

UNDERSTANDING

The word "understanding" literally means to "stand under" or to be at the root of things.

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Sunday, June 10, 2012

AYAHUASCA RESEARCH





EXCELLENT! Thanks to the production efforts of David Suzuki, who can be counted on to cut through the confusion and sensationalism to find a meeting ground between modern science and ancient wisdom.

(Hat tip to Hans Boger)

Saturday, June 09, 2012

A PILLOW, A ROCK AND MEMORIES OF A FRIEND


Late last night I was contemplating the up-coming RIO+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development. I was, realistically (I believe), not feeling hopeful about what might emerge from this global theater of leaders, agendas and postures. Indeed, I was feeling rather depressed about where the world seems to be heading.

In the midst of a mood plunging toward grief, I stumbled upon a wonderful film and concert about two great 13th Century Sufi poets -- Rumi from Iran/Persia and Amir Khusrau from India/Pakistan -- both of whom transformed their grief into a great love that endures in spiritual practice, in artistic performance and in personal inspiration to this day.

 


Saturday, June 02, 2012

IT'S ALL ABOUT WATER (con't)


ant-pushing-water-droplet-500w

Auroville, the South Indian visionary community flowing from the legacy of Sri Auribindo has a video about making spiritual works (sadhana) and earth works one-and-the-same. Returning to the garden ("on earth as it is in heaven") is here linked to water conservation and reforestation. It's a lovely vision.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

GREENPEACE DECIDES TO KISS BRAZIL'S NEW FOREST CODE


codigo florestal brasil

Yup, you read right. After the recent series of line-item vetoes by President Dilma Rousseff, no one knows what Brazil's latest Codigo Florestal text means, only that there will be another period of time for wiggling the weasel words to get final passage in Congress. This places the tough negotiations beyond the global spotlight of the upcoming RIO+20 (June 15-22). Many, suspect that this was the smoke-and-mirrors strategy in the first place. When the Senate compromise that satisfied no one failed to gain support in the lower House, the ruraliststas (extremists among the agribusiness interests) were allowed free-rein, resulting in an ecological nightmare and allowing Dilma to veto the most onerous clauses without defining a clear forest policy. Cleverly, Greenpeace has decided to challenge the whole process.

TRUST HER AND GIVE LOVE


Here in Brazil (and many places), May is the month of the Mother, of the great feminine force.

Now, at the end of May, seems like a perfect time to share Robert Happé celebrating the love She offers.  An added bonus is a marvelous mix of English and Portuguese, of mind and heart.

The message is simple: TRUST HER AND GIVE LOVE

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Thursday, May 24, 2012

TOMORROW IS D-DAY FOR THE AMAZON


"D" is for Dilma's Decision, Deforestation, Development, Dams and Drought


Dilma Rousseff, President of Brazil 
Dilma Rousseff, President of Brazil

Tomorrow, 25 May 2012, is the deadline for Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff to decide whether to accept or veto (in whole or part) the devastating new national Forest Code that was passed recently by the Brazilian Congress.

Andrew Revkin of the NY Times blog Dot Earth suggested that I might submit a "Postcard From Acre" describing the view from my perch in Brazil's western-most Amazonian state which borders on Bolivia and Peru.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A DREAM OF TREES


El tiempo ayuda a perdonar
El tiempo ayuda a perdonar (Time helps to forgive) - image by el silencio

A DREAM OF TREES
 
There is a thing in me that dreamed of trees,
A quiet house, some green and modest acres
A little way from every troubling town,
A little way from factories, schools, laments.

HEALING SONG


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

SAD... BUT VERY BEAUTIFUL




This music came to me as a lucky late-night find at YouTube. Unfortunately, no information is given about the artist.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Saturday, May 19, 2012

CONIFER COUNTRY

There's Wonderful new book called CONIFER COUNTRY that documents with incredible maps, photos and field notes my old home region containing the largest variety of conifer species in the world. The map below is interactive. Click on any star to visit a specific location. The Kalmiopsis Wilderness (upper left on the map) is my old Oregon heart home. For a wealth of information and series of virtual hikes, check it out.


Plant Explorations in Conifer Country myrtle creek Bear Basin Ishi Wilderness Magalia, Ca Jacoby Creek South Fork Eel River Wilderness lost coast Elk Head Canyon Creek Brewer Spruce Boulder Creek Lakes Ash MeadowsSaline Valley Frenzel Creek Pinnacles NM Baden Powell San Pedro Martir Tecate Cypress Sequoia Red Buttes Pasayten Wilderness Mount Saint Helens Russian Wilderness south fork smith river hawaii Stony man mountain Torrey Piines Cuyamaca Cypress

THE BEAUTIFUL FOOD WE EAT




  ... all made possible by water.

WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD




The classic lyric with stunning imagery and narration by David Attenborough. Not to belabor the obvious, but the treasured gift of creation desperately needs our protection.

Monday, May 14, 2012

ELEPHANTS MOURN THE DEATH OF "THE ELEPHANT WHISPERER"

This is such a beautiful and inspiring story that I want to create a permanent link to it here at Visionshare.


A line of elephants approaching the Anthony house (Photo courtesy of the Anthony family)
'For 12 hours, two herds of wild South African elephants slowly made their way through the Zululand bush until they reached the house of late author Lawrence Anthony, the conservationist who saved their lives.

The formerly violent, rogue elephants, destined to be shot a few years ago as pests, were rescued and rehabilitated by Anthony, who had grown up in the bush and was known as the “Elephant Whisperer.”

For two days the herds loitered at Anthony’s rural compound on the vast Thula Thula game reserve in the South African KwaZulu – to say good-bye to the man they loved. But how did they know he had died March 7?'

Read the full story and more about Laurence Anthony's amazing encounters and works at Wild Elephants Mourn Death of Famed Elephant Whisperer

Thursday, May 10, 2012

CONNECTING THE DOTS

350.org, the global grassroots movement to counter climate change has gathered the results of last weekend's actions in a short-but-potent video and has assembled materials to carry forth the campaign in your community.

It’s nearly impossible to capture the feeling of watching people all around the world Connect the Dots last weekend, but this video comes close.

Please take 90 seconds to watch it and spread it around: www.climatedots.org/watch
Play the Video - Connect the Dots

Monday, May 07, 2012

BUDDHISM FROM THE HEART

Ending the Wesak weekend of the great moon with sweet sounds from Japanese Buddhism:



Sunday, May 06, 2012

OH! LUA

As if to add celebration in the firmament to those on earth, the Wesak full moon (the largest of 2012) was accompanied by a meteor shower from Halley's Comet that's peaking as well, adding to the heavenly show.

And, on earth with one of the loveliest praises of the moon, here are Ney Matogrosso, Raphael Rabello, and Chacal with Padrinho Alfredo's Hymn, "Oh! Lua"



Salve a Lua!

Saturday, May 05, 2012

FULL MOON IN WESAK

This weekend, at the time of the full moon, the Wesak Festivals around the world are celebrating the birth, enlightenment and the passing away of Gautama Buddha. His awakening signaled the stepping out of the illusion and the path of endless suffering, and the establishment of the first world religion. Here, from the BBC, is the story:



It is told that, when Buddha achieved enlightenment under the Bodhi tree, he reached down and said, "Let the earth be my witness."

Viva Wesak. Viva Gautama Buddha. Viva the peace that transcends all suffering.

May the earth be our witness.

Touch the Earth and Blessed Be

Friday, May 04, 2012

PAUL KRUGMAN AND A PARADE OF 'P's

Paul-Krugman-006

Paul Krugman, the NY Times columnist and Nobelist, has a great analysis of what has contributed to America's long-term depressed economy. In, Plutocracy, Paralysis, Perplexity he persuasively postulates that the richest 0.01 percent has plundered US economic policy by highjacking one of its political parties.

CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS?

The Heartland Institute, a leading right-wing think tank and advocacy group in the US is hosting its Seventh International Conference on Climate Change conference in Chicago later this month. As part of its denialist campaign, it is posting a series of billboards along Chicago's busiest thoroughfares that equate belief in global warming with notorious figures such as THE UNABOMBER



[UPDATE: The short hot campaign has been unplugged as disgust piled in from all directions. Dot Earth has an interesting roundup.]

Here's Heartland's official explanation of the originally intended campaign:

MOTHER FOREST

Thursday, May 03, 2012

STILL SCREAMING

Edvard Munch The Scream
The Scream - Edvard Munch (Norwegian 1893) - source Wikipedia

The last time I posted Edvard Munch's iconic scream was in connection with the controversial media use of the painting to portray reaction to the horror of Anders Behring Breivik's murderous rampage killing 77 people in Norway.

Munch made four versions of “The Scream.” Three are now in Norwegian museums; yesterday the only one still in private hands sold at auction for a record $120 million making it the most expensive painting in the world.

And the world is still screaming.

Monday, April 30, 2012

WENDELL BERRY: MY HERO AND OURS

wendell berry by guy mendes
Photo by Guy Mendes

In Washington, DC,  last Monday, Wendell Berry delivered the 2012 Jefferson Lecture, the highest honor the US federal government has for “distinguished intellectual achievement” in the humanities. The talk was titled, “It All Turns on Affection” and it's a must-read. Later in the week, NY Times columnist Mark Bittman posted a beautiful account of his visit with him at his Port Royal Kentucky home -- Wendell Berry: American Hero 

Needless to say, I'm thrilled that my personal hero for more than 40 years has been honored as an "American Hero". Quite frankly, I never expected to see it. Perhaps this moment of his recognition gives poignant meaning to his recent advice that we need to learn "how to be patient in an emergency."

Anyway, it's a wonderful opportunity for me to post my favorite Wendell Berry poem which was written for the occasion of an anniversary of his marriage with Tanya.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

THE DESTRUCTION OF THE AMAZON FOREST - PART 2

Dams in Amazonia
The Amazon Basin is being targeted for large hydroelectric projects. 60 dams are planned in Brazil, 
and more in neighboring countries Columbia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia. See full map database.

[UPDATE 05 MAY 2012: Simon Romero reports the violent labor unrest and the dismal general scene at the building site of the Jirau Dam on the Madeira River in Rondonia and Brazil's rush to develop hydroelectric power. The article and accompanying video are a must read-and-view. ]

View the first Greenpeace photos of Belo Monte Dam construction at Mongabay.

Philip Fearnside, who is one of the world's most quoted experts on Amazônia, asks if the Belo Monte Dam is a Spearhead For Brazil's Dam-Building Attack on the Amazon?

AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL?

America-The-Beautiful-Statue-Of-Liberty-New-York-Harbor

Think again.

Friday, April 27, 2012

IS THIS THE BEGINNING OF THE END OF THE AMAZON FOREST?

Deforestation in Capixaba, Acre, Brazil
Deforestation in Capixaba AC Brasil - photo: lou gold

On Wednesday (25 April) the Chamber of Deputies of the Brazilian Congress rejected even the minor pro-environment compromises that had been passed by the Senate and were supported by President Dilma, voting for a devastating new Forest Code on the eve of the UN sustainability meetings - RIO+20 - which will take place next month in Rio de Janeiro. Brazil had hoped to showcase itself as the leading example in the world of a country capable of significantly reducing deforestation. Now, all that has been put to risk.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

OUR BEAUTIFUL EARTH MOTHER


Wherever you are, Touch the Earth and Blessed Be - It is Lovely Indeed. And here's a great way to do it.

PARABÉNS CEU DO PLANALTO

Tonight, 21-22 April, Ceú do Planalto, the Santo Daime church in Brasilia, is celebrating its birthday and I am full of fond memories. It was there that I found my first home in Brasil and some of my deepest friendships which live on, forever and forever. From faraway Acre, through the miracle of the Internet, I shout my PARABÉNS (congratulations) to the whole community and to Padrinho Fernando and Madrinha Clarice. Thank you for all that you have given to me and many others. May your days and ways continue to be blessed.

Here are three of my favorite hymns being sung by the community:




Saturday, April 21, 2012

WHY I LEFT SCHOOL



Years ago Alan Watts nailed it. I suspect his words were recorded in the 60's. I didn't get it right away and it took me until 1973 to leave my university teaching job. But, even then, I didn't really get it. My head was full of the ideologies and rationalizations of those heady times. Only slowly, one bump or jump at a time, did I begin to realize that the enemy was self-seriousness and the salvation was play. These are lessons that I'm still learning, often remembering Thich Nat Hahn's remark that even washing the dishes can be a meditation, "as long as you wash them to wash them and not to get them done."

Thursday, April 19, 2012

WHY DIDN'T YOU FIGHT?

dalai_lama

I found this at Facebook (no link to original) and it's worth pondering.
At the end of the talk someone from the audience asked the Dalai Lama, "Why didn't you fight back against the Chinese?" The Dalai Lama looked down, swung his feet just a bit, then looked back up at us and said with a gentle smile, "Well, war is obsolete, you know " Then, after a few moments,his face grave, he said, "Of course the mind can rationalize fighting back...but the heart, the heart would never understand.Then you would be divided in yourself, the heart and the mind,and the war would be inside you."

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Brazil's Sarah Palin - will she support Zero Deforestation?

 
The Rainbow Warrior in the Amazon
The Rainbow Warrior in the Amazon - All rights reserved. Credit: Rodrigo Baléia / Greenpeace
Re-post of report by Pat Venditti - Greenpeace UK - 16 April 2012 at 3:03pm
As the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior was sailing down the Amazon I participated in an event that was very different from our day-to-day campaigning for Zero Deforestation in the Amazon. It was a suit and tie summit in London organized by the Financial Times and the Brazilian Government to discuss the future of Brazilian agriculture.  It was a star-studded affair with the heads of the Brazilian cattle, sugar cane, chicken, beef and orange juice associations, two government ministers, and Senator Katia Abreu, head of Brazil’s National Confederation of Agriculture. 

VIVA! AMÉRICA DO SUL

street_art_Santiago_de_Chile_18

And VIVA! to the Ancient Wisdom that it's art and rituals keep alive.

Monday, April 16, 2012

AWESOME

Untitled

Stone people contemplating the awesome firmament. Expanded street art by stencil artists ICY and SOT in Iran. View their powerful and poignant collection at Street Art Utopia

And here's someone looking back:

Saturday, April 14, 2012

THE MAGIC OF MUSIC

This video clip -- a teaser for the film "Alive Inside" with Oliver Sacks -- has gone viral with more than 4 million views in it's first week. I'm pleased to join the crowd amplifying its message.

THE GLORY OF PLANTS

Abana-me    .  .
Fan palms in Belem - photo by Eric Stoner

Thursday, April 12, 2012

THE ANTIDOTE FOR GLOBAL WARMING IS TREES

Algunos cipreses todavía creen en Dios, y son felices

Trees and forests function to give us a climate of stable seasons that is supportive of all life. I've previously posted about how trees create dry-season rainfall across Amazônia, forming a "River in the Sky" and function as a biotic pump creating global rainfall. Writing in today's NY Times, Jim Robbins offers many more reasons:

Why Trees Matter

TREES are on the front lines of our changing climate. And when the oldest trees in the world suddenly start dying, it’s time to pay attention.

GARDEN OF BEAUTY


Jardim de Beleza


Vivas 
for the plants that transform light into 
life and beauty



Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A BLESSED MOMENT IN A BLESSED PLACE

Through the Mist to Royal Basin
"Through the Mist to Royal Basin" -- photo by Joe Riley

SOMETIMES

Sometimes
if you move carefully
through the forest

Sunday, April 01, 2012

A VIEW AND A PRAYER FOR HOLY WEEK

"Sangue de Cristo" - imagem por Lugi - Quaresma 2012 (white border)
"Sangue de Cristo" - imagem por lugi


This image of the Blood of Christ is offered as a prayer for progress in the upcoming Middle East talks. The subject will be Iran's nuclear ambitions but that is only the current high-profile item in a region seething with tensions and where memories of grievances long past and recent are too often etched in blood.

I really don't have the words for an adequate verbal prayer so I turn to the great Persian poet Rumi:
Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field.
I'll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass, the world is too full to talk about ideas, language, even the phrase each other doesn't make any sense.

Let the beauty we love be what we do
.
May it be.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

I'M GOING ON A RETREAT

IMG_7403
Looking Within -- photo by Lou Gold

Yup, I'm going to empty my cup of the Internet and take a look at what's been growing within. I've been really wanting a pilgrimage to places beyond my current knowing. Now, I'm going to do it with a deep sense of love, joy and a full heart for all.

I should be back online by April 15th. Perhaps, there will be some good stories or maybe not. We'll see. I'd be very grateful if you'd stay tuned.

Tree hugs and blessings,

lou

BIG BIOCHAR EXPERIMENT IN UK

Profile: The Big Biochar Experiment; using widespread biochar trials for citizen-powered science in the UK
 
biochar plotThe Big Biochar Experiment is a UK-wide initiative and is the largest study on the use of biochar on British allotments to date. The Experiment aims to gather data to assess the effects of biochar on plant productivity and soil health of widely used fruit and vegetable varieties in the UK. The team is comprised of members of Oxford Biochar Ltd, Earthwatch, the Environmental Change Institute (Oxford University), and the UK Biochar Research Centre. Project partner Dr. Dan Bebber of Earthwatch said, “Biochar holds great potential for addressing some of our greatest challenges, including climate change and food security. This novel experiment will provide important insights on biochar's applicability to the UK farming industry, and allow people to get involved in real science."

THE DAILY VIEW

Flood in Acre -- photo by Sérgio Vale
Flood in Acre -- photo by Sérgio Vale

Imagens aéreas da alagação do Rio Acre no bairro Taquari, periferia de Rio Branco (Sérgio Vale/Secom)
The Taquari neighborhood in Rio Branco -- photo by Sérgio Vale

[UPDATE: View more spectacular new flood photos here and here.]

At 9 am this morning the water level reached 17.45 meters in Rio Branco and it is still rising. The all-time record is 17.66 meters. Expectations are that a new record high will occur in the next days.

Monday, February 20, 2012

MOVING BEYOND SEPARATION OF HUMANS AND NATURE

We are connected and "... that is true ... that is true ..."



Moving beyond the idea of ‘environment’ and falling back in love with Mother Earth. Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh explains why mindfulness rather than economics is needed to protect nature and how a spiritual revolution is needed if civilization is to avoid being destroyed by climate change.

(Filmed in Plum Village, France on the 22nd of December 2011, which, coincidentally, was the anniversary of the 1988 murder of Chico Mendes who is an icon of the save-the-forest movement in Acre and Brazil.)

LATEST RIO BRANCO FLOOD PHOTOS

All photos are by Gustavo Ferreira. They are taken near an important cultural and tourist center on Monday morning. The steel bridge has been closed to vehicles and the base of the city's iconic Acre State flag pole is under water.


WAY COOL INTERACTIVE WORLD MAP

World Map Screen Shot

Current national demographic and environmental data plus maps and photos, all on an amazing interactive world map created by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics. Click on the image above to get started.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

BEAUTIFUL PHONE PHOTOGRAPHY

Tatiana Cardeal, whose is my favorite Brazilian documentary photographer, has been showing us how to produce impressive images with a smartphone. Here are some samples:

f6a25708290011e19896123138142014_7



Friday, February 17, 2012

RECORD HIGH WATER IN RIO BRANCO

Brazil's western-most state of Acre has been the epicenter of recent extreme droughts. Now, it is experiencing near-record flooding.

216411_10150176405281385_766316384_6558397_7614293_n
Flooding in Rio Branco - Foto: Marcos Vicentti

[UPDATE- 12:40pm - Sunday 19 February: The Acre River has reached 17.15cm (the record high water is 17.66cm) and is expected to keep rising as the headwaters tributaries continue to discharge. There are 4,115 homeless people who are under the responsibility of the Civil Defense in makeshift shelters. More than 12,000 homes and more than 49,000 people have been affected by flooding, according to estimates by civil defense. More at the blog of Altino Machado.]

Extreme events are what the models of global warming have predicted and every year the extremes seem to get worse. During the long dry season the soil loses porosity, compacts and becomes less permeable. When the rainy season arrives, the water is not sufficiently absorbed and flooding is the natural consequence. Last August Acre experienced near-record low water. Now, only 6 months later, the forecast is that the flood of 2012 will produce record-breaking high water.

A FLASH FROM THE PAST AND FUTURE

Jasper Neale going hiking with Lou Gold
Jasper Neale going hiking with Lou Gold -- photo by Shane Jimmerfield

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

SAVING A SPECIAL PLACE IN MY OLD OREGON HOME



The tiny town of Williams in Southern Oregon lies over the mountain ridge from the community of Takilma where I lived for more than 20 years. We always thought of Williams as our sister community in the never-ending struggle to protect the local forests, mountains and rivers. Now, Williams is facing a big threat and a great opportunity. The community wants to buy an important parcel of land.  The chainsaws are scheduled to start buzzing as soon as early March and the land is expensive but they are undaunted. With our help (large and small) they just may do it an set a model for the future.

Go to the Williams project page or continue here

Monday, February 13, 2012

ENVIRONMENTALISM'S FALL FROM GRACE


"Some cypresses still believe in God, and they are happy", photo by el silencio

Paul Kingsnorth has written a profoundly provocative essay. The full piece is a must read. Here is a portion:
I became an “environmentalist” because of a strong emotional reaction to wild places and the other-than-human world: to beech trees and hedgerows and pounding waterfalls, to songbirds and sunsets, to the flying fish in the Java Sea and the canopy of the rainforest at dusk when the gibbons come to the waterside to feed. From that reaction came a feeling, which became a series of thoughts: that such things are precious for their own sake, that they are food for the human soul, and that they need people to speak for them to, and defend them from, other people, because they cannot speak our language and we have forgotten how to speak theirs. And because we are killing them to feed ourselves and we know it and we care about it, sometimes, but we do it anyway because we are hungry, or we have persuaded ourselves that we are.

Friday, February 10, 2012

"STEPPING INTO THE FIRE" (AYAHUASCA)


[UPDATE 16 September 2012 -- Sad news. An 18 year-old California man died as a result of ingesting a brew served during a ritual at the Shimbre Shamanic Center and there was an unsuccessful attempt at a cover-up. Here is the current google news page with links for more information.]



[YOU CAN STILL VIEW THE FILM AT:  Culture Unplugged ]

Very well done! There are many ayahuasca paths and not all journeys are sensational. I have not experienced this particular ritual line but, in essence, everything that is presented rings true within the context of my own spiritual journey. Ayahuasca is not magic; it is a burst of awareness that must be followed with a lot of hard work to create a different self and a different world. This later work -- to make the extraordinary into the ordinary -- is the best work that I know.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

EDUCATION: THE PROBLEM AND A SOLUTION



Full disclosure: In the 1970's I threw away my near-to-completion PhD thesis because I saw that education based on institutional certification and passing tests was profoundly dysfunctional, granting the perks of status to a few and abandoning the many.

I already hear you asking, "so, Lou, what is your solution?"

Sunday, February 05, 2012

THE WORLD'S LARGEST TREEHOUSE

The always innovative Michael Garnier from my old community of Takilma, Oregon explains his latest creation.


Friday, February 03, 2012

BEHOLD THE DREAM (THE GHOST SONG)




Awake.

Shake dreams from your hair
My pretty child, my sweet one.

Choose the day and choose the sign of your day
The day's divinity

Thursday, February 02, 2012

DANCE ME TO THE END OF LOVE

On this special day of Yemenja, I feel something like being in love with life, with Brazil, with nature and people, even with all the craziness. It's time to dance and dance and dance -- at the celebrations -- and to the endlessness of love.





Viva Amor! Viva Paz! Viva Alegria! Viva União!

Salve Iemenjá!

[Note: The video may be blocked in some countries. There are more versions here.]

SALVE! - IEMANJÁ - SALVE!

Salve! Iemenjá e as mães das ãguas -- Salve! Yemanja and the mothers of the waters.

Salve! Iemenjá e as mães das ãguas -- Salve! Yemanja and the mothers of the waters.
(photo by lou gold)

Today (02 February) is Her day -- Yemanja, Janaína, Oxum, Queen of the Sea, Mother of Life-giving Water, Sirens and messengers of love -- we salute You.

Here's a selection of music videos for Her and the sailors, fishers and people of Northeast Brazil. Of course, it begins and ends with Maria Bethania) ...


Wednesday, February 01, 2012

IF THERE IS LOVE, DO AS YOU WILL

I've been thinking about Jiddu Krishnamurti, the extraordinary world teacher, who was the gate of entry to expanded awareness for so many, myself included. Of course, the gate was only a beginning, leading on and on and on.



Late in Krishnamurti's life, he was asked in an interview, if he thought that his life of teaching and speaking and writing had made a difference. Without hesitation he said, "Of course, not!" Surprised, the interviewer asked, "Then, why do you teach?" Krishnamurti responded, "Why does the bird sing?"

Krishnamurti was famous for saying, "Where there is love, do as you will." Or, perhaps, it's "do as you are willed." Or, perhaps, there's no difference and that's the difference that makes the difference.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

MOTHER TREES



A forest is a community held together by tall strong mother trees who know that survival is based on helping each other. Not only do trees communicate, they are wise. We could learn about our own survival from them, especially from the grandmas and grandpas...

THE ULTIMATE BEETLE



BSA tells more about Huichol Art: Transforming A Vintage Beetle in Mexico (2010):
For this piece eight members of two Huichol families took the task to create a piece of art, seven months in the making, by using more than two million glass beads and a vintage Volkswagen as a canvas. Inspired by the designs of Francisco Bautista, a patriarch of one of the families, they incorporated their traditional indigenous theologies and cultural symbols with modern vernacular.

DANCE OF THE SPIRITS



Real-time capture by Alister Chapman of the Aurora Borealis triggered by recent solar storms.

Friday, January 27, 2012

DAMN! - DAMN! - DAMN! THE FOREST RAPERS ARE AT IT AGAIN

During my forest-defender days in Oregon we used to say that when the environmentalists achieve a victory, it's only temporary but when the industry wins it's permanent. It doesn't take rocket science to know how long it will take to regrow a 500 year-old tree.

OREGON WILD reports that the US Congress proposes to take apart hard-won forest protections to help local economies. It asks:

OUR BEAUTIFUL MOTHER

new earth photo

NPR's Mike Memmott explains how it was done:

ROADS AND RAINFORESTS

As Roads Spread in Rainforests, The Environmental Toll Grows

From Brazil to Borneo, new roads are being built into tropical forests at a dizzying pace, putting previously intact wilderness at risk. If we hope to preserve rainforests, a leading researcher says, new strategies must be adopted to limit the number of roads and reduce their impacts.


NASA satellite views of annual road expansion in Rondonia State Brazil 2000-2009. The distance across the view is approximately 500 kilometers or 300 miles.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

IS THE SOCIAL-ECOLOGICAL VISION BEING LOST IN BRAZIL?

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During the last election campaign for President of Brazil the greatly esteemed eco-social theologian Leonardo Boff urged a popular front between the first-round victor, pro-development Dilma Rousseff and pro-environment Marina Silva who had garnered an amazing 20 million votes, both of whom shared common Labor Party roots.

TREEHUGGER'S DREAM

Treehugger's dream

Want to live close to the earth and forests but afraid of the sacrifice? The extraordinary manifestations in the photo collection of Jason Ferguson show that it could be a dream-come-true.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

GLOBAL ECONOMIC GROWTH AND DEFORESTATION

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The NY Times reports today: I.M.F. Reduces Estimates for Global Growth:
The International Monetary Fund warned on Tuesday that global growth prospects had dimmed as the sovereign debt crisis in the euro zone entered a “perilous new phase.” Releasing quarterly updates of three reports on the outlooks for the economy, debt and global financial stability, the fund cut its estimates of global growth this year to 3.25 percent, from the 4 percent it forecast in September...

SHAMAN SONGS FROM THE AMAZON FOREST OF ACRE




Ayahusca music recording session by the igarape at the Yawanawa Festival 2011, Acre, Brazil. This song calls the force of rapé, shuru, tobacco, and many animals of the forest. Musicians from left to right are Tuim Huni Kui, Ninawa Pai da Mata, Ninawa's brother, Thiago Moreno Maia.

AMAZON UPDATE

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It's not looking good. Here's an update from Mongabay: