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.