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  • An Episcopal Path to Creation Justice

    Saturday, April 20, 2024, from 6 a.m. to Noon PDT, via Livestream - the Episcopal Dioceses of Western Massachusetts is having an Earth Day 2024 celebration to mark the conclusion of the Creation Care Justice Network's pilot program An Episcopal Path to Creation Justice - a new initiative to equip churches for deep and broad work in creation care. The event will feature presentations by Dr. Mary Evelyn Tucker, with Bill McKibben and Robin Wall-Kimmerer joining virtually. The day will conclude with a celebratory Eucharist officiated by Bishop Carol Gallagher and Bishop Doug Fisher. The Livestream will be available on their Province 1 YouTube channel. Mary Evelyn Tucker 'is the co-founder and co-director of the Yale Forum on Religion and Ecology with her husband, John Allen Grim. Tucker teaches in the joint Master's program in religion and ecology at Yale University between the School of the Environment, and the Divinity School. She also has an appointment at Yale's Department of Religious Studies. She teaches three online courses on Journey of the Universe and The Worldview of Thomas Berry. Bill McKibben "is an American environmentalist, author, and journalist who has written extensively on the impact of global warming. He is the leader of the climate campaign group 350.org. He has authored a dozen books about the environment, including Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out? (2020), about the state of the environmental challenges facing humanity and future prospects." Robin Wall-Kimmerer is a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, who has written numerous scientific articles and the New York Times Bestseller, Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants (2015)

  • A Quaker New Story

    In 1964 Kenneth Boulding wrote a pamphlet The Evolutionary Potential of Quakerism. Kenneth Boulding drew a series of conclusions using a spaceship metaphor to which he devoted the rest of his life: The human economy must shift from a non-renewable material and energy throughput system to a closed-loop system of material reuse fueled by sunlight energy. A two-deck spaceship with “haves” on the upper deck and the “have-nots” on the lower deck will not work. It will become increasingly unmanageable and crash. Spaceship Earth will work only if new a equity system can be installed. You cannot have a war on a spaceship. With the population and technology now on board, new social and political systems of decision-making, cooperation, coordination, regulation, and enforcement are required at the global level for the human enterprise to remain functional. In 2007 a Quaker New Story Study group published Quakers and the New Story saying "What we do as persons—our moral aspirations, our creative endeavors, our efforts to leave the world a better place for our children and grandchildren—are themselves part of the cosmic evolutionary process. "Learn a New Story that is grounded in the sciences, animated by the humanities, and imbued with wisdom from Indigenous traditions and world spiritualities. Realize our connection to the universe and Earth that helps us not only know, but also shape the course of evolution for a thriving future. Find new ways as individuals and communities to create a vibrant and healthy Earth community." The publication concludes: "The Friends Meeting at Cambridge study group finds hope in having recognized that there is an amazing “fit” between Quakerism and the New Story. To us, it seems that the usual five testimonies of Friends—simplicity, peace, equality, integrity, and community—can now be even more deeply understood in the context of an ecological worldview and an unfolding, new universe story. An Earth restored, peace-making, respect for personal integrity, scientific inquiry, non-violence, and humanitarian work are also aspects of the New Story long valued by Quakers. A process of ethical decision-making, using spirit and reason, can be developed in the new, integrated context now available to us."

  • The Matter With Things

    The Center for Process Studies (CPS )identifies itself as offering "a relational worldview for the common good. with a mission to foster interdisciplinary research and education to cultivate holistic understanding for human and planetary flourishing," This past Easter weekend (March 29-31, 2024) CPS collaborated with the California Institute of Integral Studies to host a conference in San Francisco: Metaphysics and the Matter With Things. Ian McGilchrist, author of The Matter With Things: Our Brains, Our Delusions, and the Unmaking of the World (2021) affirms "the ontological irreducibility of relationality, time, value, purpose, experience, consciousness, and the sacred." Also on the agenda from California Institute of Integral Studies were Dr. Matthew Segall PhD. and Michael Jacob, MD PhD. who were participants along with Brian Thomas Swimme in Human Energy's Master Class of Science of the Noosphere I took last fall 2023. Segall was in Episode 2 -The Origins of Life. and Swimme was in the section on Cosmological Evolution. Michael Jacob contributed to the discussion of A Brain of Brains in the Master Class and he addressed the audience at Human Energy's N2 Conference, held at U.C. Berkeley in November 2023. Matthew David Segall is a transdisciplinary researcher, writer, teacher, and philosopher applying process-relational thought across the natural and social sciences to the study of consciousness. He is an Associate Professor in the Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness Program at California Institute of Integral Studies. He is the author of Physics of the World-Soul: Whitehead’s Adventure in Cosmology (2021) and Crossing the Threshold: Etheric Imagination in the Post-Kantian Process Philosophy of Schelling and Whitehead (2023). Michael Jacob, MD PhD is a neurobiologist and psychiatrist whose interdisciplinary work aims to develop new perspectives on how experience comes to life and how it unravels in mental illness. He is an Assistant Professor at UCSF, Director of the Psychosis and Metabolic Mental Health Clinics at the San Francisco VA, and Researcher with the non-profit, Human Energy. Brian Thomas Swimme is an evolutionary cosmologist and professor in the Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness program at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco, he teaches evolutionary cosmology to graduate students in the humanities. Currently, he is also the Director of the Third Story of the Universe at Human Energy, a nonprofit public benefit organization.

  • A New Story of the Universe

    Yale University and Coursera are now offering free Journey of the Universe courses "to understand who we are, where we come from, and where we are heading.  There are three, six-week, online, courses offered by Yale: Journey of the Universe: The Unfolding of Life Journey Conversations: Weaving Knowledge and Action The Worldview of Thomas Berry: The Flourishing of the Earth Community The Journey of the Universe project is several decades in the making, arising out of a rich lineage of Thomas Berry, Brian Thomas Swimme, Mary Evelyn Tucker, John Grim, and many others. "Our present evolutionary story of a separate, mechanistic, and competitive universe is insufficient. This limited understanding of how the universe and Earth function is leading us to destroy the natural life systems on which we rely.." Brian Thomas Swimme produced the 2011 PBS series and three DVD series: Canticle to the Cosmos (1990), The Earth's Imagination (1998), and The Powers of the Universe (2004) The 2011 film Journey of the Universe is "an Emmy award-winning inspiring reflection on the human connection to Earth and the cosmos. It's available for rental on Amazon Prime. Bruce Bochte founded the Center for the Story of the Universe, inspired by the work of Thomas Berry and Brian Swimme. "The Center offers award-winning videos to expand collective consciousness and redirect the current self-destructive trajectory of society towards a vibrant community that transcends individual, human, and geo-political boundaries" The Human Energy Project offers a new Story of the Noosphere also hosted and narrated by Brian Swimme. The YouTube video above provides an overview and invitation to the Story of the Noosphere series. "This series of short films explores the ways humanity is building the nervous system of a superorganism, called the noosphere. As we deepen our understanding of this noosphere we begin to discover a collective sense of meaning and purpose that will help us address our global challenges." As a word, "noosphere" is a loose synonym for three different meanings: the history and destiny of Homo sapiens; an emerging planetary nervous system; and an emerging superorganism. The series explores the conditions that gave rise to the noosphere: 1. Heredity - The transfer of genetic and cultural information from parents to offspring, generation to generation. 2. Tools - Instruments and technological devices that aid in accomplishing tasks. 3. Self-Consciousness - Conscious of one's own acts or states as belonging to or originating in oneself: aware of oneself as an individual. 4. Communication - A process by which information is exchanged between individuals through a common system of symbols, signs, or behavior. 5. Population - A body of persons or individuals having a quality or characteristic in common, the total of particles at a particular energy level. 6. Trade - To exchange (something) for something else, typically as a commercial transaction. 7. Cerebralization - The developing capacity of a species to form an idea, mental image, or understanding something 8. Convergence - To come together and unite in a common interest or focus. The series spans across five different stages of humanity: Paleolithic (300,000 - 11,000 years ago) Neolithic (11,000 years ago - 3,000 BCE) Classical (3,000 BCE - 1400 CE) Modern (1,400 CE - present) Future Topics Covered: Humanity, Cosmology, Technology, Noosphere, Philosophy, Ecology, Consciousness, Evolution, Climate Change, and Biosphere. "The Third Story of the Universe offers a meaningful way to understand this moment in the history of our species. This new cosmic story contrasts with rigid interpretations of religions and myths (the First Story) as well as current versions of science that eliminate meaning and purpose from the universe (the Second Story). Humankind is experiencing a cosmic transition as we continue to interconnect technologically and cross-culturally. Together we are forming the Noosphere, a shared sphere of culture, technology, and thought weaving human beings into a mindful global envelope, even a new form of life as a superorganism. This process has existential and world-historical significance for all of us. The Human Energy Project is a group of scientists, scholars, engineers, artists, and storytellers working to highlight the Noosphere by telling the Third Story. Human Energy was founded to share a new scientific and cosmic story introducing the Noosphere as a source of meaning for future generations in our globalizing world. The project addresses the challenges of unprecedented technological and social change which, together with the scientific picture of an aimless universe, have created a crisis of orientation. "We are beginning to visualize the Noosphere’s formation and history; study its potential future scenarios as humanity takes more and more control of its future course; and explore how human beings connecting across the world may realize themselves socially and individually in its development." ~ Human Energy Project

  • Climate Change and U.S. Politics

    Cathy McMorris Rodgers has decided to not run for reelection after 20 years in the House, but she supports H.R. 1023 to repeal section 134 of the Clean Air Act, relating to the greenhouse gas reduction funding. Some Republicans, but not all, are climate change deniers, but clearly, the party has different priorities than those of the Biden administration. According to a March 1, 2024 post by Pew Research, How Republicans View Climate Change and Energy Issues, "few Republicans see climate change as a top priority for the country. Just 12% of Republicans and Republican leaners say dealing with climate change should be a top priority for the president and Congress, according to a January 2024 survey. "For Republicans, dealing with climate change ranks last among the 20 issues included in the survey." But, "despite expressing little concern about the issue generally, Republicans support some proposals to address climate change." "Republicans support expanding fossil fuel and renewable energy sources... Republicans are concerned about a transition to renewable energy in the U.S." "There are considerable age differences within the GOP in views of fossil fuels. Younger Republicans stand out from their older GOP counterparts on some climate and energy issues." Perhaps the general lack of concern about the climate crisis by Republicans is because "relatively small shares of Republicans say climate change and extreme weather are having a significant impact on their own communities." Another indication of Republican priorities regarding climate change can be found in the recently released 887 page book by the Heritage Foundation, “Mandate for Leadership: The Conservative Promise.” The following sections are most relevant: Department of Energy and Related Commissions Environmental Protection Agency In contrast, the Biden administration is addressing climate change as a top priority: "President Biden will take swift action to tackle the climate crisis. To meet the demands of science, the President is mobilizing a whole-of-government effort to reduce climate pollution in every sector of the economy and increase resilience to climate impacts. The Biden Administration will create good-paying, union jobs to build a modern and sustainable infrastructure, deliver an equitable clean energy future, and put the United States on a path to achieve net-zero emissions, economy-wide, by no later than 2050." CleanEnergy.gov focuses on how "the Inflation Reduction Act lowers energy costs for consumers and small businesses while creating good-paying jobs as America’s clean energy economy and manufacturing sectors grow." Wikipedia has a good summary of the Environmental policy of the Joe Biden administration. Here are a few useful links about the science of climate change: General Science and Climate Change, from SOCAN RealClimate: Climate Science from Real Scientists The Science of Climate Change Explained: Facts, Evidence and Proof (New York Times, April 19, 2021) NASA What We Know About Climate Change from MIT

  • Oregon's 2024 Legislative Session

    According to Alan Journet, "SOCAN's Federal and State Project Team survived a rather bland 2024 Oregon Legislative Session." during which they monitored and testified on (for or against) their Legislative Top Dozen Plus, some 20 or so bills. SOCAN's track record for bills passing or failing as wished was estimated to be about 75%. Notable among the positives were: Campaign Finance Reform bill (HB4024) referring constitutional adjustments to the November ballot that contained much that was in the Initiative Petition 9 drive that we supported (HB4024 was initially proposed as a sham, but due to massive critical testimony was amended), COAL Act (HB4083) urging Oregon Treasury divestment from entities promoting coal, Affordable Housing (SB1537), promoted by the state's Governor, which was amended (also in response to substantial critical testimony) to impose stricter restrictions on the Urban Growth Boundary expansion option. Offshore wind energy development (HB4080) to promote community engagement to resolve community concerns about developing the offshore wind turbine effort off Oregon’s South Coast, a bill Marine Reserves (HB4132)  to promote the marine reserve program, Resilient, affordable, and healthy homes (SB1530) was funded, but not quite at the level we all hoped. "The Legislative Session ended a few days early with several bills stalled in Ways and Means, largely because the legislature ran out of money." "Regrettably, there was no successful legislation addressing forest management/wildfire issues, and a bill (SB1559) updating the state’s greenhouse gas emissions goal was not passed. Neither was a bill to refer to voters an adjustment to the legislative Quorum from the current ridiculous 2/3rds down to 50% or something reasonable.  Reports from the chambers suggest these last two efforts (and some others) failed because legislative Democratic leadership was concerned that insisting on their consideration would have stimulated another Republican walk-out, thus defeating a host of valuable measures that ultimately passed.  Again, the minority party was successful at dictating, to an unreasonable extent, what the majority party’s legislative agenda should be."

  • Transition to Electric Vehicles

    According to Gallup, 39% of Americans say electric vehicles help climate change at least a fair amount, but only 4% currently own electric vehicles and only 12% are seriously considering a purchase. Gallup also found that "Democrats are most likely to own EVs and say they help climate change. But, a substantial majority of Republicans, 71%, say they would not consider owning an electric vehicle.' So the fate of transitioning to EV's may hinge on the outcome of the November 2024 election. On March 31, 2024 Tesla announced that owners would have a one-month trial during April to test "full, self-driving (supervised)." This advance in functionality automatically makes lane changes, selects forks to follow my navigation route, navigates around other vehicles and objects, and makes left and right turns. On my recent experience driving from Medford to Ashland I reached my destination without touching the accelerator or brake and only lightly held (but did not control) the steering wheel. I found the vehicle has a cautious, but confident response, much like I would do unassisted, only better. This could be a game-changer. Tesla also recently expanded charging access to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy, by opening their fast-charging network to allow more EV drivers to charge at over 15,000 Supercharging stalls across North America. The New York Times reported that on March 20, 2024 "the Biden administration issued one of the most significant climate regulations in the nation’s history, a rule designed to ensure that the majority of new passenger cars and light trucks sold in the United States are all-electric or hybrids by 2032." Siskiyous & Oregon Hybrid & Electric Vehicle Association (SOHEVA) "promotes using electric cars, trucks, buses, motorcycles, and bicycles. Local SOHEVA members offer guidance on buying, leasing, sustainably fueling, operating, and maintaining all forms of electric transit." April 19, 2024, from 3:30 to 7 p.m. PDT, SOHEVA will participate in Drive Electric Earth Month at SOU's Earth Day with 12 plug-in vehicles, new and used, with nine from SOHEVA members and three from the Green Cars division of Lithia Motors. The new edition of Rogue Valley Green Car Guide should be available for Earth Day. Converting from a combustion engine truck to an electric-powered truck has a much greater effect on reducing greenhouse gasses than upgrading from a hybrid to an EV. According to Bruce Borgerson, 'When charging from the northwest grid,.. if you go from a 10-year-old Prius to a new Tesla Model 3, you reduce your GHG emissions by about 133 grams per mile, and over 12,000 miles that’s a net reduction of about 1.6 metric tons. but if you replace a 10-year-old AWD Silverado pickup with an equivalent four-motor Silverado EV, you reduce your GHG emissions by around 435 grams per mile for a net reduction of 5.2 metric tons over the same miles, or more than three times the reduction of Prius to Tesla! "That’s a significant difference so let’s hope the millions of dollars that Ford and Chevy are putting into marketing their electric pickups will gain some traction in EV-resistant demographics." SOHEVA recognizes the need to work more on apples-to-apples on GHG emissions versus apples-to-oranges of fossil fuel extraction/refining/transportation versus battery mineral extraction. They also need to work more on newer battery technologies that do not use lithium, but this is improving rapidly In answer to the question: Are Electric Vehicles Really Better for the Environment?", EarthJustice answers: "Yes! Electric vehicles stack up better than combustion any which way you look at it."

  • Creating Cosmogenesis Through Art

    April 11, 2023, at 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. PDT on Zoom. - Join eco-spiritual artist/educator/filmmaker Imogene Drummond as she explores the exciting connection between creativity and Cosmogenesis. In her upcoming presentation, she demonstrates how Cosmogenesis emerges from Art Sparks Cosmic Creativity and Well-Being Program—with both children and adults. Her presentation is hosted by EarthConnection and available in two different time slots and It's free: Thursday, and 10 a.m. PDT. To register for the 10 a.m. presentation, click here: Thursday at 4 p.m. PDT. To register for the 4 p.m. presentation, click here. "EarthConnection, a ministry of the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati, is a center for learning and reflection about living lightly on Earth. Aware of the interconnectedness of all of Creation, we seek to integrate spirituality and sustainability through programs in sustainable agriculture, alternative energies, ecojustice, and eco-spirituality." "Divine Sparks" celebrates the creativity in the universe—and in you! Dancing to the beginning of time, "Divine Sparks" lifts you up and takes you on a journey of wonder. Like "The Little Prince," this enchanted reverie weaves a metaphorical journey of transformation for viewers of all ages. The vibrant mix of diverse accents, animation, art, dance, poetry, and music (including by "interspecies musician" David Rothenberg who plays music with birds and whales!), gives rise to a JUMP FOR JOY!

  • Rogue Valley's Water Situation

    Source: https://www.usbr.gov/pn/hydromet/roguetea.html The State of Oregon Water Resources Department is updating its Integrated Water Resources Strategy (IWRS). The first draft March 1, 2024 Strategy is available here. Comments from the April 5, 2024 deadline will be incorporated into the Strategy, and a new draft will be shared for a second round of comments in May 2024. The draft Strategy says, "The current water challenge is we are not currently meeting Oregon’s water needs." "Over the past decade, Oregon has experienced six years that are among the hottest ten on record. In addition, the state has experienced the lowest snowpack ever observed, and had one of the most severe wildfire seasons." ~ 2024 IWRS draft The southern portion of central Oregon is currently classified in a "moderate drought' condition. In the Rogue Valley rainfall has been 50-75% of normal over the last 30 days, placing it just outside in the "abnormally dry" category according to the latest Jackson County drought map. Reservoirs are only partially full, except for Agate. Talent Irrigation District (TID) reports that "reservoir levels are looking better than they have for several years, however, that is mainly due to the water we were able to carry over from last irrigation season. The snowpack this winter has been considerably less than we had last year." The Jackson Soil and Water Conservation District concerns itself with water quality and conservation issues in Jackson County. The JSWCD says, "As Jackson County's population grows and the climate continues to change, water conservation will be of ever-growing importance to utilize our water resources as effectively as we can and ensure water availability for human and environmental needs." The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has a portal addressing drought in the West. As the nation’s largest wholesale water supplier, its mission is "to manage, develop, and protect water and related resources in an environmentally and economically sound manner in the interest of the American public" The Old Farmers Almanac's has statistical data, planting calendars, frost dates, weather forecasts, history, and lore. Their April 2024 Long Range Weather Forecast for the Pacific Northwest calls for slightly higher than average temperatures and precipitation. On April 9, 2024, from 6:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. PDT - OSU Southern Oregon Extension Service is offering a presentation on Landscaping for Water Conservation as part of their Sustainable Living Series. They will cover principles of waterwise landscaping, including the use of drought-tolerant plants, sprinkler schedules, and overall water conservation, as well as basic stormwater management. The cost is $15 per person to help support their Land Steward Program. Click here for a flyer, registration QR code, and link. Tracey Reed and Chris Hall of the Water League report they will be active in Earth Day activities at SOU on 4/19; at Williams on 4/21; and at Rogue Community College on 4/22. Oregon Water Justice Alliance was co-founded with the Water League, focusing on indigenous people and their allies together for tribal water rights and ancestral lands, communities, and fish. Public Interest Environmental Law Conference (PIELC) held the 42nd annual event in Eugene, Oregon on March 1, 2024. The Water League hosted two panels and built relationships to support their vision. Integrated Water Resources Strategy – As noted above, an update to this Strategy is currently underway; the Strategy is the entirety of how the state manages water and since we will live with this update for the next eight years we must get it right for the public and the environment. There are 30 pages of comments, and here is a link to a press release summary. Off-shore Wind Turbines - University of Oregon interns this winter/spring are researching what few consider - the cons of off-shore wind. We must decarbonize/drawdown, but must not hide from the negative impacts these leviathans externalize. See Water League HB 4080-A testimony Pumped storage hydroelectric plants - Chris Hall has written a Local Op-Ed on the confounding issues of energy use. Chris is also tracking the Public Utilities Commission for whether back-to-back rate hikes become promissory notes to boondoggles (e.g.: pumped storage does not pencil out unless there are non-stop back-to-back rate increases for the next 50 years, etc.) 1955 Groundwater Act – The Water League is conducting comprehensive research of the thousand+ pages of notes, bills, exhibits, and transcripts from Oregon Archives to uncover how the biggest PR disaster OWRD stepped into could happen (sent legislative bill request). This little string could unravel the sweater…" DIV 512 Rule-making on designating Critical Groundwater Areas (the first in 30+ years) is spiraling out of control according to Chris and the Water League is working to make sure irrigators don’t imperil it. This process and results will inform all others that come after it. Groundwater Allocation rule-making – comments due May 31, 2024 – Southern Oregon public hearing about strengthening standards for acquiring groundwater water rights is scheduled for May 16, 2024, from 7-9 p.m. in the Jackson County Auditorium, 7520 Table Rock Rd., Central Point, OR.

  • National Week of Conversation

    April 15-21, 2024 is National Week of Conversation - "An opportunity for Americans to show up for each other and for the country we love. "Through NWOC Signature Experiences conversations, cultural events, learning activities, and panel discussions you can join the movement to help shift our country away from toxic division towards increased curiosity and cohesion." Monday, April 15, 2024, at noon PDT - Music of Our Lives Tuesday, April 16, 2024, at 9 a.m. PDT - Building Communities that Listen Wednesday, April 17, 2024, at noon PDT - Libraries As Bridging Spaces Thursday, April 18, 2024, at 5 p.m. PDT - Bridging Heros in the Posthuman Classroom There will also be a Better Together Film Festival - sign up to host a screening. National Week of Conversation is brought to us by: Listen First Project - "elevates the impact of the movement to bridge divides in America. We connect the efforts of 500 Listen First Coalition partners, bringing people together across divides. We manage national campaigns and strategies for social cohesion. Listen First Project is the backbone organization for collective impact to save our country from breaking apart.  Listen First Project is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization." Citizen Connect - "a non-partisan platform dedicated to helping Americans right, left and center find ways to heal our divides and strengthen this great nation." The Prohuman Foundation - "promotes the foundational truth that every person is a unique individual united by our shared humanity. We do this through educational resources and programs based on the Prohuman Approach, that empower people to engage across differences and move forward, together." Middle Ground School Solutions - "consults with and delivers workshops for educators to help them position today’s students to ease tomorrow’s political polarization." Living Room Conversations -"creates effective and accessible tools for dialogue. We connect people across divides through guided conversations proven to build understanding and transform communities." AllSides Technologies Inc. strengthens our democratic society with balanced news, media bias ratings, diverse perspectives, and real conversation. With Living Room Conversations they built Mismatch–a platform that makes it easy to schedule a virtual dialogue between students who are the political, racial, geographical, and socio-economic opposite of each other." Find the experience that fits for you and embrace the opportunity to #DisagreeBetter Oregon Humanities' Conversation Project "trains facilitators to lead reflective conversations on topics of their choosing. Organizations then request to host these conversations in their communities with support from Oregon Humanities. These conversations can take multiple forms. Community Conversation: a single, ninety-minute program Reflective Conference: multiple conversations held over a single day Expanded Conversation: a longer conversation customized to the host organization’s interests" Click here to open the Conversation Project's catalog in a new window. If you see a program you want to host, use this form to request a conversation in your community.

  • The Great Turning

    May 24-25, 2024 - Claremont ECO Forum is having an in-person forum: The Great Turning: Towards an Ecological Civilization Aiming at the Common Good of Humanity and Nature at Pitzer College, Claremont, CA, This will be the 17th International Forum on Ecological Civilization and the 6th International Youth Forum on Ecological Civilization. Register here. From their website: "The Claremont Eco Forum (a.k.a. the International Forum on Ecological Civilization) continues to be one of the largest forums on ecological civilization in the world. Since 2006, this annual forum has drawn together a global cohort of creative academics, activists, artists, non-profit leaders, and governmental officials dedicated to rethinking our society toward an ecological civilization." Co-sponsors of the Forum are: Institute for Postmodern Development of China Pitzer College Center for Process Studies China Ecological Civilization Research and Promotion Association Institute for Ecological Civilization China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Association Cobb Institute Budapest Center for Long-term Sustainability Having recently watched the movie, Oppenheimer, one is keenly aware of the perils of even suggesting that any ideas about sustainability, which may be tangentially associated with socialism or communism, have any merits to be considered. The current political rhetoric in the United States continues to polarize the evils of such consideration. Yet, we live in a world where our economies and societies are increasingly interrelated, so understanding, if not full cooperation, is essential to world peace and security. "Only if China and India (as well as America) soon start to make the postmodern turn does our planet have hope." ~ David Ray Griffin According to Wikipedia "David Ray Griffin (1939-2022) was an American professor of philosophy of religion and theology... Along with John B. Cobb, Jr., he founded the Center for Process Studies in 1973, a research center of the Claremont School of Theology that promotes process thought. Griffin was also a 9/11 conspiracy theorist and published numerous books about the September 11 attacks, claiming that elements of the Bush administration were involved." You may judge whether Griffin's interests in conspiracy and parapsychology discredit the soundness of his process thoughts. Similarly, you may judge whether Chinese thought about eco-civilization resonates at all with truth. The reader may want to check out the Practice Model of Xi Jinping Thought on Ecological Civilization (2022) for "answers to... theoretical and practical questions as to why to build an ecological civilization, what the goal is and how to achieve it." I believe it is more important to understand alternative perspectives than to merely villainize and dismiss them. Do you find any merit in these "six principles that must be upheld in promoting ecological progress"? "Man and nature should coexist in harmony. Lucid waters and lush mountains are invaluable assets. A good ecological environment is the most accessible welfare for the people. The mountains, rivers, forests, farmlands, lakes, and grasslands are a life community. The strictest regulations and laws must be applied in protecting the environment. Joint efforts must be made in building a global ecological civilization."

  • Death and Resurrection

    Pilgrims to Jerusalem visit what is purported to be the tomb where Jesus was buried before the stone was rolled away the third day after his crucifixion on the cross. Did you know that Easter eggs are a symbol of the empty tomb? Easter is early this year (March 31, 2024). It's a moveable feast, not falling on a fixed date, but its date computed based on a lunisolar calendar - the first Sunday after the ecclesiastical full moon that occurs on or soonest after March 21st (the vernal equinox and first day of Spring.) Did you know that the modern English term Easter comes from a Germanic spring goddess named Ēostre? Spring marks the recurring cycle of new life after winter. Ilia Delio discusses with Matthew Fox the viability of contemporary religious institutions in an evolutionary world, in the Center for Christogenesis' November 6, 2023 'Hunger for Wholeness' podcast, What Lies Beyond Death and Institutions. "One of the things that's kind of ironic is that for a spiritual tradition such as Christianity, which has the cross at the heart of the tradition (which is about death, followed by resurrection or new life), that it's not modeled institutionally..." Ilia goes on to say... "The whole of evolution runs on death and new life. Things die so there is room for new life to emerge. So one of the worst things we can do is to try to keep holding on (whether it be personally or institutionally) to what has always been! We live in a finite world, so you can't hold on to things that are changing all the time." "There is something about Christianity that’s deeply creation-centered and deeply incarnation, with a God who gets involved with materiality; a God who is okay with change and chaos; a God who is unconditional in love. I think there is a lot of hope in this tradition… I would love Christianity to have this new, living, energy of faith - one that energizes us and gives us hope. "But we have a deep, existential fear of death. I think a lot of people think there’s really nothing after this life - you know, when I die, that’s it!" We have an eschatological crisis. We don’t have any real sense of anything beyond this finite, mortal world." "The gospels talk about a resurrected body or a new spiritual body and I think there is something about life that endures infinitely! It will change form for sure. Maybe we become part of this cosmic whole? Maybe the word 'God" symbolizes this immense, infinite cosmic energy of love and consciousness, and we are part of life elsewhere in the cosmos?" "Because we fear death so, we hold on to our institutions, our stuff, and our ideas - that's part and parcel of our environmental crisis today! "Our attention is not directed toward our deep interconnectedness. I think if we had a robust sense of belonging to a whole, energized by the power of love, presence, and interconnectivity we would not fear death! We would know that 'what we’re about here on earth' will be everlasting in the organic, wholeness of life."

  • April 2024 Eco-Spiritual Calendar

    Here's a list of some upcoming online and Rogue Valley, in-person, eco-spiritual activities that may be of interest to you. Check back as this post will be updated during April as we get additional information, and a new calendar listing will come out in May. April 1-30, 2024 - "The Earth Month Ecochallenge, running from April 1st to April 30th, is a 30-day program focused on environmental and social engagement. During this month, you're invited to select actions that resonate with your values, committing to them for 30 days to foster and reinforce positive habits. Each action you complete earns points and generates real-world impact. Your efforts, combined with those of your team, contribute to a significant collective difference. "This year's theme, “Conserving Every Ecosystem, Caring for Every Creature,” highlights the intersection of conservation and behavior change. By focusing on daily actions and continuous learning, we aim to create a sustainable and just world, not just for humans but for all species and ecosystems we rely on." April 2, 2024, at 6 p.m. PDT - Ashland Youth for Electrification is organizing to get the City Council to pass the Climate & Clean Air policy package. From Maroun at Rogue Climate: "We are continuing to see Ashland City Council delay on taking climate action to make our community a healthier place–even after a policy package was recommended to them by the city's Energy Policy advisory committee! We need community members to attend the 4/2/24 city council meeting at 6 P.M. to demonstrate our group strength & unified support for the ordinance. Hold City Council accountable and pressure them to include it in the agenda and vote on this soon! April 3, 2024, from 5:30 - 8:30 p.m. PDT - SOCAN's Master Climate Protector (MCP) is undergoing a transition to become a new course: Living with Climate Change in the Rogue Valley, offered through the SOU Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Sustainability. The class will be held on the SOU campus and available to SOU students for credit and community members at no or minimal charge. The first offering will be as an Independent study. Alan Jornet and Kathy Conway are coordinating the course, which they will offer together with guest presenters Ray Mallette, Liz Olson, Mike Vergeer, Juie Smitherman, and Ray Seidler. April 3, 2024, at 6 p.m. PDT - Southern Oregon PBS starts the Wednesday night series A Brief History of the Future. This is a unique six-part documentary series about our futures and how we can reimagine them. Hosted by renowned futurist Ari Wallach, the show invites viewers on a journey around the world that is filled with discovery, hope, and possibility about where we find ourselves today and what could come next." April 4, 2024, at 1 p.m. PDT - Global Kinship is presenting a webinar featuring Lauren Van Ham speaking on the topic: Coming Home to Community, Coming Home to Earth. This webinar is part of Earth Restoration Cooperation Circles. To register for this webinar, CLICK HERE April 9, 2024, from 6:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. PDT - OSU Southern Oregon Extension Service is offering a presentation on Landscaping for Water Conservation as part of their Sustainable Living Series. They will cover principles of waterwise landscaping, including the use of drought-tolerant plants, sprinkler schedules, and overall water conservation, as well as basic stormwater management. The cost is $15 per person to help support their Land Steward Program. Click here for a flyer, and registration QR code. or link. April 13 & 14, 2024, from 8 a.m. to 2 p. m, PDT Saturday and from 8:30-9:30 a.m. PDT Sunday - The Aspen Chapel presents Ilia Delia and A.I. As the Matrix in the Soul: Why the Future of A.I. is Bound Up with Evolution of Consciousness based on her 2020 book Re-Enchanting the Earth: Why AI Needs Spirituality. Register here. April 15-30, 2024 - Interfaith Power & Light's Faith Climate Action Week focus film is Common Ground, a powerful follow-up to Kiss the Ground. Common Ground provides hope for future generations with concrete ways to fix a broken planetary system. The film explores how regenerative agriculture can help heal the soil, our health, and the planet. This DVD is available for purchase through IPL, with free screening rights for showing at your in-person event. These screening rights are generally worth $90, but thanks to the generosity of the film team, they are free to IPL congregations and religious organizations. This film is only available for group in-person events between April 15 and 30, 2024. Get your DVD now Or sign up coming soon to stream the film for free for your in-person event between April 15 and 30. Sign up to get the free streaming link here. April 16, 2024, from 9:00 a.m. - 2:15 p.m. PDT - "If you believe in the moral responsibility to care for creation for the sake of our faith, our congregations, our families, communities, and future generations", join the National Faith + Climate Forum on April 16th. Blessed Tomorrow invites all clergy and lay leaders, younger and older congregants to "Changes in our climate are increasingly impacting congregations, and clergy and lay leaders, like you, are searching for ways to be part of the solution. Deepen your understanding of engaging your congregation in creation care, working toward just and equitable solutions, and connecting with other faith leaders locally and nationally." Register here - it's free. April 19, 2024, from 3:30 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. PDT - Earth Day 2024 at the Farm at SOU. Join Southern Oregon University and community partners for exhibits, live performances, bike rodeo, art, food trucks, and more, all in celebration of Earth. Here's a link for more information and to Register here: https://cglink.me/2xE/r375209 April 22, 2024, from 11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. PDT - Earth Day 2024 celebration at Rogue Community College April 22, 2024, from 1-4 p.m. PDT - Rogue Valley Manor is presenting Sustainability: Elders Caring for Future Generations at this first annual Earth Day event at the RVM Auditorium, 1200 Mira Mar Ave., Medford, OR. There will be display tables on recycling and three community presenters and drawings. April 25, 2024, from 3:00 p.m.-4:15 p.m. PDT, Creation Justice Ministries (CJM) is presenting Culture of Preparedness, the second part of their “Faithful Preparedness, Faithful Resilience” webinar series. Register here. April 30, 2024, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. PDT - SOCAN Monthly Meeting on How the Climate Crises are Affecting Our Mental Health will take place in the large meeting room of the Medford Public Library, 205 South Central, Medford, OR. May 15, 2024, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. PDT - Citizens' Climate Lobby will be presenting: Race, Climate, and Culture Conversation. Free. Register here. May 18, 19, 25, and 26, 2024 - The Guild for Spiritual Guidance, and the Human Energy Project are co-sponsoring a webinar series with Dr. Emily DeMoor Intersubjectivity and the Noosphere: Love, entanglement, and Convergence.  Register here. May 28, 2024, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. PDT - SOCAN's Monthly Meeting will take place in the large meeting room of the Medford Public Library, 205 South Central, Medford, OR.

  • Finding Common Ground

    Conversations about global warming and climate change have become polarized, but most people, regardless of political views, share common values of caring for others and the environment. Finding common ground requires more intentional, mutual efforts than just expressing talking points - it requires curiosity, mutual respect, and active listening. A proven structured format from Living Room Conversations helps build connections in our communities. During the pandemic in 2021 I participated in a rewarding "Living Room Conversation" on Zoom with people who lived in California I had not met in person. We shared views on climate change, had a friendly exchange and I learned some things about communication. I recommend the process if participants are curious and open. Minds were not changed, but the experience was positive. Living Room Conversations involves a small group of people (ideally six) who "come together to get to know one another in a more meaningful way. Guided by a simple and sociable format, participants practice being open and curious about all perspectives, with a focus on learning from one another, rather than trying to debate the topic at hand." The process starts with establishing a conversation agreement, which may be referred to if discussions start to get out of hand. The first of three phases is about communicating core values - positive impressions that others have about you and what is important to you. After rapport is established, the topic at hand is discussed in round two with reflections and follow-up expressed in round three. "LivingRoom Conversations has a wide variety of resources to help you start, grow, and continue to bridge divides and increase understanding in our own lives." You may take a course, watch a conversation video, or select questions for dozens of topics. You can connect with others virtually in a Learning Community where you can share successes and explore how to better utilize their resources. Hosting a Living Room Conversation yourself doesn't require any special skills or certification. A host toolkit will walk you through the process of hosting a Living Room Conversation. Joan Blades co-founded Living Room Conversations in 2011 with Amanda Kathryn Roman-Hydro. They partnered with communication experts to create a "structured, intimate conversation format that would empower everyday citizens to discuss important issues with friends of differing political affiliations and backgrounds... Early participants had conversations about the role of government, money in politics, immigration, gay marriage, and more." Living Room Conversations is a program of Mediators Foundation, a 501-C-3 tax-exempt organization in Boulder, CO.

  • Coming Home to Earth

    April 4, 2024, at 1 p.m. PDT - Global Kinship is presenting a webinar featuring Lauren Van Ham speaking on the topic: Coming Home to Community, Coming Home to Earth. To register for this webinar, CLICK HERE Lauren Van Ham is an Interfaith Chaplain, eco-activist, corporate sustainability consultant, and Climate Action Coordinator of the United Religions Initiative (URI). “Combining my passions, education and in-the-field experience, I facilitate change and build new bridges between the inner/outer ecology of individuals and organizations, one at a time. I call this work, Eco-Chaplaincy.” ~ Lauren Van Ham

  • Why AI Needs Spirituality

    April 13 & 14, 2024, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m, PDT Saturday and from 8:30-9:30 a.m. PDT Sunday - The Aspen Chapel presents Ilia Delia and A.I. As the Matrix in the Soul: Why the Future of A.I. is Bound Up with Evolution of Consciousness based on her 2020 book Re-Enchanting the Earth: Why AI Needs Spirituality. Register here. "In this event, Ilia will unpack the problems and opportunities of Artificial Intelligence with the perspective that AI is the next step in the human evolutionary story. She sees that, as we use technology more and more to enhance life, we are entering a ‘trans-humanist’ phase of our development... This means that we are moving beyond our mere biology to use AI to assist us in our process of living." What are the implications of this, and is there a way we can develop this that can enhance our ‘deep relationality’? How can our spiritual understanding and the framework of values enable us to use this intelligence to bring greater peace and harmony to our world? “AI is not the problem. We have to look at why we are developing it, and to what end”. ~ Ilia Delio "Ilia argues that quantum physics and neuroscience are key elements informing our understanding of spirituality and the future of both the human race and our planet. She sees A.I. as being an extension of human intelligence, and a product of the soul. Therefore, the future of A.I. must be imbued with the spiritual values at the heart of our experience within the soul." "Ilia Delio is known as a ‘Theologian Futurist’. She is a Franciscan Sister with Doctorates in Religion and Science, with interests in evolution, physics, and neuroscience and the importance of these for theology. She holds the Josephine C. Connelly Endowed Chair in Theology at Villanova University and is the author of twenty books." She is the founder of the Center for Christogenesis.

  • Elders in Action for Climate

    Elder Climate Action is a group of "activists committed to a non-partisan effort to end the Climate Crisis and build a just and sustainable future for our children, our grandchildren, and all children." March 26, 2024, at 4 p.m. PDT - Elders Climate Action is having their Monthly National Call (on the 4th Tuesday of the month) with Dr. Elizabeth Sawin on the topic: Multisolving: Actions That Protect the Climate While Improving Health, Equity, and Biodiversity at the Same Time. Register here. The Monthly National Call will be followed by a quick Action Party with the Climate Action Now app. They will provide us with several quick actions related to the Monthly Call that we can take from our phone. Their goal is 100 actions in 15 minutes, last month they did almost 150 actions! "Dr. Elizabeth Sawin is Founder and Director of the Multisolving Institute, a think-do tank that helps people implement win-win-win solutions that protect the climate while improving, equity, health, biodiversity, economic vitality, and well-being. She is a biologist with a PhD from MIT who has been analyzing complex systems related to climate change for over twenty-five years." Elders Climate Action (ECA) is a project of Elders Action Network, a 501(c)3 organization. ECA is non-partisan and does not support, endorse, or advocate for any political party or candidate. They "work to inform, inspire, and engage others to take action on the climate crisis. We actively support the youth movements springing up in the United States and throughout the world." ECA has some great tools (videos, books, and online resources) for helping our grandchildren learn about climate change. A new ECA Chapter is currently forming in Oregon. Currently, they are a group of six volunteers with facilitators in Lane and Multnomah Counties "who seek to engage more members locally and in other counties." Find out more on their Facebook page. Also March 26, 2024, at 10 a.m. PDT - Third Act is hosting Eldering Series: Creating Possibiities for Our Collective Future - an unscripted, cross-generational conversation on the roles younger and older activists are playing in our shared work, and what we can be learning from each other." Register here. This session is "hosted by Third Act’s Lead Advisor, Akaya Windwood and will feature: Tamara Chao (Vice President of strategy & Impact at Women Donors Network), Michael Johnson (President at IllumiNative), and Bill McKibben (author, educator, and Founder of Third Act & 350.org)." Third Act is "a community of Americans over sixty determined to change the world for the better. Third Act harnesses an unparalleled generational power to safeguard our climate and democracy."

  • Game Changer Intensive

    March 31, 2024, is the last day to sign up for the latest Pachamama Alliance's Game Changer Intensive, a free, online, eight-week course "that will prepare you to engage in effective collective action toward a just and sustainable future." I took the course several years ago and highly recommend it The Game Changer Intensive will require about 3.5 hours of your time each week for eight weeks. Each week you will watch videos, read articles and participate in online meetings. I particularly liked the building of a community of friendships with like-minded people through Zoom meetings with those who have just completed that week's coursework on their own. The first class starts on April 2. Register here. From the Pachamama website, here are the eight modules" Module 1: Introduction to Game Changing Begin with the fundamentals of being a Game Changer and learn how to “strike at the root” of our systemic societal problems. Module 2: The Power of Story The story we tell ourselves has the power to shape our actions. Discover a new story that makes transforming the world possible. Module 3: Evolutionary Activism Explore how human beings can take responsibility for the role we play in shaping the evolution of life on Earth. Module 4: A Case for Grounded Optimism Turn your despair into optimism. Discover evidence that a positive future is possible, and illuminate the critical role of your perspective and stand in the matter. Module 5: The Rigged Game Take a hard look at systems and structures of injustice that exist throughout our society, and explore how we are all, in one way or another, caught up in a rigged game. Module 6: Unrigging the Game Discover the awesome power of movements to unrig the game and bring forth democratic principles and practices. Explore inspiring alternative systems for creating a sustainable, fulfilling, just world. Module 7: Solving the Climate Crisis: Justice and Regeneration Explore what taking regenerative action to address climate change looks like, with an emphasis on the connection between climate and justice. Module 8: Going Forth Discover what’s next for you as a Game Changer, delve into inspiring and practical resources to support you as you go forth.

  • Merchants of Doubt

    There are deep connections between politics and the fossil fuel industry and campaigns to mislead the public and deny well-established scientific knowledge over four decades. The spring 2022 PBS Frontline series, The Power of Big Oil exposed the decades of "Denial, Doubt, and Delay" tactics used by the fossil fuel industry to avoid responsibility for their role in contributing to climate change. Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway's 2010 book Merchants of Doubt chronicles "how a handful of scientists obscured the truth on issues from tobacco smoke to climate change." The book asserts "the same individuals who claim the science of global warming is “not settled” have also denied the truth about studies linking smoking to lung cancer, coal smoke to acid rain, and CFCs to the ozone hole." The Week magazine on January 23, 2024, documented the shift in climate denialism on YouTube over the past 5 years - "the departure from rejection of anthropogenic climate change, to attacks on climate science and scientists, and rhetoric seeking to undermine confidence in solutions to climate change." The Verge reported. In a recently published report, the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) "discovered that new denial content made up 70% of climate disinformation on YouTube in 2023, up from 35% in 2018." Shifting the blame from producers to the consuming public is a clever tactic of merchants of doubt. On March 4, 2024 the Guardian reported on the "Fury after Exxon chief says public to blame for climate failures: Darren Woods tells Fortune consumers not willing to pay for clean-energy transition, prompting backlash from climate experts." The outrage has been intense, particularly in the light of record profits. The notion of an individual's carbon footprint also shifts responsibility for solving the climate crisis to the actions of the consuming public. Some conservation groups suggest that "by making small changes to our actions, like eating less meat, taking fewer connecting flights and line drying our clothes, we can start making a big difference.' The IPCC graph above indicates that about two-thirds of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions are from the fossil fuel industry. The EPA reports the same story. Merely creating doubt is another deflection tactic. The 2021 book: Unsettled: What Climate Science Tells Us, What It Doesn't, and Why It Matters was written by Steven E. Koonin, a professor of theoretical physics at Caltech for 30 years before he spent five years as Chief Scientist for British Petroleum, presumably responsible for "researching renewable energy options." That Koonin is a Senior Fellow (adjunct) at the Hoover Institution suggests at least a private enterprise bias. In A critical review of Steven Koonin’s ‘Unsettled’ Mark Boslough pointed out the book's logical fallacies and charged "to assess its statement on climate change, he [Koonin] recruited three scientists to represent the 97% consensus, and three contrarians, presumably to speak for the other 3%. The lack of proportionate representation amplified the contrary opinions that he heard, and only in one direction." Heated says that "Plastic Recycling is a Scam" and "the fossil fuel industry has known for decades that recycling alone won't solve the plastic crisis. But it's spending millions to convince the public otherwise." Thom Hartmann, in his March 22, 2024 article explaining Why is America Letting the Oil Industry Destroy the Planet?, assails "the fossil fuel industry, with a whole new crop of psychopathic executives, marketers, and attorneys. Burning their products produces air pollution that causes asthma, cancer, heart disease, and strokes; according to Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Medicine, an estimated 350,000 Americans die prematurely every year because of this industry’s products." On March 21, 2024, the Guardian suggested that "Fossil fuel firms could be tried in US for homicide over climate-related deaths, experts say." Will the legal system reverse imbalances or be the handmaidens to political pressures and donors? Another well-known politician is a master merchant of doubt, accusing the accuser and habitually claiming to be a victim instead of the perpetrator, although the public is becoming wise. Will the public respond appropriately at the ballot box?

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