Bobbing Around Volume 13 Number 6

Bobbing Around

Volume Thirteen, Number Six
January, 2014

Bob Rich’s (melting ice coloured) rave

email  other issues

*About Bobbing Around
guidelines for contributions

*Responses to past issues
Dorothy Carroll
Karl Kofoed
Myrna Lou Goldbaum
Sara van Dyck

Amnesty reveals Australia’s shame
CREDO’s plan for 2014
What all politicians should have their noses rubbed in, from Nature
Do you know about Iceland’s revolution in 2008?

Beware abrupt climate changes
The facts about the Antarctic Expedition, by Chris Turney
Operation Relentless is on
Princeton research: Stopping emissions is not enough
Being Passive or Neutral is not an option…
If you’re interested in urban permaculture…
China “solves” smog problem

*Good news
Minnesota: solar cheaper than gas
Student Conservation Association for young Americans
A tree farming project that protects the rainforest?
Not in MY backyard, thank you
The outrageous idea of entitlement to compassion is successful

Solar boat!
Liberate yourself from STUFF
A Carbon Neutral Home, Even In Bad Conditions, by Katie Marks

*Deeper issues
If you want to follow Jesus…
Caretakers of Mother Earth
Institutionalized Insanity And Humanity’s Existential Crisis, by Steve Bhaerman
5 Gift Economies That Flourish Without Money, by Beth Buczynski
The Gift of Generosity

A resource for people experiencing bipolar
I took him back and now he is ruling my life
My life is good but I feel miserable
Bullied by my little brother
My parents threw me away
Choosing between my daughter and her father

What’s causing all these peanut allergies? By Katherine Martinko
Cancer in your family? Maybe blame Monsanto

*For writers
Donate e-books to the poorest in the world
It’s not real until it’s in my computer

*What my friends want you to know
Public Eye Awards, till 21/1/2014
Books by Karl Kofoed
Charms by Sally Odgers will charm your kids
Regulate against dirty energy in US: a petition
Help Avaaz address climate change
Marathon to help handicapped kids
Master of Sustainability and Social Change
Carolyn back in action

*Book reviews
Unrest in Eden, by Florence Weinberg
Storks of Caridad, by Florence Weinberg
A Rose in No Man’s Land, by Margaret Tanner
Dreaming Down Heaven, by Gini Gentry
The Making of a Forest Fighter, reviewed by Florence Weinberg
The Making of a Forest Fighter, reviewed by Margaret Tanner
Sleeper, Awake, reviewed by Florence Weinberg

What the World Should Know, by Jean Riseman
A Prayer, by Jurgen Malina

Ascending Spiral wins award

It is my pleasure to let you know that my latest book is one of those Carolyn Howard-Johnson has put on her list of her Noble (not Nobel) Prize for Literature.

Thank you, Carolyn.

Three recent interviews

During the past few weeks, I have been interviewed three times. The questions were very different, and so were my answers.

If you’d like to be entertained, and perhaps welcome a new viewpoint on our world, you might want to visit

Jean and Bob chat about Pip.

Sally Odgers asked me the BIG question for a writer.

Finally, Teena Raffa-Mulligan quizzed me about writing, although we covered a bit more than that.

Letter to my superannuation fund

6th December, 2013


PO Box 600

Carlton South 3053

Please find enclosed the required documents to completely close and clear the accounts for me and my wife.

Recently, I engaged in an email discussion with one of your staff. I had requested that if HESTA has an investment in BHP Billiton, it should support Mr Ian Dunlop’s bid for election to the Board of that company. The response I received was a listing of some of the good things you are doing for the environment, but a statement that HESTA did not find it appropriate to support Mr Dunlop.

BHP Billiton is one of the planet’s worst emitters of greenhouse gases through their many business operations. Therefore, if you could not support Mr Dunlop, then I cannot support you. This is why we are withdrawing our funds.

Bob Rich

I am responsible for anything I have written. However, where I reproduce contributions from other people, I do not necessarily endorse their opinions. I may or may not agree with them, but give them the courtesy of a forum.

Bobbing Around is COPYRIGHTED. No part of it may be reproduced in any form, at any venue, without the express permission of the publisher (ME!) and the author if that is another person. You may forward the entire magazine to anyone else.

Responses to past issues

Dorothy Carroll
Karl Kofoed
Myrna Lou Goldbaum
Sara van Dyck

Dorothy Carroll

Dear Bob,

Thank you, & good job on bobbing around — always an interesting read. I liked the picture at the top; as one gets used to using the format that you have chosen it will get easier & faster. I am not all that familiar with WordPress but my boys use it so I will talk to them bt I do like your format. Leave it all in that way everyone that reads Bobbing can read it all or just choose what they want from it. Terrific to read the reviews too.

Love Dorothy xxx

Karl Kofoed

Hi Bob! Good blog! Happy to have contributed something to it. Thought provoking and even inspirational. I give you tacit permission to pick up any of my comments on important issues.

The issue of Global Warming isn’t a special interest. It is a human interest that should be discussed and acted upon by everyone. Unfortunately, here in the US, it is marginalized by our corporate/consumerist media. But we still have our Constitution which has carried us though many crisis and to a large degree kept us on track. I, too, am retired and focused on three concerns: Restoring photographs, political activism, and writing. I’m pleased to say that 5 of my novels are now available from Baen eBooks, and am on the cusp of having my illustrate Galactic Geographic (coffee table book from the future) published. In these endeavors I hope to contribute to a better future for the children of the world. A lofty quest perhaps, but with people like you dedicated to the same mission we CAN change the future.

Myrna Lou Goldbaum

Hi Bob,

My suggestion is to do 2 newsletters a month with 1/2 of the articles in each one. This issue was interesting but much too fun-filled to read in 1 session on the computer for me. I read 1/2 and finished the articles I was interested in the following day.

Myrna Lou Goldbaum

Master Palmist


Soul Mate Specialist
a href= target=_blank>

Myrna, thanks for the response. Trouble is, the old way it used to take me 2 days of fiddling to assemble Bobbing Around. With WordPress, it’s more like 3, and length of content is only one of the factors. I feel I’d be doing nothing else! If you can enjoy the bits you want in two bites, that’s fine. Hope you continue to take an interest.


Sara van Dyck

My reaction: the font size, spacing between lines, and photos are attractive and easy to read. I am puzzled by all the blank space to the left, but don’t think that should be loaded with more text, so don’t know what to suggest. Thought: A newsletter I work on staggers items left or right on the page, with images filling in. It takes away the “railroad cars” effect of a lot of items trundling after each other.

Sara van Dyck

Author of “The Boy Who Loved Ants: Edward O. Wilson”

To sample or purchase

About Sara:


Amnesty reveals Australia’s shame
CREDO’s plan for 2014
What all politicians should have their noses rubbed in, from Nature
Do you know about Iceland’s revolution in 2008?


Amnesty reveals Australia’s shame


Dear Bob,

I’ve just come back from a week at Manus Island detention centre.

While many journalists have been denied access, our Amnesty research team was let inside. Now for the first time we’re able to reveal what life and conditions are like inside this secretive detention centre.

Click here to learn the hidden truth about Manus Island.

What we found inside was bleak, and far worse than we anticipated [1]. The entire system is designed to mentally break asylum seekers and force them to return from where they’ve fled. In one compound we found 112 asylum seekers crammed into a sweltering, windowless shed.

Asylum seekers are routinely humiliated from the moment they arrive. They’re referred to by their boat numbers instead of their names. They’re denied enough water, medical help, contact with their families. They lack basic necessities like clothing, soap and shelter from the extreme heat. Some told us they have contemplated suicide because of the harsh conditions.

Medical professionals told us that they are unable to treat serious illnesses, and that conditions are contributing to depression, anxiety and trauma. They were frustrated with the lack of mental health services and basic sanitation provided — and the complete lack of response from Australian authorities to their requests.

Today our report is making headlines around the world [2]. Please help us spread the word about the truth on Manus Island.

Most of the people we spoke to had fled war-torn countries, or situations of extreme discrimination in countries like Afghanistan, Darfur, Pakistan, Somalia and Syria. To see people so hopeless and broken was heart-breaking.

I will never forget hearing from an Iraqi man. When talking about his life on Manus Island, he said: “I have lived in war zones, with bombs and explosions. I have never experienced what I am experiencing here with the uncertainty we face. If we had died in the ocean that would have been better.”

There are almost 2,000 people being detained on Manus Island and Nauru. The government spends over $1 billion a year to keep them locked up — yet only ONE asylum claim been processed since they opened.

To date Manus Island is a spectacular failure. Please SHARE what we found on Manus Island. People need to know.

Imagine enduring these conditions each day with no information about when you can begin your life again. Many of the men we spoke to pleaded for Amnesty’s help. I won’t stop campaigning until they can live in safety and dignity.

Thank you,

Graeme McGregor 
Refugee Campaign Coordinator 
Amnesty International Australia

PS: If you haven’t already, please sign our pledge demanding a more humane approach to asylum seekers.

[1] The truth about Manus Island, 11 December 2013

[2] Manus Island detention centre inhuman, violates prohibition against torture: Amnesty International, ABC News, 12 December 2013

Amnesty slams Manus detention centre, Sky News, 12 December 2013

Gay asylum seekers told they could be reported to PNG police, Amnesty says, The Guardian, 11 December 2013

CREDO’s plan for 2104

I received an email I found inspiring and exciting. It set out 14 goals for CREDO, goals I think most readers of Bobbing Around will approve of. Please have a look.


What all politicians should have their noses rubbed in, from Nature

A major reason for the crazy decisions politicians, business men and others with influence make is that they don’t understand how science works. This article in Nature by William J. Sutherland, David Spiegelhalter & Mark Burgman is a mini-course in how to be a discerning consumer of scientific claims. It should be required reading for all journalists, politicians and their advisors — and high school students.

Do you know about Iceland’s revolution in 2008?

The Las Vegas Guardian Express has an opinion piece by Rebecca Savastio on what in Iceland is referred to as the “pots and pans revolution.”

In the US, unscrupulous banks caused a real estate bubble that led to a global economic meltdown. The result was the government giving banks huge subsidies, rewarding theft.

In Iceland, a similar crisis led to many thousands of people taking to the streets, banging on pots and pans in peaceful but noisy protest. They forced the entire government to resign. The fraudulent bankers are in jail, and a citizens’ committee is rewriting the constitution.

Rebecca’s concern is: why has the corporate-controlled media failed to report on such momentous events?



Beware abrupt climate changes
The facts about the Antarctic Expedition by Chris Turney
Operation Relentless is on
Princeton research: stopping emissions is not enough
Being Passive or Neutral is not an option…
If you’re interested in urban permaculture…
China “solves” smog problem

Beware abrupt climate changes

Aljazeera has summarised the findings of a 200 page report by the US National Academy of Sciences that validates what I’ve been saying for some years, including in some recent posts: gradual climate change of the kind the IPCC is able to predict is not the most serious risk. The passing of tipping points is.

“The report repeatedly warns of potential ‘tipping points’ where the climate passes thresholds, beyond which ‘major and rapid changes occur. And some of these quick changes are happening now,’ said study chairman James White of the University of Colorado. The study says abrupt changes like melting ice in the Arctic Ocean and mass species extinctions have already started and are worse than predicted.”

The facts about the Antarctic Expedition
by Chris Turney

A group of researchers revisited Douglas Mawson’s historic research site. Their ship got stuck in ice.

The result has been a lot of ill-informed comment in the media. Read the report of the leader of the expedition to set the record straight.

Operation Relentless is on

Monday January 6, 2014 — Melbourne, Australia The Sea Shepherd Fleet has located all five vessels of the Japanese whale poaching fleet, including the Japanese factory ship, the Nisshin Maru, inside the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.

The Steve Irwin, The Bob Barker and The Sam Simon are now in pursuit of the whaling fleet, driving them away from their intended poaching grounds, disrupting their illegal hunt, and preparing to shut down their whale-killing operations.

The Steve Irwin’s helicopter first located the Nisshin Maru at 64°44′ S, 162°34′ W, in New Zealand’s sovereign waters in the Ross Dependency Antarctic region, and inside the internationally recognised Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.

Sea Shepherd has obtained compelling footage and images of three dead protected Minke Whales on the deck of the Nisshin Maru, taken at the time the factory ship was first located.A fourth whale, believed to be a Minke, was being butchered on the bloodstained deck.

Sea Shepherd Australia Managing Director, Jeff Hansen, stated, “The Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary has been tainted by the illegal slaughter of these beautiful and majestic Minke Whales by the ruthless, violent and barbaric actions of the Japanese whale poachers. No one will ever know the pain and suffering these playful, gentle giants went through from the time the explosive harpoon ripped through their bodies to the time they drew their last breath in a red sea full of their own blood. One thing is for sure, Sea Shepherd will do what ever it takes to ensure no more whales have to endure pain and suffering at the hands of these whale butchers from Japan.”

Captain of The Steve Irwin, Sid Chakravarty, said, “When ‘science’ requires you to grotesquely bloat up the bodies of protected whales, stroll across a deck smeared with their blood, hauling their body parts with hooks and chains, and discarding their remains over the side, then that ‘science’ has no place in the 21st Century. The Nisshin Maru is an out-and-out butcher ship and a floating butchery has no place in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. Sea Shepherd will remain relentless in driving these fake, desperate and subverting ‘scientists’ back to Tokyo.”

The Japanese whale poaching fleet operates in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary in contravention of the 1986 global moratorium on commercial whaling under the guise of scientific research. In June 2013, the government of New Zealand joined the Australian government’s challenge to the legality of Japan’s whale hunt in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary at the International Court of Justice. A judgement on the case is yet to be delivered.

Captain of The Bob Barker, Peter Hammarstedt, said, “Once again, the Japanese government has shown flagrant disregard for international law by continuing their illegal whale hunt while the world patiently awaits a decision from the International Court of Justice. The Japanese government’s dishonourable attempt the skirt the legal process is an insult to the cooperation demonstrated by people around the world, dedicated to enacting conservation laws out of a shared recognition for the need for environmental protection.”

Managed and led by Sea Shepherd Australia, Operation Relentless is Sea Shepherd’s tenth Antarctic Whale Defence Campaign. In its previous nine campaigns, Sea Shepherd saved the lives of over 4,500 whales.

Sea Shepherd Australia remains the only organisation committed to defend the integrity of the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary by directly intervening against the illegal operations of the Japanese whaling fleet.

Footage can be viewed at:

Princeton research: stopping emissions is not enough

A group headed by Professor Jorge Sarmiento has examined the question: what would happen if suddenly all new CO2 emissions stopped?

The earth would continue warming for a long time, and then the heat soaked up by the oceans would keep the air warm rather than a cooling. This planet is guaranteed a long, hot future.

The research team recommends a huge reduction in the allowable emission of greenhouse gases.

Being Passive or Neutral is not an option…

Soren Anderson has written an article I thoroughly approve of. In particular, have a look at the little table near the top.

Very entertainingly, and in plain language even I can understand, Soren maps out what we need to do to survive.

If you’re interested in urban permaculture…

A new, free online game is being developed. Check it out at

China “solves” smog problem

This essay at Daily Kos would be hilarious if it wasn’t so tragic. Over a quarter million Chinese are killed by coal-generated smog each year, but, in the words of the great Dr Seuss, “Business is business, and business must grow, regardless of crummies in tummies, you know!”

So, they have solved the problem of too many smog alert days — by relaxing the criterion for what triggers a smog alert!

Good news

Minesota: solar cheaper than gas
Student Conservation Association for young Americans
A tree farming project that protects the rainforest?
Not in MY backyard, thank you
The outrageous idea of entitlement to compassion is successful


Minesota: solar cheaper than gas

Climate Spectator has reported that a judicial enquiry directed that the State should invest in solar power rather than gas for the expansion of its electricity supply.

Student Conservation Association for young Americans

Are you, or do you know, a young adult who is interested in the environment and conservation, but doesn’t know how to get involved? If you do, check out the Student Conservation Association, better known as “America’s Conservation Corps” or SCA. SCA has programs in all 50 states for high school students, college students, and recent graduates interested in conservation and the environment.

Much more fun than sitting in front of a screen or pushing buttons.

A tree farming project that protects the rainforest?

National Geographic
reports on the work of Willie Smits, a Sulawesi resident who has spent his life protecting the rainforest and its residents like orangutans.

A local tree, the sugar palm, can yield huge quantities of sap that can produce fuel and other useful products. However, it doesn’t suit a monoculture, and its use is very labour-intensive. This doesn’t suit agribusiness, but is ideal for protecting the lives of local villagers.

Not in MY backyard, thank you


Seven Pennsylvanian communities have successfully challenged the right accorded to fracking companies to do their thing anywhere.

The outrageous idea of entitlement to compassion is successful

David Anthony has reviewed a great number of projects in which free money is given to the poorest of the poor, with no strings attached, not restrictions or bureaucracy, and reports remarkable, encouraging results.



Solar boat!
Liberate yourself from STUFF
A Carbon Neutral Home, Even In Bad Conditions by Katie Marks


Solar boat!


This pic shows home away from home for Trevor Toomer, who won a prize in “ReNew”, the magazine of the Alternative Technology Association of Australia with his story.

Liberate yourself from STUFF

This essay is not only an expression of the philosophy that will lead to contentment and inner freedom, but also gives sound practical advice on how to declutter at least some of your life.

A Carbon Neutral Home, Even In Bad Conditions
by Katie Marks

In many writeups of eco-friendly homes, particularly those built with carbon-neutral plans in mind, you’ll read about how the setting was carefully chosen. Setting tends to matter when you’re trying to take advantage of natural benefits like ample sunlight, natural earth insulation, and other environmental traits. Build a home in the wrong place and you’ll be using more energy to heat it, light it, and cool it, but build it in the right place, and the setting will actually help, rather than hindering.

But what happens when your choices are limited, and circumstances force you to build on a setting that’s not ideal? A test case in Austria shows that creative architects and engineers can in fact build a carbon neutral home even when the elements are against them. The Velux Sunlighthouse is the first such home in Austria, and it’s unlikely to be the last, given the growing interest in energy-efficient homes and the demonstration provided through the construction that it’s possible to take advantage of the environment even when it seems like your homesite is against you.

The home is located to the west of Vienna, on a very narrow, sloped building site. Such sites tend to be a challenge even for regular construction, because builders have to consider restrictions that wouldn’t otherwise be a problem. For example, a home may need to be narrower than is standard to create room for property line allowances, which requires creating a narrow design that still feels spacious and open. Sloped building sites are also difficult to deal with.

To add insult to injury, the site wasn’t positioned at a good angle to get lots of natural sunlight, which was a key part of the plan to make the home carbon neutral. To install solar panels, electricians want lots of Southern exposure, as that’s the most likely to provide a steady supply of sun, even in the winter. Thus, the architects had to work with the electricians to angle the home and the roofing to catch as much sun as possible so the home could generate solar power; the home’s energy systems are boosted by a geothermal heat pump.

Deeper Issues


Caretakers of Mother Earth
Institutionalized Insanity And Humanity’s Existential Crisis by Steve Bhaerman
5 Gift Economies That Flourish Without Money by Beth Buczynski
The Gift of Generosity


Caretakers of Mother Earth

They are the Elders of what survives from indigenous cultures in North and South America.
They have spoken out because they are concerned at the survival of humanity.
They are inspiring, and they are right.

One brief extract: “Our concern is with the cumulative and compounding devastation that is being wrought by the actions of human beings around the world. It is the combination of resource extraction, genetically modified organisms, moral failures, pollution, introduction of invasive species and much much more that are threatening the future of life on Earth.”

Read their statement at

Institutionalized Insanity And Humanity’s Existential Crisis
by Steve Bhaerman

“I know what you’re thinking.
I am proposing a sane world — I must be crazy.”
— Swami Beyondananda

Japan just made reality illegal.

Well, maybe I exaggerate just a little. Reality is still permitted to exist in Japan — it’s just illegal to talk about it. A new — and thankfully very unpopular — State Secrets Act makes whistleblowing (and reporting leaks from whistleblowers) illegal, and punishable by ten years in prison!

While this law was ostensibly passed to prevent “state secrets” being passed to “enemies”, it is far more likely that the current batch of state secrets are to cover up the mega-disaster at Fukushima, and the enemies are none other than the Japanese people, and people everywhere. So while TEPCO can continue leaking radioactive poison into the ocean, reporters cannot leak stories about it.

Welcome to the world of institutionalized insanity, where Official Media selling Official Stories insist that we the people ignore our eyes, ears, and senses — not to mention worldwide reports of raised levels of radiation in Alaska and California.

Fortunately, we have organizations like Project Censored to publish a more balanced account, and a respectable ecologist David Suzuki to offer a grim warning.

Indeed, many of those who allow themselves to pay attention see the Fukushima meltdown as what may be the beginning of the end of human life on earth, and even more likely the collapse of civilization as we know it.

While there are actually people who get some strange “juice” from tales of doom and gloom, I am not one of those. And… I am also not willing to put my head in the sand and pretend that the insane is somehow sane. Here is my sober assessment of the situation: Humanity has just received some alarming lab results that indicate we are suffering from a life-threatening condition that will prove fatal unless we take immediate, collective action.

We can speculate if the world leaders are just dazed and confused, or whether there is a concerted effort to “run out the clock” and make sure that the population is appropriately controlled and drugged during the dying process. Either way, it is now up to the people of the world. Do we want to live, or do we want to quietly die?

Again, I say none of this lightly.

No one wants to face our children and grandchildren and say, “Sorry about that. Guess we left you with life-threatening challenges and an increasingly toxified world of scarcity. But no worries. You can still watch reality TV to avoid watching reality.”

Yes, crisis precipitates evolutionary opportunity. And… the window of opportunity will only stay open so long. When the window is gone, well… so long.

Humanity’s Existential Crisis

Humanity is undergoing an existential crisis in a very real way. We are in the process of choosing if we want to exist or not. As more and more of us are coming to see, to navigate the evolutionary passage in front of us, we will have to recognize ourselves as cells in one related organism. Having spent the past 5,000 years focusing on survival of the fittest (we all know that Social Darwinism pre-dated Darwin by about 4,850 years), we must now shift to thrival of the fittingest. If we fit into the web of life, we survive and thrive. If we don’t fit, we don’t survive. And for those of you concerned about the financial costs of making these fundamental changes, I offer this dire warning: If humanity goes extinct, there goes the GDP!

Reading about the starfish die-off, the elevated radiation levels on the west coast (where I live) and the increasing dangers of a very poorly managed “clean up” at Fukushima, I admit to having dark thoughts this past week. Someone asked the Swami if he believed in the Big Bang Theory and he said, “Well, I used to. But now I am leaning more toward the Lone Nut Theory.”

How else could we explain the nuttiness we are experiencing now?

So… what would it be like for a critical mass of the uncritical masses to “go sane” and declare the physical world our “sane asylum”?

First, we must face the dire prognosis with clarity, awareness, courage and resourcefulness. To take a cue from a wise teacher, <a href=Jean Houston, maybe our entire species is undergoing a Hero’s Journey.

We must now collectively (and individually, of course) face our demons, and work together to overcome steep odds. This means playing an entirely new game, and while the outcome of the new game is still undetermined, we do know that the old game will lead to death.

In Spontaneous Evolution, Bruce Lipton and I talk about the phenomenon called “spontaneous remission.” A certain percentage of patients who receive a dire prognosis and are told to “go home and get your affairs in order” miraculously recover. While their recovery might seem like some anomalous act of grace, it turns out that those who recover have something in common. According to Dr. Lewis Mehl-Madrona, author of Coyote Medicine, spontaneous remission is often accompanied by what he calls “a change of story”.

When Bruce and I wrote this several years ago, we thought of “spontaneous evolution” as a noun in the future. I now see clearly it is a verb in the present. Our positive choice is to write and then live into a new story.

The dire prognosis is calling forth evolutionary change, where we gather under “one big intent” to use our collective intelligence intelligently and our resources resourcefully. We have the technological wherewithal to mobilize the global village. Now we need the “aware-with-all” and the will, and the willingness.

One of my colleagues and mentors, Donny Epstein, originator of Network Spinal Analysis says, “Pain is an invitation to progress.” Society’s institutions and misleaders — in seeking to protect what must collapse — are doing everything they can to numb or manage the pain. As Donny says, to transform the pain, we must first feel it, acknowledge it and accept it. What would it be like to have the conversation about the true state of the natural world in community, in our churches and spiritual centers, in our schools, and of course in our families? What would it be like to break this conversation through the “soundless barrier” so the media has to report it?

Donny makes another very powerful distinction that applies here and now. In his 30 years in the healing professions, he has found that patients who declare, “I want to live” are far more likely to survive and thrive than those who say, “I don’t want to die.”

Please be with that for a few moments.

As a civilization that has lost its spiritual moorings and insists that only the material world is “real”, there is a profound fear of death. Some sanity in this regard is emerging through the hospice and conscious dying movements. Still, heroic end-of-life interventions are still the costliest and most futile forms of medicine.

And… along with change of story, one of the markers for overcoming life-threatening conditions is having a compelling future to live for. So what would it be like for Humanity to declare the future it chooses to live into? Seriously. What if there was a positive, proactive mission statement for Humanity, a vector pointing toward greater health, wellbeing and sanity?

Businesses write mission statements, as do individuals who are “up to something”. What if communities, nations and even our entire human community declared what they seek to bring to the world? Doesn’t it make sense that every region, every state, every nation has something that it does or creates better than anyone else? What would it be like for a billion or two billion or three billion people to declare they are choosing a world where there is thrival for all?

And then, what would it be like to actually create a structure and DO something to demonstrate this?

Some 70 years ago, the United States gathered its greatest scientists and resources in a secret project, the Manhattan Project, to build the first weapons of mass-destruction, nuclear power.

What if all of Humanity today called forth our current resources in a massive campaign to create renewable, nonpolluting energy so abundant that no armies are needed to defend it? We could call it the Man-Helping Project to create a web of mass-construction, new clear power. Imagine if this were done without the control of any government or single corporation, but simply by a new entity that declared the mission and gathered the resource.

This is an idea whose time has come. And… it will only happen through our collective awareness, intention, and practical focus. So as we begin a new year, let’s recognize that the evolutionary upwising is fully underway. Let’s shoot way past apathy and despair, and let’s call forth the healing and transformational energy in our community and world.

Let’s take the bad news coming from Japan and the Pacific Ocean as “karma fuel” to propel us toward what the Swami would call Humanifest Destiny… manifesting our destiny as a healthy and whole species.

Proclaiming and then gathering around this “sane center” in the wake of this low point can be the turning point … and set us on course to the tipping point.

Steve Bhaerman is a writer, humorist and political uncommontator who has been writing and performing comedy for the past 25 years as Swami Beyondananda. On the more serious side, he is author with Bruce Lipton of Spontaneous Evolution: Our Positive Future And a Way to Get There From Here, and he is about to launch his new blog and movement, Evolutionary Upwising.

Subscribe to Notes From the Trail for free <a href= target=_blank>here.

5 Gift Economies That Flourish Without Money
by Beth Buczynski

Even in a world dominated by capitalistic economics that sacrifice all in the name of profit, there are communities that exist without the divisive presence of money. How? Well, they realize that: a) people are more important than things; and b) cooperation is much more efficient and productive than competition.

The five communities listed below participate in what many refer to as a “gift economy.” In stark contrast to the current exchange economy, in which trade is motivated only by self-interest, a gift economy revolves around the sharing of resources without agenda, value determined by the recipient of a gift, and reciprocity that involves an entire community, not just the two parties involved in a transaction. That is, when you receive a gift, it is expected and encouraged that you reciprocate by giving to someone else in the community, not just the person who gave it to you.

“A gift economy is one that places a premium on what a person contributes to society, rather than what they take away from it,” explains Discovery. It’s not easy, but when we change our ideas of value, economy and trade to embrace this idea of selfless giving, money becomes obsolete. In fact, some people are reviving this practice in the western world with great success.

Beth then gives a few details, with references, of five successful attempts at liberation from money.

The Gift of Generosity

Here is a recipe for a life worth living. If everyone followed this teaching, many of our most serious problems would disappear, and we would cope perfectly with those problems that no longer have a solution.


A resource for people experiencing bipolar
I took him back and now he is ruling my life
My life is good but I feel miserable
Bullied by my little brother
My parents threw me away
Choosing between my daughter and her father


A resource for people experiencing bipolar

My long term friend and collaborator Alfredo Zotti has launched a web site intended as a resource for people diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Already, with still only one page, it will give you hope.

If you or someone you love has bipolar, please check it out. Alfredo welcomes comments.

I took him back and now he is ruling my life

Hello, I found your website and I feel you give great advice. I know I am young and people always say “you’re young, move on etc. But please give me your honest answer an tell me if this is normal. I started dating my boyfriend in high school we were together for 2 years but then he started going back to his party ways and it damaged our relationship we broke up. A year later he calls me saying he’s mature now and he has a job and he’s doing well so we decided to work it out and although he’s the one that cheated before and messed us up and apologized for it a thousand times he now treats me as if I’m the one that hurt him. He’s always questioning where I am always calling me when I’m with my family he never believes me he makes me answer and if I don’t it’s a big fight. He keeps telling me I don’t love him the same an it’s not true I do love him but I hate drama and I gave him another chance not the other way around and he does not understand that. Is this normal?…. What should I do?… I don’t feel happy anymore but I do love him… I have tried talking to him about it but I still feel that he won’t understand…

Dear Emily,

A normal relationship is equal, with the two partners having about half their activities and interests in common, while also being able to do their own thing independently of each other. Is your relationship like that?

An abusive relationship is when one partner has a life, is independent and more or less can do anything, but the other is completely answerable, controlled, without freedom. Typically, such a relationship becomes more and more constricted, until the person is isolated from friends and even family, may lose control of money, is constantly scared of breaking rules.
If you think your relationship with this man is more like the second, then you can be sure it will get worse with time. It’s a slippery slope.

There is also something called the cycle of abuse. One version is at See if that fits your history. Note that abuse doesn’t need to include violence, but is defined by control, and unequal power.

On the basis of these ideas from me, decide whether you love him enough to put up with his behavior or not. You deserve respect, decency, love in return for love.

One final thing: look up my relationships page.

Have a good life,

My life is good but I feel miserable

I’m 13, tall, thin girl. 5’8 and 110. I have a loving family and kind friends. I don’t really know how to say this but I’ll give it my best shot.

I have a wonderful, loving family and really nice, likeable friends. I’m not one of the most popular girls, but I have lots of friends and I’m not bullied or anything. So I should be happy, right?

Should is my only problem. I’m miserable, but I can’t open up to anyone, and I feel like no one cares enough to really try to talk to me and get to know the real me.

I keep everyone believing that they know me completely and that I really love them, and I do, but most of my friends know nothing about me.

I really don’t think the best about myself. I feel like I’m not good enough to have people waste time and money on me. I feel like I’m really selfish whenever I want to ask for something. I feel like I’m really not important, but my biggest fear is dying and just being forgotten by everyone.

As a result I always ignore myself and try to do whatever others want me to do.

I’m in almost all excellent classes at school, and I have almost no free time. I have exclusive activities and sports every day, even weekends. I have mild insomnia, and waking up at 5:30 for school doesn’t help. I always have bags under my eyes and I feel really ugly.

People are always kind as usual to me, but offhand comments and little nits and pricks really hurt me. My mom is very supportive of me, but always honest in saying that I don’t have a great voice, am not the best on my basketball team, can’t really play bassoon, and scolding me when I get even a 96 on a test.

I don’t know why, but I have stopped eating. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE food, but this makes me avoid it. I never eat lunch and usually just eat maybe a cheese stick for dinner.

It’s not that I think I’m fat (we all have a bit of flub and that’s fine) I just… get not hungry?

And then there are the voices. Pretty sure its just schizophrenia. They’re not bad voices, or mean, or violent. But they’re… there.

I’m just so confused and aching inside. I don’t know what’s wrong with me and what I should do to make myself better.

I hope you can help me, because I’m really afraid to talk to anyone in my small town, because everyone knows everything about everyone. There would be no hiding that I’m a psychopath or whatever is wrong with me.

Thank you! Allie, 13

Allie my dear, the clues to your problem are there, in your letter. You are loved, yes, and you have a good family, and I am sure they mean the best for you, but…

From what you wrote, your mom scolds you for scoring “only” 96 on a test, and focuses on all the negatives. No doubt she does this for herself too, so this is not to blame her at all. Unrealized by herself, she has been very damaging. Don’t tell her this — why impose hurt on someone who loves you — but from now on, you can stop believing the list of things you can’t do. You can. Some things you do really, really well, like getting 96 on a test, and other things are your growing edges, like improving your musical skills. Life would be boring if you were instantly perfect at anything you try! So, at first it’s not so good, but intelligent practice leads to improvement. When she tells you you’re no good at something, your instant thought can be, “Thank you for pointing out where I can improve. Now, how can I get better at this?”

Trouble is, when you were a tiny little girl, you were not yet able to do mental gymnastics like that. You simply believed what mom said. This led to some childish beliefs that continue to rule your life, right now. I don’t know what your particular set is, but it could include things like:

“No one will love me unless I am perfect at everything.”
“I know I can’t do anything right, so I need to pretend all the time.”
“What I want doesn’t matter; I am here to make everyone else feel good.”
“I need to be punished for being so awful, so I shouldn’t enjoy food.”

As I said, these are only guesses.

I imagine there is a counselor at your school. Approach that person, and take your question and my answer with you. A few sessions of cognitive therapy will turn your life around.

If there is no school counselor, convince your parents to pay for a few sessions with a good psychologist. It could be their best investment in your future.

Now, about the voices. It’s important to keep them a secret from anyone who would put you on antipsychotic drugs. You DO NOT need such drugs.

Look, everyone has “voices.” For most people, these are all in “my” voice, and clearly identifiable as “my” thoughts.” Some people hear the voices as if they were from “out there:” different from “my thoughts.” However, they are still generated by the person.

This is actually a very minor difference. The question is: do the voices tell you to do anything you would disapprove of? If so, it’s the same as me having an (obviously internal) urge to do something I disapprove of. I don’t do it. If you get the same from a voice, you don’t do it.

It’s not that you are schizophrenic, but that you have an excellent auditory imagination, and internally have a play with multiple characters. What’s wrong with that?

Love from your new grandfather,

Bullied by my little brother

Dear Bob,

I’m one of 6 children, ranging from age 37 to 12. I am 21 years old. I live at home with my mother and 2 younger brothers, ages 12 and 13. For their whole lives, my brothers have had behavioral problems, but the older they get the worse it gets. The past few years, my 12 year old brother has become hostile, especially towards me. I know all siblings fight, (growing up with 3 older sisters I was involved in my fair share of it) but this is different. He says things to me most people would never say, not even to their worst enemy on their worst day. I won’t repeat them now, but I’m absolutely positive they would shock most people. Some of the far lesser ones include “Seriously, why don’t you just go kill yourself?”, “No one even loves you”, “Even mom talks about you when you’re gone. Everyone wants you to leave. We all hate you here”, “You’re SO ugly. You look disgusting. It would be better if you just died”.

As I said, those are just the ones I can share. When I was younger, that kind of behavior was NEVER accepted. None of my sisters would have ever said anything remotely close to that to each other, and if we had so much as thought about it, my parents would have used the belt on us without a second thought. My parents divorced a few years back (though they continue to see each other on and off).

My mother never seems to mind this behavior. He keeps the worse, more vulgar insults to when she’s not around, though I’ve told her on many occasions what he says. When he says some things around her, she’ll chip in with the occasional “Hey!” or “I don’t want to hear that language!”, and that’s all she says, though he never actually stops what he’s doing. It’s as if after she acknowledges it, she loses all interest in the situation.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a saint in the situation, though I can guarantee I don’t start anything. He jumps to hostility anytime I so much as disagree with him. For the most part I let most things go, however after an hour of constant vulgar ridicule and insults, I just blow up at him. Of course then my mother usually decides it’s time to step in, but it’s almost always directed at me. She tells me I should calm down, and that as a 21-year-old, I should be able to keep it together and be ‘more mature’ than a 12-year-old boy. He exact words to me have been “You really need to grow a thicker skin, just grow up.” Most times lately I’ve been brought to tears by the things he says. In what planet is it okay for a 12-year-old to make his big sister feel worthless? I’ve told my mother on many occasions that it would be easier to hear these things from him if there was ever any punishment for what he says. I’ve told her (and my father) that the worst part of it all isn’t the things he says to me, but rather the way it’s handled. I’ve told them that the reason he continues to do these things to me is because when there is literally NO punishment, he assumes it’s okay.

I’m trying to move out, but money’s tight and it’s hard to find a job, so for the foreseeable future I’m stuck here.

What should I do? How can I possibly change things when I have no help at all from my mother? I know there are 2 sides to every story, but I can assure you I’ve said nothing but the truth, and not just my biased, one-sided version.
Is there any way to make my mother see how miserable and worthless I feel here with him? I feel like I’ve said everything I can to her. I’ve told her my feelings, even though that’s always been extremely difficult for me. What can I do to make things better here?

Dear Denise,
Severe abuse by a younger sibling against an older one is quite common, because of the unthinking assumption by people that the younger child is usually the victim. Sadly, you are not alone with your problem.

The first thing is, you do not need to accept abuse. You have a right to dignity, and respect, and decency, same as anyone else.

Second, you know that the stuff he says is intended to hurt you. This means it is something you do not need to asses for truth or falsehood. What he says is probably false, but even if it has an element of truth, so what. It is only noise. When you take this attitude, he becomes powerless to influence you in any way. He is just a barking dog. The noise may be annoying, but if we can’t stop the barking (perhaps because the dog is two doors down and is owned by a nasty man), then we just get on with life and ignore it as best we can.

Third, what he gets out of it is power. When he mouths off at you and you react either with anger or hurt, he has scored a point. So, the way to make him lose the game is to act as if his insults had zero effect on you. Regardless of how you feel inside, act the ice queen. Shoulders square, face calm, radiating peace and strength. Practice it in private in front of a mirror, or with sympathetic friends outside the family.

This is the way to cope while you are forced to share living space with him. I strongly encourage you to urgently solve the practical problem of moving out. For example, can you live short term with one of your sisters? Can you move to a place of relatively high employment, get a job, any job, and save up until you can do better?

Going full circle, you deserve decency and respect. You can achieve a life like that.


My parents threw me away


I am 24 year old, was in foster care from the age of 12, moved into own property at 16, had a 6 half year relationship which broke down 2 years ago due to finding out he had two children behind my back, one good friend but can’t really trust her.

So where do I start? I don’t know what to do anymore. I don’t know how to laugh/smile of just have fun anymore. I don’t think I cried until about two years ago. Now I cry every day over anything.

I feel so alone. I have no one apart from a friend and a very good manager in some ways. She has saved me. She took me to the doctors over a year ago. They gave me some anti depressants which I took for a month and didn’t go back I just feel like I’m wasting their time I’m not ill I’m just not right in the head.

I went to cognitive therapy a few months ago in some ways it helped but in others it didn’t it just made me realise it is just me. She said it’s only me that can change the way I think which made me so mad I would if I could but I can’t that’s the frustrating thing. She also said that she thought I had OCD thinking but she couldn’t diagnose me as she wasn’t a doctor.

I had about 5 sessions and didn’t go back and just tried to forget about it. Out of the last 24 months I think I’ve only been happy for about 2 of them. I hate myself and don’t understand why my parents don’t want to know me.

They split up when I was a baby. They both have got two other children which live with them and they adore so why am I so different, that just shows it’s me not other people, I’ve tried to take me life a few times the first when I was about 16 I can’t even do that right.

To other people I’m just a loner with a good job, house and car. The only things that keep me going very sad that the only things I have are just materialistic, I just don’t know what to do anymore I’m lost and can’t put a brave face on anymore I just feel so alone and no one understands but how can people understand if I don’t talk which I can’t I don’t want other people to know I’m not right in the head or think I’m stupid I no it’s me but I can’t stop thinking I can’t be happy nothing makes me laugh anymore I just want to be loved.

Dear Rielle,

Clearly, you can’t be stupid with what you have achieved in 8 years, starting with nothing. That is clear evidence that you are a capable person.

Maybe some of your other beliefs about you are false too? Your parents had a baby. They split, and put the child up for fostering. After this, each grew up enough to find a new partner and have children they love.

This says NOTHING BAD about the child they abandoned. What it tells me is that at the time, they were immature and irresponsible. Probably, they faced problems that overwhelmed them, and they had no emotional energy for responsible parenting. It is also possible that they then looked for a scapegoat, and blamed you for their failures.

Now, you are a reminder of their guilt, whether they acknowledge this or not. So, they want to have nothing to do with you, not because you are faulty or repulsive or bad, but because you trigger their traumatic memories from their past. To them, you represent the bad times, so they don’t want to have anything to do with you. This would be the case even if you were an angel.

My question is, are you going to stand for this? Will you allow them to continue wrecking your happiness?

OK, you have long term habits of thought and emotion, and habits are hard to break. The trick is the opposite of trying not to feel like that. You are right, and your counsellor was wrong. What she told you was poor therapy. I suggest you read a wonderful book: “The Happiness Trap” by Russ Harris. That shows you how to have all the negative thoughts about yourself, and yet stop being influenced by them.

Have a good life (you can)


Choosing between my daughter and her father

Hello, I’m Carlie. What I would like to ask you is, I’ve been felling slightly sad and depressed about this.

Well, I have 2 children (girl 13 and a boy 7) I love them dearly. Their father left me and walked out on us in 2007 for another family. Their family split up and then he lived with his wife. He started to make contact with us again. He has been coming round daily after work and at the weekends for 1 year now.

Everything’s been ok until a couple of weeks ago. He was being rude to me and blaming me for things as if he owned the place. Well, I’m getting fed up with it and my daughter (13) is extremely upset that he comes round now because she liked our family with just me and her brother, I don’t know why but she really doesn’t like her dad.

He blames her for things and sends her to her room for things even if it might not have been her. She gets very upset, she has even threatened to walk out on us or to commit suicide which I was very upset about. Another day she said to me “why do you hate me, mum?” I said “I don’t hate you I love you very very much.” So then she said, “but if you loved me dad wouldn’t come round anymore why can’t you chose me or him” and then walked off. I can’t chose but I was wondering if you could help me. I want the best for my children because they’re both unhappy so please I would really appreciate your advice on this.

Do I chose my children or their father?

Thank you, yours sincerely,

Hi Carlie,

I am a little confused. This man had 2 children with you, then went off and had more children with another woman, and split with her? And then he went back to his wife? Did he split with his wife to be with you?

I hope I got that right. If so, it seems to me that he is being a bigamist (or trigamist if he still has contact with the woman he deserted after you).

Do you like being part of a harem?

Another question is, was he paying maintenance for your children when he was living with the woman after you? Since he has been coming around daily, has he increased his payments toward the upkeep of your kids? After all, I assume he eats with the three of you, and contributes to other costs of the household.

In the UK, you are entitled to psychological help on National Health. I suggest you seek such help, from a person skilled at family therapy, and have the man, you and the two children work out your common future. This professional will guide you to make a decision that suits you rather than telling you what to do.

My dear, this is your home, and he is a visitor. He has let go of his rights as the male of the household when he moved out. As long as he is there, he should behave decently to all.

You are in charge.


What’s causing all these peanut allergies? by Katherine Martinko
Cancer in your family? Maybe blame Monsanto


What’s causing all these peanut allergies?
by Katherine Martinko

A small proportion of people have had peanut allergies as long as people have eaten peanuts. However, the frequency of this problem has been skyrocketing.

Writing at TreeHugger, Katherine questions why what used to be almost a staple food for many kids has become a dangerous trigger for allergies.
The reason is probably not the peanut, but the fact that the edible part is actually underground — where the poisons go…

Cancer in your family? Maybe blame Monsanto

William Engdahl has exposed some machinations that involve a highly reputable scientific journal, and a top level EU agency, in trying for damage control.

A French research team has found that Roundup residues in GMO corn hugely increase rates of breast, liver, kidney and other cancers. Their research was published in the Journal of Food and Chemical Toxicology, one of the Elsevier publications.

“Elsevier created a special new position, Associate Editor for Biotechnology (i.e., GMO), and filled it with a former Monsanto employee who worked for the giant Monsanto front-organization, the International Life Sciences Institute, which develops industry-friendly risk assessment methods for GM foods and chemical food contaminants and inserts them into government regulations. Sound like something wrong with this picture?”

The Journal has now retracted the study implicating GMO maize in the development of cancers. Follow the money…


Donate e-books to the poorest in the world
It’s not real until it’s in my computer


Donate e-books to the poorest in the world

Every one and a while we have a rare opportunity to make a difference for thousands of people around the world who have little or no access to digital books — your books.

I encourage you to take 5 minutes to learn about and consider whether you would want to donate ebooks to this organization that works with Africa’s poorest people.

I will be donating rights for some books that I have personally written. If you have any interest in doing so, feel free to write me. Otherwise, I’ll assume you have no interest in participating with Worldreader. [This is of course to writers whose books Victor has published.]

This is a little bit similar to the eGranary project which we sent eBooks to students in countries who have no access to the Internet about a year ago.

Happy holidays to you and all your loved ones.


Publisher: Loving Healing Press

It’s not real until it’s in my computer

I know some writers still scribble on paper (I don’t know any who use a typewriter, except for Sylvia, the narrator in my current writing project, Hit and Run.

This wouldn’t work for me — I can’t read my own handwriting. However, there are many other reasons for working directly onscreen.

Paper eats trees. Electrons are instantly recyclable, without cost.

A CD or three, or a little USB memory stick, can hold as much info as a heavy boxful of paper.

When your book or story is finished, you’ll STILL need to convert it to electronic format. Don’t know about you, but I can’t afford a private secretary.

My first serious writing was my Honours thesis. I typed it up, then did revisions by stickytaping it to a long concertina of used computer printout, then scribbling in between, then typing up the new version. How much easier is it to copy and paste electronically, move paragraphs around, delete and replace, insert new bits?

When I am the minute taker at a meeting, I enter my notes into the Agenda, on my laptop while at the meeting. I check accuracy with my colleagues, and have the Minutes ready by the end of the meeting. How much more efficient and accurate than poring over scribblings afterward? This is a model for all other kinds of writing. I’ve trained myself to be creative on the keyboard.

I can write on the train, in a plane, at the dentist’s waiting room, at home in my chair, well, anywhere I can take my electronic device with me. OK, I could have a notebook and pen at many of these places, but some shake around, some are cramped and uncomfortable, some have poor lighting. They have not yet invented backlit paper.

Zoom is wonderful. I can have the writing as big or little as I require.

I don’t know how I could do editing on paper any more. The automatic spell checker is an excellent aid, although of course it only picks up some errors. If I have the suspicion that the author has accidentally changed some detail, I can check through the search capability. On page 92, Susan’s son is Jim. Was that true when they first appeared? Try checking on that in a paper manuscript.

If I happen to be online, I can instantly check if some historical or geographical statement in the manuscript is correct. In the old days, that took a visit to the university library.

There is only one caveat: BACK IT UP! Have the material in at least THREE places. But then, a paper copy should be backed up too.

What my friends want you to know

Public Eye Awards
Charms by Sally Odgers will charm your kids
Books by Karl Kofoed
Regulate against dirty energy in US
Help Avaaz address climate change
Marathon to help handicapped kids
Master of Sustainability and Social Change
Carolyn back in action


Public Eye Awards

are an annual vote for the companies with the most shameful behaviour during the past year. You have until 21st January to cast your vote at

She is not on this year’s list but will probably be there next time.


Charms by Sally Odgers will charm your kids

Hannah, Josh, Immy and Ashton meet when their parents form a syndicate to renovate an old house and turn it into a boutique hotel. While the adults work downstairs, the children take over the attic, exploring, sorting and discovering. Immy discovers an old bread crock full of metal charms. Whose were they? What are they for? The crock itself provides some answers, but it is far more interested in spinning its stories, each connected with one of the charms. Throughout the year that follows, the children make more discoveries about the family who once lived in the house, about themselves and about the crock. Hannah, the eldest, begins to realise the crock has its own plans for the house.

Charms is a fantasy novel in three volumes. It is also an anthology of stories, poems and pictures. Volume One has stories most suited to younger readers, while Volume Two is for mid-grade readers and Volume Three for readers heading into the teenage years. The novel appeals most to those interesting in the power and themes of storytelling, and those who like a little magic in their lives.

Books by Karl Kofoed

Karl is an artist. He sent me a pic not a blurb:


Regulate against dirty energy in the US

Sign the petition:

Help Avaaz address climate change

Dear Avaaz community,

This may be the most important email I’ve ever written to you.

Scientist Julienne Stroeve has studied Arctic ice for decades. Every summer she travels to north to measure how much ice has melted. She knows that climate change is melting the ice fast, but on her last trip, she was amazed by what she saw. Vast areas of Arctic ice have disappeared, beyond our worst expectations.

This is what the experts warned us about. As the earth warms, it creates many “tipping points” that accelerate the warming out of control. Warming thaws the Arctic sea ice, destroying the giant white ‘mirror’ that reflects heat back into space, which massively heats up the ocean, and melts more ice, and so on. We spin out of control. In 2013 everything — storms, temperatures — was off the charts.

We CAN stop this, if we act very fast, and all together. And out of this extinction nightmare, we can pull one of the most inspiring futures for our children and grandchildren. A clean, green future in balance with the earth that gave birth to us.

Scientist Julienne Stroeve has studied Arctic ice for decades. Every summer she travels to north to measure how much ice has melted. She knows that climate change is melting the ice fast, but a recent trip surprised even her. Vast areas of Arctic ice have disappeared, beyond our worst expectations.

Bob — Click to pledge what you can, we’ll process your donation only if we reach our goal of 50,000 sustainers:
To pledge, click here.

Fatalism on climate change is not just futile, it’s also incompetent. The hour is late, but it is still absolutely within our power to stop this catastrophe, simply by shifting our economies from oil and coal to other sources of power. And doing so will bring the world together like never before, in a deep commitment and cooperation to protect our planetary home. It’s a beautiful possibility, and the kind of future Avaaz was born to create.

Facing this challenge will take heart, and hope, and also all the smarts we have. Here’s the plan:

1. Go Political: Elect Climate Leaders — 3 crucial countries have elections in the next year. Let’s make sure the right people win, and with the right mandate. Avaaz is one of the only major global advocacy organizations that can be political. And since this fight will be won or lost politically, it could be at some points just us vs. the oil companies to decide who our politicians listen to.

2. Make Hollande a Hero — French President Francois Hollande will chair the Paris summit — a powerful position. We have to try every tactic and channel — his personal friends and family, his political constituency, his policy advisors — to make him the hero we need him to be to make the summit a success.

3. Take it to the Next Level — The scale of this crisis demands action that goes beyond regular campaigning. It’s time for powerful, direct, non-violent action, to capture imagination, convey moral urgency, and inspire people to act. Think Occupy.

4. Out the Spoilers — Billionaires like the Koch brothers and their oil companies are the major spoilers in climate change — funding junk science to confuse us and spending millions on misleading PR, while buying politicians wholesale. With investigative journalism and more, we need to expose and counter their horrifically irresponsible actions.

5. Define the Deal — Even in the face of planetary catastrophe, 195 governments in a room can be just incompetent. We need to invest in top quality policy advice to develop ingenious strategies, mechanisms, and careful compromises so that when the summit arrives, a critical mass of leaders are already bought in to a large part of the deal, and no one can claim that good solutions don’t exist.

We need tens of thousands of us to pledge small donations to blast out of the starting gate on this plan.

Marathon to help handicapped kids


It’s only 85 days now until my daughter and I run the full marathon in aid of mentally and physically handicapped children. 85 days! A FULL MARATHON!!

It’s not a long time and I can tell you that I’m in full training now. I even ran an hour on Xmas day, so if that’s not dedication, I don’t know what is.

Imagine Run, Fat Boy, Run, but with white hair and you’ll get the message!

I’d like to raise £5000 for this charity between Bianca and I, so I’d like to enlist you to help me. Whether you want to give or not (it would be most appreciated if you gave even £5, or £1 for that matter), it would really be fantastic if you could forward this email to people you think might be interested.

There is a link on the attached PDF or cut and paste the link to donate here:!

My running blog starts next year, You’ll get an email to see if that interests you, as well.

26.2 miles (or 42 kilometres) is a long way, but I think it’s worth it when it’s for a good cause.

You don’t send me any money, simply donate securely online and there’s even tax relief available.

Thanks in advance for either donating or sharing, or both.

Happy new year!

Adam and Bianca Caplan

New course on Sustainability and Social Change

Applications are invited for Australia’s first Master of Sustainability and Social Change, to commence in February 2014.

It is a globally recognised, fully accredited Masters program.

Developed by a team of dedicated thinkers, academics, and practitioners drawn from around the world, the Master of Sustainability and Social Change is focused on equipping community and business leaders with the theoretical, philosophical and practical tools they will need to equate success with sustainability.

Offered by OASES


Carolyn back in action

carohjCarolyn Howard-Johnson has had a major operation. All the same, I’ve just received notification of the newest issue of her newsletter, Sharing With Writers.

The January issue is just as full of helpful information as usual. Carolyn’s newsletter is a must for any writer. As she says, it’s a community as much as one-way communication from her.

Don’t take my word for it. A couple of clicks will allow you to make up your own mind.

Book Reviews

Unrest in Eden, by Florence Weinberg
Storks of La Caridad, by Florence Weinberg
A Rose in No Man’s Land, by Margaret Tanner
Dreaming Down Heaven, by Gini Gentry
The Making of a Forest Fighter, reviewed by Florence Weinberg
The Making of a Forest Fighter, reviewed by Margaret Tanner
Sleeper, Awake, reviewed by Florence Weinberg


Unrest in Eden, by Florence Weinberg

eden-floThis is the second book I’ve read by Florence Weinberg, and I intend to keep reading. Both books feature a Catholic priest as protagonist, but there the similarity ends. Anselm, the priest in the other book, is an evil person who steals the body of a young man. Father Ignaz, the narrator of Unrest in Eden, is thoroughly decent.

I have read many books about the Napoleonic era, but learned lots from this one. Florence has brought to life an aspect of 18th century culture that’s new to me. When I read historical fiction, I often feel the need to check up on the author (and many times, I’ve found my doubts rather than the author’s creation confirmed). Florence depiction is so convincing that I have been able to go with it, without the need to check. After finishing, I did look up a few references, and found this book to be fully accurate.

As I said, I’ve really got to like Father Ignaz, and became involved in his all too challenging adventures. They include the solving of a murder, complicated by local politics, rumor, and the personal loyalties of all too veridical people. Most murder mysteries end at the solution of a crime. This one doesn’t, but then goes on to cover war, from the perspective of the devastated civilian population.

And, in a completely unexpected way, the story ends with love.

A definite 5 stars for this enjoyable book.

Available on Amazon

Storks of La Caridad, by Florence Weinberg

storks-floWhile this is the third book I’ve read by this author, it was written some years previously. I found the beautiful, clear writing I have come to expect from her.

The story is set in the 18th century, and paints a perfect picture of those times. At the same time, it is a murder mystery, following the classic pattern of a series of victims, and the detective being in mortal danger himself. The difference is, the victims are priests and brothers in a monastic order, and the detective is also a priest.

I found it sad, but all too realistic, that people sworn to serve Jesus were indulging in murder, lying and blackmail from a motivation of greed for wealth and power.

The final surprise for me was in the Appendix: it states that Father Ignaz and many of the others named in the story were real, historical figures. Only, there was the usual disclaimer at the beginning of the book, “No person, persons or places in this book are real. All situations, characters and concepts are the sole invention of the author.”

This is the final twist in a murder mystery with many.

Storks of La Caridad is an exciting, engrossing read with rounded characters, a very likeable hero and an intriguing storyline.

A Rose in No Man’s Land, by Margaret Tanner

rose-margaretI was supposed to be making pelmets, but the job stayed unfinished for a while. Margaret Tanner is to blame: I couldn’t leave her heroine Amy while she was in the cellar of a bombed pub in London. She hadn’t needed to go down there, but a friend was trapped.

That’s the kind of girl Amy was.

A Rose in No Man’s Land was what the poor soldiers called the nurses on the killing fields of the First World War. Amy was the best of them. Her story gave Margaret the vehicle for describing the terrible times of Gallipoli, and of the butchery in France.

The other protagonist is Mark: wealthy and very British upper class, but also the survivor of a childhood of severe abuse, which trained him to loyalty and decency. He has a crippling secret in his past, one that makes it impossible for him to marry anyone. I won’t spoil the story by revealing the details. Sufficient to say that the fact of this secret provides ongoing tension for much of the story.

If you like a romance, you’ll love this book. If you enjoy historical accuracy and trenchant social analysis, like I do, you’ll love this book even if you don’t care for romances.

You can buy it here.

Dreaming Down Heaven, by Gini Gentry

heaven-giniThis light-hearted phantasmagoria is a manual for changing your life. The impossible happens with dreamlike rapidity on every page, while the characters caught up in this arbitrary playfulness are very real and three-dimensional.

Gini Gentry’s mythology is that us humans are Angels, perfect in every way, who chose to take part in an experiment: to descend into an illusion of life on earth, in order to see if we can get ourselves out of this illusion of suffering, strife and perceived faultiness.

We follow the adventures of Gigi, who experiences all the many usual human failings. Her life at the beginning of the book is a wonderful description of the meaninglessness of western culture. Then she is caught up in a series of inexplicable happenings, which expose her to the “12 Keystones,” a series of lessons that enable her, and other students she encounters, to regain contact with their inner beauty, strength, equanimity.

Naturally, the meat of the book is these 12 Keystones. This is why I said it’s a manual. You can enjoy the fun of reading this book, then go on with your life, and continue suffering. Or you can carry out the exercises, in the way Gigi was forced to, and transform your own life.

The language of the Keystones, the metaphors used, is new to me, but the content is both age-old wisdom and the tools I have taught to my clients for 22 years. I am a Buddhist (not by ritual, but through world-view and intention), and recognized that ancient wisdom here. Gini is an exponent of the Toltec tradition. While I have only a slight familiarity with that, clearly it must be encompassed in this parable.

Many readers may be aware that modern behavioral science has validated ancient philosophy. The writings of the Dalai Lama could serve as textbooks on psychological therapy. The same is true for Dreaming Down Heaven. As I was reading the various Keystones, I could immediately identify them as standard therapeutic tools. This means they have scientific verification, and that means they work.

In therapy, typically a person comes in with some specific reason for suffering. This is addressed, and the client goes on, more or less all right. However, put together into a program like in this book, the toolbox of changed attitudes and understandings can do far more: lead to long term contentment.

Read the story for enjoyment. Apply it to your life in order to wake up to the good life you deserve.

Check on Gini’s web site.

The Making of a Forest Fighter

This is one of my Ehvelen series. I have recently revised it, and will have it converted to Kindle and e-Pub formats. I’ve sent the manuscript out to a number of writers of historical fiction whose work I admire, and have got two back. Here they are.

Reviewed by Florence Weinberg

The Making of a Forest Fighter is a tale of the Doshi, a warrior tribe similar to the Huns, solely occupied in wars of aggression and revenge. The saga of Harila’s War recounts the Doshi attack on the Ehvelen (whom the reader quickly recognizes as the Elven) — humans versus beings far superior to us, though smaller in size: the Little People.
We are introduced to the narrator, Ribtol, from the beginning, the Forest Fighter of the title. Admirable from the first sentence of this unusual book with its stark realism combined with faerie, Ribtol shows compassion, flexibility, and the ability to learn from cultures other than his own, which is rigidly hierarchical. The reader comes to admire him, in part because of his very human weakness — fear. He considers himself a coward, since before he goes into danger, he suffers nightmares that leave him drenched in sweat. To cure himself, he volunteers for the most perilous expeditions. Unlike his peers, he is kind to women and treasures his wife Karinn, even though she is short, and by implication therefore inferior to others.

The book portrays one bloody battle after another, with staggering losses of Doshi fighters. Given the high rate of attrition, women, who should be prized as givers of life, are valued the same as slaves. A woman with a daughter and far advanced in pregnancy is barely worth a horse.

The author displays rich imagination in his account of three very different cultures: the peace- and beauty-loving Ehvelen (who, when attacked, slaughter the aggressor with efficiency and finesse), the Areg, a nation of traders, who bargain with the Doshi for timber captured from Ehvelen forests, and, of course, the Doshi themselves. Author Rich paints them almost entirely from Ribtol’s point of view. Ribtol speaks in the Doshi fashion, using complex honorific titles, idiosyncrasies of speech (including “eh?” at the end of every question), and a unique measuring system of time and distance. The reader is well advised to read the explanatory notes at the end of the book!

We watch Ribtol grow from callow youth through fear courageously overcome, wounding and suffering, but most of all through his intelligent, kindly nature, into a true human being, closer to the Ehvelen than to his own savage kind — a most satisfying “redemption” for the protagonist.

Reviewed by Margaret Tanner

From the first couple of paragraphs, this amazing story captured my interest and my imagination, and kept me enthralled to the very last page. It is not an era that I am familiar with, but the author has remarkable knowledge and it shows.

The story revolves around the Doshi people and their sworn enemies the Ehvelen, or as the Doshi prefers to call them, the Midgets because of their small stature.

The Doshi are brave warriors, who confront their enemy head on, whereas the Midgets engage in a type of guerrilla warfare, very effective and deadly. The Doshi are barbaric in some of their customs, i.e., whipping and gelding of male slaves, but in the context of the story and the era, it is not gratuitous.

The hero is Ribtol, a young Doshi warrior who truly loves his wife Karinn and I found there interaction to be quite romantic.

Lyalla, a woman who was once a captive of the Doshi, becomes the leader of the Midgets, and she wages a long and bitter guerrilla campaign against them.

There is a bit of everything in this book: adventure, bravery, treachery and love, and I would certainly recommend it for anyone wanting an exciting and interesting read.

It is impeccably written and well edited.

Margaret Tanner
Award Winning Author.

Sleeper, Awake, reviewed by Florence Weinberg

sleeperSleeper Awake, first published the year 2000, is a prophetic book. Set some 1500 years in the future, it tells the tale of a woman, Flora Fielding, a top movie star and multi-millionaire, who had herself cryogenically frozen when diagnosed with incurable breast cancer. The world she discovers is topographically transformed by geological upheaval, with only one million human inhabitants. The climate is violent, tropics replace temperate zones, and all the great cities of yore, along with their cultures, have been destroyed. The total destruction of our present world has been caused by global warming, the unchecked abuse of our natural resources, especially the relentless exploitation of petroleum.

As a dedicated environmentalist as far back as the 1970s, I found this book refreshing, and congratulate its author, Dr. Bob Rich, for his foresightedness that predated this book by many years. His portrayal of a new society, its inventions and innovations — all of them designed in harmony with the laws of nature — is nothing short of brilliant. The new society strictly manages its rate of reproduction, has allowed the natural world to recover from its grievous wounds, and lives in abundance, since there is an abundance of natural resources to live on. The greed that is rapidly destroying our present world is no longer a factor in Dr. Rich’s utopian future, since there is no poverty and the small population has all advantages at its fingertips. Sexuality in the new society is frank, open, and tastefully presented.

Like most of Rich’s novels, this one, too, is a novel of education: of the characters, of the resuscitated Flora, and of the reader. This reader was captivated by the spiritual growth of the protagonists and by the wonderful devices they use in everyday living. Computers, by the way, play dominant and benevolent roles. My only reservation: could such a glowing future ever be reached by humanity as we know it?

I recommend this book in the highest terms for anyone who has the faintest interest in the fate of our civilization and our planet.


What the World Should Know by Jean Riseman
A Prayer by Jurgen Malina


What the World Should Know
by Jean Riseman

            World, I just live here,
            I’m not in charge of keeping track of your assignments,
            And I cannot to do them for you.
            I am supposed to live my own life
            And you are supposed to live yours,
            As are all living things.

            But since you asked,
            (Not that anybody will listen to me)
            I will say it as I see it.

            It is not necessary to take pleasure in cruelty.
            You can take off your black robes,
            Wash the blood from your face and hands,
            Untie your victims and give them water,
            Walk together into the sunlight.

            Your nations can come together and talk,
            Give up suicide bombs, land mines, trade sanctions,
            Stop starving children and making them soldiers and sex slaves.
            Destruction is not necessary and never has been.

            World, I know a few things.
            Like how to cook an egg, how to grow a plant,
            How to get through every day when the body is broken
            And the heart is breaking,
            How to live without killing, raping, plundering,
            How much better life is without hatred and sadism.

            Believe me, if I can learn that, it’s not all that hard.

            World, you are older and more experienced than I am.
            You must have thought of all this.

            So tell me, World,
            What is wrong with peace?

Jean Riseman was abused in a Satanic cult as a child and has spent much of her adult life supporting other survivors and educating the general public. She feels that her greatest accomplishment was to protect her children from abuse. Her website,, was started in 1993 and was the first website on ritual abuse. This poem was inspired by the Extreme Abuse Survey and published in her blog. Jean is a huge fan of Australia and wishes she could learn to drive on the left, become a WWOOF, and emigrate.

A Prayer
by Jurgen Malina

Recently, I attended the Australian Intentional Communities Conference, held at Moora Moora, my community.
Jurgen Malina, an ex-member and friend, composed and read this prayer for us:

            Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace;
            Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
            Where there is injury, pardon;
            Where there is error, truth;
            Where there is doubt, faith;
            Where there is despair, hope;
            Where there is darkness, light;
            And where there is sadness, joy.

            O Divine Master, Grant that I may not so much seek
            To be consoled as to console;
            To be understood as to understand;
            To be loved as to love.
            For it is in giving that we receive;
            It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
            And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

About Bobbing Around

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  • Announcements, but note that publication date is neither fixed nor guaranteed;
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    It is a FALSE RUMOUR that you need to buy one of my books before your submission is accepted. Not that I cry when someone does so.

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  • About Dr Bob Rich

    I am a professional grandfather. My main motivation is to transform society to create a sustainable world in which my grandchildren and their grandchildren in perpetuity can have a life, and a life worth living. This means reversing environmental idiocy that's now threatening us with extinction, and replacing culture of greed and conflict with one of compassion and cooperation.
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    2 Responses to Bobbing Around Volume 13 Number 6

    1. Pingback: Bobbing Around Volume 13 Number 7 | Bobbing Around

    2. I am working on a new topic of interest to all cyberauthors
      “How to Avoid Government Surveillance When Using Mobile Devices”
      Write about it


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