*About Bobbing Around
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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.
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People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life, like loving everybody all the time and being nice. Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don’t have to stay as long.
6 year old Shane, after his dog died.
From me to you
Prize winner for last issue’s question
In my December entry for Rhobin’s round, I ran a contest, asking people to set the question my essay answered. The winner is Gary Clough. Mocking me, he suggested, “Why do you love Christmas?”
Gary’s chosen prize is Bizarre Bipeds: What IS humanity’s place in the universe?.
Do YOU have the Ability?
My series The Doom Healer has “The Ability” as a central concept. This is that, provided you fully believe you can do something, you can. While writing, I was convinced that I don’t have this Ability. But then, I assembled all the indicators that someone has the Ability, and found many things I’ve been doing for years on the list.
For example, as soon as I have the fist signs of a respiratory infection, I do a scan of all the marrow in all the bones of my body, and get little white eggs to hatch into little white crocodiles. These tiny beasties are ravenously hungry. They eat cancer cells, viruses and bacteria. After the scan, I direct my white crocodiles to the source of infection, such as the tonsils or the nostril. Within hours, the problem is GONE.
When I do therapy, occasionally my client and I get so closely in tune that we correctly complete each other’s sentences, and we feel as one. We share thoughts, emotions, our very being. This is a beautiful experience, and a sure sign of my benefit for this client.
Both of these are on the list.
Have a look and see if some of your long term habits are indications of the Ability. And if you can email me other indications that are not on the list, you have earned a free book.
Australia’s dirty, coal-powered electric supply companies are allowed to charge 25 cents per KWH, and to pay $5 for clean, rooftop solar power. How fair is that?
The Victorian Greens have organised an email campaign to a government committee. Here is my submission:
To the Essential Services Commission: Inquiry into the true value of Distributed Generation to Victorian Consumers
Climate change is seriously threatening the entire life system of Earth. One major necessary step is to keep coal in the ground, particularly Victoria’s brown coal. Rooftop solar is an obvious alternative. This is one of the major reasons I have my house solar-powered.
However, it is entirely unfair that an energy supply company can buy my excess power, and sell it to my neighbour for 5 times what they paid for it. It is no encouragement for householders to make their contributions.
All over Earth, entire cities are moving to 100% renewable power supply. With our climate, we should be in the forefront of this, making Melbourne a solar city.
The installation of rooftop solar can be a major provision of employment for years to come.
With improvements in storage technology, soon those who can afford it will disconnect from the distribution network, unless there are financial incentives to keep them there. It is very much in the State’s self-interest to increase solar feed-in tariff, instead of decreasing it.
The only practical way to achieve sustainability
An organisation is calling for submissions on new techniques toward a greener, cleaner world. I’ve listed their invitation in my announcements section.
Here is my submission:
No combination of practical measures can make a difference. We are heading for extinction as long as there is growth within a limited system. We need to stop that growth, without increasing suffering.
This can be done through global culture change, away from greed, short-term thinking, territoriality, hate, fear and aggression.
Human nature is both good and bad. Current culture encourages and rewards the worst. The only way to save a future, and a future worth living in, is to focus in on the good in human nature: compassion, empathy, decency, tolerance, cooperation… the message of all the great religions, although an atheist can practice this way of thinking and living.
Attitudes like the following need to become the new common sense:
Live simply so you may simply live.
Too much is worse than too little.
Generosity is a boomerang.
Suffering is not from lacking, but from wanting. Reduce your wants to achieve contentment.
All living things are your family. Care for all, and we have a future.
This is not a practical measure, or a technological improvement, but without it, all technology is playing around at the edges. Therefore, the technology of morality is the only practical measure that can give us a future.
Last chapter is up
Chapter 34 of the first Doom Healer book is now available. However, during the past year, I’ve so thoroughly revised this book that it deserves a new title, and a new cover.
The new book, The Greatest Force in the Universe, will always be available for free. If you want a copy, email me. I’ll appreciate a review.
If you want to read on, THE SECOND VOLUME IS COMPLETE. It is You Can’t Escape Destiny.
I intend to submit this book to a publisher, but first I want to gather lots of advance reviews. I want to have 100 reviews, ready to be posted on the day of publication. So, here is your chance for a free read, in exchange for feedback and a review. Email me for it.
John Scales Avery
Many thanks for your good letter! Here is a small introduction to my collection of articles:
In 2012 I began to write some articles for alternative media websites, and I have continued until today. The Editor of Countercurrents, Mr. Binu Mathew, and the Editor of TMS Weekly Digest, Mr. Antonio C.S. Rosa, were kind enough to accept all the articles that I sent to them, and so I wrote more and more.
Some of the essays are excerpted from my books on social issues, while others are responses to current events. All the articles are concerned with trying to find solutions to the serious problems with which the world is faced in the 21st Century.
My aim has been to tell the truth, even when the truth is unpleasant or offensive. I must therefore apologize to readers who may dislike some of the essays. However, I feel that because of the seriousness of our present situation, we ought to look as directly and honestly as possible at the threats we are facing, in order to find ways to save human civilization and the biosphere.
To reach earlier ones, just type John Scales Avery into a search engine such as Google. If you know the title of the article, type that too after my name. Three collections of these essays will soon be published by Irene Publishing. Part 3 is already available on Amazon. With hopes for peace and all good wishes,
John is being rather too self-deprecating here. The essays are excellent, informative and easy to read. They provide ammunition when advancing sensible views about our world and future.
I have been loving Doom Healer, although I am only up to chapter 24. It occurred to me that it would make a brilliant — and popular — sci fi movie. I suggest that you explore avenues to make this happen.
I wrote a post on Transformational activism:
In my view, most of us who are activists need to raise our game.
In 2014 Joel Makower, CEO of GreenBiz, commented: “Despite its real achievements, the sustainability movement is failing.”
Unless we think innovatively and mobilise passionate mainstream commitment to turning things around, the continuation of business as usual will take current trends to their dismal conclusion.
Currently, fossil fuel emissions are going up and most environmental trends such as ocean acidification and biodiversity loss continue to deteriorate. We are in a climate emergency now, and COP21, while it produced an aspirational sense of alignment, has no teeth.
The current guiding ethos of our global civilisation is economic growth, which is underpinned by increasing industrial production and associated fossil fuel emissions. The wealth gap continues to increase, and large corporations and governments push ‘trade’ agreements that destroy both environment and our capacity for democratic self regulation.
In contrast our proper intention, I suggest, is to transition to a life-sustaining society. A life-sustaining society will operate within planetary boundaries, and it will be organised to support the well-being of individuals and communities. The needed changes affect every sphere of life in a positive way. Rather than thinking just of a few specific changes, we would do well to think of a whole system change: changing all the driving forces that exacerbate global warming and social imbalance.
The most influential leverage point for change in any human system is in people’s thinking — their paradigms, worldviews, and ways of going about things. What is needed now is a new kind of activism that aims to catalyse a mindset shift to change the direction of our culture. We might call this transformational activism.
Neoliberals have been consciously aiming to shape society according to their worldview for decades. However, the prospect of changing the direction of our whole society can seem daunting to many social activists and ordinary people.
My paper Understanding Whole System Change makes the idea of whole system change mentally manageable in a way that supports real-world transformative action at many levels.
There are also excellent articles, books, videos and study guides that cover the ground of whole system change. Two of them are Paul Raskin’s Great Transition: The Promise and Lure of the Times Ahead and Annie Leonard’s The Story of Stuff.
The problem is: their reach is limited. Only a small proportion of the population seeks them out. Yet without informed passionate public will to transition to a life-sustaining society, we won’t. Muddling along won’t get us there.
Most activists work on specific campaigns. Despite our different emphases, perhaps we can align around the intention to successfully transition to a life-sustaining society, and the recognition that gaining mainstream commitment is essential for success.
If so, we have the basis for a new kind of activism that aims at mindset change.
My paper Accelerating the Great Transition – Engaging mainstream commitment to a life-sustaining society outlines a communication strategy whereby a multitude of groups and their members can align without requiring contentious strategy meetings. It includes tactics ranging from think tanks for businesses, governments and civil society down to inexpensive guerrilla marketing.
We have an innovative tool for conducting personal conversations called Kitchen Table Conversations. Kitchen Table Conversations enable people to connect the dots and develop a robust mental framework for assessing current trends, and seeing a positive way forward that they can contribute to. These conversations orient people mentally and emotionally to support constructive leadership at many levels when it emerges (which always happens), and to exert constructive leadership in their sphere of influence.
Thus the new opportunity for activists and environmental businesses is to add a component of public education about transitioning to a life-sustaining society to what they are already doing. This will not necessarily take a lot of time. The simplest tactic is to mention that we are transitioning to a life-sustaining society, and show how what they are already doing contributes to the transition.
More sophisticated educational approaches are also available, including training members / staff to act as citizen educators conducting Kitchen Table Conversations with people they know. We are about seeding the goal of transitioning to a life-sustaining society to a variety of low-key ways.
Inspiring Transition is an open source platform to support this. It has ready-to-use communication tools including sample emails, articles, and the Kitchen Table Conversations manual. We have a growing network of colleagues in North America, Europe, and across Australia.
The intention behind the Inspiring Transition initiative is to catalyse a global communication initiative that will transform society. We are not starting from scratch. As Paul Hawken and others have pointed out, a great wave of positive change is already occurring. If it fulfils its promise, historians of the future may describe our time as the Great Transition to a life-sustaining society. Our task is to vastly accelerate the Great Transition because, as Joel Makower observed, at the moment we are failing.
As I mentioned, there are a few groups — not many — who champion whole system change. Their reach is limited. The innovative idea behind Inspiring Transition is to engage thousands of groups and their members as champions of whole system change to a life-sustaining society. Together we can become a powerful force for cultural change that bypasses the media and inspires people to do their own thinking.
+61 2 8005-8382
We are in a Great Transition to a life-sustaining society!
Trump proves Martin Luther King right
That great American, Martin Luther King, said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”
That agent of hate, Donald Trump, now stars in a militant Islamist group’s recruiting video.
Wisdom on war
I don’t know who made up this brilliant poster. Karl Kofoed forwarded it to me.
Greenland melting — in WINTER
What’s a climatarian?
Jane Goodall for rainforests
Seabirds in Alaska = canary in coalmine
Deep waters warming
2014 was the warmest ever — until 2015 outdid it
Climate refugees are here
Save energy, and money
Greenland melting — in WINTER
Hurricane Alex was an anomaly: warm air swirling around at hurricane speed in northern waters. Now, there is a sequel. Multiple observations show a major melt of Greenland ice.
At the ends of past ice ages, events like this preceded very rapid, major sea level rise, super-tsunamis and runaway destruction.
I suggest you learn to practise equanimity. It is the only thing keeping me sane.
(Niels Jákup Korsgaard/Natural History Museum of Denmark)
What’s a climatarian?
It’s someone whose diet is designed to minimise climate change.
The diet is described by the Climates Network. The concept is to switch away from beef and lamb to other meat, on CO2 generating grounds. They recommend poultry and pork instead.
There are of course other considerations. Pigs are very smart people — smarter than your dog. I feel uneasy killing and eating them. And the poultry industry is not exactly angelic in its operations.
Jane Goodall for rainforests
She discusses the role of rainforests as carbon sinks, the idiocy of denial, and the role of corporations in financing this species suicide.
Seabirds in Alaska = canary in coalmine
Another indication that we also are in danger of the same.
Deep waters warming
A new paper in Nature Climate Change reports that 90% of the heat energy released since the start of the industrial revolution has now penetrated into the oceans, most below 700 metres.
This may be a “so what” to most people, but the implications are staggering.
Water expands as it warms. You can expect more sea level rise from this than from all the melting over land.
Coral is dying.
Marine currents have changed already, and there are likely to be changes catastrophic to human settlements. In particular, the Gulf Stream is the major determinant of Western Europe’s climate. Much of it is far enough north to be level with Canada. If the Gulf Stream stops or moves out to sea, the climate will match Canada’s.
Heat is energy. Note that this year, there have been WINTER cyclonic storms.
Marine life is a very complex system. Such a large change is guaranteed to have terrible consequences for many species, and so ocean warming (and acidification) is one of the reasons we are now in the sixth great extinction event on earth. And as my friend Bill Sutcliffe says, “Destroy the web of life, and we fall through the hole.”
2014 was the warmest ever — until 2015 outdid it
The Climate Council of Australia has released an important report to document the many ways 2015 has been an exceptional year regarding global climate. It will be of interest to you, wherever you live.
Climate refugees are here
Actually, the Syrian civil war and its resultant flood of refugees has a climate component. Years of unprecedented drought is one of the causes of the conflict.
This article from the Sierra Club examines the issue of climate refugees.
Well worth a read.
Save energy, and money
Here is a Californian list of hints on how to reduce both cost and environmental impact of many forms of energy use.
GMO out of Venezuela
Like an increasing number of countries, Venezuela has passed a law banning GMOs, and protecting the right to save seeds.
There is now strong evidence that factory farming, including the use of huge amounts of toxic chemicals, is a threat to all life on this planet. Traditional, organic agriculture has been shown to be more cost-effective and productive than soil-destroying farming practices, and when you build soil up, it stores carbon.
…and out of several US States
A federal judge in Jackson County, Oregon has upheld a ruling that local farmers have the right to keep genetically modified crops out of their area.
A lawyer working for Center for Food Safety said, “U.S. farmers and consumers have a right to say ‘no’ to Monsanto’s damaging and pesticide-driven business model.”
Renewables: another shining example
In the last issue, I reported on Uruguay’s actions on renewable energy. Nicaragua is doing its best, too, replacing imported fossil fuels with home-grown green energy.
I wish the REAL high consumers like USA, Australia etc. would follow, or even better, lead.
China getting off coal addiction
China has announced that there will be no new coal mines opened during the next 3 years, and 1000 existing mines will be closed. Coal production will be reduced by 70 million tons.
I wonder then, why they have conspired with the Australian government to force through a coal mine in one of Australia’s richest agricultural areas in the Hunter valley?
…and US coal is in retreat
The Sierra Club has reported that the American coal industry is faltering. For example, the second largest coal miner company is filing for bankruptcy, and New York state is joining the many other places aiming to go coal-free.
That company with the great environmental record, British Petroleum, would like to prospect for oil in the vulnerable waters of the Great Australian Bight. Fortunately, its application has been refused — for now.
There will be a second round.
If you want to, you can help to protect whale breeding grounds, beautiful beaches, and the planet as a whole.
After all, aren’t we supposed to keep fossil hydrocarbons from turning into carbon dioxide?
Kissing fights hate
A book about an Israeli-Palestinian romance is causing a stir in Israel. It’s been banned from school reading lists. In protest, 6 such cross-cultural couples share a kiss on video.
Let’s hope it’s the start of something like the end of Northern Ireland’s mutual genocide.
6 year old explains purpose of living
This little boy knows why we are on the planet. It’s not money, power, fame, possessions, or any of that nonsense.
You’ve got to read this.
Leonardo has it right
This quote is from a speech Leonardo DiCapricio made at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
Compassionate caravan out again, like last year
I am happy to let you know that they are at it again.
There would be no homeless people in a decent world. While they are there, they deserve our empathy and help.
How to create a need for consumer garbage
Sometimes, men don’t smell so good “down there.” For perhaps a quarter of a million years, this was either soap and water, or endure for a while. But now, there is a new product on the market to deal with this terrible disaster.
It’s ideal for guys who have too much money, and not enough time to look after their hygiene.
If this idea takes off, it will lead to another wave of thrown-away plastic packaging, and a use-once throwaway thing with chemicals in it for freshening up our environment.
What is real wealth?
Wanting less is the path to contentment
Well worth reading.
Peace Paul on gratitude
Paul is a Buddhist teacher and I often find his words illuminating. Read his brief post on the role of gratitude in achieving a good life.
What should a sustainable human settlement be like?
You can listen to a radio talk by Nick Sharp (or read the transcript) for a very workable set of ideas.
There is an existential threat to humanity that is even greater than climate change: failing to achieve total sustainability. Non-renewables must be treated as assets to be cherished for ever, not consumables to be tossed away. Today’s cities and suburbs are sink holes for non-renewables, and most of them may be under water within a few centuries. The Zillion Year Town describes one possible solution: a deeply sustainable medium-sized town, surrounded by enough lands for food, soft fibres, timber, and wilderness. Such a Town is big enough to support excellence in key infrastructure, especially schooling and health, but small enough to need no cars.
Reducing better than recycling
I’ve placed an essay by Madeleine Somerville in this category rather than under Environment, because it voices a universal truth: using less is better than disposing of it, even in the best way possible.
Stuff is an anchor, weighing you down. For contentment, do with less. This is part of the essence of both Buddhism and Christianity, but you could be an atheist and build a good life by letting go of wants.
Recycling is necessary, but a poor second best.
Pain that rules your life
Yesterday, I got a surprise phone call from an ex-client; a lady who has moved interstate. For years, she has endured physical pain beyond anything I can imagine, and I’ve experienced chronic pain and pretty bad injuries. You can’t feel what another does, but I am confident that I’d rate her regular pain levels at 12/10.
Naturally, during the years while she was seeing me, chronic pain management was a big part of our agenda. We, and her medical service providers of various kinds, tried everything.
She made my day: told me that of all the things she has tried, mindfulness/equanimity has proven to be the best tool. Every day, many times, she tells herself various selections from the total message: “That’s only an uncomfortable sensation. I am only hurting if I attach negative emotion to it; only if I want it to go away. It’s there, so what.”
“So what” is her mantra for reminding herself of this message. This is what gets her through life, moment to moment.
Do I deserve to be forgiven?
Hello, I suppose my question is, should I be allowed to forgive myself? And how do I forgive myself? This is going to be very long so I apologize.
When I was five- six years old I was raped by my biological mother’s boyfriend, I tried to tell her, but she didn’t seem to believe me and she told me not to tell my dad and that I was just confused. Some months later my teacher told my step mom that I was acting weird and she sat down and talked with me and I told her what was happening, and I told her not to tell my dad because I didn’t want my mom’s boyfriend to go to prison. My parents took me to the sheriff’s office and told him all the stuff that had happened and they were going to put my mom’s boyfriend in prison, but when I was 7 he killed himself before he was put in prison, and I was absolutely heartbroken, because I felt he was dead because of me.
But something else was going on, like I became very sexual with other children, I never forced anything, but it’s still really messed up. The most messed up thing is that I was sexual with my younger sister, my mom’s boyfriend’s daughter. I know it probably sounds like I somehow was trying to get revenge for what happened to me, but I loved and would never want to hurt my little sister. I feel like the worst person in the world.
It probably started when I was around 9, but I don’t remember much (she’s 4 years younger that me) I didn’t touch her, but she would touch me (which make’s me think maybe she was sexually abused earlier on too) and I would let her, I started touching her back was I was 14, barely, but I still did and this went on until I was 15. I know I should’ve put a stop to it sooner and I feel like the most disgusting person in the world, I feel like I completely corrupted her childhood..
She knows I was raped when I was little, but she doesn’t know it was her dad who did it. She’s my best friend and I love her so much, I feel like I belong in Prison, I feel just like my rapist and I don’t know what to do, I feel like dying.
I talked with her about it and I told her how sorry I was, but she doesn’t even blame me for what happened between us, which makes me feel even worse, do I even deserve to be forgiven? I don’t know what to do.
Sexualized behavior by pre-teen children is almost always a result of past sexual abuse. You did these things because of what happened in your early childhood. It is not a sign of you being wicked or faulty, but a form of dealing with the hurt. And I am convinced, you did not act sexually with your little sister as a form of revenge, but because that’s what many children with your history do. By the time you were 15, you were mature enough to realize that these actions were wrong, and stopped them.
There is no such thing as a mistake. There are only learning experiences. You have learnt this lesson. Congratulations. Case closed.
Second, your teacher was a smart person, and very perceptive, and did the right thing. Your stepfather had done something terrible. Chances are, if he sexually abused you, he did so to other children. If he had not been stopped, he might still be hurting little kids. You know the terrible effects. By getting you to tell about your abuse, this teacher and your stepmom saved all those children from harm, and also protected you.
My guess is, your stepfather was not an evil person, but a weak one who gave in to impulses other men would have dismissed and refused to act on. I have had many clients who felt a desire to sexually abuse children, but controlled themselves and refused to do so. If this is true, he killed himself not because he was going to jail, but because he couldn’t live with knowing he had hurt kids, and that everyone in his acquaintance now knew this. So, my guess is, it was shame and guilt that drove him to suicide.
You are not responsible for the fact that he abused you. He was.
You are not responsible for the fact that he was discovered. Your teacher and stepmom are, and they are to be congratulated.
You are not responsible for the fact that he killed himself. He is. And if I am right, he did so because the discovery of his crime made him grow and mature, and become a better person. Instead of trying to escape or minimize punishment, he took a way out he considered to be honorable.
So, you haven’t done anything wrong, have you? You actually don’t need forgiveness, from yourself or anyone else.
You are now 18, on the cusp of adulthood. I suggest you make sense of this terrible history by choosing a career where you can either protect young children, or learn how to help them to heal.
Have a good life, my dear,
Do I need A New Therapist?
I have been seeing an LCSW not so regularly for about 2 years now. I have had some issues over this time with things she has said to me and have come to a point now where I’ve realized I may not trust her anymore. Here’s Why; when I began my treatment I wrote her a letter stating what I had been going through, what I wanted to fix and an idea I had that we could try. She referred to this letter in a group session as a list of demands. I continued to see her even though I felt uncomfortable. During several appointments as I cried she has asked the question “what do you want me to do?” the tone of her voice and not the question have made me feel very uncomfortable, like maybe I’m doing something wrong. Once I told her that I needed help ( which I’d asked her for through e-mail and phone call) she asked me what I wanted people to help me with “eating, bathing?” she said. Maybe I am not being vocal enough about my needs, but is this normal? Should a doctor say/do these things? Or, do I need to look for a new therapist?
The essence of a therapeutic relationship is empathy. This is when I can see the world through your eyes, without becoming you. I have an intuitive, emotional feel for where you’re coming from.
It is clear that this woman has not succeeded in establishing such a bond with you. Therefore, she is guaranteed to fail to be of benefit to you.
If you don’t like the food in a restaurant, you don’t bother to go back. Is this not the same situation? So, you have the right to stop going to her. Find someone who is in tune with you, just like you’ll try out a different restaurant next time you feel like eating out.
Writing a letter at the start of therapy, in order to set out what you want out of the contact, is an excellent idea. After all, her aim needs to be to facilitate you achieving YOUR list of objectives. That’s what therapy is about. So, you did something constructive, and she got things wrong. And disclosing the contents of this letter to a group is only permissible with your express permission.
It seems to me that you tend to take other people’s negative actions in a way that doesn’t serve you well. So, treat this contact with a harmful therapist as a growing opportunity. “This was a bad experience. What can I do to make myself a better, stronger, wiser person?”
The answer to this question is up to you, not to me, but I have a few suggestions.
Maybe it can encourage you to be more assertive. This is what that means:
You can handle an annoyance in three ways:
1. Bulldozer: “Get off my toes or I’ll punch your face in!”
2. Doormat: “Sorry for being in your way. Please trample on me.”
3. Assertive: “You’re standing on my toes and it hurts. Please get off now.”
The assertive formula is: “When you do this, I feel… so please do that.”
You don’t need the formula in words, but use the philosophy behind it.
Second, you might decide that you have rights, and when someone tramples on them, you don’t need to take it.
Third, possibly, you might consider this woman to be a “negative role model:” this is how NOT to respond to people in distress. Then design how you would have acted in her place — and do that.
I’m interested in what else you might come up with.
Exercise protects your back
Michelle Schoffro Cook is one of my favourite writers on health-related matters. She reports on some recent research on how to protect yourself from lower back pain.
Well, it was nothing new to me, something I’ve been doing all my life, but it may be a new insight for you.
Image from Advanced Healthcare.
Particulate pollution: one aspect of species suicide
from Ken Kafoed
According to the UN, there are now 3.3 million premature deaths every year from air pollution, about three-quarters of which are from strokes and heart attacks. With nearly 1.4 million deaths a year, China has the most air pollution fatalities, followed by India with 645,000 and Pakistan with 110,000. In Britain, figures suggest that around 29,000 people a year die from particulate pollution and thousands more from long-term exposure to nitrogen dioxide gas, emitted largely by diesel engines. EU’s European Environment Agency (EEA) says pollution is now also the single largest environmental health risk in Europe, responsible for more than 430,000 premature deaths.
A second article, in the Guardian adds other cities, including Kabul and London, to the list of those with severe smog problems.
As a group, we need to campaign for clean air. As individuals, if possible do what I did in the 1970s: get out. Because I live to the east of a big city, I get beautiful sunrises thanks to the smog there.
If you are offered a contract…
A contract with a big publishing house is considered to be lucky. There is now less prejudice against small, independent publishers, and even self-publishing is getting acceptance, but still, there is an aura of having arrived if you land a “real” publisher.
Reading this op-ed by Kameron Hurley may change your mind. It’s worth reading whether you play with the big boys or not.
Writing tips from Hollie Glover
Hollie is in Rhobin’s blog round. While checking that my link to her site was correct, I came across an excellent little essay on how not to bore your reader.
What my friends want you to know
Support Greek workers changing the world
Suggest a way toward a greener, cleaner world
Open College writing courses
Lyrical return to love of nature
Thanks from Jan Sikes
Meet to save the future
Don’t Lose Your Amazon Reviews! & PrePublish Contest
Solar Supercharge, Brisbane, 13-15 Feb
Support Greek workers changing the world
As a result of the legal battle waged against the VIOME workers collective, the state-appointed trustee is now organising a series of auctions with the aim of liquidating the plot of land on which the VIOME factory is located. A possible sale of the land would create the legal ground for evicting the workers from the factory.
Although the workers and the solidarity assembly are decided to stand their ground and defend the factory in all eventualities, the auction process represents a threat and it requires mobilisation in order to be prevented. This is why we reach out to you, to ask for help and mobilisation to put pressure on the government to satisfy the long-standing demands of the VIOME workers for legalisation of their activity, by expropriating the factory and granting it to the VIOME workers’ cooperative, which will operate it in a horizontal and self-managed way, as it has been doing for 3 years now.
We urge you to sign this resolution and return your details to firstname.lastname@example.org, or even better, hand it in to the nearest Greek embassy or consulate demanding that it is transferred to the Greek Ministry of Labour.
We welcome any international acts of solidarity, especially ones that involve non-violent direct action towards Greek embassies worldwide.
We urge you to organise screenings of this 30-minute documentary by D. Azzellini and O. Ressler, detailing the struggle of VIOME through interviews and participation in its assemblies (English subtitles included).
You can send us announcements of your events, and/or photos to be uploaded to VIOME’s website, to email@example.com.
Suggest a way toward a greener, cleaner world
Sustainia and a worldwide alliance of companies and organizations have kick-started the Sustainia100 campaign, calling out across the world to help find the most inspiring solutions that are making our planet cleaner, greener and fairer for everyone.
Now in its fifth year, the Sustainia100 campaign has become a leading benchmark for sustainable action and a practical guide for the world’s decision makers, investors and influencers. By identifying the top 100 from thousands of submissions, Sustainia will pinpoint the solutions which are readily available, making an impact and have the potential for scale.
Open College writing courses
Whether you see yourself as a Walkley Award-winning reporter or the author of a bestselling novel, our courses will encourage you to embrace the power of the written word and discover where your flair for writing or editing could lead.
Lyrical return to love of nature
As the painful days of the industrial empire draw closer to an end, humanity has a chance to reconnect with the sacredness of nature.
Musing on the plight of the human and non-human world can bring unexpected clarity in times of dark forgetfulness, and remembrance of our universal connection can be reawakened from the opaque mists of cultural conditioning. Love of the earth can ensue.
Voices from our Pantheist Heritage is a series of short stories focussed on the loss of connection modern humanity has to their earthly roots and the loss of their sense of universal divinity.
In a world ever further alienated from its own reality, these stories seek to show the majesty, beauty and spirituality of a sacred universe.
Thanks from Jan Sikes
I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported and encouraged me on this journey of writing my story.
Truly, from the bottom of my heart, I thank you!
In 2015, I released Home At Last, and it has been very well received by all who read it. While there aren’t many reviews on Amazon yet, the one-on-one communication I’ve received from the readers has been amazing. I am overwhelmed and eternally grateful.
I did several speaking engagements through the year and appeared at area book clubs as well. It was an amazing year. It’s funny how in looking backward on anything you can see it so much more clearly. When we are in the midst of our activities, we can’t see the beauty in them. Ah, but later, in a backward glance, the beauty of each shines.
In 2016, I will release the fourth and final book of this series. ‘Til Death Do Us Part will be published in early spring and no worries, I’ll most definitely let you know when it is available for purchase.
Meet to save the future, 18 Feb
Thursday 18 February, 6.30-8 pm
Treasury Room, Imperial Hotel, 2 Bourke St, Melbourne (corner Spring St)
Food provided, drinks at bar prices.
Free entry but bookings are essential as places are limited. RSVP here.
We’re writing to invite you to a free special event where you’ll be the first to learn about Market Forces’ plans for 2016.
We’re planning to make this year massive. Massive campaigns, resulting in massive change. We have climate change commitments from banks that need to be turned into concrete action that moves finance out of fossil fuels. We want to turn divestment from coal, oil and gas from a steady stream to an unstoppable torrent. And of course, we have new dirty coal proposals here in Australia and overseas that need to be stopped in their tracks.
Everything we’ve achieved so far and will do in the future has been the result of people like you taking action. And so we want to host an event where we get to talk to you directly about our plans, what we want to achieve and how you can be involved. It will also be a chance to meet so many of the wonderful people who follow and get involved in our campaigns – let’s celebrate some of the success we’ve had together!
Also on the night, we’ll be giving attendees an exclusive look at our newly upgraded (and yet to be released) Super Switch website. We’ve added a whole lot of new features and information that will help make our super funds divestment campaigns more powerful and our volunteers better informed. We want the result to be billions of dollars moved out of the fossil fuel industry this year.
You don’t want to miss it!
Julien, on behalf of Market Forces
Don’t Lose Your Amazon Reviews! & PrePublish Contest
This is the subject line of the announcement of Carolyn Howard=Johnson’s January newsletter Sharing with Writers.
There is lots else in there as well.
It’s official — This week NASA confirmed that 2015 was the hottest year ever recorded. And it wasn’t just warmer weather that people were feeling. The impacts of a climate being cooked by a reckless fossil fuel industry are being felt right around the world. From devastating flooding, seemingly endless drought, deadly heat waves and violent storms, the message each sends is clear: the time for procrastination is long gone and the need for action never more urgent.
With a global climate deal in Paris done, the world has a choice: This could be the moment we look back on as the moment the curtain came down on the fossil fuel age and we began to build the 100% clean energy future that we need. Or it could be another failed global agreement — a missed opportunity, sabotaged by the fossil fuel industry and their political allies.
To make sure that the Paris deal results in real climate action, people are beginning to organise a historic wave of nonviolent actions around the world in May this year. This wave of actions is called Break Free from Fossil Fuels and it’s how the people are going to make sure that this moment is remembered as the time the tide started to turn.
The Paris agreement leaves a lot of work to be done: the timeline for action is far too long and there is no plan for how countries will reduce their emissions at the scale and rate necessary. There is a gap between the target that governments have set themselves and what their commitments will lead to. It is up to us to do the work that will close that gap.
There is no way to reach the 1.5 degree target that governments aspire to while continuing to dig coal, oil and gas out of the ground. But governments around the world are still continuing to approve new fossil fuel projects, which will commit us to years more warming. It’s up to us to close the gap between the rhetoric and reality.
Break Free from Fossil Fuels is different from anything we have been a part of before: dozens of major actions around the globe, non-violently escalating the fight against the worst fossil fuel projects on earth, coordinated to show that we are united against the fossil fuel industry’s power.
We’ve marched, we’ve signed petitions and we’ve demonstrated for climate action. But this is the critical moment and climate action is even more urgent than ever before. That’s why in May 2016 we will be joining with partners around the world to take things to the next level. We will directly confront those who are responsible for climate change, put our bodies in the way of business as usual, and take bold action in support of a 100% renewable energy future.
Charlie, on behalf of the Break Free coordinating team
Solar Supercharge, Brisbane, 13-15 Feb
I’m thrilled to announce that the Solar Supercharge program is out! Click here to view the program in full.
Solar Supercharge is a 3-day national action summit for clean energy happening in Brisbane, 13-15 February. It’s the moment when leaders and volunteers from across the clean energy movement all come together to hear from expert speakers, learn new skills and plan for action.
We’ve got some amazing speakers and facilitators lined up, including experts on the solar industry, renewable energy policy, advocacy and community campaigning. Here are just a few of the highlights:
- Simon Hackett, Executive Chairman of Redflow, will give us the lowdown on the next great disruption: battery storage;
- CEO of Roofjuice Nigel Morris on the solar industry, jobs and what’s next for storage;
- Policy analyst, writer and commentator Miriam Lyons will give us a sneak peak at a brand spanking new Renewable Energy policy platform;
- Lindsay Soutar, founder of 100% Renewables, will share her knowledge about building people powered movements that win;
- Former politician and director of the Every Australian Counts Campaign, John Della Bosca, on how the National Disability Insurance Scheme was won;
- An electric vehicle display and much more!
We want to make sure that everyone who wants to attend can make it. That’s why we’re offering a number of scholarships and discounts to help out with the cost of tickets, travel and accommodation. If you’d like some help to get to Solar Supercharge, please don’t hesitate to apply using our online form.
It’s going to be an incredible three days and we can’t wait to see you there.
Solar Supercharge Coordinator
The Greatest Force in the Universe, reviewed by Gary Clough
I wish I had Bill Sutcliffe’s intelligence and abilities, but I wouldn’t want his job with it. Humanity is killing all complex life on Earth (this is actually true: we’re officially in the 6th great extinction event of our planet), and aliens have come to help us. They’ve been genetically modifying people to ease us onto a better path, but note an active force opposing them. Unlike with millions of other species they’ve helped, humans are racing toward extinction anyway. So, as an emergency measure, they choose the most gifted of their “children” to be the Doom Healer. That’s Bill, aged only 14 at the start of the story.
I’m used to Bob Rich’s humour from his other writings, and I wasn’t disappointed. In the middle of a discussion of really serious topics like the nature of reality, or action like setting drug-addict rapist kids on the right path, there is the unexpected twist, or a choice or words, that makes me laugh.
As I’m writing this review, I’m halfway through the second volume, You Can’t Escape Destiny, and let me tell you, you’ve got to read on. I find this series as gripping as any science fiction I’ve ever read, and at the same time it makes me think about the most serious issues.
The Doom Healer: Vol. 1, The Greatest Force in the Universe, reviewed by Anthony Mays
I am not usually a science fiction reader. In this read I needed to put aside many of my own perceptions about the way I look at the world and present times. I also understand that reading science fiction often requires suspension of personal beliefs and disbeliefs. You don’t have to actually believe in aliens etc, but you have to be willing to not disbelieve in them. Dr. Rich’s writing comes with very engaging concepts and ideas, which caused me deep thought, and I was drawn into the story on many levels.
The premise of the book relies on an Australian teen and a core group of associates that highlight ecological, economic, and human threats which currently exist on our planet, and they offer a solution to alter the path of total human destruction. The author presents fascinating, and sometimes disturbing views of cynical governments, military and corporate worlds, as well as discussion of some shocking truths and some very tentative possibilities. This is a read that leaves you wanting more, while also wishing some truths would “go away”.
The negatives for me was there were a lot of characters presented in the story, and I found it difficult at times to keep track of all of them. The other was my personal dislike of some of the sexual overtones placed on youth that added little value to the story.
The pros include: The author’s writing style and grasp of real and growing threats to the planet, the overriding theme of ‘metta’ or unconditional love, and the play on good versus evil.
This is unique writing that will mean different things to different readers. I would recommended it to those that like to reflect on profound thoughts, and who think beyond what is obvious. It sufficiently intrigued me to want to read the next volume.
The Greatest Force in the Universe is available for free, and always will be. At the moment, I am seeking advance reviews for the second volume, You Can’t Escape Destiny. Please email me if you want a PDF copy of either of these books.
TREADING ON OUR DREAMS
by Veronica-Mae Soar
Though man has walked upon the moon
(And probably on Mars quite soon)
About this world he has no care
He poisons land and sea and air.
Where once the awesome forest stood
We see bare land which grows no food
How many people, do you think
Have water which is safe to drink ?
The earth is plundered for its store;
Insatiable, we cry for more.
Yet landfill mountains grow apace
We’re swiftly running out of space
While monstrous concrete marches on
How many more green fields have gone ?
Yet in our cities there is still
Space for more dwellings — given the will
Polluted air which threatens life,
Asthma and breathing problems rife.
Where once we walked we have a car;
We ride, although it’s not too far.
The adverts in our living room
Still motivate us to consume.
“I’m tired of yellow, I want blue”
Discard the old, bring in the new.
The earth IS bountiful, it’s true.
But now it’s up to me and you
To think of children yet to wake
And ‘tread more lightly’ for their sake.
@ anti-copyright: Veronica-Mae Soar Jan 2000
(Under “Creative Commons” you may copy this anywhere it might be useful, provided I get a credit, it is copied accurately and that it is copied for free.
A link to where it appeared would be appreciated.)
About Bobbing Around
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