Bobbing Around Volume 17 Number 11

How could we have ever believed that it was a good idea to grow our food with poisons?
Jane Goodall

Bobbing Around

Volume Seventeen, Number Eleven,
May, 2018

Bob Rich’s rave

email    previous issues

*About Bobbing Around
guidelines for contributions

*From me to you
Letter to my state’s Minister for Energy
Secondary gains updated
Last chance for a free read
Amazon greed

Rich McLean

Sanity wins in Costa Rica
Solar panels block pipeline route

Topsoil into desert
If global warming continues, why don’t they just move up north to places too cold for humans to live in?
Who is trashing our planet?
Plastic kills giants
Conspiracy theory supported
One picture is…
Cape Town is not alone
Losing our birds

*Good news
It’s legal to protest in order to save a future
British coal mine proposal canned
New Zealand bans new offshore oil exploration
Environmental Defense Fund going to space
Suing the liars spreads
EU bans bee killers

*Inspiring people
Too young to vote; old enough to lead
Welcoming refugees brought this community together
13 year old Texan saving his future
The antidepressant mindset

Will your community copy this wonderful town?

Green clothes washing
Take away food, not packaging
More ways to unplastic

*Deeper issues
A realist
Call for a moral revolution
Mother bears show intelligence
Mirror, mirror in the water

ADHD as a cultural phenomenon
A brief primer on “mental disorders”
Links for PTSD
Racked by guilt

Pesticides on the table

*Look over a writer’s shoulder
Please protest Amazon’s new review policy
Grabbing pics legally
Hints on structure

*What my friends want you to know
Petrea King workshop in Sydney
Poetic Activism: Authors Honour Earth Day for the World and Universe
Run 4 Refugees joins the Great Ocean Road Run
Climate change and home ownership in Queensland
Bill McKibben in Melbourne
Human Flow
Reconciliation week at ECOSS
CARE national conference
Bill Parker’s hit on Audible

Ascending Spiral, reviewed by TA Sullivan
Guardian Angel, reviewed by Cathy Brownfield
Return to Life, by Jim Tucker
What’s making our children SICK? by Michelle Perro and Vincanne Adams

Not quite the same…

Cinders, by Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Alien Life, by Magdalena Ball

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.

There is no safe injecting room for greenhouse gases.

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.

From me to you

Letter to my state’s Minister for Energy
Secondary gains updated
Last chance for a free read
Amazon greed


Letter to my state’s Minister for Energy

Dear Minister,
Coal belongs in the 19th century. We need to transition to clean sources of power, and even more so, concentrate on energy conservation, to get off society’s addiction to fossil fuels.

The dinosaur COALition is doing everything to stop this. Please help ensure a future for our children by blocking their plans.

Yours sincerely,
Bob Rich, PhD

Secondary gains updated

I received several very helpful comments to the extract from my book on depression dealing with the rewards “doing” depression can give people. In response, I’ve extended this section in my book, and have posted the new bit there.

Comments welcome.

Last chance for a free read

I am delighted to let all my friends know that the publisher of Hit and Run is now getting ready to release the book.

I’ve done one more line edit, and almost to my surprise, really enjoyed reading the story after not having looked at it for about a year.

Some of the people who come to Bobbing Around have received a free copy, but have not emailed me a review. Please do so now. If you’ve lost the copy, I can email you a new one.

And if you haven’t got a copy of this book, now is possibly your last chance for a free one. The only payment is a review.

Amazon greed

Amazon has a relatively new policy: you can only post a review on one of their websites if you’ve spent at least $50 there in the past 12 months. They think this will increase their business. My reaction is, if it’s available anywhere else, I won’t buy it at Amazon. Please follow me, and let them know.

To make it worse, they have separate websites for different countries. If an item is available at my country’s Amazon website, I can’t buy it on any other. This means, if I buy a book, I can only review it in my own country. Same with reviews people want to post of my book.

The various Amazon sites don’t communicate with each other. Does this seem like a good business model?

Reviews help everyone: the author, the publisher, and the vendor. Why can’t I inform American readers of my opinion regarding a book I’ve bought at Amazon Australia?


Rich McLean

Dear Bob,

I’ve been meaning to get around to you all day after reading your blog this morning!

Thanks so much for including my art book in the latest ‘Bobbing Around’, and sharing the love!

I always enjoy reading your posts, and admire how calm you are in the face of adversity.

I guess I’m a positive existential nihilist, just because we are all doomed does not mean we can’t be nice to one another.

As my healer said ‘ What the world needs now is positivity in these most crucial times, and all on the side of love will prosper’, or words to that effect, whilst also saying there will be no people on the planet within 1000 years.

This being said, I think she was coming from a non physical place, possibly intentions and thought as energy, as the currency that will count, and I’m grateful for your good intentions and your blog. (And you!)



Richard McLean,
Doctor of Philosophy Research Student,
College of Education,
Victoria University, Melbourne


Sanity wins in Costa Rica
Solar panels block pipeline route


Sanity wins in Costa Rica

This small country of 5 million people has been a world leader in moving to a carbon-free lifestyle. They have just elected a young president whose promise has been to replace all diesel and petrol use in the country.

We must all follow.

Solar panels block pipeline route

Here is brilliant political action. Several farmers in Nebraska have teamed with, Indigenous Environmental Network, Oil Change International, and CREDO. Their team, Bold Nebraska, are generating clean power for their state in a way that block the proposed route of the Keystone XL pipeline.

More power to (and from) them.


Topsoil into desert
If global warming continues, why don’t they just move up north to places too cold for humans to live in?
Who is trashing our planet?
Plastic kills giants
Conspiracy theory supported
One picture is…
Cape Town is not alone
Losing our birds


Topsoil into desert

When I have a talk with a climate change denier, I see no point in arguing. Instead, I sidestep into one of the many other symptoms of what’s wrong with the way our global culture manages our future, and even present.

This report from the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) is strong ammunition, and scary reading.

Topsoil is what keeps all terrestrial plant and animal life alive. We are terrestrial animals.

The report details the multiple ways we are destroying soil. They refer to this as land degradation. We are trying to feed increasing numbers of people, generating fibre and fuel oil from less and less usable land, which is becoming poorer and poorer.

It doesn’t take a genius to see that, even without other negative trends, this is recipe for disaster.

Individuals can do little things to help, but, basically, everything needs to change on an emergency footing.

If global warming continues, why don’t they just move up north to places too cold for humans to live in?

If things were that simple…

Right now, there are about 7.5 billion people. Millions have already died in environmental disasters, and in wars partly caused by draught and famine, and this will get worse. All the same, there is a question of scale.

Second, climate change is not a nice little rise in temperature. It is catastrophic.

Because of all the carbon dioxide we have put into the atmosphere in the past 300 years, we are now liberating methane that has been locked up in the Arctic for millions of years. Add to this the methane oil and gas industries release in a near-criminal way, and we have atmospheric methane content as high now as during the worst extinction event of earth’s history. This was the end of the Permian period, 250 million years ago. 96% of species died out.

We are now officially in the 6th extinction event. Current extinction rates are 1000 times the historical average.

We are killing sea life with ocean acidification, and land life in multiple other ways. This includes plankton, and many land plants that generate oxygen. Worst of these is what we are doing to forests. We are turning the lungs of the planet into wood chips, palm oil and grazing land.

We are unraveling the web of life, and are sure to fall through the hole.

What to do?

We need to address the cause: short term, selfish thinking, greed, fear and hate of those slightly different from us. If we could all put ourselves on emergency footing toward survival, live simply, cooperate and act with compassion, we’d have a chance.

Who is trashing our planet?

This morning, my wife and I went out on a Garbage Granny expedition: spent a couple of hours picking up rubbish. That makes our community look better, and more important, reduces damage to wildlife.

Ros Coward in the Guardian and Katherine Martinko at Treehugger approve, but point to the real problem.

That is not the thoughtless or even malicious people dropping the stuff, but the entire packaging industry. We need structural change, to eliminate the source.

Plastic kills giants

…because here is a report of a sperm whale, killed by plastic clogging up his digestive system.

He was still only a young fellow. Would you like your teenage son to suffer like this?

Conspiracy theory supported

…by the uncovering of a 20 year old video. Mobil oil, which the following year merged with Exxon, knew then that their product would lead to catastrophic climate change.

They could have changed the world, for the better.

One picture is…

Cliches can be true.

This is the Alaskan coast, falling into the sea, thanks to melting permafrost.

Cape Town is not alone

A Guardian report states that several countries face rapidly shrinking water supplies, leading to the danger of crises like the one Cape Town is suffering, with people left, well, dry.

This is climate change in action.

Losing our birds

Birds are among my favourite people on this planet. We humans are drastically hurting them.

This report from BirdLife International states that 40% of the world’s 11,000 bird species are in decline, with one in eight bird species now under some threat of extinction.

Climate change… plastic… habitat destruction… We’re good at destroying whatever is precious.

Good news

It’s legal to protest in order to save a future
British coal mine proposal canned
New Zealand bans new offshore oil exploration
Environmental Defense Fund going to space
Suing the liars spreads
EU bans bee killers


It’s legal to protest in order to save a future

Here is one of several reports: a Boston judge has acquitted people who did their best to stop the construction of a fracked gas pipeline. Their reason was to reduce climate change.

I would have added the multiple dangers and side effects of fracking, and of having a high-pressure gas pipeline around. But certainly, climate change is the worst aspect.

British coal mine proposal canned

Friends of the Earth UK has reported that an application for a new coal mine has been refused on the grounds that the coal pulled out would add to greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

Let’s hope this is a global precedent.

New Zealand bans new offshore oil exploration

This is good news indeed, and should be followed by every country, everywhere.

Prime Minister Jacinta Ardern has explained that there are past contracts that cannot be cancelled, but there will be no new permits issued.

If you were a marine animal, particularly a cetacean, you’d certainly be cheering. The terrible noises of exploration kill whales and their cousins. Disturbances on the ocean floor are terrible for many other creatures. Then there is the risk of spills and explosions.

Environmental Defense Fund going to space

Governments are grossly under-reporting the amount of methane being released into the atmosphere. Right now, the estimate is that about a quarter of climate change is due to methane, and increasing.

A satellite is the logical way to monitor the amount, and rate of release, of this greenhouse gas, but you can be sure that Trump won’t pay for it.

So, EDF is raising funds for launching a single-purpose satellite to do just that. They deserve your support.

Suing the liars spreads

Colorado is an inland state, so not affected by sea level rise. However, average temperatures are the among the fastest to rise in North America. Ski resorts have been affected, and increasing storm, wildfire and flood severity has caused a lot of damage.

Boulder, and two counties, have combined to sue two major oil companies, who knew many years ago about the damage their activities were causing.

They join New York and several Californian locations. I hope the whole world follows, but also targeting other corporations that had the knowledge 50 years ago, and chose to fund misinformation instead of changing their activities.

EU bans bee killers

EcoWatch has reported a victory for common sense. The European Commission has banned all outdoor uses of neonicotinoids, the nasty poisons research has shown to kill both wild and domesticated bees.

No pollinators = no food, and also the end to about one-third of flowering plants.

We need to get rid of all pesticides. Bayer/Monsanto is killing us and everything else.

You can read up on neonicotinoids at Ben’s Bees, the source of this pic:

People who inspire

Too young to vote; old enough to lead
Welcoming refugees brought this community together
13 year old Texan saving his future
The antidepressant mindset


Too young to vote; old enough to lead

Please read this short essay from the heart by Michael Brune, Executive Director of the Sierra Club.

“So where are the climate heroes to combat [denial]? Don’t look to the corridors of power. Look to the hallways of schools.”

This is Emily Her, one of those young heroes. At 17, she changed her state’s idiocy of scrubbing climate change from the school curriculum.

Welcoming refugees brought this community together

Please read this account of Eltham, a Melbourne perimeter town near where I live.

They have made a home for 100 Syrian and Iraqi refugees, with benefit to all.

Thank you, Eltham.

13 year old Texan saving his future

This boy chose to do his school project on mobilising his community to oppose cuts to methane emission standards.

Please read this delightful interview in which Drew Nelson of the Environmental Defense Fund shows us youth at its best.

The antidepressant mindset

Please read my little essay about an amazing little old lady.

Think like her, and you can overcome any adversity.


Will your community copy this wonderful town?

Pomona, California is now a Compassionate City.

The local council, and the community led by Unity Church’s Reverend Jan Chase, are doing everything possible to care for everyone in need, including migrants and refugees, in defiance of the new Trumpistan.

This community has been declared a shining example for the Charter for Compassion, and there are plans to introduce widespread training.

If they can do it, can we do it everywhere?


Green clothes washing
Take away food, not packaging
More ways to unplastic


Green clothes washing

This Guardian article by Koren Helbig is chock-full of helpful information and useful tips on how to wash your clothes in an environmentally friendly way.

You’ll find it well worth the few minutes to read it, because the essay will also save you money.

Take away food, not packaging

Treehugger has reported on a successful project in Brussels, Belgium. You can buy a container you take to a takeaway restaurant, and have them put your food in there instead of plastic and/or paper packaging. Participating restaurants save the cost of the throwaway stuff, and give a small discount.

Everyone wins, particularly the environment.

More ways to unplastic

Here is a handy list of several other ways of using technology such as a pocketful of cloth carry bags to eliminate the need for using plastic.

Deeper Issues

A realist
Call for a moral revolution
Mother bears show intelligence
Mirror, mirror in the water


A realist

I read with interest about the opinions of a prominent long term environmentalist I’ve never heard of. He is Mayer Hillman now 86 years old, and delivers his final warning.

Long term readers of Bobbing Around will know I agree with him: all complex life on this planet is heading down the gurgler, because of galloping climate change and other assaults on the environment. We must eliminate all fossil fuel use, and reduce population.

He says, the only way we have a chance of this happening, giving us more time, is to acknowledge the fact. I agree.

Call for a moral revolution

What would it take for America to become a moral society? We think it will take a revolution.

The day before he was assassinated, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered what is now known as the “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” address to the Mason Temple in Memphis, Tennessee. He said,

    Let us rise up tonight with a greater readiness. Let us stand with a greater determination. And let us move on in these powerful days, these days of challenge to make America what it ought to be.

Dr. King was preparing a Poor People’s Campaign that would bring together poor and working people of all races “to make America what it ought to be.” But, his life was stolen by a system of capitalism and white supremacy. He preached of a revolution of values to challenge the triple evils of militarism, materialism, and racism.

Dr. King’s prophetic call for a multiracial Poor People’s Campaign to transform America is as urgent today as the day he was killed by a white supremacist 50 years ago.

Our Revolution is joining with hundreds of other groups in supporting the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for a Moral Revival to continue the call Rev. King made 50 years ago. Rev. Dr. William Barber and co-chair Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharris launched the campaign this year to unleash a moral revival in America and challenge the corrupt and racist system that ensnares the American people.

Will you join the moral revolution to transform America?

America has yet to answer the questions Dr. King was asking 50 years ago: “Can we all be part of a community that provides us dignity and belonging?”

The Poor People’s Campaign will bring together millions of Americans who believe it’s time for us to build an America that truly belongs to all who call it home.

All over the country starting this May in state capitols and Washington, D.C., we will be protesting the systemic racism, poverty, war economy, and ecological devastation that threaten our democracy. If America is going to be great, we must first make it good.

We refuse to be silent as our elected leaders undermine access to the ballot box, destroy healthcare and the social safety net, and deny living wages—all while cutting taxes for the Wealthy.

In the face of injustice and needless suffering, we are heeding Rev. King’s call to raise a nonviolent army. The American people will come together to confront the corrupt oligarchs who divide us with racism and oppress us to serve their greed.

The time to act is now. We need you to join our movement and show politicians that if they do not enact a moral and just agenda, we will.

We are organizing one of the largest waves of nonviolent direct action and civil disobedience in U.S. history. Will you join us? Please sign up now.

The soul of our nation is at stake.

In solidarity,

Nina Turner
Our Revolution

P.S. Consider checking out Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s book Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community? It is one of my favorites.

Mother bears show intelligence

Suppose you noticed that criminals avoided harm to someone with a small child. You needed to go a place of known danger of attack. Would it occur to you to ensure you had a child with you?

Brown bears in Sweden are equally as smart. Their species is mercilessly hunted — except the law protects mother-offspring pairs. So, mothers keep their young with them for about an extra year.

Do you still think humans are qualitatively superior?

Mirror, mirror in the water

Animal researchers have found that young humans, elephants, anthropoid apes, and magpies can recognise themselves in a mirror. A new study has demonstrated that baby bottlenose dolphins can do it at a younger age than humans.

They, like all cetaceans, should be considered as people.


ADHD as a cultural phenomenon
A brief primer on “mental disorders”
Links for PTSD
Racked by guilt


ADHD as a cultural phenomenon

Samuel Veissiere, writing in Psychology Today has provided evidence in a fascinating paper that ADHD can be cured or significantly reduced using a placebo treatment, and argues that much of it could be a nocebo effect (placebo that causes harm).

His argument makes sense.

A brief primer on “mental disorders”

I am using the quotes because I consider the system of classification of human suffering to be politically and financially motivated science fiction.

But to understand the terminology, read this brief essay in The Conversation.

It is accurate, easy to understand, and should reduce the stigma of “mental illness.”

Links for PTSD


It looks like PTSD is a topic you often discuss on your site (thanks — it’s a topic near and dear to me!), so I’m sending you some articles I thought you may like to post somewhere on your site. They all could really make a difference for someone suffering from PTSD (regardless of its cause):

Taking Control of Your Trauma: A Guide to PTSD Treatment

This not only has great general information about this mental health disorder, but it also sheds light on the many treatment options available for those struggling with it.

The Guide to Managing PTSD as a Tradesman

Working as a skilled tradesman can be a wonderful career, but may present challenges to someone with PTSD, especially combat veterans. This guide offers wonderful insight on how to overcome these obstacles.

PTSD in Children — Does Your Child Have Symptoms?

Sadly, many children are affected by PTSD (this article notes that an estimated “60 percent of children who survive disasters” develop it, among others). This resource will help concerned parents find help for their children.

Promoting Mental Health at Home: How to Design the Perfect Meditation Room

Many people with PTSD have told me that along with therapy, meditation and yoga are both wonderful ways to ease their symptoms. It’s really easy to create a calming space for practicing both at home.

So, You Want a PTSD Service Dog?

Man’s best friend is quickly becoming a renowned source of support for those with PTSD (as well as many other mental health issues). This great article has answers for anyone with questions about getting one of these special creatures for themselves or a loved one.

The Veteran’s Complete Guide to Relocation

For veterans with PTSD, it sometimes helps to get a fresh start post-service. This guide is an excellent resource for those who are ready to move on.

I hope these make a difference for your site visitors!

Thank you,

Dorothy Watson

Dorothy Watson created Mental Wellness Center together with her friend to spread awareness about the importance of mental health after realizing how passionate they both are about it.

Racked by guilt

[Well, that’s how he spelt it.]

Hello, so I am about to discuss something that I did approximately 10 years ago and I’ve been feeling a lot of shame for. When I was a teenager I used to babysit for a local family. There were two boys and one girl.

I looked after these children for a few years and developed a good relationship with them. I play sport with the eldest to this day and I have a good relationship with their parents. The incident in question revolves around one night when I was 16/17 and the girl was 6/7. As I was putting the girl to bed I felt the urge to molest her when I had her sat on my knee and I was cuddling her. I held the girl inappropriately until I realised what I was doing and stopped.

I never did anything like this again and I looked after the children for a few years after and regularly see them to this day. I have never been attracted to children and find the things you see in the news deplorable. I have worked with children and spent time with my niece and friends children and have never had any desire towards them.

At present I am in a long term committed relationship with a girl who I love and want to spend the rest of my life with. I want a family with her but I can’t get over this guilt. Are you able to provide me with guidance in what to do?


Racked with guilt. 26

My dear friend,

You are not alone. I have answered a very large number of cries for help like yours. And as I’ve said to the previous ones, you are OK.

Please read my general explanation and read a few of the questions-and-answers I link to on that page.

Your new grandfather,


Pesticides on the table

In this issue, I am reviewing What makes our children SICK? In a word, it is pesticides.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has released its annual list of the pesticide content of fruit and vegetables you’ll find on the market.

This is essential reading if you live in the USA and want to protect yourself and your loved ones from this blessing of the agrochemical industry.

Look over a writer’s shoulder

Please protest Amazon’s new review policy
Grabbing pics legally
Hints on structure


Please protest Amazon’s new review policy

Until recently, anyone could review a book on any Amazon site. This was a service to potential buyers of the book, and to the author and publisher. It was also a benefit to Amazon, by providing visitors with helpful information, and by bringing visitors to its site.

Amazon is also a nationally fractured presence on the web. I live in Australia. If I want to buy something on Amazon, it has to be from its Australian site. Any others like the US or British ones direct me to do so.

The different sites don’t share reviews. Post a review at for a Kindle book, and the paperback version will also have it, but the British, Australian, Indian or Brazilian sites won’t.

I bought a book, necessarily from Amazon Australia. I can only post my review there, while most of the interested buyers will be from the USA. And the wretched system won’t allow to post my review there.

I went through the convoluted system of finding an online complaint form to fill out. Here is the reply from the poor employee who has to cope with grouchy customers:


    To write a Customer Review, you must have used your account to make at least $50.00 in purchases in the past 12 months on with a valid credit or debit card. Once your order has shipped, you’ll be able to write your first customer review. (Promotional discounts don’t count toward the $50.00 minimum.)

    I’ve reviewed your account for and I see you haven’t made at least $50.00 in purchases in the past 12 months with a valid credit or debit card on this account yet. To post a review from this account, you’ll need to meet this purchase requirement.

    If you’ve made purchases in the past, you may have done so using another account. If you’ve forgotten your password, you can request password assistance here:

    I hope this helps. We look forward to seeing you again soon.

    We’d appreciate your feedback. Please use the buttons below to vote about your experience today.

    Best regards,
    Maricar R.

Thank you for responding, Maricar.

I am afraid you have completely missed the point of my complaint. I am aware of this Amazon policy, since I am able to read, and kept getting this message repeatedly.

I live in Australia. Whenever I try to buy anything on any other Amazon platform, that’s where I am directed to. A few days ago, I bought the book I have reviewed, at

I have been able to post my review on the Australian site, but I want it to appear on the book’s page on the main site, in the UK, India… wherever it is offered for sale.

Similarly, I am a writer, with several of my books for sale on Amazon. One is through KDP. When someone from, say, India reviews one of my books, I want American and Japanese and Brazilian potential buyers to be able to read the review as well.

This tie of the ability to post a review to past purchases is a new policy. It is presumably there to force people to spend money on Amazon. The effect on me, and I’d say on everyone else, is disgust at the greed. I will do my best to buy anything Amazon offers elsewhere, unless this policy is removed, and I am encouraging my thousands of contacts and followers to do the same.

The policy is also unwise in another way. Honest reviews of a book help Amazon to make more sales. When I could post reviews on all the Amazon sites, I felt I was doing a service to the author and publisher — and to the vendor.

I’m aware that you are simply doing your job. Please don’t delete this email, but forward it to your superior, hopefully up to a level where it is taken into account in forming policy.

Bob Rich

Grabbing pics legally

I hate the idea of violating copyright; in essence stealing someone else’s creative work.

Staying legal and ethical has just become easier, thanks to an essay about how to make a book trailer by TA Sullivan at Book Daily.

She lists several free sources of graphics, as well as pointing me to something I didn’t know about Google image search.

Also, note what she has done. Here is an author I’ve never heard of, who has done me a favour. As a result, I’ll now check out her work…

The more you give, the more you get.

Hints on structure

I often tell my editing clients: you want your reader to be lost in the content. Anything that attracts attention away from it is bad.

Christopher Klim at the US Review of Books agrees with me, and offers important ideas on how to structure your book to avoid having the reader think about that.

What my friends want you to know

Petrea King workshop in Sydney
Poetic Activism: Authors Honour Earth Day for the World and Universe
Run 4 Refugees joins the Great Ocean Road Run
Climate change and home ownership in Queensland
Bill McKibben in Melbourne
Human Flow
Reconciliation week at ECOSS
CARE national conference
Bill Parker’s hit on Audible


Petrea King workshop in Sydney

Petrea is one of my teachers; a lady I enormously admire. Any of her several books will inspire you and change your life.

She is running a workshop on Living Mindfully with Mental Anguish:

1-day workshop, 26 May 2018 9.30am-3.30pm

Mantra Chatswood, 10 Brown Street, Chatswood NSW 2067

Cost: $110 per person. Pensions: $85

Includes Morning tea. Lunch at own cost

Parking: $15 subject to availability

Bookings at this website

Or call 1300-941-488

Poetic Activism: Authors Honour Earth Day for the World and Universe

Poets are rarely thought of as activists, and poems — especially poems about nature — rarely go hand-in-hand with geopolitical considerations. Not so with Sublime Planet, a collection of poetry (some of them award-winners) from Magdalena Ball and Carolyn Howard-Johnson.

Conceived as the 6th book in the two poets’ award-winning celebration series of poetry, Sublime Planet includes one poem that is a winner of the coveted Franklin Christoph prize and the book has been endorsed by nationally acclaimed poet Suzanne Lummis, UCLA poetry instructor. She says, “Sublime Planet begins with Carolyn Howard Johnson’s love poems to the living world, rapturous poems, expansive in spirit yet precise in detail: ‘An impossible moth/dark eye at its center, opaque/helicopter blades buzz and blur… .’ In Magdalena Ball’s darker meditations, hurt and thirst have entered the world facilitated, in part, by the machinations of civilization. While Howard-Johnson’s poems praise, Ball’s seem to sound a low warning. I recommend particularly to those individuals who reside on this planet.”

Jim Cox, Editor-in-Chief of Midwest Book Review describes Carolyn’s poetry: “articulate, gifted, insightful, iconoclastic, and a truly impressive literary talent . . .”

Ann Howley, also an award-winner and known for gift cards on fine linen featuring her photography, contributed the cover and interior artwork.

Find more information on the entire Celebration series of these poets’ chapbooks

Download a media kit for Howard-Johnson.

Learn more about Magdalena Ball.

Read a poem from each of these authors.

Run 4 Refugees joins the Great Ocean Road Run

This year Run 4 Refugees has spread its wings and will be showing support and raising money for people seeking asylum in three exciting new events.

Join our community of staff and supporters in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane to get together, stand with people seeking asylum and have fun at the same time!

The exciting 2018 program of events kicks off in May with Victoria’s Great Ocean Road run — labelled the most stunning fun run in the country. Held on the 19 – 20 of May, you can choose from a range of event lengths including 1.5km, 6km, 14km, half marathon, full marathon — and for the super keen — the ultra marathon. Already registered for the Great Ocean Road run? No problem, you can still join #TeamASRC!

For more information on Run 4 Refugees events and to find out how to kick-start your fundraising, simply head to the homepage below and register your interest.

Climate change and home ownership in Queensland

Will it lead to unaffordable prices, insurance problems, safety issues and long-term occupancy problems?

Come along to a unique hypotheticals event on 3 May at QUT’s Gardens Point Campus, Brisbane and find out.

Using the scenario of a large unit development, a panel of experts will take on various roles, including planner, developer and home buyer, to explore some of the most challenging long-term issues facing Queensland home owners and the broader property sector.

The event is open to the public and follows on from the Built Environment and Infrastructure Sector Adaptation Plan launched as part of the Queensland Climate Adaptation Strategy last year.

Panellists include experts from the Queensland Government, the Local Government Association of Queensland, QUT, Griffith University, Climate Risk, and Suncorp.

The event is facilitated by Green Cross Australia’s Business Adaptation Network and proudly supported by the Queensland Government.

Event details

Thursday 3 May
9:00am–12:00pm AEST
(Morning tea and lunch provided)
QUT Gardens Point Campus
George Street, Brisbane

Register now.

Bill McKibben in Melbourne

It’s become clear that federal politicians aren’t going to lead the way on taking climate action.

If federal politicians won’t lead the way, we know that people power will. This year, 350 Australia is going to accelerate our response to climate change. That’s why our founder, Bill McKibben, is coming to Australia as part of a global effort to empower everyday people to take climate action.

Book now for Bill McKibben’s tour event in Melbourne.

Not in Melbourne? See the other Accelerate Climate Action tour events.

On Thursday, 3 May 2018 we will also be livestreaming Bill’s public event in Melbourne. If you can’t attend the talk in person, will you bring your friends and family together for a livestream viewing party, and get your community excited about accelerating climate action?

Human Flow

This is a movie you must watch. Check your own location for a showing, or organise one.

It is coming to my little town, Healesville, on Thursday 7th June, 2018, 7:30 pm at the Memo.

Please book tickets soon, because the event only goes ahead if numbers are above a minimum.

Reconciliation week at ECOSS

CARE national conference

Washington, DC, May 21-23

This May, connect, learn and walk away with powerful tools to help you advocate for the issues that you care about most. In its 16th convening, humanitarians, professionals, movement-builders, philanthropists and concerned citizens just like you will come together in Washington, D.C. at CARE’s annual advocacy conference to bring about positive change for women and girls around the world.

Monday, May 21 — BRING Your Voice
Network with other global citizens while learning more about how CARE addresses issues affecting women and girls in pursuit of a world without poverty and injustice.

Tuesday, May 22 — USE Your Voice
Go deep on global issues affecting millions of people worldwide, such as gender-based violence and the foreign assistance budget, and learn how to be an effective citizen advocate.

Wednesday, May 23 — RAISE Your Voice
Meet with Members of Congress to voice our support of policies that combat extreme poverty worldwide.

Register now.

Bill Parker’s hit on Audible

Five Moons: Resurrection is the story of Dallas Blake. By the end of the Corporate War, he had lost everything: his wife, his daughter, his whole family. He was a man in need of far more than just a new beginning. What Dallas needed was a resurrection. Five Moons: Resurrection is the story of his crew of misfits, every bit in need of resurrection as Dallas.

Dallas went to the Union Fleet space docks to buy a war surplus scout-class ship. Instead, he unknowingly bought the Tesseract. Its alien technology and artificial life forms are mysteries he must solve as the action-packed rescue of Emma from the mercenaries leads Dallas and his crew into danger.

Now available as an audiobook on,, and the Apple iTunes Store.


Ascending Spiral, reviewed by TA Sullivan
Guardian Angel, reviewed by Cathy Brownfield
Return to Life, by Jim Tucker
What’s making our children SICK? by Michelle Perro and Vincanne Adams


Ascending Spiral
reviewed by TA Sullivan

“Ascending Spiral” by Bob Rich is the book “Cloud Atlas” aspired to be but, unfortunately, never was.

“Ascending Spiral” takes you on a journey through the past and present of Dr. Pip Lipkin, a psychologist and counselor. In so doing, it gives you a view of the experiences and ways in which each of us develop and grow through our different lifetimes on Earth.

In each life we interact with many of the same souls repeatedly as we learn what the expression “an eye for an eye” really means. Throughout the book, Pip experiences love, hate, war, depression, incarceration, and slavery, all while searching for that one moment when enlightenment sparks an awareness in his soul. Each moment of awareness brings his soul more light and a greater ability in making love-filled choices instead of fear-based ones.

Once I stepped beyond the prologue and into the actual story, I was hooked. The characters were vibrant and as alive as you and me. With every choice made, and every battle fought, I was on the edge of my seat wanting to know what would happen next.

Even if you don’t believe in reincarnation or past lives, you can enjoy this book by simply looking at it as an historical adventure novel. I found that the historical accuracy combined with the great pacing made for an entertaining read. The only time the pacing bogged down (for me) was toward the end when the story popped back into (almost) current time. What I mean by that is, we joined with Pip as young adult in university. However, soon after we jumped back to Pip as a child. I became a little confused with the story here, because of the age hopping, but once we got back to Pip as a young man, the story smoothed out again.

Overall, this is an excellent adventure for those who just want a good story; an extremely thought-provoking book for those contemplating the bigger question of “why are we here;” or a wonderful book for those wishing to explore the idea of past lives and reincarnation.

TA Sullivan was born in the back of a cab and has continued to be unconventional in all that she does.

She makes a living as a technical and marketing writer turning boring into readable. Her part-time job is as a psychopomp, escorting the dead to the afterlife.

Guardian Angel
reviewed by Cathy Brownfield

Maraglindi is a “child of the land, fruit of an evil deed and instrument of love.” Her home is in New South Wales, Australia in the mid-1800s. Her people are Aboriginal. Their brown skins are looked down upon and they regarded as animals by the British who have displaced the natives as was done to Native Americans in America. But this extraordinary child imparts love everywhere she goes despite the horrible treatment she endures before her death at the hands of a very bad man when she is just 14 years old.

The story, Guardian Angel, is written by Australian author, Dr. Bob Rich. I have read some of his earlier works, all written in his unique style, and see his growth as a writer in each one. Guardian Angel is the best of his works so far. The story flows smoothly, easily catching the reader up with its thought-provoking tale.

Guardian Angel is about love. Guardian Angel is about acceptance. Guardian Angel shows that racism is not just a problem in America. It is a human problem.

I look forward to reading the continuing story of Maraglindi’s mission in the sequel, The Protector. If you haven’t read Guardian Angel, you might want to add it to your reading list.

Bravo, Bob!

Cathy Brownfield lives in Northeast Ohio, USA. A former newspaper reporter, editor and publisher, she writes weekly articles regarding substance abuse and family recovery. But her main love is fiction writing.

Return to Life, by Jim Tucker

As part of researching a section of my current work, Depression: A user’s guide, I lashed out and bought Jim Tucker’s second book, Return to Life. I read his first, Life Before Life, in 2005 when it was first published, and was impressed with its careful scientific rigour.

Return to Life is more chatty, is in fact autobiographical, and is convincingly honest. When a case has doubtful features, Jim states them. It is far less “scientific” and contains more speculation, perhaps because western culture has moved on and is more accepting of the possibility of reincarnation.

Chapter 4 of the book, however, is immensely convincing: a little boy with many verified memories of having been a pilot, shot down in the battle of Iwo Jima. I won’t repeat the details, but it is simply impossible to account for the story in any way apart from reincarnation. Similarly, Chapter 5 is a great detective story, in which we read the progression of the case, all Jim’s caveats and doubts — and the overall conclusion that little Ryan had to have been a person in Hollywood in the 1940s.

Return to Life is a little like a detective game. Jim presents evidence, and lets you draw your own conclusions regarding the various cases. He then goes on to discussing deeper issues: how are reincarnation and similar observations compatible with science? There is a side trip into an excellent common-language explanation of quantum physics, which I also find fascinating, and the detour is well worth it even if physics is foreign country to you. Basically, modern physics demonstrates that the physical reality we feel around us is the creation of consciousness. This then makes sense of findings showing that there is an ongoing, nonmaterial part of a person that can move from life to life. The final conclusion is that all is One, and we apparent individuals are components of a Consciousness.

I can thoroughly recommend reading either of these books.

What’s making our children SICK? by Michelle Perro and Vincanne Adams

Dr. Perro is a pediatrician, so her book focuses on children. However, everything in this book applies to all humans, of any age. Probably it even applies to dogs, cats, goldfish, and animals free of human ownership.

Already, the preface is a powerful call to arms. Calmly, without hysteria, the authors summarize the theme of the book: “the systemic health failures among our children are a result of something even more troubling than the physical symptoms in their bodies; they are the cumulative outcome of being born into and living in an environment that has been made toxic by agrochemical industrialized food production… unless they are eating 100 percent organic food or homegrown vegetables from ecologically managed soil, they are eating toxic ingredients such as pesticides, hormones, and antibiotics… children carry toxic loads from the mattresses they sleep on, the soaps they use to wash their hands, their sunscreen, and their antibiotics. Add to that mix of toxic exposures the fact that much of their food is loaded with chemical toxicants, and you get very sick children–children who are being made sick from the inside out.”

Sections of the book explain in clear, plain language a wide variety of technical issues, and reading it is worthwhile for this reason alone. For example, I’ve only had a vague understanding of our gut bacteria until reading this book. You may not know much about genetic engineering; this is a good place to gain an understanding of the controversy surrounding this technology.

The authors focus in on the gut and its huge population of microscopic life. They show how mistreating this “microbiome,” or worse, poisoning it, relates to a wide variety of symptoms that are typically misdiagnosed. Instead of putting band aids on symptoms, the need it to treat the cause.

Perro & Adams advocate the use of “the five Rs for this: remove, replace, reinoculate, repair, and rebalance” to get gut health. The many case studies from Dr. Perro’s clinical practice show this to be spectacularly successful.

What damages the gut of so many children; so many people? “Our position is that GM foods are the key ingredient in the larger toxic pesticide problem, thus they cannot be separated” (p 120).

The book focuses on the USA. The occasional fact is country-specific, for example the horrendous lack of real regulation, but almost everything applies globally.

I do have a criticism. Two thirds of the book is organized along lines I find logical, but the opening one-third is… unusual. Time and again, the reader is told the overall conclusions, until they become utterly repetitive. This is interlaced with the evidence for these conclusions. The progression of evidence is fine, but the book would be far better to start with that, and gradually and inexorably lead to the conclusions. However, the content, the evidence presented, the scientific caution and rigor of the arguments, and above all, the many case studies, make this book essential reading, not only for medical personnel, not only for parents, but for all thinking people.


Not quite the same…

“I’m sorry” and “I apologise” mean the same thing. Except at a funeral.


Cinders, by Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Alien Life, by Magdalena Ball


These two poems came as free samples with the promo for Carolyn and Magdalena’s book of poetry, Sublime Planet.

by Carolyn Howard-Johnson

            after the brush burns
            petals fall where no apple trees
            grow, swarm against a sky
            like winter-flakes, soft. white.
            warm. evening breathes
            them to dust, or I, with the merest touch

Alien Life
by Magdalena Ball

            And what of water?

            Simple old H2O
            that clear liquid stuff

            you drink every day
            the most abundant compound

            on the earth’s surface

            sea water
            water vapour
            70% of the human body
            you know all that
            yet, licking moist lips
            you also know
            the habitable zone
            depends on liquid water
            just enough warmth
            down here of course
            we take it for granted
            slurp it down with abandon
            let it drip down the chin
            pour over the car
            waste it
            without a second thought.

            Drink now
            with the knowledge
            that throughout the universe
            aliens everywhere
            your distant stardust relations

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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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