Author: Shannon M.D. Smith

Rural Poverty in California: Is the American Dream Drying Up in California’s Central Valley?

Change is not an easy thing to do especially when only one person is doing it. In Central California, that person’s name was Nettie Morrison who by strength of will,  a good amount of political acumen, and a community ready for new life, was able to bring change and hope to a forgotten part of California’s Central Valley. In October 2018, CEE Senior Fellow Catherine Coleman Flowers and CEE Deputy Director Andrew Schwartz visited Allensworth to bear witness to the life and work of Morrison, and to see firsthand a city plagued by environmental mismanagement, systemic racism and classism, and now climate change. The trip to Allensworth is part of CEE’s mission to stand with frontline communities who are forced to fight against the dual burden of social and environmental injustice. 

You can read Andrew‘s reflection here


Capital & Main: Published on March 7, 2019 by

Love and energy aren’t always enough to provide what Allensworth, a historic African-American town, needs most: clean water, accessible to all.


Editor’s Note: This story marks the launch of an ongoing series about poverty in California’s heartland. From farming valleys to foothill communities, “the other California” makes ends meet in a time of adversity. Climate-changed weather patterns have contributed to catastrophic droughts and fires, while dwindling job opportunities are depopulating long-established towns. In the months ahead, we will profile the lives of rural Californians and examine the economic conditions that shape their futures. We will also weigh proposed solutions to the challenges they face, as well as programs that are helping to improve the present.

Co-published by The Guardian

One day in 1979, Nettie Morrison, then 44 and living near Bakersfield, California, announced she was moving — to a tiny rural town called Allensworth, 40 miles north. Hardly anyone had even heard of it, and those who had thought she was crazy. “People said, ‘Why would you want to move out there?’” recalls her daughter, Denise Kadara, who was already married by then. “‘There’s nothing for you up there.’ But she knew it was a historically black town and wanted to be a part of it.”


Removing arsenic costs money, and money is something a small, rural water system never has.


Colonel Allen Allensworth, a former slave who rose to become a Union officer during the Civil War, had founded the eponymous town in 1908, when he bought up 2,700 acres of alkali flats to establish a black utopia in a part of the San Joaquin Valley known as the Tulare Basin. By 1913, some 1,200 people from across the country had responded to Allensworth’s call — sent out via newspaper advertisements — to build the “Tuskegee of the West.” Back then, abundant clear water flowed from artesian wells, enough to drink and to irrigate crops of alfalfa, sugar beets and corn, along with feed for livestock.

But when Morrison arrived, all that remained of Allensworth’s vision was a nostalgic new state park, established in 1976 to commemorate the fallen town, and a tumbledown village of mostly Latino migrant workers and a few African-American families, grinding out a spare existence on the now-parched land. They cooked, when they could afford it, with expensive propane brought in by the tank. If they had toilets to flush, the sewage went into faulty septic systems; many of them used outhouses instead. Their wells were determined to be contaminated with arsenic, at levels too high for human consumption. A remedial treatment system never proved quite adequate: Residents still drove miles to fill tanks with clean water from other jurisdictions.

Morrison went to work and did what she could for Allensworth. Recruiting her five grown children as helpers — “we were there every weekend,” remembers Kadara — she founded a nonprofit, Friends of Allensworth, and saw that food and other necessities were distributed to the neediest residents. In 2007, Morrison mobilized opposition to two corporate dairy farms planned near the town, which would have compounded the threats to Allensworth’s air and water — her work insured that cattle had to be at least 2.5 miles outside of town. She also organized events at the state park, to teach people about the town’s — and by extension, the nation’s — history. “All the activities that take place there,” her daughter says, “Nettie Morrison established every single one of them.”

Read On…

 

Statement from the Gathering of Indigenous Spiritual Elders of South America & The Abya Yala

The process of unification of spiritual leaders around the world is taking place. CEE’s Original Caretakers Program Director, Mindahi Bastida recently participated in one such gathering of Indigenous Spiritual Elders of South America & The Abya Yala.  In order to take the next step among the Latin American peoples, native intellectuals and Spiritual Elders from Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Ecuador, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Costa Rica and Guatemala came together in this unique meeting to share insights about the state and future of Mother Earth, and to share knowledge, ideas and actions through the unification process.  Following is their statement in English with a Spanish language pdf below:

March 2019, Cauca, Colombia

In this way we commit ourselves to weave the knots that connect the local to the global, to revitalize the centers of ancestral thought and knowledge, the centers of the action and knowledge of women, to revitalize ancestral communication, music, songs, dances, rituals and sacred ceremonies of the peoples, the ceremonial lunar and solar celebrations, and the recovery and purification of the sacred sites. We commit to working with sources of energy to re-establish balance and restore natural order. This is a call from our hearts to the hearts of all those who feel this collective conscience of caring for and protecting our common home.

We call upon the following:

1. To the social and political organizations: so that they can listen to this message and realize that the wisdom of our ancient peoples is the solution to heal the illness that our Mother Earth is experiencing.

2. To governments: to recognize and value the wisdom, knowledge, science and ancestral spiritual authority that has maintained the integrity of indigenous territories.

3. To the United Nations: to support the endorsement of the rights of Mother Earth.

The new dawn ushers in unity, happiness, peace and harmony and the continuation of the spiral of life.  We call on all Indigenous Peoples to do translate this document in their native languages.

CHINCHAYSUYU CAJIBIO (ATLÁNTIDA ECOVILLAGE), CAUCA, COLOMBIA, MARCH 9TH 5527 (2019)

To communicate, spread and fulfill.  #HealingMotherEarth

This gathering has been carried out thanks to the support of the organizations:
International Center for Cultural Studies (ICCS US) | Center for Earth Ethics | The Fountain

Visit ICCS website here for more information on The Gathering and other participating guests.

 

Downloadable pdfs in English and Spanish:

Declaration – 2019 Gathering of Spiritual Elders – Cauca, Colombia

Declaración – 2019 Encuentro de Mayores – Cauca, Colombia

 

 

Love the Water… World Water Day is Every Day

Protecting clean water is one of the most important ways you can have a positive effect in your environment. In honor of World Water Day, we share Steps to Build Community and Congregation around Water.

 

Where is your water? Find your watershed.

Knowing where your Water comes from is the first step.  Your Watershed is an area of land where rainfall, snowmelt, and other precipitation falls on the land and flows downstream into a lake, river, or stream ultimately becoming the source of the water you drink.

Use these on-line resources to identify your water source(s):

Watershed Map

Topographical Map/ Watersheds

 

Learn your Water History

Has there been a history of positive life affirming activity in your water ways including crafts, creativity, trade and settlements?  Are your lakes man-made or natural?  Where are the Sites Sacred to the Indigenous Peoples’ of the land? 

Who’s Land Am I On?

 

Walk the Path of your Water

Walking Water – Pilgrimage of your own Water Resources. This can begin as simply as taking a trip to a local lake, pond, ocean beach, stream, spring or well. Bring offerings, prayers, water songs or just your heart-felt intentions to make a new relationship with the Water. This can grow into a full Pilgrimage of walking the water from source to tap. You may seek out guides or indigenous allies to assist you in getting the best understanding of your watershed. Allow this to be a time to foster commitment to protecting these water resources for your family, your community and for the generations to come.

WalkingWater.org

 

What’s in Your Water?

Testing your water. Including identifying areas along the Path of your Water that may be polluted or contaminated in some way. Is there a history of dumping industrial pollutants in that same water or nearby land? 

CEE’s Catherine Flowers recommends contacting the Environmental Science or Biology department at your local college or university.

Wild Virginia hosts one-day trainings for volunteers to learn how to properly conduct water quality monitoring on streams in Virginia.  WildVirginia.org

 

Water Liturgies

Introducing water as a topic in your faith based and community activities. Study the use of water in ritual, understanding the sacredness of water in your tradition and familiarizing yourself with the traditions of others. If appropriate, host a Laudato si’ study group. Create opportunities to share how We are all made out of Water. Water is Life. Understanding that protecting access to clean water is a sacred human right and an issue that concerns us all.

Center for Earth Ethics Water Liturgies

 

Being a Water Protector

Being a Water Protector can take many forms: ceremony, community clean up projects, organizing water walks, working with others to protect your water from legislation that allows polluters to poison the water.  It centers around sharing with others the importance of water, that all life is sacred, and that Water is Life.  This can include Water Atlases; Fountains; Community Clean Up projects; deepening research on Water Catchment Systems, and other water topics for use, conservation and protection, etc. Educators from across the country are developing Water centered curriculum for students of all ages.

If you are looking for other ways to take action, here are three: R.O.A.R.: Religious Organizations Along the River, Riverkeeper and Civil Disobedience Training – On the Frontlines of Water Protection – taking the next step.

 

Water and Art

Water themed events that bridge art, spirituality and activism can inspire changes in policy for local communities and beyond.  You can curate art exhibits, concerts, and other performances with the theme of water. Make public murals to bring more awareness to water issues, engage indigenous voices in the process.  Passionate Waters offers up a beautiful model for raising awareness and resources about Water through Art.  We can successfully bring people together across sectors with our common goal for a better quality of life made stronger through our shared connection to Spirit.  

Participate in Global Water Dance Day with groups in 120 countries around the world.  They are offering a free webinar on World Water Day, March 22nd 2019 and this year’s Global Water Dances event is on June 15th.

 

Making Water a thing of Beauty and Reference for All

Now that you know your watershed, treat your community to an artist rendered custom Watershed Map to display that will inspire others to join you in building community and congregation around Water.

Watershed Maps for your Community

 

Women and Water

Women around the world have protected, tended and loved the Waters of Mother Earth for generations.  It is a sacred responsibility and honor that many have forgotten.  From an indigenous perspective, it is a vital role that women play ensuring humanity can and does live in harmony with the natural world.  Women everywhere are invited to restore their innate connection with the Water.

Keep your own daily practices or walks with water. Lead the building of congregation or community around the sacredness of Water where you are.  From daily mindfulness rituals to thank the water when you drink it, to organizing events to connect your community to it’s water source.  No effort is too great or too small.  Remember you are Water and Water is Life.  Keep the Waters Clean, keep the Waters Pure, keep the Waters Available for All, and let the Waters run free.  Share this knowledge of and appreciation of water with others.

Participate in events and groups with others:

Grandmother Josephine Mandamin inspired all of us to treat the water with the love and kindness and respect it deserves.  Though she has moved on, her Women and Water Coming Together Symposium conference will go on.  To learn more about her life, her life’s work and the upcoming conference visit: Spirit of the Water.org

More than three decades ago, two courageous women saw a need and took a risk that has shaped the feminist religious movement. Mary E. Hunt and Diann L. Neu gathered thirteen women from various faith backgrounds and created a place where women’s religious needs could be met and women’s creativity nurtured. WATER was born. We promote empowerment, justice, peace, and systemic change. Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual (WATER)

Women of the Water is collecting stories from women who Love the Water.  Tell us why you Love the Water, what Water related issues are you most passionate about, and what are your visions for clean and healthy water going forward?  What events are you doing for World Water Day and beyond?

 

Other Ways to Celebrate Water and International Days for Collective Water Education

International Day of Rivers, March 14 

UN World Water Day, March 22

World Oceans Day, June 8

World Water Week, September

Catherine Flowers Gives Testimony to House Committee on Water Resources and Environment

The Clean Water State Revolving Fund: How Federal Infrastructure Investment Can Help Communities Modernize Water Infrastructure and Address Affordability Challenges

Excellent testimony before the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment by at 31:30 mark on this link.

We must confront inequities in wastewater treatment+ invest in sustainable solutions for those most in need.

LiveStream from 10 am, Thursday, March 7th

Witnesses:

Mayor David A. Condon, City of Spokane, Washington, on behalf of the United States Conference of Mayors

Mr. John Mokszycki, Water and Sewer Superintendent, Town of Greenport, New York, on behalf of the National Rural Water Association

Ms. Catherine Flowers, Rural Development Manager, The Equal Justice Initiative, Montgomery, Alabama

Ms. Maureen Taylor, State Chairperson, Michigan Welfare Rights Organization, Detroit, Michigan

Mr. Andrew Kricun, P.E., BCEE, Executive Director/Chief Engineer, Camden County Municipal Utilities Authority, Camden, New Jersey, on behalf of the National Association of Clean Water Agencies

Professor Jill Heaps, Assistant Professor of Law, Vermont Law School, Burlington, Vermont

CEE Update: Water, Women and Planting Seeds of Change

IN LOVING MEMORY

We ⁦at the Center for Earth Ethics and Union Theological Seminary were honored to know Grandmother Josephine and give thanks for her life and teaching.

Reciprocity, Responsibilities, Hope

“We’ve known for a long time that water is alive. Water can hear you. Water can sense what you are saying and what you are feeling… Give it respect and it can come alive. Like anything. Like a person who is sick… if you give them love, take care of them, they’ll come alive. They’ll feel better. It’s the same with our mother, the earth, and the water. 
Give it love.” 
Grandmother Josephine Mandamin Remembered
by Water Docs Films and the trailer for The Water Journey

ORIGINAL CARETAKERS

Marrying Indigenous Wisdom & Scientific Knowledge:
Reimagining the Human Place in Nature

A very special evening with Dr. Robin Wall Kimmerer in conversation with Geraldine Ann Patrick Encina, Scholar in Residence for Union’s Center for Earth Ethics and Union Theological Seminary faculty member John Thatamanil.

 

Reflection by Geraldine Patrick Ensina and Complete Program Video

 


The Gathering of Indigenous Spiritual Elders of South America and the Abya Yala

CEE’s Original Caretakers Program Director, Mindahi Bastida, will travel to Colombia to participate in this sharing between indigenous thought leaders and tradition keepers of Central and South America.

The Gathering of Indigenous Spiritual Elders of South America and the Abya Yala, will be an expression of dialogue and reciprocity to heal Mother Earth for present and for future generations. It promises meaningful discussions, as well as the development of pragmatic action plans.

This event is co-sponsored by the Center for Earth Ethics, ICCS – International Center for Cultural Studies, and The Fountain.


ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE / CIVIC ENGAGEMENT

Catherine Flowers to Testify for Congressional Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment

“The Clean Water State Revolving Fund: How Federal Infrastructure Investment Can Help Communities Modernize Water Infrastructure and Address Affordability Challenges”

LiveStream March 7th, 10 am EST


A Moral Call to Action on the Climate Crisis – Atlanta, GA

Thursday, March 14th
7:00 PM, Doors Open at 6:15 PM

Ebenezer Baptist Church, Atlanta, GA
In the tradition of the mass meetings of the Civil Rights Movement, Former Vice President Al Gore, Bishop William J. Barber II, and CEE Director Karenna Gore will join Reverend Dr. Raphael G. Warnock and other local faith leaders to gather inspiration from religious texts, and bear witness to the injustice of the climate crisis. The mass meeting takes place alongside a three-day environmental justice and climate activist training with taking place March 14th-16th. CEE’s Catherine Coleman Flowers also to join!  Learn More

ECO-MINISTRY

Annual Ministers Training May 30 – June 1

Application deadline is March 29, 2019. Applicants will be notified of decisions by April 30, 2019. Click here to submit an application.


 

You can support Grandmother Josephine’s vision
Women & Water Coming Together Symposium 
August 4-8, 2019
www.spiritofthewater.org

 

Karenna Gore on Climate Ethics & Corporate Social Responsibility at LIM

Originally posted  by Janise Vargas

On Monday, February 4, our Sustainability and the Future of Fashion class at LIM College shared a conversation with Founder and Director of the Center for Earth Ethics at Union Theological Seminary, Karenna Gore. We spoke about climate change and its relation to ethics and social justice on a global scale.

Daughter of former Vice President Al Gore Jr., Ms. Gore had a political upbringing, but her professional expertise lies in ecological conservation, ministry, and social justice. Gore founded the Center for Earth Ethics in 2015, after the Religions for the Earth conference held at Union in 2014. At this conference, over 200 religious and spiritual leaders gathered to emphasize climate as a moral issue and apply faith-based activism to help fix it. Gore explained that the Center’s purpose is to generate dialogue around the immorality of climate change and train leaders to implement change across the world.

I found Gore’s focus on social justice and ministry to be intriguing because it is a niche perspective on our threatened ecosystem. When talking about climate change, most people think of the very tangible effects it has on the earth’s landscape and our weather system. However, listening to Gore refocused my lens toward the humanitarian crises—which include threats like floods, food shortages, and large-scale displacements of populations—that will result if change is not made now. Gore believes that the magnitude of hope and good-will that accompany followers of faith can be the catalyst society needs to spark progressive efforts toward conserving our planet and improving our society.

Being that we are taking this sustainability course at a business-focused fashion college, how can we change the fashion industry to better serve the environment? Gore had a number of solutions to this problem, one of which included measuring the success of a business beyond profit. She explained that examining a brand’s globalism and ecological footprint are very relevant measurements of a company’s effect on the people it serves internationally as well as how its business practices affect the environment. I believe if every fashion brand started to prioritize their ecological footprint, that alone would initiate visible change on our planet.

On a macro level, we talked about government and its role in climate change and conservatory efforts. Joining our lecture was Professor Gayathri Banavara, from LIM’s Marketing, Management & Finance department. Professor Banavara asked if government policy should play a role in conservatory efforts. She used, as an example, India, which has imposed a policy on incoming corporations to contribute 2% of their profits to maintaining India’s landscape and resources and improving their infrastructure. Gore implored the helpfulness of this practice and explained that government policy can play a major role in climate change. If political leaders used their power and influence to create conservatory policies and eco-friendly regulations, companies and people as a whole would be forced to take these issues seriously and implement change. She also explained that similar to business, governments measure a nation’s success with a bottom-line mentality, considering only GDP. The problem is, GDP does not measure aspects like pollution, depletion of resources or environmental harm. Nations are being held to a standard of profitability only, and it is that mentality that has led to our overuse of resources.

I found Gore’s presentation and dialogue inspiring, because it allowed my perception of climate change and the realities of it to come full circle. I came away feeling that it is important to know and share this information—we must emphasize the immorality of ignoring our changing environment and warn against the humanitarian crisis that will result should we continue this way. As future business leaders and advocates for change, we must use this knowledge to change how business is conducted. There is much more at stake than hotter summers.

Topics: Climate ChangesustainabilityLIM Undergraduate Studiesguest speakers,SustainableSustainable Fashionsocial responsibilityCorporate Social Responsibilty

CEE New Year Update: Ancient Future Wisdom

At the Center for Earth Ethics, we seek to be attentive and educated advocates for clean air and clean water, sustainability initiatives that move us to a just transition & the protection of indigenous wisdom and sacred sites across the globe.

In the Fall of 2018, CEE Director Karenna Gore curated a series of events at The Rubin Museum of Art in New York City as the Future Fellow of the Karma Series. This creative and intuitive space provided a laboratory for exploring themes intimately connected to the work of the Center. Indigenous wisdom keepers such as Mona Polacca, Tiokasin Ghosthorse and Winona LaDuke dialogued with contemporary artists and cultural influencers from Naomi Klein to Laurie Anderson to Jeff Sachs while engaging with diverse audience members. Topics included Rights of Nature: Do Rivers Have Rights?, Original Instructions of Mother Earth and facing despair in the time of climate change. A major highlight was the newly articulated workshop on Indigenous Timekeeping and Sacred Sites taught by CEE’s Original Caretakers Program developers Mindahi Bastida and Geraldine Patrick.

2019 already promises to be a year of convening local and global networks of faithful and inspired people who will continue to bring our social and environmental arcs towards justice.  Join us!


ORIGINAL CARETAKERS

CEE’s Mindahi Bastida traveled to the Vatican this summer for the conference “Saving Our Common Home and the Future of Life on Earth”. While there, Mindahi was able to meet Pope Francis and deliver a message about preserving biocultural heritage and ancestral sacred sites.
Read Mindahi’s Full Letter

ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE & CIVIC ENGAGEMENT

“The US pulled out of the Human Rights Council, but I am here standing for Human Rights.” – Catherine Coleman Flowers, Palais Des Nations, UN Headquarters in Geneva. In 2019, the work to expose extreme poverty and the cause and effects related to climate change goes on.


CULTURE & AGRICULTURE

Woven Skin Talks was a discussion inspired by the project WOVEN SKIN by Dutch artist Claudy Jongstra. Our lives are woven into the landscape, even in these modern times.  To know the source of our materials, fabrics, dyes and the care of the animals that provide these resources is part of our moral responsibility.  How does this relate to larger conversations about FOOD SYSTEMS?  And how does art help us to get IN TOUCH with the subject matter?

DOCTRINE OF DISCOVERY

In order to make a Just Transition, we need to make changes at a deeper level in our society. One of our great challenges is to unpack the legacy of the 15th century Papal Bulls that allowed the colonization and enslavement of native peoples throughout the Americas, in Africa and beyond.  Join us in conversation about how genocide, environmental justice, and care for our common home are interconnected. Learn more: Doctrine of Discovery

PLANT WISDOM

Herbalist in Residence, Poppy Jones took to the trees with CEE’s Director Karenna Gore to Stand4Forests. Our team continues to build curriculum exploring nature as both classroom and church. Thanks to our friends at the Dogwood Alliance for capturing
Finding Faith in Forests.
Learn More: Spring 2019 Course Plant Wisdom and Ecological Consciousness at UTS


MINISTRY in the TIME of CLIMATE CHANGE 2019

 

This year’s Minister’s Training will be held at Methodist Theological Seminary in Ohio in partnership with MTSO and the Climate Reality Project. We’re focusing on the impacts climate change has on agriculture and land use, and what faith communities can do to respond. The application for the training will open in February so keep an eye out for it!


 

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The ‘Epiphany’ of the Importance of Trees

As Twelfth Night passes, some celebrate King’s Day, others Nollaig na mBan (Women’s Christmas in Irish), and others – still singing carols and drinking cider – go a Wassailing.

“Love and joy come to you and to you, your Wassail, too.  And God Bless you and send you a Happy New Year.  And God Send you a Happy New Year.”

The Wassail was a tree festivity.  A night to play, possibly to drink the cider fermented from Samhain – the Celtic New Year – and to pour libations out upon the roots of trees to ask for blessings upon the orchards.

Trees were an important part of early European culture.  They fed humans and animals alike with their nuts, fruits and seeds.  Each kind of tree was seen as having its own character and wisdom.  The first Irish language, Ogham, is often described as “the tree alphabet” because the letters were based on their unique qualities.  Invaders to Celtic lands cut and burned down the forests to decrease defensive cover for the native people.  Perhaps this history also inspires a longing to protect the trees that remain for present and future generations.

In a time when we have destroyed as much as 50% of our tropical forests globally, when we are learning that deforestation practices are significantly contributing to the increase of greenhouse gasses annually, that the absence of forests increases the devastation humans experience in the wake of drought / flood cycles – perhaps it is time to have an Epiphany as to the importance of trees.

Humans have a relationship with trees unlike any other part of nature.  A simple refresher course on how humans breathe ought to remind us of this as human beings inhale oxygen which enters the blood and is circulated throughout the body by the heart which returns the blood to the lungs so we can exhale carbon dioxide bi-product.  The trees then absorb the carbon dioxide and transform it back into oxygen with the help of the sun.  The trees are our counterparts to maintain balance in our environment and to sustain life.

On the exchange of Gasses:  “The exchange takes place in the millions of alveoli in the lungs and the capillaries that envelop them… inhaled oxygen moves from the alveoli to the blood in the capillaries, and carbon dioxide moves from the blood in the capillaries to the air in the alveoli.” 

How do Trees Help Us Breathe?

This January, take time to bless the trees – in your yard, in your neighborhood park, in your forests, in orchards, at your church or temple – anywhere and everywhere you interact with trees in your life.  It is said the trees talk to one another through their complex roots systems underground and if you tend to an old tree, a Mother Tree, or Guardian Tree that old one will communicate to all the others.  So send blessings to the trees for their flourishing and restoration.  Let us apologize for forgetting just how important they are to our survival.  Let us learn their names and attributes one more.  And let us protect them from the real world threats which would clear them unnecessarily, and lead to our demise.  In the spirit of a healthy New Year, to you and your Wassail too, let us go outside and bless the trees.

***

A Druid Blessing for the Trees

A nine-fold blessing of the sacred grove
Now be upon all forests of Earth:
For willow of the streams, 
Hazel of the rocks,
Alder of the marshes,
Birch of the waterfalls,
Ash of the shade,
Yew of resilience,
Elm of the brae,
Oak of the sun,
And all trees that grow and live and breathe

On hill and brake and glen:
No axe, no saw, no fire shall harm you,
No mind of ownership shall seize you,
No hand of greed or profit claim you,
But grace of the stepping deer among you,
Strength of the running boar beneath you,
Power of the gliding hawk above you.

Deep peace of the running stream through your roots,
Deep peace of the flowering air through your boughs,
Deep peace of the shining stars on your leaves.

That the harp of the woods be heard once more
Throughout the green and living Earth.

– Mara Freeman, Honorary Chief Bard of the Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids – Copyright 2001, The Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids

***

To learn more about Forests, Deforestation and how to help, here are some resources:

Vandana Shiva:  Everything I Need to Know I Learned in the Forest

UN Environment Programme: Forests

Stand4Forests Climate Plan from the Dogwood Alliance

CEE November Update

Dear Friends,

Karenna Gore and CEE’s Herbalist in Residence, Poppy Jones, were joined by the Dogwood Alliance for a walk in the woods at NY City’s Van Cortlandt Park this fall.  Please enjoy Stories Happen in Forests‘ video, “Finding Faith in the Forest” giving you a window into their time together and a deep spiritual connection to the woods. The Dogwood Alliance is dedicated to reminding us how both magical & critical to our survival our Forests really are.

Join us and these heroic #ForestDefenders in building a powerful movement to protect our sacred forests. Learn more about their amazing work!

In Gratitude,
The Center for Earth Ethics Team

 

Join CEE this Month


Indigenous Timekeeping
and Sacred Sites Workshop

with Mindahi Bastida and Geraldine Patrick
Nov 17th, 2018, 11:30 am to 2:30 pm

Developing a Time-Space Consciousness
Activating Sacred Sites
Writing a Letter to our Beloved Home Landscape

THE RUBIN MUSEUM
150 West 17th St.
New York, NY 10011

Climate Change from the Perspective of Religious Traditions

“Indigenous American Religious Traditions and a ‘Wholistic’ Ecological Vision” with Karenna Gore, Mindahi Bastida and Geraldine Patrick

Sunday, November 18th
11:15 am – 12:15 pm

ALL SOULS CHURCH, NYC
1157 Lexington Avenue
New York, NY 10075

 

Sunday Scholars Panel: The Hudson as Life Force

How has the River been changed by us,
and how have we in turn, been changed by it?

Paul Gallay, President of Hudson Riverkeeper, moderates
with Karenna Gore, John Waldman, David Schuyler & Lee Bitsoi
Nov 18th, 2018, 2:00 – 3:00 pm, RSVP Required

Co-Hosted by Hudson Riverkeeper and
the Hudson River Museum

HUDSON RIVER MUSEUM
1511 Warburton Avenue
Yonkers, NY 10701

Mindahi Bastida joins International Gathering of Indigenous Leaders and Artists

Commemorating the First Anniversary of the
Return of Mungo Man

A Choice for PEACE Awareness

Grandmother Maria Alice of The International Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers is sending a message of peace and awareness for what is going on in her home country of Brazil, and asks for your prayers at this crucial time.  Her plea calls us all into a place of conscious choice.

————————–———

A CHOICE FOR PEACE AWARENESS

As a woman, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother my choice is for peace, for life and for the respect of all lives.

At this moment, I share this message to all who can hear me, and to Brazilians in particular.

We are facing a serious scenario that challenges the inner harmony of people, both personally and socially. The beliefs and convictions, and the physical, emotional and mental stability of people are in jeopardy. We are facing threats and counter-information. In the media there is no longer any control over the truth of what is being reported. What is going on is referred to as a “democratic process”, but that is not what we are seeing or experiencing. There is a violent power connected with international groups’ interests and greed, which is creating an obscure atmosphere intended to manipulate our choice. Most simple people are confused, frightened and disoriented believing in false news and in false promises.

At this point we are challenged to make a choice and this choice will define the future of our nation and our people, impacting our children and nature. It will even influence the whole world. We need to be really aware. We cannot act under pressure or impulse. We must meditate seriously within ourselves, within the inner temple of our hearts. Do we want weapons? Do we want torture? Do we want inequality? Will we condone racial persecution? Or do we want peace and freedom? Is it possible that guns, torture and brutality can serve to bring us peace? I think history has already proved to us that the answer is NO. The more weapons, the more suffering, the more hate, the more revenge, the greater the consequences for everyone. Why should we believe in the illusion that a weapon gives us power when we can believe in the power of love of a brother and sisterhood?

Whatever spiritual path we choose to follow, we learn that we are all in the likeness of the same Creator. That the light that shines in me also shines in every being of Creation. When this light is given the opportunity to shine in each one, it is then that we will know freedom.

Freedom teaches us the responsibility of our choice. If we are free and we choose evil, we will reap the fruit of this action. If we choose weapons, one day we will be hit by them. If we choose the destruction of the Amazon, we will be responsible for the drought all over the planet, not to mention the extinction of thousands of animal lives and plant species that hold great medicinal power. If we choose to withdraw the right of the indigenous peoples to their lands, we will be annihilating the guardians of life and the natural richness of our planet; furthermore, we will be diminishing our roots and our ancestry.

When our choice affects the collective, then our responsibility is even greater. We must step with calmness and maturity, for if we act impulsively we can fail. The question is, do we choose peace or violence? In this moment we are being confronted with such a choice. Such is the gravity of our situation. If we choose to be neutral we are also deceiving ourselves. Neutrality here is an illusion. The one who thinks he is being neutral is also responsible for the result of the collective choice.

This choice seems political, but it is not. A deeper and more decisive choice is at hand. Are we going to choose to be human or are we going to negate our humanness? If we are human, we need to embrace our diversity, those who are most alike and those who are different. Everyone has the same right. Therefore, if our choice affects the rights and freedom of the other, our rights and freedom will also be affected.

Time now puts us before a great opportunity to develop and grow our consciousness. We must act with awareness. Not react. Do not act on impulse or by pressure.

My awareness as a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, teaches me to act with love and respect for all creation. We are all different, yet in all of us there is a longing for good, a longing for peace. Sometimes the disappointments that we go through in life create calluses in our feelings, and that may create reactive behaviors. We become rigid and disconnected from the original longing of our heart. But if we are calm, and if we learn to deepen the yearning for the child that dwells in each of us, surely we will find the choice for peace, happiness, freedom and respect for the beauty of nature and all of life.

I invite all of you to unite now around this great alliance for good, for brother and sisterhood, for the respect of our lives, with all its differences, and be a pillar and an instrument for love.

MAY ALL BECOME AWAKENED IN PEACE AWARENESS!!!

Grandmother Maria Alice Campos Freire, Brazil