Wednesday, August 30, 2017

The power of collective action

I rarely seek out, let alone share, films that suggest personal action is useless.  It IS important --especially in its role in waking us up as individuals. So I'm not sharing this film for you to walk away with that message. The reason I am sharing is that, in the final analysis, I do not believe that is the point this author/filmaker is making. 

I believe the main point has huge value: political change requires massive collective action.  This doesn't mean stop composting or meditating.  It means show up and resist when it counts... even and especially in the face of violence and oppression.

Non-violent direct action is key--but that doesn't mean there won't be pain and suffering to those who show up.

Forget Shorter Showers from on Vimeo.

Blogging for Sanity

"What did you do once you knew" poet Drew Dellinger writes in a poem about lamenting over the fate of his great great grandchildren.  What kind of ancestors are we? 

Blogging for Sanity is back.  I am not sure whether I am blogging for our collective sanity or my own :-).  But I will ask provocative questions and share what I'm doing.... and perhaps some knew "knowing" as it happens.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Constitutional Failures

I loved my high school Civics class.  We studied the checks and balances to power that the US founders enshrined in the constitution.  We studied the Bill of Rights.  This class took place the year Richard Nixon resigned and when the rule of law triumphed. Because of this, I knew that our system of government was stronger than any one person.  We could count on the rule of law and the structure of our democracy to ride out tough times.

Recently, we have experienced failures of these checks and balances--when key individuals chose party over country. As the failures happen, I realize that the erosion of the institutions and the failure of the constitution is what troubles me the most.

Here is my short list of the three most heart breaking of these:

2000 - Bush v. Gore.  Sandra Day O'Connor cast the deciding vote--succumbing to the shouting of thugs to "stop the count" rather than allow the vote counting to continue.  Gore actually won that election by the count of votes in Florida.  Bush served two terms.

2016 - Merrick Garland,  President Barack Obama's second nominee to the Supreme Court does not receive a hearing.  Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will go down in history as the man responsible for the theft of a Supreme Court seat.

2016 - The Electoral College votes in a man clearly unfit for office to ascend to the presidency, even with evidence that there was foreign influence in the election. Why have the Electoral College at all if it doesn't prevent this?

And now another crisis is in the making.
2017 - Republicans in Congress... What will it be?  If this president fires the Deputy AG and Special Prosecutor, will you choose country over party? Will you have the courage to do so?

If not, the Rule of Law, essential to hold America together, will be lost... And we collectively enter the abyss of a failed constitution, rigged elections, bucks for buddies, and political violence.

If so, we remain a constitutional democracy where no one is above the law, where the courts have the last word and where we adjudicate our differences.

To date, there is not much evidence of the courage we will need from you. My hope is that you step up. My hope is that decent republicans call and write you to urge you to step up, to give you the needed courage.

The United States of America and the whole world needs you to take a stand for the rule of law.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

"Tell everyone on this train I love them"

When I saw the photo of Taliesan Myrddin Namkai-Meche, age 23, in his graduation cap and gown it
Source: Facebook
took my breath away. It is not just that he was young. It was that, for just an instant, I thought he was my son who lives in Portland and went to Reed College too. The resemblance was so striking that I began to weep... as a mother. His mother called him her baby boy and shining bright star.

They are so beautiful and brave, these men who rode the Portland MAX train that day. The two who died: Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche, and Rick Best, 53, a veteran who lived in a Portland suburb with his family. The only survivor, Michah Fletcher, is a 21-year-old poet. I weep for them all, and for the girls whose lives were at risk.

I weep for our country. We are all on this train.

I wonder: at what point did the poison take hold in the mind of the assailant? Was it during the presidential campaign of 2016? Was it while watching Fox news for years prior? Was it trolling the dark recesses of social boards where hate and anger are reduced to one-liners, and shaming so commonplace? Was it when something happened, like being denied mental health services or losing a job?

We watch as our neighbors and friends, people we once knew as kind, spew similar sentiments and know that this is long past politics and no longer harmless. Uncle Joe makes no sense, but there is no talking him out of it. His face is red with rage. He's gone over the edge too, into a dark place that reason and facts cannot reach. And where are the brave political heroes?

Where are those who will stand for good? Where are those who will show moral courage and who will lead us with moral conviction and love? Will they take their lessons from these heroes--by standing strong in the face of fear and anger? By stepping up to protect the marginalized and oppressed? Yes, indeed, we are all on this train.

The last words of Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche were these: "Tell everyone on this train I love them." 

My prayer is this: May this love be a force for good... a beacon on which we we carry forward to reclaim hearts and minds, starting with our own. May we all to have the courage and strength to take a stand, whatever the cost. May we confront shadow without falling into it... and allow love to be our beacon.... a love demonstrated in full for everyone on this train.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

What Can One Person Do About Climate Change?

This is a great opinion piece in the Washington Post today:  Now it is up to us to Save the Planet

It is.  And collectively we CAN and MUST take action

As I see it, our individual action falls into three categories:

1.  The Energy We Use
2.  Soil
3.  What We Buy (and What We Throw Away)

More on each of these in the days to come.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Escape the Bootstrap Trap

Last year, I attended one of the most fantastic training events for social change makers that I’ve ever attended.
It blew my mind.

I say that because it made me consider something I had not and it is this:

Funding my business from my personal savings (or credit card) is actually a trap!   I suddenly realized that "bootstrapping" creates a downward spiral… as the money goes, the worry sets in... followed by a sense of scarcity....   

And so it goes.

This transformational training was led by Jenny Kassan, one of the leading social funding attorneys in the country and herself a social entrepreneur.  
Jenny KassanJenny is offering a complimentary webinar THIS WEDENESDAYIf you are worried about how to get your social enterprise or solopreneur business off the ground financially, this is one you won't want to miss.

Join Jenny this Wednesday at her FREE live webinar:

Escape the Bootstrap Trap!
How to Fund Your Business Without Maxing Out Your Credit Cards or Draining Your Personal Savings
Date and Time: Wednesday February 8, 2017 at 5pm Pacific
You’ll be so glad you did.  And you’ll thank me for introducing you to Jenny Kassan, one of my favorite people.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Get inspired. Stay inspired. #Resist

Here's the thing--we need to BE STRATEGIC with our energies because overwhelm and cynicism can lead to despair, and indeed this is the objective of the rapid-fire executive actions coming our way. Shock and awe.

First, recognize that we are in a marathon, not a sprint and we need to develop our personal capacities to act quickly, strategically and with passion & force.  

Here is what I am doing personally so I can go the long haul: 
(1) Extreme self-care.  This means maintaining a sense of humor, tending to mental health and my physical, spiritual, emotional energies.  (Sometimes I need to go on a media diet and get off Facebook to regroup); Connecting with others rather than staying isolated--including marching for strength, solidarity and community;
(2) Focus on my work to make a difference in one main thing--in my case climate change solutions including solar energy, soil, & community resilience;
(3) Take regular political action on items I care about--the most effective of these is to CALL elected officials on the phone a couple of times a week to encourage, support or weigh in;  
(4) Reach out.  Offer support and encouragement to those whose #resist work inspires me;
(5) Kindness--Conduct random (ideally anonymous) acts of kindness;
(6) Deliver my message. My message is this:
Get inspired. Do what you need to do to stay inspired. Act from deep LOVE.  You are on the right side of history.  Spring is coming.


Denise,  aka Earthlover
P.S. Here is a great video from Cory Booker that may help: