Scarlet Ribbons ~ sung by Patty Ann Smith


I want to wish my friends here and all around the world "Happy Holidays"!:)
Wherever "Love" is, there is God....God is in every language, every country, every culture, every human being and every living thing.May there be more love, understanding, and peace in all of our lives.
Peace and Love

Repowering America

from President-elect Obama:
"...we have the opportunity now to create jobs all across this country, in all 50 states, to repower America, to redesign how we use energy, to think about how we are increasing efficiency, to make our economy stronger, make us more safe, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and make us competitive for decades to come, even as we're saving the planet."
for more information, go to:
photo by Craig Smith
An Ordinary Day
photo by Craig Smith

The Natural World

Jaguar...endangered species

I would describe the "Natural World" as the environment of our planet and all things living within it in a condition unaltered by outside forces...allowing each ecosystem to thrive in its own place and for humans to learn more from it so our planet can be more healthy and balanced. ~ Patty Ann Smith

Simply Living

Photo by Emily ByWater

Ninety percent of a typical human life is spent trying to be something it is not. We spend most of our energies creating stagnant water in building up boundaries to protect us from our natural flow in the river of life.
Caught in a self-centered dream of false accomplishments, we suffer. We are only as great as the sum of all of our parts. It’s the universal intelligence in every cell. I see it in the leaves and flowers unfolding in the spring, and in the natural healing process of a cut on my finger. I see it in the natural activities of animals. I see it less in humans. When we get caught up in thinking that things aren’t the way we want them to be, we seem to lose our simplicity. Understanding the simplest things are paramount to our true survival, yet we have abandoned it. We don’t have to be ashamed to re-own simplicity. There is great joy in doing so. Let’s consider how much we’ve come to "want" in life and the price we have to pay for it. The cost sometimes unfortunately can even be our own health and happiness. We get stuck in something that’s not working but don’t change it. We get stuck in a consensus reality that doesn’t bring us happiness or health and we waste our today’s believing that it’s okay to do that....because surely it’s gotta be worth it in the end. Well, in the end we all die. What’s more important than simply living. ~ Patty Ann Smith

We Are ALL Relatives:)

Gifts from my Ancestors: The Rhythms of Life

I was a shy quiet child raised in the ilk of a patriarchal industrialized society, but for some reason, my ancestral indigenous roots came through strong in me. Some of the most beautiful music to my ears is the music of nature: rain on the roof, thunder in the sky, the sweet sound of baby kittens meowing, the wind and birds singing throughout the trees, the rhythm of the ocean waves and rippling mountain streams.
Perhaps, my simple love for nature came from my ancestral potato famine roots in Ireland or maybe from my Native American great grandmother whose name I, sadly, never knew because of discrimination from the other side of the family. I love to find stones with interesting designs that ignite the storyteller in me. I love the spiraling pine cones that are always so centering. Animals and trees are precious to me. I see and hear their music in the rhythms of their lives. I have often found strange sorts of comfort in the natural mysteries of life, and it saddens me that so many people have been taught and programmed to be afraid of these things. It isn’t healthy to separate ourselves from what is a natural part of us, because it stands in the way of our unfolding. ~ Patty Ann Smith

Chicago Climate Action Plan ~ Press Release

Mayor Daley, Business, Foundations, Government Leaders Announce Comprehensive Climate Action Plan

Mayor Richard M. Daley today was joined by leaders from business and the not-for- profit sectors, state and local government officials and residents to unveil the Chicago Climate Change Plan, a comprehensive and detailed strategy to help lower greenhouse gas emissions and address climate change. The plan builds on the many efforts the City has already implemented to make Chicago the most environmentally friendly city in the nation.
In a news conference held at the Shedd Aquarium, the Mayor stressed that the effort will require an enormous amount of hard work and cooperation and the commitment of not only government but also every individual, business and institution in the city.
"This is an ambitious plan that contains many important ideas that will ensure Chicago continues to distinguish itself as an environmental role model for the rest of the nation," Daley said.
"We can continue to lead by example and the Chicago Climate Change Plan is the next step. We can't solve the world's climate change problem in Chicago, but we can do our part. We have a shared responsibility to protect our planet," he said.
Under the plan, which was developed by a Task Force convened by Daley in 2007 and co-chaired by Adele Simmons, President of Global Philanthropy Partnership, and Sadhu Johnston, the City's Chief Environmental Officer, the City will work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 25 percent below 1990 levels (1990 levels are the recommended baseline according to the Kyoto Protocol).
Other cities have set similar goals, but Chicago's plan is the first to both identify emission sources and anticipated impacts, and propose ideas that specifically respond to that research.
"This is a challenge, but the benchmark goal is both far enough in the future to allow sufficient time to make substantive changes and close enough to see benefits in our daily lives. Thankfully, during this tough economy there is some funding already committed from private resources to help pay for parts of this plan, but not nearly enough." Daley said.
"Over the next few years we'll be depending on the commitment and collective action of individuals, businesses and others to do their part.
"And, of course, it will very important for Springfield and the federal government in Washington, D.C. to do their part and provide greater resources for public transportation, building improvements, research on new technologies and other measures," he said.
But, this is about more than cleaning up our environment, the Mayor said.
"At the same time, when we make these improvements we're greening our economy for the future and creating the jobs of tomorrow," Daley said.
"The benefits of the plan go beyond improving the environment, which is a critical goal in and of itself. The actions that have the greatest impact will save companies and residents money, enhance our quality of life and position the city and its residents for future prosperity," he said.
The Chicago Climate Action Plan outlines a roadmap of 29 actions that might be taken for mitigating greenhouse gas in four areas: buildings; transportation; energy; and waste pollution. Experts identified these sources are being responsible for the vast majority of greenhouse gas emissions in Chicago. The Plan also identifies nine actions that could help the city adapt to the changes already occurring.
Because the Plan takes a long-term approach, it will be evaluated over time to determine where these actions should be modified or revised. This flexible approach allows for the accommodation of new technologies, new laws and new opportunities as they evolve.
Daley gave three examples of ideas included in the plan that the City will be moving forward with right away:
A "Green Office Challenge" that will spur high rise office buildings to save energy, increase recycling and water efficiency and reduce paper.
An updated Chicago Energy Efficiency Building Code, which will bring our current code up to international standards and be easier to understand.
And innovative ways to help property owners save money by making their buildings more energy efficient.
Among the other steps proposed in the plan and that the city is considering are:
Large scale solar energy installations at City facilities.
New partnerships to make it easier for residents and businesses to take greater advantage of public transportation and save money.
The construction of four publicly accessible alternative fueling stations.
Implementation of key components of the Chicago 2015 Bike Plan.
A communications and outreach plan to engage all residents and businesses in the Chicago Climate Action Plan.
But other important steps are much simpler and within the reach of each individual. They save money and they protect the environment, Daley said.
These are things such as:
Driving less and walking more
Using more energy-efficient light bulbs
Turning down the thermostat a few degrees in winter or up a few degrees in summer
Insulating and weatherizing your home
Turning off appliances and computers when they're not in use, and
Planting trees and shrubs around your home to reduce temperatures.
The Chicago Climate Action Plan builds on the City's existing programs and successes. For almost twenty years, Daley and the City of Chicago have led the nation with innovative initiatives to make Chicago the most environmentally friendly city in the nation.
This includes planting more a half million trees, mandating the construction of environmentally friendly buildings and installing roof top gardens on city owned buildings.
Chicago also boasts more Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design-certified (LEED) buildings than any other city and has more than four million square feet of green roof projects either completed or underway.
Over the past two years alone, the City and its partners distributed more than one million energy-saving compact fluorescent light bulbs to residents. The City passed a comprehensive storm water management ordinance.
Having a comprehensive climate plan in place will enable the City to take advantage of new funding sources as they arise, as well as existing state and federal dollars, loans, grants and private contributions, the Mayor said.
The City is also working with the private sector to increase market-based opportunities and with federal and state governments to leverage additional dollars to achieve the goals of the Chicago Climate Action Plan, he said.
As part of the Chicago Climate Action Plan, the City launched a new Web site where individuals and businesses can learn about climate change, what they can do in their daily lives to reduce emissions, and what the City is doing to protect and preserve the environment.
"In Chicago we have long appreciated that cities are no longer the enemies of the natural environment; rather they're leading the way in preserving and protecting it," Daley said.
"Since I have been mayor, my goal has been to make Chicago a shining example of how a large city can live in harmony with its environment and as a result, be a better place for all its residents. I am confident that if we address the climate change challenge together, with creativity and boldness, then our city will continue to lead the world in designing a path to a more secure future," he said.
In our bones is the rock itself;
in our blood is the river;
our skin contains the shadow of
every living thing we ever came across.
This is what we brought with us long ago.
~ Ute song

Dance Even if Nobody Is Watching

Dance even if Nobody is Watching
New York Times article by Tara Parker-Pope on Health
July 10, 2008, 1:33 pm

I am late to the Matt Harding fan club, but like four million other viewers before me, I can’t stop watching this man dance.
Mr. Harding is a 31-year-old YouTube sensation featured in The Times this week for an uplifting video that shows him dancing a sort of a jig, described by my colleague Charles McGrath as "an arm-swinging, knee-pumping step that could charitably be called goofy." Mr. Harding dances alone, and he dances with lemurs, underwater and with children and crowds at various locations around the world.
While Mr. Harding probably isn’t the most graceful dancer you’ve ever seen, his video is a happy reminder that the benefits of dancing aren’t limited to physical exercise. A telling 2003 New England Journal of Medicine report showed a lower risk for dementia among people over 75 who regularly danced during leisure time. But what was so surprising about the report is that other types of physical exercise didn’t affect dementia risk — dancing was the only physical activity that made a difference.
Other studies have shown music plays an important role in depression. Dance therapy has been used to relieve anxiety about taking tests, and researchers are studying the tango to help patients with Parkinson’s. Dance therapy has been shown to improve the quality of life for breast cancer patients as well.
In addition to taking you on a gorgeous tour of some exotic and not-so-exotic locales, Mr. Harding’s video will leave you envious of his lightness of spirit. And it might even make you want to dance. To learn more about Mr. Harding, read the full story

Man's Closest Relatives Endangered

photo from Conservation International

Primates on a Slippery Slope
August 5, 2008 article (abbreviated)
By Lisa Bowen
Deforestation, Hunting Plague Humans' Closest Relatives
Not too many conservationists can claim being threatened by a drunk policeman armed with a machine gun as a work experience. For primatologist Ben Rawson, little in his life – and that of his colleagues – is ordinary.
Rawson, 36, is among dozens of scientists on several continents who provided data for the first comprehensive review in five years of the world’s 634 kinds of primates. The results are staggering: almost 50 percent of all monkeys, lemurs, apes and other primates are in danger of becoming extinct.
Field scientists who gather such data know how tough this kind of work can be. Rawson recalls his brush with a policeman involved in the illegal wildlife trade in Cambodia: "I was in the local village at night looking for guides to take to the field the next day," he says. "A guy rolled up on his motorbike and confronted us on the street. He started waving his machine gun around, with special emphasis on me."
In Southeast Asia, many ethnic groups have a culture of hunting wildlife. According to Rawson, this hadn’t been a problem until the proliferation of guns in the region from various conflicts. Today, hunting is a serious threat to many species.
Habitat destruction is another direct cause for loss of primates worldwide, particularly from burning and clearing tropical forests. Not only does this destroy primate habitat, it also emits 20 percent of global greenhouse gases fueling climate change. Rawson sees climate change as an indirect, yet genuine threat to primates. He cites a recent report that predicts a one-meter sea level rise that would affect six million people, mostly in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta. "Massive numbers of people will be migrating into forested areas further north, and clearing those forests for agriculture," he points out.
Working for the past six years in Cambodia and Vietnam, where approximately 90 percent of the primates are at risk of extinction, Rawson has witnessed the crisis unfold. "Pretty much every time you go to the field you can see the problem," he says. "You see it with the creeping clearance of forests for agriculture. You see it in the dismembered remains of wildlife in the markets."
Despite the challenges, Rawson is cautiously optimistic. "The discovery of a new population, the protection of a key area; these are the things that give you hope," he explains. "However, realistically, all species of primates in Cambodia and Vietnam are on a slippery slope with populations still declining, often at drastic rates." ......
"We all need to understand how our behavior impacts the world around us," Rawson says. Being a smart consumer can have a direct effect. For example, when you buy timber products such as outdoor furniture, be sure they are certified as legally harvested. That will reduce the amount of illegally harvested timber, which means a reduction in habitat loss for primates."
Learn more at Conservation International

Slow Food USA

photos from: Slow Food USA
Live the Slow Life
Living the slow life with food as the focus is as rewarding as it is easy, and it can be done daily by each one of us. Ultimately, it is about pleasure and taste, knowledge and choice. Once we begin to take an interest in the enjoyment of food, and in finding out where our food comes from, we can begin to see the effects of these choices. When we shorten the distance—both literal and figurative—that our food travels to get to us, we are participating in the Slow Food movement. Slow Food is about coming together as a food community—connecting producers and co-producers, coming together on the farm, in the market, and at the table—to create and enjoy food that is good, clean and fair.
Slow Food is also simply about taking the time to slow down and to enjoy life with family and friends. Every day can be enriched by doing something slow - making pasta from scratch one night, seductively squeezing your own orange juice from the fresh fruit, lingering over a glass of wine and a slice of cheese - even deciding to eat lunch sitting down instead of standing up. For example, here in the Slow Food USA office, we take a moment to eat lunch together every day.

UPDATE: Regarding the Summer Art and Conservation Series in Charleston, S.C.

Please note NEW TIME : Wednesdays @ 12:00 P.M. NOON for the ART AND CONSERVATION SERIES at WATERFRONT PARK, CHARLESTON, S.C. Wednesdays July16 through August 6th.

from the Coastal Conservation League

Art and Nature! ~ Coastal Conservation League July/ Summer Event in the Park

Coastal Conservation League of Charleston, South Carolina July/Summer Event in the Park
Here's What's Happening in July
W E D N E S D A Y S at the Waterfront
A summer lecture series merging Art and Conservation during VANISHING LANDSCAPES, A Juried Art Exhibition 2008 Piccolo Spoleto Festival
City Gallery at Waterfront Park, 34 Prioleau Street, Charleston, SC 843-958-6484
Join us each Wednesday beginning July 2nd through August 6th at 11:00am for a presentation by one of the selected artists for the 2008 Piccolo Spoleto juried art exhibition, "Vanishing Landscapes," at the City Gallery at Waterfront Park in Charleston.
Each artist will discuss their work, joined by a Coastal Conservation League staff member, who will present the relevant environmental issue and provide important context in which to view this challenging exhibit.

WEDNESDAY, JULY 2Artist Lidia Cuellar Richardson "On a Cloudy Day"CCL Program Director Nancy Vinson"How Clean is Charleston’s Air?"
WEDNESDAY, JULY 9Artist Carol McGill "Scorched Earth"CCL Project Manager Ben Moore"A Clean Energy Policy for South Carolina"
WEDNESDAY, JULY 16Artist Lynne Riding "Pritchard Island Series"CCL South Coast Office Director, Patrick Moore"Our Fragile Marsh Islands"
WEDNESDAY, JULY 23Artist Paul Hitopoulos "Divided Waters"CCL North Coast Office Director, Nancy Cave"A Coal Plant’s Impact on the Pee Dee River"
WEDNESDAY, JULY 30Photographer Rick Rhodes "526"CCL Project Manager, Lisa Jones Turansky"A New Way to Work"
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 6Artist Karen Silvestro "Loss and Bloom"CCL Project Manager Hamilton Davis"Development East of the Edisto"
Coastal Conservation League:

Parking Day

More than 70% of most cities' outdoor space is dedicated to the private vehicle while only a fraction of that land is allocated to open space for people. Around the nation, inexpensive curbside parking results in increased traffic, wasted fuel, and more pollution. It’s time to rethink the way streets are used!
A metered parking spot is an inexpensive short-term lease for a 10'x20' plot of land. Imagine what you can do in a space usually dedicated to private vehicle storage. Parking Day began in a single metered parking spot in San Francisco and then spread around the world. People who want more open space, less traffic, and safer streets have joined together.

Create a Certified Wildlife Habitat

photo by Craig Smith

Why Garden For Wildlife?
Watching wildlife in action can be fun and relaxing for everyone. Your habitat may attract beautiful songbirds, butterflies, frogs, and other interesting wildlife for viewing from your very own window.
Replacing grass lawns with native wildflowers, shrubs, and trees will increase the beauty of your property and provide a nurturing refuge for wildlife.
Restoring habitats where commercial and residential development have degraded natural ecosystems can be your way of giving back to wildlife.
Gardening practices that help wildlife, like reducing the use of chemicals, conserving energy and water, and composting also help to improve air, water and soil quality.
Gardening for wildlife can help you share your love of wildlife with your neighbors and help them get involved in creating a home for wildlife.

All species of wildlife need the basics of food, water, cover and places to raise young.

from the National Wildlife Federation


NatureServe is a non-profit conservation organization whose mission is to provide the scientific basis for effective conservation action. NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs are the leading source for information about rare and endangered species and threatened ecosystems.
NatureServe represents an international network of biological inventories—known as natural heritage programs or conservation data centers—operating in all 50 U.S. states, Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean. Together we not only collect and manage detailed local information on plants, animals, and ecosystems, but develop information products, data management tools, and conservation services to help meet local, national, and global conservation needs. The objective scientific information about species and ecosystems developed by NatureServe is used by all sectors of society—conservation groups, government agencies, corporations, academia, and the public—to make informed decisions about managing our natural resources.
One of NatureServe’s Goals is to help make biodiversity a mainstream consideration in all significant conservation and natural resource management decisions by making it simple for conservationists, government agencies, corporations, and landowners to access and use high-quality biodiversity information.
NatureServe carries on a legacy of conservation work that began when The Nature Conservancy helped to establish the first state natural heritage program in 1974. Over the next two decades The Nature Conservancy and a collection of public and private partners built a network of natural heritage programs in the United States to collect and manage data about the status and distribution of species and ecosystems of conservation concern.
As this network expanded to include Canada and Latin America, natural heritage programs became the recognized source for the most complete and detailed information on rare and endangered species and threatened ecosystems, relied upon by government agencies, corporations, and the conservation community alike. Today the NatureServe network includes 74 independent natural heritage programs and conservation data centers throughout the Western Hemisphere, with some 800 dedicated scientists and a collective annual budget of more than $45 million.
NatureServe, the membership organization for this network, was established in 1994 and was originally known as the Association for Biodiversity Information. By 2001, the organization had grown and evolved into its present form. The Nature Conservancy, which since the 1970s had provided scientific and technical support to the network, transferred this role to NatureServe, along with professional staff, databases, and responsibility for the scientific standards and procedures under which the network operates. NatureServe is headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, with regional offices in four U.S. locations and in Canada.

Every Day is Mothers Day.
Celebrate Mother Earth!:)

Some lines from the song "Let There Be Peace On Earth":
Let there be peace on earth.
The peace that was meant to be.
Let me walk with my brother.
In perfect harmony....
Let peace begin with me
Let this be the moment now.
With every step I take
Let this be my solemn vow.
To take each moment
And live each moment
With peace eternally.
Let there be peace on earth
And let it begin with me.

Enhanced Energy Efficiency

photo by Craig Smith

Solving global warming isn't only about installing majestic wind turbines and glistening solar energy systems in the desert. One of the cheapest, most effective, and safest ways to reduce global warming pollution is to increase our energy efficiency. In fact, by using energy efficiency technologies and today's know-how, we could cut our global warming pollution by a third. So why aren't we? In the United States, we're off to a good start - innovation and improvements over the past 30 years have allowed our economy to grow faster than our energy consumption. Unfortunately, in the next 22 years our electricity consumption is expected to grow by 25%. That'll mean an extra 550 million tons of CO2 each year that we'll have to reduce to stop global warming. The good news is that by aggressively improving our energy efficiency now, we can nearly eliminate this increase. It'll take leadership, but there are plenty of examples of how energy efficiency has worked. For example, people using energy-efficient appliances in 2007 avoided global warming pollution equivalent to nearly 27 million cars. If everyone did likewise -- and we similarly improved America's buildings, industry, and transportation -- we could reduce annual emissions equivalent to nearly 400 million cars. That's 2 billion fewer tons of carbon dioxide (more than 6,000 times the weight of the Empire State Building!). Building for energy-efficiency: In the United States alone, buildings are responsible for 25-35% of greenhouse gas emissions. By making simple changes, like using the proper amount of insulation, we can save half of the energy it takes to heat, cool, light, and otherwise provide power to buildings. And, with buildings lasting for 40-50 years or more, efficiency choices we make now will last at least a generation. Cutting fuel costs on the road: CO2 emissions from cars and trucks account for about one-third of all energy-related global warming pollution in the United States. Cars bought in the United States last year averaged only 20 miles per gallon (mpg), which is less than half the gas mileage available on the most efficient cars today and about the same as a 1908 Model T. We can do better than a car introduced 100 years ago. With American innovation and technology, we can offer all cars with much better fuel economy and the same level of safety and features we expect. And the opportunities are not just available for cars: heavy-duty trucks, which transport about 60% of the goods we buy and use 39 billion gallons of fuel every year, can also become more efficient. Effective gas mileage standards and support for innovative technologies will keep our transportation system moving while greatly decreasing our environmental impact. Making new appliances more energy-efficient: By using energy-efficient products at home and at work, we can significantly reduce our greenhouse gas emissions without sacrificing function, style, or features. For the home and at work, we already have excellent federally rated EnergyStar appliances that are designed to use 10 to 50 percent less energy and water than other appliances. In a nutshell -- buy the most efficient technologies available. Stop wasting energy at home, at work, and on the road. And importantly - ask your leaders to set new standards for efficiency for all sectors, so that from now on 'best practice' in energy efficiency becomes normal practice for everyone.

from CI ~Reconcile With Nature

A March 19, 2008 article from Conservation International (CI):
Reconcile with Nature
By Carolina Hoyos, Staff Writer
A Partnership of Science, Faith, and Media
During this year’s Holy Week, Father Alirio Lopez will bring his tried-and-true environmental message to more than 5,000 parishioners of La Veracruz, a colonial church in downtown Bogotá, Colombia. Asking them to change their traditions to save a plant and a parrot has become much easier over time.
"At the beginning people were very resistant to stop using the threatened wax palm. For many years it has been used to reenact the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, and the blessing of the fronds is a key part of the celebration," recalls Alirio, a Catholic priest for more than 30 years.
In 2002, Alirio began using his sermons to teach the public about the science behind the religious Palm Sunday ceremony. Following tradition, hundreds of wax palms – Colombia’s national tree – are cut down every year for their fronds.
Decades of cutting has produced an unfortunate domino effect. Scientists now consider this symbolic tree to be highly threatened, impacting the yellow-eared parrot – a unique bird that depends on wax palms for food and nesting. The crisis reached a climax when the parrot was categorized as Critically Endangered by IUCN, the highest possible category of threat for a species before it becomes extinct forever. Time was running out.
Alirio's campaign slogan, "Because Life is Sacred, Reconcile with Nature," is touching hearts. The campaign has reached more than 20 million people, and Catholics in many regions of the country have stopped using threatened palms in their ceremonies.
In Colombia, Palm Sunday has become a religious day with an environmental twist.
Success from the Ground Up Seven years ago, a diverse group of leaders – scientists, conservationists, priests, and government officials – understood the critical link between wax palm conservation and religion. Together, they launched a national campaign to protect long-held beliefs without further endangering wildlife.
In 2008, with the continuous leadership of ProAves, a nongovernmental organization that protects birds, and Conservation International, the campaign attracted additional partners and now has support from the Episcopal Conference of Colombia, the Botanical Garden Jose Celestino Mutis and government authorities.
The campaign has been all-inclusive from the start, with a focus on on-the-ground conservation. In 1998, Dr. Paul Salaman, International Program Director with American Bird Conservancy began working with communities living near precious parrot habitat, relying on their knowledge and involvement to protect the bird. The program’s initial success eventually spawned the creation of Fundación ProAves.
"Today, local people play a major role in saving the species by providing crucial data about its location, migration, and habitat protection," says Jose Castaño, ProAves conservation tools coordinator.
Other campaign initiatives include creating artificial nesting boxes for parrots in places where habitat degradation is increasing, training farmers and cattle ranchers in restoration techniques, establishing wax palm tree nurseries, and donating trees that are key to the yellow-eared parrot's survival.
With support from many partners, environmental educators travel around the country by bus bringing stories about the parrot to remote areas. The Loro-Bus, or Parrot-Bus, took its first tour in 2005. Since then, it has reached 1,620 rural schools, classrooms, and universities in 105 municipalities. More than 40,000 children and 5,000 adults have boarded the Loro-Bus to receive information about protection of the species and learn more about conservation in general.
These collective efforts show that community-based conservation and research can work. Today, about 850 parrots survive in the wild in the Colombian Andes. In 2002, there were only 82.
"It's important that all the citizens of Colombia support this campaign," says Fabio Arjona, executive director of CI-Colombia. "Protecting and conserving biodiversity is everyone’s responsibility because of the important role it plays in the balance of diverse ecosystems, but also for its role in our own survival as humans."
As another Palm Sunday passes, thousands of Colombians are striving to live in peace and harmony with nature.

From: the Willie Nelson Peace Research Institute

"Whatever Happened to Peace On Earth"

Click on the headline "above" Willie's see the video and hear his song "Whatever Happened to Peace on Earth". Below is extra information, written and posted by Jay that accompanied the video post on the Willie Nelson Peace Research Institute website on April 1,2008:

The never ending quest for new sources to replace depleted resources creates conflicts with traditional communities that do not wish to give up or sell the resources on which their communities are based.
Usually traditional communities must be destroyed before their land can be ravaged for resources such as gold, oil or hydroelectric power.
In either case, any way of life based upon the accelerating consumption of nonrenewable resources demands widespread violence.
Violence appears everywhere to perpetuate a life style that must inevitably end.
This violence has been rationalized when necessary but more often it is ignored. Silent permission is favored over any requirement to furnish an excuse. Uncounted millions of indigenous people and their traditional communities have been sacrificed upon the altars of production.
Any threat to this production, any resistance to the exploitation of resources and the destruction of traditional communities of indigenous people is met with unrelenting ruthless violence. This is called justice, the spreading of democracy and the manifest destiny of our culture.
If a halt is not put to culture, to this system of violence and exploitation, then civilization as we have come to know it will relentlessly grind on needlessly creating pain and suffering while degrading the planet until the system collapses.
Peace On Earth would halt this process.
The longer the destruction goes on the worse things will get for those living through it and those who will come after us.
We depend upon the natural world.
We depend upon the aid and good intentions of our neighbors.
We destroy the natural world and alienate our neighbors at our peril.
Perhaps those who survive the collapse will have learned their lesson and live together in peace with each other and their environment. Sooner or later, the human race will need to live in balance with the rest of the world.
Sooner would be better that later.

from: Conservation International

Shhhh. Did you hear that?
That was the sound of another species doomed with extinction.
And that's the problem. There was no sound. No loud explosion. No sonic boom. No tremor that shakes the world when another beautiful creature goes extinct. Instead magnificent creatures like the leatherback turtle slip nearer to the edge in utter silence every 20 minutes.
That's about 3 species every hour. 72 of Mother Nature's precious creatures each day. A devastating 500 a week and a world-changing 26,000 a year.
In fact, right now the world's largest turtle and the second largest reptile on the planet, the leatherback, may be nothing more than a memory in a few decades if current rates of loss continue.
So, we're talking about an incredible creature that has survived on this planet for more than 100,000,000 years. Yet populations of these sweethearts of the sea have declined by more than 80% in many areas thanks to pollution, poaching and commercial development, not to mention the potential for climate change to cause havoc, such as raising water levels and swallowing up their nesting areas beach by beach.
But you can give a voice to these helpless creatures and help stop the extinction clock for the leatherback turtles and all species right now, simply by
signing our petition and encouraging 5 friends to do the same.
Toad photo by Craig Smith

Out of Our Heads and Into Our Hearts

photo by Craig Smith

I think these words are so beautiful! They are from Sheryl Crow’s new song "Out of Our Heads" (a wonderful song to dance to!:))

If you feel you wanna fight me, there's a chain around your mind. When something is holding you tightly,what is real is so hard to find
If we could only get out of our heads, out of our heads and into our hearts. If we could only get out of our heads, out of our heads and into our hearts.

The New Green Deal Plan for 2009

Ideas from The New Green Deal Plan for 2009 - from Planet Drum
The New Green Deal of 2009 *
The incoming US Federal administration of 2009 will have an important opportunity to launch a New Green Deal that promotes locally directed efforts to solve many of our urgent problems. This is a time of economic and environmental crisis, and we need to demonstrate authentic leadership in pursuit of a vibrant, healthy society that is sustainable and equitable. A New Green Deal can address domestic economic, social and ecological problems in a way that also has a positive impact on foreign policy and relations.
The New Green Deal focuses on developing basic requirements for moving towards
sustainability such as green collar jobs, regional ecological restoration, and inclusion of under-
represented communities. Its mission is to enable comprehensive long-lasting social,
economic and natural resource policies. The New Green Deal can become the foundation for
healthy, productive domestic programs that reduce our nation's oil dependence and provide
proactive responses to global warming.
The New Green Deal's founding principle is there needs to be regional improvements to local
conditions and carried out by local people, businesses, and communities. This means the
overall approach to accomplishing programs will vary according to the places where applied:
New York City will have a different emphasis than Los Angeles, and Puget Sound from
Chesapeake Bay.
Below are two of the five general directions in the New Green Deal:
#4 - Green Collar employment programs in the following areas:
a) Ecosystem restoration,
b) Remanufacturing that maximizes use of recyclable and/or post-consumer materials,
c) Renewable energy production and use,
d) Regionally-based sustainable agriculture,
e) Converting all wastes into resources,
f) Water conservation and reuse,
g) Energy efficiency,
h) Green building, living roofs, and landscaping,
i) Ecology and conservation education,
j) And special Green Collar job training programs in vulnerable communities.
and #5 - Create or transform governmental institutions and agencies with policies that promote localization and embody principles of sustainability.
*A genuine "stimulus package", on the scale of the 1930's New Deal, for the present day. The New Green Deal promotes positive programs to replace catastrophic activities that underlie climate change, economic inequities, water and food shortages, habitat destruction, and species extinction.
Planet Drum

from Farm Aid

Secret changes in your food - it's all about the seeds

It's that time of year when the Farm Aid kitchen table is littered with seed catalogs. Most of us are backyard gardeners (or deck gardeners for some of us urbanites). We often share seeds, seedlings, or much later in the season the abundance of our gardens. Ted can grow cilantro that dies in everyone else's garden. Glenda always has amazing tomatoes. Jen just keeps expanding her garden and is joking that this year she is going to sell CSA memberships of her own.
This is our small way of connecting to the farmers all across the country who are, at this time of year, planting seeds for our food or preparing to get their livestock back on pasture.
This month we're asking you to think about the seeds farmers are sowing this spring. Are they genetically modified? Do you want your table sugar to come from genetically modified sugar beets? What about your bread made with genetically modified wheat? How would you know?
Our friends at the Center for Food Safety just put out a new book ...check it out:
"Your Right to Know: Genetic Engineering and the Secret Changes in Your Food".

Make This Leap Day and Leap Year Be About Frogs (click here)

frog photo: by Robin D. Moore
Conservation International's amphibian expert
Conservation International (CI)

Think of frogs on this leap year’s 366th day. These slimy creatures can perform astounding acts of nature. They’re also in deep water because about a third of the world’s amphibians are leaping toward extinction. When an amphibian species disappears from the planet, it’s the equivalent of a smoke alarm blasting out a warning the minute someone strikes a match. That’s because amphibians with their highly permeable skin are ultrasensitive to environmental changes and actually serve as a harbinger of environmental conditions. So when the poison dart frogs of the Costa Rican rainforest or the striking golden mantellas of Madagascar suddenly stop making noise - it’s time to leap into action. Right now we are in the midst of a horrifying decline in amphibian species. As many as 165 species are already extinct and nearly 33% of all amphibian species are near extinction. Even worse many have gone extinct even within protected areas. And it’s not just climate change and pollution that threaten these beautiful creatures, but a raging fungal disease - Chytridiomycosis - also threatens their delicate future.
Top Ten Things You Might Not Know About Frogs
1. The world’s largest frog lives up to its name. The Goliath of West Africa grows almost a foot in length, weighs up to 7 pounds, and can easily clear 10 feet in a single hop.
2. Frogs can kill us. The toxin in a single toxic poison dart frog could wipe out 90 humans.
3. Ladies, can’t decide on a guy? A female gray treefrog picks her mate from the pool of water with the fewest predators.
4. The male gladiator frogs of Latin America use spikes on their forearms to mortally wound other competitors during courtship rituals. (Gentlemen, don’t try this at home!)
5. Toads use their eyeballs to help swallow their prey.
6. Certain frogs in deserts "down under" store water in their bladder and pockets of skin. Their "pee" is an important source of hydration for aborigines crossing the arid outback.
7. In California, due to the popularity of "toad licking," it’s illegal to possess Colorado River Toads, which produce a powerful hallucinogen called bufotoxin.
8. Thanks to chemicals that act as an internal "antifreeze," wood frogs can freeze solid and hop away after thawing out.
9. Call them superfrogs. Southeast Asia’s gliding frogs "hang-glide" from tree to tree using extensive webbing between their toes.
10. Talk about incredible births. The Gastric Brooding Frog from Australia, believed to be extinct, incubates tadpoles inside their tummies until they’re fully developed. Baby frogs then come hopping out of the mouth.


Sunflowers draw lead from the ground,
leaving behind more healthier and fertile soil.

Independent Artists Win Oscars

Oscar Winning Song Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Song)

"Falling Slowly" Music and Lyric by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova
"Falling Slowly" is a tune from Glen and Marketa’s 2006 independent film "Once"...
Based on their true story.... An Irish singer-songwriter (Glen) performing on the streets of Dublin befriends a young Czech immigrant (Marketa) who is selling flowers to support her mother and child. The pair begin a musical collaboration with the hope of producing a marketable demo, working together easily as they skirt the more difficult issue of the unex
pressed attraction that is growing between them.
Glen Hansard:
Thanks! This is amazing. What are we doing here? This is mad. We made this
film two years ago. We shot on two Handycams. It took us three weeks to make. We made it for a hundred grand. We never thought we would come into a room like this and be in front of you people. It's been an amazing thing. Thanks for taking this film seriously, all of you. It means a lot to us. Thanks to the Academy, thanks to all the people who've helped us, they know who they are, we don't need to say them. This is amazing. Make art. Make art. Thanks.
Marketa Irglova:
Hi everyone. I just want to thank you so much. This is such a big deal, not only for us, but for all other independent musicians and artists that spend most of their time struggling, and this, the fact that we're standing here tonight, the fact that we're able to hold this, it's just to prove no matter how far out your dreams are, it's possible. And, you know, fair play to those who dare to dream and don't give up. And this song was written from a perspective of hope, and hope at the end of the day connects us all, no matter how different we are. And so thank you so much, who helped us along way. Thank you.


From Planet Drum

Volunteer in an Eco-City this Fall:
Bahia de Caraquez, Ecuador!
Planet Drum Foundation is seeking volunteers for its Ecological City projects in Bahia de Caraquez, Ecuador for durations from a month to five months during May-September 2008.
Work with our unique revegetation project, planting and maintaining native plants to reduce erosion and create habitats for birds and other animals. Join neighborhood efforts to learn and use ecological practices. Help in renewable energy development. Assist bioregional environmental education groups for children and adults. A background in environmental education and activities, Spanish language speaking ability, and cooperative living experience are desirable. However, willing hands and a desire to help restore our damaged biosphere are most important.
(See for background information and up-to-date reports on activities in Eco-Ciudad Bahia.)
Benefits include free accommodation in a large shared apartment, extraordinary beach and wilderness recreational activities, and opportunities to improve Spanish skills as well as
experience tropical Ecuadorian culture.

Please send a description of your qualifications and interests to:
Clay Plager-Unger,
Field Projects Manager,
For questions email Clay at

The Power of The World

The power of the world always works in a circle,
and everything tries to be round.
The sky is round, and the earth is round like a ball,
and so are all the stars.
Birds make their nests in circles.
The sun comes forth and goes down again in a circle.
The moon does the same, and both are round.
Even the seasons form a great circle in their changing,
and always come back again to where they were.
The life of a man is a circle from childhood to childhood, and so it is
in everything where power moves.

Black Elk

Living Lightly on the Earth

This is a "Habitat for Humanity" Home

Living based on an assumption that every human being has a right to an equal share of physical space on this planet, purely by virtue of being human. What follows from this is the motivation to consume only what is one's sh are, as a citizen in equal standing with all on the planet.

Accompanying this is an instinct, from one's own life experience, that standard of living (material wealth) is not the same as quality of life (how happy one is), and that one can therefore lessen one's material wealth while maintaining or increasing quality of life (and many have already done it).

Indeed, a World Bank study of all countries of the world comparing each country's standard of living to its quality of life, shows that there are a significant number of countries whose standard of living is less than that of the US but whose quality of life is equal to or greater than the US .

Living lightly is the juice one gets from knowing that real skill and creativity in life can be more accurately measured by how little one can consume and still genuinely enjoy life rather than by how much one can buy, use up, and throw away. Using ingenuity to fix something instead of replacing it gives a much greater sense of accomplishment than doing tedious or stressful paid work to replace it...
from the Seattle Community Network

...Find me a place in the sunlight to sit and think and listen
to the sweet inner voice that says so quietly, "Peace. Be still."
Joyce Sequichie Hifler

Sierra Magazine

Sierra Magazine article - January/February 2008
What's So Funny 'Bout Peace, Gore, and Global Warming?
How climate change spurs global insecurity
The Norwegian Nobel Committee's decision to award its 2007 peace prize to Al Gore and the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change had many of the former vice president's critics scoffing about "Ozone Man" last October. How, they wondered, were global warming and world peace connected?
What planet are they from?
To understand the links, let's start with Sudan. Though the media generally frame Darfur's genocide as ethnic, its roots are ecological. Black farmers once welcomed Arab herders on their home soil, but the hospitality ended when the rains stopped. With water scarce, farmers fenced their land, and the herders became hostile. Similar water conflicts loom in hot spots worldwide, including the arid Middle East.
Drought is only one way that climate change puts peace at risk. Consider, for example, the specter of vast displaced populations. As refugees spill from regions hard-hit by rising seas, intense storms, and failing crops, armed conflict seems inevitable. The U.N. estimates that in the next ten years desertification alone could displace some 50 million people.
Other climate-related changes, too, could rile the dogs of war. Probably no place has been freer of strife than the Arctic, but that was before rising temperatures began opening sea channels and laying minerals bare. When the crew from a Russian submersible planted a flag on the Arctic seafloor last summer, it gave new meaning to the term cold war.
The Pentagon takes such threats seriously. In 2003 it commissioned a study whose worst-case scenario concluded: "Disruption and conflict will be endemic features of life." More recently, the International Institute for Strategic Studies stated that the effects of unchecked climate change on global security would be "on the level of nuclear war."
The Nobel committee said it honored Gore and the U.N. scientists for their efforts "to protect the world's future climate, and thereby to reduce the threat to the security of mankind." The committee stressed the need for immediate action, "before climate change moves beyond man's control."
In his will, Alfred Nobel declared that the peace prize should go to someone who has "done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations." Finding ways to keep us from killing each other over resources is a pretty good start. --Pat Joseph —Paul Rauber
Inspirations for a Happy and Healthy Life ~ Heart Stuff

Heart Stuff ~ Patty Ann Smith