Sound the Alarm!

September 29th, 2014

On September 21st, the historic People’s Climate March (PCM) in New York City sounded the alarm on climate change. Just before 1pm, participants paused in silence to reflect for a few minutes on the consequences of climate chaos to those on the frontlines, including indigenous communities and farmers, coastal and island people, desert to forest dwellers, and all those who suffer environmental injustice. At 1pm local time, everyone sounded the alarm, banging pots and pans, blowing whistles, pounding drums, and making as much noise as possible. What a magical way to raise awareness and transform consciousness, sending sound waves of emotional energy and intention rippling around the planet!

Take some time now to reflect on these messages from the PCM marching blocs: It takes everyone to change everything; The debate is over; We know who is responsible; We have solutions; We can build the future; Honor those on the front lines of crisis, the forefront of change. Over 400,000 people marched in NYC, along with over 2500 solidarity events around the world, representing all of us who care about the future. A most inspiring and unifying message was demonstrated so beautifully that it now defines our global climate movement: To change everything, we need everyone. Remember, we are the clue!

Our New Normal

September 19th, 2014

Climate change is upon us. Winter without snow? We know what that feels like now. The hottest August ever recorded? Just happened. Wildfires are bigger than ever, and in California, fire season lasts all year. Droughts, dust, fire, and deluge are becoming part of our new normal.

Scientists have studied the effect of increased carbon in the air for over 100 years. It’s a matter of physics and chemistry. The amount of carbon recorded in the atmosphere every month now exceeds 400 parts per million. Scientists tell us that any amount over 350 ppm is not conducive to life and civilization as we know it. We already see more extreme weather events, ocean warming and acidification, and record-breaking temperatures. To prevent climate chaos, we must promote low-carbon economies with renewable energies like solar, wind, water, geothermal, and others.

At the UN Climate Summit 2014 in NYC, over 125 world leaders met to discuss a more coordinated response to this global crisis. The World Meterological Organization (WMO) displayed imaginary Weather Reports for the Future, depicting likely local impacts of global climate change. According to the WMO, average global temperatures in the year 2050 could rise more than 4°C (7.2°F) if greenhouse gas emissions are not stemmed. Are you ready for a new normal of unbearable heat waves, mega-droughts, massive flooding, super storms, dying coral reefs, less diverse marine life, and the drowning of coasts and islands due to rising sea-levels?

Climate change is a disturbing subject, but it should not be a controversial one. The science is in. We may disagree about how to transition from a fossil fuel economy or which solutions to prioritize, but we must heed scientific warnings about dangerous tipping points. We can and should make changes in our personal lives, choosing sustainable practices such as reducing, reusing, and recycling and making voluntary simplicity a way of life. We must also support social, economic, and political changes to address the costs of climate chaos now and in the future. People with a clue need to promote and protect our Big Four values: clean air and water, healthy food, and renewable energy. For a more livable future, we must reduce carbon emissions now! Make climate action part of your new normal. Be the clue!

Winter without Snow

May 9th, 2014

We live in the outback country of Eastern Oregon, just up from the California and Nevada borders. In 2014, that means that our area is part of the extreme drought that is likely to be more prolonged due to climate change. We have just seen another winter with hardly any snow. Our mountains have no snow caps, and our reservoirs are drying up.

I recently taught a college writing class using The Global Warming Reader, an anthology edited by Bill McKibben. I knew that global warming had a long history, but I had no idea that the scientific study of the effect of carbon emissions went back over a hundred years. The monthly tracking of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere began in the 1950s, resulting in the Keeling curve which shows rising CO2 levels now over 400ppm. Scientists tell us that anything over 350ppm puts civilization as we know it at risk. You would think it would be in our best interest to listen to the scientists.

The National Climate Assessment shows us that climate change is already happening, primarily due to human-caused global warming. In other words, we have done this to ourselves. We must get over our addiction to fossil fuels. We must begin by acknowledging that our lives have become unmanageable due to our addiction. As individuals, we have become addicts to a petroleum-based economy that fuels our homes, cars, and devices, makes the synthetics for fabrics and plastics, and creates the chemicals for corporate agriculture. How have we come to this sorry state? As part of the recovery process, we need to acknowledge where we went wrong, hurting others and ourselves, so we can begin to make amends.

As oil addicts, we have created an economy powered by fossil fuels with huge profits for the energy companies, our dealers, and all the costs passed on to taxpayers as we struggle to recover from one climate disaster after another. If the energy companies had to pay the cost of these climate disasters, it would not take long to slow global warming and mitigate climate change. As consumers and investors in fossil fuels through retirement plans and other investments, we are all implicated in global warming. It is time to divest from fossil fuels in whatever ways you can.

Knowing that we can mitigate the effects of climate change is a stunning prospect. We literally have the power to change our world, to reduce carbon emissions, and to lessen global warming. We can save ourselves from the worst effects of climate change, but we have to act quickly to shift not only our own lifestyles but our entire economy. The CLEU is here to help you mobilize and support your spiritual community in this effort. You are the clue to our shared future. Let’s work together on behalf of our planet home.

Getting a Clue about Climate Change

July 24th, 2013

Climate change is happening. Despite the efforts of think tanks funded by the fossil fuel industry to debunk climate science, there is clear scientific consensus that the increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is caused primarily by human activities such as the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation. Our atmosphere contained about 275 parts per million of carbon dioxide from the beginning of human civilization up to about 200 years ago. With the Industrial Revolution of the 18th century, the CO2 levels began to rise. The carbon dioxide in our atmosphere has now hit 400ppm with CO2 increasing about 2ppm per year. The world’s leading climate scientists warn that exceeding the level of 350ppm of CO2 puts human civilization itself at risk. The organization 350.org, founded by Bill McKibben, promotes 350 events around the world to raise awareness in the struggle to fight fossil fuels and find a new way forward with renewable energy. McKibben calls 350 “the most important number on the planet.”

Global warming makes heat waves, droughts, floods, and superstorms more likely, making all extreme weather events more intense and less predictable. Climate change affects all of our Big Four values: Air, Water, Food, and Energy. Carbon emissions pollute the Air we breathe while adding to the greenhouse effect that causes global warming. Fresh Water supplies are threatened by higher average temperatures and extreme drought conditions while melting ice caps and glaciers lead to sea-level rise, warming and acidifying oceans with dying coral reefs, and storms cause more devastating floods and deluges. Our Food supplies are at risk due to the increased likelihood of more extreme droughts, flooding, and spreading desertification. The Energy we choose for warmth, manufacturing, transportation, productivity, and communication, should be contributing to our sustainable future, not to the collapse of civilization.

What should people with a clue do? Whatever path you choose, take a stand on the right side of history. Take part in climate actions to protect the Air, Water, Food, and Energy where you live. Nonviolent protests raise Consciousness about the devastating consequences inflicted by multinational energy corporations on local communities and the entire world. Global warming affects everyone. Resistance is not futile! Be an engaged citizen. Develop your spiritual community so that you can support each other. Promote respect for science and common sense. There is no arguing with faith, but we must stand against fossil-fuel-funded propaganda that discounts physics and chemistry.

We need to stop taking carbon out of the ground and putting it in the Air. We need to preserve our forests and grasslands so that they can help sequester carbon from the atmosphere. We should support the research and development of renewable energy sources that use sun, wind, and water (including ocean power and geothermal). We must quit coal, stop fracking and tarsands oil production, and abandon nuclear power with its horrific dangers. We must say NO to coal exports. Do your best to wake up the people around you to the amazing potential of renewable energy to revitalize our economy and slow down global warming before we break the planet. Divest from fossil fuels. Be the clue!

The Big Four Values

May 6th, 2013

Make the Cleu vision and values a part of your life. You can do this on your own, but forming a Cleu circle with a few others will give you a greater sense of spiritual community. Use the human rites of music, art, drum, dance, song, and story to bond, the way people have been doing since the beginning of Consciousness. Engage in the spiritual practices that are a vital part of most religious and spiritual traditions, including study, meditation, service, pilgrimage, and mentoring. Read the Cleu Book together. A Cleu circle should be a transformative, participatory occasion that keeps people coming back.

As your circle evolves, begin to focus on the Big Four values: Air, Water, Food, Energy. These are basic survival needs that must be met in order for there to be harmony among people. From world peace to individual health, we are all dependent on our relationship to Air, Water, Food, and Energy. To put it simply: Air is Life; Water is Life; Food is Life; Energy is Life. Use the Big Four to create ceremonial aspects to your circle: Join in a breathing exercise to reflect on Air; use Water in a ceremonial way; host a communion with Food; and light a candle to represent Energy. Try different ways to honor the Big Four.

Providing a structure that leads to more Consciousness about the choices we make as individuals, families, communities, and the world, will increase the spiritual impact of your circle and help guide your decisions about how to use your resources together. By focusing on our most basic needs, you will be better able to set priorities, learn about local issues, and find allies. You are not alone. Spiritual activists, indigenous people, and cultural creatives have been working together to protect our Air, Water, Food, and Energy for over fifty years, and we have learned a lot about the power of the circle.

Now imagine Cleu circles connecting to other Cleu circles in a network that is as flexible, strong, and resilient as linked chainmail. Visualize a shining fabric of circles, healing our communities and our world. We are the clue to our own future.

This End is a new Beginning

December 21st, 2012

As darkness becomes dawn, the longest night gives way to longer days in the return of the light. According to the ancient Mayan calendar and other prophecies, the 2012 winter solstice marks a transition, the end of a cycle, a paradigm shift from the old to the new. We are called to witness the birth of a new world.

We have come a long way, baby. We have freed ourselves from tradition and defined ourselves as individuals. The capitalist culture treats us as consumers, marketing desire and greed, spreading a mass media version of reality, a zombie shopocaplyspe. We live in a world of human-caused wonders and disasters. Global consciousness is awakening. We know that we have changed the climate, collapsing the stable conditions that have supported both civilization and biodiversity for thousands of years. The planet is warming, bees are dying, great cities are flooding, and a young man shoots down children in a massacre-suicide. We are stunned, but we must confront our shadows. We must act on behalf of our existence as a conscious species on a living planet.

Now is the time to reflect on your vision of a world you choose to live in. How will you claim your spiritual identity and live by your values? Remember that you are greater together. Look for people who have a clue. Keep in mind that everyone has a clue, but not everyone wants to know. Find people who are clue-seekers and human rites guides. Get a space where you can gather in circle weekly. Take time to celebrate and grieve, share and serve. Practice our human rites of music, art, drum, dance, song, story, and circle. Build up your community infrastructure so that you can meet the new paradigm with open arms.

Let us join together to preserve Life and affirm Consciousness on the Earth. It’s up to you, fantastic speck of stardust that you are!

You are the Cleu.