Friday, December 6, 2013

RIP Nelson Mandela

Monday, June 3, 2013

The World is Sinking - HBO Vice on Global Sea Level Rise

If you haven't been watching the new series Vice on HBO, you've been missing some of the best new investigative journalism to come to the t.v. in a lonnngggg time. In the latest episode, Vice takes us to Venice where the city is flooded out 100 days of each year due to sea level rise, and to the Maldives - the island nation which is sinking, and to New York City where Hurricane Sandy gave a reality call on global warming last fall.


Also, watch their extended coverage on preventative measures being taken by the city of Venice:

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

One Woman's Journey to Protect the White Lions: Linda Tucker Speaks to CBS News

Linda Tucker of the Global White Lion Protection Trust talking to CBS News about her efforts to protect white lions. Please consider signing the petition to protect white lions. Linda Tucker is on a book tour in North America with the release of her new book:


From CBS News:
Lions are one of the most well-known animals on earth, but not everyone knows about a sub-sect of the species called the white lion.

These large felines are mostly identical to their brown family members, with the main distinction being the color of their coat. They are even in the same species category of Panthera Leo. A white lion is not an albino member of the species, as they do have some coloration in their eyes and in the skin around them. Their coats are a different color because they carry a genetic mutation or marker.

This mutation is also the reason they are not separately protected. Since these lions are still technically the same species, they do not have special protections that could be awarded if they were considered a subspecies to Panthera Leo.

One woman, Linda Tucker, is on a mission to save the white lions. She abandoned her career as a marketing executive in Paris and founded the Global White Lion Protection Trust to dedicate her life to saving these African felines. These big cats have definitely benefited from her support.

There are very few white lions in the wild today as they are not protected and hunted almost to the point of extinction.

White lions generally only live in the wild in the Timbavati region of South Africa. Unfortunately, these majestic creatures are not protected by any international, national or local laws. White lions were first recorded in Timbavati region in 1938 and have technically not been in the wild since 1994.

There is a lot of debate as to whether or not these lions are easily hunted because of their genetic markers, as their coloring makes it harder for them to hide in with wild. However, Tucker states that these beliefs are inherently "untrue," and have not been scientifically proven.

"They can [camouflage] fantastically well, they are apex predators in command of their natural environment," Tucker said in an interview with CBSNews.com.

In fact, many people believe that they reason they are indigenous to the Timbavati region is that area has many white sandy beaches, which allows them to hide effectively and use their natural camouflage.

To see Linda Tucker's full interview, watch the video in the player above.
© 2013 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Amazon Waorani Tribe Threatened by Oil Drilling

The fight for preservation of the Amazon from the ravages of oil production is shown through the story of the Waorani Tribe who are trying to keep their ancestral lands safe. A great investigative piece by Ann Curry of NBC:
NBC News’ Ann Curry journeyed deep into the Amazon Rainforest to a village called Bomeno in Ecuador. Bomeno is home to the rarely seen people of the Waorani Tribe. The tribe and the rainforest they call home is increasingly being threatened by environmental damage caused by oil drilling.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy
Efforts to preserve part of the Yasuni Rainforest in Ecuador: Yasuni ITT United Nations Development Program Amazon Watch – Yasuni The Kichwa and Hauorani tribes’ efforts to preserve its ancestral land: Saniisla.org Avaaz.org Huaorani blog Change.org Tiputini Biodiversity Station: Tiputini-Universidad San Francisco de Quito

Sunday, April 7, 2013

The earth is not a resource bin - it is alive and on a remarkable journey ~ Cosmologist Brian Swimme speaks at Marylhurst University

When I was a child in Jamaica, my father built a large telescope in our backyard in Havendale. It was anchored into the ground in a cement platform. An avid amateur astronomer in those days, my father was president of the Astronomical Association of Jamaica and I remember him telling me about the time that a comet was visible in the night sky and he woke me up in the pre-dawn hours so that I could see it through the telescope. I was three years old in 1965 when the great Comet Ikeya-Seki gave earth its spectacular show and while I don’t specifically remember being woken up to see it, I think back fondly to that time when a father woke a sleepy child so that he could show her the wonders of something special taking place in the universe.

It is that wonder at the universe and our place in it that has inspired the life and brilliant work of the imminent cosmologist and evolutionary philosopher Brian Swimme. I had the privilege to hear Dr. Swimme speak on Thursday evening at Marylhurst University as he delivered an inspiring talk titled The Cosmic Force of Feeling.

Swimme’s books include The Universe is a Green Dragon and The Universe Story with Thomas Berry and The Journey of the Universe with Mary Tucker. He teaches at the California Institute of Integral Studies and recently won an Emmy award for his new documentary that aired on PBS, The Journey of the Universe (see below for clip).

Swimme is that rare breed of scientist: a cosmologist who dares to go beyond the conventional Newtonion scientific point of view by bridging the humanities and the sciences without losing sight of the gifts of both. For a lay audience Swimme makes the world of cosmology accessible and wondrous. He decodes scientific discoveries about the nature of the universe by giving us analogous examples that allows us to see ourselves and our human actions placed in context with the larger forces that operate within the universe.

Swimme tells us that there is nothing more human than wondering about the universe and our place in it. He says a full human life includes questions. “We get swept into a life and that movement is a feeling – something moves and attracts us – that isn’t something we create. It is a wave that had its start in the universe and we participate in this wave.”

He says that Thomas Berry got him to think about “what does it mean that we are discovering a fundamental unique account of the universe?”

Swimme acknowledges that he has a different point of view from conventional scientists and that he tries to include explorations of scholars in the humanities as well as the sciences. He says that Berry said that scientists don’t understand the implications of the story of the universe. They get the data but miss the bigger picture of its implications. “The question of meaning is not something that science wants to consider.”

The great discovery of contemporary science is that the universe is not simply a place, but a story – a story in which we are immersed, to which we belong, and out of which we arose. This story has the power to awaken us more deeply to who we are. For just as the Milky Way is the universe in the form of a galaxy, and an orchid is the universe in the form of a flower, we are the universe in the form of a human. And every time we are drawn to look up into the night sky and reflect on the awesome beauty of the universe, we are actually the universe reflecting on itself. And this changes everything. ~ Brian Swimme and Mary Tucker The Journey of the Universe

Swimme said that he tries to imagine what would have happened had Copernicus gone to London in 1543 to explain his newly discovered theory that the Sun is the center of the solar system. At that time England had been going downhill for 300 years with effects of the plague, etc and this new theory was met with great skepticism.

Swimme makes the analogy that we also, in 2013 are suffering a kind of plague: consumerism and the fact that Americans idolize money. Swimme says “we have a bizarre situation where our economic achievement is ruining the planet but conventional wisdom is that we need to increase economic activity! The earth is not a resource bin. It’s actually alive and on a remarkable journey. But the default worldview is that earth is a hardware store.”

Swimme describes how his own consciousness about the earth changed back in 1986 when he read an article in the New York Times about a conference being held at the Smithsonian. The article said that scientists were saying that the present moment is the most destructive in at least 65 million years. In other words, not since the demise of the dinosaurs has there been such a destructive time of extinction taking place on the planet. Swimme gets big laughs from the audience when he describes how this information hit him. It was presented on page 26 of the New York Times, and astonishingly received no follow up in days after.

“There is something massively out of alignment – it is a spiritual pathology when your actions are accomplishing the opposite of what you think you are doing. There is a stark lack of coherence and to hear it means we’ve got to re-think things at a very deep level. We have to change our Newtonian way of thinking. Our challenge now is to give birth to a civilization that is congruent with the forces of the universe.”

For more on Brian Swimme, see his website at The Story of the Universe.
Watch Journey of the Universe on PBS. See more from pbs.