Posts Tagged ‘earth’

Prairiewoods celebrating 15 years as ecospirituality oasis

Prairiewoods celebrating 15 years as ecospirituality oasis

The labyrinth at Prairiewoods Franciscan Spirituality Center, 120 E. Boyson Rd., Hiawatha, Iowa. Taken Friday, Sept. 16, 2011. (Angela Holmes/SourceMedia Group)


Posted 24 September 2011, by Cindy Hadish, Eastern Iowa Life (SourceMedia Group),



The Gazette

HIAWATHA — With more than 40 years in the making, Prairiewoods Franciscan Spirituality Center will celebrate its 15th anniversary with a nature festival.

After purchasing farmland in 1962 as a potential site for a regional headquarters, the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, based in La Crosse, Wis., had numerous offers to buy the land on the Cedar Rapids/Hiawatha border.

“The sisters could have made millions,” says Prairiewoods Director Barry Donaghue of the Congregation of Christian Brothers. “But they said, ‘Let’s see if we can make it an oasis. Let’s take care of it.’”

Betty Daugherty, a Franciscan nun and one of six founding members of Prairiewoods, initiated weekly committee meetings to determine the future of the site.

Betty Daugherty

“It was a gradual process,” says Daugherty, who still resides at the center at 120 E. Boyson Road in Hiawatha.

Joann Gehling, another Franciscan nun and founding member, says planning began in earnest in 1994, once the philosophy was determined to combine ecology and spirituality into what would become known as an ecospirituality center.

Gehling, who lives near the center, says other religious communities had similar undertakings elsewhere in the country, but nothing like Prairiewoods existed in Iowa.

Joann Gehling

Their vision, based on the Franciscan philosophy of God revealed in the natural world, included restoration of the prairie and ecological practices, such as the use of natural materials and renewable energy in the buildings.

Doors of the center opened in 1996.

With 30 acres of tallgrass prairie and 40 acres of oak woodlands, the site offers the oasis that the sisters envisioned.

Picnickers and hikers walk the center’s woodland trails. Business workers find respite at retreats in the center’s main building, which sports meeting rooms, a fully-staffed kitchen and meditation room with inspiring view of the woods. Meals, cooked to perfection by chef Jill Jones, use produce grown on-site and other local foods.

One hundred solar panels generate 22,500-kilowatt hours of electricity annually and classes use a new building as a solar training facility.

Barry Donaghue

Artists and writers find solitude in Prairiewoods’ two hermitages. A 19-room guesthouse also provides overnight accommodations.

People of all backgrounds and faiths use an outdoor labyrinth and traditional sweat lodge.

As Donaghue describes it, the center isn’t focused on Catholicism or any particular religion.

“We don’t proselytize,” says Donaghue, who has studied and ministered in Australia, England, Ireland, France, Israel and the Fiji Islands. “Basically, we’re trying to get people to think.”

With that in mind, Prairiewoods is home base for groups such as Wednesday Women, who meet 10-11:30 a.m. Wednesdays to explore topics related to spiritual growth, and Green Living Group, which meets 6:30-8 p.m. the third Wednesday of every month to discuss subjects such as voluntary simplicity.

Holistic treatments, including massage and reflexology, are scheduled by appointment.

Prairiewoods also offers retreats and events, including Nature Fest, scheduled for 1-4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 2, to celebrate the center’s 15th anniversary.

The celebration features music, games, blessing of animals, an ice cream social and environmental art and poetry from Iowa winners of the 2011 River of Words.

In a column Daugherty wrote about exploring ecospirituality, she notes that “eco” comes from oikos, a Greek word for “home.”

“Hence, ecospirituality is not about a relationship with a God in a far-away heaven,” she writes. “The Divine can be found in our daily lives, in our human relationships and in our relationship with Earth.”




What: Nature Fest at Prairiewoods

Where: 120 E. Boyson Rd., Hiawatha

When: 1-4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 2

Other: Event features live music by Deep Dish Divas and Bob Ballantyne; games, nature tours and outdoor activities. Ice cream social begins at 1:45 p.m.; message from Sen. Rob Hogg and storytelling at 2 p.m.; blessing of animals at 2:45 p.m. and more.

The event includes the only Eastern Iowa showing of winners of River of Words, an environmental art and poetry competition for youths ages 5 to 19.

More information:

A deer roams the woods at Prairiewoods Franciscan Spirituality Center, 120 E. Boyson Rd., Hiawatha, Iowa. Taken Friday, Sept. 16, 2011. (Angela Holmes/SourceMedia Group)



Jesuits publish special report on ecology

Jesuits publish special report on ecology


Posted22 September 2011, by Staff, Catholic Culture,


Download the report as a .pdf document here: Healing a Broken World (Society of Jesus)


The Society of Jesus–the Church’s largest male religious institute, with 18,516 members–has issued a special report on ecology.

“Our commitment to follow Jesus Christ in poverty, the seriousness of the ecological crisis and the cry of the poor who suffer the consequences of environmental degradation calls us all to stop and reflect,” states the report, which was published by the Society’s social justice and ecology secretariat. “Jesuits, members of the Ignatian family, and those responsible for our apostolic institutions are all invited to reflect seriously on the way in which our functional values driving our everyday decisions and actions remain consumerist at the core.”

“Creation‘s groans, growing louder and louder as nature is destroyed, challenge us to adopt simpler lifestyles,” the report continues. “In the fulfilment of this task we are inspired by many people worldwide who want to create a new world based on a just relationship with creation. We need a deep change of heart. This is the only radical way to face the present ecological challenge. We must, therefore, renew the sources of our Ignatian spirituality, a spirituality that invites us to acknowledge, give thanks and commit ourselves to the life present in creation.”

Source(s): this link will take you to another site, in a new window.


Is Green the New Red? Thinking About Political Repression Today

Is Green the New Red? Thinking About Political Repression Today


Posted 22 September 2011, by Craig Hughes and Kevin Van Meter (posted by , Left Eye on Books,


“While corporations and the state have certainly targeted activists as ‘eco-terrorists,’ too many other populations have also been targeted for repression to sufficiently pair the Red Scares and the Green Scare.”

“McCarthyism is Americanism with its sleeves rolled,” said Joe McCarthy to a public audience at the height of the second Red Scare that marked the years between 1947 and 1957. While we presume the first part of the sentence to be correct, the rolling of sleeves is a bit more complex, as it can connote both gearing up for a fight as well as preparing for hard work.

The “Green Scare” — a period of government repression of radical earth and animal liberationists, wherein the government has utilized anti-terrorism rhetoric and legislation — as with the Red Scare before it, has both reinvigorated direct violence of the state and attempted to produce a particular form of American society. It is the subject of Will Potter’s important new volume, “Green Is the New Red: An Insider’s Account of a Social Movement under Siege.”

Potter has undoubtedly written a valuable book. While animal rights activists, animal liberationists, environmentalists and earth liberationists have increasingly been targets of repression for decades under the guise of attacks on “eco-terrorism,” the increased repression they’ve faced, particularly following Sept. 11 2001, is not always included in discussions of the hysteria that followed that tragic day. As importantly, the slow linkage of “terrorism” with animal rights and environmental direct action through legislation and shifts in political discourse is an important but little known history. In “Green Is the New Red” Potter has provided us with a well researched, easily accessible and engaging work that tells the story of the corporate and government assaults on environmental and animal rights activists, which has led to dozens of arrests, and numerous convictions — including some with so-called “terrorism enhancements.” Potter explains in clear terms the development of repressive legislation, identifies the major corporations and lobbying units involved, and illuminates the emergence of a policing apparatus that has enforced the criminalization of a wide array of dissenters in the name of “anti-terrorism.”

We hope in this review to supportively, but critically, explore Potter’s book. We do this first by summarizing the volume, then by relaying a story from our own past, which is briefly mentioned in Potter’s work. We think that the conclusions from our own experiences add to the story Potter tells, and may point to other ways to think about the development of the Green Scare. From here, we want to think through the meaning of the Green Scare by questioning the concept in relation the more generalized state of siege that activists and other communities are under, as well as the co-optation of the environmental and animal rights movements.

Green is the New Red

This volume is divided into eleven chapters that span the course of thirty years, but focus primarily on the last twenty. Potter begins with his own limited experience of animal rights activism in Chicago, which led to attempted intimidation by FBI agents who told him that, unless he cooperated and provided them information, he would be labeled a terrorist. Potter’s story is alarming although by no means unique particularly in the post-September 11 period.

The majority of the book is focused on two major subjects: those convicted under the Animal Enterprise Protection Act (AEPA) as part of the “SHAC 7” (the handful of activists involved in the Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty campaign, who also received convictions for conspiring “to violate the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act” (AETA)); and those arrested in Operation Backfire for Earth Liberation Front (ELF) and Animal Liberation Front (ALF) actions that occurred in the West and Northwest near around the millennium turn. SHAC, the ELF, as well as the ALF, are often grouped together under the rubric of “eco-terrorism,” though not a single individual was harmed in any of the hundreds of ELF or ALF actions.

The SHAC convictions were focused on the organization’s website, which functioned as a clearinghouse for information for direct-action — activists could use this information for interventions against individuals and corporations with ties to Huntingdon Life Sciences. The multi-pronged approach worked, as underground actions combined with relentless above ground protests succeeded in shifting business as usual — the SHAC campaign was so successful in targeting Huntingdon that it wiped the corporation from the New York Stock Exchange and nearly caused it to go bankrupt.

The Operation Backfire arrests focused on a series of arsons committed under the name of the ELF by a group of about 20 people. The arrests sprang from the work of Jacob Ferguson, the first person to ever commit an ELF arson in the U.S., who later began to work for the FBI to round up his past comrades. Ferguson was able to escape without jail time in this case because he was so instrumental in solving the string of ELF actions, which had caused millions of dollars in damage. Some of those convicted in the Operation Backfire incidents received “terrorism enhancements,” which could add significant years to their sentences and increase the hardship they faced throughout their prison terms and after release.

In order to explain the development of the Green Scare and the notion of “eco-terrorism,” Potter has to explain a significant amount of history. Accordingly, we are treated to a succinct and well-conceived explanation of the development of post-‘60s environmental radicalism in the States. There is also a lengthy and insightful analysis of the word “terrorism,” which, as Potter points out, is rarely clear in meaning, ever-expanding, and always intended to “demonize the other.”

The ALF first appeared in the 1980s but the use of arson was not used until later. As ALF actions increased underground during the 1990s, above ground activism intensified and their combined effectiveness led the animal-product industry to actively lobby for repressive legislation. Similarly, as environmentalism gained ground and was increasingly effective in the 1980s and 1990s, the industries under pressure from environmentalists began to work hard to target activists and prevent further victories. Accordingly, Potter points out that corporations “needed to displace activists from their moral highground,” and “[a] key development in orchestrating this fall from grace was the decision to wield the power of language.” He points out that a lobbyist from the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise coined the absurdly defined term “eco-terrorism” — “a crime committed to save nature,” in 1983. Think tanks like the Center for Consumer Freedom, Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise, the National Association for Biomedical Research, and others have had influence on politicians and in political discourse, which has played a significant role in labeling direct action, or support of direct action in the case of SHAC, as “terrorism.” As corporations and think tanks have built relationships with congress and developed PR campaigns, and as legislation has been passed and “anti-terrorism” has become the driving force in law enforcement, animal rights and environmental activists have increasingly seen even banal behavior, like flyering, become criminalized.

Potter traces environmental and animal rights intra-movement developments along with those in legislation and discourse. The ELF’s use of arson and sabotage caused a split inside Earth First!, which was undoubtedly the cutting edge of radical environmentalism in the States during the ’80s and ’90s. In the post-September 11 period some of the major environmental organizations have actively supported legislation that explicitly targets direct-action-oriented environmentalists; some have passively supported the repression of targeted activists through refusals to speak out in support of them during their cases. The above-ground animal rights movement has also had a tricky relationship with underground activists; although groups like PETA have refused to denounce ALF actions. As activists have found legal, above-board action insufficient to deal with issues like vivisection and factory farming, some have taken to clandestine direct action to damage the animal-abuse industries.

Environmental and animal rights activists have become targets due to the effectiveness of their campaigns that cut into profit margins. Further, Potter points out that within the policing apparatus “anti-terrorism” is a significant career ladder for individual agents. Particularly following Sept. 11, the government has sought to sponsor and fund “anti-terrorism” initiatives that then need to locate targets to justify themselves. Potter’s research on the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which brings together state lawmakers, think tanks and corporations to draft legislation is particularly salient. Potter points out that “[b]y 2010, thirty-nine states had passed laws carving out special protections for animal and environmental enterprises and special penalties for activists.” In 2006, in light of the ELF, ALF, and the SHAC campaign, the Animal Enterprise Protection Act was expanded to create the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act – this was done, simply, to increase the penalties activists faced for using direct action. And activists have felt the pressure of this change, where simple actions of flyering can bring the wrath of being called, and punished as an “eco-terrorist,” or simply a “terrorist.”

The feeling of terror that activists have thus felt, and the crazy but very real ways the government has codified processes that evoke it, are at the core of Potter’s notion of the Green Scare, which of course harkens back to the anti-Communist hysteria of the 1950s (he does not address the first Red Scare that targeted the Industrial Workers of the World and others around the 1920s). Potter’s argument here is that the second Red Scare, like the Green Scare today, functioned through legislative, legal and extra-legal levels — the latter, “scare-mongering,” he argues “was by far the most dangerous” because it had the “sole intention of instilling fear.” Potter does not argue that we are today seeing something equivalent to the Red Scares of old, but rather something historically contingent, which thrives from the confluence of corporate involvement in American politics, the power of PR campaigns and the post-September 11 political environment.

In his discussion of SHAC, the ELF, ALF, and the Operation Backfire convictions, Potter successfully humanizes those who have been targets of anti-“eco-terrorism” efforts. The SHAC defendants had long histories in organizations like Food Not Bombs and a variety of charitable groups. Operation Backfire defendant Daniel McGowan, the subject of the recent documentary “If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front”, is the son of a New York City police officer, who felt an urgency to save the environment after painfully experiencing the ineffectiveness of above ground activism. Though efforts were taken to avoid injuring any human being in any action — and these efforts have always been successful — people like Daniel have been labeled “terrorists” and imprisoned in the Communications Management Unit, which some have labeled “little Guantanamo.”

In contrast, Potter powerfully points out that right-wing activists, particularly those who have waged brutal campaigns against abortion providers and in the course harmed human beings, have rarely been a target of anti-terror legislation. He points out that for the FBI, “in the three years following September 11, every act of domestic terrorism, except for one, was the work of animal rights and environmental activists.” In contrast, he points out that “[f]rom 1977 to 2008, anti-abortion activists committed eight murders” — in addition to the hundreds of other acts that include assaults, arsons, vandalisms, bomb threats, death threats, and anthrax threats — and “[n]one of these crimes are recorded by the FBI as acts of domestic terrorism.” In 2005 the FBI publicly announced that “The No. 1 domestic terrorism threat is the eco-terrorism, animal-rights movement…” That’s the absurdity of the current circumstance.

With this brief summary in mind, we now turn toward our own experience with anti-“eco-terrorism” efforts in order to expand on Potter’s story and raise some questions. We want to stress that our points and questions are comradely in intent. Potter’s work adds to our understanding of the current situation, and deepens the sophistication of activist attempts to understand repressive state and corporate activities today. There’s just more to say.

Days We Struggle to Remember

In April of 1998 a handful of radicals on Long Island formed the Modern Times Collective. In our approximately four years of existence we attracted significant local attention, especially for a small group spread across many miles that compose suburban Suffolk and Nassau Counties. Various press outlets ran stories on what they called a ‘rag tag’ group of radicals organizing small protests and cultural events such as DIY flea markets. Significant players in the establishment-Left on Long Island categorized us as “bomb throwing anarchists,” for little more reason than that we challenged the overwhelmingly boring and ineffective approach to social justice politics so dominant in the area at the time. Then, in early 2001, the FBI arrested Conor Cash, one of our main organizers, and charged him with conspiracy to commit arson as part of the ELF, which had committed a series of actions in the region during the last days of 2000. On Sept. 19, 2001 his charges were upped to include a “terrorism enhancement” that could have added decades to a potential sentence if convicted — he became the first person to be charged as a “domestic terrorist” after Sept. 11. He was swiftly acquitted after a two-week trial nearly three years later, in 2004. This is a story that while included in Potter’s narrative, only appears briefly. His basic summary of the case is as follows:

 By 2000, the FBI reassigned one of the Joint Terrorism Tasks Forces to investigate ELF arsons in Long Island, New York. The task force had previously investigated the bombings of U.S. embassies in Africa and the first bombing of the World Trade Center. Then came September 11th.

Modern Times had thought, from early on, that we were being surveilled, if only because anarchist groups on Long Island are few and far between and we were also increasingly aware that we were part of a larger movement that was rapidly gaining momentum and visibility. As the turn of the millennium social justice protest cycle intensified in the U.S. –from the Millions for Mumia march in Philadelphia, where we participated in one of the first significant black blocs on U.S. soil, through the Battle of Seattle, International Monetary Fund and World Bank protests in DC, the 2000 Republican and Democratic Conventions, the Free Trade Area of the Americas resistance in Quebec, and so on — we became more and more aware of policing, surveillance and, to some extent, infiltration. Simultaneously, we became swept up in what we perceived as a new cycle of struggle.

In 2000, Modern Times members inspired by Reclaim the Streets (RTS) actions in New York City and Britain, organized a local May Day protest, where a few dozen people held a main intersection in Huntington Village with a street party for about an hour during a busy shopping weekend day. Our desire to disrupt privatized-public space and create a ‘carnival against capital,’ was complemented by the attention we sought to bring to rising living expenses and falling wages. It was an important coup for us in the end, as we successfully disrupted traffic and business in a place that isn’t well known for its use of direct action or proliferating radicalisms. For a short period of time, as the crowds gathered around, it was irresistible. For the FBI and local police, who videotaped the event from start to finish, it was alarming; taken in the context of our increasing involvement in national street mobilizations, it was particularly concerning for them.

As street mobilizations like RTS were gaining momentum, and local manifestations of the global justice movement developed in numerous areas across the U.S., repressive rhetoric on the part of the government intensified. Thus, on May 10, 2001, in light of the increasing presence of radical protests and organizing, the federal government declared RTS a terrorist organization. An FBI reported explained,

 Anarchists and extremist socialist groups — many of which, such as the Workers’ World Party, Reclaim the Streets, and Carnival Against Capitalism –have an international presence and, at times, also represent a potential threat in the United States. For example, anarchists, operating individually and in groups, caused much of the damage during the 1999 World Trade Organization ministerial meeting in Seattle.

Our local Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) — the locally based coalitions of FBI agents and police departments that focus on disrupting and stopping “terrorism” — began following Modern Times members by May of 2000; this was confirmed during court testimony. The JTTF/FBI agent charged with pursuing the case against our friend had been flown to Seattle and later to Philadelphia to learn about protestors and anarchists, and to use this information in his work on Long Island.

Starting in November 2000 and continuing through to early January 2001, the ELF claimed responsibility for a string of actions at construction sites and a duck farm. The FBI started door knocking, targeting some of those arrested during the May Day RTS protest the MTC organized. They offered monetary compensation to at least one member of Modern Times, who was also an organizer of the RTS action, to infiltrate the ELF culture that the government presumed he had access to; he turned their offer down and later testified about it in court as a defense witness. The FBI had determined Conor to be a leader in the MTC, and hence, the ELF. During the RTS action he sat on top of the 21 foot tripod that allowed us to hold the street and unfurled a banner that read “this is what democracy looks like,” with a circle around the ‘A’ in democracy. In August of that year he would be arrested along with three dozen other Modern Times members at the 2000 Republican National Convention protests in Philadelphia. A few months later, Conor was arrested — supposedly for playing a leading role in the ELF actions.

What became clear to many of us before 2004, but certainly during our friend’s trial, was that the government’s case was much less about specific incidents of arson or vandalism than it was about breaking apart our communities and slowing down the ‘movement of movements’ — even in the suburbs, even on Long Island. We watched as the FBI showed a clearly doctored video during the trial — and we laughed at such an impressive example of tragic comedy, but that concocted video was used as evidence against someone we loved. One of those convicted for the ELF actions, a cooperating witness and high school student at the time of his arrest, stated bluntly on the stand that the FBI had “coerced” him. The FBI had the gall to visit a prominent New York University professor the eve before he testified for the defense to question him about his testimony. Perhaps most ridiculous, was that at the center of the government’s case was this argument: because Conor had a ‘circle-A’ tattoo on his shoulder, and the ‘A’ in democracy was circled on the banner during our May Day protest, and because someone had spray-painted a circle-A symbol at one of the arson sites, clearly our friend was guilty. That was the plain of absurdity the U.S. government played on. Absurd. Tragic, but real; and terrifying, which, of course was their point.

In “Green is the New Red” Potter points to this case, stating that the government’s “first victory against the number one domestic terrorism threat was the conviction of three seventeen-year-old high school students” (this requires a slight clarification — three people were convicted, two of these functioned as cooperating witnesses against Cash, and a mysterious fourth who confessed to involvement to the FBI, according to court testimony, was never formally charged).

In our view, this case deepens and complicates Potter’s account in a couple of important ways. First, it points to the fact that pre-September 11 the government had sought to vilify radical activists, like those who host unpermitted street parties, as “terrorists,” and to target them accordingly. Secondly, in our view, it points to the importance of placing the Green Scare within context of the counter-globalization struggles at the turn of the millennium.

The Seattle resistance against the World Trade Organization in 1999, and the organizing surrounding it, was a watershed moment in U.S. social movement history. The “Battle of Seattle” is referenced various times in the book — indeed, some of those convicted as part of Operation Backfire were involved in protesting at the WTO and in the infamous black bloc actions — but Potter does not adequately draw out how the state conceived of “Seattle,” nor its consequences, and does not adequately draw out the organizing surrounding it, which upped the ante for both the movements and the state. For example, as mentioned above, RTS had been designated a “terrorist” threat at least months before Sept. 11, but Potter does not mention this in the book. This designation occurred largely in the context of the Seattle actions. That perception, and the government concern about the global justice movement, certainly played an important, indeed decisive role in our experience with repression on Long Island.

The counter-globalization protests against the WTO in Seattle shows up in various Green Scare indictments and in the narratives of various activists mentioned in the book. And certainly some of those involved in the ELF actions in the Northwest, those targeted in Operation Backfire, would point to this moment as anomalous, inspirational and motivational. Notably, for example, current ELF political prisoner Daniel McGowan, whose case is a major focus of Potter’s work, stated to one of us in a personal conversation that the oft quoted slogan spray painted on buildings during the Seattle protests — “We are winning” — was taken by him and others as a sign of radicals actually winning. We felt similarly, although we turned down different roads.

Indeed, the years surrounding the turn of the century were a time when a culmination of decades of radicalism came to a crescendo. Activisms exploded nationally — not just in the environmental and animal rights movements, but in the anti-corporate movements, the myriad of immigrant rights struggles, the prison justice movements, and various others; these struggles challenged the bottom line and impacted popular discourse, to the detriment of corporate profits, in critical ways. As corporations and politicians sought to stifle the environmental and animal rights movements, the rhetoric of “terrorism” and pre- and post-September 11 government repression intensified because the policing apparatus also sought to dismantle the counter-globalization movements — both their local manifestations and their militant street demonstrations. In our view this context is very important for understanding both movement history and the development of government repression over the past couple of decades.

 Is Green the New Red?

Potter’s research is particularly impressive in tracing the roots of the two major pieces of legislation against the animal rights movement — the Animal Enterprise Protection Act (1992) and its expanded and amended version, the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (2006). The former was created in the context, at least rhetorically, of numerous ALF actions in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The latter development is contextualized through the SHAC campaign and is largely about intensifying penalties faced by activists and increasing the risk associated with animal rights activism. What Potter shows throughout his work is that a well-funded group of industry lobbyists and think tanks, their politician friends and allies, and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), have created a web of legislation and policing powers intended to dismantle earth and animal rights campaigns, and to punish activists, like those convicted for politically motivated arsons.

Potter’s ultimate point is that the Green Scare is not just about money, not about profits alone. Rather, he argues, the repression is about spreading fear and about winning a “culture war” — “[t]he only way to explain the conflation of mainstream and radical groups as terrorists is to assume that all of it — from ballot initiatives to sabotage — poses a threat.” He summarizes:

Ultimately, the rise of the Green Scare was no conspiracy. It does not seem to be the result of any secret planning document drafted jointly by industry and the FBI. The shift was gradual, slowly merging the rhetoric of industry groups with that of politicians and law enforcement. Eventually, what was once a fringe argument became official government policy.

Potter’s case is strong, but calling this all “the Green Scare,” while compelling, isn’t sufficient or precise enough given the context. While corporations and the state have certainly targeted activists as “eco-terrorists,” too many other populations have been targeted simultaneously for repression to sufficiently pair the Red Scares and the Green Scare. This would require almost endless caveats about the substantive differences between the two. That doesn’t make this volume less valuable, but rather speaks to the need more nuanced analyses and broader conceptualizations of the current situation.

This bigger picture extends far beyond the counter-globalization movement, and far beyond the animal rights and environmental movements. It extends to Middle Eastern and Islamic communities that are only marginally mentioned here, even though these communities have faced the brunt of the government’s daily assault in the name of “anti-terrorism.” It also extends to the massive round up and deportation of immigrant peoples after the successful Sí, Se Puede movements defeated a major piece of federal anti-immigrant legislation — the Sensenbrenner Bill – in 2006. It extends to the arrests of Black Panthers for decades-old charges. It extends to the rhetoric used against anti-nuke, South African divestment, and Central American Solidarity activists roughly twenty years ago.

While it’s understandable to focus on animal rights and environmental activists, who have been one significant focus of government and corporate attacks, one is left to wonder how something like the Green Scare relates to a much larger situation where all of society has been mobilized to be on consistent alert for “threats,” and to be constantly ready to become police in the day-to-day. How do we read the many scares in the name of “anti-terrorism,” –one inclusive of the assault on environmentalists and animal rights activists and the many, many others who’ve suffered similar repression in recent decades? How do we read the many “scares” and develop a coherent concept that reflects the intensified repression in the name of “anti-terrorism?” Is it better to think about “Green” as a “new red,” rather than the new red?

Additionally, it also seems worthwhile to explore the differences between the ELF and SHAC in terms of effectiveness and repression when describing and thinking through the Green Scare. Potter doesn’t effectively differentiate environmental and animal rights groups. While the powers that be may see them as interchangeable, and composed of many of the same activists, it’s highly doubtful that they always are, and it’s not necessarily clear that in terms of repression that the government sees them as the same. In terms of effectiveness, each used a different approach – including entirely different models, approaches to research, approaches to media, and tactics – and weighing these out seems worthwhile for understanding how activists have impacted social change. In terms of repression, we were also left with some curiosity in thinking through the Green Scare. The framing of Green Scare came into being prior to the SHAC 7 trial, prior to the cooperation of many of the Operation Backfire defendants, though four of the latter individual pled guilty while maintaining a non-cooperating stance with the government. There was no clear reformulation of the concept with these developments since that point.

If under the second Red Scare most people did not commit the “crime” of involvement with the Communist movement, but under Operation Backfire those accused turned out to actually be involved in the ELF, how do we perceive the meaning of the Green Scare in thinking through government repression? Does this conceptualization need to be more nuanced? It also seems worthwhile to explore fundamental differences between how the repression against the SHAC 7 and the Operation Backfire functioned; since, for those considering a defense against future and current repression it is important to understand these particulars and the aspects of the situation they are encountering.

Perhaps most controversially within our own communities, we were also left with questions related to issues of political economy. Potter discusses FBI targeting of mainstream groups like PETA, and the impression one gets is that environmentalism and animal rights as a whole face repression, and are threats to the established order of some sort. Potter makes a point similar to this explicitly when describing the theoretical strands that underlie contemporary animal rights and environmental organizing: “Their confluence is the redefinition of what it means to be a human being.” Going on, he summarizes a DHS report that argued “Animal rights and environmental movements directly challenge civilization, modernity and capitalism,” and directly quotes the report as saying that if victorious these movements “not only would fundamentally alter the nature of social norms regarding the planet’s living habitat and its living organisms, but ultimately would lead to a new system of governance and social relationships that is anarchist and antisystemic in nature.”

This is debatable. Capital is tricky, and what was liberatory one moment is a profitable investment the next, and sometimes there is never a separation between the two. Green capitalism is a major industry and it only looks to be growing. Co-opting the language of environmentalism has been profitable for sectors of capital in the current crisis as — buzzwords such as ‘sustainable,’ ‘green,’ ‘local,’ and even ‘vegan’ become opportunities for new markets. Indeed, the animal rights movement is gaining significant cultural ground. But even as vegans ourselves, we are under no illusion that a shift toward healthier, somewhat less brutal diets, in anyway leads to some sort of gradual process toward a more liberatory, post-capitalist world. How the growth of more compassionate capitalism as a direct response to the supposed threat of the animal rights and environmental movements is very much unclear. These aren’t questions that Potter’s volume sought to tackle, but it is worthwhile to point out the issues here.

In conclusion, in “Green is the New Red,” Potter did an impressive job tracing the various threads that played a role in developing the contemporary animal rights and environmental movements. In doing so, we are offered the opportunity to follow the leads and learn more. Potter has created an easily accessible volume that helps document some of the dangers radicals currently face. And while one can only hope the book reaches far and wide, it is important to consider the various scares — green, red, and otherwise — that are both acts of violence against our movements and part of the State’s attempt at creating a society without said movements. We must roll our sleeves as well — there are many waves of repression to fight against and a new world to work for.

Craig Hughes and Kevin Van Meter co-edited, with Team Colors Collective, “Uses of a Whirlwind: Movement, Movements and Contemporary Radical Currents in the United States” (AK Press, 2010) and co-authored the short book “Wind(s) From Below: Radical Community Organizing to Make a Revolution Possible” (Team Colors & Eberhardt Press, 2010). Both have been involved in various organizing efforts together over the past 14 years. Hughes and Van Meter, along with Conor Cash, are currently writing a chapter titled “The Curious Case of Conor Cash” for a forthcoming volume on counter counter-insurgency.

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The Permaculture Revitalization Act of 2011

The Permaculture Revitalization Act of 2011

A Vision by Willi Paul, Magazine



Posted 19 September 2011, by Willi Paul, PlanetShifter Magazine,


GOAL: To revive, reconnect and re-focus the Country and begin the permaculture’s charge into local, national & global politics.

The mirror sight:

The Public Works Administration (PWA), part of the New Deal of 1933, was a large-scale public works construction agency in the United States headed by Secretary of the Interior Harold L. Ickes. It was created by the National Industrial Recovery Act in June 1933 in response to the Great Depression. It built large-scale public works such as dams and bridges, warships, hospitals and schools. Its goals were to spend 3.3 billion in the first year, and $6 billion in all, to provide employment, stabilize purchasing power, and help revive the economy. Most of the spending came in two waves in 1933-35, and again in 1938. Originally called the Federal Emergency Administration of Public Works, it was renamed the Public Works Administration in 1939 and shut down in 1943. The PWA spent over $6 billion in contracts to private construction forms that did the actual work. It created an infrastructure that generated national and local pride in the 1930s and remains vital seven decades later. The PWA was much less controversial than its rival agency with a confusingly similar name, the Works Progress Administration (WPA), headed by Harry Hopkins, which focused on smaller projects and hired unemployed unskilled workers.

* * * * * * *

Possible components of The Permaculture Revitalization Act of 2011:

  • Projects for Neighbors with neighbors; community building projects for resilience awareness and a new ecological balance
  • Permaculture Training and Jobs Czar – Cabinet-level Secretary post
  • Combining jobs and training under one program to promote self-sufficiency
  • Permaculture design certificate demo projects in all levels of schools
  • Building more Community Gardens – like the eco village farm, sf
  • Design and implement training for permaculture design certificate grads
  • Promote and better connect new Permaculture Guilds
  • Provide a database of available lands for revitalization & Community Network for Permaculture

Permaculture is a Green Technology, Mr. Obama!

Join – then discuss this vision with us at Permaculture Hub

* * * * * * *

Related Work:

Bolivia is set to pass the world’s first laws granting all nature equal rights to humans. The Law of Mother Earth, now agreed by politicians and grassroots social groups, redefines the country’s rich mineral deposits as “blessings” and is expected to lead to radical new conservation and social measures to reduce pollution and control industry.

The country, which has been pilloried by the US and Britain in the UN climate talks for demanding steep carbon emission cuts, will establish 11 new rights for nature. They include: the right to life and to exist; the right to continue vital cycles and processes free from human alteration; the right to pure water and clean air; the right to balance; the right not to be polluted; and the right to not have cellular structure modified or genetically altered.

Controversially, it will also enshrine the right of nature “to not be affected by mega-infrastructure and development projects that affect the balance of ecosystems and the local inhabitant communities”.

“It makes world history. Earth is the mother of all”, said Vice-President Alvaro García Linera. “It establishes a new relationship between man and nature, the harmony of which must be preserved as a guarantee of its regeneration.”


The Tale of Mabon: A Bedtime Story

The Tale of Mabon: A Bedtime Story


Posted 11 September 2011, by , No Unsacred Place,

The kids sit each in their beds, the littlest one propped up half upside-down on her elbows, her tiny bare toes playing over the pinewood slats of the bunk above hers. Their father has just finished lighting the candle of the newly created altar, its offering bowl already overflowing with small gifts from the day’s explorations in the park: acorns, stones, leaves and feathers and cicada shells. Everyone rests, quiet and attentive at the busy day’s end. I speak softly.

“When we picked out this statue in the store, your dad and I wanted to get you something that would remind you of your own mother, and of the Mother Goddess who watches over you all the time. And I know some of you—” I wink gently at the second-oldest, a serious girl who frowns a little in thought, “some of you liked the other statue better, the two parents cradling the infant, because it reminded you of rebirth and renewal. I liked that one, too. But the more I look at this statue, the more it reminds me of a story. It’s a story about separation and loss, and of finding family again in unexpected places. And I think—I hope—that when you hear this story, maybe you’ll begin to like the statue a little better and it will have new meaning for you, as it does for your dad and me.” The kids are silent, stretching restless limbs beneath their sheets.

“The story I want to tell you begins, ‘Once, a long time ago when the world was new…’”

Once, a long time ago when this ancient world was still very new, there was a mother. Her name was Modron, which means Great Mother, for she was beautiful and strong, and her love shone from her as light from a great sun. And Modron had a son whose name was Mabon, which means Great Son. Mabon glistened and glimmered with his mother’s love, and within him, his own heart also shone with love in return. Those who looked upon him were dazzled by his great youth and energy. But when he was still just an infant, a tragedy occurred. Mabon had not yet slept three nights at his mother’s side, suckling at her breast and nuzzling into her arms, when he was stolen away into the darkness! When Modron awoke to find her beloved son gone, and no one who could tell her who had stolen him away, she mourned and wept, and her tears swelled and flowed like a great ocean. For a Mother’s sorrow, too, can be great as her love.

Many years passed without sight or sound of Mabon, and all this time Modron continued to grieve and hope. Then, one day, a king arrived seeking to speak to Modron of her son. The king’s name was Arthur, and he came with a retinue of skillful and courageous knights following behind him. King Arthur and his knights had been set an impossible task: to hunt the huge and terrible boar called Twrch Trwyth. This boar was so strong, and so fast, and so tough, that no hunter in the world could track him down and kill him, save for the greatest huntsman of all. No one knew who this huntsman might be, but rumor in the land whispered Mabon’s name, the Great Son who had once shone with such energy even when just a babe. The people said that if Mabon still lived and could be found, surely he could kill the boar. And so King Arthur had come to Modron, to ask her if she knew where her son might be found.

The question pierced her heart and made her laugh through her sorrow. “Do you think I have not wondered that myself, all these long years? And yet, though my sorrow is as great as the deepest ocean, as vast as the darkest expanse of sky on a moonless night, I have never been able to discover where he is, or if he is even still alive. You have come a long way, King Arthur, but I cannot help you. You may as well ask the blackbird where the boy is hidden!” she added with a sad, helpless wave of her hand.

King Arthur, too determined to give up, went and did just that. He and his knights searched out the Blackbird, an old creature who had long guarded the gateway into other realms on the edge of dawn. “Blackbird,” Arthur called, “We are looking for Mabon, son of Modron, who was stolen from his mother’s side three nights after his birth. Do you know where he may be hidden?”

The Blackbird peered down at Arthur and his knights with quick, obsidian eyes. “I am old, as you well know,” he said at last. “You see this dusty spot here where I sit? When I first was born, there used to stand here a smith’s anvil, the biggest you might ever see, made of the hardest iron. Yet no hammer ever touched this anvil, except that I pecked at it with my beak gently every day. Now, nothing is left of it but this dust beneath my feet. That,” said the Blackbird, stirring the dust with his wings, “is how old I am. And yet I have never seen nor heard of Mabon, son of Modron.

But,” the Blackbird continued, “I know of one who is even older than I am, and I will take you to him.”

Arthur and his knights thanked the Blackbird for his kindness, and followed his lead. He soon led them to the bright Stag of the forest, whose old coat glistened as with midday sunlight. “Stag,” called Arthur, “We are looking for Mabon, son of Modron, who was stolen from his mother’s side three nights after his birth. Do you know where he may be hidden?”

The Stag lowered his huge, antlered head and gazed at Arthur and his knights with ancient amber eyes. “I am old, as you well know,” he said at last. “You see this massive oak tree beneath which we stand? When I was first born, this oak tree was barely a sapling sprung up from its acorn, and yet now it is the biggest tree in the forest, thick with years of growth, its heavy limbs stretching wide in all directions, and the prongs of my own antlers number just as many as its branches. That,” said the Stag, swinging his head with pride, “is how old I am. And yet I have never seen nor heard of Mabon, son of Modron.

But,” the Stag continued, “I know of one who is even older than I am, and I will take you to her.”

Arthur and his knights thanked the Stag for his kindness, and followed his lead. He soon led them to the Owl, whose rippling, moonshine eyes had watched the comings and goings of night for unknown ages and now looked on King Arthur with placid kindness. “Owl,” called Arthur, “We are looking for Mabon, son of Modron, who was stolen from his mother’s side three nights after his birth. Do you know where he may be hidden?”

The Owl adjusted her silent wings and turned her haunted, blossomy face towards Arthur and his knights. “I am old, as you well know,” she said at last. “You see this ancient forested valley in which we stand? When I first was born, there stood a forest here even older and more wild than this one, and I watched as the people of the land moved in and cut it to the ground; yet as the people slowly abandoned the land for more fertile soil, another forest grew up in its place and that, too, became wild and strange with age, until again the tillers of soil moved through slashing and ripping up the roots from the earth, and the forest withered and disappeared and the valley became like an empty bowl beneath the sky. But the lives of people are passing, so easily will they go to war against each other, so quickly do they drain the sacred land dry—and so again human beings left this valley to the gods of wild places, and this is the third ancient forest I have watched grow to wilderness here. That,” said the Owl, her low eyes shimmering like deep pools, “is how old I am. And yet I have never seen nor heard of Mabon, son of Modron.”

“BUT!” the boy chimes in loudly from his upper bunk, and I laugh. “That’s right!” I say, “I see you’re catching on…”

But,” the Owl told Arthur, “I know of one who is even older than I am, and I will take you to him.”

Arthur and his knights thanked the Owl for her kindness, and followed her lead. She soon led them to the noble Eagle, who held his head aloft and flourished a beak and talons so sharp and true they might slice the air itself in two. “Eagle,” called Arthur, “We are looking for Mabon, son of Modron, who was stolen from his mother’s side three nights after his birth. Do you know where he may be hidden?”

The Eagle regally preened a few stray pinfeathers into place and blinked at Arthur and his knights with benevolent, piercing eyes. “I am old, as you well know,” he said at last. “You see this tiny rock I clutch between my talons? When I first was born, there stood here a mighty standing stone, so lofty that it towered above every mountain, and I could sit upon it every night and lift my head to strike my beak against the upper limits of the black sky, and each peck pierced the darkness and became a star. And yet the stars you see now are numerous, beyond counting, and I made every one; and the standing stone that thrust up from the earth met wind and rain, the elements of air and water, and together the three joined in a dance that wore the stone away, until now all that remains is this mere pebble at my feet. That,” said the Eagle, clacking his beak that had made the stars themselves, “is how old I am. And yet I have never seen nor heard of Mabon, son of Modron.”

The children moan in sympathetic exasperation, and I hush them and quickly return to the story, riding the energy of their anticipation, pulling their attention taut as a bowstring.

By now, as you can imagine, King Arthur was beginning to despair that he would ever find Mabon, the Great Son of Modron, to help him hunt the wild, terrible boar. His face was haggard with searching, his eyes sunk deep from sleepless nights and long journeying to these ever more ancient beings, none of whom seemed able to help him. His knights, though loyal and trusting in their king, were beginning to tire as well, and being a good king to his people and friend to his companions, Arthur knew he must soon call off the search for their sake if not his own.

The Eagle, whose keen mind could read the fatigue and stress in Arthur’s expression, had sympathy for the weary king. “But let me tell you a story,” he said to Arthur. “This story begins: Once, a long time ago when the world was new…. There was a great famine in the land. I was still young then, and had my fair share of suffering and hunger. One day, I had flown far from my usual hunting spots in search of something to eat, when I spotted far below me, in a small pool shaded by nine hazel trees, the quick shimmer of a fish in the water. Without second thought, I dove! I clenched onto the fish with both feet, sinking my talons deep determined to catch the thing, for if I didn’t I would surely starve before nightfall. But the fish was blessed with an almost monstrous strength, and it dragged me under, down and down into the spiraling, swirling darkness of the pool. If I had not finally relinquished the thought of my own hunger gnawing within me and released my quarry, I would have drowned.

“This creature, I learned later, was the ancient Salmon of Wisdom, even older than I, who had lived for ages upon ages in the sacred pool, feeding on the hazelnuts which fell into the pool from the surrounding grove. Hazelnuts, they say, are food for the gods, and I would not be surprised if the Wise Salmon herself were a goddess dwelling in that strange and mysterious place. A mere king like myself,” said the Eagle, “could never presume to capture a goddess against her will! But let me tell you, Arthur—if the Salmon of Wisdom still dwells within that pool, I can take you to her. Although all the oldest creatures of the land could not tell you where to find Mabon, son of Modron, certainly she will know and she will help! And if she cannot, then your quest truly is beyond all hope.”

And so, with new hope and fresh energy, Arthur led his knights with the Eagle as their guide far across the land, over gentle green downs and through dark twisting woods, until at last they came to the sacred pool in the hazel grove. Exhausted, King Arthur knelt by the side of the pool. Its surface moved in subtle wavelets from where a small stream fed into the pond, weaving and trickling between the roots of the trees. It seemed to Arthur, as he looked upon the water, that there in the reflection of shading branches he could see the ancient, sparkling eyes of a goddess smiling at him—then they were gone! In a flash, the silver body of a fish flickered by, and Arthur called out, “Salmon of Wisdom! We have come a long way to seek your help. We have spoken to the Blackbird, and the Stag, and the Owl, and the Eagle, and of all these ancient beings, none could lead us to what we seek. We are looking for Mabon, son of Modron, who was stolen from his mother’s side three nights after his birth. Do you know where he may be hidden?”

From the depths of the pool there came a lovely, watery voice, barely distinguishable from the bubbling of the stream. “And did you ask his mother?”

“Well, yes!” Arthur said, “But she said she did not know!”

Sad laughter bubbled up from the glimmering darkness. “Modron’s sorrow over the loss of her son is as great as an ocean, and as obscure,” said the Salmon, “but the ocean is my home, and I know the secrets of its depths as I know my own. Every year I return to this pool and follow the stream far into the hills of this country, all the way to spring in the courtyard of the Castle of Light. And I tell you, Arthur, that for many years now I have heard the weeping and sorrow of one lost and alone when I have come there.”

“Do you think, Wise Salmon, that this sorrowing sound may be of the Great Son?”

“I have no doubt,” said the Salmon firmly. “And I will take you to him. You may ride upon my back as I swim—but, I can only carry two. So you must come alone, Arthur, so that when you have freed the son from his captivity you may both ride back together.”

So King Arthur took leave of his knights, who saw their king off with a mixture of courage and trepidation, and he clambered aboard the long, slippery back of the Salmon of Wisdom. Quick as light glinting over the water, the Salmon swam with Arthur astride her, and it seemed the countryside sped along on either side of them with a magical speed so that in almost no time at all they were approaching the place where the stream began its journey, the spring by the great Castle of Light.

Now the Castle of Light was strangely named, for in fact it was a dark and forbidding place, overgrown and half-rotted and ruined from long neglect. As the Salmon of Wisdom drew closer to the fortress, Arthur too could hear the weeping and sorrowing sounds echoing from within its mossy stone walls. Leaping from the Salmon’s back, he charged into the dim courtyard of the castle and battered the hilt of his sword against the inner door. But the door was old and spongy with rot and gave way before him, and he thrust it open, following the sobbing noises down and down into the dripping dungeons of the Castle. There, at last, he came upon the hunched, weeping figure of a man huddled in a corner. At the noise, the man looked up, and though his eyes were red from crying, his face was radiant and youthful beneath the grimy streaks of tears.

“You there,” Arthur said, with the command of a king in his tone, “Are you Mabon, the Great Son of the Great Mother, Modron?”

The young man sniffled and wiped his nose with the back of his hand, straightening up. “For sure I am, sir, and I’ve been locked in this dreadful dungeon for ages upon ages.”

“Well,” said Arthur, “the doors have rotted and the walls have crumbled, and I have need of a great huntsman to stalk the wild, terrible boar called Twrch Trwyth. So I have come to set you free. Will you come?”

“Of course!” Mabon said, and followed Arthur swiftly from the black of the dungeons up into the wan sunlight above. Together they mounted the Salmon of Wisdom, who looked on the young man with secret gentleness and did not strive to keep the King and his huntsman dry on their return journey home. Waters from the stream splashed and danced against their sides as the Salmon leapt and plunged, her glistening body writhing with the joy of dodging rocks and limbs, and soon all the dirt and strife of years in the dark had washed from Mabon’s face and his whole being seemed to shine, strong and healthy again.

And this was how he came to his mother, Modron—bright and gleaming, accompanied by the majesty of Arthur and all his brave knights following behind—and she swept him up in an embrace of gratitude and happiness that was greater than the ocean, greater even than the sunlight and the sun itself. Then she released him, with a smile and one last thankful kiss, and gestured that he could go, with her blessing, to help Arthur hunt his ugly boar.

For, it turns out, he was indeed the greatest huntsman in all the land, and he made a swift end to the huge boar that had eluded so many before him. Then, there was a great feast and celebration afterwards, which I assume Modron and Mabon both attended with pleasure, seated honorably at the King’s own table. And that is as good a place as any for the story to end.

The children all begin asking questions at once: “Who was it who stole Mabon in the first place?” “How could he be good at hunting when he was locked up since he was a baby?” “Why did it take so long for them to find the Salmon, when she knew all along?” “Where did you hear that story, did you read it in a book?” the oldest asks. And the boy, perched on the edge of his bunk, asks, “Why did Arthur need to hunt the boar?”

“Why did Arthur need to hunt the boar?” I repeat, with a wink. “Well, that’s a whole different story, for another time!”

Categorized: Natural Reflections.

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“Global Dismemberment: Through the Shaman’s Eye” on September 20 “Why Shamanism Now?” Radio Show

“Global Dismemberment: Through the Shaman’s Eye” on September 20 “Why Shamanism Now?” Radio Show

On “Why Shamanism Now? A Practical Path to Authenticity”, Christina Pratt welcomes author and shaman Richard Whiteley to the show, where they talk about all the challenges taking place in the world today from a shamanic perspective.


Posted 13 September 2011, by Linda Woznicki, 24-7 PressRelease,


JERSEY CITY, NJ, September 13, 2011 /24-7PressRelease/ — Streaming live on the Co-Creator Radio Network on Tuesday, September 20, at 11 a.m. Pacific time/2 p.m. Eastern time, on her show “Why Shamanism Now?: A Practical Path to Authenticity,” shaman and founder of the Last Mask Center for Shamanic Healing Christina Pratt asks the question so very many are asking these days: What is happening around us? We see severe weather, colossal oil spills, and species dying off. We see illness, obesity, and rising incidents of mental illness and coping disorders. We see corruption and an unfathomable void of ethics in banking, politics, and religions around the world. We see riots, anger, and hopelessness in our communities. According to Pratt, what the shaman sees in this is “dismemberment”: the experience of being pulled apart, eaten, or stripped layer by layer, down to the bare bones on a global scale. “In a shamanic dismemberment,” explains Pratt, “the individual, unaware that the experience is occurring in an altered state, dies the little death, which is the surrender of the ego that allows for a shift of awareness and transformation of consciousness.”

In this episode of “Why Shamanism Now?” titled “Global Dismemberment: Through the Shaman’s Eye,” Pratt talks to award-winning author, teacher, consultant, motivational speaker, successful businessman, and urban shaman, Richard Whiteley who explains what is going on out there from a shamanic perspective. And perhaps more importantly, he shares why he feels there is reason to be hopeful and how we can participate with spirit in the Remembering so that the world we co-create is different than before.

Whiteley talks to Pratt as part of a series of “Why Shamanism Now?” episodes sponsored by the Society of Shamanic Practitioners (SSP). Throughout this series, Pratt explores how contemporary shamans are meeting the challenge of their world where the relations of things—the living and the dead, the humans and nature, and the technological world and the spirit world—are profoundly out of balance. It is the ancient role of the shaman in all cultures to tend the balance of things, and the question is asked: how are these shamans meeting this extraordinary need today?

Christina Pratt is an authentic, non-traditional contemporary shaman. In practice since 1990, she specializes in mending the soul and transforming the parts of life that feel impossible. A teacher of exceptional clarity, humor, and inspiration, Pratt brings the power of shamanism into the practical grasp of anyone willing to take responsibility for improving the quality of their life. Her well-received book, An Encyclopedia of Shamanism (Rosen), is an 800-page, two-volume set with over 750 in-depth entries that clearly discuss the basic concepts of shamanism, methods, and traditions of over 50 different shamanic peoples. Pratt is the founder of the Last Mask Center for Shamanic Healing in Portland, OR, and New York, NY, creator of the original Foundations of Shamanism and Shamanic Healing course at the University of Minnesota, and a frequent and honored speaker for the American Holistic Medical Association.

Richard Whiteley, author of The Corporate Shaman, (2002) was awarded five top honors shared among his three business books on customer-centered business and finding joy in your work. He is “a Harvard Business School educated, best-selling author and management consultant who moonlights as an urban shaman,” says Business Week. Whiteley co-founded The Forum Corporation, a large, global business training and consulting firm, teaches at business schools across the country, and currently offers his expertise at The Whiteley Group. Whiteley is an award-winning leader and consultant and a dynamic presenter. He earned a BA from Wesleyan University, an MBA from Harvard, served in the United States Navy for 3½ years, and studied with medicine people for the past 18 years. Whitely has a healing practice in Boston that is based on his study and practice of shamanism. His work has included power animal retrievals and soul retrieval for individuals and organizations. He has recently performed as a percussionist and vocalist on a new CD entitled “Shamanheart“. With his three sons, he has also created a drumming CD for assistance in shamanic journeying.

Why Shamanism Now? A Practical Path to Authenticity“, a live internet talk radio with host Christina Pratt, airs Tuesdays at 11 a.m. Pacific time/2 p.m. Eastern time Each week host Christina Pratt and guests explore the practical application of shamanic skills in our contemporary lives to create robust well-being, strong and clear community connections, and life enriching spiritual maturity. Listeners can ask questions by calling 512-772-1938 or via Skype. Prior episodes from “Why Shamanism Now” can be downloaded for free from the iTunes library. Pratt also talks about Shamanic Healing on YouTube.

For more information on Christina Pratt, the Last Mask Center for Shamanic Healing, and workshops and classes with Pratt, or to order An Encyclopedia of Shamanism at a special discounted rate, visit Upcoming classes with Pratt include a new Cycle of Transformation Four Year training starting October 7; advanced shamanism trainings for experienced practitioners starting with “Outlaw Shamanism: Creating Ritual and Ceremony That Works” on November 11-13, 2011; “The Basics of Living Well” series open to all starting in January 2012; as well as Shamanic Journey Circles the third Tuesday of every month; Wisdom of the Shaman talks every third Friday; and Qigong classes every Wednesday, all in Portland, Oregon. For additional information or to arrange an interview with Pratt, please contact Linda Woznicki, 845-417-8811,

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Refuse, Reduce, Recycle, and Reuse Your Way into More Sustainable Living


Refuse, Reduce, Recycle, and Reuse Your Way into More Sustainable Living


Posted 14 September 2011, by Caroline Higgins, Technorati,



Can we as consumers help to make positive global environmental changes with our purchasing power? Absolutely. Each time we make a purchase, we are supporting manufacturers who often need to adjust production in order to help lighten their carbon footprints. They won’t begin to do this until they receive notification from you, the consumer, in the way of decreased sales. The products in our hands and in our cupboards are truly what impacts not only their bottom line, but Mother’s Earth’s as well. We must all consider our part in the impact and cost on our planet.

What are the ways that this can be done, you might ask. To begin with, when considering a purchase, ask yourself if you really need the item. This is the very first step, towards REDUCING your carbon imprint. Secondly, take a good look at that packaging, and REFUSE all items that are marketed for single use. Is it something that can be recycled, or will it just end up as another piece in the massive landfill we are acquiring? Always try to purchase locally made and produced items when available. Support your local economy.

A good rule of thumb to think about when purchasing and item, is ‘will this cause harm to anyone or anything by purchasing it?’

Think of ways you can REUSE all items you bring into your day. Consider free cycle, barter, or donations to charitable organizations, rather than hauling it to the dump. There is value in your discarded items, if you remember that old rule –“Your trash is someone’s treasure.”

If you haven’t already begun a COMPOST pile, now is the time to do so. Along with the usual garden and food items, there are things you haven’t thought of including, such as dryer lint, hair, ash, and floor sweepings which can be included in red worm bins.

We all are, hopefully, involved in RECYCLING in our daily lives, but estimates reveal that everyone can reduce their household trash percentages by 75-80% if they will only become aware of what they are discarding. Just ask yourself, is there a better alternative? More often than not, you will find that there definitely is a better choice for you and Mother Earth.


Article Author: Caroline Higgins

Caroline Higgins is a Technorati editor, social media connoisseur, and writer, which keeps her glued to the screen for the most part. She has a keen interest in the latest breaking news within the technical, science, entertainment, health and sporting worlds. …

Caroline Higgins’s author pageAuthor’s Blog



Care for the earth and care of the body


Care for the earth and care of the body


Posted 14 September 2011, by Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J. *, Catholic News Agency,



Care for God’s beloved creation presupposes a universal purpose of the earth’s goods.  Stewardship brings with it responsible freedom “to respect creation and to  promote an environmental culture that is based on respect for ethical values, the protection of life, an economy of solidarity and sustainable development.”  (Benedict XVI: “Pope Encourages Ethical Ecology,” June 7, 2007). The issues are all of the same cloth, and attending to one without the other distorts the unitary view of the earth. Environmental imposition of contraceptives, abortion, genetic manipulation of human beings, and other distortions of the ethical norms that affect the care of human beings, must be rejected.

Catholic Social Justice and the Family

Moral principles begin with the family nucleus which is oriented toward joy, life and love.  The transcendent character of men and women and their relationship with their Creator “favors an ecological respect for the environment and a respect for the dignity of every human being from conception to natural death” (Ibid).

Catholic social justice is justice according to the natural law.  It is not mercy, giving the undeserved what they do not deserve.  It accords the innocent what they deserve.  It lifts up the humble.  Catholic social justice affirms and protects the life of the individual and the family, and in a just society, ownership and property are ideals that protect the family.  Those who work deserve the fruits of their labor.  Freedom, the art of self-governing and self-control, opposes any arrangement that destroys the family.  To paraphrase St. Paul, the family is the temple of God, and God must dwell within it. This is the essence of the Church’s teaching on social justice.

The Human Body

It goes without saying that the body participates in an integrated vision of the human person.  Blessed John Paul II never ceased to remind us, and particularly our youth, that the human body has a specific meaning and role to play in our redemption.  (John Paul II: “General Audience on the Theology of the Body,” (1982-84). Caring for it has assumed greater importance at a time when the body is seen as a machine to be manipulated, abused and misused in the name of self-gratification and personal freedom.  “We are temples of God,” Paul reminds us, “and God [does] dwell within” (1 Cor 3:16). To internalize the divine indwelling is to reverence all of God’s creation.

Fragrance of the Garden

A healthy garden must be watered, trimmed and kept clean. As a healthy garden scents the atmosphere with its fragrances, so the lives of those who bear fruit and exude “the odor of sanctity,” made tangible through their person.  In Catholic asceticism, “the odor of sanctity” has come to mean that fragrance proceeding from the person, clothing, or domicile of a saint during life or after death.  The phrase also refers to a reputation for goodness and righteousness.  In his classic, “The Graces of Interior Prayer,” A. Poulain writes: “Many saints have emitted agreeable odours during their lifetime or at death.  These odours were various; they resembled those of the violet or the rose, orange-blossom, cinnamon, musk, benjamin, etc” (375, starred footnote).  A beautiful scent may have the force of persuasion that convinces more than words or appearance.  Paul links holiness in Christ to the image of a fragrant aroma:

But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads in every place the fragrance that comes from knowing him.  For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to the one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life (2 Cor 2:14-16).

Similarly, Mahatma Gandhi compares the scent of a rose to the gospel of Christ and the Christian way of life:

Let your life speak to us even as the rose needs no speech but simply spreads its perfume. Even the blind who do not see the rose perceive its fragrance.  That is the secret of the rose.  But the Gospel that Jesus preached is much more subtle and fragrant than the Gospel of the rose.  If the rose needs no agent, much less does the Gospel of Christ need any agent (S.K. George, Gandhi and the Church,” published on Gandhi’s 75th birthday).
Despite the grim picture of our torn and unlovely world, our task is to be fruitful in the garden and make it an array of beauty for ourselves and for others in the present.  Dedicated care-givers do this every day. The Creator-Spirit who breathed and brooded over cosmos is the same Spirit who, in every age and with our cooperation produces new and beautiful fruits.

* Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, a member of the Congregation of St. Joseph, Brentwood, NY, holds degrees in philosophy (Ph.L), musicology (Ph.D.), theology (M.A.), and liturgical studies (Ph.D). She has taught at all levels of Catholic education and writes with a particular focus on a theology of beauty and the sacred arts. Her e-mail address is



Rigoberta Menchú and Nobel Peace Laureates: Halt tar sands

Rigoberta Menchú and Nobel Peace Laureates: Halt tar sands

Nobel Peace Laureates Dalai Lama, Rigoberta Menchu and Desmund Tutu among nine urging: Halt tar sands

The 14th Dalai Lama


Posted 07 September 2011, by Brenda Norrell, Censored News,


Censored News

Rigoberta Menchú

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama and Nobel Peace Laureates Rigoberta Menchú of Guatemala and Archbishop Desmund Tutu of South Africa, joined six other Nobel Peace Laureates urging President Obama to reject the Keystone XL pipeline, an environmental disaster in the making.

The Nobel Peace Laureates recognized those arrested during the past two weeks of sit-ins at the White House. The 1,252 arrested included members of the Indigenous Environmental Network arrested with author and activist Naomi Klein. First Nations from Canada arrested included actress Tantoo Cardinal, Cree, from Alberta, Canada, where tar sands mining is already destroying the homelands of First Nations.

Debra White Plume, Owe Aku, Bring Back the Way, Lakota grandmother and activist from Oglala land in Pine Ridge, South Dakota, was arrested in the Indigenous delegation. After being released from jail, White Plume, along with Kandi Mossett of the Indigenous Environmental Network, met with US State Department official Daniel A. Clune, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Environmental and Scientific Affairs. There they urged the State Department to consult at high levels with Native leaders and to consider Section 106 (tribal consultations) in line with free, prior and informed consent as set forth in the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Mossett has lost two young friends to deaths because of the heavy oil and gas traffic that the boom industry has brought to her homeland of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara in North Dakota. Mossett sent a message to President Obama, to look her in the eyes and listen to her story before approving the tarsands pipeline. During the arrests in front of the White House, Obama did not acknowledge or address the protesters, which included Dene Chief Bill Erasmus from Yellowknife, Canada.

The Nobel Peace Laureates reminded Obama of his own promise for creating a clean energy economy. The Nobel Peace Laureates’ statement comes as another dirty war was waged over the dirty tar sands. In the dirty war of deceptive media, a tarsands campaign was waged on the Oprah Winfrey Network by the so-called “Ethical Oil” campaign which attempts to muddy the truth about the tarsands. This dirty media campaign promotes the tarsands by muddying the water about human rights. A counter-campaign called for a boycott of the Oprah Winfrey Network on Wednesday until the “Ethical Oil” advertisements cease.

The Nobel Peace Laureates point out the immense Ogallala aquifer in the Great Plains, in the heartland of the United States, which the proposed tarsands pipeline would cross, if approved. Those lands, between Alberta, Canada and Texas, include Indian country. The highly corrosive tarsands oil is likely to result in a pipeline spill and contaminate the region’s drinking water in the Ogallala aquifer. The danger to this water source brought Nebraska farmers to the White House where they were arrested during the past two weeks.

Dear President Obama,

We—a group of Nobel Peace Laureates—are writing today to ask you to do the right thing for our environment and reject the proposal to build the Keystone XL, a 1700-mile pipeline that would stretch from Canada’s Alberta tar sands to the Texas Gulf Coast.

It is your decision to make.

The night you were nominated for president, you told the world that under your leadership—and working together—the rise of the oceans will begin to slow and the planet will begin to heal. You spoke of creating a clean energy economy. This is a critical moment to make good on that pledge, and make a lasting contribution to the health and well being of everyone of this planet.

In asking you to make this decision, we recognize the more than 1200 Americans who risked arrest to protest in front of the White House between August 20th and September 3rd. These brave individuals have spoken movingly about experiencing the power of nonviolence in facing authority. They represent millions of people whose lives and livelihoods will be affected by construction and operation of the pipeline in Alberta, Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas.

All along its prospective route, the pipeline endangers farms, wildlife and precious water aquifers—including the Ogallala Aquifer, the US’ main source of freshwater for America’s heartland. We are aware that Nebraska’s Governor Dave Heineman—as well as two Nebraska Senators—has urged you to reconsider the pathway of the pipeline. In his letter to you he clearly stated his concern about the threat to this crucial water source for Nebraska’s farmers and ranchers. The aquifer supplies drinking water to two million people in Nebraska and seven other states. We know that another pipeline that covers some of the same route as the proposed pipeline, and built by the same company proposing to build Keystone XL, already leaked 14 times over its first year of operation. Like you, we understand that strip-mining and drilling tar sands from under Alberta’s Boreal forests and then transporting thousands of barrels of oil a day from Canada through to Texas will not only hurt people in the US—but will also endanger the entire planet. After the oil fields of Saudi Arabia, the full development of the Alberta tar sands will create the world’s second largest potential source of global warming gases. As NASA climatologist James Hansen has said, this is “essentially game over for the climate.”

There is a better way.

Your rejection of the pipeline provides a tremendous opportunity to begin transition away from our dependence on oil, coal and gas and instead increase investments in renewable energies and energy efficiency.

We urge you to say ‘no’ to the plan proposed by the Canadian-based company TransCanada to build the Keystone XL, and to turn your attention back to supporting renewable sources of energy and clean transportation solutions. This will be your legacy to Americans and the global community: energy that sustains the lives and livelihoods of future generations.

Mairead Maguire, Nobel Peace Laureate (1976) – Ireland
Betty Williams, Nobel Peace Laureate (1976) – Ireland
Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, Nobel Peace Laureate (1980) – Argentina
Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Laureate (1984) – South Africa
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Nobel Peace Laureate (1989) – Tibet
Rigoberta Menchú Tum, Nobel Peace Laureate (1992) – Guatemala
José Ramos-Horta, Nobel Peace Laureate (1996) – East Timor
Jody Williams, Nobel Peace Laureate (1997) – USA
Shirin Ebadi, Nobel Peace Laureate (2003) – Iran