Hey Texas! Show Your Support for the Open Internet

The debate on Net Neutrality is coming to Texas — and this is your chance to speak out.

FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai is holding an open forum on Net Neutrality at Texas A&M University in College Station on Tues., Oct. 21. Don’t miss out on this chance to show a key decision maker that you support real Net Neutrality.
Here are the details:
What: Rally and Speakout for Net Neutrality
When: 9 a.m. on Tues., Oct. 21
Where: Outside Hagler Auditorium, Annenberg Presidential Conference Center, 4347 TAMU, 1002 George Bush Drive W, Texas A&M, College Station
Bring: Bring a sign expressing your support for Net Neutrality.
Note: Right after the rally we’ll head inside Hagler Auditorium at 10 a.m. for the commissioner’s forum.
Commissioners rarely leave Washington to meet with the public, and as of now this event is the only one of its kind on the calendar. But Pai’s hardly a Net Neutrality advocate — in fact, he’d be happy to let a few mammoth companies lock down the Internet and charge us more money.
That’s why we need you there on Oct. 21.
RSVP today to tell Commissioner Pai that you’ll stand for nothing less than real Net Neutrality.




Home from the City

140803-Abiquiu-asc_0664RLSs copyAnd so I made my weary way back from Sackcloth and Ashes, bringing with me a little package of ashes to sprinkle in my yard, and ran into one of those situations where everything goes wrong at the same time, just little things, and so I finally gave up and decided to get home before dark. That didn’t work out either. I’m getting much too old for these things, and my body knows it if my brain does not. So about at Abiquiu my eyes were not cooperating and I just zipped into the Abiquiu Inn. Yes, I know there is no such spelling; it is pronounced Abi-Q.

140803-Abiquiu-asc_0659RLSs copyThis is the first Inn I’ve stayed, that I can recommend, in a long time. Clean but not toxic, friendly, plenty of fresh air, hot shower, clean room and nice little roads you can walk around under the giant old cottonwood trees, and some others I don’t know what they are — probably walk down to the Chama River, we didn’t go that far. And in the autumn (not yet but soon) it is pure gold in the Valley. I always stop to photograph. Of course I locked my keys in the pickup, but the manager, Ben Wallace got me on the road again in the morning, after an excellent breakfast that made me think of Larry. Oatmeal with lots of additives. If I knew they had a coffee shop I would have been stopping often, as this is about halfway from home to Santa Fe. http://www.abiquiuinn.com

140803-Abiquiu-asc_0666RLSs copyI was sorry to miss the workshop that was held at the Rising Moon, http://www.risingmoongalleryandartcenter.com/, just up the hill from the Inn and near the post office. Unfortunately at the same time as the Sackcloth and Ashes, they had Jimmy Santiago Baca http://www.jimmysantiagobaca.com/ for the weekend. I did read one of his books, and you should too. The story of a life well lived.

140803-Abiquiu-asc_0667RLSs copy “Brown and old as earth,
Listen how the bells toll
At the new night’s birth
As twilight rubs on adobe walls
Her holy ashes.”

Now this morning, which I think is Tuesday, is already getting nippy, and I’m almost ready for summer, and now I am home again.

What an amazing Life is here.

140805-Bitsy-asc_0677RSs copyI just got a much more adequate solar system and have been rejoicing on the internet, but I have to be careful not to overdo as with more than one cup of coffee before the solar oven kicks in. Bitsy had a quarrel with a skunk yesterday and got ejected from the bedroom last night, so she went up to the loft, where I assume it is warmer, and did a bit of lonely whining. Then she came down (there really isn’t a bedroom, but I have put a net over my bed to exclude the Assasin bugs that may or may not carry chagas disease) and she sneaked up on the foot of the bed, on top of the net, looking guilty. I came up negative for chagas BTW, after numerous bites and a lot of exposure to the packrat nests that may or may not contain the parasite. It reminded me it is not always the OTHER GUY who bites he bullet. (Thanks to the local clinic and Dr. Palestine, I feel better about it). So that’s good. I don’t know about Bitsy. The vet didn’t want to test her. A&M has a study on Chagas disease in dogs in Texas. Not so rare.

The next challenge is the Peromyscus mice that moved in when the rats left, and potentially carry Hanta virus. But — I am courting at least two garter snakes that come out in the morning to bask, and I think they are having an impact on the mice population. It used to be rattlesnakes coming to bask, but we only killed two, younger, rattlesnakes this year and the garter snakes moved in, so I hope to have changed that balance. Look close and you will see her looking back. Measured by the fence, she is about 26 inches long. I also concreted one of the major rat/snake pathways.
140728-snake-140728-asc_0525s copy 2
When the sun popped over the cliff this morning, the day clear for the first time in a while, our first visitor was a black headed grosbeak. This time it was either mother or young, and instead of just taking a few swallows of water, it hung around for about half an hour picking at this and that in the yard. And all this in between times I was moving the solar panels and putting stuff into the solar oven. When I went back in the cabin and sat down to read (In The Buddha’s Words by Bhikku Bodhi and Down the Long Hills by Louis L’Amour) I almost missed the wild turkey male followed by his little flock, as they paraded RIGHT BY as though we were not even here.

140729-plants-asc_0539 as Smart Object-1RLSs copy 2The season is short here, and one can see it change almost overnight. Leaves are beginning to turn, thistle seeds are dancing in the sun. But it’s not only in the plants and flowers and animals each doing their thing, but the entire biological body of Life turns to the sun, responds to the weather, and moves on toward the next season as unit.

Remember those movies where they shrunk down a submarine and toured around inside a human body? I stand here on the (figuratively speaking) endothelium of Life itself, not only observing out the window of a submarine

Bare Bones Biology 212 – Thinking From Both Ends

“Some people (cling) to angst as if it were a virtue. I let it go with relief. Optimism (is) a gift at birth. Bottles (are) half full, not half empty.” (Dick Francis, “To the Hilt”)

140624-snake-ASC_9468RSss copyIn fact, any bottle or glass that is half full is also half empty, and if, for example, you live out-of-doors in rattlesnake country, as I do, you would be wise to look first to the rattlesnake’s fangs, and then to its beauty. (This picture is not a rattlesnake. Upside? We are keeping it to eat mice. The mice are very cute. Downside? Hanta virus, and there was a very serious recent case of someone who did not KNOW about Hanta virus.)

Here’s a small example of withholding the half-empty information in order to influence decision making and sell stuff. Take a look at the hybrid sunflower seeds I bought last week in Santa Fe. Pretty picture on the front of the package. Writing on the back explains that these sunflowers are better than most, because they “do not drip pollen on your beautiful tabletop.” OK, that’s the good news. Now tell us the rest. No such luck. The package does not mention the downside. Everything has a downside.

I assume the downside of these hybrid sunflowers is that they cannot make viable seeds. At least that is a common result of hybridization. Like a mule, which is also a hybrid organism. Mules are very useful animals with special talents, but unfortunately they are sterile and so cannot make more mules. These seeds, I assume, are also sterile. That’s why they don’t make pollen and that’s also why they probably don’t make fertile seeds.

I’m not saying we should mope about in “angst” because we don’t know how to make wise decisions. But we do need to take responsibility for both ends of each problem. The good and bad, the yin and yang, the half-full and half-empty. Find ALL the information you need to make wise decisions, which is all the good and all the bad – fact check the information – discuss it with people who have genuine expertise and with people who will be affected by your decisions — and make a plan.

We cannot grow a healthy community when some people are not willing to look at the downside; other people are getting rich by withholding the information we need to make wise decisions; and everyone else is confused because they don’t see the connection between the upside and the downside. Or they choose to ignore the fact that everything has a downside. And that’s the kind of human interactions we are promoting today.

So what are we doing instead? We are fighting it out, which is the same as not deciding. When we choose to not research the downside and the upside, or in other ways avoid our responsibility to make wise decisions – we are deciding to not decide. Not making decisions is a choice; that’s why I say there are always more than two choices attached to any problem. When you choose to not choose wisely, you are in fact choosing to let someone else choose for you. You are choosing to be the victim of other people’s choices.

Here’s a really big and very important example.
First I’ll give a glass-half-full opinion:

“We should encourage growth of the human population because population growth maintains economic growth.”

Here is a half empty opinion:

“We should try to avoid human overpopulation because in the long run the economy will crash from not having enough resources to feed the growth AND because human over-growth kills off other parts of the Biosystem that create the resources.”

There are data to support both answers, but if you are fighting on the side of either answer by claiming the other is not true — rather than studying and discussing the problem from both ends – then we all are losing forever our precious opportunity to make wise choices now.

This is Bare Bones Biology, a production of FactFictionFanc and KEOS radio, 89.1 FM, in Bryan, Texas.

A copy of this podcast can be downloaded at:

Definition – Can You Improve It?

131208-ice-ASC_7643RLSsI think of wisdom as fundamentally the ability to understand the relationship between one’s cultural knowledge and one’s cultural and physical environment. I started using the term “wisdom cloud” to refer to the accumulated wisdom of our human cultural environment, and I am assuming the function of our cultural environment is to provide an environment in which people mature knowing how to behave in ways that will benefit the welfare of the community. I use the term “wisdom systems” to refer to subsets of belief that have been formalized. It’s not the best term one could use because it implies that all wisdom systems are wise. This is not so. The wise system is that which results in the greatest overall benefit to Life, if well used, because it most accurately reflects fundamental biological reality, or now that we also must deal with scientific information, does not deny the reality of measurable facts.

131214-Clubhouse-ASC_7673YLSs copy 2If I were to state this from the viewpoint of an omnipotent creator I would say that Creator set in motion the laws of nature (which are super-human and which humans can neither fully understand nor change) to select for or grow a system that functions according to the greatest good for all sentient beings, which ultimately is the greatest good for the one Life of Earth.

The Creation is a miracle that we should celebrate and protect. This year I plan to celebrate that miracle at a midnight musical service, and I wish you the same or similar experience.

The Real Answer

In this day and age, the corposystem has taken control over the education system and is teaching us basically the reverse of what I said yesterday (Bare Bones Biology 174).  It is teaching us that happiness is the goal of human life – rather than the contentment of a job well done – and it is teaching us that we humans can control the Laws of Nature (therefore there is no point to studying the needs of any other part of the Life system.)  It is teaching us that we do not need to know the basic laws of Life on Earth; that all we humans need is humanism.

If that were the case, then our happiness would be easy, but in fact humanism is not enough, because humanism today believes in the dominance of humankind over everything else, and that is not really true, so you begin and end with a lie that benefits the welfare only of deep pockets (the corposystem, defined below) and causes irreparable harm to the balance of Life (the Biosystem/Ecosystem defined below).

The ideals that are taught by the corposystem are a lie, and we can’t align ourselves with a lie because the reality is that we simply don’t fit in, and we always know that we do not fit.  Knowing that we do not fit is not happiness and provides us no way to do a job well done.

131022-Chama-ASC_6784RLS2Thus humans generally don’t have the information they need to align themselves with factual reality, and therefore human-kind is always looking to buy something to make us happy.  Or, if one aspires to the upper classes, finding something to sell.  The current generation seems very hung up on trying to prove they each are better than the other – another impossible goal – or yet more incredibly trying to prove that we know more about what the Biosystem needs than even the Biosystem “knows.”

And so the Corposystem is in a constant impossible war for dominance against the Biosystem, and humans are constantly engaged in impossible wars for dominance over each other.  Confusion creates war creates money, and the function of the corposystem is to make always more money, without regard to the welfare of the people, or rather using the fake image of welfare to activate and reactivate that imitation welfare-money-imitation welfare-money cycle.

Entirely to the contrary, the function of the Biosystem is to maintain Life.  And that is what my blog is all about.

If you followed Bare Bones Biology from the beginning, I have progressed over the 3+ years, beginning more or less with facts about the whole of the Biosystem, and then working more toward study of facts, realities and truths at the level of biological and social communities, and lately I’ve been talking more about individual human realities.

During that period of time, the corposystem has co-opted some words that I need and changed their meanings to support the corposystem modus operandi – which is to generate confusion.  Also I have received more inquiries about the definition of corposystem.  Therefore, over the next three or four blogs I plan to define the terms I use, and then proceed again to answer the question “what can we do?” but the short answer is that we will never understand what/why we need to do until we as individuals learn how to align our own opinions with the Facts of Life, and then use that knowledge to the benefit of the 7th generation to com.


I provide these definitions, not to start another corposystem war over whose definition is better (who cares, we need words to talk with and we need to talk if we are to avoid more wars).  My hope is, if you will understand my definitions (or yours) then we can both talk about the same things – worthwhile things — and not just argue over unimportant things while the balance of Life around is us is being destroyed by us.

Biology.  The study of Life (all of Life, and the laws of nature that make Life possible on earth) using the scientific method.  The scientific method requires study of measurable facts.  If you aren’t using the scientific method to study measurable facts, then you technically are not a biologist, even if you know more about something than someone else who is defined as a biologist.

Scientific Method.
  The scientific method is the study of measurable facts followed by a formal review system that makes sure the discovered knowledge is available for discussion by the human community.  Contrary to common usage, the study of Life without using the scientific method is not science.  By definition, science and scientists use the scientific method to study measurable facts.  It is entirely possible to study reality without using the scientific method, but then your results may or may not be measurable facts.  There is nothing wrong with things that are not measurable facts.  They aren’t science, but some of them are a lot nicer than science.  The reason to keep these defined categories is the same as the reason for definitions.  They are a great help to us in our efforts to align ourselves with realities of life, and so grow a satisfying world view, as discussed in Bare Bones Biology 175.

Basic Biology.
  This definition is the same as the above, but specifically refers to the learning to understand the natural laws that make Life possible, not to how we use these laws after we understand them.

Applied Biology. is the same as biological technology.  The technological use of our scientifric (biological) understandings to make or do something that we want to make or do.  Usually, in the modern corposystem, to make money.  This includes technologists such as physicians, wildlife management professionals, etc.  Any technological application of biology is applied biology.  Most biologists in today’s world do not realize that applied biology is not basic biology.  Applied biology can cause great harm to the Biosystem if its basic applications are not fully considered.  Overpopulation is a perfect example of this fact of Life.  Too many of one life form can unbalance the Biosystem in which it lives — so that species eats up all of its food and crashes that system.  This is natural, but if we don’t want to crash our own system we should be considering the relationship between “saving lives” and the future welfare of the system of which we are a part.

we cannot make conclusions about “good” and “bad” behaviors without considering the long-term expected results of these behaviors or we are likely to accidentally cause great harm.  Applied sciences that do not consider the basic science usually make this kind of mistake.  For this reason, technology is very dangerous without consideration of basic biology, and debates over what is right and what is wrong do not solve problems that are caused by ignoring the basic facts of Life.

Earth Systems Final2 copy 2Facts.  Facts are things that we cannot change.  There are at least two kinds of facts.  First are historical facts; things like your date of birth; we can lie about them but we cannot change the reality, and anyhow, I’m not talking about history; I am talking about the laws of nature. The Laws of Nature are facts like gravity, weight, thermodynamics, measurable energy, evolution and death. The whole of human history and human power have grown in the human mind that wanted to understand the facts of Life IN ORDER TO SURVIVE into a comfortable future. That is, until the last few generations. Now, it seems, we no longer believe that our survival depends upon the facts of Life. Instead, we have come to believe that we can change the facts to suit ourselves. We even write books about it that I will not reference, but we actually believe them.

For these authors, the unfortunate thing about facts is that it doesn’t matter what we believe, the facts keep on going just the way they always have done, because a fact is not something humans decided to believe in. A fact is something that would be here even if there were no humans, and the bottom line fact is this — humans cannot survive without the living earth that gives us life – it is the forever facts that created the living earth Biosystem — and competing with that which gives us life does not make us big and wonderful and powerful; it makes us dead.

But of course we would be dead anyway, sooner or later, so the more important reason to understand the facts of Life is to avoid causing misery and suffering by fighting wars against realities that we cannot change, and to know the difference between what we humans can control and what we cannot control.

Community.  The biological definition of community is very different from the social sciences definition. Biologically, a group of any one species (such as a group of people), the biological word for that is not community – it is population.  The population of humans in College Station.  The population of goatweeds on my ranch.  The population of a certain kind of mosquito in the Brazos Valley.

The biological definition of community is: The system that is composed of all the plants and other organisms that live in the same area and interact with one another.

131020-dng-CanyonASC_6779RLSsSo biologically, a community is ALL the organisms. Because they all do interact with each other, either directly or indirectly.  All the populations in the Brazos Valley. The population of goatweeds and of mosquitoes and of humans – all those populations of organisms together form the community of the Brazos Valley, along with all the millions more populations of organisms. When I say millions, we must consider the good rich soil of the bottom-land and all the other places where there are – yes – millions of different kinds of micro-organisms contributing to Life, if we haven’t killed them off, and all the plants and all the insects, the spiders that used to live here and everything else that is alive. That is the biological definition of community.

So it seems that everyone who is using the word community is not talking about the same thing – but we all are right. Whenever everyone is right, and they are all using the same words to mean different things, that is a perfect setup for arguments. But why argue? We do want the same thing; we only need to know what it is.

I believe a human community is a group of people who interact with each other in an emotional and social system that is very much like the physical system of a biological community. The function of biological communities is to promote the welfare of Life Itself, or one could say to maintain Life in environments that change.  The biological community does this using the sustainable physical system of biological interactions.

The valid function of human communities is also to serve Life — so that Life may provide for us the earth, air, fire and water that we require to maintain our human communities.  However, in practice, human communities in our culture primarily serve their own vision of human welfare, and they do this using emotional and intellectual interactions among humans, in addition to physical interactions.   Our current culture unfortunately is not based in a sustainable system, which is why I keep on writing this blog.

Sustainable.  This is a very interesting word.  It does not mean that everything stays the same.  It can mean that the essence survives indefinitely.  The essence of Life is – Life.  Life is sustainable on earth (so far) even though individuals cannot live forever.  Well, really, BECAUSE individuals die (and for a lot of other reasons) and because life forms (species) that cause harm also become extinct, therefore Life on earth is sustainable.  To understand sustainability one must begin with the core essence of a thing.  The core essence of our culture is profit gained from growth.  That is not sustainable on earth. Human social systems have been successful so long as the earth could provide enough resources of food, air, water and soil to support the human communities, but they are not sustainable (Diamond, Collapse).  However, our economic system could be made sustainable if we were to rewrite all the corporate documents to require biological and economic sustainability as the prime directive, and enforce that directive with a sustainable rule of law.

What is a System?  According to the dictionary, a system is “a set of connected things or parts forming a complex whole, in particular, a set of things working together as parts of a mechanism or an interconnecting network.”  I was once advised, by a university professor with whom I was discussing some improvement that should be made in the educational system:  “The function of an organization is to perpetuate itself.”  I have remembered this comment because I believe that it is very true – if it cannot maintain itself, it’s not a viable or sustainable system.

I believe a system perhaps originates as a singularity – a rare and fortunate coming-together of a set of processes that function well to maintain an emergent (new and useful) process that contributes positively to the whole. The creation of the corporation might be an example – or the creation of Life on earth.  The emergent function of the Biosystem is to maintain Life; the emergent function of the corposystem is to grow wealth.

In my own definition, a well-established system has at least two additional characteristics that  make it more likely than not to perpetuate itself.  The first is the ability to respond to modest changes in its environment.  Climate change is a fact-based reality — an example of the Earth Biosystem/Ecosystem responding to change in the human populations.  The second quality that systems develop to perpetuate themselves is protection from outside influences that might tend to cause disruption or require change.  An example of this sort of thing might be human belief systems that protect social systems from disruptive ideas – for example, the climate-change deniers’ belief system permits him to continue believing in his life-style without change.

So my definition of a system is a group of processes that function together as parts of a complex interconnected whole that generates a specialized useful emergent property or function and is organized to perpetuate itself by balancing processes that ensure stability with processes that ensure variability.

The unique emergent property of the Biosystem is Life.

The unique emergent property of the Corposystem is its growth-related profit mechanism.

Emergent Property.  An emergent property is a characteristic of a system that results when all the parts of the system function together, and is different from any of the parts separately.  For example, the emergent property of Life results from a particular combination of things (molecules) that are not alive.  An emergent property of water is that it is a liquid at room temperature.  Water is made of oxygen and hydrogen that are gases at room temperature.  There are many liquids, but water is a unique liquid.  So the emergent property of water is the unique and very specific characteristics of water.

The whole earth ecosystem is an evolved system that uses the energy from the sun to maintain and increase complexity of life in a universe that is flowing toward entropy in accordance with what humans refer to as the First and Second Laws of Thermodynamics.  To accomplish a balanced, sustainable stability of Life, the billions of earth systems must be able to respond to change, within and without itself, and that capability is achieved through the Law of Evolution, or the ability to balance its billions of interacting processes in response to changes within and without itself.  This is accomplished by the exquisite balance of the interacting web of limiting factors.  In times of little environmental change, the limiting factors discourage variability by selecting processes or organisms that function to maintain stability.  In times of environmental disruption, the limiting factors permit and select for biological variants (mutants).  Whenever variability is increased, the system has more options to select forms that are able to function more effectively in the new or changed environmental conditions, so the whole system becomes more capable of change.

Potentially, limiting factors are each of the interacting factors that are required for Life to survive.  For example, Life requires food; if there is not enough food, then food is a limiting factor.

The Biosystem is the Life of Earth.  Life of earth is stable when all the interacting factors of its environment are stable.  Life is sustainable because it can change when the interacting factors of its environment change.  Life changes mostly by the process of evolution.  Usually that involves responding to environmental change (change in limiting factors) using positive and negative selection by means of limiting factors.  Useful species survive; harmful species become extinct.

131022-Chama-ASC_6790RLSsThe corposystem is a system that uses energy resources provided by the earth ecosystem to generate continual growth, and the function of the growth is to make profits that are used to make more growth.  The corposystem operates by Ponzi economics, and therefore is neither stable (because the continual growth generates constant unbalancing and reorganization of the limiting factors) nor is it sustainable (because nothing can grow forever unless it has unlimited resources).  At the current time the corposystem operates as though the Law of Evolution (which humans cannot change) is based in competition and power.  It is not, see the above; evolution functions by balancing the limiting factors; the corposystem operates by growth, which unbalances the limiting factors.  The modern human corposystem is defined by human laws and by-laws that require growth of both money and population, and we are now at the point where the earth provisions are not sufficient to accommodate this requirement.  Therefore, the earth ecosystem is coming unbalanced, throwing up a myriad of different sorts of variables (climatic, genetic, social, economic, species extinctions) that wlll VERY soon, maybe 20 to 50 years, make our Bio130902-Monero-ASC_5831RLSs copysystem unfit for human habitation.

We could make the corposystem both stable and sustainable if we would change the corposystem imperative (growth), and there are quite a few economics books available on this subject that are written by trained economists.  I have not read them, but I do know it is biologically possible to grow a stable and sustainable human presence within Life of Earth if we were to balance the limiting factors of the corposystem and align them with the needs of the Biosystem.  I also know if we choose not to do this for ourselves, then the limiting factors of the Biosystem will do it for us and we will become extinct, and Life will start over as it has done several times over the millions of years of its evolution.

Scientific Consensus on Maintaining Humanity’s Life Support Systems


By the time today’s children reach middle age, it is extremely likely that Earth’s life-support systems, critical for human prosperity and existence, will be irretrievably damaged by the magnitude, global extent, and combination of these human-caused environmental stressors, unless we take concrete, immediate actions to ensure a sustainable, high-quality future.!

As members of the scientific community actively involved in assessing the biological and societal impacts of global change, we are bringing this alarm to the world for humanity’s continued health and prosperity, we all — individuals, businesses, political leaders, religious leaders, scientists and people in every walk of life — must work hard to solve these five global problems, starting today:

1.  Climate disruption

2.  Extinctions

3.  Loss of Ecosystem Diversity

4.  Pollution

5.  Human Population Growth and Resource Consumption

Bare Bones Biology 153 – Compassionate Earth Walk

Shodo Spring is leading the Compassionate Earth Walk along the route of the Tar Sands Pipeline, beginning July 1, 2013.  If you want to participate in this walk, contact Shodo at www.compassionateearthwalk.org/

I asked for the story behind this walk, and here is her answer.

Shodo Spring – “Let’s go back to about 2005.  At this point I had heard about global warming.  I had heard about peak oil.  And I wasn’t sure my facts were correct.  I went to a talk by Richard Heinberg (https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2012/05/05/), and after the talk I thought — not only I was right, but it’s a lot worse than I thought it was.  And then I went into a state of sort of horror and depression for a couple of years, and then there was a new baby in our family.

sitting 2011 DCI went to visit them when he was five months old.  He laughed all the time.  I would look at him laughing, and he was completely trusting and confident, and I thought:  “How can we do this?  This is just so bad.”  A year or so later I took a permaculture class, and I realized that we already have the technologies.  It has nothing to do with developing technologies.  It simply has to do with political will.

I started learning to garden.  I became involved with the local transition group, and everything I was doing was local and small.  There’s a lot you can do at the level of the local community.  It’s called resilience, and it’s a matter of preparing to be ready when bad things happen.  (Note from LL – folks in our Brazos Valley Community who want to become involved with a resilience group get in touch with Charlie Lindahl.  Everyone else, check out Rob Hopkins’ publications and his Resilience movement, which started in Great Britain and now is nearly everywhere, at http://www.transitionculture.org/).

Our focus was mostly on peak oil (http://PostCarbon.org) because that’s a little easier to deal with and because climate change wasn’t as obvious then as it is now.

So now it’s 2013, and on a national and international scale there has been essentially no action to do the things that we already know how to do that we could do without even denting our life style, that we could do and create lots and lots of jobs.  For instance rehabilitating housing stock, stopping the subsidies to agriculture and moving them to a sustainable kind of agriculture, stopping the subsidies to big oil and moving it to alternative energy.  None of this stuff has happened, except in a few countries.  Germany has done some good things.  Basically, our country and most of the rich countries of the world have proceeded merrily along the path to destruction.  So there we are.  I am horrified.

So I was increasingly aware of all these things, and I was in training.  I was living in Bloomington, Indiana, I was studying Zen Buddhism, I had commitments there, and the only way I could handle it was to put my commitments at the temple first.  So I did environmental work around the edges.

When I finished my training, I went, in August 2011, to the White House, to demonstrate against the pipeline.  I got arrested, wearing my Buddhist robes.  The last thing I had to do with my training was to spend six months in monastic training, and I so I then went to California to do that.

In September, I was sitting in the Zendo and I started seeing pictures.  Internal mental pictures of myself walking along the pipeline route.  I had never been there; I didn’t know what it looked like; but I kept seeing these pictures and they didn’t go away.

I thought about it, I considered it, I talked to the teachers, and basically I came to the conclusion that I actually needed to go and walk along the pipeline with a group of people.”

Shodo Spring


The Compassionate Earth Walk is a spiritual pilgrimage

honoring our place within the community of life.

The human species is at a crossroads.

Our decisions now will profoundly influence the future of our children and of the whole earth.

The Keystone pipeline has become a poignant symbol of the risks of fossil fuels, the tension between economic priorities and human well-being,
and the threat of climate change to all life on earth.

We trace its route through the Great Plains with peace and compassion,

eager to hear all voices, including the wordless voice of the natural world,

blessing the earth with each step,

listening, witnessing, and offering service.

We walk as a prayer for all earth’s children,

The walk is intergenerational, intercultural  and interfaith. 

Join us. 


This is Bare Bones Biology, a weekly production of FactFictionFancy.com, and KEOSradio, in Bryan, Texas. The podcast can be downloaded at: