Bare Bones Biology 122 – Human Hands

This blog is an expanded version of Bare Bones Biology radio program that is playing this week on KEOS Radio, 98.1 FM, Bryan, Texas. A podcast can be downloaded later this week at:http://traffic.libsyn.com/fff/BBB122-Human_HandsFinal4.mp3

Hold up your hand flat open with your palm facing me. As though you were a policeman trying to stop an onrushing disaster.

Your four fingers and your thumb are all pointing in different directions.

Now let’s think of your four fingers and your thumb as problems or “actions” that you and other socially conscious people are promoting — spending your time, energy and money, using your life to benefit your family, the community and humankind in general. Every person using his/her best skills to address one or other of the major actions, trying to relieve the problems faced by humankind today.

Let’s say your first finger represents hunger, and all the people trying to reduce world hunger. The second finger can represent global warming. The third finger can represent conflict, for example war, politics, genocide, modern economics. And the fourth finger represents religion and spirituality. Your thumb represents overpopulation.

What I notice about this hand is that all five of the digits are pointing off toward different and separate goals. If you added together the five different problems, and the people who are working to address these problems. Well, they are not working together for a common goal – they are going off in five different directions. Often they fight or argue with each other or they simply ignore each other, rather than discussing common goals. For this reason the work of one group often cancels out the gains of one or more of the other groups.

For example, one group is working for compassion in the belief that a compassionate community will not fight. Another group tries to win because they believe that will solve all our problems. The climate change group, after a few hundred years of evidence, is finally beginning to recognize its problem is real and is trying to decide whether to adapt or deal with the root cause of climate change. The hunger group can’t possibly accomplish its goal in the face of climate change and excessive population growth. And the overpopulation group believes that no positive goals can be achieved by continuing the destructive path that caused these problems in the first place.

We imagine if all the groups accomplished their goals they would all add up to a successful community. The reality, however, looks more like a mish-mash of confusing goals and conflicting interests.

Efficient and effective problem solving does not jump out into the world in five different directions at once, with the different parts of itself fighting among themselves. Modern business practice has made many serious mistakes, but at least one good concept has come out of it, and that is goal setting. Good business defines its goals, sets its guidelines, and informs all parties involved.

Our basic human goal is to live in a community that is sustainable into the future. Surely it must be, and if it’s not we should ask each other why not, because we aren’t acting as though it were. We have all these five problems, and more, dashing off in all directions at the same time. Don’t you agree that we could organize ourselves in some way that would at least have a chance of growing a positive future? I think such a future is possible.

If our primary goal really is the common welfare, then we can align our four fingers to represent of our commitment to the common goal of human sustainability on this earth, in good health, at least through the lifetimes of our grandchildren. If my genuine stated goal is the same as the stated goals of people working in different disciplines – then we will cease to be all working for different outcomes.

Next, we can recognize the physical facts: (1) that nobody can accomplish anything if there is not enough food for them to eat, (2) that all our food comes from the earth, and (3) the earth now has more people than it can feed. If you don’t believe these are real facts, then you have an obligation to the hungry humans in the world to fact-check your belief system.

So we then fold our thumb under at the roots of the four fingers, to represent represent the facts: (1) that overpopulation is at the root of all of the other problems. Yes we have had these problems in the past and we did not solve them before. Blame your heritage. Now is now and now we cannot solve them if a large part of the earth’s population is desperately struggling to make a living, and ; (2) therefore, that no other compassionate goal can be accomplished when there are more people than the earth can feed; and (3) therefore, the four other goals cannot be solved in the presence of overpopulation.

Therefore, if we genuinely want to accomplish our goals. If we want our behavior to reflect our commitment to the real goal, and regardless of our personal expertise or our primary interest — hunger, global warming, conflict resolution (community) or spirituality – then it is our obligation to spend a portion of our effort, every day, to help compassionately reverse human overpopulation, first informing ourselves about why it is a problem, and then addressing that problem as it relates to our own special skills and projects. I tend to judge people’s compassion by their behavior. When I see anyone brush off this obligation with a platitude or a blank look — we all do really know how important it is. Then I wonder why they don’t really want to know. Can it be they don’t want to help carry the burden of responsibility that goes with knowledge?

And then – we all work together to accomplish both the root goal and the individual goals by enclosing all of life on earth within the fully informed, goal-oriented, responsible, compassionate hand of human kind.

And then, you ask. (Everyone does.): “But it is such a big problem, what can I do?” The answer is – in this sequence:

1-You can recognize that this is not about “me.” It’s not about who does what at the level of individual decision making. Do not promote the fake debate (https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2009/06/10/another-fake-debate-pro-life/) over family planning, which is corposystem propaganda meant prevent us from growing our personal and community power (http://FactFictionFancy.Wordpress.com/About)within the ecosystem. Instead study the real overpopulation threat, which is about human suffering at the level of the population, and at the level of survival of the whole living earth.

2-Do not waste time blaming anyone; it will not accomplish our common goal. Instead educate yourself and others about the suffering of populations of humans who do not have access to family planning because our corposystem is withholding that resource from them.

3-Education yourself about how the ecosystem functions to maintain its balance and therefore it’s welfare and its life (you could start with the Bare Bones Ecology Energy Handbook downloadable from the right side of this blog site).

4-Discuss all three “sides” of the issue with family and friends. The “sides” minimally can be described as the conflicting needs of individual persons, families, communities, and the whole earth ecosystem.

5-What we need most right now is the political will to make family planning available compassionately to everyone on earth who wants it and needs it for their health and well being. Work as a citizen to bring this to the people who need and want it.

Bare Bones Biology 122 – Human Hands

Bare Bones Biology 120-Father John

Below is the transcript of the podcast available here
or at http://www.BareBonesBiology.com

“LL-In Bare Bones Biology 117 a couple of weeks ago, I introduced the Vision without Fission conference.

This panel discussion and several others are posted on Youtube by CoreLight Films. Father John Dear is on this panel, and today he reports to Bare Bones Biology from the final day of the conference.

Father John has been nominated for the Nobel Peace prize. His struggle for peace is described in his book “A Persistent Peace.” I will post more references, my opinions, and a transcript at my blog.”

I’m so sorry about the quality, but I thought they were through with those loudspeakers, and they weren’t, so I had to do some noise reduction digital modifications.

“So we’re here at Los Alamos, outside the nuclear weapons laboratory commemorating Hiroshima anniversary 67 years ago when the atomic bomb built here at Los Alamos, New Mexico, was dropped on the people of Hiroshima, Japan, and vaporized 120,000 in a flash. We’ve been coming here for years to call for the abolition of nuclear weapons and war.

“Today at the rally I gave this quote from Mahatma Ghandi, which he said a couple of days after Hiroshima. Ghandi said: ‘I hold that those who invented the atomic bomb have committed the gravest sin. The atomic bomb brought an empty victory to the allied arms, but it resulted for the time being in destroying Japan. What has happened to the soul of the destroying nation is yet too early to see. Unless the world adopts nonviolence, this will spell certain suicide.’

“The police tell me there are 300 people here. We’ve been saying that nuclear weapons are bad for the economy. And Occupy is saying that our economy is collapsing and it’s no good, etc., but here we’re making the connection between Occupy and Los Alamos, that nuclear weapons are bad for the children, the earth, for animals, the economy, everything, but I was also saying it’s bad for our souls, and that’s what Ghandi said, so we’re here to talk about this, to call for the abolition of nuclear weapons, the closure of Los Alamos, the reclaiming of our soul as a people. Ghandi said the only way to do that is to become people of non-violence, to get rid of these nukes and turn that money, trillions of dollars for war, to feeding the hungry, housing the homeless, getting jobs, teaching everybody about non-violent conflict resolution.

Father John-“So what we did here is we broadcast live here at Ashley park, where the bomb was actually built, the ceremony – live from Hiroshima on August 5, we heard by phone from the memorial ceremony in Hiroshima, right at the time of day when the bomb was dropped – here in Los Alamos we heard the ringing of the peace bell. It was very moving for everyone. And then hundreds of us processed along the main street through Los Alamos, and then all of us sat down in sack cloth and ashes for 30 minutes of silence, which is from the Bible, in the book of Jonah, when the people of Ninevah repented in sack cloth and ashes for their sins of injustice and violence, and they never were violent again. We’re reclaiming that ancient Biblical symbol in resistance and protest. And the ashes especially remind us of Hiroshima. It was a time of prayer, reflection, and trying model for ourselves the nonviolence we want for Los Alamos and Texas and the United States.

“So my hope and prayer is that we can all become people of non-violence. Non-violent to ourselves, non-violent to one another, and that we can all work or a new world of non-violence. Abolish war, nuclear weapons, execution, corporate greed, sexism, racism, and environmental destruction. Really work creatively –

LL interrupts – “Find our souls.”

Father John – “Yeah, and if we do that, we will reclaim our souls. That’s the way to spiritual healing, and everybody has to be part of that because we must change this culture of violence that is not working.”

LL – “It’s very clear that it’s not working.”

End of transcript here, beginning of my commentary:

That’s the bare bones version of the annual Hiroshima day action at Los Alamos. If you want to read more about Father John’s view of the day, go to his blog. And then browse around on that site. For example, under Press you can find an Amy Goodman interview. I couldn’t figure out how to post it on this blog, but I did download a copy if you want one.

Personally, I knew very little about the peace movement. There is a reason for that. I believe the Peace movement is incredibly important in our effort to save what we have built – but it will be irrelevant of we kill off the earth itself. A lot of good, heroic people are working for Peace. If we humans make it through this disaster we have created, then we will be able to grow the peace based on the heroic work of the peacebuilders who exemplify it in the face of all odds.

However, very few people are working to explain what the ecosystem REQUIRES to stay balanced and healthy so we can avoid killing it. It is possible to kill the ecosystem. It’s happened before, and climate change is suggests it is happening now.

It is the earth ecosystem that gives us enough food so that we can imagine a peaceful lifestyle and work to make a peaceful earth ecosystem. Furthermore there are so many people working for peace, and most of them do not realize the relationship between peace and a healthy earth. Therefore some of their efforts do accidental harm to the ecosystem that we require if we are to grow the peace. And very few people are working to explain that relationship. So that’s what I am trying to do. Make available this information that the corposystem is trying to hide under piles of money and suffering. (For example, download the Chapter of Bare Bones Ecology that is available on this web site.)

Meantime Father John has lived an incredible life, working for Peace, and of course we do need the vision of peace, as we strive to accomplish the goal of survival. I read his autobiography “A Persistent Peace” all the way through, and I couldn’t help thinking that among us we are ALMOST “getting it.”

A Persistent Peace, is the a necessary vision (I have been saying “compassion” rather than “peace,” but really what’s the dif? You could read the Dalai Lama’s book “Beyond Religion, Ethics for a Whole World,” and get essentially the same message.) Then I would suggest reading “A Great Aridness,” by William deBuys, to provide a historic and sociological context of how we created this mess by mis-using the Creation we were given. Then, if we are to make any changes, we need to understand what exactly we are doing that causes failure of peace, and for that I would suggest Michael Klare.

I have been trying to explain this emergency in “soft” language so as not to create either panic or denial, but I feel like the response is an indulgent smile. (Although it’s hard for me to see, war, genocide, starvation, annihilation caused by overpopulation as soft. But that is our reality.) This is not a matter for indulgence. Michael Klare is a professional prognosticator. To deny his evaluation of reality out of hand — because it is uncomfortable — would be scandalous. And to engage in displacement activities that do not also impact the causative problem – overpopulation — is akin to evil. Maybe we have lost our soul.

Honorable people of this age have one choice left. We do not sit around bemoaning whatever. We spend each day living this day – including our obligation to the future which must include some little action every day that is addressed to making family planning available to everyone on earth who wants it. Whether we make these technologies directly available or work through the political system or simply take the time to study the issue and discuss it. That is our obligation to our mother earth, and after that our obligation to our own mental health and/or our efforts to help treat any one of the symptoms of this emergency – all the various kinds of individual suffering of all sentient beings — needs to come second. If we do not every one of us focus on our common survival goal of bringing the population to the level the earth can feed — but only work on “fixing” the symptoms (war, genocide, starvation, etc) then we will not survive, and neither will we achieve any of our long-term goals.

If God created the earth, then God created that biological entity, the whole earth ecosystem, and He meant it to function exactly the way it does function. I mean in terms of the earth, air, water and fire (energy) and how it stays BALANCED, so that the whole thing can survive. The same laws of nature that permit our own bodies to survive within the body of the ecosystem. That is: “Life.”

As Father John says, or rather one of his students said: “The Kingdom of God is Life.” I couldn’t agree more. But right now we are at war with life – and we are choosing our own desires over the biological needs of Life – and we can’t win that battle.

As Rabi Malka Drucker explained last week. What is good for the ecosystem is good for humans. But it doesn’t necessarily work the other way around.

The bottom line is that the Kingdom of God is not only about what humans want or think they should have. Human cultures have understood this fact in the past. This fact seems to me the very core of all our wisdom traditions (including those that were presented aat the Vision Without Fission Conference) that honor all parts of life in their balance.

If there is time, we can learn to understand it again.

The new book looks interesting. Lazarus Come Forth, by Father John Dear.

Bare Bones Biology 120 – Brother John
KEOS Radio 89.1, Bryan, Texas

Recommended References:
The Conference.
Father John speaks at http://youtu.be/yArg0UHRxjk. Then watch the series of other YouTube videos reporting on nearly the entire conference.
https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2012/07/20/ – Biology 117 – Los Alamos

Bare Bones Biology References:
https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2012/07/20/- Bare Bones Biology 119 – Rabi Malka Drucker.

Father John
http://www.johndear.org/
http://www.johndear.org/articles/bells-of-hiroshima.html
“A Persistent Peace”
“Lazarus Come Forth”

William deBuys – A Great Aridness
Michael Klare –
http://www.marketwatch.com/story/wwiii-great-commodities-war-to-end-all-wars-2012-08-07
“The Race for What’s Left”
http://us.macmillan.com/browsebyauthor.aspx

Bare Bones Biology 119 – Rabi Malka Drucker I

Right now I’m skimming through a book written by Rabi <a href="http://www.hamakomtheplace.org/“>Malka Drucker, and I can see I will have to settle down in my lawn chair under the little apple tree and read the book. The title is White Fire:A portrait of Women Spiritual Leaders in America, and sadly it is out of print, but I think you can get it at the library, or maybe even Amazon. I suggest you go to Rabi Drucker’s web site and also the White Fire web site to learn more about this book (including videos) and the other books that Rabi Drucker has written. Right now, she is working on a new book about wisdom, and I can’t wait for that, so I asked her to favor us with an advance conversation on the subject. There are also two podcasts of Rabi Drucker speaking at Upaya that you might want to download.

The transcript of this week’s Bare Bones Biology is below. It’s the first of three parts to our discussion. Perhaps you will read or listen to the others during the last two weeks of August. The next one is on the subject of compassion and the last will be about wisdom. If you add the three together, what you get is responsibility plus compassion = wisdom. At least that is how it seems to me. Here is today’s transcript.

“This week we have the first installment of a discussion with Rabi Malka Drucker.

LL-“There is a conflict between human welfare and the welfare of the whole earth ecosystem.
MD-“No there’s not. We are of it, so there can’t be conflict. Either we are part of the system or we’re not. So the only way to survive is to be part of the system. So there is nothing that can promote human welfare that can hurt the environment.
LL-“Well, there’s – I would say it the other way, though, that anything that promotes the welfare of the whole earth ecosystem also promotes the welfare of humans within that ecosystem. That’s my perspective but it’s not the same.
MD- “How is it not the same?
LL- “It’s not the same because the ecosystem operates on balance, and so if we promote only human welfare and not the welfare of all the rest of the organisms –
MD- “What do you think I said?
LL- “I think you said anything that promotes human welfare would benefit the ecosystem.
MD- “No I said the opposite of that. I said anything that hurts the ecosystem is not beneficial to human beings.
LL- “Well, we don’t disagree. We were just having a little semantic problem.
MD-“I was saying that you can’t say something is good for human beings that is bad for the environment. There is no separation. If it’s bad for the world, it’s bad for human beings.
LL- “I love it. The problem arises out of trying to maintain the balance.
MD-“Again I’ll say, in the highest sphere, let’s take an example. Air conditioning. People like air conditioning. Especially in hot humid places. It’s become part of their lives. Now we find out that air conditioning is bad, and we’ve got a greenhouse effect that harms the earth climate. So here’s a case where the answer has to be that you do what you need to do to survive. Not comfort. There’s living and then there’s comfort, so comfort must be sacrificed. It’s a no-brainer. If you gave the dilemma to a fourth grade class, they’d come up with a solution. The conflict is because of ego – our egos. We don’t want to compromise. It’s simple.
LL- “I think it’s even a deeper compromise. I think it comes right down to our instinctual compassionate response when we see anything suffering. And at that point, if we’re going to consider the welfare of the ecosystem, we’ll have even more difficult —
MD- “Ah, I hear you. So here again, it’s amazing how my tradition sings to my —
So here’s how the Jewish tradition deals with this. The world rests – they have about 12 different things the world rests on, but this particular example the world rests upon justice and mercy. I see this as a vessel must contain the light. So the vessel is justice, and always mercy must supercede it. Ultimately, that’s the answer.
LL- “A Buddhist said that two wings, the wing of love and the wing of justice is what permits us to fly.
MD- “Lovely image, same notion exactly.
LL- How does overpopulation fit into that?
MD- “I’m going to give you the same answer. I keep checking the same box. It’s about ego. Human beings are not facing what needs to be faced, and taking responsibility for it.
LL- “OK, you’re checking the same box I check.
MD-“You’ll find it hard to disagree with me.
LL- “I don’t want to disagree with you.”

No indeed I would be so happy (people keep asking me what would make me happy) I would be so happy if we would all sit down together and discuss our responsibilities to ourselves within the ecosystem. Even if we were not checking the same box. Especially if we were not checking the same box. There is no good survival reason for all this conflict. We all need the same basic things to survive, and these are provided to us by the ecosystem. The way to get these things is to modify our behaviors to stop causing harm to the ecosystem, and the way to do that is first to start talking about our needs and behaviors in our communities and beyond.

Just one more point please, because of my very long history of emphasizing biological levels of organization of the earth ecosystem. When we talk about levels of organization, we use the most simple image – three levels: individual humans and their needs; populations of humans and their needs; and the whole earth ecosystem and its needs.

There was not time in the five minutes to talk about levels, but different levels do have some differences of their needs. In fact, that’s how the biosphere maintains its balance, but that is another story. The point here is that the differences in the needs of the different levels can be a source of our most difficult dilemmas.

Those differences might be a good starter for a follow-up discussion about our responsibilities to ourselves and to the ecosystem. What do individual humans need (we agreed on survival, and probably we would agree on the basic human values); what do populations of humans need? What does the whole earth ecosystem need for its survival that might be different from the other two?

Bare Bones Biology 119 – Rabi Malka Drucker I
KEOS Radio, 89.1 FM, Bryan, Texas
Download the podcast here
or at http://www.barebonesbiology.com

Artist William Michael Schindler, Santa Fe

William deBuys Again

You remember of course my Bare Bones Biology and FactFictionFancy blog and radio spot about William deBuys and his book, A Great Aridness.

I was so impressed. “This guy gets it.” And can honestly express it in context. But five minutes is so short a time to express such a thing, so I gave you links to a couple of his longer podcasts.

So I expect you would like to hear more of him, and I’m pleased again to recommend his essay and also interview on TomDispatch that can be found at (click link or see below).

Another person who really gets it is Andrew Revkin, with the New York Times, who ran a book report on his column from a UT student.
http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/175573/tomgram%3A_william_debuys%2C_the_west_in_flames/?utm_source=TomDispatch&utm_campaign=479c9a0494-TD_deBuys7_24_2012&utm_medium=email#more

Bare Bones Biology 118 – David Barsamian

You all know David Barsamian, who gave us a personal interview. The podcast is linked to the bottom of this post, and transcribed below:

“David Barsamian was in Santa Fe a couple of weeks ago. He created Alternative Radiothat plays on KEOS and around the world every week, with some of the best facts and opinions available these days. I’ll write more about this below the transcript, and leave the rest of the time for David.

“Well, let me say this. In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act. We live now in a time of tremendous lying and perfidity, and citizens need to inform themselves. Chomskysays it’s the task of citizens in a democratic society to educate themselves, so they will be able to resist the propaganda that’s cascading upon them through the media and through the educational system.

“Propaganda is first and foremost destroying the truth in terms of U.S. foreign policy. It completely misrepresents U.S. intentions outside the country. Everything the United States does is always presented in very benign, benevolent terms. If there is anything tragic that happens, then you’ll notice they use the passive voice and say that ‘mistakes were made’ or ‘it was an accident, it was not intentional.’

“So I think to be able to resist this kind of propaganda it’s very, very important to be informed. I mean, many Americans don’t even know that they don’t know what they have lost because of the paucity of public education. Many people have lost the ability to distinguish evidence from opinion.

“So when you watch something on FOX news, all those gas-bags and blow-hards who know nothing about nothing, they’re not talking about facts. They’re talking about opinion. Not evidence. So when they say things like, ‘Iran is an aggressive country, OK let’s say that’s the case. Iran is an aggressive country. The fact is that Iran has not invaded another country in 250 years. You can’t go more than two and a half years in any part of U.S. history and make that statement. The United States is constantly directly invading, occupying other countries, undermining them through economic warfare, political warfare, and straight-out military invasion. So the historical record often is at extreme variance with the propaganda tropes, and propaganda plays a huge role for manufacturing consent for imperial foreign policy, as well as domestic wall-street policy.
We have an economy run by the 1%, as the Occupy movement says. It’s an economy by and for the financial elites, the bankers, the people who own the economy.

“And this makes perfect sense, because one of the founding fathers was John Jay, the first President of the Continental Congress and the first Supreme Court Justice of the United States. He said: ‘Those who own the country ought to govern it.’ There you have it, right at the beginning of the founding of this country you have a statement that 1% should control the 99%. Another example is James Madison, who is endlessly quoted, but not this quote: ‘The aim of government (this is a direct quote) is to protect the minority of the opulent against the majority.’ Simple English. The minority of the opulent, that’s the rich, and the majority is everybody else. And that’s what we have today, economically, and it hasn’t changed very much, it’s just gotten worse in the United States.”

And then Lynn pops in here: “I’m doing OK. Why should I care?”

Barsamian: “There’s a very important human quality, which is compassion, and if we see our fellow human beings suffering or in some way disadvantaged, we have to extend ourselves as much as possible to help them in any way we can. I think that’s what makes us human. That’s what makes us humane.”

Of course you know David Barsamian’s comments are about politics, but I find it fascinating that all or nearly all posts about any serious issue come down to the same sorts of subjects and points of view. I can read through this whole broadcast above and replace the political topics with science topics and nothing is changed except that good science gets to work with already-established facts and most of politics is about cause and effects based in historical evidence. We can’t change facts and we can’t change what already has happened.

It’s somewhat easier for scientists, because we can prove what we say when we are talking about already-demonstrated facts. Well, in one way it’s great. In another way, we are continually in danger of being tripped up by our own science, in case someone might be able to demonstrate the flaws in our arguments. Climate Change for example. The climate is changing, and all the opinions in the world can’t stop it. The only thing that could have stopped it was action – changing our behaviors – and we didn’t want to do that, so here we are. Facts do not change. That’s why we call them facts. So whenever the scientist (I’m not talking about technology here) when the scientist is right – she is right! And then our responsibility is to modify our behaviors according to the facts, because we are not going to change the facts, no matter how hard we try.

I think of the global warming “debate” and I wonder why? What did anyone get out of that except an economic downturn? (There is not and was never a climate change debate among people who understood he facts and were not willing to lie; the people who were willing to lie were not qualified scientists; it’s just another corposystem<acon gameof the sort that David is talking about above.

It’s really hard for scientists who aren’t willing to lie when the people who own the media are spreading lies at the top of their wavelengths.

Bare Bones Biology 118 – David Barsamian
KEOS 89.1, Bryan, Texas
An audio copy of the above transcript can be downloaded here
Or at http://www.BareBonesBiology.com

Recommended References:

http://www.alternativeradio.org/pages/about-barsamian
http://www.chomsky.info/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occupy_movement
http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/const/yates.htm
https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2009/06/05/
https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2011/12/31/
https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2011/09/13/
https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2012/03/17/

Population

And I was just thinking about writing a population story for my next newsletter.

Still, I think I should go ahead with it, because reporters simply do not process all the parameters. For one thing they are not scientists, nor historians (what was the first thing I noticed here? The populations exploded at and following the time when the major new religions formed and grew.) Does that mean religion is bad? No way. I think humans require religion to implement our instinctual social values. HOWEVER, I also believe that these ancient religions have been changed dramatically from an ethic that paralleled the laws of nature TO an ethic now that sees its mission as overpowering nature.

Of course, it won’t work, will it? Our earth, water, food and air come from nature. If we kill nature (and that would not be impossible) we kill ourselves. Keep these thoughts in mind as you check out the below that came to me from Population Media Center (PMC).

Ken Weiss, Pulitzer Prize winning investigative journalist and editor for the L.A. Times, emailed me yesterday to announce a major special feature report, which is the result his travels with staff photographer Rick Loomis. The two men traveled across Africa and Asia to document the causes and consequences of rapid population growth. They visited Kenya, Uganda, China, the Philippines, India, Afghanistan and other countries.

I have yet to fully explore the numerous stories, maps, photos, narrated graphics and videos on the L.A. Times website, but the content certainly seems worth your time. I have pasted below the text of the first major article, which is merely the first of a five part series. I strongly encourage you to click through, however, because numerous videos and graphics are embedded in the story on the website. The remaining articles will be published in the Los Angeles Times on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and wrapping up next Sunday, July 29.

In the meantime, you can access the main L.A. Times web-portal here:

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/population/

Bare Bones Biology 116 – Wendy Johnson Workshop

Bare Bones Biology 107 through today, 116, are about communication. Different kinds of communication. And of course we didn’t scratch the surface. Communications has become an entire discipline. I know someone with a PhD in the subject. But there’s nothing new about the simple point of this series of blogs — that all communications are real, but they are useful to us in different ways, as we grow own personal future or, more importantly in the long view as we try to resolve the biological illness that faces our ecosystem.
,
We know we cannot survive without the ecosystem. Therefore, picking out whatever we like to believe, or whatever communication stirs our emotions, or whatever we wish were true — and working very, very hard for it – or going with the flow because that’s normal human behavior – none of those approaches to communication will resolve our current biological dilemma. What we mostly need is good information and good discussion. Sometimes a good place to look for these is in a workshop setting.

I recently attended a workshop about the four elements with Wendy Johnson (author of “Gardening At the Dragon’s Gate,” Bantam Dell), at Upaya Zen Center (http:www.Upaya.org).

The workshop experience merged our awareness of our human values, emotions and needs with the mother-nurture of nature as we examined each of the four elements that are organized by Buddhism as: earth, water, fire and air (and space). We all know that these are the fruits of the ecosystem, that we cannot do without them, that our behaviors influence their availability, and that I have also been talking about these issues from my perspective of our physical survival needs. It was a joy to experience Wendy’s beautiful rendition of the same issues, blending the physical survival needs with our human emotional needs and a practical approach, learning through gardening, that goes beyond either perspective.

We really could resolve our biological dilemma, if we would only reach that one step beyond the science and beyond the emotions and use our inborn compassionate nature, and our recognition that the problem at its roots is biological, as an incentive to study the fact-based needs of the ecosystem – and find a way to give the mother life what it needs that is different from what we need – for it and for ourselves and our future. We have everything to do that — except the will. The facts are available and so are the technologies. The compassionate will, however, is being drowned in a sea of fear, hostility, short-sighted self-interest and false propaganda.

Here is Wendy’s better vision.

“I love to make the connection between the outer waters of the world and the inner waters that do compose us. Three-fifths of water of our bodies is carried inside our cells, and then another two/fifths outside as blood plasma, cerebro-spinal fluid and intestinal tract fluid. So we are walking bags of water. We can feel that. Especially in a dry place. Those of us from the Bay Area, from Portland, Oregon, where water animates the air. We have to search for the resonance that is our human inheritance.

“And every day, every day, three percent of the water in our bodies is replenished with new molecules. Water from the deep abyss of the ocean, I was thinking this morning we are replenished, not only with fresh water, but from water that is in the huge hydrologic cycle, coming up fresh, and that water includes water from the depths of the Gulf of Mexico, water mixed with the ancient fire of oil, water from rain on the tall grass prairie, and from the ancient forests. Actually, we measure water, in the woods, we measure water by how much stored fog and vapor. In the ancient redwoods, now whittled down to 2.5 percent of their original size. How much water they give back, so stepping into the redwood forest, I remember years ago with Thich Nhat Hanh (www.plumvillage.org), he said: ‘We step into a Sangha of water and life.’ You can feel it, stepping onto that ground, water vapor breathing with the trees. So, three percent of our bodies are always refreshed by the upwelling and the sinking down, by the rhythm of water.

“And yet water shortage, water depletion, the so-called resource, I hate to even use that word in connection with water, the so-called resourcefulness of water is already one of the greatest challenges we are facing.”
For more of this and the remaining elements, check out Wendy’s podcasts part one and part two at Upaya http://www.upaya.org/dharma/the-four-elements-series-all-2-parts/. Or for air, surely you remember Bare Bones Biology 093 was also pretty good, and the same general interdependence relationship is also true of energy (fire) and earth. I recommend you listen to Wendy’s podcasts of this workshop, parts one and two, and I also highly recommend her dharma talk of the previous week. http://www.upaya.org/dharma/wendy-johnson-06-13-2012-the-four-elements-return-to-their-true-nature/

During this workshop, we went down to the little Santa Fe River to put our feet in the water and wonder what it would feel like without water.

Bitsy and I went back again last week and splashed about while the children swung on the tire. But two days later there was no more water in the little Santa Fe river. Only a place in the bottom of the channel where some animal had tried to dig for it.
Bare Bones Biology 116 – Wendy Johnson Workshop
KEOS-FM, 89.1, Bryan, Texas
For a podcast of this radio spot, click here
Or go to http://www.BareBonesBiology.com

Recommended References and Trackbacks:
Upaya Zen Center, http://www.Upaya.org
Wendy Johnson, Gardening at the Dragon’s Gate gardeningatthedragonsgate.com/
http://www.upaya.org/dharma/the-four-elements-series-all-2-parts/
http://www.upaya.org/dharma/wendy-johnson-06-13-2012-the-four-elements-return-to-their-true-nature/
Bare Bones Biology 107-115 and 093
Thich Nhat Hanhwww.plumvillage.org http://www.plumvillage.org