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Archive for the ‘Building a Better World’ Category

To the Climate Vulnerable Nations, The Danger is Not in Doubt

Posted by honestpoet on November 19, 2009

My fellow Thinking Blogger Greenfyre argues with climate change deniers who would like to pretend that climate change is a political issue and not any kind of reality. But for climate vulnerable nations like The Maldives, there is no doubt about the dangers that are immanent. Whole populations will disappear if we don’t do something. Here’s a video of their President Nasheed making a moving speech appealing to the leaders of fellow vulnerable nations at the recent Climate Vulnerable Forum to act to make carbon neutrality a reality as soon as possible.

As he points out, approaching the issue as we are, each nation clinging to their “right” to high carbon emissions, is like signing a global suicide pact.

Please show your support. Go here to 350.org to sign the Climate Survival Pact in solidarity with President Nasheed and the rest of the climate vulnerable nations. And then do whatever you can in your own life, from the choices you make as a consumer to writing your representatives, letters to the editor, etc., to urge your leaders to do what they must in Copenhagen.

Posted in Building a Better World, climate change, Earth Justice, ecology, global warming | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

New to the Blogroll: Beyond Intractibility

Posted by honestpoet on November 7, 2009

Here’s a great website devoted to encouraging more constructive ways of dealing with difference. I’ll be adding it under “Building a Better World.” I found it looking for a synopsis of Jimmy Carter’s excellent book, Our Endangered Values.

Posted in Building a Better World, Uncategorized | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

The Pelican Web

Posted by honestpoet on August 20, 2009

Just a quick note to acknowledge that I’m adding The Pelican Web to my blogroll under “Building a Better World.” Here’s this from their mission statement:

There is overwhelming evidence that violence is the main obstacle to sustainable development. It is also well known that there is an intrinsic link between patriarchy and violence. Therefore, mitigating violence requires overcoming the patriarchal mindset in both secular and religious institutions.

The mission of The Pelican Web is to collect and analyze knowledge on obstacles to sustainable development, and to publish the monthly, free subscription, open access PelicanWeb Journal of Sustainable Development. The e-journal provides a monthly digest on current research pursuant to human solidarity, ecological sustainability, and both secular and religious non-violence.

I came across them in a message to a women’s poetry list I recently joined, about the importance of gender equity in the clergy. I’m thrilled to see someone doing this work.

Posted in Building a Better World, Christians Worth Knowing, ecology, feminism, misogyny, peace activism, poetry, spirituality | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Campaign for Love and Forgiveness

Posted by honestpoet on March 12, 2009

I’m horrified that the violence may begin again in Northern Ireland. And I’m pretty dismayed by the global economic collapse and the ongoing violence perpetrated by Muslim extremists, as well as the recent shootings by young people in Germany and here in the states. Things seem to be going to hell in a high-speed locomotive, and I want to pull the brake on this crazy train.

I found a great website, The Campaign for Love and Forgiveness. I’m adding it to my blogroll. I can’t change the world, but I can practice love and forgiveness, and I hope you do, too. We need to forgive the Islamic world for what they’ve done. They need to forgive what’s been done to them. The folks in Northern Ireland need to forgive the past and not return to The Troubles. That kid in Germany, and his victims, wouldn’t have died had he learned to forgive those who teased him. What does violence get us? Just more hurt. It’s a cycle that leads to no good place. Let’s build a better world. Let’s learn to love and forgive.

Posted in Building a Better World | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Playing for Change, and one Very Brave Girl, Speaking Truth to Power

Posted by honestpoet on March 7, 2009

Here’s a Canadian girl who, back in 1992, with some of her friends, came to Brazil to address the United Nations and challenged them to act like loving parents to the world’s children. It’s awesome. Do watch.

This was back in 1992. I don’t know that it did much good then, but maybe the video, now circling the world thanks to our new ability to communicate with each other, may finally do some good. Certainly the idea that we are One World is starting to gain some currency.

Here’s a great musical statement of solidarity: the song “Stand By Me” performed by musicians around the world.

Here’s a link to the website where you can learn more about the people who made it, Playing for Change, a group of folk determined to bring people together and create peace through music. Sounds good to me. Peace, people.

Posted in Building a Better World, Earth Justice, environmental activism | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Please Don’t Divorce Us! Stand Up for Love (and Sign this Letter)

Posted by honestpoet on February 17, 2009

Look at these lovely, loving people and tell me they don’t have the right to pursue happiness like anyone else.

Go to this link and add your name to this letter to the Supreme Court.

We, the undersigned, share President Barack Obama’s view
that for too long, issues of LGBT rights have been exploited
by those seeking to divide us. It’s time to move beyond
polarization and live up to our founding promise of equality
by treating all our citizens with dignity and respect.”

Yet, on December 19, 2008, Ken Starr and the Prop 8 Legal
Defense Fund filed legal briefs defending the constitutionality
of Prop 8 and seeking to nullify the marriages of 18,000
devoted same-sex couples solemnized before Prop 8 passed.

The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in this case on
March 5, with a decision expected within 90 days.
We, the undersigned, ask that the Court enforce the equality
promised to each of us by our constitution and invalidate Prop
8. So doing will protect all loving, committed couples in
California — including the 18,000 who said “I do” last year —
and prevent the initiative process from being a tool for
stripping vulnerable minorities of precious constitutional rights.

As Americans who believe in the rule of law and fundamental
civil rights, we know that Ken Starr and the Prop 8 Legal
Defense Fund’s shameful attempt to nullify equal protection
and all these bonded unions will be condemned in the eyes of
history. We know that, ultimately, love will prevail, no matter
how hard they try to fight it.

Thanks again, Nan.

Posted in anti-establishment clause, Building a Better World, Christianofascism, freedom, gay rights, marriage, monoculture, politics, religion, separation of church and state, sexual freedom | Leave a Comment »

Watch Out! Here Comes Unitarian Jihad

Posted by honestpoet on January 8, 2009

A writer friend sent this to me while we were discussing my penchant for heresy. I thought it was so perfect, I’m posting it (aside from the introductory paragraph by Jon Carroll) in its entirety. Let the revolution begin!

Greetings to the Imprisoned Citizens of the United States. We are Unitarian Jihad. There is only God, unless there is more than one God. The vote of our God subcommittee is 10-8 in favor of one God, with two abstentions. Brother Flaming Sword of Moderation noted the possibility of there being no God at all, and his objection was noted with love by the secretary.

Greetings to the Imprisoned Citizens of the United States! Too long has your attention been waylaid by the bright baubles of extremist thought. Too long have fundamentalist yahoos of all religions (except Buddhism — 14-5 vote, no abstentions, fundamentalism subcommittee) made your head hurt. Too long have you been buffeted by angry people who think that God talks to them. You have a right to your moderation! You have the power to be calm! We will use the IED of truth to explode the SUV of dogmatic expression!

People of the United States, why is everyone yelling at you??? Whatever happened to … you know, everything? Why is the news dominated by nutballs saying that the Ten Commandments have to be tattooed inside the eyelids of every American, or that Allah has told them to kill Americans in order to rid the world of Satan, or that Yahweh has instructed them to go live wherever they feel like, or that Shiva thinks bombing mosques is a great idea? Sister Immaculate Dagger of Peace notes for the record that we mean no disrespect to Jews, Muslims, Christians or Hindus. Referred back to the committee of the whole for further discussion.

We are Unitarian Jihad. We are everywhere. We have not been born again, nor have we sworn a blood oath. We do not think that God cares what we read, what we eat or whom we sleep with. Brother Neutron Bomb of Serenity notes for the record that he does not have a moral code but is nevertheless a good person, and Unexalted Leader Garrote of Forgiveness stipulates that Brother Neutron Bomb of Serenity is a good person, and this is to be reflected in the minutes.

Beware! Unless you people shut up and begin acting like grown-ups with brains enough to understand the difference between political belief and personal faith, the Unitarian Jihad will begin a series of terrorist-like actions. We will take over television studios, kidnap so-called commentators and broadcast calm, well-reasoned discussions of the issues of the day. We will not try for “balance” by hiring fruitcakes; we will try for balance by hiring non-ideologues who have carefully thought through the issues.

We are Unitarian Jihad. We will appear in public places and require people to shake hands with each other. (Sister Hand Grenade of Love suggested that we institute a terror regime of mandatory hugging, but her motion was not formally introduced because of lack of a quorum.) We will require all lobbyists, spokesmen and campaign managers to dress like trout in public. Televangelists will be forced to take jobs as Xerox repair specialists. Demagogues of all stripes will be required to read Proust out loud in prisons.

We are Unitarian Jihad, and our motto is: “Sincerity is not enough.” We have heard from enough sincere people to last a lifetime already. Just because you believe it’s true doesn’t make it true. Just because your motives are pure doesn’t mean you are not doing harm. Get a dog, or comfort someone in a nursing home, or just feed the birds in the park. Play basketball. Lighten up. The world is not out to get you, except in the sense that the world is out to get everyone.

Brother Gatling Gun of Patience notes that he’s pretty sure the world is out to get him because everyone laughs when he says he is a Unitarian. There were murmurs of assent around the room, and someone suggested that we buy some Congress members and really stick it to the Baptists. But this was deemed against Revolutionary Principles, and Brother Gatling Gun of Patience was remanded to the Sunday Flowers and Banners committee.

People of the United States! We are Unitarian Jihad! We can strike without warning. Pockets of reasonableness and harmony will appear as if from nowhere! Nice people will run the government again! There will be coffee and cookies in the Gandhi Room after the revolution.

Thanks again, David!

Posted in anti-establishment clause, atheism, buddhism, Building a Better World, Christianofascism, Christians Worth Knowing, terrorism | Leave a Comment »

Sam Harris on the Importance of Breaking Religion’s Spell

Posted by honestpoet on November 18, 2008

Here’s an excellent bit from the question and answer period after a debate with Rabbi Wolpe. I’ve been watching a lot of Mr. Harris on YouTube, and I have to say that I like him even more than Richard Dawkins. Don’t get me wrong, I love Dawkins, but, as an American, Harris is more aware of the need to speak with the religious politely and without snarkiness. Dawkins can come off a bit smug, which is a mistake when dealing with the American religious, who already feel beset and belittled, and whose defense mechanisms thereby fly up as soon as the subject is broached with any sort of superior attitude.

Here’s another bit: Sam Harris at the TruthDig conference, talking about how beliefs have consequences, and why the taboo on not examining religious beliefs needs to be lifted.

Here he is talking about the relative morality of various books of the Bible and what would happen if as a society we actually followed it.

And one more, at the Idea Festival in Aspen, where he disputes a lot of common misconceptions about atheism:

If you’d like to hear more of what he has to say, here’s the link to his website, which includes links to a number of articles and videos (including the full debate with Rabbi Wolpe). His thinking is even more in line with my own than Richard Dawkins’s. Dawkins and the rest of the recent crop of atheistic authors turn their backs on mystical experience, whereas Sam Harris, while approaching it as a skeptic, acknowledges that there’s something there to examine that could prove worthwhile, perhaps yielding up that which religions seek but never truly find, tied up as they are in their supernatural superstitions and dogmatism. He’s experienced contemplative states and acknowledges that they can lead to an increase in the ability to experience empathy and compassion, which are clearly in short supply these days.

A neurobiologist, he was motivated to start writing by the events of 9/11, and his focus is on the affect of beliefs on behaviors. Some people have painted him as some sort of warmonger Islamophobe, but that’s hardly the case when you read the suspect passages in context. Does he say that people holding the beliefs indoctrinated by Islam can be led therewith to bad behavior? Absolutely, but that’s hardly the same thing.

Posted in atheism, Building a Better World, catholicism, Christianity, Christianofascism, climate change, economic crisis, evolution, feminism, freedom, fundamentalism, gay rights, genocide, global warming, hegemony, history, homophobia, Iraq, Islam, Jesus, Jews, Koran, language, literature, marriage, mental illness, misogyny, monoculture, morality, Muslims, peace, psychiatry, religion, religion and science, Richard Dawkins, ridiculous beliefs, science, secular humanism, secularism, skepticism, terrorism, the Bible | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Three Cheers for Responsible Capitalism! The Way America Works

Posted by honestpoet on November 7, 2008

With all the allegations of socialism leveled at the Democrats lately (which certainly rang with a very ironic twang for me, coming from Republicans, who just helped oversee a partial nationalization of our banking industry), I was heartened to read this article by the CEO of Starbucks, Howard Schultz (at HuffPo) about what business needs to be doing right now to help the economy get back on track, and it’s not about being short sighted and only looking at the bottom line:

Now is a time to be bold. Now is a time to invest, truly and authentically, in our people, in our corporate responsibility and in our communities. The argument–and opportunity–for companies to do this has never been more compelling. A recent opinion piece by former Vice President Al Gore Jr. and David Blood makes this point eloquently. “Sustainability and long-term value creation are closely linked,” they wrote earlier this week in the Wall Street Journal. “Business and markets cannot operate in isolation from society or the environment.”

I share that belief, and it has guided me and my partners over the past three decades, as we have grown Starbucks into the company it is today. Sure, we are the first to admit that Starbucks is by no means perfect. We have made our share of mistakes. But I can tell you unequivocally that as Starbucks confronts today’s economic challenges, it will do so while remaining true to our principles and fostering a culture that genuinely embraces our collective humanity.

Last week, Starbucks gathered 10,000 of our store managers together for a leadership conference in New Orleans. I am proud to report that among many other benefits of the conference, our leaders performed more than 50,000 hours of community service in that still-struggling city. During the conference we also announced a set of ambitious but realizable goals for the way we source our coffee, how we help to sustain our environment, and what we can do to work with, and continue to contribute to, the communities in which we do our business and the world as a whole.

Good business, like good government, isn’t about socialism. It’s not about taking from the hardworking and giving to the undeserving any more than it should be about duping customers with a shoddy product or externalizing costs with environmental degradation or cheap foreign labor. It’s about recognizing the value in every life, and in doing business in such a way that real value is created, for the benefit of everyone, including the shareholders. That’s good business, and that’s the true American way.

Posted in Building a Better World, ecology, economic crisis, responsible capitalism | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

What a Relief! And Now the Real Work Begins

Posted by honestpoet on November 5, 2008

Obama won, and with a wide enough margin that there will be no disputes. Now we’ve got to dig out of the mess the last eight years has landed us in. Let’s get to it, America.

Here’s his acceptance speech, Part 1:

And the rest of it:

Posted in Barack Obama, Building a Better World, politics | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »