Ten Commandments to Avoid Extinction and Redeem Humanity

5422300740_2553f8fed0_zIt’s summer time and the living is easy. The Olympics were jumpin’ and politics is nigh. Donald is rich and his daughter is good looking. But we best pay attention to the real problems or we’re all going to cry. I don’t often think about climate change these days. But I just returned from Seattle to spend five days with my men’s group. We stayed on Puget Sound which is usually cool, but this trip it was in the high 90’s. My wife had flown to Portland for a wedding. It was over 100 degrees and she reported that it was so hot they were worried about the health of wedding guests and each got a fan and frozen water in an attempt to stay cool.

Now, hot days don’t really tell us much about overall climate change and global warming, but they remind us to pay attention. According to a July, 2016 report, Climate Change Indicators, by the Environmental Protection Agency, “The Earth’s climate is changing. Temperatures are rising, snow and rainfall patterns are shifting, and more extreme climate events – like heavy rainstorms and record high temperatures – are already happening. Many of these observed changes are linked to the rising levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in our atmosphere, caused by human activities.”

We’re aware of the various “hot spots” around the globe where conflicts are going on. We hear about bombings in the Middle East and killings at home, but rarely associate wars and terrorist attacks with climate change and the end of the era of cheap oil. But we should. In his book, The Party’s Over: Oil, War and the Fate of Industrial Societies, climate expert Richard Heinberg says, “The world is changing before our eyes—dramatically, inevitably, and irreversibly. The change we are seeing is affecting more people, and more profoundly, than any that human beings have ever witnessed. I am not referring to a war or terrorism incident, a stock market crash, or global warming, but to a more fundamental reality that is driving terrorism, war, economic swings, climate change and more: the discovery and exhaustion of fossil energy resources.”

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Earth Day: Healing Ourselves, Healing the Planet, Through Sports

Wizards v/s Warriors 03/02/11One day a year we reflect on the state of our planet and take steps to heal the wounds that we have inflicted. It’s also a time to heal ourselves, since we humans are an integral part of Gaia. April 22, 2016 is the day we celebrate life on Earth. For me it’s also a day to reflect on life and sports.

From the time I was in junior high I loved playing basketball. Sports was my way of connecting with others, of engaging a practice that I could never master, but could get better playing. After school I would spend hours shooting hoops, alone or with other kids in the neighborhood. Now I watch the Golden State Warriors try to repeat as World Champions.

I’m guessing that most people don’t think of Earth Day and sports together, but they are linked for me in my growing up years in southern California. During the 1950s and 1960s there was very little attention to the environment. In post-war America we were focused on growth, of building more freeways so people could live in suburbia, and riding an expanding economy ever upwards.

But change was coming and many of us first saw it following the 1962 publication of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, in which she highlighted the dangers of DDT and its effects on bird populations. The book created a sensation of awareness and ultimately DDT was outlawed and bird populations began a comeback. The environmental movement was born in those days. These were also the days that I played basketball in high school with an unlikely, soon to be superstar named Gail Goodrich, who went on to star at U.C.L.A. and the Los Angeles Lakers.

I went on to graduate school, first in social work, and later getting Ph.D. in International Health. I was interested in the relationship between personal health and planetary healing. And once again I found a way to integrate the two in a sports context. Living in Marin county in the 1970s I joined the Aikido of Tamalpais dojo and began learning from masters like George Leonard, Richard Heckler, and Wendy Palmer, along with Terry Dobson.

I initially got involved because I felt I needed a physical practice to balance out all the mental activity I was doing in my therapy practice and writing my first books. But I was also out of balance with my life, feeling alternately manic and depressed and beginning to have problems with irregular heart rhythms. In Aikido I found a way “get out of my head” and get more connected to my body. [Read more…]