Constructively Confronting Systemic Toxicity: The Trump Administration, The Cultural Environment, and the Road Forward.

The Trump Administration appears on the horizon, and Real fear for the present and future sets in. Suddenly, the wolf emerges from under its sheepskin. Nothing could be clearer, the steps we take in these moments will echo into time immemorial. Never has a population lived at such an important impasse between matters of culture, economy, government, race, and environment. How rapidly humans are impacting the environment has far out-stripped the environment’s ability to support us, let alone the rest of the ecosystem and its countless other inhabitants – and then there’s this. Media lied to us. Politicians lied to us. Polls lied to us. They made us forget what it was like to live with a Wolf when we had our cool, suave, friendly POTUS who actually signed deals for Wall Street, lied to the Sioux about how important their sovereignty was, and sent flying killer robots to kill poor brown kids in their beds. We forgot those “unattractive” things because we wanted to believe in the idea that our problems could be fixed with a magic wand. Well, it can’t. Sorry, we have to do it ourselves.

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The Frog Slowly Boiling: There’s Something Not Matching Up in Reality, and Standing Rock is Revealing It.

Images coming from the front-lines of the Standing Rock occupation in South Dakota today are disturbing at best, except for that bit when the herd of Buffalo (the work of species rehabilitation in recent years) showed up seemingly in solidarity with the protesters. The Internet is on fire about this, has been for weeks, and only now are mainstream media outlets that were ignoring it for weeks, confident that the blase cover story and re-routing issued by Obama weeks before would hold up and that the Internet phenomenon would die down.

Now major networks and newspapers are touching it finally, but of course choosing to focus on the violent struggles, burning tires, “illegal” road blockades and other noise around the fiasco. Typical. But even though everybody and their sister seem to be talking about this on the Online circles we are already in touch with, there is a deeper systemic issue we’re not talking about. The elephant in the room here is the silence of the masses, and of the candidates, and – until the last 24-72 hours – of the media.

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The Smartest Cities are Going Green – Literally – Improving Image and Health, and Curing the Pollution Problem at its Source

greenwall_paris_00Most of us would agree that cities are a huge source of pollution. Generally, most of the junk in the air, waters, and land comes from urban areas, where the greatest concentrations of humans are gathered. This leads some to believe that the best way to “get sustainable” is to move to the country, where things aren’t so crowded and the potential and space exists to do projects that nurture the Earth and grow food. In reality, if there was a mass exodus of people from the cities currently, the countryside would be destroyed by urban sprawl in no time. This process of people leaving the gray city slate for the forested green of the country could explain how urban sprawl actually occurs. Rather than entertain potentially destructive notions in the hope of making a dent in the problem, turn the problem to its source for solutions. Cities are hubs of communication, the home to millions who want to see green where they live; they don’t want to have to leave to have their cake and eat it too. They want to green their cities, and why shouldn’t they? Introducing the movement to improve the ecology in the most ecologically destitute places on Earth, turning some of the world’s biggest cities into resplendent emerald attractions that bring even more residents, commerce, and tourists.

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Democratize Your Money – Sign Up for a Credit Union or Eco-Minded Bank

It tends to appear that money and the environment are at odds. In order to make money, usually you have to participate in a job or investments that actively antagonize the already-unstable global ecosystem. There is a lot of talk about the parasitic “big banks”, “too big to fail”, and the system of toxic corporate financial entities that control the system. Not often enough, however, do people change where they bank in order to change things. Signing up at a credit union is one such way. Credit unions are non-profit organizations that exist for the express purpose of helping ordinary citizens build up credit and actually move forward as a result of keeping a stable balance. They tend to invest in local projects, businesses, governments and housing and thus represent a more direct democratic option in banking. Here’s a government website specifically created to help people find a credit union in their area. There has been a new trend as well in environmental investment banking with banks such as Aspiration opening checking account services to everyday people that allow for investing with a conscience. These banks have come to the conclusion, as many of us have, that the future of business is green, and investments into that future will be lucrative as well as wholesome for all concerned. These maintain a portfolio of investments that rate ecological benefit against monetary profit. They do this by picking “high road companies” vs. “low road companies” and prioritize investments on a scale of how well a company is doing financially and the good they are doing for the planet and humanity in the process.

Allegory of the Cage – A Way of Viewing and Deciding Upon the World We Live In

Many of us would accept it as an axiom that we are all interconnected. Now for some reason this isn’t readily apparent to just everyone yet, possibly because it isn’t always obvious. It takes some viewing through a layer or two of perspective, but ultimately we are connected infinitely in innumerable ways. From the second we emerge into the world, we are utterly dependent upon other humans, our forebears and others, for survival. Without that help, and the help of others throughout life, we would literally die. Throughout life it’s not so clear-cut as it is for an infant, but without the interaction with others we would be lost. The “lone wolf” idea, where it comes to humans, is not applicable – for that matter, neither is it for wolves. We sometimes get overwhelmed with toxic human relationships that no longer serve our growth, and without the maturity of sight that comes with experience it’s easy enough to project all of humanity onto the relationships we’ve had so far. Ideally, we should move forward in a generally upward direction, improving ourselves and our relationships with time. Unfortunately, often enough, this isn’t what happens in experience – many of us tend to project our hopes, dreams, fears and demons onto others and get angry when other individuals don’t accept our ideas of fairness. Either way, we are teaching each other and learning from each other at all times, for better or for worse. It’s a two-way street, to be fair: the individual usually ahead in age is in the position to offer help, in exchange for the ability to teach. The individual in a position of learning and needing material help has the opportunity to learn, teach, and provide service. In turn, everybody helps each other in a teach-learn-serve triangle of relationship.

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Healing for Body, Mind and Spirit – a Defense for Holistic Cannabis Use

A cannabis user doesn’t necessarily have to be the one writing this. This is an appeal for the legitimate use of cannabis as a personal spiritual sacrament to connect to the living world. It’s for those among us who use cannabis as a way to connect to a deeper reality that this world doesn’t always connect to. There are various uses for every thing under the sun, and the focus of something tends to be its dominant use – and thus, the focus on the use of cannabis as either a way to have fun, relax, or heal. There is less focus on the use that the place of its origin recognizes, as “all of the above” but very importantly a way to transcend the material world and connect to a deeper spirituality. This is a very Indian (we’re talking Hindu, not Native American) way of thinking and for various reasons has deep discord with the dominant thinking of the West which is very materialist. I’m trying not to make this sound too cliche because obviously this is the subject of countless riffs on this divide, but the important part is this – one recognizes that there is a greater mass to creation than what meets the eye, and looks for it – the other is consumed by the reality of “what is” and what we’re able to objectively demonstrate in a laboratory or on a balance sheet. Thus, the deep divide over cannabis. The actual history of the world shows that several ancient cultures, many of whom are still around, have used this herb for thousands of years. (Not that it matters to those already convinced it makes you “dumb” or “unmotivated”, recently they also found it in William Shakespeare’s tobacco pipe..) One of these cultures is alive and well, a cradle of civilization whose written works are some of the oldest known and many of whose modern members are word-renowned for their scientific, medical and spiritual knowledge.

Don’t ask yourself “should cannabis be legalized” for this or that purpose, ask yourself “why is it illegal in the first place?” Honestly, is it because it’s “dangerous”, “addictive”, and leads to the decay of brain cells and motivation – according to the same FDA that regards wholesome breakfast cereal like Frosted Flakes as more “nutritional” than an avocado? Is it because it causes social conditions like depression, mania, schizophrenia, or any number of other labels the pharmaceutical industrial complex has come up with to describe humans reacting to the craziness of the world? Is it the cause of so much social decay and economic depravity as observed in places like the third world – or, our domestic version, the inner city?

Or,

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Can We Wake Up From this Crazy Dream, or is It Too Late? The Coincidence of 400ppm and Dakota Pipeline Arrests.

In case you haven’t heard, there’s kind of a big thing happening in the Dakotas right now. Also, we’ve hit a critical tipping point in our planet’s chemistry that may or may not be reversible.

These are two major pieces of news that should be totally alarming to anyone paying attention. Good thing people already paying attention are already alarmed. We’re not trying to be alarmist, but if you’re not alarmed, be. We should honestly start a puppet show, rap video, or comedy skit about it to be taken seriously though, because alarmists are known to be a “bummer”. Oh well, there’s still this bit to attend to.

For years, there has been a magic number, a threshold of carbon particles in the air hovering around 400 parts per million… something about this “sets the level” for the climate, whereby past this point it may be extremely difficult, if not (some say) impossible, to reverse the trend and get back to 350 parts-per-million or below. Here is one post from the day that has seemed pretty doom and gloom to already-eco-minded types.

So what does this mean, for the planet, for the human race, for the individual?

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Changing the Nature of Life by Changing the Ways we Use Money.

The current economic system is completely unhealthy for human beings and the rest of life on Earth – spiritually, physically, and practically. Humans are not living up to their fullest humanity, and the environment is being destroyed, and we know it. But what is the problem with the existing system – we can’t ditch it “just like that” and we can’t fight it – we have to figure out what’s wrong, why it’s wrong, and what to do about it to make things better for all humans living on this planet. To do that, we must use our minds to hack culture, to get to the bottom of why we have designed this system over the years to secure our future resources and have come full-circle to a world that is utterly insecure with dwindling resources. How did we go wrong, what are the logical fallacies in the original argument of the social contract we supposedly entered into at birth and how do we reverse them by design?

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