“Faith is not about finding meaning in the world, there may be no such thing -- faith is the belief in our capacity to create meaningful lives.”
Terry Tempest Williams
Title: Thinking Like a Watershed: Lecture and Book Signing
Location: James Ranch, 33800 U.S. 550, Durango, CO 81301
Description: Join father and daughter, Jack and Celestia Loeffler for an afternoon of conversation about water, food, and sustainability in the Southwest. Jack will weave audio vignettes of interviews he has conducted on global climate change and its effects on watershed ecosystems. Celestia will share the joys and positive impact of local and seasonal eating. Together they will convey a multi-generational approach to securing a sustainable future for generations to come. Book signing to follow. At James Ranch, Saturday September 14th from 4-6pm. FREE EVENT!
Start Time: 4pm
Date: Saturday, 09-14-2013
End Time: 6pm
By Page Lambert
(As originally published on her blog on June 25th, 2013)
I want to get better at inhabiting, at occupying my landscape, moment by moment – like the otter below inhabits hers. Almost completely immersed. I want to know intimately the physical world where the outer story of my life takes place. After all, isn’t this where our thoughts feel most at home? How is storytelling any different?
“Writing the outer story is a matter of sending yourself on the journey, sending yourself through the moment to find the new thing in it…. Don’t think, but watch instead: occupy…” (from Ron Carlson Writes a Story, Graywolf Press).
No matter how long a horse has inhabited a terrain, if something new suddenly appears, his attention will be riveted toward it. The boulder that has rolled down the hill during the night to lodge against a sage brush might be a crouching mountain lion waiting to attack his herd. The rogue horse snorting around the edges of the band of mares might be a rival, a challenge to be dealt with immediately. The physical world is not a passive place. It demands action. And it demands our attention. Photographer Mary Dobbs intimately inhabits, even if only for a moment, every landscape seen through her camera lens. She has taught herself the importance of focused attention.
Title: Thinking Like a Watershed Book Reading and Signing
Location: Bookmans, 1520 S Riordan Ranch St., Flagstaff, AZ, 86001
Link out: Click here
Description: Join Jack Loeffler and Celestia Loeffler as they share and sign their recently published book, “Thinking Like a Watershed.” The event will be held at Bookmans bookstore in Flagstaff from 1pm-3pm and is FREE to the public.
The arid landscape of the southwest has supported many cultures for millenia. Thinking Like a Watershed celebrates this fact and brings together the writings of authors who
“have spent a great deal of time meandering through the landscapes, … ruminating on interconnectedness, and celebrating the spirit of place.” Produced in conjunction with the documentary radio series entitled “Watershed as Commons,” this book comprises essays and interviews from a diverse group of southwesterners including members of Tewa, Tohono O'odham, Hopi, Navajo, Hispano, and Anglo cultures. Both Jack Loeffler and his daughter, Celestia, are board members of Lore of the Land, a nonprofit organization dedicated to nurturing and preserving the traditional communities of the American Southwest.
Start Time: 13:00
End Time: 15:00
Title: Thinking Like a Watershed Reading and Book Signing
Location: Antigone Bookstore, 411 N 4th Ave, Tucson, Arizona
Link out: Click here
Description: Join Jack Loeffler, Celestia Loeffler, Gary Paul Nabhan as they share and sign their book, “Thinking Like a Watershed.” The event will begin at 7pm Friday, May 24th and is FREE to the public.
The arid landscape of the southwest has supported many cultures for millenia. Thinking Like a Watershed celebrates this fact and brings together the writings of authors who “have spent a great deal of t
ime meandering through the landscapes, … ruminating on interconnectedness, and celebrating the spirit of place.” Produced in conjunction with the documentary radio series entitled “Watershed as Commons,” this book comprises essays and interviews from a diverse group of southwesterners including members of Tewa, Tohono O'odham, Hopi, Navajo, Hispano, and Anglo cultures. Both Jack Loeffler and his daughter, Celestia, are board members of Lore of the Land, a nonprofit organization dedicated to nurturing and preserving the traditional communities of the American Southwest. Gary Nabhan is an agricultural ecologist, ethnobiologist and writer.
Start Time: 19:00
By Jamie Rose, Guest Blogger from infoproductreview.org
With the Kyoto Protocol’s expiration in 2012, it’s high time that we assessed it’s impact in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Taking data from the UN and PBL, InfoProductReview aims to do just that with their recently published infographic.
Winners And Losers
The first chart in the sequence shows a nation’s performance against their respective targets since 1990, e.g. a nation targeting a 5% reduction in emissions over the period that went on to see a 10% increase would score -15.
Overall, there have been more successes than failures amongst nations with Kyoto targets and as whole, collective emissions have decreased considerably.
Outside Of The Treaty
Sadly, these successes have not been mirrored elsewhere, particularly within the developing world (see 2nd chart). Indeed,
total global CO2 emissions have continued to soar with China leading 60% of that increase since the late 90s.
As can be seen from the third chart in the sequence, the surge in fossil fuel usage since the late 90s has been almost entirely driven by the developing world.
A Misleading Picture
But the developed world is far from innocent, with emissions per capita well above the levels seen in the developing world (CO2 emissions per capita in the US are around twice the levels seen in China).
What’s more, the increasing amount of international
trade has led some to argue that developed countries have simply “exported” their carbon burden offshore (via imports). In fact, according to standard data, developed countries can claim to have reduced their collective emissions by around 2% since 1990, yet if we add back the carbon cost of imports (and subtract exports) the true change is an increase of around 7%.
Weighing It All Up
So has the Kyoto Protocol been effective in achieving its goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions? Looking at the final chart in the sequence, no, clearly not. CO2 emissions have continued to soar and the ever-intertwined nature of our global economy makes individual nation targets misleading.
What we can say, however, is that as the only international agreement of its kind, the Kyoto Protocol has been an extremely important first step in global climate diplomacy. What is key now is what will follow.
Please help support the “Kyoto – We Must Do More!’ cause by sharing this infographic.
By Celestia Loeffler
© 2013 (As seen in the Greenfire Times)
Smile, breathe, relax. There. Feel better? Surely it can’t be that easy to lead a happy and healthy life. But there are a few simple changes we can make in our daily routine to vastly improve our health and well-being, and in turn, the health and well-being of our communities. By taking better care of ourselves, we become better parents, spouses, co-workers and stewards of our communities. So what follows is a list of five ways to keep healthy, happy and well balanced in the new year.
1) Breathe: “When you own your breath, nobody can steal your peace,” says an anonymous sage. Learning how to breath properly is vital for our well-being. Respiration delivers oxygen needed to nourish and purify the body. Our breath also has a major influence on our mind. Calm breath, calm mind. By lengthening our breaths we engage the parasympathetic nervous system, taking ourselves out of “fight or flight” mode and easing into “rest and digest” mode. So see how conscious you can be about your breathing patterns throughout the day. And if you find yourself getting overwhelmed, angry or unsettled, try deepening your breath by filling your lungs slowly and deeply from the bottom all the way up, then exhale from the bottom of the lungs to the top again. Repeat this a few times and notice the difference.
2) Eat Well: We, quite literally, are what we eat. If we consume processed and synthetic foods, our body has to work harder to assimilate what we consume—and often can’t accomplish it—which results in our ailing health. But if we favor local, seasonal, organic, non-GMO (non-genetically modified organisms), whole—or at least minimally processed—foods, then not only do we nourish ourselves, but we also pay respect to the Earth and the resources necessary to get the food to our plate. Buy whole foods. If something has a label, read it. If it contains words that you don’t recognize or can’t pronounce, chances are it doesn’t belong in your belly. Shop at your local farmers’ market. And if you can’t, then at least stay on the perimeter of the grocery store, where the food is fresh (not packaged), and there are often local and organic options. And eat less. We Americans have a penchant for doing everything BIG. That includes portion sizes. A simple way to cut our food budget, and a couple inches off our waistline, is to only eat as much as your body really needs. Aim for 1,200-2,000 calories a day. Eat slowly. Taste your food. Savor and enjoy it. New Mexicans are blessed with an abundant local food supply. By supporting your local growers, you support and nourish yourself and your community.
3) Sleep Well: Quality sleep is essential for a person’s optimal health and well-being. Each person has his or
her own individual sleep needs, but any less than an average of six hours per night and you deprive your body and mind of the much-needed reprieve
from the day’s events. Seven to eight hours of nightly sleep is ideal for most. If you have difficulty sleeping, avoid alcoholic and caffeinated beverages in the afternoon and evening. Also unplug electronic devices at least an hour before going to bed. If you can, take a few minutes to wind down before getting ready for sleep. Meditating and sitting quietly with a cup of hot herbal tea are simple yet profound ways to promote optimal rest. If you can, go to sleep and wake up around the same times every day to tune in with your natural circadian rhythms. Research indicates that getting ample sleep can reduce inflammation in the body, sharpen your attention, aid in healthy weight loss and significantly lower stress levels. Not only will you feel good, you’ll be a pleasure to be around.
4) Be Kind. Being kind to others and to ourselves provides a steady flow of endorphins, the body’s natural pain inhibitors, which can help contribute to our sense of physical and emotional well-being. When we give of ourselves we foster a strong sense of confidence and optimism. Our kindness also inspires others to be kind, which helps contribute to a stronger sense of family and community. What’s more, we are much more likely to receive the same kindness in return during our own times of need. It might feel counterintuitive at first to smile at or open a door for a stranger. But if you follow the Golden Rule, “Due unto others as you would have them due unto you,” you just might find that it benefits you as much, if not more, than those to whom you are expressing kindness.
5) Spend Time in Nature: The Southwest abounds with wild spaces and natureto explore, and studies show that spending even 20 minutes outside every day can have a vast impact on our vitality. “Nature is fuel for the soul,” says Richard Ryan, a professor of psychology at the University of Rochester. “Often when we feel depleted we reach for a cup of coffee, but research suggests a better way to get energized is to connect with nature,” he says. Spending time outdoors is a natural immunity- and energy-booster. Spending time outdoors contributes to our sense of interconnectedness with all beings, which is vital in this age of rapidly evolving technology. Most folks these days are subsumed with computers and smartphones and would rather Google a ladder-backed woodpecker than actually find one in the wild. But by taking even a few minutes each day to commune with nature, we are more apt to remember that we are all—from the tiny caterpillar and cholla cactus to the human being—in this life and this consciousness together.
Vast life improvements often begin with small, incremental changes in your daily routine. So even if you can’t log 10 hours of shuteye every night or eat only local, organic meals, don’t give up. If all you have each day are a few 30-second bursts to focus on your health and well-being, then try the “smile, breathe and relax” method. You just might find that those brief, blissful moments have the capability to bring a bit of peace and happiness to yourself and those around you, the effects of which can really add up during the course of the year.
Celestia Loeffler is a wordsmith and yoga instructor from Santa Fe. firstname.lastname@example.org, www.loreoftheland.org, www.celestiayoga.com
Title: Book Signing and Panel Discussion: What Will Restore Westerners’ Bond with the Land?
Location: Collected Works Bookstore, 202 Galisteo Street Santa Fe, NM 87501
Link out: Click here
Description: In “The Land: Our Gift and Wild Hope,” Rae Marie Taylor recounts the many ways the West has lost the “sacred.” The book mourns the loss of what she refers to with a
anic reference—the spirit of querencia—our basic allure to home (the earth) that “runs deep…in our species”
and maintains the human spirit. Vitally concerned about the impact of development on land and water, she bears witness in her book of essays, “The Land,” to both their devastation and today's resurgent hope for renewal.
Ms. Taylor will be joined by authors Jack Loeffler and Kyce Bello for a panel discussion titled, “Collective Imagination Matters: Three Authors Share on Restoring Hope with the Land Itself”.
Start Time: 18:00
Title: Earth Day Celebration at Ghost Ranch: Water’s for Cooperating Over
Location: Ghost Ranch Abiquiu, NM
Link out: Click here
Description: Come learn about the rich history of societies coming together
to share nature’s most precious resource, water. Instructors will present
stories which highlight such social systems, explode the myth of
water conflict and point toward a future with 'just enough' water
for human and nature’s uses.
• Call (505) 685-4333 ext. 4155.
• online at www.GhostRanch.org
• $150 + lodging & meals,
student rate: $75 + lodging & meals
• Course number G13SW41W
structors: Steve Harris, is a river outfitter and guide, a river
and flood rescue instructor to various
government agencies and
is a river
conservation activist. Jack Loeffler is an aurul historian,
writer, radio producer and sound collage artist. He founded
two organizations committed to environmental activism and
preservation of indigenous culture. Dr. Rina Swentzell writes
and lectures on the philosphical and cultural basis of the Pueblo
world and its educational, artistic and architectural expressions.
Estevan Arellano is a Northern New Mexico poet, historian,
farmer and journalist. He translated a 16th century text “Ancient
Agriculture” brought from Spain and which continues to influence
how agriculture is practiced today.
Start Date: 2013-04-05
End Date: 2013-04-07
Title: Water in the West: Panel Discussion
Location: Western Folklife Center, Elko, NV
Link out: Click here
Description: Panel discu
ssion on Water in the West with John Ehrmann, Lisa Hamilton, Jack Loeffler, Bill Zeedyk from 10‐11:30am. Part
of the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering. Free to the public, Pass not required. For more
information visit http://www.westernfolklife.org
Start Time: 10:00
End Time: 11:30
By Jack Loeffler
© 2012 (As seen in the Greenfire Times)
The Earth has circled around the Sun about three-and-a-half billion times since that special molecule evolved within the primordial milieu that characterized our planet some 10 billion or so solar years after our Universe blasted into being. This tiny dot of RNA was equipped with a genome. It could replicate itself. It was alive. It was LUCA, the Last Universal Common Ancestor of all life that has spanned time on our now-living planet Earth. We, as the human species, retain elements of the genetic code that resided in LUCA.
Metaphorically, LUCA was the seed of life that gradually blossomed into trillions of species, and lately—relative to geologic time—consciousness. LUCA spawned Life and Consciousness, a complex dimension through which the Universe may be perceived, contemplated and partly understood, perhaps a window through which our Universe may perceive itself.
We are the recipients of LUCA’s potential. We, and the rest of life on Earth, are the cast of LUCA’s dream. Long may it last.
In the Biblical Book of Genesis, creation lasted seven days. It took us a week to get from nothingness to here. Referring to the great Tome of Science, if we symbolically conceive of 500 million years as a day, it took six days for LUCA’s dream to span the planet with small unicellular organisms—and on the seventh day, the Cambrian Explosion burst upon the planet, marking the dawn of the Paleozoic Era when multi-cellular life forms gradually fomented over time into ever more complex organisms, thwarted occasionally by great spasms of extinction, diversity of life always recovering until humanity blinked into being, achieving species-hood only a couple of hundred thousand years ago.
Evolution, as interpreted by Charles Darwin and his intellectual descendants, provides a conscious reflection on LUCA’s evolving dream that presently results in recognition of the miracle that exists in our tiny space in the Universe. If life and consciousness prevail here on our planet Earth, considering that our Sun is but one of 200 billion or more stars in our Milky Way galaxy, and that the Milky Way is but one of 100 billion or more galaxies in the Universe, human imagination still has a very long way to go to grasp the potential that exists in the Universe. And in the great Tome of Science, new pages are being written about the possibility of other concurrently happening universes, perhaps infinite in number.
This is our glimpse into the Great Mystery available to be pondered at any moment as long as we live, and as long as we survive as a species…
Now is not the time to squander our ponderings by focusing on so much that is irrelevant, relative to our continued existence.
We are currently engaged in a time of hastening cultural evolution that far outstrips biological evolution. Our collective consciousness is presently offering an extraordinary palette of potential areas of focus. Our species is fragmented into highly diverse cultural systems of practice, themselves having blossomed, withered and re-manifested myriad times over the 15,000 or so years since the final days of last Ice Age. Then we existed in bands of hunter-gatherers and were concerned that we owned no more than we could carry. Our scale of cultural perspective had yet to expand beyond subsistence necessary for survival. Evidence strongly suggests that we were egalitarians, that social hierarchy was thwarted by the need to practice mutual cooperation within the band and beyond, that tyrannical bullies were kept in check by the advent of weapons that could strike from afar.
With the coming of the warming trends of the Holocene, so came the advent of agriculture. We gradually became more sedentary and settled into villages, towns and eventually cities, less inclined to the nomadic ways of our forbearers, more inclined to pursue accumulating wealth. Some were more successful at this than others, thus social hierarchy became an organizing factor in human culture. Perhaps this is in keeping with humanity’s place in the animal kingdom. Civilizations appeared autonomously around the world. Curiously, evidence reveals that many civilizations waned during periods of extended drought—something to bear in mind as we challenge the elements.
Concurrently, spiritual realms crystallized into religions. Many of the gods were taken out of Nature and relocated in heavenly or hellish realms available to human souls only after death. Gradually, much of the landscape was secularized. Human sense of kinship with the rest of life began (and continues) to wane. Thus we perceive ourselves as separate from LUCA’s dream, imagining ourselves to be the reason-to-be in this age we have dubbed the Anthropocene. Indeed, we are presently the keystone species… but for how long?
That we as a species have achieved such an evolved level of consciousness is awe-inspiring. No one knows
of other planets that are alive, let alone spawning life form
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s capable of consciousness. Surely we are not alone in the Universe, or even our home galaxy.
Certain pages in the Tome of Science reveal that it is possible that billions of solar years hence, the Universe will rip apart, perhaps to re-assemble in a new incarnation. Before then, our Sun will have gone nova, ‘obliviating’ our planet Earth. Other pages reveal possible perspectives that we are but holograms dancing to the delight of
elsewhere imaginations. Or that there are parallel universes mirroring our own. Or that the notion that our Universe, though appearing infinite, is rather but one of an infinite number of universes.
The truth is, we are here and now. That tiny dot of life known as LUCA of billennia past has resulted thus far in a level of complexity of life and consciousness and attendant technology and collective lifestyle that we as a species now strain the capacity of our planet to sustain. The last three centuries have been witness to a great rise in human population and industry, extraction and expenditure of non-renewable resources, energy consumption, pollution, scientific data, lengthening human lifespan, tempering infant mortality, medical arts, education, standard-of-living capability, sophistication of media, and now digital technology. The Industrial Revolution set the stage for the 20th century, wherein our human population more than tripled, as did human appetite and consumption.
Today we are beginning to perceive the presence of global warming and climate instability. We face grave jeopardy because of our own carelessness and lack of timely response to warnings by James Hansen and other scientists who watched with dismay as CO2 levels continued to rise in spite of their repeated warnings.
I personally think that the greatest single problem we must address is our system of cultural attitudes. Until we recognize that our ecology is far more important than our economy, we will not arrest the juggernaut of our own invention. We must achieve a steady state economy and stay further population growth if we are to establish any kind of sustainable balance within our planetary ecosystem. We have allowed economics to become the dominant force that now drives our collective perspective. A certain amount of avarice has crept in—a nasty word for a nasty human characteristic that defines the Midas approach to ultimate disaster. The territorial imperative is now defined in national and other political boundaries that carve the commons into unnatural apportionments, denying rather than welcoming recognition of kinship implied in LUCA’s dream.
We are a crisis-driven species in a finite world. Our crises are more than plentiful, each tinged with a cultural bias. The keystone of our species-hood is showing points of stress and potential collapse. No matter where we look, there we are, each of us surviving as best we can, our spoor in our wake, none of us leaving a traceless passage through life and consciousness—especially in the virtual world of the Internet.
Consciousness is our greatest commons. It is filled with what we put into it: our thoughts, the words we utter, our writings, world and local news, documentary films, TV entertainments, arts and sciences, twitters, skypes, facebooks, cell phone calls, radio programs, musical compositions, our poetry, advertisements, spam—the shared perceptions of our senses, intellect, intuitions and emotions. In our ‘march of progress,’ we have largely neglected the presence of Indigenous Mind offered by those of us who yet remain traditionally rooted to homeland, who continue to recognize kinship with all living creatures on our planet Earth that spawned LUCA three-and-a-half billion years ago.
We who reside in the landscape presently known as New Mexico live in a state of grace. Biodiversity and cultural diversity abound. Indigenous mind, scientific mind, artistic mind, musical mind, sustainable mind, conscious mind live in overlapping cultures of practice that invigorate a level of cognitive diversity unique on our planet. Almost all of us can look beyond our windows into the exquisite habitat in which we share membership. Every creature, every plant is kindred. Each of us is part of the flow of Nature that sustains our planet Earth, our solar system, our galaxy, our Universe from the microcosm to the macrocosm. That is the most significant concept that we can both digest and plant as a new seed so that we may grow to maturity from the grassroots and continue to evolve. We are part of LUCA’s dream.
Jack Loeffler is the author of numerous books, including Healing the West: Voices of Culture and Habitat. Jack Loeffler and Celestia Loeffler are contributors and co-editors of Thinking Like a Watershed, a recently released anthology of essays published by the University of New Mexico Press. For more info, visit www.loreoftheland.org