Tuesday, July 12, 2016

IPES-Food report (02.06.2016): From Uniformity to Diversity: A Paradigm Shift from Industrial Agriculture to Diversified Agroecological Systems

(International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems) IPES-Food report (02.06.2016): From Uniformity to Diversity: A Paradigm Shift from Industrial Agriculture to Diversified Agroecological Systems.)


via the incomprable Maya Montenegro, Graduate Student In Agroecology at the Berkeley University. Big thans!

 • Today’s food and farming systems have succeeded in supplying large volumes of foods to global markets, but are generating negative outcomes on multiple fronts: widespread degradation of land, water and ecosystems; high GHG emissions; biodiversity losses; persistent hunger and micro-nutrient deficiencies alongside the rapid rise of obesity and diet-related diseases; and livelihood stresses for farmers around the world.

 • Many of these problems are linked specifically to ‘industrial agriculture’: the input-intensive crop monocultures and industrial-scale feedlots that now dominate farming landscapes. The uniformity at the heart of these systems, and their reliance on chemical fertilizers, pesticides and preventive use of antibiotics, leads systematically to negative outcomes and vulnerabilities.

 • Industrial agriculture and the ‘industrial food systems’ that have developed around it are locked in place by a series of vicious cycles. For example, the way food systems are currently structured allows value to accrue to a limited number of actors, reinforcing their economic and political power, and thus their ability to influence the governance of food systems. • Tweaking practices can improve some of the specific outcomes of industrial agriculture, but will not provide long-term solutions to the multiple problems it generates.

• What is required is a fundamentally different model of agriculture based on diversifying farms and farming landscapes, replacing chemical inputs, optimizing biodiversity and stimulating interactions between different species, as part of holistic strategies to build longterm fertility, healthy agro-ecosystems and secure livelihoods, i.e. ‘diversified agroecological systems’.

• There is growing evidence that these systems keep carbon in the ground, support biodiversity, rebuild soil fertility and sustain yields over time, providing a basis for secure farm livelihoods. • Data shows that these systems can compete with industrial agriculture in terms of total outputs, performing particularly strongly under environmental stress, and delivering production increases in the places where additional food is desperately needed. Diversified agroecological systems can also pave the way for diverse diets and improved health.

• Change is already happening. Industrial food systems are being challenged on multiple fronts, from new forms of cooperation and knowledge-creation to the development of new market relationships that bypass conventional retail circuits.

• Political incentives must be shifted in order for these alternatives to emerge beyond the margins. A series of modest steps can collectively shift the centre of gravity in food system

Agroecology, Oneness and the Cuban Revolution


Agroecology, Oneness and the Cuban Revolution

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/24/world/americas/obamaurges-raised-voices-incubas-husheddiscussions-ofrace.html Via Senay Yitbarek, a graduate student at the University of Michigan Department of Evolutionary Biology a hotbed of agroecology.

Recently, I read an article acknowledging the mistreatment of certain Cubans based on their phenotype or physical appearance, and began to see how work promoting agroecology in Cuba will necessarily result ultimately in ending  such mistreatment by raising the consciousness of islanders to their oneness. (See above.)  Humanity is not fully enlightened. We remain largely unconscious as a species. We have yet to become conscious of, much less live, the reality of the oneness of humanity and all there is, on which agroecology is based.

It is in the  nature of our species to separate itself into groups on the basis of "superficial phenotypical differences" such as "head shape" in some communities, ear lobe differences and skin color etc. for the purpose of distributing the benefits of society. Sigmund Freud, Case Histories II (PFL 9) p. 132 Cubans are no different. Cuban society is largely stratified by such superficial differences and decisions impacting health, wealth, security and all the aspects of life are made on these bases as in all human societies.

All human communities do this. It is a psychological characteristic of our species stemming from the inability of our species to accept ourselves as we are. We cannot accept ourselves as we are, our "impure, complex, less desirable" thoughts, beliefs, and desires, so human beings "project" these "less desireable" thoughts, beliefs and characteristics onto others. Id. This "other" is created by often paying attention to or creating superficial phenotypical differences in humanity itself that have no basis in reality for distinguishing human beings. But rather than accept oneself as one is, our species is so immature, it "creates" an "other" and then projects these traits in itself which it cannot accept onto this "other." It is a complete fabrication, of which humanity is largely unaware, accepts and practices widely, including in Cuba. This is deep unconsciousness and a characteristic of all  human communities and some communities closely related to humans. Id.

The Cuban revolution was largely a socio-economic revolution concurrent with the highest levels of  human consciousness of its time. Its leaders did not have the consciousness to address the need to transform human psychology and evolve human consciousness itself, rather again, the focus was on transforming human socio-economic systems, but not humans themselves. Perhaps some of the work that remains to be done in Cuba and the world is transforming and evolving human beings themselves, consciousness and behavior,  as opposed to simply changing human systems, including the food system.  Perhaps the problems humanity faces are lodged more deeply than in its socio-economic or food systems. Perhaps, the challenges that remain with humanity are lodged in its deepest psychological nature.

A true understanding of agroecology stems from deep human consciousness  of the oneness of all there is, humanity and nature, and that humanity is nature. When humanity becomes conscious enough to accept agroecology, based on the oneness of the all, it will necessarily then have the consciousnesss to practice oneness among itself as well..

To work for agroecology is therefore to work for the oneness of humanity. To work for agroecology is therefore to work to end the deeply unconscious human practice of  seeing itself as less than one and justifying mistreatment of  "the other." Agroecology is the science of oneness and necessarily requires waking up to the oneness of humanity itself as well as the oneness of all there is.

Advancing health promoting food systems. International Union for Health Promotion and Education (IUHPE) Dixon J. (2015)

"Beyond sustainability and justice, food sovereignty also requires that our food systems provide "sufficient amounts of healthy, nutritious and culturally appropriate food." Human health is a requisite of our food and actually intricately connected with an agroecological or environmentally sustainable food system. By its very nature, an agroecological or sustainable food system will be healthy for humans, just as industrial food systems will be unhealthy. "" Maria Whittaker

Via Dr. Miguel Altieri, Professor of Agroecology at the University of California, Berkeley in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management.

Dixon, J. (2015) IUHPE Position Paper: Advancing health promoting food systems. International Union for Health Promotion and Education (IUHPE), Saint-Denis, France.


ABOUT THIS PAPER This position paper on food systems and health promotion provides background evidence and information to guide the International Union for Health Promotion and Education (IUHPE) Executive Board and membership as they play a role in addressing one of the more critical political, social, health and environmental problems of the 21st century: the capacity to provide a healthy and sustainable diet to a growing population in an increasingly resource constrained bio-physical environment. IUHPE and its partners, in particular, Health Promotion Switzerland, had already made a solid contribution to the debate through an earlier White Paper entitled: The Food System: a prism of present and future challenges for health promotion and sustainable development (Kickbusch 2010). That paper adopted an eco-system perspective: a model for understanding the interrelationships between environmental conditions, food supply issues, diet-related noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) and health equity. The White Paper framed healthy food system dynamics through a health promotion and sustainable development lens, arguing that ‘in many cases, the best choices for health are also the best choices for the planet; and the most ethical and environmental choices are also good for health’ (Kickbusch 2010, p.7). In early 2013 Prof Jane Dixon was asked by the IUHPE Executive Board to develop a position paper on food systems and health promotion. This draft paper was subsequently discussed in a Workshop convened by Prof Dixon, Vivian Lin and Trevor Shilton during the 21st IUHPE World Conference on Health Promotion held in Pattaya, Thailand, in August 2013. Based on feedback Prof Dixon produced a version that was approved by the IUHPE Board in 2014. This subsequent update was approved by the Executive Board in December 2015. In brief, the position paper argues that food security cannot be addressed within the food system alone. The production, trade, retailing, advertising and consumption of food is the outcome of what also happens within the human security and development systems which govern household incomes/employment opportunities, education, health care, housing, gender relations, exposure to crime, resource conflicts and environmental hazards. Thus, food security needs to be reframed as a feature of national human security and development policies in all countries, whether high, medium or low income. The author would like to acknowledge substantial inputs from the following: Professor Vivian Lin and Adjunct Professor Trevor Shilton, IUHPE Participants at an open session of the 21st IUHPE World Conference on Health Promotion, Pattaya, 25 August 2013 Chad Foulkes and Katherine Cust, Geelong City Council, Victoria, Australia Geoff Tansey, Joseph Rowntree Visionary for a Just and Peaceful World:- Working for a fair and sustainable food system, & Member and Trustee, Food Ethics Council, UK Dr Corinna Hawkes, World Cancer Research Fund International A roundtable discussion with the Leverhulme Centre on Integrated Research on Agriculture and Health Research (LCIRAH), London, 9 October 2013; additional input from Dr Helen Walls, LCIRAH and the Australian National University Dr Claire Blanchard, Civil Society Network, Save the Children, UK. Cite as: Dixon, J. (2015) IUHPE Position Paper: Advancing health promoting food systems. International Union for Health Promotion and Education (IUHPE), Saint-Denis, France.

Farming for the Future: Organic and Agroecological Solutions to Feed the World Friends of the Earth Report

Farming for the Future: Organic and Agroecological Solutions to Feed the World, a report by Friends of the Earth.
via Eric Holt Jiminez, ED Food First in his recent article on Agroecology in the Huffington Post. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/eric-holt-gimenez/if-agroecology-is-so-grea_b_10867084.html?utm_hp_ref=green&ir=Green

Farming for the Future:
Organic and Agroecological Solutions to Feed the World

Read the full report
Read our Food Tank article here.
The science is clear: Feeding the world sustainably requires that we protect the ecological resources that are essential for producing food now and in the future. What’s more, research consistently shows that hunger is not a problem of overall supply of food, but results from poverty, lack of democracy and unequal access to land, water and other resources. Rather than producing more food under unequal and ecologically destructive conditions, the solution to hunger hinges on creating a more sustainable, democratic and fair food system for all.
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Learn from top scientists and thought leaders on the science of sustainable food production and a comprehensive approach to creating a healthy, resilient food system to feed all people, now and into the future.
Kendra Klein, PhD, Staff Scientist, Friends of the Earth
Can Organic Feed the World
Frances Moore Lappe, Cofounder & Director, Small Planet Institute
The Art of Creating Scarcity From Plenty
Lauren Ponisio, PhD, UC Riverside
How do Yields from Organic and Conventional Farming Systems Compare?
John Reganold, PhD, Professor of Soil Science and Agroecology, Washington State University
Beyond Yield: The Multiple Benefits of Organic Agriculture
Marcia Ishii-Eiteman, PhD, Senior Scientist, Pesticide Action Network
Agroecology Works: Towards Resilient Food and Farming Systems

Learn more

Independent experts around the world agree: Business as usual is not an option -- agroecology is the future of farming.
International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems (IPES) report by Emile A. Frison, 2016
Key findings: Multiple negative outcomes of the existing food system stem from industrial agriculture: "the input-intensive crop monocultures and industrial‐scale feedlots that now dominate farming landscapes.” These systems are "locked in" due to entrenched political-economic power of food industries and instead of "tweaking practices,” a "fundamentally different model of agriculture" is needed, i.e. "diversified agroecological systems.”
By Francis Moore Lappé and Joseph Collins, 2016
Key findings: Hunger is not the result of inadequate amounts of food or human overpopulation, but rather stems from poverty and inequalities of political and economic power. Large farms, expanded markets and free trade won’t help solve world hunger, but will likely make it worse.
United Nations Conference on Trade and Development report, 2013
Key findings: Hunger is not a supply-side productivity problem and "meeting food security challenges is primarily about empowerment of the poor.” A shift is needed "from a conventional, monoculture-based and high-external-input-dependent industrial production towards mosaics of sustainable, regenerative production systems that also considerably improve the productivity of small-scale farmers."
Olivier De Schutter, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, 2010
Key findings: "Agroecology, if sufficiently supported, can double food production in entire regions within 10 years while mitigating climate change and alleviating rural poverty." State support for scaling up agroecology is crucial in both developed and developing countries and should focus on small-scale farmers, their organizations and the innovative agroecological practices they can develop alongside scientists.
International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science, and Technology for Development (IAASTD) report, 2009
Key findings: "Business as usual is not an option" to reach goals of environmental protection and hunger reduction. Small-scale agriculture and traditional ecological knowledge of farmers and indigenous people are as -- if not more -- important to a future food system than genetic engineering and capital-intensive forms of agriculture.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

23-30 2016 Varadero, Cuba, Agriculture Development Conference

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Cuban Urban, Suburban, and Family Agriculture Congress, April 18 to 21, 2017, International Conference Center, Havana, Cuba

Cuban Urban, Suburban, and Family Agriculture Congress, April 18 to 21, 2017, International Conference Center, Havana, Cuba
English Announcement
(Full Spanish Announcement Coming)

Urban, Suburban and Family Agriculture
3rd International Congress
April 18th to 21st, 2017
International Conference Center
Havana, Cuba
www.ausc.co.cu (Spanish Language Website of the INIFAT Suburban, Urban, and Family Agriculture Project)

Dear Colleague:
The Institute for Fundamental Research in Tropical Agriculture "Alejandro de Humboldt" (INIFAT in Spanish) is pleased to invite you to the 3rd International Congress on Urban, Suburban and Family Agriculture, to be held from 18 to the 21st of April, 2017, at the Havana International Conference Center, Cuba, together with the 15th Scientific Meeting of INIFAT.
This Congress is aimed to provide a perfect setting to exchange knowledge and experiences among researchers, professors, businessmen, students and producers linked with farming science. It would be a great honor for us to have your presence in the Congress.
Adolfo Rodriguez Nodals, Dsc.
Chairman of the Organizing Committee
Organized by:
Institute for Fundamental Research in Tropical Agriculture "Alejandro de Humboldt," INIFAT
Ministry of Agriculture, Cuba
Havana International Conference Center, Cuba

Scientific Program: During the Congress, delegates will have the opportunity of attending different modalities of presentations such as: master lectures, workshops, round tables, oral and poster presentations; as well as pre-Congress courses which will be given by very experienced professors and researchers.

Main Topics:
Urban Agriculture and Climate Change
Local Food Production
Management, preservation and use of genetic resources
Seed Production as biodiversity base
Disease and Pest management

Submission of Abstracts:
Abstracts must be emailed, in digital format, to the Scientific Committee (congreso2017@inifat.co.cu),
before January 15th, 2017. They should not exceed 250 words and must be written by using in 12 point Ariel font and letter size paper. Their structure must meet the following: title, authors, institution, address, city, country, and email. The Scientific Committee will inform the authors whether their papers were accepted or not and define the corresponding modalities of presentations for papers.

Working Languages:
Spanish and English

Registration Fee:
Delegate 250 CUC
Undergraduate Student 150 CUC
Accompanying Person 80 CUC
Pre-Congress Course: 30 CUC

Scientific and Commercial Exposition: In line with the Congress, a scientific-commercial exhibition will be held in the main lobby of the Havana International Conference Center. In this occasion, companies, institutions and other entities will have an excellent opportunity for exhibiting and marketing their products, technologies or services related to the topic of the event.

The price of the modular stand is 110.00 CUC per square meter. Within the exposition there will be an order to receive application for space rental. For further information please contact.

Mr. Raul Gonzalez Castro
Professional Organizer of Fairs and Exposition
Phone: 53 (7) 208 7541, 2026011 ext. 1507
Fax: 53(7)202 8283
E-mail: raulg@palco.cu

For further information on the Congress, please contact:

Organizador Committee:
Dra. C. Amelia Capote Rodriguez
Phone: 53 (7) 683 0093
E-mail: dircientifiica@inifat.co.cu

Msc. Griesel Ejeda Gonzalez
Development Direction INIFAT
Phone: 53(7) 683 2896
e-mail: dirdesarrollo@inifat.co.cu

Havana International Conference Center:
Lic. Katia Medina Reyes
Professsional Congress Organizer
Phone: 53(7) 203 8958, 202 6011 al 19 ext. 1511
E-mail: katia@placo.cu

Hotel Offers:
Ing. Arlene Alvarez Rey
Business Specialist Cubatru
Cubatur Travel Agency
Phone: 53 (7)-836-40-37 y (7)-835-50-95
Email: arlene.alvarez@central.cbt.tur.cu
Website: www.cubatur.cu

Participating Organizations
Palacio de Convenciones de La Habana


III Congresso Internacional
Agricultura Urbana, Suburbana y Familiar
18 al 21 de abril 2017, Palacio de las Convenciones de la Habana, Cuba
Estimados colegas:

EL Instituto de Inestigaciones Fundamentales en Agricultura Tropical "Alejandro de Humboldt" (INIFAT) tiene el placer de convocario al III Congresso Internacional de Agricultura Urbana, Suburbana y Familiar que tendra lugar del 18 al 21 de abril del 2017 en el Palacio de Convenciones, La Habna, Cuba, coinciddiendo en esta ocasion con las XV Jornada Cientifica del INIFAT. Es objetivo del Congreso brindar un escenarion propicio para el intercambio de conocimeintos y experiencias entre investigadores, empresarios, estudiantes, y productores realcionados cone las ciensias agricolas, con enfasis en un enfoque agroecologico. El Comite Organizador se complace en darles la beinvenida y reitera su satisfaccion por compartir con nosotros los logros alcanzados en las ciencias agricolas en Cuba, asi como propiciar intercambios con otras experiencias en diversos paises.

Dr. C. Adolfo Rodriguez Nodals
Presidente del Comite Organizador


Instituto de Investigaciones Fundamentales en Agricultura Tropical
Alejandro de Humboldt (INIFAT)
Ministero de la Agricultura, Cuba
Palacio de Convenciones de La Habna, Cuba

Program Cientifico: EL evento sesionara en las modalidades de conferenceias magistrales, talleres, mesas redondas, persentaciones orales, poster y paneles. Asimismo, se ofreceran cursos pre y post-congresosd con profesores e investigadores de gran experiencia.

Tematicas prinicpales:
Agricultura urbana ante el Cambio climatico
Gestion de la produccion local de alimentos
Manejo, conservacion y utilizacion de los Recursos geneticos
Produccion de semillas como base de la biodiversidad
Manejo de plagas y enfermedades en condiciones tropicales

Envio de resumens:
Los resumenes se enviaran al COmite Ceintifico (congreso2017@inifat.co.cu) en formato digital antes del 15 de enero de 2017. El resumen no excedera las 250 palabras, letra tipo Arial 12 puntos, en tamano carta. Debe incluir titulo en espanol, nombre de los autores, institucion, direccion completa, coreeo de contacto y hast cinco palabras claves. SOlo se podra enviar un trabajo como primer autor. El Comite Cientifico informara la aceptacion o no de los tabajos y su forma de presentacion.

Idiomas oficiales:
Espanol y ingles.

Cuotas de Inscricion:
Delegados: $250.00 CUC
Estudiantes de pregrado: $150,00 CUC
Acompanantes: $ 80,00 CUC
Cursos pre y post-congresos: $30,00 CUC

Exposicion asociada cientifico-comercial en el proprio Palacio de Convenciones, en la cual las empresas, institutos y entidades relacionadas con las tematicas podran exponar sus productos, technologicas o servicios, con el fin de posibilitar las negociaciones entre los participantes.

To  be Continued....

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Falling in Love with the Earth, THich Nhat Hahn


Falling in Love with the Earth

This beautiful, bounteous, life-giving planet we call Earth has given birth to each one of us, and each one of us carries the Earth within every cell of our body.

We and the Earth are one

The Earth is our mother, nourishing and protecting us in every moment–giving us air to breathe, fresh water to drink, food to eat and healing herbs to cure us when we are sick. Every breath we inhale contains our planet's nitrogen, oxygen, water vapor and trace elements. When we breathe with mindfulness, we can experience our interbeing with the Earth's delicate atmosphere, with all the plants, and even with the sun, whose light makes possible the miracle of photosynthesis. With every breath we can experience communion. With every breath we can savor the wonders of life.
We need to change our way of thinking and seeing things. We need to realise that the Earth is not just our environment. The Earth is not something outside of us. Breathing with mindfulness and contemplating your body, you realise that you are the Earth. You realise that your consciousness is also the consciousness of the Earth. Look around you–what you see is not your environment, it is you.

Great Mother Earth 

Whatever nationality or culture we belong to, whatever religion we follow, whether we're Buddhists, Christians, Muslims, Jews, or atheists, we can all see that the Earth is not inert matter. She is a great being, who has herself given birth to many other great beings–including buddhas and bodhisattvas, prophets and saints, sons and daughters of God and humankind. The Earth is a loving mother, nurturing and protecting all peoples and all species without discrimination.
When you realize the Earth is so much more than simply your environment, you'll be moved to protect her in the same way as you would yourself. This is the kind of awareness, the kind of awakening that we need, and the future of the planet depends on whether we're able to cultivate this insight or not. The Earth and all species on Earth are in real danger. Yet if we can develop a deep relationship with the Earth, we'll have enough love, strength and awakening in order to change our way of life.

Falling in love 

We can all experience a feeling of deep admiration and love when we see the great harmony, elegance and beauty of the Earth. A simple branch of cherry blossom, the shell of a snail or the wing of a bat – all bear witness to the Earth's masterful creativity. Every advance in our scientific understanding deepens our admiration and love for this wondrous planet. When we can truly see and understand the Earth, love is born in our hearts. We feel connected. That is the meaning of love: to be at one.
Only when we've truly fallen back in love with the Earth will our actions spring from reverence and the insight of our interconnectedness. Yet many of us have become alienated from the Earth. We are lost, isolated and lonely. We work too hard, our lives are too busy, and we are restless and distracted, losing ourselves in consumption. But the Earth is always there for us, offering us everything we need for our nourishment and healing: the miraculous grain of corn, the refreshing stream, the fragrant forest, the majestic snow-capped mountain peak, and the joyful birdsong at dawn.

True Happiness is made of love 

Many of us think we need more money, more power or more status before we can be happy. We're so busy spending our lives chasing after money, power and status that we ignore all the conditions for happiness already available. At the same time, we lose ourselves in buying and consuming things we don’t need, putting a heavy strain on both our bodies and the planet. Yet much of what we drink, eat, watch, read or listen to, is toxic, polluting our bodies and minds with violence, anger, fear and despair.

As well as the carbon dioxide pollution of our physical environment, we can speak of the spiritual pollution of our human environment: the toxic and destructive atmosphere we're creating with our way of consuming. We need to consume in such a way that truly sustains our peace and happiness. Only when we're sustainable as humans will our civilization become sustainable. It is possible to be happy in the here and the now.

We don't need to consume a lot to be happy; in fact we can live very simply. With mindfulness, any moment can become a happy moment. Savoring one simple breath, taking a moment to stop and contemplate the bright blue sky, or to fully enjoy the presence of a loved one, can be more than enough to make us happy. Each one of us needs to come back to reconnect with ourselves, with our loved ones and with the Earth. It's not money, power or consuming that can make us happy, but having love and understanding in our heart.

The bread in your hand is the body of the cosmos

We need to consume in such a way that keeps our compassion alive. And yet many of us consume in a way that is very violent. Forests are cut down to raise cattle for beef, or to grow grain for liquor, while millions in the world are dying of starvation. Reducing the amount of meat we eat and alcohol we consume by 50% is a true act of love for ourselves, for the Earth and for one another. Eating with compassion can already help transform the situation our planet is facing, and restore balance to ourselves and the Earth.

Nothing is more important than brotherhood and sisterhood

There's a revolution that needs to happen and it starts from inside each one of us. We need to wake up and fall in love with Earth. We've been homo sapiens for a long time. Now it's time to become homo conscius. Our love and admiration for the Earth has the power to unite us and remove all boundaries, separation and discrimination. Centuries of individualism and competition have brought about tremendous destruction and alienation. We need to re-establish true communication–true communion–with ourselves, with the Earth, and with one another as children of the same mother. We need more than new technology to protect the planet. We need real community and co-operation.

All civilisations are impermanent and must come to an end one day. But if we continue on our current course, there's no doubt that our civilisation will be destroyed sooner than we think. The Earth may need millions of years to heal, to retrieve her balance and restore her beauty. She will be able to recover, but we humans and many other species will disappear, until the Earth can generate conditions to bring us forth again in new forms. Once we can accept the impermanence of our civilization with peace, we will be liberated from our fear. Only then will we have the strength, awakening and love we need to bring us together. Cherishing our precious Earth–falling in love with the Earth–is not an obligation. It is a matter of personal and collective happiness and survival.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

"The hardest thing to do is not to allow yourself to be overwhelmed by despair." Chinua Achebe

"The hardest thing to do  is not to allow yourself to be overwhelmed by despair." Chinua Achebe

"The hardest thing to do is not to allow yourself to be overwhelmed by despair. That is the hardest thing, because when you are overwhelmed by despair that is the worse thing that can happen to you. I remember when the war (Biafra, Nigeria) was going on, we did not see the light at the end of the tunnel. It seemed that the war would go on forever. And the young people came and asked, : "Dear Baba, do you think that the war will end soon?" It is very difficult to answer because you have not seen the light at the end of the tunnel, But if you say I don't know. you water the seeds of despair in them. So I had to breathe in and out a few times. What I said was that "Dear ones, the ancestors say everything passes. The war too should therefore pass, so let us continue to work for peace..."
Chinua Achebe

Friday, April 3, 2015

"Let us eat in such a way that can preserve compassion in our heart, otherwise we are eating the flesh of our sons and daughters."

"Let us eat in such a way that can preserve compassion in our heart, otherwise we are eating the flesh of our sons and daughters." The Buddha

"Let us eat in such a way that can preserve compassion in our heart, otherwise we are eating the flesh of our sons and daughters. In fact, the way we eat has harmed a lot. Tens of thousands of children die every day, uh, because of the lack of food. Thousands of acres of forest are being cut down because we need, uh, the meat uh, industry is devastating the planet, polluting the planet. And we have used enormous amounts of grain to make alcohol and that grain should be used to feed children. ..If we eat a lot of meat like that; if we drink a lot of alcohol like that we are practically eating the flesh of our children."

Thich Nhat Hahn

recounting a story told by the Buddha.

Today, the situation has gotten worse even. Food production in the modern world is petroleum based for which war and environmental and social destruction is wrought. Much of the agriculture and food industry involves slavery, virtual and real, of our children even. We have no plans for peak oil. What and how will we eat when the oil runs out? Cuba has already experienced this to a limited extent.
Our modern food itself has become so unhealthy, it is deadly and sickening in itself. In the modern world,  the science of food production, seeds and food production itself, lies largely in the hands of a few large corporations; small farmers around the world are being put off the land.

And more....

At 59:32 minutes Thich Nhat Hahn tells the story told by the Buddha of a couple fleeing war with their young child crossing a desert. They killed their child for food.

These stories arise from other spiritual traditions as well.


Thursday, April 2, 2015

Thank you Letter to "XI Iuy" People

2 April 2015
Beloved Community,

"It is our conviction and our practice that in order to rebel and to struggle, neither leaders nor bosses nor messiahs nor saviors are necessary. To struggle, one only needs a sense of shame, a bit of dignity, and a lot of organization."---Zapatista communique

 “We are not gathered here today in order to change the world. We are here with a more modest proposal — to create a new world. We. Today. Here.” —Zapatista communique, April 4, 1996

Thank you for this deep honor you offer me. I am not worthy. I am nobody; I am nothing. But we the people are everything. As you know better than I, as individuals we can do nothing, but as a community, we can do everything.  Only your community deserves this honor. I am nobody, nothing.

Consequently, I cannot accept, but turn this street back to you to name it after yourselves, to dignify your own suffering, your own sacrifice, your own people, your own children, your own culture, your own lives, your own humanity, that thousands of years of oppression could not take away. Thousands of years of oppression have not robbed you of  your own humanity, your own love, your own compassion for yourselves, your children, your culture and your connection with the cosmos and all there is. Name this street for the least of you, a small girl, an old woman, a mother and lift up her suffering to the cosmos that it might become one with all there is, eternal, glorified, made holy.

Not only could thousands of years of oppression not take away your humanity, your dignity, your beauty and the beauty of your children, your community and your people , but your humanity, your dignity, your people, your culture, your community is stronger than ever.  You are humanity. You are God on earth. You are dignity. You are beauty. You are love. You have transcended this world and created yourselves in eternity in the cosmos as that which is.

Your lives have meaning. Your suffering has meaning. The cosmos embraces and hears your suffering and you have become eternal, no death, no birth, pure life, love, suffering and joy.  You are holy, your family, your community, your children, you all are holy and protected by divine eternity in the light of holiness for eternity. 

I am deeply blessed and touched to have shared the depths of your souls and your suffering with you. Your suffering is my suffering, the suffering of your ancestors, my ancestors and the suffering of the world. Honor it with this street, with your lives, with your love for each other, your culture, your people, your community, and in this moment create heaven here on Earth. It is possible.  Honor it with knowledge of your own holiness and that your suffering is for something. 

Your suffering is for something. Your suffering is powerful and karma is real. Your suffering has meaning and power and the history of  humanity is still being written. Know that your suffering, the suffering of your community, your ancestors, your people has a destiny not yet reached, a voice not yet fully felt and heard. Know that your suffering is alive in the cosmos  and will remain alive in the cosmos, long after we are gone, and that your story is still being written.

Rejoice in your lives, your breath, your culture, your families, your children, your people, your community, your ancestors and your deep deep traditions. Like a tree you will continue to grow  and the cosmos will hear and be the truth of who you are and your legacy to the cosmos. Nothing is lost. Nothing is in vain. Everything matters. Your lives matter. Your people matter. Your children matter. Your culture matters. Your breath and words matter. Your traditions matter. Your love is like a comet across the cosmos, brilliant, shining and eternal. 

Thank you again for this honor. I am nobody, nothing. You the community are everything. I am transformed and filled up by my connection to you, by my place in your heart and by your place in my heart. You are my family, my father, my mother, my brother, my people, my community, my stars, my rock and the rock of humanity, the rock of the galaxy and the rock of the cosmos.
Con carino y un grande honor

Carta de agradecimiento a la gente "XI iuy"

02 de abril 2015


"Es nuestra convicción y nuestra práctica que para rebelarse y luchar, ni los dirigentes ni jefes ni mesías ni salvadores son necesarios. Luchar, uno sólo tiene un sentido de la vergüenza, un poco de dignidad, y mucha organización. "--- Zapatista comunicado

 "No estamos aquí reunidos hoy para cambiar el mundo. Estamos aquí con una propuesta más modesta - para crear un nuevo mundo. Nosotros. Hoy en día. Aquí. "Comunicado -Zapatista, 04 de abril 1996

Gracias por este profundo honor que me ofreces usted. Yo no soy digno. Yo no soy nadie; Yo no soy nada. Pero nosotros somos la comunidad de todo. Como usted sabe mejor que yo, como individuos podemos hacer nada, pero como comunidad, nos puede hacer todo.

Sólo su comunidad merece este honor. Yo no soy nadie, nada.

En consecuencia, no puedo aceptar, pero a su vez esta calle ponerle el nombre de ustedes mismos, para dignificar su propio sufrimiento, su sacrificio, su propia gente, sus propios hijos, su propia cultura, su propia vida, su propia humanidad, que miles de años de la opresión no podía llevar. Miles de años de opresión no han llevado a su propia humanidad, su amor, su compasión por ustedes mismos, sus hijos, su cultura y su conexión con el cosmos y todo lo que hay.

Nombre esta calle para los más pequeños de usted, una pequeña niña, una mujer mayor, una madre y levante su sufrimiento con el cosmos que podría convertirse en uno con todo lo que hay, eterno, hecho santo.

No sólo podían miles de años de opresión no quitarle su humanidad, su dignidad, su belleza y la belleza de sus hijos, su comunidad y su gente, pero su humanidad, su dignidad, su gente, su cultura, su comunidad es más fuerte que nunca. Usted es la humanidad. Tú eres Dios en la tierra. Usted es la dignidad. Usted es la belleza. Usted es el amor. Usted ha trascendido este mundo y creado vosotros mismos en la eternidad en el cosmos como lo que es.

Sus vidas tienen significado. Su sufrimiento tiene significado. El cosmos abraza y oye su sufrimiento y que se han convertido en eterno, ni muerte, ni el nacimiento, la vida pura, el amor, el sufrimiento y la alegría. Tú eres santo, su familia, su comunidad, sus hijos, todos ustedes son santo y protegido por la eternidad divina, a la luz de la santidad para la eternidad.

Estoy profundamente bendecidos y toqué haber compartido lo más profundo de sus almas y de su sufrimiento con usted. Su sufrimiento es mi sufrimiento, el sufrimiento de sus antepasados, mis antepasados ​​y el sufrimiento del mundo. Honrarlo con esta calle, con sus vidas, con su amor por los demás, su cultura, su gente, su comunidad, y en este momento de crear el cielo aquí en la Tierra. Es posible. Honrarlo con conocimiento de su propia santidad y que su sufrimiento es por algo.

Su sufrimiento es por algo. Su sufrimiento es de gran alcance y el karma es real. Su sufrimiento tiene significado y el poder y la historia de la humanidad todavía se está escribiendo. Debes saber que tu sufrimiento, el sufrimiento de su comunidad, sus antepasados, su gente tiene un destino, aún no alcanzado, una voz aún no está totalmente siente y se escucha. Sepa que su sufrimiento está vivo en el cosmos y se mantengan con vida en el cosmos, mucho después de que nos hayamos ido, y que su historia aún se está escribiendo.

Regocijaos en sus vidas, su aliento, su cultura, sus familias, sus hijos, su gente, su comunidad, sus antepasados ​​y sus profundas tradiciones profundas. Como un árbol que seguirá creciendo y el cosmos se escuchará y será la verdad de lo que eres y tu legado al cosmos. Nada se pierde. Nada es en vano. Todo es importante. Sus vidas son importantes. Tu pueblo importan. Sus hijos son importantes. Su cultura importa. Su aliento y las palabras son importantes. Sus tradiciones son importantes. Tu amor es como un cometa a través del cosmos, brillantes, brillantes y eternos.

Gracias de nuevo por este honor. Yo no soy nadie, nada. Usted la comunidad es todo.

Soy transformado y llené mi conexión contigo, por mi lugar en tu corazón y por su lugar en mi corazón. Tú eres mi familia, mi padre, mi madre, mi hermano, mi gente, mi comunidad, mis estrellas, mi roca y la roca de la humanidad, la roca de la galaxia y la roca del cosmos.

Con cariño y honor grande,

Maria Whittaker