"...What a great time to be born, what a great time to be alive, because this generation gets to essentially completely change the world."-Paul Hawken "Blessed Unrest"

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

10 Steps that Close and Open Society - End of America (Naomi Wolfe)

10 steps that close an open society


1. invoke an internal and external threat - People who are afraid are willing to do things that they wouldn’t otherwise do.

2. establish secret (unaccountable) prisons where torture takes place - In a secret system, the government does not have to provide any proof of wrongdoing by those it holds, so it can incarcerate anyone it wants. 

3. develop a paramilitary force  - A private military force — under the exclusive direction of the “commander in chief” with no accountability to Congress, the courts, or the public — blurs the line between a civilian police force and a militarized police state.

4. surveil ordinary citizens - People who believe they are being watched are less likely to voice opposition.  To scare a population into silence, the government need only monitor the activities of a few to make everyone fear that they are being surveilled.  Every closed society keeps a “list” of so-called opponents it tracks.  

5. infiltrate citizen’s groups - Spies in activist groups put psychological pressure on genuine activists by undermining their trust in one another. They may also disrupt legal activities, undermining the effectiveness of group efforts. 

6. detain and release ordinary citizens -Detention intimidates or psychologically damages those arrested and also lets everyone know that anyone could be labeled an “enemy combatant” and “disappeared.”

7. target key individuals - People are less likely to sp eak out when those who are highly visible, like journalists, scholars, artists, or celebrities, are intimidated or have the livelihoods threatened.  Targeting those who are especially visible makes it less likely that people will speak out and robs society of leaders and others who might inspire opposition. 

8. restrict the press - The public is less likely to fi nd out about government wrongdoing if the government can threaten to prosecute anyone who publishes or broadcasts reports that are critical of the government. 

9. recast criticism as espionage and dissent as treason - People who protest can be charged with terrorism or treason when laws criminalize or limit free speech rather than protect it.

10. subvert the rule of law - The disappearance of checks and balances makes it easier to declare martial law, especially if the judiciary branch continues to exercise authority over individuals but has no authority over the Executive branch.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Facing & Surviving Climate Change with Honest Hope

“It will be a dark time, but for those who survive, I suspect it will be rather exciting.” -James Lovelock 


  Lawrence Gonzales’ 12 Rules of Survival Skills

1. Perceive and believe. Don’t fall into the deadly trap of denial or of immobilizing fear. Admit it: You’re really in trouble and you’re going to have to get yourself out. Survivors don’t candy-coat the truth, but they also don’t give in to hopelessness in the face of it.  Survivors see opportunity, even good, in their situation, however grim.

The phases of the survival journey roughly parallel the five stages of death once described by Elizabeth Kubler Ross in her book On Death and Dying: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.  In dire circumstances, a survivor moves through those stages rapidly to acceptance of his situation, then resolves to do something to save himself.  Survival depends on telling yourself, “Okay, I’m here.  This is really happening.  Now I’m going to do the next right thing to get myself out.” Whether you succeed or not ultimately becomes irrelevant.  It is in acting well – even suffering well – that you give meaning to whatever life you have to live.

2. Stay calm – use your anger. In the initial crisis, survivors are not ruled by fear; instead, they make use of it. Their fear often feels like (and turns into) anger, which motivates them and makes them feel sharper. Survivors also manage pain well.

3. Think, analyze and plan. Survivors quickly organize, set up routines, and institute discipline.

4. Take correct, decisive action. Survivors are willing to take risks to save themselves and others.  But they are simultaneously bold and cautious in what they will do.

5. Celebrate your success. Survivors take great joy from even their smallest successes.  This helps keep motivation high and prevents a lethal plunge into hopelessness.  t also provides relief from the unspeakable strain of a life-threatening situation.

6. Be a rescuer, not a victim. Survivors are always doing what they do for someone else, even if that someone is thousands of miles away.

7. Enjoy the survival journey. It may seem counter-intuitive, but even in the worst circumstances, survivors find something to enjoy, some way to play and laugh. Survival can be tedious, and waiting itself is an art.  Survivors use the intellect to stimulate, calm, and entertain the mind.  Singing, playing mind games, reciting poetry, counting anything, and doing mathematical problems in your head can make waiting possible and even pleasant, even while heightening perception and quieting fear. Survivors engage their crisis almost as an athlete engages a sport.  They cling to talismans.  They discover the sense of flow of the expert performer, the “zone” in which emotion and thought balance each other in producing fluid action.  A playful approach to a critical situation also leads to invention, and invention may lead to a new technique, strategy, or design that could save you.

8. See the beauty. Survivors are attuned to the wonder of their world, especially in the face of mortal danger.  The appreciation of beauty, the feeling of awe, opens the senses to the environment. 

9. Believe that you will succeed. It is at this point, following what I call “the vision,” that the survivor’s will to live becomes firmly fixed.  Fear of dying falls away, and a new strength fills them with the power to go on.

10. Surrender. Yes you might die.  In fact, you will die – we all do.  But perhaps it doesn’t have to be today.  Don’t let it worry you.  Forget about rescue.  Everything you need is inside you already.

11. Do whatever is necessary. Survivors have a reason to live and are willing to bet everything on themselves.  They have what psychologists call meta-knowledge:  They know their abilities and do not over– or underestimate them.  They believe that anything is possible and act accordingly.

12. Never give up! Survivors are not easily discouraged by setbacks.  They accept that the environment is constantly changing and know that they must adapt.  When they fall, they pick themselves up and start the entire process over again, breaking it down into manageable bits.  Survivors always have a clear reason for going on.  They keep their spirits up by developing an alternate world, created from rich memories, into which they can escape.  They see opportunity in adversity.  In the aftermath, survivors learn from and are grateful for the experiences that they’ve had.

Those who would survive the hazards of our world, whether at play or in business or at war, through illness or financial calamity, will do so through a journey of transformation.  But that transcendent state doesn’t miraculously appear when it is needed.  It wells up from a lifetime of experiences, attitudes, and practices form one’s personality, a core from which the necessary strength is drawn.  

A survival experience is an incomparable gift: It will tell you who you really are.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

These Are The Days...

These are the days when we know it’s true that we are blessed.

These are the days when people become surprised, over and over, at their psychic communications with each other and just plain love for each other.
These are the days when people everywhere, one by one, shed their corporate-pleasing exteriors and start calling things as they see them.

These are the days when people start looking to leave a legacy, some great thing they can do that leaves the world with a powerful example of how much a little charity and justice can accomplish.

These are the days when people begin to know in their guts and hearts, that it’s time to pull off the freeway of the rat race and do something for the other humans on this planet.

These are the days when people all over the world have had enough of rule by “strong men” who in the end are as vulnerable as the rest of us.
These are the days when once and for all, we see the pathetic and cruel things that our nations are doing to others in our names, and we can’t hide from it any more.

These are the days when we poke our heads up out of our self-created gopher holes and notice that something big is coming our way. Something really big.
These are the days when people are learning the skill of talking with plants and listening to animals.

These are the days when the highest and greatest aspirations of us humans can be realized under our feet - maintaining healthy, living soil that grows clean, nourishing vegetables and fruit.

These are the days when people of pure intention experience how powerfully they are able to manifest their dreams, even on a grand scale.
These are the days when even the privileged lift the veils off self-serving visions and start wanting justice for all people.

These are the days when the white middle class gets a taste of what the working classes have been going through for centuries. And like our brown brothers, are told to go away and eat promises – this is a jobless recovery, so move on.

These are the days when we start paying attention to the flurry of earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, floods and other disasters that occur by coincidence around eclipses and other planetary alignments.

These are the days when we wake up and realize that our habits, desires and ambitions are being orchestrated by a few tiny dictators running our media.
These are the days when we wake up and see that entire seasons of storms, floods and wildfires are being orchestrated by a planet ready to show us who’s really the boss.

These are also the days when we wake up and see that it isn’t just this planet taking back the show -- the earth has a celestial posse: the sun (due to send out a storm of flares next summer), the moon, and the very center of the galaxy, all moving steadily into alignment.

These are the days when we realize that we are in charge of far more than we think we are, we don’t have much time left and must be bold in our demands – or die with a pathetic whimper.

These are the days when we realize it is within our power to demand poison-free food and energy, that every chemical/GMO  food and fossil energy source is causing our death as a species, and that nothing short of this will be allowed by law. Any lobbyist or politician who obstructs or violates it will be led away in handcuffs.

Speaking of handcuffs, these are the days when we can’t face, but must face, that our culture puts kids and entire families into prison and detention centers, for money and profit.

These are the days when we realize that unpopular things (such as the statement above) have to be said.

These are the days when we can have it all, or lose it all, depending on where we stand spiritually, and where we stand with our neighbors and our communities.

These are the days when every day is this day, every moment is this moment, and we savor that we have so few of them left.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Stop Saving the Planet!

Has anyone out there gotten as sick of the "Save the Planet" meme as I have?

This slogan started out as a people-friendly way to personify environmentalism by portraying the earth as a stray pet needing rescue from the planet shelter. "Please! This poor innocent earth will be euthanized unless you recycle!"

Science tells us the earth has been here 8 billion years, through ice ages and an asteroid collision. We can’t destroy it, so what's the hoopla about saving it?

It's useful as a way to distract us from the real crises we face. When we put our attention into "saving" this rock-solid planet, we unwittingly sidestep massive issues of collusion between government and corporations, then play right into political and media campaigns that distract and isolate us.

Here's a short list of what we have dumped into our own habitat: Nukes, GHGs, carcinogens, GMO crops, oil spills and nanoparticles. Are these ever discussed around the water cooler? If we lift the veil, we might affect this year's bottom line. So, we accept the partnership - make it our job to help keep the veil in place.

If not the planet, then what do we want to save these days? Our way of life? Maybe the habit of living within that way of life, but really - our way of life itself?

Something in our collective soul understands that our "way of life" is based on killing others for their resources and putting them to work for us at starvation wages. That model will never provide a foundation for true prosperity, or for anything else that is lasting or good. Somewhere in our hearts we know this.

It’s coming into our consciousness that we don't really want to save our civilization or our way of life. Our mainstream way of life is only about money, guns, surveillance and shopping. It makes us isolated and unhappy to live that way. This dilemma of consciousness can alternately drive us to chaotic energy (e.g. Egypt, Syria, Greece) or put us into a drowsy and hypnotic state (the U.S.). 

To "save the planet", we just have to do something for it once in a while. A little favor, a bottle into the recycle bin, like we’re throwing a quarter to a beggar.

I have news for you: The planet is no beggar. It's our landlord. 

Planet Earth is our fierce master, a once-peaceful dragon now grown impatient with a people that would poison and defecate in its own nest. It is already coming after us, with a juggernaut of water from the ice caps we melted, along with the cruelest summer heat waves imaginable.

Maybe a signal from our galactic center is getting through: This planet doesn't need to be saved. We need to save ourselves from what we've done to its weather patterns, from what we've done to our own habitat.

We are also seeing that government and corporations have led the way in bringing these consequences, but have no intention to change anything. Corporate power has deafened government's ears. To them it is as though we're in a bad dream, where we open our mouths to shout in protest, and no sound comes out.
We will find our voice when we move into the new form of humanity that we're called to become. As we find ourselves abandoned by our big box consumer world, we can also consider that a release from imprisonment. We are in the unique and exciting position to create what we need for ourselves and each other, off the grid with our families and our neighbors.

Remember that part about our consciousness bringing heightened energy states? We'll need spiritual resilience to ride that, a strength that comes from our spiritual source. For you that may be Christ, the Buddha, the Medicine Wheel, whatever calls to you. To the Maya that source is Hunab Ku, the center of our galaxy. According to shamans, the galactic center communicates its energies to us and will do so increasingly over the coming years.

Of this I'm sure: My spiritual source isn't guiding me to save a planet, but to save my community and my own soul. Our spiritual sources are guiding us to remove our veils and become the new, spiritual humanity. 

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Pole Reversal and the Birth of a New Species: Homo Spiritus

In "Beyond 2012-Catastrophe or Awakening?" author Geoff Stray describes a 2012 hypothesis of Jass Rasool, a biophysicist and corporate coach, gave a talk in 2001 at the Mysteries of the World Conference, in Marlborough, UK, in which he pointed out that we are currently experiencing the most active solar cycle on record, and that the eleven-year sunspot cycle has just jumped forward a year, so that the current phase will terminate in 2012. That the Schumann resonance (electromagnetic waves in the cavity between Earth's crust and the ionosphere) is said by some researchers to be rising in frequency, combined with recent discoveries by the Japanese scientist Hiroshi Motoyama that the frequency around psychics increases to a level of seventeen herts, leads a "switching on" of some of the massive amount of genes with officially unknown function (so-called junk DNA), which he calls "species DNA,"leading to mass telepathy and telekinesis. This would be the birth of a new species: HOMO SPIRITUS.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Post-Carbon: Preaching "Transition" to Choir? Try This for Framing

I like the ideas of the Transition movement, and the tireless work of Rob Hopkins, its founder. But I had to comment on Rob's posting of last week. An excerpt of Rob's posting:"Although it is peak oil and climate change that initially inspire Transition initiatives and form the underpinning for much of the initial awareness stage, might it be ...where continued focus on those issues could be counterproductive?

Beyond a certain point it could be that continued highlighting of the issues actually risks dividing and alienating people rather than including them?" He also points out his Transition group's laudable work with town councils and chambers of commerce.

My comment:  Rob, I agree with you about the limited usefulness of peak oil and climate change as framings for the concept of transition.  For an expanded, refreshing -- and I might add urgent -- view of our environmental & economic future, I recommend viewing "Zeitgeist the Movie - Moving Forward" which is posted on this site. The message? Everything that was built on the global, unsustainable model is now in collapse.
Not about to collapse. Headlong into collapse. 

We need to get busy and we need to get things in place now. The premise of Shift Shapers Radio is, "Don't expect the Safeway truck to keep showing up." We have moved from the realm of predictability in obtaining our necessities, into the realm of limited predictability. Our show is bilingual, broadcast into the Latino community, and they get it. The people at the bottom know things are falling apart. Why? Because you feel it immediately when you don't have the safety net.

I suggest framing it the way it really is. We are already in transition, we just haven't for the most part put our local economies and food/fuel/shelter production into place. You don't need a framing once people understand the urgency we face.
I would add that I also appreciate the dilemma of understanding we are in a state of collapse and actually behind the transition 8-ball, when we need to work with city governments and chambers of commerce, who count on things remaining the same and planning only for gradual change, far off into the future.  In these settings, you are far from preaching to the choir. I would contend that you are actually preaching to the resistant, just not in the form of a Tea Party Republican.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A Wake Up Call - Enviro Laws Trampled at U.S.-Mexico Border

I'm personally getting tired of community activists, particularly environmental activists, declaring they can't  say or do anything about issues affecting the lives of forced migrants, that it's someone else's problem, we just have to allow blatant miscarriages of justice to occur a few blocks from the office where we lick our donation envelopes.

OK, fair enough. I have something that may be of concern to you. Let's look at the U.S.-Mexico border wall. Think of an environmental law, and it's been violated putting up that fence. 32 laws trampled without a hearing, without even a peep. And oh yes, 6,000 people have died there. If Homeland Security can do that at the border, using immigration as an excuse, they can do it anywhere, using anything as the excuse. Want to protect and preserve our hard-fought environmental laws? Start at the border.

So, Mr. & Ms. Environmentalist, I'm curious: After the Homeland Security End Game has accomplished its job, after all the "removable" migrants have been cast out from our midst, how long do think it will be before End Game Management and Prisons, Incorporated turn their binoculars on you?

Do you seriously believe that a government entity that can pre-empt all constitutional and environmental law under the excuse of immigration, will stop with immigration? Are you really that dumb? I think not, just a little short-sighted, and lacking a good wake-up call. If you've made it to the end of this rant, consider yourself awakened.

No Place for "Secure Community" Raids inOur New Neighborhoods

Since ShiftShapers is a blog about building resilient communities in transition, what do issues involving arrests and raids on forced migrants, have to do with community building? I'm figuring you don't actually have to ask that, but if you just want our take on it, here it is:

All forms of community building and environmental protection are doomed from the start if you allow government shock troops to roam the streets, raiding homes and removing parents from their children, all the time selling us the story that they're protecting us from terrorism and drugs. When really, they've made open deals with private prisons and are out to supply them with fresh clientele. 

Do we want to build so-called "secure communities", where Homeland Security recruits local law enforcement to pull people over on trumped-up vehicle code violations, so they can throw the driver & passengers into an immigration holding tank? Or worse, a criminal jail cell, with no probable cause and no charges?

It is certain that we can never, ever build the kind of community where we want to live, a community of the future, on top of such a rancid, rotten structure of fear and denial. Seriously, is that the community where you want to live? Well I've got news for you, it is the community where you do live. Welcome to the world of Homeland Security's End Game, "Secure Communities".

Monday, April 11, 2011

OK, So What's This "Shift" Got To Do With Me?

It has come to our attention that "being green" isn't going to stop what's unfolding right under our noses right now. Lots of us have been recycling our cans, putting in the twisty light bulbs and maybe even joining conservation activist groups. Many of us who are unemployed (about 30% in the US these days) would still prefer to have a green job, getting paid to help save water and energy. All to the good.

Meanwhile global warming marches on, half of all the world's wealth has gone into the pockets of the richest 1%, and forced migrants flee from Mexico (where the world's richest man lives) across the fortified US southern border wall. Our Congressional reps endorse a full-speed headlong gallop off the cliff of peak oil, and Homeland Security steps up its 10-year "End Game" surveillance and deportation of any forced migrant without a driver's license. And of course, what little national wealth is left is drained by two trillion-dollar wars in the Middle East.

If you've been strangely uneasy about the state of the world these days, seeing the big picture become a bit unstable (or a lot unstable), you are not alone. The premise of this blog, our podcast and our Facebook page is that we have entered a global period of dramatic shift, where we leave the dimension of reasonable predictability about our communities and resources, and move into the dimension of limited predictability. (Even the phrase "pole reversal" might not just be a metaphor. The North Magnetic Pole has been moving generally southward, a little more each day.) We've entered a period when our environmental protection, our jobs, our information needs and much more, are no longer being supplied by the global economy, global corporations, or our governments, which are gridlocked and dysfunctional at every level. If we want it, we must create it locally.

Ultimately, our very survival may depend on it. Having any quality or dignity to our survival will depend on it. 

That's the premise. Our mission is to bring our listeners and our readers first a sense of urgency, then bring you activists and visionaries whose work is to move you -- to take responsibility for bringing together your community, and take action in preparing a transition into sustainable neighborhoods and transformed local economies. Or, if you like, you can just get entertained and educated.

We interrupt this empire... with a little 'Shift' shaping. The shift is not only coming, we are already in it. And some of us are actively shaping it.