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Touching the Earth Collective: March 2021


March 2021 Newsletter

“What Level of Threat Are We Facing Now?”

Christoph Schönherr now works for The Climate Task Force in Europe, helps coordinate the global network Scientists 4 Future, and is on the working group on sustainability and climate change of the United Nations Association of Germany. Richard Reoch asked him about his work:

What level of threat are we facing now?
Predictions in the past have often underestimated the threat level. There are tipping points in the earth system. For example, the arctic ocean is becoming ice-free. The ice that formerly reflected most sunlight is missing. The ocean is warming up faster, more ice is melting and the waters are rising. The main question now is how humanity will adapt. Coastal cities like New York, Amsterdam and London may face a new sea level several metres higher, as will countries like Bangladesh and the Pacific Islands. Another crucial threat is linked to this: the massive loss of biodiversity.

Campaigners say we should listen to the science. Is science speaking with one voice?
Science is speaking with multiple voices, which is always part of finding out the truth. However, the vast majority of all climate scientists agree that the climate situation is serious and urgent. The small minority who “disagree” are often paid by lobbying and fossil fuel companies.

Is there any evidence that governments and businesses are listening to the science?
They are listening. Since the arrival of the youth climate movement, a lot has happened, for example, in the financial sector. Capital is being directed to non-fossil fuel investments. Investments in renewable energy are vastly increasing. On the other hand, many governments are still being held back by two sectors in particular: the fossil fuel sector and the car industry.

What are your hopes for COP 26 this year?
My hopes are that the economically strongest nations, China, the EU and the United States, can work together to lead the way. The Global South can skip large parts of the fossil fuel era by using renewable energy sources. Cities or businesses can form stronger global networks of cooperation. Seventy-five percent of carbon emissions come from cities. If cities go carbon neutral, then we can already reduce emissions by three quarters, right?

How do you deal with depression when facing this challenge?
I’m not depressed doing this work. Not at all. The tide is naturally turning towards sustainability, and the climate movement has already changed the course of history.

How do you deal with differences of opinion and conflicts among the climate activists you work with?
First of all, the potential these days for people to make global connections and bring about lasting change is immense. But ego and klesha-attacks sneak in everywhere. Part of my work involves conversations with people who would not normally talk to each other. Those people need to be brought together because that is when things happen.

What are your hopes for COP 26 this year?
My hopes are that the economically strongest nations, China, the EU and the United States, can work together to lead the way. The Global South can skip large parts of the fossil fuel era by using renewable energy sources. Cities or businesses can form stronger global networks of cooperation. Seventy-five percent of carbon emissions come from cities. If cities go carbon neutral, then we can already reduce emissions by three quarters, right?

How do you deal with depression when facing this challenge?
I’m not depressed doing this work. Not at all. The tide is naturally turning towards sustainability, and the climate movement has already changed the course of history.

How do you deal with differences of opinion and conflicts among the climate activists you work with?
First of all, the potential these days for people to make global connections and bring about lasting change is immense. But ego and klesha-attacks sneak in everywhere. Part of my work involves conversations with people who would not normally talk to each other. Those people need to be brought together because that is when things happen.


— Elemental Expression —

Every month, we offer a space for one of the Collective’s members or friends
to share their work, art, or passion…

The fourth and fifth grade combined class at the Juniper School in Columbus, Ohio recently explored a block in poetry. During a week of distance-learning, the class wrote odes, haiku and list poems outside, relating directly to earth, wind, fire and water. Here are a few of those poems:

 

Haiku by Rowan Graf, age 11

Trees sway in the wind
Their branches moan and creak too
It is very windy

Haiku by Otto Ely, age 11

Squirrels are really great.
I saw a squirrel on my lawn.
I named him Jeffrey.

Jeffrey climbed a tree.
Jeffrey fell out of the tree.
“Owie,” Jeffrey said.

Jeffrey ate a bird.
“This is scrumptious,” Jeffrey said.
Now Jeffrey is dead.

Raven, By Violet Wess

Ode to My Shed Roof by Violet West, age 10
On my shed roof in the summer,
I sat on top and sucked the honeysuckles
that climbed up the pole that held up
the power lines.

On my shed roof in the winter,
we made snowballs and would throw them
when Milla came over.

On my shed roof in the spring
we would pick the buds from the redbud
tree that grows beside our shed.

On my shed roof in the fall, we find the walnuts
that fall from the walnut tree and land
on my shed roof.

A Cat, By Syria McDowell

Ode to Plants by Syria McDowell, age 11

Plants are food
like berries and mango.
Plants are alive
like people on earth.
Plants are like
you and me.

Where I’m from by Peyton Vargo, age 9

I am from the woods by the water that sends a chill up your arm.
I am from the outdoors so lovely and sweet
I am from peace and happiness right up the street
I am from the air that cools your day
I am from the fire that keeps you warm when you’re away.
I am like the snow because I am always cold.


Earth Protector Pen Pals

Correspondence between Mathias Pongracz and Irene Woodard

Mathias Pongracz opened the Dön Season program offered by Shambhala Online with a talk entitled “Who are the Mamos and What Principle is at Work There?” which explored what happens to our planet when respect for the natural elements is lost. I wanted to hear more and a correspondence began. My letters have been edited down but I have left most of Mathias’ words intact.

Mathias:
Dear Irene,
Thank you for the offer, but at this time I am too busy to write an article.
And of course, you are right: it has become somewhat evident for many people that Corona is a message from Mother Earth… It won’t be solved by vaccines – If there is no change in the way humans, corporations, and governments relate to the environment and its inhabitants (plants and animals included), then there is more sickness and plague to come. Mamos are essentially part of the protective defenders of Mother Earth…
The climate crisis starts inside of us. The climate really is something that we feel deep inside of our hearts and heart/minds. That’s where everything starts from and, from there, it takes its course.
If we could just–across all borders of worldview and religious or political orientation–discover how unrelenting greed has devastated our lives and those of others, and in fact the whole civilization we’re living in…We’re witnessing a collective life-threatening accident (a clash between environment/nature/planet and human in all their different forms of economic and political organizations). If we don’t open our eyes and do “first aid” – the future will be darker and darker.
May the earth be protected. May humans turn around to discover the enormous preciousness of a clean and balanced environment! I am praying to Tara to awaken our collective eyes and hearts to create healing in this field.
Warmest regards, Mathias

 

Irene:
Dear Mathias,
Look at this beautiful letter you have written! Maybe I write one more to you, and you respond, and there it is… an article based on a correspondence… between two practitioners, who care about the state of the planet.
I was thinking during your talk that the virus has made the dharma more available. CTR left Tibet because of the Chinese invasion and the dharma spread…
What is “first aid?” Is it praying to Tara?
I understand, not spreading yourself too thin, but you knocked out a letter to me… pretty quickly, and a very good one.
I will let it go, but maybe next year, if I can’t convince you this round…
Love, Irene

Mathias:
Dear Irene,
I admire your perseverance and strength in engaging for the well-being of the planet. Yes, we can converse in Q&A; that will draw me out. I prefer dialogue. Best would be live, but we can do it in writing too.
Overall, I feel a lot of us have lost heart and think: it’s too overwhelming–the powers against nature are too strong. The problem is a loss of heart, which leads to loss of confidence. That is a sign of decay and inner festering.
I have the impression that this is a process that our entire western civilization is currently undergoing. Including our sangha, which is not separate from it. It’s not about just praying to Tara. It’s about breaking out of our inner prison, unraveling it. We have become numb. We wait for somebody else to do it, or to help us. But at this point we are it.
Covid 19 itself IS first aid for humanity becoming numb and blind, from…

You can read the complete article by clicking here.

 


Upcoming Events

March Earth Salon

Green Burial with Dawn Carson and Hanna Longard

Sunday, March 14, 2021 at Noon AST

Green burial is the act of returning a body as naturally as possible to the earth. Green burials use less energy and resources, making them lower impact than conventional burials or cremation. They are also less toxic, reduce carbon emissions, and protect worker health. Certain types of green burial can even restore or preserve habitat.
CLICK HERE FOR MORE DETAILS!

 

March Movie Night Film:

Some of you have asked about Africa.
This is a film about one man and his family in Kenya,
a man who wants to plant trees, support farmers in the arid lands
and do his bit to change the world.
Watch this film if you can, and if you’re inspired,
please join us for the discussion.

 

THANK YOU FOR THE RAIN
(8.0), 2017, Norway/UK, 87 min.

Click here for more info!
……….

HOW TO JOIN IN:

  1. Watch the film on your own time before the Discussion
  2. Join us on Thursday, March 18, 7:00 pm AST, 6:00 pm EST
  3. Zoom Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89516097467?pwd=ZHZVbUtndEJVMU53dXdMVVYrdTFyZz09
    Passcode: STECfilm
    Meeting ID: 895 1609 7467

 

In collaboration with Casa Werma
Remembering Our Place in All Things
Writers Workshop
With Christina Burress, poet

Saturday, April 10, 2021
9:00 am Pacific/ 10:00 am Mountain / 11:00 am Central / 12:00 pm Eastern / 1:00 pm Atlantic / 5:00 pm UK

Remembering our inextricable ties with Mother Earth is a revolutionary act. Returning to the wild, whether in person or through visualization, dreaming, writing, or other art forms, can be a source of creativity and love.
During this 1.5 hours virtual workshop Christina Burress will lead a visualization practice to spark the imagination and invite dialogue about the importance of connecting with the world around us.

CLICK HERE FOR MORE DETAILS!


Did you know you can become a sustaining member of the Collective
by contributing $5/month — $60/year?

Your monthly gift will help sustain the work of the Collective
and allow us to continue in the future!
You can read Irene’s letter for more details!


Click here to contribute!


To join the STEC google group and be added to our mailing list, please email: 
[email protected] Any comments regarding this newsletter content can also be sent to: 
[email protected]

 

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