Thursday, August 29, 2013

Is it Serendipity? Catch Sebastio Salgado’s New Photographic Series “Genesis” this Long Weekend!

 Image Capture*: Tropical Island Jungle. Photo by Sebastiao Salgado
“Sebastiao Salgado turns his camera on threatened people and places in his newly released photographic series ‘Genesis.’”
~ The Globe and Mail

If you’re near Toronto and are looking for something to do this Labour Day holiday long weekend, checkout “Genesis” by Sebastiao Salgado—no affiliation with Genesis Eco Fund other than the fact that we’re in love with these photos! If you contemplate the images and the artist’s words, you can clearly see why.

Genesis Eco Fund is also about capturing what is pristine in the world, in a slightly different way.

Pristine nature “out there” around the planet might seem under threat and our technologically advanced civilization “in here,” may seem adaptable and resilient. The reality is the reverse.

Nature has no remorse; no attachments. Nature wiped out the dinosaurs; has levelled entire continents; and she will not hesitate to extinguish us, either.  To nature, we’re just a part of her body. Our own bodies have immune systems; why shouldn’t the planet?

Genesis Eco Fund is focused on bringing the pristine nature out there, in here: not just into our “technologically frenzied” lives, but our collective consciousness: our homes, schools, workplaces, etc.   

See if the artist’s own images and words help explain the essence of what “Genesis” means…

Image Capture*: Zebras at the Watering Hole. Photo by Sebastiao Salgado

“I became so close to the environment that my next project, the only thing possible for me to do was to photograph what was pure, what’s pristine on this planet in order that people who look at my pictures understand what was living in this moment…”
~ Sebastiao Salgado*

Image Capture*: Arctic Scene with Innuit. Photo by Sebastiao Salgado

“…we conceived Genesis as a project to see what was pristine in the planet, and that is the path of the planet and in that sense we must protect and hold it.”
~ Sebastiao Salgado*

Image Capture*: A Melting Iceberg & Ice “Keep”. Photo by Sebastiao Salgado
“In GENESIS, my camera allowed nature to speak to me. And it was my privilege to listen.”
~ Sebastiao Salgado

Watch the short film & slideshow online at the Globe & Mail and catch “Genesis” at the Royal Ontario Museum from May 4th to September 2nd, 2013 (meaning this Labour Day long weekend is your last chance to see it).

For more information and to view and extended slideshow and find out how you can OWN Salgado’s vision of Genesis, visit TASCHEN.

* Images and Quotes Captured from Globe & Mail Video Filmed by Moe Doiren & Edited by Patrick Dell 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Restoring Faith in Humanity: Our Compassion for Nature in Need

Video: People Helping Creatures - Compilation of people all over the world helping animals in trouble. 

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
~ Mohandas Gandhi*

We are inundated with bad news. Negative images, videos and stories highlighting the moral and ethical degeneration of our society are everywhere—particularly online. Bad news about how we treat animals, their ecosystems and the planet as a whole are no exception.

Depending on your own personal disposition, you may react to such negative impressions with sadness, disgust, anger, resentment, fear, feelings of unfairness and the like.  Conversely, you may respond to tragic events with compassion, courage and determination to take proactive, preventative action.

In terms of the latter, it is questionable just how effective the storm of bad news is in terms of motivating people to take action. After all, the internet is saturated with anti-globalization, anti-GMO, anti-fracking, anti-just-about-everything. And yet, the great multitude lumbers sideways…asleep.
“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.”
~ Anatole France*

On that note, today Genesis shares the above video featuring people taking pity on animals in need. We feel positive images, feel-good stories, and videos featuring acts of courage, kindness and determination to take action are much more likely to touch people “on the fence” of complacency—by example.

It is only by the example of those choosing the high-road of altruism can people ascend from the status of Homo sapien—with all our cold animal instincts and hedonistic desires—to that of human being, with an awakened heart-mind, conscious, compassionate and courageous to always do right by others.
“If you have men who will exclude any of God’s creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men.”
~ Francis of Assisi*

It just makes sense. These wise words from Francis of Assisi highlight a simple truth: one is hard-pressed to fully compartmentalize one’s own psyche such that one may subject one group of creatures to an appalling standard of treatment while applying a completely different standard to others.

With Homo sapiens sorely lacking such awareness and discipline over our heart-minds, it is most likely what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. Heartless, cold, selfish behavior, no matter when, where or at whom it is indulged, becomes an indelible mark on our personality and will more often than not rear its ugly head even against those we profess to love, despite our best intentions.

Treat nature, animals poorly? Sooner or later you will treat people just as poorly.
“The indifference, callousness and contempt that so many people exhibit toward animals is evil first because it results in great suffering in animals, and second because it results in an incalculably great impoverishment of the human spirit.”
~ Ashley Montagu*

Can’t get along with animals? Why is that? Do you find them frightening? Dirty? Annoying? A menace? How do animals respond to you, in general? With fear? Hostility? Indifference? How does that make you feel? Or, could you care less? How we relate to animals can tell us a lot about ourselves.
“An animal’s eyes have the power to speak a great language.”
~ Martin Buber* 

Image by Genesis: Chipmunk smiles for the camera after accepting a peanut; in Kilarney Provincial Park.

Whatever the case, if you relate poorly to animals (or nature in general), you might want to take stock of your relationships—family, friends, lovers, co-workers, even strangers on the street. Are your interactions with others as satisfying and rewarding as they could be?
“I am in favor of animal rights as well as human rights. That is the way of a whole human being.”
~ Abraham Lincoln*

In the final analysis, it’s about treating animals better than our own base animal instincts would have us do. By rising above our own animal selves, showing pity and compassion for those creatures we observe having little—and treat as deserving even less—we truly earn the right to call ourselves human beings.

And becoming a true human being is a critical step to experiencing reality as whole person: truly happy, free and at peace in the universe:

“A human being is a part of the whole, called by us the ‘Universe’, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separate from the rest – a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. Nobody is able to achieve this completely, but the striving for such achievement is in itself a part of the liberation and a foundation for inner security.”
~ Albert Einstein*
Image: “Look deep into nature and you will understand everything better” ~ Albert Einstein

* Quotes Sourced from Compassion for Animals – Quotes – from Famous People

Thursday, August 22, 2013

"My Green School Dream" (Ted Talk) - "The Greenest School on Earth" Video | John Hardy: My green school dream
Join John Hardy on a tour of the Green School, his off-the-grid school in Bali that teaches kids how to build, garden, create (and get into college)...
Credit: TEDGlobal 2010 • Session 5: Healthier Together • Filmed Jul 2010 • Posted Nov 2010

What John Hardy achieved in Bali, Genesis will help bring to your child’s school

“Our vision is of a natural, holistic, student-centered learning environment that empowers and inspires our students to be creative, innovative, green leaders.”

Welcome to the inaugural blog post for Genesis Foundation for Ecological Atmospheric Research.

Rather than fill this space with bland expositions on “who we are, what we do, etc.,” we’ll save all that for the website (which, at the time of this post is still under construction). Instead, this blog will be dedicated to sharing stories that matter to us—and you. 

Since part of the Genesis mandate is supporting education and helping children reestablish positive, mutually harmonious relationships with nature, we share the above TED Talk by Canadian designer John Hardy, founder of the Green School in Bali.
“The U.S. Green Building Council’s Center for Green Schools awarded Green School the “2012 Greenest School on Earth“. This was an affirmation of the program we provide to enrich and nurture our students.”

It shows. Here is a school which prepares children and youth for the realities of tomorrow, today. While most educational programs have emphasized material science and mathematics in order to “prepare tomorrow’s workforce,” Hardy’s Green Schools seek to prepare tomorrow’s human beings.

Green Schools seem to foster a more enlightened, well-rounded (one could even say holistic) sense of community, one which leaves space for individuals of all gifts and ability to make a positive contribution. For instance, while engineering and artistry (design) trump technical skills and craftsmanship in the west, John Hardy has built a successful international business on embracing both artistry and craftsmanship.

Teaching kids essential ecological knowledge and practical skills in sustainability via Green Schools is only the latest in John Hardy’s vision. For more, including an even more fascinating and beautifully filmed look into his world, see PeapodLife’s blog: Recreating Eden: Designing Paradise (Video)—Has John Hardy discovered the Ultimate Expression of “the PeapodLife” in Bali?

Genesis looks forward to connecting with the likes of John Hardy and all forward-thinking, NOW-acting individuals who recognize the essence of this famous warning for a humanity “addicted” to the status quo:
“Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results.”
~ Narcotics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous 
Source: Quotes: Narcotics Anonymous