Wednesday, April 22, 2015

EARTH DAY REFLECTION: You know that relaxed, refreshed, recharged feeling you get from nature? Why is that, do you think?

Image by Genesis Eco Fund: Earth Day Reflection: Mechanical Approach v.s. Sustainable Approach

“A mechanical, systems-based approach can only produce more exploitation because its foundation is separation. True sustainability emerges when we consciously embrace an ecosystems-based approach.” 
~ Wolfgang Amelung, Inventor & Co-Founder of Genesis EcoFund
Every Earth Day it’s the same thing: the world expounds on the virtues and necessities of saving the planet, and they point to the perils and evils of one kind of technology, while gushing over the benefits and glories of a different brand of technology, all the while missing the point entirely.

Have you ever been in nature? You know that feeling that you get? That relaxed, refreshed, recharged, clear-headed, balanced feeling? Why is that, do you think?

Maybe it's because our TRUE NATURE is NOT the mechanical mind we have and are trapped in most of the time: all our systems, linear thinking, engineered solutions--and their antithesis, our "escapism," desire for randomness and abstract thought, wanton destruction (even if its in movies, video games, or on the nightly news).

Maybe our true nature is reflected in the highest expressions of Mother Nature...not what we superficially see and describe in primitive linear relationships (competition, survival of the fittest, etc), but precisely what we don't see and what the mechanical mind cannot comprehend fully. But let's give it a shot anyway...

To truly comprehend the meaning of “Earth Day,” we must begin to comprehend that “the earth” has always had a second meaning as it applies to humanity. While this meaning is not exactly “hidden” in the strictest sense, it has been lost on most people.

“Earth” is another word for “soil;” the hume in the word hummus (a very “earthy” substance indeed); that is the stuff; earthstuff, if you will…the flesh of the earth. This sense of the word applies to the hume in human. In truth, the word human is a compound word meaning earth and mind (hume and manas).

Image: Earth, Hands  
Source: Breise! Breise! Extra! Extra!: News Headlines from around the world Septmber 11th 2011

THAT is why we feel so good in nature...because on some level we feel as though we've come home...held in the comforting bosom of our Mother's healing embrace.  In a very real sense, when we think about Earth Day, we should not avoid thinking of ourselves.

But we do. We see ourselves as somehow separate from the earth when in truth, we are the earth; it is us. This is both a physical and metaphysical phenomenon: it is a reality in every sense and at every level.  It is not the whole truth, but it is far closer to the complete picture than modern science (or even contemporary religion, for that matter) comprehends.

And therein lies the problem. We separate ourselves into a distinct category (human world v.s. the natural world). We believe ourselves to be lords over nature: that it somehow is ours to do with as we please; subject to any and every monstrosity our mechanical minds can conceive of.

What we call progress and civilization, built on so-called human ingenuity and technology, has been at the expense of the earth; of nature; and our own fundamental nature as earth! Our relationship with the planet is directly 1:1 analogous to our relationships with ourselves and each other.

Production, consumption, construction, destruction, addiction, affliction, subjugation, medication…anxiety, stress, SUFFERING.

And what’s our response? To continue the insanity, as Albert Einstein described it; that is, doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

Humanity believes so-called advanced technology—the same old linear, binary, mechanical systems-based approach made more complicated and sophisticated—will save it.  Economists actually believe they can achieve perpetual growth by returning indefinitely to the wellspring of efficiency. But efficiency is at best only 1/6th of sustainability.

Image Collage by PeapodLife: It takes more than “efficiency” to be “GREEN”

All it takes is a conscious, honest, objective look within oneself and any and all of nature on this planet and in the vast expanse of the universe to know the utter tragicomedy of modern humanity’s thinking…nothing in the physical universe lasts forever: not even planets, stars or galaxies.

So what’s the Answer?

It’s quite simple, really. We advance with a conscious appreciation of authentic nature. We throw away the crude linearity of a binary existence—the legacy of our mechanical systems-based approach—and embrace the infinite complexity of an ecosystems approach.

Instead of imposing a mechanical bias on nature (which is a crude and superficial understanding at best) and subjecting it to the unspeakable horrors such cold, heartless calculations create in the real world, we expand our consciousness and with objectivity embrace the reality of nature…harmony and mutual modelled by ecosystems.

Only nature can create authentic sustainability. And even then, we must acknowledge and accept that the cycles of birth, death and sacrifice are fundamental to the nature of all things—ourselves, our civilization, and our planet is no exception.

The beauty is, once you start embracing an ecosystems approach—once you immerse yourself in the electromagnetic field of an indoor ecosystem and open your consciousness to your participation in it and relationship with it—you settle into the unavoidable laws of the universe…inspiration, innovation and comprehension follows.

By comprehension we mean a deep, conscious appreciation and direct experience of the nature of yourself and all things; this is not an intellectual pursuit, and cannot be achieved by reading books or any other intellectual means. However, it can and must be experienced for real personal growth; and is the REAL SECRET behind every major paradigm-shifting advancement in any and all fields of pursuit:

  • Sir Isaac Newton discovered Gravity meditating under an apple tree
  • Einstein discovered relativity while taking a bubble bath
  • Beethoven's 5th symphony was inspired by birdsong
  • and countless other examples

ONLY nature has this help us achieve our highest potential, because that is the very purpose and meaning of EVOLUTION itself!

And, as it turns out, conscious comprehension and direct experience of the nature of ourselves and all things is the birthright of humanity, the dream of every living being, and represents the real “progress” and true sustainability for our individual 'earth,' and the planet as a whole.

In other words, "No man is an island." What would the planet be without the Sun's rays and the moon's rhythms? So too, we as individual 'earths' need our immediate environment to support us and vibrate in ways which optimize our lives--mind, body and soul--so that inspiration, innovation and solutions to so many of the problems the planet faces will automatically be aligned to the underlying paradigm of life itself: harmony and mutual symbiosis.

This is the mission of Genesis Eco Fund, and our hope for you and the whole planet from this Earth Day forward.

To look at all this in a slightly different way, contemplate the following quotation which has been attributed to Chief Seattle, although according to Barefoot Windwalker it is neither “historically accurate, nor even something that Chief Seattle said” regardless…

“This we know: the earth does not belong to man, man belongs to the earth. All things are connected like the blood that unites us all. Man did not weave the web of life, he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.”
~ Chief Seattle
Image: Quote by Chief Seattle, “This we know: the earth does not belong to man…” 

Related Links:
Earth Day Canada
Earth Day Network

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

What is Mother Telling us about Population Growth?

"As a woman leader, I thought I brought a different kind of leadership. I was interested in women's issues, in bringing down the population growth rate... as a woman, I entered politics with an additional dimension - that of a mother."
~ Benazir Bhutto 
Source: BrainyQuote: Population Growth Quotes
Image Collage by What is Mother Telling us about Population Growth? 

As a tribute to Earth Day, the film “Mother: Caring for 7 Billion” is free to watch for the month of April! This means you have just a little over a week to watch the full-length version of this award-winning documentary about global population growth online. Here’s the trailer:

Video: Mother Caring for 7 Billion Trailer
Source: YouTube

If that trailer is not explanation enough, here’s what the filmmakers have to say:
“Mother, the film, breaks a 40-year taboo by bringing to light an issue that silently fuels our most pressing environmental, humanitarian and social crises - population growth.”
And there it is in a nutshell: there are simply too many of us. No ecosystem can support an imbalance for too long. No ecological framework—even as immense, complex and diverse as this planet—is immune to the consequences of having too many of one particular species.

Even if that species were really conscientious about living in balance and harmony with the rest of the planet (which we are not), there is no getting around the sheer mathematics. What’s worse, the mathematics are not working in our favour—nor the favour of the planet.

The film does a splendid job of illustrating the various issues and challenges around population growth, including the perceived negative economic impacts of negative population growth. In other words, despite the fact that population growth has turned negative in some industrialized countries around the world, there are powerful forces aligned in favour of continued population expansion…be it religious dogma and cultural traditions to economic dogma and the belief in perpetual growth.

This is ludicrous. Utter madness. A complete lack of awareness, comprehension and appreciation for the nature of…well…NATURE!

But let’s not go there just yet. It is all too easy for economists, businesspeople, and scientists who busy themselves with high-tech, biotech, etc. to dismiss arguments about what is or is not ‘natural’ by chanting the universally accepted mantras of ‘efficiency’ and ‘innovation.’ So here’s Richard Heinberg, journalist, educator and expert on energy, economic and ecological issues to put the slow drone of consensus materialist intellectual dogma to rest…

Video: The Law of Diminishing Returns

In the simplest terms, then, what this law tells those believing in unlimited growth is what natural law tells ALL creatures, communities, civilizations, ecosystems, planets, stars, solar systems, even galaxies:
“Nothing lives forever; nothing grows forever…diminishment, decay and DEATH is inevitable. Sure, renewal is possible and very real. But renewal, the great circle of life, cannot advance without periodic death and destruction.”
~ Mother Nature
Only the ego believes it can cheat death. And it is clear that ego is behind all those ‘grand religions, traditions and economic dogmas’ which encourage ongoing population growth.

Consider an Ecosystem for your Family…

A selfish child throws a tantrum when he can’t get the latest video game console, or a dog, or a little brother to play with. Hypnotized by desire, the child is completely oblivious to the fact his father is unemployed and his mother is working two jobs just trying to make ends meet, while the family slips deeper into debt.

Having a connectedness with our family gives us the awareness of what our household—our parents and/or siblings—can bear. We develop empathy and compassion and seek ways to alleviate the suffering of those around us. The result is we become net contributors in a positive way. We become creators; problem solvers; true innovators…inspired…as opposed to being simply consumers; inventors of new gadgets and/or schemes for consumption.

Having an ecosystem in our life—in our home, office, boardroom, school, church, etc—helps us to reconnect with our bigger family—our GREATER MOTHER and our brothers and sisters around the globe.

Connecting to the ecosystem connects us to the wisdom and inspiration which resides at the very heart of nature; we become in-tune with what works and what doesn’t; and in no uncertain terms, what’s right and what isn’t. This isn’t an intellectual knowledge, it’s an experiential knowledge. It’s an intuitive kind of knowing: something that you feel in your gut, heart and bones. And it’s the kind of knowledge which informs us, in an individual basis, what we can do to help our Mother care for the other 6.999… billion on this planet.

The full-length version of Mother: Caring for 7 Billion will be available to watch for free on YouTube for the remainder of April, 2015. Click HERE to watch Mother show you what you need to know about population growth:

Image: Screenshot of Mother: Caring for 7 Billion

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Mindfulness and Ecology:
How do they Relate?

Image: Mind Full or Mindful? 

What is Mindfulness?
“Mindfulness is simply being aware of what is happening right now without wishing it were different; enjoying the pleasant without holding on when it changes (which it will); being with the unpleasant without fearing it will always be this way (which it won’t).”
Without any doubt, most of us live very mind-full lives. That is—as startlingly yet simply illustrated in the below photo, our minds are a cluster-fest of thoughts, emotions, concerns, fears, anxieties, plans, hopes, fantasies, wants, don’t-wants, and the list goes on.

Image: Mind Full 

Without question or exception, we all suffer from this “crazy mind” syndrome. And while some suffer more than others (especially those with Autism-spectrum disorders like ADD, ADHD, Schizophrenia, epilepsy, etc.) very few people can claim to live in complete mental peace and equanimity at all times.

And yet, mental tranquility is very much a component of true relaxation. The mind-body/body-brain connection is well documented. And while there are many practices and techniques to achieve it—most relating to meditation—a quiet mind is not necessarily the same as being mindful; nor is it a prerequisite to be mindful.

In meditation, for instance, we may seek to achieve a quiet, receptive state of consciousness…a quiet mind. However, one cannot force the mind to be quiet and remain truly relaxed and peaceful. Nor can one sit in frustration as the seemingly endless series of thoughts emerge one after the next, and expect to achieve a quiet mind. The frustration itself feeds the crazy mind. One can, however, simply be mindful of the mind that is full.

In other words, being mindful is simply observing, being fully present and aware of what is going on around us and within us—in our hearts, our mind and our body—at all times, including during meditation. Being mindful doesn’t mean we have an empty mind, it means we are not allowing ourselves to be caught up in the stories our mind is telling us. We observe the stories arise, and then we observe them pass. We do not dwell on them.

Try it now:

Video: Guided Meditation with Eckhart Tolle

In meditation, this technique for simple mindfulness—coined psychological kung-fu by Samael Aun Weor, but also known as ‘no meditation’—eventually leads to a completely quiet, peaceful mind. Like watching the waves slowly die down after a storm has passed, the ripples in our psyche settle down and eventually—if we do not get caught up in the waves and/or produce new mental storms to whip them up once more—the mind becomes as calm and smooth as the surface of a mountain lake, perfectly reflecting the world as if it were a mirror.

Image: Mountain Lake calm water glassy mirror 

And, it is upon this perfect reflection that inspiration, imagination, insight and experiences of pure joy can be witnessed. In other words, when the mind settles down, the true nature and substance of the consciousness can be perceived directly.

Mindfulness and Nature
"Look at a tree, a flower, a plant. Let your awareness rest upon it. How still they are, how deeply rooted in Being. Allow nature to teach you stillness."
~ Eckhart Tolle, Stillness Speaks 
If it is true that observing ourselves—our own mind, heart, body, can lead to a stillness in consciousness, an emptiness into which true insights can emerge, then what about being mindful about the world around us? What happens if we apply the same principles used in mindfulness meditation while in nature? Actually, a very interesting phenomenon takes place. We begin to comprehend its true nature.

For example, Rudolph Steiner, founder of the Waldorf Schools in 1919, said “All of nature begins to whisper its secrets to us through its sounds. Sounds that were previously incomprehensible to our soul now become the meaningful language of nature.” Source:

This sentiment is most certainly echoed by countless esotericists, mystics and practitioners of mindfulness, from practitioners of Japan’s unique brand of Shinto Buddhism (which incorporates Japan’s traditional ancient Shinto tradition of nature worship and Buddhism) to the Dalai Lama.

Video: Mindfulness in Nature

But this is not to say that the relationship between mindfulness and nature has gone unnoticed in more secular circles. Books like Awake in the Wild by Mark Coleman are an example.

Image: Cover, Awake in the Wild 

There are also numerous scholarly articles addressing the issue. Consider the abstract from Andrew J. Howell’s, Nature connectedness: Associations with well-being and mindfulness:
“Wilson’s (1984) biophilia hypothesis predicts that people’s psychological health is associated with their relationship to nature. Two studies examined associations among nature connectedness, well-being, and mindfulness in samples of undergraduate students while socially desirable responding was controlled. Significant associations emerged among measures of nature connectedness and indices of well-being (in Study 1 and Study 2) and mindfulness (in Study 2). Results are discussed in relation to possible mediators and moderators of the association between nature connectedness and mental health.”
This is all well and good, but let’s be realistic. With the massive urban intensification programs being pursued worldwide in a bid for efficiency and curbing the impacts of population explosion, access to that which can be seen and experienced as “nature” are becoming rarer and more far afield than ever before—for most people.

The term Nature Deficit Disorder or NDD has emerged only in the past few decades as a direct result of people’s changing relationships with their world—particularly as young people switch to virtual representations of the natural world delivered on interactive devices—and the impact it is having on their minds.

Mindfulness and Ecosystems

Ecosystems are a way of bringing nature in its highest expression back into our daily lives, so that we can be mindful of it and our relationship to it. Rather than being surrounded by lifeless, artificial, and largely toxic environments at work, at school or at home, we can surround ourselves with vibrant colours, lush textures, and living sounds of conscious super organisms: trillions of creatures living together in harmony and mutual symbiosis.

Image by Genesis: Mindfulness & Ecosystems

To be mindful in the presence of an ecosystem, is to open the door to a whole new level of consciousness, a whole new world of peaceful discovery. It’s not a world that can be described; it is one that must be experienced. But that’s how it goes with matters of the mind: be it the busy, crazy mind that’s full, or the peaceful, tranquil, mind that’s aware, receptive and present…mindful.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Solar Roadways - Will they work?

Image Collage by Solar Roadways – Will they Work?
Image Credits/Source:
“It seems really terrible to point this out, given the visionary nature of this project, but there are times when a wet blanket may be necessary and, much as I hate to say it, I’m here to play that role. No matter how much you love the idea of solar roadways, I really don’t think it’s a bright idea to donate any money to these seemingly-wonderful people.”
~ Joel Anderson, Staff Writer
There’s a battle underway in the online court of public opinion. It’s a battle being waged on blogs and comment threads; Facebook posts and Twitter Feeds; but nowhere does the debate over Solar Roadways seem to be more graphic and emotional than on YouTube.

Let’s begin with what is no-doubt the most enthusiastic and emphatic video in favour of this IndieGoGo crowd-funded venture:

Video: Solar FREAKIN' Roadways!

It should be noted that in addition to the over USD 2.23 Million raised thus far on IndieGoGo, the Scott Brusaw and his wife also received $850,000 in grants from the Federal Highway Administration to build a small prototype parking lot.

According to their website, Solar Roadways admits they are still in the R&D phase of the project. At this time, there seems to be no indication of what real-world costs might be, nor what actual power generation solar powered roads might yield.

The very notion of replacing a well-worn (pardon the expression) low-tech solution like asphalt and/or concrete with a high-tech multi-layered surface strikes many as dubious at best. And there is no shortage of individuals who have gone to some length to make their argument against the viability of the Brusaw’s high-tech vision for clean energy and safer, low-maintenance roads.

Here’s just one such video:

Video: Solar Roadways: Busted!

In response to the “haters, naysayers and doubters” the Brusaw’s offer a webpage on their site in which they try to debunk the debunkers (the call it “cleaning the air”). You can browse their responses point-by-point for yourself; but we do share the following from said page:
“We wonder about people who reflexively dismiss our concept without trying to understand it, or go on public forums to attack us. It's helps us to remember that there have always been people against change. For some it's just too scary. They want to just keep things the same. Perhaps they are the descendants of those who argued that the earth was flat, that we didn't need cars because horses worked just fine, told the Wright Brothers they were out of their minds, or insisted that we'd never reach the moon. Or perhaps they are the voices of larger entities who are now feeling threatened by the paradigm shift that is Solar Roadways.”
Now, here at GenesisEcoFund, we are no stranger to the reactionary, automatic naysaying mentality of those who dogmatically follow established paradigms. In many ways, we can relate to the Brusaw’s frustration –and whimsy—encountering those who seem hell-bent on tearing down their idea without giving it any honest consideration. 

It must also be said, however, that not all criticisms we came across researching the topic of solar roadways were from the voices of haters and naysayers per say. 

Joel Anderson’s thoughtfully written article on entitled Why the Solar Roadways Project on Indiegogo is Actually Really Silly lays out a number of well-rounded arguments from the point of view of the established solar industry.

Yes, despite what anyone may or may not think about the “coolness” and/or plausibility of having solar-power-generating roads, there is an army of well-financed, highly motivated, extremely intelligent individuals and companies racing against the clock in search of better, cheaper, more efficient solar solutions for the “virtually endless supply of places you could install solar panels that DON’T have cars driving over them.”

Anderson’s “nail in the coffin” seems to be this statement:
“…the Brusaws have been unable to secure any piece of the more-than $2 billion a year spent on solar research and development around the world (more than $1 billion a year in the United States). Probably because there’s too many more-practical, more-promising investments to be made to seriously consider this pipe dream.” 
Well, with our experience of bureaucrats and government programs, we’re not surprised if that be the case, regardless of how feasible the concept may or may not be. That’s more a question of the sophistication of the applicants and their contacts or ability to contract a professional lobbyist (or someone who specializes in applying for government grants and other funding programs).

Still, the fact remains that this idea, for better or for worse, seems to touch a chord in people: some for the good, others for the bad.

Strangely, when it comes to ecosystems, we see very little in the nature of such contradiction. Very few people we have ever encountered seem to think bringing ecosystems back into our lives in a meaningful way is anything less than a brilliant prospect.

Perhaps it’s because everyone, deep down, feels an instinctive longing to reconnect with that part of themselves which aligns with harmony and mutual symbiosis—with each other; with the planet. Perhaps it’s as simple as a deep-felt longing to recover what was lost when industrialization and technology began wiping nature from our minds, lives and the surface of the planet.

In any case, what our experience tells us is this: no matter what kind of road we take moving forward—solar powered or otherwise—we would all do well to listen to our intuition and deepest instincts of connection if we hope to encounter innovations like Solar Roadways and simply know, intuitively and instinctually, if they are “good ideas” or not. 

Ecosystems can help us align with that deeper, higher centre of ourselves.

For more YouTube videos for and against Solar Roadways, click the image below: