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Climate Resource Library

After being generally aware for some 20 years that our fossil-fueled growth-oriented consumer-culture has been barreling headlong and headstrong straight towards calamity, un-sustainability, and the extreme degradation of our planet, events propelled me a couple of months ago to take a long hard look at where exactly we are in this greater progression. This has been the mother of all rabbit holes, and far more sobering than anything Alice plunged into. I’d take any of Alice’s remedies any day over the red pill that face-on climate awareness is.  

Climate consciousness is perilous territory for so many reasons. Climate threats are almost impossible to truly digest because of the enormity of the thing and how ridiculously complex all of the relevant factors are. Digesting even portions of it, like Alice’s red and white mushroom, can be toxic to your mental health, and certainly clouds your awareness of almost everything else.  And yet… I’ve come to process, through lots of grief, angst, anger, anxiety, and bouts of flat out depression, that though the threat is ominous on par with an asteroid hurtling directly towards us, there is a deep grace and profound clarity in surrendering to the immensity of it all.

Surrendering. Does this mean I’ve given up? Fuck no. My family has embraced as many facets of action as we can imagine might be relevant, from building a lifeboat (metaphorically) to nurturing local community to creating activist art and engaging in eye-opening conversations wherever and whenever we can. Surrendering has been simply accepting that this thing is too big to get a handle on and too unpredictable to even begin to guess as to how it will all unfold.  

Surrendering has taken the form of accepting that when all information is taken into account, we’ve come to recognize that there is a significant probability that most if not all of the forms of convenience and abundance that we have blissfully benefitted from as North Americans will likely not last, though that timeframe is completely unknowable as well. It might be years or decades, there’s just no telling at this point. What we do know is that things are accelerating faster than anyone predicted even a couple of years ago, and that’s alarming in its own right.  

I would rather face that unknown eyes wide open than be surprised by it, though coming to terms with it has easily been the most stressful activity I have ever engaged in. What does resiliency in the face of the unknown mean? How can we adapt to inherently unpredictable conditions? What are the core competencies that will be relevant moving forward in a disfigured world? How can we prepare to be resilient in the face of societal stressors unlike any our society has ever encountered? How will privileged societies that have high expectations and low resiliency beyond money be able to handle food shortages and diminished lifestyles? How will population-dense areas cope compared with more rural areas? There are just so many questions and most of the questions are full of unknowables.

In the spirit of eyes wide open, and after months of exhaustive research, scaling the heights and plumbing the depths of climate and ecological related material, I’ve chosen a relative handful of sources and materials that I’ve found to be the most straight forward assessments and clear-eyed interpretations of the available data. These are the pieces that have given me the most comprehensive perspectives on the threats we face, have provided the best talking points to initiate conversations with family and community members, and have offered action points that feel the most relevant. These pieces have also demonstrated to me that so much of the climate literature is cherry-picked with relevant factors left out for a myriad of reasons. Sometimes even people who want to address the topic just can’t face the full brunt of it and I get that.

These materials are not for the faint of heart, but neither are the times we live in. We are living in a time of standing face to face with Morpheus with the offered pills right at our fingertips ~ the blue pill being continued pretension that everything is ok, look the sun is shining out my window, the government has my back, food will always be on the store’s shelves, and I have endless entertainments and distractions at my fingertips, while the red pill is simply… deep awareness, and informed engagement.

We’ve been preparing for the worst, and nurturing courage for the best. The challenge we’re facing is that best-case scenarios at this point are still pretty grim. I hope these red pills are as helpful to you and they have been for me in choosing to live eyes wide open.

To the Climate Resource Library…

Addendum ~ I fully recognize that I’ve basically made the same post twice over the past two weeks, talking about my climate familiarity project and pointing to the collection of source material I’ve curated. I think this is partly due to my continued processing of this immense topic, and partly really wanting to make sure that this gets shared within my community and for whoever may stumble upon it. It also is starting to really challenge me that the majority of people I encounter on a regular basis don’t seem engaged with this topic at all, and I recognize the bubble of North American entitlement and comfort to be an ultimate pacifier. What’s it going to take?

What Will It Take?

A few months ago I reached out to a fair number of friends and family asking them to video themselves reading a line from a spoken word piece I wrote and then send it back to me.

Little did I know that receiving video clips from so many different people would also mean getting almost just as many different formats and resolutions and other little inconsistencies that ended up making it really difficult to stitch together a couple of dozen clips, and it took far longer than anticipated.

But in the end, all of the puzzles were solved and the result is something that I had been secretly hoping for the entire time ~ the whole is indeed much greater than the sum of its parts. My vision with having a community read of this piece was hoping that it would have greater power with humans from many different walks of life working together to create something.

I’ve been struggling with the fact that each of these questions needs to be asked and contemplated by everyone alive, and this piece was born from my own process of learning how to deal with the immensity of the issues facing us. Because when all is said and done, each of us will end up facing these things regardless of whether we choose to confront them directly or be taken kicking and screaming. I’d prefer head-on and eyes wide open myself.

As always, if this video does anything for you, or makes you think of anyone in particular, please share it and pass it along. The intention behind this effort is to help awaken and stir the pot because every drop in the bucket adds up, and if many of us start contributing drops then the sooner we’ll arrive at a cultural critical mass and begin to effect fundamental changes.

I am proud to present the first public TemplEarth creation, the community reading of “What Will It Take?”

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A Revolution without Dancing…

The character V in V for Vendetta (crazy how I’ve already mentioned him twice in two weeks..) says “A revolution without dancing is a revolution not worth having”.

Amidst all of the turmoil and chaos unfolding in Chile having to do with severe economic injustice and imbalances triggered by a hike in public transportation fares, a ballerina from the Chilean Ballet took to the streets to demonstrate that not all demonstrations have to be contentious to get a point across.

My concept of TemplEarth, and how various forms of creative expression can be used as activism for the social, economic, climate, and political revolutions that are unfolding worldwide, is captured perfectly in these series of photos from Chilean photographer paz.pachy (Instagram).

This photo in particular really nails it. It’s the evolution of the man in Tiananmen Square standing in front of the line of tanks. The artist isn’t just blocking authoritarian progress, she’s literally dancing in the face of injustice and oppression. Bravo hermosa bailarina! Bravo!

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The Birth of TemplEarth

The phrase Temple-Earth first came to me in late 2008 while trekking in the Adirondacks of New York. It haunted me and stuck in my mind in a way that few ideas have over the course of my life. I loved the idea of merging the words into one and fusing the concept that a reverent attitude towards the Earth, treating it as a sacred temple, would be a powerful energy to nurture. At the time I thought it to be the title for a piece of music I had been working on and released that celebratory mystical musical journey in 2010 (a story in its own right). At the time I thought that’s that and moved on to my next project, as well as a major change in my life’s trajectory.

Years later, the phrase still haunted me in a way that I began to suspect meant it wasn’t done with me and wasn’t merely the title to a piece of music. I allowed it to gestate and began to think of TemplEarth as the kernel of a community, and once there it began to bloom in a living way, not content to be a static thing on the record shelf.

I’ve been very inspired and shaped over the years by the eco-philosophy writings of Thomas Berry, the spiritual-philosophy of Joanna Macy, and Zen-Buddhism in general, as well as by all of the earth activists and spiritual warriors treading the path. Artists like Alex Grey that awaken our deeper selves through the resonances in their work and music that stirs the soul are constant sources of motivation, and part of the vision for TemplEarth is to cultivate an ever-growing community of artists, musicians, and activists who embody these ideals through their work, helping to stir the pot and help awaken humanity.

The re-awakening of indigenous cultures, and in particular those communities who have arisen to defend the Earth, has been a profound source of energizing direction, as I firmly believe that the emergence of these Guardians and Protectors will usher in a new era of reconnecting with Earth in a fundamental way.

TemplEarth has evolved over the years to embody a philosophy, an outlook, a community, an artistic vein, an arts organization, as well as it’s current gestation as an active seed for a periodic celebratory gathering ~ stay tuned for more as TemplEarth unfolds, for it’s an idea whose time has come.

If any of this resonates with you, please consider connecting, signing up for my newsletter, letting me know of your activities that align, because together we are strong and have the power to enact change, and the more of us there are moving forward with power and vision to help heal imbalances and restore environmental integrity, the closer we are to making it so.

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