Saturday, January 18, 2020

#197 Inclusion

Dear all,

After a busy holiday season and a busy stretch at work (while dealing with a nasty cold) I feel like I’m finally rested and well and ready to face a new year. What an interesting and challenging year it’s shaping up to be! I wish us all the best as we reach for a relaxed sense of power and possibility, and confidence that what we do can make a difference.

Love,
Pamela





Inclusion

Who are “we”? And how does that sense of identification affect our world view? When we ask who is inside and who is outside of our circle, of course there are many answers that are accurate, depending on the context. But the question of who gets included or excluded, and on what basis, is worth considering.

Sometimes the narrowness of a “we” is quite circumstantial. We just haven’t been exposed to others in a way that makes them real, but if we met them we might feel an immediate sense of connection and easily include them in a larger “we”. Sometimes there is a thin layer of difference over an easily-recognizable commonality—a distinctiveness of culture or style that is interesting and enriching to explore. At other times, circumstance joins with systemic ways we have been divided from each other, to make that sense of commonality harder to see or claim. And other times, we may think we’ve included everybody, but just haven’t looked closely enough.

I thought about this question a lot on our recent trip to Uganda. Africa is a continent that is not included in many people’s “we”. In it are a lot of countries that few of us know anything about. Some can name Uganda, some may even place it in East Africa, and a few may have heard of the airport at Entebbe. But who can picture the town of Gulu far in the north, almost up to South Sudan?

This is already an enormous stretch, yet there is more.  If we picture a bustling primary school in Gulu, the teachers and administrators are likely to be the easiest to include in our circle of “we”. They are responsible adults, doing work that many can recognize and value. In this case, they are an articulate, generally passionate, accessible and likeable group. But what if we zoom in a little farther?

The teachers have been invited to a two-day training on global citizenship, and are working in groups on how to translate UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into projects that students can take on as a part of their education. Also invited—in a momentous first—have been other members of the school community. At one table, an old man who works as a guard at the school shares materials with a tiny 11-year old girl as they and several teachers prepare to explain one of the SDGs to the larger group. A young man who works on maintenance, the man who is in charge of sanitation, and the students are all eloquent in their presentations on possible projects they could take on.

 The old man struggles to complete a written assessment at the end of the training. I listen and offer encouragement, then ask what he would like to contribute to enrich the curriculum of the school. He says that he’d love to teach the children Swahili—the trade language of East Africa that few people in this part of the country know. I had no idea. This training would have been great with just the teachers; he and the others could easily have remained invisible. But if all we see is a guard, and he’s left out of the circle, who knows what riches we will miss?

Later, in an animated discussion among a group of deeply committed and articulate leaders from the board and PTA of the school, the men dominate. I have to assert to create space for the one other woman in the room. A sturdy quiet farmer, she is not likely to push her way into a conversation. Yet she was the founder of a local women’s dairy cooperative and has run it for years; her business sense and practical experience are as valuable as gold.

Many people are trying conscientiously to expand their “we”. Yet there can be traps, even in our most virtuous intentions. I think of a warning that has stuck with me: “We are not a homogeneous community struggling to become diverse; we are an incomplete community struggling to become whole.”

As I spend time in this community I have grown to know and love in Northern Uganda, I am acutely aware of my incompleteness, and of the blessing of having this opportunity to try to become more whole.






A world awry

We tramp around his little farm
millet, ground nuts, cassava, maize.
In our eyes all is new
to him the yield just disappoints.
Too much rain, he says.

The talk is all of rain.
It has outstayed its welcome.
The dry season is long overdue
and yet the clouds keep
opening, day after day.
We cannot will the rain away.
It cools, but all is wrong.

We come to where his sim-sim—
sesame—is stacked in racks to dry.
He pulls a sheaf to show the grain
Instead of clean white seeds,
there’s mildew. All the crop is lost.

One good man who works the land,
one mildewed sheaf of grain,
and the weight of what we’ve done
to sky and sea, to this good earth,
to all who tend the soil
is more than I know how to bear.





Dare to imagine—a new economy is possible!
An alternative to the GDP

Created in 2008, the Happy Planet Index examines sustainable happiness on a national level, ranking 143 countries according to three measurements: how happy its citizens are, how long they live, and how much of the planet’s resources they each consume. The HPI multiplies years of life expectancy by life satisfaction (as measured by the Gallup Poll and the World Values Survey), to obtain “Happy Life Years,” which are then divided by pressure on ecosystems, as measured by the ecological footprint. (The ecological footprint, in turn, measures how much land and water it takes to provide for each person.)

The Happy Planet Index,” says New Economics Foundation researcher Saamah Abdallah, “measures what goes in, in terms of resource use, and the outcomes that are important, which are happy and healthy lives for us all. In this way, it reminds us that the economy is there for a purpose—and that is to improve our lives.”
https://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/climate-action/why-costa-rica-tops-the-happiness-index-20190131






Some things that have made me hopeful recently:

Over 160 cities in the Ukraine have signed up to make the transition to 100% renewable energy, and the momentum is growing.
https://gofossilfree.org/a-huge-win-in-ukraine/?akid=109855.1048214.j88VgK&rd=1&t=3

Ducks are being used in rice paddies to keep them clean, eliminating the need for artificial fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides.
https://www.nationalgeographic.com/culture/food/the-plate/2016/09/want-cleaner-rice-paddies--consider-ducks/

When Pacific Gas and Power in California cut off power in Humboldt County to reduce the risk of wildfire last fall, the Blue Lake Rancheria tribe’s solar micro-grid not only met their own needs but also served more than 10,000 people in Humboldt during the outage — including some who were critically ill.
https://microgridknowledge.com/blue-lake-rancheria-microgrid-outages/

Scientists have created an edible honey bee vaccine to protect them from deadly diseases.
https://www.foxnews.com/science/scientists-create-edible-honey-bee-vaccine-to-protect-them-from-deadly-diseases






Resources

Money and Soul
My new book (based on a pamphlet of the same name) available via QuakerBooks or other on-line distributors.
("If money troubles your soul, try this down-to-earth Quaker perspective on economies large and small.")

Money, Debt and Liberation
A video of a talk I gave at Pendle Hill in January, 2019
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f7nP8eJ5vy8

Toward a Right Relationship with Finance 
A book that I co-authored on Debt, Interest, Growth and Security.
The growth economy is failing to provide equitable well-being for humanity and a life-sustaining future for Earth.  However our institutional endowments and individual retirement are dependent on that same growth economy.  This book:
    • offers background on our current economic system--how it is based on unearned income on the one hand and debt on the other, with a built-in momentum toward economy inequality and ecological overshoot;
    • frames the conversation within the context of our deepest values and beliefs;
    • suggests plausible and historically grounded alternatives to the current system, particularly with regard to financing retirement; and
    • invites everyone to imagine new forms of durable economic and social security, and to help create the relationships and institutions that will make them a reality.
With many people now counting as never before on the performance of Wall Street for retirement security, how can this system be challenged with integrity and effectiveness?  Can we break with our dependence on financial speculation and build up new structures of security in a transformed, life-centered economy?
To order the book, or read it on line, go to http://www.quakerinstitute.org/?page_id=5 and scroll down.


More resources

www.findingsteadyground.com  

Resource from my friend Daniel Hunter, Building a Movement to End the New Jim Crow; An Organizing Guide.  http://www.danielhunter.org/books/building-movement-end-new-jim-crow-organizing-guide 

Posts on other web/blog sites:

In http://www.classism.org/gifts-american-dream/, Pamela Haines locates her family's homey DIY celebrations on a class spectrum of different connections to upward mobility.

            http://www.transitionus.org/blog/unlikely-suspects-–-deep-outreach-diverse-initiating-groups-–-pace-building-trust

        http://www.classism.org/demolition-derby

Muscle Building for Peace and Justice; a Non-Violent Workout Routine for the 21st Century--an integration of much of my experience and thinking over the years:  New link: https://www.peaceworkersus.org/docs/muscle_building_for_peace_and_justice.pdf (or just google the title)

Saturday, December 28, 2019

#196 For love of the land

Dear all,

We are now back from three weeks in Northern Uganda, where we dug our roots back into a community we have come to know and love, deepened relationships, made new friends, and, in the midst of great oppression and resilience, took on hard challenges together. I may have more to say later. In the meantime, if you would like a copy of the letter with updates on the school we support, please let me know.

As we enter a season where the minds of many of us are turned to giving, I wanted to share what was perhaps the biggest gift I received this year.

Love,
Pamela





For love of the land

I’ve loved this bit of land for over fifty years. Coming up over the hill, my heart always opens anew to the jewel of a valley spread out below, part of the rolling farmland and woodlots of central New York state. My father bought an old farm here in the 60’s, preparing for a job move that didn’t work out. But my family loved the land. The old farmhouse became a focal point for a group of young adult Quakers, a gathering and landing place as we attempted to shape lives that aligned with our deepest faith values. Our community loved the land.

Then my mother moved up there in her retirement and it became the center of family gatherings for her six children and growing extended family. My sister, Liseli, lived across the road on adjoining farmland, and dug her roots in deep. When my mother died, it took us some time to decide that we needed to sell the house, but none of us wanted to sell the land. How could we ensure that it would continue to be loved as we loved it?

My sister and her partner had been on their own journey, building ever-closer relationships with members of the neighboring Onondaga nation, and coming under the weight of our country’s history of broken treaties, stolen land, and destruction of whole indigenous nations. Living on traditional Oneida territory, Liseli had started exploring the idea of a land trust with the Haudenosaunee Confederacy (who used to be known as the Iroquois) of which the Oneida are a part. But as time passed with no visible progress, the outcome seemed increasingly uncertain.

Then, last fall she met an Oneida woman who was working with others in Wisconsin and southern Ontario to rekindle a shared traditional identity—a challenge, given that the only tiny remnant of their traditional homeland was now given over to a casino and entertainment complex. This meeting was the opening my sister had been waiting and hoping for. Over the next nine months, they worked together to create a nonprofit organization, my sister consulted with her siblings, and we joyfully agreed to return that thirty acres to these Oneida women.

At a ceremony in July, the three groups of Oneida women gathered on the land to mark its return. They sang to the land in its home language. They squished their toes in the wet earth. I can’t imagine any better resolution, any better future for that land that so many of us have loved over all these years—and so many Oneida people had loved long before.

I was already struggling to take in the terrible injustice of our nation’s treatment of native people. But being able to be part of one tiny thing that was so completely right has opened me up in a new way—both to the heartbreak and to the possibilities of healing.





Late harvest

The weather has turned cold.
The sweet potatoes wait, still in the ground.
I seize an unexpected daylight hour,
take old coat, old gloves, a fork,
a shopping cart of leaves,
go out to dig—
and step into an ancient rite.

It’s true I tucked in little slips last spring.
Vines have grown and leaves have multiplied
but who knows what has happened underground?
Now, vines stripped away,
all that’s left to see is barren ground.
What magic has been working down below?

And so I dig.
Each time I turn the earth
there’s treasure to be found.
I straighten to a stunning sunset
spread across the sky
(I would have missed it from indoors).

My harvest grows
the colors shift, then fade.
I pile the leaves as cover for the soil,
fill my basket, head for home
Darkness settles.
All is well.






Dare to Imagine: A new economy is possible!
Free Public Transit

Lawmakers in Kansas City, Missouri have voted to make public transportation in the city free of charge, setting the stage for it to be the first major U.S. city to have free public transit. They will set aside $8 million to cover the costs, with hopes that the effort will have a positive impact on economic inequality and boost the overall economy.

Estonia is the world leader in free public transit. In 2013, all public transit in its capital, Tallinn, became free to local residents (but not tourists or other visitors, even those from other parts of the country). The new national free-ride scheme with extend this model even further, making all state-run bus travel in rural municipalities free and extending cost-free transit out from the capital into other regions.

https://portside.org/2019-12-06/kansas-city-missouri-approves-free-public-transit-all
https://www.citylab.com/transportation/2018/05/estonia-will-roll-out-free-public-transit-nationwide/560648/





Some things that have made me hopeful recently

A female chief in Malawi who has broken up more than 1000 child marriages so girls can go back to school.
https://www.lifegate.com/people/news/theresa-kachindamoto-child-marriage-malawi

The decision by the lending arm of the EU, the world’s largest multinational lending institution, to become first ‘climate bank’ by ending financing of oil, gas and coal projects after 2021.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/nov/15/european-investment-bank-to-phase-out-fossil-fuels-financing

A determined Indian farmer who proved the government wrong by planting trees in an area known as “uncultivable”.
https://www.onegreenplanet.org/environment/farmer-plants-trees-desert/

(There was one more, but my computer deleted everything as I was trying to send, and these are the threeI can remember… Look for it next time!)





Resources

Money and Soul
My new book (based on a pamphlet of the same name) available via QuakerBooks or other on-line distributors.
("If money troubles your soul, try this down-to-earth Quaker perspective on economies large and small.")

Money, Debt and Liberation
A video of a talk I gave at Pendle Hill in January, 2019
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f7nP8eJ5vy8

Toward a Right Relationship with Finance 
A book that I co-authored on Debt, Interest, Growth and Security.
The growth economy is failing to provide equitable well-being for humanity and a life-sustaining future for Earth.  However our institutional endowments and individual retirement are dependent on that same growth economy.  This book:
    • offers background on our current economic system--how it is based on unearned income on the one hand and debt on the other, with a built-in momentum toward economy inequality and ecological overshoot;
    • frames the conversation within the context of our deepest values and beliefs;
    • suggests plausible and historically grounded alternatives to the current system, particularly with regard to financing retirement; and
    • invites everyone to imagine new forms of durable economic and social security, and to help create the relationships and institutions that will make them a reality.
With many people now counting as never before on the performance of Wall Street for retirement security, how can this system be challenged with integrity and effectiveness?  Can we break with our dependence on financial speculation and build up new structures of security in a transformed, life-centered economy?
To order the book, or read it on line, go to http://www.quakerinstitute.org/?page_id=5 and scroll down.

More resources

www.findingsteadyground.com  

Resource from my friend Daniel Hunter, Building a Movement to End the New Jim Crow; An Organizing Guide.  http://www.danielhunter.org/books/building-movement-end-new-jim-crow-organizing-guide 

Posts on other web/blog sites:

In http://www.classism.org/gifts-american-dream/, Pamela Haines locates her family's homey DIY celebrations on a class spectrum of different connections to upward mobility.

            http://www.transitionus.org/blog/unlikely-suspects-–-deep-outreach-diverse-initiating-groups-–-pace-building-trust

        http://www.classism.org/demolition-derby

Muscle Building for Peace and Justice; a Non-Violent Workout Routine for the 21st Century--an integration of much of my experience and thinking over the years:  https://www.trainingforchange.org/publications/muscle-building-peace-and-justice-nonviolent-workout-routine-21st-century (or just google the title) 

Saturday, November 16, 2019

#195 Hemlocks

Dear all,

It’s been a rich month—a weekend reunion of the nonviolent social change community that shaped my life as a young adult; the first frost and then a freeze, signaling the end of the growing season; lovely community building opportunities at work as I look, with profound ambivalence, toward retirement; grandchildren; precious time with new and old friends—and tomorrow we leave for three weeks in Northern Uganda. Oh my!

It’s good to take this quiet moment with all of you. Thanks for being there.

Love,
Pamela





Hemlocks

Last spring, faced with a threat to a beloved hemlock forest in northern Pennsylvania, I couldn’t imagine just sitting back and doing nothing. But how can one person take on an invasive insect? The only thing I could think of was to be proactive in planting other trees. So I worked to propagate a flat of tiny slips of larch, cut from the tips of a healthy larch that grows near the hemlocks by the pond.

It didn’t work. I must have done some part of the process wrong, and each fresh little green slip eventually dried up and died. But while I was in motion, I looked up the name of the tiny insect that was sucking the life out of these great trees. Browsing the internet, I found not only its name—woolly adelgid—but the name of a group that offered a biological remedy. A new seed began to take root and grow.

I shared this resource with my biologist friend, John, who had first seen the telltale whiteness on the tip of a hemlock branch. They seemed legitimate to him, and I reached out. We were offered an on-site consultation, but only during a narrow window of time in the fall, and only on a weekday. The logistics were daunting, but finally one evening in late October we got in a car and headed north.

Hurtling through the night in our little cocoon, we took advantage of this spacious opportunity to catch up on months of news. As we got closer, on narrow roads winding through deep woods, we caught glimpses of the gold of fall in the maples. Then we were there, stepping out into a starry night, opening up a cold cabin at midnight and burrowing under covers. In the morning, there was the luxury of reading by the fire as we waited for the Tree Savers man to complete his two-hour journey to this bit of woods.

With no cell phone service and no address for a GPS, the directions I’d sent in advance were all we had, but he found us. We walked together to look at the hemlocks around the pond, then back to the cabin to the ones I had transplanted twenty years ago—now big young trees—then down the old logging road, through the fields that are now turning to woods, to the forest in the gorge, where we could hear the stream rushing over the little waterfall. This is one of my favorite places on earth, where you step out of the sunshine into the quiet cool cathedral of towering hemlocks.

I liked this young man. His cousin had invited him into her project when he was just sixteen, he’d gone off to college in environmental science, and now this was all he did. His knowledge about the trees, the life cycle of the wooly adelgid, and the habits of the beetle that survives by eating it, was deep. He was proud of the work they were doing together to breed this foreign beetle and help save hemlock forests all up and down the east coast. And he loved the trees. He would stand back and take in an individual hemlock—admiring its shape, its fullness, its color.

Clearly we were in good hands. And best of all, we might not be too late. He spoke of seeing miles of devastated hemlock forest not far away, all dead and gray. “But your trees are still healthy,” he said. “You’ve caught it in time.”

We came back to the cabin, worked out the beginnings of a plan, and noted the details I’d need to get clarified before presenting a proposal to the larger group. Then he left. And John and I packed our few things and got back in the car for the long ride home.

There was an otherworldly quality to the whole experience—that journey in the dark, meeting a young stranger in the middle of the woods, bearer of the gift of precious good news, then traveling back to our real lives, seemingly unchanged, but carrying that treasure within us. And the message continues to warm my heart. It’s good to try. Little seeds can grow to bear fruit. And maybe we’re not too late. Maybe we can do this thing.




Rain choice

Out from work
and into steady rain.
I’ll reach the trolley quickest turning right
yet there’s a sandwich
lying heavy in my bag.
I missed my homeless friend
on the way in,
won’t find him if I take the shorter route,
may not find him anyhow.

I hover as the rain pours down
and then turn left
at rest in that good choice.

And then I find him,
give the sandwich
chat beneath an overhang—
a spot of brightness
in the midst of all that rain.




Dare to Imagine: A new economy is possible!
Green Bay Packers Coop

The Green Bay Packers football team are owned by the fans, making them the only publicly owned, not-for-profit, major professional team in the United States. In 1923, the Packers, on the brink of bankruptcy, decided to sell shares to the community at a couple of dollars a piece to keep the team afloat. Now more than a hundred thousand stockholders own more than four million shares. They are limited to no more than two hundred thousand shares, keeping any individual from gaining control over the club. Shareholders receive no dividend check and no free tickets. They elect a board of directors and a seven-member executive committee to stand in at N.F.L. owners meetings, with football decisions made by the General Manager.

Wisconsin fans get to enjoy the team with the confidence that their owner won’t threaten to move to get a better deal. Volunteers work concessions, with sixty per cent of the proceeds going to local charities. Even the beer is cheaper than at a typical N.F.L. stadium. Not only has home field been sold out for two decades, but during snowstorms, the team routinely puts out calls for volunteers to help shovel and is never disappointed by the response.

https://www.newyorker.com/sports/sporting-scene/those-non-profit-packers





Some things that have made me hopeful recently

So many successful local efforts to combat fossil fuels:
--a Philippine province declared coal free https://www.rappler.com/move-ph/225951-youth-behind-coal-free-negros-occidental,
--a Berkeley ordinance banning the use of natural gas in new construction https://www.dailycal.org/2019/08/07/mayor-jesse-arreguin-officially-signs-natural-gas-ban-into-berkeley-law/mayor,
--a coal plant project that would have damaged a fragile marine ecosystem in Kenya stopped by the courts, https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/kenya-court-stops-china-backed-lamu-coal-plant-project/ar-AADut6v,
--and New York City’s sweeping climate change legislation, https://www.motherjones.com/environment/2019/04/new-york-city-just-passed-historic-climate-legislation-its-own-green-new-deal/

New “right to repair” legislation in the European Union that includes requirements for improving the life span, maintenance, re-use, upgrade, recyclability, and waste handling of appliances. https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/eu-approves-groundbreaking-right-to-repair-laws/

All the thousands of people who worked so hard to send a great Working Families Party candidate to Philadelphia City Council—and all the other hopeful election news.

A grassroots bee petition in Bavaria that garnered signatures from more than 10% of the population, and led the German state’s premier to have the petition’s language—turning grassland into meadow and calling for a third of farms to be organic—written into law. https://www.positive.news/environment/grassroots-bee-petition-forces-greener-farming-measures-in-bavaria/





Resources

Money and Soul
My new book (based on a pamphlet of the same name) available via QuakerBooks or other on-line distributors.
("If money troubles your soul, try this down-to-earth Quaker perspective on economies large and small.")

Money, Debt and Liberation
A video of a talk I gave at Pendle Hill in January, 2019
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f7nP8eJ5vy8

Toward a Right Relationship with Finance 
A book that I co-authored on Debt, Interest, Growth and Security.
The growth economy is failing to provide equitable well-being for humanity and a life-sustaining future for Earth.  However our institutional endowments and individual retirement are dependent on that same growth economy.  This book:
    • offers background on our current economic system--how it is based on unearned income on the one hand and debt on the other, with a built-in momentum toward economy inequality and ecological overshoot;
    • frames the conversation within the context of our deepest values and beliefs;
    • suggests plausible and historically grounded alternatives to the current system, particularly with regard to financing retirement; and
    • invites everyone to imagine new forms of durable economic and social security, and to help create the relationships and institutions that will make them a reality.
With many people now counting as never before on the performance of Wall Street for retirement security, how can this system be challenged with integrity and effectiveness?  Can we break with our dependence on financial speculation and build up new structures of security in a transformed, life-centered economy?
To order the book, or read it on line, go to http://www.quakerinstitute.org/?page_id=5 and scroll down.

More resources

www.findingsteadyground.com  

Resource from my friend Daniel Hunter, Building a Movement to End the New Jim Crow; An Organizing Guide.  http://www.danielhunter.org/books/building-movement-end-new-jim-crow-organizing-guide 

Posts on other web/blog sites:

In http://www.classism.org/gifts-american-dream/, Pamela Haines locates her family's homey DIY celebrations on a class spectrum of different connections to upward mobility.

            http://www.transitionus.org/blog/unlikely-suspects-–-deep-outreach-diverse-initiating-groups-–-pace-building-trust

        http://www.classism.org/demolition-derby

Muscle Building for Peace and Justice; a Non-Violent Workout Routine for the 21st Century--an integration of much of my experience and thinking over the years:  https://www.trainingforchange.org/publications/muscle-building-peace-and-justice-nonviolent-workout-routine-21st-century (or just google the title) 


Saturday, October 19, 2019

#194 Ignorance

Dear all,

I continue to be heartened by gathered voices and steps forward in this world—such as the climate strike and new public banking law in California—while weighed down by the scary challenges we face. I keep reminding myself of the resources on connecting and grounding that we developed at www.findingsteadyground.com, and that the essence of my work is to be who I am, as big as I can be.

I am always stunned by the amazing transformation from summmer to fall that we experience here in the northeastern US, and it's been a blessing to have more clear days this month to follow the cycle of the moon.

Love,
Pamela





Ignorance

I’ve been wondering recently whether a greater appreciation of our ignorance might shine a light on the pathway to wisdom.

Someone I know led off a workshop on race and racism not long ago by asking participants to rank themselves as beginning, intermediate or advanced on the issue. It’s an intriguing question. I think I would have said that I’m sufficiently advanced to know what a beginner I am. A few years ago I might have claimed the rank of advanced. After all, I’ve learned history, puzzled over theory, built a wide variety of relationship, done lots of emotional work, helped others engage with the issues.

Since then, however, I’ve taken a deep dive into the nitty-gritties of racism in an urban farm project that has had to address thorny issues of black spaces, reparations and community control. I am deeply grateful for that very painful opportunity, and have learned much in the process. I think I knew enough to play a role that was more positive than negative, but am amazed at the extent of my naivete and blind spots. There is no way I can avoid my ignorance.

This is hard to admit. In my family growing up, ignorance was viewed as a terrible thing.  Right answers were prized, and intellectual ability was encouraged above all else. My parents thought of themselves as outside of the mainstream, but I’ve come to see that these values of theirs were in complete alignment with the beliefs of the Enlightenment and the Scientific Revolution that have shaped our culture for hundreds of years. The pursuit of knowledge is the noblest endeavor; with it we can master the world. Ignorance is the enemy.

Yet where has this perspective led us? I recently came across a book, Earth in Mind, by David Orr, that is eloquent on this subject. Ignorance is not a solvable problem, he says. Rather it is an inescapable part of the human condition.  Knowledge, on the other hand, is a fearful thing.  He reminds us that to know the name of something traditionally was to hold power over it. Misused, that power would break the sacred order and wreak havoc. Why, I wonder, does that ancient warning ring so eerily true in our present condition?

He suggests that we cannot say that we know something until we understand the effects of this knowledge on real people and their communities. If we are too smug about the explosive increase of knowledge in modern times, we may fail to notice the knowledge that is being lost, and the critical nature of that knowledge for the survival of our species. We have broken the world down into billions of discrete knowable bits, but are lost when it comes to understanding what makes it whole.

Examples of the flaws of putting all our eggs in the knowledge basket are everywhere. Children are pushed to learn letters and numbers ever earlier, yet long-term success in school correlates more closely with a foundation of love of learning and strong social-emotional and problem-solving skills. Business schools turn out graduates who have aced classes on finance, planning and management, yet industry is desperate for the intangible qualities of leadership and entrepreneurial spirit. Scientists have mastered mixing chemicals to increase crop yields (as least temporarily), yet know virtually nothing about what creates soil health.

What would it take to decouple knowledge from hubris and from the blindness that seems always to come with it? Can we find the humility to accept our ignorance, to assume that anything we learn will illuminate bigger areas of unknowing that were previously invisible to us, and to cultivate an attitude of wonder at the unknowable? Perhaps then we can exchange the goal of mastery through attainment of knowledge for the ability to ask the questions that get to the heart of the matter.






Neighbors

The red car is gone.
For weeks (could it be months?)
it stood there in the lot
beside our garden fence.

Two young men were living there.
We said hello, talked about the heat.
They were not bad neighbors
though the smell of pee grew strong.

I knew they were in need
didn’t step in to save
didn’t complain
chose instead for steady warm civility.

And now they’re gone
not by choice, it’s said.
I wish them well, wherever they may be,
and wonder: Could I have been
a better neighbor?





Dare to imagine: A new economy is possible!

Fair Trade in Columbia

Established 21 years ago, the ColyFlor Solidarity Economic Circuit comprises 200 suppliers (rural families, women, indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities) growing agro-ecological foods in the region of MedellĂ­n, Colombia to sell at their fair trade store. It also includes a network of responsible consumers who live in Medellin and nearby municipalities. The store offers agro-ecological tours to small peasant farms, cooking courses with healthy foods, and promotion of participation in fairs and peasant markets in the city.

This effort has influenced local government rural development policies to promote agro-ecological good practice and sustainable consumption, and technical assistance for agricultural development. There are now around 17 initiatives in the region that focus on the sale of organic and agro-ecological products.

 https://transformativecities.org/atlas-of-utopias/atlas-58/




Some things that have made me hopeful recently:

At least eight states and 130 cities have legally changed Columbus Day to Indigenous People’s day, including Washington DC and Wisconsin in the last month.
https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/dc-joins-100-cities-changing-columbus-day-indigenous/story?id=66183074

The governor of California has signed a law enabling the establishment of public banks in the state, and efforts in LA and San Francisco are already underway.
https://www.publicbankinginstitute.org/

Four million people around the world took part in September’s global climate strike: 
Short video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=za-S4p4BwqY&feature=youtu.be

Costa Rica has doubled its forest cover, from 26% in 1983 to 52% today.
https://www.positive.news/environment/costa-rica-doubles-its-forest-cover-in-30-years/





Resources


Money and Soul
My new book (based on a pamphlet of the same name) available via QuakerBooks or other on-line distributors.
("If money troubles your soul, try this down-to-earth Quaker perspective on economies large and small.")

Money, Debt and Liberation
A video of a talk I gave at Pendle Hill in January, 2019
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f7nP8eJ5vy8

Toward a Right Relationship with Finance 
A book that I co-authored on Debt, Interest, Growth and Security.

The growth economy is failing to provide equitable well-being for humanity and a life-sustaining future for Earth.  However our institutional endowments and individual retirement are dependent on that same growth economy.  This book:
    • offers background on our current economic system--how it is based on unearned income on the one hand and debt on the other, with a built-in momentum toward economy inequality and ecological overshoot;
    • frames the conversation within the context of our deepest values and beliefs;
    • suggests plausible and historically grounded alternatives to the current system, particularly with regard to financing retirement; and
    • invites everyone to imagine new forms of durable economic and social security, and to help create the relationships and institutions that will make them a reality.
With many people now counting as never before on the performance of Wall Street for retirement security, how can this system be challenged with integrity and effectiveness?  Can we break with our dependence on financial speculation and build up new structures of security in a transformed, life-centered economy?

To order the book, or read it on line, go to http://www.quakerinstitute.org/?page_id=5 and scroll down.



More resources

www.findingsteadyground.com  

Resource from my friend Daniel Hunter, Building a Movement to End the New Jim Crow; An Organizing Guide.  http://www.danielhunter.org/books/building-movement-end-new-jim-crow-organizing-guide 

Posts on other web/blog sites:

In http://www.classism.org/gifts-american-dream/, Pamela Haines locates her family's homey DIY celebrations on a class spectrum of different connections to upward mobility.

            http://www.transitionus.org/blog/unlikely-suspects-–-deep-outreach-diverse-initiating-groups-–-pace-building-trust

        http://www.classism.org/demolition-derby

Muscle Building for Peace and Justice; a Non-Violent Workout Routine for the 21st Century--an integration of much of my experience and thinking over the years:  https://www.trainingforchange.org/publications/muscle-building-peace-and-justice-nonviolent-workout-routine-21st-century (or just google the title) 

Saturday, September 21, 2019

#193 Rebirth

Dear all,

I continue to savor the experience of a big 70th birthday party, where people from all parts of my life got to meet each other and fill in their picture of who I am, while eating and drinking the fruits of my garden—so much fun!

And what a thrill to be one of four million people on Friday following our youth in speaking out against climate change! It was wonderful to go with young teens and their parents from our family center and our six-year-old grandson. I loved a sign that read: “Listen to your Youngers”.

Love,
Pamela





Rebirth

The great canopy of trees and the swell of cicada song dominate my senses as I walk to the park early on an August morning.  So much life!

My mind goes to what I’ve learned recently of the history of this city neighborhood. In the mid-1800’s it was hilly wooded countryside cut through by a creek. But, with the city pushing west and money to be made from development, came a change of staggering proportions. Roads were laid out to be roughly level and the surrounding land was cut and filled—shovel by shovel, cart by cart, in a stupendous undertaking—to pave the way for long blocks of city row houses.  The creek, which was already being used as a sewer by local factories, was buried in a great sewer pipeline. Nothing of the natural landscape—hills, ravines, flowing water, plants, trees—remained. Men spoke with pride of this ability to obliterate nature so completely. I never knew.

Then, more recently, I heard an interview with a man who grew up on a farm in Iowa, and has spent the last several decades restoring 30 acres of degraded land to prairie. He spoke of how, once some critical mass of biodiversity had been restored, other species started showing up—first plants and insects, then birds and mammals. I am inspired and grateful for his work and the similar work of many others throughout the great plains. And I am left with his final story echoing in my ears.

He had gone out one night to enjoy the evening and the songs of all the birds and insects that had found their way to his prairie home. Something moved him to walk to a farm neighbor’s cornfield. He listened there, in what we city folks think of as bucolic countryside, and heard—nothing.

Just like all those decades ago in my neighborhood, when a monoculture of row houses obliterated all previous life, so this monoculture of corn rows, dependent on fossil fueled machinery, chemical fertilizers and deadly pesticides, has obliterated the prairie—and all the life associated with it. And the process had the same roots. Instead of men with shovels, it was men with plows, holding fast to a vision of mastery in the name of progress, bending their backs to eradicate everything that stood in their way.

While my part of the city has had 150 years for new trees to grow and ecosystems to regenerate, our prairies are still under relentless assault. We can hear—in the silence—that this system of industrial agriculture is bad for biodiversity. It’s also bad for small farmers and farm communities that have been increasingly squeezed out by deep-pocketed giant conglomerates. It’s bad for the land, with thousands of years’ accumulation of topsoil washing away. It’s bad for the water, as great quantities of chemical fertilizers and pesticides steadily drain from the fields. It’s bad for the climate, with its fossil-fuel intensive technology, and exposed winter fields that can’t hold in the carbon. Slick attempts to characterize agro-business as part of the solution are gearing up; the “Impossible Burger” is being marketed to cash in on the growing vegetarian/vegan market—with a pseudo-food grown from fossil fuels, high-tech labs, GMO soy and Round-Up. But this is a system without a future.

The good news is that the urge to live, and to create the conditions for more life, is a strong one. I think of all the farmers all over the country (and the world), who love and nourish the health of their land. I think of how food scraps and dead plant life anywhere can turn into rich living compost. I think of how urban gardens and farms are springing up everywhere, as people of all backgrounds reclaim their ties to the earth. I think of how the honey bees flourish amid the diverse flowering plants of the city and suburbs.

Maybe cities like mine can be among the leaders here, with our big trees and urban garden lots, our hospitable honey bee habitat, and all our people who are reaching for connection. Maybe we have lessons to share around diversity, and making the most of small spaces, and how the earth nurtures community. As I listen to the song of the cicadas, I can’t help but hope.





Treasure

Dump the compost
discover an avocado plant
growing in the pile.

Go to get the pot
picked from the trash
the other day,
perfect for the avocado—
Find a sweet little
succulent
abandoned in the bottom.

Two for the price of, what?
Paying attention and
loving the earth.





Dare to Imagine: A New Economy is Possible!
Cooperative Community of New West Jackson

The Cooperative Community of New West Jackson is a grassroots, resident-led development model that seeks to revitalize West Jackson, Mississippi, through an inventive “inside out” strategy. They match residents’ underemployed skillsets and abandoned property resources with a creative placemaking effort that centers on local food production, folk art, and the construction trades.

With 90% of residents having a farming background, overgrown lots and abandoned houses defining the neighborhood, and everyone needing to eat, they are working to institute a neighborhood food economy to include a production farm, farmer’s market, cottage kitchen, bulk pantry, eatery, folk art studio, and educational resources. They are starting the process of determining a new shared socio-economic reality by affirming what they want, understanding what they know, and reclaiming what they have forgotten, together.

https://www.coopnwj.org/





Some things that have made me hopeful recently

The ruling by Botswana’s high court in June to decriminalize homosexuality, overturning a colonial-era law, and moving out in front of many other sub-Saharan countries. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-48594162

Israel’s partnership with seven of its mostly-Muslim neighbours to collaborate on a coral protection research project in the Red Sea. This partnership between Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Eritrea, Djibouti and Sudan is thought to be the largest regional project of its kind. https://www.timesofisrael.com/israel-to-ally-with-arab-neighbors-around-red-sea-in-bid-to-save-worlds-corals/

New Zealand’s plan to plant a billion trees to fight climate change, and their allocation of $485 million for the first three years to implement the plan https://www.healthyfoodhouse.com/new-zealand-is-planting-1-billion-trees-to-fight-climate-change/

The growth of the movement for public banking throughout the United States, including a campaign on the brink of success in California, and new grassroots effort in Philadelphia. www.publicbankinginstitute.org





Resources


Money and Soul
My new book (based on a pamphlet of the same name) available via QuakerBooks or other on-line distributors.
("If money troubles your soul, try this down-to-earth Quaker perspective on economies large and small.")

Money, Debt and Liberation
A video of a talk I gave at Pendle Hill in January, 2019
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f7nP8eJ5vy8

Toward a Right Relationship with Finance 
A book that I co-authored on Debt, Interest, Growth and Security.

The growth economy is failing to provide equitable well-being for humanity and a life-sustaining future for Earth.  However our institutional endowments and individual retirement are dependent on that same growth economy.  This book:
    • offers background on our current economic system--how it is based on unearned income on the one hand and debt on the other, with a built-in momentum toward economy inequality and ecological overshoot;
    • frames the conversation within the context of our deepest values and beliefs;
    • suggests plausible and historically grounded alternatives to the current system, particularly with regard to financing retirement; and
    • invites everyone to imagine new forms of durable economic and social security, and to help create the relationships and institutions that will make them a reality.
With many people now counting as never before on the performance of Wall Street for retirement security, how can this system be challenged with integrity and effectiveness?  Can we break with our dependence on financial speculation and build up new structures of security in a transformed, life-centered economy?

To order the book, or read it on line, go to http://www.quakerinstitute.org/?page_id=5 and scroll down.



More resources

www.findingsteadyground.org

Resource from my friend Daniel Hunter, Building a Movement to End the New Jim Crow; An Organizing Guide.  http://www.danielhunter.org/books/building-movement-end-new-jim-crow-organizing-guide 

Posts on other web/blog sites:

In http://www.classism.org/gifts-american-dream/, Pamela Haines locates her family's homey DIY celebrations on a class spectrum of different connections to upward mobility.

            http://www.transitionus.org/blog/unlikely-suspects-–-deep-outreach-diverse-initiating-groups-–-pace-building-trust

        http://www.classism.org/demolition-derby

Muscle Building for Peace and Justice; a Non-Violent Workout Routine for the 21st Century--an integration of much of my experience and thinking over the years:  https://www.trainingforchange.org/publications/muscle-building-peace-and-justice-nonviolent-workout-routine-21st-century (or just google the title)

Saturday, August 17, 2019

#192 Connect

Dear all,

I’m very pleased to announce the publication of my new book, Money and Soul ("If money troubles your soul, try this down-to-earth Quaker perspective on economies large and small.") It’s available on internet sites and at the FGC Bookstore in Philadelphia, and the formal launch will be on Sunday, September 15 at Friends Center. What a journey!

Having a few things slow down over the summer has given space for growing some lovely new friendships, preserving food, and bringing others to the local farmer’s market to gather signatures for a city public bank—all very satisfying and fruitful endeavors.

And what a stunning full moon the other night!

Love,
Pamela





Connect

On our fourth year with the Two Row paddle down the Grand River in southern Ontario—natives and allies joining together to honor the treaties and protect the earth—we had teachings every evening. These were rich invitations to deeper understanding in many areas: native foods and medicine, river bed ecology, the roots of the Two Row experience, traditional social dances, the role of men and women in the Haudenosaunee, or Iroquois, culture, to name just a few. One that continues to reverberate in my brain was a reflection by two women—one indigenous and one settler—on their joint research on the impact of participating in the Two Row paddle. In their analysis of survey comments, they found that the overarching theme for indigenous participants was about change, while that of the settler group was about connection. Eager to connect, we non-indigenous folks were learning that there is work to do first, around reconnection and disconnection.

We need to reconnect to ourselves, to the natural world around us, and to our own roots. At the same time, we need work on disconnecting from the lures and traps of materialism and individualism in our culture, and from all the points at which we’re attached, often unawarely, to a system of privileges in an oppressive society. It’s only when we are actively engaged in this process of reconnection and disconnection that we are able to connect deeply across the divisions that racism and colonialism have created.

If we are fastened securely within the structures and assumptions of privilege, there is a way in which our world is closed. Enjoying the comfort of the status quo, deep connection with those who suffer from it can only be disruptive. The surface is too smooth for the kind of connection that gets in deep and changes lives. Our hearts have not broken open wide enough to make space for the other.

On the other hand, if we respond to heartbreak about injustice by distancing ourselves as far as possible from our heritage and people in order to join with the oppressed, we are limited in other ways. By fleeing, what we have left to offer tends to be thin, insubstantial and ultimately not of much use. If we are not rooted we lean, leaving us dependent on the strength of others.

So in this paddle down the river as allies, we get to reconnect: To the land and the water, the clouds and the sun. To our bodies, and our capacity to move, to our muscles and skin and beating hearts. To our own goodness as we see the goodness of other allies like us. To our ancestors, who once knew and loved some bit of land as intimately as indigenous people have known and loved theirs. And we get to disconnect from the comfortable narratives that have reassured us: that injustice to native people is safely in the past; that racism is in a steady decline; that we, personally, are not complicit in oppressive institutions.

Reconnecting to our goodness and our people, disconnecting from false narratives that serve to protect privilege, we are both rooted and opened up. Thus, as we paddle down the river together, we build our capacity to take in all the connections for which our hearts yearn.





In crowd

A long stretch of
wet sidewalk cement
had proven irresistible.

Now when I walk
that way I pass
first Nick
then Bob
then a chicken (boldly drawn)
and finally
the Cleveland Cool Kids.

My step lightens (every time)
I have to smile.
I’m part of the crowd
they’ve invited me in—
Nick
Bob
that perky chicken
and all the cool kids
from Cleveland.





Dare to imagine:  A new economy is possible!
Rural Electric Cooperatives

During the New Deal, electric cooperatives sprang up all over rural America. Today there are more than 850 cooperatives in 47 states providing service to 56 percent of the nation’s landmass, While RECs aren’t perfect, by replacing private shareholders with cooperative members they can be more than just energy companies: leading in renewable energy development, providing internet services, investing in revitalization and infrastructure projects as part of a Green New Deal. Examples include:

Roanoke Electric Cooperative in North Carolina: Nearly 50 years of active engagement and organizing by majority Black membership has resulted in one of the most inclusive and impactful RECs in the country, one that is explicitly committed to creating a customer-centric utility of the future.

Pedernales Cooperative in Texas: Member-owners of the largest REC in the US overturned corruption, reformed their co-op, and set aggressive targets for renewable energy, but still must defend against fossil-fuel-backed attacks.

Ouachita Electric Cooperative in Arkansas: Success at this REC includes offering broadband, energy efficiency, and solar.

https://www.electric.coop/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Co-op_Facts_and_Figures_4-2019.pdf
https://www.electriccooporganizing.org/toolkit





Some things that have made me hopeful recently

A Pennsylvania group that raised $16,000 to absolve over $1,600,000 of medical debt of families struggling in Western PA.
https://www.facebook.com/PutPeopleFirstPA/posts/3085291038162568?
https://www.wpxi.com/news/church-eliminates-6-million-of-medical-debt-for-community/966321540 (a similar campaign)

California’s deal with four major auto dealers that made an end run around the Trump emissions rollback plan.
https://www.theverge.com/2019/7/25/20727261/trump-emissions-rollback-ford-volkswagon-honda-bmw-california-deal

A court ruling in Arizona blocking construction of a giant copper mine, a victory for environmental groups and native tribes.
https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/arizona-environment/2019/08/01/hudbay-minerals-appeal-court-decision-blocking-rosemont-mine/1891386001/

The announcement by six Wall Street banks, after intense multi-year pressure, that they were severing ties with private prison companies, which stand to lose around $1.9 billion, 72% of their current financing.
https://populardemocracy.org/news/publications/wall-street-banks-sever-ties-private-prison-companies-stand-lose-over-19b-future





Resources


Money and Soul
My new book (based on a talk and a pamphlet of the same name) available via on-line distributors.


Money, Debt and Liberation
A video of a talk I gave at Pendle Hill in January, 2019
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f7nP8eJ5vy8


Money and Soul
A transcript of a keynote address I delivered at a Quaker conference in New Mexico, June 2017
https://westernfriend.org/media/money-and-soul-unabridged


Toward a Right Relationship with Finance 
A book that I co-authored on Debt, Interest, Growth and Security.

The growth economy is failing to provide equitable well-being for humanity and a life-sustaining future for Earth.  However our institutional endowments and individual retirement are dependent on that same growth economy.  This book:
    • offers background on our current economic system--how it is based on unearned income on the one hand and debt on the other, with a built-in momentum toward economy inequality and ecological overshoot;
    • frames the conversation within the context of our deepest values and beliefs;
    • suggests plausible and historically grounded alternatives to the current system, particularly with regard to financing retirement; and
    • invites everyone to imagine new forms of durable economic and social security, and to help create the relationships and institutions that will make them a reality.
With many people now counting as never before on the performance of Wall Street for retirement security, how can this system be challenged with integrity and effectiveness?  Can we break with our dependence on financial speculation and build up new structures of security in a transformed, life-centered economy?

To order the book, or read it on line, go to http://www.quakerinstitute.org/?page_id=5 and scroll down.



More resources

www.findingsteadyground.org

Resource from my friend Daniel Hunter, Building a Movement to End the New Jim Crow; An Organizing Guide.  http://www.danielhunter.org/books/building-movement-end-new-jim-crow-organizing-guide 

Posts on other web/blog sites:

In http://www.classism.org/gifts-american-dream/, Pamela Haines locates her family's homey DIY celebrations on a class spectrum of different connections to upward mobility.

            http://www.transitionus.org/blog/unlikely-suspects-–-deep-outreach-diverse-initiating-groups-–-pace-building-trust

        http://www.classism.org/demolition-derby

Muscle Building for Peace and Justice; a Non-Violent Workout Routine for the 21st Century--an integration of much of my experience and thinking over the years:  https://www.trainingforchange.org/publications/muscle-building-peace-and-justice-nonviolent-workout-routine-21st-century (or just google the title)

Saturday, July 20, 2019

#191 Breathe

Dear all,

Having a bit more discretionary time this summer has had an unexpected downside: more opportunities to second-guess my choices about how I use my time. Am I using my hours to the highest good? With everything that’s wrong in the world, can I afford to slack off? Finding my way through these old voices and current worries is definitely a work in progress. It helps to remember that a key to transformation is deep connection—to each other and to the earth.

I’m making great kale-basil pesto to share, the peach tree that I planted in the public front bed of the community garden has been bountiful, I’m finding more buddies to work on the public banking project (let me know if you’re interested!), my new book—Money and Soul—is coming out at the end of the month, I’m blessed with good work and an abundance of caring and loving friends, relatives and colleagues. It’s good to know you are there.

Love,
Pamela





Breathe

I was listening to a friend who is at the center of a youth climate movement. He was feeling stressed about all the logistical challenges of pulling off big collaborative actions, wishing that there could be more time to reflect—and just breathe. He was hungry to experience more flow and resonance as he went through his days, and wistful that he didn’t sense a similar hunger for spiritual grounding in more of his fellow activists.

I had just come from a meeting where I felt both that hunger and that grounding. It was a group of mostly black and brown urban farmers, reaching toward a vision of cooperative organization and work. All the standard rules of the game of living—compete, entertain, pose, position, defend—had somehow been suspended, as we engaged in a common effort to seek truth and find a way forward toward a greater good. On the floor were topics not just of rewriting by-laws and reorganizing decision-making protocols, but of patience, relationships and willingness to be changed. Whether speaking, asking questions or listening, everyone was intent on growing their understanding, ready for transformation. There was openness in the room, space to breathe.

My friend shared, almost in passing, something he’d done that morning that he was pleased with. It was a potentially challenging meeting of people who needed to find common ground to make a decision. They chatted for a while, building connection. Then he suggested that they pause and take a moment for reflection. Into that quiet moment he offered a word of thanks—and they were able to move on to complete the task.

I think this story provides a clue to his earlier question. Even if it is unexpressed, we can see evidence of this hunger for grounding all around us. Some people are just too filled with work and worry to be able to notice; others are casting about desperately, but at a loss for how to even imagine or name the possibility; others may even be fighting against it, as a “luxury” in these perilous times. But we all need to breathe. As systems of oppression bear down on us more and more heavily, the struggle to breathe in what we need for survival is becoming more immediate, more pressing, and more widespread.

The preparation that went into that farmer coop meeting, and the tone that was set, provided food for my soul. The few minutes my friend took to invite that group to ground itself helped them complete their work. Anything we can do to break our bondage to the rules of the game— to invite others to connect with their best selves and a greater reality, to provide good air—is a gift.  As we help fill that deep hunger, we are creating badly-needed space in which people can breathe, and new possibilities can grow.





Rec room circle

He lived in this nursing home
for nine years,
wanted, at ninety-eight,
to pass without a scene.

Yet here we are
in a circle in the rec room
sharing stories.
His son did it for the staff,
so they could say goodbye.
Others came for love of the son.

Simple stories
of food, opera, bingo—
the courage of an old man
the humanity of care-givers
the love of a son
all brought to life
in this rec room circle.





Dare to Imagine:  A new economy is possible!
The Happy Planet Index

Created in 2008, the Happy Planet Index examines sustainable happiness on a national level, ranking 143 countries according to three measurements: how happy its citizens are, how long they live, and how much of the planet’s resources they each consume. The HPI multiplies years of life expectancy by life satisfaction (as measured by the Gallup Poll and the World Values Survey), to obtain “Happy Life Years,” which are then divided by pressure on ecosystems, as measured by the ecological footprint. The ecological footprint, in turn, measures how much land and water it takes to provide for each person.

The Happy Planet Index “strips down the economy to what really matters,” says New Economics Foundation researcher Saamah Abdallah. It measures “what goes in, in terms of resource use, and the outcomes that are important, which are happy and healthy lives for us all. In this way, it reminds us that the economy is there for a purpose—and that is to improve our lives.”

https://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/climate-action/why-costa-rica-tops-the-happiness-index-20190131





Some things that have made me hopeful recently

Japanese American elders who have been protesting the repeat of history as the Administration detains immigrants in internment camps from World War II.
https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2019/6/24/1866919/-Japanese-Americans-protest-outside-former-internment-camp-Stop-repeating-history

A Kenya court’s ruling to stop the Lamu coal plant, a win for environmental activists and local communities who for three years argued that the coal plant would pollute the air, damage the fragile marine ecosystem, and devastate fishing communities.
https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/kenya-court-stops-china-backed-lamu-coal-plant-project/ar-AADut6v

A Correct the Record initiative, in which social media companies would have to make sure that all users who see false information on their feeds are also later presented with fact-checks.
http://time.com/5540995/correct-the-record-polling-fake-news/

The energy and momentum of the youth climate movement, Sunrise, which can be joined at https://actionnetwork.org/forms/join-us-112?source=direct_link&





Resources


Money and Soul
My new book (based on a talk and a pamphlet of the same name) available via on-line distributors July 30


Money, Debt and Liberation
A video of a talk I gave at Pendle Hill in January, 2019
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f7nP8eJ5vy8


Money and Soul
A transcript of a keynote address I delivered at a Quaker conference in New Mexico, June 2017
https://westernfriend.org/media/money-and-soul-unabridged


Toward a Right Relationship with Finance 
A book that I co-authored on Debt, Interest, Growth and Security.

The growth economy is failing to provide equitable well-being for humanity and a life-sustaining future for Earth.  However our institutional endowments and individual retirement are dependent on that same growth economy.  This book:
    • offers background on our current economic system--how it is based on unearned income on the one hand and debt on the other, with a built-in momentum toward economy inequality and ecological overshoot;
    • frames the conversation within the context of our deepest values and beliefs;
    • suggests plausible and historically grounded alternatives to the current system, particularly with regard to financing retirement; and
    • invites everyone to imagine new forms of durable economic and social security, and to help create the relationships and institutions that will make them a reality.
With many people now counting as never before on the performance of Wall Street for retirement security, how can this system be challenged with integrity and effectiveness?  Can we break with our dependence on financial speculation and build up new structures of security in a transformed, life-centered economy?

To order the book, or read it on line, go to http://www.quakerinstitute.org/?page_id=5 and scroll down.



More resources

www.findingsteadyground.org

Resource from my friend Daniel Hunter, Building a Movement to End the New Jim Crow; An Organizing Guide.  http://www.danielhunter.org/books/building-movement-end-new-jim-crow-organizing-guide 

Posts on other web/blog sites:

In http://www.classism.org/gifts-american-dream/, Pamela Haines locates her family's homey DIY celebrations on a class spectrum of different connections to upward mobility.

            http://www.transitionus.org/blog/unlikely-suspects-–-deep-outreach-diverse-initiating-groups-–-pace-building-trust

        http://www.classism.org/demolition-derby

Muscle Building for Peace and Justice; a Non-Violent Workout Routine for the 21st Century--an integration of much of my experience and thinking over the years:  https://www.trainingforchange.org/publications/muscle-building-peace-and-justice-nonviolent-workout-routine-21st-century (or just google the title)