Thursday, March 31, 2016

Rethinking Permaculture Convergence 3/27/16

This past weekend I was exploring and connecting with many like-minded folks on how best to re-imagine our world, in the vain of "permaculture". This was all put together in less than  a month, and over 70 people attended over the 3 days of workshops and meals-all for free!

I actually helped facilitate two workshops; "Radically Transcending Money" and "Food Reclamation in our time of Cultural Transition", both subjects very near and dear to me. I hadn't presented anything like this since college really, so after a decade of atrophying skills, it's nice to know I can still do this well.

I'm re-inspired to go deeper in my own wisdom practices, and push my activism and service to more impactful levels. I also made a lot of new friends and connections who will provide support, I'm sure.

We are already in the works to setup more of these, as well as restart Touching Earth Sangha weekly gatherings; the groundswell of passionate engagement was very encouraging!

(bunch of pictures at bottom of post, thanks to Amit Zinman for the gorgeous photos! Note: if you click on one photo you can scroll through them horizontally)

The Schedule over the weekend

Facebook write up:

Rethinking Permaculture Vernal Equinox Convergence: Everyday Strategies for Compassionate Living

Hosted by Kailash Ecovillage and Food Not Bombs

Please join us for a weekend convergence where we will discover how to transform our lives to be more in line with our heart’s compassionate and harmonious nature.

Traditional permaculture has great insights into more sustainable ways to grow our own food – we aim to expand the vision of sustainability to include the practical changes we can make to our daily lives, right now, to create less harm to our world, and to foster a more ecologically sensitive, and more joyfully vibrant, human culture.

We will cover techniques to grow more of our own food, but also look at the daily consumer habits and lifestyle patterns that we take for granted, and to explore how they might be transformed to free us from the oppressive and unhealthy aspects of our society.

We will consider what it means to practice “spiritual permaculture” – living in a way that honors all living beings, and all the diversity of life on our planet, as our family. In this light, we will focus on practices that don’t confine or cause suffering to other animals for our own (human) benefit.

Whether experienced permaculturists, or the newly curious, all are welcome to attend. If you have something you’d like to teach that is in line with our vision, anyone is welcome to facilitate a class – let us know what you’d like to offer! (There will be an opportunity to add classes on the first night of the gathering.)

We aspire to offer the kinds of workshops where participants will learn the skills, and receive the support, that can lead to actual, practical, life changes immediately after the weekend.

Veganic farming strategies
Reducing dependence on the money system
Fostering community sharing
Meditation, movement, and sound practices to support a sustainable life
Classes focused on creating real, practical changes in our daily lives, to be implemented now!

There is no charge for this event, although donations are welcome. All food will be provided for free – procured from the abundance around us using the strategies we will share! You are encouraged to spend the night on site, also for no charge (indoor or outdoor).

Kailash Ecovillage, 4311 SE 37th Avenue, Portland, OR 97202

Community room

Friday, March 25, 5-9pm | Introductions, Event Scheduling & Meal.
Saturday, March 26, 9am-9pm | Presentations/Workshops
Sunday, March 27, 9am-3pm | Presentations/Workshops & Discussion

In order to help us best plan this event, please RSVP

Here is a link to our event page where you can RSVP.

Let us know if you wish to host a presentation or workshop!

Radically Transcending Money

Saturday, March 12, 2016

PBR Rodeo Protest 2/27/16

A few weeks ago I attended a rodeo protest at the Moda Center here in PDX. I was a little nervous knowing that these crowds can be fairly ornery in general(used to work security here), let alone with a bunch of animal rights folks challenging their entertainment choices.Adding to my trepidation was a giant banner held by one person at the action, proclaiming "Rodeo Fans are Assholes"....needless to say I didn't stand next to this gentleman. Hate and personal attack type messages like this do not help us in this movement. Insults and aggressive language were being slung back and forth....very unsightly.

I was sure to wear my vegan shirt proudly to help tie in the fact of that these are conjoined issues. The general swagger and arrogance of the crowd was a bit much at times, many people hooting and hollering, celebrating the abuse of the animals inside, and also throwing out the cliched "I wish i had time to protest" remark. Many folks were very unhealthy looking and overweight, and felt pangs of sorrow for their self-inflicted trauma via consuming dead animals and their secretions...

A few women came over and started chatting with us about what we were all about, with one asking why we were apparently "bothering" with  this small potatoes event, and suggest we take our efforts to St. Paul, OR for the big gathering. She was rather defensive, saying she had "grown up going to rodeos" and asked if we protested puppy mills as well. I told her all animal oppression is unacceptable, and try and prevent it wherever we can. She then recognized the fact I was vegan, commenting on how that would be hypocritical of me if I wasn't...the gears were definitely turning with this one.

Overall, we no doubt planted many vegan seeds that night, and I hope to stand up again when they come back next time.

FB write up:

Join PAWA members and local activists to protest the rodeo coming to PDX!

These "professional bull riders" are engaging in animal cruelty and we want those attending to reconsider supporting it and raise awareness to the public.

Please bring a sign or poster to hold outside the entrance in the plaza area. (But please do not harass attendees, this is a peaceful demonstration.) Be creative, but possible suggestions include: "Rodeo Go Home!", "Bull Riding Is Cruel", and "Animals Suffer For Your Entertainment".

More info on the issue from ALDF:

Rodeo is popular throughout the western United States and is the official state sport of Wyoming, South Dakota, and Texas. While “entertaining” the audience, animals are physically provoked in order to make the cowboys appear more impressive. However, spectators may be unaware of the suffering that the animals endure as the price of entertainment.

“Tools of Torment”
In order to elicit certain behaviors from the animals, rodeos use various tools to make animals appear more aggressive than they really are.

Such tools include the “hotshot,” an electric prod used on the animal while captive in the chute. The intense pain scares the animal into displaying abnormally dramatic reactions. Other tools include metal spurs and “bucking straps” that burn the animal’s abdomen and groin area and cause him to “buck” and can lead to back and leg injuries.

The Events
Calf Roping: a mounted rider yanks a calf into the air by her neck, slams her into the ground, and ties her legs together. During this performance, calves may cry out (if they can breathe), defecate from fear and stress, and suffer neck injuries and death.

Steer Busting: a rider ropes a steer with such force the steer flips in the air. The injury and death rates are so high that the Nevada State Veterinarian has condemned the practice.

Steer Wrestling: in this event the steer endures a high level of stress and can suffer ripped tendons, sprains and bruising, and even a broken neck.

Bull Riding and Saddle Bronc Riding: bucking straps, electric prods, and spurs are used to hurt the animal and aggravate him into reacting more roughly than he would naturally.

Injury, Pain, and Death
Rodeos mean constant trauma for the animals forced to participate. They suffer broken ribs, backs, and legs, torn tails, punctured lungs, internal organ damage, ripped tendons, torn ligaments, snapped necks, and agonizing deaths.

Animals are often transported over long distances in hot and overcrowded trucks and trailers. The official rules of the PRCA permit them to be confined during transport for as long as 24 hours without being fed or watered. The injuries are not confined to the rodeos themselves. For instance, during practice sessions, a calf may be roped repeatedly, until the calf suffers injuries that require her replacement.

Despite increased publicity about animal cruelty, the PRCA has not improved animal safety. The penalties for violating regulations are not severe enough to deter abuse and are miniscule in comparison with the large rodeo cash prizes at stake.

Does the Law Protect Animals Used in Rodeos?
The federal Animal Welfare Act exempts rodeos from the protections it provides to animals. Some states exempt rodeos from their anti-cruelty statutes, while other states defer to clearly inadequate PRCA regulations to judge whether animal cruelty has occurred in rodeos.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

CrowdSourcing My Activism and Service!

*Donation Information at end of paragraphs*

After much deliberation, and inspiration from other activists, I have decided to source my essential living expenses via crowdsourcing. For awhile I felt a little apprehensive and embarrassed about this...thinking why was I so special as to warrant this kind of support? However, after more reflection, I think it has much merit...especially since it is for a supremely important cause of promoting positive change, when we are in desperate need of such efforts. This is in keeping with my original impetus to live primarily without money...there are many things that need attention, yet the money is just not there. Therefore, in order to have the freedom and nimble ability to manifest "shifting the paradigm", I have adapted my whole life for this endeavor.

For one, it is a direct, tangible result for the can see the content or actions enabled by your contribution, rather than money thrown into a more nebulous Non-Profit, with lots of red tape and bureaucracy. People can track all my actions via social media(Facebook/Twitter), my blog and so forth-transparency and accountability are key! I am their personal agent of change, a proxy of sorts because folks might not be able to contribute as I do for various reasons, but have monetary resources to enable me to do so.

Secondly, this is becoming it's own acceptable practice, as evidenced by the massive success of Kickstarter, GoFundMe and other such initiatives....but with added flair of being very beneficial, than say just funding the release of a hoodie with a built in inflatable pillow....

What is more exciting is the rising success of Basic Income, which would make this a reality across a HUGE swath of humanity, freeing people up to invest themselves in things that matter, and allow for flexibility to find their special thriving niche.

I want to give special credit to Carlo Volio , whom I met during the #SHELLNO Blockade last summer. He trusted in his offerings, and his supporters to meet his needs, and now he is a full-time activist fighting for Climate Justice! Oregon Public Broadcasting actually interviewed him last year.

Patreon: How to Joyfully Contribute to my Mission

ThunderClap Link(Social Media outreach campaign)

Intro Video that summarizes my offerings:

Other Examples Of CrowdSourcing:

Martin Smedjeback on crowdfunding yourself to work for animals

Could Crowdsourcing Fund Activists as well as Goats and Hairdressers?

How Wants to Crowdsource Activism

'Uber For Activists' Connects Dissidents With Skilled Professionals