Tuesday, October 4, 2016

We'll Be Back Soon!

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The Daily Prism will be on vacation while it's editor tends to the business of raising funds for a nonprofit in California.  Visit www.soupabration.org and lend Pacific Wildlife Care, a wildlife animal rescue and rehabilitation treatment center in Morro Bay, Ca., and lend them your support.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Center Yourself and Take Charge of Your Life

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Editor's Note:  The following is excerpted from a recent posting, Are You in Charge of Your Life? Here's How to Tell, by Deepak Chopra, M.D.

When it is examined with objective measures, being in charge of your life, or even feeling in control, looks like a major challenge. Right now doctors are writing record numbers of prescriptions for antidepressants and tranquilizers. Economic pressures create financial worries in many families. The world feels threatening in ways that we as individuals cannot really defend against, from terrorism to climate change. How is it possible to regain control and remain secure in such an environment?

... the world's wisdom traditions offer the most important clues about how to be in control. They define a life path that proceeds from the inside out. The goal isn't about adjusting to one day's stressful situations and hoping that you can cope with tomorrow's. The goal begins with a vision of life where a person's inner world is safe and secure, leading to safety and security in the outer world.

...Through meditation practice and other lifestyle changes, you can make it your long-term goal to settle into a deeper level of awareness and to expand your consciousness beyond day-to-day demands and concerns. Life works best when you regain control form the inside out.

If you acknowledge the possibility that consciousness links the inner and outer world, you move ahead on the assumption that any thought can change how you experience the world. The deciding factors aren't mystical. They have to do with the following ingredients that go into shifting your personal reality through conscious intention:

  • Being yourself and following your own truth.
  • Not creating a false self-image that you must live up to.
  • Having your own ideas instead of ones you picked up second-hand.
  • Being passionate about the things that matter most.
  • Being able to focus, bringing the mind to one point without distraction.
  • Being centered.
  • Having the experience of going deep into the mind.
  • Letting go instead of controlling.
  • Having confidence that your desire is supported by Nature, God, the universe—something larger than your individual ego.
  • Feeling integrated in mind, body, and spirit.
  • Not feeling confused and conflicted.
  • Valuing yourself and your well-being.
  • Wanting to pursue an ideal.

These factors enter into how you live each day. The choices you make can be great or small—that doesn't matter. What matters is the degree of self-awareness you apply to any situation.

Texas Breaks "Giving Day" Record with $37 Million Raised

In its fifth straight record-setting campaign, North Texas Giving Day raised $37 million through 142,700 total donations.

The day also marked the single largest national "Giving Day" in the nation. Last year's total was $33.1 million.

The money raised will help 2,518 nonprofits and all came in during an 18-hour window. This also marked the first time in the event's eight-year history that each of the nonprofits participating received a gift.

Donations came in from all 50 states and 39 counties, with an average of 34,500 donations made every minute.

The organization that had the most gifts was KERA TV Channel 13, KERA 90.1, KXT 91.7 and ArtandSeek.org, which donated 2,925 gifts. The organization who raised the most overall money was Cistercian Preparatory School with $638,414.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

$48 Million Grants to Expand Marine Protected Areas

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The Waitt Foundation along with the  Wildlife Conservation Society, the Blue Moon Fund, and the Global Environment Facility, recently announced a combined $48-million investment to expand the world’s marine protected areas.

From the Waitt Foundation website:

The Waitt Foundation, a grant making organization, has invested over $60 million in various ocean conservation initiatives. Primarily focused on the creation of the national parks of the sea, WF is currently engaged in projects to create over 15 million square kilometers of marine protected areas around the world.

Our Mission
Restoring our oceans to full productivity.

Our Vision
Given the rapid decline of marine resources, the mission of the Waitt Foundation is to protect and restore ocean health.  The Foundation funds initiatives globally with a focus on marine protected areas and sustainable fishing policy and practice.  We provide grants, technical assistance, strategic advice, and support innovative ocean science.  For maximum impact, we partner with unique coalitions of governments, funders, NGO, academics, and businesses.

3,000 Volunteers Clean Kenya's Coastline

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Excerpted from Coastweek-- Kenyan volunteers numbering 3,000 took part in this years annual International Coastal Clean up exercise which covered long stretches of the white sandy beaches  in Mombasa, Diani, Likoni, Malindi, Kiunga Lamu, Kiwayu  Watamu and Jumba Ruins in Mtwapa, Kilifi county respectively.

... Coastal Cleanup Day encourages us to get out to our beaches and help to limit this problem by cleaning up the garbage that has washed up on shore, and that left by visitors every day

... Volunteers at the Kenyan coast were drawn from  educational institutions, private firms, environmental NGos, tourist hotels and government agencies.

In Mombasa, the exercise took place along the scenic  Jomo Kenyatta Public Beach  frontage with hundreds of volunteers including staff from the US Embassy (Nairobi) travelling down to Mombasa to take part in the event.

General Manager of Mombasa Serena Beach Hotel & Spa Tuva Mwahunga led hotel staff, guests and local beach operators in cleaning and collecting litter along its white pristine sandy beaches.

“We are glad to honour this call of environmental clean up as we join the rest of the world in this very noble exercise,” Mwahunga said.

Mwahunga said that they have managed as a unit to empower staff  and guests alike to take an active role in the preservation and cleaning up of the ocean.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

1,200 Volunteers Join Thousands More for Beach Clean-Up

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... 1,200 San Luis Obispo County volunteers  participated  in the 32nd annual California Coastal Cleanup Day on Saturday.

The volunteers picked up 5,445 pounds of trash and 1,067 pounds of recyclables along the county coastline and lakes, according to the Environmental Center of San Luis Obispo, which organized the local effort in the statewide cleanup.

Volunteers scoured beaches from San Simeon Cove to Oceano Dunes, as well as Oso Flaco, Lopez, and Santa Margarita lakes, collecting about 1,000 pounds more than last year, ECOSLO reported.

Read more here: http://www.sanluisobispo.com/news/local/article102540527.html#storylink=cpy

Buddhist Nuns Break Tradition for Equality

Public domain photo by Karen Arnold

By Nita Bhalla

NEW DELHI, Sept 16 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Clad in black sweatpants, red jackets and white helmets, the hundreds of cyclists pedaling the treacherously steep, narrow mountain passes to India from Nepal could be mistaken for a Himalayan version of the Tour de France.

The similarity, however, ends there. This journey is longer and tougher, the prize has no financial value or global recognition and the participants are not professional cyclists but Buddhist nuns from India, Nepal, Bhutan and Tibet.

Five hundred nuns from the Buddhist sect known as the Drukpa Order,  on Saturday complete a 4,000-km (2,485 mile) bicycle trek from Nepal's Kathmandu to the northern city of Leh in India to raise awareness about human trafficking in the remote region.

"When we were doing relief work in Nepal after the earthquakes last year, we heard how girls from poor families were being sold because their parents could not afford to keep them anymore," 22-year-old nun Jigme Konchok Lhamo told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

"We wanted to do something to change this attitude that girls are less than boys and that it's okay to sell them," she said, adding that the bicycle trek shows "women have power and strength like men."

South Asia may boast women leaders and be home to cultures that revere motherhood and worship female deities, but many girls and women live with the threat of violence and without many basic rights.

From honor killings in Pakistan to foeticide in India and child marriage in Nepal, women face a barrage of threats, although growing awareness, better laws and economic empowerment are bringing a slow change in attitudes.


The bicycle trek, from Nepal into India, is nothing new for the Drukpa nuns.

This is the fourth such journey they have made, meeting local people, government officials and religious leaders to spread messages of gender equality, peaceful co-existence and respect for the environment.

They also deliver food to the poor, help villagers get medical care and are dubbed the "Kung Fu nuns" due to their training in martial arts.

Led by the Gyalwang Drukpa, head of the Drukpa Order, the nuns raise eyebrows, especially among Buddhists for their unorthodox activities.

"Traditionally Buddhist nuns are treated very differently from monks. They cook and clean and are not allowed to exercise. But his Holiness thought this was nonsense and decided to buck the trend," said Carrie Lee, president of Live to Love International, a charity which works with the Drukpa nuns to support marginalised Himalayan communities. http://www.livetolove.org/

"Among other things, he gave them leadership roles and even introduced Kung Fu classes for the nuns after they faced harassment and violence from the general public who were disturbed by the growing shift of power dynamics," she said.

Over the last 12 years, the number of Drukpa nuns has grown to 500 from 30, said Lee, largely due to the progressive attitudes of the 53-year-old Gyalwang Drukpa, who was inspired by his mother to become an advocate for gender equality.

The Gyalwang Drukpa also participates in the bicycle journeys, riding with the nuns as they pedal through treacherous terrain and hostile weather and camp out in the open.


The Drukpa nuns say they believe they are helping to change attitudes.

"Most of the people, when they see us on our bikes, think we are boys," said 18-year-old nun Jigme Wangchuk Lhamo.

"Then they get shocked when we stop and tell them that not only are we girls, but we are also Buddhist nuns," she said. "I think this helps change their attitudes about women and maybe value them as equals."

South Asia, with India at its centre, is also one of the fastest growing regions for human trafficking in the world.

Gangs dupe impoverished villagers into bonded labour or rent them to work as slaves in urban homes, restaurants, shops and hotels. Many girls and women are sold into brothels.

Experts say post-disaster trafficking has become common in South Asia as an increase in extreme events caused by global warming, as well as earthquakes, leave the poor more vulnerable.

The breakdown of social institutions in devastated areas creates difficulties securing food and supplies, leaving women and children at risk of kidnapping, sexual exploitation and trafficking.

Twin earthquakes that struck Nepal in April and May 2015, which killed almost 9,000 people, left hundreds of thousands of families homeless and many without any means of income, led to an increase in children and women being trafficked.

More than 40,000 children lost their parents, were injured or were placed in precarious situations following the disaster, according to Nepali officials.

The Drukpa nuns said the earthquakes were a turning point in their understanding of human trafficking and that they felt a need to do more than travel to disaster-hit mountain villages with rice on their backs.

"People think that because we are nuns, we are supposed to stay in the temples and pray all the time. But praying is not enough," said Jigme Konchok Lhamo.

"His Holiness teaches us that we have go out and act on the words that we pray. After all, actions speak louder than words," she said.

(Reporting by Nita Bhalla, Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, land rights and climate change. Visit news.trust.org)