Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Spanish Lifeguards Dedicated to Rescuing Refugees at Sea

Proactive Open Arms photo

2 Days Ago, August 29, 2016
From the Proactive Open Arms website and Facebook page

Proactiva Open Arms,  is a NGO from Badalona (Barcelona, Spain) and we are dedicated to saving lives in the sea. In the beginning of September (2015) we decided to move to the Island of Lesvos to help the refugees that arrive to the Greek coast.

We landed here with €15.000 from our own pockets, with no public funding. We invested them on financing the rescue works for a month. With that budget we helped disembark more than 20 boats per day, carrying 50 people each, including babies, kids and elderly people. In total, about 1.000 people land in our beaches every day.

Oscar Camps, Proactiva Open Arms director:

"Everything started with some pictures posted on social media of four drowned kids on a beach. Then we thought: if our work is to rescue people on the sea and we do it on our local beaches… Why are people dying there and nobody is helping them?"

In The Chronicle of today, there are too many words. We have rescued more than 3.000 people in front of the coast of Libya in collaboration with the crew of the dignity 1 M├ędicos Sin Fronteras (Msf) and the Italian Coast Guard.

It is a historical figure, unfortunately,  it is a shame that the states should fail to see how mankind sinks to the bottom of this sea become cemetery.

What immense desperation of a mother to embark with her twin sons for 5 days clinging to life, what a dreadful  drama of the thousands of people travelling into nowhere...

We are people helping people. They deserve to recover the lost dignity.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

10 Emotions to Embrace for Positive Energy

Despite feeling very personal, emotions are not a private experience. Emotions impact relationships, career advancement, parenting, and sense of self-worth. How successfully you handle daily challenges is greatly affected by your current emotional state. For example, when you feel gloomy or sad, you are more likely to negatively interpret even normal events. When things go wrong, it can feel like less of a personal affront if you’re already in a happy mood.

Emotions are embodied, meaning they don’t just happen in your brain or in your heart, they involve neurotransmitters and release of chemicals and are, in fact, extremely complex. Think back to a time where you walked into a room where bad news had just been received. The energy is palpable—you can feel the low mood of those around you. This is also true when someone is so excited that his or her enthusiasm feels contagious.

When something that we perceive as bad, negative, or scary happens, the chemicals our body releases are much stronger than the chemicals of joy. This means we feel negative more powerfully than we feel positive. In order to take full advantage of our positive emotions, we actually have to focus on them in a concentrated way to avoid perceiving them as neutral rather than positive.

There are 10 common positive emotions, which are listed below in order of most frequent to least frequent. Each one is coupled with an action that you can use to increase the amount felt as well as the potential outcome of heightening your awareness of the emotion.


Love is one of the most commonly felt of all of 10 positive emotions, and perhaps the most difficult to describe. It encompasses, to some degree, little bits of the other nine positive emotions. Love has been described as an intense feeling of deep affection or the experience of putting someone else’s well-being ahead of your own. It also happens when you remember that you share a common humanity with the rest of the world. Love is often physically felt as an expansion in the heart or chest region, and as a softening behind the eyes or a swelling of the throat.

Love allows healing, encourages bravery, and bonds us in a way that enhances greatness, dreams, and growth.

Loving yourself is a way to heighten your experience of this emotion. All too often we extend our love to family, friends, and pets, but not to ourselves. Focus on your own heart and fill it with love for all you are and all you do.


Joy is the positive emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune. Feelings of elation or exhilaration occur. Joy is similar to bubbles in champagne—they make an already-good thing even better.

Doing something that feels like play to you is a great catalyst for joy. Take a hike, go for a swim, throw a party, or paint a picture. Play looks different for each individual, so learn what feels most playful to you and schedule time doing it.


Gratitude is a sense of reverence for something you have been given. Focusing your attention on how you receive helps to increase the power of gratitude. Being able to receive graciously is part of the universal law of giving and receiving, which strengthens social bonds.

Develop a gratitude practice. Try listing your favorite moment of the day or thanking someone each daily for something they do for you that you might otherwise have taken for granted.


Serenity requires low amounts of effort and allows a feeling of safety and comfort. When you savor serenity, you help make that moment last. By becoming aware of it, you actually increase its potency.

When you have a peaceful moment, close your eyes briefly, and allow yourself to sink deeply into the physical sensations that accompany the moment.


Interest happens when you explore something that fascinates you. When you gain knowledge, this curiosity to know more actually increases in an upward spiral that can encourage you to keep exploring. Interest comes in a vast array of activities and can involve actually participating in an activity or simply learning about something.

Notice patterns in what you’re curious about and take action. Take a class, sign up for a webinar, or attend a conference.


Hope is often borne out of a bad experience when instead of giving up, you look and believe there will be a better future. Hope plants the seeds of resilience and allows us to see that yesterday and today don’t dictate tomorrow. Hope is the hot ash left that allows your inner fire to reignite.

The practice of finding a little good in every situation magnifies potential feelings of hope when something negative happens.


Pride is the sense of pleasure for attaining a socially valued achievement. Being proud promotes further achievement and encourages you to think big. Pride has sometimes been viewed as a negative emotion; as long as you don’t use pride in comparing yourself to others, it can help to increase your sense of self-worth.

Take time to think of your best attributes and own them. Be grateful for your skills, and acknowledge where you are still learning. Remember to have pride in something you put effort towards as opposed to something that comes naturally.


Amusement is pleasure in a lighthearted way. A funny movie, a pleasurable conversation, or witty wordplay are just a few examples of sources of amusement. It’s no surprise that when men and women list their top desired traits in a partner, sense of humor tops the list.

Be intentional and make amusement part of your regular diet. Watch a comedy, laugh with your children, ride a roller coaster, or dance it out.


Inspiration happens when you witness excellence and then aspire to it. Ignite your personal goals—the enthusiasm will drive you to pursue excellence.

Check in with your habits and notice if there is an area that feels stagnant or settled; then shake it up by setting a new goal or doing things differently.


Awe happens when you are overwhelmed by greatness. Nature, music, or art are three areas that are trigger feelings of awe. When we feel a sense of awe, it connects us to others sharing our experience and to the world around us.

Take a walk and notice the beauty that surrounds you every day and that often goes unnoticed. A flower garden, a tall tree, the night sky, or rainbows are all things that can spark that feeling.

Flourishing doesn’t mean you have to be happy all the time. In fact, feeling a full range of emotions is healthy. People who truly flourish are able to find a good emotion amid chaos just as they can find one in times of ease.

Your emotions are always within your control. With just a bit of focused awareness you will discover all 10 and make them part of your personal recipe for emotional balance.

--From the Chopra Center

Monday, August 29, 2016

Nurturing Professionals for a Healthy World

From the Center for Courage and Renewal;

Our mission is to create a more just, compassionate and healthy world by nurturing personal and professional integrity and the courage to act on it.

Distrust, stress, isolation, and burnout are robbing society of what’s possible when people bring integrity and humanity to the places where they live and work.

As a result, we are losing competent and compassionate individuals in some of society’s most crucial roles—educating children, caring for patients, serving congregations, leading teams and organizations, and fostering civic community. The costs are substantial as once-committed people lose their sense of purpose and passion, grow disillusioned and disengaged, and eventually drop out.

To create a more just and compassionate world—and sustain the leadership we need for such a world —  we need more people who can work together to solve pressing, complex problems. Responsibility can no longer rest solely with designated leaders. It requires all of us to claim our leadership roles and responsibilities.

Courage & Renewal programs cultivate the heart and soul of leadership, encouraging people to “lead from within.” Courage & Renewal programs help people:

  • Lead and act with courage on their true callings.
  • Develop trustworthy relationships.
  • Cultivate practices to sustain themselves and inspire others for the long haul.
  • Work together to transform the institutions they serve.
  • The Center for Courage & Renewal and its growing global network of Courage & Renewal Facilitators help people lead lives of courage and integrity by offering online resources, in-person retreats and personal/professional development programs. 

Saturday, August 27, 2016

More on the Value of Self-Compassion

Research indicates that cultivating self-compassion can contribute to beneficial physical, emotional-mental, and interpersonal changes, such as:

  • Modulates hormonal functioning, especially of oxytocin and cortisol
  • Reduces the intensity and frequency of negative and chronic stress reactions
  • Copes with difficult emotional experiences
  • Moderates depression and anxiety
  • Increases emotional well being
  • Mitigates negative thinking, including rumination
  • Improves interpersonal relationships
  • Enhances patience, generosity, gratitude, acceptance, humility, openness, and gentleness
--From the Chopra Center

Excerpted and edited from "A Fearless Heart" by Thupten Jinpa, PhD:

1) ... self-compassion is totally different from narcissistic self-absorption. Truly self-compassionate people take care of themselves while being attentive to the feelings and needs of those around them.

2)  Self-compassion should not be confused with self-pity, either. ... Self-pity is a form of self-absorption, whereas self-compassion allows us to see our difficulties within the larger context of shared human experience.

3) Self-compassion is not self-gratification. ... Self-compassion is not an impulse to "treat ourselves," though sometimes, mindfully and upon reflection, we may decide to have a treat.

4) ...self-compassion is not the same as self-esteem.  With self compassion, we relate to ourselves, especially our struggles and failures, with understanding, kindness, and acceptance. ... Self-esteem is self-regard based on self-evaluation.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Hospital Pays it Forward in Florida

Public Doman photo by Paul Brennan
Nonprofit hospitals in Orlando, Fla., that treated victims of Pulse nightclub massacre said Wednesday that no survivors of the worst mass shooting in U.S. history will pay out of pocket for their care, the Orlando Sentinel reports. Orlando Regional Medical Center and Florida Hospital will write off an estimated $5.5 million for treatment related to the June 12 attack that killed 49 people.

Orlando Regional Medical Center, which is located a few blocks from the nightclub and treated most of the victims, will bill health insurers where applicable and absorb all costs that aren’t covered by outside providers, said its parent company, Orlando Health. Families of patients who died at the hospital also will not be charged. Florida Hospital said it will bill neither insurers nor patients for Pulse-related care, including any necessary follow-up surgeries for victims.


Thursday, August 25, 2016

Link Into High-level Forum on the Culture of Peace. Register by 8/26/16

On 1 September 2016, the President of the UN General Assembly convenes a one-day high-level forum at the UN Headquarters in New York on the occasion of the anniversary of the adoption of  the Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace.

... the General Assembly high-level Forum is intended to be open and public. UN Member States, UN system entities, civil society including NGO’s, media, private sector, and all others interested, have the opportunity to exchange of ideas and suggestions on the ways to build and promote the Culture of Peace and to highlight emerging trends that impact the implementation process.

Featured Speakers include:

H.E. Ban-Ki-Moon - Secretary General of the United Nations
H.E. Mogens Lykketoft - President of the 70th session of the General Assembly
H.E. Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdhury - Former Under-Secretary-General and High Representative of the UN
Ms. Barbara Marx Hubbard - Director of the Foundation for Conscious Evolution
Mr. Federico Mayor - Former Director-General of UNESCO

Registration Required by Friday, August 26, 2016
for this valuable and free event!

Or watch the Live Webcast September 1st worldwide at

--a compilation of news from the General Assembly of the United Nations, and We, The World

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Paddling for Clean Water Awareness

Photo from Paddle4Blue blog

"This adventure for our water, our rivers, our ocean, our bays/estuaries has begun, It certainly won't be an earth shattering movement, won't rock the world, but it's very much another drop in the ocean of worker bees striving to make our watery world a better place. It's what I can do, so with the help of many many hands along the way, prayers from friends and family, I'm doing it," Blue Frontier Ocean Explorer Margo Pellegrino to Eco Watch about if 927 mile Mississippi River paddle to New Orleans from Chicago.

From Eco Watch:

Incredibly, Pellegrino's current trip is actually the second leg of her two-year "The Big Apple to The Big Easy" journey. For the past three summers in a row, Pellegrino has paddled extreme distances from one city to another. In 2015, she paddled from New York City to Chicago via the Hudson River, the Erie Canal and the Great Lakes. In 2014, she paddled from Trenton to Newark.

To date, the ocean activist has paddled more than 5,000 miles of the nation's coast. For her current campaign, she has helped Blue Frontier raise roughly $11,500 towards a $30,000 target to go towards conservation efforts.

According to Blue Frontier, Pellegrino and her logistics and communications crew are hoping to raise public awareness to problems affecting our waterways. Along the way to her destination, Pellegrino and her team will be holding a number of community events so people can learn why clean water, and the people whose jobs and health depend on it, should be a nationwide issue. You can see tentative landing dates here.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Grow Compassion by Holding Space for Yourself

The following is excerpted and edited from Uplift Connect:

Holding space* for yourself gives you a place to check your direction, to see who or what is in the driver seat of your life, and to adjust your course when you need to. It brings space and awareness into your life, ensuring your life reflects your soul and your longings, so you don’t have to wake up at age 45 and realise you don’t like who you’ve become.

If you truly want to help others, and make a positive impact on the world, then learning to hold space for yourself, to befriend and love yourself, is the greatest impact you could make on the planet. You can’t hold space for someone else if you can’t be with your own pain and hold space for yourself.  If there’s no room for you in your life, there isn’t really any room for others. When you’re kind to yourself you impact the lives of others by being less reactive, more responsive, more available, empathic, compassionate, kind, present, balanced and at peace.

But how do we hold space for ourselves? Here are some simple steps to ensure there is room in your life for you.

1. Embracing your imperfection

Your “imperfections” are what make you unique and can often be the gateway to your greatest gifts. If you try and be like everyone else, you rob the world of your special talents and the rare contribution that only you can make. The more you can accept and learn to love your individuality, the more you will express it and the happier you will be. Some of the world’s most uncompromisingly brazen individuals have made enormous impacts.... Self-acceptance is key to holding space for yourself. The more you accept and love yourself, the more you will look after yourself and value your own needs.

2. Saying no

When you say ‘no’ to others, you very often say ‘yes’ to yourself. If you’re doing something for others at the expense of yourself, it is not beneficial for anyone...

...Honouring yourself always works out well. It’s unkind to put yourself last, and agreeing to do things through obligation always breeds resentment. This is not to say you shouldn’t do things for others, but there’s a way to do it that also supports your own wellbeing. When you say ‘no’ to others, you strengthen your self-esteem, you show yourself that you are important and valuable. And you give others permission to do the same.

3. Developing boundaries.

When you have good boundaries, are assertive and can say ‘no’ without feeling guilty, then obligatory relationships end and you can enter the realm of the undefended heart – a place where you are able to love freely and generously. Much of loving is defended loving. When you know you have the strength to stand up for yourself and stand in your own corner, you can actually love more freely. Boundaries don’t need to shut out, they can actually strengthen bonds.

4. Communing with yourself

Making time to truly connect with yourself supports your overall health and wellbeing. I have a practice each morning and evening where I place my hands over my heart, and drop into my inner world, to visit my deepest self. I tune in to my heart and feel where I’m at, observing how my body is feeling, and noticing my emotions and thoughts. I recall all those fragments of myself, the energy that has been scattered between situations, people and places, and put myself back together like a puzzle. I also take this time to connect with my spiritual nature, to remember I am spirit, and to pray for guidance and support. However, you can do this in whatever way feels right for you. Creative practices like music, art, journalling, or just being in nature, are deeply healing for the spirit that has been left out in the cold.

5. Listening

In stillness we get to know who we are. Taking time to be still, alone, to simply be, supports you in getting to know yourself and your dreams, and gives you space to correct your course if you have lost your way. It helps you to shine a light onto negative cycles and habitual patterns. Simply noticing what you ‘do’ is the first step to healing. Observing with kindness, acceptance and humour is key to disrupting the cycle, as criticism keeps us locked into these negative patterns.

6. Reaching for support

In order to hold space for yourself, you must be able to reach out for support when you need it. This strengthens your ability to be there for yourself. Knowing your own limits and knowing you can get support if you need it, makes your power to be there for yourself grounded and deeper.

7. Being authentic

This is you! You know the truth. You know who you are. Don’t hide it from yourself. Have the courage to see all of you; your gifts and your less than perfect bits. When you see yourself with kindness and compassion, you have the power to change aspects of your self or your life that you dislike.

8. Being a good parent to yourself

A creative parent holds space for a child to explore, be creative, test boundaries, let their imagination run wild, experience different personalities, ideas and roles. A great parent doesn’t control or shut down. This is the same when dealing with your inner-child. Allow yourself explore and experience life, empower yourself to make the right choices and live life in your own way. Be an innovative parent to your inner child: loving yourself when you’re sick, being encouraging when you fall over, and always cheering yourself on.

9. Developing supportive rituals

Take a stand for yourself. Do at least one nurturing thing for yourself every day and make a promise to yourself that you will check in with you every day. Just as you would invest time in a friendship, making time to call your friend and find out how she’s doing, or give extra love and support during a rough time, you can do the same with yourself. Truly, you are your own best friend.

*When we hold the space for someone we are just present, listening, and validating. We aren't judging, giving advice or offering a solution. We are just there holding their pain, their anguish, their joy, their space.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Joshua Tree Bhakti Fest to Benefit India Charities

Bhakti Fest is a conscious gathering of yoga and sacred music in Joshua Tree, CA!  The 4-day event (September 8-11, 2016) offers non-stop music on two stages, 108 workshops and 72 yoga classes.  Bhakti Fest features world-renowned teachers and artists, including Krishna das Jai Uttal, MC Yoga, Shiva Rea, and many more!  

Bhakti Fest is the premier yoga, sacred music, and personal growth festival in the United States. Since 2009, for six days each September, we have featured the best yoga teachers, Kirtan musicians, and workshop leaders in the world. We are part of the Center for Spiritual Studies, a 501c3 nonprofit that supports charities across the globe, mainly in India. Proceeds generated each year, after we cover our costs, go to our chosen causes. We accept donations to help us provide extraordinary festivals and give support to those less fortunate than us. 

Bhakti Fest celebrates the devotional paths of yoga, Kirtan (sacred music), and meditation. Our festival is a drug and alcohol free vehicle for evolution of human consciousness through a heart-centered revolution. Bring your yoga mats this September to the idyllic Joshua Tree Retreat Center, located in the beautiful region east of Los Angeles. Practice with the best yoga teachers in the world, dance to sacred music by world-renown Kirtan artists, and take workshops with leaders in the field of personal growth. Camp out beneath the stars or stay at one of our many accommodations on and offsite; enjoy the swimming pool and free filtered drinking water; stop in at The Bhakti Family Village and expose your children to other enlightened youth and families; enjoy the best vegetarian food at any festival. We offer student, senior, military and local resident discounts. We are building community—please join us!

New in 2016: A women’s dome and men’s lodge have gender specific workshops, plus sound baths will extend into the evening under the stars! Bhakti Fest is a vegetarian/vegan family friendly event that is alcohol and drug free! 

Saturday, August 20, 2016

People Generously Giving During Floods & Fires

Clips from Facebook and news stories about all the good things people are doing for each other during the fires in the West, and floods in the South:

""Cambria spirit under pressure? You bet. When North Coast residents and visitors were dining today at Redwood Cafe in Cambria, a company of 20 firefighters came in from the Chimney Fire. One by one, the other customers told restaurant owner Rick Pfannkuche that they wanted to buy a meal for a firefighter. One customer wanted to pay for four of them. Not one of those firefighters had to pay for his or her own meal. Later, 10 more firefighters came in, and Pfannkuche's employees combined their tips and other donations to pay for the meals (with some financial assistance from their boss). That, my friends, is Cambria spirit.


Friday, August 19, 2016 04:59PM
RALEIGH (WTVD) -- Although Chad McIntyre, owner of Eco-Tech Draft Systems, calls Raleigh home now, he is worried about his native Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He has been watching the flooding in his hometown, and has decided to do something about it.

McIntyre took to Facebook and asked his followers to donate much needed supplies, including:

Work gloves
Disposable dust masks
Box knives (box cutters)
Large trash bags
Medium to large plastic bins (to store what didn't get wet)
Socks - men's, women's, children's sizes
Diapers - all sizes
Toilet paper
Toothbrushes and toothpaste
Bug spray
Home Depot gift cards

McIntyre has also partnered with a few Baton Rouge churches that will accept donations for flood victims.

Taylor Swift is donating $1 million to Louisiana flood relief after torrential rains caused massive flooding in the state and killed at least 11 people.


D and K Transport located in Bristolville Ohio will be in Louisiana Wednesday August 24th,2016 to Sunday August 28th,2016 helping out with the transportation and supplies for the flood victims and animals. Many of you have asked us to take items such as lead ropes, hay, water, halters and basic general horse supplies along with clothing and personal items for the flood victims. Also some of you have asked us to create a Go Fund Me so you may donate money; so we have created this Go Fund Me Account for the Louisiana flood victims so that you may contribute to the cause. Any extra money will be donated to the relief victims in Louisiana. Thank you all for your support and kind words!!


A horse rescue in San Bernardino County asked for trucks, trailers and other supplies as it helped the community evacuate the fast-moving Blue Cut Fire that erupted Tuesday morning, charring 23 square miles.

Mea Ola's Place, a nonprofit horse rescue and rehabilitation center in Phelan, posted several videos to its Facebook page Tuesday asking for additional resources.

Mea Ola's Place houses 41 horses and 100 other animals including turkeys, chickens and dogs. Kline is asking for people with trucks and trailers to be on standby in case the rescue needs to evacuate and relocate the animals.


Friday, August 19, 2016

World Drumming for Peace, Sunday, Aug. 21, 2016

Editor's note:  While searching for rhythmic music for an event promotional video, I discovered a world of rhythm and drumming.  No matter the (round) corner of the world, the rhythm and pulse of drumming maintained a certain connectedness.  With that, The Daily Prism, landed on to the following from the website, Drums Around the World.

Rhythm transcends language, race, gender, age, religion, politics, or philosophy.  Everything moves with rhythm. From the pulse of our heartbeat to the tides of the oceans & the changing of the seasons. Everything is connected through rhythm. The entire universe moves with rhythm !!! On Sunday August 21st we will align energetically, synchronize rhythmically and unify spiritually as one global heartbeat. This heartbeat will resound from the four corners of the world to intertwine with the planetary torus (magnetic field) assisting human evolution moving us closer to the realization of a unified global family.

Drums, the world’s most primal instruments (second only to the voice), have been used by most cultures around the world for millennia, dating as far back as 4000 BC. Drums have been used to communicate and to entertain. Battle drums have been significant for signaling warnings and other communications in the military groups of societies across the planet. The rhythmic beating of drums mimics one of the first sounds every human hears: the heartbeat of one’s mother. Amazingly, animals such as primates and even rodents are known to make drumming sounds. Listening to drums is soothing, and the act of beating on drums can be a cathartic release. Drumming is believed by many to be a spiritual pathway. To some peoples, drums are sacred objects. These simple percussion instruments come in many variations. Whether for collecting and displaying, therapeutic use, participation in social drumming circles, educational toys for children, musical performances or private enjoyment.

Through rhythm we connect the hemispheres of the brain and the conscious and subconscious mind. We also connect human beings through the most ancient language and form of expression that has existed for thousands of years. We also through rhythm connect and emulate the natural world and the cycles that exist (heartbeat, day & night, ocean tides. seasons and planetary movements.) We can also connect to the earth’s rhythms and magnetic field or torus to create a wave of positive energy that goes out in all directions to counterbalance the negative frequencies that toxify or poison our planet and personal energetic fields.

We at Drums Around the World are committed to connecting people spiritually, sonically, and intentionally, to use this creative power to positively affect and help transform the world.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

M.I.A. Leads Rewear Video--Recycling Clothing

Public Domain photo by Peter Griffin
Fast-growing, fast-fashion retailer H&M, which has more than 4,000 stores in 62 countries, sold $24.5 billion worth of T-shirts, pants, jackets, and dresses last year. It also took 12,000 tons of clothes back. In a glossy, celebrity-studded video, H&M says: “There are no rules in fashion but one: Recycle your clothes.”

Recycling has become a rallying cry in the apparel industry, with H&M as its most vocal evangelist. The Swedish firm launched a 1-million euro contest to seek out ideas for turning old clothes into new, invested in Worn Again, a company that is developing textile recycling technology, and enlisted hip-hop artist M.I.A. to produce a music video called Rewear It that aims to “highlight the importance of garment collecting and recycling.” With Nike, H&M is a global partner of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, whose mission is to drive a transition to a circular economy — that is, an industrial system in which everything at the end of its life is made into something new, in contrast to today’s economy, where most consumer goods are produced, used, and then thrown away.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The Neuroscience of Building Peace

How can our understanding of the biological hardware and software of our minds and our bodies help us understand how easily we fall into and maintain violence and conflicts? How are the bio sciences of genetics, hormones and neuroscience deepening our appreciation of how we are constrained we are biologically in our capacities to create peace? And and how can such sciences increase our understanding of how we can overcome such restraints so as to increase the effectiveness of our peacebuilding work?

Click this link to hear a recent online discussion, "Using Neurosciences to Find Peace."

A greater understanding of the importance of intuitions and feelings over rationality in creating and maintaining violence and conflict.

An understanding that all brains are different - and that we need both conservatism and liberalism for a balanced and safe society.

An understanding of how the new knowledge we are gaining from the bio sciences can assist us in more effective peace building.

---from Summer of

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Building Peace Alliances

The Alliance for Peacebuilding leads a community of 100 organizations building peaceful and just societies around the world. In this integrated field, AfP amplifies the strengths of its members through collaboration, tackling a spectrum of issues too large for any one organization to address alone.
Based in Washington, DC, AfP serves as a backbone, innovation hub, and vocal advocate for our community.  We reach across disciplinary divides, bridging theory and practice, linking policymakers and citizens, and innovating the cutting-edge solutions necessary to meet the challenges of today’s turbulent conflict landscape.

Peacebuilding is an elastic term, encompassing a wide range of efforts by diverse actors in government and civil society at the community, national, and international levels to address the immediate impacts and root causes of conflict before, during, and after violent conflict occurs.

Peacebuilding ultimately supports human security—where people have freedom from fear, freedom from want, and freedom from humiliation.

Peacebuilding efforts aim to manage, mitigate, resolve, and transform central aspects of conflict through official diplomacy, civil society peace processes, and informal dialogues, negotiations, and mediations. Peacebuilding addresses root causes of violence and fosters reconciliation to prevent the return of instability and violence. Peacebuilding efforts seek to change beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors and to transform dynamics between individuals and groups toward a more stable, peaceful coexistence. Peacebuilding also helps create structures and institutions that provide platforms for the nonviolent resolution of conflict and stabilize fractured societies.

Organizational Members

(How to) Build Up
Barcelona, Spain {+}

Alliance for Middle East Peace
Washington, DC {+}

American Friends of the Parents Circle
Portland, OR {+}

American Friends Service Committee
Washington, DC {+}

Andi Leadership Institute for Young Women
Washington, DC {+}

Beyond Conflict
Medford, MA {+}

BRDGES Academy
Tampa, Florida {+}

Bridgeway Group, The
Cambridge, MA {+}

Canadian International Institute of Applied Negotiation
Ontario, Canada {+}

Carter Center, The
Atlanta, GA {+}

Catholic Relief Services
Baltimore, MD {+}

CDA Collaborative Learning Projects
Cambridge, MA {+}

CDR Associates
Boulder, CO {+}

Center for Citizen Peacebuilding, University of California, Irvine
Irvine, CA {+}

Center for Conflict Studies, Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey
Monterey, CA {+}

Center for Global Affairs, New York University
New York, NY {+}

Center for Global Health and Peacebuilding
Milwaukee, WI {+}

Center for International Conflict Resolution, Columbia University
New York, NY {+}

Center for Justice & Peacebuilding, Eastern Mennonite University
Harrisonburg, VA {+}

Charity & Security Network
Washington, DC {+}

Chemonics International
Washington, DC {+}

Civilian Peace Service Canada
Ottowa, Canada {+}

Communities in Transition
Stevenson, MD {+}

Conciliation Resources
London, United Kingdom {+}

Concordis International
London, United Kingdom {+}

Conflict Information Consortium, University of Colorado
Boulder, CO {+}

Conflict Management Program, School of Advanced International Studies, John Hopkins University
Washington, DC {+}

Conflict Resolution Institute, University of Denver
Denver, CO {+}

New York, NY {+}

Consensus Building Institute
Cambridge, MA {+}

Conservation International, Center for Environment and Peace
Arlington, VA {+}

Creative Associates International
Washington, DC {+}

Crisis Management Initiative- Martti Ahtisaari
Helsinki, Finland {+}

Cure Violence
Chicago, IL {+}

Department of Conflict Resolution, Human Security, and Global Governance, University of Massachusetts-Boston
Boston, Massachusetts {+}

El-Hibri Foundation
New York, NY {+}

Environmental Law Institute
Washington, DC {+}

Equal Access International
Washington, DC {+}

FHI 360
Durham, NC {+}

Frank Zeidler Center for Public Discussion, The
Milwaukee, WI {+}

Friends Committee On National Legislation
Washington, DC {+}

Fund for Peace, The
Washington, DC {+}

GHR Foundation
Minnetonka, MN {+}

Global Peace Building Foundation
Pittsburgh, PA {+}

Graduate Programs in Coexistence and Conflict, Brandeis University
Waltham, MA {+}

Great Lakes Restoration
Virginia Beach, VA {+}

HasNa Inc.
Washington, DC {+}

Institute for Economics and Peace
Sydney, Australia {+}

Institute for Inclusive Security
Washington, DC {+}

Institute for Integrated Transitions
Barcelona, Spain {+}

Institute for Multi-Track Diplomacy
Washington, DC {+}

Institute for State Effectiveness
Washington, DC {+}

Institute of World Affairs
Washington, DC {+}

Washington, DC {+}

International Alert
London, United Kingdom {+}
International Association of Process Oriented Psychology Worldwork Committee
Portland, OR {+}
International Center for Religion and Diplomacy
Washington, DC {+}
International Center on Nonviolent Conflict
Washington, DC {+}
International Peace and Conflict Resolution Program, American University
Washington, DC {+}
International Peace and Conflict Resolution Program, Arcadia University
Philadelphia, PA {+}
International Peace and Security Institute
Washington, DC {+}
International Storytelling Center
Jonesborough, TN {+}
Geneva, Switzerland {+}
Washington, DC {+}
Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice, Kroc School of Peace Studies, University of San Diego
San Diego, CA {+}
Karuna Center for Peacebuilding
Amherst, MA {+}
Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, University of Notre Dame
Notre Dame, IN {+}
Mediators Beyond Borders
Arlington, VA {+}
Mercy Corps, Conflict Management Group
Portland, OR {+}
NAFSA: Association of International Educators
Washington, DC {+}
Nexus Fund, The
Washington, DC {+}
Nonviolent Peaceforce
Brussels, Belgium {+}
OneVoice Movement
New York, NY {+}
Outward Bound Center for Peacebuilding
Long Island City, NY {+}
Washington, DC {+}
Partnership for Sustainability and Peacebuilding
Milwaukee, WI {+}
Pax Christi International
Brussels, BE {+}
Peace Action Training and Research Institute of Romania
Cluj-Napoca, Romania {+}
Peace Alliance, The
Washington, DC {+}
Peace Appeal Foundation
Charlottesville, VA {+}
Peace Direct
New York, NY {+}
Peace Initiative Network
Kano, Nigeria {+}
PeaceGeeks Society
Vancouver, Canada {+}
Peaceplayers International
Washington, DC {+}
Peter C. Alderman Foundation
Bedford, NY {+}
Program for the Advancement of Research on Conflict and Collaboration, Syracuse University
Syracuse, NY {+}
Program on Negotiation, Harvard Law School
Cambridge, MA {+}
Public Conversations Project
Cambridge, MA {+}
Purdue Peace Project
Lafayette, IN {+}
Quaker United Nations Office, New York
New York, NY {+}
Rotary Peace Fellowship
Evanston, IL {+}
London, United Kingdom {+}
Salam Institute for Peace and Justice
Washington, DC {+}
School of Conflict Analysis and Resolution, George Mason University
Arlington, VA {+}
Search for Common Ground
Washington, DC {+}
Shift Network, The
Petaluma, CA {+}
SIL International
Dallas, TX {+}
Stanford Center on International Conflict and Negotiation
Stanford, CA {+}
Sustained Dialogue Institute
Washington, DC {+}
Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding
New York {+}

Saturday, August 13, 2016

California County Collects Food Scraps for Energy Production

Thousands of San Luis Obispo County residents soon will receive free food-scrap pails so they can turn their banana peels, cornhusks, apple cores and other toss-aways into compost, reducing the load on local landfills.

In the long term, methane produced during the composting process could eventually produce power for up to 650 homes a year.

Waste Connections, the private garbage disposal company serving most communities from San Simeon to Nipomo, will start distributing the containers Monday to 51,000 homes countywide.

Food waste — such as cooked and uncooked meat, fish, fruits and vegetables — can be disposed of in the containers. Peels, rinds, pits, grains and pasta can also be thrown in.

The scraps then can be discarded into green bins for weekly curbside pickup, along with lawn trimmings, raked leaves and other plant waste. The green waste will be recycled at an outdoor compost facility in Santa Maria that is operated by Engel & Gray Inc., which already takes Waste Connections’ green waste and works closely with vineyards and retail stores to supply them with the finished compost.

“The goal is to keep all organic waste out of the landfills,” said Patrick Fenton, Waste Connections’ district manager.

Read more here:


Friday, August 12, 2016

Compassionate Athlete Puts Horse First

On Tuesday, Dutch Olympic dressage rider Adelinde Cornelissen entered the arena on her horse Parzival, guided him through a few movements, then stopped, raised her hand in salute and rode off the field and out of the competition.

The heartbreaking decision was the culmination of a huge amount of soul-searching but in the end Cornelissen decided to put the welfare of her horse ahead of her own Olympic ambitions and those of her teammates.

Days earlier, Parzival had been bitten on the face by a poisonous insect and developed a fever. Cornelissen stayed by his side all that time, even sleeping in his stable with him.

... Parzival was given a clean bill of health, and knowing that her teammates were relying on her, Cornelissen decided to compete.

... After starting her routine, however, Cornelissen sensed something was not quite right with Parzival and decided she just didn't want to risk injuring the horse she had thought of as a friend for 19 years.

"In order to protect him, I gave up... My buddy, my friend, the horse that has given everything for me his whole life does not deserve this... So I saluted and left the arena..."

---excerpted and edited from a Radio Times report

Thursday, August 11, 2016

The Blue Mind -- Mental Peace from the Sea

How blue is your mind? 

Do you find yourself shedding stress when walking on the beach? 

If like me, you love swimming underwater, or have experienced the power of scuba diving that brings about a meditative peace--is it the water that does this?

Does sitting by a river calm your nerves?

When you gaze upon a lake, does joy fill your soul?

From the author of the book, "Blue Mind," Wallace J. Nichols:  

Blue Mind connects the dots: neuroscience and psychology, nature and conservation, art and science, poetry and practice in profoundly important new ways. The result is an emerging, exciting, fast-growing new field we call Neuroconservation. With new research and more discoveries about "blue space" yet to come.

Early benefits of this inquiry have already extended to public health, education, parenting, business, coastal planning, travel, real estate, sports and recreation, and most importantly restoring and rebuilding our personal, ancient emotional connection with healthy waterways.

Blue Mind helps those working with and for our blue planet to do their jobs better by providing deeper insights and new questions about the science of "our brains on water".

We expand the "ecosystem services" conversation to include the vast array of cognitive and emotional services, values, and benefits offered by clean, healthy waterways.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Survival of the Kindest -- Science's View

"For it is in giving that we receive." 
~Saint Francis of Assisi

"The sole meaning of life is to serve humanity." 
~Leo Tolstoy

"We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give." 
~Winston Churchill 

"If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap. 
If you want happiness for a day, go fishing. 
If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune. 
If you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody." 
~Chinese proverb

But while philosophers and saints wax poetic, is there any science and hard data that back up the idea that giving is good for the giver? The resounding answer is yes. 

Today, scientific research provides compelling data to support the notion that giving one's time, talents and treasures is a powerful pathway to finding purpose, transcending difficulties, and finding fulfillment and meaning in life. 

Survival of the kindest 

At the University of California, Berkeley, researchers are challenging long-held beliefs that human beings are hardwired to be selfish. There is a growing body of evidence that shows we are evolving to become more compassionate and collaborative in our quest to survive and thrive. 

"Because of our very vulnerable offspring, the fundamental task for human survival and gene replication is to take care of others," said Dacher Keltner, co-director of UC Berkeley's Greater Good Science Center. "Human beings have survived as a species because we have evolved the capacities to care for those in need and to cooperate." 

Does this oppose Charles Darwin's "survival of the fittest" competition model, in which every man has to look after himself? Not so, it seems. In "The Descent of Man," Darwin talks about benevolence 99 times, concluding that love, sympathy and cooperation also exist in the natural world, like the way a pelican might provide fish for a blind pelican in its flock.

"As Darwin long ago surmised, sympathy is our strongest instinct," Keltner said. 

--Excerpted from Live Science


Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Global Unity Games: The Survival of the Kindest

The Global Unity Games: Tomorrow Together are an 11 day challenge to bring about unprecedented unity in communities around the world through compassionate action and service.

The Global Unity Games begin on 9/11, a National Day of Service and Remembrance, and continue through 9/21, the International Day of Peace. This period of time is known as the 11 Days of Global Unity.

In the days following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, our world experienced a time of unprecedented unity as people cast aside their differences and rose in service in the spirit of love and compassion. The Global Unity Games honor this legacy of compassion by bringing people around the world together to strive toward a better tomorrow through collective acts of service and kindness.

The Compassion Games is partnering with a broad coalition of non-profits, businesses, government agencies, universities, and organizations and groups to play together and sustain a 5-year campaign called Tomorrow Together. As expressed in the Global Unity Games, the goals of Tomorrow Together are to:

1. Ignite young people to express their strong desire for unity and change in the world
2. Build unity, empathy and service among young people of all faiths, races and ethnicities.
3. Establish 9/11 as a catalyst, mobilization and inflection point that continues the legacy of service and supports achieving the vital Sustainable Development Goals set for 2030.
Individuals and teams from all over the world can sign up to play and participate in the upcoming September 2016 Global Unity Games: Tomorrow Together.

Monday, August 8, 2016

"Countering Violent Extremism" -- A Free Summit, Aug. 10-11

C.Coimbra photo
---From the Summer of Peace

It’s difficult to make sense of what we see and hear through social media, the news or in our own hometowns — bombings, rampant shootings, racially-motivated crimes and terrorist attacks fill our screens. Our hearts break repeatedly as we witness conflict and military responses in the Middle East, as well as the devastation in Syria and floods of refugees fleeing their homelands...

We’re left wondering how this is even happening and, more importantly, how it can be stopped.

However, there’s good news... brilliant minds and hearts, from both governmental and non-governmental peacebuilding organizations, are giving critical thought to the most effective ways to counter violent actions. These experts understand that countering violent extremism is a complex challenge that requires addressing fundamental social problems and political drivers through a society-wide comprehensive approach.

We can’t address extremism with short-term or fear-based thinking.

Join us for the Countering Violent Extremism Summit, August 10-11, produced by The Shift Network in partnership with Alliance of Peacebuilding. Our hosts and guest speakers will answer your most pressing questions about terrorism — and empower you with accessible, relevant solutions. Plus you’ll hear stories that will restore your hope for our global family.

We’re convening global leaders — non-governmental organizations, government agencies and social science experts — who will engage in thoughtful (and thought-provoking) conversations, exploring:

  • Evidence-based research on the drivers of extremism
  • Innovative peacebuilding approaches to counter violent extremism
  • Current gaps and challenges in preventing and countering violent extremism
  • The role of technology, especially social media, in addressing the violence
  • The real drivers of violent extremism
  • Links between the drivers of violent extremism — and peacebuilding approaches that help abate them
  • Ideas for what you can do in your own life & community to address these complex issues
  • Exactly how US policies affect extremism
  • A greater understanding as to why young men and women are recruited to these organizations and why they say yes to participating
  • Responses from experts to the concern that military responses feed terrorist recruiters

Plus, you’ll discover practical ways to support efforts that counter violent extremism — from personal and political action to bridging divides in your own community!

You may be surprised at the sophistication and accessibility of these new approaches. This summit will take a complex and fearful situation and make it more tangible and less frightening. At the end of this summit, participants will be left with greater understanding and a sense of hope.

Please join us.  Countering Violent Extremism

Friday, August 5, 2016

Pragmatic Conservation

C. Coimbra

In a political season in which ach side appears to be more resolute and certain than ever about the rightness of its cause, finding common ground seems increasingly elusive. But one environmental group regularly navigates the polarized climate to forge pragmatic solutions to protect the planet that work for all parties involved: the Nature Conservancy.

"If you start by trying to identify what you have in common rather than what you disagree about, you will often find you can do really important things together," says Mark Tercek, the $600 million conservation charity’s president and CEO.

In this segment from the Business of Giving, Mr. Tercek talks about the Nature Conservancy’s collaborative, science-grounded approach to land, water, and climate issues — embedded in the nonprofit’s DNA when it was founded 65 years ago to purchase and protect the Mianus River Gorge in upstate New York.

The former Goldman Sachs managing director also gives examples of how the organization has harnessed the forces of finance to scale up and speed up green projects and addresses critics who contend the it has gotten too cozy with big business.

Listen to the full interview below.
Click this link to the podcast : How the Nature Conservancy Practices Pragmatic Conservation

--from Philanthropy Today