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Publication Note: This blog article by XiNeutrino was first published in The Urban Times. It is repeated here because of its relevance to current times here in America. Don’t let lifelines go to waste.

It is global. Anger, deep resentful and destructive anger is circling Earth. We are in a turmoil of economic and cultural change that breeds unrest because of weak, indifferent, self-serving politics that ignore their respective electorates. The fiery reaction is totally unproductive and stands to shove us backwards not forward. Muscle, long an enemy of logic, is halting our evolutionary progress. So, what are these lifelines?

Right now we need to soothe and ease our unrest. Normally some of this would occur as we reach out to each other, but our reaching right now is hostile. So, fortunately, we are not the only life form on this planet. Those other lives can and do provide the  release we need, but we must initiate it and be receptive to its intricacies Before I explain, here is a partial litany of lifeline interactions that have personally restored my life many times over..


  •  My bond with my cougar friends Charlie and Carolion
  •  My dance with a three-legged black bear
  •  My morning meetings with the Reef Squid gang in St. Thomas, USVI
  •  Cautious discussions on family care with an 11 foot momma Alligator with five youngsters  – Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge
  •  My rescue and release of a wounded Mourning Dove whose relatives visit me in the Spring of  every year.
Yes, the above are personal lifelines and are not listed as directions, but only as examples of the benefits of our reaching across to the life that surrounds us and in doing so restoring our own. The delightful aspect of lifelines is that they are individually arranged and therefore are uniquely each persons own linkage. This is the secret restorative process that renews our perspective and neutralizes our venom toward fellow humans. We find we can become hopeful and constructive again. The future is no longer an ugly, dark and blank wall. As we establish more lifelines, that wall begins to disintegrate and the views through it sparkle with renewed challenges.
Pachyderm lifeline from “Life As A Human”

A full understanding of human history can keep us safe from tyranny’s cauldron.

Nero fiddled, Hitler ethnically cleansed, Lincoln died in preserving the republic and unity, Martin Luther King died in his fight for equal rights, and G.W. Bush used panic and fear to start a needless war. The preceding are just a few examples of a history of humankind that clearly describes some leaders and their leadership as either accidental or intentionally histrionic, and others that strive for unity and equality for all at great cost to themselves.

In the absence of a clear understanding and appreciation for both those sacrifices and moments of madness, modern humans may not understand or appreciate the legacies of those leaders that fought for equality and unity and those that used fear and prejudice to induce panic and support for the suppression of liberty.  Lacking a clear knowledge about both legacies we have only a political publicist’s definition of democracy which misleads us to  stumble blindly from one pothole of damaged governance to another. Those stumbles could, as history has documented, lead us right to the edge of a deep, boiling cauldron of tyranny.

History lessons sometimes come to us in unusual, superficially fictional ways, that are really lively messages of both warnings and celebration. An example is the story, Alice in Wonderland. It is both a delightful children’s story, but also a definitely adult dissertation on political and social failings and dangers. In other words human history does not have to be as bitter and dry as burnt toast. The charge is to present it in a way that gets comfortably and actively established in our memory. Wacky, histrionic politicians suddenly become models of the Mad Hatter. Dedicated, honest and progressive leaders are best represented by themselves in literature and in live news presentations such as Lincoln’s famed and important Gettysburg Address.

Yes, many historical moments have high emotion (anger, sorrow, joy, relief, etc) attached to them, and this is not wrong. This aids in insuring that those critical steps in both our stumbles and our steps forward are remembered as both reminders and lessons. Right now, real history is being severely distorted to suit political advantage or to negate policies or practices some individuals and organizations wish to banish from our memory and conscience. When this happens we are weakened by virtue of our loss of understanding of the continuity of both our progress and our pratfalls.

Is there any hope that we can begin to think for ourselves? Is there a way we can reach back into our memory and recall human history? If we can then  that will serve to both encourage and to also alert us to the proper path we should be traveling to continue our progress and to sustain liberty? Now of course, we must truly understand democracy and how it differs from the ideal concept of a republic which our forefathers crafted for us. We then can use it as a measure of our own nation’s status and future. Without this understanding we stand to either over-react and destroy our republic or under-react and let an oligarchy replace the glorious freedom we have enjoyed and fought to preserve.

Lastly there are those who rely upon our ignorance or disregard of human history to persuade us to accept some twisted mix of an oligarchy and pseudo-democracy to produce a nation that is now governed not for we-the-people but for the elite few. When this happens, history is replaced by histrionics expressed to induce fear, suspicion and acceptance of our own loss of freedom and equality as the inevitable. We, in our ignorance have been duped by the few. We must not let this happen and only our complete understanding of our beginnings and our future will enable our defense of our freedom and well-being.

Listen carefully to the political advocates. Measure their proclamations and promises against the real history of this nation and of humankind. Look well beyond your immediate needs and hopes into the promise of the future. If that promise is not visible then we have been  blinded and our minds imprisoned.


Tyranny’s Cauldron –

Mighty SEISMO is real and not real. His name comes from  the Greek word seismos, earthquake, and seien to shake. He is real by virtue of those root definitions and he is unreal by virtue of his role as the perpetrator of our social disorder. He is like a miasma that weaves its way through entire populations. In his personification he represents an entire milieu of shock and awe events that infect our youngsters, our middle-agers, and our elderly In essence he infects us all at one time or another either directly or by happenstance. Regardless his shock and awe effect disturbs the orderliness, humaneness, tranquility, and virtue of every human life. The above image illustrates both Mighty SEISMO’s presence and the disturbances he creates among us.

So how does Mighty SEISMO produce these behavior aberrations?  Well first, he inspires or enables them, but we are the ones that produce the effects. Since he is an infection, each of us reacts to that infection differently. Some of us become consumed by greed and tend to lose our focus on any other aspect of our lives and of those around us. When interrupted or blocked in our acquisitive pursuits we can be extremely hostile, even vengeful. Shakespeare in his play, Henry VIII (3.2.306-7 Surrey) observes: “Thy ambition, Thy scarlet sin, robbd this bewailing land” which serves to illustrate the fierceness of lust and greed.

Yes, lust, like greed is a forceful infection. Today, it seems Mighty SEISMO has infected so many of us with a burning lust that replaces true love and reduces human affection to the physical assuaging of that lust.  Most knowingly and one of SEISMO’s famous victims, the Marquis de Sade opines. “Lust’s passion will be served; it demands, it militates, it tyrannizes.”  Emotional indifference seems to be a residual and somewhat permanent scar of these lust-feasts. This carries over to a rising dispassion by us for what would otherwise be extremely serious, potentially frightening, and often deadly events or future human actions. Modern warfare, for too many, is met with shrugs of indifference. The declining state of our planet is equally shrugged off by the indifferent. Yes, there is also a lust for one’s own-self with respect to our response to ambition, the acquisitions of position, power and wealth, and as extreme egocentrism. This tends to isolate us from all that is not relevant to our particular focus. The biggest victim in this is often compassion and that is what can hold MightySEISMO at bay.

Perhaps our most dangerous and socially damaging reaction to Mighty SEISMO’s infection are acts of vengeance or revenge. Yes, some major cities report declines in violent crime, but others report an increase. Add to this an almost overwhelming rush on TV shows to push violence into its various forms. All of this is compounded by the extreme right politically pushing for uncontrolled access to guns. As reported in The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence,

  • In their view (NRA and extreme right), unfettered access to firearms is the key ingredient to protecting individual rights from overreaching by government.   They argue that the only way to keep centralized authority in check is to ensure that individual citizens retain the capability to confront the government with force of arms
This twisted and impassioned love of the GUN and its deadly impact is clearly displayed in a recounting of its use by a victim of the Tucson, AZ shooting of Congressperson Gabrielle Giffords, her associates and followers.  Randy Gardner a wounded survivor writes,
  • Over the past years, we have all witnessed an unacceptable level of gun violence in our country. For too long, I’ve sat on the sidelines watching families struggle in their pain and grief with losing a family member to gun violence. I feel the need to do whatever I can to prevent others from experiencing this terrible heartache.”
So, we have the possibility of guns in schools, in bars, in the bedroom, the office; even at the beach; where does it stop?  Are we regressing to the days of the Wild Wild West? Do we need to revive and recruit those paragon gun-slinging law enforcers like the Earp brothers? Seems we are, if you consider the massive increase in security measures that are edging closer to the limits of our personal privacy. Add a gun into the hand of an otherwise law-abiding citizen who is suddenly overwhelmed with some socio-politcal incident and BANG, BANG and a life somewhere stops. Bar fights, of course take on a whole violent and dangerous pattern of behavior. Will bouncers now carry automatic rifles?

Mighty SEISMO must be stopped! This is not an overnight task. An entire change in our social order with an emphasis on greater equality and distribution of wealth is absolutely essential. Right now, Mighty SEISMO and powerful and wealthy interests fight to retain the current imbalanced, unfair and damaging social order. As noted, Mighty SEISMO is an infection so we humans must develop our resistance to that infection. Somehow we must overcome our fascination and obeisance to greed and lust and in that process re-acquaint ourselves with acts of compassion. Those acts need to start at home first then spread out. Finally, we need to resist violence. This becomes easier when we have revived compassion. Yes, I know there is a risk in being compassionate in response to violence, but it is a potential reverse shock and awe that stuns the irate when they face care, concern and a helping hand.  Should we succeed, guess who slides away never to return?  Mighty SEISMO.

Yes, we are all empowered to resist and dispel Mighty SEISMO and we can take both energy and succor from our Cosmic surrounds. The following video stresses this in a soothing and inspiring way. Good bye Mighty SEISMO we can now be free of you.

IMAGE CREDIT:  Mighty SEISMO’s public impact. Courtesy: Crowds of People –


Not to worry, your individual spirituality is not at risk of mockery or abuse. Your awareness of the connectivity of your life with the entire energy matrix throughout the Cosmos is revealed and in that process your value and importance is recognized and encouraged. You are not alone, you have never been alone, and will never be alone here or throughout the Cosmos.

Limited Significance: In our Earthly surrounds some of us are significant while others are not. In some cases the insignificant are relegated to that status by other humans who have self-appointed themselves as significant. In our society, we also elevate some of us to levels of significance based upon our political, philosophical, artistic and humanitarian popularity and or efforts. Sadly, most of us are in that ignored status of insignificance As you will learn here, that is a meaningless status. Although sociologically we seek, even require, recognition from family, friends, communities, workers, etc., those acknowledgments are often fickle or tainted with specific performance requirements. Should we fail to meet these, we stand to drop into the anonymity of insignificance. Crushed and alone some of us leap away from life on Earth while others simply dissolve into permanent hopelessness. None of this is funny or acceptable.

Compassion, not pity, steps in and we insignificant are given new sets of performance requirements to master. Some of us do and rise up to Earthly significance. Rarely, if ever, are we told that we as life-forms hold eternal significance with all life and energy here on Earth and throughout the Cosmos. Yes, various religions seek to do this on a limited basis. They are limited because they too have requirements that must be mastered. Some of us fail here too, and are left to go crashing down again. Hope survives; so hang on.

Its Cosmic: Everything that surrounds us that is alive or supports life (air, water, energy, etc.) has significance here on Earth and throughout the Cosmos. We are part of that everything. All forms of energy surround us, impact us, and are within us and all of that binds us to each other and the Cosmos. The flutter of a bird’s wing matches the flutter of an excited human heart. The joyful thrumming of a happy cricket jangles us awake and then often provokes our giggles. The bright, flaming streak of a meteorite both alarms and invites us to consider what lies well beyond our Earthly confines. All striking reminders that we are not alone, and that we are all one together and are valuable.

On Being Valuable:  Yes, being valuable within the Cosmos may not ring any bells when added to a job resume’, but what that status inspires can fill a multi-paged resume’. Just knowing we are not alone, and knowing that the first and most important human to satisfy is ourselves permanently elevates us to significance status. Certainly, we often need help to sustain our significance and to prosper from it. In this regard, finding the key to the help doorway is often accomplished by being a help doorway ourselves. Our outstretched, helping hand can be the magic key that opens our own development pathway. Compassion is not a sedative, it is a stimulant for both the giver and the recipient. In responding to the grief or confusion of another person we usually find answers to our own quandaries. Enlightenment and hopefulness are mutually shared. Our outreach is not just human to human, it is across the entire spectrum of life here and , as we will learn, throughout the Cosmos. Our efforts to keep our home planet alive and well is as important in sustaining our significance as all that we may do for ourselves and for each other. Nurturing nature, which by virtue of its very existence nurtures us, is a vital and enriching effort. The more we do, in every respect raises us higher and higher.  Voila, we can become enriched and empowered.

Empowerment: The Real and the Fake: “All right, all right, who’s in charge here?” That bossy inquiry is courtesy of your psyche. Your answer should be a strong and confident, “I am.” Yes, the source of our real (virtual) empowerment is us. It begins within each of us and with proper care matures with a solid backbone of self-confidence and skills. Proper care is vital and complex. All life-forms go through this process of becoming empowered. For humans it is first our parents, then our peers and our schooling. Later is will be essentially ourselves and sometimes a caring soul-mate. Soul-mates can be what we term wives or husbands, but they also can be a relative or a trusted friend. In many cases, our only soul-mate is our own selves and our sense of being. This is the framework of true empowerment. It is within us, not external and fleeting.

Some of us fall prey to those who partially fulfill their own empowerment by empowering us in a manipulative way. In these instances we are not free or self-determining, we are rigidly enslaved by others who depend on our bondage to enforce their power. For us to break free from this we usually must stand alone, but as we have stated throughout here, we are never alone and so despite our physical aloneness we are one with the Cosmos. This is how we replace that false empowerment with the real power that is born within ourselves. This is not easy, and it is often emotionally and, sometimes, physically painful. If we prevail, then we are set free.

Freedom’s Obligations: Being free is not a gift. It is an earned reward and as such carries specific obligations. The chief among these is the commitment to promote freedom for others who may be falsely empowered and thus in an inescapable bondage. Traditionally, this has produced war-like actions that seek to liberate, but warfare creates its own bondages and thus sullies out acts of liberation with new enslavement. In these situations the price of freedom is far too expensive. Regardless, we must strive to diminish both physical, cognitive and spiritiual enslavement. The best method is to enable all those interactions discussed above that allow us to determine our own status and to recognize our value to ourselves, to all life on this planet and especially our value within the Cosmos. We can do it, but the challenge is, will we do it?

Enabling Cosmic Significance: If we answer the challenge above and strive for freedom for all life-forms we then begin to enable our Cosmic Significance. As this becomes reality, we are enriched, we are strengthened and as noted above we are set free. This imposes an infinite cycle  in which human life rejoins the Cosmos and then joyfully shares the energy and power of these cosmic alliances. We are strong, we are compassionate, we are creative and most importantly we are uniquely ourselves, but never, never alone.

So What Does All This Mean?: In a word, as we achieve unity with the Cosmos and all life that is within us and that surrounds us, we don’t just experience it, we become JOY.

IMAGE CREDIT: At the gateway to the Cosmos : “LifeZBeautiful


“Growing Up In The Universe” – Richard Dawkins

“Society and Cosmology”

“No Place Like Home: A Cosmic Imprint”

“The Cosmically Pivotal Moment”

Book Review: “Is There Life Out There”

It all begin innocently enough, I was doing a photo-series on a new historical site in South Carolina named, Charlestown Landing. The site included an innovative wildlife center that presented wildlife that were indigenous to the Charleston low country when settlers first arrived. The wildlife area was being developed under the guidance of famous wildlife biologist and “Wild Kingdom” TV star, Jim Fowler.

The wildlife center was completed and open to visitors when Jim told me that an alligator had managed to invade the Black Bear compound and would I be willing to go into the compound and photograph the encounter of the bears with the alligator. I agreed, as I had been inside the compound before and considered the Black Bears personal friends. One of these bears, the oldest in fact, was a three legged bear that had lost a leg to an “aimless” hunter several years past.  He had been a ward of the state wildlife service since that time.

Well, of course, it was the three legged bear that spotted the alligator and was on his way to investigate. I entered the compound, camera ready, and positioned myself a safe distance from the area, but close enough to get good photos.  The bear hobbled up to the alligator with no hostility and nudged the alligator with his good forepaw. The alligator responded by rapidly turning toward the bear and grabbed his paw in its jaws. The roar that followed so startled me, I dropped my camera and just watched both stunned and a bit frightened. With a quick fling of its leg, the bear sent the alligator on a flying trip into the streamlet that coursed through the compound. Stunned but unhurt the alligator finally half swam, half waddled its way up the streamlet and out of the compound. The bear then turned and came directly toward me.

Long ago, I learned that one does not try to run from bears, even three legged ones. I stood very still and just waited saying friendly “Hellos” to the approaching bear. He stopped about five feet from me looking me straight in the eyes and reared to full height on his hind-legs. Still chattering greetings and compliments I eased a little to my right. The bear moved with me still maintaining his upright stance and distance. He began sniffing the air while still looking directly at me. It was then I hoped he would recognize my scent as an old friendly visitor. At the same time I shifted a little more to the right in hopes of getting closer to the compound entrance gate. Of course, the bear shifted with me; still sniffing and still upright. It was then I heard Jim laughingly call to me, “are you guys going to dance all morning?”

Jim’s call distracted the bear and he dropped down onto all three legs. He gave me one more hard look, a very disgusted sounding snort and ambled back toward the far side of the compound where his cohorts were huddled. I grabbed my camera and backed slowly away to the compound gate and let myself out. I was shaking. The after-reaction had set in and so I just sat down on the ground to catch my breath and begin to remember my short but exciting dance with a three-legged bear.

All of the above happened over 40 years ago, but I have never forgotten it or that three-legged bear who I remember with considerable fondness.  He did let me go rather then send me flying after the alligator. Maybe he did remember my scent and excused an old friend his impropriety. I never went back into the bear compound, but regularly visited it from the visitor area and would always whistle a greeting to that tough old bruin.

The following video is not of my dance partner, but illustrates exactly how he was able to overcome the handicap of only three legs. A bold, brave and determined wild creature’s survival.

HAMLIT: STEM’s Twin Brother

Yes STEM, the acronym for education in science, technology, engineering and math has a twin brother with the acronym, HAMLIT. This translates into education in history, art, music and literature. For years, HAMLIT has been de-emphasized in both high school and college programs where STEM was and is the focus. This approach along with the increased emphasis on STEM education is establishing the mechanism for a continuous roll-out of highly skilled Sci-Tech professionals. So where does HAMLIT come in?
Right now, HAMLIT, is truly facing the classic “To Be Or Not To Be” question, and it looks like “Not To Be” may prevail. STEM and HAMLIT’s parents embodied the classic liberal arts education which was comprised of grammar, logic, rhetoric along with quantitative reasoning which included geometry, astronomy, arithmetic and music (Elements of Liberal Education). None of this limited or restricted the immense progress of humankind‘s advances in the sciences along with demonstrated genius in the arts. The Renaissance freed humanity from the captivity of the Dark Ages and laid the groundwork for amazing advances in our understanding of ourselves and all that surrounds us. We celebrated this with enormous outbursts of creativity in art, music and literature. Historians, both as watchers on the sidelines and as active participants in this cognitive evolution carefully recorded the events and failures that accompanied these heady moments of progress. It was this process that led to HAMLIT’s birth.
Yes, HAMLIT and STEM are twins and were born at the same time, but they are not identical twins and STEM in his early years was overshadowed by his more aggressive and eager brother. This did not mean they were distant. In fact, HAMLIT was quite solicitous of his brother and made sure to share his many varied interests with him and thus laid the foundation for STEM’s eventual success and importance.
Humans are an ever-changing landscape, but deep within there is a core in which resides the twins HAMLIT and STEM. Their relative strength varies with each human and with the times, but it is essential that they both be there. Right now, as we recognize the call for expanded explorations into both our solar system and beyond, STEM is becoming more and more dominant. HAMLIT must keep pace. As we have discussed above, HAMLIT fills many creative voids that would remain as such if only STEM were present. As STEM induces new discoveries and theories (explanations) their full meaning will never be realized without HAMLIT’s involvement. In many cases, the absence of HAMLIT could lead to complete misinterpretations of the true meaning of new discoveries. Instead of expanded explorations inspired by those discoveries we find ourselves in pursuit of vacuous willow-of-the-wisps. On the other hand those moments of great joy of finding another “new” in our life comes from HAMLIT’s annals of human history.
The following video can be considered an artistic summary of the relationship between the twins. There is science by virtue of archtechture, there is art by virtue of the images, and of course there is music. Summed together they are a creative outburst of art and science. HAMLIT and STEM jointly moving humankind forward progressively and joyfully through an endless age of enlightenment.

IMAGE CREDIT: Fractals are a natural celebration of the interaction of science and art. Image courtesy of Kaneva –

Not to worry, Googling, or Yahooing or Binging Verdantia yields a variety of “what do you means ” or “what are you talking about” questions and no real answers. Verdantia  is a proposed place-name. It is intended to be generic in its application so that it fits all levels and modes of urban life.
My Verdantia: Before I take us on the road, I offer my experience as a resident of a micro-Verdantia. I live right in the core of an urban environment that borders an historic river and has the support of both city and state services because the area is a state capital. It is lush through Spring and Fall and though stark in Winter it carries promise of coming greenery by virtue of its thick, and regal tree population. This is a population that includes residents that date back over 300 years (Elm and Oak trees). Natural wildlife of a wide variety are both residents and seasonal visitors that serve to animate the reality of my Verdantia.
The residents of this area walk, jog , canoe and bike their way in and around this urban green-space and are obviously both soothed and enriched in the process. No long road trips to get here, for most of us it is a 15o foot walk across a busy thoroughfare to the river’s edge. Here are some quick snapshots of what awaits all of us.
Design and Build or Modify and Upgrade:  Or it could be both. The key consideration is that the urban area begins going green from the inside out. By this, it is meant that the inhabitants are the ones that begin the greening process in their own residences, retail centers and offices. For this to happen property owners, landlords and governmental organizations need to facilitate the greening process. The process in the office, for example, can be as simple as a plant on a desk as depicted on the right, or an entire greenery enclave that includes cubicle office spaces like that shown on the left.  Most importantly this individualized process must have full encouragement by management. This will not be an overnight change and will require considerable adjustment by management to insure that employees feel secure in going green at work.
Design and build is equally important and in major urban areas represents a commitment by local government, developers and realtors to replace aging or condemned structures with designs and construction that are totally green-based. In many cases this calls for matching the structures to an overall plan and pattern for urban greening. This, again, is never an overnight event. It will take political and financial actions to bring about the necessary support by all participants to make it a reality. Citizen commitment to action and long-term support is vital. Transportation concepts and programs must change, including automobile access to city centers. It will be a struggle, and unfortunately some areas both economically and politically avoid struggles.
Its about science too: Ignore Nature and even the best efforts will fail and that could fatally set back the greening concept permanently. Plopping trees and plants in the middle of a intensely busy urban area will do little more than exhibit how plants cannot live outside a supportive environment. The greening process must create that necessary environment and this again is not an overnight event. Financial, political and ecological decisions and actions are absolutely necessary to bring about even one city block of long-lived greenery.
Go or No-Go:  This post has barely touched on all the necessary considerations and steps required to create a green city. Suffering from acute phlegmatosis both the public and its politcal leaders find a variety of excuses to at least stall and in many cases never act on the greeening process. So, how do we embed both the idea and the motivation?
Back to school and the woods: We must build within our children a deep love, respect and desire to protect the environment. From this effort comes the fundamentals that produce a populus that not just supports greening, but demands it. Yes, another non-overnighter. Do we give up because the road ahead is long and sometimes bumpy? Did we give up getting where we are today? Chances are we did not, so the vigor is within us; we just need to activate it. Actions to increase public education on the environment and its protection right now face all kinds of political interpretations and incantations; the results of which are more defeating than encouraging. We, therefore cannot simply pass on to our children responsibility for the greening process. Without legislative support for this kind of educational element, it will not happen. Tired already aren’t you? Exactly and that is the high price we face to make a long, lasting roadway to Verdantia.
Oh, one more thing: While we are working up the steam to begin the push toward Verdantia, we must at the same time insure that what we already have is protected and preserved. The chainsaw gangs are always out there and ready to attack if we are not vigilant and dedicated. Chainsaw by-the-way encompasses all elements of environmental endangerment or destruction. It is not just an emotional scene from Avatar, it is often very subtle and goes unnoticed until all the green is either brown or gone.
Our Native American brethren are those of us who were born with greening an inherent belief and force within them. Nature is kin and as such is worshipped, protected and above all else preserved because it is themselves they are preserving. I, as an infant was infused with this spirit by virtue of being nursed into full life by my Navajo nanny. It is real and the ulitmate reward from all life on this planet. You may click here to enjoy that Native American tribute to all that surrounds us.


Top Image:  Atlanta Garden Design

My Verdantia: All images by the author, Waddell Robey

Office Greenery: (1) Desk plant –  (2) green enclave:

Urban Greenery:

The noise of the crowd can be heard nearly a block away from the Town Hall. It is late spring, and very warm and humid in this small farming community. All the windows in the hall are wide open. There is no air conditioning.

The reason for the crowd is that it is an important meeting of the county’s board of education. All teachers and the public have been urged to attend. The meeting has been in session for about one hour. Board members and citizens emotionally fidget in reaction to arguments over next year’s school curriculum. No single issue dominates. The often shouted comments relate to all parts of the curriculum including the teaching of evolution and sex education.

The Board’s President is having increasing difficulty in keeping control and at the moment he is both banging a heavy gavel and shouting for order. Just then the strident words of two men rise above the noise and the crowd hushes to listen. They rage and rant back and forth with increasingly intense and angry retorts. At the peak of their verbal duel, their faces purpled and swollen with anger, both men bitterly shout in unison, “What are you doing to my country?”

The words strike like hard slaps to the face and both men fall silent and stare at each other. From the crowd a youthful voice hollers, “Hey man its everyone’s country isn’t it?” Both men shake their heads, turn away from each other and sit down.

This imagined town meeting is like a microcosm of what is happening in America. Strong-willed, dedicated proponents of both faith-based and progressive issues battle for both social and political control. When asked, representatives of both sides vow that they are solid citizens who love their country and are simply seeking to protect it and its citizens. So, how is it that so much love creates so much hate?

It appears that the common ground has been lost. What is that common ground? It is the Constitution of the United States. Its authors, the founders of this nation, fully anticipated a strong love of country. In fact they both encouraged it and included specific provisions to protect it.

Today, both interests actively attempt to strip away these protections in efforts to put their ideas and policies in control. While each side shouts out its love for America, the nation shudders as it is forcibly torn apart.

I am sure there are courageous voices out there somewhere shouting, “stop, stop, America is for everyone.” Can we not hear them, or is it too late?

Dead Earth: Click on the image for more information.

At this time, on this planet, Earth, the environment and climate change naysayers constantly dispute the proven fact that humankind is directly contributing to the decline of life. The dispute is based on the belief that whatever is happening is in no way humankind’s fault and that much of the purported dangers are fraudulently conceived to empower liberal politics. This is tragic and even more tragic is the possibility that none of this is unique. It is possible that these sames kinds of disputes and ongoing abuse of the environment and life systems has occurred and is occurring throughout the Cosmos.
Yes, there is what we could call competitive evolution in which one life form in its evolution may threaten the existence of one or more other life forms, but all of this seems to follow a rather random but orderly pattern that appears to be a part of the thrive of planetary life systems (at least on this planet). The evolution of humankind as, for now, the top life-form, introduces a species that does not necessarily follow any orderly pattern and generally threatens a large segment of all life on the planet. At the same time, some segments of the human species is mindful of this threat to other life and seeks to alter human behavior to reduce that damage and also enhance the endurance and progress of all life on the planet. Therein resides the cause for the dispute mentioned above. The net effect right now is that life on Earth is imperiled.
Have we carried Darwin’s theory of “natural selection” too far? Are we convinced that we are the ultimate species and that there is little or no interdependence of life within our environment? Science says it is otherwise. Based on current scientific research and analyses there is a very high probability that life inhabits other planetary bodies (exoplanets) throughout the universe.  It is also possible that some forms of human life exists on some of those exoplanets. Can we also assume that some or all of those human-like lives have evolved and in a manner similar to ours? In my opinion, that answer should be yes. The next question could be, are those humans abusing their environments just as we are or are they like our Native American bretheran who still believe and practice a respectful interrelationship with planet Earth? The intriguing and entrancing scifi movie “Avatar” clearly illustrates this diversity of attitudes toward the environment.
What if it is true, that human life, in whatever form and wherever, is abusing their planetary environments much as we are? Even though life in some form will most likely continue to generate and regenerate throughout the Cosmos, there is also the possibility that there could be a gigantic collapse of life throughout the Cosmos due to widespread abuse of life supporting environments. If this should all come to pass within an envelope of time, it is highly possible that we could have a silent Cosmos. By silent, I mean without life in any form and its evolutionary processes. This is avoidable, and for Earthlings, though a cosmic consciousness is desirable, the key concentration must be on planet Earth. We have the power, the technology, the science, and the economic drive that should enable us to both progress and preserve and protect our environment. On the other hand, if we submit to greed and addiction to power we could quickly accelerate the total extinction of all life on Earth. Capitalistically, that is a lousy investment. Environmentally it is stupid. Sociologically it is suicidal.
Lastly, as mentioned above we are learning and beginning to respect the interdependence of all life here on Earth and to envision that concept prevailing throughout the Cosmos. That is a purely glorious and stimulating realization. We are not alone. We have immense linkages across the universe, and with that we have the power to progress and enrich all that surrounds us. In a cosmic sense, to me at least, this is our ultimate mission and reason for our presence.  Yes, life has a reason, and we should neither neglect nor abuse it.
Like the Na’vi of Pandora we must prevail and in prevailing we could be the incentive that ensures that the Cosmos will never go silent.

It has been over 3 centuries since my earliest ancestors from Scotland and Ireland set foot on this continent. Regardless of that time interval I, to this very day, have deep feelings for my links to both those two countries. Every once in awhile, just like ET, I have this urge to “call home”, but unlike him I am not sure who to call. I do have one compensation in that by posting a few articles for a British online magazine, The Urban Times, I have contact with that broad home-base of my ancestors.
ET’s yearnings will, in my opinion, be ours to experience someday as we succeed in exploring and, in some cases, settling on distant planets both in this galaxy and beyond. I am also certain that those new space-pioneers will experience the ET-effect.
Perhaps there is a genetic link or geological imprint that is passed along from generation after generation. Again, in my opinion, that imprint could be a composite not just of family linkages, but deep seated associations with the physical and emotional pull of our home-base; in this case our planet. Science-fiction notable, Ray Bradbury, documents this in his short story, “The Martian Chronicles.” In that regard, I suspect Bradbury also has experienced the ET-effect.
Going a step further, scientists are researching the source of our beginnings, and are currently documenting the fact that we are “stardust people.” By that they mean, the critical biochemical ingredients that lead to our coming into being have come from the Cosmos. Is it possible then that our deep urging to reach out and explore into deep, deep space, is a cosmic ET-effect? In other words, as stardust people, do we possess a cosmic imprint that makes us yearn to not just call home, but to explore where that home might be? Furthermore, does this imprint have a spiritual impact as well? In either of these cases we can only be enriched if, in fact, they are real.
Perhaps one of the most potentially exciting and rewarding results would be when we have a meet-up with ET, and because of our mutual cosmic imprint we quickly achieve a comradeship that welcomes us into our real home; the COSMOS. Suddenly many of our Earth-born irritations and prejudices shrink to nothing as we embrace our real home. Yes, there will be evolutionary and developmental differences between us and the ETs we meet, but they become insignificant because of our growing mutual sense of unity and belonging. We are really home and among a host of amazing kinfolk. – JOY!
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