All is well. You did not come here to fix a broken world. The world is not broken. You came here to live a wonderful life. And if you relax a little and let it all in, you will begin to see the Universe present you with all that you have asked for.


31 March 2010

Uplifting Voices!

Fantastic Eco Friendly Board Games

Garden-Opoly – Based on the old favorite Monopoly, in this fun game, each player buys garden favorites, collects Clay Pots and trades them in for Greenhouses. Add aphid infestation, water bills and a dandelion outbreak and it becomes a little more difficult… and a lot more fun! A player may even be elected president of the garden club or find themselves on weeding duty and lose a few turns.

Ocean-Opoly – Buy your favorite sea creatures. Raise the rent by collecting Blocks of Water and trading them in for a Big Fish! Every deed is filled with fun facts.

Other nice games in the same series include: Bug-opoly, Wild Animal-opoly, and Bird-opoly.

The Wild Seed Game – The goal of the game is to successfully “sprout” and grow. By turning cards, children either advance toward that goal or regress (deer eats the sprout). Fun way to teach basic concepts of food chains, nutrient and light requirements, and other conditions seeds need in order to germinate and thrive. Instructions focus on using four different strategy levels, with each level becoming increasingly challenging. This is the perfect game to bring out when children are sprouting their own sunflower, morning glory, or bean seeds.

Harvest Time – First, gardens are planted. Then everyone rolls the special die. to do the harvesting. The job is to harvest the gardens before Winter comes. Will we get them all? Maybe, if we remember to help each other out. A simple but challenging game for beginners. This is another great game that emphasizes cooperation and not competition.
A Beautiful Place – Another co-operative game! An ecology game for children! Planet Earth can be a beautiful place, shared by all. Sadly, it has been harmed and made ugly in lots of ways. Players work together to restore the beauty. Can they do it before the dark pollution clouds encircle the beautiful place? They have a much better chance if they work together.

All in all there are some wonderfully fun and educational games out there to teach kids about helping the environment, our individual impact, and how to take advantage of all the joy found in nature. I think that a lot of families will LOVE to have some of these games in their collection so keep that in mind next time you need gift ideas!

A Green Birthday Idea

Nothing has me cringing more than the thought of a conventional birthday party with the enormous amount of garbage they generate from torn wrapping paper and cardboard boxes to the disposable cups, plates, and napkins that are often used. Kids are hyped up on sugary birthday cake, and they get lots of toys that frankly they just don’t need.

Recently I had a birthday picnic for my 2 year old and forgot to ask the guests for used toys or books wrapped in newspaper or cloth. In the future I might create a registry list of eco-friendly gifts that my child would appreciate such as laptop lunch boxes, klean kanteen bottles, but these items I would order them myself.  I know that traditionally the birthday child is showered with presents usually wrapped in delightful shiny paper that gets torn to shreds and tossed on the floor but it's just not necessary and it sends a message of consumerism that that I just don’t like. Furthermore, many of the common gifts will be plastic toys full of toxins and chemicals that have harmful effects on children and plastic breaks quite easily, then because they’re non-recyclable, they end up in landfills.

Another idea is to have guests bring a gift to donate to a worthy cause. For instance, I read about a woman that orchestrated a puppy-themed party for her child to benefit a local animal shelter. She made dog-bone shaped oatmeal cookies for snacks and In lieu of birthday gifts, guests brought donations, dog food, leashes, water bowls and toys for the abandoned animals. All the kids and especially the birthday boy LOVED it and the animal shelter brought puppies for the kids to play with. I also read about an Africa-themed party, where kids built a grass hut and collected donations for African children. These parties were fun and they taught the guests a valuable lesson about helping others instead of the usual birthday message of “help yourself.”

I thought of invitations made from recycled paper of course, but used Smilebox to send out invitations and thank you photos via internet.   

So next time I will be better prepared to combine green values with party themes that kids love.  There is great joy to be had in helping all kids learn the joy of helping others AND protecting our planet rather than tearing through gift boxes and getting sick from candy favors found in the goody bags.  Speaking of which, my friend made these bags & bears to give away to the 4 year olds at her daughter's birthday party!  Aren't they just so gorgeous?

Photos by Javhlan

There are also a lot of green options for decorations too. Instead of a plastic tablecloth why not use cloth & cloth napkins? If you have your heart set on a themed tablecloth then you could pick up some themed fabric at the fabric store. Even a themed sheet would work. Goody bags will be made with fabric and what should go in the goody bags?  Homemade play dough except I still haven't found cream of tartar that is needed in the recipe.  Bubble blowers, crayons, coloring books and flowers in pots are a good idea as well. I'm starting to avoid conventional balloons so Japanese style paper balloons would be an eco-friendly substitute.  Time to practice origami!

For food I would bake a batch of delicious healthy cookies, make raw chocolate truffles, a low-sugar apple or berry tarts and a healthy carrot cake.  Fresh fruit on sticks and crudites with dip is a must of course.  Mini quiche tarts, sandwiches and maki sushi. 

So is there anything else I have left out?  If you do have a green birthday party make sure to send me an email and tell me all about it. I would love to hear your experience too….you can comment below.

30 March 2010

Sweetener Worse Than High Fructose Corn Syrup

Many people interested in staying healthy have switched to agave as a safer "natural" sweetener. They want to avoid well documented dangerous sweeteners like HFCS (high fructose corn syrup) but are unaware that agave is actually WORSE than HFCS.

So just what is agave?

Blue agave is an exotic plant growing in the rich volcanic soil of Mexico under a hot tropical sun, boasting a stately flower stem that blooms only once in its lifetime. "Agave" literally means "noble." It’s generally recognized as a superstar of the herbal remedy world, claiming to offer relief for indigestion, bowel irregularity, and skin wounds.

Ferment it, and you have Mexico’s favorite adult beverage -- tequila.
Just the name "agave" conjures up images of romantic tropical excursions and mysterious shamanic medicine.
These are the mental images agave "nectar" sellers want you to hold. They use agave’s royal pedigree to cover the truth that what they’re selling you is a bottle of high-fructose syrup, so highly processed and refined that it bears NO resemblance to the plant of its namesake.

What is the "Real" Truth about Agave?

If you knew the truth about what’s really in it, you’d be dumping it down the drain -- and that would certainly be bad for sales.
Agave "nectar" or agave "syrup" is nothing more than a laboratory-generated super-condensed fructose syrup, devoid of virtually all nutrient value, offering you metabolic misfortune.
Unfortunately, masterful marketing has resulted in the astronomical popularity of agave syrup among people who believe they are doing their health a favor by avoiding refined sugars like high fructose corn syrup, and dangerous artificial sweeteners.
And if you’re diabetic, you’ve been especially targeted and told this is simply the best thing for you since locally grown organic lettuce, that it’s "diabetic friendly," has a "low glycemic index" and doesn’t spike your blood sugar.
While agave syrup does have a low-glycemic index, so does antifreeze -- that doesn’t mean it’s good for you. Agave syrup has the highest fructose content of any commercial sweetener -- ranging from 70 to 97 percent, depending on the brand, which is FAR HIGHER than high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), which averages 55 percent.
This makes agave actually WORSE than HFCS.
It is important to understand that fructose does not increase insulin levels, which is not necessarily good as what it does do is radically increase insulin resistance, which is FAR more dangerous. You see, it’s okay for your insulin levels to rise, that is normal. You just don’t want these insulin levels to remain elevated, which is what insulin resistance causes.
That is why fasting insulin is such a powerful test, as it is a very powerful reflection of your insulin resistance.
In addition to insulin resistance, your risk of liver damage increases, along with triglycerides and a whole host of other health problems, as discussed in this CBC News video about the newly discovered dangers of high fructose corn syrup. The study discussed in this news report is about HFCS, however, it's well worth remembering that agave contains MORE fructose than HFCS, and in all likelihood, it's the FRUCTOSE that is causing these severe liver problems.

How Agave is Grown and Produced Proves it is Unnatural

Agaves grow primarily in Mexico, but you can also find them in the southern and western United States, as well as in South America. Agaves are not cacti, but succulents of the yucca family, more closely related to amaryllis and other lilies. Edible parts of the agave are the flowers, leaves, stalks and the sap.
A mature agave is 7 to 12 feet in diameter with leaves that are 5 to 8 feet tall -- an impressive plant in stature, to be sure. There are over 100 species of agave, in a wide variety of sizes and colors.
Although the industry wants you to believe that agave nectar runs straight from the plant and into your jar, nothing could not be farther from the truth.
In spite of manufacturer’s claims, agave "nectar" is not made from the sap of the yucca or agave plant but from the starch of its pineapple-like root bulb[i]. The root is comprised mainly of starch, similar to corn, and a complex carbohydrate called inulin, which is made up of fructose molecules.
The process by which agave starch and inulin are converted into "nectar" is VERY similar to the process by which cornstarch is converted into HFCS1.
The agave starch is converted into fructose-rich syrup using genetically modified enzymes and a chemically intensive process involving caustic acids, clarifiers, and filtration chemicals[ii]. Here is a partial list of the chemicals involved:
  • Activated charcoal
  • Cationic and ionic resins
  • Sulfuric and/or hydrofluoric acid
  • Dicalite
  • Clarimex
  • Inulin enzymes
  • Fructozyme
How natural does this sound?
The result is highly refined fructose syrup, along with some remaining inulin.
Agave syrup comes in two colors: clear or light, and amber. What’s the difference?
Due to poor quality control in Mexican processing plants, some of the syrup gets burnt. Hence, the darker amber color. Of course, this poor quality control is marketed as an "artisan" variation, like amber beer, when in fact it contains higher levels of toxic impurities that arise from the sugar-heating process.
Impurities aside, agave "nectar" is neither safe nor natural with laboratory-generated fructose levels of more than 80 percent!
It is worth mentioning that some websites mention that a natural raw agave product does exist in Mexico, made from the actual sap of the agave, but availability is limited because it is so expensive to produce. By far, the vast majority of agave syrups offered commercially are not this unprocessed raw agave from the sap.

Sales are Sweet for Agave Companies and Bad for You and Your Family

Growing consumer resistance to HFCS has been a hole-in-one for the agave industry. Need a healthy alternative to those evil HFS products?
Agave syrup to the rescue!
In case you doubt the influence of marketing in setting trends and consumer buying habits, look at these statistics:[iii]
  • New agave products more than tripled in number between 2003 and 2007, from 56 to 176. Agave syrup is now appearing in products such as energy bars, cereals and organic ice creams.
  • Revenues for the category "other liquid sweeteners," which includes agave, rose to more than $10.3 million in 2007, which was a 50 percent jump from 2006.
  • McCormick & Co., a major food manufacturer, placed agave syrup in its "top 10 flavors" list for 2009.
  • Two of Mexico’s largest agave syrup manufacturers, Iidea and Nekutli, are sending increasingly large shipments of agave syrup to Germany, Japan and New Zealand due to growing global popularity.
Agave is also quickly crossing over from the health food market to mainstream grocery chains, restaurants and taverns, and consumers (especially vegans and raw food enthusiasts) are replacing their honey and maple syrup with bottles of agave after being duped into believing it’s a more healthful alternative.

The Myth of Agave as a "Healthy" Sugar Substitute

It’s important for you and your family’s health to remember that agave syrup is neither healthy nor natural.
As reported by Dr. Ingrid Kohlstadt, a fellow of the American College of Nutrition and an associate faculty member at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health:
"Agave is almost all fructose, a highly processed sugar with great marketing."
Agave syrup is not low calorie -- it has about 16 calories per teaspoon, the same as sucrose (table sugar). The glycemic index is immaterial, once you understand the full extent of the risk this product poses to your health.
The consumption of high amounts of sugar is what is inflating America’s waistline, as well as escalating rates of diabetes, blood pressure and heart disease.
Although overall sugar consumption is definitely something to be concerned about, even more problematic is one type of sugar that wreaks extraordinary havoc on your body: FRUCTOSE.
And if you want fructose, agave products next to pure fructose, have the highest percentage of fructose of any sweeteners on the market, over 50 percent more fructose than high fructose corn syrup.

Why You Need to Understand Why Fructose is so Important

All sugars are not created equal, in spite of what you might have been told.
Glucose is the form of energy your cells were actually designed to run on. Every cell in your body, every bacterium -- and in fact, nearly every living thing on the Earth -- uses glucose for energy.
But as a country, regular cane sugar, or sucrose (50 percent glucose and 50 percent fructose), is no longer the sugar of choice. It’s now fructose.
This happened in the 1970s as a result of technology that made HFCS far less expensive to produce. Believe me, it was NOT done for its health benefits. This was purely an economic decision.
Let me clear up any confusion here, as fructose is the primary sugar in most fruits. It isn’t that fructose is intrinsically evil -- it is just the MASSIVE DOSES you and your family are exposed to that makes it dangerous. Because it is so cheap and makes foods taste so much better, it is added to virtually every processed food.
There are two overall reasons fructose is so damaging:
  1. Your body metabolizes fructose in a much different way than glucose. Fructose is broken down in your liver just like alcohol and produces many of the side effects of chronic alcohol use, right down to the "beer belly"
  2. People are consuming fructose in quantities that are 400-800 percent higher than they were 100 years ago due to its pervasive presence in just about all processed foods

Fructose Turns to Fat and Makes You Fat!

Unlike fructose which is nearly exclusively broken down in your liver and is directly converted to dangerous fats. This is one of the reasons why fructose is the leading cause of obesity. However, only 20 percent of glucose is metabolized in your liver. This is related to the fact that nearly every cell in your body can directly use glucose as a fuel source, so it’s normally "burned up" immediately after consumption.
It is also important to understand that the fructose in fruits and vegetables is not the same fructose molecule you’ll find in synthetic high-fructose corn syrup, which is manufactured in the lab. Naturally occurring fructose comes along with fiber, enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, whereas fructose sweeteners have no nutritional value at all.
Additionally it is actually attached to other sugars and molecules and needs to be broken down before it is absorbed which limits the damage it causes. In HFCS it is a free fructose molecule, just as the glucose. Because these sugars are in their free forms their absorption is radically increased and you actually absorb far more of them had they been in their natural joined state which would cause a higher percentage of the fructose to pass to the intestine unabsorbed.
But the menace of fructose doesn’t stop there.
  1. Fructose also elevates your uric acid levels, which is actually more dangerous than elevated cholesterol levels as it causes chronic, low-level inflammation, which increases your risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, cancer, arthritis and premature aging.
  2. Fructose also "tricks" your body into gaining weight by fooling your metabolism -- it actually severely impairs your body’s normal appetite-control systems.
  3. Excessive fructose rapidly leads to weight gain and abdominal obesity ("beer belly"), decreased HDL, increased LDL, elevated triglycerides, elevated blood sugar, and high blood pressure -- i.e., classic metabolic syndrome.
  4. Fructose metabolism is very similar to alcohol metabolism, which has a multitude of toxic effects, including NAFLD (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease). Metabolically it’s very similar to drinking alcohol without the buzz.

Remember to RADICALLY Reduce Your Fructose

These biological changes are not seen when humans or animals eat starch (or glucose), suggesting that fructose is a "bad carbohydrate" when consumed in excess of 25 grams per day.
However, it is important to remember that because fructose is so cheap it is added to nearly all processed foods. So even if you are seeking to eliminate it from your diet you will EASILY exceed 25 grams per day because it is "hidden" in so many foods. This is made worse by the deceptive and lax labeling laws which frequently allow gigantic loopholes for agribusiness to include it in the product and not identify it.
Making matters worse, your body easily becomes sensitized to fructose.
Fructose activates its own pathways in your body—those metabolic pathways become "upregulated." In other words, the more fructose you eat, the more effective your body is in absorbing it; and the more you absorb, the more damage you’ll do.
You become "sensitized" to fructosr as time goes by, and more sensitive to its toxic effects as well.
Let me be clear that it isn’t fructose that is the problem -- but excessive fructose. And especially the concentrated amounts of fructose that your body was NEVER designed to process, such as what’s in HFCS and agave syrup.
Agave nectar is EVEN WORSE than HFCS because it’s even higher in fructose than HFCS (80 percent and higher), making it an even worse metabolic menace.

Other Reasons You Should Steer Clear of Agave

  1. Poor Quality Control. There are very few quality controls in place to monitor the production of agave syrup. Nearly all agave sold in the U.S. comes from Mexico. Industry insiders are concerned that agave producers are using lesser, even toxic, agave plants due to a shortage of blue agave.
  2. Pesticides. There are also concerns that some distributors are cutting agave syrup with corn syrup -- how often and to what extent is anyone’s guess. In addition, the FDA has refused shipments of agave syrup due to excessive pesticide residues.
  3. Saponins. Agave is known to contain large amounts of saponins. Saponins are toxic steroid derivatives, capable of disrupting red blood cells and producing diarrhea and vomiting. There is also a possible link between saponins and miscarriage by stimulating blood flow to the uterus, so if you’re pregnant, you should definitely avoid agave products.
  4. Hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF). Some agave syrups contain a contaminant called hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF, also called 5-hydroxymethyl furfural), an organic heat-formed compound that arises in the processing of fructose -- in both agave syrup and HFCS. HMF has potential toxic, mutagenic and carcinogenic effects[iv]. HMF is EXTREMELY toxic to honey bees, which is a problem since commercial beekeepers feed HFCS to the bees to stimulate honey production when field-gathered nectar sources are scarce[v].
  5. Nutrient Void. Agave syrup is not a whole food -- it is fractionated and processed, devoid of the nutrients contained in the original, whole plant.
  6. Enzymes. Agave syrup is not a live food. The natural enzymes are removed to prevent agave syrup from fermenting and turning into tequila in your food pantry or cabinet.
  7. Addictiveness. Agave is, for all intents and purposes, highly concentrated sugar. Sugar and sweeteners wreak havoc on your health and are highly addictive.

What are Acceptable Alternatives to Agave?

If you are craving something sweet, your best bet is to reach for an apple or a pear. And if you give yourself a sugar holiday for even a couple of weeks, you will be amazed at how much those cravings will decrease. But be sure and count the grams of fructose and keep your total fructose from fruit below 15 grams per day as you are sure to consume plenty of "hidden" fructose in the other foods you will be eating.
You can use the table below to help you count your fructose grams.
Fruit Serving Size Grams of Fructose
Limes 1 medium 0
Lemons 1 medium 0.6
Cranberries 1 cup 0.7
Passion fruit 1 medium 0.9
Prune 1 medium 1.2
Apricot 1 medium 1.3
Guava 2 medium 2.2
Date (Deglet Noor style) 1 medium 2.6
Cantaloupe 1/8 of med. melon 2.8
Raspberries 1 cup 3.0
Clementine 1 medium 3.4
Kiwifruit 1 medium 3.4
Blackberries 1 cup 3.5
Star fruit 1 medium 3.6
Cherries, sweet 10 3.8
Strawberries 1 cup 3.8
Cherries, sour 1 cup 4.0
Pineapple 1 slice
(3.5" x .75")
Grapefruit, pink or red 1/2 medium 4.3
Fruit Serving Size Grams of Fructose
Boysenberries 1 cup 4.6
Tangerine/mandarin orange 1 medium 4.8
Nectarine 1 medium 5.4
Peach 1 medium 5.9
Orange (navel) 1 medium 6.1
Papaya 1/2 medium 6.3
Honeydew 1/8 of med. melon 6.7
Banana 1 medium 7.1
Blueberries 1 cup 7.4
Date (Medjool) 1 medium 7.7
Apple (composite) 1 medium 9.5
Persimmon 1 medium 10.6
Watermelon 1/16 med. melon 11.3
Pear 1 medium 11.8
Raisins 1/4 cup 12.3
Grapes, seedless (green or red) 1 cup 12.4
Mango 1/2 medium 16.2
Apricots, dried 1 cup 16.4
Figs, dried 1 cup 23.0

If you feel you must have a sweetener, here are a few guidelines to follow:
  • Avoid ALL artificial sweeteners.
  • Avoid agave like the plague.
  • Limit sugar of all types as much as possible. You can buy pure glucose (dextrose) as a sweetener for about $1 per pound, which has none of the adverse effects of fructose if used moderately. It is only 70 percent as sweet as sucrose, so you’ll end up using a bit more of it for the same amount of sweetness, making it slightly more expensive than sucrose -- but still well worth it for your health.
  • Use raw, organic honey in moderation or avoid it completely as it is 70 percent fructose which is higher than HFCS. However the fructose is not in its free from so that moderates the damage. But each teaspoon of honey has nearly four grams of fructose so you will want to carefully add the total grams of fructose (including fruits) and keep them under 15 grams per day.
  • Use regular stevia in moderation, but avoid stevia-based sweeteners like Truvia and PureVia because they have undergone more processing.
  • Lo Han is another excellent natural herbal sweetener.
  • Exercise can be a very powerful tool to help control fructose in a number of ways. If you are going to consume fructose it is BEST to do so immediately before, during or after INTENSE exercise as your body will tend to use it directly as fuel and not convert it to fat Additionally exercise will increase your insulin receptor sensitivity and help modulate the negative effects of fructose. Lastly exercise will also help to blunt your appetite and control your sweet tooth.
If you have insulin issues, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, or if you’re overweight, I suggest you avoid all sweeteners, including stevia, since any sweetener can decrease your insulin sensitivity.

Related Links:

  This Common Food Ingredient Can Really Mess Up Your Metabolism

Source:  Dr. Mercola 

29 March 2010

Coconut Oil & Glycerin

I have found that using virgin coconut oil as you would any lotion is an ideal way to rejuvenate the skin. Not only does it prevent the formation of damaging free radicals and protect against them, but also it can help to keep the skin from developing liver spots and other blemishes caused by aging and overexposure to sunlight, which I get plenty of living in this sunny country!  Not only does it bring temporary relief to the skin, but it will aid in healing and repairing, unlike most lotions. The coconut oil can help bring back a youthful appearance to your skin by removing the outer layer of dead skin cells, making the skin smoother. The skin will become more evenly textured with a healthy "shine." And the coconut oil will penetrate into the deeper layers of the skin and strengthen the underlying tissues.

Glycerin is a colorless, thick liquid that freezes to a gummy paste and has a high boiling point. Glycerin is also highly hygroscopic -- it absorbs water from the air. If you left a bottle of pure glycerin exposed to air in your bathroom, it would take moisture from the air and eventually it would become 20 percent water and 80 percent glycerin. Glycerin has been used in skin care products for centuries and can be found at any local food and drug store.

Some other uses for glycerin include: conserving preserved fruit, as a base for lotions, to prevent freezing in hydraulic jacks, to lubricate molds and in cake and candy making.

Source:  Dr. Mercola

27 March 2010

'Foux Da Fa Fa'

Flight of the Conchords, If You're Into It

Flight of the Conchords - Bret, you've got it going on

The lyrics are hilarious!

22 March 2010

Mind is the Master

Mind is the master power that molds and makes,

We are mind, and evermore we take

The tool of thought, and, shaping what we will

Bring forth a thousand joys, a thousand ills:--

We think in secret and, it comes to pass:

Our world is but our looking-glass.

18 March 2010

Cell Phones

Some sound solutions that can help minimize the EMR your phone emits:
  1. Use your cell phone on speakerphone.

  2. Always keep your phone as far away from your body as possible. There's a dramatic drop-off in radiation exposure for every inch you keep your phone away from your body.  
  3. Get a Blue Tube Headset with an airtube. Others may actually increase the amount of radiation emitted.
  4. Limit your cell phone use to the bare minimum. Your cell phone is constantly searching for signals and emitting EMR while you're using it.
  5. Turn off your cell phone when not needed OR keep it a few feet away from your body.  Even when not in use, as long as your phone is turned on, it continually emits EMR as it connects to its base station. 

Source:  Dr. Mercola

11 March 2010

Are You Getting Enough Vitamin D?

 The Sharpest View of the Sun
Credit: SST, Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences

Doctors have known that low levels of vitamin D are linked to certain kinds of cancers as well as to diabetes and asthma, but new research also shows that the vitamin can kill human cancer cells.

Researchers took human breast cancer cells and treated them with a potent form of vitamin D. Within a few days, half the cancer cells shriveled up and died.  The vitamin's effects were even more dramatic on breast cancer cells injected into mice. After several weeks of treatment, the cancer tumors in the mice shrank by an average of more than 50 percent. Some tumors disappeared.  Similar results have been achieved on colon and prostate cancer tumors in mice.

 ABC News

PDF file of over 800 references showing Vitamin D's effectiveness for cancer here

09 March 2010

Magnificent Birds in Flight

 Tiny spy cameras allow you to see some of the world's most magnificent birds in flight. Watch this video to learn how the fastest bird on the planet, the peregrine falcon, keeps control at mind-numbing speeds, and take a flight with the master of manoeuvrability, the Gos Hawk, as it flies through dense woodland.

03 March 2010

World Change Conference

World Change Conference - April 24 - May 2, Berkeley, CA

Common Circle Education is thrilled to announce a powerful week-long experiential intensive for people wanting to take an active, empowered role to bring about a thriving, beautiful, sustainable world.
We are bringing together some of the greatest teachers of our time in a nine-day intensive course:

- Joanna Macy ( - Jon Young (
- Christopher Kuntzsch (
- James Stark (
- John Kinyon (
- Shaktari Belew (
- Starhawk (
- Kevin Danaher (
- Richard Register (
 -- and more!

The core components of this course will be:
- Work That Reconnects
- Theory of Spiral Dynamics - Conflict Mediation through NVC - Ecology of Leadership
- Eight Shields Model of Mentoring
- Transition Town Training - and much more!

When:  Saturday April 24 - Sunday May 2nd     Cost:   $695 (register before April 1st)
         $895 (register between April 1-April 15th)
         $1395 (regular rate)


Where:  Common Circle Education, 2130 Center in Berkeley

"If the world is to be healed through human efforts, I am convinced it will be by ordinary people, people whose love for this life is even greater than their fear." - Joanna Macy

About the Conference Components:

The Work That Reconnects is a pioneering form of group work that began in the 1970s. It demonstrates our interconnectedness in the web of life and our authority to take action on its behalf.  It has helped many thousands around the globe find insight, solidarity, and courage to act, despite rapidly worsening conditions. Based on systems theory, spiritual teachings, and deep ecology.

The 8 shields  mentoring model is based on the patterns that can be observed in nature. It models these cycles in a way that allows the observer to categorize these patterns and apply them in a variety of settings. This mentoring approach is very effective at mapping the flow of learning. This model is also used for organizing effective team interactions and cultural processes within community, educational, business, and many other settings.

Spiral Dynamics is a theory of human development based on the idea that human nature is not fixed: humans are able, when forced by life conditions, to adapt to their environment by constructing new, more complex, conceptual models of the world that allow them to handle the new problems. Each new model includes and transcends all previous models.

This workshop gives an introduction to our training program that strengthens your abilities to apply the skills of Nonviolent Communication (NVC) to all aspects of conflict - inner and outer, in your own life as well as others’, and in all types of conflict situations – from business/organizational to personal, family and
community relationships. Emphasis is placed on seeing one’s relationship with conflict as a life practice of returning to presence (i.e. mindful awareness) and mediating from empathic connection with the needs of self and others and making clear, “doable” requests to meet the needs of all compassionately.

How can we focus on reshaping cities, towns and villages for long term health of human and natural systems? By returning healthy biodiversity to the heart of our cities, agriculture to gardens and the streets, and convenience and pleasure to walking, bicycling and transit.  We visualize a future in which waterways in neighborhood environments and prosperous downtown centers are opened for curious children, fish, frogs and dragonflies.  We will learn about building thriving neighborhood centers while reversing sprawl development, to build whole cities based on human needs and “access by proximity” rather than cities built in the current pattern of automobile driven excess, wasteful consumption and the destruction of the biosphere.

The Transition Town process supports community‐led responses to peak oil and climate change, building resilience and happiness.   Central to the Transition Town movement is the idea that a life without oil could in fact be far more enjoyable and fulfilling as the coming post-cheap oil era is an opportunity rather than a threat, and we can design the future low carbon age to be thriving, resilient and abundant — somewhere much better to live than our current alienated consumer culture.

Ecology of Leadership programs have served hundreds of non-profit leaders, community activists, eco-social entrepreneurs, and other conscious change-makers, in deepening their paths of service and the effectiveness and fulfillment with which they bring their gifts, visions, and passions into their lives, organizations, communities, and the world.

During this 1-day intensive, you will have the opportunity to touch into the essence, core principles, and practices of the Ecology of Leadership journey, which integrates pathways for self-awareness and nature-connection with principles of regenerative systems thinking and Permaculture.

Come and take part in germinating a new paradigm of regenerative, heart-centered, nature-sourced leadership and learn how engaging this unique and transformative model could support you in stepping more powerfully into your gifts, your passions and more firmly onto your path of service in the world. 

The green economy is growing at a rapid rate and will increasingly challenge the existing, unsustainable economy. Evidence of this paradigm shift can be seen in growing consumer demand for nature-friendly products, huge investments in renewable energy and clean-tech sectors, and more corporate leaders acknowledging social/environmental responsibility as a competitive advantage. 

Due to the complexity of logistics of this event, schedule and speakers are subject to change.