Samsara is defined as "the ever turning wheel of life". Beyond just a sanskrit definition, it is an important aspect of Asian religions, like Buddhism and Hinduism. It embodies the continuous flow of life, our present life, our past life, karma, etc. It is an appropriate title for this amazing film!
Samsara is the much awaited follow up to Baraka, a movie that amazed me.
Filmed over a period of almost five years and in twenty-five countries, SAMSARA transports us to sacred grounds, disaster zones, industrial sites, and natural wonders. By dispensing with dialogue and descriptive text, SAMSARA subverts our expectations of a traditional documentary, instead encouraging our own inner interpretations inspired by images and music that infuses the ancient with the modern.
Expanding on the themes they developed in BARAKA (1992) and CHRONOS (1985), SAMSARA explores the wonders of our world from the mundane to the miraculous, looking into the unfathomable reaches of man's spirituality and the human experience. Neither a traditional documentary nor a travelogue, SAMSARA takes the form of a nonverbal, guided meditation. Through powerful images, the film illuminates the links between humanity and the rest of nature, showing how our life cycle mirrors the rhythm of the planet.
This film is so unique, beautiful, and inspiring. It does not hold back on any part. From militia to monks, from desert to forest, it is all there. Now, it is available on blu-ray for the best quality, color, and experience.
disclosure: The products described above were sent to us as free samples. Prior assurances as to the nature of the reviews, whether positive or negative, were not given. No financial payments were accepted in exchange for the reviews. The reviews reflect our honest, authentic opinions.
It's really unpractical to own a car if you live in the city, but sometimes, you need one. BMW is introducing a new car sharing program in San Francisco utilizing their new electric vehicle ActiveE. GreenBiz explains:
Starting with a fleet of 70 vehicles, the program, known as DriveNow, allows enrolled drivers to take a car from one point to another and leave it, unlike other car-sharing programs which require vehicles to be returned to the same pick-up location.
Under the program, drivers can reserve a car online or through a smartphone app after registering as DriveNow members. They can pick up their cars at one of eight DriveNow stations in the San Francisco Bay Area, with plans to open more in the near future, and return vehicles to the nearest station.
This is a very cool idea. Not only is the car sharing program convenient, you get to drive a styley car!
Richmond, California is one of those East Bay towns that can be sore on the eyes. Industry has left, and crime is an issue, but citizens have found a unique way to beautify and feed this economically depressed region by taking over vacant lots and turning them into gardens. Truthout explains:
Once a month, Latino and African American families-often people who live just a few blocks from each other but rarely had a chance to meet in the past-gather at the garden and have a barbecue. Tomatoes, chard, and corn grow in raised beds across the street. Muslim families from the local mosque just a few blocks away pluck fresh mint from the garden for making traditional Arabic tea. The garden is the work of Urban Tilth, one of the dozen or so groups at the center of Richmond's urban garden movement. It was built by community members, often young people, and is tended in part by students and teachers from the elementary school next door. And it has become a community gathering space...
People rarely get a say in what happens to land when their city falls apart. But in the last five years, some Richmonders have taken matters into their own hands. Often with official permission but sometimes without, they have planted more than two dozen gardens in public lots and school grounds all over the roughest parts of town. Urban Tilth calls them "farms," and last year grew 6,000 pounds of food, which went to dozens of local families.
This is an amazing story that should be replicated across the country. From upscale neighborhoods to ghettos, urban gardening brings communities together, reduces crime, and provides healthy local food.
Slow food, the obvious antonym to fast food, is a movement that is growing across America. The Slow Food Nation says we need to "take back control of our food" so our food is "good, clean, and fair".
The three central principles of the Slow Food plan are these: food must be sustainably produced in ways that are sensitive to the environment, those who produce the food must be fairly treated, and the food must be healthful and delicious.
It's a simple concept that will change your health and benefit our environment. If you haven't joined yet, it's time!
Paul Hawken gave the following commencement address to the class of 2009 at the University of Portland on May 3rd, 2009.
When I was invited to give this speech, I was asked if I could give a simple short talk that was "direct, naked, taut, honest, passionate, lean, shivering, startling, and graceful." Boy, no pressure there.
But let's begin with the startling part. Hey, Class of 2009: you are going to have to figure out what it means to be a human being on earth at a time when every living system is declining, and the rate of decline is accelerating. Kind of a mind-boggling situation - but not one peer-reviewed paper published in the last thirty years can refute that statement.
Basically, the earth needs a new operating system, you are the programmers, and we need it within a few decades.
This planet came with a set of operating instructions, but we seem to have misplaced them. Important rules like don't poison the water, soil, or air, and don't let the earth get overcrowded, and don't touch the thermostat have been broken. Buckminster Fuller said that spaceship earth was so ingeniously designed that no one has a clue that we are on one, flying through the universe at a million miles per hour, with no need for seatbelts, lots of room in coach, and really good food - but all that is changing.
There is invisible writing on the back of the diploma you will receive, and in case you didn't bring lemon juice to decode it, I can tell you what it says: YOU ARE BRILLIANT, AND THE EARTH IS HIRING. The earth couldn't afford to send any recruiters or limos to your school. It sent you rain, sunsets, ripe cherries, night blooming jasmine, and that unbelievably cute person you are dating. Take the hint. And here's the deal: Forget that this task of planet-saving is not possible in the time required. Don't be put off by people who know what is not possible. Do what needs to be done, and check to see if it was impossible only after you are done.
When asked if I am pessimistic or optimistic about the future, my answer is always the same: If you look at the science about what is happening on earth and aren't pessimistic, you don't understand data. But if you meet the people who are working to restore this earth and the lives of the poor, and you aren't optimistic, you haven't got a pulse. What I see everywhere in the world are ordinary people willing to confront despair, power, and incalculable odds in order to restore some semblance of grace, justice, and beauty to this world. The poet Adrienne Rich wrote, "So much has been destroyed I have cast my lot with those who, age after age, perversely, with no extraordinary power, reconstitute the world." There could be no better description. Humanity is coalescing. It is reconstituting the world, and the action is taking place in schoolrooms, farms, jungles, villages, campuses, companies, refuge camps, deserts, fisheries, and slums.
You join a multitude of caring people. No one knows how many groups and organizations are working on the most salient issues of our day: climate change, poverty, deforestation, peace, water, hunger, conservation, human rights, and more. This is the largest movement the world has ever seen.
Rather than control, it seeks connection. Rather than dominance, it strives to disperse concentrations of power. Like Mercy Corps, it works behind the scenes and gets the job done. Large as it is, no one knows the true size of this movement. It provides hope, support, and meaning to billions of people in the world. Its clout resides in idea, not in force. It is made up of teachers, children, peasants, businesspeople, rappers, organic farmers, nuns, artists, government workers, fisherfolk, engineers, students, incorrigible writers, weeping Muslims, concerned mothers, poets, doctors without borders, grieving Christians, street musicians, the President of the United States of America, and as the writer David James Duncan would say, the Creator, the One who loves us all in such a huge way.
There is a rabbinical teaching that says if the world is ending and the Messiah arrives, first plant a tree, and then see if the story is true. Inspiration is not garnered from the litanies of what may befall us; it resides in humanity's willingness to restore, redress, reform, rebuild, recover, reimagine, and reconsider. "One day you finally knew what you had to do, and began, though the voices around you kept shouting their bad advice," is Mary Oliver's description of moving away from the profane toward a deep sense of connectedness to the living world.
Millions of people are working on behalf of strangers, even if the evening news is usually about the death of strangers. This kindness of strangers has religious, even mythic origins, and very specific eighteenth-century roots. Abolitionists were the first people to create a national and global movement to defend the rights of those they did not know. Until that time, no group had filed a grievance except on behalf of itself. The founders of this movement were largely unknown - Granville Clark, Thomas Clarkson, Josiah Wedgwood - and their goal was ridiculous on the face of it: at that time three out of four people in the world were enslaved. Enslaving each other was what human beings had done for ages. And the abolitionist movement was greeted with incredulity. Conservative spokesmen ridiculed the abolitionists as liberals, progressives, do-gooders, meddlers, and activists. They were told they would ruin the economy and drive England into poverty. But for the first time in history a group of people organized themselves to help people they would never know, from whom they would never receive direct or indirect benefit. And today tens of millions of people do this every day. It is called the world of non-profits, civil society, schools, social entrepreneurship, and non-governmental organizations, of companies who place social and environmental justice at the top of their strategic goals. The scope and scale of this effort is unparalleled in history.
The living world is not "out there" somewhere, but in your heart. What do we know about life? In the words of biologist Janine Benyus, life creates the conditions that are conducive to life. I can think of no better motto for a future economy. We have tens of thousands of abandoned homes without people and tens of thousands of abandoned people without homes. We have failed bankers advising failed regulators on how to save failed assets. Think about this: we are the only species on this planet without full employment. Brilliant. We have an economy that tells us that it is cheaper to destroy earth in real time than to renew, restore, and sustain it. You can print money to bail out a bank but you can't print life to bail out a planet. At present we are stealing the future, selling it in the present, and calling it gross domestic product. We can just as easily have an economy that is based on healing the future instead of stealing it. We can either create assets for the future or take the assets of the future. One is called restoration and the other exploitation. And whenever we exploit the earth we exploit people and cause untold suffering. Working for the earth is not a way to get rich, it is a way to be rich.
The first living cell came into being nearly 40 million centuries ago, and its direct descendants are in all of our bloodstreams. Literally you are breathing molecules this very second that were inhaled by Moses, Mother Teresa, and Bono. We are vastly interconnected. Our fates are inseparable. We are here because the dream of every cell is to become two cells. In each of you are one quadrillion cells, 90 percent of which are not human cells. Your body is a community, and without those other microorganisms you would perish in hours. Each human cell has 400 billion molecules conducting millions of processes between trillions of atoms. The total cellular activity in one human body is staggering: one septillion actions at any one moment, a one with twenty-four zeros after it. In a millisecond, our body has undergone ten times more processes than there are stars in the universe - exactly what Charles Darwin foretold when he said science would discover that each living creature was a "little universe, formed of a host of self-propagating organisms, inconceivably minute and as numerous as the stars of heaven."
So I have two questions for you all: First, can you feel your body? Stop for a moment. Feel your body. One septillion activities going on simultaneously, and your body does this so well you are free to ignore it, and wonder instead when this speech will end. Second question: who is in charge of your body? Who is managing those molecules? Hopefully not a political party. Life is creating the conditions that are conducive to life inside you, just as in all of nature. What I want you to imagine is that collectively humanity is evincing a deep innate wisdom in coming together to heal the wounds and insults of the past.
Ralph Waldo Emerson once asked what we would do if the stars only came out once every thousand years. No one would sleep that night, of course. The world would become religious overnight. We would be ecstatic, delirious, made rapturous by the glory of God. Instead the stars come out every night, and we watch television.
This extraordinary time when we are globally aware of each other and the multiple dangers that threaten civilization has never happened, not in a thousand years, not in ten thousand years. Each of us is as complex and beautiful as all the stars in the universe. We have done great things and we have gone way off course in terms of honoring creation. You are graduating to the most amazing, challenging, stupefying challenge ever bequested to any generation. The generations before you failed. They didn't stay up all night. They got distracted and lost sight of the fact that life is a miracle every moment of your existence. Nature beckons you to be on her side. You couldn't ask for a better boss. The most unrealistic person in the world is the cynic, not the dreamer. Hopefulness only makes sense when it doesn't make sense to be hopeful. This is your century. Take it and run as if your life depends on it.
Ever wonder what is going on the world right now? WorldoMeters gives you world statistics updated in real time. The above snapshot was taken at about 7:45 AM (PST) this morning, and already the statistics have rapidly changed before publishing this post. These statistics bring the message home, especially as one notes which numbers are spinning off the charts and which ones remain relatively static. It is interesting to contemplate where one is represented multiple times in the statistics (such as blog posts published).
Tonight at 8:30 pm, people across the world will be turning off their lights for Earth Hour. From the Great Pyramids of Giza to the Chatham Islands, people around the globe area uniting for climate change:
At 8.30pm local time tonight, 2848 cities and towns across 83 countries will switch off their lights for Earth Hour in a moment of global solidarity.
From the small island nations of the South Pacific to the densely populated cities of the Americas, millions of people from all walks of life and corners of the world will participate in Earth Hour, casting their vote in the world's first global election between Earth and global warming.
66 national capitals and 9 of the10 most populated metropolises on the planet have confirmed their participation in this year's event, along with some of the world's most prominent cites...
Black Friday is the day retailers traditionally kick off the holiday shopping season with big sales. The overconsumerism of western culture is not sustainable nor good for the environment, therefore, Black Friday is Buy Nothing Day!
Suddenly, we ran out of money and, to avoid collapse, we quickly pumped liquidity back into the system. But behind our financial crisis a much more ominous crisis looms: we are running out of nature... fish, forests, fresh water, minerals, soil. What are we going to do when supplies of these vital resources run low?
There's only one way to avoid the collapse of this human experiment of ours on Planet Earth: we have to consume less.
It will take a massive mindshift. You can start the ball rolling by buying nothing on November 28th. Then celebrate Christmas differently this year, and make a New Year's resolution to change your lifestyle in 2009.
Today is Blog Action Day, and this year's theme is poverty. The subject of poverty begs the question: Is poverty good for the environment? Certainly people living with less means have a smaller carbon footprint. They aren't jet-setting across the world in airplanes, driving Hummers, or buying expensive clothes they do not need.
I know several families that live below the official US poverty level by choice, and I have been there myself. They grow and store their own food, shop thrift stores for their clothes, and earn little money but are very self-sufficient. Of course, these content people are not the target of Blog Action Day. Their basic needs are met, they are not being taken advantage of by corporations, and they live in a healthy environment.
No one should live in hunger or without needed health care, but I also don't think the goal should be to raise all world citizens to the natural resource abusing level of middle and upper class Americans. Workers should be paid living wages so that they never have to wonder where their next meal is coming from, or if they will be evicted because they can't pay the rent.
Of course, the environment and poverty go hand in hand, as many people of low socio-economic status live in environmentally degraded, toxic, and polluted neighborhoods. Furthermore, environmentalism has been accused of being an elitist movement, as impoverished families cannot afford organic food or fashion. Poverty is a complex issue, and the environment should be considered in every discussion and resolution on the subject.
We can all use the help of our peers in making buying decisions or learning how to better use what we already own, but it's important to connect with the right people. Huddler's Green Home is the place for passionate, eco-friendly consumers to come together, learn from one another, and share their knowledge with the world. Do you:
* Know how to maximize the fuel efficiency of your Prius?
* Maintain a killer compost and have some secrets to share?
* Have a PV array installed and understand the ins/outs?
* Want to share what you know and talk to other people with similar passions?
Huddler's unique approach to online sharing integrates discussion forums, wikis, product reviews, and detailed user profiling. So come huddle together with other green consumers!
Do you live in Boston and want to go green? Izzit Green can help. This new community based website asks, "Is it good?" and "IzzitGreen?" Users can search businesses, write reviews, discuss, and look at guides for the area.
If you care about the state of our planet, you need to know 'is it good' and IzzitGreen? Just like peanut butter and jelly or Pinky and The Brain,'good' and 'green' are fine on their own. But when they get together...that's when greatness happens.
Since I don't live in Boston (but Blogpire is based there), I am not familiar with businesses in the area. I decided to search for a business I knew would be there: Starbucks. I was curious to see how green Bostonians think this coffee chain is, but unfortunately it hasn't been rated yet.
Sharing green finds with your community uses the power of the web to promote change. Izzit Green values the community's opinions, "Your observations and your smarts are the foundation of our community." I hope Izzit Green expands to other towns soon!