Reinventing your life

photo of Gwen Randall-Young

UNIVERSE WITHIN
by Gwen Randall-Young

Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.
– George Bernard Shaw

Perhaps your life has not gone as planned. Perhaps it did, but you are not sure that the plan is what you want anymore. Change can be hard. I often have clients that are dealing with major change and frequently the change is not of their own choosing.

What I see is that the old life, in some significant way, is gone. It may be the death of someone close, the ending of a relationship or job, a financial setback or a health crisis. In most cases, there is a longing for the return to the old life, a wish to wake up and find it was all just a dream. This is normal.

However, when the longing and resistance to change persists, over time, it prevents one from moving on. I picture it like this: you have been moved to a new house but you do not furnish it or put up pictures because you are focused on the old house and you want it back. You are not really even living in the new house, but rather merely existing. You do not plant flowers or even get to know your neighbours or the neighbourhood.

You realize you cannot go back, yet you spend time thinking of the old life, replaying memories and asking “Why,” but this leaves you sad and depressed. The only way to move forward is to look at this new house and start figuring out how you can make it a good place for you.

With big life changes, it is important to access resources. These include friends, family, helping professionals and perhaps accountants and lawyers. Recognize that so many others have been in your shoes and have survived.

You may feel you have lost a big part of yourself, but you are still here! There may be a void caused by the changes, but look at that as a blank canvas on which you can begin a new painting. What can you do with your time now that things are different?

With the busyness of modern life, many find they have lost touch with who they really are. It is easy to get so wrapped up in the context of our lives that we lose touch with who we are at the core of our being.

Think of the things you once liked to do. Are there books you simply have not had the time to read?
Is there music you love, but somewhere along the way stopped listening to it? Are their friends or family you have not seen in a long time? Many of them would be delighted to re-establish contact with you. Are there things you have always wanted to try but never did? A new interest, hobby or activity can invest you with a lot of new energy.

Yes, some things will never be the same, but that is true of all of life: everything changes. It is okay to look back now and then, but keep your eyes open to what is in front of you. Be in the moment rather than in the past. Notice nature, the sky, the earth and the stars. Feel your breathing and the beat of your heart. You are alive. You need to live.

Remember the words of Max Ehrmann: “You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.”

Gwen Randall-Young is an author and psychotherapist in private practice. For articles and information about her books, “Deep Powerful Change” hypnosis CDs and “Creating Effective Relationships” series, visit www.gwen.ca ‘Like’ Gwen on Facebook for daily inspiration.

BC Book Awards

bc book prizes

Celebrating the year’s brightest & best

Publishing is obsessed with “winners,” but I’ve always thought literary prizes are earned while winners are for lotteries. Still, awards recognize writers, endangered in our post-truth, anti-intellectual world. And they help sell books at a time when too many people don’t read and the average human attention span has shrunk to less than the seven seconds of a goldfish’s memory.

Since 1985, the non-profit West Coast Book Prize Society has drawn attention to the achievements of writers, publishers and illustrators in our part of the world. Since you are now reading, Common Ground hopes the 33rd annual BC Book Prizes’ list, and a bit about each, will encourage you to continue reading and support local writing.

Douglas Coupland, recipient of this year’s Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Literary Excellence. Photo courtesy of Random House,
www.randomhousebooks.com

Douglas Coupland has earned the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Literary Excellence. His first novel, the 1991 international bestseller Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture, popularized such terms as “McJob “and “Gen X.” He’s published 13 novels, two short story collections, seven non-fiction books, drama, film and TV screenplays. Coupland’s latest works include the novel, Worst. Person. Ever., an updated City of Glass, and a biography of Marshall McLuhan. His art includes “everywhere is anywhere is anything is everything,” exhibited at the Vancouver Art Gallery and Royal Ontario Museum.

The Lieutenant Governor’s Award, established in 2003 by Hon. Iona Campagnolo, is $5,000. The awards – fiction, non-fiction, poetry, children’s literature, children’s illustrated literature, books about BC and the BC Bookseller’s Choice – are $2,000 each.

Jennifer Manuel receives the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize for The Heaviness of Things That Float (Douglas and McIntyre). The story: the lonely world of Bernadette, a community nurse, who’s served for 40 years on a remote west coast First Nations reserve. A compelling debut novel, it explores the delicate dynamic with non-native outsiders and evokes desolate, beautiful and untamed Vancouver Island.

The Roderick Haig-Brown Regional Prize recognizes contributions to enjoyment and understanding of BC. This year’s winner is Mapping My Way Home: A Gitxsan History (Creekstone Press) by Neil J. Sterritt. His book traces European explorers and adventurers in the economic hub of 150 years ago, at the junction of the Skeena and Bulkley rivers. A Gitxsan leader, Sterritt also shares stories of his people, both ancient and recent.

The 2017 Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize was presented to Deborah Campbell for A Disappearance in Damascus: A Story of Friendship and Survival in the Shadow of War (Knopf Canada). In 2007, on assignment for Harper’s magazine, she witnessed millions of displaced Iraqi refugees flooding into Syria during the increasingly violent aftermath of the 2003 US-led invasion. By personalizing the ongoing tragedy, she provides deeper understanding of the Syrian civil war and refugee crisis and deep ramifications that war has had on the Middle East.

Adèle Barclay earned the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize for If I Were in a Cage I’d Reach Out for You (Nightwood Editions). She is quoted as saying, poetry is “a counter-spell to the Neoliberal, patriarchal, white supremacist, mess… Poetry resists, something that is at home with messiness and paradoxes. I think radical kinship or radical kindness and being public about emotional vulnerability… saying those things out loud, is political. Or at least I hope so.”

The Christie Harris Illustrated Children’s Literature Prize for best illustrated book was awarded to My Heart Fills with Happiness (Orca), written by Monique Gray Smith, illustrated by Julie Flett. The charming board book not only celebrates indigenous culture and community, but also everyone’s ability to find joy in the small details of everyday life.

The best non-illustrated book written for children – Sheila A. Egoff Children’s Literature Prize – is awarded to Iain Lawrence for The Skeleton Tree (Tundra Books). A nail-biting, page-turning survival story, it’s packed with psychological suspense and action, focused on an evolving relationship between two boys stranded in the Alaskan wilderness. Like all 15 books by this acclaimed author, including Gemini Summer, which earned the Governor-General’s Literary Award for Children’s Literature, this is a wonderful read for all ages.

Finally, the 2017 Bill Duthie Booksellers’ Choice Award is bitter-sweet. It’s awarded to Richard Wagamese, who died in March, at age 61. Embers: One Ojibway’s Meditations (Douglas and McIntyre) is among 13 books by one of Canada’s foremost First Nations authors and storytellers. Honest, evocative and articulate, this is a collection of hard-won wisdom by the late, self-described “spiritual bad-ass.” More than ever, First Nations stories are being shared.

Finalist authors tour BC schools and libraries. And the Society also coordinates the adopt-a-Library program.

Bruce Mason is a Vancouver and Gabriola Island-based banjo player, gardener, writer and author of Our Clinic.

Visionary artists Alex and Allyson Grey

Alex and Allyson Grey

An interview

by Jacob Steele

Jacob Steele: What do you see as the visionary artist’s role, and what do you seek to communicate about life in relation to the polarities of dark and light?

Alex Grey: The artist is a lens for the soul. Artworks are the views seen through that lens. The artist’s subject dictates where the lens will be focused. Light is the core subject in our work. We are painters of transcendental light. Allyson’s paintings are abstract expressing a world view of essentialized consciousness through spectral light and secret writing. My art is figurative, portraying states of consciousness throughout the hero’s journey.

Allyson Grey: The responsibility of the artist is to be true to their own soul. The mission of art is to make the soul perceptible. Polarities infuse our art and life: light and dark, chaos and order, bright colour and grey monochrome, man and woman, old and young, life and death. Polarities reflect the paradox of our mortal existence in relation to our timeless spirit. Spiritually inspired art is infused with devotional love energy, transferring to the viewer a sense of the sacred that makes life worth living.

JS: The Chapel of Sacred Mirrors (CoSM) is a project to which you have devoted many years. What is CoSM’s mission?

Alex Grey: The mission of CoSM is to build an enduring sanctuary of visionary art to evolve the creative spirit and uplift a global community. CoSM is a radically welcoming interfaith art church, a context for a community that honours and practices art as a spiritual path. To further the spiritual practice of art, CoSM offers workshops and cultural programs.

At CoSM, we celebrate commitments of love and passages of consecration including weddings, baby blessings and memorials. Grey House is filled with art and altars. The Wisdom Trail through the woods features natural beauty, altars, a labyrinth, a reflecting pond, murals and sculptural installations. Overnight stays can be reserved in Grey House, CoSM’s 10-bedroom guest house, 365 nights of the year. CoSM offers an inspiring destination for souls seeking to align with creative source, co-create a mighty force field of compassion and manifest sacred space together.

Allyson Grey: Now under construction, targeted to open December 2017, is Entheon, CoSM’s sanctuary of Visionary Art, where visitors will experience an exhibition of mystic art inside a sculptural building. The All-One Gallery at Entheon will feature an annually rotating exhibit of original paintings, sculpture and muti-media by the finest artists of the International Visionary Art movement and there will be a gallery featuring many of my paintings and works on paper. Designed by Alex, Entheon will display many of his best-loved works including the Sacred Mirrors.

Alex Grey: We invite the world of visionaries to become part of the Entheon project, a way to honour the mystical experience through enshrining artifacts inspired by the higher worlds. (buildentheon.com, cosm.org)

Excerpted from an interview conducted by Jacob Steele of Banyen Books & Sound, banyen.com

EVENT APR 27-30: Alex and Allyson make their debut appearance in Vancouver. Join them at the Vogue Theatre on Friday April 28 for their feature presentation. Tickets available at www.ticketfly.com and Banyen Books, www.banyen.com, 604-732-7912. More info at www.apparentproductions.com

A triumphant soundtrack for our times

the Leonard Cohen soundtrack

For the greater part of 82 years, Leonard Cohen wrote, recorded and performed a sometimes bleak, sometimes joyful, soundtrack of our times. Even from his deathbed.

Leonard Cohen (1934-2016)

by Bruce Mason

Just before the profoundly sad news of his death went viral in November, many were listening to Leonard Cohen’s latest recording, You Want It Darker (released October, 2016), eerily prophetic and highly acclaimed as among the best of his 14 albums. As the world became darker and more inexplicable and absurd, the numbers grew into the millions, as others reached out and briefly retreated into his beloved canon of musical meditations on ‘big questions.’

My own initiation began with a few dollars left over from purchasing first-year university textbooks, spent on Let Us Compare Mythologies (1956), published when Cohen himself was an undergraduate. Its intellectual and spiritual hunger, melancholy and black humour were the most easily understood and accessible in the campus bookstore. Through dog-eared and thumb-worn poetry collections – The Spice-Box of Earth, Flowers for Hitler, Parasites of Heaven – and novels – The Favourite Game and Beautiful Losers – I followed along on his quest for what he called a “state of grace, a kind of balance in the chaos of existence.”

In an engrossing New Yorker profile in October, “confined to barracks” from a modest second floor in L.A., Cohen confessed in his final interview, “I’ve got some work to do. Take care of business. I am ready to die. I hope it’s not too uncomfortable. That’s about it for me.”

For the greater part of 82 years, Leonard Cohen wrote, recorded and performed a sometimes bleak, sometimes joyful, soundtrack of our times. Even from his deathbed. A handful of informal guitar lessons in his twenties served him well: “Six chords and a guitar pattern, that has been the basis of all my songs and all my music,” he said. And he eventually tamed his performance anxiety after pursuing Zen as a discipline and a practice of investigation.

Five decades ago, Cohen was as big and celebrated as it got in Can-Lit and culture. He befriended fellow poet Irving Layton, later recalling, “I taught him how to dress; he taught me how to live forever.” In 1960, restless and relentless, he retreated to the Greek island of Hydra where cars were banned and mules carried water up steep paths to houses. With a small inheritance, he purchased a simple, whitewashed space for $1,500 and shared it with one of his many muses, Marianne Ihlen, and her young son.

“I met him in the mid-’60s,” Judy Collins told me (Both Sides Now, Common Ground, April, 2013). “He’d been in Greece and was unaware of the folk boom, heading to Nashville from Montreal, with a notion of pursuing country music to supplement his income. In my living room, he apologized for his singing and guitar playing, even doubting that what he was writing were songs. I was mesmerized, wanted more.

“After he finished writing “Suzanne,” he sang it over the phone and I invited him to an anti-Vietnam War town hall. I dragged him onstage, but he stopped partway, pleading, ‘I can’t go on.’ “I pushed him back to the mic and the crowd went wild.”

Cohen was 33 when his recording debut, Songs of Leonard Cohen (1967), was released. He was an original voice, haunting, hypnotic, a whisper-like rasp, unconventional, unprecedented and more economical. Critics’ labels included “godfather of gloom,” “poet laureate of pessimism,” and “music to slit your wrists to.” “Sometimes, I stumble out of bed, look at myself in the mirror and say, ‘Lighten up, Cohen,’” he told audiences, which grew to as many as 600,000 at the Isle of Wight Festival in 1970. Speaking of concerts, he said they made him feel like “some parrot chained to his stand.”

His Hallelujah – ­years in the making and released in 1984 – is possibly the most-sung-all-occasions-song of this century, played at weddings and funerals, repeatedly on VH1 after 9/11, at the state ceremony for NDP leader Jack Layton, and at the opening of the Vancouver Winter Olympics. It has been recorded so often that Cohen jokingly called for a moratorium. Two weeks after his death, Hallelujah made its first appearance on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and garnered four million US streams in the week ending November 17, 2016.

Nobel laureate Bob Dylan has compared Cohen’s songs to “prayers… great songs, deep and truthful, multidimensional, surprisingly melodic, they make you think and feel.” Hallelujah is “beautifully constructed and the point-blank I-know-you-better-than-you-know-yourself aspect has plenty of resonance for me.”

In 1992, Cohen released The Future. Included on the album is Anthem, which took 10 years to complete – “Ring the bells that still can ring. Forget your perfect offering. There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in” – and Closing Time, in which he shifted out of the darkness in single stanzas: “All the women tear their blouses off. And the men they dance on the polka dots.” Or, “I said to Hank Williams, how lonely does it get? Hank Williams hasn’t answered yet. But I hear him coughing all night long, floors above me in the Tower of Song.”

For five years, he retreated from the public eye, spending it in deep meditation and silence – three years near L.A. and two in Bombay. Meanwhile, his manager and former lover, Kelley Lynch, embezzled his life savings. He would be awarded a symbolic $9 million while she received 18 months’ jail time and five years probation for harassment. Broke, he went back to the studio and toured from 2008 to 2014, his spiritual strength evident in four-hour performances and an unmatched late-life renaissance.

Last summer, when he learned she was dying, Cohen scribbled, “Well, Marianne, it’s come to this time when we are really so old and our bodies are falling apart and I think I will follow you very soon. Know that I am so close behind you that if you stretch out your hand, I think you can reach mine. Now, I just want to wish you a very good journey. Goodbye, old friend. Endless love, see you down the road.”

After burying his father in an unadorned pine box in a family plot in home-town Montreal, his son Adam, a musician who co-produced Cohen’s last album, posted, “As I write this, I’m thinking of my father’s unique blend of self-deprecation and dignity, his approachable elegance, his charisma without audacity, his old-world gentlemanliness and the hand-forged tower of his work.”

Now, one for the ages, Leonard Cohen is gone, leaving behind a lifetime of inspired offerings, a rich, polished, timeless legacy for those who seek inner peace, especially in troubled times.

Bruce Mason is a Vancouver and Gabriola-Island based five-string banjo player, gardener, freelance writer and author of Our Clinic. brucemason@shaw.ca


Last words from Leonard

Twenty-five years ago, his song, The Future, prophesied, “And now the wheels of heaven stop. You feel the devil’s riding crop. Get ready for the future: it is murder.” Weeks before his death, he shared some insights:

“I know there’s a spiritual aspect to everybody’s life, whether they want to cop to it or not. It’s there, you can feel it in people – there’s some recognition that there is a reality that they cannot penetrate but which influences their mood and activity. So that’s operating. That activity at certain points of your day or night insists on a certain kind of response. Sometimes it’s just like, ‘You are losing too much weight, Leonard. You’re dying, but you don’t have to cooperate enthusiastically with the process. Force yourself to have a sandwich.’

“What I mean to say is that you hear the Bat Kol. The divine voice. You hear this other deep reality singing to you all the time, and much of the time you can’t decipher it. Even when I was healthy, I was sensitive to the process. At this stage of the game, I hear it saying, ‘Leonard, just get on with the things you have to do.’ It’s very compassionate at this stage. More than at any time of my life, I no longer have that voice that says, ‘You’re fucking up.’ That’s a tremendous blessing, really.”

photo of Leonard Cohen by Takahiro Kyono Creative Commons

Toad People World Premiere

image toad people

Presented by
the Wilderness Committee
www.wildernesscommittee.org

» Wednesday, November 30, 6:30-9PM
At SFU Woodward’s, 149 W. Hastings St., Vancouver
Tickets $10 – order at toadpeople.brownpapertickets.com


What does it take to save a species? A film about hope, community and the struggle to save species at risk in BC. We are thrilled to announce the world premiere of our hotly anticipated documentary film Toad People. We hope you will save the date in your calendars and join us there.

Toad People is an inspiring documentary about communities across BC fighting to protect species at risk, such as the western toad and barn owl. This film isn’t just about people standing up for toads. People living in BC know we have remarkable wildlife no other province boasts: killer whales, grizzly bears, barn owls and badgers.

Many people don’t realize that BC has no standalone endangered species legislation. With the provincial election around the corner, now is the time to change that.

After Vancouver, we’re hitting the road to screen Toad People in interior BC, Vancouver Island and northern BC.

www.facebook.com/events/1807844426161211/

More at VIFF

From Yann Arthus-Bertrand’s documentary Human. Photo courtesy of viff.org Showing October 10 (VIFF at the Centre) and October 12 (Vancouver Playhouse).

mesmerizing and unconventional

by Robert Alstead

• Koneline: Our Land Beautiful, by local filmmaker Nettie Wild, takes a fresh, even-handed approach to a heated subject: resource development in BC’s Northwest wilderness. The hereditary land of the Tahltan First Nation has been dubbed the “Serengeti of the North.” Now, the land is being opened up to mining companies for its rich gold and copper resources. Wild’s approach allows many individuals to share their different knowledge and experience of the area – whether it be the geologist’s expertise on rock formations or the aboriginal student sharing his disappearing dialect – and builds a mosaic of impressions.

Read more

Docs at the Vancouver International Film Festival

by Robert Alstead

Titan Missile from Command and Control, Courtesy of American Experience Films
Titan Missile from Command and Control, Courtesy of American Experience Films

• If the events of Cold War documentary Command and Control hadn’t actually happened, you might think it was made up. On September 18, 1980, a PTS (Propellant Transfer System) team working on a nuclear missile in Damascus, Arkansas, accidentally dropped a metal socket in the silo. It punctured the fuel tank and set off a potentially catastrophic chain of events: the 9Mt thermonuclear warhead on the Titan II missile was capable of annihilating 10 million people.

Robert Kenner, who previously directed Food, Inc., uses artful reconstructions, together with candid interviews with those involved, from up and down the chain of command, to create a riveting and scary-as-hell account of the incident. Chillingly, the film also illustrates how this “broken arrow” – to borrow Air Force lingo – is just the tip of a pile of hundreds of nuclear weapon accidents that have occurred out of sight and mind.

In Freightened: The Real Price of Shipping, director Denis Delestrac posits that society suffers collective “seablindness” to practices in the global shipping industry. From the jacket in a shop made from materials that have travelled 48,000km for the price of a transit ticket, to the oil spills, shipwrecks and huge carbon footprint, the industry is flying under the radar. We cannot fathom the volume of illicit goods – potentially dirty bombs – circulating in container traffic.

Delestrac seems most riled by the coterie of secretive shipping magnates, who cut corners and costs by sailing their fleets under a “flag of convenience.” Under this topsy-turvy system, Mongolia and Bolivia, which have no coastline, have some of the world’s biggest fleets, while Panama, Liberia and the Marshall Islands are top funders for the UN agency responsible for shipping regulation.

In spite of a tendency to press its point too forcefully, this is a welcome look at the social and ecological impact of shipping; it is especially relevant in Vancouver and BC, given the huge increases in oil, LNG and coal shipping being planned.

Carl-A. Fechner’s Power to Change: The Energy Rebellion also calls shipping offside for its carbon footprint (equivalent to Germany’s), but its main focus is on solutions. Stars of the show are the engineers and entrepreneurs of the Energiewende(Germany’s “energy transition”), who are trailblazing renewables development with teutonic zeal and determination. Not afraid to get technical, it covers a variety of projects from straw pellets to replace fossil fuels, to giant battery power plants that are being created from de-commissioned nuclear power plants, to show how the big obstacle to climate action is not lack of technical know-how but political will.

Strangers on the Earth is another documentary that follows an ensemble of characters, this time walking the medieval pilgrim trail across the North of Spain. I met my wife on the Camino de Santiago de Compostela so I’m always curious to see filmmakers’ treatment of it. Accomplished cellist Dane Johansen, following in the footsteps of Canadian violinist Oliver Schroer, sets off with cello on back to record Bach’s Cello Suites along the way. While his uplifting, mellifluous soundtrack combines well with evocative imagery of pilgrims doing the time-honoured trail during its summer peak, the film struggles to connect at a deeper level. Some editing decisions distract and Johansen’s own self-revelations are lost in the mix of pilgrim voices, from the poetic to banal.

When Two Worlds Collide will resonate with British Columbia audiences. The documentary looks at a bloody period of conflict between indigenous Amazonians and government over land rights and resource exploitation in the Peruvian Amazon. The doc closely follows charismatic native leader Alberto Pizango, who conveys a sadly familiar story of ecological loss and government duplicity. It provides good coverage of the government side through excellent use of archival footage and recent interviews to show how a tense standoff quickly escalated.

On my list to see is the latest from BC’s Nettie Wild, KONELINE: our land beautiful, a poetic take on the conflict between resource development and the traditional way of life of the Tahltan Nation in Northern BC. It won Best Documentary Feature at Hot Docs so it’s bound to be popular.

Vancouver International Film Festival (viff.org) runs September 29-October 14.

Robert Alstead made the climate justice documentary Running On Climate, runningonclimate.com

Green technology pioneers pave but seldom save

by Gary Magwood

Roger Walsh
Roger Walsh and the Clear Flow hose

• Environmentalist, inventor, thinker, visionary, and part-time hustler, Roger Walsh has dabbled in various forms of green technology for over 40 years.

Small-scale solar and wind power electrical generation, high efficient lighting ballasts, multi-fuel wood stoves and furnaces, and his own water pumping systems, are only a few of his designs and successes. In 1976, a solar log home built in Scarborough, Ontario, was nominated for an architectural design award. And as expected, there were setbacks. For instance, the design prototype for his cyclonic wind turbine, a cone-shaped air sock that could generate electricity in even the lightest of breezes, “disappeared” while being evaluated by a community college in Ontario.

Among his interests and passions, one topic kept reappearing: a no-freeze water pipe and hose system that would ensure uninterrupted water service even when the temperature dropped below zero – without electricity.

In the early nineties, Walsh formed Frost Free Water Systems Inc., and the company began to manufacture and install his patented, high-efficiency, closed loop, hybrid air-powered water pumps. The pumps and related technologies could operate on12-volt DC power, solar energy or straight from the grid.

Now, after almost 40 years, his forays have included organic gardening, a free-range beef farm and the manufacture and installation of his patented Enviroficient multi-fuel stove and boiler furnace. However, his Clear-Flow Water Hose has become the sole focus of his attention – his passion flowing back to the subject of moving water.

The Clear-Flow Water Hose flows in temperatures as cold as -10°C, without windchill. In addition to being ultra light, durable, flexible (to-40°C) and kink resistant with crush-proof nylon fittings, the hose actually self drains when ends are open.

In addition to the movement of water, electricity charges Walsh’s inventive juices. A few years ago, he established Less Energy Inc., another of his numerous enterprises. He was searching for a way to develop more energy efficient electronic ballasts for high efficiency fluorescent and metal (MH) lighting systems. Then along came newer lighting technology that eliminated the need for much of what Walsh had been developing. The world of electricity and electronics moves at an insane pace. Without massive resources, inventors and visionaries find it more difficult to keep up. But water still flows downstream and freezes in winter temperatures.

Hose BrochureWith 25+ patents to his name, many of which are for environmentally friendly initiatives, Walsh continues to roll around ideas – some of them radical ­– about green, sustainable and energy efficient ways to reduce our collective carbon footprint.

“We all have to contribute to the betterment of humanity, but we need to do it without consuming more energy,” he says in his typically enthusiastic style of conversation. And then riffing on JFK’s famous quote, Walsh adds, “Do not ask what more can I take from and do to our planet, but what can I do to help preserve and repair planet Earth, our only home (so far) that sustains us and life?” Words are very powerful and Walsh’s sentiments reflect much of what is being done by many of us concerned about Earth’s ability to sustain an ever-increasing population and our ever-increasing degradation of the environment.

The original, Canadian-invented Clear-Flow Hose is made to exacting standards, both in Canada and the US. Walsh has never compromised on the quality of his inventions and products. His Clear-Flow hose is made of the highest quality, NSF-selected, non-polluting, recyclable materials. The hose is easy to store and made to last with a 10-year warranty. Unlike PVC and rubber hoses, Clear-Flow hoses don’t support the growth of bacteria or produce toxic odours. It’s drinking water safe, and due to its self-draining behaviour, stays cool without the need to flush sun-heated water, thereby saving water.

Clear-Flow hoses are manufactured in two sizes: 5/8” for day-to-day garden applications and the contractor version is produced in a 3/4” diameter. In Canada, the 5/8” and 3/4” hoses are sold at Home Hardware Stores. In the US, the 5/8” garden hose is available from Amazon.com; a 3/4” version will be available soon.

I’m sure that Walsh’s restless, creative mind seldom takes a break, always looking beyond today for green, sustainable and environmental ideas and products appropriate for society’s future needs. As Walsh likes to emphasize, awareness of what we personally, and as a civilization, are doing to our environment is paramount to us caring for it.

Gary Magwood is a committed environmentalist and social activist who lives in the tiny community of Latta Mills in Ontario. He serves as a citizen member of Belleville’s Green Task Force and is an active member in both Canadian and Ontario Green Parties. Contact Roger Walsh and learn more at www.ClearFlowHose.com

Playing for Change

One world, one voice, one day

MUSIC RISING by Bruce Mason

 

Playing for Change Day

 

• Without fail, the Playing For Change website makes me feel good. Most often it gives me goose bumps, but it’s always (in all ways) a joyful, uplifting experience. There’s no better time to feel this yourself than on September 24 when a global community gathers and unites – through the power of music to affect positive change – on stages, street corners, in schools, yoga studios, cafes and living rooms. More than 300 events in 50 countries are listed at www.playingforchange.com

I’m not alone in praising Playing for Change (PFC). After taping a segment of his Words of Wonder, combined with Bob Marley’s Get Up Stand Up, Keith Richards said, “That’s the way music was meant to be.” Jackson Browne produced a PFC arrangement of Guantanamera, featuring more than 75 Cuban musicians in Havana, Barcelona and Tokyo, describing it as “one of the most rewarding and inspiring musical experiences of my life.” And Sara Bareilles reports that singing with the PFC Band “elevates the world with music and inspires me to be a better human.”

Warning! The videos at www.playingforchange.com can be addictive. It’s some of the best feel-good music ever with unprecedented collaborations between previously anonymous street musicians, the classically trained and big names such as Bono, Keb’ Mo’, Jimmy Buffett, David Crosby, members of Los Lobos and the Grateful Dead and even John Lennon on tape, with Yoko Ono’s blessing, launching a Power to the People campaign. Music IS the power.

Mark Johnson is the creator of the global PFC phenomena and the driving force behind what is now a worldwide, multimedia, online music project and foundation. He says, “It is easy to connect to the world through music. Religion, politics, a lot of those things, they seem to divide everybody.” When Bill Moyers asked if he was being naïve, Johnson responded, “To me, naive is thinking that there’s any other choice. The only choice we have is to come together. And to inspire each other because that’s the way we’ll create a better world now and for kids tomorrow.”

His own inspiration for a big idea – to connect the world through unfiltered music – was birthed on a New York subway platform when the Grammy-winning producer/engineer/filmmaker watched two monks singing in a language he didn’t understand. “There were about 200 people who didn’t get on the train… people with tears in their eyes and jaws dropping, people who would normally run by each other.”

Some time later, on his way to work at a Santa Monica studio, an “epiphany” inspired Johnson to record street blues musician Roger Ridley singing Stand by Me. He played the result through headphones for Grandpa Elliott, who has “been putting love out there for 60 years” from the streets of New Orleans. Subsequently, utilizing innovative mobile technology and travelling the world, Johnson videotaped more than 100 musicians – mostly outdoors in parks, plazas, promenades, in doorways, on cobblestone streets and hillside pueblos. Each captured performance of the same song created a new mix in which the artists performed together – although hundreds or thousands of miles apart – in a seamless, mesmerizing collaboration and viral global jam.

Johnson has since produced two award-winning documentaries, A Cinematic Discovery of Street Musicians (2004) and Peace Through Music (2008), and much more music. He notes that PFC videos now have more than 300 million views from 195 countries.

Among myriad locations, Johnson shares that the South African township of Gugeletu was “the saddest place, with so much despair, until women and children joined in singing Celebration.” It was, he says, “one of the most powerful things I had ever seen, from sad to happy, when all that had changed was music.” That barren backyard became the site for a first PFC school. A Playing for Change band was formed to tour the world and help raise funds for what is now 12 school programs – in Bangladesh, Brazil, Ghana, Mali, Nepal, Rwanda, South Africa, Thailand, and growing exponentially.

Each project also helps meet essential needs, including food, clean water, medicine, clothes, books, school supplies, solar energy, computers, and other technology. Johnson says, “It’s never ending, more songs to record, more musicians to connect, always more schools to build.”

As you explore the videos on the PFC site, you may notice two with a regional connection. Music Is My Ammunition opens on a Vancouver beach with three musicians – two from the Congo, one from Italy – before moving on to Jamaica, Hollywood, Cuba, Tokyo and Italy. Don’t Worry was recorded live at the Commodore Ballroom.

Playing for Change Day is held on the Saturday closest to International Peace Day. Everything you need to know to stage an event is also on the PFC website. Email brucemason@shaw.ca with any plans and projects. And tune into Common Ground. Happy Playing for Change Day!

Bruce Mason is a Vancouver and Gabriola Island-based banjo player, gardener, writer and author of Our Clinic.


Playing for Change Day in Vancouver

September 24:
Project Blue Hands Society & Friends (www.projectbluehands.org) invites you to celebrate Playing For Change Day in Vancouver. Music, art & outreach for the people, Victory Square Park, 200 W. Hastings St., 11AM-4PM. To get involved, email info@projectbluehands.org or call (778) 233-5874.

NEWS BITES

MP Don Davies goes to bat for the animals

In the fall session of Parliament, Vancouver Kingsway MP Don Davies will file a petition on behalf of the ADAV (Animal Defense & Anti-Vivisection Society of BC), calling for an end to the two most invasive categories of experimentation, which can include severe pain to unanaesthetized, conscious animals.

Please sign the petition below and share it widely so we can show the government how strongly the public feels about this issue. More than 3.7 million animals suffer unendurable pain at the hands of Canadian researchers every year – and this is just in taxpayer-funded work; private labs have no obligation to report their numbers.

https://petitions.parl.gc.ca/en/Petition/Details?Petition=e-333

Source: www.adavsociety.org

13-year-old invents a Tesla-inspired free energy device

by Terence Newton

Inspired by geniuses Nikola Tesla and Albert Einstein, teenager Max Loughan loves to invent things. In fact, he says he has known his entire short life that his purpose was to change the world with his inventions. And he may just do it.

“As cheesy as this sounds, from day one on this planet I knew I was put here for a reason,” says Max. “And that reason is to invent, to bring the future.”

Wearing a lab coat while speaking in a televised interview with KTVN Channel 2 in Reno and Tahoe, Nevada, Max explained the free energy device he made in his parents’ boiler room turned laboratory.

His invention looks somewhat reminiscent of Tesla coil and operates on some of the same principles described by the electric visionary. The device is rather simple, harvesting electromagnetic energy from the atmosphere, then converting it to direct current, which can be used to power electrical devices.

What’s even more incredible is that Max built his free energy device out of materials he purchased for less than $15. That’s right; for the price of an average lunch, it appears that anyone can have access to free energy. He created an electro magnetic harvester out of a coffee can, some wire, two coils and a spoon.

In a demonstration with KTVN, Max used current created by the machine to power a strip of LED lights he had wrapped around his twin brother, astonishing both his own family and the visiting news crew.

Max’s achievement is impressive, to say the least, and the fact that works of Nikola Tesla are now inspiring the next generation of inventors is quite inspiring, although one has to wonder why Tesla’s ideas have taken some 75 years to reach the mainstream.

This article (This 13-Year-Old Invented a Tesla-Inspired Free Energy Device for $14) was originally created and published by Waking Times and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Terence Newton and WakingTimes.com

Organic agriculture combats the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria

Choosing organic is the best choice consumers can make to combat antibiotic resistance and protect themselves from antibiotic-resistant bacteria, a review paper from The Organic Center concludes.

Overuse of antibiotics in conventional livestock production has been implicated as an important contributor to antibiotic resistance. Research demonstrates that livestock produced without the use of antibiotics – as in organic agriculture – is an important part of the solution.

Of particular concern in conventional agriculture is the routine use of antibiotics, not only to treat infections but to increase the growth and feed efficiency of animals and as a prophylactic agent. Organic livestock, in contrast to conventional, are raised without the use of antibiotics, which are prohibited by federal organic regulations unless medically necessary. Animal health is one of the tenets of organic. If necessary, a sick animal on an organic farm must be treated, but then removed from the herd, and its products – such as meat or milk – may not be sold as organic.

In conventional agriculture, livestock manure disposal is one of the biggest ways antibiotic residues and resistant bacteria enter the environment.

“Organic livestock production, which prohibits the use of antibiotics for growth promotion or prophylactic purposes, provides a compelling example of successful, profitable operations and demonstrates the ability of livestock farms to operate without substantial antibiotic use. Organic provides a model for how agriculture can contribute to a solution,” says Dr. Jessica Shade, director of Science Programs for The Organic Center, who is a co-author of the review with her colleague Dr. Tracy Misiewicz.

The paper looks closely at the role of antibiotic use in conventional agricultural livestock production. It covers the mechanisms by which resistance develops in bacteria, the role that modern-day agricultural practices play in exacerbating the problem, and how organic agriculture provides a simple and effective means to combat the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and to protect the health of consumers.

“Because organic production methods are available to all farmers, they can be incorporated into any livestock operation to combat resistant bacteria,” Dr. Shade says.

The full report is available for download at www.organic-center.org

Source: Organic Trade Association, www.ota.com