Category Archives: International

Pachamama Alliance in the Amazon

I spent 2 weeks in the Amazon jungle in Ecuador with the founders of the Pachamama Alliance. For more than 20 years, Pachamama has been supporting the Schuar and Achuar indigenous people in keeping oil drilling and mining out of the pristine jungle. The jungle is widely recognized as the “lungs of the earth” for the vegetation’s capacity to absorb carbon dioxide and emit oxygen.

Pachamama’s mission is to create “an environmentally sustainable, socially just, and spiritually fulfilling presence of humanity on the planet.” The Alliance has empowered the Achuar to develop the Kipawi Lodge, an eco-lodge deep in the heart of the jungle along a tributary of the Amazon.

Life for these people has changed dramatically in the past decades. Missionaries convinced them to stop inter-tribal wars. Medicine dramatically reduced infant deaths. Formerly, the wars and infant mortality kept population growth in check. In addition, guns have now replaced blow guns and poisoned darts. The result is the population of the Schuar has ballooned from 10,000 to 70,000 and the Achuar has ballooned from 1,000 to 10,000.  The people can no longer get all the food they need from agriculture and hunting and must find ways to make money to buy what they need.

The women often spend their entire child-bearing years pregnant. Lynne Twist, one of the founders of Pachamama, has created a program called “Jungle Mamas.” Women are given beaded necklaces with beads that represent the entire month and specially colored ones for when ovulation happens. They can then manage themselves to only have children when they choose.

As I look at the projected trajectory of population growth worldwide it is critical, as part of addressing human contributions to global warming, that ways like this must be found for people to manage the size of their families.

Awakening the Dreamer Symposium

I just spent 2 weeks in Solar Valley, China as Visiting Professor at the International Micro Emissions University. During that time I did my climate talk with 450 students and faculty and with 400 employees of Hi Min Solar. In addition, I delivered the Pachamama Alliance “Awakening the Dreamer Symposium” to the students and the employees.

I worked with 12 different groups to enable them to work in a way that they expand their effectiveness and experience satisfaction and peace of mind. Here are the basics of what I said:

My fundamental working principle is I want to live and work with an EMPTY MIND.

When I am with my family I want to be with them. I don’t what to be thinking about what I haven’t gotten done.

When I am sleeping I want to rest. I don’t want to be kept up all night thinking about what I didn’t get done today and what I have to get done tomorrow.

And, I want to feel satisfied and happy with what I do.

Here are my practices:

Before you leave work:

Go over your “to do list” for today and congratulate yourself for what you have accomplished, like a soccer player celebrates when he or she scores a goal.

Write out your “to do list” for tomorrow

During work:

Cross out what you get done as you do it. Acknowledge yourself for getting it done like a soccer player celebrates when he or she scores a goal.

Time off and vacation:

Make a “to do list” when you are on time off or vacation so you can feel you have accomplished something during this time. It can be as simple as, “sleep until noon, take a walk with my wife/husband, visit my brother,” etc.

Being reminded of things:

I keep a small notebook in a pocket wherever I go. When I think of something I want to do or something I want to learn about I don’t want to carry that around in my mind. I want an EMPTY MIND. So, I write it down and put it on a list later. I also keep this notebook by my bed when I sleep in case I wake up in the middle of the night and remember something or have an insight. I can write it down and go back to sleep with an EMPTY MIND.