The sages teach that the world began with prayer. Until God and Adam communicated there was no fulfillment of Adam’s needs for survival and glorifying God. In fact, God’s created universe stood waiting for humanity’s birth on the sixth day. Only after Adam prayed for rain did the earth come forth with its bounty. Prayer […]
The spiritual teachings of Israel’s biblical prophetesses from a kabbalistic perspective: – Explores the lives and symbolic significance of seven female prophets: Sarah, Miriam, Devorah, Chanah, Avigail, Chuldah, and Esther – Uses the gematria of Jewish metaphysics to demonstrate that prophecy is a mystical initiatory path by which Divine Will is made known, not only […]
The New York Times tracked international ape smugglers from Congolese rain forests to the back streets of Bangkok. Here is what unfolded.
MBANDAKA, Democratic Republic of Congo — The sting began, as so many things do these days, on social media.
Daniel Stiles, a self-styled ape trafficking detective in Kenya, had been scouring Instagram, Facebook and WhatsApp for weeks, looking for pictures of gorillas, chimps or orangutans. He was hoping to chip away at an illicit global trade that has captured or killed tens of thousands of apes and pushed some endangered species to the brink of extinction.
“The way they do business,” he said of ape traffickers, “makes the Mafia look like amateurs.”
After hundreds of searches, Mr. Stiles found an Instagram account offering dozens of rare animals for sale, including baby chimpanzees and orangutans dressed in children’s clothes. He sent an email to an address on the account — “looking for young otans” (the industry standard slang for orangutans) — and several days later received a reply.
In a new animal cruelty index tracking 50 countries that are among the world’s largest producers of farm animal products, the U.S. disturbingly ranks as the second worst country for animal welfare.
Belarus and Venezuela joined the U.S. among the lowest ranked countries, whereas Kenya, India, and the United Republic of Tanzania were among the highest.
by Lauren Lewis for World Animal News
Considering the combined impacts of production, consumption, and regulation, the Voiceless Animal Cruelty Index (VACI) shows how countries with more plant-based diets and those that have not implemented factory farming are more likely to rank highly for animal welfare.
According to the Voiceless Animal Cruelty Index (VACI), a new global interactive education resource that tracks the animal welfare performance of 50 countries that are selected among the largest producers of farm animal products in the world, the United States now ranks as the second worst country.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), along with Bannerghatta Biological Park, collaborated to put together India’s first elephant sanctuary.
Elephants are commonly kept chained in small areas, a highly unsuitable environment that prevents them from roaming, bathing, and socializing. The new 122-acre sanctuary currently houses 15 elephants. Among these elephants is Sunder, who was held in captivity by his handlers for six years. In 2014, after a 21-month-long campaign to free Sunder, the elephant […]
By RICHARD BRANSON and AMORY B. LOVINS
More than a month after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, nearly 80 percent of the island remains without power, and food and water can be tough to find. As we rally to help the survivors and look to rebuild, we owe it to the victims there and in hurricane-ravaged Texas, Florida and elsewhere in the Caribbean to build more resilient infrastructure and prevent and reduce such destruction.
Rebuilding the electric grid in Puerto Rico will take months. But blackouts requiring weeks or months to fix are not caused by hurricanes alone. Many of the affected areas are powered by obsolete grids using fossil fuels. These fragile systems are easily knocked out by storms. We can’t eliminate hurricanes. But if we modernize the electric grid, we can stop blackouts caused by monster storms while also saving fossil fuel and reducing emissions of the greenhouse gases that warm the planet and make these storms more likely and destructive.
When one of us (Richard Branson) emerged from his cellar after riding out Hurricane Irma’s assault on Necker Island, the house and everything surrounding it was destroyed — except for the solar power array, which laid flat on ground and remained materially intact. Solar power systems survived Irma and kept working in Florida and Haiti. While Hurricane Harvey cut some Texas power lines, no wind farms were destroyed.
White Spirit Animals, Prophets of Change explores the practice of shamanism and trans-species telepathy with regard especially to five land mammals, all of them matriarchal societies, where mother and offspring are the centerpiece of each animal’s culture and longevity. This ethos of care has been lost from human society in general, which these terrestrial mammals urge us to restore.
White Spirit Animals are all white-coated unlike their other family members. They are each rare, uncommon for humans to encounter, and outside tribal communities their existence has been deliberately kept from the public for centuries. This has changed. From recent births of White Buffalo and White Wolves in America, to White Lions in Africa and Asia, White Bears in the British Columbian rainforest, White Elephants in India and Asia, there is an awakening effort to protect them all, which also allows humans to occasionally see them and benefit by their presence. They change us as people when we encounter them, as if awakening some forgotten part of ourselves.
by Jeremy Hance · Photographs by Karine Aigner
As our understanding of the minds of our fellow species improves, will we increasingly look back at the way we have treated them in horror and repulsion?
Water streams off the edges of her giant ears, runs in rivulets down the wrinkles of her slate-grey skin. She presses her whole head into the hose’s force, the spray welling into her mouth. As she drinks, she rubs her skin against the steel fence, her eyelids drooping luxuriously, her trunk relaxing. If ever I’ve seen a captive elephant happy, it’s Flora this morning.
There are no people laughing or pointing here at the Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee. There are no infants crying, no children arguing. The public are not allowed into the sanctuary, whose unofficial motto is, “Allow elephants to be elephants”: give them the freedom of choice, the freedom of large areas to explore, the freedom from human gawkers (apart from via the online elecams) while still providing the kind of care that comes with a zoo.
In Victory for Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Court Finds That Approval of Dakota Access Pipeline Violated the Law
Victory: Ruling: Trump administration shortcut environmental review; Court seeks additional briefing on whether to shut down pipeline
Washington, D.C. —The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe won a significant victory today in its fight to protect the Tribe’s drinking water and ancestral lands from the Dakota Access pipeline.
A federal judge ruled that the federal permits authorizing the pipeline to cross the Missouri River just upstream of the Standing Rock reservation, which were hastily issued by the Trump administration just days after the inauguration, violated the law in certain critical respects.
In a 91-page decision, Judge James Boasberg wrote, “the Court agrees that [the Corps] did not adequately consider the impacts of an oil spill on fishing rights, hunting rights, or environmental justice, or the degree to which the pipeline’s effects are likely to be highly controversial.” The Court did not determine whether pipeline operations should be shut off and has requested additional briefing on the subject and a status conference next week.
by: Vicki Batts Is India on its way to becoming an entirely organic nation? Just over two years ago, in September 2014, the Indian Government launched their revolutionary Rastriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (National Agriculture Development Program) as a way to encourage organic farming, and decrease dependence on chemical agents. In January 2015, the state of Sikkim […]
Science SHOCK: Chlorine in swimming pools transforms sunscreen into cancer-causing toxic chemical right on your skin
by Isabelle Z.
If you think you’re doing something good by slathering sunscreen on yourself and your kids before hitting the pool, you might want to think again. A new study places sunscreen firmly on the list of products that can do more harm than good as Russian scientists discover the destructive effects of chlorine in swimming pools on sunscreen.
Money doesn’t grow on trees, but electricity might someday. Iowa State University scientists have built a device that mimics the branches and leaves of a cottonwood tree and generates electricity when its artificial leaves sway in the wind. Michael McCloskey, an associate professor of genetics, development and cell biology who led the design of the […]
The Physicians for Responsible Medicine (www.PSR.org) have complied scientific studies related to the impacts of fracking. The conclusion is that the technology as done today nation wide, has inherent deleterious health and environmental impacts.
There is no such thing as safe fracking!!! From health impacts, to contamination of drinking water, methane gas pollution, geological agitation, increased earthquakes, the compendium PSR has created should be used by every State and County fighting to place a complete moratorium on all fractured rock gas extraction.
Dr. Zohara Hieronimus’ article Existence is a Continuum appears in the Winter 2016 issue of Species Link Journal. She writes:
“Animals, like indigenous tribal people, view existence and non-existence as a continuum. Animals, like many in the human population, are more concerned about the entire Earth and its ecosystems than themselves specifically. For instance, Bear, Wolf, Lion, Elephant, Whale, and Bison are all apex animals in their ecosystems. If any of them become extinct, everything under these capstone species disassembles. Their message to us, as I write about in my upcoming book on the White Spirit Animals, is ‘to save as many of us as you can.'” Read the full article.
by Jason Hickel
It’s getting hot out there. For a stretch of 16 months running through August 2016, new global temperature records were set every month. Ice cover in the Arctic sea hit a new low this past summer, at 525,000 square miles less than normal. And apparently we’re not doing much to stop it: according to Professor Kevin Anderson, one of Britain’s leading climate scientists, we’ve already blown our chances of keeping global warming below the “safe” threshold of 1.5 degrees.
If we want to stay below the upper ceiling of 2 degrees, though, we still have a shot. But it’s going to take a monumental effort. Anderson and his colleagues estimate that in order to keep within this threshold, we need to start reducing emissions by a sobering 8-10% per year, from now until we reach “net zero” in 2050. If that doesn’t sound difficult enough, here’s the clincher: efficiency improvements and clean energy technologies will only win us reductions of about 4% per year at most.
by Jim Tull
I recall a Buddhist parable involving a stick that appears from a distance to be a snake, causing fear to rise in the perceiver. As the perception shifts upon closer examination, the fear subsides and the relieved hiker continues down the path. Understanding and awareness have a lot to do with how we feel and how we act. As hosts to the dominant cultural mindset (our collective understanding of who we are in the universe), our minds play a critical part in both perpetuating our dominant way of life and also in shifting away from it. And so it’s just possible that I have performed no greater service in my three decades of activism than to simply challenge myself and others to consider the possibility that the social systems that support us and we sustain are inherently incapable of meeting basic human needs and that we must make a fresh start, in a sense, if we are to survive this century and prosper thereafter.
These systems are the largely invisible, cyclical patterns of interaction among and within society’s individuals, institutions and principalities. They include small town school systems all the way out to our globalized economic system and to the mother of them all, our globalized monoculture. You need to perceive the stick as a stick before you can confidently move on, and this consideration is a critical step in transforming the way we live.
by Alex Jensen
In 2015, a major study of 24 indicators of human activity and environmental decline titled ‘The Great Acceleration’ concluded that, “The last 60 years have without doubt seen the most profound transformation of the human relationship with the natural world in the history of humankind”. We have all seen aspects of these trends, but to look at the study’s 24 graphs together is to apprehend, at a glance, the totality of the monstrous scale and speed of modern economic activity. According to lead author W. Steffen, “It is difficult to overestimate the scale and speed of change. In a single lifetime humanity has become a planetary-scale geological force.”
Every indicator of intensity and scale of economic activity — from global trade and investment to water and fertilizer use, from pollution of every sort to destruction of environments and biodiversity — has shot up, precipitously, beginning around 1950. The graphs for every such trend point skyward still.
by Martha Rosenberg and Ronnie Cummins
The two multinationals that teamed up during the Vietnam War to poison millions of people with their Agent Orange herbicide—St. Louis, Mo.-based Monsanto and Germany’s Bayer AG—are looking to become one.
Bayer has announced a bid to buy Monsanto in a deal that would expand Bayer’s GMO and pesticide holdings and add drugs to Monsanto’s global portfolio. Monsanto has rejected the latest bid, but the two are still in talks.
If Monsanto, perhaps the most hated GMO company in the world, joins hands with Bayer, one of the most hated Big Pharma corporations on Earth (whose evil deeds date back to World War I and the Nazi era), the newly formed seed-pesticide-drug behemoth would have combined annual sales of $67 billion.
That’s a staggering figure. But here’s another, even more alarming: Combined, the new mega-chemical/seed company would control 29 percent of the world’s seed market and 24 percent of the pesticide market.
Photographer Rose-Lynn Fisher uses an optical microscope to capture the different patterns contained within human tears produced from grief, happiness, exposure to onions and more. Visit her website www.rose-lynnfisher.com/tears.html to see the images and read more.
By Elif Batuman for the New YorkerOn Monday, President Obama signed legislation honoring the American bison, also known as the buffalo, as this country’s first national mammal. In temperament, physique, and symbolism, it is difficult to imagine a creature more starkly different from the bald eagle, which has been our national animal since 1782. (The new law does not affect the eagle’s status.) A raptor known for its razorlike talons and visual acuity, the eagle has served as the imperial standard of the Roman legions, the Byzantine Empire, the Spanish Army, and many other forces. Not so the bison, North America’s largest land mammal, which weighs in at as much as a ton.
by Sarah Knapton, Science Editor at The TelegraphHuman life begins in bright flash of light as a sperm meets an egg, scientists have shown for the first time, after capturing the astonishing ‘fireworks’ on film.
An explosion of tiny sparks erupts from the egg at the exact moment of conception.
Scientists had seen the phenomenon occur in other animals but it is the first time is has been also shown to happen in humans.
Not only is it an incredible spectacle, highlighting the very moment that a new life begins, the size of the flash can be used to determine the quality of the fertilised egg.
U.S. may soon have a national mammal
(CNN) The U.S. House voted Tuesday evening to adopt the North American bison as the national mammal of the United States, bringing the iconic animal one step closer to receiving the recognition many groups have pushed for.
The National Bison Legacy Act, which must get Senate approval before heading to the President’s desk for his signature, aims to honor the historical and contemporary significance of the majestic animal.
“No other indigenous species tells America’s story better than this noble creature,” Rep. William Lacy Clay, D-Missouri, said in a statement.
Clay and several other members of the House and the Senate across both parties wrote and co-sponsored the bill.
“The American bison is an enduring symbol of strength, native American culture and the boundless Western wildness,” Clay said.
“It is an integral part of the still largely untold story of Native Americans and their historic contributions to our national identity.”