EARTH DAY 2020 …

  • “The poetry of the earth is never dead.” – John Keats
  • “In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous.”Aristotle
  • “The environment is where we all meet; where we all have a mutual interest; it is the one thing all of us share.”Lady Bird Johnson
  • “The care of the earth is our most ancient and most worthy and, after all, our most pleasing responsibility. To cherish what remains of it, and to foster its renewal, is our only legitimate hope.”Wendell Berry
  • “God wanted to make heaven; earth is that heaven. Nowhere in the universe there is so much love, life, beauty|peace. Enjoy your stay with the fellow beings.” – Amit Ray
  • “It is possible to become discouraged about the injustice we see everywhere. But God did not promise us that the world would be humane and just. He gives us the gift of life and allows us to choose the way we will use our limited time on earth. It is an awesome opportunity.” – Cesar Chavez
  • “In nature, nothing is perfect and everything is perfect. Trees can be contorted, bent in weird ways, and they’re still beautiful.” – Alice Walker
  • “One of the first conditions of happiness is that the link between man and nature shall not be broken.” – Leo Tolstoy
  • “To see a world in a grain of sand, and a heaven in a wild flower, hold infinity in the palm of your hand, and eternity in an hour.” – William Blake
  • “We live on this speck called Earth – think about what you might do, today or tomorrow, and make the most of it.”Neil deGrasse Tyson

EARTH DAY 2020

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COVID-19 | Questions & Answers …

        TIME

QUESTION: would we emerge a more compassionate society after this        pandemic|economic shock is over? Many answers.

  • Certainly possible, but it will depend on how people are able to cope, get support and engage in the long recovery. If the usual politicos get into cutting public services to address the deficit, the suffering of many could lead to some ugliness, social “disorder” if you will. Or, maybe not; many would be facing hard times; the scarcity mindset would emerge and settle-in. But perhaps this is when we show others the creativity and abundance of other forms of capital (social, cultural, human) that cooperatives and social enterprises are good at revealing and harnessing. Then one can only hope that if this goes on for a while I would hope the new ways will become second nature.
  • On the other hand there will be a whole group of folks chopping at the bits to make things happen faster and without regard for anyone. Time will tell. But then; I wouldn’t bet on it. Look back in history; recent and past, humans have very poor retention. The shocks from events like 9/11, the Kennedy assassination, the 2007 housing bubble and mortgage fraud in the US; these were all devastating and far reaching events, [people were impacted] but, only temporary, before they soon forgot. I think this is all somehow tied to human greed, envy, the darkness of human traits. Then; there is a possibility that if people learn something and treat each other with much respect things could become much better – because nobody really knows what the future holds for us. There could be another big disaster just around the corner, or another pandemic much worse than COVID-19.
  • Let’s get real; we are doomed. You just need to see the history of the world, and the human race. The 2 WW, empires and geopolitics. You know, God gave us everything and we blew it. Maybe this is how mother hearth gets rid of us, for the next wave of creation? Creation has cycles; other cultures gone have left knowledge and experience behind. On the other hand; it would depend on how people use their time and if they give in to fear. Something is changing; can’t quite yet put my hands on it. Sure; but it can go either way.
  • A society of massive surveillance, self-surveillance & being watched by others (friends, colleagues, family members). Basically, a state of surveillance. Or we could say goodbye to this neoliberal austerity, mean-spirited nightmare and move towards a beautiful society of Walker cooperatives and strong public systems. There are a lot of forces at play who would love to see the former happen. It would be very good for people like Bill gates, Jeff Bezos and the likes. Time will tell … But, on the other hand, I am a perpetual optimistic; I give you this. It will require a concerted & intentional effort of many; people will feel empathy for others, and understand the need for solidarity & mutual support – it will be tough for older adults and seniors however; the new “normal” will be challenging in any realm …

© The People, Edmonton, AB 2020

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LOCKDOWN – by Richard Hendrick.

EARTH DAY 2019

Yes, there is fear. Yes, there is isolation. Yes, there is panic buying. Yes, there is sickness. Yes, there is even death. But, They say that in Wuhan after so many years of noise You can hear the birds again. They say that after just a few weeks of quiet The sky is no longer thick with fumes But blue and grey and clear.

They say that in the streets of Assisi People are singing to each other across the empty squares, keeping their windows open so that those who are alone may hear the sounds of the family around them. They say that a hotel in the West of Ireland Is offering free meals and delivery to the housebound. Today a young woman I know is busy spreading fliers with her number through the neighborhood So that the elders may have someone to call on.

Today Churches, Synagogues, Mosques and Temples are preparing to welcome and shelter the homeless, the sick, the weary. All over the world people are slowing down and reflecting; All over the world people are looking at their neighbors in a new way; All over the world, people are waking up to a new reality. To how big we really are.

To how little control we really have. To what really matters. To Love. So we pray and we remember that Yes, there is fear. But there does not have to be hate. Yes, there is isolation. But there does not have to be loneliness. Yes, there is panic buying. But there does not have to be meanness. Yes, there is sickness. But there does not have to be the disease of the soul. Yes, there is even death. But there can always be a rebirth of love.

Wake to the choices you make as to how to live now. Today, breathe. Listen, behind the factory noises of your panic. The birds are singing again. The sky is clearing, Spring is coming, And we are always encompassed by Love. Open the windows of your soul And though you may not be able to touch across the empty square, Sing.

© Fr. Richard Hendrick, OFM
Mindfulness Ireland, March 13th 2020

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THE NATURE OF WORK is CHANGING …

THE NATURE OF WORK is CHANGING | Firms can grow rapidly thanks to digital transformation, which blurs their boundaries and challenges traditional production patterns. The rise of the digital platform firm means that technological effects reach more people faster than ever before.” – World Bank Report 2019

Had lunch with some clients recently – they are all in “transition” as they themselves told me – transition to what I asked respectfully – well, the very nature of our jobs is changing, some of our positions being eliminated by automation (AI) and in some instances simply bottom-line (race to the bottom) to increase “share-holders-value” … This is a complex topic these days – we are all at risk in some way, some more than others perhaps, and if you are in the conventional energy sector in Alberta, well things aren’t what they used to be. Nothing is solid or certain in the world of work and the jobs of now, let alone the jobs of the tomorrow. I asked; what are the trends|patterns you notice? Demographics changes, new technologies, an intense push to develop the “entrepreneurial mind-set” – increasing talks about further support and invest in small business, all of these in the context of growing sectoral unemployment, and massive economic transitions – dislocations …

Long list for sure. I set out to ask some questions to key fellow-travellers in the HR sector whose jobs are also changing, some may say dramatically. For example; Jenna told me that her HR practice is being reshaped by forces she has no control over – such as massive influx of newcomers, many from developing economics, but incredibly qualified in their respective domains. It has forced her to update her tools box (in a manner of speaking) to help her clients from certain sectors|latitudes become visible and actual contenders for well-paid positions in the IT sector, for instance. She has had to fine-tune her CV writing techniques, style and sharp presentation, in part because her judgement is being challenge by AI selecting through pre-screening the most “qualified candidates” for a given position. Julie said to me – “look unless you revise your strategy in terms of successful placement of your clients in a given company|sector, you are also putting yourself on-the-line and becoming painfully irrelevant.”

I think she means: “I not only post client’s resumes on a given platform, I am also actively seeking opportunities for my clients, narrowing down his|her particulars qualities and assets.” Susan added; “look we have to change – nowadays if very easy to get information, whether good or bad, it is all out there, if a tad mushy – so, discernment & adapting to the unfolding changes is essential.” Now, she concluded, “I make a point of meeting my clients, listen carefully their professional (and personal) story and aim to weave an engaging narrative helping them to present themselves as a win-win for the hiring entity, whether non-profit, or for profit, or even in the public sector.”

My impression out of these friendly chats is that nowadays HR people need to be considerably more proactive vis-à-vis their clients, a bit more like coaches, if you will – combining HR with a strong practical dose of wise advisory role. Of course, overwhelming clients with too many leads, options and|resources may not be much help either; focus is required and most importantly good judgement – that’s something that no amount of artificial intelligence is going to do – well, perhaps not in this century is my guest. To me the dignity of work is essential, and a HR Generalist is the humanist pathway to help find meaningful work, of being of service & coherent with our values of empathy|solidarity at a very human level, no machine can replace that. You can read the full report or a summary about the Changing Nature of Work produced by the World Bank here: https://www.worldbank.org/en/publication/wdr2019

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About: always looking for the next meaningful project, Leo Campos A. is a Storyteller, Community Organizer|Cultural Worker, Diversity & Inclusion Advocate, Personal Coach, Translator|Interpreter and a Bilingual Conscious Advertising Professional, based in Edmonton (Canada). He is also a part-time advisor & community outreach person with the cloud platform Wayfinders Business Cooperative ©

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CO-CREATING our WORLD …

CO-CREATING OUR WORLD | It is the year 2020, and by the end of it, the start of a new decade, travelling the humanities of diversity, identity, inclusion, cultural awareness and the complexities of technologies aiming at simplifying our lives – we seek clarity; a 20/20 vision of balance & equilibrium. In several fronts, from the local to the global, back and forth, 2019 wasn’t an easy one; we learned through trials and errors, successes and failures that the human journey is never about perfection – but, progress. A dear colleague of mine would say we must watch-out for the “convenient illusions” thrown in our paths – another friend would add “watch-out for placebos to keep us quiet or paralyzed by fear.”

“If I am not for myself, who will be for me? But if I am only for myself, who am I? If not now, when?” – Rabbi Hillel

EL CAMINO | When we are engaged and working with people in a multiplicity of activities, in several levels of connectivity, it is essential we seek to understand their realities, complexities, and challenges vis-à-vis our own. We can then propose pathways leading to solutions, improvements or innovations. In other words, understanding the whole and engaging people in manageable | doable parts so they can own it as they should. We are talking about our own personal “El Camino” – in that light, coming to terms with what we can actually do, is helpful. Experience tells us that we [usually] move forward incrementally – as that’s how lasting change unfolds, a new reality emerges, soon its settles and becomes “the new normal” …

“Instead of trying to change your entire life in January, the simpler strategy is to adopt a twelve-month plan where you’re making constant improvements.” – S. J. Scott

ESSENTIAL SAILORS | What works, what doesn’t, what need “tweaking” and adjustments, what creative strategies can enrich praxis and transform it? Depends on the particular endeavour(s) you are engaged with, and especially if you are in a leadership position of influence; what can you drawn from others that will bring potential innovation to the fore? Here’s an interesting thought; we need to think ourselves as sailors and our resolutions need to fluidly fit into the world that we are co-creating guided by a more humane compass & understanding about economics, human creativity, community & individual needs-wellness.

“One resolution I have made, and try always to keep year after year is this: to rise above the little things.” – John Burroughs

CONVICTIONS | Callings, vocations, leadership in the service of others are powerful human values-emotions; remaining truthful to them not always easy. But, in a recent project-related meeting I heard we seem to be entering a larger cycle; something is shifting, relationships changing, economies reinventing and our planet’s ecosystems stretched to dangerous levels. This is then the time to get proactive, for participating in any way, shape or form in the transformative conversations unfolding all around us.

In this light, to my fellow cultural-creatives out there, keep creating the opportunities for community, for fair | just economies, keep helping us to open our eyes to what is happening and what needs to be done collaborative-cooperatively. Let’s us say yes to human scale economies, and let’s show-up with resolve; let’s picture ourselves building a better, healthier world. If we can visualize it, if we can feel it, it will become. Blessings.

PS. In case you have not seen this 2011 TED Talk, have a moment with it. The history of our world in 18 minutes with David Christian | https://youtu.be/yqc9zX04DXs

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THE PREDICAMENT OF “OTHERS” …

LA PAUVRETE N'EST PAS NATURELLE 2019While sharing a coffee with some colleagues the other day, the topic of poverty and its undercurrents was brought forward. One of my fellow-travellers – let’s call her Mary – works directly with an agency that deals with it in several ways, though she often wonders whether they are making a significant difference in a transformative fashion, or just settling for providing the necessary help to fellow citizens facing serious hardships – the so called bandage intervention, of course necessary.

Then, another colleague – we may call him Jimmy – who was until recently involved in policy making dealing specifically with the issue of poverty, said some adjustment were made, increases in support, and additional resources brought to bear. While sipping our coffee I couldn’t help but think why in a city|province and country as wealthy as ours we have poverty in the first place?

  • “There is no fundamental social change by being simply of individual and interpersonal actions. You have to have organizations and institutions that make a fundamental difference.” – Cornel West

Who could possibly benefit by having families, individuals and many kids living in constant hardship, and I am not talking just about people who may receive financial support from governments, I am also talking about the so called “working poor” – a big segment of our population that no matter how hard they work and produce, they are constantly falling behind, struggling to meet their most basic needs, including having enough money to buy food or medicine.

My friend Mary said how appalling it is to witness families and/or individuals having to make decisions such as – “do I buy these medicines” or “do I buy food” … Jimmy concurred, even if in his position, he was far from the frontlines of poverty and hardships – his empathy towards his fellow-citizens always showing on his skin, so to speak.

  • “Love and trust and justice, concern for the poor, that’s being pushed to the margins right now, and you can see it.” – Cornel West

But, which organizations? Which institutions? Governments? Non-profits? The private sector? Banks? The conversation moved to exploring the notion of social responsibility in a larger canvass, equity and sharing resources in whatever form possible and ideally within a dynamic cycle of engagements by those directly affected by the ups & downs of our economic system, even if it sometimes for temporary relief. Then Mary said something requiring deeper thought; how do I as social worker and others in the field can create or be part of a larger social impact in poverty alleviation; eventually, its elimination? Has the time for a guaranteed basic income come? …

  • “The function of freedom is to free someone else.”– Toni Morrison

Jimmy posed the question – do political parties have to play a role? Of course, said Marco, who had been rather quiet until now – civil society organizations should lead, cultivate its leadership and become the main protagonist, otherwise little will change beside cosmetic policymaking. I ventured to say, as it was time to return back to our endeavours, that we need to take time to articulate what would effective samples of a world (or rather, a city) without poverty could look like, and maybe model or pilot initiatives that would and could empower “the poor” to break free from the bondage of poverty. We all nodded in agreement – let’s keep the conversation going said Mary. –

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INDIGENOUS EMPOWERMENT …

Indigenous Empowerment: Tools for Change | by Sonia Molodecky | Natural resource development is the driving force of many economies in the developing world – Latin America, Africa and Asia. Mining is also something we all rely on – our cell phones, computers, iPads even have 10% gold as a highly effective conductor of electricity. But it is not being done in a way that is environmentally or socially sustainable. Conflict is prevalent. Deaths too common. Communities are being exploited. Environment is being ravaged at unprecedented rates. Companies are losing billions. Governments are not benefiting. The model is broken. We at GIDT believe that by giving indigenous peoples the tools and empowering them to participate as informed actors, they will be in control of their own development and resource development can be done better.

Sonia Molodecky is Co-Founder and President of the Global Indigenous Development Trust, an international development organization comprised of leading Aboriginal leaders, which focuses on empowering indigenous communities with the tools to contributed to sustainable economic development and participatory processes in the natural resource sector. After a successful career as a corporate lawyer managing large, multi-stakeholder projects in the natural resource sector at Canada’s largest law firm, and as national chair of the firm’s Latin American Group, Sonia found a need for a more balanced approach to resource development where indigenous peoples are empowered participants in Latin America’s resource boom. – TED © | https://youtu.be/_3ADpct6PhI

RITUALS 2019

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