The Collaborative Future: From Rio +20 to World Water Day

When we work together we can create the future Mother Earth deserves. Solutions are as simple as creating innovative ways to get people to transition from a consumptive economy which depletes resources, to one that is regenerative, a collaborative future where needs are met by bartering, gifting, and sharing goods and services which fosters trust and builds community. This emergent paradigm is sprouting from the inside-outwards, starting with individuals who self-organize towards common goals and dreams for our beloved planet, peer to peer diplomacy is core to this process. This is the real story, the one that wasn’t told on mainstream media after the Rio +20 and this is what is unfolding right now on a global scale. The story is incomplete without your voice, together we are creating the hopeful future that our leaders turned their backs on.

The voices and concerns of our indigenous people, and of our youth were shut out of the final agreement. EU Commissioner for Climate Action Connie Hedegaard tweeted, “Nobody in that room adopting that text was happy.” Yet the dream is happening, the movement is growing, and the excitement and hope for what we can collectively create is building with each passing day as you will soon see. Before getting ahead of ourselves, please read the youth statement below for some background.

If these sheets of paper are our common future, then you have sold our fate and subsidised our common destruction. Where was our voice, the voice of our children and grandchildren in this? How can you listen to them in the future if you did not show the will to create the space now?

We have one planet. Our being, our thinking, and our action should not be constrained by national boundaries but by planetary ones. You failed to liberate yourself from national and corporate self-­interest and recognise our need to respect a greater more transcendental set of boundaries.

We came here to celebrate our generation. We have danced, and dreamed, and loved on the streets of Rio and found something to believe in. You have chosen not to celebrate with us.

You were supposed to show leadership. It was not just your job to seek consensus. It was your responsibility to commit, show ambition and to lead. You have failed.

You have worked hard to close a deal. So, if any of you think this document is the ambitious, action-­‐oriented outcome you said you wanted, please stand up.

If you are unable to stand up, then you must be unwilling to move forward. So we will move forward for you.

We know this:

We need intergenerational cooperation.

We need innovation and creativity.

We need to embrace the values of sustainability, equity, justice and respect for human rights.

We need to recognise that material resources are finite, but human potential is not.

And so,

We will create strong global institutions

We will create new paradigms of wealth and prosperity

We will act as the voice for future generations, one that you so wilfully ignored.

We will stand united beyond borders and bridge the national interests that divide us

We will implement what you have not.

We are moving forward decisively with action. We are not deterred. -Rio +20 Youth Statement

Something To Believe In // MGCY Rio+20 Declaration (ENGLISH) from MACONDO FILM on Vimeo.
Though it was more than 2 years ago and it received very little media attention, this is exactly what is happening, and with your participation it will get bigger and become a reality. Organizations like Unify have come together with the United Religions Initiative, the Shift Network, UPLIFT, and many others to focus efforts for World Water Day and beyond. Life starts with Water, and so it is fitting that the movement to reclaim what is sacred, to heal our planet and our communities would start with a commitment to Water.

We have many issues that separate us, but we all drink from the same world-wide well, we share Water in common. A focus on the commons, what we share together, and our responsibility to steward our shared future is the invitation of our time. We have the wisdom of the elders, the ancestors, the indigenous keepers to guide us.

As indigenous peoples, as humans, our priorities are the land and water, and to the land and water. Our responsibilities are to be stewards to the Earth and the animals, and holding that title we must live by it, and act as if it’s a law. Our ancestors once hunted and fished and lived on the land we remain and thrive on. In order to uphold our traditions we must protect our territory because the land and culture are two parts of the same whole. -Ta’Kaiya Blaney

Register for World Water Day Global Meditation at and tune in to the Telesummit, and World Wide Webcast from India where you can share the inspiration, learn about exciting projects to plug-in with and become the change you want to see in the world. There is an interactive map where you can find out what events are being planned in your area, or host your own event and list it for others to find. Together we are making a difference and having a bunch of fun creating hope. The only piece missing to this great puzzle is YOU, so join us on March 22 and beyond as we make history. Everyone, Everywhere, Together, Unify!

***Article originally appeared on UPLIFT***

A Love That’s Louder Than Rage: the Beautiful Revolution

At first I thought… The most powerful thing that you can do for your people, your future, your land, your air, your water is to fight and die for what you believe in. But it’s not true… you have to LIVE for what you believe in.

So begins the wise words of 13-year old Sliammon Native Youth, Ta’Kaiya Blaney in a recent video (below) by Indigenous Rising. If you are like me then you will be moved to tears by hearing what she has to say after that in the video, but you’ll have to watch it to find out. I recently had the pleasure of talking with Ta’Kaiya about the video while delving into the changing face of social engagement that is bringing healing for our communities and the environment.

We have to live for what we believe in.


Often when we look at anger, heartache, grief, that is all that we see, but the deeper truth is that these are expressions of love, of awakening. Whether we are seeing these tough emotions in ourselves, or others it is never easy but it is imperative for growth. Ta’Kaiya speaks from the perspective of being native, but the sentiments are universal, spanning cultures, continents and time:

When I first started attending rallies that were protesting the actions of large companies, I saw a lot of rage with very little focus on solutions, on what’s next. Sometimes you don’t have the luxury to be diplomatic when you are being oppressed, but it is still always important to show love whenever you can. Communities are wounded and in disrepair and that is common to all of us. By representing love and inclusivity other people will feel less threatened which makes it easier to find commonality.

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Indigenous activists, Ta’kaiya Blaney and Kandi Mossett at The People’s Climate March in NYC.

I remember in the early days of the Idle No More Movement being awe-struck by seeing natives take to the streets and public places with drums, singing and dancing. It was beautiful, cultural, positive, and yet it was bringing attention to some very painful truths. In Idle No More, Hints of a Global Super-Movement I write about this emerging phenomena and close with a video of Ta’Kaiya speaking at a rally when she was only 11. Together we have seen so much growth and evolution since then, it is a very exciting time to participate in our unfolding future.

Velcrow Ripper has made enormous contributions with films like Scared Sacred, and Occupy Love that encourage us to bring a spiritual perspective to our work for positive planetary change. Takaiya mentioned a sentiment that many activists often hold, “Spirituality is not a bypass for being active about things that matter in the world.” We reflected together how powerful it is when activists embody love and spiritual practitioners take action. The result is an all-inclusive beautiful revolution, and exactly what we need right now on planet earth.

Last year at this time Ta’Kaiya collaborated with Unify on the World Water Day Campaign, #lovewater. The result was a very powerful video that ended up making the rounds on Upworthy, Huffington Post and many other outlets. Since this years #lovewater campaign is about to launch for World Water Day on March 22nd- a collaboration between UPLIFT, Unify and some other amazing partners-  I asked her how she felt about working with Unify:

Working with Unify evoked a hopeful spirit in me. (it was) A really beautiful exercise in representing love. I hope to work with them again.

Rage can become addictive and it is sometimes exactly what is needed but we are here to remind ourselves to go deeper. Ta’Kaiya is doing that through her music and writings on her website, and also through her conservation efforts with other youth at Salish Sea Youth. She is poetic even when talking informally on the phone:

Like a plant that disrupts the soil making room for the roots to grow we have a lot to live for. Don’t react to the negative, instead make it a platform for something beautiful. We have a wonderful future waiting for us, I wish to know that I participated in that change.

I think we’d all like to feel that! So the question is, “What is your contribution to the Beautiful Revolution?” There is a growing community of people who want to support you in rising to the occasion. You can start by watching this videos above, as I have made sure not to tell you everything in this article, and share this with your friends and networks. Together we are loving louder, and that is something that will become more beautiful as it continues to grow.

**Post originally appeared on UPLIFT Connect**

Selectively Catholic? Climate Change, Social Justice & the Pope

Is it possible to be selectively Catholic? Some lawmakers seem to think so. The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States guarantees the separation of church and state yet that does not stop elected officials from bringing their faith to office. We have seen Hobby Lobby snub Obamacare, anti-abortion legislation, gay rights, evolution and many other issues of faith take center stage in our democratic process and legislation. As the Keystone XL and controversial Trans Pacific Partnership step into the political spotlight on the heels of Pope Francis’s statements about climate change and economic disparity it’s time to call out our representatives.

Catholic Advocate Congressional Scorecard shows 24 Catholic Senators, and 128 Catholic Representatives in the House. The scoring criteria does not seem to be in line with the issues of the environment and economic disparity that Pope Francis has been talking about recently. In some cases it doesn’t even seem to reflect Christian values, like former Congressman Joe Walsh. Walsh has a 100% scorecard from Catholic Advocate yet he supports torture saying, “The way you defeat an animal… oftentimes is to act like one.”

Catholics and climate change

The Guardian recently noted that Pope Francis’s edict on climate change will anger deniers and US churches stating:

In recent months, the pope has argued for a radical new financial and economic system to avoid human inequality and ecological devastation. In October he told a meeting of Latin American and Asian landless peasants and other social movements: “An economic system centred on the god of money needs to plunder nature to sustain the frenetic rhythm of consumption that is inherent to it.

“The system continues unchanged, since what dominates are the dynamics of an economy and a finance that are lacking in ethics. It is no longer man who commands, but money. Cash commands.

“The monopolising of lands, deforestation, the appropriation of water, inadequate agro-toxics are some of the evils that tear man from the land of his birth. Climate change, the loss of biodiversity and deforestation are already showing their devastating effects in the great cataclysms we witness,” he said.

Trade experts are now saying that the Trans Pacific Partnership is a nightmare for economic equality, workers rights, the environment and many other important issues. Scientists overwhelmingly state that Keystone XL is another nail in the coffin for devastating climate change. Yet so many representatives are fighting to make these policies that contradict the pope into law while claiming to be Catholic…

Hypocrisy has always played a role in religion and politics over the generations. Voters tend to be more serious about their faith than politicians and now they have an unprecedented opportunity to ask their representatives where they stand on these important issues. Thanks to the free and open internet, it takes just a few minutes to see if your representative is Catholic and where they stand on TPP and Keystone XL. The traditional route of sending a letter or calling your reps at (202) 224-3121 is effective. However I prefer a more open and transparent approach like social media. Tweet your reps (they’re all on Twitter) with #selectivelycatholic or post to their Facebook wall and see if you can get a straight answer from them as to where they stand. Please share your results in the comments below.