Water Defense Activates Collaborative Power


In conjunction with UPLIFT Festival this weekend in Byron, Australia, Water Defense has released a video and an invitation for your input. Collaboration often takes a back-seat in world focused on competition but it is the best solution to problems that face us all. When organizations and individuals shift from competing with one another to assisting each other towards a common goal, miracles can happen. Our waters are threatened all over the world, we have a common enemy and it is ignorance. We don’t know what is in our water. Due to decades of contamination from both agricultural pesticides and industrial waste, our watersheds are not as healthy as they once were. Since water is one thing that we all share in common, together we can address this problem and learn how to collaborate along the way. Contemporary technology, social networks, and inspiration are the tools we need to ignite this collaborative power. Water Defense is ready to deliver!

The real power of protecting our water is knowing what’s in it, and that’s exactly what we are going to do.” -Mark Ruffalo

This collaboration involves The Herbert W Hoover Foundation, Unify, and Uplift Connect along with Water Defense and many other organizations/individuals who are concerned about the health of our waters. If you have any ideas, questions, or suggestions, please tweet them with the hashtag #lovewater and be part of the ongoing conversation. You can learn more about the project here and here.

For Inspiration: Mark Ruffalo at Uplift Fest

When the mainstream channels only lead to divisive conversations that leave a person feeling hopeless, we look to visionaries who offer solutions. The internet is full of these resources which showcase alternative ideas that inspire us to make a better world. TED Talks is certainly one of them that I enjoy. With the recent controversy over Rupert Sheldrakes banned TED Talk, The Science Delusion, people are also seeking places to explore ideas that may live outside the scope of traditional science. This includes voices from youth, indigenous wisdom, spirituality, social commentary and more. A great place for this kind of information is The Mind Unleashed where one of my favorite writers, Dr. Kelly Neff continues to invite her readers to think outside of the box. Another great platform for new ideas is coming up December 11-14 and it is called the UPLIFT Festival. Yet this is only the beginning of where to find inspiration…

Kelly’s recent article, What is in Your Water? Mark Ruffalo and UPLIFT Festival Hope to Find Out, we see another in a series of new-paradigm collaborations emerging. UPLIFT Festival has been dubbed the “Visionary TED” for bringing together diverse voices from different backgrounds, ages and cultures to dialogue together across disciplines about solutions. This is cultivating a community filled with possibilities, excitement, and action. We are witnessing a growing movement of collaboration and co-creation and UPLIFT Festival is taking lead at a time when creative problem-solving is needed most.

Ruffalo will present a video at UPLIFT with previously unreleased footage and introducing Water Defenses’ exciting new collaboration with The Herbert W. Hoover Foundation, Unify, and Uplift Connect that is launching this spring in conjunction with the World Water Day Global Campaign. It is an educational, and interactive online platform that will serve as a diagnostic tool for local watersheds and allow individuals to get involved in protecting and respecting this precious resource while holding local industry accountable. Scott Smith and Colton Hoover Chase will be taking questions via Twitter during the live forum.

“The Herbert W. Hoover Foundation is committed to improving environmental health. We have been funding cutting-edge science for many years. During that time we have come to the realization that without public engagement, much of the science never leads to improved environmental health. This is due to a disconnect between the scientific community and the general public. We believe if the scientific data can be understood by the general public, and policy-makers, the environmental benefits would be staggering. To that point we have set out to create a partnership with Water Defense, Unify.org, and top researchers in the field of water testing to create a technology platform that will bring together the large amount of scientific data in a easily understandable way. We envision that this tool will encourage learning and action in the sphere.” -Colton H. Chase, Vice Chairman, Herbert W. Hoover Foundation

Scott Smith is chief scientist at Water Defense and inventor and founder of  OPFLEX® technology, an Open-Celled foam technology used for both baseline water testing, and filtering and cleaning polluted water. OPFLEX, combined with Smith’s environmentally responsible vision, is setting new standards for low-carbon impact (LCI®) solutions to more effectively monitor and maintain the world’s waterways. He has been to every major oil spill site since 2010 – over 50 different domestic and international locations – earning him the nickname Toxic Avenger. Smith studied economics and chemistry at Baylor University, and is a graduate of Harvard Business School. Follow Smith on Twitter.

Nature is my favorite offline place to go for inspiration. While sitting by a flowing creek or waterfall and connecting with the beauty of the natural environment it is easy to see why so many people are passionate about protecting it. We are nothing without the diverse web of life that surrounds us.  Clearly, inspired people turn to other inspired people for inspiration. When they work together, their influence becomes contagious and this is a seed of hope for all of us.

We get caught up in our own worlds, our responsibilities, paying bills etc, but we thrive when we recognize that we are all in this together. Even the most conscious and well-meaning organizations often have blinders on and very little experience in collaborating beyond their own board room. We are facing global crises in so many areas and we are being called to collaborate in unprecedented ways. We see this in the sharing economy, we see it on the internet with people riffing on each others memes and re-shaping our sense of society. We see this on the websites and conferences as mentioned above, but it isn’t complete until each one of us adds our own piece to the unfolding story. Here is your chance to weigh in with your own thoughts, ideas, questions and more…

Imagine a technology platform which allows individuals everywhere to network and communicate to preserve and protect what is central to all of our lives, water. Consider an app like Yelp, or a Google Map that allows you to learn about your local watershed. Consider an online place where you can find the many people and organizations in your region who are making a difference to your local environment. Dream about how fun it would be to get involved directly in social networks that are founded on principles of environmental stewardship and appreciation for nature. All of these things are possible, and some already exist.

Tweet your ideas and questions to #lovewater. Scott Smith along with Colton H. Chase will be building on this inspiration as they announce the launch of something truly innovative, exciting, and hopeful for all of us at UPLIFT Festival.  Actor Mark Ruffalo started Water Defense to raise awareness about the impact energy extraction has on water and public health. He and Scott Smith join HuffPost Live (below, 26 min) to talk about defending and protecting America’s water resources.

It is impossible for anyone who is sensitive and aware to not be overwhelmed by the problems that humanity now faces. It is even natural to lose hope at times, and that is why it is so important to visit the places that inspire us. That is also why it is so important to be around the people who inspire us and also why you absolutely do not want to miss the UPLIFT Festival global webcast this coming Dec 11-14. You can register here and join the conversation about how to make a better future using Twitter with #uplifttheworld hashtag. This conversation is exactly what we need in order to be the change we want to see in the world.

Essencia Makes Walls Talk

Screen Shot 2014-09-30 at 12.47.25 PMArt changes the way we perceive the world. It’s no wonder that large companies spend millions of dollars littering our urban landscapes with billboards. Public murals, in contrast to advertisements, have the ability to teach, inspire, and even bring healing to communities. The Essencia Art Collective is raising awareness of the importance of water with a mural that is bound to inspire people well beyond the neighborhoods surrounding it. With members from across six continents, Essencia expresses itself from a unique and global perspective that continues to enrich the communities they work with.

The collective has run artistic projects with youth, first nations, refugees, immigrants, prison inmates, galleries, and festivals across the globe. Essencia encourages artistic storytelling, and expresses itself through muralism, street art, graffiti, graphic design, photography, video, music, poetry, dance and love!

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The project was headed by Canadian/Chilean artist, Shalak Attack and her sister Fiya Bruxa, who both co-founded and co-direct the collective.  Shalak’s husband Bruno Smoky  from Brazil (pictured with her below right) also assisted on the project as Artistic Director of the mural segment. Many renowned  artists like Chris Dyer and others were brought in to collaborate.

Taking it to the Streets is powerful, engaging youth is necessary, cultivating inspiration is evolutionary, and educating local communities is how we grow from the roots up to make positive change in the world. Check out the uplifting video below to see the mural in progress or visit here to see photos of the project.

Screen Shot 2014-09-30 at 11.36.01 AMThis is a continuation of a global awakening to reclaim our connection to the sacred, and we have seen this collaboration between artists, indigenous elders, and activists continue to build momentum and Unify over recent months. Artists like Ashely Foreman recently dedicated the proceeds from one of her paintings to Water Defense, an organization spearheaded by actor Mark Ruffalo to protect waterways. Artist Vajra also created a piece called Man in the Middle dedicated to Sea Shepard for their work protecting marine life. Ta’Kaiya Blaney, a 12-year-old Sliammon First Nation activist from Canada recently collaborated on the #Lovewater Campaign and was depicted in the Earth Revolution mural by Lmnopi in Brooklyn. No matter where you live or what you do, you are being called to participate in the healing that is so needed right now on our planet. What will you create?

The Solutions Project, Your Personal Invite

What do you get when you put together a scientist, actor, banker, and filmmaker who are passionate about renewable energy? You get The Solutions Project.

The Solutions Project
There really is nothing quite like being engaged in real solutions. The joy of being liberated from overwhelm, self-doubt and apathy is beyond words. If you were waiting for your personal invite to the global party, here it is 😉

We are all starting to realize that integration between separate fields including media, culture, science, politics, and health is important for real change. The term holistic isn’t only applicable to personal health, it is intrinsic in culture. This understanding is what led me to start Culture Collective in 2005 with the help of Kathy Eldon and The Creative Visions Foundation. It is also why I am so excited about The Solutions Project.

The first solution on the agenda is 100% renewable, non-polluting energy and if you are still a doubter then you really should bite your tongue and check out their website. Addressing the issues from a cultural, economic, and scientific perspective is key to their approach. Not to mention that they have the media star-power to get the word out when the time is right.

Mark Jacobson, Mark Ruffalo, Marco Krapels and Josh Fox are determined to:

Demonstrate scientifically that using wind, water, and solar (WWS) to power our energy for all purposes (electricity, transportation, heating/cooling, and industry) paired with energy efficiency measures makes economic, health, and environmental sense.

Give you the tools to adopt renewable energy solutions that make economic and environmental sense for your family, business and community.

Highlight renewable energy projects and people doing great work – the transition is already underway!Have fun (Seriously, we’re going to have a great time …. you should join us)

Check out their interactive map “50 States, 50 Plans for 100% Renewable Energy” (all backed by scientific data from Stanford University) and you will agree that visualizing the transformation is a whole lot easier than you may have once thought. Feel free to join in the excitement and jubilation expressed in this short video starring Jason Silva. Oh and be sure to invite any of your friends who may be needing some liberation from overwhelm, self-doubt and apathy. Party is on!