Nov 16, 2009

Global Warming

November 16/2009

Recently I took part in an on-line poll at Facebook, that asked: “Is global warming a myth?” I was astonished to learn just how many people, in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, actually thought that global warming is a myth. The poll numbers were astounding: 49% YES, 46% NO and 5% DIDN'T CARE. This triggered the following response from me.

“For so many people on this poll not to understand the nature of this world is overwhelming. They all must live in cities where they think of nature as some far off distant planet or be totally ignorant and uncaring about learning about something so significant. Yes, global warming is happening and it doesn't take much to travel to where you can see it first hand. Please open your minds and learn something. And learn that you can do something about it by intelligent research and acting to help the people trying to keep the ecosystems that keep us alive, working. Stupidity is not bliss.”

While I know this poll is not scientific and most polls on Facebook usually attract a certain amount of juvenility, I still find the response incredible, if for no other reason than almost sixty thousand people participated in the poll. Can the 49% who voted YES, all be that ignorant, or uneducated or are they just playing the devil-may-care attitude and having fun with others on Facebook?

Some approach the subject as political, but global warming is not a political matter. It is a human matter comprised of real science, and most scientists are extremely worried about the time it is taking for some governments to understand and work toward trying to solve the problem. This is an impending danger to all humanity on the planet. And the sooner everyone in all countries know this, and gets working on a solution, the better prepared we will be to minimize global destruction by taking extreme measures to slow the process. And as long as it is being politicized, people on the skeptical side of the issue will continue to sway many unthinking and uninterested people into believing that this is all a hoax.

Reason and rational thought are a product of the maturing mind, which combines research and investigation to discover the rationalization of truth; i.e. discovering mathematical theory or reading a map to find your way around the globe, or learning to boil an egg. The ancient Greeks believed that our soul has two parts: an Irrational part with emotions and desires, and a Rational part, which is our true self. So before we humans can understand the world, we first need to understand ourselves, through rational thought and moral development. In doing so, we compel ourselves to seek our own integrity and the truth. However, when we don’t do the research, and we act with our emotions and desires (wishing for another outcome), we fail to see the ‘forest for the trees’ and we tend to bypass the truth. Thus, we can remain ignorant of something that, for the sake of a little research, is within our own grasp.

The truth of global warming is out there for all to see. The science is logged for all to read. The evidence is ready for all to explore. Yet, too many people continue to hinge on the side of misinformation and they keep themselves intentionally ignorant. They are willing to accept what they are told without question.

As science has improved, the detection of global warming has found that we are accelerating toward catastrophic consequences for our planet. Those of us who do realize what is happening are getting more worried. Hence, the real message needs to be stronger to educate the skeptics and the uninformed. Because, if we fail the earth, we fail humanity.

Life as we know it is going to change drastically in the next few years. And just as there aren't many people left who think the earth is flat, it won't be long before everyone will know that global warming is real. We will all be able to see it in our own front yards. I just hope it will not be too late to save the billions of people who will be displaced, hurt or wiped out in the process.

My hope is that at least some part of humanity will be saved from this horrendous consequence of misguided and mismanaged technology gone wrong, and our knowledge, past and present, will be available for future generations.

"Global warming is too serious for the world any longer to ignore its danger or split into opposing factions on it."
- Tony Blair

"We have many advantages in the fight against global warming, but time is not one of them. Instead of idly debating the precise extent of global warming, or the precise timeline of global warming, we need to deal with the central facts of rising temperatures, rising waters, and all the endless troubles that global warming will bring. We stand warned by serious and credible scientists across the world that time is short and the dangers are great. The most relevant question now is whether our own government is equal to the challenge."
- John McCain

"With all of the hysteria, all of the fear, all of the phony science, could it be that man-made global warming is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people? It sure sounds like it."
- James Inhofe

"Believe nothing just because a so-called wise person said it. Believe nothing just because a belief is generally held. Believe nothing just because it is said in ancient books. Believe nothing just because it is said to be of divine origin. Believe nothing just because someone else believes it. Believe only what you yourself test and judge to be true."
- Buddha

"People tend to focus on the here and now. The problem is that, once global warming is something that most people can feel in the course of their daily lives, it will be too late to prevent much larger, potentially catastrophic changes.
- Elizabeth Kolbert

"To gain that which is worth having, it may be necessary to lose everything else."
- Bernadette Devlin

Nov 10, 2009

Celestial Lighthouse


The tall lighthouse greets the night, it’s full mission on earth realized.

Like the ticking of an endless clock, the light beacon flashes through space and time, shining far across the miles of ocean moods. Never ceasing, never still. Bright illumination roving and searching and attracting and warning, far from it's own imprisonment on the tiny, lonely rock it calls home. Solitary in it's own importance of coastal navigation.

Through light, darkness, summer storm and winter blizzard, time marches and life keeps pace. Physiological clocks tick eroding the short passage of a human age. Year after year the only constant is change. Seasonal moods change with the tilt of the planet and the call of the wind.

Night envelops the moment and the crisp clear sky unveils forever. As if riding across the milky way on another world one can reach out to the universe and the star clusters just beyond grasp. Across the cosmos, time and space is infinite. Time has no beginning, no end. Eons pass undisturbed in the stillness.

On planet Earth time travelers measure the moments of human existence based on the daily revolution of the globe and Earth's trip around the heavens. The globe turns and the cold blue of twilight undresses the dawn.

And still the great light revolves.

A faint hue of orange glows across the hemispheres, strengthening as the great ball of sunshine rears it's head out of the cold ocean like a hungry dragon bursting fiery light toward land, beginning it's ascent and celestial journey across the sky to light the new day.

Thus the reason for the lighthouse is extinguished until night returns and the great cycle is resumed.

"You can't help getting older, but you don't have to get old."
- George Burns

"...and you finish off as an orgasm.”
- George Carlin

The years teach much which the days never knew."
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Anythin' for a quiet life, as the man said when he took the situation at the lighthouse”
- Charles Dickens

Grow old with me! The best is yet to be.
- Robert Browning

Nov 3, 2009

96 hours

It was a journey outside the boundaries of North America, outside the comforts of home, outside the civilization that we know, to where the rest of the world does not live as comfortably as we live. The whole experience was just 96 hours, a long weekend, a drop in the bucket. But it’s an experience that will live with me for the rest of my life, and it challenged me to try to inspire people, with my talents, to help others.

For many years I traveled the globe as a documentary film maker with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. I was sent to the farthest reaches of humanity, to places you’d never heard of where we’d spend two or three weeks filming a story. We’d get to know people intimately: we live with them, eat their food and film their life styles. Then we’d be yanked back to civilization, never to see these people again except on the films we produced about them.

We went to the rich places and we went to the poor places. Each had their charms. But that was many years ago. In the mean time, my career took me filming television drama and feature films and now corporate video. So the journeys ceased for quite a while, until 2005 when I got “deja vous all over again.” And the feelings of the experience returned.

We landed at just after six in the morning. It was hot and muggy in this Central American country, with the aroma of fresh flowers drifting across the sunrise. We were on a mission with a group of Rotary Clubs from around the Los Angeles area so they could see what was happening to the dollars they had been contributing to individual charities they were supporting. Fourteen clubs and each club had different charity, and each was a subject/a problem, to grab at your heart strings. What I saw was personally awe inspiring.

El Salvador is a country of about six million people, the smallest of the Central American countries. There are two rows of volcanoes that cross the country from east to west and some of them are still active. On the others, people are active because on the slopes that hot lava used to roll down is the best type of soil to grow coffee.

Coffee. The energy boost of the western world. It’s this El Salvador coffee that ends up in places like Starbucks. Yes, we pay a fortune for something that was hand picked by a group of coffee harvesters who have barely two cents to rub together. No, the poor don’t get the great gobs of money that we lay out for our caffeine fix. No, they don’t even have proper facilities high up on those lava slopes. They even have to send their young daughters walkng for hours down the mountain sides for fresh daily bread. And the reason they send their daughters is so their sons can go to school to have an education.

A Rotary Club from Downey California, who had originally given a bakery oven to over 300 or more coffee harvesters in one plantation, were now seeing their money go toward fresh daily bread. The day we were there they baked us a pizza. Rotary are now supplying six more bakeries along the coffee slopes, along the mountain sides, and their daughters are now getting an education.

Across the country past a long row of volcanoes to the east, lies the remote town of San Miguel where another Rotary Club is funding a hospital. Inside the operating theatre, a team of doctors from North America are creating miracles.

The problem with all out poverty is malnutrition and debilitating diseases, and the people who suffer most are the children. Dragging around in the dirt unable to even hobble to school, some blind others with club feet, stricken with polio or other such plights including some hurt from stepping on landmines left over from the savage civil war a few years ago. But there’s hope, as some of these kids are given a new lease on life when Rotary supported doctors straighten out their feet or clean up their sores. And they get up, they can hop, they can walk and run and play. They can even go to school to learn because just down the road another Rotary project is funding an eye clinic started by wealthy and concerned women who saw the need.

Sight is our window on our world and the eye clinics are helping bring these wonders to people everywhere. To poor school children who need glasses. Here the Rotary Club of LA is a prime funder. And they are making a difference helping kids to just be kids.

A film maker, like a journalist looks for a good story to tell and people helping children of the world is a wonderful humanitarian story to bring to everyone. In 1985, Rotary International committed itself to immunizing all children around the world against polio.

With 1.2 million members in 166 countries, Rotary has been the largest private-sector contributor to the polio eradication campaign worldwide. Over 600 million dollars has been spent and it is working. By the end of 2006 polio could be gone. A remarkable accomplishment.

Remarkable? Just a few years ago the Wheelchair Foundation was established and as of today they have delivered hundreds of thousands of wheelchairs around the world. In many places Rotary International has teamed up with the Wheelchair foundation to share the costs.

“In compassion lies the world’s strength.” Or so the Buddha said. The feelings, oh! the feelings when filming someone in need being helped into a wheelchair for the first time in their life. A child smiling and crying at the same time. They speak a different language, but they communicate as they grab on to their helpers with appreciation in their eyes. Oh! the joy, the exhilaration, the experience, first hand. Somehow, being a documentary film maker and showing these acts of kindness makes life worth living.

That is some of my journey to El Salvador. It was 96 hours. A long weekend. But a life changing moment that inspired me to use my talents as a film maker to help people in need.

From this trip, I produced the multi-award winning film "Rotary Helping Children of the World in El Salvador" and two subsequent films, "Mission to Costa Rica - What is a Rotarian" while in Costa Rica and "A World of Peace and Understanding - Arch Klumph" while in Panama. These three films were offered to the Rotary clubs of the Los Angeles district for recruitment, inspiration and as a call to action for Rotarians who, on mass, have the power to change the world for the better.

"It is every man's obligation to put back into the world at least the equivalent of what he takes out of it."
- Albert Einstein

"Anticipate charity by preventing poverty; assist the reduced fellow man, either by a considerable gift or a sum of money or by teaching him a trade or by putting him in the way of business so that he may earn an honest livelihood and not be forced to the dreadful alternative of holding out his hand for charity. This is the highest step and summit of charity's golden ladder.
- Maimonides

“He who obtains has little. He who scatters has much.”
- Lao-Tzu