Latest Event Updates

THE NEW LINEAGE

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THE NEW LINEAGE: How Climate Change is Creating a New Epigenetic Transmission

By conference convener, Stephanie Mines, Ph.D.

I was born into an immigrant household that insisted I honor my lineage by associating only with people who looked, behaved and believed as we did. I was repeatedly drilled in my responsibility to ‘my people.’ My job was to memorialize our history, maintain our practices and pass all this on to my own children when I became a parent. There was no possibility to marry outside of my faith; this was the only way, I was told, that ‘our people’ would survive. My teachers had direct knowledge of genocide, poverty, violence and deprivation, which buttressed fear of ‘the other’ and a perceived, ever-present threat of loss, starvation and tragedy. We lived in cramped quarters with other family members. Aunts, uncles and cousins were close by in our urban ghetto, intensifying the attitudes that became my foundation for meeting the world. Even when I moved out to be more independent, become educated and expand my awareness to form new ways of thinking, I carried these early teachings with me and adapted them to my new lifestyle.

That is, until full comprehension of climate change and what it means for the world dawned on me last year. This awakening has completely shifted my internalized definition of ‘my people.’ I had long since moved on from believing that it referred only to a certain group, but I had not yet replaced it with the notion of a ‘global family.’ This awakening to being a global citizen, a global parent and grandparent, and someone who is responsive to the events occurring everywhere on this planet was ignited by looming catastrophic climate change. Climate change has globalized my lineage and, in so doing, has altered my brain. I am infused with a new neurochemistry that hormonally displaces the rigidity of an older, entrenched paradigm of separation. Does this mean I have altered my DNA? I think the answer is yes.

Neuro Resiliency Master-1

Neuroendocrinologist Bruce McEwen has been one of my neuroscience heroes since I first began to inquire into how the human nervous system responds to trauma. McEwen still conducts cutting edge research demonstrating our endless capacity for resilience and neuroplasticity. As a holistic investigator I was tantalized by McEwen’s articulation of human responsiveness to stress. It illuminated what we can do to maximize creative buoyancy in all aspects of human function, including movement, expression, health, social engagement and creativity. He emphasizes the potency of education, outreach and access to resources to dramatically enhance our human capacity to meet challenge. We do this with brilliant innovation, which changes old patterns by writing a completely new blueprint of possibility. McEwen’s research helps me understand from a scientific standpoint how it is possible for me to change so profoundly. Family lineage informed me of the threat of having everything stolen from me. By contrast, the threat of omni-present climate change, is now evoking expansion, evolution, intelligence and a sense of belonging that has always eluded me. Stewardship is not only about saving the Earth’s resources, protecting its creatures and developing technologies for low-carbon energy generation. It also embraces inclusion and cooperation, collective problem solving and community sustainability, thus resourcing our children and our children’s children. This will alter the neurochemistry of brain development so that future generations will continually be more creative in rising to the challenges of civilization, culture and climate.

The concept of the evolutionary epigenome was developed collaboratively by geneticist Moshe Szyf and neurobiologist Michael Meaney. It somehow seems fitting that an Irishman and a Jew together proposed that one’s environment can serve not only to deepen molecular brain scars but also to obfuscate them. The human blueprint is not etched in stone; it is more like a sand painting. If mentoring and mirroring are encouraging, the brain can endlessly shift, rendering human evolution a tabula rasa.

During the Climate Change & Consciousness conference, we will collectively build the vibrational field that is our legacy for the Earth – a diverse, representative microcosm of the macrocosm that serves all humanity by combining hearts with intelligence to sustain human civilization. Thus we offer our children the chance to respond to the threat of climate change with joy and excitement; to grasp the opportunity to meet the greatest challenge humanity has known. Those of us raised in lineages of limitation that engraved the terror of imminent threat onto our cellular structure can offer future generations an entirely different option. If you are willing to allow your own personal story to morph into something entirely new and perhaps unknown, you can be a force for the emergence of a new lineage. The possibility for neuronal vibrancy is endless and indifferent to age. We are all instrumental in rewriting the script for civilization.

2019 is the perfect time for us to join for this purpose and Findhorn is the perfect place. Subsequent posts will explain why.

CCC19 POSTER

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We have produced an attractive poster to help spread word of the conference. If you’d like to print it at A3 or A4 size for your wall or noticeboard, please go here to download.

CCC19Poster

LEGALLY BLIND

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LEGALLY BLIND: How the Law Interferes with Consciousness

By conference convener, Stephanie Mines, Ph.D.

“Law frustrates the process of transformation by becoming an end in itself. It inoculates us from the real thing, which is always relationship.” Richard Rohr

For most people the Law exists somewhere in an unconscious realm along with God and Queen, enshrined and untouchable. Or else we choose not to think on it at all. In almost every country however, the Law shapes its people emotionally and biologically, usually unbeknown to them. More often than not, the Law creates and maintains an unnatural separation between people. It disrespects the natural world by violating our relationship with it through objectification. The so-called ‘Law of the land’ is an oxymoron; it distorts our perception of, and connection with, the land by classifying it as a commodity.

I have lived for a long time with an environmental attorney who is a lover of, and advocate for, Mother Nature. And yet, until I had talked to Mumta Ito about her organization Nature’s Rights, I hadn’t realized how I had unconsciously allowed the Law to hijack my perception of Nature. She was quick to show me with her fiery love, how I projected onto Nature what I needed it to be, seeking to make it serve my needs, rather than deeply listening to her own true voice.

The shift that is occurring in me as a result, is taking me to another level of perception. Some might call this development ‘shamanic.’ I feel that Nature is communicating with me; I am no longer interpreting Nature. Words do not easily convey this experience, but I know it to be a profound shift in consciousness, one for which I am extremely grateful. I want to share the opportunity to cultivate intimacy with Nature with everyone who attends the Climate Change & Consciousness conference. That is why we have invited Mumta to lead a workshop there. And it’s why we are determined to find sponsorship for indigenous environmental leaders from around the world, particularly those from places already impacted by climate change. Their wisdom will bring forth the resilience and intelligence required to face what is truly an existential crisis. Nature herself can guide us if we can hear her speak.

MumtaMumta Ito

Watch the video below about Nature’s Rights and open yourself to a refreshing, consciousness shifting relationship with Nature herself. Even if you already consider yourself an environmentalist, conservationist or outdoorsy person, open yourself to the surprise that can occur in really listening to Nature, rather than experience separation from her due to your preconceptions.

Mumta Ito is a lawyer and Founder of the young international NGO Nature’s Rights. She sees law as a vehicle for social transformation in a paradigm of restoration, reparation and healing. One of Europe’s leading advocates for rights of nature and earth jurisprudence, she is also European facilitator of the UN Harmony with Nature expert dialogues and initiator of a European Citizens Initiative to propose nature’s rights to the EU legislative agenda.

About Nature’s Rights: Nature’s Rights (previously Rights of Nature Europe) is a young international non-profit organization committed to establishing rights of nature in law and policy in Europe and around the world. Among its innovations is a Draft EU Directive to codify nature’s rights into European law.

Email: contact@naturesrights.org   Twitter: @NaturesRights

A POWERFUL ADDITION TO THE PROGRAMME

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The organisers of CCC19 (Climate Change & Consciousness, the week-long conference at Findhorn in April, 2019) are filled with gratitude for the momentum the event is gathering. We are constantly being approached by preeminent climate change activists keen to be involved. Most recently, environmentalist author, philosopher and poet, Kathleen Dean Moore, has spontaneously and generously offered to perform at the conference and facilitate workshops. Kathleen will be joined by piano virtuoso Rachelle McCabe whose accompanimentpiano4 (2)t to Kathleen’s spoken word makes even more palpable her passionate expression of love for the Earth and all of Nature. If you come to CCC19 for their performance alone, you’ll not be disappointed; your spirit will be uplifted and you will be forever changed. Go to A CALL TO LIFE: Variations on a Theme of Extinction to experience the power and beauty of their collaboration.  Here is a brief description of the piece, A CALL TO LIFE, provided by Kathleen:

“Words alone cannot express the moral urgency of action,” says Kathleen Dean Moore, “and so we turned to music.” In a unique creative collaboration, classical pianist Rachelle McCabe and Moore, a philosopher and writer, have created a music/spoken-word performance piece, A CALL TO LIFE. In the program, McCabe plays a breathtaking interpretation of Sergei Rachmaninoff’s “Variations on a Theme of Corelli.”  Moore weaves words between the variations, creating a call to action to save the planet’s lives from the dual threats of climate change and ocean acidification.  “We are using a formidable piece of music to address a formidable global crisis,” McCabe says. McCabe and Moore have performed for audiences all over the United States. “It is at once devastating and inspiring, despairing and hopeful,” wrote ocean conservationist Mark Hixon, who heard the performance in Hawaii. The synergy of words and music creates what one audience member called “as powerful a message as one could imagine.”

A longer blog post about the work of Moore and McCabe is available here.

XIUHTEZCATL MARTINEZ JOINS CCC19

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A key tenet of the vision for the Climate Change & Consciousness conference is that the voice of youth be heard, loud and clear. That aspect of the vision is now being realised with Xiuhtezcatl Martinez joining the CCC19 programme. Xiuhtezcatl (pronounced Shoe-Tex-Caht) is the indigenous hip-hop artist who is taking on climate change with passion and power. He’s one of the 31 youth suing the US government for not safeguarding their future. Xiuhtezcatl is the Youth Director of Earth Guardians (www.earthguardians.org), a worldwide conservation organisation. His infectious spirit of artistry and daring “just do it” attitude resonates with every phase of the CCC19 programme’s tripartite structure: AWAKE, CELEBRATE, ACT. You can see it all in this video.

WHY CONSCIOUSNESS?

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By conference convener, Stephanie Mines, Ph.D.

Ever since we first publicized the conference, Climate Change & Consciousness (CCC19), we have fielded questions like, “Why consciousness?” and “What’s the connection between climate change and consciousness?” This post offers a partial response to such questions.

When humans are confronted with an overwhelming threat, the dominant outcome is activation of an adrenally driven survival response. Dr. Peter Levine was one of the first to document this primitive brain behavior in his best-selling book, Waking the Tiger.  Following extensive research into the human stress response, Dr. Bruce McEwen coined the term, “allostatic load,” to describe how the neuroendocrine system becomes destabilized when threat appears.

Climate change is undoubtedly going to present the most serious allostatic load that most humans will ever face.

I have been tracking the pathways of shock and trauma through the human nervous system for forty years. The subtitle of my book, We Are All in Shock: How Overwhelming Experience Shatters Us and What We Can Do about It, summarizes my trajectory. I believe that responses to the shock of climate change will not necessarily follow the accepted norm of simply triggering human survival responses. There is sufficient evidence to suggest that, on the contrary, climate change can catalyze an expansion of consciousness.

Yudith Nieto, for example, lives in the shadow of an oil refinery in Texas and she and her entire community suffer the consequences of toxic exposure. She uses her impassioned voice to tell the world that we must refuse to tolerate the excesses and abuses of the oil industry. Yudith is not only speaking out for herself and her family, she fights for the rights of all marginalized peoples. “I stand with other…communities impacted by the fossil fuel industry,” she says. Yudith is not ordering from the old menu of flight or freeze. Instead, she elects strategic, purposeful action to empower people who have been victimized by corporations that ravage land and life. She joined 350.org and organized her community to participate in the People’s Climate March in the US on April 29, 2017.

A massive forest fire in Montana and then Hurricane Katrina similarly transformed Jay Toups from a 9-to-5 information technology executive into an environmental activist. “Everyone has to have their own carbon epiphany to decide, once and for all, not to be victims of this oil addiction death sentence,” he says. Jay managed to survive Katrina within an inch of his life. The day after he made it out, he quit his corporate job. He observes, “I use my own grief as fuel…as the world churns and burns, I get stronger.” Jay Toups harnessed his creativity to build an alternative fuel company, Bioroot Energy. He devotes himself to educating people about clean fuel sources. “Every issue that is presenting itself on the planet right now is carbon related. The most profound shift in our time is a shift in our understanding and use of energy.”

These examples illustrate how ‘I’ can become ‘We’ in response to the threat of climate change, challenging all of the research about trauma and shock. An entirely new story is being written for the human nervous system.

Shock and trauma have historically caused painful isolation. Victims are often excluded from social interaction due to stigma. They tend to bond with the shame that is projected onto them and either hold back from society or become marginalized outcasts. With climate change however, people who have been silenced by racism, abuse and poverty are pushing back alongside farmers, scientists, attorneys, physicians and parents. These compassionate unions have rarely been forged previously, because never before has a threat been so global and formidable, yet so personal.

Climate change is an ecumenical cry from the Earth, being heard wherever people are listening. It is Nature’s way of advocating for all Her creatures. And it is wedded to the ascent of human collective consciousness. As a victim of toxic algae growth and choking water supply caused by pollution in the Florida Everglades has said, “I want to reweave the tattered web of life for all creatures on this planet.” This kind of compassionate human response is what we mean by the subtitle of CCC19, ‘Our Legacy for the Earth.’

The conference, Climate Change & Consciousness, will amplify this trend toward increased human creativity and resilience. Instead of responding from our animal brains that get mired in memories of previous threat and habituated to the past, we will collectively revitalize our cortical (executive) and neo-cortical (visionary) capacities and infect one another with transformed consciousness.

Join us in Findhorn, Easter, 2019!

 

Note: If you would like to start now to cultivate your creativity and resilience join CCC19 convener Dr. Stephanie Mines in the workshop, Essence and Empowerment, at the Findhorn Foundation, beginning September 2, 2017.

CCC19 CONFERENCE UPDATE

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CCC19 Conference Update: Welcome Vandana Shiva and Xiuhtezcatl Martinez

By conference convener, Stephanie Mines, Ph.D.

“The future of humanity depends on our advocacy for diversity, culture, freedom and joyful living.” Vandana Shiva

This week, from my perspective as the vision-holder for CCC19, we passed a milestone; Vandana Shiva and Xiuhtezcatl Martinez committed to joining us. Vandana Shiva epitomizes the vibrant elder-mentor who speaks for and with the Earth. Xiuhtezcatl Martinez is a young climate activist and hip hop artist who, along with other youth, is suing the US government for its failure to protect the environment for future generation. The participation of these two passionate activists fulfils crucial aspects of my vision for the event and helps me to feel that it is fully seeded and securely anchored.

There is not enough space here to properly tell you about Vandana Shiva and Xiuhtezcatl Martinez; their energies are almost mythic. Vandana Shiva has taken on what is likely one of the greatest challenges of climate change – feeding a growing population without further harming the Earth. She assures us that the anticipated 10 million inhabitants we will see by the end of the century can be fed “if seeds are in the hands of the farmers and the gardeners as well as the land.” Vandana has authored 20 books and been the recipient of numerous awards including the Right Livelihood Award in 1993.

Xiuhtezcatl Martinez launched his first environmental campaign at the age of six. With beauty, flare, and music he has, since then, taken on fracking, developed a climate recovery plan, and spoken at the Rio + 20 Summit and the UN. His mission, he says, is to reach out to youth and invite them to be advocates for the Earth. He received the Peace First Prize in 2015 and the Children’s Climate Prize in Sweden in 2016. He is now the Youth Director of the international organization Earth Guardians. And because, as he says, “movements need songs,” he has released one album and is working on another with his equally inspired younger brother and sister.

We are truly honored and blessed that these two people, one a wise elder and the other a young, talented rapper, will be with us at CCC19, to inspire and guide us along with our other eminent presenters.

Finally, on April 20th 2017, at 8 PM BST and Noon PST, we will be exactly two years from the moment that CCC19 opens in Findhorn. Please join us in being still at that time to invoke the highest and the best for our gathering. We will connect with each other, with Nature, the Ancestors and the future ones for twenty minutes of attunement. Let’s evoke, through meditation and attunement, the unseen guardians for our conference and the Earth!