June 2, 2016 By Chuck Robison
Hill Country News Faith Roundtable Article 2016-05-25
By Chuck Robison
All of us wrestle with the Big 5 Questions most of our lives. They are: 1. Who are we? 2. Where did we come from? 3. Why are we here? 4. Where are we going? and, 5. What time is it?
Every society, religion, and civilization has its own creation story, each designed to make sense as an answer to question 2. There is no need to seek the literal truth of our own Judeo, Muslim, Christian creation story. It is all made up. There was never a Garden of Eden, we never fell from anywhere and the entire history of mankind, going back at least a million years, has been about evolving out of the primordial muck and into the less than perfect beings we are today.
However, the creation story that we Jews and we Christians and we Muslims share has very specific powerful value, especially in today’s world. We three are religious cousins and our fights and squabbles are put into perspective when we read the first sentence of our common creation story:
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
The message is very clear. We did not create this. We had nothing to do with this creation. Our Universe can be described as a Great Thought, which God had in a moment, and we are but the result. All artists can determine how their art is expressed, used and by whom. God created all of this, including each of us, and He can determine how He wants to use us.
Asking this Roundtable’s question tempts us to buy into the confounding resurgence of American Anti-Intellectualism. All of sudden, it is very common to hear Americans deny science, history, and even humanity’s great intellectual achievements to focus instead on “stories” that are supposed to make us feel better. We now casually deny science and common sense when we proudly proclaim “there is no environmental crisis. Even if there is, man did not cause it.” However, the very God, the higher Divine
Mind behind all of this, will not allow us to get away with this “story” much longer.
We do well to study just the first sentence of our Creation Story until the day comes when we fully understand that we are the creatures and God is the creator. He made the rules and He decides the outcome. And this part is not a made up story, it is the law.
June 2, 2016 By Chuck Robison
We were asked to present our definitions of Consciousness to the regular monthly meeting of the Austin Consciousness Explorers. We were delighted at the response that still keeps coming into this presentation. It gave us an opportunity to look back on the first thirteen years of our work together and to present what we think will be the next portion of our work, which will be based, primarily, in Austin. This presentation is in two parts:
March 6, 2016 By Chuck Robison
Paul and Diana Ray have lived their lives for the past 45 years as members of the Austin Music Scene. In this interview they recount some of their remarkable experiences and put a friendly face on one of the most amazing cultural communities in the US: Austin, Live Music Capital of the World.
Here is what the Austin Chronicle says about Paul: “Of all the events that shaped Austin’s musical psyche in the early 1970s, few are as important as the migration of Dallas blues players to the capital of Texas. Paul Ray had fronted bands in the Metroplex since the 1950s and had a crooner’s voice that suited big band blues. After playing around Dallas for so long, he then joined the exodus of Metroplex musicians such as Jimmie Vaughan, Doyle Bramhall, Denny Freeman, and Mike Kindred….Ray brought in a second guitarist, Jimmie Vaughan’s younger brother Stevie. To say that Stevie set fire to the band is to ignore Freeman’s own sublime style – one that Bob Dylan took on tour 30 years later. Yet Vaughan was a fuse waiting to be lit, and the Cobras were his fuel. By the time the Cobras picked up a Tuesday night residency at the Soap Creek Saloon, the band was smoking with Stevie pealing out well-muscled leads against Denny Freeman’s jazzy blues.”
Paul and Diana have been here for the whole ride and their stories will amaze you and give you a unique insight into why music chose Austin to be its most user friendly home! Paul’s work at KUTX and Twine Time has created The Sound Track of Our Lives and has resulted in Paul being installed in the Texas Radio Hall of Fame.
Produced in Dripping Springs, Texas on April 10, 2014
July 12, 2014 By Chuck Robison
Russell Forsyth is a healer who has been certified under Dr.Doreen Virtue and also works as a crystal bed practitioner, inventor, writer, radio show host, speaker, teacher and musician from Austin, Texas. After an inspirational shift in 2006, Russell has written several books, given workshops, invented a crystal light bed and has appeared on several radio shows, theatre productions and was selected to film a pilot TV show on angel readers. Russell currently cwrites a weekly newsletter called “Angel Whispers”, which features a word study and channeled messages from the angels. [Read More…]
July 6, 2014 By Chuck Robison
Aurora Foxx explains her music and how it works. Her piano playing, seen in this video, demonstrates how her connection to spirit allows spirit to work directly through her hands to create wonderful and powerful music.
You can contact Aurora at her email address to order copies of her various CD’s. The Email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org
This was a real treat for us and it will be ford you as well.
July 6, 2014 By Chuck Robison
Enjoy……this is the exact spot to begin your spiritual quest.
June 23, 2014 By Chuck Robison
Michael Strong is a pioneer in education and independent learning. He is the founder of innovative Socratic, Montessori, and Paideia schools and programs in Alaska, Florida, California, Texas, and New Mexico. Michael is co-founder and serves as Chief Executive Officer and Chief Visionary Officer of FLOW.
As Chief Visionary Officer of FLOW, Michael is responsible for articulating the FLOW vision and for applying it in various domains. Fortunately for FLOW, Michael is a prolific thinker and writer. His work is increasingly receiving significant recognition and support. Current articles by Michael are regularly posted at FreeLiberal.com and Tech Central Station, as well as on the FLOW web site.
Michael Strong co-founded FLOW with John Mackey in 2003. Radical Social Entrepreneurs, launched in 2012, is one of three “descendants” of FLOW, along with its siblings Conscious Capitalism and Peace through Commerce.
He is lead author of Be the Solution: How Entrepreneurs and Conscious Capitalists Can Solve All the World’s Problems, co-authored with Whole Foods CEO John Mackey, 2006 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Muhammad Yunus, U.N. Commission on the Legal Empowerment of the Poor Co-Chair Hernando de Soto, and others.
Michael’s work is featured in academic journals (including The Journal of Business Ethics, Economic Affairs, and Critical Review), specialty publications (including Microfinance Insights, Policy Innovations, and Carnegie Ethics) and in media reaching popular audiences (including The New York Times, Bloomberg, The Huffington Post, RealClearPolitics, and Barron’s).
He serves on the board of Conscious Capitalism, Inc., The Free Cities Institute, The Seasteading Institute, and the Advisory Boards of The Lifeboat Foundation, Trilinc Global, The Moorfield Storey Institute, and is a mentor for developing world entrepreneurs for the MIT Legatum Center for Entrepreneurship and Development.
He has long been a radical social entrepreneur, for decades focused on the “creation of conscious culture through educational innovation,” now focused on the entrepreneurial creation of legal systems. He is author of The Habit of Thought: From Socratic Seminars to Socratic Practice.
Michael spent fifteen years innovating in education, creating several high-performance private and charter schools, including one named the 36th best public school in the U.S. on the Washington Post’s Challenge Index. Michael was educated at Harvard, St. John’s College, and the University of Chicago.
June 10, 2014 By Chuck Robison
What New Oceans? Jeff Simpson has been immersed in his ocean adventures and discoveries for the past quarter century. During this time, all of the global oceans have changed and been degraded. Here, Jeff talks about what has happened in just his lifetime to the oceans, what that means personally to him and how this trend is going to affect all of us.
Jeff is an old friend and we are delighted to present him to you in this challenging interview. Jeff gives a review of his life and especially his involvement in the SCUBA business.
In bringing Jeff to our viewers, he allows us to see many of the complex talents that make up this accomplished artist, musician and adventurer. In the last two minutes of the interview, you will see a wonderful wit as he observes the human drama in today’s light.
June 17, 2014. Jeff sent the following note: “This just stuns me. I have been wondering ever since you asked the question of me about the size of the plastic trash gyre in the Pacific Ocean so I looked it up. I keep finding estimates that say it is “much larger than the State of Texas, almost twice the size of the State of Texas.“
June 19, 2014 National Geographic ran this article:
“With Millions of Tons of Plastic in Oceans, More Scientists Studying Impact
A surprising amount of our garbage ends up in the sea. Can it ever be cleaned up?
Photo of a boat in the trash-filled waters of Manila Bay.
Fishermen set out amid floating garbage off the shore of Manila Bay in the Philippines on June 8, 2013.
Consider this: The amount of global trash is expected to rise every year for the rest of the century. With no intervention, the growing garbage heap won’t even peak by 2021.
Since most marine debris originates on land, that grim prognosis, say researchers at the University of Georgia, could spell disaster for the oceans, creating an environmental hazard often compared in scope with climate change.
“We estimate we’re going to have millions of tons of plastic going into the ocean with, so far, unknown consequences,” says Jenna Jambeck, an environmental engineer at the university, who is among a group of scientists pursuing a new phase of research on ocean trash and measuring its impact on the environment and marine life. The University of Georgia group works as part of the University of California at Santa Barbara’s National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis.
But while climate change is still mired in politics and is a target of naysayers, the trouble in the oceans is an easier issue to address because it is so visible. “The one thing this issue has going for it over climate change is that you can see the garbage,” Jambeck says.
Ocean debris grabbed the international spotlight this spring during the search for the missing Malaysian jet, when multiple satellite images of floating debris repeatedly turned out to be garbage instead of pieces of the Boeing 777. (See “Plane Search Shows World’s Oceans Are Full of Trash.”)
Secretary of State John Kerry hopes to highlight the issue again next week by making marine trash one of the main topics at a two-day oceans conference that begins Monday. Kerry hopes to frame the challenges that lie ahead, including climate change-related ocean acidification and the threat of overfishing.
But the dilemma caused by the growing tonnage of mostly plastic debris is so complex, it has created a new interdisciplinary field of study. Scientists like Jambeck are examining a litany of new issues that range from the toxicity of plastics ingested by marine animals to the politics and economics of solid waste management in developing nations.
New Questions for an Old Problem
Seafarers have known for decades that the oceans are trash dumps, the ultimate sinkholes for all global garbage. So far, 136 species of marine animals have been found entangled in debris. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the first such discovery was made in 1944, when northern fur seals turned up trapped in rubber “collars” that were the remains of Japanese food-drop bags from the Aleutian campaign in World War II.
But scientific research into marine garbage is only a decade or so old. NOAA, for example, launched its Marine Debris Program only in 2006, after Congress passed the Marine Debris Act at the urging of Senator Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii).
The defining moment of ocean debris research, says Jambeck, was when scientists discovered that ocean debris was no longer an assemblage of cloth, wood, and ceramics, but was composed almost entirely of plastic. Most of that is micro-plastic, meaning it has decayed and broken down into microscopic pieces that float in the water column. Richard Thompson, a British scientist scheduled to speak at Kerry’s conference, first highlighted the problem in 2004 in a paper titled “Lost at Sea: Where Is All the Plastic?”
“Once micro-plastics entered the picture and it was being ingested by marine life, it was a whole new ballgame,” Jambeck says. “That’s when the alarms started going off.”
Jambeck and her team’s research, to be published later this year, will provide new estimates of how much garbage is produced globally every year, how much garbage comes from developing countries lacking garbage collection systems, and how much litter is produced by developed countries. All trash has the potential to reach the oceans.
Yet despite the new burst of scientific study, solving the problem in the face of an increasing volume of ocean trash seems an almost insurmountable task.
An alliance of 48 plastic manufacturers from 25 countries—all members of the Global Plastics Associations for Solutions on Marine Litter—has pledged to help prevent marine debris and encourage recycling. Several manufacturers are now marketing products made partly from recycled ocean plastics and abandoned fishing gear.
But the consensus among many scientists, including NOAA’s, is that cleaning up the oceans can potentially cause more harm than good. Cleaning up micro-plastics could also inadvertently sweep up plankton, which provides the basis for the marine food chain and half of the photosynthesis on Earth.
Ocean trash is driven by currents into loosely formed garbage “patches” that Dianna Parker, a NOAA spokesperson, says are more accurately described as “peppery soup” filled with grain-size plastic bits. The word “patch” suggests a defined size and location, when in fact floating debris is constantly moving, shifting with seasonal weather, and changing in shape and size.
Cleaning up even one of these areas seems impossible. Not surprisingly, the largest patch is in the largest ocean—the Pacific, which covers a third of the planet. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, as it is known, is often said to be twice the size of Texas. It actually extends, at times, from Japan to San Francisco, and varies in shape and density. According to NOAA, cleaning up less than one percent of the North Pacific would take 68 ships working 10 hours a day for a year.
Beach cleanups help, but are costly and ineffective. The Ocean Conservancy, the international leader in coastal cleanups, has collected some 180 million tons in three decades of work. “We have now created the world’s best database for what actually happens on our beaches,” says Andreas Merkl, the group’s CEO. “We are the largest end-of-the-pipe, ocean-specific trash entity.”
San Francisco spends $6 million a year cleaning up cigarette butts alone, according to NOAA figures in a report called the “The Honolulu Strategy: A Global Framework for Prevention and Management of Marine Debris.” The Honolulu Strategy, developed at a NOAA conference in 2011, notes that a more effective solution is to prevent debris from being swept into the oceans in the first place.
But as long as some countries lack the ability to efficiently collect garbage from its citizens, that garbage will continue to end up in the ocean.
Plastic-Making Technology Spreads
Ted Siegler, a partner at DSM Environmental Services, a waste management firm in Windsor, Vermont, has spent a career helping developing countries set up garbage collection systems.
“In many ways, this is really simple. This is putting trucks on the road and picking up the garbage and bringing it to a proper place,” he says. “But none of that is occurring in almost all of the places that I’ve been working in the last 20 years.”
The complication, Siegler says, is the speed with which plastic manufacturing technology has spread globally.
“I could walk into a guy’s garage in Jordan and he would be blowing film to create plastic bags. Or walk into an industrial shop in Vietnam and a guy would have a brand-new Chinese knockoff of a Frito-Lay packaging machine,” he says.
“There is no end in sight to how much plastic we are going to be producing and how much we are going to be using, and that’s the scary part. If it’s important now, it’s going to be much more important ten years from now.”
PUBLISHED JUNE 13, 2014
2014-07-05: This just in from Jeff: “I read an article not long ago that was the summary of a 3 years study of sea and sea-shore birds that were found dead. The idea was to try to draw a common thread for cause of death if one existed. It did. Over 90% of the birds were found to have so much plastic in their stomachs and craws, that they cold not process out of their bodies, that they essentially starved to death because there was no room for food.
Doesn’t that make you proud?”
May 30, 2014 By Chuck Robison
Chuck has created his latest Notes From the Masters Class which you can view above. In this edition, Chuck discusses a very small part of what he has learned from Huston Smith, Aldous Huxley and Gopi Krishna.
These short homilies seem to be reaching people on the deep level we intended them to be received.