Michael Strong and New Education

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.

Jeff Simpson and the New Oceans

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.”

Laura Parker
National Geographic
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?”

 

Marcus Borg and 21st Century Christianity

Here is the story of the man we interviewed on April 4, 2014 in Austin, Texas. You will find this highly acclaimed theologian to be real, funny, relaxed and brilliant…….and so did we !

Here is Marcus Borg’s official bio:

Marcus J. Borg is Canon Theologian at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Portland, Oregon. Internationally known in both academic and church circles as a biblical and Jesus scholar, he was Hundere Chair of Religion and Culture in the Philosophy Department at Oregon State University until his retirement in 2007.

He is the author of nineteen books, including Jesus: A New Vision (1987) and the best-seller Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time (1994); The God We Never Knew (1997); The Meaning of Jesus: Two Visions (1999); Reading the Bible Again for the First Time (2001), and The Heart of Christianity (2003), both best-sellers.

His newest books are Jesus: Uncovering the Life, Teachings and Relevance of a Religious Revolutionary (2006), a New York Times Best-Seller; Conversations with Scripture: Mark (2009), and three books co-authored with John Dominic Crossan, The Last Week (2006), The First Christmas (2007), and The First Paul (2009).

His novel, Putting Away Childish Things, was published in April, 2010.

Described by The New York Times as “a leading figure in his generation of Jesus scholars,” he has appeared on NBC’s “Today Show” and “Dateline,” PBS’s “Newshour,” ABC’s “Evening News” and “Prime Time” with Peter Jennings, NPR’s “Fresh Air” with Terry Gross, and several National Geographic programs. A Fellow of the Jesus Seminar, he has been national chair of the Historical Jesus Section of the Society of Biblical Literature and co-chair of its International New Testament Program Committee, and is past president of the Anglican Association of Biblical Scholars.

His work has been translated into eleven languages: German, Dutch, Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Indonesian, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, and French. His doctor’s degree is from Oxford University, and he has lectured widely overseas (England, Scotland, Austria, Germany, Belgium, Hungary, Israel and South Africa) and in North America, including the Chautauqua and Smithsonian Institutions.

In addition to the nineteen books he has authored or co-authored, he is the editor or co-editor of: The Lost Gospel Q (1996) Jesus and Buddha: The Parallel Sayings (1997) God at 2000, co-edited with Ross Mackenzie (2000).

Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time (1994) is the single best-selling book by a contemporary Jesus scholar.

The God We Never Knew was named “one of the ten best books in religion in 1997″ by Publishers Weekly.

The Meaning of Jesus: Two Visions
, co-authored with N. Thomas Wright, a well-known British New Testament scholar from the conservative side of the spectrum. It won the “Best General Interest Book of 1999” award from the Association of Theological Booksellers.
Reading The Bible Again for the First Time (2001) has made Publishers Weekly “ten best selling books in religion.”

The Heart of Christianity (2003) has been a group study book in hundreds of churches.

Jesus: Uncovering the Life, Teachings and Relevance of a Religious Revolutionary is a New York Times best-selling book.

A very useful study guide for The Heart of Christianity is published by HarperOne and authored by Tim Scorer. 160 pages long, it teaches “Heart” in twelve sessions, with suggestions for small group formation and activities, a DVD that includes handouts, visuals, and some video. Similar study guides for Reading the Bible Again for the First Time and Jesus are also available from Wood Lake Books.

Lo Anne Mayer and Celestial Conversations

Lo Anne Mayer is a long time student of healing and spirituality. After her mother’s death, as Lo Anne describes in this interview, she wanted to deal with much unfinished business with her mother. She found a way to communicate with her mother and this book is about that and it will also lead you to similar solutions if you have a questions about a loved one who has made his or her transition.

This is an opportunity to see first hand what you have long suspected. There is not only life after death, there is relationship on both sides of the veil.

Lo Anne and her book will move you to action.

Dr. Gladys McGarey

Dr. Gladys Taylor McGarey has been a family physician for more than 60 years and is board certified in holistic and integrative medicine. Born in India to medical missionaries, she is internationally known for her pioneering work in holistic medicine, natural birthing and the physician-patient partnership.

Dr. Gladys (as she likes to be called) helped co-found the American Holistic Medical Association in 1978, and is widely known as the “Mother of Holistic Medicine.” Her work through her foundation, The Gladys Taylor McGarey Medical Foundation has helped expand the knowledge and application of holistic principles through scientific research and education, and is helping bridge the gap between traditional and holistic medicine. Currently, she and her Foundation are actively involved in healthcare reform. The Foundation’s recently published position papers articulate a new vision for healthcare and have been widely distributed. Dr. Gladys is also the author of three books, “The Physician Within You,” “Born to Live,” and “Living Medicine.” Among her other pioneering accomplishments:
-Successfully championed fathers in the delivery room
-Co-founded the Academy of Parapsychology and Medicine
-Created the only ARE Clinic based on the work of Edgar Cayce
-First to utilize acupuncture in the U.S. and trained other physicians to use it
-The International Academy of Clinical Hypnosis started in her living room
-Taught safer birthing practices to rural women in Afghanistan, resulting in a 47% decrease in infant and young child mortality
-Created a task force comprised of more than 100 holistic physicians and other professional healthcare providers to envision a new medical model in response to the need for healthcare reform.

The Following Video is the Presentation D. McGarey Gave to the Austin community of March 22, 2014.

This next video is the question and answer period and it starts off with a great exchange.