Youth making a global difference …

Greta Thunberg Slams COP25, Says Response to Climate Crisis Is “Clever Accounting and Creative PR”

DECEMBER 12, 2019

At the U.N. climate summit in Madrid, 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg addressed world leaders Wednesday, hours after she was named Time magazine’s Person of the Year. Thunberg came to the talks after a trip to meet with climate leaders across North America in anticipation of the scheduled climate conference in Santiago, Chile, before the talks were abruptly moved to the Spanish capital. In her address, Thunberg warned that the planet’s carbon budget is down to just eight years, and urged bold action. “I still believe that the biggest danger is not inaction. The real danger is when politicians and CEOs are making it look like real action is happening when in fact almost nothing is being done apart from clever accounting and creative PR,” Thunberg said.

A 14-year-old climate activist inspired by Greta Thunberg sits outside the UN on Fridays. She says she’s been getting death threats (Aria Bendix),Business InsiderDecember 7, 2019

Alexandria Villaseñor
Alexandria Villaseñor

Ole Jensen/Getty Images

Almost a year ago, teen climate activist Greta Thunberg delivered an impassioned speech at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Poland. Her remarks caught the attention of Alexandria Villaseñor, a New York middle-schooler who was 13 at the time.  

Villaseñor had just visited family in northern California, and the trip coincided with the deadliest blaze in the state’s history: the 2018 Camp Fire, which killed at least 85 people. She’d stayed in a town about two hours away from the flames, and said the smoke caused her asthma to flare up. 

“I was sick,” Villaseñor told Business Insider, adding that she donned a face mask and placed wet towels in the crevices of windows and doors at her family’s home. “So I started to really research wildfires and I saw the connection between them and climate change.” 

When she came across a video of Thunberg’s COP24 speech, Villaseñor said, she decided that she could help prevent a future climate-related disaster by joining Thunberg’s Fridays for Future movement. The initiative encourages students to skip school to demand action on climate change from their governments, and it has swelled to encompass thousands of student activists like Villaseñor. 

She now sits outside the United Nations headquarters in Manhattan on Fridays. Each time, Villaseñor brings a sign that reads “COP24 Failed Us,” a reference to the fact that global emissions have continued to rise since that conference in December 2018. This week marked the one-year anniversary of her strike; she goes rain or shine and even sat outside the UN during a polar vertex.  

“When Greta started striking, it gave permission to other students all around the world to go on protest as well,” Villaseñor said. “She speaks with such authenticity that it really resonates with other young people.”

Greta Thunberg and Alexandria Villasenor
Greta Thunberg and Alexandria Villasenor

EuropaNewswire/Gado/Getty Images

But joining Thunberg’s movement also comes with challenges: namely, criticism from adults. Villaseñor said she has been harassed on social media and even received death threats from climate-change deniers. But that hasn’t stopped her from protesting. 

Fridays at the United Nations 

In December 2018, Villaseñor told her parents that she planned to skip seventh grade every Friday to go on strike. 

“I had never gone to a protest before. I’d never been involved in any organizational space,” she said. “At first it was like, is this really going to make a difference?”

Alexandria Villasenor
Alexandria Villasenor

Sarah Blesener/The Washington Post/Getty Images

Her parents gave their consent, she said, but her friends were confused.

“At first when I started striking, they didn’t really understand why it was important or why I was doing it,” she said. “It was my job to educate them.”

By February, Villaseñor told the Washington Post that she was transferring to a private school that allows her take off for strikes, protests, and public appearances. 

Teen climate strikers have catapulted to fame

Villaseñor is the first to admit that her life isn’t that of a normal teenager. She has been photographed with Leonardo DiCaprio and she stood on stage next to Jane Fonda at Glamour’s 2019 Women of the Year Awards.

On Wednesday, she gave a speech in front of Mark Ruffalo and former Vice President Al Gore at the TED World Theatre in New York City. Over the next few days, she’ll be at COP25 in Madrid. Thunberg will be in Spain, too — she arrived in Lisbon via sailboat on Tuesday, since she refuses to fly because of airplanes’ high greenhouse-gas emissions.

Countdown Launch
Countdown Launch

Dian Lofton (TED)

Villaseñor is less extreme than Thunberg when it comes to her efforts to reduce her own carbon footprint. She takes public transportation around New York, uses a bamboo toothbrush, and washes her hair with a bar of shampoo instead of shampoo from a bottle. 

“I do look at my own habits,” she said. “But the majority of our greenhouse gas emissions come from 100 companies all around the world.”

For both of these young activists, and others like them, attracting international attention has been a key part of their strategy. But it has also landed the teens in stressful situations. 

In September, President Donald Trump mocked Thunberg on Twitter after she shed tears during a speech at the UN General Assembly. Thunberg also said her sister, Beata, has experienced “systematic bullying, hatred, and harassment” online. 

Villaseñor said she has been a topic of conversation on the right-wing news site Breitbart, where she received death threats in the comments section. The threats were so disturbing, she said, that Breitbart temporarily disabled its comments and purged some of the posts. But more vitriolic remarks sprung up after, Villaseñor added. 

After receiving those threats, she said she felt the need to surround herself with more adults at protests.

“We make sure there are peacekeepers and marshals — people who can really watch the surroundings,” she said.

But overall, Villaseñor added, the criticism motivates her.  

“Whenever I see a climate denier or a troll, I find it a good sign,” she said. “It just shows how threatened they are.”

Villaseñor said she is motivated by anger 

Alexandria Villasenor
Alexandria Villasenor

Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images

Villaseñor founded a group called Earth Uprising for young climate activists, and said the teens generally coordinate their efforts through social channels like WhatsApp, Instagram, and Slack. Facebook, she noted, is less common.

“I mean, what’s Facebook?” she said teasingly. “I don’t really use that one that much.”

Villaseñor said she and her fellow activists communicated a lot about their excitement surrounding Thunberg’s visit to New York in September.

“We were just ecstatic,” she said. “It was amazing that she was coming here because she had inspired us in the first place to go out and take action.”

But ecstasy is in rare supply during her protests and strikes. Instead, Villaseñor said, she’s motivated by anger, grief, and frustration.  

“Behind every protest there is a layer of anger,” she said. “In the future, school won’t matter anymore because we’ll be too busy running from the next wildfire or hurricane.”

December 6, 2019

“It’s Our Future”: Meet the Youth Activists Behind Fridays for Future Movements in Uganda and Chile

In Spain, the 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg has arrived in Madrid to take part in today’s strike as well as a major march set for 6 p.m. local time. Greta began the climate strike movement last year when she started skipping school every Friday to stand in front of the Swedish parliament, demanding action to prevent catastrophic climate change. Her protest spread, quickly going global. We speak with two youth climate strikers: Hilda Flavia Nakabuye is the founder of Fridays for Future Uganda and Angela Valenzuela is a coordinator with Fridays for Future in Chile, where this year’s U.N. climate summit had been scheduled but massive protests against neoliberalism forced the Chilean government to cancel the talks.

Youth-Led Protests Topple Iraqi PM as Demonstrations Calling for Overhaul of Government Continue

DECEMBER 02, 2019

Anti-government protests are continuing in Iraq one day after the Iraqi parliament voted to accept the resignation of Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi. On Saturday, protesters set off fireworks in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square when Abdul Mahdi announced he would submit his resignation, though he will remain in a caretaker capacity until a new government is formed. The resignation came two days after Iraqi security forces killed at least 44 people in the southern cities of Nasiriya and Najaf after the Iranian consulate was burned down on Wednesday night. Following the bloody crackdown, Iraq’s Shi’ite spiritual leader Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani urged the Iraqi Parliament to withdraw its support of the prime minister and warned that the escalating violence could lead to a civil war in Iraq. More than 400 Iraqi protesters have been killed and 15,000 injured since the widespread anti-government demonstrations began in October. We speak with Iraqi journalist Ghaith Abdul-Ahad, correspondent for the Guardian newspaper, and Sinan Antoon, poet, novelist, translator and scholar born and raised in Baghdad.

MAY 24, 2019

H16 global strike climate change students walkout greta thunberg

And youth activists in cities around the world have launched another one-day global climate strike that could rival a March 15 action that saw an estimated 1.6 million participants. Organizers, inspired by 16-year-old Swedish high school student Greta Thunberg, say they’re planning more than 1,350 separate strikes in every continent on Earth today—including two strikes in Antarctica. This is 19-year-old activist Marta Macías from Madrid, Spain.

Marta Macías: “It’s estimated we have 11 years before climate change is irreversible. And if we don’t take the necessary measures over these 11 years, we will end up without a planet. I want to defend my life on this planet, as well as the survival of my species and all of the other species that live on it.”

MAR 01, 2019 –Teen Climate Activist to Sen. Dianne Feinstein: We Need the Green New Deal to Prevent the Apocalypse

“We’re the ones affected.” Those are the words of youth climate activists who confronted California Senator Dianne Feinstein last week in San Francisco, demanding she sign on to the Green New Deal. In a video of the interaction that has since been seen across the country, Feinstein dismissed the children—some as young as 7 years old—asking her to take bold action on climate change. We speak with the youth climate activists who confronted the senator: 16-year-old Isha Clarke, 12-year-old Rio and his 10-year-old sister Magdalena.

January 3, 2019 – On Her Shoulders: Stunning Film Follows Nobel Peace Winner Nadia Murad’s Fight to End Sexual Violence.

Democracy Now presents the remarkable story of Nadia Murad, the Yazidi human rights activist from Iraq who was recently awarded the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize. Murad was kidnapped by the Islamic State in 2014 and repeatedly raped as she was held in captivity. After managing to escape, Murad fled Iraq and has dedicated her life to drawing international attention to the plight of the Yazidi people. The documentary “On Her Shoulders” follows Murad as she shares her story with the world. It has been shortlisted for an Academy Award for Best Documentary and recently received the Columbia Journalism duPont Award. Democracy now speaks with the film’s award-winning director Alexandria Bombach.

December 14, 2018 – 15 y.o. Greta Thunberg’s presents at the U.N. climate summit.

Heeding Call of Greta Thunberg, Polish Students Walk Out of Class upon hearing the words of 15-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg upon her presentation at the U.N. climate summit the previous night (note link below) – her dad driving their electric car through the night so she could sit in front of the Swedish parliament once again, where she goes every Friday in a school strike against climate change. Here in Katowice, Poland, at least 30 local high school students answered Greta’s call, walking out of classes today and carrying their message here to the COP. The group sang and chanted while sitting on the steps of the main conference hall, holding signs that said “12 years left” and “#ClimateStrike.” This is student Gosia Chehowska speaking with Democracy Now!’s Carla Wills.

December 13, 2018 – Democracy Now presents fifteen-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg addressing the U.N. plenary on December 12, 2018 in Katowice, Poland, as she condemns global inaction in the face of catastrophic climate change. Her couageous challenge … “You are stealing our Future!

Willamette University student Arabella Wood, right, gathers with others at a rally in Eugene, Ore., Monday, Oct. 29, 2018, to support a high-profile climate change lawsuit brought by 21 young people against the federal government. Trial was set to begin in federal court in Eugene Monday morning. But the U.S. Supreme Court temporarily halted the proceedings to decide whether the case should move forward. (Andy Nelson/The Register-Guard via AP)

November 3, 2018 – Supreme Court Rejects White House Move To Block Teens’ Climate Change Lawsuit. The Supreme Court refused a Trump administation application to halt an intriguing climate change lawsuit filed by a group of young people against the U.S. government.

September 26, 2014 – Joshua Wong, a fourteen-year-old harmless-looking youngster served as one of the leaders of the Umbrella Revolution, a pro-democracy movement that barricaded itself in downtown Hong Kong. As a series of sit-in street protests called the Umbrella Revolution and at times used interchangeably with Umbrella Movement, its initial protests occurred in Hong Kong from 26 September to 15 December 2014. While Wong’s activism began when he was just fourteen founding the student organisation, Scholarism, which reached its peak when in over two months in 2016, it birthed the largest political demonstration in China since the Tiananmen massacre, more than 1.5 million people protested against the Beijing government.

About Gender Equality

About Gender Equality

There are lots of misunderstandings about women’s rights, and men’s rights. The infamous ‘battle of the sexes’ goes on and without a good understanding of what both men and women deal with in our culture, it is easy to become biased. If we are all one species, which we are, gender politics must give way to a more comprehensive understanding of gender identity, and how both sexes have been ‘duped’ into believing falsehoods about gender roles.

A young film maker has produced a documentary entitled The Red Pill which discusses, fairly objectively, the need to shift from a feminist, or masculinist, perspective, to a humanist perspective. We are all in this together. There will be no peace, in the home, in the world, without authentic gender equality. The battle of the sexes must stop.

Men’s Rights Activists are not diminishing feminists. In fact, they totally support feminism. Their contention is that men too are under the heavy weight of social and cultural impositions, which need to be heard and understood. The Men’s Rights Movement gained ground in the early 1990’s with the publication of Warren Farrell’s eye opening book The Myth of Male Power.

Below is a link to a 15 minute TED talk by the film maker, Cassie Jaye.


The Importance of Connection

Brene Brown’s 20-minute TedTalk in June of 2010 is an excellent presentation on the importance of connection and the power of vulnerability, based on research and her inspiring tales of stories gathered from experience, analysis and insight.


Above All Nations

(the following is taken with permission from a post by )

Every nation flies their flag high up at the top of the pole. Underneath the national flag may fly the flags of states, counties and cities. Every nation sees itself as at the top. And yet, above every nation is the Earth, our world. The Earth (and the air, and the water, and the power sources that fuel our lives), is above all nations. The Earth is not dependent upon us. We are dependent upon the Earth. All nations are dependent upon the Earth. The Earth is above all nations.

This perspective can be visually displayed, in every city, every federal and state building, every municipality, any flag pole. It’s simple. Just fly a flag of the Earth above all others….

aboveall others

Think about it. Pass this post along to others who may be in a position to further this idea, to enact this vision. It’s simple. It’s inexpensive. It’s true. Our one Earth is above all the many nations.


The Emergence of Homo Ecos

homo ecos

The Emergence of Homo Ecos

by Kenneth Fields, MA, LMHC

The Tree of Humanity has deep roots in the soil of this our world, our planet, our solar system; this tree has been around a long, long time; many limbs have burst forth and limbs from them, flowering branches and twigs of humanity’s many manifestations through eons of eras, periods, epochs and stages. Our personal life is but a leaf, so very far away from the trunk, not to mention the roots. And yet, the entire tree from budding leaf to tap root is permeated by the same essential sap, uprising through the tree to the extremities, from the planetary and solar elements that make us all who inhabit this world what we are.

Nature is not human-hearted. As any gardener knows, pruning and culling is an integral process in a healthy garden. Chopping off a tree limb is conducive to the tree’s long term well-being. It happens naturally over time, because Nature is inherently ecological. The tree of humanity has had many such prunings and cullings over the eons of planetary revolutions and evolutions. The modern crisis of human starvation, disease, war and natural disasters have many saying modern humanity is at a pivotal point. It would not be the first time….

Who is modern humanity? Who is you? You are a human being. What is that? What is a human? Homo Sapiens. What is that? Homo is a Greek word that translates as ‘one and the same.’ Homo is also the root of the word ‘homogeneous’ which means the same. The word ‘sapiens’ though often referred to as a Latin word for ‘wise’ was meant more in the sense of ‘likewise’ which is similar to homogeneous. As a species, we are homogeneous, we are all alike, we are all one and the same. We are Homo (Latin). We are One (English).

Homo Sapiens, the technical, scientific word-label that categorizes us, as a species, is predated by other technical names, such as Homo Erectus, Homo Habilis, Homonids in general, and others. The  tree of humanity has many branches, flowering cultures some so long ago withered away they are lost to history. What is the difference between, say, Homo Erectus and Homo Sapiens? Some distinction appears as brain size, jaw size, height, or tools made, to name a few. What is next? Consider that perhaps we are already there. We are no longer Homo Sapiens. We are Homo Faber. Faber is a Latin word for ‘fabrication.’ We are the fabricating human. You are a fabricating being. You fabricate all kinds of things, externally, if not by yourself, then in conjunction with others. You fabricate all kinds of internal experiences as well; a lot that goes on in the mind is conjecture, fantasy, guessing, thinking; in a word, fabrications, including any sense of individual self-hood.

Fabrication. Look around; what is not fabricated by human hands? We are defined by our fabrications. Who is not who they are because of psychological fabrications? Go get out into the natural world. What now is not fabricated by human hands? The pros of fabrication are many, including technologies and conveniences, precision planning and problem solving; and the cons are significant risks of starvation; a deprivation of the natural world, which is the soil in which grows the tree of humanity, without which, you, as a human being, don’t exist.

Who comes after Homo Faber? Who comes after us? What do we become? Where do we go? Perhaps we’ll get lucky and emerge as Homo Ecos. Ecos has Latin, Greek and French roots which, in English, translates as ‘house’ and ‘household’; the word is generally represented into English as ‘environment, surroundings, habitat.’ The word ‘environment’ has its roots in Middle English and Old French and translates as ‘a circle or ring around, surround, envelop.’ Ecos surrounds us, encircles us, envelops us.

Ecos views ‘household’ quite a bit differently than would a modern Homo Faber. Homo Ecos understands everything that surrounds us, encircles us, envelopes us, is the household. Ecos is, of course, the root of the word ecology, and economics. Ecos sounds like, and is very similar to Echo. In Greek mythology, Echo is a character unable to initiate speech, but can repeat back what is said. The implication is that echo is feedback. If the environment is in trouble, that is just an echo. It is feedback. Homo Ecos utilizes feedback to help ensure a wholesome household, a wholesome environment, because, ultimately, the environment, the household, everything that surrounds us, encircles us, envelops us, is us, Homo Ecos. The Ecological Being.

Home Ecos is not a far fetched fantasy. We see ever increasing awareness of the importance of our environment. We see individuals and communities adopting a more ecological perspective. Countries are responding to the feedback from the environment, listening to the echos, and introducing ecological policies and goals. The emergence of Homo Ecos, The Ecological Being, is on the horizon.

What can you do? As Mahatma Gandhi is noted to have said, ‘be the change in the world you want to see.’ Be ecological. Think ecological. Act ecological. Know Ecos.

“We have decommissioned natural selection and must now look deep within ourselves and decide what we wish to become.”   E. O. Wilson

To read more from Kenneth Fields, visit his website blogs at:


Heart Meditation

Would like to share this truly moving heart meditation by Tsikki Thau titled “The Heart Beat”.  Tis’ a 45 minute mpg I find quite relaxing. 

Others who have used this audio guided meditation have found it very special as well. One commented … I have always had hard time meditating and thought I would never be able to do it on my own. This meditation showed me otherwise. The teacher’s voice is so calm and soothing and her energy is so loving. The first time I did the Heartbeat meditation was a life changing experience. I was left with such an amazing feeling and a light heart. Since then, I do it on a daily basis and love it even more. 

Another … A meditation that I can listen to anytime anywhere! I love this meditation to help me destress and connect to my heart and spirit. It uplifts me whenever I need and is my go to soundtrack all the time.” And yet another … This amazing soundscape and guided meditation will take you to a place of relaxation and heart expansion. It has clear, concise and easy instructions that anyone can follow. Whether it is on your drive to work or before you go to sleep you can listen to this soundtrack to connect to your heart!”

Try it yourself. Click audio link….and connect to your heart….

Heart Meditation

Trauma Healing & Recovery Resources

As one who himself has chronic PTSD,  I strongly believe that knowing about trauma healing & recovery resources is an important part of being an informed and responsible community member. Most everybody has at some time in their lives experienced trauma; and yet, healing and recovery from that trauma has not been addressed. In today’s world of economic and political stress and uncertainty, aggression and violence, often witnessed on television, vicarious trauma is occurring more frequently. Because it is important to know trauma healing & recovery resources, below is a short, readily accessible list of such which may be helpful:

The Way Out of Patriarchy

Perhaps the most significant social problem we face in our country today, and, indeed, throughout the world, has been and continues to be, patriarchy and its impact upon the world. This word is the “tip of an iceberg” in terms of what it means, to you, the nation, and the world.

Because patriarchy has been the dominant model throughout history, all the problems we face today are based in the patriarchal model. We need a new model and as Albert Einstein was noted to have said, “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.

Mayim Bailik, best known as an actor in television programs has also earned her doctorate degree in Neuroscience. She’s smart. She’s funny. And she has some thoughtful points to consider about the way out of patriarchy, one boy at a time….


Face it, we live in one world, on one planet…..

One of my more pleasant memories is looking through images of the earth, from space. Astronauts were changed, emotionally, spiritually, uplifted and inspired, from seeing our earth from a distance. I remember feeling something kin to that when I first saw a color photograph of the earth, from space. So, as the first blog post of, it appears fitting to share a few of the now readily available images of earth, as one beautiful whole…..