Apr 10, 2012

What Would Buddha Do?

Tonight is the full moon. It is Buddha's Moon. The moon that he was born on, reached enlightenment, and died. Kind of cosmic.

What have we learned since his birth? Since his enlightenment? Since his death?

We now stand at the crux of our "civilization". We have made it over 2000 years since Christ and the Buddha were born. What do we have to show for it?

It seems that we are in the last grips of our separation from Nature. Collectively we are making every effort to take every last bit of valuable resource from the earth.

Tar Sands Devastation

Tar sands in Canada and the Keystone Pipeline. The 3rd largest hydroelectric dam ever in the Amazon. Sea bed mining off of the New Zealand coast. When will we learn?

After almost a month in New Zealand I can't help but be a little pessimistic about our path, our fate. NZ is supposed to be the last "100% pure" country left. It seems even they are struggling with staying pure.

Currently there are mining leases to remove over 5 billion tonnes of sand from the sea floor off of the west coast of the North Island of NZ. The black sands of the west coast contain high levels of iron ore, which is proposed to be shipped to China for processing, then likely sold back to NZ for huge profits.

Seabed prospecting areas off of NZ

Fish and Chips is one of the most iconic Kiwi meals. If seabed mining goes through you can take the fish out of that meal. Furthermore, the west coast is home to the critically endangered Maui's and Hector's Dolphin (called popoto by the Maori).

The Maui's Dolphin- the world's smallest and rarest-
lives off the west coast of the North Island of New Zealand.

The popoto is the smallest and perhaps the cutest dolphin in the world, and is on the brink of being the third cetacean species to go extinct in modern times, after the Atlantic Gray Whale and the Chinese River Dolphin.

We came to NZ to teach a Permaculture Design Certification course at Solscape Eco-retreat in Raglan, Whaingaroa. This was an incredible experience and super inspiring. We had 15 graduates complete the course, and now there are 15 more people in the world who made the commitment to live more in balance with nature.

We were very fortunate to be here at the same time as the crew from Surfers For Cetaceans- Dave Rastovich, Lauren Hill, and our friend from home Chadd Koenig. They are true inspirations and leaders in the surfing world to bring awareness to issues beyond the next swell and the latest competition results.

Chadd Koenig, Dave Rastovich, Aubrey Falk, and Loren Luyendyk

Peggy Oki and her origami whales

The recycled raft race was a blast!

Together we participated in the Maui's Dolphin Day and a very moving "protest" with the group KASM (Kiwis Against Seabed Mining) where we met a representative of Trans Tasman Resources (the contract company to explore for iron sands) at the one lane bridge out of town.

Locals speak their mind

Over 200 people turned up in silent protest

We blocked his passage, and children escorted him across in silence with signs shouting our position on seabed mining. He had just come from the marae, telling the local Maori TTR's plans- not asking permission.

Folks, there are other alternatives out there. We do not need to mine the seabed for iron ore. Steel is so 20th century. We had a chance to tour a farm for the future that was growing a controversial crop of the past.

Dave Jordan

The Waikato Hemp Project and the Hemp Farm is the daring and visionary mission of Dave Jordan. Dave has seen environmental destruction firsthand, having been a wilderness guide for 30 years. He had a realization that the solution to our environmental and health woes were not to be found in a lab or a pill, but in the oldest cultivated crop known to humanity.

No THC means this is NOT marijuana

Field of dreams...

Hemp is renowned as one of the easiest solutions to the global crisis we have created. A complete crop, offering food, fuel, fiber, and shelter that is far superior to our current options.

This is what we were after- nutritious seeds

The seed may be the most nutritious food known, containing essential amino acids and oils. The fuel is a byproduct from the crop, an alcohol distillation of the "waste". The fiber is far stronger and softer than cotton, requiring a fraction of the chemicals to produce. And shelter can be made from the hurd, or central part of the stem, when mixed with slaked lime it forms hempcrete- mold resistant and fire proof.

We helped Dave and our friend Paul Peterson harvest the crop. This is a completely legal crop mind you- not the one your thinking. It was an amazing opportunity to participate in a potentially ground breaking event. It was the largest hemp harvest in the southern hemisphere this year.

Still we need to do more. We need to act now and fast. Perhaps the best way to act is by following the Buddha. Be here now. Be love. Be compassionate. Be.

Being includes being one with all things. Being includes respecting life and the earth as our mother. Being includes living more in harmony with nature.

The sun may be setting on our civilization, unless we act now

This is not woo-woo hocus pocus new age hippy ranting. This is reality. This may be our last chance to change course. Because what we do to the earth we do to ourselves. We need to stop the self flagellation in the form of mining, consumerism, rampant growth, and unconscious acts. We need to take care of the earth, and each other.

Please take action to protect NZ resources, even if you are not from there:

Take the visual petition to protect the Maui's Dolphin:

Sign the petition to be sent to NZ Prime Minister John Key to protect the habitat of the Maui's Dolphin:

Join KASM: