Thursday, December 31, 2015

Perhaps Love 3

The memory of love will bring you home

Today is the 72nd anniversary of John Denver’s birth. Though he tragically died in a light aircraft accident on October 12, 1997 at the age of  53, he left a legacy, not only in music but in environmental and humanitarian endeavors. (For a remembrance of John Denver by Denver Post Theater Critic, John Moore, go here).

Denver fans will take delight in the following clip featuring a brief interview in 1982 on Pebble Mill at One, followed by his performance of "Perhaps Love," which had just been released on his album, Seasons of the Heart.

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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Perhaps Love 2

While music critics often dismissed John Denver's recordings, his fans loved his music. His legacy was defended by country singer Kathy Mattea who said, "A lot of people write him off as lightweight, but he articulated a kind of optimism, and he brought acoustic music to the forefront, bridging folk, pop, and country in a fresh way…. People forget how huge he was worldwide." Read more at

Placido Domingo apparently did not consider Denver a "lightweight." He has performed "Perhaps Love" on a number of occasions. Here he is singing the song in a beautiful duet with John Denver, recorded in 1981 and placed now with this video of some stunning photos from the life journey.

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Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Perhaps Love

John Denver, whose music topped the charts in the 1970s, achieved great popularity, with the songs of optimism that he wrote and performed. Perhaps one of the keys to his success was his crossover appeal. His music began with the folk revival of the 1960's (which also introduced such artists as Peter, Paul & Mary, Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Phil Ochs, and Arlo Guthrie, among others). As a singer/songwriter, Denver's music spanned musical genres that included folk, country, and pop. He found popularity among the young and the old. This week I am featuring his song, "Perhaps Love" in three different settings in celebration of what would have been his 72nd birthday on December 31st.

"Perhaps Love" was first recorded on Denver's Seasons of the Heart album (1982). The following recording of the song is a duet by Denver and Lene Siel recorded in 1996, which would have been a year before his untimely death.

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Monday, December 28, 2015

Monday Music: Coventry Carol

Here is a carol that is appropriate for this day commemorating the Holy Innocents. While Mary bore in her body and held in her arms the hope for the world, the Prince of Peace, she lived with the reality of a world in which kings will slaughter innocents to stay in power. Women throughout the ages have lived with this sorrow. Every victim of the Empire's "collateral damage"has a mother who weeps.

From Wikipedia: The "Coventry Carol" is an English Christmas carol dating from the 16th century. The carol was traditionally performed in Coventry in England as part of a mystery play called The Pageant of the Shearmen and Tailors. The play depicts the Christmas story from chapter two in the Gospel of Matthew: the carol itself refers to the Massacre of the Innocents, in which Herod ordered all male infants under the age of two in Bethlehem to be killed, and takes the form of a lullaby sung by mothers of the doomed children. 


Saturday, December 26, 2015

Saturday Haiku: Aspen Grove

quiet trees
gather memories
of passersby

Photo: Aspen Grove, by Taylor Kennedy
National Geographic


Friday, December 25, 2015

Wishing All a Merry Christmas

Photo by Rachael Callahan @objectivityrach
A view from Railroad Park of Downtown Birmingham at Christmas time


Thursday, December 24, 2015

Taladh Chriosta (Lullaby of the Christ Child)

Taladh Chriosta (Lullaby of the Christ Child)

From Wikipedia:
Tàladh Chrìosda (Christ's lullaby) is the popular name for the Scottish Gaelic Christmas carol Tàladh ar Slànaigheir (the Lullaby of our Saviour). It is traditionally sung at Midnight Mass in the Outer Hebrides in Scotland. The 29 verses of the hymn date from the 19th century and are intended to represent a lullaby for the Christ Child by the Blessed Virgin. The words are recorded as being composed by Fr. Ranald Rankin of Fort William for the children of Moidart and were originally entitled Tàladh ar Slànuighear (the Lullaby of our Saviour) and sung to a tune called Cumha Mhic Àrois (the Lament for Mac Àrois). The song was popularised among English speakers in the early 20th century by Marjory Kennedy-Fraser under the title The Christ-Child's Lullaby.


Monday, December 21, 2015

Monday Music: Herefordshire Carol

The Choir of King's College, Cambridge

Form the Your Tube notes:

In this arrangement this is sometimes called the Herefordshire Carol as the tune was collected by Vaughan Williams at King's Pyon in that county. Otherwise, and in the longer version collected by Sharp, it is often known by its first line: 'This Is the Truth Sent From Above'.

When Vaughan Williams is sung at church, it is always a good day.


Saturday, December 19, 2015

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

If God Dwelt Among Us…

What would the divine look like?

Last weekend I attended a tour of sacred art at the Birmingham Museum of Art. The tour was led by docent Joyce Bennington and sponsored by Grace Episcopal Church in Woodlawn. Ms. Bennington talked about symbolism and Christian iconography in art with the overall theme for Advent being the two natures of Christ (human and divine). She also explained how artists developed new techniques in painting over the years. It was wonderful mix of art appreciation along with an examination of faith expressions. The event is an annual Advent tradition at Grace Church. 

Madonna with Christ Child and Two Saints
Birmingham Museum of Art

Adoration of the Magi
Birmingham Museum of Art

Madonna and Christ Child with Infant Saint John the Baptist and Three Angels
Birmingham Museum of Art

Painting Jesus

As fate would have it, the day before the outing at the Museum of Art, a friend had commented on the historical inaccuracy of devotional paintings that depicted Jesus and the Holy Family as European in appearance, when in fact Jesus had been born into a culture that “never saw any white people, except for the occasional Roman soldier.” My friend’s comment led me to contemplate upon what it means to depict Christ in art.

While it is true that Jesus was not “white,” there is something to be said for adapting Christ to one’s own culture and identity. The Medieval and Renaissance artists took this even further than most would dare to do today in that they not only portrayed Christ and other biblical characters as European, but also presented them in contemporary clothing. Would we recognize Joseph in Levi's, or Mary in a Sag Harbor outfit?

Since the concept of Christ is that Jesus is the incarnational presence of God among us, it would be natural to make him look like one of us. It is appropriate for African Christians to depict him as African, Asian Christians to paint him as Asian, and Latino Christians to see him as Hispanic. 

Song of the Angels

Black Madonna and Child

Guadalupe with Child

Chinese Jesus

When I lived in Hong Kong, one of my favorite places to visit was the Tao Fong Shan Christian Centre. It had been established as a Chinese Christian monastery that looked like, and was organized like a Buddhist monastery. In the early years, prior to the border closing by the Chinese government in 1949, Buddhist pilgrims would follow the custom of traveling to other monasteries, and Tao Fong Shan was one that was they visited for interfaith dialogue.  

One of the things that the monastery does to support itself is to make porcelain plates with images from the life of Christ, portrayed in Chinese fashion. One of the images is a lovely Oriental rendition of the Nativity.

Jesus Born in a Manger

Seeing God with Us

"The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.
                                     ~ John 1:14

Since art is the symbolic expression of how we see the world, and the Gospel story is that in Christ God took on human flesh, why not let art show that the humanity which Christ took upon himself looked like us? Of course, it becomes a problem when a Caucasian sees Jesus as exclusively "historically white," as one Fox News anchor did a couple of years ago. If, however, we are to incorporate Jesus into our way of life, it is appropriate for our art to reflect that incarnational aspect.

Moreover, if Christ is to be “Emmanuel, which means God with us,” (Matthew 1:23), then symbolically it is appropriate to portray him "in our own likeness" in our works of art. Such art can serve as an example of the embodiment of the divine nature abiding with us.  We understand that Jesus was a brown-skinned (or perhaps olive-skinned) Semitic person born in the Middle East, yet we can also let our creative arts declare that he was like us.  

The Christ Child symbolizes the divine shining forth in our human experience. He is the sure sign that God is not removed from us, but has made his/her dwelling among us. Some translate John 1:14 as "God pitched his tent among us." The divine can then become realized as intrinsic to our world and woven into our experience.

Art is perhaps at its best when it can show us the beauty of the divine that is indeed dwelling in our midst. Whether or not you can relate to any of the particular works of art depicted here, the important thing during this season of Advent is to get some sense of the wonder and the hope of  "God with us." 




Monday, December 14, 2015

Monday Music: Wexford Carol (Celtic Music)

One of my all-time favorites! The Wexford Carol is another traditional Irish carol. This one is instrumental, but I have posted choral version before as well as a wonderful rendition by Alison Krauss and Yo Yo Ma.


Sunday, December 13, 2015

Matthew Fox, Etc.

Taking another look at Matthew Fox’s Confessions: The Making of a Post-Denominational Priest (Revised and Updated)

I arise each morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. That makes it hard to plan the day.

                                                                                          ~ E. B. White

It is a privilege for me to have been invited to write a review of Matthew Fox’s Confessions: The Making of a Post-Denominational Priest. I received an advance copy of the book in order to take part in the the blog tour. I am actually reading it for the second time since Confessions was first published in 1996, three years after his conflict with the Vatican had led to his expulsion from the Dominican Order. At that time, he had recently found a place to continue his work when he was received as a priest in the Episcopal Church. Now, almost twenty years later, we have a revised and updated version of his autobiography so we can see how his life has unfolded since, and learn anew of the lad from Madison, Wisconsin whose formation as a Dominican priest set him on a life-long and vibrant spiritual quest.

I discovered Matthew Fox by sheer serendipity shortly before he became all the rage with Original Blessing. I had just returned from a two-year stint as a Baptist Missionary teaching English at Hong Kong Baptist College. I had a seminary degree and I was trying to figure out where to go from there. In a used bookshop in Auburn, Alabama, I found a little book titled, On Becoming a Musical Mystical Bear. I was immediately fascinated because I had been nurturing an interest in mysticism and was finding very little interest in the topic among my Baptist colleagues. Evelyn Underhill (Anglican), Rufus Jones (Quaker), and Thomas Merton (Catholic) had been among my chosen sources in spirituality and spiritual practice.

When I read that volume by Matthew Fox, I realized I had found a true kindred spirit. He was talking about bringing together the prophetic voice and the mystical experience, with some exciting concepts on prayer, action and devotion. He was bringing meaning to the spiritual life and giving voice to some of the very concerns that I had been trying to foster myself.

The following year, I found my way to the Episcopal Church in Birmingham, Alabama and began to hear talk about an exciting new book, Original Blessing: A Primer in Creation Spirituality, by that same Matthew Fox I had already happily discovered. Those were energetic days, and I was glad to see so many people turning to Original Blessing to gain new insight on what a life of faith can entail.  

A Prolific Writing Life

Since those days, Matthew Fox has been quite prolific in his writings, with some 30 books to his credit. Bringing the depth and discipline of an academic, he writes in a conversational style that makes ancient wisdom readily accessible. Moreover, he brings that wisdom to bear in new concepts and paradigms for a meaningful spiritual life. I have been greatly encouraged as I have followed him by way of his writings. In his groundbreaking Original Blessing, I found affirmation in my own pilgrimage as well as new guidance with the four paths of his creation-centered paradigm for spiritual practice. Later, I welcomed his work on The Coming of the Cosmic Christ. I had been enthralled years earlier as I read Pierre Tielhard De Chardin’s The Divine Milieu and was equally excited about Fox’s presentation of a concept that had been sorely lacking in religious discussions. 

While Teilhard's work had given me great hope with his concept of the Christofication of the universe (something mysteriously taking place now and will fully come together in the future), Fox's view of the Cosmic Christ was transformative in the here and now. He drew upon the mystics as well as upon Pauline epistles to call us to social action, compassion for the earth, and deep ecumenism. In addition, his continued writings on Meister Eckhart and Hildegard of Bingen have offered a refreshing infusion of spirituality from the mystics of the church.

Pushing the Boundaries
Matthew Fox (photo from his web page)

Matthew Fox has made it his business to push the boundaries, and as a result, I found my own world becoming more expansive. His views on “deep ecumenism” were wondrously challenging. I told a friend at the time, “Matthew Fox is the only person I have read who is more ecumenical than I am!”  It was that challenge of deep ecumenism that enabled me to grow to an even greater appreciation of all faith expressions. 

A Remarkable Mentor

In Confessions: The Making of a Post-Denominational Priest, Matthew Fox shares with us the events and experiences from which his ideas arose and unfolded. For example, we are introduced to Père Chenu, priest, theologian and mentor to Fox at Institut Catholique de Paris where he did his doctoral studies. Chenu must have been quite a remarkable scholar. He articulated for Fox the two streams of theological thought: Fall/Redemption vs. Creation-centered spirituality and thus lit a fire that has not gone out.  Chenu also articulated the concept of liberation theology to a young priest from Latin America, Gustavo Gutierrez who was also studying at ICP, thus lighting another revolutionary fire within the church. Fr. Père Chenu is therefore regarded as the grandfather of both Liberation Theology and Creation Spirituality.

When Institutions Fail

One thing that becomes evident in Matthew Fox’s story is that while institutions can bring us great benefit, they can also be places of sorrow, pain, and conflict – whether it is the Vatican in the 1980s with Cardinal Rattzinger’s theological police and henchmen, or Fox’s own later attempts to establish a school for Creation Spirituality. Surely part of the problem is that we have not figured out how an institution is supposed to work in the 21st century. The institutions that we have grown up with in the U.S. – religious, educational, economic and political – had their formation during the Industrial Revolution. They are all slowly dying. My own view is that we have not yet found the institutional structures that can serve us in the 21st century world. Until those structures coalesce, we will continue to see many starts and stops along the way. The good news is that the fire that Matthew Fox has ignited in his writings has a vitality that cannot be contained by established institutions. Where current institutional models fail, the ideas continue to thrive.

 Improve the World, Enjoy the World

I began this essay with a quote from noted children’s author, E.B. White: I arise each morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. That makes it hard to plan the day. I first heard that quote a few years ago when it was cited by Garrison Keillor on The Writer's Almanac.  It has become one of my favorites because it captures the place we often find ourselves. We live in a beautiful world to be enjoyed, and we also live in a world that is broken and in need of repair. I often call these words to mind because they reflect my own struggle to balance the enjoyment of the world with the need to set about repairing the world.

On the one hand, I wondered if Matthew Fox had this same struggle. Judging from his writings, he lunges full-throttle at both notions simultaneously to enjoy creation while working tirelessly to repair the brokenness of the world. On the other hand, in looking back at that first book of his that I read, On Becoming a Musical Mystical Bear,  I was astounded to find a sentence I had underlined on page 73 that sounds very much like E.B. White's observation: A tension in our life-response asserts itself in the dispute between our desire to enjoy life and our drive to improve it...” I was astounded because I underlined that sentence by Matthew Fox more than 25 years before discovering the quote by E. B. White. In each case, I found a resonance with the concept. 

Perhaps it is that blend of the mystic and the prophetic that Fox has exhibited from the outset that allows him to enjoy the world even as he tries to improve it. In that early work, Fox describes the concept of our our desire to enjoy life and our drive to improve it as a dialectic [of] rooting [and] uprooting that is the arena of an adult spiritual life.” Indeed, one can read in Confessions about that calling to an adult spiritual life. Moreover, Matthew Fox seeks to call us all to an adult spiritual life that will celebrate the mystery of creation, respect other voices, and work to mend the world.

No Turning Back

Toward the end of Confessions, Fox has some guardedly hopeful comments about Pope Francis. He said that he has been asked if he might return to the Roman Catholic Church now that Francis is bringing his refreshing message of justice and compassion. Fox admits that having been nurtured for the first 54 years of his life in the church and having served as a Dominican priest for 34 years, there is much that he never really left. It will always be a part of him. Having gratitude, however, for how his world has expanded, he apparently has no thoughts of turning back. He finds agreement with contemporary sociologist Walter Truett Anderson who, in writing about our postmodern times, “makes the point that today we all belong to so many communities at once that we should write ‘etc.’ after our names.” 

And so it shall be. The autobiography has been expanded, but life continues on beyond the printed page. If you have never read anything by Matthew Fox, Confessions is a great place to start. If you are already familiar with his writings, you will certainly find this updated and revised autobiography to be both inspiring and informative.

                           ~ Charles Kinnaird, RN, M.Div., MSN, Etc.


Saturday, December 12, 2015

Saturday Haiku: Forest Glen

quiet glen
early forest mist
dancing trees


Photo found unidentified on the internet
(If this is your picture, let me know and I'll give you credit)


Wednesday, December 9, 2015

All Creatures Great and Small

We are a household of rescue pets. Our two dogs were rescued after being abandoned. We have four cats that were rescued from a local feral cat population in order to provide them with an inside home and a chance at domestic life. We also have a goldfish who is a “rescue” pet. That’s right. He was a feeder fish at the pet store, destined to provide nutrition for a predatory fish or a turtle. According to one pet store owner, a feeder fish is expected to live about two weeks. Our fish has made it ten years, so far.

Our first goldfish was one we acquired when our daughter was just a year and a half old. She named him “Pish” which was how she pronounced “fish” at the time. Pish was also a feeder fish that was a give-away at a children’s pet show put on at a neighborhood church by Ed’s Pet World. Pish made it to eight years of age, but that was before we learned that air bubbles and water filters can help make life better in a goldfish bowl.

We enjoyed Pish while he was with us, and then acquired our current goldfish, whom we just call “Fish” in the tradition of “Pish.” Contrary to what some may say about goldfish, Fish is quite interactive and aware. At night, when it is suppertime and he sees me come to the living room to sit on the sofa, he does a kind of dance at the top of the tank, wagging his tail and shaking his head to remind me that it is time to feed the fish!

Recently, my wife bought some brightly colored cut flowers and placed them in a vase by the fish tank. Fish immediately noticed, and seemed to be quite enthralled with the colorful addition to his immediate environment.   

Fish gave us a scare, or at least a heightened sense of concern, last week after I changed the water in his tank. As usual, I took him out of the small tank while I cleaned it and let him adjust in a plastic bag to the new water to be place in the tank. After the tank was ready and he was placed back in the tank, he was clearly stressed. He stayed at the bottom, keeping his fins close to his body – no interest in swimming about or eating.

My wife and daughter both said, “Fish is not happy.” I was worried. I kept asking myself if I added enough de-chlorinator to the water, and did I allow enough time for his body to adjust to any temperature changes in the fresh water? Then my daughter asked if I had any stress medicine I could give Fish. Great idea! It always helps when you can think of something to do other than worry. I checked our basket of fish supplies and found a bottle of “stress coat.” There was just enough left in the bottle to treat the tank.  We treated Fish’s tank and hoped for the best.

Happily, the next morning Fish was back to his normal self, swimming about, fins flowing, enjoying his home again. We were all greatly relieved. That little scare just served to remind us of how connected we all are, and how important all creatures are in this life, all creatures, great and small. 

*    *    *    *

Other Posts about Creature Companions:


Monday, December 7, 2015

Monday Music: Galician Carol

The Galician Carol is a new discovery for me this year as I explore Celtic carols. This is instrumental, but there are lyrics. The song originates from the Galicia region of Spain. We often think of Celtic culture in association with Ireland, but the Celtic people actually inhabited regions on the continent, including Italy, Spain, France, Germany and Austria.. You may scroll down to read the English lyrics.

We’ll Speak Very Softly (Galician Carol)

We'll speak very softly, and lower our voices,
Before the sweet saviour, in whom heaven rejoices.

O, my beloved, could I but hold thee,
how great my joy, how great my joy,
how great thy blessing falling upon me!

My belov-ed, my heart's one delight,
my dear baby Jesus, how are you?

From the cold I see you shivering,  and it grieves me through and through:
From the cold I see you shivering, and it grieves me through and through


Saturday, December 5, 2015

Saturday Haiku: Peaceful Slumber

danger’s disinterest
allows a peaceful slumber
when the music stops


Image: "The Sleeping Gypsy" at the Museum of Modern Art
Artist: Henri Rousseau
Medium: Oil on canvas

Friday, December 4, 2015

Guns and the (Dystopian) State

Photo by Casenbina (Getty Images)

If you were to write a dystopian novel that involved a mass shooting every day followed by national leaders calling for thoughts and prayers for the families of the victims, you would have chilling and sobering concept for a literary endeavor. You might have trouble selling such a plot line to a publisher. It might seem just too far-fetched to sustain a believable story – except that we are there now in real life.

I wrote earlier this year in “The Fires of Moloch Are Burning” that our willingness to accept the loss of innocent lives due to gun violence should be as abhorrent to us as the child sacrifices that were offered to the ancient Phoenician god, Moloch.  Instead, for the sake of our “right to bear arms,” we seem to be afraid to pass sensible gun safety legislation. “Our words say that we honor American freedom, while our actions say that we live in fear and have so little regard for our children that we will willingly feed them to our modern day fires of Moloch.” 
Some Sensible Viewpoints

This week, with yet two more mass shootings, there are many sensible viewpoints being expressed while our nation continues to be paralyzed. Nicholas Kristoff recently wrote in The New York Times that “We need a new public health approach based not on eliminating guns (that simply won’t happen in a land awash with 300 million guns) but on reducing the carnage they cause.” He went on to point out that most gun owners are in favor of universal background checks and gun control measures, while the NRA blocks any reasonable measures. (See his full article, "On Guns, We're Not Even Trying")

Photo by Sherwin McGehee
(Getty Images)
One of the responses often heard from the NRA is that more guns in the hands of the "good guys" is the solution to stopping the killings by the "bad guys' with guns.  Joshua Holland, writing for The Nation dispels that idea in his article, "Tactical Experts Destroy the NRA's Heroic Gunslinger Fantasy." The truth is that law enforcement officers go though rigorous training in order to be equipped to respond during a dangerous threat. More citizens with guns would just add to the danger and confusion during any situation where a shooter is involved.

My friend Jane Philips has a blog, Spiritually Speaking. She writes the following on her recent post, Time to Speak Up:

When we aggrandize people who espouse more violence, when we sell our souls to the National Rifle Association, when we block laws that would stop the proliferation of semi-automatic weapons, we are inviting and even complicit in the violence that is killing our children and turning our streets into bullet-ridden rivers of blood.
People of conscience have to become as vocal as those who are ranting about vengeance and hatred.
John Archibald speaks in a similar vein in his op ed piece for the Birmingham News, "To Hell with the NRA; this country has to talk about guns."

To hell with the NRA, which sows fear as a way to make sure as many guns as possible are bought and sold and left lying around. To hell with the NRA. The influence is too great; the rhetoric too wrong. We have to at least be able to talk about the proliferation of guns and the proliferation of dead bodies they tend to leave behind.

I don't have the answers. I don't know how to solve the problems.
But I know that prayers for the victims don't bring them back or stop the next shooter from opening fire. Not that there is anything wrong with prayers, but politicians who offer empty ones one day and easy access to weapons the next need to examine their faith. I know processions lead only to the grave, that gun buybacks are feel-good but futile gestures. And as long as people and politicians are too timid to question the deification of the gun, the more things stay the same.

So far this year, we have had 352 mass shootings  in 334 days (that's more shootings than days). It is time to offer more than “thoughts and prayers.” If we want something better than a dystopian state for our children, we need to hold our leaders accountable.


Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Climate Change and the Talks in Paris

The United Nations Paris Climate Change Conference and the 21st session of the Conference of Parties (known by the acronym COP21) will be meeting in Paris from November 30 to December 11 where they will be discussing the impact of greenhouse gas emissions  and climate change. For years there have been experts warning us of the dangers of climate change, yet it has been a controversial topic that has elicited reactions that range from from trite dismissal to political polarization.

Why the Controversy?

I am baffled by such widespread questioning of even the reality of climate change and astounded by the number of people who doubt that human activity is contributing to changes in the environment. The reason for my bafflement is that I remember a time when people paid attention to the scientists, listened to news reports, and lawmakers made some needed changes.

It was back in the late 1960s and early 70s that I recall seeing many news broadcasts on the effects of pollution, especially the harmful smog in urban areas holding dangerous pollutants in the air and the environment. One particular broadcast I recall seeing as a teenager was of a newscaster reporting from Los Angeles, talking about the fact that trees in the San Fernando Valley were dying as a result of smog and acid rain. It was a frightening thing for me to consider as a young teen.

The upshot, however, of those scientific studies and news broadcasts was that congress actually passed legislation to combat pollution. The Clean Air Extension Act of 1970 and the Clean Water Act of 1972 both expanded the regulations to reduce automobile emissions and industrial waste pollution. Even Richard Nixon, in his 1970 State of the Union address stated:
Restoring nature to its natural state is a cause beyond party and beyond factions. It has become a common cause of all the people of this country. It is a cause of particular concern to young Americans, because they more than we will reap the grim consequences of our failure to act on programs which are needed now if we are to prevent disaster later. Clean air, clean water, open spaces-these should once again be the birthright of every American. If we act now, they can be.
Later that year, as he signed the Clean Air Amendments of 1970 acknowledged that the air and water must be clean for our environment and for future generations. As a result, trees begin growing again in areas where they had been dying.

Today, we see more trees dying in California and across the globe due to the devastating droughts that are a part of climate change. We are seeing polar ice caps melting and constant warnings from our scientists, yet the "political will" to do anything is ever so recalcitrant. Moreover, many continue to question whether it is actually human activity that is having such an impact upon the environment. 

Hope for Change

If we were able to pass legislation leading to positive environmental changes in the 1970s under the Nixon Administration, surely there is hope for action today. While much of the political and corporate recalcitrance seems to be centered in the U.S. and some of the developing countries who are unwilling to slow down corporate industry, there are voices of reason among other nations, and many protest throughout the world this week to call attention to the problem of climate change. 

For example, in Paris, even though the march was cancelled due to concerns over safety in light of the recent terrorist attack, over 10,000 pairs of shoes on the Place de la Republique to serve as a visual reminder of the people's concern for the environment. 

Also in Paris, the Indigenous Environmental Network organized a healing ceremony in front of the Bataclan theater before thousands gathered to participate in a human chain action in the streets of Paris.

Indigenous Healing Prayer in front of Bataclan Theater in Paris.
Yesterday, on November 29th the Indigenous Environmental Network organized a healing ceremony in front of the Bataclan theater before thousands gathered to participate in a human chain action in the streets of Paris. It was a beautiful ceremony featuring Indigenous youth speakers from North America, the arctic, and the pacific islands. Our delegations always see it as a necessity to have prayer before any large action. We offered kind words, song, and calls for climate justice and peace. #DefendProtectRenew #IndigenousRisingVideo produced and originally postedby @The New Internationalist
Posted by Indigenous Environmental Network on Monday, November 30, 2015

For a more in-depth look at the effects of climate change, posted below is the two-part BBC documentary by David Attenborough from 2006 (or you may just want to read an account of the films presentation here).

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