March 2014: So, what’s up?

Posted February 24th, 2014 in Blog, Featured, New Creation News Comments Off on March 2014: So, what’s up?

Well, the sky is up, sort of. From another vantage point, of course, it’s also down. More accurately, it’s all around.

What else is up? The global temperature, the number of extreme weather events, political violence, oil and gas extraction and burning. Oh, and also the number of consecutive days that we have been snow-covered here in Milwaukee – 67 now with many more to come, given the forecast.

Also, grassroots movements in defense of the planet and its many gifts and wonders. Also organic farmers and backyard gardeners.

The work we do from this project – that is also up, though not our bank account. That is down and in need of some serious replenishment.logo tiny without words

Yes, this is a fundraising appeal because we sure can use the support right now. I’m sure you all know the difficulty funding work like this, but we want to be available beyond spare hours here and there. We want to be able to follow through on the many things being asked of us in times of tight budgets and real needs around the issues we care about so much.

So, what’s also up are expectations and hopes about the contributions we can make towards supporting movements that are our most vital expression of a new human community emerging from the ecological crises of our times.

Expectations and hopes for what? What’s on our agenda as we move through these late winter weeks, knowing that spring will come? Because it never fails, even when it seems it will take its good-natured time getting here.

Photo: Margaret Swedish

Photo: Margaret Swedish

As I have mentioned here before, the Alberta trip last year changed everything. While I had hoped that it would create opportunities for presentations and workshops, well, yes, it did – and still is. Just a few examples: in March, I will present a lecture entitled “Crude Comes to Wisconsin,” a presentation on our pipeline and rail links to Alberta’s tar sands industry and the oil play around Bakken, ND. This lecture is part of a series organized every March by the Peace & International Issues Committee of the Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee. Check out this year’s schedule of lectures – vital stuff in yet another political year in Wisconsin. I am part of this planning group and very excited about this year’s program

Later in the month, I travel to Long Island for a day-long program that will focus on the tar sands, our relationship with energy, and what it would really mean for us to move to a post-carbon world. What would that look like and how can we begin creating that world now? The program is being offered by Homecoming Farm and will be held at the Dominican Village in Amityville.

When I return, I will quickly immerse myself in Milwaukee’s annual Sustainability Summit where I will offer a workshop on the tar sands industry and have a booth to continue the dialogue. That’s on the 26th-27th. Click here for more info.

Then, April. On the 5th, I will join with the Tender Shoot of Joy sangha to co-lead a day of mindfulness and deep ecology. Very excited about this for the depth it allows us to plummet in deep investigation of the reality of our ecological crisis. On the 10th I will be doing an evening program in Racine, and on the 13th a presentation at the Schlitz Audubon Nature Center for their environmental education program. Then on the 26th, I will do a day program at The Well Spirituality Center in La Grange Park IL entitled, “Getting Down to Earth.” Click on all these links for more info.

Frac sand mine:  m.kenosion Howard EOG mine 2012-06-15

Frac sand mine: m.kenosion Howard EOG mine 2012-06-15

In between these events, I will continue feeding this blog, going to meetings, making more connections with the dozens of groups surfacing around our part of the world. One of my intentions as this winter finally relents is to get to our western counties to visit the communities impacted by frac sand mining, to share more of their stories and see what we can contribute to making more connections between that reality and that of the pipelines, oil trains, and more that are all part of the larger picture of the super-exploitation of oil and gas reserves. We need urgently to be moving in the opposite direction. One of the ways we do that is by sharing our visions of how we move away from a fossil-fueled economy to a sustainable, earth-cherishing one.

So, you know, this requires a funding base. Over the past several years, we have been supported mostly by donors and small grants from various faith-based groups. We are now at a crossroads where we could begin to really dig in and make a bigger contribution to this work in the Midwest – if we can find the resources to do it.

Just to push the dreaming a bit further, we have at times pondered the notion of a regional gathering that would bring together some of the best local grassroots groups to share experiences, skills, and strategies, build community, and develop more regional collaboration as we work towards common goals in creating a post-carbon world. That is a dream we have shared with a few colleagues in other places and it always ignites enthusiasm. Can we help make that possible?

Photo: Margaret Swedish

Photo: Margaret Swedish

We are moving into a truly critical moment. Awareness around our planetary challenges are growing with every new weather anomaly, every weird storm, each new story about the western drought (each of them worse than the one before) and its impact on food prices, every story that reveals the stranglehold of the fossil fuel industry over the politics of our state and federal governments. From chemical spills in WV to coal ash spills in NC, more and more people are getting a sense of the recklessness of industries that value profit over the well-being of human communities and the planet.

So, yes, this would be a terrific time to consider a tax deductible contribution to the Center for New Creation (CNC), the fiscal sponsor for this project. We want to be able to continue our contribution to this work. But we also believe we can do much more. We are only limited by the limits of our available resources. And those are limits we’d like to overcome – with your help.

From here, you can go to our DONATE page. And thank you.

Margaret Swedish

 

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