“The essence of one being or one creation is love. It’s not something outside of ourselves. It’s not something outside of anyone or any thing. It’s a part of who we are, always has been. It’s part of our DNA, and it’s part of all that cellular memory and all the stuff that scientists are figuring out about who we are.”
Kumu Raylene Kawaiaea, also known as Raylene Lancaster, was a beloved elder, revered kumu hula (traditional dance teacher) and a cultural consultant and preserver who lived in North Kohala, Hawaii.
She was a teacher at Queen Liliuokalani Children’s Center and a practitioner of the ancient Hawaiian art of reaching agreement or “making things right” called Ho’oponopono. She took part in numerous community events and her presence was sought after for blessings and dedications to new buildings and organizations.
Kumu Raylene Kawaiaea died at age 61 from a car accident. She is remembered as a beautiful individual whose love and wisdom touched many on the island of Hawaii and beyond. It is said that any person who stood before her felt worthy and loved – the true meaning of “Aloha.”
“It’s sort of like when a wave comes in and leaves shells on the beach, you know? And then another wave comes in and leaves more on the beach, and that’s the way movements are. They change the landscape, like waves do, and each wave builds on the next wave. This is a big wave now that we’re in. Martin Luther King said we have to create a beloved community, and that’s happening now, right? It’s happening.”
Judy Rebick is a well-known writer, journalist, speaker, commentator, activist, feminist and social justice expert. US-born and based in Toronto, she has been one of Canada’s leading progressive voices for decades. Judy writes, comments and lectures on issues of globalization, democracy, media, politics, gender equality, co-operation and sustainable change. In the last years she has focused primarily on global solidarity and community, online activism, grassroots movement and the transformation of power.
Rebick’s views and strong voice were partly formed by the raw experience of traveling across the world on her own as a young woman. She worked in New York for a few years before establishing herself in Toronto. In the 1980’s she helped to lead the movement to legalize abortion in Canada (physically defending Dr. Henry Morgentaler himself from a protest attack in 1983). Over the years she has designed and helped implement employment equity programs, anti-racist trainings and leadership seminars. She played a key role in the New Politics Initiative, a movement that worked to refocus the New Democratic Party as an activist party.
During the 1990’s Rebick hosted two national TV shows on CBC. She was the co-host of a prime time debate show called Face Off from 1994 to 1998 and a women’s discussion show, Straight From the Hip, until 2000. She has been a columnist with London Free Press, Elm Street Magazine and CBC Online. In 2001 she helped launch rabble.ca, a well-respected multi-media independent news and discussion site, which she published from 2001 to 2005. She is a regular current affairs commentator on CBC radio’s well-loved Q morning show.
Judy Rebick has written several books, contributes articles and commentaries to a host of newspapers and magazines, and is a frequent radio and television commentator. Her books include Ten Thousand Roses: The Making of a Feminist Revolution; Imagine Democracy; Politically Speaking; and Transforming Power: From the Personal to the Political. Her most recent, an ebook called Occupy This! examines the Occupy movement from a historical perspective.
Rebick held the CAW Sam Gindin Chair in Social Justice and Democracy at Ryerson University from its creation in 2002 until 2010. She is the former president of the National Action Committee on the Status of Women, Canada’s largest women’s group, and is an advisory board member of Fair Vote Canada.
Highly skilled in debate and unafraid to take on challenges for the advancement of equality and social justice, Judy is a sought-after keynote speaker on themes of social media and citizen journalism, transforming education, transforming power, civic engagement and equality issues for women.
She strongly believes that solutions to our global problems will come from bottom-up movements and that empowered ordinary people in their communities are better equipped than elites to be creative and truly effective in changing things for the better.
“Being awake is love. That’s what it is. It’s certainly not hate. It’s certainly not fear. But what it is, it’s a sense of being not separate from all the suffering and all of the emptiness, all of the compassion, all of the wisdom, all of the liberation, and all of the enslavement, to understand we’re all that.
We’re in a threshold experience right now. We’re in this kind of situation where we don’t have any time to waste. And I like the Zen evening verse that we chant that goes, ‘Life and death are of supreme importance. Time passes swiftly, and the opportunity is lost. Let us awaken, awaken. Do not squander your life.'”
Joan Halifax Roshi is a Buddhist teacher, Zen priest, anthropologist, ecologist, civil rights activist, hospice caregiver and author. She is the current abbot and Head Teacher at Upaya Zen Center in Santa Fe, a Zen Peacemaker community which she founded in 1990. Having received Dharma transmission from Bernard Glassman and Thich Nhat Hanh, she has been active in the areas of socially engaged Buddhism, environmental work and compassionate care for the dying for the past three decades.
Halifax experienced going legally blind at the age of four due to a serious virus, from which she recovered two years later. She became interested in Buddhism in her early twenties, teaching herself to meditate. In the 1970s she worked on research projects exploring the use of LSD as a support for the dying, co-authoring the book The Human Encounter With Death. She also collaborated on works with Joseph Campbell and Alan Lomax.
She received her Ph.D. in medical anthropology and psychology and worked at the University of Miami School of Medicine. She worked at the Museum of Man in Paris and travelled to Mali and then Mexico to study the indigenous Dogon Tribe and the Huichols.
Halifax studied Buddhism for a decade with Zen Teacher Seung Sahn and was a teacher in the Kwan Um Zen School. She was an Honorary Research Fellow at Harvard University, and has taught in universities, monasteries, and medical centres around the world.
Her extensive work with the dying through the project on Being with Dying, which she founded, as well as her book Being With Dying has helped terminally ill patients, medical professionals, caregivers and loved ones, clergy, community activist and social workers to deal with fear at the end of life. She also co-authored several books on Buddhism and spirituality.
Haifax is founder and Director of the Upaya Prison Project that creates meditation programs for prisoners, and founder of the Ojai Foundation in California, an educational and interfaith center. She is a distinguished invited scholar to the Library of Congress and the only woman and buddhist to be on the Advisory Council for the Tony Blair Foundation.
Thought of as fiercely courageous and compassionate, Joan Halifax Roshi works to spread the message of our intrinsic connection to life, death and each other. “Many of us think that compassion drains us, but I promise you it is something that truly enlivens us.”
“When I was little, I was really having a hard time in school, because I was bullied a lot. So I really like nature, because when you go out into nature, it doesn’t yell things at you. It doesn’t tell you what to do. It just makes you feel peaceful.. It really helps you out. Because everybody’s trying to control things, and in nature, nature doesn’t want to control anything. It goes, not because somebody makes a physical decision to do something, but just because it happens.”
“A pioneer ecosystem is made of species that are feisty and competitive and bumping each other off, and a climax ecosystem is made up of species that are tightly interwoven and all feeding each other, like mature rain forests and coral reefs and prairies, with many, many species interdependent in a dance of love and interchange of all kinds.”
Elisabet Sahtouris M.S., Ph.D, is a Greek-American evolution biologist, futurist, author, professor, speaker and consultant on Living Systems Design. Known for her articulate and encouraging approach, she proposes solutions to humankind’s economic, political, social and spiritual problems through her understanding of the Earth’s naturally evolving living systems and of indigenous cultures’ science and spirituality. She consults with corporations and government organizations in Australia, Brazil and the United States, and lectures and appears on radio and television across the world.
Dr. Sahtouris studied at Syracuse University, Indiana University and Dalhousie University in Canada. She received a post-doctoral research grant at the American Museum of Natural History in New York and another at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. She taught at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and at the University of Massachusetts. She teaches in the Bainbridge Graduate Institutes’s MBA program on sustainable business.
Sahtouris lived extensively in Greece and the Peruvian Andes where she perceived solutions to our global problems in Earth’s ecosystems and indigenous sciences. Through observing that all healthy living systems self-organize and maintain themselves by principles which include the empowered participation of all parts and negotiated self-interest among all levels, she has demonstrated the relevance of biological systems to organizational design in business, government and globalisation.
Dr. Sahtouris has written about integral cosmologies and was a science writer for BBC London and for WGBH Boston’s television series, Nova. Her books include A Walk Through TIme: from Stardust to Us; Biology Revisioned, co-authored with Willis Harman; and EarthDance: Living Systems in Evolution. She participanted in the Synthesis Dialogues with the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala and was featured in the documentary Dalai Lama Renaissance. She also appears in documentary films exploring consciousness and evolution, I Am and Thrive. (She and nine others including Deepak Chopra, Amy Goodman, and Vandana Shiva have disassociated themselves from Thrive due to unclear content representation.)
Dr. Sahtouris has been a UN consultant on indigenous peoples and is a co-founder of the Worldwide Indigenous Science Network. She is a Fellow of the World Business Academy and an advisor to EthicalMarkets.com and to the Masters in Business program at Schumacher College.
Elisabet Sahtouris believes that “once you tell people a really positive story, that they are part of a huge global change on this planet, and that there are so many ways it is happening that we won’t even recognize this world in a relatively near future, their eyes really light up.” She passionately advocates that it is imperative and more effective for us to focus on creating new ways rather than fighting or criticizing old ones, which will fade on their own. “Be the change you want to see. Develop the alternative media, develop the alternative law, the alternative education, the alternative food. That’s our job here!”
“The ecological crisis is deepening our love. It’s deepening our love for the planet. We are called to love more fully, and to express our love in more powerful, visionary and effective ways. Lightning is continuously striking in 100 places every moment. The universe spills through our dreams. The future belongs to the most compelling story.”
Drew Dellinger, Ph.D., is a poet, teacher, activist and author who has ignited minds and hearts around the world with his poetry and keynoting on social justice, ecology, cosmology, and compassion.
He has been described as a creative, courageous and prophetic poet, a master wordsmith, and as one of the important voices of the global justice movement. His rhythmically hypnotic and profound poems marry themes of ecology, human rights, spirituality, interconnectedness, social justice, responsibility, the cosmos, ancestry and love. It is Dellinger’s belief that “we need to build a movement that connects ecology, social justice and cosmology, using dreams, the power of story, the power of art, and the power of action.”
Dellinger’s poems can be read in his award-winning book, Love Letter to the Milky Way, and heard on his CD, An Evening with Drew Dellinger. He speaks and performs internationally at conferences, colleges, universities, poetry events, protests, and places of worship. His work has appeared in various films, books and magazines and he is quoted in venues ranging from prison workshops to U.S. Congress climate change hearings. Dellinger co-wrote The Awakening Universe, a documentary film which premiered at the United Nations. He has received a Writer’s Digest Book Award as well as Common Boundary magazine’s national Green Dove Award.
Dellinger studied cosmology and ecological thought with Thomas Berry for two decades and is completing a doctoral dissertation on the last years of Martin Luther King Jr.
Author Brian Swimme sees in Dellinger’s poetry combined elements of Walt Whitman, hip hop, Martin Luther King and Albert Einstein. Says Swimme, “when you’re in the mood to have a torch put to your soul, Drew’s the man.”
Kimia Ghomeshi’s passion and commitment to environmental and social justice was sparked in high school and inspired her to volunteer in Costa Rica and Panama, where she discovered the devastating effects of large scale agricultural production on local communities. An Iranian-Canadian based in Toronto, Ghomeshi has spent the last years mobilizing youth and the general public around climate change, unsustainable tar sands mining practices, indigenous rights and democracy.
Kimia studied International Development at McGill University. She was part of the organizing team for Power Shift Canada’s climate change youth gathering. She coordinated direct actions for the adoption of a “fair, ambitious and legally binding agreement” as a member of the Canadian Youth Delegation at the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference in 2009. She coordinated the G20 campaign and youth mobilization actions as a Canadian Youth Climate Coalition council member and campaigner. Ghomeshi also worked as National Project Coordinator for TakingITGlobal, an international organization encouraging youth leadership, intercultural exchange and creative global thinking.
Profoundly ignited by the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth in Cochabamba, Bolivia, and by the People’s Agreement it created, Kimia came away with the conviction that “democracy is about having a voice. It’s about valuing the experience of people as much as we value science. Democracy requires everybody at the table, not just experts.” Inspired by the participatory, community-led process that made the people’s summit such an invigorating success, Kimia helped to organize Toronto’s first People’s Assembly on Climate Justice.
Kimia is part of the Canadian Commission for Unesco’s Youth Advisory Group, of Rainforest Action Network’s Toronto chapter, and a member of the Community Solidarity Response Toronto advocating for environment justice in the global extractive industry.
She believes that environmental justice will only come from building a real participatory democracy, commited to social equality for all, as well as through a “complete transformation of our relationship to the Earth.”
“There’s enough food in this world. There’s enough housing in this world. There’s enough shelter in this world. There’s enough clothing in this world. There’s enough teachers, there’s enough universities for everybody’s needs to be met, and the reasons they aren’t is not because of lack of resources. It’s because of distribution, and that’s the politics of hate, which is why this is a movement against that. It’s a politics of love. So of course this is a crisis whose answer is love.”
Rebecca Solnit is a San Francisco-based author, environmentalist, journalist, activist and historian who writes on a variety of subjects including ecology, politics, place, community, disaster, hope, memory, reverie and art. She has worked on campaigns focused on climate change, human rights, Native American land rights and against war for over three decades.
Growing up in California, Solnit traded high school for an alternative education in the public school system. She studied in Paris as a teen and received her Masters in Journalism from Berkeley. She credits her education in journalism and art for her critical thinking skills.
Solnit is the author of thirteen books and numerous essays. Her books include Infinite City: A San Francisco Atlas; A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities that Arise in Disaster; Storming the Gates of Paradise; A Field Guide to Getting Lost; Hope in the Dark: Wanderlust: A History of Walking; As Eve Said to the Serpent: On Landscape, Gender and Art; and River of Shadows: Eadweard Muybridge and the Technological Wild West, which won five awards, including the National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism and the Mark Lynton History Prize.
Making her living as an independent writer since 1988, Rebecca is a contributing editor to Harper’s, a columnist for the environmental magazine Orion, and a regular contributor to the Nation Institute’s Tomdispatch political daily newsgram. She has also written for, among other publications, the L.A. Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the London Review of Books.
Rebecca Solnit is the recepient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Lannan literary fellowship as well as two NEA Fellowships for Literature.
In 2010, Utne Reader magazine named her as one of the “25 Visionaries Who Are Changing Your World.”
“Love can be the liberating force for humanity, because it’s so primal and so simple, like light, that if it’s allowed to move through us, its movement is endless. Its creativity is endless. It wants to spread. It’s contagious.”
James O’Dea is an author, educator, speaker, activist, and global peace ambassador. Weaving science, activism, spirituality, psychology and systems theory together, he teaches international courses in peacebuilding and social healing and has conducted reconciliation dialogues for over 15 years. Born in Ireland and based in Colorado, O’Dea studied in London, England, and in Vermont. He lived and worked in Turkey and Lebanon where the civil unrest, war and massacre he witnessed influenced him deeply. As co-director of The Social Healing Project, his decades of service work in social healing, restorative justice and conflict resolution have brought relief to many, namely in sensitive zones such as Israel, Palestine, Rwanda and Northern Ireland.
O’Dea has written extensively on evolutionary trends, social healing, science, consciousness and peace. He is the author of bestsellers Creative Stress: A Path For Evolving Souls Living Through Personal and Planetary Upheaval and Cultivating Peace: Becoming A 21st Century Peace Ambassador, heralded as as a brilliant road map for peacebuilding by thought leaders, academics and activists. He has published numerous essays including the much acclaimed You Were Born for such a Time as This (in The Mystery of 2012). He is a contributor to various progressive publications and blogs for the Huffington Post.
James designs unique group intensives in leadership and peacebuilding and currently has an international student body of over 600 Peacebuilders from 25 countries participating in his ongoing Peace Ambassador Training, hosted by The Shift Network. He previously founded and co-led a series of Compassion and Social Healing dialogues, funded by the Fetzer Institute, which brought together leaders and activists from a variety of fields related to human rights, peace, and social reconciliation. He recently launched a groundbreaking worldwise telecourse called Path of the Peacemaker and lectures worldwide on global healing, evolutionary change, consciousness, science and spirituality, and integral approaches to social transformation.
O’Dea spent 10 years as Director of Amnesty International’s Washington Office, where he testified before Congress and met with U.S. Presidents. He subsequently worked for five years as Executive Director of the Seva Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to international health and development. He is on the faculty of the Institute of Noetic Sciences, a non-profit organization founded in 1973 to explore the frontiers of consciousness and global paradigm change. He is an advisory board member of The Peace Alliance, an advisor to Kosmos journal and a former faculty member of the Omega Institute. He is a member of the Evolutionary Leaders, spearheaded by Deepak Chopra, and of Global Systems Initiatives.
Deeply committed to dialogue as a practice, James O’Dea has been recognized as a Champion of Peace, Reconciliation and Forgiveness by the Worldwide Forgiveness Alliance.
“What is happening with our waters? What is happening with our land and the animals and the skies? We want to stop it. We don’t want it to get any worse than this.”
Cleo Reece is an environmental activist who acts as Band Councillor for Alberta’s Fort Murray #468 First Nation.
In 2010 she co-organized the Keepers of the Athabasca’s first 13-kilometer ‘Healing Walk,’ to which hundreds of First Nations and Metis participated, protesting the development of tar sands by multinational oil companies over an area the size of Florida surrounding their community. Oil sands exploitation is suspected to be the cause of higher rates of cancer, extreme water pollution and high animal death rates in the region.
“Mother earth needs our help to protect and heal the land and water that is being decimated by tar sands. As indigenous people we are caretakers of the earth and we need to work together to ensure the health and safety for next generation,” says Reece.
“What is justice? The heart of it is really longing for people to be able to grow and develop freely in a positive and constructive way. So what are the conditions that allow for that?
Love comes in and says, ‘There isn’t any difference that can’t be understood. There isn’t any conflict that can’t be reconciled.’ So that love becomes a major, major threat to the formation of any kind of culture of dominator thinking and dominator society.”
bell hooks is an American author, feminist, teacher, thinker, cultural critic and social activist. Born in Hopkinsville, Kentucky in 1952 and an avid reader in her childhood, she grew to become a passionate scholar and one of her generations’s leading public intellectuals. Although hooks is often thought of as a feminist thinker, her writings cover a wide range of topics such as gender, race, class, oppression, capitalism, healing, teaching, self-help and media culture. She strongly believes in the interconnectedness of such themes and in the need to consider them as part of a larger, related whole rather than separately.
Through her radical critical consciousness and postmodern perspective, she links views on racism, sexism, history, education and media roles in social representation. She examines systems of domination, particularly racism and patriarchy, and how they may be overcome. She calls for a restructuring of the cultural framework of power, one that fosters no oppression. She sees education as the practice of freedom, and teaching as a catalyst to engage critical thinking, transgression and change.
bell hooks has published over thirty books and various academic and mainstream articles, appeared in documentary films and participated in multiple lectures. Popular titles include Ain’t I a Woman; Bone Black; All About Love; Talking Back; Ending Racism; Where We Stand; Teaching to Transgress; Men, Masculinity, and Love; Outlaw Culture; and Belonging. Her latest book is titled Writing Beyond Race.
hooks received her B.A. from Stanford University, her M.A. from the University of Wisconsin and her PhD. from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She taught at several post-secondary institutions, at Oberlin College in Ohio , at Yale and at the University of Southern California. She has been appointed Distinguished Lecturer of English Literature at the City College of New York and is a Distinguished Professor in Residence in Appalachian Studies at Berea College.
Watkin’s pseudonym, intentionally uncapitalized, was adopted to honor her mother and grandmother (“known for her snappy and bold tongue”) as well as to establish a voice for her writings that would be focused on content and distinct from her person.
A prevalent theme in some of her recent works, including books for children, is that of community and communion, and the ability to overcome race, class, and gender inequalities through love, communication, literacy and critical thinking.
“All of us in the movement are answering the call of our conscience. That your particular problem, of your family, your sister, brother, friend are shared problems. They are collective, global problems.”
Natasha was a protester and member of the ‘Spanish Indignados’ also known as the Indignants Movement. In the spring and summer of 2011, tens of thousands of Spain’s youth gathered and occupied public squares to denounce their country’s undemocratic and corrupt political and economic systems, and to fight for what they consider to be basic human rights: home, work, culture, health and education.
“Big ice where I come from is the clock on Mother Earth. It ticks and shows the changes. Whatever is happening on earth, that’s where it shows up first. I live with the big ice, literally a few kilometres away from me, and I’m seeing the big ice vanishing into thin air.”
Angaangaq Angakkorsuaq is an Eskimo-Kalaallit Elder from a long lineage of shamans, medicine men, elders and ‘carriers of the drum’ in the Far North of Greenland. The Eskimo-Kalaallit people, a peaceful culture thousands of years old, have never known war.
Angaangaq was recognized and trained by his grandmother to become the last shaman of his lineage — a role and responsibility he accepted in 2004. He has been a longtime ‘runner to the world’ of the messages of elders from tribes all around the world.
He was taught by his father that “the greatest distance in the existence of man is from his mind to his heart,” and that man must learn to conquer this distance. He was told his work would be to learn to melt the ice in the hearts of men, and to change his own ways. For him, the greatest hope for mankind is that we each learn to change ourselves to access and use our unique wisdom in the world. He encourages we walk our spiritual path “with practical feet,” and learn to bridge the gap of imbalance — both personal and global — though strength, gentleness, compassion, love, courage and grace.
Angaangaq is quoted on the effects of global warming as well as on environmental and indigenous issues, and has represented the Arctic peoples at the United Nations. He speaks before governments and universities, and in schools, prisons, senior homes and businesses. With teachings rooted in the oral tradition of his people and promoting interracial and inter-cultural harmony, he leads healing circles, intensives and traditional sweat lodges. His work has taken him to five continents and over 50 countries around the world.
His name means ‘The Man Who Looks Like His Uncle.’
“Standing in front of 10,000 saying ‘down to Mubarak’. This is one of the best moments of my life. At 11pm the guy that sells the state owned newspapers, lies and lies and lies and lies. We’re just looking at him. We don’t care about newspapers. We are the news! We are 10,000 occupying Tahrir Square.”
Amr Adel has been a protester in the Egyptian revolution.