Bobbing Around

Volume Eleven, Number Seven
June, 2012

Bob Rich's (sky blue) rave  other issues

*About Bobbing Around
  guidelines for contributions
  Tweet Rio! from Bill McKibben
  A new Europe is possible, so why go back to the old one? by J.A. Myerson
  Arctic carbon dioxide over 400 ppm, by Jeremy Hance
  Important reads from John James
  Indonesia reversing deforestation
  James Hansen is an optimist
*Deeper issues
  When despair seems the only option
  Simple living for a sustainable future, by Bruce Elkin
  The Ethics of Childbearing, by Ashley Lauren
  How to stop smoking
  Protecting children of warring parents
  Social anxiety drives me crazy
  How do I fight suicidal thoughts?
  Eating disorder
  4 cures for cancer, by Mary Matlock
*For writers
  New resource for young writers
  Spunky Seniors
  Call for contributors
*What my friends want you to know
  Decisions that Work: Linking Sustainability, Environmental Responsibility and Human Well-being: a conference
  A worthwhile cause, from one of my honorary grandkids
  Fossil fuel subsidies are harming our health
  Carolyn at Book Expo America
  Three Bainstormings for the price of one
*Book review
  Sleeper, Awake, reviewed by Sue Halfwerk

I've been exported

   I've lived at the Moora Moora community, near Healesville, Victoria, since 1978. This has been in the house I built since 1980. Nowadays, though, I need a body transplant, and my wife decided we needed a less physical lifestyle. (A rule of the universe is: men decide the big things like how the world should be organised. Women decide the little things like what we eat, what we wear, where we live.)

   For a while, I felt like a snail taken from its shell, but at least we have put solar panels on the roof, just like at home, and are making other changes of the kind.

   Now, my old shell is ready for a new occupant. We are looking for someone to rent with a view to buying, but first in, best served.

   Only, this is not just a house, but an integral part of a community. It is not a place to stay, but a magical mountain top to enjoy, a group of vital, enthusiastic people to belong to, a far more sustainable lifestyle to practice.

   First you need to be accepted by the community, and by the immediate neighbours -- what we call a cluster. Then you can rent, and in a minimum of 6 months join as a member. Most incoming people take longer than that to decide, because we want it to be long term. Once you are a member, you can buy.

   So, this is not so much a sales pitch for a house, but an invitation to consider becoming a part of my community. You see, I am not giving up my membership, merely moving 14 Km away, nearer to doctors and shops and things.

   Want to see a few pics? Look at

   Moora Moora has an open day at 1 pm, on the first Sunday of every month. On the third Sunday of each month, we have a workday, 10 am to 4 pm, and that's actually better for getting to know the locals. Check out the details at

I am responsible for anything I have written. However, where I reproduce contributions from other people, I do not necessarily endorse their opinions. I may or may not agree with them, but give them the courtesy of a forum.

   Bobbing Around is COPYRIGHTED. No part of it may be reproduced in any form, at any venue, without the express permission of the publisher (ME!) and the author if that is another person. You may forward the entire magazine to anyone else.


Tweet Rio! from Bill McKibben
A new Europe is possible, so why go back to the old one? by J.A. Myerson

Tweet Rio!
from Bill McKibben

Dear friends,

   A confession: I like to tweet.

   When I come across something particularly sweet or peculiarly depressing, I feel better once I've shared it on Twitter.

   Twitter was designed as an outlet for individuals, but we think it can also work for social movements. And so, today, we're launching an effort to amplify our movement's message on Twitter, for a truly important cause.

   The world's leaders are gathered in Rio for the "Earth Summit," and we need to tell them to end fossil fuel subsidies. It's going to be a Twitter Storm, and we need all the help we can get.

   Join in here:

   We know that world leaders aren't likely to achieve a comprehensive climate breakthrough in Rio -- we aren't expecting new binding rules that would slow the carbon emissions that are heating up our planet. But our governments could at least stop sending nearly a trillion dollars a year to the fossil fuel industry. If they did, it would help weaken the coal and oil and gas tycoons, and give renewable energy a fighting chance.

   Ending fossil fuel subsidies would also stop wasting our money. Why on earth should taxpayers subsidize the richest industry on earth? It's bad enough they wreck the planet, without us paying them a performance bonus for doing it.

   So here's the plan: we're going to kick up a Twitter Storm. We need you to help create this storm by sending a message with the hashtag #EndFossilFuelSubsidies. We'll be beaming your messages on famous landmarks in cities around the world, and a young team of climate activists will be on the ground in Rio to make sure world leaders hear us loud and clear.

   If you don't already have a twitter account, we need you to sign up for one, which is easy to do. Tips and tricks for all this can be found here:

   Look -- sending tweets and emails alone will not win this fight. But we can't go to jail or hold rallies every day. This is an easy way to make a statement. A loud one, if we all work together.


   Bill McKibben (@billmckibben on Twitter)

   P.S. The world record for tweets in a day was set earlier this year, with birthday greetings for the adorably mop-topped teen idol Justin Bieber. Let's try to beat it.


   Together, with our massive “Twitterstorm” and the more than a million petition signatures, we’ve built massive public support for ending fossil fuel subsidies. It's a no-brainer policy that could shift $1 trillion in fossil fuel subsidies towards climate solutions. But world leaders have failed to deliver -- the Rio declaration now only contains vague and empty language on subsidies, not the clear commitment we need.

   As the host of the summit, Brazil’s President Dilma Rouseff has the power to reopen discussions and demand concrete steps to end fossil fuel subsidies. Dilma is currently on the fence, but that with enough public pressure she could emerge as a climate champion.

   Please add your voice to the petition urging Dilma to save the Rio Earth Summit.

A new Europe is possible, so why go back to the old one?
by J.A. Myerson

   "Growth" is again the buzzword of the moment among Europe's politicians, thanks to Francoise Hollande, the recently elected President of France. "My mission now," Hollande said, "is to give European construction a growth dimension." President Obama praised Holland at Camp David, telling reporters he would urge "other G8 leaders" to adopt a "strong growth agenda." The previous buzzword, "austerity," is meanwhile in decline.

   Considering this shift a victory for the anti-austerity movements occupying Europe's historic plazas over the course of the last two years mistakes both what the elites mean when they say "growth" and what the dissidents want instead of austerity. It is similar to the way liberal commentators in the United States reliably recite the official line that Occupy Wall Street "changed the conversation" on "income inequality" (which we grown-ups will take care of now from our D.C. office buildings, so please shut up now).

   The dissidents do express antipathy toward austerity, of course, but that doesn't imply a desire for what Hollande means when he says "growth." Both "austerity" and "growth" are cognates of capitalism -- "growth" is the Keynesian form, "austerity" the Hayekian -- and the dissident movements have by and large rejected the confines of this debate, challenging us to imagine alternatives to either. "Another world," as they say, "is possible."

   In Madrid, the organizing banner held that, "We are not merchandise in the hands of bankers and politicians." In Athens, the first vote of the people's assembly of Syntagma Square declared, "We are here because we know that the solutions to our problems can only be provided by us." In New York, the Declaration of the Occupation insisted "no true democracy is attainable when the process is determined by economic power." They didn't merely pick a side in the capitalists' ideological tiff. Rather, they have expressly rejected the underlying assumptions and mechanisms of capitalism -- the primacy of the profit motive, a perverse incentive on corruption and fraud, the capture of ostensible democracy by the interests of wealth, its tendency toward state monopoly, environmental appropriation, and global conquest, and so forth.

   The movements gained a reputation as being merely anti-austerity because austerity is the most abusive, exploitative form of capitalism, and the one on offer since Wall Street bulldozed the livelihoods of hundreds of millions of people around the world. Unsurprisingly, austerity has had exactly the same effects in Europe -- in Greece and Spain above all -- as in the Global South ever since the IMF began structurally adjusting impoverished former colonial states: rising homelessness, shrinking access to health care and education, a persistently crushing job market, and privatization of collectively owned natural resources.

   Hollande's agenda has deceptively liberal features. It includes lowering the retirement age, hiring teachers, and raising taxes on rich people and corporations. Hollande, like Obama, emerged from the elite political consensus at G8 convinced that growth is the most desirable organizing economic principle, that what every nation is after is the endlessly accelerating progression of ever more production, consumption, expansion, credit and business. Booming employment, booming consumerism, booming profits and booming innovation.

   Growth, however, does not address the crux of the crisis: governments' susceptibility to manipulation by the forces of global capitalism. It doesn't help a planet suffocating from our economies' growing energy requirements. However, the discussions in the halls of power presuppose capitalist supremacy.

   We have already done growth. French socialists might pine for the economy of the 1960s, but it was the socialist Mitterrand who introduced austerity in the 1980s. Regard what growth hath wrought in Greece.

   It was growth that drove Greece to take out a secret deal with Goldman Sachs in 2001, whereby the country would borrow €2.8 billion and hide the loan under a credit default swap in order to stay within Eurozone debt limits. As part of the deal, Goldman used exchange-rate trickery to slap big-time fees on Greece, to the tune of $739 million, or 12 percent of Goldman's record $6.35 billion revenue that year. (Lloyd Blankfein, who headed the Goldman unit responsible for the deal, is now Goldman's chairman and CEO.)

   It was growth that drove Greek officials to accept bribes from Siemens, the German-based company active in -- get this -- industry, energy, healthcare, equity investments, IT solutions and financial services. Siemens wanted lucrative state contracts around the 2004 Olympic Games, and officials on both sides of the Greek aisle were more than happy to oblige, so long as their palms were sufficiently greased. The Siemens deal only cost Greek taxpayers €2 billion in the process.

   And the result? Consider the story of 60-year-old Greek musician Antonis Perris. He lived with his Alzheimer's-stricken 90-year-old mother on the latter's €340 pension -- roughly $427. When Perris himself developed what he called "serious health problems," he sold everything he could, but still lacked funds on which to survive. "Is it possible to live this way without food?" he asked on a popular Internet forum. "Do any of you know the answer?" The next day, he pushed his mother out of their fifth story window and leapt after her. Greece's suicide rates rose a breathtaking 22 percent in the two years after the crisis, before which it had one of the lowest in the world.

   Growth ballooned Greece's debt. Austerity just put it in a chokehold. Perris's desperation is an emblem of a people crying uncle. But crying uncle doesn't mean you want to go back to being bullied after the bully lets go. People in the squares of Europe and the United States, not to mention the Middle East, want to abolish the bully altogether and move to a new set of property relations. It is a set they have already erected in their encampments, one based on mutual aid, solidarity, sustainability, attention to historical oppressions and personal freedom.

   What remains is the question of scale. For the solidarity-driven free economies and horizontal polities of the world's occupied squares to supplant global capitalism, the number of people willing to fight to generate that change will have to grow massively. The challenge before international dissidents is how to grow the already widespread insurrectionary spirit and avoid getting sidetracked by celebrating minor adjustments in political rhetoric.

J.A. Myerson is a reporter for Truthout and Citizen Radio. He is writing a book on ideas like these.


Arctic carbon dioxide over 400 ppm by Jeremy Hance
Important reads from John James
Indonesia reversing deforestation
James Hansen is an optimist

Carbon dioxide hits 400 parts per million in Northern Hemisphere
by Jeremy Hance

   Concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have risen above 400 parts per million (ppm) in recording stations across the Arctic going as far south as Mongolia, reports the Associated Press. Such levels have not been seen in at least 800,000 years according to researchers. Carbon levels fluctuate depending on the region and the season and scientists say global concentrations will likely remain at around 395 ppm for the time being.

   Crossing the 400 ppm threshold "[is] a reminder to everybody that we haven't fixed this and we're still in trouble," Jim Butler, global monitoring director with the U.S.'s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Earth System Research Lab, told the AP.

   Prior to the Industrial Revolution, global carbon levels were stabilized at around 275-280 ppm. However, the burning of fossil fuels such as coal and gas, cement production, vast deforestation, industrialized agriculture, and other recent human impacts have resulted in carbon levels skyrocketing. Carbon can linger in the atmosphere for hundreds of years, before being sequestered into the oceans, depending on how much that ecosystem can hold.

   Despite nations worldwide pledging to tackle climate change, carbon emissions continue to rise worldwide. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), carbon dioxide emissions rose 3.2 percent to a new record of 31.6 gigatons in 2011.

   Countries have pledged to keep global temperatures from rising beyond 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), but scientists and experts warn that a lack of action is making this target increasingly unlikely. In fact, the IEA warns that the world is currently on track to hit 6 degrees Celsius (11 degrees Fahrenheit) by 2100, essentially leading to a climate catastrophe with temperatures rising further than they have been in 50 million years.

   "The news today, that some stations have measured concentrations above 400 ppm in the atmosphere, is further evidence that the world's political leaders--with a few honorable exceptions--are failing catastrophically to address the climate crisis," former Vice President and a vocal proponent of climate action Al Gore wrote to the AP. "History will not understand or forgive them."

   Climate change has already been linked to rising sea levels, melting glaciers, wildlife disruptions, vanishing Arctic sea ice, and a rise in extreme weather, including droughts and floods.

Lead reporter with environmental news-site,, Jeremy Hance has traveled to five continents and written hundreds of articles documenting how societies are responding in an age of ecological upheaval. He lives in St. Paul, Minnesota with his wife, daughter, and miniature Schnauzer.

Important reads from John James

  • An important report on Fukushima and the state of those buildings is a MUST READ.

       Hanging by a thread.

  • And taking land from the poor

       Rush to buy up Africa

       The following three reports are pointing to the absolute urgency of stopping the consumerist society -- stopping now the mining of tar sands and Queensland coal and African oil etc.

  • Ocean acidification means fish mass extinction "within one generation"
  • Large-scale release of Permafrost immanent
  • 3 degrees Celsius means 25+ metres sea level rise

       Then look at this TED talk on the Canadian tar sands that hold the second largest oil deposits in the world after Saudi Arabia. This guarantees the use of petrol for the US military for decades to come. This terminates any thought of Peak Oil, though it will become more expensive.!

    John James

       The three blogs are from material supplied by Code Red, which is well worth reading.

    Indonesia reversing deforestation

       "Indonesia "has reversed course" from a forest policy that drove deforestation in previous decades and is poised to become a leader in "sustainable forestry," asserted Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono during a speech on Wednesday at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) in Bogor.

       "Our forestry policy [in the 1970s and 1980s] was to allow anyone to cut our forests so long as it gave benefits to development," he said. "It seemed the logical thing to do back then. We had lots of forests; we had to reduce poverty; we needed to grow our economy. As a result, there was a time when we experienced very serious deforestation."

       "Today, such a policy is no longer tenable. Losing our tropical rain forests would constitute the ultimate national, global and planetary disaster. That’s why Indonesia has reversed course by committing to sustainable forestry."

       President Yudhoyono highlighted the signing of a two-year moratorium on new logging and plantation concessions in some 14.5 million hectares of primary forests and peatlands; a new law that "would permanently conserve 35 percent of our tropical rain forests," according to Yudhoyono; and the planting of some 3.2 billion trees under the 'One Billion Indonesia Trees for the World program.' Yudhoyono also noted his 2009 pledge to reduce emissions 26 percent below a projected 2020 business-as-usual baseline, a commitment that could rise to 41 percent with international assistance like that being provided by Norway.

       The full text of Yudhoyono's speech is available at CIFOR's blog.

       Read more:

    Jim Hansen is an optimist

    James Hansen writes:

       Global warming isn't a prediction. It is happening. That is why I was so troubled to read a recent interview with President Obama in Rolling Stone in which he said that Canada would exploit the oil in its vast tar sands reserves "regardless of what we do."

       If Canada proceeds, and we do nothing, it will be game over for the climate.

       Canada's tar sands, deposits of sand saturated with bitumen, contain twice the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by global oil use in our entire history. If we were to fully exploit this new oil source, and continue to burn our conventional oil, gas and coal supplies, concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere eventually would reach levels higher than in the Pliocene era, more than 2.5 million years ago, when sea level was at least 50 feet higher than it is now. That level of heat-trapping gases would assure that the disintegration of the ice sheets would accelerate out of control. Sea levels would rise and destroy coastal cities. Global temperatures would become intolerable. Twenty to 50 percent of the planet's species would be driven to extinction. Civilization would be at risk.

       That is the long-term outlook. But near-term, things will be bad enough. Over the next several decades, the Western United States and the semi-arid region from North Dakota to Texas will develop semi-permanent drought, with rain, when it does come, occurring in extreme events with heavy flooding. Economic losses would be incalculable. More and more of the Midwest would be a dust bowl. California's Central Valley could no longer be irrigated. Food prices would rise to unprecedented levels.

       If this sounds apocalyptic, it is. This is why we need to reduce emissions dramatically. President Obama has the power not only to deny tar sands oil additional access to Gulf Coast refining, which Canada desires in part for export markets, but also to encourage economic incentives to leave tar sands and other dirty fuels in the ground.

       The global warming signal is now louder than the noise of random weather, as I predicted would happen by now in the journal Science in 1981. Extremely hot summers have increased noticeably. We can say with high confidence that the recent heat waves in Texas and Russia, and the one in Europe in 2003, which killed tens of thousands, were not natural events -- they were caused by human-induced climate change.

       We have known since the 1800s that carbon dioxide traps heat in the atmosphere. The right amount keeps the climate conducive to human life. But add too much, as we are doing now, and temperatures will inevitably rise too high. This is not the result of natural variability, as some argue. The earth is currently in the part of its long-term orbit cycle where temperatures would normally be cooling. But they are rising -- and it's because we are forcing them higher with fossil fuel emissions.

       The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has risen from 280 parts per million to 393 p.p.m. over the last 150 years. The tar sands contain enough carbon -- 240 gigatons -- to add 120 p.p.m. Tar shale, a close cousin of tar sands found mainly in the United States, contains at least an additional 300 gigatons of carbon. If we turn to these dirtiest of fuels, instead of finding ways to phase out our addiction to fossil fuels, there is no hope of keeping carbon concentrations below 500 p.p.m. -- a level that would, as earth's history shows, leave our children a climate system that is out of their control.

       We need to start reducing emissions significantly, not create new ways to increase them. We should impose a gradually rising carbon fee, collected from fossil fuel companies, then distribute 100 percent of the collections to all Americans on a per-capita basis every month. The government would not get a penny. This market-based approach would stimulate innovation, jobs and economic growth, avoid enlarging government or having it pick winners or losers. Most Americans, except the heaviest energy users, would get more back than they paid in increased prices. Not only that, the reduction in oil use resulting from the carbon price would be nearly six times as great as the oil supply from the proposed pipeline from Canada, rendering the pipeline superfluous, according to economic models driven by a slowly rising carbon price.

       But instead of placing a rising fee on carbon emissions to make fossil fuels pay their true costs, leveling the energy playing field, the world's governments are forcing the public to subsidize fossil fuels with hundreds of billions of dollars per year. This encourages a frantic stampede to extract every fossil fuel through mountaintop removal, longwall mining, hydraulic fracturing, tar sands and tar shale extraction, and deep ocean and Arctic drilling.

       President Obama speaks of a "planet in peril," but he does not provide the leadership needed to change the world's course. Our leaders must speak candidly to the public -- which yearns for open, honest discussion -- explaining that our continued technological leadership and economic well-being demand a reasoned change of our energy course. History has shown that the American public can rise to the challenge, but leadership is essential.

       The science of the situation is clear -- it's time for the politics to follow. This is a plan that can unify conservatives and liberals, environmentalists and business. Every major national science academy in the world has reported that global warming is real, caused mostly by humans, and requires urgent action. The cost of acting goes far higher the longer we wait -- we can't wait any longer to avoid the worst and be judged immoral by coming generations.

       James Hansen directs the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and is the author of "Storms of My Grandchildren."

    Jim Hansen IS an optimist. Everything he says is true, but too slow, way too slow. We don't have decades. My prediction is, if business continues as usual, we have a maximum of FIVE years before the end of civilisation.

    Deeper Issues

    When despair seems the only option
    Simple living for a sustainable future by Bruce Elkin
    The Ethics of Childbearing by Ashley Lauren

    When despair seems the only option

       I have a client who was badly injured in a work accident. He has ongoing pain morphine doesn't seem able to ease, and equally bad for him, he is now unable to do the activities that used to give him joy and put meaning into his life.

       At our last session, he said, "Bob, you're great at what you do. But suppose something happened that made it impossible for you. How would you cope?"

       I've taken his challenge seriously. So, here is a scenario. I have a heavy left-hemisphere stroke. The right side of my body is paralysed, so that there is no hope of movement ever returning. I cannot speak at all.

       If the stroke also affected my intelligence, I'd be better off. But my mind is as sharp as ever, so that I can constantly appreciate my situation, and suffer because I can no longer use my abilities.

       All right, how would I cope?

       You can't tell how a person will react to misfortune until it has happened. But here is the strategy I have thought of. If I can find the inner strength to apply it, I think it will work for me... at least some of the time.

       I'd still have a working left hand, and could peck at a keyboard one-handed. I would set up a spreadsheet, and use it to monitor two states of mind out of the three kinds I am likely to experience.

       These three states are:

    1. Despair. Life is not worth living, what's the point anyway, I might as well be dead.

    2. Distraction. When someone is visiting me, when eating, having a shower or engaging in other trivial actions of daily living, I can get lost in that for the time being, and be reasonably OK.

    3. Equanimity. What is, is, and it's all right. Many others have lived with a stroke, what's so special about me that I should resent the fate?

       This third one is the lesson of the geniuses at survival: Viktor Frankl, who kept himself alive as a slave worker of the Nazis by setting himself the research project of seeing who gives in to despair and what it takes to survive; Najaf Mazari, who could tell his story of serial hell while laughing at himself in a gentle way; the very few prisoners of war released after the Korean war who were psychologically untouched although their bodies were wrecked.

       So, I would keep monitoring 1 and 3. Whenever I noticed a thought of despair and therefore a crashing in my mood, I would note the time, what if anything was happening just then, and the specific thought that dragged me down. Then I would work at gaining equanimity by telling myself positive things that were true (no good telling yourself lies to cheer yourself up). I would write down the time if/when I noticed that I had climbed out of my dark pit.

       Similarly, if I noticed that spontaneously I was feeling good, accepting life as it was, then I'd write down the time, the activity, and the trigger thought if I could grab hold of it. Then I would work at maintaining my positivity. If I slipped back into despair, I'd note the time.

       This way, I could construct two graphs: the lengths of time I stayed in each of these mental states.

       You may notice, this is not too different from what Viktor did to stay sane in the middle of insane hell.

       Would it work?

       If anything can, this approach is it. A scientific finding is that being the observer does two things.

    1. By observing emotion, you are able to distance yourself from it. The part of me recording my despair is not feeling it. This is the basis of the highly effective mindfulness approach to managing severe physical pain.

    2. When you observe and record something you want more of, it increases. When you observe something you want less of, it decreases.

       So, my hope is that in a hopeless situation I can still keep myself sane by observing my hopelessness, and by observing relief from it through equanimity.

    Simple living for a sustainable future
    by Bruce Elkin

       To create the life and world we most want, we need to shift our primary focus from solving problems to creating what matters most. Life is complex. Everything is hooked to everything else. We can't create a simple, successful future by flailing away at problems one at a time. We can't worry our way into simple success; we can only create it.

       Although achieving simple, rich and sustainable success depends on individuals, couples, and families creating simple, authentic and fully-engaged lives, it also depends on the emergence of a broader culture that appreciates, encourages and provides support for such lives.

       Individual success in creating simple yet successful lives will support the growth of a simple success movement. A strong movement will make it easier for more individuals to shift toward simple, successful and sustainable lives.

       Fixing things is not enough. Too often our attempts to fix things only end up making them worse. We drink to relieve stress but end up with an addiction. We build new freeways to "solve" congestion but they encourage more drivers to drive, and congestion grows.

       "No matter what your problems are, for the most part, solving them won't solve them," says my mentor Robert Fritz. "You will always have a new problem if you do not know how to create what you want."

       Because it's focused on getting rid of what we do not like and do not want, problem-solving isn't a good foundation upon which to create the lives we most want. Mastery of the skills and form of creating provides a stable and powerful foundation on which to create what matters.

       Throughout history, advances in human civilization have been made, by creators not by problem-solvers. Creating can replace consumption, and desperate problem-focused reaction as the primary mode of personal and social being. As increasing numbers realize creating is key to generating positive, purposeful and lasting change, a deep shift in our individual and collective lives becomes possible.

       In this shift, conformity gives way to creativity. Seeking relief gives way to producing desired results. Self-help gives way to self-creation. Consumption gives way to generativity. Sustainable citizenship becomes less about protesting and more about restoring natural systems, co-creating healthy communities and inventing ecologically sustainable economies.

       Simple living becomes less about sacrifice and more about creating authentic, fully engaged lives in the most efficient and elegant ways possible. By transcending problems and circumstances, we can do more of what we love in a simple, graceful and sustainable way.

       Sometimes doing so involves letting go of what we don't want. Sometimes it involves solving problems as steps toward what we truly want. But, most of the time, faced with the power of creating, problems tend to dissolve and fade away.

       Much of reality is self-created. We're no longer forced into culturally determined roles and processes. More than ever, those things have become a matter of choice.

       This is good news for those who learn to create, but bad news for those who cling to problem solving as their main strategy. "Those who do not create the future they want," cautions systems thinker Draper L. Kaufman, "must endure the future they get."

       Our future does not just unfold, we create it each day. We bring it into being by what we envision, choose, and do. By mastering the skills and practices of creating, and by applying them in our lives, work, and relationships, each of us can significantly increase our chances of bringing into being the lives we so deeply long for.

       Eleanor Roosevelt might have suggested, if we can't find the simple, sustainable success we long for, we'll just have to create it. The road to simple, authentic success leads through new territory. To travel that road successfully we'll need to:

  • Understand the dynamics of the creative process.
  • Master the skills and practices common to all creators.
  • Develop a disciplined, lifelong practice of daily creating.
  • Create resilience, the capacity to bounce back from setbacks and keep going in the face of uncertainty.

       Together, these four broad, widely transferable skills can empower and enable us to create--and sustain--the kind and quality of lives we most want--independent of the circumstances, problems, or adversity we face.

    Bruce Elkin is a personal/professional life design coach and author of Simplicity & Success: Creating the Life You Long For. Visit his website

    The Ethics of Childbearing
    by Ashley Lauren

       Last week, I turned 28. This minor shift in age from mid-twenties to late-twenties has seemingly given some people a carte blanche to start asking me about my plans for having children. The question is always “when,” not “if,” I will be having children, and I usually find myself answering: “I don’t know.”

       It’s not that I don’t like children. I love them; I’m a teacher, and I’ve chosen to work with young people for the rest of my life. Many of my friends have recently had babies and I love their children, too. It’s just that the choice of whether or not to have children is not one that I can take lightly. Babies change everything: relationships, family dynamics, sleep schedules, finances, priorities. Adding a child to my life would alter it completely at this point, and I’m not sure I’m ready for that.

       However, the choice — and what we must consider before making that choice — is not just a personal one. According to Christine Overall at the “New York Times,” it is also an ethical one:

       The question whether to have children is of course prudential in part; it’s concerned about what is or is not in one’s own interests. But it is also an ethical question, for it is about whether to bring a person (in some cases more than one person) into existence — and that person cannot, by the very nature of the situation, give consent to being brought into existence. Such a question also profoundly affects the well-being of existing people (the potential parents, siblings if any, and grandparents). And it has effects beyond the family on the broader society, which is inevitably changed by the cumulative impact — on things like education, health care, employment, agriculture, community growth and design, and the availability and distribution of resources — of individual decisions about whether to procreate.

       With the population of the world reaching seven billion just last November, it is true that there are other things to be considered when we think about bringing another child into the world. We must take into account the overpopulation of our planet and the depletion of our already scarce natural resources. No longer is it advisable to have as many children as possible to ensure the survival of the species — and the family — as it was centuries ago. Bringing a child into this world now means more to the environment and to society than it did even a few decades ago, and the decision about whether or not to have a child, or another child, is one that should be an informed decision.

       On the flip side, though, if we start dictating how many children women can have, we are restricting women’s rights and their onus over their bodies and their lives. Telling women they cannot have children is just as restrictive as telling them they must. When we talk about the ethics of childbearing, this must also be a consideration.

       While it is important to think about environmental and societal concerns when we contemplate whether or not to have children, the bottom line is that, if a woman feels it is best for her, her family, and the world to have a child, we cannot restrict that personal choice. However, having conversations about the ethical — as well as personal — implications of childbearing is a good first step toward more people making informed decisions about the trajectory of their lives.

    Ashley is a high school English teacher in the suburbs of Chicago, IL. She graduated with a BA in English Literature with a specialization in Creative Writing in May 2006, and received her MA in English Studies in May 2010. She writes at her own site, Small Strokes, about gender roles and lifestyle issues, and has been a Staff Writer for Gender Across Borders. She currently lives in the Chicago suburbs with her husband, Tim, and their adopted terrier, Penny.


    How to stop smoking
    Protecting children of warring parents
    Social anxiety drives me crazy
    How do I fight suicidal thoughts?

    How to stop smoking

       So many people have approached me with the wish to be relieved of the nasty habit of poisoning their lungs that I have put a summary of my standard program up on my psychology web site. Actually, this program works just as well for other addictions like gambling, alcohol, street drugs, prescription drugs... any vicious habit that costs you money.

       Why? Because I am the worst businessman on the planet. I'd rather make a difference in people's lives than make a difference to my bank account. So, feel free to use my program. Spread it around.

    Protecting children of warring parents

       During and after a marital breakup, often both parties are ruled by the pointing finger. Each sees the other as evil in some way (or many ways) and expects only the worst. As part of this, they are both very highly motivated to protect the children of the relationship from harm by the ex.

       However, nothing is more harmful to a child than to be torn two ways between warring parents.

       I had great success recently in saving a little girl from from two decent, nice parents who were wrecking her life in this way. I ended up writing a letter to both mother and father. To their credit, they took heed, and tried out my suggested approach. The result has been three people with considerably better lives. This is also up on my web site as a permanent reference.

    Social anxiety drives me crazy

       I'm 16 and I get severe social anxiety, when I go to my job or school or big end of year exams I get extreme anxiety where my world goes crazy and I cannot handle it and freak out. I've told my mum who's a nurse and she think there's nothing wrong with it, what should I do?


    Emma my dear,

       Your mother is right, and she is wrong. You are the way you are for now (although you CAN change how you feel and think and do in the future), and there is nothing wrong with it. At the same time you are suffering, and that needs to be fixed.

       First aid, coping with the situation as it is for the moment, is ACCEPTANCE. However bad things are, what is, is, and it's all right.

       The best way I can explain this is through physical pain. Pain has two parts: the physical sensation and the emotional reaction to it. Suppose you have a severe pain sensation in your foot (you've dropped a brick on it). If I ask you to rate it, you might say it's 7/10. All the same, it is only an uncomfortable sensation. To make it into pain, you have to attach negative emotion to it: "Oh it hurts so much! I wish it would go away! I wonder what the damage is, maybe I'll get an infection and they'll have to cut my foot off!" Stuff like that.

       If you can say to yourself, "Of course there is a pain sensation. I've just injured it. So what. I can bear it," then the pain is only something uncomfortable, nothing to fuss over. Life goes on OK. This attitude can actually make the pain sensation become less intense, but even if it doesn't you are still OK, not suffering.

       The same is true for emotional pain.

       For some probably perfectly understandable reasons, you have developed social anxiety. In reaction to this uncomfortable feeling, you react: "my world goes crazy and I cannot handle it and freak out." At the moment, the anxiety is there, although it is perfectly possible for you to reduce it or eliminate it in the future. The anxiety is a given. Your reaction to it is optional, and that's where your suffering comes from.

       I have a friend who gets very high anxiety when facing an audience. And yet, he chooses to make his living from running workshops for psychologists. His anxiety has not gone away. He uses it as part of his teaching. He says: "Look at the sweat on my forehead. Look, my hands have gone bright red!" and so on, pointing out the signs of his anxiety.

       But while he is anxious, he is comfortable being anxious. This is acceptance.

       I used to be anxious when giving speeches to audiences. In my case, the anxiety has gone away. In his case, it will never go away. Both of us do an excellent job, and both of us have peace while doing so. The fact of his anxiety doesn't matter. It's still there, so what.

       Second, it is possible for you to free yourself of the anxiety. Go to You can buy my little e-book "Anger and Anxiety: Be in charge of your emotions and control phobias" there very cheaply. Maybe someone can buy it for you as a present?

       Emily, this is the first instant of the rest of your life. From here on, you can feel the anxiety, and do what you want to do anyway. You can learn to change old habits (How? Read and establish new ones that will serve you well.

       You're welcome to write back to me.


    How do I fight suicidal thoughts?

       My dad tried to strangle me when I was ten because he and mum had a fight that almost ended in divorce. Since then my parents take all their problems out on me by emotionally abusing, and sometimes physically abusing, me. I got bullied at my old school. People wanted to bash me, wrote threat notes, told me to kill myself... My parents forced me to go to another school that I hate so now I got no friends at my new school as no one wants to know me. I feel suicidal and often cry myself to sleep. I've started skipping class at school because I've been too upset to go. I've told my parents that I want to kill myself and they took it as a joke. They threatened to kick me out.

       How can I stop these suicidal thoughts?

       How can I get my parents to believe/trust me?

    Michelle my dear,

       That's a terrible situation to be in. I am glad you are fighting back. If you were to kill yourself, you would make the bullies in your old school win. By staying alive, and building a GREAT life for yourself, you can prove everyone wrong about you.

       A wise man once said, "What doesn't kill me makes me stronger." Think of your life until now as training.

       Do you know how a diamond is formed? A lump of coal is in soil that is terribly compressed and heated by volcanic forces. It turns into the hardest jewel known. Do you think the lump of coal likes this?

       You can go along one of two paths in response to all the heat and pressure. You can burn up, or you can become a diamond.

       You CAN become the diamond.

       The way to defeat your parents' attitude is to reject their way of looking at you. Instead, see yourself as what you really are: someone special, a piece of God temporarily in a human body in order to do work. That work is to grow into an adult who will be a loving, competent, caring mother. You can go to school with a new attitude: to learn so well that you can enter a profession that allows you to be there for others who have been mistreated. This could be a psychologist like me, a medical doctor, a police officer, a lawyer, teacher, social worker...

       School is a resource for you. It is a key to being able to make a difference, for yourself and others. It is a tool for achieving a future for yourself with self-respect, a good income, and above all, with the potential to make the world a better place.

       When I was your age, I also was terribly depressed. I found that two things helped: vigorous exercise (I was a distance runner), and study. When I was reading a book, or studying maths or history or physics or whatever, I could forget about myself and just be involved in the material. When I was running, I had a holiday from my hell and could be in a zone of inner peace.

       When you can change the way you see yourself and the world in the way I have described, you will find that other kids will want to be friends with you. We all send out an energy. At the moment yours is "I hate myself, so don't bother with me." If you decide to be the diamond, the energy you send out will be "I am going places! Respect me!"

    Love from your new grandfather,


    Eating disorder
    4 cures for cancer by Mary Matlock

    Eating disorder

    Hi Dr Bob,

       My daughter has had an eating disorder since preschool. Now she is in high school, and I have less and less control over her. I feel helpless, seeing her waste away. Can you offer any advice?

    Dear Sharon,

       A start to answering your question is to read, which describes the main forms of eating disorder, and the various theories as to what causes them.

       A big part is living in a crazy culture. People think of themselves as an appearance, and fat is a swear word. So, food gets involved with guilt and shame.

       Even little kids are influenced by TV ads, women's magazines, and the conversation of older people, particularly older kids in school. You might well have the perfect home with excellent parenting, but if a few older girls she admired as a 5-6 year old had anorexic attitudes, she may well have decided to imitate them.

       Once a problem like this starts, it can become a focus of power. This applies to other issues as well, for example a kid throwing tantrums, or refusing to go to school. The child can be rewarded for defying the parents by the parents' natural reaction: attempts at discipline can actually be what keeps the problem going.

       That was then. Now your daughter is a teenager, and the issues are different.

       You didn't write what kind of eating disorder she practices. If it is anorexia nervosa, her life could be in danger, and you should force her into inpatient care. She is still a minor, and in your care, and you do have that power.

       Find a local psychologist who is competent to deal with this issue. They can be effective, and are covered by Medicare. Look up the Australian Psychological Society's referral base

       For help and advice, look up, which will be a good start for finding help.

    Good luck,

    4 cures for cancer
    by Mary Matlock

       I've been a nurse for twenty-two years. I spent the first year in awe of physicians. I spent the remainder of my nursing years in awe of the PATIENT. I've seen many die that were supposed to live and MANY live that were supposed to die. For years I believed in the GREAT HOAX of the search for "THE" cancer cure, offering chemotherapy, radiation and surgery as the only "accepted" methods of treatment. I have witnessed the effects of the "Treatments", often WORSE THAN THE CANCER ITSELF! I have heard physicians tell patients and their families statements like: "There is no hope", "You have a year", "Go home and get your affairs in order", and the worst one... "Chemotherapy. or radiation, or surgery will give you "X" amount of months/years". I've watched people endure these "treatments" only to live LESS time. I've seen their hair fall out, kept, at last, under so much sedation, they were no longer among us anyway. I've comforted them, watched their families grieve, and I AM SICK OF THE PERPETUAL LIES that we've ALL been told!

       I will tell you the TRUTH as I know it, about FOUR WELL DOCUMENTED AND PROVEN WAYS TO CURE CANCER. I DO NOT SELL ANYTHING. I AM NOT MAKING ANY MONEY FOR TELLING YOU THIS INFORMATION. YOU RESEARCH IT FOR YOURSELF, SEE WHAT YOU THINK AND SPREAD THIS INFORMATION TO HELP OTHERS WHEN IT WORKS FOR YOU OR A LOVED ONE! THIS IS REAL. THE METHODS ARE INEXPENSIVE, NATURAL AND READILY AVAILABLE. KEEP AN OPEN MIND AS YOU READ ABOUT WHAT I WILL TELL YOU. After all, people are irradiating themselves with radiation, taking chemotherapy IV or by mouth, or jumping on an operating table on a physician's whim. All of those things are crazy. WHY DO WE LISTEN SO MUCH TO DOCTORS? Unfortunately, many of us have been DUPED by these self-proclaimed GODS.

       I am NOT saying ALL doctors are bad, for like us, they too have been DUPED as well in many instances. But it is the upside down roller coaster ride that the medical profession, the drug companies, the FDA, the AMA, and CANCER INDUSTRY and all of the supporting entities perpetuate on the public that robs us of our fellow man, our families, our emotional well being and finally ALL of our finances and OUR LIVES. I can GUARANTEE you that the medical profession as a whole does NOT CARE ABOUT YOUR LIFE! Lobbyists in Washington, AKA pharmaceutical companies, PUSH for legislation, push the FDA, PUSH for untested drugs, PUSH for drugs when THEY KNOW they are UNSAFE, OFTEN "fudging" the REAL STUDY TRIALS, LYING TO GET THEIR products PUSHED THROUGH, sometimes in papers written in scientific journals. Pharmacy reps give doctors PERKS for PUSHING their new drugs on YOU. The American Cancer society is a HOAX on the public. They will NEVER cite ANY CANCER CURES, for they too are BIG BUSINESS. And when you die, when your money is gone, they will move on to the next victim of this system and do it all again in the name of medicine and science. REMEMBER...A NATURAL PRODUCT CANNOT BE PATENTED AND TO CURE THE WORLD OF CANCER WOULD PUT THE DRUG COMPANIES OUT OF BUSINESS. DON'T GET ON THE CANCER MACHINE! INFORM YOURSELF, TAKE YOUR LIFE IN YOUR OWN HANDS.

       There is no one, NO DOCTOR, no one in the medical profession who will care about YOUR WELFARE as much as YOU do!

       HERE ARE THE FOUR WAYS WITH LINK INFORMATION WHEN I KNOW IT. READ about them. Research them and LIVE! After all, anyone that will lie on a table willingly and let radiation be poured into their body shouldn't be afraid to try these methods.

    1. MMS

       This mineral substance was developed by a man named Jim Humble. He does not sell it though you can find it online offered by many different companies. To research it, go to Info can also be viewed on Youtube about him and his great discovery. This CURES not only cancer, even in late stages, but also AIDS, HIV, Malaria, Pneumonia and the common cold. Believe it! Jim has survived an attempt on his life, has been run out of the country on occasion and STILL PERSISTS! This method boasts THOUSANDS OF DOCUMENTED CURES!

    2. ESSAIC

       This product was developed by a Canadian nurse, Marie Caisse. She CURED so MANY cancer patients, that her hometown DONATED a clinic to her. Many physicians stated THIS WAS A CURE FOR CANCER. THE FDA SHUT HER DOWN, CLOSED HER CLINIC AND FORBADE HER TO TREAT ANYONE ELSE. This is a product made up of four natural ingredients and taken as a tea or in capsule form. You can research her and her ESSAIC on Youtube or Google for her website. She died OF OLD AGE, but ESSAIC goes on. I found a generic product that is cheaper then the original at It is called Spirit Tea.

    3. Max Gerson's CURE

       based on nutrition, this German born physician CURED THOUSANDS OF PATIENTS, INCLUDING ALBERT SCHWEITZER. AGAIN...There are THOUSANDS OF WELL DOCUMENTED CURES using his methods. There is a wonderful Youtube video in several parts called "A Beautiful Truth" that tells Max's story. Google more info on his cure! Max Gerson was murdered by arsenic poisoning after his last book was published. He was bankrupted by the FDA, shut down and finally run out of the country. His daughter, Charlotte carries on his work. There is a clinic people can go to in Mexico that still operates. If you do not have money for the clinic, the foundation will tell you everything you need to do to HEAL the CANCER AT HOME. They will help you every step of the way!

    4. Harry Hoxey's Cure

       This MD developed this product, all natural, low cost and again...THOUSANDS OF DOCUMENTED CURES! He too was bankrupted by the FDA and run out of the country. Google info about him and his cure!

       Any one of these methods will CURE your cancer. RESEARCH THESE FOR YOURSELF! Your MD WILL tell you they are ridiculous. They WILL tell you the methods are pointless. BUT....they will also tell you the radiation and chemo they want to pump into you COULD HELP YOU! How do you want to be treated? How do you want to live? Make up YOUR OWN MIND! It's YOUR LIFE! The four individuals above, ALL cared more for humanity than they did for their own pocketbooks or even their own lives. They had faith in humanity and I do TOO! Good luck to us all!

    Mary Matlock

    I know that what Mary says about the cancer industry, and the general behaviour of Big Pharma, is exactly correct. You can read what physician Oleg Reznik says about it in my book on cancer. He is in agreement.

       I don't know anything about the four cures she advocates. However, they can't do you any more harm than the standard treatment. Research them for yourself.

       All the same, there are no guarantees, ever. If you understand the causation of cancer, then it is clear that this epidemic is there for a reason: it is a symptom of a sick society. The reasons are combination of poisons taken in through food, water and air, the sea of radiation we are surrounded by, and above all, ongoing, unremitting stress that handicaps the immune system. No herbal preparation is going to cure everyone, even if they are effective for some. You need to regularly put peace into your heart, and work for a world in which cancer is once more a rarity instead of an exponentially growing epidemic.

       Incidentally, that 's the world we need to survive climate change, resource depletion, to save thousands of species from extinction, and reduce violence in society. The change needed is simple: replace greed and competitiveness as the bases of society, and instead live simply so you may simply live; put love for all in your heart; and think of the long term instead of immediate gratification.


    New resource for young writers
    Spunky Seniors
    Call for contributors

    New resource for young writers

       EPIC, the organisation for electronically published book professionals, has run the New Voices contest for kids for some years. I've had the honour of being a judge each time.

       Now we have established an online discussion group in which experienced writers, editors and publishers will give ongoing constructive feedback to young writers.

    Spunky Seniors

       I am a spunky monkey. Well... spunky senior.

       Fellow writer Morgan Mandel runs a blog in which a succession of writers over the age of 50 introduce themselves and have fun answering comments. I had my turn in May. You can read the comments and my responses to them by clicking on the link "25 comments."

       Last I looked, the column had over 6000 hits, so if you are a writer, and no longer wet behind the ears, have a look around and line up for your turn.

    Call for contributors

       Recovering the Self: A journal of hope and healing is calling for submissions for its coming issues.

       We are tracking the following subject areas with respect to adults, children and elders in America and abroad:

       Articles should be submitted in Microsoft Word 2003 format (or something equivalent) with as little formatting as possible. It is not necessary to write a query letter in advance. We do accept work that has appeared before on the web, but generally are not interested in reprinting work that is already published in print. You will receive an email acknowledgment within a few days that your item was received. Please direct all inquiries to

       Deadlines are 60 days before publication. For the next 2 issues this is:

  • "Aging and Elders": due date June 3rd.
  • "Animals and Healing": due date September 3rd.

    What my friends want you to know

    Decisions that Work: Linking Sustainability, Environmental Responsibility and Human Well-being: a conference
    Carolyn at Book Expo America
    Three Bainstormings for the price of one
    A worthwhile cause, from one of my honorary grandkids
    Fossil fuel subsidies are harming our health

    XIX International Conference of the Society for Human Ecology
    jointly with
    IV International Conference on Sustainability Science in Asia

    February 5-8, 2013 The Australian National University Canberra, Australia

    Decisions that Work: Linking Sustainability, Environmental Responsibility and Human Well-being

       Register your interest at or email

       On behalf of the organizing committee, you are invited to contribute to SHE XIX / ICSS-Asia conference Decisions that Work: Linking Sustainability, Environmental Responsibility and Human Well-being. The conference will bring together a diverse group of educators, researchers and practitioners interested in interdisciplinary and ecological approaches to humanity’s relationship to the natural environment. The 2013 conference will focus on the benefits that actions to increase environmental sustainability have for the health and well-being of people. This broad theme will be further refined through four special plenary panel discussions that will each introduce a sub-theme.

    Conference Sub-Themes

    a) Reinventing the Future: How can we develop the holistic and integrative knowledge required for tackling sustainability problems, what is the role of design, and what contribution can institutions of education make?

    b) Global Food Security: How can we sustainably and equitably manage global food systems to reduce the vulnerability of urban populations and increase the resilience of rural communities and landscapes?

    c) Co-Benefits of Sustainability and Human Health: How can we improve the links between policies and sustainability interventions to emphasize that these are co-beneficial for both the environment and human health and wellbeing?

    d) Responsibility for Change: The primary obstacle to sustainability is not lack of knowledge but an inability to act based on what we know. What are the respective responsibilities of formal policy institutions, NGOs, informal citizen groups and individual consumers for achieving the necessary behavioral change? How can collaboration between these elements of society be fair and equitable?

       Teachers of programs of human ecology who would like their students to participate in this initiative for course accreditation in their home institution are encouraged to email

    Rob Dyball SHE President elect, on behalf of the organizing committee.

    A worthwhile cause, from one of my honorary grandkids

    Dear Bob,

       I am writing to you today on behalf of my daughter Terri Rule.

       Terri is a bright and happy young woman who has an acquired traumatic brain injury. Terri likes to be involved in making a difference in the world. Already she has been involved in changing laws to keep people safer, she has changed the way businesses and organisations deliver services, and most of all she has made a difference to everyone who meets her just by being herself.

       Terri attends a Day Options Program five days a week. Sunnyfield Independence, a charitable organisation, operates that Day Options Program. The Penrith area Day Options Program supports 30 adults with varying disabilities each week. Disabilities vary from acquired brain injury to autism to Downs Syndrome and many other disabbilities.

       Terri has attended the DOP for five years and has developed several good friendships there. The staff are caring and devoted to their jobs and often go the extra mile when it is required by the people they support.

       For many years Sunnyfield has been renting premises in the Penrith area and it has long outgrown those premises and is looking for new premises. Each time the Day Options Program needs to move it costs Sunnyfield in excess of $200,000 to properly fit out the new premises. This is not an efficient use of the money available to support the day options program but there is not enough money available to purchase a building of their own for the day options program.

       Terri and I have put our heads together and decided to fundraise so that a permanent home for the Day Options Program in the Penrith Area can be purchased and fitted out.

       We are asking that you please visit the Everyday Hero page below and make a donation to help Terri achieve her goal of $500,000.00 by Christmas Day 2015 to purchase a building for Sunnyfield Penrith area Day Options Program.

    Kind Regards
    Terri Rule & Cheryl O'Brien

    Donations are tax-deductible, at least within Australia.

    Fossil fuel subsidies are harming our health

       Australian health groups are calling on Australian and international governments to abandon subsidies for fossil fuels in the interests of protecting human health and economic security.

       The national coalition of health care stakeholders, the Climate and Health Alliance, said the health and wellbeing of people in Australia and around the world was being put at risk by public subsidies to carbon intensive fossil fuels and must stop.

       “Through our governments, Australian taxpayers provide almost $12 billion each year to subsidise fossil fuels – the same resources that cause untold harm to human health from air pollution and contribute to global changes that affect our weather patterns,” CAHA Convenor Fiona Armstrong said.

       “In contrast, clean, renewable energy provides safer, healthier alternatives, and yet these energy sources, that offer Australia economic, social, environmental and health benefits, are not being subsidised to the same extent.”

       The Climate and Health Alliance call comes as dozens of volunteers visit Canberra today to provide parliamentarians with the results of a national community poll on large scale solar energy – demonstrating that tens of thousands of Australian support a transformation away from coal and gas to renewable energy, including large scale solar thermal plants.

       “Australian want and deserve energy systems that provide them with safe, clean renewable energy which does not pose health risks, provides us with electricity from our abundant natural energy sources such as the sun and the wind, and does not contribute to climate change,” Ms Armstrong said.

       The Climate and Health Alliance is a signatory to the public statement from over 70 health, environment, and social justice non-government organisations which calls on global leaders to act on their promise from 2009 to phase out fossil fuel subsidies, currently worth over $700 billion annually.

    Contact: CAHA Convenor Fiona Armstrong or 0438 900 005.

    Carolyn at Book Expo America

       If you are going to be at Book Expo America (BEA) , I'd like to invite you to come by the Independent Book Publishers of America booth (#3044) at 10 am on Thursday to say "Hi!" Many of you already have first edition of The Frugal Book Promoter, but I'd love to you to see the great new cover by Chaz DeSimone ( and how fat it has grown in the second edition. I'd also like you to meet my husband who now has his book What Foreigners Need To Know About America From A To Z originally published by Oriental Press in China. It's now in English so your immigrant friends in America can now read it--no matter what country they are from. (-: We hope you'll read it and perhaps even review it!

    Thank you, and happy writing!
    Carolyn Howard-Johnson

    Three Bainstormings for the price of one

       Bainstorming blog for April, May and June is now live at

       Subjects This Issue: Note to Readers, Tweedle, The Dog Who Thought He Was A Cat, Bain Quote, State of America: Our Bankrupt Federal Government, Lots of Book Reviews, Tribute to a Mother, Are you embarrassed by this?, Excerpt from The Dog Who Thought He Was A Cat

    Darrell Bain
    Fictionwise Author of the Year
    Multiple Dream Realm and Eppie awards
    See all my books at

    Book review

    Sleeper, Awake reviewed by Sue Halfwerk

    Sleeper, Awake
    reviewed by Su Halfwerk

       The story takes place in the future, to be more precise 1500 years after the Cataclysm had hit the earth and destroyed it as we know it today. That destruction resulted in the building of a different type of society.

       For one thing, sexual disposition, though more relaxed, promotes equality and better chances, people live in synch with the environment, respecting it by using challenges against it to prove their worthiness, homes can be relocated with a thought, and there are no geologically threatening acts that could ruin it again. People have learnt their lesson. Governments are no more, the planet is governed by Control: a group of people who utilize an intelligent computer named Artif. There are problems of course, the author didn't create a utopian world, but there is one more significant difference: population, all over the earth, is limited to one million, plus the sleepers. Sleepers are people who have been placed in suspended animation in the 21st century until a better future is available for them. They are mainly people with incurable diseases, but there are those who have done it out of vanity.

       It was natural that when Flora Fielding was awakened that she assumed a cure was found for cancer. Except that wasn't true; cancer didn't stand a chance before Artif's watchful eye that monitors everyone's health, fertility level, and thoughts.

       So why was Flora awakened? To solve a problem of course, but until then, she gets her own implant, learns about this new society where men have to prove their worthiness to women since the women choose who would father their children. Flora also adapts to a warmer world, which means almost everyone walks around naked, proud of their natural appearances. Darker color is more beautiful as it complements the change in temperature. Still, Flora's paleness is not held against her. After all, she was a sleeper.

       Dr. Rich created a thought provoking world, he took problems and warnings we're facing today, allowed them to bloom, and then offered a solution and an remarkable world to exist in. I managed to glimpse the world from the eyes of a 70 years old woman, a 13 years old boy, and from a newcomer to that world. It was pleasant to be able to view and analyze that reality from several angles.

       The book is incredibly creative and it shows the author's knowledge. Needless to say, the book remained with me for a long time, it's a book that makes one ponder life and decisions.

    You can read the first chapter of Sleeper, Awake at my web site.

       Su visited me when I was a spunky senior. She is also a Double Dragon author, so you can look her books up there.

    About Bobbing Around

       If you received a copy of Bobbing Around and don't want a repeat, it's simple. Drop me a line and I'll drop you from my list.

       You may know someone who would enjoy reading my rave. Bobbing Around is being archived at, or you can forward a copy to your friend. However, you are NOT ALLOWED to pass on parts of the newsletter, without express permission of the article's author and the Editor (hey, the second one is me.)

       If you are not a subscriber but want to be, email me. Subject should be 'subscribe Bobbing Around' (it will be if you click the link in this paragraph). In the body, please state your name, email address (get it right!), your country and something about yourself. I also want to know how you found your way to my newsletter. I hope we can become friends.

    Contributions are welcome, although I reserve the right to ecline anything, or to request changes before acceptance. Welcome are:

  • Announcements, but note that publication date is neither fixed nor guaranteed;
  • Brags of achievements that may be of general interest, for example publication of your book;
  • Poems or very short stories and essays that fit the philosophy and style of Bobbing Around;
  • Above all, responses to items in past issues. I will not reject or censor such comments, even if I disagree with them.

    Submission Guidelines

       It is a FALSE RUMOUR that you need to buy one of my books before your submission is accepted. Not that I cry when someone does so.

       Above all, contributions should be brief. I may shorten them if necessary.

       Content should be non-discriminatory, polite and relevant. Announcements should be 100 to 200 words, shorter if possible. Book reviews, essays and stories should be at the very most 500 words, poems up to 30 lines.

       Author bios should be about 50 words, and if possible include a web address.