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Waking Planet


Global Good News!

We think our planet is suffering from a “Good News Deficit Disorder”! We are given a steady diet of disaster, threat and misery, but seldom see the stories of innovation and love-in-action that are lighting up this world and providing hope to millions. 

Instead of updating this section on a regular basis, I am now posting Global Good News and other inspirational and fun items on the Waking Planet Facebook page- Waking Planet, One World, One People, One Future! Please join us there and post your own good news!

We are looking for news that epitomizes the Waking Planet World Peace Flag- news that shows the world coming together to solve global problems and that recognizes our shared destiny as one people of the earth. We are interested in news items about peace, economic and social justice, environmental protection and all that reflects our waking consciousness. Please share news you find uplifting and inspirational at the Waking Planet Community.

1. New Technology Borders on the Miraculous!


Imagine being able to make a framing gesture with your hands that would take actual pictures and then being able to go to any flat surface and see your photos projected! Or imagine being able to project numbers on your hand that you could then use to make a phone call or making a circle on your wrist that would turn into a watch. Mind boggling? I think so!

Pranav Mistry a PhD student at MIT has invented a Sixth Sense prototype device, Wear Ur World (WUW) that bridges the natural and digital worlds in surprising, almost magical ways. Watch and be amazed.


2. Planet Earth Signing Up New Friends!


Everyday the number of people who are committed to saving and protecting our natural world grows larger!

Lately, tree-huggers like me, are being joined by folks with a more practical bent. They have come to the commonsensical realization that for a healthy bottom line you need to start with a healthy environment. It ends the false dichotomy that has been fed to us for years- that you have to choose between protecting the earth or protecting profits. These people, who are thinking beyond fourth quarter profits, realize that a non-polluted world is the only basis for a sustainable, sound economy.

Mother earth’s services have historically been undervalued and taken for granted. For instance, rainforests, the lungs of our planet, absorb CO2 and release life giving oxygen, they efficiently recycle water from the ground to the air and provide us with powerful medicines (over 70% of promising anti-cancer drugs come from tropical rainforest according to the National Cancer Institute). Yet, up to 16 million hectares of rainforest are destroyed each year. Monetizing their worth and paying indigenous people to preserve them is a new approach that could more practically compete with loggers, developers and those who are intent on destroying these ecological treasures.

“Boosting biodiversity can boost the global economy.”
2010 UN International Year of Biodiversity

Biomimicry is also setting a practical standard for protecting the environment. It is the study of the expert designs and processes of nature that humans can learn and benefit from. One of the most famous and lucrative of biomimic inventions is Velcro, whose inventor was inspired by burrs that stuck to his pants after a walk!

One example of how mimicry could preserve a species is seen in the leatherback turtle. They are on the brink of extinction, yet scientists are intrigued with some of their abilities and wonder if humans could benefit from studying them. They have a very quick ability to clot blood for example (so sharks will not pick up their scent) and it is hoped that we might be able to replicate this in humans.

Of course, I, like many others, believe that the earth should be protected because of its intrinsic value. But I welcome the new protectors who are motivated along different lines. Eventually, I hope we all come to see the beauty and sacredness of this web of life upon which we all depend.

3. Thousands March for Abolition of Nuclear Weapons


Fifteen thousand people marched from Times Square to the UN on May 2nd and delivered petitions signed by 7 million people calling for a nuclear-free world. The marchers included over 100 Hibakusha, survivors of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. They were joined by groups (some began marching in early February) from Vermont, Philadelphia and Oak Ridge, Tennessee- home of a nuclear weapons plant.

President Obama signed a new START Treaty with Russian President Dimitry Medvedev in April that will reduce nuclear arsenals of both countries by one third. (The US and Russsia account for over 95% of the world’s nuclear warheads.) Marchers felt there has never been a better time for disarmament, but they also concluded a “bigger, broader social movement” was needed to keep the momentum going. Their mission statement said “Nuclear disarmament should serve as the leading edge of a global trend towards demilitarization and redirection of resources to meet human needs and to restore the environment.”

Get involved! You can be a Peace Leader. Sign up at waging peace.org

4. Hope (and Evidence) for Life after Death


sky, cross in sky, near death experience, spiritual light, miracle picture

In the largest scientific study of Near-Death Experience (NDE’s) ever presented, “Evidence of an Afterlife” by Dr Jeffrey Long researches 1,300 NDE’s. A NDE is what people who have been declared clinically dead experience and live to share with us.

In 1975, I read Raymond Moody’s “Life after Life” and have been intrigued with NDE’s ever since. The fact that the experience of a NDE is similar all over the world, no matter the age, race, or religion of the person having it, speaks to me of a universal truth that can provide comfort about the continuation of the soul’s journey after death.

Most speak about finding themselves lifting out of the body and traveling to a different dimension filled with light and the most encompassing and unconditional love they have ever known. Sometimes deceased loved ones appear and tell them this is not their time. Most report not wanting to come back! Some are given a life review to see the effect they have had on others (no act of kindness is too small!) and they come back more empathetic and loving. I think the best way to understand NDE’s is to hear directly from those who have experienced them. The following quotes are from the NDE Research Foundation, nderf.org.

“I’m moving in an infinite oasis of peace and safety.”
“I felt joy, relief.” A child NDE from pneumonia.
“I was immediately filled with light and filled with the most amazing peace, warmth and joy.” NDE from being crushed by a cement wall.
“I was bathed in ethereal music…I became a part of it. There was life in the music- God was there.”
“I remember having an incredibly powerful fear of death before my surgery- a fear that vanished after my experience and has never returned.”
“I felt more ‘awake’ than I had ever felt, as if this earthly life was but a dream.”

As Emmanuel (a guide who I have great fondness for) once said. “Death is perfectly safe… like taking off a shoe that is too tight.” These NDE’s, glimpses into the greater reality, are gifts to the people experiencing them and to all of us.

PS A note on the photo. I captured this shot from the car. As you can see the clouds formed a cross on the left- which is unusual, to say the least! As I mentioned, NDE’s happen to people of all religions, (and to atheists who come back believers) but the photo had such a mystical quality I decided to use it.

5. The Greening of Cities


Chicago Green Roof                          Photo by Diane Cook and Len Jenshel

One of the developments of the 21st century that gives me hope is the greening of American cities around the world.

Heat trapping asphalt roofs and debris filled vacant lots are transforming into lush green gardens. Detroit alone has 800 community gardens that provide organic produce for residents and area soup kitchens. Roofs are blossoming too! Green roof technology removes CO2 from the atmosphere, absorbs and purifies runoff water, lower heating and cooling costs, (they are 32 degrees cooler than traditional roofs) provide habitat for birds and insects and create places of nature for city dwellers. It could also mitigate the "heat island" effect that happens in asphalt and concrete filled cities.

Ford just installed a 450,000 square foot green rooftop on their new Dearborn Truck Plant. In Manhattan, the Visionare is the greenest skyscraper in the US. It has terraced green roof tops, recycled water and solar panels. Chicago is North America’s leading “green roofs” city, but Europe is ahead of us. Germany and Switzerland mandate all new buildings with flat roofs have gardens. Ten percent of rooftops in Germany are green!

As the Dalai Lama says, “problems are human created, so we have the ability to overcome our problems”. Green rooftops and community gardens are a creative and practical way to make our cities healthier, more livable and beautiful.



Previous global good news-


1. The International Day of Climate Action- 350 Day!





On October 24, 2009, hundreds of thousands of people in 181 countries came together for the largest day of environmental action in our world’s history!

Scientists tell us that 350 parts per million of CO2 in the atmosphere is the safe upper limit for life to continue as we know it. We are currently at 390 ppm which must be decreased if we are to avoid irreversible climate change, such as the melting of Greenland’s ice sheet, the inundation of islands and coastal cities, and severe droughts, fires and flooding.

arctic melt
Arctic melting (credit: NASA)

350 Day sent a strong message to world leaders who will be convening in Copenhagen in December of 2009- to pay attention to the science, reduce CO2 emissions and save our planet! Over 22,000 pictures from the event were sent to 350.org. Check it out and sign the pledge while you are there.

2. Getting Closer to a Nuclear Free World

nuclear free worldIn April of 2009, President Obama and Russian President, Dmitry Medvedev agreed to begin significantly reducing the nuclear arsenals of the US and Russia which account for 96% of the world’s stockpile. In October, the UN Security Council unanimously passed a resolution calling for the elimination of all nuclear weapons. Leaders are recognizing that whatever stability nuclear arsenals may have provided during the Cold War are now outweighed by the growing risks of proliferation and nuclear terrorism.

Even old, cold warriors like George Schultz (Reagan’s Sec of State) William Perry (Sec of Defense 94-97) Henry Kissinger (Sec of State 73-77) and Sam Nunn (former chair of the Senate Armed Services Com) are calling for a world free of nuclear weapons. They point out that our current policy of deterrence called MAD- mutually assured destruction, is not a workable strategy for non-state terrorists. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB116787515251566636.html

We have it in our power to remove this threat to our existence. For the sake of future generations, we must seize this historic moment. Sign the declaration to eliminate nuclear weapons globally — http://globalzero.org

3. The Green Revolution is Gaining Steam

green energy symbolWhat is not to like about the green revolution? It has the potential to create millions of good paying jobs- revitalizing our manufacturing sector and restoring American competitiveness; it can make us energy independent- increasing national security and it will cut carbon pollution that can reverse global warming and save our planet. The grassroots movement grows stronger by the day. Check out the Repower America Wall, where tens of thousands of citizens are raising their collective voice for a clean energy future. Al Gore recently said that content shared on the Wall will create ads and when key decisions are at hand, “we’ll light up the wall” to remind our representatives that a majority of Americans want a clean energy future. Go Al!

The business community is joining the green revolution too! In October of 2009, representatives from 150 major firms went to Capitol Hill to push the Senate to pass green energy and climate legislation. They met with the Secretaries of Energy and the Interior to advocate putting a price on carbon to drive investment into cost-saving, energy-saving, green technologies.

WeCanLead.org is the new voice of business supporting “Comprehensive, forward-looking energy and climate policies.”

Companies are also jumping ship on the national Chamber of Commerce that is spending millions to block reform of healthcare, Wall Street, and clean energy. The Chamber even called for a “Scopes monkey trial” on the science of global warming. That was the final straw for: Apple, Nike, Pacific Gas and Electric, PNM Resources and Exelon. More and more are coming to the conclusion that global warming is not only bad for the planet, it is bad for business.

4. Each Generation Grows More Tolerant

Generation Next, or Gen Nexters, 18-25, are leading the way on tolerance on social issues like immigration, race and LGBT issues. But the adults are catching up too. In 1986, only 32% of American adults thought same-sex adults relationships should have legal status. By 2002, a solid majority, 54% were for it. This is how youth is leading the way. (Gallup Poll Feb 19,2002)

Age       For legalizing same-sex relationships
18-29 - 65%
30-49 - 58%
50-64 - 49%
64+    - 33%

Youth are overall more progressive than their elders. For instance, seventy-five percent of them, transcend party lines and support comprehensive clean energy and climate legislation. http://bsgco.com/releases/ACES_Release.pdf

William Zogby, the respected researcher who heads Zogby International, the polling firm, has written a book called “The Way We Will Be”. Based on thousands of in-depth surveys, he concludes The American Dream is changing — for the better. Not only are adults under 40 consistently more progressive, but young adults are more internationalist, environmentally conscious and respectful of diversity. Zogby calls 18-29 year olds, the “First Global” generation. Forty-two percent of them have passports and almost a quarter expect to work in a foreign country at some point in their careers. Because of the internet the world has always been open to them and they are more likely to say they are citizens of planet earth than of the US.

5. The World March for Peace


prague, november 3
Thousands gathered in Prague Nov 3 for a Peace Party to
welcome the World March for Peace. (Credit- Presseza,
Prague, Nov 3 Fulvia De Vita)


Marchers are traveling around the world to spread the new global consciousness based on peace and nonviolence. They stand for the abolition of nuclear weapons and an end of war to resolve conflict. The marchers arrived in New York City Nov 30 with a march across the Brooklyn Bridge. By then the team had marched through four continents and 35 countries. The march will conclude in Argentina on Jan 2, 2010.

The March was recognized Nov 11 in Berlin by the 10th World Summit of Nobel Peace Prize Laureates to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. The marchers were presented with the Summit’s Charter for A World without Violence which they will promote. Endorse their efforts at http://worldmarchforpeace.org

“Either we will end war, or war will end us.” — President John F Kennedy