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Hooray for Earth Month Events! Happy 100th NPS! Vandana Shiva Comes to Town!

April 19, 2016



“I pledge allegiance to the earth of our beloved solar system
and to all of her creatures for here they dwell
one planet united in harmony
with universal love and compassion for all.”

April is always big for a poet tree hugger like me. But this week is especially big with a week’s worth of celebrations for the 100th birthday of the National Park Service,  April 21’s Poem in Your Pocket Day, and April 22 is Earth Day!


Plus locally, at an NPS film fest at Ventura College, and this weekend, Vendana Shiva will speak at a conference at Pacifica Graduate Institute near Santa Barbara, CA on “The Climates of Change and the Therapy of Ideas” as well as at a free talk at Oak Grove School near Ojai, CA. Plus other events I mention in this post on what nature does to your brain!

Keep reading for more details!

April 16–24: National Park Week

Throughout National Park Week from April 16–24, you can visit every national park for free ! Lots of special events are scheduled also. On April 22, Earth Day, pitch in with a project! Look for a park where you can help out, and find out about events and more.

April 18-21: VC Geosciences Film Fest 3:30pm SCI 313 free

see list of films here

April 21: Poem in Your Pocket Day– everywhere

To participate, select a poem, carry it with you, and share it with others in person or on Twitter using the hashtag #pocketpoem. Initiated in 2002 in New York City, in 2008, the Academy of American Poets took the event nationally, encouraging others join in and share their enthusiasm for poetry.  Read more about April 21’s Poem in Your Pocket Day and find poems to print out here.

April 21-24: “The Climates of Change and the Therapy of Ideas”

Conference materials describe it as:

“Living in an extraordinary time of historic proportions and possibilities—from economic divides to irreversible changes in our climate—calls on us to re-orient ourselves. If we accept the challenges facing us, opportunities to re-harmonize will emerge, transforming our ways of living on this planet. As an interconnected and vital community, we come together to engage new ideas that “see through” existing paradigms. We will gather to listen, to learn, and to work together to spark innovative action. In this calling, we are deeply inspired by James Hillman, the founder of Archetypal Psychology, toward creating a future that undertakes a critical “re-visioning” and “re-imagining” of our world. He urged us to create a therapy of ideas, “to bring in new ideas so that we can see the same old patterns differently.” This landmark conference brings together leading archetypal psychologists, scholars, cultural critics, and artists to turn our ‘therapeutic” attention toward re-imagining the economies and ecologies that will shape our world and future generations.”

This conference  gathers my interdisciplinary interests together: myth, story, environmental problem solving, education, and psychology (I have undergraduate and/or graduate degrees in the fields of English, Psychology, Environmental Studies and Education) as well as my environmental activist interests. As a professor of writing, composition, and research, my students come from and are interested in a number of different areas and this conference helps me to meet their needs, and I think attending this conference will help me in this task.

Of particular interest to me and the most relevant to my role as educator is this session with Dr David Miller: “Changing Climates of Education: The Economies of Sitting, Standing, and Leaning” described as “The world of the therapy of ideas may be today as much at apocalyptic risk as the world of nature. The soul of contemporary teaching and learning suffers the impact of perspectives of global consumerism in which the student is imagined to be a consumer and the teacher is expected to be a salesperson with a product to deliver. Dr. Miller will address the ramifications of what may be experienced as a radical climate change in education that is akin to the devastating climate changein the contemporary ecosphere. He will offer the mythology of the teacher of teachers, Silenos, asan archetypal alternative to the changing educational trend. David L. Miller, Ph.D., is a retired distinguished professor from Syracuse University. He is the author of six books and more than one hundred articles from 1963 to the present.

I would also like to attend two pre-conference workshops and I’m hoping for  a sub since I usually teach during that period.  This first one is especially interesting to me as a wine blogger:

“ReVisioning Dionysus with Susan Rowland and Dennis Patrick Slattery” who say that “Dionysus was worshipped in the wilderness, not the temple. He is god of ecstasy, wild sexuality, and instinctual life and dismemberment. James Hillman saw Dionysus in Jung as prefiguring a major re-orientation of consciousness. Dionysus, the loosener, is also Dionysus the divided one. This workshop will explore Dionysian energies of psyche and literature in Revisioning Psychology by James Hillman that opens up “climates of change” in our relation to the cosmos. After offering diverse yet excitingly related perspectives on Dionysus and the multidisciplinary twenty-first century, Slattery and Rowland will stage an interactive dialogue with the audience.

The second workshop I hope to attend is: “Inspiring Re-enchantment through Transrevolutionary Storytelling” with Craig Chalquist who writes that “Geologian” Thomas Berry has said that humanity is in trouble because our stories no longer work. Even when true, the stories we do hear, and tell, about a planet in decline and what to do about it pile on such depressing statistics and horror stories that we easily succumb to numbness and helplessness. This workshop will look at possibilities for inspiring storytelling that can lead to deep cultural transformation. Working through a model for Phases of Transrevolution, we will discuss the need to build containers of support and experimentation, practice effective storytellingtechniques, consider a selection of the myths retelling themselves on every side, and appreciate imagination in free play as the ultimate realm of liberatory potential and adaptive response.”



The headliner of the conference for me is Vandana Shiva’s talk on Sunday, April 24, 11:15 AM-12:45 PM.Titled “Healing: From the Self to the Planet” “Dr. Shiva will address the relationship between the degeneration of societies, ecological destruction, and the degeneration of health—both physical and spiritual. She will explore the common roots and solutions to these crises.”

Often described as Monsanto’s worst nightmare, Dr. Shiva is a vocal opponent of chemically dependent industrial agriculture and one of the world’s leading voices in defense of organic and regenerative food systems.

According to her bio, “Vandana Shiva trained as a physicist and did an interdisciplinary doctorate on ‘Hidden Variables and Non-Locality in Quantum Theory’ from the University of Western Ontario, Canada. She is Founder/Director of the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology and Navdanya, the movement for seed saving and ecological agriculture. She is the author of numerous books including Staying Alive, Ecofeminism, Seed Sovereignty and Food Security: Women in the Vanguard (Ed.), Soil Not Oil, Earth Democracy and Who Feeds the World. For four decades of dedication to independent and ecological research, Dr Shiva has been honored with many awards including The Right Livelihood Award, The Sydney Peace Prize, The Fukuoka Prize and the Lennon-Ono Peace Prize.”


April 23 2:30pm Oak Grove School Vandana Shiva

I first read her influential work as an undergrad at UC Santa Cruz and was fortunate to hear Vandana Shiva last June. Her life story is also the subject of a documentary film, The Seeds of Vandana Shiva, in post-production with Ojai based film company Becket Films, scheduled for release in October 2016 so it should be so amazing to me that Vandana Shiva will also be speaking FOR FREE at Oak Grove School 220 W Lomita Ave, Ojai, California 93023 as part of their Earth Day Festivities on Sat. April 23 at 2:30pm. She will be introduced by Rick Ridgeway, award winning writer, filmmaker, and legendary climber Rick Ridgeway who oversees Patagonia’s environmental and sustainability initiatives.

April 23 Ojai Earth Day Oak Grove School 11-4pm

Lots of great art and other activities all day! Plus Lake Casitas Morning Clean-up hosted by Paso Pacifico from 8:00-10:00AM. All clean-up materials will be provided. For more information contact Paso Pacifico.



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