Welcome! New

 

Inspiring peace through technology,
education, art, music, dance, and stories.

Peacetour.org visitors
This website has had visitors from 197 countires,
represented in green on the map above.

Connect with us on TWITTER and FACEBOOK!
 

Hugs not war... in space!

May
30

On Tuesday May 27, 2014, the three astronauts preparing to blast off for a six month stay on the International Space Station held a press conference at the Russian cosmodrome facility in Baikonur, Kazakhstan. Alexander Gerst of Germany, Maxim Surayev of Russia, and Reid Wiseman of the United States answered questions about their trip, the 40th expedition aboard the ISS. For weeks, hostility between Russia and the US and Germany had been building, with their international cooperation in space at risk. The topic of politics, and the ongoing situation in Ukraine came up when a Russian journalist from NTV asked, "Because of the events in Ukraine that we all know about, the relationship between the United States, Russia, and Germany became pretty tense. Do you feel this tension on the level of your team?”

Instead of answering out loud, the three astronauts stood up and hugged each other. “This is our answer,” astronaut Wiseman said in Russian. “Yes, this is our answer for everyone to see,” cosmonaut Suraev added.


Commander Maksim Suraev then gathered his crew together for a collective self portrait of three smiling friends, with all of the journalists in the background. “Space is without borders, we fly to an international space station where we do experiments that come back to Earth and benefit all of us – they benefit all humankind,” he said.

The crew docked safely with the ISS early Thursday morning, six hours after blasting off, and are currently in orbit around the Earth.

"Space is without borders."

 

 

Posted By Justin read more

What does a peace event look like?

May
11

Sophie Kerr once said, "If peace only had the music and pageantry of war, there'd be no wars." Peace is needed everywhere, and so are celebrations of peace. The Dalai Lama expained recently that one of the best things people can do to create peace is to have festivals that bring people together. Peace events can bring different communities and individuals together to find common ground and form connections that will expand peace.

The people attending a peace event should be as diverse as possible, coming from many places and of mixed demographics. The event should encourage self-expression and inclusiveness. Each person should feel free to be themselves, and accept others for who they are. By accepting others, we lay the foundation for deep understanding and peace.

There should also be a cultural and artistic element to a peace event, that allows people to find similarities across political, religious, and social barriers. Art and music are universal in their reach, providing an ideal background for common interests to be discovered. A peace event needs to provide a platform for connections and relationships to form, and new ideas to be sparked. Peace events should be a place for personal transformation and collective growth.

These are the elements of the How Weird Street Faire, a peace event held in the streets of downtown San Francisco. This year's faire was on Sunday May 4, 2014, and was attended by over 25,000 people. The people come to the faire from around California, from across the entire US, from Canada and Mexico, and South America, and Europe, and Africa, and Asia, and Australia and New Zealand. The ages range from babies to senior citizens, although most are young adults. Many of the people wear colorful costumes, which offer the opportunity to fully express their unique perspectives to others, and creates an environment where others' perspectives are respected and admired.

How Weird is a place where weird is normal, and creativity is valued over everything else. Being weird leads to discoveries and seeing things differently, exploring new ideas and new realities. By honoring weirdness and uniqueness, the How Weird Street Faire has created a peace event that welcomes everyone, no matter how different you are. How Weird is a place where anyone can feel accepted, and is encouraged to accept others.

The How Weird Street Faire brings a very diverse group of people together through music, art, and culture. The primary music used is electronic dance music, because it has the widest appeal and use around the world currently. How Weird tries to bring all the different communities of electronic dance music culture together, to showcase the full range of what is going on in this vibrant area, and as a peace-building project to build connections between all the different electronic dance music communities and unite them for a day.

The primary action used to get diverse people to interact with each other at the faire is dance. Dance is a highly respected art form, a powerful therapeutic tool, and a great form of exercise. Traditionally, dance has been one of the primary expressions of human culture, used for communication, community building, healing, and religious ceremonies throughout the world. Preceding the spoken and written word, dance transcends differences, and is an ideal way to connect people on many levels. And it's a lot of fun.

The How Weird Street Faire is a fun and inviting place. Everything about How Weird is positive and supportive of others, it is a true celebration of peace. The faire creates an ideal community of peace for a day, which then inspires others to help make their community more ideal, and more peaceful. We hope to bring the faire to other places soon, and seed new peace events around the world. The How Weird Street Faire is a project of the non-profit World Peace Through Technology Organization, showing the world what peace looks like, and a demonstration of what is possible.

The 15th annual How Weird Street Faire

The 15th annual How Weird Street Faire

Peace… the final frontier.

This is the voyage of our beloved Spaceship Earth.

Our ongoing mission: to discover new ideas and new perspectives, to raise our awareness and understanding, and to live in peace as one planet - in harmony with the cosmos as we collectively dance across time and space.

  

  

Posted By WPTTO read more

The Space Apps Challenge

Apr
11

This weekend is the third annual International Space Apps Challenge, a NASA incubator innovation program. The challenge is a global collaboration between government agencies, organizations, academic institutions, and individuals from across the planet. Over 9,000 people participated simultaneously in last year’s event from over 50 locations. This year features almost 100 locations spanning six continents, including 31 locations in North America, 29 locations in Europe, 15 locations in South America, 10 locations in Africa, 9 locations in Asia, and 4 locations in Australia and New Zealand.

In San Francisco, the Space Apps Challenge will take place at Constant Contact, located at 85 2nd Street, just a few feet from where the How Weird Street Faire takes place. San Francisco’s event is organized and run by former Space Apps winners SpaceRocks. The SpaceRocks team was one of two San Francisco teams selected for global judging in the 2013 NASA Space Apps Challenge, winning an honorable mention globally in the "Galactic Impact" category for the SkyLog social stargazing app.




The 2014 worldwide hackathon will take place April 12-13. Participants from all around the world will develop mobile applications, software, hardware, data visualization, and platform solutions that could contribute to space exploration missions and help improve life on Earth. The challenge encourages entrepreneurs, technologists, thinkers, and developers to create and deploy data-driven visualizations and simulations that will help people understand and solve problems related to life on earth and space. More than 200 data sources, including data sets, data services, and tools will be made available. This event will bring tech-savvy citizens, scientists, entrepreneurs, educators, and students together to help solve challenges relevant to both space exploration and social needs. This year, the challenges will be organized in five themes: Earth Watch, Technology in Space, Human Spaceflight, Robotics, and Asteroids. About half of the challenges are in the Earth Watch theme, which supports NASA’s focus on Earth science in 2014. The challenges range from turning your smartphone into a satellite to monitor air quality, to designing a space-greenhouse.

According to NASA, "the event embraces collaborative problem solving with a goal of producing relevant open-source solutions to address global needs applicable to both life on Earth and life in space.” One of the winners from 2013 was the Greener Cities Project, which was honored in the “Galactic Impact” division. The Gothenburg, Sweden based team behind Greener Cities Project set out to complement NASA satellite climate data with crowd-sourced microclimate data obtained through low-cost sensors, network connectivity, and urban gardens, thus providing higher resolution environmental monitoring capability. The Kansas City-based Sol project, which was described as the world’s first interplanetary weather application, won last year’s Space Apps Challenge for "Best Use of Data". Sol allows users to select a planet and view the weather on that world.

Everyone is encouraged to participate in the challenge, even if they have no programming experience. The International Space Apps Challenge is an opportunity for people to build, create, and invent new solutions to challenges of global importance. NASA explains that "the exploration of space is, by necessity, a unified international effort - and diversity of experience and perspective inevitably produces a better product. The Challenge exemplifies the principles of transparency, participation, and collaboration by utilizing openly available data, supplied through NASA missions and technology, and the talent and skill of passionate volunteers from around the planet to advance space exploration and improve the quality of life on Earth. The idea of a Challenge is so compelling because it acknowledges the fact that the world is facing serious challenges - and that we all have to work together to approach them. While there are prizes offered for great solutions, the main challenge we focus on is enabling 48 hours of highly engaged collaboration- and discovering what we can create when that happens."

 

Posted By Justin read more

How Weird in Space - Peace Frontiers

Jan
23

The World Peace Through Technology Organization is excited to announce
the 15th annual How Weird Street Faire on Sunday May 4, 2014
in Downtown San Francisco, Earth, Sol, Milky Way.

HOW WEIRD IN OUTER SPACE
PEACE - THE FINAL FRONTIER


On May the Fourth, the How Weird Street Faire will once again fill the streets of downtown San Francisco with a celebration of peace and creativity. The faire will feature art, music, performances, technology exhibits, peace activities, unique vendors from around the world, and much more. The universe is invited to participate in the greatest street faire in this galaxy, and the start of the San Francisco festival season.

The How Weird Street Faire is a project of the non-profit World Peace Through Technology Organization, which aims to inspire peace through music and art. The faire brings many different types of people together to foster connections, find similarities, accept differences, and celebrate diversity. How Weird encourages uniqueness and creative expression, with thousands of people in colorful costumes from all over the world being weird for a day.

The How Weird Street Faire is going to be a part of National Dance Week again this year. In honor of the festivities, there will be a special National Dance Week stage showcasing all kinds of dance from around the world. And there will be plenty of opportunities to dance yourself at stages by some of the best music collectives in the world, providing music from the many genres of electronic dance music. How Weird is a fusion of motion, energy, talent, and collaborative weirdness unlike anything you've experienced before... an example of how fun peace can be.

For more information on the faire...
HowWeird.org

 

Posted By WPTTO read more

The Overview Effect: cosmic consciousness and the big picture

Dec
21

Earth


The Overview Effect is the psychological, emotional, and spiritual results from viewing the Earth from space. The term was used by Frank White in his 1987 book The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution to describe the incredible stories from astronauts who describe the feelings and thoughts they had when viewing the Earth from the outside, and the changes that the effect inspired. What happens to many astronauts is a shift in perception and understanding as the they clearly see that everything on the Earth is interconnected and functions as one planet, soaring through space with its celestial neighbors. Humanity's unity and the arbitrary nature of boundaries become obvious.

In addition, the Earth's atmosphere is seen for what it really is, a thin blue haze covering the Earth like an egg shell. The delicate and fragile view of the planet inspires people to return to Earth and work on ecological and environmental issues, with the understanding that such a tiny layer of atmosphere needs to be protected. And then there is the emotional response to seeing your home, the only place you've ever known, from someplace else. A home that looks more beautiful than anything you've ever seen, against a backdrop of empty darkness and distant stars. The effect far exceeded the astronaut's expectations, even the ones already familiar with the Overview Effect. It has been described as "instant global consciousness", a chance to experience a cosmic perspective, and the "big picture". Astronaut Edgar Mitchell described it as a "spontaneous epiphany experience", more meaningful than walking on the Moon.

Neil Armstrong, the first person to walk on the Moon, was deeply humbled not by the first view of our majestic satellite, but by the sight of the Earth, our ancient home. "It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn't feel like a giant. I felt very, very small." Another astronaut, Alan Shepard, agreed, "If somebody'd said before the flight, 'Are you going to get carried away looking at the earth from the moon?' I would have say, 'No, no way.' But yet when I first looked back at the earth, standing on the moon, I cried."

Frank White states that "the Overview Effect is a message from the universe to humanity. The message is that the Earth, when seen from orbit or the moon, is a whole system, where borders and boundaries disappear, and everything is interconnected. Our planet is a tiny spaceship in an enormous universe, which is itself a whole system, of which we are an important part. We are the crew of a natural spaceship called Earth, which is hurtling through the universe at a high rate of speed. In a very real sense, all of us are astronauts, but we do not realize it because we normally do not experience it. As so many people around the world have realized, humanity stands at a crossroads, and we will either choose to hear the message of the Overview Effect, or we will continue on a path that is destructive to ourselves and our planet." The implications of the Overview Effect were explored in Buckminister Fuller's idea of Spaceship Earth, in which the visionary scientist discussed ways of creating peace and cooperation, in order to better manage or "steer" this planet.

Apollo 15 astronaut James Irwin, the 8th person to walk on the moon, said that "the Earth reminded us of a Christmas tree ornament hanging in the blackness of space. As we got farther and farther away it diminished in size. Finally it shrank to the size of a marble, the most beautiful marble you can imagine. That beautiful, warm, living object looked so fragile, so delicate, that if you touched it with a finger it would crumble and fall apart. Seeing this has to change a man, has to make a man appreciate the creation of God." Sultan Bin Salman al-Suad, the first astronaut from Saudi Arabia, explained how "the first day or so we all pointed to our countries. The third or fourth day we were pointing to our continents. By the fifth day we were aware of only one Earth."

Astronaut Edgar Mitchell wrote about his life-changing experiences from space in his book The Way of the Explorer. From the window of the Apollo 14 Command Module, he stared at the "blue jewel-like home planet suspended in the velvety blackness from which we had come. What I saw out the window was all I had ever known, all I have ever loved and hated, longed for, all that I once thought had ever been and ever would be. It was there suspended in the cosmos on that fragile little sphere. I experienced a grand epiphany accompanied by exhilaration, an event I would later refer to in terms that could not be more foreign to my upbringing in West Texas and later, New Mexico. From that moment on, my life was irrevocably altered."

 

Overview Institute



In 2008, Frank White and philosopher David Beaver launched the Overview Institute to promote and study the effect. They encourage "thinking about populations, places, and problems as highly interconnected. It’s the opposite of targeted, focused advocacy, especially if that advocacy comes at the expense of other areas of need. Belief in the need for collaboration underpins an Overview philosophy. It posits that exposure to space travel has tremendous power to inspire sincere enthusiasm to solve big, interrelated environmental and social problems facing the world." The institute is made up of astronauts, writers, artists, activists, and people in the space business. They believe that the Overview Effect will change the world.

Last year, Frank collaborated with the artists at the Planetary Collective to make a film about the Overview Effect. The film, called Overview, attempts to share that experience with you, and inspire a greater connection with this planet. The Planetary Collective was founded in 2011, and believes that "the root of the environmental and social crises facing humanity is the misperception that we are separate – from each other, the planet, and the cosmos as a whole."

Frank White describes the film as "a complex message that includes several components. First, it is true that there are no borders or boundaries on our planet except those that we create in our minds or through human behaviors. All the ideas and concepts that divide us when we are on the surface begin to fade from orbit and the moon. The result is a shift in worldview, and in identity. Second our planet is, in the words of panelist Ron Garan, a fragile oasis and we need to take care of it. So there is a strong environmental component to the message. Third is that we are one species with one destiny as we move out from the Earth and begin to explore the universe."
 


Overview the film


Astronaut Ron Garan, who served on the International Space Station, was profoundly affected by the overview of the Earth. Ron explained that he had "returned to Earth after that first space mission with a call to action. I could no longer accept the status quo on our planet. We have the resources and technology to solve many, if not all of the problems facing our planet yet nearly a billion people do not have access to clean water, countless go to bed hungry every night, and many die from preventable and curable diseases. We live in a world where the possibilities are limited only by our imagination and our will to act. It is within our power to eliminate the suffering and poverty that exist on our planet. We have the technology that can enable true global collaboration that is consistent and world changing. Our real challenge is demonstrating how vital and valuable collaboration is, despite the real and perceived risks. Open collaborations make solutions better through the pooling of resources and information. Working together multiplies cost-effectiveness while reducing duplication of effort. It is the only real way to enable economies and solutions of scale. Perhaps most importantly, collaboration encourages greater accountability and fosters trust."

Ron Garan was so inspired, that once back on Earth he worked with NASA to form Fragile Oasis, a grassroots initiative to connect the orbital perspective of astronauts who live and work in space with people who want to make a difference here on Earth. Fragile Oasis has several projects, including one that focuses on collaborations called Unity Node, which is working to unify efforts to provide collaborative platforms, and is striving to create a universal open source platform for global collaboration. Ron thought, "There has to be a way for all to collaborate toward our common goals. An effective collaboration mechanism will pair together challenges with solutions, bringing together different unique pieces of the puzzle and enabling us to learn from each other’s successes and failures and make all these organizations’ technologies and approaches considerably more effective than they would be otherwise. Since there are multiple organizations looking to develop tools to enable collaboration, it is critical to unify those efforts."

TEDxSalford, where Ron Garan gave a talk about Unity Node, described it as "an unprecedented endeavor to change the world in a profound and positive way: it aims to bring together millions of scattered charity organizations around the world by developing a central data tool and a menu of applications. The effort is unique in many ways; not only it leans on a celestial point of view helping people to perceive the bigger picture, but also it strives to bring unity between many social collaborative platforms. The international team of people and organizations together form Unity Node aiming to build an open source platform, unifying the efforts of various sectors to address and respond to humanitarian needs. If anything, the International Space Station is a proof that everything is possible. The space facility created by a collaboration of 15 nations working together is a truly one of a kind achievement showing that collective efforts have far-reaching effects."

 


Unity Node is connecting humanity's changemakers


Ron Garan spent 178 days in space, traveling 71,075,867 miles in 2,842 orbits around our planet, including 4 spacewalks. Recently, he wrote about what it was like to see Earth from space. "We all have moments in our lives where something shifts, clicks into place. For me it was in June of 2008, when I clamped my feet to the end of the robotic Canadarm-2 on the International Space Station. With me firmly attached to the end, the arm was flown through a maneuver that we called the 'windshield wiper', which took me across a long arc above the space station and back. As I approached the top of this arc, it was as if time stood still, and I was flooded with both emotion and awareness. Here I was, 100 feet above the space station, looking down at this incredible man-made accomplishment against the backdrop of our indescribably beautiful Earth, 240 miles below. Witnessing the absolute beauty of the planet we have been given from this perspective was a very moving experience. But as I looked down at this stunning, fragile oasis — this island that has been given to us, and has protected all life from the harshness of space - a sadness came over me, and I was hit in the gut with an undeniable sobering contradiction. In spite of the indescribable beauty of this moment in my life, I couldn’t help but think of the inequity that exists on the apparent paradise we have been given. I couldn’t help but think of all the people who don’t have clean water to drink or enough food to eat, of the social injustice, conflicts, and poverty that exists throughout the Earth. Seeing the Earth from this vantage point gave me a unique perspective – something I’ve come to call the orbital perspective."


Ron Garan looking out the ISS windows
Ron Garan looking out the International Space Station window


Frank White pondered the potential for creating peace through the Overview Effect when he wrote, "How would everything change if we began to think of ourselves as a seven billion member team, a crew on a spacecraft? What if we expanded our thinking to include other sentient life as part of that team, and perhaps even beyond, to consider everything on the Earth as team members? Would it reduce all conflict on the Earth? No, there are conflicts on teams and crews, disagreements about the best way to proceed in winning a game, a battle, or a trophy. However, the balance between cooperation and conflict might well be restored to something more appropriate to a species seeking to evolve and prosper. From orbit, we see the unity of the Earth, while from the surface, we see its diversity. From orbit, we also see a new diversity lying beyond the unity of our home planet. Neither unity nor diversity is the complete picture. If we are to understand the philosophy of the Overview Effect, then, we must understand the principle that our awareness of ourselves, the Earth, the solar system, and the universe changes with our physical perspective. This awareness then affects our knowledge of who we are and our behavior in relationship to our environment."

"Returning to the definition of philosophy as 'a theory or attitude that acts as a guiding principle for behavior,' we can say that the Overview Effect points to the principle that one of the primary rationales for space exploration is that it transforms how we think, how we see ourselves - our world view. A second principle is that we, and our world view, will constantly evolve, and that this is both necessary and inevitable. Another way to describe 'space exploration' is to call it 'evolution into the universe'. As humanity begins to explore the larger environment beyond the Earth, we will evolve, and as we do so, the universe itself will also evolve because we are a part of it. One of the most immediate results of the Overview Effect to date is that it has given impetus to the environmental movement. This has already produced a new philosophy of Earth that guides our behavior relative to the planet. We no longer see it as limitless, to be exploited continuously for our own needs. Increasingly, we see it as a limited whole system that must be treated with great care, for our own survival and for the planet’s benefit. Yet, there is more to it than that. We are also realizing that the various systems of which we are a part, through us, may be said to become aware of themselves."

James Lovelock, author of the Gaia hypothesis, said: "Gaia is now through us awake and aware of herself. She has seen the reflection of her fair face through the eyes of astronauts and the television cameras of orbiting spacecraft."

Frank White expanded on Lovelock's idea to suggest that, "Building on the work I have done concerning the Overview Effect and on Lovelock’s suggestion that the Earth is a living system, I have posited the 'Cosma Hypothesis'. By this, I mean that the universe is also a living system with a degree of self-awareness. By definition, this must be so, since we are alive and conscious, and part of the universe. The question is whether, as we evolve, might our purpose be to help the universe become increasingly self-aware? Might our philosophy of space exploration, our guiding principle, be to transform not only our own world view but also that of the universe itself?"

The universe is a single living, conscious being of which we are a small part.
And our expanding awareness may be helping the whole universe become more aware.


You don't need to go out in space to receive the Overview Effect. A lesser version of the effect is achieved through photographs and video, and even these minor effects have had profound implications on humanity, and our understanding of ourselves. In 1950, astronomer Sir Fred Hoyle made a prediction on BBC radio, “Once a photograph of the Earth, taken from outside is available – once the sheer isolation of the Earth becomes known – a new idea as powerful as any in history will be let loose.” That prediction came true, embodied in the three most widely known examples...


Blue Marble
The Blue Marble - Dec. 7, 1972


The Overview film's release was timed to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the famous image of the whole Earth referred to as "Blue Marble", the most widely distributed image in human history. The image, along with other Earth images, is credited with inspiring the environmental movement, and an interest in global consciousness. The photograph, named AS17-148-22727 by NASA, is credited to the three astronauts aboard the Apollo 17 spacecraft - Eugene Cernan, Ronald Evans, and Jack Schmitt. The photograph is a part of a series of the only images of the full Earth ever taken by humans, and possibly the most beautiful one in existence. It has been shown as an example of Earth's frailty, vulnerability, and isolation amid the vast expanse of space. Astronaut Jack Schmitt stated, "I'll tell you, if there ever was a fragile appearing piece of blue in space, it's the Earth right now."

The Apollo 17 mission was the last manned flight to the Moon, and the last time humans were far enough away from the Earth to see it as marble in space. The Blue Marble photograph was taken on December 7, 1972. To the astronauts, the Earth had the appearance and size of a glass marble. At the time the picture was taken, the astronauts were 28,000 miles above the planet, moving at 40,000 km/hr. They were on the way to the Moon, where they would leave behind a plaque inscribed with the words, "May the spirit of peace in which we came be reflected in the lives of all mankind." That plaque sums up the potential impact on humanity, not just from being on the Moon itself, but from looking up and seeing the Earth from that perspective.


Earthrise
The Earthrise - Dec. 22, 1968


The "Earthrise" photograph, named AS08-16-2593 by NASA, was taken on December 22, 1968, by the crew of the Apollo 8 spacecraft, Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, and William Anders. They were the first humans to leave the gravitational influence of the Earth and orbit another celestial body, against uncertain odds of succeeding. They are the only humans to ever witness an Earthrise, but thanks to photographic technology we are all able to see it. The photo ignited the imagination of humanity, and is considered one of the most significant photos ever taken. It happened spontaneously, when the astronauts were suddenly in awe of the view. Here is the conversation which took place between the astronauts:

Borman: "Oh my God! Look at that picture over there! Here's the Earth coming up. Wow, is that pretty."
Anders: "Hey, don't take that, it's not scheduled."
Borman: (laughing) "You got a color film, Jim?"
Anders: "Hand me that roll of color quick, will you..."
Lovell: "Oh man, that's great!"


Three days later, the poet Archibald MacLeish wrote Riders on the Earth, in which he described the response to seeing Earthrise, "For the first time in all of time, men have seen the Earth. Seen it not as continents or oceans from the little distance of a hundred miles or two or three, but seen it from the depths of space; seen it whole and round and beautiful and small. To see the Earth as it truly is, small and blue and beautiful in that eternal silence where it floats, is to see ourselves as riders on the Earth together, brothers on that bright loveliness in the eternal cold - brothers who know that they are truly brothers." Apollo 8 astronaut Jim Lovell stated at the time, "The vast loneliness up here at the moon is awe inspiring, and it makes you realize what you have back there on Earth. The Earth from here is a grand oasis in the big vastness of space."


Pale Blue Dot
The Pale Blue Dot - Feb. 14, 1990


Up till now, there have only been 24 people who have able to see the Earth from far enough away that it appears complete. And there have been just over 500 people who have left the Earth's atmosphere and seen the planet from above. But there have been many unmanned spacecraft which have taken photographs of the Earth, and other planets. And from one of those robotic probes, the Voyager 1 spacecraft, came the third most inspiring photograph of the Earth called the "Pale Blue Dot".

The Pale Blue Dot was taken on Valentine's Day 1990 by the first human built object sent to leave our solar system. Four billion miles away from Earth, Voyager 1 turned its camera back towards its home planet and took a picture. The picture features a hazy view of black, with a couple of light streaks across it from the sun. Nothing exceptional, except a little blue dot that was almost missed. The command sequence that controlled the timing for each photograph’s exposure was developed by two University of Arizona scientists. One of them, Candice Hansen-Koharcheck, was working at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab viewing the images when she noticed the dot. Later she explained, "It was just a little dot, about two pixels big, three pixels big, so not very large. You know, I still get chills down my back because here was our planet, bathed in this ray of light, and it just looked incredibly special." The full image size was actually 640,000 individual pixels, including the Earth at a mere 12% of a single pixel, but that was still big enough to make a huge impact on humanity.

Carl Sagan, who had worked with NASA on the golden record attached to the Voyager spacecraft, was the one who had suggested that they turn the craft around and take a picture of Earth. Vice Adm. Richard Truly, the head of NASA at the time, recalled the suggestion, "I did get a visit from Carl Sagan. We talked about a lot of things. And somewhere in that conversation he mentioned this idea. I thought, heck, with Voyager so far away, if it could turn around and take a picture of the different planets including the Earth, that that would really be cool."

Carl Sagan would later write his famous ode to the Pale Blue Dot, "From this distant vantage point, the Earth might not seem of any particular interest. But for us, it’s different. Consider again that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every ‘superstar,’ every ‘supreme leader,’ every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there — on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam. The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the only home we’ve ever known. The pale blue dot."



Carl Sagan reading "The Pale Blue Dot"


However powerful the photographs of the Earth may be, they are subtle compared to the effect of actually seeing the Earth from space. Part of the difference is in the fact that there is nothing in our lives that can relate to the experience. Part of the difference is that the trip from our planet, and the weightlessness and darkness of space, contribute to the effect. Radically new sensory experiences force the brain to reorganize to give meaning to the new information, which is the root of the Overview Effect. Apollo 11 Astronaut Michael Collins explained how "those who saw pictures of the Earth and then thought ‘Oh, I’ve seen everything those astronauts have seen,’ were kidding themselves… an image alone was a pseudo-sight that denies the reality of the matter."

Astronaut Edgar Mitchell described his experience returning from the Moon, "There was a startling recognition that the nature of the universe was not as I had been taught. My understanding of the separate distinctness and relative independence of movement of those cosmic bodies was shattered. I experienced what has been described as an ecstasy of unity. I not only saw the connectedness, I felt it. I was overwhelmed with the sensation of physically and mentally extending out into the cosmos. I realized that this was a biological response of my brain attempting to reorganize and give meaning to information about the wonderful and awesome processes that I was privileged to view."

The awe experienced when seeing pictures of the Earth for the first time offers new sensory information that may shift our worldview, but the images do not have the psychological, emotional, and spiritual effects of the real experience. That is why the Overview Institute is excited about the potential of private space travel, which will allow for many more people to experience the Overview Effect personally. The challenge will be to provide that experience to people beyond the wealthiest who can afford that travel.

Astronaut Gene Cernan said, "You wonder, if you could get everyone in the world up there, wouldn't they have a different feeling?" Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins stated, “The pity of it is that so far the view has been the exclusive property of a handful of test pilots, rather than the world leaders who need this new perspective, or the poets who might communicate it to them."

Philosopher and author David Loy explained in the film Overview that "to have that experience of awe is, at least for the moment, to let go of yourself, to transcend this sense of separation. So it's not just that they were experiencing something other than them, but that they were, at some very deep level, integrating and realizing their interconnectedness with that beautiful blue-green ball." Astronaut Edward Gibson said of his experience in space, "You see how diminutive your life and concerns are compared to other things in the universe. The result is that you enjoy the life that is before you. It allows you to have inner peace." Astronaut Gus Grissom said, "There is a clarity, a brilliance to space that simply doesn't exist on Earth. And nowhere else can you be so awed." Cosmonaut Oleg Makarov said, "Something about the unexpectedness of this sight, its incompatibility with anything we have ever experienced on earth elicits a deep emotional response. Suddenly, you get a feeling you’ve never had before. That you’re an inhabitant of the Earth."

Frank White wrote, "From space, the astronauts tell us, national boundaries vanish, the conflicts that divide us become less important, and the need to create a planetary society with the united will to protect this 'pale, blue dot', becomes both obvious and imperative. Even more so, many of them tell us that from the overview perspective, all of this seems imminently achievable – if only more people could have the experience!" Space tourist Richard Garriott explained, "It was like drinking from a fire hose of information. I had heard of the Overview Effect, but having done many extreme things in my life - skydiving, mountain climbing, visiting the Titanic and Antarctica, I didn't think it would greatly affect me. That is until, I got into space! My life has changed because of my space experience."

Astronaut Don Lind said, "Intellectually, I knew what to expect. I have probably looked at as many pictures from space as anybody, so I knew exactly what I was going to see. But there is no way you can be prepared for the emotional impact. It brought tears to my eyes." Space tourist Anousheh Ansari agreed, "The actual experience exceeds all expectations and is something that's hard to put to words. It sort of reduces things to a size that you think everything is manageable. Peace on Earth – no problem."

How can the Overview Effect be felt by those on Earth? Perhaps new immersive media environments can recreate the experience in such a way that it has transformative effects. There are other things which subtlety mimic the effects of overview, including airplane rides, deep connections with nature, and views from extremely tall buildings. It can even be said that the Internet provides a sort of Overview Effect. Hanne Hvattum wrote in a blog post, "Isn’t this perspective quite similar to what we are all experiencing as we are drifting around in cyberspace? Through the World Wide Web we are able to view humanity from a distance, not through the windows of a spaceship, but through the windows of our computers. For the first time in history, our stories and ideas are woven together in one huge and complex picture, as people from all over the world are sharing their thoughts, questions and knowledge, their hopes, fears and dreams. Never before have we been able to see ourselves more clearly than we do today. And the more stories we put into this virtual picture of humanity, the more detailed it gets. Through the Internet, the majority of the world’s population is given the chance to experience The Overview Effect! I believe this will change us. That it will help us make the shift into global awareness, by reminding us that we are all interconnected. We are all astronauts in cyberspace!"


"Earth bound history has ended. Universal history has begun."
- Edwin Hubble


The project to send men to space and the Moon was a triumph of large-scale cooperation and collaboration, and shows the power of collective intention. It was a journey of the human spirit and an example of its potential. As a reward for our effort, we received the magic of the Overview Effect. Many people have noticed that the most profound effects from our travels in space have not been discoveries made on the Moon, or on other planets, but on our understanding of ourselves and our home planet. David Beaver describes the Overview Effect as the "impact of space travel on the human mind and society." "In outer space, you develop an instant global consciousness, a people orientation, an intense dissatisfaction with the state of the world, and a compulsion to do something about it. From out there on the moon, international politics look so petty," explains astronaut Edgar Mitchell.

We are living, as Frank White says, "at a critical moment in human history. The challenges of climate change, food, water, and energy shortages as well as the increasing disparity between the developed and developing nations are testing our will to unite, while differences in religions, cultures, and politics continue to keep us apart. The creation of a "global village" through satellite TV and the Internet is still struggling to connect the world into one community. At this critical moment, our greatest need is for a global vision of planetary unity and purpose for humanity as a whole." Indeed, the only way to solve problems on a global scale in such an interconnected world is through cooperation and shared purpose, while being conscious of our actions and their effects. The Overview Effect provides an effective and inspiring lesson on understanding and finding the solutions. Astronaut Russell Schweickart stated, "You look down there and you can’t imagine how many borders and boundaries you cross, again and again and again, and you don’t even see them. There are hundreds of people in the Mideast killing each other over some imaginary line that you’re not even aware of and that you can’t see."

The story of our travels in space brings out awe and wonder in people from around the world. It is the most profound story of our time, in contrast to the most horrific story of our time - our continuous spoiling and disregard for the Earth and each other. The stories from space resonate far greater than the popular stories of division and conflict and greed, because they come from a much higher place. But more than that, it is the inspiration for action to protect the world and its people that gives the story added importance.

Around the year 30 BC, Marcus Tullius Cicero said that "the contemplation of celestial things will make a man both speak and think more sublimely and magnificently when he descends to human affairs." Forever bound to the land, he could not have imagined the impact of actually experiencing celestial things, and perhaps more importantly experiencing this planet in a celestial light. According to astronaut Jeff Hoffman, "We have to start acting as one species, one destiny. We are not going to survive if we don't do that... And a part of that is to come up with a new story, a new picture, a new way to approach this and to shift our behaviors in such a way that it leads to a sustainable approach to our civilization as opposed to a destructive approach."


Earth and Moon from Mercury
The Earth and Moon as seen from the Messenger spacecraft near Mercury
(the two brightest dots, close to each other on the left side)


"We have been evolving from the beginning of civilization to a larger and larger perspective of life, but the next natural evolution is understanding the life in space. That is, the earth, as Buckminister Fuller used to say, is a spaceship... Spaceship Earth," says David Beaver. As we travel beyond the Earth and our solar system, the Overview Effect also expands our awareness beyond the global level, eventually to the galactic and universal levels. Frank White explained that "we need to understand that the Overview Effect is not only about seeing the Earth from space but, as my colleague David Beaver likes to point out, also seeing it in space. We are in space, we have always been in space, and we always will be in space, whether we leave the planet or not. In a very real sense, all of us are astronauts, members of the crew of Spaceship Earth, and the time has come to realize that this is so."

After seeing this planet from the outside, astronaut Ron Garan said, "As I looked back at our Earth from the orbital perspective, I saw a world where natural and man-made boundaries disappeared, I saw a world becoming more and more interconnected and collaborative, a world where the exponential increase in technology was making the impossible possible on a daily basis. Thinking about the next 50 years, I imagined a world where people and organizations set aside their differences and work together toward their common goals. They set aside their differences and realize that each and every one of us is riding through the Universe together on this Spaceship we call Earth. They realize that because we are all interconnected, we are all in this together and because we are all family, the only way to solve the problems we all face is together."

After all, we are all on this ride together....



Image from the Imaginary Foundation


Posted By Justin read more

Technological Wisdom

Dec
04

What is humanity's relationship to technology? And what does it mean to be technologically wise?

Dr. Allen Kanner, co-founder of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood and co-editor of the book Ecopsychology, recently wrote an article in Tikkun magazine on technological wisdom, in which he describes the illusion of technological neutrality and the need to shift from technological progress to technological wisdom. Allen warns that "our species is at a technological crux, a moment when it needs to examine its ability to create as never before. Collectively, we are having a manic-depressive reaction to our inventions. On the one hand, we can but marvel with giddy anticipation as scientific and technical wizards spin out one stunning innovation after another. On the other, we are horrified with disbelief as we witness these same innovations destroying complex life on the planet. Obviously, we need to find a more even keel, an internal equilibrium in which we can fully absorb all the wonders and dangers of each invention and then decide, with full use of our rational faculties, if the gains are worth the losses. This would be the beginning of technological wisdom."

We have become dependent on our technology to exist, and have come to believe that only technological solutions can solve our problems. The technology we develop is wholly dependent on our intentions. By relying on tools instead of improving our understanding, we are travelling on a path to destruction and separation. Wisdom is found in the users of tools, not in the technology itself.

Futurist Neil Postman described our society's relationship to technology in his book Technopoly: "Technopoly is a state of culture. It is also a state of mind. It consists in the deification of technology, which means that the culture seeks its authorization in technology, finds its satisfactions in technology, and takes its orders from technology. This requires the development of a new kind of social order, and of necessity leads to the rapid dissolution of much that is associated with traditional beliefs. Those who feel most comfortable in Technopoly are those who are convinced that technological progress is humanity’s supreme achievement and the instrument by which our most profound dilemmas may be solved."


But technology is also responsible for most of our problems. Modern technology requires many natural resources, found spread throughout the planet, to be harvested, processed, and distributed. The use of a tool can not be separated from its physical origin, just like humans can not be separated from our natural environment or from the tools we use. Allen wrote, "Thus, the value of any technology is only partially determined by the security, comfort, and convenience it confers. We need also to know if it draws us closer to the land, to each other, and to the cosmos. These relational, political, and spiritual/ethical dimensions are always present in our inventions and are part of their inherent pull."

Whether we have technology or not is not an issue, humans are inherently designed for making and using tools. It is a specialty which should be respected and nurtured. We are developing the tools to do anything we can imagine, but our imagination is caught in an isolated web of fear and greed. Open source technologies represent a different approach, enabling collective intention to determine what is made and how. There is also a global movement to be more conscious of what is needed to produce technology, exploring ways to work sustainably in harmony with our environment. But most importantly, we need to re-connect with the rest of our planet, and stop replacing that connection with material objects and anger.

"At present, much that we manufacture is, in a word, junk. As consumer society transforms into a technologically wise one, far fewer things will be made, allowing those items that remain to be of much higher quality and to be produced under considerably more favorable circumstances than the modern factory affords. People who work with wood, metal, or stone will know the local forests, caves, and mountains from which their materials come," says Allen. "Our technological potential is unfulfilled, and unfulfillable, when it is divorced from the spirit of the Earth."

The Native American perspective on technology is explained by Jeannette Armstrong, co-founder and director of the En’owkin School of International Writing, the first accredited Canadian writing school operated solely by and for Aboriginal people. In Ecopsychology, Jeannette shares the technological wisdom of her people, the Okanagan: "We are tiny and unknowledgeable in our individual selves, it is the whole-Earth part of us that contains immense knowledge. Over the generations of human life, we have come to discern small parts of that knowledge, and humans house this internally. The way we act in our human capacity has significant effect on the Earth because it is said that we are the hands of the spirit, in that we can fashion Earth pieces with that knowledge and therefore transform the Earth. It is our most powerful potential, and so we are told that we are responsible for the Earth. We are keepers of the Earth because we are Earth."

Dr. Kanner explained, "Human beings are destined to mold the Earth. Gifted with exquisite hands, passionate imaginations, and boundless curiosity about how things work, we need to tinker, prod, poke, and build. It is in our genes, and our souls, to engage so completely with our physical surroundings that we alter them, just as the abundant fertility of the planet could not help but produce us. Indeed, our propensity to construct and redo may be a flamboyant expression of the generativity of our evolving world, which in its four-and-a-half-billion-year history has never ceased to cast itself anew. To be against technology is to deny a crucial part of human nature. Today, however, it has become extremely difficult to fully appreciate or ponder our ability to make things. Instead, we are caught in a tragically flawed philosophy called “technological progress” that blinds us to the numerous choices we have, the various ways open to us to become both wise and creative technological beings. It is as if we had decided that the only proper use of our legs is to run, and run as hard as we can, at every possible moment."

"At present, our modern machines are polluting the Earth, increasing the pace and stress of daily life, and transforming our environment faster than we can comprehend. We are experiencing one wave of future shock after another and cannot seem to slow down long enough to figure out why. We can only have faith that the next set of advances—nanotechnology, bioengineering, virtual reality—will magically save us.

As an ecopsychologist, I am interested in the personal relationships we each have with the natural and built worlds and how these relationships interact. Our many inventions and devices are not only altering the face of the planet, but also radically changing our connection to nature, to each other, and to ourselves. These are profound changes worthy of our most serious attention. Yet at present there is no “psychology of technology,” if by this we mean a systematic examination of the myriad influences of each innovation on our psyches, our relationships, our identities. This is a curious state of affairs, especially since psychology has turned its magnifying glass onto so many other aspects of our lives. But my profession is itself caught up in the sweep of technological progress and assumes that each “advancement” is ultimately positive, inevitable, or both," Allen continued.

"An alternative view, and one that ushers in the full psychological complexity of technology, conceives of our capacity to mold the Earth as engaging in a two-way relationship. As we enter into this relationship, we will be transformed. In this act of transformation, certain questions emerge. What happens to us, and the world, when we do not try to build it up as fast as possible? What happens when we do? Is there such a thing as technological walking, skipping, strolling, and meandering, as well as running, and how do our experience and treatment of our selves and surroundings differ in each of these modes?"

As we become more aware, and more connected with the rest of the planet and beyond, our technology will follow. We, not our tools, are the captains on this living, moving planet. And just as our technology becomes an extension of our hands and eyes and brain, humans are the hands and eyes and brain of the Earth itself.

In a sense, it could be said that humanity is a technology of this planet to better care for and understand itself.


Posted By Justin read more

Urgent statement from American indigenous spiritual elders

Nov
18

Today begins one of the most dangerous missions that humanity has ever attempted, the removal of over a thousand nuclear fuel rods from Reactor #4 at the damaged Fukushima Dai-ichi power plant in Japan. The potential release of radiation is beyond anything that we have experienced before. We can only hope that everything goes smoothly with this operation, which could take years. At the same time, an even greater disaster is slowly and relentlessly unfolding around us each day, through the many ways we are comprising the planet's biosystems and making irresponsible short-term decisions. We are clearly living out of balance with the earth.

"Powerful technologies are out of control and are threatening the future of all life."

On October 31, 2013, an urgent message from the Indigenous Elders and Medicine Peoples Council, comprised of the wisdom keepers of the native peoples of the western hemisphere, was delivered by Chief Arvol Looking Horse, the spiritual elder of the Sioux Nation (Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota tribes). "This statement reflects the wisdom of the Spiritual People of the Earth, of North and South America, working in unity to restore peace, harmony, and balance for our collective future and for all living beings." The words express "deep concern for our shared future and urge everyone to awaken spiritually."

Today, modern society is desperately searching for ways to be more sustainable. The indigenous elders of the earth already have the answers, and are begging us to listen.

Council Statement

The Creator created the People of the Earth into the Land at the beginning of Creation and gave us a way of life. This way of life has been passed down generation-to-generation since the beginning. We have not honored this way of life through our own actions and we must live these original instructions in order to restore universal balance and harmony. We are a part of Creation; thus, if we break the Laws of Creation, we destroy ourselves.

We, the Original Caretakers of Mother Earth, have no choice but to follow and uphold the Original Instructions, which sustains the continuity of Life. We recognize our umbilical connection to Mother Earth and understand that she is the source of life, not a resource to be exploited. We speak on behalf of all Creation today, to communicate an urgent message that man has gone too far, placing us in the state of survival. We warned that one day you would not be able to control what you have created. That day is here. Not heeding warnings from both Nature and the People of the Earth keeps us on the path of self destruction. This self destructive path has led to the Fukushima nuclear crisis, Gulf oil spill, tar sands devastation, pipeline failures, impacts of carbon dioxide emissions, and the destruction of ground water through hydraulic fracking, just to name a few. In addition, these activities and development continue to cause the deterioration and destruction of sacred places and sacred waters that are vital for Life. Powerful technologies are out of control and are threatening the future of all life.

The Fukushima nuclear crisis alone is a threat to the future of humanity. Yet, our concern goes far beyond this single threat. Our concern is with the cumulative and compounding devastation that is being wrought by the actions of human beings around the world. It is the combination of resource extraction, genetically modified organisms, moral failures, pollution, introduction of invasive species, and much much more that are threatening the future of life on Earth. The compounding of bad decisions and their corresponding actions are extremely short-sighted. They do not consider the future generations and they do not respect or honor the Creator’s Natural Law. We strongly urge for the governmental authorities to respond with an open invitation to work and consult with us to solve the world’s problems, without war. We must stop waging war against Mother Earth, and ourselves.

We acknowledge that all of these devastating actions originated in human beings who are living without regard for the Earth as the source of life. They have strayed from the Original Instructions by casting aside the Creator’s Natural Law. It is now critical for humanity to acknowledge that we have created a path to self destruction. We must restore the Original Instructions in our lives to halt this devastation.

The sanctity of the Original Instructions has been violated. As a result, the Spiritual People of the Earth were called ceremonially to come together at the home of the Sacred White Buffalo Calf Pipe Bundle. These Spiritual Leaders and those that carry great responsibility for their people from both North and South America came together with the sacred fire for four days at the end of September 2013 to fulfill their sacred responsibilities. During this time it was revealed that the spirit of destruction gained its’ strength by our spiritually disconnected actions. We are all responsible in varying degrees for calling forth this spirit of destruction, thus we are all bound to begin restoring what we have damaged by helping one another recover our sacred responsibility to the Earth. We, the Original Caretakers of Mother Earth, offer our spiritual insight, wisdom, and vision to the global community to help guide the actions needed to overcome the current threats to all life.

We only have to look at our own bodies to recognize the sacred purpose of water on Mother Earth. We respect and honor our spiritual relationship with the lifeblood of Mother Earth. One does not sell or contaminate their mother’s blood. These capitalistic actions must stop and we must recover our sacred relationship with the Spirit of Water.

The People of the Earth understand that the Fukushima nuclear crisis continues to threaten the future of all life. We understand the full implications of this crisis even with the suppression of information and the filtering of truth by the corporate owned media and Nation States. We strongly urge the media, corporations, and Nation States to acknowledge and convey the true facts that threaten us, so that the international community may work together to resolve this crisis, based on the foundation of Truth. We urge the international community, government of Japan, and TEPCO to unify efforts to stabilize and re-mediate the nuclear threat posed at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant. To ensure that the Japanese government and TEPCO are supported with qualified personnel and information, we urge the inclusion of today’s nuclear experts from around the world to collaborate, advise, and provide technical assistance to prevent further radioactive contamination or worse, a nuclear explosion that may have apocalyptic consequences.

The foundation for peace will be strengthened by restoring the Original Instructions in ourselves.

Prophecies have been shared and sacred instructions were given. We, the People of the Earth, were instructed that the original wisdom must be shared again when imbalance and disharmony are upon Mother Earth. In 1994 the sacred white buffalo, the giver of the sacred pipe, returned to the Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota people bringing forth the sacred message that the winds of change are here. Since that time many more messengers in the form of white animals have come, telling us to wake up my children. It is time. So listen for the sacred instruction.

All Life is sacred. We come into Life as sacred beings.
When we abuse the sacredness of Life we affect all Creation.


We urge all Nations and human beings around the world to work with us, the Original Caretakers of Mother Earth, to restore the Original Instructions and uphold the Creator’s Natural Law as a foundation for all decision making, from this point forward. Our collective future as human beings is in our hands, we must address the Fukushima nuclear crisis and all actions that may violate the Creator’s Natural Law. We have reached the crossroads of life and the end of our existence. We will avert this potentially catastrophic nuclear disaster by coming together with good minds and prayer as a global community of all faiths.

We are the People of the Earth united under the Creator’s Law with a sacred covenant to protect and a responsibility to extend Life for all future generations. We are expressing deep concern for our shared future and urge everyone to awaken spiritually. We must work in unity to help Mother Earth heal so that she can bring back balance and harmony for all her children.

The text of the statement can be found here.

 

Chief Arvol Looking Horse quote


Posted By Justin read more

The 1st Compassion and Technology Conference and Contest

Nov
13

On December 6, 2013, Stanford University’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE) is holding the inaugural Compassion and Technology Conference at the Stanford Medical School in Palo Alto, California. Scientists, engineers, social entrepreneurs, and compassionate people will converge at Stanford University for discussions and presentations on the cutting edge of compassion. Plus there is a contest to design technology to enhance compassion. The conference is a collaboration with CCARE, Facebook, 1440 Foundation, HopeLab, and The Dalai Lama Foundation.

 Compassion and Technology Conference and Contest


The conference’s purpose is to support a dialogue around innovative practices on compassion and technology. Expert researchers and technology leaders who have successfully implemented and fostered compassionate action through the use of technological advancements will present talks on compassion. Conference attendees will learn how compassion can be trained using technological education tools, tracked geographically through mapping tools, used to inspire, and implemented as an intervention in communities where it is most needed (e.g., war zones, prisons, at-risk schools, trauma populations, and healthcare systems).

"While compassion is a fundamental part of every religious tradition, there is an ever enlarging body of scientific evidence that technological advancements have an immense positive impact in terms of increasing compassion and altruistic behavior on both the community level and the individual level. This conference will highlight these aspects from a technological aspect as well as a scientific aspect in an effort to promote awareness and progress, and reward those who are working towards these goals. We at CCARE are very excited to initiate and sponsor the conference and contribute to this expanding field," says Dr. James Doty, Founder and Director of CCARE.

Compassion and Technology Contest

The Compassion and Technology Contest calls for innovators, engineers, and designers to present a technology design or product that will help people learn, practice, or improve qualities of compassion, empathy, social connectedness, or altruism. Some examples of compassionate technology are a website using knowledge from compassion science to help “build compassion muscles”, compassion education apps, and compassion-inducing video games.

The technologies will be judged on whether they:
    1. Help people learn, practice, improve, and share one or more of the following qualities: compassion, empathy, social connectedness, altruism.
    2. Use technology (broadly defined as tools, apps, social media, etc.) to effectively reach a wide audience and increase the scalability of the idea.
    3. Apply to one or more of the following areas: learning, practicing, increasing, and spreading compassion.
    4. Are easy to use, so that people without technology expertise can easily access and use it.
    5. Are scalable, sustainable, and financially viable.
...

 

Posted By Justin read more

Bridging the gap between compassion and technology

Nov
04

Krista Tippett is a journalist and host of the National Public Radio program "On Being", which explores the great questions of human life, such as what does it mean to be human and how do we want to live? Two years ago he gave a TED talk at the United Nations called "Reconnecting with Compassion". The term "compassion" - typically reserved for the saintly or the sappy - has fallen out of touch with reality. Krista Tippett deconstructs the meaning of compassion through several moving stories, and proposes a new, more attainable definition for the word.

"Compassion is a spiritual technology. Humanity needs this technology as much as it needs all other technologies that have now connected us and set before us the terrifying and wondrous possibility of actually becoming one human race," explains Krista Tippett.

Compassion is often misunderstood in modern society. Although compassion can be similar to empathy and pity, those words are not its synonyms. In fact, compassion goes far beyond simply feeling another person’s misfortune or sharing in one’s suffering. Compassion is a word which is directly related to awareness. One’s awareness of the world gives him or her the opportunity to empathize with other beings… and actually do something about it. Krista Tippett gives the example of Albert Einstein as a person who not only had compassion for other people, but he served humanity through his exploration of technology.

"Compassion is a spiritual technology." - Krista Tippett



Why does technology exist? Some people argue that technology is developed out of greed. There is no real evidence to support that claim. Most technology comes out of one’s compassion to solve problems. This is self-evident in things like the paperclip. The person who invented the paperclip named Samuel Fay must have realized that his invention saved time. As he connected fabrics to tickets which denoted either prices or other product information, Samuel must have realized something. There is a moment in the inventor’s mind where one thinks, “This technological idea has value.” When one decides to share technology with the world, he or she is embarking on a journey of compassion.

"Compassion is kindness, practicing curiosity without assumptions, empathy, forgiveness, presence, generosity, hospitality, and a willingness to see beauty not just what we see in another that needs fixing. Compassion also brings us into the territory of mystery - encouraging us not just to see beauty, but perhaps also to look for the face of God in the moment of suffering, in the face of a stranger, in the face of the vibrant religious other. Compassion is a sign of deeper human possibilities."


Posted By Justin read more

The Story of Solutions

Oct
02

The Story of Solutions, a new video from Annie Leonard, explores how we can move our economy in a more sustainable and just direction, starting with orienting ourselves toward a new goal.
 



In the current "Game of More", we're told to cheer a growing economy -- more roads, more malls, more Stuff! -- even though our health indicators are worsening, income inequality is growing and polar icecaps are melting. But what if we changed the point of the game? What if the goal of our economy wasn't more, but better -- better health, better jobs, and a better chance to survive on the planet? Shouldn't that be what winning means?


Posted By Justin read more

3D Printers for Peace Contest

Sep
06

A unique contest was held to show that 3D printers could be a tool for peace. Michigan Technological University's Open Sustainability Technology (MOST) Lab and 3D printer manufacturer Type A Machines came up with a contest for designs that encourage peace. The deadline for submissions was September 1, 2013, for a chance to win a fully assembled Type A Machines Series 1 3D Printer for first place. As the contest explains, "Winning open-source designs will discourage conflict. Designers are encouraged to consider: If Mother Theresa or Ghandi had access to 3D printing what would they print? What kind of designs could help reduce military spending and conflict while making us all safer and more secure?"
http://www.mtu.edu/materials/printersforpeace/

The examples given of possible designs were low-cost medical devices, tools to help pull people out of poverty, designs that can reduce racial conflict, objects to improve energy efficiency or renewable energy sources to reduce wars over oil, tools that would reduce military conflict and spending while making us all safer and more secure, and things that boost sustainable economic development (e.g. designs for appropriate technology in the developing world to reduce scarcity).

The winners were announced yesterday, and first prize went to John Van Tuyl of Hamilton, Ontario. He created a design for beads that show immunizations, called VaxBeads. The plastic beads act as an immediate immunization record for medical professionals....
 

First Prize: 3D printed Immunization Records



The contest was organized by Michigan Tech’s Joshua Pearce, an associate professor of materials science, who had become alarmed that 3D printing was known primarily as a technology for making homemade guns. “We wanted to celebrate designs that will make lives better, not snuff them out,” said Pearce, a 3D printing aficionado. “They showcase the ability of the 3D printing community to benefit humanity.”

“What I’m hoping this does is change the conversation to start really thinking about the constructive uses of 3D printers, not just on manufacturing, but trying to solve some of the most pressing problems, particularly in the developing world,” said contest creator Joshua Pearce. “All the open-source entries demonstrated the technical ability and promise of low-cost 3D printers to provide for humanity’s needs and advance the cause of peace.”

"Michigan Tech has already saved tens of thousands of dollars using 3D printable scientific and engineering equipment and our labs have developed 3D printable tools to test water quality, recycle waste plastic, and found that 3D printing consumer goods is better for the environment than shipping conventional goods from China."

All the entries are posted on the website Thingiverse.com, which now has over 146,000 open-source designs that can be downloaded for free and printed by anyone with a 3D printer. As Pearce says, "3D printing is changing the world." ...

Posted By Justin read more

Buckminster Fuller Institute has a contest to redraw the Dymaxion Map

Aug
24

The Dymaxion Map is an iconic design that shows accurate information and supports a global perspective. The idea being that if you change the way you see the world, then you can change the world.

Buckminster Fuller's Dymaxion Map

Buckminster Fuller's Dymaxion Map


The Dymaxion Map was created by Buckminster Fuller in the 1940’s to accurately map the earth with no visible distortion to land masses, no political boundaries, and no western bias in its orientation. It was first printed in Life magazine in 1943, where map could be cut out from the printed pages and arranged in numerous ways. Fuller later settled on a permanent configuration, an icosahedron that broke up none of the land masses and showed the planet as one island in one ocean. The final map is a series of 20 interconnected triangles, which can be arranged to produce an icosahedron, reminiscent of Fuller’s geodesic dome geometries.

To celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Dymaxion Map, the Buckminster Fuller Institute launched a graphic design challenge, to take the Dymaxion into a contemporary context. The contest was called DYMAX REDUX, and was an open call to create a new and inspiring interpretation of Buckminster Fuller's Dymaxion Map. The contest was judged by graphic designer Nicholas Felton, artist Mary Mattingly, and Dymaxion Map cartographer and Bucky's close friend and associate, Shoji Sadao. The winner of the DYMAX REDUX contest would have the winning design produced as a poster, and along with the other ten finalists will be featured at an exhibition at the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, in New York City from October 22nd to November 27th, 2013. They received over 300 submissions from 42 countries. "This was the first contest of its kind organized by BFI, and the response and interest has been amazing. We are thrilled to have such a high-level of submissions and look forward to doing more similar initiatives in the future" says BFI Executive Director Elizabeth Thompson.

On August 6th, they announced the winners of the contest. The top design was called Dymaxion Woodocean World. It was produced by Nicole Santucci and Woodcut Maps, from San Francisco, California.  Nicole and her team created a display of global forest densities, an ever-increasing important issue with the continued abuses of deforestation. And an actual woodcut version of the map was made in the process, using the very subject matter as building material, allowing the 2-D version to transform into an icosahedral globe. As BFI Store Coordinator Will Elkins put it, "They went above and beyond our call by creating a powerful display of relevant information using the subject matter itself as a medium. The idea, craftsmanship, and end result are stunning."

Dymaxion Woodocean World

Dymaxion Woodocean World

Dymaxion Woodocean World folded together

 

The second prize went to the Clouds Dymaxion Map, which follows the spirit of the original map. Anne-Gaelle Amiot used NASA satellite imagery to create this absolutely beautiful hand-drawn depiction of a reality that is almost always edited from our maps: cloud patterns circling above Earth. Anne-Gaelle describes the idea and process, "One of the particularism of Buckminster Fuller's Dymaxion projection is to give the vision of an unified world. From the space, the Earth appears to us covered, englobed by the cloud masses which circulate around it. By drawing a static image, capture of clouds position in one particular moment, the sensation of a whole is created. The result have the aspect of an abstract pattern, a huge melt where it is impossible to dissociate lands, seas, oceans."

And an additional recognition went to Map of My Family, a map by Goeff Chritou. His map traces the geographic history of his family, and by extension all families, utilizing lines of movement around the planet. "This map makes the best use of the Dymaxion projection, by highlighting information that is primarily land-based and allowing for the paths to extend in an unbroken fashion throughout the world," explained judge Nicholas Felton. ...

 

In these changing times, it's important to always ask... What would Bucky do?

What would Bucky do?

 

 

Posted By Justin read more

Peace through music and dance

Apr
30

Ludwig Van Beethoven once said that "music can change the world." And so did Jimi Hendrix. The 2013 How Weird Street Faire showed again that music and art can bring thousands of extremely diverse people together to find common ground and celebrate peace.

Weirdi Gras - Carnival of peace!


The How Weird Street Faire uses music, art, and dance to connect across divisions. Traditionally, dance has been one of the primary expressions of human culture, used for communication, community building, social interaction, healing, and religious ceremonies throughout the world. Preceding the spoken and written word, dance is a global language, transcending barriers and differences. And so is music.

Music crosses all bridges, borders, and time zones. Music transcends all ideologies, politics, religions, languages, cultures, and wealth. Music is oblivious to race, gender, age, and appearance. Music connects us all and reminds us that we are human.

The How Weird Street Faire is a world-class music festival that takes place in the streets of downtown San Francisco. It features a wide range of electronic dance music, uniting all the diverse communities of the Bay Area.

  

Posted By WPTTO read more

Musicians unite for peace in Mali

Jan
27

Fed up with the violent conflict that has recently engulfed their country, musicians in the west African nation of Mali have come together to call for peace. More than 40 of Mali's most talented musicians gathered in the capitol city of Bamako to record a song for peace and unity called "Mali Ko" (which means "For Mali"). They collectively call themselves the Voices United for Mali.

The song's lyrics state, "It is time for us artists to speak about our Mali. Malians, let us join hands because this country is not a country of war. Dont forget that we are all of the same blood. The only way out of this crisis is the way of peace." ...



"War has never been a solution," the lyrics say. "We don't want war! Not in our Mali! War destroys everything in its path. We want peace. Peace in Africa! Peace in the world!"

Cultures of Resistance attended Mali's legendary Festival in the Desert in 2009, and produced a short video called "Playing for Peace in the Sahara". They describe how "in the Malian desert, musicians meet to build mutual respect by sharing cultures. Artists share their music and dance to emphasize what they have in common, rather than what separates them. This short film highlights the event's approach to promoting cross-cultural expression as a means of overcoming the threat of divisive conflict."

"When you have peace, you have everything."


The 2013 edition of the Festival in the Desert will be a touring Caravan of Peace, called the Festival in the Desert in Exile. It will be a caravan of artists promoting peace and national unity in Mali, travelling from Mauritania to Mali and onto the Tuareg refugee camps in Burkina Faso. The caravan will last from February 7th to March 6th 2013....


Posted By Justin read more

Pages

Subscribe to World Peace Through Technology RSS