Saturday, September 30, 2017

Chanting to Thaw ICE

Surrounding ICE with compassion. Photo: John Davenport.
September 14, 2017 I stood on the sidewalk outside the ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) headquarters at 4310 SW Macadam Ave, Portland, Oregon and chanted Nam-myoho-renge-kyo for half an hour. I was the only chanting Buddhist in an interfaith action to protect people from being deported, to surround the ICE facility with compassion – to thaw ICE. As I stood there facing the brick wall, knowing the security cameras were pointed straight at me, I waved to them, then placed my hands in prayer position and chanted daimoku. An image rose up in my mind of Nichiren standing on a cliff looking out over the ocean on April 28, 1253, as he chanted Nam-myoho-renge-kyo for the first time. The interfaith group told me I was the first chanting Buddhist to participate in their actions. I felt like I was continuing the transmission started by Nichiren over 700 years ago.
This action in Portland to thaw ICE happens at noon on the second Thursday of the month. A river of people streams in silent meditation around and around the building (consuming an entire city block) while holding signs. On each corner stands a person to ground the action with sound. Three corners each had a person with a prayer bell, chiming positive vibrations. On the fourth corner I stood, chanting with my whole being, as I stared at the brick wall of the ICE headquarters.
The bricks, like everything, are composed of the mystic nature of life, Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, which keeps electrons spinning in atoms, and galaxies twirling through the universe. I sensed the bricks softening and opening, like even the hardest of hearts. The words of Starhawk, author of the book Truth or Dare, telling how ritual resists and transforms hierarchical power-over structures, resonated with me: “Ritual can become free space, a hole torn in the fabric of domination … a bridge that brings through into the world of the everyday a sense of the sacred. And so the everyday changes, deepens, until the sacred, like an underground stream, wears away control from below” (p. 98). Truly, I felt like a bridge of daimoku, of sacredness, flowing like water, transforming all it touches.
As I chanted, exposed in public, scrutinized by Homeland Security cameras, I felt grounded, powerful as the universe. I cover the webcam on my laptop because it creeps me out to know a spy device is watching me in the privacy of my own home. However, as I stood facing that brick wall of ICE – chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo – all that fear, paranoia, even anguish evaporated.
Two uniformed men, one with a police dog on a leash, whose backs read “Homeland Security,” came out of the building and walked past me. I kept chanting, tuned in to our universal oneness of courage, compassion and wisdom. One man smiled at me and waved. I smiled and waved back as I continued chanting. After the action wrapped up, many silent walking meditators told me how powerful it felt to walk through the vibration of my chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.
The marchers have already had some results: Trump has yielded on the immediate deportation of DACA. Next month another SGI member tells me she will join me chanting to thaw ICE, as the silent meditators walk around the headquarters in compassionate prayer. Maybe you can come join us, too! Or, if you live outside of Portland, Oregon, perhaps you can connect with a local interfaith group to thaw ICE in your town, or start your own group to thaw ICE. After all, we SGI members chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo because one person stood up alone and chanted for the first time.
For more information on thawing ICE, please contact the Portland hosts:

2017 Pushcart Prize nomination

Lynette's poem

"Womanworks at BK and Mary's"
has been nominated for the prestigious Pushcart Prize.

Thank you to Sinister Wisdom literary journal!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Thoughts on Divinity, Forgiveness, Bernie, and Trump

Divinity is the magick that pumps my blood and breathes with the trees and wakes me up in the morning after a night of dreams. My dreams are the divine, and the breeze on my skin. The way my chest feels as I silently commune with a tree, a bird, a flock of white snow geese swimming art in the sky grey with rain. The divine is conversation with a friend, being immersed in a vast ocean of like-minded souls like at the Women's March in D.C. on January 21st. The divine is meeting teachers, like Bernie.

Bernie Sanders on March 13, 2017 modeled for me magnanimous spirit, compassionate heart, what forgiveness can look like, as he sat in a Town Hall meeting in a mining community in McDowell County, West Virginia, 75% of whom voted for Trump. Without a trace of irritation in his voice Bernie stated again and again that not everyone agrees with him, and that's fine––then he firmly and clearly stated what he sees as the truth.

Oh, I see the anger and resentment harbored in my own heart. The pugilistic anger from my fear and pain as so many people continue hurting other people, hurting our Mother Earth, extinguishing species, destroying through greed and ignorance. I hesitated before writing the word "ignorance" because my anger is based on the belief that everyone sees the divinity of life, like I do, and they just don't care that they are destroying it. They lie and manipulate because they are cruel and mean. But the words keep coming to me, "Forgive them, for they know not what they do."

People tell me that because a person who was once close to me is an alcoholic he is incapable of realizing the pain he inflicted for years through verbal and fiduciary abuse, even when I cried again and again, "STOP!" My heart does not want to forgive him, to be a passive recipient of abuse not only from him, but from #45 in the White House and CEOs of Monsanto, etcetera, and brothers Koch. This brings to mind W.E.B. Du Bois's writings in The Souls of Black Folks. There he observes that slave owners in the South of the United States were so happy for their slaves to be Christianized, for then they stopped rebelling against injustice and instead longed for freedom in heaven with the Lord after they died. "Fatalistic" was the word Du Bois used. And oh, it was all so convenient for white supremacist capitalists.

I refuse to become passive. But I see in Bernie's actions his heart that truly wants people to be happy and have the dignity and well being they deserve as human beings. And he understands that sometimes we believe lies, believe false promises. Bernie said to the Trump voters last night that he understood they voted for Trump because they believed his promise to make their unbearable lives better. But then Trump didn't deliver on his promises and now he's working to make their lives even worse by attempting to repeal Obama Care, leaving them high and dry without rural healthcare.

Bernie spoke the truth without bitterness or condemnation when he stated that the Republican health "plan" was actually just a way to funnel even more money into the pockets of the super rich (who already have more than they need) by taking it from the people who truly need it, such as the people in the Town Hall meeting.

What if I could talk with that type of open heart with people with whom I disagree, to truly respect that they don't agree with me? What if I could converse in a way in which I could be heard by SGI "leaders" who I am angry with because they ignore the voices of the members? This lay Buddhist organization, Soka Gakkai International, has been my spiritual family for more than 30 years. But now so-called "leaders" shove authoritarian orders from above down our throats, even though our mentor Daisaku Ikeda writes "the SGI is a humanistic organization. It is not authoritarian, giving orders from above."

I am in a divine struggle within, how to speak the truth while loving and forgiving? But I'm afraid that if I forgive that would enable slave masters to do their dirty deeds with even more impunity. How can I help the SGI walk the talk? To practice the egalitarianism that we preach? How can I help the U.S. government to truly be by the people and for the people, where we welcome the world's huddled masses, yearning to breathe free, and stop abusing folks in other countries?

There are allies. Cracks and crevices. The grass grows through. Just keep growing and pushing the dead concrete of institutionalized habits and things will change.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Lynette plays Marimba in concert 3/11 in Portland, Oregon

Put on your dancing shoes and come enjoy our upbeat music celebrating the joy of life! I'm playing marimba and singing in the group Marimba Masikati. We'll play a set near the end of an all-day free concert of six marimba bands. 11:30-3:30, Portland Foursquare Church, 2830 NE Flanders St, Portland, Oregon 97232. Hope to see you there!

Lynette plays panpipes and sings with Mary Rose's Beyond Little Boxes 3/26 in PDX

In honor of Women's History Month, we put together the program "Working Women Sing! Unsung Heroines of the Western World." Edu-tainment to touch your soul and make you think. Come hear us and sing along at 2 pm Sunday, March 26th at the Hollywood Library, 4040 NE Tillamook, Portland, Oregon.

Songs by and/or about women of the Americas in Spanish, English and Quechua (the language of the Inka). Songwriters featured are: Violetta Parra, Holly Near, Malvena Reynolds, Bev Grant, Libby Roderick, myself, and others.

In this concert I play panpipes and sing. Singer songwriter Mary Rose and I have been rehearsing together for months, learning each other's songs. It is a great honor to perform with Mary Rose, who I consider a National Living Treasure. Her trio "Beyond Little Boxes" will back us up as well as perform some of their repertoire of Malvena Reynolds protest songs. Jim Cook plays stand up bass and sings. Mark Loring (of the famous folk music Loring family), plays mandolin. Singer Jane Keefer, a longtime collaborator of Mary Rose's, will join us in song.

I hope you will pass the word to your friends in Portland, and best of all, I hope you can come and sing along.

Friday, November 20, 2015

The movie Suffragette: When will Women's Voices be Heard?

“We break windows. We burn things. Because war is the only language men listen to,” Maud says in Suffragette, now playing in theaters across the U.S.
Suffragette movie poster
SUFFRAGETTE is the first ever feature film to tell the inspirational story of the foot soldiers of the early feminist movement who risked everything in the fight for equality. Carey Mulligan, Meryl Streep. Now showing in theatres across the U.S.

 Director Sara Gavron said, “Working (class) women often are the vanguard of change, and they’re often not recognized for that.”

Tess walking
Mary Pickford as “Tess of the Storm Country” out for a walk. Notice the body language, of swinging her arms wide commanding lots of space.

Another woman not recognized by history is Mary Pickford, the most famous woman in the world at the time the Suffragettes were breaking and burning things.

Maud and the other Suffragettes would have been very familiar with Mary Pickford and her films, where she broke female stereotypes.

On screen, Pickford’s characters fought, choked, kicked, hit, bit, and broke chairs over the heads of men about twice her size — and won. I wonder who inspired who? Did the Suffragettes inspire Mary Pickford, or did she inspire them? Or was it that women’s reality was actually portrayed in the movies?

Like Maud in “Suffragette,” Mary Pickford starting working at the age of seven. She was born in 1892 into a working class family.

By the age of twelve Pickford financially supported her mother and younger siblings as a traveling stage actor.

At the age of fifteen she started working in the movies and went on to start her own studio — United Artists, together with three friends. She starred in hundreds of movies, which almost all were the top grossing movies of the era.

The roles Pickford chose to play were of working class women, since that was her reality.  Most of her audience were working class, like Maud in “Suffragette.”

But today’s reality is very different. Women and our stories have been erased, marginalized and ignored in movie-making.

In an interview with Sarah Gavron, the director of “Suffragette,” Women-in-Film PDX and Portland Oregon Women’s Film Festival founder Tara Johnson-Medinger stated,

I think you’ve created the quintessential film that women in film are striving toward: to have a strong ensemble of women cast, incredible actors, along with such a strong female crew, the writer, producers, yourself…

Director Sarah Gavron responded,

I have to say, it’s very rare, sadly. The statistics are bleak. There’s so few films directed by women and so few films with female protagonists. . . . We’re half the population and we want to see our stories reflected. We buy over half of cinema tickets that sell these stories. Let’s get them made by women and refracted through the lens of women.

That’s what Mary Pickford was doing while the Suffragettes were agitating for women’s right to vote — she was making movies with female protagonists and thousands and millions of people were watching them.

But like Disney reducing the 50 year struggle of the Suffragettes into the single character of Mary Poppins flying around with her umbrella, (male) film historians have similarly marginalized, ignored and erased from history the screenwriter, movie-mogul, and first movie star, Mary Pickford. They reduced her to only her most insipid of movies–Pollyanna and Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm.

Male film historians ignored Mary Pickford’s hundreds of other movies, especially her favorite character, “Tess of the Storm Country” (1914 and 1922).

Tess tackling a bad guy
Mary Pickford in “Tess of the Storm Country” tackles a bad guy.

Tess choking a bad guy
Mary Pickford in “Tess of the Storm Country” chokes a bad guy.

Tess solo climbing a rock wall chimney
Mary Pickford in “Tess of the Storm Country” solo climbs barefoot up the stone “chimney.”

“Tess” is one of the many movies in which she brawls and does most of her own athletic stunts.

In “Tess of the Storm Country” Mary Pickford, just five-feet tall, dives from a cliff into a fast-flowing river to save a drowning woman.

She free solo climbs barefoot up a “chimney” of a rock wall, while wearing a dress, to visit her falsely-imprisoned father through his jail cell window.

Tess gathers Holy water
Mary Pickford in “Tess of the Storm Country” usurps the role of Priest and dips her hand in the font of Holy Water.

Tess baptizes a dying baby
Mary Pickford in “Tess of the Storm Country” baptizes a dying baby.

And she even usurps the role of Priest. She interrupts his service by walking up front demanding he baptize the dying infant in her arms. When he hesitates, she acts as her own Priest, dips her hand in the basin of Holy Water and baptizes the baby in front of the shocked hundreds present in the church.

In the movies of Mary Pickford, Suffragettes could see powerful female role models on screen while they took to the streets. In the news they could read how Pickford negotiated her contracts to have complete creative control and the highest salary ever.

Mary Pickford and the Suffragettes demanded their rights and got them.

When will we see equal representation of women protagonists in films made by women?

According to a study done by the University of Southern California, Sundance Institute, and Women in Film, we are over 50% of the population yet we direct only 5% of the top grossing movies, because of the male-controlled economic power structure of Hollywood.

The study also noted,

 …Female producers and directors affect the prevalence of girls and women on screen, they also impact the very nature of a story, or the way in which a story is told. Examining more than 900 motion pictures, one study found that violence, guns/weapons, and blood/gore were less likely to be depicted when women were directing or producing, and thought-provoking topics were more likely to appear.

Thanks to the Suffragettes, yes, we have the vote. But our voice continues to be silenced. The boys still tell most of the stories, whether it is on the big screen or in the White House.

One exception is Bolivia, where women hold 50% of the seats in parliament. That story, too, has been ignored or marginalized in the U.S. by the male-dominated media.

Sara Gavron’s movie “Suffragette” is a huge step in the right direction.

Support women — go see “Suffragette.”

First published as "Film Legend Mary Pickford and Sara Gavron's 'Suffragette'" on


Paris Attacks: Give Peace a Chance

It’s terrible what happened in Paris. I mourn in deepest sympathy.

Yet I do not hate and saber-rattle, calling for war. Why? As Buddhist leader Daisaku Ikeda wrote, “Nothing is more barbarous than war. Nothing is more cruel…Nothing is more pitiful than a nation being swept along by fools.”

Tokyo after Allied bombing raid (March 1945)
Tokyo after Allied bombing raid (March 1945) Photo:

Ikeda, who grew up in war-torn Japan, has dedicated his life to ending war and spreading peace through a process called ‘human revolution.’ In the first volume of his series of novels The New Human Revolution, Ikeda cites the great pacifist, Mahatma Gandhi.

Ghandi led India to independence through the nonviolent methods of civil disobedience. Photo: Wikimedia
Gandhi led India to independence through the nonviolent methods of civil disobedience. Photo: Wikimedia
Gandhi proclaimed that the ‘power of the spirit’ is stronger than any…bomb. To transform this century of war into a century of peace, we must cultivate the limitless inherent power of human life. This is the ‘human revolution’…
Ikeda bases the concept of ‘human revolution’ on the writings of 13th-century Japanese Buddhist reformer Nichiren Daishonin. Based on deep study of the teachings (sutras) of the Buddha, Nichiren criticized the people in power in his country for their beliefs and assumptions, for they were causing harm to the people.

These erroneous beliefs and assumptions, he argued, were the causes of the civil unrest, attacks from foreign countries, extreme weather, and epidemics that left bodies piled up like cordwood in his island home of Japan.

What were these erroneous beliefs and assumptions? Are they still around, causing misery in today’s world? And what correct beliefs and assumptions did Nichiren advocate would cause peace and happiness?

The erroneous beliefs and assumptions in general were that humanity was a hierarchy where those at the top had the right to manipulate everyone else in order to maintain their own privileged position of power, no matter how much suffering they caused.

Are these beliefs and assumptions still around today, causing misery? The answer is obvious: Yes.

What beliefs and assumptions did Nichiren say were correct, for causing peace and happiness? He cited the Lotus Sutra, claiming that all humans are equal. We are all interconnected with everything, down to the minutest particle of dust, in the great and sacred mystery called ‘Life.’

Interestingly, these beliefs and assumptions are shared by all the indigenous cultures I am aware of, especially hunter-gatherer cultures who have lived sustainably on this planet for thousands of years.

Some people distil these correct beliefs and assumptions into the phrase “We are One.”

Awake to this reality of our interconnection, of our oneness, our equality, we are called Buddhas – awakened ones. If we are awake to our Buddha attributes of limitless courage, compassion and wisdom, Nichiren claimed we can transform our lives, countries and world into a place of ‘eternally tranquil light.’

Violence only begets violence. The cycle must stop.

World Peace. Art:
World Peace. Art:

The killings in Paris are part of a cycle based on erroneous beliefs and assumptions. Now is a time when we can pause and start a new cycle – a cycle of waking up to our oneness with each other, with our Mother Earth and indeed the entire universe.

Ancestral teachings of many cultures advocate this.

Nichiren taught that we can speed up our awakening, our human revolution, with the practice of chanting the mantra “nam-myoho-renge-kyo” to stir up our Buddha-wisdom. Based on that wisdom we take action to make positive change for our own happiness and the happiness of all our relations.

May the poison of the killings in Paris be transformed into the medicine of world peace.

As we say in Bolivia, Jallalla. It’s an Aymara term imbued with hope and determination to work intensely to make our dreams become reality.

And as my Lakota teacher, Peji, taught me — Ho. “Come on! Let’s do it now!”

First published as "Paris Attacks: Give Peace a Chance" on

Paz en París y el Mundo

Es terrible lo que pasó en París. Lloro en simpatía profunda.

Sin embargo, yo no odio ni traqueteo el sable pidiendo guerra. ¿Por qué? Como escribió el líder budista, Daisaku Ikeda,

Tokio después de Allied bombardeo (marzo de 1945) Foto:
"Nada es más bárbara que la guerra. Nada es más cruel. . . Nada es más lamentable que una nación está arrastrado por tontos."


Ikeda, quien creció durante la guerra mundial II en Japón, ha dedicado su vida a poner fin a la guerra y criar la paz a través de un proceso llamado "revolución humana". 

En el primer volumen de su serie de novelas La Nueva Revolución Humana, Ikeda cita el gran pacifista, Mahatma Gandhi.
Gandhi llevó la India a la independencia a través de los métodos no violentos de desobediencia civil. Foto: Wikimedia
 ". . . Gandhi proclamó que el 'poder del espíritu' es más fuerte que cualquier. . . bomba. Para transformar este siglo de guerra en un siglo de paz, debemos cultivar el poder inherente ilimitada de la vida humana. Esta es la 'revolución humana'. . ."

El concepto de la revolución humana Ikeda basa en los escritos del reformador budista japonés del siglo XIII,  Nichiren Daishonin.


Nichiren, basado a su estudio profundo de las enseñanzas (sutras) del Buda, él criticó a la gente poderoso de su país por sus creencias y suposiciones, porque aquellos estaban causando daño a la gente. 

Las creencias y suposiciones erróneas, según él, fueron las causas de los disturbios civiles, los ataques de países extranjeros, condiciones climáticas extremas, y las epidemias que dejaron los cuerpos apilados como leña en su país de Japón.


¿Cuáles eran aquellas creencias y suposiciones erróneas?  
¿Las siguen siendo ahora, causando miseria en el mundo de hoy?  
¿Y que fueron las creencias y suposiciones correctas que dijo Nichiren haría la paz y felicidad?

Las creencias erróneas y los supuestos en general eran que la humanidad era una jerarquía, donde los de arriba tienen derecho a manipular a los demás con el fin de mantener su propia posición privilegiada de poder, no importa cuánto sufrimiento que causaron. 

¿Estas creencias y suposiciones aún hoy estan causando la miseria? La respuesta es obvia: Sí.


¿Qué creencias y suposiciones dijo Nichiren fueran correctas, por causar la paz y la felicidad? 

 Citó el Sutra del Loto, alegando que todos los humanos son iguales. Todos estamos interconectados con todo, hasta la partícula más diminuta de polvo, en la gran y sagrado misterio llamado "Vida".

Curiosamente, estas creencias y suposiciones son compartidas por todas las culturas indígenas que conozco, especialmente las culturas de cazadores-recolectores que han vivido de forma sostenible en este planeta durante miles de años.

Algunas personas destilan estas creencias y supuestos correctos en la frase "Somos Uno".

Despierta a esta realidad de nuestra interconexión, unidad, y igualdad, estamos llamados Budas - los despiertos. Despierta a nuestros atributos de Buda -- el coraje, la compasión y la sabiduría
ilimitada, Nichiren afirmó podemos transformar nuestras vidas, países y el mundo a un lugar de "luz eternamente tranquilo."

La violencia sólo engendra violencia. El ciclo debe terminar.

Los asesinatos en París son parte de un ciclo basado en creencias y suposiciones erróneas. 

Ahora es un momento en que podemos hacer una pausa y comenzar un nuevo ciclo - un ciclo de despertar a nuestra unidad con los demás, con nuestra Madre Tierra y de hecho todo el universo.

Enseñanzas ancestrales de muchas culturas defienden esto.

World Peace. Art:


Nichiren enseñó que podemos acelerar nuestro despierto, nuestra revolución humana, con la práctica de cantar el mantra "nam-myoho-rengue-kyo" para estimular nuestra sabiduría de Buda.  

Sobre la base de esa sabiduría, tomemos medidas para hacer cambios positivos para nuestra propia felicidad y la felicidad de todas nuestras relaciones. La paz mundial.

Que el veneno de los asesinatos en París se transformó en la medicina de la paz mundial.

Como decimos en Bolivia, Jallalla. Es un término Aymara imbuido de la esperanza y la determinación de trabajar intensamente para que nuestros sueños se hagan realidad.

Y como mi maestro Lakota, Peji, me enseñó - Ho. "¡Vamos! ¡Hagámoslo ahora!"

First published in English as "Paris Attacks: Give Peace a Chance" on

Friday, November 6, 2015

La Cumbre Climática, Tiquipaya II

¿Cuándo fue la última vez que asistías un conversatorio con el presidente de un país?

Ceremonia para abrir la Conferencia Mundial del Peublos sobre el Cambio Climatica y en Defensa de la Vida, en el coleseo de la Universidad del Valle, Tiquipaya, Bolivia, 10 de octubre 2015. Foto: Freddy Zarco
Eso es lo que hice 10 al 12 de octubre en Tiquipaya, Bolivia en la Conferencia Mundial de los Pueblos sobre el Cambio Climático.

Evo Morales, el presidente de Bolivia, demostró su compromiso con haber voces de la gente sean escuchadas. Invitó a todo el mundo que quisiera participar por venir, de forma gratuita. Todo lo que hice fue llenar mi formulario de inscripción en línea y ser presente.
Los delegados pasan a través de las puertas de la Conferencia Mundial de los Pueblos sobre el Cambio Climático, Octubre 10-12, 2015 en la Universidad del Valle, Tiquipaya, Cochabamba, Bolivia. Foto:

Yo era una de unos 7.000 delegados que participan en la Conferencia Mundial de los Pueblos sobre el Cambio Climático.

Los documentos resultantes de nuestras docena Mesas de Trabajo van con Evo a la cumbre climática de la ONU, COP21, en París, 30 de noviembre.
Cantando el Himno Nacional de Bolivia en la ceremonia de apertura de la Conferencia Mundial de los Pueblos sobre el Cambio Climático. El presidente Evo Morales (centro) con laureados con el Premio Nobel de la Paz Rajendra Pachauri y Adolfo Pérez Esquivel (izquierda). Foto: Fernando Cartagena

Yo estaba en la Mesa de Trabajo # 1, sobre la globalización. Aquí está un informe de algunas de mis experiencias en Tiquipaya II, en la Universidad del Valle en el valle andino de Cochabamba, más de 8.000 pies sobre el mar.

Jefe Deer de los originarios canadienses, compartió una tecnología nativa para evitar el egoísmo. Abren todas las reuniones con un plato ceremonial de alimentos y una sola cuchara. El objetivo es comer, pero dejar suficiente para que todos los presentes se comen un poco también.
Evo Morales, presidente de Bolivia. El primer presidente indígena en las Américas en 500 años.
El presidente Evo Morales habló de una manera abierta, amable, y franco. "¿Cuáles son las causas de tanto daño a la Madre Tierra? . . . El sistema dominador del capitalismo es la causa principal del cambio climático. . . . El capitalismo es un cáncer en la Madre Tierra. . . . Debemos erradicar este cáncer con el fin de salvar la Madre Tierra y la humanidad. . . . En los países capitalistas, las empresas y los bancos gobernar. . . . . Guerras contribuyen al calentamiento global. . . . Nuestra tarea es unir a los movimientos sociales del Norte y del Sur."

Evo encargó a los delegados con la responsabilidad de diálogo y llegar a conclusiones para enviar a COP21 en París.

Laureados con el Premio Nobel de la Paz, activista de derechos humanos Adolfo Pérez Esquivel y especialista climático, Rajendra Pachauri, presentaron pruebas sobre la necesidad de cambiar rápidamente la estructura de la sociedad y los estilos de vida, antes de que sea demasiado tarde.

Curtis Doebbler, un abogado internacional de derechos humanos, propusó la creación de un Tribunal Internacional sobre el Cambio Climático, cuyas decisiones serían vinculantes y forzada.
El Papa Francisco envió sus saludos a la Conferencia Mundial de los Pueblos sobre el Cambio Climático en Tiquipaya, Bolivia, 10 de octubre 2015

El Secretario General de las Naciones Unidas, Ban Ki-moon, elogió a Evo y Bolivia para la creación de ejemplos positivos para el mundo. Ban mencionó que aunque Bolivia iba a ir a cero las emisiones de gases de efecto invernadero al día siguiente, tendría ninguna diferencia con el cambio climático, porque Bolivia es tan pequeño; los países grandes  y ricos son los que tienen que cambiar sin demora.

El Papa Francisco envió sus saludos, y el ex presidente de Uruguay, José Mujica, compartió su apoyo a través de vídeo.

Sentí un propósito y visión compartida de todos nosotros que se preocupan por nuestra Madre Tierra. Todos se hablaron mucho de la necesidad de cambios estructurales de los sistemas económicos a ser más igualitaria, y para los ricos consumir menos y vivir más en armonía con nuestra planeta.

Durante las últimas dos décadas los gobiernos han reunido anualmente para discutir la reducción de las emisiones de gases de efecto invernadero. Pero los mayores contribuyentes al cambio climático se han negado a firmar acuerdos vinculantes para cambiar sus maneras. Los glaciares se están derritiendo, los niveles del mar subiendo y girando ácido, el clima es más extremo e impredecible, todo por culpa de los altos niveles de dióxido de carbono en la atmósfera creciendo por la actividad industrial humana.

Los ponentes nos insta a tomar acción para presionar a nuestros representantes elegidos para tener la voluntad política para llegar a acuerdos vinculantes en COP21, para reducir las emisiones de gases de efecto invernadero. Los próximos cinco años son cruciales para reducir las emisiones de gases de efecto invernadero y cambiar a tecnologías con bajo o sin carbono, antes de que sea demasiado tarde.

Inspirado por esto, he creado una petición en línea. Voy a presentar a la Casa Blanca y el Congreso de Estados Unidos y el Senado. También puedo mandar nuestras firmas a gobiernos de otros países. Solamente escriba su dirección en la sección de comentarías de la petición.

Domingo las Mesas de Trabajo se reunieron durante todo el día. Aquí están unas notas sobre mi día en la Mesa de Trabajo # 1. Por la mañana hemos elegido a un hombre y una mujer (uno boliviano y el otro de nacionalidad diferente) para facilitar las conversaciones.

Nuestro Mesa sobre la globalización comenzó con una lista de tres páginas de las soluciones propuestas que fueron desarrolladas a través del correo electrónico antes de la conferencia.

Uno por uno, cada uno de nosotros tuvo la oportunidad de hablar durante cinco minutos, añadir las propuestas de la lista. Los facilitadores escribieron constantemente, documentando las palabras de cada persona.

Durante nuestro almuerzo los facilitadores editaron nuestros comentarios a un documento ordenado. Les tomaron mucho más tiempo de lo que esperaban. Esperamos, pero no como ovejas a la espera de nuestro pastor.

Espontáneamente, una por una las personas se levantaron y tomaron la palabra para hablar al grupo acerca de sus preocupaciones.

Un hombre de Chile dijo que el mar esta siendo sobreexplotado por las empresas transnacionales, destruyendo la capacidad para los pescadores locales alimentar a sus familias y comunidades.

Un productor de radio alternativa de Bolivia advirtió sobre la televisión y la radio como herramientas de las transnacional manipular el pueblo. Hizo un llamamiento para un mayor control de los medios de comunicación por el pueblo.

Una mujer de Cuba dijo que televisión cubana es comunitaria. Todos los programas están creados por la gente en cada comunidad. Ella dijo que siente orgullosa de que la televisión cubana retrata historias con actores que parecen como personas reales, en vez de rubias flacas quirúrgicamente alterados.

Y hablamos entre nosotros. La mujer a mi lado me dio un folleto en español de una conferencia internacional sobre Género y Cambio Climático que asistió en mayo 2015 en Santa Cruz, Bolivia. La conferencia llegó a la conclusión de que debemos diseñar e implementar modelos económicos alternativos al capitalismo.

Cuando los facilitadores de nuestra mesa de trabajo regresaron, proyectan nuestro documento colectivo en una pantalla para que lo corregimos como grupo. Por desgracia, en un punto, el proceso de consenso quedó secuestrado por un hombre. Él gritaba hasta que se adoptó su propio punto de vista.

Yo no grite cuando mi propia propuesta desapareció en el proceso de edición (otro mesa de trabajo dijo a nuestros facilitadores que se incluiría en su categoría). En caso de que usted es curioso, mi propuesta es para las emisiones de noticias incluir el número de la Keeling Curve diaria (el nivel actual de dióxido de carbono en la atmósfera), juntos con la temperatura y la bolsa de valores.

Nuestro proceso de consenso no era perfecto, es un arte que estamos aprendiendo. Me siento orgulloso de ser parte de un movimiento hacia lo que Riane Eisler llama la estructura de compartir (poder con), en vez de nuestras estructuras de dominación (poder sobre).

Al salir de la universidad, llena de la canción de aves, un joven me entregó un folleto con la imagen de Jesús. Fue de un grupo llamado Alfa y Omega. Alfa y Omega pide la gente a vivir como lo hizo Jesús, en solidaridad con los humildes, mansos, y pobres. Entre sus cincuenta y un propuestas, Alfa y Omega llama por la igualdad y la justicia para todas las personas, viviendo nuestra vida cotidiana en los medios naturales más simples, y evitar el consumismo. Animan a los gobiernos a tomar inspiración de las leyes igualitarias de la Naturaleza.

Lunes por la mañana los delegados se reunieron de nuevo en el coliseo de la Universidad. Los facilitadores de las docena mesas de trabajo leyeron las declaraciones colectivas.

El nuevo coliseo en Quillacollo, el más grande de Bolivia, con capacidad para 12.000 personas. Foto:

Después de almorzar en restaurantes locales al aire libre, viajamos en autobuses fletados para un coliseo en Quillacollo para la clausura.

Las puertas del coliseo estaban abiertas y gratis a todos. Las gradas estaban decoradas con banderas traídas por los miembros de la audiencia. Algunas fueron pintadas a mano. Una era de una asociación de vendedores ambulantes. Otra fue del grupo femenina Bartolina Sisa, el nombre de una mujer indígena mártir que encabezó una resistencia contra la ocupación española.

Grupos musicales famosos, entre ellos Llajtaymanta, dieron un concierto gratuito. Bailamos en los pasillos.
Representantes de los movimientos sociales presentes el presidente boliviano Evo Morales y el presidente ecuatoriano Rafael Correa con ponchos tejidos a mano y guirnaldas de hojas de coca. Foto:

Discursos mezclaron con la música. Los presidentes de Ecuador, Rafael Correa, y de Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, y el canciller de Cuba, Bruno Rodríguez, dieron charlas.

Criticaron la estructura capitalista dominador que ha causado el cambio climático. Pidieron una nueva estructura económica, una estructura igualitaria que honra a nuestra Madre Tierra.

El discurso final fue por el presidente Evo Morales. Señaló que el día de hoy, 12 de octubre de 2015, fue el 523o aniversario de Colon invadir las Américas, llevándose nuestros recursos naturales para enriquecer a otros.

Él dijo: "Estados Unidos sigue haciendo lo mismo. . . Los EE.UU. llevan los más brillantes desde Bolivia, los capacita, y luego los vuelven a Bolivia para poner en práctica las políticas estadounidenses imperialistas. . . al igual que los parásitos en los intestinos del león que lo matan".

Evo afirmó que está llevando los documentos que hemos creado al COP21 en París, para presentar y defender la voz del pueblo.

Las ceremonias cerraron con una canción del ritmo tinku, y muchas bailaron con Evo.

Fue publicado primero en inglés como "Tiquipaya II, People's World Conference on Climate Change" en

Tiquipaya II, People’s World Conference on Climate Change 2015

When was the last time you got to attend a brainstorming session with the president of a country?

Opening ceremony of the People’s World Conference on Climate Change, in the colesium of the Universidad del Valle, Tiquipaya, Bolivia, October 10, 2015. Photo: Freddy Zarco
That’s what I did October 10-12 in Tiquipaya, Bolivia at the People’s World Conference on Climate Change.

Evo Morales, the President of Bolivia, demonstrated his commitment to having people’s voices be heard by inviting anyone who wanted to participate to come, free of charge. All I did was fill out my registration form online and show up.

Delegates pass through the gates for the People’s World Conference on Climate Change, October 10-12, 2015. Photo:
Delegates pass through the gates for the People’s World Conference on Climate Change, October 10-12, 2015. Photo:
 I was one of about 7000 delegates participating in the People’s World Conference on Climate Change.

The resulting documents that our dozen working groups developed through consensus brainstorming are going with Evo to the UN climate summit, COP21, in Paris, November 30th.

Singing the Bolivian national anthem at the opening ceremonies of the People's World Conference on Climate Change. President Evo Morales (center) with Nobel Peace Prize laureates Rajendra Pachauri and Adolfo Pérez Esquivel (left). Photo: Fernando Cartagena
Singing the Bolivian national anthem at the opening ceremonies of the People’s World Conference on Climate Change. President Evo Morales (center) with Nobel Peace Prize laureates Rajendra Pachauri and Adolfo Pérez Esquivel (left). Photo: Fernando Cartagena

I was in Working Group #1, globalization. Here is a report of some of my experiences at Tiquipaya II, held on the campus of Universidad del Valle in the Andean valley of Cochabamba, over 8,000 feet above the rising sea.

First Nations chief Deer from Canada shared a Native technology to avoid selfishness. They open every meeting with a ceremonial bowl of food and a single spoon. The goal is to eat from the bowl, yet leave enough so everyone present gets some, too.

Evo Morales, President of Bolivia. The first indigenous president in the Americas in 500 years.
Evo Morales, President of Bolivia. The first indigenous president in the Americas in 500 years.
President Evo Morales spoke in an open, friendly, and frank way.

 “What are the causes of so much damage to Mother Earth? . . .
The dominator system of capitalism is the number one cause of climate change.

Capitalism is a cancer on Mother Earth. . . .

We must eradicate this cancer in order to save Mother Earth and humanity. . . .

In capitalist countries, business and the banks govern. . . . .

Wars add to global warming. . . .

Our task is to unite the social movements of the North and South.”

Evo tasked the delegates with the responsibility to dialog and come up with conclusions to send to COP21 in Paris.

Nobel Peace Prize laureates, human rights activist Adolfo Pérez Esquivel and climate specialist Rajendra Pachauri, presented evidence that emphasized the need to quickly change the structure of society and lifestyles, before it is too late.

Curtis Doebbler, an international human rights lawyer, proposed the creation of a World Court on Climate Change, whose decisions would be binding and enforced.

The Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, praised Evo and Bolivia for creating positive examples for the world. Ban mentioned that even if Bolivia were to go to zero emissions of greenhouse gases the very next day, it would make no difference to climate change because Bolivia is so small; large rich countries are the ones who need to change without delay.

Pope Francis sent his greetings to the People's World Conference on Climate Change in Tiquipaya, Bolivia, October 10, 2015
Pope Francis sent his greetings to the People’s World Conference on Climate Change in Tiquipaya, Bolivia, October 10, 2015

Pope Francis sent his greetings, and former president of Uruguay José Mujica shared his support via video.

I felt a shared purpose and vision unite us all who care about our Mother Earth. There was much talk of the need for structural changes of economic systems to become more partnership–egalitarian, and for changes in lifestyles–for the rich to consume less and live more gently on the planet.

For the past two decades governments have gathered yearly to discuss reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but the biggest contributors to climate change have refused to sign binding agreements to change their ways. Glaciers are melting, ocean levels rising and turning acid, weather is more extreme and unpredictable, all because of skyrocketing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere from human industrial activity.

The speakers urged us to take action–to pressure our elected representatives to have the political will to make binding agreements at COP21 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The next five years are crucial for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and switching to low- or no-carbon technologies, before it is too late.

Inspired by this, I created an online petition, which I will present to the White House and U.S. Congress and Senate.

Sunday the working groups met all day. Here are snapshots from my day in Working Group #1. In the morning we elected a man and a woman (one Bolivian and the other a different nationality) to facilitate our conversations.

Our globalization group started with a three-page list of proposed solutions developed by group-member-email contributions before the conference. One by one we each had the opportunity to speak for five minutes, to add proposals to the list. The facilitators wrote constantly, documenting each person’s input.

During our lunch break the facilitators edited our commentaries into a tidy document. It took much longer than they expected. We waited, but not like sheep awaiting our shepherd.

Spontaneously, one by one people stood up and took the floor to address the group about their concerns. A man from Chile talked about how their seas are being over-fished by transnational corporations, destroying the ability for local fishermen to make a living and feed their families and communities.

An alternative radio producer from Bolivia warned about television and radio as brainwashing tools of transnational corporation globalization. He called for more control of the media by the people.

A woman from Cuba shared that they have local community television stations, with all the shows created by people in each community. She said she was proud that Cuban television portrays stories with actors who look like real people, instead of surgically-altered skinny blondes.

And we talked among ourselves. The woman next to me gave me a pamphlet in Spanish from an international conference on Gender and Climate Change she’d attended in May 2015 in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. It concluded that we must design and implement alternative economic models to capitalism.

When the facilitators returned, they projected our collective document on a screen for us to proofread as a group. Unfortunately, at one point, the consensus process got hijacked by one man. He yelled down all other people until his own point of view was adopted.

I did not yell when my own proposal disappeared in the editing process (another Working Group told our facilitators it would be included in their category). In case you are curious, my proposal is for news broadcasts to include the daily Keeling Curve number (the current level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere) along with the weather report and the Dow Jones average.

Our consensus process was not perfect–it is an art we are learning. I am proud to be part of a movement towards what Riane Eisler calls partnership structure–of power with,  instead of our existing domination structures–of power over.

As I left the bird-song-filled campus, a young man handed me a pamphlet with a picture of Jesus from a group called Alfa y Omega. Alfa y Omega calls for people to live as Jesus did, in solidarity with the humble, meek, and poor. Among their fifty-one proposals, they call for equality and justice for all people, living our daily lives in more simple natural ways and avoiding consumerism. They encourage governments to take inspiration from the egalitarian laws of Nature.

Monday morning we delegates met again in the University’s coliseum. The facilitators of the dozen working groups read the collective statements.

The new coliseum in Quillacollo, the largest in Bolivia, seats 12,000 people. Photo:
The new coliseum in Quillacollo, the largest in Bolivia, seats 12,000 people. Photo:

After lunching at local open-air restaurants, we traveled by chartered buses to a coliseum in Quillacollo for the closing ceremonies.

The doors were open for free, to anyone who walked through them. The stands were decorated with banners brought by members of the audience. Some banners were painted by hand. One was from an association of street vendors. Another from the women’s group Bartolina Sisa, named after a martyred indigenous woman who led a resistance against the Spanish occupation.

Famous musical groups including Llajtaymanta gave a free concert. We danced in the aisles.

Representatives of social movements present Bolivian President Evo Morales and Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa with handwoven ponchos and garlands of coca leaves. Photo:
Representatives of social movements present Bolivian President Evo Morales and Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa with handwoven ponchos and garlands of coca leaves. Photo:

Speeches punctuated the music. The presidents of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, and of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, and the chancellor of Cuba, Bruno Rodríguez, each spoke.

They criticized the dominator capitalist structure that has caused climate change. They called for a new economic structure, a partnership structure, which is egalitarian and honors our Mother Earth.

The final speech was by President Evo Morales. He noted that this day, October 12, 2015, was the 523rd anniversary of Columbus invading the Americas, taking away our natural resources to enrich others.

He said, “The U.S. is still doing the same thing. . . The U.S. takes Bolivia’s brightest, trains them, then returns them to Bolivia to implement U.S. imperialist policies . . . like the parasites in the lion’s bowels that kill it.”

Evo affirmed he is taking the documents we created to COP21 in Paris, to present and defend the voice of the people.

The ceremonies closed with a tinku song, to which we and Evo danced along.

First published as Editor's Pick "Tiquipaya II, People's World Conference on Climate Change 2015" on