Thursday, March 22, 2007

Earthkeeper Rite

Dear friends and stewards of Earth,

I just saw Al Gore speaking before a Senate Committee asking them to please do something to protect the environment. After seeing An Inconvenient Truth twice, and experiencing profound respect for this Academy Award Winner for Best Documentary 2006, I felt intrigued by what he had to say to the Senate.
As I listened to his eloquent and sincere speech I was proud of him and relieved he was doing it.
But I was absolutely sickened and shocked when the response from U.S. SENATORS to him was "there are meteorologists, scientists, physicists, biologists, oceanographers, and experts around the world who all disagree with you".

This upset me so much, to think that our government representatives are so ignorant or driven by corporate interests (albeit investing in alternative energy is financially advised for its viability and profitability) as to not see the value and import of acting now to protect the environment.
How can they not act to make changes in our laws to help cut back on green house gas emissions and clean up and protect our environment??!?!?!!!
It's absolutely immoral.

This brings me to the whole idea of ethics/morality and the environment.
When I was 20 I achieved honor status from 3 semesters of undergraduate studies at various California Community Colleges (considered to be as good as or better than most state colleges around the country).

Having lived in California for years, I was absolutely in love with the majestic redwood forests, the pristine and dramatic coast lines and marine life, and the clean fresh air of Mendocino, Marin, and Sonoma counties. When I’d drive across the Golden Gate Bridge from a day of hiking around Mount Tamalpais in Marin County, I’d look across to the East Bay and see a thin layer of dingy sky. Is that fog, I asked myself, squinting to see it better, gulping as I noticed it was brown, not fog-like grey.

It was then and there, at age 18 that I realized human beings are polluting our environment through the way they live. It was right then that I felt I had to do something to help change this!
Influenced by the gorgeous natural environments in the North Bay, and the shock of seeing the browning sky over the East Bay, I studied philosophy, marine biology, dance, and comparative mythology and religion.

At first, when told I had to declare a major, I chose Marine Biology, and took many oceanography courses (being in coastal California made it easy to take a variety of classes on this topic).
My thoughts were that, in 1988, the signs of our planetary pollution were already clear to me. I saw ahead and envisioned a day when we could not breathe the air or drink our water without being poisoned or toxified.
I felt the answer would be in saving the ocean, and I felt it was a moral imperative to act to take care of the environment.

As a result, I took many philosophy classes and read and thought a lot about morality. I also headed up the first Earth Day committee in a California Community College System and arranged a huge Earth Day celebration that helped Orange County, CA get a recycling program.

That year, I was poised to graduate with an AA degree and had to decide where I wanted to apply for the next level of my education.
I applied to UC Berkeley, because I love the Bay Area and heard a lot about the university's Philosophy and Environmental studies programs. I felt absolutely focused and positive that I'd help impact thoughts on pollution and the environment through these studies.
So, I wrote my required 10 page application essay, the thesis of which was Environmental Protection as Moral Imperative, and linked the cause of protecting the environment to the human species survivability, and our obligation to protect our habitat.
I immediately got accepted and granted a scholarship for my first semester at UC Berkeley (locally called "Cal"), in 1990.

What happened to my goals then never changed. I've always felt passionate and concerned about environmentalism, conservation of species and natural habitats, and worried about global pollution and climate change. (I've been a member of the World Wildlife Fund, Sierra Club, and Natural Resources Defense Council since the late 1980's).
I've felt the dire need for Americans to change their lifestyles to protect their habitats.

I got involved in the first environmental club at UC Berkeley and hosted a 1992 Earth Day Festival on campus that spring, inciting many to pledge to recycle and conserve energy in their homes.

Throughout the early 90’s I involved myself with activities that represented my concern for our environment. I started a “Green” cleaning service and procured many clients in the Bay Area who were happy that I vowed to clean their houses with non-toxic substances (lemon, vinegar, baking soda, Simple-Green), and to recycle their household goods (where neighborhood recycling programs were not yet implemented).
I did this for many years, and supported myself financially through this green housecleaning and grants from school.

I also worked for the Sierra Club, Green Peace, and Clean Water Action to raise public awareness of environmental issues. I helped to raise money to protect habitats and species, implement initiatives, and educate the public. Through my campaign I helped to register thousands of new memberships in these environmental organizations and many others.

In the late 90’s, I stumbled on some hard times and unfortunate circumstances in my life, and my path to be an environmental activist became a bit obscured, but now I am back!

For several years I wanted to start a local, community based and run, renewable power company. I thought that people could band together and purchase and develop a solar powered power plant (a huge photo-voltaic array) that would provide power for the community. I believed that people would do this and that it could be done and that it was revolutionary in our use of energy.

I tried to gather supporters of this idea when I lived in Occidental (a very green and progressive community in Sonoma County, CA), but there were so many nay-sayers and doubters that it fell apart very quickly.
In essence, I simply lacked the capital to buy and set up the photovoltaic array and start the solar power company myself.
I had tons of data from the Real Goods Solar Institute in Hopland, CA about how easy it is to set up an array and provide solar power as an alternative to fossil fuel burning or nuclear generated energy. I was convinced that local people in my community would see the logic of setting this up and switching to be “off the grid and independently supported”.
Alas, financial greed reigned supreme over our own health and well-being.

When I moved to Oregon, for a short time in 2005, I got a job as a web-developer and campaigner for Green Mountain Energy, a renewable power company that has succeeded in providing wind, solar, and geo-thermal power to Oregon residents through the Oregon power company, PGE (not to be mistaken with the illustrious California PG&E, who recently invested a ton in the solar powering of the SF Giants ball park!).

I found out, through my work for Green Mountain, that the state of Oregon (government officials) legislated that PGE or any power company in the state had to provide at least 30% of the power provided to customers from renewable resources.

This was absolutely amazing to me! I was so happy to learn this! I was convinced this was just the beginning of a wave of environmental legislation that would sweep the country and change our lifestyles for the GOOD of all.
Alas, that was 3 years ago and no other states have followed suit. But they can!
We need to influence our representatives to do so!

We can make local power companies and do it ourselves! Get together with your friends and neighbors and raise the money to put in a photo-voltaic array and hook up your energy supply to it! Get off the grid! Stop using poisonous gasses for your light switch, your TV, your computer, your dishwasher, your garage door opener, your refrigerator, your hot water heater, your lifestyle!

I know this sounds pollyanna and hopeful, but it’s reality, it’s doable, it’s real, and it’s vitally important to start thinking this way.

Research and look into ways that you can conserve energy and change your life to help protect our environment.
I prefer to say “our” environment, rather than “the” environment, because it makes it more personal, more intimate, and more accurate. It’s not some dry, obscure, impersonal “the”. No, it’s OURS, our home, our world, our habitat, our life-support system! We need to claim environmental concerns as the most dire and deep ethical matter to act upon and take seriously RIGHT NOW.

When I lived in Bloomington, Indiana, from October 14th, 2005 to February 28th, 2007, I had the opportunity to meet Barbara Ann O’Leary, who introduced me to the Incan Munay Ki Rites, a series of initiations for personal psycho-spiritual growth.
When I first read the pamphlet that Barbara put together about the rites, my eyes scanned down the list and nearly popped out of my head when I saw the words, “Earthkeeper Rites”. I knew then and there that I had to get these rites. That having the Earthkeeper Rite felt inspiring and empowering, as though by taking this rite, I was claiming my commitment, once and for all, to act to protect our planet, Earth, our home, our habitat, our life-support. I’m very thankful to Barbara and the Incans for allowing me to become part of this lineage.

Now, having heard Al Gore speak before the Senate today, and having seen the disgusting, reprehensible, immoral response to him by members of the U.S. Senate, I feel mandated by my commitment to help protect our environment by writing every single congressperson (House Representatives and Senators) to ask them to act on legislation to protect our environment.

So far, I’ve written and sent 12 letters. And now, I ask that you please do the same.
Each of us has an obligation to protect our home, to preserve our survivability, to act and live in accordance with moral principles that will allow us and future generations and other species to thrive and survive.

So, please, take some time to find your own relationship and commitment to protecting our environment, and visit the Congressional list of emails and contact information and send an urgent request to research and act on protecting our environment NOW.

--The list of contact information for U.S. Senators.

--The list of contact information for the U.S. House of Representatives

Here is a sample letter that you can send or message you can leave for them:


I am writing to all the Congresspersons in our country (the United States of America) to beg you to please research and act upon legislation and initiatives that will help reduce green house gas emissions and mandate the use of renewable resources for energy.

I want you to act to stop global climate change that will threaten the survivability of the human species on planet Earth.

I beg you to consult your conscience about the moral obligation you have as a congressperson to influence legislation to protect the environment.

Thank you,
Leila Kincaid
USA Citizen and Voter

THANK YOU for taking the time to read and seriously consider this post.
Leila Kincaid
Writer, Earthkeeper, Visionary

When asked: "How has being a goodwill ambassador for UNHCR changed your life? "
Angelina Jolie replied "It has given me a life filled with purpose. Who are we if we are not useful to others?"

May her hard work and dedication to helping the impoverished in our world be an inspiration to you to find how you are useful to others and live that.

No comments: