Gandhian Activist Sunderlal Bahuguna at Navdanya. ~ Carrie Stiles

Create a New World: The Creative Head, Compassionate Heart & Constructive Hand. 

“Today our heart is very small, especially the young people… The heart of one is enclosed. You know the formula of love (is) whomsoever you love you will get love in return. So why don’t you inspire for more love from many people. Love not only from human beings, but other beings. Love from nature, love from trees, love from rivers and mountains. Develop your compassionate heart.” ~ Bahuguna

Control Your Tongue.

“The tongue creates many problems. When you are talking it will say bad things to others… it requires many things like taste. The first thing we have to do is to control this tongue.” ~ Bahuguna

Displacement vs The Spirit of Freedom in the Hills.

How blessed we were to study with the great Gandhian activist Sunderlal Bahuguna at Navdanya Earth University in North India. Sunderlal Bahuguna was awarded India’s second highest civilian honor and the Alternative Nobel Peace Prize (The Right Livelihood Award) for his tremendous work leading the Chipko Movement and the Anti-Tehri Dam movement against large dams, mining and deforestation, across the country. Bahuguna Ji fasted for 70 days after which Prime Minister Indira Gandhi granted his request to stop the felling of the trees in the High Himalaya.

“We in Himalaya are facing a crisis of survival due to the suicidal activities being carried out in the name of development… The monstrous Tehri dam is a symbol of this… There is need for a new and long-term policy to protect the dying Himalaya. I do not want to see the death of the most sacred river of the world — the Ganga — for short-term economic gains.”
~ Sunderlal Bahuguna

“I treasure Awards of Ridicule, Neglect, Isolation and Insult, which Every social activist is proud of” ~ S. B.

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Earth Pilgrim Satish Kumar at Navdanya. ~ Carrie Stiles

One of the greatest blessings of my life was studying with the visionary peace pilgrim Satish Kumar at Navdanya for the Earth University’s (Bija Vidyapeeth’s) remarkable Gandhi and Globalization Course. Satish Ji founded Schumacker College in Devon England. He became a walking Jain monk at the age of nine in Rajasthan. Satish Ji escaped to join the Gandhian movement and Vinoba Bhave, the leader of Gandhi’s Satyagraha truth force movement. In 1962 Kumar and his friend E P Menon undertook a peace pilgrimage walking from India to the four capitals of the nuclear world: Moscow, Paris, London and the U.S. and took no money on their walking voyage at the advice of their guru Vinoba Bhave.

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“This was Mahatma Gandhi’s idea, moving from ownership to relationship — seeing that land does not belong to us. We belong to the land. We are not the owners of the land. We are the friends of the land, like friends of the earth. The fundamental shift is in this consciousness that land does not belong to us, we belong to the land.” ~ Satish Kumar

Satish Kumar on Vinoba Bhave Talks on the Gita. 

Earth Pilgrim Satish Kumar on Civil Disobedience.

Earth Pilgrim Satish Kumar on Nonviolence at Navdanya.

Earth Pilgrim Satish Kumar on the trial of Mahatma Gandhi Ji.

Satish Kumar & Madhu on Nonviolent Thought at Navdanya 

Satish Kumar No Such Thing as Utopia.

Earth Pilgrim Satish Kumar on Binary Dualism at Navdanya. 

“We live under the power of Modern Consciousness, which means that we are obsessed with progress. Wherever you are is not good enough. We always want to achieve something, rather than experience something. The opposite of this is Spiritual Consciousness. By that I mean you find enchantment in every action you do, rather in just the results of your action. Spiritual Consciousness is not a particular religion but a way of being.”

~ Satish Kumar

My Interview with the former Prime Minister of Tibet in Exile Venerable Samdhong Rinpoche. ~ Carrie Stiles

“We know that social structures kill and maim as surely as the bullet and the knife” ~ Hoivik

Norwegian peace researcher Johan Galtung first proposed the theory of Structural Violence (Barash & Webel, 2009).

Galtung defines violence as the avoidable disparity between the potential ability to fulfill basic needs and their actual fulfillment. Poverty and unjust socio-political and economic institutions, systems and structures harm, or kill people. Structural Violence is indirect, avoidable violence built into structures where there is unequal power and consequently unequal life chances. Structural Violence is an oppressive framework that operates through powerful associations, organizations and institutions that guarantees privilege amongst its leaders, prioritization of their political agenda, and an enforcement of their methods and ideologies.

 

“The identification of redressable injustice is not only what animates us to think about justice and injustice, it’s also central … to the theory of justice (p. VII) … The impossibility of remaining silent on a subject is an observation that can be made about many cases of injustice that move us to rage in a way that is hard for our language to capture. And yet any analysis of injustice would also demand clear articulation and reasoned scrutiny (p. 1)” ~ Amartya Sen

“As the twentieth century draws to a close, the world’s poor are the chief victims of Structural Violence – a violence which has thus far defied the analysis of many seeking to understand the nature and distribution of extreme suffering. Why might this be so? One answer is that the poor are not only more likely to suffer, they are also more likely to have their suffering silenced.” ~ Dr. Paul Farmer

Creating a system of accountability requires tracing experiences of suffering back to specific sources in a global context.

The basis of many social movements hinges on tracing Structural Violence back to a source and holding those sources accountable through creative, innovative methods. It is not that Structural Violence exists when things are not clear, but rather where there is complexity of social forces. The complexity of social forces must be rendered comprehensible for constructive Conflict Resolution to mitigate Structural Violence. It is the role of Conflict Resolution Practitioners and Scholars to better understand the subject-action-object relations to create the space necessary for constructive dialogue.

Elaborating a theory of Structural Violence demands that we design a system of accountability by mounting evidence rather than accepting the illusive character of suffering. The example of the Life Patent and Intellectual Property Rights Regimes over Plant Genetic Resources illuminates an example of the complex forces that converge to generate Structural Violence.

~ Carrie Stiles

 

Cultivating Social Change in the Fertile City. ~ Carrie Stiles

 

A digestible solution to global conflict 

Mercy Corps Northwest’s new American Agriculture Project and Grow Portland forged a transformative partnership to address global conflicts on the local level.

The innovative collaboration supports refugee and immigrant resettlement through local, sustainable agriculture. The program is a digestible solution to traumatic, international conflict. Their approach embodies, and emboldens, the common adage ‘think globally, act locally’. The program is creating space for participants to transplant their uprooted lives, adapt to a new climate and develop market-based skills.

We caught up with Mercy Corps Lead Grower Lauren Morse at the SE Nepalese Gardens to learn more.

Morse explained that Mercy Corps has been invaluable to the expanding population of immigrants, refugees and beginning American growers in Portland since 2006. The 2010 formation of the Portland Growers Alliance with Grow Portland was created to address the challenge of establishing market outlets for the gardeners. “It makes a more sustainable livelihood for everyone involved in the program,” Morse explained.

The alliance is addressing participant’s needs through access to land, equipment, supplies, financial support, trainings, business planning and marketing support. The growers practice organic, ecological agriculture in both Portland and Damascus. You can find the Portland Growers Alliance produce at Portland Farmer’s Market, Lents International Farmer’s Market, Thompson Farm Stand, various restaurants and through their Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) program.

Most participants are former subsistence farmers who are now learning to cultivate for local tastes with limited land. Participants originate from locations as diverse as Bhutan, Somali, Russia and Burma. Morse explained to Real Time Farms how cultural and language differences have created a dynamic work environment. “All of these different, little idiosyncrasies make this project crazy. Overall it is amazing what we are doing: producing so much good food and getting it into local outlets,” explained Morse.

 

Stand Up and Join the Global Uprising!

Standing up for social change requires the joining of hands in a collaborative enterprise.

The potential for peace blooms when we share a transformative vision, and actively build social justice in our communities, in tandem. The transformative vision I seek to share is embodied in World Pulse’s uprising of women around the world. These women join hands to project their voices above the apathetic cacophony of defeat.

Women like Achieng Beatrice Nas and her resilient peers in the Voices of Our Future Network have overcome unfathomable circumstances to act as leaders in the struggle for social justice and equality. Their journeys prompt us to inquire: how can we empower, and be empowered, to harmonize our voices and stand up for social change?

My circumstances in easy Portland, Oregon are less poignant. However, I seized the opportunity to answer the prompt and amplify my convictions by joining millions of people around the word as they Stand Up and Take Action Against Poverty and for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The annual Stand Up campaign takes place over three days to provide a forum for civil society to demand global leaders uphold their international commitments to the MDGs and End Poverty by 2015. The eight MDGs include the following commitments: end poverty and extreme hunger, universal education, gender equality, child health, maternal health, combat HIV/AIDS, environmental sustainability and to build a global partnership.

My collaborative vision for the Stand Up campaign manifested in the form of a participatory art festival.

I designed the event to engaged Portland State University‘s campus by tapping into Portland’s prolific reservoir of local artists. The unique event mobilized over three hundred people to participate as performing and visual artists, speakers, volunteers and spectators. I was proud to see Congressman David Wu as our opening speaker affirming his commitments to upholding the MDGs. Organizations such as Mercy Corps, Jubilee Oregon, Portland Area Global Aids Coalition and Bread for the World participated avidly in creating the event and spoke about the MDGs during the festival.

My transformative experience creating space for an alliance of peace builders proved that collaboration is the key to generating a global uprising. We can unite and fortify the ties that uplift social justice by building a dialogic alliance, that values diversity and people’s creative potential. Let us collectively amplifying our demands and participate in the global decision-making process.

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Fore more information about the Stand Up and Take Action Against Poverty and for the MDGs please visit:

http://standagainstpoverty.org/suap/

Read more about Portland’s Stand Up Art Festival: http://jubileeusa.typepad.com/blog_the_debt/2008/10/portland-artists-lead-in-portlands-standup-event.html