Stories for Earth Week

These are news posts that pertain to the Serve the Earth – Love This Place Coopetition.

The Summary and Highlights of Earth Week 2016

Earth is our home, and something incredible happens when we humans fall in love with the Great Story

CG-earth007-fish0416of Life. In knowing we belong here, we become calmer in the face of adversity. Our words and thoughts become kinder, our hearts become full and generous, and we naturally rise to the challenges to protect and
restore what is dear to us.

In this Summary and Highlights of Earth Week 2016, you will peer into the events and experiences of thousands of players and over a hundred teams from around the world who felt the calling of Mother Earth and were moved into action that can inspire us all.

If you’d like to view the Full Report, click here!

 From India to Sudan, Guatemala to the Philippines, the US to Vietnam, and Canada to Australia, people brought unbelievably creative and heartfelt acts of compassion to life for the Earth and all living beings at this remarkable time.

Here is a glimpse into the results in numbers, with over 20,000 people served in 8 countries around the world.

Earth Week Final Results 2016

For every result quantified and reported, there are stories of real experiences that uplift and inspire. You can see highlighted reports on the Facebook album from the Report Map here and the complete Compassion Report Map here.

The meaningful stories from this year’s Earth Week reveal perspectives we might not otherwise experience because the Games were played by such a diverse group of participants from nearly every continent on Earth.

From children in the slums of New Delhi seeing trees for the first time and learning about ecosystems, Indigenous peoples convening in New York’s Times Square to sign the International Treaty to Protect and Restore Mother Earth, and cities rising up to challenge one another across the United States, Earth Week was the embodiment of unity in diversity and unprecedented, unified action.

The following stories highlight just a handful of significant events and reports from exceptional teams and partners to showcase what took place during Earth Week.

Story #1: The International Treaty to Protect and  Restore Mother Earth

Four Worlds International Institute (FWII) uses Indigenous principles to heal communities around the world through the Fourth Way. Chairman of FWII, Hereditary Chief Phil Lane Jr. – who is also the Chairman of Compassion Games International –  is a world-renowned luminary that leads a life-long mission to unify the human family.

For Earth Day, Brother Phil and many other Indigenous leaders arrived in New York by canoe as a sign of solidarity and respect for Mother Earth before announcing the International Treaty to Protect and Restore Mother Earth.

The #GlobalCanoe Arrives in Times Square

Phil Report

Description Summary: “Indigenous leaders from around the world came to New York City to convene and sign the International Treaty to Protect and Restore Mother Earth as part of Earth Day and Love thisScreen Shot 2016-05-11 at 3.00.56 PM Place! Serve the Earth Week. They arrived in the #GlobalCanoe out of love and commitment to Mother Earth.  On average two Indigenous defenders are killed each week in defense of Mother Earth.  This team was led by Compassion Games International Chairperson Chief Phil Lane Jr.”

Report Reflection: “The message and experience of this deep spiritual foundation being brought to
Times Square in NYC, the place where all crossroads of commerce meet, offered a tremendous contrast between where we’ve been, where we are and where we need to go.”

Story #2: Play for Peace Bringing Compassion to Communities in Conflict

With over 30 registered teams for Earth Week coming from India, Vietnam, the Philippines, the United Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 11.54.08 AMStates, Guatemala, and South Sudan, Play for Peace is a celebrated partner and dynamic force for global peace and compassion.

Globally, Play for Peace has over 2,000+ clubs on every continent in the world, and their involvement in the Compassion Games continues to expand.

Play for Peace states: “Children, youth and adults, even in communities in conflict, are deciding to choose compassion and practice peace, and they are learning to do this through the joy of play… Play creates a gateway to moments when differences dissolve, fear melts away, and we see what connects us rather than what divides us.”

Play for Peace is the true embodiment of compassionate play in action. Here are just a few of the incredible stories they reported from the 30 teams they had registered for Earth Week.

Peace Clubs in New Delhi, India

New Delhi

Youth from impoverished areas of New Delhi came together to connect with nature for the first time in their lives. The report explains:

“These youth come from slum areas where if you open a window or door you cannot even see any tree or feel or see any greenery. So practical daily struggle of survival & life have made their connection with nature to zero.”

They learned about ecosystems and climate change, and realized that they themselves were not the main contributors to the climate change. Even so, they realized there were things they could do to help, like reducing their use of plastic and cleaning up parks.

“It was shared that in the communities they come from no one has 2 or 4-wheeler, no one has motorbike,Screen Shot 2016-05-11 at 3.06.05 PMthey do not use AC, they don’t have refrigerator, they are not the contributor to this problem. At the same time we agreed we use lots of plastic & that we can plan to reduce.”

Upon reflection, they said:

“Each youth who had no connection with nature in daily life started experiencing connection and need of
this connection. They were inspired to contribute something in their limited capacity and in their surroundings. Each one became aware of hazards of using plastic and that they can make a difference.”

Peace Club in South Sudan, Africa

Sudan Report

In South Sudan, communities affected by crisis came together to heal through the power of compassionate play. From the report:

“South Sudan has been undergoing through violent acts especially during the 2013 December crisis that resulted to loss of lives, destruction of properties including homes and service facilities, thousands were displaced, many were traumatized, as hatred enlarged from community to community. In order to to bringScreen Shot 2016-05-11 at 3.08.46 PM peace and heal those traumatized, Hold the Child is working on Child Protection programs in such communities, in one way or the other a high % children were affected during the crisis.”Upon reflection, the reporter wrote:

Since I went through a training of Play for Peace, I can bare witness that I have gone through a milestone of changes, through regular engagement of children and various communities. I have also changed my perception towards those who are our enemies, for example the cores principles of Play for Peace like cooperation, having FUN, safety, inclusion. I feel encouraged everyday when I see smiles on the faces of others. My great moments are when I take time with children and when I see them going back home singing or practicing on the Compassion Games.”

Story #3: Compassionate Communities

Austin, Louisville, and Silicon Valley

There are currently over 350 declared compassionate cities and communities around the world. At their best, compassionate cities challenge and inspire one another to reach new and unprecedented levels of civic engagement that leads to making their communities kinder, safer, more just and better places to live.The Compassion Games serve as a fun, creative catalyst toward this vital goal. In this year’s Serve the Earth Week Coopetition, three outstanding Compassionate Communities – Austin, Louisville, and Silicon Valley – have shown again why they are an exemplary force for igniting acts of service and compassion for other cities to build upon in their own way.


Team Compassionate Austin

Compassionate Austin and the members of its communities are true champions of compassion. View some of the highlights that took place in Austin for this year’s Serve the Earth Week.

Austin Becomes a Compassionate City

On April 14th 2016, the Mayor and City Council members of Austin, Texas’ state capital, voted to join with Screen Shot 2016-05-11 at 3.10.12 PMother Texas cities San Antonio, Houston and Dallas/Fort Worth in becoming a “self designated” compassionate city: Compassionate Austin. Austin joins over 350 cities around the world that have embarked on similar campaigns.

The Austin City Council Resolution recognizes that “we are all compassionate Austin” and encourages everyone in Austin – city departments, area school districts, community and faith groups, and all Austinites – to participate in the Compassion Games as a way to show 3D compassion (caring for others, self, and the Earth) and strengthen compassion strength of their city.

Lesa Walker, a civic leader in Austin who led this initiative, stated:

“We now plot our course with compassion and envision ourselves as a Compassionate City.  However, we still face very serious unmet needs in our community.  We need to earn our designation as a Compassionate City through our daily compassionate action! We all own these issues and need to work together to address them.”

The City Council affirmed the Resolution just in time for the kick off of the Serve the Earth Week Compassion Games. What follows are a few of the highlights that emerged out of Compassionate Austin during Earth Week.

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Team Compassionate Santa Cruz Mountains (Silicon Valley)

Nestled near the Santa Cruz Mountains lies Silicon Valley, the home of some of the world’s largest and most innovative tech companies such as Google, Apple, and Facebook.

It may be surprising to learn that compassion can thrive in such high tech environments, but Silicon Valley closely collaborates with Stanford’s CCARE, the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education. The synergy of this collaboration and the resiliency of its communities is nothing short of amazing.

Emerging out of the Santa Cruz Mountains was the Community Resilience Challenge, a featured Way to Play in the Games lead by Leslie Meehan, a civic leader, Compassion Games Ambassador, and community member of the area.

In the upcoming Global Unity Games it is likely that the civic and corporate leaders of this dynamic area will play a large role in igniting compassionate action around the world.

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Team Compassionate Louisville

Each year, Louisville, Kentucky hosts its annual Give-A-Day: Mayor’s Day of Service celebration. During Earth Week, members of Louisville are encouraged to give one day of service to give back to their community.

Mayor of Louisville Greg Fischer ran and won on a platform of lifelong learning, health, and compassion. After receiving an award from the City of Seattle for affirming itself as a Compassionate City, he boldly and playfully declared that “Louisville is the most compassionate city, and will be so until proven otherwise.”

Mayor Greg Fischer has been a champion and collaborator of the Compassion Games since 2012, and began Give-A-Day to bring the vision of a compassionate city to life. In regard to Give-A-Day, he says:

“Whether you give an hour, a day, donate blood, give food, clothing or simply help a neighbor, everyone can do something! [T]hanks for helping make Louisville the most caring and compassionate city in the world!

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In total, Compassionate Louisville accomplished the following with the help of over 175,000 volunteers and 175,000 acts of service:

50,000 – Personal hygiene items donated through We Day Kentucky.

44,064 – Meals packaged by volunteers for Kids Against Hunger.

14,568 – Brightside volunteers who helped clean up Louisville.

11,000 – Calls and social media hits to the WHAS 11 Give A Day Telethon.

400 – Smoke detectors installed by volunteers with the American Red Cross Louisville chapter.

152 – Boxes of medical supplies sorted by volunteers for Supplies Over Seas, which sends the supplies and equipment to areas in need worldwide.

100 – Bicycles donated and refurbished through the Pedal Power Project for donation to Kentucky Refugee Ministries’ clients.

100 – Beds constructed and donated to JCPS students through the Build A Bed program.

10 – Houses renovated and new homes built for needy families by Habitat for Humanity’s Love Your Neighborhood program.

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Is Texas Becoming the Most Compassionate Place on Earth?

Even though Texas is the second largest state in the union when it comes to size and population, it appearsphotothat it won’t be second when it comes to compassionate action. Look at what’s happening in the Lone Star State!

On April 14th 2016, the Mayor and City Council members of Austin, Texas’ state capital, voted to join with San Antonio, Houston and Dallas/Fort Worth in becoming a “self designated” compassionate city: Compassionate Austin. There are now over 350 cities around the world that have embarked on similar campaigns.  

It is well known that Austin is an incredible city that is smart, super cool, and determined to “keep Austin weird,” but now it is championing compassionate action and elevating compassion throughout the city.  Last week, the Austin Symphony Orchestra performed the United States premiere of the song cycle “Compassion” by Nigel Westlake and Lior Attar. At the performance a group of University of Texas business school students did their service learning project on the theme of compassion by hosting a “Compassion Corner,” where they engaged people in sharing their thoughts and stories of compassion.  The week before they created videos of people telling their stories of compassion at a “Compassion Conversations” exhibit and panel discussion at the Blanton Museum of Art.

The Austin City Council Resolution recognizes that “we are all compassionate Austin” and encourages everyone in Austin, city departments, area school districts, community and faith groups and all Austinites to participate in the Compassion Games as a way to show 3D compassion (caring for others, self, and the Earth) and strengthen compassionate action. At a City Hall press conference, following the passing of the Resolution, there were speeches made by representatives of Rosedale School (Austin Independent School District), the Austin Public Libraries, Earth Day Austin 2016, Interfaith Action of Central Texas, and Raindrop Women’s Association/Turkish House. Each of these groups, as well as others, participate in the Compassion Games and represent the many champions of compassion in Austin.

Lesa Giving Speech

Dr. Lesa Walker speaking for the resolution at City Council to inaugurate Austin as a Compassionate City.

This was clearly a brilliant strategic move on Compassionate Austin’s part. The City Council affirmed the Resolution just in time for the kick off of the Serve the Earth Week Compassion Games. Cities from all over the world will now have to consider ways to up their “compassion game” in response to this wave of goodness and compassion strength coming out of Austin, Texas. Here is a video of Compassionate Austin organizer Dr. Lesa Walker talking about the resolution and commitment to playing in the Compassion Games.

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Dr. Walker with Simone Talma Flowers and Kuaybe Nur after successfully passing the Compassionate City resolution.

Lesa Walker says, “We now plot our course with compassion and envision ourselves as a Compassionate City.  However, we still face very serious unmet needs in our community.  We need to earn our designation as a Compassionate City through our daily compassionate action! We all own these issues and need to work together to address them.”

Earth Week: Love This Place!

Earth Day Austin is one of the teams in the Serve the Earth Week: Love this Place! Compassion Games and is organizing the Earth Day Austin 2016 festival happening on April 23.  As awesome as these actions are, the largest Earth Day festival in the world does not take place in Austin but takes place in Dallas, Texas with over 600 exhibitors. Compassionate Dallas-Fort Worth will be at that festival in Dallas thanks to Dr. Charles Barker, organizer of Compassionate Dallas-Fort Worth, and his remarkable team.

Congratulations to everyone in Texas for the remarkable work they’re doing to bring compassion to life! Want to see more of the creative and social innovation coming out of Austin? Take a look at this Austin Social Entrepreneurship Map. Compassion is the power source for social innovation. It is the power source to meet our personal and community needs and create a better world!  

Learn more and sign up for Love This Place! Serve the Earth Week here!

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Being Human Ain’t Easy: Unexpected Lessons from His Holiness the 17th Karmapa

We surely can’t complain about the mystery and thrill of being alive. Yet, regardless of one’s walk of life, it just isn’t easy being human.

downloadLike the tilted spinning of the Earth traveling through the Milky Way, having balance in one moment does not necessarily mean we will have it in the next. Life is messy. We are each challenged by the struggles of maintaining harmony in our relationships, by the incessant demand of finances and making a living, and of nurturing the physical and mental health of ourselves and those we love. We each desire meaning, belonging, and purpose in our lives.

These challenges in life, in their various forms and magnitudes, are a given. It is how we respond – not react – to life’s challenges that truly matter, transmuting them into all the more reason to love harder and be more compassionate toward others and toward ourselves, knowing we all suffer in one way or another.

Unfortunately, this is far easier to say and know than to do.Karmapa Image

Which is perhaps why thousands of people flocked like weary birds to Seattle Center on May 9th, to receive a drink of the cool, spring water that is the presence and teachings of His Holiness the 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje. He is, after all, a shining example of compassion and love in a tumultuous world.

What we got, however, was something far different than expected. Something, I believe, that was far better.

First of all, His Holiness had a cold, leaving him visibly and admittedly drained. To top this off, Seattle was the last stop on his journey of events over the course of two months, which was extremely exhausting in itself.

Buddha or not, I thought, the Karmapa is human. This lesson, which had only just begun, was the greatest gift he could have given us. Here was a moment for us to have deep compassion for him. Curiously and unexpectedly, it wasn’t the last.

After forty-five minutes of his teachings about compassion from the Kagyu Buddhist tradition, a young panel of change-makers sat on stage with the Karmapa and asked him, each in turn, some very difficult questions.

One such question was from Jennifer Hotes, a young woman activist from a nonprofit called Love City Love which creates open spaces for artists to create art in community for one another for the sake of joy. She asked him:

“How do we have fun without using it as a way to escape from the suffering in the world, as a way to remind ourselves of the positive things in life?” She paused, almost forgetting to ask him the next part of her question with a sheepish but twinkling smile on her face. “And also, what do you do to have fun?”

The moderator quickly finished translating her question with a smile himself, and the Karmapa’s eyebrows went up in surprise. He put his hand to his chin in deep thought. He was, as clear as day, stumped! The audience laughed with him. To our surprise, here is some of what he said:

“It’s important in life, to not take things so seriously all the time. It’s important to remember to enjoy life to celebrate the good things… I remember when I was a young boy, my family would celebrate Losar, the Lunar New Year of Tibet. I remember that I would get so excited the day before that my siblings and I couldn’t sleep… We still honor Losar, but now I must follow set itineraries, the day is full of ceremony and ritual that I must fulfill. Sometimes I wish I could just lay in bed and sleep through it… As for what I do for fun now, I don’t know. I’ll have to give this more thought.”

As the last words of this were translated, the Karmapa unexpectedly began to speak again, which was translated to us once more:

“I really enjoy music and the arts. When I have time, I like to paint and make music. The arts are very important. That is all I have to say on the matter.”

It was an astonishing revelation, I think, for all of us. Quite simply, the Karmapa didn’t experience much of what it was like to simply play, to have fun.

This appears to be a common issue for everyday people and change-makers alike. We often feel guilty regarding the moments of joy in our lives when we know there is so much suffering in the world. Yet, play is an essential human need that allows us to connect with one another, building authentic relationships that can lead to sustainable action rooted in compassion. When we don’t take time to honor what is good and beautiful in life, we burn out. We lose our sense of wholeness. We actually become less effective at making positive change happen.

It is actually this concern that lead to us being invited to the event with the Karmapa at Seattle Center, to represent the CompassionCompassion Games Updated Logo for Shift Network Games and teach attendees about it. The Compassion Games are a social tool designed to ignite, amplify, and catalyze compassionate action in communities around the world. By infusing the power of playfulness and compassion with the fun of friendly competition, the Games offer a unique way to strive together to serve each other, our own personal well-being, and the Earth.

Experiencing the challenges that nonprofits face with finding financial support to grow and scale, the struggle can sometimes lead us to doubt the importance of play and the idea that you can use play to build the capacity of communities to be more compassionate. As we are currently fundraising to expand the Games to respond to a growing demand, this weighed heavily on our team’s hearts that evening.

Yet, once we began to speak with people about the Games, most people went from curiosity or confusion to an understanding grin on their face. “Team Seattle needs your help!” we would say humorously with feigned exacerbation. “The Mayor of Louisville said they were the most compassionate city in the world and would be so until kindliving1-300x245proven otherwise! In fact, he said they were so compassionate they would come here and help us beat them!” At that point, most people usually laughed and wanted to learn more. Obviously, no one can lose the Compassion Games, though they seem to tap into an innate human desire to want to play together, to do the heavy lifting in the world with a lighter heart. By doing so, the Games can help raise the capacity of compassion in our lives and our communities in ways we otherwise wouldn’t feel inspired, or believe were possible, to do.

This may be why the Compassion Games worked so well in a women’s prison, where for the first time ever there were eleven days of no violence while the Games were played. Or why they are so excitingly received in educational settings, where children can “cooperate to compete” to make their schools safer and warmer places to learn, and to experience compassion first hand.

We were feeling quite relieved about the reception of the Compassion Games at the Karmapa’s event, but then it happened: one of the change-makers of the panel on-stage, a young lady named Rekeda Roundtree from Roots of Empathy, asked another challenging question:

“It seems that competition is at the root of many social ills that we as a society face today. Can you tell us how competition creates barriers between people, how it is a separation that prevents us from connecting compassionately together to collaborate and make change?”

kl-stargirl02i-fish0814As an organization that aimed to use friendly competition as a kind of “culture hack” to get people excited about making a difference (the latin root for competition – “competere” – means “to strive together”), this question made our hearts skip a beat. Our team looked at each other with playfully worried smiles, holding our breath as we anticipated what would come next. Depending on his answer, we would either proudly stay, or try to make a break for it before mobs of outraged compassion-seekers descended on us.

The moderator asked if it was okay to inverse the question. He asked, “So, can I ask the Karmapa if fishastroheartpplcompetition can be used in a way that is positive, as a way to make positive social change?” The young woman, once again, reiterated her original question regarding competition’s more negative side, how it enhances social ills rather than alleviates them.

Here is what the Karmapa said:

“Competition is very pervasive in the world today, connected to many of the activities that lead to problems. Even when people are not engaged in competition – competition with distinct victors or those who are defeated – people may bring the energy of competition to their everyday lives, like in an argument and the need to be right at the expense of others. But, I think competition can have a positive aspect to it as well. Competition can be used as a motivator to better oneself, not to beat others but to compete with oneself to become more compassionate. In this way competition can be used to make oneself stand out, but in a positive way.”

All at once, we let our breaths out in a sigh of relief and laughed; there wouldn’t be any compassion mobs coming for us today. As it turns out, even the Karmapa believed that friendly competition could be used as a social force for good.

Once, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama said this when asked a similar question:

“Competition used to put others down: not good. Competition used to bring everybody up: that is very good.”

We were grateful that His Holiness the 17th Karmapa shared with us his down-to-earth human side. It allowed us, I believe, to see ourselves in him, not as an idol or state of perfection that we are not, but as a person like the rest of us. It made room for greater compassion toward ourselves in our own hardships, mishaps, and imperfections. Life is full of them, that’s for certain, but it’s easier to know that we are in them together, that even our suffering profoundly connects us all.

As for play and having fun: may we all enjoy the gifts that life has to offer us more often, not as an escape, but as a celebration to rejuvenate our spirits. And may the Compassion Games touch countless more lives by reminding us how to change the world by having fun, by reminding us of the child within us all.

We each desire to see the world become a more kind, safe, and loving place. It is much more rewarding when we do this together.

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Story Written by Compassion Games Storyteller Joey Crotty
with support from Compassion Games Team Members Lesa Walker, Sande Hart, and Jon Ramer

Highlights for Earth Week from Around the World!

Greetings Compassionistas of Planet Earth!

We are proud to report that over 30 teams from 4 continents inspired thousands of people to come together, acting in ways that affirm our love and compassion for the Earth and all her inhabitants. This awakening biophilia, or “love of life”, is transforming the world!

We are still in the process of gathering the reflection reports on the Compassion Mapand have set a “liveline” (deadline) on the Scoreboard for Friday, May 8th. If you participated in Earth Week or Earth Day, add your report to make your actions known to the world! These reports uplift countless others, measure our collective impact, and show what we are capable of when we come together to act compassionately in our communities!

Here are some of the stories and highlights from Earth Week that we are aware of so far!


 

Screen Shot 2015-05-01 at 11.31.53 AMOne of the new and most exciting ways to play during Love This Place! Serve the Earth Week was on the Story Mapping Challenge. We want to give a huge thank you to our partner Esri for making this resource available. In the challenge, players upload a photo of a place they love and tell a story about why they love this place. Take a look to explore a literal world of stories of people from around the planet, and consider adding your own to the map!


Biophiliac and Proud Meme Small

Are you a biophiliac, or “lover of life”? A positive relationship with the natural world is being identified by scientific research as a

key indicator for one’s sense of overall well-being and even feelings of compassion. During Earth Week, people were proud to identify themselves as a biophiliacs and rally behind their love of life as a motivator for compassionate action and change. Learn more about the profound advantages to unleashing your inner biophiliac and living a longer, healthier life here!


 

We are deeply grateful to Andy Smallman, David Spangler, Fish Astronaut, and everyone from the International Kindness Team who organized these incredible missions and activities associated with the Secret Agents of Green Compassion. Here is an excerpt from Day 1’s Mission:

Screen Shot 2015-05-01 at 9.44.20 AMGood Morning Agents…

As Secret Agents of Green Compassion, we are part of a conspiracy with nature. Conspiracy comes from the Latin meaning “to breathe together,” which is literally what we do with nature.  We take in her substance in various ways and she takes in ours in reciprocity. We conspire together to express life on earth. But just what is this conspiracy to which we belong? And how are we conspiring?

Intrigued to know more? View all 8 missions that took place during Earth Week here and find ways to help bring ourselves and other humans into balance with nature as we shower the Earth with green compassion.


Compassion As

The Mayors & Cities League stepped up in a big way for Serve the Earth Week. In 2013, Mayors from around the country passed a landmark resolution calling for compassion as effective public policy. We all know documents aren’t enough to accomplish the compassionate change we seek, so cities like Louisville, KY under the leadership of Mayor Greg Fischer hosted their annual “Give-A-Day” where community members gave one day of Earth Week back to the community through acts of compassionate service. Learn more here!


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Baltimore’s riots last week have highlighted the growing unrest and injustices across America. Many are being forced to rethink assumptions we’ve made about race, power, civility, and compassion. Yet, leaders like Reverend Jim Lee are stepping up to guide us away from despair and into a place of compassion and profound healing. He urges his community to “Love our way through the pain. Let’s make the pain the lesson, not the reason.” Check out the way Lee’s community of Metro Detroit used the Compassion Games Earth Week coopetition to uplift one another and find pride in their city and the places they love.


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Can the love of money and oil be greater than the love people have for their home, land, and waters? In Seattle, WA community members, activists, and the Indigenous Peoples League are standing up to Shell Oil who intends to dock their drilling rigs in Seattle ports before expanding their exploration of the arctic for oil. Learn and be inspired here by what this community is doing in creative and loud ways to say “sHell No!” with a flotilla of kayaks and the power of the people!

 


The Earth gives us everything… water, food, shelter, and ultimately life! This Compassion Games coopetition – focused on awakening a love for our planet in a way that is positive, playful, and collaborative – was a remarkable way to ignite compassionate action to give back to our only home.

Start preparing for the Annual, Global September Compassion Games! Beginning on 9/11’s National Day of Service and ending on 9/21, the International Day of Peace, this Compassion Games coopetition takes place during the 11 Days of Global Unity. Learn more about it here!

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Thank you for all that YOU do to make the world a safer, kinder, and more vibrant place to live for the Earth and all living beings! Love wins!

The Power of Love and Compassion to Stop the Violence and Start the Healing

Baltimore’s riots this week have highlighted the growing unrest and injustices across America. Many are being forced to rethink assumptions we’ve made about race, power, civility, and compassion.  We seem to have forgotten concepts like fairness and justice as a nation. Without this moral compass to guide us, what’s left?

As video after video surfaces of young black males being brutally treated by police, it makes us wonder if racial discrimination and police brutality can now be tolerated in our society. Empathizing with the police and continuing to ignore the root causes of these problems is all too easy. Mainstream media seems to cater to our worst fears and instincts by amplifying the inexcusable behavior of a few.

From the New York Times:

The Rev. Jamal Bryant, delivering the eulogy of Freddie Gray in Baltimore, spoke of the plight of poor, young black men like Mr. Gray, living “confined to a box” made up of poor education, lack of job opportunities and racial stereotypes — “the box of thinking all black men are thugs and athletes and rappers.”

“He had to have been asking himself: ‘What am I going to do with my life?’” Mr. Bryant said. “He had to feel at age 25 like the walls were closing in on him.”

As his voice rose to a shout, and the cheering congregation rose to its feet, Mr. Bryant said that black people must take control of their lives and force the police and government to change.

“This is not the time for us as a people to be sitting on a corner drinking malt liquor. This is not the time for us to be playing lottery,” he said.

“Get your black self up and change this city,” he said. “I don’t know how you can be black in America and be silent. With everything we’ve been through, ain’t no way in the world you can sit here and be silent in the face of injustice.”

What a powerful call to justice. However, it isn’t just a call to African-Americans. If we see ourselves as one multi-cultural society we need a collective action that will lead to effective change. What is society’s role in providing a way out of the poverty, hopelessness and despair that these young men seem to be stuck in?

The pathway out used to be as simple as getting a good education and hard work that might ultimately earn you a fair shot at the American dream. But with the rise in the cost of education and the lack of decent paying jobs, this no longer seems like a winning strategy.  We need to do better as a society, even if it’s CG16-0015-fish (1)more difficult. We need to relearn how to respect our differences and work together: to address these challenges with effective policies, solutions, and on the ground actions that change lives.

The Power of Compassion and Our Interrelatedness

According to Navajo Medicine Woman Patricia Anne Davis,  “the word ‘compassion’ can best be translated into English using the word ‘proxy’, meaning that another person can experience another person’s experience because we are all related by our inherent divinity given to each person equally. It is an all-inclusive experience where there is unity in the natural order and everyone is interconnected.”

We are interconnected to the youth and to the police. Can we find compassion for the police officers who are upholding the law and for the black youth who have the cards unfairly stacked against them?

The challenges we face are personal and spiritual as well as economic, cultural and political. Compassionate action can build this bridge. The role of compassion is not only vital in our lives, it is a key to understanding the circumstances of every perspective and finding a way forward that is just and can heal the rifts in our communities.

In Detroit, Michigan a team called #MetroDetroit participated in the Compassion Games “Love This Place! Serve the Earth Week” Coopetition from April 18 through April 26.

We recently wrote a news post about the organizer of the team Reverend Jim Lee of Renaissance Unity Church titled “Love The Hell Out of Metro Detroit: From the Blame – Shame Game to the Compassion Games.

metrodetroit2Lee is “rewiring the cellular memory to a place of forgiveness so his city can thrive – so the beloved community can emerge.” Rev. Lee wants to be very clear, “Forgiveness is not about forgetting the past. It doesn’t change what happened. What changes is the interpretation and perception with a new quality, a new tone can emerge to heal us today, so we can move on to the beloved community.”

Lee believes that his community can revitalize and empower itself by bringing the power of love and compassion to bear on their everyday life. Lee says he wants to “Love our way through the pain. Let’s make the pain the lesson, not the reason.”

The #MetroDetroit team committed to participate in the Love This Place! Story Mapping challenge and set out to identify many of the places in Detroit that they cherish and love. The goal was to heighten appreciation of their physical environment, their sense of social cohesion, and their experience of safety and peace within their neighborhoods.

We are happy to report that team #MetroDetroit posted more photo stories than any other city in the world!  Congratulations #MetroDetroit!  You can see all the story photos here.metrodetroit3

We can learn so much from this remarkable team and their accomplishments. We can come together to make just and lasting change by building cultures of compassion and kindness. There are over 300 cities around the world that have embarked on compassionate city campaigns. As people of this remarkable time – filled with great challenges and surprising opportunities – what do we choose?

The Compassion Games supports communities committed to creating cultures that are safer, kinder, and better places to live. You can find out more here www.compassiongames.org Game on!

 

Love of Salish Sea Ignites Groundswell Opposition to Shell’s Arctic Drills in Seattle During Earth Week

A message from Earth Day of a possible future:

“It is on this day, this remarkable day, we give thanks to our ancestors. In the darkest time of our species’ history they faced a profound challenge. They faced themselves.

It is the very fact that we are here, alive today in abundance and safety, surrounded by our kin in this unfolding story of life, that we know they were mindful of our coming. We give our deepest thanks that they saw past the persuasions of an old and broken worldview, that they looked past dire uncertainty with courage and incredible strength.

We give our gratitude to you, ancestors, for unifying as One Human Family in the vision of a new story that teaches us, even now, to walk lightly on the Earth together with respect, with generosity… with compassion forever in our hearts for this Earth that we dearly love.”

-Ode to the Ancestors
in the Time of Great Remembering
Earth Day, Year 2200
 

Today is April 24, and it is Earth Week in the year 2015. Right now…you are alive, and what a time it is to be alive! We live in momentous times… At our fingertips we have access to a universe of knowledge and information that couldn’t even be fathomed just fifty years ago by the brightest thinkers. We have discovered laws of the universe that would baffle Newton himself. We are beginning to understand just how profoundly that all life is interconnected, that we are more like one great interdependent “super-organism” instead of the isolated individuals we may believe ourselves to be.

It is Earth Week 2015, and we – the “big-we,” the “human-race-we” – have profound opportunities placed before us, choices that are only ours to make. Can we transmute the knowledge and information we have acquired now into wisdom, and into compassionate action? Instinctually, we know that the war we are waging with nature must come to an end…this planet, after all, is our home. When the Earth suffers, we all suffer.

In Seattle, we are in the middle of celebrating the Compassion Games “Love This Place! Serve the Earth Week” coopetition (April 8-26). Communities around the world are challenging themselves and each other to inspire one another ignite our biophilia, or “love of life”, into compassionate action for the Earth. The Games are playful, but the stakes here are high; we are doing heavy lifting with a light heart. In the Pacific Northwest, an onslaught of fossil fuel companies intend to turn our home into a fossil fuel corridor for profit headed overseas, jeopardizing the land and waterways that life depends upon.

Biophiliac and Proud Meme SmallAmidst this backdrop of proposed fossil fuel development, Shell’s arctic drilling rigs are approaching Seattle ports, planning to dock and wait for a key seasonal window to explore the arctic and drill for oil. The lease for Shell to dock in Seattle was acquired privately without a public hearing. Consequentially and inevitably, a groundswell of opposition has arisen at the thought of such a tool being harbored here, considering Shell’s history of oil spills and disaster unpreparedness. For one, an environmental impact evaluation was never conducted to assess the risks of housing the oil rigs in Seattle waters. Perhaps even more critically, leaving the arctic oil in the ground is a high priority for all of us wishing to prevent Earth’s global temperature from rising two degrees celsius. A price, as they say, cannot be put on the havoc left behind in the event of an oil spill, or for that matter, the devastating cost of climate change.

Screen Shot 2015-04-24 at 12.28.21 PMEnvironmental groups from the “sHell No Coalition” such as Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, BackBone Campaign, 350Seattle, Climate Solutions, and many others are organizing rallies and direct action to disrupt the rigs. Bill Moyer of the Backbone
Campaign says they aim to welcome the rigs into Seattle with the infamous “Flotilla of Kayaks,” but then make sure “the rigs never leave.” If successful, Shell’s rigs will miss their brief window to explore the arctic to drill for oil. (The rigs have already attempted to find oil, but Mother Nature has thus far taken a dire toll on the operation. Many fear an oil spill is inevitable if they continue, and would be impossible to mitigate).

So how do we actually turn our love into action and spark a movement to solve the challenges of our time? The last day of the Compassion Games “Love This Place! Serve the Earth Week” is on Sunday, April 26, and we are taking to the streets to act on behalf of the Earth.

A “Love Activation Dance Mob” will be starting at 11 a.m. in North Seattle and culminating at 2 p.m. at Seattle Center’s International Fountain, bringing together dancers, activists, percussionists, and musicians to celebrate the end of Earth Week.

The dance mob will then head down to the “sHell No – Seattle Draws the Line” rally at Myrtle Edward’s Park. The Nawtsmaat Alliance – an Indigenous lead alliance of Native and Non-Native peoples who aim to protect the region – will be represented. Sundance Chief Rueben George and Elder Ta’Ah George of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation, Hereditary Chief Phil Lane Jr., and Annie Leonard of GreenPeace will be among the speakers. The rally is leading up to a peaceful direct action in may known as the “Festival of Resistance,” where the people’s flotilla will attempt to prevent the rigs from leaving. (Have a kayak and want to train to get involved for the action in May? Go here!).

RSVP for the “Love Activation Dance Mob” here, and contact the organizer Sommer Joy Albertsen (Sommer@IslandJoyWellness.com) to coordinate get involved!

Go here to RSVP for the “sHell No – Seattle Draws the Line” at Myrtle Edwards Park on Sunday, April 26 at 2 p.m.!

Do you have an unrelinquishing love of the Salish Sea? Do you feel called to unleash your biophilia, or “love of life,” to ensure the Earth and all her species are protected in this life and for generations to come? It’s going to take all of us! Play in the Compassion Games “Love This Place! Serve the Earth Week” coopetition and join us this Sunday at 2 p.m. We look forward to rallying with you in the name of wisdom, compassion, and of course, life itself!

Our relatives of the future will appreciate it.

Mayors as Leaders in the Compassion Movement

As citizens, we understand the power of public policy and the choices that a Mayor can make. We know that budgets are moral documents that reflect the values of our community and are then carried out by our elected officials.

We also know that now is a tough time to hold public office with so many fellow citizens distrusting the government and the political process.  Therefore, we think it is particularly meaningful to recognize outstanding leaders who are committed to integrating compassion as a part of their approach to building community and setting public policy.

murrayWe are happy to report that the Honorable Mayor Ed Murray of Seattle has issued a Proclamation in support of the Love This Place: Serve the Earth Week coopetition taking place from April 18 to 26.

Here is a mayor’s proclamation that recognizes the extraordinary challenges we face as a planet such as “climate change, global health issues, violence, food and water shortages, and economic struggles.”

It also states that “each of us have a right to a healthy, sustainable environment;” and “the global community must come together to create compassionate solutions to our global challenges.”

With Mayor Ed Murray of Seattle and the Honorable Greg Fischer, Mayor of Louisville, we have two Mayors who are in tune with the urgent call of our time and who recognize the importance of compassionate responses to these challenges.

We also know that proclamations and speeches are not enough. These mayors are calling us to get engaged and give time in service to our communities to address these challenges and opportunities.

Mayor Greg Fischer from Louisville has organized Give A Day during the Mayor’s Week of Service that coincides with the “Love This Place! Serve the Earth Week” coopetition (April 18-26).

Mayor Fischer led the U.S. Conference of Mayors and passed a resolution calling for compassion as part of effective public policy.

In 2012, Mayor Fischer challenged Seattle and communities from all over the world to see who was the most compassionate city.

Seattle took up the challenge and this gave rise to the Compassion Games: Survival of the Kindest in which we harness the power of compassion and cooperation and add to it the spirit of friendly-competition. This approach to competition brings people together to play and live compassionately in their communities.

During the Compassion Games, teams participate in “coopetitions” that challenge us to amplify the love and compassion we feel as a way to make our communities safer, kinder, and better places to live.

Communities connect the groups, organizations, events, and activities that are already in place to co-create a “collective impact” through mass-collaboration.

Players participate in community service projects, random acts of kindness, act as “Secret Agents of Compassion,” and engage in other fun ways to bring about positive change in their communities. Cooperative play helps us develop the skills to build the capacity to act more compassionately towards each other, ourselves, and the earth.

The last step is a reflective one: Players report and share their acts of compassion and kindness with each other through an online crowdsourcing map. They record the number of volunteers, hours of service, monies raised for local causes, and numbers of people served.  Everybody who plays wins; no one can lose the Compassion Games!

In honor of our earth and Earth Day here is a beautiful video that is an ode to planet earth

 

We are very grateful to the mayor and his staff for mobilizing on behalf and in support of a love this place serve the earth week. Thank you Mayor Murray!

 

Mayor’s Give A Day of Service: http://www.mygiveaday.com/

Compassion Proclamation

 

The Love This Place! Story Mapping Challenge: Crowdsourcing Compassion for Mother Earth

Announcing the
Love This Place! Story Mapping Challenge
for Serve the Earth Week!

In celebration of the Earth and our connection to all life, we invite you to play with us starting now and through the end of Earth Week in the Compassion Games “Love This Place! Story Mapping Challenge!“.  Join us as we crowdsource our love for the Earth and turn it into compassionate action for the benefit of all living beings!

Here is how the Story Mapping Challenge works:
Sit for a moment and reflect on a place in nature that brings you a sense of joy, wholeness, awe, or even peace. It could be a special place in a park or a forest, a garden, or even your backyard. Do you have a special place picked out? Are you picturing yourself there? Wonderful!

Research tells us that just by imagining this special place in the natural world, your autonomic nervous system has calmed down and you’ve given a boost to your immune system, which is incredible! Good work…

Next, take or find a photo of this place and upload it to the Love This Place! Story Map. Here you can tell your story about why you “Love This Place!” where it will join the stories of people from around the planet!

If we can challenge ourselves to collect 1,000 of these “love” stories, we will expand the Story Mapping Compassion Game to include connecting players to care for these special places, transforming our love into compassionate action for the Earth and all her inhabitants! Special thanks to our friends at Esri who have generously supported the Compassion Games.

Are you up for the challenge? Will you help by sharing your stories to get us there by the end of the Serve the Earth Week Coopetition on Sunday, April 26th?!

Let’s awaken our innate biophilia, or “love of life”, in people everywhere so that we can turn our love for these places into effectively caring for them!

What Do You Mean by Crowdsourcing Love for Compassionate Action?

The Internet has opened new possibilities for how we might share and uplift one another. There are many examples of linking and harnessing our collective intelligence as a species in this global, informational age. Think Wikipedia.

We’ve also seen this collective power applied to our financial capital to crowd-fund projects and initiatives that “we the people” deem worthy. Think crowdfunding platforms like KickStarter, IndieGoGo, or GoFundMe.

Well the Earth, our natural capital, is in great peril due to our collective activities and ways of existing on this planet that are incompatible with life. Can we change how we collectively act and relate to each other and the Earth, doing things differently so things will really be different?  Can we change the game from making “more” to making life better for us all?

The Compassion Games are about changing the games we play by ourselves and together. So when it comes to serving our Mother Earth, we ask… “Can we use the technical and social power of crowdsourcing to crowdsource the goodness that’s needed to protect and care for the places we love?” We certainly believe so!

Add your places and stories to the Story Map to start a conversation, a fire. Share these stories with your friends and your family. Encourage them to think of the places on Earth they love, bringing forth an awareness of the love within us for the planet we depend on so that we are inspired to see the Earth protected and cared for!

Add Your Places to the Story Map Here!

“Mankind has gone very far into an artificial world of his own creation. He has sought to insulate himself, in his cities of steel and concrete, from the realities of earth and water and the growing seed. Intoxicated with a sense of his own power, he seems to be going farther and farther into more experiments for the destruction of himself and his world.

There is certainly no single remedy for this condition and I am offering no panacea. But it seems reasonable to believe — and I do believe — that the more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us the less taste we shall have for the destruction of our race. Wonder and humility are wholesome emotions, and they do not exist side by side with a lust for destruction.”

– Rachel Carson, Author of “Silent Spring”

Players of Earth Week & Compassion as the Path to Justice and the American Dream

As we’re getting ready for the inaugural Love This Place! Serve the Earth Week coopetition, from April 18 through April 26, we are excited to introduce some of the “players” that will be participating. This is an extremely diverse group including teams from Portugal, Peru, United Kingdom, Italy, and cities in the United States and Canada including Detroit, Michigan, Syracuse, New York and Seattle, Washington.

Interfaith Works is the team in Syracuse, New York that participated in the February World Interfaith Harmony Week coopetition. 87287165-ef33-4691-9cbf-404a0993a93fThey submitted many reports to the Compassion Report Map about their inspiring acts of service. Recently, we talked with Yangwa Benjamani, one of the organizers of the team, and unexpectedly he let us in on the incredibly moving story of his community. Yangwa is from the Congo and his team includes many Congolese immigrants who have made the journey to America.

He reports that in the Congolese community there are many who feel hopeless and are in a state of despair after coming to America.  They realize that their dream of life in America is more difficult than expected and unfortunately they often turn to alcohol and drugs to cope with the disappointment. Yangwa says playing the Compassion Games has brought hope and a way to connect with the American culture. It is a way to show his countrymen that there are people in America who are compassionate and caring.  He reminded us that many of the immigrants were farmers in the Congo who have a deep connection with the land and the water. He said “by being in nature and breathing with nature, they experience more goodness.”  We are thrilled to have interfaith works be one of the teams participating in this upcoming coopetition.

Compassion Games Head Coach Sande Hart has been working with Rev. Jim Lee, Senior Minister of Renaissance Unity Church in 0567091a-ede2-42a3-a662-6d5f4180d64fDetroit, Michigan. Reverend Lee is bringing the Compassion Games to his community as a way to transcend the inclination to violence that stems from injustice.  He knows the Compassion Games is the way to reprogramming that pattern and it can only happen when love wins. Metro-Detroit is focusing on the Love This Place! Story Mapping challenge to literally “love the hell” out of their home.  You can read the full news story “Love the Hell Out of Detroit” here!

We know there are so many remarkable stories out there of people overcoming hardship and bringing compassion into the world. We hope you will join the action for Earth Week to make known what you are doing in your community to help inspire others!

It’s not too late to sign up your team to participate in this upcoming Love this Place! Serve the Earth Week coopetition. You can learn more and register here!


Discover the many ways to play that can connect your community’s activities and events with other teams around the world to make this the most remarkable Earth Week in history!

Learn more and sign up for Love This Place! Serve the Earth Week here.

7941d949-40ca-4871-85ae-ad73e629d485

 

Check out the Love This Place! Story Mapping Challenge to crowdsource your love of the Earth into compassionate action for all life! Where are places loved the most? Game on!

Story-Map-Snapshot

Love The Hell Out of Metro Detroit: From the Blame-Shame Game to the Compassion Games

In the early sixties, in the thick of the Civil Rights movement, at the Voters Rights office in Alabama, Andrew Young was about to step outside into the parking lot to meet members of the Ku Klux Klan.  Mr. Young, appointed by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to head the voters rights effort, and has since gone on to become Mayor of Atlanta, US Congressman, and Ambassador to the United Nations, received a call thatkl-stargirl02i-fish0814the KKK were coming and that he might want to carry a gun. As he headed out the door to the ever so haunting image of men in white hoods, he went to pick up his gun, but his wife insisted he put it back in the desk drawer. She told him, ever so firmly, that he was to “Go Out There And Love The Hell Out of Them!”, and that’s just what he did. The KKK left peacefully that night. Andrew Young later wrote the Voters Rights Act that was passed in 1964.

While the Civil Rights Act has been passed and is now part of history, the cellular memory of fear, hatred and distrust is still as prevalent and unhealed in too many places in our great country today. “It’s as old as slavery” says Reverend Jim Lee, Sr. Minister of Renaissance Unity Church in Warren, Michigan in the Metro Detroit area. Every time a white policeman kills another black victim it keeps striking at the same nerve. Not that the act is not severe enough on it’s own volition, it’s just a matter of time before these nerves are going to erupt and lead to riots like those that have burnt cities to the ground in the past. Just one more strike at that nerve is enough to remove the thin veil covering the deep rage that we all know is there and bubbling to a boil, felt by people of all races, religion and culture.

Rev. Lee is responding to these mounting tensions in his community and feels strongly that the Compassion Games is the antidote to healing this burden that has plagued his community since the beginning of our country’s history, resurfacing again and again through time. He is determined to Love The Hell out of his community by “rewiring the cellular memory to a place of forgiveness so his city can thrive – so the beloved community can emerge.” Rev. Lee wants to be very clear, “Forgiveness is not about Little Onesforgetting the past. It doesn’t change what happened. What changes is the interpretation and perception with a new quality, a new tone can emerge to heal us today, so we can move on to the beloved community.” Rev. Lee says he wants to “Love our way thru the pain. Let’s make the pain the lesson, not the reason.”

The Love This Place! Story Mapping challenge is a perfect opportunity to help Metro-Detroit start seeing their community through the lens of the places that they Love. They have set a goal of 1,000 people identifying the places they love in the Metro-Detroit area and posting a photo and a description of why they Love This Place.  They might take a picture of the park bench, the 100 year old tree they pass each day, the corner market, or a historic building. When we start looking around our community for the things we love, we find so much more to love than we had ever realized. We become reprogrammed in that moment to be more loving toward ourselves. We will never look at that tree the same without recalling that love.

Rev. Lee knows we don’t have a single leader for this time of historic tension uprising like we have had in the past. He reminds us this only means it’s our time to step into our own power, into our own courage, into our own light and compassion, and he says, “if we don’t change we are just staying in the blame-shame
game. It’s time to move beyond that and it’s each of us alone that we have been waiting for, together.”

We may not have one single leader, but Reverend Lee is an exceptional model of what one person can do and he inspires us to rise to this challenge.  The Compassion Games are all about challenging ourselves and others to stretch our compassion muscles just a little bit further, deeper and higher through what natureCG16-0015-fish (1)gave us; the gift of life coupled with choice. The Games remind us to choose how we respond when our deepest instinct to protect ourselves, our families, our communities, and all that we consider sacred is threatened. Gone are the days when we let fear rule us, when we demonize others, or we wait for someone else to change. Here are the days where we can Love away the fear, distrust and threat… Reverend Lee is is here to lead us to  “Love our way through the pain to healing.”