Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Happy Holidays & Winter Solstice

On December 21, 2010, here in Nevada City, California at 3:38 PM Pacific Standard Time, 23:38 UTC (Universal Time) winter begins.

This first day of winter is called the Winter Solstice; likewise, the first day of summer is the Summer Solstice. The word solstice is derived from Latin and means “sun standing still.”  On this day of the year, the sun’s apparent position in the sky has reached its most southern or northern extreme.

The solstices and the seasons occur because the Earth’s axis is tilted 23.5° relative to its plane of revolution around the sun.

In the Northern Hemisphere winter, the northern half of the globe is tilted away from the sun; therefore, the sun is low in the sky giving us shorter days and longer nights. At this oblique angle, the sun’s energy is spread over a larger area of the Earth’s surface and thus is weaker than if it was hitting the surface more directly. Also, the sun’s rays must travel through more atmosphere before they reach the Earth’s surface, and some of the solar energy is reflected back into space. In addition, there are less daylight hours to warm the Earth.

Contrary to what many believe, the Earth is not farther from the sun during the winter. Actually, the Earth is almost at its closest point to the sun at the time of the northern hemisphere’s Winter Solstice. This variation in the Earth’s distance from the sun is small and does not greatly affect the weather; however it does slightly modify the severity of the Northern Hemisphere winters and summers.

In the Southern Hemisphere, the Winter Solstice takes place on June 21, 2011 at 17:16 UTC (Universal Time). Our Winter Solstice is the southern hemisphere’s Summer Solstice..
Solstice Lunar Eclipse

Not only does the winter solstice of 2010 fall on the day of a full moon, which is a once in 30 years event, but that there will be a total lunar eclipse that night at just about midnight, Pacific time. (The eclipse makes it a 1/400 year sort of event.) A total lunar eclipse occurs when the sun, the Earth and the moon align. The moon is always full and it passes through Earth's umbral shadow, or the darkest part of the shadow.

That shadow is actually composed of two cone-shaped components, one nested inside the other. The outer or penumbral shadow is a zone where the Earth blocks part but not all of the Sun's rays from reaching the Moon. In contrast, the inner or umbral shadow is a region where the Earth blocks all direct sunlight from reaching the Moon.

This is also a time when the sun begins to make its way toward the dark part of the year. The sun's energy, power and dominance is waning, and winter approaching.

In the days which follow, the sun's strength begins to diminish or, in a spiritual sense, descend into the Mother's womb. This continues until the time when the sun's light is reborn at Yule or Winter Solstice, when we celebrate the birth of the Son of Light during a time of spiritual darkness.

Reflect on this sacred time, and notice the season change around you. Watch the Mother Earth tuck her seeds safely within her womb and cover them over with a comforting blanket of earth and fallen leaves and later snowfall. Watch also your animal cousins as they prepare for the approaching winter. Watch the sky and the sacred waters and seas. Listen to the gentle loving promise of the Universe to Mother Earth and all of her children.
"Never fear, our beloved Daughter Earth, for though the sunlight grows faint upon you, the light of the Son will soon return, that all creation may awaken and live again."
So this December 21, remember that even though winter is beginning, and the days will now grow longer and the nights ever shorter; and as we travel through space—around the sun—our Earthly seasons will repeat again and we will now start the journey towards Spring.

Change and be reborn this solstice.

Friday, December 10, 2010

2 Years of Interdependence and Jayátu A Tale Feather of the Golden Eagle

Seasons of Interdependence
 It is hard for us to believe it  has been 2 years already since we launched the Interdependent Project web portal and when we look back on everything that has happened in just 2 years it feels like it should have been twice or three times those 24 months to accommodate the activity!

When the web portal launched it was in the midst of holiday season and we knew that any future anniversary celebrations would have to be integrated into the holiday spirit of the season...those who have birthdays in December know all too well what we mean.

So this year we were fortunate enough to catch a holiday flight on the wings of a Golden Eagle named JayátuSeThInk Media, the parent company of the Interdependent Project, has launched the Jayátu project just this last week.  Who is Jayátu?

Jayátu is a storyteller who has made the commitment to keeping the oral storytelling tradition alive and is making his art available now on the Wild West Web!

Jayátu and the 'art of storytelling' is also going to be featured in volume 2 of the Seeds of Sustainability Education Series. Volume 1: The Marche Sprouting Method was the first branch of the Tree of Sustainability: - Sustain Yourself.  The next branch is the "Path of Beauty".

If the first step on the journey towards collective sustainability is to sustain oneself, then the second one is surely to find ones personal path of beauty - that which feeds your soul, inspires you to live your dreams, and fills your heart in challenging times.   Without taking this step then our lives can be pretty colorless and appear to be dedicated to mundane survival.  Throughout history it has always been the arts and music that keep the human spirit thriving, not just surviving.  And without beauty being nurtured inside ourselves what is it that we truly wish to sustain?  Even if the world was completely powered by alternative, clean, renewable energy sources and 100% organic if humans were stuck in fear and ugly behaviors the planet would not be a better place to live.

Art, music, literary masterpieces, poetry, and storytelling are the showcases of human creativity and the dispensers of beauty into the seen world.  Many indigenous peoples walked a path of beauty because of the stories that were orally passed down generation after generation.  These stories helped them to understand their place on Earth and their interdependence with all life.  The oral tradition almost became extinct with the advent of the written word and the storytellers of modern day are a rare breed of humans who know and understand the magic of a story that is spoken from the heart of the storyteller.

All of us have a story and Jayátu is also a teacher of storytellers.  Volume 2 of the Seeds of Sustainability series will be an educational DVD intended to inspire and guide folks to birth their own storyteller into the world.  We invite you to celebrate this holiday season with us and sign up to attend the Jayátu Debut Holiday Story Event - 'The Big Jump'.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Time Banks

We recently featured this video on the Sustain Yourself page that was all about 'Time Banks" and we wanted to do a blog post about this new initiative.  Time banking is about spending an hour doing something for someone in your community and that hour goes into a Time Bank as a Time Dollar.  Then you have that Time Dollar to spend on having someone do something for you.  It is an awesome way to build community connections which is the core philosophy behind Time Banks.  A Time Bank begins with a core group of committed individuals who are joined together for the common good.  Time Banks create a system that connects unmet needs with untapped resources with a community. 

Time is something we seem to never have enough of because most of us are spending  all of our time trying to generate money.  These new Time Banks may be manifestation of the 'Time is Money" saying that we have all heard for years.  Where we live we have seen many alternative currency and barter systems try to launch and take hold in our community.  We believe they failed primarily because there was no strong organizing structure behind them.  That is what is very appealing about the Time Bank - the structure and organization of this new model is incredibly strong.  When you go to the website you will see that they have all of the resources you will need to learn about and begin your own Time Bank in your community.  The software platform is very impressive and allows for a uniform process to be implemented with enough customization to make your communities Time Bank unique.  Besides the strong organization and structure the philosophy behind these Time Banks has 5 core values which are the binding glue of Time Bank members:  
  • #1 - Assets - We are all assets and every human being has something to contribute.
  • #2 - Redefining Work - Some work is beyond price.  Work has to be redefined to value whatever it takes to raise healthy children, build strong families, revitalize neighborhoods, make democracy work, advance social justice, and make the planet sustainable. That kind of work needs to be honored, recorded, and rewarded.
  • #3 - Reciprocity - Helping works better as a two-way street.  The question "how can I help you? needs to change so we ask 'how can we help each other build the world we both will live in?
  • #4 - Social Networks - We need each other.  Networks are stronger than individuals.  People helping each other reweave communities of support, strength and trust.  Community is built upon sinking roots, building trust, and creating networks. Special relationships are built on commitment.
  • #5 - Respect - Every human being matters.  Respect underlies freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and everything we value.  Respect supplies the heart and soul of democracy.  When respect is denied to anyone, we all are injured.  We must respect where people are in the moment, not where we hope they will be at some future point.
With these 5 Core Values at the foundation of each Time Bank one could easily project a long term self sustaining Bank that won't have to ask for government bailouts or collapse under the current economic chaos. We are going to try to set one up in our community and we strongly encourage you to check it out for yours!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Equinox Blessings & Project Report/Update

Greetings Sustainable Matrix Weavers!

It is Fall Equinox 2010 here in the northern hemisphere and the Spring Equinox in the southern hemisphere. Equinox is the balance between daylight and nighttime hours and we are seeking to strike that balance within ourselves and our work as we move toward the winter season for us.The summer of 2010 has been full of major transitions for us here at the Interdependent Project headquarters. Most of the shifts began to accelerate right after Earth Day. Whenever changes happen and new opportunities open up it becomes necessary to examine the current list of priorities and sometimes dump excess and unproductive projects/initiatives into the recycle bin as we move and shift focus on what gets attention. Some would say that is healthy evolution....

We had been spending a great deal of energy on team building/relationships and in May there was a team summit that brought about a shift in priorities as well as a deeper understanding of how the word 'cooperative' is not necessarily defined and translated the same for everyone. We found that many people think cooperative is married to compromise and we respectfully disagree with that association. Therefore the Interdependent Project is now being managed not by a 'team' but by the uncompromising founders.

We actually do strive towards cooperation however and an opportunity to do so emerged at the end of June when Ning announced the no more 'free' networks that knocked many folks out of the social network arena. We committed ourselves to the next stage of evolution for this project and by July SeThInk Media (parent company of the Interdependent Project) became the sponsor, and we managers, of the Transition California Network. A great deal of our time was spent during the month of August integrating and serving the evolution of that network. September has been a month of catching up with network/site management and launching into the next phase.

And what is the next phase?

We are happy to report that our main focus is going to be geared towards facilitating the importation of the protocols that were established by the Lammas EcoVillage in Wales for EcoVillage & Low Impact Sustainable Development here into the United States.

We feel the one of the biggest foundational priorities for these current times is to institute new frameworks for how we live on this Earth and it begins with our own homes/family/communities. The EcoVillage model is just one of the new emerging models and we are committed to building upon the success of Lammas through the further development of this model as a viable way for us to achieve sustainable living. We are developing a strategy for the successful importation and translation of the zoning/building/application protocols and welcome participation from any of you who may share in our deeper convictions about the need for new sustainable community models that are legal and accepted by local planning departments.

The main website is also updated with a great deal of new content and a new navbar. We have some new Interdependent Fellowship organizations and initiatives that will receive a great deal of focus from us in the coming months. We are deeply saddened to report the apparent demise of NextGEN (The Next Generation EcoVillage Network) which we are still in the process of understanding why they are no longer online. The NextGEN handbook is still available for download because it is full of structural ideas and concepts that can be used by folks wanting to keep moving forward. We will give you updates as we learn more.

The private Interdependent Project Community Sphere network will be receiving attention and focus as well this winter and we are in the process of interviewing new Executive Administrators to help that network evolve toward its value fulfillment. There are currently 13 communities participating and over 100 members.

The public Sustainable Matrix Weavers network will also be seeing a new infusion of activity and content geared towards delivering inspiring sustainable solutions that are springing up under our feet everyday from around the world and in some cases in your neighborhood. Please share and contribute to the network any videos, blog content, or discussions that may have come into your own radar. It is impossible for us to gather all the emerging information and we appreciate you weaving positive solutions with us into this matrix. We have added some new tabs on the menu bar to enhance connectivity between the networks and initiatives we are currently supporting and involved with and we invite you to check them out.

There is much more to report and will do so over the coming weeks as things develop and solidify.

We want to thank all of you for being a part of the Interdependent Project's growth and evolution!

In Sustainable Solidarity
Daniel & Darlene Cavallaro

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Spring & Summer Ingredients....

Ingredients...all you need is the right ingredients right?  That is true for life and this summer has been a time for gathering the right ingredients to prepare for a banquet of sustainable harvests.  Our last post on this blog was on Earth Day and the season since has been full of separating the wheat from the chaff and grinding it into flour. 

Ingredients - The Film from kirt Eftekhar on Vimeo.

We will post a full update on the fall Equinox!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day Abundance & Blessings!

Earth Day blessings to you and all Sustainable Matrix Weavers.  

The Earth is abundant and no where is the life giving abundance more obvious then in sprouting.  Seed, sunlight, and water are all a seed needs to sprout into a living source of food.  On this Earth Day spend some time in gratitude for this abundance and then consider helping to spread the abundance by becoming an Interdependent Partner with the Seeds of Sustainability program.  

When you become a partner you will receive 25% of every DVD purchase that you refer AND 10% of all sales get donated to the Green Fire Foundation which is being established to provide infrastructure grants to existing and developing EcoVillages and sustainable communities globally.  

When you click this link and become a partner you will also be adding another 10% from any sales made from sharing SOS with friends and family.     We all can experience Interdependent wealth and abundance by learning to create partners in sustainable trust. 

The Seeds of Sustainability Education Series Volume I:  The Marche Sprouting Method & Living Oils teaches a revolutionary NO RINSE sprouting method that allows you to grow massive amounts of fresh living sprouted vegetables in just 72 hours AND teaches you how to make LIVING oils from nuts and seeds that feed the body enzyme rich acid/alkaline balanced essential fatty oils!  

Learn more about the partner program here and blessed Earth Day to us all!

In Sustainable Solidarity

Monday, February 22, 2010

What is Interdependence?

This is the question that many of us will be asking in the coming decades as we transition to a sustainable global culture.  As we evolve our understandings we will be able to bring deep definitions from first hand experiences in discovering and exploring our interdependence with all life.  

We are at the beginning of this journey so it is a good idea to at least check out existing definitions for a good starting place.  Wikipedia offers this definition:
Interdependence is a dynamic of being mutually and physically responsible to, and sharing a common set of principles with, others. This concept differs distinctly from "dependence" in that an interdependent relationship implies that all participants are emotionally, economically, ecologically and or morally "interdependent." Some people advocate freedom or independence  as a sort of ultimate good; others do the same with devotion to one's family, community, or society. Interdependence recognizes the truth in each position and weaves them together. Two states that cooperate with each other are said to be interdependent. 

The part about 'sharing a common set of principles' is probably where the rubber hits the road for some.  Values and principles are usually rooted in one's unique culture so in order for 'interdependence' to be able to take root on a global scale there must be universal shared principles?  That is where sustainability comes into the equation and allows all humans to adopt shared principles in relationship to our shared future well being.

The Earth Charter Initiative is celebrating it's 10th year since the release of The Earth Charter - Values & Principles for a Sustainable Future.  You can learn about the how the Earth Charter was drafted in this Interdependent Project Radio interview with Steven Rockefeller who was chair person for the drafting committee or visit the Earth Charter website.

Web music player

The Interdependent Project is celebrating the Earth Charter through promoting the 'Earth Scouts' - a new program for children that was launched by the Earth Charter US.   There is a new network currently being created that will be launching soon that we have been supporting.  

We are also celebrating through our ongoing commitment to share and promote the Earth Charter as a valuable tool for bringing all of us into harmonious interdependence from solid shared values and principles for a sustainable future!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Looking back February 2009 - Getting the Sphere ready to launch & Re-Branding

Happy Imbolc - February 2nd!

When the Interdependent Project was first created the first intent was to create a functional, dynamic, and private social network that would serve existing/developing EcoVillages and sustainable communities at no cost to the communities.

All of us at the Interdependent Project have worked, lived, and traveled to various sustainable communities and EcoVillages throughout our lives and the one common need that we have seen among these communities was a solid online networking hub that would allow connections to happen between communities.

In February 2009 we began building this hub and making contact with the first 4 communities that would populate what we called the "Interdependent EcoVillage & Community Sphere".  Susan Frank joined the core team to serve as the Executive Administrator and provide guidance and support to the Sphere community.  

The Sphere is by invitation only and provides a safe sanctuary for members to share information, resources, trade between communities, and connect with each other.  The Sphere was officially launched on the Spring Equinox 09 and has been steadily growing as we make contact with specific communities that our team feels would benefit from the Sphere.  One of ours goals is to be able to publish resources and information that member communities would like to share publicly on the main website and through various publications as it evolves through SeThInk Media, the Interdependent Project parent company, digital publishing services. 

Independent/Interdependent Conference 09

On our last blog post we promised we would share the story of the re-branding of the Interdependent Project shortly after the launch.  Some of you who have been with the Interdependent Project since the launch remember the original logo and red/black theme of the website.  And some of you might also remember a 5 day period in February 09 when the main website had a message saying, "Site temporarily down for Independent/Interdependent Conference" on the index page.  
The brand consisted of interlocking Canterbury Cross's (in the spirit of the Flower of Life) and we developed it as a 'transformative derivative work' from the Independent Truck NHS logo (skateboard trucks).

The cross itself, being an ancient symbol, cannot be copyrighted and the way in which we developed it was protected under 'fair use' copyright laws.

Before we launched the project we envisioned how skaters could be harbingers of the evolved paradigm of interdependence and sustainability.

Also our deceased and beloved team member Beau Shaver was a skater and the design was also in tribute to him.

We attempted to contact the NHS corporate heads to invite them to jump on board with a win/win strategy but contacting them was harder than chasing someone on a skateboard - their website does not give email addresses for board members and there appeared to be a certain anarchy in their structure.  We finally found one of their directors of marketing, Keith Wilson, on facebook and tried to contact him but never got a response.  

Well months later at the end of February 09 we were contacted by the president and CEO Bob Denike.  At first we were excited to have made contact finally and were hopeful that our 'youthful idealism' would inspire Bob to see what we felt was an obvious alliance full of great potentials and possibilities...uh hmm...well the learning spiral never ends right.  We had a conference via emails and Bob and NHS has absolutely zero interest in an alliance and basically told us that they believed we were infringing upon their copyrighted logo.  We consulted with our attorney and decided that although we were protected under the 'fair use' copyright laws we had zero interest in the win/lose paradigm of court battles.  


So full of mirth and zest we re-launched and re-branded with what we feel is a much better logo and a clear understanding of why Beau always said, "Embrace skating, condemn skateboarding..." 

We are grateful to have been given the opportunity to experience the Win/Win of Interdependent thinking!

In Sustainable Solidarity

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

This Time Last Year - Interdependent Project Radio

By this time last year we were well into the launching of the Interdependent Project Radio on Modavox's new Green Talk Network.  So why did radio programming cease?

The whole internet radio program developed the summer of 2008 when we contacted an internet talk radio platform and requested that they add a new category called 'sustainability' for interview shows we wanted to do that featured the best of the best pioneers, educators, and leaders within the sustainability movement.

Those of you who have been with us since back then probably remember the excited emails we sent out explaining that we had been offered our own 24/7 channel on their platform after sharing with them our program ideas - verbally that is.  After we spent months lining up guests, the representative who had made the offer dropped the bomb on us and told us that the agreement he had made earlier was now null and void.

We are intentionally leaving out some sordid details not to save them from any bad press but to save you the time in having to read it.  First big lesson on this learning spiral - "get it in writing" (sad but true when dealing with entities that missed the course on win/win realities).....

So we contacted Modavox and they appeared to be an upgrade - next lesson - "don't be fooled by appearances" - and we then went into a - get this - 'non-cancelable' contract (as if such a thing really exists) with a promise of millions of listeners and movable audio widgets.  After one month of broadcasting and a less than desirable Google Analytics report we decided to cancel the deal for more reasons than we can even share openly here.

It was then that we decided it would be best to simply get our own licenses and launch our own radio network.  We set a goal to resume broadcasting after the release of Volume I of the Seeds of Sustainability Education Series...another lesson - "if you want something done right do it yourself.

We lamented the fact that these old proverbial sayings proved to be true in our learning spiral and we are confident that many more will hold up as we progress down the path of inspired idealistic folly.  We imagine we will somewhere in here cross the dreaded path that 'they' have all warned us about - the place where you simply realize your efforts have all been in vain and that you cannot stray outside of the box and refuse to adhere to rules without having to..uhumm..compromise your principles "like we all had to - you know - 'bite the bullet' or 'wake up and smell the coffee' or even god forbid 'grow up' right?  

We'll see...until we get there though we can only say that as long as we are having fun - which we are - it matters not one iota how others judge and measure our successes or failures.  

So on that note - we are stoked to be going into the next stage of planning for the Interdependent Project Radio.  We hope you have appreciated this behind the scenes and candid sharing.  If you enjoyed any of the launch radio shows you can look forward to more coming this spring/summer...if you have not even listened to any of them you can check them out in the archives here.  

On our next 2009 revisited post we will share with you what happened around the original brand and why we changed it...

In Sustainable Solidarity

Monday, January 18, 2010

Interdependent Project Celebrates Core Team Members

Everyone knows how hard it is to birth an excellent team and the Interdependent Project has been blessed to have attracted core team members who are aligned with it's mission.  In the beginning we had some team members who fully supported the project during its launch phase and contributed energy in ways that fueled the rockets to get lift off and their contributions were invaluable.  But just as the solid rocket boosters must fall away as orbit is made these team members had other commitments to fulfill and directions they were heading.  The Interdependent Project is celebrating its one year since launch and we want to celebrate the team members who have made this past year a deep success as well as introduce new team members who will be helping to set coordinates as we navigate through the global transition to a sustainable future.

Beginning in May 2009 team member Susan Frank who is the executive administrator of the Interdependent Community Sphere began a 6 month 'Communities and Sustainable 'green' Events Tour' that took her across the United States to visit developing/existing sustainable communities and attend/volunteer at events/festivals that were focused on 'green' and sustainable living themes.  As the Interdependent Project Media Ambassador Susan conducted interviews and produced videos throughout her journey and blogged her travels as she immersed herself in many different worlds that share a common vision of a sustainable future.  We are featuring her videos and posting links to her stories on the main site.  Most of her travels and experiences were incredibly positive and enriching but she also shares her own perspective of some of the shortcomings and disappointments that she encountered as well.

Susan was a student as Prescott University during her travels and much of her work was also course related for her degree which she successfully earned in December 09`.  Her reports to the Interdependent Project during her travels also contributed to changes and re-shaping of the IP strategies and alliances.  Susan has set a standard for the project of the high quality commitment and dedication we are striving for with our core team and her contributions are impeccable.  Thank you Susan!


Evan T. Spurrell joins the Interdependent Project core team from ground zero of the project's second year since launch.  He is the founder of the Permaculture Production Crew which is a campus club at Sierra College.  Evan leads students into the realm of Earth Stewardship/regenerative projects and inspires students to learn permaculture practices within urban and rural environments.  We met Evan at the Seeds of Sustainability DVD release party and were instantly impressed with his authentic and sincere dedication to world-bridging solutions to those who have limited access to the solutions that exist and perhaps have been living in a state of hopelessness around the global problems.  Evan will be participating in the production of Volume 2 of the Seeds of Sustainability Education Series and working with the team to further the goals of the Interdependent Project.  We are stoked to have you aboard Evan!

We also want to give a special thanks to Vladimir Frolov, Josh Green aka 'Electrolysis', Robin Marche, Jason Deptula and Alayne Chauncey for the rocket fuel they continually have provided to keep this ship in orbit.

We invite you now to check out the updated 'Sustain Yourself" page and the info about 'Raw Food' which includes some great links to the G-Living Network  site!

In Sustainable Solidarity

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Happy New Decade!

1 - 10 - 10...we thought we would wait a bit before we posted about the turning of the first decade of the new millennium...and what a turning it has been! The Interdependent Project is celebrating it's 1 year anniversary for the rest of the month of January and we have updated the main website with new content and cleaned the site up a bit....

2009 was an epic year for us and we were actually pretty amazed at how much our team accomplished and learned.  We have often used the terms 'running sideways' and 'learning spirals' in many of our posts and emails because the truth of the matter was when we began we had nothing but our unbending intent to 'Dream It-Do It' - Youth Venture slogan...

Many along the way scoffed at our idealistic grandiose goals and we have had our fair share of shocking obstacles and hurdles to jump over.  Humor was our savior during the worst parts and as we learned we made sure to take note of the lessons in ways that allowed us to further develop the 'standards' we would be sure to go by in the future.  

The launching of this project began in 2008 when we received a small seed grant from Youth Venture with the intent to launch a private online networking hub for EcoVillages and sustainable communities.  That was when the project was named and the first mission statement was developed.  The universe decided to give us an opportunity - that turned out to be a lesson and then another opportunity - that turned into lesson - again and again in relationship to this project.  So are we more knowledgeable now?

We believe in the Golden Dragon Rule:

The Tree of Sustainability page on the main site finally has an article written on it and we invite you to check it out and let us know if it is 'comprehensible'....

This month we will be blogging about goals for 2010 (and the next decade), posting about the new content and recapitulating the past in order to share and process our journey thus far into the Sustainability Matrix!

In Sustainable Solidarity