How to Boil a Frog

No, this isn’t a French recipe for Frog Bisque or some other yummy frog delicacy, it’s a metaphor used for Global Warming. It represents what happens to a frog if you put it in a pot of cold water and turn on the burner, the frog sits in the pot completely oblivious to its imminent demise.  This is very similar to our predicament on a planet that is slowly warming up one degree at a time.

How to Boil a Frog is also the title of a great new movie about saving the planet, well more like saving us. What makes this movie so unique is that it explores a serious and somber subject (the end of civilization) in a comedic and entertaining way, and as you know there is nothing better than a comedy about mass destruction. Plus, it’s Canadian Eh!

Up here in the Great White North other than our national icon David Suzuki, we have very few if anyone willing to brooch the (environment) subject, never less produce a movie about it.

How to Boil a Frog is a movie that was written, produced, directed and starring the one and only Jon Cooksey, you know that famous feller who writes stuff for TV.

Well Jon, like many of us was a tad bit confused and overwhelmed on the issues facing us and our planet and wondered what he could do as an individual that could truly make a difference. So what he did was, to go out in search of the answers himself and ask the questions most of us were afraid to.

The movie explores the five major problems facing all of us and Jon’s (our) five solutions to each problem.

Thanks to Jon’s efforts, here’s his hit list of the 5 major problems facing mankind and our solutions…

Problem 1…Overpopulation

We live in overshoot, our planet and its resources both renewable and non-renewable are being used beyond their limits, with almost 7 billion people vying for a piece of the pie, the pie is pretty well gone.

Our civilization is based entirely on unlimited growth. This is a huge problem considering that we live on a very finite planet that can really only sustain 2 billion people or so.

Problem 2…The War on Nature

Thanks to our love of throw away plastic, we’ve created five gigantic plastic gyres the size of Texas in the world’s oceans, plastic breaks down into plankton sized pieces that are ingested unknowingly by fish, thus killing them and us.

We’ve also eliminated 90% of the world’s predator fish, within 50 years the oceans will be completely bare of any known aquatic life.

From the 20 billion acres of trees that we started with only 10 billion remain.  Every minute of every day we lose the equivalent of 9 football fields of forest.

A billion people worldwide don’t have clean water to drink, that number will rise to two billion in 20 years.

Fifty percent of the world’s animal species will be extinct before the end of the century.

It won’t be long before the planet is completely ours!

Problem 3…Rich vs. Poor

The gap between the rich and poor is growing each and every day.  640 million children worldwide don’t have a place to sleep or to call home.  Almost half the people on the world live on less than two dollars a day, one fifth live on a dollar a day.

We put out sixty six times more pollution than most of the planet.  Once the developing nations close the gap between the rich and the poor this is going to create a huge strain on the planet and its remaining resources.

Problem 4…Peak Oil

Oil is the edifice of everything, from toothpaste to rocket ships, our whole way of life and society is dependent on cheap abundant fossil fuels.

Oil is the only reason why we went from a world population of 2 billion people to 7 billion people in a little over 100 years.

The problem, oil is a finite resource not an infinite one, that some (oil companies) would like us to believe. If we continue at our present rates of consumption the end of oil will happen much sooner than later.

Problem 5…Global Warming

The earth can absorb 11 billion tons of C02 a year, right now we are putting up to 32 billion tons into the atmosphere, and that number is rising fast.

Atmospheric CO2 data

Global warming is mainly the result of CO2 levels rising in the Earth’s atmosphere. Both atmospheric CO2 and climate change are accelerating.

Climate scientists say we have only years, not decades, to stabilize CO2 and other greenhouse gases.

C02 levels for 1955 – 310 ppm

C02 levels for 2010 – 390 ppm

November 2010 is the second warmest November on record since 1880. November 2004 was the warmest November on record.  Year to date, 2010 is the warmest year on record for the January – November period.   The second warmest year for this period is 2004. The temperature for the month of November this year has been 1.24 F warmer, than the average recorded temperature between the years 1901 to 2000.

Burning fossil fuels, cutting down our forests, killing the phytoplankton and overpopulation are the biggest contributors to runaway overshoot and global warming…period.

Over the last 100 years the earth’s average temperature has risen 1.5 degrees, anything above 2 degrees is considered disastrous and our point of no return.

So as Jon said in the movie “What can we do now?”

Here are 5 things anyone can do.

Solution 1…Drive Past Exxon (Esso)

Exxon is responsible for 3% of the world’s global warming problem. They’ve also spent 55 million dollars over the years trying to convenience us that global warming isn’t real. I think I remember Big Tobacco doing the same thin in the 6o’s.

Solution 2…Life Bulb Changes

We need to move from being consumers (users) and find a balance with ourselves and our planet.

  1. Cut our emissions by eating less red meat, cows produce more emissions (methane) than all of our driving in Canada combined.
  2. Stop overpopulating the planet. We don’t have to give up the fun part, just the end result.  Adopt, there are plenty of kids that need a good home (640 Million).
  3. Spend less, reduce more, recycle, the real costs of a new product aren’t calculated into the costs to the environment and to us, If they were, they would cost us an arm and a leg (excuse the pun ) BUY USED!

Solution 3…Change of Heart

Change is from the inside out, nothing on our planet is going to change until we first accept that these realities do exist. Action will only happen if and when we choose to take action.

Solution 4…Giant Killing

Blog, Post, Discuss, Form a group and Shoot a YouTube video, whatever it takes (look what Greenpeace did with a camera), we have the power NOW to initiate change, that’s only if we’re willing to. This is our chance to step up to the plate and rise to mankind’s biggest challenge. It’s time for us to kick some butt. Maybe someday we’ll be the ones that they’ll be writing songs and poems about.

Solution 5…Transition

We’ve got to realize that we can’t continue to live this way, we need to get back on natures curve, and we’ve got to shrink to fit. More is less and smaller is better.

Here’s something David Suzuki said in one of his talks, that kind of put’s it all in perspective.

“In the last 40 years the average Canadian family has shrunk by half, but in the same time period the average size of the average Canadian home has more than doubled.” “We have 4 times more space per person today, but are we 4 times happier? I don’t think so” “We need all that space because we have too much stuff.” “All of that stuff comes out of the Earth and when were finished with it we throw it back into the Earth as garbage.”

For us to survive our future has to a sustainable one, the bonus is, that we have the power today to decide because if we wait for tomorrow it might be too late.

Well that’s our five problems and Jon’s five painless solutions that anyone can do.

Personally, I’m going to start by driving past Esso, that’s easy, stop buying new and buy used, whenever I can and being a Martial Artist,  I’m always up for a challenge so Giant Killing is a no brainer, plus it sounds like it might be a lot of fun.

So even if you don’t believe in any of this, you’ll have to agree that doing any one of the solutions will help the planet, enhance our quality of life, and make us happier in the end.

Isn’t that worth our best efforts, not only for us but also for our children?

Well, what are you waiting for?

Let’s get some!

By: Master Tim Bell

How the Bell Curves

Sorry! I’m not talking about Pink Floyds classic album the “Division Bell” I wish I were. This is about a much different kind of bell, actually, it’s not a bell in that sense of the word, it’s a phenomenon called the “Bell Curve.” Being a Martial Artist I’m very familiar with the concept of opposites, yin & yang, good & bad, etc, the Bell Curve takes those opposites and shows the natural transition from one to the other, how good goes to bad, etc.

Everything we know goes through its own Bell Curve, we live, we die, we consume, we waste, well you get the picture.

Nothing is infinite, contrary to some archaic beliefs. Most of us were born into a world where we were on the upward slope of a Bell Curve, the world was growing at a rapid pace, recourses were a plenty with opportunities abound, we were geared for growth, nothing in life seemed impossible, at least that’s what were lead to believe.

Our whole way of life was structured around unlimited growth and prosperity, we elected governments who promised the same and we kept those around who delivered the goods.

But something unexpected happened, while we were so busy getting ahead, we started to run out of recourses and our biosphere started to get sick, really sick and so were we. What worked so well at one part of the Bell Curve was now creating an opposite reaction as we closed in on the top.

As Gandhi once put it “There is enough for everyone’s needs, but not for everyone’s greed.”

We began to lose the balance with ourselves and with our planet, we started consuming our renewable resources quicker than they could regenerate and squandering our non renewable ones in the process. For the first time in human history our planets recourses seemed finite.

Our whole way of life, government, the value of money, is structured around one three letter word O-I-L, it is the edifice in everything around us, from what we eat to what we do, oil is king or queen, depending on your preference. Everything about us is dependent on a cheap abundant supply of fossil fuels. Nothing, I mean nothing will replace oil, ever. That’s a fact Jack!

We are at the precibus in our history where we need to find that balance with ourselves and our planet, we can no longer assume (aas-u-me) that there will be a viable alternative to fossil fuels, let’s face it if there was even a hint, a smidgen, an inkling, don’t you think it would be flogged to death by now.

What we need is a complete paradigm shift, in our thinking and in our way of life, we can no longer continue to try and sustain a fossil fueled, linear consumeristic society based on unlimited growth, prosperity and waste, It’s a lose – lose situation. Unfortunately those in power aren’t willing or want to see the forest through the trees when it comes to the truth, that’s just bad politics and political genocide.

I like everyone else don’t want to give up the good life, cheap energy has been very, very good to me, but the reality is that the party will likely end sooner than later. For me, I’m biting at the bit for a politician to come out of the closet and declare, “Let’s clean up the environment and find real solutions to offset the end of oil.” I guess I better not hold my breath waiting for that one, eh.

For the last 100 years it’s been a great ride to the top. Sitting on the peak of the Bell Curve we have a pretty good view of where we’ve come from and a good idea of where were going, like it or not.

Unfortunately the trip down the other side won’t be as rewarding, in fact it’s going to get a little bumpy and uncomfortable, some equate it to the 5 stages we go through when we grieve the loss of a loved one.

First were going to go into Denial & Isolation (I don’t believe it), second comes Anger (I can’t believe it happened), third we start to Bargain (What can we do to bring it back), fourth we go into a state of Depression (There’s no hope), and finally there’s Acceptance (Let’s put our heads together and find a solution to get out of this mess).

I think collectively as a planet we are at the end of the “Denial & Isolation” stage and heading into “Anger.” The end of oil is inevitable, there is nothing we can do or say that will change that fact, no matter how many billions of dollars we try to chuck at it, “It just aint going to happen.”.

The only thing we can hope for when the collapse does come, and it will,  is that it is quick, that way at least most of our infrastructure will remain intact.

Getting to the acceptance stage won’t be pleasant, but then again, what choice do we really have?

Buckle up! There could be some unexpected turbulence on the decent down.

By: Master Tim Bell

Goal-Setting and Children: How to Help Your Kids Go the Extra Mile

blog PW 2010 Awards Group2 Goal Setting and Children: How to Help Your Kids Go the Extra MileGoal-Setting and Children: Do Your Kids Go the Extra Mile?

Some children set goals and quit half way through.  Others go all the way.  Still others go the extra mile.  Take a look at these AWESOME children who did each one of there Powerful Words Character projects for the whole year (12, in total) and were honored in a special ceremony for doing so. CONGRATS powerful students of Alpha Martial Arts!

So…How do we encourage our children to stay focused on their goals and go the extra mile?

Encourage a Persevering Attitude: The motto I talk about in any of my speaking engagements to educators, parents and ofblog Alpha powerfulwords web2 Goal Setting and Children: How to Help Your Kids Go the Extra Mile course, to the children/teens/young people themselves, is “I’ve got a no-quit-go-for-it-attitude.” How do you encourage an attitude like that? Research tells us that getting children involved in various activities, supporting their autonomy, understanding parenting style, and ensuring appropriately challenging, high expectations for your child are all important. Some parents don’t expect too much from their children and their children perform below their potential. Children will often surprise us if we allow them to!

Support Internal rewards: Some parents offer external rewards for commitment like toys, money, or TV.  But the best rewards are those that come from inside.  Help your children connect their feelings of pride to their performance.  For example—here’s an abridged conversation I had with one 6 year old student:

“Wow! You did so well on your spelling test!  You studied so hard…congratulations! How do you feel?”

“Happy!

“Where do you feel happy?”

“Everywhere! In my belly, my arms and my face- like happy-bugs.”

Wow! Happy-bugs? I like that. All those “happy-bug”  feelings you have in your belly are feelings of pride.  Feelings of pride happen when you try your hardest and you accomplish your goals. They make us stand up straighter and smile bigger.  That feels good, doesn’t it?

Don’t allow a pattern of quitting to occur: When children seem to continually tell you “I want to quit!” it’s important that we don’t just give in.  While young children may not be quitting life-altering activities, early behavior often predicts later behavior. In other words, by giving in, we can inadvertently set our children up for a pattern of quitting that seeps into adolescence and adulthood when stakes are high and commitment is vital. When our children want to participate in something, make sure they understand the time commitment they will be adhering to and the consequences for premature quitting or disrespectful lethargy.

Help the Redefine Their Best: Mediocrity can be contagious within the self.  We do what we’ve done in the past even if it’s no longer our best. This is especially true when it comes to self-limiting thoughts and labels (i.e. “I don’t do well in geometry,” “writing doesn’t come as easy to my daughter as it does for my son”).  When I present on self –limiting thoughts, I tell a story about my own private label and inner mantra that I allowed govern my performance up until about 8th grade; “I’m not as smart as my brothers…I’m stupid…I can’t do it.” There comes a time when we need to help our children redefine their best—get them out of old, and often untrue limiting statements, and provide them with evidence of the contrary.  My evidence was a 100% on a 8thgrade math.  Once I redefined my potential, there was no stopping me.

Support goal-setting and vision: We’ll be talking about “vision” in January as it’s the Powerful Word of the Month.  Help your children to imagine what is possible for the future and make it as visceral as possible.  What is their goal? What would that look like? What would that feel like?  In the case of the powerful students from Alpha Martial Arts, they might have asked themselves, “What would it feel like to stand up in front of my teachers, friends, parents, and siblings, and be honored for completing the goal of getting all of my Powerful Words Projects in this year? What would I hear? What would I see?  When the vision is clear, they can wear it like a coat, insolating them from goal-robbing messages they might hear from others or from inside themselves from time to time.

Again, many congratulations to all those children who set goals in 2010 and have made progress on them—or achieved them! I wish you lots of happy-bugs. Keep going! YOU are powerful!

By: Dr. Robyn Silverman