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Report from the Charter for Compassion Environment Call

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Recording of the Environment Call: April 8, 2014

General Information Notes
The information below came up during the Environment call as either announcements or questions asked during the time spent in Break-Out Groups as well as reports from the break-out groups and reflections during the summation of the call.

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Environment Sector for the Charter for Compassion International

The Environment sector material on the Charter website begins with an essay by Dr. Glen Barry , "all humanity and all life have is the biosphere, the thin layer of life just above and below Earth's surface," and while this image is an acknowledgment of the fragility of our condition, it is also a recognition of our mutual dependence. As with all compassionate outreach, our support of environmental issues represents a bit of enlightened self-interest. In quieting the ego's short-term wants, we are sustaining the larger organism.  

You will want to note some of the special sections contained in the Environment sector:

Complete list of our Environment partners

Compassion Environment Reader. Currently the reader has eleven subchapters, each containing a series of articles.  The Reader is added to each week.  If you have articles that you would like to suggest, please let us know.  The section, Poetry of Nature, is our tribute to "Mother Earth" as presented through the arts.

Annotated Environment Bibliography.  As you can imagine, this is a growing section and we welcome your suggestions.  The time will come when the bibliography itself will be divided into subsections.  

Charter Partner Facebook Page

If you have never accepted the Charter’s invitation to the private Charter Partners Page, please visit the page and request  to be become a member.  Facebook does not allow us to send out a second invitation.

The Presenters During the Call

Elma Pollard  Green Times (Cape Town, South Africa)

Simon Chater  Green Ink (Buckfastleigh, United Kingdom)

Green Times

Environmental news for a sustainable future. 

Mission: By means of featuring good creative role models, to help mobilize our society towards one with more reverence for Life.

Description: Most people care about the world, but many don't know what they can do to help steer our society onto a more sustainable path. The Green Times fills this gap by providing stories about what can be done - and how fun and rewarding it is to live a greener life. Naturally corporate greening and green products and services are also very important, so we Charter are always looking for those stories too.

From Green Times

Are you concerned and excited about the greening of our society? The Green Times is your news portal. Use our GREEN CALENDAR to know what’s happening – attend, be informed and spread this crucial education wherever you go. SUBSCRIBE to our fortnightly e-newspaper and consistently learn how to green up all aspects of your life and work. Become a green leader in our society transitioning towards a sustainable future. For there’s no time to waste. If you’d like daily news, follow us on FACEBOOK or TWITTER.

Our E-NEWSPAPER has been sent to a national mailing list monthly for the past 5 years. We are so happy to communicate with 20 000 unique readers per month now. Join the upsurge of innovation, learning and sharing. If you’re living creatively within these challenging times, don’t keep it to yourself. Send us your news. If you are offering green products or services, join our RESPONSIBLE ORGANISATION DIRECTORY. If you want to learn to write for the earth – and she needs you – join our ECO JOURNALIST TRAINING course and CONTRIBUTE from wherever you are. You can become a SPONSOR too.

From Green Ink

We're world leaders in communicating science for sustainable development in natural resources and related fields.

Our company provides a full range of production services, from concept to final product, on the web or in print. We also provide strategic support, enabling our clients to communicate more effectively and efficiently.

We cover all the major natural resources sectors, including agriculture, biodiversity, biotechnology, climate change, fisheries, forestry, livestock, pests and diseases, soils and water. We also cover the sectors and subjects that interact with natural resources, such as business, energy, gender, governance, health and nutrition. We specialize in communications for a policy audience.

If you're involved in relevant R&D and want your work to be better known, we’re the people
 who can help you. Find out more about our team of experts and what we can offer you.

Our mission is:

To contribute through communication to the knowledge base that informs sustainable development.

The company adds value to the R&D efforts of its clients by creating communication products and processes that:

Inform global and national policy debates

Raise funds and other forms of support for further R&D

Raise awareness of research results, methods and approaches

Develop the capacities of R&D professionals and institutions

Lead to better lives and livelihoods for poor people.

These are the values that matter to us:

Compassion. This is the primordial virtue that drives both what we do and how we do it. It is a value we share with our clients, whose mission is to eradicate poverty and hunger and to protect the environment in the developing world. It is also the value held by the world’s major spiritual traditions and embraced by the new socially minded businesses of the 21st century. Compassion is what we seek to practise anyway – whether or not it suits our material interests. Green Ink has signed the Charter for Compassion ( and encourages its clients and suppliers to do so too.

Three other core values express how we do our work:

Empathy. We aim to have a strong focus on the needs of others, especially our clients and colleagues. We try to tune in to their needs and respond to them – both their expressed needs and the ones they are less aware of.

Expertise. This is the central value that matters to our clients. We are experts in science communication, enabling us to develop high-quality products and offer high-quality advice. And we specialize in agriculture and natural resources R&D, so we understand the issues and topics addressed by our clients.

Enjoyment. We bring enjoyment to our work because it’s creative, serves good causes, and involves friendly and interesting colleagues and clients. We aim to attract and retain staff who enjoy being part of our team. We aim to give our clients an enjoyable time working with us, so that they come back for more.

Additional Links Provided by Simon takes you straight to the CDKN briefs series I mentioned. The Climate and Development Knowledge Network is a strong force for sharing experiences and lessons across national frontiers on what to do about climate change. takes you to an article in Green Ink’s newsletter that provides an overview of CDKN’s work. While we shouldn’t be complacent, the news is a lot less awful than we’re led to expect from the mainstream media. 

Staff on the Charter Environment Call 

Andrew Himes (Executive Director)
Ben Roberts (Technical Assistant/Facilitator)
Marilyn Turkovich (Program Director)

Break-Out Groups

Address: Introductions and share what is the most important and positive aspect of the work you are doing? How would you like the Environment sector to move forward?

Group 1

Andrew Himes (Host)

Simon Chater

Susan Gordon

Miromir Rajcevic

Simon Chater (Buckfastleigh, United Kingdom) Green Ink: Offered an example of one of our clients who is doing something very positive. Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN) exchanges knowledge to find avenues of green growth. They’ve published a series of “Inside Stories” from people throughout the world on successful attempts to adapt to climate change. It is important that we get a sense that this fight for human survival is winnable. We easily hear the most dismal news about the environment but not about successful attempts to deal with it.
Miomir Rajcevic (Belgrade, Serbia) Uses media in classrooms to energize young people to express their feelings and views about the interconnection of life and express themselves in film, video, text, story-telling of all kinds. A network like the Charter Partners network is very valuable. This exchange of skills, knowledge, success, good practice is very important.
Susan Gordon (Saltspring Island, British Columbia, Canada) Compassionate Equestrian: It is really necessary to engage youth with horses and other animals, because that direct emotional connection with animals can help young people to understand the interconnections of all life. Creating relationships with animals can help human beings learn how to be compassionate with each other

Group 2

Lesa Walker (Host)

Karen Palmer

Vanessa LeBourdais

Vanessa LeBourdais (Vancouver, BC, Canada) Dreamrider Productions: training children to be superheroes.  Most recent program is interactive media game “Planet Protector Academy”-- training children to lead change at home--lead families to behave differently at home.  Using arts activities in classroom.  Engage whole child and can change families.  It is digital and can go anywhere.  Inspire the spirits of children.  Started as theater company- have reached about 1 million kids.  Kids get involved. Theater is expensive and carbon-heavy- so developed digital interactive media to translate theatrical experience.  Can combine compassion in interactive media game.  Can put any behavior in there.  Using children to lead the way.  Contact Info:www.dreamriderproductions

Karen Palmer (Southern California, USA) Eco Angel Enterprises: board games for children- “Let’s Save Our Earth”- children work in cooperative team; help organize and cultivate kindness and goodness.  Feels exactly the same as Vanessa.  Confirmation of us all being on the line together.  Open the lines of communications and empower children to see that their choices make a difference.  If everyone does just a little bit, we can transform the planet.  Start at very young age- all the way to high school.  Have it be part of the curriculum.  In board games, incorporated science standards in her games so schools could use it as a science project. When we make it fun, kids really want to help the planet.  Start to see the changes.  Finding really fun ways to reach into their hearts and so they can educate others.  Contact Info:  Facebook: Karen Riordin Palmer.  Additional ideas: The Charter can help people in the environment sector team up and get exposure.  Get as many people as possible to join as partners.  Could do a Google Hangout- can reach so many people- all goes live/recorded on YouTube and can promote via YouTube. Karen has organized Earth Day in her area.  

Lesa Walker (Austin, TX, USA) shared about the Compassion Relays and how they can interface with the Relays.  Perfect fit.  Relays website provided:  See addition information below.  Additional ideas: could do cross-sector discussions: Compassionate Cities with Environment Sector; could collaborate as a Charter Environment sector global action in celebrating specific events such as Earth Day, Dr. Goodall’s birthday, etc.

Group 3

Barbara Kaufmann (Host)

Mark Steiner

Elma Pollard

Mark Steiner (Louisville, KY, USA) Presently, directly involved with the group:Compassionate Louisville; Compassionate Louisville Website:; Facebook Page:  Mark is also the co-founder of Cultivating Connections:  Mark has invested 20 Years of work in environmental spirituality; about “People and planet”; defining Cultivating Connections: Work is informed by Thomas Berry, Matthew Fox, Joanna Macy. Also works with Peace Education, Conflict resolution, racial prejudice reduction. Marks defines the Compassion movement as: showing up, trying to keep the” more than” or” more than human” parts of the conversation.

Compassionate Louisville- needs to raise awareness about environmentalism. There is a “human focused” compassionate Louisville and Mark has recently called for the start of an environmental constellation. He has reached out to people who have shown an interest. Cultivating Connections is: 
People => Planet.  Producing programs, workshops, conferences around environmental spirituality since 1991. Brings in speakers. Mission: To inspire people into acting on behalf of the planet. Heavily involved in the Keystone pipeline movement.

Past conferences have had as many as 1000 people. Also hosts small intimate groups. Developed and hosted: Sacred celebrations at Solstices, Equinoxes. Have 3000 people in data base. Looking to build a Compendium of local earth compassion events- mutually supportive.

“We sometimes confuse the map with the territory.” We must get off the oil addiction. We are working too much in pockets and we must work together.

Contrasting the work needed and power quotient with an extremely large world can cause despair.To save the world – begin working right where you are. We all need to turn local.

Elma Pollard (Cape Town, South Africa) Founder and Editor: The Green Time,; is also fond of spiritual environmentalism and is inspired by Matthew Fox, Thomas Berry. Elma likes when “it all comes together.” She also does sacred celebrations and Shamanic work, conflict resolution, is an arbitrator in disputes, and does green consulting.

“It’s about connecting the dots.” Environmentalists are holistic because the environment impacts everything else.  It encompasses all of life. It is a transformation that has to happen at every level. She wonders: Can we make the shift in consciousness and awareness- can we do it in time? We need the natural and social scientists working together.  We must “pull out all the stops” and there must be collaborating around the world. We need to scale up the impact fast. 

While we entertain some doubts (and there is humility in doubts) and we aren’t sure it is going to work, we must work more strategically.  Now doing with local people: “what are your needs, these are my needs. Here is how we can help each other.” Come and write for the Green Times, for example

Ben Roberts (Danbury, CT, USA) Ben, influenced by So Far from Home offers a thought: “Will we make it? Despair is waiting to undermine us, so we have to believe. We must approach the work from a core motivation. We must ground ourselves in the story that it is all going to work out.”
Margaret Wheatley, So Far from Home: 

From Meg Wheatley's writing about So Far from Home: I wrote this book for you if you offer your work as a contribution to others, whatever your work might be, and if now you find yourself feeling exhausted, overwhelmed, and sometimes despairing even as you paradoxically experience moments of joy, belonging, and greater resolve to do your work.

This book describes how we can do our good work with dedication, energy, discipline, and joy by consciously choosing a new role for ourselves, that of warriors for the human spirit.

This book contains maps of how we ended up in a world nobody wants—overtaken by greed, self-interest, and oppressive power—the very opposite of what we worked so hard to create. These maps look deeply into the darkness of this time so that we can develop the insight we need to contribute in meaningful ways.

This book provides maps for the future, how we can transform our grief, outrage, and frustration into the skills of insight and compassion to serve this dark time with bravery, decency, and gentleness.

As warriors for the human spirit, we discover our right work, work that we know is ours to do no matter what. We engage wholeheartedly, embody values we cherish, let go of outcomes, and carefully attend to relationships. We serve those issues and people we care about, focused not so much on making a difference as on being a difference.

Ben also mentions an article by Rebecca Solnit from The Guardian as a resource for the Words and Violence Progam:

Don Inkpen

"My name is Don Inkpen and I just got in for the last minute or so of the conference call. I was a teacher for 35 years and tried hard to promote the idea that we are both dependent on our environment and co-dependent in that  by looking after our environment we are really looking after ourselves."  

Highlights from the Group Debrief Shared by Barbara Kaufman after the Meeting

During the discussion re: environmental activism, the old compassion fatigue visited and settled in for a few moments. The dichotomy of working globally or locally came up. I said that I think we must do both and cited  my drop line "writing to simply change the world."

Another thought: When people look at the overwhelming magnitude of the task before us, they can feel despair, overwhelmed and small. When this happened in the discussion, Ben spoke of "core commitment" and it brought up [to me] the story of Stanislav Petrov saying "just when you think that you can't change the world you find you may be wrong." One person saved the world and if it weren't for him we all wouldn't be here. One person can absolutely make a difference.

I talked about this article about Petrov in Voices:  [I think this is] a good resource for motivation and avoiding despair. I use the story a lot when speaking to groups (particularly youth) when they feel powerlessness.

Full Session: Nuggets: (What inspired you? What challenged you?)

How do we do this? By “Cultivating Connections” and with “Inspiration!”

“We must ground ourselves in “This is going to work and hold that as a core motivation.”

Approach potential partners with “What are your needs? These are my needs; maybe we can work together and help each other?” 

Compassion relays and games are inspiring avenues to change

Interactive work is the answer. 

“We need to bring youth back to nature; bring compassion back into the barn.” (While teenage girls began bullying each other in the barn- we quickly made a change in the dialogue.)

Dream Writer Productions and the incredible use of creativity for children as superheroes and leaders and inspiring them to go home and change their family’s orientation.

Eco- Angel's, play in compassion; inspired the way they are using incredible creativity for children.

The Compassion Relays

Reminder/Update about the Compassion Relays:  Be a champion of "3D" Compassion (caring for others, self, and the Earth)!  "Run your part of the course" in the Relays TODAY!  Carry and pass the Compassion Torch!

Two key links for the Compassion Relays! 
1)  Find basic information about the Relays at: 
2)  Report your acts of compassion and your Relays experience via the Compassion Map:  
A SPECIAL INVITATION to honor Dr. Jane Goodall in the year of her 80th birthday:  For details, go to:

End Notes

We would like very much for people to volunteer:

Help with writing the environment newsletter.

Write an environment flyer to help promote the Environment sector of the Charter.

Assist in getting new environment partners.

Add to the Compassion Environment Reader and Annotated Bibliography.

Begin an environment filmography.

Learn how to help with facilitating the Maestro calls (not only for the environment sector but for other sectors as well).


Barbara Kaufmann, host for Charter for Compassion conference calls has an invitation:

Barbara is the Founder, Editor and Writer for “Words and Violence,” just published in its 3rd edition—which is a 600+ page program, resource and curriculum hosted at Voices Compassionate Education that addresses bullying in all its incarnations from the playground to tabloid journalism, and offers antidotes and solutions. It is featured front page at (scroll halfway down)
The project location: 
List of Contributors: 

“Words and Violence” 3rd edition (just released) examines performing arts as “communicator and facilitator” for change. The 4th edition theme is “Bullying the Planet” and anyone who would like to be involved and contribute to the project is invited to propose an idea or addition and may send a submission to be considered for publication. Please contact Barbara at her website: “One Wordsmith”


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