Author, Scientist, Former Astronaut, International Speaker.
Brian's brand new book - Coming soon!
"Democracy is not a spectator sport!"
July 2008 Update: A Big Milestone Achieved
After 22 months of construction chaos in the expanded cottage below*, it’s actually done and we have suddenly doubled our space for retreats here at Montesueños: we now have eight bedrooms, seven bathrooms, two full kitchens, two fireplaces, conference and eating space for up to 100, a lot of breakout space, and expanded lush gardens. What I’m learning from this is that the “evolutionary architecture” process is chaotic throughout, and seems to be getting nowhere for the longest time. Then a day arrives (none too soon as the guests started arriving even before we finished construction and furnishing), when suddenly the results are unveiled—like a painting.
The catalyst for this giant leap was the first Phoenix Gathering between June 8 and 15 (www.wakingthephoenix.org). We put up and fed 25 people!
Meredith and I were also active participants in this gathering. It was an intensive dynamically-facilitated dialogue about solutions to “the crisis of civilization.” This was a tall order for a newly-convened group so diverse in culture, age and gender. Participants flew in from India, Ireland, Argentina, Mexico, Canada, the U.S. and other parts of Ecuador. The motivations and commitments of everyone were impressive, all of us making some money-and-time sacrifices (this event was unfunded), each of us having a burning desire to address the overarching issue of sustainability. While the results of this unprecedented experiment in democracy were not yet fine-tuned into a crisp consensus, we did create many new ideas and valuable contacts and follow-up plans.
The following slide show gives a good impression of what happened here during the Phoenix Gathering:
We see this as the first such gathering of many that will be held here and elsewhere, always improving on the process, ambiance and content so as to become a fine art.
The fact that we were able to pull off the dual experiments of the Phoenix Gathering and Montesueños itself is testimony to the hard work and dedication of our staff, especially the Macas family from our local village of San Jose-Vilcabamba.
Four years from the day we committed to buy this property, we have just officially opened for retreats, workshops, special events, concerts, sabbaticals, residencies and apprenticeships. Soon we will be posting our 2008-09 programs and we also welcome suggestions on how you’d like to get involved.
* I dubbed the place The Pig Sty. Being more forward-thinking than I, Mer called it The Doves Nest. Over my prior objections, that is now the official name.
Phoenix Gathering 08: What is the Biggest Problem(s) and What are the Solutions?
I feel that the biggest problems we face on our planet today include elite rule, unbridled corporate capitalism, pollution, war, the voracious consumption of natural and human resources, and a huge deficit of truth and vision. I’m sorry to say my native country, the USA, leads the way in adopting these insane and immoral policies.
Unless, as a world community, we can choose leaders who have our best interests and those of nature at the head of the agenda, we will continue to put up with unmitigated greed, corruption, militarism, repression and a total lack of sensitivity towards health and the environment. We the people will need to take our power back, and that probably means a revolution towards a global green republic. Go to Washington, bang pots, and demand change! The default position is to form distributed enclaves of vision to keep the torch burning for now and for future generations until the madness subsides.
My main areas of expertise are energy and planetary science. I am aware that outside-the-box solutions do exist to the sustainability dilemma. I have traveled the globe documenting the works of some of the best researchers, and have given thousands of lectures, written dozens of articles and books about these subjects through the decades. I am aware of (violently suppressed) breakthrough clean energy technologies that could change the world. We could restore abundance and sustainability to the planet using an intelligently-managed program of new energy solutions. These ideas are scientifically feasible and could be wisely developed if we so choose. I am aware that we could reverse pollution, climate destabilization and deforestation. We can preserve, restore and sustain the biosphere, depopulate sensibly, and have clean water and abundant food for everybody. We could keep most of the hydrocarbons, water, soil, uranium, metals and other valuable nonrenewable resources in the ground.
But we need to become more educated about the possibilities of doing all this for what these possibilities really are, free of the cacophony of vested discourse. Even the progressives have not sufficiently grasped the seriousness of our problem at its most basic level, nor have they (we?) begun to understand the most radical and lasting solutions. Just about all public discourse is myopic. We ourselves need to be visionaries and be open to consider wise and intelligent dialogues such as those planned for our first Phoenix Gathering.
Mapping out and implementing the most significant solutions will require the utmost of courageous action and compassionate of strategies. For example, the development of “free energy”, whether it comes from the vacuum of space, new forms of hydrogen and water, or cold fusion devices, will need a careful look. We must examine the full range of long-term energy options for their full life-cycle environmental impact. We need to cut to the chase on these matters and not be swayed by this or that promotion or fad or preconceived notion that our future must be the way things appear to be now.
We need to understand the pros and cons of each option and devise totally new social structures to manage the emerging technologies and approaches. We need to be honest in assessing what we really mean by sustainability. We need to understand that such “solutions” as carbon capture-and-sequestration, tar-sand extraction, biofuels, weather engineering, chemtrails, Star Wars technologies, HAARP, and many other misconceived macroengineering projects can only exacerbate our rape of the planet and not help the situation. We must leave no stone unturned in our quest for a healthy future for everyone. Are we up to the task? We have no other choice.
There has been much discussion about looking at the big question from
the point of view of a new frame or new consciousness. I agree, we do
need to step back some, as well as look at things as they are, as they
so clearly cry out for solutions on a purely physical/mental level as
well. It seems this is a "both/and" situation if we are to be as
Our first retreat: we are hosts of the first Phoenix Gathering on June 8-16, 2008, of twenty visionaries coming in from all over the world to address the big problems and big solutions to the crisis of civilization...and how to make the needed changes. Results of this unusual dynamically facilitated conference will be posted soon after the event.
The second big question about HOW we can achieve our goals and who are "we"? This will have to happen in stages, yet ones that must move
along briskly. Time is short.
"We" must present these things in a form that can be understood and
agreed-to by many, so that through the sheer force of attraction, our
numbers will grow and grow.
We thank Sean Sullivan for his expert webmastering of this site.
For the Earth, Brian.
P.O.Box 258, Loja, Ecuador.
E-mail : Dr Brian O'Leary