After Haiyan/Yolanda

By now, I’m sure the whole world knows what hit the Philippines last week: just one of the craziest typhoons in recorded history.

It’s heartwarming to receive messages of concern from friends abroad, and I’m thankful(?) that my hometown was hardly hit. Sadly, other parts of the country weren’t so “lucky”. (And that’s all that’s saved us, really–geography–not divine providence.) Over 10,000 people are feared to be dead or missing. We get hit by typhoons every year, but not like this. It’s feared to get worse as the effects of climate change increase, but that’s a discussion for another day.

It’s so heartbreaking that I’m still at a loss for words. I can’t even describe my own grief. (Despite this, others are being total morons.)

I’m leaving this space in memory of all who perished, their mourning kinsmen, and the countless others still missing. The human spirit is resilient–regardless of nationality or ethnicity–and prayers can be a great comfort, but right now, nothing can be more helpful than food, clean water, medicine, and dry clothing. I wish I could give more, but at the moment, this is how I can help. We should all help in whatever way that we can.

Here are some ways how:

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer

"Proper use of Twitter, Facebook hashtags regarding #YolandaPH" via justinpaolo (

“Proper use of Twitter, Facebook hashtags regarding #YolandaPH” via justinpaolo (

You can also find a great deal of ways to help here:

You may also enquire on how to help where you live. Canada’s Red Cross/Croix Rouge makes itself available for Canadians who’d like to offer their assistance. I’m sure other countries are doing the same, too.

Thanks ever so much for taking time to read this!

Related reading:

Not the first time I’ve danced under the rain


Today is Earthdance Manila 2013 (my fifth, I think) and it’s raining cats and dogs outside. Not that that would stop me from going. I braved a tempest at the Ganesha Visarjan this Sunday; this rain is nothing compared to that. Carry on, Zeus Ombrios!

Although, not a Pagan Pride Day in itself, the event is often attended not only by eclectic Neopagans (usually bright-eyed, light-and-love “Witches”), but also tribal spiritual leaders (real ones, thank the Gods). The greater part of the crowd, though, will be artists, dancers, musicians, photographers, interfaith workers, hippies, pomos, vegans, outgoing cosmopolitans, and so on. It’s not the best fundraiser there is, but it helps and it’s fun. I get to dance, too! That’s my primary goal, anyhow.

Tonight, we dance!

So, the world’s going to end in 7 days?

So says It’s disgusting, really. Every time a natural disaster comes our way, a bunch of crazies claim it’s part of some ancient desert prophecy. Really now?

These doomsday-mongers should really just calmthefuckdown. All these natural “disasters” are only omens of a living and breathing world, not its final destruction. A real doomsday sign would be green rain or cold fire; but why would that even happen?

Of course, the world will surely end. It’s a probability supported by science. All things die. A creature’s death is the end of its world, after all. Stars and planets are no different. Our planet is no different. Our species is no different; no matter how convinced others are that we’re something special. There is no preexisting reason why things live or die. We just do.

But if you think a major catastrophe happening sometime soon makes these bible-thumping crackpots right, think again. “The End of Times” is something that nature determines; not man or scripture. If you’re the type to identify god with nature, then yes, god determines the expiration date. But who is privy to the mind of such a god? No one. And especially not these nutters.

Why should it even matter, anyway? Should our world begin to crumble on the 21st of May, suck it up and survive. Cease your whining; it’s not about us. It wasn’t about the dinosaurs when it happened to them. The world is simply reshuffling, and it’s best to play her game and dance her rhythms; because that’s the only thing we can do.

No Earth Day on Good Friday?

MANILA, Philippines — Since this year’s Earth Day celebration falls on Good Friday, a Roman Catholic prelate asked President Aquino Wednesday to postpone the celebration and move it to another day.

Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo, chairman of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines-National Secretariat for Social Action (CBCP-NASSA), said the President should postpone the celebration of Earth Day in deference to the holy observance of Good Friday.

“I told the Archdiocese of Manila that Earth Day cannot be celebrated because April 22 is a holy day because it’s Good Friday,” he said over Church-run Radyo Veritas 846 yesterday.

“The Church is busy during Holy Week and its observance is more important,” added Pabillo.

During Good Friday, he said, most of the faithful are also busy reflecting.

“If it’s possible the government should just move the Earth Day celebration to another date since most of the people are reflecting and making sacrifices that day,” Pabillo said.

Earth Day is a day that is intended to inspire awareness of and appreciation for the Earth’s natural environment. It was founded by United States Senator Gaylord Nelson as an environmental teach-in, first held on April 22, 1970.

If two fucking holidays coincide, they coincide. You do NOT move the date just because ONE institution finds it inappropriate for their members to celebrate two holidays on the same day.

Mother Earth granted human rights in Bolivia.

Bolivia is set to pass the world’s first laws granting all nature equal rights to humans. The Law of Mother Earth, now agreed by politicians and grassroots social groups, redefines the country’s rich mineral deposits as “blessings” and is expected to lead to radical new conservation and social measures to reduce pollution and control industry.

The country, which has been pilloried by the US and Britain in the UN climate talks for demanding steep carbon emission cuts, will establish 11 new rights for nature. They include: the right to life and to exist; the right to continue vital cycles and processes free from human alteration; the right to pure water and clean air; the right to balance; the right not to be polluted; and the right to not have cellular structure modified or genetically altered.

Controversially, it will also enshrine the right of nature “to not be affected by mega-infrastructure and development projects that affect the balance of ecosystems and the local inhabitant communities”.

“It makes world history. Earth is the mother of all“, said Vice-President Alvaro García Linera. “It establishes a new relationship between man and nature, the harmony of which must be preserved as a guarantee of its regeneration.”

The law, which is part of a complete restructuring of the Bolivian legal system following a change of constitution in 2009, has been heavily influenced by a resurgent indigenous Andean spiritual world view which places the environment and the earth deity known as the Pachamama at the centre of all life. Humans are considered equal to all other entities.

But the abstract new laws are not expected to stop industry in its tracks. While it is not clear yet what actual protection the new rights will give in court to bugs, insects and ecosystems, the government is expected to establish a ministry of mother earth and to appoint an ombudsman. It is also committed to giving communities new legal powers to monitor and control polluting industries.

Bolivia has long suffered from serious environmental problems from the mining of tin, silver, gold and other raw materials. “Existing laws are not strong enough,” said Undarico Pinto, leader of the 3.5m-strong Confederación Sindical Única de Trabajadores Campesinos de Bolivia, the biggest social movement, who helped draft the law. “It will make industry more transparent. It will allow people to regulate industry at national, regional and local levels.”

Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca said Bolivia’s traditional indigenous respect for the Pachamama was vital to prevent climate change. “Our grandparents taught us that we belong to a big family of plants and animals. We believe that everything in the planet forms part of a big family. We indigenous people can contribute to solving the energy, climate, food and financial crises with our values,” he said.

Little opposition is expected to the law being passed because President Evo Morales’s ruling party, the Movement Towards Socialism, enjoys a comfortable majority in both houses of parliament.

However, the government must tread a fine line between increased regulation of companies and giving way to the powerful social movements who have pressed for the law. Bolivia earns $500m (£305m) a year from mining companies which provides nearly one third of the country’s foreign currency.

In the indigenous philosophy, the Pachamama is a living being.

The draft of the new law states: “She is sacred, fertile and the source of life that feeds and cares for all living beings in her womb. She is in permanent balance, harmony and communication with the cosmos. She is comprised of all ecosystems and living beings, and their self-organisation.”

Ecuador, which also has powerful indigenous groups, has changed its constitution to give nature “the right to exist, persist, maintain and regenerate its vital cycles, structure, functions and its processes in evolution”. However, the abstract rights have not led to new laws or stopped oil companies from destroying some of the most biologically rich areas of the Amazon.

Bolivia is struggling to cope with rising temperatures, melting glaciers and more extreme weather events including more frequent floods, droughts, frosts and mudslides.

Research by glaciologist Edson Ramirez of San Andres University in the capital city, La Paz, suggests temperatures have been rising steadily for 60 years and started to accelerate in 1979. They are now on course to rise a further 3.5-4C over the next 100 years. This would turn much of Bolivia into a desert.

Most glaciers below 5,000m are expected to disappear completely within 20 years, leaving Bolivia with a much smaller ice cap. Scientists say this will lead to a crisis in farming and water shortages in cities such as La Paz and El Alto.

Evo Morales, Latin America’s first indigenous president, has become an outspoken critic in the UN of industrialised countries which are not prepared to hold temperatures to a 1C rise.

Emphasis mine.

At first, I went like “whaaaat”, but then I realised that this kind of philosophy should have been running the world right from the start.

Law may need some revision, though, but I think it’s on the right track.