Monthly Archives: April 2016

Inspiration Meets Sandstone


Eric Tonningsen's Awakening to Awareness


“Far better to live your own path imperfectly than to live another’s perfectly.” ~ Bhagavad Gita

This is a short, meaningful read.

Ra Paulette is an amazing confluence of passion, creativity, inspiration and living at choice. He is proof that people can follow their chosen path, as unique as it may be.

At 69, Ra demonstrates that even when we play, our efforts and contributions can stir the hearts and imaginations of others. To say the man has a vision might be an understatement.

For 25 years Ra has been axing, sanding, and forming exquisite sandstone caves in Taos County, not far from where I live in the New Mexico High Desert.

Following is a CBS video of Ra and some of his work. Or is it really work? If you enjoy being inspired and awed, sit back and enjoy this 5.5 minute story.


If you’re looking for the intersection of…

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Environment Notables


Leonardo DiCaprio threatened with deportation by Indonesian government

“Activists may love Leonardo DiCaprio, but right now, the Indonesian government doesn’t. The actor recently incurred the ire of the government through efforts to raise awareness for the Leuser Ecosystem, which faces deforestation for the palm oil industry. After criticizing the destruction of the forest for the industry on his Instagram, the government threatened deportation.”

57% of Scotland’s energy came from renewables in 2015

“A new report published by the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change shows that 57.7% of Scotland’s electric consumption came from renewable sources in 2015, exceeding the country’s 50% target for the year. This milestone comes in spite of the UK government’s recent decision to end public subsidies for onshore wind farms a year earlier than initially planned.”

Researchers discover toxic heavy metals in Portland’s trees and air

“United States Forest Service researchers, including economist Geoffrey Donovan and moss and lichen expert Sarah Jovan, weren’t searching for pollution. They were working on a study to demonstrate how trees benefit cities when they began the moss experiments, which health experts say is the first type of this research. Yet their 346 samples revealed toxic heavy metals such as cadmium, and the concentrations were greatest near two glass factories, one in southeast Portland, the other in north Portland.”

New Swedish wave energy buoy boasts 5x the output of existing technology

“We already harness energy from the sun, the wind, and many other natural processes for our own uses, and electricity generated from ocean waves could be the next big thing in renewables. Known as wave energy, the concept is relatively new and technologies are still a bit rudimentary (and expensive), especially when it comes to large-scale energy generation. CorPower Ocean, based in Sweden, has developed a buoy that is surprisingly productive. One small buoy can generate enough electricity from the ocean to power 200 homes. Imagine what a farm full of floating buoys could do.”

U.S. has potential to get 40 percent of its electricity from rooftop solar

“The NREL issued the new report (PDF) at the end of March, marking the first time since 2008 that national estimates of solar power potential have been calculated through such precise methods. The report is the culmination of three years of research, evaluating rooftops for their “suitability” for solar power generation. For a very simplified comparison, this is like using Google’s Project Sunroof on the entire country all at once, to get an idea of how much solar power could be produced if an array is placed on every rooftop that would be worthwhile.”

Animals Tab Purge


Cambodia rescues half a tonne of smuggled tortoises, pythons

“The animals—102 elongated tortoises and 17 pythons—weighed a total of 570 kilos.
They were confiscated Monday afternoon from a cargo truck in Cambodia’s Kandal province, forestry official Y Sophy told AFP.
“They were being transported to Phnom Penh where they would then be smuggled to Vietnam,” he said, adding the creatures were scooped up from Cambodia’s Battambang province.
No arrests were made as the truck’s driver fled after being pulled over, the official said.”

Jon Stewart rescues runaway bull in NYC

“A bull escaped from a slaughterhouse in NYC and sought refuge on the campus green at York College in Queens. For some bulls, this might have just been a brief reprieve before heading back on the road to the slaughterhouse, but this lucky bull was rescued by Stewart and his wife and taken to their New Jersey animal sanctuary to live out the rest of his days.”

American bat epidemic jumps the Rockies

“White-nose syndrome (WNS) first appeared at a New York cave in February 2006, kicking off a historic epidemic that has stubbornly pushed west through the U.S. and Canada. It has obliterated bat populations along the way, with a nearly 100 percent mortality rate in some colonies. By February 2016, the disease had been confirmed at bat hibernacula in 27 U.S. states and five Canadian provinces.

But on March 11, hikers found a sick bat near North Bend in Washington state, about 30 miles east of Seattle. They took it to Progressive Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) in hopes it could recover, but the bat died two days later. It had visible symptoms of a skin infection common in bats with WNS, so PAWS submitted it for testing to the U.S. National Wildlife Health Center, which confirmed those suspicions.

“We are extremely concerned about the confirmation of WNS in Washington state, about 1,300 miles from the previous westernmost detection of the fungus that causes the disease,” U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) Director Dan Ashe says in a statement. Until now, the fungus’s western frontier had been in Nebraska.”

Green sea turtles are no longer endangered in Florida and Mexico

“Decades of conservation efforts have paid off for green sea turtles in Florida and Mexico. In the late 1970s, populations dwindled due to heavy commercial harvesting of turtle eggs and meat – but protection programs have helped numbers increase to the thousands. As a result of the population growth, the species has been elevated from ‘endangered’ to ‘threatened’ under the Endangered Species Act. Although the turtles will continue to be protected, they are no longer on the brink of extinction.”

Costa Rica’s ‘Land of the Strays’ is a canine paradise where nearly 1,000 dogs roam free

“Costa Rica offers more than just pristine beaches and stunning surf—the tropical country is also home to a dog and dog lovers’ paradise filled with nearly 1,000 happy and healthy dogs. Founded as a no-kill shelter and haven for strays, the volunteer-run Territorio de Zaguatas—the Land of the Strays—is located on the green pastures of Santa Bárbara in Costa Rica’s Heredia province. The sprawling free-range doggy heaven runs an active adoption program, but also invites curious visitors and dog lovers to come for a free hike and to play with the dogs.”

Tigers declared extinct in Cambodia

“Wild tigers have not been found in Cambodia since 2007, leading conservationists to declare the animals “functionally extinct.” The Cambodian government recently approved a $20 to $50 million Tiger Action Plan to try and save the majestic wild cats.”

Report reveals 11 million people and half of World Heritage sites are threatened by industry

“The World Wildlife Fund issued a new report that warns nearly half of all World Heritage sites are being threatened by industrial activity. Oil and gas exploration, mining, and logging (legal and otherwise) all endanger some of the world’s most beloved and natural locations, many of which are home to biodiverse animal kingdoms. WWF is calling on world leaders to respond by taking more aggressive action to protect natural sites from commercial development and corporate interests.”