Tag Archives: pagan

Great Barrier Reef in Trouble


The Business Insider reported back in January of this year that the Great Barrier Reef has been opened to dumping of dredge waste inside protected national park areas of the Reef as well as a coal port expansion.

The Reef is already in poor health and faces many challenges. The additional stress of waste being added to the waters and then a coal port expansion on top of that risks major destruction for the animals and plants that depend on the Reef and its unique environment. The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority has tried to say that the waste dump and port expansion will not harm the Reef in any way:

According to GBRMPA, the dumping will not significantly affect the Reef.

“It’s important to note the seafloor of the approved disposal area consists of sand, silt and clay and does not contain coral reefs or seagrass beds,” Dr Russell Reichelt, Authority Chairman, said in a news release. (Source: http://www.natureworldnews.com/articles/5847/20140201/australian-government-approves-dumping-dredged-waste-great-barrier-reef-marine.htm)

However, this is a very short-term view, and disregards the fact that the Reef is in poor condition as it is. How anyone thinks dumping additional soil and silt into an already fragile environment will not have an impact is beyond logic. The expansion of the coal port also means an increase in shipping traffic along the Reef. The Reef is supposed to be protected, as it is listed as a World Heritage Site. UNESCO has made public statements that condemn the decision and has submitted a report to the World Heritage Committee stating the Reef could potentially be downgraded to a status of “In Danger”. UNESCO has also urged the government of Australia to reconsider. However, as of the time of this post, I have not been able to find any news articles that have the government’s response or any news of a change in the decision.

As if this weren’t enough to cause alarm, there is another project planned to take place in the same rough location. Australia also plans to build a huge natural gas export terminal at Abbot Point, which is in the same region as the coal port expansion project. The dredging for the natural gas terminal would amount to about 800,000 tonnes of dredging–an enormous amount that is certain to have an impact on the Reef and the ecosystem. They plan to dump all of that soil and silt onto land, which is better than dumping it elsewhere in the Reef, but also brings the risk of potential harm to areas on land, depending on where this dredged material is being dumped.

I urge everyone who believes in protecting the environment to take action. Speak out, either in person or online. Sign petitions if you’re able. Work spells, if that is what you do. Write to influential people and demand their action to protect valuable ecosystems like the Great Barrier Reef.

To sign petitions or contribute money to legal funds organized to fight these decisions, check out the following links: Save the Reef, Reef Fighting Fund through GetUp!, Fight for the Reef legal fund, Sounds for the Reef,

Additional news sources about the decision:
Bloomberg: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-01-31/australia-permits-coal-port-dredge-dumping-near-barrier-reef.html

RT News: http://rt.com/news/156100-unesco-barrier-reef-dumping/

 

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Coming Back!


Hey everyone!

Thank you so much to those who sent me messages of support and encouragement since last July! I appreciated those so, so much, so thank you.

I’ve made the decision to come back to the blog. I’m still undergoing a spiritual search and journey, but I don’t see any reason why I need to let the blog lie fallow anymore. So for now, I’m planning on one post a week. That’s my goal for the next few months, as my day job is extremely hectic right now due to a deadline in March. But I am confident I can manage one post a week about something Pagan-y.

I do have a question for you all, though: What has your spiritual journey been like? When did you first realize that the religion you were raised with didn’t work for you, or when did you undergo a spiritual crisis? I’m really curious about other peoples’ experiences and would love to hear from you!

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A Low Point


I have recently come to accept that I’ve reached a low point in my spirituality.  I’m sure I’m not the first, nor will I be the last, to realize that sometimes a spiritual crisis doesn’t necessarily mean something has to happen to you, but rather nothing can happen to you.  (Did that make sense?  That may have made more sense in my head than on screen . . . )

I don’t know what to call this period in my spirituality.  A low point?  A slow period?  A fallow time?  Whatever it is, it’s the reason I haven’t been around on the blog lately.  I’ve felt burned out.  The beliefs I held before are still there (well, the majority of them), but the practices that made me a practicing Pagan now feel hollow and shallow.  It’s because there’s no emotion behind the practice.  There’s no feeling, no oomph to drive things forward and create a real connection.  Even the thought of practice makes me cringe right now, because I just don’t feel like I have the energy, or like I could muster the energy.  It would feel hollow and fake, and that’s no way to approach magical (or spiritual) practice.

This is why I haven’t been around on here, my beloved blog, very much in the past few months.  I’ve found myself wondering what to write about.  Since I chose to leave the coven classes, I’ve found myself faced with the questions of what to do next, where to go next, what to write about next.  If I’m not involved in spiritual practice, how then could I write about it without feel like some kind of awful pretender?  This is what I have found myself facing, and I don’t have any other answer except rather than trying to find the next activity, next destination on my spiritual path, next article idea . . . I just take this slow time to discover who I am and what the hell I really want for myself and my life.  No better time than now to consider those questions.  Rather than try to force through something that does not feel right anymore, rather than try to keep busy and move forward spiritually . . . just let it be.  Allow the slow period to happen and then pull myself up when the time is right.

I am not shutting down the blog.  I will be back, I promise.  I don’t know when, but I will.  I will create posts as inspiration strikes.  Eventually, I’ll get back into blogging here more regularly and I look forward to reading all of your comments and insights when I do!

Have any of you experienced something like this?  What did you do or how did you get through it?

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A Personal Dilemma


A personal dilemma has come up for me in the last 24 hours.  And since it concerns religion, I figure the blog might be the perfect place to explain and ask for advice.  (Since this concerns family, no names or identifying characteristics have been used.)

I got a letter yesterday from my family.  The letter turned out to be from my younger brother (allegedly from him–I’m thinking it’s probably my very religious, evangelical stepmother who really wrote it) asking for money for a trip to Peru this summer.

Normally, I’m all for supporting travel.  I think it’s important to travel around the world and see different cultures and places.  It’s a very eye-opening experience.  However, this trip my brother is planning is not a fun lets-learn-about-culture kind of trip.  No no, this trip is a missionary trip organized, I assume, through their church.

Here’s my problem: I want to support my brother.  If it weren’t a missionary trip, I would have forked over money without hesitation.  But it is a missionary trip, and spreading the word of God is the main focus.  He says in the letter that the group will take part in serving a needy community and reaching out to children in need by providing children’s programs the kids can attend.  But he also says that they will organize and fund a group of local students to travel through the mountains to spread the word of God with them.  “I’m very excited to be able to help children far less privileged than me by spreading the word of God.”

And that is the crux of my problem. How can I support something I very much disagree with, even when it’s my own brother?  I don’t agree with missionary organizations or people, and I cannot agree with or support their goals of spreading the word of God, especially when they do so while ostensibly giving aid to others.  In my opinion/belief, aid to these communities should be offered freely and from all for all, without any strings attached.  I believe it is the duty of all to help those in need, not for ulterior financial or religious motives, but from the goodness of our hearts and because it is the right thing to do.  It shouldn’t be a requirement or hurdle that in order to receive aid, you also have to put up with preaching and proselytizing.  And to proselytize to children strikes me as reprehensible and shudder-worthy.

I admit that not all missionaries are bad.  Some are very good people who genuinely want to help others.  They can bring much needed aid, supplies, and so forth to poorer communities, and not all of them inject extraordinary amounts of religion into their interactions with the communities.  But others are rather despicable and withhold aid unless the people convert or otherwise express a religious affiliation with the missionary.  Some missionaries take pains to turn a community against the non-believers in their midst in order to gain more followers.

It is possible that I’m being too close-minded about this.  I don’t have a very good opinion of missionaries, and I freely acknowledge that.  The idea that my brother might be turning into that type of person makes me cringe.  But I don’t think my brother is really into this.  I think he just wants to go to Peru, and is doing the church trip because it makes his mother happy and gives him the opportunity to travel.  Still, I have a serious personal conflict with giving money in support of such a trip with the goals that it has.

And I don’t know what to do about it.  Not contributing something means likely causing a family uproar once my stepmother finds out I didn’t send something. She will hold it against me and use it against me at some point.  She is that vindictive (some Christian she is).  I thought about writing to my brother and explaining why I won’t contribute toward the trip, but I don’t have his number or email, and he doesn’t have Facebook–so my only option is mail, and I don’t want his mother to open the letter, which she might very well do.  But saying nothing seems wrong; I don’t want him to think I don’t care or something like that.

And now I’m doing that Virgo thing where I over think things and look at all the different possibilities…

What do you all think?  What would you do in a situation like this?

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Question of the Week: Questions About Paganism


I’m a bit late in posting the question this week, but I hadn’t come up with a good one until this morning after I read yesterday’s Wild Hunt article on the Pagan bubble. (It’s a very interesting and thought-provoking read, I suggest checking it out.)  So this week’s question is geared for those people who have questions about Paganism in general.  You don’t have to be Pagan, or a certain subset of Pagan, to ask questions and receive an answer here.  Although my blog is written primarily for those who are involved with some kind of Pagan or metaphysical path, I encourage interfaith involvement and activity here as well.

Do you have any questions about Paganism?  What about a subset of Paganism, such as Wicca or Asatru? 

Post your questions in the comments section below!

(Or, if you’re shy and would rather ask a question privately, email awitchylife@gmail.com)

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