Over the weekend I attended the most beautiful funeral. The subject of death and dying is perhaps not so readily connected with positive media, but death and change are the only two things we can be sure of in life, so we might as well embrace the subjects. In some cultures death is celebrated, in Maori culture the tangi provides people with the opportunity to remain with the body and to openly grieve together for days. In Golden Bay culture, where I was over the weekend … well lets just say black doesn’t feature strongly. Kelly Bannister’s funeral involved colour. Lots of it. We were asked to wear our most vibrant clothes – I think the average spectator may have first assumed they were watching a wedding. There were thousands of home grown flowers adorning the beach and floating on the waves. They were apparently still there this morning causing some to wonder just what had taken place at Tata Beach. Huge, bright flags flew for Kelly, making it impossible to miss us. There was an eco-coffin, artfully decorated by hundreds. There was music, one track inspiring a spontaneous and passionate dance where funeral goers whooped and stomped hard for Kelly, while flowers seemed to rain from the sky. And, of course, there were tears, water everywhere, as the unexpected passing of a joyful soul who seemed to have a whole future mapped out ahead of her, triggered a deluge of emotion. The beauty of grief is that it can open the heart. It can bring people closer, knitting together and healing old wounds. It reminds us to enjoy our moments as we never know what’s coming in with the next tide. I could hear Kelly laughing with delight through the funeral. It was a perfect celebration of her life. The beauty of Kelly is that she enjoyed it while she had it. I’m grateful for the reminder. Charlotte Squire
Good News Roundup
Check out these two gorgeous peaceful warriors. Waikeke Island was alive with peaceful walkers of all ages last week, during the beginning of an International Peace march that is now sweeping the planet (Waiheke Marketplace). What a combination: film and environmental news. If you’re in Wellington for the first two weeks of October check out the Reel Earth Environmental Film Festival. The films feature “hard hitting social justice and breath taking natural beauty” (People’s Times.co.nz).
And onto another way that art and environmental awareness are coming together to create magic – Hip Hop pop star Che Fu and Waitakare Mayor Bob Harvey are joining forces to inspire a plastic bag free West Auckland (NZ Herald.co.nz).
Here’s another example of the positive power of music – The Sealife London Aquarium have successfully used Barry White’s songs to encourage their previously reluctant Sharks to make baby -sharks (Optimist World.com).
Onto matters of health – it’s all very well treating the physical, but how about the soul? In California, a Hmong Shaman is treating both aspects of the body, with amazing results (NY Times.com). This man would have had ample time to gaze deeply into his soul recently – Reverand Mike Solberg has succeeded in his goal to swim the English Channel. It took him fourteen hours. The Northern Illinois Pastor was determined to raise money to build a school in Africa and has so far raised $30,000 of the $50,000 required (MSNBC.com).
Here’s another inspiring tale of physical acheivement –
New York based David Byrne (ex-lead singer of Talking Heads) has used the bike as his main source of transportation for the past thirty years. David has also explored the world on a bike – check out this introduction to his new book on the subject: Bicycle Diaries (Inhabitat.com).
In an unexpected twist – a new lightrail system in Phoenix has helped to create a vibrant social scene in the centre of the city – people are using it in some cases for the daily commute to work (as was expected), and in most cases to get to restaurants, bars, ball games and other cultural events in the city (NY Times.com). Onto positive environmental news – urgently required support for the New Zealand kiwi is on the way via a new ground breaking self-setting trap (People’s Times.co.nz). Good news for another New Zealand bird – the seabird ‘Oi’ has returned to Auckland after fifty years of absence due to the safe, predator free environment provided by a pest-proof fence (NZ Herald).
Remember Midnight Oil’s ‘Beds Are Burning’? This 1987 hit has been tweaked and re-recorded by fifty five well known artists from around the world who want to draw attention to Climate Change (Treehugger.com).
Over to the States – Silicon Valley Euntreprenuers are developing among other things, a greener brick. Yes this new version of a brick requires more natural substances and less time to bake (Planetark.org).
Hey everybody! Meet Mike Feingold! Mike’s inspiring people world-wide to give Permaculture Design a go with this You Tube video (Treehugger.com).
Finally, in one of the world’s most talked about areas of environmental concern, the Brazilian Government plans to ban sugar cane plantations in environmetnally sensitive areas (BBC.co.uk).
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