The Surfing Lifestyle - info Surfing is one of the oldest practiced sports on the planet. The art of wave riding, is a blend of total athleticism and the comprehension of the beauty and power of nature. Surfing is also one of the few sports that creates its own culture and lifestyle. The act of riding waves with a wooden board originated in Western Polynesia over three thousand years ago. The first surfers were fishermen who discovered riding waves as an efficient method of getting to shore with their catch . Eventually catching waves developed from being part of everyday work to being a pastime. This change revolutionized surfing. There is no exact record of when stand-up surfing became a sport. It is known that during the 15th century, kings, queens and people of the Sandwich Isles were big into the sport of "he'enalu" or wave-sliding, in old Hawaiian,. "He'e" means to change from a solid form to a liquid form and "nalu" refers to the surfing motion of a wave. Early historical records of surfing appear in the late 1700s, when Europeans and Polynesians made first contact in Tahiti. Navigator Captain James Cook described how a Tahitian caught waves with his outrigger canoe just for the fun of it: "On walking one day about Matavai Point, where our tents were erected, I saw a man paddling in a small canoe so quickly and looking about him with such eagerness of each side. He then sat motionless and was carried along at the same swift rate as the wave, till it landed him upon the beach. Then he started out, emptied his canoe, and went in search of another swell. I could not help concluding that this man felt the most supreme pleasure while he was driven on so fast and so smoothly by the sea." The first Polynesian settlers to land in Hawaii were most likely skilled in simple surfing, and after a few hundred years of riding the waves of Hawaii, the well-known Hawaiian form of the sport emerged. The Hawaiians who surfed, the ali'i or high class, claimed the highest reputation for skill with boards on waves. They developed their own prayers, board shapers, wood and beaches where a select few could surf with people of their talent. No one dared to drop in on their wave in fear of getting punished and possible dying. The surfboards underwent a sacred ritual before construction. Only three types of trees were picked to make a board. The board maker would dig up the tree and around the roots place fish in the hole as an offering to the gods for the tree. The process of shaping then began. Surfing's comeback from near extinction was a result of a few factors, but mainly due to the influence of certain natives on the scene at the time. Known as the "Father of Modern Surfing," Duke Kahanamoku was an Olympic swimmer who started a surf club on Wakiki Beach. Duke swam in exhibitions and swimming meets in Europe and the United States. His popularity attracted attention on the West Coast and Southern Californians became interested in surfing. There was a myth that only a Hawaiian could acheive balance while standing and riding a wave. Despite this belief, in the early 1900's, a number of Honolulu residents, both natives and Caucasians, re-discovered the waves at Waikiki, and gradually the interest was renewed. By the 1930’s, surfers were no longer satified with simple wave riding. Their ambitons overpowered the equipment they had been using. Ever since then the surfboard was the focus - "pushing technology and design to provide boards that could match surfers' skills." Tom Blake was one of the pioneers of reinventing surfboards. His Hallow Hawaiian Board weighed half of what traditional boards weighed at the time. The lighter board was controversial in competitions, but recognized as a success. In those years, builders were experimenting with all sorts of sizes, shapes, weights, and materials. Blake had another innovation to add a small fin on the bottom, underside of the board. This helped in turning and cutting through the wave. World War II helped in the discovery of certain chemicals and materials that kept boards together. surfers now had waterproof glues that kept the pieces together without having to use bolts running from rail to rail. Fiberglass, resin, and styrofoam also came out of research during WWII. An ritual created by the revival of the sport was the Surf Safari. The introduction of the automobile made it easier for surfers to go up and down the coast of California in search of good waves. The Golden Age of surfing was the 1950s. After the war, many people enjoyed prosperity and leisure time. Beach movies, surf fashion and a show called Gidget helped commercialize the sport and reinvent the lifsetyle. Surfing had gone from an elite and scared island activity to a multi-million dollar industry. The Surfing Lifestyle - info "The best surfer out there is the one having the most fun." Phil Edwards "Out of water, I am nothing." Duke Kahanamoku "My passion for surfing was more than my fear of sharks." Bethany Hamilton "Surfing is attitude dancing." Gerry Lopez "We're all equal before a wave." Laird Hamilton "Surfing's one of the few sports that you look ahead to see what's behind." Laird Hamilton "The biggest sin in the world would be if I lost my love for the ocean." Laird Hamilton "Wiping out is an underappreciated skill." Laird Hamilton "It's like the mafia. Once you're in - your in. There's no getting out." Kelly Slater "Your surfing can get better on every turn, on every wave you catch. Learn to read the ocean better. A big part of my success has been wave knowledge." Kelly Slater "It's all about where your mind's at" Kelly Slater "The joy of surfing is so many things combined, from the physical exertion of it, to the challenge of it, to the mental side of the sport." Kelly Slater "I think when a surfer becomes a surfer, it's almost like an obligation to be an environmentalist at the same time." Kelly Slater "I'm just a surfer who wanted to build something that would allow me to surf longer." Jack O'Neill "I took off on a wave, went down the side, popped out the other end, and went, shit, I'm still alive!" Greg Noll "It's a culmination of your life of surfing when you turn and paddle in at Mavericks." Jeff Clark "I surf to get tan." Shane Dorian "If you're having a bad day, catch a wave." Frosty Hesson "If in doubt, paddle out." Nat Young "It's not tragic to die doing something you love." Mark Foo "Eddie would go." Mark FooLearn More
The Skateboarding Lifestyle - info It occurred to me this morning that Skateboarding has been around for quite some time now. People where shredding on clay wheels long before I was born paving the way for what has surely become a global phenomenon. It seems to me that Skateboarding is reaching heights never dreamed of and is finding its place among traditional sports like baseball and football. Parents arent so resistant to the idea of their children preferring to skate versus trying out for short stop on the HS Baseball team. I find this fascinating that in such a short time Skateboarding has gained such ground. Lets dive a little deeper into the history that shaped Skateboarding today. 1950s Surers in California get the bright idea to surf concrete and invent Skateboarding. The origin of the first skateboard has never been proven as it seems to have been the spontaneous invention of multiple people. Wooden boards with roller skate wheels slapped on the bottom where the makings of the original boards these pioneers took to the streets. Could you imagine the looks on the faces of people seeing this for the first time? Long haired shaggy surfer duded ripping up the streets on and roller skate wheels! The world comes to mind in such true original form. 1960s By 1963 Skateboarding was all the rage. Popularity of the sport was at its peak. Companies such as Jack Hobie, and Makaha started having real competitions consisting of Downhill Slalom and Freestyle where skaters like Torger Johnson, Woody Woodward and Danny Berer paved the way for future skaters. Then in 1965 for some reason Skateboarding seems to simply die. Considered to be a fad that came and went, skateboarding seemed to fade over night. Some few stayed true to the sport and continued to create homemade boards and fine tune their craft. One of the reasons I suspect skateboarding loosing some of its ground was the fact that the sport was very dangerous. The clay wheels they used were everything but safe and lead to many injuries. 1970s Then like all things, in a moment, everything changed for skateboarding. The invention of urethane wheels by Frank Nasworthy in 1972 made it possible for skateboarding to make its comeback. He started the company Cadillac Wheels. In 1975 skateboarding got the boost it needed. In Del Mar, California a slalom and freestyle contest was held at the Ocean Festival. That day, the Zephyr team showed the world what skateboarding could be. They rode their boards like no one had in the public eye, low and smooth, and skateboarding was taken from being a hobby to something serious and exciting. The Zephyr team had many members but as some of you might know the most notable of them where Tony Alva, Jay Adams and Stacy Peralta. Then in 1978 Alan Gelfand invented a maneuver that gave skateboarding another revolutionary jump. He would slam his back foot down on the tail of his board and jump, thereby popping himself and the board into the air. The ollie was born, a trick that completely revolutionized skateboarding. At the end of the 1970s skateboarding took another hit when the public skateparks that were being built suffered from the outrageously hight insurance rates due to the danger factor of skateboarding. - 1980s & 1990s Skateboarding continues to grow as the anti-establishment subculture that we all know it as. Skateboarders had become hell bent on progressing their passion for the sport so they started building there own ramps in their backyards. no secret that this became a problem for local construction companies when they started to notice their lumber was disappearing. But lets not forget that construction companies where part of the establishment so to hell with them they thought. Aside from the ramps they built in their backyards to skate on they saw the whole world as there skatepark and took to the streets. During this time many new board shapes took form allowing for skaters to overcome obstacles otherwise impossible. Another invention in the 1980s played a major roll in skateboarding history. The intention of VHS. Stacey Peralta and George Powell Bones Brigade team starts recording skateboarding videos that will reach kids all over the world. The team included Steve Caballero, Tony Hawk, Mike McGill, Lance Mountain, Rodney Mullen, Stacy Peralta, and Kevin Staab. This is the team responsible for The Bones Brigade Video Show. At the end of the 1980s skateboarding took yet another dive in popularity when vert skateboarding became far less popular than street skateboarding. In the early 90s skateboarding starts to rise again as it finds some common ground with the emerging punk music. Then in 1995 ESPN holds the first ever X-Games. The event was a huge success and brought skateboarding into the mainstream light sparking interest in many more young kids. 2000s & Now Skateparks pop up everywhere and skateboarding video games lets every kid be a skater. Tons of companies emerge and become more and more acceptable in society. The notion of skateboarders being criminals starts to dwindle. The X-Games continues to become more and more popular with Skateboarding at the helm. One of the big factors today that makes skateboarding so huge is the fact that pros make real money. Wining events can bring in hundreds of thousands of dollars. Kids are realizing that you dont have to become a doctor or lawyer to make a buck. Skateboarding has also played a big role in fashion earning its place among the masses. Companies like Diamond Supply Co, Hurley, Vans, and RVCA all making millions off the skateboarding lifestyle. If this is what happened in the last 60 years I can;t help but wonder what skateboarding has in store in the next 60 years. I found this cool video that gives a visual representation of the evolution of skateboarding. All I wanted to do was ride skateboards - I wanted to be a professional skateboarder. But I had this problem. I kept breaking half of my body skateboarding. Travis Barker Don't fail to try, fail trying. Unknown Author For me, skateboarding is a lifestyle. I really don't know anything different. My life revolves around skating. If I wasn't a professional skateboarder, I'd still be skating every day. Ryan Sheckler Having a girlfriend that skates is as bad as having a girlfriend that strips! Clyde Singleton I consider skateboarding an art form, a lifestyle and a sport. 'Action sport' would be the least offensive categorization. Tony Hawk I grew up skateboarding; it was fun. I didn't think about money, I didn't know how much professional skateboarders made. I just knew that if I became a professional skateboarder, I would achieve a lot and get to travel and do these great things. Jason Lee I like to snowboard on a skateboard on concrete. Eiki Helgason I live to ride, and ride to live. Ryan Sheckler I love skateboarding, but it makes me the worst psychopathic maniac. Mike TaylorLearn More
$0.00The Yoga Lifestyle - info HISTORY FOR YOGINS AND YOGINIS In Yoga, theory and practice, as well as left brain and right brain, go hand in hand so to speak. Study (svâdhyâya) is in fact an important aspect of many branches and schools of Yoga. This is another way in which Yoga’s balanced approach shows itself. If you want to know where something is going, it is good to know where it came from. “To be ignorant of what happened before one was born,” said Cicero pointedly in his Orator, “is to remain ever a child.” History provides context and meaning, and Yoga is no exception to this rule. If you are fond of history, you’ll enjoy what follows. Many of the facts and ideas presented here have not yet found their way into the textbooks or even into most Yoga books. We put you in touch with the leading edge of knowledge in this area. If you are not a history buff, well, perhaps we can tempt you to suspend your preferences for a few minutes and read on anyway. THE ORIGIN OF YOGA Despite more than a century of research, we still don’t know much about the earliest beginnings of Yoga. We do know, though, that it originated in India 5,000 or more years ago. Until recently, many Western scholars thought that Yoga originated much later, maybe around 500 B.C., which is the time of Gautama the Buddha, the illustrious founder of Buddhism. But then, in the early 1920s, archeologists surprised the world with the discovery of the so-called Indus civilization—a culture that we now know extended over an area of roughly 300,000 square miles (the size of Texas and Ohio combined). This was in fact the largest civilization in early antiquity. In the ruins of the big cities of Mohenjo Daro and Harappa, excavators found depictions engraved on soapstone seals that strongly resemble yogi-like figures. Many other finds show the amazing continuity between that civilization and later Hindu society and culture. There was nothing primitive about what is now called the Indus-Sarasvati civilization, which is named after two great rivers that once flowed in Northern India; today only the Indus River flows through Pakistan. That civilization’s urbane population enjoyed multistory buildings, a sewage system unparalleled in the ancient world until the Roman empire, a huge public bath whose walls were water-proofed with bitumen, geometrically laid out brick roads, and standardized baked bricks for convenient construction. (We are so used to these technological achievements that we sometimes forget they had to be invented.) The Indus-Sarasvati people were a great maritime nation that exported a large variety of goods to Mesopotamia and other parts of the Middle East and Africa. Although only a few pieces of art have survived, some of them show exquisite craftsmanship. For a long time, scholars thought that this magnificent civilization was abruptly destroyed by invaders from the northwest who called themselves Aryans (ârya meaning “noble” in the Sanskrit language). Some proposed that these warlike nomads invented Yoga, others credited the Indus people with its creation. Yet others took Yoga to be the joint creation of both races. Nowadays researchers increasingly favor a completely different picture of ancient Indian history. They are coming to the conclusion that there never was an Aryan invasion and that the decline of the Indus-Sarasvati cities was due to dramatic changes in climate. These in turn appear to have been caused by a major tectonic catastrophe changing the course of rivers. In particular, it led to the drying up of what was once India’s largest river, the Sarasvati, along whose banks flourished numerous towns and villages (some 2500 sites have been identified thus far). Today the dry river bed runs through the vast Thar Desert. If it were not for satellite photography, we would not have learned about those many settlements buried under the sand. The drying up of the Sarasvati River, which was complete by around 1900 B.C., had far-reaching consequences. Just imagine the waters of the Mississippi running dry instead of flooding constantly. What havoc this would cause! The death of the Sarasvati River forced the population to migrate to more fertile parts of the country, especially east toward the Ganges (Ganga) River and south into Central India and Tamilnadu. Why is this important for the history of Yoga, you might ask? The Sarasvati River happens to be the most celebrated river in the Rig-Veda, which is the oldest known text in any Indo-European language. It is composed in an archaic (and difficult) form of Sanskrit and was transmitted by word of mouth for numerous generations. Sanskrit is the language in which most Yoga scriptures are written. It is related to languages like Greek, Latin, French, German, Spanish, and not least English. You can see this family relationship on the example of the word yoga itself, which corresponds to zugos, iugum, joug, Joch, yugo, and yoke in these languages. Sanskrit is like an older brother to the other Indo-European languages. Now, if the Sarasvati River dried up around or before 1900 B.C., the Rig-Veda must be earlier than that benchmark date. If that is so, then the composers of this collection of hymns must have been contemporaneous with the people of the Indus civilization, which flourished between circa 3000-1900 B.C. Indeed, astronomical references in the Rig-Veda suggest that at least some of its 1,028 hymns were composed in the third or even fourth millennium B.C. Thus, the Sanskrit-speaking Aryans, who created the Rig-Veda, did not come from outside India to destroy the Indus-Sarasvati civilization. They had been there all along. What, then, was their relationship with the Indus-Sarasvati people? Here opinions still differ, but there is a growing understanding that the Aryans and the Indus-Sarasvati people were one and the same. There is nothing in the Rig-Veda to suggest otherwise. In fact, the Rig-Veda and the other archaic Sanskrit texts appear to be the “missing” literature of the Indus civilization. Conversely, the archeological artifacts of the Indus valley and adjoining areas give us the “missing” material base of the early Sanskrit literature—an elegant solution to a problem that has long vexed researchers. YOGA AND THE INDUS-SARASVATI CIVILIZATION This means that Yoga is the product of a mature civilization that was unparalleled in the ancient world. Think of it! As a Yoga practitioner you are part of an ancient and honorable stream of tradition, which makes you a descendant of that civilization at least at the level of the heart. Many of the inventions credited to Sumer rightfully belong to what is now known as the Indus-Sarasvati civilization, which evolved out of a cultural tradition that has reliably been dated back to the seventh millennium B.C. In turn it gave rise to the great religious and cultural tradition of Hinduism, but indirectly also to Buddhism and Jainism. India’s civilization can claim to be the oldest enduring civilization in the world. Its present-day problems should not blind us to its glorious past and the lessons we can learn from it. Yoga practitioners in particular can benefit from India’s protracted experimentation with life, especially its explorations of the mysteries of the mind. The Indian civilization has produced great philosophical and spiritual geniuses who between them have covered every conceivable answer to the big questions, which are as relevant today as they were thousands of years ago. THE BIG QUESTIONS Traditional Yoga seeks to provide plausible answers to such profound questions as, “Who am I?”, “Whence do I come?”, “Whither do I go?,” and “What must I do?” These are the sorts of questions that, sooner or later, we all end up asking ourselves. Or at least, we have our own implicit answers to them, though may not get round to consciously formulating them. Deep down, we all are philosophers, because we all need to make sense of our life. Some of us postpone thinking about these questions, but they don’t ever go away. We quickly learn this when we lose a loved one or face a serious health crisis. So, we might as well ponder these questions while we are in good shape. And don’t think you have to feel morose to do so. Yoga doesn’t champion dark moods, but it is definitely in favor of awareness in all its forms, including self-awareness. If we know the stuff we are made of, we can function a lot better in the world. At the very least, our self-knowledge will give us the opportunity to make conscious and better choices. THE HISTORY OF YOGA I can provide here only the merest thumbnail sketch and, if you wish to inform yourself more about the long history of Yoga, recommend that you study my book The Yoga Tradition. This is the most comprehensive historical overview available anywhere. But be prepared for challenging reading and a fairly large tome. The history of Yoga can conveniently be divided into the following four broad categories: Vedic Yoga Preclassical Yoga Classical Yoga Postclassical Yoga These categories are like static snapshots of something that is in actuality in continuous motion—the “march of history.” VEDIC YOGA Now we are entering somewhat more technical territory, and I will have to use and explain a number of Sanskrit terms. The yogic teachings found in the above-mentioned Rig-Veda and the other three ancient hymnodies are known as Vedic Yoga. The Sanskrit word veda means “knowledge,” while the Sanskrit term rig (from ric) means “praise.” Thus the sacred Rig-Veda is the collection of hymns that are in praise of a higher power. This collection is in fact the fountainhead of Hinduism, which has around one billion adherents today. You could say that the Rig-Veda is to Hinduism what the Book of Genesis is to Christianity. The other three Vedic hymnodies are the Yajur-Veda (“Knowledge of Sacrifice”), Sama-Veda (“Knowledge of Chants”), and Atharva-Veda (“Knowledge of Atharvan”). The first collection contains the sacrificial formulas used by the Vedic priests. The second text contains the chants accompanying the sacrifices. The third hymnody is filled with magical incantations for all occasions but also includes a number of very powerful philosophical hymns. It is connected with Atharvan, a famous fire priest who is remembered as having been a master of magical rituals. These hymnodies can be compared to the various books of the Old Testament. It is clear from what has been said thus far that Vedic Yoga—which could also be called Archaic Yoga—was intimately connected with the ritual life of the ancient Indians. It revolved around the idea of sacrifice as a means of joining the material world with the invisible world of the spirit. In order to perform the exacting rituals successfully, the sacrificers had to be able to focus their mind for a prolonged period of time. Such inner focusing for the sake of transcending the limitations of the ordinary mind is the root of Yoga. When successful, the Vedic yogi was graced with a “vision” or experience of the transcendental reality. A great master of Vedic Yoga was called a “seer”—in Sanskrit rishi. The Vedic seers were able to see the very fabric of existence, and their hymns speak of their marvelous intuitions, which can still inspire us today. PRECLASSICAL YOGA This category covers an extensive period of approximately 2,000 years until the second century A.D. Preclassical Yoga comes in various forms and guises. The earliest manifestations were still closely associated with the Vedic sacrificial culture, as developed in the Brâhmanas and Âranyakas. The Brâhmanas are Sanskrit texts explaining the Vedic hymns and the rituals behind them. The Âranyakas are ritual texts specific to those who chose to live in seclusion in a forest hermitage. Yoga came into its own with the Upanishads, which are gnostic texts expounding the hidden teaching about the ultimate unity of all things. There are over 200 of these scriptures, though only a handful of them were composed in the period prior to Gautama the Buddha (fifth century B.C.). These works can be likened to the New Testament, which rests on the Old Testament but at the same time goes beyond it. One of the most remarkable Yoga scriptures is the Bhagavad-Gîtâ (“Lord’s Song”), of which the great social reformer Mahatma Gandhi spoke as follows: When disappointment stares me in the face and all alone I see not one ray of light, I go back to the Bhagavad-Gita. I find a verse here and a verse there and I immediately begin to smile in the midst of overwhelming tragedies—and my life has been full of external tragedies—and if they have left no visible, no indelible scar on me, I owe it all to the teachings of the Bhagavad-Gita. (Young India, 1925, pp. 1078-79) In its significance, this work of only 700 verses perhaps is to Hindus what Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount is to Christians. Its message, however, is not to turn the other cheek but to actively oppose evil in the world. In its present form, the Bhagavad-Gîtâ (Gîtâ for short) was composed around 500 B.C. and since then has been a daily inspiration to millions of Hindus. Its central teaching is to the point: To be alive means to be active and, if we want to avoid difficulties for ourselves and others, our actions must be benign and also go beyond the grip of the ego. A simple matter, really, but how difficult to accomplish in daily life! Preclassical Yoga also comprises the many schools whose teachings can be found in India’s two great national epics, the Râmâyana and the Mahâbhârata (in which the Bhagavad-Gîtâ is embedded and which is seven times the size of the Iliad and Odyssey combined). These various preclassical schools developed all kinds of techniques for achieving deep meditation through which yogis and yoginis can transcend the body and mind and discover their true nature. CLASSICAL YOGA This label applies to the eightfold Yoga—also known as Râja-Yoga—taught by Patanjali in his Yoga-Sûtra. This Sanskrit text is composed of just under 200 aphoristic statements, which have been commented on over and over again through the centuries. Sooner or later all serious Yoga students discover this work and have to grapple with its terse statements. The word sûtra (which is related to Latin suture) means literally “thread.” Here it conveys a thread of memory, an aid to memorization for students eager to retain Patanjali’s knowledge and wisdom. The Yoga-Sûtra was probably written some time in the second century A.D. The earliest available Sanskrit commentary on it is the Yoga-Bhâshya (“Speech on Yoga”) attributed to Vyâsa. It was authored in the fifth century A.D. and furnishes fundamental explanations of Patanjali’s often cryptic statements. Beyond a few legends nothing is known about either Patanjali or Vyâsa. This is a problem with most ancient Yoga adepts and even with many more recent ones. Often all we have are their teachings, but this is of course more important than any historical information we could dig up about their personal lives. Patanjali, who is by the way often wrongly called the “father of Yoga,” believed that each individual is a composite of matter (prakriti) and spirit (purusha). He understood the process of Yoga to bring about their separation, thereby restoring the spirit in its absolute purity. His formulation is generally characterized as philosophical dualism. This is an important point, because most of India’s philosophical systems favor one or the other kind of nondualism: The countless aspects or forms of the empirical world are in the last analysis the same “thing”—pure formless but conscious existence. POSTCLASSICAL YOGA This is again a very comprehensive category, which refers to all those many types and schools of Yoga that have sprung up in the period after Patanjali’s Yoga-Sûtra and that are independent of this seminal work. In contrast to classical Yoga, postclassical Yoga affirms the ultimate unity of everything. This is the core teaching of Vedânta, the philosophical system based on the teachings of the Upanishads. In a way, the dualism of classical Yoga can be seen as a brief but powerful interlude in a stream of nondualist teachings going back to ancient Vedic times. According to these teachings, you, we, and everyone or everything else is an aspect or expression of one and the same reality. In Sanskrit that singular reality is called brahman (meaning “that which has grown expansive”) or âtman (the transcendental Self as opposed to the limited ego-self). A few centuries after Patanjali, the evolution of Yoga took an interesting turn. Now some great adepts were beginning to probe the hidden potential of the body. Previous generations of yogis and yoginis had paid no particular attention to the body. They had been more interested in contemplation to the point where they could exit the body consciously. Their goal had been to leave the world behind and merge with the formless reality, the spirit. Under the influence of alchemy—the spiritual forerunner of chemistry—the new breed of Yoga masters created a system of practices designed to rejuvenate the body and prolong its life. They regarded the body as a temple of the immortal spirit, not merely as a container to be discarded at the first opportunity. They even explored through advanced yogic techniques the possibility of energizing the physical body to such a degree that its biochemistry is changed and even its basic matter is reorganized to render it immortal. This preoccupation of theirs led to the creation of Hatha-Yoga, an amateur version of which is today widely practiced throughout the world. It also led to the various branches and schools of Tantra-Yoga, of which Hatha-Yoga is just one approach. MODERN YOGA The history of modern Yoga is widely thought to begin with the Parliament of Religions held in Chicago in 1893. It was at that congress that the young Swami Vivekananda—swami (svâmin) means “master”—made a big and lasting impression on the American public. At the behest of his teacher, the saintly Ramakrishna, he had found his way to the States where he didn’t know a soul. Thanks to some well-wishers who recognized the inner greatness of this adept of Jnâna-Yoga (the Yoga of discernment), he was invited to the Parliament and ended up being its most popular diplomat. In the following years, he traveled widely attracting many students to Yoga and Vedânta. His various books on Yoga are still useful and enjoyable to read. Before Swami Vivekananda a few other Yoga masters had crossed the ocean to visit Europe, but their influence had remained local and ephemeral. Vivekananda’s immense success opened a sluice gate for other adepts from India, and the stream of Eastern gurus has not ceased. After Swami Vivekananda, the most popular teacher in the early years of the Western Yoga movement was Paramahansa Yogananda, who arrived in Boston in 1920. Five years later, he established the Self-Realizaton Fellowship, which still has its headquarters in Los Angeles. Although he left his body (as yogins call it) in 1952 at the age of fifty-nine, he continues to have a worldwide following. His Autobiography of a Yogi makes for fascinating reading, but be prepared to suspend any materialistic bias you may have! As with some other yogis and Christian or Muslim saints, after his death Yogananda’s body showed no signs of decay for a full twenty days. Of more limited appeal was Swami Rama Tirtha, a former mathematics teacher who preferred spiritual life to academia and who came to the United States in 1902 and founded a retreat center on Mount Shasta in California. He stayed for only two years and drowned in the Ganges (Ganga) River in 1906 at the young age of thirty-three. Some of his inspirational talks were gathered into the five volumes of In Woods of God-Realization, which are still worth dipping into. In 1919, Yogendra Mastamani arrived in Long Island and for nearly three years demonstrated to astounded Americans the power and elegance of Hatha Yoga. Before returning to India, he founded the American branch of Kaivalyadhama, an Indian organization created by the late Swami Kuvalayananda, which has contributed greatly to the scientific study of Yoga. A very popular figure for several decades after the 1920s was Ramacharaka, whose books can still be found in used bookstores. What few readers know, however, is that this Ramacharaka was apparently not an actual person. The name was the pseudonym of two people—William Walker Atkinson, who had left his law practice in Chicago to practice Yoga, and his teacher Baba Bharata. Paul Brunton, a former journalist and editor, burst on the scene of Yoga in 1934 with his book A Search in Secret India, which introduced the great sage Ramana Maharshi to Western seekers. Many more works flowed from his pen over the following eighteen years, until the publication of The Spiritual Crisis of Man. Then, in the 1980s, his notebooks were published posthumously in sixteen volumes—a treasure-trove for serious Yoga students. Since the early 1930s until his death in 1986, Jiddu Krishnamurti delighted or perplexed thousands of philosophically minded Westerners with his eloquent talks. He had been groomed by the Theosophical Society as the coming world leader but had rejected this mission, which surely is too big and burdensome for any one person, however great. He demonstrated the wisdom of Jnana-Yoga (the Yoga of discernment), and drew large crowds of listeners and readers. Among his close circle of friends were the likes of Aldous Huxley, Christopher Isherwood, Charles Chaplin, and Greta Garbo. Bernard Shaw described Krishnamurti as the most beautiful human being he ever saw. Yoga, in the form of Hatha-Yoga, entered mainstream America when the Russian-born yoginî Indra Devi, who has been called the “First Lady of Yoga,” opened her Yoga studio in Hollywood in 1947. She taught stars like Gloria Swanson, Jennifer Jones, and Robert Ryan, and trained hundreds of teachers. Now in her nineties and living in Buenos Aires, she is still an influential voice for Yoga. In the 1950s, one of the most prominent Yoga teacher was Selvarajan Yesudian whose book Sport and Yoga has been translated into fourteen or so languages, with more than 500,000 copies sold. Today, as we mentioned before, many athletes have adopted yogic exercises into their training program because . . . it works. Among them are the Chicago Bulls. Just picture these champion basket ball players stretching out on extra-long Yoga mats under the watchful eye of Yoga teacher Paula Kout! In the early 1950s, Shri Yogendra of the Yoga Institute of Santa Cruz in India, visited the United States. He pioneered medical research on Yoga as early as 1918, and his son Jayadev Yogendra is continuing his valuable work, which demonstrates the efficacy of Yoga as a therapeutic tool. In 1961, Richard Hittleman brought Hatha-Yoga to American television, and his book The Twenty-Eight-Day Yoga Plan sold millions of copies. In the mid-1960s, the Western Yoga movement received a big boost through Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, largely because of his brief association with the Beatles. He popularized yogic contemplation in the form of Transcendental Meditation (TM), which still has tens of thousands of practitioners around the world. TM practitioners also introduced meditation and Yoga into the corporate world. It, moreover, stimulated medical research on Yoga at various American universities. In 1965, the then sixty-nine-year-old Shrila Prabhupada arrived in New York with a suitcase full of books and $8.00 in his pockets. Six years later he founded the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), and by the time of his death in 1977, he had created a worldwide spiritual movement based on Bhakti Yoga (the Yoga of devotion). Also in the 1960s and 1970s, many swamis trained by the Himalayan master Swami Sivananda, a former physician who became a doctor of the soul, opened their schools in Europe and the two Americas. Most of them are still active today, and among them are Swami Vishnudevananda (author of the widely read Complete Illustrated Book of Yoga), Swami Satchitananda (well-known to Woodstock participants), Swami Sivananda Radha (a woman-swami who pioneered the link between Yoga spirituality and psychology), Swami Satyananda (about whom we will say more shortly), and Swami Chidananda (a saintly figure who directed the Sivananda Ashram in Rishikesh, India). The last-mentioned master’s best known American student is the gentle Lilias Folan, made famous by her PBS television series Lilias, Yoga & You, broadcast between 1970 and 1979. In 1969, Yogi Bhajan caused an uproar among the traditional Sikh community (an offshoot of Hinduism) when he broke with tradition and began to teach Kundalini Yoga to his Western students. Today his Healthy, Happy, Holy Organization—better known as 3HO—has more than 200 centers around the world. A more controversial but wildly popular guru in the 1970 and 1980s was Bhagavan Rajneesh (now known as Osho), whose followers constantly made the headlines for their sexual orgies and other excesses. Rajneesh, a former philosophy professor, drew his teachings from authentic Yoga sources, mixed with his own personal experiences. His numerous books line the shelves of many second-hand bookstores. Rajneesh allowed his students to act out their repressed fantasies, notably of the sexual variety, in the hope that this would free them up for the deeper processes of Yoga. Many of them, however, got trapped in a mystically tinged hedonism, which proves the common-sense rule that too much of a good thing can be bad for you. Even though many of his disciples felt bitterly disappointed by him and the sad events surrounding his organization in the years immediately preceding his death in 1990, just as many still regard him as a genuine Yoga master. His life illustrates that Yoga adepts come in all shapes and sizes and that, to coin a phrase, one person’s guru is another person’s uru. (The Sanskrit word uru denotes “empty space.”) Another maxim that applies here is caveat emptor, “buyer beware.” Other renowned modern Yoga adepts of Indian origin are Sri Aurobindo (the father of Integral Yoga), Ramana Maharshi (an unparalleled master of Jnana-Yoga), Papa Ramdas (who lived and breathed Mantra-Yoga, the Yoga of transformative sound), Swami Nityananda (a miracle-working master of Siddha-Yoga), and his disciple Swami Muktananda (a powerful yogi who put Siddha-Yoga, which is a Tantric Yoga, on the map for Western seekers). All these teachers are no longer among us. The great exponent in modern times of Hatha-Yoga was Sri Krishnamacharya, who died in 1989 at the ripe old age of 101. He practiced and taught the Viniyoga system of Hatha-Yoga until his last days. His son T. K. V. Desikachar continues his saintly father’s teachings and taught Yoga, among others, to the famous Jiddu Krishnamurti. Another well-known student of Sri Krishnamacharya and a master in his own right is Desikachar’s uncle B. K. S. Iyengar, who has taught tens of thousands of students, including the world-famous violinist Jehudi Menuhin. Mention must also be made of Pattabhi Jois and Indra Devi, both of whom studied with Krishnamacharya in their early years and have since then inspired thousands of Westerners. Of living Yoga masters from India, I can mention Sri Chinmoy and Swami Satyananda (a Tantra master who established the well-known Bihar School of Yoga, has authored numerous books, and has disciples around the world). There are of course many other great Yoga adepts, both well known and more hidden, who represent Yoga in one form or another, but I leave it up to you to discover them. Until modern times, the overwhelming majority of Yoga practitioners have been men, yogins. But there have also always been great female adepts, yoginîs. Happily, in recent years, a few woman saints—representing Bhakti-Yoga (Yoga of devotion)—have come to the West to bring their gospel of love to open-hearted seekers. Yoga embraces so many diverse approaches that anyone can find a home in it. An exceptional woman teacher from India who fits none of the yogic stereotypes is Meera Ma (“Mother Meera”). She doesn’t teach in words but communicates in silence through her simple presence. Of all places, she has made her home in the middle of a quaint German village in the Black Forest, and every year is attracting thousands of people from all over the world. Since Yoga is not restricted to Hinduism, we may also mention here the Dalai Lama, champion of nonviolence and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. He is unquestionably one of the truly great yogis of modern Tibet, who, above all, demonstrates that the principles of Yoga can fruitfully be brought not only into a busy daily life but also into the arena of politics. Today Tibetan Buddhism (which is a form of Tantra-Yoga) is extremely popular among Westerners, and there are many lamas (spiritual teacher) who are willing to share with sincere seekers the secrets of their hitherto well-guarded tradition. If you are curious about Westerners who have made a name for themselves as teachers in the modern Yoga movement (understood in the broadest terms), you may want to consult the encyclopedic work The Book of Enlightened Masters by Andrew Rawlinson. His book includes both genuine masters (like the Bulgarian teacher Omraam Mikhaël Aïvanhov on whom I have written a book—The Mystery of Light) and a galaxy of would-be masters. Learn More
The Vegetarian Lifestyle - info World history of vegetarianism Antiquity Far from being a relatively new phenomenon, vegetarianism has enjoyed a long and diverse history and has been preserved in most cultures since the beginnings of time. In antiquity, vegetarianism found favour with some of the great figures of the classical world, most notably Pythagoras (580 BCE). Well known for his contributions to mathematics, Pythagoras was an independent thinker, the first to admit women to his intellectual circle on equal terms and to argue that the world was a sphere. His teaching that all animals should be treated as kindred included the abstinence from meat. Pythagoras's ideas mirrored, in part, the traditions of much earlier civilisations including the Babylonians and ancient Egyptians. A vegetarian ideology was practised among religious groups in Egypt around 3,200BCE, with abstinence from flesh and the wearing of animal derived clothing based upon karmic beliefs in reincarnation. In the Greek tradition of Pythagoras, it was not only the avoidance of animal cruelty that established vegetarianism as a way of life, he also saw the health advantages a meat-free diet. Pythagoras viewed vegetarianism as a key factor in peaceful human co-existence, putting forward the view that slaughtering animals brutalised the human soul. Other notable Ancient Greek thinkers that came after Pythagoras favoured a vegetarian diet. These included Theophrastus, pupil of Aristotle and successor to him as head of the Lyceum at Athens. Socrates, Plato and Aristotle all debated the status of animals though Aristotle's conclusion that the animal kingdom exists for human use (and in his view, as equal to slaves) prefigured the the view of the Romans and the christian church that was to become the dominant view in the west. Pythagorean ideals found very limited sympathy within the brutality of Ancient Rome, where many wild animals were murdered at the hands of gladiators in the name of sport and spectacle. Pythagoreans were despised as subversives, with many keeping their vegetarianism to themselves for fear of persecution. However, the term 'Pythagorean' was to become synonymous with 'vegetarian' and vegetarianism was to spread throughout the Roman Empire from the 3rd to 6th centuries among those influenced by Neo-Platonist philosophy. Such authors included Plutarch (c.CE46) whose 16 volume work Moralia includes the 'Essay on Flesh Eating' , Porphyry (c.CE232) who wrote 'On Abstinence From Animal Food' and Apollonius who was a well travelled healer and strict vegetarian who spoke out against deliberately imposed grain restrictions. Eastern religions In Asia, abstention from meat was central to such early religious philosophies as Hinduism, Brahinanism, Zoroasterianism and Jainism. Vegetarianism was encouraged in the ancient verses of the 'Upanishads' and also mentioned in 'Rig Veda' -- the most sacred of ancient Hindu texts. Pivotal to such religions were doctrines of non-violence and respect for all life forms. Vegetarianism has always been central to Buddhism, which enshrines compassion to all living creatures. Buddha and Pythagoras were almost exact contemporaries and it is possible that the Greek thinker was influenced by Indian mystical teachings.The Indian king Asoka (who reigned between 264~232 BC) converted to Buddhism, shocked by the horrors of battle. Animal sacrifices were ended as his kingdom became vegetarian. Christianity Early Christianity brought with it ideas of human supremacy over all living things, but several unorthodox groups did break ranks. Practiced between the 3rd and 10th centuries AD, Manicheanism was another philosophy against animal slaughter. These non-violent vegetarian ascetics were painted as fanatical deviants, feared, loathed and frequently persecuted by the established church. The vegetarian Bogamils, a christian sect living in what is now Bulgaria, were burned at the stake for heresy, against the paranoid backdrop of Mediaeval Europe in the 10th Century. There was a fervent 'anti-heretic' tone to most of Europe during this dark period and many innocents perished. However, two notable vegetarians escaped: St David, Patron Saint of Wales, and St Francis of Assisi. The Renaissance and Enlightenment During the early Renaissance period, an open vegetarian ideology was a rare phenomena. Famine and disease were rife as crops failed and food was short. Meat was largely a scarce and expensive luxury for the rich. It was during this period that there was to be a rediscovery of ancient classical philosophy. Pythagorean and Neo-Platonic thought would once again become influential in Europe. The rediscovery of the Classical writers included the notion that animals were sensitive to pain and therefore were deserving of moral consideration and this idea was to be revisited during the later Enlightenment period when the scientific method was to service the opposite view. With the bloody conquest of 'new' lands, new vegetables were introduced into Europe, such as potatoes, cauliflower and maize. This had a beneficial effect on health, helping to prevent such things as skin diseases which were then widespread. Against a backdrop of the gluttony of wealthy renaissance Italy, such figures as the long-lived dietitian Cornaro (1465-1566) emerged in vehement criticism of the prevailing excesses of high class culture and took to a vegetarian diet. Eramus and Thomas More both wrote with some passion on the plight of animals. They, along with Montaigne, were appalled by the brutal practices associated with blood sports and, though they mocked the hunting classes, none of them personally gave up the practice of eating meat. Leonardo Da Vinci (1452-1519), visionary inventor, draughtsman and painter was repulsed by the slaughter of animals and was known in his own time as one who openly denounced the eating of meat. With the Enlightenment of the eighteenth century there emerged a new appraisal of man's place in the order of creation and with the new scientific mastery of enquiry rebounded mastery over the animal kingdom. Descartes' attempts to scientifically disprove the existence of animal souls gave way to vivisection and to the concept of animal as machine. In opposition to this position, British philosopher John Locke voiced arguments that animals were intelligent feeling creatures and moral objections were raised as there was an increasing distaste for the mistreatment of animals. Amongst western religions there was a re-emergence of the view that, in fact, flesh consumption was an aberration from God's will and the genuine nature of humanity. During these days, slaughter methods were extremely barbaric. Pigs were flogged to death with knotted rope to tenderise the carcass and hens were slit at the mouth, hung up and left to bleed to death. Famous vegetarians of the period included the poets John Gay and Alexander Pope, royal physician Dr John Arbuthnot, penal reformer John Howard and creator of the Methodist movement John Wesley. Wesley was influenced by the famed physician Dr Cheyne who himself had adopted a form of 'The Vegetable Diet' to, like Cornaro before him, cure himself of a number of obesity related ills in the first half of the 18th century. It was Dr Cheyne's work that was to directly impact on subsequent generations of reforming physicians like Dr William Lambe and Dr John Newton. Great philosophers such as Voltaire and Rousseau all questioned man's inhumanity to animals. Voltaire had read Antonio Cocchi's The Pythagorean Diet (trans. French 1762) and Rousseau's work Emile, though not specifically on vegetarian themes, made an impact on French Vegetarian poet Lamartine and reforming educationalist Pestalozzi. Thomas Paine's extremely influential 'The Rights of Man' (1791) raised wider animal rights issues. Romantics and Reformers Noteworthy vegetarian figures of the 19th century represent the range of cultural expression of the age: the humanist perspective, a reforming religious, social or medical zeal and a romantic spiritualism by turns. Prominent dietitian and physician of the age Dr William Lambe (1765-1847) is a central figure who straddles both the medical and literary worlds. Part of the circle of radical thinkers including Mary Wolstoncraft and the poet Shelley, Lambe was often the guest of Dr John Newton whose family promoted the 'Vegetable Diet' and was later to become instrumental in the setting up of The Vegetarian Society. Romantic poet Shelley became a vegetarian in 1812. He was fervent in his renunciation of meat consumption, convinced of the healthy advantages a meat-free diet could offer. Shelley also added a political dimension to the cause of vegetarianism by pointing out the inefficient use of resources. Meat was still at this time the habitual reserve of the privileged and Shelley cited meat production as a reason for food shortages among society's most needy. The influence of politically astute and reforming clergymen in vegetarian history is seen in the history of the Vegetarian Society itself. The year 1809 marks the beginning of a movement within an offshoot of the English church towards vegetarianism as an expression of Christian faith. Establishing the Bible Christian Church in Salford in 1809 the Reverend William Cowherd pointed to biblical references in his appeal against meat eating. Popular on account of his wider concern for his congregation's welfare and offering healing, food and free burial Cowherd's religious roots were in the Swedenborgian movement. Swedenborgianism was a mystic form of Christianity commonly associated with painter and poet William Blake and linked to the Renaissance German mystic Jacob Behmen. Though Cowherd broke with the Swedenborgians to form the Bible Christian Church the relationship between the English vegetarian movement and that of the USA was galvanised by politically outspoken Swedenborgian Jonathan Wright when he left England under crown threat to join his brother-in-law William Metcalfe in Philadelphia. In 1817 Metcalfe had emigrated to the US with members of his Yorkshire congregation and in 1850 was to set up the American Vegetarian Society. Back in England, in 1847 convergent groups including the members of Alcott House a reforming educational college and the Northwood Villa Infirmary met with members of the Bible Christian Church now led by Joseph Brotherton at the Ramsgate conference and formed The Vegetarian Society. The influence of radical Christianity in the 19th Century was to give the cause of vegetarianism great impetus in Britain and the USA. Such groups were vegetarian fundamentalist Christians, with large congregations made up of the newly urbanised poor. Representatives who ventured away from Britain and vegetarian communes were evident in the USA in the 1830s, practiced among such groups as the Seventh Day Adventists. A notable practitioner of this religion was Dr John Harvey Kellogg, preacher and inventor of famously of breakfast cereals. By the 1880s, vegetarian restaurants were popular in London, offering cheap and nutritious meals in respectable settings. The Twentieth Century At the turn of the 20th Century, British public health was still in a poor state, with high levels of infant mortality and widespread poverty. The Vegetarian Society sent food parcels to mining communities during the General Strike of 1926; vegetarianism and humanitarianism have always been closely linked. Any history of vegetarianism would be incomplete without mentioning the contribution made by Mahatma Gandhi, who wrote extensively on the subject. Vegetarianism was central to his life and was informed by the ascetic life of his mother Putlibai, Jainism, his politics and, of course, Hinduism. Because of general food shortages during World War II, the British were encouraged to 'Dig For Victory' and grow their own fruit and vegetables. A near vegetarian diet sustained the population and the nation's health was to improve vastly during the war years and vegetarians themselves were issued with special ration cards that allowed for more nuts, eggs and cheese in lieu of meat. In 1945 it is estimated that there were about 100,000 vegetarians in the UK. The figure today is approaching two million. In the 1950s and '60s, the general public became increasingly aware of the truth behind intensive factory farming, which had been introduced in the UK following the war. Vegetarianism also appealed to mid 1960's counterculture, as Eastern influences permeated Western popular culture. The 1970's saw serious academic attention turn to the ethics of animal welfare, with Peter Singer's seminal book Animal Liberation in 1975 spawning the movement against animal experimentation and factory farming. During the 1980s and '90s, vegetarianism was given major impetus as the disastrous impact humanity was having upon the Earth become more apparent. Environmental issues dominated the headlines and were for a time foregrounded in politics. Vegetarianism was rightfully seen as part of the process of change and conservation of resources. In the mid 1990s, issues such as livestock imports rallied opposition from many 'ordinary' people from all over the UK. Very real health concerns were raised when it was realised that some flesh foods were infected with such diseases as 'Mad Cow Disease' (BSE), Lysteria and Salmonella. Since the 1980s, popular conscience had anyway become focussed on healthy living and there was the realisation that food was very important in this. Consequently consumption of meat has plummeted, as many millions of people in the West have turned to vegetarianism as a safe and healthy alternative. The history of vegetarianism has consisted of an amazing diversity of characters and events. Vegetarianism has been evident in cultures all over the world and a largely vegetarian diet has sustained humanity for many thousands of years, for moral, religious and economic reasons. With the global population growing and resources stretched, vegetarianism shows the way forward into histories yet to come.Learn More
The Environmentalist Lifestyle - info Between 1730 and 1850, the Industrial Revolution sparked an unparalleled wave of mining, forest clearance, and land drainage. It was also a period of the building of great factories. Jobs and economic development ruled. The oceans and rivers seemed unlimited in size and were the sewers of the world. Reacting to this onslaught, a few scattered individuals began to speak out. But it took 150 years for environmentalism to mature into the public movement we know today. The focus of environmental concerns has changed over the decades, but one debate has barely altered; what is the reason for protecting the planet? For some it's for the benefit of humans, for others it's because nature, like a work of art, has its own value. Still, the movement has become a force to be reckoned with since the days of those pioneers, one and a half centuries ago. 1850-1900 ; Environmentalists find their tongue By 1850, nature writers were evoking the power of the land and talking in terms of a respect for nature. American Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) published his classic book Walden in 1848. It told of Thoreau's two-year living experiment in woods near Walden Pond, Massachusetts, USA. He spent his time walking, reading and growing food. His intention was to sense then describe the harmony that humans can experience when living with nature. The idea of a harmonious philosophy was taken up by early conservationists such as naturalist and writer John Muir (1838-1914). This Scottish-born visionary founded the US conservation organization the Sierra Club in 1892. Through the Club, he successfully used his literary gifts to encourage the US government to protect some of the great wildernesses of the country. Wilderness lovers like Muir and the hikers that enjoyed the land wanted large areas simply left alone. But they met with opposition from the outset. Those with economic interests, like timber companies and politicians, agreed that large areas should be reserved, but only as a future resource of timber, oil, minerals, coal and water. Muir recognized the need to use natural resources and accepted that some forests would have to be sacrificed for their timber. But for him, wildernesses were spiritual places. So loss of wilderness meant a spiritual loss to humanity. Thus arose a division of beliefs that continues today. One claiming the only considerations are economic, the other arguing that there are other values to consider, such as spiritual value. Inspired by visionaries like Thoreau and Muir, environmental awareness began to spread through the western world. At about this time, national parks were created in Australia, New Zealand and Canada. And Britain began to establish its first conservation-based organisations, like the RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) in 1893 and the National Trust in 1894. 1900-1950s; The growing awareness In 1914, Martha, the world's only living passenger pigeon, died in Cincinnati Zoo. The species was once the most populous bird on the planet, but it had been hunted to extinction in just 50 years. The plight of this and other decimated species, like the North American buffalo, prompted William Hornaday (1854-1937) to write Our Vanishing Wildlife (1913). Hornaday was one of the first conservationists to draw attention to the plight of endangered wildlife. Then, in 1949, Aldo Leopold (1887-1948) published A Sand County Almanac often regarded as the most influential book on conservation ever written. Leopold, a former US Forestry Service official and University of Wisconsin and Iowa State University professor, eloquently and passionately wrote of our duty to protect the balance of nature. He believed humans should extend to nature the same ethical sense of responsibility that we extend to each other. Whether we can or should expand the ethical circle to encompass nature is a subject of continuing debate. (From Prof. Schmidt: We have the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University where I have been a Prof for the past 36 years and we still push his ideals!] In 1951, somewhat behind the US, Britain designated 10 national parks. Not exactly the wilderness areas that constitute America's parks (in Britain wildernesses had long since disappeared), but the British parks afforded protection from further development. 1960s ; The movement is born Within 100 years a small number of concerned people had done much to raise awareness of environmental destruction. But it wasn't until the 1960s that concern for the environment was galvanized into an organized force. Many would agree that the milestone marking the birth of the environmental movement was Rachel Carson's 1962 book Silent Spring. Carson, a nature lover and former marine biologist, told of how chemicals like pesticides and insecticides, used on farms, forests and gardens, were contaminating the environment. Wildlife was being poisoned, she said. The insect life was dying (and not just the pest species) which meant no food for the birds. No birds, no bird song = a silent spring. People were in grave danger too. She described in detail how the chemicals, like the insecticide DDT, enter the food chain and accumulate in the fatty tissues of animals, humans included, resulting in higher risks cancer. Despite media criticism and attempts by the chemical industry to ban the book, many reputable scientists backed her up and her work was validated. President John F Kennedy ordered an investigation into the issues highlighted in the book. Carson was found to be correct DDT was banned, and the effects of other chemicals were scrutinised. But the real legacy of Silent Spring was a new public awareness that the environment was being damaged by humans. Previously, degradation of the planet had been the concern of just a few people ; those that were bothered by the loss of wilderness. But the news had now spread that our own lives were at risk and the issues could no longer be ignored. The necessity to regulate our behaviour in order to protect the environment became a widely debated notion. Modern environmentalism was born. 1970s ; International co-operation Environmental pressure groups Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace were both established in 1971. They introduced flagship campaigns for threatened species like pandas and tigers and they informed the world of the trade in elephant ivory, rhino horn and seal fur. The year 1972 saw the first of the 10-yearly Earth Summits. Held in Stockholm, Sweden, it is generally considered to be the primary defining event of international environmentalism. The Earth Summit (officially called the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment) was initiated by the developed world to address the environmental effects of industrialization (113 nations attended). Sweden was concerned about acid rain. Japan was concerned about the industrial poisoning of their seas. Oil tankers spilling their cargoes were a concern worldwide. The conference produced some successes, including the 26 principles of the Declaration of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, an Action Plan for the Human Environment and an Environment Fund. Another significant outcome was the establishment of UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme), designed to promote environmental practices across the globe. UNEP has coordinated the subsequent Earth Summits. But the summit exposed a rift between the developed (First World) and the developing (Third) world. The issue that caused this was that supposedly the developed world's exploitation of natural resources in a way that not only degraded the environment, but also perpetuated the unequal distribution of wealth. This social (economic) divide remains in place today and has arguably widened. During the 1970s, philosophers joined the debate and a new branch of ethics was born ; environmental philosophy. Up till now, barring the scribblings of a few maverick writers, it was taken as read that we were concerned about caring for the Earth for self-interested purposes. What's bad for the Earth was bad for us too. But now, some philosophers were calling for other values in nature to be recognised. Yes, they said, a healthy planet is good for humans, but wildlife has its own value too ; a value that exists independently of its value to humans. This ethical conundrum surfaces with almost every environmental decision we face. Do we protect nature for our sake or for its sake? 1980s; Small steps The year 1982 was Earth Summit time again. But the Cold War was at its height, the world was distracted, and the meeting, held in Nairobi, Kenya, was considered ineffective. But the problems didn't stop accumulating. And more voices had joined the clamour. Astronomers complained of light pollution, making it difficult to observe the night sky. Surfers protested against raw sewage being piped into the seas they played in. Marine biologist talked about the noise pollution threat from motor craft to the sonar navigation of whales and dolphins. Many of these concerns had an effect only on a minority, and hence were easier to ignore. However, when we heard of the hole in the ozone layer, and how we were all going to die from skin cancer we promptly stopped using CFCs in our deodorants and other canister sprays. In 1983, the UN General Assembly created the UN World Commission on Environment and Development. It appointed Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland, the first woman prime minister of Norway, as chairperson. Four years later, she published the Brundtland Report, and coined the term 'sustainable development'. The Report combines environmental and economic considerations, and famously defines sustainability as: 'Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. ;Sustainability became the buzzword. 1990s; The warming planet This decade's Earth Summit occurred in Rio, Brazil, in 1992. It emphasised how the planet's environmental problems are linked to the economy and to social justice issues. The world leaders agreed to combat global warming, protect biodiversity and stop using dangerous poisons. But Global warming was the major issue at Rio. Carbon dioxide gas, released from burning fossil fuels like petrol (gasoline and diesel), coal, oil and gas, was causing the planet to heat up. The resulting melting ice caps and rising sea levels threatened the whole world. The Kyoto Protocol, introduced at Rio, required signatories to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 5% between 2008 and 2012. Many nations signed up to it, but some developed countries were putting their short-term interests first. Countries with an economy that rests on the oil trade, like the US and Saudi Arabia, were concerned how the agreement would cost them. The US, in particular, refused to commit to anything too binding on the carbon emissions front. Moreover, developing countries like China and India were exempted from most of the Kyoto deadlines and yet they are growing at exceptional rates, using dirty coal and cow dung as fuel, and are now the fastest growing consumers of fossil fuels as prosperity brings automobiles on the scene. Meanwhile, lack of landfill space in which to bury our rubbish and a need to conserve resources meant that, during the 90s, slowly but surely, recycling bins began to appear in our towns and backyards. Simultaneously, green products grew in number and range on the supermarket shelves. We could feel green as we wash with eco-friendly soaps, write on recycled paper, and eat 'dolphin-friendly' tuna. Ecotourism was being proposed as a great new way to save the world. The potential being high in 2006 close to 1 billion people travelled to another country (one tenth of the world's population). But some argued that the damage done by tourism outweigh the benefits. They encourage the development of new resorts in wild places, the over development of fragile beaches in particular (Click on these links for Prof. Schmidt classes on Coastal Policy, International Integrated Coastal Zone Management and Internship in Coastal Policy) and increase the amount of aviation fuel burned. Yet sometimes both humans and wildlife do get a good deal. Whale-watching, for example, is worth £700 million to the tourist industry, much more lucrative than whale-killing and has thus created a counter weight to whale hunting. 2002 Johannesburg Earth Summit (Joburg 02) We go back to Africa for the fourth Earth Summit. In August 2002, 65,000 politicians, numerous NGOs (non-government organizations), and plane loads of media flew in to Johannesburg, South Africa to review the situation. Five areas were identified by the UN for particular attention ; water and sanitation, energy, health, agriculture and biodiversity. Previous summits had been dominated by the European Union and the US, but now the developing countries are becoming more vocal demanding their interests be given greater consideration. There were some achievements. A commitment to halve the number of people in the world who lack basic sanitation by 2015; to halt the loss of fish and forests stocks; and to reduce the agricultural and energy subsidies in the West. But this Summit has been roundly condemned by environmentalists, claiming the event was hijacked by corporate interests. They say that the US, Japan and the oil companies once again discouraged the promotion of renewable energy sources, like wind and solar power, in order to favour their own economic interests. These days, more and more people accept the fact that many environmental problems are caused by man, and that the environment needs to be protected, by us and from us. But just as the first spokespeople found 150 years ago, we don't all agree on what it needs protecting for. Should the environment be protected because it's a source of energy, food and materials? Or should it be protected because it has value in its own right? Ideally we can and must find room on the planet for both.Learn More
$143.95Please Note: These bags are made to order and delivery is about three weeks.
HOL GENUINE LEATHER CROSS BODY PURSE 13" Girl's, keep your everyday and evening personals securely in our stylish genuine leather cross body purse.
Beautifuly made using the finest of materials, it is remarkably smooth,soft and a flexible leather handbag. Designed to have a clean and sleek appearance but with keeping with a compact design so it is not overpowering. The cross body purse is made of genuine leather and offers 1 front pocket for quickly accessing your ringing mobile phone.
Offers pleanty of storage options with three Internal Compartments to easily sort all of your nick nacks.
This genuine leather cross body bag is very versatile with an option of an adjustable strap. Easily worn as a shoulder or a cross body bag.
The Features of the Leather Cross Body Puurse include the following :
- - Brown Leather:
- - Goat Leather
- - Dimensions: 10(H) * 13(W) * 4(D)
- - 1 Front Pocket 3 Internal Compartments
- - 1 Zippered pockets on the internal wall of the bag
- - Adjustable strap with Max Length 55 Inches.
$170.40Please Note: These bags are made to order and delivery is about three weeks.
HOL PLAIN BROWN LEATHER TOTE This beautiful genuine natural leather bag looks trendy and is in a class all of its own. It would not be out of place in downtown Manhatten.
This all natural leather Tote is faultlessly hand made by expert craftsman. Using pure camel leather.and perfected with the raw edge finish. On the inside it is over spacious and you can easily organise all of your personals.
Team is up with your casual outfit during the day, and it will not be out of place if you match it up with your night wear. Your friends will be envious.
The Features or our all natural Leather Tote:
- - Brown Camel Leather
- - Size: 16(H) * 18(W)
- - 1 inside pocket
- - 2 Strong Holding Handles
$149.95Please Note: These bags are made to order and delivery is about three weeks.
LADIES LEATHER MESSENGER BAGS If you been trying to find a women's leather handbag then your search is over. Leather Purses and Handbags add style and presence and a great way to accesserise. Creative designers have designed this gorgeous leather handbag for all seasons.
Leather is amazingly durable and will appeal to young and old. Leather bags never go out of style. A well made leather bag will last for many years and never look old.
You will find an internal zippered pocket in our hand made designer leather messenger bag. Add in additional zippered pockets on the back side of the bag and you will not be left wanting for space. Size is no problem with the additional feature of an adjustable strap with max length 55 Inches.
The Features of the Leather Messenger Bag:
- - Brown Goat Leather
- - Size:: 11(H) * 15(W) * 4(D)
- - 2 Front Pockets
- - 3 Internal Compartments
- - 1 Zippered pockets on the internal wall of the bag
- - Additional zippered pockets on the back side of the bag
- - Adjustable strap with Max Length 55 Inches.
$166.70Please Note: These bags are made to order and delivery is about three weeks.
HOL VINTAGE BROWN LEATHER MESSENGER BAG 15" Handmade by our leather smiths, this beautiful bag is pure and natural goat leather. A vintage messenger takes you back to the good old days of rock and roll.
This genuine leather cross body bag relives the stories by the marks on its skin. This is a lifestyle choice - are you an true traveller who would like to keep his Raybands or a true artist who wants to safeguard their works safe within? You can tuck away all of your treasures in this truly exquisite leather memoriy holder.
this bag received great reviews on BestLeather.org.
The Feature of the Vintage Leather Messenger Bag:
- - Brown Goat Leather
- - Size: 15 (L) * 11(H) * 4(D)
- - 3 Internal Compartments
- - 2 Internal Zippered Pockets
- - Full flap cover which closes via magnetic buttons
- - 55 Inch Adjustable Strap
$153.00Please Note: These bags are made to order and delivery is about three weeks.
DISTRESSED LEATHER MESSENGER BAG 13" Extremely comfortable on your shoulders. A must have gentlemans classic. These distressed leather messenger Bags wind back the time to take you back to a by gone era.
With a rusty finish, large internal compartments fit of art works and novels, you will have a messenger bag which will be envied by all.
The Features of the Distressed Leather Messenger Bag:
- - Brown Goat Leather
- - Size: 13 (L) * 10(H) * 4(D)
- - 3 Internal Compartments
- - 2 Internal Zippered Pockets
- - Full flap cover fastened by magnetic buttons
- - Adjustable Strap with Max Length 55 Inches
$137.50HOL HANDMADE LEATHER CAMERA BAG A beautiful handmade leather camera bag includes all-weather rain cover . Perfectly fit your camera and camera accessories for security and protection.No expense is spared with the protection of your camera in mind - a padded velvet lining has been thoughfully integrated into the Camera Bag.Included with the bag is a firm handle to safely carry your camera and lenses. Don't short change your camera, provide the protection they deserve with this genuine hand made leather bag.The Features of the Handmade Leather Camer Bag:
- - BrownGoat Leather
- - Size: 12 (L) * 8(H)
- - 1 front and 2 side pockets
- - Carry Handle
- - 2 removable compartments for camera and lens.