The Signal in the Noise

January 2022

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Northern Ireland is targeted by a Canadian mining firm that is planning the largest gold mine in Europe.  The mine is located in the green Sperrin Mountains, a place where Irish was last spoken. The threat of a mine and the poisoning of the waters that such a mine can bring, has galvanized this community beyond just a protest movement, as James Orr describes, it is helping people look to their roles as protectors and stewards of the land as well as participants in our wider human community.  From a discussion with Leila Conners, the first in a series on this mine and the people it is impacting.


Derek Gow has brought beavers back to Britain in an effort to help nature regain it's natural balance and processes there. The beaver is one of nature's most powerful collaborators, a being who can create vast wetlands, support ecosystem diversity and even help change the weather.  Gow brings us through the urgent need to unleash beavers into the wild to bring Britain back from the desolation created by 100s of years of human domination of the landscape.


Wolfgang Weirauch has been collaborating with Verena Stael von Holstein of Northern Germany who has worked as a computer programmer and in hydrographic surveying and who  has been able to perceive the etheric and astral realms in human beings and the natural world. With Verena's help, Wolfgang has interviewed hundreds of nature spirits and these conversations have been printed in a book series in Germany. Mathew Schmid brings these conversations to life through film which now brings a new kind of relationship to this material.  The Introduction to Speaking with Tree Spirits is a good backgrounder prior to doing the deep dive with The Rubber Tree.

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Jeremy Narby, anthropologist and author of the Cosmic Serpent, is back with a new book, Plant Teachers: Ayahuasca, Tobacco, and the Pursuit of Knowledge.  Leila Conners catches up with Jeremy in a discussion that compares scientific western concepts with Amazonian indigenous concepts of the natural world.  These both systems of thought are closer to each other than one would expect if one approaches these plants and their Amazonian interlocutors with an open mind.

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Melissa Aguayo, of Break Free from Plastic and Reusable LA, brings us through the most recent developments in the movement to move away from plastic.  She reveals that plastic is toxic from creation to end-of-life and why producers and not just consumers should be responsible for cleaning up and eliminating the use of this substance. 

The Great Turning, the moment we are all confronting, in which everything is collapsing while we also find our way through to a better world. Joanna Macy brings us through her concept of the Great Turning from a discussion that is part of the Into Eden project, a feature film by Tree Media and supported by Kalieopia Foundation. Macy is an author & teacher, is a scholar of Buddhism, systems thinking and deep ecology. A respected voice in movements for peace, justice, and ecology, she interweaves her scholarship with learnings from six decades of activism.

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Leila Conners catches up with long-time environmentalist David Suzuki, of the David Suzuki Foundation.  David shares how he thinks first nations and local engagement can help us through this challenging bottleneck in which we are witness to the collapse of ecosystems all around us.  David also shares how he is personally coping with the unraveling. 

Tree Media and The Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy have teamed up to follow events in the Middle East as told by stakeholders and leaders from the region.  Our first subject concerns water, access to water and the prevention of a potential water conflict over the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam ( GERD ). The series includes: Egypt with Mirette Mabrouk, Senior Fellow and Director of the Egypt Program, Middle East Institute; Sudan with Adil Abdel Aati, Leader, Liberal Party of Sudan; and Ethiopia with Filagot Tesfaye, President of the Ethiopian Women in Energy Association and Managing Director of On Energy Consult; John Mukum Mbaku, Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution; Timothy Kaldas, Policy Fellow, Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy (TIMEP); Steven Cook, Senior Fellow for Middle East and Africa Studies, Council on Foreign Relations (CFR); and Dr. Mohmed Rami Mahmoud, of the National Water Research Center, Egypt.

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Mari Margil, of the Center for Democracy and Environmental Rights (CDER), discusses how the rights of natures has evolved, from the first law implemented in 2008 to laws implemented in constitutions and state frameworks covering updates from Ecuador, Switzerland, India and the United States.  She also reveals what it means to be "rights bearing" and how "legal naturehood" is probably a better framework. 

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