Some Good News for the Environment in 2016!

solar panels

‘When it comes to the environment, 2016 brought a steady stream of grim news.  At the same time, it’s not all bad news out there. The year saw some clear signs of environmental progress, too. Rare though they were, these five environmental stories were true bright spots:’

1) Global carbon emissions appear to have stopped increasing.

2) Worldwide, wind and solar are booming.

3) World leaders seem determined to combat global warming (well, most world leaders).

4) Technology is providing a glimmer of hope.

5) The oceans are finally getting the attention they deserve.

To read more click, ‘A blockbuster year for solar energy’ 




Covey Cowan, Mill Valley, California


The Original Affluent Society

People carry a great deal anxiety these days about their jobs being taking over by automation.  “What will happen to our sense of purpose in life if we no longer have our jobs?”  There is another way:

‘The possibility that our hunter-gatherer ancestors might not have endured an unremitting struggle against the elements first came to public awareness in 1966.  It followed a series of studies conducted by a Canadian anthropologist, Richard Borshay Lee, among the Ju/’hoansi “bushmen” of Africa’s Kalahari.  He was surprised to learn that the Ju/’hoansi spent only 15 hours a week securing their nutritional requirements.’ 

 It showed that they had an unyielding confidence in the providence of their environments and knowledge of how to exploit this.  As a result, they only ever produced enough food to meet their immediate needs confident that there was always more available.  Though the Ju/’hoansi did not have to work particularly hard, they were neither indolent nor bereft of purpose.  They found profound satisfaction from the work they did.’

To read more click, ‘And used their free time to make music, create art, make jewelry, tell stories, play games, relax and socialize.’


Covey Cowan, Mill Valley, California

Preserving Our Most Precious Resources

angeles arrien 4

‘As Angeles Arrien describes it, the goal of her Foundation for Cross-Cultural Education and Research is to work in as many countries as possible to preserve some of the most precious resources imaginable: indigenous cultures, perennial wisdoms, water, seeds, and trees.’

You might ask yourself, “Indigenous cultures, perennial wisdoms, water, seeds, and trees? What do the first two items on that list have to do with the last three?”

Plenty, says Angeles, who has spent her lifetime considering the links between the earth and that most valuable fruit of human experience: wisdom.’

To read more click, “Because at a certain point, we have to give back, otherwise, life is empty.”



Poverty in America “Does Not Make Sense.”

warrren buffet

Talking about poverty in the United States, Buffet summed it up with bold simplicity: “You expect unequal results in a market economy, very unequal.  But you really shouldn’t have an economy with over $50,000 in GDP per person and have lots of people living in povery who are willing to work.  I mean, that does not make sense.”

To read more click, “America’s poor are poor by global standards because we’ve decided to leave them so,”


Covey Cowan, Mill Valley, California

Solar Panels You Can’t See

solar roof panels 3

There are a lot of people out there who like the idea of generating their own solar power on their rooftops but just can’t get past the aesthetics.  The panels simply call too much attention to themselves and break up the flow of the architecture.  But recent technological innovations are about to make that a non-issue.

Electric car company Tesla is introducing a new line of solar roofing products using two types of glass tile, solar tile and non-solar tile, both of which appear the same from street level, and blend together unnoticeably.

Italian startup company, Dyaqua is producing photovoltaic roof tiles that are indistinguishable from wood, stone, and terra cotta.

And Sistine Solar embeds into their solar panels a proprietary SolarSkin that reflects back an image, allowing the panels to be customized to visually match virtually any roofing material (or image) you can imagine.

To read more click, ‘The aesthetic solar trend’


Covey Cowan, Mill Valley, California

Thomas Keating : The Ecumenical Monk

Thomas Keating and the Dalai Lama

‘Can you imagine a black and white-robed Catholic monk walking the red carpet at the Oscars? This almost happened.

There IS a film featuring this Catholic abbot: Thomas Keating, A Rising Tide of Silence. It qualified as an Oscar nominee and made the first cut of documentaries vying for the Oscar finals.’

“As a young man Keating transformed, becoming more ecumenical, more universal. He sees God in the Big Bang, in quantum physics, in Jungian psychology. He sees Eastern meditation as congruent with his Centering Prayer, both leading to union with the Divine. He wanted other Catholic monks to see the bigger picture, too.”

To read more click, ‘If my grandson doesn’t come home, won’t you please just throw me out the window?’


Covey Cowan, Mill Valley, California

Nature’s Renaissance Man



‘There’s a special place in Heaven for people who lock down their land from development, whether it’s through conservation easements that help preserve the family farm or by donating privately owned forests, rivers, and lakes to park districts or groups such as the Nature Conservancy.
But the story of Clive and Clarice Taylor takes such commitment to a higher level.’
Covey Cowan, Mill Valley, California