All posts by fredk6@gmail.com

‘Drawdown’ update

I’ll let Paul Hawken do the talking:

(see an update from Tom Brady’s wife on Drawdown below)

I want to share three important areas of interest with you.

First, the Drawdown book took off like a rabbit on its release date April 18th and became the #9 New York Times bestseller in its first week. This is the first time a climate or environmental book achieved this distinction in over 25 years. The last two were Bill McKibben’s The End of Nature in 1989 and Al Gore’s Earth in the Balance in 1992. After only eight weeks, it is in its fourth printing. After two decades of books, blogs, and articles that have been unrelenting in terms of threat if not fear, the world is hungry to know what we can do together as communities, parents, companies, schools, students, churches, cities, and more.

Our Advisor, Jon Foley, head of the California Academy of Science, believes the world does not need more climate science or facts in order to change. Society has been hammered by them. The climate movement has often operated from a “science deficit model,” the idea that if people have more facts about what is going wrong and how things are worsening more quickly, that will solve the problem in terms of lack of engagement. It has the opposite effect as psychologists are quick to point out. The Drawdown approach has gained a large following quickly because it does not make people wrong or invoke fear and doom as a motivating method. We believe the science is impeccable. The IPCC has created an astounding problem statement. The daily reports about climate impacts reinforce the accuracy and rigor of the problem statement. Given that, we need to work vigorously on the solutions, all of the solutions. People have never before seen a comprehensive, science-based list of solutions until Drawdown.

Second, we are now working directly with the Commonwealth of Nations based out of London. Formerly the British Commonwealth until 1969, it comprises 52 nations with nearly one-third of the world’s population. Under the leadership of the Secretary-General, Patricia Scotland, the Commonwealth is initiating with its member nations an initiative based on Drawdown: Regenerative Development through Reversing Climate Change (RDRCC). We work hand-in-hand with the Secretary General and her staff. Our research team led by Chad Frischmann will be endeavoring to map applicable solutions onto specific nation-states to measure the beneficial impacts, the positive externalities. We believe, based on analysis and data, that economic regeneration, ecological regeneration, social regeneration, and the regeneration of the atmosphere are identical. We are the only species without full employment, and never has so much work needed to be done. My personal motto for the RDRCC is “Let there be jobs.” We firmly believe that the only way to reverse global warming is to meet human needs. Providing dignified, family-wage employment that provides people world over a sense of worth and meaning is the pathway to reversing global warming. Our data show that is is profitable on virtually every level. Please see the link below for more information.

Third, and this is critical, we truly need your support. People may believe that having a best-selling book and a wonderfully designed website indicate that we are well-funded organization. Because the entire staff had been devoted to both the creation and promotion of the book, we were not able to direct our attention to fundraising. It was all hands on deck. If you believe in the importance of the work, if you want comprehensive, science-based solutions to lead the climate movement instead of fear and despair, if you appreciate what we have been able to do with very modest amounts of money, know that we urgently need your financial support. Please help us help the world to pursue the reversal of global warming. Thank you.

Paul Hawken

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Even Tom Brady is supporting Drawdown with his wife Gisele Buenchen:   http://www.cbsnews.com/news/gisele-bundchen-evironmentalist-paul-hawken-climate-change/

“….Tom Brady says, ‘Unless I had this plant-based diet, I would not be the player I am and I would not be — have the career at 39 that I do,'” Rose said.
 
“He’s almost 40, right? … But the thing is, he said he’s been feeling so much better, I have to say it’s amazing. You know? The way he feels, he doesn’t feel achy. He just feels so much more energy,” Bündchen said.  …”http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/gisele-bundchen-on-tom-bradys-concussions

Pipelines & microgrids

Gas & Hazardous Liquids Pipelines

Pipelines are everywhere. There’s probably one near you right now  delivering hundreds of cubic feet of a fossil fuel allowing you to live comfortably.  Whether you’re in the countryside or downtown of a big city – pipelines are everywhere.  There is a solution to get rid of pipelines – and it’s right there waiting in your hood… just like your farmers market!

San Bruno 2010 Gas Pipe explosion

The people of San Bruno, CA.  discovered their pipeline in a violent way on September 9, 2010  when a PG&E gasline exploded underneath their homes killing eight people and destroying 38 homes. That pipeline was 30” in diameter going right underneath a major suburban area. It was part of PG&E’s 1800 miles of major gas transmission feedlines.

1st hand PG&E experience
When I was doing intense six month training period at PG&E in 1977, a gas department VP  explained how their piplines were used as storage tanks and the pressures could vary 10x fold depending on various demand and supply needs within the system. At that time I thought it was an ingenious, multiple use for a simple underground pipeline system, now we know different.

I’ve come to discover since that the utilities also have massive ‘natural’ underground storage caverns… but that’s a whole different topic.

Other pipelines    Even low pressure pipelines like the infamous DAPL and Excel oil pipelines present unseen hazards to our comfortable living environment. Any and all pipelines present hazards to modern living – even the countless little gas/electric/water/sewer pipes in and under your home.  A low pressure water pipe can create an immense sink hole.  In last year’s DAPL demonstrations, the chant ‘Water is Life’   

DAPL demonstrations

resonated with me.   Even tho oil is now flowing (for now) through the DAPL line, we need to remain vigil and insist that no pipeline be placed within 150 feet of a body of water.  Is that so difficult?  Is that so outrageous?  We don’t allow oil refineries next to schools and hospitals, why should we tolerate pipelines close to our homes any less?  It’s a simple resolution to start on.

We need to get around in our cars.  Pipelines are safer than railcar delivery. Pipelines are here to stay.  Let’s just stop polluting countless underground aquifers and geological formations for centuries to come with pipelines that will satisfy our appetite for gasoline for only 30 years??  We have rules that we  shouldn’t piss within 150 feet of a river or lake when you’re out hiking – so why not the same for pipelines?  It’s just common sense!

The case for microgrids        

Power island

 

The ultimate solution is to wean ourselves away from all this massive, centralized infrastructure and just like our food supply (local farmers markets and not big Ag), take control of our own community’s energy needs.  Several cities are already well on their way in taking control of their energy needs.

 One example:   

MAKE  BROOKLYN  LOCAL  “In New York, the Brooklyn microgrid is conceived to work with the conventional grid, which is in the midst of a reboot under Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s directives to make it more flexible, resilient and economically efficient while reducing greenhouse-gas emissions. That effort, known as Reforming the Energy Vision, or REV, includes encouraging the development of microgrids and more active community participation.” ….    -New York Times

REAL microgrids

I’d take it one step further like some European cities are doing: cut the cord to the main grid completely and embrace your neighbors’ microgrids for backup and resilience.  With all the renewable choices out there, a symbiotic relationship between microhydro, geothermal, wind, solar, and biogas/mass can easily be tailored to each community’s needs.

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eating local

You’ve heard that eating local is the thing to do.  But how about sourcing all your food locally – is that even possible?  From your tea/coffee to your starches (rice, potatoes, pasta), to your drinks.  I’m lucky if I can  arrive at 50% – and that’s in Northern California – where we have ample fruits, vegies, rice, wine, etc.

I would be fortunate to get 50% of my food intake locally.   Starting with my first morning routine: coffee.  How can I  get local coffee when the nearest coffee plantation is in Santa Barbara – 400 miles away?  … and they have 5 acres with beans selling at $60/lb.  How can 90% of consumers in 1st world countries get their coffee or teas locally? Where are the large tea/coffee plantations in the USA or Europe?

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Another consideration in going local on all  food is the seasonality.  It’s easier in summer, difficult in winter.  They say an apple stored in a warehouse for several months, is way carbon intensive than an apple shipped from Chile.  That gives me pause.  Maybe the best solution is dehydration or canning.  Freezing in my book uses way too much energy, although it is quick and convenient.

Again, I am spoiled in California – we have year round greens:  the Salinas valley on the coast has year-round moderate temperatures and hectares of greenhouses.

I think greenhouses, vertical and urban farming have tremendous bright futures as fresh, local food becomes more important to every human.

Is it really local?

The label ‘local’ and ‘regional’ are not regulated.  I don’t trust my local farmer markets anymore.  There are unlabeled white trucks from industrial farms 500 miles away pretending to be local organic farmers.  I ask questions and am connected with local farmers and CSAs where I volunteer and help out on.

For most people the best they can do is join a local CSA and  get to know their own local farmers and pay them fairly.   I find that many local farmers discard  ‘not-so-perfect’ food since customers won’t buy them – so you probably get a bounty of imperfect produce at  low cost.

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Here’s a great article on one European’s experience in sourcing all their food locally…German DW article

http://www.dw.com/en/would-you-eat-local-for-a-week-i-tried-and-discovered-what-eating-green-really-means/a-36751273

 

my eco-dilemna

I constantly live at the intersection of  mainstream or ‘alternative’ lifestyle. Living at WinSol,  there is no cost:  no energy bills, no garbage bills, no water bills, no sewer bills… nada!   Is that alternative? or just nice, even cool?  So when I go live in the mainstream for a few days, I quiet all my judgment, evaluations and comparisons. Over the years I have arrived at a state of equanimity: it just is. I used to just ‘let go’ but eventually found that letting go is the negative form of attraction and is as much of a trap as outright judgment is. So ’empty mind’ and ‘metta’ (as the buddhists say)  fills my mind and heart. But lately, something has come to the forefront of my mind, and I can’t let it go: crockpots!

Lately, I have circled around and focused on crockpots as being the poster child of our continued western decline.  A crockpot by its innocent self contains all the trademarks of our declining civilization going down the rabbit-hole.

At best a crockpot produces a beautiful savory food dish. At worse it could burn your house down. But it’s the space in-between where my judgmental mind can’t seem to let go. Maybe it’s this: in order for WinSol to have a working crockpot I would need to spend over $5,000 increasing my solar panels/controller/battery storage – just to accommodate a 1500watt constantly on electrical heating element. And maybe – just maybe – I am envious of mixing up a casserole, soup or other delicious dish, plugging it in,  walking away… and 5 hours later I can enjoy a savory dish. How convenient is that!!? But the ‘real’ price that I would pay for that is beyond my ‘alternative life style budget’ and WinSol’s philosophy.   Let me explain…

…First of all at WinSol, we live by the sun. We are immersed in the nuances and cycles of nature (real nature). One of our founding principles (WinSol’s manifesto) is that electricity cannot be used for heating and cooling. I’m about 95% there in reality – due to a small solar electric driven freezer.

On a technical basis:  WinSol’s current solar & wind electrical system cannot accommodate a microwave (high-surge induction load), or any electrical heating elements like a toaster, convection oven, space heater, or crockpot. I miss the convenience of a toaster more than anything, but have developed a work-around using a gas burner. I could probably develop an alternative to a crockpot using a pressure cooker or a double pot over a gas burner – but why?  I remember a past eco-dilemna that had to do with making bread….

Bread maker?   I think the easiest explanation for my behaviour change is an electric breadmaker. Before I moved to WinSol , I used an electric breadmaker twice a week to make beautifully home-baked, healthy bread without chemicals. But was it really ‘home’ made? I think it was closer to being ‘microprocessor’ made. A few years back, a friend and I decided to make bread the old fashioned way, and I reconnected with the passion of true artisan bread. There’s something
very cool and ‘right as rain’ about kneading, rising, kneading, rising and baking a loaf of bread from three ingredients… talk about being a purist!! And that’s really what an electric breadmaker and crockpot takes away – the artisan element.  (besides using a WHOLE bunch of electricity, high-embodied energy, shelf space, another convenience contraption, another appliance that’ll break and has designed obsolesce built in… geezh! tell me how you really feel :-)!

Artisans   What would our world be like without artists and artisans? As technology encroaches further and further into minimizing real artistry I will stubbornly cling to WinSol’s ‘alternative’ and artisan lifestyle and not enjoy the conveniences of crockpots.

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Sidebar….What’s ‘Alternative’ ?

Everywhere we hear ‘alt – right’, alternative news, alternative energy… I really dislike the word: ‘alternative’. Alternative to what? Is it a good or bad alternative? Does something really need an alternative? Isn’t it really just different rather than alternate?

Take alternative energy for instance. Most (all?) people know that alternative energy is that green stuff: solar, wind, geothermal. But oil, coal, natural gas are the REAL alternatives, because ALL our energy comes from our only energy source: the sun. One of my fun sound bites is: ‘Oil is renewable, you just have to wait a couple million years’.

So can we agree that ‘alternative’ is in the mind of the beholder?

two WOW’s

It’s a long time between my ‘WOW’s.  After decades and ramblings around, it takes something special & extraordinary to elicit this reaction. Here’s two in the last week:         1) DrawDown                           2) Scandanavian electric cars

Book

DrawDown is Paul Hawken’s latest (swan song?) endeavor along his philosophy of ‘natural capitalism‘ and ‘ecology of commerce‘… in other words they’re solution based. I’m a BIG fan of Paul over the decades, but he’s outdone himself on this one. I knew about drawdown a few years ago and could never quite figure out what it was about until recently. When I attended his sold out (250+) pre-release at the Oakland Impact HUB last week – a big WOW again. Paul’s original thinking and limitless passion are unique in the USA.  Dr. Michael Braungart told me 10 years ago that Paul was the best example of a ‘european eco-dude’ in our midst. I say that with all the love in the world:  a european eco-dude in our midst (sounds like a book or song title) is my way of saying forward thinking with social/economic/environmental balances on the cutting edge within a long-term systems thinking strategic view: like Michael’s green chemistry and C2C endeavors.

Drawdown’s mission & vision:

The Mission

Project Drawdown is facilitating a broad coalition of researchers, scientists, graduate students, PhDs, post-docs, policy makers, business leaders and activists to assemble and present the best available information on climate solutions in order to describe their beneficial financial, social and environmental impact over the next thirty years.

The Vision

To date, the full range and impact of climate solutions have not been explained in a way that bridges the divide between urgency and agency. Thus the aspirations of people who want to enact meaningful solutions remain largely untapped. Dr. Leon Clark, one of the lead authors of the IPCC 5th Assessment, wrote, “We have the technologies, but we really have no sense of what it would take to deploy them at scale.” Together, let’s figure it out.

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This solution based book (database/case studies) and website (which is VERY deep) is a compilation of the world’s best think tanks and scientific research on carbon reduction projects. In 2001, Paul asked: …‘what are the top five things we should be doing to reverse the CO2 trend?’… no one knew. Fifteen years later, there was still no consensus.  Three years ago, Paul decided to assemble a team of researchers and scientists to answer this question, and he has succeeded. It’ll be interesting to see how the vested interests and climate change mafia (Paul’s words) aka IPCC will react to this seminal work.

In a nutshell, drawdown has three CO2 forecast scenarios: business as usual, adopting 80 solutions, optimistic adoption. In the latter, we could start actually REVERSING global CO2 buildup by 2045. WOW – who would’ve thought that was possible even in the next hundred years! Most pundits including the IPCC, Bill McKibben, etc… have stated that even if we stop all CO2 emissions right now, levels would not go down for hundreds of years. Paul Hawken says otherwise – and more power to him.

Quick summary (spoiler alert) is that even though Refrigerant management is the #1 solution (HFC’s are 100X+ more potent than CO2) combining (#6) educating girls and (#7) family planning makes it over 119 Gton of CO2 reduction, AND combining (#3) reducing food waste and (#4) plant rich diet wheat food also makes it over 136Gton of CO2 reduction. So focusing on women and food instead of energy and transportation would be a better start.

Thanks for refocusing us, Paul. He’ll be at several book signings in the Bay Area if you want to thank him personally…. I know I will, again and again. Stay tuned for Drawdown #2 as there are another 100 coming attraction (solutions) in the works by Paul and his team.

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Electric cars in Norway: 40% of all cars sold in Norway are electric. Norway has set a goal to be 100% electric cars by 2025. WOW. Considering that StatOil is one of the world leading oil producers, and that Norway isn’t exactly located in the sunniest climate = it’s an ambitious and admirable goal.  For starters:  “Earlier this year, Norway opened the world’s largest fast-charging station, which can charge up to 28 vehicles in about half an hour.”  So maybe Germany, China, California can take a clue from Norwegians and emulate them.

One a side note, a couple weeks ago California crossed a milestone and produced 50% of its electrical demand from renewables. And they said it couldn’t be done… by 2020! That’s our current goal: 50% of our energy from renewables by 2020. And we crossed that threshold three years early. Now the challenge is to increase its frequency and duration.

maslow essentials

Remember Maslow’s hierarchy?  It basically says we need to have our basic essentials taken care of first and then we can move on.  It starts at love & security; food-shelter-clothing, and ends up at self-actualization.  First developed in 1943, it’s amazing it still stands the test of time.

Although this version may be more accurate….
or maybe this one is more current?

 

My personal experiences at WinSol’s simple & natural living has been a constant focus of not ‘powering up’.  It is SO, SO tempting to just go to the store and buy, buy: more solar panels, more comfy chairs, more 2×4, 2×6, etc.  It has taken me over a decade to realize the surrounding forest has all (or most) of what’s needed.  1″ fir tree rounds are way stronger than 2×6’s.  Chairs can be made from the forest (hey – I’m working on it).  Thermal mass is amazing in tons of local granite.  The dome floor is just the dirt (sifted) from clearing the access road to it…. on and on.  All re-purposed, or in the current PC lingo: up-cycled.

What are the  basic essentials? Let’s face it, our basic physical needs are still food, shelter and clothing.  Ok, I’ll add warmth (coolth?) in there. But one can easily survive with an indoor temperature of 40F.  But do we really need to cool ourselves to 65F on summer days?

And then there’s all that energy.  

Do we really need energy to live simply?  Ok, I’ll vote for lights, music, videos and internet in that order.  Above these items, it’s over-rated.  We are getting more comfy and cozy with all our toys.  I hope they last, but if they don’t y’all can always come experience the sheer beauty and serenity (and quietness) of WinSol in it’s natural state…. and maybe after a few days feel refreshed by real simplicity.

Here’s my personal favorite on Maslow’s hierachy:

Slash waste

When I worked at Toyota (TMS)  20+ years ago, I remember seeing a guy in the dock area of the San Ramon PDC pounding away with a sledge hammer. When I walked over I saw he was smashing up perfectly good A/C units, water pumps, alternators,  etc.     I asked why he was doing that and got the standard response ‘that’s what they told me to do’.  When I asked the regional manager, he said they were destroying units so they couldn’t be resold on the black market!

In a recent NYT article (link here) it was the same scenario: Manhattan’s big Nike store was discarding outdated ‘Kobe’ gym shoes by the dozens, but not before someone slashed the entire shoe to render it useless. There’s actually a Federal law that requires this! Outrageous? It gets even better (worse!)

The reason apparel retailers slash their shoes, clothings, accessories is basically two fold: to stop counterfeiters and hawkers from reselling them, so they can’t be worn by people who are obviously unable to afford them.

These retailers had tried to donate outdated and discarded goods to the homeless in the past, but incidents like 2005 Katrina (when FEMA unloaded a warehouse stocked with counterfeit garments to evacuees) had the retailers up in arms and they lobbied for a federal law forbidding such ‘handouts’.

Now come-on…this is  un-common (non)sense! What in the world is the possible ‘good’ here?   besides profits of course…

The embodied energy and outrageous prices charged for these items is where the real ‘sin’ is, not the counterfeit/poor ‘can’t be wearing this’ market.

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I don’t know how to start a boycott, but we gotta get the word out about this and pressure these retailers and manufacturers to stop this obvious ‘over-the-top’ waste.

It’s not always just about business and fattening the bottom line and holding on to market share – sometimes it’s just OK to take a hit for the team, and do something good for the less fortunate. It’s up to the less-fortunate to figure out their ethics and moral code too – the hawkers who abscond the seconds & resell them for their own gains.

Heaven forbid that Nike should marginalize their next-gen gym shoe by selling off outdated shoes at a heavy discount or allowing poor people some uplifting grace by letting them feel like a ‘million bucks’. Please….

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Side note where is your data right now? :  If you think your data is safe on Amazon S3 or Google doc servers, think again.  Along with the Dyn outage last year (surprisingly co-inciding with another more famous hacker attack), this article details some of the risks (link here).

Land of Oz

welcome to SF… what a world class city… still. It’s been a few years since i’ve enjoyed these environs the way I used to: being present with all the livlihoods around: SOMA, Yerba Buena, Chinatown,
Embarcadero skyways, Ferry Building, cool little shops & cafes… did you know there’s a redwood forest in the middle of SF??

The one thing that stood out for me this time (after I shed off the usual zombie-land, master-of-the-universe environs, that I was once part of) was the sheer # of empty muni buses – everywhere! WOW – Uber is going to be SO,SO successful. What a ridiculous sight: empty behemothth buses chewing away KWs of electric buzz-feeds.. at least they’re not on direct fossil-fuel… just think of the cost per mile – the REAL cost – driver labor, repair & maintenance, embodied energy, ugly overhead electric lines, damage to streets, energy cost, accidents, mishaps/deaths, on and on… of all those buses lined up on Market street and beyond with nary a passenger. My biggest bitch tho is the gawd awful sight of those buses squeeling and buzzing away… and the utter destruction of any ambiance that a human being could enjoy.

How distant this is from pedestrian friendly city centers of Europe and Asia! Why oh why, do we have our heads so deep in the tar sands?

The only quick info I could find on the O+M (ops+maint) costs per city bus mile was from the Washington DC area in 2015:  WOW  considering an average car costs around 10cents/mile and carpooling can cut that in half or third… what more can I say?  the writing is on the wall or street (yep = wall street 🙂…Uber will be getting lotsa capitalization from there, and perhaps empty buses, and BIG city buses will be a thing of the past.

It’s not better on the other side of the Bay in Beserkeley… where empty AC transit buses go streaming by, clogging up roads, belching fumes (there’s no overhead electric lines like in SF).  ahhh to head back to the environs of WinSol and the forest sanctuary… peace & serenity and real (human) nature.

Walter Russell

I have been fascinated by this man for some time now.  Walter Cronkite called him the Leanardo DaVinci of our times.  Yet he goes unheralded and unnoticed.

Walter Russell (1871-1963) reportedly had near death experiences every seven years until the age of 49.  Then he had one that lasted 39 days uninterrupted.  Wikipedia lists his achievements as “a painter, sculptor, author and builder and less well known as a natural philosopher and for his unified theory in physics and cosmogony. He posited that the universe was founded on a unifying principle of rhythmic balanced interchange.”

While he had  no formal higher education in  areas he was an expert in (architect, builder, painter/sculptor, physicist, philosopher ++), in  1926 he announced the existence of urium and uridium, and four other transuranium elements which made atomic fission possible, also deuterium and tritrium and the other four hydrogen isotopes, which made the H-bomb and heavy water possible. He corrected the atomic chart, and admonished current scientists for their limited ways of thinking.

A couple of Russell’s concepts I like:   matter exists only with motion  (only with motion is matter possible); and he never bothered with EFFECT, only with CAUSE.  Fascinating.

On a side note, Walter Russell was a pioneer of Co-operative Living, and built $30 million worth of top-quality cooperative apartments in NYC – some still operating to this day.  He is credited with developing  “cooperative ownership into an economically sound and workable principle.” [10]

Walter Russell fulfills  the trifecta of unheralded masterminds along with  Viktor Schauberger and Nikola Tesla.

If we only had followed their paths we would be in an amazingly different world today.

 

Ok, ok I’ll include Bucky Fuller in here too, and… Oh! there’s just too many alternative universes out there 🙂 

 

I am currently reading ‘The man who tapped the Secrets of the Universe’ and on page 35: “For many days and nights I was made to write down all these things which I knew in ‘The Divine Illiad’ (PDF here)  which is my record of my teachings while in the Light.  And in that one volume of many thousands of words there was never an erasure nor correction; and the language of that divine message was not mine.  I could never have written such rhythmic essence of knowledge, nor have created its exalted style’.  Thus I was made to see the universe as a whole and its simple principles of creation as one unit, repeated over and over, endlessly and without variation, as evidenced in the universal heart-beat to which every pulsing thing in the light-wave universe is geared to act as ONE UNIT OF ONE WHOLE.” 

And if we need any proof of that, just visit the Global Heart Coherence project and their global monitoring projects… especially what happened with their monitors on 911...and if you’re still interested in how this works in all of us and is linked with our living earth… check out this video

http://www.globalcarerooms.org/rooms/intuitive-heart-video/gci