Friday, April 14, 2017

3 HOURS Spiritual Ascension Music | Singing with Angels | Sleep Backgrou...

Big Sur usually can’t keep people away. Right now, it’s practically deserted.

[Washington Post] The first thing you notice is the silence, punctured by birdcalls and the far-off roar of water moving through canyons.
You usually can’t hear these sounds, drowned out as they are by the 2 million tourists who flock here annually just to drive Highway 1, the route that cuts through Big Sur on California’s scenic Central Coast. But today the tourists are gone and Highway 1 is car-free, home instead to pickup basketball games, mothers pushing strollers, and skateboarders whizzing by at speeds approaching the 45 mph limit.
The “island” of Big Sur — for that’s what this iconic stretch of coastline has become — is entering its ninth week of nearly total isolation, thanks to punishing winter storms, landslides and a failed bridge. The rain ended California’s five-year drought, but it left 45 miles of Highway 1 cut off from the rest of California, with few services for the 450 men, women and children who live here. That means no mail delivery, a limited supply of gasoline, and a single deli where you can buy eggs. Even the resident monks have been forced to pass around the modern-day collection plate known as GoFundMe to help repair the road leading to their monastery.
“To have your habits cut off so suddenly. . . . There’s a nightmarish aspect to it,” says Peter Marshall, a gardener who has lived here 33 years.
Legendary restaurants and businesses have been temporarily shuttered and the majority of their staffs laid off. Workers are dipping into 401(k) accounts just to pay their rent. Esalen Institute, that crucible of personal transformation, is raising emergency relief funds to “help weather the storm.” For the time being, the only way in and out is a grueling hike, a pricey helicopter ride or an otherwise closed road to the south that is accessible briefly in the morning and again in the afternoon.
Yet it’s springtime and the California sun has re-emerged. The mountains are at their most verdant in recent memory, their slopes splashed with yellow poppies. Wild turkeys strut across the highway, and casual neighbors embrace at chance meetings, eager to recount their sightings of foxes, owls or a bald eagle on a turnout.
“It’s so stunningly beautiful and peaceful, like a real Shangri-La,” marvels Erin Lee Gafill, an artist and teacher who was born and raised here. “Every day there’s nowhere else I want to be. But then I’m constantly checking to see when the road is going to open.” Read More

Developers and politicians failing to protect against climate-related flood risk

[The Fifth Estate] European homes are at risk from flooding from two directions: on the coast from sea-level rise and storm surges; and in floodplains and valleys from run-off during periods of extreme rainfall.
New analysis detailed in journal Earth’s Future shows that the five million Europeans currently under threat from once in a century floods (like those experienced in May last like) could face the same risk once a decade by mid-century and every year by the end of the century, as the climate continues to change.
The research is the first to take into account not only sea level rise due to warming temperatures, but also the impacts of climate change on tides, storm surge and waves when estimating future flood risk.
The authors used observations of the different factors plus climate models to estimate how each factor might change along the coastlines of Europe under different greenhouse gas emissions scenarios.
They found existing coastal protection structures were not up sufficient for protecting the five million homes most vulnerable under high-end warming scenarios.
Governments and building owners in these areas therefore face a stark choice: increase defences or move. Developers need to wake up to the risk of continuing to build in these areas and planners need to question whether approvals should be granted for development. Insurers will need help if they are to continue to provide cover. And property owners are likely to see the value of their properties drop.
Seas are rising worldwide by about 3.2 millimetres a year, though rates vary from region to region because of local land rise and subsidence. If greenhouse gas emissions aren’t curbed, global seas could rise on average by 0.52 metres up to 0.98 metres by the end of the century, according to the most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report.
In Europe, the North Sea region is projected to face the highest sea level rise – nearly one metre under a high emission scenario by 2100 – followed by the Baltic Sea and Atlantic coasts of the UK and Ireland. Sea level rise is the main cause of the flood risk, but even more intensive extremes of weather along most of northern Europe will also generate significant local effects.
Least affected will be southern Europe, with the exception of a projected decrease along the Portuguese coast and the Gulf of Cadiz, offsetting sea level rise by 20-30 per cent.
This conclusion confirms the result of a separate report from 10 years ago that the regions most prone to a rise in flood frequencies are northern to northeastern Europe, while southern and southeastern Europe show significant increases in drought frequencies.
The cost will be in the many billions. Storms Desmond, Eva and Frank, which battered parts of Britain between early December 2015 and early January 2016, caused damage estimated to cost insurers £1.3 billion (AU$1.66b) in claims. Multiplying this throughout Europe under the above scenario will see potential costs in the many billions. Read More

Monday, April 10, 2017

7 Reasons Spirituality Is Integral to an Emotionally Wealthy Life

[Entrepreneur] Work is work, and money is great but we must all be mindful not to worship the God of Green Paper. Money gives us the gift of having the freedom to do more and have more, but what it doesn’t buy us is love or happiness.
Money without love is a deep misery. It’s paralyzing when we realize we can have it all and still feel empty. Happiness, is in part, a byproduct of achievement best gained when we’re working from something and for something larger than ourselves. Success is something to be shared as much as it is to be gained. Sharing gives us a deeper and more meaningful experience of life and people. For this reason, we must have some connection to a philosophy of life that is bigger than solely feeding our egos or material needs. The more spiritual we are, the more connected to something beyond the daily grind of being a human being, the more we enjoy and appreciate our success.
1. Quality of life: The majority of spiritual traditions provide consistent participation in a community of people who embrace and welcome our presence. Whether it is attendance to church, a meditation group, even a running group, a yoga studio or a Spartan race team; membership and participation provides a sense of belonging and builds a strong network of social and emotional support. Feeling we belong somewhere, to some form of dogma or meaningful life philosophy, brings us a sense of safety and security. These strong bonds increase well-being. They balance our expectations around life, relationships and around our ideas of success into a clearer and more meaningful perspective.
2. Support through challenges: When we feel spiritually connected, and connected to a group of similar people, we have more strength to overcome our harder times in life. The spiritual tenets we follow serve as the platform for our personal growth and development. As we get stronger, we come to view our painful times as contemplative opportunities, and eventually come to trust that the hardships we pass through are designed to makes us stronger and wiser as people. We have more faith that we are internally and externally supported to come out on top. Our spiritual practices provide the refuge we need when we need it. Undoubtedly, we are more resilient when we have a community and a deeply held philosophy to live by.
3. Never alone: Spirituality helps us identify with and recognize the interconnectedness of our lives with those of all other things and people. When our heartbreaks, and gut wrenching experiences are framed by the knowledge that countless others have undergone similar types of hardships before us, the blow softens and we feel less isolated in our own pain. Mistakes and failures are an important and shared part of the human experience. No one gets out of life pain free. It is important to practice self-compassion and to love ourselves regardless of mistakes or failures. The beauty of a spiritual philosophy is that it never abandons us; it is there to uphold us. When we are spiritual we learn that we are not by ourselves, we are with ourselves. Read More

There Was Nothing Normal About America’s Freakish Winter Weather

A tornado in Massachusetts, wildfires in the Great Plains, and record snow in the Sierra Nevada. It’s been a weird winter.
[Bloomberg] It’s not your imagination. The weather has been weird.
So weird, in fact, it’s had an almost biblical feel: a February tornado in Massachusetts; record wildfires across the Great Plains and beyond; more snow than ever in the Sierra Nevada; and temperatures whiplashing from balmy to frigid, killing crops and coaxing flowers out of their winter slumber.
While some of the swings may result from chance, scientists agree climate change is adding to weather mayhem and that the world will have to brace for worse. President Donald Trump is also seeking to roll back measures to fight global warming, saying the regulations kill jobs.
“The bottom line: It’s not just in our minds that the weather is changing,” said David Titley, a meteorology professor at Pennsylvania State University. “It is changing, and changing rapidly in ways we understand and ways we are just beginning to examine.”
Start with the temperature. The winter of 2016-17 marked the second mildest on record, according to Jake Crouch, a climate scientist with the National Centers for Environmental Information. February, which has been warming faster than any other month through the decades, also was the second warmest in the 138-year global record. There were some bizarre temperature readings along the way. Like a high of 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 Celsius) in Chicago on Feb. 18. Or 72 degrees in Boston less than a week later.
The month was so mild that natural gas inventories rose earlier than in any year going back to 1994, when records began, and plants threw off winter’s yoke and began to grow. Read More