The Resources for the Great Turning online library draws on a loosely-knit network of Learner-Mentor-Activists working in the overlapping areas of peace, ecology, social justice, human rights and green spiritual awakening. Our emphasis on Teams-of-Two partnerships and “Skype Quartet” Working Groups reflects a growing trend in education away from lecturing and toward Teams-of-Two and small group cooperative mentoring and dialogue.
The topics we want to cover, such as nuclear contamination, the challenges of climate change and suicidal industrialization, the mass extinction of living species, etc., can be profoundly disturbing of a person’s bodily and mental sense of safety. We therefore work to incorporate a strong element of emotional support into everything we do. In this we are somewhat different from other educational institutions and political action web sites. For our particular topics, emotional support can not come later as an afterthought. We are convinced that it has to be there right from the start, built into the structure of things, or people will not stay involved. Using the breath as a model, one might say that for every great challenge we face outside of ourselves, there are a set of corresponding deep strengths that we are being challenged to develop inside of ourselves and within our circle of co-workers. One of those deep strengths is the ability to bring out the best in one another.
Allysyn Kiplinger, MA, Volunteer Mentor in Thomas Berry Studies, is a member of the original Resources for the Great Turning founding circle of green scholar/activists. As part of her effort to honor a ecologically valuable but much maligned plant, Hemp, Allysyn has been making hemp-oil-based soap by hand since 1993 and selling it as Artha Hemp Soaps since 1994.
Environmental philosophy is the organizing principle of her life. She loves learning about the connections between simple, local, everyday acts on complex, global systems and epochs. Soapmaking is a simple way to commune with larger systems.
Her formal education includes a BA in Anthropology from UC Berkeley, studies in environmental philosophy at Schumacher College in England, and an MA in Philosophy, Cosmology and Consciousness from the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco.
Her activism in the bay area includes three eco-building renovations in Oakland, serving on the board of local, ecological-minded non-profits including the East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse, and developing her website EcozoicTimes.com furthering the work of Thomas Berry. She loves learning about the connections between simple, local, everyday acts on complex, planetary systems and epochs. And she makes awesome soap!
Dennis Rivers, MA, is an editor and Volunteer Mentor in Communications Skills and Resilience Studies here at Resources for the Great Turning. Also, a writer, activist and computer programmer living in Northern California. At various times in his academic training he attended UCLA (business), UCSB (religious studies and sociology), Starr King School for the Ministry (theology), Antioch University (psychotherapy) and the Vermont College Graduate Program (interpersonal communication and human development).
Dennis is the managing editor of several large, public service web sites, including www.LiberationTheology.org and www.NewConversations.net. His free, open source, guide to better communication skills, The Seven Challenges Workbook, is in use in many countries around the world. His special interests in relation to the Great Turning include compassionate communication, creative resilience, living systems theory, and the thought/action traditions created by Joanna Macy, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Mahatma Gandhi. He is a lifelong student of sacred geometry and the cartographer of the Spiral Journey Empowerment & Resilience Map.
Carl Anthony, Volunteer Mentor in Metropolitan Transformation Studies, is an architect, author and urban / suburban / regional design strategist, and co-founder of the Breakthrough Communities Project. He has served as Acting Director of the Community and Resource Development Unit at the Ford Foundation, responsible for the Foundation’s world wide programs in fields of Environment and Development, and Community Development. He directed the Foundation’s Sustainable Metropolitan Communities Initiative and the Regional Equity Demonstration in the United States. Carl funded the national Conversation on Regional Equity (CORE), a dialogue of national policy analysts and advocates for new metropolitan racial justice strategies. He was Founder and, for 12 years Executive Director, of the Urban Habitat Program in the San Francisco Bay Area. With his colleague Luke Cole at the California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation, he founded and published the Race, Poverty and the Environment Journal, the only environmental justice periodical in the United States. He has a professional degree in architecture from Columbia University. In 1996, he was appointed Fellow at the Institute of Politics, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.
John Griffin, PhD, Volunteer Mentor in Consciousness Studies. While in college, John Griffin spent a year in Japan as a cultural exchange student. In addition to an in-depth exposure to Asian culture in general, he was able to further his study of Asian martial arts in considerable depth under a renowned master teacher. This led to several decades of teaching martial arts. He now concentrates on practicing and teaching the Chinese yoga-like art known as Chi Gong (also written as Qigong in Mandarin Pinyin Romanization), which he learned under several Asian masters and grandmasters. The Yoga tradition of India has also been a particular interest.
Dr. Griffin’s career as an educator has spanned secondary and college/university levels. With masters degrees in Humanities and Psychology, his doctoral dissertation explored the therapeutic value of Asian martial arts and ancillary practices. In addition to his academic work, he also studied privately with British psychiatrist and parapsychologist Dr. Laurence Bendit. His particular academic interests include parapsychology, Asian and consciousness studies, dreamwork, comparative spiritual studies, and conscious living and dying. He teaches courses in all of these areas. In over two decades of teaching at World University in Ojai, California, he has served as a professor as well as in various administrative capacities, including Director of Online Distance Education.
Vijali Hamilton, Artist in Virtual Residence, is a visionary sculptor, poet, musician, performance artist, and author is the originator of the World Wheel, Global Peace Through the Arts. This global peace project combines sculptures in living rock to establish sacred sites, community ritual-based theater and Wisdom Centers to address local problems,aspirations and to preserve the indigenous cultures.
Her work includes education, art, spirituality, peace activism, and focuses attention on the awareness of environmental, spiritual, and social problems. The World Wheel is an artistic forum for global awareness. It activates awareness of our interconnection with all life.
Previously Vijali spent ten years as a monastic member of the Vedanta convent. She received a Master’s Degree in Fine Arts from Goddard University and is a fellow of the World Academy of Arts and Science. More than 1,000 pieces of her art works are in private and public collections. Vijali lectures extensively and has given retreats for many years in the creative process of moving from the introspection of meditation and journal writing into art forms.
Vijali’s work and life have been represented in numerous books, some of which include: Once and Future Goddess by Elinor Gadon, Reweaving the World and The Reflowering of the Goddess by Gloria Orenstein, The Feminine Face of God by Sherry Anderson and Patricia Hopkins, Sculpting with the Environment by Baile Oakes, Skydancing Earthwalker: Women’s Pilgrimages to Sacred Places ed. by Laila Castle, On Turning 60 by Cathleen Roundtree, Goddess by Jalaja Bonheim, The Cultural Creatives by Paul H. Ray and Sherry Ruth Anderson and Mandala: Journey to the Center by Bailey Cunningham.
Vijail’s book, World Wheel: One Woman’s Journey Toward Peace is available free of charge in PDF format on her page on this web site.
To view her Books, CDs, DVDs, and photos of her work, go to Vijali’s Art Shop.