The Recycled Orchestra: Paraguay

The world generates about a billion tons of garbage a year. Those who live with it and from it are the poor – like the people of Cateura, Paraguay. And here they are transforming it into beauty. Landfill Harmonic follows the orchestra as it takes its inspiring spectacle of trash-into-music around the world. Follow the lives of a garbage picker, a music teacher and a group of children from a Paraguayan slum that out of necessity started creating instruments entirely out of garbage. Landfill Harmonic is a beautiful story about the trans-formative power of music, which also highlights two vital issues of our times: poverty and waste pollution.

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Let Your Health Be Your Wealth

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Your body is naturally equipped with a self-cleaning process. But too much sugar, caffeine, processed foods, stress, and too little exercise can slow the body’s natural detox function to a slow pace. And then your body can’t clean itself when it is put up against the increasing number of harmful and toxic substances in the environment. Toxins come in many forms: pesticides in produce, formaldehyde in carpets and cosmetics, PCBs from plastic containers, dioxins from bleached paper products, and more.

Your body will process and eliminate some of the hordes of chemicals that enter, but overflow gets stored in the liver, lungs, kidneys, fat cells, intestines, blood stream, and skin—which can result in chronic illnesses down the road.

In the Taoist tradition, positive and negative emotions are associated with the internal organs. One of the keys to good health is to become aware of the emotional energies that reside in the organs, and to transform the negative emotional energies into positive virtues. Taoists believe that we are all born with the virtues of love, gentleness, kindness, respect, honesty, fairness, justice, and righteousness.

Unfortunately, as we mature and encounter more stress in our daily lives, negative emotions such as fear, anger, cruelty, impatience, worry, sadness, and grief often predominate. The negative emotions have deleterious effects on the internal organs and glands, draining our life-force and undermining our health.

In the Tao “emotional intelligence” is a process of recognizing emotions by their effects on the body, and employing exercises that transform the negative emotions into positive life force, or Chi. Two important exercises are the “Inner Smile” and the “Six Healing Sounds” techniques, as taught by Master Mantak Chia.

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Swiss Basic Income For Adults

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Switzerland will hold a vote on whether to introduce a basic income for all adults, in a further sign of growing public activism over pay inequality since the financial crisis.

A grassroots committee is calling for all adults in Switzerland to receive an unconditional income of 2,500 Swiss francs — about $2,800 — per month from the state, with the aim of providing a financial safety net for the population.

Organizers submitted more than the 100,000 signatures needed to call a referendum on Friday and tipped a truckload of 8 million five-cent coins outside the parliament building in Bern, one for each person living in Switzerland.

Under Swiss law, citizens can organize popular initiatives that allow the channeling of public anger into direct political action. The country usually holds several referenda a year.

Urban Homesteading

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With the increasing concern for our health, and ever-expanding curiosity for what is going into our food, there is a growing trend to eat local, fresh, free-range, and organically fed and/or grown food items. Urban homesteading is a growing trend where individuals with limited space and finances, mix their labor with their land in order to produce and provide for themselves. Some are growing food on balconies, window sills, even vertically to make more use of space.

Campaigns like Grow Food Not Lawns, and Occupy Monsanto, are encouraging individuals to take an active role in their health, and in what they are eating. These activist outlets operate with a general theme, that we should know what we are putting into our mouths and on our tables. By getting more involved in our food choices, we can have a more secure grip on our overall health and wellness.

There are many benefits to growing your own food at home: you save yourself money, increase availability and convenience (you need only travel to your backyard instead of to a supermarket), better tasting food, and safer food that isn’t covered in pesticides and other chemicals.

Increasingly, individuals are finding themselves open minded towards natural treatment methods. It may come to many as a common experience, that doctors mostly treat symptoms of a problem, instead of getting to the root of the problem itself. For example, with illnesses’ that are rooted in chronic inflammation, the doctors don’t generally focus on their patient’s diet, and they don’t consider the foods which are eaten that would contribute to the cause of increased inflammation in the body.

There is continually new research surfacing which supports the blossoming belief that natural items could cure a variety of health impairments. Many already know that cannabis can be an effective cancer treatment, but even grape seed extract has recently been shown to outperform chemotherapy in destroying and inhibiting the growth of colorectal cancer cells. Mainstream medical practices for the treatment of various types of cancer seem to be more deadly than helpful, with common methods like chemotherapy being ineffective 97% of the time. Our bodies have innate healing mechanisms: when we get an infection or when we cure ourselves, but it needs the proper nutrients in order to heal effectively.