The name of this blog, Rainbow Juice, is intentional.
The rainbow signifies unity from diversity. It is holistic. The arch suggests the idea of looking at the over-arching concepts: the big picture. To create a rainbow requires air, fire (the sun) and water (raindrops) and us to see it from the earth.
Juice suggests an extract; hence rainbow juice is extracting the elements from the rainbow, translating them and making them accessible to us. Juice also refreshes us and here it symbolises our nutritional quest for understanding, compassion and enlightenment.

Tuesday 30 May 2017

Opportunity in Collapse

When we look at what has been going on in the world since the new millennium began we could be excused for thinking that everything is collapsing.  What was normal and safe is no longer so.  The institutions that held society together no longer seem to do so.  Our belief systems are threatened – from within and without.  Indeed, do we know what to believe any more?

We sense betrayal.  Our political leaders have betrayed us so we reach out desperately to another political voice.  We close down and choose to “go it alone.”  We reject our commonalities in favour of building  physical, ideological and emotional walls.

It’s frightening, because we don’t know where the safe ground is.  Just when we think we have found it we find that it is just a mirage.  The promises of change by our (new) leaders turn out to be just that – promises with no substance.

What do we do when everything is collapsing?  Where do we look for some safe ground?  How do we return to normal?  When the unthinkable happens, can we imaging the thinkable?

That is the question for us:  how do we imagine something different?  Can we find the opportunities in the middle of this collapse?  How do we respond?

Fear or Love

It has been said that humans respond from two base feelings – love and fear.  All other feelings are derivatives of these two.

We could respond with fear and there are signs that many of us are doing that.  When we allow our fears to take over then we respond with one of the three classic responses: flight, fight or freeze.  If we choose to flee then we attempt to do so back to where we came from.  It was safe back there so we try to rush back.  We look for the old story, the old story of how the world was, or at least, how we thought it was.  But the old story no longer satisfies, it doesn’t tell us how to respond in this new millennium.

If we choose to fight then we easily fall into the trap of hatred.  We find enemies who have “done this to us.”  We look around and find “others” to blame.  As many teachers have taught for centuries, hatred is not the answer.  When we hate others, we become hateful (even hating ourselves) and all that happens is that hatred is perpetuated.  It is certainly not reduced.

And freezing?  That is no solution either.  We slip into despair, frustration, depression, and withdrawal. 

If we flee we go searching for old saviours.  If we fight we look for new saviours who are going to lead us against our enemies and make us great again.

There are no saviours.  There are knights in shining armour.  There are no Amazonian warrior women who will defeat our enemy.  There are no rescuers – be they political leaders (or parties), business leaders, religious teachers or sports stars. 

What happens if we respond from a feeling of love?  One of the first things we remember is that we are all in this together.  There is no “other.”  When we recall this we can respond with empathy and compassion.  We open up to our vulnerability and recognise that being uncertain is not a burden.  Vulnerability allows us to connect with one another, as well as to connect with our own soul and spirit.

Uncertainty allows us to ask questions.  It allows us to ask “what is the new story that is emerging here?”  And when we remember that we are all in this together we begin to look towards the margins.  We begin to find answers amongst the dispossessed, the unacknowledged, the despised.  We find answers amongst the admonished, the forgotten and the exiled.  We even find answers in the forgotten parts of our selves.  We find answers in our souls. 

It is no coincidence that there is a connection between finding these answers and vulnerability.  To be willing to go to the margins of society or to search our deep souls requires us to be vulnerable.  Being vulnerable allows us to recognise that answers lie in places that do not exist in the old story.

When this happens we begin to create, and co-create, our new story.

Thursday 25 May 2017

This Time We've Gone Too Far

“You’ve gone too far this time!”  How many of us remember hearing this phrase when we were growing up? Perhaps we still hear it.  The speaker wants us to know that, up until now, they have generally tolerated our behaviour, but now, we have pushed just too far, and there will be consequences.  “There will be hell to pay,” or maybe it will be something like, “just wait until your father/mother gets home.”

The words indicate that a tipping point has been reached, or surpassed.  The proverbial last straw has been placed upon the camels back.

If we are sensitive enough we might hear the Earth telling us the same – this time you’ve gone too far.  Have we?  We have been slowly (or speedily) developing our capacity to consume.  We have been developing our technologies, often for our betterment.  Our technological development has enabled us to do a lot more than we could even just one century ago.  We can travel quicker and further.  We have eradicated a number of diseases.  We can live more comfortably.  We can be entertained at the touch of a button on a hand-held phone. 

But, have we now gone too far on this path?  Consider a few examples:

Earth Overshoot Day

Living upon this planet we use resources and create waste which are regenerated.  However, what happens when the amount we consume and waste exceeds the amount that is being regenerated?  Its a bit like having an income and having savings.  If you spend within your income you will continue to grow your savings.  But, if you spend more than your income you will deplete your savings – a recipe for financial collapse.  So it is with Earth Overshoot Day.  As global citizens we have been consuming and wasting more than is regenerated since 1970.  What’s more, we have been doing so at a faster and faster rate.  Using the metaphor of savings it is as if each year we dip into our savings more than the previous year.  It is unsustainable.

350 parts per million

In 2007 Jim Hansen, a NASA scientist, co-authored a paper that suggested that if the atmosphere contained more than 350 parts per million of carbon dioxide then the earth would possibly pass through a threshold from which it may not recover.  In the abstract to that paper he wrote that at such a level we can’t have a planet “that is similar to the one on which civilisation developed and to which life on earth is adapted.”

Yet we have already surpassed 350 ppm and have even gone beyond 400 ppm.  Furthermore, notwithstanding Paris Summits and the like, we are adding more parts per million every year than were added the previous year.  Currently we are adding over 2 ppm every year.

Biodiversity Loss

Attempts to measure the amount of biodiversity loss attributed to human behaviour is not easy.  Estimates vary between 4 and 10 times the natural background extinction loss.  Some estimates even suggest that the loss of species is as high as 100 times the natural background loss.  Anyone who has studied ecology knows how devastating the loss of even one species (particularly predator species) can be for a whole ecology.  When we extrapolate that understanding to the whole planet we have to ask ourselves – have we lost too much biodiversity already?

Land Use

Currently over 40% of the earths land area is taken up by agriculture or urban use, with much of the remainder criss-crossed and cut into by roads.  Estimates are that by 2025 the amount of land devoted to agriculture and/or urban use will be over 50%.


On one level it seems that the worlds wealth and income has increased, and that may be so.  However, inequality levels are increasing.  In some parts of the world inequality (measured by the gini coefficient1) are at levels approaching, or surpassing, the levels just prior to the Great Depression.  Even in those parts of the world that are experiencing levels less than pre-Depression days the gini coefficient is on the increase.  It may just be a matter of time.  In much of the western world plus China, Russia and India, the gini coefficient has been steadily rising since 1980.

Have We Gone Too Far?

Each of these examples suggests that we are getting close to some tipping point, and possibly have already surpassed some.  We’ve already seen the consequences that followed high inequality levels in the early part of the 20th century – the Great Depression.  We are starting to see some of consequences of an atmosphere with more than 350 ppm of carbon dioxide – more and worse weather related catastrophes.

This time we’ve gone too far.  Can we recover?  That is up to all of us, individually and collectively.


1. The gini coefficient was developed by Italian statistician Corrado Gini in 1912 and is a measure of the inequality within a nation or between nations.  The coefficient is expressed as a number between 0 and 1 where 0 represents perfect equality and 1 a situation where one person has all the income/wealth and everyone else has none.  

Friday 19 May 2017

6 Possible Causes

Having recently published a book that speaks about social justice, sustainability and community development I now wish to find a cause to which a  percentage of the profits can be channelled.  I would like to ask your help in deciding upon the cause.  Here are six possibilities:

Fair Trade

This organisation works with farmers and other producers in developing countries to get better trading conditions and to promote sustainable farming practices.  The organisation believes that fair trade is a better way to bring about social justice than traditional charity or aid models.  The organisation provides a certification that enables the buyer to know that what they are buying is of benefit to farmers in developing countries.

Rainforest Alliance

This organisation also provides a certification that means that businesses that receive the certification practice sustainable forest management practices.  The Alliance seeks to preserve biodiversity and encourages long-term sustainability.

World Wildlife Fund (WWF)

Now known as the World Wide Fund for Nature, WWF is over 50 years old and seeks to reduce the human environmental footprint.  Most people are aware of the work WWF does to protect endangered species and ensure biodiversity.

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF, also known as Doctors Without Borders)

MSF is an NGO providing medical assistance in war-torn areas and countries affected by endemic diseases.  In 2015 over 30,000 doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals worked in over 70 countries.


Founded in Canada in 1971 Greenpeace is possibly the most recognised environmental organisation in the world.  Globally the organisation campaigns on issues including: climate change, whaling, genetic engineering, deforestation, and anti-nuclear issues.  It uses a variety of tactics including direct action campaigns.

Very firmly based on the recognition that we need to reduce the carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere.  The 350 of the name refers to a 2007 paper by scientist James Hansen who proposed that 350 parts per million of CO2 in the atmosphere is a safe upper limit to avoid a climate tipping point.  The current level of CO2 ppm is over 400!

Help Choose

Those are six possible causes for a percentage of profits to go to.  If you would like to help me decide then please take a survey at Survey Monkey.  The link is  The survey also has a section where you can nominate another cause if you wish.

Friday 12 May 2017

OPPORTUNITIES EMERGING: Social Change in a Complex World (Book)

My book, OPPORTUNITIES EMERGING: Social Change in a  Complex World is now available to purchase online.  For a limited period there is a 20% discount as an opening special.  In the Preface I make mention of who might find this book useful.  This is an excerpt from that Preface.

The people I most expect to read this book are those who in some ways want to change the world or at least a tiny corner of it. Perhaps you are fearful of the effects of climate change and have become disturbed by the endless outpourings of carbon emissions into our atmosphere. Perhaps you are concerned about the number of people attempting to escape the horrible destruction of war in their homelands. Maybe you are angry about the exploitation of peasant farmers in India or Africa and the uninformed way in which western consumers are complicit in that exploitation.

Maybe your concerns are closer to home. Perhaps you have witnessed or experienced the horrors of domestic violence and want to ease the burden of victims or find ways to stop the endless cycle of abuse. Perhaps you are concerned that your children have nowhere to play and that businesses and huge corporations are encroaching upon playgrounds and open spaces in your neighbourhood. Maybe you want to bring back the neighbourliness and friendliness that has been exorcised from your local community.

Perhaps your concerns are for the non-human species living on our planet. Perhaps you want to save the orangutans, whales or tigers from extinction, or help preserve a patch of native bush that is the habitat of many species of insects, birds and fish.

Whatever your concerns, you will find that there are others who share them. There will also be those with contrary concerns, perhaps even antagonistic. How do you go about resolving these concerns? How do you work with those who agree with you? Importantly too, how do you work with those who disagree with you? How do you obtain answers when you don’t even know the right questions to ask?

This book may help you.

At present the book is only available via this link.  Later it will be available through the more commonly known web-based booksellers.  The opening special will be available for only a few weeks, so get in now at the discounted price.

I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Sunday 7 May 2017


All over the world people are complaining and protesting.  In the US there are demonstrations against Trump and rallies for him.  The streets of London and Paris are blocked by those demanding that a different group of politicians take over the reins of power.  Similar scenes are played out in Africa, in South East Asia and in South America.  Often the calls for such power shifts are centred on one person: Trump, Macron, La Pen, Wilders, May.  Half a world away the names being called are those such as Turnbull, Duterte, Jinping.

Everywhere, it seems, crowds of people are seeking different solutions to a wide range of issues and concerns

Solutions are sought to cope with refugees and migrants.  Solutions are sought in Syria, Sudan and Somalia.  Many want a solution to climate change.  Others seek solutions to the growing inequality of wealth and income.

Solution-seekers raise petitions, write submissions to Commissions of Enquiry, or take to the streets to voice anger, mistrust or disagreement with political processes and agenda.

The solutions are out there, we may cry.  If only the politicians and other leaders would listen.  All these problems and issues would be solved if we applied the right formula or the right policy.  All these problems and issues could be solved if we elected the best politicians.

All of our searching for solutions may be in vain however.  Perhaps we are seeking solutions in completely the wrong place. 

The solutions may not be out there – they may be in here.  They may be soul-utions.

It may be that who we are rather than what we do will provide us with the solutions.  It may be that our soul is the place to go seeking.

What we have done, time after time, is to keep solving problems by applying technological or institutional fixes.  Then what happens?  The fix becomes the source of the next problem.  How do we then solve that?  By applying a further technological or institutional fix.  In short, to paraphrase Einstein, we keep using the same thinking we always have.

But if we stop to think about it we discover that the problems and issues that face us today mostly all stem from what we have done.  Surely this tells us something about who we are.  It tells us that seeking solutions externally often ends up in a worse situation, or at least no better than what we began with.

Perhaps it is time to stop and look inward – to our individual and collective souls.  This is not an easy task for it means asking much tougher questions than the one that asks “how do we solve this?”  Soulutions means asking questions like “what is my/our purpose here?” or “who am I/we?”

When questions like these are asked the answers will not come from our heads.  The answers will not come from reading books, or undertaking academic research.  The answers will come from combining our head with our heart.  The Pali language uses the word citta which is best translated into English as heart-mind.  The answers will come from activities and experiences that allow us to discover and explore our soul.  Some possible ways of doing this include:
  • Fasting
  • Yoga, breathwork, or other bodily practices that help us alter our consciousness
  • Spending time alone, in solitude
  • Rhythmic dance or drumming
  • Relating and listening to myths and stories, particularly those that explore our consciousness and psyches
  • Dreamwork
  • Music, chanting, poetry
  • Creative and/or symbolic writing and painting
  • Spending time in nature
In all these ways the key is to let go of our familiar, everyday, thoughts, beliefs and behaviours.  We must deliberately seek an alternative consciousness  and way of relating to ourselves, those around us and with the Earth.

Perhaps, just perhaps, we might then find the soulutions.