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.

Wednesday 24 February 2021

Leave Only Footprints

Fossilized 3.66 million-year-old footprints
from Laetoli, Tanzania, 
Photograph by Raffaello Pellizzon.
When I was young my parents often took us on picnics.  We would pack a hamper of food, throw in a picnic blanket, climb in the car, and drive to some wonderful spot.  Dad would always take his camera on these trips.  Before we sat down for the picnic itself, we would all go for a walk somewhere – along a bushy trail, beside a river or lake, or along a beach.  Dad would take photographs along the way.

One of the things Dad often said on these outings was: “Take only photographs, leave only footprints.”  I used to think he was clever to come up with such an original piece of advice.  I have since discovered that he was not so original, although I still consider him to have been clever.

The original sage advice predates the invention of cameras.  The original quote has been attributed to Si’ahl (anglicised to Chief Seattle) of the Suquamish and Duwamish people; he lived from the late 18th to the mid-19th centuries.  He is quoted as saying:

“Take nothing but memories, leave nothing but footprints.”

Sadly, our modern-day, westernised, extractivist lifestyles do everything except leave nothing but footprints.  We do everything from trampling upon endangered plants through to digging up the earth for resources.

We pave the landscape with roads and parking lots so that we do not even need to use our feet.  The weight of an average car is around thirty times that of a human.  Currently there are almost 1.5 billion cars in the world.  That is a huge weight upon the earth.  Imagine you are a small sand crab attempting to burrow into your home near the high watermark of a beach.  Suddenly along comes an SUV weighing around 2.2 tonnes.  What do you do?  Burrow down further into the sand, thus using up valuable energy, or take your chances that the SUV monster will miss you by mere centimetres?

That is how life can be for some of the smallest of the earth’s non-humans.  For the larger non-humans life can be just as difficult because of human trampling.  The disruption to eco-systems around the world, because of our trampling, is massive.

What too, of the damage done to ourselves?  Note that the quotes above mention footprints; they do not mention bootprints or shoeprints.  Why is that significant? 

Because, by walking upon the earth barefoot we literally ground ourselves.  We feel the earth, we allow the earth’s energies to enter our bodies through the soles of our feet.  We connect back to Mother Earth. 

Walking barefoot has other health benefits.  Barefoot walking encourages the use of all the muscles of the foot, whereas the wearing of shoes impedes some muscle development.  There is also a growing body of research linking healthy immune systems with barefoot walking and contact with the earth.

Imagine what sort of impact we would have on the earth, and upon ourselves, if we took heed of this quote over our lifetime?  For some, as they near the end of their lives, they will look back and ask if they have left the world in a better state than when they arrived?

If we leave nothing but footprints there is a good chance that they can answer that in the affirmative.

Wednesday 17 February 2021

Rote-ual Of Life

“Life is simply a ritual of work, eat, sleep…work, eat, sleep…”  At least this is how it appears to be to many people in western-styled cultures.

Yet, such a mechanical, time-constrained, approach to life might better be termed a rote-ual, rather than ritual.  Life has become routine. 

If we give any thought at all to how we spend our days, and our lives, we might well conclude that we navigate our way through life as if following a pre-planned route on a map.  No deviation.  No opportunity to explore a side-road.  No striking off into unchartered territory.  In many ways this map is already drawn; we have had little or no cartographic interest in its production.

We simply follow the route that is marked upon the map of life.

It is perhaps telling that the words route, routine, and rote all derive from the Old French word rute meaning road, way, or path.  Furthermore, it is revealing to note that the word rut derives from the same source.  We are stuck in a rut.

Rather than life being a ritual, it has become a rote-ual.

Perhaps instead of bemoaning or complaining that life is ritualised (rote-ualised) we might be better off considering the loss of true ritual in our lives.  Perhaps our lives are so rote-ualised because we have lost, forgotten, or had stolen from us, the rituals in our lives.

Today ritual tends to be associated with religious practices.  The Roman word ritus predates most of the world’s largest religions, including Christianity, Islam, Judaism, and Buddhism.  In Roman times it had the sense of being “the proven – or correct – way of performing sacrifices.” 

Therein is a clue – sacrifice; let us follow that lead.  Sacrifice – the practice of honouring the sacred.  Sacred – to set aside as holy.  And holy?  Well, that word comes from a Proto-Indo-European word meaning whole, uninjured.  It has a link to our word (you guessed it) - health.

What is all this tracing of words, meanings, and definitions telling us?

Etymology can be a light-hearted, possibly inconsequential, study or pastime.  Yet, tracing the roots of words can be illuminating.  It can point to what we have lost, forgotten, or had stolen.

In this case (rote, rite, ritual, sacred, holy, health) it is possible to trace a serious loss of something of great significance to humanity.  We can trace the loss of the sacred.  We have forgotten that our health and what is holy are one and the same.  We have had stolen from us the rituals of life.

Some of those lost rituals are simple: such as singing the world into existence each morning with the rising of the sun.

Very few of the larger, more meaningful rituals of communal life have been retained.  Those that remain – such as marriage – are now so rote-ualised that any remnant of ritual has been largely stripped away.  Most that do still exist have been watered-down and deprived of meaning.

The rituals that used to mark the transitions from one life stage to the next (childhood to adolescence, adolescence to adulthood, adulthood to elderhood) are all but forgotten.

Yet, pockets of society remember something.  Amongst teenagers, for example, there appears to be a sub-consciously remembered collective, and cultural, memory that they strive to recreate in rituals.  But, without the guidance of true adults and elders, all that comes out is drunken, rave, parties, or “schoolies.”1

Although this blogpiece could be read as advocating for a return of ritual in our lives, we should remember that rituals often mark the transition from one state to another.  The states between the rituals are what is important; the sacred - if you like.

Returning to the word holy.  We now live in a time when, for most of the western world, the states of childhood, adolescence, adulthood, and elderhood, are but a shadow of what they could be.  Those states today are unhealthy ones, states that are no longer holy.  In such an unhealthy situation we cannot expect to mark transitions in any sort of truly ritual manner.2

Before we embark upon a journey to lead from rote-ual to ritual we will need to re-discover, to re-learn, what it means to be healthy, holy; and reclaim what is sacred.

That is no easy journey.


1.  Schoolies is an Australian term referring to a week-long holiday that high-school graduates take after their final exams.  Often, but not always, associated with drunken parties.

2.  For more on this theme see: Nature and the Human Soul, by Bill Plotkin.

Wednesday 10 February 2021

Three E.V. sites

Lithium mine, Australia
E.V.?  It could stand for Electric Vehicle.  It could also mean Environmental Vandalism.  Or, it could indicate both.  There is a connection.  But first, let us check out three sites of Environmental Vandalism.

1. Bolivia, Argentina, Chile.

Within the borders of these three countries is an area known as the Lithium Triangle.  So called because within this triangle can be found over 50% of the world’s lithium reserves. 

Current global lithium reserves are estimated to be around 80 million tonnes.  Bolivia contains 21 million tonnes, and Argentina and Chile contain 17 million and 9 million, respectively.

The Lithium Triangle is one of the driest places on earth, and that creates potential for massive environmental disaster from lithium mining.  Extraction of lithium in this area requires huge amounts of water (500,000 gallons for each tonne of lithium extracted.)  In the Sala de Atacama region of Chile lithium mining takes 65% of the regions water.  That is a massive load on a very dry region.  This has (as can be expected) a devastating impact on the local farmers.

Furthermore, toxic chemicals are needed to process this lithium.  Spills and leaching contaminate water systems, harming local ecosystems. 

The problems are not confined to environmental ones.  In November 2019, a coup (sometimes referred to as the Lithium Coup) in Bolivia toppled the Evo Morales government.  Within months it became apparent that the coup had been assisted (if not organised) from with the US government.  In July 2020 Elon Musk was accused, via twitter, of being a leading figure in assisting the coup, because he wanted access to the lithium reserves.  Musk blatantly tweeted in response; “We will coup whoever we want! Deal with it!”1  This is the man behind the batteries for a large proportion (17%) of the world’s E.V.s (electric vehicles.)

Such arrogance does nothing to suggest any respect for sovereignty, nor for the earth.   

2. Tibetan Plateau

In May 2016 hundreds of protestors in the city of Tagong, on the edge of the Tibetan Plateau, threw dead fish onto the streets.  The dead fish had come from the Liqi River where toxic waste from the Gazizhou Rongda Lithium mine wreaked havoc.2  It had not been the first such instance, with similar episodes stretching back to 2009.

This mine is operated by one of the world’s biggest suppliers of lithium-ion batteries.

3. Western Australia

In 2020 Rio Tinto Group was widely condemned for blowing up and destroying 46,000-year-old sacred (and archeologically significant) caves in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.

The Puuta Kunti Kurrama people and Pinikura people who have maintained a respectful relationship with the land on which these caves exist received an apology from Rio Tinto.  Tellingly however, the apology did not apologise for the destruction of the caves, stopping short by apologising for the “distress caused.”3

In an attempt to mend the relationship damage done Rio Tinto appointed a person to oversee this process.  However, only some six months later this person was removed from that role.  The Puuta Kunti Kurrama people and Pinikura people - via the PKKP Aboriginal Corporation - have viewed this as an insult.  At the beginning of February 2021, the Chief Executive of PKKP signed a letter to Rio Tinto questioning whether trust in Rio Tinto could ever be realised.  The letter went on to say:

“… every action by Rio Tinto to date, including the latest announcement under your leadership rings hollow…PKKP is reluctant to participate in a relationship of this nature any longer.”

E.V. (Electric Vehicles)

There is currently a push to produce E.V.s world-wide.  The supposed benefit of these vehicles is that they emit less carbon dioxide (CO2) over their lifetime than do fossil-fuelled vehicles. 

Sounds good doesn’t it?  Well, not really.  As the first two examples above show, the environmental damage from the mining of lithium can be disastrous. 

All three examples highlight the harm and hurt done to local, often indigenous, peoples by mining corporations.  Even though Rio Tinto were not mining for lithium (they were mining iron ore) the lack of trust in such mining giants is readily apparent.  Can we expect them to be trustworthy simply because they are mining minerals that are used for “renewable” purposes?

Questions are being raised within all three of these regions.

Guillermo Gonzalez, a lithium battery expert at the University of Chile, suggests that “This (lithium batteries) isn’t a green solution – it isn’t a solution at all.”4

A Tibetan website declares that “Green transport in one place should not come at the cost of environmental and social damage in another.”

Questioning from the Puuta Kunti Kurrama people and Pinikura people has already been quoted.

The push for EVs (electric vehicles) leads to environmental damage, social disruption, and a neo-colonisation of indigenous peoples.  Electric vehicles do nothing to enhance our relationship with the earth.

It is not the fuel of transportation that we should be focusing upon.  We should be asking questions about transportation itself.  Whatsmore – we should have been asking such questions some time ago.  If we had, we may well have arrived at more suitable answers.



2. Washington Post, 26 December 2016.

3.  Accessed 9-02-2021

4.,not%20a%20solution%20at%20all.%E2%80%9D  Accessed 9-02-2021

Wednesday 3 February 2021

Losing The 'Com' in Communication

Last week’s blogpiece suggested that our craving for technology was a desire for an unnatural us.  That, of course, raises the question as to what is natural?  What is in-nate to us as humans?

One of our natural (or innate) instincts may be to trust others.  Some philosophers have suggested that humans are basically competitive and individualistic, resulting in life being “solitary, poore, nasty, brutish, and short.”1  However, many are now recognising that it has been our willingness to cooperate, show kindness, and trust one another, that have been the reasons for our survival and evolutionary development.2

But, is our trust now under threat from our technology?

Some research is showing that the use of cells phones is having a detrimental effect upon our levels of trust.  At least one piece of research suggested that even having a cell phone visible (and not being used) during a conversation about meaningful matters had a deleterious effect upon the quality of the conversation, and the level of trust within the relationship.3

Of course, we don’t need a piece of research to show us this.  Simply observing what goes on around us should be sending alarm bells.  More than five billion people globally send and receive SMS messages every day.  Many of us check our phone 63 times each day with 2/3rds or more checking 160 times every day.  90% of all texts are replied to within three minutes of them being received.

We’re addicted!

And that addiction has harmful outcomes.  Not only is our level of trust compromised, but cell phone use is also implicated in an elevated risk of obesity and suicide risk.  Research in the US concluded that teens who spend five or more hours per day on electronic devices are 71% more likely to exhibit suicide risk factors than those who spend an hour or less.

Some will proclaim the benefits of these ‘communication’ devices, claiming that they give us greater access to information, at a faster rate.  All very well, except that the use of smartphones tends to diminish our ability to understand the information that we are getting access to.  Again, we don’t need to probe too far to realise why this may be the case.  How often have you gone online to search for the answer to something and been able to obtain that answer instantly?  Yet, if asked what that answer meant, you may have struggled to reply?  Simply obtaining an answer does not mean comprehension or understanding.

Yet, we think our instantaneous answers improve our understanding!

Communication.  The word is telling, isn’t it?  The first part of the word, com, is derived from words that mean together or with, and is related to words such as community, common, accomplice.

It is that part of communication that we are losing through our cell phone addiction.  We are losing our togetherness, our sense of community, and ultimately, our trust in one another.

1. Thomas Hobbes in Leviathon (originally published 1651)
2. See for example, Stefan Klein, Survival of the Nicest, Scribe, Melbourne & London, 2014.
3. Andrew Przybylski & Netta Weinstein, Can you connect with me now? How the presence of mobile communication technology influences face-to-face conversation quality, Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, July 19, 2012.