Chasing Down the Dogs of War:

Children in Field“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked why I’m spending all this time and energy in worrying about street children half way around the world. For those who haven’t known me very long this might help.

This photo is from a newspaper in Hyderabad India, about one hour drive from our new campus.”

Judge John Kuder wrote to his Facebook followers with his illimitable energy and hope for a better future for children and youths in India. His passion stems from two profound events that occurred with a long stretch of living in between.

The first was the Viet Nam War in which he served from 1970-72.

“Upon completion of law school I began active military service during the height of the Viet Nam war. Although I served my Country well, for which I take great personal pride, I nonetheless became an unwilling observer of the cruelty and human devastation that mercilessly devoured the children of war. Images that I will never forget.”

John returned to Pensacola, his birthplace, to begin a successful law practice. He was elected by his peers to the Circuit Court Bench in 1988, and later elected to Chief Judge of the First Circuit Court of Florida in 1996. While Chief Judge, he was invited in 2000 to participate in an international team of mediators to unravel a political deadlock between the Albanian Supreme Court and that Country’s five political parties.

“While there, however, I was confronted anew with the children of the streets and the unyielding dogs of war that had been quietly stalking my mind over these many years. They were a small society of God’s poorest and least favored, held at bay by the constant interference of forceful but well meaning guards assigned for our personal safety.”

Again, these images percolated in John’s mind and soul, perhaps cultivating the ground in which Judge Kuder and his wife, Susan Bleiler, would begin to dream about making a difference for street children living in poverty, poor health, and abuse. Together they brought The John P. Kuder Children’s Foundation into reality in 2007 – a charity based in Pensacola serving street children in Southeast India.

The National Crime Record Bureau in India reported that 40 million children in India are denied an education and tens of thousands subjected to abuse and sex trafficking.[1]

Looking back on his life thus far, Judge Kuder reflected: “I suppose I have now come full circle from the days of my youth helplessly entangled in the horrors of war to a time when I may yet make an enduring difference in the lives of the least of God’s children. Perhaps this will be my greatest achievement in life.”

To learn more about the work of the Kuder Children’s Foundation go to:

[1] The Times of India: “India’s invisible children: Swallowed by the streets.” 10-04-11:

Carbon Fee and Dividend: Why it will work

As long as fossil fuels remain cheap the use of them will continue at the peril of breaching one or more of the thresholds of physical stability that govern the biosphere.

The Citizen’s Climate Lobby (CCL) has developed the policy of a carbon fee and dividend to internalize the costs of fossil fuels and provide the impetus to move toward carbon-free emissions. Here is how it would work:

  1. Place a steadily rising fee on the CO2 content of fossil fuels.

  2. Give all of the revenue from the carbon fee back to households.

  3. Border adjustments ensure fairness and competition.

  4. It’s good for the economy AND even better for the climate.

The producers and largest consumers of fossil fuels will have an incentive to move to alternative fuels. Citizens will receive a dividend check each year as the fees are redistributed to the public. That will put the money back into the economy while creating the incentive for producers of energy to move to other sources of energy that are carbon free.

Fees will be collected on the annual tax return each year.



“A Single Garment of Destiny”

Drawn by Heather Williams
Drawn by Heather Williams

Today I am reminded of so many efforts to bring nonviolent, peaceful forces to bear on social problems that persist in our society. Yesterday I listened to an interview with John Lewis, Civil Rights Leader, Pastor, and humanitarian. It’s well worth listening to. The one phrase, the one central idea gleaned from the interview is this:

“It’s already here…the Beloved Community…it’s already here. Our job is to make it real, today, one step at a time.”

Lewis reminded me that its not about me, us, our time; big social change is coming but it might not be in my lifetime or yours. But the truth is the existence of the Beloved Community is in our present, everyday action. We are bringing it into reality, little bit by little bit. I found this reminder a salve for the wounds of one long in the struggle for the rights of people and also the rights of wildlife and land and water and air. The latter is coming, according to Reverend Lewis. So be it. I can be content with that knowledge.

Seth Godin republished A Letter from a Birmingham Jail this morning for which I am grateful. Its worth a quiet rereading. But here, in short is King’s answer to the question about why he was in Birmingham:

Moreover, I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial “outside agitator” idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds.

NOAA: Warmest Year Since 1880

UPDATE: See new research from international university scientists about planetary boundaries for safe human operations. We are reaching thresholds for biosphere integrity. (1-18-15)

We are continuously receiving information about the warming of this planet and its oceans, landscapes, and atmosphere. So what’s the big deal?

We are the example of what it means. Human body temperature is normally 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. A few additional degrees higher can threatened our lives and even cause death. How? We are made up of molecular structures, atoms held together by bonds. With increasing internal temperature, atomic bonds lengthen and can even break — denature is the scientific term. Proteins, which are the structures that “run” the functions of our body, basically stop working.

It is the same for every living organism on earth. That’s the big deal. As the oceans absorb more and more heat each year, the smallest creatures are at risk. These are the plankton at the base of food chains in oceans (also lakes). Collapsing food chains happen in “cascades” because every living thing exists in interrelationships. When organisms in that food web die, others die, too, until, like stacked dominoes, the whole system crashes eventually.

Investigate what scientists are reporting with links below and on the side bar of this blog. I like Vitals Signs of the Planet best because it is a snapshot of many indicators scientists are monitoring.

The year 2014 ranks as Earth’s warmest since 1880, according to two separate analyses by NASA and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) scientists.

The 10 warmest years in the instrumental record, with the exception of 1998, have now occurred since 2000. This trend continues a long-term warming of the planet, according to an analysis of surface temperature measurements by scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies (GISS) in New York.