The first formal pilot project research we hope to carry out is test of the following hypothesis on our home page:
Ho: Spiritually inspired restoration of the environment will show significantly more capacity, than secular approaches to restoring and maintaining the ecological conditions needed to reverse climate change.
We hope to start with a small qualitative, semi-quantitative, research project to be carried out in Yoff, Dakar, Senegal, by members of our community based RESEAU Cosan CC and their spiritual supporters. Trees will be planted in beach-side neighborhoods in which tree seedlings regularly are planted during rains, and tend to have low survival rates during the dry seasons that follow. The test of our hypothesis will compare the percentage of tree seedlings and sections of green ground-cover, such as local cactus, newly planted by our spiritually motivated CC members with past and concurrent data from similar reforestation efforts in the village of Yoff, and with regional averages.
We also hope that two or more other peri-urban locations in South Africa, Namibia, and elsewhere will join us soon in similar research, scheduled to correspond to their own seasonal weather patterns. Other areas in which we anticipate testing this hypothesis over a longer period of time may include the rural communes and urban neighborhoods of current members of the multiregional RISE Circle, who are leaders who live in or represent indigenous ethnic groups in other regions of Senegal, the Philippines, Haiti, Latin America, Spain and Northern Europe. Simpler research will focus on ecological choices of plants, technologies and other needed materials
Rules of the game encourage the usual strategies used to retain trees and to green cities, including planting fruit trees, planting inside protected courtyards, or on roof tops, building wicker, bramble brick, or wire protections around tree seedlings to protect them from goats. provision of free appropriate seedlings and guidance in planting and maintenance. In places where land has become scarce and descendants of the shrine lineages now live in appartments, miniature trees, such as bonsai baobabs, and other species favored by guardian and ancestral spirits, may also be planted in pots indoors or on balconies or rooftops.
How do we define Spiritual?
RISE itself is a research project in the fact that we explore unknown territory in inviting indigenous shamans, priestesses, priests, their assistants and representatives to unite in URI cooperation circles, in order to regenerate their ancestral wisdom traditions and deflect damaging influences by seeking to perceive and follow the directions of each culture's true alignment with the earth's "magnetic field" in today's context. The research we all do in participating in this process is based in sensitive listening, questioning and action research trials that reveal the directions needed to sustain the emergence of local spiritual, environmental, social and economic goals. Every activity shown in the projects page and more will be approached in this manner with reverent listening and looking for spiritual guidance throughout the process of selecting, testing and adapting regenerative approaches.
This spiritual revival process will include meetings and activities carried out by the community RISE circle priestess, priests and shamans, as well as other activities including members of the eldest generations and others who hold stories and living memories of earlier landscapes, ancestral guidance and lifestyles. New information about climate change and new ways of reawakening to the rising coastlines, heat, droughts and floods experienced by indigenous practitioners and members will be inspired by the Pachamama video, "Awakening the Dreamer." In fact we hope to be able to interest the Pachamama Alliance in creating a version of this video for indigenous peoples living near and in today's so-called less developed cities.
Therefore, the first "run" of these new programs will be in the form of the relatively small scale concept-testing pilot programs, of the type needed to provide convincing evidence not only to funders such as the GEF SGP, mentioned on the Projects Page, but to the world's major environmental funders, e.g. the Green Climate Fund, of the value of investing in them.
1. Footnote. Marian Zeitlin's research qualifications: Born in South China, with Cantonese as a first language, she is a Ph.D. graduate from MIT and Emerita Professor of the Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, where she taught Survey Research, Data Analysis and International Program Design to Masters and Doctoral students. She has lived 21 years in Africa and 10 in Asia, and has worked in nutrition, health, child development, agriculture and environmental studies related to food policy in 18 African, 6 Asian, and 3 American countries. Most recently in 2014-15 she served in Niger, as the design and analysis consultant to the World Bank’s qualitative study of the behavioral change component of one of the World Bank’s Niger Safety Net Projects, a case-control study in resilience, testing the effectiveness of adding a parental education intervention covering nutrition, early child development and hygiene, to a program of cash transfers to femaie heads of household in the most severely empoverished sections of a population of a million persons.