ELEVEN years old and “willing to help” was how Olivia Bouler described herself to the Audubon Society when she contacted them about the infamous oil spill tragedy in the Gulf.
The youthful and aspiring ornithologist, artist, and saxophone player wept — like many of us — when she heard about the oil spill in the news.
But uniquely, Olivia was moved to help. Knowing birds were going to suffer, she had to take action.
Inspired by her hero, James Audubon, Olivia wrote to the Audubon Society about her fund-raising idea — using her talent as an artist to give bird drawings to those who donated to wildlife recovery efforts.
To date, she has drawn more than 100 different species of birds, and 400 + original drawings. Olivia was recently featured as an AOL Artist, and the company donated $25,000 to the Audubon Society in her name.
To appreciate the sacredness of nature doesn’t always take the insights of a naturalist like John Muir. Often it only requires an innocence of heart, usually a child’s — as in Matthew 18:3-4, to “become as little children.”
Unlike adults, young children don’t mince words just to win approval. What they see is what they say.
In her restoration of Theosophy in the world, H. P. Blavatsky was not abstract when it came to standing up for the planet —“help Nature and work on with her” she wrote — and stood up for what she saw as widespread animal abuse and cruelty. (See recent post: Animal Souls)
To become true planetary partners, Blavatsky wrote, we must learn from the Book of the Golden Precepts to “regain the child-state” we have lost.
At fifteen, Garfield High School student Jessica Markowitz has already done more than many adults do in a lifetime. After learning about the genocide in Rwanda, Jessica created her own non-profit, now called IMPUHWE, which gives Rwandan children, especially girls, the opportunity to go to school.
Visiting Rwanda regularly, Jessica sees life in a third-world country first-hand. Honored for her extensive charitable work, Jessica was recently featured on the cover of Parade Magazine, going to a ceremony at the White House (with Vice-President Joe Biden and Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, in attendance) as a part of the All-American Service League.
Actor Matthew McConaughey joins Parade’s All-America High School Service Team members Jessica Markowitz and David Sanchez for a photo shoot to honor students who are changing their communities through service.
Once Upon a School
For a related example of practical Theosophy, be inspired by writer and educator Dave Eggers, and his ongoing project to help children. Eggers writes:
“There’s nothing to be gained from passive observance, the simple documenting of conditions, because, at its core, it sets a bad example.
“Every time something is observed and not fixed,” he says,
“… or when one has a chance to give in some way and does not, there is a lie being told, the same lie we all know by heart but which needn’t be reiterated.”
Eggers 826 Valencia tutoring center inspired others around the world toopen their own volunteer-driven, wildly creative writing labs.
Eggers asks that we share our own volunteering stories at his new website, Once Upon a School.
The TED Prize
“But you don’t need to go that far, he reminds us — it’s as simple as asking a teacher “How can I help?”
“Raised in Vancouver and Toronto, Severn Cullis-Suzuki has been camping and hiking all her life.
“When she was 9 she started the Environmental Children’s Organization (ECO), a small group of children committed to learning and teaching other kids about environmental issues.
“Their aim was to remind the decision-makers of who their actions or inactions would ultimately affect.
“The goal was reached when 12 yr old Severn closed a Plenary Session with a powerful speech that received a standing ovation.”
Her conclusion after all:
“Real Change does not happen at international conferences.”
More information on Severn’s father David Suzuki’s website:
Born to writer Tara Elizabeth Cullis and geneticist and environmental activist David Suzuki, Severn Cullis-Suzuki has spoken around the world about environmental issues, urging listeners to define their values, act with the future in mind, and take individual responsibility.
In this video clip, Severn describes her youth in which she visited a village in the Amazon forest.
Interview with Severn Cullis-Suzuki
International Ambassador for RARE
View Preserve Our Planet videos:
The Greatest Problem
by H. P. Blavatsky
“The greatest problem of philosophy [is] the physical and substantial nature of life, the independent nature of which is denied by modern science because that science is unable to comprehend it.
“The reincarnationists and believers in Karma alone dimly perceive that the whole secret of Life is in the unbroken series of its manifestations: whether in, or apart from, the physical body.
“Because if Life, like a dome of
Stains the white radiance
“… yet it is itself
part and parcel
of that Eternity —
for life alone can
–H. P. Blavatsky
James Taylor: The Secret of Life