Does the belief that we are superior to other animals increase racial prejudice?

According to studies at Brock University, racial prejudice and discrimination may be associated with a strong belief that humans are superior to animals. By encouraging children to interact with animals in a thoughtful, compassionate way, you have a better chance of humanizing their response to people who appear to be different.
Ft. McMurray’s animals and the evolution of human empathy

Hi everyone,

We all want a more peaceful world, right? No one except a few highly disturbed individuals is wishing for more division and conflict. We have long had educational programs that seek to “teach tolerance”. So why aren’t we all just “getting along” yet?

We know that high states of stress increase the propensity to stereotype and detract from receptivity on both the emotional and intellectual levels. Educational programs that do not address the collective traumatized nervous system will be limited in effectiveness. Certainly that is part of the problem.

What if believing we are superior to other animals is an additional symptom that in turn also becomes part of the problem?

What if even having sympathy for other species is a good start, but doesn’t take us far enough because too often the sympathy continues to hold arrogance within it?

What if the way we see other species is not factually based in reality, but instead, based in our conditioning, rationalization, convenience, exaggerated entitlement and privilege? In other words, what if we dominate, not because we are better, but merely because we can?

There are a lot of things in this world that need much more attention. Species-ism is one of the most fundamental and destructive, yet, it remains greatly under-recognized and unaddressed.

Tomorrow evening, please summon your courage, bring your open-mindedness, and come prepared to leave seeing the world differently. Please join us at 6:30pm, Sunday May 22, in Irvine, for A Screening of Speciesism – (RSVP).

Thanks for staying engaged,
Barbara English, LMFT, CBT, TRE® Certification Trainer
Co-founder and Executive Director, Living Ubuntu
(949) 891-2005 Continue reading

All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others. (Speciesism – May 22)

All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.
 – George Orwell, Animal Farm

Hi everyone,

There are some hierarchies that are healthy and natural. For instance, infants experience caregiving attachment figures in a hierarchal system, with the one deemed as most available and reliably able to provide safety and security at the top, followed by second choice and so on. If you are an infant, it is important to know who to count on the most and this helps support healthy development.

Then there are other hierarchies that are not healthy or naturally occurring. Instead, they are human creations, passed along through cultural conditioning. The top dictionary definition of hierarchy states that it is: any system of persons or things ranked one above another. Honestly, it gave me chills when I read that and not in a good way. It disturbed me and I felt a little bit sick. My association was not about healthy, developing infants ranking their preferred caregivers in service to their own best interest. Instead, it was the foundational template for oppression.

Over the years, I have thought a lot about oppression. It is a topic I hope to someday write much more about because of its extreme importance. It plays out in many ways, and has contributed to many of our –isms, e.g. racism, sexism, classism, etc. To me, it is an insidious, under-recognized threat that not only detracts from well-being and the common good, but at this point in time is additionally utterly undermining species-preservation. I use that word in the context of ‘healthy human state’. Trauma and high levels of stress unplug us from that state and we shift instead into self-survival. Self-survival helps us in certain, specific, brief, truly life-threatening situations, however, when misapplied and chronic, it has the exact opposite effect.  We lose our felt-connection to the whole and within that lose our ability to live in our natural, healthy state, in support of species-preservation.

As some of you know, we are currently experiencing the sixth mass extinction on this planet. While human-caused loss of biodiversity has reached a crisis point and joined the list of threats to human existence, many are still unaware that animal agriculture deserves much of the blame for that.

It is beyond time to re-examine not only our priorities, but additionally, the cultural conditioning underneath.

Sunday, May 22, 6:30pm we are hosting, A Screening of Speciesism. The film will help us do some of this necessary philosophical re-examination of our conditioning and the post-film conversation will be a very important one for us to have. Please join us. RSVP here.

Thanks for staying engaged,

Barbara English, LMFT, CBT, TRE® Certification Trainer
Co-founder and Executive Director, Living Ubuntu
(949) 891-2005
[Ubuntu] n. Every human being truly becomes a human by means of relationships with other human beings


Break Free, Catching the Sun, and Living Vegan “Social”

You carry Mother Earth within you. She is not outside of you. Mother Earth is not just your environment. In that insight of inter-being, it is possible to have real communication with the Earth, which is the highest form of prayer.
– Thich Nhat Hahn

Hi everyone,

Have you been following the extremely tragic wildfires in Canada? A CNN opinion piece is titled, The fire in Canada looks a lot like climate change — and that should scare you. The reality is that climate change is advancing rapidly and by no means are we doing all we could to slow it or adapt to that which is inevitable. As the campaign this week makes the case to Break Free from fossil fuels, actions are taking place all over the world in support of fast, dramatic, effective change.

(Also see: May 14 – L.A. March. I will be in Los Angeles that weekend, and I recognize the irony that I will be unable to attend the event as I am taking the Somatic Experiencing – Foundations of Disaster Response that weekend, to learn more about how to increase trauma recovery in these critical situations.)

For those of you who live near to Orange County, please come join us Tuesday, May 10, 7:30p, for the one night only screening of Catching the Sun at the Frida Cinema, scheduled to take place during the Break Free campaign. (Advance tickets.)

If Canadian wildfires aren’t a vivid enough reminder of what is at stake, last month Newsweek published, We’re Running Out of Water, and Consequences Could be Dire. Changing what we eat is the additional essential part of the equation to reduce water use and greenhouse gas emissions. For anyone interested in having a great vegan meal today, come join us today at 5:30p in Laguna Beach. Here are the details of the Living Vegan “Social”. We will walk to the beach, so come prepared for that.

Let’s do all we can to pull together on this. Too much is at stake not to. Here is one example of what can be done: San Diego Republican mayor pushes plan to run on 100% renewable energy. Continue reading

April Earth Month events were amazing! What’s next?

Hi everyone,

April Earth Month events were amazing! What’s next?

We are very grateful to Logan Crow at Frida Cinema in Santa Ana for once again being willing to work with us on an upcoming screening of Catching the Sun, Tuesday, May 10, 7:30pm. This event is timed to occur within the week-long campaign that is doing called Break Free (from fossil fuel) May 4-15. For those of you who are able to make it to Downtown Los Angeles, consider joining their March to Break Free from Fossil Fuels on Saturday, May 14 (please carpool or use public transportation to get there).

The following week, we have scheduled a meeting with Nicole Capretz who successfully led the way to San Diego passing a law requiring transition to 100% renewable energy by 2035. She has agreed to advise us on how to pursue the a similar effort within Orange County. If you live locally, we are really going to need your help with this.

BTW: have you signed one of our post cards yet, asking the Orange County Supervisors to support 100% renewables? We will have these available on May 10 at the Frida screening please come and sign one, or grab a stack to circulate within your own networks.

Please jump in — get involved — these efforts need everyone!

Advance tickets for the Frida Cinema screening of Catching the Sun on Tuesday May 10 can be purchased here.

Continue reading

We need empathy to come back to life | Pre-registration for Earth Day events through Wed Apr 20

Hi everyone,

International Trauma Expert Dr. David Berceli wasn’t able to accept the invitation to speak at the 10th Annual Golden West College Peace Conference on Friday, April 22. Instead, he create a video. We felt it was a very important message about how the inner process facilitates outer paradigm shifts, so we have chosen to circulate it in advance of the conference rather than within it. You can view it here.

Since our defense mechanisms are designed to help us cope and feel less pain, we can be grateful that they work so well when we need them – and – sometimes their effectiveness works against us, especially when we get stuck in defensive patterns needlessly. In a defended state we lose the sense of being part of the whole, and too often harm our self and surroundings without perceiving the consequences of our actions. We lose sight that living life while numb isn’t really living life. Many of today’s problems can be attributed to this pervasive disconnect. It is really getting us into trouble.

When we have unplugged from our own inner state, we lose access to self-reflection and no longer experience our rhythmic, pulsating existence as part of the alive natural world we live within. We lose the perception of this earth as a self-regulating living organism that we are part of. We fail to experience that our planet cannot self-regulate well enough to compensate for how extensively we have interfered with its natural rhythm causing it to head toward a state of organismic chaos instead of life-supporting coherence. Within the disconnect, we lose some of the ability to step into someone else’s shoes, and that empathy, in a healthy state, has application regardless of species.

We need empathy to come back to life. We need empathy to reveal compassionate living. And we need each other to do what needs to be done in this life. We need to come together. There is too much at stake to ignore the crisis and the urgent need to change the paradigm for how we live life on this planet.

Please make time to join us for the Earth Day events listed below. I know you are busy, that is part of what is keeping us traumatized in this society. We are all too busy. We live with chronic overwhelm. Yet, this is an opportunity to participate in bringing about critical changes in this world. So, I am asking you to please make time to be there. It is important.

Online registration for both events ends Wednesday evening, April 20.

Nicole Jafari has generously offered her beautiful Anaheim Hills home for a Fundraiser Brunch and Silent Auction for Farm Sanctuary (with Gene Baur) on Sunday, April 24, 11am – 2pm. For complete details, send me an email: info I hope you will come join us that day also and offer your support to the remarkable work Farm Sanctuary is doing. Continue reading

Racing Extinction – tonight!

Hi everyone,

This is a friendly reminder that A Screening of Racing Extinction is tonight, Thursday, April 14 at 6:30p, in the Orange Coast College – Science Hall, Costa Mesa. Admission is free. Go to the web site to watch the trailer, find parking info, campus map, and to RSVP.

See you tonight,
Barbara English, LMFT, CBT, TRE® Certification Trainer
Co-founder and Executive Director, Living Ubuntu
(949) 891-2005

[Ubuntu] n. Every human being truly becomes a human by means of relationships with other human beings



From the Academy Award Winning Filmmakers of The Cove…

A Screening of

Scientists say the sixth mass extinction is taking place on our planet.
It’s also the first caused by a single species: Us.

April 14, 2016,  6:30pm – 9:30pm

FREE Admission

Orange Coast College — Science Hall
701 Fairview Rd, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Click here for more info and RSVP.

This free screening of Racing Extinction is a pre-conference event, in advance of the
Friday, April 22, 8:30am – 5pm
Golden West College 10th Annual Peace Conference.

Click here for 4/22 GWC conference details and registration.
Saturday, April 23: Earth Day at Soka University with Gene Baur: Eating in harmony with our values

Wisdom figures are hard to come by | Gene Baur at Soka April 23, 2016

Hi everyone,

There is a short list of people that I have personally met that have dramatically changed the way I see the world and the path I choose to walk in this life. One of those I speak of often is the international trauma expert, Dr. David Berceli. Back in 2004, it resonated deeply when I first heard him speak of trauma as our invitation to evolve as a species with its resolution supporting our growth toward wisdom.

When we do not feel safe, we contract, resulting in increased fear, competition, resentment, reactivity, and anger. When safety is sufficient to allow for trauma recovery and great self-reflection on life’s hardships, we do not go back to the way we used to be, we go forward, forever changed for the better by our experiences. In the best case scenario, our sense of empathy and compassion expand as part of a much bigger, broader worldview. We move from the tightly contracted limitations of a self-centered worldview of “me” into the species-preserving benevolence of pursuing the common good in a worldview of “we”.

In 2015, I had the extremely good fortune to meet yet one more of these rare individuals who have met with significant adversity, and come out on the other side with increased wisdom and compassion. That individual is Gene Baur, the Co-founder and President of Farm Sanctuary. Bearing witness to animal cruelty for three decades would cause many to get utterly stuck in cynicism and bitterness, yet, Gene has managed to remain inspirationally optimistic, while embodying groundedness. After 30 years, he carries an amazing amount of knowledge; beyond that, he carries his life experience with grace. His organization seeks “Compassion for All” and gently reminds us that animals are “Someone not Something”.

Wisdom figures are hard to come by in this world. For me, that fosters a profound sense of gratitude when I meet one. Continue reading