His Holiness Pope Francis' TED Talk

His Holiness Pope Francis Addresses Annual TED Conference

Tells TED2017 Audience: "We have so much to do, and we must do it together"



VANCOUVER, April 25, 2017 – His Holiness Pope Francis addressed attendees of the annual TED Conference in Vancouver, Canada this evening, delivering an 18-minute TED Talk in Italian via a video recorded privately in Vatican City. It was the first time His Holiness Pope Francis has addressed an international conference. 

TED International Curator Bruno Giussani introduced His Holiness by describing him as a “moral leader recognized well beyond the confines of the Catholic Church—a figure of hope, of change, of compassion, of clarity in this complicated and confusing world."

In his talk, now available on TED.com, Pope Francis: 

  • Observed that we live in a time when "many of us seem to believe that a happy future is something impossible to achieve.” Such concerns, he warned, must be "taken very seriously,” but said "they are not invincible: they can be overcome when we do not lock our door to the outside world.”
  • Described how togetherness is central to creating a future we all want to live in, reminding listeners that "we all need each other, that none of us is an island, an autonomous and independent 'I', separated from the other, and that we can only build the future if we stand together without excluding anyone." He added: "We have so much to do, and we must do it together."
  • Suggested it would be wonderful "if the growth of scientific and technological innovation would coincide with more equality and social inclusion! How wonderful would it be if, while we discover far away planets, we could also rediscover the needs of the brother, or the sister, orbiting around us!"
  • Issued an unmistakable message to the world’s powerful: "Allow me to say it loud and clear: the more powerful you are, the more your actions will have an impact on people, the more you are responsible to become humble. If you don’t, your power will ruin you and you will ruin the other."
  • Articulated his vision of a world, where more and more people come to embrace tenderness, which he described as putting ourselves "on the same level as the other," to see, to listen, to hear them. Life, he said, "flows through our relations with others."

In addition to the 1,800 conference attendees in Vancouver, His Holiness Pope Francis’s TED Talk audience also included several thousands of people watching remotely from cinema theaters around the world through the TED Cinema Experience. The video address is now available on TED.com, subtitled in more than twenty languages.

To read the complete talk by his Holiness Pope Francis, please jump below the flip.

About TED

TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading, usually in the form of short, powerful talks delivered by today’s leading thinkers and doers. Many of these talks are given at TED’s annual gathering in Vancouver, Canada, its TEDWomen and TEDGlobal conferences, and at thousands of local TEDx events around the world, then made available, free, on TED.com and other channels.

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Mothers for Peace pushes to close Diablo Canyon in 2019


On April 19, 2017, the California Public Utilities Commission in San Francisco opened hearings on PG&E’s Joint Proposal to shut down the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant in San Francisco. The hearings are expected to continue on weekdays through April 28. Administrative Law Judge Peter G. Allen is presiding.

Attorney Sabrina Venskus is representing San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace (MFP), which is a party to the proceeding. MFP takes the position that Diablo Canyon can and must be shut down by 2019:

  • The facility is old and in need of repairs and replacement of worn and failing components. The costs of needed maintenance are so prohibitively expensive that PG&E has already filed several requests with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission asking permission to delay inspections and replacement of parts.
  • PG&E’s seismic analysis is inaccurate, and the costs of repairing damage caused by even a “small” earthquake could be catastrophic, both in human terms and economically.
  • California doesn’t need the power from Diablo Canyon. The use of energy efficiency, conservation, and renewable energy (wind, solar, geothermal), will be able to more than replace the electricity lost by a Diablo closure in 2019.

The home page of the MFP website at https://mothersforpeace.org/ provides access to the testimony from MFP’s expert witnesses: Arnie Gundersen, nuclear engineer; David Jackson, Ph.D., geophysicist; and Robert Freehling, renewable energy expert.

Attorney Venskus will show that shutting down Diablo Canyon in 2019 rather than in 2025, as PG&E proposes, would benefit the ratepayers and the people of the State of California.


San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace has opposed the operation of the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant since 1973, when the all-volunteer non-profit organization gained standing as Legal Intervenors with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the federal agency charged with protecting public safety. With the services of Washington, D.C. lawyer Diane Curran, the organization raised many issues of safety.

Many of the legal challenges focused on the radioactive wastes produced and stored in vulnerable spent fuel pools and in extremely thin-walled casks at Diablo. During its three decades of operation, 2,000 metric tons of lethal wastes have been produced and remain stored on the site. Diablo Canyon is surrounded by 13 earthquake faults, some of them active and several of them within three miles of the reactors. PG&E’s claims that the plant can withstand any ground motion that might be produced, but that conclusion is strongly contradicted by the findings of  MFP expert witness David Jackson, which can be found on the MFP website at https://mothersforpeace.org/

For the CPUC proceeding on plant closure, MFP needed an attorney licensed in the State of California. Their search led them to Venskus and Associates Law Firm. Attorney Sabrina Venskus has extensive experience with the CPUC.

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Youth Resist Trump's Attempt to Derail Climate Trial


(Photo: Robin Loznak)


Youth Respond to Trump Administration's Attempt to Derail Their Climate Trial 

Attorneys representing 21 youth in the Juliana v. United States climate lawsuit have filed opposition briefs to Trump administration and fossil fuel industry defendants’ motions that sought again to derail the case from trial. In their filings, youths’ attorneys argue that “any delay in resolving the merits of this case irreversibly prejudices the Youth Plaintiffs in securing and protecting their fundamental constitutional rights.”

Attorneys representing youth filed three responses Monday. The first response was to the U.S. government’s request that U.S. District Court Judge Ann Aiken allow the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals the opportunity to review her November 10, 2016 order denying motions to dismiss before the trial even takes place. From theyouth’s brief:

“Federal Defendants’ argument that ‘no relief could be obtained against the President,’ ...is substantially similar to one flatly rejected by the Ninth Circuit as ‘contrary to the fundamental structure of our constitutional democracy’ in Washington v. Trump, in which the current president argued that he had ‘unreviewable authority’ with respect to immigration policy ‘even if those actions potentially contravene constitutional rights and protections.’”

The second filing responded to fossil fuel defendants’ similar motion for an early appeal, which complained that “complex scientific debate...swirls around the issues raised by the plaintiffs’ lawsuit.” The third filing was in response to both the Trump administration and the fossil fuel defendant’s attempts to put the trial on hold, in the event Judge Aiken grants their requests and the Ninth Circuit agrees to step in.

The fossil fuel defendants, members of trade associations API (formerly directed by now Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson), AFPM, and NAM, are represented by Sidley Austin, a law firm “whose diverse client base includes companies that develop, produce, transport, process and market energy.” In 2016 alone, Sidley received $1.928 billion in revenue.

Per federal rules of procedure, Judge Aiken, informed by Magistrate Judge Thomas Coffin’s recommendation, holds the power to decide whether the Ninth Circuit has an opportunity to grant the defendants’ requests for an interlocutory appeal of her November decision.

Tia Hatton, 20, youth plaintiff from Eugene, OR, said:

“The Trump administration and the fossil fuel interests have acknowledged our lawsuit is a threat to their profit-seeking motives. Their move to appeal Judge Aiken's historic decision to hear our case is nothing more than an extension of their personal interests and preposterous climate denial. These interests render their moronic dismissal of the merit of the constitutional rights that my co-plaintiffs and I, as well as future generations have to a stable climate system.” 

Jacob Lebel, 20, youth plaintiff from Roseburg, OR, who is currently in D.C. as a correspondent at the 2017 Planet Forward Summit, said:

“It’s laughable and darkly ironic to hear our government argue that it will be irreparably harmed by our request that it produce and preserve documents that deal with climate change. What about the irreparable harms that President Trump’s administration is inflicting upon us youth with its reckless promotion of the fossil fuel industry and attacks on climate science? For over half a century, our government has played at delay and deny—  the only thing that should be expedited now is our trial.”

Julia Olson, plaintiffs’ counsel and executive director of Our Children’s Trust, said:

“The Trump administration appears to labor under the mistaken belief that its decisions are beyond the jurisdiction of constitutional review. As we’ve already seen, when President Trump puts travel bans in place that violate constitutional rights, courts can and will block those actions. When he takes alarming actions that deny our youth plaintiffs their fundamental rights to a safe climate, courts can and will block those actions as well.”

On Friday, attorneys representing the youth served legal requests for documents to the Department of Agriculture, Department of Defense, and Department of State, just a few of the agency defendants in the case. The requests are a timely part of the discovery process, aimed at getting to trial by fall as Judge Coffin has requested.

Last month, attorneys representing the youth served requests for production of documents to the U.S. government and the American Petroleum Institute (API) asking both defendants to turn over any of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s pseudonym emails in their custody (emails sent from “wayne.tracker@exxonmobil.com”) by April 16, 2017.

A telephonic case management conference, with Judge Coffin and attorneys representing all the parties, is set for Friday, April 7, 2017 at 10:00 AM PST.

Juliana v. United States was filed in 2015 by 21 young plaintiffs who argue that their constitutional and public trust rights are being violated by the government’s creation of climate danger. Judge Aiken’s November order denied motions to dismiss brought by both the Obama administration and fossil fuel industry defendants.

Juliana v. United States is one of many related legal actions brought by youth in several states and countries, all supported by Our Children’s Trust, seeking science-based action by governments to stabilize the climate system.

Counsel for Plaintiffs include Philip L. Gregory, Esq. of Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy of Burlingame, CA, Daniel M. Galpern Esq. and Julia Olson, Esq. of Eugene, OR.

Our Children's Trust is a nonprofit organization, elevating the voice of youth, those with most to lose, to secure the legal right to a healthy atmosphere and stable climate on behalf of present and future generations. We lead a coordinated global human rights and environmental justice campaign to implement enforceable science-based Climate Recovery Plans that will return atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration to below 350 ppm by the year 2100. www.ourchildrenstrust.org

Earth Guardians is a Colorado-based nonprofit organization with youth chapters on five continents, and multiple groups in the United States with thousands of members working together to protect the Earth, the water, the air, and the atmosphere, creating healthy sustainable communities globally. We inspire and empower young leaders, families, schools, organizations, cities, and government officials to make positive change locally, nationally, and globally to address the critical state of the Earth. www.earthguardians.org

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PPF Pediatric Services


"PPF Pediatric Services" by Isaac Hernandez, Mercury Press, for Pacific Pride Foundation

“Isaac knows the power of storytelling is at the core of communication. His ability to integrate an artist’s eye into a strong narrative makes the PSAs that he creates truly stand out. He is also a delight to work with and passionate about our community!”
– Colette Schabram, Executive Director, Pacific Pride Foundation

Isaac has produced videos for Pacific Pride Foundation for several years, including a PSA running on television right now, and the above video, featuring Pediatric Services


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Transition House 2016

"Transition House 2016" by Isaac Hernandez, Mercury Press, for Transition House

“Isaac is a wonderful filmmaker with a very heart-based approach to his work. Transition House’s video ended up being so compelling because he steered us away from facts and figures and focused on telling our clients’ stories. More than a few tears were shed when we screened the video at a recent event! Isaac is also personable and very easy to work with. I look forward to working on a project with him again.”

– Heather Stevenson, Transition House Development Director

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United Way 2016


"Building Better Futures 2016", by Isaac Hernandez, Mercury Press, for United Way

“Isaac Hernandez has created some unbelievably moving videos for United Way’s Red Feather Ball gala. In short clips he is able to harness the impact of our Fun in the Sun and United for Literacy programs by interviewing participants, staff and community members.  He naturally asks the right questions, sets the camera in the perfect angle and delivers exactly what we were looking for.  What makes this work, is the fact that he seems to have a true interest in community programs. Therefore, the videos become an extension of his passion. Remarkably, Isaac is an equally talented photographer!”

– Steve Ortiz, United Way of Santa Barbara County Vice President

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United Way 2015



"Building Better Futures 2015", by Isaac Hernandez, Mercury Press Pictures, for United Way

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Women in the Environment



Pacific Standard & Miller-McCune Center Present:

Women & the Environment Conference

Featuring Naomi Klein

Calling Central Coast Leaders to Connect, Collaborate and Create During Uncertain Times


(Santa Barbara, CA) Pacific Standard Magazine and the Miller-McCune Center for Research, Media and Public Policy are pleased to announce a first of its kind Women & the Environment Conference (May 17 - 18, 2017), specifically designed for central coast leaders. This dynamic event is for changemakers who want to establish new partnerships and be effective agents of adaptation to climate and social change. Recognizing the unique role women play as changemakers across the world, this Conference convenes women leaders from around the west to share their inspiring work, innovative models to protect the environment and build communities and stimulate new ideas for addressing the challenges faced on the central coast and beyond. Seed capital will be provided for the top three ‘big ideas’ projects.

Miller McCune Center President Geane De Lima said, “Women are at the forefront of social and environmental change around the world. This conference honors and empowers this leadership at one of the most potent times in human history. We thought there was no better place to hold this conference than Santa Barbara the birthplace of the modern environmental movement and no better group to share this with than the innovative leaders on the central coast.”

Kicking off the Conference will be Naomi Klein, an award-winning journalist, syndicated columnist and author of critically acclaimed new book, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs the Climate, is the 2014 winner of the prestigious Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction.  She will speak at a FREE community lecture at the Granada Theatre on Wednesday, May 17 at 7:30pm on the topic titled, “Our Environmental Future: Connection, Collaboration, and Creation.”

On May 18 at the Kimpton Canary Hotel, 150 conference attendees from throughout California convene at the Canary Hotel for a power packed day of plenaries and exercises.  Plenary speakers come from around the west and will dig into a variety of issues including Food & Agriculture, Social Impact Business, Capital Fundraising, Coastal Protection, Leadership Development, Sustainable Communities and Environmental Justice. Speakers include Maggie Fox, former President of the Climate Reality Project, Lisa Pike Sheehy, Director of Environmental Activism, Patagonia, Diana Sokolove, Senior Planner, City of San Francisco and many more.

The last half of the day on May 18 will feature the ‘Big Idea’ session allowing conference attendees to pitch their ‘big idea’ for addressing environmental issues on the central coast.  Three select ideas will qualify for seed funding to stimulate further concept development.

The Women & the Environment Conference offers a $150 early bird special registration and is open to men and women who self-identify as "decisionmakers, changemakers or lawmakers.” 

Generous sponsors include the Community Environmental Council, Dudek, KCSB, Firestone Walker, The Trust for Public Land, The Nature Conservancy, World Business Academy, Santa Barbara Foundation, Montecito Bank & Trust, C’est Cheese, Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District, Kimpton Canary Hotel, Fetzer,the Santa Barbara Independent and Cox Communications. 

For more information, please go to www.weconference.events or email jdarnborough@psmag.com.

About the Miller-McCune Center for Research, Media and Public Policy: Miller-McCune Center for Research, Media, and Public Policy is a nonprofit foundation dedicated to informing the public about the world’s most pressing social, economic, and environmental problems and helping solve them by advocating just and sustainable public policies.

About Pacific Standard: Pacific Standard Magazine, the sponsor of the Women and the Environment (WE) conference, is the award-winning magazine for readers interested in working toward forward-looking changes to private behavior and public policy. By combining research that matters with ambitious narrative and investigative reporting, Pacific Standard tells stories across print and digital platforms about society’s biggest problems, both established and emerging, and the people attempting to solve them.

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Sioux Lawsuit to Stop DAPL

Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Requests Temporary Restraining Order to DAPL

based on the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act 


(Eagle Butt, SD--Feb. 10, 2017) Attorneys for the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe have filed a motion for a Temporary Restraining Order and a Preliminary Injunction to permanently block further construction and operation of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) on the grounds that the easement granted Thursday (February 8) by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers burdens the Tribe’s exercise of its religion and violates the Corps' fiduciary duty as trustee of tribal land and water resources. 

The motion challenges the legality of the decision to grant an easement through resources in which the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, a member of the Great Sioux Nation, holds a property interest. It asserts that the easement violates federal statutes, including the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), because it allows the pipeline to run under the waters of Lake Oahe, an essential and sacred water source of the Lakota people. 

"The Corps decision to grant the easement is an affront to the fundamental principles of religious freedom in our Constitution. It represents the continued shameful 200 year campaign to extinguish the Lakota peoples' religion, spirituality, and culture," said Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal Chairman Harold Frazier. 

As a result of the numerous treaty violations and various acts of Congress, the Cheyenne River Sioux have been left with only one source of drinking water, and one source of pure water necessary for the practice of their religion. Although it clearly had other alternative routes available that did not cross Lake Oahe, the Corps chose to ignore those routes, at the expense of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, the other tribes of the Great Sioux Nation, and their members. Attorney Nicole Ducheneaux of Fredericks Peebles & Morgan LLP and a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, stated: “The issues brought forth in the motion demonstrate the immediate threat to our 

religious rights. This is a struggle we as Lakota people have resisted since first contact and that we will continue to resist.” 

The motion also alleges that the easement imposes clear violations of conscience and free exercise of religion on tribal members, who for centuries have used the waters of Lake Oahe not only for survival, but also for sacred rites. Tribal members believe the pipeline is the fulfillment of an ancient Lakota prophecy that a "Black Snake" would bring destruction to the Lakota people. 

"This decision cannot stand, and it will not stand," Chairman Frazier said. "The Lakota people are fighting this battle not just for today, but for the seven generations that will come after. Clean water is indispensable for our existence and the practice of our religion. If we let this violation stand, history will judge us, as well as all those who supported this terrible violation of our Native rights and to our human rights." 

Released under the authority of Chairman of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, Harold C. Frazier. Image by Edward S Curtis, 1908.

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#StandingRock Medics & Nurses: Unarmed Protesters Severely Injured

The below is a media release from the Standing Rock Medic Team on the recent violence. The Registered Nurse Response Network, a national organization, has also sent two teams of nurses to Standing Rock, as well, and their release condemning the use of force against unarmed protesters is online hereRNRN volunteers assist medic tents at the North/Oceti Sakowin and Sacred Stone camps. RNRN is also working with local partners to establish the Mni Wiconi (Water is Life) Clinic to meet the ongoing healthcare needs of the Standing Rock Sioux community and the water protectors. Donations for the Mni Wiconi Clinic can be made here: https://crowdfund.ucsf.edu/project/2913/updates/1



November 22nd, 2016 at 9:00am CST

For more information, contact: medichealercouncil@gmail.com

Unarmed Protesters Severely Injured

Prepared by Standing Rock Medic & Healer Council at the Standing Rock Dakota Access Pipeline Resistance Camps


(Standing Rock, ND) On November 21st as a direct result of the violent police response at Standing Rock towards unarmed people opposing the Dakota Access Pipeline, a 21 year old woman from New York City, Sophia Wilansky, was severely injured when a concussion grenade thrown by police hit her left arm and exploded. Sophia was heading to bring water to the unarmed people who were being attacked for several hours by Morton County Sheriff forces. The Morton County Sheriff’s Department has stated that she was injured by a purported propane explosion that the Sheriff’s Department claimed the unarmed people created. These statements are refuted by Sophia’s testimony, by several eye-witnesses who watched police intentionally throw concussion grenades at unarmed people, by the lack of charring of flesh at the wound site and by the grenade pieces that have been removed from her arm in surgery and will be saved for legal proceedings.

Sophia was safely taken out of North Dakota for emergent surgery and is currently in stable condition. Below is her statement as conveyed by her father, lawyer Wayne Wilansky.

“At around 4:30am after the police hit the bridge with water cannons and rubber bullets and pepper spray they lobbed a number of concussion grenades which are not supposed to be thrown at people directly at protesters or protectors as they want to be called. A grenade exploded right as it hit Sophia in the left forearm taking most of the undersurface of her left arm with it. Both her radial and ulnar artery were completely destroyed. Her radius was shattered and a large piece of it is missing. Her medial nerve is missing a large section as well.  All of the muscle and soft tissue between her elbow and wrist were blown away. The police did not do this by accident - it was an intentional act of throwing it directly at her. Additionally police were shooting people in face and groin intending to do the most possible damage. Sophia will have surgery again tomorrow as bit by bit they try to rebuild a somewhat functioning arm and hand. The first surgery took a vein from her leg which they have implanted in her arm to take the place of the missing arteries. She will need multiple surgeries to try to gain some functional use of the arm and hand. She will be, every day for the foreseeable future, fearful of losing her arm and hand. There are no words to describe the pain of watching my daughter cry and say she was sorry for the pain she caused me and my wife. I died a thousand deaths today and will continue to do so for quite some time. I am left without the right words to describe the anguish of watching her look at her now alien arm and hand.”

A fund set up by friends and verified to help with Sophia’s recovery is set up here:


The Standing Rock Medic Healer Council deplores the ongoing use of violence by the state of North Dakota to address the concerns of the thousands of people peacefully assembled at Standing Rock to insist on the right to clean healthy drinking water.

Water is Life, Mni Wiconi


Linda Black Elk, PhD, Ethnobotanist, Sitting Bull College

Michael Knudsen, MPH candidate, Standing Rock Medic & Healer Council

Noah Morris, EMT

Amelia Massucco, RN

John Andrews, RN

Kristina Golden, EMT, herbalist

Sebastian Rodriguez, RN

Rosemary Fister, RN, MNPHN, DNP Candidate

Rupa Marya, MD, DoNoHarm Coalition, University of California – San Francisco

David Kingfisher, MD, JD, Wichita State University

Jesse Lopez, MD, Heartland Surgical Care

Kalama O Ka Aina Niheu, MD, Aha Aloha Aina

Howard Ehrman, MD, MPH, University of Illinois - Chicago

Geeta Maker-Clark, MD, University of Chicago

Elizabeth Friedman, MD

Vanessa Bolin, ALS Paramedic

For more info, please contact: Michael Knudsen, Medic Coordinator and Standing Rock Sioux Tribe ethno-botanist Linda Black Elk, PhD – medichealercouncil@gmail.com

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