A look at EON, the Ecological Options Network
Surrounded by organic farms in West Marin, California, Mary Beth Brangan and James Heddle co-direct EON, The Ecological Options Network, a non-profit media service for progressive organizations and campaigns. Award-winning filmmakers Mary Beth and Jim have been partners in life and work for over twenty-five years. Their videos have been broadcast internationally, on PBS, Link TV and Free Speech TV, and screened in the US Congress, many Parliaments and at the UN, as well as used by activists worldwide.
The couple produced fifteen documentaries and over 100 YouTube posts of courageous and creative responses from across the world to injustice, greed and violence. These stories of people's movements are examples of what they call deep democracy and a new worldview they've dubbed the planetarian paradigm.
"We use the term deep democracy," says Jim, "to mean substantive democracy that comes up from the trans-nationally linked grassroots. It's distinguished from 'structural,' or managed democracy, which comes down as limited choices posed by internationally linked ruling elites. The election protection movement that has grown in this country since 2000," Jim says, "is committed folks who understand that freely cast and accurately counted ballots are essential for deep democracy."
"We're seeing increasing numbers of people responding to the urgent challenges of our time. We're blessed to be documenting what Paul Hawken calls the 'blessed unrest'," says Mary Beth. As media activists, they hold a mirror which reflects citizens stepping up, committing themselves and joining in to stop the destruction of the planet and create solutions.
EON has partaken in a vibrant variety of collaborations. These include: the international Nuclear Free Zone; stopping electromagnetic pollution from wireless technologies; stopping proposed radioactive waste dumps in California and Texas; as well as California's Community Choice Energy, the Election Protection, and the Stop the Pesticide Spray campaigns.
EON interweaves stories from national to village levels by documenting the beginnings of a new culture, from alternatives to capitalism, to taking part in Transition Towns and permaculture movements.
"These vibrant movements together represent the first tendrils of new ecologies of consciousness," Mary Beth explains. "We call this the planetarian perspective," adds Jim. "It's visioning and creating a world civilization grounded in the knowledge that we're part of a living planet in a living universe, and moving from geo-politics to Gaian politics."
They have recently completed a book, "The Enlightenment Imperative: Meditations on Spiritual Awakening, Social Engagement, Sexual Maturity and Cultural Creation at the Turn of the Millennium."
"This is a book about activism as a spiritual path unique to our time," says Mary Beth. "Those of us working for social change must become the change we want or we'll merely perpetuate the old violent system. Our book offers seed thoughts about this important process."
"There are more activists at work today on every issue than ever before in history who know a better world is possible and are creating it, though mainstream media ignore them," Mary Beth sums up. "Our challenges are serious, but there's so much realistic hope in the stories and sheer numbers of these determined folks!"