25 September 2016

A Slow Implosion

If you watch the news -- and even if you don't -- you might be noticing that we're a society, a culture in slow motion implosion ... causing the breakdown of ecosystems. We are imploding. We are re-enacting the fall of Rome in some sort of collective death wish. And Rome wasn't ruined in a day.

What led to the fall of Rome?
  • decadence
  • corruption
  • depravity
  • lead poisoning (Flint, Michigan, anyone?)
  • violence and killing for entertainment
  • killing off biodiversity
Sound familiar? Their solution? Bread and circuses. Keep the masses numbed and dumbed, and carry on ruining things. (They don't call them Roman ruins for nothing!) We're following in Rome's footsteps, but this time we're threatening the ability of the entire biosphere to support life.

I know there were Romans who knew and saw what was happening. But the majority? They must have been doing the Roman equivalent of Facebook, shopping at the mall, and crack cocaine. 

So I dunno.
The aggression and fear that arise in response to perceived threats are some of the most intense emotions we ever experience. For human society to function at all, these instinctive reactions have to be carefully managed and channeled. Outbreaks of panic and hate are dangerous, but lower levels of aggression and fear help keep a population controllable and productive. Restrained aggression keeps people suspicious of collective action and working hard to overcome their fellows, while constant, generalized anxiety keeps people servile, unwilling to take risks, and yearning for comfort from whatever quarter, whether the dulling sameness of herd thought or the dumb security of consumer goods. 
— Roy Scranton, from Learning to Die in the Anthropocene: Reflections on the End of a Civilization (and found in Adbusters, Post - West issue, 2016)
By the way ... that slow implosion? It's picking up speed. Do you know where the emergency exits are?

18 September 2016

The Curse — and the Blessing — of Feeling Deeply

A lovely friend left this Earth on Monday. Rather than let cancer ravage her brain, she chose assisted dying -- while she was still joyful ... radiant ... luminous. With everything unimportant stripped away, she gained a wisdom beyond her years. Visiting her in hospital was like receiving darshan from a cherished guru.

I don't know what to do with all my mixed emotions. Grief at the loss of a friend (and at the thought of her partner's deep sorrow and loneliness). Gratitude that I have special memories of time spent together. A sense of purposelessness (after all, if it's that easy to no longer exist on this physical plane, then ...). Some (dare I admit it) anger that she didn't wait longer to give miracles a chance. Blessed to have been some small part of her living, and dying, well.

And yet I wouldn't trade these deep emotions and mixed feelings for anything. They are my lifeblood. They are what make me work so hard for the children of all species. The deep sadness and raging anger at the fossil fuel greed that is making the future a thing of the past juxtaposed with the utter joy and delight that children offer us. The sense of foreboding (knowing too much about how rapidly this climate change emergency is playing out, still with no concerted global mitigation) together with a complete sense of awe and contentment when the sun shines a certain way through the trees.

When I die, I want to be as lighthearted as my friend was. And my sense now is that the only way I'll be able to make that dream come true is to keep working, on behalf of all the children of all species, to avert planetary disaster.

My deep emotions keep me connected to the global problems -- and fighting for their solution.

11 September 2016

A Fun Way to Spend a Weekend (Talking about Climate Change)

We have a wonderful house guest here this weekend, and oh, what fun we're having. If you can call yakking about climate change till all hours of the day and night "fun"! ;-)

Our guest is Earth Doctor Reese Halter, one of the most dedicated environmental activists we've ever met. We're doing some filming at different sites around our island community to help support his Save Nature Now: Bees, Trees and Seas campaign to mobilize the Millennials and TBDs (apparently the younger generation doesn't have a name yet). 

We've filmed on the beach and on the bluff, at a garden and in a forest, and at a marina with orca whales in the backdrop.

Dr. Halter, who considers himself a specialist in Earth's life support systems, is a hero in our eyes. He has dedicated his whole life to helping people around the world wake up to what we're doing to the biosphere. Nature is collapsing all around us. Climate instability is impacting every region on Earth. 

Reese does TV interviews, radio shows and daily podcasts. He attends protests and demonstrations. He teaches and lectures. He speaks on behalf of the orcas, the bees and the trees -- and man, does he ever know his stuff! He fights poachers and plastics. His "clients" are Nature and all the animals (including the human ones). 

What Reese wants to do is let young people know that there are some wonderful technological solutions in store. But they have to get to work guarding the oceans and forests, and saying no to oil, gas, coal, fracking and pipelines. The science is irrefutably precise. But there's no time to lose. We've run out of time. Our planet's ecosystems -- the oceans and forests that support us -- are under siege. 

Reese is going to confirm for young people something they've perhaps been inarticulately feeling -- that they're enslaved by fossil fuels corporations and the big banks. They (indeed, we) are no longer free. To win back their freedom, they'll have to join the fight to Save Nature Now!

Earth Doctor Reese Halter is someone who exemplifies that old adage by Chief Dan George:
If you talk to the animals they will talk with you and you will know each other. If you do not talk to them you will not know them and what you do not know, you will fear. What one fears, one destroys.
Then with his outgoing and enthusiastic nature, Reese combines the Chief Dan George quote with this more positive outlook of Senegalese forestry engineer, Baba Dioum:
In the end we will conserve only what we love, we will love only what we understand, and we will understand only what we are taught.
I hope you'll spend some time learning about Reese Halter and letting him teach you. For the sake of the children's love for all animals, of all species, and for all the collapsing ecosystems ... the bees, the trees and the seas.

04 September 2016

Their Most Important Learning

Last weekend was the Fall Fair in my small community. I have the privilege of convening the Young People's Agriculture section each year. As a tribute to this harvest time, my blog this week will simply regale you with photos of local children's efforts in learning to grow their own food, medicine and beauty. 

Potatoes are one of the most important survival crops

Pumpkin, biggest and most unusual (it was a small year for pumpkins!)

An entry into the Garden Challenge

Flower arrangements

Aren't these gorgeous sunflowers? I've never seen them that soft yellow colour before.

Herb Growing and Processing (lots of interest in this fairly new category!)

An entry in one of the education categories: "If I grew the food my family needs, I would ..."

The Scarlett runner beans grew HUGE this summer!

The judges loved this collection of fruit

It's sometimes hard to keep the exhibits from making their way into my tummy!