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Posts Tagged ‘ecology’

One day, Nadine surfaced in my blogging existence, and graced my blog with one of the most poetic comments I have ever come across. That was a few months ago. Since then, I have had the privilege of discovering her oh so inspiring poems and thought provoking pieces of prose. Nadine Sellers is a French writer… an observer of nature and mankind, a healer by profession, a teacher by avocation. After years in the desert West she is now living the writer’s perennial hope, sculpting a novel out of empiric survival and adventure. As she settles in the plains of the American Midwest, Nadine is in the process of crystallizing a lifelong passion for living, into an artful translation of ecological concern. Nadine brings science and literature into a blend of experimental exposé. You may find this fledgling project in Greenadine, her new blog, the inspiration for which arose from perusing green blogs and finding La Marguerite. just like that! out of the –green.

 

Six centuries BC. Lao Tsu wrote a set of basic principles which would simplify the relationship of man and nature. Succeeding philosophies have led us to an environmental impasse. Each moral cycle has spiraled mankind into poorly applied reasoning, and so man has lost his equilibrium. It will take good will and a lot of resolve to restore balance. Science has met with resistance ever since duality fostered a climate of rebellion in the mind of men.

” Knowing ignorance is strength, ignoring knowledge is sickness” from the Tao Te Ching.

As a lifelong amateur naturalist, i have found myself submerged by mounting evidence dooming personal efforts to irrelevancy. But wait! Before i drown in a nihilistic ocean of self pity, do allow me time to shake myself from defeatist complacency. The very nature which seeds doubt in mind, also offers enough resilience to adapt to changing conditions. As data streams in faster than laymen can fathom, the rest of us find the vestiges of old instincts kicking in under more than a century of industrial indoctrination.

Wherever i live, i seem to meet inveterate negaholics who refuse to admit there may be a causal factor to climate change. I have not confronted them publicly, but have met them within the ranks of family or friends. They question my way of life, very generously commenting on my apparent miserliness; Why do you save this? Just throw it out, nobody cares. Why bother, you’ll be dead before it becomes a problem. The list stretches beyond comprehension. So i use the wall strategy: when confronted, walk slowly around the bricks, actions speak louder than arguments. And then i write.

Resistance to change seems to drag the efforts of many a socio-economic level to adjust their consumption patterns. According to incoming scientific data, It appears to stem from an aversion to authority. The teacher, the preacher, the tax collector, and now some stranger wants them to give up the Trans-Am in the back-yard, and quit using the dual wheel monster truck to go to get a pack of cigarettes at the corner store? Clearly a clash of cultures here.

I live in the Midwest and yesterday, i saw the first cloth bag prominently displayed at the grocery store: “paper or plastic? Neither” boasted the printed logo. And i knew this tiny town had heard the drummer of the future. Of course the resident Amish culture slows the competitive edge of progress, and i appreciate it. Respect for the horse drawn carriage on the highway teaches necessary patience. Simplicity and conservatism can be useful attributes in the conflict of man versus Gia.

Thought Soup, an Environmental BlogAct by Nadine Sellers

There is a symbiotic relationship between spenders and savers in this, our biosphere. The insurmountable pile of evidence which dooms our puny efforts, also gives rise to new hope. In the most mundane of gestures you will find tiny treasures of personal pride. I write this first draft with a plastic pen, the logo claims “fire and water damage clean-up”, how relevant. The paper which i use to scratch out my outlines on, results from an apparent leak in the marketing strategies of junk-mail zealots. Any blank space is an invitation to real use, then the paper kindles my fire, added BTU for hearth and home. No waste in this household. I don’t play games with my conscience, no carbon trade-off mentality, not even a shade of humor in my staunch resolve to optimize the use of every resource available to me.

It is a game; a challenge to my imagination. I must find just one more way to use and re-use each product for which i am essentially grateful. Of course in the trial and error field of empiric savings, there have been casualties. Just yesterday, my innovative soup-du-jour turned out so acidic, i had to prematurely commit it to the compost pile, much to my palate’s dismay. What a waste of a perfectly good Halloween pumpkin! It was the last crop of turnips that ruined it all.

Out here in the back room of convenience, i ride the comfort zone. Bicycles parked in the garage for winter. Gas heater plugged in as nocturnal back-up to the fireplace. Electric appliances at the ready, though manual versions preferred. I console myself with the fact that the town council has voted for the installation of a wind farm upon the hill. How romantic, they’re going to grow some wind; i like local utilities, i prefer the ones which make responsible choices to produce energy from sustainable sources. And let me tell you, the winds around the prairie states are indeed sustained.

Entrenched in semi solid autonomy, i view governmental leadership as entertaining rather than worthy of worship. It saddens me to watch the mainstream throng catering to corporate idealism. When elected officials downplay irrefutable research and steer their constituency toward run away consumerism, i find my easy chair much too confining. If ecological concerns are relegated to dishonorable status beneath the lofty goals of economic growth, we could destroy entire biomes across the planet. We have. We continue to do so.

Readers, take heed from the Indonesian Government; a communique from Jakarta informs us that the Bali summit which is to begin Monday Dec. 3rd will be taking measures to save tons of carbon emissions. I can envision 190 international ministers and assorted staffs commuting by bicycle between meetings and workshops. The whole motley group followed by as many journalists and servants. All are cautioned to wear light clothing and short sleeves. Representatives of the United Nations Climate Change Consortium should not mind applying their own advice.

From this green segment of the map, i wish to extend a sense of communal spirit. I derive existential satisfaction from exchanging experience, be it mundane or universal. May the current steer us away from blind consumption, and toward true appreciation of our nature. I do believe it is in the acquired taste of a simple glass of water. Drink up to the new greens and the old ones too!..

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With the Southern California wildfires, there has been a lot of talk about people building houses where they shouldn’t. Carl Pope, from the Sierra Club has a great post on the subject in the Huffington post. There is also a very well researched article in today’s San Francisco Chronicle, which I will quote from: ‘There are homes and structures in virtually every county along the urban-wildland boundary in California, much of which has an eco-systems of dry grass, thick brush and dense trees that Mother Nature destined to be periodically burned.’

This reminds me of the mountain lion incident that took place a few years ago in my town. A young lion had gotten lost and made its way to a yard near the public library. The city quickly divided in two camps. On one side, Mother Nature’s advocates who defended the lion’s rights. We had been encroaching on the animal’s natural habitat, after all. On the other side, the civilized citizens who were up in arms that the lives of their little ones was being threatened. The lion had to be shot at once. It was. I happened to be there when the police woman aimed her riffle at the oblivious creature. I still remember the fall, and the big thump when it touched the ground. I was relieved, I could now walk safely in the neighborhood. And I felt something bigger than just the lion incident had just happened. A case of Man and Mother Nature gone very wrong.

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I wonder what happened to our survival instinct, the primal part within ourselves that should tell us where we belong within the ecosystems? It is as if our ego has taken over, and we refuse any limits set on our rights as humans. Over and over again, I am struck by our arrogance and our lack of respect for the laws of nature. And I am thinking about the post I wrote recently, about ‘Nature, What’s That?‘, regarding children’s increasing alienation from nature. Things are only going to get worse. The less we know nature, and about nature, the more likely we are to act stupidly, and do things like build houses right in the middle of mountain lion or bear territory, or fire cleansing prone areas.

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Robert Reich’s ‘Divided Mind’

Robert Reich was the guest on NPR’s All Things Considered a few days ago. The occasion was the release of his new book, “Supercapitalism”. His point, about the divided mind of the consumer and citizen really caught my attention. We are all two people, according to him. A consumer at the mercy of capitalism, and a citizen at the service of democracy. The consumer has taken over, and the citizen is no longer doing its job. We need to reevaluate our priorities and work on strengthening our democracy.

The challenges of being a good green citizen

This whole business of consumer versus citizen takes a special significance in the current environmental battle. Robert Reich made the following argument. You may be willing to take all the steps to become a good green citizen, but how do you know that you are not going to be just one amongst a small minority? In which case, you run the risk of making all these sacrifices for nothing. In the absence of a federated effort amongst citizens, that lets you know that we are all in it together, nothing is going to change, you have very little incentive to take action. Point well taken, Mr Reich.

The power of green networks

Not too long ago, I wrote a post about the power of small acts and individual action. I even called Rosa Parks to the rescue. I was trying to convince myself that whatever I do, no matter how small, does matter. Robert Reich called my bluff. The real truth is, I am a consumer first, and something is going to have to happen at the collective level, in order for the green citizen in me to spring into real action. Maybe Karel Baloun‘s got something going after all? ‘I am Green’, his new application on Facebook is an attempt at using the power of social networks to bring together green minded folks, and inspire them to help each other become green citizens.

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