We're overdue for a shift toward a more just, cooperative and ecologically sustainable culture. If not now, when?
Dig In & Get Rooted "Rootedness in a place is the most important and least recognized need of the human soul." Simone Weil
We Americans are in the habit of moving and moving and moving.
We look at this mobility as our right and privilege
... the very ideal of free-wheeling independence.
The ease of car culture, coupled with relatively cheap gas,
and an ever-expanding highway system, has kept us on the go.
It's part of the American Dream - this ability to start over as often as we wish.
Twenty percent of us move every year.
That's 1 in 5 people.
Unfortunately much has been lost in this constant shifting around.
Our families are scattered far and wide - around the country - around the globe. Fewer and fewer of us experience the sense of community that comes about when folks reside in the same area for generations.
What is lost when we are no longer natural citizens of our bioregions?
What has become of our sense of partnership within the larger community of life?
Look at us. Americans tend to be rootless people.
Sometimes it's our jobs that keep us moving .... a few years here, a couple of years there.
Some companies regularly move their workers around from one office to another,
- Seattle to St. Paul to Cincinnati - keeps workers more identified with their jobs, and less identified with the communities they live in.
that make a person feel accepted and comfortably familiar. Learning about the local
history comes from spending time with the folks who've been around for generations.
* ReLocalize *
Let's fully inhabit and appreciate our neighborhoods, towns, cities and bioregions.
Invite them over for tea. Offer to help with some yard work. Throw a party. You might have more in common than you realize.
It really is a small world. We used to have a neighbor who was friends with our extended family in Central America. And our next door neighbor had lived on a sailboat, same as me.
I never would have known if we hadn't gotten around to talking.
All around the world:
* Identify your tribe: the folks you love, the people who think and live like you do, and intertwine your daily lives together.
Carpool. Have fun.
Share tools, maybe even appliances.
(Do we really all need our own lawn mowers, washing machines & food processors?)
* Get rooted by getting to know the critters that inhabit your yard and bioregion.
When we manage our home base more naturally, we create better habitat, for ourselves and for all the beneficial insects, reptiles and amphibians, birds and mammals who share our turf.
* Help repair your local environment.
Help remove invasive species. Push for local pollution controls.
Plant some trees with our neighbors, tend them .... let a few years slip by ...
... and before you know it, you're enjoying the shade, beauty and fruit of mature trees.
Attend your neighborhood association meetings.
Maybe help an elderly neighbor maintain their yard and home.
But maybe you don't necessarily want to grow old, right where you currently live?
If you've got a home and friends ... maybe some extended family nearby .. why not stay?
But what if you're not living in the best place
* Or perhaps your commute to work involves far too much fuel, time and aggravation!
* Who knows, maybe in the long run you'd feel more at home in a different culture or climate ?
We reclaim our neighborhoods when our kids can walk to school. When our children's classmates are also our neighbors, we don't have to ferry the kids all over creation for birthday parties and play dates. Community bonds are enhanced when our coworkers are our fishing buddies, our store clerks are our team-mates ... know what I mean?
If you are going to move, there's one thing you should definitely consider:Weather patterns are becoming less predictable.
There's an increasing incidence of catastrophic weather events:
severe floods and droughts, hurricanes and tornadoes.
Glaciers are melting at an alarming rate.
Bit by bit, sea levels are on the rise.
So play it safe.If you're opting to change locales, consider moving to higher ground.
Might be a good idea to avoid settling in floodplains or along coast lines, or in the riparian zones of our waterways.Even if the climate could somehow stay relatively predictable,we should still keep our homes and industries away from our waterways - those precious transition zones where life renews itself over and over.
OK then - once we're rooted in place, what are our highest priorities?
What are the simplest solutions to our problems?
Consider this: If we focus primarily on taking good care of :
* Our Children (our future)
* Our Planet (our soil, air, water, and all the flora and fauna we depend on)We may begin to solve a range of global problems in simple and straightforward ways.
"Parenting is a responsibility that links us to Earth - to the air we breath, the water we drink, the food we eat, and the homes we create for shelter and security."
To best care for our children, "means fundamentally to care for the planet, that place where they will live for decades, and their childrens' children after them." (Wendy Gordon)Our kids are the key to transforming our future into a peaceful reality."If we are to reach real peace in this world ... we shall begin with the children."
They come to us fresh - straight from God. You can feel it from them. Just holding a newborn, and breathing in the freshborn smell, can be a window, an opening to Spirit. Their eyes reflect their deep, unrestrained and malleable potential. Our little ones accept whatever we offer them - good, bad or indifferent.- M. Ghandi -* Let's raise our impressionable young ones with the beliefs and the everyday habits that support Peace, Justice and Ecology.
* Let's provide our kids with safe, nourishing food and clean water & air.
* Let's nurture them in loving, supportive families, schools & communities.
Generally speaking, the lifestyles and routines kids are raised with - day in & day out - become the habits and beliefs they carry into their adult lives. If for instance, we're ferrying our children everywhere in cars, they grow up believing this is normal and right.
And encourage them to walk to school and their friends houses.
Rely more on our own human power, and increase our use of mass transit.
Perhaps just stay home a bit more ... not be in a race to go, go, go.
In many American families, a third of kid's meals come from fast food outlets.
Many of the ingredients in these heavily processed foods actually come from chemists labs, not farm fields.
Check it out: The book "Fast Food Nation"- lists the ingredients in a "strawberry" shake from a leading fast food outlet. It's an A-Z list of about 45 synthesized chemicals, including: amyl acetate, butyric acid, cinnamyl isobutyrate and more.
That's not real food. And these "food-like" substances don't support real health.
So - yes, it does takes more time to prepare food from scratch, from the good, basic ingredients available to us in our grocery stores, our gardens, and farmers market.
But if we feed our family real food, grown on healthy soil,
we'll notice the difference it makes in our childrens' health and well-being.We need to notice that our youth have some serious health problems!Like depression.
Ten percent of American children and teens are taking antidepressants !WHY ? Honestly, why are so many of our youth suffering so deeply?
Childhood should be a time of vitality and hopefulness.The number of reported cases of autism in our country has skyrocketed way beyond anything attributable to better diagnosis and public awareness. There are rising concerns about environmental risk factors, like pesticides and heavy metals.
It was rare to see severely overweight children just a couple of generations ago.
Now it's commonplace. Since 1980 the rate of obesity has tripled among children.Overweight kids are suffering from ailments more often seen in aging adults -
high blood pressure, joint pain, type 2 diabetes and liver damage. They are at higher risk of suffering heart disease, stroke and atherosclerosis
More girls are starting puberty at younger and younger ages. A significant number are starting breast development as early as age 7 or 8.
Toxic chemicals known as endocrine disrupters are playing havoc with our daughters hormonal systems."Bodies that grow up too fast can break down too easily" (cancer risks & skeletal problems). "When presexual minds find themselves in newly sexualized bodies, a there is emotional damage that can be done as well." TIME magazine 10/31/2011Here in the U.S.- "for the first time ever, a generation of children may have a shorter life expectancy at birth than their parents." TIME 3/3/2014
Isn't it reasonable to make some serious lifestyle changes for the benefit of our children?
Let's get together and raise our kids in harmony with nature's ways, and we'll transform our culture as joyfully, playfully and rapidly as possible.
* Nature is the source of EVERYTHING we need and rely on *
Yet our industrial culture continues to foul our Mother, and rape her resources as if there's no tomorrow.
We pay lip service to the care of the earth, while we continue to pollute and deplete our natural resources.
Fortunately the growing awareness of global climate change has gotten more and more people thinking about the health of our environment. There are so many people waking up, looking at the consequences of our impact on the planet, and wondering what the future will bring. Back in 2006, Al Gore's movie, "An Inconvenient Truth" was instrumental in getting lots of folks to look squarely at our reality.
Since then, events in the news wake us up - like record flooding in Pakistan, and the BP Gulf oil disaster in 2010 ... and the earthquake & tsunami that destroyed nuclear reactors in Japan in 2011 ... Hurricane Sandy in 2012, and disastrous flooding in Colorado, Alberta, Europe in 2013. ... on and on ... severe drought & forest fires in the U.S. and around the world ... a decade of record setting high temperatures. Each new flood, each storm is worse than the last. Multi-billion dollar disasters have become commonplace.
It's got many of us questioning "business as usual."
Fortunately there have been folks all along who've been pioneering the way to a healthier environment.
Folks like Amory and Hunter Lovins and their Rocky Mountain Institute who've shown that well engineered buildings, like their headquarters, can be run with an absolute minimum of energy. www.rmi.org
"RMI is engaged in cutting edge research on oil independence, renewable energy technologies, distributed energy, resource planning, green buildings and radically efficient transportation.
And Paul Stamets, a Northwest mycologist who has studied the medical properties of mushrooms, and the role of mushrooms in ecological restoration.He advocates BIOREMEDIATION - the process of cleaning up contaminated environments with microorganisms, fungi, plants and enzymes.Paul's video - "6 ways mushrooms can save the world"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XI5frPV58tYImagine mopping up toxins with fungi !
Check out John Todd, the co-founder of the New Alchemy Institute, who won the 2008 Buckminster Fuller Award for his efforts to restore environmental and economic health to parts of the Appalachians that have been devastated by coal mining.
Todd designs "living machines"...."ecologically engineered technology" that's, "developed to restore, conserve, or remediate sewage or other polluted water, by replicating and accelerating the natural purification process of streams, ponds and marshes." http://toddecological.com/There's a whole host of unsung heroes out there, working in cooperation with the planet.These are the innovators we should look to, not the Dr. Frankenstein types who clone animals for fun and profit, and splice genes from animals into plants.
This is no joke.
This is the reality of genetic engineering .... where naturally protective, species to species barriers are crossed. Scientists are tinkering with the very web of life, when (for example) they insert genes from flounder fish into tomatoes to make them more cold hardy.
___________ so Bizarrely Unnatural _________
Seems like bad science fiction ... unfortunately it's all too real.
At the very least, our food should be labeled, so we can choose whether to eat genetically modified foods or not.
* We all need to be earth stewards *
* restoring damaged ecosystems
* producing less waste
* using fewer chemicals
( there are about 80,000 chemicals in common everyday use )
* using less energy and fewer resources
We simply must "Recognize a limit to the level of resources each person can consume if society is to be environmentally sustainable."
(a principle from NEEP - The Netherlands National Environmental Policy Plan)
... by maintaining our homes and yards without toxic chemicals ...
... driving less ...
... planting trees ...... turning down our thermostats ...... weatherizing our homes and businesses ...
... eating lower on the food chain ...
... restoring the natural buffers on our waterways, for instance.
It's so satisfying to pull together for a common cause.
* fixing up the neighborhood *