We're overdue for a shift toward a more just, cooperative and ecologically sustainable culture. If not now, when?

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              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.
          When you figure in high divorce rates along with our mobility, it means lots of us grow up                           away from our extended families - apart from our aunties & uncles, our cousins and grandparents.

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's happened to the natural security we once felt, when our teachers and civic leaders,                  our shop owners and clerks, our friends and associates, were our neighbors as well?


             What is lost when we are no longer natural citizens of our bioregions?

                    

  Many of us never live in one place long enough to get a feel for the land that's all around us.             When we fully inhabit a place, we naturally want to protect and preserve it. When we return,             year after year, to hike and swim, camp and ski in our local rivers, forests, deserts and                     mountains, we develop deep and abiding bonds with nature.
               
               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.

 So, just when you start putting down roots, it's time to move on to the next job. Why bother             to get involved in local politics or the neighborhood school when you know you'll be moving on?

Moving is disruptive. It can take a lot of time & energy to start over in a new place ...
to get settled into a community. Might take years to grow the kind of deep roots
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.

  I figure now more than ever - with the reality of climate change right at hand - it's time to get           serious about rooting deeply in place - time to adapt and create solutions right where we live.                         

        Let's Recreate the Bonds of Community  ...  Re-Inhabit our Ecosystems.
      
                                

                                         * ReLocalize *

       Let's fully inhabit and appreciate our neighborhoods, towns, cities and bioregions.

Remember - according to Einstein -  the best solutions are the simplest ones. And what could             be simpler than hunkering down right where you are, and helping your community become more sustainable ... help your region become less dependent on resources brought in from far away.

Of course, many folks are already making the changes.
         But maybe you're not necessarily rooted into your region? Should you stay for the long haul?
         If you've got a home and friends
... maybe some extended family nearby? Why not?

          For starters, you can:


* Get to know your neighbors better.     

If you don't already know your neighbors, introduce yourself.
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: 
We have more in common, than anything that might make us feel different.

 * Identify your tribe: the folks you love, the people who think and live like you do,                                                       
and intertwine your daily lives together.

Help each other out. Look out for each others kids.
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, w
e 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.

     Let's clean up the rivers that run through our cities.
     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.


* Get involved in your community.

You can volunteer to help elect your favorite local politician.
Attend your neighborhood association meetings.
          Tutor a student at your local school.
          Maybe help an elderly neighbor maintain their yard and home.


        There's so many different ways to naturally root into our communities, our environment.

                

                               But what if you're not living in the best place
                       to really grow your long-term roots and bonds?

             


     * Maybe you don't really want to live 20 or 200 or 2000 miles from the rest of your family?
    * 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 ?

                   Whatever the reason, there's always Plan B, eh? ... moving on to the next place.

     Hopefully, that means figuring out where to settle in for the duration - for generations perhaps,                   and that might well involve a good deal of thought and planning. There are SO many factors to                    consider before moving. 

               Ideally, our home, our work, recreation, schools, church, friends and family                                                     should be in fairly close proximity with each other                                                                                  - as close as possible really - physically and emotionally.

                                                    Map out your life.
                     Could a move draw your regular activities into a smaller web?

                 Because, one of the best things we can do for the planet is to drive fewer                                                  miles in the course of our day-to-day lives.
 Less pollution is spewed when we can walk to the library, and bike to the food co-op.
 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 were to stay relatively predictable,
 we should try to 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.

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.
   "If we are to reach real peace in this world ... we shall begin with the children."  
                                                                                                                                 - M. Ghandi -

 * Let's raise our impressionable young ones with the beliefs and the everyday habits                     that support Peace, Justice and Ecology.
 * Let's raise them to understand and know and appreciate Nature, the source of all our needs.

 * 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.

But if we're going to honor our planet, we need to wean ourselves away from car culture.
                            So let's get out and ride bikes with our children.
                             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.


      

       The foods that kids are raised with, will greatly influence their eating choices as adults.
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.
 
 

 Obesity.
 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 10/31/2011
 
Here 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 - 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                         ...  like Hurricane Sandy in 2012, and disastrous flooding in Colorado, Alberta, Europe in 2013,            plus record high temperatures, & severe drought & forest fires in the U.S. and around the world        have 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=XI5frPV58tY                             
                          Imagine 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.
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                *   We all need to be earth stewards              
          * respecting and caring for the earth and its diverse life forms

            * restoring damaged ecosystems

            * protecting earth's beauty and abundance for future generations

            * 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)


                            
            There's a million ways for each and every one of us to help out and make sense of things:
 ... 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.
           The more we work together to see this change through, the more enjoyable it will be.

                                      It's so satisfying to pull together for a common cause.


                  
                                   
                                            * fixing up the neighborhood *
 
                                         Here's a fun little project we took on:                                                                                      we replaced a neighbor's boarded-up garage window with plywood,                                                                 cut & painted to look like a window with a flower box.
                                        
                                       


                                 
                                   
        
creative commons  naturallypeaceful.com | recreate the bonds of community | Step4 | *JanineO*
 love & determination will see us through