Naturally Peaceful

Your DIY Guide to Changing Times

Get Rooted

We're overdue for a shift toward a more just, cooperative and ecologically sustainable culture.

          If not now, then when?

                     "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.

                            Well over 10% of us move every year.

          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?  
"It's no wonder we don't defend the land where we live. We don't live here. We live in television programs and movies and books and with celebrities and in heaven and by rules and laws and abstractions created by people far away and we live anywhere and everywhere except in our particular bodies on this particular land at this particular moment in these particular circumstances. " Derrick Jensen    
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 that 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.   
 When we love our places and take responsibility for them, when we open our hearts and lead with love, we can build a new economy that is compassionate, just and sustainable.                      

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

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

Remember - Einstein said the best solutions are the simplest ones. And what could be simpler than hunkering down right where you are & helping your community become more sustainable ... help your region become less dependent on resources brought in from far away.
                 For starters, you can:
  • Get to know your neighbors better.  You might have more in common than you realize. 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. It really is a small world. We had 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 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 plants and animals 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.
  • 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.
  • Help repair your local environment.

 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 ... walking, biking and using mass transit more often.
      ... planting trees, and then enjoying their shade, fruit and beauty in years to come.                                                                                                ... weatherizing our homes and businesses.
           ... conserving energy by turning down our thermostats
             ... eating lower on the food chain
               ... cleaning up our rivers and streams ... restoring the natural buffers on our waterways.
                 ... helping to remove  invasive species.
                    ... pushing for local pollution controls.                
                     .. using less energy and fewer resources ... producing less waste
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)


            We all need to be earth stewards.

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

* respecting and caring for the earth and its diverse life forms.

 * restoring damaged ecosystems

 * protecting earth's beauty and abundance for future generations


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


               The more we work with others to see this change through, the more enjoyable it will be.



But what if you're not living in the best place to fully 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 ?                    

Should you stay for the long haul? Or find a new home/region that suits you better?

     Figuring out where to settle in for the duration - for generations perhaps  - might involve a good deal of thought and planning. There are so many factors to consider before relocating. 
 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 grocery store.
 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.
In fact, a group of scientists, in a paper published in the journal Science, have urged people living on coasts to move away from them while they still can, so as to avoid the panic and chaos that are looming on the very near horizon as sea level rise accelerates and storms and their flooding events intensify in both frequency and power. Retreating from coastal areas now, rather than waiting, is the obvious and prudent thing to do.
Some coastal states and communities are embracing the idea of managed retreat. They are choosing to proactively move people, structures, and infrastructure out of harm’s way before disasters hit, in order to avoid damage and minimize costs.
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.     



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.