• Tag Archives mother earth
  • An Unforgivable Sin?

    Beltane                                                                    Waning Last Frost Moon

    “Man is the only creature who refuses to be what he is.” – Albert Camus

    Dogs behave like dogs.  Ticks like ticks.  Ravens steal.  Osprey fish.  Shark keep moving.  Even the heart beats, the liver and the kidney detoxify, the stomach and the gut digest and eliminate.  The nose smells.  The ear hears.

    We are the only creatures who, at a super-organism level, can refuse to be what we are.  It is both our glory and our damnation.  When we resist the impulse to violence, the credo of self first and the will to domination we become creatures of wonder, covered with grace and filled with light.  When, though, we take more than we can eat, steal more than we need from mother earth, use our evolved brain to imprison other creatures when we do not need them for food, then we walk to the mouth of the River Styx and throw ourselves in Charon’s boat.

    Here is the first and greatest sin, perhaps the unforgivable sin.  We imagine ourselves apart from nature, as unique and special beings, exempt from evolutionary history and immune to natural consequences.  While it is true that our great technical and scientific skill seems to partition us off in our own special province, it is not so.  Why not?  Read an article about peak oil.  Consider the consequences of peak water.  Look at the struggle to find precious and rare metals, needed for sophisticated electronic devices.  It leads the Polymet Corporation to the conclusion that not only could they find them in our wonderful northeastern Minnesota, they must mine them.  Must.  Or else.  What?  No more cell phones, laptops, tablets?

    Consider the moment of peak rare earths and metals.  What then.  Mother earth only has a certain cache of elements and their combinations, a cache configured in the fires of solar fusion and flung out in the processes that created our solar system and our world.  We do not, can not, make more copper, barium, lithium, nickel.  What gives corporations the arrogant assumption that they can use this store of minerals for their own private purpose?  What gives humanity the temerity to arrogate to our uses all the fossil fuels, all the stored carbon, all the metals gathered in mother earth’s body?  If this question seems naive, then ask how extinction might feel, extinction because we refuse to recognize our limits and our real location in the community of creatures and the world of things?

    So, I invite you to go outside this memorial day weekend and find a flower, a tree, a bird, a dog.  Sit with them for a while.  Notice if they try to take more than the universe has allocated for their use?  Notice how they appreciate the water, the sun, the sky, a friend.  Then watch one of us.

  • Real Religion

    Beltane                                                     Waxing Last Frost Moon

    “The real religion of the world comes from women much more than from men – from mothers most of all, who carry the key of our souls in their bosoms.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes

    Especially true if you insert mother earth for mothers and nature for women, viz.  The real religion of the world comes from nature much more than from men-from mother earth most of all, who carries the key to our souls in her bosom.

    I am just back from seeing Leslie give her final presentation at Groveland.  Ran into Bill Mate.  He’s been doing work for the Methodist Church in New Orleans.  Sounded fun.

    Wow.  No nap yesterday plus 5 hours driving, then up early for going into St. Paul to see Leslie.  Got hit by a sudden need to lie down and sleep.  Did so.  Better now, less foggy.

    When I got back, Kate was in the front, raking and planting, earth mother to mother earth.  I made pizza, then crashed.  Still waking up.

    Light rain, warm.  80’s in the forecast.  Spring, it seems, may have finally arrived, well after it has come and gone as a Celtic season.

  • Embrace Weedy Backyards and Undeveloped Lots

    Imbolc      Waning Wild Moon

    This is an opinion piece by Senator Ellen Anderson.  I reprint it in full here because she addresses a critical problem for the Great Work.  Almost.

    Here’s what I mean.  In referring to the work of the Lessard Council she defends metro area expenditures because, as she puts it, the DNR has used scientific principles to determine that the Metro area has 255,000 acres of undeveloped land with high ecological significance. (italics mine)  She does this to defend these acres from those who would claim that there is “no habitat” to protect in the metro area.  OK, so far.

    The problem is this.  In her genuflection to science and its degrees of high ecological significance she misses the urban forests, the front yards and backyards, the parks and boulevards, even the land most often neglected, the land beneath streets, highways, buildings, houses, railroad tracks and industry.  It is as if these portions either do not exist, or, because they do not meet the definition of high ecological significance that they are somehow less worthy.

    Yes, I know she makes this argument for a particular pot of money aimed at vanishing wilderness and  other areas important to science and again, I say, that’s ok as far it goes, but it leaves us with the notion that these other lands, the lands of low ecological significance according to scientific criteria, are less than, underwhelming.

    In fact, if the Great Work is to succeed, then we must embrace our weedy backyards and the undeveloped lot, our over-grassed lawns and our worn-out parks.  We must find ways to love them and treasure them as they are all Mother Earth.  In some ways this is a greater calling than struggling over the remaining areas of high ecological significance.  Why?  Because these humble patches of earth are where most of us meet our mother day-to-day.   Because it is often these humble patches of earth that are the most degraded and in need of our care.  Because it is these humble patches of earth, close to the bulk of the population that can be transformed into local food sources and beautiful flower and native plant gardens.

    Senator Ellen Anderson’s piece:

    “As one of the Senate members of the Lessard Outdoor Heritage Council, I have been impressed by the dedication and hours put in by all of the council’s members in the last few months. We are trying to come up with a good plan to protect, restore and enhance our natural resources, as we promised the voters who approved the Clean Water, Land and Legacy amendment in November.

    Many legislators have expressed concern that the preliminary list of proposals is light on metro-area projects, well under 10 percent of the dollars and a very small portion of total acreage. Traditionally, the Legislature values statewide balance: Dollars spent should serve all Minnesotans, not just some. I agree with this principle. But if our primary concern is protecting natural resources and habitat, there are other critical reasons the constitutional legacy funds should not all be spent in greater Minnesota.

    I’ve heard many people say there’s “no habitat in the metro area.” Not true. The state Department of Natural Resources used scientific principles to determine that the seven-county metro region still has over 255,000 acres of undeveloped natural land with high ecological significance. This is 15 percent of the region. Sixty-eight percent (174,139 acres) of these remaining natural lands is not permanently protected as regional park, wildlife refuge or natural area, or by other public designation.

    To put this amount of land in perspective, one of the projects the council approved (and which I support) is the acquisition, by easement, of 187,000 acres of forestland in the area around the Mississippi River headwaters, for more than $40 million.

    Clearly there is land of significant ecological value all around the state, and such land should be protected for future generations. The Statewide Conservation and Preservation plan recognizes that and should guide our decisions with the best science from University of Minnesota experts.”