Archive for January, 2012

Welcome to my Keeping Each Other Well Blog!

January 10, 2012

Biosphere Consciousness

January 9, 2012

Jeremy Rifkin sounds an urgent cry for us to wake up to yet another dimension of consciousness, this time to the biosphere. Listening to his presentation of his book, The Third Industrial Revolution, seemed like déjà vue for priorities that once formed in farming communities. Early on, folks provided what was needed among themselves.

 People bartered their expertise. My PEI grandfather was the local animal husbandman and my grandmother the local midwife in the farming community where they raised potatoes and turnips, livestock and vegetables, and whatever grains they needed. The community generated their own fiddlers, pump organist, callers and pipers for socials; their own carpenters, cabinet makers, and team labor to build barns, houses, the school and church. They built their own boats to dig oysters and haul lobsters.

 Everything was recycled. Grain bags turned into jeweled quilts, old clothes were turned into hooked or braided rugs, compost was returned to the soil. Those who had electricity used it sparingly; lights were never just left on unless they were being used by someone for some purpose.

 Gifts were handmade- something knitted, sewn or carved, canned, baked or built. Each community was an autonomous unit that prioritized a certain quality of life and respect for the good earth and all its creatures.

 In the shift to thinking globally, we’ve sacrificed quality and respect for all of life and allowed that priority to be replaced by whatever makes the most money for whoever gets there first. ‘We’ and ‘they’ used to equal ‘us’. Today, ‘we’ and ‘they’ seem like totally separate entities.

 When Jonas Salk developed the polio vaccine, he gave it to the public. He said he had a job and didn’t need the money. He clearly considered himself a part of the community.

Unfortunately, as new vaccines and remedies and seeds are developed today, that attitude has turned into the greed of not only wanting more money, but claiming entitlement and putting restrictions out that prevent benefits to others. Many countries are hard pressed to come up with the money to prevent disease.

 Today, we need to raise our biosphere consciousness and look at what has worked in the past and learn from it. We have the technology to develop autonomous municipalities, build energy efficient buildings that can generate more energy by recycling everything, grow our own food, protect our water supply, and prioritize quality education.

We can shrink the excessive transportation expenses for globalized produce and products. We can be mindful of our personal use of energy.

 The good news is that we have the technology to keep each other well. The bad news is that we have limited time to wake up, recognize, and use it wisely.

The Wonder of Wildness

January 6, 2012

In NH, many of us look forward to the snow as we would to an extended visit from a well loved friend. We feel awkward in January if rain comes and begins chewing on our snow blanket, leaving puddles to freeze underfoot, sometimes in pockets of black ice. 

Winter rains often mean ice patches on ski trails and scuttled plans to ski, snow shoe, or even to just go downtown. We wonder whether the lake or pond will freeze enough for safe skating.

 We relax again when a gentle storm brings down a fresh new blanket, especially if it’s cold and light- easy to shovel! Kids get excited by wet snowfalls at warmer temperatures and imagine the snowmen, igloo, fort or snowball fights if enough snow falls!

 There’s something very comforting and reassuring about hearing and feeling the crunch of snow underfoot that puts winter back in kilter when the snow finally arrives. The deeper the snow, the warmer the house feels.

 Snow is part of the wonder of the wildness in life. Something in us softens when we view forest changes in winter, whether on a drive, or on foot. We imagine bears in their dens. We wonder how the deer and moose can stay warm sleeping on the snow. We look for signs of the other four leggeds who come up from subnivean burrows, and leave their tracks behind them before darting back down again. We wonder who did what when different tracks cross.

 Even if we never enter the woods, it’s reassuring to know that the forest is there. Our wilderness continues to ground us, despite whatever is happening elsewhere in the world. Writers like Wallace Stegner encouraged us to save whatever is left of our forests, not just for recreation but to know the silence of the forest, have the sense that we are kin to the other animals, a part of the natural world. And we can keep a healthy sense of perspective in the process.

 Some of the ways we can keep each other well is to be considerate of our forest kin, value the diversity among them, and protect their habitat.

 Currently, the Forest Society needs our help to protect the Balsams property sale. Contributions can be mailed to Forest Society, 54 Portsmouth St., Concord, NH 03301 or to  http://savethebalsamslandscape.blogspot.com