Changing the flowers

We should be looking at the world as a temple and humans as its devotees, cleaning it, caring for it, changing the flowers. Every small gesture does something to contribute.  (Emily Young)

The COP 26 UN climate meeting in Glasgow starts in a couple of weeks, and it’s not being overly cynical to predict that the best that can come out of it will be a tightening of rich nations’ non-binding commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in line with targets declared at COP 21 in Paris, 2015. In other words, another extension of the race among the wealthy and industrialized to be the slowest to feel the fear, slash emissions, and stare down business-as-usual.

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What we choose to focus on

What we choose to focus on becomes our primary reality. If we choose to become emotionally attached to that which we are trying to move away from – for example, if we become attached on an emotional and intellectual level to “winning the fight” against pollution and climate change – we may unintentionally perpetuate the violence we are committed to transforming. From the standpoint of the Elders, violence involves any actions, thoughts, feelings, or words that consciously or unconsciously sets one person against another, regardless of how well intentioned we are. … We must take the same bold actions to protect that which we depend upon and love, but do so from a place of positive vision, intention and compassion. The Indigenous Elders say that nothing is created outside of ourselves until it is created inside ourselves first.

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Social dreaming

Octopuses dream, and cuttlefish too. In sleep they scroll through the colour changes of the day, the equivalent of your dog’s twitching forepaw.

Trees communicate by neural networks in the soil, developing sophisticated relationships and nurturing allies.

Felt experience – consciousness – permeates the family of sentient life (by definition, really) and maybe even “brute matter itself”.

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It really does seem these days that Science, in its plodding, methodical way is unpicking civilization’s last great taboo – the myth of ‘nature’, the myth of something non-human and other-worldly that surrounds but does not include us.

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Restorative revolution

Our ancestors fought through genocide, they fought through that trauma. And not only did they survive this trauma they passed down knowledge that built the societies that we are built on today.

So this knowledge, that has been passed down for thousands of years, can be accessed and it can be applied to a daily life no matter where you are, no matter where you are from. Because industrial revolution is over now if we want to survive, if we want to carry on life on earth we need to be a part of the restorative revolution. And whatever that looks like for you – just make sure you get your hours in.

These words are spoken by Sammy Gensaw in the documentary film ‘Gather’, one of several individuals featured in the film who are, in their various ways, reclaiming food sovereignty – traditional food culture and life-support systems tied to the land – for native peoples of North America. He also says at one point, the apocalypse has already happened. He’s a young man, a sequoia sapling in the clear-cut devastation of an old-growth forest, and his words carry authority. As does his call to action.

The film gives us a glimpse of how Sammy and the others are carrying out restoration. It moves, inspires, and sometimes hurts to watch — and it asks: what does the restorative revolution look like to you? What will your work be? Continue reading “Restorative revolution”

yet another something to think about

After 49 years of going offshore fishing or working out of doors in the buiding trades have come realize that an old addage does indeed apply. There are many days when the sun rises so beautiful that you have to stop and just look, thank the cosmos for being allowed to see something special. Offshore there are days when the gods of the wind are kind, the seas are calm, the gods of machinery are happy, the gear comes up like clockwork and full of the finest kind of fish, scallops, shrimp, or lobsters. The gods of the hunt are favorable. Ashore there are days where the gang and materials show up on time, the weathers are good, people know what they are doing and do it, and the job comes together, again just like clockwork. The building gods are happy.

Then there are those days when you call the gang out of the bunk at 0300 after a loud bang and jolt because because the gear is hung down on a old wreck or a giant boulder, and it takes half the day to try and work it free before finally having a wire part off and only one door and half a net comes up, and most of all no fish. The gods of machinery and navigation were sleeping. Or the electrical gods are arguing and a generator goes on the fritz, or it starts snowing hard and the radars or the GPSs go down. Or the wind gods decide to blow and all of a sudden you are banging through 20′ seas hanging on with one hand and trying to do your work with the other.

Some days you get the bear, and some days the bear gets you. All in a days work they say, the good with the bad, the way it has always been. At the end of the trip or the end of the year you add it all up and pay the expenses and share up whatever is left. Nothing’s easy theory, or if it was easy, everyone would be doing it.

Dear reader if you are anything like me, or if your approach to living on this earth is anything like mine and those i see up close around me, then most of one’s energies have been focused on earning a living, raising and teaching a family, trying to be a good friend to those around you, generally trying to be a constructive responsible citizen. That’s how you do it, or at least it was until recently, because it may not be enough. Collectively the way we live has second order effects that are the opposite of the things that even the most aware, careful, and pono of us strive for.

In early February a new report came out from the UK Treasury – “Final Report – The Economics of Biodiversity: The Dasgupta Review”. Now there are so many papers, studies, and plans that get published every single day that it is near impossible to keep up with reading even the headlines or the abstracts. But this one might serve to truly change the way we need to think about our relationship to the world around us. And just maybe it should.

Here is a link to the main UK website:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/final-report-the-economics-of-biodiversity-the-dasgupta-review

There you will find both the short versions and the full report (26 MB) in pdf and html formats, and i believe it helpful to start with the basic outline “Headline Messages” (10 pages, 1.84 MB). I submit the link to this report in hopes that it may spark comments and insights from our loyal local readership, but make no mistake it is not for the fainthearted.

The common objects of their love (1)

A week ago Joe Biden – President Joe Biden – said this in his inaugural speech:

Many centuries ago, Saint Augustine, a saint in my church, wrote that a people was a multitude defined by the common objects of their love.

That phrase, common objects of their love, attracted my attention, for reasons I’ll explain in the second part of this post. But first a sideways step. Because Biden’s reference got me wondering what love means here. I wanted to try and iron this out before getting back to the new president, and Augustine, because love clearly means different things in different contexts. Sometimes wildly different things.

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The Essential Latour

“It would certainly be a shame to lose too quickly all the benefit of what Covid-19 has revealed to be essential. In the midst of the chaos, of the world crisis that is to come, of the grief and suffering, there is at least one thing that everyone has been able to grasp: something is wrong with the economy.”

“Underneath the capitalists are the workers, and underneath the workers are living things!”

For a quick, painless intro to the relevance of Latour to the moment, he recently did a Guardian interview.  Even better is this essay just translated into English.

Also the Gedankenausstellungen (thought exhibition) “Critical Zones“.

The old language

The spirits are stopping us, he says. They’re stopping us. They’re jealous.

And then he says: they hold us still…still in time.

Hold us still/still in time — the same words that Barnacle used — and I said to him: Cambio, listen. This man here, the headman with the boy on his shoulders, he told me, with the same words, about your return to the Beginning. Except…I don’t speak Mayoruna — do you understand? 

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Nothing changes everything

There might be a scene where two people are casually talking; then, from some detail in the conversation, the characters suddenly comprehend each other’s true feelings. In that instant, action stops, actors freeze, and from stage left wooden clappers go battari! 

The two characters resume speaking as though nothing has happened; however, in the instant of that battari!, everything has changed. 

(Kabuki’s stop-start moments, described by Alex Kerr in Lost Japan.)

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