Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Thoughts On Global Warming. New (old) Worldview Needed.

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Here are my thoughts today about global warming.

The process of global warming is partly due to the alienation of humanity from nature.
In a culture that involves isolation of people from the rhythms and forces of nature (good and bad), there is little motivation to make change that will re-route global warming. In our current suburban and urban dominated, automotive-commuting, consumer-based system, people are not connected to the soil, the trees, the sun, rain, and snow, rivers and streams, birds, bees, frogs and turtles, and they are not able to see the connection of nature to their future and to their children's future.

There was a time when most people did experience the weather, the dirt, the smells of the farm and garden, the wealth of nature, the hazards of climate, and the rhythms of life. Some of that connection made life easier, providing income, food, and recreation. Some threatened life, or made it harder, with drought, storm, blizzard, tornado, or pestilence. In all cases, there was an intimate connection between humanity and nature, which is lost in the air-conditioned, seat-warmed, cup-holdered, surround-sound bumper-to-bumper SUV of the modern commuter.

One property of gardening is that it does connect us back to nature, if we let it.

We can learn the soil, and see the transformation that occurs with organic enrichment of an abused ground. Last week, I dug an extra foot around the tomato bed, discovering light brown sticky muck under the lawn, while a few inches away the tomato bed was friable and black, easily turned and earthy in aroma. The difference was 2 years of compost and mulch. Seeing this change, I am more able to appreciate the reverse transformation as well, when land is abused by poor farming practices.

I have learned to watch for frost that might damage tender buds or seedlings. I watch the rain, and worry about whether there is enough, or too much. There have been many mornings when I brought seedlings indoors for protection, and fussed over protection for tender tomato plants. I wander around the yard now, looking for buds on the aprium and peach trees, hoping to see the daffodils welcome the Spring rain, searching for unpruned fig branches that could use just a little more grooming. Observing these changes, I do feel connected to the weather and forces of nature, in a way that I never felt when living in the city.

In the Spring, happy to see the bees pollinating the fruit trees and berry brambles (or in the case above, the Chinese Chives). I'm annoyhed by the aphids, and it still surprises me to see that an organic spray can wash them away and leave a healthy crop for dumplings. Frogs have moved into the compost bins, with welcome frog-songs telling me that they are not extinct, yet. Hummingbirds visit their favorites as well, and a pair of robins built a nest in the roses last year. Watching this relatively small suburban yard fill with life, where there was little to speak of in the former clean lawn, taught me some differences between working with nature, as opposed to against nature.

I think that if more people gardened, then not only would they be better off for their health (better foods, less sedentary live, less passive, and more contemplative) and their peace of mind; it would also change how they feel about what happens to the earth's natural rhythms. That change is needed if our society is to have a will to survive and make the changes that are necessary to conserve a climate and nurturing world for future generations.

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