Category Archives: environment

Light Pleasure

image_550997363258127

It’s the simple things that bring lasting pleasure. Dawn at looking out from Big Swamp. Too good not to stop and take the shot. It’s not a swamp it’s a wet land. European settlers misunderstood, these are not waterlogged land, but authentic wet lands. To use the term swamp is to identify land as degraded, but this is not degraded it is an ecosystem. The city council won’t change the name. Fortunately this one is protected, but many have been lost because they were viewed as swamps and filled in by developers. This one has a variety of bird life as well as other creatures.

“Pleasure is very seldom found where it is sought; our brightest blazes of gladness are commonly kindled by unexpected sparks.”  Samuel Johnson

Paul,

pvcann.com

9 Comments

Filed under bush walking, environment, nature, quote

It’s A Moiety World

Moiety – Word of the Day

Australian First Nations

There are over 500 Australian Indigenous Nations, as you can see from the map, they have particular areas with distinct boundaries. The nations are formed from clan groups which have their own language and kinship system which is either patrilineal (descent is related to and traced through the father/male line) or matrilineal (descent is related to and traced through the mother/female line). Clan groups are formed from family groups.

There are three levels of kinship in indigenous society: moiety, totem, and skin names.

The term moiety comes from the Latin, meaning half. In moiety systems everything in the universe is in two halves, each a mirror of the other, and the universe only makes sense if these two halves come together. Moieties are patrilineal or matrilineal, so determined by either your father or mother, these are the two halves. People of the same moiety are siblings and cannot marry, they must marry people from the other moiety, and thus the two halves are brought together.

Kinship

That, of course, is a simplistic outline of what the word means, but it belies a complexity of culture that is rich in every way in real life. Whereas white culture has negatively impacted indigenous culture, it is not true in reverse. In fact, we have only just begun to learn from our First Nation people’s how we might better treat each other and the land, given that ecological relationships are so fragile here.

In indigenous culture they have retained something very precious, something we have almost completely lost, the ability of moiety systems to be support systems. If you have a row with mum or dad, you can go to another significant relative within the clan group and debrief, chill out, stay awhile till the heat dissipates and the possibility of return arises. My experience of working with young white people in family conflict is they either go it alone, maybe with a few friends, or sadly, on the streets. Indigenous youth generally look for family. What is important in this is that  while we revere the independence of white youth, we miss the wisdom of healing and wholeness as the moiety or halves work together for unity. No system is perfect, but some have stronger, lasting principles that have lasted thousands of years, like our indigenous peoples. It has now become critical in youth work to build resilience for our youth in trouble, but I think the foundation of resilience is clearly the clan, though, for me, that doesn’t equate to family per se, but rather to those relationships important to our vitality and flourishing. We should never be in survival, but two halves always meeting and making the universe right.

Paul,

pvcann.com

6 Comments

Filed under community, Country, environment, history, life, mindfulness, nature, Spirituality

Affinity With Nature

Affinity – Word of the Day

IMG_0125.jpg

Yet another winter storm was coming, hot on the heels of the first of the season, the waves were really pounding all along the shore. Thankfully the strong winds had pushed the first lot through to the wheat-belt. The dark, rain leaden clouds were a wonderfull counterpoint for the sunset, accentuating the colour.

Nature never ceases to amaze me, whether it be the thought of galaxies beyond, our own solar system, or that part of the earth where I live, there is always something to marvel at from the most simple to the really complex. Colour, texture, smell, sound, taste, it’s all there.

We are dependent on nature, we need food and water for starters, oxygen, resources.

But I think we can be interdependent. As we live into the environment, we can manage our carbon footprint, manage our extraction and usage of both finite resources and renewables. We can help to establish regrowth of vegetation, and help repair after disasters, we can return some land to native vegetation, and we can value add what we harvest or remove, there is no limit to what we can positively do in this relationship.

Nature heals, forest bathing, meditating in the open, natural medicines, audio and visual pleasure, olfactory stimulus like petrichor, touch, the sun on skin, the wind around me. My mind is stimulated too, so much to learn, so much adventure, so much to reflect on. Just to be in nature is a wonderful experience for me.

I feel an affinity, a closeness, with nature. I love the feel of sand and rock, and they tell their own story. The streams, rivers and ocean speak, sing, and invade the senses. Eucalyptus like a balm. Dolphins and birds communicating. Sunrise and sunset drawing awe and emotion. I feel whole in nature, I heal better in nature, body, mind and soul. I feel at peace, and am often content in nature. Nature is always conversing, always reaching out to me. And I get perspective, I am part of something bigger than myself, that in itself is medicine for the soul. It’s not about me, it’s not just about everyone, it’s about everything, every relationship of nature.

Paul,

pvcann.com

13 Comments

Filed under beach, environment, life, mindfulness, nature, seasons

Paperbark Writer

IMG_0124.jpg

The paperbarks (Melaleuca – one of the 300 Myrtaceae family) are shedding a little later this year. Another theme of winter is shedding. Some animals shed a summer coat in order to prepare for winter, many plants shed their blooms and slow down in some part, some of our birds fly elsewhere for the winter though we get visitors from other shores. We, perhaps, can live unaware of our own needs. What do we need to shed in order to prepare? Mind you, the converse is also something that we need to attend to, what do we need to gather in, soak up, put on in order to prepare? Self care and nurture are fundamental to well being, body mind and soul. For me the continuity of writing and meditation are part of that nurture. How about you?

“In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.” Albert Camus

Paul,

pvcann.com

32 Comments

Filed under bush walking, environment, life, meditation, music, nature, quote, seasons

Twisted

via Photo Challenge: Twisted

IMG_0115.jpg

Taken near Denmark W.A. Twisted and bent by the winds, this gnarled tree shows tenacity and determination. I hope to follow its example 🙂

let's twist again
the wind crafts and molds
like it did last year

©Paul Cannon (with apologies to Chubby Checker)

Paul,

pvcann.com

 

29 Comments

Filed under beach, bush walking, Country, environment, Haiku, life, mindfulness, nature

Choking Ourselves?

via Daily Prompt: Premature

The air that we breathe in some places contributes to illness, alergy onset, sets off asthma, and, according some researchers, is now a cause of premature death. The Guardian report below is somewhat singular in focussing on China and India, but it makes the point that air pollution is a serious business. Truth is, no country is absolved of this, we’re all in it. The country that provides the coal, the oil, the petrochemicals, they’re right in it too.

It is a fixable problem. Renewables, especially solar, wind, battery are strong contenders to replace carbon energy sources. But what happened to walking, public transport, bicycles, car-pooling, reducing non-esential travel? These are just as critical in the whole scheme of pollution control as electric cars and solar power. The same can be said of consumption, buying stuff. Our material wealth may be choking us, literally. That is also fixable, reducing consumption is another strategy in reducing pollution.

So, it comes back to each one of us. There are no faceless people to blame, we’re all in it, time to face up to it and deal with our own lifestyles first. To set the example is more powerful than just complaining. Living what we say we believe is far more potent than asking people to do something. The other trick is not to be too self-righteous when one begins to adopt new ways, that just alienates people. The way to invite people into new patterns of living is to show how good it is, and by demonstrating how it pays off. The evidence is what will move people eventually. I suspect that most people simply want to see what works and how it works. We can do that where we are.

Paul,

pvcann.com

 

 

15 Comments

Filed under chemicals, Economics, education, environment, life, mindfulness, nature, Science

Skewed View

via Daily Prompt: Skewed

IMG_2718.jpg

The gorge at Tjukurla last July. A precious water hole for the community here since time began, for the white explorers like Ernest Giles an age ago, and now more a wonderful place to visit, as we all did.

When white settlers arrived on the shores of Australia, they immediately began to move into the interior, exploring for possible farm lands, minerals, and for building community. Immediate impressions were bleak, explorers often commenting on the harshness of the bush, the lack of water, the heat in summer, overall, the bush was perceived as harsh and dangerous. Some, like the Burke and Wills expedition (1860) from Melbourne to Carpentaria, saw all but one of the seven team members perish.

But if you read Australia’s expedition history you quickly discover that, though Australia’s bush is indeed a harsh environ, human error accounts for most of the deaths of exploreers. Their perception of the bush skewed the reality. The proof of this is that for milennia Australia’s indigenous people thrived in these very inerior spaces. Spaces like Tjukurla where water, wildlife and vegetation, were available, and so it was possible to live in these spaces, if you but understood the how of these spaces. Australian Aboriginal people knew how, over centuries of experience they knew what to do and how to do it. For them the land was not hostile but friend, not harsh, but purposeful. Theirs was a life living in seasonal rhythm, in harmony with the elements, with respect for all life, with intimate knowledge. They understood the feel of the land, its formation and power. They only took what was necessary for all, their ethic was shared space.

If only we’d bothered to look with their eyes and heart, if only we’d taken time to understand. A perception of harshness leads to negative response, distrust leads to disrespect, a disregard for the vast yet fragile environ. Ownership individualises every experience and leads to conquest, even of each other, and nothing is shared, only despair.

Aboriginal life is testimony to how skewed white understanding of the land and community has been.

Fortunately the tide has begun to turn and we are learning from our indigenous their ways of valuing nature and community, ways that will enable us to battle global warming, climate change and all that is ill in our land. They lived without us for milenia, they didn’t need us, but we sure do need them.

The gorge at Tjurkula is proof that the bush is tough, but yet yielding, in the midst of hard granite, sandstone, and dry earth lies precious and life-giving water. The water sustains wildlife and plants, and gives life to all.

I sometimes see that that is how we are meant to be, life giving into our world.

Paul,

pvcann.com

 

 

 

17 Comments

Filed under bush walking, Country, environment, history, life, mindfulness, nature

Tree Talk

via Daily Prompt: Forest

IMG_0600.jpg

It was inevitable. I was born in Nottinghamshire, UK, and grew up in the midst of forests, and the famous one, Sherwood Forest wasn’t that far away. Migration to Australia brought a different experience of forests, and I have explored several. The writings of John Muir, Robert Frost, Wendell Berry, Judith Wright, Noel Davis, Mary Oliver, and many more, inspired my interest in trees. I worked in horticultural work and farming for a time, and learned so much about how trees are really our family, our life-line, our lungs. I am happy in a forest, which we generally call the bush. In fact I’d say I was a Nemopholist – a haunter of forests.

There’s a famous quote by John Muir that I love: “The clearest way into the universe is through a forest.” I think he’s right!

Forests have something special going on, they form habitat for many creatures, they are a special climate zone, they reduce salinity, and redistribute water, provide shade, timber and many by-products. The trees in a forest also communicate. Dr. Suzanne Simard of the university of Columia studies a type of fungi that forms underground networks between trees.

Older trees or “mother trees” are hubs in this fungal network. The trees communicate across species too, from Acacia to Eucalypt. Signals between trees can now be plotted, especially defence signals, through the build up and movement of enzymes. Tree communication is not a new thing, but study has now begun to show concrete evidence of it. The trees work to protect each other, help each other, feed each other, and look after young trees. So the forest is a series of interconnected families, a set of special relationships.

The forest thrives when there are enough mother trees and when the trees are interconencted. We too thrive when we belong to supportive hubs, and are nurtured by networks that protect, share, and feed us. The fungal network equivalent for us is love, empathy, and compassion, a special climate zone, a vital ecology. With love we thrive, we grow, we bloom, and we develop capacity to give out to others. The human forest needs an ecology of love, else the erosion to loss of community will be devastating.

Gandhi put it well when he said: “What we are doing to the forests of the world is but a mirror reflection of what we are doing to ourselves and one another.”

If we do to ourselves as the trees do to themselves, well, we’d be thriving and not just surviving.

For the article that underpins tree communication here, go to Do Trees Communicate With Each Other?  Its a wonderful read.

Paul,

pvcann.com

 

25 Comments

Filed under bush walking, environment, Forest, life, mindfulness, nature, self-development

That Cockburn Sleeve

via Daily Prompt: Sleeve

IMG_0112.jpg

Contrary to the nay-sayers of the 80s the vinyl LP has hung around. My Bruce Cockburn album “Dancing in the Dragon’s Jaw” from 1979. The one that finally brought him to international attention, especially in the US. Cockburn, a Canadian, was quite popular in his native Canada, but until this album (don’t think I’ve used that term in a while) was only ever on the fringe elsewhere. The cover is a painting by Ojibwa artist Norval Morrisseau.

The cardboard outer was earlier called a record jacket, technically it was a protective sleeve that became an artform in itself in the late 60s. The plastic liner was an inner sleeve, an anti-scratch protection. Earlier eras used paper inners, even as jackets in some cases (especially on the old 78 rpm – a brown paper jacket).

Bruce Cockburn is a folk-rock artist (sometimes called the bearded mystic) who has been an activist for environmental and humanitarian issues through his writing and performing. He has been associated with Oxfam, Amnesty International, Doctors Without Borders, World Vision, Friends of the Earth and more. He has advocated for humanitarian aid in Mozambique, Iraq, Mali, Afghanistan, Cambodia, Honduras and more. He has toured to raise funds for humanitarian crisis relief, including being a leading spokesperson for the banning of landmines, and on the subject of third world debt. He stood with the Haida people of British Columbia in their land claim struggle, and has also raised money for aid for former child soldiers. Just a sample of his commitments. He once stated that his music asks something from the listener, it invites the listener to get involved in the causes, or he asks existential questions, a more general raising of awareness of issues and questioning the listener’s stance.

Cockburn came to my attention through a friend in 79, who urged me to have a listen to this guy who wrote amazing lyrics. I did and I was hooked. But I was hooked again by his personal beliefs, his political stance, his activism. For me he embodied the meaning of integrity and commitment. I aspire to that.

Cockburn is respected by his contemporaries and younger artists, and has worked with a number of rock and folk luminaries throughout his career. He has recorded over 300 songes and made 33 albums. However, Cockburn hasn’t aimed at fame, instead he has given back to his community, and indeed to the world through his writing and activism. I would say he has invested in people and the environment.

I’d like a few more Bruce Cockburn’s around, but then, we’re here!

Paul,

pvcann.com

22 Comments

Filed under environment, history, life, mindfulness, music, politics

Astonishing Corellas

via Daily Prompt: Astonish

 

The White Corella. The noise is astonishing, they are one of the flocking birds and they come in large numbers. I took this a couple of weeks ago at a local park, you can’t see the birds very well, just a white speck or two and one near the end in the tree (swinging up-side-down), but the point of this video was to capture the sound.

Sadly the city council have successfully made a case to have their numbers reduced, they have been deemed a nuisance because of their noise, numbers, they dig up lawns, eat fruit and buds, and poop everywhere. I don’t mind them, but you know what people are like, they whine about the stain on the roof, the aerial interference, the untidy lawn, the loss of rose buds, the loss of apricots or other fruit. To the point that the people whining about the birds are more annoying than the birds.

Wherever I go I keep hearing, reduce the shark numbers, reduce the corellas, reduce the Ibis, the Egret, reduce nature. I never hear reduce humans, but that would be too shocking! I think Mr. Smith (The Matrix) was right when he suggested that humans are a virus. Yes, balance is important, but we have biased the balance in our favour. When developers are permitted to build housing estates near estuaries and lakes, then water birds will be in those places – does building your house mean you get permission to moan about the fact that there were pre-existing neighbours in your suburb? I don’t think it does.

If you buy a house near an existing airport, the government doesn’t just jump to and move the airport for you, it is likely to send you away with a reminder that you bought the house knowing the issue was there. Now that is not always true with nature. Sometimes the birds will develop new flight paths, or will seek out districts where food and water are plentiful. In Bunbury the Corellas have been around for a while, sadly they will be culled because some in the community call them a nuisance.

We need to continually bring an awareness to our world that nature is vital and we are a part of it, not separate. We co-exist, we are interdependent, it is a relationship, and we really need to value that relationship because it is critical to our own survival. We need new eyes to see that the problem is not the Corellas, but the fact that some people have a problem with Corellas.

Corellas swinging 
TV reception blurred
time to read a book

©Paul Cannon

Paul,

pvcann.com

24 Comments

Filed under community, environment, Haiku, life, mindfulness, nature