Category Archives: environment

Deplete or Regrow?

via Daily Prompt: Deplete

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Another shot of one of my many favourite spots – Boranup Forest. This a Karri Forrest in Western Australia’s South West corner. The additional beauty of it is that it is a re-growth forest. All the woodlands of Western Australia’s southern half were depleted from the time of the arrival of the first while colonists and into the 1960s, when people became more aware of the damage and danger instripping our forests, and the fragility of life in some the biospheres.

Trees were cut down in swathes for fire-wood, railway sleepers, locomotive and stationary engine fuel, building materials, and simply stripped out to provide farming land. Land 400 kms east of Perth was decimated in the harvest of timber for the railways and private consumption, as well as the highly prized market for sandalwood. Photographs of the era show depleted vegetation for hundreds of kilometres in every direction. Much of this is now State Reserve and regrowth has been successful.

MC Davies was the principal mill owner and operator at Boranup from 1886 – 1910, Karri was logged and milled for local and international export. The operation ceased in 1910, but not before massive clearing of the ancient forest had left it decimated. Farming was introduced where the forest was cleared, but in the 1920s the State government encouraged a regrowth forest, the results of which we see today. Amazing really, this forest is only 107 yrs old, and yet it looks like it’s been there for a lot longer.

This regrowth forest is also saying something else. As humans we have the capacity for blind, selfish, consumption. We also have a wonderful capacity to help heal our natural environs. For me, the various regrowth forests are a sign of hope, that we can make it in the scramble to halt global warming and work with climate change. If we can manage to sucesfully establish a regrowth forest, then surely there is much more we can put our minds to and achieve. The regrowth forests are, for me, a metaphor for the regrowth of our relationship with all life forms. when we regrow or restore or heal relationships of all forms, we in turn grow, and are also restored and healed.  There is a mutuality and vitality, a flourishing, when we respect other forms of life.

Paul,

pvcann.com

10 Comments

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

Glimmer

via Daily Prompt: Glimmer

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(Image: hdwalpapers2013.com)

I love the night sky, the glimmer of light, those stars, planets, refracting the sun’s light for vast distances we call light years. As a child I wanted to go out there and see how it all fitted together, and to see if there was life out there in some form. Space always captivates me, it is, as Captain Kirk said: “Space, the new frontier.” And with an ever expanding universe, there will be an ever growing new frontier, and one we cannot consume.

There is always a divide over space exploration, those who criticize it, for a variety of reasons, and those who support it. Constructive criticism is worth hearing, but that which is borne out of ignorance or fear is not. Fear closes us down, shuts off our creativity, our capacity to dream and think big. It’s easier to be negative than positive, but it is positive energy that will help us, negativity will be our death.

On a tangent here check out, and thanks to Skirmishes With Reality, Jaron Lanier on How We Need To Remake The Internet, where he talks about how negativity is destructive: www.ted.com/talks/jaron_lanier_how_we_need_to_remake_the_internet

Martin Luther king Jnr. said: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.” No wonder that the great spiritual guides of the past all made that connection in a variety of ways, because as you say that quote it it seems logical.

As with light, so with love, love is a glimmer of hope, and a more down to earth hope. Like light, like the universe, love is a positive and ever expanding energy. When we become love in all its forms for others, we become glimmers of hope. Together we can dispel the darkness that haunts our world, our communities, our homes, and our selves. We can be that energy where we are. Love is a new frontier, lets explore that.

Paul,

pvcann.com

 

17 Comments

Filed under astronomy, environment, life, mindfulness, nature, Science, Space, Spirituality

The Inchoate Life

via Daily Prompt: Inchoate

What is the sound of?

The inchoate Zen koan!

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Steps?! More an inchoate mess. On the day I cursed these, they had deterorated and certainly hinderd rather than helped the climb. Some sections were good, but around 400 metres of this and you soon tire. However it was worth the agony just to achieve the summit. Coming down was no easier.

A kind of parallel to my life –  incomplete, messy, no less easier after the climb through youth. Tough steps. But worth every minute and all the effort, and more to come. An inchoate life.

Paul,

pvcann.com

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Filed under bush walking, environment, life, mindfulness

Explore

via Daily Prompt: Explore

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One of my shots of Jindalee (Giles Breakaway). The Great Central Road and the roads that intersect it, the places along the way, have well and truly been traversed over two hundred years of exploration, mineral exploration, pastoral leases and tourism. But for us (Lyn, Su, Geoff) it was a time of exploration – it was the first time we’d been out there. As I looked out across to the east of the breakaway, I wondered what visual and geographic delights lay beyond. I was happy to camp for a time and explore the breakaway, and even happier to drive on into our unknown and see what was up ahead.

That has been my life up to this moment, that inner exploration. For me there is always that interesting intersection of living in the present moment, savouring the past for the treasure it has yielded, and looking to the next step, yearning to grow, to be more fully present, more in the experience, less attached to the material. Keeping the balance is the key, learning to love the past without clinging to it, rejoicing in the real now, and embodying the tension of possibility in tomorrow without trying to make it happen. I have worked hard at begining to let go the past, and I don’t always plan tomorrow, in fact, it is often said of me that I like to live in chaos – creative chaos I might add! Progress, though I smile, it comes with age and experience. Yet one must attend, be aware.  Even so, it is still a great achievement when I can just be in the present moment, and today, for a time, was just one of those moments. It always takes my breath away, and I am grateful for it.

I am one of life’s explorers, a soul on a journey of self discovery. I hope you are too.

Paul,

pvcann.com

 

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

This Toxic Life

via Daily Prompt: Toxic

Run, hide, stay in bed. They’re going to get you!

The video is a traler for the Sean Penn doco – it is confronting because it challenges us to look at what we use and how it effects us.

Toxicity is actually part of our lives, we can deal with it easily if we learn and take steps to minimise the effects of chemicals in our lives. But we do need to take stock of the things that do effect us.

Do you love that new car smell? Beware.

My first conscious moment of how chemicals affect could affect me was in the 1970s when I was sitting in my father’s car. It was a hot day, around 35c. The windows were up, there was no sea breeze at that point, and all I could smell was vinyl. I immediately wound the window down to allow air to come in and displace what I could smell. I didn’t know then that the sweet smell in my nostrils was vinyl chloride which is highly toxic. In the 80s I commented to a car repair guy that the windshield of my car often had a film on it, he said it was vinyl vappour. It wasn’t until the late 90s that some public comment was made to the effect of always leave your car window down just a little to vent the vinyl vapour.

Vinyl chloride was developed in 1863, and over the next sixty years it would be refined and used in a number of applications from aerosols, to car fabrics. It was in production in the 1930s and was already the subject of research by those concerned for health. One of the research statistics was a consistent record of liver and kidney cancers among those who worked with the product. Since then the companies using poly vinyl chloride or PVC* have developed a more stable formulation, or, in some cases, companies buying in the product have reduced their usage.

The year our two young sons wanted their bedrooms painted in bold and trendy colours, I set to and did it myself, never once thinking to move the youngest’s aquarium tank out while I painted. I used a new formulation of paint on the market, made by a top brand. I thought the fumes were extreme. The next morning the fish were all dead, and we pondered the effect on our own lungs.

When we were on the farm we went organic, I had read more than enough to convince me that herbicides and pesticides, as well as inorganic fertilizers were likely to affect our health. The research into the cancer risk through the use of some agricultural products is now publicly well documented, and by the World Health organisation. Some of our extended family have suffered from agricultural chemical induced cancers.

There’s been a whole range of building product disasters from petro-chemically based products to vinyls, to asbestos, cement dust, fiberglass, and chemically treated particle board. Many of those issues now thoroughly researched and most dealt with.

And then there’s the whole processed and fast food issue, Supersize Me, Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead are among the many documentaries on food and how it affects us. The current issue is sugar. And then there’s cleaning and personal care products.

So, long story short. We have reduced as much plastic as we can, especially those products that are formed from any vinyl chloride compounds, mainly soft plastics. That’s not as easy as it sounds – tubes, packaging, paints, equipment, cars, clothing, building products – it is everywhere. But we are getting there and with the public and corporate awareness, vinyls are being  more responsibly produced and monitored, and vinyl chloride is much more stable today than it was three decades ago. We are using natural fibres, metal drink containers, glass where possible, organic products from foods to personal care products to garden chemicals. Who knows what effect these will have? I’m thinking, they’ve got to be better than vinyl chloride!

*Note: PVC is also my initial and in highschool my nickname was plastic!

Paul,

pvcann.com

9 Comments

Filed under chemicals, environment, Farm, farming, food, life, mindfulness

Small Is Beautiful

Micro

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(Photo: © Hayden Cannon)

Coccinellidae, or the humble Lady Bug as most of us would say. Definitely not micro, but definitely small. One of nature’s equalizers, it feeds on aphids, and therefore helps the market gardener, the floriculture industry, and the home gardener. Small but critical to the balance of nature.

Humans are not micro either, but we are the species that has an impact on the environment beyond our size. The creatures bigger than us have less impact on the environment. We are not particularly good at keeping a balance in nature, in fact, since the eighteenth century, humanity has pushed nature hard. I’m quite certain that if the Northern White Rhino had been crucial to agriculture or market gardening, or if the rhino could produce honey, or tea tree oil, it would still be with us. But, if we can’t save the rhino, what can we save? Or, more pointedly, what are we willing to save?

The way I see it, our carbon foot-print has to become micro in order to create a balance in nature that will enable all life forms to co-exist naturally. It’s not all doom and gloom though. There is some excellent work being done in alternative agricultural and horticultural practices, and in manufacturing too. The use of technology to resize and reorder how industry and commerce work (drones, micro-computers), where machinery cannot be decreased in size, it is streamlined and made more efficient. The attention to urban planning and using density as an option is (though hotly disputed by some academics) working well in cities like Melbourne (and, as yet, on a small scale). It seems we are coming to grips in some areas with the largess of our

The Lady Bug doesn’t just live for itself, it lives in a critical relationship with its predators and with its food sources as a predator. The Lady Bug is a great natural example (among many) for us, to live in a balanced, reciprocal, relationships. That sort of harmony is sacrificial, and if we want to live well, and if we want nature to survive, then we need to adopt the give and take of the Lady Bug, and the principle of sacrifice.

Paul,

pvcann.com

3 Comments

Filed under environment, farming, life, mindfulness, nature, Uncategorized

The Efficient Inefficient

via Daily Prompt: Inefficient

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I think there are different types or contexts for inefficiency. I get worried about any inefficiency around protecting the environment. Protecting water, soil, air, all life forms are for me, absolutely vital. I get annoyed when I see leaking garden reticulation, those who flaunt the water restrictions, those who ignore recycling, the use of plastic, and so on.

I think too, that government agencies are amazingly inefficient, but that is not always unhelpful 😀

But in a sense, efficiency is a construct. If efficiency is about cutting waste that endangers life then I’m all for it. But, if efficiency is about productivity and profit, then no, I’m not too concerned. Capitalism drives economic efficiency, well, a type of economic efficiency, and one I’d prefer not to be too enmeshed with. If you go back to the works of Charles Dickens, you discover a world of cruel and base living in order to survive the machine that is economics, the drive to produce more and produce more efficiently. And, has anything changed since Dickens’ time? This form of economics has sucked the life out of our planet, it has weakened our politicians who have no resolve to confront the power of production, it has duped us into brand lust, and it has lied to us about the benefits. It is our addiction. So, the idea of efficiency for the sake of money – especially someone else’s money, which in fact becomes environmentally inefficient, is not attractive to me.

But in capitalism there is also a brutal twist, it becomes efficiency at the expense of life. Productivity becomes life threatening. Tar sands, the destruction of fracking, oil spills, pipelines burst, trees lost, water lost, homes lost … if you have a strong stomach then follow this link to watch the controversial commercial (banned from cinemas in the UK) from 2011 about Conflict Minerals in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The commercial, which is aptly called “Unwatchable”, is rated 18+, it is violent, unpleasant, and disturbing, but that’s why they made it – to confront us with our culpability in the conflict and forced labour in the DRC. There is still a petition available to sign with it –  Unwatchable

When I think of inefficient, I connect very strongly with what writer Brenda Ueland says in the quote above. It says to me, very clearly, that efficiency/productivity is not advantageous, it stifles our thought, our creativity, our imagination. I’ve had a few superiors in my working life who have been wise, and have urged that it is better if I have times where I am less productive, but am more mindful, more imaginative. I know that if my life is too full, I am creatively stifled. Equally, if there is no balance in my life, I become unhealthy, body, mind and soul. I am less mindful, and just driven. Those around me can testify to the ugly nature of that. Then I become inefficient in health, in relationships, in work, in creativity.

For me life is not about perfection, efficiency, productivity. They are often based on external forces, expectations, learned behaviour, dependency, drivenness, greed … For me, life is about taking time, awareness, noticing, attending, loving, imagining, and sharing compassion – if I am to be efficient, I want to be efficient and productive in those positives for the good of all. Imagine if we were all efficient in that way, it could just change the world. In short, I want to be the efficient inefficient!

Paul,

pvcann.com

16 Comments

Filed under community, creativity, Economics, environment, history, life, mindfulness, nature, politics, self-development

Nature As Talisman

via Daily Prompt: Talisman

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When I was in primary school one boy created a bit of discussion one day because he brought along a rabbits foot, and he explained that this was his lucky charm. I was bemused. I never had one, though I had some favourite things that were sentimental and had I lost them I would have felt out of kilter, but no talisman as such.

I have a book that belonged to my great uncle Davey who died near Arnhem, Netherlands, during WW2, it is somehow a connection to the past. It is a large book, written for adults but yet fits the description ‘ripping yarns’ a bit like the ‘Biggles’ stories for those who knew them. I had a fave knitted red t-shirt that I’d had for years, it had holes in it, fibreglass stains and etc. I still had it when I got married. Lyn threw it out while I was at work one day! We now ask before disposing 😂 I still have a bedside lamp that was modelled on the story and cartoon character ‘Noddy’, I might repair it one day, it’s sentimental. But really, if these were taken from me, I’d grieve a bit, but eventually I’d not miss them, after all they are merely material.

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The labyrinth is for me a practice of meditation, but it is also a symbol of life, reflection and journey. It comes closest to talisman, as I would miss this if it were taken from me, it is important to my rhythm and balance, it is life giving.

But even more than that, the photo at the top, which shows a segment of Billyacatting Nature Reserve near Nungarin, was a regular haunt when I needed to meditate and take time out from long days of driving vast distances. Why is this a talisman? Well, because for me it is life giving and healing. I find natural spaces enable wholeness and awareness more readily than built environs. I come alive in the bush in ways I don’t or can’t in urban spaces. I’m certain I would go on living if I lived in a major city, one like Beijing or Tokyo, LA, London etc., but I wouldn’t thrive, I’d merely survive in such places. But give me the bush and time to walk it, soak it up, commune, meditate, and engage with it, and I am revived, refreshed, and whole. The bird song, the smell of the earth, the blossoms, eucalyptus and other smells, the visual feast, for me the bush, and all that constitutes it, is my Talisman.

What’s your talisman?

Paul,

pvcann.com

19 Comments

Filed under bush walking, Country, environment, labyrinth, life, meditation, mindfulness, nature, Spirituality

Wrinkle

via Daily Prompt: Wrinkle

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A rock face along one side of Kings Canyon. Wrinkled, weathered sandstone. The cause? Rain, wind and sun. Not unlike skin weathering from the same sources. In the millennia past it was moving water, a river or two, a lake, that weathered these rocks in the Katarrka National Park.

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And from the same section, rippled sandstone reflecting the movement of wind and water across the surface of the rock.

In high school I had an art teacher who decided to show us the power of water. He rigged up a large plastic bottle and placed opal in it, and hooked up a belt and motor to turn the bottle, which also had sand and water in it. Over a year there was some change in the rock, it was smoother, the water and sand had begun to have an affect. Which reminds me of a Japanese saying: “In the struggle between the stone and water, in time the water wins.” But the rock is not destroyed, it is transformed, Transformed in to sand, pebbles, and rocks.

Our bodies take a hammering from the elements, just like the rock. I like to think that our bodies are well worn rock, where the rock has begun to smooth off and yet not lose its strength or character. In fact, as we age, I think we gain more strength and character. In this way rock and water are in parnership, and change results. Our wrinkles, both the outward and the inner ones, are the result of the forces of wear and pressure, they reflect a life lived. It’s the inner ones, the psychological scars that last the longest, and take time to be transfomed, but they are as and when we let our inner self be exposed to the forces of transformation.

Paul,

pvcann.com

 

14 Comments

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

Thought Provoking

via Daily Prompt: Provoke

If you haven’t seen the 2001 movie ‘Samsara’ it is a definite must, for me it has been a thought provoking movie. Don’t confuse it with the doco Samsara of 2012 from the makers of Baraka (a feast for the eyes), or a TV series of that name. This is a simple trailer, but you can find the full movie on Youtube (with subtitles).

The movie title ‘Samsara’ has a particular meaning in Buddhism. It refers to the endless cylcle of birth, death and rebirth, or put plainly – the life of suffering and dissatisfaction (dukka). The movie takes up this theme of suffering and dissatisfaction through the eyes and life of a Buddhist monk called Tashi. Tashi is awakened from a three year solitary meditation period in the mountains, he is now considered an enlightened being. When he returns to the monastery he finds his sexual urges awakening too, and he eventually leaves and marries Pema and runs a farm. But following an infidelity, and news of the death of his monastic mentor, Tashi is wracked by guilt, and eventually decides to leave Pema and his son Karma and return to the monastry. The movie is powerfully emotive, and is both a love story and a spiritual story. If you want to you can stay on the surface with Samsara, but you can also go deeper. Samsara delves into some key issues of life, love. sex, relationship, spirituality, fidelity, and integrity. It is in fact both a sad movie, and one that moves you and offers hope. It carries the message of the need to be careful in discerning one’s path in life, and that self is not always the best reference point in discerning our path.

One of the most thought provoking moments (among many) is the ending, where Tashi encounters a quote on a stone: “How can one prevent a drop of water from ever drying up?” to which the answer is given as: “By throwing it into the sea.” This is taken as a sign that he is drying up and needs to be back in the sea of the monastery. The overall theme is that life in the monstery life is not perfect, but there is more suffering in engaging the life beyond the monastery than inside it. It also speaks very clearly to me that one’s vocational path can become weary, but the grass is not always greener in other places or roles. In one sense, if you’re looking for a happy ending the movie doesn’t resolve well, and yet, if you look deeply into it, it does resolve well because everyone returns to what they believe they are called to be doing. However, the movie dies not condemn nor judge Tashi, but simply observes his choices.

For me the movie speaks strongly of choices yet of discerning the right pathway and being authentic to that pathway (dhamma). Other traditions would talk about sowing and reaping, or – what goes around comes around, or further still – be careful what you wish/pray for. It moved me deeply, I found it hard to rejoin the world for a time after the movie had finished, such was its impact on me. For me it invites the question of – what sea should I be thrown into in order that I not dry up?

Paul,

pvcann.com

12 Comments

Filed under community, environment, history, life, love, meditation, mindfulness, Philosophy/Theology, Spirituality