Category Archives: nature

Fightback

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Photo of London, BBC, news.bbcimg.co.uk

I’ve already referenced the environmental ethics group in Ecuador. But more recently, I’m heartened by the action of a group of lawyers known as Client Earth  https://clientearth.org

Well, Client Earth have had their third victory in court against the UK Govt. in three years in relation to illegal levels of air pollution. A stunning achievement, and hopefully more to come. It is wonderful to have such a boundary rider active in a world where governments are captive/vulnerable to business and political interests that could not care less.

Paul,

pvcann.com

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Conversant With Nature?

via Daily Prompt: Conversant

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One of my favourite places, the main beach at Augusta, clean, pristine, and great for everyone. There are dune protection programs, a series of specified paths, signs about protecting the Sand Pipers who breed there, and also for the possums too. The State govt recently imposed a ban on plastic shopping bags, and the community are supportive of that goal. The problems are few here, mainly the threat of bushfire, or the one or two people who flout the accepted behaviour for using the beach, river, or the forest trails.

I may not be fully conversant with all things environmental science, but I do feel conversant with nature, for me there is a sentience, a relationship with all beings. The result of that sense of relationship is more than just awe for nature, I have a respect for and desire to engage with nature. The interdependent relationships we survive with and thrive on are finely balanced and require care and attention. Any loss is more than just regrettable, it is permanently damaging, and in some cases, cataclysmic. Plastic islands in the ocean, plastic sand (grains of plastic) in the Mediterranean, marine and terrestrial creatures bound or damaged by fabrics, salinity, air pollution, and more, are a major concern.

As we continue to battle human rights and have made sweeping changes in some areas of human rights, it seems that we are not yet conversant with the rights and needs of nature across the world. Time is short, and nature needs us to be conversant with its needs now and its future. The irony is, the UN are in dialogue over space law, especially the treatment of the Mars environ by the Mars One team, yet we haven’t really ironed out a binding agreement on earth that gives nature a voice of its own. Ecuador has already stepped up (in 2014) and shown the way: “We the people assume the authority to conduct and Ethics Tribunal for the Rights of Nature. We will investigate cases of environmental destruction, which violate the rights of nature.” (Prosecutor for the Earth at the first International Rights of Nature Tribunal in Quito, Ecuador, January 2014). A sign of hope.

Paul,

pvcann.com

 

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Filed under beach, bush walking, community, Country, environment, life, nature, Restorative Justice, Science

Turn To Stone

via Daily Prompt: Encrusted

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The well known Augusta water wheel, originally timber, built in the 1800s to provide water for the town and the lighthouse, now encrusted in calcite. A metaphor. If we cease to engage realtionally with others, with nature, with what matters, we risk becoming encrusted with hardness, weariness, compassion fatigue, creative dryness, and we seize up, ever hardening, never moving or growing. A heart that hardens ceases to love, and becomes encrusted with oughts (commonly referred to as a hardening of the “oughteries”), don’ts, must nots, and the bargaining of a negative mindset. What starts as protection of the self, becomes a coffin of stone that constricts. When I see that wheel, I want to chip away the calcite, to release the wheel and let it turn once again. I want to do that for those whose hearts have calcified too, but most of all I want to ensure I’m freeing my own. Only love chips away the stone of a hard heart.

Paul,

pvcann.com

 

 

 

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Filed under beach, bush walking, history, life, mindfulness, nature, Philosophy/Theology, psychology, self-development

Go Minimal – Simplify

via Daily Prompt: Simplify

By way of mindful living, simplicity and minimalism have become bywords of a groundswell across the world to downsize and jettison clutter and unused material things. It seems to me that we are creatures of acquisition, we have to have stuff, but in the end it becomes dissatisfying, and we feel an urge to get rid of stuff, to downsize, simplify, minimalise.

In the 1970s came the BBC TV series ‘The Good Life’ a rollicking comedy, but with a serious undertone, that captivated many, and has inspired several generations to attempt a little of what they modelled. It’s a great story about Tom and Babara Good – Tom quits what he experiences as a meaningless job, and they put their middle class life behind them to live self sufficiently. It fed into permaculture, backyard farming and whole range of styles.

In the 90s Sarah Ban Breathnach published the beginning of a series of books called simple abundance. It was part of a worldwide movement at the time to downsize and take time. It wasn’t so much about self sufficiency as simplifying life. The movement was criticised as being popular among the wealthy who could afford to buy land in rural areas and drop out part time. For some, ironically,  it proved to be expensive to live simply.

In more recent years there has been a plethora of movements and leaders in the art of simplifying life.

The Minimalist Guys (https://www.theminimalists.com/game/ )  would be well known I’m sure. Their trademark is the the 30 Day Challenge. It’s game of throwing out (well giving away, donating, selling, etc.) what you are not using. The number items you throw out corresponds to the numerical value of the days in the month. So, Day one, throw out one item, Day two, throw out two items. By the time you get to Day thirty – thirty items (some friends of mine chose make that the day to toss out old mugs and cups), so a real challenge. There are many others now advocating the simple life, and with refreshing ideas on how to do it, like Lorilee Lippincott at https://lovingsimpleliving.com or the collective at www.anunclutteredlife.com .

Another way is the Small or Tiny House movement across several nations.

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It is very slowly catching on in some shires in Australia, but some shires are resisting or refusing to engage with this. Ironically, one of the issues is the cost in scaling down products for a small home. Some are on wheels, which gets around some regulations in various shires, as these are deemed moveable and impermanent. Local government can be weird about progress (but I’ll leave that for a rant later).

For many, these movements can be about gaining perspective, order, peace, and a mindful lifestyle. To undertake any of these simplifying ways helps the environment by reducing our carbon footprint, and the sheer materiality of our lives. Simplifying is a body, mind, soul, nature experience. I can’t argue with it, I believe we’re over-sized on every level as it is. It’s very hard to let go of stuff, but let go we must for the sake of ourselves, each other, and nature too.

Paul,

pvcann.com

 

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Filed under environment, life, mindfulness, minimalism, nature, permaculture, Spirituality

Tend

via Daily Prompt: Tend

In the world around me the feedback loop is consistent: “I’m stressed, I’m frazzled, I’m bogged down in work, I can’t see a way through, I’m worried.” Anxiety, according to a multiplicity of studies across the western nations, is on the rise, and across age groups. I have friends who are afraid to take time off work for legitimate reasons lest they lose their job (which is unlikely), while other friends are reluctant to address work issues – they don’t want to rock the boat, they don’t want to risk their reputation, they don’t even stand up for themselves let alone other people. It’s almost like we’ve become servile, frightened people. In looking at it from a different perspective, people are overloaded and weighed down by work, responsibilities, and relationship difficulties.

Perhaps I sound simplistic, but my concern is that we don’t tend ourselves enough! Or, perhaps more accurately, we don’t tend to ourselves appropriately. We read about mindfulness, contemplative lifestyles, minimal living, self-care, but when do we actually put it into practice? My concern is that mindfulness is currently the most written about topic and yet is the least practiced way. Sure, we might go to yoga now and again, take the odd walk, meditate periodically, take the occasional break, but we are inconsistent, and lacking commitment to go the distance (which in fact equates to lack of commitment to self). And we suffer for it, we live in an imbalance.

Without mindfulness we are more vulnerable to the ills we read about, depression, anxiety, lack of self-worth and so on. Mindfulness is not a cure all, but if approached and lived in conjunction with healthy living and a balanced diet, then it is going to make a positive contribution to our overall health. Which is a reminder that there is no one way or silver bullet solution, we need a balanced life to survive.

Tending self is about taking breaks, going on holidays, exercising, spending quality time with family and friends, meditating, reflecting, and just getting down to being. Tending self is not about a singualr focus on the self, it is really a focus on relationships (which means a relationship with nature too) and health. Is it selfish to tend to self – well yes, but in a positive way. The word selfish has had some really bad press over the years, but to be selfish is to really look after oneself, not to exclusively self-indulge, but to care for oneself as one has need. If we are to flourish we need to nurture ourselves. Sometimes I think we need to be a little more selfish and tend to self, only then can we tend to others and the world.

A Senryu

Toast while driving
narrowly missing the turn
late for mindfulness

©Paul

pvcann.com

 

 

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Filed under community, life, meditation, mindfulness, nature, Senryu, Spirituality

“All God’s Creatures Got A Place In The Choir”

via Daily Prompt: Creature

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Folk singer/songwriter Bill Staines wrote “All God’s Creatures Got a Place in the Choir.” I love the song because it’s theme is a plea to value all living things, all animals, insects, birds, and so on. We all have our place, and we all have purpose, and we all have true value.

The photo is of a Black Cockatoo. Of the five species of Black Cockatoos – Baudins, Carnaby’s, South-Eastern Red, and the Kangaroo Island Glossy, are all on the endagngered list. Only the Yellow Tailed is not endangered. I shouldn’t have to write that anything is on the endangered species list, let alone four of the five species of Black Cockatoo. The main threat to the birds is habitat loss. They nest in the hollows of older trees, and land clearing has deeply affected them. They are long living (50 yrs in the wild), the females lay and nurture one egg, and the chick takes up to three months before taking flight. So they’re not in a hurry nor are they prolific breeders, which makes them vulnerable.

State depts responsible for wildlife are taking action to prevent loss, and the WWF (in conjunction with Birds Australia) are working to educate and prevent loss. So it is not all bleak, but much more needs to be done. They are unique to Australia, and they are beautiful creatures in their own right.

I know the answer, but I find myself often asking “How did we ever let it get to this?” We need to turn the tide everywhere of every endangered species. They’re all in the choir!

A Place In The Choir

Paul,

pvcann.com

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