Be

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In Hindi, the words Vasudhaiva Kutumbam mean “Earth Family,” the democracy of all life.

(Quoted from Vandana Shiva’s Restoring the Earth in David Suzuki’s 1997 book, The Sacred Balance.) I thought of using Earth Family as a title for the poem, but reduced it to “Be.” For more on Vandana Shiva see the end of this post.

How to live? How to be?

I wrote lines one and three of the above haiku on a plane, after making notes on Suzuki’s book. The sky just before sunset on October 18th was spectacular looking West in the late afternoon from the Caribbean Airlines plane bringing us back from a family funeral.

By flying return to Trinidad, about 4055 km (2535 miles) one way, the two of us together “caused” about  5 tonnes of carbon dioxide to be released into the atmosphere. 2.5 tonnes each. That’s enough CO2 to grow about 23, 500 tonnes of potatoes – if that helps you understand the impact that modern travel has on global warming and highlight the difficult ethical choices which, if not faced right now, will produce  much global suffering in the not too distant future. It will take some fortunate gardener working for a long while to turn that amount of gas into potatoes. These CO2 numbers are based on information from www.deliveringdata.com.

Something about turning 70 today makes me reflect more intensely on big issues.Thinking about the world I’m leaving for my grandchildren – not that I’m planning to resign anytime soon…

As promised, I have done more thinking about Décroissance. It is definitely going to be a while as I grow in awareness and commitment. But here goes:

Continue reading “Be”

Footprints

Footprints

Quite often, while walking in “Our Woods,” I get a little frustrated at seeing such a large number of geese on the two small, human-made lakes (converted from three human-made quarry holes) in the housing development near our bigger than needed two-storey house.  Often I have to focus on the path to avoid collecting goose poop on my hiking shoes. I might grumble, “What pests they are!” under my breath.

The other day I thought a little more deeply about it and realized who the real pests are on this planet.

Really, who are we humans to look down on other species as “pests.” I should know better. I get mailings from Greenpeace. We smarty-pants bipeds are pretty serious pests. In fact, the word pests is a euphemism when used to define Homo sapiens.

I get regular confirmation of our thoughtless pestiness on my regular walks through “Our Woods.” The above photo was taken today from the bridge across the brook that flows through the woods: a large, retired jack-o-lantern that someone thought would look cool smashed onto the stones. I have witnessed many much dumber examples, the dumbest being reported in this earlier post from May 2012.

Today’s comparatively minor incident reminded me of my goose poop reflection of a few days ago. The 20-odd straggler-gagglers that remain, but for our thoughtlessness, might have honked south with their friends weeks ago. Kind-hearted, not-too-deep humans like to feed them bread – probably not even whole-wheat or twelve-grain…  I saw someone feeding the Mallards and Canada Geese by the shore only today, and my mind immediately thought of… well… Peking Duck. I wiped the dripping saliva from my jaw.

‘Nuff said. Here are a few more photos taken recently: