Nature’s Relationships : Fire Is A Connecting Force

 

Fire, to we humans, is a paradox. It is both friend and foe

 

We need  fire, yet it can destroy us. In Nature, fire is a positive force. Fire is an important part of forest and grassland ecology. It is a force in Nature that provides new and restored connections. Paradoxically, the destructive nature of fire is its great strength. Fire is a transformational force that Nature requires in order to bring health to ecosystems. This lesson was learned by humans only in recent times.

 

 

Forest fires have the following benefits:

  • Clear out dead branches and leaves
  • Some plants seeds only germinate after a fire
  • New growth is low to the ground and accessible to animals for food
  • Dead trees are removed
  • The burned areas are suitable for new species of animals
  • Minerals are returned to the soil. When the fire burns the organic material in the forest, nutrient rich ash is left behind.  When the first rain comes, the nutrients in the ash dissolve into the soil for the new plants to use.  This process is called nutrient recycling.  These nutrients left in the soil are a good source of food for the young plants that will begin to grow back.

Campaigns in the United States have historically molded public opinion to believe that wildfires are always harmful to Nature. This view is based on the erroneous belief that ecosystems progress toward an equilibrium and that any disturbance, such as fire, disrupts the harmony of nature. More recent ecological research has shown, however, that fire is an integral component in the function and biodiversity of many natural habitats, and that the organisms within these communities have adapted to withstand, and even to exploit, natural wildfire. More generally, fire is now regarded as a ‘natural disturbance’, similar to flooding, wind-storms, and landslides, that has driven the evolution of species and controls the characteristics of ecosystems.

Fire prevention and suppression in forests and grasslands was started to protect the timber and cattle industries as well as human property. It was also believed that by suppressing fires, man ensured a healthy future for the forest or grassland. But, these ideas were proven to be wrong. Fire suppression was misunderstood. The effect of human fire suppression over many years resulted in a high density of trees and ground cover in forests and grasslands. In turn, this high density caused far more destructive fires when they did occur.

Science that has revealed important and intricate connections between fire and Nature’s ecosystems

However, the benefits of occasional fires became understood. Fire ecology is a recent science that is devoted to the study of fire in forests and grasslands. It is a science that has revealed important and intricate connections in Nature within forest and grassland ecosystems. One consideration has been the connection of humans. While humanity demands protection from fire damage, forests and grasslands need fire. One way to balance these seemingly opposite needs is to employ human initiated controlled burning. There is not yet a consensus on the wisdom of this approach to balancing the needs of man with the needs of other ecosystems. The key, of course, is to understand the effects of any action on the vital connections that sustain healthy ecosystems.

As homes are built closer and closer to national parks, grasslands, and forests, fire suppression becomes an important issue for the citizens of the region. All of the agencies involved have tried to balance fire suppression with fire management, frequently with controlled fires

As scientists gathered more information on the effects of fire on forest and grassland ecosystems, they learned that fire exclusion might not be a healthy choice for forests and grasslands. Today it is known that fire exclusion causes thick vegetation and large amounts of dead fallen materials.  The heavy vegetation and dead material increase the fuel quantity on the forest floor and may cause fires to ignite more easily.  When a fire does begin on the thickly covered floor,  the blaze burns at a much higher intensity causing more damage to the forest ecosystem. Not only does fire exclusion cause an accumulation of thick vegetation on the forest floor, but also causes an increased density of smaller trees.  When fire does occur, these small trees guide the raging fire from the forest floor to the crown of the older trees causing a crown fire. Instead of burning slowly and low to the ground, fires burned hot and high in the crowns of the trees and travel quickly from tree to tree,  These fires are more difficult to contain once started.

Fires, both natural and human-caused, are important in maintaining grasslands. Ancient hunting peoples set regular fires to maintain and extend grasslands, and prevent fire-intolerant trees and shrubs from taking over. Grasses are able to survive fires because they grow from the bottom instead of the top. The occasional fires common in grasslands keep the number of trees and shrubs there low.  Grass fires destroys trees and saplings because most of their mass is above ground and therefore vulnerable to fire.  But grasses have most of their mass below ground, which helps them survive in periods of rainfall. Fires thereby remove species that compete with grasses for resources. Another benefit of fires is that they burn away the layer of dead grass that accumulates during the year, converting it to valuable nutrients.  The nutrients act as fertilizer, giving grasslands a deep fertile soil held in place by grass roots.  Heat from fires also aids the germination of many grass seeds.

Many ecosystems, particularly prairie,savanna, chaparral and conifer forests have evolved with fire as a natural and necessary contributor to habitat vitality and renewal. Many plant species in naturally fire-affected environments require fire to germinate, to establish, or to reproduce, or all three. Fire suppression not only eliminates these species, but also the animals that depend upon them. Finally, fire suppression can lead to the build-up of inflammable debris and the creation of less frequent but much larger and destructive wildfires.

So why not just let things burn?

The fact is that fire is inconvenient to the human race. Fire can cause structure loss. This begs the question regarding the balance between human needs and the needs of Nature.

This essay has focused on fire from the perspective of Nature. Marcia Penner Freedman, a resident of a forest in California where fire is a regular companion, gives us some human perspective in her article in the Fresno Bee “We Choose To Live With Certainty Of Fire” 

 

Why Do I Write These Essays?

Nothing in Nature exists in isolation. The movement of life’s energy, which originates in the sun, takes place because everything is interconnected and interdependent. Your consciousness of interdependence in Nature means that, every time you engage Nature, you ask yourself how a creature, a plant, yourself, or a natural object is connected to another and to Nature’s greater scheme of things. With this awareness you are prepared to protect Nature’s environment that sustains you. And, you create your legacy by encouraging others to do likewise.

 

If, after reading my essays, you find yourself embracing these ideas, I am thrilled in knowing that I’ve played some small part in setting this world view in motion in your mind.

 

Please Comment and Subscribe

I invite you to subscribe to my newsletter using the sign-up form provided at the upper right corner of this web page. As a subscriber you will receive regular email announcements of new essays that I publish or popular essays that i have previously published. In these essays you will have the opportunity to share comments and ideas about a topic. Your security is important to me. Please know that your email address is never distributed to anyone.

 

You are strongly encouraged to become one of my 11,000+ followers on Twitter. My Twitter ID is @ballenamar . With Twitter, in addition to receiving daily Tweets that announce my essays, you will see when I retweet something that I read and that I think is important.

 

Nature’s Relationships : What Is Life ?

What Is Life ?

 

 

If we could surrender to Earth’s intelligence, we would rise up rooted—like trees.”

~ Rainier Maria Rilke

 

What Is Life ? This is a question with many answers. A dictionary might tell us that life is a distinctive characteristic of a living organism that has he capacity to grow, metabolize, respond to stimuli, adapt, and reproduce. But, defining life requires a greater depth if we are to understand how Nature operates.

 

We can define living things by their structure:

  • Living Things are Composed of Cells
  • Living Things Have Different Levels of Organization
  • Living Things Are A Network of Systems

 

Or, we could define living things in terms of energy:

  • Living Things Transport and Transform Energy
  • Living Things Respond To Their Environment
  • Living Things Grow
  • Living Things Reproduce
  • Living Things Adapt To Their Environment

 

We can say that the essence of life is a process:

All life processes intermingle and are somehow dependent upon each other. Everything within Nature is interconnected and interdependent. More than mere interconnectedness, interdependence refers to the tendency of all life on Earth to be fundamentally linked and mutually dependent upon each other. Interdependence is a defining feature of all of Nature and Her ecosystems. Animals depend on plants for the production of oxygen, while plants absorb the carbon dioxide released by animals. Bees, butterflies, and birds assist in pollination and seed dispersal, enabling the reproduction of a multitude of plant species on which other organisms depend for food and shelter. And, of course, Earth’s connectedness with the sun’s energy is of primary importance because solar energy drives all life.

 

Life is a living system:

We can see that humans are also interconnected to and interdependent with Nature. Nonetheless, humanity fails to embrace the idea that every living thing on earth, including humans, is inextricably interconnected to every other living being. This refusal by humanity to accept our interdependence with Nature is a basic reason why the effects of human overpopulation and over-consumption exist.

 

Life is a collection of systems:

We will never understand life and we will be unable to resolve our population crisis until we recognize that life is a collection of systems. While we may not realize it, we encounter and connect with systems every moment of our lives. Our bodies are a large collection of interconnected, self-maintaining systems. Every person we meet, every organization we work with, every animal, every tree, and every ecosystem is a system.

 

Life is a continuum:

The endless complexity of life is organized into patterns which repeat themselves as they energize each hierarchical level of an ecosystem.  From the ceaseless streaming of protoplasm to the many-vectored activities of supranational systems, there are continuous flows through living systems as they maintain their highly organized steady states.

 

We humans need to embrace a systems view of life:

It is important to recognize that we need to understand systems and the systems view of life because systems are the networks by which life’s vital energy is transported and transformed. A thorough understanding of Nature’s living systems, as well as energy flow within these systems, is key to the development of conservation programs by human beings. When a conservation program developed by humans proves ineffective, it is usually because there was insufficient comprehension of living systems and Nature’s energy flow within these systems.

 

Why Do I Write These Essays?

Nothing in Nature exists in isolation. The movement of life’s energy, which originates in the sun, takes place because everything is interconnected and interdependent. Your consciousness of interdependence in Nature means that, every time you engage Nature, you ask yourself how a creature, a plant, yourself, or a natural object is connected to another and to Nature’s greater scheme of things. With this awareness you are prepared to protect Nature’s environment that sustains you. And, you create your legacy by encouraging others to do likewise.

 

If, after reading my essays, you find yourself embracing these ideas, I am thrilled in knowing that I’ve played some small part in setting this world view in motion in your mind.

 

Please Comment and Subscribe

I invite you to subscribe to my newsletter using the sign-up form provided at the upper right corner of this web page. As a subscriber you will receive regular email announcements of new essays that I publish or popular essays that i have previously published. In these essays you will have the opportunity to share comments and ideas about a topic. Your security is important to me. Please know that your email address is never distributed to anyone.

 

You are strongly encouraged to become one of my 11,000+ followers on Twitter. My Twitter ID is @ballenamar . With Twitter, in addition to receiving daily Tweets that announce my essays, you will see when I retweet something that I read and that I think is important.

 

 

Great Conservation Stories

 There are many silent conservation heroes who are making a difference

 

In between the government endorsed wolf killings and the negative environmental impact of off-road ATVs, there are many silent conservation heroes who are making a difference and setting examples for the rest of us.

 

As I do research for my blog posts, it is becoming increasingly clear to me that all is not gloom and doom in the world of conservation. Despite the wolf killings and the ATVs, there are many silent heroes who are making a difference and setting examples for the rest of us. I’ve already noted examples of positive conservation in previous posts. Rachel Carson, is probably the most well known conservation hero. But today, there are many silent and unsung heroes.  In this post, I offer some examples that offer hope and encouragement to those of us who are sometimes overwhelmed by a sea of discouragement.

 

Some of my conservation heroes are readers of this blog. A number of you, professionals in various fields of endeavor, have reached out to mentor me and encourage me as I write on various subjects. To those of you who are by my side, I am deeply grateful. Your efforts have resulted in a significant improvement in the material offered in this blog and on Twitter. Through your help, you have provided important information to a growing audience of readers and followers.

 

Non-lethal predator control really works

 

As many of you know, I’m a big fan of passive restoration where we let Nature do her own thing. In previous posts, I’ve been outspoken against the idea of killing wolves and other top predators either as a convenience to ranchers and farmers or by hunters who want a trophy. But, beneath the emotional rhetoric put out by the agricultural industry and hunting advocates, there are groups of conservation heroes who have emerged with successful stories about how ranching interests can be protected while preserving the top predators.

I begin by praising Yellowstone National Park for their reintroduction of the wolf as well as biologists Bill Ripple and Bob Bechta for developing the scientific evidence at Yellowstone that the great carnivores are revitalizing forces of Nature. Their work is chronicled in the wonderful video, Lords of Nature. From this work came the realization that these creatures are an important part of  Nature’s ecosystems. They warrant non-lethal human measures to protect top predators while protecting livestock.

Some ranches are having great success using range riders to protect their livestock. Take a moment to read this story about the success of using range riders to protect livestock from top predators. In part, the article states:

“Well, the cows did finally come home last fall—every last one of them, with no losses to wolves or, for that matter, any other predator. After weighing the cattle, the Dawsons were proud to report some of the best weight gain they could remember after any grazing season on their allotments.”

Here is another story from the White Mountains of Arizona where volunteers help manage the reintroduction of the Mexican Gray Wolf. The article reports:

In 2000, commissioners in Marin County, Calf., developed a comprehensive non-lethal predator management program. Of the 29 ranches operating in Marin, 18 set aside lethal methods. Instead, they used a combination of 22 guard dogs, 19 llamas, 24.6 miles of electric fencing, 16 strobe light and radio devices, and a number of sheep bells. The cost was $40,000 a year. Over five years, County Agricultural Commissioner Stacy Carlsen reports that the non-lethal strategies did a better job protecting livestock than Wildlife Services’ lethal methods: an average annual livestock loss of 2.2 percent [using non-lethal methods] versus more than five percent [ when Wildlife Services is killing wolves].

 

Building Wildlife Bridges

 

The uncontrolled growth of the human population, and humanity’s use of land without consideration for other species has resulted in highly fragmented ecosystems. The result is the “corralling” of once free-roaming animal populations. Even our public lands do not usually provide for animal migration corridors. There has been a growing effort by some conservation heroes to correct this problem. All over the world, we are seeing the construction of wildlife bridges that provide pathways for animal groups to roam from one sector of land to another.

One example is the construction of a number of wildlife bridges  on  interstate highway I-90 in the Cascade Mountains of Washington state in the United States.

 

Reintroducing Nature’s Engineers

 

At one time, humanity regarded the Beaver as a pest because it’s dams destroyed or altered mankind’s designs for the flow of water. The Beaver’s pelt was highly prized. Consequently, without the Beaver, many riparian ecosystems sustained damaging change.

The San Pedro River that runs south to north from Cananea, Sonora, Mexico to the Gila River in Northern Arizona suffered damage and change to its ecosystem as the Beaver population was decimated by mankind. The happy ending to this story is the reintroduction of the Beaver by the US Bureau of Land Management. 

 

Saving The Turtles

 

I’ve experienced conservation heroics in my own back yard. I recently wrote about the volunteer groups of local residents and visitors who rescue newly hatched Olive Ridley sea turtles on beaches along the shores of the Sea of Cortez near San Carlos, Sonora, Mexico.

In order to survive, these babies must walk from the dunes that line the beach to the water line where they enter the sea. Their hazards during their walk are the desiccating heat of the sun and aerial predators such as vultures and gulls.

Despite the fact that this beach is a protected reserve where there are signs in English and Spanish prohibiting ATV activity, the ATVs are driven up and down the beaches endangering human beings and leaving deep ruts in the sand. These ruts, which run parallel to the waterline, prevent the newly hatched turtles from getting to the water from where they hatched.  The baby turtles are caught in the ruts and are forced to move parallel to the beach rather than to the water. The result is death from predators or from the heat of the sun. Our caring heroes create pathways so that the little guys can walk to the water and avoid certain death.

Working with government biologists and other professionals, our conservation heroes have received training and have organized themselves to patrol the beaches looking for new turtle nests and hatching activity. When a nest is discovered, it is protected with markers, stakes, tape, and signs. The volunteers also provide environmental education to people who are walking the beach. We believe that environmental education is a more powerful conservation tool than police officers.

 

Young People Providing Environmental Education

 

There is one group of conservation heroes with whom I am very proud to be associated. This group of high school students in Guaymas, Sonora, Mexico offer conservation education activities to elementary school students throughout the community. The idea of developing a conservation consciousness in our young people is the primary goal of this group. These programs are offered outdoors where primary and secondary students can experience Nature while developing a consciousness for Her protection.

I’ve written about these heroes in a previous post. As of this writing, the program has been operating for five successful years.   It is a privilege for me to work with this young and energetic conservation team.  Here are some pictures of this group at work.

 

Annual Lists of Conservation Heroes

 

You might be interested in Cox Corporation’s web site where annual lists of conservation heroes are presented.

 

Why Do I Write These Essays?

Nothing in Nature exists in isolation. The movement of life’s energy, which originates in the sun, takes place because everything is interconnected and interdependent. Your consciousness of interdependence in Nature means that, every time you engage Nature, you ask yourself how a creature, a plant, yourself, or a natural object is connected to another and to Nature’s greater scheme of things. With this awareness you are prepared to protect Nature’s environment that sustains you. And, you create your legacy by encouraging others to do likewise.

 

If, after reading my essays, you find yourself embracing these ideas, I am thrilled in knowing that I’ve played some small part in setting this world view in motion in your mind.

 

Please Comment and Subscribe

Thanks for reading this essay.

It is always a happy event for me when I write about conservation successes such as the examples I’ve noted in this blog.  There are plenty more great stories to be told about our conservation heroes. I would be honored if you would take the time to share your conservation success stories in the comments section of this essay. You are also invited to write a guest essay on some positive conservation event or experience. If you don’t have time to write much, simply put the URL for a good story in a comment.

 

I invite you to subscribe to my newsletter using the sign-up form provided at the upper right corner of this web page. As a subscriber you will receive regular email announcements of new essays that I publish or popular essays that i have previously published. In these essays you will have the opportunity to share comments and ideas about a topic. Your security is important to me. Please know that your email address is never distributed to anyone.

 

You are strongly encouraged to become one of my 11,000+ followers on Twitter. My Twitter ID is @ballenamar . With Twitter, in addition to receiving daily Tweets that announce my essays, you will see when I retweet something that I read and that I think is important.

 

Sanctuaries of Silence

Even the most remote corners of the globe are impacted by noise pollution

 

 

f you have been following my essays over the years, you would be correct if you sensed my passion for silence and solitude.  Indeed, just like the creatures in the forests and the mountains that I visit, I am profoundly adverse to human created noise. Noise can deeply affect my personal ecosystem. But, much more important, it has been shown that human noise can change the ecosystems of creatures who live with us on earth. I have summarized much of this in my blog essay entitled Polluting Nature With Our Noise .

 

My passion for silence is shared with acoustic ecologists Gordon Hempton and Bernie Krause. Hempton believes that even the most remote corners of the globe are impacted by noise pollution. In his 7 minute, virtual reality, 360 video “Sanctuaries of Silence,” join Hempton on an immersive listening journey into the Hoh Rainforest at Olympic National Park. The Hoh Rainforest is one of the quietest places in North America. I strongly recommend that you view this video in the full screen mode.

 

Here are some of Hempton’s highlights from the video:

 

“Silence is on the verge of extinction”

“Silence is the poetics of space, what it means to be in a place. “

“Silence isn’t the essence of something, but the presence of everything”

“Silence is the presence of time undisturbed””

“I think what I enjoy most about listening is that I disappear.”

 

Authors Adam Loften and Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee, in their Emergence Magazine article entitled “Listening For Silence“, offer the following”

 

The Hoh Rain Forest is one of the largest temperate rain forests in the United States. Situated within the Olympic National Park in western Washington State, the Hoh is protected from commercial logging and is a haven for old-growth Sitka spruce, western hemlock, coast Douglas-fir, big-leaf maples, and black cottonwoods. Far from trafficked roads and the unrelenting bellow of development, the Hoh remains one of the quietest places in North America.

 

Acoustic ecologist Gordon Hempton defines silence not as the absence of sound, but as the absence of noise from modern life. For thirty-five years, Hempton has been documenting the sounds of the Hoh and its many species: Pacific tree frogs, Roosevelt elk, northern spotted owls, the red-breasted nuthatch, Pacific wrens.

 

Listening through a microphone taught Hempton to take things in with equal value, without judgment. We were struck by this, and as we joined Hempton in this practice, we found that we were completely present in the landscape and deeply connected to the space around us. We were surprised by the intricate sounds of life, from the creaking trees to the cacophony of birdsong filling the forest. We felt attuned to nature in ways we hadn’t experienced before.

 

The simple act of listening to the natural world can profoundly impact our relationship to place, rooting us in a presence that we otherwise often take for granted.

 

We invite you to participate in a five-step practice of listening—an opportunity to experience place through sound. These exercises could be done over the course of a day, a week, a month. Try to listen without judgment and simply be present, open, and curious.”

 

  1. Where is the place you spend the most time indoors? Go to this place. It could be a room in your home or your office. Sit or lay down in a comfortable position. Spend 10 minutes with your eyes closed, listening to all of the sounds around you, nearby and far away. What do you hear?
  2. Seek out a public or urban environment—a local coffee shop, a busy street corner, your rooftop. Again, for 10 minutes, listen to the sounds around you. Try to take it all in, with equal value, without judgment. What do you notice?
  3. Find a natural/green space within your town or city—a public park or garden or a tree in your yard. Close your eyes and listen for 15 minutes this time. How is the quality of sound different in this location compared to the location in exercise #2?
  4. Seek out a natural space, away from the hustle and bustle of the city. This space could be a wooded trail or a meadow with a stream. Sit or lay down with your eyes closed. For 30 minutes, listen to the sounds around you. What do you hear in this place?
  5. Return to the place that you selected in exercise #1. Repeat the first exercise. Has your experience of listening changed? If so, how?

 

Worth Your Extra Attention :

Footage from the documentary “Soundtracker” A Portrait of Gordon Hempton

Quiet Planet video

He Hears Music in the Quietest Place on Earth—Can You?

 

Why Do I Write These Essays?

Nothing in Nature exists in isolation. The movement of life’s energy, which originates in the sun, takes place because everything is interconnected and interdependent. Your consciousness of interdependence in Nature means that, every time you engage Nature, you ask yourself how a creature, a plant, yourself, or a natural object is connected to another and to Nature’s greater scheme of things. With this awareness you are prepared to protect Nature’s environment that sustains you. And, you create your legacy by encouraging others to do likewise.

 

If, after reading my essays, you find yourself embracing these ideas, I am thrilled in knowing that I’ve played some small part in setting this world view in motion in your mind.

  

Please Comment and Subscribe

I invite you to subscribe to my newsletter using the sign-up form provided at the upper right corner of this web page. As a subscriber you will receive regular email announcements of new essays that I publish or popular essays that i have previously published. In these essays you will have the opportunity to share comments and ideas about a topic. Your security is important to me. Please know that your email address is never distributed to anyone.

 

You are strongly encouraged to become one of my 11,000+ followers on Twitter. My Twitter ID is @ballenamar . With Twitter, in addition to receiving daily Tweets that announce my essays, you will see when I retweet something that I read and that I think is important.

 

Do killing animals promote life?

“Conservation theater” is the dubious practice of killing predators in the name of conservation

 

Many of us who wait in airport security lines have serious doubts about the effectiveness, the benefit, and the actual protection offered by the invasive procedures that we are required to endure. Our doubts become amplified when we read that dangerous and illegal items are regularly smuggled past the inspectors during government sanctioned tests. We have come to call this whole process “security theater” . It is all just a big show without any benefit or protection forthcoming.

 

The same can be said about the activities of many conservation workers who, while well meaning, don’t really conserve anything. Dr. Phillip A. Loring  calls it “conservation theater”. Specifically he is speaking of the killing of predators in the name of conservation while the true culprit is mankind’s activities of habitat fragmentation. He says that “killing is a crude tool for orchestrating conservation theater“.

 

Much of conservation theater practices are based on human beings setting quotas. Many conservation practitioners perform calculations as they attempt to define expected results that should be forthcoming from some action. Hunting quotas are a common example. By some magic, our practitioners are able to compute how many elk need to be killed to maintain some defined ecological balance. Yet, for the last 20 years, systems science has shown that the actions of Nature’s ecosystems (which are complex systems driven the many interactions of many chaotic inter-dependencies ) cannot be predicted by mankind. There is no such thing as equilibrium or steady state in Nature. Yet our conservation practitioners incorporate reference points and targets that are based on human fabricated goals of equilibrium and steady state.

 

Mankind’s conservation theater is sometimes based on the idea of trying to prevent changes in Nature – an impossible task. But, the truth is that no ecosystem  will exist unchanged over time. With or without mankind, change is normal in Nature. In the world of ecology, the only constant is change.

 

The surprising thing is that, while mankind cannot control Nature or manipulate a steady state, Nature has demonstrated her ability to come to her own equilibrium without the help of mankind. In fact, conservation theater and the meddling of mankind has often prevented Nature from achieving Her own equilibrium. A famous example of this important point is the Yellowstone wolves. In the early 1900s, our conservation practitioners (who were driven by wolf haters) decided to allow the extirpation (a fancy word for ” killing off”) of the Yellowstone wolves. Over the following years, big, unpredictable, and detrimental  changes took place in the Yellowstone ecosystem due to this “conservation theater”.  Around 1990,  conservation practitioners relented and released wolves back into Yellowstone. The entire story is  dramatic proof that Nature can take care of herself without mankind’s conservation theater. In addition, as shown by the Yellowstone wolf story, conservation theater can be destructive. The drama is aptly described in a wonderful video entitled “Lords of Nature“.

 

In response to the fantasy of conservation theater, Dr. Loring  offers the following to us:

 

“I believe that if people are to develop new and transformative ways of living sustainably they need a metaphor that inspires not just restraint but creativity and innovation, a metaphor that casts people not as tragic destroyers but native and welcome participants in the natural order.”

 

Why Do I Write These Essays?

Nothing in Nature exists in isolation. The movement of life’s energy, which originates in the sun, takes place because everything is interconnected and interdependent. Your consciousness of interdependence in Nature means that, every time you engage Nature, you ask yourself how a creature, a plant, yourself, or a natural object is connected to another and to Nature’s greater scheme of things. With this awareness you are prepared to protect Nature’s environment that sustains you. And, you create your legacy by encouraging others to do likewise.

 

If, after reading my essays, you find yourself embracing these ideas, I am thrilled in knowing that I’ve played some small part in setting this world view in motion in your mind.

 

Please Comment and Subscribe

I invite you to subscribe to my newsletter using the sign-up form provided at the upper right corner of this web page. As a subscriber you will receive regular email announcements of new essays that I publish or popular essays that i have previously published. In these essays you will have the opportunity to share comments and ideas about a topic. Your security is important to me. Please know that your email address is never distributed to anyone.

 

You are strongly encouraged to become one of my 11,000+ followers on Twitter. My Twitter ID is @ballenamar . With Twitter, in addition to receiving daily Tweets that announce my essays, you will see when I retweet something that I read and that I think is important.

 

The Power of Legacy

 

An early mentor was the spark plug that set me on my pathway to becoming a scientist.

 

During a recent summer camping trip, my partner and I visited Rocky Mountain National Park. The visit was a particularly emotional experience for me because, about 70 years ago at the age of 10, my parents took me to the Rocky Mountain National Park Moraine Museum (now called the Moraine Park Discovery Center). At the Moraine Museum, I learned my geology from a ranger whose name was Beverly. I have never forgotten Beverly or the experience because Ranger Beverly put me on a lifelong track of pursuing a scientific career. I became her legacy. While standing in the Moraine Park Discovery Center some 70 years later, I was brought to near tears as I relived my time with Ranger Beverly. I felt the great power of her legacy that has inspired me to become a scientist and an environmental educator in my later years as I work with high school young people in hopes that they will carry on in my stead. I have been blessed with other influential mentors over the course of my life. But, Ranger Beverly was the spark plug that set me on my path.

During my summer travels in my camper in the United States, I frequent national parks. I make it a point to stop by park visitor centers to talk with park rangers and to observe their work with youth through the Junior Ranger Program. Park Service Rangers are now trained to utilize Socratric (inquiry-based) teaching methods that pose questions to the students rather than lecturing to them. This powerful teaching method builds critical thinking skills and helps build a consciousness for Nature and Her interdependent character in the minds and souls of young people.  Through their important work, these US Park Service rangers are creating a legacy much like the legacy I acquired from Ranger Beverly some 70 years ago. I respect and praise their work. Their efforts have the potential of building a new and sustainable consciousness for Nature within our youth.

 

Why Do I Write These Essays?

Nothing in Nature exists in isolation. The movement of life’s energy, which originates in the sun, takes place because everything is interconnected and interdependent. Your consciousness of interdependence in Nature means that, every time you engage Nature, you ask yourself how a creature, a plant, yourself, or a natural object is connected to another and to Nature’s greater scheme of things. With this awareness you are prepared to protect Nature’s environment that sustains you. And, you create your legacy by encouraging others to do likewise.

 

If, after reading my essays, you find yourself embracing these ideas, I am thrilled in knowing that I’ve played some small part in setting this world view in motion in your mind.

  

Please Comment and Subscribe

I invite you to subscribe to my newsletter using the sign-up form provided at the upper right corner of this web page. As a subscriber you will receive regular email announcements of new essays that I publish or popular essays that i have previously published. In these essays you will have the opportunity to share comments and ideas about a topic. Your security is important to me. Please know that your email address is never distributed to anyone.

 

You are strongly encouraged to become one of my 11,000+ followers on Twitter. My Twitter ID is @ballenamar . With Twitter, in addition to receiving daily Tweets that announce my essays, you will see when I retweet something that I read and that I think is important.

 

Stewart Udall – an environmental hero

The earth needs your devotion and tender care

 

Recently, I spent some time visiting Canyonlands National Park in Utah.  I was particularly moved by the magnificent vista that surrounded and included the convergence of the Colorado River and the Green River. “Awesome” is an understatement. Later, I was deeply inspired by the story on a plaque that described the vision of the newly appointed Secretary of the Interior,  Stewart Udall’s vision for this new park.  On a flight over this area in the early 1960s, then Bureau of Reclamation Chief Floyd Dominy showed Udall where he wanted to build a big dam: just below the Confluence of the Colorado and Green rivers. But where Dominy saw a reservoir, Stewart Udall saw a national park. Driven by Udall’s vision, Canyonlands ultimately became a national park.

 

This story has a deep significance in my mind and soul because, in 2018 as I write this essay, we live in the era of Donald Trump and his highly unqualified political appointee, Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke. While Stewart Udall and Ryan Zinke may have similar backgrounds as elected officials, Stewart Udall can be characterized by what he has said to his children and grandchildren:

 

Whether you are a person of faith who believes the Earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, whether you are an individual who has had mystical experiences that link you to the network of eternity, or whether you are a fervent conservationist who wants to leave a legacy for your progeny, the earth needs your devotion and tender care. Go well, do well, my children! Support all endeavors that promise a better life for the inhabitants of our planet. Cherish sunsets, wild creations, and wild places. Have a love affair with the wonder and beauty of the earth!”

 

We have a moral duty to leave a legacy

 

Udall went on to say:

 

“We have a moral duty to leave a legacy. Keeping Earth a home not only for humans but for animals and birds and other creatures that share this planet with us.”

 

 

Ryan Zinke spent his first year in office selling off rights to our public lands. Donald Trump’s Interior secretary is taking extraordinary steps to put public lands in private hands. Vox  reports that :

” Since he (Ryan Zinke) was sworn in on March 1, 2017, to lead the $12 billion agency in charge of federal lands and natural resources, he’s made unprecedented changes that could leave a lasting mark on America’s wilderness and its environment. From his recent proposal to open almost all of America’s coast to offshore drilling to rolling back federal protections on national monuments, Zinke has taken extraordinary steps to make public lands more accessible to fossil fuel companies and other industries. Part of what he’s doing is selling mineral and energy rights to our public lands through leases — and potentially lowering royalties for industries in the process. In line with Trump’s interest in expanding mining on federal lands, Zinke has made critical mineral production a top priority.”

 

Stewart Udall’s vision of building a legacy of environmental consciousness within our children and youth has also been the vision of environmental educators worldwide. It is this vision that will change the environmentally destructive worldview of western civilization . This vision has the potential of reversing the current pathway to human misery that threatens to be a reality starting about 2050.

 

Humanity cannot afford to advocate the destructive culture of creatures like Ryan Zinke or his boss. We desperately need another Stewart Udall in Washington as well as the strength of environmental educators as they create a constructive and sustainable legacy through their students and with their elected representatives. Read more:

 

Why Do I Write These Essays?

Nothing in Nature exists in isolation. The movement of life’s energy, which originates in the sun, takes place because everything is interconnected and interdependent. Your consciousness of interdependence in Nature means that, every time you engage Nature, you ask yourself how a creature, a plant, yourself, or a natural object is connected to another and to Nature’s greater scheme of things. With this awareness you are prepared to protect Nature’s environment that sustains you. And, you create your legacy by encouraging others to do likewise.

 

If, after reading my essays, you find yourself embracing these ideas, I am thrilled in knowing that I’ve played some small part in setting this world view in motion in your mind.

 

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I invite you to subscribe to my newsletter using the sign-up form provided at the upper right corner of this web page. As a subscriber you will receive regular email announcements of new essays that I publish or popular essays that i have previously published. In these essays you will have the opportunity to share comments and ideas about a topic. Your security is important to me. Please know that your email address is never distributed to anyone.

 

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Legacy Building Is A Powerful Conservation Strategy

We humans need to change our worldview from an apathy toward Nature to one of harmony with Nature.

 

In the context of our current ecological crisis, legacy building is the act of establishing and evangelizing a sustainable worldview that can be passed on to future generations. 

Recently I gave a talk to a group of 40 senior citizens about mankind’s negative impact on Nature and the grim prospects of mankind in the near future. I proposed that, to survive as a race, we humans need to change our worldview from an apathy toward Nature to one of harmony with Nature. I noted that the age of about half of the human population is 25 years old or younger. These fresh minds are a center of influence that is open to new ideas and new world views. I stated that environmental educators were creating a legacy as they passed on a new and positive worldview to young people. In turn, these young people could then pass on their knowledge and a new worldview of harmony and interdependence with Nature. During my talk, I suggested that senior citizens could define their legacy by playing a vital role in guiding their children, grand children, and great grandchildren toward a sustainable lifestyle. I offered a number of ideas to the group in hopes that they would be motivated.

As I prepared my talk, I came to the realization that legacy building is a powerful conservation strategy. If teaching methods make a subject interesting,  children and youth are receptive to the awe and wonder of Nature. They will participate in activities which will reinforce the learning process.  They love to look, touch, feel, smell, and taste. In turn, children and youth can influence adult members in their family as well as the next generation. The idea of legacy building is a powerful conservation strategy over the years. I played with some numbers. What would happen if an environmental educator were able to guide only two young people each year toward a sustainable worldview? In turn two of these youth, each year,  would guide two more people, and so on. Let us assume that, as an educator, you have an environmental education class of 20 young minds. Let us also assume that you are able to significantly influence two (10%)  of these people to a point that they are able to eventually influence two other young people to a point of action. And so on. Over ten years,1,024 people will be strongly influenced by your singular influence in one year. If you do this each year for 10 years, your effort will result in 10,240 new stewards of Nature. If there are 1,000 environmental educators providing significant influence over 10 years to only 10% of their students, their legacy will be over one million young people becoming significant stewards of Nature. This very basic mathematical exercise demonstrates the significance and power of legacy building. By empowering a small group of youth each year, one is able to eventually create a huge cadre of influential stewards of Nature well in advance of the projected 50 year date when it is thought that the human race will be in mortal danger of collapse due to its own ignorance.

Whether you are an environmental educator or a parent or a grandparent, multiplying and spreading your knowledge and example to others is a powerful conservation strategy. By educating locally, but thinking globally, you become the initiator of a network of social energy that can grow and save Nature from human destruction. Your influence now can help build a future positive equilibrium in, at least, some corners of Nature’s existence.

Webster’s dictionary defines legacy as, “anything handed down from the past, as from an ancestor or predecessor.”  Legacy is not bound by age or time served. Your legacy is not defined at the end of the road but rather by the moments that you share your life with others. Your  legacy is reinforced and modified by the feedback that you receive.  Legacy represents your body of work at each stage of your life as you establish and accumulate the required knowledge and wisdom to contribute to growth, innovation and opportunity of the people that surround you.   Your legacy grows with each new experience and each time you inspire others to see something through to fruition. Leaving a great legacy is arguably the most powerful thing you can do in your  life because it enables you to have influence well into the future – even after you are out of the picture yourself.

Legacy building is about being mindful of the opportunity and the responsibility you have to serve humanity.

 

Why Do I Write These Essays?

Nothing in Nature exists in isolation. The movement of life’s energy, which originates in the sun, takes place because everything is interconnected and interdependent. Your consciousness of interdependence in Nature means that, every time you engage Nature, you ask yourself how a creature, a plant, yourself, or a natural object is connected to another and to Nature’s greater scheme of things. With this awareness you are prepared to protect Nature’s environment that sustains you. And, you create your legacy by encouraging others to do likewise.

 

If, after reading my essays, you find yourself embracing these ideas, I am thrilled in knowing that I’ve played some small part in setting this world view in motion in your mind.

 

Please Comment and Subscribe

I invite you to subscribe to my newsletter using the sign-up form provided at the upper right corner of this web page. As a subscriber you will receive regular email announcements of new essays that I publish or popular essays that i have previously published. In these essays you will have the opportunity to share comments and ideas about a topic. Your security is important to me. Please know that your email address is never distributed to anyone.

 

You are strongly encouraged to become one of my 11,000+ followers on Twitter. My Twitter ID is @ballenamar . With Twitter, in addition to receiving daily Tweets that announce my essays, you will see when I retweet something that I read and that I think is important.

 

Environmental Educators Are Powerful People

Environmental Educators Have The Power To Change Humanity’s Inaccurate Worldview About Nature

 

Recently, I was invited to speak at a community event on whatever topic that suited my fancy.  I chose the topic “The Fantasy Of Infinite Growth On A Finite Planet” because I have been deeply concerned about an unsustainable and rapidly growing human population that is consuming the limited supply of Nature’s resources.

Current estimates by various scholars suggest that humanity will be in deep trouble sometime between 2050 and 2100. The result will be wars over land use and the destruction of an ethic that could hold together a functioning human civilization.

 By choosing this topic for my community talk, I was giving myself the opportunity to explore two questions:

  • How did humanity get into this mess?

  • How can humanity save itself?

This essay explores these two questions.

 I have had a struggle understanding the reasons why unsustainable human population growth exists in the first place. The necessary preparation for my talk gave me the opportunity to look into this issue deeply. The first thing that became apparent was that I was dealing with a cultural issue within humanity. I discovered that the hunter-gatherer culture of the early humans was very holistic and had a strong physical and spiritual relationship with Nature.

 About 1,000 years ago, two worldviews emerged within the human population. The Oriental culture  has had a historically holistic worldview of Nature for about 1,000 years. The belief is that there is interdependence between all of Nature including human beings. This worldview is in synchrony  with the findings of modern science that has developed over the last 50 years.

 The Western culture that includes North America and Europe embraces a worldview that mankind is separate from Nature, has dominion over Nature, and can control Nature. These ideas originated about 1,000 years ago in ancient Greece and were strongly supported by the theories of early science.

 At this modern point in the history of man, China has become strongly industrialized and has somewhat waivered from its worldview of human interdependence with Nature. However, China’s leader, Xi Jinping, has been emphatic on building “an ecological civilization that will benefit generations to come”. He has offered detail on his effort to reach this goal. In stark contrast, the rhetoric of United States president, Donald Trump, has been clearly against the protection of Nature and clearly in support of economic growth with little regard for its impact on Nature.

 In this essay, I wish to focus on the Western worldview about Nature and what actions might be taken to change the current course of over-consumption and over-population that has the potential of destroying the human race within this century. In his book, The Patterning Instinct,  Jeremy Lent discusses the concept of a  worldview. He says:

 We can think of our civilization’s worldview as an edifice of ideas that has arisen layer by layer over older constructions put together by generations past. Our worldview is the set of assumptions we hold about how things work: how society functions, its relationship with the natural world, what is valuable and what is possible. It often remains unquestioned and unstated but is deeply felt and underlies many of the choices we make in our lives. We form our worldview implicitly as we grow up, from family, friends, and culture, and once it’s set, we’re barely aware of it unless we’re presented with a different worldview for comparison. The unconscious origin of our worldview makes it quite inflexible. That’s fine when it’s working for us. But suppose our worldview is causing us to act collectively in ways that could undermine humanity’s future? Then it would be valuable to become more conscious of it.  If our worldview is built on shaky foundations, we need to know about it: we need to find the cracks and repair them before it’s too late.”

 

Jeremy Lent’s quote gave me some perspective  as I thought about ways that we Western humans can alter the destructive destiny that faces us. I was particularly impressed by his comment “we form our worldview implicitly as we grow up, from family, friends, and culture, and once it’s set, we’re barely aware of it”. Indeed, much of our personal worldviews are developed through a chain of people coupled with our observations.

 Add to this the fact that there are myths about Nature that have emerged from erroneous assumptions or from outdated scientific findings made at different times and places in history. These myths have been passed from one generation to the next. They have been believed and practiced so frequently that they have become an unquestioned integral part of the worldview of a large population of people.

 What this scenario implies is that there is power in chains of people passing on facts and traditions and myths. This means that, through the chain of legacy, we humans have the power to influence and correct updated and corrected stories about our environment. In doing so, a worldview can be changed to correspond with current truths.

 The Western worldview about Nature is a classic example of this idea. The core portrayal of a uniquely western mindset is mankind being set apart from Nature and being called upon called to dominate Nature. This worldview is manifested in unsustainable capital growth and overconsumption. Within the last 50 years, modern science, has proven that Nature and all of its life is highly interdependent because energy must flow within and between Her creatures in order to live. Furthermore, it has been shown that mankind cannot predict Nature’s processes with any accuracy.  The idea advanced by the current Western worldview that mankind is set apart from Nature and is called upon called to dominate Nature is blatantly false.

The need to change the Western worldview to reflect what science has taught us over the last 50 years is critical. For indeed, the current Western worldview is a core reason why mankind will be facing a deep crisis in this century. A crisis that could destroy humanity. Changing the Western worldview to one of harmony and interdependency with Nature is a seemingly impossible task. How do we motivate humanity to recognize, honor, and respect Nature’s interdependency. An interdependency that includes us ???

 There are two key centers of influence that are receptive to this revised and accurate worldview. The first group is our children and young people. More than half of the world’s population is under the age of 25. Here lies a large population  who can be influenced and who are receptive to learning about Nature’s wonder. This large group has the power to influence the adult population. Young people are not yet culturally conditioned to a worldview where Nature is ignored. The fresh minds of young people are open to new ideas and new world views. These young minds have the potential of becoming our next generation of environmental leaders.

 The second group of influential people is environmental educators and educators in general. This very important group consists of the legacy builders of future generations. It is with this very important group that the chain of truth about Nature’s interdependencies starts and is then passed on to people under the age of 25. These young people can continue this legacy chain to younger people and possibly to older generations.

 Many people and groups are beginning to realize that building this new environmental awareness can happen only in our children and in our youth. The message that we must present to our youth :

Nothing on this earth exists solely on its own. Everything is dependent upon everything else.

Understanding this fundamental idea of interdependence in Nature is a crucial first step to effectively conserving our planet and changing humanity’s current worldview of separation from Nature.

Environmental educators empower our generations of youth through legacy building

Through the legacy created by hands-on, place-based education and guided by environmental educators, we can develop a consciousness for the interdependency of all forms of Nature. Legacy building means empowering our youth to become environmental stewards. And through this consciousness, corrections can be made to the current Western worldview.

 

References About This Subject That Are Worth Your Extra Attention :

 

Here are some references that were used to create this essay:

 

Stepping Back From The Brink – An astonishing new field of enquiry explores the deep changes that could avert a planetary disaster

http://www.monbiot.com/2018/01/31/stepping-back-from-the-brink/

 

What Will It Take To Avoid Collapse? Fifteen thousand scientists have issued a dire warning to humanity about impending collapse but virtually no-one takes notice.

https://patternsofmeaning.com/2017/12/19/what-will-it-really-take-to-avoid-collapse/

 

A new history of cultural big ideas looks to the East for solace. Our planetary predicament demands the broadest and deepest perspective to guide our actions in the middle of what would otherwise be an enervating horror show.

https://www.newscientist.com/article/2131994-a-new-history-of-cultural-big-ideas-looks-to-the-east-for-solace/

 

Our values will decide our destiny. Each unique culture shapes its values, and those values shape history. By the same token, the predominant values of our civilization are what will shape the future.

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/our-values-will-decide-our-destiny_us_595fea6be4b085e766b5129e

 

A House on Shaky Ground: Eight Structural Flaws of the Western Worldview

http://www.tikkun.org/nextgen/a-house-on-shaky-ground-eight-structural-flaws-of-the-western-worldview

 

What Does China’s Ecological Civilization Mean For Humanity’s Future?

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2018/02/10/what-does-chinas-ecological-civilization-mean-humanitys-future

 

Is There A More Important Education? Solutions to our environmental dilemma rest in environmental education and behaviors that manifest our environmental understanding

http://trib.com/opinion/columns/keown-is-there-a-more-important-education/article_e28f3659-2a7b-5ef8-b889-b2fec4a6ddfd.html

 

 

Why Do I Write These Essays?

Nothing in Nature exists in isolation. The movement of life’s energy, which originates in the sun, takes place because everything is interconnected and interdependent. Your consciousness of interdependence in Nature means that, every time you engage Nature, you ask yourself how a creature, a plant, yourself, or a natural object is connected to another and to Nature’s greater scheme of things. With this awareness you are prepared to protect Nature’s environment that sustains you. And, you create your legacy by encouraging others to do likewise.

 

If, after reading my essays, you find yourself embracing these ideas, I am thrilled in knowing that I’ve played some small part in setting this world view in motion in your mind.

 

Please Comment and Subscribe

I invite you to subscribe to my newsletter using the sign-up form provided at the upper right corner of this web page. As a subscriber you will receive regular email announcements of new essays that I publish or popular essays that i have previously published. In these essays you will have the opportunity to share comments and ideas about a topic. Your security is important to me. Please know that your email address is never distributed to anyone.

 

You are strongly encouraged to become one of my 11,000+ followers on Twitter. My Twitter ID is @ballenamar . With Twitter, in addition to receiving daily Tweets that announce my essays, you will see when I retweet something that I read and that I think is important.

 

Nature Changes On Her Own Terms

 

Within Nature There Is Always Change.

Nothing in Nature exists in isolation. Life on earth is interconnected and interdependent because each plant and animal requires life’s energy flow that comes from the sun or other plants and animals. This fundamental truth about Nature is ignored by many humans who believe that mankind, and his technology, can control Nature. Much of modern conservation science implies that mankind can manipulate Nature. The fallacy of this thinking becomes apparent when one realizes that Nature controls us. We do not control Nature. Nature can live without humans but humans cannot live without Nature.

 

Ecological succession is a process of constant change

 

One of Nature’s phenomena that demonstrate that She is in control is “ecological succession”. Ecological succession is a scientific term that describes the process of change that happens to an ecological community over time. Succession is based on the fact that nothing in life ever remains the same. All habitats are always in some process of change that are caused by external unpredictable events such as climate change, fire, parasitic insects, volcanic activity, human or naturally caused habitat fragmentation or anything else that would interrupt the natural succession of species in an ecosystem. The resulting succession could have some component of predictability. But that so-called predictability is coupled with results that come from the unpredictability of the driving force of ecological succession.

Penn State University offers a wonderful metaphor that defines ecological succession at all scales.

 “Ecological succession is a force of nature. Ecosystems, because of the internal species dynamics and external forces, are in a constant process of change and re-structuring …one only has to visualize a freshly tilled garden plot. Clearing the land for the garden and preparing the soil for planting represents a major external event that radically re-structures and disrupts a previously stabilized ecosystem. The disturbed ecosystem will immediately begin a process of ecological succession. Plant species adapted to the sunny conditions and the broken soil will rapidly invade the site and will become quickly and densely established. These invading plants are what we call “weeds”. Now “weeds” have very important ecological roles and functions, but weeds also compete with the garden plants for nutrients, water and physical space. If left unattended, a garden will quickly become a weed patch in which the weakly competitive garden plants are choked out and destroyed by the robustly productive weeds. A gardener’s only course of action is to spend a great deal of time and energy weeding the garden.”

This quote defines the process of ecological succession. The gardener’s energy in weeding the garden metaphorically portrays conservation programs whose purpose is to reverse the process of Nature’s succession. While Nature tries to follow its own course, mankind tries to conform Nature to the needs of mankind.

 

Ecological succession is never predictable

 

Modern science often paints a picture of ecological succession as being predictable. By ignoring the unpredictable causes and results, analysis is made easier. A good example is forest succession where we are offered illustrations of the various stages in the development or redevelopment of forests. These pictures are misleading because it is impossible to illustrate the impact of unpredictable random driving environmental forces that originate outside of the forest environment but eventually impact the forest.

The real world  of ecological succession offers proof that Nature will change on Her own terms. This is an extremely important point because ecological succession portrays Nature’s unpredictability in the face of mankind’s conservation programs that assume that much of Nature lives in a steady state. In fact, many conservation programs are based on the idea of trying to prevent changes in Nature – an impossible task. But, the truth is that no ecosystem  will exist unchanged over time. With or without mankind, change is normal in Nature. In the world of ecology, the only constant is change.

 

Why Do I Write These Essays?

Nothing in Nature exists in isolation. The movement of life’s energy, which originates in the sun, takes place because everything is interconnected and interdependent. Your consciousness of interdependence in Nature means that, every time you engage Nature, you ask yourself how a creature, a plant, yourself, or a natural object is connected to another and to Nature’s greater scheme of things. With this awareness you are prepared to protect Nature’s environment that sustains you. And, you create your legacy by encouraging others to do likewise.

 

If, after reading my essays, you find yourself embracing these ideas, I am thrilled in knowing that I’ve played some small part in setting this world view in motion in your mind.

 

Please Comment and Subscribe

I invite you to subscribe to my newsletter using the sign-up form provided at the upper right corner of this web page. As a subscriber you will receive regular email announcements of new essays that I publish or popular essays that i have previously published. In these essays you will have the opportunity to share comments and ideas about a topic. Your security is important to me. Please know that your email address is never distributed to anyone.

 

You are strongly encouraged to become one of my 11,000+ followers on Twitter. My Twitter ID is @ballenamar . With Twitter, in addition to receiving daily Tweets that announce my essays, you will see when I retweet something that I read and that I think is important.

 

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