It is a Problem

You spend your whole life learning about something that is real and true and important, until you finally have something to say, and —

People don’t want to hear it.
And the reason they don’t want to hear it is?

Because you spent your whole life learning. So now you sound like a book instead of a person :!

Now that is a dilemma, isn’t it. I mean given that ecology really is important to us all, and I spent years and years figuring out how it works. Like — would you listen to a mechanic with clean hands?

But this is quite a lot more important than a car 🙂

What should I do?

1. Pretend I don’t know anything and then maybe people will listen? (I tried that actually; they were happy to believe I know nothing.)

2. Tell jokes? (It’s not really funny. Well, I guess it would be better to die laughing than to die crying, but I was hoping we could avoid dying — not me of course, but the ecosystem at least.)

3. Fight, argue, flail about? That seems to be big on the blogosphere, but does anyone believe the info on the blogosphere? Anyhow, that’s kind of demeaning, because that’s what we women had to do before we were liberated. Cry and mope and suffer in order to get anyone to listen to anything at all, and I do hate to go back there, even though it is occasionally necessary. Like the other day I met up with this MCP —-But that’s another subject 😐

4. Make up stories about the ecosystem that aren’t real but are really interesting? (Turn on the TV, any channel, they don’t need me for that.)

5. For that matter, the stuff on TV seems more real than the real stuff, so the competition is fierce, and I still do not know what to do except that I believe in one very important basic thing.

I believe, if you tell people how something works, and if they will listen, then they will understand how it works. Once they understand how it works, they will then be able to make logical choices. And in spite of all the people who somehow recently managed to buy houses when the house payments were bigger than their salaries — I still believe in good common sense. If you tell people how things really work — instead of always telling them what they should be doing about it.

For example. You see that mechanic fix that car? I could do that too, if I knew how the car works. It happens that I do know how the ecosystem works, in its essence, and I’d really like to share that information with someone who cares, because we are mostly winding ourselves around arguments over things that do not matter (all the fake debates I’ve been ranting about), like a bunch of kittens with a ball of yarn — while the coyote is watching from behind the fence, white canine teeth gleaming in the setting sun as saliva drips from — you don’t want to hear all those metaphors and similes and fairy tales and all that do you? Really? Wouldn’t you rather just have the facts so you can decide for yourself?

090612LuMitchell_dsc1738_1LsThe biggest fact that anyone can tell you about the ecosystem is that it survives by BALANCE, and you don’t need to believe this because you can watch it in your own body, or I can tell you how to make a mini ecosystem and you can watch how that works. But your body is already handy. Your body is a subset of the ecoystem and it also survives on balance. The heart must beat just at the right speed, you should not try to eat 100 gallons of ice cream in a day, you should not try to live without drinking. It is all about balance, and so is the ecosystem.

This means no matter how hard we try, we will never GROW the ecosystem back to health. We will have to balance it back to health or — well at least we can all die laughing. Where is Letterman when you need him?

Never mind, there is a serious (and very good) discussion of this problem on Dot Earth today. I recommend you go and read it and then come back and tell me what I should do.

I would join the discussion there on Dot Earth, but they all talk like scientists, like they really know the answers, and it’s kind of boring. Besides. They don’t listen to me either 😦

Are you a Man or a Trained Elephant?

When humans originated in the ecosystem, we looked to the power of the natural balance of the life to define our evolution; now we look to the corporations. The corporations define our wants and needs and drive our survival behaviors very much in the same way that my grandparents bred, raised and trained the horses they used for farming and transportation. We are the livestock the corporations breed, raise and train to turn the wheels of their voracious growth. Their training methods — the right touch on the TV to make us want what they have to sell (tobacco is in the news again for hooking children; the medical community as a drug pusher), and the fake debates they generate that keep us competing with each other, rather than forming communities for our common welfare (imagine convincing individuals that they are more important than people, and turning the religion of love into a killing machine).

Unfortunately, in the battle between the corporations and the ecosystem, we know who will win in the long term; and the corporations know from nothing. But for now the corporations are winning. They have convinced us that growth is more important than balance and that debate is more useful than discussion and community.

090525TGT_dsc1340LSs copyI have one friend who was nose-in-the-air when she saw that I live in a singlewide mobil home in the middle of a pasture. And so I asked myself the question, what would I add? I would change two things for real benefit: I would replace the yucky carpet with linoleum, and I would add solar. Otherwise, I have shelter, food, heat and air, hot and cold running water and a toilet and electricity and I owe nothing to any bank. Any changes I might make would not be to benefit myself or my community, but only to show other people that I can buy more stuff than they can.

Those corporations really have us sucking at their teats.

And they aren’t even alive.

“Sustainable Growth”

The entire organization of the earth ecosystem is devoted to the necessity of maintaining the balance that is required of life. Just as our own physiology requires that all the components remain in balance (or we die – ask any good doctor) so the ecosystem must maintain its balance. All of life requires balance, and the ecosystem is the largest life form.

Continual growth is not balance; it is not sustainable; it can result only in disaster to the economy and the ecosystem; and it is touted routinely as the ideal. If you count the mentions on TV you find that growth is promoted even more more often than violence and always in positive terms.090607TGT_dsc1666Ss Just as I believed because I wanted it so much, but against all common sense and evidence, that M’Donna was pregnant, similarly the American culture is based in and firmly believes in the myth that growth is good for our selves and our ecosystem.

There is no such thing as sustainable growth — there is no evidence for it — we believe only because we want it to be so..

Sustainable Balance

Everything in the universe that we can study is about balance, that is, it requires balance to maintain. Without balance, there is no such idea as sustainability. Well, there is the idea, but it is insane. If something gets smaller and smaller until it disappears, that is not sustainability; if something starts eating and gets bigger and bigger until it is bigger than the earth — that is not sustainability (but it does describe modern corporations, doesn’t it ☺. Balance is where its at if we wish to survive.

If there were no death there could be no life; therefore death can not be considered the enemy (but it is one of the best ways to sell stuff).

If a man has ten sons, is he then required to divide his lands into ten plots, none of which are sufficient to support a family? That is not balance and it is not sustainable; he is not providing for his future.

Balance between humans and the ecosystem.

Balance between oxygen and carbon in the ecosystem.

Balance in the water cycle.

I am not good at physics. Probably I could quote something there if I were, but I do know that all of life is about balance. If you know anything about physiology, the balance of salts in your blood. Everything. Temperature. The same is true at the level of the individual cells.

Therefore – the obligation of stewardship is to understand the balance. Do not assume everyone and everything is just like you. Study facts, also study convictions and opinions and as you do be wary of the desperate extremes of people who are so afraid of life that they can’t listen to reality but instead make up pretty stories (or horrid stories if they want other people to join them in their pit of fear)..

If we really want sustainability, we will have to nurture the balance of life. Nothing else is sustainable.

And the Earth Shudders

This old earth, the ecosystem, the whole universe, is all about balance. (That’s not just my opinion, read up on physics, biology, or just think about it.) If it were not in balance, it would not exist. Out of balance is not sustainable.

Earth ShuddersLFlats

If I knew how, I would make this picture into an animation that shows the earth yanked back and forth by us — by what we want. We don’t want balance. We want to win; we want someone else to lose. We want either-or. Right-wrong. Fear-hate. Nothing in-between. We want to fight it out and win.

We try so hard. But the harder we try, the more we throw the whole system out of balance. Because in-between is where that sustainable balance point can be found. Between winning and losing, between right and wrong, between good and bad. It’s where the love lives. We will never find the sustainable good life until we start to live in balance. So easy. So sad.

Sustainable Growth

Not long ago, I reported on a meeting of Optimum Population Trust, and the report of the British Sustainable Development Commission.

I responded mostly to a truly childish commentary on these, and of course they are only two of the many organizations that are concerned about the population of humans on earth. For one other, the United Nations has been working diligently and effectively for decades to understand the relationship between population pressures, wars, epidemics, starvation and to understand human population growth. 2008 Population Prospects. Click on highlights for a PDF. Dot Earth is a blog that examines efforts to balance human affairs with the planet’s limits. For example hereand here. I recommend the above sources of information. But I’m worried about the the techno-political scene they report.

Until very recently, it seems to me, the politicos and techies have been proceeding under the delusion that we have some kind of power over Life. That we have some kind of directive to do battle with Life and “win.” This is scary, because if they do “win” (and I think it’s possible) by definition that would be suicide, and they would take the rest of us with them. So I think it’s a good idea for us all to bone up on the most basic facts of Life.

What I know about Life is that it’s foundation and it’s origin are based in balance. Balance between life and death; balance of all the material things that cells are made of that cycle around in the ecosystem; balance of energy supply and need — all those things must maintain balance in the ecosystem. That’s Life.

Sustainable, to a biologist, means an activity that can continue indefinitely. Biological activities, making babies for example, or driving cars or thinking or flying airplanes, require two things to be sustainable.

1. We have already mentioned energy. Specifically, chemical energy is the kind of energy that we require for life. We pointed out that we can not generate chemical energy — green plants do that for us. Plants use light energy from the sun to do the work of creating carbon compounds. Carbon compounds are our food and our source of the energy for Life. We use the chemical energy to do the work of being alive. In this way the chemical energy is converted to heat energy. And then it goes away. Because it goes away, we must continue eating more carbon compounds to get more chemical energy that the plants have stored in the food. Energy does not cycle in the ecosystem. It comes in as high energy and goes away as low energy.

2. The second thing we require to stay alive is the raw materials of which we are constructed. Minerals and vitamins and carbon and oxygen and hydrogen and nitrogen and all that. We also get these from our food – lipids, carbohydrates, proteins and nucleic acids. Thus we eat food is to get the raw materials of which we are constructed, and the chemical energy they contain. But unlike energy, the raw materials do recycle within the ecosystem. Other things also cycle, the most important probably is water.

Sustainable Life would be a balance among all those (and more) components of Life.
Winning is not sustainable. Balance is sustainable.

“Sustainable growth” is not real. It is only words that were widely used only four or five years ago. I just looked the phrase up on Google, and it seems people have caught on there is no such thing and are changing their terminology. That gives me hope, because sustainable growth is a term someone invented in order to pretend that we can do things we can not do, or in order to sell things that we don’t have.

Sustainable growth is the sales pitch for a Ponzi scheme that uses people instead of money, and we all have seen the result of Ponzi schemes. Sustainable growth of individual people, or populations, or corporations or economies is impossible unless there are enough raw materials to make more and more things forever. The fact is that there are not enough plants to provide the food (energy flow and materials cycle) to keep the ecosystem or any part of it growing forever.

SUSTAINABLE is possible. Sustainable is how life works. The biology of staying in balance is the “miracle” of life. The only way the ecosystem can stay alive is to stay in balance. Sustainable development would require that we learn to maintain our balance within the greater power of the ecosystem.

We can do that – if we choose to. But we will have to talk about it or it won’t even get started.

Green Locavores

Locavores is a word based on another word, omnivore, that describes eating habits of animals that eat both vegetable and animal foods. Humans are omnivores. Some humans are locavores.

090403glbt_dsc0157sLocavores dedicate time and effort to eating locally grown foods, especially if they are grown without use of toxic chemicals and artificial fertilizers. This is a very healthy eating style, if done well, and at the same time healthy for the local economy and the local environment. See the link to Simple-Green-Frugal on this web site. Our locavores’ web site gives some recipes of the foods they served yesterday at First Friday Evening of the Arts. I expected good, but was surprised by delicious. I was willing even to pass up chocolate chip cookies for that thing on the little toothpick. I guess I’ll have to go to the web site to find out what it was.