Nature and the natural
“For the continued survival of life on Earth it is our mission to improve wildlife conservation and environmental protection through the education of the public and those with political power. We are in a period of man-made mass extinction, with rates already many thousands of times the base-extinction-rate, and greenhouse gas emissions continuing to increase despite decades of warnings about climate change. Film-making whether it be for cinema, television or the web is a powerful tool for education and can inspire change. The Wildeye Conservation Film Festival aims to seek ways to utilise this inspirational tool for maximum power in effectively educating and motivating audiences.
The vision for the annual Wildeye Conservation Film Festival is to not only provide an empowering forum for film-makers, web/broadcasters and conservation organisations to discuss better practices for conservation-related productions, but also to celebrate, and bring larger audiences to, those films which make a difference.”
The Festival Directors are Piers Warren, founder of Wildeye and Wildlife-film.com & Jason Peters, editor of this newsletter! We really hope that past students, members and subscribers/followers etc will get behind us and the festival aims. It’s Time To Focus!!
“Back in October last year [sic 2014] as a 65 year old I was offered the winter flu vaccine and a pneumonia prevention injection. I happily accepted this as I had heard it prevented some of the winter flu’s that normally circulate. The long and short of it was that since that day I have had continually re-occurring sore throats, coughs and colds and it has really prevented me from doing a lot of “to camera” videos. I might have has about 5 weeks in total between the injection and now that I have been able to perform a normal level of health. This week I bit the bullet and went to my GP. She sort of agreed that there is some evidence to suggest there is a link between the pneumonia vaccine and reduced immunity afterwards. I had a vampire suck bloods for investigation and a chest X-ray and hopefully there will be an answer next week. I had planned to take a week’s photographic holiday on the Scottish Island of Arran and hopefully capture images of the new seal pups born around May. At the moment It’s on hold as mountain walks are just out of the question as I’ve tried a couple of local peaks and it was really hard work breathing in without coughing my bootlaces up!!!”
From Graham’s Photo Blog
How We Connect with the Earth
Center for Media Literacy
This article originally appeared in Issue# 51
By Tyrone Cashman
“It takes only one summer for a child of the right age to bond with the natural world, to know in her bones that the world is alive, and wild and kin to her. There is a kind of imprinting that either takes place, or doesn’t, in a girl or boy before the age of 10 or 11.”
“When, for the first time, a nine-year-old barefoot boy and a wild crawfish encounter each other by surprise in a cold spring creek, there is nothing like it in the world. The boy’s life is changed. And if he explores this watery world and the woods that surround it for the length of a long summer, he will have taken the whole ancient biosphere into his soul, never to be forgotten. The imprint is for a lifetime.”
This happened to me when I was 10 years old and lived on the farm for 3 months with my grandparents. Small farms then were truly mixed, not the definition of mixed today. Now it means a mixture of pasture grasses or grain. Then it meant: cows, pigs, horses, chickens and ducks all supported by corn, oats to feed the stock. Grandfather didn’t even grow soybeans in 1950. There were daily jobs such as milking, cleaning the cowbarn and pumping the water trough by hand, egg collecting and wiping, not to mention the heavy tractor work of ploughing, disking, tilling and cultivating for weed removal. Grandfather and Grandmother made a good living then from only 65 acres in Indiana west of Indianapolis. Summer nights were warm and filled with fireflys [called lightening bugs] and a chorus of insects with a strong cricket and katydid section. Of course the mossies carved you up like a Sunday roast but sitting on the front porch in the twilight watching the spiders spin, bats swoop and listening to the nightjars was magical. Who nowadays has learned just the right pressure to ease a night crawler out from its hole as it lies innocently with a mating invitation? As James Whitcomb Riley said: “O the days gone by! O the days gone by!”
Here are a few lines from the dearly beloved poet of Indiana:
The Days Gone By
BY JAMES WHITCOMB RILEY
O the days gone by! O the days gone by!
The apples in the orchard, and the pathway through the rye;
The chirrup of the robin, and the whistle of the quail
As he piped across the meadows sweet as any nightingale;
When the bloom was on the clover, and the blue was in the sky,
And my happy heart brimmed over in the days gone by.
In the days gone by, when my naked feet were tripped
By the honey-suckle’s tangles where the water-lilies dipped,
And the ripples of the river lipped the moss along the brink
Where the placid-eyed and lazy-footed cattle came to drink,
And the tilting snipe stood fearless of the truant’s wayward cry
And the splashing of the swimmer, in the days gone by.
O the days gone by! O the days gone by!
The music of the laughing lip, the luster of the eye;
The childish faith in fairies, and Aladdin’s magic ring—
The simple, soul-reposing, glad belief in everything,—
When life was like a story, holding neither sob nor sigh,
In the golden olden glory of the days gone by.
Source: American Poetry: The Nineteenth Century (The Library of America, 1993)
“And when the groundwater runs out, it is gone for good. Refilling the aquifer would require hundreds, if not thousands, of years of rains.
This is in many ways a slow-motion crisis — decades in the making, imminent for some, years or decades away for others, hitting one farm but leaving an adjacent one untouched. But across the rolling plains and tarmac-flat farmland near the Kansas-Colorado border, the effects of depletion are evident everywhere. Highway bridges span arid stream beds. Most of the creeks and rivers that once veined the land have dried up as 60 years of pumping have pulled groundwater levels down by scores and even hundreds of feet.”
The Great Space Myth
Resurgence & Ecologist September/October 2012 Issue 274
Comments on this article made by Sky McCain
While looking through this issue, the following highlight caught my eye and interest. “We must learn to nurture the only place that we are ever likely to inhabit”
John Naish, a prolific writer that has written largely on health issues presents a well-researched and clearly presented case for why we can’t even dream of visiting even other nearby solar systems let alone roam the galaxy unless we do the preposterous: [my take on the situation] Take Earth’s global magnetic field along with us. I’ve checked out the four or five reasons John cites for why we won’t be doing space travel anytime soon – maybe never. They are valid and most well researched
The major point in the article that attracted me was the obvious. Why continue the slash and burn as if we could just hitch the buggy up to Ol’ Nell and find another lovely place to ruin. Sorry, but this is it. John mentions the “Kleenix Model of Colonialism” which appears to have been coined by the late writer, Audre Lorde. It must surely mean the absurdly unequal trade situation where the conquerors remove the precious resources and leave the vanquished with Coca Cola and bandaids. I’m not sure how that applies to Homo Sapiens Sapiens and the idea that we don’t have to take care of the planet because we can just get Scotty to beam us up and find another one to ravish.
Stephen Hawking enters left stage toward the end of act 3 having set his brilliance on how to save us all from wearing our soiled jeans. In a recent article in CNET News, Hawking repeats his suggestion that we only have around 1,000 years of plunder time left to us so we had better find another planet ASAP. No mention of alternatives. No looking at options such as a reduction in world population or axing world trade etc. No, just a pronouncement. If I was to write a paper as part of a graduate school curriculum turned in with no supporting arguments, I’d find myself looking for a job waiting tables in the Union Building just before withdrawing from the course. The article states: “In 2011, he said, ‘Our only chance of long-term survival is not to remain lurking on planet Earth, but to spread out into space.’”
Although I respect Dr. Hawking’s brilliant career achievements in science, can it really be our “only chance”? Seldom in science do you find such certainty. Obviously this certainty isn’t the result of experiment and hypothesis – the scientific method.
Rover radiation data poses manned Mars mission dilemma
30 May 2013
“For most of its 253-day, 560-million-km journey in 2011/2012, the robot had its Radiation Assessment Detector (RAD) instrument switched on inside the cruise vessel, which gave a degree of protection.
RAD counts the numbers of energetic particles – mostly protons – hitting its sensors.
The particles of concern fall into two categories – those that are accelerated away from our dynamic Sun; and those that arrive at high velocity from outside of the Solar System.
This latter category originates from exploded stars and the environs of black holes.
These galactic cosmic rays (GCRs) impart a lot of energy when they strike the human body and will damage DNA in cells. They are also the most difficult to shield against.
Earth’s thick atmosphere, its magnetic field and its huge rock bulk provide protection to people living on its surface, but for astronauts in deep space even an aluminium hull 30cm thick is not going to change their exposure to GCRs very much.
The RAD data revealed an average GCR dose equivalent rate of 1.84 milliSieverts (mSv) per day during the rover’s cruise to Mars. (The Sievert is a standard measure of the biological impacts of radiation.) This dose rate is about the same as having a full-body CT scan in a hospital every five days or so.”
Forget about colonisation, love and protect what we have.
One of the most beautiful nature reserves in Europe burned, most likely completely, during the first week of August, 2012. Marian and I hiked in from the south entrance [public outcry stopped a road that was to be bulldosed along the coast into the park] on two wonderful days. We walked along the coast the first day and up over the mountain and down
toward Scopello on the second. We both have treasured memories. The link below takes you to some photos which will just have to suffice until the vegetation regenerates.
by Sy Montgomery
Published in the November/December 2011 issue of Orion magazine
Camilla B. on Nov 04, 2011
It’s hard to convey the way I felt when I first saw a small octopus in the wild (hiding in a crevice below a dock in theFlorida Keys). My whole heart responded to it with a tenderness which we reserve for the completely harmless, and the completely innocent. The recognition of another mind, soul and personality was instantaneous. I’ve never felt such a deep and immediate connection to any other creature. It was amazing, unworldly.
Part of my comment:
I believe that there is just one consciousness, that of our higher self, Gaia. We are the planet. We are in a sense being lived rather than living “on” a planet.
Each material object expresses Gaia’s consciousness to the extent of its development. Gaia loves and cares for all parts of herself.
The flood of love and acceptance Camilla B. above has experienced may just be evidence of our spiritual connection, a connection based on being “in” rather than “on” our greater self.
I’m triggered into writing by a sentence from the latest Greenspirit Journal article by Stephanie Sorrell. “Yet, although floods and deserts are an integral part of Nature’s rich variety…” This sentence brought on sad memories.
I suspect that too much of what we see and call “nature” is not the kind of nature that we hold onto as being “Nature” or “natural.” I remember feeling rather stupid the first time I realized that the occasional bits of grass emerging around the stones, the hundreds of gullies both shallow and deep, the thickness of prickly pear and jumping cactus [cholla]
was not really what I like to think of as natural. No, these thousands of acres of southern Arizona landscape of sand, gravel and gullies are the result of overgrazing.
“While Mexican settlers did large-scale cattle-raising in the 1820s-30s, really massive cattle ranching only began with Anglo-American stock-raising after the Civil War — especially following the U.S. Army’s reduction of Apache raiding after 1870, and the arrival of the transcontinental railroad in Tucson in 1880. Trail drives from Sonora and Texas even earlier brought in thousands of head — Hooper and Hooker alone brought in four herds totaling 15,500 animals in 1872. Where there had been only 5,000 cattle in all of Arizona Territory in 1870, by 1880 the San Pedro Valley [south of Tucson] alone supported perhaps 8,000 head of cattle and 10-12,000 sheep. A ballyhoo campaign holding that “grass is gold” brought an inflow of capital and entrepreneurs. By 1890 one census showed over a million range cattle in Arizona as a whole, and the Southwestern Stockman of January 1891 conceded that “the malady of overcrowding is with us in an aggravated form….”
Ecological disaster followed: to quote further from Hastings and Turner’s account, “The summer rains of 1891 were well below normal. In the arid foresummer of 1892 stock began to die. The summer rains of 1892 again were scanty, and by the late spring of 1893 the losses were ‘staggering’ (Report of the Governor 1896:22). ‘Dead cattle lay everywhere. You could actually throw a rock from one carcass to another”…. Hastings and Turner then summarize the impact of the overgrazing on regional ecology: “Thousands of square miles of grassland, denuded of their cover, lay bared to the elements. The cropping unquestionably weakened the old plant communities, leaving them open to invasion; it unquestionably upset the balance between infiltration and runoff, in favor of the latter.” (page 41) [This essay is based almost entirely on the book by Hastings, James & Raymond Turner, 1965, The Changing Mile: An Ecological Study of Vegetation Change with Time in the Lower Mile of an Arid and Semiarid Region. University of Arizona Press] http://www.saguaro-juniper.com/i_and_i/san_pedro/sanpedro_change.html
Verified by the quote above, we see that thousands upon thousands of cattle and sheep soon munched their way through the rich carpet – pulling and scraping even the roots when starvation threatened. When the rainfall [which often comes in thunderstorms and fierce downpours] finally arrived miles and miles of weakened root systems washed away never to return in their former splendor. Yes, as I walk there I do find beauty; I admire the birds, especially the cactus wren chattering loudly at me or maybe an imagined predator. Somehow, however, the cascades of sandy, muddy water dredging the gullies ever deeper is not an example of Nature’s “vagaries.”
This poem captures the essence of my feelings which I share with the author: http://www.hanksville.org/voyage/desert/Desert12.html