It’s sunset, at the end of another beautiful day in Honolulu. The high tide is arguing with the seawall, which was raised another metre last year to protect the Capitol Building – but what’s new? They’re still not on good terms with each other.
My name is Ben Danner-Pualani, and tomorrow I will give the biggest speech of my life in front of all my peers. They say it will be broadcast to every schoolchild. I’m 87, and for my sins I have been granted the pomposity of being a Senator, so I’ve seen a bit, but this has the butterflies crawling all over my poor weak heart, under my great grandfather’s ancient robe.
For those who understand, it’s crystal clear. Our educational traditions need to be transformed from infancy to old age, to give us the skills and understanding to tackle our huge civilizational challenges: the climate crisis; the biodiversity crisis; the crisis of injustice, inequality, dominating corporations and destructive economics; and the crisis of purpose, trust and deluded populism. They intertwine, creating a tangled knot that generates cynicism, anger and despair.
The authoritarian rote learning that causes so many to dislike school and cease learning once they graduate needs to be replaced with learning that nurtures creativity, curiosity and joy, as Ken Robinson explains in the world’s most popular TED Lecture, with 69 million views. I have organized my thoughts into ten headings, and I conclude by asking how we can make change happen.
“We are facing a disaster of unspoken suffering for enormous amounts of people, so please, treat the climate crisis like the acute crisis it is, and give us a future.”– Greta Thunberg
For years, Guy Dauncey has tirelessly warned of the urgency of tackling the climate crisis and provided practical ways to achieve reductions in our emissions. While the crisis has only worsened, the window of opportunity to shift direction has shortened. Here is a blueprint for concrete action. Read it and act! – David Suzuki
Have you ever been invited to write a blog, and felt intimidated? Well don’t. Here’s some advice to get you going. I wrote this for the Yellow Point Ecological Society, which is why it is full of nature references, but the advice applies to all good blogging.
How can we stay strong during this crisis? With love, careful planning, and care for others – and total lockdown.
The end of the tunnel may be a long way off, but if we treat it with the utmost seriousness, keep our social distance, wash our hands regularly, and look out for each other, we can stop the spread of the virus and reach the light at the end. When we emerge, huge numbers of people will hopefully want a more caring, cooperative approach to life, and a new kind of economy, based less on greed, selfishness and the destruction of Nature, and more on the economics of kindness.
If you want to see what this EcoRenaissance looks like on the ground, click HERE.
Until a thing has a name, it doesn’t really exist
I can feel this future. I have written a novel about it. I love its colour and vibrancy, its harmony with Nature. But what is its name?
One of the realities of the spoken language is that until a thing has a name, it doesn’t really exist. When we want to create something, we name it.
The feeling that comes to mind is one of Renaissance – the birth of a new vision, the promise of a new future. The Renaissance that was seeded in the 13th century and blossomed into glory in the 15th and sixteenth centuries filled people’s hearts, souls and minds with art, imagination and ideas. It took inspiration from the rediscovered science, art and philosophy of ancient Greece and Rome. It made souls take flight, washing away the dull dogmatism and cruel muddy feudalism of a world where nothing much changed except by disease, disorder and death.
Growing up in southern England and Wales, we always lived close to the woods, streams, and hills of the nearby countryside. The towns were built to be dense and tight, so it was relatively easy to walk out of the buildings and away from traffic into a land of kingfishers, beech trees, and marsh marigolds. It was “smart growth” before anyone had invented the term.
Today, I live in a clearing with a small, organic nursery in a recovering, second-growth forest, just north of Victoria. On a typical winter day, we see ravens, tree frogs, a Cooper’s hawk, hummingbirds, blue jays, and woodpeckers, as well as worms, spiders, and a host of smaller birds. And, of course, the forest.
In the August 6 2005 issue of New Scientist, Joan Maloof, a biology professor at Salisbury University in Maryland, describes how the Japanese have a word to describe the particular air of a forest. They call it “wood-air bathing.” Maloof writes: “Japanese researchers have discovered that when diabetic patients walk through the forest, their blood sugar drops to healthier levels. Entire symposiums have been held on the benefits of wood-air bathing and walking.”
I’m able to enjoy shinrin-yoku all the time, but for those who live in concrete canyons, amidst a soundscape of car alarms and sirens, instead of the croak of frogs and the wind, it has become a distant experience. Continue reading Healing in the Natural World→