Tag Archives: Environment

Building capital that lasts

Do you believe in the value of money? Do you believe that you pay for what you get when you buy cheap gadgets on the market; or when you pay for your food, apples fromEnglandsent toSouth Africato be waxed and send back to theUKto be sold at1.5 poundthe kg? Who is paying for it?

ImageDo you believe in money, profit and economic growth to solve our problems? Do you believe that the World Health Organisation for instance is about healthy citizens when its main aim is to make profit; that we will care for the people and the earth when every progress is measured solely by the profit we make? A tsunami that hits the country means economic growth; a river is polluted, more bottled water sold – economic growth; a country goes to war or sends weapons for wars – more economic growth. Looking after the elderly, the children, the disadvantaged, all of that is institutionalised today. We found ways to make environmental conservation and social service profitable, very rarely however it is for the sake of the environment or society itself that these essentials are considered.

Some people in the world work with the soil, knowing how to improve it, they live with the earth. Look at those people planting trees, catching and storing, bringing water back into the landscape, regenerating the ecosystem, growing food in a natural way in tune with the environment. Every year they store more wealth, more capital in biomass, water, in saving seeds for the next planting season and for coming generations to be able to provide for what is most important: a healthy way of life, healthy food produced through healthy soil and a healthy environment. It’s not complicated; it’s the essence of life, connecting to the earth. People have been doing it for thousands of years.

Look at the people who have relationships, whole communities working together on their lands, many of them producing food for their neighbours, sharing, caring. Look at these wealthy cultures that we in our western civilisation often call poor. Profit, obtaining a yield has a different meaning for them. Look at their wealth, diversity, yet so much simplicity and time, relationships, family, smiles on their faces, health and dignity.

This doesn’t mean that I think we should all live in communities surrounded by forests. I feel a bit overwhelmed and even annoyed when people come to me and preach about what it takes to change the world, “it would be so easy if all of you could do this and do that”. For myself I need however some clarity for what is important in my own life, what makes me healthy as a person, and what I can do that makes the people around me as well as the environment and through that my children and the coming generations healthy and happy. I do recognise that all of that is interlinked and society influences my well-being and vice versa. I am interested to startle thinking, make people observe themselves and their society around them and then draw their own conclusions. Doing this over and over again will inevitably lead us to action, because there’ll be things that we want to change, there’ll be reconsideration and reorganisation of values in our lives. Do we want money to guide us around, or do we want our values to do that for us. What is sustainable? Can we build a society where values like mutual understanding, empathy, self-responsibility and cooperation are part of everyone’s life? Is common welfare a possibility? Can we build capital that lasts?

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Observation

Facing North, I’m calling the element Earth into the circle, asking for groundedness in the forces of nature, the foundation of our being. I’m thankful for the wisdom of the elders incorporated in everything around us and am asking for its revelation to us. May abundance and growth, understanding and expression be with us on our paths.

Finding a few minutes every day to silently observe the surroundings creates new strings of connection with elements, energies, plants and animals. You start building new reletionships that open up new worlds.

Choosing the same place to observe nature everyday, by nature awareness practitioners and teachers called sit-spot, allows you to observe a space over time, through seasons and to become familiar with it. As you become familiar with your spot, the spot becomes familiar with you as well and will accept you. Animals start appearing more frequently as they see you as a peaceful part of the space; every here and there details appear in the patterns and patterns in the detail; energy flows, systems, guilds, connections, relationships, sequences, all will slowely reveal themselves to you.

You can play observation games in changing your perspective every other day. Looking through the eyes of a child and asking yourself with curiosity the most simple questions: Why is this plant climbing up the tree? Does it hort the tree?How come that the ground vegetation is more on the edge of the forest than inside? I wonder how those patterns got on that rock and why the river never runs empty? Where is it coming from and where is it going? You might chose to be an electric engeneer and observe the energy flows within the system: What makes plants grow? Where do they go when they die? Why? Where is the sunlight blocked and what effect does it have? What creates the flow of the river, the hum of the bee? There are many questions – asking questions is part of the observation while the answers will reveal themselves after time. You can observe detail, patterns, light, relationships, edges; you can use eyes, ears, nose, or touch; you can be a scientist, a turtle, a rock, a painter or a tree; doing these exercises will increase your awareness and sharing your experiences with others will open up new ways of seeing and understanding.

In some old earth based traditions people have a much deeper connection and communication with their environment. When they observe, they dive into, become one with; they realise the earth as their larger body and as an integral part of themselves. As we build up new relationships we become part of something bigger.