New epoch in geologic time: Anthropocene

Earth and its epochs extend so far back in time that it is beyond comprehension.  I recently came across a  TED post that talks about a movement afoot among  geologists and other scientists to identify a new Epoch in Earth’s geology marked by the impact of man.  It would be called the Anthropocene.  I highly recommend that you take a look at this fascinating and readable article by David Biello, an award winning journalist and science curator for TED. He has a new book, coming out in November,”The Unnatural World,” which discusses Anthropocene.

To set the stage I have gathered some background tidbits:

  • Earth is about 4.54 billion years old;
  • If introduced, Anthropocene would end the Holocene Epoch which began 11,700 years ago;
  • Holocene began after the Ice Age.  The Ice Age extended from 110,000 years ago to 12,000 years ago;
  • The timing of the new Epoch is still being debated, but there is strong support for 1950, as the time when significant changes in air, soil, water, and rocks (caused by human activity) could first be identified.

Anthropocene david biello.jpg

…the point of naming the Anthropocene is not to memorialize humanity in the rock record. The point of the Anthropocene [‘new age of man’] is to recognize people’s world-changing impacts in the hopes of persuading us to take a slightly less anthropocentric approach. People need to make room for plants and animals if we want to avoid another mass extinction…. The world’s pollution problems have to be addressed together, or they won’t be solved at all.

In short, the point of an Anthropocene is to prove that humanity is actually not like a glacier or an asteroid. We can choose to do better…
——From  TED Ideas article:  You have been living in a new geologic time all along, by David Biello

 

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Thank you for reading my Sunday quote post, number 3 in a series of three for a Three Day Quote Challenge. I would like to thank Louise Farrell of Fantasy Raconteur for inviting me.  I love this challenge as it gives me a nudge to do a kind of post that is rewarding.

As  part of the challenge tradition I invite three other bloggers to join in.  Today I choose three nominees who as usual I ask to not feel in any way obliged to follow through.  My nominees today are:

 A Cooking Pot and Twisted Tales

Ladyleemanila

 Rafiki’s Nikki

The ‘Rules’ or suggested guidelines are:

  1. Thank the person that nominated you.
  2. Post 1-3 quotes each day for 3 consecutive days.
  3. Nominate 3 bloggers each day to participate in the 3-day Quote Challenge.
  4. Have fun. Bend the rules.

We protect World Peace by supporting Climate Action

 

Climate action and peace.jpg

We attribute ancient hatreds, religious intolerance or simply greed to many of the current conflicts. However, from desertification to eroding shores, climate change has intensified resource scarcity, poverty and hunger. Vast new waves of migration may have a political ignition, but the fuel is climate change, from Africa to Asia. Somehow, even Syria’s conflict can be attributed to the spark of longer-term drought. No continent has been secure, including the more developed ones.

Muhamed Sacirbey

Often war and terror are seen as greater global threats than climate change.  This view does not recognize that environmental stress fuels violent conflict. How?  Global warming creates stressors such as drought, famine, insect infestations, destruction of food supplies and destruction of shelter (think floods, fire, hurricanes).  Such disasters lead to mass migrations.  As Muhamed Sacirbey notes in the above quote, hunger and dislocation are sparks that ignite conflict.

Hunger—conflict—depletion of arable land—conflict—water shortages—conflict—failed crops—conflict—homes destroyed by natural disasters—migration—friction between migrants and natives—conflict—military zones—persecution—migration—conflict.  Food, water, arable land, and places to live are essentials that people fight  for in times of scarcity.

A United Nations Global Trends Report released in June 2016 states that worldwide forced displacement has reached an all-time high: in 2015, one in every 113 humans (65.3 million people) were displaced from their homes due to violence and persecution.

Addressing climate change by reducing carbon emissions promotes World Peace.

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Thank you for reading my Sunday quote post, number 2 in a series of three for a Three Day Quote Challenge. I would like to thank Louise Farrell of Fantasy Raconteur for inviting me.  I love this challenge as it gives me a nudge to do a kind of post that I enjoy.

As  part of the challenge tradition I invite three other bloggers to join in if it strikes their fancy.  Before I list the nominees for this week, I would like to talk about using quotes in posts.  When I first started blogging I was mystified by references to quote challenges until I discovered what it was all about from reading blog posts,  particularly those linked to Writer’s Quote Wednesday Writing Challenge, hosted by Colleen Chesebro and Ronovan Hester.  There are many approaches to using quotes in posts, for example:

  • posting a quote and letting it speak for itself
  • posting a quote and expanding on its meaning or significance, sometimes with information about the author
  • posting a quote to supplement photography (some people come up with amazing combinations)
  • an introductory, tone-setting quote
  • a closing quote
  • using a quote as inspiration for poetry or prose
  • using a quote to enrich the body of a post
  • using your own words as a quote!

If you have a secret desire to try a 3-quote challenge, let me know and I will  nominate you next week. For today I have chosen three nominees who I ask to not feel in any way obliged to follow through—not all bloggers enjoy this type of challenge.  My nominees today are:

Eli Woodbine 

Magarisa of  Becoming Unstuck

Yazek of Successia

The ‘Rules’ or suggested guidelines are:

  1. Thank the person that nominated you.
  2. Post 1-3 quotes each day for 3 consecutive days.
  3. Nominate 3 bloggers each day to participate in the 3-day Quote Challenge.
  4. Have fun.

Expanding ethics to preserve all life

Thomas Berry ethics.jpg

Source: Azquote

Here is a similar message in a paper Thomas Berry delivered to the Harvard Seminar on Environmental Values on April 9, 1996:

The natural world surrounding us is simply the context in which human affairs take place. Our relations with this more encompassing community are completely different from our relations to the human world. In the presence of the human, the natural world has no rights. We have a moral sense of suicide, homicide, and genocide, but no moral sense of biocide or geocide, the killing of the life systems themselves and even the killing of the Earth.

It may not be that our ethical systems are lacking–I was brought up in the Christian tradition and can remember a hymn honoring ‘all things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small.’  Most spiritual traditions respect the natural word.  The problem is a lack of application—in laws, everyday lives, industry, and commerce.  Pressures of survival, materialism, consumerism and greed have been major forces propelling us to where we are today .

Thomas Berry, a Christian theologian whose life spanned the last century into this one (1914-2009) pointed out a major discrepancy in our sense of morality.  There is a general consensus that killing humans is wrong, but there has not been general agreement that humans shouldn’t destroy animal communities or pollute the air, soil, and waterways.  He refers to the missing crimes as “Biocide” (destruction of life) and “Geocide” (destruction of the earth).

One could argue that we haven’t been that successful in protecting human life either.  Even though direct killing is sanctioned, there are major loopholes for tolerating harm:  lives are shortened significantly in a society that tolerates high levels of poverty, homelessness, toxins in the air we breathe, water we drink, and food we eat.

Putting aside the “we don’t practice what we preach anyway” argument—the observation that as a society we don’t truly love our neighbours, much less the environment—I do agree with Thomas Berry’s implication that the melting of ice caps, dying off of whole species of animals, flooding of coastal communities, famine due to drought etc, are direct results of our industrial consumer lifestyle.  It may take a major revamp of society’s ethics in order to correct our errors and move forward.

Thomas Berry concluded his talk with these hopeful words:

 Perhaps a new revelatory experience is taking place, an experience wherein human consciousness awakens to the grandeur and sacred quality of the earth process. Humanity has not participated in such a vision since shamanic times, but in such a renewal lies our hope for the future for ourselves and for the entire planet.

 ∼

This is day one in a Three Day Quote Challenge that I will be posting on three consecutive Sundays. I would like to thank Louise Farrell of Fantasy Raconteur for inviting me to participate back in early June when life was extremely busy. It still is, but I’ve taken the time to accumulate a connected series of quotes that I would like to post.  I like this quote challenge as it gives me a nudge to put together a type of post that I enjoy. As  part of the tradition I invite three other bloggers to join in if it strikes their fancy:

Jenny Spencer of SpoonGood

Dorna  Hainds of Madasahatter572

Brianne Turczynski of  Miss Sissinghurst

The ‘Rules’ or suggested guidelines are:

  1. Thank the person that nominated you.
  2. Post 1-3 quotes each day for 3 consecutive days.
  3. Nominate 3 bloggers each day to participate in the 3-day Quote Challenge.

Deception

Oh, what a tangled web we weave…when first we practice to deceive.

∼ Sir Walter Scott, 1771-1832

I found myself contemplating deception when a poem emerged from my pen in response to The Secret Keeper writing prompt:

What dark web have you woven?

what tight-spun disguise?

humanity pad-locked and stowed

its key lost in lies

no steel claws could scratch you free

deception’s sad victory.

This poem was inspired by the five magic prompt words from The Secret Keeper Weekly Writing Prompt #29:  WEB | LOST | BLACK | SCRATCH | LOCK

∼   ∼   ∼   ∼   ∼  ∼   ∼    ∼    ∼    ∼  ∼

Human deception is a vast topic ranging from a magician’s slight of hand to lies, half truths, and concealments that plague interpersonal relationships, sales,marketing, political speeches, and corporate public relations campaigns.

The English language has 112 words for deception, according to one count, each with a different shade of meaning: collusion, fakery, malingering, self-deception, confabulation, prevarication, exaggeration, denial.

Robin Marantz Henig

Evidence of private and public lies  can inspire attitudes of cynicism.  In my opinion, a cynical view, when generalized to every situation, blocks trust, engagement and participation.  An example of a cynical view could be: ‘all politicians are phony.’  That thought could lead to a decision to not vote in an election. To me, a decision to not participate is unfortunate and stems from an over-generalization.  Some politicians are insincere, but that does not mean there are no politicians with ideals and integrity.

Insight into character comes from listening intently to the spoken word.  The physical peson, their charisma, charm and dramatic flair is more often used to persuade audiences, as they use these stealth tools of disgiuise and deception.

Maximillian Degenerez

Rather than adopting an overall cynicism, I try to focus on a ‘buyer beware’ frame of mind. Whether I am reading a food package label, hearing about a corporation’s green commitment or evaluating a politician I keep my mind immune to broad assurances that are designed to persuade or impress. I try to question and seek reliable second opinions.

There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.

Soren Kierkegaard , 1813-1855

We are so accustomed to disguise ourselves to others, that in the end, we become disguised to ourselves.
This post is in response to  Writer’s Quote Wednesday Writing Challenge–an inspiring community event focusing on combining quotes with fresh poetry, fiction, or creative non-fiction.

 

©2016, All rights reserved by Ontheland.wordpress.com

Forests, trees, and people–Writer’s Quote Wednesday

forest-411491_640.jpgIt suddenly came to me: ‘This week I will post quotes about trees.’  A  TreeHugger article had presented itself in my email —it was about a book to be released in English in September, The Hidden Life of Trees by  German forest ranger, Peter Wohlleben. Applying experience and science, he talks about how trees communicate and cooperate with each  other. I have no quotes from his book as the English version is not out yet.  Instead, here is an example of  what scientists are saying about trees from The Secret Life of Trees by Colin Tudge:

The revelations build by the week: ….. how they speak to one another, warning others downwind that elephants or giraffes are on the prowl, how they mimic the pheromones of predatory insects that are eating their leaves.  Every week the insights grow more fantastical—trees seem less and less like monuments and more and more like the world’s appointed governors, ultimately controlling all life on land…but also the key to its survival.

Colin Tudge, The Secret Life of Trees: How they Live, and Why they Matter, 2005, Crown Publishing Group, New York.

forest-56930_640.jpgA second tree-themed discovery: a  recent blog post by Your Nibbled News called Caring for trees the ultimate job–Taking care of the future today.  It opens with a photo with this caption:

Caring for trees would be the ultimate job for me. This desire has no direct relationship to the biblical Garden of Eden. Trees protect the planet and humanity from imminent disaster. They should be protected, respected, groomed and nurtured. They are this planet’s oldest sentinels. They deserve our care and consideration.

Warmed by these ideas and words, I found two more quotes  to feature. In the first, Sylvia Earle, scientist, speaks about the intricate web of life visible to those who have the opportunity, time, and inclination to look.

Look at the bark of a redwood, and you see moss. If you peer beneath the bits and pieces of the moss, you’ll see toads, small insects, a whole host of life that prospers in that miniature environment. A lumberman will look at a forest and see so many board feet of lumber. I see a living city.

Sylvia Earle, American Scientist, 1935-

I have lived in cities most of my life.  The house I grew up in had one maple tree in front and one maple tree out back.  The whole yard, except the part facing the road, was surrounded by a tall cedar hedge regularly trimmed by my father. Sometimes in the autumn my father took us for walks in the woods; and for three weeks in the summer, I explored the woods near a rented cottage.  These were exciting times.

The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way. Some see nature all ridicule and deformity… and some scarce see nature at all. But to the eyes of the man of imagination, nature is imagination itself.

William Blake, 1757-1827

robin-534826_640.jpgThese words, written so many years ago seem to still reflect the world–there are many people who see the natural world as a backdrop to be utilized and organized by humans.  Yet there are many people who care about nature.  I believe everyone has the capacity for imagination and experiencing joy in the natural world (and of course, having imagination isn’t necessarily tied to appreciation of trees).   I  believe that both imagination and connection to nature are desirable human qualities that can flourish or fade away. These potentials can be eroded by pressures of survival, ambition, religious worldviews, and economic philosophies.  Whether or not people connect with trees, birds, and so on, is influenced strongly by life experiences  and choices from birth onwards.

Photos are CCO Public Domain, courtesy of Pixabay.com.
In response to Writer’s Quote Wednesday and Be Writing on Wednesday (BeWoW).

 

Catching the pulse of beans and lentils

LOGO_IYP-en-high-horizontal int year pulses 2016 horizontal

An opening haiku to celebrate this International event:

Ο
Pulsing energy,
rich nutrients of the earth,
Lentils and beans dance.
Ο

ABOUT THE CELEBRATION

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization is celebrating  pulses this year. Pulses are dried beans and peas, such as kidney beans, chickpeas, lentils, navy beans, split peas, fava beans, and black-eyed peas.

So what?  What’s the big deal about beans? 

Ο they are nutritious, high in protein, fiber, and minerals; low in fat and gluten free.

Ο they are friends of sustainable farming, reducing the need for fertilizers and pesticides–for example, with the aid of certain bacteria they restore soil by taking nitrogen from the air and adding it to the soil (called ‘nitrogen fixing’). 

Ο as cover crops they prevent water and wind erosion, and restore soil nutrients.

Ο climate resilient strains are potential food sources as global warming brings hotter growing conditions.

Ο bean crops offer solutions for hunger and poverty–they store well, can be processed locally, and yield more income than cereals alone (and rotating cereal and bean crops keeps the soil healthy).

The following bean quotes are excerpted from some of my favourite cookbooks:

There are basically five different kinds of meat and poultry, but 40-50 different kinds of commonly eaten vegetables, 24 different kinds of peas, beans, and lentils, 20 different fruits, 12 different nuts, and nine grains. The variety of flavor, of texture and of color lies obviously in the plant world…

Frances Moore Lappé, Diet for a Small Planet, 1975, Ballantine Books, New York, p.63

BEANS ARE A MEATLESS MENU STAPLE

Cooking vegetarian book

Nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances for survival on earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.   Albert Einstein

As quoted by Carollyne Conlinn, Past President (1995) Canadian Dietetic Association in Foreword to Cooking Vegetarian, by Vesanto Melina and Joseph Forest, 1996, Macmillan Canada, p. vii

COOKING TIPS

Does cooking beans from scratch sound time-consuming? Well, they pretty much cook themselves!  You just soak them overnight, change the water, and boil them until very soft, generally 1 to 3 hours, depending on the variety. You may also wish to keep some canned beans on hand, as they are convenient and ready anytime the mood strikes you.  Just be sure to rinse them—rinsing canned beans reduces sodium by one-third…

Neal Barnard, MD and Robyn Webb, The Get Healthy, Go Vegan Cookbook, 2010, Da Capo Press, PA, p. 44

Some more cooking tips:

  • You can cook beans overnight in a slow cooker—some chefs use a pressure cooker for faster results.
  •  Lentils cook fairly quickly.
  • Rinsing canned beans removes not only salt but also a foamy liquid that promotes flatulence.
  • When cooking beans, skim off any foam.
  •  For ultimate gas reduction, soak overnight, bring to a boil in cold water, rinse, then re-cover with fresh water and cook until tender.

MENUS and RECIPES

Beans can be appropriate to every course in the meal, as evidenced by their international popularity in soups, dips, stews, casseroles, fritters, salads, and even sweet bean pies for dessert.

Nikki and David Goldbeck’s American Wholefoods Cuisine, Over 1300 Meatless Wholesome Recipes From Short Order to Gourmet, 1983, New American Library, p.12.

My current bean and lentil recipe favourites include:

  • Hummus (chickpea dip: available at the grocery store with other dips, or make at home using a food processor);
  • Fiesta Bean Dip (baked bean and  melted cheese dip, a hit at family gatherings–as home cooks usually do, I  modify the recipe, using meat-free maple beans, marble cheddar for the grated cheeses, and home-blended taco seasoning);
  • Summer bean salads such as Black-eyed pea salad;
  • Baked beans or lentils for winter and summer (slow cooker or oven baked);
  • Rice or quinoa and beans such as Red Beans and Quinoa ; and
  • Veggie burgers such as Mushroom and Lentil Sliders.

Ο

Nourished blood pulses,
 with rich earth nutrient beat,
Lentil and bean dance.

Ο

Thank you to What the Ducks! and Palm Rae Urban Potager for hosting Blogger Action Day in celebration of  ‘Year of the Bean’, February 17, 2016.

As this is Wednesday, I am also linking this post to Writer’s Quote Wednesday at Silver Threading. If you enjoy reading quotes, I suggest a visit to  SilverThreading for Colleen Chesebro’s weekly quote post and links to posts by other participants.

 

©2016, All rights reserved by Ontheland.wordpress.com

Hidden Life of Trees

Beech_and_oak_trees_at_Appley_Park_-_1473
Beech and oak trees at Appley Park by Naturenet

A forest
gathering of friends.
Peaceful souls
weave branches,
entwine roots, send messages,
whisper through their leaves.

Do my cells
have identities?
Can they live
separate
from my large complex being?
How would they survive?

Who am I?
A cog or the wheel?
Maybe both?
And the trees,
Are they each a soul or part
of a forest's brain?

Recently I was fascinated by an article called: Trees in  the Forest are Social Beingsfeaturing  “The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate – Discoveries From a Secret World“, by Peter Wohlleben, a German forest ranger and best-selling author.  These poems are reflections inspired by the article.

In response to Jane Dougherty Poetry Challenge #17:  Shadorma. The theme this week is ‘Trees’ and the form is Shadorma: six lines per stanza with syllable count: 3-5-3-3-7-5.

©2016, All rights reserved by Ontheland.wordpress.com