The NYT Magazine recently featured an article about ecopsychology. This is a topic I am very interested in, because a large source of my distress comes from witnessing the degradation of the natural environment here on Earth. It's so sad to see what humanity is doing to the planet and the living systems of this wonderful world.
Here's a link to the article and an excerpt. This article doesn't say it all, but it's nice to see ecopsychology get some recognition in the mainstream. It's also a decent starting point for learning about the field:
Is There an Ecological Unconscious?
Daniel B. Smith
Weyerhauser employs a lot of people. I think that's good. And it's a solid argument for the present existence of the company. But despite the present day economic value of Weyerhauser's business, do we have a full accounting for all of the costs of Weyerhauser's business activities? Do we know about the full extent of environmental degradation, loss of habitat and threatened species that result from industrial logging practices? Do we know and understand the financial practices of the company, and the disparity in wealth and income between the various strata of people who are employed at, and/or who own, the company?
I want to remind everyone again about the great coverage from Copenhagen provided by Democracy Now! - Please consider checking out the last two week's of shows.
Here's a segment from an interview with Vandana Shiva, by Amy Goodman, from a few days ago.
VANDANA SHIVA: I think it’s time for the US to stop seeing itself as a donor and recognizing itself as a polluter, a polluter who must pay, a polluter who must pay compensation and pay their ecological debt. This is not about charity. This is about justice.
Our environment changes slowly, so that these major changes over time have a tendency to be imperceptible. But when we pick a point in the past to contrast with the present, we can see the very deep nature of changes that have occurred.
Here's a short account, from Harry Branch, about a recent conversation. It contains a glimpse of this area's former biological, so much of which has been lost over the years. Posted with permission:
Last night I attended a book signing. Two things popped up.
First was a historic photograph of the Port Peninsula that clearly shows the Cascade Pole operation as extending across the width of the peninsula to the west shore immediately adjacent to the 4000 pptr dioxin hot spot. So, it's not really a matter of connecting the dots, they're connected. When is the state going to require the port to sample the soil around Northpointe?
I also met a fellow at the signing who grew up on the shores of Budd Inlet in the 1940s. He said he caught 130 "pogies" (which from his description sound like shiner perch) in one hour on one hook off the dock at the mouth of Schneider Creek, his brother shot 30 merganzers from a rowboat in one hour, his uncle dug 30 geoducks in one hour with a stove pipe, his father loaded a rowboat with herring using a glorified pitchfork in 15 minutes and he just started talking about smelt. A person could use this information to statistically extrapolate and quantify the historic abundance of species that are now locally extinct. There would be a wide standard deviation but it's better than nothing which is what we're getting from current efforts targeting current conditions. I don't think this has been done because I don't think it's something that anyone of any importance wants to know.
Probably one of the best things about the nearby Olympia, the Kennedy Creek Salmon Trail opens this Saturday at 10 a.m. The trail will be open throughout November and is the best local opportunity to see salmon spawn.
Here's a page from the South Puget Sound Salmon Enhancement Group that has more information about the trail.
By the way, its almost November out there, so if you go, wear some boots!
Vandana Shiva visited Olympia last week. Her visit was hosted by the SPSCC group BRICK (Building Revolution by Increasing Community Knowledge). Dr. Shiva presented a wonderful speech, that was informative and educational, and moving and inspirational.
I am hoping that video will become available to post on the Internet, because there is no way a description can do justice to her speech. Getting a transcript would also be good, because there was so much information. The SPSCC Performing Arts Center was full -- people who showed up hoping to attend the speech were denied entry into the auditorium.
Janine Gates has an article about Dr. Shiva's visit at Little Hollywood: Shiva Speaks to South Sound Community about Food Politics. Some of this article will cover the same topics covered there, but I will add a couple other details from the speech. Check out Janine's blog for more information about the Shiva speech.
An early topic of the speech was the structural nature of hunger. Over one billion people on earth are without adequate food and nourishment. And it's not because there isn't enough food, or enough ability to produce food for all the people. Instead it is because of a lack of distributive justice, and because of appropriations of seed, water, and land. One billion people hungry. That's a lot of people. (And in my opinion it is a huge strike against our system of capitalism. One billion hungry people is indefensible. Really, should any human being live in hunger?)
The September 2009 issue of The Progressive magazine features an article by Wendell Berry, Inverting the Economic Order. I think the ideas in the article are relevant to the upcoming City Comprehensive Planning Process.
There are a lot of common threads between the ideas that Berry presents, and ideas from Jerry Mander, who wrote In the Absence of the Sacred: The Failure of Technology and the Survival of Indian Nations. Both authors discuss how modern society has devalued our relationship, as human beings, with the land that we call home (and which we depend on - and which I believe we, indeed, belong to.) Here's also a link to an interview with Jerry Mander. The interview appeared in The Sun magazine shortly after publication of In the Absence of the Sacred. Interview with Jerry Mander by Catherine Ingram.
Now here's a short excerpt from Inverting the Economic Order, by Wendell Berry:
Inverting the Economic Order
Wendell Berry in the September 2009 issue
My economic point of view is from ground level. It is a point of view sometimes described as “agrarian.” That means that in ordering the economy of a household or community or nation, I would put nature first, the economies of land use second, the manufacturing economy third, and the consumer economy fourth.
This is video from the October 2, 2007 City of Olympia sponsored Climate Change Forum.
I want to especially draw your attention to the great words of Terry Tempest Williams, who speaks at about 37 minutes into the program. Please check out this video!