Archive for barbarism

Road Kill………….Squirrels Teaching

Posted in Big Questions, Feelings, Not your normal letter to the editor with tags , , , , , , on September 30, 2011 by matthewstruth

 

I am deeply saddened when encountering road kill. I think thoughts that are not pleasant. I get angry. I have conversations in my head. I scream out. This does not generally help. And then I forget and go numb. What other word can I use?

And then, there is another one, right there where the children walk to school.

 

Just yesterday a news program broadcast a story about skunks. The interviewee was stating that skunks have no natural predators, and that road kills are the predominant way that skunk populations are held in somewhat of a check. No mention of the barbarity of these acts. We, with our motor vehicles do this. Very sad indeed.

 

I’m mentioning this because it is early autumn and road kills are increasing. As a walker and bicyclist I am generally closer to the carnage, and I can’t look away. Or choose not too. There are multitudes of reasons why our standard consensus reality modes of moving our bodies to other locales is cause for alarm. But right now road kill is on my mind.

And this has reminded me of a letter from a few years back. I feel that it is still very relevant. Peace.

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S q u i r r e l s    T e a c h i n g

What a glorious autumnal season is upon us! Refreshing crisp air in the early mornings and our trees leaves changing right before our eyes, as the suns lowering angle in the sky allows us to take in this utter breathtaking luminosity, a light which is magical. Don’t we live in a wondrous paradise? Where do we humans fit into this picture?

As this transformative season emerges, with it comes the exuberance of creatures that have so much to teach us, if we’d pay attention. Squirrels.

 

These animals are amazing and right now is their time in the spotlight. Please consider that these fellow sentient beings deserve our respect. They are being themselves fully, scurrying around with wild abandon, zipping from here to there with frenetic wonder, sometimes all the while carrying round green nuts, larger than their heads, in their mouths. Gathering and burying.

And sometimes running onto our neighborhood thoroughfares.

Here on Bradley, and in other neighborhoods the carnage has been astounding. In the past two weeks, along this small stretch of pavement, over a dozen fellow creatures have been destroyed by us with our metal vehicles. On one day alone, three of them, within two hundred yards. I know, sometimes we don’t even see them and might not even know that we did it. Can this really be our excuse? While being unintended, it doesn’t condone our ruthless carelessness.

This isn’t just about “those environmentalists”. It’s about our underlying wellbeing. When our neighborhoods are littered with carcasses, life-force for all, diminishes.

What would it mean for us if we paid attention and by this I mean being in tune with our surroundings? We’d know that when we turn the corner onto Bradley, that it’s a haven for squirrels. Thank God we’re not the only mammals left! We’re coexisting here and if we wanted to care, we’d know to expect the unexpected and then slow down. Can “our” scurrying really be that important?

But not only this. We’d be deeply touched by something outside of ourselves. Isn’t this what it’s all about? Finding the divine in any moment? At this time of year, these funny little creatures, who’re sometimes a nuisance for our home maintenance chores, can be our teachers. They can draw us into wonder and delight.

Why aren’t WE singing and dancing and delighting in each other? And in all that is?

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Why Are We Wasting Our Waste?

Posted in Big Questions, Dilemma's and Solutions with tags , , , , on February 15, 2011 by matthewstruth

This will be the first entry in a series of posts located in my Dilemmas and Solutions category. Here we’ll explore, in no particular order, some concrete issue’s that we face as a society.

 

The western industrialized world tends to consider itself civilized. After all we’ve got private automobiles for transporting our mostly out of shape physiques from one place to another at our whim. We’ve got those giant tv’s with remotes, so we don’t have to move from the couch. We’ve even got couches filled with toxic materials that we place our being upon. We’ve got food products right there on the shelf, never mind that there’s only two or three days worth in any given location. We’ve got heat and ac, that is our right, we don’t even have to be acclimated to the natural world anymore. Wow, what prowess.

And then there’s indoor plumbing, that innovation that removed us even further from our environment. We are civilized here, we just sit down and allow the remnants of our digestion to be whisked away with—potable water. Is flushing and throwing away our waste products really civilized though? Are they even to be considered waste? Certainly the alleviation of rampant disease created from sewage running in the streets is a welcome sign of a civilized society. Indeed. But has anything been lost?

I am proposing that on the contrary—this unquestioned practice is in fact barbaric. Here’s why. We humans eat food, food that has been grown from the elements of earth and from soil, from which our plants take in nutrients. When we eat them raw or moderately prepared, a wondrous dining experience, these precious life forms provide us with our own nutrients. But we have taken, and what have we given back? We have taken the plants and thereby the energy and nutrients from within the soil. This equation of taking cannot continue indefinitely, and eventually the soil becomes degraded. Our barbarity has been in thinking that applying chemicals or even the manure of other animals will balance out this equation of taking. Our depleted soils and the extreme loss of topsoil clearly shows that our industrialized model isn’t working so well.

Back to the sitting and flushing scenario—We are taking from our soils, ingesting, digesting and then flushing away the very materials from our own bodies that would provide balance to the equation. Our fecal matter is precious, yet our civilized barbarity lets us just throw it away—again with pure drinking water.

What is wrong with us? Are we so afraid of touching that which would close the loop in the creation cycle? Perhaps we call it shit because we eat shitty products that some corporations call food. If instead we ate, at the very least organic food, grown by ourselves, or at least grown locally and in season—precious life giving and sustaining food, we’d recognize our place within this splendor and see that what has moved through our bodies is in fact FOOD for the soil and the organisms within it. Our humanure, no longer to be called shit, is a commodity of great, great value. When carefully composted it is an antidote to our barbarity.

Water is precious and becoming scarce. To continue to flush away nutrients, while considering them waste with clean water is another sign of a civilization in steep decline. Our alleged affluence, arrogance and outright fear is causing extreme danger to the majority of the worlds people. Our current western lifestyle is not our highest calling, not the best that humans are capable of. We can do better. We can begin the difficult work of reclaiming our natural functions and creating systems to replenish our earths soils with parts of us. We are an integral part of creation and the universe. It is time to inhabit our place within it responsibly and evolve.

 

Two great sources of information along these lines are—“The Humanure Handbook” by Joseph Jenkins and the 2009 book “What We Leave Behind” by Derrick Jensen and Aric McBay.