...if we are stronger healers than they are warriors...

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

sage seeds, education and the helpfulness of 'UN' -anything

Why am i writing this? I'm not really sure, but it might prove to be an interesting record of this time later on.

I collected 7 seeds from the golden sage in the herb garden just now. Shook them off into my hand, like magic. Seven round brown seeds, complicated creatures tucked inside them. Like little worlds.

Got excited today about education...Elyse my dear friend, philosopher artist and Waldorf teacher extraordinaire sent me a letter she wrote to Barak Obama about intuition and education, nature and the role of teachers. I am excited, although feeling a little leery of the EDUCATION SYSTEM. How will i navigate it, with it's checks and balances and bureaucracies, tests and exams and boxes and numbers? As i enter into dedicating my life to working with kids in a way that hopefully helps them become whole people with deep relationships with their worlds, their ecologies, themselves and others, how will i work inside it? I might be asking myself these questions for a long time.

Elyse's letter, and a chunk from John Gardner's 'The Secret of Peace and the Environmental Crisis', published in 1971, got me thinking along these lines. It is still so so relevant, which is unsettling. Here's a quote i liked.

"It seems to me that when teachers can settle down quietly to the real business of education, which is to awaken, empower and improve human beings, they will be glad to do so. When children are so taught, they will respond. When external goals and pressures are removed, teachers and students will begin to listen to what life says to the heart and to the conscience. And this concern will bring to pass what we need more than anything if we are to stop the ravaging of the earth."

Brilliant brilliant brilliant.

A thought occurred to me today - calling ourselves artists of 'unwaste' is framing the situation from the point of view of WASTING and the culture we live in that is built on waste and greed. I would love to re-frame our approach, and come from a place of celebration rather than negation. Sort of like talking about non-violence - we are still operating inside a paradigm of violence - and what we want to do is move beyond violence, imagine other responses and ways of living.

However, we are FIRMLY embedded in a culture that is incredibly and intolerably wasteful, so to even speak the word UNWASTE is a radically different thing to do.

Turn straw into homes, garbage into soil, waste into resources, grey concrete-ridden urban hardlands into green and growing communities that revere life and the precious things that support its flourishing.

more later!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

a beginning...

I am so excited by gardening, composting, permaculture and working towards living in ecological ways these days. I am so into exploring these things, and also am facinated by the influence these things have on community-building. For some reason i want to create a blog to write and play with some of the stuff i'm learning about. So, here's this blog.

It's inspired and influenced by all kinds of things. The name comes from something a character in Starhawk's book The Fifth Sacred Thing says about the amazing community that the citizens have made of San Francisco. That it may look like they have unlimited resources - water flows through the city, food and flowers are growing everywhere, it's green and lush all over - but they have merely learned how to recycle everything as much as they possibly can, and live within their own means.

"It looks so lush. She took a long, deep breath, then another. You'd think we had plenty of everything, plenty of land, plenty of water. Whereas we've simply learned how not to waste, how to use and reuse every drop, how to feed chickens on weeds and ducks on snails and let worms eat the garbage. We've become such artists of unwaste we can almost compensate for the damage. Almost." - Starhawk, The Fifth Sacred Thing.

I send out thank yous for the inspiration to Starhawk, the gardens, Heather C. Flores of Food Not Lawns, the mycorrhyzzal fungi that co-exist with forests, our old 57 acres in the Marlborough Swamp where i began to learn about nature and myself, mint, Linda Chapman who first taught me the word permaculture, the housies, the housies of the past, compost, the climbing trees, community gardens everywhere, seed savers, The Stop Food Community Centre, permaculturers, paradise gardeners, food activists and foodies everywhere, and earth itself.