Saturday, July 18, 2015

Reversal



(I think the following article is very inspiring. I believe the planet wants to live. I believe the life force of this planet is very strong. Unbelievably strong. I believe that this planet will survive even if it has to survive without us and it will survive without us. I believe that if we align ourselves with this life force we will survive, too. There's a chance that this can happen. - RB)

Reversal

Life must be understood backwards. But it must be lived forwards. -soren kierkegaard

Once great wrongs are done, it's rarely possible to undo them. Earth, the most exuberant planet known to exist in any galaxy, carries great wounds upon its lovely face: denuded hills, fertile farmlands washed into the sea or turned to dust, treasure houses of biodiversity annihilated, air, land and water poisoned. It seems that nobody knows how to reverse it.

And yet, in the cracks between the pavement of expanding cities, seedlings of long-gone forests giants continue to emerge. Earth keeps trying to renew itself, after radioactive leak, after nuclear explosion, after earthquake and eruption, flood and tsunami. The planet's powers of recuperation and restoration are almost unbelievable. Give an inch and it will give you a mile.

Field flowers no longer grow amid the crops in England's fields, but once the backhoes are withdrawn from road works, poppies spring from the disturbed ground. The seed they have grown from blew off the fields maybe a generation ago, and had lain in the soil ever since, waiting for someone or something to break the sod. Year on year the poppies keep turning up, every time bringing their promise of resurrection.

The dead hedgehog on the road cannot be brought back to life, but creating habitat for hedgehogs will give other hedgehogs a better chance of breeding successfully so that numbers can build up again.
In suburban gardens across the country people are making tunnels under their fences so that hedgehogs can travel without having so often to cross roads. It doesn't take much and costs nothing, but it puts the householder on the side of the Earth, which is the hedgehog's home as much as it is ours.

The swallows that have nested at my place in Essex ever since I have didn't turn up one year. Or the next. Ten springs passed, and I thought they couldn't possibly remember the barn where they had built their mud nests so many years before. I stopped scanning the sky for them. I was working in the green house when I heard their call and ran out to see. They were flying in and out of the little entrance I had cut out of the barn door for them, for all the world as if they had never been away. And they have come back every year since. They too tell me that everything is not lost.

The lower order, as we unjustly call them, have enormous potential for replenishment, because they reproduce in huge numbers. A butterfly that this year seems extinct may turn up in clouds next year, given a different weather pattern. This is a massive reversal of fortunes, but the butterfly is born to it.
Insects are the virtuosos of reversal, because  metamorphosis is their specialty. They begin as earthbound larvae that do nothing but eat and are as likely to end up as winged creatures that never eat. Even the humble cockroach can have several nymph stages; rainforest cockroach nymphs can be spectacular. Even our exhausted honeybees might be capable of coming back from the brink, if we improved their genetic diversity (and feed them right!)

The further down we go the more transformational the powers of the creatures we meet, until we arrive at the viruses that can change themselves faster than we can find ways of dealing with them. We imagine ourselves to be at war with such creatures, when they are our cousins and we need them on our side. If we colonize Mars, we will need to take them with us.

In the last hundred years a patch of subtropical rainforest in southeast Queensland, Australia, has been logged, burned, cleared, plowed, grazed and sprayed with agent orange. Yet I knew when I saw it in 2001, while searching for a piece of my devastated birthplace that I could fix, that it could rebuild itself. All I had to do was remove the obstacles that prevented it coming back into its own, the cattle, the invasive weeds, most of them garden escapes and deliberately introduced pasture grasses.
There was enough seed in the canopy to re-vegetate much more than 150 acres; most of it carried larval infestation, which meant the pollinators the tree required would be generated along with them. No sooner did the numbers of fruiting trees build up than the bats turned up, a dozen species of them. The bird species multiplied, including some thought to be on the verge of extinction. And the invertebrate population exploded.

The reversal of the forest's devastation may seem slow; it's taken 13 years so far, but at least five of those I and my wonderful work force were learning what to do (and what not to do). It has now gathered speed, and soon there will be nothing but maintenance left to do. The whole process has taken less than an instant of evolutionary time.

by Germaine Greer from the May 2014 issue of The Smithsonian magazine

This morning


Great egrets, jack rabbits, black tail deer, bobcat, green heron, garter snake: I roam this ranch early in the morning as I feed the domestic livestock and I note the wild animals that I see. If I was back in the city I'd make tunnels under my fence to create lanes of travel for all the wild animals that live there so their world would be safer. Wouldn't it be cool if, when people are building their cities and subdivisions, they also take into consideration the habits of their wild brethren and accommodate them? I envision: tunnels for the cars to drive through. Above the tunnel at ground level the deer waltz back and forth to their grazing grounds and water source just as they have always done for thousands of years.

Just sayin'.

2 comments:

  1. Well, actually they did just that in the Netherland; build bridges between wildlife habitats over highways, so wildlife could travel back and forth without danger. Too bad I can not insert images, because this is something I, as a Dutchie, am quite proud of.
    As far as Germaine's piece goes; I am not worried about the earth. It will recover. It is our species that will take the fall.

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  2. That's exactly right. This earth is going to exist pretty much the way it always has. The only thing that's going to do it in is when our sun goes red giant. Even if we blasted the heck out of it with nuclear war it would still come back. It just might not come back with us. We'll see if we can get our act together and stick around. I know I'm trying. I know you're trying and that's all that we can do. Years ago I was involved with the Civil Rights Movement and we were all bummed because even though the laws were passed people still hated each other. All the laws in the world couldn't make people be what they needed to be. It's real obvious that change has to come from within and that takes a really long time. Probably generations.

    The laws do help, though, so I think we need to make them. What laws do is make it illegal to do stupid, hateful things and then people are forced to behave. One of the results is they get to know the people or things they hate and then gradually, like a glacier, they come around.

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