Yuzu Seedlings

Today I tried to find places to plant my yuzu seedlings around my neighborhood. There was so much concrete, or weed-killed areas, that it was really difficult to find any places where they might survive. When they grow, some people might enjoy them, while others will tear them out of the ground, and that is their right. To me, it is a little gift that I can give back to the world. I hope that many years from now, if someone wants a yuzu fruit and can’t find one at the store, they can take a walk and pick one from a wild tree.

These past few weeks I have been enjoying picking some of my vegetables from forgotten corners in my neighborhood, and from my willing neighbor’s trees. Wolfberry shoots are bitter but taste so nutritious, and mulberry shoots are delicious and tender. I was told to pick some bamboo shoots… But they are two feet tall now!If we can make more space on our roadsides and unused spaces for wild edible plants, we can raise our resilience levels for times when food might be scarce.

It scares me to think that this could have been MERS instead of CoVid-19. If that had happened, the food system would have collapsed.

If everyone knew what plants are edible, that would be great, but after two weeks or even a few days they would be gone. We need to create a world with more kindness towards other species, plant and animal. Birds spread mulberry seeds. Mulberries can provide not only berries but a nutritious vegetable for your dinner plate. But mulberries often get wacked away. We don’t know the value of the species we are destroying by laying down concrete, either.

When I was doing research in a small town down south, the elderly residents said they hadn’t seen a valued ethnobotanical plant (Ashitaba) for a long time in their neighborhood. I asked them why they thought that was, and they answered that they thought it was because there is too much concrete everywhere.

It seems like it is okay to rip trees and plants out of the ground, destroying other species’ homes, but it isn’t okay for us to defend them. Ask the town office why they overprune the roadside and park trees; it is their right to do that but the tree has no rights. The river by my house, covered and sided up by concrete, also has no rights. It isn’t okay to plant trees where people don’t want them, either. It isn’t okay to try to create a viable world for our grandkids.

I think CoVID-19 is a wake-up call for us to realize that we cannot do ‘business-as-usual’ anymore. We HAVE TO change, or we will fail, big time. But how to change?

Today I found a plant I had never seen before. It had been cut down and was growing out of its stump with the most beautiful leaves. I’m sure whoever hurt it didn’t care, and just wanted to make more room in their unused parking lot. Changing is taking baby steps. Opening our minds to new ways of thinking. Refusing to follow those who tell us that “this is the way we have always done it” or “this is the way business will prosper,” because business will not prosper long term and neither will any of us if we don’t change, NOW. Small actions count!! Let’s begin doing little things, thinking about things differently, and the world will change, one person at a time, one community at a time, one city at a time, one country at a time…

So if I would like to make a little Earth Day Wish, it would be for you, the reader, to do something small this week for the natural world. Whether it be planting some edible tree seeds, making a nest box, labeling some wild plants, stop using weed-killer and weeding (cut them and do mulching, cover them with cardboard and compost and plant species you want instead), de-investing in bad companies, donating to a trusted natural cause, sharing an article, making a bird bath, planting a tree in a parking lot, or destroying some concrete and replacing it with something else, or another warm-hearted action. I hope you can do it for yourself, your children, and the world around you.

Tech vortex?

So I was reading this article about how Chinese LCD panel companies are winning the race against LG and Samsung. The article is posted here.


It seems like there’s a tech vortex movement going on; they’re just trying to focus on the same technology instead of looking outside the box. They’re trying to make old technology better and better, and branch out into new kinds of panels. That being said, they’re still panels.

We could be being had; I often feel like they come up with technology and don’t actually put it out because they want to make money for the next year or two on old tech, but with this, I don’t think that’s the case.

I feel like with AR and that kind of technology, there’s a lot of potential that hasn’t been tapped that relates really closely. I predict that there’s going to be a huge shift within the next five years away from solid panels.

I think they probably have people working in think tanks in some of these companies trying to figure out new technology and how to integrate it into AR technology, or maybe I’m wrong. Maybe it’s just Google. The thing is that LCD panels (TV’s, monitors) take up a lot of natural resources, not to mention space in your house, and I’m sure that there is a better way to convey information.

I know there are a lot of people now using projectors, like the really cool projectors from Xiaomi that can be really close to the wall and are silent and can give you a really nice, big picture, but still projectors have their limitations like light interference.

So I’m thinking, something like some special glasses where you can look into them and see the AR of your favorite TV show or surf the net without having to take up any space at all… Kind of reminds me of a guy from the 1920s with a monocle.

Today’s Gifts – Paul & the Wixarika

With the silence around me, I have been cleaning things up, cleaning out, and trying to reconnect with my inner self. Today I found these paper treasures that I have not been able to let go of. As for the book, I think it is a good idea to read in the morning for a few minutes before doing anything on my smartphone or PC.

Dr. Hedberg’s account of meeting the Wixarika (Huichol Indians) for the first time in San Blas, stumbling in on a sacred ritual, and then his very strong statement about how we have ethnocentrified their perceptions of what we consider “Gods” is intense. He says that the indigenous people did not say “The Corn Goddess” but rather “Mother Corn,” nor the “Sky God” but “Father Sky,” and so on, because they did not use the word “God” they used terms for relatives. He states, in italics for emphasis, “to signify nature relatives with that word (“God”) is the biggest etymological mistake of the last millennium.” I would say this is because the cultural perception of relatives creates a kind of relationship that is much more intimate and a sense of responsibility towards them and an understanding if they are deeply connected with us.

He says, “through their activities and storytelling… They were not talking about or two gods but their relatives in the surrounding nature. they’re communicating efforts were aiming at keeping the balance in the mutual dependence between man and their nature relatives the help of him they needed so badly for their existence.”

He also mentions the demise of man at the point when he moved from being a hunter-gatherer to being an agricultural and then industrial society. It’s not the first time I’ve heard this, there’s a piece by Jared Diamond, who wrote the best-seller “Guns, Germs and Steel,” about the deviation and demise of man through what Western education has almost always considered evolution, in his piece in Discover Magazine entitled “The Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race.” When I read it, it rattled me to my senses and solidified awareness regarding the topic.

The editorial piece, from the magazine Clean Slate, published by the Center for Alternative Technology (CAT) in the UK, was written by my dear friend Paul Allen. Though it was written a few years ago, I find it appropriate to meditate upon at this point in time, when we sit quietly in our homes, fearfully attempting to thwart an unseen killer.

He says, “… The challenges are significant, but so are the opportunities… Simply trying to stimulate consumer-spending… won’t really solve our long-term economic challenges. However, transforming our consumer-driven economy into something more appropriate to the realities of the 21st century is also no small undertaking — but this is where the sheer scale of the energy transition becomes its biggest advantage any investment in either generating or saving energy offers a tangible economic return whilst also creating secure long-term employment for a great many people.” As I have seen from the market in the US just within the past year, there is a shift increasingly occurring towards Green Investment… However, what is Green Investment? There are various companies attempting to go green, but then there are many more with tongue-in-cheek greenwashing that really do nothing green at all and are just riding the wave like it is a fad. Perhaps some issues stem from the terminologies used in business, which brings us back to linguistics and culture.

In any culture, linguistic psychology creates reality. As an ethnobotanist, I must respect the indigenous naming of a plant in order to more deeply understand their perceptions of it, so in publications I list the original names and meanings. Linguists state that you cannot learn a language without knowing the culture. And John Hedberg recognized the need to return the true meaning of relatives in nature from the bastardization to “gods.”

Thus, there is a need for translation, one might say, to business language, for the meaning of ecological balance and the preciousness of those things that are not worth money to be understood. Economists have been trying to create new systems for years now that will create a balance, but without the cultural understanding built within business language, there may be little space for a long-term resolution.

My hope is that business will begin to evolve due to the pressure to green, just as languages and cultures evolve.

I have had the pleasure of consulting mentors and businesses regarding social-ecological systems and how to integrate businesses into ecology to make them more green, but I felt as though, although well-received, the understanding was not complete. It is definitely a work in progress on both sides. I only wish it were going more quickly, for the Earth we live upon and its finite resources of life, land and sky.

The Tower

I found this postcard lying on the floor today… it became today’s esoteric reading. In this painting by the surrealist Spanish painter Remedios Varo, she captured part of the essence of what I believe is appropriate to the moment.

I think this painting was a twist on the tarot card “The Tower.” In the original image, people jump from a burning tower in terror as their world crumbles around them. It is one of the more dreaded cards in the deck, with a meaning of the death of something or extreme changes. A falling apart of what is known.

This painting is done with he same perspective, but with the tower having crumbled, its pieces strewn upon the earth. A flutist is, with music, magically encouraging their piecing back into place in the tower, pulling the world back together.

The Coronavirus pulled many people out of their towers, where they thought they were safe and had their lives. They suddenly tumbled down, their known existence in shambles, the tower of their lives ruined. But I see many creative people pulling themselves up with a musical force from the heart, communicating about the true necessities of the world and our own lives.

The Tower card of the tarot also symbolizes new beginnings. With the end of something comes the beginning of something new. Thus, in my readings I always bring this point up. The Tower card need not be feared, more it is a call to courage and determination in the face of great change.

This painting by Varo also says that what is needed is creativity and listening to the heart. We can all heal but we need to get creative and listen to what is needed calling from the dark recesses of our silent souls and the silent voice of this beautiful Earth that we live upon. True healing will come when we can face what we truly need to heal: ourselves and our home.