Deserts to Grasslands to Forest

The famous TED Talk by Alan Savoy about changing deserts to grasslands was first on my YouTube watchlist today. This was after I read this wonderful blog post by Sacred Sueños, a darme un the Andes where the forest was burnt down in 1999 to bring in cattle… And afterwards was used for corn and other crops, until the land was unusable anymore and it came into their hands.

The message is this:

After we have brought grazing animals to the land, whether it be desert land that is unusable, or grasslands, if we want it to become forest again or even crop land, we need another step.

We have to give it chance for succession if we want it to be productive again. We need to allow it to feed and for the soil to grow with mulches and leaves from trees and bushes, for the microbes and organisms to live within it.

It really makes sense. There is a wonderful video about a professor from the US going back to his native land in Africa, where the people were struggling to eat from the land, and creating a new biome with water and forest through agroforestry.

The traditional way of agriculture isn’t working for us. It will be our undoing, as it has been for so many cultures before ours. This is the power of history: let us learn from it and not make the same mistakes.

Crane’s Call

I learned a new Japanese idiom today. It is 鶴の一声. It means “the decision that has been made by the highest ranking official or person.” It sounds so stiff in English. The literal translation is, “the single call of a crane.”

So I decided to write a poem, a haiku.

美白氷河の鏡 鶴の一声 私らの血を呼ぶ。

The whitening glacial mirror

Crane’s solitary voice

Calls our blood.

People often don’t get my poems… They are too symbolic. I end up having to explain them… Can anyone guess the meaning?

Prickly Joshua Tree Blanket

This is a positive story from Southern California.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/environment/2020/aug/20/joshua-tree-endangered-species-california-opposition

Even as developers and politicians in California attempt to thwart efforts to save Joshua Trees, a few people have begun to show that even though they are protected by needing a permit to cut them down, all 200+ permits passed last year. One person started a bill to protect the tree further, after 42,000 acres burnt down last year. You can see the details in the article.

What is heartening to me is that even though things may seem dark for the tree, there are people who are moving forward doing what they can in their own little ways.

It reminds me of the Bible story of David and Goliath. No matter how big the bully may seem, there must be a way to defeat it. Let us put our hearts and our heads together to move forward in whatever ways we personally find passion in. The world needs us. We may be small, but we are not weak.

Also, strength is not just literal fighting. It is following your joys, what makes you feel happy, while doing something for the world.

Of course, we need to be smart about it. My father told me I couldn’t study Art in university because I wouldn’t be able to make a living off of it as an adult. It was practical advice, and so I chose Biology, and that has been a really good decision I think, throughout my life. I studied two extra years for things that interested me, and was able to study Sumi-E in Japan. I think this helped me in the long run; my grades and my self-esteem were raised by doing things that I was good at while studying difficult subjects… I guess what I want to say is that just because we want to do something, doesn’t necessarily mean it is the best thing.

I think we should think carefully about the consequences of not acting right now in certain respects. I hope that my posts make a difference. Getting a Ph.D. was important, but I don’t know that anyone will ever read my dissertation. It’s a shame, because five years went into it, but the most important thing for me was the wisdom I got out of doing it. As I write posts that are related to my research, I think they reach many more people than my studies ever will, unless I get famous. But during those five years of studies, I did a lot that I felt was good. I saved a lot of little animals, I was a volunteer at Kizuna Baby (an orphaned baby massage organization), I helped fellow students, organized community music events, and other social events for students…

But right now, for me, writing blog posts is one of the most powerful things I can do right now, I think. I also think that making videos about edibles and medicinals would be fun and well-appreciated.

What can you do for the world, something that you think you are good at and love to do? I’m sure you are full of treasures. 🌟

Rainforest Burning Investors

Here is a report by Amazon Watch of beneficiaries to the burning of the Amazon Jungle. Yes, folks, it’s happening again.

As a CNN article stated yesterday, Bolsonaro called it lies, but “evidence shows differently.” There is illegal logging and slavery happening. China is the biggest buyer of products from the Amazon… but who buys the end products? The report gives advice for governments on how to deal with the issue, and long lists of companies that are investing in the carnage. Some of ways we can combat it:

1. To write to the companies with which we are investing and express our dismay at their irresponsibility… and if at all possible boycott them if they don’t respond.
2. To reuse and recycle, not buy new furniture.
3. To invest with green investors and companies that are trying to go green.
4. To donate to NGOs like this one, so that we can get more quality information and someone is out there working to stop what is happening.

The Amazon Rainforest provides us with many things that we need — Alive. Not in our kitchens or living rooms.

Click to access 2019-complicity-in-destruction-2.pdf

https://www.cnn.com/2020/08/19/americas/brazil-amazon-fires-bolsonaro-intl/index.html

Finnish Ed & Humanizing Math

https://medium.com/@sunilsingh_42118/you-really-want-to-rehumanize-math-education-build-a-new-ship-8aa6fe6b43d0

Had this hopeful future been the case when I was in school, I might have become a physicist.

But because my ability in math was based on time, not actual ability, I was even derided by the teacher in my precalculus class.

That being said, the Fractal of Life, in all its complexity and confusion has led me here, and actually anywhere is really okay. It is the journey, and feeling it, that matters.

At some point maybe the world education system will realize that there is a reason Finland’s education system (wherein children are not given homework and are allowed freedom after only three hours of school) has been top-rated worldwide. Maybe they will see that rather than trying to control and test what has been literally crammed into delicate grey matter, it is ultimately better to allow our infinitely more-intelligent-than-us yet extremely naive children to explore their world. After all it is theirs, and they will all tell you their concerns for the future, which are very real… Actually, there may be a correlation with the education system and the fact that Finland is also famous for its social support and peace in its society. It is consistently rated one of the top happiest countries on Earth according to the Happiness Index.

But it may take destroying all we have for reasons included in the Seven Deadly Sins (there is a reason they are called that), before we change our idiotic ways from control and fear of the unknown, to trusting and allowing guided growth. In that healthy future, people might choose very different careers. They might choose happiness instead of money, an in doing so really be alright financially.

In fact, people would be much happier because they would have been training since a young age to follow their interests instead of what they are force-fed to think is what they have to do. In this, the overall quality of everything, from furniture to management would improve, because only those who thought that they were good at something would pursue it, and they would know it from their elementary education. 

I was once told by Dr. Fujii, the Japanese traditional garden specialist, that the reason Japanese garden trees have changed so much is this. In ancient Japan, the trees were pruned for the way they wanted to grow. This style of pruning can still be seen in Kyoto, and the most beautiful example I have ever seen is the tiny private garden in the imperial palace there.

Now they are pruned to force them into what is considered the proper form, or what is most convenient for the space. They are caricatures of what they could be, and the gardens suffer for it visually.

The trees, like the children, are being stunted, forced to fit into a mold, and not allowed to become the greatest they could be.

Rainforest Commons

Happy birthday to me.

The last of the Amazon Rainforest is being torn down and scorched to ashes. I can feel it. It is a horrible. It is a classic example of the Tragedy of the Commons. The Rainforest has no physical owners… That anyone with power RESPECTS anyway. They are too wise for their own good in this small-minded modern world, and instead call themselves “Guardians of the Forest”. Also, they have no money, and in this story, people with money are greedy assholes who want more. So with guns, bulldozers, and flamethrowers, they take it. It’s not hard. Because to be a guardian is to understand that nothing in the world is yours. Not your children or your spouse. Nor your pet or your house. Philosophically speaking, we own nothing. We are born with nothing, and we die with nothing. Ownership is an illusion formed by society so that we can create rules and systems… But the rainforest does not work inside our little boxes.

The sad thing is that, we are so obsessed with what we have and what we want, that we have forgotten that what is shared is our greatest treasure. Our greatest moments of humanity are spent when we are together in some way, sharing an experience. A concert, an exhibit, an awestriking view, a traditional family dinner, an anniversary, a trip to the park. It is when we give to each other. When we forget “this person is MINE” and instead stare in wonder at the person we love after they have done something that strikes us at the depths of our souls… The sad thing is, the Rainforest and its Indigenous inhabitants are a gift to us all. Like the artists at an exhibit, or the band at the concert, or our loved-one who is not ours but is there for us out of simply being there. We could have sat at dinner with the Rainforest and enjoyed her wonders, and instead we rape her and steal and burn. So that we can have a steak dinner with our loved ones who we know so much better. We don’t need the steak dinner… because just like too much sugar, the loss of the forest is going to kill us. Because we are so small, in our little societal boxes, we fail to see that this is going to be our undoing. Our individual greed translates to a colossal demon that is ripping the forests out, vomiting on the oceans, and creating agricultural deserts of nothing but “green”, because it is something inedible that does not contribute to the global ecosystem — meaning no one else can use it except for us. At the same time we increasingly commit atrocities within the social system, underneath our own noses and behind closed doors in the name of “science” for the next LD50 or to test the physical testicular load on rats so that we can see the best supplement for testosterone production. Ridiculous!!! What a joke. The Tragedy of the Commons is no less ridiculous than it was when first coined, and no less deadly. Because whatever is not owned by someone more powerful than anyone else, is going to be abused and destroyed in the name of…. Whatever anyone feels like saying!! “We are going to test on all sorts of little animals, because, well, they aren’t human.” So WHAT?! “We need more cows, so uh, we’re just going to build this farm right here where thousands of species are living now but will disappear.” What if it were OUR SPECIES?!

What.If.It.Were.Our.Family?

The Indigenous people’s religions in the USA and Mexico were misconstrued 450 years ago. They did not believe in this Father Sun God or that Mother Rain God. They believe that actually, the rain is their family member, the plants are their family members also. Because they are. Even in the Bible it says that man is to be steward; that means a guardian, not an abusive owner.

And if humanity is able to survive the next hundred and fifty years, it will be because we were somehow able to move past our little boxes, into a wider philosophy that protects the Commons, we found some sort of protection for the Commons, or we lost everything we had and somehow from the garbage left over from our ancestors, we built a new philosophy. One about being sisters and brothers with everything around us, because in the end, that is the only way we can maintain the world “for seven generations” after our own. And the land we stole, we took from the wise who had lived here 20,000 years already, and would live indefinitely, in their family of man and sky and land, enjoying concerts, exhibits, traditional family dinners, and trips to the park, had we not come.

Indigenous Lives are at stake… by our own hands. Please be conscious of your purchases, buy reused goods, eat more vegetables and fruit, and breathe in the moment. “This is OUR Earth, most friendly Earth and fair, daily her sea and shore, through sun and shadow, faithful she turns robed in her azure air…”

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.