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The Stand Up Paddle Radio Show
4 minutes | Sep 28, 2015
Sounds From Super Moon Drum Circle
Leslie Kolovich, producer/host of SUP Radio Show Hey there I’m Leslie Kolovich enjoy this short audio clip of our Healing Drum Circle on the beach during the Super Moon Eclipse September 27. 2015. It was uncertain if we would even get a glimpse of this moon event as forecasters called for rain and clouds coming in from a tropical disturbance off shore. We watched the weather channel as the percentages of rain kept changing for our start time. By 4:00 there was only a 15% chance of rain, the decision was made, to the beach we would go. Twenty people showed up for this drum circle all eager to feel the possibilities of what this event could bring. The rhythm of the Gulf combined with our drumming set the stage for the entrance of this super moon. We chanted, we listened, we had our feet in the sand, it was a beautiful night. The moon gave us only a handful of peeks holding our curiosity and faith. At the end of a 3 hour session all but 4 drummers had left, the beach was quiet with the sound of just a single drum. The moon who seemed quite comfortable nestled in the clouds, must have been pleased, because it was as if she commanded the clouds to separate for us to see her in the powerful position of full eclipse! I’ve heard from some of the drummers who left that they also saw that moment on their way home. Peace, Love and Drumming~Leslie Our Drum Circle meets every 2nd Thursday of the Month 6-8pm central time.
8 minutes | Aug 5, 2015
The Power Of Words And Music
Leslie Kolovich, producer/host of SUP Radio Show Soulful Uplifting People with Leslie Kolovich Enjoy the podcast now: Today’s podcast I share my thoughts of the power of words in the music we listen to and sing along with. I was inspired by the video of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama and Michael Franti a singer-songwriter, philanthropist and humanitarian. The Dalai Lama reminded Michael to continue to send joyfulness, inspiration, love and affection with words out for the world. This sparked in me an understanding of responsibility and opportunity to send good energy into the collective consciousness of the world with the words I say, sing or listen to. Live a purposeful life, love it with all your heart and remember love, peace and compassion is always something the world needs more of. Leslie Kolovich~
4 minutes | Jul 9, 2015
Of Forest And River
The Paddler’s Planet with Christian Wagley Listen to the podcast now: It’s a hot Sunday afternoon on the summer solstice, and with the sun at its highest in the sky above I take a ride to a rural swimming hole on the Perdido River along the border between Florida and Alabama. Parked cars line both sides of the road leading down to the water, hinting at the scene ahead. The descending road levels out on a flat floodplain along the River’s banks, and the view before me makes my eyes grow wide. It’s a beehive of activity, as a couple of hundred people are in the River and along its banks–swimming, fishing, picnicking, lounging—enjoying a Father’s Day afternoon. Young children wade gingerly through the shallows as parents hold their tiny hands. Older kids leap into the River from the sandy banks and bob their heads beneath the water, always coming-up with smiles on their faces. Grandparents sit in folding chairs beneath the shade of trees, watching over it all. The shallow River flows clean, tinted brown by the natural tannins that seep from vegetation as rain drains through hundreds of square miles of mostly forested land upstream. While I doubt that anyone enjoying the cool water is thinking about it at this moment, there’s a beautiful relationship between the River and the surrounding forests that makes this entire scene possible. The warm moist air rising from the Gulf of Mexico helps to fuel over 60” of rainfall per year along our coast, making it one of the wettest areas of the country. When storm clouds drop their load over a native forest, so begins a series of amazing interactions between rain, forest, land, and river. The falling rain first strikes the leaves and branches in the tree canopy, which can be 100’ in the air among the oldest of the longleaf pine trees that once dominated the coastal plain. Depending on the intensity of the storm and density of the canopy, around one-quarter of the rain can be absorbed by the forest canopy where it then evaporates back into the sky. What does move through the canopy has been softened, falling more gently toward the ground. On its way to the forest floor the rain reaches an understory of small trees, shrubs, and grasses that further absorb the flow. The remaining rain finally reaches the forest floor, where a dense carpet of leaves, pine needles, plants, and decaying organic matter soak-up the water and hold it like a sponge. The upper layers of soil and leaf litter teem with a rich diversity of microbes, fungi, and other life that cleanse the water of pollutants like sediment and nutrients, before it filters slowly into the ground where it flows underground into nearby rivers and streams. Looking out on the river that day, I watched people frolic in water that had fallen as rain weeks and even months ago, slowly delivered to the River clear and clean by the undeveloped forest upstream. In using the river they were most certainly embracing the wonderful natural system that ensures that waters run pure. Wherever we live, the waters we love to paddle depend on what’s upstream. Healthy waterways can only stay healthy by keeping most of their watershed intact, in its natural state of forest or grassland. The more we understand and embrace this, the more we can work toward preserving the large areas of land that must stay undeveloped to protect these waters. As paddlers that means looking many miles upstream and advocating to preserve lands in parks, private preserves, and well-managed timber and grazing lands. And to steer new housing and development into already developed areas and more compact patterns that use less land—urban areas where we can leave the car behind and do a lot more daily travel by bike, on foot, and with transit. It’s the big-picture approach we have to follow in order to save every favorite little swimming hole and stretch of waterway all across the land.
6 minutes | Jul 8, 2015
Getting Outdoors On The Water Can Make Us Happier
Leslie Kolovich, producer/host of SUP Radio Show Soulful Uplifting People with Leslie Kolovich Listen to the podcast now: Many of you that follow my radio show and blogs understand the joy, and passion I get from being outdoors on the water paddling. I believe that adventures especially those that connect us to our natural world can make us happier people. Getting back to simple~ For me a paddleboard adventure is the perfect happiness activity. Paddling is simple. No need for motors, noise, breakdowns, smell of gasoline, or puffy black smoke, just simple. A board, paddle, PFP, a dry bag and a water bottle is all that is needed. When I don’t have to worry about a whole lot of preparation for an adventure the stress is cut down immensely! Keeping adventure simple, I believe offers a better experience and this makes me happier. This actually is a true statement for all aspects of our lives. Keep it simple. Less talking more listening~ My group of regular paddle friends and I have unknowingly allowed the first 15 minutes or so of our paddling to be the time we talk all of our issues out we often call this “board therapy”. I think Mother Nature is listening to our concerns and she asks the water and the breezes to whoosh away our stresses. It’s quite a remarkable happening. It’s as if you can see this calm wave wash over us all bringing us no need to talk about our discomforts anymore. We then get quiet and turn to the voices of nature it’s our turn to listen. We hear the water splashing up against the boards, we hear the screech of osprey and eagles as they fly over head, we hear the sounds of water meeting the shores of forests that have stood since ancient times. I now recognize these sounds as Mother Nature’s symphony. With this recognition I reconnect with the natural rhythm of the planet, which also brings a deeper feeling of contentment and peace. A promise to respect and protect~ With each paddle adventure I become so connected to nature with such gratitude for all that she gives to sustain life including peace and happiness that it is my promise to respect and protect, and really look at how my daily actions on this planet affect the overall health and well being of it. One person does make a difference. July 25th is World Paddle for the Planet Day. Founder Bob Purdy will lead people all across the globe at noon in every time zone with the mantra, be the change you want to see. Together we will send a wave of positive change with hopes of turning the bus around for future generations! One of the most important things a human being can do~ Getting outdoors on the water in a non motorized craft, keeping it simple, talking less, listening more, connecting to the rhythm of Natures symphony feeling the gratitude for the life sustaining beauty of the planet that makes us stand up and protect it at all costs is quite possibly the most important thing a human can do. That’s a pretty big statement, but I really believe if we could get those policy makers, and people in suits out on the water in this manner, the natural world would become something other than words written on paper on their desks.
7 minutes | Jun 30, 2015
The First Drum Circle
Soulful Uplifting People The First Drum Circle (Thursday, May 7th) By Nic Stoltzfus Listen to the podcast now: Last month, Leslie Kolovich invited me to a drum circle at her house. I was both equal parts excited and apprehensive—what would it be like? What could I expect? I arrived about 20 minutes before we were supposed to begin. I greeted everyone and Leslie asked that I write down some names of people that I would like to lift up for this evening’s drum circle. I wrote down a few names and at the end included the people in Nepal who had recently been affected by the earthquake. Leslie asked that we bring our own drums, so I brought my sister’s djembe that she bought when she was in Cameroon, and a stumpfiddle that I made. I set the instruments down in the middle of the circle where everyone else had placed their rhythm instruments; there was a whole assortment of drums—large, small, tall, squatty. Other rhythm instruments included bells, hand cymbals, frogs, rhythm sticks, egg shakers, Tibetan singing bowls, and maracas. As the clock approached six, we formed a circle in the family room downstairs. Leslie greeted everyone and then Jaime, a local musician and probably the most experienced drummer in the room, explained that we would be drumming for 108 minutes straight, and that it was going to be a freestyle drum circle with no central leader, but one where the group would ebb and flow on its own whim. He then asked us a question. “How many of you are drummers?” A few hands went up. “How many of you are think you’re not drummers?” Most of the hands in the room shot up—for many of us, this was our first time at a drum circle. With a smile on his face and a twinkle in his eyes, he said, “Well, I think you’re going to prove me differently by the end of the evening.” We then went around the room and shared our names, and why we were here this evening. I told everyone that I was there to listen with an unclouded heart. Among the other 21 drummers, many mentioned being there to find harmony or love. One lady said she was there to heal a broken heart. Another person said that there was a lot of hurt going on, and she wanted to lift up peace to the world. After going around the room Shantaya, a local yoga instructor, began playing on her box accordion and lead the group in a mantra. After a few minutes, Jaime began playing his drum; with a deep bass thump and steady rhythm that resonated throughout the room, most of us began nodding to the beat. After another minute or so, a lady from across the room joined in on her drum, somewhat unsteady and unsure at first, but soon slipped into a rhythm paralleling Jaime’s drumming. One by one, everyone else in the circle joined in. Shantaya stopped playing the box accordion and the percussive beat of drums filled the room. Ba-boomp, ba-da-boomp, ba-da-boomp, ba-da-boomp. Ba-boomp. The group began with this really heavy throbbing drumbeat, and then the beat changed. Three beat time switched to four beat time and cycled back again. Each person was a thread, a thread of frayed and loose sound that rapidly intertwined with others, spun wildly with others; came together freely, completely designless and free. Rhythms wove throughout the room, the warp and the woof formed a fabric of sound, enveloped us in a warm and palpable blanket of rhythm. Towards the end, I wanted to take a break, so I left the circle. I grabbed a cup of water and a slice of watermelon and went outside to the porch. The last hours of sunlight hung in the sky and reflected off the nearby dune lake. I listened: Crick, crick, chirpity-crick, chirp, chirp. Nature has its own rhythm, and I could hear the beating of the drums mixing with the night sounds. I thought to myself: crickets and frogs sing their song every day, and if only we could do the same thing and not be held back by society and cultural inhibitions and just live our lives and create music! I came back in the room and looked at the drums spread out all higglety-pigglety on the floor like toys in a child’s room. Playing drums, playing music. I looked around the room—every one person had their own instrument that they were playing and yet, collectively, we were creating music together. Each cricket rubbing its individual legs yet together forming a chorus, each ant grasping its own leaf yet together feeding the whole colony, each butterfly flapping its own wings yet together migrating southward…Interdependence. To create your own rhythm and sync it with others—it’s not just humanity, it’s life! Not long after I sat down, Shantaya began to squeeze the bellows on her box accordion and the drummers began to slow down and fade out, recognizing that we had been playing for almost two hours straight. Shantaya soon stopped playing and the room sat in silence. After listening to almost two hours of loud, rhythmic, pulsing, pulsating, beating drums and then to have a moment of silence? It really was deafening, audible—I heard the sound of silence. It spoke to me as much as the drumbeats. Sometimes the absence of something is just as important as the presence of something. When you have a cup, that which is not is what forms the usefulness of a cup. We drink from the hollow section and the cup is just a container. Even drums need a shell or a resonance chamber to allow the vibrations to spread through the air. Eardrum, sound, house, cup. That which is useful is not. Five or ten minutes passed with us sitting in silence and breathing in each other’s presence. Leslie concluded the evening and the group was in agreeance that this was truly a special evening and that the drum circle should continue. The next drum circle is Thursday, July 9th, from 6-8 pm Central Time and will meet every 2nd Thursday of the month at that time. You can watch the drumming sessions on YouTube. Hope to see you there!
7 minutes | Jun 23, 2015
Excerpts from Laudato Si’
Soulful Uplifting Programming Excerpts from Laudato Si’ By Nic Stoltzfus Listen to the podcast now: Last Thursday, the pope released his first encyclical. Its topic was a somewhat unlikely one: climate change and the continued destruction of our planet. For the figurehead of the largest Christian denomination in the world to deliver an encyclical, one of the highest-ranking documents a pope can issue, on environmental issues is not something to be taken lightly. Furthermore, Laudato Si’ (whose title is inspired by poetry from Saint Francis) is addressed not only to Catholics, but to “every person living on this planet.” (Section 3) At 184 pages, it is about the size of a novella, and it reads like a college textbook throughout most of it. However, there are some moments within the encyclical that are quite inspiring and resonated with me. Here, I share them with you: If we approach nature and the environment without this openness to awe and wonder, if we no longer speak the language of fraternity and beauty in our relationship with the world, our attitude will be that of masters, consumers, ruthless exploiters, unable to set limits on their immediate needs. By contrast, if we feel intimately united with all that exists, then sobriety and care will well up spontaneously. The poverty and austerity of Saint Francis were no mere veneer of asceticism, but something much more radical: a refusal to turn reality into an object simply to be used and controlled. (Section 11) In some places, rural and urban alike, the privatization of certain spaces has restricted people’s access to places of particular beauty. In others, “ecological” neighbourhoods have been created which are closed to outsiders in order to ensure an artificial tranquillity. Frequently, we find beautiful and carefully manicured green spaces in so-called “safer” areas of cities, but not in the more hidden areas where the disposable of society live. (Section 45) Today, however, we have to realize that a true ecological approach always becomes a social approach; it must integrate questions of justice in debates on the environment, so as to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor. (Section 49) Since everything is closely interrelated, and today’s problems call for a vision capable of taking into account every aspect of the global crisis, I suggest that we now consider some elements of an integral ecology, one which clearly respects its human and social dimensions. (Section 137) It is essential to seek comprehensive solutions which consider the interactions within natural systems themselves and with social systems. We are faced not with two separate crises, one environmental and the other social, but rather with one complex crisis which is both social and environmental. Strategies for a solution demand an integrated approach to combating poverty, restoring dignity to the excluded, and at the same time protecting nature. (Section 139) We need to take up an ancient lesson, found in different religious traditions and also in the Bible. It is the conviction that “less is more”. A constant flood of new consumer goods can baffle the heart and prevent us from cherishing each thing and each moment. To be serenely present to each reality, however small it may be, opens us to much greater horizons of understanding and personal fulfilment. (Section 222) Happiness means knowing how to limit some needs which only diminish us, and being open to the many different possibilities which life can offer. (Section 223) Inner peace is closely related to care for ecology and for the common good because, lived out authentically, it is reflected in a balanced lifestyle together with a capacity for wonder which takes us to a deeper understanding of life. Nature is filled with words of love, but how can we listen to them amid constant noise, interminable and nerve-wracking distractions, or the cult of appearances? Many people today sense a profound imbalance which drives them to frenetic activity and makes them feel busy, in a constant hurry which in turn leads them to ride rough-shod over everything around them. This too affects how they treat the environment. An integral ecology includes taking time to recover a serene harmony with creation, reflecting on our lifestyle and our ideals, and contemplating the Creator who lives among us and surrounds us, whose presence “must not be contrived but found, uncovered”. (Section 225) We must regain the conviction that we need one another, that we have a shared responsibility for others and the world, and that being good and decent are worth it. We have had enough of immorality and the mockery of ethics, goodness, faith and honesty. It is time to acknowledge that light-hearted superficiality has done us no good. When the foundations of social life are corroded, what ensues are battles over conflicting interests, new forms of violence and brutality, and obstacles to the growth of a genuine culture of care for the environment. (Section 229) Saint Therese of Lisieux invites us to practise the little way of love, not to miss out on a kind word, a smile or any small gesture which sows peace and friendship. An integral ecology is also made up of simple daily gestures which break with the logic of violence, exploitation and selfishness. In the end, a world of exacerbated consumption is at the same time a world which mistreats life in all its forms. (Section 230) Love, overflowing with small gestures of mutual care, is also civic and political, and it makes itself felt in every action that seeks to build a better world. Love for society and commitment to the common good are outstanding expressions of a charity which affects not only relationships between individuals but also “macro-relationships, social, economic and political ones”. (Section 231)
4 minutes | Jun 22, 2015
Solstice Drum Circle And Ocean Waves
Leslie Kolovich, producer/host of SUP Radio Show Soulful Uplifting People Monday after the Summer Solstice drumming circle by Leslie Kolovich Listen to the podcast now: I am sitting in my basement studio early this morning. The sun coming through the windows is making interesting shadow patterns on the white rug. I close my eyes and I can still hear the beat, the rhythm from Saturday nights Solstice drum circle. This room continues to have a vibration from 17 drummers who joined together to welcome inner Solstice. It soothes me. It brings me into Monday with a calm feeling. Each drum circle is unique. The music is never the same. This event brought 12 new people to the session, each sharing an expression from their soul. For some, the drumming was a brand new experience, and others it was a long overdue reunion with the drum. I continue to be amazed how drum circles evolve. It reminds me of a ocean wave beginning to form way off shore. Slowly building gathering volume, height and suddenly all the water within the wave is synchronized forming this beautiful perfect roll. But then from the glory of the peak it falls apart. Water goes where it wants to go. Keeping close to the main wave, but nonetheless as it falls from the crest it creates what seems like pure chaos. Then water makes it’s way towards the shore much smaller and fragmented. However, once it hits the beach, touches the ground it returns back to the open ocean pulling together another synchronized wave is formed. Some waves last longer than others, but one thing we know is that waves will never give up. Even on very flat water days there is always motion and rhythm in the ocean. Drumming with a group is a great teacher for our daily lives. We learn to feel the power of synchronizing with others. The thrill of when the entire group is connected is spectacular. We learn to feel patience when the group seems to break off into pure chaos. We let it flow knowing we will join back when the time for gathering again is needed. We learn to support each other, share, and most of all respect that there is no wrong way to play your soul’s expression of rhythm. On this Monday after the Summer Solstice drum circle I go forward with this renewal, with a new understanding of myself, and my connection to others through many cycles of rhythm. Healing Peace, Love and Drumming ~Leslie Kolovich ***This drum circle will meet every 2nd Thursday of the month starting July 9th 6-8pmcst. Cover photo credit: Caroling Wholeo Geary You can watch our drumming session on Youtube
4 minutes | Jun 17, 2015
The Color Tells A Story
The Paddler’s Planet The color tells a story by Christian Wagley Listen to the podcast now: It’s a fine day for a sail as I rise in the early morning darkness to catch a ride on a friend’s sailboat for a daylong voyage into the Gulf of Mexico. As I sip coffee and gather my provisions in the morning silence, I relish the thought of sailing in a single day from bayou to bay to gulf, and observing the colorful changes along the way. We motor out of the slip and leave the dark and sheltered waters of the bayou, entering the larger Pensacola Bay. The moon sets in the western sky and the first light of dawn appears in the east. Once past the narrow channel we turn the engine off and let the sails fill with a gentle wind. We sail toward the pass, a narrow channel between two barrier islands that follows the route of the old river that is now a drowned valley some 50 feet beneath us. Sea level was much lower 18,000 years ago, and the river once flowed many miles farther before it reached the Gulf. Approaching the pass the calm bay waters begin to churn as the opposing forces of Gulf and bay meet in the constricted channel. With each ebb and flow of the tides, huge volumes of water push through the narrow pass and collide in a dramatic turbulence. From the upstream watershed of 7000 square miles of land comes the fresh water that falls as rain, filters through forests and pours across streets and parking lots, and flows down miles of streams and rivers to the bay. And from the Gulf come briny waters carrying the dissolved salts and tiny larval creatures of the sea. These contrasting waters mix in some places and stratify in others, and here at the pass they hit head-on. The whitecaps and foam on the surface clearly show the epic battle of waters taking place, but it is the color of the water that draws my eye above all else. The bay waters are a dark blue stained brown by loose soil and tannins—compounds dissolved from tree leaves and other plant parts. The Gulf waters are an intensely clear green, looking even greener in colorful contrast with the bay. The differing colors offer a great lesson to paddlers in observing the many waters we encounter. Brown water could be carrying mud, or naturally-occurring tannins as rain filters through forests. A brown color can also come from tiny plant plankton (called phytoplankton) that tint the water. In general, these darker and browner waters tend to carry more nutrients and support more biologically productive natural systems. Where waters are an intense clear blue they often indicate more of a biological desert, as sunlight reaches through clear water with little phytoplankton and all but the blue wavelengths of light are absorbed. Green waters often lie in between, as areas where moderate levels of nutrients feed phytoplankton containing chlorophyll that color the water. But color is not the whole story. Many of the most troubling chemical pollutants and pathogens introduced by humans are invisible to our eyes. Mercury, PCBs, chemicals that drip from cars, viruses, and bacteria are causing harm in many coastal waters and yet can only be seen through laboratory analysis. The color of the waters we paddle tells a story, and one that we should all know and understand better. But color is not the whole story, and so we have to continue to support scientists and citizens who collect water samples and monitor the waters we paddle. Only by having the complete picture of the health of our waters—observing the changes we see as paddlers, and acting on the recommendations of scientists who see what we can’t—can we restore and protect the waterways we love.
3 minutes | Jun 16, 2015
The Heat Is Here! No I’m Not Talking Basketball
Soulful Uplifting Programming Summer in Florida by Nic Stoltzfus Listen to the podcast now: It’s here—the Heat. No, I’m not talking about our Miami-based basketball team, I am talking about the sweat-inducin’, armpit-soakin’, skin-fryin’, slap-you-in-the-face, humid-as-heck Florida summer heat. Yesterday I went out to pick a batch of tomatoes from our garden around 10 am and the daisies surrounding our vegetable patch were noticeably sagging. Beadlets of sweat began to form on my arms, and I wiped my brow after only a few minutes of being outside. How was it that the week before was so pleasant? It was slightly windy with a high of 87 or so; but, by this week, it was in the high 90s! What brought the sudden change? When I think of Florida in summer, I think of the saying, “It’s not the heat that gets ya, it’s the humidity.” My pores open up, and I’m constantly dripping sweat when I’m outside—a human faucet. Even the air seems to be sweating—am I stepping outside or into a sauna? Am I breathing air or liquid? I imagine that’s how someone from the arid regions of the U.S. must feel when they come to Florida during this time of year. They step outside, take a breath, and imagine that they just drank a glass of water. As a kid, it was great fun to play outside in the summertime (heck, still is!). My sister and I would snake a waterhose close to the trampoline and spread liquid soap over the top of the trampoline, buttering it to make it slippery. We would spray each other with the cold well water dug deep into the aquifer, far beneath all of this dreadful heat, and we would feel the icy water touch our skin and sizzle as it melted away a small slice of the summer heat. Ahhh—summer in Florida. There really is nothing like it. Most of the time you just want to stay inside, watch TV, do nothing, and pet the equally lethargic dog by your feet. The dog days is what we locals call it. We become sluggish and our excuse for doing nothing is this: “It’s too dang hot outside.” In the summer months, even the omni-happy workers of Disneyworld become lugubrious. Mickey Mouse’s perennially perky ears sag from the moisture and the dude inside bakes from the heat. The tourist season steadily dries up over June, July, and August. Stories of heat stroke get passed around. Funny, considering how much water is in the air that your body can still get dehydrated so easily. Why can’t we just drink it from the air? Not even fire really wants to get started in the summer. “It’s too dang hot outside!” it complains; and sticks close to the charcoal-cool embers of the earth, away from the heated sky. And yet, despite all this complaining, Florida’s summer sunsets are truly stunning. Afternoon thunderstorms clean the air and the water droplets in the remaining storm clouds scatter light down to create a breathtaking ruby-red sky at night; a veritable Floridian’s delight.
5 minutes | Jun 9, 2015
Kansas, Oz: Nature, Technology
Standing Up for the Planet By Nic Stoltzfus Kansas, Oz; Nature, Technology Listen to the Podcast Now: Last September I read an article in the BBC titled “World Wildlife Population Halved in 40 Years.” (http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-29418983) Here I am, more than half a year later, and this article still haunts me. What do these words even mean? Population Halved In 40 Years. Were they nuked? How did they disappear? Where did they go? Where are you now Javan Tiger? Where have you flown off to Spix’s Macaw? Golden Toad, why can I no longer hear your call? They’re gone, never to return; extinct. What does that word even mean, extinct? We throw it around so flippantly, like it’s no big deal. Who, or what, is snipping the threads of the web of life? “Unsustainable human consumption.” In layman’s terms: Gluttony. We, we humans, drink too much oil, eat too much fish, poison too many insects, drink too deeply from our springs, bomb too many places, gnash apart too many trees… The BBC article feebly attempted some optimism to make the content a shade less depressing, but it was already so depressing that nothing could have saved that headline. I mean, we HALVED our wildlife in the last forty years?! Where do we stop? Where do we stop? If an alien came to Earth tomorrow—how would I explain the current situation? “This is Earth, our home. There used to be a lot more greenery and vegetation and animals all around, but in the last 300 years or so we started developing machines and mechanisms in what we humans call The Industrial Revolution. We have ushered in the age of iron dinosaurs, oversized mechanical menaces breathing smoke and fire, sticking long needles into the ground and siphoning off Earth’s slick, black blood to give energy to these machines; to feed more consumption.” The Industrial Revolution has revolutionized our narrative as humans and how we think about the world. We are now surrounded by so many machines and so much technology and it dazzles us—we live in the Land of Oz—iPhones, iMacs, Android phones, amazing cars with powerful sensors, watches that talk to us, glasses that read the weather! …And we forget Kansas. By contrast, where we came from, Kansas/the natural world, the land of wildlife and nature, is dull and drab and grey. We’d rather forget it, blow our nose in it and toss it away. Who cares? It just sort of…is. I think many of us have lost focus about what it means to be human and what it means to be a part of the world. Instead we stand apart. We are separate instead of understanding what it means to be beings birthed from the Earth. We’re not robots. We’re not programmed. Our minds are not computers. We are living and breathing beings that have inherited hundreds and thousands and millions of years of wisdom about Earth and how it works and we subconsciously ARE the world; we retain the ghosts of our ancestors. This is something we don’t even know how to program with computers! There is so much that we are just now finding out about ourselves—there are new discoveries every day—and there will continue to be—about the Earth and ourselves and space and the universe. We only know a fraction of the entire wealth of knowledge of the universe. Yes, technology is a great aid to understand the universe better. Telescopes, X-Ray machines, rockets, computers, research stations—they all are essential to understanding the world. And, yes, iPhones and other smart devices can be a great tool to learning more about the environment around us. However… We have forgotten that these things are merely tools—not icons meant to be worshipped. We aren’t being mindful to our thoughts and actions. There is a mindlessness because the changes have come so blisteringly fast and we are in awe of the raw power that exists at our fingertips. And we slice up the world haphazardly simply because we can. And we forget that, by cutting up the world, we are cutting up ourselves—for we are born of the world. And we have disremembered the original meaning of “economy”: taking care of our home. Economy is the art of taking care of one’s home. Ecology shares the same root as economy because it means the study of our home. Eco. Eco-friendly. So, let’s take a collective turn towards the ecology and economy of our planet—the study and dutiful care of our home. If we are to prevent the deaths and extinction of many more species, we must wake up from our techno-dreams. And care about Kansas.
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