Blog: Anthropocene: How are Humans Influencing the Planet?

Ellen Bennett, featured in this TED Talk gives us hope. There are many stories and articles about our climate, for the most part, highlight existing problems. We get tired of that approach in our news, right? I know I do. Ellen offers a different approach, one that proves to be more sustainable.

She mentions Anthropocene. I wondered what that meant as my podcast guest this week, Alaya Young, founder of the 1 million redwood research and planting project mentions that too in her work.  So I looked it up and found this site and hope-filled talk about changing where we place our attention: Are we going to focus just on the doom and gloom or the stories filled with imagination, practicality, action, and innovation that are working today? We need both for balance but she offers 5oo seeds she found around the world; projects initiated that are sowing the seeds of sustainability and regeneration, changing community life for all.

But let’s step back a moment. Anthropocene relates to or denotes the current geological age, viewed as the period during which human activity has been the dominant influence on climate and the environment. Anthropos means human with the root, cene ( the standard suffix for epoch in geological time). The current epoch we are in is known as the Holocene Epoch of Quaternary Period which began approximately 10,000 years ago. I don’t know about you, but for me, the important point to remember is: overall, how are we affecting our environment from all levels of progress during our current epoch, and what will the future consequences be?

I love how Ellen Bennett’s pathways to sustainability include positive stories. Humble listening is a key point that enables us to connect the dots in innovative ways for regeneration; one seed becomes one project at a time just like Wangari Maathai’s Green Belt project in Kenya. I hope my podcast series contributes too. It’s been my deepest desire to highlight positive ways that folks are impacting today. And, what we can do on a daily basis in the midst of our lives to make a difference today.

Enjoy this TED TAlk. I hope you come away inspired to know that at the grassroots levels folks are finding ways to innovate and create a healthy, regenerative world for all. Pretty cool! Your comments are always appreciated. Thanks. Judith

 

 

Blog: Seeds of Love with Vindana Shiva

 

Vindana Shiva is one of my heroines. Courageous, intelligent, an “environmental feminist,” activist and defender, a female warrior against the propaganda machine of Agri farming run by corporations, is also tough and resilient like the seeds she is saving in her country and even around the world. Organic seeds can handle the storms and trials of farming, conserve water resources and build soil. She has had to be tough against ridicule and accusations. In standing up and creating solutions to devastating problems in her country she has made positive healthy changes. She has decreased farmer suicides in India by creating seed banks, saying no to patented seed products and putting real seeds back in farmer’s hands.

She reminds me again that this planet is built on biodiversity. The more diverse our landscapes the healthier is the soil, the plants and ultimately the food we consume. In general, diversity creates harmony in ecosystems with natural checks and balances.

Seed freedom is related to food freedom. The right to know and chose is a part of a democracy. Uniformity and separation are the qualities of a dictatorship. She suggests that maybe the food/seed/pharmacy industries have created an “intellectual dictatorship” and are creating monopolies that hinder, obstruct our basic rights to grow and produce healthy food.

We’re catching on, we are mobilizing to have our food labeled, and we are signing petitions to stop the insane use of applying more and more pesticides as an answer to a problem created by pesticides in the first place. We are waking up to the connectedness of each other and all species and kingdoms that exist on this planet. We are diverse. We are connected.

So many of us believe that patenting seeds, designing food without seed so we cannot save that seed is wrong on so many levels.

Farmers noticed at the beginning of the introduction of Bt corn done in the early 1990’s, that livestock and wild animals refused to eat that type of feed. Cancers, deformities, miscarriages increased and have been reported. I have reported in previous posts the work of current scientists who are proving that pesticide injected seed and application in fields is contributing to the increases in serious diseases on our planet.
Patenting our seeds creates uniformity, creates scarcity, and limits diversity and eventually freedom while meeting the needs of the corporate bottom line in the form of royalties.

In India, Vindana and her organizations have created farming diversity which has improved health and decreased the alarming rate of farmer suicides. Incomes have improved. She calls this “health per acre”.

I invite you to check out her programs, especially navdanya.org, vital and necessary not only for helping the nourishment of a country that admits to poverty but they are also guiding lights for the rest of us deeply concerned that Big Agra is allowed to get away with patenting our food, controlling our seed bank, increasing pesticide use all which contaminates our food supply and eventually deteriorates our health. I include all life in that statement; our livestock, insects, water, and air etc.

Please join me in signing petitions that let our lawmakers know we’ve had enough and we have the right to know. There is a lot of fear out there about our ability to feed ourselves. Sometimes the stats are daunting. We live on a planet that can hold 2 billion of us but we are now a planet of 7 billion.

I think her reminder to shift our focus from “lack of” to “abundance” is worthy and necessary now:
Full Earth, an abundant earth and a generous earth”, Vindana Shiva, environmental feminist, in GMO-Summit.

Vindana Shiva inspires me to keep writing and getting the word out in any way I can. I sign petitions, contact my lawmakers, support organics too. She is an author of several books on this important issue. Inspiring women are changing the world. Did you enjoy the video? I hope so. Share your thoughts. All comments are appreciated.

Enjoy. Judith

 

 

Earth Day: A Personal Reflection: Seeds of Abundance

Seeds of Abundance:

 

 

Spring is a time of planting, of sowing seeds. As a noun, which is defined as an entity or a concept, for example, we can hold a seed in our hands and marvel at how something so tiny contains the entire structure of its future form and its essence. Whether a species in all its complexity or a food with all its nourishing properties, we marvel at the creative source contained within the seed.

Lao Tzu says:  “To see things in the seed that is genius.”

As a verb, we use the word to describe something that causes or stimulates growth or development. We “can seed clouds with solid particles to convert water droplets into ice crystals in an attempt to produce precipitation.” Some plants will seed late in the fall.

Earth Day started as the seed of an idea back in 1970. It was planted at the right time, the soil of our collective need. The watery nature of emotions, whether civil rights, women’s rights, the Vietnam war, environmental pollution, all helped this seed take root and grow. The winds of change were perfect too. Not too strong to uproot it but just right to foster growth.

Together the climate of those early years and a deep need to create awareness that our Earth is valuable was renewed, was born into our consciousness. Earth Day has blossomed so strongly like the “tree of peace” into our national awareness.

It’s the seed though, that inspires me today. Seeds, precious containers of a life force, some tinier than the head of a pin and some like sunflower seeds easy to hold, will be planted in our gardens soon.

“At the ecological level, we know that in a small seed lies the potential for producing thousands and millions of seed. And in each of those seeds lies the potential for thousand and million more such seeds. This is abundance.”

Vandana Shiva is my earth day heroine. She has started seed banks in her country and continues to inspire the world on the value of our seeds. She says her farmers when planting a seed pray: “May this seed be exhaustless.

A single seed reminds me that the Earth, this place we call home, is abundant. And in sowing a single seed we plant immeasurable possibility and unlimited potential.

( I gave this speech at the UUFSB fellowship, Stony Brook, NY on April 13, 2014)

May you feel the bounty and abundance of our earth not just today but every day. In gratitude,  Judith

This article is copyrighted, but you have my permission to share it through any medium as long as it is offered for FREE, it is not altered, and the proper credit line is included. Please contact me if you choose to use this:  [email protected] Thank You.
© 2014 Judith Dreyer. All Rights Reserved.

Blog: March: Honoring Women

 

 

 

 

A couple of years ago one of my poems was selected for an international women’s online publication. This poem reflected my reverence for my body. Our bodies are amazingly designed, a masterpiece of complex interconnectedness. Yet, we women have been subjected to the media definition of what our body should look like. Most of us do not fit the bill. We’re not skinny enough, too curvy, not the right hair color, too old etc. What makes me sad is that many of the print models are airbrushed to look the way they do, giving us a false impression. Stripped down, they are no different than the rest of us.

The good news is we are breaking down some of these image stereotypes. I see the younger gals going more natural wearing little to no makeup. I see baby boomers, my generation, claiming our aging, celebrating our accomplishments that are reflected in our wrinkles, our grey hair, Our bodies change as we grow older, we fill out, more flexible and use our sexuality more creatively if we choose.

Who are my heroines? There are so many to choose from. On a recent post, I highlighted Jean Houston, Caroline Myss, and Marianne Williamson. For this month’s national and international theme of honoring women, chose my earth teachers.

Seeds: Vandana Shiva: Seed Saver Extraordinaire! Scientist, pioneer, rebel, activist, saw the handwriting on the wall. When big chemical companies were introducing seeds injected with systemic pesticides she inherently knew those kinds of seed manipulations could cause unforeseen consequences.

“In 1991 she founded Navdanya, a national movement to protect the diversity and integrity of living resources – especially native seed – and to promote organic farming and fair trade. For the last two decades, Navdanya has worked with local communities and organizations, serving more than 500,000 men and women farmers. Navdanya’s efforts have resulted in the conservation of more than 3000 rice varieties from across India, and the organization has established 60 seed banks in 16 states across the country. ”

I have read she has had to face great obstacles in her travels of spreading her vision. I admire her courage and fortitude and guiding light.

Plants and Medicine: Rosemary Gladstar: One of our Herb Mothers: I have had the privilege of studying herbal medicine with Rosemary. She and others awakened the herbal movement in the early seventies with the advent of the Aids epidemic. Many fellow herbalists sought out native elders and learned rituals, ceremony to honor the earth. They, in turn, became our teachers, instilling reverence for the species we harvested and consumed.

Rosemary began in California, founded  California School of Herbal Medicine, moved to Vermont and began Sage Mountain Herbs. She’s a co-founder of United Plant Savers and the International Herb Symposium, a biennial event, one I have attended and highly recommend. Herbalism has matured.  Many of the presenters share their vast experiences of using herbal medicine in practice and offer practical, tested advice. I admire Rosemary for her activism in protecting plant species and offering reliable herbal knowledge.

Earth Partner: Pam Montgomery: Pam was my first herbal teacher. We spent several afternoons way back when, as teacher and student, learning about wildcrafting in responsible ways and learning how to make herbal preparations for family and friends.

Today, she is the founder of Partner Earth Education and has now transitioned into Wake up to Nature, in Vermont. Pam too is an activist seeking to awaken us to our partnership with nature. She is one of the founding members of the Organization of Nature Evolutionaries. or O.N.E. This relatively new organization is working with other organizations that seek to have the legal rights of nature finally recognized. They offer ceremony and ritual to help us feel nature’s deep presence. I respect Pam’s dedication and deep commitment.

All three women embody advocacy, education, and action. Today we have many environmental problems. Like many others, I seek to follow those who inspire us to a more responsible partnership with this earth. Is it easy? No, but that’s where passion and courage come in. We all have unique gifts and talents and as my guest this week reminds us, we can make a difference one project at a time and create change.

So thank you Kelly Rafferty and Kyleigh Hillerud for sharing your story. How in eight short months you took proper action, offered education for informed decision making to your college campus and today celebrate zero plastic bags on campus.
Know you are in good company. Established women, young women starting out, making a difference, Isn’t it great!.

Who do you admire? Let us know. Your comments and stories are appreciated. Enjoy. Judith

Podcast: Holistic Nature of Us: Meet Owen Taylor, Founder of TrueLove Seeds

Description: Digging into his own ancestry and that of the other farmers he works with has led the growers at Truelove to tend and keep many special seed varieties, as well as the amazing stories that go with them. These seeds and their stories reach back into many cultures including Italian, British, West African, and Syrian foodways, and are keeping alive and sometimes reviving crops that have important cultural significance but go far beyond the basic seed selection you can find at most garden stores. You may often hear Owen say “The story is in the seed”, and all you have to do is peek at the descriptions on the Truelove website to get a glimpse into this world and why the stories and rare variety seeds are so important.

About My Guest: Owen Taylor recently launched Truelove Seeds, a seed company that offers rare, open-pollinated, and culturally important vegetable, herb, and flower seeds grown by urban and rural farmers committed to community food sovereignty, cultural preservation, and sustainable agriculture. He coordinates and mentors the Truelove farmers, and also grows open-pollinated seeds, herbs, and flowers at Mill Hollow Farm in Edgemont, Pennsylvania, west of his home in Southwest Philadelphia. Owen also spent a decade working with food justice organizations in San Francisco, New York City, and Philadelphia, and later managed William Woys Weaver’s historic Roughwood Seed Collection in Devon, Pennsylvania, for four years.

Transcript:  #48 Owen Taylor 

Podcast: Holistic Nature of Us: Meet Craig Floyd, Coogan Farm Manager

Description: Do you garden? If so, have you ever wondered what the potential of a single non-hybrid tomato plant could be? My guest this week, Craig Floyd, manages an 11,000+ square foot acre garden for the Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center in Mystic CT. Passionate about sustainable farming; he gives us detailed advice about soil health, water needs and practical tips for any level gardener. It’s exciting to meet folks like Craig who are out there walking the talk, growing fantastic gardens. He relates how troubled children, teens and those with disabilities are transformed by walking in his gardens, how the soil heals. Fascinating? Definitely!  I hope you will join us and leave your comments. They are appreciated.

About My Guest: Craig Floyd. Farm Manager for the Coogan Farm in Mystic CT. Craig manages 11,000 sq feet as part of the Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center. He’s passionate about using his extensive farming experience creating a sustainable, healthy no-till,, no-spray garden in order to give quality food to the needy. He watches children with emotional and physical handicaps change as they roam the garden. It works for adults too. I encourage everyone to put the Coogan Farm and Nature Center Trails on their to-do list this year. It’s worth it. and if you have the time, why not lend a hand? Volunteers are always welcome.

Transcript: #47 Craig Floyd (1)

#47 Craig Floyd (1) Craig Floyd potting soil mix

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