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Edible Forest Gardens, by Dave Jacke with Eric Toensmeier, discusses diversity and reminds me again about the interconnectedness of all of us on this planet. When we examine the models nature presents to us maybe we can begin to grasp that we are all in this together. Interconnectedness does not mean each species, each element is lost. Rather each species, each element has a function, a role. Every element and species in a forest, for example, can influence other aspects, both internally and externally. Many of our ancient models such as Ayurveda, Taoism, five element theory, have looked to nature for answers to living here on this planet in harmony and balance. Let’s take a look at four aspects of functional diversity:

  1. On a personal level, each organism has its own needs, characteristics, behaviors which defines its special place in the system.
  2. On a community level, each forest system is not only made of things but also contains a variety of functions which the authors call professions: each role is filled by those who are qualified to fill those roles i.e. who has the ability to be the pollinator? who provides the canopy? The community level includes everyone’s place in the food chain.
  3. The community depends on each species to perform its function. And, it depends on redundancy which means that there are more than one species that performs a given role. This is important to the longevity of the forest community. If one species is lost the community can still function.
  4. Diversity is just that, a system with diverse roles and functions that interconnect. These are different from simple variety. Simple variety is simply a collection and does not offer a system that is functionally vibrant and maintains integrity.

Diversity encourages diversity. It adds more flavor, elements, structures to the whole and enhances that whole.  I leave you today with a quote from Albert Einstein:

The human being is part of the whole, called by us the ‘universe’,
a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts 
and feelings, as something separate from the rest — a kind of optical 
delusion of consciousness.

This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires.
Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle 
of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature
in its beauty.”

Today I invite you to take a walk in nature. Can you feel included? We are partners: nature, you and I.

Enjoy your day. Judith


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