Are you thriving? Or merely surviving?
The first is not as hard to achieve as you might think.
Lessons from a cactus garden
In 1999 I bought my first house – in the San Fernando Valley of Southern California.
Earth lover that I am, I was excited about landscaping and, since the San Fernando Valley is a bit of a desert, that meant using native plants that would grow with the rainfall and sun usual for that area. Or so I thought.
My friends Bob and Laura were professional landscapers and offered to give me a landscaping consultation as a housewarming gift.
When I told them I wanted drought-tolerant plants and a cactus garden, the last thing I was expecting was the suggestion to put in a sprinkler system. But that’s exactly what they recommended.
Bob and Laura explained that, even with drought-tolerant plants, having a sprinkler system would make the difference between my garden thriving versus merely surviving.
Of course I wanted my garden to thrive, so I followed their advice, put in sprinklers, and never regretted it.
So what does this have to do with the rest of our lives? Plenty.
Did you know the world’s largest garbage patch is in the ocean?
And that it consists of what was once hailed as a great future?
In the 1967 film, The Graduate, starring Dustin Hoffman, the new college graduate is cornered by a friend of the family with advice for his future:
Mr. McGuire: I want to say one word to you. Just one word.
Benjamin: Yes, sir.
Mr. McGuire: Are you listening?
Benjamin: Yes, I am.
Mr. McGuire: Plastics.
Benjamin: Exactly how do you mean?
Mr. McGuire: There’s a great future in plastics. Think about it. Will you think about it?
[Note: the bolded line is ranked #42 in the American Film Institute’s list of the top 100 movie quotations in American cinema.]
Little did we know that the great future of plastics could turn out to be The Great Pacific Garbage Patch – and a persistent tragedy on our planet.
Sadly, very few people even know about it.
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch
A quick oceanography lesson:
A gyre is a naturally occurring vortex of wind and currents that rotate in clockwise direction in the northern hemisphere, and counterclockwise in the southern hemisphere.
There are five major oceanic gyres on the planet. The North Pacific Gyre is the largest ecosystem on Earth and it covers most of the Northern Pacific Ocean. It has a clockwise circular pattern formed by four prevailing ocean currents.
The whirlpool effect of the gyre collects plastic debris that has been discarded into the ocean. An ironic example of The Law of Attraction at work.
Is there a way to save the earth from home? With vinegar and baking soda?
Taking action in saving the earth should be a priority of us all.
And sometimes big changes are the result of many people taking small steps.
Can one person change the course of environmental destruction with vinegar and baking soda? Perhaps not. But suppose everyone stopped using toxic cleaning products? Read on.
Tuesday, April 22, 2014, is Earth Day, an annual event encouraging environmental protection. It’s an important reminder to us all of what’s at stake.
For some time, Native American elders have predicted the time of “Earth changes” – dramatic changes in weather patterns. Part of the prediction was that the weather would be in the headlines on a regular basis.
Yes, we’ve reached that point now — this is the fulfillment of Native American prophecy.
The experts say that some of the change in weather patterns cannot be reversed – we just have to learn to adapt to it.
But we can keep it from getting worse by changing some of our own habits and patterns:
This excerpt from “The Wind Is My Mother” reveals how Native American mothers introduce their children to the natural world. It is also the key to their children growing up learning to respect Mother Earth, live balanced lives and walk in beauty.
Bear Heart speaks:
“When I was just three days old, my mother took me to a hill top near our home and introduced me to the elements.
“First she introduced me to the Four Directions — East, South, West and North. ‘I’m asking special blessings for this child. You surround our lives and keep us going. Please protect him and bring balance into his life.’
“Then she touched my tiny feet to this Mother Earth. ‘Dear Mother, Grandmother Earth, one day this child will walk, play and run on you. I will try to teach him to have respect for you as he grows up. Wherever he may go, please be there supporting and taking care of him.’
One of the great miracles of nature is a starling murmation. Have you ever seen one?
A flock of starlings moving as one through the sky in a tight formation is called a murmation.
My first glimpse of a murmation was a small flock over the Santa Monica Mountains, seen from my office window years ago.
At the time, I likened it to “turning practice” — they’d fly in one direction and then turn in unison to fly in another direction. Over and over and over.
I didn’t get much else done that morning. I hadn’t yet heard of murmations. And didn’t see it again until I came upon the video below, captured by wildlife photographer Dylan Winter.
It turns out that murmations can range from a small group of a few hundred starlings, to millions of starlings blocking out the sun.
Scientists don’t know how two birds separated by hundreds of feet and hundreds of other birds can move as one. They say the answer seems to be rooted in physics.
I prefer to think of it as rooted in the Lakota prayer, Mitakuye Oyasin – we are all related. We are all one, connected by an invisible web of unity.