From The Conversation: People around the world and throughout history have used birds to think about and predict the future. This new research project that compared reports from six continents found that people from diverse communities pay attention to particular birds and what they reveal about the world around us, from approaching weather to illness.
From The Millions: When human leaders fail us as role models, we should look to animals, says Sy Montgomery. “I can tell you that teachers are all around to help you: with four legs or two or even eight. All you have to do is recognize them as teachers and be ready to hear their truths.”
Peter Wohlleben, author of the best-selling ‘The Hidden Life of Trees’, explores the emotions and intelligence of animals in his new book. New scientific discoveries in this field have big moral implications, he says. A review and an excerpt, plus the video of an eye-opening talk by animal ethologist Jonathan Balcombe on the inner life of animals.
Joanna Macy, an eco-philosopher and a scholar of Buddhism, general systems theory and deep ecology, coined the phrase “The Great Turning” to describe “the essential adventure of our time”: the shift from what she calls the “industrial growth society” that is consuming the planet to a life-sustaining civilization. Here’s Macy’s interview with Truthout.org’s Dahr Jamail.
From The Ecologist: It’s the very conception of law that needs to change, and thereby our relationship with Nature. Once we recognise that we are born into a lawful and ordered universe and that our wellbeing is derived from complying with these laws, this understanding should permeate the transformation of all the other modern institutions.
From Orion Magazine: Wolves actually harmonize their voices with us, says Helene Grimaud. “When a human joins in a howl and his pitch lands on the same note, wolves will alter their pitch to prolong the harmonization. If you end up on the same pitch as a wolf, he‘ll modulate his voice to match yours.”
From The Hindu: The rights do not stem from an intrinsic identity or status of the river, but more from their use for humans; and giving them ‘personhood’ or legal status makes it very human-centred. Can rivers not be recognised as having identity, worth, dignity, and rights as intrinsic qualities, not because they serve us?
Charles Eisenstein writes: We need a parallel system of technology development that can guide society as conventional systems unravel and conventional technologies fail to adequately address our problems. Imagine a worldwide archipelago of land-based institutions of learning, sanctuaries of alternative technologies of earth, mind, matter, and body that are marginal or absent within conventional universities.
Charles Eisenstein writes: Psychedelics can bestow expanded consciousness and ways of being that are incompatible with those that presently undergird our society. Psychedelics have the power to subvert the alienation, competition, anthropocentrism, standardization of commodities and social roles, and reduction of reality to a collection of things that propel the world-destroying machine of modern civilization.
Aseem Shrivastava writes: A species that endangers other species endangers itself. This simple lesson in interdependence is the first principle of ecology, a commonsensical science of such far-reaching and enduring contemporary significance as to merit a compulsory education for all humans; for nothing is more perilous for human destiny today than ecological illiteracy and myopia.
David Anderson writes: About eight thousand years ago with the beginning of the bronze, iron, agricultural age we decided to pursue a life of separation and alienation from the planet. This dualistic mindset, further strengthened in the seventeenth century during the European Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution, is at the root of the present crises.
Even if all emission pledges are fully implemented, temperature rise by 2100 will exceed 2oC, and may be in the range 3-4oC. The additional carbon space of 1,000 GtCO2 will fill by 2040, just 5 years later than had emissions continued in a business-as-usual manner. Clearly, the pledges are too little and have come too late.
The Encyclical by Pope Francis is being hailed by environmentalists as the second coming. It’s hardly that, in my view. Nonetheless, I was struck within minutes of starting it, by the incisive and accurate commentary it offers on our true predicament. Here are some passages that resonated with me and that I found highly insightful. Manu
Note: Paper to be presented by Sagar Dhara, one of the founder-members of Peak Oil India Group, at the XXXVII Indian Social Science Congress, Aligarh Muslim University, 27-31 December, 2013 What is our share of energy in nature? How should we distribute it? Search for a roadmap to a sustainable, equitable and peaceful human society Sagar Dhara1 To