A few updates on Green Man’s Grotto: We finished all the transplants mentioned here and both of the original raised beds have been doubled in depth. The third, newish raised bed has been cleared of everything except Purple Poppy Mallow (aka, Winecups) at each end. The only thing remaining to be done on the grape arbor is the addition of some trellis on the sides (for plants other than grapes) and painting.
We started vermicomposting sometime in July 2022. We ordered our worms from Uncle Jim’s and set up a bin using a Rubbermaid container. I would definitely recommend that method as an entry point for people. It’s low cost—especially if you have spare Rubbermaid containers sitting around—and it’s a great way to recycle kitchen scraps and junk mail. There are plenty of YouTube videos for reference. Vermicomposting and regular composting use pretty much the same rules on what kitchen scraps can be used.
Dana O’Driscoll: Another challenge that many of us trying to move into sacred action face is what I call the “free-range fantasy.” In the same way that many people of previous generations were lured into the “white picket fence” narrative in the United States, those interested in sustainable living are often lured into the free-range fantasy today. The narrative goes something like this: You and your perfect partner decide to quit your day jobs, purchase 30 acres in some remote area debt free, and build a fully off-grid homestead complete with solar panels, acres of abundant gardens, fields full of goats, happy free-range chickens, and two cute children covered in strawberry juice.
When reading books or watching documentaries about sustainable, regenerative practices, it is a matter of when, not if, a person will quote Wendell Berry. The impact he has had on the world is amazing. He has had obvious impact on the environmental movement and “back to the land” organic small farms. He was also highly influential on Michael Pollan and Alice Waters—who in turn have become enormously influential. Yet the Wendell Berry we admire might not have been.
Jack Leahy: There are probably fewer greater illustrations of the alienation from our true human situation than the loss of the night sky. The more our technical civilization grows the brighter its artificial illumination shelters us from knowing where we truly reside. We navigate our brief lives by its lights rather than navigating by the stars. We are obscured from the cosmic situation in which we find ourselves and are befuddled and lost.
Charles Eisenstein: Today I saw a monarch butterfly. It was the only one I have seen this summer, and I am sad. I have been preserving all the milkweed that has been coming up as a weed in my gardens. An insignificant gesture, but for me it is a little prayer. I’ve loved these butterflies ever since I was a boy and my father told me about their migratory journey.
Roman Krznaric’s TED talk: It’s time for humankind to recognize a disturbing truth: we have colonized the future. In wealthy countries, especially, we treat it like a distant colonial outpost where we can freely dump ecological damage and technological risk as if there was nobody there. We have colonized the future because we are leaving our ecological and technological problems for future generations to solve. We burden them with our problems and constrain their ability to create their own future.
Charles Eisenstein makes an important point here: My main message to the environmental movement is to shift the narrative away from our own destruction. From “Change or we won’t survive,” to “Change or we will continue to lose what is beautiful and sacred.” It is a shift into love. This is important for three reasons: two practical and one spiritual What if (if!) the threat from climate change has been overstated, especially by those who have fallen prey to the imperatives of social media to drive engagement through hype and fear?
A reference post. From Toby Hemenway, Gaia’s Garden: The aim of permaculture is to design ecologically sound, economically prosperous human communities. It is guided by a set of ethics: caring for Earth, caring for people, and reinvesting the surplus that this care will create. From these ethics stem a set of design guidelines or principles, described in many places and in slightly varying forms. The list below is the version I use, compiled with the aid of many permaculture teachers and flowing from the work of Mollison, Holmgren, and their coauthors.
Sallie McFague, Blessed are the Consumers: Everything is interconnected. Philosopher Bruno Latour has imagined such a world. Its primary characteristic is that there is no “environment,” no external world that is our playfield. Rather, there is “one world,” a cosmos, a totality of things, all of which are “insiders,” members of the collective who have voice. Hence, “we must connect the question of the common world to the question of the common good.