Thoughts on Inter-Connectedness in the Environment

As I continue to stumble through my OBOD Bardic Grade lessons, I have started to see an underlying current in the material. Well…let me clarify that a little bit. I’m not REALLY stumbling through my lessons – that’s just me practicing literary drama. But I am seeing an undercurrent – not just from my OBOD lessons, but also from the books I am reading, the news I am taking in – and even in my own meditations and dreams. That undercurrent is the concept of inter-connectedness.

At one time, I remember reading a news article about a very large grove of trees that were all just a single organism. They were connected to one another under the soil – via their Handsroot systems. The article went on to explain how this grove of trees also created a mini-ecosystem for the animals that lived in its immediate surroundings. How these animals became a part of the entire grove’s cycle of living. The animals utilized the grove’s structure as a place to live, sheltered from storms and enemies. In turn, their waste by-products helped to keep the soil fertile, thus feeding the trees with nutrients absorbed through the soil. When the animals passed on, their bodies would decompose, adding further nutrients to the soil. Connected together, the fate of the grove rested on the fate of the animals and vice-versa. I remember being completely astonished by this ever present cycle. And I also realized that the same cycle plays out in forests, plains, and mountains throughout the world. Connections, relationships — these feed the macrocosm we call “planet earth.”

Even man is caught up in this cycle. Yet, we do not even realize that – at least for the most part. Where animals, plant-life, and even microscopic organisms take their place in the cycle of Life, man chooses to step outside of that cycle. To utilize the by-product of that cycle for profit, advancement and gain. To dominate the environment. There’s plenty to argue and debate over as to the “why” of mankind’s desire/need to dominate his environment. I am not writing this to do either of those things. Whether you believe it to be mankind’s inherent Nature to be aggressive and dominant his environment or if mankind pulls permission for environmental dominance from the dominion of the predominant theological philosophy or whatever other theory you may have in hand as you approach this point – my point has very little to do with that. Certainly, there’s a relationship – a connection – between the manner in which mankind approaches the environment as a resource to use and the theological permission to do just that — but I’m not talking about this particular point.

Or am I? As I sit here and think about this, I am beginning to realize that as much as I downplay this particular point…it may actually be the crux of my entire point. I look at the world around me – I see where currency is the driving factor in how people live their lives. Reverence isn’t displayed for the environment, because there is no money to be made there. That can be argued slightly, as aging hippies (such as myself) seek better ways to handle our way of living on this earth.

As an aside, I am currently looking into putting solar panels on the roof of my house in the next year. I would be the second house in my neighborhood to do so. My incentive is to relieve some of the pressure on the electrical grid around me. Our electrical infrasture is extremely taxed to this point. And while I get my power directly from wind farms (or so my electrical provider CLAIMS that I am in my monthly billing), I would like to find a way that I can remove my home from being a burden on the infrastructure. I see so many other necessary needs for the electrical grid, such as hospitals. My electrical provider gives me a further incentive to do so, by allowing me to sell excess electricity back to them. Cool. Except that the incentive laid in front of me is once again – currency.

But let me be a little blunt here. This isn’t about electricity. Or being environmental friendly – as much as I wish it were the focus. Mankind dominates the environment and essentially rapes its resources over a love of money – and the byproduct that it brings: consumerism. I sit here and type this post on my iMac. Sitting next to me is my iPhone 4S. Nearby is my iPad. No doubt about it, Apple products are expensive. And many people buy them for the status symbol they have become. I didn’t. I bought them because I like the operating system. The iMac does things that I want it to do, and is made of a quality that I know will last. The iPhone and iPad are essentially an extension of that platform. But aside from my own reasoning, there are many others that purchase the equipment simply because it is a status symbol. Its the latest craze. And even in an economy that is in a downturn, people are still spending on status items. Our rape of the environment for resources is merely a manner of feeding the growing tide of consumerism.

So Tommy, its an easy fix. We move away from coal, and step over to a cleaner energy source in nuclear. Solar and wind power are never going to mature enough to become primary sources of energy.

Can I have permission to be scared now? To solve our energy problems, the “solution” is to move away from the rape of natural resources, and step over to harnessing the atom instead. Harnessing. What an interesting word to use. It makes it sound like we are going to put a set of reigns on the atom and utilize like a horse plowing a field for planting. ::sigh:: Nothing like plotting to dominate something else when the first set starts to lose its power or ability. Didn’t we follow this same concept with blacks here in America? Use up the slaves you have – and then just go and buy some new ones in the marketplace.¬†Fukushima, anyone?

The disaster in Japan brings up a rather profound point. In a land where earthquakes are commonplace, we – the world’s populace – have a crippled nuclear reactor right near the ocean – literally yards away from the shoreline. What happens if an earthquake breaks the containment for the material contained within the plant and that material makes its way into the ocean? Or even more sinister, what happens if the material within manages to erode the base of the plant and silently seep into the water table – and thus make its way into the ocean? Would we even know until it was too late? What would a large amount of radioactive material do to the food supplies and wildlife in the Pacific ocean? Would it be possible for the material to make its way into the Indian ocean? The Atlantic ocean? If it did, what would that mean for the rest of the world?

See folks, there’s a connection there. Japan is not the only country that fishes the waters of the Pacific ocean. And the tides of the Pacific do connect with the Indian and Atlantic oceans. We are all connected together. When we pollute and destroy in one part of the environment, it causes ripple effects throughout. Over-forested areas drive wildlife into other areas, changing the balance of life in that area. More plant-eating animals show up, eat more of the vegetation than is typically in the location. In two seasons, the plant-eating animals die off due to starvation, which causes a population decrease in the meat-eating animals of the region. a lack of food causes migration to other locations, where the process starts all over again.

Relationships. Connectedness. We are all together on this planet. We are not even sure that the human race can travel to other planets. And honestly, I am not even sure I WANT the human race to travel to other planets. We haven’t learned to take care of the one we have.

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