Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Yoga of Sustainability: a simpler, healthier, happier world


There is interconnection among all things in nature, and so, there is similarity in protecting all elements. Protecting the air & water is protecting the land- be mindful not to use, drop or dump batteries, chemicals, electronics, plastics, pharmaceuticals and the like outdoors or elsewhere.

Most of us see dirt as inanimate, but that couldn't be further from the truth. In a teaspoon full of healthy dirt one could find thousands of microorganisms, easily. It is the bacteria present in soil that "fix" nitrogen for the plant's natural fertilization. Adding chemical fertilizers destroys this system & makes the soil naturally barren, dependent on chemical's for its fertility.

Unique to soil is the concept of errosion, the preventing of the washing away of precious topsoil. Whenever you are out enjoying nature, RESIST THE URGE TO REMOVE OR MOVE ROCKS OR TO WALK OUTSIDE OF MARKED NATURE TRAILS. IF WALKING IN AREAS WITHOUT MARKED TRAILS, FOLLOW A WATERWAY OR NATURAL TRAIL. DO NOT PICK WILD PLANTS. In your yard, never spray chemicals on your lawn, even herbicides, pesticides or fertilizers. As we've seen, they destroy the ecosystem of the soil, making it more prone to washing away.

Try to landscape your yard with indigenous plants. Importing plants from other climates can actually wreak havoc on ecosystems. Just like introduced animals can multiply unchecked & ravage landscapes, so too can can introduced plants choke out native plants that occupy an important niche in the local ecosystem. TRY LANDSCAPING WITH ONLY INDIGENOUS PLANT VARIETIES: local healing herbs, perreniel herbs, heirloom fruit trees, berry plants and local wetland grasses in pond areas. Working with native plants increases pest & weather-resistence, reduces watering needs & gives you an opportunity to create aesthetically-pleasing habitat for birds, butterflies & mammals. Learn about indigenous plants & local habitats online, or request them at your local nursery.

When growing food plants, choose heirloom variety seeds. These seeds, unlike hybrid or genetically-modified seeds, will adap generation after generation to resist blights, droughts, pests and to adapt to changes in weather. These seeds will develop richer, more complex tastes, more nutrients & more resistence, evolving with every generation. When each plant's growing season is complete you collect the seeds & plant again. Heirloom vegetables are amazingly diverse & hearty. Our current grocery store globalized unnatural & insecure food system tends to cultivate one variety of each food plant, letting the other varieties disappear. Commercial seeds are bred in labs by scientists who manipulate genes, usually concerning themselves with qualities such as conformity of size & shape, and ability to prolong shelf-life. As grocery store tomatoes & red delicious apples show, taste is not as important. Likewise animals are bred for ability to grow bigger, faster and on a diet of corn. Many of these CAFO prisoners never see sunlight & have forgotten how to breed. PROTECT BIODIVERSITY & FOOD SECURITY BY GROWING HEIRLOOM VARIETY PLANTS & BUYING OR RAISING HERITAGE VARIETY LIVESTOCK ANIMALS. IF YOU CAN'T GROW YOUR OWN, PROTECT THE LAND BY BUYING ONLY LOCALLY RAISED ANIMAL PRODUCTS & VEGETABLES AT FARMER'S MARKETS & COOPERATIVES.

Do not cut down mature trees unless they are severly damaged or pose imminent danger. If you are clearing trees to build a home, use those trees to build furniture or floors. Smaller trees can be moved if they are growing too close to ther trees to be able to mature or are growing too close to a foundation. Try to transplant them in early Spring, sooner than you may want to be out there, but at the ideal time for the tree. If you can't transplant a young tree that absolutely cannot stay, cut it down as early as possible. Once trees reach about ten years old they start trapping larger amunts of carbon dioxide, which is released when they die. If an older tree has to be cut down use the wood for a special fire or building project if you can.

When enjoying nature, MAKE SURE TO CARRY-OUT ALL FOOD & TRASH CARRIED IN. DO NOT FEED ANIMALS IN WILD PLACES. It's hard to resist, but don't feed animals in parks (like ducks in Congress Park). This difficult to understand, but feeding animals in wild places makes them learn to prefer & depend on human food sources, forgeting to forage. Also, in the case of ducks, increasingly they may be reticent to migrate, and face Winter starvation. In addition, increasing the population due to the extra food source increases feces, which upsets the land & water balance. Land and water ecosystems are able to process only a certain amount of waste- naturally the amount of foods avaiable will maintain the proper population density of all creatures to support their life & absorb their waste to enrich the environment. Messing with the natural equilibrium harms the animals & the land.

Protecting the land and life it supports by respecting the delicate but deeply interconnected relationships between microorganisms, plants, minerals, animals, insects, sun, air, & water. All of the concepts that sustain healthy air and waterways will apply to protecting the land as well. Use your mindfullness to guide you in respectful interaction as a part of, not apart from, the ecosystems of Earth.

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