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Daily Reflection: What do food and faith have to do with ecological restoration?

Gary-Paul-Nabhan-1-85x85What do food and faith have to do with ecological restoration? Everything in some places, and nothing in others! The old paradigm for ecological restoration was much the same as “hand-off” protection: don’t let people eat or use anything from the area, since harvesting will inevitably deplete the food plants or animals.

But now there is a more inclusive paradigm emerging: at least a dozen First Nations are restoring camas, wapato, mesquite, wild rice, bison, salmon, sturgeon, native oysters and other foods to their wetlands, prairies and streams in hopes that these populations can once again become so abundant and healthy that they can be sustainably harvested for future feasts and ceremonies! Their spirituality or “faith-based practices” are evident in the way they communally participate in restoring their lands and waters, plants and animals. But I would agree that most ecological restorationists quietly go about their work with some deep-seeded faith that their efforts will bear fruit in the future due to powers beyond their own.

Even though they may not necessarily belong to an organized religion, I would argue that their planting a seed, securing an oyster spat, translocating sturgeon fry, or transplanting mesquite saplings are fundamentally act of faiths in something more enduring than our own short presences here on earth.


Brother Coyote, OEF

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