Reflections

America is inherently a place of awe – inspiring heterogeneity rather than mind-numbing homogeneity.

America is inherently a place of awe – inspiring heterogeneity rather than mind-numbing homogeneity. Some of that heterogeneity inevitably includes social, cultural and political counter-currents and much-needed debates regarding how to deal with the disparities and indignities around us.

But that fact alone does not necessarily mean that we are fated to live forever on a battleground where polarizing (if not paralyzing) divisiveness ...

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I want to thank Leigh Kuwanwisiwma, of the Hopi Cultural Preservation Office, for redressing relationships and healing past wounds.

Some of the most important work being done on our Turtle Island “continent” today is in the realm of what Rowen White calls “seed” rematriation, bringing indigenous crop seeds back home to their motherlands and stewarding cultures that have the deepest ties to these food resources.

A decade ago, I was blessed enough to have coordinated with Leigh Kuwanwisiwma of the Hopi Cultural Preservation Office one ...

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My gratitude to all women who taught me more about “community building” within and beyond our own species, than I could ever teach them.

I’ve recently observed that many of the most interesting ecological restoration projects focused on food and medicinal plants are managed by teams of (primarily) women who structure the project’s relationships to local communities in ways far more interesting & effective than the way men have conventionally structured such ecological restoration initiatives.

For instance, herbalists, educators, basketry-makers, soil scientists, landscape designers and individuals of ...

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People are putting aside minor differences and Collaborating on many Social, Ethical, Political, Environmental and Economic Issues.

Going into the New Year, I am overwhelmed by the emerging evidence that many peoples in America are putting aside their minor (but not necessarily petty!) differences and collaborating as a unified front on so many social, ethical, political, environmental and economic issues.

As my friend Phil Caputo recently suggested to me, America has really been divided in a major way since the ...

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Consider some affirmative action for life itself with someone with whom you have once suffered strife.

No, its not another New Years Resolution. Its a dream I had last night, that each of us found ourselves planting something: a bulb, a tree, a tuber, a seed, with our hands and the hands of someone else with whom we have had disagreements or distances doing the work for this transplanted life together.

Our hands were in the same earthen opening, ...

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Jerry Konanui, the Native Hawaiian expert on kalo and many other traditional plants, has passed.

Jerry Konanui, the Native Hawaiian expert on kalo and many other traditional plants, has passed. He was a bridge between so many kinds of knowledge: Native Hawaiian, Western scientific, agricultural, culinary and visceral.

The last time I was with him, he was patiently instructing young Hawaaians on how to tell variouis varieties of kalo (taro) by the most subtle details of coloration of ...

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Let the starlight and moonlight seep into you and keep you sane, keep you watchful, keep you prayerful, keep you alive.

One of the most common afflictions Americans suffer—and it has increased since the digital age—is myopia. Sitting in front of a screen for three and a half hours a day is not good for our teenagers, or for the matter, the rest of us.

That’s why it was such a joy to be up at two thirty last night watching the spectacular Geminid ...

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We witnessed Alabama electing a candidate that can work with both parties; and I am grateful for their inspiration…

We witnessed Alabambinos bridging the divide last night by electing a centrist candidate a decent man who can work with both parties, and I am grateful for their inspiration. But this is not about feeling victorius, instead it should be humbling to all of us to see any state torn as much as Alabama has been. Same with the amber waves of ...

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It’s time to recognize the organizations that have food crops diversity, making 2000+ varieties more widely and affordably available

As Tucson, Arizona comes up on its second anniversary as the first UNESCO – designated City of Gastronomy in the U.S., it’s time to recognize the many organizations that have explored innovative means ensuring that people of all colors have better access food crop diversity, making 2000+ varieties of 340 wild and cultivated species more widely and affordably available:

Pima County Public Libraries’ ...

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We must defend our Waters, Lands, Wildlife Habitats and Biodiversity Hotspots

Conservation professionals & activists are reeling as Donald Trump makes one presidential proclamation after another—from opening the Arctic Ocean to offshore drilling.. to cutting the size of Bears Ears National Monument, to building a wall that will stop the transborder flow of wildlife.

While we must defend our waters, lands, wildlife habitats and biodiversity hotspots, it is critical to know that many conservation ...

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Bridging The Divides

I’ve missed so many of you, your insights and compassion, that I am back after dealing with for weeks with an injured knee, an ailing mother & a half-broken heart. I thank of all you for the many ways you make our world better (more just), healthier, as well as culturally and biologically richer. I need to hear each of your voices, ...

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To Be an Ethnobotanist

Now, being an ethnobotanist

Is not all that different

From being a musician,

Ballerina or chef:

 

You’ve got to practice

Your licks and chops,

Your forms and foot positions

Your dicing, slicing

And making a roux

Every day (or else)

You get rusty.

 

No one I know

Likes a rusty ethnobotanist

One who is constantly hoping

To discover some herbal WD-40

 

So make and take

Some time each day

To go on out

And eat the flowers

Drink their nectars

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We have the capacity to witness communities and habitats flourishing once again.

We were once told that “The world’s biodiversity is so rapidly slipping through our hands that it has become the problem we have created for which our descendants will be least likely to forgive us.”

We can now see that when we put aside our differences, “We have the collective capacity to recover varieties, species, communities and habitat types that had been on ...

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Wildlife conservation and economic use simply do not mix…

We once blindly accepted the premise that “Wildlife conservation and economic use simply do not mix. Why restore a species to its habitat, then hunt or fish it? Instead, we should take shots not with guns, but with cameras. We should protect charismatic megafauna as watchable wildlife in accessible reserves where people can see them. These flagship species that will allow “trickle ...

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Cooperative restoration strategies generate more livelihoods with live-able wages!

Economists once warned us that “Conservation will cost so much money and jobs that the growth of local and regional economies will inevitably be slowed, disrupted or diminished.”

It has become evident that “Cooperative restoration strategies generate more livelihoods with live-able wages, valuable ecosystem services and local multiplier effects. These can be done in a manner that sustains local assets and enhances regional ...

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Lasting biological conservation comes from relationships among plants, animals and microbial populations.

We once held that “Biological conservation is about the rescue and relegation of imperiled species to protected parks, zoos, botanical gardens and seed banks.”

We now sense that “Lasting biological conservation comes from restoring relationships among plants, animals and microbial populations in a gradient of habitats that all include both natural and cultural elements.”

-Brother Coyote

 

 

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Scientists, policy makers and on-ground resource managers need to be in dialogue with faith-based communities.

We once believed that “Science alone would be enough to ensure the rational management and wise use of natural resources for the public good.”

We now humbly recognize that “Scientists, policy makers and on-ground resource managers need to be in constant dialogue with ethicists, faith-based communities and culture bearers. If we ignore the need for dialogue between science and the spirit, we will ...

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We now relish that fact that People of color are not inevitably victims; they are valued leaders.

We once fatalistically asserted that “Poor minorities in urban areas and indigenous communities in the hinterlands often become the victims of hazardous wastes and other contamination. That is because they have yet to develop the economic power, political standing or environmental leadership capacity that will keep bad things from happening in their midsts.”

We now relish that fact that “People of color are ...

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Engage people of all ages in the restoration of diversity in culturally-managed landscapes.

We once felt inclined to “Write off the conservation value of disturbed, anthropogenic and cultural managed habitats as well as domesticated species. We opted for investing only in the protection of wilderness and the remaining diversity of wild, untrammeled species.”

We now feel emboldened to “Engage people of all ages, races and classes in the restoration of diversity in culturally-managed landscapes. That includes ...

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