Reflections

Daily Reflection: We sing over the wounds left on this earth, and attempt to heal them.

Gary-Paul-Nabhan-1-85x85Again, from Desert Legends, written more than two decades ago: “I have joined the ranks of a motley crew of field scientists [read earthly spirits] who dance to the tune called ecological restoration. The band both works and plays at reintroducing endangered plants and animals to habitats where they formerly occurred, and attempts to recovery the vibrancy that those habitats once had. ...

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Daily Reflection: I don’t quite remember what motivated me, in 1994, to end a book entitled Desert Legends with these words…

Gary-Paul-Nabhan-1-85x85I don’t quite remember what motivated me, in 1994, to end a book entitled Desert Legends with these words:

“To restore any place, we must also begin to re-story it, to make it the lesson of our legends, festivals, and seasonal rites. Story is the way we encode deep-seeded values into our culture. By replenishing the land with our stories, we let the ...

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Daily Reflection: The old preservationist paradigm of conservation—one still held by esteemed ecologists like E.O. Wilson

Gary-Paul-Nabhan-1-85x85The old preservationist paradigm of conservation—one still held by esteemed ecologists like E.O. Wilson—is that governments and non-profits should lock up as much of the world’s land surface as possible—putting at least 30% of the earth into protected areas. However, many of us recognize that most remaining forests, prairies and scrublands are no longer “virgin.” Estimates vary, but the proportion of vegetated ...

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The Planter as Translator

(For W.S. Merwin)

Our fate is that we wish to translate
     What divers plants upon this earth
Have been struggling to divulge to us 
     What they wish for us to decipher
Before we undo the very foothold
     They have grown to offer us
With every hazardous step we take
     From that first halting stumble
As unruly children in some gorgeous garden
     To that ...
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The News that Stayed News – I had the chance to visit poet W.S Merwin and his wife Paula on the Merwin Conservancy lands near Haiku, Hawaii.

Gary-Paul-Nabhan-1-85x85This last Sabbath, I had the chance to visit poet W.S Merwin and his wife Paula in their palm forest on the Merwin Conservancy lands near Haiku, Hawaii. In his widely-celebrated poem, Place, Merwin’s plaintiff call is this: “On the last day of the world/I would want to plant a tree.” And since 1979, he has treated nearly every day he has ...

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The News that Stayed News – We want to bring these ancestors home to live among us once more

Gary-Paul-Nabhan-1-85x85At the Indigenous Crop Biodiversity Festival on Maui, I was reminded by taro and kava farmer Jerry Konanui, that certain traditional plants sacred to indigenous cultures are respected as if they are ancestors.

Those which have been temporarily lost from the community are sought out, and as Jerry put it, “We want to bring these ancestors home to live among us once more.” ...

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Daily Reflection: Around the time of the first Earth Day in 1970…

Gary-Paul-Nabhan-1-85x85Around the time of the first Earth Day in 1970, many environmentalists assumed that minority peoples living in impoverished urban areas had become victims of hazardous wastes because they had no environmental leadership capacity developed among them.

Now most of us humbly recognize that among the many people of color are charismatic leaders who are essential to the care for creation because they ...

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The News that Stayed News – This last week, I heard Richard Rohr…

Gary-Paul-Nabhan-1-85x85This last week, I heard Richard Rohr tell the Living School, “The greatest affliction affecting humanity right now is our profound sense of disconnection.” I, like you, can palpably feel it in our families, in our communities, in our landscapes and even in our guts, where many of us have lost the very microbes which once helped us say healthy.

The greatest conservation ...

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Daily Reflection: Paul Hawken once reminded us…

Gary-Paul-Nabhan-1-85x85Paul Hawken once reminded us that despite the fact that Americans are consuming more sustainably-produced products than ever before, we are still consuming more products of every kind than any society in human history!

We set aside more land as formal protected areas, while still degrading or denuding many times more land and ocean bottom for business as usual. Until our commitment to ...

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Daily Reflection: Much of American now believes that the growth of local and regional economies have slowed

Gary-Paul-Nabhan-1-85x85Much of American society now believes that conservation costs so much money and jobs that the growth of local and regional economies have been slowed, disrupted or diminished.

But in our new paradigm, collaboration restoration strategies generate livelihoods with livable wages, valuable ecosystem services and local multiplier effects in a manner that sustains local assets and enhances regional economies so that they become ...

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The News that Stayed News – Mary Evelyn Tucker

Gary-Paul-Nabhan-1-85x85Today, I heard the always memorable Mary Evelyn Tucker, coauthor of The Journey of the Universe and the Earth Charter’s preamble, tell the Living School: “If we let ourselves go down the route where we assume that humans are doomed to be nothing more than a problem for the earth, we will have no place to go… Instead, the wisdom traditions need to ...

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Daily Reflection: The grassroots ecological restoration movement – not the habitat mitigation engineering profession – has shifted

Gary-Paul-Nabhan-1-85x85The grassroots ecological restoration movement — not the habitat mitigation engineering profession — has shifted the paradigm in the American Conservation Movement from one of “lock-it-up protectionism” to joyous hands-on participation in the restorative processes of natural, self-renewing communities.

We do not feel the isolation of the bitter and lonely environmentalists of the past; we feel that sensuous satisfactions of getting our hands ...

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Daily Reflection: Saint Francis of Assisi is but one of many charismatic earth-keepers

Gary-Paul-Nabhan-1-85x85Saint Francis of Assisi is but one of many charismatic earth-keepers that had the “peripheral vision” to see what was coming over the horizon in order to head off more unnecessary death, destruction and degradation of our homelands and scared places. He made peace with wolves, with sultans, with Assisi’s political foes, and with his own vagrant soul.

But let us now praise ...

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Daily Reflection: On November 29, 1979, Pope John Paul II declared St. Francis the Patron Saint of Ecology

Gary-Paul-Nabhan-1-85x85On November 29, 1979, Pope John Paul II declared St. Francis the Patron Saint of Ecology, but perhaps we should more properly recognize him as an Ecumenical Saint of Restoration Ecology, Environmental Justice and Endangered Species Recovery. He not only lived in and cared for the wildest habitats of his time, but made peace with imperiled wolves, birds, invertebrates and marginalized ...

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Daily Reflection by Brother Coyote

Gary-Paul-Nabhan-1-85x85Eight centuries ago, a young dreamer from Assisi named Francesco di Bernardone heard a voice say to him, “Francesco, va’, ripara la mia casa che, come vedi, è tutta in rovina.” The voice of the Creator was telling Francis of Assisi to “Go, repair my house which, as you can see, is all in ruin.‘ At first Francis thought the voice was ...

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