Reflections

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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We positively re-engage people in the processes of nature, rather than isolating them!

We once presumed that “Hunting and fishing by the poor and hungry are killing off the earth’s fish and wildlife, so we have to been forced to protect nature from people in order to prevent the over harvesting that will extirpate species if left unchecked.”

Today, we are delighted by the successes that are achieved when “We positively re-engage people in the processes ...

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Co-management with local communities can level the playing field.

We once assumed that “Placing more wildlands and waters under the management authority of government agencies will allow us to avoid the tragedy of the commons.”

We must now admit that “Co-management with local communities can level the playing field. Why? Top-down command-and-control management of resources and landscapes by bureaucracies can often disenfranchise or bankrupt local communities’ capacities as long-term stakeholders.Tragically, it has ...

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Our tool kit of conservation and restoration strategies will need to offer far more options than regulation

We once passed judgement that “Destructive human behaviors need to be constrained so urgently that top-down regulation has become the most expedient and firm means of protecting the environment and saving species.”

We now concede that “Our tool kit of conservation and restoration strategies will need to offer far more options than regulation, restriction and punitive actions. Instead, we will need to unleash ...

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We need to make change happen by working with others and changing ourselves.

We once self-righteously felt “We have to demonstrate the drive to fix environmental problems others who can immediately see the necessity of doing so.”

We now understand that “We need to make change happen by working with others and changing ourselves. We need to include others in envisioning and implementing shifts toward a more inclusive set of players.”

-Brother Coyote

 

 

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Why is the infrastructure crumbling at an unprecedented rate? Climate change!

It is indeed amazing that a week after our President pulled out of the Paris Climate Accord and denied that climate change is real and solutions to it create jobs, he tries to turn his attention to “our crumbling infrastructure of bridges and roads.”  Why is the infrastructure crumbling at an unprecedented rate? Climate change!

Not long ago, 98 percent of urban leaders ...

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We have under-invested in field conservation of the very plant diversity that keeps us alive and healthy.

Last week, Nature magazine finally gave global attention to the wild crop relatives and heirloom food varieties that will be needed to make “a genetic makeover” of agriculture if it is to become resilient enough to withstand accelerating climate change.

But what is most important is to keep those plants alive and evolving — not static — in the ...

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Mark Winne was uninvited to the Arizona Food Summit by the ADA. They must reinvite and apologize to him!

After inviting the great New Mexican food activist Mark Winne to speak at an Arizona Department of Agriculture (ADA) Summit this week, Mark was “uninvited” because the Farm Bureau and Cattleman’s Association thought he was “too controversial.” WHAAT?

Mark has voluntarily served on the boards of Southwest Grassfed Alliance, Community Food Security Coalition and other ...

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Four Vows for Food Justice: An Earth Day Prayer

Although the many beings lost or wounded in our foodshed,
somehow seem nameless & numberless,
we vow to remember their names,
to hear their needs & to never forget their faces.

For the many children who are hungry daily,
while perfectly useable food is thrown away,
inundating landfills & making methane,
we vow to curb our consumption & end of our waste.

For the many immigrant farmworkers
who harvest the bounty with their sweat & blood.
but are seldom offered a place ...

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Howard Scott Gentry memory recognized the week of April 28th to May 7th

Let us now praise famous mezcaleros! It was 75 years ago that my mentor, the great plant explorer Howard Scott Gentry, published his Rio Mayo Plants, and 35 years ago that he published Agaves of Continental North America.

As a kid, I worked one summer at the Desert Botanical Garden in Metro Phoenix helping Dr. Gentry check herbarium specimens for localities of the ...

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Sanctuary cities, campuses and homes maintain safe places for individuals and families in transition.

Yesterday in Nogales just a few miles from where I was meeting on food issues with other county citizens, Attorney General Sessions did his “drive by” of the border region, disparaging Sanctuary Cities and pledging a crackdown on undocumented (Mexican-American) citizens. If he ate at any place in Nogales, and if he ate this last week in any restaurant in the entire ...

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Through habitat recovery and population reintroductions, many have joined to bring back animals!

Awakening to the goobling cries of the once rare Gould’s turkey in the twilight, I realized how grateful I am that so many wildlife biologists and land owners have joined together to bring back (through habitat recovery and population reintroductions) so many of the animals that I know have weekly if not daily contact with: turkeys, pronghorn antelope, Gila top-minnow, desert pupfish, ...

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Let’s collectively plan a vision for the border that bridges us rather than one that further divides us.

Let’s collectively plan a vision for the border that bridges us rather than one that further divides us. To that end, I’m bringing in Homero Aridjis, James Ramey and Vasilis Fthenakis to the University of Arizona campus May 20th at noon for a forum on green, culture-and-wildlife friendly alternatives to Trump’s proposed wall.

For my part, I see the possibility of resolving the ...

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It is remarkable that governments are now debating their ethical role in wasting carbon, that we once took for granted.

It is remarkable that entire governments are now debating their ethical role in sequestering or wasting carbon, a resource so common and expendable when many of us were growing up that we took it for granted.

We know now that we need to cultivate allies in sequestering carbon, and among those most prone to do the job are mycorrhizae and the three quarters ...

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Michael Phillips wins this year’s There’s Fungus Among Us Award in his new book Mycorrhizal Planet

OK, ok, Michael Phillips wins this year’s There’s Fungus Among Us Award for this well-crafted sentence in his new book Mycorrhizal Planet:

“Beneath the imprint of one’s foot, extending down into the soil but mostly meandering nearer the surface, are 300 miles of fungal hyphae. Inconceivable. I could walk from our farm in the White Mountains of Connecticut to Montreal & back along ...

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This week a year ago, my friend Jim Harrison left life here in Patagonia to ingest in the Fourth World.

This week a year ago, my hilarious friend, ultra-curious mentor & Coyote-like trickster Jim Harrison left life here in Patagonia AZ to see red wine, chicken thighs & snakes to ingest in the Fourth World.

I miss his wife Linda as much as I miss him… he only gave her “five months alone of rest” before he joined her again. Fortunately, his post-humorous ...

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