Posts Tagged 'Reflections'

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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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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