Category Archives: Environment

Mind Wanting More, and more

I have two folks to thank for this luscious poem. First, of course, the author. Her name is Holly Hughes. I’ve linked to her bio, below. The other is the delightfully creative force behind a blog I enjoy, Beyond the Fields We Know. Here 

Mind Wanting More

Only a beige slat of sun  sunset
above the horizon, like a shade pulled not quite down.
Otherwise, clouds.
Sea rippled here and there.
Birds reluctant to fly.

The mind wants a shaft of sun to stir the grey porridge of clouds,
an osprey to stitch sea to sky with its barred wings,
some dramatic music: a symphony, perhaps a
Chinese gong.

But the mind always wants more than it has— one more bright day of sun,
one more clear night in bed with the moon;
one more hour to get the words right;
one more chance for the heart in hiding to emerge from its thicket in dried grasses—

as if this quiet day with its tentative light weren’t enough,
as if joy weren’t strewn all around.
Holly Hughes from America Zen: A Gathering of Poets

Which reminds me of one of my favorite poems from a beloved hero of mine, Wendell Berry. A venerable national treasure if ever there was one.

The Peace of Wild Things 

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water,
and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief.
I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light.
For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.



The EDITH Syndrome

If you’ve read any of my posts you footprints on the worldprobably noticed sustainability is one of my great passions. There’s lots to fire it as the years roll on along with increased ocean acidification, climate change impacts, and the deadly EDITH syndrome pandemic.

This fatal eco-illness impedes our ability to make grown-up choices and leads us to increasingly childish behavior. We turn our backs even as we turn the corner to irreversible damage.

EDITH, aka ‘Ecological Deer in the Headlights’ syndrome, appears to have many causes. These include fear, selfishness, self-imposed ignorance, FOX news, stupid radio, greed, and efforts to pretend opinion and religion are science. It’s also fed by the mass addiction to pretending our actions — either for good or harm — have no enduring impacts.

IMO, reality just is and climate facts just are. And all actions have consequences. Nano-second by nano-second, step by step we create and impact reality. To the extent we choose to ignore that truth, we create a lemming-reality in which we blindly, passively march to our own destruction.

Maybe I can help? I don’t know, but at least I won’t ignore. I’ve decided to use the teeny voice of my blog to help save the world as we know it. I think we need good news as well as the rest. Especially in dire circumstances, hope can be the only parachute we have left. So I’m going to use both a carrot and a stick.



Carrot: this happens when we act in alignment with nature.


monkey with stick


Stick: Where EDITH is taking us now.


The potentially bad news here is these are links. You’ll have to, you know, take action. My one-step EDITH antidote.

Carrot: How Wolves Change Rivers 

Stick: Dave Roberts on Climate Change and Economic Growth



If it’s so simple, why can’t we get it right?

Sometimes I really don’t want to blog. I think, maybe I don’t get personal enough. Maybe I should blog on writing, or herbs, or my other passions. Maybe I just shut up before it looks like I never, ever think happy thoughts. To be a contributing member of society, there are certain sine qua non’s, right and a lot of them have to do with staying positive: Visualize Beauty. Experience Wonder. Live in the Moment. Look on the Bright Side.Yeah, yeah… Continue reading


Climate Lulls and Lullabies

Following the long hottest summer and unprecedented fires in the western US, along comes October and Sandy-Franken-Super-Storm. And that’s only the climate happening in the headlines. How’s the weather right now where you are?

Sandy’s projected path 10/25/12

If we listen only to mass media, we could be lulled into believing these thousands of weather-breaking records across the U.S. (yup, some thousands were broken just this summer) and around the world are one-offs. The media doesn’t want us connecting dots. If we did, we might get upset. Very upset indeed. Which brings to mind one of my favorite anti-Bush slogans:

If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention. Continue reading




Odd name for a Blog, Naturally Thinking. No idea how it popped into my head. My intent was to blog about Nature as mentor, ally and part of us. Nature-ally thinking about our actions and their impacts.

Technically, with Nature as mentor, guide and ally, anything goes. Rants about lost opportunities to educate children or raves about cooperation among naked mole-rats. But my lens is applying wisdom to natural resource use. Ways and means to open our hearts, minds and web browsers to solve apparently intractable problems. To harness proper resources to get the job done.

Ludwig Wittgenstein is quoted as saying “the limits of my language mean the limits of my world.” So what happens if we move our language/world out to the edges and explore. What might happen if we shift our thinking from negative news of the day to positive solutions of our generation?

Some do, and these folks are among my heros. Frances Moore Lappé, (Diet for a Small Planet) and her most recent book Ecomind: Changing the Way We Think to Create the World We Want spring to mind. Her thesis is that the scarcity mentality among environmentalists saps energy, impedes progress, and is plain wrong.

You can listen to her discuss it at Powell’s in Portand or order the book from her Small Planet Institute.  Their tag line is Living Democracy. Feeding Hope.  Which sums up a lot of what I admire in her as well as much of what has sustained her through 47 years of work. She feels the same frustrations we do and springs over those shadows to formulate positive solutions.

She is not alone, not by a long shot. The ridiculously brilliant and versatile Paul Hawken created an astounding slide show that later morphed into a book and a sustainability social networking site. He spotlighted organizations, projects, associations, projects and amorphousgroups that work on solutions to environmental and social justice issues. Groups that had been unaware of each other, with no central leadership, and had no idea g that together they form the largest mass movement the world has ever witnessed.

He closed a 2009 Commencement Speech this way:
Nature beckons you to be on her side. You couldn’t ask for a better boss. The most unrealistic person in the world is the cynic, not the dreamer. Hope only makes sense when it doesn’t make sense to be hopeful. This is your century. Take it and run as if your life depends on it.

Edges. The most changeable, complex, challenging places on Earth. Where are your social and environmental edges? Where are the edges of random kindness and intentional activism? Do you know anyone pushing them?


Earth Day = Human Rights Day

I have 3 Earth Day questions for you:

If you had one message for the world, what would it be?

If you did one activity, what would it be?

If you focused on one solution, what would it be?

My one message?
In 1995, First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton’s words electrified the 4th UN Conference on Women in Beijing. In a speech ranked 35th of the top 100 of the 20th Century she told the world that “Women’s rights are human rights.”
This Earth Day, I will add this. Planetary rights are human rights.

Our blind violation of the biosphere that supports life is a one-way street to human destruction. For millions of years our planet supported a myriad of species, thank you very much. We newcomers that came along a mere few hundred thousand years ago, we are the ones thatrequire a delicate balance to survive. Our planet is vastly more robust than our species. Until we replace dominion delusions with simple stewardship we will continue to deny our own human rights.

My activity?
I live in a town that has fingers in the mountains and toes in the ocean. I could go to either place today, but my choice this year is the ocean. I’ll toss some beach garbage in a trash can and wish people I meet ‘Happy Earth Day.’ Ocean. Source of wonder. Source of life.

My single solution?
Awareness-building. Most of my career was in public information and often I wondered what on Earth it took to change people’s minds. I learned the pitiful weakness of facts, logic, data and information in the face of strongly held beliefs and personal myths.
My individual solution is to create stories that touch universal desires — an attempt to nudge a change of heart. Change the heart and the mind will follow.

As an issue, for now I pick saving the seas – acidification, overfishing, garbage… As goes the ocean, so does life.

So those are mine, for today. I figure we can dig in anywhere, personal preference ergo no wrong answers. The only error, and it’s a costly one in my opinion, is to have no answers. So I’ll shut up and let you get to yours — and if that’s tomorrow that’s okay too. Every day is Earth Day.