Tag Archives: ecology

World eater, world propagator

Dichotomies

conventional & organic
degenerative & regenerative
degrading & restoring

I like the latter terms because it feels difficult to green wash. Take any feature that is necessary for the systems that support us, and see if it is being restored/enhanced, or if it is being degraded. Water quality. Soil fertility. Biodiversity.
Alas, if there is a will there is a way, and all of these terms will be “greenwashed” to some extent, making environmentally degrading acts seem restorative.

And by what means is the greenwashing motivated and manifest? Who done it? Some words commonly attributed to the complex system in question, which degrades essential qualities while feigning friend of fundamentals:

The man
The system
Capitalism
Neoliberalism
Globalism
...

These terms too are not perfect. Each has assumptions and complexities, they lack precision and can be tricky. Then I read something which shared a term so precise, so empirical, it could not be misconstrued or exploited:

The cosmophagous world: that world which devours all other worlds to feed itself.

cosmo-
From Ancient Greek κόσμος (kósmos, “universe”).
-phagous
From Latin -phagus, from Ancient Greek φάγος (phágos, “glutton”), from φαγεῖν (phageîn, “to eat”).

And what is the alternative to devouring other worlds? To multiply, to propagate, to support many worlds. Consider, as you go about the polarized and dissonant world, whether this dichotomy fits: some ways grow themselves by devouring other worlds, while other ways grow all by propagating many worlds.

Sheep inhabiting a woodland edge, with forest and meadow to graze, at a diverse silvopasture farm in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

I think of this as I visit small farms and see the countless worlds that are hosted there: the worlds of the orchard and of the pasture, the worlds of the meadow flowers and of the insect colonies which enjoy them, the worlds of the varieties of people who are part of the community affected by the small farm, and the worlds of the countless communities which have other small farms of their own.

That world catalyzation is a stark contrast to the vast monocrops, moonscapes, and mines producing homogenized ways of life, wherein one world grows larger while the others are whittled away.

May this be a high-level guideline, leading us toward Earthbound mutualism rather than parasitism.


I end with an excerpt from the text that introduced me to this concept of cosmophagy, and with a wish that you will celebrate and support the many worlds we coexist in as One.

Power is inseparable from the capacity to be affected. We find potentialities in our shared sensitivity: that sense of urgency that pushes us to seek new ways of living — to want to change this world; that feeling of belonging that pushes us to act, and likewise to risk everything. How can we unleash these potentials? The paths suggested by the existing order — call it what you will, Empire, capitalism, colonial modernity, white supremacy, the cosmophagous world — aim to capture the affects that make life worth living.

Neither sinners, nor victims: we inhabit climate change. We see that this period of disillusionment with centuries of misdirection is also one of infinite potential. Each of us have within us the remote possibility of stemming the tide of the catastrophe. By organizing pessimism, the fundamental affect of the times, and giving it a creative consistency, we can hope to bring about other worlds. But first, it is essential to make a break with this one. We did not choose to be thrown into a world that seems doomed to its own destruction, but we can decide to continue it or break free from it.

via “Re-Attachments: Toward an Ecology of Presence” by Dispositions Collective (2021 Jan 29) @ https://illwill.com/re-attachments

Deep Ecology Links

A running tab of some beautiful deep ecology links:

Breathing with trees http://www.rainforestinfo.org.au/deep-eco/breathing.htm

Where does gold come from http://www.rainforestinfo.org.au/gold/havellan.htm

Council of All Beings http://www.rainforestinfo.org.au/deep-eco/coab.htm
Briefer description: http://www.rainforestinfo.org.au/deep-eco/council.htm

Think Like A Mountain text: http://www.rainforestinfo.org.au/deep-eco/TLAM%20text.htm

Agroforestry Cooperative: Succession for Success (and Long-Term Land Tenure)

Temperate-climate agroforestry offers the potential for long-term ecological mutualism with humans and trees, and while it is time-tested in having sustained millennia of our ancestors, there are many hurdles to shifting lifeways toward agroforestry in 2020. In this post I introduce the main challenges I have identified, and I outline a potential approach to overcome these challenges. In short, that approach is an agroforestry worker cooperative that ‘owns’ (has rights of control, and rights to returns) land and practices stewardship so to advance tree crops and sustain itself.

I hope this clarifies opportunities that we can turn into realities, to support multi-generational stewardship of trees for basic needs in a way that is mutually beneficial to all relations involved.

Continue reading →

Predation & Evolution

I poem I originally shared July 15, 2014:

wild cat catching a fish

SPLASH
FIGHT
BITE
All was alright in the world, as I was moving toward the light
Looking for some food so I’d sleep well through the night
And awaken another day
My mouth becomes open
!!! Woah I am awoken !
I spread my wings and make like a cross
Then my world is tossed – tension to release; anticipation to closure; potential to kinetic
So,
It is written
Now I make like the moss (gratitude to the roots, foundations of the Kingdom)
Growing slowly through the churning fires of Time
Now at the turning of the rhyme, I ask:
Have I eaten or been eaten?

Starchy Perennial Plant Ally: Sunchoke

A long term steward of the northeast, Sunchoke aka Earth Apple aka Jerusalem Artichoke aka Helianthus tuberosus. This plant is a sunflower species with a starchy, potato-like root that propagates itself (usually easily) from year to year.

In the video below, Ben Falk harvests and discusses a 400sq.ft. area that grows sunchokes year after year, with minimal maintenance, while building soil. This year’s harvest offers 90lbs of starchy “J-choke” tubers, leaving some in soil to regrow the patch for next year’s harvest. He notes using them as pureed soup after some slow cooking, as well as pickling and lactofermenting them. I have only had them a few times. When I cooked them I cut them thin and stir fried them, cooking them for a while and adding other veggies and seasoning into the mix. They are dense plants and feel like a good staple, able to significantly help mitigate ‘the hunger gap’ as Ben says regarding strains on food supplies and ecology. I look forward to growing, harvesting, and cooking more of this perennial plant ally.

I give thanks.

Community Gardening Solutions: Micro-Scale Infrastructure for Resilient, Trickle-Up Economics

Notes from “Social Resilience and Urban Design: NYC and the COVID-19 Pandemic” webinar (hosted by architecture and urban design firm Cooper Robertson) with inspiring points made by Raymond Figueroa-Reyes and other speakers.


As we look to community gardening to provide food, as it has in the past (e.g. ~40% of food in U.S. during WWII; Cuban urban farming during its Special Period food shortages), we can look to Worker Protection Gardens and Community Gardens during the Industrial Revolution and Redlining period respectively.

Food hubs are on regional scale, but we need to bring them up in micro-scales, as distributed infrastructure for basic needs. Emergent food hubs can help aggregate and distribute food available from existing production systems as well as community gardens. (One example is in the Bronx worked on by this webinar’s speaker Raymond Figueroa-Reyes and others.)

Trickle up economy: focusing support to empower communities with micro-food systems, and the benefits will rise up through the system, growing diversity and resilience.

The Buck Stops at First Principles

One idea for ‘where is the real limit’ is ‘first principles’, meaning the phenomenon studied by natural sciences.

For example: according to the patterns (we sometimes call laws) in physics, biochemistry, and agroecology, is it feasible to grow food in monocultures that rely on external inputs and petroleum products? Not for the long haul, not at all. Yet we do it, and further, we rely on economic systems (e.g. multinational corporations, global prioritization of financial profits) that make it difficult to do the opposite! (Opposite being, for example, ‘restoration agriculture’ or cultivating highly productive, highly diverse agro-ecosystems that mimic natural ecosystems in structure and function over time and space.)

Economics (as in, how we manage our ‘households’ at different scale) and political will is often where we stray from first principles (for some time). We can economically incentivize all we want, we can make all the political noise we want, but eventually we get constrained by higher and broader drivers. “The buck stops”…here and now, in accordance with natural trends and constraints.

We’ve pushed well out of bounds, so it will take some change to get back ‘within our limits’. A framework to work on is ‘relinquishment, resilience, and restoration’ a la deep adaptation (https://jembendell.com/2019/05/15/deep-adaptation-versions/). May peace be upon you.

Lowering? Entropy of Wet Landscapes

Small-Scale Distributed Integrated Resilient Agroforest Ecosystems…Buzz words buzzin’ like bees and birds

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GINQvtKaZGY
“So here is a way to get a wet area to be a pond, well-drained raised garden beds, focused nutrient delivery system, and a propagation space for hardwood cuttings, in an area that was just kind of mucky and filled with grass and shrubs.”

Here’s a nice video on entropy and order. Is forest gardening lowering or increasing entropy in its local system, in our Earth system?

Spanning the Gamut of Ecological Restoration to Food Forests

“Edible Forest Gardens: an Invitation to Adventure” – a useful text by northeast permaculture wizards Dave Jacke and Eric Toensmeier:

http://www.cepta.sk/attachments/article/467/Food%20and%20Democracy.pdf#page=109

Spanning the gamut of forest garden examples and giving an overview of opportunities, applications, and implementations.

“Left-Libertarianism” and related links

How can one’s potential be best enabled, for one and all? Non-violence (aka non-aggression principle; harm principle; “first, do no harm”). Can we do that justice, for past-present-future generations?

We must work together, yet we can only do the work of oneself. Let us do one’s work without impinging on the ability for the same by one another. It is bad to act beyond one’s need and thus impede the ability of another to fulfill their need. Whether for water, shelter, warmth, . . .

The moral to the story is…your addiction to your needs and your
wants is what causes problems in your life. Make sure you got whatcha
need. Put at a safe distance all the things that you want. It’s wants
that get you into trouble.
Liberty and Justice for All.
But how to best achieve it?

Some conceptual threads to follow, for consideration & inspiration even if not practical at this time:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Left-libertarianism and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_libertarianism

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mutualism_(economic_theory)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decentralized_planning_(economics)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climate_change_adaptation


What is nature’s economics and politics? What is one’s role in it? As humans are we to do differently – how and to what aim?