Tag Archives: ethics

Sun Beam at the Seam of Current Status and Future Gladness

Not Rising Appalachia but sure feels Appalachian
Situations we’re facing, people displaced in … mad amazing

Tracing rays from Sunlit Source to Saturnday-craze
Gaze to the glades to get in phase with better ways
Photons to protons, mind to mine notions, fine to find motions but we need somethin deeper
Some go by bike, some go by sleeper – who you think’s more fruitful for the reaper?
Sow what ya reap yo
Slow it down, grow deeper

Trees: Fuel, Fiber, Food, Fodder, Farmacueticals, Fun + some

Inspired by https://www.yaleclimateconnections.org/2019/03/farmers-plant-trees-alongside-crops/

Fuel: firewood; biomass (wood pellet stoves); pitch, resin, charcoal

Fiber: structural wood for houses and furniture; living fences; pulp for paper; fiber for rope and potentially even clothing and fabrics; biochar and mulch as soil amendments to sustain soil fertility and resilience to drought and flood

Food: forest farming, forest gardening, supporting crops in alley-cropping and other techniques; sustaining drinking water; protein, oils/healthy fats, fiber

Fodder: silvopasture and all the benefits that comes with wildlife and livestock including food, mowing, fertilization, and many other benefits of biodiversity

Farmaceuticals: medicine, physiological and psychological; chemicals for a vast variety of purposes

Fun: may you enjoy it and it enjoy you

+ some: ecosystem services: regulating, provisioning, supporting, cultural


One Love

Face of Crisis

Below are excerpts and some of my thoughts on the article The Rapid Decline Of The Natural World Is A Crisis Even Bigger Than Climate Change by John Vidal. My reflections are based on much input beyond just this article, but this article makes a good platform to discuss these points. Also consider Deep Adaptation: A Map for Navigating Climate Tragedy by Jem Bendell. Or more importantly, consider gardening. And brace for impact.

Continue reading →

Online market monopolies: an inevitable issue?

A big difference in shopping local vs. online is their underlying tendency to monopolize. Monopolies exist both online, in infrastructure, and in in-person retail markets. When shopping online, the economically and ecologically natural thing to do is centralize shopping: save time, save packaging and transportation, often save money by getting all your online shopping done in one place and even more-so when supplied by one manufacturer/seller. There is a paradoxical dissonance in the feedback loop of online shopping, where what kind of shopping pattern one has is simultaneously the “right” and “wrong” thing to do for environmental, economic, and social good.

What is right and wrong anyway?

Of course, this depends on one’s definition of right, wrong, and ‘good’, but in that regard we can at least identify a reliable guiding star. Paraphrasing Sam Harris:

‘There is some maximum amount of human suffering possible. If we can agree on that, the next step is whether or not there is any condition better than the absolute worst, most suffering-filled condition possible. We can plainly see there are some conditions with more or less suffering; in a most blunt way, consider holding your hand on a hot stove top and seeing if you can find a way to a condition with less suffering – you would automatically. With that understanding, we can see a landscape of conditions where there exists a topography of suffering or wellness. This is the moral landscape, where actions lead us through this uncertain, pertinent space of mounds and valleys, minima and maxima of the amount of suffering for one and all.’ – Paraphrasing Sam Harris’ central concept about morality from the Moral Landscape book and Waking Up podcasts.

What is more likely to lead us to a preferable place in the moral landscape?

With that concept in mind, navigating the ‘moral landscape’ from the starting point of shopping for something, what is right and wrong anyway? Online shopping in particular: to shop around from multiple smaller venders, perhaps those offering the most environmentally friendly wares and/or cheapest; or the shop from fewer sellers, preferring the often most convenient shopping experience and likely least amount of overall embodied energy directly used in packaging and transportation? Which option is most environmentally friendly? What is more likely to lead us to a preferable place in the moral landscape?

Inspired by a conundrum while shopping for electronics and electrical engineering & repair supplies and tools. Where/how do you do your shopping (e.g. for electronics, which are thoroughly nowadays)?

Mitigate globally, adapt locally

On Personal Ethics

What is the supply chain of my basic needs?

Nowadays for most humans daily life is a degrading grind of that which supports us at most basic – and also most absolute, transcendental – levels. Yet human life is not inherently this way. Humans are hard pressed not to have a significant impact on their environment; if at peace in the woods for long enough I’ll surely interact, intervene, interject something into the dynamics of the ecosystem. Will that human impact be good or bad? For what?

Well, what is one’s will?

On Direction as Part of the Whole

Mitigate and adapt to present problems.

To mitigate: Change one’s stance, one’s position, one’s approach. “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” Lead by example.

To adapt: Lead by example. Live in a way that can be truly sustained through nature’s changes. Engage in mutually beneficial relationships with the source of one’s well being.

To Witness

“Compassion hurts. When you feel connected to everything, you also feel responsible for everything. And you cannot turn away. Your destiny is bound with the destinies of others. You must either learn to carry the Universe or be crushed by it. You must grow strong enough to love the world, yet empty enough to sit down at the same table with its worst horrors.” ― Andrew Boyd

‘Be in this world but not of this world.’ ~

“When you wake up in the morning, tell yourself: the people I deal with today will be meddling, ungrateful, arrogant, dishonest, jealous and surly. They are like this because they can’t tell good from evil. But I have seen the beauty of good, and the ugliness of evil, and have recognized that the wrongdoer has a nature related to my own – not of the same blood and birth, but the same mind, and possessing a share of the divine. And so none of them can hurt me. No one can implicate me in ugliness. Nor can I feel angry at my relative, or hate him. We were born to work together like feet, hands and eyes, like the two rows of teeth, upper and lower. To obstruct each other is unnatural. To feel anger at someone, to turn your back on him: these are unnatural.” – Marcus Aurelius

(And in a paraphrased version of Aurelius’ statement, other people’s wrongdoings are driven not only by others’ lack of good judgement of good from evil, but also by others’ own suffering and personal history and inner environment which cannot be known but can be reached with compassion.)

Self sufficiency for every body

One thing I find much agreement on between folks on either side of the political spectrum – especially those on either extreme – is self sufficiency. There’s a variety of benefits, direct and indirect, of efforts to become more self sufficient at various scales. I realized recently the importance in distinguishing between self sufficiency vs. survival-at-all-costs, when someone asked me about how personal weaknesses, differences, and disabilities could lead to their demise in a community/world that prioritizes self sufficiency and a survival mindset.
In a survival-at-all-costs situation, it is indeed an ugly context where any weakness could lead to one’s demise. However, self sufficiency and even ‘preparedness’ or ‘survivalism’ is not the same as survival-at-all-costs; rather, it’s about taking measures to avoid situations that dire in the first place. Prepare in advance to address weaknesses and optimize use of strengths. Take responsibility unto oneself to identify and compensate for one’s weaknesses (which can look a lot like self improvement at a personal scale, or team building at a neighborhood block scale). Self sufficiency can be improved at various scales (a subtle lesson about what ‘self’ really means), and at all scales there are lessons which can contribute to healthier lives and landscapes. It is not doomsday eat-or-be-eaten, but it is probably the best thing we can do to lessen the blow should we ever face such dark times as we have in the past.
“Helping you live a better life if times get tough or even if they don’t.” – Jack Spirko