I bet by now you're wondering what in hell all this has to do with phenology, ecology and ethics. Let's start with some of what Aldo Leopold has to say about ethics, ecology and community:
“All ethics evolved so far rest upon a single premise: that the individual is a member of a community of interdependent parts.”
- Aldo Leopold
|members of a healthy community|
Photo by J. Harrington
In A Sand County Almanac essay on The Land Ethic, Leopold notes:
It's not stretch from the preceding to infer Leopold believes it necessary for us to love our community. I would take it further and argue that we, as a society, are terribly overdue to have a serious conversion about what we mean by community, that, as Leopold writes, it is not simply an aggregation of individuals but their interdependent functioning that makes a community. I would also argue that any government maintaining a predatory relationship (traffic citations as revenue generators --> dead citizens at traffic stops?) toward citizens fails every definition of either community or democracy that I can conceive of. If lives, black, red, white, blue, whatever, do indeed matter, they matter most, and are missed most, it seems to me, in the context of loving family and community relationships. Let's get honest about our need to talk much more about how to recognize interdependence, and to protect and preserve all the members of our community. Mr. Leopold offers us more wisdom than even he may have realized, if we'll only pay attention.“That land is a community is the basic concept of ecology, but that land is to be loved and respected is an extension of ethics.”This recognition, according to Leopold, implies individuals play an important role in protecting and preserving the health of this expanded definition of a community.“A land ethic, then, reflects the existence of an ecological conscience, and this in turn reflects a conviction of individual responsibility for the health of land.”
I'll share my own perspective on how phenology fits into all of this. As a recovering planner, I know that more of the same never solved a problem. I've also learned that insanity is repeating the same actions and expecting different results. Some of the techniques of phenology could help us identify and revise the faulty patterns that got us into the mess we find ourselves in this week. Fortunately, as we know from Wendell Berry, there's always
The Peace of Wild Things
When despair for the world grows in meand I wake in the night at the least soundin fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,I go and lie down where the wood drakerests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.I come into the peace of wild thingswho do not tax their lives with forethoughtof grief. I come into the presence of still water.And I feel above me the day-blind starswaiting with their light. For a timeI rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
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Please be kind to each other while you can.