Dancing with Climate Change

Dancing with Climate Change

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We’ve poured huge amounts of energy into the atmosphere and, well, the atmosphere is energized.  It’s time to learn how to dance with this increasingly energetic partner. Dancing is a good metaphor for the kind of response demanded by climate change. Dancing implies controlled relaxation, improvisation, and the ability to recognize and generate patterns in a swirling changing field.  And it’s fun, creative, and good mental and physical exercise. Because climate change is happening rapidly, we need to begin experimenting and adapting now—not waiting for someone to figure it out and tell us what to do.  Here’s an example.  Two decades ago, Tim Murphy told me one of his ideas for addressing climate change:  plant oak trees.  Here in the western interior of the U.S., the larger and more productive species of oaks are found in the temperate south.  As one moves northward and to higher elevations, the dominant species

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A Land Ethic

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Aldo Leopold argues that what is centrally missing in our Western culture today is a “land ethic.”  According to Leopold, ethical values are what hold a community together and allow its members to cooperatively co-exist.  Just as our culture has awakened to the violent injustice of slavery, so now is it time that we awake to the injustice we are inflicting on the lands we live within. 

Tracking Potential

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While working at the Rodale Institute several years ago ,we were surprised to learn that Robert Rodale, former Institute director and  editor of Organic Gardening magazine was an Olympic skeet shooter. On further thought this made sense. In skeet shooting, one needs to trace the trajectory of the clay pigeon, imagine its future path, and aim leading it to impact it at some future as yet unrealized point. Rodale was expert at seeing the potential of existing trends. It was only natural that he would excel at doing this visually as well.   To many, the idea of tracing trajectory to  imagine future potential may seem abstract and even unprofessional. Most marketing and planning is done looking to the past to guide it. This has been compared to driving by looking in the rear-view mirror. While it is essential to look at the past to imagine the future, it is the

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Evolving The Way We Rate Progress Towards Sustainability

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“Growing more efficiently merely makes society more efficiently unsustainable.” William Rees, PhD, FRSC – University of British Columbia, one of the developers of the Ecological Footprint concept “If you save the living environment it automatically will save the physical environment. If you just save the physical environment (as we’ve come to understand it), we’ll lose both.” (Wilson’s Law) E.O. Wilson, Harvard, Entomologist, Ecological System Scientist and Author Currently, Green Building Rating System credits address the efficient use of resources such as energy, water, and materials. But without addressing the world of living systems – the living environment that supports us and surrounds us—we will never achieve a sustainable condition.