That lovely picture is as close as I get to making visual art. It’s a sketch of a picture that I took at Mt. Rainier in Washington, USA. It was a windswept, snowy day on the mountain when my good friend Kern and I headed out on the trails to see what we could find. Once the snow was up to our knees we surrendered and turned around. After some watery hot chocolate and cheesy nachos we returned to our warm hotel in Kent.
I am posting this to let you know that The Alder Fork Podcast has booked its first artist guest. Emily Chen, a graphic designer, artist, and friend of Kathleen Edwards (you might’ve noticed Emily’s comments on an earlier post) will be chatting with me about her work and what not on a future episode. You can find out all about her, and check out her great blog, here.
I am snowed in Guelph for one more evening, then I will be back to Hamilton. I will have the blog back up to full speed with all of the usual features you have come to expect. The last few days have been great fun for me, and I hope you have enjoyed the change of pace. As promised here is Part II of my piece, An Ecology of Peace. If you missed Part I, check it out here.
How is an ecology of peace framed within the context of this human-nature relationship? As I understand an ecology of peace, and I am essentially borrowing the term and establishing my own definition, it advocates the same things as the concept of sustainability. An ecology of peace is a religiously rooted relationship between people and the natural world, that emphasizes the importance of sustainable practices to the mutual benefit of both. It is religious because the reasoning for an ecology of peace is rooted in an ethical system of divine love. I will use Christian terms to explain myself, but there is potential for other religious groups to adapt my meaning to their own belief system. I have already acknowledged that people have taken on part of the role of creator on Earth, and this has to be accepted for an ecology of peace to have real meaning. If we pretend that what we do is wholly controlled by a divine influence then there is little impetus for change. Religious societies have made many of the great advancements in the history of our species. People have been the force driving those changes, through their ingenuity and creativity, whether initiated by a divine spark or not. At this point I might be tempted to abandon any notion of religion completely and move on with a humanist ethic. If you decide to do so, go right ahead, it is certainly possible. But if you wish to maintain your religiosity or spirituality as you grasp at the meaning of sustainability please stay with me.
The theology that I ascribe to considers human love as the primary driving force for people. This does not mean we all act out of love constantly because it is obvious that we do not. I believe that it is our capacity to love that creates many of our greatest accomplishments. Thus any healthy relationship with the Earth will involve a great deal of human love. Nature is fairly neutral in its feelings towards us. The planet would go on with or without us. Yet in an unintentional way (after all “the Earth” has no intentions) it provides us with the means for survival, and an environment we can thrive in. Whether this is by chance or on purpose it is an undeniable fact. Although people have struggled to adapt themselves to extreme climates, ultimately we have always prevailed. This is not hyperbole because at this moment there are human beings on every continent. The Inuit are probably the best example of the adaptability of people. They found a way to exist in the unforgiving Arctic, with ingenuity and cunning. Today, in those hash places, humans are using technology to over come these challenges and be world builders. My point is that in the face of an ambiguous Earth, one that we cannot destroy, we dictate the nature of our relationship. As the masters of destiny we make the choices about our planet. If we look elsewhere for answers, we will find nothing. Other creatures may adapt their environment somewhat (I think of ants as an example) they are still incapable of the radical changes we have made.
An Ecology of Peace will be continued. Radio 2 Concert on Demand tomorrow, featuring The Empiricals, and The Flaps apparently going head to head.