I recently received a letter from someone I met through my work here at the Duke Gardens. This person, who has aided my conservation work here in the Blomquist Garden, and who shares my concern and distress about the state of our global environment, sent along with her letter a copy of a recent speech on this topic. Paul Hawken is an entrepreneur, writer and environmental activist with an eloquent pen. In May, he was charged with delivering the commencement address at the University of Portland. His topic: why we should have hope for the planet in the face of such distressing trends. His prose is far more powerful than mine, so I'm including it here for you to ponder. I believe, as he does, that the time is short in which to act, but that there is hope for our beautiful spaceship.
Monday, October 26, 2009
Every day, multiple times per day, in fact, I try to figure out how to save the planet. What I mean is, I search my brain for ways to interpret the state of the world. Yes, I hear the same news that you do every morning. Banks failing, bombs exploding, and people living in quiet desperation, praying for their next meal. What I don't hear much about is the ticking bomb we're sitting on; the one we've worked a few centuries to create, the planet we're slowly but surely wrecking. At parties, I can be a downer. I try not to be, really. Eventually the topic will turn somehow to what I do, and then eventually to what matters to me, and then eventually to that ticking bomb. The thing is, I'm a very happy, optimistic person by nature. I love to smile, and laughing is something I do without thinking. I'm also quite distressed about the health of planet earth fifty years from now, when I hope to be tottering after my great-grandchildren. What type of earth will they take for granted, and will it bear any resemblance to the one I was born into? So I search, daily, for a way to communicate to those folks at parties, who don't understand but could find it in them to care, why we have to make responsible earth stewardship a part of all of our lives.
Friday, October 16, 2009
Thursday, October 15, 2009
A rainy, cool Thursday...
I love this weather. It gives me an excuse to sit by the fire, drink something hot, and wax nostalgic about my younger days playing football in the broomstraw fields of my youth. . .
Meanwhile, back at the ranch... a garden grows and new things happen every day. I'm a big fan of creative architecture in the garden, and we have something exciting planned as far as Blomquist construction projects go. A covered bridge is in the planning process at the moment. This new structure will replace an existing bridge that has served admirably, but whose sunset is approaching, as they say. I'm including an artists rendition of this new structure in this post so you can begin to wrap your brain around the idea. I'm very excited about it, and I can't wait to see the first visitor round the corner to see the finished product. More news to come.........
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
If you've been reading my blog lately, you've no doubt noticed my involvement with the construction of a native plant garden at Easley Elementary School. I thought I'd take a few minutes to describe why the Duke Gardens is involved with this project.
I think that most of us would agree that our nation has collectively moved away from an intimate understanding of mother nature and how she works. We don't know where our food comes from (before it gets to Food Lion), where our water comes from (before it gets into our pipes) or how a forest is more than a green backdrop for a golf course. This disconnect has created an alarming level of apathy on the part of the average citizen. We watch impassively as the woods and streams of our childhood disappear, to be replaced by concrete, asphalt and two-by-four monocultures.
Have we truly forgotten the lessons we learned watching leaves turn to rich soil as we grew, or was nature just an abstract backdrop to us even in our early years? Whatever is at the root of our disaffection with mother nature is, it's up to us to prune it and start anew.
Anyone who has children will tell you that having kids around you opens your eyes. They see everything, and their sense of wonder and curiosity is infectious. If we want to re-connect our societies with the natural world, I believe we must start young, before those open eyes begin to close. For that reason, the Duke Gardens has embraced the idea of bringing nature back into the schoolyard. If we can create spaces where children can experience the beautiful diversity of their local wild environments right outside their classrooms, and if we can design those spaces to meet the needs of teachers, I think that we will have a great start toward fostering a much more profound understanding and appreciation among young people of the beauty and wonder of our remaining wild spaces. To learn more about what's happening with our current project at Easley Elementary, please visit the project website. Until next time, "Enjoy the Wild"!
Monday, October 12, 2009
We had a great garden volunteer workday on Saturday at Easley Elementary. Thanks to all those who gave of their time to help with this special project. I've included a photo of a group shot we took at the end of the day. If you would like to be involved in the ongoing construction of the Discovery Garden, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org for info about future volunteer opportunities. To see all the photos from the Discovery garden construction process thus far, visit the website and look in the "Easley Gallery" photo album on the "Easley Albums" page. Enjoy!
Friday, October 9, 2009
Thursday, October 8, 2009
I had a great visit to the Chicago Botanic Garden last week. They are really doing their part to teach visitors about the need for responsible stewardship of the earth. If every botanic garden would focus some part of their horticultural and educational energy towards turning back the rising tide of environmental degradation and disinterest, our descendants might still have a healthy planet to call home. The time has passed for half measures on this topic. We are riding "shotgun down the avalanche" right now, going about our daily routines as if our planet was not facing the prospect of the largest public health, ecological, and food crisis humans have ever experienced. The next 40 years will determine the future of our planet, and it's time for us all to act.
On a lighter note, we had a good group of folks attend the latest "Walk on the Wild Side" in the Blomquist Garden. I've included a photo of our group. We had a good discussion about the pervasive problem of invasive plant species in the environment, how they do what they do, and why they MUST be removed from our wild landscapes.
Finally, please consider volunteering this Saturday (10/10) at Easley Elementary in Durham to help with phase one of their Discovery Garden construction. We'll be out there from about 10-2, with some folks coming in a bit earlier and staying a bit later. I'll post a photo album of the workday next week on this blog.