Why should Thoreau get all the Marrow?

Are you the water, the trees or the sky? Or, are you the reflections upon the water?

“I went to the woods because I wanted to live deliberately, I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, To put to rout all that was not life and not when I had come to die discover that I had not lived.” Henry David Thoreau (Walden).

To me, living deliberately means to live life with your mind wide open. Understand life, Nature, and where you fit in. Too many times people live on autopilot. They awaken to the sound of an alarm clock because they must be at their workplace at an arbitrarily set standard time. They drink coffee (or my favorite, Mountain Dew) to give them the strength to meet their day. They eat lunch at noon because that is when everyone else does it. They work 40 or 60 hours per week because it is expected and because they need the money to live. They arrive home overwhelmed and exhausted. They watch TV until going to sleep when they start their cycle over again.

In a deliberate life, one in tune with reality, we would awaken to the sound of birds singing after just the right amount of sleep. We would be ready to do our thing without caffeine or the electronic coaxing of an alarm. We would rise early in the summer and sleep later in winter. Humans are to some extent keyed in to light cycles and the seasons. We would eat when we were hungry. If we think it out, we would be much better off to acknowledge that fact and then live that way.


Think about the way we eat. I can get berries at just about any time of the year. In the spring, the strawberries are the best. They are locally grown, fresh and in season. I can get them the rest of the year. But, they have been picked too early in order to keep them “fresh” through a long shipment. They don’t taste quite the same. Something is not quite right. A life lived by default is the same way.

You may be able to show up at work the same time day in and day out. You may be able to go thorough the motions. Wouldn’t you rather do things in their proper season and savor them all the more because of that? A Winter strawberries just aren’t that good.

Understanding how we fit into Nature, how our natural inclinations interact with and fit into the cycle of things, allows us to live more deliberately. Don’t accept someone else’s version of reality just because it is there. Do some hard work of your own. Explore a ravine. Hike a trail. Sit in a cold stream. Feel how these experiences change you. Think about why. What do you learn? A Where do you fit into it all? A We each have our own path through Nature. We either know it and live it, or we are lost.

What is your path?

Once you know. Live from that place of knowledge. Live a life consistent with your internal compass. Don’t listen to what others say you should do. Do what you know to be right. That is the way of Nature, and humans are an integral part of Nature. By virtue of being you, you have the right to reach your full potential.

Now get outside and get to know yourself and your own Nature. Then, live it deliberately.
 

Do you think of yourself as a visitor in Nature, or a part of it?

In our fast-paced society, we seldom make time for Nature. When we do, it is a quick visit to a park or a short trek along a favorite trail. These brief intervals surrounded by the natural world refresh and relax us.

Then, we return to our “real” lives. Deadlines, commitments, paperwork, phone calls. What a strange way to view the world. People are, and always have been an integral part of Nature. The more removed from Nature we are, the more removed we are from our true selves.

Too often, environmentalists implicitly underwrite and perpetuate the false assumption that humans are trespassers or interlopers. Granted, we as a species have wrought horrific terrors upon the earth, and taken many concepts to extremes which threaten the health of the earth. The answer to that, however, is not a strict preservationist’s “hands off” attitude. The answer to that problem is moderation and a realization that what we do to the earth, we ultimately do to ourselves.

Living in balance, there are many uses we can make of our natural endowment that can enhance our lives and still leave the system healthy. This ultimately brings us closer to Nature, and to our own ultimate reality. Check out “Thumping Hickories,” a new essay from naturalist William Hudson, and then get outside, learn something, and refresh your soul.

 

City Living 70% Less Carbon Intensive Than In Suburbs: TreeHugger

This Treehugger.com post was interesting mostly for the cool heat map of transportation-related carbon. It seems fairly obvious that if you live in an urban area and work close to your home (or in your home, if you are lucky), you will have significantly less commuting time, and hence a significantly lower carbon footprint.

What if, however, you live in an urban area and drive to the suburbs or another city to work? Does that happen? Sure it does. I guarantee that my current 4 mile round trip daily commute in a suburban township is much less carbon intensive than the 108 mile round daily round trip when I lived within the City of Akron, Ohio and worked in the City of Painesville, Ohio.

Or, what about this: Live in a rural area and work at home. Live in a suburb and ride your bike to a “sprawl” office complex a few miles away. I think the carbon intensity of these alternatives should compare favorably to urban living.

Maybe the analysis that really matters is not a geographical one. Maybe the choices that people make and how they relate to carbon footprint are just as important as their choice of geography, which in many case is an accident of socioeconomics as much as it is a choice of lifestyle and “green” over unsustainable.

For those of us who can choose where to live, maybe we should select the kind of surroundings that energize us, then figure out how to live there in the least consumptive way possible, whether urban, suburban, or rural.

 

Ecological Stimulus Package: TreeHugger

Ecological Stimulus Package: Investing In Natural Capital : TreeHugger: “We need to be investing, much more seriously, in our natural capital. Green energy sources, green jobs, and greener consumption habits are a terrific start towards positive environmental change. Interventions and actions that reduce environmental stresses are good for our ecosystems.”

Check out this Treehugger post. It makes a great distinction between environment and ecology that we all ought to bear in mind. The post, from the Earthwatch Institute, suggests that we need to look more holistically at not just the outside environment, but at the ecosystem, which is an inclusive term that encompasses the various parts of the environment, but also the systemic interrelationships, and ultimately, us.

In order to really solve our planet’s problems, we need to think in this way. Investing in what Earthwatch calls our natural capital is not an extra or option. Such investment is necessary if we expect future generations to share in the tremendous wonders that our planet has to offer.

What can you do to help. Invest in a green company? Contact your congress people? Tell your friends? Drive less? Eat more locally?

Think about it.

 

Urban WindCubes!

Green Energy Technologies. Wind Energy for Your World.: “the future of wind energy- The WindCube 55kW rated wind turbine is designed for high power users in the urban environment.”

Us neoNaturalists are all for thinking outside the box, but here is a case where thinking inside the box may be a better solution for all of us. These new wind generators are enclosed in a box that turns into the wind, always keeping the best angle for power generation. The boxes can be screened to prevent bird injury as well. The WindCubes are stackable and might just be the next breakthrough in wind energy- check it out!