Diversity is not an option

I am a farmer, so I attempt to influence what grows where, and when. That’s called agriculture. Since I want to be a successful grower, I learn a lot from observing natural systems.

One of the first lessons learned is that we are not in charge. It is a simple lesson, learned the first season by any gardener. We are a part of nature, and the incredible complex dynamic balance that is the natural world.

Often the second lesson learned is that change is ongoing and unending. This is another simple lesson, usually learned the second season, when the “permanent” stuff we did last year proves to be not so permanent.

If we pay attention, and work hard, and are open to the changes going on, and stop fighting natural cycles, and learn how to observe, and, and, and… we eventually realize that diversity is not an option.

Given that change is unending, and that each organism responds in unique ways to adjust to any particular change, it follows that the more diverse the populations of living things, the greater the chance that positive responses to change, leading to positive outcomes will occur.

And since most of us are looking for positive outcomes, it becomes clear that diversity is not an option. It is essential.

Diversity is essential in all living systems, including human. Diversity is the key to success: diverse cultures, diverse ideas, diverse physical characteristics, diverse abilities, diverse beliefs.

And we should glory in that diversity, celebrating the myriad possibilities, and the strength we derive from the mix of those possibilities.

What do you think?

Our Moral High Ground

It appears that at some of our leaders and opinion makers are again urging us to reclaim “moral high ground”, once again with an astonishing ability to ignore history. We are reminded that we are the only country in the world with defensible ethics and a legacy of dragging the “backward” nations (i.e. everybody else) up from the muck.

It presupposes that we all feel the United States was besmirched by the policies and actions of the last administration (or more than 1, take your pick), and want a return to the days when we were recognized and valued for our superior moral character.

Sounds good, doesn’t it? If only Washington would do what we, the citizens, believe to be right, like we did in the glorious past, we could return to our superior position as the beacon of peace and righteousness that we really are.

We forget that we are the only nation that has demonstrated a willingness to drop an atomic bomb. On non-combatants. Twice. And we used the lie that we did it to shorten the war. (That would be WWII.)

We have trained and supplied more terrorists (sorry – freedom fighters) than any other nation, and over a longer period of time. We did that in the name of expending freedom and democracy. (No, wait! That Oliver North thing – he was found not guilty, right?)

We imprison more of our citizens than any other “free” country. We keep killing people who are wrongly convicted. We do this in the name of the law, and of security. (And of course most of those people are lazy druggies anyway, not like they were valuable people like you and me.)

We kidnap citizens from around the world and imprison them for years without accusing them of any crime or allowing them representation, on the statement of any angry or craven neighbor. And we pay the neighbor for the accusation. We do this in the name of freedom, security ad democracy.

What moral high ground are we planning on returning to?

Maybe it is time we actually earned the right to moral high ground, not by telling people around the world how to live, but by actually doing those things which demonstrate that we know, and care about, doing what is right.

It is not like we don’t know. Although we may not care, at least not enough to do anything about it.

What do you think?

Don’t Worry, Be Happy

There is no need to care about agriculture unless you eat food.

There is no need to worry about forests unless you breathe air.

And there is no need to be concerned about pollution unless you drink water. (For those of you who don’t know: beer and wine are mostly water – impure water.)

In the “developed” and “developing” world, but particularly in the United States, we have spent the last 60 years being told we can expect to have every need satisfied, without limit, that we do not need to accept responsibility for our decisions, nor to plan for the future. An enticing view, to be sure.

And the majority of us have embraced these tenets. These are the foundations of our economy: unlimited growth, unlimited desire, entitlement to satisfaction of all our wants and needs, and no responsibility for tomorrow.

Is it any wonder that we are unwilling, indeed, perhaps unable, to recognize that unending growth is impossible? That consumption beyond production is unsustainable? That we are utterly dependent on the natural world for our continued existence?

We are unwilling to even discuss the most critical issues of our times: the impending end of abundant petroleum (and the cheap energy and versatile raw material for production that is oil), the increasing scarcity of potable water, the levels of pollution in the air we breathe, etc. And of course, the elephant in the room: human population.

While I would like to hope that we will make the changes needed to survive as a species, not to say a civilized species, I doubt we will.

In all likelihood, any attempts at facing these challenges will be drowned in a nationwide chorus of “Why didn’t someone tell me!”

No, I am not hopeful.

But that does not mean I can ignore my responsibility to the future. I will do the best I can to make the changes I can to reverse the destruction of the planet.

We got here one person, one decision at a time. We will find our best responses one person, one decision at a time.

What do you think?