I get by with a little….

This week there were two stories that really made me proud to be part of the human race in the news and about a dozen and a half that made me shamed, but let’s focus on the two that were awesome.

The first story involved the resilience of the Grasshopper Sparrow. The bird was on the brink of extinction when conservationist and a Florida zoo stepped up. The birds were breed and raised in captivity then release into the wild. The survival rate of the birds is a happy surprise to the experts who have been involved in this birds comeback story.

The second story is about the founder of Patagonia and the future of his company. Yvon Chouinard, the founder of Patagonia is giving away his company. Patagonia will not go public it will be placed in a trust that is set up for the sole purpose of fighting climate change. This is remarkable and good news.

The two stories that made me smile this week remind me of a Beatles song titled “With a little help from my friends”. The song was written by Joe Crocker and the lyrics explain how everyone gets help from their friends every once and a while.

The Florida zoo and the billionaire businessmen both seem to be friends of the natural world and the natural world needs friends right now. Imagine how much better off the world would be if we were all friends to it….

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Only God

I remember growing up and seeing a key chain. The key chain belonged to my maternal grandmother and I think it said something like “only God can make a Tomato”. I think I am really not sure what the vegetable was, I know it had to do with the sovereignty of god and faith. My grandmother and mom were huge proselytizers for the Christian faith, my mother still is.

I remember hating tomato’s growing up I have come around to tomato’s and enjoy salsa and tacos however you will not catch me eating a BLT.

Last weekend was a holiday weekend here in the United States and my wife, 2 dogs and three kids all left the city and spent time in our camper near the river. While swimming in the river and walking the dog I thought about how foolish we humans are and I thought about that keychain. Humans have been given almost everything they need to survive and thrive from God, nature, mother earth or providence depending on your belief system and humans have paved it over.

The tomato key chain and our weekend enjoying the natural world also makes me think about the poem trees by Joyce Kilmer



I think that I shall never see

A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest

Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,

And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in Summer wear

A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;

Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,

But only God can make a tree.

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Don’t get me wrong humans are capable of many amazing things even creation, but all of humanity’s acts of creation pale in comparison to what has already been created and perhaps the best thing humanity can do is participate not in destructive creation but disruptive innovation and environmental conservationism.

Disruptive innovation and environmental conservationism focus on being a responsible citizen of the earth and understanding that we were given everything we need to not only survive but thrive.

There is not an “away”

This morning I pulled my trash bin to the street, I was struck with just how heavy the trash bin was this week. I think that I am getting weak or my family is generating more trash than it has last week.

Trash is an odd concept. We have things that we can no longer use so we throw them into a indoor waste bin, then when the bin is filled we place them into an outdoor bin and on Tuesday a trash truck swings by and empties my outdoor bin. The trash truck takes the trash away but there really isn’t an away is there? No not really away is a journey usually to a dump site where the trash is burnt or buried.

The concept for hell in the Old testament and Torah has roots in burning of a communities trash. The Greek work Gehenna refers to the valley of the son Himmon where trash and dead bodies were burnt. Many soldiers and veterans of the US army are getting sick and dying from living near trash burring pits. Burning our trash pollutes our environment and makes our bodies ill. When trash is burnt it is not destroyed the matter simply changes form to something poisonous.

Buried trash changes it form underground through decay and over time. The changed matter then makes it way to the communities water table and poison’s the community. The matter that does not escape the soil into the water table becomes dangerous gasses and poisons our air.

Nothing is every destroyed it just changes shape, this is the first law of thermodynamics. We are not throwing anything away when we put something into the trash.

When I was a kid I was taught that I should not litter. All trash should be put into trash cans. This lesson well good intentioned helped create a disposable consumable and dangerous culture. The idea of away made waste something that was ok and manageable through just putting something into a bin and then putting that bin on the street, this is wrong. Waste is not ok.

Starting tomorrow you will see a number on all my blog post titles. This number will be the weight of my families trash. The average U.S. American family produces 18 lbs of trash a day. I will try my best to be under the 18 lb goal. For every lb over I will donate 2 dollars to the sierra club. My donation will hopefully be small and in addition to the charities the family already supports on a regular basis.

I encourage everyone to add the sierra club to their households monthly donations. It is a great organization fighting for climate change. Here is a link for donations to that group.

We are all on this earth together and nothing we make or do goes away ever so lets make sure we make and do things that are good and not poison.