Postscript to Storm

September 20, 2010

Our children cannot enjoy — and learn from — the gifts of Nature if all the adults in their lives are saying one thing (get outdoors) and doing another (staying inside).
Richard Louv

Following on from my blog of yesterday describing the tremendous adventure my neighbours and I had directly witnessing the brunt of a very visceral gale, the above quote from Richard Louv can only confirm that living at Windgrove is one big authentic commitment to getting outdoors.

Go through the center of the earth from Windgrove and you will almost find yourself near the spot where Izabel (from Brazil) is sitting on a rock overlooking the Atlantic Ocean along the Devon coast in England. The water molecules crashing at Windgrove a few days ago will someday soon be crashing along the Devon coastline.

After co-teaching my two week course at Schumacher College with Fritjof Capra in May of this year, I stayed on as a “humble” student for an extra week to attend the “Child in Nature” workshop (along with Izabel) that was co-taught by Richard Love (pictured in hat with wife Kathy) and artist Jan van Boekel.

Two fellow students — among the 20 exceptionally talented participants — were Annelies Henstra from The Neatherlands and Darren Southern from England. She was working on a supplemental resolution to the United Nations charter of human rights to include The Child’s Right to Nature. He, with difficulties in hips and knees because of a land mine in Bosnia, was physically active in providing emotional and outdoor experiential support to children-at-risk.

It was here at Schumacher College that I heard Richard Louv speak the above quote. It was here that I realized that, despite the good intentions of most people, finding the time and place in our increasingly busy urban lives for nature makes Louv’s quote more of a depressing reality than a cautionary warning.

One of the great combined intellectual/experiential days of our week together was to be guided by Stephan Harding on a 4.5 kilometer walk where each meter represented 1,000,000 years of evolution. Starting with the formation of our earth 4.5 billion years ago we walked — step by imaginary step — through the Hadean, Archaean, Cambrian, Ordovician Silurian, Devonian, Carboniferous, Permian, Triassic and Jurassic. This 4.356 kilometer portion of the walk representing 4.356 years took us past the ice cream stand, but the first flowering plants hadn’t even arrived yet. They and the first fossils of insects and modern mammal and bird groups came in the next 80 meters (80 million years) in the Cretaceous Period.

We still had to walk 63 meters through the Tertiary Era until finally reaching The Holocene, the last 10,000 years of the earth’s (and our human) evolution. Out of 4.5 kilometers of walking, it was only the last 10mm or half inch on a tape measure that represented the beginning of “agricultural civilization”.

The time since the Industrial Revolution when, supposedly, modern civilization took off, is a mere 0.2 of a millimeter.

Puts things into perspective, doesn’t it?

Certainly, time then for all of us to get out outside to learn to love nature before we have lost everything. And not tomorrow.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Ciaran O'Sullivan September 20, 2010 at 7:29 pm

Wonderful memories, beautiful expressed, Peter. Humbled to be included in the experience. Thankyou.

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