May 252012

Elizabeth May will be in Saskatoon on Sunday June 3rd, as a guest speaker at the Annual Convention of the FCM (Federation of Canadian Municipalities).   We are organizing two other opportunities for people to hear her speak.  (I never tire of hearing her clarity.)

Author Lyanda Haupt’s words (below) and Elizabeth May give me reason to soldier on, when I wonder whether there is any hope for us, a self-destructing society!

Kerry wrote (12/05/2008):

Recently I had a discussion with a local resident who has written a book about our environmental problems. As I understood her to say, Darwinism was at the root of all our troubles. I replied:

“I will try to read your book.  As I understood your introduction you used his name in vain which would be a great discredit to him. After all it was he who concluded

“There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one, and that from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and wonderful have been and are being evolved.” (Origin of Species).

I think Lyanda Haupt described his view nicely in her recent book. :

“Darwin called himself a “philosophical naturalist,” both looking and thinking deeply. But here in the early twenty-first century, when any pimple-faced day camp babysitter calls himself a “naturalist,” it is a word worth reclaiming. In the nineteenth century, one who studied earthly life with reasonable depth and intelligence could claim naturalist status. But Darwin and his colleagues did not know the ecological degradation that we face today, though the seeds were surely being sown in their time.

It is in light of such words that my modern sense of a naturalist, while restoring some of the depth that the term carried in Darwin’s day, must necessarily cut further. I believe that the naturalist’s practice today must involve both an attentive study of the biological life unique to our geographical place and an attempt to bring our own lives into increasingly authentic relationship with that life. It must involve knowing our home place deeply and well enough to live elegantly within its bounds and to speak strongly for its needs.

The means by which we come to this knowledge need not be fancy. It entails the simple, daily, practical work of treating animals, trees, insects and plants – as well as the myriad foodstuffs, homes, and tools created from them – with care, respect, and as gracious a measure knowledge as we can muster over time.

In cultivating such faith, I will turn to Darwin’s good, plain, eccentric, sincere, struggling, brilliant, and humble writings again and again in my life. He reminds us, as he painstakingly learned himself, that we, too, are animals, connected to life, past and present. That we are earthly residents, with the innate capacity for attentive, authentic relationships within the sum of life as we live, work, and play at the borders of nature, science, and culture. That we become alive and embodied in our attention to life’s detail. That nothing in the natural world is beneath our notice.”

Lyanda Lynn Haupt 2006. Pilgrim on the Great Bird Continent. The Importance of Everything and Other Lessons from Darwin’s Lost Notebooks.

I’ll be interested in your perception.”

There is truly grandeur in this view  of life. We have much to celebrate.

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>