Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Million-Dollar Rain

At last. I haven't replaced my frost-cracked rain gauge yet, and I haven't found the charger for the camera batteries so I didn't get pictures of the puddles, but all three of my rain barrels overflowed, and that grim look on many faces has been replaced with quiet joy and relief. I heard that many places around here got well over an inch. That was the first significant rain we've had this spring, and coming after a winter with very little snow, and a dry fall before that, it was desperately needed. We had used the rototiller on the garden plot at Brian's, for the potatoes, but in my own garden I was careful not to turn the soil at all; I just knifed the shovel blade down in to lift and loosen where the beds had packed down too much. I could see a little bit of moisture in the deeper soil but the top few inches were hard clods and dust. Hoping still, I put all the early stuff in and right after I finished, it rained softly off and on all weekend. Beautiful. We won't get the eavestrough on the house for a while, but we propped up bits of it to catch some of the drips and filled two of our barrels with wonderfully clean water from that new steel roof.

I took a contract doing assessments of the health of native pasture and wetland areas this summer, so you probably won't be hearing much from me for a while yet.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Root Shift

Wayne at Niches has another post up about the ongoing drought in the southeastern U.S., and some disturbing comments about the response (or lack thereof) from his students - and even from his biology students. I replied that I think the message about climate change and personal change has been watered down too much, in an attempt to make the necessary changes seem "easy." I suspect that many people equate "easy" with "unnecessary."

Then I found myself writing about my root shift idea. It's high time I mentioned it here. From my comment at Niches:
I am working on a concept called “root shift.” This stresses the fundamental change that needs to be made: to shift the roots of our living (our food, our shelter, our clothes, our entertainment, everything) away from fossil fuels and onto a sustainable base. This shift won’t happen if we wait for governments to force it or corporations to donate it; it must come from us, from the grassroots. What is stopping us from making the shift? What is stopping me, a person who knows far more than enough about the need for it? (Another root shift image: the branching tree of evolution, lopped off by our current extinction event, and future biodiversity starting over from just a few surviving roots...) What do I need to know about the roots of my own being, my attitudes, my habits, and so on, to make a real shift? I want to answer that, and more. I have bought a domain name (rootshift.org - sorry, right now it just directs to Garth’s website) and I’m waiting for “Wikis for Dummies” from the library. I want to build a collaborative website that will bring together tools for change. The “root shift” concept will be central, and all content will have to measure up. Being “good for the environment” is not enough. We’re not talking about tweaking trends, here, we’re talking about reversing them. If an action can’t contribute to the root shift, it’s a distraction. And I suspect that what’s more important than the actions is the spirit - finding enough peace with oneself and one’s neighbours to stop “needing” so much, to begin to love one’s own home place, to choose life.

UPDATE: I have created a web page outlining the root shift concept, which you can view at rootshift.org.