Ancestral energy lives in the stars above us, the stones beneath us. Their memory gathers in oceans, rivers and seas. It hums its silent wisdom within the body of every tree.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Be a Good Ancestor Now

I’ve been doing my own genealogy for years, and recently I have begun to help others search for their ancestors. I have literally seen the lines, uninterrupted, of parents and children, and parents and children, stretching out and down from the past into our waking present. I cannot see that without also being able to envision my parents’ names at the top of that tree, with the unknown generations who will stretch out past us. But what world are we leaving to those who will come after?
I can no longer think of the future without wondering which generation of my family’s children will run out of fresh water. Do I care? Should you care? After all, I won’t be here. Yes. Yes I should. Yes you should. Anything else is selfish and human selfishness is killing the planet.
Human selfishness is killing the planet. Which means it’s also killing us. We need to cultivate the mindfulness that the planet we walk on is part of us. Our blood, bone, and tissue evolved from the life that crept out of the oceans. We carry the earth within us. We are not separate from it.
The way Western culture lives is not sustainable. Most of the people I know work hard and get little in return for it. I know they often decide not to care, because they don’t think they can make a difference, and if no one else is sacrificing, why should they?
Big Corporation wants us to think that. They want us to feel like we can’t make change. That’s part of the problem. We all need to make hard choices or the places we love, that feed us, will keep disappearing.
Make choices like your decisions will decide the fate of the next seven generations of your descendants. Because they will. This week I am sharing some photos of my favorite places in nature, places I hope those who come after me will be able to experience for themselves. Included among the photos are quotes on sustainability

The supreme reality of our time is ...the vulnerability of our planet.
- John F. Kennedy

One way to open your eyes is to ask yourself, "What if I had never seen this before? What if I knew I would never see it again?"
- Rachel Carson

Every creature is better alive than dead, men and moose and pine trees, and he who understands it aright will rather preserve its life than destroy it.
- Henry David Thoreau

We are living on this planet as if we had another one to go to.
- Terri Swearingen

Anything else you're interested in is not going to happen if you can't breathe the air and drink the water. Don't sit this one out. Do something.
- Carl Sagan

One planet, one experiment.
- Edward O. Wilson

There is a great need for the introduction of new values in our society, where bigger is not necessarily better, where slower can be faster, and where less can be more.
- Gaylord Nelson

Reducing our levels of consumption will not be a sacrifice but a bonus if we simply redefine the meaning of the word 'success.'
- David Wann

Dear future generations: Please accept our apologies. We were rolling drunk on petroleum.
- Kurt Vonnegut

Only when the last tree has died and the last river been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realize we cannot eat money.
- Cree Indian Proverb

Our task must be to free ourselves by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty.
- Albert Einstein 

We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.
- Native American Proverb

When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.  
- John Muir

I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do.  
- Edward Everett Hale

The dissenter is every human being at those moments of his life when he resigns momentarily from the herd and thinks for himself.  
- Archibald MacLeish

Again and again
Some people in the crowd wake up.
They have no ground in the crowd
And they emerge according to broader laws.
They carry strange customs with them,
And demand room for bold gestures.
The future speaks ruthlessly through them.  

- Rainer Maria Rilke

Quotes Contributed to:

John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) was the 35th President of the United States of America. Rachel Carson (1907-1964) was an American marine biologist. Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) was an American author, poet, philosopher, abolitionist, naturalist, tax resister, development critic, surveyor, and historian. Terri Swearingen, a nurse from Ohio, was the 1997 Goldman Prize winner. Carl Sagan (1934-1996) was an American astronomer, cosmologist, astrophysicist, astrobiologist, and author. Edward O. Wilson (b.1929) is an American biologist, researcher, theorist, naturalist, and author. Gaylord Nelson (1916-2005) was an American Democratic Senator and Governor from Wisconsin. David Wann is an author/speaker of sustainability. Kurt Vonnegut (1922-2007) was an American writer. Albert Einstein (1879-1955) was a German-born theoretical physicist. John Muir (1838-1914) was a Scottish-American naturalist, author, environmental philosopher. Edward Everett Hale (1822-1909) was an American author, historian and Unitarian minister. Archibald MacLeish (1892-1982) was an American poet, writer, and the Librarian of Congress. Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926) was an Bohemian-Austrian poet and novelist.


  1. Beautiful words by you. Beautiful words by others. (I particularly like, "Reducing our levels of consumption will not be a sacrifice but a bonus if we simply redefine the meaning of the word 'success.'" - David Wann.) My connection to this sentient home of ours has existed since I was a child, and that connection continues to become only stronger as I get older. We, as a society and/or species, must wake up to the reality of the effects we're having on the planet. We have the power to make a difference, if only we try.

    1. Here's another one to add to your list,

      "A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself." ~Franklin D. Roosevelt


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