Ash Die-back makes it to the UK

December 1, 2012 by Categorized: Earth Matters, Nature in the News, Science & Spirit.

What is Ash Die-back?

Ash Die-back is a disease that primarily affects the Common Ash (Fraxinus excelsior), through it is having an impact other Ash species. It has been devastating Ash trees across Europe since the 1990s, where it was first identified in Poland, and has now made it to the United Kingdom. It is caused by two forms of a fungus:

  • Chalara fraxinea – this form causes the symptoms on the Ash trees
  • Hymenoscyphus pseudoalbidus – this causes the fungus to fruit and spread through leaf litter

There is ongoing discussion as to how the spores move from tree to tree. In areas without human intervention, the disease is spread by the wind. However, human activities have sped up the transmission of the disease through the movement of infected trees and material. Animals and birds are not thought to be involved in the spread of the disease.

Why should we be concerned?

It is nigh impossible for a lay-person such as myself to predict what impact Ash Die-back could have in our woodlands, but I can make an educated guess. Ash makes up around 10-15% of the UK’s broadleaf woodlands, and provides food and shelter to a variety of species. With the loss of Ash trees a huge part of our woodland ecosystems could vanish, having a knock-on effect on the plants, animals and fungi that are interlinked.

We should be concerned, but we do not need to panic. Few species are solely dependent on Ash trees, and the loss of Ash could open up new niches for other tree species. Perhaps we should look at Ash Die-back as an opportunity – a chance for woodlands to evolve into a new structure as part of the natural life/death/life cycles. Nature abhors a vacuum, and ‘she’ is a survivor. As long as we do our best to limit the spread of the disease, ‘she’ will be fine.

What is being done manage Ash Die-back?

In October 2012, the UK government brought in legislation which bans the import of Ash plants, trees and seeds and also bans the movement of Ash plants, trees and seeds within the UK. It is hoped that by limiting the movement of Ash, the spread of Ash Die-back will be limited too.

The disease has no cure, so it probably cannot be eradicated. Trees vulnerable to the disease, such as saplings, will be identified and destroyed while older, more resilient trees will be left for as long as possible in hope that they will develop a resistance in much the same way we can develop a natural resistance to disease through exposure.

What can we do to manage Ash Die-back?

We, as Pagans, are in a privileged position to enjoy the natural world with an awareness and sensitivity that some other people may not have. As such we have a role to play as custodians. You can help to limit the impact of Ash Die-back by not moving Ash material, even for personal collections. If you suspect that an Ash may be affected by Die-back, then please report it.

In Autumn and Winter, Ash trees can be easily identified by their smooth grey bark and black buds. In older trees, the bark can begin to crack. Symptoms of Ash Die-back include leaf loss, crown die-back (where leaves at the top of the tree die) and damage to bark. If you spot any of these symptoms, please report them to the following agencies:

For England, Scotland and Wales:

FERA
Tel: 01904 465625
Email: planthealth.info@fera.gsi.gov.uk

Forestry Commission
Tel: 0131 314 6414
Email: plant.health@forestry.gsi.gov.uk

For Northern Ireland:

Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD)
Tel: 0300 200 7847
Email: dardhelpline@dardni.gov.uk

More information can be found on the Forestry Commission’s website: http://www.forestry.gov.uk/chalara

Challenges Face the Columbia River

November 30, 2012 by Categorized: Earth Matters, Nature in the News.

It’s no surprise that the watersheds of streams and rivers often mark the boundaries and definitions of bioregions. While ponds and lakes are lovely in their own right, moving water moves us in a way no still, quiet pool does. In a way, rivers, streams, creeks and their ilk are the bloodstream of the land, carrying necessary nutrients and other resources to ecosystems all along their lengths. We humans have made great use of their capacity for locomotion; every day we move everything from timber to wheat, vehicles to people, up and down their liquid tracks.

By Kmusser on Wikipedia

The Columbia River, the largest river in the Pacific Northwest, is at the heart of this ecoregion. It starts far north in British Columbia and winds its way down through Washington until it creates the Washington-Oregon border. Born in the Rocky Mountains, it then carries much-needed water to desert territories before crossing the Cascades into temperate rain forest, and finally emptying out into the Pacific Ocean. So much depends upon this single river, just from an ecological standpoint.

Human dependence abounds as well. Industries use the waterway to carry goods up and down its length. Many communities rely on the series of hydroelectric dams placed across it over the years. Recreation is on the rise; residents and visitors alike fish, boat, windsurf, and otherwise enjoy the broad expanse of water. Tourist locations along the river, such as Multnomah Falls, increase local revenue.

For all the value we place on the Columbia, some have been taking it for granted. Foreign coal interests plan to move thousands of tons of coal per year via barges and uncovered train cars. This not only raises the amount of barge traffic on the river, which can be dangerous to people using the river recreationally, but also puts more of an environmental strain through barge pollution and loose coal dust in the air and water. The exporters aren’t allowed in just yet; the potential environmental impact has yet to be assessed, and the issue is up for public comment.

Attacking the river from another angle, the Nestle Corporation wants to set up a bottling plant taking water directly from a spring that feeds into the river. This would necessitate building the bottling plant, with all the pollution that entails, plus providing yet another potential source of pollutants going into the Columbia itself. There’s a public comment event on Dec. 7 here in Portland; I’ll see about posting follow-up as I plan to go. As of 29 November, the public meeting has been canceled–more information here.

Barge on the Columbia River at Hood River. Photo by Lupa, 2012.

Existing industries have taken their toll as well. News recently came to light that Teck Resources poured heavy metals and other pollutants into the river for an entire century. Projected cleanup of this and other companies’ accumulated pollution is estimated to cost upwards of $1 billion. And further up the river at the Hanford site, radioactive waste from San Francisco company Bechtel was leaked very close to the Columbia, posing a significant risk to the watershed and river. The facility, which is currently under construction, has demonstrated a number of other flaws and shortcomings which could increase the risk of leaking nuclear waste in addition to the 520 gallons already released.

For all these assaults, the Columbia isn’t without its defenders. Friends of the Columbia Gorge engage in activism, as well as organized educational hikes along the many trails in the Gorge. Nestle’s attempts in particular are countered by the Keep Nestle Out of the Gorge Coalition; among others, this coalition includes Bark, an organization dedicated to protecting the wilderness around Mt. Hood. For those who prefer to protect the river, its tributaries and watersheds through hands-on volunteering, there are organizations like the Lower Columbia River Estuary Partnership, SOLV, Columbia Riverkeper, and Willamette Riverkeeper, among others.

I could say that the Columbia River is fortunate to run through an area that is so full of people conscious about sustainability and environmental issues. To an extent this is true, but there are too many reasons the river needs protection in the first place. Our industries, while beneficial in many ways, were not originally created with the environment in mind. Instead a linear ideal of progress, ever higher and more complex, took the center stage. And while the stretch of the Columbia between Portland and the Cascades has a lot of advocates, this is just a small portion of the river itself, much of which has been affected by dams, industries, and more.

Perhaps Woody Guthrie’s words in “Talking Columbia” were taken a bit too optimistically when he sang how the dams on the river:

“Run a thousand factories for Uncle Sam.

Makin’ ever’thing from sewing machines to fertilizer
Atomic bedrooms!… Plastic!
Everything’s gonna be made out of plastic!

Salmon’s smaller cousin, rainbow trout, in a tributary of the Columbia. Photo by Lupa, 2012.

Yet just before then he sings “Salmon! That’s a good river!” Salmon do make a good river, but between the many challenges of the dams, and the pollution and habitat loss caused by other industries, the Columbia salmon are struggling to survive. So are the many other animals and plants that live in and near the river and its tributaries.

It will take all of us–volunteers, nonprofit organizations, and other advocates–to keep the Columbia from being degraded beyond repair. We’re not defeated yet, though. A recent study by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality shows that while there is plenty of work to do, some factors such as water quality could be much worse (our river hasn’t caught on fire yet, for example). There is hope, and we can hang onto that as we continue our efforts to save the Columbia River.

Wordless Wednesday: White Crane

November 28, 2012 by Categorized: Natural Reflections.

White Crane 3 by Alyssa Call


Share your nature photography and artwork on the Pagan Newswire Collective Flickr group. For more information, check out our submission guidelines.

Thoughts on Tree Planting

November 27, 2012 by Categorized: Earth Matters, Natural Reflections.

I’ve been doing more tree planting while volunteering with SOLV. The last two Saturdays saw me down by Rock Creek southeast of Portland in the rain and mud, planting everything from snowberry bushes to willow trees in open areas along the creek. Our end goal was improving the health of the watershed and reducing erosion.

One weekend I was joined by a bunch of teenagers from a local high school. Not surprisingly, they were there because it was required to get extra credit in a biology class, and it didn’t seem like most of them wanted to be there. There was a lot of horseplay, the usual talk about who liked who and who was going out together, and once I had to tell a small group of boys to quit throwing clods of dirt into the creek (weren’t we trying to keep silt out of the water?)

Admittedly, I did get annoyed. I had been looking forward to this time outside as an opportunity to connect with the land there in a very hands-on way, and it was distracting wondering whether one of those lumps of dirt was going to fly by a little too closely. And why would you make kids come out to where they didn’t want to be and irritate the rest of us?

But then I stopped myself. Just because they were distracted didn’t mean they weren’t affected by what they were going. Maybe the louder ones just weren’t showing it, or maybe some of the quieter ones were getting more out of the experience. Either way, it wasn’t for me to judge whether they belonged there or not. They were getting trees and shrubs into the ground, adding their efforts to the work at hand. And wasn’t that enough, surely? If some of them remember this experience and it affects them in a positive way, now or later, that’s an additional bonus.

We were all amazed when a small garter snake was unearthed by one of the volunteers. I went to take it into the grass, though not before everyone got a good look–the younger kids there were especially fascinated. I hope the snake was okay; mid November is a tough time to be roused from your safe place, though it was in the mid-50s, so not that cold. S/he had a small wound on her tail, just a nick, but I tried to clean the dirt from it anyway. Hopefully s/he found another place to send the winter, and the serpentine immune system will fight off any infection so s/he’ll be out again in the spring.

I love it, though, when something so small and such a normal part of a healthy ecosystem awakens wonder in other people, even if only for a moment. I feel bad for the injured, displaced snake (though snakes are injured and displaced even without human interference), but I at least hope that in the process a few humans made a good memory that would last. If digging the trees in didn’t do it, perhaps a small serpent would.

Speaking of those memories, I found a little something extra that will certainly be a physical reminder of that day. When I plant trees, I like to start as close to the water as I can. The SOLV workers had placed a number of them right along the streambed, and that’s where I gravitated. I like being by running water; it helps me to ground myself into the ecosystem and the watershed I’m helping. But it’s also a good place to dig up interesting things buried in the ground over the years.

Case in point, in between clay-thick dirt and big chunks of water-smoothed stone I found a small, hard, white object. Upon digging it up, I discovered a very old, circa 1920s Sanitol Hand Cream jar, milk glass and metal. Later on, when I cleaned it up at home, I found that other than a little damage to the lid it was in pretty good condition. Considering that it had been a few inches down, it had probably been in the ground for around ninety years. While there are much more toxic human-made things in the ground, something so not biodegradable is better off on a shelf in my home than in the soil along that creek.

We don’t always need to have physical objects to capture those realizations and experiences, though they can help. Often the memory alone carries itself. No one else left that day with an old jar, but perhaps they’ll always remember the dirt they dug (and occasionally threw), or a the trees they planted, or a little green garter snake drowsy in the autumn rain. And maybe those memories will stay with them, and encourage them to create more of these positive connections, whether in planting trees, or creating rituals, or writing for themselves and others. Who can say what memories were born that day?

Blog Beast

November 26, 2012 by Categorized: Natural Reflections.

Blog Beast by Rua Lupa

There is this thing called a blog, it is an interesting creature. It starts with one big voice and is often followed by many others in a chatter. Many thoughts, ideas and actions may result. This creature can shift direction suddenly after the first big voice. Start a different chatter, causing a ripple through the internet forest where the chatters expand to more and more chatters; potentially causing behavioural change. Be startling and cause questioning. It can also become much, much louder with chanting and nothing to stop it in its path. This is a strange and powerful creature. Can one ride it? Can it be tamed? Should it be tamed? What to do with it?

 

So here is what I plan to do with this internet beastie. Have a set of non-linear series that weaves in and out as ideas come up. Each series would focus on different characteristics of the blog beast with relation to No Unsacred Place.

 

The Series would be as follows:

 

Cultural Quandaries

The ‘startling’ aspect of the blog beast. It questions our cultural perspective, which can bring about more questions than answers or potentially bring about a great deal more answers, possibly preventing a definitive one from forming.

UPDATE (02/2013): New sub series of Cultural Quandaries – Colloquial Quandaries,  in that it specifically addresses the colloquial in our culture – our way of speech.

 

Creative Crafts

The ‘ripple chatter’ of sharing ideas.

 

Community Connections

The sudden shift in direction characteristic. Where the subject posed is liable to change in response to the chatter.

 

I Spy

This one is the big voice being a chatter in and of itself. Potentially a ripple chatter of sharing news of what you saw, personal reflection, or other miscellaneous topics. This one is liable to become an echo chamber if not kept in check. So there are likely to be fewer of these as a result.

 

 

As these series go forward other characteristics of the blog beast may be noticed and cause a series to split or start new ones in response. That way it can better function, acting as it is naturally inclined to.

 

What characteristics of the blog beast do you notice?

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Wolf packs in Oregon successfully interbreeding

November 24, 2012 by Categorized: Fur and Feather, Nature in the News.

Much of the news surrounding the environment and its inhabitants is negative; therefore a bit of good news is more than welcome. One bright spot involves the recovery of the gray wolf in the lower 48 states: a recent report from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife revealed that there are multiple distinct packs in the state. Better yet, they’re interbreeding with successful litters as a result.

Picture by Mariomassone on Wikipedia.

This means that Oregon wolves are diversifying genetically, which improves their chances of establishing a permanent population here. Wolves were exterminated in the state almost 70 years ago, and their recent return has prompted mixed feelings. Ranchers are already concerned about the safety of their livestock, despite the existence of nonlethal wolf deterrents. On the other hand, advocates of wolves are thrilled by the news; a wolf tagged as OR-7 who cross all the way through Oregon and into California has become a particular celebrity, and even earned the unofficial name “Journey”.

It remains to be seen what impact the wolves will have on Oregon ecosystems as they reintegrate. The species was gone for less than a hundred years, and although in its absence its ecological niche is often filled by coyotes (and human hunters), wolves are capable of reclaiming their historical roles. The ODFW already has a comprehensive plan for managing the growing wolf population, from tracking individuals and collecting data, to outreach to communities and ranchers as wolf-human interactions increase.

For my own part, I’m rather thrilled by this development. It’s not just because I support the return of wolves to their historic range in the lower 48 United States, though that’s certainly important. It’s also because my very first totem was (and still is) Gray Wolf. I’ve never before lived in a state with a wild population of wolves, so this is a new experience for me. Although they’re clear on the other side of the state from my home of Portland, I look forward to the day when I get to see a wolf in the wild, even if it’s at a distance, running down the next ridge over.

New Writer: Rua Lupa

November 23, 2012 by Categorized: Natural Reflections.

Hello Everybody,

I am Rua Lupa, one of the new writers here at No Unsacred Place. I’d first like to formally thank Lupa for inviting me to join this wonderful group of people (which was quite a pleasant surprise), it will be a great pleasure to be writing along side all of you. And I hope I can make a respectable contribution.

As for who the heck this here person is, I’ll gladly enlighten you.

I hail from northern Ontario, Canada. I lived there most my life, up until a few years back when I started living south of the Boreal Forest (where I get to actually see autumn colours other than yellow). After getting my Wildlife Technician diploma in Sault Ste. Marie, I now live on the largest fresh water island in the world – Manitoulin Island.

I am Metis, meaning that I have mixed ancestry with the First Nations (Native American peoples of Canada) and European settlers. I was raised mostly in French Canadian tradition that over the generations became predominantly English speaking. So I don’t speak French, being nowhere near bilingual. Even so, my bloodline is mostly of Celtic origin which led to a passion in learning about that side of my ancestry. This inevitably lead to Druidism; the flavor of which being the Reformed Druids of North America. I grew up knowing little of my native side due to it being oral traditions, having little written down. But since then, in the past couple of years, I’ve had the great opportunity to directly learn the Anishinabek (Ojibway) traditions and teachings. This enables me to provide some insights on this tradition, and likely will in my future writings.

Through this process I’ve done the Metis thing of combining traditions, with an added naturalistic perspective. This resulted in founding a tradition called Ehoah, meaning ‘complete harmony within Nature’. Where those who agree with the tenets are called Saegoahs – ‘Seekers of complete harmony within Nature’. With this outlook and approach I’ve been a board member of Bike Share Algoma, founded, ran and organized the Sault Community Drum Circle and the Gore Bay Drum Jam, invented the Borealis, Australis, and Globus Kalendars, and tinkered with many skills. From glass working, welding, carpentry, and drafting to advanced wilderness first aid, life guarding, canoe tripping, winter camping, and orienteering. I’m better described as leaning toward a jack of all trades, master of none. I am also a leech for learning more about these skills and new ones. Being told I have too many hobbies receives a familiar shrug as I carry on with my latest fascination and experimentation.

With this love of learning comes little fear of shying away from uncomfortable or ‘touchy’ topics. Those who know me best know that any subject is on the table and can talk and debate all night on anything. Each taking turns playing ‘devil’s advocate’, testing the other’s points, and it sometimes becomes difficult to tell when they’re playing that role, as we’ve come to be able to do it so well. In future writings and comment board conversations I may play this game of testing and prodding out of habit with friends. I’ll refrain from such in-depth debate here unless directly invited. If anyone reading this shares this passion, please comment below so I know who is game :) and will refrain with others who would rather avoid the shenanigans.

I feel the need to point out that I personally don’t consider myself Pagan. I don’t find any offense in this descriptor, in fact when those who consider themselves Pagan call me as much, I take it as a compliment. I stand in solidarity with my Pagan friends, helping as best as I can in having Paganism gain acceptance as legitimate belief systems and paths. I just personally find that it encompasses so much that it can be confusing, potentially losing meaning in the process. Preferring to keep it simple, I call myself a Naturalist and Saegoah.

Other than that. I love to laugh, tumble around with canine friends, go for long off trail hikes guided only by map and compass (and sometimes with just my wit), work with wildlife, and help out my neighbours and friends.

Please feel free to ask what ever question comes to mind. As there is no such thing as a stupid question, for if there was I’ve already asked way too many in my time ^_^

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Wordless Wednesday: Seasonal Stag

November 21, 2012 by Categorized: Natural Reflections.

Seasonal Stag, by Hana Russell


Share your nature photography and artwork on the Pagan Newswire Collective Flickr group. For more information, check out our submission guidelines.

I do actually love a sunburnt country.

November 20, 2012 by Categorized: Natural Reflections.

I wasn’t always captivated by the landscape within which I found myself. I am a first generation Australian, raised by parents who were Dutch-Russian and British, and my Enid Blyton books and illustrated fables and fairytales all showed me a world of lush green forests, magical oaks and acorns, blessed deer and I couldn’t even believe it; snow-capped wintry landscapes. These were the stories that told me where the ‘magic happened’ and the images I yearned for didn’t exactly intersect with living on the most desiccated continent in the world, in the most isolated major city in the world, where I was situated in suburbia amongst patches of khaki-brown scrubland and bushland. I lived (and live) in a place where the hills of the Darling Scarp turned creamy-brown with dead grass for six months of the summer, where bushfire season rendered our stately eucalypts a charred black, where our ravens have white eyes and our magpies aren’t actually corvids.

Corvus coronoides (Australian raven) perching on the dead tree behind our home.

I should also mention I was not situated in some of the more ‘European’ of Australian states, like sections of Tasmania or Melbourne, nor in some of the more ‘wet rainforest’ areas of Australia, like northern Queensland. Australia has a terrifically diverse number of biomes, which include alpine tundra and rainforest and sclerophyll scrubland and mallee.

As a child I had a natural thirst for knowledge, and began to gather an increased understanding for the land around me from animal encyclopedias, Dreamtime stories of dancing brolgas and warriors who turned into kangaroos (it took a while longer for me to come across stories of misappropriation and the mistreatment of the Indigenous Australians), observation, walking the land, and the shamanic and pagan practices on both sides of the family. Being exposed to European/Russian shamanism wasn’t entirely compatible with living where I was situated. ‘Here’s a story about a snow god,’ ‘but…I’ve never seen snow.’ (This is still true, I have never seen snow in person). ‘Okay, here’s a story about another snow god,’ ‘well, that’s interesting and all, about Arctic foxes, but foxes are feral here, and is snow like the inside of our freezer?’ ‘What about a story about lady malachite of the mountains?’ ‘We don’t have any mountains in Western Australia.’ Don’t get me wrong, I loved the stories I was being told, but they weren’t easily applicable to my environment.

On the other side of my family, the most eclectic range of belief systems hodge-podged together so that dinners were a conglomeration of atheists, agnostics, Alexandrian Wiccans and goddess-Ascensionist-Taoist-Reiki-Masters. Here were heavy discussions about energy, healing, soul-work, goddess energy, awakenings, ritual, whether any of it even existed at all, but even these discussions tended to be heavily focused on European systems. I knew a lot more about certain belief systems of the Northern Hemisphere a long time before I learned about the Critically Endangered kwongan biome, or the fact that the south-west corner of Western Australia (where I live) has one of the highest levels of biodiversity in the world and is almost comparable with the Amazon rainforest, or that we have the largest Mediterranean woodland in the entire world. And they’re logging it at an alarming rate. It’s easy to destroy something people haven’t heard of.

So I came to my spirituality as a practicing shamanist, animist, totemist, and a Bard within OBOD in a very roundabout way. I certainly came to my love of local landscape in a roundabout way. The illustrations of Dutch painter Hans Heysen helped, he came to Australia and illuminated what I had thought was a ‘barren’ landscape with insightful brushes. Interacting with the landscape itself has always helped; encountering wild echidna, boxing kangaroos, a donkey orchid under a giant jarrah tree, walking through tingle forests and karri forests and banksia-jarrah bushland brought me joy. Researching gave me appreciation and understanding.

Eventually I came to realise there was a lack of Australia-specific information out there for pagans and shamanists. I started to write totem files for myself on animals I couldn’t find – at the time – in any totem dictionary. I began to use trance state to talk with Nuytsia floribunda (the largest, and only species of mistletoe with an independent tree-forming habit, known friendlily as the ‘Christmas Tree’), local animals, and stumbled onto land spirits quite spontaneously. I also started to illustrate what I experienced in a symbolic style which I attached the name ‘Ravenari’ to, and that plus a bit of an internet presence due to spending an inordinate amount of time on pagan forums when I was younger, is how I ended up here writing an introduction for a lovely group that celebrates and loves the land. I am in such wonderful company.

I have done a lot of things in my lifetime. There has been academia and physical and mental illnesses and jobs in toy stores and bedding stores and brief work as a radio broadcaster and so on. But none of that is particularly relevant to my relationship to the local landscape, and if it is, I suppose I shall find my way to it in specific posts. In short, I am thirty years old, I live in a ‘semi-rural’ urban environment (or basically in a suburb surrounded by bushland and degraded land and farmland about ten minutes in every direction) and I draw more than any reasonable person should.

I hope I can share a love with the fierce, dry, baked land that I call my home, and an appreciation for what it is to live in a landscape that is almost entirely invisible in the practices of many pagans and spiritual folk; even those who live here. I also hope to share with others my love for gardening with endemic natives, xeriscaping and adapting the practices of Eurocentric practices to Australian landscapes. It is an honour to be asked to add my experiences, thoughts and research alongside the wonderful articles and posts by others here.

Thanks for having me.

Allow me to introduce myself . . .

November 19, 2012 by Categorized: Natural Reflections.

I was flabbergasted when Lupa offered me this position at No Unsacred Places.  NUP is one of the few blogs I check and read on a regular basis, though I rarely comment. I appreciate the many different voices and emphasis on ecology NUP provides. It has often given me much to think about and inspired a few articles on my personal blog PostPagan.

PostPagan? You might be asking. It is a tongue-in-cheek label I give myself and ecological-aware people I know who have been and/or are involved in the modern pagan movement, but (for whatever reason) do not identify as pagan themselves. Myself and others in this category often affiliate strongly with “Eco-Pagans” which NUP is an excellent example. I consider myself to practice what I term 21st Century Sacred Ecology.

I use the label 21st Century to differentiate from Traditional Sacred Ecology. Where Traditional Sacred Ecology describes the intricate relationships that traditional/indigenous people have developed over thousands of years with their environment, 21st Century Sacred Ecology focuses on developing new traditions, mythology, and relationships with the land from the perspective of those whose culture (e.g. western society) has long diverged from our traditional/indigenous roots. 21st Century Ecology strives  not to (mis)appropriate from other cultures and from the past. For me personally, this involves a combination of modes of thinking and interacting with the world – Including but not limited to (and in no particular order):

However, my primary religious and spiritual identity is that of a Unitarian Universalist.

Now that I may have thoroughly confused you, a bit about my self. I live in The Palouse region of the Inland Northwest (U.S.). Here I have fallen in love with the rolling hills of wheat and canola along with the nearby North Central Rockies. Here I’ve learned important lessons in how to relate to the land around me. My beliefs and practice are centered around the place where I live and its ecology. As such, my spiritual practice needs to adapt to the unique places where I have lived. I am very active in my Unitarian Universalist Church, where I am a co-facilitator for our new Green Sanctuary Committee and  Sacred Ecology Covenant. The latter is focused on bringing ecological awareness into Unitarian Universalist worship and celebration. I have given a small handful of sermons at my church on ecology and spirituality.

In the recent past, I was an active member of the Bio-regional Animism community and with the help of a friend, we created the BioRegional Animism in 5 Minutes Video:

YouTube Preview Image

I am excited to start my journey with No Unsacred Places, and acknowledge I have some rather big shoes to fill left behind by my predecessors. I look forward to interacting with the NUP community and working with the terrific writers who contribute.

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