The Weekly Watch

Happy Day you Mothers!

I thought it might be fun to celebrate everyone's Mother today...Mother Nature, our planet Earth. I was influenced by James Lovelock's Gaia hypothesis which looks at the planet as a system. Also Lewis Thomas' essays comparing the Earth to a cell. This small amazing water and life coated marble in space is so different from the other planets of our system. There is still great beauty on Earth. We are all dependent and tied to the interconnecting systems. We are also all connected as humans...sharing the same mitochondrial DNA from our common mother, Eve. If only humans would model their lives after the natural cycling of our planet. A sustainable life for all...until the big meteor or comet changes things again as they have many times in the past.

I'm off playing our annual gig at the Audubon Mountain Workshop. We gather on the river near the falls which is my avatar in an old 1920's vintage log lodge, and go to the nearby camp to play the dance on Saturday night. Often they have a telescope or two set up, or a lit sheet to collect insects, once they had a bat detector which counted and identified three different species during the dance. We've been playing this dance for forty plus years. During that time I've become a better birder learning to use my ears more than my eyes.
New to birding, try this 11 min ID of common eastern birds with calls
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gSiH4fAXkl4
...or 13 min of western birds and songs
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2XD1NSJF1yk
If you are an experienced birder you might enjoy watching this 2 plus hours of excellent bird video...might entertain your cat anyway. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eS1VvY3Ima4

Birds are the canary in the mine.

North Americans have cause for concern. Dozens of species lost more than 50 per cent of their populations between 1970 and 2014, from the obscure (Sprague's pipit, the oak titmouse, the bobolink) to the familiar. Snowy owl populations, for example, fell 64 per cent in that time. "In some ways, the status of these birds could indicate the status of our own health,"

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/technology/science/report-finds-north-am...

Overall, 40 percent of the world’s 11,000 bird species are in decline.
https://e360.yale.edu/digest/forty-percent-of-the-worlds-bird-population...

earth in a basket.jpg

Sadly it isn't just birds in decline...it is all of Earth's life...the biodiversity that creates the balance.

Nature is declining globally at rates unprecedented in human history – and the rate of species extinctions is accelerating, with grave impacts on people around the world now likely, warns a landmark new report from the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services

https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/blog/2019/05/nature-decline-un...

The report’s 39-page summary highlighted five ways people are reducing biodiversity:

— Turning forests, grasslands and other areas into farms, cities and other developments. The habitat loss leaves plants and animals homeless. About three-quarters of Earth’s land, two-thirds of its oceans and 85% of crucial wetlands have been severely altered or lost, making it harder for species to survive, the report said.

— Overfishing the world’s oceans. A third of the world’s fish stocks are overfished.

— Permitting climate change from the burning of fossil fuels to make it too hot, wet or dry for some species to survive. Almost half of the world’s land mammals — not including bats — and nearly a quarter of the birds have already had their habitats hit hard by global warming.

— Polluting land and water. Every year, 300 to 400 million tons of heavy metals, solvents and toxic sludge are dumped into the world’s waters.

— Allowing invasive species to crowd out native plants and animals. The number of invasive alien species per country has risen 70% since 1970, with one species of bacteria threatening nearly 400 amphibian species.
https://www.apnews.com/aaf1091c5aae40b0a110daaf04950672

Many causes of our environmental problems in pictures...
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/may/07/the-future-of-life-o...

loss of biodiversity.jpg

Many people helped me to focus on science and the planet...

Lewis Thomas...
Notes of a Biology Watcher aired on November 22, 1981. Featuring eminent biologist and scientific author, Dr. Lewis Thomas, the film presents an array of astonishing facts about the process of life. Thomas is a master of startling truths, with such snippets of wisdom as: all living creatures, including humans, harbor multitudes of prehistoric organisms in every cell of their bodies.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mOgODA4Oyv8 (30 min)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hk4JKJ-D1_Q (30 min)

... he builds on the analogy between the workings of the cell and the workings of the earth and its lives, including man's. He finds the earth "the toughest membrane imaginable in the universe, opaque to probability, impermeable to death" and man as '"the delicate part, transient and vulnerable as cilia," "embedded in nature" and not the master of it that he pictures himself to be. We are not separate entities so much as interdependent, sharing our very cells with separate creatures such the mitochondria. He concludes that the earth cannot be called an organism because of its invisible complexities, yet it can be compared to a single cell

"The World's Biggest Membrane," returns to the premises of the first essay, as he contemplates photographs of the earth from space: "Aloft, floating free beneath the moist, gleaming membrane of bright blue sky, is the rising earth, the only exuberant thing in this part of the cosmos." He goes beyond the famous photographs by comparing the atmosphere to the cell membrane: "To stay alive, you have to be able to hold out against equilibrium, maintain imbalance, bank against entropy, and you can only transact this business with membranes in our kind of world." .He develops this analogy as he describes the evolution of the sky, as "far and away the grandest product of collaboration in all of nature."

https://archive.vcu.edu/english/engweb/LewisThomas.htm

Lewis Thomas quotes best viewed on mute because of the bad sound track.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TEf1B4s4Le8 (2 min)

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Lovelock ups the ante. He does think the planet acts as a single organism.
James Lovelock was the first scientist in my life that explained how the Earth, both the living and physical planet, operated as an interdependent system.
Meet the man...(4 min)

James Lovelock is best known as the father of Gaia theory; the idea that all parts of our planet form a complex interacting system, like a single organism. His new book depicts Gaia in trouble. In this interview Lovelock sounds a final warning for planet earth and enthuses about his upcoming space trip.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=29Vip-PbuZQ (13 min)

Here he explains his Gaia Theory and more. I don't always agree with Jim, but he enlightened me about the nature of this planet...(29 min)

Here he is this spring in his 100th year (1 min)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mCG04PRYqAw

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Many other people I never met also influenced my love of Earth...

Among those is Aldo Leopold...
This award-winning film chronicles the life of Aldo Leopold, father of modern ecology. In addition, it portrays, month by month, the natural events described in his seminal book, A Sand County Almanac. (58 min)

If you can't spare an hour for Aldo's documentary above try this shorter piece. Here's a nice series of his quotes read by Peter Coyote (3 min)

His land ethic had tremendous effect on me that has lasted my lifetime... (3 min)

earth from space.jpg

Want to live the good life?
I followed a path led by many...like Scott and Helen Nearing (3.5 min)

Scott Nearing
Economist, Author, Organic Farmer : 1883 - 1983

"Could this be the country I had loved, honored, worked for, believed in? The general welfare was forgotten. The land had become a happy hunting ground for adventurers, profiteers, and pirates who called history bunk and used their privileged positions to promote their careers and fill their pockets at the public expense. Peace, progress, and prosperity had become scraps of raw meat, thrown to a pack of venal, military minded ravenous wolves."

In the 1930s, Nearing and his second wife, Helen, bought property in Vermont to begin a new life of living off the land. In 1954, Living the Good Life was published. The Nearings traveled, wrote, and continued to spread their anti-war, pro-peace message, all the while devoted to their "old-fashioned" homesteading way of living. Eventually they moved their life to Maine. In the mid-1960s, during the tumultuous years of the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights Movement, Scott Nearing's anti-war message and his and Helen's sustainable lifestyle inspired a younger generation´s "back-to-the-land".

https://www.americanswhotellthetruth.org/portraits/scott-nearing

Scott Nearing continued his writing and his work on the land into his nineties. He died after turning one hundred in 1983. He left behind an extensive body of work and the idea that a life lived simply can lead to satisfaction.

Helen and Scott Nearing have been living today's counterculture for better than a generation. Almost four decades ago (in 1932), the couple "dropped out" to a rockscrabble mountain farm in Vermont's Green Mountains where they spent the next 20 years rebuilding the soil, constructing solid homestead buildings from native stone, growing their own food, heating with wood they cut by hand, and co-authoring numerous books and magazine articles. Tick off any of the present's most "in" passions — women's lib, equal rights, organic gardening, vegetarianism, radicalism, homesteading, subsistence farming, ecology — and you'll find that the Nearings have been doing instead of talking for 40 years.

https://www.motherearthnews.com/homesteading-and-livestock/living-the-go...

"So what's your gain, what's your advantage? (with living a life within the system) Well, for two or three weeks you get to go to Maine or Vermont on vacation. Then it's back to the slave pen, back to the whip, back to the tyranny of doing that which in itself is really not worth my doing" (3.5 min)

It's Mothers day, so where are the women?

goddess_2.jpg

There were important women who shaped the environmental movement too. Rachel Carson comes to mind. Perhaps the finest nature writer of the Twentieth Century, Rachel Carson (1907-1964) is remembered more today as the woman who challenged the notion that humans could obtain mastery over nature by chemicals, bombs and space travel than for her studies of ocean life. Her sensational book Silent Spring (1962) warned of the dangers to all natural systems from the misuse of chemical pesticides such as DDT, and questioned the scope and direction of modern science, initiated the contemporary environmental movement. http://www.rachelcarson.org/

She was not a silent activist. We need someone like her today to help eliminate the use of glyphosate like she did DDT. (9 min)

In this interview with one of her biographers you get a notion of her life and work.
Rachel Louise Carson (May 27, 1907 – April 14, 1964) was an American marine biologist and conservationist whose book Silent Spring and other writings are credited with advancing the global environmental movement. (38 min)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cdj8pEk8jo8

There was also a nice documentary about her on American Experience. Here's the first 9 minutes of the film.

...and a final 11 minute clip.
Historical clips on DDT, Rachel Carson and science explaining why humans pollute.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ipbc-6IvMQI

earth as goddess_1.jpg

Another important female environmentalist that affected me was Annie Dillard and her book "Pilgrim at Tinkers Creek" (3 min)

She is still alive...
http://www.anniedillard.com/
...and received a national humanities medal in 2017
https://www.neh.gov/about/awards/national-humanities-medals/annie-dillard

Here's three short essays of hers published in the NYT magazine.
https://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/06/magazine/annie-dillards-impossible-pa...

She focuses on being in the moment. Here are some quotes from her chapter "The Present".
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KTHsBmcL9Ks (4 min)
A short power point about Annie's approach to seeing things with quotes.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2VfVJfaBiM0 (2 min)
...and a final 2 minutes of her trip to the Amazon
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mLkwwsHZTNg

caring for earth_3.png

Our Mothers start us on our path in life. Others are guides along the way. I hope you enjoyed meeting or remembering some the guides and mentors along my path studying and appreciating our planet. May the spirit of Gaia fill us all with the wonder of our amazing planet.

So, I'll not be around to chime in this morning, but I'll check in with you late this afternoon and evening. Sunday mornings we sometimes have a nice singing session, but if it is good weather we might swim, paddle, and play in the river. However at the time of writing it looks to be rainy this weekend.

The Earth from the ISS 20 min of beautiful time lapse of this blue marble hurling round the sun. I find it comforting to watch the mother...

Happy Mothers Day!

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Comments

Your good wishes are much appreciated as well as all the excellent information!

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Betty Clermont

Lookout's picture

@Betty Clermont

Glad you came by.

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

Love this OT. Earth is a such a beautiful planet. It is heartbreaking watching humans dump all over it literally and figuratively. Annie Dillard is one of my favorites too.

Happy Mothers Day to all.

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"Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

Lookout's picture

@dkmich

Always glad to "see" you!

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

mimi's picture

I love the image of the "earth as goddess_1" image. It could be me ... Smile

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TTTT (too tired to talk)

Lookout's picture

@mimi

Wishing you (and your son) a wonderful day!

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

wendy davis's picture

as well, lookout. the women's sculpture art with vines is...formidable!

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Lookout's picture

@wendy davis

...and is really lovely. Hope you have a lovely rewarding day!

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

The Aspie Corner's picture

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Modern education is little more than toeing the line for the capitalist pigs.

Guerrilla Liberalism won't liberate the US or the world from the iron fist of capital.

Lookout's picture

@The Aspie Corner

Perhaps the most blatant coup in my memory. Thanks for the clip. Hope you're having a nice break from school!

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

magiamma's picture

And everyone

Wonderful work. Thank you. I will savor for some time to come.

Barbara Riverwoman is in her early 80s now. A local wonder. Her is her blog about wildlife along the San Lorenzo River.

Enjoy...
https://sanlorenzoriverblog.com/author/barbarariverwoman/

Have a good one

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Stop Climate Change Silence - Start the Conversation

Hot Air Website, Twitter, Facebook

Lookout's picture

@magiamma

When I watched the Lovelock clips. As I reviewed these folks that have shaped my world view I realized what a profound effect people I've never met have had on my perspective.

I was glad to hear my friends this weekend express their awareness of our dire ecosystem's situation. However, less than half of them knew of Greta and only one couple was familiar with XR. Evidently US MSM news purposely didn't report on their actions. No one was aware London had been shut down and the UK Parliament declared a Climate emergency as a result.

I like XR's 1st demand...Tell the Truth!

All the best today!

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

Azazello's picture

Chris Hedges interviews Matt Taibbi in this must-watch two-parter: Part 1, (26 min.) & Part 2 (28 min.)
Max Blumenthal & Ben Norton with Mike Gravel:
The Anti-War Gravelanche, (1 hr. 5 min).
I thought the first half of this one was good:

Have a good time at Nippersink, I'm heading up north to catch tonight's Jimmy Dore live show in Tempe.

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Lookout's picture

@Azazello

Ron and Graham came to Huntsville with their show. We considered driving the 1.5 hours each way, but talked ourselves out of it pretty quickly. Would love to see and visit with Jimmy, Steph, and the gang.

Thanks for the clips too. Caught part 1 of the Hedges Taibbi interview and it was great. I look forward to part 2. Max has really been on target lately and I'll listen to that as well.

Give us a report in the eb on your visit with Jimmy.

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

Lookout's picture

@Azazello

...was great! Thanks.

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

Anja Geitz's picture

Thanks Lookout for such a wonderfully researched piece.

If only humans would model their lives after the natural cycling of our planet.

You couldn't have selected a better "Mother" today than Gaia. It reminded me of this Fantasia Clip, and as I watch it again, I'd like to amend another comment I made in CStMs OT about magic, where I said I preferred to imagine the possibilities of magic on a small scale. I was so wrong. This right here is where I would like to see "magic" prevail.

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Play me another broken record Joe. Maybe then I'll learn why we pay twice as much for healthcare as everybody else in the world. ~ Not Henry Kissinger

Lookout's picture

@Anja Geitz

This was a fun piece for me. I was revisiting all these people who shaped my understanding of Gaia. There are others but these folks were perhaps the greatest influence.

The mother gives us life...quite an important gift to appreciate. As Brooke Shields once said, "If you're killed, you've lost a very important part of your life."

Have a great day!

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

Anja Geitz's picture

@Lookout

Good one

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Play me another broken record Joe. Maybe then I'll learn why we pay twice as much for healthcare as everybody else in the world. ~ Not Henry Kissinger

QMS's picture

@Anja Geitz
unimaginably at times

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Listen to your higher mind.

Anja Geitz's picture

@QMS

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Play me another broken record Joe. Maybe then I'll learn why we pay twice as much for healthcare as everybody else in the world. ~ Not Henry Kissinger

Lookout's picture

@QMS

...or the nature of things? Learning to see the "magic" around us everyday might be the magic.

I liked Anja's magic clip...it is a fantastical world when we open our eyes.

Always good to have you drop in!

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

mhagle's picture

I will try to watch more links later. Thank you!

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Marilyn

"Make dirt, not war." eyo

Lookout's picture

@mhagle

Hope your garden grows well and your harvest are bountiful!

We're still getting and enjoying lots of lettuce. Peas are around the corner. Strawberries continue to hide under leaves. Blueberries in a few weeks. Tomatoes blooming (but we say there isn't a GOOD tomato till July).

Anyway hope all is well in your corner. Hope you've had a wonderful mother's day.

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

mhagle's picture

I am working on a list of gardening questions in my head that I will pose to you sometime. I have spinach, radishes, lots of snow peas, beets, and radishes. So many peas that I need to freeze some.

Question. Do you "stress" your tomatoes?

Peace.

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Marilyn

"Make dirt, not war." eyo

Lookout's picture

@mhagle

I'm too peaceful to torture a plant. Some summers they are drought stressed, but even then I try to keep enough water on them.

Happy gardening!

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

QMS's picture

@Lookout
It was torture till we killed the boss dear.
Wink

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Listen to your higher mind.