Sunday, October 17, 2021

The Fugitive Reader

When I was a librarian we used to include “fugitive literature” in the collection -- uncatalogued sporadically printed pamphlets, newsletters and such – back in the days when such things still appeared in print. It's today that everything seems fugitive, having gone digital, out of real-world sight and beyond the touch of fingertips. Yet writings never do find refuge, once online, from those who know how to dig up every file ever made.

The fugitive reader still exists, a refugee in flight from digitalia, the type of person who likes their novels printed and bound and loves to come by chance across a newsletter lying in a cafe or stuffed into a newspaper kiosk. What a joy not to have to fiddle around with tapping and clicking and downloading when you just want to browse some oddball news while sipping a cup of coffee.

It seems that the edges of print are receding at the same time and rate as are the woods around our towns, which recede like the hairlines of those aging bureaucrats who churn out building permits to developers, signing off on any last remnant of urban nature protection.

Is there a parallel here, a cousinship between nature and print, and a dark wrong-side-of-the-bed one between concrete and cyberspace?

This is all about feelings of loss (as well as realities of inconvenience); it's about loss of the past, of heritage and habit, losses which trigger nostalgia (“home-feeling”).

One thing we know: those trees aren't coming down to make paper, and we could be getting all the paper we need through recycling it – just like we recycle great literature and fitful pamphlets generation after generation. No: those trees are coming down to clear space for paving.

This means the nesting birds too become refugees, and the cougars and bears who mooch into town for a meal and get themselves shot. Everyone, it seems, is fleeing something, as the world becomes a crowded cyber “space” -- without enough space. 

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Women's History of tree, plant, bark, clay and animal hair art

Do you know October is Women's History Month? A good time to think about female nature conservationists throughout history, as well as all those female artists and musicians who worked with natural materials, going back to ancient times. 

First human writing (to Goddess Inanna) was by the priestess Enheduanna, on clay
Next ancient writings -- papyrus
Pre-historic Great Mother carvings in stone and wood, carried about by Early Woman perhaps as a fertility-and-abundance charm
First dramatic arts -- processions for the Goddess, Middle East/Mediterranean
Ancient musical instruments -- reed flutes 
Gold, silver and copper jewelry-making
Bark painting, wool weaving, fabric tapestry, seashell hangings, women's craft of all sorts …  who ever needed plastic? Who needs it now? How can we get rid of it?

The Nine Ancient Muses of the Greek world (Muses of song, dance, verse, etc.) made and inspired art with these natural and mental materials. Before the 20th Century there was no Muse of Petrochemical Products. Now we need to banish the works of the Plastic Anti-Muse. We need an Anti-Conservation movement for that, a new purification practice, a ritual of obliteration -- but it's difficult with materials that take millions of years to break down, and even then only become microscopic. What Evil Art has humanity wrought?

See also:


Thursday, October 7, 2021

Chipping away at the CRD Greenbelt - Read this

The promise of sea to sea (Sooke to Sidney) Greenbelt across BC's Capital Regional District has not been kept, we're losing green space acre by acre. Details are here (at Creatively United For the Planet) on the betrayal:

(If you have a problem with this negligence and the urbanization of parkland, you can let the CRD know through their message form or phone numbers: )

Women's History Month is October, and Women's History is Tree Conservation History

From Creatively United For the Planet -- 
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October is Women’s History Month, and every month is Tree Conservation Month.

Ever since the ancient days of pagana (“women of the countryside”) and druid-women (“druid” is a Celtic word for “knower of the oak”), women have allied themselves with trees. More recently they have fought for them as urban pagans in the cities where most of humanity now lives, and where we need the blessings of trees more than ever.

Sisters Octavia Hill and Miranda Hill worked for tree preservation in 19th century London, and were instrumental in the preservation of Hampstead Heath and other parks in that growing industrializing metropolis.

In 1922, the Quaker Ada Salter became the mayor of the London borough of Bermondsey, and began a tree planting scheme for the beautification of that urban neighbourhood, turning it into a garden suburb with 7000 trees planted by 1930. Like her sister-activist Octavia Hill, she connected urban parks and leafy streets with public health. (Her statue stands in Bermondsey today.)

Octavia Hill coined the term “greenbelt” for linked park spaces around cities, and in Kenya in 1977 another Tree Woman, Wangari Maathai, founded the Kenyan Green Belt Movement through which agricultural women conserved forest land for sustainable use. Again women were at the forefront, connecting forest preservation with public health and beyond that with the wars that result from resource scarcity.

These women mirrored the campaign of the Chipko (“tree-clinging”) movement in India, where in the 1970s Himalaya village women blocked loggers from cutting down trees on which they relied. In 1980 Prime Minister Indira Gandhi banned the logging that had threatened the woods.

Tree-hugging women, then, have always been at the forefront of forest conservation, and continue the struggle right up to the present stand-off at Fairy Creek in British Columbia, where some of BC’s last old-growth forest is under immediate threat.

Tree-defending is a significant and sometimes overlooked chapter in Women’s History, and remains a major aspect of keeping nature and civilization healthy in Planet Earth’s present.


Monday, September 27, 2021

Trees Heal

Sent from a local conservation group: 

"In a radio interview, Michael Kovrig's sister said  that what he most wanted to do, on returning from 1000 days of detention in China, is to look at a tree."

No surprise there.
Welcome back, both Michaels! We hope you enjoy lots of forest-bathing. 

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

A Hazard of Death By Tree?

Jim K. of Freeland (U.S.), had some advice: "If people are worried about getting hit by a tree, just stay out from under them. Play in the highway instead - please." In other words, don't destroy the environment for others just because someone might sue someone if anyone got hurt by something sometime. 

Stats indicate that the probability of being killed by a falling tree is 1 in 20 million, while the chance of being hit by a car is 1 in 16,800. Unfortunately, thanks to the stress put on trees in BC during the drought and “heat dome” of 2021, schoolyards, gardens and boulevards are now seen as zones of particular tree-topple danger – just those places where we need big shady oxygen-producing trees the most. 

Thursday, September 16, 2021

A Magical Mountain in Danger

We should never endanger and waste the magic of nature, the bewitching inter-weaving of trees, ground plants, soil, micro-organisms, birds, light, mammals and bugs -- the thousands of species that make up a forest-kingdom. There's a 40 hectare mountainside forest for sale just where Goldstream Park, Finlayson Arm and Gowlland Tod Park cluster on the edge of the Highlands in the CRD -- an obvious wildlife corridor which only a municipal idiot-body would not move mountains to purchase.

The present owner is marketing it for timber. "Timber"! That's one word for a living forest, in the vocabulary of a certain sort of buyer and seller, but it's not what nature-lovers call it. Is it what our civic representatives would call it? A petition requesting the purchase of Magical Mountain by the CRD has gathered thousands of signatures. Now we await the CRD's "assessment", "review" and "committee" deliberations. Sigh …

Saanich News included an article about this on Sept. 15 2021, and in the same issue had a snippet about bears -- a reminder not to leave garbage out for foraging bears to find, who are having trouble bulking up for winter after the drought-ridden summer. If bears have to look for nutrition in suburbia it's because suburbia has eaten up their own proper habitat. 

What are the bears supposed to do, if we don't preserve places like Magical Mountain and wildlife corridors that link up nearby provincial parks? 

Anyone who wants the CRD to keep some wilderness alive within its jurisdiction, can find a communication contact box at