ECO-Tours only purchases trees and dirt to plant them in...

Saturday, November 16, 2013


There has been an interesting proliferation of the use of this word, especially in HR ("Human Resources") circles. The very nature of their use characteristic threatens to remove the soul from the word, but in truth, diversity is of primary importance to the understanding of our environment and how we might make peace with it rather than waging war against it. It is slowly becoming part of our collective consciousness, for example, that 85% of all bacteria are either completely innocuous to humans, or in fact beneficial. The billions of organisms who exist on the microscopic level in our air, on our food and on our very skin are part of an intact system we refer to as the environment. Even though most of us will never see them, they are as real and as integrated into our world as we are. The war that many fight routinely against them has had unintended consequences. In their attempt to eliminate all of these microbes, most of the beneficial and innocuous organisms in the kill zone have been attacked and eliminated as well.

This is tantamount to killing off the population of an entire country in a desperate attempt to eliminate a single family on each block.

Treating all "dirt" or any potential source of "contamination" as if it had the power to sicken us or kill us is leading to more and more resistant strains of bacteria. Keep in mind, the evolution that takes place in our species once per generation (about twenty years) is going on in bacteria in time spans so short as to boggle our limited minds. Perhaps as little as a few days. Tens of thousands of generations come and go in a relative blink of a human eye. In fact, there is a specialized bacteria that can only exist at the boundary between aluminum and jet fuel. This specific organism did not exist on planet Earth before the advent of air travel. Now, it has found a home in virtually every tank of aviation fuel on the planet.

The concept of diversity recognizes that we are interdependent on a very broad base of ecological fabric. Rather than strands in a vast tapestry, perhaps we humans are but a single fiber within a strand. When we are faced with only one of anything, the food web, or food pyramid gets turned upside down. I heard of folks who ate only grayling for an entire summer. It was the only fish that lived in the river that flowed past their encampment. They had no other food to eat and within just a few moons, they became depraved, seeking any other food as aggressively as a wild predator peruses a mouse, when big game has been eradicated. I love to eat pomegranate, but if that is all I had to consume I would tire of it quickly. Similarly, we must look to diversity as a cure for our desolation of spirit.

The biomass of bacteria, even though we humans are massive organisms, is many billions of times as great as that of our species. These organisms re the base of the food pyramid. They grow into colonies, fly on the wind, get carried by water and take up residence wherever the conditions are favorable. They help to break down waste, live in our bodies and upon them, assist in helping us to wrest nutrition from our food and yes, a few of them can kill. The diversity that helps to keep soils moist, allows tree roots to get their nutrient needs filled and provides for the higher levels of organisms to find their way in the world all rely on this world that lies hidden from our eyes. That certainly cannot mean that they are any less important.

As a first step, we need to understand the importance of this rich and diverse form of life. As we need to attempt to cultivate an appreciation of all other organisms. Once we do that, we can begin to honor and respect other creatures as belonging to other important parts within the tapestry of life surrounding us. Instead of a buzz word of exploitative forces, diversity is a reality that we must make a new kind of peace with, one that honors and respects all beings, form the microscopic up through the food web to top level predators. Just because there are bacteria that can feed on oil certainly is no reason to flood our wetlands or backyards with oil, nor is it a reason to hold out hope that after the destructive process of fracking, or wresting the last few drops from oil sands that the land will heal itself. The destructive forces that we continually unleash upon our fellow creatures need to be seen as the war against diversity that they truly are. Healing only begins when the fundamental right to exist is honored and respected. The more we learn about others, the more we will ultimately come to understand ourselves.

when we embark on an ECO-Tour, we always start with a spiritual opening and at the close we respectfully close the door to this magical time, so that we can begin again along our own path, respecting the brief opening of a window into greater realms than we may ever be able to fathom. Our ECO-Tours always touch the planet in a way that will live on after our organism has gone back to the Earth. Honoring the diversity of life that we have the power to feed is an essential quality of our tours. Great power resides in making this an integral part of all of our lives.

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