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

Monday, April 22, 2013

Earthday Blessings

A hearty thank-you to all of our readers, donors, ecotourists, guests and friends! Without the thousands of volunteer hours, the helping hands and the donations that we have received, none of the valuable work that has been done would or could have been done. This Earthday marks the twenty-ninth year since I began to pursue the idea of planting trees as a way of life. Throughout childhood, adults had modeled certain behaviors that set the stage for me to become a worker bee, part of a larger community and selfless givers of time and talent, but they could not know what their efforts would lead to when combined with my own unique passions and dreams.

ECO-Tours has allowed me to formalize my tree planting and share it with hundreds of other participants, develop methods and techniques that have exponentially increased the effectiveness of our planting efforts and created oases in places where there had been no relief or protection from harsh wind, blowing snow and unrelenting summer sun. Some of the first places we planted now have trees that dwarf the homes near where they were planted. It is always surprising to visit areas that we have planted and see the remarkable change that has occurred there. Far too often I hear stories of people who say that their favorite stream as a child has become a muddy ditch, harboring alternately foetid muck and blowing over its banks when Spring floods or a heavy summer rain shower pass by.

Turning the tables on ecological insensitivity and destruction requires tenacity, commitment and an understanding that above each and every one of our homes, offices, schools and shopping centers lies the headwaters of local streams. The "flashiness" of local streams that result from creating more and more impermeable surface is at the heart of ecological imbalance. Water, more than any other factor, needs to be considered when we seek to heal the planet. The more accepting and understanding of water we become, the better able to manage it we will become. Like a dam-builder seeing water as potential energy, or the flood victim seeing it as a scourge, we often have little choice about how we relate to water once we have accepted a certain relationship with it.

The blessing we are all given is to be able to make up our own minds about the world around us. Endless hours of blather are put out into the very public, political discussion of issues.  Much of what passes as "news" is designed to confuse issues, prop up straw dogs or lead us down a primrose lined path to our own destruction. Understanding that there is a problem is the first step toward recovery.

At ECO-Tours, we often speak about the fact that history has gotten things wrong. The tail wagging the dog is the unrelenting series of names and dates of Kings and Queens, battles and wars. This is like saying that saltwater, made with a swimming pool and a single grain of salt is salt. The vast human experience that is our history is more about individual experience in the face of their time. The millions killed as "casualties" in war all had people who cared about them. Children, mothers, sisters, brothers, fathers, wives and lovers whose lives, though usually undocumented, bore very real consequences of this battle or that. Who the generals were is of little consequence, nor is the date of the carnage. Similarly, thinking of Earthday as a day in isolation, or set-aside for the healing of the world around us is like taking a general or battle out of context. We are blessed by an unbroken chain of significant events that has led us to where we are and if we want to change our direction it will require planting a lot more trees, walking more than we drive, sharing what we have with one another and aknowledging that cleaning up litter once a year will not stem the flow of toxic compounds that are daily injected into our atmosphere and watersheds across the planet.

We are all blessed with heart, enough to feel the anguish of the planet if we allow ourselves to. We are all blessed with awareness and a mind to interpret what we see, hear or feel. We are all blessed with a body which we can utilize to create change in the world around us. We are all blessed with the opportunity to make very real differences in the lives of others. How we go about making our way in the world is a far more important part of history than might ever be acknowledged, but should that mean that we do not try, or stop living according to principles of honor and respect for the planet? ECO-Tours has always stood for everyone's right to clean air, clean water and healthy soil. We have always known that these things lead to healthy bodies, healthy relationships and a deep sense of inner peace. May you find the time to experience the bliss of knowing that you are part of a solution!

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