Ten years ago, I began these Living on the Earth broadcasts dedicated to the proposition that we need to evolve a new relationship with our planet. An increased understanding of the natural world's flows and cycles will guide us to direct, energy-efficient and environmentally-sound methods in order to obtain our basic needs. Such approaches include wider solar energy use and a greater reliance on the bounty of green plants. Individual actions, education and community alliances are essential as we work together toward a future which we can look forward to and live with, all over the Earth.
For the past decade, mounting evidence has demonstrated that our current relationship with the environment is unsustainable and causes phenomenal problems. Our voracious appetite for energy (especially fossil fuels) seems destined to cause economic havoc in addition to climate change, air pollution, uncontrolled development and urban sprawl. Unusual, destructive weather in many parts of the world confirms the worries of climate experts.
Increasing incidents of serious insect and water-borne diseases further indicate just how out of balance we've pushed ecosystems. Tragically, the dominant culture rushes at a furious pace in the wrong direction - toward greater energy and toxic chemical use, more junk food consumption and further estrangement from the natural world.
Direct contact with nature is critical to healing this disconnection. Traditional and effective places for this contact are small, diverse farms and vegetable gardens. They produce ecological understanding, as they convert solar energy into the food which is essential for our survival. Local eating conserves not only resources, but knowledge, too. Working with nature to feed ourselves leads to a greater understanding of and respect for ecosystems, as well as of the limits of growth and consumption.
Yet, farmers are being driven to extinction around the world. The US currently has more prisoners than it has farmers. vegetable gardens are rapidly disappearing under lawns, and there are an emergence of golf courses and mega shopping centers.
This equinox, I realize that I should devote more time and energy to our farm and to our wonderful, growing, extended family. By next April, we'll have three grandchildren, who along with their parents need good food on a daily basis. It's clear that the best way to obtain local organic food at a reasonable price is to grow as much of it ourselves as possible.
It's been a great honor to have you as an audience and without the wonderful feedback I received from so many of you, I couldn't have continued for ten years.
I will continue gardening with students, lecturing, working with organic farmers and the local Land Trust. My wife and partner, Suzanne, and I hope to produce another collection of Living on the Earth essays for publication next year.
Thanks for listening and for all you've done to make the world a better place.
This is Bill Duesing, Living on the Earth
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