First_SnowWe went downtown last night to walk and enjoy the lights. As we drove home the snow began. This morning, for the first time this season, there are a couple of inches of snow on the ground. It appears to be snowing still in the mountains where snow fell most of yesterday. Christmas Eve the temperature is forecast to be about  60F, the old record is 51F.

The steady warmth of this autumn and winter stand in sharp contrast to the cold of the last two winters. Yet, a quick look at a long-term temperature graph clearly points to precipitous warming. Here in Vermont we are on the southern edge of the great Maple forest biome. The rapid warming of our region, especially during our winters, forecasts the collapse of this ecosystem, probably within thirty years. The changes are simply too fast for the ecosystem to adapt.

I’ve been reading Lauret Savoy’s new book, Trace. Lauret Savoy is a prominent earth scientist of African-American, Native, and European descent, who has encountered enormous prejudice in her life, even as she has found a world filled with mystery and wonder. Early in the book she speaks to being awakened to the possibility of a land ethic, and perhaps, a larger ethic for living on our small, fragile planet, while reading Aldo Leopold’s A Sand County Almanac. She quotes him: Continue reading

The Fire This time

PLights in Winter's DarknessThis week I found myself deeply disturbed by a story in Indian Country Today (Vol 2, Issue 47), entitled, “The Fire Next Time”, and written by Mary Annette Pember. The piece discussed the arson of several buildings and sites dedicated to traditional healing and spirituality on the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe reservation. Apparently, the evidence suggests these acts may have been carried out by a person or persons connected to a Christian network, the New Apostolic Reformation movement. The NAR, which appears to be gaining in influence amongst some evangelical churches, reportedly sees First Nations spiritual practices as idolatry or witchcraft that must be ended. This is indeed troubling. Continue reading

Shamans, Racism, and Greed

It is hot. Very hot! This is fitting, given today is Midsummer Day.

A couple of days ago, we got out of the city and into the natural world for the first time this summer. We traveled north, to the Champlain Islands, ate lunch at the local takeout shop, and hiked and swam. A lovely day! Not too hot, although the mosquitoes were, in the early evening, daunting. Continue reading