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The Department of Earthly Gifts

Written By: - Date published: 1:11 pm, January 16th, 2022 - 151 comments
Categories: Deep stuff, indigenous knowledge, nature, science, sustainability - Tags: ,

To the Western mind, socialised into the reductionist world view, the debate about science and indigenous knowledge is binary: science vs indigenous knowledge. Science is Science, and anything else is not.

To the Indigenous and decolonised minds, there is both/and. It’s not that indigenous knowledge is better than science, or that it should replace it, it’s that it we can have both.

And,

The Western mind interprets both/and as a binary, but both/and means the two or more things, as well as an additional something that is more than the sum of the parts.

Where western minds are busy arguing if indigenous knowledge is science, botanist and first nations woman Robin Wall Kimmerer exemplifies how to do both at the same time.

Kimmerer is a member of the Potawatomi First Nation, an indigenous people of the Western Great Lakes are in the US. She’s a botanist and plant ecologist, and author of the highly acclaimed Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants –  Distinguished Teaching Professor.

Kimmerer is Distinguished Teaching Professor and Director of the Center for Native Peoples and the Environment, at the State University of New York, where she teaches environmental and forest biology.

In this 2020 interview on Canadian CBC she talks about the how the indigenous mind approaches understanding the world.

“As a scientist, I have been trained to refer to our relatives, the plants and the animals … the water and the Earth herself as ‘it,'” she explained, contrasting what she learned studying the Potawatomi language.

“What I came to understand was that in Potawatomi languages, we characterise the world into those who are alive and the things which are not. So we speak a grammar of animacy,” said Kimmerer. “And that’s because in the beautiful verb-based language, a language based on being and changing and agency … the whole world is alive.”

This fundamental difference determines whether our primary relationship with the non-human world is one of taking, or one of reciprocity.

The CBC interviewer shares that water had just been discovered on the moon, and that one of the first statements made by NASA was,

We don’t know yet if we can use it as a resource.

Kimmerer’s response,

It is the colonisation mentality extended to Grandmother Moon. What a suprising, wonderful gift, not a resource but a gift, a wonder, a commonality.  And the first impulse is to take it?

Right there is the difference. The Western mind struggles to understand how water on a dead planet can be a surprising, wonderful gift, not of resource for us to use, but a source of wonder, of commonality. Or perhaps we can see that but it’s just poetry right? Not of use in the practical world.

The thing to understand there is that once one can see the world in this way, once we practice it, then other things can be seen that are invisible to the Western world view. Indigenous/decolonised minds are multilingual, the Western mind is monolingual and often doesn’t even know there is such a thing as other languages. For people thinking this is about another round of hating on Westerners, it’s not. There’s no reason Westerners cannot be multilingual too. It’s learned skill.

From the interview, conventional economics asks,

What more can we take?

But there is a better question,

What does the earth ask of us?

Immediately this question changes us. No longer constrained as consumers and takers, it gives us agency, that we have gifts to give back to the earth. We can be in reciprocity.

Kimmerer presents us with a definition of sustainability:

… the ethic of if we sustain the ones that are sustaining us, then the earth will last forever. But the ethic of constantly taking will certainly not lead us to the kind of longevity and persistence on this gorgeous planet.

It’s not that we could never interact with the water on the moon, it’s that we don’t use extraction and consumption as a starting point. And using a different starting point yields different results, for the water and in ourselves.

If Western science excels at pulling things apart and seeing the isolated detail, Indigenous ways of knowing are adept at not so much putting the pieces together as seeing them as a whole in the first place. It’s about the relationship between all the things. And as Kimmerer points to above, the ‘things’ are not things, and when humans change our relationship to the non-human world, different relationships and knowledge arise. There is no ‘it’.

She talks about her unease at the term “natural resources” and suggests replacing it with “Earthly Gifts”, not one-way gifts, but a relationship of mutuality. Too hippy for many western minds, but the point is clear – we don’t have to see the world in terms of what we can take from it and make use of, there are whole cultures that relate with the worlds as relatives.

Kimmerer tells of giving a talk to the people in a Department of Naural Resources, who wanted to change their names. She suggested the Department of Earthly Gifts, which lit up the room. People want to work for the Department of Earthly Gifts, they want to create a sustainable world, but it is the Western mindset that is stopping us.

Suddenly it makes sense of those cultures where reciprocity is core and where what you can give, rather than what you can acquire, determines your mana. These are the values that underlie sustainability.

* * *

If the Western mind asks ‘is indigenous knowlege science?’ and poses this as a binary, I then have to ask if science the Western mind has a problem sharing. What harm would come to science to acknowledge that there is such a thing as Western science, that there are other kinds of science, and that there are other ways of knowing in addition to science that are also important for understanding the world and creating meaning for human experience?

This plurality doesn’t mean giving up the tool of the reductionist view. The option isn’t a binary one of science vs science ruined, but of human knowledge expanded and deepened. We can do both/and.

151 comments on “The Department of Earthly Gifts ”

  1. simbit 1

    The debate provoked by the Listener 7 is primarily political, not methodological. This is not the first challenge to an Indigenous knowledge system and it won't be the last.

    Matauranga Maori can be interpreted as a continuum of knowledge systems, from so-called traditional through to a fusion with contemporary Western knowledge. Essentially it is a Māori led or Indigenous-centric approach to thinking about a problem or an issue, as the quotes from Kimmerer show. I would not argue any Indigenous knowledge has all the answers to the world's current fragile state; still gonna be a huge need for bench scientists and linear-minded engineers inventing and building stuff for sure.

    A more challenging question would be "what is science?" Ecology doesn't seem to satisfy many standard definitions… it was our own Lord Rutherford who is rumoured to have said that all science is either physics or stamp collecting. Yet who doesn't think ecology is a key discipline for humanity's survival?

    Having said that, this dispute – which is as ugly as all other political disputes now seem to be – does offer some timely intellectual ginger to a vital debate on the future of research in NZ as the country has an opportunity to reframe research through the current Green Paper.

    • weka 1.1

      how does ecology fail standard definitions of science?

      Yes, political not methodological. There's another whole post in why that is and what it means for society. The debate at the moment seems mired in binaries, including racist/not racist, rather than how is this racist and how is it not racist, and what kinds of racism, and what are the ways out of that cul de sac.

      • Robert Guyton 1.1.1

        Monica Gagliano is a scientist who expanded her "studies" into the realms of shaman-guided dialogue with plants.

        Do we dismiss one of those paths to understanding?

        • weka 1.1.1.1

          the mainstream largely does. Perhaps this is what sits underneath the rejection of Te Āo Māori. Fear of that.

          • Robert Guyton 1.1.1.1.1

            Yes. Indeed. Mostly. But there are signs of blurring and cross-pollination. Quantum physics was the break-through, from the hard-sciences side. The other side waits patiently.

      • simbit 1.1.2

        The lack of replication – no two ecological experiments can be the same (and most have been very small in scale) – but I'd argue that for most sciences, the temporal component always passing into the future. (On that, I would deny Indigenous assertions of circular time).

        I'm aware that many of the Maori women who have defended Matauranga Maori have been targeted in their workplaces, in some instances with threats physical violence. Informal security was arranged in one instance: the racism always seems to be accompanied by misogyny. The same pattern can be observed in North America in academic debates that involve Indigenous participants. While I support the efforts of Drs Wiles and Hendy, Maori academics have been undermined to the point of resignation within NZ universities for many years.

        Also, catching up with subsequent posts, Matauranga Maori barely features, an indication of the ethnicity and interests of those who follow this blog? What do we make of Prof Richard Dawkins comments? What is science? Why is the ethnicity of one of the Listener 7 (not Dr. Rata) used (by D Farrar) to elevate the comments against Matauranga Maori? Why is it always "Western science?" The label itself is reductive. Are Chinese physicists, Japanese chemists, Indian biologists somehow leaving their beliefs at the lab door Monday to Friday, 9-5? (I'm sure they work longer hours than that of course).

        I still argue this debate is key to the future of NZ research, it's just so effing piddling. There are literally thousands of publications on the methodological intricacies, is no one remotely interested in reading them? You could Google them from a toilet seat…

        • Robert Guyton 1.1.2.1

          View from the throne.

          Love that, simbit.

        • Dennis Frank 1.1.2.2

          You're right that replication can't be done with ecosystems But I just looked at Google's def of science: "the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behaviour of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment." No replication.

          Tight defs of science tend to be valid only for parts of science. A valid def is one that works for the whole of science. Systematic observation & experiment are a good start but I'd be inclined to include consistent patterns (some of which get framed as laws of nature)…

          • simbit 1.1.2.2.1

            There is no singular definition of science which was my point about the bizarre (but I feel somehow contrived) Listener 7 attack on Maori (let's be honest, that's what it was) in defence of what is actually a social activity, i.e., research undertaken with certain rules and understandings (hence my comment on the lack of social science canon in the debate on methodology). I mention replication because that was a key, dare I say fundamental, component of science when I was learning it as an undergrad. At heart, science is what scientists do, and that has changed and continues to change and now includes non-European/non-settler knowledge systems such as Matauranga Maori.

            Yes it isn't only what Europeans do but "Western" is almost by default associated with a set of values and practices aligned against other values and practices; we can't ignore that in a discussion about a knowledge system that is literally promoted by the Listener 7 martyrs as superior.

            Something else I think worth noting is that universities and CRIs are no longer seen as employers of choice by Maori with PhDs. More money, less hassle working privately or for iwi/hapu authorities. Or, ironically, for government, but then that is perhaps the realization of the promise of the Treaty of Waitangi, building on the employment of non-Maori expertise in Maori organizations.

            Interesting days.

        • weka 1.1.2.3

          Also, catching up with subsequent posts, Matauranga Maori barely features, an indication of the ethnicity and interests of those who follow this blog? What do we make of Prof Richard Dawkins comments? What is science? Why is the ethnicity of one of the Listener 7 (not Dr. Rata) used (by D Farrar) to elevate the comments against Matauranga Maori?

          The Standard, like the rest of NZ, is dominated by Pākehā, male culture. I can write here as feminist, but there are distinct cultural limits. Some years ago I did quite a bit of work to make the place better for women and others outside of the dominant culture to write here. That was monkey wrenched. A story for another time. All the questions you ask are good. I can put up Guest Posts and cross post from offsite if there is permission from the author (and sometimes the website owners), if you see anything you think is useful and relevant.

          Why is it always "Western science?" The label itself is reductive. Are Chinese physicists, Japanese chemists, Indian biologists somehow leaving their beliefs at the lab door Monday to Friday, 9-5? (I'm sure they work longer hours than that of course).

          'Western science' refers to the provenance and traditions of Western* science, and the world view that arose from and evolved from that. It doesn't refer to the ethnicity or nationality of the scientists. If we look at China we can see that Traditional Chinese Medicine is integrated alongside Western medicine, in stark contrast to the say the Commonwealth countries. How any country or culture makes use of Western science is determined by the world view of that society.

          *if there's a better term for that specific lineage of inquiry and knowledge building that came from the Islamic and Greek systems down through Europe I'd be interested to hear it.

  2. RedLogix 2

    Well yes. Using my own language I've been saying much the same as this excellent OP for years. Science uninformed by spirit becomes a dead end materialism, while spiritual awareness absent a clear understanding of science degenerates into mere superstition. But because there is only one singular reality, both must ultimately agree with each other.

    Where there appears a contradiction – the fault lies in our inadequate insight either the science, the spiritual domain – or both. For the past 400 odd years science has made extraordinary progress in it's own domain, but as the COVID event should be teaching us – it's also running into the limits of it's own paradigm. But as many others have said, this progress has not been matched by an similar explosion of wisdom. Especially not collective wisdom.

    But is it not clear that any of the traditional routes to spiritual awareness (being awake in the true meaning of the word) are capable of jump starting this collective transformation. Absolutely there is a human heritage of indigenous, religious and philosophical knowledge that both point the way and provide the shoulders for us to stand on. Each one of us can find much of value in any of these paths.

    But the pivot now is the appearance of the sanctified society.

    • Ad 2.1

      Australia and New Zealand are by any measure two of the least spiritual or indeed religiously observant countries in the world

      Also two that have gone through the fastest and most complete waves of colonial quarry-enclave environmental ruin.

      • RedLogix 2.1.1

        While active faith membership has declined over the past few generations, this was not always the case. During the actual colonial era – essentially pre-WW2 – churches in both countries were highly active and visible parts of society.

        I've always held a strong regard for those believers with the discipline and courage to remain engaged with their institutional faiths, regardless of how testing that usually is. And I'm also irked by the propensity on the left to sneer at the religions, Christianity in particular, while uncritically adoring anything that has the label 'indigenous' attached. There is no merit to this selective rejection of our inherited wisdom, regardless of the source.

        My view is that every social and cultural spiritual belief set is an evolved response to a unique set of geographic and historic circumstances – and for this reason they all superficially present differently. And if for example you want to characterise to the AU/NZ settler culture of human development as 'quarry-enclave environmental ruin' keep in mind this 'ruin' also delivered every single good thing about your life as well. Yes it's been an unbalanced development, but re-balancing does not imply crashing the system to the ground, but getting it to stand tall again.

        And despite generations of declining formal spiritual observance, it's still remarkable how many people will still say 'yes' if asked whether they believe in the existence of a divinity of any kind. Or as others have put it, there is a religion shaped hole at the centre of our psyche, and we seek to fill it one way or another.

        • Ad 2.1.1.1

          The only globally recognized thinker or spiritual leader who has done serious writing on the direct relationship between climate change and global poverty is Pope Francis in his encyclical Laudate Se.

          Very influential document within established Christianity and quite absent from US evangelical Chrisian dialogue.

          Laudate Se came from a seriously patriarchal religion but with a currently useful leader.

      • Robert Guyton 2.1.2

        I think that's correct, Ad.

        And very significant.

    • Robert Guyton 2.2

      "But because there is only one singular reality, both must ultimately agree with each other."

      Is that so?

      Just the one?

      Puzzling…

  3. KJT 3

    A lot of issues that are considered as "Western Science" are neither Western, nor science.

    I can imagine a Polynesian Navigator, thinking "stop with the mumbo jumbo, and let me get a good look at the direction that star is setting"!

    • Robert Guyton 3.1

      What "mumbo jumbo" (???!!!) do you think Polynesian (?) navigators might have been subject too?

      Everyone on board would have been very focused, I reckon!

      • KJT 3.1.1

        I strongly suspect people grounded on reality, like Polynesian navigators,, had the same problems with people who "simply make things up" that we still have.

        • Robert Guyton 3.1.1.1

          I wonder…would flights of fancy be tolerated, back when it really mattered to get things right (live or die, that sort of decision-making) ?

    • RedLogix 3.2

      Well it turns out the world still has surprises.

      The researchers then spent the next four days documenting the colony. “Some days, we would be travelling for up to 19 hours,” says Purser.

      He and his colleagues estimate that the colony has more than 60 million nests and covers at least 240 square kilometres. “It looked computer generated how structured these nests were,” says Purser. Each nest had one adult fish and about 1500 to 2000 eggs. “We don’t know how long they take before they hatch or even how many will survive,” he says.

      And I'm betting the vessel involved uses GPS navigation.

      • KJT 3.2.1

        "We know more about the moon's surface than we do about the oceans deeps".

        Still true I suspect.

        Some of the weird things we saw on trawl cans while destroying sea mount forests looking for roughie.

      • Robert Guyton 3.2.2

        I'm betting someone's plotting ways to harvest those fish "reserves".

        • KJT 3.2.2.1

          After my experience of trawling, I joined those wanting to ban bottom trawling.

          No different from ploughing under 100's of year old forests on land.

          That fishery was stuffed in only two decades.

  4. Dennis Frank 4

    there are other ways of knowing in addition to science

    This is the key point. In advancing their science/mM policy, Labour ought to use it as framing. That would lead everyone away from the binary as opposition default.

    Labour couldn't reasonably be expected to embrace Gaia theory – it's only been with us 40 years so acceptance now would be too fast for them. However matrix framing serves the same purpose.

    Matrix is defined by Google as "the cultural, social, or political environment in which something develops." So it's a nifty label for the world enclosing us, interactively.

    Or "something within or from which something else originates, develops, or takes form" https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/matrix

    Or "the environment or context in which something such as a society develops and grows" https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/matrix

    Or "something that constitutes the place or point from which something else originates, takes form, or develops" https://www.dictionary.com/browse/matrix

    Origin is Latin: māter (“mother”). https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/matrix

    The concept of Earth as our planetary matrix is traditionally expressed as Mother Earth in culture. So the essence, from a metaphysical perspective, is a knowing about origins in environmental matrices. Ecology provides the scientific basis.

    • Robert Guyton 4.1

      "The concept of Earth as our planetary matrix…"

      Whaaaaa????

      • Dennis Frank 4.1.1

        Just my wording for how world has been traditionally used: that which surrounds us, plus our home planet. The first has a primeval origin, the second derives from early scientific theorising.

        You can still get an impression of the power of this – just google picture of world. I got 10,060,000,000 results. Okay, a sceptic would deduce that google’s algorithm is designed to be real sloppy due to most users being morons but even so…

    • Stuart Munro 4.2

      Labour couldn't reasonably be expected to embrace Gaia theory

      I don't see why not – they've subscribed to the arrant mysticism of neoliberal economics for decades, and the gender theory that lies at the heart of recent changes to births deaths and marriages is a fact free flight of fancy on a par with Peter Pan.

      • Dennis Frank 4.2.1

        smiley I'll go to bat for them on the first point but will skip the woke bit.

        Their reasoning would have been thus:

        1. liberal economics worked well for the empire in the 19th century

        2. reviving it was mandated by Thatcher

        3. it got the support of Reagan

        4. it was also supported by the National Party here, which was the clincher

        Those four principles locked Labour into fail-safe mode. They were assured of operating on a foundation of bipartisan consensus while bamboozling mainstream morons into believing they were competing with National. A sure bet.

        Okay, I'll admit I played fast & loose with history in arranging this tidy framing – Muldoon playing the socialist against Quigley et al etc. So the play was to outflank National on the right at first. But it fell into place fast after that. No marketing of mysticism…

        • Stuart Munro 4.2.1.1

          My feeling is that economics was not their strong point, really. Cullen knew what he was doing, but the rest just trail in the wake of Treasury – and Treasury was stuffed to the point of dysfunction with far right fools by Brash.

          Equally, ecology is not their strong suit. Unfortunately the Greens aren't in most cases up to informing them anymore. So they lurch from one economically and environmentally unsound position to the next. This is what passes for forward looking planning from the government. Perhaps they anticipate a demand spike from global warming – but nothing to build resilience – the hypothetical Gaian angels weep.

          • Dennis Frank 4.2.1.1.1

            nothing to build resilience

            Definitely a strategic deficiency. They seem disinclined to forming a big-picture view of the future for the nation – and we know the Nats are also incapable of that.

            • Stuart Munro 4.2.1.1.1.1

              Well I'm in aquaculture these days. A promising sector, and long overdue. 2° though, will give everyone in Oncorhynchus tshawytscha nightmares if they're lucky, dieoffs if they're not. We are fortunately sited, but anyone further north is playing Russian roulette with seasonal temperatures. Maybe we could feed them Nash's icecream.

  5. Ad 5

    Resource exploitation isn't unique to 'the western mind'.

    Instrumental rationalty dominates all parts of the earth (currently excluding Antarctica) and is not the particular preserve of any Hemisphere.

    The debate you outline will come up here in 2022 in the remaining RMA replacement acts.

    Having just driven over the Lindis this afternoon where all local farmers got the court to agree to suck the Lindis stream dry, this indigenous knowledge debate will also sharpen in the 2022 local government elections.

    • weka 5.1

      Resource exploitation isn't unique to 'the western mind'.

      True, and the West isn't completely devoid of conservation concepts. I'm hoping the debate is sufficiently mature that we don't have to get bogged down in that and can look at how each world view works (or doesn't work).

      The Lindis situation is gobsmacking, unbelievable really. And a really good example of just how badly NZ is doing re extractive vs regenerative world views.

      • Ad 5.1.1

        Having dealt with the commercial arms of Ngai Tahu, ngati Whatua Orakei and Tainui, I've found no particular virtue in their indigenous approach to development, and have experienced more tribal prejudice, corruption and nepotism with them than any public client.

        But I have zero respect for local government management of water – to a degree that I would prefer to take a risk on Maori dominated water management and firm Maori putcome targets in the RMA replacement than continue as we are.

        • Robert Guyton 5.1.1.1

          Ha! Desperate times, indeed!

          Let's take the chance…

        • weka 5.1.1.2

          I guess that's the problem of colonisation. If you strip a people of their wealth and suppress their culture and force them to adopt the dominant culture's way of organising, can't really turn around and complain when those people use the dominant culture to their advantage. Ngāi Tahu are adept at this.

          The argument isn't that Māori (or any indigenous people) are perfect or good. It's that we have two world views creating different bodies of knowledge and one of those world views largely refuses to let the other one exist or share power.

          It's hard to see how Ngāi Tahu would do worse than the regional councils, but we (NZ) could do so much better if we stopped undercutting cultural practice.

          • pat 5.1.1.2.1

            Theres one big difference between Ngai Tahu and regional councils….only one is democratically elected.

            • weka 5.1.1.2.1.1

              Look how that's working out.

              Besides,

              Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu (TRoNT) is the governance entity of Ngāi Tahu, following the Treaty of Waitangi settlement between the iwi and the New Zealand Government under Ngāi Tahu Claims Settlement Act 1998.

              It also represents Ngāi Tahu Whānui, the collective of hapū including Waitaha, Ngāti Māmoe, and Ngāi Tahu, including, Ngāti Kurī, Ngāti Irakehu, Ngāti Huirapa, Ngāi Tūāhuriri, and Ngāi Te Ruahikihiki, under Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu Act 1996.[52][46]

              Papatipu rūnanga/rūnaka, as constituent areas of Ngāi Tahu, each have an elected board which then elect a representative to Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu.

              The 18 representatives of papatipu rūnanga oversee Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu as a charitable trust.

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ng%C4%81i_Tahu#Governance

              • pat

                I think NZ was so poorly run under the previous National Government and Labour have done a good job of handling the pandemic that we should dispense with elections and allow Labour to govern in perpetuity.

            • Robert Guyton 5.1.1.2.1.2

              Ngai Tahu don't elect their representatives?

            • KJT 5.1.1.2.1.3

              Sure about that?

              One thing I do know. An individual Iwi member has more power over the direction and decisions of Māori "Authorities" than the average citizen of o a town has, over the local old boys club in Council's.

              • pat

                In your opinion.

                If everyone has a vote to select the representatives then there may be a case…somehow i wouldnt expect Ngai Tahu to agree to allow the wider population to select and elect their representatives….would you?

        • Blazer 5.1.1.3

          Do you think that calling 'natural resources','earthly gifts' will make any significant difference,based on your experience ?

      • Simbit 5.1.2

        A key publication on Maori ecological practices is Athol Anderson, 2002 "A fragile plenty" http://hdl.handle.net/1885/94194 Hard won sustainability ethic…

  6. Robert Guyton 6

    "Kimmerer tells of giving a talk to the people in a Department of Naural Resources, who wanted to change their names. She suggested the Department of Earthly Gifts, which lit up the room."

    This.

    But then the battle for credibility begins…

    • Dennis Frank 6.1

      battle for credibility

      Dunno if that's much of a thing any more. The Green ethos has gone noticeably global since the millennium. I actually decided the battle was won back in the mid-'90s when it became obvious that CNN had gone Green. Turned out that was due to Jane Fonda arm-twisting the owner, Ted Turner, who she was married to at the time. Anyway there's this news from a couple of years ago:

      In January, the book landed on the New York Times bestseller list, seven years after its original release… Since the book first arrived as an unsolicited manuscript in 2010, it has undergone 18 printings and appears, or will soon, in nine languages across Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Pulitzer prize-winning author Richard Powers is a fan, declaring to the New York Times: “I think of her every time I go out into the world for a walk.”

      https://www.theguardian.com/books/2020/may/23/robin-wall-kimmerer-people-cant-understand-the-world-as-a-gift-unless-someone-shows-them-how

      To make the best-seller list seven years after publication seems more like a tsunami rather than mere wave breaking onshore. It's a classic pattern. Van Morrison's Moondance had a similar trajectory from cult success to mass market & one can find other examples to illustrate the point.

  7. Robert Guyton 7

    No-one, (bar one) so far has mentioned…Robyn Wall Kimmerer!

    Curious?

  8. Robert Guyton 8

    Is a person who can "dialogue" with plants and birds (in particular), native to the environment they inhabit?

    Are those who cannot, "non-native " (maybe, lapsed?)

  9. Robert Guyton 9

    Earthly gifts?

    Who's giving?

    How could the receivers not be grateful??

  10. Blazer 10

    natural resources to earthly gifts….yes that should make a difference..just like renaming Social Welfare to Work and Income,or the unemployment benefit to ,Jobseeker.

    Wonderful initiative that will be a ..gamechanger in real outcomes.

  11. Hanswurst 11

    Right there is the difference. The Western mind struggles to understand how water on a dead planet can be a surprising, wonderful gift, not of resource for us to use, but a source of wonder, of commonality.

    Whether to treat a phenomenon as a resource or not is not really a question of science, though, is it? Nor is it the case that western minds uniformly see every item they come across exclusively as a resource.

    Indigenous/decolonised minds are multilingual, the Western mind is monolingual and often doesn’t even know there is such a thing as other languages.

    'Westerners' are monolingual? News to me.

    I do agree that the basic principle described in the post, that there can be different methods of inquiry and presentation for informing oneself and others usefully, and that the implications/conclusions drawn from that information can vary greatly depending on the philosophy and values one brings to the table, is worth discussion, though.

    • weka 11.1

      Whether to treat a phenomenon as a resource or not is not really a question of science, though, is it?

      The comparison is between Indigenous world view and Western world view, not science. Science is a tool, a bloody useful one. It's the world view that determines how it gets used, and whether it's used in the service of extraction and consumption, or the world as alive and made up of relationships.

      Nor is it the case that western minds uniformly see every item they come across exclusively as a resource.

      True, but again, it's how consumption is embedded in the culture that is the issue.

      'Westerners' are monolingual? News to me.

      That was a metaophor.

  12. Gezza 12

    “The CBC interviewer shares that water had just been discovered on the moon, and that one of the first statements made by NASA was,

    We don’t know yet if we can use it as a resource.

    Kimmerer’s response,
    It is the colonisation mentality extended to Grandmother Moon. What a suprising, wonderful gift, not a resource but a gift, a wonder, a commonality. And the first impulse is to take it?”
    …………….

    To be fair, NASA has its eyes on the possibility of establishing one or more permanently manned moon bases. One of the biggest problems that poses is that they will probably need a lot of water & water is heavy & very expensive to carry from Earth to the Moon. So they’re interested in such things as how to efficiently manufacture H2O on the moon, and whether it might be possible to site a moon base close to an existing water source there. I don’t think they’re contemplating shipping moon water to earth.

    • RedLogix 12.1

      The blithering nonsense of course is that Kimmerer and those who would characterise the modern world as nothing but rank exploitation – are not typing out their complaints of sustainably harvested papyrus parchment, then carried to their audience on the backs of volunteer owls.

      • Gezza 12.1.1

        Yep. I am a committed night sky watcher, often thru 7×50 binoculars, & I’m fascinated by the moon. I look at it often. I find it utterly captivating. And I’m awestruck by the fact that it’s so big its own gravity makes it spherical, that it’s orbiting Earth, that it’s gradually moving further away from Earth every year, that its gravity creates tides in the oceans and even on land, that the ocean tides were likely critical to the development & evolution of life on Earth.

        All of this is science-based knowledge, but to me it’s still awe inspiring. As is the vastness of space & the stars in the galaxy we can see. I still remember the first time I put the binoculars on the three stars in the handle of The Pot. And got lost for a while by the sheer number of stars that suddenly appeared. Then I discovered that the middle star wasn’t a star. It was a whitish cloud. I felt really exhiliarated when I found out I’d discovered the Orion Nebula.

        The Jewel Box by the side of the Southern Cross was another fascinating “see”.

        I’m aware of the many stories & myths that indigenous cultures & own European forebears have believed in times past about the moon & the stars, but they weren’t aware of the magnificence of the actual physics & radiation & orher forces which drive the heavenly bodies & clouds of gas. That’s awe inspiring in itself.

        Particularly if one starts thinking about how this all got here & why.

        • RedLogix 12.1.1.1

          That's an engaging image gezza. It's prompted a memory of something similar to add to it.

          Sometime in the 90's I lived in the Hutt Valley – Belmont to be specific – and one evening I had read of an unusual planetary alignment that was supposed to be visible that night. So I trotted out the the street to get a relatively clear view of the sunset sky and scanned upward, starting with Mercury near the very low Sun, Venus that's always so bright, then amazingly in the orbital plane of the solar system I saw Mars, Jupiter and Saturn all clearly visible.

          And for a few magical moments I had this extraordinary sensation of the solar system. Yes it could have all been described in orbital mechanical terms, and some elegant mathematics, but the moment was as you say awe inspiring in the traditional sense of that much abused word. yes

        • Robert Guyton 12.1.1.2

          "I’m aware of the many stories & myths that indigenous cultures & own European forebears have believed in times past about the moon & the stars, but they weren’t aware of the magnificence of the actual physics & radiation & orher forces which drive the heavenly bodies & clouds of gas. That’s awe inspiring in itself."

          Are you certain about that, Gezza?

          People in the past lived under crystal-clear skies and had extraordinary eyesight, time to study the night sky and centuries of experience to build their understanding on.

          Plus, inner vision 🙂

          • Gezza 12.1.1.2.1

            “I’m aware of the many stories & myths that indigenous cultures & own European forebears have believed in times past about the moon & the stars, but they weren’t aware of the magnificence of the actual physics & radiation & other forces which drive the heavenly bodies & clouds of gas. That’s awe inspiring in itself.”

            Are you certain about that, Gezza?

            Yep. Otherwise they’d not have spoken of winds and sea storms as gods being angered, & movements of stars (some that we now know are solar system planets) as ancestors travelling the heavens, & beliefs like an ancestor caught the sun in a net, beat it up, & got it to agree to slow down so we get longer days, & the appearance of comets etc as deliberate godly harbingers of associated earthly events and suchlike.

            People in the past lived under crystal-clear skies and had extraordinary eyesight, time to study the night sky and centuries of experience to build their understanding on.

            Yes they did. And so can we. Nothing I like more than getting out in the countryside away from light pollution & watching the night sky. It’s fascinating to look at the familiar stars & planets with their different colours & light intensities, at constellations, astersims, and galaxies like the Magellanic Clouds. One also sees more artificial satellites & the ISS with a bit of luck.

            Re their extraordinary eyesight those of us with eyesight problems likely inherited some of them from those who didn’t have extraordinary eyesight.

            Plus, inner vision 🙂

            They had enough imagination to think up concepts like their ancestors died and became stars. And a few had way out ideas that have been proven kind of on the right track by modern science science. You can call these ideas inner vision instead of imagination if you like. If you’re of a metaphysical bent.

            • Robert Guyton 12.1.1.2.1.1

              Let's look at one of the examples you've given to show how unrealistic the views of earlier folk were (that is what you meant, right?)

              "… beliefs like an ancestor caught the sun in a net, beat it up, & got it to agree to slow down so we get longer days.."

              Have you read about Maui? The kaihautū, master-mariner who captained one of the huge waka that sailed from Hawaiki to these southern Pacific isles? Slowed-down by the darkness of night and unable to sail when distant and in-coming ill-winds can't be seen, forcing a shut-down of sailing for the night, Maui conceived of a method for anticipating those winds, by laying hands on the sail and interpreting the tiny changes in tension, thereby enabling night-sailing, thereby doubling the distance travelled, thereby halving the time spent at sea, thereby, wait for it, slowing time.

              Longer days.

              🙂

              • Gezza

                Let’s look at one of the examples you’ve given to show how unrealistic the views of earlier folk were (that is what you meant, right?)

                “… beliefs like an ancestor caught the sun in a net, beat it up, & got it to agree to slow down so we get longer days..”

                No. That’s not what I meant. The mythologies that were used to explain things like the stars & planets that they didn’t understand is what I was referring to.

                “Have you read about Maui? The kaihautū, master-mariner who captained one of the huge waka that sailed from Hawaiki to these southern Pacific isles? Slowed-down by the darkness of night and unable to sail when distant and in-coming ill-winds can’t be seen, forcing a shut-down of sailing for the night, Maui conceived of a method for anticipating those winds, by laying hands on the sail and interpreting the tiny changes in tension, thereby enabling night-sailing, thereby doubling the distance travelled, thereby halving the time spent at sea, thereby, wait for it, slowing time.

                Hadn’t heard this Māui story before. Observation, conjecture, hypothesis, experiment, apparently a proven theory that worked. That’s how science works, so he followed a classic scientific approach to the problem. And that’s the kind of situation where mātauranga Māori Māori & the scientifc method are not in conflict. There’s no need for mythology to explain this.

                Slowing time. Longer days.

                Didn’t slow time. Nor did it make longer days. It enabled night-sailing.

                • RedLogix

                  Yes. Given that these people did not have clocks or accurate calendars yet (even the science minded Europeans struggled to develop them into something useful) it's quite reasonable to think that most pre-Industrial peoples had a more fluid sense of time than we do.

                  Quite literally they would be using a different definition of 'time', something that could be sped up or slowed down, or even maybe looped back on itself in a purely mythological manner. As a symbolism this is perfectly valid.

                  As a useful means of synchronising GPS clocks – not so much.

                • Robert Guyton

                  "There’s no need for mythology to explain this."

                  Well, it's good to extract some humour from the discussion!

      • weka 12.1.2

        good lord. The whole post is about both/and, is explicitly so, and uses Kimmerer as an example of someone who does both science and indigenous knowledge.

        If you don't understand the post, fine, but don't make shit up. Every time, every single time, you demonstrate that you just don't get it. Why you would then resort to misrepresentation I have no idea.

        • RedLogix 12.1.2.1

          OK I get your frustration, but note carefully, while science and spirituality must inform each other – and I wrote emphatically to this above – they are not the same thing.

          If you want this better world that you hope for, it will still have to conform the basic laws of physics, energy and material flows. It will not work on magical thinking – however uplifting it's vision.

          • weka 12.1.2.1.1

            this is why I know you still don't get it.

            "Science and spirituality" is binary thinking.

            Nowhere in this post, or any post I have written, have I said or implied that human endeavours shouldn't conform to the basic laws of physics, energy and material flows. This is the basis of the rationale for the Powerdown.

            The frustration is the strawmen. I don’t think you are doing this deliberately, but it is clear you don’t understand what I am saying or pointing to. The problem is the lack of acknowledgement of other languages and you insisting that the post be put into your framing. It doesn’t work.

            • Robert Guyton 12.1.2.1.1.1

              I'm with you, weka. The block you are describing is a significant one that can't be cleared easily, but the scientists now publishing work around plant sentience, subterranean fungal networks, etc. are doing that work for you/us.

              Our "science/engineering" friends will come aboard soon, and be powerful agents in repairing our world: science most certainly IS the powerful tool it advertises itself as, but until it's coupled with gratitude-for and dialogue-with, Papatuanuku, Tanemahuta, Tangaroa te mea the mea, we'll make little progress and perhaps ruin the opportunity we've been offered; to play a vital part in the evolution of all.

              Robyn Wall Kimmerer "gets it" – you can hear it in her voice. Her ancestry is working for her and the message she so kindly and patiently offers is one we who stumble upon it, can benefit from greatly.

              This affects the reception the science.v.matauranga debate gets across the board. As you rightly explain, it's being framed wrongly and much of the argument is therefore invalid. Nevertheless, it's "on the front page" which to me is a wonderful thing; it'll keep presenting itself now, as this question is the most significant of all in this stage of our development.

              I see this "interface" at council level, over the issue of water quality where Maori have made the most forward movement – adoption of te mana o te wai any the Government and the courts, and the use of "hauora" as the measure/not-measure of water quality, and the angst created where those discussions are had be people whose cultural doesn't recognise what's being discussed: science meets matauranga, a culture that put a human on the moon meets one that talks directly with Her (I'm generalising recklessly here 🙂

              I have much more to say about this but what I've already said may be going down like a lead balloon, so I'll taihoa 🙂

              • RedLogix

                and the use of "hauora" as the measure/not-measure of water quality, and the angst created where those discussions are had be people whose cultural doesn't recognise what's being discussed: science meets matauranga,

                The science of water quality depends on being able to measure what is being discussed. If you want people like me to deliver to your home safe, potable drinking water than comes out of your taps so reliably you never think about it anymore – then we will be using three instruments to tell us the turbidity, the pH and the free chlorine content. These parameters are recorded 24/7/365 and produced as unassailable evidence that we have done our jobs properly and the water was safe to drink.

                You don't get to hand wave with an undefined word, that cannot be measured. That might well align with your personal interests and values, but it's not science.

                • weka

                  No-one is saying not to use those measurements. Please stop and listen. No-one is saying that. What is being said is the frame within which we make decisions about what to do with those measurements matters.

                  Hence we have a spectrum of water quality by politics in NZ:

                  • Nact: wadable
                  • Labour: kind of swimmable
                  • Greens: swimmable
                  • Māori Party: drinkable+

                  Note, that the science says that for NZ's fresh water to maintain life over time, we have to do better than water that is drinkable for humans. Look up Mike Joy and many other NZ scientists on this.

                  It's no coincidence that the Mp have the best water quality policy. Te mana o te wai. Ko wai te au, ko au to wai.

                  Now, I'd like you to stop and think about why you just misunderstood what Robert said (and what I said, and what Kimmerer said).

                  • RedLogix

                    we have to do better than water that is drinkable for humans.

                    I'm as aware as anyone of the intangible joy of a mountain fresh stream or tarn. The crystal perfection of it is something remarkable in itself. I spent years seeking these places out. But there are natural, untouched rivers everywhere in the world that are brackish, carry high silt or forest decay tannins that you and I would not regard as drinkable. Just being 'natural' is not a measurement.

                    The four categories you outline are value statements, which are legitimately derived from social and political concerns. The first three can be reasonable translated into a system of science based measurements and standards. I hope we could agree on this.

                    I've no problem with having a political discussion around whether we want our rivers to be wadeable, swimmable, drinkable or as close to whatever natural state as we think compatible with human development – but then you tack on the MP goal of 'drinkable +'.

                    Suddenly you stepped away from a criteria that can be measured into mysticism.

                    • Robert Guyton

                      Science measures qualities of water which provides a basis for decision-making. The river, however, isn't consulted at all. Matauranga suggests we address that impolite oversight.

                    • Tricledrown

                      As Nick Smith pointed out while Nationals environment spokes person it takes 75 years for excess nitrates to completely leach out into rivers.That from Nick Smith who undermined Ecan to allow widespread uncontrolled dairy farming on the Canterbury plains the by his precedent all other regional councils followed suit.

                    • RedLogix

                      Robert – you are welcome to your personal worldview. Believe it or not I'm a lot more familiar with it than you probably imagine, nor am I unsympathetic to it.

                      But engineers live very close to reality – either our systems work or they do not. And if I cannot measure it, I cannot control it and it does not work. What else would you have us do?

                    • Robert Guyton

                      "But engineers live very close to reality – either our systems work or they do not. And if I cannot measure it, I cannot control it and it does not work. What else would you have us do?"

                      1. Keep up the good work.

                      2. Consult more widely 🙂

                    • RedLogix

                      @ Tricledrown.

                      I have instruments that can measure nitrate levels. This means we can determine the cause and extent of the problem – and then devise an effective strategy to mitigate or solve it. That's basic science and engineering at work. Done properly it delivers everything good about your modern life.

                      But demanding I measure and control for "hauora" is a meaningless mumbo-jumbo requirement. Note carefully – you are welcome to hold to the idea as an abstraction, a vision or aspiration – but you don't get to tell me it's science. This is why the distinction is important.

                • Robert Guyton

                  Yes, RedLogix, the science of water does depend on measurement; very much so, but decisions about water require a wider view and that's where matauranga is so important. I'm sure it's clear to you that some science-based actions made by humans have been … ill-considered and destructive – it's almost as though "science" lacks a compass and that's what "matauranga" provides. I believe that compass comes from the "other players" – sun, moon, land, water, mountain etc. through the conduit of dialogue that some peoples are aware of but we sciency-societies, are not (much). People like Robyn Wall Kimmerer are nudging us toward the realisation that we need to employ both world-views for our continued existence here on Papatuanuku.

            • RedLogix 12.1.2.1.1.2

              "Science and spirituality" is binary thinking.

              Which is why I know you don't get it. (See I can play that game too.)

              While there is of course a singular underlying connectedness to all of reality, the human mind needs categories to function effectively. Science is rooted in the domain of the material realities, spirituality in the non-material, the abstract realms. Erasing this distinction is a common cause of mumbo-jumbo pseudo-science and wishful thinking.

              This is the basis of the rationale for the Powerdown.

              Which is a prime example thereof. Powerdown is just another name for energy poverty – forever.

              • Dennis Frank

                Science is rooted in the domain of the material realities, spirituality in the non-material, the abstract realms.

                Traditional framing. As I've pointed out in prior comments, one can't touch physical fields. Consequently physicists more than a century back were forced to transcend materialism.

                I use metaphysics to bridge the binary divide. All it takes is the ability to discern elements of nature that are both formative and medial. Then conceptualising suitable labels & interpretive framing to shift the paradigm. Archetypes, patterns, etc, are fundamental.

                • RedLogix

                  Until your 'metaphysics' delivers something of actual value I'm going to remain skeptical.

                  • Dennis Frank

                    Which is sensible. Just keep in mind that physical fields are intangible. Physicists detect them with devices. It remains habitual to allocate them into the category of physical despite intangibility.

                    However, discerning the indicator on a device involves relating data to a belief system. It is subjective judgment masquerading as objectivity. The mental process is interpretation. What would you rather call any such process (other than metaphysics)? Rhetorical question, but one to ponder when you've nothing better to do!

              • weka

                Which is why I know you don't get it. (See I can play that game too.)

                Except I can explain both positions. You repeatedly misrepresent the holistic position.

                While there is of course a singular underlying connectedness to all of reality, the human mind needs categories to function effectively.

                Yes. The West uses binary thinking as part of that. This isn't wrong, but it causes problems when it is used to such an extent and when people can't see what it is.

                Science is rooted in the domain of the material realities, spirituality in the non-material, the abstract realms.

                This is binary thinking. It's entirely cultural. To understand what it is, and its limits as a belief system, one has to understand the other options.

                Erasing this distinction is a common cause of mumbo-jumbo pseudo-science and wishful thinking.

                Please point to where in the post, or in one of my comments, the line is being blurred. Be specific. I asked the questions at the end of the post for a reason. What are people afraid will happen to science?

                This is the basis of the rationale for the Powerdown.

                Which is a prime example thereof. Powerdown is just another name for energy poverty – forever.

                Go read Holmgren properly. Or maybe don't. Because I've just realised that energy poverty for you probably means not being able to turn the TV or lights on at will.

                Actually do go read Holmgren, because permaculture is all about how to live good lives just sustainably. That is what it is designed to do.

                • RedLogix

                  Holmgren is a lovely man, who has carved out a very nice life for him and his family – but the engineer in me looks at his home and land and sees the indelible traces of the industrial civilisation embedded all through it. Remember I've been there.

                  Without that wider world providing a multitude of materials and services, Holmgren's permaculture dream quickly degenerates into something barely distinguishable from a poverty stricken subsistence farming – with all the physical and social backwardness that invariably entails.

                  Again this disrespects nothing of the permaculture vision, nor anything its practitioners achieve. Nor does it preclude extending their ideas just as far as they can take them, I truly wish them well in this. But please be honest about how dependent this all is on a functioning industrial base to make it work.

                  not being able to turn the TV or lights on at will.

                  Nor the refrigerator, the hot water cylinder or washing machine, things that transformed our grandmother’s lives beyond all belief. No vacuum cleaner, no heating, no ventilation, no running water, no lighted streets at night – want me to go on?

                  • Drowsy M. Kram

                    "No vacuum cleaner" – have you gone mad?!! What next – no leaf blower? How on spaceship Earth can we ever suck and blow our way to a sustainable future without further proliferation of these life-affirming items? A vacuum cleaner in every room, why not.

                    Surprise visits are one of today’s realities, so having your home clean will save you of awkward embarrassing situations. Moreover, studies show that a clean environment has a positive psychological impact over its habitants.

                    Embarrassment marketing: “What does your loo say about you? smiley

                    no lighted streets at night

                    Wondered for a while now how much power the council might save by switching off every other street light (say from midnight on) – is it partly a fear of 'dimming' that limits our shrink & share imagination?

                    Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

                    Thinking on from that, does every house need its own lawn mower, or washing machine, let alone an electric clothes drier or dishwasher (I've never owned one) – so many of these modern conveniences come with more than just a monetary price tag. Perhaps they're 'necessary' to combat growing time poverty, and to avoid mucking-in with potentially untrustworthy neighbours – heady times ahead.

                    Drivers of household consumption expenditure and carbon footprints in Finland [March 2021]
                    To conclude, the analysis in this article provides suggestions on what still needs to be further investigated regarding why and how people engage in high-carbon consumption and living in certain phases of life or lifestyles. Findings on demographic and socio-economic characteristics can point to future research directions, such as: developing policies to enhance low-carbon living in each life phase (Dubois et al., 2019), taking into account changes in demographic and population dynamics (Rosa and Dietz, 2012), addressing trends such as an increasing share of single-person households (Ala-Mantila et al., 2016), and economies attained by sharing carbon-intensive resources (e.g., living space, means of transport) (Fremstad et al., 2018). To unpack the complexity of consumption could benefit from mapping the conditions and limitation of everyday living, as illustrated by (Wiedenhofer et al., 2018), and research approaches drawing on practice theory (Shove et al., 2012). However, regression analyses with a representative sample of a national population like the one presented in this article provide the much required overall picture of the current state and drivers of consumption and related carbon footprints.

                    Time Matters: The Carbon Footprint of Everyday Activities in Austria [October 2018]

                    Greening work: labor market policies for the environment [January 2022]
                    Jobs are essential for social inclusion, raising taxes, and guaranteeing the financial resilience of (welfare) states. At the same time, the Sustainable Development Goals, the Paris Agreement, and the European Green Deal require the greening of our economies and labor markets. This paper assesses how labor market policies can green employment. The paper analyses the potential effects of eight different policy strategies on four dimensions of the Taxonomy of Sustainable Employment: conversion of plants and businesses, environmental labor law, climate decommodification, socio-ecological job guarantee, vocational guidance and retraining, distribution of employment time, alternative income sources, and equalization of income. All eight strategies have the potential of greening employment but feature different intensities in the four dimensions. In the light of environmental crises, the results suggest widening the toolbox of labor market policies for a green and just transition.

                    Warm in Palmy today – opened some windows for a bit of breeze.

                    • RedLogix

                      So you'll have the servants beating the carpets?

                      This energy poverty that you're so eagerly embracing is entirely unnecessary; all you have to do is decarbonise the energy source.

                      But that you resist with every fibre of your being.

                  • Drowsy M. Kram

                    So you'll have the servants beating the carpets?

                    Intriguing that "the servants beating the carpets" would be your first response, whereas I’m a fan of the carpet sweeper – ingenious devices (as a child I remember being fascinated by a substantial rotating brush sweeper with metal wheels, a dark naturally-patterned wooden panel casing, and a wire 'button' that triggered the emptying mechanism) – only elbow grease required, like my push mower.

                    Not for everyone, of course, but then it takes all sorts, eh?

                    As for "this energy poverty that you're so eagerly embracing", I think of it as energy sufficiency, and yes, I am embracing it, but (again) it's clearly not for everyone – we each make our own best paths; I wish you well on yours, as you no doubt do me on mine.

                    And, to be clear, I'm perfectly happy to use powered devices if there isn't an elbow grease option that will do a decent job – it's my choice.

                    You make a good point about decarbonised energy sources (lets get on with it!), but imho these shouldn't be used as an excuse to avoid shrink & share lifestyles – rather, I see the transition to decarbonised energy sources plus adopting shrink & share lifestyles as complementary changes that together might have some small chance of transitioning this iteration of civilisation out of its self-imposed mess in a timely manner. That's unlikely to happen, imho, but there's no need to squabble about it – we have different worldviews is all.

                    What to expect from the world's sixth mass extinction
                    [11 January 2022]

                    Quantifying the impact of future extreme heat on the outdoor work sector in the United States
                    [13 January 2022]

                    The Silent Sea”: Climate-pandemic drama in the Anthropocene

                    When Time Is Short – Finding our way in the Anthropocene
                    For the first time in history, we are on the verge of making our planetary home uninhabitable. Due to pollution and climate change, the Earth is rapidly progressing towards an environment that cannot sustain human life. Despite ample warnings from scientists to change our behavior before it is too late, we find ourselves on brink of no return. We may now have to accept that the small window of time we had to reverse our fate has finally closed. While humans have risen to rule our world in the Anthropocene era, we may not be powerful enough to reverse the effects of our own dominance.

                    More than 99% of all species that have ever lived on the planet are now extinct. Why is it so hard to believe that our own extinction is on the horizon? Religion has played a significant role—specifically the Christian belief in human exceptionalism and our godlike dominion over the planet, which has led us to pillage and destroy communities, nations, and the Earth itself. Beal strips back the layers of interpretation that mask the core values of the Bible, exploring how these and other indigenous religions may help us reframe our relationship with the Earth and live our finite human future in a more humble, mindful, and meaningful way.

                  • weka

                    Holmgren is a lovely man, who has carved out a very nice life for him and his family – but the engineer in me looks at his home and land and sees the indelible traces of the industrial civilisation embedded all through it. Remember I've been there.

                    So? You have this thing in your head that the Powerdown means we can't use modern tech. I have no idea where you get that from, but it doesn't come from me, or Holmgren, or sustainability thought and design. Honestly, the ideas you have about nasty, brutish and short are coming from your own imagination.

                    Nor the refrigerator, the hot water cylinder or washing machine, things that transformed our grandmother’s lives beyond all belief. No vacuum cleaner, no heating, no ventilation, no running water, no lighted streets at night – want me to go on?

                    I've lived without all those things at different times, bar the heating and ventilation (humans can do both those things low tech). I would live without them again if it's the difference between killing most of life in earth or not.

                    But, here's the thing. We don't have to give up having good lives. We already know how to do passive solar for space heating and hot water, and thus reduce our dependency on both fossil fuels and resource heavy tech like solar panels and batteries. That's a powerdown right there.

                    We also know how to share washing machines, not everyone has to have one in their own household.

                    And so on. Here's another thing I suspect you might not be getting. Sustainability design is a design tool that works with what is. Holmgren in particular says we don't have to solve all the problems, we just have to do the right things now with what we have, later generations will figure out the next set of solutions and so on.

                    • RedLogix

                      Honestly, the ideas you have about nasty, brutish and short are coming from your own imagination.

                      They come from a cursory examination of the lives ordinary people lived in the pre-Industrial era. Or the lives of the billion or so people still living in absolute poverty even in these modern times.

                      Look I'm not trying to be aggravating here. I'm coming from a lifetime of working in heavy industry as an automation controls engineer. For all the tech detail involved, it boils down to a pretty simple concept – what I do for a living is measure process variables and manipulate forms of energy to achieve the desired results.

                      That's it in a nutshell. When I look at literally everything I see a hidden narrative of materials and energy flows – exquisitely complex and detailed. I've done my best to convey this, but raw numbers and data don't generally convince people of anything much.

                      Some night around 2am in the 80's – I was on some callout – I found myself standing alone next to the machine that in those days made most of NZ's toilet paper. It's impossible to describe the sound, the spray, the smells and vibration of the beast. Literally it's making a sheet of tissue, 3.5m wide, weighing about 12 gms/m2 and travelling at about 1200m/min. From the headbox where the jet emerged as something almost indistinguishable from water, it passes through rollers, presses and a gas/steam dryer, to
                      arrive 2.5 secs later it's being wound as a solid paper sheet on a huge roll.

                      And then it struck me, that literally there were probably a million engineered items that were all working perfectly together to enable this magic to work. Typically it would run 24/7 for a month between shuts, producing an ordinary household item most people think almost nothing of. Yet in it's own way it's a miracle and in that moment the improbability and majesty of it all struck home to me physically. And has never left me – regardless of what industry or process I was privileged to be working in at the time.

                      It's my sense that I'm trying to communicate across a gap I have not the skill to properly bridge.

                  • Drowsy M. Kram

                    It's my sense that I'm trying to communicate across a gap I have not the skill to properly bridge.

                    And it's my sense that, for all the posturing hyperbole ("horse hair shirt", "performative renting of sack-cloth and purity point scoring", “fundamentally anti-human sentiment“, and "catastrophe addicts who want nothing more than some almighty genocidal collapse") in defense of disparate worldviews, we understand each other – maybe not perfectly, but well enough.

                    • RedLogix

                      Well if you continue to advocate for a fantasy world where you want to retain all of the benefits of modernity – but absent the energy density and resources necessary to sustain it – then you're going to get my scorn.

                  • Drowsy M. Kram

                    Well if you continue to advocate for a fantasy world where you want to retain all of the benefits of modernity – but absent the energy density and resources necessary to sustain it –

                    There you go again, fabricating my advocacy as 'have your cake and eat it too' fantasy.
                    laugh

                    My advocacy for 'shrink and share' as a strategy that can contribute to shrinking carbon footprints and energy requirements will continue.

                    Target high-carbon emitters to accelerate green transition, say leading experts on behavioural change [Apr 2021]
                    Reaching the goals of the Paris Agreement and curbing warming below 1.5°C will require widespread behavioural change. But responsibility for the climate crisis is not evenly shared. Evidence reviewed by the Cambridge Commission shows that over the period 1990–2015, nearly half of the growth in absolute global emissions was due to the richest 10%, with the wealthiest 5% alone contributing over a third (37%).

                    Scaling behaviour change for a 1.5-degree world: challenges and opportunities [Sept 2021]
                    Although politically contentious, this has led to discussions about ‘fair shares’ or ‘shrink and share’ schemes to reconcile the need to address sustainability alongside current and historical inequalities within and across societies (Rees et al., 2013). Proposals include: ‘contraction and convergence’ (Global Commons Institute, 2018), sustainable consumption corridors (Di Giulio & Fuchs, 2014), carbon allowances and budgets (van den Berg et al., 2020); carbon fee and dividend (Citizens' Climate Lobby); a Greenhouse Development Rights framework (GDR, 2018); and ‘doughnut’ economics (Raworth, 2017). These tools set limits and parameters within which economic activity can take place, and tie-in with the ‘strong’ sustainable consumption agenda, which calls for changes not only in patterns of consumption, but importantly, in absolute reductions in consumption levels in industrialised countries (Anantharaman, 2018; Fuchs & Lorek, 2005; Lorek & Fuchs, 2013).

                    then you're going to get my scorn.

                    In which case you'll get a little of mine, only I won't be resorting to hyperbole and fabrication, which imho signal a 'weak hand’ – other readers can judge for themselves.

                    Maybe you're right after all, RL; maybe we’re both trying to communicate across a gap we lack the skills to properly bridge.

                    • RedLogix

                      Your 'shrink and share' advocacy simply fails by the numbers. I went into some detail in my series on the Kaya Identity, that makes it plain as day that the only pathway to zero – or more importantly negative carbon – lies in reducing the carbon intensity of our energy sources to zero. To recap:

                      Getting to carbon zero does not lie in any intentional plan to depopulate. Short of exterminating all humans this merely slows climate change, but cannot reverse it. (Besides population is naturally taking care of itself with birth rates in most countries now close to or below replacement.)

                      It does not lie in shrinking prosperity and reducing economic activity to zero. While any fool can argue that the 1% consume more than their share, that leaves the legitimate aspirations and needs of the other 99% unaddressed. The rich world does not get to tell the rest of humanity that it must remain poor forever. Besides you offer no conceivable political mechanism to impose such an impoverishment regime – forever.

                      And while there is always engineering merit in become more efficient in our use of energy – and we have been for decades now – there is a clear limit to this process alone. We physically cannot 'efficiency' our way to zero energy consumption.

                      This simply leaves carbon intensity as the only lever with the power to solve the problem. The problem is what it doesn't do. It doesn't depopulate which disappoints the Malthusians, it doesn't impoverish the masses which disappoints the Marxists, and it doesn't lead to a de-industrialised, kale growing post-hippie nirvana and this disappoints the Moonbats.

                      Worse thing of all it exposes all the Powerdown fantasies about running the world on solar panels as the dystopian nightmare it really is.

                      This does not preclude a world in which we become a lot smarter and more holistic in our approach to economic and agricultural systems – I’ve spoken to this many times. But if you have a long and challenging journey ahead – cutting your legs off to ‘shrink and save weight’ is not a sane strategy.

                      Electricity is the master resource:

                  • Drowsy M. Kram

                    Your 'shrink and share' advocacy simply fails by the numbers.

                    That's simply an opinion – one that I and many others don't share.

                    Honestly (and I''ve said this before), I don't understand why anyone who is genuinely concerned about the sustainability of this iteration of civilisation would be so vehemently opposed to ‘shrink and share' – I've never claimed that it's the solution to all our problems (leave that to the hyper-energisation advocates), only that it should be in the mix.

                    Why "you resist with every fibre of your being" is beyond me – is it perhaps because ‘shrink and share’ would equire a realistic appraisal of the on-going impact of the footprint of the golden billion on the life-sustaining cycles of spaceship Earth? That and the ‘share’ part.

                    • RedLogix

                      In all of our conversations on this theme I cannot recall you ever acknowledging that you understand how Kaya's Identity works.

                      • Population
                      • GDP/Capita
                      • Energy Intensity
                      • Carbon Intensity

                      In order to get to carbon zero at least one of these terms has to be set equal to zero. If you don't understand this, you literally don't understand the problem.

                      Which one do you pick?

                  • Drowsy M. Kram

                    Are We Missing the Opportunity of Low-Carbon Lifestyles? International Climate Policy Commitments and Demand-Side Gaps
                    [November 2021]
                    Current commitments in nationally determined contributions (NDCs) are insufficient to remain within the 2-degree climate change limit agreed to in the Paris Agreement. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) states that lifestyle changes are now necessary to stay within the limit. We reviewed a range of NDCs and national climate change strategies to identify inclusion of low-carbon lifestyles. We found that most NDCs and national climate change strategies do not yet include the full range of necessary mitigation measures targeting lifestyle change, particularly those that could reduce indirect emissions. Some exceptional NDCs, such as those of Austria, Slovakia, Portugal and the Netherlands, do include lifestyle changes, such as low-carbon diets, reduced material consumption, and low-carbon mobility. Most countries focus on supply-side measures with long lag times and might miss the window of opportunity to shape low-carbon lifestyle patterns, particularly those at early stages of development trajectories. Systemic barriers exist that should be corrected before new NDCs are released, including changing the accounting and reporting methodology, accounting for extraterritorial emissions, providing guidance on NDC scope to include the menu of options identified by the IPCC, and increasing support for national level studies to design demand-side policies.

                    In all of our conversations on this theme I cannot recall you ever acknowledging that you understand how Kaya's Identity works.

                    That's because I don't "understand how Kaya's Identity works."

                    • Population
                    • GDP/Capita
                    • Energy Intensity
                    • Carbon Intensity

                    Which one do you pick?

                    No idea – 'reduced Energy Intensity'? Which one do you pick?

                    Not for everyone, of course, but decreasing my carbon footprint over the last two years (cutting down on water and electricity use, doing without or sharing appliance use, tapering off and then replacing driving with walking; going cold turkey on flying) is one of the best things I ever did for my physical and financial health. The effect of these behavioural changes will be infinitesimal, but they’ve got to be better than BAU. The barriers to behavioural change may seem insurmountable to some, but I urge you not to give up.

                    CAN Position: Energy Efficiency and Conservation
                    Efficiency and 100% Renewable Energy
                    There is huge untapped potential to reduce energy demand. The global move to a 100% renewable energy economy by mid-century in line with a 1.5°C trajectory is technologically easier and more cost-effective when paired with significantly strengthened energy efficiency in all sectors. Scientific analysis shows that a reduction of roughly half the primary energy demand compared to a business-as-usual pathway by 2050 and by about 15 to 25% compared to today is possible without reducing energy security, still delivering essential energy services to all in the richer nations and providing significantly more and badly-needed energy services to the poorer parts of the global population.

                    CAN calls urgently for accelerating energy efficiency investments by all actors, including through mandatory legislation to drastically reduce energy consumption in buildings, strengthen product and process standards and increase reliance on public freight and passenger transport. This basket of measures must be a top priority for governments delivering on the objectives of the Paris Agreement and the associated Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), the Sustainable Development Goals, the Convention on Biological Diversity and other treaties—-not only to reduce pollution, but to reduce the high cost of energy imports.

                    More specifically, CAN demands that all countries, particularly the large energy and raw material consumers, triple their average annual investments in energy efficiency in all economic sectors through 2030 and embark on a speedy pathway to a truly circular economy. This is broadly consistent with the recommendations of the Energy Efficiency Global Alliance, and with initial pledges by some but not nearly enough high-consuming countries.

                    • RedLogix

                      No idea – 'reduced Energy Intensity'? Which one do you pick?

                      OK so that's the 'less energy per unit of GDP' option. As I said above from an engineering point of view always a desirable pathway for a number of reasons. This is something I'm pretty familiar with, usually the second priority after getting a large industrial process to actually run productively, is to start looking for energy efficiency gains. I can point to one project that I initiated which reduced the annual power bill of a major plant by over 80% – and in the process probably eliminating my personal lifetime carbon footprint hundreds of times over.

                      So it's not a bad choice – except for one thing. The laws of thermodynamics place hard limits on how efficient you can be. You can never devise a process or system that runs on zero energy.

                      And if you don't know which option I've been pointing to over and again for quite some time now – I really cannot think what to say.

                  • Drowsy M. Kram

                    So it's not a bad choice – except for one thing. The laws of thermodynamics place hard limits on how efficient you can be. You can never devise a process or system that runs on zero energy.

                    And if you don't know which option I've been pointing to over and again for quite some time now – I really cannot think what to say.

                    As you seem to been resisting the idea of adopting a low carbon lifestyle with every fibre of your being, I really cannot think what to say.

                    We can both continue to advocate for and make changes that we feel will make a difference to our shared predicament on spaceship Earth – for me it's about agency and personal responsibility.

                    How many people does it take to reduce a carbon footprint?
                    Only one, but they have to want to reduce their carbon footprint. smiley

                    How to reduce my carbon footprint?

                    How to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

                    GEN LESS – Live More with Less Energy

                    • RedLogix

                      That has seems to bear little relevance to my comment above. But to take your key point:

                      As you seem to been resisting the idea of adopting a low carbon lifestyle with every fibre of your being

                      First of all the term 'low carbon' is meaningless until you specify which of the four Kaya levers you want to pull to achieve it. Essentially all you are doing here is an end run around the conversation and pretending nothing has already been said.

                      Secondly it's absolute bullshit – I have spent years working to understand and promote effective solutions to get to zero or negative carbon.

                      Thirdly – and I think this is what you really mean – yes I firmly reject poverty as an effective path to zero carbon. Your notion of 'shrink and share' simply does not deliver on this at the global scale necessary, and indefinitely into the future.

                  • Drowsy M. Kram

                    Thirdly – and I think this is what you really mean – yes I firmly reject poverty as an effective path to zero carbon.

                    Appreciate your concern. Speaking from personal experience, the low carbon lifestyle changes I've made over the last two years have been empowering rather than impoverishing – individual results may vary. wink

                    • RedLogix

                      Again you are avoiding the issue with a meaningless claim to a 'low carbon lifestyle'. As I've said above, my personal lifetime carbon footprint via energy efficiency is dramatically negative, but I recognise this opportunity is only there for a handful of individuals. It would be stupid for me to suggest this was ever a valid path for everyone.

                      As someone who I'm assuming is either retired or close to it the choices you're making for yourself, at your stage of life, may be perfectly acceptable to you. And if they make you feel like you're doing something useful then well and good. But thinking you can forever impose your choices on the rest of humanity as a path to zero carbon – not so much.

                      What is really interesting to me is how even apparently educated people like yourself show little sign of understand the core meaning of something as relatively simple as Kaya's Identity, and resist engaging with it. It's a simple algebraic equation with just four terms each with a very concrete meaning. Nothing abstract at all. I'm pretty sure you aren't that innumerate – so what gives?

                  • Drowsy M. Kram

                    As I've said above, my personal lifetime carbon footprint via energy efficiency is dramatically negative…

                    I can only aspire to a "dramatically negative personal lifetime carbon footprint", so kudos to you and thanks for the inspiration.

                    but I recognise this opportunity is only there for a handful of individuals. It would be stupid for me to suggest this was ever a valid path for everyone.

                    Transitioning to a low carbon lifestyle is an (limited lifetime) opportunity for 100s of millions of well-off individuals. It would be stupid indeed to suggest it's currently a valid behavioural path for everyone.

                    As someone who I'm assuming is either retired or close to it the choices you're making for yourself, at your stage of life, may be perfectly acceptable to you.

                    Correct, not to mention "well and good." smiley

                    And if they make you feel like you're doing something useful then well and good. But thinking you can forever impose your choices on the rest of humanity as a path to zero carbon – not so much.

                    Then it's just as well I'm not in a position to "forever impose my choices on the rest of humanity", although why you think I might want to do that is beyond me – projecting much?

                    What is really interesting to me is how even apparently educated people like yourself show little sign of understand the core meaning of something as relatively simple as Kaya's Identity, and resist engaging with it. It's a simple algebraic equation with just four terms each with a very concrete meaning. Nothing abstract at all. I'm pretty sure you aren't that innumerate – so what gives?

                    "What gives" is that I don't understand what engaging with Kaya's identity equations would achieve, whereas I understand how not flying, walking instead of driving, using a push mower instead of a petrol or even electric mower, eating less (not 'no') meat, using less water, sharing appliance use, etc. etc., decreases my personal energy and material consumption. Transitioning to more energy-efficient lighting was a no-brainer.

                    https://genless.govt.nz/for-everyone/at-home/use-led-lighting/

                    I'm prepared to believe that engaging with Kaya's identity equations might be a path to avoiding catastrophic global warming, but I have this sneaking suspicion (and I know you're familiar with those) that it will lead us up a garden path, so I'll carry on doing my bit in other ways, if it's all the same to you.

                    And maybe it’s not too late to consume our way our of this fine mess.

                    Should it believe its own hype? From ‘engineers of demand’ to agents of positive change – reality or advertisers’ new pipe dream?
                    https://www.badverts.org/latest/should-it-believe-its-own-hype-from-engineers-of-demand-to-agents-of-positive-change-reality-or-advertisers-new-pipe-dream

      • Robert Guyton 12.1.3

        Kimmerer doesn't characterise the modern world as nothing but rank exploitation though, does she?

        You are right though, levelling the charge of "hypocrisy" at someone in order to neutralise their message is blithering nonsense.

    • weka 12.2

      It's still coloniser mentality.

      • Gezza 12.2.1

        So what? Māori ancestors had a coloniser mentality. Every group of humans that ever lived and moved to new lands & locations had a coloniser mentality.

        Humans & orher animals make use of the resources they find wherever they go. The most important thing is learning not to use it all up and permanently exhaust the resource or make yet another of nature’s wonders go extinct. Like what happened to moa.

        The fact there’s water ice on the moon in the shadows of deep craters at the poles is interesting but there’s nothing so inherently beautiful & wonderful about it that some of it shouldn’t be used.

        • weka 12.2.1.1

          coloniser mentality was referred to in the post. Did you not understand what was meant in this context?

          The fact there’s water ice on the moon in the shadows of deep craters at the poles is interesting but there’s nothing so inherently beautiful & wonderful about it that some of it shouldn’t be used.

          Please read the post properly, I talked about this.

  13. DS 13

    Honestly, we'd be better off reserving the term Science for the stuff compliant with the actual scientific method, and using the old term Natural Philosophy as an umbrella term.

  14. Gezza 14

    “Right there is the difference. The Western mind struggles to understand how water on a dead planet can be a surprising, wonderful gift, not of resource for us to use, but a source of wonder, of commonality. Or perhaps we can see that but it’s just poetry right? Not of use in the practical world.

    It’s not that we could never interact with the water on the moon, it’s that we don’t use extraction and consumption as a starting point. And using a different starting point yields different results, for the water and in ourselves.

    If Western science excels at pulling things apart and seeing the isolated detail, Indigenous ways of knowing are adept at not so much putting the pieces together as seeing them as a whole in the first place. It’s about the relationship between all the things. And as Kimmerer points to above, the ‘things’ are not things, and when humans change our relationship to the non-human world, different relationships and knowledge arise. There is no ‘it’.”
    ……………………..

    I did read the post. And I’ve now re-read it. In my view Ms Kimmerer picked the wrong analogy to make her point. She shouldn’t have used water on the moon to talk about the “coloniser mentality” which, if the definition being used is seeing resources & immediately wondering whether & how we can use them, is ubiquitous. It’s a purely practical approach that all humans take.

    Grandmother Moon is a quaint and common way for some First Nations peoples who lacked the knowledge science has now given them to look at & talk about this fascinating celestial body & whose mythologies have anthropomorphised it as an ancestor of humans.

    How do we know those same NASA scientists weren’t filled with a sense of wonder that they found water on the otherwise pretty desolate moon? Why is their immediate reaction to think about whether this wonderful gift might be useable in their field of science validly something to criticise?

    There’s no doubt that useful, practical indigenous knowledge built up over generations has often been largely ignored or discounted by Western science & I think it’s great that in NZ more attention is now being paid to that knowledge in various fields of science (including textiles, sustainable uses of plants as alternatives to plastics, pharmaceuticals), & in more sustainably managing the natural envronment’s “earthly gifts” & the environment in partnership with iwi.

    This doesn’t require that we all have to treat the natural world and natural phenomena as relatives, & rocks as alive (although at the subatomic level they’re constantly in motion). They’re not. We need to be aware of our place in the natural environment & the harm we cause it, and to be far more committed to managing nature & its bounty sustainably.

    I don’t insult first peoples who hold on to their anthropomorphised myths of personal relationships to the natural world, but I don’t need to buy into it to want to better manage & preserve nature.

    I personally see the earth & the moon & the universe as amazing, awe-inspiring. I see nature as an unequalled artist every day & night. This doesn’t do justice to the stunning rainbow lightshow I was watching at the time.

    Smoky moon above Pookden Manor

    But as far as we know, there’s no living ecosystem on the moon that would suffer if some water there was used by astronauts.

  15. Robert Guyton 15

    "Grandmother Moon is a quaint and common way for some First Nations peoples who lacked the knowledge science has now given them to look at & talk about this fascinating celestial body & whose mythologies have anthropomorphised it as an ancestor of humans."

    Hmmmm….

    I believe, Gezza, that until we/you DO recognise Grandmother Moon, we'll/you'll be bound to mistreat Her, both in the material world and in the spiritual world also. When we disrespect any entity, we disrespect ourselves.
    Edit: you wrote:
    “I don’t insult first peoples who hold on to their anthropomorphised myths of personal relationships to the natural world, but I don’t need to buy into it to want to better manage & preserve nature.”

    I would suggest that in fact, that’s exactly what you do need to do.

    • Gezza 15.1

      I would suggest that because your psychological make-up apparently makes you need to do it is not a valid reason that everybody else does.

      What is the spiritual nature of the moon? How does this manifest itself?

      • Gezza 15.1.1

        and to be far more committed to managing nature & its bounty sustainably.

        I could have put that better. I really meant that we need to be far more committed to living with nature & its bounty sustainably. Some of our environmental problems come from seeing ourselves as having some kind of god-given & god-like responsibility for managing nature & collectively in an industrial world we’ve done a piss poor job of that.

      • Robert Guyton 15.1.2

        Millions of humans across time and place, believe as I do, Gezza 🙂

        The Moon and Her nature has been widely talked, sung, acted and written about for as long as human could do those things; that's a massive bank of human experience and expression right there! Our recent belief (it's a rock) lacks depth and background, and is a temporary view, in my opinion.

        If you are keen to establish dialogue with Moon, it's not difficult: request an audience, make an appointment, do a background check, bring a gift.

        You'll probably think I'm joking 🙂

        • Gezza 15.1.2.1

          Our recent belief (it’s a rock) lacks depth and background, and is a temporary view, in my opinion.

          Even in purely scientific terms, it’s so much more than “a rock” I’d never describe it as such. Celebrating the moon in song and poetry doesn’t explain in real, physics terms what it is, what it does, how it orbits (well actually Earth and Moon orbit each other around a common centre of gravity) or how it got there.

          If you are keen to establish dialogue with Moon, it’s not difficult: request an audience, make an appointment, do a background check, bring a gift.
          You’ll probably think I’m joking 🙂

          You probably are, or you should be. But as part of my background check, I’m happy to use you as one of my referees. When you establish a dialogue with the moon what sort of things does it say to you?

          • Robert Guyton 15.1.2.1.1

            "it"?

          • Gezza 15.1.2.1.2

            The Moon and Her nature has been widely talked, sung, acted and written about for as long as human could do those things; that’s a massive bank of human experience and expression right there!

            The moon is utterly beautiful. It’s awe-inspiring. Its colours, its movements, its interactions with our atmosphere & the light shows it produces, its eclipses, they are stunning phenomena.

            This awe is so widely felt it has motivated people throughout the ages at times to believe or at least to allude to the feeling that it has some kind of personal & spiritual nature, but this actually reflects the nature of humans to use their imagination to concoct spiritual explanations in familiar terms when they lack an understanding of what things like the moon are & why its there.

            It doesn’t establish that the moon actually has a spiritual nature.

            • Robert Guyton 15.1.2.1.2.1

              Oh well.

              I tried 🙂

              • Gezza

                Not very hard. You never said what the moon says to you when you “request an audience & establish dialogue with the moon”.

                Is that because you don’t actually do that? Because you were joking? Or because it’s hard to put into words what you ask the moon & what sense you get of a response?

                • Robert Guyton

                  You think I'm joking (or should be) but at the same time want me to share personal detail such as that with you?

                  For giggles-sake?

                  Hmmmm…

                  I decline, with thanks.

                  • Gezza

                    No, I think it unlikely you have such dialogue, but rather than just dismiss the notion completely I offered to consider whether such dialogue may take place on another plane or in a way I don’t experience or understand, unless explained. Your reaction that that would be sharing personal detail you don’t want to share seems a very odd one, & a cop out, but that’s fine with me.

                    • weka

                      I talk to the moon. When I am outside and see the new moon I feel excited, and I say hello new moon! I stop and think about the coming month, what it might bring, what I might want. Talking to the moon focuses one's mind (and soul for those that believe in such a thing).

                      As for dialogue, the moon spoke to me, every month, for forty years through my body.

                      You can limit such engagements with the moon to being one sided, but those that speak the moon language understand well the advantages and pleasures of putting the rational mind aside for a moment and allowing a different kind of experience.

                      People who speak both languages know things that people who only speak the one don't. Sorry, I didn't make the rules, this is just how it works. Likewise, people that can speak complicated math of physics can understand things I cannot, so it's not negative, except where people deny the other languages exist.

                      We have people misusing science out of illiteracy, likewise we have people misusing nature also out of illiteracy.

                    • Robert Guyton

                      All good, Gezza!

                      And yes, such dialogues do take place on another plane or in a way you don’t experience or understand, unless explained.

                      Good on you for expressing a willingness to expand your understanding into difficult-to-measure experience.

                    • Robert Guyton

                      Nice reply, weka. Not so curious then, that La Luna is universally understood to be feminine 🙂

                      You captured the issue and its challenges perfectly with:

                      "We have people misusing science out of illiteracy, likewise we have people misusing nature also out of illiteracy."

                      Your OP here is nudging the nature-illiterate in the direction they need to go (I'm teasing them – relax, guys!).

                    • Gezza

                      I talk to the moon. When I am outside and see the new moon I feel excited, and I say hello new moon! I stop and think about the coming month, what it might bring, what I might want. Talking to the moon focuses one’s mind (and soul for those that believe in such a thing).

                      It’s a minor thing but technically, astronomically speaking, the new moon is the moon phase when the moon is not actually visible from earth. That’s why it’s often shown as a dark circle on calendars. The full moon or one of the waxing crescent phases is I imagine what you’re possibly referring to.

                      As for dialogue, the moon spoke to me, every month, for forty years through my body.

                      I like that analogy & characterisation, weka. Although I’m not sure that all women’s menstrual cycles match moon phases exactly, timewise, perhaps they are in some way distantly & evolutionarily related.

                      You can limit such engagements with the moon to being one sided, but those that speak the moon language understand well the advantages and pleasures of putting the rational mind aside for a moment and allowing a different kind of experience.

                      It’s been enuf for me to just be constantly awed by the moon. I have a sense of wonder every time I look at it. It has an emotional effect on me. I don’t feel the need to talk to it. But I must say, I’m now interested in giving it a go & seeing what happens. Can’t do any harm.

                      People who speak both languages know things that people who only speak the one don’t. Sorry, I didn’t make the rules, this is just how it works. Likewise, people that can speak complicated math of physics can understand things I cannot, so it’s not negative, except where people deny the other languages exist.

                      People everywhere who want to or need to have learned to appreciate the effects of the moon on this planet & to use that knowledge to decide e.g. when best to fish, when to expect whitebait to run, when to beware of higher than normal tides, some people swear by planting by the moon phases, and so forth. How they explain this is often less important to me than finding out whether it works. We have a built in tendency towards confirmation bias. But I don’t mind going along with such cultural knowledge where I don’t have the time to study & analyse it. First peoples have often done that in coming up with their rules and practices based on decades of experience.

                      We have people misusing science out of illiteracy, likewise we have people misusing nature also out of illiteracy.

                      Agreed. But when it comes to caring better for and about the planet, some people will want to go down a spiritual path and others will want to go down a scientific or logical path and some people will happily do both. What matters, it seems to me, is that we do it.

                    • Robert Guyton

                      Remember, Gezza, it's just a dead rock in dead space.

                      Nothing to get excited about.

                    • Gezza

                      Remember, Gezza, it’s just a dead rock in dead space. Nothing to get excited about.

                      Why torpedo your own stated beliefs with sarcasm? The moon’s not just a dead rock, Robert. And space is far from dead. Space is full of constantly moving matter, energy, & radiation from every direction including our Sol. Even the space between us and the moon.

                      And I don’t expect spiritual communications to be in audible & discernible voices.

                  • Patricia Bremner

                    Hi Robert, my Dad had a great friendship with a Kamatua from Athenree, and he told Dad to consult the Moon before planting. He gave Dad information on when to plant by the Moon. He had a marvellous garden and always praised that man and method as being wonderful.

                    I don't know what the pattern was or the prayers but it worked.

                    We do not know everything being built with limited senses, yet we are often dismissive and arrogant in the extreme. "High horse" comes to mind.

                    • Robert Guyton

                      Hi, Patricia – your dad (and the kaumatua) were fortunate indeed!

                      Prayers to the moon are interesting – they bring your mind into focus and if there was to be a dialogue established (sorry Gazza) then that would be a great way to initiate one 🙂

                  • Dennis Frank

                    Luna is universally understood to be feminine

                    Not so fast, young man! wink

                    The Semitic moon god Su'en/Sin is in origin a separate deity from Sumerian Nanna, but from the Akkadian Empire period the two undergo syncretization and are identified.

                    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sin_(mythology)

                    Yes, sad to say, nanna was originally male. Best not to tell any grannies, eh?

                    And if you think Semites deifying sin could be a tad controversial, beware. Pronounce that thought & leftists will immediately declare you antisemitic. It does explain the bible somewhat though…

                    • Robert Guyton

                      You found an exception to the rule, Dennis?

                      That proves it then 🙂

                    • Dennis Frank

                      an exception

                      best not be too singular about it – there's a plethora of separate cultures bundled up in there!

        • Poission 15.1.2.2

          Zamyatin in a story about the most important thing.

          “The moon, our own, earthly moon is bitterly lonely, because it is alone in the sky, always alone, and there is no one to turn to, no one to turn to it. All it can do is ache across the weightless airy ice, across thousands of versts, toward those who are equally lonely on earth, and listen to the endless howling of dogs.

          Stop barking Bob.

          • Robert Guyton 15.1.2.2.1

            Yevgeny Ivanovich Zamyatin is an indigenous person, steeped in matauranga?

            Who knew?

        • Blazer 15.1.2.3

          Does howling at the …moon count..Robert?

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  • Funding certainty for quality public media
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  • Funding boost secures Defence capabilities
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  • Minister of Finance: Wellbeing Budget 2022 Speech
    It is my great pleasure to present New Zealand’s fourth Wellbeing Budget. In each of this Government’s three previous Wellbeing Budgets we have not only considered the performance of our economy and finances, but also the wellbeing of our people, the health of our environment and the strength of our communities. In Budget ...
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  • Wellbeing Budget 2022 Speech
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  • Paving the way for better outcomes for disabled people
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  • Primary sector backed to grow and innovate
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  • Budget lifts up to 14,000 children out of poverty
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  • A booster for RNA research and development
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  • Unleashing business potential across NZ
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  • Securing the wellbeing of Pacific communities
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  • Government delivers timely support for whānau
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  • A health system that takes care of Māori
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  • Investing in better health services
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  • Budget highlights underlying strength of economy in face of global headwinds
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  • Health Minister to attend World Health Assembly in Geneva
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  • New efforts to counter illegal timber trade
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  • Deaths in New Zealand lower than expected so far during the pandemic
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  • New law helps secure New Zealand’s maritime domain
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  • Trade and Export Growth Minister to travel to Bangkok for APEC
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  • Government delivers new ICU space at Christchurch Hospital
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  • Belarusian leaders and defence entities targeted under latest round of sanctions
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