Thursday, April 14, 2011

RE Birth of a Notion

With open revolts in Egypt and Libya; quakes, a tsunami, and nuclear peril in Japan; and a multitude of corporate interests in the US pushing massive coal exports to China, the world is quite simply a mess that only seems to be getting worse.
To many of us it is clear that the planet can no longer flourish with self-interested, quirky and oppressive leaders. Likewise, we can ill-afford experts that design dangerous undertakings without fully considering all combinations of calamities such as earthquakes and tsunamis. (Who would think that those quintessentially linked occurrences could possibly happen at the same time?) And we can no longer tolerate business and political leaders whose absolute disconnect with and willful disregard for prevailing science jeopardize our well-being or persistence.
Metaphorically we sit in the April showers of our existence waiting for a magical notion to flower. My message to all of us is: Stop waiting and bloom.

What do I mean by that? Quite simply, we will not make any real progress on the above set of issues  unless we all decide to take personal responsibility and act. In keeping with the  theme of re-birth, we have to emerge from “waiting” to enter the space of doing and leading.
So over the course of the month of April in this post and three others on the blog, I will present examples of what I mean by “doing” and “leading” that are happening in my own backyard in the Pacific Northwest.
The first action is the most simple and direct. Plant something. Plant a seed. Plant a tree. Plant an idea or notion. Key is planting something that will grow and provide benefit to your family, your circle, your community and, perhaps, beyond.
These can range from small to large. Last weekend, for example, my wife and I planted the first beds of our vegetable garden. A little lettuce, some beans, and the first courses of potatoes are now in the ground with other seeds and starters to follow as the temperatures and our schedules permit. We look forward to the harvests not only for what they will bring us, but what we will barter from our neighbors. (I might add that about fifty percent of what we plant comes from free community seed exchanges.)
On the large side of things are the ideas and notions. One particularly nice one was planted by Facebook friend and fellow Greenopolis blogger, Anita Burke, who began a dialogue about how surplus and in-foreclosure housing in Detroit might serve as temporary shelter for folks displaced by earthquake, tsunami, and radiation in Japan. Sure there are logistical challenges and some substantial hurdles in terms of financing the whole enterprise. But maybe there is an idle troop ship and train solution that will benefit all concerned. And maybe it is just a seed of an idea that will not grow, but will lead to an idea than will. The act is in many cases more important than the result.
Come along with us on a journey of re-birth this April. You’ll not be sorry.

Bob Ferris
Executive Director

This blog post was originally published on


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