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Message - Earth Day
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Posted by  Sonoma Ecology Center on April 25, 2001 at 21:57:41:


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Earth Day, 2001

Today is a blustery April day with wind and occasional showers that
roll along the still verdant hills of our Valley. In another few
weeks it will be dry again. It is a good time to breathe in the
remarkable mixture of light and air and earth that have coalesced
into dazzling life, on display all around us.

At this time of year we are reminded to honor the earth. And while
there is much to be concerned for, from severe challenges to nature
and to human systems that are built on the back of nature, there is
good reason, I think, to pause and think of what is right about our
small part of the world.

Yesterday, I met a researcher who studies bees and mentioned that
there are a very large number of solitary bee species in our area,
uniquely large compared to most places in the country. Not long ago
we learned from EPA research that our streams have perhaps the
largest number of native fish species of any other streams in the
Bay-Delta system, nearly two-thirds of the state. As several of us
have learned who are fortunate to live here and make a livelihood
studying and working to restore and preserve parts of our valley,
this place is remarkable.

Sonoma Valley is extraordinarily diverse. There are many kinds of
climatic and topographic niches that create unique places for things
to grow. In these places, since we are fortunate enough to have
avoided the worst of human disturbance until very recently, many
unique things reside here as they have for millennia. They use each
other's bounty and waste to create a web of life that is easy to
witness in the light of spring as it still is-lush and vibrant. Out
of this bounty, benefits accrue: resources and options for living
systems; resources, options, and beauty for humans. Visitors flock to
witness our beauty. Scientists and life itself flocks here because
there is so much wealth of nature, even in the midst of so much human
presence.

Our challenge is as obvious as the beauty that marks this unusual and
important place. How do we live our lives with respect for the gifts
we have been given here, so that in the future, others, including
other parts of life, will have the chance to be as full of wonder and
surrounded by options as we are?

I think reverence is a key. Please venture out into the bounty that
we are offered here; drink it in and realize how lucky we are.
Sharing is another key, I think. Sharing love of life, and gifts
given us as stewards, in a way that will preserve the opportunity for
ourselves and others to love life for years to come. A third, and
hardest part of supporting this beauty we live in, I think, is
working with one another for our common good. We are so well trained
to be individuals, and fear the unknown possibilities of others'
needs and actions. It may be hard to do, but in our landscape where
so many of us own individual parts of this remarkable place,
cooperation is a vital part of a healthy future. No one of us owns
enough to have the beauty we share exist for long unless we cooperate.

There are basic things any of us can do. If you are fortunate to own
or manage a ranch, a vineyard, an estate, a backyard, or a window box
with flowers, think about how its life is connected to everything
else. Your actions, simple or vast, have profound effects,
eventually, on everything else here. In that connection, consider how
to help it stay as fertile, diverse, and healthy as it can be.
Consider working with others-groups, neighbors, business partners-to
help accomplish health for nature on a scale that realizes the links
between everything. This kind of collaboration would be a feat that
people would travel even further to see at work here and learn from.

In the end, we really can't take this remarkable gift of natural
abundance out of the valley. I think it will survive us though, and
be a noble enough gift to leave behind us, if we can be full of
wonder, can share, and can work together.

Happy Earth Day.

--

Richard Dale,
Sonoma Ecology Center
205 First St West, Sonoma, CA 95476 USA
voice: 707 996-9744 fax: 996-1744
email: sec@vom.com web: www.vom.com/sec
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column

Earth
Day, 2001



Today is a blustery April day with wind and occasional showers
that roll along the still verdant hills of our Valley. In another few
weeks it will be dry again. It is a good time to breathe in the
remarkable mixture of light and air and earth that have coalesced
into dazzling life, on display all around us.



At this time of year we are reminded to honor the earth. And while
there is much to be concerned for, from severe challenges to nature
and to human systems that are built on the back of nature, there is
good reason, I think, to pause and think of what is right about our
small part of the world.



Yesterday, I met a researcher who studies bees and mentioned that
there are a very large number of solitary bee species in our area,
uniquely large compared to most places in the country. Not long ago
we learned from EPA research that our streams have perhaps the
largest number of native fish species of any other streams in the
Bay-Delta system, nearly two-thirds of the state. As several of us
have learned who are fortunate to live here and make a livelihood
studying and working to restore and preserve parts of our valley,
this place is remarkable.



Sonoma Valley is extraordinarily diverse. There are many kinds of
climatic and topographic niches that create unique places for things
to grow. In these places, since we are fortunate enough to have
avoided the worst of human disturbance until very recently, many
unique things reside here as they have for millennia. They use each
other's bounty and waste to create a web of life that is easy to
witness in the light of spring as it still is-lush and vibrant. Out
of this bounty, benefits accrue: resources and options for living
systems; resources, options, and beauty for humans. Visitors flock to
witness our beauty. Scientists and life itself flocks here because
there is so much wealth of nature, even in the midst of so much human
presence.



Our challenge is as obvious as the beauty that marks this unusual and
important place. How do we live our lives with respect for the gifts
we have been given here, so that in the future, others, including
other parts of life, will have the chance to be as full of wonder and
surrounded by options as we are?



I think reverence is a key. Please venture out into the bounty that
we are offered here; drink it in and realize how lucky we are.
Sharing is another key, I think.  Sharing love of life, and
gifts given us as stewards, in a way that will preserve the
opportunity for ourselves and others to love life for years to come.
A third, and hardest part of supporting this beauty we live in, I
think, is working with one another for our common good. We are so
well trained to be individuals, and fear the unknown possibilities of
others' needs and actions. It may be hard to do, but in our
landscape where so many of us own individual parts of this remarkable
place, cooperation is a vital part of a healthy future. No one of us
owns enough to have the beauty we share exist for long unless we
cooperate.



There are basic things any of us can do. If you are fortunate to own
or manage a ranch, a vineyard, an estate, a backyard, or a window box
with flowers, think about how its life is connected to everything
else. Your actions, simple or vast, have profound effects,
eventually, on everything else here. In that connection, consider how
to help it stay as fertile, diverse, and healthy as it can be.
Consider working with others-groups, neighbors, business
partners-to help accomplish health for nature on a scale that
realizes the links between everything. This kind of collaboration
would be a feat that people would travel even further to see at work
here and learn from.



In the end, we really can't take this remarkable gift of natural
abundance out of the valley. I think it will survive us though, and
be a noble enough gift to leave behind us, if we can be full of
wonder, can share, and can work together. 



Happy Earth Day.


--



Richard Dale,

Sonoma Ecology Center

205 First St West, Sonoma, CA 95476 USA

voice: 707 996-9744   fax: 996-1744

email: sec@vom.com   web: www.vom.com/sec



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