Posts Tagged ‘Planet Earth’
Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.
The above is a quote attributed to the Buddha. It is perfect as an introduction to today’s piece.
When I sat down at my PC yesterday afternoon I was planning to finish off a Post about the BBC’s fabulous Frozen Planet TV series. But a check of my email changed all that. Because there was an email from Merci O., someone in Payson that Jean and I know well. Merci had sent me an email with a link to the following YouYube video.
Watch and be moved.
This is a non-commercial attempt to highlight the fact that world leaders, irresponsible corporates and mindless ‘consumers’ are combining to destroy life on earth. It is dedicated to all who died fighting for the planet and those whose lives are on the line today. The cut was put together by Vivek Chauhan, a young film maker, together with naturalists working with the Sanctuary Asia network (www.sanctuaryasia.com).
Content credit: The principal source for the footage was Yann Arthus-Bertrand’s incredible film HOME http://www.homethemovie.org/. The music was by Armand Amar. Thank you too Greenpeace and http://timescapes.org/
Even today, still an amazing film
Jean and I watched this film the other evening. I have seen it a number of times but Jean just once before when it first was released in 1968! Yes, over 40 years ago!
What struck me watching it today was how beautifully slow the film was. I mean in the sense of camera and scene changes. I had forgotten just how beautiful the film was from a technical perspective. It held the eye and brain in a way that seemed so foreign to the way that films have been made in the last so many years.
WikiPedia has a very good summary of the film.
And there are more summaries on the INDB website, here’s an example:
“2001″ is a story of evolution. Sometime in the distant past, someone or something nudged evolution by placing a monolith on Earth (presumably elsewhere throughout the universe as well). Evolution then enabled humankind to reach the moon’s surface, where yet another monolith is found, one that signals the monolith placers that humankind has evolved that far. Now a race begins between computers (HAL) and human (Bowman) to reach the monolith placers. The winner will achieve the next step in evolution, whatever that may be.
What is just as interesting is remembering the feelings that I had when I first saw the film, probably in 1968 or 1969, when I was living out in Australia, aged mid-twenties!
I was incredibly fascinated by the US expeditions out to the moon with the actual landing in July 1969. Indeed, I rented a TV and took a complete week’s holiday from work just to watch every minute of this historical event.
So the film, 2001: A Space Odyssey, seemed to capture, for me anyway, the feelings and mood of a brave new world reaching out beyond Planet Earth. The year 2001 felt like aeons away. It was obvious that when we eventually got to the 21st century, mankind would be unbelievably advanced in many exciting and positive ways.
Ah, the dreams of the naive young!
Now here we are heading towards the year 2011 and the world, I mean mankind, seems to be going where? Here’s Jon Lavin’s rather sombre view:
Have been musing about the part failure of the Russian grain harvest and the resultant speculation, that has forced the grain price up astronomically, the impact on bread/food/beer etc., evidence of the same mentality that kicked the banks/investments recession off.
Also, the fact that Lloyds TSB are 43% owned by the British people and are charging interest on non-approved loans of 165% and have a bonus fund of half billion pounds that certainly they have not asked my permission about.
This continuing lack of integrity, in the face of food shortages, untold hardship for millions of people, just goes to show that until an absolute calamity strikes to stop the whole of mankind in our tracks, it’s business as usual for the financially-led people and get-rich-on-the-back-of-anything-and-anybody crowd.
Are we still at consciousness level 204 or have we crossed back below the threshold, back below integrity 200, where falsehood rules?
The answer is to retain faith in the future, faith in the power of love and compassion, and faith in the fact that being the best that we can be today, now, in the present, just as dogs are so wonderful at doing, will bring us the better tomorrows we all dreamed about in 1968. Here’s a reminder:
By Paul Handover
P.S. Serendipity at work. Saw this from the BBC less than 5 minutes after completing this Post!
Again, apologies for a ‘thin’ posting – here’s why.
I first saw this in Naked Capitalism but the picture came from the UK’s Daily Telegraph newspaper 6th August, 2010.
The accompanying text:
This baby six-week old kookaburra called Kookie and a tiny duckling have struck up a friendship at the Seaview Wildlife Encounter, near Ryde in the Isle of Wight. Kookie was saved by staff after they feared his parents would kill him. And the duckling was rescued from one of the park’s aviaries because he was thought too small to defend himself against larger birds. Keepers took a chance and decided to see what would happen if they were put together. The duckling instantly cuddled up under Kookie’s protective wing, thinking he was his mum and Kookie didn’t seem to mind playing the caring parent
Picture: MIKAEL BUCK / SOLENT
By Paul Handover
The beauty of wild deer.
Apologies for a ‘thin’ posting – here’s why.
Julie has gone on ahead, but returns to tell me that the sika deer are feeding in the reed beds ahead of us. (These are one of two types of deer found at Holton Lee.) She offers to stay with Genie while I go and photograph them, so that Genie won’t frighten them off. They see me, but continue feeding whilst remaining alert.
It really is a magical sight – I am quite converted from my original anxiety about deer leaping out in front of the car!
There is something extremely primeval about deer, which is probably not surprising as their bodies have provided everything from meat and clothing to fish hooks and sinews for many indigenous people, while still remaining wild. It is hard to see why anyone would hunt them simply for sport, though, and I fear that Walt Disney has spoilt me for enjoying venison – ancient, organic, sustainable, non-farmed food source or not, it would be like eating Bambi!
Taken from Ju’s Holton Lee blog.
By Paul Handover
A couple of Posts from last September.
The wonderful news that US Gray Wolves are now back under protection reminded me of the beautiful story of Tim and his ‘pet’ wolf Luna that was published on Learning from Dogs September, 2009.
The first article opened up as follows:
An amazing true story of a relationship between a wild wolf and a man.
This is a story of a particular event in the life of Tim Woods told to me by his brother, DR. It revolves around the coming together of a man sleeping rough, with his dog, on Mingus Mountain, and a fully grown female Gray or Grey Wolf. Mingus is in the Black Hills mountain range between Cottonwood and Prescott in Arizona, USA
You can read the full Post here.
But then I added a postscript which I am going to reproduce in full again.
The story of Luna has some interesting connections.
The person taking the picture in the Post about Tim Woods was Willie Prescott. He just happens to be the grandson of William H. Prescott from whom the town of Prescott is named. Here’s that picture again.
Victory for Wolves
Can’t better what was published in the New York Times a few days ago:
Donald Molloy, a Federal District Court judge in Montana, ruled Thursday that gray wolves in Montana and Idaho must be provided federal protection under the Endangered Species Act. This is a welcome decision. The immediate effect will be to spare the animals from hunts planned for this fall that are now illegal. The larger hope is that Washington will devise a protection plan ensuring the wolves’ survival not only in Montana and Idaho but across the northern Rocky Mountains.
Wolves in Montana and Idaho were removed from federal protection under rules proposed by the Bush administration. The rules were upheld by President Obama’s Interior Department, which said that both states had developed satisfactory management plans and that the wolves, in effect, could be released into their custody.
Wyoming’s plan was deemed inadequate, and federal protections remained. But in Montana and Idaho, the first reaction was to authorize limited wolf hunts that — though the states argued otherwise — would slowly guarantee the extinction of the species.
Judge Molloy ruled that protections for what is essentially a single species cannot be different in each state — either the wolf must be removed from the list or listed as an endangered species in every state, meaning throughout its range. Judging by early comments, the Interior Department’s preference seems to be to persuade Wyoming to improve its management plan so that the government can delist the wolf there — thus bringing the three states into harmony.
This is a terrible idea, and could end up authorizing hunts in three states, not two. The Interior Department, instead, should write an areawide management plan. There are roughly 1,700 wolves across the Rockies — far more than when they were reintroduced in the 1990s. But most biologists believe there should be a minimum of 2,000, with enough breeding pairs to ensure the long-term survival of a dynamic population across the range.
State plans meant to satisfy hunters rather than protect the wolves cannot do that. The gray wolf may need federal protection for years to come.
By Paul Handover
A Pacific master navigator sails into the sunset
The Economist, for me, is one of the great newspapers of our time. I have often referred to it on Learning from Dogs.
Last Saturday’s edition (July 24th – 30th 2010) carried a most beautiful obituary about Mau Piailug who in 1976 demonstrated that ancient seafarers could indeed have voyaged from Hawaii to Tahiti, a distance of some 2,500 miles, before the age of compasses, sextants or charts. Here is an extract from that obituary (you may need to register to view it):
As a Micronesian he did not know the waters or the winds round Tahiti, far south-east. But he had an image of Tahiti in his head. He knew that if he aimed for that image, he would not get lost. And he never did. More than 2,000 miles out, a flock of small white terns skimmed past the Hokule’a heading for the still invisible Mataiva Atoll, next to Tahiti. Mau knew then that the voyage was almost over.
On that month-long trip he carried no compass, sextant or charts. He was not against modern instruments on principle. A compass could occasionally be useful in daylight; and, at least in old age, he wore a chunky watch. But Mau did not operate on latitude, longitude, angles, or mathematical calculations of any kind. He walked, and sailed, under an arching web of stars moving slowly east to west from their rising to their setting points, and knew them so well—more than 100 of them by name, and their associated stars by colour, light and habit—that he seemed to hold a whole cosmos in his head, with himself, determined, stocky and unassuming, at the nub of the celestial action.
Here’s an extract from the website Suite101.com:
Mau Piailug was born in 1932 on Satawal, a tiny Pacific island no wider than a mile in Micronesia. When he was still a little baby, his grandfather put him in a tide pool as though he were putting him in a cradle. There the sea gently rocked him back and forth with the rhythm of the tides.When Mau was six, his grandfather began to teach him about navigation. He started by telling him about the stars; the grandfather made a star compass out of a circle of coral rocks, and in the center he put a little canoe he had made of palm fronds. Then he explained how the stars rose in the sky and traveled from east to west.
As he grew older, Mau spent his evenings in the canoe house. There he asked the elders to teach him about navigation. In this way, and with his grandfather’s help, he learned the paths of more than a hundred stars. He also learned that when clouds covered the sky, he could use the direction of the ocean waves to guide the canoe. He could also follow the birds toward land when they headed home in the evening, and he studied the creatures of the sea, for in times of trouble they, too, could help him find land.
A film was made about Mau called The Last Navigator. Do click on the link and read more about what Steve ‘learnt’ from Mau – here’s a closing taste:
It has been nearly fifteen years since I first met Piailug. In that time I have been blessed with relative fame and prosperity – an eventuality, by the way, that Piailug foretold to me. As I look back, I am impressed now by the twin qualities in the man that impressed me then: his generosity and his courage. Piailug took me into his family, assumed responsibility for my material and political well-being, and taught me his navigation without reserve. The knowledge he gave me about navigation is considered priceless in his culture. The knowledge he gave me about myself, I have come to see, is priceless as well. I often think of Piailug, and the fierceness and determination with which he defends a way of life he knows will die as the wise elders died. He has the courage to live and teach and voyage in spite of the certain knowledge that his struggle can never stem the tide of Westernization, which will change the character of his archipelago and may well eliminate the very role of the navigator as steward of his island’s sustenance and keeper of the flame of cultural knowledge.
A remarkable man.
By Paul Handover
The film was mentioned in a Post here.
If you only had one hour what would you ask?
This is how an excellent film by Rick Ray on the Dalai Lama is introduced. We watched the DVD a few evenings ago and it was heart-stirring and full of the extraordinary wisdom from one of the leading spiritual leaders alive today.
Do watch it if you can. Here’s the official trailer from YouTube:
Finally, I see that part of the film, where Rick Ray is having an audience with His Holiness, is available on YouTube. I’ll post links to the four videos over the next two days.
By Paul Handover