Tag: Mogollon Rim

The power of the bleedin’ obvious!

Musings for a Monday morning!

Let me start with this:

A self-affirmation

For today, I am in charge of my life.

Today, I choose my thoughts.

Today, I choose my attitudes.

Today, I choose my actions and behaviours.

With these, I create my life and my destiny

I hasten to add that I am not the author of these wonderful words; just been aware of them for many years.

OK, to the muse!

I subscribe to Christine’s excellent blog 350 or bust.  Last Friday, Christine published a post that she called: Despite Pleas In Doha, Our Governments Have Failed Us & Our Children.

In that post, Christine included this video,

The lead negotiator for the Philippines at the Climate Conference in Doha, Naderev Saño, could not keep back the tears as he made a passionate appeal for real action on climate change.

“I appeal to all, please, no more delays, no more excuses. Please, let Doha be remembered as the place where we found the political will to turn things around…

The outcome of our work is not about what our political masters want. It is about what is demanded of us by 7 billion people…

I ask of all of us here, if not us, then who? If not now, then when? If not here, then where?”

Christine also included a short video of 19-year-old Syrian-American student Munira Sibai addressing the delegates.

“So let me now speak beyond the negotiators in this room to the people who I represent. Your governments are failing you. They are afraid that offering visionary pathways to low-carbon economies will make them look foolish, that taking responsibility will make them look weak, that standing up to the money and power of polluters will cost them political support. Unchecked, this cowardice will cost lives. Here in the halls of the United Nations, the voices of global citizens are limited, regulated and relegated to these short, symbolic statements. Outside these walls, these walls, there is a global movement, growing up from the grassroots, calling for climate justice. Join us.”

So young Munira Sibai offered the answer to Naderev Saño’s plea, “I ask of all of us here, if not us, then who? If not now, then when? If not here, then where?”  That answer being so beautifully encompassed in the opening self-affirmation.  Stay with me a little longer.

Many of you readers know that a little over 5 weeks ago Jean and I and our 11 dogs and 5 cats moved from Payson in Arizona up to Merlin, Southern Oregon.  The reason I refer to Payson is that not long before we left, a group concerned about the environment and climate change decided to form Transition Town Payson.

If you go to the ‘About‘ page of their website, you will see this beautiful photograph.


It’s a view from the Mogollon Rim Trail that would inspire anyone to want to care for our planet.  The trail passes close to Payson and is a very popular walking area.

Back to TTP.  If you go to their website and start browsing the articles and seeing what information is already there, you get a clear idea of what a group of people can do.  That key word ‘DO‘!

Last Thursday, I offered a reflection on Learning from Dogs about what feels like a new world order.  The penultimate paragraph offered this:

I sense that we, as in the peoples on this planet, are well into a period of such change that even by the end of 2013, a little over 50 weeks away, the precipice for humanity will be within sight.  I hold out zero hope that any time soon our leaders and politicians will stop ‘playing games’ and focus on doing what’s right.  The time for truth, for integrity, for sound debate is NOW!

However, all the truth, integrity and debate in the world comes to nothing without ACTION.

It really is the bleedin’ obvious!

Payson, Arizona

A Sunday interlude

Despite the fact that Jean and I and our animals have lived in Payson for a little over two years, it never crossed my mind to give all you readers a glimpse of this part of the world.

So to remedy that, here’s the Town of Payson tourism website.

The photograph below is a view from the Mogollon Rim that overlooks Payson.

A view to die for!

The WikiPedia entry for Payson is here.

And to close, here’s a short video of the Tonto Natural Bridge that is a short distance from Payson.

The view from the window.

Perhaps ancient man is still alive and well in all of us.

Two delightful events have provided the fuel for today’s post which, I warn you, is much more the personal mental ramble than the usual daily post on Learning from Dogs.  So, health warning, continue reading at your own risk, or be safe and switch off now!

Before getting in to my perambulations, just a word of thanks to you for your support.  Last month, there were 31,291 viewers of Learning from Dogs and 71 of you have chosen to subscribe.  I am humbled by your interest.  Don’t ever hesitate to give me feedback or, if you prefer, comment to a specific post.

OK, to the theme of today.

On Wednesday I had an enjoyable lunch with a friend from here in Payson, Dennis L.  Sitting in the Crosswinds restaurant at Payson airport is one of the most beautiful eating spots in terms of the view from the window.  So it’s a very conducive place to relax and try put the world to rights!  Conversation ranged across a variety of topics but frequently touched on the lunacy of so many things to do with man, especially when it comes to the government of peoples.

Dennis and I also acknowledged that entering politics with a set of passionate ideals, as we were sure many persons did, would quickly run up against the skein of vested interests that must permeate governments from top to bottom.

Yes Minister was a satirical comedy written by Antony Jay and Jonathan Lynn that ran for many years.  It was extraordinarily funny, here’s a 3-minute clip,

That programme underlined, far better than anything else, how governments most probably work in reality.

Dennis and I were clear, as so many millions of other global citizens must be, that the complexity of commerce, politics, national interests, global finance, and more, had created ‘systems’ of decision making that were utterly disconnected with the needs of mankind having a long and stable future on the only finite home around, Planet Earth.

Then today (Thursday), Jean and I attended our regular weekly gardening course at the local college in Payson.  Today’s subject was Arizona’s Climate and the tutor, Mike C., was a professional climatologist and meteorologist.  It was fascinating, indeed, totally absorbing.  Mike’s graphs and slides about the climate, some showing data for the last 1,000 years, underlined the incredible complexity and interconnectedness of the processes that made up the global climate system.

Once again that use of the word ‘complexity’.  He confirmed that there was no scientific doubt that the world was warming as a result of changes to the Earth’s atmosphere, science certain most of it is caused by increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases produced by human activities such as deforestation and burning fossil fuels.

Mike closed the session with an interesting reflection.  He reminded the audience that mankind is still essentially wired, in evolutionary terms, to know how to react to an attacking tiger or similar wild beast, as in the fight or flee response, than know how to deal with such complex, despite intellectually obvious, threats as global climate change, rising sea levels and many other totally unsustainable practices.  Mike held the view that only when man had the threat in his face equivalent to that of the attacking tiger would there be a wholesale change.

On the home page of this blog, I write,

As man’s companion, protector and helper, history suggests that dogs were critically important in man achieving success as a hunter-gatherer.  Dogs ‘teaching’ man to be so successful a hunter enabled evolution, some 20,000 years later, to farming,  thence the long journey to modern man.  But in the last, say 100 years, that farming spirit has become corrupted to the point where we see the planet’s plant and mineral resources as infinite.  Mankind is close to the edge of extinction, literally and spiritually.

In the context of homo sapiens, Latin for “wise man” or “knowing man”, then we know that modern man, anatomically, originated in Africa about 200,000 years ago.  Modern man only evolved from hunter/gatherer to farmer around 10,000 years ago, a tiny proportion of H. sapiens existence and, in evolutionary terms, no time at all.

The DNA of the domesticated dog separated from that of the wolf around 100,000 years ago.  No one knows for sure when man and dog came together but there is archaeological evidence of dogs being buried in mens’ graves around 30,000 years ago.  That’s an association over a huge time period.

Dennis and Mike, between them, triggered in my mind something fundamental.  Perhaps modern society, with all it’s bizarre behaviours and so many totally illogical practises (especially, in terms of a long-term relationship with our planet), could be understood.  Understood from the perspective of our social behaviours, built so much on technology, having raced far on to the point where they are now practically out of sight of our instinctive evolutionary behaviours.  We really don’t know how to change those core behaviours.

In contrast, dogs have remained much more stable with regard to their evolutionary progress and their external world.  Consider that the last big change for the domesticated dog was the association with man and that is at least three times as long ago as man becoming farming man.  No wonder when we curl up with our dog it has echoes of a time thousands of years before we could even spell the word, ‘politician’.  Echoes of a stability that seems now so way beyond reach.

And the view from the window of the Crosswinds ……

Mogollon Rim, North of Payson, AZ., in Winter

Arizona geology

An interesting insight into Arizona geology.

I’m taking a little gamble that the owners of the copyright in the following article will not mind the complete re-publishing of this piece.

While I have practically zero knowledge of the geology of much of the USA living here close to the Mogollon Rim makes it almost impossible not to sense the ageless beauty of the surrounding hills and mountains.  Anyway, this article was found on the Arizona Geology website. It is called Putting Earth Science Back in its Place, written by STEVEN SEMKEN of ARIZONA STATE UNIVERSITY.

The ancient landscape of Arizona

One of the most universal and fundamental things that humans do is to make places. We do this by sensing and experiencing the space around us, and attaching meanings to parts of it: here is a beautiful mountain, here is where my house is, here is where we have found copper, here is where my ancestors lived.  The meanings that we affix to places can be aesthetic, ceremonial, historic, practical, and mythical, as well as scientific. Humans develop emotional attachments to meaningful places, sometimes to the point of making significant personal sacrifices to preserve or protect them. The combination of meanings and attachments that connect us to places is called the sense of place.

We study and teach about Earth through its places. From Monument Valley to Organ Pipe, the landscapes of Arizona are set with places that are not only great geological exemplars, but meaningful to people for all kinds of reasons. It is only human for us to become interested in these diverse place meanings even as we explore our surroundings scientifically. Our students may also have, or can be encouraged to develop, rich senses of these places—particularly ones that are relevant to their personal interests, family experiences, or cultural backgrounds. This is the nature ofplace-based teaching, which encourages students to explore, and become involved in, local environments and communities. Urban places are just as meaningful, and can be just as instructive, as rural or remote places.

It is not simply teaching about the geology of a place such as Grand Canyon or the Río Salado Valley. It is finding ways for your students to experience the place: if possible by bringing them there, but alternatively by bringing them local rock specimens, images, maps, and readings to investigate, or enabling them to explore virtually using Google Earth. It is also helping them to become moreinvested in local places: by being able to explain how they get their weather, drinking water, fuel, and electrical power; by doing a community-service project; by creating art that celebrates the beauty of land and environment. And authentically place-based teaching and learning are as trans-disciplinary as place meanings themselves are. Here are reason and motivation for Earth science teachers to collaborate with their colleagues in life sciences, geography, history, language, literature, and so on, to develop ways to explore and understand the natural and cultural landscapes of Arizona across the curriculum.

Why is this important? On one hand, cultural forces such as the pervasiveness and popularity of digital entertainment and the homogenizing effects of global commerce conspire against student and community interest in local places and concerns. There is mounting research and anecdotal evidence that children and families spend less time outdoors. To be oblivious to the importance of local places is to forego opportunities to learn from them and protect them from environmental and cultural degradation. On the other hand, right here in Arizona we are already faced with a number of what many scientists and policymakers have labeled “grand challenges” to sustainability if not human existence, including depletion of water resources, lessened biodiversity, declining air quality, continued dependence on fossil energy, and climate change.  Place-based teaching is an appropriate response. And it is intellectually and emotionally delightful to reacquaint yourself and your students with the places of home.


Gruenewald, D. A., & Smith, G. A. (Eds.). (2008). Place-Based Education In The Global Age: Local Diversity.
New York: Lawrence Erlbaum. ISBN 978-0-8058-5864-8.

Sobel, D. (2004). Place-Based Education: Connecting Classrooms And Communities.
Great Barrington, MA: The Orion Society. ISBN 0-913098-54-X.

Basso, K. H. (1996). Wisdom Sits In Places: Landscape And Language Among The Western Apache.
Albuquerque, NM: University Of New Mexico Press. ISBN 0-8263-1724-3.

Ffolliott, P. F., & Davis, O. K. (2008).  Natural Environments Of Arizona: From Deserts To Mountains.
Tucson, AZ: University Of Arizona Press.  ISBN 978-0-8165-2697-0.

Granger, B.H. (1982).   Will C. Barnes’s Arizona Place Names, Facsimile Edition.
Tucson, AZ: University Of Arizona Press. ISBN 0-8165-0729-5.

Kamilli, R. J., & Richard, S. M. (Eds.). (1998). Geologic Highway Map Of Arizona, Map M-33.
Tucson, AZ: Arizona Geological Society And Arizona Geological Survey. ISBN 1-891924-00-1.

McNamee, G. (1993).  Named In Stone And Sky: An Arizona Anthology.
Tucson, AZ: University Of Arizona Press.  ISBN 0-8165-1348-1.

Nations, D., & Stump, E. (1996).  Geology Of Arizona, Second Edition.
Dubuque, IA: Kendall-Hunt Publishing.  ISBN 0-7872-2525-8.

Trimble, M. (1986).  Roadside History Of Arizona.
Missoula, MT:  Mountain Press Publishing Company.  ISBN 978-0-8784-2198-5.

Wiewandt, T., & Wilks, M. (2001). The Southwest Inside Out: An Illustrated Guide To The Land And Its History.
Tucson, Arizona: Wild Horizons Publishing. ISBN 1-879728-03-6.