In fact, I am ‘stealing’ the whole of Colin’s post, albeit with his permission, because recently he posted on his blog Wibble a poem written by Linda Ellis that is perfect. Indeed, it is more than perfect, it is a unique view of our lifetimes: yours; mine, everyone’s.
I learnt about ‘living your dash’ from Robby Robin’s Journey. ‘The dash’ is the one that goes between your dates of birth and death. Mine, for instance, is in “1960-” (because I’m not dead yet). Jane Fritz says:
This expression was popularized by Linda Ellis’s poem
The Dash; it provides a powerful metaphor for your life and helps us think about how our own dashes might be evaluated.
I went googling for the poem. It wasn’t hard to find it. However, reproducing it is subject to licence… which I applied for and was kindly granted. So here it is:
by Linda Ellis
I read of a man who stood to speak at the funeral of a friend.
He referred to the dates on the tombstone from the beginning… to the end.
He noted that first came the date of birth and spoke of the following date with tears, but he said what mattered most of all was the dash between those years.
For that dash represents all the time they spent alive on earth
and now only those who loved them know what that little line is worth.
For it matters not, how much we own, the cars… the house… the cash.
What matters is how we live and love and how we spend our dash.
So think about this long and hard; are there things you’d like to change?
For you never know how much time is left that still can be rearranged.
To be less quick to anger and show appreciation more
and love the people in our lives like we’ve never loved before.
If we treat each other with respect and more often wear a smile…
remembering that this special dash might only last a little while.
So when your eulogy is being read, with your life’s actions to rehash,
would you be proud of the things they say about how you lived your dash?
Maybe it is because I am in my mid-seventies. Maybe it is because I have never thought of it before; as in the dash! Maybe it is because I am looking for something that is beautifully clear; an antidote to the complicated world we appear to be living in.
I can’t fathom it out but that doesn’t matter in the slightest.
It is a very beautiful, inspiring poem that gets to the heart of living!
There was a remark left on my post on Tuesday by Pendantry. This is what he said, “Still waiting to hear the story of that dangerous trip you took (once?) that you dropped a teaser about years ago….”
Well not only am I including the excerpt from the book Letter to a Grandson, as yet unpublished, but I am extending it to two posts, simply because I think it’s too long for one.
So this is part one.
Songbird Of Kent
I decided to sell Dataview and worry about the taxation later. Now it is easy to write that all these years later knowing how it turned out; I never paid the tax!
For that same year, 1986, I went to Cyprus on holiday. Or rather I should say I went to the Greek half of Cyprus, to Larnaca, for a well-deserved holiday.
In wandering around the marina one day I saw a boat for sale. It was a Tradewind 33, a heavy-displacement cutter, called Songbird of Kent. The owners, Michael and Betty Hughes, were selling after many years of living on board and they returning to their native Wales. It had been extensively cruised in the Mediterranean with the base being Larnaca Marina.
It was a lovely boat and I could afford it. Plus, it offered an answer to my prayers. If I bought Songbird of Kent and left the UK before April 15th 1987 and stayed away for four tax years there would be no tax to pay. Nothing; Nada!
So that’s exactly what I did!
I bought Songbird, flew back to Devon and made preparations for leaving the United Kingdom for good. It was a busy period. One that had me saying cheerio to my son and daughter, but insisting that, so long as they came out to see me, it would not be four or five years before I saw them again. Plus loads of packing up, disposing of my house and eventually boarding that aircraft with a one-way ticket: London Stansted to Larnaca, Cyprus.
I settled in to living on board Songbird of Kent. I bought myself a small motorbike and in time, believe it or not, discovered there was a gliding club on the Island, at Kingsfield just to the East of Larnaca. The airfield was built for the Army Air Corps, possibly around 1960, but I can’t remember whether or not it was still in military hands. I don’t think it was!
But, I am able to look up my flying log and see that I flew a T21 from Kingsfield on the 28th October, 1990. It became a regular habit; quite quickly, as on the 17th November, 1990, I completed my instructor flight test and was signed off to instruct.
I also took an Advanced Open Water Diver course run by instructor Ian Murray. Ian was a PADI diving instructor. PADI stood for Professional Association of Diving Instructors.
My life was pretty good.
Each summer I would sail solo to Turkey, usually West along the South coast, the Greek side of Cyprus, then turn North and make it to Alanya or Antalya. There I would wait for guests to come from England including, most importantly, for Maija and Alex to visit.
Then we would gently cruise from harbour to harbour westwards, sometimes entering Greece much further West.
One day in Larnaca Marina a boat came quietly in and moored in the vacant berth next to me. I hopped off Songbird and went to help the sailor on board. It looked as though he was sailing solo.
After he had been securely moored, I asked him where he had come from. He was English; his name was Les Powells. He unassumingly said he was on his way home after a solo circumnavigation. Indeed, I later learned that it was his third solo circumnavigation!
The mind absolutely boggles! I mean I have just an idea, from reading books written by Francis Chichester and others, what a single solo circumnavigation would be like. But three!!
Over the coming days, we chatted about a whole range of stuff. When the subject of glider flying came up, Les said that was something he had always wanted to do.
I immediately offered to teach him to fly gliders. For a few weeks thereafter, we drove across to Kingsfield, when the Club was operating, and I taught Les up to the point where he went solo.
In the time we spent together, Les inspired me to undertake more longer sailing trips than just going across at the start of the season from Cyprus to Turkey and, of course, returning at the end of the season. Maybe, even try a transatlantic.
The idea of crossing the Atlantic kept nudging away at me. Especially since Dave Lisson, a Canadian friend from Larnaca Marina, was very much in favour of coming with me. Dave and I chatted about it and we agreed; we would give it a go! It was 1992 and a little late in the year to be starting off but we reckoned on it being alright. We left Larnaca Marina on the 10th September, 1992.
The idea was to head for Malta bypassing Crete. The weather soon became less than idyllic and by late on 13th September I made an entry in the sailing log: Conditions deteriorating. Then a further entry in the log at 11:00 on the 14th: Giant seas 3-4 metres.
Eventually on the 20th September we entered Valletta Harbour. We set off again on the 24th September. Our next port of call was Sidi Bou Said marina in Tunisia, which we entered on the 26th September.
The plan was to sail directly from Sidi Bou Said to Gibraltar but, once again, the weather got in the way. Thus on the 3rd October we entered Algiers harbour to take on fuel and to have a rest from the inclement conditions. We left Algiers on the 7th October heading for Gibraltar.
I must say that sailing in a smallish yacht had an almost unreal quality to it. The routine of sailing soon enveloped us. We slept frequently but lightly. At night, every twenty minutes or so, the one on watch would come on deck to take a look round. There was a simplicity in sailing, using a self-steering gear to helm the boat, and I remember one night coming on deck, there wasn’t a moon, and all around me, literally 360 degrees of vision, the stars came right down to the horizon. I was transfixed. We were far enough from land not to have any light pollution. It was magical. Indeed, it was a memory that has never left me.
However, getting to Gibraltar was not without its challenge for we suffered a knockdown and this scared us both to the core.
I am minded to start today’s post with that reflection because quite simply it was the way to introduce my republication of Wibble’s post.
The article is about Dexter and is just lovely. It is called Older or wiser.
Older or wiser
By Dexter, February 19th, 2020
I’m sitting here and the rain is drizzling down the window. It’s February, its windy, we’ve had two winter storms in quick succession and they are digging up the road outside my house. Do they not know I am trying to sleep. Even more surprising but equally as joyous, Lenny isn’t trying to bite me. Now if you have read some of my recent blogs, you will know I have been somewhat contemplative. If you are hoping for shenanigans in this article, then I fear you will again be somewhat disappointed. Earlier today I was wondering to myself about becoming older and, apparently, wiser.
Being older is a bit obvious really. I have more grey hair, I eat my dinner more slowly and I don’t need to walk as far as I used to. I’ve even missed scenting rabbits and squirrels according to assorted parents I have been attached to when these alleged missed sightings have taken place. I can still play bitey face with Lenny, and give him what for, but I tend to duck out of said prolonged snout jousting after a short time. Being beagles we are docile chaps and even when we are in full cry with sofa covers flying around, furniture being rearranged and rugs being ruffled, we manage to stop for a breather on fairly regular occasions. Sometimes it takes a parent stepping in between us to remind the warring parties that its time for a break but, on the whole, we tend to cease and desist quite readily. I am then happy to retire to one of my six or so beds to snooze. However Lenny seems to have a little extra bounce in his paws although I think that is because he is around eighteen months old and I am, allegedly, going to be ten next birthday. No one truly knows how old I am due to me being a rescue but the wise money is on nearly ten now. I am happy for him to run around a little longer, chew what remains of one of my toys and then fall asleep on the sofa. Usually this is interspersed with trying to bite me but again, being docile, I try and fend him off without sending clear signals that I just want to rest.
As for being wiser, I don’t really know what that entails. If it means that I have seen things, been places and done stuff, then yes I am wiser. If it means that having done said activities, I have learned from the experiences, then not necessarily. For example I have been on the tube and train to London quite a few times, however I still want to investigate what those wonderful smells are down on the track. Thank goodness for a lead and attached human apparently. Another example, is that I have lived here for seven Christmases and, despite the jolly red faced man delivering me many wonderful things but nothing closely resembling a pizza tasting gift, it is wrapping paper I am still fascinated by. I can’t eat it, I know I can’t, but does it stop me from trying? Of course not. Many winters have I seen here, many dirty puddles have I walked through in a Moses style and many times have I been told “Dex, no, ugh good grief you look like the Creature from the Black Lagoon”. Does it stop me stomping through puddles in the most triumphal fashion? No, of course not. I have stopped chasing pigeons in the garden and that’s not because I am banned from the garden. Far from it, for I merely allow my protege to chase them for me. Young whipper-snapper legs are faster than these old bones of mine. I have stopped chewing my toys to a misshapen soggy jumble of fabric, with an accompanying scene of death and destruction wrought across the rugs. Again I leave the dental lobotomisation of toys to Lenny, as he seems to have picked up the baton fairly quickly and extremely proficiently.
If growing older and wiser means seeing things, going places, enjoying the view, smelling more flowers and generally knowing that I should take my time to appreciate and immerse myself in all the things I rushed to see previously, then I am older and wiser. I still have adventures, I still walk and pull on the lead, stick my head down rabbit holes and try to climb the banks along the lanes and byways I explore. I still look in awe at the beauty of the countryside I visit, gaze at the buildings and people in the city. But I let it sink in now, I actually look at what is in front of me and then usually fall asleep soon after, twitching and dreaming. I am trying to pass on my perceived wisdom to Lenny. He is often too busy bouncing around, trying to sniff everything, meet every fur and being a very lovable pest in as quick a time as possible. I see much in Lenny that I had in my youth and this gives me a warm feeling. I hope I can help him to understand that, at some point, he will sit and watch the world go by, with a peace and calmness that I seem to be achieving more often.
Who knows, maybe that is the secret to being older and wiser.
Just read that last paragraph again. Especially the first sentence: “If growing older and wiser means seeing things, going places, enjoying the view, smelling more flowers and generally knowing that I should take my time to appreciate and immerse myself in all the things I rushed to see previously, then I am older and wiser.”
In my opinion dogs do this so much better than we humans. Yet another lesson to be learned from dogs!
Because both for dogs and their human friends, it’s only a matter of time!
My choice of quotation last Monday was taken from E. F. Schumacher: “Infinite growth of material consumption in a finite world is an impossibility.”
Deciding on what should be my second selection turned out to be more difficult. Simply because there were so many buzzing around my head.
In the end I chose this:
Never underestimate the power of unintended consequences!
Despite a web search, that brought up numerous articles concerning unintended consequences across many fields of the human experience, I was unable to find a source for the quote and therefore cannot attribute it to the original author.
Nevertheless, it strikes me as one of the core aspects of human behaviour!
As offered on Monday, here are my nominations for today:
Just a few days ago, on May 1st to be precise, I published the post Dogs and Humans.
Colin Reynolds, he of the blog Wibble, left the following comment:
Good to see you back, glad to hear you had an enjoyable trip.
Those goslings are really cute 🙂
At risk of self-promotion: I was thinking of you when I wrote my latest blog post. Granted, wolves aren’t dogs, but they almost are… 🙂
I went across to Colin’s latest blog post and immediately wanted to share it with you all in this place.
It also seemed appropriate to ask Colin for his introduction. But here’s what he offered: “When Paul asked me if I would be willing to turn this post into a guest post for Learning from Dogs, I was more puzzled than anything else. The only words here that aren’t my own are those where I explain that all I did was transcribe George Monbiot’s words from the video.” I’m bound to say that the transcription was a grand job!
Anyway, here is Colin’s post.
How Wolves Change Rivers
by Colin Reynolds
“When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.” — John Muir
When wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park in the United States after being absent for nearly 70 years, the most remarkable ‘trophic cascade‘ occurred. In this short film, George Monbiot explains what a trophic cascade is, and how wolves do actually change rivers.
I found this so remarkable that I took the time to transcribe George’s words:
One of the most exciting scientific findings of the past half century has been the discovery of widespread ‘trophic cascades’. A trophic cascade is an ecological process which starts at the top of the food chain and tumbles all the way down to the bottom, and the classic example is what happened in the Yellowstone National Park in the United States when wolves were reintroduced in 1995. Now, we all know that wolves kill various species of animals, but perhaps we’re slightly less aware that they give life to many others.
Before the wolves turned up, they’d been absent for seventy years, but the numbers of deer — because there’d been nothing to hunt them — had built up and built up in the Yellowstone Park and despite the efforts by humans to control them, they’d reduced much of the vegetation there to almost nothing; they’d just grazed it away. But as soon as the wolves arrived, even though they were few in number, they started to have the most remarkable effects.
First, of course, they killed some of the deer. But that wasn’t the major thing: much more significantly, they radically changed the behaviour of the deer. The deer started avoiding certain parts of the park: the places where they could be trapped most easily, particularly the valleys and the gorges — and immediately, those places started to regenerate. In some areas, the height of the trees quintupled in just six years; bare valley sides quickly became forests of aspen, and willow, and cottonwood.
And as soon as that happened, the birds started moving in. The number of songbirds and migratory birds started to increase greatly. The number of beavers started to increase because beavers liked to eat the trees; and beavers, like wolves, are ecosystem engineers, they create niches for other species. And the dams they built in the rivers provided habitats for otters and musk-rats and ducks and fish and reptiles and amphibians.
The wolves killed coyotes, and as a result of that, the number of rabbits and mice began to rise, which meant more hawks, more weasels, more foxes, more badgers. Ravens and bald eagles came down to feed on the carrion that the wolves had left. Bears fed on it too, and their population began to rise as well, partly also because there were more berries growing on the regenerating shrubs. And the bears reinforced the impact of the wolves by killing some of the calves of the deer.
But here’s where it gets really interesting: the wolves changed the behaviour of the rivers. They began to meander less, there was less erosion, the channels narrowed, more pools formed, more riffle sections, all of which was great for wildlife habitats. The rivers changed in response to the wolves. And the reason was that the regenerating forests stabilised the banks so that they collapsed less often, so that the rivers became more fixed in their course. Similarly, by driving the deer out of some places and the vegetation recovering on the valley sides there was less soil erosion, because the vegetation stabilised that as well.
So the wolves, small in number, transformed not just the ecosystem of the Yellowstone National Park, this huge area of land, but also its physical geography.
Note from the video’s publisher (Sustainable Human): “There are ‘elk’ pictured in this video when the narrator is referring to ‘deer.’ This is because the narrator is British and the British word for ‘elk’ is ‘red deer’, or ‘deer’ for short. The scientific report this is based on refers to elk so we wanted to be accurate with the truth of the story.”
As that quote from John Muir infers, we are all connected. No better illustrated by a very sad piece of research news that will be the topic for tomorrow’s post.
A reflection of the future year; this last day of 2014
I struggled for some time, wondering what to write for this day: December 31st, 2014. Part of me wanted to be light and cheerful. Yet, nothing came to mind in terms of what to write that wouldn’t be pointless or inane. Then dear Colin who writes the blog Wibble – just another glitch in the matrix posted yesterday: Are we ready for 2015? Here’s that post:
Are we ready for 2015?
I’m not sorry for sounding somewhat melodramatic, here: what we face is nothing less than the archetypical existential threat. You may well
dismiss me as ‘alarmist’: but if you were in a crowded theatre and you were to hear me shout “FIRE!” — what would you do then?
When, in late 2009, I first saw The Age of Stupid, I was struck by one scene in which ‘a man in a shed’ stated, quite categorically, that humanity’s carbon emissions had to peak by around 2015 in order for us to avoid the risks of passing beyond 2°C above the average pre-industrial global temperature. Almost everyone agrees that two degrees centigrade of warming is the threshold beyond which we will face serious risk of uncontrollable planet-wide climate change effects of potentially catastrophic proportions. And I do mean ‘civilisation-ending’.
This is not histrionics; it’s based upon very solid science. The ‘man in the shed’ is Mark Lynas, author of ‘Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet,’ which won the Royal Society’s science book of the year award in 2008. In the short video clip below he speaks from that same year, and his message is blunt: he says we have “seven years” to stabilise global carbon emissions to avoid the risk of climate change accelerating beyond our ability to control it.
The problem is that 2008 + 7 = 2015. Those seven years are up: we’ve squandered them.
Now, I don’t know if you’ve been paying attention — perhaps you’re more focused upon the fortunes of your favourite football team, or the latest antics on ‘Strictly’ or Eastenders; maybe your mind is firmly on your house or job move, or where your children are going to school next year, or any one of the myriad of (relative) trivia such as the ‘immigrant problem’, or the ‘war on terror’ — so in case you’re not familiar with the current situation:
Global carbon emissions are not slowing towards a peak in this coming year. On the contrary, emissions are soaring beyond anything humans have ever previously managed. I’m talking BIG numbers. Yay, us: we’re beating all records.
So… What are your new year resolutions?
On reading the blog post I found myself leaving a comment that seemed to encapsulate my inner fears, explaining why I was struggling to find a light and cheerful tone for today’s post. Here is that comment that I left for Colin:
I hesitate to offer a view. Not because I don’t agree with your article, agree totally, but because I’m afraid that I can’t offer any original thoughts. There is a growing awareness of the need to change, even some quasi-political ambitions that the world ‘needs to talk about climate change’, but no sign that we are anywhere close to a global response of emergency proportions.
Despite being a person with a naturally positive view of life, for reasons I can’t articulate, I have a profound sense of gloom about the New Year. Maybe a result of recently becoming aware of my own mortality. Maybe, an unspoken fear of some huge global catastrophe, natural or otherwise, just around the corner. I hope that I am wrong. Then if I am wrong, it is suggesting that 2015 will be more of the same and, as you so acutely point out, more of the same is the last thing this natural world of ours requires.
So make of that what you will! (And apologies for rambling on a tad!)
Happy New Year to you and all your loved ones.
Then something struck me. It’s no good just giving up and having a moan. Each and every one of us has to find a motivation for changing. Or, if the scale of global change required is just too overwhelming a prospect, then embrace these times as just one of the planet’s natural thresholds; global changes that have been going on for billions of years.
As we come to the end of 2014, it’s natural to reflect on the year that has gone by, as well as to look forward to the new year ahead. This is a time for “kind sight”.
Below are two journalling exercises to explore, now that the rush of the Holidays is over. I like to think of this as a Middle Ground pause. A time for being present, reflecting and allowing your inner wisdom to inspire you for whatever comes next.
Take a few moments to let yourself get settled and comfortable. Start by reflecting with “kind sight” on the past year. “Kind sight” means being kind to yourself, instead of being critical or judging. With “kind sight” we are able to see mistakes as lessons, and life’s challenges as times of resiliency and personal growth.
Ask yourself the following questions and write down your answers:
What happened during 2014…
What was a highlight?
What was a lowlight?
What was a surprise?
What do I feel proud of?
What do I feel grateful for?
What did I learn (or am still learning) from either the highlights or lowlights?
Some people do a month by month reflection, while others evaluate important areas in their lives. (For example – career, family, health, hobbies, learning, contribution, spirituality, travel, environment, self-care, personal growth).
Once you’ve reflected on 2014, write a Future Gratitude Letter:
This is a letter to yourself written a year in advance, describing all the things that you are grateful for during the year. Start with the date December 31st, 2015 and address it to yourself.
Include who you’ve become and what you now have or are moving towards. Be careful not to include anything that feels like a “have to” goal or something that you “should” achieve.
This is a letter of “kind sight” for the year ahead. The key is in the energy. If your energy feels uplifted when you think about the things you’re grateful for in a year’s time, then you are tapping into your own passion and inner wisdom.
This can be a revealing and inspiring process, letting the creative juices and intention begin it’s journey.
Val’s recommendation is fabulous. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll have a go myself. And if I do write the letter, it will be published in this place.
However you feel about yourself and about the future, whether you are gloomy and downcast, or upbeat and hopeful, never forget that you are a valid human being, a unique individual, and capable of amazing things.
So go and hug a dog and wish yourself the very best for 2015!
A Happy New Year to all – and thank you for your wonderful support of this blog these past years!
The many joys of a connected world. As I wrote that sub-heading above, it struck me that the virtual world of blogging partially mimics the real world of life, as in that in nature everything is connected. To say that everything is connected in the world of blogging is rather far-fetched, but (and you knew there was a ‘but’ coming, didn’t you) there is no question that bloggers tend to gravitate towards other bloggers where there is some sense of resonance. All of which could have been said in far fewer than the eighty-one words above! Try like-minded tend to be drawn to each other! So whether it’s in ten words or eighty-one words, it’s a preamble to the wonderful words of another blogger. I’m referring to the blog Wibble that is authored by Pendantry. Mr. P (and I’m assuming it is a ‘he’) wrote a post for the recent Earth Hug Day on December 12th. I thought it would make a nice republication this last Friday before the Winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere this coming Sunday.
I subscribe to two blogs: Pendantry’s Wibble and Christine’s 350 or bust. But a temporary lack of quiet reading time has meant that recent posts from each of them were initially only briefly skimmed. I made a mental note to read the one from Pendantry, Where oceans meet, because I have always had a love affair with the oceans. When I did read it, I was blown away, to use the modern vernacular. Why? Stay with me.
Where oceans meet opened thus:
I’ve recently been introduced to two things that demonstrate (to my satisfaction, anyway) that the universe is much stranger than I first thought. Mind you, my first thought was quite some time ago, now.
Then after showing a wonderful photograph of where the Indian Ocean meets the Southern Ocean, (this one below) …
…. Pendantry goes on:
The other one of those ‘strange universe’ things is something that I find even more surprising: after decades of eating meat, an hour watching just one film has persuaded me to reconsider the habits of a lifetime.
That really jumped off the page at me because Jeannie has been a vegetarian for most of her life and I have been flirting with the idea.
That ‘one film’ was Vegucated. Here’s the rest of that Wibble post republished with Pendantry’s kind permission.
A TED talk highlighted yesterday over on 350orbust (well worth watching — thanks, Christine) included a reference to the film Vegucated. Intrigued, was I, so I trundled off to watch it, and returned a changed man. Well, maybe that’s a bit ambitious, but I do now feel motivated to think more about what I eat, why I’m eating it, and to actively seek out vegan alternatives — something that I have never considered before.
Vegucated reinforces the betrayal of a society that has sold us all on the idea of having ‘consumer choice’ — but continues to withhold from us the information necessary to make informed choices. And on that point: don’t just take my word for it that this is a film well worth watching: there are many other reviews and quotes about it.
Our world is changing, and, one way or another, we must change with it. I believe that films like Vegucated are essential to help us to choose to move in the direction of a healthier, happier world.
“If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be vegetarian. “— Paul McCartney.
Naturally I was curious and wandered across to that post. Here are Christine’s own words,
It’s TED Talk Tuesday on 350orbust, and today’s presenter is Zoe Weil who spoke to the young people who gathered at the TEDx Youth symposium held at Cape Elizabeth, Maine, last December. Ms. Weil is the co-founder and president of the Institute for Humane Education. Ms. Weil’s inspiring talk is entitled “How To Be A Solutionary.” Enjoy!
I tell you what! That 11 minute presentation by Zoe Weil was not just inspirational, it was one of the most inspirational speeches I have ever heard! That’s EVER!
Take this quote that comes in less than 2 minutes from the start of the speech, “Never before have we had the capacity to cause the breakdown of so many ecological systems that sustain our life.”
Now if that doesn’t have you gagging for the rest of what Zoe talks about, nothing will. So here it is.
Published on Jan 11, 2013
Zoe Weil is the co-founder and president of the Institute for Humane Education and is considered a pioneer in the comprehensive humane education movement, which provides people with the knowledge, tools, and motivation to be conscientious choicemakers and engaged changemakers for a better world. Zoe created the first Master of Education and Certificate Program in Humane Education in the U.S. covering the interconnected issues of human rights, environmental preservation, and animal protection. She has also created acclaimed online programs and leads workshops and speaks at universities, conferences, and events across the U.S. and Canada. She has taught tens of thousands students through her innovative school presentations, and has trained several thousand teachers through her workshops and programs. Zoe’s most recent book, Most Good, Least Harm: A Simple Principle for a Better World and Meaningful Life, won the 2010 Nautilus silver medal in sustainability and green values. She is the author of several other books including Above All, Be Kind: Raising a Humane Child in Challenging Times for parents; The Power and Promise of Humane Education for educators; and Claude and Medea: The Hellburn Dogs, winner of the Moonbeam gold medal in juvenile fiction, which follows the exploits of two seventh graders who become clandestine activists in New York City, righting wrongs where they find them. Zoe received a Master of Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School and a Master of Arts from the University of Pennsylvania.
So from the meeting of vast oceans to the meeting of minds.
I admit to being too free with my silly clichés including, “I can predict anything unless it involves the future!” So now that millions of informed people have the benefit of “20:20 hindsight“, why is it years since the banking crisis first erupted and we are still without a root and branch overhaul of the governance of the industry?
Did you see Per Kurowski’s interview with a leading regulator on Learning from Dogs yesterday? Aren’t we so slow to learn!
Anyway, I waffle on! Let me get to the point of today’s post.
Back on the 1st September, there was a post called Understanding Europe. One of the resulting commentators was Pendantry who is author of a blog called Wibble. He included a link to a poem that he wrote on the 28th February, 2009! The fact that the poem is still so relevant (and when we see what’s happening in Europe perhaps even more relevant now!) is truly shocking. I wanted to republish it which I do with the kind permission of Pendantry. Here it is.
House of cards
When the inevitable strikes,
when the house falls down,
do you patch up the walls,
fix the holes in the roof,
shore it all up,
splash it with paint?
You learn from the mistakes.
You start from scratch.
You call in the architects.
You rebuild the foundations.
You use new materials;
replace wattle and daub
with a sounder design.
Because you’re lost outside the box,
and your mates demand
to regain their riches (and, now!):
You set up the same as before,
perhaps with a few bells and whistles
(spun to persuade that they’ll work).
And… in the end, we’ll believe
that your clothing is not invisible.
“Who is more foolish?
The fool, or the fool who follows him?”
Written over three years and five months ago. Shame on us all!