Ardent Eden

Ardent Eden is a place to explore my thoughts about the interdependence of life - humanity and nature - and to engage with others for collective problem-solving.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Find Your Tree

I want to see a world full of people finding their own version of their "tree," committing to living their lives for something bigger than themselves, and creating lives of meaning, joy, and connection. - Julia Butterfly Hill

Most of us have heard about Julia Butterfly Hill, the activist who sat in the tall branches of a redwood named Luna to save it from logging. Taking such a magnificent stand requires a seemingly superhuman amount of bravery. It's the kind of thing that's easy to admire, to elevate to the unattainable level of "heroic" and then to forget about because it's far outside of the grasp in our daily lives. Julia has a way of making her time in Luna relevant for all of us. I found the website for her non-profit, Circle of Life, a few years ago and have enjoyed the blog about the We the Planet tour that she leads in her biodiesel bus. The idea is to bring connection and the idea of service to the planet, to animals, to nature, and to each other to people in an ongoing, ever-present way.

Recently, Julia's words have been speaking loudly to me. Take a few minutes and play these excerpts of her speaking. (By the way, they are from a fabulous website called Big Picture TV that has video clips of leaders in the sustainability movements. Lots of good inspiring stuff there.) She is also Grist's featured activist this week so there is an interview with questions from Grist's editors and also questions by readers. As usual, I think that the readers' questions yield more depth and insight. Some of what she says will surely sound radical to some:
Personally, I have chosen to have surgery to insure that I never procreate. I feel we have not earned the right to give birth to children, because we are not doing a good enough job taking care of the children who are already here or the planet into which they are birthed.
But it all seems to come from a place of deep caring put into action. I'll leave you with the following Q&A.

Q: Where do you see the planet in 50 years, both if the world follows the destructive path it's on and if more people start being more environmentally conscious? -- Mike Scott, Madison, Wis.

A: The future lives in the here and now through who we are being, the choices we make, and the stands and risks we are willing to embrace. We live our lives backward, saying that some day, if things are a certain way in our lives, then we can be what we want and create what we want. The truth is that who we are co-creates the world we are a part of. You want to know what the future will look like? Look in your life and see where your life and actions are in integrity, love, justice, peace, and commitment, and where they are not -- that is what the future looks like. Our greatest power in having a future that inspires us lies in living inspiring, connected, and committed lives now

Go and read the rest. And find your tree for the day.


  • At 9:24 PM, Blogger Roger, Gone Green said…

    A lovely post, but candidly, if anyone SHOULD procreate it is the people who care about our world they way she does.

    If only the self-righteous, the despoilers and the unconscious propagate, then only those ideas propagate and as a species we are doomed.

    If we have children and teach our children to live with the earth, and not at its expense; to live with our neighbors on the planet and not on their backs; to live, in fact; then and only then does humanity have a chance to be something more than a puzzling strata in the fossil record 5 million years hence . . .

  • At 3:09 PM, Blogger SustainableGirl said…

    My other half and I listened to Julia speaking on the Big Picture site. It was truly inspirational. I admire her approach to procreation though I don't know if I'm so "hard core" that I could do it myself. I haven't decided yet about having my own biological child, because the environmentalist in me thinks adopting is the way to go ... but naturally, there's a part of me that wants the experience of giving birth and raising a child the "old-fashioned way". For now, I try to channel that powerful drive for life that resides in all of us, into action on behalf of the earth.

  • At 4:59 PM, Blogger lauren said…

    I obviously don't share Julia's view of procreation in a personal sense since I have a little one that is my biological child. I do, however, admire people who make that decision. Overpopulation is such a serious part of the environmental equation.

    I hope that we are the kinds of parents who do what Roger suggests: "teach our children to live with the earth, and not at its expense; to live with our neighbors on the planet and not on their backs." I also aspire to be a responsible parent in a more global sense: we all do have an obligation to take care of the children who are already on this earth and the ones who will be here in the future. SustainableGirl says it well: "I try to channel that powerful drive for life that resides in all of us, into action on behalf of the earth."


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