WhiteBark Pine photos by David Gonzales and www.treefight.org
Wise Mama Griz 399 and her new brood photos by Melissa Miller www.melissamillerphotography.net
We are all Earthers: we all have an Earth certificate, including President Obama. We are all residents of Earth, all one, all united in the common cause of sustaining/maintaining the brilliance/intelligence/beauty of the natural systems that keep us alive. How did we stray so far from that understanding, this one truth? How did we collectively forget that it is Earth Itself that grows us, feeds us, sustains us, buries us, composts us, revives us again and again in constant renewal? AND, all this for free. We have been takers, sorely lacking in reciprocity. It is not too late to refocus our energies on giving back. We are all Earthers. Time to give back.
I want to address the intimate link between the health of our species,YOU as an individual, and the health of the Earth. I want to address our shared chemistry in the context of the metaphor and reality of acidity or alkalinity.
The basic idea, VERY SIMPLIFIED, is as follows: an acidic environment, be it in the climate upon the Earth or the climate within the cells of our bodies will open the doors to all kinds of havoc: pathogens, a weakened immune system, inflammation, cancers. A more alkaline environment~in balance~tends to keep those invading organisms/disease patterns at bay, creating the possibility for better health for the organism, be it Earth, or you. The key to health is to keep our bodies/our Earth more alkaline than acidic.
In 2009 I wrote the following as I was watching the forests of the Greater Yellowstone undergo a deadly transformation of red death from what most believed was from pine-beetle infestation: “There is a fecundity of Earth, delirious with shade of Venusian greens and meadowed rainbow flowers. Heaven on Earth. AND there is a parallel reality: Red trees dying suddenly, rusting, collapsing into grey piles, pyres for what seems to be the inevitable vermillions hell fires Earth is also creating. Red and green. Water and Fire. Earth in charge.”
As the Whitebark Pines were floundering so were the Grizzly Bears. The tiny Whitebark pinenuts are the key nutrients for the immense Grizzly Bears. Both are keystone/cornerstone species to the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and are indicators as to the health of the broader vaster ecosystem. As the Whitebark/Grizzlies go, so eventually go the humans.
In 2009 when our forests of the Western US were turning red from this interior fire, like too much inflammation in the human body, I contacted my beloved friend/visionary scientist Lee Klinger who has studied this issue for decades www.suddenoaklifeorg.wordpress.com. We met as interns in the late 70’s at the nascent beginnings of the Keystone Center. I asked Lee, what could be done, what can an individual do, what can be said, how can we stop this impending devastation?
Lee was curt, to the point, not effusive: “It has gone too far. Only forest fires and volcanoes…the alkalizing forces of Earth….can shift things now.”
Again, in VERY SIMPLIFIED terms, here is a science lesson, compliments of Lee Klinger, about what may be going on at the global level. The Earth seeks homeostasis: the tendency toward a stable environment. As humans we have liberated carbon reserves from deep within the Earth into the atmosphere through the burning of fossil fuels. There IS more carbon floating in the atmosphere because of us…no question. The Earth, as the wise Being She/It/He is (to appease all) seeks to create carbon sinks to rebalance the chemistry of Earth and to keep the Earth from heating up too much to destroy all manner of life on Earth. How kind, how wise the Earth is.
Enter the mosses. Mosses aid in the formation of peatlands, which are carbon sinks. The blessed mosses literally sponge carbon up from the atmosphere and concentrate the excess and lock it back into the Earth. And guess what? Mosses thrive in acidic environments such as old-growth forests and peatlands. It was Lee that made me aware that mosses are now everywhere. When studying ecology in my younger years, in our years as budding botanists, we were taught mosses were only found in damp moist shady environments. Dampness is what they loved. Just like pathogens/fungi/bacteria thrive in damp environments in our bodies. Now, mosses are everywhere, on dry land, south facing sunny slopes, freeway offramps in full exposure to the sun. Everywhere.Yet there is a downside to their good work in terms of the health of our forests.
As they grow beneath many of our great trees including the ancient WhiteBark Pines, keystone species of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, the mosses acidify the soils and leach away nutrients as they soak up the life-giving rains. The trees become bereft of water. Thirst. As the fine roots below the trees die the higher branches become dehydrated, and the trees literally begin to die from the top down.
In a real sense the trees are no longer as strong/vital as they were without the water stress. Their immune systems are compromised, thus opening them up to secondary infection, like the pine bark beetles. This is identical to what happens to humans when our immune systems are depleted/weakened. A cancer/pathogen can enter our body when our personal ecosystem/chemistry is too acidic.
In historical times, fires, both natural and those set by native people’s who understood this link intuitively that to suppress fire was not a healthy choice. They literally set fires burning the mosses to re-alkalize the soils.
*Re-Alkalize our Souls*
The correlations are clear.
I began my prayers envisioning/imagining as any good environmentalist/lover of Earth/shaman would do for forest fires and volcanos. I re-read, for the hundredth time my most cherished short story “Drought” by Barry Lopez. This tale of both devastation and hope for me is THE story of our time. It articulates the power of our individual passion to call for change. Please read the whole story from Barry’s book RIVER NOTES. Barry writes of a human witnessing drought, and as a consequence*this*an unexpected response.”I knew…the danger I was in but I knew too that without such an act of self-assertion no act of humility had meaning….With no more strength than there is in a bundle of sticks I tried to dance the dance of the long-legged birds who lived in the shallows. I danced it because I could not think of anything more beautiful.”
~to dance~to pray~to hope~
Out of my personal grief of the loss of specific trees, both on the land where I live and in intimate contact with trees of Yellowstone, I began to pray for fires and volcanoes. Mine, a small voice in the wilderness of what I now believe Earth Herself already had imagined/launched. Earth too dreams and seeks balance in all things. Earth is in charge.
On the heels of 2009** behold***in 2010 we saw the massive Russian fires and the Icelandic volcano. Devastating locally yet healing globally. An individual country’s/state’s health is tied to global health. We have named this awareness by specific geographic name: Katrina. Fukushima. Sadly, as has always been the case, citizens in another country suffer so we may all move forward in greater awareness and health. Earthers all. All interconnected. Such courage is demanded of us at these times.
***It is now 2011***
I can vouch~~”to confirm as a result of one’s one experience”~~that the health of many trees has shifted in a positive direction. And the alkalization of the Earth continues: the Arizona fires…the Chilean Volcano. It doesn’t take much to shift the balance either way.
BRING IT ON.
The infant fir tree outside my cabin at Roosevelt Lodge in Yellowstone is no longer wearing a shawl of red.Chartreuse tipped new growth bedecks her beauty. And the lodgepole trees on my property show no signs of previously yellowing needles. What I observe now is that certain trees are fully dead/red/grey. It seems they were the sacrificial trees sent to awaken a sleeping humanity. My friend Amely Greeven http://thereishopeinbeauty.com/ speaks of them as if they were like the monks that set themselves on fire to get our attention. They choose to be the sacrificial Ones to forever shift our consciousness. And the remaining trees are in the process of their own resurrection. They have a new vitality, an excitement of green. I am not a pollyanna or optimist in this.This is the reality of observation. Get out there and see it for yourself.
In a short 2 year period, things have shifted dramatically from death to rebirth. No kidding. All our prayers/efforts have reaped rewards, and of course, Earth did it all/will continue to do it all with her wise awakening eruptions, her tough love fires. We should be in support of Earth as she is our wise Guide. We can be her evolved listeners if we CHOOSE to listen. Such a sacred relationship. Rebirth for all.
David Gonzales heard the call~heeded the call~to help the ailing forests, specifically the ancient Whitebark Pines in the Greater Yellowstone region in 2009. He evoked TreeFight which seeks to engage/gather community in hiking to specific holy Whitebark Pines and apply verbenone patches to keep further infestation of the pine beetles from occurring. Like alleopathic medicine, helpful when disease has gone too far, we need these emergency measures to help the trees. David’s work provides vital life-saving solutions, while also engaging the imaginations/hearts of we humans in connecting with individual trees as living Beings in need of our help at this crucial juncture. In choosing to help these trees the potential is also to awaken to our own need as humans to evolve, to WAKE UP to our responsibility as Earthers. May you have the chance to join him and fellow revelers on one of his missions. The poem I posted in my previous piece is in honor of the Whitebarks and in honor of David for answering the call when he was called.
~~Now for the fun part~~
Consider the link between alkalizing yourself is intimately forever linked to the health of Earth. The choices you make every day will either create more unneccesary pollution on the Earth or health for the Earth, our home ground. No one else has more power than you. NO ONE HAS MORE POWER THAN YOU to shift the Earth’s balance toward the alkaline. It turns out if you choose to eat a more alkaline even vegetarian (primarily) diet you are supporting the rejuvenation of Earth’s unfailing resources.
If you really want to help the Earth, your foundation, your sustaining HOME, get busy with your own health/healthy lifestyle.
Here’s a recipe: the first I have ever posted on my blog: FUN!!!
Below is an emerald tonic of youth elixir: This simple shift/choice of having this drink 4-5 times a week will radically shift your personal chemistry= consciousness toward a greater health.
Get a juicer: At least 4-5 times a week juice these ingredients for your own alkalinity/sanity:
5-6 leaves of some form of kale
add in an additional form of chlorophyll: parsley/cilantro/spinach/collard greens
2-3 stalks celery
half a lemon or lime
a chunk of cucumber
To make it a tad more sweet you can add in half an apple or carrot or beet or mint leaves or ginger. But keep the fruit sugars to a minimum or you are veering toward acidity.
I have been drinking some form of this for 5 years, but committed to this drink in earnest in January. It has proven to be a tonic of regeneration/transformation. I have always been a lover of chlorophyll a believer in her magic. Did you know that our blood and the blood of plants**chlorophyll** are virtually identical? Ingesting this emerald elixir both cleanses your blood and aligns you with choices that greatly benefit the larger ecosystems.
***We are Earth citizens. Earthers All. A lovely call to action***
The great WhiteBarks sustain the Grizzly Bears.
All forms of chlorophyll sustain us.
We all thrive in an alkaline environment.
Making alkaline choices in your life supports alkalizing the Earth.
All connected. All one. We are linked.
The Earth is Green and we should take her lead.
Follow in her footsteps and alkalize your soul.
Take charge of your choices. Take charge of the Earth.
All one all connected. No one in charge but YOU.
Politics is food* Food is politics.
Many of the billionaires now are ONLY investing in food and water.
Did you know that?
YOU are among the richest humans.
Invest your precious resource in sustainable green growth on all levels.
Nothing on paper matters.
Only our earthly tangible connections.
The way of the future.
Heart to heart, voice to voice, love food, food love, nourishment for all.
Alkalize yourself and sustain all living systems.
Alkalize Yourself, Alkalize the Earth.
Go Chlorophyll ** Life’s breath for all***