“We need something greater than people … We need a calling outside of ourselves, to some sort of higher power, to something higher than ourselves to preserve life on earth … People have to love the Earth before they save it … So love is the key. We don’t do doomsday stuff.”
~ Ecologist Bill Jacobs
Sometimes I despair over climate change and how we humans have damaged our planet. But I have found that there are many people of different backgrounds working to find and implement solutions. We know that the complex workings of our planet are interrelated, but too often we tend to focus on a narrow problem or technologic solution. Broad problems require broad-based knowledge and thinking to find the right answers. Luckily, there are scientists thinking outside the box.
Reporter Cara Buckley describes, “The Jacobs’ house is barely visible, obscured by a riot of flora that burst with colors — periwinkles, buttery yellows, whites, deep oranges, scarlets … They grow assorted milkweeds, asters, elderberry, mountain mint, joe-pye weed, goldenrods, white snakeroot and ironweed. Most are native to the region, and virtually all serve the higher purpose of providing habitats and food to migrating birds and butterflies, moths, beetles, flies and bees.”
Bill Jacobs “believes that humans can fight climate change and help repair the world right where they live and … people need something more: to reconnect with nature and experience the sort of spiritual transcendence he feels in a forest, or on a mountain, or amid the bounty of his own yard. It’s a feeling that, for him, is akin to feeling close to God.”
Buckley also specifies, “There aren’t many scientists raised in the ways of druids by Celtic medicine women, but there is at least one. She lives in the woods of Canada, in a forest she helped grow … She is a medical biochemist, botanist, organic chemist, poet, author and developer of artificial blood. But her main focus for decades now has been to telegraph to the world, in prose that is scientifically exacting yet startlingly affecting, the wondrous capabilities of trees.”
“Dr. Beresford-Kroeger’s goal is to combat the climate crisis by fighting for what’s left of the great forests … and rebuilding what’s already come down … Trees store carbon dioxide and oxygenate the air, making them ‘the best and only thing we have right now to fight climate change and do it fast.’”
As a child living with an uncle in Cork, Ireland, she “spent her summers with Gaelic-speaking relatives in the countryside … There, under the tutelage of a maternal grandaunt, she was taught ancient Irish ways of life known as the Brehon laws. She learned that in Druidic thinking, trees were viewed as sentient beings that connected the Earth to the heavens.”
Dr. Beresford-Kroegerwrites, “Every unseen or unlikely connection between the natural world and human survival has assured me that we have very little grasp of all that we depend on for our lives … When we cut down a forest, we only understand a small portion of what we’re choosing to destroy.”
“We’ve taken down too much forest, that’s our big mistake … But if you build back the forests, you oxygenate the atmosphere more, and it buys us time.”
Small steps at home and more grand steps on a global scale just might work to save our planet and ourselves. Let’s hope so.
That would make a good bumper sticker, “Think globally, act locally!”
Cara Buckley, Meet an Ecologist Who Works for God (And Against Lawns), Dec. 3, 2021, The New York Times
Cara Buckley, Using Science And Celtic Wisdom To Save Trees (And Souls), Feb. 24, 2022, The New York Times