Democratic Forest Trusts (PDF)in Watson, Alan; Dean, Liese; Sproull, Janet, comps. 2006. Science and stewardship to protect and sustain wilderness values: Eighth World Wilderness Congress Symposium; 2005 September 30-October 6; Anchorage, AK.Democratic trusts with leadership elected by citizen-members promise to solve many of the problems afflicting both traditional government and corporate ownership of forestlands.Â This article explores these issues in some depth.Complexity and the Dream of Human Control of Eco-Systems (PDF)in Watson, Alan; Dean, Liese; Sproull, Janet, comps. 2006. Science and stewardship to protect and sustain wilderness values: Eighth World Wilderness Congress Symposium; 2005 September 30-October 6; Anchorage, AK.The title captures it.Â I then explore the kinds of institutions compatible with both nature and the modern world that are implied from this analysis.Rethinking the Obvious: Modernity and Living Respectfully With Nature (PDF)The Trumpeter: Journal of Ecosophy, Winter, 1997.Modernity is usually considered a wrong turn in terms of respect for and sustaining the environment.Â I argue the reality is more complex, for modernity has freed us from personal dependence on agriculture, ended the economic value of children, radically reduced the likelihood of large scale wat, and shifted much production to intellectual rather than material capital.Â This partially decouples society from nature, which gives us important opportunities as well as problems.Towards an Ecocentric Political Economy (PDF)The Trumpeter, Fall, 1996.This paper begins my effort at showing how liberal modernity can be harmonized with an ecocentric perspective on our relationship with the natural world.Â It is a corrective to much “free market environmental” literature that sacrifices Nature to money as well as to anti-liberal attacks by well-meaning but economically naÃ¯ve environmentalists.Unexpected Harmonies: Self-Organization in Liberal Modernity and Ecology (PDF)The Trumpeter, Journal of Ecosophy, 10:1, Winter 1993This is my initial paper exploring how what I term ‘evolutionary liberal’ thought can be an important means by which society and nature can be brought into greater harmony.Â The other Trumpeter papers build on it.Deep Ecology and Liberalism: The Greener Implications of Evolutionary Liberalism (PDF)Review of Politics, Fall, 1996.Liberal thought and deep ecology are usually regarded as mutually exclusive. But the “evolutionary” tradition offers a way to integrate the two through commonalties in the work of David Hume, Michael Polanyi, Arne Naess, and Aldo Leopold, providing a stronger foundation for liberalism while strengthening the case for an ecocentric ethic.(Related subjects: Ecology)Saving Western Towns: A Jeffersonian Green Proposal (PDF)in Writers on the Range, Karl Hess and John Baden, eds., University Press of Colorado, 1998.Developmental pressures in the rural and small town West involve three groups: long term residents, new arrivals, and environmentalists. Today their interests often conflict. This conflict is in part the outcome of institutions which prevent harmonizing competing interests. The concept of developmental trusts, both for rural regions and for small communities offers a means whereby these interests can be harmonized for the benefit of all concerned.(Related subjects: Politics)Social Ecology, Deep Ecology, and Liberalism (PDF)Critical Review, 6: 2-3, 1992.Murray Bookchin is considered a leading radical environmental theorist. However, his analysis is incapable of leading humankind towards a more respectful and sustainable relationship with the natural world. Criticisms of Bookchin from both the deep ecology and evolutionary liberal perspective complement one another, pointing the way towards a better understanding of how modernity relates to the environment.The paper as a whole offers an early discussion of issues that are more clearly addressed in later papers, particularly Deep Ecology and Liberalism (1996) and the three Trumpeter articles in 1997, 1996, and 1993. However, there are other ideas in the article which have not been developed more thoroughly elsewhere.
This weekend many Pagans will celebrate Imbolc, or Brigid.
Imbolc is one of the less emphasized Sabbats in our Wheel of the Year. We are emerging from the regular frantic holiday season, combining Yule with Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanza and finally, New Year. The decorations have been put away and across our lives have returned to some semblance of their normal routine. This is as true for Pagans as anybody else.
I suspect this is why of all the Sabbats, Imbolc seems to me the least invested with ritual significance.
It may also be because so much of its symbolism no longer fits where we live. Our cross-quarter Sabbats are connected with the Celtic agricultural year, and as Samhain is the beginning of that part of the year where life is at its thinnest, so Imbolc marks its small return. In pre-Christian Celtic lands this was when the ewes were first milked. The return of new life was a Big Thing in pre-industrial climes.
But today sheep are few in most places, and February is the depth of winter with nary a sign that summer is coming except for increasing daylight.
One way of dealing with this disconnect is to emphasize the Cetic Goddess Brigid. A Goddess of healing and poetry, smithcraft and the arts, She is certainly most worthy of honor. I will never forget my encounter with Her. But I find it interesting that none of our other Sabbats are so closely linked to a specific deity. Perhaps She fills in for the lack of fit between Imbolc for the Celts, and for us.
To my mind, ideally our Wheel of the Year will ultimately be harmonized with the Wheel as it turns where we dwell. Here in northern California, the Celtic symbolism for Imbolc, if not quite the specific practice, works. The sour grass and wild mustard is bursting into bloom with their exuberant yellow flowers. But the floral gardens of our spring are yet to appear. Normally rains would be abundant and cold, though not so far in this drought year. Life is stirring, but not a lot.
But up north of the Adirondacks in New York, where I lived for some years, the snow still lies thickly upon the ground. It can fall into May. Still, the deeper symbolism is not totally absent. The light is returning, and the days are noticeably longer. That is why it is symbolically appropriate that Imbolc is celebrated with candles rather than more substantial fires.
Does this fit in Florida?
We have become a world-wide practice. Gardnerian circles, my own tradition, are celebrated in the most unexpected places. And in the broader NeoPagan tradition, we are everywhere.
As Pagans who find the Sacred in the rhythms of life and nature, we have the challenge to honor both what is universal, as symbolized in our Solar Sabbats where, except for hemispheric reversals, the patterns are everywhere, and the more particular rhythms of our own place. To see the universal in the specific. Only in this way can we truly connect with the powers around us rather than living our practice mostly in our heads,
I am curious who among my readers has tried to address this tension between the universal and the specific in their own celebrations, and how they have done so.