Thursday, January 10, 2008

Thoughts on Biodiversity

We stand now where two roads diverge. But unlike the roads in Robert Frost's familiar poem, they are not equally fair. The road we have long been traveling is deceptively easy, a smooth superhighway on which we progress with great speed, but at its end lies disaster. The other fork of the road / the one less traveled by / offers our last, our only chance to reach a destination that assures the preservation of the earth.
-Rachel Carson

It has been a wintry weather-y last couple of weeks that have left me dreaming of warmer days to come. I have been concentrating on seed catalogs and planning my vegetable garden. I have had this dream of an heirloom vegetable garden for some time now. I love the idea of eating vegetables with a history ones that have led their own lives and have grown and adapted over time. I love how beautiful and imperfect they look. I went online to find out more about growing heirlooms and quickly became disheartened by the information that I found. It sounded quite difficult to successfully heirloom garden. Confused with all the information I had found, my head swimming with words like “hybrid,” “GMO,” and “crop yields,” I continued on with my day including reading Authormomwithdogs’s blog. She seemed to be in a similar wintry mood wishing for spring and reading Seeds of Change. Aha, a gardener! I would ask her what she thought! She replied the most succinct and accurate description of the various gardening options I have yet to read. She has inspired me to dip into the heirloom world and not be intimidated. She also made me think A LOT about biodiversity and not just in the plant world.

In school I studied cultural anthropology and religion. I am also lucky enough to have traveled fairly often. I am passionate about people. I am passionate about how different people live and eat and relate to one another and experience and connect with the divine. I think it is beautiful how many paths there are, how many ways of being there are, how much life has to teach us the more we open up to its vastness. I am always fascinated with how differently people experience life, the variety of perspectives there are! That is why I get so…I don’t even know what the word is…disheartened maybe…when I see life being homogenized. Popular American culture seems to promote this way of being. It seems to me that all plastic surgery and the mainstreaming of self-help-type psychology and their resultant talk shows has accomplished is create a homogenous image of health and beauty that does not reflect real life or real emotions. Real life and real emotions are what are interesting and what matter. They are what create great art and push us forward.

It is not the easier path to consciously uphold diversity. Many of those who are the most different from us are our greatest teachers, the ones who finally get us to grow. And growing means changing and change is always uncomfortable. But without those challenges we are unable to grow and adapt.

There is so much beauty in life, in imperfection, in reality, in the messiness of it all. Biodiversity is not only the foundation of life as we know it, it is the je ne sais quoi that makes life worth living.


Anonymous said...

Beautiful post! So eloquent.

I often feel like I'm on the outside looking in, a sort of a maverick and not "in" on whatever everyone else is "in" on. Like I belong in a different world, or something.

Your post makes me think that perhaps the reason that I feel like such a freak of nature is because of the homogenization in our society, trying to place people in boxes, and mainstreaming everything, to the point where each individual thinks something is wrong with them because they don't feel the way everyone else supposedly feels. Which is really NOT the way everyone feels, in the first place. (Does that make sense?)

And I agree - imperfection and the beauty of this in nature is truly the stuff the universe is made of. Perfect imperfection, all in one package. Without that, what are we? And what do we learn?

Nothing. And nothing.

Jo said...

Thank you so much, Ophelia Rising! This is an idea I feel so strongly about but is difficult sometimes to describe. I am so happy to share with like-minded people.

I have often felt like I am so on the outside too and that others would probably not get me if I were to be completely open. Now I almost feel it is my duty to be, and express, all that I am so that I can uphold that ideal of cherishing diversity and share it with others--like you! Thank you!

Mary Alice said...

What? Not a fan of McPersonality and McBeauty? Just joking. That was a really wonderful post. Quite thought provoking. I wonder if the real reason homogenization is so diligently sought after in our society is because homogenization is efficient. We are so time conscious here now –that we prefer to deal with the known, as opposed to taking more time to deal with, or process, something different.

That is why Starbucks is successful or McDonalds….people know what to expect from them and so they gravitate to those homogenized franchises as a means of efficiency – as a means of keeping processing to a minimum and speeding through things.

I think THAT thought process flows over into so many areas of life now. It colors the way we live personally and how our institutions and businesses are managed.

I am thinking right now about schools in particular. In order to teach in the most efficient way, students ideally would all be similar....otherwise it creates an imbalance and more time and effort to reach a particular person's needs or personality type slows things down.

Just musing.

sophia katrina said...

oh sis... your blog is so fancy. I am so jealous and proud. I love it.

AuthorMomWithDogs said...

If I were to go back to school, it would be for cultural anthropology. I share your sadness over American homogeny taking over the world. T-shirts and MacDonalds even in remote corners now. What a legacy... Sigh.