Lectures this week covered a wide range of topics including:
1. Whether democracy or autocracy is better for sustainability
2. The relationship between health and nature which included the concept of Care Farming
3. The relationship between writing about landscapes and painting landscapes and landscape gardening
4. Indigenous peoples and
5. Green Light Trust, a local non profit that's working to plant forests!
My favorite was the talk on indigenous people. It was delivered with a passion and an energy that is unusual in academic lectures. I want to be knowledgeable in the area of indigenous peoples' rights. I want to defend them and do something to help ensure they're observed. Why? I think it goes beyond the underdog hypothesis. I think it's about justice.
I think about the two Lakota grandmothers who talk about how they were moved off their land and shifted to a reservation. How their traditional lands are being mined for uranium. The extraction of it is polluting their rivers. What can I do to fix the situation? What's the most effective way to raise awareness and create change? Where do my talents lie?
I finished Edward Abbey's The Journey Home. A few pages in, I developed a deep affection for the man, which if anything grew through the book (despite his drink driving and littering). I've started Desert Solitaire and waiting patiently in the wings is The Monkey Wrench Gang. (Many thanks to Nick for lending me his prized books.)
I find my head pulled in many different directions. I have standing curiosities to investigate and questions that come up with each new paragraph I read. There are things I think I should know or read so that I can keep up. And then there are the essays. And then the dissertation. It's exciting. It's challenging. It's daunting. I'm trying to stay focused and steady in my efforts. I wonder what I'll think when it's over, what connections I'll be able to draw from the now seemingly unconnected bits. I'm grateful for this opportunity and for the knowledge - even if it's only in outlines right now, it sets me up with a skeletal framework and paths to journey down if I want to. I wonder, what will I make of all these inputs? Hopefully a beautifully crafted output.