Wisdom from our Elder Brothers

The Mamas of the Kogi people of Colombia are true ancestors of spirit to modern-day Druids. They have a very deep and detailed understanding of the ecological principles that rule the workings of our Living Earth. Anyone interested in defending or protecting Mother Nature should listen, very carefully, to their words.

Having studied ecology for decades, myself, and having engaged in small-scale ecological restoration projects, I used to think that I understood quite a bit about ecology — until I watched this pair of films. Now I realize that my knowledge was still limited, focused on the workings of individual ecosystems, in isolation. The Kogi offer an even deeper level of understanding, tracing all the golden threads that weave the various ecosystems together into a united, magical whole.

The two documentaries here explore first, who the Kogi are, historically and sociologically, and second, the wisdom they have to offer regarding what needs to be done to heal the Earth Mother and save the world.

I hope you enjoy watching them as much as I did!

Home – The Movie

A beautifully rendered history of Planet Earth, what humankind has done to it, and the choices that we now have before us, as a species. By Yann Arthus-Bertrand, :

A superb (and free!) resource for Quercus Academy nature studies.

Druidry in the Face of Climate Change

an invitation to virtual tea, and deep discussion among fellow Druids

(but first, a bit of background)

The Fourth National Climate Assessment (NCA4), Volume II, recently published by the United States Global Change Research Program (2018), summarizes the findings of the earlier, 2017 Climate Science Special Report (CSSR), Volume I, and then lays out, in great detail,

“…the human welfare, societal, and environmental elements of climate change and variability for 10 regions and 18 national topics, with particular attention paid to observed and projected risks, impacts, consideration of risk reduction, and implications under different mitigation pathways. Where possible, NCA4 Volume II provides examples of actions underway in communities across the United States to reduce the risks associated with climate change, increase resilience, and improve livelihoods.”

Climate change is a topic of great concern to Druids – and for many of us it is also a source of great distress – because our religious beliefs stress the sanctity of Mother Earth and all Living Beings who dwell upon her (and within her various biospheres), and because our spiritual paths and lifestyle choices are driven by an ethic of care toward All Living Beings. So, what is a Druid to do in the face of global climate change?

If we fail to remain focused on our (meaning the specific Druids engaged in the conversation; not a vague referral to “humanity” in general) sphere of influence, rather than the infinite and terrifying and paralyzing sphere of concern, there is a tendency for people to go off on rants about what “people” should have done in back the 70s, when we first should have known about this, or what “people” need to do now. It is a waste of energy, and tends to lead people to despair and inaction.

I am interested in brainstorming on what we, as a small group of scattered Druids, can do concretely, to maximize our utility to ourselves, to our families, and to our wider communities, in the face of the dramatic changes that have already arrived, as well as those which are likely yet to come. But before we can generate plausible, actionable strategies, we must understand the science, the ecology, and the socio-economic contexts that will serve to constrain our viable solution-space.

Therefore, beginning in January 2019, the World Fellowship of Druids will be hosting a series of biweekly discussions (via private Google Hangouts), to discuss the findings presented in The Fourth National Climate Assessment (NCA4), Volume II report, a few chapters at at time. Based upon our growing understanding of those findings, and the scientific analyses underlying them, we will discuss what types of concrete, Druid responses would be both feasible and most wise, so that we can as a group offer help and solace, and act as pillars of hope and light, in times that can often seem quite dark.

I hope you will consider adding your voice to this important conversation.

Schedule of Readings (due: first and third Saturdays)

Saturday 5 January 2019
Front Matter
Chapter 1: Overview

Saturday 19 January 2019
Chapter 2: Our Changing Climate (review of climate science)

Saturday 2 February 2019
Chapter 3: Water
Chapter 4: Energy Supply, Delivery & Demand
Chapter 5: Land Cover & Land Use Change

Saturday 16 February 2019
Chapter 6: Forests
Chapter 7: Ecosystems, Ecosystem Services, and Biodiversity

Saturday 2 March 2019
Chapter 8: Coastal Effects
Chapter 9: Oceans & Marine Resources

Saturday 16 March 2019
Chapter 10: Agriculture & Rural Communities
Chapter 11: Built Environment, Urban Systems, and Cities

Saturday 6 April 2019
Chapter 12: Transportation
Chapter 13: Air Quality
Chapter 14: Human Health

Saturday 20 April 2019
Chapter 15: Tribes and Indigenous Peoples
Chapter 16: Climate Effects on U.S. International Interests
Chapter 17: Sector Interactions, Multiple Stressors, Complex Systems

Saturday 4 May 2019
Read ONE of the ten, lengthy, “Regions” Chapters
(choose the one for the region in which you currently live),
Meditate fully upon what that chapter has to say to you about the climate change effects that hit closest to home, and how they relate to your life.

Saturday 25 May 2019 (NOTE: this final discussion is on a  4th Saturday!)
Chapter 28: Reducing Risks through Adaptation Actions
Chapter 29: Reducing Risks through Emissions Mitigation

Discussion topics and times will be posted to the World Fellowship Members page, two weeks in advance of each scheduled discussion. If you choose to sign up to participate, you will be sent information on how to access that information.

How to Participate

  1. Sign up for the World Fellowship of Druids discussion group. (Please note your time zone in the bit about your home biome, to help with finding a time that works for all participants.)
  2. Note the date and time for our next discussion, mark your calendar, and RSVP so that you are sure to be invited into the private Google Hangout, when the appointed time arrives.
  3. Read the assigned chapters listed for each date BEFORE the scheduled discussion time.
  4. Be at your Google Hangouts enabled device, cup of tea (or something stronger) in hand, and ready to receive your invitation when it comes.

I look forward to having your voice in the discussion!


Ecological Succession in Alaska

I just returned from a week-long cruise to Alaska. It was amazing to spend time in a place where the Living Earth was so blatantly ALIVE — changing land, with geological contours reshaping themselves before your very eyes; changing waters with 20+ foot tidal swings, and flowing ice rivers crashing into the sea; changing skies with dancing mists and clouds and rain. Cruising – in a single day – revealed a complete, 200-year ecological succession story along the length of Glacier Bay.  It began with the bare rock, recently exposed by receding glaciers. The next step was the arrival of mosses & lichens, which clung to the bare rock and began to crumble it into soil. Then, there were the first few pioneer herb plants and low-growing shrubs.  Then, the first few trees to establish, followed by a young forest, and at last, a majestic stand of old-growth rainforest, swirling in mist. WOW!!! A sampling of images, for your enjoyment:

A tidal glacier, calving:

A receding glacier (note the river of ice, which no longer reaches the sea):

Pioneer mosses and lichens on bare rock:

Hills covered in low herbs; a field of saplings on lower ground:

A full-blown temperate rain-forest:

The power and speed of change evident in these landscapes reminds me of just how powerful Mother Earth really is, and how well she is able to recover from dramatic climate changes. In an age where worries about human-generated climate change have caused so many people to despair, this story — written in land, sea, and sky — also gives us a reason to hope.