Wednesday, August 25, 2010

View: Expanse Of Space

Trails are marked in the Beaver Creek State Natural Area.  There is much to explore and many vistas around hill curves;  looking out over marsh, forest, and the sea.  I walked from the entrance to the marsh on N. Beaver Creek Rd., through the marsh to the footbridge across Beaver Creek, then clockwise around the hill and up to the top of the hill.  After enjoying the view from the top of the hill, walked down and out of the park at the entrance from S. Beaver Creek Rd.  

The view is when you are at the top of your world and look out and up into space.  You are introduced to space.  Space includes everything and is the foundation for perception.  Everything rests on space.  Meditation is to decide on this recognition, that it is free and open; always available to you.  Action is to rest in this space, with all movement dissolving in timeless awareness.

We enjoy the view as we recognize the open nature of our perceptions.  We receive a big picture and relax our concepts into creative pulses of breath and heartbeats; the movement of awareness.

Posted by michael  

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Bear Makes Tracks On The Road

The recent picture shows muddy bear tracks moving along Beaver Creek Road near our home.  Bear visits us regularly.  We don't see her, as she is shy.  Bear leaves many signs.  In this picture, bear was moving through the marsh and got her feet wet and muddy before crossing the road.  ODFW has useful information about keeping bear wild and avoiding problems with bear.  This year the berry crops are not good and are mistimed because of cold weather.  Bear is out looking for food, with human interactions more prevalent.

This time of year bear comes to the lower part of our garden and climbs the garden fence.  She came a week ago.  Once inside she strips all the apples off of a tree and breaks several branches when doing it.  The tree has been severely pruned by bear over the years and keeps growing back to make good apples.  It looks more like a bush than like a tree.

Bear came two weeks ago and tried to break into a shed that we keep trash in.  She probably smelled some food wrappers.  Bear left claw marks on the shed and tore off a piece of a corner for good measure, trying to get in.  She didn't succeed.  I took the trash to the dump soon after, to discourage any further clawing.

A few years ago, bear succeeded in tearing off the whole front of our trash shed and getting at several bags of trash that were inside.  There was no garbage (food scraps) in the bags, but food wrappers are enough to tempt bear.  We were gone for several weeks to China and Tibet and I did not get a chance to take the trash to the dump before we left.  When we came back, the front of the shed was lying on the ground with claw marks all over it.  However there were no trash bags to be seen.  I said, 'Did bear take the trash to the dump?'.  I walked around and could not find any trash, except a food wrapper off in the woods behind the garden.  While we were gone, a couple of friends were checking on the place.  One day they came and found the shed destroyed and trash strewn all over the garden area.  They thought that it would be nice for us if they picked up the trash.  They are very thoughtful people.  They collected all the trash and took it to the dump for us.  How fortunate we are to have these particular friends who undid bear's mischief and cleaned up our mess.  We are deeply grateful to our friends.

In past years, bear came and dug up yellow jacket wasp nests that were built in the ground.  When I first came to this land, there were many wasp nests in the salmonberry bushes and in the ground.  When I cut trails and cleared fields, I would run across these nests and get stung.  After awhile I started to become allergic to wasps and got very good at observing and avoiding them before they saw me.  About the same time bear began to dig up wasp nests in the ground.  After a few years, wasps have all but disappeared from our land.  I have bear to thank for vigilant removal of wasps and protecting me from allergic reactions.

Bear digs up the ant nest on our land in the fall.  Bear does not bother the nest any other time of the year but seems to come to it in the fall, when it is big and full.  She is looking to fatten up for winter with extra food and is particularly interested in this nest and huckleberries on bushes surrounding the fields.

Bear likes honey.  One summer June day, I was standing on our driveway and heard a loud buzzing in the swamp east of the driveway.  I walked out through the brush and came to a large cedar tree that had a big hole in the trunk about halfway up the tree.  Bear had climbed up the tree and dug into the hole, spilling honey comb down the side of the tree and onto the ground.  The wild bees were flying around and getting used to the idea that bear had stolen much of their honey.  Apparently I had arrived at the tree shortly after bear had left with the stash.

In the spring, we see cedar trees in the forest behind our place that have been clawed by bear, seeking inner bark for eating, or marking territory (see herehere, and here).  Bear is good at finding insects.  One spring, bear came and broke our well during the insect hunt.  I used to have a heavy wooden box over the well head, that was filled with insulation so that the pipes did not freeze in the winter.  I would take the box off as the weather warmed so that I could attach a hose for watering the garden.  This particular spring, the weather got warm early, before I had removed the well box.  Ants had crawled up into the insulation and made a big nest.  Bear got wind of this situation.  I woke up one morning and turned the water on in the house and no water came out of the faucet.  I started looking around and saw that the cistern was empty.  I walked down to the well head and saw that the box had claw marks on it, was turned over, and the pipe broken off the well.  All the water had drained out of the cistern.  So I took the morning off from work and set to repairing the pipes and filling the cistern.  I got rid of the well head box and replaced the freeze protection with a simpler system.  I wrap the pipes with insulation and bubble wrap and then place a plastic garbage can over the well head.  I am sure to remove the cover and insulation before any significant spring warming so that bear is not tempted to maul the well.

So bear is our unseen companion.  We enjoy her mischief and good deeds.  Bear is trying to make a living like the rest of us.  We can make bear's live easier by removing human-made temptations and obstacles and watching her go about the business of wildness without our interference.

Posted by michael

Friday, August 20, 2010

The Story Of Fog Woman (How Salmon Came Into The Rivers)

Raven and his two slaves were fishing but caught only bullhead fish.  When fog came up, they began paddling back to the camp.  Suddenly a young woman appeared in the canoe.  She was Fog Woman, the daughter of Chief Fog on the Salmon.  Raven married her.
Fog Woman was skilled at basket making and made a finely woven, watertight basket of spruce root.  Raven complemented her on it.  ‘Watch what it can do’, she said.  She dipped her hands into the fresh water in the basket and brought out a large salmon.  Fog Woman dipped her hands into the basket daily, and fished out a salmon.  Soon the fish drying rack was filled with rows and rows of dried and smoked salmon and the storehouse was full. 
Raven boasted about all the salmon he had and this annoyed his wife.  They quarreled fiercely and eventually Raven hit Fog Woman with a dried salmon.  She ran out of the house and down to the beach, followed by her husband, who reached out to grab her.   
But as he did so, she turned into fog.  Then all the dried and smoked salmon left the storehouse and the racks and followed her into the sea, leaving Raven holding a useless bullhead.  
Nowadays it is Fog Woman’s daughter, Creek Woman, who lives at the head of every stream, and it is she who brings the salmon back up the streams from the sea every year.
Quoted from “Native Americans: the indigenous peoples of North America” by Fiona Reynoldson, 2000.
Posted by michael  

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Beaver Creek Water Quality: What Is That Green In The Water?

Update; picture taken of Beaver Creek from South Beaver Creek Rd. bridge on August 24, 2010. The green bloom is back in the creek.  Something is going on with Beaver Creek water quality and it changes quickly.

The other day while kayaking on lower Beaver Creek, I noticed that the water was bright green and turbid in several reaches of the creek.  This particular color is familiar to me from seeing algal blooms in lakes.  A few days later the green was gone and the creek had returned to its normal summer color and clarity.  In the summer when creek flow is low, the possibility for algal blooms in the lower creek is increased.  The creek water has a longer residence time, allowing algae to concentrate and form blooms.  Sunlight increases and water temperature can warm.  Then algae can bloom as they are not washed out into the ocean.  Is this algal bloom harmful for fish and their food?  It depends.  If the bloom leads to lowered oxygen in the water, especially during night time, then fish kills can occur.  Otherwise, the bloom may supply needed food for feeding fish and their prey.  There are no simple answers.  We look for obvious signs, such as fish kills to determine harm, but sublethal effects such as stressed fish are also possible.  These stress effects are more difficult to see.
So I looked at data sources to see if Beaver Creek has been identified as having water quality problems.  The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) keeps a database for problem waterways.  Problem waterways are defined under 303(d) listing as having abnormal and harmful levels of any of these factors: sediment; bacteria; temperature; dissolved oxygen; nutrients; weeds or algae; chlorophyll a; pH; and toxins.  Once a waterway is 303(d) listed, it may be subject to formulation of Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) analysis and management to remediate problems.
Beaver Creek is not 303(d) listed by DEQ.  Recent monitoring (2006-2008) by the Lincoln Soil and Water Conservation District (LSWCD) often showed, especially in the summer, that bacteria were elevated and oxygen, oxygen saturation, and pH were decreased to 303(d) water quality violation levels.  We do not know historical patterns of Beaver Creek water quality, so baseline comparisons are not possible.  These data are warning signs that Beaver Creek water quality could be improved before larger problems develop.
Historically (past 100 years) the creek and watershed have been influenced by fires, wildlife, and humans through forestry, livestock and crop farming, septic systems, fishing, road building, and recreation.  The creek produces healthy runs of coho, cutthroat trout, and steelhead.  Beaver Creek appears to be a robust system that has large potential to heal itself from the effects of natural and human-induced perturbations.  Clearly, the past pioneers and present residents of the Beaver Creek watershed have been good stewards of their lands and there is room for improvement, as indicated by 303(d) water quality criteria.  The strength of the Beaver Creek watershed suggests that improvement measures will result in positive results.  
Suggestions for improvement of fish spawning habitat, especially in forested areas, have been outlined in a watershed analysis by the Siuslaw National Forest.  Steps for improvement of farmed areas have been outlined in a report by LSWCD entitled Mid Coast Agricultural Water Quality Management Area Plan.  Changes in forestry and agricultural practices to improve water quality are based on voluntary and cooperative efforts, with the financial aid of grants.  The management plans make suggestions and landowners, government and private, may follow them according to their motivation and ability, in an effort to adhere to water quality guidelines.
How can Beaver Creek water quality be improved and who is responsible?  Following the LSWCD management plan we see five sub-sections for potential concern.  These include: near-stream management areas; nutrients and bacteria; fine sediment; irrigation water management; and pesticides.  Prevention and management of pollution from agricultural and forestry activities in the Mid Coast Agricultural Water Quality Management Area is administered by the Oregon Department of Agriculture through Oregon Administrative Rules (OAR) 603-095-2200, 2220, 2224, 2240, and 2260. The land owners are responsible for their own activities and not responsible for the activities of other land owners, conditions that exceed 25 year, 24 hour storm events (flooding), or other exceptional circumstances.  Site-specific conditions are important for improvement measures and the owner’s knowledge and judgement is of primary importance.  Access to waterways by livestock is allowed for steam crossings and watering as long as riparian vegetation is maintained.  Owners are not responsible for the effects of wildlife on riparian vegetation.  Examples of recent management actions in Lincoln County are given in this report.
The LSWCD management plan recognizes several common-sense activities for waterway improvement.  Consult the plan for detailsPrevention and Control includes voluntary measures to keep waterways within the the bounds of 303(d) water quality criteria.  Riparian Areas and Streams includes fencing, off-stream livestock watering, rotational grazing, livestock exclusion, planting riparian vegetation, and in-stream structures.  Nutrient and Manure Management includes controlled field manure applications, manure storage in covered and contained areas away from streams, limit livestock access to saturated soils, cover heavy traffic areas with sand or rock, and site barns and slaughter areas away from streams to isolate and manage leachate.  Erosion and Sediment Control includes livestock rotation to maintain vegetation, control of runoff by diversion, maintain riparian vegetation, and plant cover crops in fields.  Management of Pesticides includes follow label instructions, use more integrated pest management, insure containment of mixing and spilling of pesticides and petroleum products.

Next time you are out on a waterway, take a moment to appreciate all of the hard effort, common sense, and responsibility that farmers, foresters, fishers, and recreation makers posses in their efforts to make a living, feed people, and conserve valuable ecosystems that support all of us.  When an ecosystem is degraded, our responsibility is to support positive repair efforts and return to a healthy state of wildness in collaboration with farmers, foresters, and fishers.  Together, we make good neighbors, strong communities, and healthy economies.  

Posted by michael

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A Story About Vitality: How I Learned To See the Whole Animal

This story illustrates the power of standing back from the mechanistic details of an animal (chemistry, physiology, cellular anatomy) to see the whole animal and understand how it relates to the surrounding world.  Animal responses reflect their life force, which is called vitality.  Vitality is something we all sense and know, have difficulty measuring, and cannot capture and put into a bottle for study or consumption.  Vitality is not a substance that can be reduced to a mechanistic explanation.  It is a feeling of well-being and responsiveness that is diminished when we are stressed or sick.  Stress is something that we are all concerned with because it is associated with disease and mortality.  Stress effects can be measured by internal changes in blood or brain chemistry, heart rate, or metabolism.  But these changes are not directly seen and responded to by other animals, which can be food or threats to survival.  Eventually we all die when our vitality is gone.    
Perhaps vitality can be measured using whole-animal responses.  These responses are called behavior.  When animals are stressed or sick, they respond with impaired behavior.  Voluntary behavior is adaptive and changes in response to internal motivation and state (fear, hunger, avoidance, attraction, stress, disease) and to external factors (light, temperature, hypoxia, food, threat).  Because voluntary behavior responds simultaneously to so many types of factors, some of which are not associated with stress, it is not expected to predict disease or mortality.  Involuntary behaviors are reflex actions (orientation, gag, startle) and these are fixed.  They either respond or not to a stimulus and this response is modified by the level of vitality that an animal has.  Reflex actions can be used to measure and predict stress, disease, and eventual mortality.  Anyone can measure reflex actions and these measurements are a simple and cheap way to understand vitality and our impact on other animals.
In my life as a scientist, I studied fish stress and mortality.  There are many ways to research this subject.  They involve developing hypotheses about the effects of stressors.  Examples of stressors are temperature, hypoxia, and wounding from capture.  Then experiments are designed to test for these effects by exposing fish to stressors and measuring resulting changes in markers for stress.  If you want to understand how these changes affect fish disease and mortality, then fish must be held  for days after stress induction to monitor their condition.  These results are then used to test the original hypotheses and try to understand and predict future stress and mortality in fish.  
Through the course of this research, it became clear that there was not a 1:1 correspondence between stressors and their effects.  We could not reliably predict disease and mortality by measuring physiology or volitional behavior.  One day after many experiments, I was standing beside a tank of fish that had been stressed from exposure to higher temperature, similar to their exposure after capture in cold water and being brought to the surface in warm water.  I noticed that the fish were lethargic, disoriented, and did not have a startle response.  Later I wanted to measure body core temperature of fish exposed to warm water.  I didn’t have any fancy instruments so I simply inserted a thermometer through the mouth and throat, into the gut.  When I did this for fish that were not stressed, they quickly responded by gagging and I noted that this method would not be a good one to use.  I also wondered how a fish that had been exposed to warm water would react.  I placed a thermometer in the throat of a fish stressed by warm water and discovered two things.  First, they had warmed and second, they did not gag in response to the thermometer.
The observations of diminished reflex actions; lack of orientation, startle response, and gag response seemed important for understanding stress and mortality.  Suddenly I had a compelling thought and hypothesis.  Could it be that involuntary reflex responses had a 1:1 correspondence with stress and mortality in fish?  The short answer is yes, stress and mortality can be predicted by measuring reflex impairment.  There are many reasons that this is true and you can read the research paper for those details.
By looking at the whole animal instead of it’s internal details, “seeing the forest for the trees”, I was able to see vitality.  Sometimes the details of a subject obscure the understanding of that subject.  It is refreshing to stand back and take in the view, the big picture.  This is the power of wildness.  When we experience nature, we directly see the nature of ourselves, others, and surrounding space without the bias of thought and interpretation.  We have an involuntary response (reflex) to nature that supports our vitality and well-being.
Posted by michael

Friday, August 13, 2010

Herbal Medicine: What Is It?

The study of plant life and herbs teaches us to see humans as part of nature.  As we interact with plants and nature, our healing obtains.  Herbal medicine is a clinical modality based on using plant medicines as therapeutic tools.  Herbal medicine moves beyond the blind repetition of information in older herbals into a modern understanding of molecular vitality.  Herbs are not drugs and herbal medicine is not based on the pathology-disease reductionist model of modern pharmacological medicine.  Herbal medicine supports body function and tone and is based on the healing properties of the vital force.  We all know what the vital force is and when it is present, but we cannot see it or capture it in a bottle.  Vitality escapes reductionist methods.
Some excellent manuals for understanding herbs and their actions were written by Michael Moore.  Herbs are exogenous agents that cause the body to react through stimulation or suppression of body functions.  Herbal medicine tones the body, which then performs healing functions through vitality.  This approach is similar to the approach used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Ayurvedic systems.  The process in these healing systems is to diagnose excesses or deficiencies of body function and then tone body systems, including organs, stress response, and fluid transport.  The principle of vitalism is to strengthen the person, then treat the problem.
A different conceptual expression of vitalism in herbal medicine was given by J. Treasure, in which there are three groups: food; medicine; and poison.  Food and medicine are passive and interconnected.  They are ingested and acted upon by the body.  They are used with traditional knowledge and evidence of their efficacy is measured by their widespread use and influence on vital force and toning the body.  Poisons are active.  They are ingested and act on the body.  Pharmaceutical drugs are this type and their efficacy is measured by influence on symptoms of disease in clinical trials.  Poisons are the model substance in modern pharmaceutical medicine.
Herbs are not drugs and are not naturally occurring analogs for pharmaceuticals.  Their actions cannot be reduced to the effects of their isolated active constituents.  Stronger acting herbs may be drug-like in action, but are rare.  Herbs have dozens of different compounds that form a matrix which modifies the actions of any specific active constituents.  Herbalists view the whole (vitality) as greater than the sum of the parts.  This is vitalism, which corresponds to modern systems theory in ecosystem science.  
Drugs have specific actions on the body, with side effects of undesired actions.  Herbs have several broad actions on a number of body systems and their actions are complementary or synergistic, with few side effects.  The use of herbs does not involve drug actions or adverse effects.  Instead herbs have contraindications when imbalance between metabolic and systematic constitution and the herb is noticed.  Any use of herbal medicine should carefully consider contraindications as defined by competent herbalistsFurthermore, mixing of herbal medicine and pharmaceutical drugs should only be done with the full knowledge of the drug-prescribing doctor, as herbs can have agonistic or potentiating interactions with drugs.
Clinical research on plant effects favors isolation of individual compounds.  These clinical trials are not appropriate for the investigation of herb action, as they assume drug action, which does not apply to herbal medicine.  Few methods exist for researching the effects of whole plants and their preparations.  Herbal medicine effects occur gently, over time, outside of the context of rapidly acting phytopharmaceuticals.  The present disinformation on supposed negative effects and lack of efficacy for herbs is a result of applying inappropriate research methods to their properties.  New research methods will need to be developed to resolve these questions.  Funding for these methods is limited because of the present inherent bias of laws, medical politics, and ideology against herbal medicine.  The medical-pharmaceutical industrial complex cannot make money off of herbs and the vital force within humans and will do whatever is necessary to suppress herbal medicine.   
Posted by michael

Monday, August 9, 2010

Herbal Medicine Above Beaver Creek

On our land above Beaver Creek we rely on herbal medicine for health.  Herbs are a vast reservoir of medicine that can be approached respectfully in several ways.  Options range from store-bought to wildcrafting.  You can go to a doctor of herbs, read about herbal knowledge in books to become self-taught, or learn from teachers of herbal traditions in various cultures around the world.  There are many herbal traditions and some come from the dawn of human time.  You can use herbs assuming that the concentrations of active substances are important for healing.  Or you can use herbal medicine while assuming homeopathic actions which state that increasingly diluted concentrations of active ingredients produce stronger healing.  

A third approach assumes that our direct intention and experience with herbs is the healing energy.  I often use this approach to enter into intimate relationships with herbs.  These relationships support a combination of growing and collecting herbs in gardens and wildcrafting to rely on the power of herb form, color, smell, and taste in combination with the placebo effect for medicine and healing.  This third approach is not widely acknowledged or taught and relies on close connections with wildness in the form of herbs.  The key to this herbal practice is to become familiar with many aspects of the herb and how these relate to your health.  Where and how does it grow?  How does the herb interact with its surrounding plants and animals and how does it condition environment and soil?  How do these properties relate to your health?  These questions can be answered by close observation, picking and processing herbs, smelling, tasting, preparing medicine, and watching how your body and mind respond to the presence of the herb.  Simply by thinking of specific herbs, my healing obtains.  With this approach, the medicine my body needs is growing in the environments where I am.  There is an intimate connection of mind, body, and environment that is whole and sustained. 

We have many herb medicines growing in our Beaver Creek gardens and I see, feel, and touch them every day as I walk around the land.  Examples include aloe, angelica, aster, bee balm, blackberry, blueberry, burdock, calendula, camomile, cascara, cedar, chives, cleavers, coltsfoot, comfrey, dandelion, dill, dock, Douglas fir, elecampane, feverfew, foxglove, gentian, hawthorn, honeysuckle, hops, horehound, horseradish, juniper, lavender, lily of the valley, lungwort, monkshood, mullein, nasturtium, nettles, oregano, Oregon grape, pearly everlasting, pennyroyal, peppermint, periwinkle, plantain, quince, red alder, red clover, red current, red raspberry, rhubarb, rosemary, sage, self-heal, spearmint, St. John's wort, strawberry, sweet woodruff, thyme, usnea, valerian, vetch, violets, white birch, wild rose, willow, witch hazel, yarrow, and yellow dock.

Medicine is in our intentions, the food we eat, air we breath, walks and activity that we make, space we enjoy, and in all of the experiences that bring us the play of wildness.  In medicine, you can feel your body responding to positive energy and know that this supports health.  Any other sickness is coming from turning away from natural mind and wildness.  The body follows the mind.  Wherever you are, relax and breath in the spacious, delicious taste of herbs around you.  Even in the downtown city, herbs grow from the cracks of pavement’s persistence and hide in stores on shelves.  As a society we have made so many efforts to kill herbs as weeds and to cover over our herbal traditions with chemical western medicine that tastes of poison and has so many side effects beyond our control.

Even western medicine acknowledges the power of herbs by making collecting expeditions to far off jungles and reefs beneath the sea.  Why go so far when the herbs you need can be in your yard?  Just lay off the pesticides and the need for pristine lawns.  Dandelions are powerful medicine for many of our modern diseases.  Perhaps we seek powerful modern big Pharma chemical “cures” because we have become so isolated from our natural homes.  We make isolated chemicals for isolated sickness coming from modern isolated life.  Really we are not so far from home.  We live every day on the breath of elemental energy (earth, water, air, fire, space) and don’t recognize it.  Relax and take some time to enjoy where and who you are.  Rather than the symptoms, see the heart of the mind.  Let herbs be your guide to wildness.
Posted by michael

Chipmunks and Rabbits

Chipmunks and rabbits are busy now.  The picture shows how chipmunk harvested many flowers from an herb, self-heal and broke them up to get the protein-rich embryos from developing seeds.  For many years I have enjoyed seeing self-heal march around the garden in its search for good places to grow.  Self-heal is one of my favorite herbs.  When I began homesteading the land, self-heal was not present.  Soon it began growing up the drive and before long it was on top of the hill and in small open field patches.  Now it is spreading over many areas, lending its bright blue "pagoda flowers" to the landscape and to my basket of herbal medicine.

Back to chipmunks.  Given lazy gardener ways, I have had an interest in having plants naturalize on the land with minimum effort on my part.  There is a gentle balance between the effects of planting what I like, weeding out more invasive species that have wind-blown seeds, and watching chipmunk and deer eating the seeds and plants that I do want to naturalize.  Since I am not the boss here, the animals have a controlling interest.  Especially this time of year, in later summer, chipmunk is busy harvesting and caching seeds, flowers, and fruits.  They run around to various patches of plants and magically pack away food to hiding places.  They take away all of the quince, rose hips, and seeds from other flowers that they can find.  I can often find piles of flowers and fruit torn open as remnants of past picnics.  A result of this activity is that naturalization is slow to none for my favorite plants.    

The bunnies are prolific this year, as I have often counted two dozen just looking out the window.  They are in all sizes ranging from full grown to the smallest babies out for their first feeding on fresh grass and a roll in the dirt.  They sometimes impede naturalization of clovers and other herbs.  But mostly they do a good job of keeping the open grass areas trimmed, so I don't have to mow for several months.

Do I regret the effects of so many animals?  Surely not, as I am part of their life as they are of mine and enjoy making the spaces that produce an abundance of food and medicine for them and for me.  It would be a selfish world to live here without making room for the spontaneous and delightful feast of harvest that is wildness.    

Posted by michael

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Tortoise And The Hare

Illustration from here

I read an essay recently about the economy needing a bit of ingenuity.  The essay discussed the problems with short-term thinking and quick profit in the context of the present state of business.  Demand for goods and services is currently assumed to be depressed and stimulation of this demand will cure the economic sickness.  The author suggests that demand for goods and services is not presently depressed.  Instead, the business community needs more long-term investment, innovation, and hiring to correct deep structural problems in the economy.  I was reminded of the tale of the Tortoise and the Hare

The hare brags that he can beat anyone, especially the tortoise in a race.  The hare's hubris is overwhelming and he loses the race with the tortoise.  The tortoise understands the value of slow and steady effort made with insight into the long-term goal of crossing the finish line.  The hare is controlled by his appetites for sleep and food, short-term gains not connected to the long-term goal of the finish line.

Conservation of economies, wetlands, and wild spaces is similar to the tortoise's focused effort to reach the goal.  Sustained vision and development of community and political support is needed to raise funds for investment, including conservation easements, acquisitions, and management.  How delightful it would be if business could relax and take a long-term view of profit and well being, instead of quarterly returns and short-term profit.  We could expand the scope of investment, with stable reliance on our ingenuity and connection to nature.  Returns on investment would be higher and not subject to the uncertainty and risk of markets that are controlled by a few big players using computer trading with little regard for the ethical aspects of resource development and human capital.  

Posted by michael