generosity

brian swimme said ‘the sun is a million times larger than earth. it gives of itself generously, converting its mass to light, using that famous formula of einstein’s, e=mc². in other words, mass is a form of light…. every second, four million tons of the sun become light–light it gives away and never will get back.’ (image by jlrobertson from wikipedia)

‘another spiritual practice–reflect on this: everything you’ve ever done in your entire life has been generated by the sun, has been solar energy. everything. every deep, poetic insight, every spiritual event or action has been a solar event.’ so i meditated on that. although we’re warned not to anthropomorphisize the sun, that it’s giving is a solar form of generosity, not human form, we can choose to be like the sun, to give and give and give until it’s over. it’s kinda like wangari maathai’s story of the hummingbird: although tiny, it does its best. my high school motto is terar dum prosim, may i be consumed in service. consumed like the sun? (image uncredited from tween.org)

this is ungenerous. unlike atomic ‘waste’ which has a half-life ranging from a few years to several hundred thousand and eventually decays, plastic lasts forever. plastic never returns to carbon and hydrogen, etc–it just gets smaller until it becomes molecular plastic. not only does it enter the food chain, it’s an endocrine disruptor and toxicant. charles moore discovered the great pacific garbage patch in 1997. created by the gyre of ocean currents, it is twice the size of texas, but filled with tiny, even microscopic, bits of plastic, which fool everything from plankton to whales into thinking it’s food. but it’s not. although it is the largest oceanic garbage patch, there are others. (household plastics image by imgz; the great pacific garbage patch by fangz; both from wikipedia)

the film the clean bin project features former-lawyer-now-environmental-activist-and-artist chris jordan, who reports that five million tons a year of plastic are brought by albatross parents to feed their babies to midway island, one of the most remote places on earth. research is underway on how to clean this up, but it starts with reducing your personal use and purchase of plastic. you can afford to be generous on this one. (image by chris jordan from chrisjordan.com)

now i have two moral reasons to get off dairy–principally yoghurt and cottage cheese–by taking b12 supplements: 1. stop abetting bovine captivity, and 2. reduce my personal plastic use. (image from cashewhilllodge.co.cr)

peter robinson, CEO, david suzuki foundation, writes that there’s been bad news….

  • ‘Canada pulled out of the Kyoto Protocol.
  • Tar sands expansion has become a national priority.
  • Omnibus budget bills are gutting environmental protections.
  • Transparency has been lost.
  • Public consultation limited.
  • Scientists muzzled.
  • David Suzuki and our supporters have been accused of being un-Canadian!’

and good news….

  • ‘Hundreds of thousands took to Montreal streets…
  • Scientists gathered on Parliament Hill to speak up for important research programs
  • Thousands marched on the B.C. legislature to defend the coast from pipelines and supertankers
  • More than 24,000 of you signed our letter asking for examination and debate on the long-term consequences of FIPA (the China-Canada investment agreement)
  • A poll conducted this month found that 88% of Canadians want the environment protected, even if it slows economic growth!
  • Just yesterday, we celebrated a major victory. Thanks to public pressure, some of Southern Ontario’s very best agricultural land has been saved from becoming a massive industrial mega quarry.’ (image of suzuki by holger motzkau from wikipedia; image of demonstration by elliott barker)

“Each person, group or organization working towards a different goal may seem powerless and insignificant – but all of them together add up to a force that can become irresistible.”
– David Suzuki

back to swimme, who says of the sun’s solar generosity: ‘it gives and gives and gives and then it explodes and it’s over.’ if we dare analogize, who knows what, if anything, happens next? unlike spent stars, we don’t become black holes or neutron stars or nebulae. the point is, be generous now!

(image by NASA, Jeff Hester, and Paul Scowen (Arizona State University) from wikipedia)

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