South America, Part One

(Editor’s note: was unable to post this from location, so am adding it now – sjh)


Aiuruoca, Brazil 1/24/18

“Indeed, as the climate warms, the high places of the earth are the refuges from which the restoration of the planet must come,” I wrote, while trying to help a crowdfunding effort in Argentina find the words to pitch their project to an English speaking audience. The pitch, thanks to a grant, is offering tea made from herbs from the mountain they are reforesting as a reward for helping to fund the operation. The phrase seems to make sense.

This is not really any form of journalism I have ever done. I thought I was in South America to visit old friends, as a really extravagant way to celebrate my 75th birthday. It was that, but I also see a story here.

I have been in South America for weeks now, staying with extreme gardeners of high places working toward a more harmonious path between wild nature and mankind.

After several weeks here, I may be seeing a bit of that path.

How about if we start to pay more attention to the wild and what it can teach us, and how about if we enter into a dialogue with the wild? I’m talking re-wilding, biomorphic design, an improved engagement with the ethnosphere, a bold but humble approach that involves trying things while paying close, scientific, but also other kinds, of attention, to what happens next, and after that, and on to future generations. And I’m talking about having a community coherent enough to work together in this process. I will post here on our site about the examples I have found here in South America.

Why the high places? Because they are the places where many of the biodiversity challenges of the Anthropocene will play out. As the climate warms, species migrate to cool.   That’s toward the higher latitudes, of course, but also to the higher elevations. It is the nature of mountains to get smaller as they go up, so for many species, migration upwards is also migration toward isolation. Hence it becomes more and more important that those environments are kept as rich, resilient, and diverse as possible during this extinction era.

So I have a particular interest in voluntary efforts to actively manage such places in an open dialogue with wild nature that includes the human species. That’s what I am calling Extreme Gardening.



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