A NASA space shuttle sent four ladybugs and some aphids into outer space in 1999. The ladybugs were named after The Beatles – John, Paul, Ringo and George. I’m not kidding. Who knew?
I can think of a few members of another species whom I would love to launch in a space ship, for long term outer space exploration. Hopefully, they would get lost in a black hole, in order not to inflict their stupidity on any other part of this galaxy or beyond.
For the outer reaches of certain minds among some members of the human species are as inexplicable as the outer space of our Universe. I speak of particular municipal political councillors who are agreeing to have their respective municipalities considered as host communities, in planning discussions to create future deep geological repositories (DGR) of high level nuclear waste. Their companions on this space ship, of course, would be the individuals in the nuclear industry who thought up this idea in the first place.
Where I currently live is a long established region of agriculture and tourism, given the region’s outstanding and diverse natural beauty. And they want to dig up how much land to bury how many millions of spent fuel rods here, from across Canada? I don’t think so.
Since relocating to a rural region from a metropolis five years ago, I have been a witness to the mixed realities of rural life which, I imagine, are mirrored elsewhere. However, each nation and its regions have their own particularities to address.
For full time residents in mid-western Ontario, for example, local jobs are limited. The largest single employer is a nuclear power plant, which attracts newer residents with specific skills to work there. This is interpreted as a boon to the local economy by some folks, yet definitely not so by others. The second highest employer is the district school board and all its employees, most importantly, the teachers.
Otherwise, since my relocation and the economic downturn, locally-based people are losing jobs in other sectors, such as manufacturing, and more farmers are growing cash crops than food for human consumption. Hence, food security in this region today is a question and, I wonder, in how many other rural regions today in North America?
I write my blogs intentionally to a global audience. For I consider myself a planetary citizen who resides on a small and increasingly imperiled planet, on which I recognize that everything alive is interconnected. Regardless of where a person chooses to live, each of us is confronted by environmental threats that we can heed or ignore.
The fact is, the above scenario – a corporate business whose proposed actions threaten the well-being of the environment and human safety, in an economically-challenged region – is playing out on all continents in regions outside many major cities, in which particular corporate businesses, with the acquiescence of governments, invent ever more ways to trash the life support system of the planet.
Where I live, in the coming months, I will stand with fellow concerned community members to assist in doing much-needed, and sorely lacking, fuller public education on nuclear matters. How to inform the larger number of people across tiny, rural municipalities – for their voices to be more united and stronger – will be an interesting task, yet one filled with possibility.
For consider who are among the most valuable and wise teachers of our time? Those teachers include the world’s land-based peoples who bravely resist environmental destruction as best they can. Their efforts, with some successes, are remarkable in the face of unmentionable political oppression, racially-instigated violence, gender inequalities, economic disparity and cultural destruction. (See my recent blog on Wangari Maathai and her work in Kenya, as one example. I will cite more examples from different countries, in future blogs.)
If those folks have the courage and stamina to face such overwhelming odds, surely in a so-called developed and democratic nation such as Canada, we can care enough here to inform ourselves much better – and take actions when called upon – in order to protect the soil, water and air that sustain us, for our health and the health of our children and future generations?!
Blessings upon each and every Canadian awakened enough to be engaged in actions that benefit the larger good, and more inclusively in regard to Aboriginal people. As I mentioned in my four-part January blog series, titled “Where the Caribou Live,” we definitely have major issues to address environmentally and culturally across our own nation.
Meanwhile, back at the homestead, I give thanks every day for my wee plot of earth. The land, water, and species with whom I now attentively co-exist, teach me continually the interrelatedness of all forms of life and also tough realities about the laws of Nature in such co-existence.
Alas, I will never be a Buddhist, despite my aspirations. Yes, I do rescue ladybugs. But you do not want to know how expediently I rid my farmhouse of the thankfully few, misguided mice who enter, nor other unwanted indoor guests such as crickets. Have you ever been kept awake for a month by serenading crickets, making love calls to find their mates?
As for my darling ladybugs, they always are welcomed. No, their endearing aspects are not based solely on the Mother Goose nursery rhyme: “Ladybird, ladybird, fly away home! Your house is on fire, your children all gone, All but one, and her name is Ann, and she crept under the pudding pan.” (In a children’s book, the poem is accompanied by an illustration of a boy balancing a ladybug on his hand.)
The practical reasons include, outdoors, ladybugs benefit gardens by eating the aphids. Indoors, ladybugs have greatly minimized the cluster fly population which is inevitable in a century-old farmhouse, by feeding on the fly larvae around the windows. Bless their little tummies.
Thus, reverence and comedy hold hands in my country living. Through these serendipitous encounters I am reminded daily to cherish life and feel grateful to receive such joy and delight, while at the same time existing in a mad, mad, mad, mad world.