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Voice of The Inanimate

Voice of The Inanimate.

Last night, I pressed Our Grandmother from Eddie Two Hawks. In my comments, I mentioned Wendell Berry and the way I understand place in his writing. Wendell Berry’s work is used by the deep ecology movement which in many ways is not a movement. It is a way of life. For years, I critiqued the environmental movement as a corporate movement with many of the same characteristics of the business they criticized. Wendell Berry, similar to all good farmers, values the land. He speaks about as if it were living. It is not separate from us, but a part of us. When I think about this, it makes local and community environmental work incredibly important. It decries the corporate pillaging that goes on both sides of the equation.

Wendell Berry speaks of the land as a living and animate thing. This makes sense. The plants we grow happen in the healthy, which comes from the same root as whole, ecosystem. When we see ourselves embedded in this ecosystem and not overloads, it changes our relationship with nature. Alex commented the word nature comes from a word meaning birth. When certain parts of the ecosystem are damaged made, unwhole and unhealthy, the birth itself cannot be healthy.

Each contribution we make adds something to the world we live in. It is when we see ourselves as part of the world and nature that we make the greatest contributions to community. We are stewards, serving the world in loving ways. This is another analogy for the thinking of the world as grandmother. We treat our grandmothers with love.

About ivonprefontaine

I have been an educator for almost 20 years. Prior to that, I worked in private industry for 15 years, then returned to university to earn my education degree. For the past 11 years, I have been a co-creator of learning in a unique, progressive, alternative educational school of choice. Currently, I am engaged in a doctoral program at Gonzaga University in Spokane. A main theme in my learning there has been the roles of systems thinking, complexity theory, and organizational theory, and how they apply to education generally and the learning environment I share with students, parents, and colleagues.

19 responses »

  1. Native American religion sees animate and inanimate all the same which leads to reverence for all things of the earth. Seems a lot more sensible than all the rest of the religions.

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  2. It seems important blog to learn from, I enjoyed reading it!!

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  3. Beautifully put Ivon. I love the idea (and action) of stewardship.
    … Our grandmothers also love us back unconditionally.

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  4. “When certain parts of the ecosystem are damaged made, unwhole and unhealthy, the birth itself cannot be healthy.”

    Well described Ivon.

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  5. Earth IS a living thing. T know this, just look around. Then go someplace where the earth has been killed by overuse and poisons. The difference is astounding. We must be gentle with Her.

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  6. That’s why I try so hard to get people interested in nature. If they find something interesting and beautiful they’re less likely to do it harm.

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  7. Although not a prerequisite, being a vegetarian most of my life has helped me embrace this wonderful post! Thank you!

    Reply
  8. A thought-full post. We are farmers and stewardship of the land we hold is actually what all those calling themselves farmers should be. Unfortunately… One does their small part with hope others will do theirs that our grandmothers are at peace.

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  9. I always enjoyed Wendell Berry’s poetry, simple yet full of that earthy wisdom only a farmer can relate in such elegance of thought.

    Reply

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