Earth My Body, Water My Blood — Edited by: Dr. Ian Prattis
Knowledge about ecosystems, globalization, environmental ethics and the direct threat of Global Warming is applied to a proposed urban eco-community in Ottawa, Canada. The insights, diligence and brilliance of a senior ecology class at Carleton University in Ottawa provide the foundation for this collection – garnished with further contributions from Dr. Ian Prattis, consultants and elders. The substance is how to start and sustain an eco-community using Ottawa as an initial platform. Each section of the book has a "Note From The Editor" to provide wider context. A continuation of the editor's ground breaking best seller – Failsafe: Saving The Earth From Ourselves.
The book is organized around the great elements – Earth, Water, Air and Fire. The fifth great element – Space – is to penetrate humanity's consciousness about a better way to live with Mother Earth. This research into establishing eco-communities reflects the shift in mindset required to salvage the global ecosystem for human habitation. Our present values and patterns of consumption are the architects of the present global ecological emergency. We are our environment. Wherever we live, our mind has to be focused on living as one component of Gaia's ecosystem.
Earth contributions are on Community Supported Agriculture and Green Building Standards. Adaptation, fluidity and cohesion are in the detailed report on Water Management. Air contributions are about the ideological basis of a successful eco-community. The illumination and clarity of Fire introduces the Global Ecological Village network (GEN); the Carbon Credit Market; followed by Ecological Education in Schools; and Eco-tourism. Space has the aboriginal voice of Grandfather William Commanda and his vision for an aboriginal healing and peace centre in Ottawa, preceded by Wisdom of the Elders to provide a template about sacred ecology.
The book was released on Earth Day - April 22, 2011 and published by Baico (www.baico.ca).
The book release coincided with Dr. Ian Prattis receiving an Earth Day Environmental Award on behalf of the Pine Gate Mindfulness Community. The award ceremony was held at the Museum of Nature on April 22, 2011, from 1:30-2:30 pm.
It is available on Amazon Kindle
Key Words: Eco-communities, Ethics, Five Great Elements, Community Supported Agriculture, Water Management, Global Warming, Environmental Education
Ian Prattis: The Project
The closing of the former Rockcliffe Air Base in Ottawa and the 2006 proposal to develop an eco-community there provided an opportunity for ecology students at Carleton University to do something useful for the city of Ottawa. This is the first step. What they learned about ecosystems, globalization, environmental ethics and the direct threat of Global Warming was applicable to any such project right across the country. Initially, their final assignment was a brief to the Canada Lands Company, the federal agency responsible for the Rockcliffe Development. As the project evolved students pooled their resources to investigate specific aspects of establishing an eco-community not just in Canada’s capital city but also for other locations across the continent. This collection of reports is the result of their ability, diligence and genius.
The title of this collection — Earth My Body, Water My Blood — is taken from an earth chant sung by children, in countless languages, around the world:
Earth My Body
Water My Blood
Air My Breath
And Fire My Spirit.
The chant provides four of the great elements – Earth, Water, Air and Fire – which are a means of representing the Universe in Buddhist and Taoist traditions. The sequence describes the correspondence of all things to each other, the principle of interconnectedness and also the metaphor to organize this book. There is also a fifth great element – Space – and it is my hope that this modest collection of thoughts and suggestions will penetrate the Space of humanity’s consciousness about a better way to live on Gaia – Earth: The Living Planet. The five great elements taken together are thought to be inherent in all aspects of life. They are so much more than their physical appearance, as they mirror the inner reality of an interconnected human consciousness. There is continuous interplay as each element contains all the others. The driving force from the inner dimension is the feminine representation of enlightenment. I have always thought of the present millennium as the century of the daughters. Not so much as a gender separate phenomenon, but as attributes of a holistic, nurturing presence of mind. The feminine principle is the creator of all matter and things, including the five elements and ourselves. The external forms of the five elements in the environment have the same factors as the internal presence. So our global pollution, the endangerment of all species - including our own - is a direct reflection of what we have allowed our consciousness to become.
The five elements exist on three levels of reality: the material, the subtle and the inner essence. The material level describes the reality of our bodies and environment and rather than expand into full spectrum complexity, I will stay at this level in order to draw out the features that provide a pertinent map for this book. The principles of the five great elements have parallels with Hindu philosophy and are found in Aboriginal, Chinese and Western Alchemical traditions. All of these systems of thought recognize that each element in fact contains all elements, so there are circles within circles, all interconnecting – beautifully expressed by the Oglala Sioux medicine man, Black Elk, as the interdependent hoops of all nations and traditions. The links are not merely conceptual, rather they are the basis of understanding our patterns of life and well-being. A profound template organizes this collection.
The shape, form and structure of both inanimate objects and living beings are given by the element Earth. Earth provides our home and natural environment, as well as the ground of our wellbeing. From it comes the structures in our lives. As the source of all the food that nurtures us, Earth provides the appropriate element for the contribution from Matt, Chris and Kayla on Community Supported Agriculture. They describe how this form and structure returns us to a sense of locality and community that industrial based agriculture is simply not designed to do. If we think about the structures and forms that create our homes, we also find Earth there as a fundamental premise. Ian and Evan extol this pervasiveness in their brief on Green Building Standards in order to reduce energy consumption and return us to a closer and healthier relationship with Mother Earth.
Fluidity, adaptation and cohesion are the inherent properties of the Water element. Our world and our bodies are largely made up of water, which is always in motion seamlessly filling whatever contains it. Water nurtures everything it flows to. Once water intelligently and constructively serves both conservation and humanity needs – it has an awesome power and strength. The detailed report from Stella on Water Management points this out brilliantly.
The element Air is defined by movement and the IN and OUT of breathing connects us physically to the outside world and all the other elements, of which it is an integral part. As the breath of life-force it brings to the external world a dynamic of thought that can be reflected as ideology. The contributions to this section deeply examine the ideological basis of a successful eco-community. Greg and John present a treatise on how to market ecologically sound behaviour; Xena, Jan-Michael and Clement establish the basis of a mode of living necessary for an eco-community to work; Joe and Ian examine the practical ways in which eco-structures develop community; while Matilda and Whitney delve into the philosophy of transforming values so they can sustain such a form of community.
The element of Fire certainly provides heat, but also contains the qualities of illumination and clarity to bring about transformation. Fire clears our mind and its objects of perception, refines them and translates ideology into action. This is the Alchemist element at work drawing energies to itself so they can be transmuted to something finer. Without the element of Fire we would remain asleep at the wheel and the best of intentions would not find an expression in terms of action. Specifically, Amanda and Angela write about the Global Ecological Village network (GEN) based on the Findhorn model of a teaching and learning centre for eco-communities; Nikolaus shows how the eco-developments could enter the Carbon Credit market; Rebecca and Sam emphasize the need for ecological education in eco-community schools; while Samuel and Erin provide a model for successful eco-tourism.
The final great element – Space – is the pinnacle of the preceding four elements, the repository of our consciousness, the limits of our vision. A boundless dimension is involved here, as Space beats to the vibration of universal wisdom, touching the deepest aspects of human consciousness. It is impossible to describe specific properties, as it is beyond characteristics per se. Though I would say this about the Space element - it is that sparkling intelligence that always confounds the observer! This intelligence is the domain that I hope this collection will impact in a positive manner, providing a template to live in a balanced way with our selves and with Mother Earth. There is also an important voice that cannot be ignored - a voice that has long chided our civilization for its neglect of ecosystems and community. This is the aboriginal voice. I introduce Grandfather William Commanda, spiritual head of the Algonquin Nation, and his exquisite vision for an aboriginal healing and peace centre in the capital city of Canada. This would serve not only First Nations but be available for all communities, and rests on aboriginal cosmology about how to be with the earth and community. This is preceded by an appropriate tribute – "Wisdom of the Elders." It draws on the cross cultural Tree of Life mythology and reinforces the latent ecological intelligence that lurks within every person.
This adventure into the pre-conditions for establishing an eco-community, however, has a much bigger intent. It reflects the particular shift in mindset that is required to salvage the global ecosystem for human habitation. Wherever we are located on the planet – it is essential to conduct ourselves as being part of a global eco-community. Whether we live in a rural or urban locale, in the industrial or developing worlds, work in a factory, office building, farm or retail outlet, our mindset has to be focused on the reality of living as one component of Gaia's ecosystem.
This is the continuation of my recent book – Failsafe: Saving The Earth From Ourselves, published in 2008 by Manor House. That book investigated the necessity of changing the mindset of humanity in order to combat Global Warming and the Economic Meltdown. This book – Earth My Body, Water My Blood - provides a detailed investigation of how to do this by establishing the pre-conditions necessary for eco-communities to function. The collection of briefs describes the mindset required to maintain an eco-niche on the planet for our species. It is essential reading for the general public and appeals directly to the landscape of ecology, social change, eco-communities and value shifts described by wisdom traditions, particularly aboriginal ones. It covers the waterfront of the basic ingredients to ensure the successful establishment of an eco-community.
In Part Two of Failsafe: Saving The Earth From Ourselves, I wrote about A Failed Genetic Experiment, though I did place a question mark after "Experiment." Yet if we continue to turn our beautiful rivers into sewers because of our endless greed and neglectful ignorance, there is no place on Mother Earth to sustain our present civilization. It will join the trash heap collectively created by mindless generations of humanity. If consciousness is too slow to change and make the quantum leap from a culture of greed to a culture of sustainability, then there are drastic consequences to contemplate. How could the human mind capable of such monumental achievements neglect to take care of the destruction happening to the lived in ecosystem? The process that brought this about is one where we allowed the environment to become an extension of human egocentric needs and values - an ego-sphere rather than an eco-sphere. In this ego-sphere we consumed mindlessly in the global economy without regard for ecosystem balance or about creating inequality, poverty and ecosystem imbalance. Planetary care is not part of this agenda. The ancient ecologist on Mars studying a million years of earth history would surely note a parasitic infestation of Planet Earth that was not very intelligent. An intelligent parasite would ensure the good health of the host that supports it. And so the Martian ecologist would factor in an inevitable elimination date for our species in her star date log and may well view our civilization as a failed genetic experiment.
I refer the reader to Section 19: Space Notes from the Editor. This provides guidelines and an immediate action plan for the global ecological emergency. If only we can get it right - and get it right now! It requires that we get on with the task of reining in our ego and greed-driven mind. This permits a Failsafe in Consciousness to kick in because the conditions and opening have been created by our choice to cultivate different patterns within our minds. Thus consciousness expansion can no longer be held back as a radical internal Climate Change has taken place. Our innate knowledge is manifest. We interconnect with a vast counter culture that is no longer a minority, no longer asleep or disempowered. We become another light shining in the quiet revolution that in 2009 has over two million organizations worldwide pursuing constructive change.
Our diligent mindfulness has changed our brain structures in the direction that permits new paradigms of behavior to come into form. As cells in the ecosystem of Gaia it is as though humanity has aligned their neuronal networks with principles of ecosystem balance, ethics and responsibility. The critical mass has arrived and it amounts to a collective tipping point for our species. Once the wild, ego-driven, greed-driven mind is reined in, then clarity and compassion are suddenly there to provide the basis for how we can be with the planet and with one another in a totally new way. This is what happens if we "Begin It Now" - the concluding words to one of my books, Failsafe: Saving The Earth From Ourselves.
EARTH MY BODY, WATER MY BLOOD
Dr. Ian Prattis
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. Ian Prattis: The Project
2. Kayla Lewis,
Chris Blomquist & Matt Muir: Community Supported Agriculture
3. Ian Baldwin & Evan Bullen: Green Building Standards
4. Earth Notes From The Editor
5. Stella Georgilas: Water Management
6. Water Notes From The Editor
7. Angela Ashawasegai
& Amanda Cameron Global Ecological Village and the Findhorn Model
8. Nikolaus Sands: Carbon Credits
9. Rebecca Taft and Sam Gunn: Environment Education
10. Samuel Benoit & Erin Inhat: Eco-Tourism
11. Fire Notes From The Editor
12. Greg Chin & John Pollard: Ecologically Sound Behavior
13. Xena Bancroft, Jan-Michael Charles
& Clement Ndegeya: Mode of Life
14. Joe Kennedy & Ian Prattis: Community and Conservation
15. Matilda Van Duyvendyk
& Whitney Ellis: Transformation in Community
16. Air Notes From The Editor
17. Ian Prattis: Wisdom of the Elders
18. William Commanda: Asinabka
19. Space Notes From the Editor
20. The Contributors and Editor
My grandmother Rachel Hunter
Who was always one with the Earth
My primary acknowledgement is to the students of the last class on Ecology and Culture I taught at Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada. They brought passion, insight and sheer hard work to investigate the basic components of a new social and economic form for the 21st century: eco-community. They provided a fitting end to my university teaching career. I gratefully acknowledge their diligence:
Kayla Lewis, Chris Blomquist, Matt Muir, Ian Baldwin, Evan Bullen, Stella Georgilas, Greg Chin, John Pollard, Xena Bancroft, Jan-Michael Charles, Clement Ndegeya, Tilly Van Duyvendyk, Whitney Ellis, Angela Ashawasegai, Amanda Cameron, Nikolaus Sands, Rebecca Taft, Samuel Benoit, Erin Inhat and Sam Gunn.
Joe Kennedy and Grandfather William Commanda added their expertise to this collection.
Critical attention by Ed Simon and Marvin Schwartz greatly improved my Notes on the Five Great Elements.
"Wow... I have been reading your chapters on the five great elements, and they just seem
to express the exact feelings I have about so many things in life and that which surrounds us all. You write in such an expressive and
interesting way that it's hard not to be captivated by your book's truths."
Haze Badeau, Boat Builder, New Brunswick
"Kudos to you for your work. I am grateful that our Planet has stewards/guardians such
as yourself who are enlightening the masses about the consequences of our neglect of the only home we know."
Mary-Ann Harrison, Scientist and Medical Researcher, Sudbury
"This book has one of the most holistic perspectives and concrete set of steps on what
needs to be done that I’ve ever seen. Your take on issues and generosity are very refreshing. I really like the term "spiritual
warrior" – this for me sums up brilliantly what we need to become."
Sheryl Gabel, CEO, Abeilla Company Ltd.
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