…from gratitude, we become more present to the wonder of being alive in this amazing living world, to the many gifts we receive, to the beauty we appreciate. Yet the very act of looking at what we love and value in our world brings with it an awareness of the vast violation under way, the despoliation and unraveling. From gratitude we naturally flow to honoring our pain for the world.
Joanna Macy & Chris Johnstone, Active Hope p.37
The experience of wilderness promises two of life’s primary lessons: we find out who we are and where we belong, and we learn to live in community with other people. In the process, we have the opportunity to see our slavery for what it is, to purify ourselves, to receive a vision, to become proactive, to develop intimacy with each other and the land, and to participate in the process of community building.
Ellen Bernstein, Ecology and the Jewish Spirit

Review - Life Everlasting: The Animal Way of Death

Life Everlasting: The Animal Way of Death by Bernd Heinrich
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Tightly crafted essays illumine the necessary connections between life and death, namely, how matter is transformed from death into life. Heinrich’s writing, as ever in his books for general readers, is lyrical and accessible. The last essay wends into reflection on how we make meaning from life and death and invites reflection on how religions are part of that meaning-making. Many Unitarian Universalists and other liberal religionists will take both inspiration and comfort from this book, for, with Heinrich, we accept that one cannot argue with life itself  (Heinrich uses the term “nature”). Heinrich is making a case for a greater acceptance that we are of and belong to the whole, and to change how we approach both life and death. He does not directly raise the issue of fearfulness of death and dying, but he does provide many reframed perspectives which might open the way of changing that fear and separation and strengthening our sense of connection to the wholeness of life, which is, by necessity, also the wholeness of death. Liberal religionists exploring death and dying issues may wish to take up this text, and the conversations that will easily arise from them, on how to return to the whole and not keep ourselves apart, on the wisdom of many religious traditions and customs that recognize and sustain that wholeness and not further separation, and on how we can make choices to live, sustained by and sustaining the whole, and make those choices accessible to all.

Seed libraries are important for growing biodiverse communities and putting the local community back in control and knowledge of what grows well in that area. The seed library protects genetic diversity and protects local communities from being exploited by patents on crop genes. Is there a seed library where you live? Can you help start one?