Monday, September 5, 2011

Earth Etude for 8 Elul


Take a trip with me on my morning commute. This crisp summer morning, there's an apple lying on the road. A child's delight, discarded half-way though. Intentionally tossed? Accidentally dropped? It lies upon a fresh bed of asphalt which uselessly attempts to assimilate this foreign object. The half-eaten apple on asphalt is Garbage. Asphalt has no use for apples.

Imagine a slightly different commute, through a forest. A half-eaten apple here doesn't sit for long. All manner of living species feast of its bounty: bacteria, insects, worms, birds, chipmunks plants, trees and fungi. No waste. The apple is a wonderful part of the ecosystem.

The difference between these two trips: Connection. In the first, disconnection abounds. In the second, connection is fundamental. What if we look at ourselves, which pattern do we fit?

Food comes from distant farms and continents, it's leftovers to be shipped away or flushed with water that itself comes in from distant springs only to be processed and released somewhere more distant. Water that falls on the house is quickly lead away as well. Each household with separate habitants coming and going in separate directions to separate activities returning only to eat separate meals and relax. Separately.

Only the abundant energy of ancient sunlight made this possible. While the conversation about how we will Transition off our fossil fuel addiction is long overdue, we are, at this very moment, left with the ideal opportunity to reimagine what a connected, self-reliant, sustainable community could look like. This month of Elul, when we engage in introspection in preparation for the Days of Awe, is a perfect time for us to get together and start walking down that path.

Alexander Volfson, a humanist and Earth-ist, seeks to apply his existing(and future) skills toward the creation of a just and sustainable world for all living beings. After bike grime (from fixing bicycles), waste vegetable oil (from biodiesel processing), and dirt (from the permaculture garden) have been washed off his hands, Alex seeks to turn financial flows back into local communities for social and sustainable enterprises. He's started right in his hometown, Framingham with a used vegetable oil collection business; as one of the founding organizers of the FraminghamSierra Club; and with his involvement in the Transition movement.

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