Letter from ATLANTIC NEW ENGLAND ~ Chris Loughlin

Thoughts on Conservancy That Have Entered Our Conversations

To be part of a moment and a movement that invites us into a consciousness of Atlantic New England ~ Atlantic Canada ~ and connects us with the ecological energy emerging in the Great Lakes Basin is a wondrous blessing.

We sing as Atlantic New England into the terror and beauty of this moment. The terror is tangible all around us as we continue our U.S. ways or warring, consuming, denying. At the same time our sensitivities are awakening to a beauty that has gone unnoticed in our contemporary times. We are sensing the Beauty of the phenomena of life. We are noticing landscape, birdsong, water's edge, wind swell, plowed field in a way that we have not heeded in our past organizing days. Now we see the need to call forth our efforts to include the whole community in our process and planning.

O Beautiful Gaia has invited us into the sacred number of four ~ four acres of land to be conserved for the children of all species.

Listed here are some of the notions that have surfaced. I share them with you. I wonder if you would share with us how your own thinking and process is going. Are their similarities, ideas that can spark us, notions we have not thought of, a way for all three groups to move or a way to appreciate where each is being led?

We move to;

* protect the Commons by tending to our own rivers and lands

* become aware how the ecology of a place is dependent on the economy of a place; how are our chooses of food and material resources affecting another ecological region

* see the connection between conservation and agricultural preservation; all conservationists must eat; where does our food come from

* investigate what specific options we can move on that lead to action and being for Atlantic

* seek the places where the divine feminine is revealing herself

* recognize that the preservation of the wild is connected with the preservation of the domestic; local agriculture preserves local wildness

* protect our watersheds

* recognize that women's lives have always been about feeding, clothing, sheltering, nurturing ~ so too for all the mammal kindom. How do we move with the sacred number four acres to relearn our place in Earth's story

Thanks for sharing with us. We appreciate your wisdom and commitment. To be in this moment is such a blessing


Letter from ATLANTIC CANADA ~ NS ~ Charlotte Keen

Thank you so much for sending us the thoughts on conservancy from the New England region. We in Atlantic Canada share so much with you in our landscape and in the creatures of the sea and the shore, that your words deeply penetrate. In Nova Scotia we have not yet formed a clear statement of intent in terms of conservancy, but we have had some good discussions within the monthly gatherings. I am sending you here a sketch of the ideas that have emerged, and some of the activities that have been initiated.

* linking up with Nature Conservancy to "adopt" a piece of land or buy land as a Trust which we set up. This could be a lifelong project-4 acre concept. An example is the land known as Prospect High Head one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline in Nova Scotia, currently threatened by development.

* preserve public lands eg. Halifax Commons

* going to places where the land/people have been hurt and singing

* construct an environmental artwork such as a planting of trees in a spiral form, or a construction of beach stones,

* find a way to be in solidarity with people living near the tar ponds in Sydney, for example by bringing this music there.

* create a map of beautiful places in NS, show where public land is being abused

* create a document of our personal sacred spaces

* create a visual, story and song document on Oh Beautiful Gaia to be used in schools

* focus on being authentic in our daily lives re: consumption and recycling, bring stories of local women's environmental activities to newspapers.

* plan our own event for Earth Day
* plan workshops on land conservation,

In terms of activities that we have initiated, we have started to compile a directory of key websites for environmental issues here, and are beginning to inform ourselves on what is happening locally in terms of environmental activism . We deliberately held our first two meeting in the fall in beautiful settings around the province, one on an organic farm and the second on a farm where the local Acadian forest is being restored to its original state. Now, with winter taking hold, we are staying close to the city, but I hope we can continue to be on the land in some way. Certainly we will do so again once spring comes. One women has put together a beautiful binder of all the endangered species in Atlantic Canada, with photos and lots of information.

Thats all for now. Its something to build through the dark of the next few months. I believe that Katherine Clough will be sending out a contribution from the PEI group. Lets stay in touch.

Yours in Gaia


Letter from ATLANTIC CANADA ~ PEI ~ Katherine Clough

Some thoughts on conservancy from PEI...

The conservancy conversation finally surfaced in the PEI circle on January 11th 2003. We had listed ideas at the first gathering in September and listened to the voices on conservancy from the other groups but it took the planning team for this meeting (Clare, Michelle, Margie and Jan) and the gift of sweet sage from Grandmother's Hills to bring us to the conversation. Jan has recorded our discussion in the January 11th notes. Here are my thoughts and observations on the what is emerging.

Canada is renowned for its National Parks which are an expression of the strongest modern interpretation of conservancy. Protect (from what) make rules(about what) and pat ourselves on the back. We are a few well meaning humans trying to treat the symptoms of a prevalent disease called alienation from nature. I walk in the pine forest at Dalvay in August, Gaia offers me a basketful of chanterelles, but the rule is Ano picking within Park boundaries@ I respect the rule but at a deeper level my alienation from nature is increased, nourishment, and the aesthetic experience diminished although the flush of orange stays in my mind's eye.

Our Gaia circles are in another place. The conservancy conversations are about relationship All seem to want to leave a legacy and a rich and varied list of ways to leave a legacy is emerging. For some it is place, a piece of Gaia land, 4 acres for example, a place for celebration meditation, healing or perhaps for none of these; just a place where the land can be without the imposition of human thoughts or activities. There is some discomfort with Ausing@ and Aowning@ land, about attaching a label, putting up a sign saying Gaia land But then within our current system ownership of the deed is interpreted as permission to use.

So the concept of a legacy being expressed as relationship with land is also emerging. How can that relationship develop ? By finding land that needs our love, or does that land find us? Paula spoke of her family's land in the Miramichi, deeded to her brothers but that fact doesn't change her relationship with it.

I recognize this conversation as ecopsychology, connecting the human mind to the natural world. I believe that our sanity depends on the less obvious connections to nature. Of course we need food, water, air and energy and now we are beginning to discover those other connections. Laura Sewall would say we are cultivating ecological perception, Denise Levertov gave us Beginners.

For me the legacy of O Beautiful Gaia will be an increased connection to nature which we can share and express in a myriad of ways, and in many places, Grandmothers Hills, the wildflower meadow at Greenwich, at work and as I write 'alone' with my microflora and fauna.

'So much is in bud'

Katherine Clough
January 18th, 2003

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