I love the month of March. Every year, as winter cold dissolves into spring, I find myself amazed at the sheer heartiness and determination it must take for plants and animals to survive a climate that turns against them for months on end. I’m reminded of the creativity and strength of will our ancestors must have had to possess in order to survive and thrive without so many of the technological advances we enjoy today.
Lucas here, contemplating the spirit of the grass as it sprouts up through the scorched landscape of a recent prescribed burn site here at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage.
It’s odd to see the charred landscape with such a subtle veneer of green, fading in and out as I walk along the path. The black and green contrast creates a stunning effect, almost like ocean waves, washing up and down the rolling hills. Brutal destruction, softened by the presence of the next generation, an unbroken chain of survival and balance that stems back millions of years.
Of course, this particular bout of destruction is designed to have an overall positive effect for the land, boosting native wildflower populations and ensuring a suitable habitat for all the little brush-dwellers. A bittersweet prescription for the health of the system as a whole.
Therein lies an analogy. Our environment is the basis upon which we survive. Everything we’ve accomplished, good, bad, and in between, has taken place within a climate and environment that is stable and relatively predictable. It’s important for us to gather as much information about our atmosphere as we can, and respond when the data shows trouble on the horizon. We’ve done it before with CFCs in the 1980s and 90s, and now we’re finding out that we’ve been poking a bigger, badder beast, and for much longer.
The diagnosis and prescription suggested by those working in the field of climate science, taking the measurements and crunching the numbers, is also bittersweet. I count myself fortunate to have friends and neighbors who are willing to hear and respond to these warnings by adjusting how we live our everyday lives.
Unfortunately, it’s going to take much more than a few folks, or a few communities to tackle our dependance on fossil fuels. It’s going to take the majority of us, reaching back and finding some of that collective ancient creativity and determination to carve a more sustainable path forward. I consider my time here at Dancing Rabbit to be another form of service to my country, as helping tend the flame of sustainable living until folks figure out just how vital these strategies are.
And people are figuring it out—over the last couple of years I’ve been here I’ve had numerous conversations with not only DR visitors, but some of my military friends as well. I’ve watched as some of my friends and family have come to understand the severity of the situation, and watched opinions shift in ways I didn’t think possible. As a result, I’ve become more confident that, given time, the argument for sustainable living will only become stronger and more persuasive.
I’m also realizing that I am not solely responsible for convincing and changing the world; I can only take responsibility for changing myself, and doing it well enough that others can incorporate those strategies when they choose to.
I have no doubt that over the course of the next few decades, demonstration projects and communities like Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage will be integral in developing and demonstrating practical solutions.
Like the brilliant green grass poking through scorched Earth.
Until then, we’ll be here, experimenting, learning, and teaching as though our lives depended on it. Indeed, they might, soon.
Want to come learn with us? There are many options, including joining a visitor session, being a work exchanger, or enrolling in a course or workshop. Check out the links for more info, and we hope to see you here soon!
Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage is an intentional community and nonprofit outside Rutledge, in northeast Missouri, focused on demonstrating sustainable living possibilities. Find out more about us by visiting our website, reading our blog, or emailing us (dancingrabbiticorg) .