December 2012 “Sustainability,” First Nations pt. 2

Thank you Tim Newton for reminding me I haven’t done a blog post this month-ish. I thought my last wave of postings would be enough reading for the hibernation season.

Sorry no photos this month, but I guarantee you’ll look forward to some captivating stories, insights, and more of my signature humour. Look forward to uploading some video next posting.

Years ago, I went to a workshop by Storm Cunningham, inspirational author of the book Rewealth!, who ruffled our feathers with the idea that if we want to effectively be green social enterprises (I’ll say it should be a requirement for living on earth by extension), then we have a lot of rethinking to do, starting with the use of the buzz-word “sustainability” itself. He then popped the question: “How would you answer if someone asks you: ‘Is your marriage sustainable??'”

To me, “sustainable development” has been co-opted by the corporate world to basically mean maintaining the status quo, forever. Less cringe-worthy is the generally-accepted term “sustainability.”

Is this the mood we want to cultivate to describe our vision? To inspire us to take transformative action? I prefer something dynamic and forward-thinking like regenerative design, or inspirational and active present-tense like abundance. Build your life around the words that excite you to take action, and share them with others.

On a similar note, this is the same reason I seldom use the term permaculture to describe my worldview/calling/professional practice. For those that haven’t read, check out my definition of permaculture.

I also like the indigenous peoples’ “seven generations” principle, and Chief Seattle’s we don’t inherit/own the land from our parents, we owe it to our descendants. Simple, poetic, humble, and makes us really think.

What this all means to me is restoring the same amount of land as our collective ecological footprint so that we can eventually draw upon the woodlots for our timber, fruits, nuts, medicine, mushrooms, rebuild topsoil, purify water, buffer against climate shock, and inspire a community structure to enable this to thrive for the next seven generations. I can’t think of a more cost-effective or inspirational strategy.

There’s an amazing story insert in my edible forest garden book titled “The Oak Beams of New College, Oxford” that had this college search far and away to find grandfather-sized oak trunks to renew their 500-year old dining hall’s beams. Just as all hope was lost, one of the Junior Fellows suggested some trees at the college forest. They called the College Forester, who “pulled his forelock and said, Well sirs, we was wonderin’ when you’d be askin‘” Turns out these succession oaks were planted when the dining hall was built to renew the oaks when it became too beetle-infested. Since then, the College Forest has been passing down this tidbit from generation to generation. Time to plant the next succession of oaks, and some more!

While the topic is on indigenous peoples once again, I’ll answer an invitation from a previous blog posting about which two First Nations were historic to Southern Georgian Bay. Mike Reid has been thinking hard and ventured his educated guess last time I lent him a hand at his farm Kolapore Gardens. Congratulations, Mike for knowing your history, especially delving into the aspect lesser-known and hidden from the public’s consumption. Mike dusted off his booklet about Petun archaeology written by Charles Garrad. He also heard my presentation at an event at Kimbercote Farm several years back. So what is Mike’s prize you may ask? I’ll volunteer a day inside the crawlspace to help dig out his root cellar. (Man, I love giving retroactive gifts.)

The Wyandot-speaking (Huron) Tionontati (Petun) Nation were indigenous to Southern Georgian Bay during the initial encounters with the French. There has been a generous revival of this spirit thanks to Charles Garrad’s lifetime interest in Petun archaeology, and their sacred pilgrimmage site and spirit of Ekarenniondi are now on the present site of the privately-owned Scenic Caves attraction.

Lesser known are the peoples who enacted the Treaties with the British in the early 1800s. Since the Ojibwe resettled in what was known as the “Queen’s Bush,” they have signed treaty upon treaty with the British, to “protect” their land from encroaching frontiers people, to protect their “fishing rights,” to enable “them” an access corridor (Highway 6 to Owen Sound). Throughout the colonization of lands far and wide, treaty or no treaty, there is certainly something inconceivable here that the Ojibwe would allow the British to systematically take that which is the most sacred and essential to their survival. Definitely worth reading the beautifully illustrated and fun to read Illustrated History of the Chippewas of Nawash. Written by the Ojibwe, for all readers. At one point, I had 3 of these books… time to restock my shelves… and give one to the local libraries too.

Since this is a relatively shorter update (slight sarcasm), feel free to explore further by checking out my newly-launched web site. I’m on Google+, Linked In, and conceded to Facebook… kind of…being on this blog is where it’s at so don’t get distracted by that stuff. Sorry folks I’m not on Twitter. No ICQ either.

Until then, have a delicious Christmas, Orthodox Christmas, Kwanzaa, Festivus, solstice, and Mayan renewal. And to put a forward-thinking spin, the days only get longer from here.

2 thoughts on “December 2012 “Sustainability,” First Nations pt. 2

  1. Hi Ivan

    I have checked the records and apparently my marriages are not sustainable for that long. That being said, based statistics, I only need one more after Karen

    Merry Christmas

    Morgan YFC

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