The United States was once a nation of farmers. Today less than two percent of Americans farm, yet almost half of all land in the country is used to produce crops and livestock. Within three decades after the Second World War an industrial revolution (unprecedented by any other economic sector) occurred along the front-lines of American agriculture. The US economy rebounded while technological optimism and the rise of the petrochemical industry framed Progressive Era policies. Petroleum-based amendments and fuel coupled with manipulation and mechanization from farm to fare engendered a “Green Revolution.” Technological solutions played polestar in a crusade for economic growth. Grow, the economy did, and as our economy ripened so did the industrial farm system, large-scale monoculture of staple crops and agricultural surplus and dependency upon chemicals and industrial irrigation. Technology overwhelmed sustainable agriculture, leaving a wake of degraded soils, contaminated water and surplus yields. Farmland population has since precipitously declined. Flagging agricultural communities and food deserts have supplanted local and working knowledge systems around the globe. We can change this – visionaries are. Join CCAT and the greater appropriate technology community in our vision/action quest for sustainable agricultural praxis and policy.
Nikki Caputo, CCAT Co-Editor
CCAT is in the process of transforming into a consensus-based community. Consensus seeks agreement in policy and praxis by a community as a whole. A collective engagement endeavor, community-based learning calls for symmetric reciprocity in order to arrive at horizontal relationships. Consensus-based systems restructure learning processes and promote learning circles; they democratize the process by which problems are identified and in how they are resolved. CCAT seeks to invigorate the power of community and be the change we want to see. Buckminster Fuller witnessed, “I live on Earth at present, and I don’t know what I am. I know that I am not a category. I am not a thing—a noun. I seem to be a verb, an evolutionary process—an integral function of the universe” (Fuller, 1970). Community is a verb.
Nikki Caputo, CCAT Co-Editor
“Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home—so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any map of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person: The neighborhood he lives in; the school or college he attends; the factory, farm or office where he works. Such are the places where every man, woman and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination. Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerted citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world.”
~Eleanor Roosevelt, 1958
The One Who Tells the Stories Rules the World ~Hopi Wisdom
What is knowledge? How is knowledge acquired? Who is authorized to be a knowledge producer and whom or what controls the distribution of knowledge? Is knowledge truth?
George Lakoff, a cognitive linguist, sustains that absolute and objective truth is chimeric, a dangerous sociopolitical vehicle of deception. Lakoff proffers that truths are contextual, ‘true only relative to some understanding of it’ (Lakoff, 1980). He maintains that truth is socially and/or experientially-situated.
What is truth? What determines the validity of some way of knowing-of knowledge production? Life is a repository of knowledges. If humans are to flourish, we will listen to the melody of our rich diversity of voice in order to greet the complex challenges of modern times.
Prosper, Nikki Caputo CCAT Co-Editor
Community: an environmental health care prescriptive.
What are the cultural underpinnings of combat with our environment? Misanthropy and myopia frame our sense of intolerance and hatred of our own species. Who and what belongs where? Many in the environmental movement claim humans do not have a functional role in the environment; this fuels a sense of alienation from the environment of which we are a part, framing a sense of intolerance of both self and other. How can we understand human nature and our place within nature, if we are blinded by self-hatred? From where will our well spring? How can we embrace our role within global systems and cycles? Are we “elite tourists1” visiting nature? Are we a virus? Distinguishing humans as other suggests a circular teleological argument for slow suicide–a war-like destruction of self, home and neighbor. Misanthropy leaves “little hope of discovering what an ethical, sustainable, honorable human place in nature might actually look like.”2
Racism and the polarization of nature and humanity share seed in the alienation of humanity. How are we to address the many challenges we face if we see ourselves as alien to nature and from one another? Where do our strategies for energy, food and water securities intersect with ecological stoichiometry? Alienation has created alien nations, grid-locked in conflict and a growing trend of privatization of profits and a corollary externalization of costs. But where exactly lies this “External” kingdom? Where is away?
Impacts of racism and self-enmity begin early, cultivating desires to weed the world (of us). Who and what belongs where? This week’s blog invites us to renovate of our concept of natural–to envisage an alternative socio-environmentalism, targeting preventative measures to strengthen and fortify society as well as our environment. This is an invitation to reexamine nativity as a cultural meme. Recognizing our native and legitimate role within nature can help us lay foundation for sustainable development. “Most of our most serious environmental problems start right here, at home, and if we are to solve those problems, we need an environmental ethic that will tell us as much about using nature as about not using it.”3 Nature is much more than a cathedral. Nature is greater than our concept of wilder-ness. Nature is where we live. Nature is community; nature includes us.
Nikki Caputo, CCAT Co-Editor
He Waka Eke Noa We are all in this boat together ~Maori Wisdom
1,2,3 Cronon, William. 1995. “The Trouble with Wilderness or, Getting Back to the Wrong Nature” In William Cronon, ed., Uncommon Ground: Rethinking the Human Place in Nature, New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 1995, 69-90.
This is where we’ll be sharing interesting news articles, opinion pieces, etc. with you from now on. CCAT events and major news will still go on the front page.