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The Bridge at the Edge of the World

May 1, 2008

I recently had the pleasure of hearing Gus Speth, Dean of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, speak on his new book The Bridge at the Edge of the World: Capitalism, the Environment and Crossing to Sustainability. For those of us working on green issues over the past decade, the bad news in his book is unfortunately not new news. The gist: “…as we now approach the fork ahead, we are prerilously close to losing the most precious things of all. We are rapidly hallowing out nature, ourselves, and our society.”

Personally, I am trying to focus on the opportunities in the current crisis and focus on solutions, rather than get lost in the doom and gloom. And Speth concludes on the theme that what we really need to save the world is a shift in consciousness. Not really new news, but a new message to come from the mainstream environmental movement.

Speth ends his book with a great quote from Arundhati Roy: “Another world is not only possible. She is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.” How would the world change if we all, especially in the developed world, created more space in our days for a quiet moment in nature, listening to her breath.

As Angeles Arrien challenges her students, if you spend an hour a day in nature, your life will change. I live in Marin County, amidst some of the most beautiful places in the world: Muir Woods, Point Reyes National Sea Shore, and Mt. Tam. I work in the Golden Gate National Park, yet despite my best intentions, I have a hard time making an hour each day for time in nature.

Where in your day can you make more time to be quiet and listen for her breath?

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