Six weeks from now, on October 10, 2010, 350.org is sponsoring a global work party to spread and deepen awareness about and inspire further action around our growing climate challenge. This grassroots movement is spreading at a time when most governments and businesses seem inexplicably stymied about how to make fundamental commitments toward shifting unsustainable behaviors. And it feels like we are on the edge of a tipping point, perhaps spurred by this summer’s record breaking heat wave and dramatic weather events in places like Pakistan and Russia. So consider signing up for or hosting a local event if you have not, and take a moment to read this call to action by co-founder Bill McKibben following the failed climate bill in Congress – “Get mad and then get busy.”
meet in the hub.
Where the wheel isn’t
is where it’s useful.
clay makes a pot.
Where the pot’s not
is where it’s useful.
Cut doors and windows
to make a room.
Where the room isn’t,
there’s room for you.
So the profit in what is
is in the use of what isn’t.
If we will have the wisdom to survive,
to stand like slow-growing trees
on a ruined place, renewing, enriching it,
if we will make our seasons welcome here,
asking not too much of earth or heaven,
then a long time after we are dead
the lives our lives prepare will live
there, their houses strongly placed
upon the valley sides, fields and gardens
rich in the windows. The river will run
clear, as we will never know it,
and over it, birdsong like a canopy.
On the levels of the hills will be
green meadows, stock bells in noon shade.
On the steeps where greed and ignorance cut down
the old forest, an old forest will stand,
its rich leaf-fall drifting on its roots.
The veins of forgotten springs will have opened.
Families will be singing in the fields.
In their voices they will hear a music
risen out of the ground. They will take
nothing from the ground they will not return,
whatever the grief at parting. Memory,
native to this valley, will spread over it
like a grove, and memory will grow
into legend, legend into song, song
into sacrament. The abundance of this place,
the songs of its people and its birds,
will be health and wisdom and indwelling
light. This is no paradisal dream.
Its hardship is its possibility.
Erich Jarvis is a neurobiologist at Duke University and a specialist in bird songs and calls. He was raised in New York City, attended the School for the Performing Arts (where he was an accomplished dancer), and went on to study birds while a student at Hunter College and Rockefeller University. His ongoing research suggests that birds are more intelligent than we give them credit for, and Jarvis hopes that his focus on the complexity behind bird songs will lead to therapies for human beings with speech problems.
There are those in the scientific community who have objected to Jarvis’ and others’ assertions about avian intelligence, in part because the terminology used to describe a bird’s brain had long emphasized its primitiveness. This is precisely what Jarvis set out to change a few years ago. He took it upon himself to pull together colleagues from around the country and across disciplines to collaboratively rename parts of the avian brain. Read the rest of this entry »
Had you visited the IISC Cambridge offices a couple of weeks ago, prior to our staff putting all of our belongings in boxes and pink (yes pink) crates in preparation for our move, you would have seen a piece of paper on my computer stand with the following word in bold letters:
This has been my mantra for the past year, and there is is increased urgency around it these days, not simply because that paper is now sealed in some box on its way to Boston’s Seaport. With so much in flux (including our move), with so many possibilities and so much to be done out there, with so much information flowing through the various channels into which I am tuned, I can easily find myself getting distracted – “Oh Look, A Squirrel!”. And I know I am not alone.