Morning Has Broken

“God never made an ugly landscape. All that sun shines on is beautiful, so long as it is wild.” ~ John Muir

Dawn at the Highest Point in Alabama- Cheaha State Park

 

 

 

 

 

Dawn at the Mouth of Fowl River, Flowing into Mobile Bay

Morning Has Broken, a Christian hymn published in 1931, and written by Eleanor Farjeon, was brought to world attention in 1971 by singer, Cat Stevens.  Muir, Farjeon, and Stevens are reminding us of the gifts we have been given.  “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required…” Luke 12:48

Morning Has Broken

Morning has broken like the first morning
Blackbird has spoken like the first bird
Praise for the singing, praise for the morning
Praise for them springing fresh from the Word

Sweet the rain’s new fall, sunlit from Heaven
Like the first dew fall on the first grass
Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden
Sprung in completeness where His feet pass

Mine is the sunlight, mine is the morning
Born of the One Light Eden saw play
Praise with elation, praise every morning
God’s recreation of the new day

Morning has broken like the first morning
Blackbird has spoken like the first bird
Praise for the singing, praise for the morning
Praise for them springing fresh from the Word

Listen to  the Cat Stevens recording by clicking here.

Every Cog and Wheel

“The last word in ignorance is the man who says of an animal or plant, “What good is it?” If the land mechanism as a whole is good, then every part is good, whether we understand it or not. If the biota, in the course of aeons, has built something we like but do not understand, then who but a fool would discard seemingly useless parts? To keep every cog and wheel is the first precaution of intelligent tinkering.” ~ Aldo Leopold

 Aldo Leopold, 1887-1948, author of Sand County Almanac,  is associated with the development of modern environmental ethics and wilderness conservation.   Leopold’s words are as relatable to the actions of elected officials today, as they were in his lifetime.  Please refer to the December 12, 2018 article  concerning the sale of public lands near national parks and monuments in Utah. Hubris and financial greed should not determine the fate of America’s public lands.  Voice concerns to one’s legislative representatives.  Silence signifies approval of the exploitation and degradation of America’s national treasures.

 

Hovenweep National Monument

 

 

 

 

 

Arches National  Park

 

 

 

 

 

 

Canyonlands National Park


Species

Each species on our planet plays a role in the healthy functioning of natural ecosystems, on which humans depend.
– William H. Schlesinger

Residents along Fowl River count among their most favorite neighbors, the brown pelicans. Year-round residents can be seen daily gliding above the waterways, resting on pilings, and diving for fish.  Learn more about these delightful members of the Alabama coastal environment by clicking here.

 

 

Moments

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take,
but by the moments that take our breath away.
– Anonymous

Fowl River Sunset

Fowl River Morning

Plan some “take your breath away” moments. Shed the stress and discord of daily life and breathe in the serenity and solace offered by the natural world.

Richest Values

“The richest values of wilderness lie not in the days of Daniel Boone, nor even in the present, but rather in the future.”  Aldo Leopold


Alligator in Monroe County Creek

Aldo Leopold, author of  Sand County Almanac,  the 1949 classic concerning conservation and land ethics,  reminds us of the continued need to protect America’s wild places. Although current leadership equates undeveloped land with opportunities to extract and destroy, voters can speak out to defend  national treasures against  exploitation and annihilation. Not everyone can write a book, but almost everyone can write emails to elected officials -start today-for your grandchildren.

Read about wilderness by clicking here.

Read about current threats to wild places by clicking here.

Read about a wilderness in Alabama by clicking here.

 

 

Emotional Affiliation

 

“Biophilia, if it exists, and I believe it exists, is the innately emotional affiliation of human beings to other living organisms. “
— Edward O. Wilson

 

Camouflaged deer on a hillside in northern Alabama

Look closely near the center of the photo.

 

 

 

Green snake hunting among sweet pepper plants in south Mobile county

 

 

Biophilia is defined as the innate ability to relate to nature and living things. While everyone may not  be blessed with this characteristic, all should develop an understanding and appreciation of how all living things are interdependent. The links below help to explain interdependence through food webs and ecosystems.

Environmental Protection Agency

Interdependence of Living Things

 

Human beings depend on other living things, so get emotional – we can’t live without them!

Nourish The Soul

“My spirit was lifted and my soul nourished by my time in the garden. It gave me a calm connection with all of life, and an awareness that remains with me now, long after leaving the garden.”  Nancy Ross

Female monarch butterfly rests on a tropical milkweed plant.

Monarchs overwinter in Mexico, journey north and arrive in Alabama in February and March.  Two beautiful adventurers were spotted in a garden in South Mobile County on February 2. Landing on a bedraggled tropical milkweed, the female deposited her eggs and then continued her journey north.  Learn more about these remarkable Lepidoptera  at the Journey North website.

Make a calm connection with life by  developing a garden attracting pollinators, including the monarch.  The following links will help in making appropriate choices.

Garden Design

Shore Acres Plant Farm 

Shore Acres, located on Bellingrath  Road  in South Mobile County, is a commercial plant farm that welcomes backyard gardeners.  It sells  a huge variety of plants and an excellent potting soil. Plan  a trip to South Mobile County soon.

US Hardiness Zones    Big box stores sometimes sell plants that may not be       suitable for the local climate. Avoid disappointment by referring to a hardiness zone map to determine the zone in which one gardens.

The Greatest Source

“It seems to me that the natural world is the greatest source of excitement; the greatest source of visual beauty; the greatest source of intellectual interest. It is the greatest source of so much in life that makes life worth living.” —David Attenborough

 

 

 

 

 

Lake in North Alabama

 

Salt Marsh in Coastal Alabama

It has been said that Sir David Attenborough is one of the most well traveled people in the whole world, second only to astronauts. Creator and host of award winning natural history programs, this nonagenarian is a perfect example of how the natural world makes life worth living. His example is one worthy of attention.

Exploration of the natural world can begin  right here in the state of Alabama.  Check out the links below for help in planning one’s own documentary journey.  Sir David Attenborough certainly knows how to make a life worth living. So – Ready! Set! Go!

Alabama National Wildlife Refuges

 

Alabama Wilderness Areas          

 

Alabama State Parks

The Household

“The term ecology comes from the Greek word oikos, and means ‘the household.’ Ecological responsibility, then, begins at home and expands to fill the entire planet.” 
— Jeremy Rifkin

 

The Cambridge English Dictionary defines ecology as: “the relationships between the air, land, water, animals, plants, etc., usually of a particular area, or the scientific study of this.”  The term, ecological responsibility, was introduced by Norwegian philosopher, Arne Naess, in 1973.   This responsibility is individual and collective.  Many are expanding  individual choices made  in consideration of the environment to include  how businesses and corporations accept ecological responsibilities. Consumer preferences are given to those making positive steps.  Click  here to read about  an example of positive steps in a recent CNBC article.

A January 15, 2019 article, “A New Tactic In The War Against Plastic Waste,” aired by  NPR (National Public Radio), highlights the work of Filipino community activist,  Froilan Grate.  Years of work to rid his community of plastic trash made him realize that the responsibility to prevent the overwhelming plastic pollution of his community and the oceans (8 million tons per year) lies with the corporations utilizing plastic packaging. The shaming of these global corporations through “brand auditing” or identification of the trash producers led to a summit invitation in Washington DC.  Click on the article title to  read this compelling story.

Ecological responsibility is not just an individual mandate for the future of the planet, it is a corporate mandate as well. Make consumer choices to reinforce that corporate mandate.

Priorities and Political Systems

“No piecemeal solution is going to prevent the collapse of whole societies and ecosystems … a radical re-thinking of our values, priorities and political systems is urgent.”
Maude Barlow

Picture of a compost bin
Compost bin,  provided by Keep Mobile Beautiful,  located at Government St. United Methodist Community Garden also known as The Bee Hive

While there are many groups and organizations making laudable efforts to model and advocate for sound environmental practices supporting Earth’s sustainability,  government agencies including the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Interior,  are being undermined  by economic greed and  hubris. These agencies, managed by officials placed by the current administration,  are charged with reversing laws and regulations protecting the environment as well as public health.   Degradation of the environment, destruction of America’s natural wonders, and threats to public health  can be halted if citizens speak out against these atrocities.  Citizens should voice their concerns to  local and state elected officials including those serving in the House of Representatives and the Senate.  Links for those currently serving at the national level are listed below.

US Senate 

US House of Representatives by Zipcode

Upon identification of  the representative,  execute a search for his/her email address.  The  Alabama First District  representative is Bradley Byrne. Click here for his email address.

Please read a recent article by NPR (National Public Radio) highlighting one activity by EPA officials that should be of concern to everyone breathing air and consuming seafood.  “… Mercury Limits On Coal Plants Too Costly, Not ‘Necessary’

The time to act is now!