Among my "extra-curricular" duties is being on the six-member board "One Earth Conservation" (OEC) -- the nonprofit organization founded by my spouse, LoraKim, and Gail Koelln, a UU of the Shelter Rock congregation. As a part of this work, LoraKim travels half-a-dozen or so times a year for trips of 10 days to two months to various locations in Latin America: mostly to Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua, though she has also been a few times each to Guyana and Paraguay. She works with local groups concerned to preserve their parrots.
One of the OEC board members is Honduran and lives and works as a biologist in Honduras; the rest are US Americans. Of these, I've visited an OEC project once before (a year and a half ago, in the Mosquitia region of Honduras), but the other board members had no direct experience of the work they oversee. In addition to affording some hands-on exposure for the OEC Board, this trip also includes four others representing OEC's pilot experiment in offering eco-touristry experiences that (a) allow participants to learn about the various forces threatening native species, particularly parrots, (b) assist the actual work of the conservationists, and (c) help fund the conservation projects.
We began with a seminar-style presentation about the project, Nicaraguan history, and the status of the Ometepe parrots. We know that the primary threat is poaching: people stealing the chicks from the nests to sell throughout Central America and Asia to people who think it's cool to have a parrot in their house. (Import of wild birds into the US has been illegal since the Wild Bird Conservation Act of 1992, and has been banned in Europe since 2007.) The T-shirts worn by the Nicaraguan team of conservationists elegantly yet forcefully make the point: over a picture of a Yellow-nape Amazon parrot are the words "Tu casa no es mi casa" (Your house is not my house.)
|To get up the tree requires first using the sling-|
shot to get a rope over a branch. They let me
have a try. I missed.
For two hours each day -- from 1.5 hours before sundown to half an hour after -- we split into teams of three or four to go to various high-ground spots to count the parrots we see as they head from wherever they've been feeding to wherever they're going to overnight. The parrots fly by, usually in twos or threes, sometimes in flocks of 40 or 50. The team leader carefully records the time of each sighting, the number of parrots seen, the species (almost always one of three: yellow-nape Amazon, red-lored Amazon, or Pacific parakeet), and the direction of travel. Later LoraKim and the team leaders will sit down to look carefully at the records and determine which sightings were the same parrots passing by multiple observation spots.
|Climbing a tree this way is a lot of exercise.|
Other field trips show us other efforts on behalf of sustainable ecology:
- We visit a 900-acre cooperative farm that is also a hostel: "Run by a collective of 24 families the farm produces organic coffee, plantains, milk, corn, beans, rice and vegetables, and protects the surrounding natural environment" (Finca Magdalena).
- We visit family plots of less than 10 acres where, with the guidance and assistance of Fauna & Flora International, sustainable and crop-diverse farms are succeeding.
- We lunch at El Jardin de la Vida, "a sustainable eco-friendly hostel and restaurant built with minimal concrete, natural materials and renewable energy."
|Time-bomb flew onto my shoulder, where his|
interest in my ear made me a little nervous.
Yours in the faith we share,
- The December issue of On the Journey explores Embodiment. Pick up a copy at CUUC, or view it HERE.
- Check out the two Common Reads for 2017-18: HERE
The Tuesday coffee chat resumes on Dec 12, 3-5pm -- for anyone who might find that a convenient way to get together with their minister.
- Dec 12 & 19: Starbucks in Vernon Hills Shopping Center, 684 White Plains Rd, Scarsdale
Practice of the Week
Begin the Ecospiritual Path. We who live in the industrialized West may find it uncomfortable to face the painful reality of the damage our culture has inflicted upon other people and the Earth itself, as well as dysfunctional aspects of our culture such as consumerism. We may even feel guilty and ashamed. Nevertheless, it is critical that we walk this path since its truth is often glossed over and ignored in favor of business as usual. READ MORE
Your Moment of Zen
The Holy Spirit. What kind of thing is an idea? How does your idea of idea relate to your faith?
Reverend Crane invited Raven and her students to an ecumenical service at the Little Church in the Grotto. Afterward the Tallspruce community was abuzz about the experience. The next evening Owl asked, "Is the Holy Spirit something like Buddha-nature?"Verse
Raven said, "The two ideas are similar."
Owl asked, "Then Christianity and Zen are somehow linked?"
Raven said, "No, not at all. They are totally different and distinctly separate."
Owl was silent for a moment. Then she asked, "How are they different?"
Raven said, "Their ideas of idea are different."
Owl asked, "How are their ideas of idea different?"
Raven said, "One has eternal life, and the other expires before sunset."
Being as the light is, rising, setting,
Tracelessness is granted -- joy enough.
Two snags, to be avoided if one can, or incorporated:
The ideas of eternal life, and the eternal life of ideas.
Case by Robert Aitken; introduction and verse by Meredith GarmonPrevious Moment of Zen
Saturday Zen Practice at CUUC: HERE
Other News for Sun Dec 10
This Week's e-Communitarian
Practice: Begin the Ecospiritual Path