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Changing seasons, changing climate

September 1, 2012
The Daily Mining Gazette

To the editor:

From our lunch perch at the edge of a beaver pond, we watched a Ring-necked Duck, a Hooded Merganser and a couple of Painted Turtles that seemed to be enjoying the late-summer day as much as we were. They will soon adjust to another season, and their intuition will guide them, as it has for eons, in elaborate relationships with other species and their environment. Through the process of evolution, species can adapt to changes, as long as they don't come too fast. The moose that use this beaver pond are not doing well. They are big and have a black fur coat, and they cannot sweat. When it's hot, they don't eat, and they enter winter with less fat than they need.

Humans can honor our connectedness to creation through our science, religion, arts, work, service, education and everyday choices. Everything we do makes a difference, and we have made some mistakes. We have bled and gouged the earth to extract fossil carbon and converted it to atmospheric carbon that is causing the climate to change too fast for many species, perhaps even ourselves.

Other animals have instincts and intuitions that don't allow them to forget their environmental relationships. We have the same intuitions; the still, small voices deep within us that guide us into healthy relationships, but we have listened to other voices that have enticed us down the path of individualism and materialism.

We are intensely social creatures who want to do the right thing, and we are great problem solvers. The potential to correct our mistakes is unlimited, if we work together. Our strength as Americans arises from our diversity in race, class, religion and culture. As long as we think of those who are different as enemies, our progress is stymied. Diversity is not a handicap - it energizes us.

Our hope, this fall season, is that each person who looks up at honking geese as they fly south will experience that marvelous shiver of excitement, the sense of wonder that we feel when we realize we are part of nature's beauty. As the song says, "All God's children got a place in the choir," and we experience harmony only when we include and listen to different voices, when we live in grateful, humble relationships with our own kind and the whole of creation.

Carolyn and Rolf Peterson




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