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Life Arts

Resurrecting Life on a Dying Planet: The Work of Stacey Murphy and Janell Kapoor

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Ultimately, Stacey and Janell champion and model a mode of being that is more than top-down or bottom-up.  Our top-down/bottom up mentality signifies a follower-leader mode more so than a co-creator mode.

Stacey and Janelle's way of working is in line with the Gaia Hypothesis of James Lovelock where the Earth is a living planet, habitable for a multitude of species, including human beings, via the complex interactions of inorganic and organic life.  In essence, we human beings, alongside everything else, co-created this planet.   We are not separate from Gaia, in the same fashion that our lungs are not separate from us.  We are participants in her life.   

This living, relational process of Gaia ultimately produced an atmosphere containing the mixture of oxygen and carbon dioxide we have today.  We human beings are simply cells in the lungs of the planet.  Whether we are healthy or cancerous cells depends on whether we honor her homeostasis and her balance.  Ideally, we all work together on behalf of the life, home, and beauty we love! 

As such, Janelle and Stacey speak to the importance of collaboration.  While many may not realize it, the movement towards a healthier planet is huge! Not only is it huge, it's also more diverse, spread out, and almost indestructible by corporate -- government power because of its diversity. 

To increase this diversity, Janelle and Stacey work with ASHEVILLAGE INSTITUTE, which is a nonprofit located in Asheville, NC.  It is dedicated to sustainable solutions in action. There, they host educational programs, including the Whole Earth Summit, Urban Farm School, Permaculture Design Courses, Natural Building Extravaganza, and Wise Water School.

This kind of organic work runs counter to the corporate modus operandi, which is about standardization.  Standardization makes one extremely vulnerable to extinction.  This is why a quick walk in the woods reveals a wild diversity of plants, animals, birds and insects.  If there were only oak trees in a forest, than a disease in the oaks could wipe out the entire forest.

It's exactly this mirroring of Nature that is going to pull us through and into a more resilient, just, and equitable future.  No longer shall we be beholden to one style of governance, food production, or education, etc.  Standardization must come to an end.  Diversity, which has been taken on by corporations as a buzzword, is reflected in slogans such as Burger King's "have it your way!" 

That's such a lie.  With or without pickles is not diversity.  Diversity is a rich landscape in which our tomatoes, meats, lettuce and potatoes are grown in organic compatibility with the natural life of the Earth.  If we continue to spread Americanized, plastic culture across the face of the Earth, we breed the very violent resistance we militarize to "protect ourselves" against.

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Stacey and Janell offer us an alternative.  They state that one needs to know what's going on in one's own region and community.  If you're interested about such innovations as Permaculture Groups, Transition Towns, Community Supported Agriculture Farms, research them in your area.  If you don't see anything in your area, research these movements, find out how you can get training, and, once trained, start your own.

Our riches are not found in dollars and cents.  Nor are they found in acres and acres of one crop of food.  Our richness is in a wild diversity.  It is towards this end that Janell and Stacey have placed their efforts.  Could this wild diversity of beauty be a reflection of future human beings? Only WE can decide.    


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To listen to an interview of Janelle and Stacey, go to:

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For more information regarding the Whole Earth Summit, go to:

The Permaculture Institute is located at:

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Burl is an avid writer and publishes to OpEd News. He is author of "Sophia's Web: A Passionate Call to Heal Our Wounded Nature." As of this writing, Burl is planning to self-publish the book. Alongside his wife, Burl co-hosts an on line radio (more...)

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