Posts tagged ‘deforestation’

April 19, 2017

What harm could mining do in the watershed of the BWCA and headwaters of the Mississippi River?

In light of the ongoing process to permit the Polymet to mine copper in Babbitt with a processing center in Hoyt Lakes, I am reposting my article first published in November, 2012:

A view of Northern Minnesota as the battle rages for copper, sulfide mining near the Boundary Waters Wilderness Area.


October 27, 2014

Stonehenge Origins

Stonehenge: The Clearing

In regard to Stonehenge, it is important for a bigger picture to  consider the effect of farming cultures moving in to the British Isles, the sacrifices found at Stonehenge (one of an archer) the charred remains of people and animals (cremation of animals or food waste?), at henges made of wood in particular … the prime possibility that there was genocide, people burned at the stake (since there is evidence of charred remains at the posts holes in the wood henges) all of which could have occurred, displacing hunters and gatherers to the benefit of the agricultural community and the mining of metals. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

Stonehenge in its final stage coexisted with wood henges. Were these political statements of sorts? One favoring the predominance of forests, one the elimination of these same forests for cultivation of food? Evidence of monuments to man and his beliefs can be found throughout our written history. Why not before?

All cultures have been fascinated by the heavens, by the sun, stars and moon … this is nothing new. It is also not news that powerful people require means to indoctrinate the masses to further the changes that they would like to see in society; and it is not much of a leap, either, to understand how farming became a way to gather more land and therefore more power.

We are familiar, as well, how the beliefs of indigenous cultures can be used to inculcate a system that supports the agendas of powerful people … time and time again. The hunter-gatherers were more or less nomads, moving with the wild and benefiting from the forests. Some would train wolves to guard and herd a few domesticated animals; but, on the whole, this did not take on the scale of farming methods brought in by the Europeans. It might have been a benefit, therefore, to use pagan rituals to create a system that would support the farming culture, and thus Stonehenge in its final stage, created not only to predict the changing seasons but to promote the change to farming in society through ritual and sacrifice (eg the Mayans).

Farming brought increased populations to the area because of the greater abundance of food, which then produced and required more tilled soil and less forest. So many studies make no distinction between the indigenous populations that created earlier versions of the henge in wood to the final Stonehenge created from stone. It is also interesting that attribution is not only made to the pagans, who had thrived off forests for thousands of years, but also to the “druids”,with little evidence of their existence before 200 BC; when, in fact, construction of the “stone” henge built by 2500BC, the one we see today, was a practice brought by those European farmers who immigrated to the isles during that time. It seems most likely that it was under this particular influence that the stone monuments and burial mounds were built.

By 2500 BC, metals were brought to England and then all hell broke loose. By 2000 BC most of the forests that covered the British Isles were a memory. I hardly think the culture that had practiced sustainability for thousands of years, like the indigenous peoples in Alaska and northern Minnesota would have built stone monuments that supported a practice to destroy their base.

I wonder, sometimes, if we aren’t hard-wired to destroy ourselves. Nothing else makes sense in my limited view. One thing’s for certain, if we don’t know the truth and we don’t live with our eyes wide open, we can never find a better way.

This painting is my vision of Stonehenge as a monument to the new culture of farming with the ghosts of a forest in the background as the land is cleared.

September 22, 2012

Would we listen to Leonardo today?

In the words of Leonardo da Vinci:

On Metals – “There will issue from dark, gloomy caves something which will bring great sorrow, danger, and death on the whole human race; to many of those who seek it, it will after much suffering bring delight; but those who do not share in it will die in want and in distress.  It will engender unending treason; it will drive unhappy men to commit more murders, thefts, and acts of oppression; it will breed suspicion among those who seek it; it will destroy the freedom of free cities; it will take the lives of many; it will sow among men much fraud, deceit, and treason. 

O monstrous creature, it would be better for men if you returned to hell!  On account of you great forests are robbed of their trees and countless animals are robbed of their lives.”

On Man’s cruelty – “There will be seen on the earth animals which constantly fight among themselves, inflicting great harm and frequently death on each other.  Their enmity will know no bounds; their savage members will fell a great part of the trees in the vast forests of the world; and after they gorge themselves, they will continue to feed on their desire to inflict death and suffering and sorrow and fear and flight on all living creatures.  Through their measureless pride they will seek to raise themselves to heaven, but the excessive weight of their members will hold them fast to the earth.  Nothing will remain on the earth or under the earth and water that is not pursued, chased down, or destroyed; and it will be chased from country to country.  Their bodies will be the grave and passageway of all the living bodies which they have killed.

O world, why do you not open and hurl into the deep clefts of your abysses and caverns and no longer show to heaven such cruel and heartless monsters?”

Both quotes by Leonardo da Vinci are from Codex Atlanticus, codex in the Ambrosiana Library in Milan.  Published in eight folio volumes by Ulrico Hoepli, Milan for the Reale Accademia dei Lincei 1894-1904 and translated by Wade Baskins in his book, The Wisdom of Leonardo, pages 77-79.