Gardening columnist stands her middle ground

Writing about how trees have evolved to survive cold climates inadvertently stirred up a rat’s nest.

BY MARGO WESTAWAY

This winter I wrote about how trees have evolved to survive cold climates, which inadvertently stirred up a rat’s nest on the great debate of creation versus evolution, where once again it’s neighour against neighbour, pointing pitchforks at each other with their feet solidly planted on unyielding ground.

I try to stand on the middle ground, (though it may not have seemed so in this case), and it certainly wasn’t my intent or agenda to support or take sides on this no-win argument.

Neither do I wish to ever offend, challenge, antagonize, patronize, rain on anyone’s parade or put a bee in someone’s bonnet over contentious issues like this.

However, since I’ve opened up a can of worms, it seems like a good opportunity to air out a bit too and let the readers know where I’m coming from.

Basically, I like to think of myself as a well-grounded, everyday gal who likes to garden, enjoy being out in nature and writing about it. I’m not associated with any group, organization or underground society, am no expert in any field or have a degree. I can only just wave a certificate from the Gaia College saying that I passed the Organic Master Gardeners course, which doesn’t grant me garden guru status. I write about what I learned – not to tell people how to garden. We all do our own thing anyway, I just to try to nudge people towards practices that support and sustain life.

I figure I do pretty good at walking my green talk, but I’m not perfect and don’t claim to be.

I don’t appreciate being held under a microscope, scolded or judged for the way I think, feel, believe, live, eat or what I do or drive – just like anyone else. I resent how we’re made to feel like parasitic blights on this planet and the sole reason for all its inevitable demise. It distresses and angers me that we’re bombarded with doom and gloom prophesies and predictions of impending world wars, end times, global roasting, catastrophic environmental degradation, massive extinction events, starvation, disease and death by nuclear contamination. This can only leave us with a sense of hopelessness, despair and absolute paralysis about doing anything about it, which puts us all on dangerous ground because it can only lead to social chaos and an ugly free-for-all if we give up on this Earth and everyone on it.

I believe that if humans don’t stop separating each other by their prejudices and deep-rooted points of view, then we’ll always be on shaky ground, and that it’s important to focus on our common ground instead, and to never lose sight of a brighter future.

You just have to watch a few TEDtalks on the Internet to see how many dedicated and committed people around the world there are – with all kinds of backgrounds and professions – putting good minds and resources together in order to solve our global problems on our behalf, let alone the untold thousands of bright students, everyday citizens and volunteers who contribute as well.

I think that those people from all different camps who dare to peer down the rabbit hole with an open mind, have shown us – for those who wish to see – that life is incredibly complex, mysterious and fascinating, and that the more we know, the more we don’t know.

Through their collaborations, teamwork and shared discoveries from advanced technologies, they continue to narrow the deep chasm between the scientific and non-scientific communities in order to show us that we may, in fact, be talking about the same thing in many areas, except in different languages.  Chances are we’ll still never agree with each other because that’s our nature, but it may help to stop some mud slinging.

Did life begin by the hand of God or billions of years ago by countless gaseous and biological processes – through intelligent design or by natural selection? Is Earth spinning and hurtling through vast space, or are we inside the speck in Horton Hears the Who?  Who knows for absolute sure.

I feel Earth has an amazing capacity to adapt and regenerate, but it can only take so much. I also feel that if we keep facing in opposite directions, then we can’t keep a collective eye on this beautiful blue ball of ours that just might roll away on us.