Newsletter | #17
Salûi, amigu*. 🙋♂️
Is it possible to walk mindfully? Can Brazilian President Lula mitigate the crimes perpetrated by Bolsonaro against the country’s Indigenous peoples? What has thousands of wings and is “close to avian witchcraft”? Why are rivers in the UK being so maltreated, and what can be done?
Read on to find out.
*“Hello, friend” in the Ligurian language of northern Italy.
Soundscape of the week
Recorded by Steven Baber, this tranquil soundscape embodies everything that its title evokes: imagine stretching out in the grass, from which comes a background of grasshopper chirps, while, as you luxuriate, the occasional lone bee drones past and isolated birds trill.
If (like your correspondent) you are unfortunate enough to not currently be lazing in the idyllic Italian countryside, this recording may at least go some way to allowing you to imagine otherwise. The balmy temperature, the gentle warmth of the morning sun… No-one would blame you if you were to drift off into a pleasant slumber.
Articles and essays
🚶♀️ With ‘Conscious Walking: Being Present in the World around You’, lay dharma teacher Michael Schwammberger depicts a sensation that may, regrettably, be more familiar than the above: that of constantly hurrying and never being aware of one’s surroundings when walking from place to place. “Walking in this way, I miss most of what is around me and the experience of being alive.”
If this is something that you recognize, then allow Schwammberger to describe the transformation brought about by walking mindfully:
“When I decide to slow down and become more aware and mindful […] my mind becomes focused on the act of walking itself and being present in my surroundings as I walk. This way, I start to notice things more clearly and fully […] [and] the experience […] starts to feel very different and more enjoyable.”
By describing the steps necessary to affect this change, the article may just allow you to see your surroundings through new eyes.
💧 “Surrounded by trees, vines, lilies, bromeliads, bamboos and avenças […] is this small waterfall. In the rainy season, its […] flow increases, [and] its sound creates a contemplative atmosphere […] [of] constantly changing rhythmic patterns.”
‘Waterfall in the Rainforest’, a recent episode of Wind Is the Original Radio, the earth.fm podcast, does what it says on the tin. Yet you may be surprised by quite how mesmeric that contemplative atmosphere is, and how absorbing the crisp babble of its rhythmic patterns are; its rushing liquid flow seems capable of carrying away with it all the stress and worries of the day.
Additional episodes of Wind Is the Original Radio are available on Apple and Google podcasts, Spotify, and Stitcher, with new installments released every Friday.
Content from the extended community
🌎 ‘At Last! Brazil’s Government Launches Major Operation to Evict Miners from Yanomami Territory’: “[Illegal gold]miners have devastated the territory, terrorized [Indigenous Amazonian] Yanomami communities, and caused a catastrophic health crisis so severe President Lula has called it ‘a genocide.’ Hundreds of Yanomami, especially children, have died from preventable diseases and malnutrition. Illegal airstrips and even a road have been constructed, and thousands of mines scar the landscape.”
“Actively encouraged” by former President Bolsonaro, under whose “administration the number of miners rocketed, […] criminal gangs took over much of the illegal gold trade […] [even reaching] areas of forest inhabited by uncontacted Yanomami people”. Bolsonaro also “prevented medical teams from entering the area” to treat diseases spread by the outsiders (including covid), to which the Yanomami have no defenses. On February 7, Survival International reported that an operation has been mounted to remove the miners from the region, under the auspices of returning President Lula.
Survival International has previously outlined the genocidal subjugation under which Indigenous people in the region have suffered and continue to suffer, and last month released a statement on the Yanomami health emergency (“a genocide foretold”), detailing the number of Yanomami children who died as a result of Bolsonaro’s policies.
🦩* “When the early light catches thousands of wings simultaneously, combined with the haunting rustle of countless wingbeats, it is pretty close to avian witchcraft.”
Watch as a huge flock of wading birds exhibit swarm behavior, flying in an astonishing murmuration over the Wash estuary in North Norfolk, England, at the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB)’s Snettisham nature reserve: video here.
*(You try finding a wading-bird emoji!)
💧 “Rivers are the lifeblood of human civilisation. Our conurbations are built on them and have been since the very first cities (probably) were built along the […] Tigris and the Euphrates […]. They remain necessary: life depends just as much on water now as it did then […] – yet […] we obstruct them, […] turn them into concrete canals, […] allow rubbish to mount up on river beaches and […] dump raw sewage into [them].”
Consequently, New Scientist and British newspaper the i have launched a “new campaign [that] will reveal what’s gone wrong and how to restore” the UK’s rivers. As “a relatively small and rich group of islands […] there is no excuse at all for how filthy its rivers are”. The publications plan “to draw up a pragmatic, apolitical manifesto for rivers, a blueprint for how they can be much better looked after […] [which] could be picked up and adopted by any political party interested in saving our rivers”.
‘Why Rivers Are Important for Everything from Biodiversity to Wellbeing’ outlines the importance of the UK’s rivers, as sources of “drinking water, food, irrigation, waste disposal, power, navigation, defence and even inspiration”, while ‘How Can You Tell If a River in the UK Is Healthy?’ provides a helpful guide.
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We hope you have a regenerative week. 🙏
With best wishes,
Neil and Team earth.fm
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