Way #26: Understanding Your Place

Pachamama Alliance • 26 September 2018
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30 days/30 ways

Way #26: Understanding Your Place

Today you are invited to develop a new perspective on your “place” in the physical world. We’re talking about the actual geographical, physical place where your life occurs: the land, the water, the air. Your place. You may think of your place as your room or your house, but underneath and around is the actual physical environment that supports your life.

You may be surprised by what there is to learn about the ongoing natural systems that envelope you!

Today’s Way is to explore and deepen your understanding of the place where you live. You’ll be amazed at what you discover! If you don’t know where to begin you can start with a simple Google search. Spend 10-15 minutes on any of the questions below and see how far you get.

  • Inside of what watershed do you live? (everyone lives in one!)
  • When you turn on the faucet in your home, where does that water come from?
  • Where is the electricity that powers your home generated?
  • Which of the plants, trees, and bushes you see every day are native to your area?
  • What did your “place” look like 300 years ago?
  • If you live in a place that was colonized, who were the native peoples who inhabited that land before “settlers” showed up?
    • What crops did they grow?
    • What was their main source of protein?
    • What happened to them, where did they go?
  • Where is the majority of the food you and your family eat raised or grown? Do you know any local farmers?
  • Now look “downstream”: 
    • Which large lake, river, or ocean does the rainwater falling around you flow into?
    • What other outputs from human activities flow into these same bodies of water?
    • When people are done using the “products” that they have bought, what happens to them? Do they stay local? Or are they “exported?”

Great questions, right? Don’t be daunted—just starting this research is likely to make your sense of place grow and expand. Enjoy!

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Why Do This Way?

Interdependence is not just a lofty concept, it is a reality of connections, flows, and exchanges, All of which happens at a particular place and time. By looking locally at where the resources that make our lives possible come from and flow to, we can appreciate the depth of our interdependence. When we truly appreciate what gives us life, a deeper sense of gratitude arises as well as a commitment to preserve and protect.

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Engaging with This Way

The Solutions provided by Project Drawdown could form a unique and powerful way of becoming more familiar with your unique place in the world. Some Solutions can be implemented in some localities, but not in others. (For example, Wave and Tidal Energy would not be relevant in land-locked Colorado, but Plant-rich Diet would be.)

When you look at the list of Solutions to reverse global warming consider which ones you think might be particularly relevant in your community based on the answers you found to the questions above. Extra credit for making an informed assessment about which of them would avoid or sequester the most carbon.

A bit of poetry always helps. Listen to English poet David Whyte read Lost by David Wagoner. (The audio is powerful, if a bit crackly.)


What do you understand about your place?

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