Earth Medicine

Six years ago, I wrote a blog urging people to drive less and consider the needs of the Earth and future generations that will inherit it, trumpeting the fact that I had given away our one family car. Now we are back up to a one car family again and I realize how difficult it would be for most families to exist in this society without one. Groceries, work, school events for the children, home maintenance projects, volunteer work, and the occasional hiking trip outside the city – there’s always something and although I’ve seen some pretty cool bike trailers in Seattle’s ever expanding bike lanes, clearly this is a limited solution for a society built around the automobile like no other

With another extreme weather event in the news today (Winter Storm Nemo dumped close to three feet on the ground in my native Maine), it’s important though that we continue to connect the dots between our personal lifestyle choices and the impact on the planet. We all need to give up a little personal convenience in order to allow future generations of humans to survive on a habitable planet. And perhaps those with the most to give up should start first. Too often change (i.e. fiscal austerity policies of the government) is imposed on those least able to bear it.

We need to connect the dots in many ways. Yesterday John Brennan, the new CIA Director nominee danced around questions of whether he viewed waterboarding as to torture. No mention was made of the thousands of innocent civilians killed in drone attacks in Pakistan and Afghanistan. This is our government. We elect the people who appoint the people who kill in our name. And what’s it all for? Making the world safe for democracy? That’s a very nice sentiment, but our selective application of military force around the globe – propping up some dictators and often undermining popularly elected governments – would suggest a more cynical motive.

But this is an acupuncture blog – where am I going with this? Chinese medicine is not a reductionist system which focuses on human beings in isolation from the world they live in. Rather, all living systems are understood to be interdependent. The health of humans is intricately linked to the health of the world and all of its creatures large and small, famous and nameless.

Which brings me to one more dot in my connect-the-dot challenge to you: Food. In Washington this coming November, we have one of the most important ballot initiatives (Initiative 522 mandating the labeling of GMO foods) of our lives coming up, with possible implications for national policy. Last November, a similar initiative was defeated in California due to the bucket loads of money that Monsanto and other Big AG companies dumped into slick marketing designed to deceive and misinform. We’ll need to start getting educated. I highly recommend watching this video. As a healthcare provider, I see a lot of people with unexplained digestive issues and allergies, and these health problems are dramatically rising in our society and globally.

I don’t have all the answers. Nobody does. Our time in this world is limited and uncertain. It’s up to us to do what we can to make the world a better place for all those lives to come. We are all connected. Peace and love,  Jordan


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