Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Faith ... some ideas for activists from 500 years ago

Hello everyone,

Hope this note finds you well.  I'm not the blogger today ... just sending along a quotation about faith ... written by Francesco Guiciardini, an Italian historian and politician who lived 1483 – 1540. 

Faith breeds obstinacy—for faith is no more than believing firmly and almost with certainty things that are not in themselves reasonable; or if reasonable, believing them more unreservedly than reason warrants.

Therefore, he who has faith becomes stubborn in his belief, and goes on his way resolute and intrepid, contemning/disdaining/disregarding/deprecating difficulties and dangers, and ready to suffer every extremity.

And so it happens that, as the things of this world are subject to infinite changes and chances, unlooked for help may come in many ways over time to one who has obstinately persevered. And when this perseverance is the result of faith, it may well be said that faith can accomplish great things.

We currently have a great example of such stubbornness of the Florentines—a group who, contrary to all human reason, prepared themselves to await the joint attack of Pope and Emperor, with no hope of receiving help for anyone else, with disunity among themselves, and with difficulties facing them on every side. For seven months, they have managed to fight off the assaults of armies, even though it seemed impossible for them to do so even for seven days.

In fact, they have brought things to such a point that if they were to win now, no one would be surprised, whereas earlier, everyone assumed they would lose.

And this stubbornness of theirs is mainly due to the belief that—as Friar Girolamo of Ferrara told them in his sermons—they cannot be destroyed.

I note this here because I'm feeling obstinate after a meeting at City Hall today ... and need to get myself ready for the next round.

Kind Regards,

Why's Woman

Francesco Guicciardini: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francesco_Guicciardini 

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Reaching beyond the climate change reports ... to keep going

Hello everyone,

I hope this note finds you well.

The summer has been going by quickly ... I've been working gardening for other people many mornings... taking naps in the afternoon as the heat knocks me out.

I've never done well in the heat.  And the nightly weather reports have been revealing about this.  A lot of heat records in August were set in 1955 for our Southwestern Ontario area. And I've been thinking: Poor Mum!  At home with a new baby in a month with days at 34 degrees celcius.  And Mum hated hot weather even more than I do. 

As a matter of fact - and forgive me if I mentioned this in a previous post - I'm quite sure that it was hot weather in 1999 that contributed to Mum's death.  Never mind that she was 80.  There'd been a spate of really hot weather ... and several days after it passed she passed away.  It was quick, for which I've always been grateful.

And now, with the weather reports and the climate change reports in the media and on even local news ... well, I'm sure glad she's not around to hear about it all.  Or to hear about the harms to the animal world, or poaching of endangered species in other countries.  So many shows on her favorite TVO would be bringing her awful information, if she were here to watch.

How does this little reminiscence fit with Saving the World in My Spare Time? A number of ways. 

Certainly, there's having to say that being upset by all that goes on is distressing.  Being distressed about climate change reports or (yet another) report on the harm neonicotinoid insectivides are wreaking upon the environment (pollinator deaths) is a normal response.  And those of us who are working on environment topics need to be able to say to others that we get tired. 

As Jenna Woginrich (Cold Antler Farm blog) happened to write today in regards to her farm ... it takes a community to make it work.  We who slog away reading pesticide reports, watershed diagrams, or community garden strategic plans that make no commitment to the gardeners all need to realize that ... altho' we are using hours of our lives on lonely paperwork, we may be one of the few people in our community who understand the local history/impact of a particular situation and that is good.  A few more of our hours need to be spent locating and speaking with the other few who are concerned about a topic.  And it's together that we will be able to continue fact-checking, letter-writing, webkeeping, and communicating.

Sometimes, we need to spend that little extra time on something we don't think we have time for ... and the reaching out will eventually save a bit of time and add a bit of stamina and inspiration for saving the world.

Just a few thoughts.  Getting back to the blog page.

Hope you are taking time for yourself this summer ... gardening, bike riding, reading a great book, eating good food with friends.

Very best regards,

Whys Woman