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On A Planet Sailing West by Linda Clarke

Curve-billed Thrasher, Alamogordo NM, November 12, 2011

On A Planet Sailing West is available at

From page 127:

Our cultural detachment from nature has made it almost impossible to recognize the depth of kinship among all living organisms. The growth rate of forests all over the world, for example, not only depends on the pollination of birds but on birdsong. "The singing of birds developed over thousands of years, helped plants to grow. The incredible die-off of bird species since the introduction of pesticides has had a tremendously negative impact on forest systems. The bird species whose function, in part, is to help trees and plants feed and form the atmosphere, are no longer there."[Stephen Harrod Buhner]

Our own bodies are already aware of the damage being done. When we smell things, we are ingesting small amounts of whatever might be in the air. On a summer day in the woods, we may breathe in a mixture of the essential oils of Douglas fir, aromatic shrubs, and wild herbs - all possessing healing properties and when we walk or camp among these trees and plants, we are constantly breathing in small amounts of their antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal medicine. Plants are medicines for all life on earth. Contrast this to the smells of car exhaust, paint, plastic, foam cushions, deodorant, floor cleaner, all the smells we ingest in our homes or in the city, that parallel the rise of chronic disease both in ourselves and in nature.

... It is entirely probable in this century that all fresh water will be contaminated by birth control drugs, athlete's foot remedies, Viagra, Prozac, Amoxicillin, Lipitor, Tamoxifen, Codeine, Aspirin, Ibuprofen, caffeine, and tons of personal care products like shampoos, sunscreen, mosquito repellent. ...

Plants are particularly important because they are ecological medicines. ... Cattails, willows, and poplars, for example, filter heavy metals and even dissolved explosives from our wetlands. Wild lettuce heals the baked soil after a forest fire. Plants respond instantaneously to changes in the ecosystem, shifting their chemistry, producing new compounds and combinations of compounds with deep living intelligence. ...

Wild plants are living beings with ancient destinies that are separate from our own. A vast multitude of these beings, constantly communicating with each other and exchanging chemical information, are trying patiently to counteract the poisonous forces being dumped into the earth. We can only hope they have enough time and power to heal a planet we are in the process of destroying. Our survival depends upon them.