Ecology: The Household

Houses.  Our houses are important to us as human beings, simple and humble or grand and opulent.  At the end of any day, little is more destructive to human life than to be homeless.  Homelessness threatens families, damages health, riddles self-confidence, and makes us vulnerable to many threats.

The Greek word oikos is the root of our English word “ecology”.  The word “ecology” first entered English in 1873 from two Greek roots meaning house and study.  Ecology has become the branch of science dealing with the relationship of living things to their environments.  In the 1960’s it began to be associated with work against pollution.

What sort of relationship do we have with our environment?  Environment can be as small as a cubicle I am working in, itself a part of a larger whole, or it can be any and all of the the spaces I move through as I walk, run, drive, ride, or fly from one destination to another. It includes other people, plants, animals, land forms, all of which make up the household. The Environment includes this whole household we call the Earth; all her children and the systems of which she is a part.

If you had just three words to describe your way of relating to your environments, what would they be?  If you had three more words to describe your way of relating to the Environment, what would those be?  Sometimes I feel deeply connected.  I am mindful.  I sense a oneness with this Household I live in.  At other times, I become mindless.  I use the Environment as nothing more than a launching pad or vehicle to support my disconnected aims–as if I can go anywhere other than in this Environment.

At the end of the Day, little will be more devastating to us than to lose our healthy Blue Boat Home through collective, perpetual mindlessness.  It is past time that we attend to this Household.

Bob Patrick

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