Author ~Tim Watson, Eco~Architect
Issued January 21, 2019
Ecological Footprint ~ Carbon Footprint ~ Sacred Footprint
Many of us have heard or read these words in recent years. Yet if we think back to just a generation ago, such terms were generally unknown in western industrialized society. Something has happened and is happening. People are awakening to a planet undergoing dramatic environmental change.
Indeed, every generation has had to face discomforting environmental challenges. Today, given the awareness science illumines, for perhaps the first time in history our global society comprehensively grasps our current circumstances in ways our ancestors could not have imagined. Because of emerging scientific evaluations, Earth’s unprecedented rapidity of change is becoming more obvious, triggering increasing global concern for dangers our children’s children must face.
Harken back many generations to the indigenous cultures who inhabited what Europeans renamed North America. Since the end of the last ice age, they safely drank from every flowing river and stream.
Not so today.
Their pre-European-contact life in North America endured because of their long-term harmonious relationships with the natural world. Might it be possible to draw upon their wisdom in today’s world? Might we draw upon their wisdom to help ensure future generations a long-term healthy relationship between future human generations and Earth Mother?
Sacred Footprint offers an inquiry into such questions.
Its inspiration springs from that which shaped indigenous wisdom. That wisdom embraced the understanding each human walks upon a path called “life”. Imagine each footstep on life’s path leaving behind yet another footprint. Given all cumulative footprints our feet have trod, (carbon footprint or otherwise), one day our footprints will be inherited by our children. Each decision we set into motion in order to meet our daily physical needs leaves yet another footprint. Each one irrevocably affects life around us, and will affect the lives of those who follow us. We are all connected to past, present, and future. Given this indigenous way of seeing life, our greatest ancestral legacy might well embrace this essential theme:
To respect the rights of all living, and non-living expressions of Creation. Only in this way, can we live in harmony and balance with each other, and with Earth.
The term and book title coined here, “Sacred Footprint” melds Earth science-based “footprint” terminology with the deep ecology legacy ancient primitive cultures held to be sacred. Deep ecology’s core principle is the belief that the living environment as a whole should be respected and regarded as having an inalienable legal right to live and flourish.** Key to this understanding is consideration of the natural world independent of its benefits for human use.
Given this, we are in the grip of global western society values, and we have deep unlearning ahead of us.
In today’s world, almost everything we think or do in western industrialized society revolves around this question: “what’s best for humans?” However, this question is beginning to undergo something of a metamorphosis. Once enough humans collectively embrace deep ecology values, we might then find ourselves attuned to:
“What’s best for humans, and co-equally, everything on Earth?”
Consider if you will a sense of the sacred nature of Creation imbued in this rephrased question.
Sacred values attend the inalienable right to live and flourish, for all life. In much of the western world, this quality of sacredness is withheld from all but humans and whatever divine source humans chose to revere. Many people in industrialized world society believe, or assume, everything else in Creation came into being to serve humankind. Furthermore, in today’s world, many believe one’s own personal interests subsume all else, engendering the claim, “what’s in it for me?” Let us remind ourselves, such worldviews ultimately affect the global ecosystem upon which we are totally dependent. Whatever we reflect upon the Earth, is in the end, irrevocably reflected back to us. This is so with all relationships.
In this book, we will consider a healthy global ecosystem regarded with respect and harmony by humans. We will see this imagined reality to be our only apparent pathway towards long-term human survival on this tiny blue planet.
You will read three major topics.
- Part One – an Earth restoration process identified as “Eco-restorative Design” ™
- Part Two – a specific MicroPerch™ habitation engendering ecologically restorative outcomes
- Part Three – the sacred nature of life and its expression as the human journey unfolds
Part One establishes those processes needed to support an Earth Mother restoration agenda.
It further delves into notions about our ancestral inheritance, who we currently are as a global society, our current planetary prospects for survival, and potentially our evolution towards a post-industrial society. What is central to these imagined prospects has everything to do with concomitantly nurturing people and planet. Basic earth science tools and processes are addressed here. These processes draw upon the application of earth sciences such as “permaculture”^ and “Natueco”^ agrarian science. Part One counters seeing humans as separate from nature. It challenges how people see themselves as “divine right” endowed life forms struggling to maintain biotic sustainability. By contrast, the hope for our future is seeing humanity and Earth Mother as two intertwined forces engendering dynamic, integrated, synergistic balance with one another.
Part Two covers currently devised technological processes that focus on integrated human and biotic microsystem interactions. In the second portion of this book, the application of integrated systems as envisioned by Gunter Pauli is key to applying “Living Systems Design” generating healthy habitat. Central to Part Two is an in-depth look at the author’s “MicroPerch Series” ™ designs which apply various ZERI^ systems to the creation of panelized and modularized kit houses. These dwellings are meant to be energy consumption self-reliant and individually designed for most climate zones throughout the world.
^Permaculture is a set of design principles centered around whole systems thinking simulating or directly utilizing the patterns and resilient features observed in natural ecosystems. It uses these principles in a growing number of fields from regenerative agriculture, rewilding to community and organizational design and development. (Wikipedia)
^Natueco Science is all about harvesting the sunlight using farming as a medium to do that. The focus is on energy conservation and energy generation rather than on mere farm output by weight. It emphasizes optimal and efficient use of soil, water and labor. (Wikipedia)
^ ZERI – Zero Emissions and Research Initiatives – a global network of creative minds seeking solutions to the ever-increasing problems of the world as espoused by Gunter Pauli. (Wikipedia)
From the author’s view, Part Three is foundational to Parts One and Two. Here we delve into human spirit. Here we look into the source of what imbues all expressions of life with a universal sacred quality. Here we will delve into why ancient societies deeply enculturated their progeny with the general understanding that Earth Mother and the cosmos, in all their expressions, involved acknowledging a sacred connection between humans and the natural world around them. The ancients knew this to be so because they were viscerally aware of the potentially lethal consequences their day-to-day environmental choices might bear upon them. They knew Earth Mother, their sole resource base, was essential to their survival in a tangibly immediate sense. Taking this as a point of beginning, we then can intertwine this global indigenous legacy with what eco-theologian Father Thomas Berry foresaw: a western world reawakened to the sacred nature of this planet. This would involve, in his terms, a case of
“Reinventing the Human”. ***
The meaning of this phrase has to do with the human community at large reawakening to the understanding that we ultimately remain vulnerable to the long-term ecological consequences of our actions. Perhaps not necessarily in any immediate way, as was often true in the case of our ancestors. Nonetheless, people are awakening to Earth being quite incapable of supporting complex biota over time unless we choose to readapt to the overriding laws of the natural world. Thomas foresaw the need for humanity to shift awareness through opening, then applying our emotional heart energy towards a fierce rededication to protect and replenish Earth. Part Three centers on reawakening today’s global society towards new hope for tomorrow by
“Bringing Earth Mother care into the Hearts of All” ****
When considering this three-part presentation as an integrated whole, one can foresee a potential shift in human awareness whereby we empower ourselves to move away from a “parasitic/consumptive” relationship with the natural world. One then begins on a journey of many “footprints” towards a “symbiotic” relationship with the natural world. Humankind’s ultimate survival depends upon cessation of activities threatening to tip the global Earth system beyond its capacity to sustain its current ecosystems over time. As humanity’s awareness continues on its long ascent towards enlightened behavior, our chances for long-term prospects for survival will mirror that ascent.
Intended Benefits for the Reader
In general, drawing humanity away from a “parasitic” relationship with the natural world and transversely towards a “symbiotic” relationship with the natural world.
The information provided in this book can help empower human global societies towards replenishment and restoration of local ecosystems around human habitations almost everywhere on Earth Mother.
This book will offer you, the reader, these specific benefits:
Introduce its readers to ancient ways of life and wisdom that remain relevant in today’s world.
Cover historical and contemporary aspects of the unfolding human/Earth relationship.
Identify the health benefits of living in, and around, an eco-restorative living systems habitat.
Explain the environmental, sociological, and economic benefits of MicroPerch™ technology.
Review innovative “kit house” ideas that can restore home ownership to marginalized populations.
Urge its readers to see their world in ways that draw upon the sacred nature of all things in Creation.
Empower people to assemble their own homes and create “self-referent” living systems for themselves.
Envision self-sufficient nature-connected human communities as an affordable reality for all disenfranchised and marginalized people living on Earth Mother.
Create a sense of fresh opportunity and a new way of valuing the global community of life in the minds of its readers.
* In general, the “footprint” accounting approach compares the amount of resources people consume compared to what the planet can renew. This allows us to assess the number of “earths” that would be required if everyone on the planet consumed resources at the same level as the person calculating their ecological footprint. Carbon footprint is the most prevalent term in use to quantify carbon emissions. “Carbon footprint” is related to but more specialized compared to ecological footprints since they measure emissions of gases into Earth Mother’s atmosphere that cause climate change.
**Herman Greene, The Big Picture Lecture Series; Friday Center, Chapel Hill NC; 2018
*** Dream of the Earth, Thomas Berry; 1988
****Center for Human/Earth Restoration https://www.centerforhuman-earthrestoration.com/