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The music of deep ecology

I sit by the side of a pond in the Catksills, upstate New York. The pond is in a valley created by a meteor crater. The meteor landed over 400 million years ago. Gravity is a few tenths of percentage less here. A young man carrying two flutes appears.

“Do you mind if I play?” he asks. One of the flutes is made from zebra wood, striped dark and light. The other flute is cherrywood.

“No, of course not.”

He starts to play on the zebra wood flute. The sound is as pure and clean as the waters of the lake and as true as the hemlock trees on the valley sides. Two more people are drawn by the music. As he plays, we hear a woodpecker knocking in response. In turn, he matches his playing to the sound of the bird. The vibrations echo between man and bird. Call and response. Each calling, each responding. He stops, picks up the other flute, plays again.

“Where did you learn the songs?” one woman asks.

“The woods”, he answers.

I am here at Menla Mountain Retreat on a deep ecology weekend, to learn about the principles of deep ecology and how we are all interconnected. This is the shorthand explanation that I give to anyone that asks what deep ecology means. This interaction between man and bird, and the breath made song through the wood of the flute seems to me to be a perfect example of this interconnection.

The first of 8 principles of deep ecology is:

"1. The well-being and flourishing of human and nonhuman life on Earth have value in themselves (synonyms: inherent worth, intrinsic value, inherent value). These values are independent of the usefulness of the nonhuman world for human purposes."

The eighth principle is:

"Those who subscribe to the foregoing points have an obligation directly or indirectly to participate in the attempt to implement the necessary changes."

So what am I going to do? I will get my answer a couple of days later.

You can hear the flute music of Chinua Akaosa here -

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Olivia Sprinkel
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