Carl Jung, the founder of analytical psychology, was once asked about the future of our species.
“Are we going to make it?”
“Yes,” he answered, “if enough people do the inner work.”
Jung’s answer is providing the guidance for the Chaparral Institute’s new vision – Rediscovering our true, wild selves through Nature.
Reestablishing our intimate connection with the natural world can provide a path toward helping all of us create a more meaningful existence, which in turn will heal the wounds that cause so many to treat Nature (and each other) with malice. While the intellect is important in assembling facts and discussing shared ideas, it fails miserably when we seek to replace destructive behavior with understanding.
If you live anywhere in a suburban area, you have encountered the plague of Argentine ants (Linepithema humile), those little brown irritants that crawl up your leg while reading a book outside, cover your kitchen counters with massive troop movements, wipe out native harvester ant colonies (which are the primary food of our native horned lizards), and have now been revealed as possibly one of the key predators of California native plants.
Evil, non-native brown Argentine ants attacking our native harvester ant. Photo from the Scratching Post Blog.
These little buggers appear do their dirty work by forming colonies near or around the base of their victim, collecting sucking insects like scales from the surface and placing them on the roots (they use these plant sucking creatures for the sweet “honeydew” fluids they excrete), and possibly spreading pathogens to the plant. How do you know if your native plant has been attacked? The lead symptom it typically death. Suddenly, the leaves start to look sick and limp. By the end of the week the leaves are drying out and beginning their journey to various shades of morbid brown.
Here at the Chaparral Institute garden we have lost a number of plants suddenly – a huge flannel bush (Fremontodendron californicum), a gorgeous white bark ceanothus (Ceanothus leucodermis), and three beautiful Catalina ironwood trees (Lyonothamnus floribundus). Fortunately, we still have one ironwood left. But around the end of August it was looking sick. By early September the leaves were brown.
The consequences of the last California legislative session were astounding. From all the rhetoric, one would think our legislators would have implemented policy to help us adapt to wildfire and make us safe again. Unfortunately, with the exception of one bill, that was not the case.
The legislature and Governor Brown ignored where and why dozens of people died and thousands lost their homes to wildfire since October, 2017. Instead, at the urging of the timber and biomass industries, the legislature focused on forests where only 1 in 17 of the state’s most devastating wildfires have occurred. They completely ignored the main reason our wildfires have been so devastating – planning agencies have allowed the construction of flammable homes on flammable terrain. The legislature also reduced the liability of utilities for the fires they cause.
Addressing the flammability of communities themselves? Barely a word.
In case you missed them, our solutions are offered here.