Sunday, January 2, 2011

A Community of Interdependent Parts

All ethics so far evolved rest upon a single premise:
that the individual is a member of a
community of interdependent parts.
His instincts prompt him to compete for
his place in the community,
but his ethics prompts him also to cooperate.
The land ethic simply enlarges the boundaries
of the community to include soils, water,
plants and animals, or collectively, the land.

~Aldo Leopold
The Land Ethic

Of Note: At one point in my life, I was income poor, but with a 40 X 60 foot vegetable garden and other rural amenities, never wanted for anything. There was always plenty of food on the table, clothes were hand-me-downs and the small house on 160 acres was built by my husband and I. The kids played with abandon, pulled weeds and rocks in the garden grumbling all the while and slept in a one room loft but never knew they were "poor." Since that experience, I have been suspect of the poverty indices listing large percentages of the world as poor because they lived on a certain daily income. How was I to know that in some sub-Saharan country, $1 a day was not plenty because bartering and exchange was the currency of choice? Could it be that a more honest definition of poverty was due? Oxford economist Sabina Alkire thought so. Last year with the support of the UN Development Program, she spearheaded the creation of a new poverty index that radically changed the definition and will eventually change the concept itself. Besides income, included in her formula were such measures as education, health, and access to drinking water. Foreign Policy magazine explained that "according to Alkire's work, there are more poor people in a handful of Indian states than in the poorest 26 African countries combined." The UNDP was so enthusiastic with the results, the professor's method became part of this year's Human Development Report, the global standard in defining poverty. Money follows thought. Thus, we can expect to see funds redirected in the future to newly designated poverty hot spots that take into account measures beyond income. Very timely, indeed.

Today's Weather Report: I would never have guessed it is a very chilly 8 degrees Fahrenheit outside because the roof above my office is dripping to beat the band. Must be those thermals from the sun ray's which are out today in full force. My eyes are thankful for the sunshine; my body is thankful as well. Although I take Vitamin D supplements, the real deal has to be better for the system. Last night, the trek to the garage was dangerous as each piece of gravel was coated with a thin layer of ice. So, I skated along without lifting my shoes, a technique taught to me 30 years ago by a local old maid when I arrived as a newbie from Texas. Still can remember the shock of that first northern winter and the lack of appropriate clothes to beat the cold. That is still a challenge. Those, who were born and raised in the north, take the whole winter situation for granted. Not I. Seems outdoors I'm either over-dressed or under-dressed. Maybe some day, someone will take me under their wing and tell me once and for all how to dress so I can enjoy the outdoor experience. I would be eternally grateful.