RN: Best wishes…


Jan Slakov

From: "janice" <•••@••.•••>
To: <•••@••.•••>
Cc: <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Re: rn- Until we meet again... some sunny day
Date: Wed, 9 Dec 1998 09:05:54 +1300

Happy Xmas Richard Moore, and congratulations
on finishing your brillant  book. [Actually, it isn't really finished yet,
but it is well on its way!]

I think I can probably speak for all us all,  by  wishing
you well,  and thanking  you for your amazing effort.

Yes, Janice, you do speak for me and many others I am sure.

Below is an article written by an environmental activist, Green Party
candidate and professor from B.C., Canada. I would like to share it with you
at the time of this holiday season as it provides a valuable reminder that
there are other traditions than the dominant Christian one to celebrate and
because it gives us a healthy vision for celebration and relationship with
the natural world in general.

all the best, Jan

From: •••@••.••• (Andy Shadrack)
Subject: Reflections on the Season
Date: Wed, 02 Dec 1998 11:36:51 +0000

The Solstice-Christmas season (I cannot stand the term "xmas" as it is too
commercial and materialistic) conjures up a bag of mixed emotions in me. I
was raised a christian, being both baptised and confirmed, but abandoned
christianity for marxism in the late 1970's. 

I am thus aware of the christian season of rebirth and forgiveness that
celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ and liken this to my own personal
desire to assess my year's experiences and review what might be undertaken
over the next year. 

Over the last five years Gail (my life long partner and editor) and I have
been switching our celebration over to the Winter Solstice. As political
activists who are deeply concerned about the state of the human relationship
to the planet's biological diversity and ecosystems we felt it more
important to celebrate a season than a human centred religious experience
that we can no longer, or in Gail's case, have never related to. 

As a child, for me part of the magic of Christmas was travelling from the
eastern suburbs of London to visit my father's parents who lived in a small
village on the south coast of Devon in western England. Christmas in Beer
was part of a thrice year stay which took place at Easter and for summer
vacations as well, until I was eleven, when my grandmother died a year after
my grandfather. 

In 1995, on a visit to Europe, I took both Gail and my 13 year old daughter
back to Beer... Enough of the family history, but what was it that made this
"holy" pilgrimage so necessary that I had to share it with my daughter? 

This area of Devon, which I had explored by walking, rowing a boat,
motorboating and driving in a car, was a radical change from the manicured
parks that surrounded the suburbs of London where I grew up, and was totally
different from the miles and miles of concrete that I ventured into when I
travelled around London as a child and in my youth. 

As quite a small child I would get up very early in the morning and go
walking along the cliff paths around Beer with my older brother (there is
eight years age difference between us), and it was the one time that we
would share the bond of doing something together. Later in the day, after
breakfast, we would sometimes take a rowboat out together and explore the

At other times I would go on expeditions to rock pools and along the
shoreline either by myself or with my mother. 

I believe I have grown to love non-human life because I experienced it as a
child in the rock pools and chalk and red sandstone headlands of South
Devon. Coming to Canada and living in the West Kootenay region from 1973 to
1976 while attending Notre Dame University in Nelson also brought me face to
face with nature at its best. 

I remember waking up one morning in a hammock slung at the entrance to a
half-finished A frame just outside Nelson to find a black bear grazing
underneath. I just lay still and watched the bear munching away, wondering
whether he was either not aware of my presence or was just unconcerned by me. 

I thought it odd at the time because I had often heard that animals could
smell humans and would thus always avoid them. Anyway that day I was
reminded of roaming around in the pre-breakfast hours with my brother,
except my brother (or sister) on that day was a bear, drinking in the beauty
of the early morning hours together. 

As I read all the scientific information coming in by e-mail or on the
various websites that I visit, I wonder whether my daughter, and her
children, will have a chance to experience nature as I have done. 

Sometimes around the Solstice-Christmas season I sense that humans are more
compassionate and have a bounce in their step. As a child Christmas was
magical to me because I saw the best in people and as I grew older I
wondered how or why that spirit did not last the whole year round. 

This year is the 50th anniversary of the UN Declaration on Human Rights and
as I listen to the daily litany of human atrocities against one other, I
also wonder whether we will ever heal our relationship to the planet as well. 

As I said at the beginning of the column, Solstice-Christmas brings up mixed
emotions in me. Over a decade ago my brother and I agreed to stop buying
presents for each other, my partner's family puts everybody's name in a hat
so that we each only have to buy one present, and Gail and I have agreed
that we do not need any more material gifts from each other. 

So we are withdrawing from the annual spending orgy of "xmas". Christmas was
and is, for me, a time for human sharing and the Winter Solstice helps me
reflect on those things I can do for the planet. 

... Seasons greetings from Gail and I. We wish you all the best in the new
year and live in hope that you will join us in seeking a new relationship
with the planet that continues to nurture us despite our ongoing imperfections.