Green & Black
Post by KT on May 10, 2015 at 9:23pm
I’m sure most of you might be familiar with my long standing irritation over claims that rewilding is more akin to playing in the woods (meant in a negative way, of course) than anarchist praxis. There’s a side note due here to point out, once again, that rewilding, in and of itself, is part of the process of undoing domestication, not the answer to ending civilization.
With that put aside, there seems to be no question that while “skepticism” over rewilding as anarchist praxis is on the rise, radical subjectivism continues to infect anarchist discussion at an alarming rate. Even more pathetically that this moves into “green anarchist” circles. Grounding itself has even become a target. I will continue to argue that this lack of real world understanding and even keeping language that is in some way relatable or understandable will continue to file down any claws an anticiv anarchist approach might carry. It rids our ability to really see the writhing in the forest.
While foraging is a means to actualize self reliance, it is intrinsically tied to learning to understand and read ecosystems. Nature, for lack of a better word, does revolve around cycles. While it has no order in the sense that civilized humans have created, it does have function. There are necessary weather patterns. And those patterns are being fucked.
I really, really, really hope this isn’t news, but I feel like the absence of that fact from most modern “green anarchist” discussion is what allows this otherwise philosophical plight to occur. Cycles, by nature, are grounded realities. But they aren’t an external process, they are open to observation once you step outside temperature controlled environments and grocery stores. And when you take that step, you’ll quickly realize how deep this shit gets. What we hear about Arctic sea levels rising and ice melting, is clearly evident in the soil.
This is something that has been going through my mind non-stop over the last decade of foraging. Any semblance of cyclical patterns has been waning with speed and ferocity. Morel mushrooms are an indicator species. If you haven’t had much experience with them, I can’t overstate their taste nor the excitement of the hunt. I have always called them the anarchist mushroom, because they have some predictability, but they’re extremely finicky: to a certain degree, they do what they want. There are books upon books written about how to hunt them and everyone has their own theories, but after continually finding some beautiful Common Morels under pines, you just have to say that their elusive nature sells books, but theories don’t determine their availability.
But there is one constant: weather. Morels grow pretty typically in late April through mid-May in most of the US unless you have burn site and mulch morels like Washington state and (I believe) parts of Oregon. Temperatures can fluctuate, but this time typically sees more rain and moderate temps with little to no time below freezing. Rain and soil moisture are the key elements, more so than sun.
Over the last decade, I’ve seen that reliability of seasonal habits change greatly. At this point, it’s well beyond alarming. I would go so far as to say that I haven’t had a “normal” morel season for nearly a decade (for my family, in a normal year we’d hunt morels in the thousands). What we’re seeing is complete vulnerability at key points. Whereas that season could span 4-6 weeks in a good year (Black and Half-Free Morels to Commons), that window can collapse into 2-3 weeks without proper rain, late deep freezes or extreme heat. If the heat kicks up and the rain stays back, the eventual rain will cause the surrounding foliage to absorb the water quicker, pushing those plants further up and absorbing more sun. In that case, morels stand little chance of maintaining their necessary inputs and simply don’t grow, grow quickly, or don’t gain much size.
This year has been the worst year in my nearly 15 years of morel hunting. All growth has been impacted in all areas that I’ve seen in Pennsylvania and Maryland. Rain has been scant at best, but temperatures have been running extremely high. The ground hardens and the eventual rains (especially the torrential downpours) simply wash away (taking topsoil with them). There’s an awkward attempt at some balance between how water is used between plants and trees, but the soil is clearly suffering. The result, absolutely minimal morels.
Now this might sound like a minor point. It’s not. Morels might be a prized food, but they aren’t unlike many other plants and fungi in having innate symbiotic relationships that sustain ecological cycles and health. Life, both civilized and not, requires this ecological balance. No amount of philosophy will save us from the fact that no water means no food. Wild and domesticated. If you can identify a distinct and succinct link between worsening weather changes and overall climate instability and the viability of one, two, three, or five million species, then it becomes more obvious: we don’t have time. This beast is collapsing, but the rate and path it takes will ultimately be the greatest determination in how badly this ends. We aren’t looking at any good scenarios, but that gives more reason to get our hands in the dirt to try to understand just how deep this crisis runs.
The irony here is that foraging is rewarding. To me, it’s giving some ease and rootedness. At this point it’s almost as therapeutic as it is life giving. I still find pure joy in every single morel that I find and yet the more elusive that search has become, the more acutely aware I have to become of the fact that as goes the morel, so goes the morel hunter. Amplify that thought across every single bit of sustenance and it becomes easier to see why rewilding necessitates resistance and vice versa.
The earth is real. The earth needs us to fight. It stands to remind us of what lies ahead, what we cannot see, even in plain sight.
Last Edit: May 10, 2015 at 9:27pm by KT
“There is no light at the end of the Carpal Tunnel.” – Bob Black
Nov 21, 2015 at 9:52pm
Post by jo on Nov 21, 2015 at 9:52pm
Since I have lived in the same area for most of my life, in the same neighborhood for my entire life, and have a career where I work outside (I am a horticulturist/garden for parks – and that is for a conversation for another day because i have issues with my career.) and have been for the past 20 years, I have noticed the difference in weather, the seasons, and how it is changing. Everything I do at work heavily depends on the weather, more specifically, the sun and the rain, or lack thereof. These past 10 years have been alarming to me. There have been a couple of years where we only had sunlight – no cloud cover and blue sky for barely 8 weeks, out of 52, meaning we had overcast grey skies for just over 10 months straight. Now we have had a couple of years where we get too much sun, and not enough grey days which meant not enough rain.
This year, and 1 year in the recent past, we had so much sun from early spring to early the next winter that I was getting seasonal depression from a lack of rain and grey days, when I usually get seasonal depression from a lack of sun – which normally happens for almost 9 months of there year from autumn to the following spring. This year year, we had not only had too much sun, but we had a record breaking temperatures due to the amount of days that had temperatures over 80 degrees, and 90 degrees. I am older than dirt, and I do not remember ever having so many days in one summer with temps that hit 90 or more. It was seriously freaky. Add to all this the fact that we have been in serious drought for 2 years. I started saying in February of this year that we are going to have a drought and it is going to be serious, but no one would listen. Nobody cares. No one wants to talk about it. No one notices. No one pays attention to the weather, or at least no one that I try talking to about it like friends, family, and coworkers. Maybe I am just cynical, or jaded. It is rather disheartening to see just how many folks do not pay attention to their surroundings. If that is the case, then I assume that they are not paying attention to the climate, and climate change. I bring it up as a topic in conversation, especially with folks who I work with who I think might notice the weather like I do because they seem to see details like I do, and/or they have lived here for a significant amount of time. And you know what? About 98% of them have not noticed, do not notice, and will not notice because they do not pay attention to their surroundings, or the environment. It is like it does not even register in their radar, like not even on the periphery. They do not notice. It does not occur to them to pay attention to something like weather, and weather patterns. I do not know what to say. I have no way of relating to this.
I often make comments about what I see, like how bees are not attracted to certain flowers because they are most likely genetically modified and have been patented so the flowers are non reproductive, or how some native species are susceptible to disease and pests in an alarming rate and it is frightening.I see what climate change, and the change in our weather patterns is doing to our native flora, and landscapes. I have seen native tree species becoming plagued with disease. For instance, where I live is a small city in the southern part of the Puget Sound, and all along the coast of our neighborhood, almost every Madrone (Arbutus menziesii) has a black fungus that covers the stem(trunk). In my favorite urban park that has a nice patch of forest that has old growth native trees in it, all the Western Hemlocks (Tsuga heterophylla) have a fungus as well. I could go on and on and on. There was this one time that I tried to have a discussion with the park rangers at the Hoh Rainforest in the Olympic National Park because I was so alarmed at seeing every species of Maple (Acer macrophyllum and Acer circinatum) were in stress due to the bug that had infected their leaves. Every Maple tree that I saw, in a temperate rainforest which would have been every other tree or so, had a leaf roller in every leaf. Now in a rainforest that has an abundance of life, and abundance of native species, and to see those native species under attack, it was frightening. Not one of the park rangers noticed. They had no idea what I was talking about. What was so glaringly obvious to me, was unseen by them. What is being talked about is invasive species. With climate change, and our native flora and fauna being stressed by climate, weather, pressures from urban sprawl, water runoff, drought, algae blooms, water acidification, glacial retreat, snow pack or lack thereof, rainfall or lack thereof, microclimates in urban areas, lack of resources for native fauna, and then add that all the invasive plant species that are squeezing out native plants, invasive pests that are destroying many different species of plants, disease, whether it is fungal or bacterial, killing flora and fauna, species under attack from unknown origins like the starfish melting, shellfish dying due to acidification, even worms are being talked about. Did you know that earthworms are not native to the pacific northwest, especially up here in washington? Who knew?! I had no idea, but now I do after attending a seminar on climate change. Worms are a problem, and since this entire area is forested, we need to worry about worms because they can be a threat to forests.
It is not my intent to brag about my eye for detail. It is more like being in touch with my surroundings, being in touch with the nature around me. I see details. I notice things. I notice things because of my deep intense love for the forest and wilderness. Sometimes it can be a curse, I see too much and I get stressed because civilization is killing it. I am easily alarmed, and super sensitive to what happens around me when I am in the forest, well, sensitive no matter where if I am to be honest. What I do know is that I live in one of the most beautiful places on this planet where we have the ocean, a temperate rainforest, 2 mountain ranges with volcanoes, the Puget Sound, and then desert like environment in the east. Big beautiful conifers everywhere. I see one of the largest mountains in this country every day. Oh, and watching the glaciers recede on that mountain is another conversation for another day because it is frightening how fast they are receding.
I am a hermit. I am isolated somewhat by choice, but not really. This is my first time participating in a forum. I have not seen what KT has seen as for as skepticism, suubjectivism, and philosophical plight in anarchist discussions. What I have seen is folks getting into foraging, and it seems rather half hearted like folks doing it to want to come across as edgey, or ? I do not know. I am so not one of the cool kids. I am just a single mom, and a very young grandmother, who is a hermit, and has AP beliefs, and feel rather isolated living in the burbs, and working as a wage slave in a big city, who loves Zerzan’s and Tucker’s writings as well as everything published by BGP, or distributed by Oldowan. I wish that I knew folks who were into these like I am, and that they lived close by, that would be very nice.