National Arbor Day 2020

Yes, it’s National Arbor Day today. But with most of America — and the world, for that matter — staying close to home, celebrating this auspicious day is just a bit different this time.

My celebration of the day this year includes two things. Small things, but things which nevertheless help the cause.

I just made a donation to the National Arbor Day Foundation. This is something I look forward to doing each year.

If you would like to do that today, follow this link.

I’m also going to use today’s hashtag on my twitter account. And that is: #ArborDayAtHome. When you use that tag, the Foundation will plant a tree for your gesture of support and good will. Up to 50,000 trees.

That’s a wonderful thing.

One more thought: if you’d like to take a look at the blog for the National A.D. Foundation, go right here.

Yours in the spirit of Arbor Day, I am,

Brother Ben

© 2020 The Fellowship of St Francis, Inc.

Photo credit Ben Lawrence Basile

Looking for Lost Apples

Because caring for the Earth and all living things is one of our great priorities at the FSF, we’re happy to pass along this interesting and relevant story:

Did you know that there was a group of dedicated botanists and nature nuts who spend a lot of time scouring the American northwest looking for lost apples?

There most certainly is. I just found out about these folks and the work of the Lost Apple Project by reading an article I found in social media; it’s the most interesting thing I’ve found on the net in quite a while.

It was from reading that article that I learned that North America once had around 17,000 named varieties of apples and that botanists believe that all but around 4,500 had disappeared.

And folks who work with the non-profit Lost Apple Project have been trying to find, identify and preserve as many of those lost varieties as possible.

It came as very welcome news that they’ve had quite a bit of success this year; the article mentioned that they’ve come across at least ten varieties this season that were previously thought to have been lost.

Because of our firm commitment to caring for the Earth, the news about the L.A.P. and the success it’s had this year was most welcome. You might say that the Project is having a very fruitful year in 2020.

To read the article in its entirety, follow this link.

And here’s a link to the Facebook page for the Lost Apple Project.

Brother Ben

© 2020 Ben Lawrence Basile

An Abandoned Bear Cub and a Happy Ending

As you most likely know, we here at the FSF are passionate environmentalists and never miss an opportunity to advocate for wildlife.

And because we’re in such dire straits right now as we continue to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, I was quite happy to get a bit of nature news in my inbox just now. Some “feel good” news and I’m more than happy to pass it along.

An outdoor enthusiast passing through the Ocala National Forest a few weeks ago came upon an abandoned black bear cub on a dirt road.

This alert citizen did what anyone would do.

He took our hapless cub to a Florida Fish and Wildlife officer.

Because I’m an annual pass holder at the Brevard Zoo in Melbourne, I’m one of the many zoo supporters who got “the rest of the story” about our tiny, furry friend.

He’s now thriving in the care of of Zoo Curator Lauren Hinson and the rest of the staff.

If you’d like to read more about this happy situation, just follow this link.

I loved reading all about it. In fact, I could bear-ly contain my enthusiasm as I passed my delighted eyeballs over the happy missive from the PR crew at the zoo!

Yeah, sorry not sorry!

I hope you’re getting some relief today from the cares of the day. Take good care of yourself, by all means.

And look out for all God’s creatures, whether they walk around in jeans, suits or in their bear skin!

Brother Ben

© 2020 The Fellowship of St Francis, Inc.

Plastic and our Earth

We here at the FSF understand well the urgency of helping to safeguard our Environment.

And so here’s a post about just one of the many issues we face.

It’s undeniable that the use of plastics for practically everything is terribly convenient.

It’s also undeniable that this convenience has a huge downside; the Planet is becoming a trash heap and it’s having a devastating impact on wildlife everywhere.

It’s imperative that we get serious about this and make some real changes.

Yes, I know this will not be easy.

A tiny bit of good news: the French are getting serious about weaning themselves off of the use of  plastic for everything. And it’s having an impact.

Of course, it would have an even greater impact if we in the U.S. were to follow their lead.

But it’s virtually certain that our resistance to change, coupled with the determination of the Fossil Fuel industry to prioritize its profitability over the welfare of the environment, will mean that we will never actually rise to meet the challenge.

This is regrettable, to say the very least.

And it’s just one more reason–and there are so many–that the outlook for our Planet is very bleak.

We had better wake up.

Not only about our use of plastics, but about a whole range of issues that are contributing to this horrible degradation of the Earth.

Will we ever rise to meet the challenge?

I wouldn’t say there’s no chance.

But the sad truth is that the odds are not good.

Brother Ben

© 2020 The Fellowship of St Francis, Inc.

We are failing badly in our stewardship of the Earth

As you most likely know, caring for the Earth, our common home, has been a huge priority for us here at the Fellowship of St Francis.

So if I say something about the degradation of the Earth and that we’re all in deep trouble as these trends proceed, no one will be surprised.

But as more and more signs and facts come in, I’ll be passing them along.

Don’t turn away. Get involved.

The signs are everywhere. I wish it were not so.

We can–and we must–do better.

Brother Ben

© 2019 The Fellowship of St Francis, Inc.

Today is National Public Lands Day

Today is National Public Lands Day and it provides a good occasion to learn more about our National Park system and public lands in general. And to learn what volunteer opportunities there are to preserve and improve America’s public lands.

If you’d like to do any of that, this link would be a pretty good place to start.

The current administration seems to be pulling in the opposite direction. This is not a good thing. Not at all.

If you’d like to take a look at that issue, just follow this link.

We here at the FSF advocate for wise and compassionate stewardship of our Public Lands and feel some urgency about doing what we can to spread the word about this important occasion.

Happy National Public Lands Day to all of you today. May we do all we can to keep our Country’s parks and public lands some of the best on the planet and pass this wonderful legacy on to the generations to come.

Brother Ben

Neither Ben nor the FSF own this photo. We believe it to be covered under
the Fair Use Doctrine.

More Troubling Signs for the Earth

Climate Scientists have been sounding the alarm for years about how the Earth is warming and how big changes are on the way for all of us.

The signs that our planet is changing–and changing very fast–are so numerous that it’s hard to know what to focus on.

But we should not allow that to keep us from getting and staying engaged and advocating for policies and actions to mitigate the damage we are inflicting upon our beleaguered planet.

In an article that appeared in June, writer Jordan Davidson lays out for concerned readers some of the alarming signs that the melting of ice around Greenland is a very big deal and is–most troubling of all–accelerating at a rapid pace.

Davidson followed up with another piece yesterday which focuses on one of the more urgent aspects of this whole matter of melting glaciers and rising sea levels.

Scientists, researchers and policy wonks have been warning all who will listen that we need to be prepared to move away from the coastal regions of our planet as the phenomenon of rising sea levels proceeds.

And to this observer, it appears that not too many people are listening to those warnings.

Mr. Davidson’s article makes a fine entry point for anyone who’d like to take a closer look at these issues. It focuses closely on the melting of ice around Greenland, the Helheim Glacier in particular. The piece is very timely and not overly-wonky and can be read here.

Highlighting the urgent need to care for the Earth in a serious and compassionate way lies at the very heart of what The Fellowship of St Francis is all about.

So many are doing this work of watching for the signs, for the evidence, that our planet is struggling, is being seriously degraded.

Keep listening. Stay engaged. Stay engaged and take action!

The plight of the Earth demands nothing less.

Brother Ben

© 2019 The Fellowship of St Francis, Inc.