[Excerpt from the next edition of A Thousand and One Appalachian Tales by Düg Fresh]
Humanity’s present rate of total energy consumption amounts to only one four-millionth of one percent of the rate of its energy income.
R. Buckminster Fuller, Critical Path
Entwined within A Thousand and One Appalachian Tales are three central themes:
- Synchronicity: A conspiracy of the universe to bring about certain events which, however seemingly unrelated, nevertheless possess strange or hidden significance. The influence of The Holy Spirit.
- The Jewel in the Lotus: All this passes and is gone, yet there is that which remains. Om mani padme hum and the two-dimensional nature of time as found in the moment of Zen.
- The Gordian knot: The fundamentally irreducible nature of existence, its implicit wholeness, and a refutation of reductionism and materialism as a means for arriving at understanding.
Long before this journey “along the A.T. and through the heart of Chapel Perilous,” a child born of the spirit discovers R. Buckminster Fuller’s hefty tome Critical Path . The book is full of near limitless optimism and reads in a manner seemingly intent on weaving a Gordian knot into every sentence! Like some mad cosmic accountant, Fuller tallies the Earth’s expenses and finds enormous difference between what everyone can have and what everyone does have. He shows how everyone can live a life of abundant wealth and prosperity -- that this dividend is available to us all - if only we can learn to cooperate, work together and stop perpetuating a system of haves and have-nots.
If only we can see what to Fuller seems so clearly apparent -- that such behavior in the extreme is against the very principles of Universe and that overspecialization invariably leads to extinction -- a vast and wonderful future awaits us! What makes mankind so strange is that this should all be incredibly obvious : we have so much more to gain by working together and everything to lose by not. And yet do we persist in the not.
Needless to say, Fuller’s book is profoundly affecting. The future of Man-in-Universe no longer looks so daunting and impossible. It looks uncertain, improbable and even unlikely, but not impossible. After all, everything up until now has been equally improbable, yet here we are. Life is all about defying the odds . Fuller has faith in the power and beauty of science, in the ability of the intelligent mind to rise to any challenge. He gives us a bold vision to follow, a Critical Path that can lead mankind to an ambitious and exciting new world, a world where there is sustainable peace and prosperity for all.
For one, however, after the horrific death of a close friend, life becomes a long persistent search for this path , that doorway in the present that will lead to such a grand Fullerian future. Yet, in spite of all the hope and logic behind Bucky’s writings, he cannot help but feel we are long past the critical path, long past the point of no-return. But we must never give up. We must find a way .
And more than a decade later, a way finds him ! One day in 01997 an idea begins to take form, a bold solution to the problems facing mankind today: The International Peace Trail. In that beautiful idea, it becomes clear how a “footpath for those seeking fellowship with Earth,” if built, can help lead to the very future he only hopes to imagine reading Fuller.
Back in 01984, practicing a form of creative visualization, he follows unfolding possibilities, bifurcations of the ever-branching present, to a future where Earth is once more transformed into a magnificent blue-green gem, resplendent in natural diversity and beauty; poverty, hunger, disease and war are a thing of the past and everyone enjoys a standard of living many times that of what the richest have today.
But while this vision shows him a way, the sequence of events pass too quickly. He only remembers it all begins with a vision quest and this begins in the Military. So he musters up his courage and enlists.
The Air Force takes him to Europe and he cannot help but feel this somehow confirms he is heading in the right direction. There are many little synchronicities that no doubt hold only personal significance , but one event of incredible power that has already been mentioned is the profound experience at the Anne Frank Museum. There are no words to express the ton of bricks that drops onto the core of his being from this encounter.
Next, in late 01987, when receiving an offer for an early release, while almost simultaneously learning of the Appalachian Trail for the first time, he cannot help but feel that this too is another pile of bricks dropping on him at exactly the right moment to lead to the next step along the way.
After Katahdin, he returns home to a small welcome of sorts. His friends christen him Fresh, Düg Fresh, and for a while life is good. But there lingers something restless deep inside. For many years he wonders, what now? He wanders through various jobs: a canvasser for the Environmental Planning Lobby, a residence counselor for developmentally disabled adults. Eventually he finds himself working nights as a delivery driver for a wholesale florist . Here he is able to find maximum opportunity to sit and reflect. What’s the point? Why are we here? What is he supposed to do? He’s not entirely sure these questions have answers, let alone if they’re even meaningful questions! So instead he asks: what can I do to make a difference?
Long ago he fathoms a secret of life: be kind to others, help where you can and, if you’re able, try to leave things better than you find them . But the questions swell up inside. You can’t take it with you but you can leave it behind. So, what is he leaving behind ? And what, if anything, can he do to leave behind a better place?
From this strange confluence occurs, in 01997, the slow germination of an idea. As a result, a small website is built and the International Peace Trail Project is born. The IPT Project proposes “the creation of a global infrastructure linking together much of Earth’s highest terrain and wilderness areas into a massive World Wide Parks and Trails System. The main corridor of this system will be The International Peace Trail .”
In the development of this website it becomes clear that to build the International Peace Trail is to help find solutions to the seven major problems facing the world today: war, hunger, lack of education (ignorance,) poverty, pollution, extinction and disease.
Only everyone working together can build such a Trail. But in so doing, far more than solutions to preserving wilderness areas and restoring habitats can be found. As important as solutions to these problems are, through the cooperation it will require to build the Trail and forge the global will necessary to maintain it, can be found the foundation to lasting world peace and sustainable solutions to all these problems and more!
For example, global climate changes have clear links to the destruction of biomass . Biomass is the total mass of living matter within a given unit of environmental area. Believe it or not, biomass is a vital part of our rich cultural heritage. It acts as a whole, like a thermostat, to reduce greenhouse gases, absorb carbon and stabilize the climate into temperate zones supremely suited to life. As we destroy it, we destroy life; as we destroy life, we destroy our home, our heritage and our future.
Clearly everything must begin with conserving and restoring biomass. The Nature Conservancy and the Sierra Club are excellent examples of organizations working in this area. Please support these groups and others like them .
Another example is top-soil. Pedogenesis is the process of soil formation and there is a serious crisis today – the topsoil is disappearing! Soil is a living thing, requiring organic matter to form. But use of chemical pesticides kills these organic components reducing living soil to lifeless dirt and dust. As good soil is lost, plants cannot grow and more biomass is lost.
Thus organic farming provides direct alternatives to the destruction of biomass through the use of natural methods that preserve and ensure a healthy environment for living soil, the necessary foundation for a healthy biomass and any sustainable system of agriculture .
With the restoration of biomass, climate will once again stabilize within a region ideally suited for capturing and distributing the life-sustaining, life-creating properties of the sun. As life flourishes mankind will once again gain reward through the incredible abundance of solar energy distribution in the rich flora and fauna of Earth. As this synergistically produces an increase in biomass, poverty and hunger will gradually diminish.
Also, as many diseases escape the confines of rain forests by excessive logging, a rich biomass will help to isolate and limit the spread of these diseases, Finally, as we are now discovering, many of these diseases lie frozen for thousands of years in, what is now a rapidly melting, Siberian permafrost.
The spread and ravaging effects of disease can also find further reduction by implementing a system of sanitation as proposed by the United Nations. More than 2 million people, mostly children, die every year from diseases caused by lack of sanitation and access to clean drinking water.
As those who involve themselves with these issues can tell you, solving the problem of disease is vital to solving the problem of poverty. So by providing adequate drinking water and sanitation, the incidence of infant mortality due to disease and poor sanitation can drop as much as 75% according to a UN Study . Again, only by conservation and restoration projects will this be possible.
For example, one of nature’s greatest treasures is the aquifer. Aquifers are vital to providing clean water. Believe it or not, many aquifers are being encroached upon and destroyed by rampant development. The aquifer in the Albany Pine Bush, now a landfill for hazardous waste, provides distressing evidence in alarming detail.
Furthermore, as these resources are lost, poverty will increase. It is only by preserving and restoring these areas, by protecting these resources, that we can reduce infant mortality rates due to poor sanitation and dirty drinking water. As infant mortality rates drop, poverty will further diminish, as will issues that bear relation to poverty such as hunger and starvation, crime, war, and the untold suffering and consequences of war.
World peace comes from conservation of wetlands, preservation of aquifers, and the protection of natural habitats. Peace, like life, is synergistic. If you want to fight poverty, you must fight against the causes of poverty as well as its effects. Destroying wetlands impoverishes us all. Rolling over Aquifers in the name of urban sprawl only increases global poverty and disease. Strip mining, mountaintop removal, fracking and slash and burn logging not only increase everyone’s risk of disease, these practices limit access to clean water and fresh air and accelerate global climate change .
Thus, protecting Earth’s diminishing wilderness areas and natural habitats will go a long way toward restoring the biomass which will stabilize the environment and prevent climate change. In all this the International Peace Trail can help!
The International Peace Trail Project envisions a World Wide Parks and Trails System which will preserve, protect and restore these natural resources and wilderness areas. Such a self-regulating system will work to preserve the diversity of plant and animal life from further encroachment and extinction as well as limit the spread of disease, while protecting and empowering the indigenous tribes and keeping them from poverty and providing a habitat for many endangered species.
By working to solve issues relating to disease and hunger, while providing education and sustainable growth, poverty will diminish whereby further peace will grow and the whole effect will become synergistically self-perpetuating and self-sustaining .
It’s simple. The creation of the International Peace Trail will help create the world peace that will help create the International Peace Trail . And this in turn will help create world peace! It seems clear that any solution to the problems of war must first address the problems of poverty, hunger and disease. But before these problems can be addressed, the problems of Earth’s dwindling natural resources have to be solved. It all builds upon each other and at the foundation is the extremely rare and precious blue-green marble on which we all live. It simply will not do to address any one of these issues without first addressing the others.
Thus behold the International Peace Trail: it will stretch around the world protecting and linking together wilderness areas, natural habitats, parks and wildlife areas. It will raise awareness and engender support and sponsorship. It will inspire stories and tales that will unify a people.
Peace is a journey of a thousand miles and it must be taken one step at a time.
Lyndon B. Johnson
So through a free hosting company the International Peace Trail website went up practically overnight. The purpose of the website is to promote the IPT Project and its primary goal: the creation of the International Peace Trail Alliance. The IPT Alliance will work together with local, state and world governments, the UN, Peace Corp and civil engineers to create the International Peace Trail, which in turn will help link, create, restore and sustain natural habitats and ecosystems through a worldwide parks and trails system.
This system will preserve and protect these lands and resources, restore biomass and bio-diversity, which in turn will reduce global climate change, pollution and the extinction of untold species of plant and animal life. By protecting and restoring these resources, global prosperity will grow. This prosperity will in turn reduce poverty and with it the problems associated with poverty: hunger and disease. And as the problems of hunger and disease are eradicated, so too is poverty!
With the decline of poverty comes the further prosperity of the planet, which in turn will perpetuate the sustainable growth of these habitats and wilderness areas, which in turn will perpetuate further peace and prosperity. It’s synergy in action!
With regards pollution, too much of anything is bad and too much CO2 in our upper atmosphere is very bad. When there is robust biomass, CO2 is easily captured by the life-enhancing life-affirming process of photosynthesis, so two things must occur:
- We need to cease releasing harmful gases into our air and harmful chemicals into our streams and rivers
- We need to capture and remove the tremendous amount of CO2 and other pollutants we have already released.
Because the effects we are experiencing now are from CO2 released 20-years ago, we still have yet to experience the effects of all the CO2 we have released since then! Please read that again. Because of years of obfuscation and disinformation stalling action, we have all but foretold our doom. But there are things we can do. Plants are our friend and we need them now more than ever. Clearly we need to rebuild biomass. As the International Peace Trail envisions a series of trails linking parks, habitats and wilderness areas, it can help by bringing attention to and expanding these areas while helping to create and restore areas around it.
We need to create more parks, plant more tress and remove more pollutants from our global biome. Locally we need to plant more trees, use non-polluting renewable resources, use canvas totes, stop using plastic bags and other disposable non-reusable plastic items. Globally, we need to support such initiatives to restore and rebuild the many diverse and wondrous habitats of nature: rivers and lakes, oceans and coasts, forests and soil, grasslands and prairies, deserts and arid lands, and arctic tundra and high-altitude ecosystems. The IPT can help focus these projects and expand upon them. In so doing, carbon will be captured and temperatures will return to optimal values for sustaining life. Furthermore, everyone working together to make this happen will engender world peace.
The goal of the International Peace Trail Project is, at first, to promote the idea of the IPT through its website. Then, as interest grows it will hopefully inspire the global will which will eventually form both an International Peace Trail Foundation and the International Peace Trail Alliance.
It will be through the efforts of this alliance that the International Peace Trail will be created and maintained. It will be through the efforts of the International Peace Trail Foundation that an IPT Fund will be created to sustain it.
With the creation of the IPT Alliance, a world-wide parks and trail system will be established, the main corridor of which will be the International Peace Trail. The IPTA will have chapters in every major city of the world. Each Chapter will provide maps and maintain a section of the Trail while providing Internetworking resources to independent groups and organizations dedicated to ecological, biological, geological, and sociological issues. Chapters will become resources for conservation and restoration efforts, ecology and education.
The creation of the International Peace Trail is conceived of as occurring in three phases:
- Presentation: Here a potential route [see Appendix A] and the ideas behind the IPT are put forward. Here the case is made that worldwide involvement can provide a sustainable framework for a lasting legacy of peace and prosperity for all. Where possible, the Peace Trail seeks to follow and link existing trails.
- Promotion: The promotion of the IPT is continued with this book and with www.peacetrail.org . But to make it a reality will require the efforts of many more people to pick up where this work leaves off and create the global will that will lead to the creation of the International Peace Trail Alliance.
- Preservation: This final phase will result in the completion and designation of the International Peace Trail as an official worldwide “footpath for those seeking fellowship with Earth,” as well as to provide a blueprint for the development of a global parks and trails system.
Chapters of the International Peace Trail Alliance will operate in every country of the world, manage local groups to maintain and care for the Trail, sell and distribute guides and maps, and participate in environmental education programs and restoration projects.
Preservation is envisioned to occur in four stages:
- Creation of the International Peace Trail Foundation
- Creation of the International Peace Trail Alliance
- Creation of the International Peace Trail
- Creation of a Worldwide Parks and Trails System
If you build it, peace will come. Have you been on the Peace Trail today?
“Bel anteman pa di paradi.”
<A beautiful funeral doesn't guarantee heaven.>
As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.
James 2:26, New International Version (NIV)
The Holy Land is everywhere.
Heȟáka Sápa (Black Elk)
Only that in you which is me can hear what I'm saying.
A little bit of mercy makes the world less cold and more just.
Have you been on the Peace Trail today?
From the founder of the IPT Project:
A Thousand and One Appalachian Tales
"Keep Earth Fresh" ~ Düg Fresh
Notes from the Peace Trail
Frequently Asked Questions
A Thousand and One Appalachian Tales
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