Unleashing The Power of Unlimited Creativity

Yoga is the uniting of our being—body, mind and soul—with the Creative Force of the universe. Achieving this union earns us access to the unlimited potential of the human being. The human being is a microcosm, or simply a smaller version of the infinite universe which gave birth to creation. We are quite literally made of the stars that once populated the cosmos. As such we contain the latent potential to create just as we have been created. This is heady stuff to be sure, but how do we bring the unitive force to bear and release the unlimited energy that resides dormant within us?

The process begins with focus, the focus of vibration to be more exact. Focus becomes concentration (dharana), concentration becomes pure essence (dhyana) and pure essence opens the door to boundless creativity (samadhi)—perhaps as the Big Bang did at the beginning of creation.

We can demonstrate concentration in the process of distillation. As heat, the focus of a vibratory force is applied to a fermented liquid, the water is driven off and we produce a concentrated “proof” of alcohol. This is one way concentration organizes matter into a purer form.

Perhaps a better illustration is the science of cymatics and cymatic music. Cymatics is the application of sound frequency to organize matter. Follow this URL to see this illustrative video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GtiSCBXbHAg  The logical extension of this phenomenon is cymatic music—that is music that is composed in certain frequencies to influence the molecules of the human body into more harmonic operation. See John Tefler’s video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sThS9OfnM1s

After physically seeing how sound organizes matter, we can begin to understand the science behind chanting mantra and prayer. Chanting is the intentional use of frequency to concentrate vibration to elevate the human experience into unlimited creativity. (Chanting is native to all spiritual traditions. St. Augustine said, “When we sing, we pray twice.”) The vibration we emit during chanting directly effects the brain and the production of the “feel good” neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine and the enkephalins. Endorphins are one type of enkaphalin.

Chanting directly effects the hypothalamus gland that helps control mood. Apparently, the meridians connected to the hard palate in the mouth are stimulated like a key board which is connected to the hypothalamus. These lines of transmission relay vibration to the brain in order to reduce stress, decrease cortisol production and induce a healing relaxation response.[1]

The icing on the cake of unifying the human being to the unlimited creative force of the universe is meditation. But where’s the vibration in that you might ask? Thought has vibration as well, albeit more subtle than music or vocalization. Masaru Emoto’s book “The Hidden Messages of Water” reveals how prayer can influence water molecules. Emoto froze water in various states and photographed the crystal formations that existed in the samples. Water that had been labeled with negative writing produced asymmetrical, disorganized shapes. Conversely, water that had positive affirmations written on the containers developed the beautiful architecture of snowflakes. Polluted water which produced distressed-looking shapes was subjected to the healing vibrations of prayer transformed into the beautiful uniform, snowflake designs.

The human body is over 70% water. The healing vibrations of chanting, prayer, mantra, and affirmation can help transform us, too. We can become healthier, more connected to our creative ability and more cohesive as communities.

Focusing our intention in meditation creates powerful, subtle mental vibrations that reach deeply into our brains to help us harmonize with the frequencies of the unlimited creative force of the universe.

I’ve often been puzzled by the Apostle Paul’s admonition (Romans 12:21) to “Be not overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” How is that possible? Violent, destructive ego-possessed people will stop at nothing to get their way. Now, with the tools of yoga, chanting and meditation we can raise our children to harmonize with goodness. We can transform illness into health; we can change our brains; we can lift our depression with the harmonics of the unlimited creative power unleashed by chanting, prayer and meditation.

A new world awaits our application of concentration. This why we’re here, to heal each other and the universe. Could there be any greater challenge or adventure?

 

 

[1] http://blogs.psychcentral.com/adhd-zoe/2010/06/mantra-meditation-an-adhd-panacea/

Experimenting with Your Health

Monday evening last the Chatham County Board of Commissioners met to hear from citizens about allowing liquor by the drink to be put to a county wide vote. Perhaps a hundred folks showed up. Those opposed, mostly church goers, were so inclined on moral grounds. They were concerned about increased drunk driving, and child safety. I would not argue with their anxiety. To be truthful, I’m troubled by some of the same issues.

But because I’m a resident of Pittsboro, there is another issue that ranks much higher on my list than liquor by the drink: water quality in Pittsboro.

If you live in Pittsboro or Siler City, you’ve received notices from your municipality that it continually violates federal drinking water standards for elevated levels of the toxins, trihalomethanes (THMs) and haloacetic acids(HAAs). The trihalomethanes cause cancer and the haloacetic acids damage the liver and nervous system. These toxins rise sharply in the blood during showers, baths and ingestion. But the damage takes many years to accumulate, so it’s easy to ignore. It reminds me of the iron workers at the Nevada Nuclear Test Site in the 50s and 60s. They couldn’t see, feel or taste atomic radiation, so there was no sense of imminent danger. Years later cancer took its toll among their numbers.

Yet, when presented with such evidence, Pittsboro and Siler City residents passively do almost nothing. We seem resigned to our fate, but fortunately the State of North Carolina is not. A fine of $30,000 hangs over Pittsboro if something is not done soon. But Pittsboro’s so-called solution could be just as dangerous as the present contamination.

The Town of Pittsboro plans to begin choramine treatment very soon. Chlorine + ammonia = chloramine. This is supposed to get rid of the health damaging chemicals mentioned above. This is doubtful. UNC Prof. Philip Singer, in consultation with Pittsboro, wrote that if THMs continue to exceed regulatory levels, “… ammonia addition will not solve the problem.” Our water source, the Haw River, is loaded with organic carbon and other pollutants that make chloramine effectiveness highly suspect..

Choramine treatment, if not carried out precisely, can also leach lead from plumbing fixtures into your water. Lead causes brain damage. Switching to chloramine has already produced frightening water lead levels in Wayne County, NC and Goldsboro. What’s worse, is that mixing chlorine and ammonia creates literally hundreds of disinfection by products yet untested. Some of those that are known cause cancer and mutation of human genes, a cause of birth defects.

Dr. Michael Plewa of the University of Illinois at Champagne calls chloramine usage “a vastly big experiment” with our health.

Health affects have already been cited where chloramine treatment has begun in Vermont and California. Severe rashes, skin blistering, asthma and other respiratory symptoms, digestive disorders, kidney and blood disease, and aggravation of immune deficiency. The complaints have been in the hundreds, which may not sound like a lot. But these sensitive people are the proverbial canaries in the coal mine for the rest of us. Acute symptoms among a minority of chloramine users is a likely harbinger of long term affects in the remaining population.

One of the most dramatic responses to chloramine was experienced by Denise Kula-Johnson in California. During her first shower in chlormine treated water, Denise fell to her shower floor unconscious from the vapors she breathed. She must now travel miles for a chloramine-free shower. (See chloramine.org for more info).

Spills of chloramine treated water have also been responsible for fish kills in streams and rivers.

Whereas chlorine and its by products are relatively easy to filter out, chloramine and its toxins require expensive reverse osmosis treatment. Few of us can afford such an option.

But here’s the kicker. Chloramine disinfection by products are not regulated by law. Therefore, no one is responsible for testing the water to make sure it’s safe. We will have to be the guinea pigs in this “experiment”

So why did Pittsboro’s Town Board of Commissioners vote to begin chloramine treatment? Because it’s the cheapest off the shelf solution; a penny wise and pound foolish choice.

But we mustn’t be too hard on them. We were warned before the last election about our water dilemma. We were the ones who elected them and in so doing refused to make the hard choice and spend the necessary money to produce excellent municipal water. The lack of vision we might ascribe to our leaders is simply a reflection of ourselves. But there’s still a chance to change direction.

If we have the wisdom and political vigor, we could combine our town’s enterprise fund and grants with a water bond by a vote of the citizens to provide the water quality we deserve.

To quote Professor Singer “Other options for addressing the problem tend to be more expensive, e.g. membrane filtration, granular activated carbon adsorption, or an ion exchange treatment. While these options are indeed more expensive, they are probably better long-term options than the quick-fix combined chlorine option.”

Joe Hackney Needs Your Help!

 

I make the above statement to incite all Chatham County citizens to urge Speaker Hackney to make the clean up of Piedmont Rivers a top priority.

Last Sunday I took the opportunity to hear N.C. House Speaker Joe Hackney give a talk about North Carolina’s economy, fiscal projections, state savings ($780 million) and what kind of shovel ready projects the state might propose for some of President Obama’s federal recovery funds. To his credit, Joe also spoke of his support for making state buildings energy efficient.

Never the arithmetician, such talk about budgets sounds to me like the adults in the Charlie Brown TV Specials. Wah-WahWah-WahWahWahWah. I know it’s important, but critical matters often get obscured in the numbers used to justify whatever action or inaction is deemed “prudent.” But, I’m getting ahead of myself.

After his talk, Speaker Hackney took questions from the 100 or so people assembled to hear him at the Central Carolina Community College (CCCC) Multipurpose Room. I asked him when the state was going to help clean up the sewage effluent discharges from the Siler City Waste Water Treatment plant that are contributing to the quiet killing of the Rocky River, 88% of which is in Chatham County. He said that by and large these were matters for local jurisdictions and the state had contributed a fair amount of money already to assist with water and sewer treatment and hoped it would continue. Speaker Hackney ended with, “It is unlikely that there will be much of that sort of money in the climate we have right now.”

So, we’re going to allow the Rocky River to die,” I asked. Admittedly this was like throwing a fastball at his head, but I had to get his attention.

One nervous giggle betrayed the tension in the room.

Well sir, we’re going to follow the law,” Speaker Hackney replied flatly.

The Speaker invoked the law like it was the answer, when in fact, the law is the problem. It is the law that has permitted the deadly pollution of the Rocky River. Legal, yet criminal.

I’m a Democrat; and I’ve voted for Joe Hackney several times; and I want to support him in the future. Speaker Hackney, please use your considerable influence to help pass the rules that have been drafted to clean up Jordan Lake. These rules will affect Chatham’s only reservoir for many years to come. The health and economy of our region can be no better than the purity of its water, soil and air. This is a pivotal moment for you, Mr.Speaker, and Senator Bob Atwater. Please insist on and fight for strong regulations that will ensure a living, thriving watershed to nourish a clean future for Chatham County.

And I’d like to also address Republicans and Democrats who think they can undermine Speaker Hackney’s position in the legislature. Members of the Friends of the Rocky River, Friends of the Deep River and the Haw River Assembly are watching you, too. Joe can’t carry the burden all by himself; we know that. We expect all of you to put your shoulders to the wheel and spend some political capital on this issue. If you don’t, the Piedmont will suffer in innumerable ways.

 

In addition to upgrades of the Siler City Waste Water Treatment Plant and the Lake Jordan Draft Rules, Governor Bev Perdue and the legislature must begin developing a master plan for the restoration of the Upper Cape Fear River Basin. The Rocky, Deep and Haw Rivers are all critically impaired. Species are disappearing as I’ve documented in this column before. This should take on Manhattan Project urgency. As climate change heats and drys our region, we must jealously guard our water resources with vision, technical expertise and unwavering commitment.

 

Water crises are happening all over the country. The Colorado River which irrigates most of the nations fresh produce in California hasn’t reached its delta since 1982. It is over-allocated, yet Western population continues to grow. The Ogalala Aquifer beneath the Great Plains is being slurped up way beyond its recharge rates. Groundwater has already disappeared in some locations, and with it the farms and businesses it used to support. Las Vegas, which means “The Meadows”, was once home to one of the great artesian aquifers in the country. It was sucked dry in a few decades. And, it was all legal. The point is, that we in the NC Piedmont can no longer depend on the produce and the water used to grow it from distant points west.

Joe Hackney and his colleagues must show wisdom and vision now to avoid want and deprivation in the future. But Joe must know he has the support of his constituents to make a bold stand on our water supply. Call, write, or email Joe and support him in this stand!

The Shape Of Things To Come

I doubt that the name Maude Barlow rings a bell with many of you. It didn’t with me until a recent conversation with Dr. Hal House, President of Chatham County-based Integrated Water Strategies (IWS). Barlow, in her book, The Blue Covenant: The Global Water Crisis and the Coming Battle for the Right to Water, asserts that water will be the “oil of the 21st century.” Square that with the United Nation’s declaration that access to clean water is a basic human right. They are the irresistible force and the immovable object, and clash they soon will. Reconciliation of such a dilemma will mean a complete reevaluation of our relationship to water.

Water, in the U.S. anyway, is as cheap as dirt yet more valuable than gold. Our bodies are 70% water, but if you asked someone whether they’d like to have 70% of their weight in gold or water, they’d choose gold most likely. This is the perfect demonstration of inverted values. We have turned nature on its head and have based our entire economy on a false value whose expiration date draws near.

But here in Chatham County someone is beginning to work out the solution: the aforementioned Dr. Hal House. I want to recognize Dr. House and IWS as one of the gems of Chatham County.

As a graduate student, Hal House helped pioneer the science and construction of miniature wetlands, using plants and their resident bacterial populations to filter wastewater and make it reusable.

In the first major demonstration of his innate skill to solve thorny environmental problems, Hal designed the wastewater filtration system housed at his current office site in 1996. In a beautifully landscaped patio and adjacent green house, 1200 gallons of wastewater per day is cleansed by the system without noise, odor or any evidence that such a miracle is taking place. Since then, IWS has refined the process and has installed several systems here in Chatham. The implications of Dr. House’s process for our world-wide dilemma are profound!

Let’s start at the pocketbook. This low energy biological system will save enormous amounts of money. If a developer can incorporate wastewater treatment and recycling for non-potable uses into the landscaping of a new tract, he doesn’t have to pipe the water to a sewage treatment plant. Major savings! The residents realize substantial savings as well by using about 60% less water. The aesthetics of the community are enhanced by the cleansing gardens to boot.

Storm water and rainwater can also be directed into the system which relieves creeks, rivers and reservoirs from the pollution carried by that input. Pollution, instead of being diffused into our life support system would be localized and sanitized at its source. Rivers like the Rocky, Haw and Deep could be restored to their original, pristine conditions.

These mini-wetlands also serve as both sinks and delivery systems for excess fertilizers like nitrogen and phosphorous that damage local watersheds. These elements remain in a closed system and continue to feed the plants and bacteria that clean the water.

Municipalities could reduce the size of sewage treatment plants or perhaps forego them altogether and save on unnecessary infrastructure investment. Previously worthless land that won’t “perc” and thus not accommodate septic systems would regain value and usefulness.

Can you imagine what a beautiful place Chatham could be? Healthier streams and rivers would again teem with species that had all but disappeared. It would be like turning the environmental clock back a hundred years or more. Property values would soar and the concomitant benefits would be incalculable. Such success would surely spread to surrounding counties and states.

We are on the cusp of a revolution, and we have a County Commission that is right in step. Two Chatham schools, J.S. Waters and Chatham Central are already using systems built by IWS. The new Chatham library will also host its own IWS wastewater treatment system. But perhaps the most valuable component to this water recycling strategy is the design and building of a county-wide reprocessed water distribution system. As water savings accumulate, the surplus would be fed into circulation for nonpotable use elsewhere with credits assigned to the originator.

This is the conjunction of cost, value and each citizen’s right to clean water. Without such conservation the future challenges of population growth and global climate change may defeat belated efforts to deal with them. Remember, in the long geological time table of this epochal ball game nature bats last.

Now is the time not only for Chatham County to vigorously pursue this revolutionary course, but for Governor-elect Perdue to support this technology and protect North Carolina’s water resources. The wisdom inherent in mimicking processes that are billions of years old is a no-brainer.

As I recall my conversation with Dr. House, perhaps the most encouraging words he spoke were, as he referred to his work,

We’ve only just scratched the surface.” When you think of it like that, the future is exciting indeed.


SACRED WATERS

Those of you who’ve perused this column in the past know that I often focus on the challenges facing our water resources in the Upper Cape Fear River Basin. Lake Jordan, the Haw, Deep, and Rocky Rivers and their tributaries from counties around comprise this system. Many nationally significant natural areas and endangered species knit this wonder together. As my understanding of this complex marvel of creation grows, I am compelled to share it.

A few days ago, the North Carolina Rules Review Committee, in a 4-3 vote, approved the long-awaited draft regulations to begin cleaning up Jordan Lake and its branch contributors. Although this is a momentous milestone in the process, some heavy legislative lifting remains to implement the plan. As shameful and unbelievable as it may be, diluting the strength of the rules will be a priority of some state senators and representatives; and the stakes couldn’t be higher.

Jordan Lake is chronically challenged by several sources of pollution. Tons of sediment from construction sites, farms and storm water drains wash into its network every year and smother fish and other aquatic organisms. Excess nitrogen and phosphorous feed algal blooms that suck up oxygen, pushing many species toward endangerment or extinction. Sewage sludge, masquerading as agricultural fertilizer, containing an unknown witch’s brew of toxic chemicals, also finds its way into Jordan. Other pollutants leaching into our water include pharmaceuticals, automotive waste, and pesticides, the quantities of which no one can venture even an educated guess.

Nearly a million people live in and around the watershed, and that number is predicted to increase by many thousands in the near future. A burgeoning population will only intensify current problems unless the Jordan Lake Draft Rules are implemented and strengthened.

In a recent interview with Haw River Assembly Executive Director, Elaine Chiosso, I could hear relief in her voice at the approval of the rules. I also heard weariness and apprehension. Ms. Chiosso and legions of committed citizens have worked for years against daunting adversaries for the integrity of our life-support systems. Who are these adversaries of clean water you might ask?

Powerful industrial and municipal players have fought against doing anything to clean up their pollution to ensure that neighbors downstream enjoy clean water, too. Resistance from Greensboro, Burlington and Durham has been a regular impediment to the process. Kudos to the Chatham Board of Commissioners for being a positive influence throughout the proceedings. But perhaps the intransigence of the resistant boggles your mind as it does mine.

Of course, it boils down to money. But it’s deeper than that. Petty pecuniary concerns are rooted in the radical separation of human beings from our god granted, nurturing earth. Long ago we divorced ourselves from the intimate connection to what sustains us in order to transform earth, air and water into mere commodities to be bartered. In the bargain we profane and disable the very processes that keep us alive.

Once upon a time, before our command of coal and petroleum, humans propagated and passed down a sacred relationship to the earth. Before Columbus the Iroquois Nation considered the welfare of their descendants seven generations into the future before making a decision. For us it’s the quarterly bottom line. Chief Seattle, the great Suquamish leader, proclaimed that “the earth does not belong us, we belong to the earth.” This world view might seem quaint, a vestige of a “primitive” people who succumbed to our more industrious attitudes. I would argue the exact opposite!

The survival of Chatham depends on our remarriage to these long-forsaken values. These values are: that the earth, water and air which sustain us are sacred, and that we can no longer jeopardize our future by betraying our heritage for a few coins. The rivers, dirt and air of Chatham County must once again be exalted above a market place that trades them to trash.

It’s hypocrisy for us to oooh and aaaah over pristine wilderness where it can still be found. Chatham was once pristine, and can be again as we elevate its wonders to a status of reverence.

Goals along that path in regards to our great river basin would be: reinventing our processes for dealing with sewage and waste. Treating waste to a minimal standard and then piping its filthy effluent back into our rivers is simply stupid. Alternatives exist. Transforming waste into energy is a good place to start. Creating stronger incentives to encourage organic farming would eliminate the need for fertilizers and chemicals that foul our waters. Direct all storm water into ponds and natural wetlands, allowing nature to clean it for free before it reaches our reservoirs. Ban the use of toxic sewage sludge as fertilizer.

You may call this extreme. I call it a manifesto for life; the life and future of Chatham County. Let’s not cripple ourselves by the corrosive compromises of low standards, but rather re-create the Eden we were meant to enjoy and protect. By such action, we will flourish in health, prosperity, and happiness.

Demolish The Dams

As a small boy growing up in the suburbs of San Diego, California during the 1950s, I was among the first generation to be entranced by television. I vicariously enjoyed the adventures of the Cisco Kid, Roy Rogers and the Lone Ranger. With my playmates I did my best to imitate their behaviors. Often I would see them drink directly from the streams that ran through the great Western lands they roamed doing their good deeds. Streams didn’t run through my neighborhood, but runoff from lawns and car washing filled gutters below the concrete curbs parallel to the asphalt. It looked enough like a stream to me, so I drank from it.

Yeccch! Once I almost sucked up a worm. That was the end of that.

As age and experience increased my ability to range far from my suburban home, I traveled to Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks. High in the Western Sierras one could indeed drink without fear from the pristine headwaters of many rivers. Around Lake Tahoe I would make it a point to hike to where ice melted into clear pools of crystal pure, life-giving water.

Once upon a time I’ve been told, the rivers of the Chatham ran clear because of nature’s own filtration system, the mussel. Good god, he’s on about the mussels again, you might say. Yes, I am. The Rocky River and her cousins the Haw and Deep are now the color of strong black tea from so many years of abuse that the collective memory of their former cleanliness has died. The mussels in Chatham’s rivers were once so numerous that they had nicknames like the Carolina Heelsplitter because you couldn’t venture into the river without stepping on them.

In a recent conversation with local biologist, John Alderman, I learned that one of the mussels once so numerous in the Rocky River, the Atlantic Pig Toe, listed as endangered, can no longer be found below Siler City’s waste water discharge into Love’s Creek (one of the Rocky’s main tributaries) to Woody’s Dam. The variety and number of many species decreases below this point. Once the home range of the Cape Fear Shiner Minnow, the little fish has now been extirpated. Though further study needs to be conducted, Alderman has a “sneaking suspicion” that Siler City sewer discharges are responsible for killing animals essential to the health of the river. Not much further down the river, Sanford draws its drinking water from the Deep River below its confluence with the Rocky.

SO LET’S GET REAL ABOUT THIS INTOLERABLE SITUATION SHALL WE!

According to Alderman many of North Carolina’s pigs and chickens drink virgin well water while humans drink the treated effluent of our neighbors upstream. That shows you what our state values.

I propose that Siler City begin drawing on Chatham County’s water supply from Jordan Lake. Demolish the dam in Siler City and restore the Rocky , a nationally significant river. The Rocky River is a “flash” river, meaning that it is cleansed when swollen with rainfall. After the rain the river drops back to low levels. Damming such a delicately balanced river dependent on strict natural processes is a death sentence!

Siler City, already in financial difficulty, is about $16 million in debt because of money borrowed to expand its reservoir. This dam makes no fiscal or environmental sense, yet the inertia of such an ill-fated project keeps the present idiotic plan in place. That money would be better spent cleaning up its killer sewer discharges

There has been some talk among Chatham County Commissioners about providing Siler City with Lake Jordan water, but it hasn’t gone much further than that. The pipes to convey the water are already in the ground, so what’s the hold up?

Can you imagine the Rocky River clear enough to see the bottom filled with tiny, powerful mussels filtering the river for free? Can you imagine bathing in and drinking from our rivers once again without fear? Can you imagine how your heart would swell with pride when you hold the hands of your grandchildren and tell them how this generation made and kept a commitment to their future? Can you imagine the economic value that such a river would have?

If Siler City had such a Rocky River running through it, the benefits would be innumerable. For example, the town would immediately save money by not having to process drinking water. The poor quality water from the Rocky, resulting in toxic trihalomethanes, would be replaced by healthier quality water from Jordan Lake.

Again, Chatham County is positioned to set a better standard for its citizens. Surely we deserve water as good as pigs and chickens get. It’s past time that citizens, private and public defended our life support systems.

“Water has a voice. It carries a message that tells those downstream who you are and how you care for the land.” — Bernie McGurl

What tale will the Rocky River tell about you Chatham?

Draft Rules/Storm Water

As those of you who’ve perused this column in the past know, I often focus on the challenges facing our water resources in the Upper Cape Fear River Basin . Lake Jordan, the Haw River, Deep River, Rocky River and all their tributaries from counties around make up this system. Many nationally significant natural areas and endangered species knit this wonder together. As my understanding of this complex marvel of creation grows, I am compelled to share it.

A few days ago, the North Carolina Rules Review Committee, in a 4-3 vote, narrowly approved the long-awaited draft rules to begin cleaning up Jordan Lake and its tributaries. Although this is a momentous milestone in the process, some heavy legislative lifting remains to implement the rules. As shameful and unbelievable as it may be, diluting the strength of the rules will be a priority of some state senators and representatives, and the stakes couldn’t be higher.

Jordan Lake is chronically challenged by several different sources of pollution. Tons of sediment from construction sites, farms and storm water drains wash into the river every year and smother fish and other aquatic organisms. Excess nitrogen and phosphorous feed algal blooms that suck up oxygen, again pushing many species toward endangerment or extinction. Sewage sludge, containing an unknown witches brew of toxic chemicals , masquerades as agricultural fertilizer also finds its way into our drinking water source. In the “other” category of pollutants leaching into our water are pharmaceuticals, automotive waste, and pesticides, the quantities of which no one could venture even an educated guess.

Nearly a million people live in and around the watershed; and that number is predicted to increase by many more thousands in the near future. Increased population will only intensify current problems unless the Jordan Lake Draft Rules are implemented and strengthened.

In a recent interview with Haw River Assembly Executive Director, Elaine Chiosso, I could hear relief in her voice at the approval of the rules. I also heard weariness and apprehension. Ms. Chiosso and legions of committed citizens have worked for years against daunting adversaries for the integrity of our life-support systems. Who could be against clean water you might ask?

As you might imagine, powerful industrial and municipal players have fought against doing anything to clean up their pollution to ensure that neighbors downstream have clean water as well. Resistance from Greensboro, Burlington and Durham has been a regular impediment to the process. Kudos to the current Chatham Board of Commissioners for being a positive influence throughout the proceedings. But perhaps this intransigence of the resistant boggles your mind as it does mine.

Of course, it boils down to money. But it’s deeper than that. Petty pecuniary concerns are rooted in the radical separation of human beings from our god granted, nurturing earth. Long ago we divorced ourselves from the intimate connection to what sustains us in order to transform earth, air and water into mere commodities to be bartered. In the bargain we profane and disable the very processes that keep us alive.

Once upon time, before our command of coal, steam and petroleum, humans propagated and passed down a sacred relationship to the earth. Before Columbus the Iroquois Nation considered the welfare of their descendants seven generations into the future before making a decision. For us it’s the quarterly bottom line. Chief Seattle, the great Suquamish chief, believed that “the earth does not belong us, we belong to the earth.” This world view might seem quaint, a vestige of a primitive people who succumbed to our more industrious attitudes. I would argue the exact opposite!

The survival of Chatham depends on our remarriage to these long-forsaken values. These values are that the earth, water and air that sustain us are sacred, and that no longer can we jeopardize our future by betraying our heritage for a few coins. The rivers, dirt and air of Chatham County must once again be afforded a place above a market place that trades them to trash.

It’s easy for us to oooh and aaaah over scenes of pristine wilderness where they can still be found. Chatham was once pristine, and can be again as we elevate its wonders to a status of reverence.

Goals along that path in regards to our great river basin would be: reinventing our processes for dealing with sewage and waste. Treating them to a minimal standard and then poisoning our drinking water with their effluent is simply stupid. Alternatives already exist. Turning waste into energy is a good one to consider. Creating stronger incentives to encourage organic farming would eliminate the need for fertilizers and chemicals that foul our waters. Direct all storm water into ponds and natural wetlands, allowing nature to clean it for free before it reaches our reservoirs. Ban the use of toxic sewage sludge as fertilizer.

You may call this radical. I call it a manifesto for life, the life and future of Chatham County. Let’s not cripple ourselves by the corrosive compromises of low expectations, but rather re-create the Eden we were meant to enjoy and protect. In so doing we will guarantee our health, prosperity, happiness and longevity.