This winter, as part of the Advanced Permaculture Design course that I taught online, we read "Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene" by Donna Haraway, who is a feminist scientist and also an accomplished and eloquent writer. This book is about how we remain present to the enormous challenges we face in the world today. It's easy to be cynical. It's easy to check out and bunker into our homesteads. It's easy to go on with our busy lives. But Haraway challenges us to see how we are interconnected, to see how we are responsible, and suggests how we must think if we are to make it to the other side of climate catastrophe. The way that we see our selves as separate from nature is disastrous for both us and the planet. But how do we overcome this deeply rooted rupture? You need to read this book! Her concluding chapter is a speculative fiction about a person called Camille, who is bonded to monarch butterflies in an effort to save them from extinction. There are actually five Camilles: five generations of people who care about the monarch butterfly, acting out their relationship with the insect in the world as it changes. Each Camille passes on a way of knowing that helps the next Camille, even as there is room for adaptation in a rapidly changing world. It's a hopeful story, in that Camille does what needs to be done, regardless of the consequences (David Orr). I think about this as I continue to plant trees on my farm that will long outlive me, and to mentor beginning farmers, and to take an active role in the future of organic farming. Every family that buys a CSA share from me participates in this work, in building a better future. It's springtime, now, and time to get on with all this responsibility. Rather than being bonded to one organism, I am bonded to a whole ecosystem, and spring is always a dizzy season. My pig matriarch, Amelia, is about to have piglets. One of them will be named Camille.
Dr. Clare Hintz has a B.S. Degree in Biology and Writing, a M.S. in Sustainable Systems with an emphasis in Agroecology, and a Ph.D. in Sustainability Education with a focus on Regenerative Agriculture. She currently teaches permaculture design and regenerative agriculture from her production permaculture farm in northern Wisconsin. She is the editor in chief of the Journal of Sustainability Education. In her spare time she knits, reads feminist science fiction and cooks really good food for friends.