Posted by: Dave Neads | April 14, 2011

CHILCOTIN ARK — PLANETARY REFUGE

The Chilcotin Ark is the largest intact wilderness area in the temperate latitudes of North America. It is a wild landscape so huge that the wind’s breath still blows clean and the water is diamond clear, sweetly drinkable, flowing down the mountainsides from the source.

In this place ecosystems still function as they have for millions of years. Untouched, remote, little known, the Ark is a planetary Refuge for temperate species where they can continue to prosper and evolve. Wilderness on this scale has all but vanished, making the Ark a global hot spot for diversity.

James Lovelock brought forward the “Gaia Principle” which proposes that large scale ecosystems are self-regulating, using a complex web of interactions to stabilize the environment around them. The Ark is an example of this principle at work. While most other areas of Earth are being degraded, the Ark still thrives as a fully intact organism, allowing us to study the blueprint that has made life on this planet successful for billions of years.

Much more than a glimpse into the dynamics of how life survives, the Ark provides vital sustenance for the spirit. Imagine being able to hike endlessly across a land where you may never see evidence of human activity, let alone another person other than your hiking companions. Imagine being immersed in a landscape where pristine beauty engulfs your mind and being. It is in these primordial conditions that we evolved and they are necessary food for the health of our soul.

We live in times of rapid change which threaten human civilization. Shifting climate regimes, pollution and declining resources are forcing us to rethink how we live here on Earth. No longer does the paradigm of uncontrolled expansion of population and resource extraction serve us well. We need to rethink our concepts of long term survival very quickly if we are to avoid massive collapse of our civilization.

The principles that compose Gaian interactions within the Ark are subtle yet successful, hammered out on the evolutionary anvil through vast time frames. Ark’s living fabric is built on co-operation amongst species. Always living within natural limits, plants and animals waste nothing; everything is recycled. All nooks and crannies are filled with life of every description, diligently exploring the possibilities for survival. Nothing is static, constant adaptation is the order of the day.

The Ark is unique in Earth’s north temperate zone, a planetary Refuge where an immense range of diversity can thrive, contributing to the global reservoir of species which is part of the ongoing evolutionary path. More importantly, an exploration of the Ark will allow us to rediscover ancient principles and feel fundamental emotions lost to our everyday experience. Only then will we be able to spark our dynamic creativity, forging new relationships for a vigorous future.


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