Guidelines for Living with Dick Smythe

Do any of us deliberately structure our lives, our behavior, by any rules or guidelines?  I would guess many of us go through life reflecting some combination of parental lessons we received in childhood and the life lessons we have experienced as adults.  Those of us with a deep Christian or Jewish commitment have two admonitions (guidelines) that go back more than 2,000 years and are captured within “the greatest commandment.”

In these times I believe we need another guideline that reflects, in the words of Thomas Berry, that we must live together with the rest of nature or we will die together having failed to understand our dependence on maintaining a healthy planet.  Two true stories, one an agricultural disaster, the other a tragic/comic demonstration by the White House and Department of Defense illustrate, in the words of Karen Armstrong, that we need to learn not only how to act differently but how to think differently about the natural world.

Dick Smythe is an entomologist retired from the research division of the US Forest Service. Throughout his life he has maintained two dominant interests: first, his fascination with the natural world – our non-human environment and endless source of wonder; second, his abiding interest in religion/theology – a subject of continuing education and challenge.