Slow It Down Sunday


What slows you down on Sunday? Is it a walk in nature? Or a stop in church? The juxtaposition of the two in the images is telling. Not that the photos are wonderful in any way, it was more about how the particular place made me feel. It was about the thoughts that crossed my mind. It was how I zoomed in and felt as if I was moving through and toward.

Was I leaving one place to go to another?


The closer one gets to the church, the farther from nature one physically becomes. What happens in thought?


The vantage point changes from one type of bliss to another. Or are they essentially the same?

Maybe if we view the Earth as if it were the temple of God, we would be far more likely to treat it with respect and protect it. Or we could dismiss religion and do it because it is the right thing to do as it is OUR home.

The first view requires one to believe supernaturally. What if one is a scientist where things provable or theorized rule? A scientist is an individual likely to view the Earth in the second way – our place in the universe – OUR home? What percentage of scientists believe in God? 40 percent of biologists, physicists and mathematicians said they believed in God in the journal Nature in 1997. What is that percentage of believers likely to be today? Do any feel things so out of control, out of their hands to fix the environmental wrongs, the rapidly evolving disease, the mounting civil unrest?


I was having a discussion with a friend of mine on the state of affairs of our Earth with respect to climate change. She had brought up that people can modify behaviors which can lead to change, and while I agree that many can, I feel that it might be too late as our fate might be on a set course.

Because… I believe not enough people will ever make the needed change to reverse the rapidly growing effects of climate change. The subject itself is far too complicated with numerous driving factors – not only limited to our carbon production from the most publicized causes.

Human innovation contributes in most products we make and grow. Think of every human crop and product developed that people could “just not live without”, all these that you imagined contributing to a warming Earth. Just about everything we do!

Human overpopulation is by far the most offending issue confronting an Earth undergoing change. A change brought about by the sheer number of us here.

So is this where religion raises its head?  Will it be compassionate or will it become destructive to fellow man. I have no doubt the latter as places go without due to lack of water and or food. People will want to survive and will find any means to do so with religious justifications that might shock many.


Science does not seem to be persuading people that the time is now to reduce our carbon footprint. People are not listening to the 97% of climate scientists accepting that the world is experiencing climate change/warming.

The weather this winter has jumped from highs in the 50’s to lows in the minus teens in days in our area. 50° differences has occurred some places in the course of one day. It really makes one wonder if this is normal weather (in many cases) or is it the effects of climate change in others.


Slowing down then encompasses many things. One is the time to think…

Here I am at the church, looking back to the hill where the photos of the meadow were taken. Is it no accident I am looking back over the graveyard next to the church? Makes one wonder the symbolism and juxtaposition… looking from and through nature, the graveyard is not in view. Think a sermon can come from these thoughts?


I often wonder how many disapproving eyes look down upon us from time to time?


Make sure and see Conservation Landscaping in Design. It is part of a three-part series that started with White-throated Sparrow – Hop, Hop, Hopping Along for Conservation Landscaping. The last of the series is coming up, What’s in the Thicket?


About Garden Walk Garden Talk

I love to photograph, paint, draw, design, garden, travel the world, and pass on a few tips and ideas that I learned through experience as a Master Gardener and architect. I am highly trained in my field and enjoy my work each and every day. I garden in Niagara Falls, NY in zone 6-B. Find me at:
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49 Responses to Slow It Down Sunday

  1. A very thought filled post this morning Donna. Lovely, peaceful photos to accompany your words. Margie

    • Thank you, Margie. The problem with thoughts on what faces the world today, is that the problems are compounding and increasing from so many sources. Climate change seems to be a Goliath of a problem too.

  2. In the 1960s, we had rivers, such as the Cuyahoga and Buffalo Rivers, that were so polluted that they used to start on fire. Many people simply threw up their hands. This was caused by big powerful companies. This was too big a problem. Nothing could be done.

    But those rivers don’t start on fire anymore. Why? Because enough people came to believe this was a problem and worked for change. Not everybody took action. Not everybody even wanted change (hey, it was easier and cheaper for factories to pour pollutants into the river). Not everybody thought it was a pressing problem. But enough people were eventually persuaded so that actions were taken to clean up our rivers.

    In the 1960s, our streets and highways were covered with litter. For many people, if you were in a car and had an empty soda pop can, you threw it out the window. Driving around with garbage in your car was just absurd. Besides, everybody did it. What’s one more can? Even people who didn’t litter and who saw littering as a problem didn’t think there was a way to prevent others from littering.

    The idea of recycling was introduced. Of course, it was initially met with resistance. People didn’t want to have to pay an extra fee when they bought beer or soda pop and they didn’t want the extra chore of having to take the bottles and cans back to the store. Yet widespread recycling programs have taken root. When people aren’t in the habit of throwing cans out the window and they don’t see litter on the streets, they’re less likely to toss other litter. The few cans and bottles that are tossed out are often collected by people who get a small income returning them for deposit. Another bonus: Recycling keeps that material out of landfills.

    In the 1960s, smoking was the norm. People smoked around their kids, in their cars, at the grocery store, on planes and in offices. They smoked in hospital rooms! To suggest that they couldn’t smoke in a hospital was another absurd concept– People were upset and really needed to smoke there. Even in the 1990s many smokers were offended if you asked them not to smoke in your house.

    Now smoking is not permitted in most public places. Many people have quit smoking. Smoking is not the societal norm that non-smokers have to put up with.

    Yes, things can change.

    • I agree things change when they get so bad or damaging that people have no choice but to react. That is happening with climate change, but the big issue is it requires everyone to change. Whole countries must change. It is just not a local problem but one that is a chain reaction. You used the example of rivers. Do not rivers flow and reach places far away? Are they not affected by every community along their path? Yes, our rivers have made great strides in the last few decades, but that is not the reality worldwide.

      And the campaign to stop smoking did not stop those affected by it. My parents both smoked their whole lives. My father smoked even when on his oxygen machine. My mother smoked when pregnant. It may have been eliminated in public places, but the cigarette industry is still going strong and many people still smoke around children. I grew up clouded by smoke on a constant basis. Some changes are too superficial or based on compliance with the fear put into people to precipitate change. Some people are just not scared straight. The personal (and selfish) satisfaction and convenience is justification for the actions. Many believe they will be gone before any real ill consequence comes, and likely our generation will.

      I worry less for the people from the choices they make than I do for the earth and its animals – the more innocent recipients of how the Earth might change.

      • Smoking hasn’t been eradicated. Pollution hasn’t been eradicated, either. But you have to admit that enormous progress has been made.

        As you point out, rivers affect many communities. The water pollution in the 1960s wasn’t a local problem. it didn’t affect just two rivers. It was a widespread problem. It was a complicated problem. Many people contributed in many ways to the problem.

        And many people came together to contribute to the solution.

        That’s the important point. You don’t need everyone to fix the problem. You just need enough people to reach the tipping point. Not everyone worked toward cleaning up polluted rivers in the 1960s, but enough people came together that progress was made.

        If you tell people that there is no solution, you’re really sending the same message as the people who proclaim the “puny human” arguments and say that humans are too inconsequential to have an effect on the environment. The upshot is the same: You’re telling me I can drive my gas-guzzling car and support bad energy policies and ignore national and international issues because what I do has no effect. There is no reason I need to make any changes in my lifestyle or work for change because we’re all doomed. If that’s the case, there’s no reason for me to make any sacrifices.

        Of course, if you think global climate change is a problem, and if you have the ability to turn your attention to the issue and if you have a platform to reach people, you could think of ways to educate and motivate people to take steps toward a solution.

        • OMG Connie, so much to address. Yes, I do acknowledge people come together and make things better. Progress is made. Innovation is often surprising. Much of the time progress is made piecemeal because it may be the only way to address it. And how are priorities determined? When situations become too hard to ignore. When they effect too many people. When they effect an economy…the things to effect seem endless too. You are giving examples from the 60’s a whole different generation from today. It was also an activist generation. What examples would you look at today? They are all interwoven is my point. One affects another and another and so on. When people started getting environmentally conscious, they approached problems as they “popped” up or were exposed.

          Today is seems as if everything becomes a problem, even if only in a very small way. Like getting mail delivered. Do we need all that junk mail to kill trees, wastes energy making, sorting and delivering, causing people to buy things they don’t need, promoting products not eco friendly and on and on. Even snail mail is a safer service with all the internet hacking of accounts paying online. It becomes a way to conserve becomes a way to lose much!

          I think this is what I see most, an unending series of trains to be derailed. Maybe not all at once, but a domino effect over time. I am not telling anyone there is no solution because there are many solutions, but they are very hard choices to make. We depend on science to dig us out of this dilemma and the responsibility really reverts back to all people. As you say, “You don’t need everyone to fix the problem,” but really we do. Can conversation do that? If you look back in history, I guess it can, but do we have the same mentality to listen today to get people to action?

          I myself look at it as does Carolyn. I can do what I can do. I can’t change people’s minds because readers here generally feel similar to me. I would not reach those that should be part of this discussion. And yes, like I mentioned many times, it is difficult in this day and age to give up things. I may drive a 2007 Jeep which I use to haul things for work, but because I work at home, it does not go very far very often. Home to PA has put on most of its 39,700 miles. Could I give it up? With a winter like we are having, probably not.

  3. Les says:

    You can look at this issue in several ways, earth can be a gift from God to his children, or it could be a truly remarkable occurrence governed by the laws of the universe. Either way it is our only home, and I think this issue can be one of the few places where people of faith and people of science can come together. No matter which camp you fall into, the earth is currently the only place we can live, and we need to make sure it stays that way and be good stewards to what has been given us. The greatest challenge to both viewpoints comes from the ignorant, the short-sighted and the profit-driven.

    • Your last sentence is really the crux of the issue. It is a challenge and has many obstacles. Did you watch the Science Guy, Bill Nye, debate the Creationist, Ken Ham? I did and what I thought was going to be a good debate to bring some consensus, did not meet my expectations. My point was as you say, it is our only home. Sadly, when you see how many treat homes where they live, you have to wonder that is the reason they don’t care for where the rest of us live. I could go around the city and document this, but would probably be sued for privacy issues. Really, it is not a matter of giving up on these issues, it is a matter of that so many already did or don’t care in the first place. I wonder what happened to human spirit?

    • alesiablogs says:

      I agree with your thoughts Les. Thought provoking post Donna. Alesia

  4. A lot to think about, and easier to ignore. For me the answer is to just get out there and do something. I can’t change anyone else but I can change me.

  5. alderandash says:

    It makes me hopefully that these sorts of conversations are being had…Here in the UK, the awful flooding means that climate change is front page news, food security is front page news. Its frustratingly slow, but it does feel that people are starting to realise there is a problem…

    • alderandash says:

      that should be ‘hopeful’, sorry – typing too fast!

      • Sadly, it has been front page news for a long time. There are those that dismiss it, contest it and justify it away, but in the end, I believe all will see what is happening. Like you said, it is happening “frustratingly slow”. People grow accustom to changes that happen slowly. Food security, I have not heard that phase yet, but I think it too will be more common. I would bet not having safe or abundant food will be a driving factor for change of behaviors.

  6. Lula says:

    I fear so much of what is going to be like this planet in years time, not that I will be here, but what are people going to eat, drink …..? denaity of population is terrible important and yet is hard to find any comment on that from the rulers of the planet. But i try to stay positive, there can happen changes for the better. Thanks Donna

    • I mention our population growth often here but also counter it with a problem with no moral solution. I remember in freshman biology in 1979, I had a professor that at that time, seemed like an alarmist. He said that California would fall into the ocean. He warned of our exponential population explosion. He talked of our “killing the Earth with our growing dependence on oil”. I might look at some of his prophecies/predictions today and say he was almost a seer. I know as others thought him crazy, I was so moved, almost scared, by what he was lecturing. He had a great effect on my thinking and actions today. When I went to San Francisco last year, his prediction was on my mind. Luckily he was wrong on that one so far.

  7. We are part of a society that takes everything for granted. Even though New Zealand has a clean green image overseas, we have our share of pollution and other problems. It is time to slow down and think about our legacy that we will be leaving for future generations. Maybe photos will be all we have to show what life was like in our times. That is, if we don’t change our ways now.
    Lovely photos. 😀

    • When I think of nations far distanced from us, I think of the trash that floats in the ocean from dumped barges, hurricanes and earthquakes that send debris to pristine places. I look at Canada as our “clean” neighbor, but I would believe New Zealand is one as well. All the photos I see of your country show a place I would love to live. Did the thought ever occur that we may not be leaving a world for future generations? This thought does scare me. Makes me wonder how many generations before thought this as well and we are still here. But the question then becomes, are we and the environment better off?

  8. Karen says:

    I know that many disapproving eyes look down on us, and the glances of disgust they cast are well deserved. We patrol our one mile stretch of road for garbage tossed out by passersby year round and from the amount of beer cans we collect in this rural area I can also tell you that drinking and driving hasn’t slacked off one bit. People are slow, slow, slow to change or for that matter even see or care how their actions affect others. Sadly, the prevailing attitude is indifference until something happens to affect them directly.

    I don’t know the answers either, but when during a power outage, if I forget and flip a light switch and nothing happens, or turn on the tap and no water appears, it’s a shock and gets my attention. Complacency, habit and entitlement are problems we all suffer from. There are no easy answers.

    • I have the same problem here, but not to the extent that you have at your farm. Next door is a home business and the clients are always tossing cigarette butts and fast food packaging into my yard as they wait for their tax appointment. I get frustrated by this. At night we get the kids tossing beer cans in drive-by scenarios. When neighbors put out their trash on days too early then disregard weather reports, trash leaves their yards and is deposited all over the neighborhood in the wind. We had some neighbors, each Monday that would travel the block and clean it all up. They don’t do it anymore so what lands on the street or medial strip just stays there until it blows away further. See how things like this cannot make for a better environment, community or world? Their disregard becomes problems for others.

      I am like you, I too look at these outages as something to notice. They have been happening more and more on already stressed and insufficient services. There are no easy answers unless they are imposed on us. I know myself I try to conserve, yet our lifestyle makes it really hard to change all the behaviors that multiply by the more of us that do them. Again, it comes down to how many of us there are in this world. A lot of minds to get thinking on if they want or will have a place on this planet.

  9. janechese says:

    We were at dinner last night talking about illusion and someone brought up about how we humans create illusions about how we change when we actually continue the same behaviour even exhibit worse behaviour. Someone used this with regards to reducing garbage/ packaging. It was a big deal years ago and packaging was cut down for a while then built up again.Sobering thought, as are yours and the comments.I think the idea of home has to start from within then the result will manifest itself in our environment. Ew-w maybe then we are not “getting it” at all..we always want more.Have to think about this some more…

    • So true. Like Carolyn said, “I can’t change anyone else but I can change me.” And it takes initiating conversations to get people involved. I am with you on the illusion too. When answering the comment that Connie made, it really is often a temporary band-aid that results when the media writes on these hot-bed issues – at least until some progress is made and the media moves onto other issues. From the time that reducing packaging was in the headlines, some manufactures thoughtfully economized on packaging, and others increased without care to the environment to just add to consumer cost – much happening due to federal and state safety regulations. Yes, the essence of home truly does have to begin at home, but like I mentioned, loads of people make home a real mess. A point in the post was that thinking is good, actions better. But, don’t you think that we are at a point where all the issues to think about can not come to any sensible way to repair all the ills? All because the problems causing climate change are a web of almost non-ending issues. I can just visualize a graphic of this. It would be astounding.

  10. We don’t have much nature that is easily gotten to, and it has been years since I was at any religious services. I think the inspecting the garden slows me down, especially watching the bumblebees feeding on the flowers, and the smaller bees crawling in and out of the Penstemon blooms. Watching the birds can have the same effect. Or looking at a particular plant in greater detail, noticing something new that I had not seen before. Other gardens, like the Chicago Botanic Garden, can give me the same feeling.

    • You must be at a crawl waiting on bees. 😀 I have to agree, watching bees at work is relaxing. A lot of drama happens in the insect world though. Not too relaxing for them. I rarely have that slow-down feeling in big public gardens though. Too much color usually and too much to see! Only in Japanese gardens is the tranquil feeling most evident. Those gardens are designed to have the viewer journey through, slowing down to notice or discover even the smallest detail. It is why I like well designed winter gardens. They too have a calming effect as the landscape sleeps and the conifers take center stage – both aesthetically and providing purpose for wildlife. Winter gardens make one notice and appreciate more. They cause one to think rather than do.

  11. Pat says:

    I like that last question.
    Lovely photos and thought-provoking post.

  12. I agree we need to treat the earth like our home…respectfully and with pride. I do hope we will wake up in time Donna. I will continue to do my part in hopes we can be less selfish and share the earth with all. We are not the only ones who live on the earth, but we act as though we are or the only important ones.

  13. Indie says:

    Interesting. Do I think that at some point people are going to wake up and work together to change things? Yes, because at some point we are all going to look into our children’s eyes with the knowledge that we are handing them a place to live in that is imploding. Do I think that we will have lost much by the time enough of us get to that point? Sadly, also yes.

    • People are waking up I believe, but they are waiting on others to resolve what we face. I think climate change is real and it is getting to the point where debaters and non-believers are beginning to sit on the fence and admit things are much different and not merely cyclical. I would hope people would consider what the children of today will have ahead. It certainly would be the utmost in selfishness if they did not.

  14. Your thoughts and pictures have been very thought provoking. I’ve enjoyed reading through the comments as well as your responses, and they were all interesting and echo my sentiments.

    • Often when I post on these type of subjects, the comments are more interesting than the post. Many see issues we face and by the comments, you see so many that care enough to have a lifestyle which is far less damaging to the environment. That is so encouraging.

  15. Annette says:

    Hi Donna, always enjoy your posts – I find comfort in nature not in man made “structures” of any kind. I don’t believe that some fellow with a beard sitting on a cloud will one day save or condemn me. As I love and treasure this planet I do my utmost to keep my carbon footprint as small as I can. I have not much hope that the love of Mother Earth will be strong enough to conquer the greed that rules our world though. It may sound funny, but I find the idea that some day our planet will get rid of us and heel itself of all the wounds quite comforting. Best wishes

  16. mariekeates says:

    Lovely pictures and though provoking prose. For what it’s worth I agree we should be taking more care of our only home but when I walk in the woods and see all the litter, the fly tipping, I wonder what kind of homes some of these people come from? People are basically selfish and will do what they want no matter what the consequences. Probably, in the end, we will be masters of our own destruction. Still, I’m sure Mother Nature will carry on quite well without us, even if the world is a very different place.

    • I too wonder where some of these people come from living the way they do. Of course, we are not to judge, yet we are recipients of their negligence. Whatever occurs in the future, barring some nuclear incident or asteroid from space, the earth would likely do fine with us gone. Not sure how nature would rid us though, but I bet there are many ways.

  17. Tom Clarke says:

    Hi Donna,
    Your “Slow it down Sunday” post brings up the discussion of God and I’m glad you did. As a Christian author and the developer/caretaker of our church’s Gethsemane Prayer Garden, my perspective might be different from some.

    I too have a strong environmental emphasis in my work, but am concerned about the bigger picture. From the time of creation, God gave man dominion over all other animal and plant life (Genesis 1:26-30) – it was a gift with responsibility. The constant struggle seems to be one between God’s heart to bring people to Himself, and man’s heart that continually fights with disobedience. I look at the environmental disobedience as being symptomatic of man’s heart and many poor choices in life. Some people get it and many people over time have shown they did not and do not. (Please pardon my use of “man” for I believe God meant that for male and female alike.)

    My faith teaches me that ultimately it is God, not man, that is in charge. I do not view Him as a punitive God but a corrective and loving God. I believe that somehow He will see this global pollution problem (where many nations are not taking care of God’s gift to us) and reduce that to an individual level. He will look at each person to say, “Did you know me?” and “If so, what did you do about it?” To me, environmental issues can be a look into a person’s heart. If there is no faith, then how one treats the environment is just one of many concerns.

    Grace to you,

    • Tom, I like how you and the Bible say it was a “gift and responsibility”. I always felt this way that we are but caretakers during our time on earth. When I wrote the post, I had only, “Maybe if we view the Earth as if it were the temple of God, we would be far more likely to treat it with respect and protect it,” in the post. The more I thought on it, I realized there is a second way people might view it as a responsibility because it is our home – ours and the rest of life here. The way you say, it is both at once. God still looks over both believers and non-believers, am I right? It would truly be a sin (not exactly sure of which sin – blasphemy? ) of how people treat the earth if man has “environmental disobedience” in his heart. Is disobedience a sin? Anyway I think it is a sin the earth is in such dire circumstance. Each year we face drought, I am saddened for all the creatures that will face hardship. We don’t face hardship and until we do, things won’t change on the individual basis. Just my thoughts. I am not very knowledgeable in religious matters but, I too am a Christian.

      I am concerned at the big picture level also. That is why I see too many obstacles to tackle. I think as things get worse – weather extremes that cause loss of life – that more and more people will turn to God to ask forgiveness. Sad it works that way too.

      • Tom Clarke says:

        Donna, Thanks for you kind reply. Yes, I agree, too many obstacles. And I think you are suggesting it is ultimately God’s issue, right? God by His nature is love (1 John 4:16), and He loves the believer and non-believer equally. By drawing individuals to Himself, He wants them to love Him and one another. A principle in both the New and Old Testament is that from this love comes obedience.

        I can take you to any church in the world and likely find people who obey but do not love the Lord. But for those that love, obedience is the natural outflow.

        Relating that to environmental disobedience (failure to take proper responsibility for His gift), my suggestion is that it is the person’s heart that matters. If it is in love, then that obedience falls into place. If is it not in love, then it is God’s issue to deal with. Therefore, it is a heart issue.

        Grace to you, Tom

  18. A.M.B. says:

    Wow, beautiful shots! What lovely views.

  19. Tony says:

    A most thought provoking article, Many Thanks for sharing.

    Best Wishes


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