Archive for June, 2015

Collateral Damage

Disappearing Wild Pollinators Spell Disaster


The perilous decline of domestic honeybees due to the widespread occurrence of colony collapse disorder continues to make news, but wild bees and other insects are often overlooked, even though the are twice as effective in producing seeds and fruit on crops, according to a study of 41 crops in 600 fields worldwide by Argentina’s research network, CONICET. For the first time, scientists have a handle on the huge contribution of wild insects, showing that honeybees cannot replace the wild insects lost as their habitat is increasingly destroyed.

Study leader Lucas Garibaldi, of Argentina’s National university in Rio Negro, says that relying on honeybees is a highly risky strategy, because disease can sweep through single species and it may not adapt to environmental changes as well as wild pollinators. Also, trucking in managed honeybee hives does not replace native pollinators, which visit more plans, resulting in more effective cross-pollination; honeybees tend to carry pollen from one flower to another on the same plant.

Let Go of Your Ego

by Sherry Petro-Surdel

There is a popular TV commercial with a catchy phrase, “Let go of my Eggo.” This article is not about waffles but it is about the waffling that takes place in our lives when we won’t let go of our ego.

The term ego is familiar in secular and spiritual languages. Ego was introduced into the world of psychology in the early 1900s, by Sigmund Freud and now it is a household word. Interestingly, in the 1700s it had more of a metaphysical meaning. It meant the self that feels, acts or thinks separately from the universe. It is derived from the Latin meaning “I”.

Eckhart Tolle, author of The Power of Now, The New Earth and The Journey into Yourself, explains the ego as something much more than a perception of an over-inflated sense of self importance. It can also appear as self-loathing and a sense of inferiority. Tolle said, “Think of the ego as a heavy protective shell, such as beetles or turtles have. It works as a protective armor.”

When we are operating from the ego, we have this protective armor on that is prepared for an attack. We believe there is danger everywhere and that we are always in danger. This illusion justifies being defensive. This illusion of danger perpetuates a sense of isolation which creates separation. It becomes all about the “I” not the “We”.

Joseph Campbell said this of ego, “The trick is how to get rid of the ego as a dictator and turn it into our messenger and servant and scout, to be in our service, not its.” Ego untamed can cause us to employ defense mechanisms that we mistakenly believe are keeping us safe but what they are really doing is keeping us separated. The untamed ego sees us at risk of losing our self. The untamed ego sees things personally. (Remember that ego means “I” or “it is all about me”.) Consequently it takes things personally so it is easily offended or has a strong case of “entitlement”. The untamed ego operates from fear. Fear of not being good enough, a fear of being controlled.


I sometimes think of the ego as a fishing pole. A fishing pole has two ends, one end is the handle and one end is the hook. The handle serves us and the world well. It defines our individuality and unique gifts. It operates in unity with the universe. The hook end of ego is the fear end. It operates from fear, believing the world is not safe. When this occurs, the armor is needed. The armor shows up as defensiveness and close mindedness. When you experience yourself reacting that way, you know you have been “hooked”.

How does one let go of the ego that hooks us?

It is strictly an inside job. A call for action is needed. Name it – claim it – tame it.

The name it piece is looking at our fears, defenses and any separateness. Whether it be that we think we are more than another or that we are less than another. Claim the birthright to be equal. Individual talents are to be cultivated and shared.

The tame it part is the transcending piece.

Taking on the untamed ego is no easy task but it is extremely rewarding if one is willing to do so. Here are the top 10 tools for transcending the ego:

  1. Remember who you really are – a blessed child of The Creator.
  2. Remember who everyone else is too – a blessed child of The Creator.
  3. Let go of anything that is not in alignment with highest good.
  4. Be willing to confront your fears.
  5. Let go of the need to be right and consider the infinite possibilities.
  6. Stop shrinking so others will not feel insecure.
  7. Quiet your monkey mind (with Truth).
  8. Dismantle and release belief systems that no longer serve you.
  9. Choose selfless service.
  10. Spend time in meditation.

Petro-Surdel is a gifted Life Coach and workshop presenter with over 20 years of experience inspiring and motivating individuals and groups to turn their dreams into reality.  Her unique, soft spoken but success motivated style has made her a sought after keynote speaker and event presenter. She is the author of A voice of Reason and the Pastor of Spirit Space. Her experience in spiritual growth, psychology and coaching empowers others to succeed and reach fulfillment in all areas of their life. For more information, visit, or

Pierce Institute Hosts Educational Forum on Sustainable Agriculture

Dave Dornbos

Food sources and how food is produced have become important topics of discussion and consideration for many. Whether or not the food is produced organically, is spray free, or is a genetically modified organism (GMO) provides information to consumers, but it can be difficult to determine what this means for someone’s health or for the environment.

To help local leaders and residents understand these and other issues related to the sustainability of modern agriculture, Pierce Cedar Creek Institute will be offering another program in its Environmental Leaders Discussion Series entitled “Is Sustainable Agriculture Sustainable?”  The program, to be held on Thursday, June 18 from 7 – 8:30 pm, will be led by Dr. David Dornbos of Calvin College. Dr. Dornbos has worked as a scientist in the agriculture industry, helping to develop new varieties of crops. Now a professor at Calvin College, he teaches plant biology, leads classes on sustainable agriculture, and conducts research with a focus on non-native, invasive plants.

According to Program Manager Matt Dykstra, “How food is produced and what that really means is something that affects everyone. The format of the program is informal and will allow participants to ask questions and hopefully come away with a better understanding of all aspects of modern agriculture and what that means to humans and the environment.”

Modern agriculture has brought many advances. More food is produced at a cheaper price than ever before. Scientists have used modern technology to produce plants that can produce their own herbicides, preventing the need for them to be broadcast with pesticides. Certain herbicides and GMO crops have made it possible for farmers to plant while minimally tilling the soil thereby reducing run-off, decreasing erosion and compaction, and maintaining nutrients onsite.

With these advances have come downsides; according to the Xerxes society, since the 1990s the monarch butterfly population has decreased by 80% due to the reduction of their habitat and new classes of pesticides. Historically, monarchs used milkweeds that were commonly found as a weed in agricultural fields. With more effective herbicides and new classes of insecticides, much of their previous habitat is now gone.

“Is Sustainable Agriculture Sustainable?” is free for Institute members; non-members are $5. Refreshments will be served. Participants may register at or by calling 269-721-4190. Pierce Cedar Creek Institute is located south of Hastings at 701 W. Cloverdale Rd., 2.5 miles west of M-37 and 4.5 miles east of M-43.