|Wolf portrait by Seton|
According to Julian/Gregorian calendar reckoning, we have entered the 2016th year following the birth of Jesus of Nazareth. The religious descriptor A.D. (in the year of the Lord) has been in widespread use for over twelve hundred years. The more secular C.E. (common era) has in recent times gained limited traction with historians.
I will here propose a new system for reckoning time: January 31, 2016 C.E. should become known as the first day of the Year 122 E.E.
Year 1 (a.k.a. Environmental Era—E.E.—January 31, 1894) marks the death of the gray wolf “Lobo, King of Currumpaw” at the hands of Ernest Thompson Seton. Not long afterward Seton repudiated animal trapping as well as persecution of predators (including wolves). In 1925 he predicted the coming civilization-ending environmental disasters.
I chose January 31, 1894 as the New Year 1 E.E. because the death of Lobo represents the turning point between the old world of unconscious environmental destruction and the new world of conscious environmental destruction. After that fateful year we had no more excuses for our war on nature.
Seton’s account of the life and death of Lobo was published in November of 1 E.E., proving the link between morality and wild nature. In his stories, Seton showed that we ignore this connection at our peril.
Other than Seton, the Apostles of Lobo of course did not know him; indeed, few are left who personally knew Seton. But we who know the Gospel of Lobo (the environmental New Testament Part I) and the Gospel of Walden (the environmental Old Testament) will continue to carry the message as long as we have breath.
My celebration of New Year’s Day 122 E.E. will include climbing the mountain behind my house to spend time with the elk who reside there this time of year. I hope you will also find a way of honoring wild nature on this special day.
Happy New Year, Lobo.
(New Testament Part II is Seton’s 1901 story “Krag, the Kootenay Ram.”)