Earth Day 2022: The Earth Needs You, Yes, You!

Happy Earth Day, Nature-Led Friends!

One afternoon during the early days of the pandemic my spouse and I stumbled upon the same opinion article. The title of it doesn’t really matter anymore. What matters is how it made us feel. We were angry, frustrated, and sad. This seemingly well-to-do white guy in his 60’s (a Baby Boomer) was just going to give up on the fight against climate change. His opinion was that the issue of climate change was so great and so overwhelming he was just going to buy a nice house in a rural climate haven and take care of himself until he died. Basically, he was going to give up caring about anything or anyone else, but himself. Give up? Give up!?!?!

You can’t give up! First, We all contributed to where things are now both actively and passively. Isn’t it nice for him that he has the luxury to throw up his hands and hide somewhere? “Oh well, this sucks, I’m just not going to deal with it.” Come here, Mister, so I can give you an angry Greta Thunberg stare! Secondly, a lack of empathy for others is also lack of empathy for yourself. The sword cuts both. People who are invested in other people’s well-being live longer, healthier, and happier lives.

You don’t retire from a job, take your box of personal items home, and then lay down and die. At least, most people don’t. You start a new chapter in your life. Try new hobbies, learn new things, reconnect with friends and family and (hopefully) be grateful that you could afford to retire. At least, That’s what my older friends usually say. Many of the most self-sufficient people among us still have to rely on other people for something in their lives. (Examples include medical care, special maintenance or materials, or other things outside of their skillset.)

In my opinion, we owe it to all generations to look out for each other. Humans are social creatures, even if you consider yourself anti-social, you probably still need someone for something.

Photo by Pixabay on

Twelve years ago on Earth day I gave birth to a baby boy. Never has my desire to do right by both the planet and the next generation been more perfectly aligned. In my teens and 20’s I couldn’t have imagined being someone’s mother. I neither liked nor disliked kids and even though I worked minimum wage jobs and struggled to pay rent, I always cast my vote for the greater good. For infrastructure projects, libraries, schools, senior services, etc. It wasn’t important to me that I be able to reap the benefits personally. I’m only as strong and healthy as the community around me.

Suicidal ideation, apathy and loneliness spread like diseases. Right now, they’re public emergencies in many countries, exacerbated by the pandemic. I too get overwhelmed sometimes. I’ve been through dark times. I have to remain vigilant that little puddles of depression don’t become a flood. I need to be here for myself and others.

I have a theory that women might tend to live longer because we allow ourselves five-minute pity parties in the bathroom, then pull ourselves together and get back in the fight. I fight for you. I fight for my family, my communities, and the planet that we all call home. My sister works 16-18 hour shifts in a pediatric unit with patients who’ve failed at committing suicide. Let that sink in.

Our children are overwhelmed, scared, angry, sad, and confused. Kids know the world is messed. Some of them are standing up to do something about it, while others are lost in their own grief. They need us, we need them, and we need each other.

I’m here for you.

You might be physically alone, but you’re not emotionally alone.

We are connected.

I would grieve the loss of you.

 I don’t have all the answers. I can’t fix all the problems in the world, but I’m here. I do the best I can and I’m asking you to do your best too. Don’t exist, live!

I don’t like being labeled, but you can call me friend.

Am I a Climate Activist? I suppose, but I prefer the label “Advocate” more because I’m not inclined to go marching about, yelling or busting stuff up. “Activism” sounds very tiring. I need a cup of caffeine at the mere mention of the word. At least “Hacktivism” implies a chair and computer…

I could argue semantics until the cows come home.  Then wax poetically for hours about, whose cows they really are?

I do agree with the Climate Ad Projects purpose and mission. We do need A Billion Climate Activists (or whatever you want to call yourself) to make a difference.

Climate Ad Project – We need a billion climate activists

What I’m Currently Reading:

How to Prepare for Climate Change: A Practical Guide to Surviving the Chaos By David Pogue

It’s a really good start for how to make your life and home more climate resilient. You still need to do your own homework though. Ironically, one of the places he mentioned for being a climate haven is Spokane, WA, my hometown. Clearly, he’s never been there before. It has wildfires, occasional mini-dust bowl storms, icestorms and every other type of storm short of classified tornadoes and hurricanes.

Recently Watched:

Kiss The Ground – a documentary narrated by Woody Harrelson

It promotes Agroforestry for sequestering carbon in the soil. There was a restoration project in China that was particularly impressive, some 14,000 hectares restored!

Big Stepping stone goals for the year:

– Cancel my Chase Credit Card and let them know why I’m canceling. They’re one of the biggest financiers of fossil fuels. Open a new credit card that promotes and invests in aligned goals. (This was the most helpful article I found:

-Create a local sustainability business

-Research and possibly invest in solar panels this year

-Find other ways to make our home more climate resilient

-Buy an electrical vehicle this year? (Contingent on the price and financing of solar panel project and vehicle availability.)

Smaller Stepping Stone goals for the year:

– Maintain my current level of fitness

– Try at least five new cooking recipes

-Experiment with natural dye making (like from beets, dandelions, etc.)

Have you made any Community or Sustainability related goals this year?

If so, what are they?

Thank you for reading. Thank you for your time.

Collateral Damage – People & Nature

Photo by Kostiantyn Stupak on

A war on any group of people is a war on the natural world.

The invasion of Ukraine has led to the loss of individual human lives, communities and cities.


The invasion of Ukraine has led to the loss of individual flora and fauna, ecosystems and biota.

You cannot attack one without assaulting the other.


Legend of Wendigo: Indigenous Wisdom for the Modern Day

Photo by u0412u0430u0434u0438u043c u041cu0430u0440u043au0438u043d on

Wendigo (English translation of Ojibwe word wiindigoo) Cree language: wihtikow or wetiko. There are 21 other spellings of the name. The term is from the Proto-Algonquian family of languages. These First Nation tribes that carry the story of Wendigo inhabit the cold North American territories of Eastern Canada, the Plains region of the United States and the Great Lakes region of both the United States and Canada.

The story of Wendigo is often told during times of famine and starvation. It is a reminder that cannibalism, in particular, is wrong and evil in the eyes of the people. Historically, many indigenous tribes name themselves in their own language as “the people” to define themselves as different from the buffalo, bear, or other animals. Through generations of retelling, stories remain relevant when they are able to convey the social mores (aka values) of a people when dealing with adversity. While cannibalism has ceased to be a pressing concern for modern people, these stories are given new life in the hands of respected storytellers. The story of Wendigo now expresses a shared concern for a new metamorphosis of cannibalism in the form of greed, filth, and malevolence itself.

Original Story elements:

Wendigo is an anthropomorphic giant that uses treetops as snowshoes and eats humans. At other times Wendigo are humans inhabited by the Wendigo spirit and partake in cannibalism. Both the anthropomorphic giant and the human Wendigo share characteristic traits of being emaciated, skin and bones, their fate is to always crave more flesh and never be sated. They can grow in size by how much they have eaten but never fill full.

This last part is important as we consider the allegory of Wendigo, to have so much and never be satisfied, never be content or feel full. Now in modern North America where so few of us are like to die of starvation the parable takes on a new meaning when we think about greed. I think about Wendigo often. As a modern storyteller, I view the story of Wendigo a gift and a warning from the Proto-Algonquian speaking tribes. What more could we have learned if Colonialism and Manifest Destiny had not prompted my White ancestors to massacre, oppress, and enslave “the people” of so many tribes. Some North American tribes are extinct. We will never know their language or their stories.

Personally, I see Wendigo as a disease of greed that spreads through developed nations. We let people die for profit. We turn a blind eye, we redline or bar them from certain public spaces in society. It is not profitable to simply be a good person. The Millionaires and Billionaires of our nations became what they are at the expense of other people and once shared natural resources. When they finally have earned so much money as to become social elites, then they chose to donate back some of their wealth, and we’re all supposed to be grateful.

I distinctly remember sitting in a mall food court looking at the classified ads and being alarmed that there were several job postings for sociologists and psychologists to join advertising and marketing agencies. The idea of it made me sick to my stomach. I felt like any sociologist or psychologist that accepts such a position is committing an act of betrayal. Shouldn’t those of us that study the operations of society and the mind itself be required to take the Hippocratic Oath to, “do no harm?” Human psychology has become weaponized for the sake of selling products and services. Welcome to the world of Neuromarketing.

The language of advertising has changed over the years from “You should buy this product because it has x, y , z features.” to “You deserve to have this fine product because you work hard and your money and time is important.”

We also like a good deal. We like to feel like we’re savvy shoppers that know how to get a good bargain. It’s common in American supermarkets to see yellow tags calling out these bargains. The tag might read something like “2/$6.00” or “Buy 2 get 1 Free”. Because of the rise in current inflation one of the stores I shop at now regularly offers bargains of “Buy 4, Get 1 free”. I feed a family of three. I really don’t need five boxes of macaroni and cheese! Unless I’m rotating my disaster preparedness food supplies, I rarely need five of anything.

These “bargains” stay around month after month. If you find yourself increasing your portion sizes and buying more you aren’t really saving money. This also increase pressure on the food system and the workers involved in making the product to produce more. We find ourselves stuck in a cycle; our food portion sizes become bigger, our waistlines become bigger and eventually we become depressed and sometimes, we eat more because we are depressed and then we start running into health problems related to obesity and then we become customers for diet aids, diet apps, ubiquitous “healthy food” alternatives, books, podcasts and whatever else because our frustration grows and now we’re hungry for solutions, for acceptance, and validation and the advertisers answer are calls.

Photo by Zeeshaan Shabbir on

I’ve been trapped in this cycle myself for decades. I have clothes in three sizes for when I’ve lost some weight, for when I’ve gained some weight, but mostly I stay somewhere in the middle of the two. I save a lot of money by the mere fact that I hate to shop for anything, but also because I remember when I was poor. I grew up during a recession, we didn’t have a lot of food, but we were able to hunt and fish for our meals. Later as a young adult in the city and on my own I often had to skip meals to pay rent. I was stuck in low wage jobs, sometimes working two or three jobs in an effort to get enough money to save some of it. It took me nine years, but I got a bachelor’s degrees with only $10k in student loans. At my most desperate I was eating one small meal a day, every other day.

 No one talks about hunger in America as an individual. It’s something to be ashamed of and you’re not supposed to admit that you’ve been there. It’s something that happens to other people. It’s often only talked about in broad terms. I’m not embarrassed though. I’ve got nothing to lose in admitting that I have been there. One time I was so hungry I went to McDonald’s hoping to take three ketchup packets to eat for the day. I just wanted a few calories. I just needed to get through one more day before I could get my paycheck. There were no ketchup packets for me to take though, because I was in a McDonald’s in a poor part of town where there were a lot of homeless people, and they didn’t want the homeless people taking all the ketchup packets. I cried walking home, salt tears I could barely afford to give. There was nothing else to do but curl up on my mattress on the floor and wait for the next day.

I carry the trauma of never wanting to be so desperately poor again. Some people in America who have never been are aware that it could happen to them and the thought alone terrifies them into certain behavior patterns. Both the fear of not knowing and the fear of going back can be harmful in their own ways. So we eat and eat. We wear fat on our bodies and never feel full. We are diseased like humans with the Wendigo spirit, starving for something to make us feel full and yet we continue to feel empty.

We search for fullness in food and we search for fullness in “stuff” like home furnishings, books, clothes or whatever. We let ourselves be convinced that we need to be upgraded to the latest and greatest phone, car or tv, because gosh darn it, we deserve it. The answer is not in “stuff”, its within us, within our connections to other people and an appreciation for the grand scale of nature itself.

Let me sell you hope for the low, low cost of free.

Photo by Min An on

We can take a walk within nature and not be judged. The bees don’t care about skin color. The trees don’t care about the way you walk, and the birds don’t care if you have a speech impairment. None of them know the difference between an attractive human and an ugly human. Be not judged by superficial artifacts, but by spirit. Be kind to yourself and to others, not because it sounds like a nice Hippie bumper sticker, but because if you deserve anything, it’s to be accepted for who you are and not for the profits you can bring to a company or its advertisers. Wendigo. When is enough ever enough?

Many cultures and religions have stories about the dangers of greed. What other stories come to mind on the topic of Greed?