🤠 Howdy from the Falls
Updates from our family’s neck of the woods.
Last week, we moseyed along from New Mexico as the snakes emerged from their winter slumber; this week we're nesting in Sonoma County California. Here at sea level and closer to cities, the night skies are decorated by fewer sparkly stars, and morning skies are sunny less often. But evenings here are soundtracked by a choir of frogs, and days start with mystically misty mornings that dissolve around midday into sun-drenched afternoons. Sitting on our back deck with Finn the other day, we acknowledged how easy it is to simply sit and be, with the songs of the birds and the warmth of the sun as our company and entertainment.
📔 Field Notes
Highlights from projects I’m working on at home and at the [home] office.
💼 Last month I mentioned my participation in X Genesis. Since then, I completed the four-week discovery phase of the program...and I think I may have discovered something! I'm preparing to present my findings and related hypotheses to a panel of advisors next Tuesday, April 27. Following that, I'll receive feedback and input from the panel and determine whether or not I will carry my discovery into the validation phase of the program.
If you're curious, here's a glimpse into the discovery process:
I'm focused on gray water (aka, greywater) — that is, the water that's left over and typically discarded after we wash our dishes, launder our clothes in the washing machine, take a shower, or wash our hands. With water shortages looming, there’s opportunity to reuse gray water, save money, conserve water supplies, and mitigate drought.If this piques your interest, I'd love to share more about my ideas and get your thoughts, feedback, input, etc.
🎓 Next week, I begin a cohort-based online course in which I'll be learning "no code" — a category of technological tools (software, apps) and a practice of using them to build things for the internet without writing code. I believe the skills I’ll develop in this course will unlock new possibilities of digital creativity, which will in turn support my creative endeavors in the physical world (like building a new gray water-focused venture, perhaps).
✅ Climate action together
I’ll only invite you to take action that I’m taking, too.
✅ Become an Earth Day member with me!
✅ Support the Kuril Islands Research & Conservation Initiative, which you can learn more about in this inspiring and beautiful documentary.
- A note about donations: asks from activism groups are often asks for monetary donations. Clearly, this isn’t for everyone - particularly those without philanthropic budgets. Remember: it’s ok to not donate; and if you do, $1 is meaningful. Also, I’ll try to highlight non-monetary climate action options as much as possible.
🤝 Aspiring to allyship
Efforts I’m making to be an ally to Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). I invite others to join me in solidarity.
🗓️ April 28: tune into On Environmental Racism, Climate Change, and Pathways to Justice with Gopal Dayaneni and Carla Maria Pérez (of Movement Generation), hosted by the California Institute of Integrative Studies.
Sometimes we just need to sit quietly and listen actively. If we listen to Gopal and Carla’s voices in this session, we’ll hear:
“a powerful conversation exploring the connections between environmental racism and climate change and what we can do as individuals and communities to address and heal from the harms of both.”
🧘 Meditative moments
Ways to welcome a moment of calm to our days.
I recently heard Dr. Katherine Wilkinson speak. In her talk she acknowledged how poetry contrasts with the content we typically consume throughout our days — news, facts, figures, etc. And she suggested that taking in a poem amid all the other stuff can allow our brains to shift into a different mode. This idea resonated with me, and I thought it might with you, too. So, here’s a poem for Earth Day:
To be of use
By Marge Piercy
The people I love the bestjump into work head firstwithout dallying in the shallowsand swim off with sure strokes almost out of sight.They seem to become natives of that element,the black sleek heads of sealsbouncing like half-submerged balls.I love people who harness themselves, an ox to a heavy cart,who pull like water buffalo, with massive patience,who strain in the mud and the muck to move things forward,who do what has to be done, again and again.I want to be with people who submergein the task, who go into the fields to harvestand work in a row and pass the bags along,who are not parlor generals and field desertersbut move in a common rhythmwhen the food must come in or the fire be put out.The work of the world is common as mud.Botched, it smears the hands, crumbles to dust.But the thing worth doing well donehas a shape that satisfies, clean and evident.Greek amphoras for wine or oil,Hopi vases that held corn, are put in museumsbut you know they were made to be used.The pitcher cries for water to carryand a person for work that is real.
[I found this poem in All We Can Save: Truth, Courage, and Solutions for the Climate Crisis — an anthology by Ayana Elizabeth Johnson and Dr Katherine Wilkinson.]
⏯️ Now playing
Film, podcasts, music, and other stuff I personally recommend.
🎶 No More Pipeline Blues (On this Land Where We Belong) — special release for Earth Day 2021, from an amazing cast of talented people, including several Indigenous Women Artists. It's a touching song and beautiful video. If you purchase a copy on Bandcamp, all proceeds go to Honor the Earth and the Water Protector movement.
🎥 Cries of Our Ancestors — an independent film about the coexistence and relationship between humans and chimpanzees, centered in Guinea. We found this touching film through the Wild and Scenic Film Festival, which I also recommend.
📗 The Future Earth: A Radical Vision for What's Possible in the Age of Warming — a book by Eric Holthaus that invites readers to envision the beautiful future that’s possible if we change our ways, while recognizing the grim future that’s guaranteed if we stay on our current track.
That’s all for our April 2021 edition of the newsletter.
I hope you all have a lovely Earth Day…Every Day.