ECO-Tours only purchases trees and dirt to plant them in...

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Beating Weapons Into Plowshares

Some of my readers should be familiar with the Ploughshares Foundation, this group has been around for decades and has been instrumental in pushing international conversations about the immorality of war, especially using nuclear and inhumane means of killing more people faster and with less discrimination. The recent Obama Administration's release of kill numbers for drone strikes pointing out the fallacy of a "just" war. The lives of thousands of non-combatants don't matter one whit to the war machine. When you reclassify young men as "enemy", simply for reaching the arbitrary age at which you expect them to be able to carry a weapon, the demonization of people whose eyes you never need to ponder, is complete. There was a great rallying cry for the Revolutionary war propagandists that supposedly dates back to the Battle of Bunker Hill. "Don't fire until you see the whites of their eyes." This was to conserve powder and increase the kill rate with their notoriously inaccurate weaponry. Today, we use such overpowering force as to make even a heat signature on infra-red sensor a "target". Can our animosity extend even into the realm of hating someone simply because they have body heat? The thought of getting to know that we are all people, with hopes, dreams and aspirations, people who love their children and hope for them to have better lives than we have had seems so alien in acceptable political discussion as to be lost amongst the calls for "extermination", "nuclear war" and deportation or putting up walls around the people of this world that are one giant human family.

A woman, proudly displaying a placard that said: "You can keep your science." is far more willing to follow along flights of fancy, in which 1/3 of the world population is demonized, and "eliminated", than to understand fact. The vast majority understand that the likelihood of the other 2/3 settling for what would be left, after another World War, rather than finding some other division to exploit, is almost as silly as the initial prospect of killing off 1/3 of the Earth's inhabitants simply for their beliefs. A well-meaning and sincere man said to me just the other day that, "Anyone who reads the Quran needs to be deported. They are all terrorists" Little did he know, the same day, I had read a story about a Muslim, from Syria, he is a devout follower of his "God" Allah. As a recent refugee, he received a piece of furniture to start his new life in this country. His reading of the Quran spoke to him in a different way. When he opened a drawer and found fifty-five thousand dollars, and the personal information of 1500 private citizens, he turned it over to police, saying that: "Allah would not want me to profit from the labor of someone else. If we could only convince our oligarchs of such truth! The ignorant are not the ones who need to be condemned, but those who see their profit flowing from uneducated folks just falling into the line of stupid stretching to the horizon.

I would like to explain the reasons that understanding and being educated about history is such an important starting point in moving forward. My young neighbor girl looked at me very coldly when I spoke of important lessons in history (herstory). "I hate history." she said. If we imagine the current time as a lens, future can and will only be an upside down and backward representation of the past. Only things that are in the consciousness of people living right now, today are based on their beliefs of the past, their knowledge of what is real and possible that gets passed down effortlessly through generations. The uberwealthy have expunged virtually all stories about self-determination or fulfillment, any inkling of satisfaction and abundance, except in the peculiar stories about "crazy artists", "mad scientists", "inventors" (who are often said to have to forego satisfaction or acceptance in their lifetimes) or lottery winners (beneficiaries of the nanny state). There is a similarity of understanding here to things they teach in military academy, CIA training and diplomacy. Every story we tell about the past, expands our possibilities for tackling the future.

Before my time, there was a strong socialist tendency amongst my ancestors. Public Service, the local electric company used to use their extra electricity to power an electric trolley, transporting people from their residential areas to the commercial areas. This was a true public service. most people from my generation don't even know that in Old Green Bay, you didn't even need a car. Another socialist plan was scrapped because of the "conservative" ideas of our fore-bearers, One of the major paper companies knew that as part of their processing, massive amounts of waste heat (in the form of hot water) would be generated and they wanted to run a cooling loop under downtown sidewalks and roadways, so the city, and residents, would have never needed to shovel snow in the downtown area. The cost of fifty to a hundred years of snow shoveling was hundreds of times more expensive than just installing the pipes to allow the heat to become useful.

Knowing that, in the old days, large corporate entities had a conscience and worked diligently for the good of all, rather than just the tiny slice of the public deemed "stockholders" changed the way we see the oligarchs. From these facts alone, we can see that at least two corporations were ethical once upon a time. Knowing that there were better ways...(I could ride the train, leaving from Green Bay, Wisconsin as recently as April 30, 1971) The train that used to run from Chicago all the way to Ashland, Wisconsin (on the shore of Lake Superior) we need to understand that the costs of tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of car trips back and forth to the Northwoods could have been eliminated, just by continuing the line. Instead, the corporate climate has changed, to one of heavily subsidizing the benefits that are realized by the fossil fuel industry and requiring the rest of us to pick up the costs. The weapons corporations use to eviscerate communities are many and understanding the long-term effects of cutting services, increasing dangers and risks and the inevitable ecologic destruction of making the wrong choices have impacts that will last hundreds of generations.

The forge upon which we create the new future is fired by the longing in our hearts and souls for our progeny to have at least as much as we were granted. The materials we have available are the massive military industrial wasteland, rife with attendant bust communities, our own intellect and creativity and the sense of community that has reclaimed some of the areas in our nation that have been reduced to rubble by time and neglect, and the knowledge that there have been ways for everyone to live a better life at far less cost, to our families, our communities and to our own health and welfare as well. The anvil, far too often, is the hardheaded people who do not care to hear the truth, no matter what words we use to speak it.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016


This year was one of the best in years for puffballs!
several massive specimens have been found this season. Plenty for eating fresh, plenty for drying, plenty for putting up in other ways for the coming cold season!

Monday, September 12, 2016



Although I have suspended this campaign until the next cycle, I will use donations to further the work of ECO-Tours and to teach people how to make and use biochar. 

Sunday, July 3, 2016

The Whole Kit And Caboodle

My days as an artist have been filled with materials, consumables, the materials that flow, through a process into becoming other things, making my art possible. Even the image I have conjured of an artist as a 3-D printer of sorts aptly describes the materials within the caboodle. Posterboard and felt tip pens were the "liquid" materials flowing through the creative force of my friend Wesley Willis. At once, his caboodle could fit in a single bag for his pens and a garbage bag full of posterboard that allowed him to make his kit useful. Another favorite artist, Joseph Beuys managed to pare down his caboodle (materials) to blood, lard and wool. The kit that operated on the materials was both experience, adroit skill and the specific "eye" for juxtaposing the familiar with the sacred and/or profane.

Some make the mistake of thinking that the kit is just a series of objects, but it is not just that. Of course, if I wanted to draw a circle, a compass might be necessary, but knowing how to use it, or make due with a string and a pin attests to the fact that the intellect becomes just as important as the physical object one carries to the process of creation. The artists mental state, creativity, insights, thought process and skill in making objects from what they have in their caboodle are all essential parts of the creativity puzzle. One teacher I respected a great deal once said that the difference between art and craft is that a crafts person knows what the finished product will look like before the creative process begins. artists allow their creative process to morph, often resulting in things that were never planned or imagined at the start. I am not completely convinced, but it does present a fair starting point into the meanings I want to get to with this post.

To save our species from itself, we must get on with the process of educating as if our lives depended on it, because in fact, they do. all lives matter is not the refrain, necessarily of self important bigoted fools, (although if the shoe fits wear it.) but a plain and simple fact. today, for instance, even I froze up when a person suggested deporting anyone who reads the Quran. The same day, I had read of a Syrian fellow who returned 55K in cash that he found in a donated piece of furniture he was given along with personal papers covering about 1,500 individuals. He said that Allah would not want him to benefit from the fortune that others had built. this rep[resents the vast majority of people in any religion. You know the type. People who are honest, compassionate and helpful. Trying to act as if 1/3 of the planet's population is inherently "bad" or even to be suspected for having a different "God" is absurd. We need to, each one of us, throw whatever we've got, both kit and caboodle, into speaking truth to power in this respect as well as others.

Collective evolution can only take place when we talk to strangers, spread the word, continue sharing what we have learned and spreading both the materials and techniques we have each developed for making creative contributions to society as a whole. This is most often accomplished by giving back to individuals. Break out whatever might be languishing in your caboodle, heck, even if you have things in your kit that you have forgotten or that have become rusty for lack of use, break those suckers out! The same is said for the other side of the process, if you were holding something back for just the right time, get it out! The world is ready for it, now! and if there are skills or tools that you have been hoping would one day become important, unleash their power now! We must use all that is at our disposal to evolve past fear and hate. Prove once and for all, the value of peace and creativity, we will call this evil deception and it will wilt in the light of day.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Week-long Intensive

ECO-Tours of Wisconsin offers week-long intensives as well as one day tours/classes covering a variety of topics. Welcoming people to our facility includes having a private space in which to stay. We have been and continue to convert our facility into a living classroom for such diverse retreats as Art, Biochar, Compost, Dirt vs. Soil, Energy, Food Systems, Green Living, Habitat Improvement, Investing for Seven Generations, waterfall wanders, writer's retreats, etc. Our accommodations can be booked through Air B&B, or if you are willing to camp out, we are able to offer reduced rates for Leave No Trace campers.

Sunday, March 27, 2016


It has taken some time, but this blog finally has as many individual views of this site as trees that we planted our first year! The power of a single act, much less 3,600 of them has amazing power to outlast the moment in which we find ourselves. I would like to think of the ideas stories and activities that I share here will blossom and grow just as the forests that we have cultivated over the years. I may not know about the preferred climate, soils conditions and moisture requirements to make each of my readers thrive, but I do know those things about most trees and many native plants here in the Western Great Lakes Region. If I could think of, or find a way to grow my audience more or more quickly, I would do it, but for now, I will content myself with reaching this amazing milestone.

I have been writing "here" a bit less than usual and that is because I'm also running for the U.S. House of Representatives. As those who read my blogs often will know, I'm a strong Bernie Sanders supporter and friend of the environment, of course. What they may not realize is that all of my activities, training and concerns are for healing the planet, her people and the economic system that often rewards bad choices with regard to both people and the planet.

Without this form of communication, there would be less opportunity for me to spread the word about ECO-Tours, that they exist, how they work, what they can teach and ultimately how the revolution that is not being televised continues to gain both speed and diversity right under the noses of those who have always denied that we are a force to be reckoned with. It seems that as we grow and develop as a culture, like with the rest of our lives, the little things matter most. Knowing that so many people still find these posts informative gives me great hope for the changes that are yet to come!

When I write about planting trees, or inner city beekeeping or when I go on and on about political or social factors that affect and create the environment that we all share, it brings me joy to know that others have been inspired and informed by the posts. The tree planting we did our first year in operation took place in about four months. This writing has taken four years. The forest may remember our loving hands, but the culture does not always understand, or feel the work of those who massage and inform their development.

Like the many hours we spend at the breast as babies, those influences and building blocks are lost to time and oft' forgotten, but their power and the grace required to nurture are reflected in every act later in life, just because we do not have as long a memory as trees does not mean that we are not to be taught, or fed, or nurtured. In fact, perhaps, we need these things even more! My writing seeks to feed the souls of my readers, enlighten their minds and nourish their own drive toward finding balance between themselves and nature. I hope that the next 3,600 views come more quickly, but I also understand that you cannot rush a great thing. The Universe is unfolding as it should. Thank-you all for reading my words and may they bring you insight and comfort. your interest in my words gives those things back to me and for that I thank you all! 

Sunday, March 20, 2016

When 50-50 means 100%

There is territory on our bodies that we supposedly "own". In fact, some far out liberals say we should have dominion over our entire bodies. "Self determination from within" is how we described it at one of the Yoga Institutes that I have lived communally with. When we take the hypothetical idea of genital mutilation, it is abhorrent, but about half the population gets surgically altered, genitally, within hours of birth and there is no valid reason for it to be done. There is no way to describe the intimate pairing of violence and intimacy that men bear in relation to their indoctrination to our U.S. of American culture. (Most cultures around the planet have now  disavowed genital mutilation) Another way We the People have remained like the very barbaric groups who still practice female genital mutilation.

For the purposes of my message, I want to confine my discussion to the male part. Most men do not even realize consciously, that they have been "circumcised". Such a clean word for such an obscene business! I am motivated to point out to half the population that if your junk looks like a mushroom, you were cut. if it looks like your hand, jammed down a sock at the end, you are intact. The message should, or could be easy, if it were just a matter of skin.

This seems to only apply to the half of the population whose genitals would, or could be involved, however, this is never the case. Abandonment issues often arise from being taken away from adoring mothers only to be cut savagely. How many men have unresolved abandonment and or mommy issues? Doctors claimed for years that boys "didn't feel much"; they said there was a natural anesthetic from the birth process. Newborn organisms in need of nurture can't be compromised with anesthetics, so it validated the lie. Children feel it, yet, the cutting continues, for no good reason.

When one considers and understands that sexual assault can even be perpetrated by men in white coats, it changes the discussion. Just because you were cut does not mean your child's penis should look just like yours. The entire culture bears the legacy of all that betrayal, guilt and shame. None of that would occur and nurturing could continue right through the formative years.

Ask the child at the age of adulthood if he wants the end of his wanker whacked off and my guess is that he will tell you to step off!