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

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Funding the Revolution

The rate of change that we have been able to achieve with our tree planting efforts has been limited in many ways. The most frustrating limitations have come through having limited funds for purchasing trees. It has taken nearly twenty years to plant thirty thousand trees, but as we grow and learn how to conserve our resources, we are also find ways to exponentially increase our effectiveness. The past two years, our not-for-profit group has been planting over one million tree seeds each fall. This season we will have the potential to double even that amount. Because we have no paid staff or overhead other than purchasing tree seedlings to plant, and occasionally dirt to use for our potting up parties, there could be more growth if we had money to hire a full-time staff person. further, if we had the cash flow to justify owning a bit of acreage, we could exponentially increase the number of trees we plant by having a much larger tree nursery.

A range possibilities present themselves when we are fully funded that cannot even be imagined without cold hard cash. When we fought nuclear energy, mining or ever taller smokestacks, we bought sheets from the resale shops to make our banners. When we stood up for our children whose educations were being underfunded so that our political leaders could give more corporate welfare to their cronies, or when we stood united against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the front lines were not filled with slick and glossy images, but the hand-painted signs of people who cared. The truth of our struggle has always been that we are singing for our lives! The depth of intellectual capital that we bring to the revolution is not in question. The creativity that we use to keep our issues in front of the complacent borders on the super-human. The spirit that we share is indomitable and our financial wherewithal is finite. Unlike the rich man's club that opposes us at every turn, we are self funded and when the chips fall, we need to pass the hat for funding. In essence, all of my blogs, from Paganspace, where I write as Saladman to The Otherfish Wrap and from this blog to my wordpress blog called, Permaculture, ECO-Ethics, Trees. I must continue to bang the drum for donations. Like our tree planting effort, we continue to do what we believe to be right, whether or not it pays the bills. Sometimes, and I believe that we are doing it now, doing the right thing is far more important than making a buck at it.

We take heart in the fact that twenty years ago, our efforts were questioned and our motivations were confusing to many of the landowners that we came in contact with. When we were first contacting folks about wanting to plant trees, we got responses like,"That's not a creek, that's a ditch." or "Why would you want to do that?" Our message has remained the same throughout, but the awareness and culture has begun to bend in our direction. Like a tree, seeking light, the humans that I am meeting are growing in the right direction, leaning ever so slightly into awareness of sustainability. The term sustainability is at once scary, for those that resist change, offensive to those who think that they will have to give something up to achieve it and bewildering to those who think that we were put on Earth to subdue nature, but the tide is starting to turn in favor of the environment. When we share the idea of change, what needs to take center stage is the fact that we will be working less, traveling less, having more time for ourselves and living higher standards of living if we do make the shift to ecomunicipalities, adopt proven practices of transition towns and get on with the process of living more lightly on the planet. The duality that is often trotted out to justify no change needs to wither under the harsh light of truth and when we are told the lies of duality and estrangement between humans and their Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Spirit we need to understand where the arguments are coming from and keep holding the liar's feet to the fire. clearing the way for change requires that we get straight on why and how lies are developed and understand the mechanisms that have been used to foist them upon us. Only then can we continue to speak truth to power and lead in ways that make sense to greater numbers of people. As I have personally pared back my own carbon footprint, it has led to a richness of life that was unimaginable prior to my investigating just what the heck I was doing. 

Each and every dollar that we spend is a vote for, and against specific things. When I buy plastic anything, it supports a complex and diversified industry of extraction that is based on, primarily, oil. fossil fuel use is part of nearly every single thing we touch. Even the air that we breathe is the same air that allows petrol to be burned in our car engines. Adding even a tiny bit of poison to this ocean of air can lead to problems in other places, for other creatures and in essence it degrades us as well as the planet. Just taking time to understand the complete life cycle of the products that we use, the items that we buy and the processes that are required to bring them to the market will change our lives profoundly. Since money is just a place holder for time, the most revolutionary thing we can do is to spend our time educating ourselves. Even the data that we study comes with certain caveats. don't forget to ask yourself, "Who compiled these numbers?" and perhaps more importantly, "Why?". I accept the full truth of the statement, "Each one of us brings our own prejudices to our study, attitudes and even our perspective on truth." However, ignorance can just as profoundly skew our perspective, but in a way that is engineered by people we may never see and who certainly don't care one whit about us. This is where my fundraising effort comes to a head, so pay attention.

I want you to put your hard earned dollars where they will do the most good. Buy locally produced products as much as possible. Reduce the amount of money that you spend on toxic compounds, products that have lots of packaging, or that result in disposal hassles down the road. consult data bases like Environmental Working Group's  Safety Guide for Cosmetics and Skin Care. Take time to research your town or city through the TRI Toxic Release Inventory. Find ways to grow more of your own food, even if it is just a few potted tomato plants. Walk or ride your bike more and use your car less. If you are thinking about moving, try living in a compact transition town or ecomunicipality where you can walk everywhere you need to go. Just taking one car off the road can save your family thousands of dollars each year. Then, with the money you save, please send a portion of it to organizations that help make the changes you would like to see in the world. The native tree planting programs that we provide here at ECO-Tours of Wisconsin have reclaimed several hundred acres from stark, denuded, wasteland to shady areas with food and shelter instead. the power that lies in a single acorn is truly miraculous. Imagine that power and multiply it by the number of dollars that you can afford to send us. the change we make today has the power to outlive us, so choose your actions carefully and spend your dollars (votes) conscientiously.

Donations accepted through Paypal at or if you prefer to use snail mail, send checks to ECO-Tours of Wisconsin Inc. at 1445 Porlier street Green Bay, Wisconsin 54301

No comments:

Post a Comment