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

Monday, December 29, 2014


Sustainability can be defined in a few different ways, but the idea of it is quite oxymoronic. As I have written before, in organic systems, there are frequent lapses in sustainability, however, the one key element that assures continuation of natural systems is that there is no concept in nature of waste. This week I had an interesting Facebook post come across my feed. It was about a woman who has lived for over two years now without creating any garbage. How she did it is worth reading about. Every single thing in nature, when it is no longer viable, transforms into one of three things. either food for another organism, housing for other organisms or breeding ground for other organisms. When we learn to mimic this reality, we will find ourselves participating in a sustainable system. One of the things that I have always done is reuse paper bags. I currently use them in my art because they make some of the strongest papier mache' ever and when I sculpt, it creates art that is ultimately recyclable. It is not possible in natural systems to make Kraft paper, because to make it you must boil wood chips in sulphuric acid, but by utilizing the material as efficiently as possible, I feel that the best and highest use can be made of something that has a foundation in an ecologically unsustainable world view. Healing this mind set gives us a greater chance of survival (as a species) and I have found, allows humans to more fully understand their place in the world and make peace with it.

This is not to say that humans will live forever or that the system will always remain unchanged. Quite the opposite is true. Adaptation has always led to change and development of new possibilities, new potential. When we key into the inevitable changes that occur in nature and learn to adapt to them with style and grace, many issues disappear and myriad possibilities open up for us where nothing had existed before. The folks who wish for things to remain the same or that things could go back to the way they were in less informed and/or less developed times are on the wrong track. Although there are a few things that were useful in the "good old days", the vast majority of them had unintended negative consequences that helped to create many of the problems that we are still trying to overcome today. In the ECO-Village of the future, we will have to be energy independent, food self sufficient and socially able to handle and adapt to the variability that is blamed for so much strife today. Learning to live and let live is something that we spend far too little time on in our educational systems, our religious institutions and in daily life.

One seriously difficult issue has dogged "humanity" for centuries. Why are we here? This single question has dominated human thought at least since the Greeks. As far as we can fathom, no other creature wonders or worries about this so-called "important" concept. A liberating mantra has presented itself to me recently that can be used by anyone at any time. Get ready to have another gift bestowed upon you courtesy of ECO-Tours of Wisconsin Inc. This freebie offers the potential to change your life forever and if you use it conscientiously, it can also transform the lives of those around you. The reason that you may have never heard about this mantra before is that the entire fortune of each and every oligarch on the planet depends on you not realizing the insights that come from stepping off the hamster wheel. Back in the seventies, there was a massive marketing program devoted to TM Transcendental Meditation. They told each of their customers, (yes, you had to buy your mantra) to never, under any circumstances tell anyone your mantra. Like your native name, you were not to spread it around. I have found that the power that comes from keeping things secret is far outweighed by the clarity of mind that accompanies openness. In fact, many believe that the whole "secret mantra" thing was based on the fact that those running the business of indoctrination didn't want folks to know that everyone got one of just a few mantras.

I, on the other hand, have no reason to keep information that has the power to transform your life and the culture as a whole for the better, secret. One day, my giving will pay back, but I am not going to enrich myself at your expense, so here goes. This meditation can be done wherever you are, whatever you are doing and it requires nothing more than mental discipline. If you see "X" or "Y" or "Z", practice telling yourself "X" has no meaning except what I give it. "Y" has no meaning except what I give it. "Z" has no meaning, except what I give it. For some real world examples just keep your eyes open and remind yourself...This hand has no meaning, except what I give it. The view outside the window has no meaning, except what I give it, the book that I am reading has no meaning except what I give it, etc. This has several complimentary actions on our world view. First and foremost, the message is that even we have no meaning, except what we give ourselves. This liberates us from defining our "selves" in ways we always have. When we begin to understand that our human mind has the power to assign values, traits and characteristics that seem relevant at the time, we can reassign or remove those burdens, replace them with uplifting ideas or tweak our perception in ways that assign different meanings to all that we experience, even our sense of "self".

When we learn that whatever we perceive or value only has that value because our perceptions and preoccupations are acting on the idea of it in our mind, it liberates us from having to understand the "Why?" question. Our minds will fight and squirm to tell us that some of our perceptions are true, but even then, this "truth" has no value except what I give it. Defining all of these things serves to tell us that the world around us has meaning. It is just one trick that the mind plays on us. In an ECO-Village, the value of each and every object, person, creature and resource gains meanings that cannot be expressed until one confronts them in the unique ways that flow from having this changed perspective. Water becomes a temporary status of the greater water cycle. The energy that gets used and created is part of a cycle as well. The carbon that cycles through the biological systems is a temporary status of something much longer-lived. Again, the meanings of all of these things is recognized as malleable and that it changes based on what we each bring to the perception of it, but ultimately, it is not for us to assign values and meanings to each and everything we perceive. Understanding that we are meaning making machines and can do nothing other than assign value to our environment can liberate us from limiting ideas of what is going on around us.

ECO-Villages require us to participate in something else that has no value, but what we give it. The actual adaptation that organisms in nature have always done. If you would like to invest in our ECO-Village, we will continue to welcome your participation.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Preparing for the Twelveth Night

I read a little about the Twelveth Night this morning, trying to find out more about the twelve days of X-mas. It was interesting to find that the celebrations have been around a lot longer than the song suggests. Saturnalia lasted 'til mid-moon after Winter Solstice, which could put it as late as mid month in January, but around January fifth. Give of take a week or two. Oddly enough, we often re-create the customs of our ancestors either knowingly or unknowingly, because it is part of our genetic code. Let the revelry continue, at least until January Fifth, the Twelveth Night.

In ancient times, a cake would be baked and in it would be hidden a bean, coin or nut. Whoever should get he piece of cake with the foreign object would become lord of the feast. I guess this is a great reason to have your cake first. The holiday celebrations stretched out to fill the long dark nights of winter  and served as both distraction and community building as we would annually pass the mantle of host throughout the tribe. So much more could be achieved if we were only to recognize this ancient human art of reciprocation.

The art of the give-away comes up routinely in my writing because it is so fundamental to pour humanity. Every intact tribal culture exhibited this aspect and as each one has lost touch with their roots, it is supplanted with issues of power and control, abuse and neglect, patriarchy and "rule of law". Codified systems of "justified retribution", crime and punishment and property "rights"
 have led to far more savage abuses than they have ameliorated. Perhaps by selecting random folks to fill in for our leaders, to rewrite the "laws" if even for one night, could lead us out of our very bleak situation.

Of course, the cast of characters for any respectable Twelveth Night festival also include the queen of court, the jester and a slate of advisers, viziers and the courtiers. Perhaps seeing the silliness of the retinue helps offset how seriously we take our rulers during the rest of the year.  It is only the third day of X-mas, so we have nearly ten days to plan out Twelveth Night festivities. May yours be fun and full of hilarity! In my reading, it made it seem like this celebration is growing in popularity. Bonfires and revelry  are retaking their place amongst the people and that can only be a good thing.

One Gross (that's a dozen dozens)

How can one sell an idea? Well, here is my shot at it. I'm a man. So much more than just a man, but on one level, nothing more either. I have created a product...(admittedly, with some help) these dozen dozens of posts on an obscure blog. I certainly never expect to get rich writing, but how can one value one's work unless some value can be ascribed to the labor of it? I have grown as a writer, but this value accrues to folks who read what I write in the future. I have become what I believe to be a better person by looking critically at information, turning ideas over in my head as a geologist might inspect a sample of rock. I have developed a deeper sense of self by stripping away the lies that I told myself about who I am. Now, I am coming to my readers with an outstretched hand, asking for you to value what I write in ways that feel appropriate to you.

I was recently at the store with my mother. She needed eggs and so did I. She selected the styro-trash container for a buck and a half. This woman, who was in the first graduating class from (University Wisconsin at green Bay, UWGB with a degree in Analysis/Synthesis, the trendy name for broadly educated with a major in ecological principles and a minor in Art Education. The same woman who was reprimanded by her school administrators that she was not to subject her art students to term papers. After all, the implication was, art is only for people who don't fit in, or to fill elective credits by drawing. The former teacher, whose room my mother inherited, only had tens of thousands of sheets of grey paper and about half a ton of chalk and pastels, more than half of that stock had been just black and white. The former teacher was training them to see the gray scale and render objects as the old masters did, but what the ancients learned over days of work and toil needed to take place in an hour each week. But I digress, this is about the eggs. A dozen dozens. I selected the Phil's eggs, I know Phil, or at least I have written him letters, he cares about the birds and their health is of primary concern. Phil puts his eggs in paperboard, which I recycle or pass on to folks I know who have eggs.

Mom's eggs have a definite ecological impact. I worked in an egg house that provided those kind of eggs. Mine were nearly five dollars, triple the price, and Mom was aghast. She asked "Why do you spend so much on your eggs?" Having had chickens, I knew what to say. "It is a lot of work to create an egg and I certainly wouldn't want to have to pump one out every day." I said, I appreciate that. So does Phil. I know he does, because I can see, feel and taste the difference between the two "eggs".

The point of the egg story is to draw a parallel between the cost of eggs and my work. I urge everyone to go back and read all of my posts, all 144. It is truly a dozen dozens. If it seems as if I'm just pumping out as many posts as I can, like the egg factory, please value my work (and please, please, pay me accordingly) at roughly the cost of the cheap eggs in your area. These will undoubtedly be petro-chemically underwritten to a massive degree. I'm not exactly sure about other parts of the world, but in The U.S. of A., the corporate food giants who deal in these sorts of commodities receive other corporate tax breaks and subsidies, but I have no hard proof of exactly what that might be in the case of my local eggs. The simple accounting practices that allow taking feed and energy bills off the top of one's profit actually encourage buying feed from elsewhere and concentrating birds too close together for health. If you can see, feel and "taste" the difference between corporate schlock and rich and nutritious writing, then pay me like the expensive eggs in your area.

I often think of my writing as an egg, meaty but easily assimilated. Like an egg to our body and mind, I seek to nourish both. I want to inform, invigorate and activate my readers, or at least prepare them for growth. I want the writing to hold together, for each post individually and the collection of ideas as a whole. I see the value of my work as helping bind divergent ideas into a light sponge, pliable and yet able to hold ideas in a suspended state of animation for future use. The neural net that is established by these ideas are for each individual to fill in as their experiences allow. I hope to never be as pretentious as to tell anyone what to think of the ideas I render, nor how to piece any of that into a larger world view. Each of my messages is about the need to collectively realize what we are up against and how we might retain as much of our humanity as possible within a corrupt and collapsing system.

I assure you that ECO-tours has received no government subsidy other than business planning consulting services and the guy who actually collected the money was truly a huckster and subsidized suit. Having a business plan, heck even paying back double that cost to hire another subsidized suit, a lawyer, for drawing up incorporation papers. The State payed out a few hundred in assistance, the lawyer collected $1,200. Another thousand or so slipped away to petrochemical giants through fuel use and our purchase of a few hundred dollars worth of black plastic pots which harbor our seedlings while they are in nursery status. At least I am aware of, and keep track of my subsidies. I have never taken them for granted. I certainly didn't feel entitled to them. My work through ECO-Tours has been with the intent of getting the biggest bang for the bucks that are given to our efforts.

For our part, we seek to plant more trees. We do it as efficiently as possible. ECO-Tours and our 100% volunteer staff as well as the many guests who tour with us have planted tens of thousands of native trees over the years. Additionally, we have begun to plant far more tree seeds, leading to higher rates of survival and trees that are better adapted to their sites. We plant about a dozen dozens of trees per acre and if you would rather make a donation to further that work instead of the writing of this blog, I will put your donation in perspective. It costs nearly ten dollars per tree for seedlings, but that includes purchase, planting, protection and care. If you would like to plant 144 trees, that's about 1440 dollars. When we plant, all the labor is done by volunteers or paying guests, so the donation you make is more than doubled by human effort, given with love by people who care about restoring the Earth, protecting soils, stabilizing climate and fixing carbon.

At five dollars per dozen, ($60 for the lot) that's less than fifty cents a piece for these first one hundred and forty-four blog posts alone. I'm willing to pay that to get good eggs and my goal is to put as much or more into each post than I get out of having an egg for breakfast. If you agree, send a check to ECO-Tours of Wisconsin Inc. 1445 Porlier street Green Bay, WI 54301 or you can use our paypal account: We are also working to build a new char burner that will allow us to build soils in areas that we are reforesting, reducing the numbers of trees that we will lose in the future has always been an overriding concern for us. Typically we lose lass than ten percent of the trees we plant, but when you plant as many trees as we do, that is still more than we wish to accept. Making biochar part of the soils that we plant into reduces stress, increases available soil moisture increases nutrient availability as well as beneficial soil organisms and protects against drought.

Any donations over $1,000 will come with a free week-long ECO-Tour so that you can see some of our operations up close and personal.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Sacred Days On A Lake

When we looked across our lake at Thanksgiving, it looked more like Solstice, today, the ice has all but released the grip it had on the surface back then. To the casual ECO-Tourist, it has become all to clear that the biosphere is out of balance. Fukushima continues to release energy into the biosphere and we continue to wreak havoc with hydro-fracking, exploding massive amounts of energy into rock that has sequestered carbon for millions of years. We do it to capture the fumes upon which old way thinking was based. We now pump three BTUs into the ground to release five. A losing hand in poker and underwater business loans for the Mother Earth rapists. The energy center, which has boomed the last few years is going through upheaval and the majority of the population wants none of the business as usual that could keep the petrodollars flowing. We see all around us the extreme weather events that used to be extreme, but have become commonplace. Longest droughts followed by heaviest rains, record cold, wind and heat, record snow cover and warmest water temperatures, aquifer depletion etc. all combine with the fuels we burn to wrench the quilt of air that envelops the planet in ever-more tortured ways.

Now, when virtually all people realize in every fiber of their being that conservation matters, the corporate welfare whores who purchased our representatives are cheerleading for wasteful practices that belong in history books. Electric cars are becoming common at the same time that gas is not being purchased at the past rates. China, once the fastest growing automobile consumer on the planet is seeing a drop in registrations. There is enough common knowledge about ecological catastrophe and the relationship between fossil fuels and ecological quality that we no longer want their black goo. We don't want the plastics that are made from that crap and we certainly don't want the waste disposal nightmares of consuming more and more trash.

The rebirth that I see coming to pass in the coming year is rebirth of community, not in the traditional sense. Many of us live in urban environments so geographically contiguous communities are few, but our "home" will begin to be seen as a series of domains, our community an integration of geographically diverse locations, but the re-birth will be more about how we get to these places than anything. Walking, riding bike, ride sharing and multi-owner vehicles are just one way to share costs and cut fuel use/emissions. Co-operatives owning fleets of electric vehicles could dispatch themas needed or have neighborhood-wide stations for pick up and delivery of seldom used vehicles. Another business venture that I would like to share widely is the personal concierge service.

With very little space and overhead, just a an electric car a bicycle, fitted with a trailer, a computer and motivation to start, you could take orders and make deliveries of groceries, tools, hardware, etc. The primary market would be those too busy to run errands themselves and those who would prefer to leave their gas guzzling car idle for the day. Just eliminating a car from the family budget can save over $9K dollars per year. Perhaps with a prudent and available personal shopper for many of your errands, you could afford to take a cab occasionally to a doctor's appointment or longer trip. Even if you are making lots of money, lopping off nearly ten thousand dollars from your annual budget could give you an extra something special.

Staying off the fossil energy bandwagon is ethically defensible and some customers will want to take advantage of the service just to do the right thing. We all lie at the edge of a great, once frozen lake. The ice that is clinging to the shore is as fragile as the exoskeleton of a cicada and it is time to grow beyond this old, dead shell. Taking our first timid steps into the great lake is the only way to decide if it is something we will enjoy. break the ice, reach out and let yourself float free from the shores of old way thinking. time is changing and the time signature of life has been revved to a fever pitch, help relieve the strain on everyone and you will be rewarded. This is not to say that there will no be hard days, dark days or set-backs along your path, but they will all become burdens easily lifted when you know that right is on your side.

When you falter, or work yourself to a frenzy, or feel frayed and burnt at both ends, Take some sacred days on a lake to remind yourself about what matters, what ties us to the breast of Mother Earth, and what life would be like without her, or worse yet, with her poisoned, than get to work finding ways to live without fossil energy. It had been done from the beginning of time until quite recently. We have technologies that make it possible once again. As the shoe company who I cannot advocate said, Just do it! You may not feel compelled to build a community in that specific way, but if you reach pout and ask what people need, you may be surprised at the lifestyles that you might rise to, just providing folks with things or experiences that are simply not available in this day and age. Think creatively about problem solving and you will find that the only thing there is no shortage of in the universe is opportunity.

Blessed Be and may all your days be filled with sanctity and reverence.

e to get out into the world is the personal consierge service.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Momentary Lapse Of Reason

I try to remain apolitical in my approach to ECO-logic principles but the recent election bears at least cursory scrutiny because of the horrible and tragic influences that are swirling in the houses of government and the halls of justice. First, we might take some solace in the fact that in most of the areas that just elected a new crop of seemingly stupider and less pragmatic representatives. The nation is moving toward a population far more interested in sanctifying the living mother, Earth and less compelled by claims that, raping the planet instead produces the "greater good". It is important to understand why and make sure that this stops happening.

To be sure, only about 1/2 of 1/3 of the population felt compelled to go to the polls to vote in the most recent "crop" of representation. Only one third of the nation came out to vote. About half of them did the electin'. Assuredly, the 1/6th were some of the, most dissatisfied with the way things are going and have the most extreme views about what is right, good and worth going to the polls for after all. This is like trying to describe the signs of the zodiac, but only letting on that there are two.

Anyone thinking that the well-funded rabble, that we will have to put up with for years, have any interest in making significant change to protect the planet from exploitation is not paying attention. We have seen rollbacks in environmental protections across the board for years and more and more responsibilities are passed off to local jurisdictions, assuring that unless a complaint occurs, no records of ecologic catastrophe will be kept. We used to see cancer clusters, now, we are displacing people from contaminated zones into other contaminated zones and cancers are occurring everywhere. Luckily, many have realized that the rush to get somewhere is fiction. There is no escaping and that the only way to make life better is to focus more effort in smaller areas.

 I write routinely about our sense of ecology, how big, or small are we focusing our attention? There is an internal ecology inside our skin, the surface of the body provides habitat as well. Our outstretched arms enclose a sphere, our room, apartment, property, our backyard, town, village or metro, we can find ECO-logic principles at every distance. Bear in mind that if the biosphere was made to scale, at the size of a balloon, all life, from the deepest ocean depths, where bacteria survive in hot jets of sulfurous volcanism. All the way up to the highest atmospheric life forms, inhabit an area about the size of the rubber sheath enclosing the air inside the balloon.

The oligarchs have nearly as tenuous a situation. Their wealth is like the balloon skin as well. Their methods of social and political control have been discovered and found out. If we can mobilize the other five sixths of the population to participate, stop allowing the money to "speak" and for all of us, who see the very real possibility of finding a path to sustainability clearly to get involved. The teach-in of old has been replaced by You tube. I know dozens of people who do not own a how-to book, but they have all of them in their phone. Validating a system that exploits everyone for the wealth of a tiny few is getting harder and harder to "sell" to the population of the world. A tiny pin could drop now and the whole thing (the ballooning big lie) would contract into tiny shreds, falling limp and lifeless on the floor. When the boom stock Market pops this time, no one will be able to bail out the bust, or perhaps, we will decide not to. The time has come to re-invest in the things that last, the things we have been giving thanks for in this special season. Friends, family, fruitful endeavors. Investing in anything else, or betting on more of the same in the future is a fool's errand.

I read the accounts of the Donner Party as part of my Fall Feast of the Mind. What struck me hardest was the frivolity with which the pioneers confronted unknown hazard. Nearly half of the Donner Party perished, but perhaps they can teach us something across the years, so their lives were not lost in vain. At this time in human evolution, we need to adapt or perish. We have made some terrible decisions based primarily on what the richest people wanted. We may be unable to step back from the edge of the abyss. We may free fall again no matter what we do in the short term, but how well we do and whether we make it as a species or not depends on the choices we make today. do not dwell on the past, and like one of the survivors of the doomed Donner Party wrote afterward, "Never take no cutoffs and hurry along as fast as you can."

Do not become distracted. Mobilize, organize, educate and unleash love (for others and Mother) with at least the same intensity that the Earth rapists spew their hate. we are one giant family and there is no away. No planet to run to when this one gets ready to spit us out. The establishment of our living history museum of the now is about to take place. I can nearly hear the waves lapping at the shore! If you have money to invest in creating a sustainable resort that is like a summer camp for all ages, send it to ECO-Tours and note when you would like to schedule a stay. Now, let's get this show on the road!