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

Saturday, January 23, 2021

The Great Reset

In the course of human events, one often needs what we might think of as a a page break, a place to catch our breath, change our behaviors for a moment and briefly do something physical intead of what we were doing before. If we seem to be running on a treadmill, this might take the form of stepping off, going to the rowing machine for a while. If we have been riffing on a certain tune in out heads for a while, perhaps a change of station. When studying hard for finals, why not take a half hour to watch a favorite show or listen to a favorite piece of music, with the books closed? It often can be a great way to revive when times get tough, take a break or change oyur activity level even for five minutes! When we need a more significant break, often we cannot know why or how long it will need to be, but we just know, instinctively, to put down those tools and walk away, before mistakes are made that cannot easily be erased. In very real ways, covid-19 has provided an opportunity as well as a hardship. Many of us have had more time off in the past year than we have had in our entire adult lives. This may provide such a page break for our culture, perhaps all of humanity.
My part in this is to stir the pot of course. This viscous social space and time are liable to stick to the bottom of the pan without folks willing to stir things up deeply and vigorously. The 100% volunterer not-for-profit that my wife and I and a handful of friends created to teach eco-ehtics is twenty years old and we have lots of great projects that attest to our unconventional approach. We have helped to plant over sixty thousand native trees across Northeast Wisconsin in forty or more locations. We have planted over a hundred acres with native perennial food crops, medicinal plants and plants used as dyestock for natural dyes. We have hosted hundreds of events to share what we know about living more sustainable lifestyles, from plant-ins to composting lessons, biochar classes and square foot ECO-Tours. We have presented informaion to thousands of readers around the world through digital media and when people ask what we charge, we often just ask them to give what they can afford. When we plant a tree, it is the best one suited to each particular location, not a specimine tree that stands out against a background of native trees, but what literally belongs there. We have used several techniques to get free trees to plant, and often, now, we only plant tree seeds, becaus etheir roots experience far less trauma when th eseedlings can start where they will eventually grow. We have stood the paradigm of commercialism on end, not asking for money as much as to be seen, to be heard as we speak for the trees. We have led canoe trips down some of the most pristine as well as some of the most impacted rivers around, participated in Earth Day events and been involved regionally in diverse groups that advocate for th egreat Lakes generally and renewable, clean energy and pro-peace groups as well. I was trained as a teacher in a time when the jargon was all about knowledge skills and attitudes. Knowledge lives in your mind but can exist without outward evidence, skills only exist as action and can be seen, practiced, perfected and can only be made your own through repetition and attitudes, like knowledge only exist internally, although sometimes they can be plain to see, because they are reflected in many of our actions.
This group, these projects, have never been expected to be as important as they turn out to be. In our experience, nothing done as a group can ever be fully appreciated until much later. Creating memories and the deep sort of knowing that our tours engender has such long term impacts that generations down th eroad, ther emay be benefits completely unrelated to the time or place, bu tsomething heard or seen will bring back information or ideas that resurface at just the right moment, or help imform an action that has become instinctive, bu tthat has th epower to teach someone else. Living amongst such a technologically focused society, there is something that deeply enriches us when we love a plant's roots into the soil, easing them down so they are comfortable in the world they will inhabit for many years and whose very life changes the world around them for the better.
Only once per century has Mother Nature felt it necessary to still humanity with a deadly virus of this severity. It comes to us to make the best of what we have, that means with the deadly virus as well. As Cat Stevens wrote so eloquently, "Take your time, think a lot, why think of everything you've got; for you will still be here tomorrow but your dreams may not." In this Great Reset we are being granted a chance to change everything we have known, reevaluate whether it served us, decide wha tto leave behind and in very real ways what we are going to create. Let us not shirk from th echallenge, but put our foot down firmly and move forward. As was drilled into me as a child, I say to everyone now, we can all have total freedom, but only if we are willing to be supremely responsible. We cannot have one without the other.
This is a photo of a simple tool caddy, easy to make, keeps long-handled tools at hand and easy to organize. This rack can be adapted to your needs but I learned of it from a props person on a touring show. when you need th ewhole village to get to the implements, quickly, this is a great way to have them handy an all in one place. Please share this blog with friends. share our go fund me page widely. We don't have any time to lose! If not now, when? If not us, who?

Sunday, January 3, 2021

Dry January

I had known that quitting drinking was a relatively common thing to do as a New Year Resolution, but I always thought peole just fell off the wagon at different times. Having never heard of this limited liability engagement, or temporary quitting, it really created a mind storm when I heard. There may be a girlfriend or two that I should have given up for a month, to see how our relationship would age, but I was too young, just inexperienced enough, or maybe just ddin't care to, to know. I have never been a daily drinker, not even while at college. Since alcohol was never my favorite reason to get together, hang out or something to focus a lot of attention on, whether it was there or not never seemed to bother me. Since I did know that some of my friends did like it more than I, being sure to have drinks for parties was always part of planning, but certainly not the main objective. For instance, when we hosted our 1984 Party, which, of course, was in 1984, we recreated the opening scene from the book for each of our guests in turn and making sure we had enough Victory Gin and Victory Cigarettes for everyone was a top priority.That wasn't as much about the alcohol as the story. If a friend would take charge and bill it as a magerita party, or a daquiri party,of course, it made booze shopping easier, but beyond making sure the booze matched the theme, it was mostly just background. My friends and hand-chosen family as well as our relationships were far more important to me.
This brings me to my reqalization this year. First, I have always disliked the end of year push that most not-for-profit groups do just before New Years. Double matching and triple matching donations, trying to get people to commit before the end of the tax year. It always feels like that sort of pressure being exacted during the holidaze is a bit, how can I say it, car salesman-ish. this year, because I found out about this interesting thing, Dry January, what if it could be used as a force for good? Here's a simple thought experiment. What if, the thousand or more friends that I have met and loved, shared and cried with over the years were to take the Dry January events to heart. What if, they donated whatever money they would save over that month to the land purchase? How much would that be? Well, I'm not really in that close contact with my friends, because of covid-19 and all, so to think I have any idea how much they are drinking would just be silly. however, I have heard that alcohol sales generally increased greatly because of the pandemic. Let's just say, with me maybe having a few glasses of wine per week, or a few mixed drinks, I've probably got a budget of about ten dollars a week in drinks. At the end of a four-point two-five week month would have an extra $42.50 from my estimated booze budget to spend or share at my discretion. I used to drink a case a week of Huber Bock. Today that would cost $22 per week so when I was drinking the most, a month's worth of Huber Bock would have cost, in today's market, about ninety-three dollars and fifty cents. That would be a huge help toward building our outdoor school! If you are considering, or better yet, if you have pledged to do a dry January, please consider contributing what yo0u save on alcohol this month to our land purchase. It isn't often that our choices can directly change the world around us and it is even more likely that you will follow through on the pledge if you can see the results and actual benefits that come from your sacrifice. Please, let me know if you are interested, if yo uhave your own good Dry January stories or if yo uhave any idea how I could have not known about this apparently common thing for more than fifty years. also, please don't say because I grew up around too many alcoholics, who never even considered giving up drink fo rany length of time, much less an entire month! I already knew that! to prepare myself for writing this, I even said the little mnemonic device to figure out if January is one of the "long months" which it turns out, it is! If you have decided to stop drinking for the month, I appreciate that and wish you the very best in your absinance. If you do indeed save money by not drinking, let me re-post the link to our gofundme page, you could be part of saving 80 aces for our outdoor school! If you are suspicious about links, check out the go fund me site and search my name, Tony C. Saladino My first update includes the Powerpoint slide show that I use to teach th eclassroom portion of my biochar classes and anyone who contributes at least fifty I offer to spend up to two hours explaining any of the materials or helping to translate the class into a useable form. May abundance find you during the New Year, wherever your path may lead!