Sustainable world radio

Before 2006, Andrew McMillion wasn’t thinking too much about plants, soil health, or ecology. He was living the American Dream, spending a lot of money, and commuting to work at his job for a large corporation. The only catch? He felt miserable. After taking a test to see how high his carbon footprint was, Andrew committed to make a change. Now residing in Ornes, Norway, Andrew lives on a small ecological farm where he focuses on earth care, people care, and increasing and protecting plant biodiversity.

In this thoughtful and inspiring interview, Andrew shares his journey from knowing nothing about plants (in 2013) to growing over 200 varieties of vegetables, trees, and herbs. We talk about some of his favorite plants including Tree Collards, Shetland Kale, Habblizia or Caucasus Spinach, Syrian Homs Squash, Lambsquarters, Ashitaba, Udo, and Achocha (Bolivian Cucumber). Andrew shares his experience of the positive effect of building relationships to individual plants and the many cycles of life in which we are embedded and how changing his focus from matter and production to connections and life quality has been pivotal for the thriving of the web of life on his farm.


A Sustainable Mind

Ashley Lieber is an ecological artist and educator. In this episode we discuss her ecological art series, Moss for Meditation, as well as maker culture, building sustainable community, hydroponics (one of my favorite topics), tips on how to get FREE SEEDS! and much more.

A History of Water and Humankind

Rewild Yourself

Water — our most vital resource — is a topic that is quite often on our minds. There are the global water issues such as the fact that 783 million people do not have access to fresh water, droughts throughout our planet are becoming more wide-spread and the biodiversity of our oceans is declining at an alarming rate. There are the issues closer to home, like (for us in the United States) the droughts in California and the recent water crisis in Michigan caused by contaminated municipal water, potentially exposing over 100,000 residents in the city of Flint, MI to high levels of lead in their drinking water. And then there are the more personal water issues, such as considerations over what’s the best, most healthful water for us to drink and how much water is ideal for one to consume in a day. 

In this interview, Brian artfully weaves together the history of water and humankind. We discuss the timeline of water issues and cover some of the most prevalent water issues plaguing our planet at this time, as well as Brian’s predictions for what we can expect in the future. This interview is not a doomsday report, as Brian’s message is a wake-up call for our species that is filled with hope for our planet and Homo sapiens (the wise ones) and our ingenuity and adaptability. It is a call to regain the reverence for water that our ancestors possessed!

Holistic Land Management, Desertification, and Tracking the Wisdom of the Wild with Doniga Markegard

Ancestral Health Radio

Can agriculture be a sustainable path forward?

This is the main question surrounding today's episode:

Can we use the same technology that, arguably, has been one of the single-most destructive advents in the epoch of human history to move or usher us forward into a time where we're projected to hit an all-time population density of 9.5 BILLION people by 2050?  

With global desertification, warming oceans, shrinking ice sheets, glacial retreats, decreased snow cover, rising sea levels, declining arctic sea ice, ocean acidification, and extreme weather events…

What tools do we have at our disposal? How can we make an impact where it seems like none can be made?

That's what we're here to find out.


Good Life Revival

For episode 24 of The Good Life Revival Podcast, I visited with earth skills teacher Luke McLaughlin in rural Weaverville, North Carolina, at the new base of operations for his Holistic Survival School.

Luke radiates the kind of calm, patient confidence and wisdom that can only be gained through years of pushing his ability to survive in extreme conditions with nothing but the shirt on his back - and sometimes even less than that!

Once upon a time he applied those survival skills on television for the Discovery Channel's Naked & Afraid. These days he teaches the ancestral skills that make us human animals unique through intimate, detailed classes and workshops, and he does this from a place of love and openness, clearly having tapped into a wellspring of compassion after dedicating his life to Mother Earth many years ago.

Luke has some really insightful things to say about the transformative healing powers of what we variously refer to as earth skills, primitive skills, wilderness skills - whatever you want to call them! - and what it means to truly trust in nature for your most basic survival needs.


Nature as Your Compass with Tristan Gooley

ReWild Yourself

Tristan Gooley returns to ReWild Yourself Podcast to guide us through the lost art of reading nature’s signs. Tristan is an author and natural navigator. He teaches people to re-awaken their senses and tune into their ancestral ability to navigate across a landscape using the signs that nature provides. Tristan has led expeditions in five continents, climbed mountains in Europe, Africa and Asia, sailed small boats across oceans and piloted small aircraft to Africa and the Arctic. He has walked with and studied the methods of the Tuareg, Bedouin and Dayak in some of the remotest regions on Earth. He is the only living person to have both flown solo and sailed singlehanded across the Atlantic and is a Fellow of the Royal Institute of Navigation and the Royal Geographical Society. 

In this episode, Tristan explains how — once we learn to use nature as a compass — we can create a natural navigation map based in ecological knowledge. We also discuss Tristan’s latest work and the importance of purposeful nature engagement. Tristan gives us practical tips for re-awakening our senses to the natural world and simple techniques for getting started in natural navigation. Tune in, and be inspired to interact with your local landscape in a new and more intimate way!

Nature Deficit Disorder and Ecological Literacy

Good Life Revival

"As a culture, we've lost our fundamental connection to the natural world.

This has led to a surge in dysfunctional behavior, like attention issues, depression, anxiety, and obesity, and in general I believe that this disconnect explains a lot of the suffering that we observe in the modern era.

We all feel the detrimental effects of nature deficit disorder, but most of us just aren't aware that this is the source of our troubles, because we've been so deeply conditioned to accept the status quo of the human-dominated, human-constructed environment.

With that in mind, I put together this episode of the Good Life Revival podcast (fka Permaculture Lifestyle) to arm you, dear listener, with the basic vocabulary to describe the symptoms, causes, and treatment of nature deficit disorder.

The solution, I think, lies in cultivating ecological literacy at the individual level, which can only come about through immersion in the natural world -- daily observation and interaction.

This topic offers a great entry point into a critique of how civilization relates to nature, and how our environment influences our behavior and our underlying worldview.

It is our responsibility as self-aware individuals to assess our personal relationship with nature, and take decisive action where necessary to improve our overall health and wellbeing."

Nature,  Joy, and Human Becoming

On Being

"The sudden passionate happiness which the natural world can occasionally trigger in us,” Michael McCarthy writes, “may well be the most serious business of all." He is a naturalist and journalist, and this is his delightful and galvanizing call — that we can stop relying on the immobilizing language of statistics and take up our joy in the natural world as our civilizational defense of it. With a perspective equally infused by science, reportage, and poetry, he reminds us that the natural world is where we evolved, where we found our metaphors and similes, and it is the resting place for our psyches.

Robin Wall Kimmerer on Indigenous Knowledge for Earth Healing

For the Wild

Dr. Kimmerer is a mother, scientist, writer, member of the Citizen Band Potawatomi, Distinguished Teaching Professor of Environmental Biology at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, NY, and the founding Director of the Center for Native Peoples and the Environment. The Center’s mission is to create programs which draw on the wisdom of both indigenous and scientific knowledge for our shared goals of sustainability. Her research interests include the role of traditional ecological knowledge in ecological restoration and building resilience for climate change. In collaboration with tribal partners, she and her students have an active research program in the ecology and restoration of plants of cultural significance to Native people. She is active in efforts to broaden access to environmental science training for Native students, and to introduce the benefits of traditional ecological knowledge to the scientific community, in a way that respects and protects indigenous knowledge. Dr. Kimmerer has authored numerous literary essays and scientific papers on restoration and plant ecology, as well as the award-winning books Gathering Moss, and Braiding Sweetgrass, which interweave indigenous knowledge and scientific perspectives. She lives on an old farm in upstate New York, tending gardens both cultivated and wild.

Rue Mapp on Nature as the Great Equalizer

For the Wild

Rue Mapp is pioneering a movement of equity and justice in the outdoor recreation and environmental movement. Outdoor Afro has become the nation’s leading network that celebrates and inspires African American connections and leadership in nature, letting people know that they are welcome in the outdoors to build community and find healing. Outdoor Afro is as much about representation as it is about paradigm shifts. Rue and her team are alchemizing the painful lineages of separation and trauma, to tell a story rooted in Black joy and seeking refuge in nature.

“I think about the Redwoods who were all clearcut, and now those trees are all second and third growth—that is the story of regeneration. I think nature holds those stories of relief. Nature relieves the stress of racism that we all feel. The trees don’t know what color I am. The birds don’t know what gender is. The flowers don’t know how much money I have in my bank account. I think we can rely on nature to be the equalizer for us so we can shed that weight. The possibility is there for us.”-- Rue Mapp

Starhawk on the Roots and Shoots of Earth-based Community

For the Wild

Starhawk is one of the most respected voices in modern earth-based spirituality, and a cofounder of Reclaiming, an activist branch of modern Pagan religion. She is a veteran of progressive movements, from anti-war to anti-nukes, and is deeply committed to bringing the techniques and creative power of spirituality to political activism. She is the author or coauthor of twelve books, including The Spiral Dance: A Rebirth of the Ancient Religion of the Great Goddess, long considered the essential text for the Neo-Pagan movement, and the now-classic ecotopian novel The Fifth Sacred Thing, now in development for film and television. She is a founder of Earth Activist Trainings (EAT), teaching permaculture design grounded in spirit and with a focus on organizing and activism. Together with Charles Williams and others, she co-teaches EAT courses in the U.S., Canada, and Europe. She also champions ‘social permaculture’: the application of permaculture principles to social organizations, policy and strategy. She has taught in many Bay Area colleges and universities, and is presently adjunct faculty at the California Institute of Integral Studies. Starhawk travels internationally, lecturing and teaching permaculture, earth-based spirituality and ritual, and the skills of activism. She lives between San Francisco and West Sonoma, where she is developing a model of carbon-sequestering ranching, incorporating holistic management rotational grazing with sheep and goats, restorative forestry, food forests and perennial systems.


A Sustainable Mind

Cindy Blain had a background in marketing and tech but wanted a life for her family out of Silicon Valley and closer to nature. She has worked with environmentally focused non-profits such as the Presentation Retreat & Conference Center and Sacramento Tree Foundation. Now, as the Executive Director of California ReLeaf, she is at the helm of not just any non-profit but a network of over 90 organizations throughout California that are dedicated to planting and caring for trees in the urban forest. In this conversation we go behind the scenes of California ReLeaf, discuss how trees improve every facet of our lives and consider how sprawled cities can learn a thing or two from the compact development of smaller countries.

We are all wildlife

On Being

How to get to the heart of the human experience without speaking? This question drove Alan Rabinowitz, after a childhood with a severe stutter, to become a wildlife biologist and explorer — “the Indiana Jones of wildlife conservation.” He died this month at age 64. He was known for his work with big cats, his discovery of new animal species, and for documenting human cultures believed to be lost. Alan Rabinowitz took our understanding of the animal-human bond to new places, while also being wise about the wilderness of the human experience.