This weekly hour-long program is a forum for powerful conversations with the philosophers, scientists, activists, healers, artists and others who are leading the movements to restore our beleaguered planet to its natural balance. The show deals with the most urgent questions facing the next generation of Earth stewards. How do we reverse ecological damages and create a culture of regeneration? How do we confront the psychological challenges of an uncertain future, while healing the age-old wounds of alienation from nature?
This week’s episode seeks to shed light on the ongoing, urgent crisis of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls or MMIWG that remains largely invisible in public life and mainstream media. In 2016, The National Crime Information Center reported that there were 5,712 reports of missing American Indian and Alaska Native women and girls, though the US Department of Justice’s federal missing persons database, NamUs, only logged 116 cases. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has reported that murder is the third-leading cause of death among American Indian and Alaska Native women.
These disturbing rates of violence are even higher in areas around pipeline construction and resource extraction projects, which bring an influx of thousands of male workers onto or nearby reservations. The encampment of temporary housing facilities, known as “man camps,” correspond with a surge of violent crime and aggravated assault over which tribal law enforcement does not have jurisdiction to prosecute. Veiled by institutional racism and the lack of data collection, this epidemic and its systematic erasure is part of the ongoing genocide against Indigenous communities and the desecration of their land and sacred sites.
We’re joined this week by two incredibly powerful Indigenous organizers and activists: Rachel Heaton is a member of the Muckleshoot Tribe of Auburn, Washington, a fierce activist, and mother. She traveled to Standing Rock several times to stand alongside water and land protectors and helped form a coalition that successfully persuaded the City of Seattle to divest their 3 billion dollars from Wells Fargo, one of the leading funders of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Rachel co-founded Mazaska Talks, an Indigenous-led organization that offers tools to help others divest their personal finances, cities, and organizations from Wall Street banks funding the desecration of Mother Earth. Recognized nationally for her work on Native issues, Roxanne White is Yakama and Nez Perce and serves as the Indigenous Outreach Coordinator for Innovations Human Trafficking Collaborative in Olympia, Washington. Inspired by the tragic loss of her auntie, she works to amplify the voices of MMIWG across North America, providing advocacy and support for families with missing and murdered relatives. As a survivor of human trafficking, domestic violence, childhood abduction, and sexual abuse, Roxanne draws on her personal experience to empower and support other trauma survivors.
In this episode, Rachel and Roxanne share their experiences from the frontlines of resistance and call out the toxic culture of patriarchy and settler colonialism that underpins how we navigate issues of land, money, and resource extraction. Together, they discuss the complexity of jurisdictional issues on reservations, the need for free, prior, and informed consent, and potential paths towards justice, healing, and reconciliation. Those impacted by missing or murdered relatives, friends, and community members should not have to rely on hashtags to make their voices heard and seek justice. Let Rachel and Roxanne’s words move you to action; we must demand better from our elected leaders, our banks, the media, one another, and ourselves.
♫ Music by Cary Morin, Justin Crawmer
Since her 1985 essay, “A Cyborg Manifesto,” scholar Donna Haraway has transformed how theorists, academics, and artists think about humans’ deep and entangled relationships with technology, beyond-human kin, and each another. We know that our planetary community is intimately linked, though, as Donna writes, “[Certain dualisms] have all been systemic to the logics and practices of domination of women, people of colour, nature, workers, animals — in short, domination of all constituted as others, whose task is to mirror the self.“ Through an ongoing practice of thoughtful and curious investigation, Donna continues to unravels the myth of human exceptionalism, the hyper individualism of capitalist culture and Western traditions, and the rigid binaries we so often construct between the self and others.
♫ Music by Jeremy Harris
This week we are rebroadcasting our interview with Pua Case, initially aired in December of 2017. In the past two and a half weeks we have seen the powerful swelling of protectors across the globe in reverence for Mauna a Wākea. On July 15, 2019 construction for the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) was scheduled to begin. In response, eight protectors chained themselves to a cattle guard in the early morning to prevent equipment vehicles from accessing the Mauna. No arrests were made until July 17, 2019, when DLNR officers arrested 38 people, most of whom were elders. Following the arrests, the Governor of Hawaii declared a state of emergency, allowing for the deployment of the National Guard. Since then, the National Guard has been called off and interisland police troops have been sent home, but Governor Ige and TMT International Observatory have both stated that they have no intent to halt the construction.
What is taking place on Mauna a Wākea is about so much more than the construction of the TMT. It is in response to the 50 years of serious mismanagement of Mauna a Wākea by its occupiers. It is in response to the proposed two 5,000 gallon tanks of chemical and human waste that would be stored below ground, above waters aquifers and on ancestral burial grounds, should the TMT be built. It is about the ways in which colonial science condones the use of police force in the name of research and the grave impacts that research protocol and infrastructure have on communities. And most importantly, it is in response to decades of colonial rule where Kanaka ‘Ōiwi have been silenced while settler-colonists and U.S. interests have exploited people, culture, and resources for private profit.
We do not need to “understand the advent of the universe” through an 18-foot story tall telescope. In fact, when it comes to the TMT, our personal opinions do not matter. We simply must recognize Indigenous sovereignty in action. This week we rebroadcast Pua Case’s interview in honor of the heart of a mountain and the rising of a Nation.
♫ Music by Hawane Rios & Mike Wall
With over a quarter of Guam being solely occupied by U.S. military bases, a legacy of nuclear bomb droppings throughout the Marshall Islands, and the military’s lease of Kwajalein Atoll, much of the Pacific remains silently condemned to serve as a sacrifice zone in the name of U.S. empire. The implication of ongoing military presence in the Pacific Islands has profound consequences for all facets of life. However, rarely do we hear about the struggles faced by these communities. On this episode, we are joined by Cinta Kaipat to learn how the Northern Mariana Islands, a U.S. commonwealth, are impacted by said militarization. In the Northern Marianas, communities are resisting a future in which aerial bombardments become the norm, where amphibious-assault trainings sever communities from key fishing grounds and decimate aquatic ecosystems, and shelling, artillery, and mortars destroy sacred land.
Cinta M. Kaipat, of Refaluwash-Chamorro descent, is an advocate for Indigenous Refaluwash (Carolinian) rights; preservation of Indigenous cultural practices and beliefs; and promotion of responsible environmental stewardship in the Marianas. Cinta is an attorney, a former Assistant Attorney General; a former Congresswoman; and a former Hearing Officer, as well as a former Deputy Secretary for the Department of Labor. She founded Beautify CNMI!, co-founded PaganWatch, and co-founded the Alternative Zero Coalition, which was newly formed in 2015 to advocate for and protect the Mariana Islands, especially Pagan and Tinian, from irreparable destruction at the hands of the U.S. military and its allies.
Should the military barge through with its plans, Tinian and Pågan could expect to be battered with almost 100,000 grenades, rockets, mortars, and artillery rounds. The fight to save Pagån is critical, should the military occupy the island it would ban the public from living on the island – “coincidentally” during a time in which Indigenous Chamorro and Refaluwash communities have been trying to return to Pågan via agricultural settlements. We share Cinta’s story in the hopes that you take time to both listen to and take action with this community that is facing down the world’s largest military
♫ Music by Pura Fé & traditional recordings from The Mariana Islands
This May, For The Wild was honored to attend and participate in Lightning in a Bottle. Spaces like LIB hold contagious and revealing energy, they highlight our creative dimensions and exemplify the abundance to be found in remaining present in our body and mind. LIB seeks to celebrate life, create community, practice respect, actively participate, honor the land, and exercise thoughtful citizenship. This year, For The Wild wanted to attend the Compass at LIB to explore how communal experiences can shift narratives and create new paradigms of being in relationship with one another. We were elated to reconnect and support our incredible community of friends, accomplices, collaborators, and previous For The Wild guests.
In this week’s episode, Ayana begins by interviewing Eve Bradford and Isis Indriya, co-directors of the Compass, the educational heart of Lightning in a Bottle. This conversation explores the nature of festival culture, village living, and our inherent desire for community. You will also hear some of our favorite presentations, performances, and panels that covered topics near and dear to For The Wild’s heart, including creativity as the antidote, collective liberation, sovereignty, and ancestral wisdom.
Voices included in this interview are Dr. Vandana Shiva, Desirae Harp & Niria Alicia, Eve Bradford & Isis Indriya, Alixa Garcia & Naima Penniman of Climbing PoeTree, Dee Dominguez, Ayana Young, and Paul Stamets.
♫ Music by The Thrive Choir
Last summer, the world watched as mother Orca, Tahlequah, carried her dead calf on a “tour of grief” for more than 1,000 miles over a 17-day period. The Lummi Nation of the Salish Sea believes that Tahlequah’s display of her dead offspring was an intentional act —not only an act of grieving, but intended to stir an empathetic reaction from those who live above the water. This moment continues to be a profound reminder that we share our place and experience with other beings that bear memory, whose capacity for love and loss mirror our own. It also highlights the uncertainty of the Southern Resident Orca's livelihood, and that of our entire planetary community, if we continue to act with reckless abandon.
In this week’s encore episode, we step back into conversation with Kurt Russo who has worked on environmental issues, land preservation, and treaty rights with The Lummi Nation of the Salish Sea for 40 years. He is also the Executive Director of The Foundation for Indigenous Medicine and the former Director of The Native American Land Conservancy. He holds a BS and MS in Forestry and a Ph.D. in History. Kurt shares with us the Lummi word “Elchnexwtex,” which refers to a time when all life forms were one — when the “black fish,” Orcas, and the “young ones,” Humans, were one. The black fish, "qwe 'lhol mechen,” are known as the people under the sea.
Amidst ongoing colonial violence and resource extraction like the recent approval of the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion project, The Lummi Nation continues to follow their sacred duty to protect and defend the sanctity of the lands, waters, and communities of the Salish Sea. This episode is a call to the human heart. The impassioned Kurt Russo, speaking on behalf of the qwe 'lhol mechen, is one that will imprint itself on your memory as a cold hard look into the mirror of humanity.
Music by Monplaisir, Amoeba
In this transformative encore interview, Lyla June retraces the origins of oppression of European women, men and earth-based cultures through to recent histories of genocide, inter-generational trauma, and the enduring forces that seek to destroy Indigenous women and the earth. Industrial activities that impact the lands and humans at local levels reverberate at an energetic level that has bred today’s crises of environmental and spiritual disease. In resistance, Lyla and Ayana honor the power of women as constant life-givers who “lead with their hearts”, and the potential to heal the deep fractures in our society through renewing acts of forgiveness and love that affirm our togetherness as a global family.
Music by Lyla June & Ed Lee Natay
This past April’s Extinction Rebellion mass movement, acknowledging our climate and ecological emergency reality, successfully encouraged the UK parliament to declare a climate and environment emergency. However, efforts are still required before the government enacts relevant policies. Extinction Rebellion’s mission urges radical changes from the political sphere for citizens to adapt to our climate crisis, drive governments to halt biodiversity loss, reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net 0 by 2025, and influence a citizen’s assembly on our climate and ecological emergency. This nonviolent civil disobedience and economic disruption aims to risk the least amount of resource drain for mass impact and dilemma action from those in power. Liam Geary Baulch, Jasmine Salter, and Linda Doyle are three of Extinction Rebellion’s core members who speak to us about the values, inner workings, and way forward of this soon to be international rebellion.
An artist, activist and one of the key players in launching Extinction Rebellion, Liam Geary Baulch has been creating national actions with the movement since 2018 along with Stop Killing Londoners, one of Rising Up's earlier campaigns on air pollution. We also speak with former architecture student, Jasmine Salter who left school to become involved in climate activism. She is one of the Regenerative Culture co-ordinators who focuses on action well-being and has helped build support networks throughout Extinction Rebellion’s actions. Finally, Linda Doyle joins us. A social psychology master’s graduate, Linda is one of the coordinators of Extinction Rebellion's UK national citizens' assembly team.
In this episode, Ayana speaks to these three key members about creating the high-priority changes required in this time of crisis through nonviolent civil disobedience and economic disruption as the core movement, while using citizen’s assembly to provide a balanced view on our current issues among the people, and stakeholders. They delve into the importance of non-violent movements for climate momentum, navigating public awareness while risking the lowest criminal charge while discussing how regenerative culture and people’s assemblies create inclusive and democratic groups which work against ecofascism and towards a more democracy-focused political agenda.
Music by Compassion Gorilla,Iskwé,alchemaná
The crises of cosmological, mythological and psychological disconnection from nature and from each other may drive us to places of darkness and suffering; and yet there is great potential in that darkness to interact with creative energy. Retracing meaning through archetypal myth offers an opportunity to understand the great challenge of our time to heal the planet from its wounds, and to refresh our dominant worldview with one based on connection. This week, journey into Michael Meade’s expansive vision of awakening ancient meaning for the individual and collective consciousness.
Michael Meade, D.H.L., is a renowned storyteller, author, and scholar of mythology, anthropology, and psychology. He combines hypnotic storytelling, street-savvy perceptiveness, and spellbinding interpretations of ancient myths with a deep knowledge of cross-cultural rituals. He is the author of The Genius Myth, Fate and Destiny: The Two Agreements of The Soul, Why the World Doesn’t End, The Water of Life: Initiation and the Tempering of the Soul and editor, with James Hillman and Robert Bly, of Rag and Bone Shop of the Heart. Meade is the founder of Mosaic Multicultural Foundation, a nonprofit network of artists, activists, and community builders that encourages greater understanding between diverse peoples.
Music by Izaak Opatz
In our ever interconnected world, it feels near impossible to extricate ourselves from the harmful systems and oppressive structures that we seek to dismantle. The sheer scale and far-reaching consequences of our global economies, food systems, and industries raise challenging questions around individual impact and personal responsibility. How can we find agency and power by taking meaningful action steps in our own lives, while also grounding our work and movements in structural transformation and systemic healing? On this episode, adventurer, activist, and humanitarian Rob Greenfield invites us to sit in the complexity of this question, as we discuss the beauty and difficulty of living a conscious, sustainable life in 2019.
Rob has dedicated his life to creating a more sustainable and just world, embarking on extreme adventures and activism campaigns to bring attention to important global issues and inspire change. He is the creator of The Food Waste Fiasco, a campaign that strives to end food waste and hunger and has cycled across the USA three times on a bamboo bicycle to bring attention to sustainability issues. Rob’s current project, Food Freedom (http://robgreenfield.tv/foodfreedomintro/), is to grow and forage 100% of the food that he eats for an entire year. Rob travels the USA and the world speaking and hosting action days getting people involved and activated in making the world a happier, healthier place for all. He is the host of Free Ride on Discovery Channel, the author of Dude Making a Difference, and has spoken at over 130 events in 13 countries. Rob donates 100% of his media income to grassroots nonprofits and has committed to living simply and responsibly for life.
Take a moment to drop in this week and meditate on your own practices as you listen to Rob and Ayana’s insightful reflections on growing food and foraging, reimagining wealth and de-monetizing your life, how to hold and move through hypocrisy, and the importance of addressing intersectionality and structural oppression in this work. Amidst the hopelessness and paralysis we may feel in these times, Rob asks us to imagine how the offering of our one unique and precious life might cascade into a greater shift of consciousness. This week, we stand in the power of this truth: we have agency to embody the change we wish to see in the world and live in right relationship with those around us and the planet.
Music by The Range of Light Wilderness
All too often our conversations around the consolidation of wealth and power in America blindly fixate on the politics of the Right and Trump as the anti-hero archetype. We must deepen our analyses and rethink our movements beyond the two-party divide in order to truly understand and hold accountable the sociopolitical and economic forces that have brought us to such crisis. This week, we are honored to be speak with journalist and author Chris Hedges who guides us through the history and inner workings of neoliberalism, the rise of corporate capitalism, and our descent into fascism.
Chris Hedges is a Truthdig columnist, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, a New York Times best-selling author, a professor in the college degree program offered to New Jersey state prisoners by Rutgers University, and an ordained Presbyterian minister. He has written 12 books, including the New York Times best-seller “Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt” (2012), which he co-authored with the cartoonist Joe Sacco. His book “War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning” (2003) was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction and has sold over 400,000 copies. He writes a weekly column for the website Truthdig and hosts a show, “On Contact,” on RT America. Hedges spent nearly two decades as a foreign correspondent in Central America, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. He has reported from more than 50 countries during his work for The Christian Science Monitor, National Public Radio, The Dallas Morning News and The New York Times, for which he was a foreign correspondent for 15 years.
Among other topics, Ayana and Chris discuss wealth inequality, deindustrialization and the rise of the gig economy, the birth of fascism and Christian fundamentalism, and the fusion of corporate and government power under the reigning umbrella of the security state. Candidly reflecting on his own experiences, Chris implores us to rise up in our power and defend our agency through civil disobedience and mass resistance; from within the political ferment and our resounding rejection of these toxic systems, may we articulate the people’s vision of freedom and set a new path forward.
Music by Charlie Parr
A burgeoning national food movement asks us to think critically about where our food comes from, and yet rarely do we consider where our food actually ends up. Shocking statistics on food waste reveal a broken food system that creates exorbitant waste at every step of the supply chain from our agricultural fields and grocery store dumpsters to our dinner plates: the *Guardian*, for example, has reported that roughly 50 percent of all produce in the United States is thrown away — 60 million tons (or $160 billion) worth of produce annually, an amount constituting “one third of all foodstuffs.” Mainstream waste management systems are failing us, and our top soil, waters, farmers, ecosystems, and communities are paying the price. Join us this week as we take a dive into the compost pile with Founder and Executive Director of *L.A. Compost,* Michael Martinez, and explore the transformative power, unexpected collaborations, and rich abundance to be found in the decomposition of food.
A certified Master Gardener and former elementary school teacher, Michael has over 8 years of experience building gardens and compost systems throughout the County of Los Angeles as well as other parts of the country. Michael has grown L.A. Compost from a group of volunteers collecting organics with bikes (30,000 pounds of food scraps in the first few months!) to a decentralized network of community compost hubs that span across the most populated county in the country. Mimicking the soil structure and the underground interconnected web of life, L.A. Compost seeks to bring city residents, municipalities, state assemblies, nonprofits, food recovery agencies, and existing community organizations together in true partnership to reconnect both with our food as well as our fellow neighbors.
In this conversation, Michael and Ayana discuss our widespread culture of disposability, the ecological services and benefits of healthy soil, the beauty of decay and decomposition, the necessity of circular economies, the importance of individual responsibility and community action, and the lessons that compost teaches us about humanity, value, and reverence for what we cannot see. Retelling the story of food from seed to table and back to the earth, Michael ultimately leaves our For the Wild community with a simple and profound message: we need each other. Compost on!
Music by Mountainhood and Carter Lou and One For The Road
To wrap our minds and bodies around creation stories, whether rooted in culture, faith, Earth, or cosmos can be both comforting and overwhelming. Both religious and scientific traditions have long wandered within the realms of this radical reverence for creation. As this week’s guest, Dr. Mary Evelyn Tucker, puts it, “Religious traditions help us to rest in the mystery, scientific traditions are pushing towards discovery…but the origin in awe is very compatible.” As we become mired in the minutiae of our individual existence, we must remember ourselves to be anthropocosmic beings. In doing so, we might find great benefit in once again weaving the threads of connectivity between our cosmological and ecological histories. This week’s episode with Dr. Mary Evelyn Tucker explores these truths and many more.
Dr. Mary Evelyn Tucker is co-director of the Forum on Religion and Ecology at Yale where she teaches in an MA program between the School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and the Divinity School. With John Grim, she organized 10 conferences on World Religions and Ecology at Harvard. Dr. Mary Evelyn Tucker is co-author, with Brian Thomas Swimme, of Journey of the Universe and the executive producer of the film with John Grim. She regularly lectures on the significance of this story for the environmental and social challenges of our times. She has published _Ecology and Religion, Worldly Wonder_, and edited Thomas Berry’s books including _Great Work, Evening Thoughts, Sacred Universe,_ and Selected Writings. Tucker and Grim recently published _Thomas Berry: A Biography_ (Columbia University Press, 2019).
Dr. Mary Evelyn Tucker’s work explores the intersections between religion, ecology, and academia, and how these intersections are a part of creating structures of change and accountability for our collective planetary community. The conversation between Ayana and Mary Evelyn explores how spiritual traditions can respond to environmental crisis, why it is so valuable to understand the emergence of the early universe as we navigate the Anthropocene, and how we can nourish stories of birth, inheritance, and long lineage between body and universe.
Music by Lauren Cole & Evelyn Frances
To learn more about Dr. Mary Evelyn Tucker’s work with the Emerging Earth Community, visit http://emergingearthcommunity.org/
To learn more about the Journey of the Universe Project, visit https://www.journeyoftheuniverse.org/
Now more than ever, we are reminded of the vital importance of creating practices that strengthen and recognize our shared humanity. However, in order to do so, we must examine the systems, ideologies, and actions that have emboldened us to deny humanity in the first place…At the beginning of this week’s episode, john a. powell defines any practice which denies someone’s humanity as an act of “othering.” Both at home and abroad it seems we are witnessing a surge of "othering," whether it is reflected in election cycles, the rise of ethnonationalism, or the pervasiveness of violent acts. We must wonder, how and why do societies rely on the process of othering? And more importantly, how do we move into engagement, organizing, and “bridging?”
john a. powell is Director of the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society and Professor of Law, African American, and Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. He was previously the Executive Director at the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at the Ohio State University and the Institute for Race and Poverty at the University of Minnesota. Prior to that john was the National Legal Director of the American Civil Liberties Union. He is a co-founder of the Poverty & Race Research Action Council and serves on the boards of several national and international organizations. john led the development of an “opportunity-based” model that connects affordable housing to education, health, health care, and employment and is well-known for his work developing the frameworks of “targeted universalism” and “othering and belonging” to effect equity-based interventions. john has taught at numerous law schools including Harvard and Columbia University. His latest book is Racing to Justice: Transforming our Concepts of Self and Other to Build an Inclusive Society.
This week’s conversation between john and Ayana explores the frameworks of “othering and belonging” and "targeted universalism," as well as ideologies of supremacy, global dislocation, rethinking citizenship, and lastly, how we can co-create shared visions and practices of humanity that bring us back into belonging.
Music by Ani Difranco
In honor and anticipation of Lightning in a Bottle 2019, For The Wild is encoring one of our favorite episodes from the archive, “Vandana Shiva on the Emancipation of Seed, Water, and Women.” This week, Ayana will join Dr. Vandana Shiva and Paul Stamets as panelists at Lightning in a Bottle. Additionally, For The Wild will screen When Old Growth Ends and Ayana will present on “Wild Revolution” at LIB.
“What is called agriculture today is not agriculture, it is not the culture of the soil, it is not a culture of the land, it is the culture of oil and fossil fuels…” Dr. Vandana Shiva begins this episode by reminding us of the constructs our world is growing within. Many of us remain trapped in the “monoculture of the mind” while contributing to our destruction. We must broaden our understanding and acknowledge that we can create biodiversity while feeding the world and we can work towards addressing climate change while fostering biodiversity, these pursuits are not mutually exclusive.
Dr. Vandana Shiva is a world-renowned environmental thinker and activist. A leader in the International Forum on Globalization. Dr. Shiva won the Alternative Nobel Peace Prize (the Right Livelihood Award) in 1993. Director of the Research Foundation for Science, Technology, and Natural Resource Policy, she is the author of many books, including _Stolen Harvest: The Hijacking of the Global Food Supply_ and _Biopiracy: The Plunder of Nature and Knowledge._ Before becoming an activist, she was one of India’s leading Physicists.
This conversation extends far beyond the realms of biodiversity and agriculture. Dr. Shiva explores how systems of domination have been artificially constructed, the pervasiveness of GMOs, the root of violent agriculture, the importance of seed saving, cultures of violence, economies of care, and the role of women in changing paradigms.
Music by Bonnie “Prince” Billy, Tracy Chapman, and Hemant Chauhan.
+ To learn more about seed saving, visit https://www.seedsavers.org/how-to-save-seeds +
+ For more information about Lightning in a Bottle 2019, visit https://lightninginabottle.org/ +
+ To learn about Ayana’s presentation “Wild Revolution” at Lightning in a Bottle, visit https://lightninginabottle.org/lineup/#/lineup_groupings/learning-culture
On this week’s episode, Ayana interviews world-renowned photographer James Balog on his newest film, The Human Element, which explores how elements like earth, water, fire, and air are changing due to human impact and interaction. As we recognize dominant culture’s relationship with the planet, we must remind ourselves that over fifty percent of the planet’s land surface has been transformed, approximately nine out of ten people on Earth breathe “high polluted” air, and over forty percent of Americans live in potentially uninhabitable coastal areas. The Human Element seeks to explore this relationship, the power of human activity, and how communities are regionally adjusting and reacting once they discover they are already at the frontlines of climate change. With decades of experience as a “nature photographer,” James candidly speaks of the simultaneous beauty and horror of documenting the Anthropocene, on the complicity of industries like the arts and entertainment in contributing to fossil fuel emissions, and the importance of language and imagery in mobilizing climate momentum. Ayana and James’ conversation reminds us that amongst the staggering statics of planetary change we cannot fall victim to despair, we must acknowledge this as the honesty of our time and learn to move through it.
For 40 years, photographer James Balog has broken new conceptual and artistic ground on one of the most important issues of our era: human modification of nature. An avid mountaineer with a graduate degree in geography and geomorphology, James is equally at home on a Himalayan peak or a whitewater river, the African savannah or polar icecaps. To reveal the impact of climate change, James founded the Extreme Ice Survey (EIS) in 2007. It is the most wide-ranging, ground-based, photographic study of glaciers ever conducted. The project was featured in the internationally acclaimed documentary Chasing Ice and in the 2009 PBS/NOVA special Extreme Ice. James is the author of eight books. His images have been collected in dozens of public and private art collections—and extensively published in the world’s magazines, particularly National Geographic. His new film, The Human Element, is an innovative and visually stunning look at how humanity interacts with earth, air, fire, and water.
To learn more about The Human Element and where you can rent or buy the film, visit https://thehumanelementmovie.com
Music by Drugdealer.
Lichens make up around eight percent of our planet’s biomass, yet rarely do we pay much attention to these symbiotic, part algae, part fungi organism. On this episode, For The Wild speaks to one of the world’s leading lichenologists, Kerry Kent Knudsen. Ayana’s conversation with Kerry spans the dreamiest of worlds, from the surreal and psychedelic presence of lichens to the magic of creating life post-capitalism. In addition to Kerry’s field-based understanding of lichen, Kerry also speaks to the times we are living in, “just like the butterfly that beats its wings and causes a rainstorm around the other side of the world, we have to embrace the chaos of our lives.” In embracing this chaos, Kerry reminds us that we may very well find creation, bring our magic to fruition, and embody complete unity with reality wherever we may be.
Kerry Kent Knudsen is a mycological taxonomist and lichenologist at the University of Life Sciences in Prague. Kerry founded a lichen herbarium at the University of California at Riverside (UCR) and has published 215 papers and articles on lichens. He is a specialist in the lichen biodiversity of southern California and in the order of Acarosporales, which occur around the world. With his wife Jana Kocourkova, who is also a lichenologist, they have begun a four-year project working on lichen biodiversity in the Chihuahuan Desert in New Mexico.
If you have ever wondered what constitutes a good lichen habitat, what our understanding of lichens reveal about the value systems we prescribe to, or how to navigate beyond the chaos of today, then this episode is for you. We are reminded that while lichen may have a smaller presence or hold little “value” in utilitarian terms, they still possess ethereal qualities. Other topics Kerry and Ayana cover include the fragility of lichens in changing climates, the invaluable work of citizen scientists, the limitations of science as a “rational” data-driven field, and how the Anthropocene is shaping our understanding of biodiversity and extinction.
Music by The Savage Young Taterbug
adrienne maree brown begins this week’s episode by asking, “If we were not ashamed of our pleasure, what would become possible? If we started to understand that pleasure is something that everyone should have access to, what would become possible?” This week on For The Wild, we are exploring how to embody pleasure in its many forms with adrienne maree brown. Drawing upon Audre Lorde’s seminal publication, Uses of the Erotic: The Erotic as Power, adrienne maree brown’s latest book, Pleasure Activism: The Politics of Feeling Good, reiterates how once we truly know the pleasure of being alive, suffering becomes unimaginable. Above all, pleasure resides in our body, but many of us seem to forget this through lifetimes of social conditioning, performative identities, and the multitude of ways in which capitalism and patriarchy have filtered love and desire through the lens of ownership. Yet, whether we are cognizant of this or not, our pleasure and our liberation remain inextricably bound together.
adrienne maree brown is the author of Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds and Pleasure Activism: The Politics of Feeling Good and co-editor of Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction from Social Justice Movements. adrienne facilitates social justice and Black liberation through the Emergent Strategy Ideation Institute, the Detroit Narrative Agency and is part of Black Organizing for Leadership and Dignity. She and her sister, Autumn Brown, co-host the How to Survive the End of the World podcast.
This captivating conversation explores how the denial of pleasure contributes to our own oppression, how radical honesty and kindness can transform our relationships, moving through the limitations placed on radical imagination and desire, the importance of pleasure beyond sex, and how our pain and sorrow is a measurement of our pleasure and joy. We hope this conversation inspires you in your own experimentation when it comes to acceptance, desire, and liberated relationships as we collectively pursue sustainable long-term pleasure.
You can purchase Pleasure Activism here, https://www.akpress.org/pleasure-activism.html
The Boom Booms http://theboombooms.com
JB The First Lady https://www.jbthefirstlady.ca/
Small Town Artillery https://smalltownartillery.com/
Entomologists estimate that there are millions of insect species that remain “unknown” to the scientific world. While official categorization or recognition doesn’t matter much in the way of determining existence or ratifying inherent value, the fact that so little is known about insects highlights the seriousness of potential insect decline, especially given that out of the million or so known species on Earth, insects make up approximately 80 percent of that number. The “insect apocalypse” that is currently unfolding is simultaneously slow and rapid, depending on the time scale one abides. While this decline is recorded at about one to two percent per year, it adds up to a total loss of ten percent biomass over a decade. Should this decline continue or hasten, an ecological collapse will surely ensue. While some argue that not enough is known about this ongoing phenomenon, we do know that insects are declining almost twice as fast as vertebrates, and to not act until we are one hundred percent sure, is both reckless and ignorant. In this week’s episode, Dr. David Wagner reminds us of the fascinating world of insects, the tremendous roles they play, and the possible peril should the insect apocalypse come to fruition.
Dr. David Wagner is an entomologist and professor of ecology and evolutionary biology. His research interests are in the biology and evolution of moths and insect conservation. He has published several books on caterpillars – his 2005 guide with Princeton University Press, Caterpillars of Eastern North America: A Guide to Identification and Natural History is in its ninth printing.
In this episode, Ayana and Dr. Wagner discuss insects as biological controls, insect decline in relation to political and economic destabilization, how cultural understandings of insects influence the field of entomology, and the main drivers behind insect decline. It is certainly true that while some people can’t live with insects, we know we can’t live without them…
Music by Santiparro
+ Action Points +
+ Habitat conservation can happen in your own backyard. You can create habitats for insects by avoiding neat, tidy, and manicured spaces. Instead, considering growing out the grass, leaving areas with natural ground cover, or making deadwood piles. Additionally, plant native species that naturally have easily accessible pollen and nectar, instead of double-flowered plants. Learn what plants are loved by insects, for example, cow parsley attracts many flying insects, milkweed attracts butterflies, and jasmine and honeysuckle are food for moths. Consider planting flowers, trees, and shrubs with overlapping bloom times to support pollinators during the Spring through Fall. For a comprehensive list of plants that are attractive to native pollinators, categorized by your region, you can visit https://www.wildflower.org/collections/
+ If you don’t have a garden or yard of your own, you can still create mini-habitats with window flower boxes, potted plants, rooftop gardens, and vertical gardens.
+ Reports on insect loss continuously cite our agricultural food system as a main contributing factor in insect decline. The scale at which pesticides and fertilizers are used on monocultures is not conducive to sustaining ecological diversity and wellbeing. Recent publications have suggested that global and comprehensive reduction in pesticide use could prevent the extinction “of over forty percent of the world’s insect population.” If you have the means to make choices regarding your diet, directly consider your eating habits and where your food is coming from. Is your dollar supporting agricultural giants who push the use of pesticides? Another way to resist pesticide use is to understand how your community is using pesticides. Consider speaking with your local officials about eliminating their use. For a list of cities in the United States that have passed different municipal ordinances or city resolutions regarding the banning of Glyphosate, for example, you can visit https://www.baumhedlundlaw.com/toxic-tort-law/monsanto-roundup-lawsuit/where-is-glyphosate-banned/
+ As always, think about your insect kin when you consume. Support local farmers who are growing food that is free from synthetic pesticides, avoid processed foods that contain GMO ingredients, and considering purchasing organic cotton when possible as conventional cotton cultivation is responsible for an enormous consumption of pesticides. Always ask yourself if the item you are buying is worth the costs paid by our more than human kin.
+ Remember that your individual actions have tremendous impacts on insect communities, for example, the lights we leave on outside at night attract insects that would otherwise not show up, positioning them as easy prey. Additionally, light pollution at an urban scale interferes with nocturnal insects orientation. Honor the night!
The topic of wildlife crime is inherently complex, and more often than not, dominant narratives fail to draw out the ever-present nuances regarding poaching and illegal trafficking. Regardless, we cannot ignore the fact that wildlife crime is the world’s fourth largest criminal enterprise. Over a century ago, the world’s tiger population exceeded one hundred thousand. Today, there are less than four thousand, meaning that we have lost ninety-seven percent of the world’s tiger population in just one century. Yet again we are reminded of the atrocities unfolding under a supremacist, capitalist, global market that supports the rapid and senseless killing of living beings for the mere commodification of their “parts.”
This week on the program Andrea Crosta joins Ayana in a conversation around wildlife crime. Andrea is all too familiar with dominant narratives that misplace fixation, assume guilt incorrectly, or aid in sweeping generalization that disregard cultural sensitivity and further western imposition associated with wildlife crime. Ayana and Andrea discuss a myriad of topics ranging from the importance of an intelligence-led approach to combating wildlife crime, how wildlife crime impacts local and global economies, the geography of trafficking, the socio-political realities that necessitate poaching and trafficking, and the grave danger posed by an increased militarization of conservation.
Andrea Crosta has over 30 years of experience in conservation projects around the world and in a parallel professional career, has been working for over 18 years as an international consultant to companies and governmental agencies on high-end security technologies and services, homeland security, anti-piracy, and risk management. Andrea now applies this unique knowledge to conservation and wildlife protection as the Executive Director and co-founder of Elephant Action League, an intelligence-led non-profit organization focused on fighting wildlife crime. Andrea is also the creator and project manager of WildLeaks, the first whistleblower initiative dedicated to wildlife crime. Andrea is among the main protagonists of the documentaries ‘The Ivory Game’ and ‘Sea of Shadows,’ which recently won the Audience Award at Sundance Film Festival 2019.
Music by Y La Bamba
Diana Beresford-Kroeger on Replanting the Global Forest (Encore)
This week on the podcast we present an Encore episode of a staff favorite from the For The Wild archives.
Diana Beresford-Kroeger is a one-woman force of regeneration of the biosphere! A botanist, medical biochemist and self-defined "renegade scientist," she brings together ethnobotany, horticulture, spirituality and alternative medicine to reveal a path toward better stewardship of the natural world. Orphaned in Ireland in her youth, Diana was educated by elders who instructed her in the Brehon knowledge of plants and nature. Told she was the last child of ancient Ireland and told to one day bring this knowledge to a troubled future, Diana has done exactly that. Her Bioplan is an ambitious plan encouraging ordinary people to develop a new relationship with nature, to join together to replant the global forest. Her books include The Sweetness of a Simple Life, The Global Forest, Arboretum Borealis, Arboretum America, and A Garden for Life. Diana Beresford-Kroeger was inducted as a Wings WorldQuest fellow in 2010 and named one of Utne reader’s World Visionaries for 2011. A delightful meander into the deep knowledge of the forest! How do trees communicate with one another and act for the common good? Why are oceans utterly dependent on healthy forests? How would a regenerative society meet its resource needs? What do children know that their parents have forgotten?
Learn more about Diana's amazing upcoming film The Call of the Forest: The Forgotten Wisdom of Trees at http://dianasjourney.com
Most of us know that our current economy does not play in our favor...When we choose to monetize all facets of society we disintegrate community and starve ourselves of our basic emotional and spiritual needs through the commodification of our values. So why do we keep fueling an economic system of domination, deception, and separation when very few of us would be brazen enough to proclaim that we are supported by it?
In this week’s conversation, Charles Eisenstein and Ian MacKenzie join Ayana to discuss what features are inherently built into this money system, how economics does not have to be a merciless system, the importance of universal basic income, what it looks like to step into gift giving, and how we can hold healthy boundaries in the process.
Charles Eisenstein is a teacher, speaker, and writer focusing on themes of civilization, consciousness, money, and human cultural evolution. Charles’ books cover much ground: Climate: A New Story makes a case for a wholesale reimagining of the framing, tactics, and goals we employ in our journey to heal from ecological destruction. The More Beautiful World our Hearts Know is Possible, offers a highly distilled exposition of our society’s transition in its deep stories. Sacred Economics explores the transition as it applies to the world of money, economy, and gift and The Ascent of Humanity traces multiple crises — ecological, medical, educational, political, and more — to a common origin.
Ian Mackenzie is a filmmaker and writer, who has spent over a decade exploring and amplifying the seeds of emergent culture. His films include Occupy Love (co-produced with director Velcrow Ripper), and more recently Amplify Her, which follows the rise of women in the electronic music scene). His focus covers a range of diverse topics & subjects, though all fall under his mission of exploring the intersection of eros, emergence, and village.
So many of us are aching for gift giving in our personal lives but remain challenged by the mindset of existential scarcity. Let this conversation be a vessel to guide you in the age of transition, in an age where we must simultaneously starve a system that is not serving us while creating our own nourishment and sustainability on the periphery of crisis. Charles and Ian encourage us to step more into the “gift” to radically transform our selves, community, and the systems we build.
Music by Skeppet
Skeppet. Malmö, Sweden.
Our planet is covered in over five million square miles of ice, yet most of us have not encountered the intimacy and majesty of a glacier in person. We have not listened to their songs nor witnessed their shades of white and blue in clarity and opacity. In fact, most of us could only tell a single story around glacial beings – that they are disappearing. Our episode with Dr. M Jackson gives us a moment to pause and wonder, what other stories and experiences exist below this dominant story? What lives do glaciers live beyond their relationship to climate change?
Dr. M Jackson is a geographer and glaciologist, National Geographic Society Explorer, TED Fellow, three-time U.S. Fulbright Scholar, and author of the recently released book, The Secret Lives of Glaciers. M earned a doctorate from the University of Oregon in geography and glaciology, where she examined how climate change transformed people and glacier communities in Iceland. M serves as an Arctic Expert for the National Geographic Society, holds a Masters of Science degree from the University of Montana, and served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Zambia. She’s worked for over a decade in the Arctic chronicling climate change and communities, guiding backcountry trips and exploring glacial systems. Her 2015 memoir While Glaciers Slept: Being Human in a Time of Climate Change weaves together the parallel stories of what happens when the climates of a family and a planet change. M writes about glaciers and people worldwide and lives outside of Eugene, Oregon.
In this conversation with Ayana and Dr. Jackson, we learn how glacial retreat is impacting communities, the connection between extractive tourism, extractive science, and glaciers, why it matters that the majority of glaciology has been produced by white men, and the ways in which polar and mountain explorations have furthered colonial, capitalist, and imperialist projects. Much of this episode’s conversation is deeply grounded in the topic of Dr. M’s latest book, _The Secret Lives of Glaciers_, which explores the heartfelt connections between people, place, and ice.
Music by Fountainsun
+ Action Points +
+ Support M Jackson’s ongoing research and pick up a copy of her recently released book, The Secret Lives of Glaciers, to learn more about the complex story of glaciers.
+ Take a moment to connect, observe, and sit with the environment around you — whether your neighborhood garden, local watershed, or forested landscapes. Ask yourself what relationships with the natural world you may want to tend.
+ Make an effort to spark conversations with your friends, family members, co-workers, and the wider community about our shifting environment and planetary crisis.
+ Reflect on your own individual stakes, experiences, and passions in this time of socio-ecological transformation. For what or whom do you feel called to be an advocate? How might you step into more active positions and allyship roles to uplift these often silenced voices?
+ Deepen your commitment to seek out alternative histories, narratives, and visions of environmental science and climate change that fall outside of the traditional Western paradigm.
In this time of revelation and disintegration, we are being required to come together in order to navigate the present and create the future. However, more often than not, coming together is not enough – we must be willing to work through our preconditioning, conflict, and imperfections to holistically recognize an authentic vision and set of values. In order for our social movements to be the strongest they can be and successfully guide us through turbulent times, we must tend the needs of both the individual and the group. This week, Joshua Kahn, BJ Star, and Michael Strom from The Wildfire Project join Ayana in a conversation on toxic movement culture, thinking about power structurally, generative conflict, self-limitations, and collective liberation as social movements adapt to ever changing terrain.
“The Wildfire Project strengthens movements for ecological, racial, and economic justice by supporting organizations to transform, and spread a thriving culture: resilient in the face of changing terrain; grounded in history, vision, and strategy; connected to a “north star” bigger than themselves; building across identity; and prepared to grow and win. We do this through deep facilitation using democratic, experiential methods: fusing political education and skills training with personal and group transformation in a curriculum tailored to specific needs of grassroots activism. Wildfire develops leadership of frontline groups, and maintains long-term support with the communities with which it works.”
Whether or not you are directly engaged in movement building or are an organizer, this is an episode you will not want to miss. Joshua, BJ, and Michael weave strategy on handling disappointment and harm, stepping into our power, and the politics of collapse and rebirth. We hope you will set aside some time this week for yourself to tune in and be reminded of the multitudes of ways in which we can fruitfully embody this life and the many complexities and contradictions that color our ways of knowing and engagement.
Music by The Peace Poets and The Wildfire Project
+ To learn more about how members of activist organizations can apply to become a Wildfire Partner, visit https://www.wildfireproject.org/ +
This week’s episode is a special live recording from our time at The Wild & Scenic Film Festival in January of 2019. We were delighted to join Ada Recinos of EcoViva in a conversation around the connections between ecosystem restoration, political and climate resilience, and food sovereignty in times of extreme instability.
The United States intrusion in Central and South America has caused decades of generational trauma while ballooning the power and overreach of corporations and outside interests. In addition to centuries of exploitation dating back to Spanish colonization, Central America is now being forced to navigate some of the most severe impacts of climate change and global warming. 2018 was one of the worst years for drought in the “Dry Corridor” of Central America, with certain communities experiencing up to one hundred percent crop failure. Amidst these changes, it has become clear that communities must begin strategizing in order to sustain resiliency. In this conversation, Ada shares how many land-based communities in El Salvador are finding solutions to revitalizing and sustaining food supplies by restoring mangrove forests, diversifying small-scale agricultural practices, and resisting transnational companies like Monsanto and their GMO seeds – which threaten both food sovereignty and community.
Ada Recinos was born and raised in Los Angeles to parents who emigrated from El Salvador. She moved to Richmond after graduating from UCSC with a degree in Global Information and Social Enterprise Studies. Ada served as a Richmond City Councilor from 2017 to 2019, after serving nearly two years as a Human Rights and Human Relations Commissioner. She is currently the Communications and Outreach Manager for EcoViva, a non-profit that supports community-led initiatives and social justice movements for a sustainable future in Central America. Ada’s work has centered on organizing immigrants, renters, and women to advocate for their rights & progressive legislation.
This powerful conversation spans many topics, from the deep wounds of violence and war to the pertinence of moving beyond sensational rhetoric around caravans and the border wall. Ada reminds us that food sovereignty is at the foundation of liberation and thriving communities. We need to invest in climate resilience, we need leaders who acknowledge that climate change is not only real but is happening now, and we need to confront the ugly mentality of anti-immigrant sentiment that continues to spread pervasively in all sectors of society around the globe. No longer can we allow our understanding of who is granted survival to be dictated by superficial understandings of criminality versus legality or who is born on what side of an ultimately meaningless border.
Music by Dirty Birds & Myrra Rós Þrastardóttir
+ Action Points +
+ Learn more and support EcoViva’s community-led initiatives by visiting https://ecoviva.org/
+ Seeking asylum is a human right and it is up to us to ensure that our government upholds this right amidst distractions of a manufactured “national emergency.” Call your Senators and Representatives and remind them of the deaths of Jakelin Maquin, Felipe Gomez Alonzo, Roxsana Hernandez, Mariee Juarez, and Claudia Gonzalez. Remind them that the Department of Health and Human Services has released documents showing that thousands of migrant youth have suffered sexual abuse while in U.S. custody under the jurisdiction of the Office of Refugee Resettlement. You can call 1-844-872-0234 to be immediately connected with your representative by entering your zip code. Remind them of the continuous atrocities that are happening at the border and in for-profit detention centers across the country.
+ Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase financially benefit off of the criminalization and incarceration of immigrants at for-profit detention centers – you can express your outrage by visiting the following link,
+ While water scarcity in El Salvador might feel far from home, remember that more often than not communities across Central and South America are fighting for their water rights because of Big Business’ water usage. The municipality of Nejapa, in San Salvador, El Salvador is home to La Constancia, an industrial company and supplier that use’s the town’s aquifer to fill up cartons of Coca-Cola. When you purchase products owned by Nestlé and Coca-Cola you are funding corporations that are in the water business and are often unlawfully extracting water from aquifers and purchasing up water sources around the world. Take a stand against water privatization by boycotting Nestlé and Coca-Cola and their ownership of companies like Perrier, Honest Tea, Smart Water, S. Pellegrino, and Odwalla.
+ Did you know that on December 20, 2018 the USDA announced the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard? While the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture claims that this Standard increases transparency, what it actually does it drop all usage of the word GMO on labeling and substitute with the term bioengineer. In addition, many GMO foods and GMO derived products would have access to legal loopholes preventing them from being labeled. Reaffirm your commitment to avoid buying, selling, growing, or investing in Monsanto and other GMO companies.
+ Ada emphasizes the importance of having policy makers in office who recognize climate change and its impact on migration. Keep this in mind as we approach the 2020 elections. If you can vote, vote.
Community-Led Initiatives for a Sustainable Future
Families Belong Together
Break Up with Private Prisons! - Families Belong Together
In January 2019, For The Wild was honored to attend the annual Sundance Film Festival, facilitating our social justice and environmental film, press junket liaising with filmmakers and other amazing influential folks who work with visual storytelling to share about the critical issues of our time. We were elated to speak with these creative visionaries covering so many of the topics that are near and dear to For The Wild’s heart, including: endangered species, immigrants’ rights, youth activism, ethical storytelling, decolonization, the prison industrial complex, environmental activism, and cultural protection, to name a few.
For The Wild recognizes the importance of independent media. Media has the power to obstruct or to grow our imaginations. What we consume through media, can either remind us of what is important, exercise our emotions, and inspire us or it can foster a culture of divisiveness and mistrust, feeding our insecurities and fears.
Independent media, cultural work, and the arts are vital resources in navigating this world and creating the next, and we approached our time at Sundance with healthy curiosity. We wanted to know if it's possible for films to challenge corporate ideology in high profile spaces. We wondered which topics are receiving a lot of airplay, and which are being left out? We examined who readily gets to share their stories. And we inquired, how are artists challenging us, and how do we, as an audience, need to challenge them?
We are committed to supporting independent media and to shining a light on the power of storytelling. Sundance provided a platform for so many incredible films that are bearing witness to this critical time. For The Wild is thankful for these stories and we offer this episode as an opportunity to take a peek into this world, to learn through these powerful narratives, and hopefully to inspire you to watch these films when they come to a theater near you.
Films covered in this interview include; Anthropocene: The Human Epoch, The Infiltrators, Sea of Shadows, Advocate, Words from a Bear, Merata: How Mum Decolonized the Screen, and Tigerland. Additionally, Ayana shared time with Shari Frilot, Chief Curator of New Frontier at Sundance.
This week, Eriel Tchekwie Deranger joins us in a conversation around the recent developments regarding TransCanada’s LNG Pipeline proposal on Wet’suwet’en Territory. It is our hope that this episode provides some historical context to the actions of corporations and colonizers regarding the 4.7 billion dollar pipeline project. Beyond the headlines, we think it is important to have a broad understanding of what Unist’ot’en Camp represents, the ongoing history of surveillance faced by frontline protectors, how policy is used as a tool of assimilation, and the illegality of the actions taken by Canada’s federal and provincial governments. Unist’ot’en People’s reoccupation of their traditional territories cannot solely be understood in relation to infrastructure development – it must also be understood as a means to decolonize and return to the land, to connect with culture and identity, and revitalize forms of governance that seek to truly govern and lead, not to oppress and exploit.
Eriel Tchekwie Deranger is a Denesuline Indigenous activist, member of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, and the Executive Director and co-founder of Indigenous Climate Action. Eriel has spent over 6 years building-up the highly successful international Indigenous Tar Sands campaign and has become widely known as one of the world’s most effective organizers and coalition builders to defend Indigenous people’s rights locally, nationally and globally.
This episode reminds us that corporate interests and colonial interests have always been deeply intertwined. Eriel articulates how narratives that surround the developments at Unist’ot’en Camp show how colonization has deeply warped our perspective on who get labeled the heroes and villains. While the state continues to prioritize the protection and expansion of infrastructure over people, we must encourage each other to see with clear vision where the true threat lies. Pipelines and policy are threatening biodiversity, both cultural and biological, across our planet. What is happening now on Wet’suwet’en/Gidumt’en territory is not an isolated incident, but rather a magnified example of what is unfolding amongst all Indigenous communities that are exercising their sovereignty, protecting the land, and taking a stand against exacerbating climate crisis and resource extraction.
+ Action Points +
Unist’ot’en Camp is calling for solidarity action to stop any further development of pipelines on Wet’suwet’en territory. Here is a list of actions we can take to let Canadian government officials know that what is transpiring is not only immoral but illegal as well.
+ If you live in so-called Canada, Unist’ot’en Camp is calling for supporters to occupy the offices of Canada’s Members of the Legislative Assembly and Members of Parliament. If you live outside of the country, you can send an email to the provincial government of B.C. and the federal government expressing your outrage. For more information on whom to direct your email to and what to include, visit https://actions.sumofus.org/a/no-pipelines-through-unis-to-ten-lands
+ Call a key government Minister to demand that they rescind the previously approved permits, for guidelines on what to say and to learn who you will be speaking to, visit https://act.leadnow.ca/call-federal-support-wetsuweten/
+ Donate. By donating directly your contributions ensure that supporters on the land have medical and food supplies. You can make a one-time donation, a monthly donation, or donate directly to the Unist’ot’en Camp Legal fund by visiting http://unistoten.camp/support-us/donate/
+ Host a fundraiser to help support the long-term expenses of sustaining Unist’ot’en Camp. For detailed guidelines on how to organize a fundraiser to benefit Unist’ot’en Camp, visit http://unistoten.camp/fundraiserprotocols/
+ Further educate yourself by reading Unist’ot’en Camp’s guidelines and resources on allyship and solidarity as well as their zine “Heal the people, Heal the land” by visiting http://unistoten.camp/no-pipelines/resources/allyship/
+ To find actions and events in solidarity near you, visit https://www.facebook.com/groups/SupportWetsuweten/
+ If you are interested in learning more about Unist’ot’en’s “Call to Action” or physically volunteering at the camp, you can visit the following resources:
What are the limitations of the body you occupy? At what point do you begin to break down physically, emotionally, and psychologically? The Amazon Rainforest, like any other living body, can only handle so much…
Dr. Carlos Nobre has dedicated many years in the pursuit of understanding the Amazon Rainforest’s tipping point in relation to the negative synergies of climate change, deforestation, drought, and rampant fire abuse. We cannot feign ignorance about the crossroads our planetary community is just finally willing to recognize. We know that an increase of just 4 degrees Celsius, or mass deforestation above forty percent in Amazonia, will lead to this aforementioned tipping point. We also know that in the last sixty years, the region has already warmed by one degree Celsius and deforestation has reached twenty percent in the Amazon. What does it mean that we could very well be responsible for the savannization of an entire rainforest, the radical dismembering of the Amazon’s body?
Dr. Carlos Nobre is currently Science Director of the Research Project “National Institute of Science and Technology for Climate Change”, chair of the Brazilian Panel on Climate Change, and the creator of Brazil’s National Center for Monitoring and Alerts of Natural Disasters. Dr. Nobre chaired the Large Scale Biosphere-Atmosphere Experiment in Amazonia, an international research initiative designed to create the new knowledge needed to understand the climatic, ecological, biogeochemical, and hydrological functioning of Amazonia, the impact of land use and climate changes on these functions, and the interactions between Amazonia and the Earth system. He has also been a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and was a member of the UN Secretary-General Scientific Advisory Board for Global Sustainability. As a climate and earth systems scientist, his work focuses on the Amazon and its impacts on the Earth system, climate modeling, and global environmental change.
During a time in which environmental crisis has become synonymous with climate change, Dr. Nobre clarifies the complexities surrounding the driving factors of deforestation and savannization. Additionally, Ayana and Dr. Nobre discuss the margins of safety that must be implemented, the simultaneous rise of nationalism and the ramifications of climate change, and the possibility of a third way outside the realms of the preservation/consumption binary when it comes to Amazonia.
Music by Les Halles
The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge provides calving grounds to Porcupine Caribou and beluga whales, a place of interlude for hundreds of thousands of migrating birds, denning grounds for polar bears, and sanctuary for over fifteen thousand migrating bowhead whales during the spring and fall. However popular, and political, depictions of the Arctic rarely draw upon the diversity of its vast tundra, wetland, mountain, and forest regions. Instead we are imprinted with a false depiction of these latitudes as one mere stretch of vast, barren, and icy terrain. When we forget the Arctic lives as a birthing ground and a place rich in culture, we allow the hands of petro-capitalism to tighten their grasp around this immense and incredibly biodiverse ecosystem…
In the past thirty years, there have been fifty attempts to open the Refuge to drilling. What does it say about our civilization that we are so devoted to fossil fuels that we are willing to drill in sacred birthing grounds and risk losing an integrator of our planets atmosphere and oceanic climate systems? This week on the podcast, we explore the “Near North” with Subhankar Banerjee and reflect on our ethical and moral imperative to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
Subhankar Banerjee is an Indian born, American photographer, writer, activist, and environmental humanities scholar. He has been a leading voice on issues of Arctic conservation, Indigenous human rights, resource wars, and climate change. He has done work in the American Southwest that addresses desert ecology and forest deaths from climate change, and recently started a project to address climate change impact and politics of ecology in the coastal temperate rainforests in the Pacific Northwest. His research focuses on the intersection of art, eco-cultural activism and environmental humanities. Subhankar’s photographs, writing, and lectures have reached millions of people around the world.
Join us in conversation as Subhankar calls us to find our connection with the Near North while clarifying many misconceptions about the current status of the Refuge and the history of extraction in Alaska. We must do these sacred grounds justice in our actions and minds.
Use the understanding you gathered from this episode to submit a written comment to The BLM Alaska State Office as they prepare to release an EIS to develop a gas and oil leasing program in the Refuge’s Coastal Plain. This EIS is in accordance with the passing of the Trump Administration’s Dec. 22, 2017 Tax Law. We ask you to join us in the decade long struggle to defeat drilling in the Refuge and speak out against continued extraction in Alaska. The Comment Period closes on February 11, 2019.
You can mail your comments to:
Coastal Plain Oil and Gas Leasing Program EIS
222 West 7th Avenue, Stop #13
Anchorage, Alaska 99513 -7504
Or submit electronically here:
Music by Sun Araw
A price will be paid for carbon emissions regardless of whether or not one believes in the climate crisis. In fact, many are already paying this price in the form of ailing health, polluted communities, and exacerbated natural disasters. However, private industry has gotten off scot-free and turned a blind eye as the Earth and our communities suffer under unsustainable consumption. Shouldn’t the fossil fuel industry, one of the wealthiest industries to ever exist, be held financially accountable for the global pollution, displacement, and loss they have fueled?
We are honored to be able to speak with Camila Thorndike and take an opportunity to contemplate what our lives would look like if we were to use less and be free of this polluting addiction, not only through taxing but through a true paradigm shift. In Camila’s own words: “The cultural change and the political-economic change we need cannot be separate, they are one and the same.”
Camila Thorndike, a lifelong climate campaigner, was born and raised in rural southern Oregon and today lives in Washington, DC. Most recently she worked with Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN) to lead a campaign uniting 100 organizations and businesses to pass fair and effective local climate policy. After graduating from Whitman College, Camila worked for the U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution, led outreach for an Arizonan urban planning campaign, and spearheaded engagement for Firerock, a musical theater project on fossil fuels. In 2009 she worked with DC youth on energy efficiency in low-income households with the Mayor’s Green Summer Jobs Program. She later co-founded Our Climate, a grassroots national nonprofit that empowers the next generation of climate leaders to pass strong, fair carbon pricing laws. Camila is a Fellow of the Center for Diversity and the Environment, Sitka Fellow, Udall Scholar, Mic50 awardee, member of the Young Climate Leaders Network, a Grist 50 "Fixer," and recipient of the 2018 DC Environmental Network award.
Join Ayana this week in conversation with Camila Thorndike as we learn how the tax code can address societal ills, the difference between cap and trade and carbon tax, how policy arrangements reflect our values, and how we can create a price on carbon that is inclusive, progressive, and benefit communities that are often exploited by the so-called green market.
Music by SK Kakraba
For years, many observers of our global forests have been witnessing significant tree mortality, and Earth’s largest living organisms, like giant redwoods, sequoias, and baobabs, are not immune to this phenomenon. If temperatures rise as projected by four degrees Celsius by the end of this century, we may witness the death of these ancient trees whose lifespans far exceed our own. Giant redwoods can live beyond 2,000 years in age, giant sequoias and baobabs reach up to 3,000 years, and large canopy trees found throughout Amazonia range from 400 to 1,400 years old. What possible futures await these ancient ones? What contributions do these massive trees make that we are blind to? And what exactly is the driving force behind the disappearance of old trees?
This week, Ayana speaks with Dr. William Laurance on the driving forces behind the disappearance of ancient trees and the critical ecological roles that they play in distinguishing & sustaining a variety of forest types.
Dr. William Laurance is a Research Professor and Australian Laureate at James Cook University. An environmental scientist, he has written eight books and over 600 scientific and popular articles. He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science and the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences and former President of the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation. His professional honors include the Heineken Environment Prize, BBVA Frontiers in Conservation Biology Award, Society for Conservation Biology’s Distinguished Service Award, and Royal Zoological Society of London’s Outstanding Conservation Achievement Prize. He is director of JCU’s Centre for Tropical Environmental and Sustainability Science, and founded and directs ALERT—the Alliance of Leading Environmental Researchers & Thinkers—a science-advocacy group that reaches 1-2 million readers weekly. He is a four-time winner of Australia’s Best Science Writing Award.
Join Ayana and Dr. Laurance in conversation about the future of old growth forests, the many impacts of climate destabilization and drought, the dangers of positive feedback, and how infrastructure development is both driving and worsening climate chaos.
Music by Grant Earl LaValley
This week on the podcast we begin to traverse into the history of reproductive justice and how colonization, sexism, class, and racism impact all areas of birthing and medical practices. Ayana’s conversation with Roots of Labor Birth Collective extends beyond most reproductive justice discourse. It will stretch you to think about justice, autonomy, and decolonization. As a part of our healing month, Roots of Labor reminds us that we must confront the legacies of violence we have suffered under, both as perpetrators and survivors.
Before globalization and colonization, before the health economy, people were able to take care of their own. This statement isn’t intended to romanticize or philosophize, but to remind us that current regimes seek to disempower us – to create a dependence that necessitates their existence. As Western infrastructures fail, networks of folks deeply committed to liberation, like Roots of Labor Collective, are creating different possibilities.
Roots of Labor Birth Collective (RLBC) is committed to providing support and care for birthing members of our community. RLBC consists of birth doulas of color. We strive to reflect the communities we serve, while uplifting and caring for ourselves under these guiding principles: decolonizing birth, honoring birth, empowering ourselves and each other, and sustaining doula work.
Elena Aurora is the Co-Founder and Education Director of Roots of Labor Birth Collective. It is her honor to organize with the radical and inspirational doulas of the Bay Area, California. She is mixed race, Peruvian and European descent, and has an environmental project called Woke n Wasteless that queers the conversation between the disposability of stuff, and the disposability of people of color.
Juju Angeles is an active doula of RLBC. Currently occupying Ohlone Territory (West Oakland, CA) & serving the Bay Area, Juju is a mother, homeschools, works with plants, and supports people through their pregnancy, labor, birth, and postpartum journey. Founder of Babymamahood, an online platform to dismantle, reimagine, and reclaim solo parenting for women and people of color in the hood.
Join us in conversation as For the Wild dedicates this week to exploring ancestral legacies around birthing, how we can invest in reproductive rights outside of the current hetero-patriarchal capitalist white supremacist system, the womb space as a place of creation, and birthing support as a human right.
Music by Jason Marsalis & Irvin Mayfield"
"+ Action Points from Roots of Labor Birth Collective +
+ Credit and listen to Black women, and other people of color who are defining Reproductive Justice. If your reproductive organization or circles do not have multiple people (or women) of color in leadership positions, then do not support them. One at the top does not count.
+ Redirect your resources to organizations that are doing POC centered birth work, and who are led by people of color. You can do this by sponsoring people of color to take the RLBC doula training, or sponsoring a full training so we can offer them for free.
+ Hire a doula for your birth, or your friends birth.
+ Stop buying baby items and doing large registries, consider hosting baby stuff swaps and events to reduce waste in our waste stream.
+ Support homebirth midwives, hire one for your birth or concurrent care. Sponsor a friend to hire one.
+ Use cloth diaper services to divert waste from the landfill. Those dirty diapers will outlive your children.
+ Divest in big oil who are the main causes of climate change and are poisoning our people, and putting POC communities at the front lines of destruction and climate-related disasters. These environmental injustices increase the Black, Brown, and Indigenous infant and maternal mortality rates.
Music by Jason Marsalis, Irvin Mayfield, & Climbing PoeTree
How can a queer framework guide us as we move through this liminal time period? How can queer ecology radically change our way of knowing? This week’s episode acknowledges that in order to expand ourselves to our fullest capacity, we must bend beyond the cultural and gender binaries that dominant society projects amongst us, to begin this process we need not look further than what has always been.
Guided by culturally informed queer ancestral futurist dreams, Pinar and So Sinopoulos-Lloyd of Queer Nature explore how queering our awareness can dismantle the supremacist, ecocidal, and genocidal story we have found ourselves in.
Queer Nature is an education and social sculpture project based on Arapaho, Ute, and Cheyenne territories that actively dreams into decolonially-informed queer ‘ancestral futurism’ through mentorship in place-based skills with awareness of post-industrial/globalized/ecocidal contexts. Place-based skills include naturalist studies, handcrafts, “survival skills,” and recognition of colonial and indigenous histories of land, and are framed in a container that emphasizes deep listening and relationship building with living and non-living earth systems. Co-envisioned by Pinar and So Sinopoulos-Lloyd, Queer Nature designs and facilitates nature-based workshops and multi-day immersions intended to be financially, emotionally, and physically accessible to LGBTQ2+ people and QTBIPOCs. Queer Nature carries the story and hope that these spaces create resilient narratives of belonging for folks who have often been made to feel by systems of oppression that they biologically, socially, or culturally don’t belong. Queer Nature has collaborated with Wilderness Awareness School, the University of Colorado Boulder, Naropa University, Women’s Wilderness, and ReWild Portland.
Join Ayana in conversation with So and Pinar as they explore how tracking and trailing answer the call of our ancestral bodies and the land, what deep intimacy with the more than human world looks like, how place-based skills are tools of liberation, and how to heal community, we cannot solely be in reciprocal relationships, we must be in accountable ones as well.
Music by Y La Bamba & Elisapie.
+ Action Points from Queer Nature +
+ Check out the website https://native-land.ca (it is also an app), it lets you know what First Nations territories you are on!
+ See if you can find Indigenous dictionaries or language projects that can help inform you of the first names of rivers, mountains, and non-human beings in your bioregion. In our area, we consult the online dictionary at the Arapaho Language Project, which is part of CU Boulder.
+ You can support Queer Nature’s Patreon through https://www.patreon.com/queernature
+ You can donate directly to Queer Nature through our website: www.queernature.org (though we are an LLC and not a non-profit, so donations are not tax deductible).
+ Tax-deductible donations that support a local grant-funded series of workshops that we run collaboratively can be made here: https://www.womenswilderness.org/donations/
(For Women's Wilderness donations, please include a note that it's for Queer Nature programs!)
+ Donate to Right Relationship Boulder - They have been working with the Northern and Southern Arapaho tribes who were displaced from the Boulder Valley by colonization to give land and land use rights back to the Arapaho people:
Four years and one hundred episodes later…Today we celebrate listening, storytelling, loyalty, each other, and the love song that is For the Wild.
We’ve been combing through the archives and crafting this very special episode for the community that has rallied around us these past couple of years. Today’s episode highlights some of the many conversations we keep in hearts and mind.
Join us this week as we revisit dialogue between Ayana and Peter Wohlleben, Stephen Jenkinson, Chief Caleen Sisk, Ron Finley, Lyla June, Kurt Russo, Jacinda Mack, Terry Tempest Williams, Reverend M. Kalani Souza, brontë velez, Stephen Harrod Buhner, Angelo Baca, Diana Beresford-Kroeger, Dune Lankard, Andrew Harvey, Derrick Jensen, Eriel Deranger, George Monbiot, Paul Watson, Nalini Nadkarni, Janine Benyus, Rue Mapp, Winona LaDuke, Nnimmo Bassey, Jacqui Patterson, Faith Gemmill, and Princess Lucaj. Plus, Ayana shares her own reflections and the personal history that birthed this podcast into a life of its own.
Consider this a thank you to the community that has supported this work in a myriad of way, to our guests for sharing with us and inspiring us, and to the group of tenacious beings that have tended to For the Wild along this journey. Upon reflecting on how we got here, we have been reminded of how important it is to work in collective structures, to find your family and hold them close. Our guests constantly remind us that this work is not meant to be done alone, that each and every one of us has something to contribute. Despite the odds, For the Wild has resisted what this world is trying to strip away from us: creativity, loyalty, joy, and commitment.
I can’t help but think that perhaps many of us arrived here, and stayed here, for the same reason, that we were feeling alone and wondering if anyone else could hear what we were hearing? Each week these episodes remind us that we are not alone, that there are others across this planet that deeply care about the things we care about, who hold immeasurable bodies of knowledge, and who are singing out in resilient song.
We can’t say, and we don’t pretend to know, just what this podcast has done for its listeners – but we promise to keep going, to continue to put alternative narratives and ways of knowing into the minds of whoever may tune in. We are so excited to keep learning and growing organically in conversation, by way of experience, and in close observation.
Ayana put it best, this podcast is an ode to sticking it out – we are devoted to the message and uplifting our co-conspirators in this movement. Consider this an affirmation of deep commitment and life itself.
Music by Lyla June
Theme Music: Like a River by Kate Wolf
As we enter into the twelfth month of the year and reflect on the tumultuous period that was 2018, For The Wild is dedicating December’s podcast episodes to healing community. This week, guest Dallas Goldtooth joins Ayana in a conversation around toxic masculinity, accountability, and dismantling patriarchy as a decolonial approach. So often, conversations around gender wounds quickly deteriorate into oversimplifications of, and accusations towards, one gender or another – failing to realize how we are all hurting under patriarchy. We must honor masculinity and femininity in harmony and give space to recognize our relatives who do not fit within, or feel represented by, today’s gender binary system.
Toxic masculinity, settler colonialism, and white supremacy are impelling us to a point of no return. If you are coming to this conversation as an environmental advocate, understand that in order to shift our relationship from that of domination over “nature” to one of reciprocity and understanding of the ecosystem we are apart of, we must examine our values with one another. What are we trying to build? What parts of ourselves must we heal to get there? How can we hold Men accountable in transformative ways? How can we envision, or for some, remember, healthy and sacred masculinity?
“Dallas Goldtooth is the Keep it in the Ground Campaign Organizer for the Indigenous Environmental Network. He is also the co-founder of the Indigenous comedy group The 1491s. Dallas is Dakota and Dine, a loving husband, dedicated father, comedian, public speaker, recovering exotic dancer, plastic shaman extraordinaire, and body double for that guy who plays Thor in them Thor Movies.”
Music by Lyla June
Donate to and support groups like Wica Agli and Mending the Sacred Hoop:
What could our reality look like if we had not grown up in a society so deeply committed to an anthropocentric understanding of cosmos and planet? What would it mean to no longer identify as “the spider in the center, but as a single strand in the spider’s web?” These questions engage our imagination to think beyond what we know and envision a future that is both deeply connected and full of gratitude. Yet mere awareness of this possibility or awareness of the possibility of biological collapse has proven to be insufficient. We know the changes we face, we read the news, we have all the data and statistics to confirm a changing climate or the perils of resource extraction and loss of biodiversity. Yes, we are aware, yet we remain disempowered and continue to engage in the habits causing detriment to what extends beyond our very skin. This week’s guest, John Seed, reminds us that to move forward we cannot simply know, we must honor and engage with our deepest emotions in order to radically change the reality we are living in.
John Seed is the founder and director of the Rainforest Information Centre in Australia, which has engaged in the protection of rainforests worldwide. Since 1979, he has been involved in direct actions, which have resulted in the protection of the Australian rainforests. He has since created numerous projects protecting rainforests throughout South America, Asia, and the Pacific. In addition, he is an accomplished songwriter, filmmaker, and author, writing and lecturing extensively on deep ecology and conducting re-Earthing workshops for the past 25 years. John co-authored “Thinking Like a Mountain – Towards a Council of All Beings” with Joanna Macy, Pat Fleming, and Arne Naess. His most recent project with the Rainforest Information Centre focuses on the protection of Ecuador’s rainforests in the Los Cedros Biological Reserve.
Join us as Ayana and John explore topics of ecological identity, embodied wisdom, moving beyond the individual, the tenets of Deep Ecology, and the Rainforest Information Centre’s recent work in Ecuador with the Los Cedros Biological Reserve.
Now is the time to confront the illusions of separation we have held on to for so long. For those of us who are longing to deeply connect with Earth, we need only to begin by connecting with ourselves.
Music by Y La Bamba
In lieu of a traditional action point for this week, we reflect on Thich Nhat Hanh’s guidance:
“If we want to continue to enjoy our rivers – to swim in them, walk beside them, even drink their water – we have to adopt the non-dual perspective. We have to meditate on being the river so that we can experience, within ourselves, the fears and hopes of the river. If we cannot feel the rivers, the mountains, the air, the animals, and other people from within their own perspective, the rivers will die and we will lose our chance for peace.” – from Peace is Every Step by Thich Nhat Hanh
"In the past several days we have bore witness to three separate fires; the Camp, Woolsey, and Hill, rage across both northern and southern California. As the death toll has currently risen to fifty, hundreds remain missing, and over a quarter of a million Californians have been forced to evacuate – it is hard to think of any other words to describe this event other than disaster or tragedy. We begin this week by offering our hearts to all the people who are impacted by these fires.
Narratives of wildfire in this country have long been muddled with myth and misinformation. On November 11th, the President of the United States perpetuated this by tweeting: "There is no reason for these massive, deadly, and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor…"
The truth of the matter is that there are plenty of reasons for these fires. For one, the landscape of California is prone to fire and decades of fire suppression, has only made it more so. As for the fires in Southern California, those have very little to do with forest management, as they are urban interface fires, not wildland fires. Today there are nearly 1.8 million homes in high fire risk area across the Western United States, and in the past two decades Americans have started 84% of wildfires in the United States. So we must also hold one another accountable in our carelessness and persistence.
This week Dr. Chad Hanson, a forest and fire ecologist, with the John Muir Project, joins us. Dr. Hanson is a member of the Sierra Club's National Board of Directors and he holds a Ph.D. in ecology from the University of California at Davis, with a research focus on fire ecology in conifer forest ecosystems. He is the co-editor and co-author of the 2015 book, "The Ecological Importance of Mixed-Severity Fires: Nature's Phoenix." Studies published by Dr. Hanson cover topics such as: habitat selection of rare wildlife species associated with habitat created by high-severity fire; post-fire conifer responses and adaptations; fire history; and current fire patterns.
Join us during this difficult week to learn about what happens in a post fire habitat, why fire is an ecological treasure, not a disaster, how significantly climate change will impact wildfires, and why both politicians and the United States Forest Service have a vested interest in spreading misinformation when it comes to forest management. " Music by Itasca
"Action Points for "Myths & Mis-Management of Wildland Fires"
+ Call your state's U.S. Senators and Congressional Representatives at the Capital Switchboard (202-224-3121) and ask them to (1) Keep the Appropriation Bill and the Farm Bill clean – keep all logging provisions off these two bills and appose any logging riders on these bills. Specifically ask them to keep the "Forest Resilience Bill" or H.R.2936 off of the Farm Bill reauthorization. (2) Ask them to support an end to any logging on National Forests and commit publicly to saying they are in support of ending logging on National Forests.
+ If you live in or near a wildfire zone, learn about defensible space. (1) Keep your chimney cleaned and screened. (2) Keep your storage shed located away from your home. (3) Avoid outdoor burning. Recycle, mulch, and compost when possible. (4) Make sure your driveway is accessible and your address is visible. (5) Scatter trees within 30 feet of your housing structure. (6) Have 100 feet of garden hose attached. (7) Keep woodpile, fuel tanks, and other burnable materials 30 feet away from your housing structure. (8) Thin and prune coniferous trees. (9) Keep grass green and mowed if it is within 30 feet, keep vegetation mowed within 100 feet of your housing structure. Learn more at http://www.readyforwildfire.org/Prepare-For-Wildfire/
+ The John Muir Project encourages more birders, "Did you know that most logging happens during nesting season? We need birders who will fight to document bird nests and occupancy in burned forests before these areas are devastated by logging. We want to use the weapon of information about the diversity and abundance of avian species in these areas to educate the public and the Forest Service on the true biodiversity costs associated with post-fire (a.k.a. salvage) logging. Please sign up today and start helping to preserve species by making their presence known." Learn more at http://johnmuirproject.org/get-involved/
+ Join the John Muir Projects mailing list to stay up to date on the fight to preserve our National Forests at http://johnmuirproject.org
The Hawaiian Islands, like so many of our planetary coastal communities, are at the forefront of rising waters, diminishing trade winds, and climate chaos. As we face the continuation and intensification of natural processes, it is easy, and quite frankly lazy, to fall into pits of despair and pessimism, both of which are an insult to the imagination. We must remind ourselves and each other that change is both possible and necessary at this precise moment in time. We can choose to prepare and respond in ways that will sustain our communities and strengthen our families. Our survival demands our action and engagement and make no mistake, our actions, no matter how small, either add to the collective harm or collective healing.
Do we choose to be predators or participants in life?
This week we interview Reverend M. Kalani Souza, a gifted storyteller, singer, songwriter, musician, performer, poet, philosopher, priest, political satirist, and peacemaker.
Kalani currently works as Community Outreach Specialist for the University of Hawaii’s National Disaster Preparedness Training Center and is the founding director of the Olohana Foundation, a non-profit 501(c) 3 focused on community capacity and global response to climate adaptation. He is a certified FEMA Instructor and serves on the Indigenous Knowledge HUI of the Pacific Risk Management Ohana, PRiMO, which works to mitigate and respond to natural disasters. He also serves as a cultural competency consultant for NOAA Pacific Services Center and works with the Indigenous Peoples Climate Change Working Group and Rising Voices Indigenous Peoples and Practice in Climate Science and Adaptation alongside the National Climate Atmospheric Research Center.
Join us in conversation as Ayana and Kalani discuss an “all hands on deck approach” to addressing human behavior and developing personal preparedness.
Music by Cover Story Doo Wop
The Anthropocene tells the story of compounding injustice, towards people and planet. It tells the story of growth for growth’s sake, living beyond boundaries sacredly assigned to us by our Mother. This week we are honored to be in dialogue with Queen Quet, Chieftess and Head-of-State for the Gullah/Geechee Nation, who is striving for justice on the front lines of the most pressing Anthropocentric intersections: climate change, resource extraction, corrupt and negligent government bodies, land theft, encroaching development and exploitative tourism.
Taking on Indigenous sovereignty, land rights, and climate change resiliency plans, Queen Quet is a warrior of justice for not only her peoples, but all of humanity.
The Gullah/Geechee are descendants of the first enslaved Central and West Africans who remained isolated along the inland, coastal area, and Sea Islands between present-day Jacksonville, North Carolina and Jacksonville, Florida. After the Civil War, these peoples were the first group of African descendants to own land in mass in the United States, allowing them to preserve their African cultural traditions and Indigenous practices. By obtaining land and being able to pass it down to their descendants, the Gullah/Geechee were able to continue their centuries-long relationship with the land. In 2000, they were internationally recognized as a nation.
Hilton Head, a revered golfing and vacation paradise for the wealthy receives almost 2 million incoming tourists annually to visit the over 25 golf courses or "plantations." Each posted up on stolen land of the Gullah/Geechee heritage and funeral sites. The rampant development of this land is just one of the many attacks on these people and their land.
Queen Quet and the Gullah/Geechee nation are an exemplary vision of resilience in an age of deterioration, holding on to spirit and hope amidst. Facing the onslaught of colonial terrorism towards both Black and Indigenous lives, Queen Quet's vision is lighting the way forward in troubled times.
Queen Quet, Marquetta L. Goodwine is a published author, computer scientist, lecturer, mathematician, historian, columnist, preservationist, environmental justice advocate, film consultant, and “The Art-ivist.” Queen Quet was selected, elected, and enstooled by her people to be the first Queen Mother, “head pun de bodee,” and official spokesperson for the Gullah/Geechee Nation. As a result, she is respectfully referred to as “Queen Quet, Chieftess and Head-of-State for the Gullah/Geechee Nation.” She is the founder of the premier advocacy organization for the continuation of Gullah/Geechee culture, the Gullah/Geechee Sea Island Coalition. Queen Quet has won countless awards for being a woman of distinction, for her scholarship, writings, artistic presentation, activism, cultural continuation and environmental preservation. She was the first Gullah/Geechee person to speak on behalf of her people before the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland and at the United Nations COP 22 Climate Change Conference in Marrakesh, Morocco.
Music by The Gullah Singers, Live recordings from GullahGeechee TV Nayshun Nyews with Queen Quet & The GullahGeechee Nation International Music Movement Festival.
How often do we zoom out to take collective responsibility for our impact as a human species on the voiceless nonhumans? What is constantly being sacrificed in exchange for our leisure, our luxury, our consumption? The inherent abuses of capitalism and the supremacist mindset do not value life.
A stark reality that a corporation has rights in the court, while animals have the same rights as a car or a couch. This is the core of our insentience and our inanimacy which merit our Taker culture.
This week we interview Kevin Schneider, an attorney and the Executive Director of the Nonhuman Rights Project. Founded in 1996 by attorney Steven M. Wise, the Nonhuman Rights Project works to secure legally recognized fundamental rights for nonhuman animals through litigation, advocacy, and education.
Their mission is to change the legal status of at least some nonhuman animals from mere “things,” which lack the capacity to possess any legal right, to “persons,” who possess such fundamental rights as bodily integrity and bodily liberty and those other legal rights to which evolving standards of morality, scientific discovery, and human experience entitle them.
Since 2013, the Nonhuman Rights Project has filed lawsuits on behalf of non-human animals in captivity – including four chimpanzees and three elephants, so far – seeking a writ of habeas corpus. The organization is fighting for the autonomy of our more than human kin as we face the need for multi species liberation.
Music by Izaak Opatz & Sun Araw
Palm oil has become the second-most valued oil after petroleum, and 85% of all produced and exported palm oil comes from Indonesia and Malaysia, making them the largest producers of palm oil worldwide. According to The Nature Conservancy, forest loss, largely for palm oil concessions, in Indonesia has contributed to the death of nearly 3,000 orangutans a year over the past three decades. At our current rate of destruction, It is predicted that orangutans will face complete extinction by 2050.
“The situation with orangutans is dire. As the forests are annihilated, orangutans are left homeless, they are refugees in their own land. The canopies where they find food and where they live is demolished and they are forced on to the ground. They are not knuckle walkers, or used to the ground and that is where they are forced to live. So they become victims, they are sitting ducks. Anyone can shoot them, and that is what happens. They are killed for their children in the pet trade, they are killed as agricultural pests from palm oil plantations.”--Dr. Biruté Mary Galdikas
This week we are joined by Dr. Biruté Mary Galdikas, a globally renowned anthropologist, conservationist, and orangutan researcher. She has been researching and working with wild and wild-born ex-captive orangutans for nearly half a century. With the exception of Dr. Jane Goodall, she has conducted the longest continuous study of any wild population of animals in the history of science. Since first arriving in Borneo in 1971, she has implemented numerous orangutan research and conservation. In 1986, Dr. Galdikas established the Orangutan Foundation International, based in Los Angeles. OFI funds operations in Indonesia and has sister organizations in Australia and Canada. Dr. Galdikas is the recipient of the prestigious Kalpataru Award, the highest honor given by the Republic of Indonesia for outstanding environmental leadership, she is the only person of non-Indonesian birth and one of the first women to be recognized by the Indonesian government with this award. She has published four books, including her biography Reflections of Eden.
The number one thing ordinary citizens can do to mitigate this threat to orangutan's continued existence is cease consumption of palm oil products and raise awareness on this insidious, destructive oil.
The most common products that contain palm oil range from processed foods like cookies, ice cream, bread, cereal, nut butters, frozen meals, chocolate, granola bars, candy, chips, dried fruit, pastries, crackers, and pet food, to personal care items like lipstick, laundry detergent, toothpaste, mascara, foundation, nail polish, vitamins, lip balms, soap, shampoo, and conditioner.
There are over 200 names for palm oil and ingredients derived from palm oil. In 2014 the European Union made palm oil labeling compulsory, but in the United States, it is legal, and common, for companies to use the term “vegetable oil” when they really mean palm oil. A good rule of thumb is to avoid any products that have ingredients with the word “palm” in it, i.e. palmitoyl, palmate, palm kernel etc. Another trick you can use is by looking at a product’s saturated fat content, if it makes up more than 40% of its total fat content, it will almost always contain palm oil.
Common alternative names for palm oil include: Vegetable Oil, Vegetable Fat, Vegetable Glycerin, Palm Kernel, Palm Kernel Oil, Palm Fruit Oil, Palmate, Palmitate, Palmolein, Glyceryl, Stearate, Stearic Acid, Elaeis Guineensis, Palmitic Acid, Palm Stearine, Palmitoyl Oxostearamide, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-3, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Kernelate, Sodium Palm Kernelate, Sodium Lauryl Lactylate/Sulphate, Hyrated Palm Glycerides, Etyl Palmitate, Octyl Palmitate, and Palmityl Alcohol.
For a full list of alternative names visit: https://www.palmoilinvestigations.org/names-for-palm-oil.html
You can bet that most prepackaged snacks or mass-produced personal care products from corporate giants like Nestle, Unilever, Kraft, etc. contain palm oil. One of the best steps you can take is to replace store bought with homemade. If you choose to continue to buy products that might have palm oil in them, research the brands you frequent individually and try to choose products that contain clearly labeled oils, like “100% sunflower oil.”
Less than 7% of the total production of palm oil is certified as sustainable. Additionally, the vast majority of organizations dedicated to protecting orangutans and the rainforest, state that there is really no such thing as “sustainable” palm oil. In fact, a Borneo Futures report for the Orangutan Land Trust and Wilmar International found that orangutan populations decline at similar rates between RSPO-certified and non-certified plantations. So the strongest action you can take is to avoid palm oil altogether. As Dr. Biruté Mary Galdikas mentions in our episode, if you use palm oil-based products, you have orangutan blood on your hands.
Of course, you can always participate in both political and consumer outreach. Dr. Biruté Mary Galdikas’s organization, Orangutan Foundation International, encourages us to write to officials in both the Cabinet of Indonesia and the Cabinet of Malaysia and express our global concern for orangutans, rainforests, and forest-dwelling communities. If you discover that a company you purchase products from is using palm oil, or not being transparent about their ingredients, we encourage you to take a few minutes to call, email, or tweet them and let them know that you are considering their use, or non-disclosure, or palm oil in your purchasing decisions.
Ben Goldfarb on Beaver's Complex Inter-Weavings
To continue our theme month of More Than Human Kin, we focus in on a rodent kin who since time immemorial has maintained a role as one keystone species within our beloved Turtle Island: The Beaver.
In 1620, pre-colonization, there were an estimated 400 million beavers roaming and shaping Turtle Island. Most of us have forgotten, or maybe never knew, that we live on a land stewarded and engineered by the tireless workings of beaver. Before the fur trade, or as Ben Goldfarb coins “fur-pocalypse,” much of the American midwest was a soggy, wetland maintained by the work of beavers stewarding hundreds of millions of ponds and wildlife habitat. Beaver's build environments which serve as baseline habitat for almost every living more than human kin, from large to small, moose to salmon. Natural beaver habitat is essential to fostering a thriving network of wildlife.
Often we don’t think of genocidal mass beaver trapping as a true environmental catastrophe on par with deforestation or mining, but perhaps we have forgotten the intelligence and value of the original co-stewards of this land. What is the relationship between the destruction of beaver population and ecological collapse? How was the decimation of beaver directly linked with colonization & exploitation of the Indigenous people's on Turtle Island? Learn how the slaughtering of beaver became the gateway to settler colonization and extraction culture.
We are honored to be joined by beaver believer, Ben Goldfarb this week on For The Wild. Ben Goldfarb is an independent environmental journalist based in Spokane, Washington, whose writing has appeared in publications such as Mother Jones, Science, The Guardian, and High Country News. He is the author of "Eager: The Surprising, Secret Life of Beavers and Why They Matter."
Music by Fountainsun
It feels only right that we begin our “more-than-human” themed month of October in honor of the mother Orca, Tahlequah, who carried her dead calf on a “tour of grief” for more than a 1,000 miles over a 17-day period. It is a profound reminder that we share our place and experience with other beings that bear memory, whose capacity for love and loss mirror our own. It also highlights the uncertainty of the Southern Resident Orca's livelihood, and quite frankly the livelihood of our planetary community, if we continue to act with reckless abandon. There has not been a successful Orca birth in the Salish Sea since 2015.
This week we interview Kurt Russo who has worked on environmental issues, land preservation, and treaty rights with The Lummi Nation of the Salish Sea for 40 years. He is also the Executive Director of The Foundation for Indigenous Medicine and the former Director of The Native American Land Conservancy. He holds a BS and MS in Forestry and a Ph.D. in History.
The Lummi word “Elchnexwtex” refers to a time when all life forms were one and related, that was a time when the Black Fish and the "young ones", the Humans, were one. The Black Fish, "Qwe Lhol Mechen", are known as the people under the sea.
Dr. Russo and The Lummi people believe that Tahlequah carried her baby on the Tour of Grief because she knows we are watching. Her carrying her baby was an intentional act -- not only an act of grieving but wanted a reaction from those who live above the water.
“The world we live in is in a deep crisis and the people who live above the water need to know they don’t own this place. We were gifted it. Until that is understood we will see more dead calves.”
This episode is a call to the human heart. The impassioned Kurt Russo, speaking on behalf of the qwe lhol mechen and The Lummi Nation, is one that will imprint itself on your memory as a cold hard look into the mirror of humanity.
Music by Monplainsir & Amoeba
Our fear of death and our obsession with legacy has informed much of the dominant culture’s relationship to development, endless growth and ultimately, environmental collapse. The reality of our existence is each of us will die. We have 9 billion bodies on this planet, more living people than ever before, and where do our bodies go when we take our last breath? Our death industry has reached peak toxicity making the business a true economic and ecological monster.
As reported by Forbes, in 1960 the average cost of a funeral was $706 and only 3.56% of bodies were cremated. Today, the average funeral costs between $8,000- $10,000, and about 42% of people are cremated. The US funeral industry accounts for about $20 billion in annual economic activity, with around 130,000 employees that make a living on the 1.5 million people that go to rest each year.
300 years ago, the funerial industrial complex did not exist. We dealt with death in a completely different way. Our sterilization and separation of our death is very representative of the way in which we live our modern lives.
Our conversation today is with Elizabeth Fournier, who has worked seven generations in the funeral industry, focusing on green burial and rethinking the way we bury our dead.
What is the relationship between the civil war and our funerial industrial complex?
What is the impact of putting our dead, and now toxic, bodies in to the earth?
What are the environmental concerns of cremation?
How can our deaths contribute positively to the regeneration of our earth?
Elizabeth Fournier, affectionately called “The Green Reaper,” is the author of The Green Burial Guidebook: Everything You Need to Plan an Affordable, Environmentally Friendly Burial. She is owner and operator of Cornerstone Funeral Services, outside of Portland, Oregon. She serves on the Advisory Board for the Green Burial Council, which sets the standard for green burial in North America. She lives on a farm with her husband, daughter and many goats. Find out more about her work at www.thegreenreaper.org.
Music by Anne Laplantine & Kevin Macleod
This is a beautiful conversation about collective memory, power and strategy regarding the climate change movement. Heather Milton-Lightening has seventeen years of organizing experience from local issues to international campaigns. Heather was a founding member of Native Youth Movement and has supported the national Native youth network that supported Native youth organizing across the US and Canada with the Indigenous Environmental Network From funding board participation on the Funding Exchange Saguaro Fund and Honor the Earth; to helping build the Indigenous People's Power Project through the Ruckus Society that trains on non-violent direct action tools. Heather currently is the Co-Director for the Indigenous Tar Sands Campaign out of the Polaris Institute in Ottawa, ON.
Among other topics, Ayana and Heather discuss truth and reconciliation, true ally-ship, the commonality of Trump and Trudeau and reflections from Standing Rock.
As Canada receives such glowing reviews globally for their relationship to climate agreements, in truth, Canada is run predominantly as a resource extraction economy on 98.2% stolen land. It seems time and time again, oil and gas development are “left out” of plans for Canadian regulations on climate change while Canada continues to receive accolades for liberalism. Canada ongoing police violence and land extraction reek havoc on Indigenous communities covering the entire country.
In fact, often known as the Highway of Tears, a 450-mile stretch of the Trans-Canada Highway through northern British Columbia is emblematic of a phenomenon that has plagued Canada for decades: violence against Indigenous women.
None of us are off the hook in this time. Each community is facing a particular circumstance of injustice for Indigenous communities and land destruction rooted in extractive tendencies. Ally-ship is not one size fits all, it does not come in one form; each community faces a particular situation that asks of each of alleged allies to attune to the way in which we best participate that rewrites the paradigm of service.
Music by Lobo Loco
“We thought it was oil
But it was blood”
This week’s conversation is with Nnimmo Bassey, an inspirationally committed Nigerian activist, who is fighting the global petrol military complex to reveal the full ecological and human horrors of oil production.
Nnimmo Bassey is director of the ecological think-tank, Health
of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF) and member steering committee of Oilwatch International. He was chair of Friends of the Earth International and Executive Director of Nigeria’s Environmental Rights Action. He was a co-recipient of the 2010 Right Livelihood Award also known as the “Alternative Nobel Prize.”
Our imaginary borders have tainted our relationship to fossil fuel complacence; global warming does not exist inside of borders, species extinction doesn’t follow state lines and blood is on all of our hands. As Nnimmo writes, “we thought it was oil, but it was blood.”
Oil production and plastic consumption are the siamese twins of our cannibalism. Plastic is the tangible and physical manifestation of our ceaseless relationship we have with fossil fuels and it is destructive beyond our imagination. We need to be confronting our addiction to plastic and fossil fuels both with legislation and in our individual daily lives. Not one or the other, but simultaneously.
The global complacency about the oil war in Niger Delta is the embodied intersection of global racism and ecological destruction as we continue to employ Africa as the resource colony and sacrifice zone of the world. He asks us to stand in solidarity together to break the shackles of these oppressive forces as the forces of climate chaos continue to erupt.
Thanks for tuning in to our archived episodes! We loved sharing our staff favorites this past month that make our souls sing and enliven our relationship to this work. We listened in again to the wisdom of Robin Wall Kimmerer, Janine Benyus, Ron Finley, Stephen Harrod Buhner and Leah Penniman. This month we are excited to welcome back brand new weekly episodes, the first off is with Steven Martyn on Letting Land Lead.
"We have interrupted an orchestra that is already in session. What we can do is stand at the edge of it and hope that nature will accept us.” This week we are welcoming a dialogue with artist, farmer, wildcrafter, builder, and teacher of plant and plant identification, Steven Martyn.
Steven and Ayana explore the ideas of co-creative integrated polyculture, living reciprocally with the land, autonomous evolution of nature, invasive species, and the origins of our food and medicine plants.
Steven has more than thirty years experience living co-creatively with the Earth, practicing traditional living skills of growing food, building and healing. In 1996, he started the Algonquin Tea Company, North America’s premiere bioregional tea company. In 2014, his partner, Megan, and he started the Sacred Gardener Earth Wisdom School. Steven released his first book, “The Story of the Madawaska Forest Garden” in 2016, and his second “Sacred Gardening” was released in June 2017.
This week’s music is by The Range of Light Wilderness and Lea Thomas.
This conversation between Ayana and Leah is beyond inspiring, it confronts us with the harsh realities of injustice by two voices that simultaneously speak of healing, possibility, and reconciliation. We must acknowledge the current state of our food system; as of 2016 nearly 42 million people in this country are living in food insecure households, 85% of farmworkers are Latinx or Hispanic workers, yet less than 3% of farms are owned by Latinxs or Hispanics, industrial agriculture is responsible for 24% of climate change, 1/3 of farmworkers live below the poverty line, and while the average wage for a white farmer is around $12/hr, farmers of color average about $9 an hour.
Reflecting upon these statistics it becomes so clear that land and food sovereignty are essential to liberation. Many of For The Wild’s podcast episodes allude to the work of our imagination and the process of envisioning a world of reciprocity and balance outside of the corrosive and supremacist capitalist machine. What Leah Penman and the folks at Soul Fire Farm do is exactly that, they have created a vision for a different future; one in which food gives life and communities are able to sustainably support their farmers.
By re-evaluating our relationship with land and agency, we can fix the problems of our food system and heal our communities in the process. I hope this episode inspires you to take action and support your own community, wherever you may be.
“All of us humans need the same thing. I ask the question around the world, what is the single most important thing to your life? People say, “love, god, kids, my wife, my cats,” but .000% say oxygen.
What I am trying to do is to teach people how think differently about what we value. That’s what needs to be cultivated, the garden between our ears.”-- Ron Finley
Molly here, Media Director of For The Wild. My episode encore is a recent one that premiered this May with “Ron Finley on Cultivating the Garden of the Mind”. When I first hear this episode I listened to it a few days in a row. I was blown away by the universality of Ron’s wisdom, there is no one out of the reach of his contact. He is speaking to all human people and asking them to cultivate the space between our ears-- our mind. He is asking us to inquire about our socialization, our indoctrination into a capitalistic system of values that perpetuate unwellness.
Ron Finley is an artist, farmer and visionary who “envisions a world where gardening is gangsta, where cool kids know their nutrition and where communities embrace the act of growing, knowing and sharing the best of the earth’s fresh-grown food.”
What I love about Ron is he isn’t trying to be someone else’s gardener, he doesn’t want to manage a bunch of farms around the city of Los Angeles; he wants everyone to critically assess the values we have inherited under the great hand of Capitalism. Who and what do we have to step over to have our needs met? What kind of action can we take in our daily lives towards a healthier philosophy of being rooted in the values of nature? He wants this to be something every single person, community and society takes active participation towards building. What does it look like to move beyond the “build it and they will come mentality” towards a more inclusive “let’s build it together” paradigm of collectives and cooperation?
This week’s encore episode opens up a plethora of curiosities around human's relationship to art, creation and mind altering substances.
An evergreen classic chosen by Research Director, Madison Magalski.
Stephen Harrod Buhner is the earth speaking on behalf of themselves. He so beautifully and scientifically challenges us to give ourselves fully and humbly in our relationships with our more than human elders and kin, he asks us to walk our talk when it comes to unlearning human supremacy and civilized consumptive conditioning through relationship to plants.
Humans have always made things more beautiful than they perhaps had to have been for functionality. We dialogue with Stephen about what is the particular role of art in these times and how humans have used intoxicants to create that which comes forth from spirit and moves through us.
Art allows us to shift.
Art acts as a depatterning figure. Art shifts the perceptual frame of the people experiencing it. Art upsets.
“Art is an amazing thing. For example a poem, when someone is able to capture something that cannot be captured in words and put it in words. It causes one to have an experiential perception of the world that is not in the words, but rather gather momentum and then land in another frame of reference. This is a crucial element of Art.”
As always, listen in weekly on forthewild.world/listen and subscribe & review our podcast on iTunes.