In 6th grade, I heard about the mass killing of baby harp seals for pelts. I asked my dad what people can do to get the laws we need or change laws we don't: he told me about petitions. I collected a hundred signatures. Eventually, bans resulted. I knew that those signatures were a part of it and that felt good. I vowed to put nature first.
Later, I learned that those original bans had caused true hardship on Native populations, who relied on the minimal sales from surplus seal pelts to help their diminished economies. The real culprits were big industries who performed massive killings, but on whom the bans did not apply (until now). That brought me grief. The beauty of the world's complexity is also its great challenge as we move through the gateway of action to justice for all life.
Any one who is an eco, environmental, sustainable, nature, earth educator is aware of the fine line between education and advocacy. My job is to understand where, when, why, what, and how to work toward one or the other, depending on situation and purpose. When I teach, I'm keenly aware that my motivation includes advocacy. When I'm advocating, I insist that education is always included.
Today, as an earth advocate, I guide special projects through to imaginative completion, using a natural systems approach to collaborate on the Earth's behalf. I've worked on behalf of many animals and ecosystems over the years; presently, pollinators are my focus. My current projects, “Bee is for Pollinators! not pesticides,” and “Too Bee or Not to Bee: Life in the Anthropocene,” include the pollinator tapestry series.
Current Program: “Bee is for Pollinators! not pesticides”
As a pollinator advocate, I share the bees' and my unusual story in relation to pesticides along with my pollinator tapestries. Six fine art tapestries each focus on a different aspect of pollinator ecology to promote awareness. Adapted to various audiences. To view and read more about the pollinator tapestry series, please see the Present Weaving Portfolio.
If interested in the “Bee is for Pollinators! not pesticides” project, or to discuss other advocacy work, please Contact Me.
Ramah-Navajo Weaving Association, Statue of Liberty Rug Project, NM: I stopped by the Kozikowski's Medenales weaving shop to ask about the poster of the Statue of Liberty wrapped in a Navajo Chief's blanket. Nancy said she designed the poster to raise funds for a group of Ramah Navajo weavers. They wanted to weave a blanket for the Statue's hundredth anniversary, stating that Indians are the ones who did the welcoming to this country. What a surprise—Ramah was where I was headed to work as a ranger at El Morro National Monument.
I sought out the Ramah weavers, who, because I wove, asked me to design the state flags for the blanket's border. The wool was sheared, spun, and dyed from churro sheep, the economic hub of their still semi-nomadic lifestyles. I offered to set up a reception with the blanket at the monument before they traveled to New York for the presentation ceremonies. The timing coincided with the “Hands Across America” benefit, allowing Natives and non-natives to participate together in the day's events.
UUCCWC Green Sanctuary, Hillsboro, OR: I visited a Unitarian Universalist church near my home that were starting on the path to become a “Green Sanctuary.” The UU's are a principle- rather than belief-based religion. The 7th Principle states, “Respect for the interdependent web of which we are a part.” The world has come a long way in my short lifetime—most world religions now embrace the relationship with the Earth as a core value of their tradition. I signed on to guide the effort.
The church already hosted the Northwest Earth Institute discussion courses and was doing an energy audit. To give the program a foundation, I introduced the ecological footprint concept to the church system at all levels . Then, supported the congregation through reactions and responses over a five-year period to gain accreditation. I hosted Get-to-Church-Some-Other-Way Sundays and Turn-Off-Your-TV weeks, and co-directed the 4th of July Celebration of Interdependence Family Camps, featuring the Great Universe Story Pageant. Recently, my sermon, To Bee or Not to Bee: Life in the Anthropocene, was very well received.