Is Being Depressed a Mental-Health Problem — Or a Sane Reaction to Insane Society?

Today I read yet another news article about how so many young people are suffering from depression and suicidal tendencies in response to the social isolation brought about by the pandemic.

Reading this really makes my blood boil. Of course, I hate that so many people — especially young people, who haven’t yet had a chance to experience many years of life — are in such distress. But even more than that, I hate seeing their distress labeled “depression” or “mental illness,” when what’s really going on (in my opinion) is that our young people are having a perfectly appropriate response to a deeply messed-up society.

Even before Covid, depression and anxiety were epidemic in young people (and in older ones for that matter). But instead of facing up to the root ills of society, we keep insisting on trying to fix the “troubled” people.

I think the so-called “troubled” people are actually really tuned-in. And when we numb them out with meds and diagnoses, and dumb them down with mindless entertainment and with so-called “education” that doesn’t really teach them how to think and act for themselves — that actually teaches them to distrust their feelings — it’s like we are disabling one of the “fire alarms” of our society.

We don’t want to disable the fire alarm to stop it from making that obnoxious noise so we can roll over and go back to sleep. We want to get to the root of the fire.

We need to be modeling resilience for our kids. We need to be modeling honesty, authenticity, integrity. Things are wrong with our society. At a time when we need to be using every last cubic micron of our brains to marshal up mad waves of quantum creativity, we are inventing … self-driving cars. Really??

We are spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars, and hours, a year on streaming entertainment services, yet we say we don’t have money or time to plant a garden, or go for walks with our families, meet our neighbors, tell our kids inspiring stories about courage and resilience, let them paint their rooms any color they want, look through old family photo albuns together, tell them stories about their ancestors (whoever of us in today’s world even know our ancestors anymore), teach them how to build things and write things and make their own science experiments.

I say “we” in a very general, least-common-denominator collective way; I know that here I am preaching to the choir. You guys get it.

What I want everyone to take away from this is that our work is important. Artists, homeschoolers, activists, tree-huggers, edge-walkers, eccentrics, weirdoes, hippies, kooks, advocates for unpopular but necessary causes. We need to help kids learn how to tap their creativity and imagination to meet their needs and find new ways of being in the world. Some of us are still in the process of learning how to do that ourselves. Still, the task of equipping our kids for life can’t wait.

We’re all students and teachers at the same time. Mother Earth is our homeschool planet. Outdoor activity of all kinds — interaction with nature, and with each other in outdoor settings — needs to be a top priority right this minute. For us adults as much as for kids. Disconnecting from nature is how we got ourselves and the planet into this mess in the first place.

Further Exploration:

• “Virus’s Toll on Mental Health — Doctors Describe Wave Among Adolescents” (G. Wayne Miller / The Providence Journal USA TODAY NETWORK; in Daytona Beach News-Journal): “the director of the Division of Pediatric Hospital Medicine at Hasbro Children’s Hospital … has witnessed what he described … as ‘a massive pandemic of mentally ill adolescents’ … And when I say massive, I don’t want to understate this’ … He referred to a recent Friday ‘when I looked at the census of the hospital. Three-quarters of the hospitalwas adolescents who wanted to hurt themselves because of mental illness. … ‘We’ve been seeing significant depressive symptoms and anxiety symptoms a lot,’ she said. ‘And a higher frequency of kids who are coming in because of suicide attempts –and very serious suicide attempts. … We’ve been seeing more irritability and aggression in the home. We’ve been seeing more psychosis as well.'”

Back-to-Nature Bootcamp — Nature: The Golden Ticket to Happy Kids Who Become Balanced Adults (from “Reconnecting Our Kids to Nature, March 1-5 @1pm MT. Remember when you were growing up … spending hours outside, playing in the dirt. No tablets or cell phones. It’s a different picture today, isn’t it? The truth is … kids need to be outside to grow up to be healthy and balanced. But it’s also true that in today’s fast paced world, it’s hard to find the time, patience, and energy to make it happen. In our Back to Nature Bootcamp, we help parents make a plan to get their kids back to the basics – back to nature and what childhood should be – all while practicing academics in the process. Easy strategies to ground your kids in this crazy, fast-paced world. Catapult your kid’s life to a happy & healthy adulthood using the power of nature. Give your kids the tools and support they need to reach their potential. Plan a week of academic nature activities in less than 10 minutes.” (This event sounds like just the ticket for helping kids, by addressing the “Nature Deficit Disorder” that is harming us all and is a root cause of our overall societal dysfunction.)

Getting Kids Outside & Learning About Nature — with Dr. Jenny: A Facebook group I just joined, at the invitation of a fellow permie. I suggest you check it out also! This group is how I found out about the “Back to Nature Bootcamp” described in the previous paragraph.

Big Fat Green Download, Holy Cannoli!

Hi everyone! How are you doing? I hope you are all safe and warm and enjoying life. (But if you’re not, and want/need to talk, I’m here with a listening ear for you.)

Speaking of listening … For the past few weeks, I’ve been taking a bunch of classes and webinars, including the Transformative Adventures Permaculture Design Certificate course, and also this week a conference called The Nature of Cities Festival, which is all about retrofitting our cities to be “biophilic.” Loving nature; integrated with nature.

Plus an 8-part weekly series called “Local Motive Tour” from Strong Towns (a grassroots urban-revitalization movement that I feel is very aligned with permaculture principles); and a class via EDX called “CitiesX: The Past, Present, and Future of Urban Life.”

And webinars from my local native plant society, and webinars from 1000 Friends of Florida … And … And …

In short, a big fat supercharged education bonanza!! (much of it free; all of it a high-quality investment).

It’s all very beautiful and powerful stuff, and all pointing in the same directions. Cross-disciplinary collaboration; grassroots empowerment. Making peace with nature, working in partnership with nature, respecting all species.

I feel inspired and comforted of course, knowing how many more people are “on the same page” in a very deep and organized and professional way than I realized.

But along with these feelings, I’m also experiencing a mixture of other feelings. Data dump overload (pretty natural under the circumstances). Deep sadness (for the planet? for what’s been lost already?). Regret (for not being able to do more even now? for all the years I did not think to do more, while all these other people were already so fully engaged?). Frustration (for having limited bandwidth, even for lectures on topics that I love, live, and breathe). And a mix of other shades of emotion.

I’m not posting this to whine though. I’m very grateful to be able to contribute anything to helping Mother Earth and all of her creatures. I’m all about moving forward and doing the best right now with what I have right now. I just felt like sharing the complete picture of my “inner landscape” in case some of you might be having similar thoughts and feelings. And if you are, I want you to extend kindness and understanding to yourself.

We are here right now. We are connected. And healing ourselves is definitely an essential piece of the puzzle. And that takes a certain amount of bandwidth.

Permaculture has helped me on my healing path. AND, also, I consider my ongoing path of healing (healing myself, and helping others heal) to be an essential part of my permaculture practice.

Thank you all for being here and for listening.

Oh, and on the physical landscape, I have been adding new plant babies to my yard (mostly natives, to feed the pollinators and other wildlife).

And, in other permaculture landscape news, I cut my hair today (I do that 2-3 times a year, leaning my head directly over one of the mulch piles or compost zones in my micro urban yard). When my hair gets long enough that it might need a comb or brush (neither of which I own anymore), is when I know it’s time to cut it!! (My other key haircutting cue is when the Florida summer heat starts to kick in bigtime, but that won’t be til May or so.)

What the heck does cutting my hair have to do with permaculture?!?! Well, it falls under self-care. Also, for me, it’s an act of self-reliance and personal aesthetic sovereignty. That might sound goofy and heavy. But in the past, various people have tried to exercise control over my hair and other aspects of my appearance. Even strangers have tried, as if they felt they had some right to me looking how THEY wanted — as if I were furniture in their universe, just there for decor. There was no need for me to go along with that. It doesn’t help anyone!

Today I laughed as it occurred to me that it has taken me til almost age 60 to de-colonize my own hair.

By the way, I know a lot of really nice hair salons, nail salons, makeup places, etc., that are run by good people. And I enjoy sharing my friends’ delight when they go get a new hairstyle, makeup, nails. I just personally happen to be into the DIY hair and low-maintenance looks for the past few years. And I think everyone should be free to do their own thing looks-wise.

And I enjoy being able to compost my hair cuttings! (I do love wearing huge huge earrings and necklaces though, even tho i am not thusly adorned in the pic.)

Hope you all are having a good day. Virtual Deep-Green Hugs to you!

P.S. Earlier this week I wrote a post “When it’s warmer outside than in.” My current super-mega-download of eco education and inspiration is definitely an example of that happening to me! The green professional world outside my usual familiar terrain is very hot! Fizzing and popping!! I also wrote a post “Moving the Needle.” And today it occurred to me that my mega-booster-shot of education currently in progress is moving the needle inside my own mind. Which of course increases my capacity to move the needle out in the world. I hope you are finding ways to do the same!

P.P.S. If you want to see my haircut (for those of you who have met me, it’s just my usual “short” mode), you can visit this post on my Deep Green page on Facebook.

Moving the Needle (2): Air Travel as an Example

Sometimes I’ll reread something I’ve written (or replay in my head something I’ve said), and think, Gosh that sounds so extreme! But last night in the middle of the night, I suddenly woke up bolt-upright remembering something really extreme I read recently, that reminded me of why I’m so adamant about minimizing my footprint and encouraging others to do the same. You can see it in the “Further Reading” section at the bottom of this post.

In my previous post “Moving the Needle,” I wrote about how we green-minded people have the power to shift the mainstream norms of consumption toward a norm that’s sustainable. We can’t control what other people do, and most of the time we can’t change them by verbally trying to tell them what to do. However, we can influence people by the example of our own actions.

Like, if I refuse to accept any car rides that are out of someone’s way, it makes an impression on people. It might make some of the people around me stop and think about their own tendency to get in a car and drive somewhere when they could instead walk or bicycle, or even eliminate the trip entirely. At the very least, it shows them that there are people getting through the day another way. Our visible actions (or non-actions) can stick with people more than we think (as I have sometimes found out long after the fact), and can motivate them to reflect on things they hadn’t given a second thought to.

Today I read an article about a woman who was feeling deprived because travel restrictions had kept her from taking her daughter to visit her parents, the daughter’s grandparents. The granddaughter, age 3, had “only” gotten to see the grandparents three times. I should mention that the mother, her husband, and the kids live in the USA; the parents live in a Middle Eastern country. So, about 7,000 miles and a 14-hour flight away.

The mother wants her parents’ help with the kids. Perfectly natural! Raising kids is a huge task, and one of the wrong turns I feel we’ve made in USA society is being so individualistic that we end up being too cut off from multiple generations of family.

The child is missing her grandparents. Also perfectly natural.

What’s not natural is that the mother in this article didn’t seem to see a problem with the fact that, during her daughter’s first nine months of life, she and her daughter flew to the Mideast to see the grandparents three separate times. In nine months. (After that, the US government implemented travel restrictions against the country where the grandparents were born and still live.) Why didn’t she see a problem with taking three trips of that magnitude in nine months? Because air travel has become so commonplace and (relatively) inexpensive. The Mom isn’t wealthy or anything; she works in academia.

The mother laments being cut off from her parents. That’s natural.

She says getting to see your parents isn’t privilege. Well, actually, if you choose to live halfway around the world from your parents, getting to see them is privilege.

I forget where I first read it, but there’s a phrase “love miles.” It’s the miles we log traveling to see family and friends who live far away. And what allows them to be far away from us, or we from them, is cheap air travel, plus probably at some point someone took the bait of a geographically distant job opportunity. Nothing wrong with that, but there are consequences of it that we’ve been in denial about. Fragmented families and social isolation, for example. And a big fat carbon footprint.

Anyway! The reason I bring this up in the context of “moving the needle” is that as I was reading this article, my blood was boiling and I had the fleeting urge to write a social-media post about how obnoxious and spoiled this woman was. I did not do that. I even had the fleeting urge to tell the woman herself what a planet-trashing spoiled brat she was. I did not do that (and wouldn’t have even if I’d had a way to contact her).

Not only would either of those actions be unkind and unnecessary; they also would be very unlikely to motivate this person or anyone else to want to think about the carbon footprint of their travel. (Besides all that, I don’t know this person’s circumstances other than what was mentioned in the article, and I really have no business judging her.)

What I will do, is continue to pursue low-footprint alternatives of travel. And low-footprint alternatives to travel. And I’ll share my choices in a matter-of-fact way, when the topic of transportation comes up on Zero-Waste and permaculture groups. Or when friends ask me about vacation plans, or ask me if I’m attending this or that event that’s not either online, or outdoors in walking/cycling distance. I’ll also continue to praise the organizers of conferences, webinars, and meetings for having their events online. Even small communications of this kind help set new reference points; encourage people to reexamine norms that have become very solidified.

Further Reading:

Sometimes I’ll reread something I’ve written (or replay in my head something I’ve said), and think, Gosh that sounds so mean and so extreme! But last night in the middle of the night, I suddenly woke up bolt-upright remembering something horrifying I read recently, that reminded me of why I’m so adamant about shifting the cultural norms around travel and other high-footprint human activities. The following is an excerpt from a piece by Bill McKibben, in his email newsletter “Climate Forward” (New Yorker Magazine). It’s titled “Way Too Soon To Hack the Sky”:

Sometime in the next two weeks, an independent advisory committee is expected to issue a recommendation on a request from a team of Harvard scientists to fly a balloon from Kiruna, in Sweden’s Lapland region. The team would test a flight platform that might someday be used to inject a sample of aerosols into the stratosphere. Though this initial request is only for a test of a flight platform, a successful run would likely mean more tests, with aerosols of calcium carbonate and sulfates. These particles could hack the planet’s climate, by reflecting some of the sun’s light back out to space before it can reach the ground. It’s an ominous moment in the planet’s history—and one we should back away from for now.

This so-called solar geoengineering is the ultimate, break-the-glass response to the climate crisis. It’s been in the air, so to speak, for a long time (I wrote about it in 1989, in “The End of Nature”), but the fullest account yet comes in my colleague Elizabeth Kolbert’s marvellous new book, “Under a White Sky.” The title acknowledges the fact that this atmospheric hack could change the blue dome above our heads to a milky gray—which should give you some sense of the scale of the intervention. The argument in its favor is that humanity has done so little to address the climate crisis, despite thirty years of scientific warning, that we might have no choice but to follow our injection of CO2 with an injection of sulfate aerosols. Think of it as Narcan, on a global scale. “Geoengineering is not something to do lightly,” Harvard’s Daniel Schrag told Kolbert.

Indeed. So, in light of this development, does fretting about a wretched excess of air travel (and about destruction of old-growth forests, and about the wealthy world’s other deadly habits) sound so extreme?

On a final note, something I always try to remember to mention when talking about air travel. If you need to travel by air, you can purchase carbon offsets to help mitigate the footprint of your trip. (You can purchase offsets for travel by train, bus, car as well.) According to my research (including information from deep-green professionals who have to fly at times), the best type of offsets to buy is the Gold Standard. They only add a few dollars to the price of your trip. If you can afford long-distance travel you can afford to buy carbon offsets.

Moving the Needle

As environmentalists, we can’t control what other people do. We can’t make other people care more about the impact of their activities on other people, other creatures, and the planet.

What we can do, by our choices and by our public declarations/demonstrations of how those choices, is help re-set the mainstream norm. Move the needle, so to speak. (This terminology comes from old-fashioned speedometers and other instrument gauges, I think. Old-fashioned as in having a red needle that points to a number, as opposed to having a digital display of just the number itself.)

We can publicly share (verbally and by living example) how our more eco-friendly choices are improving our lives while also helping the planet. And when it comes to our own personal living choices, we get to be as “extreme” as we want, because we’re not trying to tell anyone else what to do. We’re simply acting in accordance with our eco values, plus other values we might cherish, such as valuing our own time and money and energy.

By being more public and vocal about our choices, we furnish additional data points to the world. We give data points that are “further off in left field” (a metaphor from baseball, if I’m not mistaken), and by so doing, we contribute to a shift in where the “middle of the bell curve” lies.

I used to be reticent to publicize my practices such as aiming to use only 10 gallons of water per day (often it is much less), or keeping my electricity use to about 5-10 percent of the USA average. I figured I’d turn people off; scare them away from trying to lower their eco footprints. Instead, I’ve learned that setting the bar high gives people new reference points.

Shifting the societal norms of consumption is a major part of our work as self-appointed freelance guardians of Mother Earth. It’s actually a lot less work than fighting to verbally convince people what they “should” do.

One way I have moved the needle in my neighborhood is by turning my yard into a lush micro-oasis of native and edible plants that also happen to be pretty. Now a bunch of my neighbors and friends are starting to incorporate a few native plants and fruits/veggies into their yards.

Whew! Very relaxing. Much easier and much more effective than yelling at people for using leafblowers, ruining the air quality with their excessive mowing, etc., and trying to tell them why they should not do that. Or ranting on social media about the endless expanses of scalped grass along roadsides (far better to show beautiful photos of the roadside meadow corridors that are flourishing with the blessing of some highway departments).

So go forth and move the needle in some area of your choice today! Your eco choices, especially when you are visibly enjoying the benefits of those choices, set a great and much-needed example in the world.

My Rainwater Collection System

My rainwater catchment “system” is super basic, about as simple as you can get: just barrels and stock tanks lined up under the roof line. I have done extended experiments where I live on just rainwater, which I scoop out of the barrels with a pitcher or saucepan (though my house is a normal urban house hooked up to city water).

I live in a part of Florida where we rarely get a freeze, let alone a long deep freeze – but we never know when one could hit here too, huh! Encouragingly, many of my friends in Texas who have rainwater collection found that their water didn’t freeze solid even during the recent multi-day siege of subfreezing weather.

Rainwater catchment is a useful and simple way of maintaining household fresh-water supplies during extraordinary weather events and other disasters of all kinds. Rough rule of thumb: A 1,000-square-foot house can collect up to about 600 gallons of water off its rood from a 1-inch rain.

Dealing with mosquitoes: It’s actually not hard. I simply keep the barrels covered when they are not actually being used to collect rain. Another reason I keep my barrels and tubs covered is so insects, lizards, and other local critters will not be in danger of falling in & drowning.

My simple setup collects and stores a total of about 500 gallons. But you can get started collecting lovely fresh water with even just a single barrel, or even just a line up of large pots, pans, buckets under your roof line.

Filtering/treatment of rainwater for emergency use for drinking and cooking: Many types of homescale filtering systems are available. The simplest and most popular I know are the Brita and the Berkey.

Rainwater collection is like money in the bank. It gives you, your household, and your landscape a natural buffer against disasters and against increasing drought-flood extremes.

Activism: Both Outer and Inner Are Needed

Last night in my usual wee-hours awake-window, I googled “pandemic forgetfulness” to see if I was the only one. Nope, apparently an unusual degree of forgetfulness is a phenomenon that’s affecting many people. (Strange dreams are another widely documented Covid phenomenon, but I had already read about that in addition to experiencing it.)

The first article I visited from my search results was written by a woman who experienced not just the scatterbrained absentmindedness I’d been noticing in myself over the past year (I mean, above and beyond my usual degree of scatterbrained absentmindedness which admittedly is considerable), but an actual full-blown amnesia episode. That must have been quite scary but it sounds like she got some profound realizations from it.

Other articles from my search results confirmed that an increase in basic scatterbrained absentmindedness had become a fairly widespread pandemic phenomenon. This gave me permission to put away my low-grade nagging worry that I might be suffering from some early-onset dementia. (I still might be, but I choose to believe I’m not, and the articles helped bolster my chosen belief.)

Anyway! In this post I’m highlighting that first article (by the woman who experienced the amnesia episode) because she says something about activism that I can really relate to:

“Brother Toby of the Starcross Community, a monastic spiritual sanctuary, wrote recently that we need both strong, young, yang-oriented activists on the front lines of vital battles being fought now … and quieter, yin-oriented seniors to hold what Swedish economist Dag Hammarskjöld called ‘sanctuaries of peace.'”

I deeply appreciated reading this. Not that a person can’t do both forms of activism (and not that it is necessarily age-specific; I know lots of very elderly folks who continue to be very “outer” in their activism), but I’ve been noticing in myself a sort of inward-turning direction, while I see other people really being so much more out-there-in-the-world, and I’ve been giving myself a hard time about it. Reading this reminded me that the inner landscape is every bit as valid and necessary a front of activism as the outer.

(And I’m looking for the original quote from Brother Toby, and if I find it I will share it here.)

Further Exploration:

“Pandemic Stress Leads To Forgetting and Remembering: A frightening episode of Transient Global Amnesia (TGA) results in reflection” (Donna Baier Stein; “I know I’m not alone in experiencing stress levels that sometimes feel hard to bear these days. Strange dreams, anxiety attacks, insomnia. We each have ways of coping with COVID-19’s psychological impact, but earlier this summer my brain found an unusual retreat from the mayhem.”

When It’s Warmer Outside Than In

Early this morning I crawled out from under my toasty warm quilts and stood up in the chilly house. Brr! (Actually it wasn’t all that cold; maybe high 50s or low 60s. But under my blankets had been toasty warm, in the high 70s!)

Last night three friends and I had a gathering on their porch, but with the high winds and chilly temperatures, even with layers of clothing and the delicious food and drink and good company we didn’t stay out there long. I walked home and soon dove into bed, and I imagine they did too.

(Actually the temperature was fairly mild in objective terms — at 57 degrees Fahrenheit / 13.9 Celsius — but we all agreed it felt outright cold, probably a combo of the wind and humidity.)

This morning my house was chilly as expected. But when I walked outside I got a pleasant surprise. It was windy still, but warmer than inside the house! This is a phenomenon I’ve often noticed in winter and early spring: Sometimes you wake up to a chilly house but when you step outdoors, you notice it’s warmer outside than in.

It occurred to me that this is true of my own private mental cocoon also: Many times it’s warmer outside than in. Inside can feel cold and stale and isolated, unless I’m checking in regularly with other viewpoints. (The other viewpoints can be live or in writing.)

“Warmer outside than in” is something I am realizing is often true from an activist standpoint as well. As activists, we’re supposed to be working with other people and organizations to make change happen. But oftentimes even if we are connected with other people and groups, we can still feel isolated. At least I can, and others around me seem to fall into that also.

I’ve found I absolutely have to constantly keep reaching, reaching for connection with likeminded people and groups. They are out there! And many times all the “reaching” I have to do is to click on a post that shows up in my social media feed. Or even just have a receptive attitude, so that when some new person or group drops into my space, I’m open to them rather than shutting them out.

This happened a few weeks ago when an ad for something called The Nature of Cities conference popped up in my feed. (A friend, who obviously knows me well, texted me the link later that week, after I had already signed up for the conference!)

Why I’m mentioning TNOC is that this conference, which I had never even heard of, has been going on for years, and involves hundreds or even thousands of people from all over the world! (Update, just got the organizers’ welcome email; they say “This Festival is about 1500 people from 65 countries, from all corners of green urbanism.”)

A similar thing happened last spring, when I first became aware of an organization called 1,000 Friends of Florida, and started attending their webinars. An incredibly organized, professional group catalyzing change in landscaping methods, wildlife conservation, responsible development, and much more.

And there was my “discovery” of a pocket of fellow permaculturists called Transformative Adventures, who are teaching the best Permaculture Design Certificate course I have ever taken. (It’s via Zoom and is the best PDC I’ve taken so far, which is saying a lot, as I’ve previously taken four, and they were all outstanding.) Even though I have ties with permaculture people and groups all over the country and even the world, expanding my ties by connecting with this group has given a major boost to my work.

I could go on but you get the point. What I’m trying to suggest is that if I don’t constantly expand my horizons, it gets to feeling lonely and hopeless, because the problems of the world are huge, and if we only hang out with one small set of people (even really good ones), it can feel like being inside a cold hopeless little tin cylinder where nothing really changes. Maybe it’s the same for you too.

Oftentimes it really IS warmer outside than in! And then the warmth outside warms my core, so I then end up feeling warm inside as well.

In my house, my work room is like a tiny cell (albeit a tiny cell decorated with trinkets and memorabilia and pretty fabrics). I love having this tiny cell as my “Command Center.” It’s cozy in there, I know where all my stuff is and everything is in arm’s reach. Writing supplies, sewing supplies, art stuff. It’s easy to write or do other work without distractions. (This is also my sleeping room; I sleep on the floor on a lightweight mattress that I fold up and stash against the wall in the daytime.)

But if I stay cloistered in there too much, I miss out on sunsets, moonrises, neighborhood sights and sounds, and this warm light that coming through my south-facing big living-room window right now, where I am sitting on the sofa typing this. In the warmth of the sunny window, I can feel myself getting physically warm almost to the point of needing to take off a layer!

All of this is to say: If you’re feeling chilly, try stepping out of your house. It may be warmer outside than in! (Note, if you are in a place where it’s freezing outside, I encourage you to only take my advice metaphorically! Unless you get energized by stepping out into the cold, in which case have at it! Sometimes I enjoy that too.)

Be encouraged. No matter how outnumbered or isolated you might feel, someone out there is working for the same things you are. In all probability many someones; more someones than you can imagine. Reach out and find them. (And if you don’t seem to be finding them and would like some assistance, I will help you find them.)

Further Exploration:

The Nature of Cities festival: “TNOC Festival pushes boundaries to radically imagine our cities for the future. A virtual festival that spans 5 days with programming across all regional time zones and provided in multiple languages. TNOC Festival offers us the ability to truly connect local place and ideas on a global scale for a much broader perspective and participation than any one physical meeting in any one city could ever have achieved. The TNOC festival will take place from 22-26 February 2021.” (It’s amazing so far! Note, the Chrome browser is needed in order to participate in the field trips and virtual networking room. I don’t have Chrome and cannot download it (incompatible with my computer or something), but am finding TNOC very worthwhile even just for the plenary sessions of which there have been two so far today. It’s definitely a nice complement to the Transformative Adventures PDC, as well as other excellent webinars I’ve attended over the past year. So many people all over the world are putting their hearts, brains, and muscles into healing the divide between humans and nature, repairing the damage we’ve done, and creating truly wonderful places. Go Team!! We are all in this together.)