It has been another week of consciously engaging in climate justice work every day. Two weeks ago I summarized these 10 areas where I am able to use my skills to make a contribution. They are personal, not prescriptive. I recount these activities in order to remind myself to do everything in my power and to remember that I am not powerless. I write to remind anyone who would like to read it that there are ways we can come together to care for the land, water, and each other even in hard and uncertain times. I’d love to hear from you! How are you doing what you are able to do? What does this look like in your life?
1. Go to and Facilitate Meetings: This week I met with Terri Kempton who manages the wonderful Outback Farm at Western Washington University. We strategized ways that I could structure my course syllabus to build in hands on experience in caring for the land and growing food. This experience will then be linked to the issues of colonialism, racism, queer and transgender othering and how they make for increased vulnerabilities for food insecurity in the era of climate change. I’m really looking forward to being able to host her in my classes and provide relevant participation for students.
2. Get into Gardens: I went on a tour of Inspiration Farm and researched more about permaculture– how I could incorporate aspects of it into my own growing processes, ways I can help students gain a critical understanding of how we can build sustainable food sources and support regenerative agriculture.
As always, I spent collaborative time in the BFDF Community Garden. This week it was with one of our regular volunteers who is also a Master Gardener so instead of mentoring, I was learning quite a bit from her. The garden is really thriving! Such a concrete expression of hope.
3. Make Donations: After finding out about the Queer Ecojustice Project, I gave a donation to support the documentary “Fire and Ice: Queer Resilience in the Era of Climate Change.” I’ve also been discussing possibilities of showing a preview of the film in another one of my classes and finding ways to have student Community Engagement assignments offer the option of supporting QEP.
4. Agitate Politicians: I researched, wrote, sent, and circulated a letter to the presidents of the 20 Canadian universities who are backing the implementation of the 30 meter telescope on the sacred land and fragile eco system of Mauna Kea. It was surprisingly difficult to find the names and emails of the 20 people (come on, universities!). I really encourage folks to especially agitate the University of Toronto and UVic. They wrote back with the most colonial reply about how they will respect the environment and Indigenous people when they put in the telescope despite not having the consent of Indigenous people. The post gives me the capacity to make public my responses to these replies and to be able to access them when I need similar wording if and when it’s needed.
5. Ban Bee Killing Pesticides: I didn’t make progress with this project. My energy crashed very badly Tuesday and I wasn’t able to take my designated time to draft letters and petitions. I’m dealing with yet another health issue and diagnosis and, as always, am having to keep learning to accept my limitations.
6. Support Indigenous Events: Thursday and Saturday evenings, I served dinner at the Paddle to Lummi crowds of 15,000+. It was an intense rush of people where we couldn’t keep fry bread and fruit salad platters coming fast enough. The themes for the paddle this year were: “Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women (#MMIW), Indian child welfare, overcoming the opioid crisis, and salmon recovery — all raising awareness of community health and safety, and protecting future generations” (Shared Responsibility). I crashed hard after both days but it’s so worth it. It was such an honor to offer the limited energy I have to support this community and life strengthening work.
7. The Unist’ot’en Food Drive: My kid and I did our first shift at the Bellingham Food Coop. They set up a table and two chairs in a central part of the store and we gave out copies brochures on Unist’ot’en Camp’s work to stop pipelines and preserve traditional way of life with the land and water in tact. We also asked folks if they could pick up items from the Needs List along with their groceries and leave them in our bin to send up to Unist’ot’en. I was heartened that everyone was really supportive (or at least left us alone if they weren’t) and we could tell many were giving out of tighter budgets to be able to do what they could to contribute to the Needs List. It was lovely to see my kid grow in confidence telling new people about why he did the work and why it was import.
8. Create Networks: I do ongoing work to network the Birchwood Food Desert Fighters weekly free produce share spot with potential gardeners who might have excess produce. This week gardeners from two nearby rural towns and I have spoken about potentially setting up a central location for gardeners from there area to drop off produce that could come to the share spot in one vehicle trip.
9. Get to Know Plants and Trees: I have been really committed to dedicating some of my to climate resistance everyday. This is vital work for me, regardless of the outcome, we need to support this earth that sustains us and reduce suffering. However, this isn’t in balance for me right now. I’m not spending enough time by the water, with trees. I want to be more deliberate about this over the next week.
10. Utilize the power of Words: This week I have, again, been able to write 4 posts. At this rate it will take me another 3.5 weeks to complete the project with 30 blog posts. Oh well! The Fall quarter won’t have started yet and every comment from a reader that this project is helping to inspire them in their climate justice work keeps me writing.