Weekly reviews are an excellent accountability tool for me. I end up looking over my list of 10 action areas in the evening or before kids are up in the morning. These arenas stick in my head and are there when I check my email (and then decide to follow up on one action item), when I plan an activity with my kids (and choose an event that will support climate justice), or when I get terrible news of more damage to this earth and I remember to do something to voice my opposition. It has become a practice I wholeheartedly recommend.
1. Go to and Facilitate Meetings: This week I attended the 350 Bellingham Climate Strike Planning Meeting. I appreciated being able to support decolonizing and centering Indigenous people, migrant workers, and people with disabilities in the planning. The Climate Strike will be September 20, 2019. Please join us!
2. Get into Gardens: I’m frustrated with how many of my crops are not doing as well as I’d like this year but much of my medicinal herb garden is thriving. I really love and appreciate being able to grow and make some of the medicine I need. Having this depth of relationship with the plants makes the remedies feel so available and nourishing for me. My foster son and I also spent time in the BFDF garden and were able to harvest a hearty selection of greens and squash and herbs for the Share spot. While we were there, we did some pruning and trellising of plants that were struggling. He made the telling observation that we were able to do so much for the plants in a short amount of time. I love the practice the garden models of seeing a need, doing something to help, and making a concrete difference.
3. Make Donations: I made a small donation to the United Tribes of Bristol Bay who are keeping their organizing strong in the face of a green light to mine in the pristine watershed that hosts the largest salmon run on the continent. We need these spaces!
4. Agitate Politicians: This week I challenged myself to make phone calls regarding Bristol Bay instead of sending emails. It was good to remember how much less anxiety producing it is to just call and leave a message than it was in my head. More of this to come!
5. Ban Bee Killing Pesticides: Last week I reached out to some prominent organizations and they have all responded. The NRDC emailed me the Beyond Pesticides Fact Sheet on the State Preemption Law that has enabled different states and counties to create local democracies that give them more control over pesticide use. Friends of the Earth also sent me a PDF with instructions for how regions can protect pollinators, Buyers Bee-Ware: Municipal Purchasers Guide to Protecting Pollinators. It is heartening to have the resources we need. I also recognize that I won’t be able to do this alone and need a committed team to work with. If you’d like to join me, please join the Whatcom Bee Protectors.
6. Support Indigenous Events: At the 350 Bellingham Climate Strike Planning meeting, students from the Northwest Indian College challenged non-indigenous participants to reach out to Indigenous groups and ensure they were invited, not just to the event, but to shape the event. I wrote and sent emails to Lummi School, Paddle to Lummi, and the Lhaq’Temish Foundation. It is a start.
7. The Unist’ot’en Food Drive: We worked one more donation drive shift at the Co-op. I had the quirkier of my kids there so the day also involved telling her that not everyone wants someone to be a chicken in their face. If you can, please contact me to donate to the Needs List.
8. Create Networks: I’ve just finished a meeting with Vanessa Raditz, the director of the Queer Ecojustice Project documentary Fire and Flood: Queer Resilience in the Era of Climate Change. We had a really exciting exchange, planning how we could make the work of the project accessible in my classrooms and how course assignments could include options the would further their work. This week I also met with my supervisor with the WWU Honors program to discuss my plans to rewrite sylalbi for my Gender and Popular culture and Theater and Social Justice courses to give primacy to climate change resistance education and work. He is enthusiastically on board.
9. Get to Know Plants and Trees: Viewing medicine as a relationship has been so powerful for my own health and also for my parenting. My foster son had a difficult visit to go to that he had really overwhelming feelings about beforehand. Thanks to the medicine garden, I was able to engage him in helping to harvest skullcap, chamomile, and tulsi (holy basil). We spent time noticing different qualities of the leaves and flowers and different ways bees were interacting with them. Many herbalists attest to finding medicinal value in spending time with, not just consuming, a plant. Spending time in mindful observation with grounding and calming plants was definitely good medicine for both of us and helped him to be in a good place before his meeting.
10. Utilize the power of Words: This is blog post number 5 this week. It has been really striking how much a commitment to articulating this work publicly holds me accountable to taking action. I’ve been doing a bunch of research to find artists, musicians, film makers, and playwrights whose work take up climate justice to aid in my course revisions and beginning to rewrite the class descriptions (and nope, I’m not paid over the summer term).
If you are overwhelmed with climate change and don’t feel like you have a starting place, I recommend making a climate change resistance checklist. It can have as many, or as few, items as works for you with a commitment to review weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly. If you need a check-in accountability partner, feel free to message me!