We've been at this for 13 years now, putting The Essential Herbal Magazine together. It's been interesting to watch the content evolve since it is driven by our readers who are also most often our writers. The shift has been gradual and heartening to see, as we, as a community, continually find ways to more consciously tred upon the earth.
I am of a generation that first partook of the "miracles" that are now destroying the earth. We were amazed at the availability of woody winter strawberries from 1000's of miles away. We were impressed with MORE of everything. We were indoctrinated to believe that in a lot of ways just because we could do something, we should do it. Might equaled right. A person was judged by the size of their bank account. The earth had unlimited resources, and we'd earned them. That's what we were taught.
I'm not defending this - only explaining. Even in my early teens, this was turning out to be an uncomfortable thought process as our chemicals killed off the raptors from the skies and the teeming life within our waters. We were being taught about the undeniable value of the rainforests in class while they were being cleared in the name of progress. But even then, when faced with the undeniable truth, we tried to make changes. We stopped the use of DDT, took lead out of gasoline, and reformulated detergent. All of those changes were met with resistance, but they were the right thing to do, and so they happened. Unfortunately the backlash meant that those who felt we deserved everything (or really, nothing) came into power.
Now you'd think that you could just say, "Stop doing that! You're hurting the earth! We'll have nothing left!" But how do you tell someone whose whole life has been infused with McDonalds and Kraft Macaroni and Cheese that they have to stop that immediately and start cooking from scratch? Do they even know how? This is not due to callous disregard for the earth as much as it is asking people to look at everything they were taught from birth, and change. How do you convince people who have been raised believing that convenience is paramount (while work-weeks get longer and longer), that there is meaning in doing something by hand? How do we learn to see the world differently?
And so for us, that has meant trying very hard to lead without judgement. We recognize that it is possible to be a person whose lifestyle and beliefs clash with the necessity of making a living. We know that many of our readers live in apartments with no land, work at jobs that go against their own grain, and feel like they can't live the life they dream. Reality can be brutal, but we all want to learn how we can do better. For us, it means trying to keep a foot in both worlds, remembering that our earthy, wild friends who seek to learn the old ways are not as typical as it may seem just because they surround us.
It has been immensely rewarding to get letters and notes from people who want to share that the things they're learning in the magazine are making a difference in their lives. Their first hand-blended tea, or plantain poultice, or homemade nourishing soup. With each issue, we hear from those who have taken a step on the way back. Every step is powerful and meaningful and leads to the next step and a deeper appreciation of the natural world.
Now we have put together the Roots & Wings Fall Fest, another piece of the puzzle, another way to show that a different way is possible. I'm so excited to be getting ready for that next Saturday (and there is still time to sign up). We hope to have a Spring Fling as well :-)
Yesterday, there was an anti-GMO march locally. I could not attend, but a friend ended the march with a beautiful speech. It is posted on her blog HERE I know that she is making a difference. We can each make a difference - one step at a time.
Even better - watch her here - Natasha's Speech