‘The Crowd’ Shock of Glacier National Park changes my Plan

Glacier National Park near the East Gate
Glacier National Park near the East Gate

At 7am yesterday morning I was sitting on the banks of Middle Fork Flathead River, that marks the southern border of Glacier National Park. It was a foggy morning, and I was deeply moved by what the past 24 hours had delivered.

I should have been camping out somewhere remote in the Park, just me, my bike and tent, but there I was with a rental car, in the car park, with my unused bicycle dismantled in the trunk. Rather than a natural tent site in the wilderness I had to overnight in a soulless motel in West Glacier with the sound of trains passing through the night. I had decided to leave at first light and try and find some wild nature solitude before handing the car back at East Glacier. (West Glacier is 50 miles from East Glacier on the other side of the Park, where I’d disembarked from the train two days before)

At the river, I was enjoying the first real peace and tranquillity of the Park area, even though I’d arrived at East Glacier those two days earlier. Why had my plans all changed, and what was going on inside me?

As I looked up the river I was hopeful for some wildlife, but my thoughts drifted back to 2012, and my amazing three months in really wild Siberia: How different that had been, and how truly lucky I was to have been there almost always in uncontrolled wilderness, mostly just me and raw Nature. There were no maps, no brochures, no permits needed, no campsites, and most of all no RV’s, SUV’s, and Harley Davidsons…!

Siberian Grizzly
Siberian Grizzly

I felt this urgent need to go back there before it’s too late and The Crowds get there too….It really hit me that the world is changing so very fast, and that our 7.6 billion is evidence all around us each and every day. And yes I am also one of those 7.6 billion, with no more rights than any other!   I reminded myself that I wasn’t in Siberia, I was here in Montana on some serious work!  So Howard, what happened to cause all these 48 hour changes?

Well, immediately on arrival at East Glacier Amtrak station the curtains for a nightmare movie started opening: I hate planning ahead, and America requires you to plan ahead, and so I knew I’d be battling up current but I’d rely on the ‘Howard Fairbank’ resilience and ability to make a home and have a bed ‘anywhere’, to somehow get me through. A huge number of us got off the train including to my surprise a big Amish group complete with digital cameras! I found out that there were just coming for two days, with a drive in drive out park experience! So there we go the Amish are also pushing through the One Point Zero code!  Haha, these were a less fundamental bunch! To meet the train there were lots of hotel / motel pickup vehicles at the station, and passengers (except me) eager to find their waiting transport!  I enquired with the one lady about accommodation and she said everything is full at least for the next week or so, other than maybe the main lodge which she said goes for “over $500 a night”!  Fortunately I had phoned ahead to confirm there was a place that offered ‘basic campsites in the forest’. As I left the station on the bike, I could feel I was in a busy tourist place and I’d need to move to my maximum resilience and ‘thankful beggar’ mode.

I set up my little one person tent between two RV’s, the one guy not very friendly with ‘lesser being’ tenters, and the other coming out and saying:  “Do you really sleep in that small ‘thing’?”  I replied: “Of course, I have just spent 14 continuous days living in it, and love it!” Haha, I have had so many experiences with USA RV people who are shocked when I say “I retired 12 years ago, and choose to do it this way, I don’t have to!” I have proved beyond doubt that this shatters the tenets of living the American good life dream. Herein lies a huge One Point Zero challenge for Americans: Minimalism and Simplicity is not Success.

 

American simplicity:  Three panniers and a trailer! For the 15 moths and almost the whole of Africa I had only 3 panniers!  Plus a 660 cc bike that one is 1660 cc!! Unusual to see a non-Harley!
American simplicity: Three panniers and a trailer! For the 15 moths and almost the whole of Africa I had only 3 panniers! Plus a 660 cc bike that one is 1660 cc!! Unusual to see a non-Harley!

Anyway the unfriendly guy’s RV Camper electric heater cut in and out all night as he sought to create the same home environment he’d left in the city, and I stayed snugly tucked up in my comfy two square metre, One Point Zero friendly, house and non-electrified sleeping bag! I love the freedom of that simplicity, and just wish more could find the wonders of this fashion!

Impressive Glacial Valley Features
Impressive Glacial Valley Features

The weather wasn’t great the first day, and I decided to spend two nights there as although I had my specific bicycling plan, I wanted to talk to people about the conditions, restrictions, best routes and trails etc…. East Glacier is a busy place and I just couldn’t believe the number of cars being rented from the place where I was camping. The woman in charge was dealing with the conflict of being record busy and huge business but not having a life of her own! Many times I thought back to the friendliness of a place like this in New Zealand and how difference this almost capitalist mind set here was….  It was clearly a very ‘sunny time’ and there was only time for haymaking, no ‘small talk’!

Well, as I spoke to more people, and read the park brochures etc, a very unpalatable picture started developing:  This culminated with a dinner with a 30 year old guy, Justin, I bumped into who had ridden ‘his Harley’ at 80 mph from’ all the way from Wisconsin where I had been with Imi. The previous day he had done the ‘Going to the Sun’ road, through the park route I had planned, and had slept out ‘illegally’ in the park. Just a normal young testosterone filled male, he had taken a week’s break from working on his family’s dairy farm, and wanted to ‘do the park’. I asked him: “What’s the purpose mate?”  He said to me: “Spiritual, man, spiritual! But the only thing that was a problem was that it rained in the night and I got wet and that spoilt my spiritual experience!” I suggested to him that ‘be naked’ dealing with wild Nature and the rain or whatever comes up on the bike is wherein the spiritual experience lies! We spoke for hours, switching between modern farm life, and his park ride: All the time the picture confirmed that the park roads were heavy with traffic, queues, all the campsites full, and then finally he said the roads were real narrow and not so good for cars and bicycles, particularly when the cars are big RV’s . Later back in my tent I read further that there were restriction times for bicycles on two parts of the Pass. Hmmm, going to sleep that night I had to be honest with myself that I was not fired up about the cycling days ahead, but was just stoically still committed to completing cycling my plan. Not a good frame of mind for what lay ahead!

On waking I questioned myself as to why I was doing this, and what this whole trip really was about?  Was the truth that I hadn’t done as much planning as I should have, or was this just not the place to be for what I was looking for? Flashes of openness of The Boundary Waters came up, and I thought to myself: “Your soul is rebelling mate, listen to it, and don’t just plough on ahead because of heroic commitments!” I’d packed up the tent, bike was loaded up, and decided to have a final decision over coffee:  Well as I was having coffee, recalling that the purpose of this trip is One Point Zero exploring, I saw a bicycle support vehicle from the biggest national cycle touring company pass by and realised that they too would be running part of the route with their normal, twenty or so, paid cyclists. So the road would be busy with other cyclists too… Hmmm! That was it: my soul took over and said: “Over your dead body, are you going ahead with this, it will destroy ‘us’, mate!”

So not to cycle was decided but now how best to use my situation ‘in paradise’ for One Point Zero exploring? After lots of to-ing and fro-ing I decided I could justify a one day car rental, and ‘do the Park’, as a One Point Zero research exercise. I worked out that with all my simple tent living, and train riding I still had some footprint credit and the park research would be invaluable.

One of the many Harley Groups... Maybe better they go by bike than cars!
One of the many Harley Groups… Maybe better they go by bike than cars!

So there we go, I joined the rest of America in their cars, RV’s SUV’s, and Harley’s….  Was I a hypocrite and just another contributor to the huge traffic problem? Well, I did make the assumption that probably I was the only one, or one of a very, very small number who were mindful of the footprint decision and doing One Point Zero research, so I wasn’t!

Well the rest is history, and without trying to justify my decision, in hindsight I was so, so thankful that firstly, I never put myself through what would have clearly been a miserable cycling ordeal, and then secondly the valuable research I obtained. It was actually fun being one of The Crowd, yet not one of them with my investigative journalist hat on!

I found out that Glacier Park traffic is up 19% on last year.  An astounding average of 11 400 people went through the West Gate entrance each day of the past month! There is still the East Gate Park entrance, so who knows how many people went through in total? The traffic and congestion on the road inside showed that the park was overloaded. All the campsites were full, almost all the side pull off view spots were full, and it was clear that if one wanted to do a hike from one of the many trails that start from the main road one would be done together with lots of other hikers. The road was very narrow and windy, and I did come across two cyclists and truly felt sorry for them as the traffic had to consciously move around them, backing up sometimes as oncoming traffic prevented them passing! Somehow traffic like that and National Park wilderness should be mutually exclusive, but maybe I’m in the very minority and what everyone was getting, was exactly what they wanted…?? There were many groups of Harley bikers, and the big thumper sound obviously tuned up a few decibels just for the trip and communicating with the wild life! It’s a free country America so whatever one wants goes, and nobody shalt stop ya!

The sad thing was that I could see a magnificent park, and the potential for amazing wild Nature experiences, but sadly the remoteness of Siberia, or even the naturalness of The Boundary Waters will never be experienced by maybe other than a very few who managed to plan deeper remote expeditions deeper into the park, away from the crowds.  I had to remind myself that this Trumped by Nature 3 months was not a normal Howard Fairbank remote, passionate, full on adventure, and that I in fact in my minimal planning I had set myself up to be a ‘normal tourist’, so maybe I’m being unfair in my views and expectation?

I stopped at the various refreshment/ lodge stops along the way, I did try and talk to people and find out what they felt and whether they were ‘enjoying their time in the Park? I tried to explore whether they thought they deserved to be here in ‘special Nature’? How they saw Nature? Was Nature just there for our human enjoyment, to use without thought of whether we are helping Nature’s cause or defying Nature’s cause?  Mostly there were blank looks at my attempted serious engagement, and our talks were filtered back to superficial niceties and supporting the lies of how wonderful the Park’s Nature experience was…! I got a feeling that most were just on their summer vacation and it was what it was, and as such there was not much more to chat about….

The gasoline price is at the lowest it’s been since the highs of 2011, and reading the New York Times, I was made aware that people are moving from smaller cars, back to larger SUV’s and this summer is seeing American’s get back on the road travelling in their automobiles for their vacations. The article went as far as saying that USA vehicle emission commitments will not be met because of the move away from smaller and hybrid vehicles back to the bigger gas guzzlers. This is all evidence that the US system wants consumption ahead of reducing carbon footprint. I have often wondered why the gasoline price is not fixed at a cost to the environment, but know that the answer is that that goes against market forces and will reduce economic growth. So the final conclusion is that ‘everybody’ is happy that the Park has had record traffic, and that the traffic is made up of a bigger gasoline consuming vehicle than last year.  All this did make me feel bad about my one day car rental, and my potentially hypocritical behaviour, but having only done 150 miles in the one day rental, I sense I’m being a bit over sensitive….???

Going back to yesterday, as I sat on the bank of the Middle Fork Flathead River reflecting on all of this I had so many different thoughts coming through me. This confusion and conflict with society is happening all the time now, as I move from seeing the whole picture so clearly, understanding the mind-set change that is needed for a new One Point Zero fashion, and then realising that that mind-set change is so far away from where we currently are, and people don’t seem at all interested. I got back to East Glacier dropped the car off and was in a café where the TV showed Hillary Clinton blasting away saying that if she wins she will make America the leader of the global powers in Green Energy!  Firstly this sounds very honourable, but a huge and very costly goal for the USA, but more importantly for me, it says nothing (very little) about One Point Zero. Basically she is saying to the public that ‘you’ can carrying on travelling, carry on consuming, and me at the top will just change the fuels you use and all will be OK under me! Consumption is the biggie, and there is never any mention of what the consumers need to do, and how the whole fashion of ‘smoking’ (consumption, ‘more and more’)  has to change. The reason is because she would have to change her big elitist lifestyle in a very inconvenient way…! “I don’t want to do that Howard! I could never live simply and happily like you do! So just go away with your One Point Zero stuff, OK!!  Wow, at least she responded! Haha! ”

Then the TV programme host said Trump’s plan would cause energy usage to ‘skyrocket’… We know that, so it looks like another 4 maybe 8 years of ever widening Chasm by the most powerful nation on this Earth!  I find this very difficult to deal with… But I guess I’m just a ‘little nobody, boy!

The scary climb in energy usage that started in the 1940's Please we have to stop The Consumption!

A number of people have sent me emails not understanding the concept of The Chasm, and how Western society is one side of the ever widening chasm and Nature the other?  In my few talks with people in the Park this is also coming up as a foreign concept and hard to understand so I’ll be putting some more work into getting this very important concept across to followers. How we see Nature, what Nature means to you, and how the whole planet and its bio-capacity works, is key to understanding why we need One Point Zero. While it can be seen to be a very sustainability and scientific focused approach, I see it as being a spiritual issue: How we humans belong to the planet and how we fit into the grand scheme of our world with all its other diverse creatures of Nature.

If you haven’t already, you may want to read my page on ‘Smoking and The Chasm‘? You can read it here

OK, I’m in Spokane, Wa for 3 or 4 days, and am using every possible moment to find new inspiration for One Point Zero.  I’m reading three fascinating books that may help… Haha, they say: That boy, needs a lot of help!!! :

  1. Crystallizing Public Opinion: Edward Bernays
  2. The Persuaders; The hidden Industry that wants to Change you… James Garvey
  3. The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind! Gustave Le Bon (A classic!)

More soon….

Appropriate Nostalgia:  A sign I found on a store window in rural Siberia. That's what I'll be doing the next few days! Haha!
Appropriate Nostalgia: A sign I found on a store window in rural Siberia. That’s what I’ll be doing the next few days! Haha!

 

Glacier National Park ahead: From the train in Montana….

Here I am 3 hours away from the town of East Glacier Park, named for its location near the entrance to The Glacier National Park. I’ll be getting off the train there, and planning about a 400 mile (680 km) bicycle exploration through the park and then down to the university town of Missoula. The ride should be spectacular and I’m looking forward to exploring this West Montana country, wildlife and culture.

I’ve only been in South Montana when visiting Yellowstone just across the border, back in 1984, and have just listened to a semi local tell some fellow passenger Park visitors that Yellowstone is much bigger and better than  Glacier, and they must go there ‘next time’! ! So there we go, a real sensitive fellow passenger ‘inspiring’ us in telling us that we have made the wrong choice!  Ha-ha, I’m confident that Glacier National Park will be fantastic, and being a little off the main tourist track, hopefully won’t be as crowded.

It’s been 18 hours since leaving the city of St Paul, MN, yesterday, and after miles and miles of the flat northern mid-west farmlands from Minnesota through North Dakota, the mountains that divide Montana are just appearing on the front horizon: The amazing Rockies that divide this huge country into the west and mid and changes landscape, weather, peoples, places and cultures: A true divide.

Whether it was the whole change of getting back to full on civilisation or saying goodbye to Imi, I’m today going through a One Point Zero low patch today. These hours on the rain have been useful for reflecting on my One Point Zero objectives and how things are going? This feeling of hopelessness with the cause comes up from time to time, and is normally followed with renewed inspiration as I reflect on what has been achieved and the barely 3 months that the initiative is been going now. This low patch is related to the huge awareness gap I’m seeing in the USA, and then adding to the gap is what seems like a total disregard for the One Point Zero case. Here we are travelling through an area of pretty open nature, in that there are no big cities just lots of open space and a few rural towns, yet as I explore with people on the train the concept of Nature and how we humans fit in / relate to Nature appears to be something they haven’t even thought about. Those going to Glacier National Park say they love Nature and can’t wait to get to the Park seemingly like they are going for their annual ‘dose of Nature’.  When I explore with them that Nature is with us everywhere and not just in National Parks, they seem a bit confused. I explore further by saying I believe we humans are truly part of Nature and ‘Without Nature we are Nothing’, the huge gap in our human belonging context is exposed. Discussions around One Point Zero usually get met with an almost fobbing off comment of “I yes, I know about Global Warming, but I read somewhere that it’s not true, so I don’t know if there is a problem?”  I always say that One Point Zero is not about Global Warming, it’s about how we are using up the Planet’s resources and overloading Nature’s regenerative systems. The fact that if everyone on this earth lived like the average USA consumer we would needs almost 3 plus planets seems to just pass through their thoughts without any guilt, shock, or tell me more reaction.

To add to my low, I’m reading for a second time a great book: Sustainable Consumption and The Good Life, Interdisciplinary Perspectives, published by Rutledge).  They quote French philosopher Michel Serres as saying:  Individual activism through walking the talk (as I am doing), “has as much effect on the world as a butterfly in the Australian desert, except for the rarest exceptions….”  Hah-ha, I hope I am one of those rare exceptions!  I knew this would be a difficult path, and over the years of being the challenging outsider, I have experienced these same low patches, and so had prepared myself for these lows, and I am standing back and taking on all the information seeing what needs to change?  This ‘Trumped by Nature’ expedition still has 35 days to go and I gave myself the 3 months to check the lay of the land and then go back to plotting the next steps. I only mention all this as you the follower maybe going through your own One Point Zero challenge, and it would be great to hear more from those that are having strange things happen within them….

From my own experience this whole journey has been as if the iconic tiger has bolted and I just have it by the tail and am hanging on for dear life…..! I move between my own life and what I need to be doing to follow my One Point Zero goals, to then exploring all the many areas of society and how things need to change, or will or could evolve?  I sometimes go through a bad patch when I think why I am one of the few (maybe only) one of my socio-economic class trying to live a One Point Zero life?

I can see why those still needing to work for a living have more of a survival focus, and can almost be ‘excused’, but I’m trying to understand the mind set of those who have enough, and yet still continue making more to consume more and more, rather than look at become explorers, for a new One Point Zero life?

Maybe they are cleverer than me and know that butterflies don’t survive in the Australian desert! In the past week I have been surprised at the deviation my thinking has sometimes tried to take: I never doubted that I should stand next to all other humans on this planet and only take my equal share of Nature’s very scarce bio capacity as my One Point Zero goal, but I had some doubts come up: I started asking myself why care, you didn’t decide to be born, and you haven’t had kids, so the whole population problem has nothing to do with you ‘boy’, just live the life you think is ethical and morally right for YOU, that’s all you have to do.”

That led me to asking what that ethical and morally right would be, and I went straight back to the One Point Zero goal I have already got and was very peaceful confirming that that is the only ethical and moral goal concluding: “So just get on and do it, your soul needs it….!”  It is just difficult sometimes when it seems like all around me I see nobody really cares, and is even trying! I know that’s not true, there are a whole bunch of Amish people on this train too, and they don’t even discuss these issues, they are lucky as they just live it every day without question…  It’s us ‘contaminated people’ who struggle! “Contaminated” because we have tasted the Good Life, the way over One Point Zero one, and don’t know how ‘we’ could be ‘happy’ with any other one, and see the Amish as “Not a life I remotely want to live…!” This is all tough stuff because somehow ‘we’ the average westerner ‘has to’ move much closer to that ‘simple Good Life’.

Yeah, going solo with my customised One Point Zero life solution is ‘easy’ when you don’t have all these new life purpose / community issues to think about and change to fit into… The first stage is ‘Acceptance’; Accepting ‘The Chasm’ has to be crossed for one’s soul and then plotting your own Chasm crossing is the easiest and most liberating! (Read my article on The Chasm, between Western Society and Nature All interesting thoughts hey!here.)

I do realise that it is much easier to be a solo One Point Zero-er than getting a whole family, or community to buy into change. This is where the challenge lies, to take my personal learning of living a One Point Zero life and applying it to smaller groups, communities, nations and then the whole of humanity. I don’t know if you have worked through all those levels, but as one moves higher up to bigger communities that change that is needed becomes monumental and radical.

As I ponder life once I get back to New Zealand in mid-September I have choices that involve belonging with a community in Nelson, South Island that is very One Point Zero enlightened but still a 2.0 or more society, OR staying as a solo One Point Zero-er and living outside any Planet over user Earth society? Do I accept the society’s goodwill and ecological footprint intent and try becoming involved in the change? Do I just cop out that Nelson is as good as it gets, and accept that this is just the world, and One Point Zero is just an idealists dream? Or do I continue to try and live where One Point Zero is a real possibility. What do I do?  The next five weeks will bring the answer?

Many of you may be making or going to make significant life decisions in the future, and I wonder how much trying to get to a One Point Zero lifestyle will come into the thinking. If like me, you let One Point Zero become a non-negotiable, it is amazing how one is then led to decisions one had never dreamed about….  The time of making big life decisions is the perfect time to include a radical move towards One Point Zero, and become a leader of evolving New fashion.

Anyway, I wanted to share with you my inner journey, and all the stuff I go through not just the positives! I know I have to move beyond these thoughts, and that they are very necessary for keeping me on track even if the track has to change, they provide input to the change.

Thanks for listening to me on this ‘vent off’…. Tomorrow is another day and Glacier Park will no doubt bring unplanned inspirations!

 

August 8: Earth Overshoot Day

August 8, 2016 is the day we, as all the humans on this planet, have now used the whole of 2016’s bio capacity that Nature has left to ‘offer us’ to help clean up our wastes and emissions. I say left to offer us, as we all know how we have just devastated the natural resources, and still are doing so….

For the next 4.8 months we are are essentially relying on credit from Nature, when Nature hasn’t any credit and isn’t a credit provider……

Today is called ‘Earth Overshoot’ day, and I’d really encourage you to read more and try and understand what this really means here  There is a great education section.

This Overshoot Day site is part of the Global Footprint Network’s site and their great work……

Nature’s Grand Adventure delivers 14 Days of Intensity

 

The best forward paddler in the world! Imtiaz Moosa.  He 'saw' what a beautiful day this was!
The best forward paddler in the world! Imtiaz Moosa. He ‘saw’ what a beautiful day this was!

I’m writing this post from the Days Inn motel at the small town of Moose Lake, MN, about 100 miles north of the Twin Cities, (Minneapolis St Paul). We finished our fourteen day canoe trip yesterday and leaving The Boundary Waters after a final days’ hard paddle, we drove down the shores of Lake Superior taking a much needed overnight rest stop on the drive back to Imi’s house. Its 5am and I think back to where I was yesterday at 5am, and how so different life can be… Particularly from a One Point Zero perspective?

Yesterday at 5am I was snug in my sleeping bag inside my 2 square metre tent (20 square feet) that has been a more than big enough house for me for the past 14 days. (Yeah that’s just 2m X 1m, compared with the 241 square meters (2600 square feet) of ‘the average’ new USA home built last year.) Why do we need so much space?  More space is one of the biggest contributors to One Point Six and increasing!

Outside the tent, the weather was a bit wild, with thunder rumbles all around, the occasional long flash of lightning, reminding me of the almost forgotten existence of electricity, and then the intermittent rain playing with the mind as it tempted me out of my cosy bliss. With a long day’s paddle and three portages ahead, we had decided to set off as early as possible this last day, and going to bed after a perfect sunset this storm was a bit of a surprise. In the silence between the rain squalls I was calling out to Imi in his tent, and negotiating a new ‘convenient’ time to get up and start the day. With rain gear on, we were soon outside taking down our ‘houses’, and me making breakfast for the day ahead. It’s hard to convince anyone who wasn’t there that this was invigorating, but after fourteen days of being fully exposed to Nature’s Grand Adventure, nothing bugged us anymore, and one sees the vitality in all the faces Nature presents.

Almost perfect!  Canoe empty and home all set up. Just enjoying the intensity of Nature!
Almost perfect! Canoe empty and home all set up. Just enjoying the intensity of Nature!

The Boundary Waters is an amazing wilderness in its size and unique, interconnected lake / forest topography. In the fourteen days we had traversed 30 lakes, doing twenty portages that were sometimes needed to cross from one lake to the next. Sometimes it was a waterfall or challenging waters, or sometimes it was just that there was no water connection between two lakes, but in these portages we had to get out and carry the canoe and all our stuff to the next lake. Over the years Imi and I have developed a great formula where we now does the portage on his own with his backpack and his paddle as his ‘white stick’, and I do the three trips, carrying first the canoe and one backpack, then returning to get the food and supplies pack. Imi is quite incredible how he manages these sometimes tough portages without assistance, and thankfully again without (major) injury.  He shared with me that he was apprehensive this trip as it had been two years since we had done a canoe trip and he wasn’t sure whether ageing and his recently acquired lounge recliner would have affected his toughness and portage confidence. It was just so great that halfway through this trip he shared with me how his confidence had returned and he was so thankful that I trusted him to allow him to take on the solo portage risk. Like me he did have a few battle scars to show from an unplanned encounter with our environment.

Two days it was cold enough for us to 'need' a fire. Imi in heaven for him!
Two days it was cold enough for us to ‘need’ a fire. Imi in heaven for him!

As we moved into the rhythm of the last day, and I started dealing with full on American society just around the corner I reflected on the simple life we had had and how things just move out of control as we enter society.

There we had not needed electricity for fourteen days. No hot showers or baths, in fact no treated water. The average developed world person uses something like 70 litres of water a day of which 40% is heated water, and there we hadn’t used any water other than the natural lake waters. We had no TV’s, no phones, no advertisements pushed in our faces, urging us to buy stuff we don’t need. We hadn’t bought a single thing in fourteen days; in fact neither of us had brought any money along. We’d use less than a litre of fuel for heating and our only form of transport was human powered. Our food was simple yet wholesome, and meal times were both special, and purposeful, and because of the weight constraints we were always at that ‘just enough is enough’ interface, that calls for mindfulness in restraint, but not to the extent that one feels sacrifice or denying oneself of a wholesome life.

I had a small bottle of Yukon Jack, bourbon whisky that lasted three days, and had me even wondering whether it was a good idea that I had brought it along. All this ‘mindful consumption’ makes one realise how so unmindful we have become. As I looked back on the long journey I have come I realised how my definition of success and happiness formula have changed and how ridiculously instant gratification and desiring of excess, extravagance, ‘luxury’ etc I used to be… There was no mindful brake that stopped and made me check my emotive desires to find it whether just following my ‘feelings’ was necessarily best for the whole of me, and helping me aspire to a fully intense human being: One that fits and deserves to fit in Nature’s team?

The full canoe from the helmsman's view!
The full canoe from the helmsman’s view!

Imi with me this trip and now really living One Point Zero and jointly trying to understand what One Point Zero means for society has brought both up very controversial discussions: Discussions about purpose, definition of life success, and what makes a fully intense, ‘Nature approved’, human being? We concluded that there are many symptoms of us humans today that clearly would fit into the ‘non-approved’ box yet we have accepted these as modern society.

After fourteen days living like we did, I felt fitter, healthier and more intense as a human than when we started, and both in our discussions and my further development of my relationship with Nature and our planet I felt I was continuing building something very, very, sacred to me: My belonging with this planet and all that goes with that….  I am a realist and love many parts of modern society and so know that living full time the very simple life I have just experienced is not enough for me, I do need more diversity of relationship with people and society, and my One Point Zero mission would be without purpose in The Boundary Waters. I have had much more intense and longer experiences deep in Nature’s wilderness and my need for these experiences will never go away, but rather deepen my bond and understanding of the hugely challenging relationship to be a full member of Nature’s team while also enjoying the vibrancy of belonging with a society that is far away from being part of Nature’s team. The challenge is to belong to both teams, (Nature’s teal, and The Human team) and to help other see that without belonging to Nature’s team there is no belonging as a full spiritual human, a void much bigger that most of us understand, and without belonging to humans there is no human belonging and a lesser void but one we perceive as greater and in so doing we risk compromise all humanity.

Typical lake with islands off 'our beach' Perfect swimming temperature.
Typical lake with islands off ‘our beach’ Perfect swimming temperature.

Over the next week I’ll be feeding back to you the conclusions and viewpoints regarding the three questions Imi and I set out to discuss. These questions being:

  1. What the ‘hell’ can ‘we’ do to get to One Point Zero?

(Those that know Imi, will know that including the word ‘hell’ is part of Imi’s style and an indication of a topic that is very close and passionate to him!! This ‘we’ isn’t about Imi and me, this is about ‘us’ all humans.

  1. How can we possibly have a Good Life with One Point Zero?                                                                                                 
  1. Should those who have contributed most to the One Point Six and increasing problem ‘pay’ the most for its resolution?

A last thought to challenge one’s paradigms and maybe help the One Point Zero learning process, and what this all means to us today:   In my pondering at The boundary Waters, and using America as my current reference country, I took the Global Footprint Network’s, 2016 data and turned my interpretation upside down coming up with what may be a strange conclusion:   The USA is 54% over populated! Now canoeing around the vastness of The Boundary Waters, and not coming across many people that would seem an impossible fact. Yes experiencing its populous big cities and walking in downtown Manhattan at rush hour may make that seem a bit more of a possible fact. Then travelling right across the country and seeing its vast openness, and many, many huge and magnificent National Parks, one would then be pushed back to saying there is no way the USA is 56% overpopulated!

Being an African, I have heard many people say Africa is overpopulated, and then with Imi’s cultural connection back to India, he vehemently states that India is overpopulated…  One of ‘The Facts’ is ‘Our Crowd Success’, and I have discussed this before in my blogs from the Ship trip, but maybe we should ask what we mean when we say ‘overpopulated’:  In One Point Zero context, overpopulated means that the ecosystem cannot sustainably deal with the level of the population, and their combined lifestyles as it relates to their combined ecological footprints.  So before we can say a piece of our planet is over populated we need to know two things: The ability of that specific part of our planet to deal with the footprint stuff humans create (The bio capacity), and then secondly how much of that footprint stuff the humans that live on that piece of planet actually create every day.  If there is more stuff being created than there is bio capacity then that piece of planet is overcrowded and is in need of some other piece of the planet’s bio capacity land to process its overload.

In the case of the USA it would need the size of the USA to be about 2.5 times the size of the country today.  Or putting it another way, there are some 56% too many people for the bio-capacity of the USA.

I found this quite a profound conclusion and since looking at the ecological problem from this overpopulation perspective, I have randomly asked those I bump into whether they think the USA has an overpopulation problem, and everyone has said “No”. Obviously the overpopulation problem can be corrected by a way of life consumption modification, but this is a huge undertaking and one that is where my work on One Point Zero is directed. How do we get people to see this huge overpopulation problem, take it seriously, and see that it’s not good for them, others, and all of Us?

I guess if there were other nations, or other parts of the planet that had surplus capacity the USA could rent this capacity, but the issue is the whole planet is seriously ecologically overcrowded, so there is no spare space????  Now I bet those real estate developers of you will be excited about thinking about how the undeveloped countries who do have some spare capacity can become overnight ‘zillionaires’ by renting / selling/ time sharing their unused capacity…?

As a real off the wall thought exploration, try and think through your over / under populated situation with you and your family / community:  The basic idea is that we each need enough green / good / natural real estate that has enough bio capacity to support our own life styles and carbon footprint.  Not sure that makes sense to you, and if you will enjoy exploring the concept, but it could lead you on a very interesting journey….

Sunrise or sunset.... Depends on how we want to see everything hey???!!!
Sunrise or sunset…. Depends on how we want to see everything hey???!!!

There were times in The Boundary Waters where I actually got angry about all this as I reflect on how ‘we’ have got ourselves into this position, and over my life how I was ‘shown the way’ by so many people, organisations, and preached belief systems that were all presented as THE only path for Success. Many of these were good people, people I trusted, and maybe even looked up to as people who ‘had Success’. I ask myself how I bucked the trend, and what made me walk away from ‘it all’ to try find ‘Real Success’.  Each time I answer that it was my soul calling me to be true to myself and too seek belonging with nature and our Planet above all as that was where belonging with the soul would be found. Way back then I had no idea that was the reason that that was the real motive, and in presenting this to you I don’t want it to come across as being religious, or new born, or whatever, this has been a path to human belonging: Belonging with our Planet, and it’s manager: Nature.

I assume many of you are going through a startling discovering process like I am going through, but with your unique perspective and situation. I expect that like me you could move between anger, inspiration, and a wonderful feeling of discovery of what human success means and how a sense of oneness with Nature and the whole of humanity is possible and how amazing and life enhancing that could be….

Anyway, there we go, my first post back in civilisation, and as usual straight from the heart….

Lots more to come over the next six weeks, as Trumped by Nature moves into a new phase: Over the next few days I’ll be wrapping up with Imi, and then Monday I plan to renew my relationship with Amtrak and take the train to Montana where I’ll be based for a week or so…. You can expect some fiery stuff to come for these next few weeks….

My container ship leaves from Oakland on 24th August, and it will be about 22 days to Auckland, New Zealand from there.

Thanks to the almost Zero Point Zero life of the past two weeks, I’m well on track for this Trumped by Nature’s goal.  Restraint in the next 3 weeks will be key!

 

More soon, and thanks for all the emails, and it would be great to see more comments…. This is about exploring together, don’t be shy!

 

Off to The Boundary Waters:

Desperately needing what Gauguin and Thoreau sought….

I’m writing this from a place called Grand Marais on the banks of Lake Superior that largest lake of The Great Lakes. The town is about 50 miles from the Canadian border. Its just a few miles from here to The Gunflint Trail where our two week canoe expedition will begin. The area is currently experiencing a serious heat wave, so my 115 deg F New Mexico training will come in handy!

Since arriving in the USA I have been deep inside a a society that is very way off One Point Zero and while its been wonderful intense exploring, its also been draining!  It’s time for me to re-energise and wilderness Nature is where I do that the best.

I’m reading ‘The Social Conquest of Earth’ by Edward Wilson, and he uses Paul Gauguin and David Thoreau as examples of people who searched for ‘the answers’ in Simplicity and Nature. Most would know the stories behind these two quite different men, but David Thoreau’s quest outlined below exemplifies what I have found over the past 12 years of my huge transformation:

Thoreau set out alone in Nature:   “To front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach….. To cut a broad swath, and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms…

Picture7

Most of the past 12 years have I powerfully experienced what he describes, and I’m sure many of you have too?  To me, it is here where inspiration and answers for One Point Zero lie, not in Chicago, Minneapolis, London, Sydney, or the same sort of city ‘where evers’….. In that I don’t mean cities are not part of the future, but rather the new visions for cities lie by seeing how far off being intensely human as we ‘should be’, current city life has taken us..

0 Nature and you

The next two weeks will be about that simplicity and connection with raw Nature, for Imi and I…. I can wait to use the intense experiences of the last 6 weeks of Trumped by Nature to reflect and find inspiration for the future of One Point Zero

D typical view from canoe

Imi and I will be going to immerse ourselves in this splendid wilderness, and use the environment to try and answer these three questions:

  1. What the ‘hell’ can ‘we’ do to get to One Point Zero?

(Those that know Imi, will know that including the word ‘hell’ is part of Imi’s style and an indication of a topic that is very close and passionate to him!! This ‘we’ isn’t about Imi and me, this is about ‘us’ all humans.

  1. How can we possibly have a Good Life with One Point Zero?                                                                                                     
  2. Should those who have contributed most to the One Point Six and increasing problem ‘pay’ the most for its resolution?

In setting out these questions, I’m inviting you to engage in your own thinking and debates on the issues and your answers.

When we come back after our two weeks we will share with you are thoughts and maybe the answers we arrive at…

I’ll also share with you some of the intense experiences Imi and I have had already had in exploring Amish and other religious views on One Point Zero.

I hope you also use this time to move Your One Point Zero Challenge forward and I’ll ‘see’ you in just over two weeks…!

Have fun!

Chicago to My Friend Imi……

Arriving in Chicago at 3 pm with a 9 pm connecting Greyhound bus I had time ti walk the streets of Chicago, and feel the vibe.  Well the Amtrak station was hugely busy, but like most of the downtown Chicago the station building is truly impressive. A Huge foyer area with the largest American flag I have ever seen hanging down the one wall.  People seemed stressed and I struggled to find anyone to engage in anything remotely like a One Point Zero conversation….!

Moving to the Greyhound bus terminal I have to say took me into another world of hostility. I’m not trying to be negative, but I have never had to work so hard to get a positive I want to help you approach from staff.  I don’t know what it is, maybe the general tension in the country from all the heavy stuff going on. I never have issues with friendliness to people, but this sternness, almost verging on hostility is pervasive.  

I did wonder if the NZ experience of the past 18 months has set standards so high that I’m expecting too much of strangers. In Nelson when the supermarket cashier asks you ‘How your day is?’, he or she really means it and wants to know….? Yes there are people in the queue behind you, but nobody is stressed and it’s all part of a fully human experience to interact with authenticity and interest.  It’s just so human and I sense how we were supposed to be?

I’ve been in the US many, many times, other big cities of the world too, and so do know the full on, put walls around yourself, focus and just do what you have to do approach. I was one of ‘them’, but it’s so clear to me how that big city behaviour is so wrong and so non-human yet increasingly become the ‘required’ behaviour for success, or else the ‘desperate’ behaviour of survival.  The people at the Greyhound terminal seemed to have seriously beaten up spirits, and in the last grasps of this desperate survival.

I thought back to my long bus ride from Nelson to Tauranga (see blogs below of early June) and just how so different the staff I interacted had been.  Those people all seemed so happy in the jobs and had capacity to engage, and be helpful and friendly…..   

The only guy I saw smile here was a cleaner and I went up to him, and asked if I could shake his hand?  So surprised I solved his mystery by saying: ” Mate you are the only person I have seen who has smile and looks happy around here”

I do believe this stress I was witness is all related to One Point Six trend and a culture of dog eat dog, to have more and more, faster and faster….  One can see the dogs who are ‘winning’ and the dogs who are ‘being eaten’, and actually both dogs looked stressed for very different reasons… 

The sad thing is that every day the world is moving more to the Chicago (Big city dog eats dog) model, and further away from the New Zealand (old school values) way….   

 I don’t sense we humans were supposed to flourish on this Big City, dog eats dog way of life, and here I was seeing blatant evidence of this!  This is another sign to me that The Success ‘we’ have defined is not ‘Success’, and a One Point Zero would not have that modus operandi…. Mainly because the need more, want more, will get more mind set has to disappear for One Point Zero to be achieved and to stay at One Point Zero. There is a fundamental clash between Nature’s way, and The Western Capitalist way, and with most of the conflicts and stress in the world  today this conflict is at the root cause.  That’s a grand statement that maybe seems out of place and generalising for my One Point Zero purpose, but as I think about things and translate my own transformation the picture is just so clear that the path of society needs a radical change….. We have lost our connection to belonging as a full creature of Nature on this planet. Its like we are deformed in our unnatural struggle to own and dominate everything…

The eight hour bus trip to Minneapolis was as expected and picking up the rental car in Down Town Minneapolis, I was soon crossing the St Croix river into Wisconsin and arrived at Imi’s place in River Falls, to a huge hug. I have stayed at Imi’s place often so this felt like home, and I was soon catching up on lost sleep.

ZZZZZ

Amtrak delivers a wonderful experience…:

I’m now four hours from Chicago, and without trying to over glamorise the trip, it has been truly wonderful in so many respects: Scenery, fellow passengers, comfort, great pace, and a glimpse of four states and of America, and some of their towns and cities..

Sunset dinner in the dining carriage with an interesting late thirties woman with a 9 month old: She was moving from Los Angeles to a small town in Indiana, after having lived for ten years in New York City, and now totally had enough of the big city values and lifestyle. Moving from NYC she thought California would be better but after trying Los Angeles now, she realised it’s the Big Cities and The System that is ‘the problem’.  Being part of a US Navy family, she’d lived many years overseas when she was younger, and ended by saying: “Maybe I shouldn’t be trying Indiana, but rather be leaving America?

At Raton, New Mexico, a huge contingent of boy scouts joined us at and I ended up immersed in conversation with four of them: Sixteen year olds, having just spent two weeks on a wilderness camp. Well, different to my California experience, here I found young people who had a perspective of Nature that was both confused but surprisingly enlightened for their age. Two of the three had travelled overseas the one had even been to South Africa.

When I asked whether they think humans are part of Nature or something special and different, they said they believed we should be part of Nature, but we have drifted away and aren’t anymore.  I explored more what Nature is and how it works, and they all agreed without doubt that we should be part of Nature, and as they spoke I saw a real pain in their expressions. Almost like they shouldn’t be saying that as they were breaking a promise that they weren’t to tell anyone that??  My eyes welled up, and I shared with them how sad I find this this fact is, but how great it is that they realise this and were sharing their hearts with me…..

They didn’t know about the extent of our ‘One Point Six and ever increasing’ problem, but as I took them through it they got ‘it’ all straight away, and I sensed a huge shock, but interestingly there was also a desire to explore and understand. Unlike many older people, this exchange seemed free of guilt / denial baggage, and there was almost a sense of excitement of a new unknown they were discovering.

Like I have done many times with the younger generation, I then openly apologised to them for what ‘My Generation’ have done. Almost in mitigation highlighting the fact that we are the first generation to actually have ‘The Facts’ that show us ‘for the first time’ what many generations of society have done. It was now for them to decide what to do, and I shared how I was exploring the unknown myself, how to help and what I should do…?

I then moved the conversation to their personal context?  We spent four hours talking through all this and what it could mean for their life / career choices, and this all helped me see that the best thing a young person needs today is to have strong life explorer and a life adventurer skills…. We need a quite different new path, but one that uses the great things from the current path, yet set in a future One Point Zero context, where Nature is Supreme. This requires radical explorers, and extreme adventurers who are fearless for the unknown, and sceptical of passed down truths, and with that mind set the life journey will be Fun, Challenging and Rewarding.

It was a valuable time together for all of us, and I just wondered if any of you reading this have shared One Point Zero with your ‘young adults’ and how you deal with these seemingly difficult discussions. Not having kids, it’s easy for me to have these discussions, but it made me realise that if I did have kids I’d hope they already knew about all this because of my proactive leadership! If they didn’t know then once I knew the One Point Zero story I’d definitely be sharing it and make the sharing and guidance part of my contribution to mitigating my generation’s ‘guilt’…  Or maybe ‘ignorance is bliss’ and keep it all away from ‘them’….?  I can’t see how that is good for anyone, but…. I don’t know?   This is all challenging stuff!

Trumped by Nature is delivering what I envisaged, and if I’d flown from NZ to Minneapolis, it would have just been a day or two, but man I’d never have had the rich and challenging experience I’m currently having…

I’m only one third of the way through the adventure, but already I have no doubt that these three months at the coalface of the One Point Zero interface with Society will have a profound impact on decisions once I’m back in New Zealand, and my future activist journey. For now, let the adventure continue….

The Lonely Road… Inspiration and Credit from a Blind Man!

After three days in Albuquerque, and overloaded with CNN, I felt ready to start the next leg of Trumped by Nature, a US Public Transport experience:  Its 27 hours by Amtrak railway to Chicago, then a 9 hour overnight Greyhound bus connection to Minneapolis, just over the Mississippi River from my Blind friend Imi in Wisconsin.

I hear Imi saying to me: “It would have only taken you half a day from San Diego by air: We could have spent a whole lot more days together and it would have been a lot easier for you?”  In our past three US adventures (See here) I did do the ‘flying thing’ but this time the adventure includes the goal of me trying to do it within my One Point Zero restraints.

My Amtrak home for 27 hours to Chicago
My Amtrak home for 27 hours to Chicago

Knowing that “Easier for me” wasn’t the goal I had to remind myself that I’m exploring sustainable travel, and ask myself how I’m doing so far?  Well I proudly tell people I’m in the USA, having crossed the Pacific Ocean, with no bigger footprint than if I’d stayed in Nelson, NZ, living a ‘normal life’!  But you have just driven 900 miles with Bob in his car, how does that fit in, Howard??

Well I was sort of a hitch-hiker, riding on the back of Bob’s trip to Albuquerque anyway. I can tell you this wasn’t easy, as right up until the last minute I said to Bob: “I ‘d rather take the bus, if you going there just for me, hey?”  This was challenging for me, and tested my One Point Zero priority and resolve. In setting out on this ‘Trumped by Nature’ adventure, I wanted to experience the coalface of the conflict and here it was again. Bob said he wanted to go anyway, so I took a hitch hiker’s credit, and left him with the full footprint cost?

A foot print that would have amounted to 5% of my annual footprint allowance!  Yep, just 3 days of motor car travel with two of us sharing the total footprint. For someone driving solo there and back, or a ‘taxi’ loading the whole footprint onto ‘the passenger’ it would be a scary 20% of their total annual footprint ‘allowance’. The average American drives 13 400 miles a year, and if that’s done alone that person is over their ‘allowance’ just on driving, let alone all the other ‘just living’ footprint generated! Obviously all those miles are not as the only one in the car but I hope you can see the seriousness of ‘our’ problem.  The concept of an ‘allowance’ for each one of us is probably totally foreign to many of ‘you’?

The ‘allowance’ here assumes each of us 7.6 billion humans is allocated equal share of Nature’s scarce regenerative bio-capacity. The very bio capacity that we currently need 60% more of and our planet hasn’t got it. One Point Zero is about living within the single planet capacity Nature has available. Back to the ‘allowance’ of this capacity:

As I often get told: “That’s how you (Howard) have decided to allocate that capacity, but I haven’t agreed with that yet!!”  That’s true, and wondering if ‘they’ have even accepted the fact that that we are 60% over the capacity, I respond:  “Yep, ‘mate’ I accept that and ‘Yep’, I can’t force you to accept how I worked out my capacity allowance, but let me know what planet bio capacity allocation you come up with for You? May be you have a better way that would help me too… ?”

That's my coffee cup still from Los Angeles. That's the morning breakfast bin at the motel I stayed at. It needs to be emptied every half hour over breakfast!
That’s my coffee cup still from Los Angeles. That’s the morning breakfast bin at the motel I stayed at. It needs to be emptied every half hour over breakfast!

This is challenging stuff, but once I accepted ‘My allocation’ I became surprisingly peaceful and it’s now all a fun exploration of how to do it that fits perfectly with my soul!  ‘My allocation’ works out at some 3-5 times lower than what an average developed world citizen uses…..! That’s the extent of ‘Our Challenge’, but I just wish more would see it as OUR challenge….

The great lounge cafe coach on the train for all to share.
The great lounge cafe coach on the train for all to share.

Travel by train and bus both have very low footprint versus flying and so that’s what this current travel leg to Minneapolis and my friend Imi, is about. (Of course the best footprint is not travelling, but I‘m not giving up on what I love yet!) I’m writing this on Amtrak’s Superliner, but in the non-elite, coach class section, and really enjoying the different experience as the New Mexico terrain changes from semi desert to what I’d call more fertile savannah!  Interestingly, all the people I ask why they are going by train, give ‘cost’ and / or ‘just very pleasant’ as the reasons, none about ‘their foot print’.

The skyscrapers of Chicago from the train as I arrived 30 minutes ago!
The skyscrapers of Chicago from the train as I arrived 30 minutes ago!

After arriving in Minneapolis on Tuesday, Imi and I are renting a car to drive from his house in Wisconsin to the Boundary Waters in Minnesota for our two week canoe expedition in its pristine wilderness. The car trip there and back, will be some 800 miles. “Now how does that footprint work for you, Howard?”

For both cost and carbon footprint reasons, we did try to get a bus or lift to the Boundary Waters, but this proved a huge challenge, forcing us into the rental car option, and I had a footprint challenge, that had to be solved.

Well just like the master wheeler dealer, Mr Trump, I came up with a deal. Unlike his one’s which no doubt all increase the planets carbon footprint, and feed his appetite for greed, mine seems footprint legitimate, enables me to be with my buddy, and fits with my soul!

Africa 2 401s
Imi in Bagamoyo on our Tanzania expedition

Imi, (Professor Imtiaz Moosa, Head of Philosophy at Wisconsin University, River Falls) is one of the few people of his socio economic class who is a sub One Point Zero-er, and has been for years, even before the concept came up! I’m always interested in how he managed to avoid be sucked into the western consumption, greed and materialism life? His blindness has helped, reduce temptation of visual marketing, but it all started well before he went blind, and is a complex mixture of cultural upbringing, his philosophical explorations, and an ability to belong with himself which means he is not swayed by the ‘fashions’ required to belong to ‘The Crowd’.

That's Imi's tent at The Boundary Waters a few years back... Simplicity deluxe!
That’s Imi’s tent at The Boundary Waters a few years back… Simplicity deluxe!

From day one on our 2010 Yukon River trip, we just hit it off as two ‘boys’ who value the simple life, and had a pretty common view of Nature, how our planet works and how we humans fit in to it all. Imi sometimes puts me to shame on the simplicity of need, I know that may sounds scary for some of you, but having spent so many months with him in the USA, Canada, Tanzania, and New Zealand, I know Imi is a rare, USA based, icon of low consumption, simplicity of need, and a total abhorrence of conspicuous consumption, and The Good Life ideology.

So in the context of One Point Zero, Imi lives a life that is below ‘the allowance’, and as such is a walking carbon footprint credit!

Imi loves the wilderness, I love the wilderness, Imi and I love sharing time in the wilderness together, and this time I’m constrained by my One Point Zero, ‘allowance’.

I realise Imi has his footprint credit and being blind can’t drive himself to the wilderness? (Yet, amazingly he can navigate me there!) I can help him spend the credit for something we both want, provided I don’t get the footprint loaded on to me? So if he signs ‘my indemnity form’ to say I’m ‘Just his driver’, we have a wonderful win-win-win deal!!

Ha-ha, ‘Donald’ I’m learning from you, man, without paying your rip off ‘University’ tuition fees, but can you see how my deal is all above board and also doesn’t result in some huge footprint generating and Trump enriching result! The carbon fingerprint of a casino is huge, and surely can’t be justified as being necessary for human flourishing in a future One Point Zero world.

Now when Imi reads this he will ‘hit the roof’ as he is an inspiration in independence and self-sufficiency, and so ‘help’ is not a word in his vocabulary!   Anyway given our relationship, I know he will understand the whole intent of this Post!

In sharing the above I sense many will conclude that there are much more fun, important, meaningful things than trying to fit my ‘footprint in my allowance’?  I could see why one could conclude that, but for me the whole mindful step is the most valuable and one that makes me realise I am part of a home that I should care for and Nature’s system that I should respect. I’m mindful of consequences of my decisions to the planet and my fellow humans, both current and future generations.  I know this may sound so cute, stupid or pointless when so many others are not doing this, but I wish I could describe how liberating it feels as I strive to be a mindful, and ‘proper human’, not an arrogant, exploiting, couldn’t care less, anthropocentric one….. And I say that not wanting to come across ‘holier than thou’, but rather from a point of real despair that society can’t see the flaw of its journey to ‘The Facts’ of today.

Fingers crossed for the Republican Convention going without serious incident
Fingers crossed for the Republican Convention going without serious incident