November 2015 newsletter
What scares us?
I realize that I ended the last of these three questions with a preposition (a no-no for Doctors of English); but I want to address each of these questions in this newsletter, because they’re questions I’ve been considering a lot lately.
First, I want to invite you all to three November events:
This Saturday, November 7th, we’ll return to the hills of Malibu to celebrate the Fall Harvest at MUSE School, where we look forward to live music, organic food and other sustainable vendors. It’s a beautiful afternoon.
November 13-15th, we’ll return to The San Francisco Green Festival, where I first discovered the Green business community, and felt more at home among the fair-trade chocolateers, solar & electric geeks, superfood nuts and organic alchemists than I ever did among my supremely intelligent academic friends. For outstanding holiday shopping, inspiring music, yoga, bodywork, speakers and a positive feeling of community you won’t find anywhere else, come check it out.
Thursday November 19th, from 7-11 pm, come to the Vital Hemp store at 2305 Main St, Santa Monica 90405 for a Thanksgiving Party, including goodies from some of our favorite companies: Hot Tulsi Chai from Organic India (hemp milk and honey optional), seriously delicious Hemp Ale from the Humboldt Brewing Company, hemp seeds from Nutiva, superfoods from Imlak’esh organics, treats courtesy of Rawvolution and desserts by Debra Jill Mazur.
Finally, for all of you who live elsewhere and cannot make these events, here’s a gift to give you a jump on some online holiday shopping: We’re celebrating the End of a Long Summer with a Sale. The discount code ELSS20 will give you 20% off e-commerce purchases through the end of November, so get what you want while supplies last.
And now, for those who’ve read this far, a few thoughts about the questions I posed above:
When I was young, I was scared by scary movies, some rollercoasters, really steep or bumpy ski runs, and talking to girls. As I’ve matured, my fears have evolved. After seeing An Inconvenient Truth back in 2006, I felt scared about the scientific facts of global warming and the predictions (now happening many times faster than originally predicted) of the devastating future represented there.
I originally started Vital Hemp as a way to address our world’s environmental degradation, thinking that by replacing cotton with hemp, we could help heal the ecosystems that are so massively damaged by cotton’s pesticide use. The more I learn about industrial hemp, the more I realize how vital hemp is to the puzzle of a viable future for life on the planet. I mentioned this fact in last month’s newsletter, but think it’s worth repeating: for every ton of hemp we harvest, the crop sequesters 1.62 tons of carbon-dioxide. That means growing hemp cools the globe! It’s actually the most effective, biodense agricultural crop for cooling the globe. And it doesn’t require massive amounts of water, or pesticides.
So on some level, being in this business assuages my fears by addressing them—even if only in a small way. Vegetarians and vegans might feel the same way, since meat production and distribution is clearly a leading cause of global warming. People do countless things every day to co-create a future we want to see—riding bikes, doing yoga, recycling, teaching, volunteering—the list is endless; and yet, we may feel as if it’s not enough, as if the system is rigged against us, and consequently against a viable future. In a world where hedge fund managers and unscrupulous banks can tank world economies for short-term gain, and where corporations that care more about profits than people or the planet continue to press politicians for more loopholes and less regulations, it’s hard to feel as though recycling our paper cup matters.
So here’s what I fear now: I fear that we’ve lost a sense of hope that we can actually change things. Many have become defeatists, and that attitude will certainly lead to defeat. A multi-millionaire was in my store recently. I had just come back from seeing Bernie Sanders speak at the Avalon Theater in Hollywood, and was feeling buoyed (for the first time in my life) after hearing a politician devoid of spin, who dared to challenge the status quo, who wouldn’t accept Wall Street money to go easy on the banks (look where that got us!), and who really wanted to improve so many aspects of our damaged world—not just for a few, but for all living things. This millionaire sat there, and said, “I love Bernie. I believe in everything he stands for. But he has no chance of winning.” Mind you, this is months before we’ve even chosen the Democratic nominee for President. The intellectual ancestors of this attitude said, “I love women. I respect them. But they’ll never have the vote.” Or “Blacks should be free, but it will never happen.” Or “I’d support Obama, but he’ll never be President!”
I’ve heard this sentiment over and over again, mostly expressed by comfortable, middle-aged people, who think that Hillary is the safest bet to hang onto what they have, and maybe make things a little better for others. The problem with this thinking is that without seriously addressing our malfunctioning democracy (more of an oligarchy), and the climate challenge head-on with everything we have, we’re just re-arranging the proverbial chairs on the Titanic.
Global warming will continue as long as oil corporations, banks and and other traditional power-brokers own Congress, prohibiting real changes. The world economy will continue to be leveraged into a precariously unstable place as long as politicians allow banks to do what they want—however unscrupulous or even illegal, without a single bank CEO going to jail. It’s like the VW diesel scandal: eleven million VW’s (and now Audis and Porsches, and counting) outfitted with software that allows them to pollute 10-40 times what’s allowed by law, and “it’s just a few rogue software engineers.” Do you think that politicians who rely on money from these banks and corporations will fight to imprison the guilty?
The millionaire across from me feels (irrationally) safe. “I have a yacht with a water filter that can turn ocean water into drinking water. And I have several weeks of food aboard. I can hang out on Catalina when things get bad here….” There are innumerable versions of this kind of thinking: “I’ll move to New Zealand. Nuclear fallout won’t be as bad there.” Or “I have a well on my property, and a gun. We’ll be alright.” Or “We grow our own food. We’ll be alright.” What people who rationalize away their determination for real change for all living things don’t realize is this: we’re all connected. The Earth is one ecosystem. Ocean currents don’t distinguish between nations, and the rainforests of the Amazon clean the air for all citizens, as do forests everywhere. Just because it’s not happening in our backyard doesn’t mean it’s not happening to us. The same warming that contributes to tsunamis in Japan contributes to Hurricanes in New York or New Orleans, and to Super Fires in California and Texas. This is not a partisan fight, but a fight for life on the planet!
Some people think, “I won’t be around in fifty or a hundred years. This won’t affect me.” To those, I appeal to some thoughts around the second two questions I posed. I’d ask them to consider what they’re thankful for, and what they want more of…to remind them of what they love. Perhaps it’s gone now, and that’s was made them lose hope. Maybe they had a river or a stream where they used to swim or catch fish or see frogs, and it’s dry or polluted now. Maybe they once lived in a city they loved--a warzone or ruins now. But maybe they still take pleasure in the purring of a cat, the smile of a child, the sound of a familiar song, a dish their mother or grandmother made, the hug of a friend, an enveloping forest, or even a blue sky!
There’s really so much to be thankful for—more thankfully than what we grieve, at least now, for most people. And if we want to experience more of these things, and to ensure that future generations of people and species might also live to love and take pleasure in life, then let’s not lose hope. Carrie Chapman Catt had a vision and saw much of that vision realized in her lifetime. MLK had a vision and we are still realizing it now. We’ve come so far. Let’s get real and support what we love. What and who we love may not win an election; but at least we can live knowing we supported what we believed in, and didn’t give in to drowning before even getting our toes wet. And guess what? If enough people support the things and people we love, we may actually make it to a future where we want to be. It can happen.
As ever, thanks for being vital,
~satisfy your hemptations~
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