West Michigan Environmental Action Summit: Women’s Symposium Pt. 2 | 02/15/13

West Michigan Environmental Action Summit: Women’s Symposium Pt. 2 | 02/15/13


>>WELCOME BACK FROM LUNCH. DID EVERYBODY
HAVE A GOOD LUNCH? GOOD. WELL, I HAVE A PRIVILEGE
OF INTRODUCING OUR HOST FOR THE AFTERNOON
AND THE NEXT PANEL. I’M NOT SURE HOW MUCH OF AN
INTRODUCTION SHE REALLY NEEDS, BECAUSE I THINK PROBABLY
MOST EVERYONE IN THE ROOM KNOWS SHELLEY IRWIN. I GOT ON HER LINKEDIN
PAGES THIS MORNING JUST TO PULL A
COUPLE COMMENTS OFF, BECAUSE I HAVE KNOWN
SHELLEY FOR A WHILE AND I GET THE PRIVILEGE
OF WORKING WITH HER A COUPLE OF TIMES
A MONTH BECAUSE I ORGANIZE GUESTS
FOR A COUPLE OF HER SHOWS. AND IF YOU DON’T KNOW
SHELLEY’S STORY, YOU CAN PROBABLY GO
OUT AND GOOGLE IT, BUT DID YOU KNOW SHE WAS A
PHYSICAL THERAPIST AT ONE TIME? AND THEN SHE WENT INTO BROADCAST
JOURNALISM, WHERE SHE IS TODAY. AND SHE SAID, “FOLLOWING UP
ON TRUE TALENTS AND PASSION, “HAVEN’T STOPPED
LOVING THE FIELD “AND GETTING THE MOST OUT
OF THE OPPORTUNITIES.” THIS IS WHAT I REALLY
LIKE WHAT SHE SAID. HER SPECIALTIES–
SHOW HOST AND PRODUCER, COMMUNITY PARTICIPANT– AND IF
YOU KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT SHELLEY YOU KNOW SHE IS EVERYWHERE
AND INVOLVED IN EVERYTHING, AND SHE IS ALWAYS
RUNNING TO A MEETING, AND THEN SHE STILL GETS
HER EXERCISE IN EVERY DAY. BUT SHE IS A TRIATHELETE AND–
MOST OF ALL, I LOVE THIS PART– SHE IS A DOG LOVER
AND OWNER. SO WELCOME, SHELLEY. WE APPRECIATE YOU
BEING HERE AGAIN. (applause)>>ONLY RENAE WOULD WEAR
GREEN TO A GREEN EVENT. (audience laughing) I AM ALSO KNOWN FOR TAKING
PICTURES OF THE AUDIENCE, BECAUSE I AM
A FACEBOOK FRIEND, AND I WANT TO GET
YOUR STORY OUT. WE WILL GET YOU LATER.
(audience laughing) AND I OWN DOGS BECAUSE
THAT IS WHAT GETS ME HOME. SO I LIVE IN
A DOG HOUSE. I AM HONORED
TO BE HERE. AND OF COURSE,
IT IS NOT ABOUT ME. IT’S ABOUT YOUR PANELISTS
AND THE PARTICIPATION THAT WE HAVE OVER THE NEXT HOUR
AND, OF COURSE, YOUR WORKSHOPS. CONGRATULATIONS
TO YOUR KEYNOTE FOR GIVING A GREAT
INSPIRATIONAL MESSAGE AS WELL. SO THANK YOU FOR BEING HERE
AND CARING, OF COURSE, ABOUT THE ENVIRONMENT. THANK GOD THE METEOR DID NOT
HIT US ON THIS SIDE OF THE LAND. TAKE EACH DAY
TO THE MAX. LET ME INTRODUCE THE
PANELISTS, PLEASE. YOUR SUMMARY IS
IN YOUR PROGRAM, BUT I WANT TO GO INTO
A LITTLE MORE DETAIL. LISA ROSE STARNER,
GLAD YOU ARE HERE. HERBALIST, WILD CRAFTER,
URBAN FARMER, AND AUTHOR, PLUS A WIFE AND
MOTHER OF TWO. LISA ROSE STARNER KNOWS,
ULTIMATELY, THE DEMANDS OF MODERN LIFE
ON OUR HEALTH. SHE HAS CULTIVATED HER
HERBALISM PRACTICES AS A NATURAL EXTENSION OF HER–
IS IT LOCAVORE?>>SURE– LOCAVORE.>>AND LOCAL FOOD ADVOCACY
WORK, OF COURSE, IN HER HOME CITY
OF GRAND RAPIDS RIGHT HERE IN MICHIGAN,
SURROUNDED BY THE MAGICAL LANDS OF MICHIGAN AND THE
POWERFUL WATER, OF COURSE, OF OUR GREAT LAKES. SHE OFFERS HER TEACHINGS ON WILD
PLANTS, FORAGING, WILD CRAFTING, AND MEDICINE, MAKING USE OF
HER BIO-REGIONAL PERSPECTIVE, BELIEVING LAND HOLDS THE SECRETS
OF HEALING FOR HER COMMUNITY AND BEYOND. HER WEBSITE IS
HERBALISTLISAROSESTARNER.COM. ROUND OF APPLAUSE
FOR LISA. (applause)
>>WELL, THANK YOU VERY MUCH! (indistinct speaking)
(applause)>>ELISSA HILLARY WILL
BE ON THE AIR WITH ME NEXT TUESDAY AT 10:30. THERE IS OUR PLUG, MY FRIEND.
(audience laughing) EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
OF LOCAL FIRST. SHE HAS GRACED THE COVER
OF “GRAND RAPIDS MAGAZINE” IN HER PAST LIFE. HILLARY IS CREDITED WITH
THE GROWING MOVEMENT TO BRING LOCAL DOLLARS
BACK INTO OUR COMMUNITY THROUGH, OF COURSE,
LOCAL PURCHASING. SHE WILL SHARE
HER INSIGHTS TODAY ABOUT GROWING A
SOCIAL ENTERPRISE, HEALING OUR ECONOMY
AND OUR ENVIRONMENT AND EMPOWERING
ENTREPRENEURS– THAT IS PROBABLY MOST
OF YOU IN THE AUDIENCE– TO FULFILL THE NICHES, AGAIN,
IN OUR LOCAL COMMUNITY AND IN OUR LOCAL
ECONOMY AS WELL. LOCALFIRST.COM FOR
MORE INFORMATION. PUT YOUR DOLLARS
LOCALLY. ROUND OF APPLAUSE
TO ELISSA, PLEASE. (applause) MARY BROWN,
GLAD YOU ARE HERE. A LOCAL FACILITATOR
AND EDUCATOR. MARY DELIVERS A COURSE
AT GRCC HELPING STUDENTS
EMERGING OUT OF POVERTY, OF COURSE IMPROVING
THEIR LIVES THROUGH SEVEN CORE
LIFESTYLE CHOICES. MARY IS IN THIS PROCESS
HERSELF AND HAS, OVER TIME, BEEN DISCOVERING HOW TO REFLECT
HER OWN PERSONAL VALUES FOR A STRONGER TRIPLE
BOTTOM LINE IN HER LIFESTYLE, INCLUDING
PERSONAL WELLNESS, ECONOMIC AND ENVIRONMENTAL
RESPONSIBILITY, AND SOCIAL
EQUITY VALUES. MARY IS TRANSFORMING TO
LIVE THE CHANGE, IF I MAY. SHE WISHES TO SEE THE WORLD
AND INSPIRING STUDENTS AND OTHERS AROUND
HER TO DO THE SAME. YOU CAN FEEL THE GLOW
AROUND MARY BROWN. (audience laughing)
HER WEBSITE IS LEEAX.COM. THANKS, MARY–
ROUND OF APPLAUSE. (applause) AGAIN, MY NEXT GUEST,
RACHEL HOOD– MY NEXT GUEST. I AM STILL IN SHOW MODE.
(audience chuckling) OUR NEXT PANELIST NEEDS NO
INTRODUCTION NOR DO THE REST. EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
RACHEL HOOD, W.M.E.A.C. FOR THE LAST SIX YEARS, RACHEL
HAS BEEN WORKING TO ORIENT THE REGION’S MOST ESTABLISHED
ENVIRONMENTAL ORGANIZATION TO 21st CENTURY
ENVIRONMENTALIST ISSUES WHILE PROTECTING, OF COURSE,
THE BUSINESS PRACTICE AND REGULATORY GAINS MADE BY PREVIOUS GENERATIONS
OF LOCAL ENVIRONMENTAL LEADERS. RACHEL LEADS A TEAM OF PEOPLE
WORKING ON TWO KEY STRATEGIES FOR THE ENVIRONMENT, ELEVATING GREEN
INFRASTRUCTURE OPPORTUNITIES TO ADDRESS STORM WATER
MANAGEMENT ISSUES IN ORDER, OF COURSE,
TO PROTECT OUR GREAT LAKES AND FOCUSING ON
ENERGY OPTIMIZATION AS THE FIRST MOST AFFORDABLE
STEP TOWARD ENERGY SECURITY IN OUR COMMUNITIES. WMEAC.ORG. THANKS FOR BEING HERE AND
LEADING THIS GREAT WORKSHOP AS WELL,
RACHEL HOOD. ROUND OF APPLAUSE. (applause) ALLOW ME TO FRAME
OUR TIME TOGETHER HERE. AGAIN, I HAVE
SOME QUESTIONS– GENERAL QUESTIONS
FOR EACH AS WELL, AND THEN, OF COURSE, WE WILL
OPEN IT TO THE AUDIENCE. WE WILL BE PASSING
A MICROPHONE AROUND. I KNOW THAT THIS IS
A CLOSE ENVIRONMENT. WE CAN MOST PROBABLY
HEAR YOUR QUESTIONS, BUT DO WAIT UNTIL YOUR
MICROPHONE COMES TO YOU. ON BEHALF OF RACHEL
AND HER TEAM, HERE ARE WORDS I HAVE
BEEN ASKED TO SHARE. “WE KNOW THAT
OUR ENVIRONMENT “IS THREATENED IN
MANY DIFFERENT WAYS. “FINDING OUR PATH TOWARDS
SUSTAINABILITY IN OUR LIVES, “OUR COMMUNITIES,
AND OUR GLOBE “REQUIRE DIVERSE,
PASSIONATE LEADERS “WHO ARE WILLING TO DELIVER NEW
APPROACHES TO CONQUER OUR ISSUES “AND PROTECT
OUR PLANET.” IN FRONT OF YOU ARE
THE ACTIVE EXAMPLES OF WOMEN LEADING CHANGE FOR THEMSELVES,
THEIR FAMILIES, AND FOR LOCAL,
REGIONAL, NATIONAL, AND INTERNATIONAL
COMMUNITIES. WE DO HOPE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT
HOW AND WHY THESE LEADERS HAVE BEEN INSPIRED TO
TAKE ACTION IN THEIR LIVES AND OUR COMMUNITY. WE KNOW OUR PERSONAL
MOTIVATIONS, OF COURSE,
ARE KEY FACTORS IN PROGRESS, SO LET’S IDENTIFY
THESE MOTIVATORS. ALSO, WHAT IS NEXT? WHAT ARE THE NEXT CHALLENGES
OUR COMMUNITY WILL FACE IN PROTECTING OUR
NATURAL RESOURCES? HOW WILL OUR COMMUNITIES
BE MOBILIZED? THAT IS YOU AND ME. AND HOW CAN WE MATCH
OUR MOTIVATIONS WITH THESE
EMERGING NEEDS? BUCKLE UP. RACHEL HOOD… DESCRIBE YOUR
APPROACH TO LEADERSHIP FOR THE ENVIRONMENT AND
WHAT INSPIRED YOUR COMMITMENT TO YOUR NATURAL
RESOURCES AND COMMUNITY?>>WELL, I AM FROM THE DETROIT
AREA, FROM AN URBAN COMMUNITY, SUBURB OF DETROIT
CALLED ROYAL OAK. AND I GREW UP WITH A LOT OF
GREAT NEIGHBORHOOD PARKS BUT WITH A SENSE
OF DISCONNECTEDNESS FROM OUR NATURAL
RESOURCES. IN DETROIT, WE ARE ALSO–
LIKE HERE IN WEST MICHIGAN– WE ARE VERY CLOSE TO THE
LAKES AND TO THE DETROIT RIVER, BUT THOSE BODIES OF WATER AREN’T
AS HEALTHY AS LAKE MICHIGAN IS. AND ON A REGULAR BASIS,
WE WERE UNABLE TO REALLY ENJOY OUR LAKESHORE AND
OUR WATER RESOURCES. THIS BECAME REALLY PRESENT
TO ME AS I WAS COMING OF AGE, STARTING THE–
MY HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS FOR ENVIRONMENTAL
AWARENESS GROUP… (laughing) WORKING TO CHANGE OVER
MY CHURCH’S PRACTICES AT COFFEE HOUR FROM
STYROFOAM TO GLASS, AND WORKING WITH MY BROTHER
TO TAKE INNER CITY KIDS ONTO BELLE ISLE INTO THE RIVER
FOR SOME SAILING EXPERIENCES. AND THE DISCONNECT BEGAN
TO REALLY BOTHER ME AND THE SENSE OF NOT BEING
IN CONTROL OF THESE RESOURCES THAT WERE SO DEAR TO ME
AND TO OUR COMMUNITY. AND FROM THERE, I REALLY
BEGAN TO GET INTERESTED IN URBAN ISSUES AND IN
COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT. I FOUND THAT,
IN DETROIT– AT THE TIME, THIS WOULD HAVE
BEEN IN THE LATE ’90s– THERE REALLY WASN’T
A PLACE FOR ME TO BE ABLE TO DELIVER
THOSE PASSIONS. SO I HIGHTAILED IT TO
THE WEST SIDE OF THE STATE… (laughing) AND DISCOVERED THIS PLACE WITH
A RICH PHILANTHROPIC NETWORK, A RICH COMMUNITY, AN AMAZING AMOUNT OF
NATURAL RESOURCES THAT WERE– EVEN THOUGH WE WERE LIVING
IN AN URBAN ENVIRONMENT, WE COULD STEP OUT OF OUR
DOOR AND IN 20 MINUTES OR HALF AN HOUR, BE IN THE MIDST OF
GREAT NATURAL BEAUTY. SO MY CAREER HAS REALLY BEEN
BUILT AROUND INTRODUCING NATURE BACK INTO URBAN COMMUNITIES
TO HELP HEAL THOSE PLACES AND, MORE IMPORTANTLY, TO HELP HEAL THE PEOPLE
IN URBAN COMMUNITIES, SO WE CAN ALL WORK TOGETHER
TO THEN HEAL THE PLANET. AND… LIKE ROXANA, I STARTED MY
WORK IN COMMUNITY ORGANIZING, NOT IN UNIONS BUT ON THE
COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT SIDE. MY APPROACH TO LEADERSHIP
HAS ALWAYS BEEN FACILITATIVE, MORE ABOUT TRYING TO LOOK
FOR LEADERS IN COMMUNITIES AND EMPOWER THEM, AND THAT IS WHY THIS EVENT
IS SO IMPORTANT TO ME AND IS QUICKLY BECOMING MY
FAVORITE W.M.E.A.C. EVENT. DON’T TELL ANYBODY.
(audience laughing) BECAUSE I REALLY FEEL THAT WE
ALL HAVE A POWER INSIDE OF US TO HEAL OUR OWN LIVES AND
TO MAKE DEEPER CONNECTIONS– TO RECONNECT NATURE AND
OUR BUILT ENVIRONMENTS.>>DON’T TELL ANYBODY AND
THERE IS A CAMERA IN YOUR FACE. THAT DOESN’T HAPPEN.
>>OH, RIGHT. (laughing)>>MARY BROWN, YOUR APPROACH
TO LEADERSHIP, PLEASE. WHAT IS YOUR INSPIRATION?>>I’M A LITTLE PARCHED SO
I’M GOING TO DO A MARCO RUBIO. (audience laughing) FIRST OF ALL, BEING
POLITICALLY INCORRECT IS PROBABLY THE
BIGGEST ASSET I KNOW.>>I’M GONNA MOVE
THIS UP TO YOU…>>OOPS.
(audience laughing)>>YOU BREAK IT,
YOU BUY IT. MY APPROACH IS FROM
THE PERSONAL NATURE, AND THAT IS WHY
I AM HERE TO PRESENT IN THE WORKSHOP
AROUND THAT. I THINK THAT ANYTHING
THAT HAS TO BE DONE AROUND THE ENVIRONMENT OR ANY SORT OF SYSTEMIC CHANGE,
YOU ALSO HAVE TO PERSONALIZE IT. AND SO, TALKING EARLIER
TODAY AT A SIDE BAR, WE WERE GOING BACK
TO THAT OLD ADAGE OF “THE POLITICAL
BECOMES PERSONAL,” “THE PERSONAL BECOMES
POLITICAL,” RIGHT? AND EVERYBODY IS
FAMILIAR WITH THAT. I THINK FOR A LOT OF PEOPLE
WHO ARE IN POVERTY OR OF COLOR, THAT IS HOW THAT
CHANGE HAPPENS. SO I COME TO THE WORK FROM
A VERY PERSONAL NATURE, FROM FAMILY BACKGROUND
THAT BROUGHT ME HERE TO UNDERSTAND WHO I AM AND MY
CONNECTION WITH THE ENVIRONMENT AND CONNECTION
WITH COMMUNITY. SO THAT PERSONAL ALSO
CONNECTS WITH OTHER PEOPLE. I AM A VERY BIG
SYSTEM THINKER. IN FACT, MY SCHOLARSHIP HAS BEEN
AND WILL BE AT THE PhD LEVEL AROUND COMPLEX
ADAPTIVE SYSTEMS. AND SO, I BELIEVE THAT WHEN WE
UNDERSTAND HOW SYSTEMS WORK AND WE UNDERSTAND HOW
THEY REPLICATE THEMSELVES, WHETHER THOSE REPLICATIONS
ARE NOT AS PALATABLE OR GOOD, RIGHT? OR IF THEY ARE GOOD, AS YOU
SAW IN THE VIDEOS EARLIER TODAY, HOW IT IS BEING WORKED
FROM A SYSTEMIC LEVEL TO CREATE THAT CHANGE. SO THAT IS ONE WAY– OR
HOW I HAVE COME TO THE WORK. THE SECOND THING I LOOK
AT IS HOW DO WE LOOK AT THE UNUSUAL SUSPECTS. AND WE OFTEN BRING
IN PEOPLE INTO THE FOLD THAT SEEM LIKE THESE ARE THE
PEOPLE WHO SHOULD BE DOING THIS, BUT THERE ARE UNUSUAL
SUSPECTS THAT ARE OUT THERE WHO NEED TO BE
CONNECTED TO THIS WORK, AND HOW DO
WE WORK ON THAT? AND THEN, THIRDLY, MY INTEREST
AROUND DESIGN, ARCHITECTURE, LANDSCAPE,
THAT SORT OF THING, ALSO BROUGHT ME
TO THIS WORK AS WELL. AN ASIDE,
I AM A GARDENER. I GOT THAT
FROM MY MOM. SO THAT FASCINATES ME, THE CONNECTION FROM AS AN
INDIVIDUAL TO THE ENVIRONMENT, AND ALSO FROM ME HOW LARGE
STRUCTURES CAN CONNECT WITH THE ENVIRONMENT NOT
JUST FROM THE STANDPOINT OF HAVING OPEN WINDOWS
AND OPEN SPACES BUT ALSO HOW DO THEY
DISSOLVE BACK INTO THE
ENVIRONMENT SAFELY. SO THOSE SORT OF THINGS
BRING ME TO THE WORK. I PROMISE I WON’T BREAK IT.
(audience chuckling)>>IF YOU DO, I WON’T
HOLD IT AGAINST YOU. WOW, WHAT AN HONOR TO BE
UP HERE WITH ALL OF YOU. I LOVE HEARING
YOUR STORIES, AND I LOVED HEARING ROXANA’S
STORY EARLIER TODAY. I THINK MY– WHEN ROXANA WAS
TALKING ABOUT THAT INTERSECTION BETWEEN ENVIRONMENTAL
AND ECONOMIC, THAT REALLY, REALLY
RESONATES WITH ME. FROM A VERY EARLY AGE, I WAS INTERESTED IN
SOCIAL JUSTICE ISSUES AND WOULD READ ALL KINDS
OF THINGS ABOUT PEOPLE IN COMMUNITIES, AND
WOULD GO VOLUNTEER IN PARTS OF
MY COMMUNITY AND SEE WHERE PEOPLE LIVED
AND JUST THIS REAL INEQUITY. AND AT THE SAME TIME, I HAVE
ALWAYS LOVED TO BE OUTDOORS. I LOVE TO BE
IN NATURE. AND I FOUND THAT IS SUCH
A FULFILLING PLACE FOR ME THAT CAN MAKE ME WHOLE. SO I THINK MY WORK WITH
LOCAL FIRST HAS REALLY BEEN ABOUT THAT CONNECTION BETWEEN
ENVIRONMENT AND ECONOMIC, AND OFTEN MUCH OF WHAT WE DO
IS FOCUSED ON THE ECONOMICS, BUT THAT IS
VERY INTENTIONAL. BECAUSE THAT IS
A COMMON GROUND. IF THE ECONOMICS AREN’T THERE,
IF PEOPLE AREN’T EMPLOYED, IF A BUSINESS
CAN’T MAKE MONEY, YOU CAN’T WORK ON SOME
OF THOSE OTHER ISSUES. AND SO, I THINK MY WORK HAS
BEEN ABOUT HELPING PEOPLE FIND THAT COMMON GROUND, AND THAT IS OFTEN
IN THE ECONOMY AND THAT TIPS OVER INTO
ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE AND SOCIAL JUSTICE AS WELL.>>LISA ROSE.>>WELL, I THINK FROM
A LEADERSHIP PERSPECTIVE, I AM MY OWN FREE AGENT. AND I THINK LIKE WHAT
MARY BROWN HAD SAID– I LOVE BEING ABLE TO
HELP GET PEOPLE OUTSIDE. AND IT IS HIGHLY PERSONAL,
SO NO MATTER– I DON’T SPEAK ON BEHALF
OF AN ORGANIZATION, SO WHAT YOU SEE IS ME, AND MUCH TO MY HUSBAND’S
DISMAY SOMETIMES. AND I THINK THAT I HAVE WORKED
IN A VARIETY OF CAPACITIES IN THE ENVIRONMENT,
PRIMARILY IN LOCAL FOOD. PEOPLE KNOW ME
IN THAT SPACE. BUT OVER THE PAST SEVERAL YEARS
THROUGH MY OWN HEALTH JOURNEY AND THROUGH MY OWN
JOURNEY OF BEING A WOMAN, BEING A PROFESSIONAL WOMAN,
AN EDUCATED PROFESSIONAL WOMAN, WHICH WE SHOULD RECOGNIZE
IS A POINT OF PRIVILEGE, REALLY STRUGGLED WITH HOW
AM I GOING TO DO MY WORK IN A WAY THAT
IS SUSTAINABLE– NOT JUST SUSTAINABLE BUT AROUND THE RESOURCES
OF THE LIFE I AM LIVING BUT THAT’S SUSTAINABLE TO MY
OWN PERSONAL HEALTH RESOURCES. AND FOR ME, THAT CAME TO
RECONNECTING WITH A PLACE. SO IN THE ENVIRONMENTAL
MOVEMENT, IF, AS MARY BROWN HAD SAID,
MAKING IT PERSONAL… WE CAN’T FIGHT
FOR SOMETHING IF WE DON’T HAVE A VISCERAL
CONNECTION TO IT. SO IF I AM WORKING WITH KIDS
IN THE CITY GROWING GARDENS AND HAVING THEM TAKE TASTE
KALE AND AFTER THEY TELL ME, “MISS ROSE,
THAT IS NASTY.” (audience chuckling)
“FINE, IT’S NASTY.” AND WE START TO
TALK ABOUT WATER AND WE START TO HAVE
THESE CONVERSATIONS, AND “WELL, WHAT DO
YOU MEAN ABOUT WATER? “I HAVE NEVER BEEN
TO LAKE MICHIGAN.” HOW ARE WE GOING TO MAKE
RACHEL HOOD’S WORK RELEVANT TO OUR CHILDREN
ABOUT THE GREAT LAKES AND PROTECTING
THE GREAT LAKES? I AM A CHILD OF
THE GREAT LAKES. I GREW UP FIVE MINUTES
FROM HOFFMASTER. THAT IS MY LAND, WHEN I
THINK ABOUT WHERE I AM FROM. HOW DO I HELP CREATE
LITTLE FIGHTERS UNLESS THEY HAVE A
CONNECTION TO THAT PLACE? SO FOR ME, IT REALLY
BECAME MY OWN HEALING. AND YOU KNOW,
I’M NOT HEALED. I HAVE A WHOLE
BAG OF ISSUES. WE ALL HAVE A WHOLE
BAG OF ISSUES. WE ARE HUMAN, AND
THAT IS BEAUTIFUL. BUT THERE IS
SOMETHING THAT COMES– IF YOU HAVE HAD THAT
EXPERIENCE, YOU KNOW. LIKE, YOU KNOW
GETTING OUTSIDE– AND NOT EVERYBODY
LIKES TO BE OUTSIDE, SO YOU HAVE TO WEAR
WOOL SOCKS– SMART WOOL. (audience chuckling) NOT EVERYONE LIKES
TO GET OUTSIDE.>>ITCHY.
>>ITCHY– I CAN’T HANDLE WOOL. (laughing)
WHATEVER IT TAKES TO GET OUTSIDE AND REALLY HAVE THAT
CONNECTION TO YOURSELF AND TO A LARGER PURPOSE,
A SENSE OF WONDER. YOU KNOW, THE PHRASE IS CLICHE,
BUT ONCE YOU KNOW IT AND FEEL IT–
YOU KNOW, I CAN SEE IT. IT IS POSSIBLE WHEREVER
YOU ARE AT IN LIFE, AND ESPECIALLY IN
OUR URBAN COMMUNITIES AND ESPECIALLY
AROUND POVERTY, WHETHER RURAL OR
URBAN POVERTY, HAVING THAT CONNECTION,
AT THE END OF THE DAY– HEALTH AND
BEING VIBRANT. WE WANT TO BE VITAL. WE WANT TO BE VIBRANT. WE WANT TO GET OUR ENERGY
FROM THE WORLD AROUND US. AND HAVING THAT SENSE OF PLACE,
THAT CONNECTION, THAT HEARTFELT
SPIRIT CONNECTION– I WILL NOT SING
“KUMBAYA” UP HERE. BUT HAVING THAT HEARTFELT
SPIRIT CONNECTION CREATES ENVIRONMENTALISTS. IT IS NOT JUST
HEADY AND ACADEMIC, ALTHOUGH I CAN BE A HEADY
AND ACADEMIC PERSON. IT HAS TO BE FELT,
AND UNLESS YOU FEEL IT, UNLESS YOU KNOW WHAT THE
SMELL OF THE LAKE IS, UNLESS YOU REALLY KNOW
WHAT IT FEELS LIKE TO PADDLE IN A CANOE
DOWN THE RIVER OR WALK THROUGH A FIELD OR
GO THROUGH THE CRUNCHY LEAVES– ONCE YOU KNOW IT AND ONCE
IT IS A PART OF YOUR BEING– OR EVEN IN
THE MIDDLE OF THE CITY. I GET REALLY EXCITED
ABOUT NATURE IN THE CITY. PEOPLE ARE, “THERE IS NOTHING
IN THE CITY,” I AM LIKE, “DUDE! “DO YOU NOT SEE THE PURSLANE?!”
(laughing) OR “WE CAN EAT THAT–
WE CAN MAKE PINE TIP TEA “OUT OF THAT WHITE
PINE OVER THERE!” IT IS EVERYWHERE.>>REMIND ME TO GO
ON A WALK WITH YOU. (audience laughing)
>>IT IS EVERYWHERE. AND YOU KNOW, THAT IS THE
ONE THING ABOUT NATURE IS THAT IT IS EVERYWHERE, NO
MATTER HOW MUCH WE MUCK IT UP. SO– WHICH WE ARE DOING.
(laughing)>>NEXT YEAR, MAKE THAT
A FOLLOW-UP WORKSHOP. (audience laughing)
>>LET’S MUCK IT UP LESS.>>WE WILL HEAR
MORE FROM YOU. MARY BROWN, WHAT ASPIRATION
FOR WEST MICHIGAN’S ENVIRONMENT ARE YOU EXCITED ABOUT? WHAT IS NEXT?>>WELL, THIS IS MY
FIRST CONFERENCE, SO I AM EXCITED ABOUT THIS AND
TO SEE THE PASSION AROUND THIS. SO THE WORK THAT YOU ALL
DO AND HEARING YOU NOW– I HAVE KNOWN LISA FOREVER,
AND SO I CAN IMAGINE– YOU CAN’T IMAGINE GOING
ON A WALK WITH HER. I’M LIKE,
“I’M NOT EATING THAT.” (audience laughing)>>I’M NOT DEAD YET.
(audience laughing)>>YEAH, THAT’S TRUE… WE STILL GOT TIME.
(audience laughing) SO THAT WORK IS– THE WORK
THAT YOU ALL DO GIVES ME HOPE TO SEE THAT THERE ARE WAYS THAT
PEOPLE CAN CONNECT TO THAT WORK. THAT IS WHY I AM HOPEFUL. PEOPLE THAT ARE NOT
CONNECTING TO THAT WORK NOW. I LOOK AROUND THE ROOM AND VISIBLY, THERE IS NOT
A LOT OF PEOPLE OF COLOR, SO YOU HAVE TO THINK
ABOUT THAT– WHY? AND I KNOW WE PROBABLY WILL HAVE
THAT IN A DISCUSSION POINT. SO I AM EXCITED ABOUT THAT. I ALSO LOOK AT PROBLEMS
AS OPPORTUNITIES. STUDYING WITH DR. LANGFORD
YEARS AGO IN EDUCATION, HE COINED THEM AS
“PROBLEMTUNITIES.” AND I THINK THAT IS VERY
IMPORTANT TO LOOK AT PROBLEMS AS OPPORTUNITIES AND THIS WHOLE
FROM 2008, THE MARKET CRASH– IF YOU REALLY LOOKED AT IT… IF YOU REALLY
LOOKED AT IT, IT IS A HUGE AND HAS
BEEN A HUGE OPPORTUNITY TO DO THINGS
DIFFERENTLY. SO IT GIVES ME HOPE THAT EVEN
SMALL BUSINESSES ARE LOOKING AT “HOW DO WE RE-PURPOSE “THESE LARGE INFRASTRUCTURES
THAT ARE OUT THERE?” AGAIN, GETTING INTO
THE ARCHITECTURAL
TYPE OF THING, RIGHT? HOW DO WE RE-PURPOSE
THESE OLD FACTORIES AND MAKE THEM DIFFERENT? OR IF WE TEAR THEM DOWN, WHAT
DO WE DO WITH THAT SPACE? THAT IS AN OPPORTUNITY. ALTHOUGH IT’S SAD– SOME PEOPLE SAY IT IS SAD
TO SEE THE INDUSTRY LEAVE, BUT LOOK AT WHAT HAS
HAPPENED IN DETROIT, RIGHT? THAT IS A PROBLEM THAT
IS AN OPPORTUNITY. SO THOSE THINGS MAKE ME
HOPEFUL TO SEE IF PEOPLE CAN CONNECT TO WHAT
THE PROBLEM IS AND HOW DO WE FLIP THAT
INTO AN OPPORTUNITY AND MAKE SOME VERY REAL
CHANGES IN OUR WORLD. SO I AM HOPEFUL AND
EXCITED ABOUT THAT.>>RACHEL.>>I LOVE MARY’S SENTIMENT. AND I THINK WHAT
IS NEXT FOR US IS REALLY CAPTURING
THE OPPORTUNITIES. LATELY, I HAVE BEEN DOING A LOT
OF RESEARCH AROUND GREEN JOBS IN MICHIGAN, INSPIRED BY THE WORK OF ROXANA
AND HER TEAM AT L.A.A.N.E. AND I THINK WE HAVE MADE A
FATAL MISTAKE IN MICHIGAN OF, FIRST OF ALL, TAKING
FOR GRANTED AN INDUSTRY THAT POWERED MILLIONS
OF FAMILIES AND GENERATIONS
OF FAMILIES AND FORGETTING TO
DIVERSIFY OUR ECONOMY. AND THEN, IN 2008,
WHEN THE MARKET CRASHED, GREEN JOBS WERE REALLY
SEXY FOR A COUPLE OF YEARS UNTIL THE BAILOUT. THEN THE AUTO INDUSTRY TOOK
FOR GRANTED THE BAILOUT. AND IN THE LAST
COUPLE OF YEARS, GREEN JOBS HAVE
GOTTEN BEATEN UP. AND THERE WAS A TERRIBLE STORY
OUT OF HOLLAND YESTERDAY ABOUT GREEN JOBS AND
A.R.R.A. INVESTMENTS AND WHETHER OR NOT
OUR GOVERNMENT SHOULD BE INVESTING
IN OUR NEW ECONOMY. AND SO TODAY, WE HAVE,
AS A GROUP OF PEOPLE, AS A GROUP OF PEOPLE COMMITTED
TO THE TRIPLE BOTTOM LINE, WE HAVE TO RE-FRAME THE
GREEN JOBS DIALOGUE FOR THE STATE
OF MICHIGAN, AND REDEFINE IT SO THAT IT’S NOT ABOUT
“WASTED GOVERNMENT DOLLARS” AND IT’S NOT ABOUT AN INDUSTRY
THAT ISN’T GROWING FAST ENOUGH BUT INSTEAD IT’S ABOUT
THE SLOW, HARD WORK THAT WE HAVE TO VALUE EVERY
SMALL STEP, EVERY SMALL WIN ALONG THE WAY IN ORDER
TO RE-BUILD A DIVERSE ECONOMY THAT IS GOOD
FOR ALL PEOPLE. AND SO, OUR CHALLENGES
HERE IN MICHIGAN– AND WEST MICHIGAN
IS NOT ALONE– ARE ABOUT REALLY OWNING
THAT “GREEN JOBS” STORY, ABOUT USING GREEN JOBS AS
A TOOL TO ENGAGE PEOPLE WHO ARE IN CRISES, CRISES THAT DIVERT THEIR
CAPACITY TO REALLY WORK ON WHAT A LOT OF PEOPLE
CONSIDER TO BE HEADY ACADEMIC
ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES, AND TO BRING ALL OF
THAT OPPORTUNITY HERE AND MAKE IT GROW. I ALSO THINK THAT WE HAVE
AN ENORMOUS OPPORTUNITY TO CONNECT ACROSS
OUR WATERSHED. THE LOWER GRAND RIVER WATERSHED
AND THE GRAND RIVER AS A WHOLE IS ONE OF THE LARGEST
WATERSHEDS IN MICHIGAN, ONE OF THE MOST POWERFUL
AND LONGEST RIVERS. AND THAT CONTIGUOUS
RIVER TOUCHES LOTS OF DIFFERENT
COMMUNITIES. WENDY, IS IT 18
DIFFERENT COMMUNITIES?>>COUNTIES.
>>COUNTIES. EIGHTEEN DIFFERENT COUNTIES
IN THE WATERSHED! THANK YOU, WENDY.
(laughing) AND THIS IS OUR RED THREAD. WE KNOW THE CHINESE PROVERB
THAT ACROSS GENERATIONS, ACROSS TIME,
PEOPLE ARE CONNECTED BY AN INVISIBLE
RED THREAD. HAS ANYONE HEARD
THAT BEFORE? WELL, THE GRAND RIVER
IS OUR BLUE THREAD. LET’S USE IT AS A TOOL
TO BRING PEOPLE TOGETHER TO UNDERSTAND THE CHALLENGES
THAT OUR WATERSHEDS FACE. THEN, FINALLY,
IS NEW ENERGY. ALL OF THESE COMMUNITIES
NEED TO BE POWERED IN WAYS THAT KEEP US WHOLE,
THAT DON’T MAKE US SICK, THAT KEEP OUR
POCKETBOOKS FULL, AND THAT CREATE NEW JOBS. SO THOSE ARE
THE THREE THINGS THAT I REALLY SEE AS
CRITICAL, MOVING FORWARD.>>ELISSA, WHAT
MAKES YOU EXCITED?>>THERE ARE TWO MAIN
THINGS THAT I THINK OF THAT MAKE ME
EXCITED RIGHT NOW. ONE IS THAT–
WELL, FIRST OF ALL, WE LIVE IN A REALLY
FAST-PACED WORLD, RIGHT? WHERE WE ARE THINKING
ABOUT ALL KINDS OF THINGS, WE’RE JUMPING IN BETWEEN EMAIL
AND OUR IPHONES AND BEING HERE AND BEING PRESENT AND
TALKING TO PEOPLE. BUT IN ALL OF THAT, THERE
IS THIS DESIRE FOR COMMUNITY, THIS DESIRE TO BE PART
OF A COMMUNITY AND FOR RELATIONSHIP, AND
TO BE IN RELATIONSHIP. AND WITH THAT, I THINK WE ARE
SEEING A SHIFT TOWARDS PLACE, BOTH LOCALLY AND NATIONALLY,
AND A SHIFT TOWARDS– MAYBE A COMMITMENT TO PLACE AND
TO BUSINESSES WITHIN THAT PLACE AND RELATIONSHIPS
WITHIN THAT PLACE. AND TO ME, THAT DOES
NOTHING BUT GOOD THINGS FOR THE ENVIRONMENTAL
MOVEMENT. BECAUSE WHEN YOU ARE IN
A PLACE, YOU CARE ABOUT IT. SO AS WE ARE SEEING– WE’RE
NATIONALLY SEEING A SHIFT TOWARDS SUPPORTING
LOCALLY-OWNED BUSINESSES, WE’RE SEEING THAT
HERE AS WELL, AND TO ME, THAT IS GOOD BECAUSE
THERE IS TRANSPARENCY THERE. WHEN THERE IS
SOMETHING OF A SCALE WHERE YOU CAN KNOW
THE OWNERSHIP AND YOU CAN HAVE A
RELATIONSHIP WITH THEM OR HAVE A RELATIONSHIP WITH
THAT FAVORITE COFFEE SHOP OR RESTAURANT,
OR WHATEVER, YOU NOTICE THINGS
ABOUT IT, AND THROUGH THAT RELATIONSHIP,
THERE IS TRANSPARENCY. AND THAT IS THE SECOND THING
THAT I AM REALLY EXCITED ABOUT. I SEE IN THE
NEXT COUPLE YEARS LOTS MORE OPPORTUNITIES
FOR TRANSPARENCY, BOTH THROUGH THOSE
LITTLE IPHONES AND E-MAILS
AND TECHNOLOGY BUT ALSO THROUGH ALL
KINDS OF EVALUATION TOOLS THAT WILL START TO HELP US
BETTER MEASURE OUR IMPACTS, NOT JUST IN LARGE BUSINESSES
AND INSTITUTIONS BUT IN SMALLER
ORGANIZATIONS AS WELL. AND I REALLY THINK THAT AS
PEOPLE ARE DESIRING TO BE PART OF THAT COMMUNITY AND TO
HAVE THOSE RELATIONSHIPS, THEY WANT TO BE GOOD STEWARDS
OF THEIR PLACE, THEY WANT TO BE GOOD
STEWARDS OF THEIR COMMUNITY, BUT SOMETIMES, WE NEED TO
KNOW WHERE WE ARE AT. WE HAVE TO BE ABLE TO
BENCHMARK WHERE WE ARE AT TO BE ABLE TO GROW AND
TO BE ABLE TO CONNECT.>>MISS ROSE, YOUR
FINAL COMMENT.>>FOR ME, I THINK I AM JUST
MOST EXCITED THAT PEOPLE ARE STARTING
TO WAKE UP, THAT WE ARE NOT TAKING
THINGS AT LARGE AND WE ARE ASKING
QUESTIONS, WHETHER THAT IS FROM THE FOOD
THAT IS ON YOUR PLATE TO WHERE DOES MY
ELECTRICITY COME FROM TO WHAT IS THE IMPACT
OF XYZ CAR THAT I DRIVE. THOSE QUESTIONS COULD
DRIVE US ALL CRAZY, AND WE MAY TURN SHOPPING
AT THE GROCERY STORE INTO AN HOUR AND
A HALF ENDEAVOR. (audience chuckling) YOU’D WANT TO MEDICATE AFTER
THOSE KINDS OF EXPERIENCES. WHEN I MOVED BACK FROM THE BAY
AREA IN 2001 TO GRAND RAPIDS, I WAS LIVING OUT IN NAPA
WORKING IN THE NAPA VALLEY IN THE WINE INDUSTRY WHERE
IT REALLY OPENED MY EYES– WHILE I GREW UP
IN WEST MICHIGAN WHERE THERE IS A LOT
OF MIGRANT LABOR, LOTS OF FRUIT BUSHES,
YOU KNOW, AG COUNTRY. MOVING AWAY TO NAPA
REALLY OPENED MY EYES TO A LOT OF THE BIGGER
ISSUES IN FOOD. I STARTED VOLUNTEERING
IN A PROGRAM CALLED “THE EDIBLE SCHOOLYARD”
IN BERKELEY, AND THAT WAS A PLACE WHERE
I GOT TO WORK ALONGSIDE KIDS, AND WE WOULD GROW FOOD AND THEN
COOK IT IN A KITCHEN CLASSROOM, WHICH WAS SUPER FUN–
KIDS LOVED IT, SIXTH GRADE, HOUR AND A HALF. IT WAS LIKE PLAY TIME. WE GOT TO EAT. AND THE KIDS DIDN’T EVEN KNOW
THEY WERE LEARNING THINGS AT THE SAME TIME–
IT WAS PRETTY SWEET. WHEN I GOT BACK HERE TO DO
THAT SIMILAR WORK BECAUSE, ONE, I COULDN’T
AFFORD CALIFORNIA, AND I MOVED BACK
TO GRAND RAPIDS AND I WANTED TO WORK WITH KIDS
IN THE SOIL, CONNECTING THEM. BECAUSE I TRULY FELT LIKE, “THIS
IS A FANTASTIC WAY TO LEARN “FOR THOSE OF US WHO ARE NOT
A TRADITIONAL BOOK LEARNER.” GETTING YOUR HANDS IN THE DIRT
OUTSIDE IS A FANTASTIC WAY FOR A NON-TRADITIONAL
LEARNER. BUT YOU ARE ALSO
CONNECTING WITH THE LAND, AND IN THIS TIME OF
A FOODS SYSTEM CRISIS, I CAME BACK REALLY HELL-BENT,
FRANKLY, TO TEACH KIDS WHERE THEIR
FOOD COMES FROM, THINKING THAT THIS IS GOING
TO CHANGE THEIR LIVES. AND WHEN I MOVED
INTO THIS TOWN, PEOPLE WERE LIKE, “OH, MY GOSH,
YOU WANT TO GARDEN WITH KIDS? “THAT IS SO NICE.”
(audience chuckling) I WAS JUST LIKE–
I WANTED TO SHAKE PEOPLE AND SAY, “GAHHH– THIS IS NOT
A NICE GARDENING CLUB ACTIVITY.” I LOVE GARDENING. I THINK IT’S
A GREAT ACTIVITY. THIS IS GOING TO
SAVE OUR KIDS’ LIVES. OUR KIDS ARE NOT
GOING TO LIVE AS LONG BECAUSE OF WHAT
WE ARE EATING. TODAY, PEOPLE CARE AND
PEOPLE ARE ASKING QUESTIONS AND PEOPLE,
FRANKLY, ARE ANGRY. I GET PRETTY EMOTIONAL. I HAVE TWO KIDS MYSELF. “MOM, YOU ARE THE ONLY
PERSON IN WEST MICHIGAN “THAT MAKES US EAT KALE.”
(audience laughing) PROBABLY.
(laughing) YOU WILL BE FINE. MOTHERS ARE ASKING,
FATHERS ARE ASKING. PEOPLE ARE TRYING TO REALLY
PUT THEIR ARMS AROUND WHO OWNS OUR FOOD SYSTEM. WHAT IS HAPPENING
WITH THE C.A.F.O.s? WHAT IS HAPPENING
WITH THAT AG RUNOFF? IT IS GOING INTO WHAT
RACHEL CALLS “THE BLUE THREAD” INTO OUR WATER SYSTEMS
THAT IS BEING DUMPED OUT AT THE END OF THE GRAND RIVER
AND POISONING OUR LAKE MICHIGAN. FOR ME, IT IS IMPORTANT– I DO
BELIEVE IN KNOWING YOUR FARMER EVEN IF THEY ARE
FARMING CONVENTIONALLY. THOSE PEOPLE ARE THE GATEKEEPERS
TO CARING FOR THAT LAND, AND MAKING SURE THEY FEEL–
ONE, WE HOLD THEM ACCOUNTABLE AND, TWO, THAT THEY HAVE
TO TAKE CARE OF THE LAND BECAUSE THAT IS
THE LAND THAT FEEDS US AND CONNECTS US
AND MAKES US WELL. FINALLY, THERE ARE ENOUGH
PEOPLE ACTUALLY CARING. AND IT IS MARKED THE
DIFFERENCE IN 12 YEARS. BECAUSE I COULDN’T GO OUT AND
SAY, “LET’S GO OUT IN THE WOODS “AND I WILL TEACH YOU ABOUT WILD
EDIBLES, NOT EVEN ABOUT KALE.” YOU KNOW, NOW I GET THE WEIRD
LOOKS ABOUT DITCH WEEDS, BUT NOW PEOPLE ARE TRYING
TO FIGURE OUT WHAT IS NEXT, HOW CAN I LEARN MORE TO TAKE
CARE OF MYSELF AND MY FAMILY, AND WE ARE WAKING UP.
>>YOU BET. WE ARE GLAD YOU CAME BACK, BUT WE ARE GLAD YOU
DID NOT SHAKE ANYONE BECAUSE THAT COULD
LAND YOU IN PRISON. (audience laughing)
LET’S GET RIGHT INTO THAT. MARY, YOU ALLUDED TO THIS. LET’S TALK ABOUT IT. QUESTION FOR EACH OF YOU,
AND THEN LET’S OPEN IT TO YOU. MARY, WHAT SHOULD WE
KNOW ABOUT CULTURALLY
APPROPRIATE APPROACHES TO SUSTAINABILITY
IN AN ENVIRONMENT WHEN ENGAGING MINORITY
COMMUNITIES, PLEASE?>>I WOULD LIKE TO FIRST SAY
THAT IS SUCH A LOADED QUESTION. (audience laughing) AND YOU KNOW, I UNDERSTAND
WHERE THE QUESTION COMES FROM, SO LET ME KIND OF GET
INTO THE COMPLEXITY OF THAT. AS A MINORITY, I TRY VERY HARD
NOT TO SPEAK FOR MINORITIES, BECAUSE THERE IS A
LEVEL OF INDIVIDUALITY. WITH THAT SAID, THERE
ARE ALSO SOME THINGS THAT ARE INDICATIVE OF
CULTURE AND SYSTEMIC THINGS THAT HAPPEN. SO IF WE GO AND WE AT
LOOK THE PROBLEM– OR PERHAPS, LOOK AT
AFRICAN-AMERICANS OR PEOPLE OF
AFRICAN DESCENT, PARTICULARLY IN THE
UNITED STATES, AND THE– PARTICULARLY AFRICAN-AMERICANS
IN THAT EXPERIENCE, RECONSTRUCTION
EVEN BEFORE, RIGHT? AND YOU LOOK AT THE FACT
THAT YOU HAD A PEOPLE THAT NATURALLY CAME FROM
CULTIVATING LAND IN AFRICA. SO THAT WAS A
NATURAL THING TO DO. AND THEN, YOU ARE
UPROOTED FROM THAT AND BROUGHT SOMEWHERE ELSE TO
CULTIVATE SOMEONE ELSE’S LAND. AND YOUR SKILLS AND TALENTS
ARE USED TO DO THAT. YOU KNOW, IT WAS NOTICED– “OH, AFRICANS ARE GOOD
AT CULTIVATING LAND “SO THAT IS WHY WE
WANT THEM HERE,” RIGHT? AND IT IS– THEN, YOU HAVE A SITUATION
WHERE YOU CAN’T OWN THAT LAND. SO YOU ARE FREE BUT
YOU CAN’T OWN IT, RIGHT? THERE ARE A LOT OF PEOPLE WHO
ARE HISTORIANS AND SCHOLARS THAT COULD GET
DEEPER INTO THIS. EVEN THOUGH
I AM A POLYMATH AND I LOOK AT VARIOUS
DIFFERENT SUBJECTS IN THE INTERSECTION
OF THAT, I WILL SAY THAT THAT
HAS A PROFOUND EFFECT ON HOW PEOPLE WHO ARE
AFRICAN-AMERICAN WILL LOOK AT THEIR
ROLE IN THE COMMUNITY AND WHETHER OR NOT THEY SHOULD
HAVE A VESTED INTEREST IN THAT. SO I DON’T BELIEVE IN
SAYING THAT YOU NEED TO HOLD ONTO THE
PAST AS AN EXCUSE, BUT THE PAST DOES
INFORM THE PRESENT. AND THERE IS AN ETHICS
IN MEMORY OF THAT THAT WE HAVE TO COME
TO OWNERSHIP WITH. SO WITH ALL THAT SAID, I THINK IT GOES BACK
TO WHY WOULD ANYONE WANT TO BE A PART OF THE
ENVIRONMENTAL MOVEMENT? WHY WOULD ANYONE WANT TO SAVE
WATERWAYS AND INFRASTRUCTURE AND MAKE SURE EVERYTHING
IS SUSTAINABLE? WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT? IF YOU JUXTAPOSE POVERTY,
THE WHOLE SOCIAL ECONOMICS, AND YOU LOOK AT
EVEN POOR WHITES… ARE THEY ANY MORE INVOLVED
THAN OTHER GROUPS? AND SO, IT’S
LIKE I HAVE TO– AGAIN, GOING BACK
TO PERSONAL OWNERSHIP– I HAVE TO FIND
A REASON WHY. AND WHEN I GO TO THE DOCTOR
AND– I WILL GIVE AN EXAMPLE. IF I AM A MOTHER–
I HAVE NO CHILDREN, BUT I CAN UNDERSTAND
THIS SENTIMENT. IF I TAKE MY CHILD TO THE DOCTOR
BECAUSE MY CHILD CANNOT BREATHE AND I AM TOLD,
“YOU KNOW WHAT? “THERE ARE SOME THINGS IN
YOUR PARTICULAR NEIGHBORHOOD “THAT COULD BE A
CULPRIT OF THIS,” AND I START TO
INVESTIGATE. AND THERE IS MAYBE
ENVIRONMENTAL– MAYBE IT IS EVEN
I LIVE IN POVERTY WHERE THERE
IS COCKROACHES. BECAUSE WE FOUND OUT THROUGH
RESEARCH THAT IMPACTS ASTHMA. BUT MAYBE IT IS
ENVIRONMENTAL. AND THEN, I START TO DO
MORE RESEARCH ON THAT AND THEN I LOOK
AT THE WAYS THAT I HAVE TO NAVIGATE THE
SYSTEM TO KEEP MY CHILD HEALTHY, AND IT BECOMES
VERY PERSONAL, AND I GET ANNOYED
AND UPSET, AND THEN FROM THAT, THE
PERSONAL BECOMES POLITICAL, THEN I START TO SEE PEOPLE
AROUND ME HAVING THE SAME ISSUE. AND I THINK THAT IS HOW A LOT
OF COMMUNITIES OF POVERTY, OF COLOR, GET
INVOLVED IN THAT, BECAUSE THEY ARE
DISPROPORTIONATELY IMPACTED. AND SO, PART OF THE WORK THAT
HAS TO BE DONE IS AWARENESS, AWARENESS TO HELP
PEOPLE UNDERSTAND THE PERSONAL CONNECTION. ALSO, GOING INTO THE COMMUNITIES
NOT AS RESCUERS AND SAVIORS, AS WE HAVE HISTORICALLY
DONE, AND EVEN– AND THAT IS NOT ONLY IS FROM
A PREDOMINANT WHITE CULTURE BUT ALSO PEOPLE WHO
HAVE MORE EDUCATION. WHEN I WORK WITH PEOPLE
WHO ARE IN POVERTY, YOU KNOW, I HAVE TO
ALSO PULL MYSELF BACK, JUST LIKE LISA– YOU TALKED
ABOUT BEING EDUCATED, RIGHT? AND MAKE SURE THAT WHAT
I AM TRYING TO SHARE
WITH THEM IS ACCESSIBLE, AND ACCESSIBLE
NOT JUST FROM ME BUT ALSO FROM THE
WIDER CLASSROOM. I TRY TO CREATE
A LEARNING COMMUNITY SO THAT EVERYONE
IS SHARING THAT. SO THE WORK THAT WE HAVE
TO DO IS HAVING TO BUILD UP FROM A GRASSROOTS
THAT KNOWLEDGE AND SAYING TO THAT PERSON OR
PERSONS, “HOW DO WE HELP YOU? “WHAT SUPPORT DO WE GIVE TO YOU
FOR YOU TO MOVE THIS FORWARD?” NOT “HOW DO YOU COME
TO OUR ORGANIZATION “AND HAVE IT HAPPEN?” AND I THINK THAT IS ONE OF
THE FLAWS THAT WE RUN INTO.>>THANKS. MISS HILLARY, YOU
HAVE BEEN WORKING WITH
LIKELY ECONOMY LEADERS FROM CITIES AROUND THE
REGION, AROUND THE COUNTRY. THAT IS GOOD. WHAT ARE YOU IMPORTING
FROM THESE LEADERS ABOUT COMMUNITY BUILDING?
>>HMM… THAT IS A BIG QUESTION. I THINK ALL KINDS OF–
THOUSANDS OF LITTLE THINGS. BUT A LOT OF WHAT MARY JUST
SAID REALLY RESONATES WITH ME. ONE OF MY GOOD
FRIENDS, KIM, WHO IS A LEADER IN
THE LOCAL ECONOMY MOVEMENT IN NEWARK, NEW JERSEY,
HAS SHARED SIMILAR– HAS SHARED SOME SIMILAR
STORIES OF EXPERIENCE AND BRINGING HER COMMUNITY
ALONG, AS MARY JUST MENTIONED, AND I THINK WHAT IS REALLY KEY
IS I THINK THE GREATEST LESSON I BROUGHT BACK IS THAT IT
IS ALL ABOUT RELATIONSHIPS AND ALL HELPING PEOPLE
BUILD RELATIONSHIPS AND UNDERSTAND
THE RELATIONSHIPS AND UNDERSTAND WHAT IS
GOING ON IN THEIR LIVES AND MAKE THAT
PERSONAL CONNECTION AND THEN HELPING THEM SEE
HOW THEY CAN HAVE A ROLE IN FIXING THAT PROBLEM
OR CREATING THAT CHANGE AND MAKING IT A SMALL
INSTRUMENTAL GOAL THAT THEY CAN
ACCOMPLISH AND THAT PERHAPS A GROUP OF
PEOPLE TOGETHER CAN ACCOMPLISH. AND REALLY FIGURING OUT HOW TO
LEAD BY BEING MORE OF THE HOST AND THE FACILITATOR, AND COMING AT IT FROM
A VERY HUMBLE PERSPECTIVE. AND THAT HOW IS I HAVE SEEN
THE MOST CHANGE HAPPEN AROUND THE COUNTRY, IN
TERMS OF ENVIRONMENTAL CHANGE AND ECONOMIC CHANGE.>>LISA ROSE, YOU RECENTLY
TRAVELED TO NICARAGUA TO LEARN MORE ABOUT
HOMEOPATHIC MEDICINE IN THESE, OF COURSE,
THIRD WORLD SETTINGS. WHAT CAN THIS COUNTRY
TEACH US HERE?>>FOR ABOUT THE PAST FIVE
YEARS– WELL, LONGER THAN THAT. I HAVE ALWAYS HAD A STRONG
INTEREST AROUND HOW PEOPLE, LAND, HOW WE HAVE WORKED
WITH THE LAND TO SUSTAIN US, WHETHER FOOD, MEDICINE,
FIBER, SHELTER, AND ETHNOBOTANY GOES
HAND IN HAND WITH THAT. AND THE PAST FIVE YEARS,
I HAVE TRAVELED TO BRAZIL AND SEVERAL
PLACES IN MEXICO, THE YUCATAN,
PARTICULARLY, AND THEN THIS LAST FALL,
I WENT AND SPENT THREE WEEKS WITH NATURAL DOCTORS
INTERNATIONAL IN NICARAGUA. AND NICARAGUA,
IF YOU DON’T KNOW, IS THE SECOND POOREST COUNTRY
IN LATIN AMERICAN NEXT TO HAITI. A LITTLE POLITICAL
CONTEXT, IN THE ’80s– GOSH, I THINK HALF OF US ARE
OLD ENOUGH TO REMEMBER THE ’80s, THE OTHER HALF
I DON’T THINK ARE. (audience laughing) FIRST OF ALL, WE ARE TERRIBLE
IN KNOWING OUR GEOGRAPHY, SO NICARAGUA IS, IN FACT,
IN LATIN AMERICAN. AND WE FUNDED THE CONTRA WAR,
THE U.S. GOVERNMENT, THE OLLIE NORTH TRIALS– THAT WAS ON TV EVERY
NIGHT AT MY DINNER TIME. SO AT THE CURRENT
TIME IN THE ’80s, THE SANDINISTAS
WERE IN POWER. AND GOOD, BAD,
OR OTHERWISE, THEY HAD A REALLY STRONG
POLITICAL VALUE OF EDUCATION AND CLINICAL HEALTHCARE
FOR THEIR COUNTRY. 1985, WE IMPOSED AN
EMBARGO ON NICARAGUA, BASICALLY CREATING HUGE
FOOD AND DRUG SHORTAGES. SO AT THE TIME,
THE COUNTRY WHICH ALREADY
HAS A LONG HISTORY OF CORRUPTION AND BROKEN
HEALTHCARE INFRASTRUCTURE, AMONG OTHER PROBLEMS,
BASICALLY SAID– WELL, THEY DIDN’T
HAVE ANYTHING SO THEY BASICALLY SAID,
“OKAY, WE ARE GOING TO REINVEST “IN A COUPLE FOUNDATIONS “AND PUT FORWARD AN EFFORT
TO RE-RETURN BACK “TO SOME OF THE NATURAL
TRADITIONAL WAYS “OF MEDICINES
AND CLINIC WORK.” AND THEY HAD FOUNDED A COUPLE
INSTITUTIONS WHICH, TO THIS DAY, OVER THE PAST 30 YEARS, THEY HAVE TRAINED ABOUT
100,000 COMMUNITY HEALTH WORKERS THROUGHOUT NICARAGUA. THAT REALLY IS NOT A LOT. BUT COMMUNITY
HEALTH WORKERS THAT HAVE A
PLACE-BASED CONNECTION, HELPING PEOPLE CONNECT
WITH NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION, WITH HOME REMEDIES, RETURNING TO BASIC GARDENING,
SUBSISTENCE GARDENS. WHEN I ARRIVED DOWN THERE,
THE LONG AND THE SHORT OF IT– WE TOOK ABOUT $20,000
WORTH OF HERBAL REMEDIES TO WORK WITH NATURAL
DOCTORS INTERNATIONAL. AND IT IS AN
INTERNATIONAL N.G.O. THAT TAKES NATUROPATHS, M.D.s,
AND HERBALISTS LIKE MYSELF TO THE CLINIC AND A COUPLE
OTHER CLINICS WITHIN NICARAGUA. MARY HAD MADE THE COMMENT
OF THIS “ARRIVING TO HELP.” AND NICARAGUA IS A
COUNTRY THAT HAS LOTS OF
CHURCH-RELATED BRIGADES. THIS WAS NOT A RELIGIOUS
MISSION TRIP AT ALL. HOWEVER, BEING THE WHITE GROUP
GOING DOWN TO A COUNTRY WHERE WOMEN–
ER, THESE COMMUNITIES ARE MAKING LESS
THAN $2 A DAY… DEFINITELY A FASCINATING– IF YOU HAVE AN
OPPORTUNITY TO TRAVEL, IF YOU ARE INTERESTED
IN HEALTHCARE, TRAVEL BEYOND
THE UNITED STATES. BASICALLY FOUND MYSELF
IN AN ETHNOBOTANY WORLD WHERE THESE PEOPLE–
THIS STATE IS RELYING– IS SELF-RELIANT WITH RETURNING
TO SOME OF THEIR MORE
TRADITIONAL REMEDIES. AND IN THE CURRENT TIME
IN THE UNITED STATES WHERE WE HAVE SUCH EXPLOSIVE
HEALTHCARE COSTS, PEOPLE AREN’T
GOING TO THE DOCTOR BECAUSE THEY DON’T
HAVE MONEY, AND AS AN EXTENSION
OF MY FOOD WORK AND HAVING TWO
CHILDREN MYSELF, WE NEED TO RECONNECT
WITH THE NATURAL– I AM NOT AGAINST CONVENTIONAL
MEDICINE AT ALL. IN FACT, I TORE
MY A.C.L. LAST WINTER, AND I WAS SUPER HAPPY THAT MY
SURGEON HAD REALLY GREAT HANDS AND COULD HACK ME
OPEN AND TIE ME UP, AND THEY GAVE ME
SOME NARCO AFTERWARD BECAUSE OH, MY GOSH, IT IS
LIKE KNEE SURGERY– GREAT P.T. YOU KNOW, THERE IS A ROLE
FOR CONVENTIONAL MEDICINE, AND I AM REALLY GRATEFUL
THAT WE IN GRAND RAPIDS HAVE SOME OF THE
RESOURCES WE DO, BUT THE FACT IS
IS THAT IT IS $168 FOR ME TO GO TO MY
PRIMARY CARE PHYSICIAN, AND IF I HAVE A COLD
OR FLU, I HAVE NO– AND IT IS A BASIC
COLD AND FLU AND I AM A RELATIVELY
HEALTHY ADULT, THEN THERE ARE NO
SEEMINGLY PROBLEMS… THAT WOULD BE $168
THROWN OUT THE WINDOW BECAUSE MY DOCTOR IS
GOING TO SEND ME HOME AND SAY, “MAKE SOME SOUP,
HAVE SOME FLUIDS, “KEEP AN EYE ON
DEHYDRATION, “AND CALL ME IN
SEVEN TO TEN DAYS “IF YOUR CASE
GETS ANY WORSE.” AND WE HAVE LOST SOME OF
THOSE REALLY BASIC SKILLS. AND AS WOMEN, AS PRIMARY CARE
PROVIDERS IN OUR OWN HOME, WE DON’T KNOW HOW TO TAKE CARE
OF THOSE SITUATIONS ANYMORE. AND SO, IN SOME WAYS,
WE HAVE A LOT TO LEARN FROM THE SECOND
POOREST COUNTRY, IN THE UNITED STATES, WHERE THEY
ARE ELEVATING NATURAL MEDICINES AND PLACING A VALUE
AROUND NATURAL MEDICINES, HAVING DOCTORS INTEGRATE
WITH THE HERBALISTS AND THE TRADITIONAL
HERBALISTS THAT ARE THE KEEPERS OF
THIS PLANT KNOWLEDGE, INTEGRATING IT IN A WAY THAT,
IN 20 YEARS, I WOULD LOVE FOR THE UNITED STATES TO
HAVE PLANT-BASED MEDICINES– THIS HAPPENS IN EUROPE. THERE IS A VALUE OF
NATURAL MEDICINES INTEGRATED INTO A
MORE CLINICAL SETTING THAT IS HEALTHIER FOR
THE PLANET IN THE END. PHARMACEUTICS RIGHT NOW–
PRODUCTION– CREATE A TON OF
ENVIRONMENTAL TOXINS.>>THEY ALSO FIND THEIR
WAY INTO THE WATERSHED THROUGH OUR BODIES.
>>YES. AND THIS IS THE NEXT THING–
AS WE LOOK AT THE HEALTH OF THE WATERWAYS, ALL OF THOSE PHARMAS
ARE ENDING UP IN OUR WATER. SO HOW DO WE– I DON’T HAVE
AN ANSWER FOR THIS RIGHT NOW, BUT I JUST KNOW THAT WHEN IT
COMES TO PERSONAL ACTION, HOW DO I KNOW– IT IS ALL ABOUT LEARNING
WHAT YOUR OPTIONS ARE AND EDUCATION AND MEETING
PEOPLE WHERE THEY ARE AT AND TRYING TO HAVE
HONEST CONVERSATIONS. I DON’T HAVE
ALL THE ANSWERS. BUT HOW AM I TRYING
TO MUDDLE THROUGH SOME OF THESE MORE
COMPLEX QUESTIONS AROUND WHETHER
IT IS VACCINES OR DO I BUY THE ORGANIC
CHICKEN AND WHY OR WHY NOT, OR WHERE DO I TRY
TO STRETCH– I FREQUENTLY WORK WITH LOTS
OF PEOPLE ON LIMITED INCOMES. IN FACT, WE ALL HAVE
LIMITED INCOMES WHEN IT COMES
DOWN TO IT. HOW DO WE MAKE THE CHOICES
THAT ARE BEST FOR ALL OF US? AND MEET PEOPLE
WHERE THEY ARE AT? SO BEING IN NICARAGUA,
I COULDN’T– DIABETES– THERE IS SOME LIMITATIONS AROUND
WHAT PEOPLE HAVE ACCESS TO, SO WE HAVE TO FRAME THIS
ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUE IN A WAY– MARY BROWN
USED THE WORD “ACCESSIBLE.” IT CANNOT BE AN
ELITIST MOVEMENT. IT CANNOT BE
INACCESSIBLE. AND THIS IS REALLY,
REALLY IMPORTANT. BECAUSE IF WE ARE TRYING
TO TELL SOMEBODY TO GO BUY ALL ORGANIC FOOD
AND THIS AND THAT, AND THEY ARE ON
FOOD STAMPS, WE NEED TO MAKE SURE THEY KNOW
ABOUT THE RESOURCES AVAILABLE THROUGH BENEFITS
THROUGH THE STATE BUT THEN ALSO MAKE
SURE IT IS RELEVANT. BECAUSE AT THE END
OF THE DAY, IF THAT INFORMATION
IS NOT RELEVANT, IT DOESN’T
HELP ANYBODY.>>LISA ROSE STARNER
FOR PRESIDENT.>>(laughing)
NO WAY. (audience laughing)
>>RACHEL, A FINAL QUESTION TO YOU, IF I
CAN HAVE A FAIRLY BRIEF ANSWER, BECAUSE WE WANT TO TAKE
A COUPLE QUESTIONS– WHAT DOES THE REGION
NEED TO DO NEXT? WE SEEM TO BE ON A ROLL. HOW CAN THE
REGION STEP UP?>>WE ARE MORE AND MORE
FREQUENTLY, AS A RESULT OF LEADERS IN THIS ROOM,
BEING NATIONALLY RECOGNIZED FOR OUR WORK AROUND
SUSTAINABILITY. BUT THIS IS A JOURNEY,
AND WE ARE NOT DONE. WE NEED TO ADDRESS OUR ENERGY
PORTFOLIO AND ENERGY MANAGEMENT. WE HAVE 40 YEARS OF HOUSING
THAT IS VICTIMIZING PEOPLE BECAUSE WE BUILT REALLY BAD
HOMES FOR THE LAST 40 YEARS. THOSE HOMES ARE
ENERGY SIEVES. THOSE ARE DOLLARS GOING
OUT OF OUR COMMUNITIES, AND THERE ARE ALSO PARTICULATES
THAT ARE GOING INTO THE AIR THAT ARE CREATING
CARDIOVASCULAR HEALTH ISSUES, RESPIRATORY HEALTH ISSUES, AND THOSE ISSUES ARE ULTIMATELY
LOCKING PEOPLE IN THIS COMMUNITY AND COMMUNITIES ACROSS THE
COUNTRY IN CHRONIC DISEASE AND CRISIS…
ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL CRISIS. AND WE ALSO HAVE TO
PROTECT OUR WATER. TWENTY PERCENT OF THE WORLD’S
FRESH WATER RESOURCE IS HERE IN THE GREAT LAKES. I ALWAYS GET CHOKED
UP ABOUT THIS. (crying, laughing)
THIS IS OUR VAST INHERITANCE, AND IT IS OUR THREE
MAJOR ECONOMIC DRIVERS– AGRICULTURE, TOURISM,
AND MANUFACTURING ARE ALL DEPENDANT ON
FRESH WATER RESOURCES. WE HAVE TO FIND WAYS TO– AGAIN,
LIKE OUR AUTO INDUSTRY LEGACY IN TAKING FOR GRANTED
ALL THOSE JOBS, WE HAVE THIS RICH
WEALTH OF WATER, AND WE TAKE IT
FOR GRANTED. AND WE CAN’T
DO THAT ANYMORE. DROUGHT IS ENTERING
THE GREAT LAKES BASIN. GROUND WATER IS DISAPPEARING AS
CLOSE TO HOME AS OTTAWA COUNTY WHERE BRACKISH WATER IS
COMING UP IN FARMERS’ WELLS. IT MEANS SALT WATER FROM
WAY BELOW DOWN THE EARTH, DOWN INTO THE EARTH. THESE ARE THINGS THAT WE
HAVE TO GET MOTIVATED AROUND, ORGANIZED AROUND, AND DELIVER SOLUTIONS
FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS.>>INCLUDING YOUR
OWN TWO SMALL ONES.>>THEY ARE SUPER CUTE, AND THEY REALLY SHOULD BE
ABLE TO PLAY ON THEIR BEACHES. BECAUSE THAT IS
WHY WE ARE HERE. AND I THINK EVERYONE IN
THIS ROOM WHO IS BLESSED TO BE IN WEST MICHIGAN, I HOPE YOU HAVE ALL
HAD AN OPPORTUNITY TO CONNECT DEEPLY TO YOUR LAKES,
BECAUSE THAT IS OUR PLACE. WE’VE GOT TO LISTEN
TO THOSE LAKES. (audience laughing)>>WHO HAS A QUESTION? WHO HAS A QUESTION? SOUNDS LIKE I AM READY
TO START AN AUCTION HERE.>>SOLD.
>>SOLD. QUESTION? YES. HE IS A GOOD INTERVIEW,
BY THE WAY. COME ON DOWN. MEET HER IN THE MIDDLE,
FOR TIME PURPOSES– THANKS.>>HI, I REALLY ENJOY
THE CONVERSATION AND HAVE ENJOYED WATCHING
THE PROGRESS OVER THE YEARS AND ALL THE MOMENTUM
THAT IS BUILDING. FROM TIME TO TIME, I GET
FRUSTRATED IN SEEING THE POTENTIAL OF ALL THIS
MOMENTUM BEING REVERSED BY THE SIGNAGE OF A NEW BILL
OR ANY GIVEN BILL. RIGHT NOW, FOR INSTANCE,
SENATE BILL 78 IS GOING THROUGH
OUR STATE, WHICH COULD REMOVE
BIODIVERSITY FROM THE RESPONSIBILITY
OF THE D.E.Q. AND I AM JUST WONDERING,
FROM YOUR PERSPECTIVE, HOW FRUSTRATING IS IT OR HOW
DO YOU DEAL WITH THE SETBACKS FROM POLITICIANS
POTENTIALLY REVERSING IN A VERY SHORT PERIOD OF
TIME WHAT HAS BEEN DEVELOPED OVER A LONG PERIOD
OF TIME?>>THAT’S YOU.
(audience laughing)>>WE WERE AT DINNER
LAST NIGHT WITH ROXANA, AND SHE TALKED ABOUT
THE FOUNDERS OF L.A.A.N.E., LOOKING AT THE LONG GAME. AND THAT IS WHAT I DO. THIS IS A MOMENT. IT IS A BRIEF MOMENT
IN OUR STATE’S HISTORY, ONE THAT WE CAN
ORGANIZE AROUND, ONE THAT I HOPE WILL GET
PEOPLE LIKE YOURSELVES INFURIATED ENOUGH
THAT YOU SHOW UP IN THE HALLS OF OUR
STATE LEGISLATURE AND YOU ELECT MORE WOMEN,
MORE PEOPLE OF COLOR TO REPRESENT REAL VOICES
IN OUR COMMUNITIES. WE ARE, IN MY OPINION, AND
I WILL SAY THIS ON TV– (laughing) OUR LEGISLATURE IS CUTTING
OFF MICHIGAN’S NOSE TO SPITE ITS FACE. WE ARE FAILING OURSELVES AND
WE ARE FAILING OUR CHILDREN. AND IN TWO YEARS,
THAT WILL CHANGE. AND IT WILL CHANGE BECAUSE
YOU AND I GOT OUT THE VOTE AND BECAUSE YOU AND I DECIDED
TO BE CANDIDATES FOR OFFICE AND MADE A COMMITMENT
TO REPRESENT THE PEOPLE IN YOUR COMMUNITY AND THE
VOICES IN YOUR COMMUNITY. SENATE BILL 78
WE WILL WORK– NICK WILL WORK TIRELESSLY
TO FIGHT THAT. MANY OTHERS IN THE ROOM–
ERICA, I SEE YOU. SHIRLEY CALLEJO IS
GREAT AT THIS WORK. BUT IF IT DOES PASS,
IT WILL JUST BE A MOMENT. IN TWO YEARS, WHEN WE HAVE A
MORE RESPONSIBLE LEGISLATURE, WE WILL COME BACK AT IT
AND WE’LL FIX IT. WE HAVE A LONG LIST OF THINGS
WE HAVE TO FIX ALREADY. WE WILL JUST ADD
IT TO THE LIST.>>ANY OTHER RESPONSE? ANY OTHER QUESTIONS,
PLEASE? MICROPHONE– YUP.>>HI. SO A LOT OF TIMES
AT EVENTS LIKE THIS OR WHENEVER WE ARE SURROUNDED
WITH LIKE-MINDED PEOPLE IT IS FANTASTIC BECAUSE YOU
GET TO HEAR PERSONAL STORIES OF HOW EVERYBODY ENTERED INTO
WHATEVER KIND OF MOMENT OF GETTING THE RELIGION
THAT THEY HAD, AND YET, SOMETIMES I FEAR THAT
THAT ALIENATES POPULATIONS BECAUSE THEY GO, “OH, I DON’T
HAVE A HISTORY OR BACKGROUND.” I MEAN, I AM A MAN…
(audience laughing) IT IS TRUE, SO WHEN YOU
FIRST ARE DISCOVERING– AND I SAY THIS BECAUSE
OF MY OWN JOURNEY WITH UNDERSTANDING
FEMINISM– YOU HAVE YOUR FIRST
CONVERSATION WITH SOMEONE AND YOU FIND THEY ARE
REALLY ANGRY AT YOU FOR BEING THE PERSON
THAT YOU ARE, WHICH WAS VALID, BY THE WAY.
(audience laughing) HOW DO WE FOSTER IN CONTEXT
OF THIS KIND OF INFURIATION AND ALMOST RIGHTEOUS
INDIGNATION, IF I CAN CALL IT, EMPATHY FOR THE PERSON ON THE
OTHER SIDE WHO DOESN’T GET IT? BECAUSE I FEEL LIKE
THAT IS A POPULATION WE
WANT HERE IN THE ROOM. WE DON’T WANT THEM ON
THE OUTSIDE OF THE ROOM. I DON’T HAVE THE ANSWER,
SO I WOULD LOVE TO
HEAR YOUR RESPONSES.>>I THINK FOR ME,
THE FOOD CONVERSATION– ONE, WE ALL EAT, AND
IT IS A CONVERSATION– NOT TO TAKE AWAY FROM
THE IMPORTANCE OF WATER OR SOME OF THESE
OTHER ISSUES, BUT FOOD IS PROBABLY THE NEXT
BIGGEST, IF NOT ALREADY, ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUE
OF OUR TIME. AND WHEN YOU START
TO TALK ABOUT– LEVI, WHAT YOU ARE SAYING, SOME PEOPLE JUST HAVEN’T
REALLY THOUGHT MUCH ABOUT WHAT THEY
ARE EATING. AND YOU KNOW,
FOOD IS VERY PERSONAL AND FOOD IS–
WHAT WE CHOOSE TO EAT HAS SOMETIMES RELIGIOUS
REASONS, FAMILY REASONS. I’VE LOVED MY MOTHER’S
PROBABLY NON-DOLPHIN
SAFE TUNA FISH CASSEROLE FROM 1983. THERE IS NO SENSE
BEHIND THAT, RIGHT? AND I GUESS WHAT I HAVE
LEARNED PERSONALLY IS THAT YEAH, I AM A
PRETTY FIRED UP PERSON. I AM A LEO. I DO COME ACROSS REALLY–
>>NOW IT MAKES SENSE. (audience laughing)
>>REALLY INTENSE. I HAVE WORKED WITH RACHEL,
I HAVE PISSED RACHEL OFF. LIKE WE HAVE GONE MONTHS
WITHOUT TALKING BEFORE. I MEAN, IT IS MORE OF A LONG–
>>IT HAS BEEN REVERSED AS WELL. (audience laughing)>>YOU KNOW, PART OF IT IS
RECOGNIZING WHO WE ALL ARE AND THAT THERE IS A VALUE
OF ALL OF US AT THE TABLE, SO IN MEETING PEOPLE
WHERE THEY ARE AT– IT IS MORE OF A
COMPASSIONATE CONVERSATION, BECAUSE FOR ME, I JUST
SPENT ALL MY LIFE IN FOOD AND I THINK, “OH, MY GOSH, HOW
CAN YOU NOT THINK ABOUT THIS!” BUT THEN,
IT IS JUST LIKE– NOW, IT IS WHERE I AM SORTA
POST-MODERN ON THE FOOD ISSUE. AND THAT IF YOU BROUGHT
ME A BALONEY SANDWICH I WOULD JUST SAY
“THANK YOU” AND EAT IT AND BE GLAD THAT
I DIDN’T HAVE TO COOK. I SEE– THAT WAS A JOKE.
(audience laughing) I WOULD STILL EAT IT. BUT IN ALL SERIOUSNESS, THERE DOES HAVE TO BE
THE THOUGHTFULNESS OF SAYING, “OKAY, WHAT IS THE
OTHER PERSON’S EXPERIENCE? “HAVE THEY HAD THESE
‘AH-HA’ MOMENTS OR NOT?” IN MY WORK, SITTING DOWN
IN A ONE-ON-ONE ENVIRONMENT IS USUALLY THE
EASIEST AND SAFEST, AND TO HEAR SOMEBODY
ELSE’S STORY AND TO ASK THEM
WHERE THEY’RE AT. AND IF THEY ARE COMING TO ME
TO LEARN HOW TO MAKE TEA AND THEY SAY ALL THEY
HAVE IS A MICROWAVE, I AM NOT GOING TO
JUMP ALL OVER THEM WITH THE ISSUES
OF MICROWAVES. THERE MIGHT BE ISSUES
WITH MICROWAVES, BUT, IN THAT MOMENT, THAT IS JUST NOT EVEN
THE IMPORTANT THING. WE DO WANT A HUMAN CONNECTION
AT THE END OF THE DAY, RIGHT? I WOULD LIKE TO THINK SO. AND IF I DON’T FEEL LIKE
I AM PART OF ANYTHING, I WILL CHECK OUT.>>LET’S ALL HOLD HANDS
AND SING “KUMBAYA.” (audience laughing) WE ARE OUT OF TIME UNLESS THERE
IS ONE MORE BURNING QUESTION. I AM SURE THERE WILL
BE TIME FOR THAT. ONE MORE, PLEASE.>>I NOTICED THAT ALL OF YOU–
(clearing throat) EXCUSE ME–
IN YOUR INTRODUCTIONS TALKED ABOUT A PERSONAL
EXPERIENCE WITH NATURE THAT DREW YOU TO
THIS KIND OF WORK. MY QUESTION IS– AND
I THINK THAT IS VALID AND REALLY IMPORTANT. I WONDER HOW DO WE
FOSTER THAT MORE? CAN WE DO A BETTER JOB
OF STARTING THERE, DEVELOPING THAT RELATIONSHIP
ITH NATURE TO SPURN PEOPLE ON TO
THEN LOVE AND CARE FOR IT IN A MORE
SUBSTANTIAL WAY?>>LET’S START
WITH MARY, PLEASE.>>YOU KNOW, THERE
ARE A COUPLE THINGS. AND I THINK IT WILL GO BACK
TO THE PREVIOUS QUESTION IN THE DISCUSSION HERE. I LOOK AT–
IN THE CLASSROOM, I LOOK AT ALWAYS
MEETING THE STUDENTS WHERE THEY ARE AT. AND I WILL JUST GIVE YOU
A QUICK EXPERIENCE. I HAD A STUDENT THAT–
I WOULD DO A LOT OF WHERE I MERGE STUDENTS IN
SIMULATIONS AND DISCUSSIONS AND THAT SORT OF THING, AND WE DID A CASE STUDY
DISCUSSION AS A CLASSROOM. I SET THEM UP
IN COMMUNITIES. AND CERTAIN COMMUNITIES HAD
PASSIONS ABOUT DIFFERENT THINGS. AND ONE COMMUNITY,
IN PARTICULAR, HAD
PASSION ABOUT ANIMALS. AND REGARDLESS OF HOW THEY FELT,
THEY HAD TO RELAY THAT PASSION BECAUSE THEY WERE PART
OF THAT COMMUNITY. SO THEY WEREN’T
SORTED OUT ACCORDING TO WHAT THEIR
PASSIONS WERE, RIGHT? SO I WORK REALLY
HARD TO HAVE STUDENTS LOOK AT THE OTHER PERSPECTIVE
AND HAVE THEM ARGUE THAT. SO YOU CANNOT CARE
ABOUT ANIMALS, BUT FOR THIS SIMULATION,
YOU HAVE TO GO AND RESEARCH OR WHATEVER
YOU NEED TO DO AND YOU HAVE TO DEVELOP
CARING ABOUT ANIMALS. AND I HAD A STUDENT THAT FLAT-OUT SAID,
“LOOK, I DON’T KNOW–” AND SHE WAS A
PERSON OF COLOR. I FEEL THAT– WE HAD
IN THEIR COMMUNITY, MICHAEL VICK
MOVED IN, RIGHT? AND…
(audience laughing) EH, YOU KNOW.
(audience laughing) IT CONNECTED TO THEM
SOMETHING VERY REAL. SHE SAID, “I DON’T HAVE
A PROBLEM WITH HIM
BEING IN THIS COMMUNITY “BECAUSE I THINK WE CARE
TOO MUCH ABOUT ANIMALS “AND NOT HUMANS.” I SAID, “WELL, OKAY, IN YOUR
COMMUNITY, EXPLORE THAT. “HAVE DIALOGUE.” AND HER GROUP
WAS REALLY LIKE, “OH, MY GOD, WE HAVE TO DEAL
WITH THIS PERSON,” RIGHT? BUT THEY WORKED
THROUGH IT. AND AT THE END OF THE PROGRAM
OR END OF THE COURSE, THE STUDENTS HAVE TO
DO A PRESENTATION OF WHAT THEY LEARNED
AND WHAT CHANGED THEM. AND SHE HAD SOME REALLY
STRONG, RADICAL– I WOULD SEE AS RADICAL. I AM PUTTING A VALUE
STATEMENT ON THAT, SO I HAVE TO BE CAREFUL. BUT IT WAS REALLY SHE
WAS FOLLOWING SOME GURU AND SHE WAS
REALLY INTO THIS. AT THE END OF HER PRESENTATION,
SHE SAID, “AND REALLY, “THE ONE THING I LEARNED
THAT CHANGED MY MIND “ABOUT HOW WE CONNECT
OURSELVES TO ANIMALS “AND PEOPLE AND WHAT THAT
MEANS SYSTEMICALLY,” BECAUSE I REALLY WORK
AT COMPLEX SYSTEMS, RIGHT? AND I SAID, “WELL,
TELL ME MORE ABOUT THAT.” SHE SAID, “IF
I CAN’T TRUST YOU “TO TAKE CARE OF THE
MOST VULNERABLE PERSON “OR THING IN
THE COMMUNITY, “HOW CAN I TRUST YOU
TO TAKE CARE OF ME?” AND SO, KIND OF ANSWERING
WHAT YOU WERE TRYING TO SAY AND WHAT YOU
ARE ASKING IS THAT SOMETIMES YOU HAVE
TO GO TO WHERE PEOPLE ARE AT. A LOT OF TIMES, YOU HAVE
TO GO TO WHERE PEOPLE ARE AT AND ALLOW THEM TO
MAKE THAT CONNECTION. YOU CAN’T FORCE THAT. AND I THINK IT COMES ALONG WHEN
SOMEONE HAS THAT EXPERIENCE. IT JUST KIND
OF COMES ALONG.>>IF I MAY ADD TO THAT, KIND
OF MOVING FROM THE PERSONAL TO THE COMMUNITY LEVEL,
STATE-WIDE LEVEL, WE HAVE OPPORTUNITIES
TO REINTRODUCE PLACE INTO OUR CURRICULUMS. AND THE WHOLE “NO CHILD
LEFT INSIDE” MOVEMENT, THE IDEA THAT
WE HAVE TO INTEGRATE
ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION, PLACE-BASED EDUCATION,
WHETHER IT IS THROUGH FOOD, THROUGH WATER EXPERIENCES, THROUGH LOOKING AT
ECONOMIC SYSTEMS. IF WE ARE ABLE TO DO
THAT IN OUR CLASSROOMS, WE WILL BE BETTER AS
A SOCIETY OVER TIME. WE DO THAT
AT W.M.E.A.C. THROUGH OUR “TEACH FOR
THE WATERSHED” PROGRAM, WHICH IS A PLACE-BASED PROGRAM
THAT TRAINS TEACHERS TO GET KIDS INTO THEIR WATERSHEDS, AND I THINK WE JUST
NEED MORE OF THAT. G.V.S.U. HAS A GREAT
PROGRAM, GROUNDSWELL, WHICH IS WORKING
ON TEACHER EDUCATION FOR THE
ENVIRONMENT AS WELL, AND I AM SURE THERE ARE
MORE EXAMPLES OF THAT THAT I AM NOT MENTIONING, BUT WE DO– AS WE TALK
ABOUT EDUCATION REFORM, WE CAN’T FORGET ABOUT
PLACE AND ABOUT EVERYTHING THAT IS LEARNED BY EXPLORING
NATURE AND NATURAL SYSTEMS.>>ROUND OF APPLAUSE FOR
YOUR FOUR LEADERS, PLEASE. (applause) RACHEL, WHAT IS
OUR ACTION ITEM FOR THE WORKSHOP
PURPOSES, PLEASE?>>WELL, WE HAVE AN EXCITING
AFTERNOON IN STORE FOR YOU. THERE ARE FOUR DIFFERENT
WORKSHOPS THAT ARE LED AS AN OUTGROWTH
OF THIS PANEL. MARY BROWN IS GOING BE
WORKING ON PERSONAL PLANNING. AND I AM REALLY EXCITED TO
SPEND AN HOUR WITH MYSELF AND WITH MARY TO PUT TOGETHER THE NEXT
STEPS IN MY OWN JOURNEY. I HOPE YOU WILL SPEND
TIME DOING THAT AS WELL. ELISSA’S TEAM IS GOING TO DO AN
EXERCISE ON OUR LOCAL ECONOMY, HELPING US TO IDENTIFY GAPS
IN OUR LOCAL ECONOMY, AND THINK ABOUT
ENTREPRENEURIAL ACTIVITIES THAT PERHAPS COULD FUEL SOME
BUSINESSES THAT BECOME YOURS AND BECOME A GREAT WAY THAT THIS
EVENT IMPACTS OUR COMMUNITY. LISA IS HERE WITH US
FOR ONE SESSION. SHE HAS SOME PERSONAL ITEMS TO
ATTEND TO LATER THIS AFTERNOON, BUT IF YOU ARE INTERESTED
IN LEARNING MORE ABOUT THE CONNECTION
BETWEEN WELLNESS AND OUR NATIVE
ECOSYSTEMS, LISA IS GOING TO BE HOLDING
ONE SESSION RIGHT AWAY IMMEDIATELY
FOLLOWING THIS. AND OUR TEAM
AT W.M.E.A.C. IS GOING TO BE ENGAGING
A FEW LOCAL ACTIVISTS WHO ARE WORKING ON HORIZONTAL
HYDRAULIC FRACKING. AND WE WILL HAVE A DISCUSSION
ABOUT HOW OUR COMMUNITIES CAN BEGIN TO MOBILIZE
TO ADDRESS THAT ISSUE AND EDUCATE FOLKS
ABOUT FRACKING AND ITS IMPACT ON OUR
NATURAL RESOURCES. THOSE ARE HAPPENING IN THE
CLASSROOMS IMMEDIATELY BEHIND US ON EITHER SIDE OF THIS KIND
OF CORRIDOR, IF YOU WILL. I BELIEVE LISA’S CLASS
IS ON THIS SIDE, AS WELL AS LOCAL
FIRST’S, AND THEN… THE FRACKING WORKSHOP
IS ON THIS SIDE, ALONG WITH MARY’S
PERSONAL PLANNING.>>ALL RIGHT, GO GET ‘EM OUT
AND YOU ARE CHARGED TO SPREAD THE WORD TO
ONE NEW PERSON TODAY. THANKS.
>>SWEET.>>THANK YOU, DEAR.
>>THANK YOU. (general chatter)

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