Why add in-home Sprouting to your Environmentalism Toolkit?

By Robert Schwartz

If you’re reading this you already know there will be hell to pay if we don’t straighten out this climate issue.

Some people say climate change is caused by human reckless over-consumption. Some people say it’s just a natural planetary happening. The truth is even if climate change isn’t our fault it is our problem. The good news is you can affect the speed and severity that a changing climate will impact your children and grandchildren.There are 3 way that you can help heal the world and optimize the environment. The first is with your personal choices and the choices your family makes. The second is your local community, in America that’s state and local governments. The third is by advocating for national and world change, which seems like a big lift when you’re worried about making dinner and getting the kids to clean their room before they go to sleep. I try to work on all three of these points and find the most rewarding one is my own personal choices. As you know, local, state, and federal politicians have been very unwilling to make any substantial changes. I do see a glimmer of hope though, considering how the war on drugs and the war on homelessness went maybe politicians should consider a war on the environment. But all of that is for another day.  

Why I got involved in the environmental movement.  

There were three main stages to my climate journey. The first one was shock. Learning about the extent of the climate issue can really send you down a rabbit hole. The amount of information could keep you glued to your phone for literally 10 years. As I researched, I realized many people write with a political or financial agenda but even after removing biased information the real world is suffering and only the most cognitively challenged can’t see it. The second thing that happened to me was the emergence of emotional pain along with my sense of justice being offended to the point of real anger. Anger is an emotion designed to prevent bad decision making. You get angry at the kids for going in the street without looking. Most emotional anger is something that doesn’t just linger with you and over time you get less angry and settle back into a normal routine. This is the least helpful response to anger over environmental issues. The response that brought me piece was the third stage – realizing the source of the pain and responding to it.  

Learning to contribute without complaining. 

I like to think of myself as an environmentally responsible person. Carrying around my hydroflask, wearing goodwill or local made clothing, turning off the lights, rarely turn on the heat pump and having energy efficient appliances. But one day I realized my food choices nullified any positive impact I was hoping to make. Unnecessary pollution from packaging, refrigeration, and transportation. Poisoning the soil of land due to pesticides, watching the top soil get replaced with an unsustainable chemical mixture, and the massive amount of food waste from peels, stems, etc. I am luckily enough to live in rural Oregon so I can get a good percentage of food from local farmers or farmers markets but not everyone can do that year round, some people not at all.

So, what are we to do as environmental activists? 

Sprout at home!

Sprouting allows a nice harvest every 3-5 day of clean fresh organic veggies. Sprouting at home takes almost no time and very little space. No transportation, or packaging pollution and a bare minimum of refrigeration if any at all. Almost no waste and no top or any other kind of soil used and no pesticides. Best Part? Every morning and evening when I spend a minute or two rinsing my sprouts, I am reminded of my fidelity to healing the environment.

For anyone just starting a sprouting adventure, here are the simple steps that people have been doing for thousands of years.

  1. Take some organic non-gmo seeds (the only kind there was until a few years ago) soak them in cool water for 8 hours or so.
  2. Drain the water and rinse 2 times per day until little tails appear, usually in 3-5 days.
  3. Repeat with a new set of seeds.

My website, www.organicsproutbox.com has a 5 minute video that walks you through every step of the way so you will get the best results. If you’d like to learn more, feel free to email us for tips or advice to either up your sprout game or get your sprouting adventure started. I also have a variety of entry level to gourmet vegan sprout recipes.  Please look into sprouting today and if you’d like more information, visit us at www.organicsproutbox.com. SPROUT ON!

Black Snake

I’ve taken several classes online, including a Masterclass by reporter Bob Woodward.  Woodward basically said that everyone has their own version of the truth.  What they saw, from their perspective, given their existing knowledge and underlying belief system. 

But underneath what we each believe, there are facts.  We are all entitled to our own opinions.  No one is entitled to their own set of facts. 

I started out as a documentary filmmaker.  My 1st picture was on national cable TV.  My 2nd picture went undistributed.  I couldn’t raise money for the next half dozen pictures I wanted to make, so I have a file cabinet stuffed with unfulfilled dreams.  I didn’t make any more documentaries. 

But I passionately agree with Woodward that a journalist’s job – and in a Democracy, every citizen’s job – is to come up with the best, most accurate obtainable version of the truth.  Because Democracy dies in darkness.  Because predators always hide, and human predators create a thicket of false facts to hide in.

Our founding fathers had the optimistic notion that Americans could act like good neighbors.  That we could reach smarter decisions together than any one of us could consistently come up with alone.  That we could discuss our differences calmly.  That we could look past our beliefs to find the facts.  That we would then use those facts to improve our all lives.  

Without facts there is no sustainable prosperity.  Without basic prosperity, life sucks.  A family with hungry children is the most politically unstable unit in the world.

Lately, we have seen a triumph of false facts over neighborliness.  Below is a poem I wrote about how recent political events have brought new light to a very old set of false facts, that was used to steal Native land and murder Native people.

Black Snake by Katherine Brann Fredricks 

Lay aside bitterness.
Lay aside fears.
There’s a black snake
on the Trail of Tears.

It’s been seven generations
since we took your land.
Now foreign people want mine.
Now I understand.

We all drink this water,
though we once fought to the knife.
At Oglala waters,
even old enemies have to agree,
water is life!

Cowboy boots and deerskin moccasin,
stop the black snake
with truth for medicine.
Canadian tar sands
for Chinese cars.
Stop the black snake.
Protect what’s ours.

It’s been seven generations
since we told those lies:
“We’ve come here for your good!”
Lies to colonize.

Now I apologize
for my ancestor’s lies.
Now I recognize
tribal wisdom I despised.
Now I apologize
for the genocide we legalized.
Now I cuss
foreign enterprise
come to vandalize us!

For our sacred waters,
for our farms and fields and rights.
For our children’s futures,
cowboys and Indians, time to unite,
Cowboys and Indians, fight!

Obama embalmed the KXL.
Trump raised it like a zombie:
smell that chemical smell!
Biden took a pen.  
Killed the black snake again.
Say yay! But stay tough.
Kill a zombie twice?
Twice may not be enough!

While we drink these waters,
we’ll teach our sons and daughters how
to respect each other,
and protect each other,
so they may safely drink these waters
seven generations from now!

New Music: Open Your Eyes by Katherine Fredricks & Stephen Bennett

In a lifetime spent – by preference – in the woods, I’ve faced danger a few times.  Rock climbing, and having the rock I was holding onto break off in my hand.  Accidentally walking between a mother elk and her calf.  Breaking through the ice, while crossing a stream on a winter camping trip.

The Oregon fires last fall were the first time I ever felt all humanity was directly endangered.  Listening to the news, I heard an Oregon firefighter say, he felt like he was fighting the whole world.  The first thought that leapt into my mind was, “Yeah, but who started this fight?”

I’ve believed we were in a human-caused climate emergency for years.  The wildfires of 2020 brought it home to me.  I was working as a temp for a chiropractor, watching the sky turn red overhead, as patient after patient called to cancel their appointments: “I can’t come in!  I’m being evacuated!”

I spoke to one eighty year old man, as he watched flames approach his home.  He didn’t want to leave.  His son was arguing with him: “You can’t fight a firestorm with a garden hose!”

So I sent texts for Joe Biden and was thrilled when he was elected.  I write my Congressional  Representatives regularly on climate issues.  

Last week, I was happy to receive a newsletter from Congressman Blumenauer, saying that he is working with Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on legislation to mandate the declaration of a national climate emergency. Read article here.

Last fall, watching fire clouds tower over me, I began writing a song, Open Your Eyes!  Composer Stephen Bennett related to it instantly, because his parents live in California, where similar fire clouds threatened their home.  Thank you to the members of Climate Reality, and to all people of good will and good science, who are working hard to (as Congressman Blumenauer puts it) “halt, reverse, mitigate, and prepare for the consequences of this climate crisis.”

LISTEN TO “OPEN YOUR EYES”

New Music: Without Shared Facts

Guest post by Katherine Fredricks

After the assault on the US Capital, we are all grateful to the courts, the election officials, the police and the military for protecting America from a failed insurrection.  Unfortunately, the long term effects of misinformation and disinformation will not disburse as quickly as the Capital rioters.

I’m a member of the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).  Back in 2015,  UCS invited all their members to a webinar by Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Neela Banerjee.  Her research showed that Exxon has known for decades that climate change was real, human caused, and potentially catastrophic. READ MORE HERE  

During that webinar, one of the speakers pointed out that the disinformation tactics used by Exxon were exactly the same as those used by tobacco companies, when they fought lawsuits against cigarettes.  “They know these tactics failed, so what will they try instead?”

We’ve seen what they tried.  They stacked the courts.  

Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s father was an executive for Royal Dutch Shell. READ MORE HERE

According to EcoWatch, Brett Kavanaugh “accepts the science behind climate change, but has ruled against the Environmental Protection Agency’s attempts to do anything about it.”  READ MORE HERE

According to American Progress, Justice Gorsuch “did not appear on President Trump’s first list of potential Supreme Court nominees in May 2016, but he appeared on Trump’s second list just weeks after writing a judicial manifesto arguing that judges should have more power to strike down federal regulations.” READ MORE HERE

And although the disinformation surrounding the 2020 Presidential election may have more to do with Trump’s ego than big oil, the disinformation handbook continues to be used by multinational corporations to protect their profits at the expense of human health and safety. READ MORE HERE

In response to all this disinformation and to the recent siege of the Capital, composer Stephen Bennett & I wrote a new song.  We hope you enjoy it.

LISTEN HERE

Katherine Brann Fredricks has had 6 shows in NYC festivals in the last 8 years, winning or nominated for 28 Awards.  https://katherine-b-fredricks.squarespace.com/ 

Stephen Wagener Bennett is a writer, composer, director, and dramaturg based in Brooklyn. He has written for new and experimental theatre for the last decade, and holds an MFA from NYU’s Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program. stephenwagenerbennett.com

Oregon Environmental Efforts Reflect Nationwide Trends

The Oregon Climate Action Plan, Executive Order 20-04, was signed in March of this year. Defining the rules that will implement these proposed environmental standards–designing the specifics and practical applications of the standards–is now in progress in Oregon.

Oregon joins the voices and outreach of diverse nationwide groups to establish common ground that will lead to both environmental and economic health for our citizens. Nationwide, environmental groups are forming coalitions with other environmental groups. But also, group previously divided by politics or region are establishing common ground.

For example, Wisconsin farmers and environmental groups are partnering to facilitate the joint efforts and resources of their state. This partner group includes the Dairy Business Association, as well as Clean Wisconsin, The Nature Conservancy in Wisconsin, and Wisconsin Land and Water Conservation Association.

“Together, our organizations are proposing a set of policy principles to guide lawmakers and the administration in this effort,” says Dairy Business Association President Tom Crave.

The Wisconsin partnering is reported by the mid-western Brownfield Ag News for America. https://brownfieldagnews.com/news/dairy-group-three-environmental-groups-form-water-quality-partnership/

This is where we all agree!
Photo by Melissa Askew on Unsplash

When seeking and establishing common ground, we can learn practical strategies and ideas from other states, like Wisconsin. We can also strengthen the diverse partnerships already being developed in Oregon. As we in Oregon proceed to weigh in on rules to implement our Oregon Climate Action Plan, we aim to leverage our best. We join heart and hard-won efforts of diverse groups in our nation and the world.