My model of good health includes many forms of non caloric nourishment. There is plenty of research to show that sleep, sunshine, fresh air and laughter have positive health benefits. I do my best to include them in my daily life and I hope that you do too.
Today, I’m going to take it one step further: I believe that taking action to support the environment has health benefits.
To keep environmental despair at bay, I’ve bumped up my level of environmental activism over the years. Once I started to understand that personal health and planetary health was directly interconnected, I couldn’t fall back asleep. My focus on food evolved into a focus on the food system and farming. Once I got my hands dirty growing food, supporting community gardens, composting and much more, I also began to understand on a much deeper level the importance of clean air, water and healthy soil.
These days, you’d have to be living under a rock not to know about climate change and how it is a major threat to our future. It can be distressing to consider the magnitude of the problem. The fact that burning fossil fuels such as gas, oil, and coal is creating an unstable climate that won’t be able to support life as we know it for very much longer. These statements used to be considered extreme, but just yesterday the UN released it’s starkest warning yet about global warming in the NY Times. If you take the time to read it, you’ll know, time is not on our side. We must start taking serious action.
Back in 2011, along with 1253 others, I stood in front of the White House and was arrested in an act of non violent civil disobedience to send a message to President Obama about the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. That was a big turning point. Up until then, I had signed petitions and gave talks. Risking arrest and being part of a movement of resistance completely different from signing online petitions. I highly recommend it.
Resistance is fertile. Brad Werner, a geophysicist from UC San Diego, made waves by including the importance of activism and resistance in his research on climate. You can read an eye opening article about this here: http://www.newstatesman.com/2013/10/science-says-revolt
I’ve continued to be a part of the movement to keep Canadian tar sands in the ground and to keep the Keystone XL pipeline out of our country. Since summer camp adventure in PA, I remain a dedicated fracktivst, working to keep fracking and gas pipelines out of NY.
I must share with you the form of earth activism that is most nourishing for me. Its more playful than getting arrested in front of the White House.
My most favorite form of earth activism is serving as a board member of the Reverend Billy’s Church of Stop Shopping. The Church of Stop Shopping is a NYC based radical performance community with 50 performing members and a congregation in the thousands. The environmental movement needs some art, fun and music, the Rev Billy and his Stop Shopping Gospel Choir do a monumental job in this department. Their words and music are nourishment for the soul during this climate crisis.
The good reverend and his gospel choir will be performing at Joe’s Pub later this month. Hope to see you there! You can buy tickets by clicking here: