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A Few Words from our Founder

Often when you go to a wilderness reserve, you are told to “Leave no Trace”. When you study tracking it becomes obvious that it is impossible to leave no trace, you always leave a trace. The trick is to leave considered traces.

I grew up seeing the woods I took solace in cut by quarters and halves. The streams and lakes I used to play in were poisoned by oil, mutating the frogs, lowering the water level until some paths simply dried up, killing the shore plants and turning up corpses of insects, mice, frogs, snakes, fish, and water birds all along the water's edge. Twenty-some years after the "clean-up", the water is just beginning to remember how it used to be.

I do not live a radical lifestyle. I pick up litter when I see it. I buy what I can at local farmers’ markets, and supplement with organic food from privately run grocery stores. I walk where I can. I car-pool when possible. I keep all my bags, and use them as trash bags. I recycle. I talk often to friends about how to strengthen communities, and feasible solutions to social/ecological problems. I turn off lights when leaving rooms. I turn off the water while brushing my teeth. I use sponges instead of paper towels.

I buy green shampoos/ toiletries/cleaning agents. I think about the packaging and product origins of what I buy. I buy what I can second hand, preferably from charitable non-profit thrift shops. When I need to buy from a chain store (Lowe’s, Trader Joe’s, etc.) I find out how the corporation uses its money. Many of the large companies endorse political issues and candidates. I also find out what their policies are towards their employees, and towards the environment. I consider where my money is going and what it is endorsing. In a capitalistic society, spending money is like casting a vote.

I live in a suburban house, drive a car, and get smoothies in disposable plastic cups. I turn on more lamps when reading has strained my eyes for too long. Some of my possessions I don’t have the foggiest of how to make them or where their raw materials came from, such as DVDs, my iPod, or my computer. I am addicted to checking my e-mail, and the many other web sites I’m on. I carry a cell phone. I, like many other Americans, am tethered to these things.

For the past several years I have spent a lot of my free time returning to the woods, learning primitive technology and wilderness skills. I am invested in learning wild edible and medicinal plants, friction fire methods, shelter building, primitive pottery, water finding and purifying methods, primitive cooking, tracking, and other such skills as a lifestyle.

I learn these things not because I plan to abandon society for the wilderness, I learn these things for the same reason I learned construction, tailoring, spinning, weaving, cooking, and for the same reason I want to know how to farm, and fix cars. Independence and self-sufficiency have their own merits, but more importantly to me, if we understand how things happen we can question their consequences. We are rapidly losing knowledge, and we cannot revolutionize what we do not comprehend. I do not want us all to live in the woods. I love being in the woods, but we do not have enough wilderness for everyone to do that, and running away from society isn't going to help it. I want us all to live in cities, and I want us to leave the woods wild. Urban Permaculture is one of the new concepts that is suggesting solutions for urban ecological space management, increased sufficiency of self and local community.

“We perform the actions to keep the ideas alive.”
“The Shaman can hear the voice of the stones and trees. The Shaman does not live in a mechanical, disenchanted world, but in an enchanted one, comprised of multiple, complex, living, interactive systems.” -Fern Shaffer + Othello Anderson

Contact Us at GraduallyGreen@gmail.com | ©2007 a Laurel Tree Arts Web Site