We don’t have to rely on other nations to fix our own backyard, unlike climate change and plastic pollution require.
After being stalled for two years with the “pandemic,” closures and a growing lack of public interest due to increasing political and social turmoil, Moonlight Mesa unexpectedly ended the JUST ONE THING ALLIANCE program earlier this month. Publisher Becky Coffield announced today the company will instead be spending much more energy on Rights of Nature issues.
JUST ONE THING was an attempt to entice people to give up just one single-use plastic item, thus contributing in a small way to less plastic pollution and waste in garbage dumps, the ocean, beaches, water sources, etc. Small things add up!
“For several years we’ve been somewhat engaged in environmental issues that can actually be ‘fixed’ given time and resources. However, we intend to greatly step up our involvement,” Coffield said.
Some problems are massive and will take time, which in many cases we don’t have (such as doing what we can to help the Save Our Wild Salmon Coalition in restoring the wild salmon runs in the Pacific Northwest that the diminishing pod of Southern Resident Orcas rely on for survival). Other issues can be solved by the brilliant legal work of Nature Resource Defense Council (NRDC) and Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF). And there are issues that simply require public education and awareness. We don’t have to rely on other nations to fix our own backyard, unlike climate change and plastic pollution require.
I can tell you right now that we are excited about this decision. Everyone here has the energy to get actively involved in these issues.
So much to do…so little time. we’ll keep you posted!”
In answer to the few individuals who’ve contacted me asking whether or not Moonlight Mesa is still in business, I’m happy to say that after an extended absence, I have finally returned – physically and mentally. I’m ready for business again. I basically took a two year sabbatical from publishing/marketing, I guess you could say. In my absence, I did earn my Marine Naturalist Certification, and I worked as a docent at the Friday Harbor Whale Museum! Two very important long-time goals I’ve had.
Moonlight Mesa Associates, Inc., a tiny, independent publishing company was formed in 2010 and has published a remarkable number of award-winning titles including J.R. Sanders’ two titles (Some Gave All and The Littlest Wrangler), Robert Walton’s Dawn Drums, Lee Anderson’s Developing the Art of Equine Communication and The Viewfrom My Old Saddle. And a few of my own books, Life Was a Cabaret, Sam’s Desert Adventure, and Northern Escape took awards. Several other published titles received Honorable Mentions.
So what exactly was I doing the last two years? Although I did vaguely blog about these things, I’ll briefly answer the question. Both my husband and I survived Covid, although I was truly terrified about his case which turned to Covid pneumonia. Then we moved…and moved again. We left Arizona with the intent of relocating back to the Northwest, but you know, after a couple of months there I told my husband that I just couldn’t live there full time. Honestly, the area is splendid, but I just couldn’t commit.
I bought a teensy, tiny house in Arizona and a bigger boat to keep in Anacortes. We plan on spending more time on the water traveling – Alaska is on the menu for summer of 2022. We just decided to have more adventure while we still can.
As for Moonlight Mesa’s business…I’ve already done one small event since our return in mid October, and I’ll be doing another event December 3. I very sincerely doubt I’ll do multi-day events again. Quite frankly, I did that for 8 years and it absolutely wore me out. I liked the short event I just did…I sold plenty of books and wasn’t exhausted and crabby when I closed.”
I’m formulating a plan for the summer of 2022 for when we’re traveling. I plan on being an ‘ambassador’ for Saving Our Oceans. I’ll be taking many copies with me, and I’ll primarily donate these copies and do presentations. I’m not worried about book sales as I know other titles will sell as a result. I’ll have advertising material for all the titles. It’ll work. I’ve done this before and it was very successful.”
This adventure is somewhat different than our first time out, but every bit as exciting. Am I afraid? No. I’m only afraid to die just sitting around waiting for the inevitable end while dreaming about the past.
Can a person repeat a grand experience?
Absolutely… sort of…depends…it may be a bit different the second time around, but it can be just as good as the first time, perhaps even better.
Too often as people grow older, they remember with great nostalgia an event or a time in their life when their world could not have been more perfect. Well, it can be that way again if they dare. A few people do so.
About a year or so ago I was reading an article that asked me to close the page and answer this question: when was I the happiest? In an instant I recalled the joyous seven years my husband and I lived aboard our Cal 2-34 sailboat and traveled 25,000 miles. I even wrote an award-winning book about it: Life Was a Cabaret: A Tale of Two Fools, a Boat and a Big-A** Ocean. (Cabaret was the name of our boat.)
When I returned to the article, there was a another question: “Why aren’t you doing that now?” Instantly I knew that I had to return to the sea.
Our move, like most relocations, was very difficult and complex, but once I’d realized when I had been the very happiest in my entire life, I had to proceed. We had no reason not to. Our children were grown and had established their own lives; we were retired, and we had no real ties to the town we’d been living in for the past 15 years. My husband was 100 percent in favor of the whole scheme and had talked many times about “living aboard” again and traveling. (That helps a lot!) Maybe he had long ago planted the seed that burst into bloom when I read the article!
The day our house sold we left Arizona bound for the Pacific Northwest where we’d both grown up and had started off on our early adventures. After 3 months of searching we finally found a boat we could afford that had ample room for us to spend lengths of time on it and that was sea worthy enough to make long passages. Although tempted to buy a sailboat once again, we debated the pros and cons many times before we decided to buy a “stink pot” power boat. I’m glad we did! I feel like we live in the lap of luxury compared to the small quarters of the adorable vessel that had pleased us immensely when we were younger. Sailing is, to be honest, more of a young person’s “gift,” not so much people in their 70s.
Differences? Too many years have passed to name them all, but mainly we are older by 40+ years now than our sailing days. We’re living in a different type of boat altogether than previous. But I will say our excitement, plans, and adventures are every bit as good. We may not do ocean passages again, but we can do Alaska to South American with stops along the way with no problem.
We spent this summer upgrading the boat with new electronics, replacing the propane stove (which I loved) with a diesel cook stove that will help with keeping the boat warm. (We had another boat with a diesel cook stove and I actually liked it!) We made many changes and additions. We also did some trial runs and got in lots of island hiking.
Next summer we will at long last head north and explore the Broughton Islands and then circumnavigate Vancouver Island. We plan to return to Alaska the following year and possibly spend two years there where I hope to explore all the places we missed out on the first time. Then perhaps it will be a long haul to Ecuador, Peru, Chile and on to the Straits of Magellan and Patagonia. In these travels I hope to share what knowledge I’ve gained as a Certified Marine Naturalist with others and to invite people to join the JUST ONE THING Alliance.
Perhaps we’re more audacious than a lot of people because we’ve been boaters for many years and kept a small tugboat in the San Juan Islands that we spent summers on. What we’re doing obviously won’t work for many people, but everyone has a time in their life they can in some fashion “re-experience.”
We will absolutely miss our small family, but we definitely plan to return at regular intervals and wear out our welcome. Perhaps they will join us on occasion!
This adventure is a somewhat different than our first time out, but every bit as exciting. Am I afraid? No. I’m only afraid to die just sitting around waiting for the inevitable end while dreaming about the past.
The main interest I’ve (we’ve) maintained throughout all the covid stress and election drama has been a continual attention to the health of the ocean, nature, and especially whales. There are some bright spots here:
I declare I do think some people have minds like traps…something gets in it and it doesn’t go away. Once again I’ve been caught.
Here’s some facts I’ve been called on:
In September I declared I would row 500 miles before the end of the year. Didn’t quite get there – actually I was a long way from 500 miles. Try 189. Well, the spirit was willing but the flesh was weak! Besides, the north ramp at Lake Pleasant was closed and that is the BEST, most scenic area for rowing, kayaking, and swimming.
And I’ve been asked where JOT has disappeared to and what’s going on with it…It’s been so long since I’ve talked about JOT (Just One Thing) that I’m embarrassed to say I’ve done little to nothing in recent months. I think the pandemic wore me out. I was too busy reading Fox News and the New York Times email articles to pay attention to much else.
For those with short memories, JOT (Just One Thing) is a grassroots alliance encouraging people to forego one single-use plastic item to help with plastic pollution and wastage. There are a number of people who have signed up to participate in the JOT movement, however, but I’ve failed to do much communication since I failed to keep their email addresses. Again…likely a pandemic fault. However, JOT is alive and well and will be energized again…Care to join? Send me your name and I’ll add you to our list. No fees or dues or donations ever. Just a commitment on your part to yourself.
The main interest I’ve (we’ve) maintained throughout all the covid stress and election drama has been a continual attention to the health of the ocean, nature, and especially whales. There are some bright spots here:
A new pod of Blue Whales has been discovered in the Indian Ocean. In addition, Blue Whales are once again being detected in the Georgia Island area (north of Antarctica) after 50-years of absence. These whales were hunted almost to the very brink of extinction by money-driven cretins. (Please don’t tell the Japanese or the Norwegians since they have a penchant for slaughtering whales.)
And, there have been numerous sightings of the northwest’s Southern Resident pod of orcas this fall and winter…likely this is because there are far fewer boaters plowing through the waters disturbing them.
So…I’m seriously back to work even though I don’t plan to publish anything this year. Despite having become a bit of a hermit, I aim to live with gratitude and enthusiasm. No more shirking, procrastinating, and negativity. I’m tired of that.
Besides promoting JOT and trying to sell books, I’ll be blogging about the NRDC and their successes in sustaining the environment (like helping defeat the Pebble mine in Bristol Bay), along with the Save Our Wild Salmon Coalition and their efforts to revive wild salmon stocks (yes, more bridges are now being torn down), as well as other marine and nature organizations issues (like closing Marine World and getting those poor whales out of swimming pools!). I’ll be heading to Washington State in February for a month of resuscitation. I know I’ll come back fired up – and probably be yearning to move north…again.
Check out Saving Our Oceans or any of our other scintillating titles!
Three primary areas have become the publisher’s center of attention: The Ocean; Whales; and the Rights of Nature.
It’s become apparent to many of Moonlight Mesa’s blog followers and customers, that the publishing house is no longer the same company that used to avidly only promote western books and authors. “There is no question that we’re on a different path,” admitted publisher Becky Coffield. “The change is a difficult, time-consuming, uphill struggle, and one we’ve been trying to win using emotional appeal – not tactics. It hasn’t been as easy as I thought it’d be. Somehow that’s got to change.”
It’s tempting to say that the biggest cause of struggle is Moonlight Mesa’s rural location – being housed on the borderline of a dinky seasonal community and a small cowboy town. This hurts, but it’s not the only issue. Not being a coastal state, Arizonans generally tend to be indifferent to the issues that Moonlight Mesa’s publisher finds to be a priority. “This is to be expected, I suppose. Arizona has issues and problems of its own to deal with that are troublesome: drought and potential water shortage; rapid growth due to a massive influx of newcomers; and border issues to name a few. Expected, but disappointing,” Coffield said.
So, what is the pubisher’s focus? Three primary areas have become the publisher’s center of attention: the Ocean; Whales; and The Rights of Nature. That is, of course, a simplification, but it generally sums it up. Coffield is also a supporter of NRDC, CELDEF, and GARN.*
For starters, as chairperson of the JUST ONE THING Alliance, Coffield decided to house the small, grass-roots movement on Moonlight Mesa’s website as its own domain. (www.justonething.life) She has also recently added Moonlight Mesa’s publication, Saving Our Oceans. (www.saving-our-oceans.com) as a domain on the website.
“Though the addition of these two domains to Moonlight Mesa’s website does not in any way help book sales or the company, the fact is it’s a step in going where I have to go,” Coffield said.
Coffield became an ocean/whale devotee after spending six years blue-water sailing on a Cal 2-34, traveling around 25,000 miles, then living on the Oregon Coast for many years. Originally from the Northwest, Coffield has spent years boating in the San Juan Islands and traveling the Inside Passage to the Broughton Islands and S.E. Alaska. “I’ve had fantastic whale encounters in S.E. Alaska,” Coffield recalled. “And, of course, a person can’t help but love the Southern Resident Pod that hangs out in the San Juans.” Coffield is currently endeavoring to complete a Marine Naturalist Certification.
It’s become apparent to all who know the publisher that she (and her husband) are fish out of water living in Arizona – The big question is “for how much longer?” She’s choosing not say at this time –
Meanwhile, look for the saving-our-oceans.blog in the very near future.
Remember the goal of JUST ONE THING: if every person eliminates JUST ONE form of plastic use from their life, JUST ONE, it can make an astounding difference in the amount of plastic pollution in this country and its coastal and inland waters.
The fledgling JUST ONE THING Alliance is now alive on the web. Or let’s say it’s now at least a domain. The rest of the input and information will be forthcoming in a few days.
As mentioned in an earlier blog, Moonlight Mesa Associates is “hosting” the JUST ONE THING Alliance. Finally the alliance has been added as a domain to the website. Just google justonething.life and you’ll find it on the Moonlight Mesa Associates, Westerns Whales and Oceans website.
Now, more than ever, people need to think of something besides Covid-19 and all the hardships this has caused every single person (with the possible exception of Nancy Pelosi). Many people have lost interest in everything except Covid, the riots in major cities, and the upcoming elections. Even at Moonlight Mesa we find ourselves bemoaning the pandemic and neglecting the JUST ONE THING Alliance, the Southern Resident Pod of Orcas, Plastic Pollution clogging the oceans and filling the air, and the brutal killing and captivity of dolphins and whales and, of course, the apparent climate change, which is getting very difficult to deny. Sometimes it all becomes too overwhelming and depressing. But, we can do our part – SMALL THINGS ADD UP!
Remember the goal of JUST ONE THING: if every person eliminates JUST ONE form of plastic use from their life (preferably single-use plastic), JUST ONE, it can make an astounding difference in the amount of plastic pollution in this country and its coastal and inland waters.
Second, it will send a message to the hundreds of plastic producers who yearly spew out billions of plastic products and take no responsibility for the devastation their products cause to the environment or the health of the ocean, and all waterways, animals, and people. Plastic bottles are among the chief offenders. Trevor Nace in Science claims that “We’re at a Million Plastic Bottles per minute – 91% of which are not recycled.”Worse, “it is estimated that over half a trillion plastic bottles will be sold in 2020.” (Chapter 3, “Plastic Bottles,” Saving Our Oceans.)
Third, if at all possible, buy items from companies crafting their products from recycled materials. An increasing number of companies making clothes and many other items from plastic can be found on the web.
If you’d like to be part of this effort, send me your name, or your company’s name, and we’ll add you to our growing list of participants who want to eliminate a single-use plastic item. Our list includes the International Whaling Commission, the Save Our Wild Salmon Coalition, the Friday Harbor Whale Museum, Jeff Bridges, the Five Gyres Institute, and many others. You can contact us at this email address.
If every single person chose one form of plastic that they were willing to eliminate from their life, the results would be colossal.
Moonlight Mesa Associates, a western book publisher, will host the JUST ONE THING Alliance on the Moonlight Mesa website, according to publisher Becky Coffield.
“It’s no secret – in fact it’s pretty obvious – we are currently engaged more with environmental issues than we are with publishing,” Coffield said. “In fact, we published only one new title this year (C.L. Lee Anderson’s The View from My Old Saddle) and we have no other titles planned for 2020.”
Moonlight Mesa and publisher Becky Coffield support the Save Our Wild Salmon Coalition and The Whale Museum in Friday Harbor with donations. “Also, the proceeds from the sales of Saving Our Oceans are donated to these organizations,” Coffield said. “But we also contribute to The Nature Conservancy (Arizona branch), CELDF (Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund) and NRDC (Nature Resource Defense Council), and we are also a member of GARN (Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature)” the publisher added. She’s also now the unofficial chairperson for JUST ONE THING.
Eventually Coffield plans on getting JUST ONE THING its own website, but for now she says, “We do what we can do. It would be great, though, if someone volunteered to host the website – or pay for it. Obviously we need to spend more time marketing books to pay for all the things we want to support and do!”
JUST ONE THING is simple: it asks people to eliminate one plastic product. Just one. “No one expects people to go without plastic products. It would be impossible in today’s world,” Coffield said. “But If every single person chose one form of plastic that they were willing to eliminate from their life, the results would be colossal. Just one. And here’s a good place to start because small things add up!”
JUST ONE THING invites individuals and businesses to join this Alliance. If you’d like to do so, Contact us and you will be added to our growing list of people who want to see plastic use and waste diminish.
As a nation we are rabidly concerned about the Covid-19 scourge, but we fail to notice, or to remember, that people have been a ruthless scourge to nature for centuries. Is Covid-19 nature’s payback, as some claim? Or is it already too late?
GARN stands for “The Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature. The “Alliance” is a global network of organizations and individuals committed to the universal adoption and implementation of legal systems that recognize, respect and enforce “Rights of Nature”. Rather than treating nature as disposable property under the law, the time has come to recognize that natural communities have the right to exist, maintain and regenerate their vital cycles. “Our legal and political establishments perpetuate, protect and legitimize the continued degradation of Earth by design, not by accident.” (Wild Law by Cormac Cullinan)
“The members (of GARN) are a diverse network of scientists, attorneys, economists, indigenous leaders, authors, spiritual leaders, business leaders, politicians, actors, homemakers, students, activists: people from all walks of life in over 100 countries on 6 continents of North and South America, Africa, Europe, Asia and Australia who are looking to transform our human relationship with our planet.” (Yale Forum on Religion and Ecology)
Individuals as well as businesses can join the alliance. There is no fee to become a member. The idea in joining, however, is that you will engage in some manner, to some degree, in promoting and protecting the Rights of Nature. Even monetary donations count.
Nature isn’t just animals and birds – The title of nature also refers to all ecosystems, from rivers, lakes, forests, streams to living things. According to Wikipedia: An ecosystem is a large community of living organisms (plants, animals and microbes) in a particular area. The living and physical components are linked together through nutrient cycles and energy flows. Ecosystems themselves are of any size, but usually they are in particular places.
Being part of the GARN organization is critical. Without people working to protect ecosystems we would very shortly have none left. Corporations and state and federal government agencies would very likely claim and overwhelm every “nature area” in the country with development and pollutants of all kinds. Unfortunately, thoughtless individuals also contribute to ecological destruction. Scientists have discovered that even the most remote lakes in the world have plastic pollution in them.
A few countries have adopted the Rights of Nature into their constitutions. Obviously the United States is nowhere close to doing this. However, in this country there are groups who are pursuing the Rights of Nature in their areas and going to court against government and corporations and winning – often with the help of CELDF, a Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund that itself does not sue offenders, but helps its clients do so.
If one ponders the implications of our infringement on nature it’s easy to consider the real possibility that diseases of all sorts come from despoiled and invaded ecologies, “wet markets,” air and water pollution, and environmental destruction. Unfortunately, fresh water pollution and shortages are already becoming a disastrous problem. No water – no world.
What can a person do to save the world: Remember that even small things add up. Act on that.
With the advent of Covid-19, most Americans will likely find life different in the near future – and maybe forever.
I’m no different than most Americans, although I will confess that I think the reaction to the virus has been a bit overblown; however, let me hasten to add that I’m not a doctor, scientist or other health professional. Still…
As for my own life there are other major changes. For starters, after being pummeled by my mule about 6 weeks ago I found myself in the emergency room being radiated by a Cat Scan and ex-rays. Unable to sleep on my left side, sneeze, or laugh without gripping my side in agony, I made the decision to hang up my spurs. (To be honest, I made this decision as I painfully got up from the ground.) After 30+ years of riding horses and mules, I had no hesitation. In the past I mounted back up when I had a spill – I’d done so several times. Not this time. My love affair with riding abruptly ended when I hit those rocks.
Am I sad or grieving? No. I do feel very bad that somehow I failed with this mule. I tried for nearly 4 years to make a go of it with her, but we were just not a good match even though the mule trader from whom I bought her raved about her safety and fine qualities. Did he lie? I’ll never know, but I suspect he was not exactly truthful about a few things. Anyway, it doesn’t matter at this point, I guess.
Other than feeling like a failure with the mule, I am not at all unhappy. In fact, as a friend pointed out, we now have a new chapter opening in our lives. WE CAN ACTUALLY GO PLACES AND NOT HAVE TO BOARD THE MULES. Boarding animals is expensive. Keeping shoes on them is expensive. Feeding them is expensive. Vet bills can be expensive. Horse/mule trailers are expensive and in AZ we go through tires quickly due to the heat. So many times we’ve passed up opportunities to take off on the spur of the moment because of the pesky question: who is going to feed the mules while we’re gone? Or we’ve come back early to feed.
We can now stay up north longer during the hot Arizona summer months because we won’t need to use a thousand or MORE dollars of our meager vacation fund to pay for boarding the mules.
I loved this mule. She didn’t particularly love me. She was unpredictable to the point that I started wearing a helmet two years ago. Good decision. I landed on my head, face, ribs and left leg with a splat on a rock pile.
However, despite my “senior-citizen” age and the height from which I was sent soaring, I only broke one finger! Probably got it tangled in the reins. I am so fortunate! And I am thankful everyday for that.
I now have much more time to promote the JUST ONE THING Alliance, market our publications, hike and ROW, ROW, ROW, and much more time to devote to getting my Marine Naturalist Certification, the Rights of Nature, and Saving Our Oceans since I won’t have to return to Arizona so early every summer due to mule-boarding bills!
Although I still cannot lift weights (not even 5 lb. dumbells) I can row my ergometer. I’m headed to the lake next week to see how I do in the wherry. I can hardly wait! I’d like to get into “senior” rowing competitions in the near future. Doing so will take practice and time – and I’ll now have time for that. Basically, I truly believe the changes I’m making are for the better.
And perhaps the changes we all may have to make due to Covid-19 will be for the better too.
It’s past time we got back to the original business of publishing – so I’ve been advised. While my personal interests still sit with oceans, whales and the JUST ONE THING Alliance, I’ve been reminded that we have a plethora of award-winning titles that are beginning to languish due to my divided loyalties.
First off, book sales are surprisingly down. I thought sales would remain pretty strong since most people are housebound. I pictured people reading in the long quiet evenings. Not so much, it seems. Perhaps it’s the expense – few good books are free. Even Kindle charges add up quickly and there are other expenses people must take care of before indulging in their leisure habits.
That being said, although our sales are slower, they do continue. Of particular interest is Casey Tibbs, Born to Ride (Rusty Richards), Developing the Art of Equine Communication (C.L. Lee Anderson), A Beginner’s Guide to Owning a Mule (Becky Coffield) and Some Gave All (J.R. Sanders). These titles just keep chugging along! Note that they are ALL nonfiction works.
J.R. Sanders recently posted a YouTube video for Some Gave All that is positively inspiring! What a great job. You can see for yourself at https://bit.ly/3eyPCL1. It’s totally awesome!
In other news…our new house caught fire, and my mule Reba launched me into outer orbit. I landed on rocks on my head, face and left ribs. Fortunately I was wearing a helmet – something I rarely do. My mule is a big, strong girl, and I was no challenge for her in keeping my seat. Why she did this, I have NO IDEA. It wasn’t windy, too hot, or too cold. There were no bees, mosquitoes, or other scary things (like cows) around. Unfortunately, once a mule or horse gets away with this, they are inclined to do it again, so sadly Reba and I have parted ways. I found an experienced, excellent owner…AND RIDER…for her. I’m too old to be hurled onto rocks. I had to walk 1.9 miles home from this traumatizing episode and spend 6 hours in an emergency room. Enough.
On the bright side, I can now spend more of my free time rowing and competing in the “senior” divisions. (When did I get to be a “senior”??) Once my ribs and broken finger heal, I’ll be raring to go – wild horses can’t hold me back – so the saying goes. It’s taking all my will power not to rush off to the lake and start rowing now that the weather is good. My ribs would rebel, however – this I have learned the hard way.
We’ve postponed a new publication until 2021. Hopefully Renee and Jered might be back and I’ll be ready to get very serious about publishing again. Meanwhile, one of us will continue our posts!