The above quote, or something like it, is generally attributed to J.R.R. Tolkien. It’s an apt quote, however, for the last year or so of my life, or so it seems.
My last blog in April somehow got lost while I was on the highway heading home. I guess it did anyway. However, I’m now mostly settled and back in business.
I’ve traded in my adorable 26′ tugboat for a 43′ craft that is more suitable for the lifestyle I plan to live from here on out to the very end of my years. My husband and I have resyned our nomadic years. Our children are grown adults with children of their own. My animals are gone, except for my dog. There was no reason to continue the status quo.
Wondering if we’d ever find anything we could afford was often depressing, but the idea of buying yet another house when we returned to the Pacific Northwest somehow seemed anticlimactic…”Let’s buy another boat! One we can travel farther on and live longer on!” My husband took no persuading.
After spending four months searching for the perfect craft, we found it. I confess I also bought a tiny house in Arizona so I could escape the rainy, windy winters here in Washington State and see my family during the holidays…besides my grandsons, ages 3 and 6, still think we’re the greatest thing since popcicles and I don’t want to miss out on that.
Moonlight Mesa will continue to operate – just from afar. Any books we publish from here on out will probably be ebooks. I’m still waiting for the one manuscript from “Barbara” that sounded so enticing three years ago when she queried and teased me with four finished chapters.
Book sales, unfortunately, mostly languished during the pandemic months, with the exception of A Beginner’s Guide to Owning a Mule. Ingram sent out 159 copies of the book one month alone.
But the best news of all…I can now begin earning my Marine Naturalist Certification. Currently I’m being trained to work as a docent in the Friday Harbor Whale Museum. Ever since I took the Marine Naturalist class two years ago I’ve wanted to complete it by becoming a Certified Naturalist. Hard to do in Arizona! I’m on my way now! I’m incredibly happy that my husband and I are back among people who also love the water, whales, and sea life.
It’s been a long time since any of us have sat down to blog. Ironically, this was everyone’s first choice to do…but now there is only one of us. For starters…the house (home office) sold and we are in the process of relocating our business to Washington State. Yes, we finally came home. The move was not easy , however. Both of us came down with Covid in the process of packing up. I think it was from the people traipsing through without a mask. I recovered in about 5 days. Unfortunately, my husband developed Covid pneumonia…an emergency room visit complete with an experimental infusion likely saved his life. Recovery is a bitch, though, but it’s far better than dying.
So, after several years of wanting to “go home” we finally have done so. However, these things aren’t always easy. Currently we are living on our small Nordic Tug, and by small I mean 26 feet long. Cozy.
However, we surprised ourselves by waking up one morning and thinking, “We need to have some adventure while we still can,” and so we set off in search of a “bigger” boat we could live, travel, and work on instead of buying yet another house. Mission accomplished, and we are now waiting for the boat’s survey to be completed and we’ll be moving aboard a 39′ Kadey Krogan. It will seem like a mansion compared to our tug. I figure we have about two more weeks of waiting until the boat is ours! (Assuming it passes the survey.)
So, where does that leave Moonlight Mesa Associates? Moonlight Mesa will become a DBA (Doing Business As) instead of an S Corporation. That way we keep our name, email, accounts, etc. Officially it will be Becky Coffield DBA Moonight Mesa, or RLCoffield DBA etc. You get the idea.
For two years we’ve been planning on moving north from Arizona, but I got hung up because of the mules we owned/rode. I just couldn’t see moving them to Washington. They got a new zip code, however, after my mule launched me onto a pile of rocks, nearly killing me. Then, after spending months cleaning up the three fires we had at that location, we finally got on the market, sold, and got out of town as soon as my husband was well enough to travel. It’s been grueling. We’ve been in Anacortes, WA for a month now but it still doesn’t feel real…like this is really home. Maybe once we’re on the new boat…
Meanwhile, books have sold, primarily the Beginner’s Guide to Owning a Mule, but all of the nonfiction titles have been active. I have my work cut out for me, however. Now that I’m finally here, I want to start on getting my Marine Naturalist Certification, working with the Whale Museum, and doing what I can for the Save Our Wild Salmon Coalition. Not to mention, the JUST ONE THING Alliance has come to a halt with all the uproar in our lives. And we have books to promote.
Top of my list, however, is to get a laptop for the boat. Running a biz with my tablet and tiny keyboard lacks efficiency to say the least.
So until next time, stay safe. Thank you for your support. Hopefully Washington will prove to be more supportive of our goals and interests than what we had before where we were truly fish out of water.
The drinking water of about 244 million Americans is compromised and potentially unsafe to drink. That number represents nearly 2/3 of the American population.
(The following article is from Saving Our Oceans and is being reprinted with the permission of the publisher.)
Water, water, everywhere, nor any drop to drink
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
Chapter 5: Fresh Water Has Problems Too
While cleaning the oceans of debris is a major challenge and task, it’s not the only task on which survival depends. And frankly, cleaning up the oceans cannot be accomplished without stopping the fresh water pollution that is the primary cause of ocean pollution. Some say that as much as 70 to 80 percent of the ocean’s pollutants comes from rivers and streams.
It’s quite easy to conclude that fresh water pollution is as serious as ocean pollution when one considers that the drinking water of about 244 million Americans is compromised and potentially unsafe to drink. That number represents nearly 2/3 of the American population. Much of the contamination happened in previous years (although it seems likely that there’s still some occurring) and just like plastic, contaminated water doesn’t simply go away. While plastic is a pollution problem, fresh water issues go far beyond plastic bottles left along the shoreline.
Lakes, rivers, streams, and aquifers across the country are home to cancer-causing ingredients from industrial waste, farm fertilizers, and chemical toxins. Whether one believes in global warming or not, there’s also the presence of brain and flesh eating bacteria in the mix that relishes warm waters. There are even more culprits, but these will suffice to make a point.
Let’s start with lakes first, and then delve into the serious issues with “potable” water. The EPA, with the assistance of state and tribal agencies, did water quality assessments for a large number of lakes. 55 percent of the lake water studied was considered to be of acceptable quality (whatever that means), but the other 45 percent had waters “impaired for at least one type of use,” such as drinking water, recreational fishing, swimming, or aquatic life support. Man-made lakes, often serving as dams, accounted for 59% that were impaired. (ThoughtCo. “Lake Pollution: Types, Sources, and Solutions.”) Plastic pollution was not part of this study, unfortunately. When plastic pollution is assessed in lakes, it appears that 100 per cent of them have some degree of contamination.
Algae blooms occur in both fresh water and salt water. These “blooms” are a serious problem that lead to toxin build-up causing oxygen levels to drop which kills fish and is dangerous for swimming. In fact, algae can be deadly to both humans and animals.
Some areas studied had nitrogen and phosphorus pollution which can come from inefficient sewage treatment and fertilizers. This is a far more serious problem than one may realize. Dead zones in lakes and the ocean where there are insufficient oxygen levels are often caused by fertilizer run-off, resulting in death to animals, fish, and plants that enter these zones.
A combination of fresh and salt water, the Baltic Sea is the largest man-made dead zone, and the northern Gulf of Mexico is the second largest and covers over 8700 square miles. Lake Erie (fresh water) and Chesapeake Bay (a combination of fresh and salt water) also have large dead zones. According to ThoughtCo, a 2008 study found over 400 dead zones in lakes and oceans worldwide. “The underlying cause of any dead zone is eutrophication…which is the enrichment of water with nitrogen, phosphorus and other nutrients causing algae to grow out of control or ‘bloom’.” Unfortunately, some fresh water dead zones are not recognized or identified as such.
“Pollution is the primary human source of the nutrients that cause eutrophication and dead zones. Fertilizer, manure, industrial waste and inadequately treated waste water overload aquatic ecosystems. In addition, air pollution also contributes to eutrophication.” Waste water is often piped into rivers and coasts.
The study also found that 42 percent of lakes had metal contamination with mercury and lead predominating. Coal-fired power plants are a leading cause of mercury contamination, and lead can be caused by fishing tackle dropped in the water (but often the surviving fish are already inedible due to toxins).
Basically, phosphorous, mercury, sediment and bacteria and pathogens are the main culprits. Added to this, however, are deadly microorganisms like lethal brain-eating bacteria. Although the incidence of people contracting brain-eating bacteria is fairly low, it’s a ghastly brain infection with very few surviving.
The problem with fresh water pollution, however, is it goes far, far beyond lakes. While lakes often provide drinking water, rivers are another very large source of household water. The list of unscrupulous companies that have contaminated drinking water for literally millions of people is shocking. It seems there are endless accounts of “manufacturing, mining and waste disposal companies – and dozens of others – who are among the country’s worst water polluters.” In all fairness, when some of these companies were dumping toxic waste, it’s possible they didn’t understand the ramification of these toxins contaminating groundwater that then causes cancer and all manner of debilitating diseases. This does not absolve them of responsibility for the death and destruction they caused, however. As they say, ignorance of the law is no excuse…neither is ignorance of the ramifications of one’s actions. Unfortunately, these rivers carry contaminants to the ocean, adding their toxins to the mix.
“Hundreds of these companies have been contaminating drinking water throughout the country for decades with everything from arsenic and lead, to mercury and chromium – most coming from improper dumping and waste disposal….” (Environment, “Industrial waste pollutes America’s drinking water.”) “Mining and smelting operations are responsible for contaminating water with heavy metals in almost every state in the nation.”
Example: “In Ringwood, New Jersey, Ford Motor Co. dumped more than 35,000 tons of toxic paint sludge…poisoning groundwater with arsenic, lead, and other harmful bacteria. Today, more than 43 years after the dumping ended, those toxins are still in the groundwater and threaten a reservoir providing water to millions of residents in New Jersey.”
Example: “In North Carolina, the state has told residents living near coal-fired power plants their water contains elevated levels of chromium-6 and other chemicals.”
Example: Anaconda Aluminum in Montana produced manufacturing wastes that contaminated local water sources with lead and chromium. Gulf States Utilities in Louisiana discharged toxins into marshlands polluting waters with benzene and other chemicals, and the Conklin Dumps in New York leaked volatile organic chemicals into groundwater.”
Various industries located on or near the Ohio River which borders six states and provides drinking water to nearly 3 million people, have dumped over 600 million pounds of toxic substances into the river.
These toxins cause extraordinary health problems in people and animals. Dioxins (byproducts of incinerators) are the most commonly released chemicals. “They are known carcinogens and exposure has been linked to health effects such as heart disease, diabetes, and reproductive issues. Almost every living creature on Earth has been exposed to dioxins, according to the National Institutes of Health.” (“Industrial waste pollutes America’s drinking water.”) And how much of all these poisons floating downstream make it out to sea? We already know that fertilizer runoff provides a lot of contaminants to the Gulf of Mexico helping to create the giant dead zone there.
While many of these offenses may have occurred before people understood the severity of the problem that their illegal dumping was causing – or would cause – that does not appear to be the case with 3M and their fight to avoid massive pollution and restitution lawsuits.
“Chemical industry giant 3M is waging an aggressive campaign to stave off new regulations and potentially billions of dollars in damages stemming from a contamination crisis that has fouled tens of millions of Americans’ drinking water.” (Politico.com Energy and Environment)
As expected, the company has engaged lobbyists to work in Washington ostensibly to woo state attorneys general to their side as the company faces massive financial liability for toxic pollution that has been tied to two of its popular products that have turned up in the water supplies of some 1500 U.S. Communities.
3M argues that the chemicals are not hazardous according to their studies, an opinion many independent studies dispute. The issue that 3M is facing is that there are multiple lawsuits in the wings including personal injury, class-action, and property damage suits. “Altogether, industry experts say the company’s liability could reach the tens of billions of dollars.”
The chemicals known as PFOA and PFOS have been used for five decades in products like Teflon and Scotch Guard. They take years to break down and are called “forever chemicals.” They accumulate in bodies and cause cancers like kidney and testicular cancer, immune disorders and many other ailments – “and have been found in more than 99 percent of Americans’ blood.”
3M is known to support various political candidates, including attorney generals in Michigan, California, Ohio, and Alabama – “all states with major PFAS contamination.”
“In Alabama, where the chemicals made by 3M’s manufacturing plant in Decatur have contaminated the Tennessee River, a drinking water source for 4.7 million people…” the newly elected attorney general will not be joining a water utility’s lawsuit against the company. Is it possible that the contributions he received persuaded him otherwise? Let’s hope not. But he was not the only person dissuaded. “The representatives of a collation mainly supported by 3M (Responsible Science Policy Coalition) have met with congressional officers and EPA political appointees arguing that the weight of current science evidence does not show PFOS or PFOA to cause adverse health effects in human at the current levels of exposure.” This goes entirely against the findings made by leading independent scientific researchers, the EPA and the CDC. This type of behavior is extremely disappointing and disturbing. If people are willing to do this to other people and the planet, it should come as no surprise that they would do worse to animals. We are all apparently just “collateral damage” – just a member of the herd – when we die of chemical induced cancers and other illnesses caused by their toxic products.
The bottom line: “3M’s own documents handed to the Minnesota attorney general office show that the company has known since the 1970s that the chemicals in question were toxic.”
With countless numbers of attorneys, lobbyists and “representatives” involved, the delay tactic for solving this issue may be even longer than the tobacco industry’s delay in finally coming to terms with the fact that tobacco causes cancer. How’s your water today? Perhaps you should have it checked.
Closer to home, “PFAS… have been found in five Washington drinking-water systems at levels over the Environmental Protection Agency guidelines, as well as dozens of private drinking-water wells near firefighting training areas where the foams were used.” (PFAS are used in fire retardants, such as firefighting foam.) This discovery contradicts somewhat the 3M disparagement of their products being deadly even in small doses.
Also troubles still haunt Hanford, Washington, the site where 56 million gallons of radiative waste are stored. Although there have been problems with leakage, and threats of leakage, the waste has probably not made it to the Columbia River or to underground aquifers (that are known, anyway). However, during the time the nuclear power plant was in production, water was released into the river; in fact, “Groundwater contaminated with radioactive waste from the decommissioned Hanford nuclear facility in Washington state is still ‘flowing freely’ into the Columbia River…” according to a program manager with the U.S. EPA. This is a river regularly used for fishing, swimming and boating activities. How much is withdrawn for irrigation? How many cancers have resulted from exposure to this freely flowing contaminated groundwater? Are the fish safe to eat?
It seems state leaders are becoming seriously galvanized to take a better look at the quality of water their constituents drink. Like plastic, PFOS and PFAS are ubiquitous. Partly this increased interest in local water safety may have been prompted by the “lead” scandal in the water supply of Detroit, Michigan’s residents, another debacle that exposed citizens, especially vulnerable children, to life-long debilitating toxins.
Thus most toxins in the water are the result of farming, mining, industry and activities of this nature. Some, however, are deadly pathogens of nature. Brain-eating bacteria (amoeba) officially known as Naegleria fowleri may be the worst. The infections occur when contaminated water gets in the nose. The amoeba travels up the nose and into the brain which it destroys. The disease itself is known as PAM (primary amoebic meningoencephalitis). This disease is almost always fatal (97 percent).
The bacteria have been reported worldwide and live primarily in warm water, but can live in colder water for a length of time. In the United States the bacteria is most commonly found in warm lakes or rivers in the south, and even in water parks and pools. Some estimate that about 8 people a year die from this infection, mostly young males, but these estimates vary depending on the source. The exact number is unknown because PAN is difficult to diagnose in its early stage where it might be cured. It’s sometimes mistaken for bacterial meningitis. Likely climate change will contribute to this infection if temperatures continue to warm.
Unfortunately, the bacteria can also be found in drinking water – and that was the situation in 2017 in Louisiana. Health officials reassured people that contaminated tap water would not lead to an infection, “but using it for nasal irrigation or accidentally getting it into your nose can.” (“Brain-Eating Amoeba Found in Louisiana Tap Water, People Warned to Avoid Water in Nose.”) Residents were given a list of things to do to avoid contracting the bacteria, such as flushing out pipes by running showers and water hoses for a full five minutes before use, and also they could boil their water or use distilled or sterile water for washing and making nasal rinses. Yet another warning about the presence of the amoeba in drinking water was issued by the New York Post in June of 2018.
At the risk of being morbid, I will only briefly mention flesh eating bacteria – known as necrotizing fasciitis – a rare condition, but not as rare as brain-eating bacteria. There have been between 600 and 1200 cases of this disease every year since 2010. This is not necessarily a water-born disease, although it can be. The water version is from an ocean-dwelling bacterium called vibrio vulnificus. The bacteria can be found in warm coastal waters during the summer months. People can develop this infection by going into the water with an open wound and having the bad luck of coming into contact with the Vibrio. One can also become infected from eating contaminated seafood.
It might be worthwhile to consider using a water filter for all potable water, particularly water from private wells. (City water sources are likely tested more often than private wells although many people find the taste of treated water to be repugnant, but water filters may help with that.) These filters do not need to be elaborate systems. Some refrigerator filters work fine for filtering drinking water. There are many relatively inexpensive filtration products available. Using one of these for drinking water is not being paranoid. Doing so is completely understandable and justifiable considering the chemicals and toxins dumped in the water supply.
To order your signed copy of Saving Our Oceans directly from the publisher, contact us at email@example.com.
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.
A good challenge may help distract you from the endless episodes of corona chatter, death, and mob destruction.
Let a good challenge provide distraction and relief from today’s endless episodes of corona chatter, death, and mob destruction. My challenge? 1,000 miles.
We’ve been plenty busy salvaging Moonlight Mesa Associates from three, yes 3, fires since March. The latest fire wiped out three of the company’s four acres. It was started, experts believe, by somebody who drove down the highway with their chains dragging on the cement. Unless you’re around trucks and trailers you might not know that the safety chains often drag on the ground. This can cause a spark. Arizona is bone dry right now. (The 1,000 miles is coming up.)
Fortunately, the building and immediate grounds were saved, although the fire came as close as 10’ from the back of the building. We were huddled 1600 miles away in Anacortes licking our wounds from our earlier disasters when our realtor called and informed us that helicopters were dropping buckets of water on our back porch. Hmm. Stunned at yet another catastrophe and unable to do anything at the time, we stayed a few more days in Anacortes, then took a beautiful week-long trip down the coast driving back to Arizona avoiding any discussion of what might be awaiting us.
So, where do the thousand miles come in? I’m getting to that.
Needless to say, we spent the next few weeks pushing back our fire-line. This means raking, hoeing, and hooping acres of dull, dead, dry grass that’s knee deep, and cutting limbs off out-of-control creosote bushes and damaged mesquite and palo verde trees. It’s beginning to look good…the part we’ve done anyway.
So, now onto the 1,000 miles. On a recent windless morning, we actually stole away and went rowing at Lake Pleasant. We arrived at 6:00 a.m., and were launched by 6:20. It helps if you know that I’m an avid rower. I currently own two rowing vessels. My rowing skiff, complete with row-wings made by my husband Tom, is in Anacortes, WA. with our small tugboat. My wherry, built by my husband for my birthday several years ago, lives with us in Wickenburg. It has the full set-up of sliding seats, 9’6” oars, and of course, row-wings. It’s a creation of beauty!
Rowing is very physical – and mental. I wrote a book about this, The Old Folks in the Boat, which I took off the market. (You may order a copy from me if you wish – it’s heavily discounted.) Anyway, I won’t go into the details at this time. However, as we rowed I realized I needed a good, challenging goal to boost my morale. On a whim I decided I would row 1,000 miles this year. Oops. I then realized the year is half over and I’ve hardly rowed due to the move, the fires, and my mule launch. So, I decided I’d row 500 miles in 2020, but in 2021 I would row 1,000 miles.
In July we’ll be building the new shop. ( We do the job. No contractors.) But, I’ll sneak in some rows and in August we’ll head back to the tug where I can row every day. Still, 500 miles is a lot of miles. Arizona is hot hothot…too hot to row unless I start at 6:00 in the morning. Can’t get the shop built and row every day, though.
Not everyone needs a challenge. I do. It keeps me enthused and determined and distracted from today’s endless episodes of corona chatter, death, and mob destruction. I need that. So far, I’ve only rowed 10.92 miles this year, but the year is not yet done. Keep in mind that the skiff is more difficult to row than the long, graceful wherry which can be rowed by either one or two people. The skiff is slower for one thing, and only one person can row. The wherry glides through the water like a fish…or surfer…whatever. Unfortunately, the wherry cannot go with us to the tugboat…it’s too big for our small vessel and it’s too risky to tow it behind the tug. Nevertheless, I’m excited about this challenge. I’m feeling pretty positive, in fact.
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.
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!