REAWAKENING RESILIENCE

PHOTO: LAURA DUDEK

WORDS: KATE WEINER

Loam's mission is to seed joy, hope, and action in our community through creative and collaborative storytelling. Reawakening Resilience  embodies our belief that the capacity to bounce back from adversity is interwoven into our DNA. As the climate crisis escalates each day, tapping into our inner stores of resilience will help us not only survive but also to thrive during these unprecedented times. 

When you support Reawakening Resilience,  you support artists, activists, and educators who are working to heal our world. You'll help our community publish a carbon neutral print publication that shares tangible strategies for cultivating ecological and social resilience with our 22,000 readers as well as nourish Loam's capacity to support artists and activists working at the intersections of social justice and earth care. 

To bring Reawakening Resilience into being costs $10,000. This helps us to fund printing costs, compensate our contributors, support our gifted graphic designer Giorgia Sage, and ensure that a percentage of profits from every issue of Reawakening Resilience sold helps to nurture reforestation in Northern California through the  1 Million Redwoods Project. We are proud to print with Hemlock Printers, the most sustainable printer in North America, as well as to mail our magazines in biodegradable mailers with compostable tape. Although ensuring the ecological integrity of our production and distribution process isn’t cheap,  it's a non-negotiable. 

Our choice to print this publication is rooted in our deep belief that our world needs more opportunities to touch, to engage, and to hold. During an era when so many of us are losing hours each day to screen time, our hope is for Reawakening Resilience to be a tangible antidote to disconnection and isolation. We want to provide our readers with a vibrant print publication that you can thumb through again and again to find resources for resilience, luminous art, and inspiring stories to turn to as you navigate a climate changed world. 

Reawakening Resilience is our most ambitious publication yet, blurring the boundary between magazine and book. We are so excited to dig into this project with our incredible community and can't wait to share this resource-rich guide to cultivating resilience, nourishing regeneration, and fostering intersectionality across movements with you all. Our (growing!) list of contributors includes:

Even if you can't contribute to this campaign, we are grateful for your support in so many other ways. You can contribute to Loam (we will be accepting submissions for Reawakening Resilience through April 15th and would love to hear from you all!); you can attend our workshops on low-waste living, resilience, and rituals for regeneration in California, Colorado, Oregon, and New York throughout 2018; and you can share the Loam love with friends by following us on social media where we strive to share inspiring and illuminating stories every week.

With gratitude & love,

Kate

LOW-WASTE LIVING AS ACTIVISM

WORDS & IMAGE: KATE WEINER

In many ways, living low-waste has transformed my life. Taking accountability for my trash has helped me to deepen my mindfulness practice, nurture relationships to a growing community of activists, and reconnect to my little square of stardust. I have been better able to weather our fascist regime's daily assaults on all people, places, and things, because I am living a (deliciously flawed & full) life that aligns with my values. I'm pretty much never perfect, but I am always striving to do better, and finding passion and purpose by doing just that brings me the kind of inner peace that stands strong in the face of external strife. 

In spite of this, I rarely feel comfortable sharing my low-waste living journey with friends. Many popular mainstream zero waste "celebrities" have created a limiting perception of low-waste living that exists isolate from issues of social, economic, and ecological justice. As my rad friend Liv of Zero Waste Habesha pointed out in conversation yesterday, zero waste is too often labeled as lifestyle-y—even though choosing to reduce and refuse is a valid (and vital) branch of activism.

So what gives?

The patriarchy, man.

Delegitimizing the diversity of philosophies & practices within the zero waste movement is a way to write off the significant social impact of a thriving community that has been largely shaped and sustained by non-patriarchal bodies. Many popular low-waste living practices—such as creating healing herbal remedies and cultivating a trash-light home—are considered "feminine" pursuits. And so, like everything "feminine" in our mainstream culture, it's discarded. 

Lucky for us earth advocates, we don't have to buy into that B.S. We can choose to uplift, honor, and practice the kind of environmentalism activism that defies conventional definition. How you live your everyday life is as impactful a kind of activism as your decision to protest in the streets, submit comments to public office, and call your representatives. Our daily decisions have a collective impact—which is to say that every plastic disposable we refuse, garden we grow, love we give, food scrap we compost, and magic we make adds up.

So if you are striving to refuse, reuse, and reduce, take pride in your process. What you are doing is activism too, and your personal practices truly have the power to change the world.

(RE)ENERGIZING THE MAINSTREAM ZERO WASTE MOVEMENT

WORDS & IMAGE: KATE WEINER

As an environmental educator for Be Zero, I'm perpetually grateful for the opportunity to teach workshops on low-waste living in my community. I love working with and learning from folks who share my passion for embodying our values.

Through my work, however, I've met many folks who feel (understandably) isolated by the zero waste movement. Zero waste itself is an alienating term—it's a goal that no one can achieve given that we live in a linear economy. Worse still, popular Instagram accounts within the zero waste movement offer a sanitized vision of zero waste that elides intersectionality across movements. Ignoring how social capital, race, ethnicity, and geography shape access to zero waste is deeply damaging, especially because it presumes that zero waste is a new idea. It's not. The fundamental principles of zero waste—cultivating our self-sufficiency skills, nourishing connections to our community, taking accountability for our waste—are practices that have been alive within indigenous communities for generations.

Learning how to live low-waste has unequivocally transformed my life. It inspired me to live more mindfully, to learn about how things are made, to challenge my conceptualizations of my true wants and needs, and to ground my vision for a better world in everyday actions. My practice is deeply imperfect (and will always be) but even that experience has grown my capacity for compassion.

As a person of privilege in a "developed" country, I strive to make choices that minimize suffering not only in my corner of the universe but also in communities of color in formerly colonized countries. I don't have to live next to my waste—but so many others do. So I reuse and refuse and reduce. I am trying, imperfectly and persistently, to fight back against the fast fashion and fossil fuel industries that are poisoning our planet and our people.

I mess up majorly. I make mistakes. I fly in planes. And I want to see a movement that reflects those struggles as much as it does the beauty of a package-free feast. I want to see a movement that celebrates the circular mindset, extends compassion to diverse communities, and engages with complex issues of intersectionality. 

As the year comes to a close, I've been brainstorming ways I can reenergize the mainstream zero waste movement and be part of a sea change in how we frame, share, and celebrate the guiding philosophies of "zero waste." I'm grateful for friends like Liv at Zero Waste Habesha and Jess at Be Zero Denver who interweave practical advice with philosophical and political meditations into their work. My mission is to deepen collaborations with my community and continue to engage with perspectives very different than my own. I hope you'll join me on this journey! And I hope you'll share with me your own strategies for reenergizing the mainstream zero waste movement in the comments. 

 

MOVING FORWARD

WORDS & IMAGE: KATE WEINER

Last week's elections saw some big wins for people-powered climate action. During a year marred by climate catastrophe and social strife, it was a real sign of hope. We now have the opportunity to capitalize on this momentum to continue to fight for a livable future and heal our wounded world.

It's in that spirit that I wanted to share three actions you can start digging into today to deepen political engagement and sustain people-powered climate action. And as always, please share additional actions in the comments!

SUPPORT THE OFF FOSSIL FUELS FOR A BETTER FUTURE ACT

Thanks to a passionate crew of organizers across the country, Food & Water Watch has devoted the last decade to advocating for a livable future through policy change. Right now, Food & Water Watch is working to pass the Off Fossil Fuels for a Better Future Act—one of the first legislative acts that truly acknowledges the need for drastic change over the course of the next ten years. Sign up here for access to all the materials you need to encourage your local representative to support the Off Fossil Fuels for a Better Future Act. 

MAKE THE LEAP

Join a local LEAP chapter and learn how you can collaborate with your community to build a "life-sustaining society" out of this crisis. And if you haven't yet read the LEAP Manifesto, do. 

TUNE INTO THE SISTERS BONDED IN ACTION WEBINAR SERIES

In collaboration with For the Wild and Spirit Weavers, this webinar series is an incredible opportunity to learn from passionate community organizers about how to build the world we want (and need). I can't wait to dig into these videos in the coming weeks!

 

SUSTAINABILITY & SELF-LOVE

WORDS & IMAGES: KATE WEINER

Several days ago, I found myself in a weird body shame spiral. 99% of the time, I'm pretty good about reveling in what I've got. I enjoy everything my body does—how I love, walk, eat, dance. But that day? My thighs were too squishy and my arms were too skinny and my hair was flat. Maybe ten minutes into this (tiring, boring, and profoundly unimportant) internal dialogue, some flare of self-love within pulled me out. Given the climate chaos surrounding, wasting one second worrying about my body was crazy. I am what I am right now. I'm growing, too, and changing, and in the midst of a world rife with wild beauty and deep grief, it feels like a radical act to put my body on the side of beauty. To celebrate my sensuous self and all the ways I am able to fall in love with and fight for this world. 

As an environmental educator, I struggle with how to frame conversations on personal actions within the context of our sociopolitical landscape. It's hard to find a balance between the pursuit of radical policy change and the need to seed sustainable activist practices in our own lives. But I really do believe that personal and political change work in tandem. You can't have one without the other!

And that's why finding self-love rituals that feed our soul is so damn important to our work as activists. If you want to be a puppet of the fossil-fueled patriarchy, waste your incredible, life-giving, world-building brains and beauty worrying about the space between your thighs or the thickness of your hair. Capitalism's mission is to distract us from the real work that needs to be done in this world by shoving us toward navel-gazing spirals. And man, the world needs us right now. 

Self-love doesn't have to be a distraction from the "real work." It can be a very important step in sustaining your work as an activist. When you strive to cut out the noise from your life—the body shaming, the self-pitying—you open up room in your world for delicious experience, co-creation, and discovery. Self-love is so often perceived as selfish; my own pursuit of self-love, however, has deepened the generosity and compassion I give to others. I'm not obsessing about my self so much and so it feels like I suddenly have a million more hours in the day to work on projects I care about with people I love.

Self-love is a process. I'm still fumbling my way through, figuring out which rituals work for me (essential oils, hiking, journaling) and which don't. But it's a process that I am coming to appreciate is as integral to my activism as voting in local elections and coordinating low-waste living workshops. 

I hope you take the time this week to do something that makes you feel loved and loving. Maybe it's treating yourself to an especially luscious cuppa herbal tea or staying in bed all Saturday morning reading books. Whatever it is, do it, wholeheartedly and in the faith that the love we give to ourselves translates to the love we give to this world. 

 

 

AN ANTIDOTE TO ANXIETY

WORDS & IMAGE: KATE WEINER

I've been wracked with climate grief the last few weeks. The wildfires in Northern California hit me especially hard. I have many friends who were evacuated and several places especially close to my heart have been ravaged by the fire. And in the last ten days alone, my mountain town has spiraled from cold snow to seventy degree temperatures. The weather unpredictability felt like a manifestation of my own spiraling anxiety.

Carrying this big bolus of suffering isn't sustainable. Like many of you, I sometimes sink into a grief so mucky and murky I can't breathe deep. On a recent backpacking trip to the breathtaking Sequoia National Park, I struggled to find ways to ground myself in the present. Even though we were miles away from the fires, the air was hazy with smoke. Sleeping in the shade of a sequoia, I felt gripped with panic. What if we lose this land to climate chaos? What if it doesn't snow? What if I forget what fall chill feels like? What if...?

Sitting with my deep grief and anxiety is a necessary part of the process. We're living in unprecedented times and I've been going through the motions HARD since the autumnal equinox. But I've been here before. I've made my way out of the morass of darkness. I've felt fiery anger at our federal government for attacking our right to a livable future and cried hard for the change in seasons. I've felt grounded-in-reality hope, too, and wild joy and abundance. Every one of these emotions is an integral part of the cycle of profound loss and radical renewal that makes us human. 

And in some small way, it's healing to acknowledge that our earth is working through this same cycle right now. Loss makes way for new life. The horrific climate change we're seeing unfold throughout the world is creating the fertile soil for regeneration—providing that we stay awake to possibility and committed to creating a better world.

So what can we do to stay awake to possibility? How can we see these wildfires and earthquakes and heatwaves and droughts—this series of profound loss—as a doorway into radical renewal? 

I don't have all the answers. I'm still learning and growing and figuring it out. I've found, however, a few antidotes to anxiety that have made my life much richer and given me the fuel I need to keep fighting and dreaming and loving and giving and believing in a future worth living in.

For me, it's slowing down just when my heart rate rises. It's not looking at the weather forecast for the week ahead or checking my phone constantly. It's taking this day, as is, and seeing in these precious 24 hours an opportunity to be the change I want by showing presence, gratitude, and love. My fleeting sense of helplessness and hopelessness only fuels the fossil fuel plutocracy—and man, I don't want to give Trump and Pruitt and our f**cked up Republican Administration ANY of the inaction they need to thrive.

So I focus on doing small things that heal my corner of the universe. Picking up trash, creating with friends, making land art in hidden spaces. Walking slowly and finding a little nook to read my book. Doing juicy, joyous stuff that makes me feel loved and in love with this world.

Our anxiety and our grief are worth honoring. I've spent a lot of time being quiet with my sadness this month and I don't think I could've done anything else. But I want to suffer less so that I can get s**t done. And I can only do so when I'm at peace. When I give myself permission to be slow and still when everything else is spinning so fast.

 

 

DO LESS

WORDS & IMAGE: KATE WEINER

Do less.

That's been my mantra these last few weeks. I've wanted to do less, to slow down, to sit still, to stay in bed longer and listen to the world wake up.

Confronting this desire in me isn't always easy. I love having a lot going on. But lately, it's been too much and I can sense it in my body. After a particularly productive weekend, packed with ALL the things—work, writing, hikes, yoga class, dinner with friends, farmers' market sojourns—I was jittery. I had thought interweaving room for leisurely meals with loved ones and outdoor activity would've tempered the hours I spent working. I soon realized what I was craving wasn't a crammed schedule, however infused with joy—it was the space to be quiet. Having gone from one thing to the next made me achey with anxiety. I couldn't quiet my brain. I don't think more stuff is better but I have always felt more experience is. I'm coming to realize a jam packed life isn't the same as a full life. And what I want is fullness.

I am so hungry for new, more, adventure that I don't always take the time to waste a day reading. When I reflect on the last year, however, those moments when I felt achingly alive were about presence, surrender, and stillness. I can remember what it felt like sitting naked under the stars after a soak in a redwood hot tub, the eucalyptus trees around me casting shadows across my stomach, and feeling deliciously happy that I had nothing else to do right now. That moment was it. And that's what I want. To do less and to live more. 

Doing less takes reframing. We live in a capitalist culture that prizes perpetual productivity. But maybe, when everything feels so urgent, when it's easy to lose a day to answering e-mails and careening between appointments, what we need is to do LESS. The urgency of climate action. The urgency of political change. The urgency of growing up and figuring our s**t out. Being victim to this urgency has complicated my capacity to be present. And like so many of you, I want to be awake to my life.

So here's my hope—for myself and for you, too. That in doing less, I live more. That in slowing down, I focus my energy. And that in breathing in the simple, irresistible bliss of every moment, I find the sustenance I need to heal our world. 

SUSTAINABLE SKINCARE

WORDS: KATE WEINER

IMAGES: COURTESY of BOTNIA

Although skincare brings me joy—stirring up calendula-infused moisturizers is my kinda magic-making—it's only been in the last few years that I've celebrated the relationship between my daily beauty rituals and my environmental activism. Feeding my skin with plants from my garden and oils sourced from rad herbalists makes me happy, connects me to the earth, and inspires me to learn more about what's growing green in my corner of the universe.

Much like style, skincare is often derided as superficial. As I dig deeper into my studies of Ayurvedic medicine, however, I've loved discovering the emphasis on beauty within this holistic healing system. Taking care of our skin, embracing our natural beauty, and nourishing self-care rituals isn't shallow if it brings us into deeper relationship to the soil surrounding. 

Based in Sausalito, CA, Botnia is a skincare company that shares this same passion for holistic healing. When I first connected with founder Justine Kahn, I was struck by the joy she took in her work. Her commitment to healing the skin is really about healing our relationship to ourselves and to the land. Tune in as Justine and I talk about growing a botanical garden, feeding our skin, and what sustainable skincare really means (hint: spoilage!) 

KW: What inspired your work as an esthetician? 

JK: I was inspired to get into skincare mainly because I myself struggled with skin issues. I had horrific acne throughout my teen years. It really affected the way I presented myself to the world. I have an empathetic approach and I love helping people. I never went into it thinking I would make my own skincare line but I've always wanted to help people [feel at home in their bodies]. 

KW: What experiences encouraged you to launch Botnia?

JK: My inspiration came from the treatment room while I was working with clients. I really found as a skincare provider that I wasn't able to give my clients the proper treatment that their skin deserves—and needed—to heal and be healthy. What was in the skincare industry was a lot of chemicals, things that were inflammatory, and sythenthic ingredients that were made in a laboratory.

Botnia came from wanting to help my personal clients. I started to take classes through local [herbalism] schools in the Bay Area and began to craft these very simple and very basic formulations. I would take one client at a time. So if one client had acne and rosacea and was dehydrated, we would treat her skin with care by looking at anti-inflammatory ingredients.

KW: How does Botnia integrate your passion for environmental sustainability and holistic healing? And what practices do you use—both in your garden and in community—to heal our environment?

JK: Botnia is really something that I started in my garden in the Bay Area. I grew a small batch of botanicals that I thought were amazing for their anti-inflammatory properties. And when we need to outsource botanicals because of climate, we really focus on local and sustainable brands. We also have solar power at our spa in San Francisco and strive to hire from the area. Creating community and keeping it local for our clients—that's important to us. We're also really looking forward to partnering with more companies that are committed to healing our environment. 

KW: Although the skin is the largest organ in our body, we so often treat skincare as if it's superficial. What can we do to take better care of our skin?

JK: Our skin is our largest organ so what we put on our skin and in our bodies really affects us. Nutrition is such an integral part of our overall skincare regimen. I have a green smoothie with kale, coconut oil, and almond milk that I make myself—full of amazing vitamin A and minerals—every morning. It's such a nurturing drink to start the day off with. Greens and probiotics are really helpful for the skin. As is drinking water and getting sleep. Our body absolutely thrives on hydration. 

People always thinks about organic skincare but they don't always realize how very different it is than conventional skincare. Anything that goes in or on your body should go "bad." It should be just like food and have a shelf life. [At Botnia] we want our products to turn and spoil because that means they are alive and active. 

KW: How do you hope to grow Botnia in the coming year?

JK: The main thing I want Botnia to do is provide people with safe and natural skincare. I really want to deepen relationships with local estheticians to help push this message of clean beauty.

I'm always learning more about gardening too. Every day, I learn something new and discover an inspiring botanical or botanical extracts. So deepening my knowledge of organic farming and working with more farms—we currently work with Moving Roots in Petaluma—is important to me. 

KW: How do you embody hope for a better world in your everyday life? 

JK: The thing that helps me embody hope is bringing forward a handmade product. If we can go back to a time where we can value handmade things—where we can pour our love and energy [into creation]—we'll see people respond to that positively. 

For so long, we went in this other direction [of mass production and materialism]. So it's exciting to me that people are gravitating more and more to human interactions. To get to put on a cream that someone grew in their garden and made with their hands—that's magic. It gives me hope that people feel that love and energy on a daily basis [and can give that energy in turn] to the greater good.