I am fascinated by waste. I have always been intrigued by our society’s relationship to various forms of waste—food waste, plastic waste, textile waste, toxic waste, technological waste, even human waste! It is omnipresent, inescapable, and pervades nearly every aspect of daily life, yet it's also intentionally hidden, stigmatized, feared, and avoided. Entire industries exist to sort, manage, process, ship, bury, burn, reuse, and upcycle our waste. The scale of our country’s trash is incomprehensible. And its impact on our climate is truly reprehensible. 

As someone who aims to live a trash-light lifestyle, I am always thinking about what I am consuming and what waste I am producing. In high school when I started getting into the environmental movement, I went through my trash after a week and inventoried it, shocked by what I discovered. I developed solutions to each of my “trash problems” and found it so satisfying to implement them in my daily life, despite the often strange looks I would get from onlookers. 
Inspired by my neighbor and zero-waste pioneer Bea Johnson, I began changing my ways to produce as little trash as I could. As a result, I felt a heightened sense of integrity and intentionality over my consumption. I felt less environmental anxiety and instead, more accountability and ownership over my choices because I was able to control (most of) the waste I produced. Motivated to share my findings with others, I decided to start making artwork about trash. This piece is called Seven Days.

For Seven Days, I asked four of my friends to collect all their trash and recycling for a week. I then took a portrait of them lying in it. For the exhibition of this series, I printed the portraits as largely as I could and instead of mounting, framing, or hanging them, I put them as is on the ground of the gallery in which they were exhibited. Behind each printed portrait sat a large pile of my subject’s trash. 

This series is about confronting the waste we produce every day. It is about getting intimate with what we throw away in order to remember that there is no “away.” Rather, all of our trash goes somewhere—the landfill, the ocean, the atmosphere, overseas… In this case, each subject’s personal trash pile sat in a clean gallery space, forcing viewers to literally walk around it, smell it, and touch it. 

Call me crazy, but I enjoyed going through each person’s trash; I felt intimately connected to them. Beneath sticky smelly food wrappers there were ticket stubs, tissues, tampons, Sticky notes, letters, cat food containers, and even hair trimmings. 

Each subject’s trash is not only a personal history of their week, but also a record of their consumption patterns. Their trash reveals aspects of their identity: their consumption habits, food preferences, shopping choices, behavior, and even relationships with others.

I often wondered, if I were to take the person out of the image and leave the pile of trash remaining, who would the viewer think produced that pile of trash? This series will perhaps make viewers confront their stereotypes about identity based on what they learn from each pile.

My hope is that this work inspires people to think more deliberately about their consumption and the trash they create, hopefully finding ways to generate less waste. 






Grateful to For The Wild for their regenerative work. This incredible nonprofit just launched their Kickstarter for the 1 Million Redwoods Project & I hope you'll contribute to their project "planting millions of trees, native plants and fungal companions to mitigate climate change and rapid species loss." In the heart of the climate crisis, For The Wild's heart-filled commitment to tangible change is truly seeding resilience. 


Print copies of Loam have sold out (!) but inspired by our rad community, we're releasing a digital issue of Loam: Permaculture in Practice. Rich in resources for regeneration & recipes for resilience, Loam: Permaculture in Practice is an 80+ page exploration of agroecology, art, and activism. The folx who contributed to this issue are truly incredible & I'm so excited for you all to dig into their gorgeous work. To snag a $5 copy, click the button below.

From October 24—November 24, we will donate 20% of total sales from digital copies of Loam: Permaculture in Practice to the Resilient Power to support clean energy infrastructure and social justice in Puerto Rico. 


I recorded this conversation with Esperanza Pallana, an esteemed organizer in Oakland who we were fortunate enough to feature in Loam: A Woman's Work, in the immediate aftermath of the election. We had a few technical difficulties in uploading the file but revisiting our interview this week—when the world was rocked by marches, acts of resistance, and stories of revolution—was a true gift. Esperanza talks about what it means to be in community during these dark times as well as suggests that in many ways, this election is a sign of our success. We are threatening the dominant powers of oppression and so we must keep doing what we're doing and harder. Listen in for guidance from Esperanza on creativity, celebration, and community. 



Loam is excited to announce our Artist-in-Residence program! Applications are ongoing and we will feature a different artist each month. 

Our goal is to provide emerging environmental artists with a platform to share their creative work and dig into nourishing projects. As an artist-in-residence at Loam, you'll be able to reach a platform of 20,000+ readers (and growing!) through our online magazine, print publicationInstagram, and podcast. You'll have the opportunity to "takeover" a section of our blog for the month, infusing it with whatever words/art/sounds that you're working on.

Want to grow with us? Send an application with "Artist-in-Residence" as the subject to We can't wait to see what you have to share and, as always, feel free to write Nicole & Kate with any questions that you might have. 


Please submit an application to with the following information:

  1. Name
  2. D.O.B.
  3. City of Residence
  4. Handles (Website, Instagram, Twitter, ETC.)
  5. 4+ samples of your work 
  6. Artist Statement (the why of what you do)
  7. Completed Questionnaire
    1. How does your work merge environmentalism and art?
    2. What environmental causes are you particularly passionate about?
    3. How did you discover Loam?
    4. What kinds of projects would you like to work on as well as share as an Artist-in-Residence?
    5. What would this residency mean for you and your work?



I have been immersed in Robin Wall Kimmerer's Braiding Sweetgrass lately. It's the most life-affirming and action-inspiring book that I've had the good fortune to dive into. And it's a work of poetic art.

One of my favorite chapters focuses on the importance of giving gratitude. For each one of us to be the effective environmental activists that we are capable of becoming, we need to know what we are fighting for. Expressing thanks each morning for the gift of the world provides you with a deeper connection to the earth.

You can start very small. When I get up, I give thanks for the plants that fill my room and the food on my plate. When I walk to work, I thank the trees (sometimes out loud, but only ever on accident). I feel like I am learning how to better love my neighbors.

So make this the day you say three things you are grateful for when you wake up and three things you are grateful for when you go to sleep. A simple thank you, flower is enough. And then watch for the resonances, the ripples of your actions. Because gratitude truly can open up the world. 



Passion. I believe passion is that spark everyone has within them. It vastly differs from person to person. It can be a bright burning flame or a single stoic light. The physicality doesn’t matter because everyone’s passion is integral and important to them

If you consider yourself an activist, an advocate, or believe in any kind of justice then you already have a desire or a vision for a kinder planet. You’ve probably read books, devoured information, streamed documentaries, and altered (for the better) certain aspects of your life. You long to manifest your passion and desire into fruition.

Community and communication is important. This facet of our life cannot be stressed enough. However, we should go about it with compassion. Not everyone’s mindset or perspective will align or correlate identically. We can share our views all the while respecting each other. At least in an ideal world this is the case.

If you’ve ever been criticized or chastised for your passionate beliefs, it's as if someone is telling you your plans and hopes have no merit or worse (in my opinion) you’re holding on to a negative view of the world. Why is it that sometimes, passion gets misconstrued with despair? Why can’t some of us speak with ambition without the fear of being antagonized? Debate can be healthy and critiques should allow us to evolve but not when it devolves into harsh judgment.

If the purpose behind your passion is to leave the planet a little (or a lot!) better than you found it – dedicate yourself to it. Unfortunately you may encounter nay-sayers and people who think your light is “too bright.” At the same time we may hold onto our beliefs so fiercely that a murmur or opposition may cause us to bring out our armor and misunderstandings occur. Ambition is not aggression and some of us are gentle warriors.

You cannot change someone else’s perspective through hate or belittlement. Fear is not effective because there is no gain in someone passively or forcibly following an ideology. Consider this: the energy you put out, if you are only exhibiting negative feelings or energy – do you think you will receive positive energy from that? Chances are you will likely only fuel negativity and rarely does that lead to any solution. You gain more insight from others when you communicate in an articulate manner.

Acknowledge not everyone has the same mindset as you but you can influence others if you are well-rounded and considerate. If you believe in something, represent it with compassion and mindfulness. Go and better the world in anyway you can. No matter who may think your ideas are unattainable or that your dreams are too wild: prove them wrong with kindness and authenticity in your actions.





A meditation on rewiring our economic system from Loam's academic-in-residence. 

There is a lot of irony in my sitting here, writing on this laptop, in this café, about our separation from nature. I sit in a chair made from some amalgam of plastic and metal, at a wooden table. The metals in my laptop were probably mined by workers enslaved by warlords in Central Africa. And I sit here, writing about our Separation from Nature, polemicizing against the ravages of globalized neoliberalism.

But such is the irony of our time. To paraphrase a quotation from the documentary about anarchist activists in the former Yugoslavia, Bastards of Utopia: In a world that is hostile to your ideals, one cannot live without contradictions.

In the book Sacred Economics: Money, Gift & Society in the Age of Transition, the author, Charles Eisenstein, shows expertly and accessibly the way in which capitalism is based, fundamentally, on debt and inequality. The way money is created, he shows, is first that the Federal Reserve buys bonds or other securities on the free market with money that it creates on the spot as a computer entry in an account (the money didn’t exist before)—this creates the money base, or M0. This means that the creation of money incurs a greater debt, because these securities come with interest. Then banks that are commercially licensed by the Fed gives loans to creditworthy debtors, which of course incurs another, greater debt, the debt that the debtor owes the creditor. These loans are also made with money that did not exist before, but appears with a wave of the financial wand in their bank accounts.

This, of course, means that whenever money is created, a greater debt is always created as well. No matter who owes whom, no matter at which scale, there must always be economic growth in order to generate money to service or pay off these debts. This growth can either involve the destruction and commodification of more resources, or the creation of new goods and services. Eisenstein argues that almost all of the old social networks and webs of mutual support have been commodified by the money machine to expand the realm of goods and services, which enter the domain of money in order to feed endless growth, creating constant inequality alongside the illusion of scarcity. And when growth slows—as it necessarily does in a finite world—debt and inequality skyrocket, and elites hoard wealth, which just sits there, uselessly.

The failure of capitalism is obvious when viewed in light of the ideological fundament of separation upon which it is built. There has been an explosion of thought and theory that revolves around this question of our separation from the natural earth; these new forms of thought show that it is an illusion that we are beginning to think ourselves out of. The New Materialism and New Economics are two areas in which academics and activists are trying to envision new political and economic possibilities that are based in the fundamental understanding that we are inseparable from each other and our environment, and that even these categories of “self,” “other,” and “nature” are artificial and arbitrary categories that result from our understanding of ourselves (humans) as being fundamentally separate from the world.

This understanding runs contrary to a global neoliberal understanding of the earth as existing for our exploitation. Luckily or unluckily, depending how you look at it, we can’t support this viewpoint much longer. Pretty soon we will need to completely overhaul the way we think about the economy and the earth and our relationship to both; we will need to, as Jane Bennett attempted to do in her fantastic book Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things, develop new forms of politics in order to include the representation of nonhuman animals and material things in our political decisions. We will need a new form of economic thought that ensures the reproduction of the commons and secures a give-and-take with the earth that, like any good ecology does, produces as byproduct what can be consumed by other organisms, which in turn produce as byproduct what we consume to survive. This entails a confrontation between ourselves and the organically useless waste that we’ve produced.

These things are already beginning to be examined; I’ve already cited a couple examples of thinkers attempting to address these issues. The way that we must implement these new forms of relationships outside of our current money system won’t be a revolution in the sense that the word has traditionally represented in political discourse. Instead, it will probably be a radical withdrawal from global capitalism and from abstract economic forms alongside a resurgence of embedded, place-based community economies. This is what will count as “radical”: a new importance of place and community that will develop into chains of economic flows that ensures the reproduction of communities and egalitarian relations.

This means that the most important thing any of us can do is to invest in local economies, empowering them to become more self-sufficient; we must abandon businesses that externalize the negative effects of production, creating artificially cheap commodities with outsized negative effects on the earth, and support those that minimize the destruction of the commons and invest in its reproduction. We must also generate political support for economic measures that integrate the cost of environmental destruction into the prices of the things that we buy, creating incentive for businesses to become more sustainable. Under our current system, environmental despoliation is perfectly rational because it ensures short-term growth, whereas measures that ensure sustainability are bad business. It’s time that we change the way we think, fundamentally, about money and economics by paying attention to what the world is trying to tell us.

Capitalism cannot grow anymore. The evidence in support of austerity and privatization and other neoliberal measures has been proven false; the impossibility of endless growth precludes even more progressive, Keynesian economics. Inequality is built into capitalism as an inevitability that cannot be extricated. It’s time to plunge into communities of real people with real, complex relationships that escape objectification and commodification.