Who would we be and how would we act without the story that reality isn't supposed to appear the way it does? Without a story, the sense of a separate "I" dies, revealing our true nature as love without boundaries.
About Daily Acts
Our vision is to create a healthy, just and reverent human culture, one act at a time. By providing inspiring sustainability education and media, we empower people to harness the significant impact of simple daily actions rooted in care for people and planet.
ripples journal • 14 issues printed • 58,000 copies of rippley goodness
• 2004 “Best Earth & People Friendly Read” - North Bay Bohemian.
• 2003 “Best of the Small Press” Yearbook Selection.
• Writing and art from ripples has appeared in Natural Home & Garden Magazine, Adbusters, Utne, The Permaculture Activist, Harbinger, and much local and internet media.
sustainability tours & workshops • Changing lives • inspiring projects • and hot damn they’re fun!
• Hundreds of inspired folks, dozens of our finest ecological sites and social visionaries. Organic farms, green politicians, Permaculture gardens, natural buildings, alternatively fueled vehicles and way more!
• Don’t miss em! Tours thru October
homegrown guild • Supporting citizens to be the change • household self-reliance • community building
• Organize a seed swap, develop a garden wheel with your peeps, or teach workshops
About Green Sangha, Principles: http://www.planetshifter.com/node/1237
Green Sangha incorporates a deep ecological perspective and exercises based on Joanna Macy's work
Interview with Trathen Heckman, director of both Daily Acts Organization and Green Sangha by Willi Paul.
See Green Sangha, Principles: http://www.planetshifter.com/node/1237
How does Daily Acts define localization?
As is often the case with such questions, it depends. While there are countless possible angles to answer this from, it’s about what is appropriate to the topic at hand be it food, energy, water, manufacturing? Depending on the scale you are working at there are different strategies. Strategies applied in an urban garden will differ from those that are applied on a two-acre site. It also depends on factors such as modes of transportation. I recently learned that food grown 100 miles away may be more energy intensive than food grown thousands of miles away depending on transportation.
So with all that ramble, I would say localization is about localizing critical thought between your ears and developing the practice of asking a lot of questions and listening closely for what comes. Personally I like the mantra of “consume less, grow, share and live more”. We put our localization focus on rebuilding household and community self-reliance, aiming more for the 100 foot diet than the 100 mile diet where we can. We support local businesses but also recognize that we are in a time of transition and the wal-marts and chain stores of the world aren’t going to disappear tomorrow. By choosing to meet more of our needs within our communities, we attempt to consume less and rebuild, repair, reskill and reconnect more. Then there is supporting someone else’s far off local through fair trade purchases which has it’s place as well.
What are your top five concerns for society at large and how are you solving them?
With so much suffering in our world, I think the root cause is that we’ve lost our sense of oneness and wonder leading to: a crisis of consciousness; a crisis of connection or ecoliteracy; a crisis of resources and relations leading to peak everything – peak oil, water, soil, species...; our humanitarian crisis resulting in how we treat each other in our thirst for resources; and last our crisis of imagination because we’ve paved over our landscapes and mindspace. Oh and of course the economy which “eco” comes from the Greek word oikos, meaning house. When we remember that the economy is housed in the reciprocal relationships that shape nature’s ecology, that will help us out a fair bit.
As for how we are humbly attempting to “Solve” them? Sustainable hedonism and selfish altruism. We have an amazing time taking pleasure in service to self, community and life while surrounding ourselves with the most inspiring people and models we can find and support. Even when the crises seem daunting, we just show up the best we can with reverence in our hearts and one question in our mind, “How do we make something amazing of the materials and the moment?”
For consciousness we grow and promote reverent, mindful daily actions recognizing that every choice we make matters.
For connection and ecoliteracy we create and share grassroots and home-scale models of eco-design. We teach a wide variety of tours and workshops on everything from Permaculture to cohousing, food preservation, bee keeping and dancing in the mud with family and friends to make cob ovens that make tasty pizzas.
For peak everything we do our best from day to day to shape a culture that treasures every drop of water, scrap of carbon and act of living. We teach the above-mentioned activities, we are strengthening our communities and we are doing more work with municipalities to create models and influence policy. Two ways we’ve recently done this is by creating the first single-household permitted greywater system in Sonoma County and by turning a water, emission, chemical and cost intensive lawn at a community rec center into a delectable edible multi-beneficial landscape that mimics a forest ecology – a food forest. We did this with 150 community volunteers who now have some of the skills to implement these same Permaculture strategies at their homes.
For our humanitarian crisis we work with and support local and fair trade companies while educating citizens to make ethical green choices that care for the earth and our people while setting limits to consumption.
As for our impervious cerebral surfaces? We do our best to shatter paved over paradigms of fear and lack while sowing seeds of conscious delight. We have fun. In the face of impossible odds, we try not to take ourselves to seriously. We create lush, vibrant living landscapes that wake us from our unconscious stupor. We breathe and stretch together before every gathering and event.
As for number 6 that I snuck in with the economy, when we are doing all of the above, our expenses are less, we are growing more food and community and leading richer, more ethical lives that are more resilient to disturbances. We grew 1,000 lbs of food last year, made beer and cider and were gifted with endless treats that landed on our doorstep as we share abundant harvests and skills with each other.
Of course it’s not easy stepping up to the challenges of these times, the stress, the workload, the frustration, but it’s such a rare and precious evolutionary moment. How else would you rather be living?
Is there a community-based green revolution going on in Sebastopol?
There is definitely a lot going in Sebastopol, Petaluma and Sonoma County in general. Of course this is true for the whole north bay and the bay area. Of course this is true for every nook and cranny and watershed on this planet where folks are waking up and rising up and living up to what is asked of us. Folks are rocking it all over the place. But yes, Sebastopol is full of amazing folks. It’s the fertile soil that really birthed Daily Acts Organization.
Is a barter system is place in Sebastopol?
Not sure about the barter system. For years there have been dedicated folks working on a local currency. Now that Daily Acts is centered in Petaluma, we aren’t up on all the latest eco-grandiosity in Sebastopol.
How does the green community interact with the green soaked local government?
This has been one of our richest experiences as of late. Speaking only for our work, Daily Acts has worked with 3 Sonoma County Municipalities in the last couple of years on Sustainability and Water Conservation education. Coming from more of an activist’s perspective, it’s been very beneficial to work with cities and get to know some of the amazing folks in government who are doing their best and the challenges they face.
At our Cavanagh Center Food Forest installation sponsored by the City of Petaluma, amongst those 150 volunteers digging and sweating and learning were Petaluma’s current mayor, Sebastopol’s former Mayor, city council members and all sorts of amazing people.
What are the foundation principles you deliver as you tour your garden with visitors?
Jeez, you ask some big questions. I provide context with the Permaculture framework of ethical and design principles. This includes principles such as produce no waste, use and value renewable resources and services, use and value diversity, design from pattern to detail. That can be a bit heady if you don’t work with those or have context. The primary one is, work magic with what you’ve got.
Years ago when I was first exposed to the gardens at Permaculture Institute of Northern California which we are touring next weekend, I knew very little about the plants or permaculture. But I walked into the place and was physically astounded by the feeling of fecundity and vibrancy. It was a living breathing landscape. This is what we seek to create in our organization, our education events, Daily Acts Project Homegrown, our houses and lives.
Sure there is a lot to study and learn and skills to be built, but when people can walk into a living, breathing ecosystem of relationships and feel what sustainability is, it impacts them on a way different and essential level. At it’s base it’s about starting with growing healthy soil, inviting water onto your site and using it wisely, integrating a diversity of multi-beneficial plants, animals and support structures. Then landing some mostly hairless hominids (us) to steward and learn from the life that evolves.
Please give us some bio-intensive farming techniques with examples. Large scale focus please.
As for bio-intensive, I’m not sure, but google Geof Lawton and greening the desert. He is doing Permaculture design at scale all across the planet. Applying the same principles we do in our front yard to the lowest place on the earth in the Jordan Desert and 40,000 + person refuge camps.
Who owns the Earth’s water?
No one should own the earth’s water. Ownership is a lacking concept. The same water that has been here from the beginning of time is still all the water we have and will ever have as it cycles on and on. We all belong to this little blue planetary marble of marvel and relations. My sense is that it’s our job to steward and care for life’s resources and relations the best we can while we are here.
What is going on at the Ellis Creek Water Recycling Facility, hmm…?!
Very cool stuff. While we have a constructed wetland in our backyard to mimic nature’s ecology and process our greywater, Ellis Creek has a similar waste water treatment plant which does the same thing but for our whole city. Even better, it incorporates art and beauty. From the sky the whole design is in the shape of a local endangered mouse. It’s also a green built facility. Chief Engineer Margaret Orr and a team of citizens and leaders worked hard to make this happen and did an amazing job. We’ll be providing a tour and presentation there on September 22nd. Check www.dailyacts.org for more information.