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Phew. Slipping a couple weeks behind here on this August release. It's been an absolute whirlwind in the best way possible here in and around Seattle. I'm gonna have to do a followup post this month like in July because the news and content keep piling up for me to want to include for you all. Here's what I've got for you all today:
Beacon Food Forest
'Good news you probably didn't hear about'
Intentions for CI Season 5
Updates from Everybody Eats NZ
Upcoming travels & work
Beacon Food Forest Photos
That header image may look like a Google Earth/Maps image, but it's far closer and more recent - right from Beacon Food Forest's recent work party on July 20 via my drone. Being able to take my new gear to capture the food forest from the sky and on the ground again bring me and many people joy. Being a volunteer-driven project since its inception, the food forest has lacked a dedicated media person since I left Seattle in early 2016 except for a several-month period later that year. It has since gone through pretty radical changes - the groundbreaking of the "Phase 2" expansion plus the continued growth of all of the existing shrubs and trees. As I cycled through the bike/multi-use path cutting right through its center, I'm confronted with a visual that is looking more and more like an actual forest. The various layers in height and density throughout the open harvest area is starting to mimic that of a natural ecosystem, except of course, all of the plant species were planned and planted intentionally to maximize sustenance production for humans, pollinators, other wildlife, in addition to building the soil, sequester carbon, and many more positive functions.
This coming weekend, I'll have the opportunity once more to get my hands a bit dirty and volunteer for their monthly work party. Thanks to your ongoing support, I'm able to also bring my craft to the table and help this selfless community to document the team effort as we nurture the space as one of the largest project of its kind in the states while also planning for a greater project for later this year and possibly the next, too (more to come!).
Good news you probably didn't hear about (thanks, Future Crunch!)
Los Angeles has announced the largest, cheapest solar + storage project in the world, at half the cost of a new natural gas plant. Wright's Law FTW. Forbes
Ireland has joined the growing list of countries that say new petrol and diesel powered vehicles will not be allowed on the roads after 2030. BBC
8.8 million Nepalis have gained access to electricity since 2010, and officials say the country is on track for universal access by 2022. Kathmandu Post
Heart disease rates in the UK have declined significantly - it's still the leading cause of mortality, but deaths have decreased by almost half since 2005. Telegraph
Good news from North Korea. According to the WHO, smoking rates have declined by 8.4% since 2012, thanks to a government-led anti-smoking campaign. DailyNK
Rates of HPV in Britain have fallen by 86% among young women aged 15 to 19 since they started being vaccinated in schools in 2008. Times
UNESCO says that 19 African countries have reached gender parity (equal numbers of boys and girls) in primary education in the past decade. Brookings
Kenya's High Court has ruled that rape survivors have the right to an abortion, a landmark ruling in a country where abortion is still illegal. Reuters
An estimated 10,000 LGBTQIA+ teens in the US have been protected from conversion therapy in states that have banned the practice since 2012. NBC
Canada has passed its most progressive Fisheries Act in history; for the first time since 1868, there's a legally binding requirement to rebuild fish populations. Oceana
The Scottish government has met its annual tree planting targets for the first time. 11,200 hectares were planted last year, a significant increase on 2017. BBC
Since 2000, the area of land dedicated for livestock pasture around the world has declined by 1.4 million square kilometers — an area the size of Peru. MongaBay
Thanks to rigorous anti-poaching strategies, one of Africa’s largest wildlife reserves has just gone a year without losing a single elephant. Independent
In the first six months of 2019, sun, wind, water and biomass produced more electricity in the world's fourth largest economy than coal and nuclear combined. DW
In the first six months of 2019, Scottish wind turbines generated enough electricity to power 4.47 million homes - almost double the number of homes in Scotland. CNBC
According to the United Nations, in 2018, global HIV-related deaths fell to 770,000, 33% lower than in 2010 when 1.2 million deaths were recorded. DW
A new report by UNESCO says that between 2006 and 2016, India, Ethiopia and Peru achieved significant improvements in nutrition, sanitation, child mortality, drinking water, schooling, electricity access and housing. India alone lifted 271 million people out of poverty during this period. Understandably there's been wall-to-wall coverage of this story on every major global news channel. The Hindu
New diabetes cases in the US have declined by 35% since 2009, the longest decline since the government started tracking the statistic nearly 40 years ago. STAT
Mali has announced it will begin providing free healthcare for pregnant women and children under five. Universal healthcare, not just for rich countries. Guardian
Drug overdose deaths in America declined by around 5% last year, the first drop since 1990. It's almost entirely due to better control of opioid painkillers. NYT
Last year crime rates in the 30 largest cities in the US declined by 3.5%, violent crime by 4% and murders by 8%. Did someone just say 'hellholes?' Brennan Centre
Since introducing new fuel efficiency rules a decade ago New York has cut nitrous oxide and particulate emissions from taxis by 82% and 49%, respectively. Nature
Costa Rica has just signed a new law banning the importation, commercialisation and delivery of all styrofoam containers and packaging. Costa Rica News
South Africa has nearly doubled its number of marine protected areas, increasing the proportion of conserved territorial waters from 0.4% to 5.4%. Cape Talk
For the first time in 17 years there will be no commercial whaling in Iceland after the sole company certified to hunt whales failed to renew its license in time. Newsweek
How flippin' amazing are these POSITIVE news bits?! Seriously, subscribe to their fortnightly newsletter if this sort of content uplifts you anywhere near the way they do for me.
Intentions for Conscious Impact Season 5
There are some clear goals & intentions for returning back to Nepal this autumn.
As mentioned in the previous post, this will be the first time Conscious Impact is offering an earthbag dome workshop where folks are paying (versus suggested fundraising) for a dedicated course to learn and essentially become capable of building or leading their own earthbag structures. I will bring my documentation gear and skillset to work with the core team and participants to film (and learn personally) this process to better showcase and promote ourselves for future workshops and natural-building specific outreach + marketing.
I miss my community there. It'll be absolutely wonderful for me to get back to witness firsthand the progress we've made since early November last year (oh goodness!) as well as to return to a state of service and community living with a healthy routine - something which I lack here in the states on most days and wish to better cultivate structure of my day to day life.
I also wish to hear/witness/experience/capture snippets in more of the Himalayan country as I gain clarity on the theme of my future (and first) photo book(!)... more about this below. This may mean that I'll set aside a week or so to travel to a new region for some trekking and exploration.
Everybody Eats NZ
Just like Collett's Corner that I've posted an update about, Everybody Eats NZ is another social-GOOD project dealing with food waste AND feeding the poor while bringing the issue to the forefront of people's minds and taking immediate action. I financially contributed to them back in 2018 while living and working in New Zealand, and have happily stayed subscribed to updates because they simply kick major butt. This month I wish to share with you all this fresh and exciting news flash. This is the power of grassroots mobilization and crowdfunding to make dreams realities:
As a financial supporter of Everybody Eats, I want to update you on our journey so far and our new permanent restaurant.
In June 2018, we successfully raised over $120k in one of New Zealand’s most successful project crowdfunding campaigns, to set up New Zealand’s first permanent pay-as-you-feel restaurant.
We got to work quickly and by September were operating 3 nights per week, subleasing Woodworks Cafe in Avondale. We had planned to build our own kitchen and to increase to 5 nights per week, however ongoing landlord building works meant we were delayed. In December the business changed hands and in January it reopened as Te Whau Eatery. With building works still going, we continued to operate for 3 nights each week, feeding around 120 each night, our 3 course, pay-as-you-feel meals.
In April, as 6 months of frustration with builders ended, we were finally ready to move forward with our kitchen, however with the experience of operating more permanently, we decided this was not the right site for us to invest the money we had raised. The position and layout of the cafe were not suitable, and the subleasing arrangement was less attractive after the business changed hands in December. Since then we have been looking for another site, with all the money we had raised still safely in the bank but with 6 months of lessons from operating more regularly.
Today we begin work on what we now think is the perfect home for Everybody Eats, in Onehunga. It was a failed cafe, a standalone building with 14 car parks, two kitchens and a mezzanine floor overlooking the main restaurant. We will be subleasing to a cafe operator and shared office/meeting space provider. The aim is to create a community hub, that is always activated, where people will gather for coffee, lunch, meetings, evening meals and everything in between.
We have the support of some incredibly generous businesses, who are donating their time, energy, equipment and expertise to help us achieve a $300k fit out, on a much smaller budget. We aim to be open in late September.
In the background we continue to operate our hugely successful Gemmayze St pop-up in Auckland City. We are now feeding on average 330 people each Monday night, with NZ’s top chefs continuing to help. We’ve been lucky to work with the likes of Josh Emmet, Des Harris, Samir Allen, Dariush Lolaiy and Josh Barlow over the last 12 months.
We hope you will make it along to the new opening of Everybody Eats in Onehunga, so will send you an update once we have a confirmed date.
If you can think of anyone you know that may be able to support us with our fit out, I’d love to hear from you. Right now we are looking for a tiler, vinyl flooring company/installer, large indoor plants, commercial kitchen shelving and an artist for a large mural.
Upcoming travels & work
There has definitely been some solidification of my schedule since the last update, and I am happy to know that the rest of my year is essentially planned out for a change ;) Here's the latest of when I'll (mostly) be where:
Now - 20 Sep : Seattle / Pacific Northwest [summer, ongoing editing, mountain & water frolicking, friends]
21 Sep - 2 Oct : San Diego / Los Angeles [for photoshoot + family time]
3 Oct - 9 Oct : Seattle [for wedding + prep for longer trip]
10 Oct - 18 Oct : Pisa / Rome / central Italy [for wedding!]
19 Oct - early-mid Dec : Nepal [for Conscious Impact + personal project]
*MAYBE* Early to mid-Dec : Hong Kong [visiting extended fam, friends, and networking]
20 Dec - holidays : Los Angeles / southern California [mom's 70th birthday!]
Holidays to early Jan 2020 : Seattle / Vancouver / southern British Columbia [for wedding!]
Dec 2020 : Patagonia?! Why? Total solar eclipse.
Dandapani - on purpose in life (5 min 42 sec)
How India runs the world's largest election by Vox (7 min 34 sec)
These are recent favorites, and all of them have been repeated in parts so that I could fully soak in the messages and lessons embedded between the words and emotions. They resonate hugely to my life now and of late, and I hope you'd also find value by these humans. As most of you have probably been able to tell, I am a huge fan of Jay Shetty's podcast, and thankfully it is available on many platforms for streaming. Podcasts have been some of my best go-to's in diving deep within myself, gaining new knowledge, be challenged on what I had thought was true, and to positively reprogram my mind for a healthier, better self.
6 Reasons Why We Need to Develop the Emotional Skills Our Parents Never Had (29:47) - by Jay Shetty on his show On Purpose
Pretty Pretty Pictures
A good chunk of why I've returned to Seattle this summer is because my network of quality humans here, and its proximity & abundance of wild, beautiful, really beautiful places.
I've been hiking, cycling, kayaking, camping, and backpacking all around my previous (and I suppose current, too) home state, and I am simply in awe all over again.
One of reasons why this update-post-newsletter is 2 weeks late is because I spent 2 nights out of the city and immersed myself in the Cascade mountains with electronics and communication turned off (minus cameras + music/podcast).
Here are some highlights from that recent journey:
With love and gratitude, always,
PS: published this at 1:30am, so please excuse any typos or grammatical mistakes!