Is it mid-August already?

This is a distilled, public version of the patron supporters’ version accessible here. Currently, 44 patreon supporters help to make my lifestyle and work of minimalism, value and purpose-driven content creation possible each month. Check out my patreon page to learn more about me, how this works, and what you get in return.

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

  • Videos

  • Podcasts

  • Pretty pictures

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

  • Ethiopia has kicked off a new campaign to plant four billion trees and will monitor progress with a satellite the country is launching in November.

  • 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. 

IMG_3732.jpg

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.

Warm Regards
Nick Loosley

welcome.jpg

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!]

  • .

  • ..

  • Open

  • ...

  • ..

  • .

  • Dec 2020 : Patagonia?! Why? Total solar eclipse.

Inspiring Videos 

Dandapani - on purpose in life (5 min 42 sec)

How India runs the world's largest election by Vox (7 min 34 sec)

Amazing Podcasts 

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 

What We Nurture (51:34) by Sylvia Boorstein on Krista Tippett's On Being 

How to stop caring what other people think of you (73:22) by Gary Vee on Jay Shetty's 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, 

Jonathan

PS: published this at 1:30am, so please excuse any typos or grammatical mistakes!

Christchurch

Having spent half a year in and around Christchurch, New Zealand, I have stacks of vivid memories from this little city.

From my experience, it's colorful, and though it may not have the ethnic diversity of Los Angeles, London, etc., it is a place where humans of various backgrounds, appearances, and beliefs co-exist, mostly in great harmony.

I remember it feeling like a breath of fresh air as I met the locals - through their questions of who I am/where I am from/etc. - rather than placing assumptions and judgements onto me by my appearance and accent like I've experienced in California and the US in general, that the inquisitiveness stems from genuine curiosity. I don't recall ever feeling out of place or any social anxiety being a POC in New Zealand.

The side of Christchurch I got to experience as I landed into the Social Enterprise World Forum and PechaKucha all within the first several days is one of innovation, action, global solidarity, reconciliation, and community. Although there's no doubt one could see and feel the effects of destruction, grief, and loss from the earthquakes 8 years ago, there is a certain energy and sense of personal and communal purpose unlike ever before to (re)build a city for its people by its people. That spark has fostered neighbors to get to know one another better. That has allowed community gardens to pop up and sprout their seeds in the soil as well as the minds of many. That has gotten folks to work together in putting "we" before the "me."

Last year this time, I was right there in the city, enjoying the heck out of Holi with hundreds at the largest park in Christchurch Central. Holi is a Hindu festival of love or colors that signifies the victory of superior over immoral. All of us in this photo were born in different countries. We are united by our similarities as well as differences. And that is where all of us will keep going. Victory of superior over immoral. Celebrate culture and embrace diversity. White nationalist rhetoric, fear, and hate has no place. Period.

Deep deep love and support to everyone affected directly as well as indirectly by this horrific event. 

Some words as 2018 wraps up.

Every now and then I'd get a notification from Google Photos or Facebook showing me a moment from X years ago, and more often than not it's a (hugely) pleasant surprise. They represent so much more than simply the where/who/what. They also bring back memories, emotions, sensations not depicted in the pixels. It's one of the reasons why I love my work so much. I get to observe, (sometimes facilitate), capture, and preserve these memories that could last forever.

2018 has been a tremendous year once more for me. One of incredible growth and expansion. I spent much time being in and exploring a few new places, made some really radical new friends, made peace with people I had disagreements with, made mistakes, failed and rebounded, made and rescued quite a lot of food, discovered and tried new things, had very little diarrhea, and rekindled a number of old connections as well as reconnecting with family.

Sometime in mid 2017 I committed myself to take photography and videography full-on and sustain myself with my craft. I had spent the summer doing a complete makeover of my website, and putting it out there that here I am, a poor artist with bright eyes, able hands, and open mind, ready to attract more than just a financial means of livelihood. Not long after I had finished revamping the site, I landed in New Zealand.

Just over a year ago at a solstice/holidays gathering in Christchurch, I remember being surrounded by a group of friends and stating my intention to continue to attract the good work and financial abundance for the incoming year. I wanted to not only have the passion, but capital too. There's been this mindset of scarcity that I feel has kept me from reaching my full potential. I welcomed the challenges that come with the commitment. I've devoted myself to my craft, and am happy to say that though there are slumps and unmotivated days, each week overall I DO feel closer to my vision of what a life of abundance could look and feel like.

New Zealand was in countless ways multiple lessons that keep teaching, a land that has kept giving, an incubator for new ideas to be born and explored, and a meeting point for all the teachers I came across. While I don't believe I had taken full advantage of my time there, but that in itself is a lesson that will keep paying dividends. Aotearoa-New Zealand, you are truly a wonderful place. I long to return.

I am grateful for many things, but most importantly are the humans. I have gratitude for Peter in getting me down under in the first place, Erica and Preston in their friendship and immense drive that made me run harder faster stronger while remembering to slow down and have fun, Kit for your openness and hospitality in your home, the whole Ministry of Awesome team in putting up with me at your coworking space, Michael Reynolds in being an all-star human, friend, and collaborator, Franca for your beauty, patience, and honesty, AJ & Allison in being absolute gems of humans and deep discussions that really move me cosmically, the Guido-Henry-Milena trio for our short but truly memorable time together AND in rescuing me in the final hours in NZ. Rieki in his visionary projections on what our future could be, and acting upon it.

I am forever grateful to Sue & Tony Angles for their love and hospitality in Sydney, for the Enspiral and Digital Storytellers team to have showed me what immense power we hold when we run for-purpose instead of for-profit. For Zana and her family in hosting me in Byron Bay, Ibaia on the Gold Coast, all whilst I was working on the launch of my Patreon.

Gratitude also to Utsav in being a teacher, friend, and host in Kolkata, Kristine who put me up (and put up with me) throughout Vietnam, Carina in traveling with me in Sikkim, and my friends-"clients" Elizabeth & Anup, Christina & Kevin for your truly wonderful weddings that brought me (back) to places I really enjoy to do what I really like - capturing moments while making a living out of it. It's pretty rad.

Beyond grateful for Conscious Impact, and every human that's taken part in its creation and ongoing devotions to the land and one another. Returning to the Himalayas this year was invigorating for deeper parts of my soul. A piece of my heart is always there, awaiting its missing pieces for a reunion.

Deeply thankful for friends and communities back on the west coast of the US & Canada. California, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, thank you for (re)inviting me back and welcoming me always. I feel at home here.

And especially for the Seattle/Beacon Food Forest crew - wow. Nothing but love. Michael Guenther, Caroline, Allen, Steph, y'all are just wonderful.

And to my father, my sisters, their spouses, nephews, and of course, my mother - oh my brave, strong mother - here I am, because of them, typing this unexpectedly in California while looking out the window of the last morning of yet another momentous year.

Onwards!

Food Resilience in Ōtautahi Christchurch

In continuing my invitation to attract awesome people and work in my life, here's a collaborative project I've had the utmost pleasure of being a small part of earlier this year, in New Zealand.

This is a story of resilience in Ōtautahi Christchurch. This is a story of community. A story of people coming together. Of co-creating spaces that serve not only our bodies, mind, and spirit, but also of the greater invisible bonds that bind us together, as well as for the greater good of the ecosystems that nourish us and other living beings. Fundamentally, food connects all of us, and in getting to know these wonderful people in the local community all around Ōtautahi, I got to hear and learn about their why and how, their inspirations and greater vision especially coming out of the traumatic earthquakes that rocked the city over 7 years ago now. The destruction led to tremendous loss and sadness, however it has henceforth provided immense opportunities to come together and rebuild a city that better serve us and all living beings. My invitation down under last year stemmed out of these new sprouts, and I am personally very thankful for the time spent and connections made whilst in Aotearoa New Zealand, and for this piece to be story that we co-created and tell all around Canterbury and beyond. May inspirations spark and seeds be sowed in the minds and the earth for months, years, and decades to come.

Please share the aroha far and wide! 

Directing: Jonathan H. LeeSubtledream Photography
Production: Michael Reynolds and Jonathan H. Lee
Videography, editing, sound mixing: Jonathan H. Lee
Additional video: Jonny KnoppPeanut Productions Photography
Video and sound assistance: Milena Pascuzzi
Music: Scott Nice of Jumpsuit Records, used with permission via Bandcamp membership

Special gratitude: 
Peter WellsOtakaro Orchard 
Michael ReynoldsFood Resilience Network Canterbury
Hayley GugliettaRichmond Community Garden
Catherine O'NeillNew Brighton Community Gardens
Alex DaviesGatherings
Ashvin GoburdhoneCultivate Christchurch
Kit HindinKit Hindin Activation
Marian JohnsonMinistry of Awesome
Erica Austin-KnoppTe Pūtahi - Christchurch centre for architecture and city-making

Enspiral

This Enspiral thing, through the vision of the magical Digital Storytellers team, in this case the venerable Mikey Leung + Peter Dowson, and also through the words by those who have taken part in this network of folks living with purpose and doing good. 
The retreat they hosted was the reason I went up to Wellington to finally check out the capital city, (re)meet some radical peoples, and to join in on this community. What a week! 
Back in the groove of things now with new energy and motivation, and without a doubt some great new connections to keep cultivating.

'Seeds: Talking Purpose' Podcast with Steven Moe

A few weeks ago, I sat down with Steven Moe, a corporate and commercial lawyer based in Christchurch, New Zealand, and had a solid, fun, recorded conversation on purpose and life. Steven recently published a legal handbook on social enterprises in the country and has been doing interviews with entrepreneurs and social enterprises about their journeys on his podcast named 'Seeds: Talking Purpose'. I feel honored to have been invited to be on the podcast. The growing list of humans and their truly impressive set of accomplishments and contributions to earth and society are humbling. 

Steven masterfully guided the conversation from my childhood to teenager years as an immigrant, as he waives into it his own story and aspirations, and we move into my university days and during that the exposure to the greater world, its beauty, its problems, my craft, and my finding of sometimes-often bumpy pathways that have taken me where I am currently.  As Steven articulates it even better than I can, "...In this interview we talk about his early life in Hong Kong, immigrating to the United States as a child, what formed him and gave him a sense of direction, his involvement in the Beacon Food Forest, a community-driven food-producing garden and forest in the city, work in Nepal after the earthquakes and his views about photography as a form of art and what makes capturing moments in time through photos so special."

Big thanks, Steven! The podcast can be listened to directly below or through the Seeds: Talking Purpose website.

sadf.jpg

2017 End of Year Time-Lapse Reel

Here's a little treat I have compiled together of time-lapse highlights from 2017. They represent 4 of the countries I've had the lovely opportunity to spend time in and photograph. Everything is going to fly by quickly and there is no fancy editing except for sequence change to a few beats. Don't blink because in this short video your eyes will see tens of thousands of images representing tens of hours compressed into 85 seconds. Happy new year everyone!

Music by the incredible The Polish Ambassador - 'Dark Between Stars'

Interview with Upstream Daily

Major gratitude to Alex & Fraser of Upstream Daily for doing what they do -- recording and spreading inspiration for me and so many others who tune in all around New Zealand and beyond. This was a memorable moment for me as it was just my 4th day in the country but yet I had already felt so welcome and supported by a thriving community of do-good-ers at the Social Enterprise World Forum. In this short interview, I talk about Conscious Impact - its founding, what our global and local team has accomplished together in the past 2 and a half years in Nepal, and also some personal inspiration and advice in being a creative professional.

PechaKucha Night Christchurch

What a special treat to find that PechaKucha named my presentation to be "Presentation of the Day" on their blog! It was my first time speaking and presenting in front of a group of 500+ and must say it was a bit daunting and I felt underprepared to deliver my best. 
Regardless, a heartfelt thanks to the Pecha Kucha Night Christchurch team, especially Erica Austin-Knopp, in putting together an amazing event and making this a reality for me. Also shoutout to Peter Wells, A.J. Kennedy, and Allison Zetts for supporting me and being there that evening! 
Check out my talk and the 20 images I chose at: http://www.pechakucha.org/presentations/finding-purpose-through-travel-service-and-photography

Fullscreen capture 1072017 54510 PM.jpg