Category: GEX 2016 Stories

Forest Ninja Camp Summer Earth Exchange

Vancouver, BC, Canada—Forest Ninja Summer Camp—Daniella Roze and campers

Vancouver, BC, Canada—Forest Ninja Summer Camp—Daniella Roze and campers

Thriving Roots Wilderness School offers the Forest Ninja Summer Camp with our amazing lead instructor, Alaina Hallett, and 15 awesome children in Victoria British Columbia. The children gathered materials for and created an owl together on their final day of camp. The owl was our way of thanking the land for giving powerful nature experiences and also as a way of sharing the beauty of nature with those who don’t get to see its beauty very often. We chose the owl in honor of the barred owl who visited us this week.

Treephilia

Kitsap County, Washington, United States—Tree death and beach pollution—Jennifer Wilhoit

Kitsap County, Washington, United States—Tree death and beach pollution—Jennifer Wilhoit

Why you went to the place you chose.
Falling trees due to erosion as well as myriad, direct human impacts are all over this beautiful treesy PNW. Several months ago this giant fell, finding its resting place near several others that had fallen in recent years.

What you did there.
We found a clearing on the beach where pebbles had been ground to a fine sand. It happened to be at the base of the cliff where trees have been falling.

What the people in your group felt about the event when they first arrived….
We felt dismayed at first because this winter-serene place is polluted with loud, raucous, littering, partygoer nonresidents in the summertime. They have little investment in maintaining the pristine quiet and natural beauty. We also noticed all the drainage pipes running like devouring snakes down the cliff side; we called them “unsightly.”

 … and how they felt at the end. (Was there a change in people’s feelings or mood?)
We were tired after spending several hours telling heartbreaking stories and gathering the items to compile our bird-art. But we were also filled with joy at the amazing creation we endeavored toward.

What it was like to make your RadJoy Bird.
We loved it! We used fallen limbs from one of the trees, seaweed, twigs, shells, stones and rocks, crab shells, desiccated pine boughs to make our prettiest GEX offering yet.

Whether the place itself felt different at the end of your event.
Yes, absolutely the place felt different. We felt we’d added something very special to a place many locals avoid. I actually want to go back there.

Any future plans for taking care of this place?
Yes. While we hike this beach frequently, we haven’t done much to care take it. Since our GEX, we have committed to visit, clean up, make altars and beauty there on a regular basis.

The Blue Crane

G2

Johannesburg, South Africa—the blue crane and other birds—Scotch Madhlophe

This year it was simple—I went to a nearby stream which runs down to the Natalspruit River, which is mostly contaminated by chemicals from the nearby industrial area. The Stream and the river are frequented by birds such as the Blue Crane. What we did—i went with my son and his cousins—the aim is to familiarise them with respecting birds as most young kids like throwing stones at birds. Feeling—the kids never really understood what we were doing at the end they realised and started commenting that they have learned out of that short trip. Further plans is to engage with local youth clubs and schools and look at what can we do to save the Blue Crane.

The Afghan Peace Volunteers’ Global Earth Exchange Event

Kabul, Afghanistan—For the land and soil of Afghanistan—Ghulam Hussein, Hakim Young, and Afghan Peace Volunteers

Kabul, Afghanistan—For the land and soil of Afghanistan—Ghulam Hussein, Hakim Young, and Afghan Peace Volunteers

When Australian permaculturalist Rosemary Morrow was sharing with the Afghan Peace Volunteers her permaculture knowledge and skills this past winter, a simple soil analysis in the Borderfree Nonviolence Centre’s garden revealed that the soil was “exhausted”, weak from years of war and destruction.

So, the Afghan Peace Volunteers have applied their permaculture skills in this very garden, mulching and planting to “repair”the soil. They have also planted tomatoes and potatoes, as food for survival in a war zone. On June 18th, in solidarity with Global Earth Exchange, some Afghan Peace Volunteers worked in the Centre’s garden, watering the vegetables and removing the weeds. We want the land and soil of Afghanistan to heal!

Ritual of Mourning and Closure

Greeley, Pennsylvania, United States—Wounded place on our land—Sandy Long and Krista Gromalski

Greeley, Pennsylvania, United States—Wounded place on our land—Sandy Long and Krista Gromalski

Our previous Global Earth Exchanges have been held at wounded places away from our house—Centralia, the Tennessee Gas Pipeline crossing of the Lackawaxen River, and Shohola Falls Recreation Area, all in Pennsylvania. This time, we decided to stay home.

We chose to perform a ritual of mourning and closure for the more-than-decade-old loss of our sacred space—the hill and upper half of our property where we used to go to escape the everyday claims of our lives: work, people, obligations, noise, unavoidable invasions like lawn mowing and leaf blowing, traffic and talking.