It’s Blog Action Day

Blog Action Day

On October 15th, bloggers around the web will unite to put a single important issue on everyone’s mind. In 2007 the issue is the environment. Every blogger will post about the environment in their own way and relating to their own topic. Our aim is to get everyone talking towards a better future.

So read the initial announcement that caught my attention. Naturally I signed up. Now the day has arrived and here is my post….

My personal ideas about the environment and environmentalism grew up with me in the 1960’s when I spent time learning from Harry Estes my Scoutmaster, my Grandpa Sewell my mother’s father, Stewart Brand with The Whole Earth Catalog, and the Shuttleworths with their magazine The Mother Earth News. Spending time in the outdoors on a regular basis, working on conservation projects with the Scouts, camping and hiking, working with my Grandfather on “the ranch” all helped to form my early conception of environmentalism.


My Grandpa was probably the greatest and longest of my mentors when it came to how I viewed the environment and my place in it. He was a hunter who hunted to put food on the table. He was a gardener who grew by the organic method starting in the 1950’s. He was an early subscriber to the Rodale magazines and on my visits to my grandparents I devoured the back issues. It was from my Grandpa Sewell I learned to respect the environment long before it became cool.

While my outlook early on was formed in a hunting environment, not much has changed over the years. While I don’t hunt, I do not feel hunting is wrong. As long as I am willing to eat once living flesh I do not condemn those who put the flesh on my table. I do though condemn the inhumane treatment of animals being raised in crowded, filthy hells that I call Industrial Agriculture.


About the time I was coming of age, Harry Estes retired to the Sea Ranch on the northern California Coast. As he explained the concept of the development to me then, it sounded very much in line with the ethical treatment of the environment he had spent the preceding four years pounding into my soul.

“Your ownership of property at The Sea Ranch indicates a strong awareness of the special qualities of the place. After all, you didn’t have to come; you chose to come. For each owner this is a challenge and an opportunity.”
(Early Design Brochure from The Sea Ranch)

Harry Estes was an early convert to the ecological principles we take for granted today. It was his teaching that formed much of my own early awareness of the environment…

The original designers evolved a concept of dynamic conservation or “living lightly on the land.” A covenant would enforce stewardship of natural resources through an owners’ association of residents who felt an instinctive relationship with the environment.

Meant to be experienced as much as to be spelled out, the concept of “living lightly on the land” starts with respect for nature. Each landscape element should be recognized and nurtured, reinforcing natural forms and scale. The specific site provides the identity, establishing a “territorial partnership” with any structure placed within it, not upon it. Building materials should be drawn from nature: rough and simple.
The Sea Ranch: Concept & Covenant

Even today, the concepts behind the Sea Ranch resonate…


As I came of age in the early 1970’s, The Mother Earth News touched a chord in my psyche. I was an early subscriber and have kept a subscription going for much of the intervening years. I missed the troubles of the mid 80’s as I got really busy with a growing family and a career that left little time for much else.

Those early issues kept me abreast of what was happening around the country in the “alternative” communities that were on the cutting edge of the environmental issues of the day. Building on the earlier back-to-the-lander movement of a generation earlier, TMEN managed to bring the learning of earlier generations to the “long hairs” of my generation. The experimental communities that were formed in those years, while mostly gone now, informed and entertained those of us who were on the sidelines.

The years between the early 1980’s and the end of the century had me scurrying around trying to keep my family going, and like many of my generation the pressures of work and family caused me to loose sight of the issues I felt were so important as a young man. It has only been in the last decade that the issues from my youth have again taken on a growing importance…


I found this personal definition of environmentalism in line with my thinking:

Environmentalism is so not dead! by Carl Pope | Gristmill: The environmental news blog | Grist
To me, environmentalism is an ethic, the blending of scientific insights into a set of values: concern for the future, humility about our place in the complex web of life, and a commitment to look for and try to understand these connections. It’s not, as some have argued, science as religion, but a marriage of science and values derived, for the most part, from the world’s great religions. It’s an ethic that captures an essential truth: there is only one biosphere, only one ozone layer, and shared dedication to protecting these commons — the great collective inheritance of humanity — should be everyone’s concern.


From around the web…

The Butterfly Effect and the Environment: How Tiny Actions Can Save the World | Copyblogger

The corollary of the Butterfly Effect is that tiny changes you make do in fact make a difference. And when those tiny changes are aggregated among millions of people, we can truly make a real difference in how much nature we save for our children, grandchildren, and beyond.

Blog Action Day – The Environment Is The Issue. | The Good Human

Ten Ways We Became More Green To Help The Environment.
The last year has been big for us, as we have gone out of our way to try to make ourselves as green as possible without changing our lifestyle too much. I get emails all the time from people thinking that the small things they do will not matter, so why do them at all? In response, I wanted to put together a list of thing we have done (both small and large) to try to encourage others to do the same. If everyone does the small things, they will have a big impact worldwide.

Civility in the Workplace: We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.

Give up bottled water
Americans have some of the best tap water in the world. Your tap water may actually be better than bottled water. Why is bottled water a status symbol? Drink tap water from a tumbler or bottle that can be used over and over. (It’s good to wash them often according to ISU Extension.) That should be the status symbol because the user is environmentally astute.

Wild Places to Play | Fragments From Floyd

Give your young children and grand children the permission, freedom and encouragement to enjoy their own wild kingdoms near home. This legacy you bestow may go on and on, so that a little girl a half-dozen generations from today will chose to fashion her own bow-and-arrow from a piece of string and a limber stick she finds in the woods rather than spend the day shopping for new earbuds at the Sky Mall.

5 R’s For A Greener World

The way I see it, there are 5 R’s for a greener world – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Renew and Respect.

2 thoughts on “It’s Blog Action Day”

  1. I’m working on a project trying to get grassroots support for a piece of environmental/energy legislation. And as I travel from blog to blog I’m getting more and more inspired because of posts like the one here. Thank you.

    So, I’m working with a coalition to make sure Congress sends the president a strong energy bill with meaningful changes for our environment and planet. This legislation would be a monumental step toward stopping global warming. Please go to and sign the petition.

    Congress finally has a chance to pass meaningful energy legislation. The bill they are about to pass includes the best fuel economy standards ever (35 mpg by 2020) and a renewable electricity standard (15% by 2020) that guarantees the growth of renewable, clean energy. But there is a chance these two key advances won’t make it through to the final bill. This is our chance for real progress, don’t let Congress back down! And thank you.

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