For a species that lives in heated boxes

God Bless America
A land where it costs money to be alive
Where we call ourselves the “US” because we seldom consider “them”
Where displays of wealth pose as happiness
Where we capitalize on the mistreatment and torture of others
Where our laws promise to protect all, yet persecute a specific few
Where we idolize native plants, but not native peoples

The Land of the Free
Or so it was once
A rich fabric of tribes
Free of poverty
Free of the anthropocentric concept of land ownership
Free of systemic discrimination
Rich in tradition, values and love

The Home of the Brave
So brave we ferociously defend the existence of weapons
Weapons that are said to protect, but prefer rather to
          take take take
Take lives
Take mental health
Take the stability and hope of invaded countries

God Bless America
With the humility to see that we do both harm and good
With the foresight to live sustainably
With the science to advance desalination
With a leader who will care for the poor
God Bless America
Because look at the “US.” We need it.


I’d love to start a conversation with the poem I wrote this week. I have recently learned about concepts such as biomimicry where humans are considered a part of nature rather than separate from it. Therefore, they can learn things directly from nature to implement into practice and design rather than repetitively taking raw resources from it. For example, scientists have developed a light bulb cover that closely resembles the nanostructure of a firefly belly. And one company has worked on a wall covering for hospitals that wicks away bacteria like shark skin to eradicate the need for deep cleaning with chemicals.

Do you agree with the idealized “oneness” with nature that we often associate with Native American culture? Do you agree with that commonly made association to begin with? Have human beings evolved too far into an existence of impermeable surfaces and chemical treatments to revitalize the resiliency of our planet? Should we strive for green urbanism in future development or could it ever be possible to scrap the concrete and restore the land for more ecologically sound uses?

Get this: ecosystems create zero waste. Yup, zero. Humans have more of an “out of sight, out of mind” approach to trash, but we’ve all forgotten the critical lesson in third grade where we learned that there’s no new water on Earth. Remember? One kid couldn't believe he was drinking dinosaur water and another made a joke about drinking toilet water and everyone giggled about the permanence of their choices. Welp. We’ve all grown up burying trash in soil. Soil that soaks up the water at some point in its cycle. I can't help thinking that we’re infusing used diapers into our drinking water more often than fresh cucumbers or fruit. But those are essential products, right? Debatable. Check out this girl who hardly creates any waste whatsoever! I’m not even remotely close to this level of dedication, but seeing her helps me reimagine what normal could look like if we really wanted radical change.

At work this week, we got to take a VIP tour of the Field Museum’s herbarium. It was astounding! There are about three million specimens, recording details about plant life from all around the globe. I was stunned silent, thinking of naturalists on rickety, old wooden boats with newspaper-wrapped plant samples, hurrying home to share what they’d found. Their handwriting was right before my eyes with those very same plants. I was filled with reverence for the people who devote their life’s work to the creation and upkeep of these types of facilities. One of many incredible things that they house in the herbarium is a collection of photographed plants from Berlin. The Berlin herbarium was bombed in 1943, and many records were lost, but this incredible network of copies and information lives on at other herbariums. When I think of the heavily guarded seed deposits around the globe, I think two thoughts simultaneously. “Wow, that’s so important and necessary” and “Wow, we’re feverishly preparing for an inevitable disaster. Why can’t we turn this ship around?” Maybe humankind doesn’t want to change the way we develop. Maybe cities are the natural evolution of villages. This conversation brings us to the difference between conservation and preservation and which is more valuable in 2016. What do you think? 

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