How do I make sense of this?

He’s always been the man he was, and he’s run a campaign of dividing, deporting, inhibiting, and destroying.  Then nearly 60 million Americans elected him President.  Now I’m being told to give this man an opportunity to lead; to “see how it goes,” as though I could forget his message since the beginning:

“Mexicans are rapists”

“Build a Wall”

“End the Affordable Care Act”

“Climate change is a hoax”

“No Muslim immigration”

“Punish women for making reproductive choices”

And this list goes on and on and on.  He’s a billionaire who cheated and lied, extorted and stole his way to infamy and somehow he’s become the symbol of the self-made man in America.  Millions and millions of blue-collar Americans have been duped. They believe he shares similar values, and an earnest desire to lead.  He doesn’t.  He’s always been about one thing, power.  We just gift wrapped him the most powerful position in the world.  Millions more who support a nativist, racist, and segregationist ideology have found a candidate willing to insinuate and say, both passively and directly, enough of the venom that these people need to live.  They see a man willing to “say what he feels” and “tell it like it is,” especially if it validates a narrow, fearful and blame shifting perspective.   We may not completely understand the beast that’s been unleashed; a disaffected, uneducated group of whites terrified by the fast changing demographics of the country they can barely recognize.  “Make America Great Again” is simply code for Make America White again.  It just is.

Of course those aren’t the only people who have voted him into office, in fact it appears that millions and millions of middle class white voters did too. Tired of corruption, greed and gridlock in Washington D.C., they assumed that this man would be the force behind obliterating all of these concerns.  He won’t.  He’s a part of this system.  He’s been rewarded for playing the game his entire adult life.  Some say they’re Bernie defectors who saw this man as the next best option.  He isn’t.  It’s an inconceivable comparison. One a man who worked alongside Civil Rights leaders in the 60’s, another who enforced exclusionary housing practices to stop Black Americans from renting his father’s apartments.  I understand that we vote on issues and elect  representatives who embody our own view on those issues, but I cannot understand how his supporters were willing to look past the misogyny, the racism, the irreverence for truth or conventional norms of decency.  It baffles the mind.

I don’t have to take it laying down though, and I won’t.  I’m committed to speaking up and speaking out during the long road that lays ahead.  To be defeated into silence is not an option.  It can’t be, not when the stakes are this high.

 

The coming transition

It’s been six years since I first began dreaming thoughts aloud on this blog.  The first ones were occasional ideas about a bicycle ride that would take me across the United States, as well as musings about my feelings concerning issues affecting the environment and anthropogenic sources of climate disruption. Ultimately this blog became the sound board for FoodCycle, the organization that I created through the help of many, to create collaborations between local farms and public schools.  For the many months leading up to the ride this blog detailed nearly every aspect of this nascent idea as I developed a mission statement, a website, a logo, a budget, a route plan and sponsorships. Months of committed work with my former partner led us toward an unbelievable journey across the United States on bicycles.  This blog was the source for a handful of reflections from our 4,500 miles of traveling (at 12 miles per hour) and continued to be the platform through which we shared the end product of our fundraising efforts.  Over the course of the next year we shared updates on seasonal and organic foods purchased and delivered to public schools in Brunswick, Maine and slowly FoodCycle’s work began to come to a close.

It’s been nearly three years since those last food deliveries were made and much has changed in my personal life in that time.  I’m writing today to honor that time and to plan a necessary transition toward the next great adventures that await.  As this blog has changed in the past, it will continue to do so moving forward and ultimately it will bear a new name.  The moniker FoodCycle is no longer indicative of my current focus and efforts, however I will always identify with the meaning that the idea conjures in me.  I’m excited to mark this transition through writing on topics that move me today, in the moment, in my continued development as an Outdoor Education professional.  Some topics that I’m currently interested in include issues of white privilege in outdoor experiential education, race matters and (straight white) male normative structures and how they influence outdoor programming.  My research is currently focused on the connection between the neuropeptide oxytocin and bonding, in-group trust and relationship formation in outdoor programs.  From time to time I’ll probably have a little bit to write about each or any of these things as well as many others.  I’m looking forward to embracing this move toward what’s been on my mind lately.

-Adam

400 Parts per Million

At the beginning, already five years ago, I began writing in this blog as a way of conveying my thoughts on environmental, social and personal issues.  I have long been an activist for environmental and humanitarian causes and at one point I was much more eager to share my thoughts about troubling issues.  Before FoodCycle launched, before there was ever a mission or a ride to support sustainable food in schools, there were thoughts about how to change a system that isn’t working for us, for our communities.  In essence this was the genesis for FoodCycle; my answer in some small way was in creation, the creation of something tangible that could combat an element to our culture that is killing our environment (and by association us): Industrial Agriculture.

In the years since this blog launched the tone and subject of our posts has focused more and more on updates about our work rather than opinions on larger systemic challenges facing  us, the inhabitants of this beautiful earth, due to the advance of global climate change.  With  no formal fundraising cause in the works, and while I sit and reflect on the small piece of the larger puzzle FoodCycle has tried to address, I offer this blog entry on recent observations to salient news events,

Last month, in Hawaii, atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations were measured at 402 parts per million (ppm).  This number marks the highest level of atmospheric CO2 levels in the 3.5 million years that represent human existence on earth.  It constitutes a concentration that’s nearly 15% higher than 350 ppm-a number that renowned author, activist, and founder of 350.org Bill Mckibben as well as many others have targeted as ideal to the condition of human life on Earth.  The sad and sobering reality is that if all anthropogenic sources of carbon emission ceased right now the concentration of atmospheric CO2 would continue to rise due to large terrestrial carbon sinks and the melting of permafrost carbon pools.  Compounding this issue is the fact that as recently as last week a 2016 Presidential candidate from the Republican Party vehemently rejected the notion the Climate Change exists-noting that “In New Hampshire there was snow everywhere.”

To highlight this banal rhetoric a Senator from Oklahoma threw a snow ball during a Senate hearing as if to underscore a disastrous logic that disassociates us from our own actions.  We can’t possibly be to blame for this, and plus it’s snowing in the Capital so who cares about the crippling drought consuming the most populous state in the country.  It’s too scary to believe, so business as usual it is!

I no longer believe we can rely on top down measures to combat the greatest issue of our time.  I no longer believe that sensible policy should be expected from those we elect to represent us.  I no longer believe that there’s room for the false pretense of “good choices” in an industrial society, that by driving a more efficient vehicle or recycling or composting we’re somehow doing enough to mitigate global crises.  It’s not enough.  It’s still too heavy a burden for this Earth of ours to bare.

What I do believe however is that we must fundamentally alter how we perceive consumption.  We need a new Consumption Consciousness.   We consume. this is something we cannot avoid.  We breathe consuming nitrogen, oxygen and other trace gasses, we drink consuming the beautiful bonded molecule of hydrogen and oxygen, we eat consuming the calories needed to advance the metabolic process.  But how did we get to a place where we feel entitled to every other form of consumption that defines our daily lives?  What does it take to break the bonds of this entitlement and where does one start?  These are the questions I see everywhere now, leading me to decisions that have (hopefully) life-long implications.

I’m beginning this journey-wherever it leads.

Adam

A new Journey awaits…

This Summer riders from FoodCycle are happy to announce they will hit the road again for a Maine to Canada bike ride.  Though shorter in duration and scope than our epic 2012 ride across the United States, this trip has us more than excited.  We are tentatively planning to depart from Portland, Maine for Halifax, Nova Scotia on August 1st.  As dates, routes and plans are finalized we’ll be updating this blog regularly.  Also, keep an eye out for our website (www.foodcycleus.com) which should go live again in the coming weeks.  Until then…

Cheers,

The FoodCycle Team

3,436!

Three thousand four hundred and thirty six.   That number represents the pounds of locally grown organic produce that we have worked hard to provide for Brunswick, Maine schools since 2012.  This past week Schools in Brunswick received our final installment of carrots and beets for the winter.  In our nearly 18 month relationship working with the Brunswick Schools we have collaborated to invest over $6,000 into our local economy by purchasing goods from the dedicated farmers at Six River Farm (Bowdoinham, Maine) and Fairwinds Farm (Topsham, Maine).  As we look back to celebrate the relative successes we’ve experienced over this period a new challenge is on the forefront:

How will we continue to support investment in locally foods in our schools?

We knew at FoodCycle, that eventually, the time would come that our financial resources would run out.  After aggressively fundraising during parts of 2011 and throughout our cross country ride in 2012 we decided to focus our emphasis on implementing a purchasing and delivery model when we returned home.  We have collaborated with school administrators and farmers, facilitating exciting working relationships that hadn’t previously existed.  The reality however is that we have funded these food purchases 100% from the generous contributions of our supporters, people like you.  Now the real work begins. Knowing now that a local food system as abundant and accessible as ours is in the Midcoast can provide higher quality foods for our schools-how do we keep the momentum?  How do we implore our municipal, state and federal governments to create incentives to opt into local food systems instead of food commodities programs?

The next phase will be a challenging one, but we’re excited to take up the fight.

Stay posted.

.-The FoodCycle Team

 

School Delivery!

Last week Brunswick Schools received 375 pounds of organic carrots from Six River Farm in Bowdoinham.  In addition to the delicious carrots, students in Brunswick schools will also be tasting organic  butternut squash and organic cabbage on the lunch menu over the coming weeks.

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