What is a #wildeseed?

   You are a wildeseed! Wildeseeds are all around us! Being planted every day, every minute and growing, always growing!

W I L D E S E E D S: Simple acts with profound outcomes.

Wilde Canyon is inspired by radical simplicity. By the small voice inside you telling you what's right and what's ready to be made right. It’s inspired by people who answer the call to leave their corner of the world better than they found it. People like CA Representative, Ted Lieu; animal advocate, Marina Shaker; and Michelle, the Greenpeace canvasser who stands in the sun for hours to spread her message of environmentalism.  All these folks are featured above received a tube of balm as a thank you for their dedicated efforts.

Examples of tiny-but-mighty forces abound in Nature. Like the humble milkweed seed. Milkweed are the only plant where monarch butterflies lay their eggs. These Monarchs are necessary pollinators who drive our ecosystem, and produce our food. Those tiny seeds are responsible for so much and now we’ve given them another job. A milkweed seed is in each tube of Wilde Canyon lip balm. It's there to remind us that what goes into our shopping carts goes into our body and into our planet. It’s a wildeseed sowing the notion that even small choices, like buying a lip balm, have big consequences. From compostable containers to stripped down formulas - Wilde Canyon wants to make healthy choices easier.

So now that you know what a wildeseed is . . .

How will you sow your wilde intentions?

Who's wildeseeds will you nurture?

How will you make space for the least among us?


Mni Waconi

I wrote this the day the last warriors were driven from Oceti Sakowin. Long after I had left camp and returned to Los Angeles. It was an emotional day for many of us who could only watch livestreams of our bruised and cold and tired brothers and sisters. And Pray. I wrote this to make us all feel better. Mni Waconi. Water is Life. Agua es Vida. 

Kneel down and breathe deep into your bottom belly. This is a moment to pray for mother earth.

This is only one pipe of many. This is one part of a bigger picture. Feel this sadness that weighs on you today – feel it so deeply that it hurts and burns.

And never forget it.

And tell everyone.

And buy a hybrid, and boycott plastic and say, “no straw please.”

And keep caring for yourself and making art. Because,

Self Care is the Primary Act of Resistance.

We are all just marching together. There is no destination. The valleys are part of the wave, they are not wrong in their very existence.

We are the victors. We have already won. This is NOT a loss for us and you dishonor the warriors by calling it so.

This is our victory.

We are growing our pack and getting stronger. Connecting deeply to one another as the opposition is shaking with doubt. Losing numbers to better paying jobs. Losing soldiers as their hearts turn and they drop to their knees at the sight of us. We are growing. Forgiving one another. Forging bonds and learning each other’s language.

This wasn’t the end. It never was going to be the end.

This is the prologue. To the new beauty. Of our new reality. Where we’re finally family.

Let them take Oceti. We have each other.

Sacred Fires

As I write this, as I wake, as I fall asleep, as I eat, as I work, as I wonder what the week ahead will bring . . . there is singing. Singing and drumming around a sacred fire here in camp. This fire never goes out. I don’t know when it was lit but it’s been burning for months, at least. Our Two Spirit camp is traditional and has a sacred fire, as well. It never goes out, you may not smoke or eat near these fires and should behave near them as you might in a church. No smoking near these fires but you can and should offer tobacco. Before meals someone makes a spirit bowl with food for the spirits and ancestors and we all gather around the fire to pray before eating each meal. The singing starts at 7am, it goes until at least 11pm, sometimes past midnight. There is an M.C. whose voice is smooth and comforting and strong. I have no idea how it’s holding up all these hours in this weather. Many people sing throughout the day, but it is the same man speaking every windy, freezing morning. He says, “Wake up! This is not a vacation!” He says things like, “Joy has room in her car for a one-way ride to Bismarck, leaving at 3pm.” And he says, “The snow is coming down but we’re still here, we’re not going anywhere.” Shouts of “Mni Waconi” rise up from the camp periodically throughout the day.

The constant fire, and the constant singing. I will miss these when I leave camp. They’re wildly comforting. They’re also a constant reminder of why we’re all here. This situation can’t last forever. It has to come to a conclusion, a culmination, a crescendo – it has to come to something and we’re all wondering what that will be. The tension is like a drum constantly beating. Steady. There's a rumor that the police are allowed to use live bullets – not rubber ones now (there's a lot of rumors floating around camp and online) and there are thousands of soldiers on the way here to take those bullets in just a few days. Constantly drumming, singing, offering tobacco.

#mniwiconi #istandwithstandingrock#ocetisakowin #waterislife

Camp Orientation

First 24 hours into camp have already been so rich. Went straight to a 2.5 hour orientation to learn Lakota/Dakota/Nakota values, four rules of camp, and so much about inclusivity, intersectionality, appropriation, extracting and considering privileging, being a respectful guest and thinking before acting. The action and organization here is super thoughtful. This is a place of healing. A place for healthy ways to root and grow. Staying in Two Spirit camp, it gets bitter cold at night but my setup is warm and I've been invited into permanent structures so I will be safe and warm for the duration of my stay. #mniwaconi #nodapl #istandwithstandingrock #waterislife#aquaesvida #aquasagrada #očetíšakowín #ocetisakowin #climatechange

Why I Stand With Standing Rock

What would possess someone to leave the comfort of their home and loved ones during the holidays to camp in a freezing cold field surrounded by strangers? What's wrong with turning to our own sources of oil and reducing foreign dependency? What's the harm in another pipeline? 

There could be many answers to these questions, but these are mine. 

The stronghold of water protectors that have set up camp at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North and South Dakota are protecting the Missouri River. A non-renewable source of water for millions of Americans, mostly non-native. We are already in a global and national water crisis and we cannot afford to lose this river. The pipeline is also planned to run through part of their land that is sacred tribal burial grounds, and is rightfully theirs and not up for sale according to the (ignored) Laramie Treaty of 1851. President Obama has issued a temporary stay of construction and recently The Army Corps of Engineers have suspended the permit they issued a couple months ago in order to reconsider the tribes arguments. The Chief of the tribe, David Archambault has even been to speak at the UN, which is now taken up alliance with the tribe and requested the pipeline be stopped. You can find a more comprehensive timeline of events here. 

This stronghold has become about more than protecting the Missouri River. It's become a line in the sand between the people and Big Oil. Between those who understand the dire situation our climate is facing and those who perpetuate the climate crisis while touting a base-less need for energy or jobs. Yes - we need energy and jobs. NO THIS PIPELINE IS NOT A SAFE OR SMART WAY TO PROVIDE EITHER. The clean energy industries already employ more people than the oil industry and still have much room to grow. This pipeline is a money grab by greedy profiteers who know they can get away with putting the pipeline on native land because they've been getting away with it since . . . well, forever. The pipeline was originally slated to go through a different city - a white city - a was easily re-routed by those citizens in the planning phase. The natives have been putting up a fight since it was proposed, yet their voice was ignored.  There are no safe pipelines. Ground moves, pipes leak, and burst and the spills can never be cleaned up. 

This is not about jobs or energy. This is about justice. The kind of collective justice we don't know how to talk about in this country but we die trying to. This is about justice for the planet and respecting shared resources over private profit. This about racial and environmental justice and looking at our practice of polluting poor areas because they have less resources to defend themselves. This is about learning from our native cultures who think collectively, who think in generations, and who live in respect for life. 

It's less about 'Natives vs Big Oil' and more about the kind of people we want to be moving forward. It's about saying, enough is enough - our planet and people can't take any more. 

That is why I am packing up my things and standing with Standing Rock.  Please notice - when reading this and a lot of what people at Standing Rock write - there is an absence of words like fight, protest, or standoff.  This is not a fight, this is not a protest. This is a mother rushing to her child's side when a man comes to strike them. This is protection of our most precious life-giving resources.

The need to support the protectors is heightening. Not everyone can leave their home and support with their body and talents, but I can. And I ask that you come with me. If not in body, in spirit. Follow my social posts, sign up for the email list, donate to my expenses or post this on your own social pages. 

I plan to collect stories and statements like this from protectors at camp. I plan to ask them what moved them to stand and. I look forward to hearing their answers and sharing them with you here on this blog. I hope by sharing their motivations, we can invite more people to stand on this side of the river. 

Water is life. "Mni Waconi." 

Faucet Dissonance

Los Angeles, once deemed “the nations water archvillain” has changed it’s ways to significantly reduced its water consumption since the 1970’s despite growing our population just as dramatically. A host of factors from policy to programming influenced the worst-to-first rebirth and now we’re the leaders in cutting-edge conservation innovation. The San Joaquin Valley is fast becoming ‘Blue Tech Valley.’  There Fresno State plays host to clean water technology resources. Just this year Fresno State’s Water Tech Center won a 1.1 million dollar grant to fund local irrigation pilot programs to discover scalable solutions to global farming woes. According toHelle Peterson, director for the Water, Energy, and Technology Center in Fresno, “Just like Silicon Valley was an innovative hot spot that fostered the tech boom, we’re trying to create a similar critical mass of companies in the water technology field to gravitate here.”

And with water supply shrinking as rapidly as demand is growing, that agile hive-mind is exactly what the slow-to-scale water industry needs. According to Danish scientist,Peter Holme Jensen, if we equated the progress of blue tech with big pharma, it would be as if they haven’t invented a new drug in thirty years.” But if Blue Tech Valley can leverage the speed and agility of Silicon Valley, that analogy will be a footnote in a much brighter story.

But how do individuals support the larger picture of industrial change and water conservation? Where do we see ourselves in the planetary balance of supply and demand? In the instance of a billion dollar desalination plant in San Diego – meant to supply fresh water for up to a decade – we don’t see ourselves hanging in the balance at all. When desalination plants go up, they are amid much debate (in some cases ten years), backed with little faith (their efficacy is debatable), and come at a very high cost (see billion dollar remark, above). One issue with desalination is the fact that once plants start supplying fresh water at a higher cost, the demand decreases and the need for them is no longer. Why, then can’t citizens police their own usage in the first place and obviate the billion-dollar boondoggle altogether?

Enter Cognitive Dissonance.

Cognitive Dissonance is “the state of having inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes, especially as relating to behavioral decisions and attitude change.” For example, knowing that we are draining the Sierra Nevada snow packs that supply our burdened water supply but taking long, hot showers anyway.

A 1992 study by Chris Ann Dickerson at UC Santa Cruz concluded that when a subject supports a particular goal, but their behavior is not consistent with that goal, dissonance could be aroused to change behavior for the better. Using three modes of influence -Informational, dissonance-generating, and persuasive – the study sought to uncover the best way to influence personal behavioral change as related to water conservation. Informational campaigns are largely used to influence attitude, but not behavior. Persuasive campaigns influence attitude and behavior but one who is swayed to easily can always be swayed back into old habits or away from the desired outcome.

“In contrast, dissonance-generated persuasion is highly involving because it entails a challenge to a person’s self-concept. Dissonance would occur, for example, if I believed I was a moral person, and then found myself in the uncomfortable position of having done something I considered immoral. To reduce this dissonance, I would need to rethink, or “justify,” my actions in order to make them more consistent with my self-concept-typically through changes in relevant attitudes or behaviors. This subtle form of self-persuasion is powerful because the individual’s self-concept is directly engaged in the process of attitudinal or behavioral change (Aronson, 1980).”

Subsequent studies have had similar findings about applying cognitive dissonance to behavioral change of conservation habits. 17 years after the Dickerson study, Marc Warsowe even developed the Aqua Pedal for homeowners to circumvent cognitive dissonance and let conservation become as automatic as driving a car.

Pointing out and then resolving resolving internal dissonance is a way to spur behavioral change.  But how can messaging, programs and policy leverage this psycho-social mechanic to relieve the immediate pressure on strained resources in the face of our current climate crisis?

. . .

This question is one I’m constantly asking myself. Whether I’m watching a family member turn on the faucet and leave the room (!), or I see a busy mom who doesn’t notice the plastic toys and litter her child is dropping, or even when I turn on the shower to let the water heat up with no bucket to catch the precious runoff I’m to chilly to take advantage of. I’m working on solutions now and would love to have your input! To discuss, challenge or support this process, please reach out to me at contact@amandajabraham.com or find me on twitter at @amandajabraham, or just look to the right of this article.