What Burning Man taught me about liberation

I recently had the opportunity to do some writing for Beyond Burning Man (a Medium publication by the Burning Man Project) on the topic of the 2020 uprisings and mutual aid efforts sprouting up around the U.S. Read the full piece on Medium.

My nine years of participation with the Burning Man community have radically shaped how I experience myself and move through the world. The playa¹ and this community have given me a taste of what personal and collective liberation can be, as well as tools to practice and move towards it daily.

First and foremost, Burning Man taught me about my own liberation — the experience of being free.I think particularly for those of us socialized into whiteness, masculinity, straightness, an experience like Burning Man can be profoundly eye-opening…

Read the rest of this post on Medium.

Is WWII the Right Metaphor for Climate Change?

Last month, I wrote a response to Bill McKibben’s recent piece in New Republic calling for a “war” on climate change. It’s an excellent piece and Bill is not the first to use this metaphor. But, I have an alternate view…

The narrative of climate change has been capturing more and more attention in the media and politics this year as we see more and more devastating weather effects and significant steps forward on our international response.

We struggle to find good metaphors for talking about it — the scale and complexity of the problem, the risk to our society and planet seem greater than challenges we have faced in the past…

Read the rest of this post on Medium.


Dem Convention, Climate Council and other happenings

This has been a rather hectic 5 or 6 weeks for me with running shipping logistics for our Meso Creso camp at PEX Summer Festival, visiting friends in Utah for a few days, time with family in NYC and maybe most significantly, traveling to Philadelphia for most of the Democratic National Convention.

My initial plan was to go and share our petition on carbon pricing in the national platform, but of course as fate would have it things went in a slightly different direction. A couple of weeks before, I connected with a couple of delegates from California who wanted to organize a Climate and Environment Council within the Democratic National Party. Of course I had the same reaction that I’ve now seen many times since I got involved last month – “Why doesn’t this already exist??” – and rolled up my sleeves to help.

I ended up taking a key organizing role with this group (as someone with the organizing skill and the time to commit in the lead-up to the convention) and it was a truly powerful and eye opening experience, although not without frustration and disappointment at a few moments as well. During the convention, we successfully brought together over 100 people: delegates, prominent activists, party leaders – even Dennis Kucinich and James Cromwell stopped by for some of the proceedings of our kickoff organizing meeting. We made progress on bringing together a widely diverse group of stakeholders, agreed on the council existing as a vehicle to help grassroots organizers be heard and have a stake in the establishment’s direction, hold leaders accountable for party platform promises and hold space for those who’s climate concerns til now had been marginalized in the party. We’re developing the structure and formal motion to enact this council over the next couple of months, and I’ll continue to be one of the key organizers and deeply involved in the heavy lifting to make this happen.

The rest of the convention was quite the experience – I was deeply moved by the level of frustration and conflict on display, and felt grief about how this was being downplayed and hidden by the party story and the mainstream media. At the same time, I was inspired by the openness and welcoming, appreciative and empowering attitude of the many grassroots organizers I connected with – this felt so fresh and real and I immediately felt kinship with these people. To the point that they welcomed me to step in and help with our disruption of a Politico event funded by the American Petroleum Institute that was pushing fossil fuel propaganda left and right.

I was also deeply struck by the interconnectedness of the many groups, causes and individuals from around the country on display and working together, directly and indirectly at the convention (mostly within the progressive movement from my position on the outside of most of the formal proceedings). I showed up on the east coast less than a year ago with a clear feeling to focus on carbon pricing and a desire to learn what I could – so quickly I have felt my appreciation expanding that there is no single fight to win, no straightforward solution to the converging crises we are facing. And this experience really showed me much more profoundly how necessary all of these fights are, how important they all are regardless of whether local, state, national or international, and how deeply we must support and build upon each other. And of course my current hero Charles Eisenstein published a piece on this very subject days after the convention, which I’ve been sitting with quite a bit and highly highly recommend.


Disrupting Politico / API Event

Disrupting API’s propaganda event hosted by Politico

And, I would be remiss not to mention my deep gratitude for my friend Roman who joined me from DC throughout the convention and provided tremendous help, insight, wit, empathy, action and a growing friendship that I’m extremely grateful for.

A final cool note to round out the month – I have been thinking a lot too about how I might use my gifts here in DC more directly to work toward more unification and healing of the deep social wounds we’re facing – ones that lead to things like our inability to understand each other, increasing political polarization and the rise of national leaders where terribly low approval ratings, and ultimately to our relative paralysis in the face of crises of ecocide and climate change among others. A great opportunity for this has come up in a spot being offered to me on the Board of Directors for Catharsis on the Mall, a regional burn/activism event here in DC that I’ve been helping out some with since it was founded last year. Very excited to join that team and see how I can help shepherd it along!!


I-732 – Carbon Pricing in WA

I’ve been seeing more and more in the news lately about carbon pricing, including language being added to the Democratic Party Platform for 2016. I think this is awesome, as I see a carbon price as the single most effective policy tool we could employ in mitigating climate change. A group in Washington state are working to pass the first proper carbon price in the United States through a ballot initiative this fall, I-732. I’ve been quietly supporting them for the past year or so, and I’m a big fan of what they are up to and their persistence in the face of a lot of opposition. CNN did a great write-up on the campaign a couple of months ago. Great reading for anyone interested in what carbon pricing is about and the pressure it faces in the U.S.


Qntfy writeup in Mashable

A lot of my online presence is focused on climate change and related efforts, but I’m fortunate right now to also be working part time with Qntfy on a couple of projects. Mashable posted a solid article yesterday about our work and the prospective of our founder, my friend Glen Coppersmith. As Glen commented this morning, the tech aspect that we’re working on is a “… tiny little piece in a large complex human system of care,” which doesn’t exactly come across in the article, but I guess that sort of makes sense on a tech blog.


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