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This was originally supposed to be newsletter content but we never sent it.  I blame the pandemic. Enjoy

50, no 38 things you can do to celebrate the 50th Earth Day

Hi, everyone. What a strange time we’re in. I admit it’s been challenging for me to appreciate the chaos, anxiety, and suffering in places like Italy and NYC when our lives at Be the Change Project have changed so little.  We normally live a slower, simpler life with a lot less money than normal folks so aside from canceling some programs and workshops, this pause all around us just feels...good. A little quieter without all the planes in the air.  Less internet and email work.  A few more phone conversations with friends and relatives. Liam back home full time.  So I feel blessed but also privileged.  I feel joy at less pollution but also wonder how people without jobs are getting by.  In 2011 over 200 people contributed to our purchasing a run down house that became the BTC homestead so we don’t have a mortgage.  But I remember the stress of having one in our first house when we even had steady jobs.  


Katy is doing a lot of work on our land - gardening and planting, pruning and building soil, fixing the drip irrigation, and so on.  I continue to build the new house at the lot and hope there is still a family with a job that’s part of the NV Housing Authority system that can buy it as part of a Community Land Trust.

We’ve got both kids at home again.  Liam was in 8th grade this year at High Desert Montessori Charter School (the same middle school program we started in 2006 when he was 1!) and is glad to be back.  “Do you miss school?”  I ask.  He responds, “The negatives of school outweigh the positives.”  Hmmm.

We continue to collect food and get it to those in need.  Right now the majority of it is going to the homeless encampment under the Wells Ave bridge where a few hundred people are camping out and likely looking forward to consistently warmer weather.   


The Little Pond


Coronavirus is here  

So is Spring

Blossoms of peach, cherry, apple, service berries  

Robins hopping around looking for worms 

Will they nest in our yard again? 

A Cooper’s Hawk lands by our little pond 

Hops around, too, looking for a perch to reach the water

Finds one and takes a drink

And frogs!  Frogs croaking away at night from that same pond

One, two, three, maybe even four

We crept outside that first night

Excited and impressed - so loud for such little creatures

We hoped for years that they’d show up

We built it, would they come?

A little pond in our little oasis

An oasis in a city 

A city in a desert


But things are different and this week we won’t be gathering at any festivals to celebrate our Mama for the 50th Earth Day.  But, we can still show her we love her. 

50 is a pretty special number so what about 50 minutes for Earth Day? Or, 50 minutes every day for a month?  What about 50 acts?  What about enrolling 50 people in a cool project?  


Tikkun Olam, in the Jewish tradition, means “world repair.” It’s the idea that all of us have a responsibility to do our part in making and leaving the world a better place. We can’t solve everything so we do our part - it’s a long view.  Further, it means that through our work we make the beauty of creation visible so that it can be celebrated. I think that’s appropriate for Earth Day: how can we do our share?


Here’s a list of suggestions for connecting with the earth and contributing to its repair.  They’re not in any order of importance of relevance.  Some are small and easy, some you know and may already do.  Some are bigger, multi-year projects that require some space.  Some are annoying to do and involve paperwork but can have big impacts. Some involve your kids, which you may not even have.  I invite you to consider leaping.  Take a risk and go bigger and deeper.  Those of us who can, must.


Send me a pic or a few words of what you do.  I’ll share them on our website or on facebook. If you have a question on how to start or need info on some topic, shoot me an email.



  1. Get some sun on your body

  2. Start a food forest 

  3. Walk or bike

  4. Turn off your lights and electricity.  A night, a day, more?

  5. Divest from icky companies

  6. Make a bat or bird house

  7. Pee outside

  8. Plant a vegetable, or a few, call it a garden

  9. Plant a tree (check out Nate’s plant sale:

  10. Study Permaculture and then do Permaculture.  Get involved with the Northern Nevada Permaculture Meetup group. 

  11. Compost your scraps (or have Down to Earth collect them)

  12. Buy your veggies or meat or peanut butter the Great Basin Food Co-op or your local co-op where you live

  13. Eat less meat or go veggie or eat meat that is raised well

  14. Share seeds 

  15. Bank locally with a credit union

  16. Get those plastic bags out of that know the one

  17. Make a greywater system: put a hole in your wall, run some pipes to a woodchip basin.  Plant things, see what others show up.  

  18. Take your kids outside. No kids?  Take yourself outside.

  19. Look at a stream, really look.  Find an aquatic insect: a mayfly or maybe a caddisfly in it’s glued-together case of sticks or pebbles under a stone.  Ahh, thank you water.  

  20. Plant Egyptian Walking Onions.  They thrive in our climate, they’re perennial, they fall over and plant themselves year after year, they taste good and are one of our first foods to pop up towards the end of winter/early spring.

  21. Plant some native flowers for the birds and bugs - think habitat

  22. Snack on elm seeds or eat them like cereal.  Super yummy, super-abundant, a superfood.

  23. Buy only 100% recycled paper products

  24. Volunteer with a local enviro nonprofit

  25. Align your spending with your values - check out the book, “Your Money or your Life” or “Radical Simplicity” by Jim Merkel

  26. Get some good sleep, repoeat

  27. Use less plastic - check out  Black Rock Refill for better products we all use like toothbrushes

  28. Share stuff

  29. Insulate your attic better

  30. Repair something.  Remember sewing?

  31. Get solar power panels

  32. Get solar hot water panels at Sunvelope - they’re based in Sparks, NV!

  33. Sprout seeds and eat them

  34. Earth-out your house - clay paints are easy to make and use and clay already ‘Covers the Earth’ (that’s a reference to the heinous Sherwin Williams logo)

  35. Start a worm bin - vermicomposting

  36. Give money to causes you trust

  37. Buy clothes from thrift stores (when they’re open) or Patagonia (check out their Worn Wear site...when they reopen 

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