Category Archives: Environmentalism

Exploring Wisconsin – Deeply Rooted

A Camping Weekend

Last week, I had the opportunity to join some friends for a camping retreat in central Wisconsin. We met at a place I’d never heard of before: Deeply Rooted Community in Athens, WI.

About Deeply Rooted

Deeply Rooted is an intentional community in the woods of central Wisconsin. It’s completely off-grid, by which I mean there is no running water and the only electricity is provided through the use of solar panels. They do have a gas stove for cooking in the main lodge, but otherwise the place is completely rustic.

 

Things To Know Before You Go

For those interested in visiting Deeply Rooted, there are a few things you should know before making plans.

  1. DR community hosts several private events throughout the year, so check the website calendar to see when they are open to receiving visitors. You’ll need a reservation to visit.
  2. DR offers two types of accommodations. Visitors can bring a tent and camp on the land, or stay in the communal sleeping area on the second floor of the lodge. Think of a camp dormitory: you’ll be sleeping in your own bed in a large room full of other people in their own beds.
  3. You’ll need to be comfortable with using primitive facilities. DR offers no running water, but there are jugs of fresh water available for drinking and cleaning the kitchen area. If you want to take a shower, you’ll need to invest in a solar portable. This also means no plumbing. The DR community uses a composting outhouse.
  4. Prepare for it to be chilly, even in the summer. DR is far enough north that it gets quite cool at night. Those staying in the lodge will be kept warm by the large wood stove. Those outside will want to bundle up.
  5. The closest towns with amenities are Medford (20 minutes) and Wasau (30 minutes).

Summertime

Winter in Milwaukee may be horrific, but summer here is absolutely perfect.

I miss the drawn out, gentle unfolding of springtime in the South, but I’m also a big fan of the energy and suddenness of the season here in Wisconsin. Nature knows she has to move quickly in order to take advantage of the short warm season, so things here happen fast. Get ready for MKE summertime madness. (Thanks, Lana Del Rey!)

My schedule is pretty flexible right now (looking for a job, hello!) but that gives me plenty of time to observe this firecracker of a season. Every single day brings a dramatic change in the amount of flowers and green that we see, the diversity of colors, and the number of people in shorts!

I am particularly tickled by how pale the folks of European ancestry appear as they try to dress for warmer weather (myself included).

“Wisconsin Winter White” should be a Crayola color. We look like cave salamanders out there.

So I’ve taken a few photos to try and capture the burst of color here in Milwaukee. So many good things to come.

 

 

 

Earth Day Resolutions

Most of us are probably familiar with the New Year’s tradition of deciding on a resolution for the coming months. A new diet. Joining a gym. Quitting an unhealthy habit. That sort of thing.

But what about resolutions for Earth Day?

Regardless of our political leanings, I’ll venture to say that most of us want to keep our planet and environments healthy. If not for ourselves, then hopefully for the generations who will come after us.

Even people who find climate change science unconvincing can be concerned with the immediate and long term effects of pollution, our collective reliance on single-use plastics, and the alarming rate of deforestation.

The problems can be overwhelming. News reports and scientific data often paint a picture that evokes a sense of hopelessness and powerlessness.

But it doesn’t have to be so.

I’m a big believer in the wisdom that small changes can have a big impact if they we are consistent in their implementation. So, what would happen if everyone made a new choice for the coming year? A resolution to alter our behavior in practical, manageable ways for the good of our environment and the health of our planet?

In order to put my money where my mouth is, here are my three resolutions for this Earth Day:

  1. Stop using plastic straws. Disposable plastic straws are a huge source of pollution, and there are countries and cities around the world which are already moving towards banning them. Here’s one of many news stories describing the problem.
  2. Stop using disposable shopping bags. I already have reusable grocery bags, but I am not consistent in using them. I have a terrible time remembering to bring them with me to the store. Or, more often, I make an unplanned stop for groceries and the reusable bags are at home. Paper is a better but imperfect alternative, but at least paper bags are biodegradable. Here’s a post about a few ways to remember your reusable bags, and here’s a link to information about why reusable bags are important.
  3. Eat a low-meat dietIt sometimes catches people by surprise to learn that meat consumption has a negative effect on the environment. I won’t delve into all the details here, but as a quick overview the meat industry requires massive use of pesticides and contributes to deforestation as farmers clear land for their livestock. A more thorough analysis can be found here.

So that’s it. If I can manage to keep these habits for the next year, (and hopefully convert them into lifetime habits in the process) I will feel like I’ve made a small but significant dent in one of the biggest challenges facing our environment.

Other ideas? Feel free to comment and let me know what you’re planning to do for Earth Day 2018.