Recent Developments in Bloom ;)

Recent Developments in Bloom ;)

Phew, it has been a fast-paced month at Bloom. Here’s a shortlist of recent development work:


We applied for three funding programs! 

Bloom is currently entirely volunteer run. We have approximately $200/mo coming in through memberships, which goes toward paying our communications subscriptions and monthly fiscal sponsor fee. We haven’t yet filed for our own tax-exempt status because the hybrid entity we want to create is fairly complex and we need a lawyer’s help on it. In my ideal world, our primary entity is a cooperative that is a digital-based smart organization, as that will allow the most flexibility with how we collaborate internationally and locally across the world.

I also had the privilege of creating a pitch deck for the Thriving Resilient Communties Accelerator, of which Bloom Network is a member. I presented it to philanthropists and foundation managers, along with colleagues Ryan Rising and Ben Roberts, and projects within this year’s accelerator program presented as well. It was so inspiring I kept crying. Canticle Farm in Oakland is doing incredible restorative neighborhood ecology, spirituality, and restorative justice work. The East Bay Permanent Real Estate Cooperative is mindblowingly brilliant and tactical. And NorCal Resilience Network runs a regional fractal of the Thriving Resilient Communities Accelerator.

I learned to my dismay that the East Coast US is not less into acronyms than the Bay Area, in fact it seems more into them. And for the first time I heard someone, Naomi Joy Smith, vault completely over that issue and suggest a totally made up phrase for a coalition: Tralo Scali instead of TSLC.

There have been two new local Bloom requests, from Uganda / East Africa and Philadelphia. The Philly Bloom is the first from our first wave of chapters to come out of the woodwork since we separated from Evolver. Often former organizers have seemed to be waiting until momentum picks up again, as it’s easier to bring people together when the network has a sail going. A sail, not a sale, see what we did there?

With Philly, and Columbia Missouri, the mother leaders’ kids are now old enough that they have more time again to organize. Bloom Northeast US is now forming – at the moment it’s just me collaborating with regional food/soil/justice organizers here, but holy moly they have a far-along regional food system governance network forming. Our next step is to point to some of their documentation through Bloom, while we talk through hosting some convenings in February 2021.

Oh yeah, I wrote the first draft of Bloom’s governance whitepaper for bioregional governance last week. Soon to push that around to some other movement leaders as early reviewers and to contribute. Christina Bowen is helping critique the structure, as it’s currently a combination of research findings, a list of modules needed for federated cooperatives, technical specifications for participatory budgeting processes, and examples of leadership inclusion and vetting which are important.

Last week I was in a work session with other members of the Global Regeneration CoLab, on frameworks for bioregional regeneration. I was in a breakout with Isaac Kinney, a citizen of the Yurok Nation on the Trinity River in California, and Mauricio Nunez based outside of Cusco, Peru. They each had beautiful descriptions of how their cultures define bioregions or something like it. The Yurok view themselves as intimately connected with Hawaii, East Asia, and all the way up to the Arctic with how their water flow goes. Mauricio shared how the Aztec viewed trade of resources, energies, and capital in a region, as ayni, mita, and minka. They traded across elevations, with people bringing crops from the mountains down to the valley, bringing their herds of animals along with them and naturally fertilizing the valley crops as they exchanged. He was so excited that recently with the pandemic forcing people to rely on each other and not tourism, that for the first time in a long while a herd of 50 horses came down to the valley in this way through trade. Mauricio runs a watershed restoration program with trans-national government funding to utilize regenerative agriculture and similar methods to keep healthy groundwater stores and climate health in the region. He described a similar program in Bolivia that he prefers because it is run completely bottom-up rather than from a government, and because it is based in the concept of reciprocity. Isaac Kinney is working on creating a regional economic-ecological association to support the Yurok nation’s well being, and to protect it through asserting native leadership with the regional resources. He’s also part of a Native Jurisprudence collective. One thing I’m keen to follow up with him on is how to practice reciprocity with Native knowledge, as he mentioned Indigenous people being taken advantage of and not reciprocated to when they share their knowledge systems and Native science.

Hannah and I have gotten the new Bloom onboarding materials ready enough for now, though we want to further simplify them. I’ve created a member login portal for our website (a very simple one – in the future we want to use sovereign identity sign-on). And I made a beautiful version of the Bloom Organizers Wiki, making it easier to navigate around our various resources for event production, action ideas, conflict resolution, brand materials, flyer design, meditations, etc etc. I’m very happy about how easy it is to make beautiful UX without knowing code. I’m interested in trying Web Flow and similar setups.

Caroline Savery, a cooperatives development consultant whom Bloom wants to work with to develop our cooperative, has invited us to attend an incubation course on platform coops, hosted by the Platform Cooperativism Consortium and Mondragon.

Christina Bowen who will be on Bloom’s Community Call on May 18 (2020) and I dropped in one-on-one outside of contract work together for the first time. She is working on Socialroots and Team Earth (sic), and we’ll be continuing to collaborate on mesh platform design, encouraging people to use open collaborative tools but not build walled garden platforms. We need platforms that are interconnected and modular, using shared protocols.

I’m working on an article about the latter, as I have strong informed opinions about why that is important, and why we should not waste time trying to build anything remotely like the interface of Facebook. I also want more fun expressive tools such as flexible currency and valuation mechanisms, and custom emoji sets :). As I wade deeper into decentralized development communities, I’m finding I’m not alone in having almost OCD-like obsessions about how collaboration through the internet can be. It makes me sad that so many people spend time scrolling angry at their screen because of how the platforms are designed, instead of being mutually empowered to make beautiful, just communities in the real world together with nature. 

I also had the privilege of creating a pitch deck for the Thriving Resilient Communties Accelerator, of which Bloom Network is a member. I presented it to philanthropists and foundation managers, along with colleagues Ryan Rising and Ben Roberts, and projects within this year’s accelerator program presented as well. It was so inspiring I kept crying. Canticle Farm in Oakland is doing incredible restorative neighborhood ecology, spirituality, and restorative justice work. The East Bay Permanent Real Estate Cooperative is mindblowingly brilliant and tactical. And NorCal Resilience Network runs a regional fractal of the Thriving Resilient Communities Accelerator.

I learned to my dismay that the East Coast US is not less into acronyms than the Bay Area, in fact it seems more into them. And for the first time I heard someone, Naomi Joy Smith, vault completely over that issue and suggest a totally made up phrase for a coalition: Tralo Scali instead of TSLC.

There have been two new local Bloom requests, from Uganda / East Africa and Philadelphia. The Philly Bloom is the first from our first wave of chapters to come out of the woodwork since we separated from Evolver. Often former organizers have seemed to be waiting until momentum picks up again, as it’s easier to bring people together when the network has a sail going. A sail, not a sale, see what we did there?

With Philly, and Columbia Missouri, the mother leaders’ kids are now old enough that they have more time again to organize. Bloom Northeast US is now forming – at the moment it’s just me collaborating with regional food/soil/justice organizers here, but holy moly they have a far-along regional food system governance network forming. Our next step is to point to some of their documentation through Bloom, while we talk through hosting some convenings in February 2021.

Oh yeah, I wrote the first draft of Bloom’s governance whitepaper for bioregional governance last week. Soon to push that around to some other movement leaders as early reviewers and to contribute. Christina Bowen is helping critique the structure, as it’s currently a combination of research findings, a list of modules needed for federated cooperatives, technical specifications for participatory budgeting processes, and examples of leadership inclusion and vetting which are important.

Last week I was in a work session with other members of the Global Regeneration CoLab, on frameworks for bioregional regeneration. I was in a breakout with Isaac Kinney, a citizen of the Yurok Nation on the Trinity River in California, and Mauricio Nunez based outside of Cusco, Peru. They each had beautiful descriptions of how their cultures define bioregions or something like it. The Yurok view themselves as intimately connected with Hawaii, East Asia, and all the way up to the Arctic with how their water flow goes. Mauricio shared how the Aztec viewed trade of resources, energies, and capital in a region, as ayni, mita, and minka. They traded across elevations, with people bringing crops from the mountains down to the valley, bringing their herds of animals along with them and naturally fertilizing the valley crops as they exchanged. He was so excited that recently with the pandemic forcing people to rely on each other and not tourism, that for the first time in a long while a herd of 50 horses came down to the valley in this way through trade. Mauricio runs a watershed restoration program with trans-national government funding to utilize regenerative agriculture and similar methods to keep healthy groundwater stores and climate health in the region. He described a similar program in Bolivia that he prefers because it is run completely bottom-up rather than from a government, and because it is based in the concept of reciprocity. Isaac Kinney is working on creating a regional economic-ecological association to support the Yurok nation’s well being, and to protect it through asserting native leadership with the regional resources. He’s also part of a Native Jurisprudence collective. One thing I’m keen to follow up with him on is how to practice reciprocity with Native knowledge, as he mentioned Indigenous people being taken advantage of and not reciprocated to when they share their knowledge systems and Native science.

Hannah and I have gotten the new Bloom onboarding materials ready enough for now, though we want to further simplify them. I’ve created a member login portal for our website (a very simple one – in the future we want to use sovereign identity sign-on). And I made a beautiful version of the Bloom Organizers Wiki, making it easier to navigate around our various resources for event production, action ideas, conflict resolution, brand materials, flyer design, meditations, etc etc. I’m very happy about how easy it is to make beautiful UX without knowing code. I’m interested in trying Web Flow and similar setups.

Christina Bowen who will be on Bloom’s Community Call on May 18 (2020) and I dropped in one-on-one outside of contract work together for the first time. She is working on Socialroots and Team Earth (sic), and we’ll be continuing to collaborate on mesh platform design, encouraging people to use open collaborative tools but not build walled garden platforms. We need platforms that are interconnected and modular, using shared protocols.

I’m working on an article about the latter, as I have strong informed opinions about why that is important, and why we should not waste time trying to build anything remotely like the interface of Facebook. I also want more fun expressive tools such as flexible currency and valuation mechanisms, and custom emoji sets :). As I wade deeper into decentralized development communities, I’m finding I’m not alone in having almost OCD-like obsessions about how collaboration through the internet can be. It makes me sad that so many people spend time scrolling angry at their screen because of how the platforms are designed, instead of being mutually empowered to make beautiful, just communities in the real world together with nature. 

Climate change, on one hand, is an invitation to come into deeper connection with nature. I’m happy to stand strong in demonstrating that connection together with you all, through storytelling and solidarity.

Lead with love,
Magenta
Executive Creative Officer (ECO), Bloom

cover photo by Meg Rivers, who recently contributed a set of flower photography to add to Bloom’s stock photography that network members can use

Announcement: Bloom Network a Finalist in Ledger’s 2nd Open Call

Announcement: Bloom Network a Finalist in Ledger’s 2nd Open Call

Bloom Network is happy to announce we are a finalist in Ledger’s 2nd Open Call, part of the Next Generation Internet Initiative.

Ledger is a #venturebuilder allocating up to €200k #equityfree to develop #humancentric solutions using #decentralized#technologies  such as #blockchain #DLT #peertopeer #datagovernance #privacybydesign #citizendatagovernance.

LEDGER is a European project financed by the European Commission. They are looking for 32 Minimum Viable Products and Services, in order to achieve new models that preserve citizens’ digital sovereignty, where data is a common good owned by citizens and wealth created by data-driven platforms is equally distributed.

Based upon our last ten years of research and development, Bloom Network’s proposal for this program is to build open source peer-to-peer economic modules using smart organization tools to support the emerging market of regenerative enterprise.

Specific to this moment of collapse, Bloom is connected with groups working around the world on a) open source supply chains, b) regional food resilience, and c) mutual aid societies. All of these groups are using Google Sheets + Facebook, and none are connected to each other. We want to support them with distributed ledger tools and use this opportunity to switch to more data sovereign and open collaboration systems.

On a technical level, these are some of the modules we will create, using established P2P governance software including Aragon and Autark’s Open Enterprise suite:

  • Local budgeting: the ability of local chapters to automatically receive a percentage of membership dues
  • Participatory budgeting among members of the cooperative
  • Cross-sector finance: bridging the funding gap to the grassroots sector which is inherently decentralized, by using decentralized project management software to empower efficient mobilization across organizational boundaries

These are some of the needs we’ve identified that we plan to address during the program:

  • The ability to collaborate across different movements and industries, without the intermediation of centralized corporations, and with data sovereignty
  • Greater visibility of regenerative initiatives, including peer-to-peer technologies, to the general public
  • Restorative justice governance: improving the ability of historically marginalized groups to have power and voice in decisions about where funding is allocated and what programs are developed

The modules we create will be both technical using existing decentralized governance and project management software, and also social, documenting the social processes and leadership methods that Bloom Network has found effective over the past ten years across our 100+ local chapter networks.

Our goal is to set up and test digital infrastructure for an international distributed cooperative that can be used and adapted by other networks. Through the Ledger program, we would receive support in selecting existing P2P privacy-protecting technologies to utilize, as well as business support to actualize the research and development we’ve done in the emerging market of regenerative enterprise, to support equitable post-pandemic economies.

Read more about The NGI Initiative: An Internet of Humans, and check out Ledger’s website to learn of more NGI projects they are supporting.

Bloom Logo Mythology – The Tracer

Bloom Logo Mythology – The Tracer

Like dropping a pebble into a pool, the actions you take every day to make the world a healthy place ripple out into your communities. Bloom’s logo is an illustration of the interconnectedness of our relationships with one another and our surroundings.

It’s also a wi-fi symbol on its side, signifying peer-to-peer relationships for sharing wisdom and resources together.

We don’t have an app yet, but eventually there will be a touchable Tracer icon, beckoning you to press the Bloom button to play a real-life story and watch it come to life around you. Everything about Bloom’s “brand” presence is designed to connect you with communities in real life who are making our towns and the planet more wonderful, nurturing places to be.

Stay tuned to read about our process of designing the logo!

Finance Innovation Relevant to the Regenerative Space

Finance Innovation Relevant to the Regenerative Space

cover image – grow by iconix user from the Noun Project

After ten years of volunteer research and development across the world in local grassroots community networks, Bloom Network is looking for start up capital for the first time, to set up a distributed cooperative. This will look basically like a media company that is rooted in localized actions and leadership.

Through the process of talking with finance professionals and adjacent network leaders, I’ve come across tools to share more widely. Many of the people I’m talking with do not know each other yet, yet are all asking similar questions and have symbiotic solutions. I’m thinking on how best to connect you with each other! In the meantime, here are some findings:

What problems have we found that require finance innovation?


Regenerative enterprises – whether they are for-profit, nonprofit, or grassroots non-monetized community projects – have some common challenges and unique ways of working that require novel financial structures. For example, these projects work best in collaboration, at a level that is more comprehensive than a normal transactional B2B relationship.

Staff sharing is one thing that will help this (administrative tools that support that are listed below). There is also clearly a “network weaver” role that is entirely being done by unpaid labor right now around the world, with thousands of people acting as bridges between different communities and networks to help people access the tools and resources they need, and to strengthen solidarity across movements who are working toward aligned goals. We’re also finding a need for novel IP agreements, international cooperative structures, and startup or capacity mentorship that is specific to regenerative development and regenerative entrepreneurs. They often are not the kind of people who would go get a traditional MBA, and even social impact entrepreneurship communities and accelerators are not quite the right fit for these projects. Finally, connecting regenerative projects that are operating primarily in a grassroots environment, with the major financial players who want to contribute to climate change solutions, is a cultural, communications, and structural barrier we’re working to address, in collaboration with leaders from the UN and large corporations.

Here are some of the movements, tools and processes we’ve encountered that can support regenerative enterprises. Some are working now, and some are at an early stage of development and ready for experimental use:

 Slow Money is an investment community of practice, building local food systems as a lever to address climate change, health, and community. Here are a couple of tools investors from Slow Money have built, to support local community investing:

  • Credibles – open a pre-paid tab with a local business to give them up front capital
  • Investibule – community based investing

Slow Money also practices a type of revenue sharing where the investor receives a 2-3x return and no equity. Ownership remains in the community, not in the hands of those with outsized financial power. Repayment is based on a percentage of revenue, so repayments grow along with the business’s growth.

DisCO – distributed cooperative organizations. Their manifesto is long but an engaging read! DisCO tracks labor contributions not just on paid contracts, but also on “care work” for the collective members’ well-being, and on pro-bono work they agree they should do. Collective members are then paid for all those kinds of labor from the paid contracts.

I’m convinced that distributed cooperatives are going to be a key underlying financial and legal infrastructure for the regenerative movement. They will allow us to pool services, federate member dues, and tap into large-scale funding sources such as government grants without each tiny project having to do a boatload of administrative overhead.

Analysis, Research & Reporting

On the topic of philanthropy, Global Green Grants Fund has a good approach to distributing funds in a decentralized way where decision making is in the hands of the communities. To get there, they have processes for building trust between the funders, program managers, and communities.

The need for living systems-oriented business models:

One thing we’ve found at Bloom Network is that regenerative projects are often necessarily more complex than a single service or product, and they often require more complex financial models. These projects are designed to address systemic dysfunction and care for the commons in ways that colonization and the evolution of the entire legal and finance structure of the U.S. and dominant world economy are designed to erode away. Leaders of these projects often have not gone through the industrialized education system, and they often do not have network connections to people or institutions who have capital. Communicators who can bridge that gap are needed in this space. Regenerosity by Buckminster Fuller Institute and Lush Cosmetics is at the forefront of this bridge.

Here is an example of a simple product business done in a way that supports local decentralized production and regenerative systems education:

Todd Anderson is a software developer and maker who has invented a new surf fin shape that gives surfers higher lift in the water (I don’t know enough about surfing to explain what effect that has or what kinds of surf it’s good for, but it’s exciting to people). He has also made his design into a file that can be 3D printed. He would like to share this file and teach “third world” surfing communities to use 3D printers, so that they can receive an income stream from people purchasing the fins they print, and so they can use the 3D printer to generate income streams from printing other products (localized manufacturing).

In order to make this economically viable for him, he would need to invent or find an IP solution where his digital design’s usage can be trackable, so that every time it’s printed and sold, he can receive a small portion of the sale price. I believe a solution to this exists already on Ethereum but I’ve just started asking around to find what teams are working on it. Todd wants to do his project through Bloom Network because he sees it as an opportunity to a) have more distribution reach than he would on his own, and b) facilitate communities to not only learn about 3D printing, but also about food sovereignty practices they can do, or any of the stuff you’d find on Bloom’s wiki.

On-site crowdfunding: One of the things we’ve been eyeing as we bring in financial capacity for Bloom Network to hire our current volunteer team, is tools that support crowdfunding and crowdequity raising directly on our website. So that members logged into Bloom Network can easily surf projects, find ones in their passion area or local community, and financially support. I’d love to see the internet shift toward having these tools as plug-ins rather than having to go to a site like Kickstarter, so that people can stay in a values-aligned webspace. With the decentralized web, I believe it’s possible to have peer-to-peer tools for this, where projects do not pay a 3-9% platform fee plus payment processing fees. Imagine: you visit Bloom Network’s website and see the “regenerative actions ticker” display a company in France who has converted an underground parking garage into a mushroom farm, and you have the option to support them with crowdequity investing so they can make more mushroom farms as car ownership declines with the uptick in remote work and the advent of self-driving shuttles. You make money, the world has more mushrooms, there are less steps and friction for you to do this.

(I only became a business person because mushrooms made me do it.)

Other finance innovation tools:

  • https://twitter.com/patio11/status/1230142988845629440?s=19 – A way for accredited investors to do small angel investments and reduce the amount of paperwork and legal expense involved for the entrepreneur and investor
  • Landscape regeneration teams are developing ways to work with bonds for funding large-scale regenerative projects.
  • A team at CrowdDoing is working on forest fire prevention derivatives to build financial incentives for risk reduction, in collaboration with insurance companies. Here are details on what they’re putting together.
  • Regenerative events ticketing model: Transparent costs and a pay-what-you-can structure. Our friends at Terran Collective in the Bay Area, California produced an event last year at the Mushroom Farm, a regenerative farm and events center, where they modeled a successful pay what you can event. They listed a recommended contribution amount, a minimum, and gave people links to their accounting spreadsheets. They came up short as the event started, but at the end told everyone that and requested more contributions from people who could. They met costs and beyond, and further allowed all attendees to allocate profits to a set of causes participants proposed that were in alignment with building regenerativity in the Bay Area. Terran Collective has a core group that practices pooled income so members have their needs met – they go deep with that, you can read more about it here.

Blockchain:

Aragon is a company that sponsored Bloom’s Governance Hackathon at Pollination 2019 (our regenerative futures conference). They have some incredible and futuristic tools. Aragon is the world’s first digital jurisdiction. Groups can start digital organizations in literally two minutes, and when disputes arise (like a contract dispute such as work not delivered), they can be settled through an online peer juror system. There is lots of software building going on in the space of digital organizations, to achieve more egalitarian financial participation, fast and cheap exchange across international borders, and highly sophisticated governance. RadicalxChange and DGov Foundation are two more good project hubs.

  • Aragon has a decentralized project management suite, for organizations to collaborate on projects across their different entities/teams. This will make the backend administrative process of regenerative business networks and cooperatives easier, among those that are ok with their finances moving through digital currencies. (Bloom Network will be hosting a year-long educational series on decentralized web and finance tools starting in June 2019.)
  • Aragon’s fundraising app (members of a community can propose a project, and people can contribute funds to a pool that issues a monthly payout to the working team on that project. People can withdraw their funds if the team is not delivering or has gone astray values-wise, etc.
  • That fundraising app uses something called a bonding curve which lots of blockchain people are excited about. Here’s an article that explains bonding curves. (Readability note: I am two years into lazily starting to learn about blockchain technologies and I only now read this as language that doesn’t just sound like it’s from another planet.) Thibauld Favre’s Continuous Organizations model also use bonding curves.
  • Aragon’s also developing liquid democracy and futarchy tools – much needed advances to the 17th century technology we’re using to run today’s global governments (facepalm). If you want to nerd on this, read up on what Taiwan is doing with digital democracy tools.
  • Bounties are another tool that helps distributed communities get work done together

Alternative Ways of Accounting for Labor and Value Contributed

  • 8 Forms of Capital, – I have a hunch that when we set up Bloom’s cooperative, it will be native to the blockchain on Aragon, and use some kind of digital token to track and reward contributions, payable in a more exchangeable cryptocurrency as money comes in to the network. We’ve been asking ourselves how we might allow people to buy into the cooperative with other forms of capital than financial. In addition to the 8 forms of capital we would add creative, and one other which we don’t yet have a name for! This seems bonkers complicated to me right now but I think there’s a there there. For now we’ll just gift memberships to people and orgs that really couldn’t even afford $5/mo so that we can keep the decision making and leadership power dynamics balanced.
  • Commons Stack is making a token engineering components library to align healthy incentives around using and developing public goods:

Financial Interventions Suggested by the Global Regeneration CoLab

  • Policy to require insurance companies to put X% of insurance premiums into regenerative risk reduction actions
  • Proper cost accounting of human and environmental costs that are externalized in extractive economy
  • Economies built on interconnection with watersheds
  • Quantitative easing
  • Regional regeneration bond market creation
  • Low to no interest loans
  • Measure success in regional gross regenerative product
  • ROI incorporating regeneration
  • Policy to shift government spend toward regenerative projects

Contributions to this article are welcome! Also, if you have a question about finance structure, or services or features you would find helpful to support your work, please reach out. Contact me here.

With love,

Magenta
ECO, Bloom Network


Many Things That are Good for the Planet are Sexy, Healing, and Relaxing for Humans

Many Things That are Good for the Planet are Sexy, Healing, and Relaxing for Humans

For the past ten years I’ve been researching the things that people can do to restabilize our climate, soil, and water cycles. Lately I keep smiling at realizing a pattern among many of them – they’re sexy! Let me tell you about the awesome things you can do or support that are great for you, great for love, and great for the planet and all life here:

Oysters. They’re sexy, delicious, and nutritious, yum! Oysters are a profitable farming crop and they create beneficial ecosystems for all life. Humans have destroyed 85% of oyster stands in the world, and resuscitating them will help everyone. Oysters clean water by filtering nitrogen and phosphorus – both problematic byproducts of industrial agriculture that end up in our waterways – and by making water more clear which allows more sunlight through, nurturing plant life. Their shells absorb carbon dioxide, and they provide habitats to many other marine creatures, as well as sheltering them from climate change effects. Oysters also can provide seawalls – sheltering cities from sea level rise and storm surges by reducing erosion and growing natural barriers – more economically positive than building concrete barriers. Talk about stacking functions (a Permaculture term that refers to making gardens or other systems so each element in them provides multiple interconnected benefits)! Zooming out a bit, I recommend reading about vertical ocean farming. Greenwave is one organization that makes open source business/technical models for this that entrepreneurs can adopt. And they call it polyculture vertical farming – that’s sexy :).

Sidenote wonderous thing – oysters can change sexes back and forth! (similar but different to nudibranchs, my favorite sea creature).

Caveats – climate change is also making it riskier to eat oysters. If harvested in brackish waters over 68 degrees, they can contain the deadly bacteria Vibrio vulnificus. Changing ocean temperature and acidification can also degrade the nutritional benefits of oysters, and harm the creatures themselves. Scientists are researching specific species of oysters that are hardy to these changes, to advocate farmers to grow them. (Incidentally, scientists are similarly researching resilient coral species to plant, to stave off the estimated 99% die off of all coral we’re likely to experience.) Lastly, oysters can accumulate copper, some species moreso than others. So…….. if you like oysters, there are some incentives for you to reduce your carbon emissions, contribute to carbon drawdown projects, and go zero waste so you don’t contribute to metals ending up in waterways.

Hemp and cannabis. As more places in the world legalize or decriminalize this plant, more research is being done into its health benefits. From relaxation to introspective insights that help your life, and much more, cannabis can be a friend when used in moderation. I’ve known cancer patients who aggressively used it to beat back their diseases. You can grow it in your backyard again now in many places. Its stalks provide fiber for clothing, paper, and building materials. I’m stoked that in my hometown in Montana, which is mostly an industrial agriculture community, there is going to be a hempcrete processing plant! Check out this gorgeous hempcrete roundhouse the folks at Starseed Creative built – it’s a good building material for people who have chemical sensitivities and allergies. There are cannabis lubes to get your lady bits high, cannabis food helps with chronic pain, and many people find their creativity enhanced through the plant. Yums all around. (Sidenote, concrete building is incredibly carbon intensive.)

My friend Will Kleidon, CEO of Ojai Energetics and former local Bloom organizer, was telling me about his research into the coevolution of humans and hemp. He described that humans tended to eat more cannabis during periods of stress, helping us weather the moment, physically and psychologically. I’m convinced that oppression of plants with psychoactive and healing properties is one of the roots of climate change in a strange way. The social inequalities and disconnection from nature that that form of cultural control / colonization has asserted, traps people in cycles of poverty and disease where they have to work in extractive systems designed for inequality. This is one of my motivations for working on Bloom Network, and supporting decriminalization of all entheogenic plants and fungi.

A side benefit with cannabis legalization that is sexy, is the creative product packaging, and the cultural changes that will come about with its more widespread and open usage. (Also, cannabis packaging is ripe for an ecological overhaul, as so much about it is wasteful. I will blog about this in the future.) I used to live in Grass Valley, CA (haha, I know), one of the capitals of cannabis growing in the U.S. It was really incredible to see what a local cannabis culture engendered in the community there – prior to legalization and the expensive permitting, families had time to explore other arts, healing traditions, and making music. People were more likely to buy clothing that used natural fibers and dyes, participate in local economies, and inspiring approaches to education – there are many public charter schools and options for homeschooling. My neighbor’s daughter was studying ecology and politics in her last two years of high school, including studying abroad. Another neighbor kid was in a wilderness skills afterschool class – he showed me that you can eat blackberry leaves (they grow in delicious abundance all over there) – he was so cute showing me to be careful to check the underside because some of the leaves have spikes. For a time there was a whole store there dedicated to what used to be called witchcraft – herbalism for people to make their own remedies for common problems such as colds, pain, and the transition of menopause.

Similar to what I said about oysters and copper, heads up that hemp is also a bioaccumulator of toxins, absorbing heavy metals and toxic chemicals from soil. If you’re eating CBD for health, it’s wise to check your source’s soil health.

I’m going to toss being gay in here as a sexy thing that’s good for the planet. We (mostly) don’t add babies, and as a broad generalization we make more love around us, if only because we know how much it hurts to not be loved by society for who we are, so we often tend to be gentler and empathic to those around us. And more diverse ways to express sexuality = more love to go around :).

So there you have it, just a few of the sexy things that are good for humans and good for the planet. I sometimes view climate change as an invitation to come into deeper relationship with nature again. While nature can be ferocious, I’ve mostly found that connecting with her brings infinite joy, learning, relaxation to my body, awe, and respect for all the interconnected forms of life that exist here. I hope this article encourages you to walk toward that and connect with nature in the sexy and good feeling ways that you want to.