Thursday, September 2, 2010

Bigger Visions

Greensong, as a business was created out of desire to offer healthy natural skin care products to people using local, organic and fair trade ingredients at prices everyone could afford. The foundational idea was that it would be nice for all of us to be able to take care of ourselves in the best way possible, regardless of our income, with the added benefit of also supporting others to live in healthy and environmentally beneficial ways by doing so. While I love, and believe fully in, this foundational idea making and selling body products is not the end of the story for me. For me, learning and sharing about the relationship between our health and the health of the local and global environment is where the heart of the matter lies.

Greensong's products have always been created in response to people's requests for specific things for their spas and healing centers or by customers who came to my tables at various craft shows. In this way I think of Greensong as a grassroots, community based, slow food, slow money, thinking global and acting local activity. This is important to me as I see Greensong as a response to the global challenges that face us applied at a local level in an open and flexible way.

Continuing on this path of responding to what is asked for has taken me deeper into these various ideas over the last year. Many people have asked me to show them how to make herbal products so I began to offer classes here on Kauai over the winter. I spent most of the summer at the Findhorn Community living, working, engaging with people from all over the world and eventually presenting a week long workshop there called Herbal Allies.

I have noticed in my life that teaching always provides me with the greatest opportunities to learn. In preparing for these classes I delved deeply into the relationship between humans' health and their environment and I have come to the point where I see no separation between them. My view is that we humans cannot be healthy if the environments around us are not healthy and vice versa. Our bodies are the environment. We are exchanging minerals, air and water with everything around us all the time. These things flow in and out of us continuously. And, if they are contaminated and unhealthy than we are contaminated and unhealthy, if they stop we die. It's really as simple as that.

Other things I have learned in these explorations are that environmental degradation can be reversed by planting plants and trees. Water can be cleaned by plants. Pollution can be cleaned by plants and fungi. Climate changes can be mediated by planting trees. Deserts can become full of life and water using permaculture practices. And, problems of hunger, disease, drought, poverty, violence and warfare all arise in places where plant diversity has been reduced and all the trees have been cut down.

While I love developing and making all of the products, I feel like there is something more requesting my attention. I want to make these connections between health and the environment more clear and obvious to people. I want to make the concept that as we heal ourselves we heal our planet part of our common sense. I want to support people in taking responsibility for maintaining their health by engaging in an active and harmonious relationships with Nature and each other. I want Greensong to be a vehicle for these things.

So, changes are afoot. In this moment I have a bigger vision for Greensong. I've been studying lately with David Crow of Floracopeia and many of the teachers that work with him. I like very much his ideas of plant based, local, affordable community health care and replanting the global garden. I love William Siff's and Goldthread Farm's farm to farmacy program and herbal apothecary CSA. I love the way Floracopeia and Mountain Rose support small producers all over the world to grow more plants to make the medicinal essential oils often giving life to families and communities in the process. I love the way Organic India is spreading Tulsi around the world and in the process giving farmers in India new and vibrant lives where suicide had seemed their only option. And I love the way Geoff Lawton is greening the desert doing what seems impossible but is really rather cost effective and simple.

Many wonderful and amazing things are going on all around the world every day. It leaves me breathless and smiling. I'm not exactly sure what role Greensong will play in all of this but I do know that I intend step deeper into being part of the solution and shaping the changes that are happening.