Wyoming, Sudan, & The Almost Impossible
Wyoming. It didn’t take that long to get the hang of things here. Basically there’s mountains and rivers everywhere and it’s beautiful 360° around you.
I’m here to play with my nephews, to stare at some moose, and to let the week go by slowly.
It’s gonna be a good week!
THE WYOMING REPORT
Okay, a few things I gotta report on:
⚽️ First off, the US Women’s Team is absolutely ridiculous! But you already knew that.
🎙 I just previewed a trailer and some final edits for my Plant With Purpose podcast, GrassRoots and I am so dang excited about this thing. I’ll let you know when we’re live. It’ll be soon!
🏔 Wyoming is still crazy beautiful.
🍗 Also, the grocery store here has something called bruschetta wings and they are wonderful. Imagine something kinda like dried chimichurri coating the outside. Mmmmm.
THE ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE
The longer I stay in the business of trying to get people to care and participate in things that matter, the more I believe that your vision should be just one notch below impossible.
There’s totally a time and place for attainable goal setting, especially with schedules and budgets and tasks. But it can be easy to get stuck in that mode. If you actually want to get people to care and buy in to your vision, it’s got to be a big one.
Think about how Pixar plays these cards to get us invested in their stories: A rat wants to be a Michelin chef. A trash compactor on a desolate planet wants to fall in love. An elderly guy wants to fly to Venezuela in the comfort of his own home using balloons.
If the characters’ ambitions were far more attainable, we wouldn’t be invested in the story at all. Think about it: how interesting is a story about a guy who wants to reply to 15 emails before lunch? ⠀⠀
When people see somebody passionately pursuing a nearly impossible ambition, they get curious. They start paying attention. Then it happens. You get the first follower. Then a second. You find a few people who agree with you- your dream isn’t that impossible and there’s a way to get there. Then the crowd starts to form.
More thoughts on that in my latest post. But always remember to have a version of your mission that seems almost impossible.
I don’t exactly have the biggest social media presence in the world, but I want to be a good steward of my digital voice, and I think that often looks like trying to send some attention towards things that are in need of it.
The news reports 148 deaths in the past week but other estimates have that number as high as 500. “There is a massacre happening in Sudan right now and the world is silent. The world is silent and it breaks my heart,” reads one viral image among Sudanese Americans.
This country was the one that first got me invested in pursuing global justice, and it’s always disappointed me how little attention it gets in spite of some of the the things that it has gone through. That it is still going through.
• What is happening in Sudan and how it started
• A few pieces of hope amidst the turmoil
• Some things to do to help
And of course, I’m no expert. But I can point towards some local voices that should be heard. Learn more from:
THERE THERE & OTHER READS
Okay, believe ALL the hype surrounding There There by Tommy Orange. It’s such a well written book! It’s been my first read surrounding contemporary Native life and really appreciated it. 🦅 Multiple characters’ storylines converge at a powwow and the story is so brutal and empathetic.
Here are a few other reads I’ve taken with me on my recent trips:
📙 American Spy by Laura Wilkinson
The story reads like a classic spy novel, but the perspective of a black female CIA agent working to monitor a real world president of Burkina Faso throws so many layers into the mix.
📘 If Cats Disappeared from the World by Genki Kawamura
A dying man gets to add days to his life by ridding the world of one thing at a time. A quirky, quick read translated from Japanese.
📕Gingerbread by Helen Oyeyemi
I love Oyeyemi’s style of writing but I found this story a little harder to track.
📔 The Opposite of Hate by Sally Kohn
Such a good and important read, especially when it comes to having conversations about difficult topics. I love how well this book explores group biases and our tendencies while arguing.
START WITH WONDER
One perk of my job is getting to talk to so many people who work on environmental issues a number of different ways.
It’s helped me appreciate how many different ways there are to contribute to the planet, and it’s also helped me see what all these people have in common.
A sense of wonder.
So many of my podcast guests have ended up revealing that their environmental action came later. First was a sense of appreciation for the natural world.
A kid who grew up by a South African National Park now seeks to end poaching. A doctor who loved trees is now an expert on their Biblical significance.
Even though I grew up in a more urban setting, time spent outdoors and living in the Pacific Northwest started some of my early interest in wanting to be more conscious of my environmental footprint.
Most of what I try to do while not at work involve things that wake up the wonder.
I think wonder is the right fuel for any sort of work that makes the world better.
YELLOWSTONE & THE TETONS
It’s been a beautiful week, mostly because every single day took me to either Grand Teton or Yellowstone National Park— which I’ve decided are two of my faves!
When it comes to the National Parks, there’s a lot I have yet to see.
Here’s an odd-the-cuff checklist of what I’ve been able to get to the past 10 or so years:
But man, there’s still a lot to get to!
And I hope to do Denali next year. And then all the rad Washington Parks and the rest in Utah and...
When traveling internationally, it’s inevitable to start comparing the merits of living in each country.
One big thing I enjoy about living in the US are the diverse natural spaces out and around.
Not taking that for granted means saying yes to chances to visit and seeking to protect them for future generations.