Erin Beasley: Ecosystem Restoration for A Healthy Planet- Episode 66

Erin Beasley: Ecosystem Restoration Camps - Episode 66Join Robert and his special guest Erin Beasley. It is worth stretching our brains and hearts to comprehend her message and its potential positive implications. Erin is the Executive Director of the non-profit Ecosystem Restoration Camps in the USA. It is under the umbrella of psycho-politics that Robert welcomes Erin to the show because she represents it so well. Ecosystem restoration and better land management practices are one of the top tools that we have in our tool belt, anywhere around the world, to respond to climate change. These practices are relatively inexpensive and generally underfunded, but fortunately for our planet, gaining in recognition.

The world needs us to take action and think about our potential to respond from a protective place toward the world. We are not going to achieve a healthy planet without asking how we can contribute in small or large ways, whichever is viable for us. Hear Erin’s friendly nature and glimpse her unique perspective on taking care of nature through regenerative land management, ecosystem restoration, and good old-fashioned getting your hands dirty. Working outside in the service of nature is something that often gets to the core of who we are. It can make us feel better and more relaxed. It can make us feel empowered and motivated and a part of something larger than ourselves. Finding a way to get involved and be able to take action is part of unlocking our contribution to our community and the space we inhabit here on earth. Robert invites you to reflect on, what is my role? We have the opportunity to contribute in the smallest of ways to collectively have a huge impact.

Mentioned in this episode
Ecosystem Restoration Camps
Conservation International
Harvest of All First Nations
EcoCamp Coyote
Drylands Agroecology Research
The Global Bridge Foundation

Note: Below, you’ll find timecodes for specific sections of the podcast. To get the most value out of the podcast, I encourage you to listen to the complete episode. However, there are times when you want to skip ahead or repeat a particular section. By clicking on the timecode, you’ll be able to jump to that specific section of the podcast

Announcer: (00:00)
The Missing Conversation, Episode 66.

Erin Beasley: (00:03)
The reason for working on ecosystem restoration is that better land management practices are one of the top tools that we have in our tool belt, any place around the world, to respond to climate change.

Announcer: (00:18)
In this podcast, we will propose critical new strategies to address world issues, including homelessness, immigration, amongst several others, and making a connection to how our individual psychology contributes and can help transform the dangers that we face. We will break from traditional thinking. As we look at our challenges from a freer and more independent point of view, your host Robert Strock has had 45 years of experience as a psychotherapist author and humanitarian, and has developed a unique approach to communication, contemplation and inquiry born from working on his own challenges.

Robert Strock: (00:56)
Very warm welcome again, to The Missing Conversation where we address the very most pressing issues that the world’s facing today and where we look for the most practical, inspiring programs and innovative ideas to support survival on our planet. Today, we have a really special guest Erin Beasley that exemplifies someone who has lived a life that I would say clearly expresses so much of the essence of a healthy psycho-political life in her relationship to the world. She has a very unique and profound message for humanity and the implications for humanity and it’s worth stretching our brains and hearts to comprehend not only the message, but also the potential positive implications for humanity. And I would add that it’s important for each of you to see how you might be able to do the smallest little thing. Maybe you have a little thing in your garden. Maybe you communicate with Erin.

Robert Strock: (02:13)
Maybe you have somebody else that you know, would connect to her work, but each of us has the potential to be a contributor. So the whole point of all of our podcasts is you, not us, not that we are not important unto ourselves, but the whole idea is to be motivating and inspiring to you and to catalyze your involvement. So, Erin Beasley is the executive director of Ecosystem Restoration Camps USA. In this role, Erin brings 15 years of nonprofit experience in over 10 countries in the Americas, Africa and Asia, including proposal development, grants management, and reporting project design, international policy advocacy, and particularly community development. Prior to her current position with Ecosystem Restoration Camps, Erin worked for several years with Conservation International to ensure the inclusion of nature in climate action under the Paris Agreement and is an independent advisor to the Inter-American Institute for Agriculture. She also worked extensively in Cochabamba, Bolivia developing trainings with woman farmers on climate adaptation and agro ecology. Erin studied at the Yale School of the Environment and speaks Spanish, along with some Portuguese, French, and Kechawa. You can find her gardening and rock climbing when she’s not advocating for ERCs amazing restoration partners. Erin, welcome to the show. Absolutely terrific to have you. Thanks so much.

Erin Beasley: (04:17)
Thank you, Robert. It’s wonderful to be here.

Robert Strock: (04:20)
So, I’d like to start off with just getting a brief background and concise understanding of psycho-politics because it’s under that umbrella that we’re inviting Erin to speak because she represents it so well. And psycho-politics really has three simple, but not easy steps. And the first step is really to see that it’s perfectly natural to want to care for your family, energetically, emotionally, as being the prime center of your life and maybe your friends, but if 8 billion of us do this, we can see that there aren’t protectors of the planet and there aren’t protectors of the poor and the least fortunate. And so the first step is really looking at your life and seeing, do I have a percentage of me that also wants to care for the planet and also those that are less fortunate. And in that questioning or in that contemplation, we’re assuming you’re not in your own survival struggle because if your, in your own survival struggle, that has its own dignity and dedicating yourself to that is as purposeful as anything else, because we all find ourselves in unique circumstances.

Robert Strock: (05:48)
The second principle is exactly the same as the first, but it applies to money. And to those that have money, if you have money, really looking at, yeah, of course, I wanna take care of my family, but does it make sense for me to give some increasing percentage to help the survival of our endangered planets and those that are also individually having trouble with food insecurity, health insecurity, shelter insecurity. And then the third principle is really asking yourself the question, what would be balanced for me in my own wisest view of taking care of my family, those that I love and considering expanding my care for the planet and those that are less fortunate and asking that question for the rest of your life. This is not a short-term solution, this is a, a situation that, especially for those that are young, like Erin, it’s something that you could be around for another 50 or a hundred years asking yourself.

Robert Strock: (06:59)
And if we don’t all ask that question, then I fully believe we’re doomed. I, I fully believe the planet is not gonna survive. And human species are not gonna survive in a form that would be recognizable to us now. So it’s quite important. So those that are doing this work like Erin are the ones that we’re really inviting on the show. So Erin, could you give us a sense of your background and if you’ve always been inclined towards this path or something similar, even if it was more vague when you were younger. If it started when you were younger and if not, what were the elements that changed your direction?

Erin Beasley: (07:40)
Thanks, Robert. And I wanted to mention the point that you made about the world needing us to take action. Um, and to, to think about that from a personal place. Um, the simple way that I think of that and relate it to the psycho-politics framework is that we are not going to achieve a healthy planet with people who don’t feel good about themselves. Who, who don’t have that, that balance in their relationship with their community and, and recognition that they’re part of a, a bigger whole, um, so that, that individual process and that collective need to work on the ecological well-being of the world are totally connected. And then to answer your question about my personal path in the work that I do. I would say that yes, in many ways I’ve always been on the path, that of the type of work that I’m doing now.

Erin Beasley: (08:39)
Related to the topic of the work I knew when I was around 16 that I wanted to work on agriculture. Um, particularly after a project, a summer program that I went to at Penn State. And then by the age of 19, I knew that I wanted that work to be on tropical agriculture and climate change and how food systems are affected by climate change, how food security is impacted by climate change and how farmers, um, respond to those impacts. And for some reason, in particular, even at 19, I was very interested, uh, specifically in Latin America, uh, related to those topics, um, going back even further. Um, so when I was even younger, I was probably about eight years old when I responded to a homework assignment at school where you could research any topic. And my response to that prompt was to go to the library and take out all of the books that I could find on animal names in different languages. And the way that I interpret that impulse when I was quite little, was that I must have had this core idea that I wanted to be able to talk to everybody that I could, um, everybody in the world about nature. And fast forward, three decades later, and a wonderful life and here I am now still talking to people around the world about how important it is for us to take care of nature and how we can take better care of nature through regenerative land management ecosystem restoration and getting your hands dirty.

Robert Strock: (10:18)
Would you say that you’ve always had, I guess for lack of better words, kind of a friendly nature, um, or did you have to get over issues? Did you have more of a challenge? Always find it interesting to see whether people were just kind of internally naturally that way, and also whether they had a parent that was that way or, or both parents were completely different, cause it’s always unique.

Erin Beasley: (10:43)
Yeah. I would say that even some of the earliest pictures of me as a child, um, are me saying hi to other kids. So I think that that outgoing part of my nature showed up pretty early. Um, I think that I fall pretty strongly into the extreme extrovert category. And I would say a lot of my other interests from when I was younger are still very alive for me today. So the core interests of being out in the woods, growing food, reading, and learning about the world, um, those are all things that I really like to do when I was very young and there still things that are important for me now.

Robert Strock: (11:23)
Not sure why, why I’m going here, but I’m, I’m also curious about whether you had the sense as to whether you felt like, well, yeah, you were just one of the people that felt that way or whether you felt like other people didn’t seem to be as extroverted, as interested, weren’t as likely to look at all, all the animal names or whether you felt like, no, that was our group that was the way we were all raised.

Erin Beasley: (11:50)
I would say that I came from a pretty intellectual and artistic family. So maybe that wouldn’t be particularly unusual within my household, but certainly among my friends, some of my interests, especially in reading at a very young age were pretty different from the rest of my peers.

Robert Strock: (12:10)
And I would say the same, I would say for me, I wasn’t old enough to articulate it that much to myself, but I kind of noticed that the idea of loving and being loved, having a tender kind of voice or having a caring voice was not going around. Uh, it was, was not, was not the common thing. And I also think for anyone that’s listening to this it’s so important to recognize there’s really two major ways of being here. One is you were just kind of naturally born that way. And the other one is you just didn’t quite feel connected or you didn’t have a sense of well-being and you, you wanted to figure out how would I have more of a sense of well-being. Those two types are really, uh, both unique and common, uh, meaning that it’s one or the other, and yet it can happen at any age or there are many people I find that are raised in a family and they’re completely different than their family. And they were just shot from a different drummer. So, I just find that interesting, it’s my psychology background I’m sure. So, what would you say the main ways to understand in the most simple terms as to what your work is and the implications for humanity based on what you’re actually doing and what the other people that you’re aggregating and cooperating with and helping communications?

Erin Beasley: (13:37)
I think it’s really important for ecosystem restoration and environmental work in general, to make sense, to be understandable because it’s something that affects all of us. So, I hope that the work that we do with Ecosystem Restoration Camps and with environmental projects and programs and organizations in general. It’s really important for us to share those messages about the environmental need for action right now in clear simple terms. Um, so I’ll do my best here and I’m also always willing to get feedback on how to get there. So Ecosystem Restoration Camps is an international network of independent, locally focused community led initiatives for land restoration. Those initiatives are happening all around the world. And as a nonprofit, we support those partners to restore ecosystem functions like healthy soils, clean water, and the conditions for diverse plants and animals to thrive in those places. So, we work with partners that might be doing activities that look like forest restoration.

Erin Beasley: (14:47)
Um, some of them might look a lot more like regenerative agriculture, but what they really have in common is that they’re taking an active and inclusive approach to restoring the health and function of the land for both human and non-human communities. So, the way that we support those partners is by understanding what their priorities are for restoration, what opportunities they have to expand their work, connecting those initiatives with each other so that they can learn from their successes and challenges. We work together to collaborate on grant development and fundraising. And we also try to look for strategic partnerships with other organizations that might be operating in that space. And you had asked also why this type of work is important. Um, and particularly at this time, and the reason for working on ecosystem restoration is that better land management practices are one of the top tools that we have in our tool belt, any place around the world, to respond to climate change.

Erin Beasley: (15:55)
These practices are relatively cheap. They are generally underfunded at the local level and lucky for us they’ve also been gaining recognition, which is really important. People are starting to hear about how important the life of soil is. They’re starting to understand how important forests are, not just for the sake of the trees, but for the services that they help to provide, like capturing rainwater, um, protecting us from flooding, as well as storing carbon. So, hand-in-hand with our much needed reduction in fossil fuel emissions, we also need to transform the way that we steward land to include more trees, more diversity, and improve the function of the ecosystems as climate impacts become more pronounced. And it’s also important because people love doing this work. Um, getting into the psycho-politics framework, working outside, working outdoors in the service of nature is something that gets to our core of who we are. Um, it makes us feel better, it makes us feel more relaxed. It makes us feel empowered and motivated and part of something that’s larger than ourselves, which is exactly the type of attitude we, we need to see in our communities at this difficult time.

Robert Strock: (17:19)
Yeah. I, I wish people could see your smile and the warmth and the, and the radiation, uh, when you talk about, makes us feel better. Uh, the joy and I think that’s one of the key things that anyone that’s listening takes in is that this is not about inducing guilt. This is about potentially receiving a gift of touching a place inside you that’s a joy spot, that’s a happy spot, uh, that can allow you, inspire you, to be connected to the outer world and to create benefit. And there’s something about that, that I certainly don’t know of a better way to be happy. And it’s not unfortunately taught in schools. Even though I think if we had our way, we would have this be a school course starting in, uh, elementary school where you’d start to see trees and draw trees and land and how interconnected we are, and find creative ways, and have kids shows, and have all kinds of things that would orient us toward our connection with nature.

Erin Beasley: (18:23)
Yeah, absolutely. There’s this really beautiful picture about native bees sleeping in a flower? I don’t know if other people have seen that image online, but one of the things that I try to remind people is that on this planet, you are also a native bee. Uh, you are part of this place and finding a way to get involved and to be able to take action is really part of unlocking your contribution to your community and to your space that you inhibit here on this, on this earth.

Robert Strock: (18:57)
Yeah. And in a way you’re talking about being interconnected, like the bees. It sounds simple, and it can be heard at an abstract level, but somehow when you relate to it, as, as simple as how you say hello to the person next to you, how you plant a flower, how you enjoy nature, how you ponder a little bit of the situation we’re in, in the 21st century and what’s my role in it. All of that is just so crucial. And yes, you could say it’s a responsibility, but it’s equally an opportunity, where in years of the past it’s like there wasn’t this built-in potential purpose where the earth might be dying. So we have a chance to contribute, in the smallest ways, but if 8 billion people did the smallest of ways, we’d be, we’d be on a different planet. So really highlighting the importance of little things or big things, if a lot of people get it.

Robert Strock: (19:58)
And I think your work, you know, I really took note of when you said interconnecting with other agencies and putting groups together that, that to us at the Global Bridge Foundation, our name was chosen carefully of “the global bridge” of really bridging interconnecting things like ecosystem restoration, and how crucially important it is. Now one, one of the ways that I oversimplify, perhaps that maybe you will correct if it’s mislabeling in some way, is that a very high percentage—and some people have estimated close to three quarters of the earth—is arid and is dirt. And really has no or very little substance and quality of soil in that what ecosystem restoration is doing is really building the soil and enriching. It’s doing a lot more than that, but that’s a simple way to understand it. The difference between having, having loose dirt and then having something that’s rich, that actually can grow healthy food that can bring carbon down from the atmosphere and having regenerative agriculture as being part of the sponsoring ways to help the carbon issue in the planet. The stakes are very high.

Erin Beasley: (21:19)
Yeah, absolutely. The way that we use land, for better or for worse, makes a really big difference, about a third of the difference of how much climate change is going to happen over the next 50 to a 100 years. So that means are we going to use land in monoculture systems? Are we going to use land in diversified systems where we really value the life of the soil, which I think you mentioned in your comment, right. So how can we recognize that some places have achieved this degradation in their soils or in vegetation cover over centuries related to human activities. In some cases that degradation might have happened for a different reason, but particularly in the places where we’ve lost that biodiversity, um, where we’ve lost tree cover and soil fertility over time because of human activities. We have plenty of practices that we know about today, often they’re very site specific that can make the situation better. So for that reason, we do want people to be involved in this work, um, because this is something that people can help to, uh, be involved in the solution.

Robert Strock: (22:39)
When you mention monocultural and, and ecodiversity, could you break that down into little bits so that those people that wouldn’t really understand what that means, uh, can, can really have a better understanding of it?

Erin Beasley: (22:53)
Yeah. So in a lot of our agriculture today, around the world, we plant one particular species of plant. Um, and that’s what we call a monoculture. It’s a culture of one when that happens, the ecological systems that protect life and abundance become weaker because they can’t work together. They can’t protect themselves from disease. Um, it’s more likely that one particular pest can take over. And so we try to use all of these other strategies to compensate for that, right? We might use pesticides, or we might use other strategies to protect that system. In other types of agricultural systems, um, indigenous agricultural systems, permaculture, agroecology, you see the recognition that plants like to live together. Um, they like to live in community, just like we like to live in community. Um, so having a diversity of species protects any one pest from taking over, it protects the soil fertility, and brings back kind of a system approach to growing food in a way that keeps carbon in the soil, keeps the soil fertility and soil life alive. Um, and, and also, you know, feeds humans in the process, which is pretty great.

Robert Strock: (24:18)
Yeah. I, I love the association with a community of plants and, vegetables and organisms, and that diversity, understanding that that diversity creates healthy soil and healthy life and supports the pull down of carbon in the atmosphere is something that the average person doesn’t really know. And, and it’s something that is a real worldwide phenomenon of which obviously you’re in the center of, and the listener hopefully gets that piece really solidly in this conversation, that this is a very inspiring alternative. We have been involved at Global Bridge with Gabe Brown, and he, he lobbied Congress to try to have the $85 billion at subsidizing corn and soybean and the farmers that are not making money and have a monoculture, uh, and shift that to regenerative agriculture, which is exactly what you said, a community of, of different species, which is better for the earth. And I think it’s only a matter until its time comes or else we might be outta luck for humanity. So the stakes are very, very high. And from what I understand, ecosystem restoration really prepares the soil for all kinds of other next steps. It’s complete onto itself in certain cases and next steps in other cases, and maybe you could elaborate a little bit on that.

Erin Beasley: (25:44)
Sure. So when a restoration initiative, um, is taking steps on a particular site to recover the ecosystem functions, those functions are things like soil, fertility, or biodiversity, uh, pollination, water cleaning and filtering, right, or water storage, carbon storage, those initiatives can then use those recovered ecosystem functions to do other activities like more sustainable agriculture, um, more successful, um, and more resilient forestry, more resilient grasslands, um, that are, that are able to survive during longer periods of drought. So I think in the past, we’ve seen restoration really focused around restoring species to a particular historical baseline. Um, what I think is really interesting in the space we’re in now is to add to that the need to recuperate, to, uh, rehabilitate the ecosystem services for their continued good use for human communities as well. So we need the conservation, we need preservation, and we also need the degraded lands to be recovered so that they can continue to support us, um, in a time of significant change.

Robert Strock: (27:23)
Yeah. I would so love for there to be a TV channel that was just talking about ecosystem restoration and regenerative agriculture, because the world is so unconsciously hungry for good news, and ecosystem restoration is one of the best news in the world. And for its potential, uh, for the process itself, like I said, the radiation of smiling and happiness in you or, or other people that get their, their hands dirty and they feel good cuz they’re making a contribution. Uh, and then the ultimate effect of humanity having a much better chance to survive. I’m curious about one thing that we haven’t talked about at all in our prior conversations, the practices that you use for reforestation, how would they differ from the federal government?

Erin Beasley: (28:16)
So when we think about reforestation on public lands with public funds, some of the goals there are often slightly different than you might, um, have for reforestation on private lands. Not necessarily, but, um, I think in general, large reforestation projects on public lands with public funds are often intended, um, to have some type of harvest related to them. So when we say the word forests as lay people, we don’t usually think about timber harvests. Public lands generally tend to have some type of harvest or economic component related to that forestry. So in some cases that can mean focusing more on one type of species, uh, for that reforestation activity. In other cases, you can see really large reforestation projects that are, that are including more diverse species. And that’s the thing we would wanna see with Ecosystem Restoration Camps,

Erin Beasley: (29:20)
and that’s what we do see with the partners that we’re working with. They’re incorporating trees onto agricultural lands. They are incorporating trees into hedgerows in order to slow the wind down. So they’re looking at including trees on lands that are not necessarily forests, um, which is really important, um, and including diverse types of trees for that community component, that’s really important. So we wanna see different types of trees and then sometimes the way that they’re planted is different with Ecosystem Restoration partners around the United States. Many of our partners, if they are planting trees, they’re thinking about doing it in a way that supports the subsoil water and how that can be either redistributed or better absorbed or they’re looking for ways that those trees plantings can be more helpful in the recuperation of the ecosystem functions that are happening on that land. So it’s usually not just planting trees for the sake of the trees themselves, but how they fit in with the rest of the system.

Robert Strock: (30:29)
Yeah. Again, it’s a matter of community. Uh, it’s like a community of trees where you’re, you’re wanting to have the community have a nice mix. And which makes me think of the indigenous people. And I’ve heard from Aboriginal tribes that they plant certain trees that are less likely to burn and that they have some preservation components. And is there some of that as part of ecosystem restoration?

Erin Beasley: (30:53)
Yes, absolutely. I think that indigenous knowledge and traditional ecological knowledge is one of the most important foundations for understanding and repairing our relationship with nature. And it’s also important for us to remember that that is a living knowledge, um, all around the world. So it’s not a knowledge of the past. It’s a knowledge that, um, is really important for today. One of the global examples of that right, is, is the Amazon Rainforest. Um, I think in the past academic researchers expected that the rainforest was there because it was protected from humans. And within the past 20 years, our knowledge has expanded to understand that that is a forest that was heavily managed by human relationships and, and human understanding of the different species that were there that could benefit both human communities and non-human communities. Um, so there are some really great examples of how human knowledge can be a positive impact in ensuring and expanding the existence of really healthy forests.

Erin Beasley: (32:07)
And I also wanted to mention that some of our partners in the US who work on Ecosystem Restoration have been developing better understanding of cultural competency related to tribes, um, that are in the region where the organization is interested in doing ecosystem restoration and building relationships and building cultural competency to better participate in that landscape in a meaningful way. So we’ve seen relationships, uh, developed with EcoCamp Coyote, right outside of Santa Cruz with partners at Indian Canyon. We’ve seen traditional ecological knowledge be a priority for Camp Paradise, which, um, is in central California, close to Chico. Um, and they’ve done a lot of connections with local tribal members who have been showing the uses for different plants, both for human uses and also for ecological purposes. And we have a partner outside of Boulder at Drylands Agroecology Research, which has partnered with an organization called The Harvest of All First Nations, which partners with Bipoc Communities and tribal communities to recover participation in, uh, traditional food practices. So I think with each of those examples, you really see the importance, uh, and liveliness of how these partnerships can move forward to support both people and restoration.

Robert Strock: (33:44)
Yeah. I love again, hearing the word partners and communities and, you know, joint involvement. You know, it’s one of the real hopes of the world for larger and larger partnerships to see how much benefit this can create. Now, I know I’ve heard of a project that started in 1990 in China over a 10 year period that showed a 75,000 kilometer area where it was complete desert and it was turned into an Oasis over 10 years. And I know there’s another one being contemplated in Sinai or, or it may have even started, that’s 150,000 square kilometers. Now I don’t want anybody to miss how big of an area that is. But if you can imagine 75,000 square kilometers of a desert being, let’s say having a monsoon, gathering into a large lake and reservoir and, and dams and streams and irrigation, and then ultimately being a place where really healthy food can plant. That if we were awake enough, to be able to see the immense benefit in meaningful job creation in connection with the earth in partnership, that what you’re doing offers that potential for vast human change and vast global and planetary change.

Erin Beasley: (35:12)
Absolutely. And one of the examples you mentioned there in China was in the Loess Plateau, and it’s really important for us to see those examples and to pull from experiences that have happened at the local scale. And at the landscape scale, you mentioned how, you know, the scale of that, um, restoration project was enormous. It’s also, it’s, it’s really important for us to think in these larger landscape terms. Um, and if you wanna learn more about that transformation, I would definitely recommend one of the founders of Ecosystem Restoration Camps. John D. Lui was very involved in following that process in documenting that process, and helping the world to understand what the opportunity is, and the potential is for humans to be involved in those activities. Whether it’s at their house in their municipality or across an entire landscape where you’re working with multiple actors from different communities, and you’re working with opportunities for job creation, and you’re looking to really bring back some of those cyclical functions that happen within an ecosystem.

Robert Strock: (36:23)
And for those that are taking notes, John Lui, if you, if you wanna look him up and he is definitely worth looking up. And this is really, uh, a movement. Maybe you could tell people about what the United Nations declared last year, just to give a perspective, worldwide, how significant this is.

Erin Beasley: (36:41)
So last year, the United Nations declared a decade on ecosystem restoration. And this is to recognize that ever since the Rio Conventions were, were signed by all of the countries in 1992, the world recognized collectively that we had these really large environmental problems that we needed to work together to solve. No one country was gonna be able to figure that out on its own. And those conventions were for biodiversity climate change and, uh, desertification and land degradation. So the UN decade on ecosystem restoration is a global call to actors at all levels, countries, heads of state governments, businesses, civil society, that we need to work together to reverse land degradation and prevent desertification.

Robert Strock: (37:39)
That’s just so pronounced. I could have that echo and I hope that echoes in people’s brains because it is one of the key solutions to a self-destruction of the earth. And I would really encourage people to make Google their friend. It’s one of my favorite expressions, which is to start using Google, to ask questions that are most interesting to you that would have to do with ecosystem restoration and regenerative agriculture and reforestation, and, you know, natural habitat. And you would be able to name a number of other things, but that are all those crucial things that really are gonna allow us locally to clean up our environments and to have them be of benefit to everyone around, to eat healthy food, to, and to be able to have the air, air be healthy, uh, to preserve water, you know, to optimize all, all those natural resources that we have not prioritized. Instead, we generally prioritize success, personal wealth, and the definition. We just had another podcast where the wealth was defined as, uh, optimizing the chance for beneficial survival for mankind, that that’s wealth. Um, and I think that that re-understanding of wealth is part of the reeducation of our youth and our adults and everybody on every age spectrum.

Erin Beasley: (39:05)
We’re definitely living at a time where the way that capital and and funds are distributed is not in the places where that benefit human outcomes for ecological health and survival. And the philanthropic sector is a really important vehicle to create that transition. Um, to help to finance some of that early innovation to help support these early actors, uh, who are really building deep knowledge in the landscape about what types of practices work, where they are with their soil, with their climate, with their cultural and social context, with their economic context, um, and, and the financial component, or the financial transition to support those actors is really important for these beneficial outcomes that we’re talking about of having a safe, healthy, and livable place around us.

Robert Strock: (40:09)
Yeah. And you also mentioned to me, uh, an organization in Europe that you felt was a really primary supporter partner with you as a philanthropic entity. Maybe you could let people know because many people, again, might want to let Google be their friend to see what’s happening there. And some people might be listening to us in Europe as well.

Erin Beasley: (40:29)
So I’m the, the US director for Ecosystem Restoration Camps and our partner in The Netherlands is the founding organization for this work. And that organization is also called Ecosystem Restoration Camps that has a slightly different, uh, legal name in Dutch. And they’ve been really essential in creating the vision for this organization and for the, the power to bring together not just one restoration site, but right now, 54 restoration sites around the world. And we’re really hoping for that number to expand into the thousands so that these initiatives become pathways for people to get involved at the local level and become points of innovation and learning about what it takes to have a, a regenerative economy, a regenerative livelihood, um, in a healthy functioning living world.

Robert Strock: (41:30)
Yeah. And I would encourage you that feel some inclination and say, hey, I’m not sure what I really wanna do, and I kind of like gardening, or I kind of like getting my hands dirty, uh, to be in touch with Erin. In another minute or two, cause I wanna ask Erin one more question. Um, I’m really encouraging people to be in touch with you because you know, there there’s a limitless amount of work that needs to be done. I mean, like in the millions of people that need to be a part of this work to really help preserve the earth. Uh, but before we go there and tell people how to be in touch with you, um, I just wanna ask you if there’s, you know, any particular way that you believe listeners can most support your work. And also at the end of that, maybe let people know how they can be in touch with you.

Erin Beasley: (42:18)
Well, I think you started with this message at the very beginning of the podcast, and I appreciate that. It’s that we want you to get involved, right? We are at a crucial time in history where everyone’s involvement is actually very useful to getting the outcome that we are looking for, which is a healthy planet with healthy people. And the way that you get there, figure out what you like to do, figure out what you’re good at, and see how that matches up with what needs to happen right now. And if that’s through Ecosystem Restoration Camps, that’s fantastic. If that’s through another organization, that’s great too. We’re really set up to try to include people who want to make a difference, either locally with a camp, um, that’s near you, or by visiting a camp that might be further in a different country to learn about a different ecosystem.

Erin Beasley: (43:16)
So we want people to join our camp experiences, join the trainings that happen with those partners. Um, on our website, we have a full schedule of where those activities are happening and when they’re happening around the world. In many cases they are free, in many cases, they are offered on a sliding fee. There are, I think right now, probably about seven or eight things you could, you could sign up to do across the 24 countries where we work with partners. We’re looking for volunteers who can help us do this work. We’re looking for more awesome initiatives that are land-based projects that are already doing this to become part of our network. So if you know of one, let us know, and we can tell you what the, what the process is to join that network. And we’re looking for new partnerships, new donors, new opportunities to get finance and funding to this important work. So, uh, you can get in touch with me at my email address, which is my name,

Robert Strock: (44:22)
Yeah, that’s really great. So I think in some way we’re looking for either other foundations that want to expand their purpose, we’re looking for volunteers, there could be a student that wants to volunteer for their summer and, and just go and contribute to the work. And we’re, I’m sure that another, a group of individuals that, that maybe can’t figure out which direction to go, maybe their grant writers, you know, people that are out there that are grant writers and are figuring out, gee, what am I gonna do? Give Erin a call and offer your services and who knows where that could lead. So, Erin, I just thank you so much for your work and for your willingness to come on the show and hope that really people take it personally and really do look at Google, ook at what you are doing and see what role, small, medium, or large they might be able to play. So thanks again so much for joining us.

Erin Beasley: (45:14)
Absolutely. It’s a pleasure to have this conversation. Thank you, Robert.

Robert Strock PhoitoJoin The Conversation
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