At this moment, I’m standing on the edge of a dirt cliff created when a developer cleared 100 acres of Florida rainforest to build human habitats. I’m looking down at the tiny finger of trees allowed to stand because they protect Little Black Creek natural springs. As I climb down the dirt mountain and over plastic fencing, there to keep the boundaries between humans and nature, the first being I encounter is a young maple tree. It has been broken in half by a bull dozer, not cut, just pushed half-way out of existence
As though a single cell of a virus became conscious of the life it was extinguishing, I became aware of my own human condition. I find myself loathing my own species, as a disease annihilating thousands of other innocent species for no other reason than ego. I believe it is possible to live within nature without destroying it, but that doesn’t create conditions easily controlled by luxuries or municipalities. For this reason, over-grown, natural yards are not allowed. Where do I belong? Am I no longer a natural being or is there some place where I can find my natural essence? Am I destined to live in opposition with the entire natural world because I am human? Perhaps I must forgive my own human-ness in order to help our species heal and awaken to our tremendous potential to love and to help life to survive us.
If there was one thing I could say to you to hold you here with me while I show you my mind, what would it be? Shall I entertain you? Shall I attempt to arouse your curiosity with tears and pounding fists? If we were face to face, I could use my secret weapon usually reserved for that moment in a conversation when the other person is so mad trying to prove their point that you actually see flames rising from the top of their heads. If the individual is all hopped up on ego and hate, I gradually...slowly...ever-so-gently slip my finger right up a nostril, wipe it on their chest and say, “It’s okay, I got it.” The reactions range from utter fury to humiliation to hilarity, always ending with a snicker…my original intent.
It’s my Columbo finger. “What a remarkable tie...just one more thing, sir.” Yes, it's disgusting, but what wouldn’t I do in the name of comedy? Very little. I’ll have you know, the index finger of my right hand has been around, son. My victims: Sidney Ponson (then lead pitcher for the Orioles), an Italian mafia boss, and once, a Middle-Eastern royal whose bodyguard had to look away for laughing. Let’s face it; comedy is one of the few things humans got right here. Where were we? Ah yes, me getting your attention.
My loves, me and my greasy finger are just gonna sit here, hold your hand (after I wash mine) and ask about your day. In turn, I want you to stay with me while I stand on the table, shout, "Look at this shit!" and dump out the contents of my brain. Of course, when I am finished, I will sit quietly and listen to your response with a freshly opened mind. (Hunt me down on social media and let's talk.)
I'll dump it on these pages and hope to meet you on some common ground that hasn't been polluted, washed away by rising tides or covered over with plastic.
But this is not just my story, nor could I tell you what I want you to know, alone. We, Endangered Earthlings Inc. are a team. Although this began as my personal ministry, it has grown into a collective of brilliant and like-minds. I am going to share a great deal about what brought me to you, to become your Pamela. But I am only a part of this collective voice. Please meet our team:
Pamela Dawn, Founder – Environmental Evangelist, Pamela considers herself a philosopher and a warrior for Gaia. But her defining characteristics are her magnetic personality and her unselfish ability to bring out the best in people. There are over seven billion of us wandering the Earth searching for purpose. She has given herself the mandate to bring us together, person to person, people to people, as one indomitable force to save the ground we inhabit as human beings. She’s a superhero because that’s what superheroes do; they save the world.
Paul Hollis, Executive Director – Retired IBM, (20 years,) Paul is an American author of fictional terrorism and espionage. His #1 bestselling books in The Hollow Man Series follow a U.S. government analyst in a trilogy of suspense across Europe. He is humble, brilliant and a helluva guy.
Steven Sutherland, M.S., R.G., P.G., C.E.M., EE Science Officer – Hazardous Materials Manager/Geologist, Steve has multiple degrees and over 20 years of experience in the environmental and water resources fields, and currently works as Hazardous Materials Manager and Geologist. As Geologists go, Steve's a BAMF!
John Hedgecoth, Creative Director – TV/Film Actor, John is an American actor known for his roles in “Knight of Quixote” and “Murder Comes to Town”. Although John is known primarily as a character actor of dark, villainous types, he has shown his versatility in such roles as Bobby Bennet, a fast-talking TV pitchman, a Shaman in the NatGeo series “Origins”, and as God in the indie short film “Endgame”.
Cisco Coleman, Entertainment Manager – ex NYPD officer. We are devastated to share that Dec. 18, 2021, we lost our beloved Cisco to Covid. He opened doors for anyone with a voice and a message so they could be heard. Cisco Coleman (AKA) DJ Cisco, was a 35-year DJ, Music Producer, remixer and Engineer and a Music Promoter. He had a degree in Recording Arts/ Engineering from the Center for The Media Arts. He owned The DJ Cisco Radio Network LLC. Under the DJ Cisco Radio Network LLC, is his record label: DJC Radio Records Global and DJC Radio Global an internet radio network/show and founder of the Project Unity Tour: a movement to feed the homeless and to give artists a platform to perform, to be seen and heard and to win industry prizes.
One of his last ventures was to set up a TV network, (DJC TV,) on Roku and Firestick, which continued his undying support of individuals and artists with a message. We were fortunate to have an entire season on the network, (The Endangered Earthling,) and you can watch the complete season on our YouTube channel. Thank you Cisco. We love and miss you every day.
As individual members of a team or unit, we don’t always agree. I believe this gives us a unique position from which to reach average human beings. Just as each individual opinion and contribution is what makes up this lovely world of people, each of us Endangered Earthlings have a perspective that is valid, relevant and necessary. Admittedly, I am a reluctant humanist. But if I fail to believe in our ability to find a common ground on which to stand as a species, then all is lost. Humans are that single thing which must change in order to save our planet. Our message to you is to speak, think and move as a community and so this is our collective minds in just that form.
Although you will hear the most personal and intimate details from me, about my life and why I have devoted it to our planet; the experts on our team will fill in some of the most relevant facts about the science of our dying planet, as well as what we agree are our best solutions. You will have me at a disadvantage, as I will show you my most sacred self: the memories which created me. Please be kind and gentle with them. Nothing has ever wounded me so badly as a betrayal. I want you to trust me, so I am taking this huge risk; making what is a tremendous effort for me to instill trust inside these words. I intend to carve off pieces of self and hand them to you. Why? Because I believe we just don’t have the time to fuddle with egos, labels or politics. Yes. There are things I won’t talk about. If the telling of my story injures someone else, then it is not my story to tell. And I’m not going to tell the whole feckin’ blah blah blah, just the parts that are important to my relationship with you.
Nor will I tell you about how; when I was 16 my father began the descent into death of Agent Orange poisoning. Ugh. I guess that I must tell you as it brought me to you. (Grabs another glass of wine and box of tissue)
My parents had divorced and Mom remarried his best friend when I was 12, but my father’s impending demise was devastating. I flew to Ohio where he had been working for NASA on the first Space Shuttle launch and said my goodbyes at his bedside. As I held the hand of this tiny stranger; not the mountain of a father who raised me into my preteen years, I remembered all the things that make us cry with sentimentality in our old age. I reminisced on him taking me to work with him now and again. He was a Tech Sargent in the Air Force who served as a radar tech in Vietnam’s DMZ. After he came home, on the weekends he worked as a mechanic for the Thunderbirds. We had magical weekends camping out in hangars, having exciting adventures in flying machines. I will never forget when my sister CayDee and I got to fly in an open cockpit plane. He did gut dropping negative g’s and loopty loops. I’m sure my mother was having a coronary but I was hopelessly addicted. Every time I got the chance, I would go to work with my dad on the trainer; a mobile simulator unit on a train that moved from base to base for training. The last time he took me, I was nine and I got to fly through a storm in the B52 simulator. It was the coolest thing I’d ever seen.
As I held the hand of my dying father and listened to him groan in pain, I thought of the many times as a toddler that I would awaken in the night and find him stretched out in the dark in his easy chair. I would climb up in his lap, burrow my face and tiny fingers into the mats of hair on his chest and listen to the same stories along with the click, click, click of the slides from Vietnam. “This little boy’s name was Ben, (Binh) and this was the school we built for his village. This is what it looked like after they blew it up. See all those white things in the field? That’s toilet paper. We built them toilets but people got blown up in them so they were afraid to use them. See that building? That was our barracks. Your Daddy’s a coward you know. I got up in the middle of the night and headed to the bunker when it got too loud. Took a piece of shrapnel right up the center of my bunk. I lost all my good friends that night. Shoulda been me.” I still smell the mix of beer and roasted peanuts on his breath and the sweat that was now pouring off his head running down dark brown curls and I would give anything to smell them again. Those terrible, wonderful things would prepare me for all the Vietnam vets who would become my Dads later.
I left that broken image of my dying Daddy and I returned to my beloved California. I met an older man on the beach and three months later, married him. I had a great stepfather but my Mom kept him at an arm’s length from us. I say us, but my sister was married the same year my Mom remarried, so it was just me. I’m sure she had her reasons. But I guess I was desperate for someone to watch over me, like the song says. Unbeknownst to me, I had married into one of the most feared crime families in the country. A week after we were married my father in law handed me a very weathered paperback book and said, “This is your bible now.” Honestly and regrettably, all I remember now is the word Mafia written in red. Read it I did. He was right. It changed what I knew about the world. It was the rich cultural beginnings of an army of outlaws, forced into crime to protect homes and family. But what changed me the most was my life with his son. His son was nothing like the wise and gentle man who created him. Even when I heard the father speaking in hushed tones in the living room to his partner about things I imagined only happened in movies; I found nothing but love, adoration and respect for him. Okay, FBI guys, no I never heard anything that will help you solve a crime. Everything I overheard began with, “So did you hear that…?” and I can’t recall a single story that makes any sense today.
His son, however, was something from a horror film. Now this is where I will pause. I can feel my chest tighten, my stomach turn and I am a powerless child, held in torturous captivity again. Maybe I can tell you more tomorrow…
Okay, it’s the next day and I’ve got my sea legs back. Here we go: two years into a life of abuse no human should ever endure, let alone daily for 28 months, I found the courage that only becoming a mother inspires and I ran for our lives. Luckily, the man I married fell out of favor with the family, so we were allowed to drift in the breeze and begin life again. She saved my life...my little baby girl. But I was so very, very damaged and broken. Over many years, previously untreated injuries were identified, mostly by the improper healing of bones. Each time I heard, “We noticed a previous fracture…” I remembered and relived each of the horrifying injuries. It’s remarkable the way our super cool brains have a way of tucking things neatly in corners of our unconscious until we are ready to digest them. An operation to fix my permanently stuffy nose should have taken two hours, but the severity of the previous injuries caused it to take six. There were seven breaks I could recall by the pop and momentary blindness. Then, there were two busted ribs, a fractured pelvis and a place in my brain indicative of multiple concussions. He loved to hit me on the back of the head because it didn’t leave marks. There were almost daily sexual assaults, especially through my pregnancy. I was isolated from friends and family but the worst of it all was the demoralizing, “No one will ever love you...want you...care about you…you’re fat and ugly.” Those voices still pop up in my daily life. You’d think half a century of life would have me further along in this healing process but as the lovely song says, “You Can’t Rush Your Healing.” Maybe the open wounds keep me just strong enough to keep my fists up when I need them. Okay, enough of that. I can’t move forward looking back.
The only place my little savior and I could go when we were free was home. My Papa, the designation for my stepdad, had retired as a Master Sergeant from the Air Force and was working his way up the ranks with Honeywell in Reston, Virginia as a Project Manager on the FA-18 flight simulator. I spent my 18th year tucking in my wee one and heading to the plant to fly the Hornet in a $3 million simulator. It was all I wanted to do. I called a Marine recruiter who met me at the pet store where I worked part-time and we started the paperwork. We got to a designation, I said, “I’m gonna fly the Hornet.” He laughed until he realized I was dead serious. My guts fell out when he told me women couldn’t fly combat.
Around that same time, my parents took us to the ‘wall’ for the first time: The Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C. Walking the Wall changed the course of my life.
As I descended the ominous black granite cliff, I couldn’t help but reach out to the first names I saw. My fingers could feel them as my brain processed the letters that were once beloved sons and fathers. Immediately, I realize two of the names were related; father and son. My heart was already screaming for that lonely woman left with only half a soul to wander the Earth. That black mirror began as a tiny triangle, fit for just a finger then it grew like a shadow, foretelling all the death still to come in front of me. It was physically oppressive; as if the spirits of soldiers pressed out of the shadow to touch the life they were denied. By the time my head was fully submerged in the black reality of war, I was sobbing. I was swirling in a dark whirlpool, realizing that the profound experience of having my father ripped away from my life for some political maneuvering was not just my untimely loss; it was suffered by innumerable fellow Americans. I hurt for them. I hurt for the young boys who never fell in love or conquered middle age. I hurt for the ones who lead valiant battles, knowing full-well there would be no victory no matter the outcome. I suffered to the core of my soul for all of us. I passed by grown men with grey beards, crumpled onto one knee, touching a single name and wailing in silence. I passed by teddy bears, challenge coins and letters written by tiny hands. There was no light or hope or oxygen and I felt as though I was dying with them. I wanted to look away and walk swiftly to the end of my own suffering but how could I? Each name demanded that I look at it with respect, reverence and gratitude. I looked, but with shame. Somehow, my species did this to them all. I looked. I sobbed. I walked reverently as though my feet were passing through deep chasms of Dante’s world and finally, an end to it. I emerged completely drained; exhausted by the battle and defeated. I didn’t look into eyes. I didn’t greet the passers-by with my self-imposed duty to smile at the world. I skulked up the walkway like a gangplank to certain doom. I heard a deep voice from far away…the table I had grabbed to hold my soul inside my trembling body. “Did you know they are still there?” The man who spoke was Michael Hagen, a returned vet who sold his business, bought a motorhome and devoted his life to bringing home his forgotten brothers: 2,646 to be exact. I will fast forward here, as this is not a biography. Michael became my father. He taught me that the only thing which kept him fighting was the man next to him. This made all the soldiers his brothers, including my dad. So, to him, in a very real sense, I was his child too. That was the day my healing began.
I became involved in the POW/MIA issue. I marched side by side with Michael and all the dads I would come to know. Among them was John (Top) Holland, Bobby Garwood, Eugene Simmons, Adrian Cronauer, (Good Morning Vietnam) and many more that would shape my life for the coming decade. They made me strong. They taught me how to live with the ghosts of my PTSD and to use them to become my own sort of warrior. I would go on to become the POW/MIA representative to Gov. Norman Bangerter of Utah under the guidance of an amazing man named Dale Madsen and would eventually become the first female in the state of Utah to receive the Amvets Certificate of Merit.
Eventually, Michael handed over the title of National Chairman of the Campaign for Freedom. I had become a full-fledged activist.
I was a struggling divorced mother with a baby, attending Merced College full time, and I devoted every remaining moment to educating the public and gathering the strays (lost veterans) to bring their brothers, my fathers’ home. I was nineteen and too determined not to be afraid of anything. Besides, my fathers had made quite a lethal little soldier out of me; so I took terrible risks and met the strays in the dark corners all by myself more than once. I was lucky to have escaped my youthful exuberance unscathed. I remember one such occasion. A fellow student who stopped by my information booth mentioned an uncle who, like my father and so many others, had never really come home at all. The PTSD kept him bound to the hell of the disembodied memories, so he remained isolated in his elderly mother’s home, where she too lived the hellish nightmare. She frequently woke to her son’s fingers wrapped around her throat as he screamed vulgarities into her terrified eyes. I entered the home alone and he reluctantly escorted me to the 1950’s mint green dinette set and pulled out a chair and slid it across the floor to me. “You think you know what the FUCK I’ve been through? You and your little white bread cheesy smile.” Before I could answer he flew into a rage about his first beer in country. He stepped off the chopper and the old-timers, the twenty-year olds who had survived the first seven months of tour, said, “Let’s get you that first in-country beer.” They tugged him to a tower of dead bodies, lopped off the decaying head of a V.C. soldier, scooped out the soupy brains and dumped the can of beer in; “Welcome to country, boy!”
When he finished raging, I sat tall and said, “Do you know what it’s like to be dragged by your hair 30 feet through gravel then raped and sodomized?” He was too shocked by my calm composure to answer and just glared back. I said, “We all have our hells to contend with. Let’s talk about how you can help us.” He became one of the most active members of our little truth campaign, a changed man and one more father.
All my Dads, the ones who shaped me and the ones I have not yet met, give me the courage which now sustains me. I have Forest Lync Brusoe as one of my enduring dads to thank for reminding me I’m not an orphan to this day. I love you, Pop.
My days as an activist did not end when I left the POW movement. Many years later, while running a green construction consulting firm that focused on sustainability principles, I was interviewed for a local talk-show in a studio built in the back of a book store in Jacksonville, Florida. The host introduced me to the store’s owner, Dorothy Pitman-Hughes. When I saw the photo and realized who she was, it was like being at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. and having Lincoln rise to his feet and shake my hand. Okay, awkward but flattering to meet this amazing woman. Dorothy is a piece of history that I watched in adoration from the sidelines throughout the solidification of the feminist movement.
My mother was forced to evolve before her time when Daddy went to war. I can only describe her as Jackie Kennedy-ish; the quintessential Donna Reed housewife, always perfectly quaffed who dressed my sister and I in bonnets and gloves and was an etiquette ninja. When my father went off to war, she was forced to enter the work-force. I have come by my determined disposition quite honestly, as she is the kind who never does anything half-way. My sister and I watched our mother transform from demure lady of the house, to brazen and bold business woman. This was around the time that Dorothy and Gloria Steinem were forging a new possible life for us females, and my mother taught us their principals like mantras. I was only 6 or 7, but she sat us in front of the news at night and showed us their faces and their courage, and made us understand that we can be anything we can imagine because they had fought the worst of the battles for us. War was a concept with which I had regrettably become familiar, since I prayed every night for my Daddy to survive his.
It was one of my life’s most auspicious honors to meet Dorothy in the flesh, and each time I have spent time with her since, I have come away changed and more awake. At the time Dorothy and I met, my business was going so well that I was able to hire my Vet-Dad Adrian Cronauer to be our spokesperson. Then the shit hit the fan...all the shit on the entire fan…direct hit. I was a construction consultant in 2008 when the great collapse began.
Almost immediately, the dominoes of my life began to fall. The daily stress meant that hours were spent in front of the computer, feverishly trying to save our business which triggered muscle spasms and, in turn, exacerbated arthritis that kept me up at night. The pain was unbearable. In an attempt to avoid narcotics, I put a pill in my mouth called Cymbalta. A few days later, I had what seemed to be a grand mal seizure, except that I was fully conscious the whole time. Having remarried four years prior, it was my husband who stood helpless over me. For hours, I watched the horror in his eyes as doctors, one by one, came and went. “Sir, there is nothing wrong with your wife. This is not a seizure.”
After two years of misdiagnosis, I would finally receive the right diagnosis of Generalized Dystonia, but as an incurable condition, it offered my life no hope of change. The condition had rendered me helpless by these increasing body spasms until I ended, finally, in a hospital bed in my home. I didn’t mean, ended up. I mean ended. I lost my business, had to send my little girl to live with her father, and one Sunday my husband went to the grocery store and never came home. My neighbor was a home nurse and she was a strong but loving black woman who I still call “Mamma.” Lillian Washington remains dearer to me than if she was my own blood. She came in the next day and said, “Honey, Jack ain’t comin’ back. Said he couldn’t watch it no more.”
I was a Cali girl stranded in southern Georgia, with the nearest family member two hours away in Florida, and much too proud and stubborn to make anyone know how bad my condition had become; my secret hell. My darkest night had begun. At its worst, this condition locked me in for hours and sometimes days. I looked like a stroke victim and my limbs postured and jerked like palsy. When it was really dark, sometimes I was locked in completely catatonic, but horrifyingly awake and fully lucid on the inside. Mamma Lillian only came to check on me a few times a week, so the cruelest fights were wrestled in complete isolation. Sometimes, I would wake up with a terrible headache on the floor in the hallway or the bathroom. I remember a particularly bad episode in which I was left to contend with my own weakening mind, slowly losing a will to live. My eyes were fixed on the wall in front of me. My head and jaw were twisted, my right arm repeatedly banging into the rail. I watched the shadows move from light to dark to light again, pathetically uttering, “Home, pweez god, home... pweez gawwwd...home…,” for hours and hours until the desperate prayer came out in a squeaky whisper. I could feel the tears streaming, but I was not even allowed the merciful release of a sad expression...just frozen and begging for death.
Merciful death did not come and the slow battle to allow myself to live, drudged on. Some months later, Mamma Lillian took me to have injections into my back, where a fatal car accident (another story, another time) had caused a vertebral fracture. As was a common occurrence, I went into a full dystonic episode as a reaction to propofol. The doctor attending was new to the practice and I am certain my seeing him was divinely inspired, as this man was a neurologist (Dr. Kai McGreevy, now of Riverside Pain Management.) Before I had regained consciousness from the sedation, the tachycardia started. In the hell of my life alone, this was my signal to get to a safe place and lay down. I usually had about 30 seconds. But this time, I was unconscious and in the hands of a gifted neurologist and he was about to save me. When the dramatic event was over, he asked me what had been prescribed in the past. I told him, Benadryl. He seemed to be outraged that I had never been prescribed a medication for movement disorders. That afternoon, he wrote a prescription for Sinemet, Carbidopa. On the way home, Mamma ran in and filled it and the next morning I took the first dose. Two hours later, the toes on my left foot, which had been curled under for months, released to a normal position. After the next dose, my postured hand relaxed to look like a hand again. I had full control of my body for the first time in what seemed like years. It was over. It took weeks of this new reality to prove itself permanent in my life, but this miracle of miracles finally convinced me that I was not over. As Rainer Maria Rilke puts it, “Life has not forgotten you, it holds you in its hands, it will not let you fall.” I was like a child in Candy Land. Life was the unimaginable prospect Dorothy had offered me when I was a little girl. The air was sweet, the sky a perfect blue, and nothing could take my hope from me. Nikos Kazantzakis nailed it when he said, “Hope is our greatest temptation. It is the stuff of our deepest desires and too often, the blade of our most devastating disappointments.”
There is a caveat to this happy ending. The change had not come in time to save the wreckage of my life. It was three years since he left and my husband had moved on and was ready for a divorce. I was waiting for the answer to my disability application, but it is such a long process, that it was no life saver either. And the life which had been restored by medication came with the unhappy side effect of vomiting for an hour or two each time I took it, three times a day; so gainful employment was not an option. I had no choice but to put my belongings in storage and move in with a family member, my oldest daughter. I struggled each day to find my next chapter, the next crusade; to fulfill life with some greater purpose. I even filled out an application for a life of service as a nun, despite the fact that I wasn’t Catholic. (Giggling) Surely the church had room for one more hopeful agnostic.
Although my disability application was denied, despite the 480 pages of documentation by physicians, I made a plan. With the little bit of money from my divorce settlement, I rented a little trailer that my Aunt Marcy and I could afford and I set a plan in motion. All the terrifying tidbits of information about our dying planet, which I had learned while writing the commercial for Adrian, had never left my mind. Once on my feet, I headed straight for Dorothy. She reminded me who I was and of what I was capable. She gave me direction and lovely, lovely FIRE! I put those things together and here I am.
There is a story I need to tell you about Dorothy that will paint a portrait of her contributions better than my shero worship. Ms. Dorothy had a meeting in south Florida with Hillary Clinton while she was campaigning. Ms. Dorothy is not a fan of flying, so she, I and her daughter Delithia rode a bus together. As we waited for the bus, I made sure Dorothy and Delithia were comfortable in the little café and stepped outside to confirm her arrival time. When I came back in, there was a crowd gathered around her and several people waiting to get nearer to her. One by one, they came from behind the counter, from the baggage loading dock, from the ticket counter, waiting room and drivers stepped off their busses to come and shake her hand. Each one imparted deeply personal thanks for the great work she had done for African Americans and told her how she affected their lives and their families. I’m utterly sobbing to recall it. And you know, the most beautiful part is her response. She almost looked embarrassed as she shook their hands, asked their names and had something personal to tell them about what she knew about their families or their counties. This is leadership. This is courage and this is how I learned to love.
I was standing 10 feet away when Hillary Clinton said to her, “Dorothy, you have done so much to get us here. Thank you.”
Dorothy Pitman-Hughes is one of the biggest reasons I am here and writing this to you today. Please read all you can find on her amazing life and you will come to love her as I do.
My loves, I am here as an amalgamation of the people I love and who have loved me. Deeply ingrained in that mix, are the natural creatures, plants and pets that have sustained my mental health and healed my soul after each confrontation of darkness. I have no choice but to stand here completely exposed and offer myself to you. How could you love me unless I first give you my love? I am yours. Love me. Heed me. Destroy me (or try.) I give you that power. But please, please, please read the words on these pages and take them to heart. This is me loving you.
Of all the things I’ve ever done, being a mother was my favorite job. It was more important, meaningful, fulfilling and life altering thing I’ve ever done. Every choice after my first child was made for my child and each one to follow. When I imagine our Mother Earth, the Mother of all life on our planet, I can’t imagine what she is thinking right now, how she is feeling, or even how she can possibly sleep. One of her children, the collective of humans, is killing all the rest. We are destroying her body and her children are pointing multiple weapons at their own heads. Maybe it is that thing my Dads created in me, the warrior combined with the mother which made me rise up out of my own ashes and rush to the front lines of this environmental battle to speak for those whose language is a vibration, a grunt, a chirp or a slow grumbling roar only felt on the bottom of our feet. But I have given the remainder of my days on Earth to speak to you in ways that will awaken you to the remarkable brilliance of your purpose here. Of all the species to ever exist on this magnificent planet, ours is the first with the power to determine how we will evolve. If you believe the educated minds about to speak to you in this book, your empirical reasoning will cause a shift in your logic paradigm and your choices will change. If you believe me when I say that you are not a stranger to me, you are my kin, you are me, just a few genes separated, that you are someone I love: If you believe that as I type these words there are tears rolling down my face and something resembling a prayer bursting out of my solar plexus that you will…then you and I have much work to do as kindred souls. Trust me. Stay with me long enough to read the words to come. If I lose you in the logic, STAY. If I offend you with my candor, STAY. If I repulse you with my oozy gooey hope or severely Irish-American potty mouth when I say that we can fix the fucked-up mess we made of this place; forgive me, and let me love you anyway.
The absolute singular hope we have to survive ourselves is to find a common ground on which to build trust. From there, we can do anything. I am telling you my secrets and showing you all my cards because what is at stake is bigger than anything socially acceptable that I could have been. Reaching you will be the second most important thing any human has ever done. The most important? I’ll defer you to the movie City Slickers:
Curly: Do you know what the secret of life is? [holds up one finger] This.
Mitch: Your finger?
Curly: One thing. Just one thing. You stick to that and the rest don't mean shit.
Mitch: But, what is the "one thing?"
Curly: [smiles] That's what you have to find out.
I’ll meet you in the lobby for popcorn.