Are you tired of the doomsday climate scenarios, overwhelming forecasts, or general bad news? Join us for refreshing, authentic, and hopeful stories from people in different communities working to protect the environment, educate those around them, and improve the health of folks near and far.
Community Blooms is a podcast by the Community Ecology Institute (CEI), a non-profit organization with a mission to "cultivate communities where people and nature thrive together."
Spring Equinox 2023: Positive Developments and Seasonal Reflections 🍀
Hey beautiful people, Happy Spring! On today's episode, I celebrate the beginning of Spring with a description of the Spring Equinox (March 20, 2023 in the Northern Hemisphere), a handful of my favorite developments in environmental spaces I'm connected to, and finally, a collection of seasonal reflection questions.
With Winter's chills shifting into Spring's blooms, I've frequently returned to the idea of "giving myself permission to change." This could be changes in my mind, goals, behaviors, or anything else in my life that does not or will not serve me throughout this new season. I've included some reflection questions related to this idea that you might find helpful.
Here's to a wonderful Spring season for you and your communities! ~Akil 💚
Spring Reflection Questions 💭
What seeds have I planted in my life this winter? What plants will emerge from these seeds?What less than positive behaviors have I held onto or developed over the course of winter?What positive behaviors do I want to grow into this Spring?How can I continue to nurture myself and the seeds I’ve planted?How can I love myself through any growing pains I might experience this Spring?
Links for Further Exploration
CEI 2022 Annual Report: https://www.communityecologyinstitute.org/uploads/1/4/2/5/142549131/cei_2022_annual_report_3-5-23.pdf
CEI Acquires the Green Farmacy Gardens: https://www.communityecologyinstitute.org/green-farmacy-garden.html
Hoya Harvest: https://earthcommons.georgetown.edu/action/hoya-harvest-garden/
Spring Equinox 2023: https://earthsky.org/astronomy-essentials/everything-you-need-to-know-vernal-or-spring-equinox/
Flower Photos! https://photos.app.goo.gl/7rD3WLQYWCbPZPKt8
Fall Equinox 2022: Seasonal Reflections and Appreciation🍁
Hey beautiful people, Akil here! :))
On today's episode, I commemorate the Fall Equinox (September 22, 2022 in the Northern Hemisphere). This marks the half-way point between the Summer Solstice (the longest day of the year and beginning of Summer) and the Winter Solstice (the shortest day of the year and beginning of Winter).
With just three months left in 2022, I am this moment to reflect on our society's seemingly counter-intuitive response to Nature's seasonal changes. I'm also pausing to express my gratitude for making it this far into the year and to stand in solidarity with the millions of people facing climate change fueled devastation in Pakistan, Puerto Rico, and elsewhere.
Sending my love and best wishes for this new season!
How to Support People in Pakistan and Puerto Rico:
"How to Help Pakistan Flood Victims" from PBS News Hour"Here's how to help people in Puerto Rico recover from Hurricane Fiona" from NPR
Help me raise funds for our Community Engagement Center 💚 https://www.flipcause.com/secure/fundraiser/MTMzNDUx/73852
Willow Volkert: Cultural Norms, Adventures in Nature, and Sustainability on Campus
*Editor's note* Akil here! I re-uploaded this episode a few days after posting once I realized I uploaded the wrong file! Hope you enjoy the correct episode :)
Happy start of September and back to school season! On today’s episode, Akil sits down with Willow Volkert. Willow is currently a sophomore at Georgetown University studying Humanistic Ecology through Georgetown’s Interdisciplinary Degree program. As Willow describes, Humanistic Ecology “focus[es] on the sustainable alternatives necessary to fight climate change… and create a more sustainable and just world” as well as “the values that are necessary to create such a world.” She is also the current Co-President of GREEN (Georgetown Renewable Energy and Environmental Network)
Topics in this conversation range from Willow’s pandemic-era personal growth to cultural conditioning regarding environmentalism. We also discuss gap years, sustainability on campus (challenges and progress) , how to use privilege constructively in sustainability, and the importance of “doing the little things where you can”.
Gap year: "term for when students take time off between high school and college. Though it’s typically called a gap year, some students take more or less time off in between high school and college" (Western Governors University)Work trade: "where volunteers offer their time and skills to work in exchange for free accommodation" (Tales of a Backpacker)Regenerative agriculture: "agricultural practices that focus on the health of the ecological system as a whole, not solely on high production yields of crops" (Sustainable America)Permaculture: "Permaculture integrates land, resources, people and the environment through mutually beneficial synergies – imitating the no waste, closed loop systems seen in diverse natural systems." (Permaculture News)‘Āina: the land; that which provides (this Hawaiian term has various nuanced definitions—this definition is just one of them)Aloha ‘Āina: "love for the land of Hawai'i" (Aloha Āina O Hawai'i)Municipal solid waste (MSW): "waste collected by the municipality or disposed of at the municipal waste disposal site and includes residential, industrial, institutional, commercial, municipal, and construction and demolition waste" (Hoornweg et al., 2015).
Guest Info (Instagram)
@willowvolkert: main account@willowexistingonearth: "page for musings and thoughts"@willows_adventuresyay:...
Akil Cole: Mindset Shifts, Environmental Education, and Unlikely Opportunities
On today’s episode, Akil sits down to interview…himself?? Topics in this conversation range from educational exposure and the not-so-early influence of Akil’s favorite book on his desire to protect nature to unlikely opportunities and Akil’s work with CEI. Come for the (new!) intro music, stay for the inspiration!
Akil's CEI Barn Fundraiser Page! 💸https://www.flipcause.com/secure/fundraiser/MTMzNDUx/73852
Connect with Akil! 🤝
Personal Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/akil.cole/Your Better Four Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/yourbetterfour/ Your Better Four Website: https://www.yourbetterfour.comProject Perspective (YouTube Channel): https://youtu.be/PPw-_vBckSU Email: email@example.com
Earth Day 2022 🌍
Happy Earth Day and welcome back to Community Blooms! In today's episode, Akil commemorates Earth Day by encouraging reflection upon and connection with the environment, sharing positive happenings from CEI, and announcing the beginning of Season 2 for Community Blooms. A summary of CEI's incredible work can be found in our 2021 Annual Report, which is linked here: https://www.communityecologyinstitute.org/uploads/1/2/3/0/123096770/cei_2021_annual_report_final.pdf
Season 1, which began last year (2021) on Earth Day highlighted environmental, educational, equity, and health leaders from the Howard County, Maryland community. Season 2 will focus on a new community: students! Stay tuned for new episodes in the coming weeks and months that include the incredible work and perspectives of young people.
Finally, this episode invites you to contribute to CEI's Barnraiser, our ongoing capital campaign to renovate, beautify, and make more accessible the incomplete barn at Freetown Farm. Check out the donation page to contribute! https://www.communityecologyinstitute.org/barnraiser.html
Lori Lilly and Peter Iwuh: Environmentalism, Workforce Development, and Adaptation
On today's episode, Community Blooms host Akil Cole sits down with Lori Lilly and Peter Iwuh from Howard Ecoworks. Lori is the Founder and Executive Director of Howard Ecoworks, while Peter is a marketing intern at Ecoworks and a student at Morgan State University. Topics in this conversation range from environmental justice and the organizational model of Howard Ecoworks to pandemic-time adjustments and personal connections to nature.
Based in Columbia, Maryland, Howard Ecoworks "is a non profit organization specializing in stormwater management and workforce development" that "strives to develop environmental stewardship through education and action performing best management practices throughout Howard County." You learn more about Howard Ecoworks here: https://www.howardecoworks.org/
You can also connect with with Ecoworks with the following links:
Volunteer link: https://www.howardecoworks.org/volunteerInstagram: https://www.instagram.com/hcecoworks/ YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCKLxaA0gJxn1UXfdnNe2R5QFacebook: https://www.facebook.com/HowardEcoWorks/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/hecoworks LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/11357921/admin/
Inner Arbor Trust: innerarbortrust.org(Unsponsored app suggestion) iNaturalist: https://www.inaturalist.org/ “A social network for naturalists”Includes plant and animal species identification, messaging with fellow naturalists, and more
Love this podcast so far and the host Akil is so warm and welcoming. The show description is right on about being hopeful and inspiring.