February 5, 2021
weekly survival tip
Are you bringing home a pandemic puppy, too? Join the club! Here’s a primer on what you’ll want to know.
Black history month started earlier this week so we wanted to share some of the things we’ve been reading in honor of the occasion. That includes this story published in Condé Nast Traveler last August that highlights 10 women who are working tirelessly to make adventuring in the outdoors feel accessible and welcoming to those who may not be white, male or cis-gender – not often a given. These women have spearheaded organizations aimed at fostering access to the outdoors and adventure sports for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) and that highlight native women’s voices in the outdoor world and educate people about our country’s ancestral lands; they have started body positive hiking groups, social media accounts to encourage Latinx hikers and outdoor education and support programs for LGBTQ+ youth. The work they are all doing is, at its core, about equity and social justice. “Black bodies have not historically enjoyed freedom to exist and even recreate,” said Rue Mapp, one of the women profiled. She founded Outdoor Afro, a national non-profit that connects people to outdoor experiences and pushes for inclusion in outdoor recreation, nature, and conservation. “The act of being strong, beautiful, and free in nature alone is resistance, and lifts up our human right to have access to nature for our health and well-being.”
Another worthwhile read comes from Outside Magazine. In this piece professional road cyclist Ayesha McGowan explains what she believes is required to build an anti-racist outdoor industry. A few of her key points include: One, the need for antiracist work to be long-term. Companies, industry groups and others must commit to improving diversity, equity and inclusion even if the media is no longer paying attention. Two, these organizations should use experts, not their BIPOC employees, to guide the creation of anti-racist policies. Three, this means more than hiring a diverse staff. And, four, she says, be sure to include “all intersections of Blackness: Black trans folks, Black fat folks, Black folks with different abilities, Black folks who are also immigrants. All Black lives matter, so set your standards high enough that you’re not only choosing to care about the Black lives that you think should matter to you.”
And, in case you didn’t see the news, Cicely Tyson, a titan in the film, theater and TV worlds – and also a lifelong advocate for the portrayals of strong, stereotype-busting, African American women in those venues – died last week. Her obit in the New York Times chronicles her storied life and career. And this interview, also published in the Times just weeks before her death, proves her wit and wisdom remained bright to the end. Have a read and enjoy. Maybe cue up some of her most famous performances this weekend.
What do a young New York City-born, Connecticut-based map-making whiz and Pope Francis have in common? A keen desire to save the planet by marshaling the Catholic Church’s vast land holdings to do so. If it sounds like an unlikely pairing, that’s because in some ways, it is. But as this fascinating New Yorker profile explains, if anyone can make such a partnership work, it’s Molly Burhans. Using sophisticated cartographic software and technology, Burhans aims to map all of the land and assets the Church owns, which, including those of parishes, dioceses and religious orders all over the world, means not only “cathedrals, convents and Michelangelo’s Pietà but also farms, forests, and, by some estimates, nearly two hundred million acres of land.” It’s a daunting task – especially because the Church’s records are shockingly antiquated, with few digital records of any use. Burhans explains in the piece that the Vatican’s Central Office of Church Statistics didn’t even have Wi-Fi until a few years ago. But, if she can create this massive map, Burhans believes she can help the Church address and ameliorate climate change through “better land management” and, in so doing, better protect populations “especially vulnerable to the consequences of global warming.” It’s a bold effort – just the kind that could affect bold change.
Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. And while it’s often a really great excuse to stuff your face with chocolate, this year, you can also make it a great excuse to get your kids outside (you could even bring some of that chocolate with you outside… we’re all about chocolate…). How? Simple! Take your little iksplorers hunting for supplies to make your loved ones nature-based gifts. It’s a perfect activity to do with your kiddos and this guide includes 20 different ideas for crafts you can create together. It’s got everything from leaf lanterns to pinecone love bugs and more traditional Valentine’s Day cards. You can’t go wrong.
Now, if you happen to need any more inspiration to get outside at this time of year (yeah, looks like the old groundhog saw his shadow, so there’s more winter in store for us yet…), check out this story, also from Outside Magazine, about the 1000 Hours Outside project. The idea is a simple one: match the number of hours your kids spend on a screen in a year with the same number of hours spent outside. For the average American child, aged 8-12, that’s 1,200. In truth, you don’t need to aim for such a big number. Especially if this is your first go. Make a goal that feels doable. Maybe it’s 30 minutes a day outside. Maybe it’s an hour. Maybe it’s more in the summer than the winter. The main point is the intention, says Ginny Yurich, a mom of five from Michigan who started the project. “The premise is really simple,” she said, “but the impact is really profound.