Category: Planetary Stewardship

Knowing is the Key to Caring

Knowing is the Key to Caring

SimoneLipscomb (25)Sylvia Earle wrote, “Knowing is the key to caring, and with caring there is hope that people will be motivated to take positive actions. They might not care even if they know, but they can’t care if they are unaware.”

SimoneLipscomb (23)My wish is for every human to know the beauty of the Ocean, the importance of it to human survival, and how simple actions can help right the degeneration humans have caused.

SimoneLipscomb (16)Beauty feeds our soul. Without the magnificent wonders of the planet would we find joy? Would we feel happiness? Could we find motivation?

SimoneLipscomb (22)The plankton in our seas create the majority of oxygen on our planet. Trees are important but up to 85% of the oxygen we breathe is produced in the Ocean. Think about that as you inhale. What goes into our streams, rivers, and bays enters the Ocean and affects the growth of plankton….if we want to continue to breathe we must consider the Ocean.

SimoneLipscomb (13)Simple actions we can do to help:

-Recycle all plastic

-Reuse plastic bottles and never purchase bottled water

-Reuse bags and forget plastic shopping bags

-Turn off all lights not in use

-Consolidate trips using your vehicle

-Walk or ride your bicycle when you can

-Join a conservation group that helps protect watersheds or other water resources

-Eat only sustainable fish if you must eat seafood

-Participate in water clean-ups

-Walk along the beach or shore, take photographs, share with friends

-Read a book on the Ocean

-Write a poem about the Ocean….or paint a canvas

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Leaping Off the Cliff

Leaping Off the Cliff

SimoneLipscombToday I wrote a friend, “I feel a nudge to fly off the cliff….my toes are hanging over the edge and I’m looking back…looking down at a faraway salt water Ocean realm….and a blue sky in front of me….and so I stand…trembling a little…excited….and grateful.”

SimoneLipscomb (2)It feels as if I’m at a huge turning point in my life that seems to have appeared suddenly but in truth it has been in process for decades. It began when I made a decision to clear out anything keeping me from doing whatever my ‘mission’ was. Sounds funny now but as a 25 year old, it was serious stuff.

SimoneLipscombLittle did I know my journey would take me through really rough times. The more I resisted inner change, the harder it became. There came a point where everything fell apart. I lost basically everything. It was a true dark time in my life. But it was a time where I was able to clear out inner debris as well. I released fears and other crippling emotions as I worked on healing. As the darkness cleared, light was exposed.

SimoneLipscomb (21)The more I surrendered to my path, the clearer the direction became. Looking back I can see those turning points and the narrowing of direction clearly but at the time it was pretty intense. Support came for my work in many forms. My first book was published by an indie company. Making ten percent in royalties on my first book, after all the work, prompted me to publish my next two books. Another book co-authored was picked up by another indie house in Kentucky. Another book was co-authored and done in E-format. That may sound exciting and it is satisfying, but being a writer and photographer has yet to create a supportive income. But thankfully the support has come in other forms as I continue to surrender to the direction of my heart.

SimoneLipscombRecently another narrowing of focus and intention occurred through a series of events that I wrote about in an earlier blog. Now that I’m on the other side of the decision-making process it’s a bit scary. Other financial commitments arise as I further the work of my heart….marine education, volunteer researcher, underwater photography at a more professional level, more writing and publishing of books on marine animals. I went away for a week and came home with a list of things that will be the next steps in my life. And amazingly, support has begun to arrive for this next phase of my work. I feel grateful for the direction and the support.

SimoneLipscomb (2)I lit my candles this morning, after a unsettled night of wrestling fear and anxiety about the upcoming opportunities and projects. I asked to be given a specific sign….”Show me if I am going in the right direction.” Late this afternoon I had two signs happen within minutes of each other. Why do I need signs? Because I dream big at times and wonder if I’m sane. And yes…that’s a joke but I want to be headed in the direction that is true to my path of service. So yes, I asked for confirmation that the direction was correct. It’s like, “Yes I know I had all of those amazing events happen a couple weeks ago but was it real? Can I trust that I correctly interpreted the experiences? Can life be that amazing?”

SimoneLipscomb (24)Yes. It can be. And yes, I’m taking the leap. I haven’t worked this hard on my life’s path to suddenly give up because a bit of fear arose. I’m standing on that cliff. I’m looking around and down. I lift my arms and realize they are wings. A warm breeze rushes past. I rise and glide over the ocean. The direction is clear. It’s a fine day for flying.


There have been so many people that have been part of the warm breeze that lifts me up.  The depth of support grows and adds strength to the wind. To each of you, I am deeply grateful.

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To Listen, To Connect….To Love

To Listen, To Connect….To Love

800_4167It was below freezing when I arrived at the farm. Frost dusted delicate tendrils of dried wildflowers in open fields and glistened in the early-morning light. Everything it touched was transformed with crystalline beauty.

Many years ago I stopped bringing live trees into my home for Christmas. Instead I purchased a fake tree manufactured in China….made of plastic. Three years ago I made the decision to support local tree farmers and remove the toxic tree from my life. I realized that trees raised on farms support local farmers and can be recycled. I also thought that when harvested and put in a place of honor, they are fulfilling their destiny. But being a sensitive soul I have to harvest consciously–with appreciation and love….with tenderness.

800_4116Weeks ago I planned the excursion to Boyd Mountain Tree Farm in Waynesville, North Carolina. I would be visiting my friends in Asheville over Thanksgiving so the fraser fir farm would be on my way home. When I made the decision to invite a living tree into my home, it was Boyd Mountain that called me. I was living in Asheville at the time so it was an easy morning’s outing then. The lovely energy of the land as well as the family and staff that cares for the trees stayed in my mind so I was excited to visit once more.

Last year I went to a local tree farm near my home in coastal Alabama but found out, the morning after bringing the Leyland Cypress into my home, that I was allergic to it and had to drag it, fully decorated, out the French doors on to the screened porch where it remained over the holidays. It graced my courtyard with beauty but I missed the closeness of it.

mitchellblogI remember vividly the smell of fraser firs when I would drive up to Mount Mitchell or other high elevations along the Blue Ridge Parkway for sunrise photography excursions. The intoxicating aroma was amazing and I felt changed, altered from it. Scents can do that and each of us has special ones that trigger delightful memories. For me, the smell takes me back to North Carolina and I see myself standing on a high ridge overlooking mountains with fog-filled valleys. The air is crisp and I feel as if I have wings that are strong and can carry me anywhere life calls me to go.

800_4131Many emotions filled me on the frosty walk up the mountain at the tree farm. Early morning sunlight filtered through dark green branches, some still dusted with snow. The beauty touched me deeply. I felt intense gratitude for the trees and those who care for them. The frozen earth, hard beneath my boots, seemed to pull me up and up as I was drawn further into the lush limbs that reached out to brush me as I walked past.

Rather than look for a ‘perfect’ tree I simply opened my heart and listened. Letting my mind quieten, I was guided to a snow-covered tree and knew it was the one when tears began to trickle down my face. I didn’t choose the tree, it chose me. I felt the connection strongly.

800_4119I gently touched its soft, snow-covered needles and offered gratitude and a blessing for the sacrifice it was making. But very clearly I heard in my mind that fulfilling a destiny requires a sacrifice. Later I pondered the idea and realized we sacrifice our ego, a direction we were headed, a relationship, a place of residence, a job, or any number of ‘things’ as we move through life, honoring our path.

Perhaps Christmas trees have a sense of their purpose as they grow in long rows hugging the mountain. Maybe they feel the joyful emotions of children and adults who weave trails across the slope. I wonder if they know something special awaits. Do they swoon a bit after being cut and then awaken later to find something similar to the stars of heaven resting on their branches, sometimes in bright colors. And maybe then, on some level of tree consciousness, they recognize the fulfillment of their destiny as they stand as the focal point of joy and love in their chosen home.

1412515_10152027915954214_382559382_oWhen we open ourselves fully to life, we cannot help but fulfill our ever-unfolding destiny. Perhaps it isn’t one, final event that gives evidence of success in life but each step along the way, each opportunity we take to open our hearts to listen, to connect….to love.


Some facts about farm-grown Christmas trees:

-They are grown on American family farms and make an important economic contribution to many rural communities.

-One acre of Christmas trees provides the daily oxygen requirement for 18 people. There are 500,000 acres of Christmas trees grown in the U.S. which collectively provide oxygen for 9 million people each day. Young, fast-growing trees release more oxygen than mature forest trees.

-For every tree harvested, another one is planted to ensure a steady supply.

-Christmas tree farms support wildlife such as turkey, quail, songbirds, rabbits and deer.

-Christmas trees are an all-American renewable, recyclable resource. They can be chipped for mulch and used for building dunes at beaches.


What is the Earth Worth to You?

What is the Earth Worth to You?

graffitiA few days ago I visited a high school classroom where I presented a program on recycling. The teacher sponsors recycling for the high school but when I asked the students how many recycled in their home nobody raised a hand. I was shocked. Usually there are at least a few recyclers.

After completing the presentation I followed up with this question: What would it take for you to care enough to take action? Blank faces stared back at me. I asked again and one student said somebody would have to pay him.

It felt like the air was kicked out of me. These past few months of wondering what was the root of the problem of our planet and it comes down to my worst suspicions: Greed. Is it true that people are unwilling to take action, even something as basic and simple as recycling, unless there is something in it for them?

simonelipscomb (8)What they can’t see the payoff for being a good steward is having a healthy life, a healthier planet. A future.

In a blog post from Bill Moyers dated yesterday he wrote that top climate scientists recently reported that the time for us to act to correct the downward spiral of environmental health of the planet is very small. The study stated that unless we make major changes within a decade it’s basically an accelerating scenario of a planet unable to support life as we know it. The Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change (IPCC) warns, in this report, of an alarming escalation of climate impacts (droughts, floods, storms) but also shows that preventing climate chaos is still a possibility.

If my suspicions about human nature are true, as the high school class modeled, the majority of citizens think only in terms of monetary gain, not planetary stewardship. Somehow people must began to see that their direct actions of caring for the planet is the only way we have a viable future. Why are humans unable to remove the blinders that keep them from seeing the truth about what’s happening on the planet? What will it take to create the shift in consciousness necessary to make a positive difference? Do they care?

Recycling is so easy. I can’t imagine why people will not make the effort. Every time I see an aluminum can being tossed in the garbage I think…. 95% of the energy it takes to make an aluminum can can be saved by recycling that one. Or paper….28% of landfill waste is paper and cardboard…recyclable.  According to a report I read last week, almost 33% of food in the USA is thrown in the garbage. One-third! Can you imagine?? That’s enough food to insure almost everyone in the country had a meal but instead it goes to the dump. Plastics account for 13% of landfill waste….all recyclable and yet filling our landfills with trash that will be around for hundreds of years….or worse…our oceans.

tarballsshellImagine explorers visiting our planet after humans have driven our species to extinction…finding plastic bottles littering beaches, roadways. Can you imagine the conclusions these explorers might come to by what they see left behind? When they see how we treated the very ‘thing’ that sustains life for us.

How do we get people to care?

How do we get people to invest in their future by caring for the planet?

What will it take to create a shift in consciousness?

5forearth2 2 copyI can only do what feels right for me and pray that enough of us will care, will love our planet and our children…and future children…to be responsible, caring stewards. I wonder if we could start by taking 5 minutes a day to sit in stillness, in quiet, and ask what we can do to make a positive difference. I wonder….can we give the earth just 5 minutes of our day to listen?



Finding Our Voice

Finding Our Voice

simonelipscomb (13)In her book, When Women Were Birds, Terry Tempest Williams writes about what it means to pair voice with inner truth. She shares two examples that reminds us to keep speaking our truth, even when people refuse to hear it.

She was at a public hearing speaking up for Utah wilderness lands that were being put on the chopping block by politicos. As she stood to speak Congressman Jim Hansen began coughing, yawning, shuffling papers and in general trying to distract her and show he wasn’t listening. She stopped speaking and asked him if there was anything she could say that might change his negative perspective on wilderness. His reply? “I’m sorry, Ms. Williams, there is something about your voice I cannot hear.”


It wasn’t the microphone he was referring to; it was a metaphor of the politicians, elected to hear comments from citizens– more than 70% of whom wanted more wilderness, not less–to show their displeasure in having to listen. Their mind was already made up without consulting the will of the people.

In another instance Senator Larry Craig stood up during the conservation delegation’s testimony and said, “This one is your Senator Hatfield,” and walked out of the hearing. Senator Hatfield then read a book during the entire testimony before Congress.

The result of the senator’s behavior fueled the determination of those speaking on behalf of wilderness. They hurriedly got writers and poets to submit a piece of their work on wilderness, had a graphic designer work for free to design a book and produced Testimony, which was eventually read aloud by various senators during a filibuster about the wilderness areas that were proposed to be sold. The vote that was eventually taken upheld the law that set them aside. The vote favored the protected the wilderness areas.

May our beautiful water planet be blessed. May we be good stewards of our water resources.

About a year ago I signed up for a one hour telephone call where I could listen to a live interview with Terry. I greatly respect her writing and work as a voice for all things wild and was excited to be able to hear the conversation. I called a couple minutes early and listened to silence and then a voice came on the line, “Hello? Hello? Is anybody there?”

I didn’t say anything. Not wanting to connect with anyone really because I didn’t know what to say, I remained silent. The voice would occasionally say, “Is anybody there?” This went on for over five minutes as we waited for the interview to begin. Finally another voice came on line, the moderator. She began talking…talking to Terry who was the one asking if anyone was there. I could have been having a meaningful conversation with a woman I greatly respect and I chose to remain silent. Several minutes of valuable time with a mentor was lost.

morningglory (1)It was a valuable lesson. I could have asked her about her work. How do you stay inspired when facing such apathy? Where do you find the will to keep working when the message goes unheard? I could have learned from this woman of power. Instead, I chose silence.

Random, wandering horse in desert. Bonaire, N.A.

Is there something that needs your voice? A mountain? A river? Sea turtles? Manatees? Black-foot ferrets? Your heart?

Speaking our truth has never been more important. Bringing light to our planet, our communities, our homes is a practice that must be cultivated to help shift us from the darkness that we see and experience around us.

With compassion and love and gentleness let us speak from our hearts and together create something truly beautiful. It’s time to use our collective voice.