Within and without this state, Lake Tahoe is seen as a pristine paradise. People from the San Francisco Bay Area and the rest of the world come here to escape from the chaos and uncertainty of their daily lives. The shifting climate realities of this region, however, has informed us locals that these problems have already arrived. During the yearly Operation Sierra Storm conference, a panel on Tahoe’s shifting climate realities speculated temperature increases from 3.6 to 9 degrees in temperature, and no more snow below the 9,500 square foot elevation (to give you an idea of what that means for the hospitality industry here, ski slopes are between 6,000 and 9,000 square feet, meaning that this would erase about $268 million off the balance sheets of our ski resorts). Even the clear blue waters of Tahoe will turn a sickly green because of the temperature rise, which will disrupt the cycles that send the green layers to the bottom of the lake. And if you look closely at the sediment from the Tahoe beaches, you’ll find the same microplastics currently floating through our oceans. No no matter where you turn, there’s no escape.
Much of that impact is coming from outside the area. I routinely collect plenty of debris from my nature hikes every time I take them, and it’s definitely increased since the beginning of the pandemic. One thing that hasn’t increased, however, is snowfall, and the science only confirms the diminishing returns we’ve been experiencing over the years. As us local insiders joke, “Remember when it used to snow here?” These are the lines we have already crossed. A few more of those, and there really won’t be a Tahoe for any one to escape to anymore — not here, not anywhere, and not as you once knew it.
That’s the message our sorrowful Mama Nature has been giving us, over and over again, and we just don’t wanna listen, for some reason. The way we at Medicine Box see it, perhaps the best way for it to sink in by creating plant medicines powerful enough to communicate that. If nature heals you, then it only makes sense to return the favor, right? After all, if the planet is sick, the rest of us will be, too. It’s one thing for us to tell you. The medicines, however, are the experience that proves it.
THE MESSAGE OF NATURE
Matter of fact, I’d go so far as to say that Mama Nature gave us one BIG message through the pandemic: SLOW DOWN, OR ELSE. Loosen your grip on me. Let me breathe. It was a chance for all of us to recognize a real violence we were committing upon nature, and how WE get what’s coming to us, every time.
Left to its own devices, nature gets along just fine, thank you very much. It regulates itself, heals itself and provides amply for those that participate in its ecosystem. When WE show up, however, we can intuit a choice on how to act: either extract and take all that we can, leaving behind our refuse. Or we act as caretakers and stewards, consciously recognizing the weight of our footprints and striving to give as much as we have been given. Thankfully, it’s more than just hardcore environmentalists and treehuggers recognizing this. People are starting to get busy with saving this planet, from our leadership on down.
But we are running out of time. Already between the years of 1994 to 2017, the equivalent of a landmass about the size of Great Britain 100 meters thick has melted from polar icecaps. We’ve seen eight of the 10 worst fires in California’s history within the past decade. The disasters we’ll see from this are locked in for the rest of our lives. Keeping a lid on them for the next few generations, and preserving what’s necessary, will be the number one task on our list.
That requires a shift in our behavior, and that will take a LOT of inner labor. That’s where the plant medicines come in. No longer can we deny our place within nature, nor can our arrogance assign us to a position where WE tell it what to do for us. When we align ourselves with greater health, the plants begin to demonstrate to us that WE are ONE with them as well as with all. Starting with the proper baseline of good nutrition, sleep and energy, is vital towards developing this connection to plant wisdom — a key component of our 1CaB healing suite of botanical formulations, each of which tackle these foundational components of health. Once you create solid fundamentals for health, plant medicine can more powerfully reveal a non-duality at the heart of all existence, and our small but still significant place within it.
Checking in with this is crucial for our overall well-being, as so much in our life pulls us away from not just our external environment, but our own internal nature as well. I strongly believe that consciousness creates the world we live in and that once we start to heal that, the planet will heal as well. For WE are ALL one with nature. Connecting with plant medicine helps to repair that rupture at the heart of our suffering.
AS GOES TAHOE…
Heading back to my home community, I see the duality between the locals and the tourists. Generally speaking, the tourists are often those who need the most help in taking care of the land they’re visiting. Our partnership with the Sierra Business Council hones in on the education and messaging we’ve spearheaded online to alert our guests to the impacts they bring to the area, and how to mitigate them. One we’re talking about internally is encouraging tourists to provide water spigots distributed throughout each Tahoe town. Tourists often bring their own plastic bottles with them, but encouraging them to drink some of the cleanest tap water in the country and use their own canteens can save them money and prevent more unrecyclable plastic from entering our oceans and landfills. Bringing information to tourists through QR Codes on trailhead signs are other options as well.
That messaging is only the beginning. Ultimately, we’ll need to focus on strength and resiliency, because major changes are afoot, and some of them will be quite painful. However, we are convinced that they WILL be survivable, but only if we begin healing ourselves and our earth, all at once, and pay mind to the lines we cannot cross.