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Emotional Load and Biodiversity



Personal Check In: Long one today!

I went cross-country skiing over the weekend and I am SORE. I'm so grateful to have stronger muscles than ever before, and to feel the impact of almost 2 years of weight-lifting. I made a commitment to myself, and kept it. Feeling the glow.

In today's vlog, I share some insights from Gathering Fire, the advanced facilitation training at Paicines Ranch I co-created with Christine Ageton. We produced the training last week, and whew - it was incredible.

Gathering Fire Christine and Nikki (1)Photo Credit: Megan Mendenhall

Insight #1: A fertility vs growth frame for leadership and team development is key for environmental advocates. Soil and Shadow uses models from the ecosystem to inform ways we consult with our clients, and the women at Gathering Fire benefited from this orientation. Having soil health frameworks for complexity, loss, conundrum, unexpected/unplanned abundance, etc beautifully translated into resonant themes for the attendees.


Insight #2: Recognizing the often invisible mental and emotional load of environmental advocacy provides care we absolutely need. Those of us connected to the implications of extreme weather events, biodiversity loss, climate migration etc carry much that our peers in other sectors may not. It can be difficult to talk about, let alone seek support for. A first step can be recognition that environmental advocacy and earth stewardship do come with an emotional load, and providing extra care for ourselves as a result.

Gathering Fire Group Photo on LandPhoto Credit: Megan Mendenhall

Insight #3: What can managing ecosystems for biodiversity teach us about managing human systems for social diversity? This question, more than any others, is a central inquiry for us at Soil and Shadow. At Gathering Fire, we asked this question in a vast field, looking at perennial grasses that had returned in almost mythic proportions in response to the recent rainfall and 20+ years of regenerative management. My takeaway: DEI work takes a tremendous amount of faith. Soak in the moments when that faith is rewarded by unimaginable positive impact - those moments do happen, if I stop long enough to take them in.

My inquiry for you this week was embedded in insight #3: For those of you who know a bit about managing for biodiversity - what can that teach you about managing for social diversity?

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