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  • 27 Jul 2020 1:20 PM | Anonymous

    Author: Bryan Wright

    As a child I often found myself being intrigued by the behavior of the “old folks.” I struggled to understand why they would often meet by their gardens and discuss the life of plants. I never understood the intrigue and the obsession of the garden. My juvenile eyes were only able to see the garden as a form of torture, a forced labor that only brought me distress. The intense heat of the Tennessee summers would sometimes be overbearing, but the watchful eyes of those elders was intense. I sometimes wondered if they had the eyes of a hawk because their eyes were trained to see every little nuance in the garden, any mistake made they picked up on instantly. As I grew older I began to cherish the time spent in the garden with the elders, I found peace and calm in the garden. Little did I know that the thing that I hated so much I would grow to love and find the same comfort in as those elders did when I was a young boy. I even took on the habit of going out to work in my garden in the heat of day like my grandfather would do, thus the afternoon has been embraced as my preferred time to get out into my garden. 

    When my wife and I purchased our first home we were very intent on picking a neighborhood that was filled with elders. We wanted our children to have an upbringing that was similar to ours. Another important factor important to picking our home was making sure that I had a yard to garden in. We moved into our home in the winter and our elder neighbor kept a watchful eye on the young couple who just moved into the neighborhood. As soon as the weather began to warm I started seeds. Within a few weeks I was able to share the produce from our garden. The elders were very appreciative and constantly asked me, “boy who taught you how to garden like that?” Although my answer was the same they continued to ask me the same question. 

    Gardening is a passion of mine, but dealing with weeds is not a part of gardening that I enjoy. I would often leave the garden in need of weeding.  I would say to myself, “In the morning you need to go out and weed your garden.” One morning I was out in my garden around 8am. It was a beautiful day. I could see the sun rays shimmering through the trees. Birds were singing beautiful songs and the heat of the sun was slightly radiating off of my arm. I  like to close my eyes and face the sun, and so I did. With my eyes closed I faced the sun's direction envious of plants ability to create so much energy from the sun. As I opened my eyes to look at my garden I noticed that there were not any weeds in my garden. I quickly rubbed my eyes in doubt of what I had seen. After rubbing my eyes again unnecessarily, I slowly opened them hoping to see the weeds that I left in my garden the previous night.They were nowhere to be found, the weeds had disappeared. 

    My garden looked amazing! It looked how my grandparents' garden looked - well groomed. I thought about how my daughter had said that she sees gnomes in our garden hide from me. I thought, wow, could there be gnomes who are weeding my garden? As I walked into my front yard my neighbor Mrs. Grey was on her front porch holding her early morning ritual of reading her bible and drinking coffee. We often had a call-and-response of good morning greetings, and gratitude for the blessings of seeing another day. After our morning greetings, which I very much so miss, she asked about my garden. I told her it was doing good, everything was growing and I would soon be able to get her hot peppers to her. Mrs. Grey smiled and in a calm, patient, and firm voice said: “Young man you have to weed your garden more often, those weeds were all over the place so I went ahead and weeded the garden for you.” Years later she told me that she enjoyed looking at our garden, it reminded her of her parents' garden growing up in Arkansas.

    For years I grew food that the elders in my community liked to eat. I would crops solely for them and they appreciated the fresh produce. I grew up in a small town in Tennessee and there I saw the power of community and neighborhood gardening. Because the majority of the community gardened no one lived without fresh produce. One neighbor may grow Okra, while the other is growing Cabbage Sprouts. Neighbors traded, gifted, and sold produce from their gardens and livestock or fish that was caught. This way of living not only ensured that everyone ate fresh food, but it invigorated the local economy and built communal ties. I often hear people refer to being self-sufficient, but I think we need to be community-sufficient. Gardening is the source of the great uniter: food. Gardeners share a unique bond and initiation that unites us all together.

    If your family is the only family in your neighborhood gardening, encourage other families to garden. This will build a sense of support and community with your neighbors. It will also bring more awareness to those beneficial organisms in nature that will come and help to contribute to your gardens. Our world is in need of a healing that is holistic, something that brings people together with nature harmoniously.  Organic sustainable gardening is the uniter as Geoff Lawton said, “ All the world's problems can be solved in a Garden.”

  • 29 May 2020 1:27 PM | Anonymous

    Earth Rebirth Announces New Board Members

    Norman, Okla (May 29, 2020) ​-- Central Oklahoma environmental nonprofit Earth Rebirth announces the election of two new members to its Board of Directors. 

    Earth Rebirth Executive Director, Andrew Sartain, announced, “I am pleased to welcome our four newest members to our Board of Directors. They each have a unique background, with diverse experiences that make them an asset to the Earth Rebirth Board of Directors and to the organization as a whole.”

    Cory Thacker has been involved in many Earth Rebirth projects and brings years of experience from multiple environmental non-profit organizations including GreenPeace. He was born and raised in Oklahoma and has a B.S. degree from The University of Oklahoma. 

    Deon Osborne is a previous Earth Rebirth volunteer and garden consultant. He co-founded Norman Citizens 4 Racial Justice. After graduating from the University of Oklahoma with a degree in Journalism, Deon interned for the Policy Institute. Deon now works for a youth shelter in Tulsa and writes articles for various online news outlets. 

    “I am excited to bring Earth Rebirth and its garden program to urban and underserved communities across our state”, Osborne said. 

    Jeremy Salyer was born and raised in Norman, OK where he attended the University of Oklahoma, and was awarded a Bachelor of Science in Sustainability. He later joined Institutional Shareholder Services, gaining experience with executive board research and composition. Jeremy has always been interested in improving the lives of those around him through innovative means, and works with groups like Earth Rebirth and Sunrise Movement to advance a Green New Deal.

    Zakk Flash Luttrell grew up in a working class Oklahoman family and has engaged his varied life as a nonprofit professional, writer and speaker, labor organizer, anarchist educator and strategist, package car driver, and foster dad in a lifelong quest in the ideas of collective liberation for all. Luttrell is recognized and respected across the Great Plains as a strong voice on the intersection between worker rights and environmental stewardship.

    Thacker, Luttrell, Osborne, and Salyer join Earth Rebirth’s 2020 Board of Directors:

    Andrea Marler, Cleveland County Habitat for Humanity
    Mitch Tindell, Norman High School
    Mariah Menzie, The Tree Wizard

    Earth Rebirth is still interested in adding new members to the Board of Directors to help expand their outreach and impact into communities outside of Norman, you can apply on their website. 

    About Earth Rebirth

    Incorporated in 2011, the Earth Rebirth educates and empowers individuals and communities to take food, energy, and water into their own hands. Earth Rebirth works throughout Central Oklahoma to lead, support, and inspire local action and build partnerships with individuals, communities, governments, businesses, and other groups to restore lands and streams, build school gardens, and educate communities on the necessary preservation of wilderness and biological diversity.

    Earth Rebirth is headquartered in Norman, Oklahoma. For more information about the work that Earth Rebirth does, visit: www.earthrebirthnow.org

    For more information please email ​andrew@earthrebirthnow.com​. 


  • 22 Mar 2020 12:11 PM | Anonymous

    Well, now the whole world knows Joe Exotic, not just Oklahomans. Facebook is full of fun quarantine debates of who would’ve killed who, who did kill who, what defines a cult, who is the crazier character? I really hope we can focus on the biggest loser in this picture - the animals. 

    I was obsessed with zoos as a kid. It was my escape and safe haven to see animals I couldn’t anywhere else. Animals I truly loved. When I moved to Oklahoma in 2008, GW Animal Park was one of the first places I found to satisfy my need to see animals. If it wasn’t for college wrestling, I would’ve applied for a job. We went several times as freshman and sophomore in college. We played with the baby cub in Joe’s trailer. Over time, it was clear the park was taking bigger and bigger risks to bring people in. The marketing shifted from the animals to the character that is Joe Exotic. It felt like a circus. I didn’t return after 2013. 

    Tiger King is a pinnacle example of what is wrong with conservation and animal activism; not just Joe, but all of these so-called “leaders” in animal activism. It shows that all too often protecting the most iconic species on this planet becomes more about protecting the ego of who cares the most. One staff member said it best, “Yea, selling cubs is illegal. There isn’t a zoo in the country that hasn’t bought them when they can’t get them anywhere else.” The conservation industry is facing ethical challenges. What is the goal? Education as animal entertainment is not conservation. Abusive interactions with wildlife as education is not conservation. 

    SPOILER ALERT: If you genuinely care about animals, this series can get to you. You will see babies stripped from the mom immediately after birth, shoved in hundreds of faces for photos, a big cat seizing as a result of a helicopter being used in the espionage war between activists, admitted murder of cats with no explanation. 

    So let me get to the point, this documentary series could be as impactful as Blackfish was in changing the understanding and awareness of dolphin and whale captivity. It likely won’t be, because the eccentric personalities will get in the way of the critical message. We are not only actively destroying keystone species across the world, we are steadily shifting their populations to private entertainment options disguised as conservation. 

    Tim Stark, another egocentric exotic animal collector in the documentary condescendingly said, “Tigers are endangered. What do we need to do? Make more. Why would you want to stop the source?”

    Tim, Joe and any conservationist breeding these animals for trade are not the source of conservation, they are a prolonged dead end for each animal they come in contact with. As well as a dead end for the entire species they pretend to represent. Furthermore, it is clear significant labor violations are taking place within the private zoo industry. People are being manipulated and abused as much as the animals, in some cases more. We need to pass the Big Cat Public Safety Act now; we need to do the same for primates and great apes in private collection. We need further legislation to protect these animals and hold THE INTENT of zoos in the twenty-first century more accountable:

    • Ban private zoos. All zoos should be publicly owned or nonprofit, period. 

    • Ban breeding programs designed to stock animal trade among zoos. Breeding programs should focus on releasable species.

    • No profiteering on interactions with baby animal.
    • No animal shows, period.

    • Any zoo caught violating these acts will be shut down, no second warning.

    If we really want to protect these animals, we have to realize as an industry that the biggest thing we have always had to protect these animals from is ourselves. Tiger King is simply a reminder we have a long way to go.


    #TigerKing #Netflix #DreamBigActBigger #BigCatPublicSafetyAct

  • 1 Jul 2019 12:06 PM | Anonymous

    Green Living Ideas for the Home

    With only 25 percent of global textiles being recycled and the rest ending up being buried in landfills, it’s never been so important to make green living changes in the home. Contrary to popular belief, it doesn't have to cost the earth to add natural elements to the home interior. Whether we choose energy saving ideas, to grow food or invest in eco-friendly products, having responsible consumption and production to ensure sustainability can help to make the world cleaner and healthier while adding earth-conscious decor into a home.

    Create an ambiance

    Candles can create a special ambiance in the home particularly when they are made from woodwick. In contrast to buying cheaper alternatives which often contain high levels of toxins, investing in natural candles will not only last longer but these crackling candles can release a long-lasting fragrance too. Additionally, the temptation to buy harmful candle products often means they will need to be replenished more quickly, therefore costing more from a household budget and creating a false economy.

    Bring in the garden

    Indoor air pollution is two to five times worse than the air we breathe outdoors so bringing the garden indoors will clean the air of hazardous pollutants and toxins by increasing the levels of oxygen in the home. Choose indoor plants that are decorative in color and depth or have herbs and vegetables in pots to use for organic cooking. In addition to creating an attractive green oasis, placing indoor plants in every room can have a variety of health benefits which include preventing headaches, minimizing stress and even preventing risks to illnesses.

    Breathe new life

    Many of the household items that get discarded can take thousands of years to decompose but repurposing them for new uses will reduce waste in the home. For example, anything from old crates, glass jars or shoe boxes can be transformed into storage or clothes can be upcycled into cushion covers or patchwork blankets. Upcycling items such as old furniture will save them from the landfill and can give it a new lease of life while creating a unique home interior that is kind to the environment.

    We should all strive to create an earth-friendly home through choosing items that are recyclable, renewable and can be repurposed so that every home is both a relaxing place to be and is kind to the environment.

  • 30 Nov 2018 3:11 PM | Anonymous

    Conserving Resources With The Power Of Technology

    Many experts are warning that the planet may be close to its tipping point, resulting in sudden and economical changes that will be irreversible and are caused directly by human activity. More worryingly, 2018 saw a new record where the human population used a year’s worth of resources within 7 months, making anything used after that unsustainable. Technology can help to better manage resources and reduce the need for them in everyday life, so making some switches can reduce your impact on the planet.

    Smart Thermostats And Climate Control

    48% of energy used in the average home is for heating and cooling it. However, a significant amount of this energy is wasted, which also means money is wasted and a lot of unnecessary carbon emissions are produced. A smart thermostat lets you manage your home’s temperature from your smartphone or motion sensors can detect when someone is in the room or not, and adjust the temperature accordingly. Climate control means you have a thermostat in each room, so if you’re not using a room you can turn the heating or air off in that room only. This means you’re not wasting energy warming or cooling rooms that you’re not using.

    Digital Technology To Reduce Deforestation

    The digital age means that less paper can be used, thanks to storing data on computers and in the cloud, communicating via phones and emails and managing schedules and setting reminders on phones. This means individuals and businesses can be less dependent on paper, and therefore the forests that provide the resources for that paper to be produced. Of course, there is energy used for powering the paper replacing technology, but it’s significantly less than the energy used to manufacture the paper and transport it. Not to mention the countless other problems caused by deforestation.

    Electric Cars And Their Emissions

    When it comes to transport the best options will always be to walk where possible, use a bicycle, public transport and to car share before opting for personal transport. However, many people are dependent on their own car and electric cars are making travelling eco-friendlier. The cost of buying an electric car is declining as the technology for them develops and becomes cheaper. It’s predicted that owning an electric car will be cheaper than buying a conventional car by 2022. Electric cars produce zero emissions and the emissions from charging them is lower than a traditional car, though charging with solar power is the best and cleanest option.

    Technology can help to conserve resources, but it’s important to remember that those safe resources are needed to develop, produce, manufacture and power the technology. The question is, is it worth this investment in the hope that the long-term outcome will benefit the planet and its resources?

    Written By: Jennifer Dawson

  • 15 Nov 2018 11:08 AM | Anonymous

    Every Drop Matters: Tips On How To Conserve Water

    Every day, Americans use an average of 60 gallons of water each, according to Water Footprint Calculator. With nearly two thirds of this down to toilet, shower and faucet use, it's easy to think that not much can be done to reduce the numbers. However, the opposite is true. Just as it's possible to use your garden in sustainable ways, there are many simple things you can do to save water and, in doing so, help the planet.

    Upgrade inefficient home appliances

    Many of us have too many water-guzzling appliances in our homes, and our showers and washing machines account for up to 20% of our energy bills. Modern appliances are now much more energy-efficient and are worth investing in. Look for clothes washers which have earned the ‘ENERGY STAR’ certification: these use a third less water than older, less efficient models, and could potentially save you hundreds of dollars in bills each year.

    Turn your faucet off

    This sounds obvious: why would you keep your faucet on unnecessarily? The truth is, the majority of us do just that when we're brushing our teeth. Turning the faucet off while we brush can save 6 liters of water per minute. With this in mind, resist the urge to wash up small amounts by hand. Save on the water lost through the faucet by filling up the dishwasher, which uses far less water than multiple rounds of washing up.

    Eat less meat

    Scientists have recently condoned shifting to a plant-based diet as a way of conserving water globally. The production of meat and animal produce requires about 1.5 times more water than that of crops, with red meat in particular having the largest water footprint. As a result, by following a diet that consists of less meat, water consumption could be cut considerably across the world.

    A little goes a long way

    Water is vital for the future of our planet, and the amount that is wasted on a day-to-day basis is unsustainable. Whether it be upgrading to more water-efficient household goods, being more mindful of your faucet use or reducing your meat intake, there are plenty of very simple steps you can take to conserve water. By raising awareness of the many small ways in which we can reduce water usage, we can all play a part in helping the sustainability of our planet.

    Written By: Jennifer Dawson

  • 9 Nov 2018 1:28 PM | Anonymous

    How Green Is Your Garden?

    When looking at six different environmental issues to see which is greenest, Oklahoma ranks 38th out of 50 states, meaning there’s serious room for improvement. The eco-friendly movement is growing as more people become aware of how their choices impact the planet and what they can do to make greener choices. A lot of these choices revolve around lifestyle and the home, but one of the biggest ways you can become greener is to turn to your garden. Growing your own food, native plants and purchasing patio furniture made from reclaimed wood are all simple ways to help the planet.

    Grow Your Own Food

    According to the United States Department of Agriculture more than half of America’s fruit and more than a third of their vegetables are now imported from other countries. On average, food travels 1,500 miles before consumption, meaning it’s not sustainable. America’s backyards make up approximately 40 million acres of lawn that have the potential for home gardeners to drastically increase local food production and help combat the problem. You will be saving resources, money on your groceries and growing your own food is also very satisfying.

    Have A Sustainably Stylish Garden 

    Eco-friendly and sustainable don’t have to mean going without or having the bare basics. There are many ways to have a stylish and luxurious garden in a way that doesn’t cost the planet. A lot of garden furniture can be made from repurposed wood, which offers a good quality and aesthetically pleasing piece. Swimming pools really shout luxury, but they may seem like they’re off the table due to their water and energy consumption. There are ways to enjoy a swim that’s green if you already have a pool or want one. You can reduce the impact they have by using less chemicals in the water, covering it to minimize evaporation and using solar power to heat it.

    Grow Local 

    As well as growing your own food, growing plants is also a great way to improve your garden’s eco-friendliness. Growing plants native to your local area is the best option as they are adapted to local environmental conditions, so they require less water, time and money, as well as offering vital habitats for birds and other wildlife. America currently has around 215,000 backyards certified as ‘wildlife habitats’ for both homeowners and renters, partly based on the local plants that are present. Oklahoma’s native plants includes many that will make a beautiful garden, such as the fringed Bluestar, eastern red columbine, blue wild indigo, American bellflower and the silver and sugar maple trees, just to name a few.

    A greener garden and lifestyle revolves around reducing your consumption of materials, resources and products, followed by reusing and repurposing them to extend their life, and finally, recycling as a last resort. Gardens play a prominent role for those trying to be more eco-friendly as they offer many ways to help the environment.

    Make sure to subscribe to Earth Rebirth's newsletter for more information as well as our garden opportunities list to #GardenYourOwnGrowth. 

    Written by: Jennifer Dawson

  • 13 Sep 2017 1:40 PM | Anonymous

    Earth Rebirth calls for community support as demand grows beyond Norman.

    Norman, Okla (September 7, 2017) -- Earth Rebirth has grown over the last six years to be known around the state of Oklahoma for ambitious goals in school gardening. They hope to establish a garden at every school in Norman and have each garden sell food to their own cafeteria supplier as a revenue source for the classroom. Downtown Norman’s Earth Rebirth Center has inspired hundreds of people to get involved in the community, stay engaged with local issues, grow their own food, reduce waste and so much more.

    As a nonprofit, Earth Rebirth has consistently accomplished quite a lot with few resources at their disposal. Currently, Earth Rebirth has 15 school garden partners and 24 schools on their waiting list around the state. They have volunteer groups popping up in Colorado, Georgia, and Texas and are talking with additional colleges and universities about class credit internships to inspire young people to apply higher education to local community solutions.

    Earth Rebirth has launched an official membership program and is calling on Oklahoma parents, teachers, activists, artists, and everyone in between to help them reach more people. The membership program has five key levels starting at $10 per month and goes as high as $250 per month. Larger levels are available for businesses looking to sponsor Earth Rebirth programs. Earth Rebirth members earn perks and different rewards for referrals ranging from $10 cash to garden beds and rain barrels.

    “Every person we talk to tells us how great Earth Rebirth’s goals are for the community, but we crave a much larger impact. People need it. And if Earth Rebirth is going to help the entire state of Oklahoma, we need everybody to help us get there.” said Andrew Sartain.

    To become a member of Earth Rebirth, go to earthrebirthnow.org to sign up. Questions can be directed to info@earthrebirthnow.com

    Earth Rebirth is a nonprofit focused on Food, Energy and Water. Our mission is to educate and empower people to bridge the gaps between economic and environmental problems.


    For more information please email info@earthrebirthnow.com

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