It’s a beaaaaaauuuutiful day in Mendo, at the Sunhawk. Windy with a mixture of clouds and sunshine breaking through to illuminate the hills.  I’ve come up for Thanksgiving with the family and to recharge the batteries.

Driving northbound was such a treat.  Sipping in the deep blues and greens of these magical mountains like healing medicine, I became nostalgic, heavy-hearted and peaceful all at once.  Whenever I have the opportunity to come home, back to my roots, I get overwhelmed by the power of the land that draws me closer.  I feel the pull to settle down and create a space of my own with a loving partner, to build a family and a  home with a garden, great big oak trees and a treehouse, a swing, many stones and water nearby.  Of course this is a dream that will take a long time to manifest, but I feel those maternal instincts pulling me every time I come to the country.

Dedicating my life to activism and the environmental movement is no small feat. Giving myself to this line of work is both meaningful and necessary, but sometimes I wonder if I should be getting out more, traveling like I used to, and enjoying the world since as we all know the natural world and its life support systems are failing due to climate change.  And that means my work is that much more important, yet at the same time increases my desire to enjoy each day like it’s the last.  Each day is a blessing, a new opportunity to create, enjoy, achieve, explore. But sometimes it feels like I’m stuck in a rat race, work work work and no time to play.

It’s so easy for me to feel lost in this huge amazing world. I get so caught up in my emotions. My 4 pillars must all have solid foundations – friends/family, work, passions/hobbies and romantic relationship.  They’re all feeling pretty solid these days except the latter.  Three years of a long distance relationship is wearing on Pete and me.  He craves his independence and personal freedoms, I long for a co-creation of space and life.  I am more in love than I have ever been, like a book lying dangerously open in a rainstorm. I don’t know what’s going to happen but I’m trying to stay strong and remember that everything happens for a reason.

The good news is that my sister just had a gorgeous little baby girl!!!! One week ago today! She powered through a 40 hour birth gracefully and gave birth to a 9 lb. 1 ounce baby girl, Sailor Estrella, in the water at home. We are all so proud of her and Tyler, and incredibly excited. I’m such a stoked auntie and god mother!!!

In other sweet news, my job and new community at RAN are truly wonderful. I’ve been busy working to ensure the protection of our remaining tropical rainforests from U.S. agribusiness. I have some exciting field updates to share, as well as big news to report regarding our campaign’s direction.

After two years of pressuring the ABC’s of Rainforest Destruction, ADM, Bunge, and Cargill, we’ve made a strategic decision to focus our energy on Cargill until they agree to adopt and implement a global forest policy. Cargill is the largest privately-held company in the United States and the largest importer of palm oil. The growing threats Cargill poses to the world’s rainforests merited urgent action and a change of direction: setting our sights on one company until we win a concrete victory.

I recently spent a week with our Grassroots Action Manager, Hillary Lehr, in Cargill’s hometown of Minneapolis, building the new RAN Twin Cities chapter and garnering support for the campaign. We sat at the table with Cargill for the second time in a month to discuss a framework for a global forest policy as thousands of our activists made phone calls to their corporate headquarters. This powerful grassroots pressure convinced Cargill to begin considering the environmentally and socially responsible palm oil policy that we suggested. You can still call Cargill and ask them to adopt our proposed policy!

Meanwhile, things on the ground in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia heated up as NGOs and corporate stakeholders determined they would not commit to decreased carbon emissions from palm oil plantations at the yearly Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil meeting. The lack of progress and dialogue around the production of sustainable, fully segregated palm oil brought up critical questions about the legitimacy and intentions of the RSPO, including key members such as Cargill. Our representative at the meeting, David Gilbert, reported that Cargill refused to meet with impacted community members and that one of Cargill’s supplier, Sinar Mas, actually tried to block the only resolution that passed in favor of much needed forest protection.

Last month, we accompanied Papua New Guinea (PNG) human rights advocate, Matilda Pilacapio, to meet with Cargill in Wayzata, Minnesota to talk about how palm oil has led her once-thriving community of traditional Malaysian family farmers into slave-like servitude to Cargill’s palm oil plantations. As part of Matilda’s U.S. delegation, we attended the Natural Products Expo East in Boston where Seventh Generation publicly announced their signing of our pledge to protect rainforests, communities and the climate, along with a bold action plan. I hope you will join us in escalating our pressure on Cargill. Please join our Facebook group and our new Twin Cities Chapter MeetUp group to find out about upcoming events!

Get ready for some exciting news in January announcing our next move to pressure Cargill’s customers. In the meantime, please check out our latest video, “A Legacy of Destruction: Cargill’s Plantations in Borneo.”

AMAZING Raw, Vegan Acai Cheezecake Recipe:

CRUST

1 1/2 cups pecans

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 cup pitted Medjool dates

2 tablespoons shredded coconut

FILLING

3 cups cashews

3/4 cup lemon juice

1/2 cup liquid coconut oil

1/2 cup agave syrup

1 package frozen acai smoothie pack

1 banana, sliced

To make the crust, combine the pecans and salt in the food processor and gently pulse to mix. Add thet dates and pulse to break the pecans into small pieces. Avoid overprocessing into a powder or butter.

Sprinkle the coconut onto the bottom of a springform cheesecake pan. Add the pecan mixture and press evenly to form a crust.

To make the filling, combine the cashews, lemon juice, coconut oil, agave syrup, and acai in the high-speed blender and blend until smooth. Add small splashes of water if the mixture is too thick and needs help moving in the blender.

Scoop half the filling into the crust. Arrange the sliced banana on the top. Top with the rest of the filling. Place in the freezer until firm – a few hours.

This dessert will rock your world, and your guests’!!!

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