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This podcast episode was produced by Michael Hawk. Our host is Griff Griffith. Michelle Balderston is our associate producer.
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[00:00:00] Griff: Hello, welcome to jumpstart nature bonus episode. This is Griff, your host. And I’m super excited to be here because we had such a great first season. It like blew my expectations of what I thought was going to happen. So I’m super happy to have this recap episode where we’re going to go over some of the things that we learned from our pilot season, some of the.
[00:00:21] Feedback we got from you, some of the things that we celebrated and what we have planned next. So just a quick introduction. Of me is I’m a spokesperson for Redwoods rising, which is a project is a huge restoration project, probably the third largest one in the United States and it’s collaboration between Redwood national and state park.
[00:00:42] Save the Redwood league and the Yurok tribe. mostly I’m just doing social media and making videos about what we do, but also I do a lot of presenting about the project. And my whole life has been about wildlife conservation. And I’m talking my whole life, I started volunteering at wildlife care center when I was 12.
[00:01:03] And so everything’s built up to this jumpstart nature podcast, which I love so much. And I loved how our first four episodes really got out there beyond my expectations and that people got to hear about how they can help birds and plants in their own spaces, connectivity, safety, baselines.
[00:01:20] Pretty awesome. What’d you say, Michael?
[00:01:22] Michael: Absolutely. And yeah, today we’re going to talk about those four episodes. Some of the things that we learned, answer your questions that you’ve submitted. And quick introduction of myself. I’m Michael Hawk. I’m the founder of Jumpstart Nature. And from the podcast. Point of view, I am also the producer and the writer and editor of the podcast.
[00:01:42] And we wanted to talk with you all today because we’re planning to make a whole lot more jumpstart nature in the future. But we need your help to make that happen. And I’ll get into more of that here a little bit later, but the best thing you can do if you’re listening right now is support our Patreon, which we’ll link in the show notes.
[00:01:59] And for as little as 4, you can help us pay the bills. And train other people to do more and hopefully produce many more of these episodes going forward.
[00:02:10] Griff: You’ll be like our employer. We need you to be our employer.
[00:02:13] Michael: Definitely. And Griff, I think probably the best way we can go about this is to go through maybe episode by episode, and we can answer those listener questions share some other facts and interesting stories about each of the topics and. I also want to hear, hopefully it generates some ideas from the listeners about what we can do going forward.
[00:02:35] Griff: Cool. Maybe a good place to start was just to let people know how we make these episodes, like what the process has been.
[00:02:42] Michael: Oh, that’s a really good idea. I think that context will help. And so this idea, this podcast concept has been rattling around in my head for a long time, over a year. And basically what we do is we have a big list of topics that I think are important to get out into the world, but we want to do it in a way that’s relevant and resonates with people.
[00:03:02] We have this brainstorm list. Our volunteer team will go through it and maybe assess what some of the best topics are and work out the details. ANd one of the really cool things about this list of ideas we had is that as Griff and I started going through them along with the other volunteers, we found out that we’re all really aligned in our vision for what we want to do. So from there we would pick our shortlist for episodes. We’d seek out guests, record the interviews and then write the script.
[00:03:27] Or in one case, one of our volunteers wrote one of our scripts. And once the script was ready, and again, we really let our guests steer what we want to say, because we didn’t want to go into these episodes, assuming too much. Our guests had a lot of surprises for us that made for even better episodes. But once the script is ready, I’d hand it off to Griff.
[00:03:46] Griff: I would griffify it. .
[00:03:48] Michael: He’d Griffify it, improve it, and then we would add on the finishing touches and publish it.
[00:03:54] So starting with our first episode, if you missed it, it’s called the yard of the future. And it had Dr. Doug Tallamy who’s really well known for nature’s best hope, Mary Phillips from the NWF and Leslie Inman, who started this phenomenal community online that has gotten thousands of people engaged behind native plants.
[00:04:13] So Griff what stood out to you in this episode? What really resonated with you? Or maybe it was a surprise.
[00:04:19] Griff: I got inspired and motivated that we’re really going to be able to pull off some major restoration and people’s spaces their yards, their balconies or porches or place of worships or workplaces, because in the episode, we talked about how lawns became cultural and how huge and massive lawns.
[00:04:38] Are now not just in someone’s yard, but you put them all together. They’re bigger than all these national parks combined. I think you mentioned that in the episode, but if lawns can become cultural and people could be talked into spending all this money for pesticides and herbicides and gas for their lawnmowers.
[00:04:54] If people can be talked into that, then. Native plant landscaping, landscaping for wildlife can also become cultural. And I’m seeing it happening. We’re so much further than we were five years ago. And so that’s why I love this podcast. I think it was a great one for us to start off with because both of us We really believe that native plants are the easiest and best things that people can do to help wildlife is just planting native plants in whatever spaces you have, even if it’s just a container garden.
[00:05:23] So I think what stood out to me about the episode is just that it gives me hope. I call myself a hope dealer and episode one was a good example of that.
[00:05:30] Michael: Yeah. Very similar for me hearing Dr. Tallamy breakdown, the history of lawns, the marketing behind it, the politics even, and just our human desire to fit in with our lawn. You’re right. This actually gives us a pathway to flip the script, so to
[00:05:49] Griff: Yeah, and flipping the script is what we need to do because people have this like sense of belonging because they are keeping up with the Joneses, so to speak, with their perfect lawns and all that stuff. And you can keep that sense of belonging, but you can expand it and make it way cooler. And by planting native plants, then you’re bringing in, you’re having a sense of belonging because you actually belong to the place that you live.
[00:06:11] And a lot of us if you’re not indigenous. You’re a newcomer here, and especially in California, we move around a lot. So I just think that learning what the native plants are, planting them, be part of like having butterflies and birds come into your spaces, I think this is the type of script flipping we need and have that become cultural.
[00:06:29] So episode one, I think was super on point.
[00:06:32] Michael: And we got a really interesting question. There’s a couple of questions that this episode generated. So one of the questions from a listener was this the day after I heard the yard of the future. I also heard a little bit about a prairie restoration in my area and I was left feeling a little bit conflicted. Can you help me better understand why a prairie, which is full of grass is okay, but a yard full of grass isn’t
[00:06:54] Griff: Excellent question. So a yard full of grass is called a lawn and maybe we can just go ahead and make up the definition right now. The difference between a lawn and a Prairie is a Prairie is native grasses and other. Annual and perennial native plants. A lawn is a monoculture. So it’s only a grass and almost always like 99.
[00:07:17] 99999 percent of the time. It’s non native grasses and then prairie. You don’t need to put in a bunch of inputs. Maybe to get it established, you do, but once you get it established, you don’t need to mow it. You don’t need to herbicide it. You don’t need to pesticide it. So that’s the difference. And in fact, if you want to do a prairie in your yard, that’d be really helpful.
[00:07:36] Nationwide, there’s only 4 percent of our original native grass prairies left. And in California, it’s even worse. It’s 1%. And that’s confusing for people because you drive through California and you see expanses of grass. But if you got out there with your iNaturalist app, you would find out that those grasses are from most of them.
[00:07:55] Almost all of them are from Europe because we planted them. We aerial seeded them. So the difference between you can have a Prairie in your yard, which would be native grasses and some wildflowers.
[00:08:03] Michael: which would be awesome.
[00:08:05] Griff: Yeah, it would be super awesome. And there’s people that are doing that. You can there’s groups that are doing that.
[00:08:10] So you can tap into that Prairie energy, especially if you live in a historic grassland, that’d be really helpful thing to do. Okay. And then you know, that discussion you know, maybe you might move into a, a housing association or HOA and they don’t want a Prairie in your yard. Michael, do you have any ideas to help us strategize ways to influence an HOA that has set in their ways to maybe embrace things like prairies and native plants
[00:08:34] Michael: Yeah. And that’s actually one of the questions that we got. So if, if you’re someone who is unfamiliar with what an HOA is, it’s an organization that has bylaws and they kind of oversee what people do, what homeowners do in a neighborhood. And very often they dictate what types of plants you can plant and what your yard should look like, and it might restrict you from doing some things.
[00:08:55] This is a problem. A lot of people run into there’s a lot of things that you can do. A simplest thing you can do is you can start small and the HOA probably won’t care, make it look intentional and maintain it. But if you really want to make a big change with your HOA and you have the energy,
[00:09:09] start joining their meetings. And then if you want to take it a step further, maybe even run to join the HOA is one of the board members of the HOA, and you can make those changes. And this could be a huge way to make change because once you’re in, you can understand what is driving this perception, and maybe you’ll also find out that.
[00:09:31] Your HOA is very cost conscious, and you can make a case that you can plant native plants and save money on watering or save money on Maintenance. There’s lots of different things that you can do once you’re in the HOA.
[00:09:43] Griff: So just some good, helpful neighbor infiltration into the HOA may be what you need to do.
[00:09:48] Michael: Yes. And it will take some time. It takes some effort, but we need it. We need you to do that. Okay. Let’s move along. Episode number two was called plant your bird feeder. And we had Dr. Alex Lees giving us a perspective from the UK, Dr. Emma Greig from the Cornell lab of ornithology. And again Dr. Doug Tallamy, I guess there’s a common theme here.
[00:10:11] This episode was somewhat related to episode one, because again, it’s very native plant focused. But the thing that stood out to me most was again, how we as people. Operate on such a massive scale. There are millions of us putting feeders out. And you know what Dr. Lee’s and Dr. Emma Greig talked about is we’re really selecting for some of those seed eating birds, we’re giving them a bit of an advantage.
[00:10:34] And at the same time, we’re setting up these feeding stations that can act as disease transfer locations. So much disease gets spread at our feeders and that. It’s a surprise to me. I knew it happened, but I didn’t realize it was happening on such scale.
[00:10:49] Griff: Yeah, what stood out to me about that episode, besides the fact that my mom was on it, all is that The problem that she encountered, the reason why she was in that episode is because she got Salmonella from the bird feeder. And that’s not as uncommon as people think that’s actually pretty common. A lot of my experiences with bird feeders have been negative, like that, like a lot of disease spread. It might just be where I’m at in California. We’re in a major migration flyway. There’s a lot of birds coming from a lot of different places to our feeders. So, Maybe the disease transmission is higher here.
[00:11:21] But I stopped using feeders for that reason. And I don’t really need them. I have just as many birds in my spaces because I leave, I know I have native plants and I leave the seeds on them. And so right now I have this primrose that is getting more pine siskins than any feeder I’ve ever had before.
[00:11:40] Like I have this like 20 primroses that are loaded with pine siskins and lesser gold finches. And you can do that too. You can just leave. You don’t have to have a bird feeder to attract birds. And I love that about that.
[00:11:52] but at the same time, as an interpreter, as a natural resource interpreter, where I’m trying to get people to be connected to nature all the time, bringing birds into your space is a great way. I even bought my niece, my five year old niece, a window bird feeder.
[00:12:06] So the bird feeders can come to her window and she can see them. And she started identifying them and stuff. And so I understand that. The importance, it’s just, if you have the bird feeder, you got to have the responsibility of cleaning it all the time. And if you don’t want to do that, then don’t have a bird feeder.
[00:12:20] Michael: That’s exactly right. You don’t have to go tear your bird feeder down right now. You just need to take on that responsibility as if you were caring for a pet, for example.
[00:12:28] Griff: That’s a great way to think of it as your bird feeder is like your pet’s feeder. It’s got to stay clean or they get diseases.
[00:12:33] So another question we got from someone was that the national wildlife Federation’s native plant finder that we recommend, it doesn’t show specific plants for all the areas. Someone said it doesn’t show specific plans for my area. I’m assuming that person’s from California because native plant finder.
[00:12:49] Doesn’t do California justice because of all the microclimates that are here. They were worried because the native plant finder was making recommendations, but it was being vague, like sunflower species or willow species, but no specific species recommendations. So what would you say about that?
[00:13:06] Michael: Yeah, that question, they included the zip code and I checked it there. They were in Utah actually. And I, I think the NWF native plant finder is a great starting point, especially if you’re say East of the Rocky mountains, when they get to the Western States, it’s a little bit more complicated and I don’t think they have all the same details.
[00:13:25] So in California, we have calscape. org and that gets you the super micro habitat. Recommendations. But if you aren’t fortunate enough to have a resource like that, virtually every state has a native plant society and you can Google it. You can Google Utah native plant society and see what resources they have.
[00:13:49] If you’re still coming up empty, I know it’s work, but. Email them. Most of these people that are part of a native plant society, they are really passionate about the work that they do and they’ll probably share with you tips and suggestions and worst case scenario, search for nurseries that specialize in native plants.
[00:14:07] Most cities and even some smaller areas have some native plant nurseries. And ask good questions of any nursery that you go to ask them and see if they really know what they’re talking about when it comes to native plants, because, yeah, like there are many different species of willows and sunflowers.
[00:14:22] And it’s important that you find 1 that is local to your area.
[00:14:26] Griff: And there’s help with nursery, like how to find nurseries and stuff. If you go to homegrown national park. org, which is Doug Tallamy’s a group. You can find a lot of other helpful resources that might help you narrow down species in your area.
[00:14:39] Michael: Yeah, great suggestion. And a lot of these resources are continually improving. So check back once in a while, maybe you’ll be surprised. So moving down our podcast list, episode 3 was called the age of connectivity and we had Beth Pratt. And Robert Rock and Ben Goldfarb, who’s the author of the book crossings featured in that episode.
[00:15:00] So Griff, I know that we also had a wonderful experience with that crossing shortly thereafter. So what resonated with you from this episode?
[00:15:08] Griff: I just want to say, first of all, that we’ve been really fortunate that all of our guests we had on all four episodes were the most relevant guests we could have possibly have gotten in a lot of ways. Beth Pratt is like the main cheerleader fundraiser behind the largest wildlife crossing in the world.
[00:15:26] Robert 101. It’s connecting Santa Monica mountains to bunch of other natural areas, including Malibu state beach. And then Ben Goldfarb, he was at this event we went to. So Beth, Robert, and Ben were all at urban wildlife week, which was mostly about this crossing in LA. So that. Episode came out when we arrived, like it came out on Monday right when we arrived in LA to celebrate this crossing and the need for it.
[00:15:59] And I just thought that was wonderful. Connectivity is really the thing that we need to be talking about wildlife conservation now, because there’s a lot of reasons why animals need to move even before. Humans have changed the landscape as much as we have, they’ve always needed to move, migrate migrating long distances and short distances, like elevational migrations.
[00:16:20] And now we have what Ben calls in his book, crossing these moving fences. We have so many cars on our roads that there’s these moving fences. And so I felt like this episode was excellent and just introducing people to the connectivity concept, why it’s so important. And I don’t think we could have found better people to explain that.
[00:16:37] Michael: You’re absolutely right. We were very fortunate to have such great people to tell the story of connectivity and the thing that I take away from it, and it’s not just this. Urban wildlife week event that we attended in Los Angeles. But when I talk to people about connectivity and habitat fragmentation, and this concept of isolating populations, it seems like people just get it.
[00:17:04] It’s a very natural concept for them. And I think that really is what resonates to me is not so much what we talked about in the episode, but it just makes sense to people. And we see this movement really starting now. And the other thing that I think these four episodes tied together nicely, you talk about these moving fences, these roads, and this happened depending on your perspective of time.
[00:17:29] Slowly over time, we built dirt roads and then concrete roads and cars started going faster on them and then more lanes and all these different things. And it really, it’s an example of shifting baseline syndrome in a way, which was our fourth episode that featured Dr. Loren McClenachan, who did some of the I think.
[00:17:49] Most resonating research on this topic. Dr. Allison Whipple and Francisco Saavedra jr. Who gave us a indigenous perspective.
[00:17:59] Griff: Yeah. This episode really inspired me at work. one of the things I’m working on is since we’re doing this restoration of, of Redwoods where like, we’re going into these places where there was aerial seeded and it’s just really thick and they buried streams to pull out logs with I mean, I could. Just go on, you can go to @redwoodsrising on Tik TOK and watch any of my videos on what happened in far Northern California, but it ended up with, I think 4. 6 percent of our old growth Redwood forest left, and now we’re trying to restore what was clear cut. One of the things that I got inspired to do at work because of episode four and her research was.
[00:18:35] We’re going to have some interpretive signs in different places that people can get their picture taken next to it, which will always have the year on it. So year after year, people could take these pictures, hashtag them. That way we can save them and we can show how people’s baseline changes from year to year.
[00:18:51] So in 40 years from now, when these redwood trees, a lot of them are going to be a hundred feet tall. It’s going to, the picture is going to look a lot different than when people were getting their pictures taken. Next to seedlings.
[00:19:01] Michael: That’s an amazing idea because seeing it in picture form, I think really helps it resonate. And while I didn’t see any specific questions from listeners about this episode, I talked to a lot of people about it. And it’s a, it was a challenging episode because this is this concept. I think we all know that our landscape is changing and that the environment has changed, but really what we were trying to point out here, the concept anyway, is that we really discount the severity of the changes because our brains, we implicitly define our experiences as normal.
[00:19:36] Like what I saw when I was 10 years old, that’s what I think is normal, but then being able to see this history and understand the way things used to be gives us a much deeper perspective on how much things have really changed.
[00:19:50] Griff: Yeah. And you know, growing up in the Bay area of California gave me a lot of unique perspectives on several different fronts, I’ve talked to a lot of conservationists. You grew up in the Bay area. Like I did California’s Bay area where. The population is twice as big as now as it was when I was born.
[00:20:06] I watched the fields get developed. I watched the creeks get put into culverts. I watched the oak woodlands get cut down. I watched these things happen. I went out there and moved the stakes with the pink flags on them because I knew that those stakes meant that I was going to lose places that I played places that I caught lizards, places that I caught turtles.
[00:20:25] So in California and other fast growing areas, the baseline shift right before your eyes on a rapid scale. And so it was really easy for me to appreciate this episode and the things that Alison was talking about. Because I’ve watched this, I watched the Delta. I played in the Delta, the freshwater Delta that we talk about in this episode.
[00:20:46] As a kid, I caught turtles there and sturgeon there and all kinds of stuff. I think this is a really important concept for people to get. I would ask people to maybe listen to this episode twice and send it to folks because what is normal to us may not be what is best for the environment. And so knowing your historical ecology and talking to elders and indigenous people is a very important first step in doing any sort of restoration. And so we started off with four really important episodes that help people understand problems. And then we give them actions they can take because we consider ourselves the hope dealers and we want people to do things because I’m an optimist. I think we can. With information and action, I think we can make the world a better place.
[00:21:34] I’m not one of those people who doom scrolls. I’m more do hope questing. So when I go through articles and stuff like that, I’m looking for solutions. I want to know what people are doing that’s working. And so I think integrating that into our next our next steps is really important.
[00:21:50] So do you want to talk about what we got planned, Michael?
[00:21:54] Michael: Yes, I do. And I think what might be helpful to talk about where we’re going is also to talk a little bit about the vision for jumpstart nature, because we’re doing a lot in addition to this podcast.
[00:22:05] And the podcast is a big part of it. So jumpstart nature, if you’re unfamiliar with it beyond the podcast, I started jumpstart nature as part of my departure from the tech industry. I used to work at Google as a global engineering manager and really because of the. Habitat changes and the environmental loss and birding and hiking and different things where I was seeing firsthand what was happening, I really felt it was an imperative for me to do something about it.
[00:22:32] And especially when I consider my two kids and the world that they’re going to grow up in.
[00:22:38] so starting a couple of years ago, I started scheming a plan as to how I could leave Google and devote my life to conservation. And that turned into jumpstart nature where we want to catalyze everybody to make a difference for the environment in ways that are personally meaningful.
[00:22:52] And this podcast is a big part of it because we can reach a very unique audience here and speak to you directly. And beyond the podcast, we have a lot of different resources and newsletter and big plans to perhaps create a mobile app in the future that can.
[00:23:08] Help people take step by step actions and give positive feedback as you start to make a difference for pollinators or make a difference. From a carbon footprint standpoint or whatever it is that really speaks to you the most but pulling in from that longer term vision, one of the first things you’re going to see from us next, in addition to the podcast is we’re going to start offering some educational packages.
[00:23:32] And these packages are designed to reach people or groups that are looking to build their skills to spread the word about conservation and become hope dealers too, and become part of this movement. And it’s people or groups, nonprofits that maybe feel like don’t have the time to learn some of these new skills like social media or , podcasting or don’t have the money to hire someone to do it for them.
[00:23:57] So we’re going to affordably show. You how to do this. And it’s not as hard as you can think. And the first one, one of the first ones, anyway, that we’re going to release is all about social media and Griff. Do you want to talk about that?
[00:24:09] Griff: Yes. I would love to save people the 10 year social media learning curve that I went through because when I. Went viral on accident. One of my very first videos I ever uploaded went viral Rue Mapp from Outdoor Afro called me and said, you’re going viral.
[00:24:24] This is what you got to do. And I didn’t know what I was doing, but pretty soon I’m on today’s show and headline news and stuff, just from the simple video and increase the recruitment of the California Conservation Corps, who I was working for at the time by a thousand percent. And I saw the value in social media.
[00:24:40] And I was like, wow, I could really get a conservation message out. But there wasn’t a lot of mentors and tutorials and stuff during that time. So I learned by making a bunch of mistakes and. It took me like 10 years to get 000 people on my social media platforms. But then it just took six months for me to get half a million people.
[00:25:02] And that’s because I finally learned what the algorithm is and how to surf it. And some other really important things that I could share with people, because. You don’t, we don’t have 10 years for all the conservationists to learn how to use social media. We need to get these messages out right now. And so if you are trying to get a conservation message out, if you’re trying to save some habitats in your local area, you can do it so much faster with social media.
[00:25:28] And it’s just a reality. Like I wouldn’t choose to be good at social media. I would choose to be really good at wildlife tracking. Like I wasn’t. I’m the opposite of Michael. That’s why we make such a great team. I’ve been in the fields my whole entire life. I can barely turn on a computer. So the last 10 years of learning how to do social media has been a struggle for me.
[00:25:51] And now I know how to make it really simple for you. And it needs to be simple for you because everyone we’re an attention economy and everyone needs to hear these conservation messages. So let me help.
[00:26:02] Michael: Yeah. Griff has recipes that work for whatever your goal might be. And we’re really looking to bring this forward and simple easy to consume videos and checklists. But I want to hear from you, anyone listening, if you’re struggling personally, or your organization is struggling to build an audience and achieve your goals with social media tell me what’s holding you back.
[00:26:25] Perhaps some of your experiences and we can try to address it. So you can email us at podcast at jumpstart nature. com and tell us what you’d like to see, what’s holding you back. Do it by the 15th though, because we are putting this together soon and we want it to be the most help possible for you.
[00:26:43] Griff: And you can check out what I’ve been doing so far. If you go to at Redwoods rising on Tik TOK or at Redwoods rising on Facebook, you can see that’s where I, when I took everything that I’ve learned from my personal platforms and applied it to Redwood rising, it worked out really well for me. So if you could go there, you can see what I’ve been doing and you’ll learn a little bit about what I’m going to talk about, but yeah, , get any questions you have.
[00:27:07] To us by the 15th would be really helpful because we want to help you where you’re at.
[00:27:12] Michael: And yeah, one of those videos last I looked at over 4 million views. It’s amazing. You figured it out and yeah, we want to share this. So social media is our first package that we’re looking to put together. I would love to help people get, say, their own podcasts out into the world or better leverage their newsletters their website.
[00:27:30] There’s lots of different things that between Griff and I and some of our volunteers, we have a lot of different expertise in different areas, and we think that this could be very valuable. To you and any organization that you’re part of. So let’s shift back to the podcast specifically and talk about a couple of the topics that I think are probably going to make the cut for our next season.
[00:27:51] And the first one that’s really, I think, top of head for both of us at the moment is climate change. And we haven’t done anything specific to climate change yet in our first four episodes. And there’s so much that we could talk about so many different angles here.
[00:28:05] Griff: And we’re interested in reframing it so that it’s a new conversation. I feel like, like climate change, the science has progressed so much, but the speaking points haven’t. And so a lot of people have the speaking points are too familiar and maybe even divisive. So they’ve become invisible. So I think reframing the climate.
[00:28:23] Conversation would be really good. And it’s something that I’m really embedded in right now, because I’m often standing in front of Redwood trees that are storing 350 tons of carbon. The old growth, Redwood forest is the carbon sequestration champion. And that’s where I’m at. So I think this would be, it’s a great time to talk about it.
[00:28:42] I think that we can come at it with some non triggering ways to talk to people about climate change, some new ways of framing it. That make it less partisan, if you will, because climate change should not be a partisan issue. It should be something that we’re all interested in learning about.
[00:29:00] Michael: Yeah, that’s where I think to me anyway, personally, that’s a lot of the fun of creating these episodes is really thinking about how we can break through and reach new people. Like I’m not going to create an episode and title it climate change. No one’s going to listen to that. No one wants to listen to that.
[00:29:12] Wildfire is another one. It’s another one of these hot button topics. And I have a personal story about wildfire. And I think this. It’s very similar to a lot of people in the United States and Canada and much of the world for that matter. So back in 2020, during the middle of the pandemic, like everyone was very downtrodden at that point because we were stuck inside and here in California and much of the West, we were having a massive wildfire season.
[00:29:41] And it turns out though, that based on the science, the number of acres that burned that year were actually on the low end of the historical average. And I think that woke me up to like, what is going on here? What is different about this current day and age where something on the low end of acreage burns was just causing so much havoc.
[00:30:06] Griff: Yeah. And that has a lot to do with fire intensity and that’s what opens up a really great conversation. I’m excited to do this episode. I first became a firefighter and I was 18. And the last fire that I fought was that Camp Fire. The one that burnt down the town of Paradise.
[00:30:20] That was the last fire I was on. And I’ve spent a lot of time fighting fires with indigenous people. Or doing prescribed fires with indigenous people. And so they’re, they have blown my mind and challenged my Western concept of wildfires. And I think that sharing that is going to be just as mind blowing for our listeners.
[00:30:38] It’s a wonderful, very interesting topic of, about people and fire and our landscapes.
[00:30:45] Michael: This is an example of a topic that people are quick to jump to a conclusion. It’s much more nuanced and I’m looking forward to covering it. But again, it’s going to be challenging, I think, to do it, but I think we’re up to the task.
[00:30:57] Griff: Yeah. Both of these climate change and wildfires are what we’re going to talk about is going to be counterintuitive for a lot of people, but that’s what makes it interesting.
[00:31:05] Michael: Yeah. And just a couple more that are on the list. The insect apocalypse, you may have seen these dire newspaper headlines. And again, this is a situation where a lot of people don’t really think about insects as the critical component to. Our natural systems that they are perhaps we do think about pollinators in that way, but it goes much deeper.
[00:31:24] So explaining what’s going on here with insects and why we need to save them. As we’ve been talking about here too, we want to take interesting angles on our topics, be creative, reframe things so that we can reach people in perhaps a new way. And I’ve been thinking a lot lately about poison and toxins and the complex relationships that we have with these chemicals. I think we talk about the poison chain sometime where maybe you have a rodent problem and put out rodenticide and that mouse or that rat eats the poison, but then your house cat eats it and gets poisoned as well, or an owl will eat it and get poisoned too, which is obviously a bad thing.
[00:32:06] But at the same time, There are all these different relationships occurring in nature where plants are creating their own toxins to protect themselves. And this is a very important thing because it’s part of why we need biodiversity. We have all of these different animals that have co evolved to handle these toxins.
[00:32:23] So there’s something there. I don’t have the angle quite worked out yet, but we’re going to talk about that. And I think that we have a really interesting episode in the works in that ballpark somewhere.
[00:32:32] Griff: So what are your ideas for future podcasts? We are always trying to be relevant to people and their needs and to help. So if you have something you’d like us to cover, or if you’d like to be interviewed, or if you know someone who would make a good contribution, please let us know, please email us sooner, the better.
[00:32:50] Michael: Yeah, that’s podcast at jumpstart nature. com. And there’s a bunch of other ways you can help. I love that there because we do want to hear from you and you can help us directly in creating more interesting and better episodes going forward. I also, I just revamped our Patreon and Patreon, as I alluded to at the beginning is one of the most direct ways that you can help us continue to make these episodes and pay our bills because we do have bills to pay and uh, on our Patrion, you can contribute anywhere from 4 to 25.
[00:33:20] Which goes directly to the the efforts that we have underway. We also have a donate button on our webpage, jumpstart nature. com, where you can donate directly any amount. And of course, for this podcast, please like it, share it, rate it. That helps keep us up in the charts. It helps us get to more people.
[00:33:43] And specifically, if you can share the episodes that you like with three people or groups that you believe would like it as well, that goes a long way to getting our message out. So Griff covered a lot of ground here today. Is there anything else that’s top of your mind that you’d like to talk about?
[00:34:01] Griff: I’m just interested in hearing the feedback we get about episodes and how we can make the social media class as relevant for you as possible. Also. Please follow us jumpstart nature on Facebook and follow me at Griff wild on Facebook and Tik TOK at Redwoods rising is another project that I’m totally submersed into.
[00:34:23] Michael: Yeah, we could really use your support. I, a lot of people thought I was crazy for leaving my comfortable job to do this. And I want to prove them wrong. And I want you to all come along with us as part of this movement. Griff, one other idea that came to my head here is if you’re out there and you want to participate, you want to volunteer, you want to help us produce these podcasts. We could use the help if you have experience in audio production, podcast production, editing, let me know, because we can use more producers to get more episodes out.
[00:34:52] That would also be a great way to support us. So Griff, I am so grateful that you’ve joined us and that we’re partnering on this jumpstart nature initiative. And I love the movement that it’s becoming. So thank you so much for being here today and doing all the great work that you do.
[00:35:09] Griff: thanks for including me.