I’m probably one of only a handful of TED fans (let alone speakers) who has slept outside with his goats to protect them from coyotes like some kind of crunchy Elmer Fudd. And that in fact is the theme of my recent TEDxABQ talk, The Return of the Indigenous Gene: Why We Need Goatherding in the Digital Age.
I was as surprised as anyone to learn this, but it turns out we don’t have to choose between a Steve Jobs and a Grizzly Adams lifestyle. The heart of the Talk (which was a delightful, slightly scary — because scriptless — experience in front of an audience of 2,000 in Albuquerque) is my belief, cultivated during the half decade since writing Farewell, My Subaru, that encouraging a sweet spot between digital age life and our indigenous selves might play a major role in saving humanity. Which is to say, while researching and writing about the sea change underway in worldwide drug policy, I’ve still been busily cultivating the carbon-neutral good life. In fact, right now I’m eating an egg one of my ducks was kind enough to give me. Well, exactly right now I’m wiping yolk off my keyboard. I’m not saying that finding the sweet spot will be easy. Just fun and important.
In other news, Too High to Fail is cruising along in paperback, my Drug Peace Bumblebee columns are now archived, and my just-finished next book, about the almost unfathomably lucrative future of industrial hemp, comes out in March — on hemp paper. It’s called Hemp Bound.
Do I sound thrilled? I am. I’ve waited two decades to make the tree-free leap. Now I finally have a legitimate answer when a sharp college student during a post-live event Q and A asks me how a sustainability journalist comes to be writing books printed on harvested forests. All it took was research in Manitoba in February. More info on this fun project to come in future dispatches, and I often announce developments first on Twitter, including the dates of my soon-to-be announced five nation European live event tour.
In other news, following a fairly intense week-long river trip on a flooded New Mexico wilderness stream (I’m waking up every morning still feeling like I’m in a current, and I’m not complaining), I’m just starting a new book, about which more soon. I’ve been having a blast doing my preliminary research — always a good sign, and easy when not taking place in Manitoba in February.
For now, I’m off to milk the goats right at moonrise. As always, thanks beyond words for giving mind and heart time to my work.