April 2017 issue of Common Ground magazine, titled "The Green Issue," featuring a snow-capped mountain and reflective lake on the cover.

April 2017

The Green Issue

April typically celebrates spring, Earth Day, and the successes of the environmental movement. Unfortunately, given the setbacks in Washington—notably at the EPA—it’s going to be a challenge to find a celebratory tone. A groundswell of scientists who normally confine themselves to the microscopes in their laboratories are pissed off and marching in the streets. Interesting times indeed.

If you haven’t heard of Ocean Robbins, I encourage you to read my interview “Portrait of the Activist as a Young Man.” He is the son of John Robbins, the famous author of Diet for a New America. Ocean shares about his unusual upbringing as a back-to-the-earth naturalist in contrast to the relationship he had with his wealthy grandfather, Irv Robbins, the cofounder of Baskin-Robbins.

As a 16-year-old, Ocean cofounded Youth for Environmental Sanity (YES!), which he led for 20 years. The experience took him all over the country and the world, where he learned from and connected with other youth activists. Currently, he coleads the 350,000-strong online Food Revolution Network. I think you’ll appreciate Ocean’s deep understanding of environmental issues, which is infused with his own special blend of spiritual understanding—part of which comes from raising two autistic children. I am a fan and believe this is someone we’ll be hearing more from in the future.

Our pictorial “Wildlands Philanthropy: The Great American Tradition” showcases some of the beautiful preserves that have been bequeathed to the public. This is relevant not only because April is National Parks month (free admission at any national park on two weekends this month) but also because some stories are surfacing about the Trump administration looking to privatize public lands. Uh-oh.

We’re lucky to have some inspired essays such as “On Simplicity” by Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee and Daniel Pinchbeck’s “Earth Day: A Golden Opportunity” and “What Happens When We Reconnect with Nature” by Kristophe Green and Dacher Keltner.

As a longstanding journalist, Betsy Rosenberg reminds us that on balance we’re not as eco-literate as would be the hope and laments that ecology isn’t a more pressing mainstream news story. Thank you, Judy Orloff, for contributing “The Power of Being an Earth Empath” and to Jeromy Johnson, who, with his longstanding expertise on EMFs (electromagnetic frequencies), warns us about so-called smart cities.

On the lighter side Robin Rose Bennett’s, “Herbal Bathing to Restore Heart and Soul” and David Crow’s “Frankincense: An Ancient Aromatic Treasure” both remind us of the importance of relaxation.

We look forward to seeing you at the multiple events taking place in the Bay Area this month, starting with the free Earth Day SF / March for Science gatherings. The New Living Expo in San Mateo is an annual hit, while the Psychedelic Science 2017 conference in Oakland looks compelling, as does the Green Film Festival in SF.

As ever, please show your appreciation of Common Ground by patronizing our advertisers. And please consider becoming an advertiser yourself. This is how local independent media stays afloat—plus you’d be in amazing company.

To Greener Pastures,


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