Welcome Home

My formative years were spent with parents and family coming from a variety of places. This allowed me to learn a great deal about a wide variety of subjects. Mom and Dad were Beatniks, my grandmothers were both great homemakers, compassionate and skilled. One was Rom, came from wealth and loved to travel, the other was Scandinavian, came from poverty, loved to make wine in her basement and enjoyed cooking gourmet dishes in the woods. My grandfathers were as different as could be. One never drove, the other loved to drive, just for fun. One was master of his “castle”, though he always acted as if it were not enough, and that he deserved more. The other was a slave to his house, always working to change, fix and improve it. You could generally see his happiness and appreciation for all he had achieved.
Our family was extensive and I spent long hours visiting neighbors as well, so I got to learn whittling, hillbilly games and how not to act from some of them as well. By the time I started school, I had grown up backstage for several years, learned more than some ever do about loving people who seem different than one self and begun to make my own peace with the natural world. I didn’t know it by those words though.
At age seven I had an epiphany, the water that flowed past my back door was one with the water that flowed through my body as well as that which made up the oceans, rivers and even the clouds. I saw clearly that we are all tied to and dependent on the gifts we have received from God/ess. By that time in my life, we had lived with intellectuals and hippies, further expanding my views of the world and understanding of the larger picture. It was in that moment when I felt one with all water, that I resolved to be an agent for change in helping humankind to resolve it’s relationship with nature in a way that benefits us as well as the planet.
I have committed my life to all things ecological since then. I spent as much time as possible in nature, observed as much as possible, studied in books, learned about the Great Lakes and lived off the land for days at a time, eating berries, cattails and crayfish. During the long cold winters I would plan next spring’s adventures, always expanding my internal maps and the area that I called home.
Mom had a bit of that gypsy blood as well. Because of her I got to live in State Capitols, College Towns, Mountains, Flat Lands, River Towns, even Ghettos. No matter where we lived there were things to see an do that had something to do with the Earth, but in each place you could see the tragedy of man turning his back on Mother Nature and the long term consequences of feeling that the natural world was something to be raped and subverted. I got used to hearing “Alright kids, you need to pick one toy to keep, and one to share between you. Pack two long pants, two pairs of shorts a swimsuit, five shirts and you can take all of your socks and underwear.” We would sell everything else at a rummage sale, pack the car, or truck and head off for greener pastures. By the time I got out of school, we had lived in twenty houses and I had gone to fifteen schools, not including two years of homeschooling in High School. My favorite summer of all was when we lived in Rocky Mountain National Park for twenty-eight days, moved to a campground North of Colorado Springs for two weeks, then back to our same campsite in Rocky Mountain National Park for another 28 days. Separated from nature by only one zipper and the nylon tent, it was as close to being one with nature and for as long as I had ever been.
In college, I worked as nature guy for both the summer camp that I worked at during summers and for the park system in the town I live in now. I also worked for Citizens for a Better Environment as a community organizer. I learned eco-friendly construction and every house I have ever owned used 1/2 to 1/3 of the energy, water and resources when I left than when I bought it. I also worked a full year with a roommate to save an entire home from being demolished. Keeping over forty tons of waste from being land-filled and providing safe, healthy housing to this day just a mile or so from where I live now. In 1987, I rode my bicycle around the Great Lakes, sharing what I had learned about living lightly on the planet while living a happier and healthier lifestyle. The term sustainability was not yet in vogue, but the message was the same. During my bike ride, I contacted dozens of media outlets and got my message our to nearly ten million people.
I continue to work, honing my skills as an eco-advocate. Learning each day how I might make better choices that reflect my compassion for humans and their planet, and building the NGO that my wife and I started a few years back. ECO-Tours of Wisconsin Inc. has allowed us to find homes for over sixty thousand native trees during our first five years. We continue to plant trees with small groups of concerned people who want to learn how to live more sustainable lifestyles. To book a trip you can contact us at:1445 Porlier street
54301-3334 We are in the western great Lakes Region and would love to have you visit.
We also have two yards that are being developed for permaculture, lots of places to explore nature, and we can even offer tours of a zero net energy home. That means that for every BTU of energy the home consumes, they export one back to the grid so that their net energy bill is zero. We continue to reforest with donations we receive, and have a paypal account that you can use to donate funds for that purpose. our account number there is: tnsaladino42@hotmail.com All of our staff is volunteer, so your donations are only spent on trees. We feel that it is the most effective way to make environmental change happen.
Namaste’

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3 Responses to Welcome Home

  1. Things are changing rapidly around the issues that I have taught about for over twenty years. This “instant” worldwide communication is part of the hope that I hold for the future. ECO-Tours of Wisconsin has continued to plant trees and on a more and more limited budget, we have had to learn a great deal about efficiency and targeting our efforts to yield the highest results. We are expanding our realm to include a much more far flung territory and are honing our experiential learning tours to include more of a “summer camp for adults” theme and orientation. Anyone who has had the camp experience knows that there are few places that we find ourselves as supported and loved as at camp. Transformative experiences in nature are the rule rather than the exception and skills and attitudes learned in this environment have the power to change who we are for life. If you know of anyone who wants to support this sort of work, please let them know about our efforts, Teaching and learning in a forum devoted to sustainability will have rewards that might be unattainable in any other way. Blessed Be, may the path to your home be surrounded all about with beauty and riches. Bless your skep and vine, orchard and garden beds. May your ever loving hands leave a trace across the ages.

  2. Pingback: Welcome Home | Permaculture, ECO-ethics, Trees | Four Blue Hills (A repository, of sorts)

    • Thanks for the share. I used to have to put many hours into a single environmental fanzine to get the word out about ecological issues. with your help, I have been able to contact many more people with news about the critical changes that we have been able to make across the Great Lakes Region and beyond!

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