Aaron Perry


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Stewardship & Sustainability Series
Episode 67 - Hunter Chesnutt-Perry, Youth Responses to Climate Crisis

Hunter Chesnutt-Perry, son of Y on Earth’s Aaron William Perry, shares his CSPAN Video Project about Climate Change – a requirement for his AP Language class as a high school senior. Hunter shares his knowledge about the climate crisis, and what can be done about it. From dietary choices to soil regeneration, Hunter is already engaged in multiple actions – which also have the benefit of improving health, wellbeing, and quality of life. Our podcast interview format is a bit different in this episode, as part of the time Hunter is interviewing his dad Aaron, part of the time Aaron is interviewing Hunter, and then the last several minutes are the video project that Hunter created.

According to his dad, Hunter Chesnutt-Perry has a heart of gold (like a Lion), is a gifted visual artist and athlete (he’s captain of his varsity basketball team), and has an extraordinarily mature and well developed penchant for health, wellbeing and optimal performance – the foundation of his personal fitness training and coaching career. Hunter and his dad share a profound love for wilderness excursions, road trips, and have enjoyed many outdoor adventures, road trips, and Y on Earth Community Soil Activation Ceremonies throughout the United States together.

Bonus Material: Bloopers/Outtakes begin at 1:00:35, and

Hunter’s CSPAN Climate Change video begins at 1:03:20.

Find Hunter on Instagram at: huntercp_lifting_


(Automatically generated transcript for search engine optimization and reference purposes – grammatical and spelling errors may exist.)

Welcome to the YonEarth Community’s Stewardship and Sustainability podcast series.

Today I have a very special episode to share with you.

As our guest is an extraordinary young man who also happens to be my son, Hunter Chesnut


Hi, Hunter.

Hi everybody.

How are you doing?

I’m pretty good.

How are you?

I’m doing great.

I’m always doing great when we’re hanging out.

So we have a really interesting program today and it’s going to be a little different

than we usually do these podcast interviews because part of what we’re doing today is

Hunter is interviewing me for a school project and we thought it would be really fun to

share with everybody that interview and then after that I’ll basically interview you

and we’ll be chatting here together and I’ll tell you just a little about Hunter who

of course I’ve known since well you could say since he was born but maybe we’ve had

a connection before that even and Hunter is an extraordinary young man.

He’s got a heart of gold first of all and it’s got a heart of a lion I think is another

way to put it.

He’s a visual artist, draws amazing beautiful pieces.

In fact we’re working on a project we’re planning to publish sometime in the not too distant

future where you’ll get to see a lot of these pieces and he’s also a very gifted athlete

and he’s the team captain on his varsity basketball team and is also an amazing weightlifter

and has launched a career as a personal trainer and is really tuned into health and well-being

and optimal performance and we’ll be talking about that a bit and Hunter is also an outdoorsman

and we spend a lot of time together in the wilderness and we’ll chat about that some and

I’ll share with you too that Hunter is increasingly engaging in questions around

climate change around some of the environmental challenges that we’re facing and that’s part

of the reason for our discussion today as he chose for his school project to focus on questions

related to climate change right so we’re so excited now for the part of the interview where he’s

got to interview me it’s kind of funny because we’ve got two cameras up here and he needs to be

off camera for his school project so it’s just me talking so for a while it’ll be just me but he’ll

be here with us just other side of the camera and before we jump into the school part of the

interview is there anything else you want to share with folks about the school project in what

you’re up to so it’s basically it’s a C-SPAN project so our whole like AP language class does it

and you get to pick your own topic and then you conduct different interviews and make a presentation

that you send into C-SPAN and then they select I think three winners at the end of it and they each

get like a scholarship that’s super cool what a cool opportunity yeah yeah I’m just I’m so thrilled

about our conversation and I know you that know this buddy but and I know a lot of our audience

knows this but not everyone knows what a special connection and relationship you and I have and

that we actually spend a lot of amazing time together on road trips and adventures and doing

why on earth soil activation ceremonies all around the country and we do a lot of

backpacking and things out in the wilderness and it’s just such a joy to to be with you today yeah

so what do we do should get started on you got questions for me so this is all right um so

here hunter’s going off camera and you got to get yours rolling is that right yeah so I’m

gonna I’m gonna sit back and you’re ready I think so could you introduce yourself please sure my

name is Aaron Perry Aaron William Perry and I’m the proud father of two children hunter chestnut

Perry and OSHA chestnut Perry and I am an author a consultant and the founder and executive

director of the why on earth community awesome thank you um what have you done and what are you

continuing to do for the environment through this community yeah you know uh we live in an

extraordinary time and I don’t think that it’s an exaggeration nor is it hyperbolic to say that

these next few years immediately in front of us may be among the most significant years our

human species shares in our collective story together and the reason for that is that our our

human impacts on the planet which there’s a term the scientific community uses called

anthropogenic impacts on the climate on the climate and on the planet are of such extraordinary

scale now that it is imperative that we do everything we can to help heal to help stabilize and to

help regenerate the systems that we rely upon you know one of the things that a lot of folks

when I travel to communities all around the country don’t yet realize that are learning quickly

that that our planet we could really think of as a spaceship because it is a spaceship we’re all

traveling through space together and because we have an atmosphere because we have a magnetosphere

because we have a biosphere we enjoy conditions that are highly conducive to life we enjoy beautiful

life support systems that usually more or less maintain and sustain themselves without us as

humans having to do much like you would imagine on a spaceship in some science fiction story

and however now that we’ve been several generations into the industrial revolution the industrial

era our impacts on the climate our impacts on water our impacts on soil our impacts on forests

and other ecosystems are so tremendous now that we’ve actually disrupted the life support systems

of this single planet that we all share and so what we’re doing through the why on earth community

it’s to help address those issues and to help reverse several of those very dangerous trends

is we offer community mobilization tools resources and experiences in communities all around

the country and also through our ambassador network and our network of partners allies and

podcast guests through communities all around the world and we focus on three key things one is

climate action one is soil regeneration and the third is culture of kindness and it’s I think

probably apparent to most of us at this point that here especially in the United States we we’ve

got not only a crisis in terms of ecology and in terms of climate but we’ve got a real cultural crisis

there is way too much acrimony there’s way too much polarization there’s way too much

division in the culture at this time and so a big part of what we’re doing when we’re doing these

soil activation events these tree planting events these permacultural and biodynamic

ecosystem restoration events as we focus on how to become more kind and joyful empathic

and cultivate peace with folks we encounter and get to spend some time

celebrating with great could you describe a little more about what these events events in

tail yeah you bet so it’s awesome we we’re sitting here one of the funny things about filming

is that we’re filming at a real place at a real point in time but people are going to view these

films at some other place and some other point in time right and so here we are a day before

Thanksgiving 2019 and I’m on my way back to Colorado after two and a half months on the east coast

where I’ve given dozens of talks and workshops in city urban environments like New York City

was actually at the big youth and indigenous climate march september 20th that took place in

New York while simultaneously there were millions of students and indigenous leaders and others

marching in cities all around the planet and in the last two years I’ve had the opportunity

to give something like 170 or so talks and workshops in communities all around the United States

so what we do is focus on a handful of really key and essential points that are also explored in

the books that I’ve written and that includes why on earth which is the main book as well as the

soil stewardship handbook which is a really concise summary of why soil regenerations essential to

these challenges we’re facing and what to do in our day to day lives in our communities and

will in addition to sharing this information with folks we share inspiration and actually do things

like plant trees and concrete and other fast growing foliage that are pulling carbon out of the

atmosphere we build soil using biodynamic land medicine which is a really important thing we’re

working on now helping to scale throughout agriculture continent-wide as well as worldwide and there’s

a lot of info on these things on the whyoners.org website and platform and we’re sharing these direct

experiences with people so that they themselves are getting their hands in the soil they’re

getting their hands in these biodynamic land medicine stir experiences where we’re physically

interacting with billions of microorganisms that not only help build soil and reverse climate change

through carbon sequestration but also affect our own neuro biochemistry enhancing our own health

well-being vitality and quality of life and so it’s really important well on the one hand we’ve got

video and multimedia tools and resources on our digital platform that we’re also doing a lot of

events in person with that direct physical interaction with people and communities in landscapes

all throughout the land. I know it’s a very complicated question actually but could you just give

a quick summary of what biodynamics are? Yeah biodynamics you can think of biodynamics as a very

advanced form of organic agricultural and land stewardship practices. Biodynamics come from

Rudolph Steiner who a hundred years ago gave what are now known as the agricultural lectures.

In fact the hundred year anniversary of those I believe will be in the year 2022 I might be off

by about a year but it’s coming right up and what Steiner did he was an extraordinarily gifted

scholar and also an extraordinarily gifted spiritual leader you could say spokesperson adduped it

might be a good term and he in all of his studies and research and intuitive work was able to

understand and pull many deep traditions from all sorts of different cultures throughout

Europe and Asia and the Mediterranean region and synthesize what he learned and discovered into a

way of creating land medicine basically soil preparations to help heal landscapes to help improve

vitality of agricultural systems and it’s on one hand it’s a pretty simple and straightforward

framework where we’re using certain plants like yaro is one, chamomile is one, dandelion is one,

the bark from oak is one and there are a few others and we’re also using manures from

ruminants from cattle and in some places that might include manure from buffalo and other of the

large bovine type animals that roam the landscape and we take these various natural materials and

bury them underground for typically six months or more and when they’re underground there is an

interaction with all that soil microbiology that lives in the landscape that transforms these

substances into very potent compost you could think of it as a very potent compost that is both

homeopathic and and probiotic and we take that in relatively small quantities and mix it into

fresh water and spread it or spray it or sprinkle it around landscapes gardens parks and even

fields of agricultural production farms orchards etc and what’s really cool about biodynamics is

that it’s it’s being used in increasing scope and scale all around the world. In fact the wine growers

in California and the Napa region and other of those California wine production regions are

often using biodynamics to help their vineyards with issues like blight that a lot of those

growers have been dealing with and we’re now working to get these practices and these land medicines

more widely adopted throughout mainstream conventional agricultural production as more and more

of these farmers are choosing to get back to organics. I think it’s really important when we’re

talking about organics to remind our audience that you know sometimes some people will think organic is

kind of like this new fad or like this thing that’s been made up by the by some conspiracy or whatever

but the reality is that when we go back in time through the generations all our ancestors back into

the earliest known periods of history or even prehistory think of the Egyptian Empire think of

the Greeks think of the Romans food throughout that entire span of time was organic was always organic

and right up until about five generations ago around the early 1900s there was this massive change

that occurred because of industrialization because of the chemical and chemistry revolution that

had us basically developing all sorts of different compounds chemicals many of which are poisonous

many of which are carcinogenic and applying them in massive scales into the agricultural systems

this became part of our modern nation state strategy for geopolitical

maintenance of balance and advantage especially after the second world war and there’s a lot

to unpack in the history there to understand that we’ve effectively been waging a chemical warfare

on soil and on water and on ourselves our own health and well-being our own bodies

as a result of modern chemical-based agriculture and we know now there’s a bunch of science

we know that many of the cancers many of the cognitive struggles that folks encounter many of the

health issues and struggles that folks are encountering are related to the toxins and poisons in our

food and we have to stop this we have to change this now it also turns out that

healing soil regenerating and rebuilding soil is one of the key strategies we have to stop and

reverse climate change and I don’t know if you have a separate question on that or not but I

would like to make sure we spend a few minutes talking about why that’s so important as well

but the thing with biodynamics is that we’ve got a lot of different techniques out there there’s

all variety of organic production that is not using the harmful chemicals there’s different

permacultural systems that work really well in suburban yards or in urban community gardens

but with biodynamics in particular we’ve got some very special potent land medicines that can

be applied in all kinds of different contexts even in our houseplants and it’s a great joy to share

this with more and more people thousands and we’re working toward millions in the next very

short period of time through our global network to help get that as widespread as we can wonderful

going back to the whole chemical warfare what do you think drove us to start to have used the

planet oh boy that is a big question hunter oh my goodness well you know I’ve been spending most

of my life exploring that question and even as far back as high schools really starting to

wonder about that there are a lot of reasons and I think it’s important to recognize that certainly

we can identify trends and developments in the modern industrial era that directly lead to many of

the unfortunate challenges and situations we face currently but the truth is that culturally

psychologically it’s much farther back in our shared history that we find the seeds and the roots

and then some of the causes of the mistreatment of the living planet and you know I have a mixed

heritage which you of course share which is German Celtic English French Slovenian and Mohawk

Native American from the upstate New York region these are the folks the Mohawk tribe that

Ben Franklin spent a lot of time with and learned from in terms of a true democratic

society where each living human being has a voice and is a part of a decision making mechanism that

helped Ben Franklin in the framing of the constitution of this nation the United States of America

and because of that heritage and I’ve had opportunities to really explore different

dimensions and aspects of that heritage I’ve come to understand that we all have indigenous

heritage regardless of where our ancestors come from on the planet and if we go back far enough

we’ll find that in our indigenous heritage are ways of being that understand the respect the

gratitude toward the living environments upon which we rely and understand that we as humans have

to live in balance and in humility that focuses on stewardship and focuses on the well-being

of all the different critters and creatures that make up our ecosystems and of course in the

modern society we’ve been disconnected from that we’ve been divorced from that so much so that

many of us in our culture don’t even have an awareness that this is an issue actually

and so there are some tremendous thinkers who include Carl Jung, Nietzsche did a lot on this,

Gerta, and many others, James Lovelock, Gambutas, Rihanna Isler, and Charles and the blade,

I’m just naming a few off the top of my head have been unpacking the way that in particular western

civilization has evolved since the time of the pre-Hellenic Greeks the Minoan, the Cretan cultures

that were matrilineal much like the Mohawk and many other indigenous nations are and that had a

very highly developed and sophisticated worldview in way of being in harmony and reverence for the

natural living world and we know that we often refer to earth as mother earth and that there’s a

feminine aspect like the life giving power that we see in our own mothers and grandmothers

that is associated with the living planet and it’s it’s absolutely appropriate to recognize

that in our western history we’ve had at least 2000 years if not longer of a real dismissal

at best and a violence toward the feminine and toward the cultures and the peoples who live in

balance and harmony with the natural living world and so it’s important that we understand the

root causes of the crisis in the situation that we’re in right now and one of the great opportunities

we all have is to explore our own personal heritage and connection to those older ways of living

on the planet and reclaiming, re-embracing and practicing a different way of being in harmony with

our living world so sure we can identify certain developments in chemistry right certain developments

in mechanical engineering right the development of the internal combustion engine like all these

specific steps in the last two or three hundred years that absolutely propelled and catapulted us into

the modern world we’re familiar with where we can fly planes all over and move all mat amount of

material goods all over the planet but I think in addition to understanding some of those

technical developments that longer story of culture and mythological and psychological

pathology we could say in the in the modern western mind and heart is really important to recognize

I think it’s beautiful and hopeful to recognize it too because as we begin seeing that and seeing

through the veil of the cultural narrative we immediately have an opportunity to embrace a very

different way of being and what’s so fun about the work I do is I get to interact with all kinds

of other authors, leaders, scientists, youth activists, farmers, herbalists, folks who are really

working on these healing efforts and the quality of life we each have an opportunity to cultivate

in our own lives and for our families and our friends and our neighbors is tremendous and it’s

right at our fingertips. Just to wrap it up here if you were to give one piece of advice to an

average citizen regarding how they can help the planet what would it be? This is beautiful. In

Hunter I know that I can get on a roll sometimes and we’ve got plenty of hours driving and hiking

it’s such a joy to be able to share this with you and also share a bit of our conversation with

a lot of our other friends out there and you know there’s a lot we can be doing in our own lives I

think one part of that is developing a deeper connection with nature wherever we are even in the

biggest of cities to find that park to find those trees those shrubberies that soil that we can

connect to I think is imperative and is going to enhance our health and well-being and there’s a

lot of exciting science on this I will encourage folks to check out why on earth the book at whyoners.org

and there’s both an e-book and an audio book to download if you would like in addition to

a printed book so it really gets into the science and the psychology and the health and well-being

of some of those things in addition to the environmental benefits but in terms of a day-to-day

practice the key thing we can all do right now and every day going forward is compost all of our

kitchen scraps and otherwise would be trash that was recently living mostly plants so even the

paper towel roll when you’re done with a roll of paper towel that little bit of cardboard

was recently a tree and when we put the trash the organic stuff into the trash it goes to the

landfill and is covered and when it’s in that environment it breaks down in a manner that we

call anaerobic meaning that there’s not much oxygen available and there are a bunch of little

organisms that we call methanogens that give off methane when they’re doing this decomposition

and that methane CH4 is a very small molecule that easily slips back up through the landfill

the covering the membrane and gets to the atmosphere and methane is 19 to 23 times more potent

than CO2 carbon dioxide as a heat trapping greenhouse gas so when we throw these things away

that’s what’s happening we are exacerbating the energy loading the heat loading of our climate

and we’ve gone from 280 parts per million to over 400 parts per million carbon loading in the

climate since the beginning of the industrial revolution so we should not be putting anymore

carbon in the atmosphere right now that is crystal clear the thing we can do with those same

kitchen scraps and toilet paper rolls on the other hand and picture a why like why on earth like a

fork in the road is we can put that into compost and when we put it into compost instead of

methanogens anaerobic bacteria breaking this stuff down it’s aerobic microorganisms that are

actually turning this into soil and contributing to the virtuous soil building process that naturally

occurs on the planet that helps and enhances carbon sequestration from the atmosphere and so that

simple act is a huge gesture and statement and as thousands and millions of us adopt that simple

choice every day we are having a tremendous impact of course engaging with composting also puts us

on a pathway to more gardening more house plants more community gardens down the street more time

outside and enhances our own health and well-being as a result we know that just physically interacting

with living soil because of the way those organisms penetrate through our skin and get to our neuro

biochemistry this will improve serotonin production this will improve our immune systems this will

enhance our sense of joy and well-being and there’s even research showing it will enhance cognitive

performance so all kinds of reasons to get engaged in soil building and composting now if you’re

on a high rise apartment and you don’t have a community garden nearby there’s even then something

you can do which is get some warm composting bins under your sink or in a closet or whatever

and you’re now have a little garden of a bunch of worms that are going to eat your apple

cores and your caratops and give you a little bit of worm castings which are a beautiful organic

fertilizer for your house plants for the park a few blocks away whatever it might be so this is

something we can all do in every context rural suburban urban and it’s it’s one of the keys I

think for us all to engage in and help educate others at our workplace our faith community our

house of worship our school and of course our home with our neighbors we can all do this

wonderful thank you yeah that was fun hunter so so we’re done with your park huh yeah so we’ll

see how a sea spam likes it and now I get to ask you some questions down like a poem all right

and let me let me see how we do it on time oh this is perfect so what I’m going to do is I’m going

to share that as a reminder this is a wider communities stewardship and sustainability podcast

series and I’m sitting here with my son hunter chestnut parry and we’re having a beautiful

conversation part of this conversation of course is the interview he just did for his school project

and now I’m going to ask hunter a handful of questions now before proceeding I want to give a huge

shout out to everybody who’s joined our why honors monthly giving program which helps make this

podcast series possible as well as the community mobilization work that we’re doing all around

the country and increasingly worldwide and if you haven’t yet joined the monthly giving program

and you would like to you can choose any amount that works well for you go to winers.org

click on the support or donate button and select how much you’d like to give each month and when

you do that I will send you an email with a code a very special code that will allow you to download

and unlock all of our ebook and audiobook resources as a thank you of course I also want to give a

shout out to our sponsors who make this possible as well and that includes Patagonia,

Walei Waters, Earth Coast Productions, the International Society of Sustainability Professionals,

Purium, Beauty Counter, Gaia TV and the Lige Family Foundation. A huge thanks to everybody for

making this possible and if you’d like to check out Beauty Counter, Purium, Gaia TV subscription you

can do all those things through the Y on Earth site and partial proceeds will come back to support

the work we’re doing with the nonprofit so a huge thanks to everybody and of course that’s not

the first time hunters heard me share this sort of thing because we’ve actually been on the road

together here and there over the last couple years as part of our father-son adventures and the

last summer we went on a pretty epic adventure and did a handful of soil activation ceremonies and

and where I wanted to share with folks like where did we go hunter and what did we do and how was

that for you and it was awesome first of all we went to a ton of different places it was basically

just a big road trip where where was I first stop I don’t even remember I guess our first stop was

at the star house we went to a very special well just outside of Boulder, Colorado right and

that kind of kicked things off that did kick things off and then I would just say we definitely

did a ton of stuff and I would say one of the highlights was we went to this house that was built I

don’t remember the name of the organization that built it but it was a house that basically

was designed to act like as organically as possible which I thought was really cool

from anywhere from the floor was made out of like hard and nice stairwell was in a certain pattern with

like handcrafted welding that held different crystals in the shape of flowers and stuff which

going into architecture which is what I want to study. I thought that was really cool.

Yeah so this is outside of Peonia Colorado and we did a podcast interview with our friend

Stone Hunter who is a biodynamic practitioner who helped design and build this beautiful house

and the episode we recorded with Stone hasn’t been released as of this recording but it’s very

possible it will be released before this gets released so either way in the very near future both

of these conversations will be made available and that one was super fun because of course Hunter

you were manning the camera and we did a tour of the house and Stone is an incredible educator

and practitioner and the home was built using biodynamic principles as well as advanced principles

from a man named Enzo from Italy who does a lot of work through the biodynamic networks throughout

the world just a joy and that was I guess I’m jogging my memory real quick I’m trying to recall

the whole tour and adventure we took because we we went out of Colorado we stopped at sustainable

settings we went through Utah we went to the canyon country in Utah and visited a beautiful

organic farm outside of Moab drove through the desert all the way to California and went to the

Sequoia National Park or Forest and saw those giant trees and we also did a handful of

workshops and seminars with our friends at Kiss the Ground in Venice and LA and went down

toward Newport with some of the Waldorf and biodynamic community down there you and I even

did a special ceremony right on the beach in Venice and with the moon and I want to mention

something else about the moon soon but you know for me Hunter it was such a joy that we got to share

time our time together with some of these other folks in these other communities and we also had

to ourselves some beautiful time where we did some ceremony along the way this was a

right of passage marking your 16th birthday and it was such a joy to be able to mark some of those

points along the way together mm-hmm yeah I’d like to just touch on that I think it’s really

cool to be able to experience all this stuff we typically do this in the summer which happens to

fall around my birthday so those kind of just go together and I know a lot of teenagers and

have a lot of teenage friends that don’t do anything like that and it’s just another day basically

where they celebrate with a cake or something and I think it’s really cool to be able to experience

all this stuff and see new places and meet new people and just keep learning about stuff

and one of the other things we do that I guess not everyone gets to do is a lot of backpacking

huh mm-hmm so let’s talk about our backpacking adventure we took a few months ago yeah so that was

last summer I think it was four full days and I’ll just complete backpacking no service nothing like

that right yeah we did two nights at this really beautiful lake which was that was like the top

of our trek and before that we had two nights on our way up and yeah it was a very cool adventure

and this was in the Indian Peaks wilderness area outside of Nutterland Colorado where we’ve

been going since you were a baby even before that and it’s where I’ve varied parts of your

placenta and your sister’s placenta which is a traditional way of establishing a relationship

with a place in traditional cultures in fact we will talk about how we remember ancestors and

think about future generations often by knowing where various peoples placenta were buried in the

family stories and uh so we were up in the high country weren’t we and we we saw some wildlife

what was that we saw way up high on those uh they they were way above tree line we saw a bunch of

creatures yeah we didn’t really know if they were um there’s very far away but it was this perfect

view from our campsite looking over this ridge basically of a mountain top and he spotted them first

and I think it was just a couple at the beginning of probably yeah probably like that and then I

ended up being this just huge herd like crossing at the perfect angle for us to be able to see um

on the like backdrop of the skyline just crossing across the ridge and grazing which was yeah that’s

awesome so and what else would you up there when we were right at that lake we did some fishing yeah

that was probably my favorite part I had never caught a fish before that so and I think I caught

three or something which yeah that was really fun yeah it was tremendous huh and uh we were

along a pretty cool creek for a lot of that hike and we we hiked a few miles each day yeah it’s

pretty pretty rigorous and we carried a lot of weight in our backpacks we encountered snow yes

we needed a lot of food that was in a training phase so that was a lot of weight yeah we had a lot

of delicious food with us and I remember your first backpacking trip actually it was to a place

pretty close to where we were called Los Lake and you’re so cute you had your smaller pack and

you’re carrying a pillow and a couple things and it was such a joy as a father to be able to

introduce you to that kind of experience and I know now that we’ve got a lot more trekking

and adventuring in front of us and I’m just overjoyed about it yeah well when you turned 13

we also did a special backpacking around there and this might be of interest to some of the

parents out there in terms of rights of passage for our children what what did we do so we went

up again around the Los Lake area and we were backpacking with his brother actually and my brother

Michael yeah I have to how how many nights were we well we were out there two two nights okay so

so we went up two nights and I didn’t know this at the time but one of the nights I had to spend

by myself like often my own little section in my own tent you were invited to I was I was

have to I was suggested to which um yeah it was definitely cool and I would say in the last

five years I’ve done a lot of growing up around that I was a pretty scared little kid I would say

um I hated being alone at home I did not like the dark and I remember that night was definitely a

big like transition period for me it was pouring rain that night there is this huge storm and

yeah I got through it and it was a really cool just like gateway into the beginning of manhood

so we made some arrangements with hunters extended family his sister his mother grandparents and

uncles and a few other people close to him so that they all wrote letters to hunter ahead of time

and I had them in my backpack in a sealed plastic bag so they wouldn’t get ruined by water or rain

and after we set up the tent with hunter far away from where my brother and I were we established a

perimeter just for safety and we invited hunter to join us in a special ceremony and we did some

praying together I gave you a couple objects including a knife and and handed you a stack of letters

from a bunch of people who really love you giving you some messages for this important

milestone in your in your path and so I know that that was a really powerful thing for you

to receive that from so many relatives yeah yeah it was really cool um so yeah I basically just

read those all night there were a lot of them which was I felt very loved which was wonderful

and I remember we talked about this the next morning and I don’t know like what had driven

me to do this but I created this little like power object in my tent I made a triangle with like a

stick and the two knives and then put a crystal in the middle and I one of my other guess was beads

from who was that do you remember I feel like it was Carl that sounds right I put a circle of beads

around it and I don’t know why I did that I don’t know why I had the inclination to do that but

it was kind of just a sense of security thing and it’s like a cool thing with the power of objects

yeah and of course that’s something that comes to us through many of our lineages traditions and

cultures absolutely beautiful that beautiful so when you’re you’re a senior in high school yeah

a very gifted artist I’m so excited about the pieces you’ve been working on that’ll be

getting into this book that we’re working on together and you’re an amazing athlete and I know

a few of my friends have heard me say I don’t even play basketball against Hunter anymore because

it hurts it really freaking hurts and I don’t want to break legs at this point I just I want to

watch him and from the safety of the you know bleachers as he’s taken on big dudes all kinds of

folks out there and just showing them some ball and what a joy yeah and as you’re finishing

finishing up your high school career thinking about next steps this question of climate change

and some of these big challenges that we’re facing like how does that affect you and like what

are you what are you thinking what are you what are you anticipating when you’re thinking about the

future I think most kids are or most teenagers are kind of blind to the whole

reality that things could really change soon and kind of the importance of everyone stepping

in to do their part so even personally like I would say I kind of have this view of like what

I would want to do with my life if there’s nothing around in the world right and actually involve

like playing basketball in college and then just going on to architecture work of architecture

but there are also these present problems which create opportunities for us and lots of other

people that may need to be addressed sooner than we think so I don’t really know what my future

is going to look like and I’ll have to find a balance between all of those things but yeah

yeah creates an extraordinary additional both set of opportunities and set of potential pressures

and stressors and I know too that you have a very deep entrepreneurial inclination and tendency

and sometimes we refer to entrepreneurship as a genetic disease but that’s a joke that’d be funny

and I know that already you’ve launched a personal training platform and that you also have a

landscaping yard services business that you offer here in the neighborhood

and a few other things you’re doing you’re even peddling some things at school sometimes

that legal legal people that is wonderful to share and talk about and so it’s really exciting

for me as your dad to see some of those inclinations and aptitudes emerging that I know are going

to serve you very well and also are going to likely help you to serve a lot of other people

in serve our world because clearly some of the solutions are entrepreneurial in nature and require

that kind of approach to taking some risks trying some new things and thinking about complex ways

of piecing together products and services that are really good for people and good for the

environment and that also work as businesses and I just I love when we get to chat on those things

and it’s going to be I think a lot of fun to see where you go with all that yeah to talk about that

I really love like doing my own thing with a lot of things since I was a little I hated getting

lessons for things I just kind of like to figure things out and I think that just like in

North America the mold that we’re put into often follows a certain path they kind of everyone

is supposed to go through that isn’t always the best thing for instance like with all these jobs

I’m doing relatively simple work and making a lot more than the average like

bus boys job which is what kids I would say are expected to do like get your first job at a restaurant

or something and I just think it’s about finding ways to think outside of the box of kind of

just the mold that our society has put us into because ultimately I think that’s pushing towards

the continuing of the destruction of our world along with different just pressures and anxieties and

like depression with a lot of adults that aren’t happy with where they ended up because they never

actually followed what they truly wanted to you know yeah it’s so important so important and you

know and I will share that as I was writing on earth which has some chapters that explored this

very thing I absolutely had you in OSHA in mind as the core audience when I was writing that

and you’re you’re on it you’re you are on the path and I’m so proud of you but I know you know

that and it’s just fun to say it thank you so proud of you I want it I want to ask there’s

something that happened just a few days ago that adds to how and why I’m proud of you

because you said dad I just saw this documentary you got to see it we got to talk about it

we’ve had some really interesting conversations in last couple days yeah because why what are we

talking about okay so it’s this documentary called Game Changers which basically is talking about

a vegan diet and this documentary is like directed towards athletes basically for just like peak

performance which if anyone had tried to convince me before seeing this to go vegan I would never do

it like my diet is so full of meat and dairy and I know they’re great for me but I don’t love

vegetables so it is definitely just eye-opening and I’m happy that I kind of just stumbled across

it on Netflix and it’s basically just talking about how as humans we aren’t really meant to eat

as much meat as we do and people aren’t eating the vegetables the grains that they’re supposed to

do in all these processed foods and they’re leading to a ton of health problems that we see

along with like the US being the highest obesity rate in the world and yeah I’m just focusing

on staying healthy and being able to push my body to its limits and get the most out of it as I

can yeah and I was I was struck watching this documentary that very well done and I think James

Cameron produced or directed he had a key role and this is James Cameron Avatar some other key

films that folks would recognize and I was struck that as you’re saying so much of the conversation

was framed around elite athletes and it struck me that you know for folks like you that’s super

compelling yeah because you are an athlete and you do a lot and you are amazing you can bench press

more than I weigh and like teach me things and it’s wonderful but a lot of us are not elite athletes

yeah and that may not be the key motivator for a lot of other folks and I think when we’re talking

about diet I was vegan in my early 20s as you know there are some other issues that are really

important for us to unpack together and as we’re seeing many youth leaders responding to the

climate crisis the environmental and cultural crisis many are choosing the vegan diet as a way

to address that yeah and that’s commendable that’s loudable but there is an important issue that

I think we we need to explore and discuss and share in these conversations and it has to do with

soil building and fertility and agriculture because I work with hundreds of farmers and it’s

pretty clear that our agricultural systems rely on animal manures and particularly the bovine

ruminant manures of cattle things like buffalo and it was the big bovine

herds roaming the landscape over thousands and millions of years that really built up the soils

the rich soils we now see in the bedbred basket regions of the world like here in the middle of

the United States for example so that manure input from animals is essential for the soil building

that is critical for sequestering carbon and reversing climate change and meanwhile on the

diet front especially here in the United States we’ve been the unwitting guinea pigs in a massive

experiment of highly toxic food highly refined processed food that is not good for us and we are

suffering all kinds of physical maladies as a result of this not to mention sometimes even psychological

and cognitive and other maladies as well and there’s no doubt regardless of whether we choose to

be vegan or we choose a diet that includes some animal protein from regenerative sustainable

organic production systems as opposed to the industrial feed lot style systems that are

way too impactful in the world right now no doubt it does us all a lot of good to eat a lot more

organic natural fresh fruits vegetables nuts and to make that a much bigger part of our diet and

to get away from the non organic and from the processed foods there’s no doubt right yeah so I

think it’s a really important conversation and I do encourage folks to check out the

documentary and there are plenty of videos out there debunking or claiming to debunk some of

what’s in the documentary but I do think it’s a really important conversation and I think it’s

something we need to be thinking about and talking about more and more with each other yeah

yeah I think one of the main things like I’m not totally against eating me it’s just from what

I’ve seen on this it has a lot of benefits for athletes it also talked in the documentary if

they went to a fire station where it’s talking about how around 70% of firefighters who die in

the line of cause die from heart attacks yeah which is just the huge stress of being in a

firefight basically but also because of a lot of health problems and they went to this fire station

and basically challenged all the people and their families to do a week of eating vegan and

something like the median weight loss was like six or seven pounds and everyone’s blood pressure

dropped a bunch and cholesterol levels and stuff so I think it’s really just about like eating healthy

because I don’t think me is bad at all and I just think the way that we have

eaten what’s in the industry is bad because it’s not natural and it’s not needed and I read

something the other day there was like we have the ability to feed nine billion people right now

and there are tons of people that are starving throughout the world because we have this mass

food creation basically that’s going to waste and that’s not useful really it doesn’t have any

nutritional value and it’s putting a lot of money and a lot of resources and the things that are

pretty much exclusively bad for the environment and for us yeah it’s really true

it connecting dots to like the deforestation the amazon of the many thousands of

fires burning there for deforestation for certain agricultural production connecting the dots

with the glyphosate loading of the American agricultural system and all of the rates of cancer

along waterways that have resulted this is revealed through Zach Bush’s work the medical doctor

who created the documentary called farmer’s footprint that there is so much destructive

force at play in the modern industrial food system and we absolutely have to heal that and I’m

so thrilled hunter that you’re learning about this and that you’re communicating about this and

that you’re making changes in your own life your own diet as a result of what you’re learning that’s

exactly the pattern we want to see scaling throughout society so you asked me earlier what’s the

one thing I would recommend to folks I’m going to ask you what what what’s the one thing you

would recommend to folks and I’m maybe even thinking in particular folks your age yeah um

I mean I like we’re grown with as we grow up we’re tired like reduce reuse recycle all the time

and I would say that’s just a generic one that everyone hears a lot but I think those are

very important I think those are some of the most important things and then something a little

more unique to come up with an answer for that question I would say like often we have the

knowledge of knowing what is good and it’s just about being able to be disciplined enough to do it

you know I would say just that challenges for yourself and try like a week of exercising every day

or a week of eating just clean food for every meal and to see how it feels and start to realize

what makes you feel healthy and go from there that’s excellent yeah it’s good advice and you know

part of the joy I think of being a parent is that you start learning things from your kids and

that starts right away when their babies and infants and toddlers they teach us a lot of hand

as they get older and start developing their own sensibility their own knowledge base their own

experiential base we get to learn so much from our kids and it’s a it’s a real joy to be at that

phase of life now hunter where um well you can kick my butt playing basketball and then wait

and in the way and you’re starting to get really tough and chip playing chess together so there’s

so much I get to learn from you and I just love it and I really admire not only your heart your

creativity your athleticism but your discipline and I know that your coaches and your teachers have

seen that and have acknowledged that your level of discipline as a young man is extraordinary

and it’s part of why you’re put into leadership positions for example with your basketball team

and I know that for a lot of folks disciplines a real challenge and I just admire wholeheartedly that

you have chosen for yourself to make that a priority and you’re really good at it

mm-hmm thank you

so I think we’ll probably need to wrap up for now hunter and I know in the coming months and probably

next summer we’ll get some more adventure together and perhaps do some more video stuff together

but just for now to sign off with our why on earth community is there is there anything you’d

like to share with folks before we sign off for today um

I mean just keep watching we’ll have some more things hopefully I’ll have maybe another

hepper’s episode or two with the why on earth community podcast so yeah look forward to seeing

you guys again that sounds great so you heard it from him keep watching folks and we’ll see you soon

and hope everybody has a great day take care are we are we recording wait can I ask you something

wait yeah um wait you look right into no like maybe we should stop it or this is like a blooper reel

okay so when you are interviewing people do you guys like get the camera

over yeah but I got like how soon like 28 minutes in no I mean how soon you need it oh

I mean as soon as you can but no but like actually

and the next week if you can send me a file like if I can wait till I’m back in Boulder this weekend

to do it that would be way better yeah okay well we’re still recording for bloopers

okay so tell me a joke right now tell me a joke dude um


I don’t know if I have that many good jokes

well okay this was from the this is my just funny I think this is in the documentary right

so it’s this strong man who’s vegan yeah and he is like several years ago he decided to change

to a vegan diet and he’s talking with some of his friends and they’re like how the heck do you

expect to be so strong like strong as an ox if you’re not eating a ton of meat and he answers

saying have you ever seen an ox eat any meat yeah I love which I think is so funny because like

this was also in the documentary like the way our society’s bell is just like slammed meat

equals big strong man basically and so many the animals that would mess us up in the wild don’t eat me

and yeah they throw out another example yes they talk about how gorillas would absolutely like

destroy us which is true and think about how big they get with just eating plants like

you can get big with plenty of plants and they have protein and it’s kind of just

a rumor not a rumor what’s the word I’m looking for a myth a myth yeah a myth that plants don’t

have protein and then you need it from animal products I think it’s funny yeah all right I got one

for you okay what is a pirate favorite vegetables what I’m going to show you then chart

about our we’ve got that our regular that’s a good one you got work I’m good

the world is a miraculous creation that allows all of life to flourish every living organism

learn to develop a co-existing relationship with the world and all other beings in order to live

peacefully together this balance all change when humans took advantage of their knowledge developing

ways to dominate the world for now that we’ve been several generations into the industrial

revolution the industrial era our impacts on the climate our impacts on water our impacts on soil

our impacts on forests and other ecosystems are so tremendous now that we’ve actually disrupted

the life support systems of this single planet that we all share in fact the climate change is real

that it’s important and we should do something about it there’s all of these issues that we’re

all dealing with but there’s this overarching issue which is that we can be destroyed

going back thousands of years the atmospheric carbon dioxide level has never reached 300 parts per

million since 1950 it has increased by over 25% to an astonishing 415 parts per million

the average global temperature has risen by 1.62 degrees causing detrimental effects on the world

the polar ice caps are melting at an astonishing rate leaving less room and resources for the

indigenous animals along with effectively raising the ocean heights by an average of 3.3 millimeters

per year beginning to swallow up islands fish populations are dying around the world due to

an increase in ocean temperatures and these are only a few of the problems we are seeing

last year more than 4.6 million people died from causes directly related to pollution

to put that into perspective that is more than the 420,000 people who were murdered

more than the 1.3 million who died from car accidents and more than the 1.6 million who died from

diabetes all combined we have been so focused on building wealth that we have like Greek at the

best of us people are suffering people are dying and dire ecosystems are collapsing we are in

the beginning of a mass extinction and all you can talk about is the money and fairytales

of eternal economic growth what do you think drove us to start to use the thing oh boy that is

a big question hunter oh my goodness well you know i’ve been spending most of my life exploring that

question we have the power to save the planet but we have to make an important decision

what is more important money or survival you’re going to look at it’s basically it’s saying it’s

going to cost tens of billions of dollars every year we have the resources to move towards a greener

planet businesses are going to have to prioritize helping the earth by cutting down on things

like plastic and reducing the amount of pollution they are releasing we will have to invest in

renewable energy we have all the technology and knowledge that we need to reverse this life

threatening problem we are even working on new technologies to help such as tree planting robots

solar roadways fusion energy and even machines that will draw CO2 directly from the atmosphere

if everyone composted the impact would be equivalent to removing the pollution from 8 million

cars additionally we can focus on reducing our consumption taking bikes walking more and eating

organic foods it is up to all of us to fix this problem but we can do it

the why on earth community stewardship and sustainability podcast series is hosted by

Aaron William Perry author thought leader and executive consultant the podcast and video

recordings are made possible by the generous support of people like you to sign up as a daily

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