This week we are delighted to feature the photography and writing of Kallia Milillo, a 21 year old student photographer who will be transferring to the independent study program at Evergreen State College this Fall. She will be a seasonal guest blogger for NWEI in 2012, as one of her goals is to bring her art and perspective to the environmental community.  To learn more about Kallia’s work, visit her website here. Thank you Kallia!


I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape – the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits, beneath it, the whole story doesn’t show. ~Andrew Wyeth

Every year the earth enters a transitional time where the leaves slowly change from greens to oranges, yellows, reds, and browns. Gradually week by week all the leaves begin to find themselves down on the terrain underneath the branches they once called home. The days start to show that they are becoming shorter. The squirrels start collecting as many nuts as they can find laying about on the ground. Hibernation has clearly shown it’s face with winter right around the corner. The final leaves make their way to the ground. Autumn turns into winter. The landscape has become bare, dull, quiet, and cold. The stillness is almost haunting. Mother nature looks as if she has laid down and decided to die. The days don’t seem as bright as normal, as if high noon turned into dinner time. Time seems to being going slower and everyone feels as if life has been sucked out of the air. Weeks pass and there is not much sign of movement. Mother nature seems beyond the point of no return. She looks, feels, smells, and sounds dead. Suddenly as if out of no where, life shows itself in the tiny bud of a blue flower that has slightly opened it’s petals. 

We face this transitional storyline in our everyday lives with the current situation on Earth. Our choices and decisions have been impacting the state of our planet and will continue to do so. Economic, environmental, and social reasons are all huge contributing toward our current affairs. How we use land, general human consumption, energy choices, eating habits, our lifestyles, and wastes all add to the condition to the environment. Our behaviors are having a negative impact on where we all call home. It has shown through in numerous ways like climate change, pesticide drift, land degradation, air pollution, and habitat destruction. Sometimes this can be discouraging and people can become overwhelmed: the flooding feelings of continual mess that has gotten out of control. The massive amount of damage can make things seem like they’re past the point of no return. People even start to believe that we have done so much damage that it wouldn’t matter even if we tried. Sometimes we loose hope, just like after weeks of the quiet dead winter days. We start to question if renewal will ever come again. 

However, like Spring, the Earth’s vitality will be replenished through the growth of caring individuals. The development will come with perseverance, commitment, sharing knowledge, and through maintaining our goals. The earth is in need of more attention, care, and overall consideration. Instead of living in a world where we live our lives only based upon economic and social factors, we can add the environment as a equal factor. We could start to have consideration for our environment as the one big home we all live on. It can be as simple as planting a tree to help replenish the world’s forests,  considering windmills for an alternative energy for your farm, sustainable food systems, supporting and protecting farmers, local food, not using chemical fertilizers for your lawn, recycling, even reusing a yogurt container, standing up for peace, or understanding the dimension of sustainability and poverty. Integrating the value for our planet into every aspect of our lives can help reduce our human footprint. The road towards renewal is a long path similar to the prolonged days of winter, but together we can make a difference. 

The difference we all can make together will take commitment and time for this new system to finally show itself in it’s entirety. From time to time, choosing to undertake the sustainable lifestyle can seem more expensive. Many of us feel the money pressures in our lives, especially in the state of the current economy. There are actually tons of ways though in which your investments will actually put money back in your pocket and give back to the environment. Reducing your waste can help with saving on disposal costs, or investing in energy efficiency options can reduce your energy bills. Choosing sustainability is about our future, our earth, benefiting local business, being aware of social issues that need attention, growing our economy and society in a new dynamic way, and to replenish our environment. Much the same as winter, our planet may look damaged, but nature can defy all odds.

Precisely when you think there’s no hope – the bright side shines through. If we work towards making sustainability a reality in it’s totality we can give the world a chance to be resilient and restore itself…