#5 Tanka Bar: for the Buffalo, the Land, and the People

In this episode, the second of four in this series on the bison in the Great Plains, we visit the lands of the Oglala Lakota in the Black Hills of Western South Dakota, where we met with Mark Tilsen, cofounder of Tanka Bar.   Tanka Bar, a company owned and operated by the Oglala Lakota of the Pine Ridge Reservation, created the first commercial bison meat and fruit bar based on one of their sacred foods, called wasna.  The mission of Tanka Bar is to restore the Pine Ridge landscape and economy by bringing back the buffalo.

Before the interview with Mark, I also share a bit more history of the time of the buffalo slaughter.  I feel it’s useful to have some understanding of the creation of the wounds that Tanka Bar is working to help heal.

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Welcome to Muse Ecology, where we hear some of the voices and grooves of people and place as we make our way back to harmony.  In a time of rising dissonance it is important that we share the stories of the reharmonization process so that we can live more into that narrative together.  Scientists, musicians, ecologists, thinkers and doers, often all in the same person.  Through their voices, and sometimes their music, we will explore some of the key complexities of this time on Earth as we all ask together how we might reintegrate with the song of life.

If you’d like to support me in the production of Muse Ecology, I’ve started a Patreon page where folks can pick any monthly amount to contribute.  All contributions are greatly appreciated. Click here to become a patron.  There is also a Paypal donate button on the side of the page here at museecology.com.

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And most importantly, thanks for listening, and sharing if you are inspired to.

Cheers!

-Timothy Sexauer, creator of the Muse Ecology Podcast

Episode 4: The Buffalo Field Campaign, Protecting the Last Wild Bison

This episode of Muse Ecology is the first in this four part series beginning to explore humankind’s relation to the bison in the Great Plains of North America. This buffalo series features diverse voices of folks involved in the bison’s return that Alison and I met on our buffalo investigation journey in February 2018. While the next three episodes feature entrepreneurs (Tanka Bar) and ranchers (777 Bison Ranch and Wild Idea Buffalo Company) who are working to restore bison to the landscape, this first episode features voices of wildlife advocates who see the buffalo as a wild elder whose right to roam long precedes our recent human constructs.

The first visit on our buffalo journey was with the Buffalo Field Campaign, a volunteer-run organization that exists to defend the dignity and freedom of the last continuously wild herd of buffalo in North America, in Yellowstone National Park. Founded over 20 years ago by Lakota Grandmother Rosalie Littlethunder and videographer Mike Mease, through documentation and advocacy, the BFC seeks to promote awareness of the story and management of the Yellowstone bison, and to influence policy to allow them to roam free like the other wild ones.

At just over two and a half hours this episode ended up a bit long, but felt like one story to be released together, so I divided it up into chapters like an audio book or radio play, and created a table of contents with minute and second, to make it easy to restart if you have to take a break.

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#3 A Bonn Voyage with John D. Liu

Episode 3 closes out Muse Ecology’s inaugural series recorded in December 2017, about ecosystem restoration and the work of John D. Liu. In this episode, John and I have a conversation on the way to the airport that weaves through many topics currently affecting our global situation, and we discuss how a large scale shift to focusing on ecosystem restoration addresses the roots of all of them.

John D. Liu is Ecosystem Ambassador for Commonland Foundation and Visiting Research Fellow at the Netherlands Institute of Ecology of the Royal Academy of Arts and Sciences. He also catalyzed the Ecosystem Restoration Camps movement. You can find his films and research papers at knaw.academia.edu/JohnDLiu

One of the topics we discuss is how water vapor is more of a greenhouse gas than carbon emissions, and how ecosystem destruction has disrupted the water cycle and led to increase of uncondensated (not formed into clouds) atmospheric water vapor. The source John was referring to for his greenhouse gas numbers can be found at the following link.

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#2 Global Landscapes Forum V, Economy and Indigenous Sovereignty

This is the fifth and final part of episode 2 at the Global Landscapes Forum in Bonn, Germany with John D. Liu.  In this part we hear two conversations about the important but historically ignored voices from indigenous nations, including their long history of oppression by globalizing civilization, the distinct worldviews inherent in the global economy and indigenous cultures, and the importance of bridging these differences and working together to protect and restore the Earth.
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#2 Global Landscapes Forum IV, Economy and Peatlands

While largely unfamiliar to many, peatlands perform crucial funcions in Earth’s carbon and water cycles.  For many centuries we have been draining peatlands to free up land for commodity agriculture, destroying these important living systems.  We now are growing aware of the effects of draining peatlands, and some folks are exploring ways to preserve and restore these wet ecologies while still being able to produce and harvest biomass and other crops from these areas.  This sort of peatland agriculture is called paludiculture.

In part 4 of this 5 part series at the Global Landscapes Forum in Bonn, Germany, we will hear John D. Liu interview 3 individuals who are working to change agriculture, finance, and policy so that they work to restore, rather than drain peatlands.

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#2 Global Landscape Forum I, Commonland Foundation

Episode 2 consists of some fascinating interviews conducted by John Liu at the Global Landscapes Forum in Bonn, Germany.  I’ve arranged them into five parts according to the topics discussed.

This part focuses on Commonland Foundation, an organization that catalyzes regenerative projects around the word.  We heard of Commonland in Episode 1 at the ecosystem restoration camp in Spain, and how it had played a crucial role in the context that facilitated that project.

Willem Ferwerda is the founder and CEO of Commonland Foundation.  I found his words to be clear and insightful, as John Liu’s questions ranged from advice for youth seeking to enter the emerging regenerative economy to the relation between ecosystem health and social stability.  Willem and the Commonland Foundation have done much to facilitate better relations between economy and ecology, and to restore ecosystem function in degraded landscapes.

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#1 Ecosystem Restoration Camps, An Idea Takes Root


The Ecosystem Restoration Camps movement has begun with the pilot camp in the Altiplano of southern Spain.  In this episode we visit the camp to hear from the resident restoration volunteers and the land owner, Alfonso Chico de Guzman, cofounder of the AlVeAl initiative.
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