(All photos courtesy of Común Tierra)
Editor’s note: In November of 2010, as I was winding down my journey through the Americas, documenting sustainability initiatives in the 10 countries I visited, my path crossed with that of Ryan Luckey and Leticia Rigatti, the couple who make up Común Tierra. They were doing exactly what I had wanted to do but ran out of time, funds and energy. They have spent the past four years creating a body of work that is unparalleled in this area, planting seeds of sustainability as they go with their workshops and seed bank and presentations. Their journey carried them throughout the Americas aboard the Minhoca, a motor home outfitted with a wide range of “ecotecnias” or ecological technologies that help the travelers live in a way that’s consistent with their values, while making their home a rolling demonstration project for sustainability.
Huicholes: The Last Peyote Guardians May 23, 2014Posted by Tracy in : Guadalajara, Historical preservation, Indigenous culture, Latin America, Mexico, Sustainability , add a comment
This week Huicholes: The Last Peyote Guardians had its world premiere – fittingly in the remote mountain enclave of Real de Catorce, the picturesque colonial capital of Wirikuta – followed by a second showing after a rugged two-day journey into Wixarika territory in the even more remote Sierra Madre.
The most important movie to date about the Wixarika (Huichol) people and their struggle to save the center of their cosmos, the Birthplace of the Sun, this movie weaves the dramatic story of that battle around the pilgrimage of Marakame José Luis Ramírez and his family to the desert of Wirikuta.
National Parks: Revisiting “America’s best idea” May 21, 2014Posted by Tracy in : Adventure , add a comment
Historian and author Wallace Stegner once called the National Park System “America’s best idea.” Nearly a century after the park service was established, most who have had the privilege of visiting a few of our national parks would be sure to agree. Nothing captures the grandeur of this fragile, beautiful, incredibly diverse planet the way that our national parks do – and to be sure, I’ve been privileged to see quite a few.
So naturally I was delighted when USA Today invited me to help out with their guide to the USA’s best national parks. Here are my contributions:
San Antonio , add a comment
By Tracy L. Barnett
Special package for USA Today’s Experience Weekend site
Remember the Alamo? Well, San Antonio has a whole lot more to offer visitors these days, almost enough to make you forget about that iconic shrine to Texas liberty. Miles and miles of newly developed spaces along the River Walk, an irresistible selection of fine dining experiences, a diverse and vibrant music scene, a sizzling nightlife – all of it colored by that special cultural blend that you’ll only find in America’s most Mexican of cities. Nowadays you’ll need at least a week to explore the best the city has to offer. But here’s a warning – once you’ve gotten a taste of the Alamo City, you may not want to leave.
Helmut, the German medicine man April 7, 2014Posted by Tracy in : Ecovillages, Mexico , add a comment
Living in Teopatli Kalpulli has many advantages, and one of them is the constant stream of wise and interesting individuals who come our way.
Recently we enjoyed a workshop with Helmut, a German medicine man who comes to Teopantli Kalpulli every two years to participate in the Promesa del Sol ceremony. During his stay he offers a workshop on medicinal plants. This year he didn’t know what the topic would be so he decided to spend the night sleeping under a sage bush to see if he would get any clues about what the teaching should be. Here in the Kalpulli the sage grows up to eight feet tall, towering over us in its mature state. I have two of them standing guard outside my door.
Indigenous culture, Mexico, Mexico City , 1 comment so far
Story and photos by Tracy L. Barnett
It was a long time coming – but it was worth the wait.
Nearly two years ago, more than a dozen of Mexico’s biggest performing artists came together in a mega-event aimed at saving Wirikuta, one of the country’s most sacred sites, from devastation at the hands of Canadian gold and silver mining operations.
It was a triumphant moment for the indigenous Wixarika people and for indigenous movements in general when, as the daylong festival came to a close, they were invited to come up on stage. A massive screen flashed images of traditional Wixarika beadwork behind them as 60,000 fans chanted, in unison, “Wirikuta no se vende! Wirikuta se defende!” (Wirikuta is not for sale! Wirikuta will be defended!)
Leaders of the indigenous Wixarika people and the Wirikuta Defense Front, the civil society coalition that is supporting them, came forward in a Mexico City press conference recently to give an accounting of how the money was spent – an example of innovation in the face of daunting challenges.
Ecovillages, Healing retreats, Indigenous culture, Mexico, Sustainability , add a comment
Last weekend Teopantli Kalpulli held the first in what promises to be an ongoing series of alternative living festivals aimed at inspiring a movement in human consciousness. This tiny community of just 22 families has had an influence far beyond its size since it was founded as an ashram outside of Guadalajara, Mexico, in 1983. Since that time, its mission has evolved and expanded, but it has always remained true to its goal: Elevating the human spirit in a quest for a greater connection with the Divine.
Thirty-one years is a long time for an intentional community to survive, and this one has had its struggles. But this past weekend, founders and newcomers alike seemed to agree: It’s been well worth the sacrifice.
The program was an ambitious one: nearly 60 different activities, including panel discussions, presentations, workshops, ceremonies and walks. They included a full track of yoga classes led by Eymos Rivera and Veronica del Alba, including innovative approaches such as acro-yoga and Mayan yoga; a full track of ecological workshops and presentations led by Beatriz Cardenas and Erandi Dias Cevallos; another track for children, featuring the lively and creative crew of Alejandro Vela, a Guadalajara-based mental health professional and artist; and still another track focused on spiritual development, the heart and soul of Teopantli Kalpulli’s work.
Our Father March 6, 2014Posted by Tracy in : Adventure , 1 comment so far
Our father, who art in heaven
Hallowed be thy name…
One night not long after you had left us
I stepped out onto the porch
Of the house that you built
With your own strong hands
With the help of our mother
And your brothers
So many years ago
I was confused
There was your workshop, dark and empty
And the barn that you built
To hold the farm equipment, the tractor that plowed Mom’s gardens, the buckets and shovels and hoes
And the RV that held so many of your adventures and your stories
And so many dreams of adventures not yet lived
Walls that Speak: Westside San Antonio’s Murals February 20, 2014Posted by Tracy in : San Antonio, Uncategorized , 2comments
By Tracy L. Barnett
Texas Journey magazine
Deep in San Antonio’s Westside, at the corner of El Paso and Chupaderas streets, the 10-foot-tall face of Jesus overlooks a scrappy landscape, a world of sadness reflected in his weary brown eyes. For more
than a decade, the locals have come to this corner to pray.
There’s a story about this corner that artist Cruz Ortiz likes to tell, a story that’s been retold so often it’s become local lore. One time, Ortiz showed up at the mural and saw a woman resting against a nearby pole.
“Are you okay?” he asked.
“I come here every Sunday,” she replied. “Because they won’t let me in at the church.”
That corner had become her church, her resting place, her place of hope.
On other corners in this neighborhood, people find stories of triumph and defeat, of musical legacy, of loved ones lost, and of celebrated heroes.
Costa Alegre meets San Antonio January 31, 2014Posted by Tracy in : Uncategorized , add a comment
It was followed by a heartwarming writeup by my former editor, Terry Scott Bertling, together with a slide show of my photos from the Costa Alegre, in her blog, Here and There.
Thank you, Terry!