This is a talk given by Ethyl Ruehman at the First Unitarian Church of Hobart Indiana on March 28, 2021. Ethyl talks about being raised with without a sense of connection to her local ecosystem or the wider web of life, and how she came to understand her body as an ecosystem which is connected to the ecosystem around her. She goes on to talk about how she became intoxicated with environmental activism as a youth, and what happened when her social and material support networks collapsed and she became homeless. No longer longer able to focus on the “big picture”, she had to turn inward and focus on her immediate needs of shelter, food, health, community, etc. “I had to realize I was my own first permaculture zone,” she says. In doing so, she learned that “nourishing myself is an act of nourishing the earth.” This is a timely reminder that self-care is not just practical, but an integral part of an ecological worldview.
Bio: Ethyl Ruehman is 21 years old, from Portage, IN, and now resides at Green Acres Permaculture Village in Bloomington, IN. She was recognized as a Hoosier Resiliency Hero, IUN Newman Civic Fellow, and revived the Save the Dunes 2020 Youth Environmental Dorothy Buell award. She is now studying at Indiana University Bloomington.